COOL GAY STUFF is a news-watch hot-sheet of LGBT highlights from across the Net, with thanks to Google, YouTube, & Blogger. It's a sampler of gay-themed or gay-friendly Web gems, plus links to the original sources. But they are NOT only for gay guys & gals, so there's no racy porn here nor NSFW stuff to frighten the hets (paraphrasing Oscar Wilde & horses).

But please allow A FULL 30 SECS for the diverse Web sources to load properly.

Contribute comments at the originating sites, they'd welcome it. Links provided.

Your host, novelist George Gardiner, opens with eye-candy videos plus details of his widely-praised historical crime/romance novel "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History". It's a fiction/faction re-imagining of history's real-life m/m romance between ancient Rome's 'good emperor' Hadrian & his renown 'Favorite', Antinous of Bithynia. Paperback or ebook purchase options are listed below. Then follows 30 recent gay-friendly news reports, updated daily, preceding a line-up of LGBTQ miscellany.

Disclaimer: This site makes no claims about the sexual orientation of any person mentioned in text, image, or presumed by inference.


It's not 'gay' in any way except in the cheerful sense, but watch as UK actor Benedict Cumberbatch impersonates Taylor Swift, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Hiddleston and many other idiosyncratic voices! He proves his mimic gifts admirably, with thanks to MTV for the clip. And be sure to check out Benedict's new movie "The Imitation Game" after its November 28th global release, where Benedict plays WWII's famed British code analyst hero (& gay man incidentally) Alan Turing.

MEET HISTORY'S FIRST 'OUT' SAME-SEX COUPLE : Hadrian Caesar & his boyf Antinous ...

.... The two pages below are a few words from your host George Gardiner about his recently-published historical mystery/romance/erotica novel "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History". However, if you are a returning visitor then you should ...


HADRIAN & ANTINOUS - history's first 'out' lovers ...

HADRIAN & ANTINOUS - history's first 'out' lovers ...
... back & front cover of THE HADRIAN ENIGMA. .. CLICK ON THE PICS for direct link to its Amazon USA page to check reviews, prices, & purchase a paperback or Kindle ebook.

READER'S OPINIONS OF "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA" logged at global Amazon stores, especially the USA ...

"Five Stars ... I loved this book ... If you like mysteries, try this book. ... Lots of fun ... "
Eric Sootin, Asheville, NC (USA) at Amazon USA

"Five Stars ... Excellent ... couldn't put the book down ... one of the most enjoyable novels I've ever read ..."
Lloyd F Adams (USA), at Amazon USA

"Five Stars ... The best book I've read on Hadrian and Antinous."
JANE (Canada), at Amazon USA

"...I recommend it to any historical fiction fan, especially any fan of the redoubtable Mary Renault. ..."
J.R. Tomlin, author of historical fiction, at :-

"Five stars ... a tour de force ..."
Elisa Rolle, Amazon Top 1000 Reviewer, USA & UK, & at :

" ... an absorbing new book ... compelling writing ... action sequences that are brilliantly staged & paced ... on a higher plane than mere homoerotic titillation ... courageous & convincing ..."
Reader Down Under (Australia), at Amazon USA

"... extensively researched picture of life in the Roman Empire ... a mix of mystery, comedy, gay & straight romance - is an entertaining read ..."
Laura Staley, Historical Novels Review, USA, at :-

"... an age-old love story with a twist ... an unexpected delight ... his storyline hooked me immediately ..."
Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson of READER VIEWS, Austin TX, USA

"... You will feel engaged and challenged ..."
Nan Hawthorne, author Beloved Pilgrim, at Amazon USA

"... extremely readable ... it's a page turner ... Gardiner has written an interesting & gripping story ..."
Kim at India

"... Five Stars ... a compelling crime mystery ... a hard book to put down ..."
Terence Charters, Hobart, Australia, at Amazon USA

"... An adventure through Hadrian's world. The story is easy to read and full of the homoeroticism that we love about this era. ..."
P. Novotny, London, at Amazon UK

"... a definitive Five Star read for me ..."
Aleksandr Voinov, UK, reviewer at Speak Its Name

"Five Stars ... A masterful recreation of Ancient Rome ... the historical details are a delight ... characters are outlined in a vivid way which is like meeting old friends ... "
Ernest Gill, Hamburg, at Amazon USA & UK

"Five Stars ... as a reimagining of the Hadrian-Antinous relationship in the context of the age it is fascinating."
Muriel Perkins, Texas, at Amazon USA

" ... this is a novel about the nature of love ... but this is far from just being a gay romance. ..." Kit Moss, historical author, at :-

"A truly exceptional book on 'What Greek Love" is all about ..."
John R. Shelton at Amazon USA

"Five Stars. I so enjoyed this book. Highly recommend it ... "
Stephen Forte, Birmingham, Alabama at Amazon USA

NOTE: ***Amazon USA's book or ebook purchase website with its 18 reader's reviews (nine awarding Five Stars for excellence!) can be read in full by clicking on :-


LUST, LOVE, INTRIGUE, & MURDEROUS REVENGE: challenging romantic fiction suggested by real events - history's most unusual true love story ...

THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History
A novel
(C) George Gardiner
ISBN13: 978-0-9807469-1-4 (at Amazon USA, UK, Europe, Australia etc) in 498-page paperback or Kindle ebook.
Also iBookstore, iPad, Nook & ePub ebook formats etc available via online sources, including Lulu.

The scene: ancient Rome, 130 years after Christ yet two centuries prior to Christianity being legal. Caesar Hadrian is the popular ruler of a vast pagan empire at the height of its power & wealth.

Hadrian, one of Rome's "five good emperors" searches for & eventually locates the love of his life .. Antinous, an elite Greek athlete, huntsman, & cavalry cadet. They become 'companions' under the ancient Greco-Roman mentoring tradition of an erastes (mentor) & his eromenos (student).

During an imperial pleasure tour of Egypt Antinous is discovered dead in the River Nile. Hadrian is distraught. Is the death a drunken prank gone wrong, suicide, murder, or something far more sinister? Hadrian assigns historian playboy Suetonius Tranquillus to investigate.

THE HADRIAN ENIGMA is the outlawed record of Caesar's investigation into one of history's most suspicious fatalities. It reveals more than Hadrian may want to know, or wants others to know. Set in a society increasingly reflecting facets of our own times, it portrays an era of torrid relationships, raging ambition, wealth inequalities, & uninhibited morals within a severely macho culture of honor, shame, pride & prejudice.

Buy only online (not in street stores), CLICK NOW ON A LINK BELOW to select best delivery options ...

For an Amazon USA paperback :

for Amazon's Kindle ebook or Kindle-For-PC's download :

[If you buy a new print edition of THE HADRIAN ENIGMA, or have purchased one in the past, you can buy a Kindle ebook edition for only $1.99 - saving 80%. Print edition must have been sold by Amazon.]

for Amazon UK :

Plus ...

The paperback is also available via mail-order at Diesel Bookstores, Powell's Books, & Vroman's Books, California. Use each store's online search to locate the title.

COOL GAY STUFF'S important navigation hint !! ...

... if you have arrived at this blog via BING, DuckDuckGo, or an archived link, you may see your chosen post immediately below this message (or be told the post is deleted). However, THE CURRENT MONTH'S 30 OTHER POSTS WILL HAVE BEEN DISPLACED OR REMOVED TO DO SO (making side-column videos & pics way off-topic). To restore things to their proper view, click on this blogspot's url address, in blue here :-

Everything will be magically restored to correct view ...


Saturday, November 22, 2014

GAYS AND THE BIBLE | An Evangelical viewpoint ...

GAY EVANGELICALS | The Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality
----  selected excerpts from an extended opinion-piece by Jerome Socolovsky at Voice Of America (USA), 21 November 2014 :-

      ' .... Most evangelical Christians believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. The Book of Leviticus calls male-male sex “detestable,” while in the Book of Romans, one of Jesus’ apostles, Paul, condemns men who commit “shameless acts" with other men.
    But [Matthew] Vines [National City Christian Church in Washington] said homosexuality was seen differently in the ancient world, and believes these passages are about lasciviousness, and do not apply to loving same-sex couples.  ....
....  Most evangelical Christians believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. The Book of Leviticus calls male-male sex “detestable,” while in the Book of Romans, one of Jesus’ apostles, Paul, condemns men who commit “shameless acts" with other men.
      But Vines said homosexuality was seen differently in the ancient world, and believes these passages are about lasciviousness, and do not apply to loving same-sex couples.  ....
....  the gay issue is just another example of biblical distortions resulting in what he calls “un-Christlike” behavior.
      “I think it remains very hard for Christians to say this simple thing: ‘We were wrong,’” he said in the interview. “We’ve been wrong on slavery, on race, on women, on a whole host of issues.”
----  see more of Jerome Socolovsky's report at at :- 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

GAY LIFE | In another place, another time ...

GAY LIFE as lived (legally, ahead of other nations) by the Swiss in the post-War period
----  a precis of a new movie screening this weekend in New York City (USA)

      'Zürich in the mid 50's: The young shy teacher Ernst Ostertag becomes a member of the gay organization DER KREIS (The Circle). There he gets to know the transvestite cabaret star Röbi Rapp -- and immediately falls head over heels in love with him.
      Röbi and Ernst live through the high point and the eventual decline of the organization, which in the whole of Europe is seen as the pioneer of gay emancipation. Ernst finds himself torn between his bourgeois existence and his commitment to homosexuality.  ....
....  While the repression against homosexuals became increasingly more intense in Zurich, two young and very different men fight for their love and -- together with their friends -- for the rights of gays.  .... '
----  though screening over the coming few days at the Quad Cinema, New York City (check the site in the link here), this movie is likely to be available on circuit and/or dvd in the near future :- 
----  and visit the German-language trailer (with English subtitles) in the sidebar. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

GAY GENES | The increasing evidence for biological origins ...

Largest study of gay brothers homes-in on 'gay genes' 
---- the opening phrases of an extended press report by Andy Coghlan at the respected New Scientist magazine (UK), 22 November 2014 :-

      'A genetic analysis of 409 pairs of gay brothers, including sets of twins, has provided the strongest evidence yet that gay people are born gay. The study clearly links sexual orientation in men with two regions of the human genome that have been implicated before, one on the X chromosome and one on chromosome 8.
      The finding is an important contribution to mounting evidence that being gay is biologically determined rather than a lifestyle choice. In some countries, such as Uganda, being gay is still criminalised, and some religious groups believe that gay people can be "treated" to make them straight.
      "It erodes the notion that sexual orientation is a choice," says study leader Alan Sanders of the NorthShore Research Institute in Evanston, Illinois.  .... 
....  The latest study involves about three times as many people as the previous largest study, which means it is significantly more statistically robust.  .... '
----  see more of Andy Coghlan's report at the authoritative New Scientist magazine at :- 

ONE DIRECTION sizzles in the desert ...

ONE DIRECTION creates a desert storm ...

And now for something completely different :- The five lovable Brit lads do their thing in the ultra-torrid Death Valley (USA), or thereabouts, to sing for us how to Steal My Girl. The lads put on a jolly good show, as you can see in this blockbuster video, complete with dancing girls. marching bands, sumo wrestlers, an occasional lion, and would-you-believe Danny De Vito of-all-people playing ringmaster.

The very unlikely Mr. De Vito shows his startling gifts as a video-clip director, putting his talented young quintet through their exuberant paces, rain or shine. Lie back and enjoy five minutes of whimsical One Direction cuteness. No touching, though.
(Music video directed by Benjamin and Gabe Turner. Track taken from the new album FOUR, details at :- )

Monday, November 17, 2014

GAY GENE? | New study suggests genetic influences ...

Study suggests genetic link for male homosexuality
----  brief excerpts from a science report by Associated Press (USA), 17 November 2014 :-

      'CHICAGO (AP) — A large study of gay brothers adds to evidence that genes influence men's chances of being homosexual, but the results aren't strong enough to prove it.
      Some scientists believe several genes might affect sexual orientation. Researchers who led the new study of nearly 800 gay brothers say their results bolster previous evidence pointing to genes on the X chromosome.  ....
....  The new evidence "is not proof but it's a pretty good indication" that genes on the two chromosomes have some influence over sexual orientation, said Dr. Alan Sanders, the lead author. He studies behavioral genetics at NorthShore University HealthSystem Research Institute in Evanston, Illinois.
      Experts not involved in the study were more skeptical.  .... '
----  see more of the AP report at the Morganton News Herald (USA) at at :- 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

LESBIAN PARODY | 50 Shades gets an hilarious gender make-over ...

50 Shades of GAY imagines 50 Shades of Grey with Lesbians
----  introducing a post by Arielle Scarcella at SheWired (USA), 14 November 2014 :-

      'What if Fifty Shades of Grey were about a lesbian relationship?
      Our friends over at the Gay Women's channel are back with another hilarious parody. Fifty Shades of Grey is slowly releasing trailers for the February 14, release date, so it was only a matter of time before someone took a shot at it.
      The Gay Women's channel laughs at long-existing stereotypes. .... '
----  see Arielle Scarcella's post and video at the ever-relevent at :-
----  or visit the hilarious Gay Women's video via YouTube in the sidebar (opposite).

Saturday, November 15, 2014

GAY PARENTING | A father's dilemma ...

Read what happened when this dad accidentally discovered that he had a gay son
----  brief excerpts from an extended recollection-piece reported by David Hudson at Gay Star News (USA), 15 November 2014 :-

      'The man, who inadvertently discovered that his 13-year-old son may be gay after borrowing his iPad, turned to Reddit for advice on whether to broach the subject with the boy.
      His first port of call was Google. However, unless someone clears their search history, Google search results can automatically re-appear when you begin to type a similar search term. ‘I'm 38, and a single dad to my 13 year old son,’ wrote HeMeYou. ‘The other day I asked my son if I could borrow his iPad and he gave it to me.
      After my first attempt at Google searching something I noticed that he forgot to delete his history as a lot of the search terms were along the lines of "I'm gay what now?" etc...’ ‘I love him regardless of which gender he loves, in fact when I was slightly older than him I had a few flings with guys, which he doesn't know about, so I am 100% supportive.
       ‘He has seemed slightly down recently, as in, he isn't as cheerful as he once was, and I desperately want to tell him that I love him regardless of which sexuality he is. ‘What are my options? Should I wait for him to tell me? Or should I make a few hints at it?  ,,,,
....  Hundreds of Reddit users responded, with a range of helpful and imaginative suggestions.  .... '
----  see more of David Hudson's report on this challenging issue for a parent at at :- 
----  & see too another coverage of the heartening reader response at Buzzfeed (USA) at :- 
----  and finally, see another heartening report which follows up the dad's plea at the Human Rights Campaign site, complete with readers'opinions, at :-

MALE EYE-CANDY | Charlie Hunnam shows healthy good form ...

Behind-The-Scenes Of Charlie Hunnam's Shirtless Men's Shoot!
----  excerpts from a welcome publicity post by Instinct staff (USA), 11 November 2014 :-

      'He may not have won the lead role in 50 Shades, but former Queer as Folk star Charlie Hunnam has nonetheless remained an object of affection. Men's Fitness thankfully puts that object on its new cover, front and center, and Entertainment Tonight was along for the ride at the photo shoot.
      In this behind-the-scenes video, Charlie, who currently stars in Sons of Anarchy, goes shirtless and tosses around bails of hay.  .... '
----  see more of this Men's Fitness magazine shoot at Instinct at :- 
----  and check the lively video in the sidebar column, with thanks to Entertainment Tonight.

Thursday, November 13, 2014


Irish Ad Looks to Inspire Youth to Say 'Yes' to Marriage Equality
----  brief excerpts from a news post by Thom Senzee at Advocate (USA), 12 November 2014 :-

      'A moving new video encourages young voters in Ireland to register by November 25 in order to vote in support of equality in next May's referendum on civil marriage for same-sex couples.  ....
....  Ireland's steady march toward equality for LGBT people essentially began in 1993, when the nation decriminalized being gay.  ....
....  In 2011, the Republic of Ireland legally recognized civil unions for same-sex couples, and earlier this month, one woman finally received a favorable conclusion to her decades-long court battle to secure accurate government recognition of her gender.  ....
....  Watch the inspiring video that hopes to motivate young voters to turn out and support marriage equality in Ireland  [in the sidebar, opposite] .... '
----  & see more of Thom Senzee's well-informed post at at :- 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

LATINO LGBTQ YOUTH | The huge challenge ahead ...

Machismo Culture Could Be Used To Cure Attitudes Facing Latino LGBTQ Youth
---- the opening pars from a revealing article by Nicole Akoukou Thompson at Latin Post (USA), 12 November 2014 :-

      'For many, the anti-LGBT sentiment is connected to religious teachings and upbringings within Latino households. And when deep rooted religious understanding is paired with machismo attitudes and incorrect information about homosexuality, it perpetuates hostility and homophobia.
    Maricon, the Spanish equivalent of "gay" and "faggot," is nonchalantly tossed around in many Latino households.
    And that's paired with negative stereotyping of effeminate men and a continual lack of public and private acceptance of LGBTQ community members. For many, the anti-LGBT sentiment is connected to religious teachings and upbringings within Latino households. And when deep rooted religious understanding is paired with machismo attitudes and incorrect information about homosexuality, it perpetuates hostility and homophobia. ....
....  Along with that mode of understanding, to be a man who exhibits female mannerisms is inconceivable; it's sinful or immoral. Those who fail to conform to heteronormativity lack upward social mobility, so many stifle or hide their homosexual identity. They fear the social ramifications or accusations of perpetuating the "contagious gay agenda." But, it's the assumptions about the "gay agenda" or lifestyle. And presumptions about perversity that threatens housing and financial stability for LGBT youth and ultimately their lives. ....  '
----  see more of Nicole Akoukou Thompson's stimulating essay at at :- 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

GAY SLASH FICTION with unique Chinese flavors ...

Where Slash Fiction Makes for Dangerous Words
----  brief excerpts from an informative post by Yuan Ren at (USA), 11 November 2014 :-

      'Slash fiction arrives and thrives in China, despite the constant threat of government crackdowns.
      Earlier this year, during a nationwide clampdown on online pornography, some 20 writers, allegedly under contract with “illegal erotic novel Web sites,” were arrested in Henan province, China, and numerous Web sites with explicit written and visual content were shut down. Most of these writers were young women, many of whom, according to footage from Phoenix TV, a Hong Kong broadcaster, were in their 20s, oblivious to the fact that they were breaking the law.  ....
....  The women were all writers of gay fiction, known as dan mei, which over the past two decades has gained a vast and dedicated following in China, a country where homosexuality is still heavily stigmatized.  ....
....  Focusing on male-to-male romance, dan mei (which may be literally translated as “indulgence in beauty”) has surprisingly spawned an exclusive fan base: Its readers and writers are nearly all straight young women and girls.
      Additionally, both dan mei’s readers and writers view the genre as separate from mainstream gay fiction.
      “Dan mei depicts the perfection of romance between beautiful young men,” explains 25-year-old Zhang Lu, who has been reading the genre since she was 18 years old. “It’s all about conveying the aesthetic appeal of its male characters through the writing,” Lu says, adding that dan mei is a woman’s romanticized fantasy of men — the reason for its success — rather than a man’s idea of homosexuality.”  .... '
----  see more about this unexpected variation on gay literature, coupled with its unique Chinese social perspectives, at Yuan Ren's extended article at at :- 

Monday, November 10, 2014

BRITISH RELIGION | New challenging stats ...

Half of Brits Say Religion Does More Harm Than Good, And Atheists Can Be Just As Moral
----  brief excerpts from a news report by Jessica Eigot at Huffington Post UK, 7 November 2014 :-

      'More than half of Britons believe that religion does more harm than good, with less than a quarter believing faith is a force for good, the Huffington Post UK can reveal today.
      Even 20% of British people who described themselves as being 'very religious' said religion was harmful to society, and a quarter of said atheists were more likely to be moral individuals than religious people.
      The exclusive poll for the HuffPost UK reveals that just 8% of Britons describe themselves as very religious, with more than 60% saying they were not religious at all.
      The eye-opening survey, that will reopen debate over the role and worth of religion to British society, found of the 'non-religious' people polled, more than 60% said they thought religion caused more problems than it solved.
      The poll shows that more people believe being an atheist is more likely to make you a good person than being religious.  ....
....  Linda Woodhead, professor of the sociology of religion at Lancaster University, said it was "striking" to see the number of people professing no religion.
      "This confirms something I’ve found in my own surveys and which leads me to conclude that religion has become a ‘toxic brand’ in the UK," she told HuffPost UK. "What we are seeing is not a complete rejection of faith, belief in the divine, or spirituality, though there is some to that, but of institutional religion in the historic forms which are familiar to people.  .... '
----  see more of Jessica Eigot's report at at :- 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

GAY PRIDE | History remembered ...

GAY PRIDE: From protest to celebration
----  brief excerpts from an historical remembrance by Robert Hopwood at The Desert Sun (Palm Springs, California), 8 November 2014 :-

      'It's Pride! Those who aren't gay or lesbian may not realize what this annual event means to the LGBTQ community. It's simply our biggest weekend. [In the USA & other northern hemisphere cultures.]
      Pride, which started as a political protest and demand for justice, is more than a series of weekend block parties, tea dances and a big parade. It's a time to remember who we are and where we started as a community.
      The modern gay-rights movement can trace it's roots back to June 28, 1969, when gays and lesbians rioted in Manhattan following a police raid on the Stonewall Inn.
      A few months after the Stonewall riots, which lasted for days, attendees at the Eastern Regional Conference of Homophile Organizations approved a resolution in Philadelphia on Nov. 2 that called for an annual demonstration  ....   "
....  On June 28, 1970 – one year after the Stonewall riots – gays and lesbians in New York held the city's first Gay Pride march.
      That weekend gays and lesbians in Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco also held marches and demonstrations. One year later, Gay Pride marches spread to Europe and more American cities.  .... '
----  see more of Robert Hopwood's remembrance at at :- 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

LESBIAN PORN | Harvard student initiative ...

Lesbian Pornographer Shares Experiences During Sex Week
----  brief excerpts from a substantial sexual health report by Sara A Atske and Quynh-Nhu Le at The Harvard Crimson (USA), 6 November 2014 :-

      'Jincey Lumpkin, BGLTQ activist and founder of feminist lesbian pornography studio Juicy Pink Box, gave a presentation Tuesday night about her experience breaking into the porn industry as one of the first female pornographers to go mainstream.
      Her talk was organized by the Harvard student group Sexual Health Education & Advocacy (SHEATH) for the third annual Harvard Sex Week. The series of events is about sex, intimacy, love, and relationships, and was initiated in the spring of 2012.  ....
....  In 2009, Lumpkin founded the pornography studio with aims to highlight authentic lesbian porn—meaning no fake orgasms—for both homosexual and heterosexual female audiences.
      “Women have been robbed of their sexual agency for thousands of years, and it was important to me to take control of that,” Lumpkin said. “That’s why I started this business.”  .... '
----  see more of Sara and Quynh-Nhu's challenging report at at :-

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

HOMOPHOBIA IN SPORT | An Australian response ...

'YOU CAN PLAY Forum' brings the fight against homophobia to Canberra
----  brief excerpts from a news post by David Polkinghorne, Sports Reporter at The Canberra Times, republished in The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), 5 November 2014 :-

      ' ....  Capital Football [Canberra, Aust]  have suspended a player for 30 months in part for a disgusting Facebook slur, while ACT/Canberra Deputy Chief Minister Andrew Barr wants Canberra to be part of an anti-homophobia round to help make Australian sport more inclusive.
      Mr Barr and Capital Football chief executive Heather Reid took part in the You Can Play Forum in Canberra on Wednesday to discuss homophobia and transphobia in sport. ....
....  An ACT government survey earlier this year revealed that 37 per cent of gay athletes in Canberra hadn't told their teammates about their sexuality, 40 per cent felt unsafe in a sporting environment, 32 per cent had experienced verbal homophobia or bullying, and more than four per cent had experienced homophobic assault.
      Ms Reid has been the subject of sexism, misogyny and homophobia as ACT soccer boss, and she said Capital Football had recently suspended a player for 30 months, 12 of which were suspended, for several offences including a highly offensive Facebook post which has since been deleted.
The player was found guilty of bringing the game into disrepute, breach of Capital Football social media policy and threatening behaviour towards Capital Football staff.  .... '
----  see more of David Polkinghorne's report on this pervasive phenomenon in sports globally in at :- 
----  and check the 2-min United Nations-sponsored video in the sidebar, opposite  ...  followed beneath by one of its current Australian version of 30-sec videos.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

GAY-THEMED MOVIE | An Israeli experiences slow self-understanding ...

MOVIE REVIEW: Snails In The Rain (Israel 2013 - 4 Stars)
----  excerpts from a review of a challenging Israeli movie posted by The Gay UK (Britain), 4 November 2014 :-

      'Every day on his way to University, linguistics student Boaz stops at the Post Office to check his mailbox to see if there is a letter telling him he has been awarded a Scholarship to continue his studies in Jerusalem.
      One day however, inside the box he finds a letter he has not been expecting, is a note from a secret male admirer who says that watching Boaz from afar is the highlight of his day.
    The place is Tel Aviv and the year is 1989 when homosexuality was secretive and closeted and encounters only happened in the dark shadows of night. It was also the time before computers and emails when the mail was still the main way to communicate.
      Boaz has been happily living with Noa his adoring girlfriend for over a year now, and his life is seemingly as perfect as it can get. Now when these unsolicited letters start arriving he gets thrown off kilter and they suddenly reignite memories he had chosen to forget when he almost had an intimate encounter with another man during his Military service. .... '
----  see more about 'Snails In The Rain' and its availability on dvd at at :- 

Monday, November 3, 2014

GAY AUTHORS | Who was the first gay novelist?

Mary Renault as the First Gay Novelist
---- brief excerpts from a questioning appraisal by Alan Brady Conrath at The Gay & Lesbian Review (USA), 29 October 2014 :-

      'BEST KNOWN for her historical novels set in ancient Greece, many with overtly homosexual themes and scenes, Mary Renault began her career with a novel set in modern times called  The Charioteer (1953). Taking place during World War II, the novel recounts the story of a wounded soldier named Laurie “Spud” Odell who is both torn between two lovers and conflicted about his own homosexual feelings. One of his lovers is similarly confused, but the other, a naval officer who’s a veteran of the British public school system, seems quite comfortable with his sexual leanings and accepts himself as a different kind of man.
         That The Charioteer was read as a “gay novel” is demonstrated by the fact that it became an instant bestseller among homosexual readers soon after its publication. Indeed if there’s a case to be made for it as “the first” such novel, it lies in the fact that it found a large and eager audience of gay readers—as did Renault’s next novel, The Last of the Wine (1956). ....
....  Taken together, these books might qualify Mary Renault, herself a lesbian, as the first gay novelist, as she wrote not a one-off novel about same-sex love but a body of work that kept it front-and-center as a recurring theme.  .... '
----  see more of Alan Brady Conrath's contribution to The First Gay Novel debate posted at at :- 

CORPORATE GAYS | The global contrast ...

The corporate ladder and the workplace closet
----  the opening pars from an opinion-piece by Konrad Yakabuski at The Globe And Mail (Toronto, Canada), 3 November 2014 :-

      'For anyone who’d been paying attention, Tim Cook’s coming out seemed like a non-event. The Apple CEO’s homosexuality had been an open secret in Silicon Valley. He topped OUT magazine’s list of the 50 most powerful gay people in 2013, and was second this year behind Ellen DeGeneres.
      Apparently billions of people never got the memo. And so when Mr. Cook made it official last week, declaring in a Bloomberg Businessweek essay that being gay was “among the greatest gifts” God had given him, it was the opposite of a non-event. The whole world noticed.
      That Mr. Cook came out on the very day that Singapore’s Court of Appeal upheld the country’s ban on gay sex only underscored the widening global gay rights divide. As discrimination against gays has fallen in the West, it has sparked violent backlashes against them elsewhere. In parts of Africa and Asia, coming out can amount to making a death wish. It’s no field day in Russia, either. ....  '
----  see more of Konrad Yakabuski's perceptive essay at www.theglobeand at :- 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

GAY CEO'S | There are more than you think ...

Apple CEO Tim Cook comes out: 'I'm proud to be gay'
----  opening pars from a news report by Chris Isidore at CNN (USA), 30 October 2014 :-

      'Apple CEO Tim Cook came out Thursday, acknowledging publicly for the first time that he is gay.
      "Let me be clear: I'm proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me," he wrote in a column in Bloomberg Businessweek.
      In his column, the Apple (AAPL, Tech30) chief said that he had tried to maintain "a basic level of privacy." But he said he decided that desire for privacy was stopping him from working for the benefit of others.
      "I don't consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I've benefited from the sacrifice of others," he said. "So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it's worth the trade-off with my own privacy."  .... '
----  see more of Chris Isidore's report on Tim Cook at at :-
----  see too a further CNN report highlighting "Tim Cook isn't the only openly gay CEO" at :- 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

GAY BLACK MEN | Ten reasons they're awesome ...

10 Reasons It's Awesome To Be a Black Gay Man
----  excerpts from a refreshing opinion-piece by Rob Smith at HuffPost Gay Voices (USA), 1st November 2014 :-

      'I recently came across this piece by a black gay man who seems to need a bit of help when it comes to realizing how awesome he is, so I've come up with 10 reasons it's utterly amazing and pretty awesome to be a black gay guy.
1. We have twice as many heroes to look up to.
      Sure, the less enlightened among us would like to call being black and gay "being a double minority" or give pitiful lectures on how tough it is to fight racism and homophobia, but flip that argument on its head and you'll find that the experience of belonging to two cultures that have brought so much change and good to the world is pretty damn great.
      I have heroes who range from Bayard Rustin to Sylvia Rivera to Harvey Milk to Audre Lorde, all great people who cross boundaries of race, sexual orientation, and gender identity. To be able to look to those who have caused so much amazing change in the world and realize that they share one or more of my personal identities is pretty damn amazing.
2. The most pro-LGBT-equality president in U.S. history is black. 
      ....  Yep, that's President Barack Obama, and he's black. We know he's black because that's how he identifies. President Obama's embrace of LGBT rights has helped start a much-needed conversation about said rights in the black community and has helped dispel the persistent and insidious myth that blacks are somehow more homophobic than other races.  .... '
----  see more of Rob Smith's "Ten Reasons" why it's awesome at at :- 

Friday, October 31, 2014

LGBT HISTORY MONTH | A call to remembrance ...

Why LGBT History Matters
----  the summarising pars of a post by Beth Sherouse at Human Rights Watch (USA), 31 October 2014 :-

      ' ....  While many people are aware of the Gay Liberation Movement that followed the Stonewall riots, far fewer know about the previous generation of LGBT Americans who formed groups like the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis in the 1950s, or the vibrant LGBT culture of 1920s New York City.
      These historical silences create the impression that LGBT people are recent anomalies, a false assumption that can serve to undermine our claims to equality.
      LGBT history, however, shows that we have always been here, in every society and every culture since long before there were even words to describe us. LGBT history gives us roots by which to anchor ourselves and our movement for equality; it gives us role models, people whose identities and desires look something like ours; and it gives us a sense that we have had – and continue to have – significance to the world we live in.
      Our stories are worth remembering, uncovering, learning, and sharing with others.'
----  see Beth Sherouse's stimulating appraisal of LGBT history, with thanks, at at :- 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

GAY MOVIES | Why is Hollywood so unadventurous? ...

Why does Hollywood make so few good gay movies?
----  brief excerpts from an opinion piece by Sam Moore at the New Statesman (UK), 28 October 2014 :-

      'In 2014, it shouldn’t be cutting edge to see a Hollywood movie that features a fair representation of gay people.  ....  Liberal Hollywood has long positioned itself as a friend of the gay community.  ....  It will come as no surprise that a survey conducted by GLAAD found that of the 102 movies released by studios in 2013 that only 17 of them featured characters who identified themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. The only place where you will find gay films is an independent theatre, or as it’s 2014, on Netflix or another video-on-demand service. That’s the sad reality. Hollywood does not care about gay people.  ....
....  The problem isn’t just about the lack of gay characters and gay movies, it’s about the portrayal. Hollywood sees gays as the kind of camp caricatures you’d find in Modern Family and Adam Sandler movies – not “normal”.
      One of the best gay movies ever made, A Single Man, by fashion designer turned filmmaker Tom Ford (himself a gay man) plays homosexuality as inconsequential. It is almost entirely irrelevant to the characters and how they lead their lives. The homosexuality of the characters in A Single Man is presented matter-of-factly, which is how it should be.  .... '
----  see more of Sam Moore's challenging views at at :- 
---- and visit the evocative trailer promo for A Single Man (2012) in the sidebar opposite.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

GAY AGEING | Being more than just philosophical ...

Being gay, older, and happy
----  brief excerpts from a gentle uplifting piece by Gerry North at Same Same (Australia), 28 October 2014 :-

      '....  We remember our youth, looking in the mirror and seeing a fresh face rejoicing with anticipated excitement of life ahead. But now that time has rolled on, how do we accept our present age?
      How do we grow old gracefully, and above all happily? 
      As you get older you also get to reflect on what is really important about ‘a life well lived’. Money, status, career and material things, aimed for in our youth, seem less important than feeling connected to others and personally validated in the world with giving and receiving love and respect. ....
....  Getting older allows us to feel more comfortable in our own skin as the years go by, and that is a wonderful gift. And no matter your age, it is never too late to reconnect with family and old friends. It is never too late to become a worthy person and develop a sense of a gay life well lived. ....
----  see more of Gerry North's reflections on ageing at at :- 
----  and see too a YouTube video of The Sydney Gay & Lesbian Choir singing "When We Are Old & Gay" in the sidebar opposite.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

GAY TRAVEL | The best destinations are ... ?

World's Most Gay-Friendly Travel Destinations, As Ranked by Lonely Planet
----  brief pars from a travel news report by Curtis M Wong at The Huffington Post (USA), 24 October 2014 :-

      ' ....  Copenhagen edged out New Zealand, Toronto and Palm Springs for the top spot, which was released as part of Lonely Planet's "Best in Travel 2015" series. The gay-friendly list, like the rest of the series, was compiled "based on topicality, unique experiences and that 'wow' factor," according to Lonely Planet's Chris Zeiher, who created it.
      "I also considered if the destination demonstrated inclusiveness & tolerant behavior toward our community, has progressive equal rights laws and, finally, how safe the selection is for the LGBTIQ traveler," Zeiher told The Huffington Post ....'
----  see more of Curtis M Wong's report, plus the 12-frame slide-show of assessed destinations which may surprise you, at at :- 

Monday, October 27, 2014


Arthur Rimbaud And Lover On French Stamps
----  brief excerpts from an historical recollection at The Gay UK (UK), 27 October 2014 :-

      ' ... French poet Arthur Rimbaud had his love immortalised by the way of postage stamps issued by the French postal service. ....
....  In 1951, many years after his death, the French Postal Service issued stamps featuring Rimbaud and his lover Paul Verlaine.  ....
....  Rimbaud met Verlaine in the summer of 1870 when he was 16. A friend of Verlaine was less than impressed and described him as, "a tall, gawky young man, very thin, with the look of a rather fierce street Arab", however Verlaine was so taken with the younger wayward man, he deserted his wife and child and ran away to London.
      It didn't go well for the two. Their relationship ended in Brussels, and during an argument Verlaine shot Rimbaud in the arm. Rimbaud however did not press charges.
      France decriminalised sodomy in 1791, becoming the first West European country to do so. .... '
----  see more of's historical reflection on Rimbaud/Verlaine at :- 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

GOING TO POT? | Gay marriage triggers a complementing admirer ...

Here's Why Marijuana Is The New Gay Marriage
----  brief excerpts from an opinion-piece by Zeeshan Aleen at (USA), 24 October 2014 :-

      '....  Surfacing slowly in different states, it began to seep across the country, shedding its stigma and compelling politicians to edit their long-established talking points. Eventually, it gained the support of a national majority.
    Thinking of gay marriage? Guess again. The once-controversial issue that has reached a tipping point on a national scale this time? Marijuana legalization. And pot smokers throughout the country have plenty of reasons to celebrate.  ....
....  Pop culture relentlessly reshapes the national imagination and the contours of our political consciousness, and it has slowly worn down the idea that gay marriage threatens society in a way that party politics could have never accomplished. Similarly, pop culture has altered the reputation of marijuana by rendering it generally harmless, and in the process paved the path for its legal normalization.  .... '
----  see more of this perceptive article at at :- 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

BLACK, WHITE, GAY | The competing issues ...

The Mild Controversies of "Dear White People"
----  the opening pars from a substantial film review by Richard Brody at New Yorker Magazine (USA), 21 October 2014 :-

      'Justin Simien’s “Dear White People,” set at the fictitious Ivy-like Winchester University, is a movie with something—something important—to say: it’s hard for black students on a predominantly white campus.
      As a black student, if you’re politically involved, you become a target for racists; if you’re looking to fit in, you invite condescension; if you’re pursuing success, you risk sacrificing your values; if you’re merely searching for your own path, you seem to belong nowhere and are even more vulnerable.
      If you’re black and gay, it’s all the more difficult. And if you’re white—first of all, try to listen.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

MICHAEL SAM cut from team ...

Michael Sam, first openly gay NFL (USA) player, cut from Dallas Cowboys
----  excerpts from a sports report by abc7 (USA), 21 October 2014 :-

      'Michael Sam, defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys, was waived from the practice squad on Tuesday.
      Sam, a Hitchcock, TX native, made national headlines earlier this year as he became the first openly gay player in NFL history. Sam was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh-round of the NFL draft, playing with the squad in the offseason before he was released. Sam was then signed by the Dallas Cowboys practice squad, but after seven weeks into the NFL season never made it onto the team's roster.
      Sam tweeted the following on Tuesday afternoon:
      "I want to thank the Jones family and the entire Cowboys organization for this opportunity, as well as my friends, family, teammates, and fans for their support. While this is disappointing, I will take the lessons I learned here in Dallas and continue to fight for an opportunity to prove that I can play every Sunday."  .... ' 
----  see more of's report on Michael Sam at :- 

Monday, October 20, 2014


Obama Goes On Record To Say That Denying Same-Sex Marriage Is Unconstitutional
----  an excerpt from a news report by Dan Tracer at Queerty (USA), 20 October 2014 :-

      'President Obama didn’t publicly support marriage equality until May of 2012, but his views today sound more like those of a lifelong champion of gay rights.
In an interview with The New Yorker about his judicial legacy, Obama said:
      “Ultimately, I think the Equal Protection Clause does guarantee same-sex marriage in all fifty states. But, as you know, courts have always been strategic. There have been times where the stars were aligned and the Court, like a thunderbolt, issues a ruling like Brown v. Board of Education, but that’s pretty rare. And, given the direction of society, for the Court to have allowed the process to play out the way it has may make the shift less controversial and more lasting.”

      Given the president’s background as a constitutional law professor, and the fact that he’s the president and all, it’s pretty amazing to hear such strong language on an issue that’s taken so much work to advance.  .... '
----  see more of Dan Tracer's report at at :- 
----  see a further report from the Associated Press (USA), 20 October 2014 at :-

Friday, October 17, 2014

GAY CINEMA | Has the era of furtiveness passed?

From Montgomery Clift to Lord of the Rings, gay is almost passe in the movies 
----  brief opening pars from a perceptive & substantial opinion-piece by movie reviewer Paul Byrnes at The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), 19 October 2014 :-

      'Attitudes towards gays and lesbians and their representation have shifted enormously since the dawn of television and cinema. Did you know that the Wicked Witch of the West is a gay and lesbian icon? Well, surely you knew that Ben Hur is a gay romance? The same goes for Lord of the Rings, of course. Frodo and Sam Gamgee are the first gay couple of Middle-earth, according to this reading.
      One of the beautiful things about movies is that no two people see the same one. I may look at Lawrence of Arabia and see a story of magnificent folly, the rise and fall of an unusual Englishman, but the film is more notorious in gay circles. "Florence of the Desert" is one of its nicknames, based on the idea that Peter O'Toole wore so much make-up he turned it into a drag show. ....
....  Before the 1960s, homosexuality was largely invisible in movies, except to those who were looking for it. As the 1995 documentary based on Vito Russo's book The Celluloid Closet made clear, gay audiences always saw things that straight audiences didn't. That was part of the allure of movies for gay men and women: the secret looks, the knowing glances.  .... '
----  see more of Paul Byrnes' interesting insights at at :- 

Now COOL GAY STUFF shifts to mixed miscellany in both columns ...

... the pages below in this column offer trailers of recent gay-interest movies & independent reviews of THE HADRIAN ENIGMA ...

... then follows copyright details & a bibliography of academic literature consulted as research for THE HADRIAN ENIGMA.

The pages in the side-column offer miscellaneous gay or m/m related links & sources.



.... twenty new movies from international sources (below), updated regularly ...

PIER PAOLO PASOLINI's posthumous return to the screen ...


"THE IMITATION GAME" .. gay cryptologist Ian Turing in WWII

NEW GAY CINEMA | Indie eroticism ...

GAY-THEMED MOVIE with two major artists ...

"FUTURO BEACH" trailer (Portugese language) ...



COOL GAY MOVIE | "BOYS" (Netherlands 2014) ...


COOL GAY MOVIE | "IN BLOOM" now on dvd ...

NEW GAY MOVIE | "Burning Blue" (USA)...

Don't Ask, Don't Tell is recalled ...

BURNING BLUE is a romantic drama which tells the story of two Navy fighter pilots who fall in love while living under the US Military Services' former "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell" policy.

COOL GAY MOVIE at Berlin Film Festival 2014 ...


Gay comedy "LOVE OR WHATEVER" arrives on video in May ...

COOL GAY MOVIE for 2014 ...


COOL GAY MOVIE about high school love ...








Published on YouTube 16 July, 2013 :
Various lives intersect in and around a West Hollywood motel in this kaleidoscopic comedy about sex, love, and the meaning of life.
The characters include a medical student (Matt Riddlehoover), his extrovert boyfriend (Andrew Callahan), an adulterous actress (Starina Johnson), her lover (Heather Horton), and a dutiful husband (Phil Leirness) whose wife (Amy Kelly) wakes to find she has a penis.
Available November 12 on DVD/VOD from TLAgay:


A fair-haired young man, dressed in rich ceremonial armor, is found dead in the Nile River. When he is identified, everyone realizes the dangerous political implications of this death, because Antinous was the eromenos—the lover and protégé—of the Roman Emperor Hadrian.

A grief-stricken Hadrian appoints two members of the court, Suetonius and his patron Clarus, to find out how and why Antinous died. They have two days to find the answer, permission to interrogate anyone except the Emperor and Empress, and the promise that they may forfeit their lives if they fail to satisfy Hadrian.

Failure is a distinct possibility. While Antinous was well-liked and respected, the circle of suspects is wide, as it often will be when the victim is the confidant of an absolute ruler. The two sleuths quickly draft unlikely but able assistants to help them, including a scribe and an observant, multilingual prostitute.

The book offers an extensively researched picture of life in the Roman Empire of 130 AD. Gardiner is equally convincing when writing about imperial politics and succession laws, marriage and sexual customs, philosophy and the theater.

But The Hadrian Enigma—a mix of mystery, comedy, gay and straight romance—is an entertaining read.

(See more at :-

THE HADRIAN ENIGMA - an unedited review by historical novelist NAN HAWTHORNE ...

Gaius Suetonius, a bit of a muckraking biographer, tells this story about an investigation into the sudden and unexplainable death of the youth, Antinous, by apparent drowning in the Nile during an annual festival of the death and resurrection of the god Osiris. The small group of investigators commissioned by Caesar Hadrian has two days to learn how he came to be found in the river dead. The path to this knowledge is difficult, involved, often contradictory and definitely dangerous as the investigators follow leads full of red herrings and mislaid people and things. At the heart of what they learn is how the boy came to be the eromenus to Hadrian’s erastes, a relationship between a mature man and a young one entering his career that was at least mentor-mentee and likely erotic. It seems that Hadrian was looking for such a companion and found it in Antinous, but from there the enigma stretches. A Roman man was not supposed to engage in an equal love relationship but only dominate the eromenus, but from the start the two men’s relationship was much more, and this fact if revealed could damage the Empire.

If you are expecting a nice neat Hercule Poirot detective story, let that go. This murder investigation, if that is the crime that took place, is far more challenging for both the investigators and the book’s readers. The solution does not even come to light until almost too late, during the investigation report. Rather than being a spoiler, I offer you the foreknowledge of a much more skillful mental workout. Perhaps the greater mystery is why the emperor asked Suetonius to lead the inquiries, as the latter is known for leaving no salacious stone unturned in his research and writing. Does Hadrian really want to know what happened to his lover? Does he really want everyone to see the seamy side of his court?

The structure of the novel is a series of interviews with witnesses and suspects about the days before and immediately after the young man’s death. In seeking background about Antinous, Suetonius and his fellows explore his life and relationships before becoming Hadrian’s companion. The individuals who supply this intelligence come at it from a number of quite different perspectives, with enough gaps between them to offer ambiguity. You will find yourself guessing “whodunit” and changing your mind several times as you follow the investigation and meet other players in the story.

I found that starting at the point of the lovers’ first night together I began to feel a sense of the tragic nature of their erastes-eromenus compact. It is understood that it cannot last more than a few years, but since in this case love enters the equation, the tragic nature of Antinous’s life starts to permeate all succeeding events. I found this quite moving and that it added a layer of anxiety as I read. As mentioned above, this is a novel about the nature of love. One aspect of gay male romance is constant threat to happiness and fulfillment, but this is far from just being a gay romance. The central characters are both men, but loves of other kinds make their mark throughout. There is family, marital friendship and sexual love, and the tension comes when the masculinist nature of Roman culture interferes and invalidates it. The subtext, as the author told me, is the same as we face now, when romantic relationships are more broadly defined but still not part of the heart of our societies.

One aspect of this novel I found pleasing was the mix of archaic and modern terms. Readers sometimes balk at modern slang, but when the very essence of a novel is that everything in it is an implicit translation, it is absurd to say that there would not have been a slang counterpart in the ancient language. Further, Gardiner confines his slang to the appropriate witnesses, those who would have used slang. That the words eromenus and boy-toy are in the same paragraph made perfect sense to me.
This novel will stick with readers for some time, its many subtle undertones drifting up and down in contemplation. It is also simply a good mystery novel. You will feel engaged and challenged and you will find you had encountered every little detail at some point in the book. No surprises, that is, if you were paying attention.

---- see more of Nan Hawthorne's work at her blog at :-

Nan Hawthorne, Historical Novelist

THE HADRIAN ENIGMA | A review by historical fiction author J.R. Tomlin ...

An excerpt from a review of August 15, 2011

" .... In 130 AD, while accompanying the Emperor Hadrian on a tour up the Nile, the beautiful youth Antinous plunges into the Nile and drowns. Hadrian, near maddened with grief, declares Antinous a god. However, Suetonius just happens to be along on this imperial tour. Already the author of juicy books on contemporary Roman life, he is perfectly placed to investigate this mysterious death, so Emperor Hadrian commands him to investigate and find the murderer within 48 hours or suffer the consequences.

In the imperial compound on the Nile, Suetonius searches for clues. Here, semi-isolated, the bubbling cauldron of the Roman court has been transplanted to a fabulous tent city. Yet, the mystery of Egypt is an ever present backdrop to this baffling death. .... Why was Antinous clad in heavy ceremonial parade armor and weapons when he died? How did he come by a slit on his left wrist and strange marks on his throat? And how can Suetonius unravel all this when the Emperor refuses to let Suetonius even touch the body to examine it? The characterization is vivid and the historicity meticulous in this novel. I enjoyed savoring the characters and setting as Suetonius unraveled the imperial goings on. .... "

See more of J.R. Tomlin's review at her author's blogsite "Writing & More" at :


Hooray for Hadrian (and for George Gardiner) !, August 31, 2010

By a reader down under (New South Wales, Australia) - See all my reviews

This review is for: THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History (Paperback)

George Gardiner's absorbing new book, which focuses on the relationship between the Roman emperor Hadrian and his young paramour, Antinous of Bithynia, quite possibly heralds the thrilling emergence of a new Mary Renault. (As uneven as it is in some places, to my mind it is a big improvement on Margeurite Yourcenar's book on Hadrian from the 1950s).

Gardiner begins his narrative with the discovery of the dead body of the beautiful youth, who has apparently drowned in the Nile. He coopts as his central figure cum narrator the actual historical figure of Suetonius Tranquillus, who is charged by the supreme colonial ruler Hadrian Caesar with the urgent responsibility of uncovering the reasons for, as well as the manner of, the death. Suetonius works night and day as a kind of investigator/ prosecutor and his dogged inquiry drives the plot. The narrative unfolds as a kind of antique murder mystery, then, and one of the book's great strengths is in the well-paced twists and turns of the plot, throwing up a number of suspects and scenarios along the way that keep the reader intrigued until the very end. Gardiner's humour shines through this character, who is forced to carry out his investigation under the double pressure of a pressing deadline (why is Hadrian so intent of winding it all up in such a short time, we wonder) and the threat of execution if he doesn't come up with the answers.

This is compelling writing. Suetonius is a good choice, as he is known for his history of a dozen Caesars, and the author brings him vividly and humorously to life. Indeed, Gardiner skilfully and imaginitively re-works established historical figures and creates a cast of composite characters where necessary to serve his narrative ends. The fact that he can do this convincingly, with such an extraordinary mixture of ethnicities and beliefs, is writing of a high order. The mastery of research is remarkable, not only for Gardiner's command of the details of ethnic artefacts, weaponry, costume, architecture and so on, but also for the complex politics of Roman colonial expansionism in its abrasive encounter with other cultures. The era was marked by a complex intermingling of belief systems, and Gardiner's fictional world is woven from a rich and amazingly detailed fabric. Very occasionally the research seems almost oversupplied but for the most part it serves to underpin his imaginative reconstructions with persuasive authenticity.

Also among the book's strengths are the finely imagined conversations between characters, both historical and concocted, that move the investigation so beautifully along. There are certain set action sequences pieces, too, that are brilliantly staged and paced--the boar hunt, for example, when Hadrian rescues Antinous, and the marvellous climactic scene where Suetonius brings his prosecutorial charges home (albeit uncertainly, with some lines of inquiry that don't pan out).

The only thing that broke the spell for me was Gardiner's occasional jarring choices in language idioms. There's no doubt that the language(s) of the time and place would have been salted with colourful vulgarities, and the dialogue should reflect that, but some of the terms chosen have such strong contemporary associations for us, here at the beginning of the 21st Century, that they they jar and jolt in the reading. `Toyboy' is one example, `getting your rocks off,' `muscular stud' and `gaga' are others that don't ring well to my ear. It's a pity, because sometimes they drop the reader right out of the spell he weaves so skilfully, otherwise.

In contrast, many of the scenes and dialogue move with stately Latinate constructions within a convincing and well-sustained narrative voice. Gardiner has set himself the difficult task of creating a hybrid language that can include both convincing formal language, and everyday vulgarisms, that ring true within his own reconstruction, yet sound right to our contemporary hearing. It's a delicate juggling act and sometimes he drops his balls. (If he had perhaps reserved their use strictly in dialogue, say, to help with characterisation? Perhaps some of his choices might be better realised in a second edition.)

Another of the book's great strengths is hinted at by the book's sub-title. It's a `forbidden history' not simply because Hadrian issues an edict that only the official `party line' should be recorded (and by implication, Suetonius' project of recording events for us to read goes dangerously gainst the edict of his Emperor). It's forbidden history too because Gardiner has constructed a counter-narrative to the centuries of heavily judgemental readings of this iconic same-sex relationship. Positive affirmations of same-sex bonding were exiled in silence as soon as the early Christian commentators started to impose their dominant narratives over all acceptable behaviours and ideals.

In Yourcenar's 50s version, Antinous's moody adolescent pouting makes Hadrian looks like a bit of a fool for dallying with the youth, but Gardiner proposes a heroic reading here that highlights the finer elements of the erastes/eromenos partnering, which was not only tolerated but celebrated in ancient times. For me, this moves the book onto a higher plane than a mere homoerotic titillation and places the relationship where it belongs, in the heroic company of Patroclus/Achilles and the legendary band of Theban warrior-lovers.

Gardiner successfully and daringly recuperates the much-despised and consistently misrepresented ideal of man-to-man love, here based on respect, admiration and the inspiration of noble ideals, as much as the undeniable and enjoyable erotic attraction, which we see only fitful glimpses of among sporting figures and others today. During the continuing culture wars of our own times it's a relief to read this inspiring alternative with its healing potential as an affirmative voice emerging from the diminishing, culturally imposed silence.

In a strange way `The Hadrian Enigma' is reminiscent of E.M. Forster's gay-affirmative novel `Maurice', which Forster was unable to publish during his lifetime. Forster's wistful happy ending for a same sex coupling was unthinkable in the mid-twentieth Century, and even today, it's hard to read such partnering as anything other than morally sinful - such is our pervasive indoctrination by churchmen - or psychologically misdirected (`homosexuality' is still construed as a kind of `failed development' in conventional psychological readings). Certainly such a relationship will still be regarded as second best to the pressing imperative of reproduction. Gardiner has struck a blow with this courageous and convincing re-telling.

So, for me this is a 5 star book for the outstanding and detailed research and the creative work that underpins the imaginative reconstructions; at least 4 stars for its plotting, but only 3 stars for the strange inconsistencies in his prose style. This averages out to a solidly earned 4 stars.

I do hope Gardiner is deep at work on his next book of historical fiction. He certainly has all the skills required.

See this review in situ at Amazon at :-


Aleksandr Voinov of Speak Its Name reviews my novel ...

A specialist review site for gay historical fiction, Speak Its Name has reviewed The Hadrian Enigma. I am told Speak Its Name receives 700 hits a day from readers of this genre, making it a prominent source of opinion for readers of gay historical fiction. Speak Its Name pursues a tough line in its reviewing standards. It says it takes gay history, history in general, & the quality of the writing into critical consideration.

Aleks Voinov, an author in his own stead & one of the site's key reviewers, has given the book a satisfaction rating of 4.5 out of 5, by which it defines the book as VERY good in Speak Its Name's eyes.

As a reviewer Mr. Voinov finds a great deal to admire and many things to critique. But that's the way it goes in literary criticism, folks. Check Speak Its Name's fascinating website & review lists, plus read Mr. Voinov's full 2-page critique at :-


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Bye-bye for now from George Gardiner's COOL GAY STUFF ...

Thanks you for visiting my site, even though it's about far more than m/m romance or gay entertainment, isn't it?

Thanks too to those whose texts or visuals have been studied, reviewed, & promoted in the posts. Their item & its link to the originating source remains in the line-up for about four weeks. Comments should be posted at the originating sites. They deserve your feedback.

New entries are posted almost daily. Please come back soon. Immediately below this bye-bye lies the bibliography consulted to research THE HADRIAN ENIGMA, its times, & historical personalities.