COOL GAY STUFF is a news-watch hot-sheet of key LGBT-friendly highlights from around the Net. They're snippets of gay-themed or gay-interest gems you possibly missed.These samples point you to their originating sites. Yet these item snapshots are NOT only for gay guys & gals, so there's no explicit porn nor NSFW items.

Offer your comments at the original sites, they'd really welcome your opinions. Links are provided.

Author George Gardiner opens his blog with recent eye-candy videos & info about his widely-praised historical romance-with-a-twist novel "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History". It's a fiction/faction thriller re-imagining of history's real-life m/m romance between ancient Rome's 'good emperor' Hadrian & his famously hunky 'Favorite', Antinous. Paperback or ebook options are shown. Then 30 recent gay-interest news reports follow, updated daily, ending with a sampler of diverse LGBT miscellany. Enjoy!

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

MONTY PYTHON's very last hurrah ... always look on the bright side.

EYE-CANDY MOMENT : July 21, 2014 ... The legendary Monty Python team performed the final show of their "Monty Python Live (Mostly): One Down, Five to Go" at the O2 Arena in London on Sunday in front of a 16,000-strong audience and 600,000 tv audience in UK alone.

The show was broadcast live, which meant fans all over the world got to see Eric Idle, John Cleese, Terry Jones, Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam, all in their 70s, perform a string of medleys and sketches together for probably the last time. Probably.

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

.... The two pages below highlight your host George Gardiner's recently-published historical mystery/thriller/erotica novel "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History". But 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 pic 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 ...

"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

" ... 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: A powerful novel suggested by real events - history's most unusual 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 title & costs.

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

... if you have arrived at this blog via BING Search or an archived post, you will see your item immediately below this message (or be told the post was deleted). But: THE CURRENT MONTH'S 25 OTHER POSTS WILL HAVE BEEN DISPLACED/REMOVED TO DO SO (making all side-column pics or videos far off-topic). To restore everything to their proper view, click on our blogspot's url address, in blue here :-

Everything will be magically restored to full view ...


Tuesday, July 22, 2014


----  the opening pars to a post by Sunnivie Brydum at The Advocate (USA), 21 July 2014 :-

      'President Barack Obama made good on a 2008 campaign promise today when he signed two executive orders that will protect many LGBT people from discrimination in the workplace.
      By adding the words "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to two existing executive orders, the president made it illegal for companies that contract with the federal government to fire, decline to promote, or refuse to hire someone simply because they are LGBT. The order, which takes effect immediately, will protect an estimated 20 percent of American workers. .... '
----  see more about this historic occasion for the US LGBT community at at :-

Monday, July 21, 2014

COOL GAY GAMES? | A new development in the gamer community ...

GAY GAMES for Gamers? Dragon Age: Inquisition has Straight, Bisexual, & Gay Romance
----  an excerpt from a games news report by Emanuel Malberg at Gamespot (USA), 20 July 2014 :-

      "BioWare discusses how it builds its romances at GaymerX2. Dragon Age: Inquisition will have straight, bisexual, and gay character romances because they each tell different stories, BioWare has said.
      Lead writer for the Dragon Age series David Gaider made the comments during BioWare’s GaymerX2 panel last week titled Building a Better Romance. He explained that since there were only four character romances in Dragon Age II, they were all bisexual because the team wanted to make sure every player had some type of choice.
      “In Inquisition we got the go ahead to include a lot more total romances, so the decision was made that we don’t need to compromise,” Gaider said. “So we are going to have straight romances, alongside bisexual romances, alongside gay romances.  .... '
----  see more of Emanuel Malberg's report at at :-

Sunday, July 20, 2014

COOL GAY MOVIES | US actor James Franco's contribution ...

James Franco Talks Gay Films
----  an excerpt from a substantial report by Jason Parsley of the South Florida Gay News at Edge On The Net (USA), 20 July 2014 :-

      ' ....  Franco's first big hit happened in 2001 where he played the title role in the biopic film "James Dean." But it was his role in the "Spider Man" franchise playing Harry Osborn, the son of the villainous Green Goblin, where he achieved worldwide fame.
      Later it would be his role in the critically acclaimed biopic "Milk" when he truly became beloved by the LGBT community. In that movie he played political activist Harvey Milk's boyfriend Scott Smith. Since then he's gone on to play gay men twice more. Those movies include "Howl," a biopic about 20th-century American poet, Allen Ginsberg and "The Broken Tower," a biopic of American poet Hart Crane, who committed suicide.
      But Franco's interest in gay and lesbian film began long before his role in "Milk." It dates back to the 1991 independent movie "My Own Private Idaho," starring River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves. That film tells the story of two best friends living on the streets as male hustlers, who embark on a journey of self-discovery about their sexualities and their relationship. .... '
---- see more of Jason Parsley's report about James Franco at at :-
---- & check the two YouTube videos in the sidebar, opposite.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

GAY EQUALITY | The United Nations shows how it's done, India-style ...

Bollywood Video "THE WELCOME " : The United Nations Free & Equal Campaign 2014

      'The United Nations Free & Equal campaign presents the first-ever Bollywood music video for gay rights, featuring Bollywood actress and UN Equality Champion Celina Jaitly. Share the video if you believe everyone should be welcomed into their family's hearts, regardless of their sexual orientation.
      The United Nations has said that a pro-gay Bollywood music video produced earlier this year is the most successful clip they have produced. It has had 1.5 million viewers at YouTube, including 3600 'likes'.
      The video, which tells the story of a gay man bringing his new partner home to meet his all-singing/all-dancing family, was released to press in April at the launch of the UN’s ‘Free and Equal’ campaign in Mumbai.
      The short video features Bollywood star and  former Miss India, Celina Jaitly. Lyrics in the video include: “It is a new look, it is a new attitude."
----  see the UN's 2'40" idiosyncratic take on today's pop Indian culture in the YouTube video in the sidebar. Quaint, but cheery & well-meaning.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

GAY EQUALITY | "THE TOLERANCE TRAP", "coming out", & gay equality ...

The problem with "coming out": The flawed cultural expectations of gay life in America
----  an introductory excerpt from a challenging book by Suzanna Danuta Walters published at Salon (USA), 13 July 2014 :-

      '"Coming out" has become the defining narrative of gay life in popular culture. Here's what that narrative misses. ....  
....  “coming out” has now become a generic phrase for any previously hidden self-revelation: coming out as HIV-positive, coming out as having cancer, or even the inevitable Oprah-ready coming out as bipolar. And it need not, these days, even imply a secret held with  some degree of shame or discomfort: it  can simply  mean a benign disclosure, as in “last night I came out about my new shoes,” although if they are Jimmy Choos, that might involve some small amount of shame at the exorbitant expense.
      This democratization or diffusion of coming out tells us a great deal about the declining—or at least changing—status of this particular theme of sexual emergence for gay people. Just as earrings on men or Doc Marten shoes on women were once irredeemably gay signs and are now fully banal parts of everyday straightness, the “de-gaying” of coming out speaks not only to transformations in gay life but to the ways in which gay signs have been both appropriated and accommodated by mainstream heterosexual populations.  .... '
----  see more of this thoughtful essay extracted from Suzanna Danuta Walters' book "The Tolerance Trap": How God, Genes, and Good Intentions are Sabotaging Gay Equality" at at :- 
----  see too the book's sales page in hardcover or Kindle formats at Amazon USA at :-

COOL GAY MOVIE | "Futuro Beach" (Praia do Futuro) at 52nd NY Film Festival ...

"FUTURO BEACH" (Praia do Futuro) for New York on 24 July ...

      A new Brazilian movie with a gay theme opens the NewFest (New York City) on 24 July at the Walter Reade Theater at 7PM hosted by the Film Society of Lincoln Center. "Futuro Beach"will have a single opening night screening & will have English subtitles.
      Synopsis :
      'When Brazilian lifeguard Donato fails to save a swimmer from drowning, he seeks out the victim’s friend Konrad, a handsome German biker. The two men begin a passionate affair, and Donato soon decides to follow Konrad to Berlin. Years later, their seemingly peaceful life is threatened by a visitor from Donato’s past. Director Karim Aïnouz (Madame Satã) delivers a visually stunning, emotionally resonant tale about three men struggling across oceans of love, loss, and heartache. A Strand Releasing release.' 
      See more info for NY readers at : NewFest 2014 or at the ticketing site at :- 
----  & see the trailer for the movie in the sidebar (Portuguese language; no subtitles, sorry. But you'll get the gist of things). "Futuro Beach" is likely to screen in other global indie markets or on dvd through 2014/15.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

COOL GAY HISTORY | Nineteen watershed events in history ...

Gay Sex Through the Ages: A Timeline
----  here are the first four of nineteen steps in the historical consciousness of gay sexuality, as selected & outlined by Dennis Hinzmann at the Popnography section of OUT Magazine (USA), 9 July 2014 :-

      ' From antiquity to the digital age, the story of same-sex desire continues to evolve. With all the strides that LGBT people have seen in recent years when it comes to civil rights and equal treatment, it's easy to forget that it was also a sexual revolution. Same-sex love, desire, and romantic attraction has been around for milennia, but it's gone through various terminology changes and, only recently, in modern history has it been celebrated as an accepted part of mainstream society. So how did we get there from here? We take a look at some of the highlights (completely aware that entire history books have been written on this and many more are yet to come).
Early 6th Century BC - Sappho, a Greek poet born on the isle of Lesbos, is born and becomes famous for her lesbian themes, lending her name to the definition of lesbianism.
326 BC - Alexander the Great, known for preferring the company of men, completes his conquest of the majority of the known western world and ushers in the Hellenistic Age, where homosexuality is viewed positively.
Early 18th Century - Dutch gay men coin the term “Kruisen” for looking for suitable partners, and it sticks for hundreds of years.
1924 - The Society for Human Rights in Chicago becomes the first known gay rights organization.  .... '
----  see the remaining fifteen of Dennis Hinzmann's interesting selections at at :-

GAY ISSUES NEWS: Singapore to engage in book burnings ...

Singapore backs call to destroy gay-themed books
----  brief pars from an AP news report at The Japan Times (Japan), 12 July 2014 :-

      'A children’s book inspired by a real-life story of two male penguins raising a baby chick in New York’s zoo has been deemed inappropriate by state-run Singapore libraries, and the conservative city-state’s information minister said he supports the decision to destroy all copies alongside two other titles.  ....
....  The books are “And Tango Makes Three,” about a male-male penguin couple in the Central Park Zoo; “The White Swan Express: A Story About Adoption,” which involves a lesbian couple; and “Who’s In My Family: All About Our Families.”
      “The prevailing norms, which the overwhelming majority of Singaporeans accept, support teaching children about conventional families, but not about alternative, non-traditional families, which is what the books in question are about,” Minister of Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim said Friday. ....
....  In recent months, religious conservatives in the wealthy, multicultural city-state of 5.4 million people have become more vocal in opposing gay rights. On paper, gay sex remains a criminal offense in Singapore, although authorities rarely enforce the British colonial-era legislation [introduced in the 1860's].
      Last month, Singapore witnessed its largest gay-rights rally with 26,000 in attendance.'
----  see more of this AP report at at :- 
----  see too an update of 16th July at the South China Post reporting the resignation of the three judges of the national literary prize who disagree with the books' destruction.
----  see a 20 July update reporting Singapore's reprieve of its pulping orders at :-

Friday, July 11, 2014


OFF GUARD: Young World War II allied soldiers laid bare
----  brief pars from an appraisal of a photo album titled My Buddy: World War II Laid Bare edited by Dian Hanson of Taschen publishers (US/Germany), 11 July 2014 :-

      '  ....  To help bolster troops against the horrors of combat, commanders encouraged them to form tight “buddy” relationships for emotional support. Many war buddies, together every moment, and depending on each other to survive, formed intimate friendships. When they weren’t fighting side by side, they relaxed together, discharging tension in boisterous—sometimes naked—play. The full extent of nude horseplay among men during World War II can’t be known, as cameras were rare and film hard to process, but some men did document this unprecedented male bonding in small, anonymous photos mostly kept hidden away until their deaths.  .... '
----  see more of the publisher Taschen's sexy record by Los Angeles photographer Michael Stokes' 500 images at at :-
[Dian Hanson produced a variety of men’s magazines from 1976 to 2001 before becoming TASCHEN’s Sexy Book editor. Her 60+ books for TASCHEN include The Art of Pin-up and Psychedelic Sex. She lives in Los Angeles.]

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Biblical ignorance distorts its social message ...

How America's Biblical ignorance enables the Christian right
----  brief excerpts from a substantial opinion piece by C.J. Werleman of AlterNet, republished at (USA), 11 July 2014 :-

      ' The Bible doesn’t mention anything about contraception or abortion, but this hasn’t stopped 89 million American evangelicals acting as if “thou shall not consume a pregnancy pill” were one of the Ten Commandments. For the benefit of my mostly American audience, it’s not. In fact, the first four of the Hebrew God’s Decalogue amount to nothing more than “maniacal throat clearing,” to steal a phrase from the late Christopher Hitchens.  ....
....  The Right has successfully rebranded the brown-skinned liberal Jew [Jesus], who gave away free healthcare, was pro-redistributing wealth, and hung with a prostitute, into a white-skinned, trickledown, union-busting conservative, for the very fact that an overwhelming number of Americans are astonishingly illiterate when it comes to understanding the Bible. On hot-button social issues, from same-sex marriage to abortion, biblical passages are invoked without any real understanding of the context or true meaning.  ....
----  see more of C.J. Werleman's challenging views for AlterNet at at :-
[CJ Werleman is the author of Crucifying America, and God Hates You. Hate Him Back. You can follow him on Twitter:  @cjwerleman]

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Major New Study Finds Kids Raised By Same-Sex Couples Are 'Healthier' And Happier' 
----  the opening pars to a news post by Judd Legum at ThinkProgress (USA), 5 July 2014 :-

      'It’s the rallying cry for opponents of same-sex marriage: “Every child deserves a mom or a dad.” But a major new study finds that kids raised by same-sex couples actually do a bit better “than the general population on measures of general health and family cohesion.”
      The study, conducted in Australia by University of Melbourne researchers “surveyed 315 same-sex parents and 500 children.” The children in the study scored about six percent higher than Australian kids in the general population. The advantages held up “when controlling for a number sociodemographic factors such as parent education and household income.” The study was the largest of its kind in the world..... '
----  see more about this enlightening study posted by Judd Legum at at :-

Monday, July 7, 2014

ANCIENT GAYS | Erotic graffiti carved in 6th Century BCE stone ...

Archaeologist uncovers the world's earliest erotic graffiti
The inscription documents an ongoing sexual relationship between two men in ancient Greece. 
----  brief pars from an archaeological news report about the tiny Aegean island of Astypalaia, posted by Lindsay Abrams at (USA), 6 July 2014 :-

      'Etchings inscribed in the ruins of an ancient Greek city may the earliest on record to “triumphantly” document a sexual relationship, the Guardian reports. Discovered on the Greek island of Astypalaia, researchers say the graffiti can provide new insights into both the sexual lives and impressive literacy of the island’s inhabitants at a time predating even the construction of the Acropolis in Athens.
Here’s more from the Guardian:
    'Chiselled into the outcrops of dolomite limestone that dot the cape, the inscriptions have provided invaluable insight into the private lives of those who inhabited archaic and classical Greece. One, believed to have been carved in the mid-sixth century BC, proclaimed: “Nikasitimos was here mounting Timiona (Νικασίτιμος οἶφε Τιμίονα).
      “We know that in ancient Greece sexual desire between men was not a taboo,” added Dr. [Andreas] Vlachopoulos, who returned to the far-flung island last week to resume work with a team of topographers, photographers, conservationists and students. “But this graffiti … is not just among the earliest ever discovered. By using the verb in the past continuous [tense], it clearly says that these two men were making love over a long period of time, emphasizing the sexual act in a way that is highly unusual in erotic artwork. ”
      Two penises engraved into limestone beneath the name of Dion, and dating to the fifth century BC, were also discovered at lower heights of the cape. “They would seem to allude to similar behaviour on the part of Dion,” said Vlachopoulos.  ... '
----  see more of Lindsay Abrams' report about The Guardian news item, at at :-
----  See too another version of the report at the San Diego G&L News (USA), at :-
[Note: Similar inscribed ancient same-sex graffiti has been found elsewhere in Greece, such as at Santorini (ancient Thera) dated to circa 6th & 5th Centuries BCE. - ed.G.G.]

Sunday, July 6, 2014

CONCHITA WURST displays her bearded sensibilities ...

Conchita Wurst: 'Most artists are sensitive and insecure people. I am too.'
----  opening pars from an extended interview with 'Conchita Wurst' by Kathryn Bromwich at The Observer (UK), 6 July 2014 :- 

      In the two months since she won Eurovision, Conchita Wurst has become a global star. Here she reflects on homophobia, gay marriage, Vladimir Putin ('a very handsome man') – and her dreams of winning a Grammy.  ....
....  In the two months since winning Eurovision with the rousing power ballad Rise Like a Phoenix, Conchita Wurst has gone from well-liked personality at home in Austria to global gay icon. Outside, the annual Gay Pride festival [London] is in full swing and the crowd, many wearing fake beards, cheers: "Conchita! Conchita!" She has just headlined Pride in London; Madrid and Stockholm are next.  ....
....  Today, Conchita is a distinctly modern reimagining of the phenomenon: in drag, in control, in 6in tangerine heels. Despite having come straight from the Pride stage, she is fresh and poised: there is no sign of frustration at the long hours, traffic and delays that have marked the day, just concern that her fans had to wait an extra half hour. Immediately warm and welcoming, she is disarmingly coquettish. "It's so nice to meet you," she purrs.  .... '
----  see more of this fascinating interview with this year's winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, reported by Kathryn Bromwich at at :-
----  and vcheck the video of Conchita's winning performance at Eurovision in the sidebar opposite.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

TOM DALEY's YouTube moment ...

... and now for something completely different (with no apology) :-

Watch Tom Daley dress for Wimbledon
---- a few lines from a charming eye-candy post about Britain's hugely cute 'out' late-teens Olympic diving champion preparing himself for a day's watch of championship tennis in London, posted by Ed Kennedy at The Backlot (UK), 4 July 2014 :-

      'Because filming yourself getting dressed is a normal thing that all people do, there’s nothing at all unusual about Tom Daley wandering around in his underwear showing us how he gets dressed to go to Wimbledon.  .... '
----  see more by Ed Kennedy about Tom's sartorial demonstration, plus check the cheeky readers' comments at YouTube which follow, at at :-

Friday, July 4, 2014

COOL GAY TV | The first season of "VICIOUS" bares its claws ...

VICIOUS Love: What the British Sitcom Has To Say About Gay Relationships
----  brief extracts from a substantial review by J. Bryan Lowder of the show's first season at PBS (USA) published at Slate (USA), 2 July 2014 :-

      ' ....  Vicious dares to explore a model of gay male intimacy that goes against the grain of current Looking-like trends in gay representation is to invite the most frustrating and predictable sorts of criticism.          While most American reviewers have cautiously limited their approval to McKellan and Jacobi’s acting chops, a number both here and in Great Britain have looked at the way Vicious treats the relationship of Freddie and Stuart—both unapologetic embodiments of the venerable swishy, “bitter old queen” archetype—as worthy dramatic material and recoiled with the usual queen-phobic horror. ....
....  Watching Vicious, one gets the sense that though Freddie and Stuart have long been disabused of the “sweetness and light” approach to love that straight society holds so dear, they remain steadfastly enchanted with one another. But with the appearance of campy insults in their home second only in frequency to cups of tea, how can this be? Shouldn’t one or the other of them have gotten fed up by now?  .... '
----  see more of J. Bryan Lowder's well-observed review at at :-

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

GAY LOVE | The winning wisdoms of Dan Savage ...

Savage Lovecast with Dan Savage
'America's sweetheart', and its least judgmental voice, gives love and sex advice to people who identify as straight, gay, poly, kinky, and everything in between.
----  an opening par from a cheerful extended conversation about gender politics with Dan Savage, reported by interviewer Lilah Raptopoulos at The Guardian (UK/USA), 3 July 2014 :-

      '....  Dan:  When I first started Savage Love it was a joke – I was going to treat straight people and straight sex with the same contempt that straight advice columnists have always treated gay people and gay sex. I was just going to sneer at heterosexuals and act like straight sex was icky, which, of course, it is. But then so many straight people loved that, because it was such a new experience for them to be treated that way, that I started getting real questions. And suddenly, I had a real advice column on my hands.
      The one constant, though, from the start, has been that I feel the column is a conversation I’m having with friends about sex and our sex lives in a bar when we’re drunk. From the beginning, I’ve always allowed them to use whatever language they want to use and have a sense of humor.  .... '
----  see more of Lilah Raptopolous' hilarious extended Guardian interview with Dan, plus check the short Savage Love video in the body of the report, at :-
----  See too another of Dan's witty messages in the Savage Love video in the sidebar opposite.

GAY PRIDE WEEK | New British movie "PRIDE" ...

Watch: PRIDE trailer, starring Bill Nighy & Imelda Staunton
----  two extracts from a news release posted by Chris Taylor at The Telegraph (UK), 1 July 2014 :-

      'A new trailer for the British comedy drama PRIDE has been released. The first film from theatre director Matthew Warchus, who is set to take over from Kevin Spacey as the artistic director of The Old Vic Theatre, Pride is about the unlikely alliance between lesbians and gays and striking miners in Eighties Britain.
      Warchus's script is based on the true story of London-based gay rights activists who raised money for the miners, but couldn't persuade them to accept it.  ....
....   With an all star British cast, including Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Paddy Considine and Andrew Scott (known to fans of the BBC's Sherlock as Jim Moriarty), the film has already received rave reviews – and comparisons to Billy Elliot – at this year's Cannes Film Festival, where it screened as part of the Director's Fortnight program. PRIDE is released in the UK on September 12, & likely to follow in other global markets after.
----  see more of Chris Taylor's post at at :-
----  plus view the movie's lively 2.30 video trailer in the sidebar.

Monday, June 30, 2014

COOL GAY SITES | "Antinous the Gay God" on the Net & Facebook ...

ANTINOUS THE GAY GOD creates a web community

      Enthusiasts for the appealing faith-system engendered by a profound respect for Ancient Rome's historical relationship of Antinous of Bithynia and Hadrian Caesar (circa 125-130CE), as encouraged by its leader & key advocate Flamen Antonyus Subia, are likely to appreciate its Web & Facebook sites.
      The Community describes itself as :-
      "All those who Love Antinous and take faith in his divinity are encouraged to join in the veneration of Antinous the God."
      One site can be found at :-
      At the Community's Facebook page, among the many submissions available to view, is Flamen Antonyus Subia's suggestion for how a statue of Antinous the Gay God might have looked in an ancient temple ... with a real pink lotus budding from the top of his head and with real grape leaves around his brow ... with every millimeter painted or gilded from head to toe ... based on the Braschi Antinous-Dionysus statue at the Vatican Museums.
      The Community especially invites Facebook participation at its Antinous the Gay God Community pages at :-

Sunday, June 29, 2014

GAY PRIDE | Istanbul, Turkey, caps Pride Week ...

Thousands attend Gay Parade in Istanbul
----  excerpts from a news report by the Hurriyet Daily News (Turkey), 29 June 2014 :-

      'Thousands of activists attended the LGBTI Gay Parade held on Istanbul’s İstiklal Avenue on June 29, capping this year’s Pride Week.
      As in every year, the event was marked by colorful chants and slogans that defied both the political order and social discrimination that the LGBTI community regularly faces.  ....
....  The police were again the instigator of moments of tension when they blocked entry to Taksim Square, preventing the march from finishing in the symbolic area. Gezi Park was cordoned off an hour before the start of the march. But some of the activists painted the infamous water cannons (TOMAs) omnipresent on İstiklal Avenue with loving rebellious messages.
      Meanwhile, the British Consulate showed its support by raising a rainbow flag on its mast. The 12th Gay Parade ended the annual Pride Week  .... '
----  see more about this unexpected phenomenon in a Muslim-majority nation at at :-

Saturday, June 28, 2014

GAY SINGAPORE | Pink Dot Rally criticized ...

Singapore gays rally to counter opposition
----  an international AP news report at WPEC CBS Channel 12 News (USA), 28 June 2014 :-

      'SINGAPORE (AP) -- Gay rights activists have gathered in downtown Singapore for a rally that this year drew unprecedented criticism from religious conservatives, with one influential Christian pastor calling on the government to ban the event.
      Previous Pink Dot marches have been held without much opposition. But as they grew in numbers from less than 3,000 people when the first march was held in 2009 to more than 20,000 last year, so did their disapproval.
      On paper, gay sex remains a criminal offence in this wealthy, multi-cultural city-state of 5.4 million, although authorities rarely enforce the British colonial-era legislation [of 1938 - Ed.].
----  see the original AP news report published by at :-  .
----  see too a separate coverage of the Rally with pics at at :-
UPDATE: see a 14th July news report of a legal challenge to Singaporfe law at at :-

Thursday, June 26, 2014

GAY LIFE | Assessing your intimate relationship ...

9 Signs You've Found Your Soulmate (If You Believe In That Sort Of Thing)
----  excerpts extracted from a perceptive list of self-observations compiled by Kelsey Borresen at Huffington Post Gay Voices (USA), 26 June 2014 :-

      ' ....  So how do you know when you've found The One? Below, a team of love and relationship experts identify the most telling signs.
1.  You communicate without speaking.
      Soulmates can read each other like an open book. "They connect fervently on every level of being," clinical psychologist and relationship expert Dr. Carmen Harra told The Huffington Post. "One may finish the other's sentences, they may pick up the phone to call each other simultaneously, or feel like they simply can't be without their partner."
      Dr. Sue Johnson, a clinical psychologist and author of Love Sense, said that a soulmate also knows how to respond to your emotional signals. ....
2.  You know in your gut that you've found The One.
      The old adage "When you know, you know" rings true when it comes to a soulmate connection. "There really is no guessing or wondering when the real thing comes along," wedding officiant and author Rev. Laurie Sue Brockway told The Huffington Post. "There is usually a telltale sign that lets you know when true love has arrived -– a voice in your head, a sense of recognition or a gut feeling that this is someone special to you." ....
....  and seven more deep insights into human relationship.
----  see more of Kelsey Borresen's list of the most telling signs at at :-

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

COOL GAY BOOK | "GAYSIA" looks at gay Asia ...

BOOK REVIEW "Gaysia": Adventures in the Queer East
----  excerpts from a perceptive review by Sally Parsons at Windy City Media Group (USA), 25 June 2014 :-

      'This is one of the most fascinating books I've read this year, in which the reader gets to explore the world of LBGTQ culture in seven Asian countries as seen through the eyes of a young gay Australian journalist of Chinese heritage.
      This account, written in a most accessible, breezy style, gets the Western reader to thinking about how different cultures experience, absorb and categorize various aspects of LBGTQ life—and how lucky we have it here compared to some of these cultures.
      Law travels to Indonesia, Thailand, China, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar ( Burma ) and India. He introduces us to local people, customs, laws and attitudes. He shares with us his personal reactions to what he encounters.
      He starts out on the island of Bali, where the gay scene ( especially for foreigners ) has exploded. Caucasian Westerners with a lot of money are called "bulés." Gay bulés are heartily embraced. He meets Eelga, who has a thing for hot sex with older European guys "because hot."
      Law discusses the social, health and economic implications of the growing sex trade. Young gay Indonesians from other islands live openly queer on Bali, far from the disapproving eyes of their families.             Balinese gays, however, have to be more discreet, as word travels quickly. In Bali, a man must get married. This creates conflicts for gays. And, Law points out, although gay tourism helps the economy, it hurts the culture.  ....
....  GAYSIA raises interesting questions for those who like to ponder such things. How has our culture molded the development of LBGTQ rights in this country? How do we engage with or think about LBGTQ folk from other countries, whose gay culture has been molded—or suppressed—by norms and values different from ours? '
----  see more of Sally Parson's insightful review of GAYSIA by Benjamin Law at :-

Monday, June 23, 2014

BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH plays gay WWII maths genius Alan Turing ...

Benedict Cumberbatch Is Gay Codebreaker Alan Turing in new "The Imitation Game"
----  a brief excerpt from a post by Tim Isaac at Big Gay Picture Show (UK), 23 June 2014 :-

      '....  The film is a biopic of Turing, a pioneer of modern-day computing who is credited with helping crack the fiendish German codes, such as Enigma, during the Second World War. The film chronicles the nail-biting race against time by Turing and his brilliant team at Britain’s top-secret code-breaking centre, Bletchley Park. Turing, whose contributions and genius significantly shortened the war, saving thousands of lives, was the eventual victim of an unenlightened British Establishment.
      Tragically in the 1950s Turing admitted to the police he was gay while reporting a robbery, believing they would protect him and catch those who’d stolen from him. Instead it was him who found himself in court.  .... '
----  see more of Tim Isaac's pics & post about "The Imitation Game" at biggaypictureshow at :-

[Alan Turing, OBE, FRS (1912 – 1954) was a British mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher, computer scientist, mathematical biologist, and marathon and ultra distance runner. He was highly influential in the development of computer science, providing a formalisation of the concepts of "algorithm" and "computation" with the Turing machine, which can be considered a model of a general purpose computer.[2][3][4] Turing is widely considered as the "Father of Theoretical Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence.[5] During World War II, Turing worked for the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) at Bletchley Park, Britain's codebreaking centre. - Wikipedia, with thanks.]

COOL GAY NOVEL | "Last Words From Montmartre" ...

----  an item placed by Stephen at the ever-interesting Band of Thebes (USA), 22 June 2014 :-

      '"When the pioneering Taiwanese novelist Qiu Miaojin committed suicide in 1995 at age twenty-six, she left behind her unpublished masterpiece,Last Words from Montmartre [and Kindle]. Unfolding through a series of letters written by an unnamed narrator, Last Words from Montmartre tells the story of a passionate relationship between two young women—their sexual awakening, their gradual breakup, and the devastating aftermath of their broken love. In a style that veers between extremes, from self-deprecation to pathos, compulsive repetition to rhapsodic musings, reticence to vulnerability, Qiu’s genre-bending novel is at once a psychological thriller, a sublime romance, and the author’s own suicide note.  .... '
----  see more of Stephen's homage to Qiu Miaojin at at :-

Saturday, June 21, 2014

GAY CULTURE | Video insights into some aspects ...

GAY HISTORY: The Ten Best Documentary Portraits of LGBT Culture
----  brief excerpts from well-researched post by Daniel Walber at Nonfics (USA), 19 June 2014 :-

      'Happy Pride Month, everyone!  ....  it’s important to take some time this month and watch honest and celebratory cinematic representations of queer people. The following 10 films span more than 50 years of creative LGBT filmmaking. They represent the great variety of perspective within the vast umbrella of queer experience, a diversity that is central in what we are all supposed to be proud of in the first place. ....
      ....  This list features documentaries centered on LGBT culture. Next week we’ll be posting a list made up of much more explicitly political documentaries on the subject of LGBT rights. .... '
      [Daniel Walber's list of ten portraits of LGBT culture, often with links to clips or trailers, are :-
10.  Party Monster (1998)
9.    Forbidden Love (1992)
8.   The Ballad of Genesis & Lady Jaye (2011)
7.   Nitrate Kisses (1992)
6.   The Mouth of the Wolf (2009)
5.   Word Is Out (1977)
4.   The Celluloid Closet ( 1995)
3.   Tongues Untied (1989)
2.   Portrait of Jason (1967)
1.   Paris Is Burning (1990)]
----  see Daniel Walber's ten selections, often with a video clip or trailer, at at :-

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

GAY PRIDE | Reflecting on an important phenomenon ...

PRIDE: This Thing Bigger Than US ... Self-Reflect for The Best Pride Ever
----  brief pars from an eight-page exploration on a gal's approach to Pride, by Dani at Autostraddle (USA), 16 June 2014 :-

      '....  Recently, I’ve been hearing a lot of people complain about Pride. They’re over it. Or they talk about how it doesn’t represent them. Or how it has devolved into one messy party. Some want the event to be more family friendly while others think it’s still stifled by too many conventions. Still, I can’t help but feel that to even be able to say we are “over Pride” is a luxury — a luxury LGBTQ people do not have in other countries and communities.
      So, in the spirit of self-reflection, here are some thoughts on how you can create a Pride season that is more meaningful to you even if you can’t or don’t want to attend any events. Or, if you’re all about it and have already dyed your hair with rainbow streaks, there are some tips to remind you how to keep yourself well-taken care of during the celebration.
      As with everything, I encourage you to take what speaks to you and feel free to ignore the rest. Health, spirituality, and relationships are all highly individual so build a plan that works for you and fulfills your unique needs this year. .... '
----  see more of Dani's 8-page insights into preparing for the Pride season at at :-

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

... the pages below offer trailers of recent gay-interest movies, memorable "M/M Moments" from past cinema, unedited reviews of THE HADRIAN ENIGMA, & useful gay-interest links from across the Web ...

... then follows a bibliography of academic works consulted as background research for THE HADRIAN ENIGMA.




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. The fighter pilots find themselves in the midst of a forbidden relationship throwing their lives and careers into disarray. BURNING BLUE will be in select U.S. theaters and on VOD on June 6. It is likely to appear in other indie movie markets later in 2014. The movie is co-written and directed by DMW Greer.

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:



Romeo and Juliet are Shakespeare's "star crossed lovers". When two enemy families meet, forbidden love ensues.
This newest version of the William Shakespeare classic is directed by Carlo Calei and stars attractive youngsters Hailee Steinfield (Juliet) with Douglas Booth (Romeo). Release date: '"Coming shortly" in 2013.




CHEEKY LOVE TALE for gay or straight ...

NEW GAY MOVIE | Crisis in 1985 ...


"FREIER FALL" ("Free Fall", Germany 2013) at Kino 2013 ...

BEAR CITY2: The Proposal (2012) takes-up where BEAR CITY (2009) left off. It plays in select US cinemas through 2013.

"Beauty" ("Skoonheid") ... a Cannes prize winner

SKOONHEID’, ["Beauty"] which is the first Afrikaans film to be screened at Cannes, is about a middle-aged Afrikaans man, Francois, struggling to find happiness. He lives a tightly controlled life with his family in Bloemfontein which unravels when he becomes infatuated with the young son of a long-lost friend.
The Cannes Queer Palm is awarded to the film with excellent artistic qualities and that deals best with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transexual issues.


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 :-

"BOB'S NEW SUIT" - Gay themed movie on dvd

M/M ROMANCE IN THE CINEMA ... movie history's first same-sex kiss

"WINGS" ... movie history's first same-sex kiss ...

Wings is a 1927 silent film about World War I fighter pilots, produced by Lucien Hubbard, directed by William A. Wellman and released by Paramount Pictures. Wings was the first film, and the only silent film, to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.[4] Wings stars Clara Bow, Charles "Buddy" Rogers, andRichard Arlen. Gary Cooper appears in a role which helped launch his career in Hollywood and also marked the beginning of his affair with Clara Bow. 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 :

M/M ROMANCE in the cinema | "LOVE SONGS" (France 2007)

Love Songs (French: Les Chansons d'amour) is a 2007 French musical film directed by Christophe Honoré, starring Louis Garrel, Ludivine Sagnier, Chiara Mastroianni, and Gregoire Leprince-Ringuet. It was one of the 20 films selected for the main competition at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.
The movie is noted for its portrayal of an intensifying relationship between a 20-year old Breton, Erwann (Gregoire Leprince-Ringuet), & mid-twenties Parisian Ishmael (Louis Garrel) in today's Paris. The 4-min scene above displays the eventual consummation of the pair's growing relationship.



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 :-

M/M ROMANCE in the cinema | "MAURICE" - the missing shots rediscovered

MAURICE (UK 1987) - A reconstructed bedroom scene - M/M MOVIE MOMENTS

MAURICE, a novel about homosexual love by the British author of "Room With A View" (1908) and "A Passage To India" (1924) - E.M. Forster (1879-1970) - was written in 1913-14 but not permitted to be published until after the author's death in 1970. In 1987 the British film-makers James Ivory & Ismail Merchant produced a movie version of the novel. Ivory, the director, delivered an elegant & stylishly visualized rendering of the Forster novel, establishing the highly-regarded 'Merchant/Ivory' style of movie.
The 1987 film starred James Wilby as the pivotal character Maurice Hall, a young London stockbroker, with Hugh Grant as his initial lover Clive Durham, a university companion. As the story progresses & political considerations preclude Maurice & Clive from continuing their relationship, Maurice finds solace in the arms of Alec Scudder, Clive's estate gamekeeper, played by Rupert Graves. One night Scudder climbs into Maurice's bedroom at Clive's country seat to express his passion.
The movie's bedroom sequence is reconstructed here to its original edited format. The colored shots represent the sequence as depicted in the 1987 movie, while the discolored shots show the scenes included in the first edit but deleted from Ivory's final movie.
With many thanks to YouTube & the clip's original postees - G.G.

An unedited review from READER VIEWS USA. 5.0 out of 5 stars : Gripping Mystery and Fascinating Love Story, May 2010 :

"The HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History" -
(c) George Gardiner
Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson, May 2010, for Reader Views at :-

THE HADRIAN ENIGMA could be definitely classified as an age-old love story with a twist. “He” is the Roman Emperor Hadrian, a strong and powerful figure. “She” is not really a she, but rather another male, the young and winsome Antinous of Bithynia. The two develop an intense and powerful attachment, based on the erastes-eromenos relationship.

This premise alone would make for an interesting story, but things get really interesting when Antinous is found dead one morning, having obviously drowned in the river Nile. A renowned lawyer, Gaius Suetonious Tranquillus, is hired by Hadrian himself to investigate the death of the unfortunate youth. Was it an accident, suicide, murder, or possibly religious sacrifice?

Gaius Suetonious Tranquillus proceeds to interrogate anybody with possible knowledge of the deceased as well as of the intricate relationships within the imperial court; finally reaching a conclusion and unraveling the tangled web of deceit surrounding Antinous’ death. How will Hadrian react to this revelation?

THE HADRIAN ENIGMA by George Gardiner is an unexpected delight in many ways. While I definitely enjoyed it greatly as a mystery, based on the historical facts, it also opened my eyes to the erastes-eromenos relationships, which were common and accepted in Classical Greece and the Roman Empire. It prompted me to do quite a bit more reading and research on that topic, which was so far unknown and definitely very exotic to me. As somebody who appreciates having her mind stimulated and who loves to learn about new things, this was a welcome challenge to me.

I’ve also greatly enjoyed Gardiner’s attention to detail, vivid descriptions of people, customs and rituals as well as intricate political games depicted in his book. His characters were well defined and believable. His storyline hooked me quickly, and even the many excursions into the tangled past did not confuse me. He truly brought the ancient world to life for me, and I am thankful that I dared to venture outside of my usual comfort zone.

This book would definitely appeal to open-minded people who are curious about “alternative” lifestyles as well as those who simply enjoy well written historical fiction, based on real events. Regardless of the reasons prompting a reader to pick up this book, I am certain that everybody will appreciate Gardiner’s lessons on love and human relationships.

Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson
Reader Views, Austin TX, USA, May 2010


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