From Metrosexual to Spornosexual – Two Decades of Male Deliciousness

‘Metrodaddy’ Mark Simpson on the evolution of male vanity (Originally appeared in The Daily Telegraph June 10, 2015) In a development which will probably have him running to the mirror yet again to search anxiously for lines, this year the metrosexual leaves his teens and turns twenty. How quickly your children grow up. Although it seems only yesterday, I first wrote about him in 1994 after attending an exhibition organised by GQ magazine called ‘It’s a Man’s World’. I’d seen the future of masculinity and it was moisturised. […]

‘Bare Thrills’ Strips Masculinity Down To Its Skidmarks

Maybe I suffer from what Freud described as man’s tendency to devalue what he desires, but I find anything touched by TV survivalist Bear Grylls’ calloused-but-manicured hands difficult to take too seriously. But taken seriously he most certainly has been by the UK media with his currently airing C4 reality show The Island, in which thirteen ‘ordinary men’ are marooned on a tropical island for a month to find out whether today’s softies can cut it as ‘hunter gatherer’ butch Bear Grylls types. Nothing very much happens […]

Meat the Spornosexual

The second generation of metrosexuals are cumming. And this time it’s hardcore by Mark Simpson What is it about male hipsters and their strange, pallid, highly ambivalent fascination with bodies beefier and sexier than their own? Which means, of course, pretty much everyone? You may remember last year that last year the Guardian columnist and TV presenter Charlton Brooker had a very messy bowel-evacuating panic attack over the self-sexualisation of the male body exhibited in reality show Geordie Shore. Now the hipster bible Vice have run […]

1983: The High Summer of (Synth-)Pop

From the gender-bending of Eurythmics, Culture Club & Marilyn, to the propulsive synthpop of Depeche Mode, New Order, & the Human League, 1983 was, argues Mark Simpson, a high-water mark for pop experimentation. (Originally appeared on Out.com, 18 Feb, 2014) IN 1983, THE YEAR THAT MCDONALD’s introduced the Chicken McNugget and the second Cold War was at its height, the world very nearly ended when huge NATO exercises were mistaken by an extremely jittery USSR for preparations for a nuclear first strike. More ominously still, compact […]

A1 Love – The Greatness of The Great North Road

Mark Simpson goes on a road trip connecting four countries: England, Scotland, the UK – & Yorkshire What’s so ‘Great’ about ‘The Great North Road’? Better known in our more impatient era as the A1? Well, if you’re unfortunate enough to find yourself in the south, it takes you to the north – or ‘The NORTH’ as the signage rightly has it. And unlike the more popular M1, it goes all the way NORTH – instead of petering out like a big Jessie near Leeds. And that’s […]

The Global Glory Hole

Mark Simpson on the enduring allure of anonymous sex in an age of gay marriage and ‘anti-social networking‘ I was sixteen when saw my first glory hole. Or rather, saw my first filled glory hole. It was in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, a public-spirited, snobbish spa town well-served by shiny Victorian lavatories. The throbbing, fleshy wall-fitting in my tiled cubicle was quite a sight. Glorious, even. Truly an impressive, proud piece of polished plumbing. Cottaging, or cruising for sex in public lavatories and parks, was once a mainstay of […]

Polymorphous Perversity & One Direction Fandom

Fame, fame, fatal fame. It can play hideous tricks on the brain. Last week C4 aired Crazy About One Direction a documentary about ‘Directioners’, febrile fans of the globally – some would say criminally – successful reality TV assembled UK boy band One Direction, or ‘1D’ if you’re typing with your thumbs. They were all teenage girls. Now, I’m sure there are male Directioners out there (and that would make for an interesting doc in itself), but I reckon many of them would turn out […]