journalism

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

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

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

Cruising the Streets

Mark Simpson gets mixed messages on the High Street   (Another ‘lost’ Attitude column – this one from 1999) It was one of those indecently mild Winter days. The sort that makes everyone feel a little bit naughty. As if you’re bunking off school, or cheating on your partner. Walking down the High Street enjoying the feeling of my sap beginning to rise prematurely—and probably pointlessly—I notice an eminently humpable fellow in his late twenties bouncing towards me on his box-fresh trainers, sports bag slung… Read More »Cruising the Streets

Mark Mothersbaugh’s Mutation

Mark Simpson meets Mr Devo turned Mutato (Details magazine, 1998) Before the First World War, a bunch of Italian avant-gardistes called the Futurists, who didn’t get out much and got turned on by steam trains, thought technology offered the possibility of a revolution in human consciousness and believed that artists should produce propaganda which encouraged people to break with the past, abandon traditional forms and syntax and wear silly hats.  Before the Third World War, a bunch of Ohion avant-gardistes called Devo, who didn’t get… Read More »Mark Mothersbaugh’s Mutation