Adam and Steve through the ages

Close relationships with those of our own sex, regardless of intensity or on which part of the spectrum they exist, are special.

I came across these pictures on Flickr which I liked. They are vintage photos, ostensibly of gay couples from the last couple of hundred years.

100+ photos in slideshow here:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

To see them in higher quality, view the screenshow directly from flickr.

Art Deco Playgirl

‘La Belle Rafaelo’

La Belle Rafaela

The works of Polish Art Deco painter Tamara de Lempicka have always attracted me. She was a 1920s socialite and the most fashionable portrait painter of her generation. I have always really loved the Art Deco movement which probably explains why I like her work so much.

She was also, like rather many of us, profoundly drawn to same-sex relationships (even though she was married). In her lifetime she had a large number of affairs with both men and women. Even back then, taboos and social mores were thrown aside in pursuit of intense personal connection, irrespective of gender. Of course, being an upper-class bohemian artist gave her a license which the ordinary person would not have had.

Born in 1898 in Poland, she fled the Russian revolution, moving to Paris where her career would take off and her heyday would soon begin. In 1939, with war looming in Europe, she moved to America where, over time, her career began to tail off; she died in 1980.  In the last few decades her work has really caught the imagination again – her pictures recalling those halcyon days of the 1920s/30s, of cruise ships, luxury, sex and sensuality.

I like her depiction of women. There are no ‘size zeros’ – the women are voluptuous and ample which, to my mind, is so much more attractive then the skinny look that so many seem to covet these days.

Her life is really quite interesting and can be read about in more detail on Wikipedia which has a good overview.

Continue reading “Art Deco Playgirl”

Day 24 – Coming out at work

This evening I went out with work. A lovely, trendy, European bar in Covent Garden.

The alpha male – a consultant who I like a lot – asked me in a rather short amount of time and quite sheepishly – if I was gay. To which I said my usual set response: “well, what do you think??”. People always get uncomfortable when I do that. He got very sheepish but it was fine.

“Yes, I’m gay” said I, at last. And that cleared the air. These are some of the brightest, kindest most decent people I’ve ever worked with. I really, really, really like them. Being gay was never, ever going to be an issue here.

Unlike at my last workplace where I detected an inherent homophobia in the air. I loathed my last workplace for so many reasons. Not just one, but many, many reasons. I would never work in that subset of professional services again. Something about it that I really despised.

So all is well. I had a lovely burger and chips – really, really good. And lovely Belgian beer, the really strong stuff. And good company. And of the 6 of us, one of my colleagues it turned out was lesbian. So it’s a diverse place. Not something that surprises me.

I’m 5 weeks in and am really enjoying it. Lots of work – possibly a bit more than I might have liked – but seriously interesting projects. There is no comparison at all with the last place; none. It’s like comparing chalk with cheese. This is the most grown up, high end, relaxed, successful, dynamic, positive place that I’ve ever worked in.

And yes – I’m lesbian, gay and bisexual (the term LGB was one we used at university and I have stuck with it) and I’m darn proud of it. I am who I am.

The Dearly Beloved

I’d wanted to do a ‘circle of bloggery’ post for a while (well, that’s my term for it) but haven’t got round to it yet.

It’s nothing more than a little extra info on the people whose blogs I follow. This isn’t everyone on the Blogroll I’m afraid (some of them are new, for example). But it’s most of those on that list. These days I tend to refer to them simply as the dearly beloved.

They are an eclectic and quite eccentric group of individuals who have been crazy kind enough to follow me through my various blogging iterations over the years.

If you haven’t checked them all out – do. I consider myself quite discerning and wouldn’t read them if they weren’t good.

The list below is, generally speaking, the order in which I first became acquainted with each blogger.

Suburban Mum (aka Hen)
http://suburbanmum.me.uk/

I have known Hen (in person) since sometime in 2000 when I joined the firm she worked at.

Hen left London, moving to ‘the north’. Roll over celebrity blogger ‘Wife in The North’, Hen’s blog (especially after the move) was a warts and all account of what leaving behind your roots is like and settling somewhere new. There is a big difference between ‘north and south’ in the UK and she has talked a lot about it.

Currently job hunting (and touch wood the end could be very close), her blog carries everything from recipes to travelogues to photography. She has a large following these days and blogs with honesty about food and parenting issues. She is also a blog/tech queen and knows a thing or too about blogging (as dear old Sven found out when she rescued his blog!)

Through Hen I now regularly blog Mumof4 and Vic. Hen also recommended Puntabulous through whom I then met 14giants. Through me she found Pete, Lula, Sven and others.

A Million Pieces (aka Pete)
http://amillionpieces.20six.co.uk/

Pete and I began blogging each other way back in 2003 when we were on 20six (Pete is now on the staff there so still hosts his blog on that site). Pete’s blog has always covered a broad of subjects from sport through to current events, music and arts reviews, etc. Pete lives up north near Newcastle and he is a committed Christian. We are liberals but he (like me) gets wound up by a lot of the crap that takes place in society – dumbing down of standards, increasingly anti-social behaviour, 3rd rate television, lax and incompetent government policy, etc, so we’re quite happy to rant on one another’s blogs.

Pete loves writing (and has a self-published novel). He also does NaNoWriMo each year which he is trying to get me to do!😛

We began blogging one another back in 2003.

Puntabulous (aka Craig)
http://puntabulous.com/

Puntabulous.com, owned and run by Craig, is probably the most ‘successful’ of all the blogs I read if one uses the criteria of page hits (he’s almost at 500,000) and some of his posts have several hundred comments. He has a committed and very loyal following.

What can I say about Craig? Lives in New York, he’s tall, he is – like me – ‘desperately seeking stephen’ – among other things! I think he has the best avatar (blog profile picture) of my commentators as it’s cartoonish and makes me laugh. He’s also the author/creator of ‘Super Viagra’ which is a superhero cartoon series with a big following! Check it out.

I found Craig through a recommendation of Hen. He and 14giants also blog one another, as does Sven.

Ryan Edward Miller
http://ryanedwardmiller.com/

What can I tell you about Ryan? Probably one of the most eccentric bloggers I follow. He has a fondness for prescription drugs, gambling, lomography (a type of photography) and is the number 1 fan bar none of The Darcys (a Canadian Indie band). Just check out his blog and you’ll see what I mean.

Ryan lives in Vancouver and works in academia.

I found 14giants through an intermediary of Craig’s.

Lula Bites
http://lulabites.blogspot.com/

Lula found my blog when I went through a phase of writing up Nigella Bites reviews which had been on the TV. She’s the original ‘domestic Goddess’ and should be referred to if you want food or recipe suggestions! A gay woman these days living with her American partner in Antwerp, Belgium, she is also a mother so blogs with honesty about bringing up a child and the trials and tribulations of lesbian parenting.

She’s in the process of moving blogs (I’m suggesting she moves to wordpress.com!) so the address may change soon.

Very into the arts (her partner is a professional photographer), her blog is an eclectic scrapbook of arty finds and musings.

These days Lula is now hooked up with Hen, Mumof4, Vic and Sven.

Sven’s Guide To…
http://svensguide.com/

The biggest thing to say about Sven is that he’s imminently moving to Sydney, Australia. A 20 something Brit who lives in Bristol where he works in academia, Sven and his boyfriend are leaving the UK for pastures new – an exciting proposition!

As bloggers go, Sven isn’t what you’d call ‘prolific’. If he can manage one a week that’s considered good going. Instead, he’s very into ‘micro blogging’ which of course is another word for saying Twitter and Tweeting. You can stay fully up to speed with what he’s up to via twitter.

What else is there to say about Sven? He’s adept at sign language, enjoys trampolining to stay fit, loves outrageous fancy dress parties and is something of a hard drinker and ‘life and soul of the party’ type.

I’m going to admit that I can’t remember when Sven and I first found one another. These days he’s also hooked in to Hen, Mumof4, Craig, Mike, Paul and Lula, among others.

Big Yellow Taxi (aka Mike)
http://bigyellowtaxi.wordpress.com/

Mike does not blog a massive amount these days but he’s been around a long time and his blog is not far off 300,000 hits! Mike’s blog is a combination of musings on current affairs and one man’s perspective on life in general (he’s gay but it’s by no means a single issue blog).

Mike lives in Leeds and is about to start a new job so it’s exciting times for him. He goes to Miami every year for a 2 week holiday and has a long-term partner. He’s into writing and new media in general and is an all round good egg.

Mike and I have blogged one another from very early on, can’t remember exact date.

Yarraville Paul (aka Paul)
http://yarravillepaul.blogspot.com/

Paul lives in Sydney, Australia and we’ve blogged one another for quite some time. Paul doesn’t give too much away about his private life but he’s a gay man who nods naturally in the direction of the arts so his blogging is quite eclectic, like Lula’s. Oh, he’s also an Apple-man so is into iPhones and Macs.

I can’t recall off-hand when Paul and I started blogging one another but it’s been quite a long time now.

My Dad’s a Communist (aka Daphne)
http://mydadsacommunist.blogspot.com/

Daphne came to me via Mike’s blog. When she first arrived I remember surfing onto her blog and as the title is in capitals, I read it as: “I’m a columnist”. Was quite some time before the penny dropped and I realised it actually said “My dad’s a communist”! That’ll teach me to read properly!

Daphne is an indefatigable blogger who posts at least once a day. She has an interesting job managing an actors’ agency but she also works in a dramatic capacity herself, training young doctors on the ‘softer’ side of their skills, i.e. she teaches empathy and social skills through role-play.

With quick and often quite dry wit, Daphne’s blog is varied and includes everything from anecdotes on friends and family through to musings on current affairs. She – like me – often turns to remembrances of things past for inspiration. An old photo, an old item of something or other – triggers memories and stories. She also blogs with candour about the NHS and nursing homes (her father – the Communist – lost his leg a few years ago, for example, and is in a nursing home).

She seems to be going to Paris a lot with work at the moment but she is based in Leeds. She says herself she’s not much of a global traveller, but she’s heading Stateside this autumn to visit Silverback, a friend she made via blogging. Something tells me she’ll have a fantastic time!

Daphne found me via Mike’s blog.

Globewriter (aka Vern)
http://globewriter.wordpress.com/

Vern has yet to leave a comment for me on my new blog but this is primarily because he’s having big PC problems with Tinkerbelle (his laptop) and Sybil (his desktop). Yes, before you ask. Vern is a bona fide eccentric in the best sense of the word!

Vern grew up in Canada but now lives in Trinidad. He is a news presenter on television and he also writes for Fodor’s (the travel guide).

Vern is quite a quiet, reflective type and it takes a while to get to know him. He’s a decent and interesting person when you do. He’s not a massive blogger so don’t expect ‘serial blogging’, but what he does write is thoughtful and interesting, especially as he has an inside-view of the politics and machinations of that part of the world.

I can’t remember off-hand how Vern and I found one another.

Mumof4 (Betty aka Birdie)
http://mumof4.vox.com/

I call her Betty because we both love Mad Men and know all the characters. Betty is on the ‘prolific’ side of blogging (like I’ve been this month) and her blog is often a stream of consciousness. Betty is British but she and her British husband have lived for many years in the US, having lived all over. These days she lives in Colorado where she brings up 4 children.

How would I sum up Mumof4’s daily life??? Hmm, think ‘Simpsons meets Desperate Housewives’ and that’ll give you a pretty good idea! (I hope she doesn’t mind that description!!!!). She blogs with humour about the highs, lows and in betweens of life in America, bringing up 4 children, married life, etc, and the variety and frequency of her blog posts make it a lucid and interesting read.

I found Mumof4 through Hen.

Glowstars (aka Vic)
http://glowstars.net/wpb/

Vic is one of the few other bloggers I follow who lives in London. She works at a major City firm I almost got a job at, but fate decided otherwise.

Vic is married to a UrbanVox (who is Brazilian, he’s in the blogroll) and she blogs with humour and honesty about the balancing act required to live in this huge and expensive city (London), bringing up a young son, etc. She’s very into writing (has always written poetry) and is now planning to do NaNoWriMo. To that end, I’ve hooked her up with Pete who is also doing it!

She is an all round good-egg.

Vic found me via Hen.

Retirement Rocks (aka Silverback)
http://retirement-rocks.blogspot.com/

Silverback is a relatively recent find (via Daphne). A 56 year old Brit who spends 49.9% of the year at his home in Florida (the rest of the year in Leeds, UK) – he’s an enigmatic so-and-so and his blog is well worth reading. Whilst I enjoy all of the blogs I read, very few set out to make you laugh but Silverback’s often does and laugh I have done! I remember him blogging about the Olympics (and I was feeling particularly depressed about my last job) but he really put a smile on my face.

He’s had 2 heart attacks so as his followers we hopes he takes it easy. He’s into photography, socialising and eating, i.e. all the best things in life!

Silverback found me via Daphne.

That’s a pretty good recommendation isn’t it? Now go forth and blog!

PS Yes, this blog entry is 2,000 words and did take a long time to write and format! Worth it though.