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GAY MAGAZINE { JUSTIN TRUDEAU
PHOTOGRAPHED FOR ATTITUDE
BY CHRISTOPHER WAHL } ATTITUDE.CO.UK
JANUARY 2018 £4.95
@ attitudemag

{ WORLD FOCUS }
MAX
RUSSIA EMERSON
SPECIAL REPORT The Instagram
The invisible epidemic poster boy gets
hitting gay men active in LA

MASHROU' LEILA

9 771353 187052
The queer alt-rockers
from the Middle East

NAKHANE
Challenging the
myths about
being African

13
and gay

LET’S GET
POLITICAL
The drag
queens making
a statement
on stage

{ EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW }

CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER

JUSTIN
TRUDEAU “The LGBT community has
become emblematic of the
fight for human rights”
harrogate’s Finest
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JANUARY 2018
ATTITUDE.CO.UK

p76

p50
F E AT U R E S
p22 p60

50 PRIME TIME
In a world-exclusive interview, Canadian
premier Justin Trudeau explains why he
supports LGBT+ issues and reveals his
hopes for the future
60 RUBBING SALT INTO THE WOUND
South African musician and actor
Nakhane tells us about the backlash he's
facing over his latest role
66 RUSSIAN ROULETTE
Russia is facing some of the world's
highest rates of new HIV infections. Matt
4RZ_ecRgV]de`>`dT`he`Í_U`fehYj
72 ALTERNATIVE ENDINGS
REGULARS Hamed Sinno, the frontman of
Lebanonese alt-rockers Mashrou' Leila,
9 EDITOR-IN-CHIEF'S LETTER wants the world to change
10 THE WORD ON THE STREET 76 DRAG GRACE
146 BIG IN A WIG Vizin Four drag queens from around the globe
p112 tell us how they see the world — and
how they want to be seen by it
A LIST

14 AGENDA Things we like this month AC T I V E


15 A STAR Terrell Carter
18 THE RULES World domination 112 FEATURE Max Emerson
19 Q&A Robert Hastie 117 ACTIVATE Fitness news
21 CLIFF JOANNOU Exit strategies 118 FOCUS Fitness tips from Matt Lister
22 SHOW GIRLS The West End's 121 REAL BODIES
leading ladies unite
27 LEO RICHARDSON Slave 4 Britney
28 ALL HIS OWN WORK Songwriter T R AV E L
to the stars, Leland, releases his
debut track 24 FEATURE Toronto
32 A GAY'S WHO'S WHO Dr Who's top 27 JUST THE TICKET Travel news
queer moments 130 FEATURE Quebec
34 DANNY LEE WYNTER 3feeVcÎjVWWVTe
36 FATHER FIGURE Ricky Tomlinson
39 BIG ISSUE Alcohol free LIFE
40 MUSIC
41 FILMS 134 REAL LIFE
42 PAUL FLYNN Family logistics 137 MAN OF THE MONTH
44 BOOKS 138 NO PLACE LIKE HOME
45 CULTURE CLUB Pierre et Gilles 139 JOY RIDE
47 BIG GAY FOLLOWING Bananarama 140 A PROBLEM SHARED
143 BUDDY BRILLIANT
144 TABLE FOR TWO
STYLE 145 STEPPING OUT

86 TREND Hot on the High Street


92 CRUSH Reasons to be GLAAD
p28
94 FASHION Layer upon layer

JANUARY 2018 5
EDITOR IN CHIEF MATT CAIN matt.cain@attitude.co.uk
EDITOR CLIFF JOANNOU cliff.joannou@attitude.co.uk
MEET THE TEAM
DEPUTY EDITOR ADAM DUXBURY adam.duxbury@attitude.co.uk ¤WHAT THREE LAWS WOULD YOU MAKE
ASSISTANT EDITOR TIM HEAP tim.heap@attitude.co.uk IF YOU RULED THE WORLD
CHIEF SUB EDITOR HUGH SOHN hugh.sohn@attitude.co.uk

EDITOR AT LARGE MATTHEW TODD matthew.todd@attitude.co.uk


SPORTS EDITOR MARK MCADAM mark.mcadam@attitude.co.uk
TRAVEL EDITOR/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER MARKUS BIDAUX
markus.bidaux@attitude.co.uk

ART DIRECTOR GARY SIMONS gary.simons@attitude.co.uk


DESIGNER LUCY TAYLOR lucy.taylor@attitude.co.uk HUGH SOHN,
CHIEF SUB EDITOR
FASHION AND GROOMING DIRECTOR JOSEPH KOCHARIAN 1) Tom Daley would not
joseph.kocharian@attitude.co.uk be allowed to wear any
JUNIOR FASHION EDITOR NICK BYAM nick.byam@attitude.co.uk clothing in public. 2) Any
time Tom Holland steps out
WEB EDITOR JOSHUA HAIGH joshua.haigh@attitude.co.uk
the door, he must be naked.
WEB EDITOR WILL STROUDE will.stroude@attitude.co.uk
3) And, oddly, Michael Cera.
FREELANCE WEB REPORTER FABIO CRISPIM
Perv? Me? Bloody cheek...
HEAD OF PARTNERSHIPS MIKE BUCKLEY mike.buckley@attitude.co.uk
CLIFF JOANNOU, EDITOR
COMMERCIAL MANAGER ANDY GODDARD 1) Mariah would have to
andy.goddard@attitude.co.uk 020 3598 6741
stop chasing celebrity and
ACCOUNT MANAGER JOANNA HILL
go back to making decent
joanna.hill@attitude.co.uk 01342 872041
music. 2) It’s not allowed
ACCOUNT MANAGER SEAN LINEKER
to rain when I go outside.
sean.lineker@attitude.co.uk 020 3598 6743
DIGITAL ACCOUNT MANAGER
Umbrellas are so annoying.
HYWEL KENNEDY hywel.kennedy@attitude.co.uk 020 3598 6744 3) Carbs and cheese wouldn’t
make you fat. Basically, pizza
INTERNS ROBIN MILLS // GEORGE DOUGLAS-DAVIES //IFAN LLEWELYN would be super-healthy.
As would those hot melted
cheese croissants from Pret.
4) I’d change laws whenever
it suited my maniacal desires,
starting with the one telling
MANAGING DIRECTOR DARREN STYLES
me to only cite three laws
COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR CRAIG LEWIS
NEXT ISSUE
OPERATIONS DIRECTOR NIGEL RUSSELL LEE DALLOWAY,
EVENTS MANAGER LESLEY HARRIS AVAILABLE
WRITER/JOURNALIST
PRODUCTION EXECUTIVE TOM DOYLE 4 JANUARY
1) That you have to have half
a brain/be an actual human
ATTITUDE MAGAZINE 33 Pear Tree Street,
being/not be evil to run a
London EC1V 3AG attitude@attitude.co.uk
country. 2) That everyone
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long as they’re not hurting
SUBSCRIPTIONS ENQUIRIES anyone, and people who
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Published by Stream Publishing Ltd. Printed by Wyndeham Bicester Christopher Wahl

6 JANUARY 2018
A LETTER FROM
THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Welcome to the latest issue of Attitude. It’s one which places a
greater focus than usual on issues affecting LGBT+ life around
the world. And it’s led by our editor Cliff Joannou’s fascinating
interview with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

We’ve stopped short of creating a strict “world” theme


for the issue, mainly because the world is such a big
place and the issues affecting LGBT+ people are so varied
that we could never do this justice. I also don’t want the the course of the past month I’ve been much more struck
challenges faced by LGBT+ people in different parts of by the discrimination and hatred that continues to be
the world to be ghettoised in one single issue of Attitude. directed at our trans brothers and sisters. And this often
Many of the subjects explored you’ll have seen discussed happens in plain sight.
in previous issues — and we’ll return to some of them in In the run-up to this year’s Trans Day of Remembrance
the future. there was an outpouring of bigotry in the tabloid press
That being said, grouping so many features with an and on social media that I know has left many of my
international outlook together in one issue does offer a trans friends upset and angry. As a cisgendered man, I’m
different perspective on the gay experience — and one well aware of my privilege and don’t want to patronise
which sends out a clear message. anyone by preaching about a subject outside my own
In his interview, South African singer and actor Nakhane experience. But at times like this, as gay, bisexual and
complains about feeling patronised by Westerners who queer men, we need to send out a clear message that we
look down on African culture as less civilised and write stand very much alongside the “T” under the umbrella
off the entire continent as homophobic. A few pages later, of LGBT+.
Hamed Sinno, the lead singer of Lebanese group Mashrou’ So, if you see anyone hassling trans people, either in
Leila, echoes this sentiment, complaining about the lack every-day life or on social media, please let that person
of nuance Westerners often display when approaching the know that this is not acceptable.
subject of gay life in the Arab world or the possibility of a Share posts and tweets from trans people whose views
relationship with someone of his culture. you agree with. And if you ever speak to anyone who
It has left me thinking that it’s great for us to draw tries to incite panic about rising gender-clinic referrals,
attention to the struggles of LGBT+ people around the or trans rights endangering cisgendered women, or the
world, but this shouldn’t allow us to think that everything perils posed by trans women using female toilets, quietly
is OK here in the UK. I’m sure I don’t need to remind and calmly tell them that their views are unfounded.
you of how much work needs to be done to increase If you don’t feel qualified to explain why, direct them to
acceptance of gay people in certain social milieus around the work of journalists such as Paris Lees, Shon Faye and
our country — and how equality legislation in Northern our own Juno Dawson.
Ireland needs to catch up with the rest of the UK. But over Remember that much of the persecution currently
being suffered by trans people in the UK is not dissimilar
to the persecution gay men suffered for so long. And
trans rights are human rights.
In the meantime, enjoy this issue of the magazine.

MATT CAIN EDITOR-IN-CHIEF


Journalist of the Year, Diversity in Media Awards
@AttitudeMag @MattCainWriter

JANUARY 2018 9
MICHAEL GALLAGHER: The world needs more inclusion. I’m a seven-foot PEPPER BAKEWELL:
Trust, compassion,
monster in five-inch heels, dancing and throwing myself onto couches, but
working for the greater
tonight everyone has accepted me good, sponge cake that
tastes as good as the icing
looks, and opportunities
to be on the dancefloor
with amazing people!

Other than
love, what

the
does the world
need more of?

word
on the
JAY JAY REVLON:
street
We need more safe,
non-judgemental WHERE: THE COSMOPOLITAN BALL BY
social spaces for NORTHERN CITY WAACKERS, GLASGOW
adults and youths
AS TOLD TO / PHOTOGRAPHY: NATALIE MCKENZIE

10 JANUARY 2018
the word on the street

NISHA CHAND: Empathy —


understanding of each
other to eliminate racism,
sexism and sectarianism

D’RELLE KHAN: Honest


interactions, honest
communication and being
honest to ourselves

MISS ANNABEL SINGS: Freedom to be whoever, however,


wherever you want to be. Channel the power of positive expression
NAGATO KAZE: Less
fear of diversity, more
acceptance of differences

JANUARY 2018 11
{ F I L M // T V // M U S I C // O P I N I O N // N E W S // P E R F O R M A N C E // B O O K S // B OY S }

JAN
2018
RAUL ROMO

HE’S WRITTEN SONGS FOR THE LIKES OF SELENA GOMEZ AND


TROYE SIVAN, BUT NOW LELAND IS STRIKING OUT ON HIS OWN p28

JANUARY 2018 13
AGENDA
{ FA S H I O N }

AUTOGRAPH HUNTER

David Gandy and Autograph


have held all the aces in
the sleepwear pack for a
long time now (it totally
helps that Gandy squeezes
in his muscley bod into
the range every season).
Now, for David Gandy for
Autograph Autumn-Winter,
he’s lounging around in a
cabin, in bed, and with a dog
(pass the fan), all the while
wearing the latest collection,
which includes soft-to-the-
touch sleepwear in fabrics
such as cashmere and velour.
They come in mauve and

3 PANTOS
TO JINGLE
grey, as well as some subtle
stripes and geometric prints.
Understated and beautiful,
just like the man himself.

THOSE marksandspencer.com

BELLS
Get ready to be Goosed
1 //
(above) at this year’s
panto at London’s Royal Vauxhall
Tavern. How will Fairy Lamé be
able to help mother save the
Goose Tavern from the scheming
Kelly-Anne Con-Witch? It’s sure
to be the gayest panto you’ve
ever seen, and that’s saying
something. Runs until 4 January.

genda
vauxhalltavern.com

Everyone knows the most


2 //
important item in your
make-up bag is a good night’s
sleep, and no one knows it better
T H E T H I N G S W E LOV E T H I S M O N T H
than Sleeping Beauty. The First
Lady of Scottish pantomime,
Elaine C Smith, takes to the stage
as The Fairy in this timeless { T H E AT R E }

production at King’s Theatre


Glasgow. Runs until 7 January. STRANGER THING
atgtickets.com/shows/sleeping-
beauty/kings-theatre Moving to the big city is a daunting
thing, especially at 16. Tommy
One of the best-loved Murphy’s Strangers in Between tells the
3 // pantos, Cinderella is a story of young Shane as he flees his
must-see in the holiday season. rural home and heads to the bright
Hollyoaks heart-throb Duncan lights of Sydney’s Kings Cross, where
James takes to the stage of he attempts to establish an urban
the Liverpool Empire as the family for himself. This dark comedy
handsome Prince Charming. The explores how important friendships
show runs between 16 December truly are when one is coming of age,
and 7 January. especially as a gay kid in modern
atgtickets.com/shows/cinderella/ Australia.
liverpool-empire The play runs at Trafalgar Studios 2
ANDREAS GR EGER

from 10 January until 3 February.

atgtickets.com/venues/trafalgar-studios

14 JANUARY 2018
ONE TO WATCH

TERRELL CARTER
With season four of smash TV show
Empire well under way, we can’t keep
our eyes off newest series regular
Terrell Carter. He first showed up
on the hit drama as a guest character
in season three, playing gay love
interest Warren, and has been bumped
up to a cast regular for the current run,
which premiered in September. The 6ft
5in demigod, originally from Buffalo,
New York, blasted on to American
prime-time TV back in September 2011
when he made judge Paula Abdul blush
with his silky velvet tones on the US
version of The X Factor. However, he had
already had some success, appearing in
Diary of a Mad Black Woman in 2005,
and, although his singing career was
abruptly cut short, he went on to
play policeman Kevin Campbell
in Netflix’s Shooter. Now it
looks as if Carter is building
an empire of his own.
ERIC HOBBS

JANUARY 2018 15
AGENDA

FA S H I O N }

N BED WITH TOM

ncy cuddling up with a


niformed daddy? Well, now
ou can, thanks to Finnish
ome-textile manufacturer
nlayson.
They have collaborated with Tom of F
elp you feel liberated, even with your homeware.
ami Vulli has taken infamous ToF characters to the
rban club scene and added loud graffiti to duvet covers,
llowcases, totes and cushion covers.

nlaysonshop.com
moffinlandstore.com

{ PERFORMANCE }

PUSH THE ENVELOPE

Step aside Kardashian baby, it’s time for our North


West to shine. HOME Manchester’s PUSH 2018
festival is a celebration of the region’s foremost
creative talents across a two-week smorgasbord of
performances, events,
works-in-progress and
exhibitions. Launching on
12 January at the Granada
Foundation Galleries, it
opens with a preview
of Jez Dolan’s latest
exhibition, Anders als die
Andern (Different from the
Others) an exploration
and its

h-2018

K WOULD HAVE IT
{ T H E AT R E }
y getting the recognition she
EPIC PROPORTIONS hton Museum & Art Gallery
he first major exhibition
Ever wondered what it was like to be queer ba k of the artist and pioneer
in 1680? Or what it’s going to be like in 2223 dity. Barber-cut short hair, men’s tailoring
on the moon? Well, you’re about to find out as h demeanour made her controversial in the
Coase presents a swirling constellation of quee e 20th century. Gluck: Art & Identity will
stories across the ages. Callisto: A Queer Epic ret ely seen paintings, alongside press-cuttings,
to its spiritual home at the Arcola Theatre, wh nd clothing left by girlfriends. Gluckily, it runs
enjoyed a sell-out run last year. ch, so you’ve got lots of time to see it during a
The show runs until 23 December. n’s possibly better-known attractions...

arcolatheatre.com ms.org.uk

16 JANUARY 2018
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Proud to be a member of the Berkeley Group of companies
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iii DOWNLOAD
the tablet edition of Attitude. With a
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INTERVIEW

{ Q & A }

ROBERT
HASTIE
THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF THE
CRUCIBLE THEATRE IN SHEFFIELD
EXPLAINS WHY IT REMAINS
IMPORTANT TO STAGE CLASSICS
SUCH AS THE WIZARD OF OZ
AS TOLD TO: ADAM DUXBURY

The Wizard Of Oz has been tackled it gave us the phrase “friend of about a subject very close to my heart.
so many times, why did you want to Dorothy” and the gay icon Judy It’s also a great play by a great writer
stage a new production now? Garland. As a gay director did you [Chris Thompson]. It’s certainly my
It’s a big, colourful story about find any ways to slip in the odd plan to make sure there’s a diverse and
friendship, bravery and self-discovery, reference to that legacy? representative range of stories
told with great songs and a huge To be honest, it doesn’t need much “It’s vital for produced on our stages.
generosity of spirit. That’s perfect for help from me! But there is a bit of young people In this production, Dorothy
this time of year. cheekiness I’m taking a lot of guilty to see others is played by a black actress,
What were your reference points for pleasure in. Our actress playing the The Cursed Child cast a black
this version and what have you done Wicked Witch can do a brilliant Judy
like themselves woman as Hermione, and
differently? Garland impersonation (she just played on the stage” Hamilton — well-known for its
The challenge has been how to meet Little Voice on stage, doing a whole diverse casting — looks set to
an audience’s expectations of a story host of diva impressions). I love giving take the West End by storm.
we all know, and then surpass them. the witch just a flavour of Carnegie But some people still seem to get
I’ve been guided a lot by the original L Hall-era, vodka-swilling Judy. hung up on colour-blind casting, why
Frank Baum novels, and in particular Did the story have any personal do you think that is?
OZ-SOME: Gabrielle
what he wrote in an introduction: connection for you? Brooks wil be playing
In one sense, casting Gabrielle Brooks
“Perhaps some of the big, grown-up I remember being fascinated as a kid Dorothy as Dorothy was a “colour-blind”
people will poke fun at us — at you for by the concept in the decision, in that she’s extraordinarily
reading these nonsense tales and at me film whereby the actors talented and the standout actor from
for writing them. Never mind. Many playing the farmhands everyone we auditioned. But I’m not
of the big folk are still children. We in Kansas become the sure it’s right to pretend we don’t see
cannot measure a child by a standard Scarecrow, Tin Man and people’s ethnicity on stage — every
of size or age.” Cowardly Lion in Oz. I actor brings themselves to the part
A lot of your other work has been on think that act of make- they’re playing, it couldn’t be
more serious plays such as Henry V believe was influential in otherwise. For young people of every
and Julius Caesar; was it refreshing to setting me on the road to ethnic background and gender to be
take on a children’s classic? doing theatre for a living. able to go to the theatre and see others
The principles are the same, and you Plus, I’m pretty sure I had like themselves on the stage is vitally
ask the same questions — is the story a crush on the Tin Man. important, particularly in the case of
clear? What do the characters want and You brought Of Kith and shows with the huge popular appeal of
MAIN: RICHARD DAVENPORT

how do they work to achieve it? You Kin, a gay drama, to The Wizard of Oz.
just add dogs and witches and lots of Sheffield Theatres. Do
dazzling dance sequences. you have plans for more The Wizard of Oz runs at the Crucible
Of course, The Wizard of Oz is much LGBT+ productions? Theatre, Sheffield, until 20 January.
loved by the LGBT+ community; Of Kith and Kin was sheffieldtheatres.co.uk

JANUARY 2018 19
020 7087 7760 | THEATRE ROYAL DRURY LANE | 42ndStreetMusical.co.uk
OPINION
21 DECEMBER
The shortest day
of the year, which
means it’s the
longest night. The
best date in the
calendar after every
weekend, bank
holiday and our
UP
birthday
 
I LOVE MY JOB. But During awkward silences hum
CUFFING
hobnobbing with Jus along to Beyoncé. It’ll empower
SEASON
Bag a man, at Canada Pride. you. If someone asks what you
quick! It’s party There are parts of t said, reply you didn’t hear
and present that are decidedly un anything and walk away,
season and not the Working late hours t serving side-eye. Better
time to be single check invoices after to leave an element of
— you’ve got the `WÍTVYRdV^aeZVUR] mystique than reveal
whole of next year fails to excite me no weakness.
for crying into your
matter how much If you’re a ravenous
Cheetos
tequila I drink. bitch like me, you’d
OUTDOOR ICE Then, as December have spotted which
SKATING hits, the list of door the canapés
It’s totally worth networking events, emerge from. My inner
the soggy bum. launches and client Greek woman can’t relax
Get inspired by dinners that crop up until I know where my next
Margot Robbie as somewhat daunting. meal is coming from. With luck,
the craziest bitch in so much Cliff to go a ZeÄd^`cVeYR_R]ZXYe]jÍ_XVcVU
figure skating in
To maintain my san buffet of Iceland cast-offs. There’s
I, Tonya
mastered the art of g always conversation to be had
also known as fuckin with people loitering for food.
starts when you Some of my
arrive. Turn up most beautiful

{ U P & D OW N }
WHAT WE’RE ROCKING
AND BLOCKING
30 minutes after
the invited time
so you don’t walk CLIFF friendships
have started
over chicken

JOANNOU
into an empty on a stick. (NB:
c``^EYVÍcde strategically
[`S+Í_UeYV positioning
facilities, where's yourself by the
the bar? canapés allows
WOOLY JUMPERS  Spot the host, The art of an elegant exit you to feign
Men in novelty catch their eye, surprise when
Christmas jumpers; a _`UR_UÎRdYR they are served
bigger turn-off than smile that says: “I’m so happy to be so you don’t look like you are blatantly
accidentally swiping here!” Chances are it’s a work situation hRZeZ_XW`c^Z_ZÍdYR_UTYZad
right on your brother
for them, too, and they’d much rather Finally, exit. You have two options.
 
be anywhere else, not talking to that If you like the host, say goodbye
EASTENDERS
Why do people stay annoying person from that stupid blog and you’re sorry to leave. Have an
in Albert Square for they don’t remember the name of. excuse: your cat has cancer. They
Christmas? Locals Before the host has a chance to can’t compete with that, and it’s
die! Sharon, get the approach you, glide over to the bar more acceptable to identify your
first flight out now!
“TELL THEM
like Rihanna on a cloud of Mary-Jane non-existent cat as terminally ill than
  and gracefully lift a glass of whatever YOUR NON- family members. You only have four
CHRISTMAS cheap plonk they’re offering, turn to EXISTENT CAT grandparents and you killed them off
MARKETS
A Bavarian
the crowd and sweep the room with HAS CANCER. at previous events. But nobody knows
a glance. Who are the three most THEY CAN'T how many cats you have.
Christmas? So
last year. Let’s important people here? If you aren’t that close to the host,
COMPETE
get back to a Don’t know anyone? Do not look at this is your chance to ghost. They’ve
good old British your phone! You don’t want to give WITH THAT" seen you at least once, so slip out
Christmas. An away how you’re socially inept. Talk to discretely. Don’t say goodbye. They
DOWN Iceland turkey crown, a stranger; you never know, they might won’t know what time you left, why
and cheap crackers be remotely interesting. Opt for the highlight an early exit?
    most extravagantly dressed person and I’ve applied the above at work events,
2 JANUARY 2018
T`^a]Z^V_eeYVZc`feÍe friends' birthdays, and funerals and I
Time to go back
Conversation: expect to discuss haven’t been rumbled to date.
to work. And it’s
a whole year until Trump, Brexit and the obvious ?`S`UjYRdÍXfcVU`fejVeeYRe:Ä^
Christmas... 2018, you question: “what do you do?” Feel free a sociopath.
better be a banger, to forego employment small talk and
'cos 2017 sucked answer with sexual positions. @Cliff Joannou

JANUARY 2018 21
WORDS: ADAM DUXBURY

WEST END The West End’s Leading Ladies —

GIRLS BEVERLEY KNIGHT, AMBER RILEY


and CASSIDY JANSON — are going
to take the Christmas charts by storm
with their new album of show tunes
INTERVIEW

AFTER EARNING RAVE REVIEWS


in the West End for her role as Rachel
Marron in The Bodyguard (originally
played on film by Whitney Houston),
it was probably inevitable that
Beverley Knight would be asked to
capitalise on the show’s success by
releasing an album of show tunes.
“But Bev Does West End didn’t really
do anything for me as an artist,” she
laughs, as I sit down to chat about
the album with her and the rest of
the trio, made up of Amber Riley
(Glee, Dreamgirls) and Cassidy Janson
(Beautiful: The Carole King Musical).
Beverley, who’s also known as
“Britain’s Queen of Soul,” is a three-
time Mobo Award-winning recording
artist with platinum and gold-selling
albums under her belt. And with roles
in Memphis: The Musical, Cats and the
aforementioned The Bodyguard, she’s
also been burning up the West End for
the past four years.
She admits she had a hunch that
someone would eventually ask her
to do an album like this, but it was
her idea to take it to the next level
and form a supergroup of musical
theatre’s leading ladies. It was after
seeing Cassidy as Carole King in
Beautiful, and then watching Amber
Riley promoting Dreamgirls on The SOUL STAR: Beverley
Knight took on Whitney
Graham Norton Show, that she knew Houston’s famous role
she had her dream team. in The Bodyguard
“So I went back to the label and I
said ‘Well I’ll see your idea, but how
about I raise you a CJ and an Amber?’” “We know musical theatre can have that cheese
she says with a smile. factor with people just breaking into song, so we
All that was left to do was get them
on board with her vision. I ask Amber, didn’t want any songs on there that could be
who’s just finished the role of Effie construed as that”
White in Dreamgirls, which she has
been playing in the West End for the
past year, what she thought when she had recently wrapped an acclaimed do you decide what to include on
was asked to join. two-year stint playing Carole King an album of show tunes when you
“Initially, I was like ‘do I really want in Beautiful, the Olivier, Tony and have all of musical theatre to choose
to be in a singing group?’” she admits, Grammy award-winning musical from? They began by batting around
letting rip with an infectious laugh. based on the singer’s life. ideas in meetings with people from
And having risen to fame playing “I remember running for the bus the label until they had a shortlist of
Mercedes on the TV show Glee, where and my agent was calling and we were 40 songs which they then needed to
she spent much of her screen time sort of handling something else at whittle down to the 14 that made the
singing in groups, any hesitations the time and she’s going, ‘You’re not final cut.
were understandable. “I did have that gonna believe this. Do you want to do “All three of us were very on the
group dynamic on the show [Glee], an album with Beverley Knight and same page — more soulful musical
although there were 17 of us. But [for Amber Riley?’” she explains. “I was like theatre and nothing too classical,”
Leading Ladies] I was like: ‘Ah it’s just ‘What? Are you joking? Yes, Yes!’ explains Cassidy.
us three, I’ll have two sisters,’ and I “Normally in this profession you’re “Nothing that makes people go ‘Oh,
felt homesick. So, considering all that auditioning and everything’s on the for God’s sake’,” adds Beverley, rolling
it actually was an immediate yes,” whim of somebody else’s decision, so her eyes. “We know musical theatre
she adds. to just have a straight offer was very can have that cheese factor with
And when Cassidy got the call there nice,” she adds. people just breaking into song, so we
wasn’t even the slightest hint of So the girls got into the studio and didn’t want any songs on there that
hesitation. The West End favourite began to record. But how on Earth could be construed as that.” ›

JANUARY 2018 23
INTERVIEW

The final selection includes hits from each


of the leading ladies’ own shows. There’s One
Night Only from Dreamgirls, I’m Every Woman
from The Bodyguard, and Will You Still Love
Me Tomorrow from Beautiful, but there’s also
some unexpected choices such as Raise The
Roof from The Wild Party, a production from “I think the fact that
2000 set during the Roaring Twenties, and
Wind Beneath My Wings from Beaches (the
when we sing we
little-seen stage version rather than the film, sound so different
we’re guessing!) individually, but
“We ticked all the boxes I think,” says
Cassidy. “We’ve got solos, ensemble, three-
when we sing
parts, harmonies.” And though there are together it sounds
plenty of standout solos, it’s the way that like one voice, is
each of these gifted singers’ voices come
together that really make this album special.
what makes the
And nowhere does this sound better than on album absolutely
Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?. magical”
“I think what’s unique is that it’s not
about the individuals. I think our harmonies
and the fact that when we sing we sound on top, just instinct, Amber
so different individually, but when we sing went underneath and we just
together it sounds like one voice, is what kept singing until we finished
makes the album absolutely magical,” the song. We were like ‘Erm,
says Amber. we’re done!’”
Explaining how they made things work “It was the creepiest and
on the tracks, Cassidy says, “My speaking the most magical thing that’s
voice gives a lot away for where my voice happened in the studio,” adds
sits, which is soprano.” Then Beverley Amber. And that approach
adds, “We just found instantly that I went ended up setting the tone for
the rest of the album, helped DREAM VOICE:
by some very slick production Amber Riley’s
breakout role
from Grammy-winning was Mercedes
HOT PUPPET:
Cassidy Janson producer Brian Rawling, who’s in Glee
once played a previously worked with Cher,
puppet even
sluttier than Tina Turner and Lionel Richie.
Miss Piggy The trio certainly harmonise like a dream, I was doing a good job in the show until she
but I’m dying to know who they’d pick if they said so,” she says.
decided to expand their roster. But for Cassidy, there are two moments
“Shirley Bassey,” pipes up Beverley, without vying for the top spot. There’s the time
missing a beat, and the rest seem to agree. Carole King herself came to see Beautiful on a
“Or we’d get a guy, that’d be hilarious. I could surprise visit, giving her the seal of approval,
get Killian Donnelly [Beverley’s co-star in before the pair went on to duet at British
Memphis],” she adds. Summertime Hyde Park in 2016. And then
In terms of musical theatre, the album has there’s her time playing Kate Monster –
definitely come at an interesting time in all one of the puppets in the comedy musical
three of the stars’ careers: Beverley has put Avenue Q.
theatre to one side and last year released a “I think the best note I ever had [from a
new album, Cassidy recently ended her run director] in my whole career was during
in Beautiful, and when I speak to Amber she’s the song You Can Be As Loud As The Hell You
entering the final weeks in Dreamgirls. So I Want (When You’re Making Love) and I had to
end our chat by asking for a career highlight give head in the middle of the song. I had
from each of them. to go like this,” Cassidy explains, her head
For Beverley, the answer is simple; “Mine’s bobbing. “Then the director said, ‘That was
Prince, obviously. Onstage with Prince, that’s really, really great and everything was right,
all I can say.” but you need to give head much slower!’”
Amber settles on the time Jennifer Holiday Unfortunately, that song didn’t make the
came backstage to see her after watching her cut for the Leading Ladies’ debut, but with
in a performance of Dreamgirls. “She had so Songs From The Stage set to be a Christmas
many amazing things to say about the show, smash, and rumours of a tour on the horizon,
so many amazing things to say to me. I felt there’s always album number two…
like I was in The Twilight Zone. This might
sound crazy, but I honestly didn’t know if Songs From The Stage is out now

24 JANUARY 2018
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OPINION

LEO IN One of the many benefits of my


THIS MONTH, WE’VE LA LA LAND move to LA is that I’m now closer to
BEEN DROOLING OVER her at any given moment, and so, as a
HUNKY BRAZILIAN MEDIC Christmas gift, my boyfriend surprised
RODRIGO SABARENSE, me with a trip to see one of her final
AND WE SUDDENLY FEEL shows in Las Vegas (the Benidorm
ALL SORTS OF ILLNESSES of America). I freaked out with
COMING ON
excitement. But also, I admit, I was a
us. What if she had lost it?
worried about the fact she
ng to sing live. If you’re
out that, you’re missing the
erious fans know Britney
Britney hits LEO n the studio and if you want
o sing live, you’re not going
RICHARDSON o she does best: dance.
more time — and t to the big night and all my
ll away. From the moment
as if he’s 16 again ey stepped out, she didn’t
p for almost two hours.
We doubt Rodrigo ever has a I WILL NEVER FORGET be nd she was mesmerising.
shortage of willing hands to 16, and a music video comi She looked as if she was
help rub suncream on to those on in the college canteen. A having fun, nailed her
hard-to-reach areas American schoolgirl breakin dance moves and put on a
into dance in a school hallw fucking SHOW, delivering
It’s a bit like how I remem hit after hit to remind us
where I was when I found ou why she is where she is
Princess Diana had died, or nd why we love her. My
9/11 was unfolding. I can ev
remember what I was weari EKY, A LITTLE
I first saw Britney Spears’ Ba
More Time video. For the rec
WING, A LITTLE
was a beige adidas tracksuit SHY, BRITNEY IS
Ever since then I have bee E SMALL-TOWN
loyal, hard-core Britney fan, L WHO GOT OUT”
has fought for her at every s
No blow-job jokes please, but I am also famed for my Britn riend turned to me at the
he’s certainly put the wind in impression. If you are someo and admitted he’d had no
our sails I love enough, you will recei how incredible she is.
an audio message of me sing d there was something
“Happy Birthday” in her voi — the tune that played just
your special day. I will also s she came out was a Justin
non-Britney song for you in rlake song, which told me
style, if I’m drunk enough. not an unforgiving bitch.
That video appealed to m 16 again that night. I
because it was about breaki bered why I first fell in love
out of the drudgery of the er. She still has that charm.
classroom into music and y, a little knowing, a little
dance. To me that’s what she’s that small-town girl
Britney represented: a regul ot out but you get a sense
girl who broke free of the ever forgotten where she
The doctor will see you now… norm. It was everything I rom. She’s been through
and we’re hoping he asks us to dreamed of for myself. che and embarrassment but
remove all our clothing However, in recent years I picks herself back up. Gay
started to wonder if she isn’ an empathise with that.
@rodsapo her old self. I don’t expect ppen to think she’s the next
her to always be I’m a Slave resident America deserves.
4 U Britney, but I felt her But that’s another story. 
choreography had begun to
look a little lazy. @leo_richardson

JANUARY 2018 27
SOUTHERN
COMFORT
LELAND has written some of
your fave RuPaul’s Drag Race
songs, and worked on Troye
Sivan’s beautiful debut Blue
Neighbourhood and Selena
Gomez’s Fetish. Attitude meets
him in LA as he releases his
University in Nashville by his mother
debut solo single, Mattress provided a 17-year-old Leland with a lucky
escape. “I immediately could tell it was
WORDS: CLIFF JOANNOU
PHOTOGRAPHY: RAUL ROMO the gayest place I’d ever been,” he tells me
as we talk on the balcony of his home in comfortable talking about his sexuality at the
Los Angeles, a recent purchase with the start of his career and couldn’t sing about
well-earned royalties from the music he’s boys, or put male pronouns into his music. “I
written. “I thought, ‘fantastic!’ Belmont was like ‘I’ll just write for other people’, until
“IT’S A CUTE LITTLE ARTSY TOWN ON ended up being a gay Mecca, because it is those doors open and maybe they will, maybe
THE BEACH,” says singer and songwriter like a homing beacon for every gay boy in the they won’t,” he reflects.
Leland, aka Brett McLaughlin, of his South. I had the best time.” Leland started writing music for friends at
picturesque, yet subdued, hometown of He met his first boyfriend at Belmont, college, which led to him being introduced
Ocean Springs, Mississippi. “When you think discovered the music of Prince and started to a song-writing manager who had a
‘beach’, you think ‘beautiful’ and ‘lovely’ and, going to concerts. Now 30, Leland looks back relationship with Jon Platt, president of
yes, there are parts of it that are, but also the and recalls how he never harboured any Warner-Chappell Publishing, who was vice-
water is not clean. No one really swims in guilt about being gay, it was more a case of president of EMI at the time. On the basis of
the water.” “figuring out what to call it, what it was, and three country songs he’d recorded, Leland
Conservative, religious Mississippi is what it meant”. was offered a publishing deal. He dropped
well known for being steeped in tradition While his family accept his sexuality now, everything and moved to LA.
and having a less-than-welcoming attitude he’s fully aware that had he come out as a Yet it would be four years before he would
towards LGBT+ people. Strangely, being teenager he probably would have been sent have his first hit. In that time Leland worked
sent to Christian private school Belmont to a conversion therapy camp. His parents in all manner of jobs, from helping with the
had a hard time accepting the news when he catering at Kim Kardashian’s wedding to
revealed it to them on Christmas Eve eight singing in a covers band earning $50 for a
years ago. Over time, their opinion started to three-hour set, and being an assistant for
change. When they accompanied Leland to Bring It On screenwriter Jessica Bendinger,
the ASCAP awards, at which he performed his who let him clean her garage for six months
hit Hide Away, they met other gay men. “That just so he could afford to go on living in LA.
really opened their eyes and normalised it,” He took every song writing opportunity that
he muses. “Now my mum asks, ‘How is your came his way, writing for lesser-known artists
friend? How is his boyfriend? And how is such as Jessica Mauboy from Australia’s X
everyone doing?’ It’s in a really good place.” Factor to teaching voice lessons. But Leland’s
Still, being open about your private life first breakthrough happened with Daya’s hit
among friends and family is one thing, Hide Away. However, his career would really
being open about your identity to the world take off after meeting YouTuber-turned-
is entirely different. Leland says he wasn’t singer Troye Sivan. “The guy that I was dating ›
INTERVIEW

“I was like: I’ll just


write for other
people until those
doors open and
maybe they will,
maybe they won’t”

JANUARY 2018 29
INTERVIEW

brought Troye to my show and we clicked


and became friends. This was before he had
signed his record deal or anything.”
The “guy” Leland was dating is none other
than Tyler Oakley, the most popular gay
YouTuber on the planet. “He is the best,
he’s still one of my best friends and biggest
supporters, and I’m one of his biggest
supporters. Troye and I brought in Allie X
to the first session. We did Youth together. It
was really special.
“Troye is amazing, he’s so sweet. I loved
writing for gay artists because at that point
I was still nowhere near being comfortable
being a gay artist myself. Looking at this boy
who is eight years younger than me and is so
confident in who he is, who has such a great
support system, I was ready to fully invest
everything into it.”
The partnership was a success. Troye’s Blue bring stories, we will bring melodies and
Neighbourhood was an international hit that everything. It’s truly collaborative; he’s been
went in at number seven on the Billboard spearheading this project from the very
charts, receiving critical acclaim. Leland beginning.”
contributed to five of the album’s 10 tracks. But there’s another feather in Leland’s cap:
It opened the door to other opportunities, he’s been part of the team that put together
most recently the hypnotic Selena Gomez some of the most memorable songs from
track Fetish. RuPaul’s Drag Race.
“I love Selena, I love everything she’s done, He’s currently working on his fifth season,
I want to be a part of her legacy of music, having worked on seasons eight, nine and 10
and her evolution,” Leland gushes about as well as on two seasons of All Stars.
the former Disney star who has become the “I’m obsessed with what it stands for and
dark darling of pop and delivered a string of how it’s bigger than ever,” he enthuses
credible pop smashes. “I feel like whatever’s “Imagine being 10 seasons in and only just
next for her is going to be really exciting, so now having the show being the biggest that
with Jonas Jeberg, Gino and our friend Chloe it’s ever been! That’s so rare, and for Ru to be
Angelides we wrote idea after idea for Selena in his prime right now.”
and we delivered Fetish, which was originally It was Lucian Piane who introduced Leland
called If I Were to the show’s producers. “I think the first song
You, to Interscope home with the I worked on was called Bad Girls of HERstory.
Records. It was
“To go from catering person I came As you know, Lucian is going through a very
about 13 months in Kim Kardashian’s wedding, to with.” tough time right now. I picked up where he
between us giving impersonating her on Drag Race, As for being an left off when he stepped down from Drag
them the song and it to getting her stamp of approval, openly gay artist, Race. He was like, ‘If you wanna do this, it’s
actually coming out. Leland is ready yours’. I wanted his blessing, obviously. He’s
“That is, in my that was a full-circle moment” to embrace his done such an amazing job.”
opinion, the best identity. “I don’t Alongside collaborator Freddy Scott and
possible home for it because she’s the see it as an issue, I see it as an asset. I feel executive producer Scott Campbell, he
coolest. I love what she stands for, and I fearless and I feel as if I can accomplish created such TV moments as Kardashian: The
love who she is and the type of music she’s anything. I feel like being gay is not an Musical. “To go from catering Kim’s wedding,
making. I know that The Weeknd loved the obstacle that is on my radar whatsoever.” to impersonating her on Drag Race, to getting
song and that helped a lot with it getting In terms of the future, Leland has been her stamp of approval, that was a complete
recorded, and coming out. He was a big working with Troye Sivan on his hugely full-circle moment.
champion.” anticipated second album. While everything “You can watch me on the E Special catering
From Fetish to his own sleeper hit Mattress, is still very hush-hush about its release, her wedding, then you can watch me on Drag
Leland’s success has culminated in a Leland reveals they’ve been working on Race being the voice of Kourtney and writing
phenomenal year for the up-and-coming new music since January. “Troye is in the all the parts for her.”
artist. With little promotion, his debut single best place he’s ever been, and musically It’s been a crazy road for Leland. In the past
has had three million streams on Spotify, and he’s pushing himself. We’re writing about 10 years, he’s gone from being a closeted
more than one million on iTunes. chapter two of his life and it’s really exciting. boy in Mississippi to writing songs for one
The sexually charged song carries a rather It’s writing with your best friend, who you of the most important LGBT+ artists of a
personal message, although Leland won’t respect as an artist. I have to pinch myself generation, as well as working on the biggest,
reveal who inspired it. “It’s about someone sometimes and remember this guy is so gayest TV show on ever.
who was close to me. important to music and is making music that It’s a wild world out there, and Leland is
“You go out with your friends and you affects so many people.” happy to be writing the soundtrack for it.
meet people and you go home with different Leland praises Troye as an incredible
people and you’re like, I’d rather be going songwriter. “He will bring titles, he will Mattress is Leland’s break-out single. @leland

30 JANUARY 2018
“Discovering the right programme of food,
lifestyle and supplements for my individual needs,
got me back on track.”
QUEER
(TIME AND)
SPACE As Dr Who, a show renowned for pushing the boundaries of
and sexual diversity, prepares for the Time Lord’s regeneratio
into a woman, Attitude looks at some of its queerest momen
WORDS: DAVID CROSS

S
ince 2005 the fight for LGBT+ equality some of the show’s most popular cha
has had an unlikely champion. This — such as Jack Harkness (right), Mad
is no Lycra-wearing Avenger or Vastra and Jenny, and Bill Potts. Whe
lightsabre-wielding Jedi knight, this is a hero the characters have been recurring o
whose weapons are intelligence, kindness offs, their sexuality or gender has be
and neat one-liners that would give RuPaul a treated as just another aspect of thei
run for her money. personalities. Sometimes it has drive
Doctor Who has always been on the side the story but it has never been “a thi
of tolerance and understanding, with The The attitude has always been of
Doctor fighting for the ordinary person acceptance (making us all want to go
throughout the show’s (on-off-back-on- a gay gypsy bar mitzvah for the disab
again) 54-year history. while eating fish fingers and custard
“In 900 years of time and space, I’ve never In the most recent series, when Bill
met anyone who wasn’t important,” said asks Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor if
Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor, but the original he’s realised that she likes girls, his
run of the series — between 1963 and 1989 answer is: “yes, of course,” delivered
— largely ignored LGBT+ characters. That a way that makes it clear that it is of
changed when the show returned 12 years importance to their relationship.
ago under the care of Russell T Davies, the Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgen
man responsible for Queer as Folk. people (and aliens) have often taken
New Who was a hit straightaway, due centre stage, but their storylines hav
largely to the strength of the writing, an never been preachy or sensationalist
amazing cast and impressive production Millions of kids have grown up
values. And a vital and clever element was watching a world where being queer
setting it firmly in the real world. He may no big deal.
be a Time Lord from Gallifrey but the ninth Earlier this year it was revealed tha
Doctor’s companion Rose, and her family, the 13th Doctor would be female,
lived on a housing estate in London. with Jodie Whittaker in the role.
That realistic and honest approach is also Although The Doctor is not trans as
true of the way the show now handles LGBT+ we understand it, this new story arc
characters. We have seen them in stable places the subject of gender at the
relationships as well as flirting and being heart (or should that be two hearts?)
sexual. There has been no watering down. mainstream TV.
It would have been easy to stick Kylie in a So what better time to look at som
Christmas special to “please the gays” and of the greatst LGBT+ characters and
BBC / SHUTTERSTOCK

leave it at that, but what we’ve been given moments that have helped define
is a whole universe of LGBT+ folk, including Dotor Who?

32 JANUARY 2018
TV

MAY AND ALICE THE FAT ONE AND


CASSINI THE THIN ONE 
In Gridlock, we Series six’s A Good Man
ICKEY SMITH AND JAKE SIMMONDS meet May and Goes to War features
It was a great moment when Mickey, Rose’s ex, found out, Alice, two ladies a married gay couple
in Rise of the Cybermen, that his now-deceased alternative- of a certain age serving in the angelic
world self, Ricky, was dating the rather dishy Jake, played who are the first marines together.
by former CBBC presenter Andrew Hayden Smith. married gay They call themselves
couple to appear the Fat One and the
in Doctor Who. Thin One.

APTAIN JACK HARKNESS


he first time we meet the dashing Captain
ck, a Time Agent from the 51st Century,
e slaps a WWII army officer on the bum
nd says: “You’ve got a great bottom, too.”
ck fancies pretty much anyone, from BILL POTTS
hristopher Eccleston’s ninth and David Bill, beautifully played by Pearl Mackie, was
ennant’s 10th Doctor, to Sarah Jane Smith, the first openly gay full-time companion
Mickey and any number of alien creatures. in the history of the show. Her time with
His is unashamedly flirty and there’s a joy the 12th Doctor has been a fantastic
n everything he does. In The End of Time we example of how LGBT+ characters can and
ee the Doctor setting him up with Russell should work in prime-time drama, using
ovey’s Midshipman Alonso in a bar, while humour and pathos. We saw Bill dating, not
n spin-off Torchwood we watch him fall in successfully thanks to her life in the Tardis,
ve with Ianto Jones. He is a brilliant, flawed and we saw her and heard her discuss the
nd believable character beloved of kids and Time Lord’s attitude towards gender and
adults alike. sexuality. It was made crystal clear that
And one quote sums him up better than Bill was gay but this was handled with a
any other: “Three Doctors? I can’t begin to beautiful lightness of touch.
tell you what I’m thinking right now.”

MISSY
It’s been no secret tha
Time Lords can
regenerate into wome
ALIENABLE RIGHTS: as well as men. And
Madame Vastra with Missy, played
Jenny and Sontaran
nurse Strax brilliantly by Michelle
Gomez (above with
MADAME VASTRA AND JENNY Peter Capaldi),
Created by Steven Moffat, Madame Vastra turned out to be
s a Silurian: a reptile from Earth’s distant none other than the
past. She lives in Victorian London with Doctor’s arch-enemy
her wife/loving servant, a human named The Master. Not
Jenny. Early on it’s made obvious — thanks strictly an LGBT+
to a fairly explicit joke character, she
“I’M about her extremely nevertheless pushed
A LIZARD long reptile tongue — the boundaries of
WOMAN FROM exactly what Jenny gender and cleverly
HE DAWN OF likes so much about paved the way for the
TIME… AND her mistress. arrival of 13th Doctor
THIS IS MY
WIFE” Whittaker (right).

JANUARY 2018 33
OPINION

TV PICKS

LET’S FACE IT, SOME CHRISTMAS

DANNY LEE TV CAN BE REET NAFF: THE SAME


FILMS AND SITCOMS REPEATED
EACH YEAR — GROUNDHOG DAY

WYNTER
WITH A RIBBON ON TOP. WE’VE
SIFTED THROUGH THE JUNK TO
FIND SHOWS THAT DESERVE YOUR
ATTENTION THIS YEAR…
I vote for Butterfly, which stings like a bee
Landing on
Netflix in
December,
TWENTY YEARS AGO Mariah Carey “MARIAH’S TRANSITION Claire Foy (left)
released her sixth studio album, is back as The
Butterfly, and this mixed-race R’n’B-
OCCURRED AS I WAS Queen in The
loving Essex gay boy lost his freekin’ STUCK IN A COCOON OF Crown. We hear
mind. Such was my desire to possess SUBURBAN HELL” the show has
even received
this record that I placed a pre-order
Her Majesty’s seal of approval.
at Barkingside Our Price. Going to
Staying on the subject of royalty,
collect it, I took my Sony Discman for hip-hop songs with Bone Thugs-N- Camilla hosts a tea party as part of
the ceremonial bus journey home so I Harmony and Mase was, in many BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing
could fully process all the ways my life ways, Mariah’s own coming out. Christmas Special (Christmas Day),
was about to change. My friend and I used to walk home which sees the return of past
Mariah didn’t disappoint. from school listening to Butterfly, contestants, including Girls Aloud’s
Opening with Honey, a dance anthem sharing earphones and singing Fourth Kimberley Walsh and newly out
about sexual co-dependency, she sang of July as we passed the big houses former athlete Colin Jackson.
And while Ryan Murphy’s busy
about wanting to taste a lover’s spooge. our friends lived in, while journeying
working on the Feud
This from a woman who two years back to the council estates where we
anthology, focusing on
before had been consigned to were raised. Charles and Diana’s
ballroom dresses and mawkish I hadn’t realised the parallels. relationship, the first
songs about heroes. My friend and I were both mixed- season (right), about
Suddenly, here she was race kids from broken homes who Bette Davis and Joan
playing up to the narrative worshipped this woman who’d had Crawford’s legendary
of being the princess held the same experiences. rivalry, finally finds a
captive in music exec Tommy For the first time in her career, home on BBC2.
From rivalry to friendship, as we
Mottola’s ivory tower. Mariah got personal — and it
welcome back French and Saunders
Shedding her marriage and resonated with us.
for a one-off special on Christmas
the roll necks, Mariah’s One of her songs, Outside, directly Day. We’re promised a slapstick
transition occurred just as I addressed being biracial in a country makeover of The Handmaid’s Tale.
was stuck in my own cocoon of steeped in racism. Another, Breakdown Meanwhile, after a 12-year absence,
suburban hell. (my favourite MC song), explored look out for three new episodes of
Wings spread and denim jeans being haunted by someone you’ve the deliciously dark League of
gone, a hip-hop loving sexual dated who unexpectedly calls it off. Gentlemen (below) on BBC2 in the
being now emerged sampling The obsessive in me identified. week leading up to Christmas.
The woman who wrote Butterfly Elsewhere, well Channel 4 to be
Mobb Deep’s Shook Ones and
precise, there
simultaneously giving zero fucks in is now a far cry from the cartoon
will be light
all her accompanying videos. reality TV Christmas novelty act who’s and fluffy
But why did Mariah strike a become the purveyor of half-arsed creations
chord with so many younger gays, performances. She’s moved farther with two
particularly those like myself from and farther away from the statement Christmas-
the black, Asian and mixed-race of intent this record set out, briefly themed Great
community? It was more than her equaling its sublimeness with 2005’s British Bake
voice or the pretty songs about The Emancipation of Mimi, but in the Off specials,
proceeding 12 years never again featuring returning contestants.
unrequited love. Subconsciously,
If all that’s not enough for you, get
we identified with the theme of coming close.
merry with Alan Carr, who’ll be
finally daring to be ourselves. Mariah’s magnificence is all making sure his Chatty Man guests
WORDS: GEORGE DOUGLAS-DAVIES

Here was a mixed-race singer- contained on Butterfly. That alone are kept in high spirits with copious
songwriter primarily packaged serves as a get-out-of-jail-free card for glugs of eggnog from his infamous
and sold to white America as a eternal greatness. Twenty years on, drinks trolley.
pop singer. The professional risk that’s what I choose to tell myself. Bottoms up, everyone.
of alienating her middle-of-
the-road audience by singing @dannyleewynter

34 JANUARY 2018
D OW N LOA D T H E

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A N D O T H E R P L AT F O R M S
TO CELEBRATE THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY
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for a landmark podcast series.
In episode 12, editor-in-chief Matt Cain
chats to Olympic diver Tom Daley and his
husband, Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin
Lance Black. The two men discuss growing
up gay in their different worlds, coming out
to their families and how they first met and
fell in love. They also reveal details about
their wedding, chat about the political role
of their visibility as a gay couple and debate
the challenges currently facing the gay
community around the world.
Tom and Lance have never spoken so
candidly. You won’t want to miss this!

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INTERVIEW

ROYLE
ASSENT
Veteran star RICKY TOMLINSON
jumped at the chance to appear in
quite right too. Why should you be any role unless it clashes with his
a tender coming-out drama stigmatised because of how you are or principles.
WORDS: SIMON BUTTON what you are or what your sexuality is? And he was more than happy to do
That’s just so archaic.” his bit for Carl and his crew, saying:
A plasterer by trade before he won “They were local lads, they didn’t
the role of Bobby Grant on Brookside have any money and I think those
STARRING IN an LGBT-themed in the Eighties, then appearing in of us who have had a bit of luck in
project is a first for Ricky Tomlinson, Cracker alongside Robbie Coltrane, the business have a duty to help out
but it’s not because of any prior before joining Caroline Aherne’s hit others by giving something back.”
reluctance on his part. “It’s just that a sitcom, Ricky now describes himself Loughlin says the plot — one part
story like this has never come my way as a jobbing actor who will consider of Boys On Film 17 short films — is
before,” says the actor best known for the opposite of his own story. His dad
playing sofa-hogging dad Jim in The disowned him so he put a reverse spin
Royle Family. “People’s attitudes and on it to show that, although scary,
But when it came to casting the role coming out can turn out to be so
of a Scouse father in his Liverpool-
opinions are changing. much better than expected.
set short film, Tellin’ Dad, actor/ Why should you be Ricky gets why there’s still reluctance
director/writer Carl Loughlin had stigmatised because to come out. “If you’ve got a dad who
only one person in mind. “Ricky of your sexuality? That is a bit old-fashioned I can understand
was the obvious choice as he is an why some lads, or young girls, would
outstanding Liverpool acting legend,”
is just so archaic” be a little bit scared to say ‘Look, I’m
the filmmaker explains. “He was my different from my mates’.
first choice to play my dad and I was “I sympathise with them, but all that
thrilled when he agreed.” sort of stuff is dying out now and no
With LGBT+ friends in and out of the one gives a stuff what you are as long
business, [spoler alert] Tomlinson was as you’re a decent person,” he says.
delighted to see a script in which a And he’d certainly have no problems
young man’s fear of coming out to his if any of his children or grandchildren
father proves to be unfounded. came out.
“Thank God people’s attitudes and “It wouldn’t bother me. I wouldn’t
opinions are changing,” says 78-year- care if they had three heads as long as
old Ricky, hoping that the film’s they were happy,” he laughs.
upbeat ending reflects a new reality.
“Maybe they’re not changing quickly TOP OF THE POPS:
Boys On Film 17 is out on DVD and
Filming for Tellin’ Dad
enough but they are changing and VOD on 11 December. peccapics.com

36 JANUARY 2018
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THE BIG ISSUE

GOING
WITHOUT
ALCOHOL
MAKES FOR
A SOBERING But there has been cons. The gay
scene, revolving around drink’s

THOUGHT seductive pleasures and promised


escapes, has been a difficult beast to
navigate. Given I’d stopped just before
Christmas, the festive parties were
difficult. At one event, a guy made
a joke about me having a “drinking
problem” to a group of people, as he
waved his champagne in my face.
Everyone else in the group was polite
enough not to laugh. But I felt deeply
singled-out, isolated — as if I didn’t
belong. My self-worth was not yet
strong enough to disentwine from my
drinking identity.
So I made my excuses and left. Not
only was that guy not worth my time,
a situation in which I felt bad was the
path to alcohol’s comfort blanket.
However, being sober wasn’t enough:
I needed to examine why I’d drink
to switch myself off. A huge part of
that question was answered by my
boyfriend. By a happy twist of fate, we
met as I stopped drinking. He was also
After a year of abstention, PATRICK CASH believes his new-found taking a break from alcohol. It’s not
happiness means he can drink again without any of the old fear a fairy-tale relationship, as fairy-tales
certainly weren’t written for gay men,
but we have a deep intimacy.
I’M GOING TO HAVE A DRINK home, shoulders huddled I’ve yearned for intimacy for years.
this Christmas. against the November cold: But through the miasma of my
This time last year, I came “I’ve got to stop drinking.” drinking fog, I either wasn’t clear-
around in the early hours In order to stop, I wrote a sighted enough to see it or sabotaged
of the morning on Waterloo Facebook post. I asked my its shoots. To fill the void loneliness
Bridge. I can’t be precise about friends to support me in caused in my life, I first had to cut
the time because my phone finding a new freedom. out the drug I was using to soothe the
was missing. The lower-left side of my Alcohol had been an instrument loneliness. And now with Harry, I’ve
jaw ached, as if I’d been punched and of bonding in my past, but I’d been able to extricate the deep-
when I tried to catch a bus home, I abused the substance until
it became a trap. No longer
“A SITUATION WHERE rooted thorns caused by a belief
that my sexuality was wrong.
discovered I had no wallet.
My last memory was of being in a was my pint a companion to I FELT BAD WAS So, why drink again? I don’t
Soho bar. conversation, but the overriding THE PATH TO want to belittle recovery
At 29, this was not my first blackout. objective was to race to the ALCOHOL’S COMFORT journeys, or the seriousness of
Over the previous decade, I’d been bottom of my glass, so I could BLANKET” alcoholism. But the bonding
mugged four times: at 23, I came get another drink. Then another. qualities of alcohol, for better
around after a staff party with no bank Hundreds of people commented and or worse, have forged truth in my
card; I was hospitalised in Paris at the messaged with support — an alarming friendships and hold together many
age of 25, after getting drunk on rhum number of people even messaged social situations.
ambré on the streets of Le Marais; and to state how they were (secretly) I want to step back into its pool with
at 27, I woke up on a Southwark bench struggling with drinking, too. happiness on my side, clarity of
with a man roughly shaking me. He With my friends’ backing, I’m writing thought and an understanding of how
held my iPhone in front of my face, this article having spent a year sober. It drink can take away as easily as it can
before running away with it. has returned lucidity to my thoughts, give.
I repeated one phrase to myself, as I I’ve found the relationship I wanted,
walked the three miles to my Peckham and I haven’t been mugged once. @paddycash

JANUARY 2018 39
MUSIC

“IT’S BEAUTIFUL
TO HEAR TAYLOR
OPEN UP LIKE ALBUM REVIEWS
THIS. IT GIVES
ME FEELS...” WORDS: ADAM DUXBURY

BJÖRK
Utopia

¤Hot on the
heels of Björk’s
“break-up” album, Vulnicura,
comes her “Tinder album”—
tracks about romance, the
thrill of technology and, erm,
animal noises. Sadly, this
album provokes irritation,
mainly thanks to thin lyrical
subject matter delivered in
REIGN Björk’s overwrought wail and
what sounds like a disconnect
IN SPAIN between the fiddly beats
and Icelandic wind
pipes. Out Now 2/5
WITH SEEMINGLY EVERYONE OPTING TO SING IN SPANISH, SENOR
JAMES BARR IS ONCE AGAIN WITHOUT A SPECIAL HOMBRE
PALOMA FAITH
The Architect
JUSTIN BIEBER, LITTLE MIX and attack. Dirty Sexy Money is Guetta’s
now Demi Lovato have obviously best production in years. ¤With three
all downloaded Duolingo this year We all know that Little Mix don’t double-
because the ¿hablas español? hype is need a man but their latest bop, Dear platinum albums under
real! Demi’s new tune with Despacito Lover, is that booty-text we’ve all her belt, Paloma Faith has
star Luis Fonsi Echame, La Culpa, sent to our ex and I’m obsessed. The nothing to prove. But the
translates as “blame me” and it production is so lit it sounds like Major idea of the kooky retro-soul
basically feels like Tortilla Tuesday, Lazer. This has to be a single. I need underdog persists. Sonically
extra onions. Hey, I’m always here a video so I can complete my fire Jesy we’re on familiar ground, but
for Demi but does mama realise it’s Nelson drag look for New Year’s Eve. by ditching songs about love
December and we want turkey? Yes it’s happening. in favour of socio-political
I stopped writing about my dating Taylor Swift has released the most bangers — yes: Brexit, climate
life here because my copy deadline romantic song of the year, and if, like change and toxic masculinity
meant that I was single again by the me, you imagine relationships to be — she sounds like an artist
time we’d gone to print. But despite about finding a significant other to who’s fully unfurled
yet another break-up and Matt Terry’s help you tidy the house the next day, her wings. Out Now 4/5
new song The Thing About Love telling SINGLED OUT: this is one. New Year’s Day also speaks
Main picture, Matt
it how it is: “you don’t always get it Terry, top, Demi from that place of fear that your
back” (thanks Matt), I’m remembering Lovato, and above, partner may leave you: “Don’t read MARK FEEHILY
David Guetta Christmas
how great it is to be single. If you’re the last page.” It’s so beautiful to hear
the same, Charli XCX’s new song with Taylor opening up like this, it gives me
David Guetta and French Montana feels I haven’t felt since Robyn’s With ¤Make the
is THE tune to get drunk and make Every Heartbeat. Yuletide gay!
bad life choices to. The guys officially N.E.R.D. and Rihanna got me like The blue-eyed one from
launched it at the MTV EMAs last HOT right now. Lemon is Pharrell Westlife is taking a leaf out of
month, seamlessly blending Charli’s Williams’s first new music with his another blue-eyed crooner’s
pure pop energy with an EDM brap band since 2010 and is a career- song book (Frank Sinatra)
defining moment for Rihanna — girl by releasing an album of
can spit. Christmas songs. And these
PSST! The old-skool electro-hip-hop vibe tracks are a lovely showcase
feels like the R&B room at G-A-Y. for Mark’s voice. His version
. This month, try to hold back those of Joni Mitchell’s River is
tears to Calum Scott’s You Are The gorgeous. It’s not going to set
Beyonce’s confirmed as Nala in the
Reason, ho-ho-ho with Sia’s your Christmas tree on fire,
live-action remake of The Lion King. New
Underneath The Christmas Lights, and but it should go down a treat
songs, surely! Elton John’s teased his
enjoy reliving 2017 anthem New Rules with Auntie Jean.
involvement saying: “Yes, I think so.” Can
with the insane Eighties’ remix on
Out now 3/5
you feel the formation tonight!
YouTube.

40 JANUARY 2018
FILMS

THE DISASTER ARTIST


James Franco, Dave Franco,
Josh Hutcherson, Zac Efron

¤If you’re one of those who’s into


P O K E R FA C T
cult classic The Room — Tommy ,

Wiseau’s mind-bendingly bad Pro player Scott


2003 film that has become a Blumenstein won
unique kind of cinematic hit — the World Series
you can’t afford to miss James of Poker in July,
Franco’s broad, brash, slightly glib picking up
a cheque
drama about how it came to be. If
for £6.2m
not, it’s somewhat less essential,
although Franco’s performance
A WINNING HAND
as Wiseau himself is something
to behold, and his chemistry with JESSICA CHASTAIN PROVES TO BE A BIG DEAL IN AARON
little brother Dave, as Wiseau’s SORKIN’S TRUE-STORY, HIGH-STAKES POKER DRAMA
love-hate collaborator Greg WORDS: GUY LODGE
Sestero, gives it some
soul. Out now 3/5
FILM MOLLY’S GAME
OF THE Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Justin Kirk
ALSO THIS MONTH MONTH
¤ OK, we haven’t been able to get our hands on The Last Jedi yet, but there’s a
BRIGSBY BEAR different kind of star wars going on in Aaron (The West Wing) Sorkin’s mile-a-
Kyle Mooney, Greg Kinnear minute directorial debut. In their banter-filled scenes together, Jessica Chastain
¤A whimsical ode to amateur and Idris Elba give off force fields of charisma and do friendly battle for the upper
filmmaking, this stars Saturday hand, with Sorkin’s breathless verbal barbs as their weapons. The film belongs
Night Live oddball Mooney to Chastain, though. As Molly Bloom, a real-life Olympic-class-skier-turned-
as a sheltered soul forced to Hollywood-poker-madam, she’s a crackling, hard-as-nails delight. Her rise-and-fall
find his own view on the world
story, related largely in flashback to her lawyer (Elba), is ideally suited to Sorkin’s
when his favourite TV show
obsession with power and personality. Although not his deepest work,
comes to a bizarre end. It walks
a fine line between twee and watching the quick minds in motion is hugely entertaining. Out now 4/5
disturbing, but the emotional
payoff works. Look out for
Mark Hamill, who must have STRONGER
taken time off from some other Jake Gyllenhaal, Tatiana Maslany,
movie out about now. Miranda Richardson
8 December 3/5
¤Appearing in the likes of Nightcrawler,
THE DINNER Southpaw and Nocturnal Animals, it
Richard Gere, Steve Coogan, seems Jake Gyllenhaal has been angling
Laura Linney, Charlie Plummer hard for his first Best Actor Oscar
¤With a classy cast, this nomination. And he might just get one
muddled, claustrophobic for this stout-hearted biopic of 2013
adaptation of Herman Koch’s Boston Marathon bombing survivor
international bestseller — in
Jeff Bauman. But to describe Stronger
which a Washington politico
simply as awards bait would be unfairly
and his brother clash over their
children’s misdeeds — really cynical: there’s a deep, pure current of
should have turned out better. human feeling running through David
As it is, some furious class satire Gordon Green’s film that separates it
can’t overcome a distraction- from the subgenre of maudlin disability
riddled structure and a tacked- weepies. For one thing, it’s less a story of one man’s survival after losing his legs than it is a study of
on American historical relationships for ever altered by trauma. As Bauman, Gyllenhaal is on fine form, physically committed
allegory. 8 December 2/5 and surprisingly restrained, but the relatively unknown Tatiana Maslany, as his girlfriend-
turned-carer Erin, is at least his equal. 8 December 4/5

JANUARY 2018 41
OPINION

POP PREDICTIONS FOR 2018

PAUL FLYNN
Figuring out your families may take more than a little logic

FOR MY 18TH BIRTHDAY, I received “JUST BECAUSE I’M GAY DOESN’T MEAN Nadine Coyle will go to work
the first three volumes of Armistead in her spiritual home, Tesco…
Maupin’s Tales of the City from a
I DON’T LOOK, ACT AND SOUND THE
Rihanna will launch a line of
boyfriend. It was definitely the SAME WAY MY FOLKS DID AT THIS AGE” spliff snacks, FentyMunchies…
highlight of a rocky 12 months. Cheryl will add to her collection
The books opened up Maupin’s form of intimacy, of a sort that cannot of surnames by marrying.
fantastical San Francisco, a rainbow be replicated elsewhere. It involves the Again… Britney Spears will do
world of drama, heartache and scratchy narcissism of accepting the the bare minimum and still be
person you are bound to become. queen of our hearts... Beyoncé
satisfying personal development,
will release an album of her
as told through the eyes and ears In 2017, I’m not sure rejecting one
reading the telephone book
of charming local gay hero Michael family to create another is the correct backwards and you will love
Tolliver and his chums. societal compunction to encourage it… Lana Del Rey will release a
In 1989, the Tales of the City tomes new generations. The thought of Christmas single “Blood looks
were peerless gateways into living a kids seeking new families because of better spilled on Snow”… The
full gay life. They made it look like a political affiliations that might change Saturdays will stop kidding
happy place. This was a radical idea, in their old age feels like burning — themselves and get back

WORDS DOM TOP


given that Maupin began writing them rather than building — bridges. together… The Spice Girls
I began Logical Family with the antsy WILL NEVER, EVER GET BACK
in the early 1970s. The stories were
TOGETHER SO GIVE IT UP!
not just comfort blankets. They came feeling of a 16-year-old gay lad in a
equipped with actual tools, such as Brexit household reading it the
Michael’s beautiful coming out letter wrong way and deciding he
to his curtain-twitching, religious, wanted to start again. The UNEXPECTED
right-wing mother. They turned thought of chucking away all CRUSH OF THE
MONTH
Maupin into a generational hero that nurturing and taking
overnight. He remains one. refuge in a few friendly
Almost 30 years later and sorts he’d met in gay bars
the author is promoting his started to chafe. Why not
memoir, Logical Family. The equip yourself for a life in
titular idea is one associated which everyone doesn’t
with Michael in Tales, one he agree about everything? Why
became the figurehead for. In not have both? Just because
his new home, Michael finds I’m gay doesn’t mean I don’t
happiness not by gaining the look, act and sound exactly
acceptance of his birth family as my folks did at this age. My
but by fashioning a new one. sexuality doesn’t prevent me from NICK JAKOBY
They are cultured, drug-literate, being every bit as resentful and
Out just before Christmas,
tasteful, sexy and drawn from generous, open-hearted and cruel
the $90m sci-fi movie Bright
right across the LGBT+ spectrum as theirs does for them. is Netflix’s most expensive
of life and beyond. At the time, When you’re middle-aged, feature film to date, imagining
reading about the possibility of the cracked mirror of familial an alternate present-day world
new friends passing on the wisdom recognition is comforting, helpful inhabited by humans and
your biological family couldn’t felt even, in a way you never imagine it mythical creatures. Big budget
so refreshing. might be as a young man, in a way or not, all we care about is The
At 18, I left home. On the doorstep, books cannot reveal. Great Gatsby star Joel Edgerton
donning Avatar-style blue face
my mum said: “You’ll spend half Because it is Armistead Maupin,
to play non-human police officer
your life running away from the inevitably Logical Family turns into a
Nick Jakoby. Not only is the film
person you are and the other half complex beast. He learns to love his star looking rough and ready
running back.” She knows me better biological family too, despite their in his make-up, he’s also in full
than anyone. A family relationship flaws. He got both. police uniform. Arrest us officer,
is built on strange, specific Of all that I learned from the great we’ve been very naughty…
glue. There’s no logic to sage since first devouring him, this
WORDS: ROBIN MILLS

it. But there is romance, rawer, less comfortable truth may


defiance, jealousy, rage, yet turn out to be more useful than
tenderness, protection and a unique his brilliant earlier stories.

42 JANUARY 2018
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BOOKS

A CHIP OFF THE CLOSE TO HOME


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OLD BLOC and debut novel from one of our most
talented thriller writers, Close to Home is the
Ícde Z_ R dT`cTYZ_X _Vh TcZ^V dVcZVd WVRefcZ_X
A STUDIED LOOK AT THE HISTORICAL ROOTS AND detective Adam Fawley. One night, eight-year-
POLITICAL USE OF HOMOPHOBIA IN MODERN-DAY RUSSIA old Daisy Mason disappears from a family
party. Everyone in the quiet suburban street
WORDS: ULI LENART denies seeing, or knowing anything about, the
crime. But DI Fawley knows that nine times
out of 10, the culprit turns out to be someone
BOOK RUSSIAN the victim knows. That means someone
OF THE HOMOPHOBIA: FROM is lying. And time is running out for little
MONTH
STALIN TO SOCHI Daisy. This is one of the most credible and
Dan Healey/Bloomsbury convincing thrillers we’ve read this year, and
Academic includes some incredible twists. It’s gripping
¤ Thinking of stuff. The follow-up book, In the Dark, is due
homophobia simply out in July next year. 14 December
as an irrational hatred of queer people
can prevent us getting to grips with
the often painfully logical historical,
cultural and political factors underlying GEORGE: A MEMORY OF GEORGE MICHAEL
it. It can also blind us as to why nations, Sean Smith/HarperCollins
often in extremely calculated ways, ¤ This is the latest book to be published
manipulate it for their own domestic in the wake of George Michael’s death on
and international ends. This detailed, Christmas Day 2016. Slightly over-labouring
scholarly book explores modern Russian the distinction between George’s private
homophobia, making the point that its and public life, celebrity biographer Sean
roots are to be found in the 1930s in the Smith retraces the steps of a young Georgios
laws of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. With Panayiotou on the streets of North London,
expert insight, Dan Healey, a professor talking to various people who knew the
of modern Russian history at Oxford, Wham! star over the years. Smith reveals
uses nine case histories to reveal the the complex relationship George had with
origins and evolution of homophobic his high-achieving Greek-Cypriot father, the
attitudes in Russia. The book explores unconditional love of his mother, his teenage
the roots of homophobia in the gulag, relationships with girls and his — ultimately
the rise of a visible queer presence in ecRXZT À Ícde ecfV ]`gV RWWRZc EYV S``\
Soviet cities after Stalin, and the political contains some good anecdotes and insights,
battles since 1991 over whether queer but lacks passion. It probably isn’t going to
Russians should be valued as citizens. A give fans many new insights, they’d learn
thorough, impeccably researched portrait more just by listening to some of George’s
of persecution. 14 December best-loved lyrics. Out now

ALSO THIS MONTH

A MARVELLOUS PARTY POCKET RUPAUL WISDOM


Ian Elmslie/Ignite Books Hardie Grant Books
¤ This memoir from one half of the award- ¤ This miniature book of Ru’s greatest lines.
winning cabaret duo Katrina and the Boy contains “If you can’t love yourself, how in
documents Ian Elmslie’s experiences in the the hell you gonna love somebody else?” and
world of 1970’s and 1980’s popular music “We all came into the world naked. The rest
and theatre. It’s also a love letter to some of is all drag,” as well as “I can barely speak
his heroes in gay culture. A candid account 6_X]ZdY Sfe :Ä^ ÎfV_e Z_ eYc`hZ_X dYRUVÂ
of one man’s journey from family home to Also out is The Essential Fan Guide to RuPaul’s
the heart of the gay cabaret scene, and the Drag Race: an updated edition which covers
wonderful characters he meets along the way. the queens who have appeared in seasons one
Funny, camp and heartfelt. Out now to nine and on All Stars. Out now

All LGBT+ titles available from Gay’s the Word bookshop, 66 Marchmont St, London WC1N 1AB. gaystheword.co.uk

44 JANUARY 2018
JOIN THE CLUB

culture club
Artists PIERRE ET GILLES swept to fame with real-life airbrushing

IF YOU AREN’T AWARE of French OV E R


art duo Pierre et Gilles, I can’t even
deal with you, to be honest. (But TO YO U . . .
let’s assume you’ve been in a Kimmy
Schmidt bunker or something.) If you Your thoughts on
Pierre et Gilles
don’t know their names, I can almost
guarantee you know their work. Ahhh Pierre et
Madonna, Naomi Campbell, Kylie, Jean Gilles. They did
Paul Gaultier and Tilda Swinton are wonders for my
among the pair’s most famous muses. understanding
In 1974, painter Gilles Blanchard of my sexuality,
moved to Paris with dreams of making thanks to Kylie.
I was obsessed
it on the art scene. Quite by chance,
with this image as
at a Kenzo launch party, he met
a teenager.
photographer Pierre Commoy and @medievaljenga
the two quickly became lovers. After
moving into shared studio space, they I love their
began to evolve their sexual union work. Anything
into a creative one. They would print homoerotic. The
Pierre’s photos on to canvas and then colours remind
Gilles would proceed to meticulously me of old-school
Caribbean
paint over the top of the image, giving
photography and
a hyper-real, flawless finish. A decade
home decor.
or so ahead of digital retouching, @CampbellX
Pierre et Gilles had stumbled upon
real-life airbrushing. Love their work
The couple achieved their and although it’s
breakthrough moment with images for hard to pick a
French magazine Façade. Their earliest favourite, mine
celebrity muses included Iggy Pop might be Le
Purgatoire, an
and Andy Warhol, but a collaboration
image combining
with pop star Marc Almond in the late
the pageantry
Eighties was to endure. Almond went and high drama of
on to model for the artists a number Catholicism and
of times. its most borderline
Now well-established, Pierre at Gilles pagan with the
captured Madonna, Kylie and Marilyn shabby camp
Manson in the Nineties. glamour of a Maria
Aside from the dreamlike, gauzy self-censor a particularly provocative Montez B-movie
“THE PAIR HAVE ALWAYS picture.
quality of their subjects, Pierre et billboard featuring three male nudes:
Gilles are as recognisable for their
HAD A REFINED EYE @AmeliaMangan
one white, one black, one brown.
intricate framing devices. Often, the FOR THE MALE BODY” The image was designed to represent
human subjects are positioned in a the diversity of modern France, but GET
sumptuous window of flowers, coral, gay coffee table, and it’s not just Kylie. was met with widespread outrage in I N V O LV E D
vines or doves (Tilda). The result is The pair have always had a refined eye Austria. The final portrait had all three
wildly romantic, camp and theatrical, for — not to mention great taste in — men’s bits covered with ribbons. Boo, Next month,
clearly inspiring Baz Luhrmann in his the male body. Sometimes male nudes Vienna, boo! we revisit Ian
McKellen in Gods
Romeo + Juliet days. are depicted in religious iconography Still working together, and still very
and Monsters.
And yes, this being Attitude — Saint Sebastian and Ganymede — much in love, Pierre et Gilles’s most
Tweet your
magazine, it would be remiss of me and sometimes it’s just a hot gardener, recent major collection — Héros
SHUTTERSTOCK

thoughts
not to mention nudity. There is a errr, watering the flowers. — celebrated the notion of heroism in @junodawson
reason Pierre et Gilles decorate many a But in 2012, the pair decided to a variety of (very handsome) works.

JANUARY 2018 45
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Bananarama
FORGET ANY FEMALE-FRONTED POP DELICIOUSNESS
YOU’VE ENJOYED IN THE LAST 30 YEARS, THE ULTIMATE
GIRL GROUP ARE BACK. AND THEY’RE STILL FIERCE AF!

{ B I G G AY F O L L O W I N G }

WORDS: LEE DALLOWAY

FORMED IN 1981, Sara Dallin,


Siobhan Fahey and Keren Woodward
stormed into the UK top 10 in 1982
with It Ain’t What You Do (It’s The
Way That You Do It) and would score
eight top 10 hits before Siobhan’s
departure in 1988. The last time they
shared the stage together proved to
be an amazing performance that same
year at the Brit Awards, featuring
scores of oiled-up, scantily-clad
muscled backing dancers.
The girls continued to have further
success with Siobhan’s replacement,
their friend Jacqui O’Sullivan, from
1988 to 1991. But Jacqui couldn’t
shake off the “new girl” tag even
after three years, and Keren and Sara
continued as a duo from 1992, most
recently rebounding into the top 20
in 2005 with pop stompers Move in
My Direction and Look on the Floor.
With 10 studio albums and 43
singles under their belts, Bananarama
have thoroughly earned their place
in the Guinness Book of Records as the
all-female group with the most chart
entries in the world.
While they’re not planning any new
material for their upcoming tour as It’s awesome to see you guys back. Why now?
a threesome, we have been promised Keren: It was the right time to do something amazing.
a breath-taking reunion with a set Sara: We’ve seen Siobhan over the past few years and we always talked about doing
list including all our favourite tracks. something, maybe a Christmas show, but then it became something more.
Better refresh yourselves on those Siobhan: When I got the call, it was absolutely the last thing on my mind. I mean, it
dance routines, boys. was 29 years ago when I left the band. I knew they were doing their thing and I was
doing my life over in Los Angeles.
When they asked, my heart went “ping”, and I knew I wanted to do it. It’s
unfinished business. Whenever we’re together, there’s this incredible chemistry
and friendship, and in Bananarama we’ve created this amazing... ›

JANUARY 2018 47
Keren: Monster!
Siobhan: Body of work [laughs].
Sara: And the three of us have never
toured together. We did a world tour
after Siobhan left, but we never got the
chance to when she was with us.
Siobhan: The record company kept
distracting us with interviews and
nonsense. Touring is why we started
a group in the first place. Getting out
there and performing.
Keren: A lot of stuff happened to me
personally recently [Keren has split
with her partner of 25 years, Andrew
Ridgeley from Wham!] and it just makes
you realise life’s too short.
Everyone is so excited, the response
you’ve had must have felt wonderful.
Sara: The response from the fans, the
media, has been fantastic.
Siobhan: I think everyone can feel
our happiness.
Sara: It makes it more stressful, though.
Keren: I’m now feeling the pressure to
make it amazing.
Siobhan: We never got any props or love we should have listened a little [laughs]
from the media, now we do.
“I FOUND THE SEXISM OF STOCK and our career could have gone a
When you guys first found fame, AITKEN WATERMAN VERY DIFFICULT slightly different way, but we wouldn’t
it must have been a whirlwind to TO HANDLE. I COULDN’T BE IN THE have been true to ourselves.
perform, record, do interviews, be STUDIO AT THE SAME TIME AS PETE Keren and Sara, you are childhood
creative and maintain a friendship. WATERMAN. I REMEMBER MATT friends, and you met Siobhan in
Siobhan: But it felt so seamless, it was college. The way you all got together,
just a part of our lives at the start.
AITKEN PRESSING THE TALKBACK happened to know a lot of musicians
Sara: It was very natural. We did it all BUTTON GOING ‘KEREN, I CAN SEE and just kind of fell into being
ourselves, we chose producers who YOUR TITS WOBBLE!’” recording artists sounds so organic.
we thought would understand us, and Like, it doesn’t happen like that now.
this worked for a good period of time. Siobhan: No, it’s not organic anymore,
Then inevitably, people want to make Sara: No, that was the Italian! which is so sad. I think it’s because
different music, grow a little bit and you [They all laugh] they decimated the art schools, and
just go your own way. Keren: It’s a thrill to hear your record. most people who were creative and
Siobhan: For the first year or two we Siobhan: It was mind-blowing. I still get interesting formed their bands there.
lived together, so we didn’t have to a bit of a kick when I hear Cruel Summer Keren: We used to make our own
arrange to meet up, everything was fun. in the supermarket. clothes, hum tunes and put them on to
Sara: And we had control of absolutely Keren: Do you still practice the moves? a tape recorder. I think our first song
everything we did, it was just an Siobhan: I will from now on, with was called Give Us Back Our Cheap Fares.
extension of our friendship. It was never my shopping. [Check it out on YouTube, kids] I can’t
a question of someone saying, “Girls, Your early days were very much imagine Little Mix going on TV in
you must do this, do that.” I think even unpolished and looked like you were homemade clothes.
the record company were amused at making it up as you went along. Was Sara: I think it’s much easier to be in a
how this “novelty act” kept going on to it impossible for management or band now. So many people have access
bigger and better things. They didn’t publicists to manoeuvre you to where to it through social media.
know why it worked, but it did. you needed to be? Keren: We pretended the whole time!
Do you remember how you felt when Keren: I think back then people didn’t Siobhan: We just found each other. The
you saw your first record [Aie a Mwana have management who made them do sum of the parts is so much greater. All
in 1981] pressed or heard it played on things; it just wasn’t as manufactured our insecurities blended into…
the radio? as it is now. Sara: One big super-insecurity.
Sara: It was played by John Peel on Siobhan: We didn’t have management [They all laugh]
BILL ZYGMANT\SHUTTERSTOCK

Radio 1. half the time! You always came across as very


GIRL BANANA
Siobhan: On my birthday. We asked Sara: It was a case of: “Girls, I think you POWER: Spiky hair, confident.
them to turn up the radio at this should do this.” “No, I don’t want to.” polka dots and Keren: I think we became confident.
metallic eyeshadow,
vegetarian café near our flat. End of story. [Laughs] helped make the girls
Sara: I think we were quite a daunting
Keren: The one we did a runner from? Keren: I do sometimes think, maybe New Wave style icons prospect the three of us together,

48 JANUARY 2018
BGF

{ THE CREDENTIALS }
eventually. People thought we were early stuff to here?” I found the sexism
going to be silly and not very bright, but of Stock Aitken Waterman very difficult
we were a force to be reckoned with to handle. I couldn’t be in the studio
because we had an intellect. We said at the same time as Pete [Waterman]. I
how we wanted things done, and there remember Matt [Aitken] pressing the
are men around who are afraid of that. talkback button going, “Keren, I can see
They term you as “difficult”. your tits wobble!” But I didn’t want to
Siobhan: No one knew what to make leave my sisters in the lurch, so I made
of us. the album with them.
After your first couple of hits with Fun I’m very glad I stayed, as Wow! is a
Boy Three, suddenly you were not just really great pop record.
the coolest thing in music but also Sara: You met Dave [Stewart of The
style icons. Eurythmics] then, too.
Keren: Which is remarkable in Siobhan: Yes, everything in my life SHOW STEALERS:
Performing on stage
hindsight. [Laughs] was changing. at the Brit Awards,
Siobhan: I cannot believe we were Keren: I think that naturally happens. in 1988
considered “style icons”. I look back at We changed, too. After we did Wow! we
the photos and think. “How?” recorded Pop Life with Youth, which was
[They all laugh] much less poppy. Date formed: other artists who just accepted songs,
You’re all mothers to grown-up Sara: We started with I Heard A Rumour, 1981. performed them and left.
children now. What do they think of and Stock Aitken Waterman’s sound Place of formation: Sara: We co-wrote.
you guys going out and performing? got more and more poppy, and for all of London. Siobhan: I think we also inspired them
Keren: My son’s always loved it. His us, towards the end, we thought: that’s Best known for: and helped refined their sound. Venus
Being one of the
friends say, “Don’t you find it a bit probably enough. was the prototype for their sound.
biggest all-girl pop
weird that’s your mum dancing on Keren: It was nice to experiment with We went to them because we loved
bands in the world
stage?” and he’s like, “No.” He’s so used different types of music. That’s part of for more than 20 Dead or Alive’s You Spin Me Round. It
to it. being an artist and all wanting to do years. was never just them being producers
Siobhan: My youngest one is coming to something different. We didn’t want to Least known for: and us being singers, it was a different
join us on the road. He’s my gay son so do the same stuff all the time. I think Being backing relationship and was more of a
he’s going to love it. the turning point was listening to the singers for The challenge to them.
Siobhan, what was the point when you radio and thinking, “Oh, they’re playing Jam and Iggy Pop. Sara: Wow! was full of brilliant,
said you have to go? When you just our song,” but it was actually someone BGF status: Their unapologetic pop songs
“take-no-shit”
couldn’t do it anymore? else’s. Keren: For me, that was what I always
attitude made
Siobhan: Our first discussion of me You want an album to be personal to wanted to do. We were definitely more
them popular
leaving was on the eve of recording you and made for you. And the fact that with gay fans in confident as performers. I loved that
Wow! I guess our relationship was you see that sound is on every other the 1980s, as did album. It was a joy for me
breaking down as friends. I was in an record was irritating. their muscled male Siobhan: Me too. Nathan Jones was one
odd place emotionally, feeling a bit Pete Waterman has termed you all dancers. They’ve of my favourite Supremes songs of all
lost. I was obsessed with The Smiths “difficult”. also supported time, and I bailed before I got to sing
at the time, and our move towards Keren: Good! LGBT+ causes over it [live].
ultra-pop wasn’t what I wanted to do. Sara: But he loved working with us. the decades. Some would say the ultimate
I thought, “how did we get from our Keren: Difficult compared to the Bananarama dance routine, too…
Siobhan: Yeah, and I’ve had to learn
it! [Laughs] It’s very difficult. It’s very
involved and it’s not a natural dance
routine at all.
Sara: We saw it in the gay clubs back
then, and that was our interpretation
of it.
What was it like singing those songs
together again for the first time in
three decades?
Keren: It’s been really exciting and very
emotional. There’s a couple of songs
that moved us to tears.
Siobhan: We’ve had lumps in throat and
unable to sing on some of the songs.
Sara: It just feels wonderful. Exactly like
it always was.

Bananarama’s Greatest Hits Collection


is out now

JANUARY 2018 49
JUSTIN TRUDEAU

WORLD EXCLUSIVE

LEADING
THE WAY CANADA MADE HISTORY LAST MONTH WHEN IT ISSUED A FORMAL
APOLOGY TO ITS LGBT+ COMMUNITY FOR PAST PERSECUTIONS. IN A
WORLD EXCLUSIVE, ATTITUDE EDITOR CLIFF JOANNOU MEETS THE
COUNTRY’S PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU AT MONTREAL PRIDE
EXCLUSIVELY PHOTOGRAPHED FOR
ATTITUDE BY CHRISTOPHER WAHL

I t’s August in Montreal and it’s a wonderful 26C


as the LGBT+ population gears up for a monumental Pride
event. Montreal’s citizens are flocking outdoors, and the
bars and restaurants extend out into the streets as the
city embraces the sunshine. The main gay thoroughfare,
Rue Sainte-Catherine, is closed to traffic. Rainbow baubles
the world’s attention. And let’s be honest, it would be
disingenuous not to suggest that his handsome looks aren’t
what first attracted the media’s gaze.
But what has held Attitude’s interest beyond that is his
steadfast belief in equality, and the fact that he is arguably
the world’s most pro-LGBT+ political leader.
festoon the lampposts overhead.
The event, the first to be designated Canada Pride, is Ahead of Attitude’s exclusive interview and
taking place in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s hometown, photoshoot with the prime minister, I am invited to
which is also marking its 375th birthday. In addition, the join him walking the route of the inaugural Canada
country is commemorating the 150th anniversary since Pride. On the morning of Pride, I arrive for a press
confederation and Canada as we know it today was founded. conference at the Queen Elizabeth hotel.
There’s a lot for Canucks to celebrate in 2017. Given that one of the G8 leaders is in the house, there’s
That’s not to say life in the world’s second largest country a strange serenity in the air. I walk casually into the lobby
is perfect. As with most nations around the globe, Canada and ask for directions to the conference room where our
has its fair share of internal issues, but by comparison and meeting is taking place. I make my way to the first floor
for a country often highly rated for its quality of life, it’s to find our photographer setting up, in the company of a
a relative utopia. It certainly isn’t having to deal with the few suited security men, to whom I am introduced. Their
level of crisis enveloping Europe as it struggles to maintain demeanour is amiable, the atmosphere relaxed. I wonder
a fragile unity, the chaos engulfing the government of whether this would be the case with Trudeau’s peers. I
the USA, or the ongoing troubles in the Middle East and highly doubt it. Outside the window the crowds gather,
Zimbabwe. lining the street in anticipation of the parade.
Where strong and stable in the UK means weak and The day before, I received the news that the Irish
wobbly, Canada projects a confident and progressive Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is in Montreal for meetings with
image. Central to Canada’s positive PR is Justin Trudeau: Trudeau and will be joining the entourage on the parade
an intellectual, charismatic politician who has seized route with his partner, Matthew. It’s the first time a foreign ›

JANUARY 2018 51

head of government has marched in a Canadian Pride event.
Trudeau, meanwhile, has been a familiar face at Prides for a
OUTSIDE, PEOPLE
number of years. CHEER AND WAVE
The PM’s press team arrives to greet me and we discuss
the day’s events. They seem unnervingly relaxed and loose
FLAGS. ADULTS
about the schedule. I feel as if something will go wrong at OF ALL AGES AND
any minute and months of planning will be for nothing.
There are several news outlets here, too, but Attitude is
CHILDREN WITH PAINTED
the only media granted one-to-one access for an exclusive FACES GATHER THREE OR FOUR
interview and photoshoot.
Minutes later, the press conference with Trudeau and
DEEP, WAITING FOR TRUDEAU
Varadkar begins. They exchange pleasantries and share TO JOIN IN THE FUN
ambitions to build on the close ties between their nations
— all the usual political formalities you would expect from
two heads of state. When the press conference wraps up,
the entourage leaves the hotel for the next stop a couple
of blocks away; a second press conference, this time with
invited guests from the LGBT+ community.
Outside, people cheer and wave flags. Adults of all ages
and backgrounds and face-painted children gather three or I sense an authenticity behind his desire to spend his
four deep waiting for Trudeau to join in the fun. When he Sunday among the gays.
arrives alongside Varadkar, the cameras start clicking and Following the parade, back at the hotel security is again
the parade begins its slow stroll along the street to the claps strangely relaxed. His team inform me that the prime
and whoops of the crowd. minister will be ready for the interview bang on schedule.
Unlike previous years, Trudeau hovers around the middle Right on cue, Trudeau strolls into the foyer, smiles broadly,
of the parade route, flanked by his team and others from the shakes my hand and thanks me for coming to Montreal to
LGBT+ community as well as Pride organisers. meet him. Then we sit down for our interview, along with
Occasionally, he breaks away from the centre (pun his team who listen intently.
intended) and throws himself into the crowd, enjoying “The first times I would walk one side, then the other
enthusiastic selfies and hugs. I don’t know any other country side, shaking hands, taking pictures, actually connecting
in the world where the leader joins a Pride parade — and not with people in a real way,” he tells me when asked if his
just for a token annual visit. While most politicians might experience of Pride has changed since he first took office.
tick the box and participate the year before or after an “It’s frustrating for me to be stuck in the middle, but people
election, Trudeau returns repeatedly. are really happy to see me. And I’m happy to see them.”
We talk about how surprised I am by the
apparent low level of security, how the crowd
PACKING A PUNCH: Trudeau took isn’t separated from the parade by barriers, as it
on Conservative MP Patrick Brazeau
in a boxing match in March 2012. is at Pride in London. “It’s pretty good. It’s a good
Although he won, he came in for balance,” he agrees. “It’s my hometown. I’ve been
quite a lot of criticism
coming to this parade for 10 years, since I began
as a politician, so it’s nice to still be coming back
every year as prime minister,” adds Trudeau, who
turns 46 on Christmas Day.
While there’s little doubt he believes in the
message behind Pride, there’s also a little piece of
Trudeau that loves being one of the focal points
of the parade. But his attendance in no way
overtakes the festivities; when his entourage has
passed, the crowds stay to watch the drag queens,
bikers, topless boys, political walking groups
and commercial floats that make up most Pride
events. The presence of the PM does, however,
deliver a strong message that his government
values diversity and inclusion.
Yet, it’s clear that Trudeau is also a bit of a
showman; you don’t see Angela Merkel arriving to
SHUTTERSTOCK

work on Halloween in full Clark Kent/Superman


fancy dress.

52 JANUARY 2018
JUSTIN TRUDEAU

FLAG BEARER: Trudeau


greets the crowds with
Ireland’s first openly
gay Taoiseach Leo
Varadkar at this year’s
Montreal Pride

And where Vladimir Putin asserts an outdated idea of breakdown on the benefits of quantum technology that
masculinity by posing topless on horseback, Trudeau relays drew applause from the crowd.
a more modern perspective of maleness by performing yoga
poses over desks at meetings. It’s two years since the Liberal Party won an
That said, he’s not shy about making overt displays of overwhelming majority and took leadership of the
maleness. In a 2012 boxing match, a year before he was Canadian parliament — after almost a decade of
elected to the leadership of the Liberal Party, Trudeau Conservative governance. Inevitably, the goodwill towards
famously beat rival Conservative politician Patrick Brazeau, any political party that has enjoyed such success begins to
who was the favourite to win the bout. wane. Accountability and action take centre stage, people
It was a situation that won Trudeau headlines at the start to demand results. Meanwhile, sights are also set on
time, but came back to haunt him earlier this year. He was the next election.
accused of “using indigenous people as political props” on “A good start, but still more work ahead of me than behind
social media, following a clumsy statement in a Rolling Stone me,” replies Trudeau when I ask him to assess his first two
magazine cover story in which he stated, “I wanted someone years as his country’s leader. “There are a lot of things we’ve
who would be a good foil, and we stumbled upon the done that I’m really proud of, a lot of things that we’re
scrappy tough-guy senator from an indigenous community. working hard on that are gonna get done soon, and a whole
He [fitted] the bill and it was a very nice counterpoint. I saw bunch of things that I really hope we’re going to get to in the
it as the right kind of narrative, the right story to tell.” coming years.
It wasn’t the best choice of words and is a perfect example “But we’re going to need another mandate to do that.”
of the rough edges that still exist around Trudeau’s polished He cites the economic success story that Canada has
exterior. become and the drive towards creating a more diverse and
Beyond his visage and vigour, he often deploys a quick wit equal society as the achievements of which he’s most proud.
that Theresa May can only dream of. Moreover, Trudeau recognises that when people feel secure
Earlier this year, a journalist attempted to bait him by economically, they also feel happier in their communities.
asking for an explanation of quantum computing, fully “This idea of inclusive growth, growth for the middle class,
expecting him to pass. tempers so much of the anxiety that’s out there in the world
Instead, the Canadian prime minister delivered a succinct that’s getting bounced up in populism, in Brexit and things ›

JANUARY 2018 53
54 JANUARY 2018
JUSTIN TRUDEAU


THE POLITICS OF of me being able to get out there.” Last winter, Trudeau
embarked on a tour which saw him visiting small towns,
FEAR AND DIVISION taking over community halls and gyms and answering
DON’T WORK. WE questions from local residents.
“Staying connected with people, whether it’s trying to do it
FOCUSED ON in a parade, or a street corner, or a shop or wherever, that’s
BRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER the really big challenge for me. I’ve always been able to do
that but it’s slightly harder when you get the motorcade and
the bubble that surrounds a prime minister.”
As a way of staying connected to communities, Trudeau
created a number of advisory groups and positions,
including appointing MP Randy Boissonnault as Canada’s
first special adviser to the prime minister on LGBTQ2
issues (“2” representing the two-spirited First Nation or
indigenous people that fulfil a “third” gender role).
One of the greatest challenges facing a new PM is having
to deal with the realities of the job in office versus promises
made in the election campaign. His environmental policies
were scrutinised this year when he failed to challenge the
controversial Keystone XL pipeline
like that which are expressions of pulling extension across Canada, while others
away or closing off.” have criticised his reversal on a promise
He continues: “If you allay people’s to introduce proportional representation
anxieties and fears about their own at the next election — a policy that
economic future, about their jobs and many believe has been dropped because
about their kids’ futures, it’s easier to it would effectively cost him seats in
build a cohesive, inclusive and positive parliament, where the Liberals currently
society. The politics of fear and division enjoy a huge majority.
don’t work that well. So, bringing people It’s one thing to champion a liberal
together around a growing economy was and progressive ideology when you’re an
HERO: Trudeau in his
the big thing we’ve been focused on.” Superman outfit for opposition party and you don’t have to
At a time when division is rife among Halloween keep the country running smoothly. It’s
too many countries in the West — from another thing entirely to deliver those
the UK to the USA, and from France to Spain and Germany ideals when you’re suddenly responsible for one component
— Trudeau tells me that his second goal was to “elevate the of a globalised capitalist system. “Again, I give a lot of credit
awareness” of the pride Canadians have in their country. to the citizens, to Canadians,” he says assuredly. “A great
“We should be confident that we’re one of the places example is economy versus environment. You don’t say, ‘We
to have figured out that diversity is a source of strength. have to protect the environment’, and forget the economy.
We have a positive role to play in the world, we can make Or you don’t say, ‘Oh no, we’ve got to build the economy’,
positive choices that people can look at,” he asserts. and forget the environment.
He’s also keen to highlight that this national spirit isn’t “You have to fit them together in reasonable ways. That
something new; he simply pushed a message that had been means figuring out the right path forward.”
muted for too long back into the public sphere. Trudeau points out that the same challenges present
“There’s a national consciousness out there that I was themselves when it comes to legislation around equality
able to tap into. People say to me, ‘Oh, you changed Canada issues. “On poverty, or activism, or marginalised groups,
in the past couple of years’. I didn’t change anything. you have to figure out how to move things forward in a
Canadians didn’t change when the government changed, meaningful and incremental way, that leaves a bunch of
Canadians are what they are. I’m just very glad to be able to people impatient, but is done in the right way so a future
elevate what we saw outside [at Pride], what we’re seeing government isn’t going to be able to turn the clock back.”
on the world stage, this positive view of engagement in a It’s a sad truth that while there has been real progress in
compassionate and open way.” equality across the world, you only have to see the reversal
However, leadership brings its own challenges. With a of LGBT+ rights in Russia and the re-criminalisation of
schedule that frequently takes Trudeau across the country, homosexuality in India to see how easy it is for freedoms
and working extremely long hours, he says it’s important to be taken away. In the USA, Trump is slowly unpicking
that he’s also there for his family. Obama’s legacy, putting equal rights at risk.
Another key priority, he says, is “staying connected” and Trudeau reiterates his belief that legislation needs to
“not being too much in a bubble where you have everyone be watertight before it’s passed. “Real change to society
filtering what Canadians are feeling through to me, instead is incremental. That means we have to do a lot of things ›

JANUARY 2018 55

STAND UP AGAINST offered redress for those people in the military and public
service who lost their jobs under the old laws.
BULLIES, STAND The government will also issue pardons for those
UP FOR PEOPLE wishing to have their convictions expunged. It’s the most
comprehensive apology a national government has made
IN DIFFICULT for the historical persecution of sexual minorities anywhere
SITUATIONS. IF THERE’S in the world. “I am proud to continue to fight for human
rights, as my father did,” Trudeau says.
WEAKNESS SOMEWHERE, From Pierre Trudeau’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms
ADD YOUR STRENGTH TO in 1982 to the passage of the more recent Civil Marriage
Act, Justin Trudeau underscores that the fight to end
BALANCE THE SCALES discrimination is not over, adding that “a lot of hard work
remains”.
Policy can be changed over night, but society often moves
at a slower pace. The government “acknowledging and
apologising” for the role played by legislation, programmes
and policies in the historical discrimination faced by
LGBTQ2 Canadians is an immense driver for that social
change. “We believe it’s essential to make amends for past
wrongs, not to simply gloss over them,” adds Trudeau.
meaningfully and we always have to be pushing further, but “The apology is an important step in the right direction.
I think there’s an understanding that, unfortunately, some of Our government believes in equality and equal treatment
these things take time if they’re going to last and if they’re for all Canadians and we’re proud to take concrete action to
going to have the right benefits.” make that a reality.”
I ask whether the long game of politics, which can make Following its own apology made in November, Scotland is
progress so painfully slow, has sapped his passion for the set to issue pardons this month. Meanwhile, the government
job. He pauses, then says assuredly that it hasn’t and that still flounders on the subject of an official apology in
the job remains a “total passion” for him. “I love what I’m England and Wales.
doing. The reflection around the position is really important Correcting years of injustice for the LGBT+ community,
to me because I look at the crowds, I look at the security, such as tackling issues around trans equality and the
everything that happens around the prime minister and it’s unequal age of consent, were priorities for Trudeau’s
obvious they’re not there for me as a person; they’re there administration. He says his dedication to fighting for
for the position, the respect of the position. fairness in society was one of the greatest things that his
“Remembering that I am in a position to serve Canadians father, who died 17 years ago, taught him.
and having all that around me being a reminder and “I grew up with my father impressing upon us the
helping me focus on that is a good thing. It’s a passion, it’s a importance of standing up for people’s rights, in every
vocation, it’s a job, but it’s also a responsibility.” situation. That’s why he brought in the Charter of Rights
and Freedoms. It was always the default for us.
In 1967, proposing legislation to decriminalise “You stand up against bullies, you stand up for people who
homosexuality, Canada’s attorney general said: are in difficult situations. One of our informal family mottos
“There’s no place for the State in the bedrooms of is to always provide counterweights: if there’s weakness
the nation.” Same-sex consenting sexual somewhere go and add your strength
activity became legal in 1969 and a to balance the scales. That was always
year later the nation’s chief law officer a general theme for me.”
became the country’s 15th prime By his late teens, Trudeau embraced
minister. His name was Pierre Trudeau activism when he became a volunteer
and it’s a fair bet that he imagined his at the McGill University sexual assault
children might follow his footsteps into centre run by the student society.
public office. It’s much less likely, “The institution didn’t want to
however, he ever envisaged that some recognise there might be a problem
five decades later, his youngest son around sexual assault. But it was
would be marking the final year of his the student society running it and it
first term as prime minister at the same exposed me to all sorts of activism,
time as Canada’s gay community these huge intersectionalities —
celebrates the golden anniversary of TRU CALLING:
although we didn’t know what to call it
that ground-breaking legislation. Attitude editor then — with different activist groups:
Last month, Trudeau’s government Cliff Joannou the women’s union, the LGBT alliance,
with Justin Trudeau
made history with a formal apology and the sexual assault centre.

56 JANUARY 2018
JUSTIN TRUDEAU

TALKING THE TALK, WALKING THE WALK: from left, Trudeau with openly gay MP Randy Boissonnault, Barack Obama, and France’s Emmanuel Macron

“That was when I became truly aware of the real — if slowly. “The leaders are beginning to understand that
challenges that different identities had with discrimination the world is moving in that direction and we haven’t made
and unfairness, and I understood my own privilege of how it a direct condition of trade or aid or anything like that, but
I was raised, but also the privilege that went with being it’s starting to be a real pressure that you cannot continue to
raised in my family. It opened my eyes to the struggle that criminalise LGBT+ [people].”
is still going on.” Canada is also a progressive voice in the Commonwealth,
Canada has become a beacon of progress in a Western which depressingly features more anti-queer nations than
world that is currently undergoing a major identity crisis. la Francophonie. Trudeau acknowledges there are huge
The optimistic outlook with which many of us welcomed challenges ahead in regard to encouraging these countries to
in the 21st century has become a grubby window through begin to value all their citizens, regardless of sexuality. One
which we slowly observe a discontented world. solution he highlights is Canada’s aim to create an equality
New Labour’s promise of a reinvigorated discourse for a group at the Commonwealth, to push the issue from within.
new kind of politics delivered us the Iraq war, the shadow While it’s easy for these nations to gather in a grand
of which we live in today. The financial crash of 2008 has hall and applaud each other’s calls for a better future, the
seen the gap between rich and poor widen, while Europe conversations behind closed doors are where real opinions
has painfully navigated crisis after crisis — from the near- are shared.
collapse of Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain, to Brexit. “I remember an African leader said to me: ‘Justin, you
Further wars in Libya and Syria have forced millions to spoke very well, but on the gays I just can’t go where you
flee their homes, fuelling populist discontent. Meanwhile, are’,” Trudeau confides when I ask how his comments are
the so-called leader of the free world, Donald Trump, received in private.
remorselessly feeds fear and intolerance. “But,” he adds, “there was a recognition. [People are] blunt
With every advancement of LGBT+ rights we celebrate — about it. They blame all sorts of things: society not being
the introduction of same-sex marriage in Germany, Taiwan ready, or the Church; being a very conservative society —
and Ireland, and Australia’s “Yes” vote on the same subject with a small ‘c’ — or having very traditional values.
— we witness a step back elsewhere as the community finds “I think sometimes it takes friends, or allies, or partners,
itself hunted down in Chechnya and Egypt. like another country leader, to say: ‘Give your people more
Meanwhile, the rights of trans people are under attack in credit than you have, and maybe the religious leaders don’t
the USA. Amid all this turmoil, Canada seems an isolated have the kind of impact that you think they have’.
haven of liberalism. “You need to give people a friendly nudge to move forward
At last year’s la Francophonie, the international in the right direction, and I’m very glad to do it. But, yes, I’ve
organisation of French-speaking nations, Trudeau openly had some very candid conversations with leaders about the
promoted the importance of women’s and LGBT+ rights. fact that they need to go there.”
“That’s enough. There is no excuse for such practices, for A potential problem with the growing value placed on
such violations of their fundamental rights,” he told a room sexual and gender equality in Canada, Europe and Australia
of representatives from 80 governments. is how it is increasingly regarded as a creation of the West,
He went on to say: “Because we’re all family here, let’s tell resulting in anti-LGBT+ countries in Africa, Eastern Europe
each other the truth. We owe them the same respect, the and the Middle East becoming more determined to protect
same rights and the same dignity as all other members of their “traditional” way of life.
our society.” “There will always be small groups of people who have
While Trudeau’s words drew applause, he says the power, whether it’s religious groups, or political groups, who
speeches are always hard to deliver at a gathering in which will protect that status quo and will resist change as it gets
a considerable number of nations have extremely retrograde closer to them,” Trudeau goes on. “But I trust people, I trust
and damaging policies aimed at the LGBT+ community. citizens, and I know that the direction that we need to move
“I’ll say it and I’ll stand up for it and be very blunt about is in respectful ways, in meaningful ways [and] is something
it. But inevitably, maybe not from the leaders — maybe that we need to keep pushing.”
from some leaders — but staffers and people around will say, One of the most violent instances of anti-queer activity
‘Thank you for standing up, thank you for adding that voice came earlier this year when the horrific stories about the
because it’s something that [people] need to hear’.” torture and detention of gay men started emerging from
Despite the challenges of winning over hearts and minds Chechnya. Assisted by LGBT+ charity Rainbow Railroad, the
on queer issues, Trudeau is hopeful that change will come Canadian government quietly accepted more than 30 gay ›

JANUARY 2018 57
WAVE OF SUPPORT:
Justin Trudeau
still thinks it’s vital
to march in Pride
parades

men and women fleeing the conservative Muslim region “What actually helps is that I’m comfortable in my own
that is a federal subject of Russia. Tanya Lokshina, Russian skin and that shines through. Even when I fall out of a kayak
programme director for New York-based Human Rights and I’m embarrassed, it ends up [with] people thinking, ‘Oh
Watch, told one of Canada’s national newspapers, The that’s just who he is, he’s out there being active’.
Globe and Mail: “The Canadian government deserves much “There’s no contradiction between someone who likes to
praise for showing such openness and goodwill to provide get outdoors, likes to goof around with friends, and be a real
sanctuary for these people. They did the right thing.” person, and the hard work we do on policy, doing things
right,” he explains.
As Canada’s 2015 election approached, Trudeau Trudeau is clearly aware of the focus that is placed on
seemed to invigorate national politics, his his image. His response to this at the election was to put
youthfulness and charm enthusing the population in forward a platform that he believes connected with what
much the same way that Tony Blair and Barack Obama did Canadians wanted, earning their trust through policy.
during their initial campaigns. But it wasn’t until Trudeau “If people get too fixated on image then they’re not
won the election that the world’s media took notice of the capturing the rest, and quite frankly, I give Canadians a lot
new poster boy of international politics. more credit than some of my political opponents do.”
It’s fair to say that despite its G8 status, most people He continues: “Canadians understand the difference
would be hard-pressed to name any notable Canadian prime between what we do substantively and what ends up being
minister before Justin Trudeau, with the possible exception image, and the fact that they’re linked around an authentic
of his father. Again, it would be true to say a lot of the person is part of what helps. You can’t have image without
attention zeroed in on Trudeau’s dashing looks, such is the substance for long; people figure that out.”
power of image in the age of social media. As the honeymoon period of his first term ends and the
Does Trudeau ever think that this attention becomes lead up to the next election begins, Trudeau’s policies and
an obstacle to his message? He pauses before he answers. actions are starting to fall under increasing scrutiny from
Admittedly, it’s a loaded question. “First of all, I am happy in voters and his nation’s media. It is in the polling booths
a parade full of people, that’s not an image, that’s me. This where his ability to do the job will ultimately be judged.
is who I am. I like people. I’m someone who is comfortable In the days before meeting Trudeau, I spoke to people in
in the social media world, all these things. the LGBT+ community to hear how they see their prime

58 JANUARY 2018
JUSTIN TRUDEAU


minister. The majority praise Trudeau’s work and ethics.
Eleazar, a waiter in his twenties who works in a cute French
THE MORE WE
bistro on Rue Saint-Paul, has a unique memory of meeting ARE EXPOSED TO
the PM. “He came into our canteen at McGill University the
day after he won the election and asked if he could sit with
STORIES THAT
my friends and me,” Eleazar recalls. REVEAL OUR OWN
“Everybody was a little awe-struck, but we spoke for almost
an hour. He asked what our concerns and priorities were. I
BIASES, THE BETTER WE WILL
found it quite impressive that he took the time out to meet BE AT STANDING UP FOR
students and get their opinions when he could have been
doing a hundred other things.”
OTHER PEOPLE’S RIGHTS
Stephen, a young gay-venue manager from Toronto, is
more critical, telling me: “It’s easy to be a great leader when
the economy is doing well. He’s broken a few promises.”
Helen Kennedy, the executive director of LGBT+ rights
charity Egale, praises the positive actions that Trudeau has
already made but raises concerns for LGBT+ equality on a
more practical level.
With 23 per cent of young homeless people in Toronto
identifying as queer, there is a clear issue regarding
access to support for people who have to come out in
less-accepting families, and those with mental health stress disorder as a result of the difficulties they have had
issues. Plus, the disparity of inclusive sex and relationship to face, and find little support following their arrival in a
education in schools still leaves the relationships of LGBT+ challenging new society.
people invisible in the school system. The LGBT+ community in Canada still has many
Helen appeals to Trudeau to meet her team. “I always say mountains to climb and the recent changes to legislation are
if you’re not invited to dinner, you’re on the menu,” she says just the beginning of that journey.
with a grin. As Trudeau himself states, his ongoing support at Pride is
Meanwhile, Christian Tanguay, the executive director indicative of the many battles still to be won.
at Montreal’s LGBTQ+ Community Centre, says his main As my time with the PM draws to an close, one of my
concern is the decreasing number of safe spaces available to parting questions is what he feels straight people can learn
young LGBT+ people, citing rising rents and gentrification as from the queer community.
the principal factors that force centres that receive little or “Oh God!” he exclaims. “We all have so many identities,
no government assistance to close. privileges and challenges. Just learn from anyone who is
He is also concerned for the many queer refugees who find different to you, understanding their challenges.
sanctuary in Canada, many of whom suffer post-traumatic “The LGBT+ community has become emblematic of the
fight for human rights. The fact that so many people have
gone for so long feeling that they had to be ashamed, or
hide something about their core identity to fit into society is
a lesson for everyone to push against.
“Every time someone says to me, ‘Why do you still feel
it’s important to walk Prides?’ [I say] it’s because there’s
so much more to do, and the more that we are exposed to
stories that reveal our own biases, the privileges we take for
granted, that other people don’t have, the better we’ll be at
standing up for other people’s rights and opportunities.”
In a world dishearteningly lacking in progressive and
inspiring political leadership, Trudeau stands apart from
other world leaders. Next year, when he attends the
gathering of Commonwealth nations in the UK, he will
be present as a champion of the international LGBT+
community, a man unashamed to be seen walking side-
by-side with his LGBT+ Canadians at Pride, or working to
BUDDING POLITICIAN: challenge the oppression of our brothers and sisters who
A nine-year-old Justin
Trudeau, with his father
suffer in Africa, the Caribbean, Asia and Eastern Europe.
Pierre, meets Margaret In a world that seems fraught with fear and division, in
SHUTTERSTOCK

Thatcher in Downing Justin Trudeau we can be assured of one ally who’s


Street in 1980
determined to fight our corner.

JANUARY 2018 59
Healing the wound
SOUTH AFRICAN MUSICIAN AND ACTOR NAKHANE DOESN’T SHY
AWAY FROM ATTENTION, BE IT GOOD OR BAD. HAVING BURST
OUT OF THE CLOSET AND ON TO THE MUSIC SCENE IN 2013,
HE’S NOW COURTING CONTROVERSY WITH NEW FILM
7+(¢:281' — A GAY LOVE STORY SET WITHIN
AN ANCIENT AFRICAN RITE OF PASSAGE
WORDS: TIM HEAP // PHOTOGRAPHY: FRANCISCO GOMEZ DE VILLABOA // FASHION: CARLOS MANGUBAT

inger-songwriter, actor and all-round Now put forward for consideration for the 2018
good egg, Nakhane has a simple Academy Awards’ Best Foreign Language Film
request for us all. “A little bit of category, it focuses on a closeted relationship
empathy is all I want from the world,” between Nakhane’s character, Xolani, and
he says softly, talking about the death married man, Vija, set during a Xhosa initiation
threats he’s become accustomed ritual (ulwaluko) whereby Xhosa adolescents
to receiving this year. “It seems to be lacking at are circumcised as part of a rite of passage into
the moment.” manhood.
Having spent the last couple of hours posing The backlash against the film comes both from
for photos, Nakhane opts to sit on the studio the fact that it explores homosexuality in the
floor for our interview. He’s perfectly content, Xhosa community — something that is largely
almost zen-like, while I’m uncomfortably shifting unspoken of — and because it depicts elements
around every few minutes with legs splayed. We of the initiation ritual, a rite of passage that’s
have cups of coffee in hand and his Mancunian traditionally kept secret and considered sacred
boyfriend, Chris, is close by. Over the four amongst Xhosa men. But that’s only one part
years they’ve been together, Chris, who lives of it, as Nakhane explains to Attitude ahead of
with Nakhane in Johannesburg and works as a The Wound’s UK release…
producer for MTV, has become used to occupying
himself while Nakhane promotes his music The idea for your involvement in The Wound
and other projects, quoting Oscar Wilde, James was for you to do some of the music. How did
Baldwin, Zadie Smith and other luminaries as that evolve into you playing the lead role?
he goes. In late 2013, after I’d released my first album,
Early 2018 is looking to be a busy time for John Trengove, the film’s director, called me
the 29-year-old South African. His second and said that he really liked my music and he
album, teased by four-track EP Clairvoyant this explained about the film and asked if I wanted to
September, is due in February, four years since meet to discuss possibly making the music for it.
his debut Brave Confusion introduced Nakhane We met for coffee and then a few weeks later he
as an experimental, openly-gay, Christian said, “Can you act?” I’d done a little bit of acting,
musician. Since then, he’s left the Church and but I never really thought I’d do it professionally,
the new album has been written mainly about because friends of mine who were actors told
that experience, and his reconnection with the me about how gruelling the auditions are, and
traditional spirituality of the Xhosa people — a I didn’t want to put myself through that. But
Bantu-ethnic group comprising about eight John said, “Well, try it, and if you’re not good, we
million South Africans. won’t cast you.” And I’m very competitive.
On the film front, Nakhane’s lead role in Did he ask you that because of your demeanour
controversial independent South African film and your own experience of the ritual?
The Wound has put him (along with the film’s Yeah, I think so. When we met for the first
other cast and creatives) in the spotlight since it time, he saw how I speak and who I am, and
premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. that inspired him to think that maybe I could ›

60 JANUARY 2018
NAKHANE

Nakhane wears blazer


and trousers by Gucci,
t-shirt by Martin
Asbjørn, earring and
ring by Ekria

JANUARY 2018 61
be the character he was looking for. to know about it because I grew up in a rural area. It wasn’t because everyone here is obviously
He sent me the script and I really a shock, but I was a Christian and I thought that it was straight, and I’m trying to be straight.”
loved it, so I prepared for the role in a some bohemian practice that went against my beliefs. But I never thought in a million years that
two-pronged way. One was a classical it revealed a lot about myself — I realised how arrogant and someone would make a pass at me.
way of acting, where you put on the judgmental I was. Which was why it was annoying when
clothes and you behave like the person, How long is the entire process, and how old were you? straight men were saying that it didn’t
and the other part was more method It’s a month. I was 20. I realised how much I’d learnt from happen. That’s when I put up my hand
acting, where I was accessing things it; I was humbled by it. Every culture has its problems, but and said, “How do you refute my own
that I thought I’d never have to access I do feel like we demonise it a little bit in Western culture, personal story?” It’s a complicated
again — trauma, really — and going because Western culture sees it as mutilation. It doesn’t position to be in, to love your culture
back to hypermasculine spaces that understand that these men get some sort of power from it. so much and see the good that it
I never thought I’d want to go back to All boys are groomed to look forward to it because after it brings to the world, but also be one of
again because I knew they’d be painful. you have a place in society, as a man. its critics.
All the cast in The Wound went If, for whatever reason, boys don’t go through the ritual, They’re not mutually exclusive…
through the ritual themselves. What are they looked down on? Exactly. This film is quite local in
was your own experience? You were You’re not a man. Full stop. If you’re not a man, you’re its setting and its context, but it’s
from the city, so were you seen as a boy, and boys are not looked at in a very good light in universal in the issues that it deals
an outsider? our culture. That’s why you have to go through the rite of with. Where do you go in the world
Not necessarily, because my generation passage in order for you to be taken seriously. advocate for where there isn’t homophobia or
of black South Africans have had to choice, but I also understand that in certain communities, patriarchy? I’ve been doing a lot of
navigate different spaces more than making a choice not to do something can be detrimental to interviews with European publications,
any other generation. Most of us are you. So as much as I’m pro-choice, I also understand why and they ask, “Do you think this film
not exclusively city kids, or township people don’t even think about it as a choice, because if they will open the minds of South Africans
kids, or suburban kids, or rural kids. don’t go through it, they’re ostracised. against homophobia?” I say, “Well,
We’ve had to navigate all these spaces You’ve spoken about your initiation before, how there that would be great, but how are you
at different times of our lives, and we were passes made at you by caregivers and initiates, and at guys dealing with it where you come
know how to put on an identity. I was that point you were trying to repress your homosexuality. from?” You know? There seems to be
born in the rural areas, I grew up in a Was that because of your religion or your culture? a certain, “Ah, Africa!” mentality. But
mid-sized city, Port Elizabeth, and then Mostly because of religion. I thought that it was going to be homophobia is a worldwide problem.
I went to live in Johannesburg. When I the safest space! I thought, “OK, alright God, you’ve allowed We [South Africans] haven’t had
went to initiation, I knew all there was this to happen, at least I know that I won’t get tempted a mass-shooting in a gay club. No
one’s done that yet. I’m sure there’ve
been murders, but massacre, in a
“developed” country? It’s interesting to
me how people see it. ›

ABOVE: Nakhane wears trousers and loafers by Gucci, sweater


by Arela, beret by Sonia Rykiel, ring and hoop earring by Ekria,
necklace Nakhane’s own (worn throughout)
RIGHT: Nakhane wears coat by Brooks Brothers, shirt by
The Cooper Collection, hoop earring by Ekria, cross earring
Nakhane’s own (worn throughout)

62 JANUARY 2018
NAKHANE

Nakhane wears blazer


and trousers by Maison
Mihara Yasuhiro,
earring and ring
by Ekria

“I was a Christian and I


thought that initiation was
some bohemian practice that
went against my beliefs. But
it revealed a lot about myself —
I realised how arrogant and
judgmental I was”

JANUARY 2018 63
NAKHANE

“It’s a complicated
position to be in, to love
You must face these stereotypes Lashes, Françoise Hardy, Imogen
and those perspectives all the time. your culture so much Heap… Sonically, it’s a little bit more
As an educated man with a lot of electronic than my older stuff. The
experience of Western culture, how and see the good that it songs are better written, there’s better
do you keep your cool? singing, more vocals, better lyrics.
Oh, you have to learn to pick your
battles. Some people really don’t
brings to the world, but It’s just better. Some of the songs on
Brave Confusion were written and then
know, and I’m not going to be angry at
someone who really doesn’t know. But
also be one of its critics” I recorded them straightaway, whereas
on this new record I was flipping them
some people are wilful assholes. To be round and round to make sure that
on the defensive all the time is not they were as well written as possible.
good for your mental health. a computer in your pocket. You have no excuse to not know There’s a certain power that I’m
Is it frustrating to you that things any more. But, having said that, one has to be careful dealing with.
international press or audiences not to sound self-righteous as well, because we’re all fucked In terms of your lyricism?
watch The Wound and pick up on this up and we all have our bullshit. South Africans and Africans Lyricism, representation, imagery. I’m
idea that the practice is barbaric, are not lesser human beings because of their practices. no longer the kid who’s scared of being
rather than seeing the film as a tale A lot of the problems that Africans have are because of found out anymore. I’m going to live
of toxic masculinity and a love story? colonialism. A big part of the homophobia that we have my life the way I want to live it.
It is incredibly frustrating, especially in nowadays is based on the fact that we were taught how to What’s the focus of it?
the age of information where you have be homophobic, because we had the Bible shoved down our It’s mostly about being an apostate and
throats. So it’s hilarious to leaving the church, or being thrown
me that the people who out or whatever. I was thrown out after
Nakhane wears shoved the Bible down our I’d left. When the pastor called me
t-shirt by Les
Basics, coat and throats are the ones who to say, “We have to excommunicate
jeans by Weekday, are going, “Oh, but guys! you,” I’d already left. It didn’t hurt as
loafers by GH
Bass, earring and Get your shit together!” much as I thought it was going to, but
ring by Ekria Has the backlash from when you believe in something for 25
the Xhosa community years and then suddenly go, “I don’t
surprised you at all? believe in it anymore”, there’s a void.
The extremity has Everything about my life revolved
surprised me. Its existence? around Christianity. When I was sick,
No, I knew it would I’d pray. When I was happy, I’d pray.
happen, I knew what I was When I was hungry, I’d pray. And
getting myself into. But I then suddenly, that thing isn’t there
didn’t know it was going to anymore. What do you fill it with? Now
be as extreme as that. I just practice Xhosa spirituality.
You mean the death How did you find your musicality?
threats… My family was musical. My mum and
Oh yeah. Those have made her sisters all sang in choirs; they were
me tenacious as well, but all classically trained opera singers.
not only me, but feminist I grew up around choirs and singing
black women, queer black was always a big thing in my house; my
people, they’ve been really mum and I used to harmonise all the
supportive of the film and time and we still have competitions
squashing the patriarchy, about who sings the best! She sends
so for every “I hope you me voice notes singing my songs
die” text, there’s someone saying, “Redo it!” I knew I wanted to
out there going, “I’m so be a musician from the time that I
fucking proud of you.” understood that I was in the world.
And that’s something Musicality by osmosis.
that people don’t want to Completely. There’s never been a
write about, because it moment where I didn’t know what
doesn’t sell newspapers I was going to do. Ever. And when the
or magazines. time came for me to leave high school,
Coming onto your music, my dad was like, “Maybe you should
you’ve finished the get something to fall back on,” I was
second album. What’s like, “Why?! This is all I’ll ever do.” And
the evolution been from it is.
Brave Confusion?
The new album’s coming The Wound opens in cinemas in April
out in February, and I’ve 2018, through Peccadillo Pictures
spent about four years peccapics.com
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66 JANUARY 2018
RUSSIA

red
alert
HIV RATES ARE FALLING IN THE WEST BUT IN
RUSSIA THEY’RE SOARING. GAY MEN ARE AMONG
THE WORST HIT AND THOUGHT TO BE IN
THE MIDST OF AN INVISIBLE EPIDEMIC.
MATT CAIN TRAVELS TO MOSCOW WHERE
HE MEETS HIV ACTIVISTS AND VISITS THE
GAY SCENE TO FIND OUT WHY

PHOTOGRAPHY: IRINA MININA

don’t really believe society; when a previous employer


condoms can found out, he lost his job. Wary of this

i
protect you from happening again, he’s given me a false
HIV.” These are the name and won’t be photographed.
words of Vladislav His story reflects a bigger picture
Ivanov, a 34-year- that’s causing serious concern for
old hotel worker those working in the HIV sector
from Rostov-on-Don, who now lives around the globe. According to the
in Moscow. He’s one of an estimated World Health Organisation (WHO) and
1.5 million people in Russia living the United Nations programme on HIV/
with HIV. Aids (UNAIDS), more than 103,000
Like many others, he isn’t receiving new cases were reported in Russia in
any treatment and as such is at risk of 2016, an increase of more than five
passing on the virus. But this doesn’t per cent on the previous year, and
seem to worry him. “I don’t wear it’s estimated that there are currently
condoms, because I don’t like them,” another 500,000 undiagnosed cases.
he says. “Most people I know think Eastern Europe and Central Asia
condoms can’t protect you from HIV. are the only regions in the world
People in Russia think of them only in where HIV infections are rising, with
terms of contraception.” Russia accounting for eight out of
Vladislav’s story is chilling. Diagnosed every 10 new infections. According
HIV positive in March, he tells me he to the estimates of HIV support group
was quite calm when he heard the Phoenix Plus, 20 per cent of gay men
news — until then he wasn’t even in Russia are HIV positive, and by 2020
convinced HIV existed. Because of this, this will increase to 30 per cent.
he had unprotected sex with a man To understand why, I have to
who had told him he was HIV positive. understand what life is like for gay
“I didn’t worry about it because I’d men in Russia.
seen a TV programme about those
who deny the existence of HIV. There AS MY PLANE prepares to land in
was a woman whose daughter died Moscow, I look down on to the country
and this woman was insisting it and its dark, foreboding landscape.
doesn’t exist and her daughter died of I’ve heard terrible stories about the
something else.” persecution gay people endure here,
Vladislav tells me that since his and how President Putin and other
diagnosis he’s spent time researching prominent politicians are stirring up
the virus and now feels “in a state of homophobia to suit their political
confusion”. One thing he is sure of is agenda. I feel a shiver of fear.
the need to hide his HIV status from When I arrive in central Moscow, ›

JANUARY 2018 67
I discover that it’s a surprisingly
beautiful, clean and well-maintained
city. At first it seems as if I’m walking
around any other modern capital.
Except here I feel unsafe. In this
über-macho society, men swagger
around showing off their shaved heads,
muscles and tattoos. A sense of threat
hangs in the air. I find myself trying to
act more straight and lower my voice.
On my first night I log on to Grindr
and find a higher than usual number
of anonymous profiles and several
men ask me for money in return
for sex. But the biggest difference
I notice is in the HIV status
box. Only one man discloses his
positive status — everyone else
claims to be negative or doesn’t
IN THIS MACHO
answer the question. This stands SOCIETY, THE
in stark contrast to the West,
where stigma is fading and people
MEN SWAGGER SIGN OF THE
TIMES: Above, Maya
know how to protect themselves. AROUND AND Demidova, who works
for Phoenix Plus. Left.
The picture hinted at here is A SENSE OF some shops declare
“No faggots allowed”
very different.
THREAT HANGS and, below left, one of
those brave enough to
THE NEXT MORNING I’m joined IN THE AIR. I be out in Russia, social
worker Alexander
in my hotel by a group of LGBT+
activists. Evgeny Pisemskiy is the
FEEL UNSAFE Zhelezkin

director of programmes
at Phoenix Plus, an HIV
charity that operates
out of six cities and beaten up on a gay boy or a rainbow you will become
is the only Russian train carriage gay.”
organisation to focus during rush hour Although Alexander says he’s often
specifically on the by a man who’d verbally insulted on account of his
needs of MSM (men spotted she sexuality, he hasn’t encountered any
who have sex with was trans. physical violence, but adds that this
men). Maya Demidova I try not to might be because he doesn’t use hook-
is a transgender woman worry, but can’t up apps. Several of his friends who do
who’s worked for the help feeling afraid so haven’t been so lucky.
organisation for three when we leave the “A lot of my friends have been
months as a co-ordinator Metro and pass a beaten up and experienced violence or
for the Moscow region. bakery which has blackmail. They go to meet someone
And Yury Maximov is the a sign saying “no and walk into a trap. I know one rich
financial manager of the support group faggots allowed” in the window. Evgeny tells me that there guy who’s about 40 and last time he
Resource LGBTQIA but for the next few are several of these around the city. went to a hook-up in an apartment
days he is acting as my interpreter. We make our way to the LGBT+ Centre, which is, in effect, there was a mob of 10 people with
Together we set off for the Moscow just one room in an unmarked residential block, located in dogs who started screaming and being
LGBT+ Centre, where the activists an inconspicuous suburb. I’m told its existence is known violent. He had to give them 50,000
are going to introduce me to some only to those who need it. rubles [about £650] to get out.”
people whose stories might help me One of these is Alexander Zhelezkin, a 30-year-old I notice how calm he is and ask
understand why HIV is such a problem social worker from a small village in the Urals. He looks how he can recount such horrors
among gay men in Russia. dangerously thin, but is charming and has sparkling eyes. He so casually. “Because it’s every day,”
On the Metro, we stand out from tells me he’s been openly gay for five years. he reveals. “I see this and think, ‘Oh
everyone around us and often attract I asked what reactions he had when he came out. “Some another one!’ It’s usual for me.”
stares. Sometimes these are curious, people disowned me, some said they hated me,” he Alexander is HIV negative but
sometimes they carry a whiff of comments, “but mostly they said, ‘You’ve chosen a hard is currently taking post-exposure
disapproval, sometimes even disgust. life.’ My mum said that. She hopes I’ll change and become prophylaxis (PEP), a course of HIV
Maya tells me that once she was ‘normal’ and live a regular life. People here think if you see a prevention drugs taken for 30 days

68 JANUARY 2018
RUSSIA

after exposure to risk.“I always try to and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. According to official there’s no such thing as a safe space
use condoms but sometimes I make statistics, only two per cent of people with HIV in Russia are for gay people in Russia.
mistakes,” he says, going on to explain registered under Code 103. But if we compare these figures I’ve been told stories about people
that there’s very little information with others recorded around the world, the suggestion is being attacked, robbed or blackmailed
about these drugs in Russia — and even that people aren’t being honest. “When the doctor asks who as they leave gay bars and clubs, and
less access to them. He’s worked out infected them, I’d say 90 per cent of MSM lie and say they have even heard about grenades being
that PEP is similar to the antiretroviral were infected by a woman because of the shame around thrown through the window of a club
therapy prescribed to those with HIV, being gay,” Alexander says. in St Petersburg. But as so few of those
so buys his from a pharmacy. “You’re This only helps to perpetuate the problem, he adds. If the affected are willing to go to the police
supposed to have a prescription, but I government can say so few people affected by HIV are MSM, there are no official statistics to reflect
just go and ask for HIV medication and they can get away with doing nothing to help them. This the problem — and no way of knowing
I take the pills.” might explain why it has recently started an HIV awareness just how widespread it is.
PEP is just one of the several tools campaign that makes no mention of gay men. Maya, the transgender co-ordinator
currently being used to combat HIV In the meantime, gay men with HIV continue to go working for Phoenix Plus, tells me that
around the world. But perhaps the undiagnosed and untreated. I’m told stories of people falling a few months ago she was violently
most effective weapon is antiretroviral ill in a way that no longer happens in the West. Figures from raped by a stranger she met in a club
treatments given to those who’ve been WHO and UNAIDS show that between January and June who she believes spiked her drink. I
diagnosed positive; in most cases, 2017, 14,631 Aids-related deaths were recorded — a rise of ask if she reported the incident to the
this diminishes their viral load to 13.5 per cent on the previous six-month period. police and she scoffs.
undetectable levels, which means it’s My interpreter Yury tells me about Valya, a man he knew “If I went to the police station they’d
impossible for them to pass on the who died after developing full-blown Aids in March. He laugh in my face and they wouldn’t
virus. But for this to happen, they have says Valya didn’t believe HIV existed so wouldn’t get tested, do anything. Once I was arrested and
to be tested. And that’s the crux of the even though his friends recognised the signs. At first this spent a few hours in a police station
problem in Russia. made Yury sad, but that quickly turned to anger. “In the and I heard so many insulting things
I meet Alexander Shumilov, from end, I felt hopeless because I could do nothing to change his about transgender people while I was
HIV support group La Sky. He tells me situation,” Yury adds. there. The police hate
that gay men in Russia are reluctant people like me. They
to get tested, not only because of the THAT EVENING the think that if I’ve been
ignorance and misinformation about activists offer to take me raped it’s my fault.”
the virus, but also because of the out on the gay scene. IN CENTRAL Her story preys on
stigma around it. Coupled with the I’m nervous because STATION I my mind as I visit the
culture of homophobia, this acts as a everyone has told me stylish Mono Bar and
powerful deterrent. WATCH MEN the busy Central Station
“When a man goes to a clinic to get DANCING AND club. Inside, I discover
tested and is diagnosed HIV positive,”
Alexander says, “the first person he
EVEN KISSING they look like any
European gay venues.
sees is an epidemiologist who asks BUT I’ VE NO But the difference is
him how he contracted the virus.” IDEA HOW MUCH they’re hidden away
If he admits to having had sex with like a dirty secret. Their
a man, his case is registered under DANGER I AM IN exteriors aren’t draped
something known as “Code 103”. This with rainbow flags and
information is accessible by the police to enter you have to
pass through heavy,
unmarked doors and submit yourself
to a thorough airport-style security
check. It’s difficult to relax. In Central
Station I watch a drag show and see
men dancing and even kissing in what
seems like a care-free, uninhibited way.
But I can’t forget the stories I’ve heard.
I’ve no idea how much danger I’m in
but I don’t stay out late.

THE NEXT DAY I sit down for an in-


depth chat with Evgeny Pisemskiy, the
director of programmes for Phoenix
RUSSIAN
REVOLUTION: Matt, Plus. He’s 40 years old, tall with long
Alexander Shumilov hair and has piercing blue eyes. We
from support group La
Sky and Yury Maximov
chat in private in my hotel room.
of Resource LGBTQIA Evgeny was diagnosed HIV positive ›

JANUARY 2018 69
18 years ago, at a time when he was foreign disease is very high.” One of Phoenix Plus’s priorities cubicles where men can have sex. But
still trying to suppress his sexuality as is distributing self-testing kits to men who are too nervous there’s one major difference: unlike in
a gay man. The diagnosis prompted to be tested at a clinic or community centre. If they receive a most Western saunas, condoms and
what he describes as a huge crisis but positive result, the organisation provides support, help and lubricant aren’t handed out on entry.
he somehow found the strength to guidance — and encourages them to access treatment. In fact, I can’t see them anywhere.
begin attending an HIV support group, I spend a day accompanying the group’s staff as they I accompany Ilya, a 21-year-old
where he met other gay men, including distribute the kits. I go with them to one of the few Phoenix Plus volunteer, as he circulates
George, who’s now his partner. This pharmacies willing to take part in the programme, where around the bar area engaging men in
allowed him to begin to express and interpreter Yury asks for a pack. It all seems very simple — conversation and offering them HIV
explore his sexuality. “After I found and comes with a surprising lack of moral judgment from self-testing kits. He’s adept at winning
support, I decided it was important for the assistant. around the men and breaking through
me to support others,” he says. We move on to a cruising ground for gay men in China their resistance. But I’m still shocked at
In 2006, he set up Phoenix Plus, Town Park. Here, men sit on benches and pick up other men how many initially refuse to take a test
which helps gay and bisexual men to take home for anonymous sex. It’s cold and depressing because they don’t believe HIV exists.
who are HIV positive by organising and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the men approached don’t Many of them say they’ve watched
peer-to-peer support, producing and want to engage in conversation about testing for HIV. YouTube videos of Russian orthodox
distributing leaflets with information This is a place of deep shame and they don’t appreciate priests calling HIV a conspiracy of
about antiretroviral therapy, and having any attention drawn to them. Instead, we go to Voda, Western drug companies.
running the oldest website in Russia a gay sauna where men As Ilya engages them in
devoted to HIV. The organisation is can meet for casual patient encouragement,
supported by the Elton John Aids sexual encounters away I’m struck by his
Foundation (EJAF), which not only from the view of the commitment and
provides funding but expertise gleaned general public. Inside, I passion to the cause.
from years working with other similar take off my clothes and
I ’M SHOCKED
groups around the world. wrap a towel around my AT HOW MANY TO FIND OUT WHY
As Evgeny explains, EJAF can’t have
any direct presence in Russia. “Any
waist. As I pad around
in the slippers provided,
MEN REFUSE there’s so much
misunderstanding
work the Foundation did directly I discover Voda is like TO TAKE A around HIV in Russia
would be interpreted as trying to any of its Western TEST. PRIESTS I chat to a 29-year-old
demolish and destroy our institutions. counterparts, with a former journalist, Boris
In Russia, being gay and HIV are seen steam room, sauna and
TELL THEM HIV Konakov, who was born
as Western imports and diseases. The whirlpool spa, as well IS A WESTERN in Tyumen, in Western
risk of being blamed for bringing in a as a labyrinth of private CONSPIRACY Siberia. He came out as
gay and HIV positive on
World Aids Day 2016.
Since then, like many of
the gay people I’ve met,
he hasn’t been able to secure work
and has been banished to the fringes
of society. He’s now a full-time activist
and runs an HIV awareness campaign
for gay and bisexual men.
As he shares his story of abuse
and persecution, he’s anxious and
uncomfortable. Tremors in his hands
hint at the horrors he’s lived through.
Boris tells me there’s very little
representation of gay people in Russia’s
mainstream media. And as so few
Russians speak English, and their
language uses a different alphabet,
it’s very difficult for people to access
information from foreign websites.
There used to be one small gay
magazine, called Queer, but that folded
10 years ago. And since then, President
FIGHT: Evgeny
Pisemskiy who is one Putin’s anti-gay propaganda law of
of the people leading 2013 has forbidden the Russian media
the battle against
ignorance over HIV
from doing anything to “promote”
homosexuality.

70 JANUARY 2018
RUSSIA

“If we really want to tackle the HIV


epidemic and educate people about
prevention, we need a number of
friendly journalists to write articles
and get material out there,” says Boris.
“But journalists don’t want — and are WORRIES: Former
afraid — to write about gay issues. journalist Boris
The problem is that the law is so Konakov

vague that you could be accused


of violating it just by giving
information. The law promotes
complete silence on this issue.” SASHA SAYS
Boris adds, however, that there
have been reports of the anti-gay
SOMETHING I
purges in Chechnya over the past HAVEN T HEARD
year. Maxim Lapunov, one of the
few men to survive the torture and
WHILE I VE BEEN
escape the concentration camps, HERE: I AM
held a press conference to draw PROUD TO BE
attention to his ordeal and this
was covered by some news outlets.
GAY. I VE TOLD
Boris hopes this has “broken the EVERYONE
blockage” and will encourage more
reporting about issues affecting
LGBT+ people. In the meantime,
the HIV epidemic among gay men
remains “invisible”, he explains. out the stigma around HIV in general,
His use of the word reminds me of we’ll have an opportunity to stamp out FROM RUSSIA WITH
something Evgeny said earlier that the virus once and for all. LOVE: Sasha Pshunetov
and Vlad Kotov look
day. “From time to time, Phoenix Plus forward to the day
organises medical seminars for doctors AS I APPROACH THE END of my trip, I they’ll get married
and nurses and we always ask the same feel worn down by some of the horrors
question: what can we do to halt the I’ve heard and how bleak the situation is. But I try to cling to “Yes,” says Sasha, as Vlad nudges his
epidemic in Russia? The doctors say we some hope. shoulder affectionately. “We dream
need drugs, treatment and condoms, I feel encouraged when I meet Sasha Pshunetov and Vlad about this.”
but I say these aren’t the main things. Kotov, a sweet couple who are both just 19. Sasha is from And then Sasha says something I
We can stop the epidemic only when Vladikavkaz, near Chechnya, while Vlad is from Bryansk, haven’t heard in all the time I’ve been
we eradicate stigma around gay near Belarus. They were introduced by mutual friends here. “I’m proud that I’m gay. Everyone
people.” at a nightclub in June. While Sasha is HIV positive and knows. I told everyone in my school.
In that moment it strikes me just undetectable, Vlad is HIV negative. He tells me that he was My close friends were in shock but
how simple it is; we already have “warned” about Sasha’s status before they met but educated they didn’t turn their backs on me.”
the tools to eradicate HIV, but they himself about what it meant and wasn’t put off. As he speaks, I catch a glimpse of
amount to nothing in the face of moral In the future, the two young men plan to rent an hope for the future. And this is what I
prejudice. If we can end homophobia, apartment and move in together. When I ask if they’re in hold on to as I prepare to leave.
we can put a stop to the spread of HIV love, they laugh bashfully. “We love each other but we are I was terrified of going to Russia
among gay men. And if we can wipe not ‘in love’,” says Sasha. “Being in love is a short-lived but while there I met courageous,
emotion, but to love someone means to go through different inspirational people who’ve been
BACK IN THE stages and still feel the same. We’re committed to a long- willing to sacrifice their careers, family
USSR: Matt found
archaic attitudes
term future together.” relationships and place in society to
in Russia I tell them about the period during which I grew up in the fight for what they believe is right.
UK, when there was much misunderstanding and hysteria So, yes, the situation is dire and
around HIV, and explained Clause 28, which wasn’t too requires a major political shift but if
dissimilar from Putin’s anti-gay propaganda law in that it that does happen, things can change.
forbade anyone employed by local authorities from doing And with so much passion being
anything to “promote” homosexuality. channelled into organisations such
I tell them that I never imagined how much things would Phoenix Plus, I can’t see how this can
change in a few decades, that gay men in Britain can now fail to win through in the end.
fully integrate into society and we even have equal marriage.
Their faces brighten and they seem encouraged. I ask if one For more information on the Elton John
day they’d like to get married. Aids Foundation, visit ejaf.org

JANUARY 2018 71
BAND OF
BROTHERS

M
ashrou’ Leila have had an Montreal, with songs from their third logged since then and reports of
exhausting few months. In album, Ibn el Leil (which translates as victims being subjected to forced anal
June, the five-piece Lebanese Son of the Night). Over the past few examinations — classified as torture by
alt-rock group were banned from months, the schedule has been packed Human Rights groups.
performing in Jordan, a year after and the pressure intense. It sounds horrifying, but 29-year-
a previous ban was overturned. In “I kind of just woke up right before old Hamed seems relatively unfazed.
September, a concert in Cairo turned your call,” Hamed admits. “I’m so sorry “It was pretty bad. It still is very bad,
sour as the authorities launched a if I’m ranting and incoherent. I forgot it still is something that I’m always
crackdown on LGBT+ people after what I was on about. OK, what were thinking about — I mean we haven’t
two concert-goers waved rainbow- you asking me? Right, Cairo.” had a single show over the past two
emblazoned flags in support of Hamed Cairo. It’s undoubtedly the most months where we haven’t brought that
Sinno, the band’s gay lead singer. serious subject the band faces at up on stage, and we’re still trying to do
When I speak to him on the phone, the moment; their concert at the whatever we can.
the group have just come to the end of Egyptian capital’s Festival City Mall in “But at the same time it’s just so
a six-week tour in the US and Canada September sounded the starting gun profoundly unsurprising. I can’t
where they packed concert halls in San for a programme of police entrapment pretend to be surprised by the
Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia and of gay people, with at least 60 arrests appearance of heteropatriarchy.”

72 JANUARY 2018
MASHROU’ LEILA

HAMED SINNO, THE FRONTMAN OF LEBANESE


ALT-ROCKERS MASHROU’ LEILA, TELLS
ATTITUDE ABOUT THE DEPRESSINGLY
REPETITIVE CRACKDOWN ON GAY MEN IN
PARTS OF THE MIDDLE EAST, WHY HE’S NO
MORE IMPORTANT THAN HIS STRAIGHT BAND
MATES, AND ABOUT SOME OF THE IGNORANT
PICK-UP LINES HE’S HAD TO ENDURE
WORDS: JACK MAY

“ I C A N ’ T D E A L W I T H G O I N G O N D AT I N G
A P P S A N D S E E I N G P E O P L E TA L K I N G
A B O U T T H E I R R AC I A L P R E F E R E N C E S . I
He almost laughs with despair. “It’s H AV E N O P AT I E N C E F O T I T A N Y M O R E ”
always been there. This is just another
incident where queer brown bodies are
used to justify a government’s agenda.
It’s basic homonationalism.” lines you’d expect from the best bits of
The Killers, the more anthemic parts
AS FOR THE BAND of Coldplay, or the rock-facing electro
M E M B E R S themselves, it’s easy to of groups such as Hurts. But when I ask
see why they’ve become something of Hamed if he’s tempted to experiment
a cultural flashpoint. With the backing with a more obviously “Middle
of Haig Papazian on the violin, Carl Eastern” sound, he quickly dismisses it.
Gerges on drums, Firas Abu Fakher on “That’s such a motivated writing of
guitar and Ibrahim Badr on bass guitar, history, to do away with the things
Hamed sings exclusively in Arabic, but that we deem ‘inauthentic’, as though
the group’s sound is a kind of indie cultural exchange necessarily means
rock that doesn’t feel at all unfamiliar DISMISSIVE: Hamed Sinno colonialism.”
sings exclusively in Arabic
to Western listeners. It has the melodic He adds: “I would just like to see a ›

JANUARY 2018 73
MASHROU’ LEILA

world where Arab musicians in general “I’D LIKE TO SEE A WOLD WHERE
could be treated as musicians and not A R A B M U S I C I A N S A R E T R E AT E D
as ‘Arabs’ first and foremost. When I AS MUSICIANS, NOT AS ARABS,
wake up in the morning I’m thinking FIRST AND FOREMOST”
about writing and lyrics and chord
progressions, and that really is my
entry point to the world. That’s what I
want to do: make music. Hamed even goes as far as to say keep bringing up the Arab-Israeli
“I wish people would ask us questions that he doesn’t feel he fits within conflict as though he was trying to
as though they understood that our the LGBT+ community. By his own solve it through our sex life, which was
individual experiences could not description he’s a queer, brown, Arab, also fucking weird.”
possibly reflect an entire region. People femme, loud, shallow person, and that
ask us questions such as: ‘What’s it like poses challenges. RETURNING TO THE BAND’S
being gay in the Arab world?’ “So often people don’t understand music and the question of where they
“I have no idea how to answer that that our experiences as, say, gay men go next, Hamed says: “I have no idea.
because it seems to me to be absurd to are not uniform. The experiences of When we wrote the album, we thought
go up to someone in the US and ask: a white gay person are so different that it would be way too alienating for
‘What’s it like being gay in America?’ to the experiences of a gay person of anyone to relate to.
What state, what class, what ethnicity, colour and so often those differences “In a lot of ways, it was about my
what age, what city even? We just are ignored. experience of mourning my father’s
assume that we can paint over the “I can’t deal with going on dating death. And I thought that wouldn’t
Arab world in a broad brush.” apps and seeing people talk about their resonate with anyone.
For Hamed, the interest his sexuality racial preferences. I have no patience “Then I realised I was thinking about
often generates can overshadow the for it any more. my father and being in clubs all the
equally interesting stories that the “I don’t know how to say this without time with one song being about toxic
other members of the group have sounding crass,” he continues. “Let’s masculinity, another about language
to offer. “I often feel what ends up just put it this way: every now and and gender, and one being about the
happening is that the sensationalism then I find myself in bed with someone government raiding gay clubs, and so
around my sexuality ends up almost who repeatedly insists on reminding on. I didn’t think it would resonate
pushing their equally valuable me of my ethnicity and I find that with anyone, but it did.
narratives out of the picture. The idea fucking strange.” “So, I have no idea about how the
of four, privileged, heterosexual males The prejudice can be absurd, too. next album will function. I know we’re
having to live through homophobia “One person came up to me at Pride preoccupied with the current global
because of their politics as allies is in Toronto last year and called me a situation — and people retiring to
something that’s fascinating to me. ‘terror bear’,” he reveals. rather tired nationalisms around the
“I find it interesting that people “While trying to start a conversation world, be that in the UK or the USA or
would stick around for 10 years and with me, he calls me a terror bear!” the Middle East. I’m sure that stuff will
still stand behind me on stage and Turning to an experience in London, find its way in there.”
agree to this. Who the fuck wants that Hamed adds: “This Israeli guy kept
shit?” trying to make out with me and would Ibn el Lei is out now

74 JANUARY 2018
...AND ALL THE MEN AND WOMEN
MERELY PLAYERS — UNLESS, THAT
IS, YOU ARE A MAN PORTRAYING A
WOMAN, OR VICE VERSA. THREE DRAG
QUEENS AND A DRAG KING FROM
AROUND THE WORLD TELL US WHAT
THEIR ART MEANS TO THEM
AS TOLD TO: ANTHONY LORENZO
PHOTOGRAPHY: FRANCISCO GOMEZ DE VILLABOA

o some, drag is simply a comedy routine by some


bloke in a bad wig, lip-syncing on the stage of a
gay pub. But even the most basic of drag queen
performances is, at heart, a political statement.
The very act of a man breaking away from
gendered expectations by wearing a dress, wig and
make-up, while parading around to applause from a crowd
of men who love men, can be seen as a revolutionary act of
social and cultural defiance. Even if it only takes place in
your local boozer.
When you factor into the equation the power of a
person’s cultural identity, and the often repressive societies
that we as LGBT+ people grow up in, it can be read as an
even more potent statement on individuality and identity.
As Attitude takes a look at queer culture around the world,
we meet four inspiring artists whose identity and love of
performance combine to create a tour de force of drag. ›

76 JANUARY 2018
WORLDWIDE DRAG

JANUARY 2018 77
SHANE, 26, FROM AMERICA

THE ELEMENTS THAT DICTATE HOW I NAVIGATE THE


QUEER WORLD, as everyday me and as a performer, are
the facts that I’m a non-binary gender-fluid
person, and a mixed-race foreigner. These
things impact me most because they’re the BEING ASIAN FROM AN IRISH AND JAPANESE
things that set me apart the most, even within BACKGROUND in California is no big deal. My identity
the queer community: being mixed-race and as a person of colour barely crossed my mind in my
queer and weird — in a good way. youth. But coming out, and trying to navigate the
world of gay dating as an Asian person, was extremely
difficult. This is why the stereotyped ideas that
people have of Asian men are
important for me to explore.
EVEN MY OWN VIEWS TOWARDS ASIAN PEOPLE were People’s racial preferences
shaped by media representation, but I actively work to are not spontaneous. When
re-educate myself and rewire the way I think about race. you observe the multi-layered
The limited selection of Asian characters seen on TV history of the way people of
and in movies paints such a narrow picture of what Asian colour are shown in the media,
people are able to be and to achieve. on the news and on television,
Asian women are seen as either pure, innocent China you will begin to recognise
dolls or as seductive dragon ladies. Asian men might be where people get their
martial artists, but are usually depicted as undesirable, stringent ideas of race from.
socially inept goofballs. And the majority of the time
all Asians are just nerds. As we all constantly consume
inaccurate depictions of people of colour through media
from childhood onwards, we form highly skewed views.
I work really hard to counteract this embedded racism
through my work, hosting queer nights. I place high
importance on making spaces for people of colour,
and other oppressed groups, to represent themselves.
My monthly night, The ShayShay Show, regularly hosts
line-ups made up completely of people of colour, and
the vast variety of talent obliterates the static moulds the
media has made for us.

I’VE BEEN SO LUCKY. My parents clocked-on early


that I was going to become a queer little boy. I don’t
know if they expected me to become a non-binary
gender-fluid drag queen
but luckily they’ve been
behind me all the way. I WANTED TO DO THEATRE IN HIGH
SCHOOL, but it soon dawned on me that
there were never going to be any roles for
someone like me. I did my degree in sociology,
which enabled me to look at society through
a critical lens. I studied gender, ethnicity, and
took classes that dissected popular culture,
music, film and television. It gave me an
anthropological mind-set that totally dictates
the way I think about the world around me —
and the nights I put together.
The thing I most want to get across to
everyone is this: everything you think of as
normal has been made up. All the “natural” or THE ASSUMPTIONS
“automatic” things, such as race and gender, I SEE ABOUT DRAG
have been made up by the society we live in. QUEENS, and even
And the more I travel, the more I realise there the assumptions I
is no normal. had myself before
starting, were that
they were mean. If I can dispel that notion with my
small interactions with people, if people can be
stripped of their stereotypes, it helps them open their
minds to other possibilities.
Maybe if they see their own child leaning towards
queer things, maybe that tiny moment could help a
child have an easier time growing up. ›

78 JANUARY 2018
WORLDWIDE DRAG
JIDE SALAMI, 49, FROM NIGERIA

I WAS ENCOURAGED TO ENTER DRAG IDOL in 2010. I


didn’t do too well but I got a reaction from the audience
I wasn’t expecting. I went away for a year, developed
the act, went back the next year… and won.
When I was a kid in Nigeria, which has conservative
religious-based values, I used to drag up when my
parents were out. One day I was doing it on my front
doorstep, which I called my stage, to make kids laugh
and a relative saw me.
They told my parents that night and my father went
absolutely crazy. The relative who told him had to hold
him back from beating me with a stick. 
They stood there having this conversation, with me
not knowing what they were talking about. My dad
was saying, ”What if he becomes one of those,” but
wouldn’t complete the sentence. And the relative was
saying: “No, he won’t become one of those.”
As a 10 year old who had no notion of gender or
sexuality, I was transfixed by the pantomime that was
going on, even though there was danger attached to it. 
Eventually, my dad got his way and beat the living shit
out of me. I didn’t touch drag for more than 30 years.
I ended up as a Wall Street financier until I realised I
needed to find myself again.
My friends who encouraged me to enter Drag Idol
could obviously see it in
me, but I’d suppressed it
because of that childhood I’M A CROSS-DRESSER. I love changing
trauma. With drag I found the representation of my gender for
myself again. performance and entertainment. I am a
drag queen. That’s something that’s as
intrinsically a part of my DNA as my 10
fingers and two eyes. It is not mocking
women. Nobody decides what their
gender is. You are a manifestation of
a cluster of DNA. I didn’t know what a
drag queen was at 10 in Nigeria. I’m not
trying to take anything away from a cis
woman’s femininity, I’m expressing my
own. Only ignorance leads people to
believe that drag mocks women.
THE HISTORY
OF EVERY
CULTURE on the
planet reveals gender-fluidity and trans people. The fall
into strict binary seems to have followed the advent
of Judeo-Christian/Islamic religions, which interfered
with gender-fluidity as a natural order. It’s never been
the most dominant way to be, but has always been as
important to culture as heteronormativity. Roman, Hindi,
Western, African… we have always been here. I found
myself after 30 years because nature made me this way.
Gender-fluidity is the past, the present, and it will be our
future. What was interrupted was acceptance. 

80 JANUARY 2018
WORLDWIDE DRAG

GIN, 26, FROM LONDON

I STARTED PERFORMING ABOUT TWO


YEARS AGO. The Glory in London was
having a competition, I needed the money
and I wasn’t doing anything else. I didn’t
win, but I fell in love with the whole process
of becoming someone else. I came up with
Gusher because I wanted to do an Usher
parody and my name’s Gin. Go figure!
Recently, I’ve gone into other characters.
Generally, I do black males: Mario, Usher,
Prince. I try to make sure I only impersonate
black male artists because I’m Mexican,
Jamaican and Bermudian.
I’m my own Bermuda Triangle!
I’ve been reading a lot about Afro-Latinx
lives, and being part of that ethnic minority
group, means there is a natural affinity. I’d
like to
do more
I’VE NEVER MUCH IDENTIFIED Mexican,
WITH MALE OR FEMALE Bermudan
PRONOUNS. Sometimes there and
is a sense of relief when I’m Jamaican
referred to as “they”. There is a artists.
huge weight attached to “she”.
All the things people project
on to you, what they assume
you’re like. So many of the
assumptions that come with
“she’”don’t ring a bell for me,
and I’ve always felt that way.
However, I must also say
that there is a definite sense
of strength I feel in being a MY DRAG EXPLORES MASCULINITY: the way men
woman and, ultimately, it’s are entitled, sure of themselves, cocky. I perform those
important for me to be “she” character traits on stage, and it’s funny because people
and “they” together.  go crazy for it. I had lots of positive feedback from my
Who I am is not constricted first few performances. It’s only recently that people
to one identity. have understood that part of what I do is to critique
masculinity. I want to play on that. There are stereotypes
about black men that also need exploring. I’m not doing
anything special on stage: I’m stripping, but to a body that isn’t
mine. We have to remember it’s all made up. We play into the
constructs all the time. I do it on stage so people see that. ›
TROY EZRA, 29, FROM OXFORD

I STARTED DANCING WHEN I WAS THREE


YEARS OLD. It was all I wanted to do. I went
to dance school at 16, graduated at 19 and
have worked as a dancer ever since. Music
makes me so happy and I’m happiest when
I’m dancing. I never
knew that it could be a
career, it never actually I’D SAY THAT FREIDA IS 70 PER CENT ME.
crossed my mind. My I’m always gonna be the dancing clown.
dad drummed into me: As Freida, I’ll do and say things I wouldn’t
“Be an electrician, be a usually. If I go to a club as Troy, I’m that
plumber, do something friend who’s for ever single. But Freida, oh
practical.” my goodness.
I’ve tried to incorporate Freida’s
confidence into my every-day life but it
doesn’t feel right. I feel as if part of the
character is the hair, the nails and the cat
eyes.
I SEE MY FAMILY
ALL THE TIME,
we’re really close.
But I found it hard to connect with some of the older
males in my family when I was younger — I didn’t want
them to know I was gay. In fact, I haven’t come out to
my family. They just know. Tits and glitter will do that.
It’s none of your business what people think of you
anyway. I do this for me.

THE NAME CAME TO ME


when I was working the bars
at Block 9 at Glastonbury. I
wanted something that said,
“Hello world, I’m black!”
I entered Jonny Woo’s
Lipsync1000 contest for a
laugh, and ever since it’s
just been going. People say:
“Wow, I didn’t know you
could have a career doing
IT’S ALL VERY
drag.” But my old friends, and
WELL DANCING
my mum, say: “That’s just you,
TO KATY PERRY
with a bit of make-up on.”
and Gaga, but I
don’t relate to it.
For me, it’s about
bashment, garage, Beyoncé.
But don’t get me wrong, I’m a gay
man from an Irish, Dominican and
Jamaican background. I love the
Spice Girls. And Steps!

PEOPLE SEE MY ETHNICITY AND SEE MY NAME


and expect my work to be politial. But my pieces
aren’t directly political. I’m not going to do a piece
about Donald Trump or Theresa May. We want to
be in the same lane as everyone else. [It might not
work] having white queens doing a pop song and
then me coming on to do spoken word about being
black. People need to hear that, of course, but I’m
performing music that I enjo

82 JANUARY 2018
WORLDWIDE DRAG

JANUARY 2018 83
JANUARY 2018
WORDS: JOSEPH KOCKARAIN

84 JANUARY 2018
CLEAR VISION
The streetwear resurgence is still going strong in
menswear, with plenty of our best-loved Nineties
and Noughties brands enjoying a revival of epic
proportions. Vision are the latest to indulge our
appetite for vintage sportswear, having created a
26-piece collection to lust after.
Having emblazoned the brand logo over all
Prices from £25 to £100
the clothes — whether it be hoodies, long- Available at visionstreetwear.com
sleeved polos, cagoules or tracksuits — they’ve and topman.com as well as at
also remained true to their heritage of being Topman stores

a premium sportswear brand from southern


California, while keeping their underground HAIR AND GROOMING: James Oxley using
Bumble & Bumble and Bobbi Brown
skate-scene aesthetic fresh. It’s time to think: MODEL: Phoenix Blu at IMG Models
what would Sporty Spice do? FASHION ASSISTANT: George Douglas-Davies

JANUARY 2018 85
Joey wears jacket,
£220, by Wood
Wood, polo top,
£20, by ASOS,
t-shirt, £15, by
Topman, cap,
£65, by New Era

TOTA L :
£320

Who said the high street wasn’t


cool? Here are our top picks of
what’s in stores right now
PHOTOGRAPHY: BENJAMIN WHITLEY
FASHION: NICK BYAM
LAYER UP WITH POLO
TOPS OR SHIRTS
UNDERNEATH T-SHIRTS
FOR MORE OF A
PUT-TOGETHER LOOK

Joey wears t-shirt,


£50, by Polari,
shirt, £140, by
Billionaire Boys
Club, trousers,
£145, by
Soulland

TOTA L :
£335

JANUARY 2018 87
THE LATEST
FRED PERRY
COLLABORATION
IS WITH THAMES
AND FOLLOWS ON
FROM SUMMER’S RAF
SIMONS COLLECTION

Joey wears
sweatshirt,
£85, polo, £70,
trainers, £75, all
by Fred Perry X
Thames, trousers,
£85, by
Fred Perry

TOTA L :
£315

88 JANUARY 2018
Joey wears
jacket, £269, by
Whistles, shirt,
£60, by Weekday,
polo, £120, by
Wood Wood,
joggers, £25, by
ASOS, trainers,
£140, by Nike
Re@WÍTV

TOTA L :
£614

WEEKDAY IS NEW TO
THE UK HIGH STREET
AND IS UNDER THE
SAME UMBRELLA AS
H&M AND COS
Joey wears
pullover, £145,
by Carhartt WIP,
rollneck, £75, by
Kappa Kontroll,
trousers, £55,
by Weekday,
trainers, £250, by
Filling Piece

TOTA L :
£525

GROOMING: James Oxley,


using Bumble and bumble
and Bobbi Brown
MODEL: Joey at IMG Models
FASHION ASSISTANT:
George Douglas-Davies

90 JANUARY 2018
Summer has well and truly disappeared in London with everyones winter garments varying in the spectrum
of the ‘Black Pantone’. Imagine yourself half way round the World to Rio’s endless sunshine, suring and
partying with the locals lighting up the streets. Independent Leaders fall 17 collection keeps this spirit alight.
Independent Leaders most commonly known as the ‘Urban Resort Wear’ brand is vamping up it’s edge,
stepping away from it’s usual surf scene and sliding into the skatepark zone, a famous sport recognised in
Brazil. In almost every skate park there is highly vibrant use of colour created by talented street artists. Like
us, they are making a statement. Our personality as a brand, inspires us freely in each item, brightening
the mood while walking the pavements during winter outside of Rio. Be sure to check out our latest
photoshoot, in a heavily graitied skate park based in London with two easy on the eyes models / pro
skaters Christian Arno and Darius Trabalza.
This season due to popular demand we listened to our Leaders and have transformed streetwear staples
into our collection, bringing to you seven striking Sweats. Each unique design takes you back to the
lifestyle that you can’t help but take on board when you are exploring the sights of Ipanema, The Favela’s or
the ever daring Amazon Rainforest.

With much pleasure we are introducing our new must have Bomber Jackets! We currently have three
exclusive eye catching styles, which can be worn tailored to your shape, or for the street wear over sized vibe.
However you want to style your day our versatile jackets will add a burst of colour and keep you on trend.
Winter may be here but our prestigious swimwear range lives on with nine new swim short prints and two
eccentric swim briefs, for jet setters catching that summer somewhere.
Also this winter we are collaborating with London Street Artist “Arthur Rambo” to design one of a kind
skateboards. Sign up to our newsletters online to be kept updated with special oers, including the chance
to win one of these skateboards coming soon!!
www.independent-leaders.com
#SpiritOfRio #FollowTheToucan #BornInBrazil
STYLE UP YOUR GOOGLE SMARTPHONE
Google are celebrating the release of their new Google Pixel 2 in style by enlisting 10 young
British designers to make beautiful cases for the smartphone. The designers include Ryan
Lo, Charles Jeffrey, Ashley Williams, Sadie Williams, Nicopanda, Bobby Abley, Marques
Almedia, Mimi Wade, Dilara Findikoglu and Art School. The Pixel 2, on sale exclusively
at Selfridges’ accessories hall, comes in two sizes and boasts unlimited cloud storage to
ensure you can take as many high-res selfies as you want. The camera is so good it can
even take razor-sharp pictures in the dark, enabling you to take pretty photos on your oh-
so pretty phone at any time.

Available exclusively at the Selfridges accessories hall

TOUCH IT
Diesel are shaking things up with a line
of touchscreen smartwatches. The Diesel
On Full Guard has seven dial options, each
`W hYZTY TR_ SV ^`UZÍVU e` j`fc YVRceÄd
T`_eV_e EYV dTcVV_ YRd a]V_ej `W Wf_ WVRefcVd
too including visual tricks, such as a cracked
dTcVV_ hYV_ R _`eZÍTReZ`_ Zd cVTVZgVU [fde
e` ^R\V j`fc YVRce Uc`a Z_e` j`fc de`^RTY
hYV_ j`f dVV Ze R_U hVReYVc Í]eVcd eYRe
TYR_XV hZeY eYV T]Z^ReV A`hVcVU Sj 2_Uc`ZU
Your monthly fashion need-to-know HVRc #!š j`f TR_ U`h_]`RU Raad eYc`fXY
8``X]V A]Rj de`cV EYV @_ 7f]] 8fRcU h`c\d
WORDS: JOSEPH KOCHARIAN hZeY S`eY ZAY`_Vd R_U 2_Uc`ZU aY`_Vd

diesel.com

CLEAN SLATE
Everyone hates the term, “new
year, new you” but let’s face
it, you’re going to be at the
gym, doing dry January and
channelling your inner health
guru for a few weeks before
your resolve wears off. If you’re
working on your well-being
and all-round MOT, investing in
some grooming gear that will
last throughout the year might
be a resolution you can stick to.
Cornerstone have a simple
automated system in which
you pick an array of shaving
products that are delivered
directly to you. Starting with
a personalised razor with
your initials, you can tailor the
service to your shaving rituals
and nuances, even adjusting
the frequency of the delivery
depending on how hairy you
like to get. They’re basically
doing all the hard work for you!

cornerstone.co.uk

92 JANUARY 2018
ASOS AND GLAAD
TEAM UP WITH
TOMMY DORFMAN
ASOS has teamed up with GLAAD and 13
Reasons Why star Tommy Dorfman for a
powerful new collection. With prices starting
from £7, the eight-piece unisex line includes
jersey basics and jewellery with the “&” symbol
that represents GLAAD’s Together Movement,
which takes a stand against the discrimination
faced by communities such as Muslims,
immigrants and LGBT+ people. Teaming up
with global powerhouse ASOS, GLAAD’s simple
and effective message of everyone coming
together deserves to be heard loud and clear.
Our exclusive interview with Tommy, when
we met him at the launch dinner in LA, is
on attitude.co.uk if you want to read more
about the project.

asos.com

JANUARY 2018 93
LAY IT
ON ME
Layer up and keep
adding to leave every
part of you warm
PHOTOGRAPHY: MARK CANT
FASHION: JOSEPH KOCHARIAN
Opposite page: Rafael wears top,
£18.95, at Beyond Retro, denim
jacket, POA, at Rokit Vintage,
necklace, €149, at Chupi, shorts,
£95, by Ron Dorff
This page: Vito wears shirt, £185,
by Burberry at Matches Fashion,
top (worn underneath), £350, by
Balenciaga at Matches Fashion

JANUARY 2018 95
Rafael wears
hooded polo
shirt, £115,
polo top (worn
underneath), £89,
both by Lacoste
Vito wears
jumper, £595,
by Fendi

JANUARY 2018 97
Vito wears leather jacket,
POA, leather trousers,
POA, blazer (worn
underneath), £1,270,
top, £155, shoes, POA,
all by DSquared2
Rafael wears jacket,
POA, by Bobby Abley

JANUARY 2018 99
Vito wears jacket,
£250, hoodie,
£110, joggers,
£90, all by Diesel
Vito wears coat,
£2,300, trousers,
£495, scarf, £585,
trainers, £535, all
by Balenciaga

JANUARY 2018 101


Rafael wears jacket, POA, teddy Rafael wears jacket, £199.95, by
bear harness, POA, trousers, adidas, hooded crop top, €250,
POA, all by Bobby Abley by Astrid Andersen, beanie, £350,
by Vetements at Selfridges, Solo3
wireless headphones, £249.95, by
Beats by Dre at Apple

102 JANUARY 2018


Rafael wears nylon camo
jacquard parka with
Givenchy embroidered
on hood, POA,
multipocket jacket (worn
underneath), POA, camo
shirt, POA, multipocket
trousers, POA, trainers,
€1,197, all by Givenchy
Vito wears “I Love
You” beanie, £210,
by Raf Simons at
Selfridges

104 JANUARY 2018


Rafael wears jacket, £199.95,
dY`ced“$**&S]RT\eVTYÍe
chill shorts (worn underneath)
£29.95, all by adidas, hooded
crop top, €250, by Astrid
Andersen, bumbag, £27, by
Eastpak, black socks, £5 for
aRT\`WÍgVRe>DhYZeVd`T\d
(worn underneath) stylist’s own,
trainers, £670, by Dior Homme,
beanie, £350, by Vetements
ReDV]WcZUXVdD`]`$hZcV]Vdd
headphones (worn around the
neck), £249.95, by Beats
by Dre at Apple
Rafael wears puffer
jacket, £1,453, by
Moschino, shorts,
£39.99, by adidas

106 JANUARY 2018


Vito wears puffer jacket (worn
off the shoulders), £1,065, by
Moncler at MR PORTER, tracksuit
jacket, £59.95, shorts, £39.99,
eVTYÍedY`cedh`c_f_UVc_VReY
£29.95, all by adidas , “I Love
You” beanie, £210, by Raf Simons
at Selfridges
A adidas adidas.co.uk
Arela arelastudio.com
Asos asos.com
Astrid Andersen astridandersen.com

B Balenciaga balenciaga.com
Balenciaga at Matches Fashion
matchesfashion.com
Balenciaga at Selfridges selfridges.com
Beats by Dre at Apple apple.com
Beyond Retro beyondretro.com
Billionaire Boys Club bbcicecream.eu
Bobby Abley bobbyabley.co.uk
Brooks Brothers brooksbrothers.com
Burberry at Matches Fashion
matchesfashion.com

C Carhartt WIP carhartt-wip.com


Chupi chupi.com
Cornerstone cornerstone.co.uk

D Diesel uk.diesel.com
Dior Homme dior.com
Dsquared2 dsquared2.com

E Eastpak eastpak.com
Ekria ekria.com

F Fendi fendi.com
Filling PiecesÍ]]Z_XaZVTVdT`^
Fred Perry fredperry.com
Fred Perry X Thames fredperry.com

G Givenchy givenchy.com
Gucci gucci.com

K Kappa kappa.com/uk
Kenzo kenzo.com

L Lacoste lacoste.com
Les Basics lesbasics.net

M Maison Mihara Yasuhiro at Harvey


Nichols harveynichols.com
Marks & Spencer marksandspencer.com
Moschino moschino.com
Moncler at MR PORTER mrporter.com
Rafael wears top,
N New Era neweracap.co.uk £150, by Kenzo, long-
?Z\VRe@WÍTV`WÍTVT`f\ sleeved pilot top (worn
underneath), $59, by
P Polari polaripolari.com Rufskin, jeans, £250, by
Diesel, belt, £225, by
R Raf Simons at Selfridges selfridges.com Balenciaga at Selfridges
Rokit Vintage rokit.com
Rufskin rufskin.com

S Sonia Rykiel soniarykiel.com


Soulland soulland.com

T The Cooper Collection thecoopercollection.lc


Topman topman.com MODELS: Rafael Perez at
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Whistles whistles.com FASHION ASSISTANT:
Wood Wood woodwood.com George Douglas-Davies

108 JANUARY 2018


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{ E X E R C I S E // N U T R I T I O N // S P O R T S // A D V I C E }
MAGNUS HASTINGS

JANUARY 2018 111


MAX
FACTOR
WITH A FILM, A BOOK AND
A WEB SERIES ON THE
WAY, THERE’S MORE TO
UNDERWEAR MODEL AND
INSTA-STUD MAX EMERSON
THAN MEETS THE EYE
PHOTOGRAPHY: MAGNUS HASTINGS
STYLING: NICK BYAM
AS TOLD TO: MATT CAIN
Max wears
clothing
and trainers
throughout,
by adidas

Tell us about your fitness routine. Crawford: “just do it for whatever looks You mention anxiety, how does
What does it take to get a body good” thing but for the most part, fitness relate to your mental health?
like yours? it’s more fun to go surfing and hiking I realise that everything on Instagram
Erm, water and sleep! No. Common and running and stuff like that. Then is kind of make-believe; none of that
sense? I don’t know, there’s not just you just kind of notice over time that really bothers me. But I think I’d have
one thing, it’s like running a theatre; you’re getting better at something. the reverse of dysmorphia that girls get
there is not one thing you can do that And if you’re not, then you find ways where they feel like they’re too big: I
makes it successful, you have to do to improve that. I think the most always feel like I’m too small. In the gay
a thousand things, just regularly, to important thing is to make sure that world, everyone’s all muscular. Lucky
maintain your shape. you’re doing everything properly. You for me, I just don’t feel right if I’m not
So what are the most “I GUESS PLAYING don’t need a trainer to teach you how exercising or eating well. I get grumpy,
important things you do, to do something, but at least YouTube I get moody… so more than anything
out of those thousand?
DUMB COMES the type of lift you’re doing before you else I just do it for peace of mind, and
Work out for an hour a NATURALLY TO ME” do it, so that you’re not screwing up all the rest kind of falls into place.
day. Eat a salad once a your back. Make sure you’re stretching, You say Instagram’s all “make-
day. Usually that should cover it. Well, getting massaged, doing all that good believe”, but some social media
if you work out a lot then you can eat stuff, because I think that maintenance influencers have been attacked for
all the carbs and crap that you want is half the battle. promoting unattainable body images.
because you’re burning it off. I think Has fitness always been part of your Is it harmless?
a lot of people have a very sedentary life, were you a sporty kid? I think it’s always been around, people
lifestyle, so I’m really lucky that in my No. I was the lazy one in my family, are very quick to blame each other for
job I’m constantly on the go, walking both of my brothers were on anything that’s wrong in their lives,
non-stop. I think it just comes down competitive soccer teams, I was always there’s not a lot of taking responsibility
to your everyday habits. When you go super clumsy. I was terrible at team for feelings. I think it’s just built into
to the gym don’t screw around when sports, I was easily intimidated because our language too, like, “You broke
you’re there; actually sweat, push people could just knock me over, so my heart! You did this.” Like, no,
yourself. Set yourself goals and measure I played a lot of tennis. When I was everything that happens to you is your
progress if you can in some capacity. in the closet in high school and I was own responsibility. I try not to worry
And what are your fitness goals? Is having my anxiety attacks, I’d just go too much about that stuff, but I make
it about the way you look, and what out and run 10 miles until I could it very clear that I use Facetune — if
your body looks like in pictures? barely walk, then you don’t really have you’re jet-lagged you can blur under
At the gym it’s totally the Cindy the energy to be anxious. your eyes. I don’t want to sit there ›

JANUARY 2018 113


“I JUST DON’T FEEL
RIGHT IF I’M NOT
EXERCISING OR
EATING WELL”

114 JANUARY 2018


and take 50 million pictures. But at
the same time, you have to feed the
animals, so to speak; people want to
see perfection, they want to think it’s
here and now, and they don’t want to
think it’s edited, so you kind of have
to play the game in order to get the
following in the first place, so it’s a bit
of a vicious cycle.
You’ve recently produced a film and
you have a book out. Do projects like
this confound people’s expectations?
Do people assume that you’re dumb
because you’re a model, and most
of your presence in the public eye is
about your bod and appearance?
Playing dumb is so much fun though. I
just did a play in Syracuse where I was
a leading man, straight role, intelligent
guy, and I felt like that was more of
a stretch for me to play a normal
masculine human being than anything
I’ve done before. I guess playing dumb
comes naturally to me. I got through
college as a shirtless door guy at
Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister
stores. I always think of these kind of
things as the different parts that you
play, so if one is a stereotype you can
embrace to an extent, it’s up to you
what you do with the platform you get
as a result of that.
You’ve been open about your decision
to go sober. Why did you have to cut
alcohol out of your life?
I didn’t [laughs]. I’m really fortunate in
that I didn’t have to. It just started as
this, “Oh, let’s do this for a month.” So,
I just cut everything out, including sex,
and at the end of the month I realised
that my mood was very stable and I
was working towards having better
sustainable relationships, so I just
decided to stick with it. I was getting
ready to fundraise for my film Hooked,
so I thought it would be a great carrot ›

JANUARY 2018 115


at the end of the stick, to incentivise
myself to be superproductive and
not cut any corners by just cutting all
of it out until I raise the money for
the film. And then I said, “Holy shit,
I have to make a movie,” so I decided
to wait until I had made the film, and
now I still have to fucking sell it! I’ll
have a glass of wine or something
to celebrate.
I understand that you’ve got a new
project coming out next year, Drag
Babies, could you tell me about that? GROOMING:
Michelle Harvey
Oh, it’s so much fun! It’s three
Insta-studs, for lack of a better
description — Johnny Sibilly, Pablo broken down in a really fun way. I director had the lip sync outfit for me
Hernandez and myself — learning the think at first glance, people see drag as which was this sort of horrendous pink
ins and outs of the art of drag from men taking the worst parts of women tennis skirt and tennis jacket and it
drag superstars Peppermint, Chi Chi — a lot of bitchiness and cattiness — just wasn’t working. Chi Chi looked
DeVayne and Miss Sugar Cane. Mac but that’s really what you’re seeing on over at me and was like, “Uh-uh honey,
sent us three Mac artists and it’s a the reality show, that’s what they’re you ain’t going out like that.” She’d be
10-episode web series, not so much a fabricating to give you a story. It’s my drag auntie at this point, so Chi Chi
tutorial, it’s more of an exploration of actually a great community. We each was getting me dressed while
what drag is, piece by piece, whether had drag mothers, and it was treated Peppermint was fixing my hair — it
it’s different parts of the makeup, like a team. My drag mother was Miss takes a village, it’s really sweet!
putting on pads, doing the tucks, Sugar Cane and she was off helping
movement, performance, little things someone with something and the @maxisms

116 JANUARY 2018


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THE LATEST TECH, GEAR AND NEWS
WORDS: ROBIN MILLS

REVIEW

MERRELL AVALAUNCH
TOUGH MUDDER
Review by Attitude’s
Adam Duxbury

Whether you’re a Tough


Mudder virgin or a seasoned
pro, you probably know that
this is one gruelling event
where every little advantage helps. Being in great
shape is a good start but when you’re slogging
your way through 10 miles of mud and scaling killer
obstacles, it’s all about the shoes. I decided to lose
my Tough Mudder cherry recently and bought
a pair of Merrell’s official shoes to help out. The
Avalaunch, costing £109.99, are the latest in the
brand’s line-up to have been designed specifically
THE BEST BET to deal with the worst the course can throw at
you. Ventilation, a quick lace-up system and an
integrated EVA foot bed are useful but I found
Best’s Boot Camp just got, ummm bester, by launching its second site. The
the bellows tongue, to keep debris out, and the
Kensington studio, in West London, offers the same personal approach to group padded outsole, to deal with rogue rocks, the most
exercise we’ve come to expect from the boot-camp experts. On top of the full helpful. Even though I’d waded through waist-deep
range of strength equipment, sessions feature Skill Run treadmills, which are mud, plunged into icy water and run mile after
exclusive to Best’s and reach speeds of up to 25kmph and an incline of up to 25 mile, my feet still felt fine. As for the rest of me...
per cent — enough to test even the fittest of runners. For those of you who love
a good ride (steady now), a 45-minute BESTCycle® session is just the ticket. Slip com
into the cleated cycling shoes to give you that extra edge for this dynamic class
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And after triumphing in the class you can unwind in luxury with lavender-
scented ice sweat towels and L’Occitane shower products. Classes from £20.

bestsbootcamp.com

JANUARY 2018 117


THIS MONTH, MATT LISTER. REVEALS SOME OF THE HIDDEN CA
IN THOSE DISHES YOU LOVE AT YOUR FAVOURITE RESTAURA

How many times have you stared at a menu in your favourite


RECIPE FOR thought: “What should I order that’s not going to completely c
DISASTER hour slaving away in the gym?” Maybe we sometimes don’t ev
it at all, and that could be worse.
A restaurant’s main objective (we hope) is to serve amazing tasting food, but th
overly constrained by what can go into that food to make it taste unbelievable.

• A palm-sized piece of meat cooked in a restaurant usually has at least another


calories of fat, absorbed during cooking.
• A cup of pasta or potatoes would range from 180 to 200 calories, but if there’
other source of fat that can easily double.
• Even vegetable dishes can contain large amounts of hidden calories, in the form “IT DOESN’T TAKE
high-fat additions such as butter, oil or cheese. LONG TO RACK UP
• And as for desserts, a good rule of thumb is most contain anywhere from 25 to A FEW THOUSAND
calories per tablespoon.
CALORIES IN JUST
The point I’m trying to make here is that it doesn’t take long before you’ve mad ONE SITTING”
a few choices that can rack up to several thousand calories in just one sitting — a
that’s going to be a bitch to work off again; we’re talking more than an hour’s wo
on the rowing machine. Then there are the times where you think you’re making
decision but you are completely wrong. I have been choosing the teriyaki chicken
Wagamama for years; it’s practically chicken, with rice and raw vegetables. But w
this article I discovered the 16g of sugar swimming in the sauce! After that I look
the other chains where I’d been stuffing my face and found I was wrong quite a f
even get me started on the 800kcal milkshakes at GBK!
Remember, all the nutritional information for each meal or dish is available eit
in the restaurant, so don’t be afraid to ask or check for yourself. Much of your pr
or in the gym comes from your diet, so make good choices if at all possible.

LEE STEGGLES, CO-OWNER


OF CROSSFIT SHAPESMITHS
CLAPHAM JUNCTION
I got involved in CrossFit via a blog I started in 20
which covered topics such as barefoot running. I
had just “retired” after 12 years of boxing as my main sport and the blog got me
hooked on CrossFit. I went from a 70kg boxer to an 85kg CrossFitter, eating cle
and qualifying for various elite European competitions. In April 2016, along with
two friends, Richard Dean and Brett Pateman, I set up CrossFit Shapesmiths. Ou
watchwords were community, coaching and facilities. We recently celebrated
Pride month with our own diversity celebration and can boast coaches who hav
trained everyone from Olympians to office workers, and who have mentored
people through life-changing injuries and illnesses.

crossfitshapesmiths.co.uk

118 JANUARY 2018


#1 CHI N - UPS
GRAB hold of the pull-up bar # 2 D RAG C UR L S
with your palms facing you or
inwards and hang from the bar
with straight arms.

KEEPING your elbows narrow,


pull yourself up until your chin is
above the bar.

SLOWLY release to return to the


hanging start position and repeat.

NO we’re not setting our wigs in curlers here. Grab a


{ M AT T ’ S J A N U A R Y W O R KO U T P L A N } dumbbell in each hand.

A R MS
FROM straight arms, palms facing forward, “drag” them
up your body as high as you can, towards your armpits.

GET A SHOT IN THE ARM KEEPING tension, lower them back down slowly and
repeat.
#3 S KUL L CRU S H E R S

LYING flat on a bench, take a barbell in both hands and hold it with
straight arms above your head.

BENDING only at the elbow, take the weight behind your head until
your elbows pass 90º.

PRESS the barbell back to the start position and repeat.


BONUS
EXERCISES
O N O U R i PA D
VERSION!

JANUARY 2018 119


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“I’VE BEEN ABLE TO STEER MY OWN SHIP IN A BUSINESS “I’VE HIDDEN MY SEXUALITY FOR SO LONG. AND THE MORE
THAT WANTS TO STEER YOU IN DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS, YOU HOLD ON TO SOMETHING,THE BIGGER IT BECOMES. “COMEDY WORKS BEST WHEN IT’S COMING FROM AN HONEST
AWAY FROM WHAT IS TRULY YOU. I’VE ALWAYS BEEN BUT IT’S AT A BREAKING POINT NOW, SO I FEEL LIKE THIS PLACE. I NEED TO TOUCH ON RACE, SEXUALITY, DISCRIMINATION
PRETTY MUCH TRUE TO MYSELF” WINQ.COM WEIGHT HAS BEEN LIFTED” WINQ.COM AND EQUALITY BECAUSE IT’S WHAT I KNOW” WINQ.COM

The new winter issue of Winq showcases our Men of the Year – eight men operating at
the top of their fields and representing the broad spectrum of gay life. The line-up includes
comedian Stephen K Amos, singer Marc Almond, writer Patrick Gale, travel presenter Ian
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HOW DO YOU FEEL
ABOUT YOUR BODY?
I don’t think anyone
likes their body. If you
stare at something long enough,
it gets boring and you start to
see imperfections.
LEWIS OAKLEY, 25,
DIGITAL EXECUTIVE DO YOU FEEL
COMFORTABLE

“I have no idea NAKED?


I love being naked. In
what I weigh — I fact, I think we should all be
can’t be bothered naked more. If London had a
nudist beach, I’d be there all
to step on the time.
the scales”
WHAT MADE YOU
WANT TO DO THIS
SHOOT?
There are virtually no
bisexual men in the media, and
current figures show bisexual
men are prone to higher rates
of depression, anxiety and self-
harm than those of any other
sexuality. If me taking my kit off
shows other struggling young
guys that you can be bisexual,
confident and happy in your
own skin, then it’s worth it.

WOULD YOU BE PUT


OFF BY A PARTNER
WHO HAD A BETTER
BODY THAN YOU?

REAL
No. I’d get to touch it and do
naughty things to it!

B O DI E S
DO YOU THINK THE
GAY COMMUNITY
PUTS PRESSURE
ON GAY GUYS TO
{ O P E N U P A B O U T YO U R B O DY }
“LOOK GOOD”?
I think that’s down to individual
experience. My friends and I
have very different tastes, so I
think there is always going to
be someone for everyone to kiss
at the end of the night. I think
{ HEIGHT } gay and bi guys have more time

5 FT 11 IN // 1.8 M
to think about what attracts
them and get specific about it.
Whether you’re into twinks,
bears, gingers or geeks, even the
hottest guys are going to get
rejected because they just
aren’t someone’s type. You just
have to learn to deal with
rejection and celebrate when
you find the people who do
want to kiss you.
VICTOR HENSEL-COE

IF YOU’D LIKE TO BE CONSIDERED FOR REAL BODIES, EMAIL ADAM.DUXBURY@ATTITUDE.CO.UK

JANUARY 2018 121


THE ATTITUDE GUIDE TO THE WORLD

sporting
chance
p124

JANUARY 2018 123


be a good
sport
TORONTO IS FAMOUS FOR ITS SHOPPING AND DIVERSITY BUT, AS THE
SPORTS-AVERSE MARKUS BIDAUX FOUND OUT, IT’S ALSO HOME TO
CANADA’S MOST PASSIONATE SPORTS TEAMS AND FANS

i
tapped my hatchet’s head Backyard Axe Throwing League (BATL).
against another man’s, as is Since its start in a backyard in 2006,
tradition before battle. Then BATL has grown and now has indoor
I pivoted and, with a firm two- locations across Canada and the US,
handed grip on the handle, I and has even crossed the Atlantic to
raised the little axe over my head, the London. It’s a lot like darts, but with a
back of the blade almost touching my simpler scoring system – and throwing
back. I lunged one foot forward, swung a spinning axe through the air provides
the weapon over my head and released much more of a workout.
it. I grinned ear-to-ear as I heard the I was at BATL’s warehouse location
sound of a blade sinking into wood and on the outskirts of downtown Toronto
saw that I’d hit the bullseye. with five other UK journalists. After
I was in Toronto, the home of the our tutorial from the doppelgänger

124 JANUARY 2018


ARTY BUILDINGS:
Ontario’s capital
is decorated by
dramatic street art

of Seth Rogen (complete with the a dozen sports all at once, or the
Canadian actor’s distinctive chuckle), memorabilia sports bar and restaurant
we had a couple of practice rounds, dedicated to Canada’s best-loved ice
followed by a knockout competition, in hockey player Wayne Gretzky.
which I made it to the final — only to But it wasn’t until I went off on my
completely lose my lumberjack skills. own and discovered Toronto’s new
I was born and raised in the Canadian gay sports bar that I found a place
prairies (more than 1,000 miles west where I wanted to watch men’s diving,
of Toronto), so I’m fully aware of gymnastics and wrestling.
Canada’s passion for sports — after all Striker Sports Bar is Toronto’s first
we invented ice hockey, popularised official LGBT+ sports venue, born of
lacrosse and basketball, and do quite the frustration husbands Oliver and
well in the Olympics. Vince felt at not being able to watch a
But growing up, watching or hockey match in Toronto’s gay village.
participating in team sports was never Their sleek bar has semi-industrial
my thing. I was shy and much more elements, a glossy black-tiled wall
comfortable around the arts. Although and big screen TVs dotted around.
I’m familiar with the inside of a gym, The handsome bar staff pull pints in
it’s been a while since I played any basketball-style jersey uniforms and
sport. And even though I didn’t win the bar hosts regular events for dozens BATTLE AXE:
Try out a new
the axe-throwing competition, this was of Toronto’s queer sports teams. sport at BATL
a thrilling start to my sporty trip to If the sight of the Striker’s biceps-
Canada’s largest metropolis.
After my defeat, we took a short W H E R E T O E AT
taxi to the Distillery District. The
19th century buildings once housed BRUNCH
a whiskey distillery, but now the Leña Restaurante
OFF THE An Art Deco bar surrounded by turquoise leather stools is the focal point of this
WALL: pedestrian-only cobbled streets are
Toronto’s downtown restaurant. The menu pays homage to Argentine cuisine and the sun-
home to art galleries, design shops and
LGBT+ sport drenched venue is perfect for a mid-morning course of grapefruit mimosas.
fans at Striker microbreweries. We toasted the winner
lenarestaurante.com
with a clinking of glasses filled with gin
and tonic mixed at the Spirit of York LUNCH
Distillery. Kensington Market
This new distillery only opened this This neighbourhood, a hipster and hippy hangout, is one of the coolest places in
spring and features a 360-degree bar Toronto. There are plenty of independent shops to keep you busy for hours, but
with botanicals growing above it. The with so many restaurants you’ll be hard pressed to choose where to eat.
space is almost a museum; we were kensington-market.ca
surrounded by walls of glass, which
DINNER
gave us a glimpse of the distillery
Nota Bene
rooms producing the gin and vodka. This fine dining establishment is bright and decorated with timber beams and
Our hosts tried to convince me graphic prints. The menu features exciting dishes, such as tree nut and scallion
that I’d like some of the city’s many pesto, pickled beech mushrooms and Nova Scotia lobster salad.
sports bars such as Real Sports, with notabenerestaurant.com
its kaleidoscope of screens showing ›

JANUARY 2018 125


WOLF
MAN:
Liam Kay,
in white

revealing bartenders and teams of gay


football, basketball and water polo
players doesn’t entice you, then head
to Church Street where most of the
bars are clustered together on.
This area is adorned with rainbow
flags — even zebra crossings and the
Royal Bank of Canada’s façade and logo
are striped in seven shades of Pride.
Toronto claims to be the most me never wanting to see a stitched and this game proved me right.
multicultural city in the world — more white ball again. Most of the crowd seemed to be
so than either New York or London — My trip involved experiencing discussing the Wolfpack’s new player,
and is the focus of Canada’s fashion, a lot of sports in a short space of the mammoth Fuifui Moimoi from
media and business industries. So it time, but it was broken up with a Tonga; but it was number five, Liam
wasn’t too surprising to discover a tour of Toronto’s street art. While I Kay, who attracted my attention.
vibrant and diverse group of gay men hate the tagging that some graffiti Bearded, and with his hair tied in
partying and watching drag shows in artists do — which, as far as I can a ponytail, fluttering behind him as
packed bars on a Friday night. tell, just involves crudely repeating he propelled his impressive physique
Over the course of several days we their moniker over and over again across the field, he looked like a Game
visited the state-of-the-art sports — I do appreciate the work of skilled of Thrones warrior who’d thrown on a
facilities that were later used for muralists. The tour took in several pair of rugby shorts.
Prince Harry’s 2017 Invictus Games city blocks and ended in Graffiti Alley, The crowd’s enthusiasm was
and took part in some table sports and where artists are allowed to spray their infectious as the Wolfpack took a
arcade games at the Rec Room bar and comfortable lead in the first half. They
restaurant. ended up winning 50–nil. Newcastle
“ To r o n t o c l a i m s t o b e
We were also taken to a Blue Jays’ went home with their tails between
the most multicultural
baseball game, where we were their legs and I left having found a new
surrounded by some of the most loyal
city in the world — sporting idol.
and passionate fans in the world. Sadly, more so than either The sun was setting as we filtered out
I left the game with my distaste for N e w Yo r k o r L o n d o n ” of the stadium. I peered south towards
baseball intact. Toronto’s most iconic landmark, the
That feeling dates back to a co-ed craft legally. There were some stunning CN Tower, which had a golden hue on
game I played in my junior year of high pieces on show and the work is it as the summer day turned to night.
school, when a baseball struck me in constantly evolving as one artist paints I thought to myself that I may not be
the groin, resulting in half the class over another, so no two trips there are remotely sporty, but if ever I did want
gasping then laughing at me, leaving likely to be the same. to try to fall in love with sport, Toronto
My final foray into Toronto’s sporting would be the place to do it.
scene was a trip to Lamport Stadium,
aka The Den, to see the Wolfpack. seetorontonow.com
ON THE OPEN Toronto Wolfpack is Canada’s only
MARKET: Enjoy
shopping at professional rugby league team, so
Kensington Market, most of their games are played against W H E R E T O S TAY
above and below.
Left: Signatures at British teams such as Newcastle
INTERCONTINENTAL TORONTO
the InterContinental Thunder, who flew over for the match. I stayed at the InterContinental
My ex is a manic Toronto located in trendy Yorkville
football fan, to my neighbourhood, which is full of
irritation. I never excellent restaurants and high-end
understood the appeal shopping. My room was spacious
of watching overpaid and classically decorated. My
MARKUS BIDAUX / TRAVEL TORONTO

athletes kick a ball mornings were spent swimming


around and pretend laps in the indoor top-floor pool
that looked out to the CN Tower,
to be hurt to get a
followed by breakfast in the elegant
penalty. I always told Signatures Restaurant.
him rugby is the sport toronto.intercontinental.com
I’d want to watch —

126 JANUARY 2018


EUROPEAN, FRANCE

European Gay Ski Week (EGSW) is the


only international gay ski event hosted by
a different ski resort each year. For EGSW’s
10th anniversary, guests are invited to
the French Alps and the world’s biggest
skiing region, Les Trois Vallées. This year’s
host village, Les Menuires, sits on a sunny
slope at an altitude range of 1,850m.
It offers visitors groups meals and daily
open-air après-ski, featuring live acts and
DJs to get the party started, leading into
evenings of fondue, cabaret and pool
parties. Legendary international club
nights will also be visiting from the UK,
US and Europe. With so much planned,
you’ll be lucky if there’s any time to hit
the slopes.

ju st the 17-24 March

©EGSW
europeangayskiweek.com

t i c ke t THIS MONTH, WE PREVIEW


SOME OF THE WINTER’S
TOP GAY SKI WEEKS
WORDS: MARKUS BIDAUX

ASPEN, USA
AROSA, SWITZERLAND
In 1977, Aspen began hosting the world’s first,
For more than a decade, and for a long time only, gay ski week. The event
Arosa, in the Swiss Alps, has started when skiers and ski clubs from California
welcomed LGBT+ skiers for and Chicago met on the slopes and partied
Arosa Gay Ski Week. The afterwards. It’s now one of the highlights of the
locals are so friendly that international LGBT+ calendar. Group meals,
they now fly the rainbow après-ski socials, film screenings, comedy shows
flag in the centre of town and mountain-top parties punctuate a week of
all winter long. The week’s skiing and snowboarding. Go and find out why
events include everything so many snow bunnies return year after year.
from ice skating, classical
music concerts and gourmet 14-21 January
©MATT POWER
dinners, to a crazy drag race gayskiweek.com
competition and parties
such as Frisco Disco, the
White Snowball Party and
the Addicted Pool Party. The WHISTLER PRIDE AND SKI FESTIVAL, CANADA
area boasts 222km of ski
runs, with 70 blue runs for Snomosexuals worldwide party at the Whistler Pride and Ski
novices and 14 black runs for Festival in Canada’s Coast Mountains. An annual snowfall of
adrenaline junkies. And you’ll 33ft leaves plenty of the white stuff along North America’s
need that cool mountain air longest ski runs, which are also home to inner tube sliding, dog
on your face after a night of sledding and snowmobiling, while Whistler Village hosts après-
hard-core partying. ski socials and parties for the bear, lesbian and circuit boy
crowds. The festival is part of the area’s Pride celebrations, so
20-27 January you’ll get an even warmer welcome than Canada is famous for.
arosa-gayskiweek.com
©MIKE CRANE

21-28 January
gaywhistler.com

JANUARY 2018 127


AT T I T U D E + H E R T Z

© KIM LEUENBERGER
a wa l k o n t h e
w i l d s i d e i n Wa l e s
walkers who had descended from along a peaceful lane, passing just
SALLY SHALAM CONTINUES HER
the Pembrokeshire Coast Path inside a house or two before reaching the
TRAVELS AROUND THE UK BY CAR, The Shed, a bright café. ruins of the medieval Bishop’s Palace,
WITH THE HELP OF LEADING CAR The harbour would once have been a enigmatic beneath a heavy sky, and
HIRE COMPANY HERTZ. THIS MONTH, busy little place. The curious remains then the cathedral’s unmistakeable
SHE VISITS PEMBROKESHIRE, HOME of brick hoppers are waterside red stone exterior. This early, and out
TO STUNNING COASTAL WALKS, CUTE evidence of a former industrial life, of high season, I had the cathedral’s
used in the early 1900s to store road splendour almost entirely to myself.
HARBOURS AND VILLAGES, AND stone from a local quarry before Navigating a coastal course by
AMAZING LOCAL PLACES TO EAT — A loading on to ships. Now there was road to St Davids the previous day
GREAT WAY TO BEAT THE WINTER BLUES just the call of gulls and the wind had been easy. The hardest part had
driving me indoors in search of coffee. been wrenching myself from the first
Reluctantly I passed on fish and chips

a
seal popped its head (clearly the main event – and not just
above the water in cod or haddock, but other seasonal
Porthgain’s harbour, QUAINT COMFORT: catches). I hadn’t eaten breakfast
instantly brightening a Above, Tenby long ago, a hasty bowl of yoghurt and
Harbour, below,
damp morning. Less than Penally Abbey, and
fresh fruit, at my hotel, Penrhiw, just
eight miles from St Davids, I’d turned right, House by Betty outside St Davids, on the westernmost
off the A487 at Croesgoch, and peninsula in Wales. I could
shortly after, reached the village of walk easily from the hotel’s
Porthgain. I stood on the harbour wall, front gates to St Davids
ignoring the drizzle until, eventually, Cathedral, hotel staff said.
© VISIT PEMBROKESHIRE

the wind picked up, sea and sky The rain was holding
© HOUSE BY BETTY

merged in blurry layers of grey, and off first thing, and so I’d
the inquisitive seal disappeared. grabbed the opportunity
I took refuge, then, along with while I could and walked

128 JANUARY 2018


PROMOTION

NATURAL BEAUTY:
Manorbier Beach,
below, Pentre Ifan
burial site, and right,
St Davids Cathedral

© K M LEUENBERGER
I dined that evening at Twr y Felin,
Penrhiw’s nearby sister hotel. I found
a softly lit cocoon of a restaurant,
moodily dark tables, contemporary art
and a meal of piscatorial flavour and
utter finesse lying in wait in this far
flung corner of Britain’s coast.
Back in the driving seat and easing
out of Porthgain, it seemed right
© KIM LEUENBERGER

to continue my odyssey by hunting


out the neolithic dolmen, or burial
chamber, of Pentre Ifan, 2017 being
Year of Legends in Wales. I’d stopped
“This early, and out of briefly in Newport for a steaming
high season, I had the bowl of cawl, packed with tender
lamb and vegetables at Blas café,
cathedral’s splendour
before the sat nav delivered me at a
almost entirely to myself”
lay-by with a signpost. A short walk,
then standing stones topped with
a 16ft capstone came into view, a
and the drawing room enticed with a strange and atmospheric spectre amid
fire, piano and coffee table books. In sodden fields.
the bedrooms, restrained elegance. Last stop, Narberth, east of
© VISIT PEMBROKESHIRE

Modern country house and secret Haverfordwest, for antiques,


domain all rolled into one. homeware at House by Betty and for
From there, I’d stopped at Manorbier Ultracomida. Practically everyone had
whose castle glowered over a sandy told me about this deli, crammed with
cove. I’d pulled up again on the B4319 cured meats, jars of jewel-coloured
at Freshwater West, to take in the preserved vegetables and fresh bread
overnight stop just beyond the jollity sweep of beach, where, in season, and, like everywhere else on this trip,
of Tenby. Tenby’s ice-cream parlours the Café Môr van serves lobster rolls it didn’t disappoint.
and souvenir shops are hemmed by a from the carpark. Final stop, before
centuries-old town wall and a harbour St Davids, had been Solva, with its For more short breaks by car in the UK,
where multi-coloured townhouses woollen mill, cafés and galleries. see hertz.co.uk/inspiredbritishbreaks
brought defiant cheer. I’d left on
the A4139 for Penally, turning up
a hill past St Nicholas and St Teilo FA C T B O X
Church, and arriving, moments later,
Pick up your car from Fishguard
at Penally Abbey, a hotel of magical
Ferry Terminal, Goodwick, United
seclusion, with a hilltop command Kingdom, SA64 0BU, where Hertz
over Carmarthen Bay. Originally part offer a meet and greet service.
of the Pilgrims’ Trail to St Davids,
inspired Tel: 01970 623029.
and home to an order of nuns, until
the Dissolution of the Monasteries, BRITISH Or pick up your car from
it later became a private residence, BREAKS your local Hertz location. See
and what a home it must have been. hertz.co.uk for more details.
It is a chocolate box of treats. A Doric
A Mercedes-Benz GLC Class SUV
column here, Gothic windows there. I N PA R T N E R S H I P W IT H
from the Hertz Prestige Collection
From a flagstoned reception which would add sophistication and
© ALEX CATT

oozed antiquity a little bar glinted style to this short break.


through an ogee-arched doorway,

JANUARY 2018 129


our hearts
will go on
IT’S WHERE CELINE DION CALLS HOME AND The celebration of life I experience
WITH ABUNDANT NATURE JUST HOURS AWAY, stands in stark contrast to the
inspiration behind the foundation of
NATHAN SPARLING — AKA NANCY CLENCH — the city, some 375 years ago.
FINDS MUCH TO FALL IN LOVE WITH Montreal was established to try to
convert native communities to Roman
the streets and most of the shops, bars Catholicism, and one of the first men
and restaurants — including the guilty known to be prosecuted for that most
pleasure Tim Hortons — are decked heinous of crimes — sodomy — was an
out in rainbow apparel. unnamed French drummer, who was
Cabaret Mado is almost like a stationed in Montreal to protect the
theatre. It boasts an impressive stage priests. Legend has it he was given a
and a constant flow of performers choice between death and becoming
impersonating the big divas. As a drag GRAY MATTER: Hotel the city’s first executioner. Needless to
William Gray, left,
aficionado, I’m impressed. When I walk and, below, Nancy, in say, he opted to live and devote himself
in, Tyra Love is performing as Quebec’s green, at Le Drague to the role of killing others.
in Quebec City.
most famous native, Celine Dion, and I Main picture: the
The first recorded gay venue in
have to do a double take just to check Montreal skyline Montreal was an “apple and cake
that the real Ms Dion hasn’t dropped shop” where men met in

m
ontreal has a smaller in for a visit. 1869 to have sex. It’s one
gay scene than some of Despite most of the show being in of the lessons I want the
the UK’s larger cities French, I still manage to understand UK to learn from the city’s
but it sure knows how the premise of that night’s quiz — history: sex and cake at the
to look after it. During guessing the artist behind the songs same time can provide the
the summer months, Rue Sainte- played — and win a random shot. ultimate orgasm.
Catherine, which hosts the main strip I have to say, though, the gays of It was heartthrob prime
of bars, clubs and saunas, becomes Montreal need to scrub up on their minister Justin Trudeau’s
pedestrianised. Rainbow bunting lines Kylie! father Pierre who pushed

130 JANUARY 2018


As in Montreal, the gay scene here
through the law which decriminalised isn’t exactly the biggest, and the ratio
homosexuality in 1969, and, for the of saunas to bars is about 5:1, which is
record, I think dad was the better slightly disconcerting.
looking of the two. (But judge for Le Drague, the city’s only gay bar,
yourself on p52.) “There can’t be is quite the hotspot. I walk in to find
Montreal had its own Stonewall anything better a salsa workshop, which seems to
moment in 1990, when the gay attract an older clientele, but the
than a million gays
community fought back after a police venue is quickly transformed into a
raid on the Sex Garage loft party. This
partying in Montreal” bustling cabaret hotspot just in time
wasn’t the first case of police brutality, for resident queen Stivy — a Gaga
and the Montreal community lined the an electric scooter. These are lookalike — to host her weekly bingo.
streets the following day to protest. available from Dyad Cycles in If bears — I’m talking the animal
The activism ignited bonded the centre of the city, for just variety — are your thing, factor in a
Montreal’s gay population and gave C$65 (£39) a day. With top day or two to visit the picturesque
birth to the city’s thriving scene, as speeds of around 60mph, you can Charlevoix region of Quebec. It’s a
well as political advancements such as feel the wind in your hair as you drive foodie, nature-lovers’ paradise just a
pension rights and same-sex marriage. down side streets and visit tucked- short train journey from Quebec City.
The future remains bright for gay away community gardens. When I visit, I’m led through some
Montreal: earlier this year, Montreal I take my scooter to the top of Mount trees to an opening in the forest,
Pride hosted the first ever Canada Royal, the mountain that gives the city where Denis, a self-proclaimed
Pride festival. Modelled on events such its name. With stunning views across bear-whisperer, ushers me up to
as World Pride, Canada Pride attracted Montreal, you’ll appreciate the low a treehouse. I watch as he entices
more than one million visitors to the buildings, which distinguishes it from black bears with all kinds of food
city. I can’t think of anything better the likes of Toronto or New York. and I get to see them in their natural
than a million gays partying against Leaving the scooter behind and habitat. Denis talks to them and tells
the backdrop of Montreal’s skyline. SPOUT AND PROUD: jumping on a train, a few hours later me that when he goes on holiday he
When I visit, I have the privilege of Below, the Fontaine I’m in idyllic Quebec City, the only has to spend time introducing his
de Tourny outside the
staying at the William Gray, a modern parliament building, walled town in North America. It replacement to the bears so they feel
and friendly hotel that nestles among above, Le Drague, reminds me of my homeland, Scotland. comfortable in the feeder’s presence.
and top, the majestic
the charm of the historical buildings of Terrasse Dufferin, all
I sit overlooking the St Lawrence River It’s the perfect end to a wonderful
Old Montréal. Just a stone’s throw from in Quebec City in full green sequins and watch the sun trip that has left me appreciating just
the gay district, it’s a must for anyone set before I decide why Celine loves Quebec.
who enjoys comfort in beautiful it’s time to check
surroundings. out the talent. explore-canada.co.uk
On the Saturday evening, I take a
short boat ride across the St Lawrence
river to witness Piknic Électronik. An T R AV E L I N F O
electronic music festival that markets
Return flights to Quebec City aircanada.com
itself to the responsible music lover,
this kicks off in the afternoon and Hilton Quebec City hilton.com
there are tunes, food and dancing until
Hotel William Gray hotelwilliamgray.com
the sun starts to set.
SHUTTERSTOCK

There’s a lot more to see in Montreal Auberge L’Estampilles lestampilles.com


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MARKUS BIDAUX

JANUARY 2018 133


small-town
boy
Growing up in traditional
Indiana as a gay boy with
a lesbian mum wasn’t
easy for Sean Faris,
but he’s now found a
home in London, where
he’s opening doors for
himself and others…
PHOTOGRAPHY: MARKUS BIDAUX
WORDS: TIM HEAP

grew up in Indiana, an incredibly conservative


state — even more so in the Eighties and Nineties
i when I was a kid. My family was always different
because my parents are fairly liberal, and that
sticks out in small traditionalist communities. Despite this,
I wasn’t super-familiar with what ‘being gay’ was, because
there were no examples of it around me.

That changed when I was 11. I’d just


Í_ZdYVU^jÍcdejVRc`W[f_Z`cYZXY
and my mum and my dad sat down
and explained they were divorcing
because my mother was a lesbian.
It was devastating — they weren’t
dVaRcReZ_XSVTRfdVeYVjhVcVÍXYeZ_X
like most people: they were separating
because they both liked chicks. My dad
encouraged my mum to live her life —
he’s an artist and has always been
inclusive towards gay people, despite
coming from a conservative family.
When word got out, the community
was pretty terrible about it. In school,
people would ask me “What does your
mum do?” — obviously, not referring to
her career, but what she did with other
women. I wasn’t out in high school,
but I was ‘gay by association’ because
of my mum. I was told she was going to
Hell, and I was going to Hell, things a
kid shouldn’t even have to entertain.
This was also around the time I
started feeling attracted to guys.

134 JANUARY 2018


was after the divorce when my mum
got into a relationship with a woman
named Carol. Now Carol is best
friends with my dad, but at the time he
saw her as trying to push him out of
the picture.
Carol had never really been in the
Up until that point, I was actually closet: she was a proud lesbian and
a pretty big skirt-chaser, but my was the assistant director of the Kinsey
hormones kicked in, and the situation Institute at the time. While I was going
with my own sexuality and my mum’s through an incredibly hard time with
became very complex, and I didn’t ^jdVifR]ZejYRgZ_XRXRjÍXfcV]Z\V
know how to handle it. That was her in my life helped, especially as my
when I started to internalise my mum wasn’t able to be as out as Carol
depression and act out against my was – this was before Ellen DeGeneres
mum — I actually begged her to go for came out on TV.
gay conversion therapy after seeing it After college, I lived in LA for 11
on a TV show. I was in an incredibly years, and came out to my parents
dark place, and I entertained lots of while I was trying to make a living as
terrible thoughts, probably more times an actor there. Questions from well-
than I’d like to admit. I only became meaning family members were slowly
comfortable talking about my feelings starting to draw upon whether I was
a few years ago — I’m 35 now. dating guys and I’d never cracked.
Part of the problem was that my But I’d never correct them either, and
parents didn’t teach my sister and I from that they assumed correctly that
how to handle our family’s situation. I I was gay.
vaguely remember them saying that we I didn’t tell them because I knew the
didn’t have to tell people the truth if news would spread quickly. My dad’s
we didn’t want to. I was uncomfortable one of those cheerleader types who has
saying my mum was gay, but I didn’t to tell everyone how proud of his kid to experience living there, not just be
relish the alternatives either. he is, but sometimes you don’t want a visitor.
I had a couple of friends, Alex and your dad broadcasting that kind of To improve my chances of
Adam, who stayed close, but lost immigrating, I decided to do an MBA,
others. Some of my sister’s friends’ and studied hard for three months
“I S
STARTED TO INTERNALISE MY
parents were uncomfortable with their to get a really good score on the
daughters sleeping over at my mum’s,
DE EPRESSION AND ACT OUT AGAINST MY Graduate Management Admission
because she was a lesbian. I remember MU UM — I ACTUALLY BEGGED HER TO GO Test, which you have to pass to be
one instance where my dad confronted FOOR GAY CONVERSION THERAPY” able to apply for an MBA. I secured a
one mother, saying, “Well, are you place on a course in London, at the
uncomfortable with her sleeping at my stuff to everyone, and his side of the same school where I now work as
house? I’m just as attracted to women family is very conservative. But there director of enrolment for an executive
as she is: what’s different?” was no ignorance and hate, and when MBA programme. Every day, I talk to
I looked up to my father as a hero, my parents separated, he told them all people who are more brilliant and
because even though his heart was that they weren’t to say anything bad accomplished than me, but they’re
broken for a long time, he never about my mother to me and my sister. missing one key piece of the puzzle,
became a villain towards the LGBT+ He told our family, “If you act R_U:YV]aeYV^ÍXfcV`fehYReeYRe
community. differently to them, or show them any is — sometimes it’s an MBA.
During school, I’d spend a lot of time less love, then you’ll never see my kids Outside of my studies, I became
in the library, and one day discovered again.” involved with the Kings Cross Steelers,
you could do a student exchange and In 2011, I stopped pursuing my eYVÍcdeXRjZ_T]fdZgVcfXSjf_Z`_
go to another country. I liked the idea dream of becoming an actor and team, because I wanted to have gay
of going somewhere else where no one joined an airline, after a friend told friends, but I didn’t want to get them
knew anything about me. Somehow, me they were hiring. Even though I’m by going to clubs or gathering a bunch
we found the money and I managed to incredibly introverted, I moved up of Grindr dates that could become
go abroad to the West Midlands. A lot to a leadership position very quickly, friends. I have a handful of friends
changed during that year, and when I and I realised that I’m good at making in LA, but I never made them as
returned home to start my senior year people feel better and meeting their effortlessly as I’ve done in London.
of high school, I was ‘the kid who’d needs. I also learned that I wanted The people in LA just weren’t my
lived in Europe’ rather than ‘the kid to move to London, having visited it tribe. When I go back to Indiana, I
with the gay mum’. during my exchange year. I came to don’t say “I’m going back home”. It
My parents went on to see other the city for 10 days by myself, and doesn’t feel like home, in the same way
people, and didn’t talk for a long time cV_eVURÎReZ_deVRU`WdeRjZ_XReR LA didn’t. But London, while I’ve only
because they were still heartbroken. hotel. I cooked meals, and I even made been here two years, feels like home
The only time they really had issues friends I still talk with now. I wanted to me.

JANUARY 2018 135


MARK AMES PRESENTS

PATHETIC EARTHLINGS PREPARE FOR 2018

TICKETS AVAILABLE ONLINE NOW


s Cinema Paradiso. Exquisite
ime score composed by
heartbreaking dream.
tination?

of olombia. It’s such a sexy,


viv and Manhattan are
me because I work there
where I go for peace.
e at the moment?
my partner, Pedro, for
the most intelligent,
d kind-hearted human
et, and he never ceases
e and surprise me.
you go on a night out?
6RTY^`_eYhV ng days are behind me, so
of you guys, ou y theatre — Sadler’s Wells
find out what y Young Vic are my regular
ollowed by dinner
ktails.
go to Pride?
MITCH SE been to Pride in London
past few years due to
DIRECTOR/CHORE g away, but I try to make
WRIT Aviv Pride, Madrid Pride
w York Pride. I’m still
What’s your YReÎRX
Check emails, do some y on-celebrity has inspired
porridge and a double espre ?
the dog. Shave, shower (sin ans count? My dog,
I scr es me patience, loyalty,
What’s a nacity, forgiveness and
Unpredictable. Fun. Insp re. Taking him for a walk
Hilarious. Emo ng and evening reminds
l the roses” and breathe.
What made you get into gay hero?
I danced for everyone and an, it has to be Oscar
age of two. My weekly s a warrior who fought
performances before m nd wit for the right for
were carefully chore be true to themselves.
high ould you introduce?
What’s the latest b ek! People need to
Homo Deus, by Yuval Noah Ha balance, and job-
genius and his sequel (to Sapie one a chance to earn a
of Humankind) was life-chan to enjoy life.
included in ever ggest achievement?
What music are you listeni an Olivier Award in
Ella Fitzgerald, as research for m TZR]]jRdZehRdeYVÍcde
show The Rat Pack: Live From d. But I’m proudest
opens on 13 December at t d debut at the London
Haymarket (theratpacklivefro continuing to have a
It’s such a blissful experience: or all these years.
when being an entertainer mea ]WÍgVjVRcdWc`^_`h0
I would love to create
eriences for theatre
“MY DOG, ARCH explore telling
Rcd`_eYV
TEACHES ME PATIENC
g my own theatre
LOYALTY, DISCIPLIN
TENACITY, FORGIVENE
AND SO MUCH MOR
LEON CSERNOHLAVEK

IF YOU D LIKE TO BE A PART OF THIS FEATURE, EMAIL TIM.HEAP@ATTITUDE.CO.UK

JANUARY 2018 137


E
WORDS: ADAM DUXBURY

{ LINCOLNSHIRE }

NEWTON’S LAW OF GRAVITATING


If you are one of the millions looking to live in a countryside setting, Newton’s
Place could be just the spot. A new development in rural Lincolnshire, close to
the market town of Grantham, it’s surrounded by rolling green farmland and
mature trees. The site will feature one, two, three and four-bedroom homes.
Grantham boasts excellent commuter links, making it perfect for working
professionals, and if you’re looking to start a family, there are a variety of school
options and plenty of amenities in the area.

barratthomes.co.uk

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If your man is romantic enough to go
down on one knee under the tree this
festive season, the new year may well be
the time for wedding plans. That means
finding the right date, a great venue and,
of course, the perfect florist.
And nobody knows stunning wedding
flowers better than NB Flowers — a
London-based florist whose clients
include Harrods and the Mandarin
Oriental Hyde Park hotel. That’s where
owner Neil Birks married his husband,
AS SWEET AS SCANDI surrounded by plenty of gorgeous
blooms. However, if love hasn’t come
NORDIC STYLE IS PERFECT FOR THE knocking, that’s no reason to deprive
FESTIVE SEASON — AND YOU CAN KEEP
yourself of some beautiful floral displays
THE LOOK GOING WELL INTO THE NEW
YEAR WITH THESE ACCESSORIES at home. “Gone are the days of one mass
of flowers in a vase all in a neat dome,”
says Neil. “Now it’s mixed flowers and
Swedish wool
blanket throw, in colours, bright, beautiful and natural, with
rose quartz, £64, a punch.”
eclectdesign.com
nbflowers.co.uk

Three tea light


houses, £40,
Leaf garland, £355, coxandcox.co.uk
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138 JANUARY 2018


J OY R I D E WORDS:
DARREN STYLES

VAUXHALL ADAM S

EXTENDED RANGE
The Range Rover has always pushed boundaries
— the first on-off-road luxury SUV, for starters.
But the just-arrived, hand-finished, £168k
SVAutobiography model now sends it into the
limousine class. It’s big, very big, but it is clever.
Think of it as first-class travel, or a starter home.
landrover.co.uk

IT’S SMALL BUT PERFECTLY FORMED AND PACKS A SURPRISING PERFORMANCE PUNCH
The Adam S is the most powerful version the excellent IntelliLink infotainment
of Vauxhall’s funkiest super mini, system. It comes with a USB port,
intended as a lesser-spotted alternative Bluetooth connectivity and digital
to the Mini Cooper or Fiat 500 Abarth. radio, and also allows you to bring the
While there are no stripes to convenience of smartphone apps to the
draw unnecessary attention to its high-definition 7in touchscreen. Just
performance credentials, people in the download the compatible apps, plug
know will spot the larger alloy wheels your phone in and they’re all there; the PREMIUM BOND
and beefier body styling and have an BringGo navigation app is particularly James Bond’s favourite mode of transport has
inkling. handy over unfamiliar roads. been given a makeover. The all-new Aston Martin
Those little nods say there’s a punch Press on and the Adam S comes alive. Vantage is a thing of modern beauty. With prices
within: at the heart of the Adam S lies That 1.4l engine picks up eagerly from starting at about £121k, when it goes on sale in the
second quarter of 2018, it’s about as accessible as
a turbo-charged, four-cylinder engine. low revs, and whooshes forward on a
a supercar gets.
Boasting a compact 1.4l, it nonetheless wave of turbo boost in the mid-range.
astonmartin.co.uk
delivers a zippy 150PS — plenty for It’s perfect for hauling out of tight
something weighing just 1,178kg — and corners and for overtaking. Quickly, you
provides a decent turn of speed: from learn to keep it in the juicy power band,
0 to 62mph in 8.5 seconds and on to flicking through the slick six-speed
130mph. manual gearbox, getting into a rhythm.
Power is nothing without control, What’s most impressive is how
though, and uprated sports suspension confidence-inspiring the Adam S feels.
comes as standard, as does a full high- The car’s short wheelbase makes it so
performance braking system. much fun on twisting roads: it’s
At a gentle cruise you notice the light positively agile and hungry for more, as
and easy steering, and a ride that still a result of which, it’s impossible not to
smothers bumps and potholes, despite warm to its eager personality.
the sporty brief. The excellent Recaro HORSE POWER
The Design Museum, in London, is hosting a
sports seats are similarly multi-purpose: Vauxhall Adam S // £18,305 // 1.4-litre
fabulous exhibition called Ferrari: Under the Skin
not only do they hug you firmly in place, 16v four-cylinder turbo // 150PS //
— a celebration of the supercar maker’s 70th
but they’re also seriously comfortable, six-speed manual // front-wheel drive // birthday. All manner of the fast and furious are
even on longer trips. 0-62mph 8.5sec // 130mph // 57.65mpg on view across seven decades of manufacture.
Our test car came equipped with // 139g/km Heaven for lovers of all things horse logo.
designmuseum.org

JANUARY 2018 139


a problem
shared
Got a problem? DR RANJ SINGH
and WAYNE DHESI are here to
offer their advice...

where it wouldn’t surprise you


but focus on what you know;
WAY N E D H E S I ,
no one has been homophobic!
FOUNDER OF
Judge people on their actual
I recently started behaviour.
RUCOMINGOUT

Your fear that colleagues will


a new job where treat you differently could pre
you from being open, if you all
the office is male- to. Whether you like to admit i
a way you’re already back in th
dominated and has closet at work. The question yo
need to ask is: do you want to
a macho vibe. stay there?
Chances are some of your
I’m not the most effeminate guy but I’m colleagues are also gay. How
definitely not “masc” either. While I haven’t do you know there aren’t
witnessed any homophobia, it feels like the other people in the same
sort of place where it could appear. I’ve always situation as you who are
been open about my sexuality and I don’t simply apprehensive about
want to go back into the closet now. What can mentioning their sexuality
I do? in your presence? They may
have made assumptions
SCOTT, BIRMINGHAM about you as you did about
them.
Do you know if your workpla
an LGBT+ staff network? This w
a great way to meet queer colle
¤WAYNE: Starting a new job can be and gain the confidence to star
exciting but if you’re LGBT+, the idea of more open at work. If there isn
meeting new people, with whom you’ll suggest meeting colleagues for
probably spend a considerable amount after work. It’s much easier to
of time, can be nerve-wracking. about personal things in an inf
Recent research shows that 62 per environment when everyone is
cent of graduates go back into the relaxed. Coming out doesn’t ha
closet when they enter the job market. start with sitting everyone dow
There are many reasons why people end with you making a huge s
choose to keep their sexuality a secret One thing you must rememb
when they start a new job and it’s that you are protected if thing
important that you realise what your go well. The Equality Act 2010
own motives are. that LGBT+ people are protecte
From what you say, you’ve already from discrimination, harassme
made some assumptions about your victimisation at work. If you ev
new workplace culture and fellow you are being treated unfairly
employees. We make assumptions of your sexuality, report it to H
based on knowledge we’ve previously Hopefully, you’ll never find yo
gained, which is a natural thing to do, in that situation and, instead, y
but it can sometimes cause us to judge begin to feel comfortable with
people and situations unfairly. You’ve new workmates sooner rather
decided that it’s the kind of workplace later.

140 JANUARY 2018


lost a lot of weight recently and I
n’t know why.
n eating normally and haven’t been doing any extra exercise but I’ve noticed
n dropping a few pounds. I’ve always been pretty slim but now I’m getting really
don’t mind too much, it seems to be giving me a bit more muscle definition, but
ork out why it’s happening. I think people are starting to notice and might be
worried about me, as if I’m anorexic or something. Should I be worried?

M, ABERDEEN

¤RANJ: While weight loss coming off without realising, but still
can sometimes be very need to make sure they’re getting all
welcome (especially at this the nutrition they need. A chat to a
time of year when we tend doctor or dietician could be the key to
to over-indulge), it can be sorting this out.
a sign of a problem. This is If you’ve got other symptoms, such
particularly the case when as tiredness, a change in bowel habits,
it’s unintentional. Body unexplained lumps, or lots of illnesses
weight will naturally and infections, it’s definitely time to
fluctuate during visit your doctor and get checked out.
the course of There could be an underlying medical
your lifetime. reason for your weight loss and
However, if there are a whole range of different
DR RANJ SINGH,
you’ve lost conditions that can do this — ranging
D O C T O R //
TV PRESENTER more than from hormonal problems and gut
five per cent disorders to cancer and HIV.
over six to Likewise, if you think you might be
12 months suffering from something such as an
without eating disorder, then that’s even more
trying, look into reason to see someone about it.
it. Sometimes we Eating disorders are on the rise,
lose weight because especially in men, and are best dealt
we’re going through a with early, to break the cycle as soon
particularly stressful time as possible.
(such as changes at work or In the meantime, try supplementing
at home), but this tends to your diet to see if this helps: eating
improve when things settle down. extra calories (ideally through
If the stress is persistent, then healthier foods) and making sure you
perhaps it’s time to speak to someone have enough vitamins and minerals
about it. A friend, family member, or would be a good idea.
local support or counselling service
may help.
Similarly, people who make a major
“IF
F YOU’VE LOST MORE THAN 5%
change to their diet (going vegetarian OFF YOUR BODY WEIGHT IN SIX
or vegan) may notice the pounds TOO 12 MONTHS, LOOK INTO IT”

IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUBMIT A PROBLEM FOR RANJ AND WAYNE TO ANSWER, EMAIL A FEW WORDS TO TIM.HEAP@ATTITUDE.CO.UK

JANUARY 2018 141


Robin and Callum’s
friendship began when
they donned heels and
sequins for Priscilla:
Queen of the Desert
in the West End. They
cite (an undoubtedly
debaucherous)
“certain weekend in
Amsterdam” as their
C A L L U M , 2 7, relationship’s highlight.
DA N C E R They’ve yet to
have a big fall
ROBIN, 30, out, but let’s see
In a celebration of queer friendship, WEST END
PERFORMER if that changes
we ask best mates some telling questions and after they face
our interrogation!
find out just how well they really know each other
CALLUM ON ROBIN: ROBIN ON CALLUM:

1
Probably Tina Fey or Céline Dion. Who did he idolise Probably Britney Spears.
WRONG! Tina Fey is closer than Céline — Robin’s answer growing up? CORRECT! Not so innocent…
was “a lot of funny actors”
2
Me. Who is his favourite J-Lo or Britney.
WRONG! Britney or J-Lo. Callum, diva? WRONG! Bow down, bitches… It’s Beyoncé
sweetie, you can’t compete
3
He loves a bit of Calvin Harris. What song does he over- Anything by Britney.
HALF A POINT! “Probably some awful play before a night out? CORRECT! Of course
dance sh*t,” said Robin
4
Who’s hottest. What can you never Which one of us is better looking.
CORRECT! Remember: looks fade, boys agree on? CORRECT!

5
I don’t think he embarrasses. What’s his most Stripping when he’s drunk.
CORRECT! “I don’t have one! I’m perfect,” said Robin. embarrassing habit? WRONG! “Sticking my lips to my gums” — mind the
A perfect oxymoron teeth is all we’ll say
6
Don’t think he has any secrets either. What is his secret geeky Watching make-up tutorials. He’s not even a drag queen!
CORRECT! *snooze* pleasure? WRONG! He says he doesn’t have one (we call bullsh*t)

7
To have his own talk show or comedy sketch show. What’s his greatest He’s already smashed it — he’s backing danced for Katy
CORRECT! Suitable for a “perfect diva” ambition? Perry, Taylor Swift etc.
CORRECT! Katy Perry and Taylor Swift?
8
When I stick my lips to my gums. What’s his pet peeve? Me telling him off for this annoying lip thing he does.
CORRECT! How. Absolutely. Disgusting WRONG! “When people smack their mouths!”

9
12. At what age did he 18.
WRONG! 11 — an early starter! come out? CORRECT!

10
Savage. Where is he likely to be Go-go dancing at some club.
HALF A POINT! “In a club” on a Saturday night? CORRECT! Shake what your mama gave you, Callum

A TIE! IF THIS WAS UNIVERSITY CHALLENGE,


CALLUM’S SCORE: ROBIN’S SCORE:
WE’D HAVE A SUDDEN-DEATH QUESTION.
6 /10 WE AIN’T, SO WE WON’T 6/10
IF YOU’D LIKE TO BE CONSIDERED FOR BUDDY BRILLIANT, EMAIL TIM.HEAP@ATTITUDE.CO.UK

JANUARY 2018 143


table
for
two HASSAN,
29, GP

Hassan and
Ciaran dined at
M Victoria Street,
London
What were you looking for on the
CIARAN,
blind date? 32, OFFICE
CIARAN: Just to meet someone M A N AG E R
either as friends or more if there was always with me whenever I meet guys HASSAN: The food was amazing!
a connection. I’m sick of apps, so on dates. Such high-quality produce and great-
thought doing this would be fun. 9`h hRd eYV T`_gVcdReZ`_ R_U hYRe tasting drinks.
HASSAN: I wanted to experience did you talk about? 2_j Rh\hRcU ^`^V_ed0
something exciting, as I’m new CIARAN: It was good. We talked about CIARAN: It turned out he is good
to London. living in London, the dating scene, friends with an ex of mine from R AT E
HYRe hVcV j`fc Ícde Z^acVddZ`_d0 our homes (he’s from York, I’m from Ireland, which was a shock. This world
CIARAN: He seemed nervous, but so Belfast), our jobs and what we liked to is too small. THE
was I. do outside work. HASSAN: We found out he was the ex D AT E
HASSAN: That he was shy, and I was HASSAN: We talked about work, our of one of my good friends. Turns out
HASSAN:
worried we would not get along. hobbies and where we had lived. I London isn’t such a big place after all.
H`f]U j`f YRgV dhZaVU ]VWe `c cZXYe0 thought York was boring compared How did the night end?
CIARAN: Left. with lots of places he’s lived, such as CIARAN: We went to Soho for a few
HASSAN: Honest answer would be Switzerland. drinks, which was fun.
swipe left; he isn’t the usual type I HYRe hRd eYV ^`de Z_eVcVdeZ_X eYZ_X HASSAN: We ended up going out for
would go for, but when meeting face- RS`fe YZ^0 more drinks and dancing. It was nice to
to-face, I keep an open mind. CIARAN: Hassan is a GP and loves to see him relax a bit more.
HYRe hRd YZd SVde bfR]Zej0 sing. In fact, he was actively recruiting What would you have changed about
CIARAN: His sense of humour made new members for his choir later in the the night?
me laugh. evening which was funny. CIARAN: The whole ex connection. 7 /10
HASSAN: His friendliness; he was very HASSAN: I was impressed by the many HASSAN: It would have been to have CIARAN:
easy to get along with. places Ciaran had lived since leaving gone on a date with someone who was
HYRe hVcV j`f ^`de h`ccZVU YV Northern Ireland. interested in me and vice versa.
would notice about you? What do you think he thought of you? D_`X^RccjRg`ZU0
CIARAN: I was running late due to CIARAN: I think he liked me, but I’m CIARAN: We didn’t snog, and there
train delays, so I was worried that not sure if he fancied me. were no wedding bells, so I’d have to
would set things off on the wrong foot. HASSAN: I hope he thought I was easy say avoid.
HASSAN: I’ve had issues with guys to get along with, and down to earth. HASSAN: Well as friends, I can’t snog, I
judging me on my skin colour and 9`hhRdeYVW``U0 can’t marry, so would be avoid. Sorry!
body shape in the past, so that worry is CIARAN: Delicious! I had the steak. HZ]]j`f^VVeRXRZ_0 7 /10
CIARAN: Yes, I would like to meet as
friends.
“IT TURNED OUT HE IS GOOD FRIENDS WITH AN EX OF HASSAN: We go to the same social
MINE FROM IRELAND, WHICH WAS A SHOCK” — CIARAN places so I might bump into him.

IF YOU’D LIKE TO BE CONSIDERED FOR TABLE FOR TWO, EMAIL TIM.HEAP@ATTITUDE.CO.UK

MVICTORIA.CO.UK
AS TOLD TO TIM HEAP

YOUR LUXURY MULTIFACETED VENUE

144 JANUARY 2018


MATT CHUDLEIGH, 36, Being alone, not having an emotional
FINANCIAL SYSTEMS connection or bond with anyone, was
killing me.
CONSULTANT, ALBERTA, In Calgary, there’s a gay bar
CANADA called The Backlot. It looks pretty
creepy from the outside. There’s
hat was my first gay bar a dodgy entrance way back from the
experience like? Before street. It was probably built that way for
w I get to that, I owe good reason, as it has been a gay bar for
you a bit of context. I’m a very long time.
obviously not the first person to grow Having walked past The Backlot
up confused about his sexuality, but you numerous times, I knew what it was
need to know what I was thinking in and exactly where it was. Late at night,
the run-up to that nerve-wracking night I would walk down the street and try
out to understand how much it meant to catch glimpses of people coming in
to me. or out, or even get a peek at what was
As a young man in the Eighties, I was behind the door. Curiosity was eating
always intrigued at me.
by guys, yet that THEN: Matt, So one rainy night in May, I worked up
back in the day
attraction was never when being gay
every ounce of courage I could muster
something that I could was a mystery and stood outside that alley. I’ll never
explain. And growing NOW: Matt still forget the feeling of walking down the
visits his first
up in a small town gay bar alleyway. I was gripped with anxiety,
in rural Canada, it
wasn’t something
that anybody
ATE AT NIGHT, I WOULD WALK
acknowledged, it was a big-city OWN THE STREET AND TRY TO
problem. There really wasn’t anyone ATCH A GLIMPSE OF PEOPLE
who I could point to and say, “Oh, OMING IN OR OUT OR EVEN GET A
I’m like him.” As far I knew, I was
EEK AT WHAT WAS BEHIND THE
just like everyone else — albeit with
that odd compulsion towards guys.
OOR. CURIOSITY WAS EATING AT ME”
But right from the awkward stages
of puberty, I had longed for love. I anticipation and uncertainty. But
wanted people to like me for me, and with every single step I took towards
not receiving that love and acceptance that door, my mind was racing with
made my early adult years a challenge. possibilities — what was waiting for me
I made it to university in the nearest on the other side?
big city, Calgary, where I continued to With a deep breath, I opened the
struggle in my quest to find out where I
belonged. For me, the experience wasn’t
the crazy, hedonistic, experimental time
that many people enjoy — I was shy, I
pp g door and just like that: nothing! I didn’t
explode into a puff of glitter, and the
bar didn’t descend into sudden silence
as I entered. It was just a bar, like all the
loved animé and I was a total finance straight bars I’d been to before.
geek who kept himself to himself. When “Oh, hey cutie, you look a little lost.
it came to romance nothing happened, Let me get you a drink!” someone said.
not even so much as a kiss. So I just His voice was camp and welcoming.
continued to be a confused young adult It was the owner, Mark Campbell,
with something lurking there in the who was standing behind the bar. At
back of my mind, but too afraid to do that moment, it felt like 15 years of
anything. Then I stumbled into my first emotional baggage had just fallen off
job out of school. my shoulders.
When you’re a young person working We all remember that I had absolutely no idea what I
in finance, no amount of hours is exciting, nerve-racking expected. The concept of being gay was
enough — all I seemed to do was work. alien to me — I didn’t know anyone
All day, every day I was focused on
night when we made who was gay, and in Western Canada
my job, with just enough time and our debut on the scene. back then gay life was all pretty hidden
energy left over to maintain what little So what was it like for — but with those words Mark took
social network I had. And this went on all that repressed emotion away in an
for years. you, the first time you instant. From then on, Mark and I were
Suddenly, I realised I was 27 and I walked through the firm friends.
wasn’t even sure I was gay. Things had Although I now live in London, every
been building up to breaking point for
door of a gay venue? time I’m back in Calgary, I always stop
a while and I couldn’t take it anymore. in at The Backlot.

IF YOU’D LIKE TO BE CONSIDERED FOR STEPPING OUT, EMAIL AN OUTLINE OF YOUR STORY TO ADAM.DUXBURY@ATTITUDE.CO.UK

JANUARY 2018 145


DRAG & CABARET

BIG IN A WIG

MEET VIZIN — THE ALL-DANCING, ALL-SINGING What animal would you come back as
in your next life?
NATIVE AMERICAN DRAG-POP SENSATION I want to be something someone
PHOTO: SHAUN VADILLA
cooked up in a lab.
What event in history would you
go back in time to and what would
Who’s your favourite diva? How early is too early for a glass you do?
As a lamb from way back, I would 100 of wine? I’d go back in time and tell whoever
per cent say Mariah Carey. If you haven’t stopped from the night invented high heels to make sizes
Describe your drag in five words. before, then it’s never too early. in extra-large heffa, because I have
The Mariah Carey of Drag. If you could be any celebrity body big feet.
What would your best friend say part which would you be? How much is in your bank account
about you? Mariah Carey’s feet. Have you seen right now?
What wouldn’t my best friend say those shoes? “I WANT I won’t lie: there’s enough to be
about me? Your dream four dinner party TO BE comfortable and enough to stay
What would your worst enemy say guests are… SOMETHING humble.
about you? Only four guests? What kind of party What’s the most expensive item you’ve
SOMEONE
You’re perfect, you’re beautiful, you is that? ever bought?
COOKED UP
look like Linda Evangelista, you’re Who would play you in a film? I don’t buy expensive things, but I do
IN A LAB”
a model… Barbie. Seriously, that girl has have expensive tastes.
What would your superhero power be? everything! What’s your party trick?
I would control fire and my name would Who would you swap lives with for Bend over and I’ll show you…
be ‘Hot Trade’. a day? Which song would you walk down the
What’s your most underrated quality? Bitch, I’d be Beyoncé. aisle to?
My beauty. Which celebrity were you in a Here For the Party by Gretchen Wilson.
What would be your first act if you previous life? Who’s your celebrity man crush?
were Queen of the World? Definitely Marilyn Monroe. Brad Pitt circa Interview with a Vampire.
I’d give everyone a Barbie and cover my Love is…? Who’s your celebrity girl crush?
castle in Swarovski Crystals. …a bitch to rhyme. Brienne of Tarth.

146 JANUARY 2018


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