Four-fifths of the Guest Blogging Home Team bid you a fond farewell.


Left to right: Ben, Alan, Miss Mish and Buni. Sadly not present: the elusive Nixon.

More pictures are here (courtesy of Mish), and full write-ups of the evening are here and here.

Continue reading “Four-fifths of the Guest Blogging Home Team bid you a fond farewell.”

In Which I Nervously Limp Back Into The Blogosphere, Clutching My Bag Of Souvenir Alpaca Finger Puppets.

I’m back. But still a tad lagged, my chickens. Lagged like an old boiler, indeed. So please bear with me, as I slowly find my bearings.

Peru was… an Experience. As opposed to a “holiday” in the more conventional sense of the word. In fact, “endurance test” might be nearer the mark. But more of that as it comes, no doubt. I’d hate to spoil the plot.

My warmest thanks to Alan, Ben, Buni, Mish and Nixon for keeping the place spick and span over the last two and a half weeks (although I’m sure I don’t remember those particular fag-burns on the carpet). I’ve been keeping a watchful eye from various Peruvian cyber-caffs along the way, and have been mightily entertained. Especially by Alan’s “gay rut” (been there myself, several times), Ben’s “dream team” (my vote would also have gone to La Burchill), Buni’s “lost weekend” (or should we make that fortnight?), Mish’s “grand tour” (actually, Ha Ha’s are retro-chic these days; you mean to say you didn’t know?) and *cough* THAT Nixon piece, and its ensuing comments (I might return to this subject in the near future).

Small steps for now, though.
(In a literal as well as a figurative sense, but we don’t have to go there.)

It’s good to be back.

In Which (whispers) we haven’t gone yet…..

(Posted by Miss Mish)

Just a teeny little aside here.

We’ve just taken a lot of the cushions down into the wine cellar and are hiding out, drinking our way to freedom.

There’s already a squabble as we can’t decide if we should be drinking alphabetically (absinthe, bacardi, brandy, cointreau etc) or chronologically (the 1953 Chateau Lafitte, the 1954……)

We thought we’d leap out upon them and shout “surprise!” when we they get back all jet-lagged and fit and toned. And also to get first dibs on the souvenirs and duty-free.

Now excuse me, but I think we’re upto to the 1963 Gordons. I really, really must go……….

In Which It’s Time To Go……..

(posted by Miss Mish)

Picture the scene:

An aging Drama Queen is standing by herself in the ballroom of Troubled-Diva Towers. It is late, her luggage is piled up by the front door and she is already slightly drunk.

Dressed in her going away outfit of travelling suit and hat, she meanders, gin in hand, dropping cigarette ash upon the marble flooring. Stumbling ever-so slightly, she tearfully bids farewell. Taking a deep breath, she approaches the door and begins to sing …………

“And now the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case of which I’m certain
I’ve lived a life that’s full
I traveled each and every highway
and more, much more than this
I did it myyyyyyy wayyyyy”

“Oh to hell with this. I’m not going”

(Seriously, gentlemen, it’s been great fun and I love you all. Now if only people had actually read it while they were away……… Mwah! Mwah!)

And, now it’s time to leave…

(posted by Alan)

While I’ve read a lot of ‘professional’ blogs before, Mike’s was the first personal one that I read and what a great one it is too. And, through his links to other excellent personal blogs, I’ve become quite an addict. So, being asked to guest-blog here has not only been great fun, but it’s been a privilege too. Now that my time as a guest-blogger at Troubled-Diva has come to an end, I’ve come to realise two things, one of which is a ‘good thing’, the other, probably not.

Firstly, I’ve come to realise that I really like Nottingham.

Until recently, when asked what I feel about Nottingham, I’ve always said something along the lines of, ‘It’s alright’ or some other non-committal comment lacking in enthusiasm. The main reason for that is my bias against most English cities and towns that developed after having fallen in love with Newcastle-upon-Tyne, a place where I spent 2 great years until January last year. Contrary to all expectations before arriving in Newcastle, I grew very fond of it within 2 months of arriving there. So, rather irrationally, all other places that I’ve been to in England, have been compared with Newcastle and they’ve all compared unfavourably – Nottingham just didn’t have a chance! But, writing about the place over the past 2 weeks has opened my eyes a lot and I can now admit that despite its failings/short-comings, I’ve really enjoyed myself here and I can honestly say that I’ve grown very fond of it.

However, in case you are wondering, Newcastle is still my favourite city in England!

Secondly, the blog-writing bug has bitten me.

This can’t be a ‘good thing’ as not only will it make me spend more time at the computer at the expense of ‘real life’ but it’ll also mean inflicting myself on a larger audience than the poor souls that know me already. Actually, while liking the idea of having my own blog, thinking of how to approach it isn’t that easy as most of the best personal blogs seem to have a theme/topic around which the personal stuff hangs. In Mike’s case, it’s music; in Ben’s, football. But, there are others like Mish’s that are just as compelling without having a definable topic that brings it together. For the moment, I can’t think of a theme/topic that I’m sufficiently interested in so my blog would have to rely on something much less definable, an altogether more difficult approach, it would seem, to interesting blogging.

But, watch this space – you’ve been warned!

Anyway, it’s been fun being here and I really look forward to meeting the other guest-bloggers tomorrow night. And, as it will be my second meeting with Mish, we may yet cohabit.

Mike, thanks for letting me soil your pristine home with my ramblings and, once you’ve picked up the pieces, washed the sheets and glasses, and cleared the rubbish, I hope to see you soon.

And now, the end is near…

(Posted by Ben)

Well, my stay at Diva Towers is coming to an end, and I’d just like to thank my fellow guest bloggers (with whom I will be rendezvousing tomorrow night), you the lovely TD readership, my producers, my parents, God, Allah – but above all Mike for entrusting me with a set of keys in the first place.

A couple of bottles of Dom Perignon have gone walkies from the cellar and there’s a dubious stain on the drawing room chaise-longue, but apart from that I hope you’ll find the place pretty much as you left it, Mike.

So, without further ado, adieu.

Guest Blogging Dream Team: Competition Result

(Posted by Ben)

So, decision time…

Four excellent suggestions, all of whom are potentially brilliant bloggers, but only one winner…

Is it to be Julie Burchill (Alan’s choice, after some deliberation)?

Or Lily Savage (Miss Mish)?

Or Christopher Isherwood (la Byd)?

Or Dorothy Parker (Paul)?

How to choose between them? Oh well, here goes…

For the sake of the team dynamic, I’m inclined to go for another woman, which rules Isherwood out – sorry la Byd.

Lily Savage and Aunt Cyn would certainly get on famously, but I can imagine them forming something of a hareem – guzzling cooking sherry together and taking great pleasure in tweaking D H Lawrence’s beard and upsetting Alan Bennett with all manner of lurid suggestions. Perhaps not the best appointment in the interests of team morale – sorry Mish.

Which leaves Dorothy Parker and Julie Burchill. Cynicism and bitchiness v plain bitchiness. Though cynicism is a trait I admire, with the likes of Lawrence, Morrissey and Will Self already onboard, choosing Dorothy Parker could be overkill – sorry Paul.

So, the seventh member of the Guest Blogging Dream Team is Julie Burchill – congratulations to Alan! A copy of Will Self’s ‘How The Dead Live’ is yours to treasure.

Thanks to everyone who took part in the competition – and to everyone who read the posts.

In Which I Am Amused

(posted by Miss Mish)

Last night, I heard a tiny news item on R4 concerning Alton Towers. No, not the sister-mansion of T-D Towers, but the amusement park here in the East Midlands.

It appears that a couple living near-by have made an official complaint about the noise and Alton Towers now has to Do Something About It.

Now this has left me with a couple of surreal images. One, of the couple in their pajamas attempting to get an early night, whizzing round to bang on the windows and shout: “Will you keep the noise down in there!” The other, of a crack team of librarians being bussed in to police the park, being placed on the roller coaster and turning round to sternly say: “Shh!” when people start screaming at the top…..

Nottingham Vignettes – Part 4

(posted by Alan)


It appears that I’ve been missing out on a little treasure when it comes to Nottingham despite it being within spitting distance of the Broadway Cinema and the Lord Roberts, both places I frequent a lot, especially the latter.

It may be small and cosy, but George’s bar can certainly fit a lot of people in as Saturday night turns into Sunday morning. The décor is an eclectic collection of objects lovingly collected by George in the 11 years that she’s owned the place. Small Christmas lights festoon the drinks in the bar area, Barbie and Ken dolls make love to the Vodka bottles, Ken bonks Ken, pictures of long dead movie stars and Ethel Merman dot the place. A ‘Frida Kahlo’ portrait of George looks down over everyone. And Ethel Merman belts out her disco songs.

George, herself, is quite mad but completely engaged in everything that is going on and with everyone there. But, later, when there is a sudden influx of people just before official closing time and the glasses have reached a stage where they need to be recycled, the wheels come off and chaos reigns – several customers offer to wash glasses, others clear tables and order is restored after George has told the newcomers, in no uncertain terms, to leave. Those left behind, settle down, knowing that they can stay until George runs out of drink. Her customers, just like her décor, are an eclectic bunch that encompasses all ages, all genders, all sexual persuasions and the rest. And, as Mish said, ‘They are so much better-dressed than the crowd you find at the Lord Roberts, darling!’ Well, not only that, they make for a much more interesting bunch too.

And this is the place where I first meet the fabulous Mish and her bearded friend R. Mish, I’m sure, is always a picture of loveliness but I was most taken by her sitting there, swathed in pink, cigarette smoke curling up from her cigarette-holder, and a glass of wine in hand. Unfortunately, having arrived late, I didn’t get to see her wearing her hat but it was there, next to her pink handbag with its subtly protruding nipples. Mish ordered me a gin and tonic and we began to talk and drink. Drink and talk, talk and drink…Some time later, R left to go to Rock City and Mish and I drank and talked and drank and talked and…

At some point the Australian cello player that I’d spent the night with before entered the bar and sat down behind us with a friend – I was glad to see that he smiled very happily when he saw me. Some time later, it appeared that he was really very happy to see me – I do so love feeling liked and wanted! Next, a Scotsman that I’ve known a while arrived with two of his friends. I chatted to them for a bit but they didn’t stay long. Mish and I joined the cello player , his friend and the lovely young man that Mish later took an enthusiastic shine to. Later, just Mish, George, lovely young man and myself were left, still talking and drinking.

I was ready to sit there all night but several text messages from the Scotsman got me into NG1 just as last entries were going in at 1.45.

Only two days to go until Wednesday and I’ll be there again. This time, Ben and Buni will join us.

In Which I Have Lost Something*

(posted by Miss Mish)

Now just a minute, just a minute. I distinctly remember there being a weekend around here somewhere. I just took my eye off it for a second and it has vanished.

I remember seeing the new Woody Allen film with The Husband on Friday night. Not a classic Woody, but ticks all the right boxes, well told and for once you don’t get the embarrassing sight of Woody dating a gorgeous woman 30 years his junior (unlike his real life). Then we had dinner together and were tucked up in bed by midnight.

On Saturday I remember reading the papers, doing the laundry and then getting ready to go out to meet one of my fellow blog-sitters. The Lovely Alan turned up and we talked and drank and talked and drank anddrankanddrank and managed to stop in time before we fell over. We met lots of other people too and I distinctly remember kissing a young man rather enthusiastically after Alan had left but it all seems to have happened in an hour or two.

Sunday I remember doing nothing but reading the papers and cooking dinner (and thinking about that charming young man a little guiltily) and then before you know it, I’m back at my desk again!

So come on, which of you lot nicked my weekend?

* I also appear to have left my mobile in the bar, my lipstick in the ladies and my reputation down the back of that comfy sofa in George’s. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

In Which I Have a Pleasant Interlude

(posted by Miss Mish)

One of the joys about Nottingham is it is so green. Mostly hidden I grant you but you can always find somewhere to sit and read in the sun. We have the manicured green sward of the Market square, The Arboretum, the university boating lake and, moving further out, parks  and green spaces  just off the centre of town.

I work in a large Government building on Talbot Street. Just up from Theatre Square in fact, so almost the centre of town. Perched on top of a car park it may be, but  surrounded by terraces with flowerbeds and picnic tables (we civil servants like to get away from the grey after all). At the moment the lavender is in full flower  and it really is a lovely place to get away from the desk for an hour or so.  At 1pm today, I took my lunch and my book and sat outside in the sun,  luxuriating in the heat and the stillness of the air.   The city was almost inaudible apart from the muted clang of the trams. In the still of the heat haze,  I hear a scrabbling and a skittering on the brickwork. I slowly look up, just in time to see a large fox,  jumping from a jumble of rhododendron in the middle of the largest flowerbed. He stretches, yawns and lazily scratches himself and I stay completely still. He turns round, sees me and freezes. And seems almost embarrassed by being caught out. For a full ten seconds neither of us dares to move or drop our locked eyes.

Then he’s off again. Busy, busy, busy and I go back to the hurly-burly of the office.

Hanging out the Laundry at the George

(posted by Alan)

Four of us have managed to agree to meeting up at the George on Wednesday (4 Aug) – just Nixon left to convince that he’ll be missing out on the social event of August.

In honour of the occasion, I’ll be having a haircut this afternoon and curtailing my drinking money this weekend.

Dream Guest Blogger #7

(posted by Alan)

Ben started out with DH Lawrence then followed with Alan Bennett, Morrissey, Will Self, Chris Morris and Mike’s dear Aunt Cyn. A theme to his guest bloggers was immediately obvious after the third day – all are commentators of various sorts on British life in general, and on English life in particular. Well, the first 5 fitted that bill, Aunt Cyn is a complete wild card that threw me off a bit. Not just a bit, a lot, actually. But, ignoring that mad, wonderful old duck, I’ll stick to the theme established by the first 5 dream guests.

A suitable, 7th blogger shot into my head on that third day as my obvious choice and he is still there as a very worthy contender. But, since then, several others have seemed just as worthy, all of them for different reasons. So, let me go through all of them, giving you my reasons why they are all worthy, then give you my choice as the most worthy contender. I’ll list them in the order in which they popped into my head:

Bill Bryson:
Bill Bryson, an American, first came to this country as a backpacker in 1973. He met his wife here and settled here, working as a travel writer. Although he and his family moved back to the States in 1995, they returned to England in 2003. Before becoming the wildly successful international author that he now is, he had had several best-sellers in the UK, one of which was the hugely popular, ‘Notes from a Small Island’ (1995), a book about the UK that was later made into a television production by ITV. Borrowing from this review will give you a good idea of why he makes a worthy 7th guest blogger:

Bill Bryson’s narrative of his travels on a “small island” will probably not be found in British chambers of commerce or travel agencies, for it is not a favourable advertisement. It is instead a Midwest American’s humorous account of disappointment and frustration as he tries to discover the beauty of Britain.

Bryson makes his way through the British countryside, towns and cities by way of bus, train, or on foot. He has a continual problem finding good places to eat during the day or to lodge at night. He quickly learned, “The trick to successful walking…is knowing when to stop.” At least once, he stopped too late and had to find a comfortable park bench to sleep on.

He quickly became fascinated with British nomenclature. “No where” he admitted, “are the British more gifted than with place names.” He classified as “endearingly insane” towns such as Chew Magna, Prittlewell, Little Rollright, Titsey, Woodstock Slop, and Nether Wallop. But often, it was the intriguing name of a town which inspired him to visit there.

Another thing that bothered Bryson was that too many British buildings offended the local landscape. He often found historical edifices being replaced by parking lots. He lamented, “You can’t tear down fine old structures and then pretend they are still there.” And Liverpool, which he was exceedingly fond of, seemed to him a “…place with more past than future.” Then, near the end of his trip, he audaciously names off “…the buildings I would love to blow up in Britain…”

Most of Bryson’s humor comes alive when he is disturbed by what he finds, or doesn’t find, or when he is mislead by travel maps and time schedules. But he does have some favourite places, such as Ludlow, Manchester, Morecambe, Inverness, Thurso, and Glasgow. Above all, he enjoyed his travel because, “…you’re seldom really alone out of doors in England.”

So, unlike those listed by Ben, Bryson is a foreigner who has lived here long enough to get an intimate outsider’s perspective on a country and people that inspire both great affection and infuriation.

Paul Theroux:
Thinking of Bill Bryson’s book on the UK immediately reminded me of a similar book written almost 20 year’s earlier, Paul Theroux’s, ‘Kingdom by the Sea’ (1983). Although Theroux is known for his travel writing, he has written an impressive number of novels, the most famous one being, perhaps, ‘The Mosquito Coast’. Like Bryson, Theroux was also born in the US and met his first wife in England where he lived for many years. Unlike Bryson, however, he has spent a lot of time living and working in other parts of the world besides the US and UK. Bryson, while referring to Theroux as ‘grumpy’ and ‘irascible’, mentions him as a great influence. From his official website, comes this description of ‘Kingdom by the Sea’:

After eleven years as an alien in London, Paul Theroux set out on a damp May day in 1982 to discover Britain by traveling round her entire coast. Being American was an advantage. He could write about the British as they could not write about themselves. He did not want to write about museums, castles and cathedrals. Nor did he want his journey to be a stunt; he would not set a time limit or restrict himself to one means of transport. He would simply take to the coast and keep to it. Mainly by train, but walking too, he would circumnavigate Britain. It was a natural itinerary. Britain’s coast defined her: ‘the coast belongs to everyone.’

Naturally talkative, Theroux discovered the candour as well as the secretiveness of the island’s people. Staying in bed and breakfasts and small hotels he found himself on the receiving end of confidences and strident opinions as well as British hospitality. He found unadulterated pleasures — sunlit strands, three-coach branch-line trains, an invitation to a crofter’s cottage for tea — and doubtful experiences — caravan-lined beaches, stony cities, a day at Butlins, and the terrors of Ulster which rule its hard-pressed people. ‘To be anonymous and traveling in an interesting place is an intoxication,’ he says, and from Weymouth, with its welcoming smell of fish and beer, to Cape Wrath, ‘a beautiful unknown place,’ he communicates that intoxication in a restless, vivid, opinionated series of eye-witness impressions.

So, here is another very talented American with a great love of Britain and who is able to comment on the place with an outsider’s perception that affords him a viewpoint that can be infuriatingly accurate and refreshingly different.

VS Naipaul:
In the early days, VS Naipaul and Paul Theroux were very great friends, Naipaul being constantly described as Theroux’s ‘mentor’. They met in Uganda and became the closest of friends, literary friends who were each other’s editors, confidants and teachers. The very acrimonious end to that friendship is covered in Theroux’s book, ‘Sir Vidia’s Shadow’ ( 1998).

VS Naipaul was born in Trinidad into a family of Indian Brahmin origin. His father, a newspaper correspondent and writer of published short stories and encouraged him to be a writer, telling him in a letter: “Don’t be scared of being an artist. D. H. Lawrence was an artist through and through; and, for the time being at any rate, you should think as Lawrence. Remember what he used to say, ‘Art for my sake.'” At the age of 18 he had written his first novel which was rejected by the publisher. He moved to England in 1950 to take up a scholarship at Oxford.

Naipaul’s writings deal with the cultural confusion of the Third World and the problems of an outsider, a feature of his own experience as an Indian in the West Indies, a West Indian in England, and a nomadic intellectual in a postcolonial world. Naipaul’s outspoken, unapologetic views on ‘half-made societies’ have led to much controversy for being so politically incorrect.

In his semi-autobiographical novel, ‘The Enigma of Arrival’ (1987), Naipaul depicts a writer of Caribbean origin, who finds joys of homecoming in England after wandering years – during which the world stopped being a colony for him. Central themes in Naipaul’s works are the damaging effects of colonialism upon the people of the Third World, and the feelings of exile and alienation experienced by immigrants in societies such as that in Britain.

Naipaul, a severe, arrogant figure with absolute mastery of the English language, is the sort of person who would make the perfect blogger to give an eloquent, intellectual portrayal of those British people that often feel excluded by their country and the majority of their countrymen.

He won the Nobel prize for Literature in 2001.

Julie Burchill:
Thinking of the acrimonious end to a great literary friendship reminded me of another great ‘literary battle’ albeit one of quite a different kind, the ‘fax wars’ between Julie Burchill and Camille Paglia in 1993. The first recorded fax war, dubbed by the press as ‘The Battle of the Bitches’, it still makes good reading.

But, long before that, Julie Burchill had shone strong and bright over British modern culture. Julie was born in Bristol in 1959, started out as a reporter on NME, married another hip young journalist and author, Tony Parsons, and, with Toby Young (someone she later fell out with), was a founding editor of The Modern Review. Along the way, she became a presence in British journalism that was impossible to ignore no matter whether you liked or despised her. Formerly the Queen of the Groucho Club, she now spends more time queening it over Brighton where she lives. More recently, she has been known for her weekly Guardian column (now sadly finished) and the play about her life, ‘Julie Burchill is Away’.

One of Britain’s most outspoken journalists, her bare-knuckle attitudes and reckless lifestyle have made her as reviled as she is successful. All very good reasons for her to make the perfect 7th guest blogger!

A few other names presented themselves too. For example, Ozzies long resident in Britain like Germaine Greer and Clive James would also probably make excellent guest bloggers again for their sharp intelligence and outsider’s perspective on Britain. But, I had to stop somewhere so have kept to the shortlist above.

Ok, so whom do we have to chose? Two male Americans who have spent a lot of time living in Britain and making a living out of observing Britons; a British Indian, originally from one of the ex-colonies who is now one of the greatest living masters of the English language, a man with an insider’s knowledge of exile and alienation within British society; and an Englishwoman who, over the past two decades, has become an acute observer of British society and culture.

I choose Julie Burchill!

And, I choose her because I think that she would be the perfect foil to Ben’s choices. She would be witty, clever, provocative and would leap in without hesitation. Also, being so much in tune with modern Britain, I think that her comments would, possibly, hit the mark more. It’s a pity that she isn’t one of the outsiders that made the other 3 so suitable but I still think she would be the best of the lot.

I wonder if she and Aunt Cyn are related?

Ben, I know that you asked for suggestions as a comment but you must know me by now – wordy, verbose and horribly convoluted. So, apologies for this diatribe but my fingers couldn’t resist it!

Guest Blogging Dream Team: Competition

So, you’ve read the posts and ooh-ed and ah-ed at each of my six choices for the Guest Blogging Dream Team (or maybe not) – D H Lawrence, Alan Bennett, Morrissey, Will Self, Chris Morris and Aunt Cyn – and now it’s your turn. Here’s what you have to do…

Suggest a seventh member for the team and justify your choice.

It can be anyone, whether alive, dead, real, fictional, famous, infamous, current blogger or not – anyone you think is or would be a potentially brilliant blog writer, as long as they haven’t already been chosen.

All suggestions and justifications in the comments box below (as well as any queries), and, in the interests of fairness, only one suggestion per person, please.

Deadline: Tuesday 3rd August, 4pm.

In addition to the congratulations of the Troubled Diva readership, the person who comes up with the best suggestion and justification as adjudged by moi will receive a brand spanking new copy of Guest Blogging Dream Team member Will Self’s novel ‘How The Dead Live’.

Over to you…

Guest Blogging Dream Team: Member #6

(Posted by Ben)

(If you’re wondering what this is all about, click here.)

Suitably chastened by Alan, here’s the final installment of the series – the last member of my Guest Blogging Dream Team to be unveiled.

Some clues, then.

A familiar figure to some (ie long-time Troubled Diva readers), but unfamiliar to others…

She would offer a much-needed female perspective to a team comprised thus far solely of men…

She has a boundless lust for life…

She’s a bit of a hoot, blessed with a wicked sense of humour and a fondness for ribaldry and innuendo…

She’s much-travelled and has also got about a bit…

She has a wealth of life experience and countless tales from her colourful past with which she can charm anyone who’s within earshot…

Her father was a friend of that nice Mister Hitler…

She lived for twenty years on the edge of the jungle in Borneo…

She was once married to a judge who tragically died of Dutch Elm Disease…

She was arrested 157 times for protesting at Greenham Common…

She’s currently working as an agony aunt for the Liechtenstein Mail & Herald…

And, given that the team member unveiled yesterday was Chris Morris, I guess you could say I’ve gone from ‘Jam’ to jam…

Yes, of course, it’s Mike’s lovely Aunt Cyn – not so much Belle De Jour as Belle De Hier.

Unlike the rest of the team, she’s done it all before (on this very site), and done it to rousing and hilarious effect.

With her onboard and the Guest Blogging Dream Team completed, there’d be nothing more to do but just sit back and wait for the Guardian awards to roll in.

So, my complete Guest Blogging Dream Team: D H Lawrence, Alan Bennett, Morrissey, Will SelfChris Morris and Aunt Cyn.

I’m not homophobic but…

(posted by Nixon)

One of the requirements of middle-class life is to give the impression of being politically correct. That’s not to say their politics have to be free from prejudice, rather they need to appear as such. To these ends, we prefix strange phrases to what we say when discussing politically contentious issues; phrases that are designed to shroud our prejudice and give the impression of impartiality. The classic example of this would be “I’m not racist/homophobic/sexist, but..”, or the wonderfully patronising, “I have a lot of gay/female/black/asian friends, but…”, or even better, “…I know a [insert minority group] who agree with me!”

These phrases are carefully-crafted rhetorical devices designed to lull us into believing “they’re not racist, they just don’t like immigrants who come here to steal our jobs and rape our young white girls.”

This attempt to give prejudice a publicly acceptable face can also be seen in the contentious issue of gay adoption.

There are two main arguments against it, the first being right-wing silliness about Adam and Eve, and God, and I’m going to waste my time discussing it. The one I want to post about is the argument against gay adoption supposedly borne out of concern for ‘The Children’. Perhaps you’ve heard it, perhaps you even believe it:

“Many of my friends are gay so what I’m saying isn’t prejudiced, but… Gays shouldn’t adopt because homophobia exists in society and the kids would be bullied a result.”

Firstly I’d challenge that the pathological response of other children would be to bully those children who had gay parents. A few studies have found no difference in the bullying of children with straight or gay parents. Moreover, children of gay parents do not perform any worse at school or score differently on psychosocial tests. The central tenet of the argument cannot be justified.

Whilst I’d concede bullying may occur and gay parents should be mindful of homophobia, it is not a justification in itself to prohibit gay adoption. To formulate an extreme case scenario using the same argument we could say interracial couples should not have children as their children would be bullied. Perhaps I shouldn’t leave my house because I might get a rock thrown at me?

This argument implicitly promotes homophobia by allowing it to go unchallenged, and allows for prejudice to be given an air of respectability. It is nothing more than the excrement of homophobia dusted with the icing sugar of political correctness- it’s still shit, it just looks palatable.

…and many of my straight friends agree with me.

A Proposal

n the interest of T-D-sharing harmony, I propose a meet on Saturday, 8.30, in George’s on Broadway.

We can   clear the air about leaving the loo seat up, who steals the duvet, whose turn it is  to buy the tea bags and why no-one seems to empty the dishwasher.
At the very least we can have a knock-down, drag-out bitch fight, get enough material  for another week of happy blogging or I can just get my coat and leave……