Friday, June 22, 2007
In the couple of years or so since my arch-enemy Gareth Kirkby was demoted from the editor of Xtra West to the backwater publication Capital Xtra, I have watched a series of subtle changes unfolding at Xtra West with a wary eye.
For instance, occasionally now there'll be a woman on the cover. A couple of times the guys on the cover have been over the age of 25, and some of those even kept their shirts on. Despite this, they still seem to be in business, in defiance of the usual gay publishing credo that states "twinks rule all and no one else deserves to live".
Story ideas that I first pitched to Gareth Kirkby over five years ago are beginning to turn up in the pages of the paper, which is another good sign. Would I have liked to be the one who wrote them, five years ago? Of course. I was never twink enough to work for Gareth Kirkby, though, which made that an impossibility.
Still, the issues of meth abuse, life outside the ghetto, and celibacy are important ones, so ultimately I don't care who brings them to the public debate, as long as they are brought. Especially after having been suppressed for years by Kirkby as "too depressing".
Don't get me wrong: despite these cosmetic changes the paper still doesn't depict me or my life in its pages. It's a gossip rag for the gay ghetto, and the rest be damned. Yet in this they are at least remarkably consistent. It's this consistency, however, that has robbed me of the opportunity to be offended by them, which I used to rather enjoy.
Until, that is, the current issue, the cover of which is shown above.
I can't say what, specifically, it is about this cover that makes me angrier. Possibly it's the implication that this is now what gay poets are supposed to look like. No matter the heart and mind, which are the two component parts of a poet. The message is clear: if I want to be a poet, and gay, I have to look like this. No more heart and mind, it's all abs and arms now, like everything else in the life.
Used to be it didn't matter what you looked like to be a writer, which is part of the reason I became a writer in the first place. That and the solitude. Since looking the way I do requires a great deal of solitude, it seemed a perfect fit, and it beats the hell out of living under a bridge and pestering goats.
Now, thanks to these fucking twink-mongers, even that option is under threat.
I'd better sign off there; I have to go laugh now or I may start to cry.
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