commentary

Men Make Terrible Company – Neil LaBute interview

Mark Simpson interviews Neil LaBute about his film ‘In the Company of Men’ – twenty years before ‘toxic masculinity’ went ‘hegemonic’ (Originally appeared in Attitude, 1998) Women are made of sugar and spice. While men are made from slugs and snails and puppy dogs’ tails. This would appear to be the conclusion of American playwright Neil LaBute’s first movie, In the Company of Men. Based on his stage play of the same name, it’s a merciless exposure of male sadism, power-jockeying, moral bankruptcy and nasty… Read More »Men Make Terrible Company – Neil LaBute interview

Jeans-Genie – The Lecherous Legacy of Those 80s Levi’s Ads

Mark Simpson on how we’re all living in Nick Kamen’s Launderette now Another fondly-remembered part of the 1980s finished its last cycle last week. Nick Kamen, real name Ivor Neville Kamen, the Essex-born much-gasped-over star of the famous 1985 Levi’s 501 male striptease ‘Launderette’ TV ad, checked out. He was just 59. Sadly, this was more than a decade before his Biblically-allotted threescore years and ten was up. But, self-centred as ever, I couldn’t quite stop myself from thinking: ’59!! How did that doe-eyed young… Read More »Jeans-Genie – The Lecherous Legacy of Those 80s Levi’s Ads

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

Back to the Future: Escaping Sexology

My (highly attenuated) attention was recently directed to an LWT doc from 1981 available on YouTube . It compares the pre-war, pre-gay world of ‘sisters’ (‘musical’ friends you didn’t want to fuck) and ‘trade’ (‘normal’ working class ‘real’ men you really did), with the post-Stonewall, butched-up, Marlborough Man world of gay-on-gay early 1980s love action. I can’t remember seeing it before, and the pioneering gay-interest series Gay Life that it was part of was originally broadcast only in the London area – when I was… Read More »Back to the Future: Escaping Sexology

Chivalry & Bloody Showbiz – The Jesse James Story

A lively tale of a charming bandit and proto-terrorist prompts Mark Simpson to wonder why we’re still thrilled by ruffians. (Independent on Sunday, 5/1/2003) Why, after so many years, are we still so hot for outlaws? As popular culture and news bulletins keep reminding us, Rebels, Robin Hoods, bandits, gangsters, serial killers and terrorists continue to exert a sweaty grip on our imaginations.  Is it because, to strike a Nietzschean pose (riding crop in hand), those who are not sadists are necessarily masochists? Are we… Read More »Chivalry & Bloody Showbiz – The Jesse James Story