Imagine you’re straight, and you think gay men are all white, moneyed, coke-snorting perverts. It’s one of many popular stereotypes, one that Channel 4’s Clapham Junction - a one-off drama shown as part of the broadcaster’s gay season (celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality) - reinforced.
It was a sort of gay Crash, in which everyone more-or-less looks the same. C4 describes it as “a snapshot of the mixed experiences of several gay men whose lives interconnect over 36 hours in London.” Funny, but I thought gay men in London were a bit more diverse than the bunch of dried up Anglo-toffs served up here. It shouldn’t come as a surprise: C4 also gave us the truly hideous Queer As Folk (a show that almost makes me think queer-bashing is sometimes justified), and every year sticks another embarrassing white fag into the Big Brother house, who’s either flaming, or utterly vile in every conceivable way. The one decent gay drama they screened, Metrosexuality (which embraced the diversity of London’s homoverse) was axed after just one series.
Clapham Junction has almost no redeeming features. There’s a gay wedding in which one of the wealthy grooms seduces a young waiter whilst his new hubby wonders where he is. The waiter is later beaten to death on Clapham Common. A married man engages in some glory hole fun in a toilet before being fucked by a stranger. A fourteen year old boy seduces a paedophile. Coke is sprinkled liberally throughout, as if to say it’s what gay men do. Positive stuff. Oh, and there’s a token black character, who gets about three seconds of screen time. Here’s where the prejudice really shows. The black student, a violinist, is being bullied by a gang of black youths, who thinks he’s gay because he plays the violin. Seems to me the writer of the piece knows nothing about the sort of black youth in London he’s writing about. If he did, he’d know that musical talent is highly prized by these kids, but in keeping with the stereotype theme, he decides rough inner city black kids couldn’t be receptive to an instrument like the violin. Leave ‘em to their decks and rapping, eh.
Maybe we should be grateful there’s any gay drama on television at all, and that Channel 4 decided to make an effort with this season. What’s the BBC done? But it’s so depressing, so relentlessly negative, and a picture of a world that’s alien to many gay men. As for me, I’m off to snort a line before heading down to the local public toilets for some sleazy sex - the boyfriend will never find out!
This morning I wrote an Amazing article for my blog about the latest instalment of CocoDorm. It was extremely Amusing and filled with Controversy and Sex. You'll have to take my word for it.
Unfortunately, blogger.com has been designed by a moron. I know this because when I highlighted the text I'd written, in order to copy it to my myspace blog, all the text disappeared, which is what happens when you highlight things on blogger.com in the editing stage. There's also a Very Helpful autosave function, which means that this eroneous deletion of my High Literature is now gone forever.
They're more hated than couriers, tradesmen, public transport companies and even government bodies like the DSS. They open briefly for a few minutes each weekday (and not on weekends, of course) and allow queues to form that could easily fill the Great Wall of China. Their websites and phone systems are over-complicated and about as user-friendly as a chocolate teapot. We give them all our money, and in return we get... well, not much, really.
Terrorism. AIDS. Poverty. Social breakdown. Kylie Minogue. No, none of these come close to the misery wrought by this out of control monster. The worst blight on humanity is The Bank.
In an industry where one bank alone made a profit of £9bn last, it apparently costs British banks £35.00 (around $70.00) to ‘process’ a returned direct debit, a bounced cheque, an unauthorised overdraft - in fact, anything they think they can whack a charge onto. So imagine what it’s like for someone (not naming any names, ahem…) who’s a little reckless when it comes to finances. Multiples of £35.00 stack up to a steep mountain of debt before you know it.
It isn’t all bad news, however, with increasing numbers of customers (a term I use grudgingly) taking the banks to court to reclaim the obsene amounts the banks are pilfering. The industry is already under investigation by the Office Of Fair Trading over its exorbitant fees, and the banks are settling claims before they get to court - which is exactly what happened to me. Last month I started court proceedings against A Certain Bank (my lips are sealed), issuing a claim for £300.00. Initally, A Certain Bank notified the court that they would fight the claim, and as early as yesterday their solicitors were making threatening noises about the bank being in the right and my claim being “misconceived.”
Today, in a letter with the words Strictly Without Prejudice and Confidential emblazoned across it, the same solicitors offered to settle my claim in full - with a few strings attached. The most prominent of these is that the settlement of the claim is kept confidential - gee, I wonder why?
It’s nice that little old me scored a victory over this colossal industry, but it shouldn’t have to be this way. Apathy is the banks’ greatest ally - how many people simply write off the charges and let the banks get away with it? Don’t let them: easy to follow, step-by-step instructions on how to reclaim your money is available from several sites, the best of which is at the BBC. If a financial incompetent like me can do it, so can you.
Big Brother is once again facing criticism, this time for showing a female housemate calling a (straight) male housemate a poof.
According to digitalspy.co.uk, GaydarRadio has received complaints about the incident, and another involving a male housemate referring to women in the house as lesbians.
At the beginning of the current series of Big Brother, a female housemate was removed from the house for using the n-word - yet by not acting on the use of the word poof, Big Brother producers are sending out the message that whilst racist language is unnacceptable, homophobic language falls on deaf ears.
Robin Crowley of GaydarRadio says: “Whether the word was used in an affectionate way or not, the term ‘you poof’ is meant in a demeaning way. As the word ‘nigger’ is unacceptable to the black community, so too is the word ‘poof’ unacceptable to the gay and lesbian community.”
GaydarRadio is urging viewers to complain directly to Channel 4, and to Ofcom, the media regulator. You can do so here and here.
Earlier this year, Ofcom compelled Channel 4 to broadcast the findings of its report into the racist bullying of Shilpa Shetty in Celebrity Big Brother.
"I would also like to take this opportunity to squash the persistent rumours about mysterious 'disappearances' and emphasize that rural and urban areas are now enjoying a life of harmony and peace. I'm sure you're glad to hear this. And I'm happy you're glad."