Posts Tagged With: Gay

Goodnight Mr Williams

Nanu Nanu - tribute to Robin Williams by Mark wallis on The Vibes

Who knows the full story behind the death of Robin Williams? While the world speculates about suicide and depression, the only good to come out of such a terrible loss is the increased awareness of The Invisible Illness.

The chemical imbalance in the brain that leads people to give up on everything they should hold dear. You can’t point to it, you don’t come out in a rash or turn purple, which makes it so hard to treat. Depression tells you that nothing is worth it, and you believe it because that voice comes from within. It’s this fundamental misfire which holds so many people back from asking for help. Asking for help involves admitting you have a problem, and so the door of stigma opens: other people’s attitudes to mental health are the biggest barrier to care and healing.

Everyone needs some kind of support, depressed or not. But the most difficult thing to accept is that someone has decided they want to stop living – that the pain of living with The Invisible Illness has become unbearable. To find that someone might be unreachable and that the best thing for them is to let them go is almost impossible to comprehend.

To say that suicide is ‘selfish’ is to deny the presence of a corrosive condition that often erodes the self. 

‘Tears of a clown’ is a strange cliche, but until the truth emerges, I want to remember the joy that Robin Williams brought me as a child watching Mork and Mindy after school. A legacy of happiness.

Categories: Design, Random, Vibe Monitor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

The Making of X

Or how to make an oil painting in two minutes. Just film 3 weeks’ work and speed it up! Is it blasphemy or bondage? See more here.

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Mark of the Cross People

For the first time in 15 years, I’m painting again, exhibiting my work at the Sin In My Heart show in Manchester. Once upon a time, in Amsterdam, I had one of my oil paintings up in a sex shop. But as our curator, Paul Darling remarked, nobody goes to a sex shop to look at the art! When word went out that the theme of the new exhibition was sex, death, sin and religion, I put myself forward as a contributor. How could I not?

Announcing my new piece, oil on canvas 76x91cm, entitled X (the following is NSW) Continue reading

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The Days of Anna Madrigal: Review

Armistead Maupin's The Days of Anna Madrigal reviewedThe curtain comes down on Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City series with the final novel, The Days of Anna Madrigal. It’s a gift to the loyal followers of nearly forty years of bohemian Barbary Lane.

Nine instalments after Mary Anne Singleton let her Brady Bunch hair down, it’s reassuring to dive into the warmth of Maupin’s Logical Family, even if we sense that this is not going to be a Thanksgiving Dinner with old friends. The hint is in the opening chapter, where Mrs. Madrigal tries to light an electronic candle with a lighter. ‘So this is the end of candlelight?’ she asks, immediately illuminating the magic of Maupin’s writing and his fascination with technology and the changing world around us. Here, the mysterious transgender matriarch is placed exactly where a sparky ninety-two year-old would be: adapting to the passage of time.

Almost from the start, a psychedelic reverie leads us on a journey to the past to meet Andy Ramsey and the truth about Anna Madrigal, revealed in a kaleidoscope of flashbacks.

Back to his mother’s brothel in Winnemucca, and back to the 1940s to discover exactly who this 17 year old boy really is. For me it’s the most important part of the novel. Andy Ramsey, neither gay man or cross-dresser, embarks on his first romance which ultimately describes the complications of being a woman trapped in a man’s body. Meanwhile, the trembling scenes of first love are truly electric, rendered with adrenaline and hormones against a backdrop of glittering detail: ‘Down the railroad tracks red and green lights were blinking like lost pieces of Christmas.’

It’s almost understood that there will be tragedy in a book like this, but it comes from surprising shadows. ‘I was a weasel of a man,’ said Mrs Madrigal, once upon a time, but a dark secret adds a new dimension to such a well-loved character, a new depth and a degree of explanation. The only resolution lies in the present facing up to the past.

The mission of the monarch is just one ribbon, woven into the current trajectory of familiar faces, as Shawna, Michael and Ben prepare for The Burning Man, the pagan pinnacle of the novel. As Brian and his new wife head off in the opposite direction, it’s guessing game to see how Maupin might bring his Logical Family together for one last chapter. Luckily, we get to join most of our favourite characters on the roller coaster as Maupin nods to a legacy that stretches back to 1976. The climax is a hedonistic circus of creativity and colour, the perfect destination for the spirit of the Tales series.

All roads lead to home, even if there are some unexpected twists and a particularly nasty bump for Michael Tolliver, playful pup turned grumpy gardner. Maupin still knows how to blow our socks off as he foreshadows the grand finale with ambiguous plotting. If there’s one thing you can’t accuse him of, and that’s being obvious. Think you can guess the ending? Not until the last line, and even that might be a mystery in itself.

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Share a Coke with Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin choking on a can of Coke

This week Coca-Cola admitted their sponsorship of the Sochi Winter Olympics was turning into a PR nightmare. The invitation to ‘Share a Coke with (insert your name here)’ on social networks backfired as anti-homophobic protests blossomed across the net with people hacking the name generator to vent their anger. Embarrassed, Coke flushed its campaign under the shame of a global spotlight. Also this week, it emerges that Coke and several other huge corporations knew there would be a backlash if they didn’t use their financial might to lean on Russia to repeal its oppressive new ‘legislation’ which is widely seen as an excuse to recriminalise free sexual expression. But nobody did a thing despite Stolichnaya vodka getting stung by a boycott in the summer.

The clock is ticking and it’s sure to be a countdown to scandal

Categories: Art, Design, Photography, Random, Vibe Monitor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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