Wednesday, 10 November 2010

First Publication!

Got a ten page spread in Issue Zero of Oskar Oprey's new magazine "Dragmag".

Available for £7 from the following outlets :

Glasgow - Aye Aye Books

Che Camille



London - TATE Modern



Gay's the Word

Edinburgh - Analogue Books

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Saturday, 20 March 2010

The grey area between girls and girls on film....

All we need to look is how many porn stars and glamour models have gone on to make a career “acting” in Hollywood films to see that a womans sex appeal can often be confused with talent. There’s the infamous porn star Marilyn Chambers, who was one of porn’s biggest stars and starred in the first pornographic film to feature interracial sex, making her infamous. Later on in her life she went on to act in lots if independent films, most famously “Rabid” by David Cronenberg. Paris Hilton went from heiress, to international celebrity when two of her home made sex tapes were leaked on the internet. From this, she established a Hollywood career, featuring in films such as “House of Wax”. Traci Lords, from the age of fifteen starred in pornographic movies and featured in Penthouse magazine until she was arrested at the age of eighteen for posing as an elder. After this however, with the help of her new found celebrity status, Lords starred in many Hollywood films such as “Blade” and “Cry Baby”. She has also featured in many TV shows like “Will and Grace” and “Roseanne”. Similar examples involving men are almost unheard of. Whilst male sexuality is often exploited as a marketing tool, with part of Matthew Mcconaughey’s contract to any film being that he must feature in at least one scene topless, it seems that creating a celebrity status based on how much of you everybody has seen is reserved for women. The recent international obsession with Robert Pattinson in “Twilight” goes to prove the power that male sex appeal can have over women and men, young and old alike. In its first week, “Twilight” broke box office records, in conjunction with Pattinsons celebrity status skyrocketing above any other character in the film (despite the fact that he is not the main character). Both readers of People magazine and Glamour magazine voted Pattinson the “sexiest man alive” in 2009, despite the fact he was a new entry to the polls in both cases. Again this goes to prove the fertility of the market for selling sex; however, interestingly the “Twilight” films feature no sex scenes whatsoever, and with Pattinsons “reserved” character being one of the most noticeable themes in the movie. Apart from one kiss, during which Pattinsons character literally flys off of his woman of choice shouting “NO!” the closest we get towards intercourse is Pattinson sniffing co-star Kirstin Stewarts neck and exclaiming that “it smells like lavender” . The writer of the “Twilight” saga, Stephanie Mayer is a Mormon and uses the books to promote such ideas of restraining our sexual and hedonistic desires. She says “It doesn't matter where you're stuck in life or what you think you have to do; you can always choose something else. There's always a different path.” Place this catalyst for rosy teenage dreams and dry humping to one of the UK’s biggest celebrities Katie Price or “Jordan”. Price built her career from an early age, posing nude on page three of tabloids and calendars. Years later however after five breast augmentations, a lip and nose job and propelling Barbie manufacturers into chaos with too many moulds, Price is now regarded as one of the UK’s most successful business women with clothing lines, book deals and perfume ranges, earning £20,000 per photoshoot in 2004. If you compare the means of achievement between Pattinson and Price, we are drawn to an alarming conclusion. That indeed, sex does sell, but women are far more profitable.

To really gain perspective on the relevance that gender roles (and stereotypes) play in entertainment, we need to merely look at films that do not contain “normal” gender structures. Films like Brokeback Mountain, a film that explores the sexual relationship of two gay cowboys, came to international notoriety by showing the most “detailed” portrayal of homosexual intercourse ever seen in a mainstream film. While the sex appeal of the two main actors (Jake Gylenhaal and Heath Ledger) is there, it undoubtedly intimidated most people who watched the movie for purely that reason by starving their desire for tits. And also while it is still positive that it at its time of release it ranked eighth in the highest grossing romantic dramas of all time, I cannot escape the feeling that rather than “normalising” non nuclear sexual structures, it merely talked about it at a point in time where people were ready to sympathise with the misfortune of the fictional couple. It helped when one of them was beaten to death by a gang of men with poles after he was “outed”. After all, would you really expect the world to become obsessed with the relationship of two male or two female vampires without initially being obsessed with the fact that they are homosexual? I doubt it, and movie/TV show makers know this and keep us in the comfort of predominantly nuclear families with problems and love lives.

In her book “Female chauvinist Pigs” , Ariel Levy talks about the term “Uncle tomming”, which is derived from Harriet Beecher Stowe's 1852 novel Uncle Tom's Cabin and is used to describe somebody “conforming to someone else’s – someone more powerful’s – distorted notion of what you represent”. The term could be used until any one person is blue in the face when it comes to describing movies, TV shows or popular entertainment in general. Such things have stuck to the nuclear trends since the establishment of Hollywood and have continued to popularly use them today, with the same nuclear characters. Divorce and black people have crept into the glitz and glamour somewhere along the line to make things slightly more representative however we are presented with a nuclear family, a strong, straight man and a busty, ditzy female 90% of the time. Women and men “tom” in front of the camera, we lap it up and “tom” all the way home and into the future. . And while we should take note of how time changes social attitudes and occasionally, entertainment, we should probably spend more time constructing our own identity, because you are more likely to find that the radical character brought to you on the screen are extremely reactionary bravado’s , which are merely making a comment on the stereotype that they just surpassed.

Monday, 15 March 2010

People say that they feel awkward nowadays saying things like "I'm proud to British" . They say that it can often drag out bad connotations. . People claim that it has such connotations because it gets associated with "the wrong kind of person”. Perhaps this is because saying such a thing is unnecessary in the first place. Perhaps this is so, because the "wrong kind of person" has nothing else to fight about. But they fight with this anyway. Fight, fight, fight.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Another Layer Another Dollar

The trick of using sex and beauty as a marketing tool has taken its final, ugly turn. We once felt inadequate as we leered over images of the beautiful minority in magazines and on billboards, as they wore clothes and brandished products that would obviously make us as attractive and as interesting to talk to as them. This was successful because brands were clever enough to make us feel small, and most of us were stupid enough to seek comfort in their perfectly toned arms. Cleverer still, corporations successfully surrounded our lives with these adverts, meaning we had no choice but to look at them. This also set the "norm" in the ways we look, meaning we stupidly scoffed at anybody who didn’t fit into this standard, or wasn’t trying to.
But before I blame the general population for the deaths of our self esteems and the births (or spawnings?) of the likes of Gok Wan (after all who doesn’t want a pal that buys you clothes, tells you that you looked shite before he did so , when he looks like a total ARSEHOLE himself?) and other such TV and/or magazine characters who wallow in the tragedy of uncoordinated outfits.
This may seem unfortunately clever enough to part us with a money, but I would like to point out the new way in which labels, brands and corporations are making you empty your wallets.
We now leer over and adhere to images of the beautiful minority underneath 1,000,000 layers of wrinkle smoothing, jaw sharpening, eye brightening, forehead re-aligning, tooth whitening, bulge enhancing, hair smoothing photo generated photo generated fairy dust. Now our products are swung in front of our faces by beautiful avatars and we spend the rest of our time trying our different shades and textures to look like what we never can ; because its not real. We will constantly be disappointed and they will constantly make a profit. The most popular brand of mascara uses fake eyelashes to demonstrate how the mascara is actually pointless if we want to look anything like Eva Longoria. Yet evidently, allot of women(and me once) still try. If its not selling you something that wont satisfy your needs, it is indeed making reality look allot less attractive and also reminding anybody who forgot that there is certain rules to be followed in the ways we look and (consequently) feel. Advertising maintains that families must remain nuclear, smiling around a kitchen table before daddy goes to work (grinning with product in hand) and the advert must end before mummy tells the kids to "shut the fuck up". Teenagers with spots must be alone and staring in the mirror; teenagers without must be kissing girls and surrounded by friends. Girls must always kiss boys. Boys must always kiss girls. Now I don’t want to make this about "gay issues" because I cant help but feel that 70% of "gay issues" are exactly that :"GAY issues" which achieve little more than further marginalization. However I do feel that the reason that the reason some people may have an issue with gay people, is because they don’t see them as human, and the human beings in the adverts which surround us are never gay. They are never in that family (when they are in everyday life) and they never appear eating Hagen Dazs beside a fireplace. I'd love somebody to prove me wrong. I almost was when Heinz ran an advert for a new type of mayonnaise which featured two men kissing in it, as a husband and wife would. I felt satisfied, a normal advert , not "the reason were selling this is because its gay and the reason you should buy it is because you are" . Just a bog standard advert for a bog standard product that involved a fairer representation of daily life. Alas it was pulled off the air when 200 viewers complained that it was offensive. I’m not even going to bother doing the math’s of subtracting the amount of people who were offended enough to complain about this from the amount of people that actually saw the advert , but im guessing it was more than 200, and im guessing that Heinz really didn’t give a fuck. It just goes to strengthen what I realized in high school, everybody loves the funny, camp and flamboyant blur of color until you mention anal sex. That’s when the pitchforks come out. Anyway I had better stop talking about gay people before I turn into a bitch.
When adverts sell us a product, they try to do so in a way that we find familiar and that reflects our social surroundings. They have failed so horribly that where their attempts crashed and burned, they left a gaping vortex of vacuous doppelgangers.
Its worth noting that black people in popular entertainment such as films before the 50's were usually represented as maids, cleaners, slaves or criminals. And needless to say, black people and white people did not turn around and begin accepting one another a few weeks after the civil rights movement, just as it took us quite some time to see mixed race families selling us laundry tablets.
Wherever corporations are waiting for the next version of Photoshop to come out, they remind us of their royalty by placing their logo wherever they can. Buildings, bus shelters, football pitches. Their bright colors are, at a long shot 40% of the fabric of our surroundings. That might not sound like alot, but when we consider its function, useless, it hits us in a different way. By doing so they remind us just who has enough money to tell us what to buy.
The fictional images of beauty that we are told to strive towards cannot be better personified than by perfume adverts. Not trusting us to look for perfume if we want to buy it, and to know we want it by smelling it first, perfume is advertised to us in a format that cannot (surely?) tempt us to buy it. IMAGES of beautiful (and partly digital) people faking orgasms without any clothes on, straddling antique furniture or running around old houses assure us that "we want to smell like that!" and by doing so, we will (please? surely?) become one step closer to being beautiful, faking orgasms whilst straddling antique furniture and running around old houses.
Would people, please, for one second, pull their cocks out of the hole they cut on that Eva Longoria vogue cover, look around them and experience the beauty of REAL life? I swear, it wont cost you a penny and your hand wont bounce off a screen if you try to touch it.