The Legendary Test

Mark Simpson on the (fast diminishing) difference between fame and legend (The Hospital Club magazine, Spring 2010) A recent bloody assassination attempt on Gore Vidal, the last great American man of letters by the English journalist Christopher Hitchens in the glossy pages of Vanity Fair prompted me, and I suspect many others, to ponder the difference between fame and legend. Both Vidal and Hitchens are famous of course, but only Vidal is a legend. Hitchens, for all his achievements, for all his impressive, furious scribbling, […]

The Geeks Inherit the Earth

Mark Simpson goes over to the Dark Side at Comic-Con (Out magazine, September 2009 – uncut version) ‘I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe,’ confides Batty, the beserker droid played by Rutger Hauer at the climax of the 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner. ‘Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate…’. That’s nothing. I’ve seen over 125,000 nerds in full flight, nostrils flared with the scent of freebies, limited issue action figures and the […]

Fight Club: How Gay is MMA?

Mark Simpson attends an epic UFC event and finds himself turned on to the charms of ‘gay porn for straight men’ (Originally appeared in Out magazine, June 2008) IMAGINE THE SPACE SHUTTLE taking off with a really fat customized exhaust pipe. Or Visigoths sacking Ancient Rome with kicking bass tubes fitted to their 4-by-4s. Or 20,000 supercharged male orgasms. Simultaneously. And you have some idea what it sounds and feels like in Montreal’s famous Bell Centre tonight for Ultimate Fighting Championship 83, as a spunky […]

Don’t Mess With the Bull Young Man, You’ll Get the Horns

  Mark Simpson on John Hughes’ pristine legacy (Arena Hommes Plus, Winter 2009) So here’s the pitch:  A Hollywood teen movie in which nothing happens.  All day. In a school library. Introduced by a pretentious quote from David Bowie’s ‘Changes’. Or how about this: A boy bunks off High School to take his friends to mooch around an art gallery, to the strains of something especially delicate by The Smiths. What do you mean you’ll call me? Don’t you want to invest your millions in […]

Catterick Garrison Goes Gay

A decade ago the ban on lesbians and gays serving in the UK military was lifted.  This summer Mark Simpson attended the first gay night on a UK garrison.  For purely professional reasons.  No, really. (Also published on Out.com) There isn’t at first glance much that appears terribly gay about Catterick Garrison. Home to the largest UK Army base in the world, with c. 15,000 men and women based here, Catterick Garrison as the name suggests, owes its existence entirely to the British Army — whose favourite colour is […]

The Homosexual is 140 – And Showing His Age

The father of the metrosexual Mark Simpson on the birth of the  homo- and hetero- sexual era (Out, September 2009) As you may have noticed, the out-and-proud modern gay, born amidst protest, shouting and flying bottles outside the Stonewall Inn in 1969, is now forty years old. But you may be less aware that this year is also the 140th birthday of a much more discreet and distinguished (if pathologized and sometimes pitiful) figure that Stonewall is often seen as making obsolete: The homosexual. The offspring of […]

Homoerotic Horseplay – Not Gay Just Guy

A column of mine on Out.com, ‘Men At Play in Afgrabistan’, gallantly defends the freedom of the derided (and now dismissed) security guards at the US embassy to get naked with one another and eat potato chips from each other’s butts in their spare time – even if they’re out of shape.  I also point out how everyday and ‘normal’ homoerotics is for many if not most men – but we don’t want to see it, and when we can’t ignore it because it’s thrust […]