Wednesday, November 22, 2006

This World is in a Mess,,1952866,00.html

It's awfully convenient that the man investigating the Putin regime for allegedly planting the tower block bombs which initiated the Hell in Chechnya just happens to be fatally poisoned. He was also investigating the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, also allegedly murdered by the Putin regime. She too was investigating the root causes of the Chechnya wars.l

Friday, November 10, 2006

Death Penalty

I write as someone who believes that the state never has the right to take life. If an individual doesn't, then the state doesn't either - the death penalty is always wrong.


Read these two stories and tell me that the world wouldn't be a better place with the culprits removed entirely from it:

Thoughts, commentary etc please.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


So it's day 1 in Scotland for the first time in nearly 5 years. I'm up here with friends, but not with Tom - my first holiday on my own since 1998 and it's much needed space. Space is something I've always understood was necessary, but having an actual break is something I've needed to put into practice for many years. My colitis recurrence and the simultaneous chest infection have made it clear that my stress management has hit an all time low. So I'm in Scotland, with Dave and Steve, with the chance to clear my head.

And I do need to clear my head. The level of change has been so rapid recently, that despite its all having been good, and all having been successful, I'm feeling resentful of it. As Tom put it, some 'me' time gives me the chance to adjust, the chance to be me independently of my responsibilities and the changes going on with them. I have a lot of hopes placed in the next three days and I hope they get met (I'm pretty certain they will).

Friday, October 13, 2006

Cough, Cold, Colitis and Cosmo!

Just Cosmo
Originally uploaded by lewishamdreamer.
It's an alliterative month it seems.

Lots of physical stresses as you can tell by the title. All of the mental stress from the last two months conspired to break me physically last week. And although the colitis flare up is now going back under control (albeit slowly), the other illnesses are a real pain. Thankfully Cosmo is about. We did so well with her in the last 24 hours, I'm so proud. Tom, she and I worked as a team to create an hilarious evening and a quiet night (the opposite of the previous 24 hours).

It's fascinating the changes in everything which Cosmo is forcing. I go through bouts of being alarmed by it, but it's all good. There are a couple of adjustments left to manage, but they're likely to self correct when we both start being well again (Tom's got the cough and cold too).

As I approach the end of 2006 I still find it almost mind boggling to realise I own my own house, have a job, share a cat, and am married to the loveliest man I've known. It's been a bastard of a year but the set up for the next decade has also gone on, and it's a good one.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Comic Art Auction

Out of reasons of poverty I'm selling four fantastic pieces of comic artwork:

- A signed & numbered lithograph of Captain America by Travis Charest
- A Spirit lithograph, signed & numbered by Dave Gibbons & Will Eisner
- A Supreme poster, painted by Alex Ross
- A signed & numbered Ghost lithograph by Adam Hughes

You can find them all here - you won't find pieces like this cared for quite as well anywhere else. In the case of the Gibbons/Eisner piece, it's a bargain too.

Monday, September 25, 2006


I really don't give two hoots about the 'gay community' anymore. This probably makes me some sort of traitor to some circles, but I've had it proven to me again this evening. Going to a local gay pub - old style, thrown together with the requisite cabaret drag act - didn't resonate with me at all. At all. It did once when I was younger, when the world around me was substantially different - now it's just...a throwback to a time in history long since past. Nostalgia's one thing, flogging a dead horse however is completely different.

It's a subject which came up in conversation with an ex in recent weeks - it's surprising how quickly and how utterly my views have changed in this. I used to volunteer for the Terrence Higgins Trust, Stonewall, the London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard, went out to places like the Village Soho, G-A-Y, I even worked at the Albert Kennedy Trust. None of this does anything for me now - my needs of the world around me, and the needs which come from my sexual orientation are being expressed completely differently. Is this maturity, greater experience or jadedness? Who can tell?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Change of Season

Maybe it's because we're in autumn, yes, maybe that's it. You may wonder, feeling the temperature right now, but businesses are gearing up for the run-up to Christmas, the university's doing it as well, kids are back at school - the false sense of security which the summer provided is well and truly gone. Yet maybe that isn't the reason I'm feeling as bad as I am.

A lot has happened in the last few weeks, a lot has been changing, some of which I've ridden along with, to my considerable enjoyment, some of which has been less obvious but no less significant. And at the moment I'm living a life of tumult - multiple demands from the day job, freelance work and unpaid work, stress because I'm the only one in our household with a job (I'm not apportioning blame here, although it does leave me in the unenviable - and inappropriate - position of being 'the one in charge of the money')...and this is not including the people on the fringes.

It's a time where I feel unappreciated by my family, unappreciated in general actually. I need a holiday, yet I'm paid by the hour - if I took a week off I'd not get paid for it until I left my current employer; great news for them, useless for me. It's awkward - the only people I can really ask for support aren't really in much of a position to provide any. So I wend my lonely way on, hoping that people understand and find invariably that they don't. Apologies for the whinge - I didn't really want this blog to have any - but it's a mostly unhappy time for me and I thought I'd practice at bringing a sense of it to the screen.

It's an odd unhappiness - the profound reasons which accounted for it last year are no longer in play (a situation I'd never thought would come to pass), yet I'm still feeling quite adrift.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


First we have Tony Blair telling us that Hamas = Hezbollah = Al Qaeda. Now...

Bin Laden = Hitler = Lenin.

Fucking hell.

He said the world had ignored the writings of Lenin and Hitler "and paid a terrible price" - adding the world must not to do the same with al-Qaeda.

I see. So it was their writings which caused the Second World War and the Cold War.

Politics is in free fall. You heard it here first.


I'm almost half way to my 37th birthday. When I was going out with James in 2001, 35 seemed such a long way away, yet I've sailed past that and am heading out to 40. I remember when Mum was 40, how could I possibly be?

I'm developing an odd relationship with age. As much as I long to be seen as attractive to the bright young things I see around me, I don't feel a genuine need to be. It isn't so much an age threshold I've crossed as a maturity threshold - the people who simply find me attractive do, those who don't really don't need to. I'm not the man I was in 2001/2, yet in some ways I find myself longing for that mindset, wishing that I still were younger, that I could be seen the way I used to be, by the people who used to see me that way.

I'm proud of the achievements I'm making, the older I'm getting - they're achievements you can only get through advancing age. They're more substantial achievements, more grounded, more meaningful, more attuned to my deeper character than those I celebrated when I was younger. In that respect it's great to be 36. Yet I feel old, I feel ground down, more detached from the mainstream than I ever have been since I first came out. A rebellious side of me screams in resentment against that - Tom and I may have to do something quite unexpected in response to that, upon his return on Sunday. I think marriage will turn out to be the solution to this feeling - as stable (albeit unconventional) as that sounds.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Hop Hop Hoopla

It's a state of the world blog post I'm afraid.

We've just come back from my family home in Guernsey and I was really unsettled to see some of the changes. Don't get me wrong - I've known much of what's happening there now has been on the cards for years. They've prioritised their rich at the expense of their poor and thought they could get away with it for at least a generation; now their crime rate is out of control and many people think town is a no-go area on weekend evenings.

What surprised me though was another difference between this visit and the last - noise. My Dad's house is built well away from any main road. The acoustics mean he's quite sheltered from everything and everyone, and we're used to staying and hearing nothing which for me is a seriously therapeutic experience considering how much noise we have to put up with at home in London. Yet now noise is encroaching into his house at night - boy racers where there were none, loud neighbours, music from directions you can only guess at. A small increase in volume and he'll be at the level we're at - when on earth did things start to change there as well?

Is it really a rich/poor thing which is creating this universal lack of consideration? It's clearly not a London thing anymore. Some people call it drink, some say it's because the people in question don't have anything else to do. Yet I've never wantonly caused noise pollution for people. Ever since I was plagued by it when at university the first time I've never understood why people felt the need to share their noise with everyone else. Yet in 2006 is seems to have become in vogue - a national pastime.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


So many people have so many conflicting ideas about what this is. I'm musing, laying here on the couch, watching the clouds go by as I edit my photos, wondering what to make of something like happiness. What I know is that for me at least it has never been a constant state. Some people seem very "happy" people - not me. For me it's a fleeting thing, happy "bursts", although I've striven to reach a "happy" state. I've felt quite guilty about that this year - since I got married in January there's been, I think, a mutual expectation of a certain higher average level of daily happiness. Yet again that hasn't been the case and I don't think any more that it's circumstantial. 2006 has been a very hard year for me.

Instead it feels like the nature of happiness has changed. With age it feels more like something which can exist, but with strings. The older I get the more compromises enter my life, the more restrictions appear, the more harsh lessons get learned. Happiness can't be this constant, blissful state under such conditions. I know that's something I tried for a few years ago, but reality proved it to be an illusion and a false target. Now, even though I regularly don't consciously feel "happy", bombarded by the transitory and constant pressures life brings, I'm aware that happiness, an adult happiness, might be there anyway. I just have to acknowledge it.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Originally uploaded by lewishamdreamer.
Maybe it's the ever increasing number of grey eyebrows, the now profusion of grey chest hairs or the wrinkles developing now around my eyes, but I've finally started to see concrete signs that I'm getting older. I'll grant you 36 isn't old by any reasonable measure, but youthfulness has drifted from me in a significant way this year. I'm not talking about the hairs which refuse to stop growing in the ears (I love being in my late 30s), it's more a feeling of having been kicked hard enough by life to not think first of the easy, enjoyable choices anymore. The hard ones remain at the top of the agenda even though I'm often far too lazy to pursue them.

I'm not sad about this change, although my changed, less automatically happy attitude has caught some people by surprise. I think I'm taking on attributes of my father other than the appalling body hair you can see in the picture. Where I would try to suffer fools for the greater good I'm now completely dismissive, regardless of the short term cost. Life's simply too short to be upset constantly by people who ultimately don't care a bit about you. I guess I don't think about how fanciable I am that much nowadays easier, whereas for a spell in my early 30s it was a real preoccupation. Maybe that's because I'm married now...married...and the fear of being left behind is slowly becoming a thing of the past.

The average age of my friends has doubled in the last year - almost all of whom are in permanent relationships and one of whom has a child of his own. I don't think I'll be going down that route with Tom although you never know. I'm quite content to be the favourite uncle for now. It does slightly make me wonder though what my priorities will be when I'm in my forties though - and they're just around the corner. Strange thought - my mother never made it out of her time flying by so quickly?

I wonder if I should do a photographic project around the theme of age.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

How Far Would You Go?

I'm curious. In the name of art, how far would you (could you, should you) go in using/displaying your body? Where are the boundaries between exhibitionism, pornography and art? Are they fluid? Are they down to subtle nuance? In my frustration at not (yet) developing any photographic relationships in which I can explore the nudity of others, I've taken the decision to use myself. It's much more awkward in a sense - how objective can I be about my OWN body - but it also opens up other questions, such as who should see it, why and in what context?

I've worried that my requests for nude work have gone to make me look like some sort of perv. That I might be anyway is moot - I'm genuinely interested in these issues right now and want to explore them. I don't mind whether it's with people I know quite well, people I barely know or just myself (although the scope there will remain pretty limited).

Saturday, August 12, 2006

This Is Autumn's Doing

Speakerz Corner
Originally uploaded by lewishamdreamer.
It may or may not be actually. My mood always collapses along with the weather, which well and truly did collapse together. It's either the beginning of autumn or the first taster of it and it felt awful. It left me, I guess, feeling a need - not sexual, not desperate, more of an ache than anything else. And I really wanted to fill it through creativity. I really really want to push the boundaries of what I can do photographically with people but it's very hard. People have issues with their appearance, they have their own priorities, the list of obstacles feels truly endless sometimes. I ended up taking a self portrait which I felt pushed things a bit (and of which I am proud) but it wasn't what I'd wanted out of today. Maybe if tomorrow is sunny I won't keep feeling this - I wonder.

I want to make art that takes risks, challenges, impresses, catches 'the regulars' off guard. That's going to mean finding people on the whole who are prepared to meet me half way. Problem is all the people I know would I'd really rather steer clear from.

Photography has issue after issue built into it. I guess good photography would have to - you're asking people to give something of themselves. Why is it that the people who are managing to do this happen to have no soul? Do you have to be extremely patient or leave your soul in the cloakroom?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

John Reid Becomes Michael Howard becomes John Reid,,1840482,00.html

Can someone tell me how and why we're living in a more threatening time than during the height of the IRA's campaign(s)? I don't buy the argument for a moment that post-Cold War population mobility has caused society to be in such a state. For that matter what danger IS society in full-stop? I'll buy an argument about technology having broken down barriers - the Internet more than anything else. But surely since 1990 inequalities, particularly down ethnic lines (albeit not ALL ethnic lines) have massively increased down to choices made by governments for easy votes. Surely that's in part given rise to things like people trafficking, and aided a resurgence in global terrorism (which is hardly new).

And what exactly do we need a debate about? The number of white Australians and South Africans illegally working in most of London's bars or the number of dark skinned Muslims? Surely immigration 'issues' only really affect the already 'have nots', who can easily perceive their lives being affected by new arrivals. Maybe NuLabour could think for a moment about decreasing poverty instead of dreaming up more draconian immigration crises, announcements and laws. Somehow I doubt it though.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Karen: Baby: B/W
Originally uploaded by lewishamdreamer.
So today was the first autumnal day of 2006. We are assured that it will reverse itself tomorrow or Saturday, which is a good thing considering how much I have to photograph on both days. In fact my photographic career is booming, although I've yet to move forward from my first professional gig three weeks ago. But as you can see (particularly if you click on this picture to go through to my Flickr photostream) things are going spectacularly creatively. Karen is/was a work colleague who wanted me to photograph her pregnancy. It turned out to be the best photoshoot I've yet had. And the work with Remodel is going brilliantly - two shoots almost back to back, improving each time.

I can't say how much photography means to me and how much I need this to be a career. Hopefully this image gives you some hint of a clue. And if you want anything done - I'm always able to do it.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

If Cleanliness is Next to Godliness, What is Honesty?

In a rare recent act of generosity I just handed in a £20 note I found on the floor at work to reception. They appear to have an honest policy for dealing with it and if noone claims it within three months I get it. It's not like I couldn't have done with it, but I'm sure someone else in the same situation has just lost it. Here's hoping it wasn't one of the legions of drug dealers around there parts...

Monday, July 31, 2006

A Change of Mind

I've written before about the oddness of having totally different, yet concurrent mindsets. I've just seen an article on the BBC website which has reminded me yet again how completely different my thinking is now, compared with my teenage and early twenty-something years (my pre-'out' period).

The article draws similarities between the American missile strike in Qana and their strike on Baghdad in the first Gulf War in 1991. Each time scores of innocents were knowingly killed, not by 'them', but by 'us'. I find it hard to imagine that in 1991 I was moved enough to complain about Jeremy Bowen's coverage of the story and yet now I'm joining in the near-universal condemnation of what the Israelis are doing and have done there above all. And yet I also look back into the late 80s and early 90s and find a great deal which is (bizarrely) incompatible with who I am now: my worldview, my politics, my attractions. I always thought of myself as mature for my age as I was growing up, and yet I didn't slough off my childhood and the unchallenged views you pick up from your parents, until I was in my early twenties. I find myself strange.

It seems so strange that the act of coming out to myself should have shattered and begun to shatter so many aspects of the way I was and transform them into who I am today. I suppose it's a rite of passage - for many at school it was having sex with their first girlfriend (which I knew from an early age disinterested me), or their first cigarette. I resisted my first rite of passage until I was 24 and now accept I fancy boys, wouldn't vote Tory if my life depended on it and condemn utterly what Israel is doing to Lebanon in general and most recently to Qana in particular.

Superman Returns

A change of tone if I may. As a comic collector of many decades, I thought it time to air my thoughts about the new Superman movie. As with many other people, my views have altered considerably after having time to think it over, and I feel like exploring them here.

In short it's an entertaining movie. It's clearly a tribute to what's gone before, and on closer inspection very nearly a remake; similar plotline, often the same dialogue. Even Marlon Brando's Jor-El is back, providing the continuity link to the Reeve films which this follows on from. Yet stating that Superman Returns follows on directly from Superman II is perversely the film's greatest flaw. Brandon Routh has Christopher Reeve to live up to (probably impossible for anyone), Kate Bosworth has Margot Kidder to live up to (she fails) and whilst Kevin Spacey's Lex is far and away a better Lex than Gene Hackman's, it's largely because this film realises that it has to respond to a different audience in a different age. So it's trapped from the outset between trying to emulate what's gone before but 'move it on a bit'. And with compromise after compromise, despite frequently astounding CGI, the film is spiritually dead. For a Superman movie this is unforgivable.

The film explores themes about moving on, legacy, generational change. And with an entirely new cast inhabiting the same characters it's clearly something they and Bryan Singer felt that the audience would need to go through in trying to clear the franchise of the ghost of Christopher Reeve. Clark moves on through his son, emulating his own development from Jor-El in Superman I, Lois moves on through shacking up with James Marsden, yet this worthy exploration masks a fundamental failure of both the franchise and of Singer's understanding of the character. It's been said that the novelisation retains the original beginning to the plot, where Clark travels to what he believes are the remains of Krypton - it's a deception by Luthor to get him off planet, discredited, leaving him free to escape from jail. All we learn in the movie is that Clark is gone for five years - he just up and left. With the values he was raised with, Clark would never do that - he would never leave his Ma, Lois, all the people he cares about who depend on him. Yet this is what we are led to understand he did. And when he learns that Lois has moved on, he essentially tortures himself and her for two hours' worth of footage before claiming no longer to be bovvered. Again - Clark would do this? I don't think so.

We have a continuity fudge of Lois clearly knowing (Singer has alluded to this) that she slept with Clark/Kal-El in Superman II, yet her memory was supposedly wiped of his secret identity at the close of that film. Did she fake that sequence? We don't know. It would explain Lois' fury at being abandoned, yet fury seems too strong for this film. Apart from Lex noone appears to feel anything at all. Clark broods relentlessly, seeming to have a messiah complex not previously shown in this franchise. And this opens up another flaw: if he is emotionally disconnected throughout most of the film, the closing sequence with his son should have restored his connection. It doesn't happen.

Since Superman II America has changed from being seen as a champion of social values to a defiler of them, and it's no surprise that a Superman movie in the 21st century would try incredibly hard to abandon these associations. Truth, Justice and the American Way become Truth, Justice 'and all that stuff'. Superman's closing fly through in space no longer has him holding an American flag, and it is at that point more than ever that the film falls flat. Christopher Reeve made you feel good about yourself and gave more vigour to the character before or since, just with a smile. He had effortless charm and authority in equal measure. Whilst Brandon Routh might, he isn't allowed or encouraged to, leaving a film of good intentions but weak execution, loaded with miscast characters and wasted opportunities. It was Christian Bale's job to brood, not Brandon Routh's. It was the X-Men's place to be dark, not Superman's. I was moved by the retention of the theme and opening credit sequence, but by nothing else. The film's poor box office takings in the US suggest I'm not alone, and in the film's most important market to boot.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

It's Been Too Long

Originally uploaded by lewishamdreamer.
I apologise profusely for such a wait for new words, but again images have me uttely captivated. As my photography progresses and business tentatively begins (I shot me a wedding last weekend), I'm increasingly drawn into the power and poetry of images to tell stories about people and the world. A high falluting way of putting it I know, but there you are - it means a great deal to me.

I've been spending all my time fighting to keep my world together. 2006 has been like that - fighting brush fires that spontaneously become forest fires - and it's been beating me down and keeping me more exhausted than even this horrendously humid and hot weather. I'm not being melodramatic, but people really don't know just how low my confidence is right now. I've actually succeeded in doing the things which have needed to be done, and I'm left with precious few resources with which to tend to normal life adequately. I'm not entirely sure how to get a good feeling back to daily life to be honest, although with most of the other 2006 pressures having been removed, the task should be easier than it feels.

I've decided I hate the British summer. Noise, heat, lower tolerance of (and respect towards) one another even than normal. I don't get a decent night's sleep at all. My only outlet's becoming photography - the accompanying photograph is my own work and is a result of considerable patience. I wish I could do more, but all I can do is focus on not crashing - from morning to night.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


It's strange, realising you can have multiple mindsets at the same time. It sort of answers the question of how the 7/7 bombers could live Western lives quite happily, yet also commit mass murder in the name of attacking just that lifestyle/system. And (hardly as a comparison) I right now am all ready for things to take off in 2006 for the first time - the dangers have gone away (just how many times can it be possible to dodge a bullet?), I'm employed (and appreciated), about to be paid (very well), and learning from a professional photographer as well. Yet I'm still not happy, the anxiety is actually quite difficult to control recently, despite the things which threatened to destroy me actually having gone away.

2006 is a very strange year. I've never been more impatient. I really have to make at least 2, and maybe three of my ideas work.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Big Break

Oh my. I have my first professional photoshoot as photographer's assistant next week. Photographing royalty. I'm sure I'm not going to be taking any photographs myself, but this is my big photographic break.

I'm taken aback to say the least.

Oh yes and I took this on my most recent shoot. I absolutely love it (and TJ's pretty lovely himself):


Saturday, May 06, 2006


Now it's not something I've been affected by that much, before or after coming out. Neighbours have mostly been good - with some odd child exceptions around the last flat, which got strange - never a problem with a colleague or many people I've encountered in the street. Not that it's never happened - it has. There have been groups of people being abusive to a group of people I've been with, and other, isolated incidents which haven't really stuck in my mind. So last night was just strange.

My development is made up of flats which have mostly been sold by the unscrupulous developer for owners to rent. We're quite unusual here by being owner/occupiers. It leads to serious noise problems, regular anti-social behaviour, unbelievable selfishness. Even more of a shame that many, many gay people live here, drawn by the promise offered in the publicity literature of luxury living at affordable prices. We're wrong to have done this of course - the 'luxury living' is counter-balanced by so many negatives it's barely believable sometimes - and last night was no exception. Yet again someone was clearly letting off fireworks from their balcony in the middle of the night - a pretty anti-social act wherever you may be. So I opened the window for a look, and on a nearby building, on a balcony I'd never seen occupied, was a man who was directed towards me and clearly said 'hello' expecting a response. So I replied in kind - he seemed likely to have been drawn out by the noise himself and maybe we both thought the same thing about it. He immediately fake coughed and went "gay cunt" - for what immediate purpose I couldn't fathom. Was he drunk? Stoned? Unaware of the irony of being homophobic in a development replete with gays? I stared at him, trying to see some facial features but it was too dark and closed the window instead. He too went inside.

So I'm left with the pain of having been verbally abused whilst in my own home, by someone whose motives aren't clear, and by someone I'd be unlikely to recognise in the street. If that was a beginning rather than drunken Friday night antics then there's a problem brewing, a solution to which being potentially quite awkward. Part and parcel of living somewhere like London I guess, but I'm tired of living around quite so much trash. Good thing I started serious work on Canada references the same day then, but it's still a mental hit I could have done without.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Project

I'm looking to do photoshoots (possibly very quick ones) with as many gay men (and perhaps women - my thoughts on this project are fluid) as possible, firstly in London and when possible, further out into the rest of the British Isles. Now I note this is not about sex, nudity, pornography or anything like that. It's about showing gay diversity and helping gay visibility in these days of civil partnerships.

Anyone who's interested please contact me via my website and we can sort something out. I really am looking for the most diverse mix of ages, ethnicities, body types, you name it. So don't think I'll say no - I'll almost certainly say yes. If you want to know how good I am at portrait photography have a look here.


For some weeks now I've been waking up with this mental ache. I have almost no way to describe it other than this feeling of having to do something creative. I'm writing this with some pretention to gaining and sharing some understanding of it, although the truth is I'm wandering through this post. Maybe that's a good thing, maybe I should just see where my thoughts go when I open them up like this.

Today our MP is due to visit our development, chaperoning our local councillors who are up for election in a fortnight's time. I don't so much want to meet her and them, or quiz them about crime rates or public transport, such as wanting to photograph them. Since I took that photo of Brian Haw I've felt almost consumed by wanting to reach my potential with portrait photography again, or even surpass it. Getting the opportunity with faces which will get a reaction isn't easy. You know I guess it's not just a feeling of wanting to outdo that, it's a feeling of wanting to prove I can do this:


and show that it wasn't just a one off. I've had this feeling since I started DSLR photography. I've taken photos which have been so well received by genuinely big talents that I've been almost scared by my achievements. I don't know where this one came from any more than the other really good ones I've done, but they keep happening. I think George Michael sort of expressed it well last night: you know that you're good at what you do, but you constantly retain this feeling that you have to do better. In my case I have to keep reminding myself that I have to keep perfecting crawling and walking before I can run.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Just Grow Up

Simon Fanshawe is someone who's irritated me in the past. I don't know him personally but his screen persona has been odious for at least two decades. Today he made a bold statement in the Guardian that gay men needed to start growing up. It's something which has been on my mind this year - in fact it was a principal reason for getting married in the first place. I've done the random sex thing, I've done the clubbing thing (albeit reticently), I've done the serial relationship thing. And with Tom it became clear that I found someone who wanted the same thing out of a relationship that I did, and wanted it to be (and had what it took to be) forever. So I figured it was time to grow up and face the concomitant responsibilities - we got married. Thanks Simon, we are living in the real world - very much so.

And we're not alone. Dave and Steve have a daughter, Tim and Conor are deliberating when and how they might get married (they've been together for almost as long as Tom and me), Scoobs and Colin are debating getting property together...get the picture? So on the one hand he's right, but...he's also wrong. Now that we are essentially equal before the law it is time to normalise our position in society. Yet society doesn't treat us equally, there is rampant homophobia still, and whilst I personally don't need to go on Pride marches anymore, a significant number of people do. Gay men are still expected to marry women they aren't attracted to, gay sex for many people can be nothing but underground and challenging social conventions is so fundamentally impossible for so many people, that when the opportunity to do so arises it's quite vital that it be taken.

Simon Fanshawe is both preaching to the converted and criticising just the wrong people for doing what they need to do. Just because his metropolitan life is comparatively easy, doesn't make that the norm for everyone. The number of young, drug taking, sexually promiscuous gay men in particular has, I believe, been massively overstated recently. Suggesting that 20% of London's gay men are on crystal meth is just nonsense. I know quite a few other London based gay men and none of them do it. I'm not saying that none of them fit Fanshawe's overall stereotype, but one person who does is without question a very damaged individual and needs help, not condemnation.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

New Beginning

Well first off I don't know if you can be an immanent wanderer. Perhaps you can tell me what you think about that.

Getting down to business, I'm now likely to move my online blogging and creative writing here, largely because I'm bored with Livejournal, but also partly because that blog has a very specific voice which an about face would adversely affect. I'm proud of what I've done with it, but I do want to write in a different way, perhaps more creatively, and this is the first place I'm going to try.

I've been developing my skills as a photographer for some time you could argue. But it was only after summer 2005 when I got my first Panasonic Lumix and then this January when I got my Nikon D50 DSLR that I began to take it seriously. Now I have friends and regular contributors on Flickr who keep insisting that I do it professionally. I'd never thought of myself as a creative person before - hearing this for the first time was a shock to the system. Yet before going back to university I didn't think of myself as an intellectual person either, and I comprehensively proved I was. Strange, the things you feel the need to know about yourself as you get older. These things didn't matter to me in my twenties - not much did - yet now they feel like cornerstones of my world. Ursula Wall, my guitar teacher when I was 10 would be thrilled.

I've just finished listening to a podcast interview with Allan Heinberg - writer of Marvel's Young Avengers and it's only added fuel to this feeling of creativity I'm constantly almost overwhelmed by, and this sense that I want to give voice, my unique voice, to aspects of the world which I "get" and other people might not understand. Heinberg has managed to change people's lives with that book through giving voice to Billy and Teddy - two straightforward gay teens, who are amongst the principal characters, and who also happen to be together in the most matter-of-fact way. In the publishing world that may not set the world alight, but in the comics world it's a seismic change. I guess I felt I'd touched on this when I succeeded in taking this:

Brian Haw

I'd captured an essential quality of Brian Haw, and it affected people. How then could I really continue bleating in the same way on Livejournal? How could that sort of writing do anything other than bug people in the end? So I'm here, wondering what I can do with this keyboard, words and my imagination. I'm mulling over multiple creative projects which it would be nice to have parters in this country or others, in attempting. Tom's idea of visiting Chernobyl in particular has had a hold of me ever since he voiced it.