Beckham the Virus (Goes To Hollywood)

So David Beckham, the uber-metrosexual, the photogenic English athlete who transfigured himself from mere professional soccer player into global me-dia, is leaving Real Madrid Football Club, his home for the past three years, and is now heading for the City of Signs. Beckham became a Hollywood footballer years ago (around about the time of my essay ‘Beckham the Virus’, posted below).  Certainly his bosses at Real Madrid seem to have found Becks more style than substance. But in a metrosexualised world style is almost everything now.  Even and especially in […]

A man of great Euro-vision

(Originally appeared here 10/1/07) First the Tory party, now the BBC. Is there any daggy British institution that isn’t scrabbling for a sweaty piece of Mozza’s gold lamé shirt, like an especially wild-eyed fan at the end of a gig? You can hardly have escaped the news that, after last year’s grinding nadir of Daz Sampson, the rapping metalwork teacher, BBC Eurovision was “in talks” with rap-loathing Morrissey about writing (but not performing) this year’s UK entry. Which is probably the point. Like Tory leader David Cameron’s incessant […]

Hack to the future: letter to the ‘Sunday Telegraph’

The Editor Sunday Telegraph Sir, As the ‘father’ of the metrosexual, I was fascinated to read (‘Oracle worker’; Jan 7, 2007) that an American ad-exec called Marian Salzman is ‘a step ahead of the rest of us’ and a leading ‘futurologist’ because she ‘predicted the rise of metrosexuals’, a species she ‘dreamt up’ for a campaign for Peroni beer in 2003. It’s very kind of this marketer to try – yet again – to take responsibility for the metrosexual, but as that annoying thing called Google shows, […]

Union Street Blues: Plymouth’s Last ‘Run Ashore’?

According to the Daily Telegraph’s front page, it’s ‘Sunset’ for the Senior Service: ‘Navy to cut its fleet by half’. The Navy that once ruled the waves, the global maritime force on which the sun never set, and gave the world some of the most romantic not to mention fetishistically ingenious uniforms ever devised, seems destined to become ‘nothing more than a coastal defence force’. It’s also predicted that at least one of the remaining three UK naval ports – Plymouth, Portsmouth, Rosyth – is due to close forever. […]

Gagging For It: The Penis in History

If Viagra has turned the penis into a ‘puncture-proof balloon’, does that mean it’s not funny any more? asks Mark Simpson (First appeared in the Independent on Sunday, 2002) INVESTIGATING THE PENIS can be an eye-watering business. Examining the urethra of an impotent young man, using a long nickel-plated probe called a ‘No 25 Explorer’, a 19th-century American urologist appropriately named Dr Gross wrote: “As soon as the instrument entered the passage it occasioned tremor and retraction of the testes… the muscles of the lids, nose and mouth […]

Johnny Morris is voted ‘Britain’s Greatest Living Cultural Icon’

Johnny Morrissey was runner-up. Which is, along with ‘sixteen clumsy and shy’, the story of his life.  Always running-up, never quite arriving.  All things considered, it’s probably just as well no one took any notice of me and he didn’t win.  David Attenborough’s acceptance speech made me realise – after I woke up – how wrong it would have been for Morrissey to have been handed such a gong.  It would have meant it was all over – that he now belonged to everyone and no-one.  That […]

Catholijism: Rome’s Answer to Sporno?

Holy Mary, Mother of God!  Is nothing sacred? After the shameless, pagan idolatry of the Dieux Du Stade sporno calendars, some shameless Catholic idolatry in the form the Calendario Romano. Certainly, the images are inspiring.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to kneel before these divine young men and receive the body of Christ? Perhaps because of its classical antecedents, the Mother Church has always understood the power of beautiful things  – and beautiful young men – to arouse the faithful: whether or not the unmarried status […]