working class

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

Tight Trousers & Slut-Shaming

You may have seen this photo of four young (white) working class lads minding their own business enjoying an evening on the town together, dressed in the way many working class lads dress these days – showing off their ink, their worked-out bodies, and their shaped facial hair. Spornosexuals. Taken by a stranger a couple of summers ago, it was originally posted by Connor Humpage (on the right) to his Instagram, with the self-mocking caption ‘Tight trousers chose us’. The photo was then hate-memed to… Read More »Tight Trousers & Slut-Shaming

Sixth Form Boys Will Hug Boys – And Not Have a Crisis

Mark Simpson on a new study that shows how much young men – and masculinity – have changed.  (Daily Telegraph, 30 May 2017) When I was a teenager attending an all-boys school back in the 1980s, one of the most popular games we used to play in the common room was, ‘Let’s Pretend We’re Queer To Prove We’re Not’. And quite simply, if you didn’t play it you were definitely a poof. (So I played it lots). Someone simulating coitus behind you while you were potting a tricky… Read More »Sixth Form Boys Will Hug Boys – And Not Have a Crisis

Edward Carpenter – The Utopian Uranian

Mark Simpson on the almost-forgotten ‘English Whitman’ On his 80th birthday in 1924, five years before his death, the socialist Utopian poet, mystic, activist, homophile, environmentalist, feminist and nudist Edward Carpenter received an album signed by every member of Ramsay MacDonald’s Labour Cabinet. Glowing tributes appeared in the socialist papers as well as the Manchester Guardian, the Observer, the Evening Standard and even the Egyptian Gazette. He was hailed by the philosopher C.E.M. Joad as the harbinger, no less, of modernity itself: ‘Carpenter denounced the… Read More »Edward Carpenter – The Utopian Uranian

Size Hero: How Steroids & Muscle Marys Conquered the World

Mark Simpson on how steroids got into our bloodstream and changed the shape of masculinity (Guardian, 6 Dec, 2007) ‘Roids may sound as Eighties as Cher’s black-lace bodice. But they’re baaak, even bigger and bustier than ever. According to a series of recent reports, steroids, or ‘juice’ or ‘gear’ to the initiated, once an exotic drug of cheating athletes and freaky bodybuilders have entered the mainstream and have become just another lifestyle product for young men: some boys as young as 12 are reportedly taking… Read More »Size Hero: How Steroids & Muscle Marys Conquered the World