Sex Terror’ Now Available on Kindle — Sweet Dreams.

Sex Terror cover web1 Sex Terror Now Available on Kindle   Sweet Dreams.


Erotic Misadventures in Pop Culture

Mark Simpson

This book will change the way you think about sex. It may even put you off it altogether.



 In his full-frontal follow-up to his widely acclaimed It’s a Queer World, Mark Simpson dis­penses with the mon­key busi­ness of sexu­al­ity and gets to grips with the organ grinder itself: SEX.

Subjecting our saucy new god to his sac­ri­le­gious satire, Simpson sins against every con­tem­por­ary com­mand­ment about doing the nasty: It must be hot. It must be fre­quent. It must wake the neigh­bours. And it must be Who You Are.

Simpson argues that we all put far too much faith in sex these days, and that in actual fact sex is messy, con­fus­ing, frus­trat­ing, and ulti­mately disappointing.

Especially if you’re hav­ing it with him.

Along the way he gets worked up with Alexis Arquette over Stephen Baldwin’s bubble-butt, gets intim­ate with Dana International, Aiden Shaw and Bruce LaBruce, and – very gingerly – con­fronts Henry Rollins with those ‘gay’ rumours.


Praise for Sex Terror:

MARVELLOUS… open Simpson’s book at any point, as many times as you want, and you’ll find the sort of gem-like sen­tences that Zadie Smith would give her white teeth for.”

- Suzi Feay, Independent on Sunday

A chain­saw cock of wit… blis­ter­ingly, endear­ingly hon­est… insight­ful and valu­able.  VERY FUNNY INDEED.”

- Dermod Moore, The Hot Press

Setting com­mon sexual sense on its ear, Simpson’s Swiftian pro­pos­als strike at an emo­tion dear to us: sexual desire. His anarchic mis­sion is to free sex from ser­mon­iz­ing, con­ven­tion, ego­ism, and cul­tural bias. But unlike Foucault, his decon­struct­ing weapon is built of rib­ald humour and pot­shots at pre­ten­sion. Simpson’s essays pro­duce ran­cour and HILARIOUS LAUGHTER, DISBELIEF AND DELIGHT. Some call him won­der­ful, and some call him out­rageous, but I call him A TRUE ORIGINAL and YOU SHOULDN’T MISS THIS BOOK.”

– Bruce Benderson, author of Pretending to Say No and User

BRILLIANT… With sur­gical pre­ci­sion Mark Simpson peels away the lay­ers of mod­ern mas­cu­line cul­ture, leav­ing few iconic fig­ures un-scarred. This book is cer­tain to pro­voke and likely to offend; we would expect noth­ing less from one of the most import­ant voyeurs of con­tem­por­ary life.”

– Bob Mould, Musician and Songwriter

When the cul­ture of sex breathes its final breath, Mark Simpson will be there to deliver the eulogy with great zeal. And what a GLORIOUSLY SARDONIC AND INSIGHTFUL farewell it will be!”

– Glenn Belverio, Dutch magazine

“One of those books that bounces up and down on your knee yelling ‘read me, read me…. Brutal hon­esty and razor wit  — a per­fect feast. QUOTABLE GENIUS.”


BLOODY GOOD…  every out­rageous insight is just that – an insight into the mod­ern  con­di­tion that often makes you laugh out loud and, if you are not entirely bey­ond hope, think. Simply some of the best writ­ing on mod­ern cul­ture around.”

- Brian Dempsey, Gay Scotland

One of England’s MOST ELOQUENT AND SARDONIC commentators.”

– Bay Windows

Mark Simpson won’t be every reader’s cup of tea, but those who enjoy a biter blend of DARK HUMOUR AND KEEN SOCIAL OBSERVATION will want to drink deeply.”

– Washington Blade

…never fails to amuse, bemuse, stun and stir… a writer at his peak, a SHAMELESS SUMPTUOUS SERVING OF SOCIAL SATIRE you’ll be digest­ing long after you put the book down”

– All Man Magazine





English author and journ­al­ist Mark Simpson is credited/blamed for coin­ing the word ‘met­ro­sexual‘. Simpson is the author of sev­eral books includ­ing: Saint MorrisseyMale Impersonators, and Metrosexy.


Sex Terror cover image taken by Michele Martinoli.

A Taste of Honey: Still Sweet Half a Century On

Hard to believe, but this year Tony Richardson’s wide-eyed 1961 ‘neo-realist’ mas­ter­piece A Taste of Honey, based on a play by Salford play­wright prodigy Shelagh Delaney is half a cen­tury old.

Filmed on loc­a­tion in lyr­ical black and white when Manchester was still con­nec­ted to its chimney-stacked ‘dark Satanic’ past, it tells the story of Jo, a gawky, dream-filled, preg­nant, unmar­ried work­ing class teen­age girl think­ing about life and think­ing about death and neither one par­tic­u­larly appeal­ing to her.

This Sunday the Liverpool-based queer arts fest­ival Homotopia will be hold­ing a 50th anniversary screen­ing of this clas­sic film fol­lowed by a Q&A ses­sion with Rita Tushingham, who played young Jo in what turned out to be the per­form­ance of her life. (As part of the same fest­ival, yours truly will be ‘in con­ver­sa­tion’ with April Ashley on Nov 23.)

Back in the 1980s, when it was almost for­got­ten, A Taste of Honey had a big mouthed, bolshy, blou­sey north­ern cham­pion — the singer Morrissey, who fash­ioned pretty much the entire world of his first couple of albums out of it. And fam­ously lift­ing sev­eral lyr­ics from it:

    • Hand in Glove’: And I’ll prob­ably never see you again (‘I’ll prob­ably never see you again. I know it!’)
    • Reel Around the Fountain’: I dreamt about you last night/and I fell out of bed twice (‘I dreamt about you last night. Fell out of bed twice’.); You’re the bees knees/but so am I (‘You’re the bees knees, but so am I’.)
    • You’ve Got Everything Now’: As merry as the days were long (‘As merry as the day is long’.)
    • Shoplifters of the World Unite’: Six months is a long time (‘It’s a long time, six months’.)
    • I Don’t Owe You Anything’: (‘I don’t owe you anything’.)
    • Alma Matters’: It’s my life/to ruin/my own way (‘Anyway, it’s your life, ruin it your own way’.)
    • ‘This Night Has Opened My Eyes’ The dream has gone but the baby is real (‘Oh, well, the dream’s gone but the baby’s real enough.’) And I’m not happy and I’m not sad. (I’m not sorry and I’m not glad.’).

The title I gave the chapter in Saint Morrissey examin­ing Moz’s doomed little love-affair with Shelagh/Jo – ‘Dump her on the door­step, girl’ — was yet another Moz lyric inspired by Taste. As the man him­self admit­ted in the 90s: “Even I — even I — went a bit too far with A Taste of Honey.”

Here’s an excerpt from that chapter, explain­ing the impact and fresh­ness of the film in 1961, how Delaney’s spark­ling script sets Taste apart from the rest of the so-called British New Realism cinema of the 1960s, and why des­pite the passing of time and all its hein­ous crimes (and the nor­m­al­isa­tion of many of the taboos it tackled) it has hardly dated at all:

Unlike the other works by Fifties (usu­ally north­ern) work­ing class authors that were turned into films in the early Sixties, such as Saturday Night, Sunday Morning, Billy Liar, and Room at the Top, A Taste of Honey was writ­ten from a female per­spect­ive, or rather intro-spective. Unashamedly self-absorbed, it man­ages to be genu­inely ‘shock­ing’ and con­tem­por­ary in its sub­ject mat­ter: adul­tery, promis­cu­ity, teen­age preg­nancy, mater­nal irre­spons­ib­il­ity, abor­tion, mis­ce­gen­a­tion, homo­sexu­al­ity, con­gen­ital mad­ness . . . (if this list reads like an epis­ode of Brookside, per­haps this is why, in the late Eighties, Morrissey made a cameo appear­ance in a spin-off of that show called South).

However, Taste man­aged to cover all these themes without being sen­sa­tion­al­ist, refus­ing to hide behind pom­pous ges­tures and pseudo polit­ics. It isn’t a play about an angry young man, but a vaguely anxious young girl — a much more ‘uni­ver­sal’ sub­ject, since most of us are vaguely anxious young girls at some point in our lives.

And all of these char­ac­ter­ist­ics — poetic nat­ur­al­ism, shock­ing without sen­sa­tion­al­ism, refusal of pom­pous ges­tures, dreamy intro­spec­tion, a freshly fem­in­ine per­spect­ive — were to be fea­tures of Morrissey’s own work.

Reasons to Be Cheerful, presented by Jake Arnott

jake arnott Reasons to Be Cheerful, presented by Jake Arnott

My good friend the nov­el­ist Jake Arnott presents next Saturday’s instal­ment of BBC Radio Four’s anti­dote to grump­i­ness series ‘Reasons To Be Cheerful’.  He looks at the aston­ish­ing changes in atti­tudes towards sexu­al­ity and mas­culin­ity in the past few dec­ades, arguing they offer men much greater free­dom of choice and expres­sion than in the past.

Because he’s a good friend and because he’s a very gen­er­ous and char­it­able chap he invited me to con­trib­ute.  I tried my best to be grumpy, but Jake is so charm­ing I couldn’t quite keep it up.  I think I may even have ended up talk­ing about how much I liked Soho.

Love Reaction: (Steve Zeeland Made Me Do it)

divine Love Reaction: (Steve Zeeland Made Me Do it)

Every now and then, you will need a friend for… Love Reaction

A dis­tinctly not-for-profit trib­ute to the late great Divine, dance genius Bobby O, synth-scallywags New Order, and my American writer pal and former alt-pop star Steve Zeeland, recor­ded late-night in his living-room in Bremerton, WA a couple of years back. (The ‘promo’ video in which a con­struc­tion worker ‘dances’, on all fours, to the synth-beat, was also shot by Steve — out of his apart­ment window.)

For all Steve’s pro­duc­tion skill, there’s no dis­guising that the vocal­ist isn’t as tal­en­ted as Divine.

But he’s almost as scary.

Interview with Mark Simpson in Greek newspaper ‘Eleftherotypia’

This Sunday the magazine sup­ple­ment of the Greek daily ‘Eleftherotypia’ is run­ning a major inter­view with MetroDaddy by Spyros Chatzigiannis.

In case your Greek isn’t up to scratch, or you hap­pen by some chance not to be liv­ing in Greece at the moment (the Sunday edi­tion isn’t avail­able online) — Read the inter­view in English here .

Whilst I’m blow­ing my for­eign trum­pet, I hear that the December issue of Russian GQ is run­ning a short piece about me in a list of ’27 Things That Changed Men’s Lives’.

Probably in a sec­tion called: ‘Why You Now Have to Wear Swim-shorts in the Steam-room’.

The Queen is Dead — but can be resurrected via PayPal

contactsheet 001 The Queen is Dead   but can be resurrected via PayPal

If, for some reason, you find your­self miss­ing The Queen is Dead, the out-of-print doom-laden and bleakly humor­ous fin-de-siecle transat­lantic epis­tolary romance with a mar­tial theme between myself and ‘mil­it­ary chaser’ Steve Zeeland, or fancy the idea of being the owner of an extremely rare double-signed copy of an extremely rare book, or would like to find out why letter-writing died out — or would just like to help out Mr Zeeland — cop­ies are avail­able from Steve via PayPal and inter­na­tional money order.