How to Spot a Sodomite

Mark Simpson reviews some famous Victorian bum holes in Neil McKenna’s Fanny & Stella  (the Independent) “I had never seen anything like it before… I do not in my practise ever remember to have seen such an appearance of the anus, as those of the prisoners presented.” So testified Dr Paul in shocked tones at the trial of Frederick Park and Ernest Boulton, two young, crossdressing clerks charged with sodomy in 1870 – a crime that then carried a penalty of a lifetime’s penal servitude. Park and […]

‘Sex Terror’ Now Available on Kindle – Sweet Dreams.

SEX TERROR 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. NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE  Amazon.com * Amazon.co.uk * Amazon.de * Amazon.fr * Amazon.es * Amazon.it Amazon.co.jp * Amazon.com.br * Amazon.ca * Amazon.in * Amazon.com.au  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 […]

Camp For Beginners

Mark Simpson interviews David Halperin about his controversial new book How To Be Gay at Out.com  I’ve always been a big fan of Judy Garland, Joan Crawford, and Doris Day. But it was a secret, shameful love – until, that is, David Halperin’s new book, How to Be Gay (Harvard University Press), finally gave me the strength to come out about it. Talking about gay culture can make people of all persuasions very angry indeed. When Halperin began teaching a course on it at the University of Michigan […]

The Few, The Proud: A Jarhead memoir of the First Gulf War

The mythology, the rituals, the dogma, the cult of masculinity and most of all the haircut, set US Marines apart. Mark Simpson takes a look at a memoir of the First Gulf War. (Independent on Sunday 23/03/2003) It may seem odd that the United States Marine Corps, the elite fourth branch of the US Armed Services, larger and better equipped than the whole British Army, heroic victors of Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal, spearhead of the last and current Gulf War, should be best known for, […]

Mad Men and Medusas

Coming across this old review of Juliet Mitchell’s ‘Mad Men and Medusas’ (Independent on Sunday, 2001) reminded me that pretty much all the main characters in the TV series of the same name launched in the late Noughties are hysterics, but most especially Madison Avenue’s Don Juan, aka Donald Draper. I hope Mitchell is getting a royalty. by Mark Simpson A touch of hysteria can make you a real hit with the ladies. If you play your symptoms right, eminent feminist scholars might even end […]

Apollo’s Acolytes

We worship the body, watch ancient battles at the multiplex, and bow down before the gods of celebrity. Mark Simpson marvels at how much our culture owes to those skirt-wearing olive-munchers, the Greeks (Independent on Sunday 30 May 2004) Philhellenes are everywhere, and everywhere they look they see the glory that was Greece. “Today we are again getting close to all those fundamental forms of world interpretation devised by the Greeks…” enthused one of the more famous examples; “we are growing more Greek by the day.” […]

What Happens When a Giant Brain Meets Kylie?

Genius, pop Svengali, theoretician of cool: Mark Simpson gets to grips with the man who really listens to `La la la, la la la-la la…‘ (Originally appeared in Independent on Sunday 03/08/2003) What do you hear when you listen to ‘Can’t get you out of my head’? This is a bit of a trick question as you probably don’t listen to ‘Can’t get you out of my head’. Not because, like most hit pop singles that are played endlessly on the radio, in shops, pubs, hospitals and […]