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Barry Humphries

My Yearly Review – 2014

By Friends & Family, Happiness & Joy, Life, Nature, PaganismNo Comments

This year I did very little in the Spring, a lot in the Summer, bits in the Autumn and Winter. Here’s what I’ve been up to this year, click on any photo for full size image:

March

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Sye & Me at Barry Humphries Show

Sye and I went to see Barry Humphries: The Eat, Pray and Laugh Farewell Tour. We had a great time. Here are some photos:

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May

Penrhos Cottage near Corris Adam and Andy's cottage

Simon popping his head out of The Lovely Cottage

Simon and I went to Mid-Wales to The Lovely Penrhos Cottage for the weekend. While there we took the time to relax. The Saturday it was gloriously sunny and hot, so we went to Aberdovey Beach. On the Sunday we went to King Arthur’s Labyrinth.

I published my short story The Good Teen. The Good Teen is a modern-day telling of The Good Samaritan parable, with a hint of magic. I wrote it after I saw a call for submissions from the BBC Radio 4 ‘Opening Lines’ programme. Unfortunately it wasn’t accepted, but it’s still a good story – even if I do say so myself.

June

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Rivington: A Gorgeous View

I spent several days walking around Rivington. I feel fortunate to have such a beautiful and gorgeous natural place close by.

My at-the-time boyfriend and I went to Blackpool to the Sealife Centre and Madame Tussauds. We saw various fish and waxworks respectively.

Steve and I went watching The Lady Boys of Bangkok in Manchester. We were both slightly disappointed with the Lady Boys to be honest, but it was still good to get out and we even managed a few alcofrolic drinks afterwards.

July

Manchester Museum Gorgosaurus Skeleton

Gorgosaurus Skeleton

I watched After The Dark (The Philosophers), which became my favourite film of 2014.

My at-the-time boyfriend and I went to Lancashire Science Festival 2014 which was both educational and intriguing. Plus it had free parking!

My at-the-time boyfriend, his housemates and I visited Manchester Museum. I loved the dinosaur exhibit.

August

light-michael-grant-book-cover I had my blog Theme Redesigned by TRH Development. I started Being Creative Everyday and sharing some of the results on the blog.

I felt saddened at the unexpected death of Robin Williams and began thinking about the importance of good mental & emotional health.

I read and reviewed Light by Michael Grant, which was the last book in The Gone Series. I thoroughly enjoyed The Gone Series which was about kids being trapped in a Dome without adults and developing powers.

September

Wales animalarium lemur

Animalarium: Lemur

I got some Amazing Illustrations from the Talented Sye Watts for my blog. I am so lucky to have such a talented friend.

A friend and I went to stay for a weekend at Penrhos Cottage and visited the Animalarium, which is Borth’s Zoo on the way home. There where some lovely animals there that looked well cared for.

October

pagan-stone-circle-large Chrys, Simon, others and I celebrated Samhain!

November

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Various Magical Creatures.

My at-the-time boyfriend and I broke up.

I made small Charitable Donations to JDRF, The Human Rights Campaign (US), The Brain Tumour Charity (UK) and to make a film about the sell-off of the NHS.

Mum and I went on a Trip to London where we shopped and visited The Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour.

December

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Some Presents I’ve Wrapped for Christmas

Christmas has been relaxed, enjoyable and fun. I have celebrated it with family and friends. People have kindly bought presents for me:

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Presents Kindly Bought For Me.

But the best thing was the opportunity to spend time with people that I love.

Next year I’ll be spreading out activities, experiences and goals throughout the year. So keep an eye out for my Goals & New Experiences for 2015 blog post.

Blog soon,

Antony

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All Writing And No Play

By Books & Authors, Journalism, Life2 Comments
christmas-mind-map-journal

Christmas Mind Map

It all started with an idea I had for a Christmas themed short story. One I intended to share with you, dear readers. I hoped to start the tradition, releasing a short story every Christmas. A present to you all. But then I saw a call for submissions and decided to use the story I’d started writing. I had to finish writing it, edit it, cut it down and finally un-Christmas it, but got it submitted.

Then I was invited to submit a short story for an anthropology, that I didn’t want to say no to. I also found two other anthropology competitions that I want to enter. This means a lot of my free time is being spent writing at the moment. I have deadlines till June. I hope to have a new short story to share with you later on in the year. When you make submissions, you can’t share the story anywhere, well not until Editors have decided that they don’t want it.

On top of these short stories, I’ve started the Advanced Creative Writing Course at Runshaw College and continue to write for The Gay UK, both adding additional pressure to my free time. You can read my published articles on professional portfolio.

Recently my blog has consisted of mostly book reviews. Don’t think that I’m slowly turning it into a reviewing site. My blog has always been a place to express myself and share events of my life through words and photos. This shall continue, I just have been expressing myself in short story form and haven’t done anything, apart from write, to share.

Despite my lack of personal posts my blog continues to grow. I’ve had 20,000 unique visitors in less than 17 months:


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I’m not sure that the WordPress plugin Jetpack is capturing all of the visitors though; as I also use another stats software that reports the numbers of visitors being higher.

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Sye & Me at Barry Humphries Show

There has been some fun. Sye and I went to see Barry Humphries: The Eat, Pray and Laugh Farewell Tour.

I’m continuing one of my favourite pastimes, reading. I’m currently reading: Plague by Michael Grant, The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett, The Awakening by Yvonne Heidt, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks and am about to start Best Gay Romance 2014 Edited By Lambert & Cochrane.

My birthday is coming up and I intend on doing something to celebrate, I’m just not sure as to what yet.

Blog soon,

Antony



I aim for posts on this blog to be informative, educational and entertaining. If you have found this post useful or enjoyable, please consider making a contribution by Paypal:


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Barry Humphries: The Eat, Pray and Laugh Farewell Tour

By Gay, Gigs & ShowsNo Comments
dame-edna-march-2014 Recently, my good friend Sye and I went to see a matinee performance of Barry Humphries’ Eat, Pray and Laugh show at the Opera House in Manchester.

The show kicked off with Les Patterson, Humphries’ outrageous politician character and the belly chuckles were immediate. In the Les Get Cooking sketch, Les reveals his four assistants, come dancers and backup vocals. Two gorgeous men (the other two were women) came onto the stage in tight yellow t-shirts and equally tight denim shorts and I have to admit they distracted me at times. It was a great sketch with Les and Gerard (his brother) creating continuous laughter among the audience.

Below are some photos before the show started:

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Me outside the Opera House, Manchester.
The red curtain.
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Pre-show drinks.
Opening set.

The next sketch introduced the character Sandy Stone. This was probably my favourite sketch. Sandy is an old man that reflects on his life in a touching and sentimental way; yet comedy and good humour were used to pitch the sketch perfectly to the auidence. This sketch was theatre at its best and brought us to the interval.

Dame Edna was on top form as she performed for the second half of the show. Laughter echoed through the audience as she arrived on the back of a jewelled elephant, before falling off onto the stage. Dame Edna was her usual warm, funny and engaging self which was a pleasure to watch. She left the audience feeling entertained and uplifted.

Throughout the show there was lots of audience participation and improvisation. Humphries’ demonstrated his extensive theatre expertise; no doubt gained through decades of experience.

The show came to an end far too quickly, with Humphries coming out as himself at the end to thunderous applause. Here are some photos from the end of the show:

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Audience with Gladiolus.
Audience with Gladiolus 2.
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Before the final bow.
A wave goodbye.
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Closing video montage.

Normally, I’d recommend that you buy tickets to see this superb show. However the tour is coming to an end in the UK. But if you can manage to get hold of tickets, grab them and go. You won’t regret it.

Blog soon,

Antony



I aim for posts on this blog to be informative, educational and entertaining. If you have found this post useful or enjoyable, please consider making a contribution by Paypal:


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TheGayUK Articles – Vintage History: Manchester Gay Village, Top 5 Vintage TV Characters & Book Reviews

By Creativity, Gay, History, Journalism, TV, Online Streaming & FilmsNo Comments

TheGayUK‘s theme this month is Vintage. The articles I’ve written this month are: Vintage History: Manchester Gay Village, Top 5 Vintage TV Characters & Book Reviews. Now, some of these have been submitted, but not yet published. The Editor assures me he’s spreading out the articles over the month, so here’s your chance to get a first read.

Here is my first article on the theme and what I learnt from writing this piece:

Vintage History: Manchester Gay Village

Manchester Gay Village has a long history that makes it truly vintage. Starting as an underground scene in the sixties, through the decades it has transformed to what it is today: one of the most vibrant gay scenes in the UK. In this article we’ll cover the significant events that led to this transformation, describe the Village today and briefly contemplate it’s future.

In the 60s the area that would become the Village was deserted following the collapse of the cotton industry. Having been industrialised it was a gloomy part of the city with little life. The night visitors to the area were either men looking for prostitutes or the prostitutes themselves.

At this point it was still illegal for men to have sex with men, gay people were isolated, not seen as part of society and often encouraged to conform and get married to someone of the opposite sex.

The New Union pub started out as a place for men to meet female prostitutes, but it soon started to attract a small number of gay men. Female prostitutes and gay men might sound like an odd combination, but it was a relationship of mutual legal protection. If the Police ever raided, the prostitutes would pretend to be the gay men’s girlfriends so that neither could be arrested for their respective crimes: prostitution or men that are having sex with men.

In 1967 after campaigning in Manchester, London and other cities the law was changed so that men having sex with men were no longer doing anything illegal, but societal attitudes would take longer to change.

In the 70s the civil rights movement in Manchester continued to campaign for equality. The Rembrandt pub opened as well as one or two others; but these few venues were regularly raided by the Police aiming to catch gay men engaging in sexual activity in a public places. The Police applied the law unfairly, as it was only applied to gay men and often the attitudes of Police Officers were perceived as homophobic.

Then the early 80s came and along with it HIV/AIDS. This caused an increase in homophobia in society but caused the gay community to stand together. In the Village the Thompson Arms seemed to have opened at around this time, if not slightly earlier.

By the late 80s more gay people were coming out. In Manchester protests against Section 28 took place that passed through the city centre, the Village and ended at the town hall. At one of these Manchester protests around 20,000 people marched and what was significant was that: they weren’t all gay. In the Village New York, New York, Queen Club (now Company Bar) and Napoleons opened at around this time. The New Union and Rembrandt were still going strong.

In the late 80s Manchester Pride was also born, although it wasn’t named as that until many years later. It started with the owners of Rembrandt, Napoleons and the New Union wanting to do something on the August Bank Holiday weekend, the main event in the first year was an afternoon bring and buy sale. The vigil aspect came a few years later, when the gay people of Manchester started loosing their friends, lovers and life partners to HIV/AIDS.

The 90s brought a glass-fronted revolution started by the newly opened Manto bar. Before Manto the Village had a very “behind closed doors” feel to it, and this glass-fronted venue was symbolic of being: out and proud. New bars sprang up including Metz, Prague 5 (now G-A-Y), Vanilla and Via Fossa. Poptastic and Cruz 101 clubs opened around this time as well.

The late 90s brought Queer As Folk, a TV programme that dramatised life of three gay men in the Village. It was aired on Channel 4 and signified that there had been a major shift in societal attitudes towards gay people.

By the noughties the Village was similar to as it is now but the construction of The Beacon of Hope was significant. The Beacon of Hope stands on the edge of the canal in Sackville Park. It is a beautiful artistic steal structure that lights up in the evening symbolic of remembrance. Although we’ve moved on, we’ve not forgotten our gay brothers and sisters who’ve been lost to HIV/AIDS.

The Village today is a clean and bright setting with plenty of bars and clubs that gives it a vibrant atmosphere. It has the Village Business Association (business owners group), the Lesbian and Gay Foundation (a charity aimed at improving the health & well being of gay people), Manchester Pride (one of the biggest pride events in the country) and a myriad of community groups around every sort of leisure activity you could imagine. If you want to find out more about Manchester Gay Village, see our guide to gay Manchester:
http://www.thegayuk.com/#/manchester/4565401305.

Looking at the Village’s history one thing that is clear: it has always brought the gay community of Manchester together. Once together gay people have always instigated the change they want to happen. As long as the Village continues to bring the gay community together, be a part of the changes and keep up with them, it’s future will remain secure.

Antony Simpson, writer of this article wasn’t born until the mid-eighties. So in addition to speaking to some of his older friends who witnessed to some of the historic events in this article, he would also like to reference the following sources:
Gaydio: Your Story Radio Documentary, available: http://yourstory.gaydio.co.uk/documentaries/.

Guardian: Village people by Beatrix Campbell, available:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/aug/07/gayrights.communities.

Channel 4 OD: Queer As Folk
http://www.channel4.com/programmes/queer-as-folk/4od

Wikipedia: Canal Street (Manchester), available:
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canal_Street_(Manchester)

Here is what I learnt from writing this article:

  • Don’t disregard an idea without discussing it with someone first. I happened to mention in an online writers meeting that I’d had the idea for this article, but disregarded it as it was local history and TheGayUK is a national online magazine. The Editor seemed really keen on the idea and said that after London, Manchester was their next biggest audience.
  • More about the journalistic research process.
  • If you’re writing about something that’s been wrote about it before, make it your own by using a different slant or point of view (POV).
  • When it came to writing about the ‘noughties’ writing 00s didn’t feel right so I ended up using the word. This was inconsistant with the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s I’d previously used. I should have found a better way to write the decades, as it would have made the article consistent.

Here is my second article on the theme and what I learnt from writing this piece:

Top 5 Vintage TV Characters
This month’s theme is Vintage. So I thought I’d share with you my Top 5 Vintage TV Characters. In order to make my list, characters had to be iconic (at least to me), gay and in some way vintage. So here we go:

5. Willow Rosenburg (Alyson Hannigan)
5.Willow
(Image Credit: Slayer Revival @ Flickr)

Buffy The Vampire Slayer first appeared on TV in 1997. Willow started off as a geeky, shy girl who fell in love with part-man part-werewolf Oz (Seth Green). When Oz decided he was too dangerous to be around and left Willow she slowly transformed into an UBER Witch. She met fellow Witch Tara (Amber Benson) and fell in love again, only for Tara to be murdered. I love Willow because of the transformation from shy girl to powerful independent woman.

4. Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman)
4.Captain Jack
(Image Credit: alacoolb @ Flickr)

Captain Jack Harkness first appeared on our TV screens in 2005 in Doctor Who, before getting his own spin-off series Torchwood. Captain Jack is openly bisexual although all of his on screen relationships have been with men.

Now before you start commenting and telling me 2005 is hardly Vintage; Captain Jack is an immortal rogue Time Agent that has a timeline that dates back 1860’s. So if that doesn’t make him vintage, I don’t know what will.

3. Michael ‘Mouse’ Tolliver (Marcus D’Amico)
3.Michael Tolliver
(Image Credit: Seattle Gay Scene)

Michael ‘Mouse’ Tolliver appeared on TV in Tales of the City in 1993, which was based on the series of books with the same name. Michael is a gay man living in San Francisco in the late 70s and is a truly loveable character. If you’ve never seen Tales of the City, I can’t recommend the TV series’ and books enough.

2. Mr Humphries (John Inman)
2.Mr humphries
(Image Credit: NightMaresGrim13 @ Flickr)

Are You Being Served? Originally appeared on TV in the 1970s through to the 1980s. Are You Being Served? Was a sit-com set in Grace Brothers’ Clothing Department that focused on the Sales Clerks. I remember seeing a re-run and instantly fell in love with the mincing Mr Humphries.

Camp humoured Mr Humphries was filled with innuendo always alluded to his sexuality, as did his famous catch phrase ‘I’m free!’ whenever a good looking gentleman entered the store. An iconic character, one of the first TV characters to allude to their gay sexuality.

1. Edna Everage (Barry Humphries)
1.edna everage
(Image Credit: jsarcadia @ Flickr)

Edna Everage debuted on stage in her native Australia before she appeared on our TV screens in the late 80s. This Melbourne Housewife is surrounded by fables, but is essentially a character created and played by Barry Humphries. Edna Everage self-proclaimed advisor to the stars and royalty I always think of as being the first mainstream comedian drag act. Her international status makes her number 1 on my list.

If there’s a TV character you feel should be on the list, comment below so that I can discover some new characters.

Here is what I learnt from writing this article:

  • That I can write and indeed enjoyed writing a light-hearted ‘Top’ article.
  • The format of a ‘Top’ article.
  • Use of a Creative Licence with regards to using flickr user images.
  • Keeping it brief: saying more with less words.

Book Reviews
This month I have submitted two book reviews: BOOK REVIEW: Into The Flames by Mel Bossa and Book Review: Handling Edna The Unauthorised Biography by Barry Humphries.

Blog soon,

Antony



I aim for posts on this blog to be informative, educational and entertaining. If you have found this post useful or enjoyable, please consider making a contribution by Paypal:


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