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 […]

Shameless Slashiness

I’m not much of a Robbie Williams fan. ‘Bromance’ leaves me cold. And I hated Brokeback Mountain. But perhaps I’m a big softy really because I rather like this video for Williams’ single ‘Shame’ which brings all these themes together, adds a hairy Gary Barlow, Robbie’s once-reviled Take That collaborator, and takes its top off. What was it Dusty said? ‘The best part of breaking up is when you’re making up’ Yes, the ‘Toys R Us’ line is a real clanger, a reminder of Robbie’s […]

Manlove for Ladies

Mark Simpson on the crossover of slash into the mainstream – or fashslash (‘The Year In Ideas’, The London Times, December 29, 2007) When Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt of the hit BBC comedy The Mighty Boosh snogged on air the other week, it may have looked as if they were pandering, tongues literally in cheeks, to gay male fans. At first glance the swarm of comments on the YouTube clip (now removed) of the clinch seemed to confirm this: “The hottest thing I’ve ever seen!” and “Oh […]

A Little Bit of Give & Take

Mark Simpson sees Take That eaten alive at Wembley Arena Originally appeared in Attitude magazine, October 1994 and collected in It’s a Queer World IN GREEK MYTHOLOGY, Maenads were “frenzied women worshippers of Bacchus” who were inclined to “rend to pieces” unfortunate men who passed their way. They were known by their unearthly shrieking howl and wail – often the last thing a man might hear. Tonight the ancient noise floods the auditorium and makes my knees knock. Tonight a cyclone of screaming, whistling, whirling […]

Why Doesn’t America Love Robbie Williams? When He Love-Hates Himself So?

by Mark Simpson (Originally appeared on Salon.com, April 2003) It’s tough growing up British. Not just for all the obvious Austin Powers-esque reasons, such as our medieval dentistry, endemic mold problems and epidemic dandruff, but for something much more existential. The British are great and enthusiastic believers in Original Sin. In Britain, would you Adam and Eve it, we devoutly accept that we are all Fallen, all doomed before we are born, that no child however lovely and chuckly and pink-skinned is born innocent. Of […]