Assume the position: a queer defence of hazing

September’s Out magazine features an essay ‘Assume the position’ by yours truly defending hazing.  An ancient masculine ritual that almost all respectable people now oppose.  Including of course respectable gays. One out-raged reader has already described the essay as being the ‘lowest, most immoral homo-commentary I’ve ever read’.  Oh, you’re just saying that.  I’d love to believe it was true. Here’s the opener: ‘When I joined my local rugby team, I was made to do terrible, awful things. Even now, all these years later, I feel distressed and choked […]

Spornographic underwear: look what we’ve got our Hanes on

Hanes, the men’s underwear brand closest to the wedding tackle of Middle America, has gone all Sporno on us. I know.  What is the world coming to?  Is nothing sacred? In its unseemly lust to chase the metrodollar – and recapture some of those young male shoppers who don’t want to be seen in the locker-room in dad-wear – the once reliably retrosexual Hanes has produced a depraved, spornographic video that verily fans the flames of Sodom. Or at least my jock-strap. Though if you look closely, however – at […]

Wanking On: How Masturbation Became Aspiration

Mark Simpson gets to grips with a man’s favourite bad habit ‘WANKER!’. A bastard blue van has just cut me up, pulling out suddenly from a side-street right in front of me, forcing me to brake. Hard. So I respond in the customary English way: winding down the window, leaning out and calling him, at the top of my voice, an Onanist. Tasting his oil-seasoned exhaust while rolling the window back up I feel a warm sense of satisfaction. After all, calling someone a wanker […]

The North Rises Again: interview with Mark E Smith

Mark Simpson meets The Fall’s legendary front-man who has some deep-fried career advice for the Arctic Monkeys and the Kaiser Chiefs (Arena Hommes Plus, Summer 2006) “’Avin’ been around the world I reckon we’re very lucky,” says Mark E Smith, pop genius and (usually) loveable curmudgeon in a moment of uncharacteristic optimism. “They don’t realise what they’ve got, English people.” And what have we got? “Well,” he stalls, eyeing me and sensing a trap, “you don’t know until it’s gone do you, Mark!” Mark E […]

I (Still) Want Your sex: The Sun & George Michael’s privates

In case you thought I was joking when I wrote about the gentlemen of the British press being unable to leave George Michael’s penis alone, today’s Sun newspaper, twisted sister tabloid to the News of the World scandal sheet that ran the original front page Hampstead Heath expose, provides further, lurid proof of the seriousness of their passionate fascination. In a torrid piece snappily titled ‘Are there no depths George won’t plumb in pursuit of lust?’ by Kelvin Mackenzie, a former editor of the best-selling paper, and legendary […]

Suburbohemian rhapsody: review of ‘Berlin Bromley’

by Mark Simpson (Independent on Sunday, 23/07/06) “Oh, Bertie, when are you going to write your memoirs?” asks punk academic Jon Savage at a chance meeting with the author in Berlin. Berties replies: “Oh, I don’t know, Jon… what would I write, a teenage boy lost in suburbia, prostitution and drugs?” This, you’ll be glad to hear, is exactly what we get in Berlin Bromley (SAF), a “post-glam, pre-punk version of The Naked Civil Servant”. This memoir consists of the day-dreamy reminiscences of a pathologically, fabulously narcissistic […]

The ‘new macho’ – just older, saggier, daggier metrosexuality

ABC News tells us that ‘Metrosexual is out – macho is in’ It offers little evidence of this assertion other than a product-placement style interview with the editor of a glossy men’s magazine who will clearly say anything to sell his mag, including stuff like ‘the new macho is the old macho’ (since when did the old macho buy glossy men’s lifestyle magazines?), and citing ‘killing spiders’ as the test of machismo.  But we’ll let that pass. After all, this is the Twenty First Century and no one has […]