J is for Janice

J is for Janice From the day she was born, Janice was given everything she wanted. She didn’t need to cry for too long before either her doting father or loving mother would be at her side, fussing over her with reassuring words of comfort and kisses on her forehead. From this moment on Janice knew that she was a very special person and because of that she could have Read more

I is for Impossible

I is for impossible. Having blown out her one hundred candles, with a slight relieve that her dentures didn’t come flying out covering the butter icing, Alice was quite exhausted and glad to be back in the solitary of her room, where she lit up a stogie and sat back in her chair. As much as everyone had made a great fuss over her centenary birthday, with just as many making Read more

H is for Hipster

H is for Hipster. The reason the new eatery stood out so much to Donald, was its choice of setting up shop in a part of town where the most exotic experience to be had was a mangey charity shop for a local cat charity. But that’s how these Hipster cafe’s start isn’t it, they move into a place with low rent and once they are established others move in. Read more

G is for Glenn

G is for Glenn. I’ve always loved horror stories. Skeletons have been at the forefront. I had a full size paper, glow in the dark skeleton and then a bit later the poster on the opposite side of my bed was of a skeleton on a motorbike, which I thought was great! I think i got it after seeing th esketon riding a motoabike in the Hammer Horror, Doctor, Terrors, Read more

F is for Fur

F is for Fur. Roger lay in bed, every time he opened his eyes the room span madly making him shut his eyes tight again. Downstairs he could hear the others getting on and knew that he too had to get up. Ever so gradually, Roger held both hands tight round his face as he lifted his head off the pillow. With his eyes still tightly shut he made the familiar Read more

Gscene

Gscene piece: November 2016

th-1In my last column, I wrote about how their has been a steady change in segregation in the gay bars and clubs, with a younger generation seeing men only/women only places as a relic from the past. Although there will always be a need (I think) for some kind of segregation, we certainly have come a long way from the time I remember back in the 1980s, I can clearly remember some men being mortified if a woman wandered into their watering-hole and out would come the vile, flippant  misogynist comment from some of the older gay men, with their description of lesbian’s as well, I’ll reinterpret the vile line as, ‘fruits de la mer’. There was also a pub in Hove tried to implement a policy were women were only allowed if they were accompanied by a gay man.
It would take the catastrophic horrors of AIDS to bring these two communities together which was recalled in the amazing documentary, We Were Here, about the arrival of the AIDS Epidemic in the USA. With an urgent need for blood transfusions, lesbians in California garnered themselves together and gave blood. Here in the UK, I remember many lesbians came forward to volunteer in any way they could to support the gay men who were suffering in large numbers to the horrifying effects of AIDS; along with an onslaught of hatred and stigma from the tabloid press which fed in to the fear and anxiety of the wider public.th-2Thirty-four years on since, Terry Higgins, one of the first people to die from AIDS, we really have come along way with anti-retroviral treatments. The divisions within the LGBT community has shrunk considerably and when we work together we achieve amazing things as we will once again witness on December 1st, World AIDS Day. Unfortunately there is so much more to be done to tackle the stigma of living with an HIV+ diagnoses, particularly with HIV positive and HIV negative gay men.
For me, this issue has been brought sharply into focus with the increase of HIV+ dating apps. I really understand the need for such apps which allow HIV+ people to feel comfortable about their HIV+ status without fear of stigma or abuse but we are living in a time when we have a real opportunity to eradicate HIV through use of condoms, antiretroviral drugs, PrEP and a heavy dose of compassion.
HIV+ stigma seriously needs stamping out if we are to reach a time when HIV is assigned to the history books.
THT have been running a brilliant advertisement campaign, It Starts With Me, urging every sexually active individual to take responsibility for their own sexual health. Together as a community we can make a positive difference, if people change their negative attitude about those living with an HIV+ diagnose.
So from today let’s do that, let’s take responsibility for not only our individual sexual health, but start treating everyone with respect, regardless of their HIV status.

Posted on by admin in Gscene, Health, HIV/AIDS, LGBT Leave a comment

Positive Nation, World AIDS Day (2013) Piece.

Please click the link below for my piece for Positive Nation, World AIDS Day, 2013.

 

http://issuu.com/talentmedia/docs/winter2013/13?e=1363912/6713304

Posted on by admin in Gay, Health, HIV/AIDS, Lesbian, LGBTQ, Positive Nation Leave a comment

Holiday! Celebrate!

With Christmas all but a distant memory and the new year getting ready to kick 2013 into the long grass, the British nation’s thoughts will be thinking of two things and two things only, diets and holidays.

th-5Camping At st. David's Pembrokshire

My first and only thought on diets is life is too short, eat chocolate in moderation and you should be fine, as for the second, I have asked a group of friends to tell me their favourite holiday destination, which in turn should give us all a little inspiration to start imagining what the sun on our face feels likes as opposed to the biting wind that is lashing our windows at this very moment in time.

First up: Camping at St David’s in Pembrokeshire.

Calm warm sea, seagulls riding the wind, soft white, perfect sculpting sand, tea, toast and papers in the morning, the sound of the tent zip, unzipping to see the edge if the cliff as it dips away gently into the blue sea. I like it cos it’s idyllic, with calm space and the most beautiful weather. 

Sarah.

th-7

With its miles of golden sand, blue waters and some of the best surfing in the country, St David’s in Pembrokeshire offers the perfect break with a range of budgets to suit all pockets. Although their are some fantastic bed and breakfasts guest houses, their are equally some brilliant camp sites dotted across the coastline.

For the uninitiated, the idea of camping may send a chill down their spine, but for that very reason camping should be given a second chance. These days their are a range of tents to suite all families, couples of for those who want to seek a little solitude and get away from it all. 

The other main thing to remember is comfort. Invest in a descent inflatable mattress. Their are two main types, those that can charged via the car’s cigarette lighter, or pumped by foot or even a reachable pump. For a stress free experience, invest in a self-inflate mattress, with a twist of the toggles a perfectly comfortable mattress is ready to stretch out on in minutes. F.Y.I. the former have more bounce, but the latter are firmer.

Forget sleeping bags, who wants to roll over onto a cold zip in the middle of the night? so, grab your duvet and pillows and be assured of a decent nights sleep and be ready and refreshed to wake up to amazing sunrises and the beauty of the expansive ocean on your doorstep.

th-1

Pack a camping stove (never ever use any type of gas stove inside your tent. Ever) to make that morning cuppa, or just take a flask of your favourite beverage to get you up and running in the morning and get the local cafe or eatery to fill your flask with hot water for the next day; yep it really can be that stress free.

th-3

As for St David’s, the place is perfect for whatever kind of holiday you have in mind, from taking yourself off to the quieter parts of the beach to catch some sunshine, to the perfect blue waters, many of which continue each year to win the prestigious clean water, ‘Blue Flag Awards’; something of great importance to all those who are seeking the perfect wave. Further along the coast the rock face offers stunning coastal walks and fantastic climbing opportunities to the adventurous, while inland their are many historical places of interest to visits  includingSt David’s Cathedral, fantastic pubs and restaurants with lovers of fish cuisine spoilt for choice, while those with an artistic bent can absorb themselves in the many art galleries St. David’s boast.

For more information about St David’s in Pembrokeshire and camping outlets, visit:

Packed with further information about What St David’s has to offer:

www.stdavids.co.uk

For all your surfing needs, from shops to surf reports:

magicseaweed.com/Pembrokeshire-Surfing/12

For all your camping needs:

johnscamping.com

Posted on by admin in Health, Leisure Leave a comment

Bear Patrol

Focus on Bear-Patrol (First published in Positive Nation, December 2012.)

Bear-Patrol is the brainchild of local Brightonian, Danny Dwyer who initially formed the group as a way of getting a group of like minded people together for social gatherings.Danny D

I created a homepage so I could keep in touch with everyone more easily rather than texting to tell them where we would be starting out on a Saturday night; that was back in 2008/9 around the same time Facebook and the whole social media concept was coming into its own. From there the social meetings quickly grew which inspired me to create the social group Bear- Patrol which is open to everybody (you don’t need to be a bear to join) and we started organising trips out.

Danny Dwyer. Read more

Posted on by admin in Brighton & Hove, Health, HIV/AIDS, LGBT, Outdoors, Zhoosh Leave a comment

Movember Update.

 

Glenn’s tach, 16 days later

16 days later and my tach is taking some shape…I’m even considering not growing my beard back. At the beginning of this project I wanted to raise £100, I’m getting close to that goal with £68.00 raised so far.

As fun as it has been to cultivate the hair on my lip for the last couple of weeks, I also wanted to highlight the reason why I, along with thousands of other men and their supporters are doing this…

Read more

Posted on by admin in Health Leave a comment

……….Movember: 7 days later

7 Days later and my tach is beginning to look a little like a caterpillar. If truth be known I was hoping to have something more to twiddle by now…

Read more

Posted on by admin in Health Leave a comment

Return of the Names Quilt Project

Return of the Names Project.

Back in 1985 a man called Cleve Jones, was marching with hundreds of other people during a candlelit vigil. The March was in remembrance of the assignation of Harvey Milk. Through the 1970’s, Milk had campaigned for LGBT right in San Francisco. His campaign led him to be the first openly gay man to be elected into public office where he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.  Milks career was cut short when he, along with San Francisco’s Mayor George Moscone where both shot dead by Dan White, another Supervisor who had recently resigned from his job.

Read more

Posted on by admin in Brighton & Hove, Health Leave a comment

Mother, Mummy, Mum. Happy Mother’s Day

0 to 60 (quid). Ten Top Things to do for your mum on Mother’s Day.

1.    Make her an origami heart. Be creative; use a colourful paper bag, a piece of old music sheet, a sheet from a magazine. Once the paper is folded, the end result can look really great, once you get the hang of making this easy to learn paper fold then you could make a whole collection of hearts to show your mum how much you love her.

Cost £0.00

2.    Take your mum around one of Brighton’s most iconic buildings, The Royal Pavilion. This Mother’s Day the tour guides are dressed to impress in authentic costumes from the Regency era, giving you and your mum and insight into the bygone year

Cost £4.90 (for Brighton & Hove residents)

3.    Put together a collection of books. With a little forward thinking, you can put together a set of books that you know your mum would love. There are some fantastic second-hand book shops including Amnesty international bookshop and Oxfam bookshop with hundreds of titles. Use your imagination, buy a bundle and wrap it up with some nice ribbon and pop one of those origami hearts (point 1) on the top and you’ll have a truly original gift and be helping some really good causes to boot!

Cost £10.00

4.    Chocolate, for most mums, is always going to be a welcome present, but don’t just grab a box while doing your weekly shop, get yourself down to the Brighton Lanes where shops like, the outrageous choccywoccydoodah, or the more traditional chocolate Hotel are on hand with a range of traditional and not so traditional chocolate range for every budget, but for this day, push the boat out and get your mum something really special.

Cost £20.00

5.    Mother’s day and flowers is all very nice, but think outside the box and buy her a Bonsai plant. These miniature trees are not as difficult to look after as you may think, they are also an excellent talking point for when your mum’s friendscome over giving you added brownie points.

Cost £30.00+

6.    Mother’s Day experience on the Brighton Wheel. Give your mum a chance to see Brighton as she never has before with the Brighton Wheel she’ll have the best panoramic views of the city. For under the £40.00 mark you and your mum can jump the queue, make use of the VIP lounge. The entrance fee also includes a glass of Moët and a small box of luxury chocolates.

Cost £35.00

7.    Champagne will plant you firmly in your mum’s good book for the rest of the year. There may be those who frown at such an idea, but this is all the more reason to get a very special bottle of fizz for your mum as it’s something that she would least expect, particularly if you go for a chilled bottle of Veuve clicquot Rose ice Dress to really show how you want to spoil your mum.

Cost £46.95

8.    For a very special afternoon to remember then it has to be a trip to The Grand for afternoon tea where a selection of cakes, scones, cream cakes and a selection of teas or for a very special treat add Champagne to the menu  for your mum to feel she is treated like a queen for the day. There are two sittings and it is extremely advisable to book well in advance to avoid disappointment. £50.00+

9.    Push the boat out and allow your mum to truly relax with one of the many luxurious treatments at Brighton’s premier health spa, The Treatment Rooms. The Treatment room offer gift vouchers so your mum can decided for herself which treatment she would like to indulged in, or you could choose one for her, why not buy the wonderful Lava shell Massage where mind and body are brought back into perfect balance.

Cost £62.00

Remember, whatever you do for your mum on mother’s day she going to love you no matter what you give her. Just remember the date this year Mother’s day is on the 18th March 2012, Don’t Forget!

Posted on by Glenn Stevens in Brighton & Hove, Flash Blogs, Health, Leisure, Literature, Plants and Gardens Leave a comment

Provocative, inspirational, genius: Robert Mapplethorpe 1946-1989

Robert Mapplethorpe was born on long island, received a B.F.A From Brooklyn were he was experimenting with varies types of art, but at this stage photography was not his primary passion. It was only later when he stated using a Polaroid instamatic, taking images of his friends and family that he would turn his attention to this art form and push the boundaries and become known for his more notorious photography. The very foundations of the art institutions would be rocked as Mapplethorpe presented work that for many was simply pornographic. But it was Mapplethorpe’s eye for light and shade that made the viewer see the artistic touch within these raw images that represented the underground sadomasochism New York club scene that Mapplethorpe so loved and from that he showed beauty within the darkness.

In his interviews he claimed not to want to shock, but by mixing images such as Louise Bougeois, renowned French-american artist and sculptor with a unfeasible large sex toy says he knew exactly how to play the media game, ensuring he quickly became established as someone to watch out for.

As his career continued, Mapplethorpe played with different styles and images, moving from the shock value of the S and M scene, to portraits of the famous, to flowers.It was even with this subject that he managed to bring erotica into the frame with their suggestive protruding pistol and feminine genital shaped curves. The way he captures their form is stunning, taking the way he uses his human subjects and applying that to the flowers, using isolation of the image, making the viewer take note of the light and shade, the shadows and shapes that are thrown up.

As beautiful as these well crafted images are, Mapplethorpe insisted that this type of work was done as a way of paying for projects, he was really interested in. He also added that the flower projects were the only type of his art that would be allowed in public galleries.

Had he lived, he would have smiled to see that his work that was once seen as too controversial would now be hailed as way before his time.  Like Artist before him, Mapplethorpe pushed the boundaries, making images in art and media move forward, which can only be a good thing. What I finally want to say about this man is no matter what your view on him you must have some admiration, no matter how small that he would make you stop and think about his work, be it showing you beauty in the image of celebrities, flowers or exploring extreme sexual images and near the end of his life taking hard to view images of himself finally losing the battle to AIDS which stole away a great artist of our time.

Posted on by Glenn Stevens in Fiction & Books, Flash Blogs, Health, HIV/AIDS, Leisure, Literature Leave a comment

Older

I think most gay men have the conversation at some point in their lives, were they discuss how they wish to spend their twilight years. Just like the fantasy game SIMS, gay men will construct a rest home, where the nurses are cloned from the genes of Brad Pitt, the loo seat are never cold and the food tastes first class. Of course most importantly all their LGBT friends will be at this rest home, sitting the south facing veranda in rocking chairs, watching the sun set, reminiscing about the good old days and how many more are yet to come.

Surprisingly, such projects, well the LGBT part, has been put in place in both America and Germany as health professionals identified that many LGBT elders entering the care system had found themselves going back in the closet for fear of being ostracised, persecuted or in some extreme cases, asked to repent for their sins against God; a very real issue that has been highlighted in Stu Maddux brilliant documentary Gen Silent.

However, the outcome from the documentary, and findings related to the exclusive LGBT care homes is that older LGBT people have no wish to live their lives in a gay ghetto, but prefer to be cared for by health professionals who understand and respect their chosen lifestyles. This same view is echoed in a report by Brighton and Hove Council who recognise that for many older LGBT people entering the care system may have reservations when discussing their sexuality. On this matter the council’s report does go on to point out that: “The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 make it unlawful for public authorities to discriminate when providing public services.” The report goes on to say: Research suggests that there is a need for specific services targeting the LGBT community but that staff training, displaying LGBT friendly signs, publicity and partnerships with LGBT organisations all improve access to advice.

Also recent news reports have highlighted at present there is a half a billion pounds short fall for the U.K. care system; so the guarantee that such projects will be implemented in the current climate is unclear.

With this in mind, I had a quick search on the internet to see what support there is for LGBT elders in Brighton and Hove. Age UK have a section dedicated to older LGBT people offering a whole range of support and information; one of the main issues highlighted is that of isolation. Groups like GEMS (Gay Elderly Men’s society) a social group for gay men over fifty have been running for the last twelve years offering practical support, friendship, and entertainment to their members. Other servicers like LifeLines, a volunteer service for people over fifty offers a buddy service, where younger LGBT people befriend an older LGBT person enabling them to join in one of the many groups and servicers listed in Gscene, RealBrighton and Zhoosh.

So instead of thinking my friends and I will be in rocking chairs, in the future I see us all cutting up the dance floor underneath a massive glitter ball, with Brad pitt on call just in case.

Posted on by Glenn Stevens in Brighton & Hove, Health, LGBT 2 Comments