books

Welcome to the Hotel Scopophilia

Mark Simpson checks out The Voyeur’s Motel I recently watched a documentary on Netflix. Which is what I seem to mostly do, TV-wise, these days – being middle-aged and male. This one wasn’t about Hitler, or unsolved grisly murders, or steam trains, however. It was called Voyeur. So, I think you can probably understand what drew my dirty old eye. Despite the lack of any actual visual filth, it was firmly fascinating. Voyeuristically. I’m not generally into the ‘older male’ – especially now I’m fast… Read More »Welcome to the Hotel Scopophilia

The Heart in Exile – The Strange Case of the Peculiarly Prescient Pre-Gay Novel

It’s LGBT History Month. So I thought I would share with you my hitherto hidden love for my favourite ‘gay’ novel. The Heart In Exile, published in the UK in 1953, by Rodney Garland – real name Adam Martin De Hegedus, an Hungarian émigré. Though as the date and morose title, the use of a nom de plume – and my fondness for it – would suggest, it’s not very gay at all. In fact, it’s thoroughly pre-gay.  Like the 1961 film Victim, it involves… Read More »The Heart in Exile – The Strange Case of the Peculiarly Prescient Pre-Gay Novel

Driven Dotty

The Psychopathology of Everyday Driving by Mark Simpson Do you fantasise about roadside executions when someone fails to indicate? Find yourself talking back sarcastically to motorway dot matrix signs talking down to you in HUGE LETTERS? Abandon all hope for humanity whenever you visit the Hobbesian horror of your supermarket car park? Hate cyclists when you’re driving – and motorists when you’re cycling? Are you surprised and hurt when your wise advice and running commentary on your friend/partner’s driving isn’t gratefully received? If so, then Mark… Read More »Driven Dotty

Will Morrissey Have The Last Laugh – Again?

 ‘Has any book in recent memory not actually about wizards provoked so much interest?’ Mark Simpson on the most eagerly-anticipated music biography ever. C4 News, 14 October, 2013 MORRISSEY HAS ALWAYS enjoyed the last laugh. His entire career has been based on it. Back in the 1980s, when he was in his pomp as the pompadoured front man of The Smiths – and loudly rejecting everything the 1980s stood for – Morrissey was asked if he thought that success was a form of revenge. “Absolutely and… Read More »Will Morrissey Have The Last Laugh – Again?

Isherwood & Bachardy’s Furry Love Letters

Reviewed by Mark Simpson in 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 collection of letters between the famous British-born novelist Christopher… Read More »Isherwood & Bachardy’s Furry Love Letters