Top Gun Turns Thirty – How Did It Get So Gay?

by Mark Simpson (Originally published in the Daily Telegraph May 12, 2016) 30-years ago today, the stars of Top Gun were taxiing  the red carpet at the premiere in New York. The film, which features Tom Cruise’s ‘Maverick’ and Val Kilmer’s ‘Iceman’ wrestling in the air for Alpha male supremacy, was abou t to ‘go ballistic’ and smash multiple box office records. In doing so, the Tony Scott piloted blockbuster would make A-listers out of its two preening male stars, and become perhaps the definitive 80s film. But it has also become a […]

“I Don’t Inhabit My Own TV Series” – Victoria Wood On That Big Gay Following

In tribute to Victoria Wood who died today, I’m posting this interview I did with her in 1998, for Attitude magazine. An historically funny – and very smart – northern woman. ‘The Northern Woman,’ said Alan Bennett, who knows about these things, ‘is like the Galapagos Turtle—she’s an entirely different species.’ In the eighties, Victoria Wood’s As Seen on TV was the HMS Beadle of comedy, bringing us bizarre flora and fauna never seen before on telly. Creatures like Bossy Northern Woman: ‘Make way!  I’m […]

Objectify Yourself

Mark Simpson on the (self) sexualisation of today’s male body & why straight young men crave gay adulation (Originally appeared in Out Magazine, February 2015) Male self-objectification is, as they like to say on social media, a “thing.” There’s been a rash lately of so-called “gender flip” memes, in which people pretend to be impressed by male hipsters pretending to subvert sexism by ironically adopting the clichéd poses of sexualized women. Although sometimes funny and instructive, especially when it involves licking sledgehammers, the anti-sexism of many of these […]

Isherwood & Bachardy’s Furry Love Letters

Mark Simpson reads the collected love letters of ‘Dobbin’ & ‘Kitty’ and gets covered in hair (The Independent 20/9/13) Contrary to what the pop songs tell you, the language of love is not universal. It really isn’t the same the world over or even on the same street. Everyone’s love affair is utterly unintelligible to everyone else. It’s perhaps the whole point of having one. Which can make reading other people’s love letters a baffling if not slightly pointless experience. Katherine Bucknell’s The Animals (Chatto & Windus), a […]

Living Doll: Marc Jacobs Talks to Mark Simpson

Marc Jacobs talks to Mark Simpson about his Brazilian (ex) porn star boyfriend, foreskins, gay fashion misogyny, turning 50 and being turned into a stuffed toy. (Originally appeared in the Winter 2012 edition of Man About Town Magazine) Marc Jacobs is many things. So many things that it would make a lesser Mary giddy. He’s a fashion label. Three, in fact: The Marc Jacobs Collection, Marc by Marc Jacobs, and Little Marc. He’s a range of fragrances. He’s a retail store, with 239 outlets in […]

David Bowie’s Bisensuality

Mark Simpson on how Bowie, the 1970s progenitor metrosexuality, shape-shifted masculinity  (Originally appeared in High50 magazine, March 2013) The video for David Bowie’s first single in a decade, the melancholic, low-key ‘Where Are We Now?’ – featuring the faces of Bowie and an unnamed woman superimposed on conjoined puppets – is striking for all sorts of reasons. For those who can remember such things, it is also a striking reminder of his 1979 Saturday Night Live US performance of ‘Boys Keep Swinging’, with Joey Arias and the late great Klaus Nomi on […]

The Anti-Christ Has All The Best Tunes

The P2P revolution is like Gutenberg plus Protestantism plus Punk all rolled into one highly compressed file, by Mark Simpson  (Independent on Sunday, August 2001) Perhaps the best thing about digital music is that it doesn’t only make listening to music more convenient and less irksome: it actually does part of the tiresome job of listening for you. ISO-MPEG Audio-Layer-3 – mercifully shortened to MP3 – is the digital file format for music exchanged on the Internet and very possibly the acronym of doom for […]