Fucking Marc Almond (virtually)

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I’ve often hoped I could write something about the gay pop musicians that I enjoy. (Live Journal entry is entitled Small town diva boy, your mascara is smeared and I love you.)

Many years ago I saw the Pet Shop Boys on MTV. I felt a lively sense of kinship without knowing why. By the time I listened to one of their CDs Neil Tennant was out of the closet. Casually, not necessarily giftedly so many of even their early songs are rich with a homoerotic sensibility. Tennant's voice is for me richly suggestive of the unique passion of a guy for a guy. Listening to the Pet Shops Boys I think of holding a candy tangerine boy in my arms.

Searching All Music Guide for kindred artists I discovered Jimmy Somerville. I love falsettos. With his voice, classical training and songs affirming gay sexuality how could I fail to be won over?

Similarly I discovered Marc Almond. When I first heard Open All Night it was like being converted to a religion I’d always belonged to. Admittedly I learned some of my sexuality from John Rechy’s awful City of Night.

When I first left Savannah for Atlanta I lived among and socialized with the prostitutes, junkies and hustlers. Too much of a silly romantic to care for gay bars I treasured every transgressive, sometimes painful sexual encounter.* What could be more lovely than a nelly white trash boy transformed if only in his own mind into an exotic diva?

Almond’s music is alive to the remnants of an almost forgotten gay sensibility. Nowadays gay men fuck without condoms hoping to recapture the dangerous sexuality of not that many decades ago. The dark fascination of queer sex fades before the image of two Log Cabin fags riding off in their station wagon.

When you roll off the blonde with his eyeliner and mascara smirched, supremely happy to be a gay man you are living a Marc Almond song.

Or so I hear it in my listenerly fashion. You hear another story and the archetype in Almond's mind likely something else.

*There's a sentence pregant with meaninglessness. Clarified in: Radiant halo of queer sexuality

See: Gay Liberation, gay assimilation


Now I have indeed seen many examples of longing for the good old days of closeted and self-hating lives that made being gay taboo, and therefore desirable. Have I not come up out of the Dupont Circle Metro station and looked at the correctness of it all and wished it were a dark and seedy alley where at least the mystery and danger of a mugging or a blow-job (or both) might transpire? Don’t blame the happy staionwagoneers, blame the unhappy Disney Company with its clamouring stockholders and restrained films. We as a people do franchise and mass produce, and part of gay acceptance in our culture is that it will be franchised and mass-produced—it is no longer the privvy freehold of bohemians and individualists.

What too much beer can do - not that I disclaim the entry.

I’m glad to be a post-Stonewall gay man. Don’t want to go back to the bad old days. Most of the gay men in their 40s and 50s I knew thirty years ago were alcoholics and wrecks (not unique to them), brutalized by a homophobia so pervasive it was almost never questioned.

I regret the inevitable affects of gay assimilation but would rather have Disney giving partnership benefits than otherwise. But I’m still gripped by nostalgia.

Hmmmm….There’s a good (ish) book called Queer Noise (well I think it was called that, but I can find no trace of it on-line, and my copy is 200 miles away in storage) which talks about the whole queer/transgressive/smeared make up thing, and its historical place in pop.

Your musing reminded me of that for some reason.

“We as a people do franchise and mass produce, and part of gay acceptance in our culture is that it will be franchised and mass-produced—it is no longer the privvy freehold of bohemians and individualists.”

Yes this is true, but that “acceptance” has very clear limits doesn’t it? You can be “gay” but only in the way “we” want you to be. And whose culture is it anyway? The images I see are largely white, urban, American and wealthy.

But I know the world’s a bit more complex than that?

All practices are subcultural. I guess some subcultures are bigger than others.

It’s just a question of whether they’ve been data mined yet (or not).

I love gay men. I love them to death. And I will be at all of the gay bars in Canada. LOVE YOU!!!!

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Fucking Marc Almond (virtually)
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