Discover more from Portrait of a Gay on Fire
You're just like A-Pril (Recommendations)
Out here vibing despite existential angst!
This month has been a little hard on me energetically, so there’s no Chatkinson (interview with a guest) this month! Apologies and hope to be back next time. To be honest, I’m still trying to navigate what’s reasonable and realistic for me to achieve with this newsletter whilst I’m working full time. Admittedly, I’m trying something ambitious and different than what I’ve done before, so I’m grateful for you bearing with me as I figure it out as I go.
For many years now I’ve been consuming a lot of culture, usually online or finding out about it online. One thing I’m enjoying so much about doing these round ups, is how it’s encouraged me to log as I go. Ahead of creating these recommendation newsletters, I go back to the monthly archive of everything I’ve read, watched, looked at and felt moved by in some way. I love the way it makes me take stock of things that have engaged, inspired or pleased me, in a way that I never used to.
This is for paid subscribers only, but if you don’t have the means - please e-mail me and I’ll comp your subscription ❤️
I am by no means a Real Housewives scholar, but you honestly don’t have to be to enjoy these women. This post shared by Evan Ross Katz, featuring iconic housewives Bethenny Frankel and Kelly Bensimon, made me scream. We’ve all been there: someone tries to name drop by first-naming someone (in this case, Gwyneth). To respond by asking who, as if it isn’t obvious, is incredible shade. It’s giving that don’t impress me much. It also calls to mind one of my favourite Glaswegian put downs. Okay, let’s say you did something. And you’re showing off about it a little. Let’s say you went to the gym that morning. In the spirit of bringing you down a peg or two, a Glaswegian might respond, dry as toast without butter, eyebrow raised, Did ye aye? There’s no coming back from it! No one can humble you like a Glaswegian can. Before the east coast lot come for my neck, I know this phrase likely has legs outside of Glasgow, but I’ve best seen it deployed there (plus, that’s where I was for most of my life when I heard it!). I got distracted, but I also think it’s worth noting Evan is one of the best people online and is a true pop culture aficionado. His instagram is a public service and should be protected as such.
I’ve been struggling with reading lately, due to a busy brain and tiredness, but Radical Intimacy by Sophie K Rosa is one of the most powerful things I’ve read. It’s a book about how it doesn’t need to be this way; something I have found myself lamenting frequently. In it, she deploys feminist, queer, and decolonial thought to explore better ways of living, being and relating to each other. Pluto Press, who published the book, call it a ‘compassionate antidote to a callous society.’ I cannot recommend it enough!
In the spirit of resisting capitalism, I really enjoyed these anti-capitalist affirmations! “I am not defined by what I produce” … wow. NeededToHearThat.co.uk
Life is long, and cruel, but thank God for the memes. This made me miss my motorola razr. Although, the best phone I EVER had was a Blackberry Bold. Damn they don’t make them like that anymore!
OMG! I made my podcast-guest debut. It was an honour to be asked to be on The N-Dustry podcast with angel host and friend of the newsletter Niv Byrne. In our conversation, we talked about my brief stint as a child actor, my writing and this newsletter, and lots of other girlie things. We had such a laugh and hope you enjoy the conversation. Available in all the usual places, but the Spotify link is here. Other podcasts I enjoyed this month were:
the Girlbossing episode of Sentimental Garbage with Otegha Uwagba, an illuminating conversation about the girlbossification of feminism, but also how to advocate for yourself in a corporate environment. I love the SG podcast and am a big fan of Otegha, so this was peak for me! When they referenced the pickle juice Nicki Minaj clip, I knew these girls were the girls that GET IT.
Pop Culture with Chanté Joseph for the Guardian, is a new podcast series I look forward to each week. I just listened to the episode about the price of gig tickets, which blew my mind and made me mad!!!!! Honourary mentions to the astrology ep with Clara Amfo and the episode about Succession. No one is doing it like Chanté!
I watched Frances Ha for the first time, which I loved deeply and made me wanna make a film so badly. I liked the fact that she’s slightly older but it still felt like a coming of age film. To me, it captured something so true about trying to live a creative life in a big city - the challenges you face financially, emotionally, existentially. Having “your shit together” is a social construct, and also in many ways, one of the state - it’s also not tantamount to happiness, as is often implied. I think this film shows that without telling. It made me think a lot about growing up and growing apart as paths diverge from your peers, trying to figure out and create who you are and how you want to live, as well as how vital true friendships are. I found it beautiful, sad, and oddly comforting as I reflect a lot on the journey that brought me here, whilst dreaming about where I’d like to go.
I finally had some proper time to sit down and enjoy The Gentlewoman Spring/Summer issue. Greta Gerwig (star of Frances Ha) is the cover star, and the interview with her was a delight to read. She seems exactly like the person you’d want her to be. Many other great contributions to that edition of the magazine as always, including a great interview with Nan Goldin, which focuses mainly on her activism in fighting the opioid crisis in America, and the family who are part of its proliferation. The power she had in helping remove the Sackler name from many of the world’s largest art institutions is remarkable. It was especially poignant to read such great journalism this week, where all of the editorial staff at Paper Magazine were made redundant, the latest in a line of heartbreaking redundancies and publications folding.
I went to the theatre for the first time in ages, seeing SPLINTERED at Soho. I was moved, charmed, and deeply inspired by this piece of work.
It is an undeniable triumph; an effervescent display of Black Queer excellence. A *genius* move to mirror the revolt, resistance and joy of Carnival through resisting the traditional structure of the play!! What better way to tell a queer story than to disrupt the form? A true pleasure to watch the actors soar, play, and connect on stage, embodying the complicated, messy, joy and delight of Black Queer stories with vigour. The vibrant physicality, blending of form and the embrace of theatrical camp took us somewhere so affecting that no traditional form of storytelling could. To be immersed in play whilst also hearing the true stories of Queer women from the Caribbean exemplified a joy that exists in spite of, whilst also acknowledging, the pain of oppression and colonialism. Both/and NOT either/or! Watching this was a reminder that storytelling can be both powerful and pleasurable. Seeing one of my great friends Nicholle shine on stage made this experience all the more memorable and special for me.
Before I go - faves from the Clock App, for good measure:
This girl singing herself Happy Birthday at her Clueless themed 10th birthday…..we have no choice but to STAN. Icon behaviour.
I unexpectedly wept at this video of these insanely talented kids singing Kelly Clarkson… The talent is just unimaginable.
A classic, but a moving one all the same, Maggie Rogers receiving feedback from Pharrell Williams. Full video is on YouTube here.
Jordan Stephens doesn’t want your data if it isn’t good data! It remains true that I would lay my life down for this man.
Joel Kim Booster dragging the straights at Burning Man for having to do ‘all that’ to just do what gay men do at the weekend. Lmao.
Cautionary advice from this user’s little brother about dating this Summer! Hinge is quaking!
“me vibing because everything is going to be okay eventually” - the algorithm really does hit too close to home sometimes!
Love & solidarity for the week ahead, whatever comes your way. x