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 […]

Reset the Gaydar – Tom Daley’s ‘Not Gay’

(Originally appeared on Guardian CiF, 11/09/13) Tom Daley isn’t gay. But the bronze medallist Olympic diver and presenter of celebrity Speedo show Splash! – recently voted ‘World’s Sexiest Man’ by the readers of gay mag Attitude – doesn’t mind if you think he is. Last weekend he told The Mirror: “I think it’s funny when people say I’m gay… I laugh it off,” says Tom… “I’m not. But even if I was, I wouldn’t be ashamed. It wouldn’t bother me in the slightest what people thought.’ Quite […]

The End of Heterosexuality (As We’ve Known It)

By Mark Simpson A bullet-pointed column in the NYT by Charles M. Blow examines a sea-change in attitudes towards homosexuality suggested by a recent Gallup poll which found that, for the first time, the percentage of Americans who perceive “gay and lesbian relations” as “morally acceptable” has crossed the symbolically important 50 percent mark. Also for the first time, and even more significantly, more men than women hold that view. While women’s attitudes have stayed about the same over the past four years, the percentage […]

Dogging Firemen: The Naked Truth About That ‘Disturbing Gay Orgy’

What a carry on in the dark! The very widely-reported story of the Avon firemen disciplined for bringing the Fire Brigade into disrepute and unauthorised use of their fire engine (and torches) is both fnarrr funny and funny peculiar. But the most peculiar aspect of it, and certainly the most serious, is the light it casts on the minds of newspaper editors. The ‘bare’ facts that can be ascertained from the various reports are these: on their return to their fire station, four on-duty firemen from […]

The Gay Bomb covers the US Air Force in glory

The USAF’s infamous ‘Gay Bomb’ has won an illustrious gong at this year’s prestigious Ig Nobel Awards. Here’s the piece I wrote about it for the Guardian earlier this year: Armed and Amorous by Mark Simpson (Guardian, June 13 2007) Look out! Take cover! Backs to the walls, boys! It’s the Gay Bomb! No, not a bomb with fashionably styled fins, or one that can’t whistle, but rather a proposed “non-lethal” chemical bomb containing “strong aphrodisiacs” that would cause “homosexual behaviour” among soldiers. Since the […]

Larry Craig: the Deep Fried Famous Potato

        by Mark Simpson Whether or not Idaho’s Senator Larry Craig likes cock or not, following his arrest for ‘lewd conduct’ in a men’s room at Minneapolis airport this week one thing is for sure: a lot of cock has been written about him. Here’s Melissa McEwan offering a typical – if relatively kind – commentary in the Guardian: ‘Voting against the interests of the LGBT community displays either a callous lack of feeling towards people with whom he shares a vested […]

I Want Your Sex: Why the Press Can’t Leave George Michael’s Manhood Alone

Why are the gentlemen of the popular press so interested in George Michael’s manhood?  Why won’t they leave it alone? In 1998, after stalking him for years, in a painful pincer movement with Beverly Hills Police Department’s finest, they finally succeeded in catching him short in a men’s toilet. Now they despatch a flash photographer to follow him up to Hampstead Heath’s cruising area at 2am and then plaster the results all over the front page. No wonder Michael angrily turned to the snapper and […]