The End of One Direction…

This is hilarious!

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The Universal Problem With Gay Poetry…

Below is an excellent article discussing the problems that authors of male gay poetry face in gaining recognition for their work. It also resonates with me because of one reply I got from a leading literary agent who read Fairytale, who told me that there was much to admire in my work, but due to its niche appeal would be hard-placed to land a commercial publisher. By niche market, of course, he meant gay. However, the million or more gay people in this country, I would argue, is not niche but it is neglected. It is ignored.

Here’s one writer’s thoughts on the problem. PLEASE COMMENT AND DISCUSS!

CLICK TO READ: “Other Avenues” by Gregory Woods.

Wishin’ Back Wednesday: the UK’s Eurovision legacy…

Greetings, Bitches!

So, yet again we bollocksed up our Eurovision chances with another piece of Easy Listening tat when the rest of Europe was actually taking the contest ‘seriously’. Let’s remember, however, some of our classic entries – not all of them winners, admittedly, but all of them legendary…

1. Gina G – Ooh Ah… Just A Little Bit

This one finished in 8th position in 1996, but went on to become the best-selling Eurovision song since ABBA’s Waterloo...

2. Bucks Fizz – Making Your Mind Up

Our 1981 competition winner is probably best-known for its skirt-ripping routine, and as the launch pad for Cheryl Baker’s illustrious TV career (judge the sarcasm for yourself)…

3. Katrina and the Waves – Love Shine A Light

Katrina won the competition in 1997 with 227 points, the biggest score ever in Eurovision history until that point. It was also their biggest commercial hit (#3 UK Charts) since their classic Walking On Sunshine. She smashed the contest only days after the UK General Election that brought Tony Blair and Cool Britannia to the forefront of the zeitgeist. Remember the days when we thought Britain was on the up?

4. Sonia – Better The Devil You Know...

After Katrina and the Waves, Sonia’s entry is the second most successful UK entry of the last 25 years, gaining 164 points and finishing in 2nd place in 1993. This one will always have a special place in my heart, not only for the underrated prowess of Sonia’s voice on the track, but also because this was my first ever Eurovision…

5. Lulu – Boom Bang A Bang…

In 1969 for the first time, the competition threw up four winners with a shared tally of 18 points, and our Lulu was one of them. Albeit not her finest hour musically, she will be forever remembered for in ‘that’ pink dress…

6. Love City Groove – Love City Groove…

This song came only 10th in 1995, but it did place UK Urban music on the Eurovision stage for the first time, and became a classic for my generation. Let us remember…

7. Brotherhood of Man – Save Your Kisses For Me…

A massive winner from 1976 and a pop classic that became the biggest-selling song of that year. That being said, the whole act, especially the dance, is undeniably weird (just listen to the final lyrics). Oh well, a win’s a win…

8. Imaani – Where Are You?

In 1998 we came very close to winning for a second consecutive year with this dancehall classic. It was not to be, however. Instead, we were pipped to the post by perhaps the most famous of all time and the most deserving star in the competition’s history, Israeli transgender artist Dana International. A worthy opponent.

9. Frances Ruffelle – Lonely Symphony (We Will Be Free)

This 1994 10th-place finalist is one of the few Eurovision entries that doesn’t sound like it was written for Eurovision, ie. one that stands up in the real world! It should have done better in the competition, and it should have done better in the charts, but this hasn’t stopped Frances Ruffelle from carving out a successful career as a performer in London’s West End…

10. Sandie Shaw – Pupper On A String…

Arguably the UK’s defining moment in Eurovision – Sandie Shaw became Britain’s first Eurovision winner in 1967 following a string of massive chart hits in the previous three years, thus cementing her place as one of Britain’s leading female performers of the 1960’s. We Love You Sandie!

DEDICATED TO ANNA MARIE HOOLE – Wishin’ Back Wednesday: HEARTACHE SPECIAL!!!

This week’s WISHIN’ BACK WEDNESDAY: HEARTACHE SPECIAL is dedicated to Anna Marie Hoole, for her championing of my work, and for the constant encouragement that I need so much. Love you Anna!

Now FEAST, Bitches!

1. Cher – Heart Of Stone…

2. Heart – Alone…

3. Lee Ann Womack – Twenty Years And Two Husbands Ago…

4. Celine Dion – It’s All Coming Back To Me Now…

5. Randy Crawford – Almaz…

6. Kacey Musgraves – Merry Go Round…

7. Billie Holiday – Strange Fruit…

8. Joni Mitchell – Nothing Can Be Done…

9. Miranda Lambert – Dead Flowers…

10. Tina Turner – When The Heartache Is Over…

Wishin’ Back Wednesday meets… THE DIVAS!!!!!

Remember VH1 Divas?! This was the series of concerts bringing together the biggest female artists in the recording business, putting them on one stage and showing the world why they are the best. In today’s Wishin’ Back Wednesday playlist, we’ll be celebrating the work of the amazing woman who took part, both together and on their own.

Enjoy, Bitches! Let’s hear it for the girls!

(N.B. All rights belong to the perspective owners of the original recordings).

1. A Natural Woman – Gloria Estefan, Celine Dion, Shania Twain, Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin & Carole King…

2. It’s Too Late – Carole King…

3. Man! I Feel Like A Woman – Shania Twain…

4. Reach – Gloria Estefan…

5. Vision of Love – Mariah Carey…

6. Don’t Play That Song – Aretha Franklin…

7. You’ve Got A Friend – Carole King, Celine Dion, Gloria Estefan, Shania Twain…

8. Chain of Fools – Mariah Carey & Aretha Franklin…

9. The Reason – Celine Dion & Carole King

10. When You Believe – Whitney Houston & Mariah Carey

Dear Karolina…

Dear Karolina,

On the eve of your wedding day and in the absence of making a speech at the reception, there are a few things you need to know. I want you to know that I love you. I’ve loved you since the day I met you, and I’m honoured that nearly ten years later you’re still in my life.

Your strength, your energy, your fearlessness in going for what you want, inspires me. Your mind, how smart you are, humbles me. That you can look at me, hear me speak, unpick the weirdness of my mind and laugh with me, nourishes me. Your family, your son and the man who has the privilege of spending the rest of his days with you, like me, are the luckiest people in the universe to have you in their lives. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for you, and there is nothing you could ever do that would change that.

Karolina, my love, I can’t wait to see you, and to celebrate your love and the adventures ahead of you.

I wouldn’t be doing my job as a brother-from-another-mother though, if I didn’t give you some advice for your wedding day, even though I’m sure you’ve had about as much advice from everybody as you can take! BUT, know NOW that none of it is as important as your marriage itself, and the work you’ll do day-to-day as a partner. Know NOW that it doesn’t matter if things don’t happen on time, it doesn’t matter if something  doesn’t go according to plan. Nobody will care or even remember. The only thing that matters is that you enjoy each moment of your day. Decide RIGHT NOW that if anything needs worrying about, anything needs sorting, or if any stress needs to be had, or any organisation needs to be done, you will let somebody else do that for you. That’s what family and friends are for. And above all, make sure that everyone in the front row has spare tissues, because when you start saying those vows, you won’t know what’s hit you!

Karolina, I adore you, and I’ll see you at the Guildhall!

Love, Tris xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Karolina

The trouble with elections…

The trouble with elections is that they are divisive – everybody trying to beat the other guy. It brings out the worst competitive demons in us, when politics should be about bringing people together. Who ever governs next has that task ahead of them. Trouble is, the Conservatives have made it policy to divide us – if you’re on benefits, if you’re disabled, if you have mental health problems, if you’re young, if you’re a public servant, if you weren’t born in this country, then you’re not the kind of person the Conservative party values or wants.

To my Conservative friends, I know we are friends because our differences are not as important as the things we have in common, and because that very difference is what enriches our lives. In fact, reaching across party lines is our duty as human beings. I hope that your confidence in your party’s promise to deliver prosperity for you and your children is rewarded, for everyone’s sake.

There are many reasons I wouldn’t vote Conservative, but there are a few that are incredibly personal, which I don’t mind sharing. First, my husband was not born in the European Union. When we decided that the hostile, homophobic environment of Australia was un-liveable and that we would come to the UK for a better life, we went through the expensive, depressing process of migration. Fortunately, we got in at the end of the last Labour government, otherwise we could never have afforded it. Under the Conservative government the cost of visas for foreign partners of UK citizens went up 25% overnight, then year on year. It costs many thousands for a non-EU migrant to become a citizen in this country, money we struggled to raise when wages in the South West weren’t going up anywhere near that rate, and where job options are heavily loaded towards the bottom of the wage scale. The Conservative government tells us we should move to where the work is better. That wasn’t an option for us, because we earned so little that building enough capital to save the thousands involved in flat deposits, set-up costs, savings to carry us through between pay-cheques from old and new employers was IMPOSSIBLE if we were to be able to afford our visas. So we struggled. My husband is the kind of person you want in your country. He’s a worker, he’s a thinker, he cares about people, he’s honest. But he doesn’t make a lot of money and neither do I. Theresa May changed the rules for partners from non-EU countries coming to the UK, requiring at east one person in that couple to earn £18,000 or more per year. He and I have never earned that much in a year, and there are no opportunities where we live where that sort of money would be an option. If we’d initiated our four year journey to British citizenship under the Conservative government, we would not be here together today. That would be the country’s loss.

Our constituency is a solid Tory seat. Our MPs have done nothing for job creation in our region. If you want full-time work you’re stuffed. You’re most likely to find it in local government jobs, but beyond that you will struggle. Our MP’s are more concerned with building retirement homes that are sold to outsiders, and they do not invest in the infrastructure to support them. The property bubble combined with high rates of second home ownership in our region has pushed house prices way, way out of proportion with salaries. The people worst affected by this are people who are coming to the housing market and the job market at entry level, ie the young. The right wing try to convince us that it is migrants from beyond our borders that are placing the greatest strain on resources, when actually it’s mostly their older more affluent voters who are. It’s also worth pointing out that that people who come to Britain from other parts of the EU are not migrants. They have the legal freedom to do this without control, just like people from the Midlands or the South East or London have the right to move to the South West or to the Costas of Spain, the Dourdogne, Tuscany, the Algarve, the Greek Islands, Malta or Provence. For those of you reading in the Southwest of England, please tell me who there are more of that have moved to our region and are using the services we pay for – people from other countries in the EU, or affluent people from richer parts of our own country?

Finally, when I was bullied out of a job and was struggling to find a new one I tried signing on for Jobseekers Allowance, but I wasn’t entitled. I was also treated like a sponge, a pariah, mostly because I was a young man. The perception of young men seeking JSA is that they’re all stoners who sit around playing video games. They don’t even help you look for work anymore!!! They leave you to scratch around for whatever scraps of work there, and they treat you like lazy scum if you don’t get it. In those days there were 2,500,000 million unemployed people and only 1,500,000 jobs on the market, most of which are still delivering catalogues or telesales jobs with no basic salary, just pure commission. When the odds are stacked against you, it’s morally wrong to judge that person if they don’t get a break.

Finally, I’m grateful that I pay less tax thanks to the last Con-Lib coalition. That is a good thing on the surface. But I’m not getting more for the money in my pocket. The roads are no better, university education isn’t cheaper, emergency healthcare is harder to access (4 hour weight in A&E last time), wages are not higher compared to inflation, housing isn’t cheaper, full-time work isn’t easier to find, prescriptions are no cheaper, and the welfare state safety net that we pay for in our taxes has not kept up with inflation. I’m less likely to ever be able to own a property, I’m less likely to be able to afford high-level qualifications that will give me a chance of earning a higher salary, and I’m told that it’s all the fault of the tiny number of benefit cheats and the Poles. Oh come on!

Wishin’ Back Wednesday v. Mariah Carey in LAS VEGAS!

Yo bitches!

Time to celebrate – we’re halfway through the week again. Yes, we’ve made it!

AND an even greater cause for celebration – tonight marks the beginning of the first Las Vegas residency of one of pop music’s most enduring, incomparable legends and a fave of mine since the old days (as those of you who read Fairytale WILL remember)…. MARIAH CAREY!!!!!!!!!

#1 To Infinity

While her Vegas set and upcoming compilation #1 to Infinity will be bringing us the 18 US #1 hit singles she has earned over a twenty-five year career, on today’s Wishin’ Back Wednesday’ playlist we’re going to revel in nine of the many wonderful songs she’s written that didn’t reach the top spot, plus her new single ‘Infinity‘, PLUS a hilarious piss-take of La Mariah by Chelsea Handler (just in case you thought I was one of those crazy fans that didn’t realise how ridiculous this guilty pleasure makes me!)

ENJOY, BITCHES! And good luck in Vegas, Mariah!

(N.B. I don’t own the copyright to any of these videos and am not making money from them)

10. Say Somethin’ (feat. Snoop Dogg), (US #79, UK #27) from The Emancipation of Mimi, 2005.

9. Bringin’ On The Hearbreak, from Charmbracelet, 2003.

8. Almost Home, from Oz the Great and Powerful, 2013.

7. Can’t Let Go, (US #2, UK #20), from Emotions, 1991.

6. Breakdown (feat. Krayzie Bone, Wish Bone), (US R&B #4), from Butterfly, 1997.

5. Through The Rain, (US #81, UK #8), from Charmbracelet, 2003.

4. The Roof, (UK #96), from Butterfly, 1997.

3. #Beautiful (feat. Miguel), (US #15, UK #22), from Me. I Am… Mariah, 2013.

2. Make It Happen, (US #5, UK #17), from Emotions, 1991.

1. Infinity, (UK R&B #27), from #1 To Infinity, TBR May 27th 2015.

Ha ha ha!: Chelsea Handler, Deep Inside Hollywood: Mariah Carey…