‘In the beginning there was work and work was God. After 35 years in the business, the endless predictability made me question the Faith.’
I wrote those words on the 8th October 2010, the opening sentence of my debut post on a brand new blog about a couple of silly, cynical old queens who decided to jump the good ship Blighty and wade ashore to Asia Minor as gay semigreys (or is it semigays? No, that would be those who dip in and out). For a minority report, the blog’s done rather well. Now there’s a book. That’s done rather well too. Remarkable. Both crept up behind us without hint or herald. Maybe we should have listened to the early advice of our playground peers and kept our backs to the wall. Too late now. We planned to stay in Turkey for a good few years, slowly descend into memory loss and erectile dysfunction disguised by a haze of alcohol, then paddle back to Blighty for the liver transplant and wait for the Grim Reaper’s call. Sadly, it’s not to be. I’d like to do author things and keep the pennies (and believe me I do mean pennies) rolling in. I can do neither in Turkey. There’s another reason. An important reason. There are pressing family issues that cannot be ducked or delayed. If you have read the book you will understand:
“One day, our Turkish adventure might be curtailed. We were prepared.” (Chapter 12)
That time has come.
Where will we be laying our hatboxes next? Well, there’s a clue in the picture below. Hint – it’s not in Soho.
Thank you Turkey for breaking the umbilical cord between wages and lifestyle. Thank you Turkey for giving me the time and space to write. Thank you Turkey for handing me a story of a plate. We hope one day to return. But, for now there’s no going back on going back.
The photo above is a picture of one of the great cathedrals of England but where is it? Answer correctly for the chance to win* a signed copy of Perking the Pansies, Jack and Liam move to Turkey. Submit your answer by commenting on this post.
*The winner will be chosen at random by Liam from correct entries submitted before 4th March 2012. Comments containing entries to the competition will not be published until after this date so no cheating. The book will be shipped free to the winner to any address in the UK or Turkey. Delivery elsewhere (Mongolia, the dark side of the Moon, etc) may incur charges depending on the cost. Those who already know the answer are banned (we know who you are).
Fantastic, humorous, insightful read. I'm completely bowled over by the life Jack and Liam have carved for themselves, and love jack's fast paced writing style. More...
I came out in the same year that ‘Going Straight’ first aired on the BBC. It was a time when the age of consent for gay men was 21* and the number of gay bars in London could be counted on the fingers of one hand. The Fourth Estate - redtops and broadsheets alike – were routinely beastly to the down-trodden embryonic gay community and the police raided at will. It’s no surprise then, that my politics were a little leftish and I thought of myself as standing on the outside looking in. Now in my fifth decade I find myself published in the Telegraph, that most ‘establishment’ of newspapers – only online mind you. Read my Bumpy Rite of Passage. I’ve sold out for a sell-out.
*In fact it was only legal for two men to get down and dirty if they were alone in a private dwelling. Also, lesbianism was never a crime presumably because most of the (male) lawmakers not knocking off the boys on the side were rather turned on by the thought of it.
The first five chapters of Perking the Pansies - Jack and Liam move to Turkey have just been released for viewing. Why not take a look?
You may remember a little while back that I wrote about my new friend, Jack Scott, author of the blog, Perking the Pansies. He had written a book by the same name. Jack was kind enough to share a copy with me. I am only about half way through it – but I have decided to share more of Jack with you! The book is hilarious so far! I highly encourage you to buy the book!
Jack is a world traveler from the U.K. He and his husband Liam moved to just outside of Bodrum, Turkey and share an adventurous life which Jack writes about in his book. More...
Book reviewing is a queer business. Amateur reviewers, often anonymous and sometimes with an axe to grind or lofty literary pretentions, can damn with faint praise or go nuclear with their toxic pen. Naturally, no book appeals to everyone. Bad reviews are an occupational hazard. Even the top of the heap get mixed critiques. Someone once wrote that Captain Corelli’s Mandolin was “...the worst book I’ve ever read.” It might not be everyone’s cup of tea but the worst book ever? Hardly. Clearly, the reviewer wasn’t that well read. Was Louis de Bernières bothered? Not with Hollywood knocking down the door, I suspect. The best a writer can do is rise above the din, turn the other cheek and keep their own counsel. It doesn’t do to spit back even when sorely provoked by those who seek you out. I’ve been fortunate. On the whole, reviews for Perking the Pansies have been excellent, and not just from my nearest and dearest whom I emotionally blackmailed. Rogue reviewers? Reminds me why dogs lick themselves – because they can.
As my regular pansy punters know, I’ve just done a gig for the Polari Literary Salon at London’s Royal Festival Hall. I was in the company of a fine cast of literati - Faarea Masud, Hugh Mulhall, Max Wallis, Catherine Hall and Tiffany Murray. The chorus line was made up of friends and regular pansy characters – Nancy, Murat, Clive, Ian, Matt and Philip. I calmed myself with a quick wine stiffener in the Green Room before I climbed the stage to perform against a sumptuous backdrop of The London Eye and Palace of Westminster. I’m not sure who was the more nervous, Liam or me. Despite the terror, I didn’t fluff too many of my lines. I was well received by the enthusiastic audience and I’m eternally grateful to the wonderful and gifted Paul Burston who made it all possible.
"This hilarious, fast-paced, fun memoir gives the reader a glimpse into their world. It is a world filled with laughter and love, but tainted by their initial difficulty with meeting people they liked, grappling with the language and the need for meaningful occupation while they found their feet." More...
"...The result is an extremely funny and very entertaining story not only about adventure, but also about love, betrayal and even murder."
Rawia Liverpool, ExpatArrivals