Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Thursday 29/05/08

On Tuesday I’m back at work, which I won’t pretend doesn’t make me suicidal and then suddenly it’s lunchtime. This lunchtime I’m in need of a book, a book that will replace Dry by Augusten Burroughs, who I’m afraid I had to dump because it was getting quite inaccurate, too inaccurate and I couldn’t bear reading it anymore.

It all started going wrong when Augusten Burroughs mentioned an encounter with an English guy, an encounter that the writer chose to describe like this (this is them bonding in a humorous way as Augusten Burroughs – an American – gently pokes fun at the English guy:

(This scene occurs over breakfast)

“These are delicious," he says of the reconstituted scrambled eggs, the same eggs that sit on my own plate, untouched.

So far I have lost almost ten pounds. "You're from London, what would you know?"

He laughs, "That's very true, actually. This is far better than anything my mother ever made."

I make a face. "Did you have that nasty, yeasty stuff they spread on toast, what's it called?"

His eyes brighten. "Vegemite! Oh yes, I love Vegemite."

"You'll enjoy dinner then," I promise him.

I’m sorry but this is ridiculous. Vegemite is an Australian product cliché. English people eat Marmite. Which is very different. I don’t expect everyone to know this by heart (especially someone who lives in America), but this guy wrote a book and shoved it in our faces. Why should I bother to read his stupid book if he didn’t bother to properly research his facts?

Mind you as I said I didn’t abandon the book just because of the Vegemite / Marmite debacle. I’m very open-minded as you know (ahem) and I kept reading. However, over the next fifty pages or so, Augusten continues to rub my face in his shoddy research and ridiculously inaccurate “facts” (concerning everything from geography to HIV to fashion) and I’m sorry I’m not going to read that. I find it quite offensive.

Anyway, back to Tuesday lunchtime, when I go in Borders and I browse Fiction for, what, 42 minutes? And I end up buying Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.

Then I go over to the magazine section where I look through: NME, Q, Arena, Arena Homme Plus and then I find myself unfortunate enough to walk past the gay press and I stop there because I want to damage a few more brain cells (hopefully once I cross the line between semi-intelligent and completely idiotic I will stop hurting so much), and I see Gay Times has a Readers’ Awards 2008 feature shouting at me from the cover.

So I think, I can’t miss that, I have to see what the Gay Times readers like these days, I like to hurt myself like that, I’ll take the pain and the shame any time of the day thanks. So I open Gay Times and read the following:

Best Club in London:



3.Horsemeat Disco

Best Clothing Brand:

1.Dolce & Gabbana



Best Holiday Destination:


2.New York

3.The Maldives

Hero of the Year:

1.Kylie Minogue

2.Peter Tatchell

3.Anthony Grey

All Time Female Icon:

1.Kylie Minogue

2.Judy Garland


And anyone who thought that it’s an offensive cliché to portray gay people as Dolce-wearing, Kylie-booty-shaking, G.A.Y-visiting, Ibiza-holidaying, Judy Garland-idolising cattle, I guess hasn’t been reading Gay Times recently.

Avoiding the temptation to give myself symmetrical paper cuts across the eyes with its pages or even causing voluntary impotence by dropping 75 copies of the magazine on my knob, I put Gay Times back on the shelf, and leave.

PS. Who is Judy Garland anyway, and what has she done and why is she admired by the gays? In fact, please don’t answer this, I don’t want to know.

PPS. Would anyone like to get me a subscription for NME or Q magazine please? The NME annual one is only £65 and Q is about £45, I’d like that very much. Or get me a 6-month one actually, cause I'm going away.


Anonymous said...

you should buy and read 'kill your friends' by john niven.
a) its set in the brit pop years
b) he is a psycho
c) he takes drugs
d) its really easy to read

all i do is help etc


Anonymous said...

The Gay Times... Yuck. Really, do none of their readers have any class? All a bit council-homo to me.

kim said...


you should take up shooting as a hobby/sport ... olympic shooting; you could represent Greece, or England, both? i think for someone with your predilections it could be your calling.

Tim in Italy said...

I don't believe that Judy Garland is a very good gay icon, at least not for you and your generation. When I was young we idolized her, because she was a hugely talented, tragic figure, you know, like all of us, who slowly killed herself with pills and alcohol. Isn't that a picture? I hope we've worked past that kind of victim mentality... I mean, we have, haven't we?

By the way, as an American, I do know the difference between Vegemite and Marmite, though I consider both equally vile. But then we like peanut butter. I'm sure there's a social commentary there, but I'm too lazy to come up with anything.

Did you know you're always unusually cranky on Tuesdays after you've gone clubbing?

London Preppy said...

anon: Cool, thanks, I'll have a look

anon: Council homo eh? A demographic I should perhaps explore

kim: I won't pretend this doesn't appeal to me right now

tim: Ah OK, I was just wondering what relevance Judy Garland had to anyone who reads Gay Times. As far as I knew she's just the little girl who played in the Wizard of Oz (which I've never seen obviously). I was unaware of the tragedy, etc

andre said...

You have to watch THE WIZARD OF OZ, just because of the Flying Monkeys!!

fran said...

any press - mag, newspaper... - beginning with the gay word is lame!

actually any media targeted specially for the gay community is lame!

gay icons are lame....

i'm having a lame day! sorry

Oldyeller said...

Sorry, I know you said you didn't want to know, but I can't help it--Judy died in London of a drug overdose almost 40 years ago. An over-the-top, very emotional but gifted performer who developed a cult following among gays and just about everyone else.

michael01 said...

"Council-homo" suggests that racism and classism are as popular in England, among the would-be elites of our own "oppressed minority", as they are here in the US. You're response was perfect. BTW, Lolita is the funniest book every written, challenged in this respect only by Nabokov's own Pale Fire.

Dick Pics said...

i almost stopped reading a book once. oddly enough i think its one of my favorites now. but yeah inaccuracies can be bothersome. i don't know much about the actual tudors but watching the show and then finding out about all the lies they tell me is kinda upsetting. but they gave us henry cavill's ass so i let it slide.

Jim said...

Like Tim, I am an American who also knows the difference between Marmite and Vegamite. Perhaps this is the reason I do not read any Augusten Burroughs books. Perhaps I should just give up reading all together.

Trybaby said...

I'll get right on that. Wow that 124 Canadian the 64 pound one. That's so weird a subscription to trashy mags are so cheap here. Like 20 bucks. You are getting riped hard.

So I just got a H&M close to where I live now. It's kinda crap. Is it better in the UK? All the stuff there I could find in a GAP. Fill me in here. I thought the clothes were supposed to be really cutting edge and stuff and really in tune with what is happening in fashion but it was just crappy graphic T and plaid everything and then the suit stuff and dress shirts which was the only good parts. Maybe I'm missing something.

Timmy said...

It must be an American Tim thing because I too know the difference between Vegemite and Marmite and I too find them equally vile.

Alex said...

Judy Garland happens to be an ex-gay icon: she was popular for being this terribly sad story of success leading to tragedy... Not yours and definitely not my generation.

Do you like the 'classics' in literature? I really like Les Misérables, 1984, Brave New World, and anything by Vonnegut.

..on second thought, I'd guess you've read all of them and I feel slightly enbarassed for showing my junior high intellect.

London Preppy said...

trybaby: An annual subscription for a monthly magazine is $20? Wow let's all move to Canada.

H&M varies a lot even from shop to shop in the UK, I don't know what the Canadian one might be like

Graham said...

That gaytimes article tells us one thing. The readers of gaytimes are sheep. Maybe they have glittery fleeces, but they're still sheep.

Neil said...

Judy Garland is symbolic also for her death, which occurred at the end of June, on the same night the police stormed the Stonewall bar in NYC, starting riots - the reason that Gay Pride is the end of June all over our fine world - except the places that hold it at a different time.

Mike said...

I concur being put-off by AB blatant manipulation of HIV facts in "Dry" to facilitate the plot. Poor execution.

I think Judy Garland became a gay icon after Rufus Wainwright redid her songs catalogue, but I could be wrong....

Is it true they deleted your wikpage?

Maluminas said...

Yay come to Montreal! I can teach you french! :P

GT said...

Re: Judy Garland, the night she died was also the night of the Stonewall riot which (here in the States) was the beginning of an effective gay civil rights movement.

The riot started when NYPD tried to break up a crowd of Garland grieving gays at the Stonewall Inn (read: gay bar) in Greenwich Village.

timbo said...

To be 42 years old and have written *4* memoirs is rather ludicrous...particularly when your most notable achievement is having written 4 memoirs. When you're not exactly Winston Churchill and you have a desire to be so prolific, I would imagine that you would resort to quite a bit of fibbing. That's fine. You can tell me stories about unicorns, angels and heterosexual figure skaters if you like, just don't frame it as fact.

One of the taglines used in promoting Burroughs latest art piece was something along the lines of "His first memoir in five years!". I thought surely there should have been six more by now! Somehow, though, I found the willpower to pass up this very important book.

I know you specifically asked not to be told about Judy Garland, but as I have an impulse control issue at times, I would like to add something to what's already been mentioned. In addition to lifelong drug and weight issues, she married at least one homosexual man (Liza's father), her own father had been homosexual, and I think most importantly it's said that the modern gay rights movement really began indirectly because of her death. Something along the lines that all the gays were mourning her untimely demise when the Stonewall Inn in NYC was raided (as it often was) by the police, but rather than take the abuse the gays freaked the fuck out and fought back. And here we are today.

Also, a 57 issue subscription to Entertainment Weekly is US $10. Now that's a bargain!

Sam said...

LP, when you move to Sydney you have two Vegemite options:

1) You can either openly hate it, because we Australians love to look down our noses at/make fun of foreigners who hate our greatest national export, OR

2) You can be one of those foreigners who loves Vegemite and slathers it all over his toast. We love that kind of foreigner too.

London Preppy said...

mike: Oh I just checked and the wikipedia page is gone indeed. Oh well, it lasted about a month, that was kidna fun

Trybaby said...

LOL took them long enough!!!

Red Exile / Красная Ссылка said...

Now we've done Judy, can we do 'opera queens' next? Cos I have two'penneth to add to discussion about that gay stereotype...

"Ah...the tragic diva, Maria Callas!" etc

Trybaby said...

But if you want a sneaky way to still have a page. It's like this! If I put it on my page they can't really do anything about it. It's not search able in the site or from google though. But it's still there.... in a way lolz.

Gert said...

I have to write something. Enough Augusten Burroughs bashing. I have very much enjoyed the contents, the writing style and the sense of humour of his books. I'll reread a story from time to time and still crack up.

Ok, I admit that reading that his facts on American (or British) life and culture may not be too reliable is somewhat disappointing. But that's successful writing for you, I guess.

Quite remarkable: why is notably an LP-reader offended by the fact that some things could be made up, added, exagerated or modified? It's all fact, it's all fiction, who can tell?

London Preppy said...

gert: I don't mind the fact that he might write fiction and present it as a memoir of course. That's perfectly fine. But even in fiction (well, fiction that's realistic, not in fantasy fiction etc) I appreciate it when writers respect the audience by doing some basic fact checking. I mean I even check facts and references for the blog before I write them and I don't even get paid for it. (I check facts apart from when I want to appear ignorant as a joke of course, like when I refer to Sylvester Stalone as Sylvestro Staloni etc, before anyone comments).

And with Dry in particular, the Vegemite reference was annoying (it somehow undermines the credibilty of everything else), but what really is absurd - as Mike also points out above - are his HIV references which seem to be written by a homophobic ingnoramus in 1983. Such is the misinformation presented

trybabt: Cool thanks - it exists still in a parallel universe, this will have to do!

Mitchell said...

The reference to vegemite as opposed to marmite *may* have been inflicted on him by his U.S. copy editor - they can be quite resistant to words outwith american vocabulary (for example, it's not unknown for novels set and written in the UK to have their text americanised for the US audience - 'lollipop' turned to 'popsicle'etc etc)

re: AB, I thought 'Running with Scissors' was superb, but 'Dry' did less for me. Of course, that may be for reasons as shallow as I identified more with a tale of growing up odd and gay, with an emotionally-volatile mother, than an account of being an alcohol-ridden advertising exec...

Graham said...

I haven't read any of AB's memoirs, but I've seen him being interviewed and he did say that he doesn't like reading memoirs, which I find odd.

The vegemite thing would annoy the hell out of me. EVERYONE knows that the only people who eat that shit are the folks from Oz. I don't even know anyone who actually likes marmite, but at least it's British and would have been in fitting with the character. Re: the HIV facts (or lack thereof), do you think that perhaps he might have been writing that from the point of view of what was known (or rather how little was known) about GRID and HIV in the early days? I'm presuming the book was set back in the 80s and from his (or an imagined him) perspective as a young gay in New York having to deal with all the misinformation/rumour etc.

Anonymous said...

as an englishman my gay icon has to be Diana Dors, at the minute im wearing two lyle and scott polo shirts pink under green collars up local scally boys said i looked flash

Grimsey said...

i love duckie.

Gert said...

Thanks for the answer, LP.

To Mr. Burrough's defence: Google teaches me that Vegemite is also available in the UK. So the English guy AB was having scrambled eggs with might very well actually have said he loved Vegemite. Isn't that great?

I'm still curious about the HIV-inaccuracies, though. Where does he go wrong, I wonder. I'll pay special attention if I reread the book.

W said...

Lolita is one of my top 10 all time faves, though i totally resented the authors brilliant writing. Hope your enjoying it

Anonymous said...

Judy Garland was a MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR Hollywood star during the 30's through the 50's and 60's. She also spent quite a lot of time on stage and on albums (that's what they were called before we had cd's).

She started performing at 2 years old and died at 47. She helped to build MGM Studios into what it was in it's heyday.

The Wizard of Oz (she sang "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" among others)
Meet Me in St. Louis ("Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas")
A Star is Born ("The Man that Got Away")
...and about 33 other films

She was teamed with Mickey Rooney in several films when they were teens.

And, of course, Yes she's Liza Minelli's mom.

There's a lot more to this lady than her tragic (and questionable) death. Some call it suicide because she had attempted it a few times, but officially it was an "Accidental Overdose."

When she was sad, she was "Tragic", but when she was happy, she was AWESOME!!!