Archive | June 2014

Queer or Straight as Folk?

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“Queer as Folk” 1×22; Brian (Harold) and Justin (Harrison) at prom

The title of this blog is “an insight into a medium mind” and I feel that I haven’t really been true to that title so I am attempting here to reacquaint myself (and this blog!) with it.  This will come about through me divulging my thoughts and sentiments regarding the series Queer as Folk (the USA/Canada adaptation, not the Russell T Davies original show).

If you’ll permit me – if you won’t, please do skip this paragraph of vague summarising – I’ll just lay out the basic plot and premise of the show so you can better understand the significance and appeal of the TV series, if you haven’t seen it already.  It revolves around the lives of five homosexual men living in Pittsburgh, PA along with various other homo/heterosexual characters who affect their lives in weird and wondrous ways.  As you might have gathered by this point, I am a sucker when it comes to a good pairing or love story.  This show – in an eerily different manner to Angel or The Borgias – has exposed me to and made me appreciate a different but equally (if not more!) potent love: namely, that shared by the promiscuous and commitment-phobic Brian Kinney and ingenu, seventeen year old Justin Taylor played by Gale Harold and Randy Harrison respectively.  They go through an on again, off again relationship throughout the five seasons of the show but in the end, they go their separate ways in a refusal to settle for each other and to be men who they aren’t simply to keep one another selfishly.  However, in spite of the relationship’s conclusion, it is Justin’s determination and conviction that Brian is ‘the one’ despite the age gap between them combined with Brian’s desire not to be or to show vulnerability that renders their romance riveting.

I have to go into my personal feelings and experience regarding sexuality and in particular, homosexuality here.  It would be virtually impossible to write this post without exploring those topics in more depth.  Firstly, I’ll tackle sexuality – especially my own – here.  I am not sure I’ve yet come across a term that can aptly describe my sexuality as it rests somewhere in a remote, lonely alcove between bisexuality and asexuality.  I have long believed that I have no primal (or otherwise!) yearning to be in a relationship or engage in sexual activities ever again and I don’t ever see a person and feel any impulse of true sexual drive whatsoever.  That being said, I do differentiate between sexual driveand sexual attraction: one being the physical and active power and the other being more of a chemical and cerebral feeling.  Lack of sexual drive is an aspect of my feelings and nature that pushes me towards the asexual camp but I am sporadically taken aback by the occasional thought of, “bloody hell that guy really does it for me” or “Jesus H. Christ, I could imagine myself with that woman there,” which gives me a hell of a shove towards the bisexual bivouacs!  At first, I thought that this was merely a great ability to appreciate the human form in all its shapes, sizes and sexes and all its beauty, but since I stumbled onto Queer as Folk and found that I am utterly and hopelessly entrammelled by Brian and Justin’s relationship, I do wonder…

Furthermore, the programme has diverted me away from contemplating physical and sexual love (the ‘Aphrodite’ of love, if you’ll accept some Greek mythology) and caused me to reflect more on spiritual and emotional love (the ‘Hera’ love).  The latter is what I experience more keenly as I never desire or feel the need to indulge in physical love ever again but am constantly afflicted by an overabundance of sentimental feeling to compensate as a result.  Brian makes the point in season one that all he believes gay men can have during their lifetime is sex and no form of lasting partnership; he even makes the point of differentiating between gay men and lesbians, who apparently – according to him – are more conducive to that type of lifestyle.  That is not the case so much now but it does beg the question: why do so many people in this day and age have such issues with forms of love other than heterosexual and familial?  It is something that perplexes me to no end!

As I come from a staunchly Hindu family on one side, I would never be able to bring home a girl or introduce a female partner to my maternal family (should the desire ever take me) – it just isn’t done.  Therefore, I understand somewhat that some cultures are predisposed to be homophobic or unwilling to accept homosexuality, but an integral part of me wonders if love cannot be bad and unacceptable to the world if it is a virtuous and honest love.  NB. When I say ‘virtuous’, I do not mean it on any religious level, just on an ethical basis!  I have a few gay friends (all men as it happens) and it constantly grieves me that they have to endure and battle through so much in their lives so frequently just to be in love with another man and not be shunned as a result (by their families and countries, mostly).  Love is supposed to make people happy.  It’s meant to enrich people’s lives in all its forms, not cause lovesickness or strife or Russia to throw a post-Eurovision 2014 hissy fit!  Please forgive the rant…  Something that has made me happy in recent days through watching Queer as Folk which is really all about five gay men’s quest and journey to happiness and seeing one of my friends who is now in a homosexual and committed relationship, both of which have made me smile, feel aglow and less concerned that my own love life is dead and 9000 (arbitrary number!) feet under.  Just seeing my old friend and Brian and Justin gain the happiness that has been a long-time coming and so, so, so, so deserved is enough to reinvigorate my life and give me infinite happiness simply because they are happy in the real world and in the made-up world.

I would encourage everyone (once they reach sixteen years of age seeing as it is an explicit show!) to give this trailblazing, well-produced and moving, but hysterically funny show a go.  As I said to my father, The Pillars of the Earth irrevocably alters the way you view churches and cathedrals, Queer as Folk causes you to re-evaluate and – in my case but ought to be in everyone’s – reaffirm the fact that love is beautiful and shouldn’t be abased by anyone regardless of creed, gender, sexuality and race.

“A happy ending was imperative. I shouldn’t have bothered to write otherwise. I was determined that in fiction anyway two men should fall in love and remain in it for the ever and ever that fiction allows, and in this sense, Maurice and Alec still roam the greenwood.”   ~ E.M. Forster, Maurice

So, there you have it, I’ve spoken!  Whether you agree with me or not, my opinion is valid, as is my God-given right to be whatever sexuality I am and my perennial right to feel and give love in whichever form I so choose.

For more information and current events on gay rights and issues, I offer these links to you:

LaBellaBorgia Speaks,

P. Mistry-Norman

27-06-2014

Cyberme

You can tell I’m back in Essex now because I’m posting a lot more.  I’ve only been back in the county for just over a week and today is my mother’s first full day back after going abroad and already I’m asking my father to bring back a bag of ice cubes (something I’m told you should squeeze when you’re thinking of self-harm or suicide to take away the lack of feeling or desire to cut).  True to form today had the potential to be one of the best days ever as I got my 2nd year results today and achieved a surprising 2.1 but I was so elated at that that the universe saw me enjoying my life too much and too hopeful for the future and decided to crash a train into me at full speed.

As of 21:15, I have had 29 people like the status announcing my exam results and 9 comments saying “congratulations” and the like on Facebook.  The icing on the cake was an email from the best personal tutor in the world saying how delighted she was that I’ve

“battled through and come out the other side with such good results.”

I am amazed at my results and I know I don’t deserve them but I did work hard enough and tried my best to know that I don’t deserve the emotional and verbal overhaul that my mother has just dealt me.  I really do hate coming back to Essex for this reason, because coming back to this awful house and my family always means that pain and suffering and endless, unfailing abasement.  I can feel one hundred feet tall (despite not even being 5!) and larger than life itself when I walk in the door but it takes so little time and effort on my mother’s part – she’s actually perfected it into a natural talent – to turn me from a semi-confident, intelligent, compassionate, twenty-one year old Devonshire lass into a weepy, small, weak infantile girl who doesn’t know what she’s done wrong and can’t understand why the mother who she really loves so much continues to douse any flame of happiness that casts a faint glow in an otherwise monochrome existence.  I can’t often leave my flat and I don’t find engaging with people easy so I live – not exist – mostly online, in a cyberutopia and in my medium mind where people are not people because there, people are perpetually nice to me.

It actually makes me wonder if one day people will discover how to upload the human consciousness into the net and bodies will just die.  I often perceive my body as a dead thing that is inanimate and unaffected by the world.  It is corporeal forms that open us up to hurt.  Imagine it, if we all existed in a purely digital world where the minute someone hurts you or abuses you, you block them or report them to The Elders of the Internet (Thank you, IT Crowd and Graham Linehan), which leads to them being deleted or restored to factory settings.  I’d like to be restored to factory settings and taken far away to begin life again…that would be the best gift in the world, it’s just a shame no one has the power to give it.  If only genies existed…

Anyway as I’m writing this I am in my bed, crying and listening to my Love Songs/Ballads playlist on iTunes which I do when I need to reacquaint my mind with my body so that both can feel something again after being dragged through a field of barbed wires.  I’m now focusing on the earlier hours of today when I was so happy and felt well in myself to try and get some restful sleep and have no nightmares.

Now, for your perusing pleasure, I enclose the list of songs in the aforementioned playlist for you to get an idea/inspiration of songs that I rely on when I’m tired of not feeling and feeling unloved and pointless in this world.

  • Falling Slowly    Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova
  • Don’t Go Breaking My Heart        Elton John           Blanche & Orson              Jackie
  • Haven’t Met You Yet       Michael Buble
  • Song for the Waiting      Aron Wright
  • Till I Hear You Sing          Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • Once Upon Another Time            Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • Look With Your Heart     Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • Beneath a Moonless Sky              Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • Love Never Dies               Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • Universe & U     KT Tunstall
  • Since You’ve Been Gone               Rainbow
  • Wait      Get Set Go
  • Grace    Kate Havnevik
  • Please Stay         Duffy
  • Someone Else’s Story (Live)        Kerry Ellis
  • Everything I Own             Vanessa Hudgens & I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On
  • Breathe (2 AM) Anna Nalick
  • Hiding My Heart               Adele
  • Don’t Marry Her                The Beautiful South
  • Feel This (feat. Enation)               Bethany Joy Galeotti
  • Fix You Coldplay
  • Someone to Fall Back On             Aly Michalka & I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On
  • Three Times a Lady (Single Version)       The Commodores
  • You’re Beautiful               James Blunt
  • Just the Way You Are     Bruno Mars
  • Unanswered Prayers      Deja Vu
  • If Tomorrow Never Comes          Deja Vu
  • Like a Virgin (feat. Jonathan Groff)          Glee Cast
  • I’m Yours             Jason Mraz
  • Because of You Kelly Clarkson
  • She’s Always a Woman Billy Joel
  • Call Me Maybe  Carly Rae Jepsen
  • The Story             Sara Ramirez
  • Kiss It Better      He Is We
  • (You’re) Having My Baby              Glee Cast
  • Crazy People     The Wreckers
  • Stand Still, Look Pretty  The Wreckers
  • Wish You Were Kate Voegele
  • Kiss Me Sixpence None the Richer
  • Blue Moon          Cliff Richard
  • I Won’t Say (I’m In Love)               Cheryl Freeman, LaChanze, Lillias White, Susan Egan & Vaneese Thomas
  • Sweet Caroline Neil Diamond
  • Sweet About Me              Gabriella Cilmi
  • Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered   Richard Sisson & Samuel Barnett
  • Time After Time               Cyndi Lauper
  • You Are the Sunshine of My Life (Glee Cast Version)      Glee Cast
  • Suspicious Minds             Elvis Presley
  • (You’re) Timeless to Me               Christopher Walken & John Travolta
  • Plaisir d’amour (Album Version)              Charlotte Church
  • My Funny Valentine       Ella Fitzgerald
  • I’ll Stand By You                Pretenders
  • The Perfect Year              Dina Carroll
  • I Got You Babe  Sonny & Cher
  • Anyone Else But You      Michael Cera & Ellen Page
  • Mercy   Duffy
  • Surrender           Patti LuPone
  • Send In The Clowns        Michael Ball
  • Please (feat. Bethany Joy Lenz)
  • S.O.S.    Hilton McRae & Siobhan McCarthy          Benny Andersson, Bjorn Ulvaeus & Stig Anderson
  • Love Is a Many Splendored Thing             The Four Aces & Al Alberts          Sammy Fain & Paul Francis Webster
  • Love Is In the Air              Rupert Everett & Colin Firth
  • Amarilli, Mia Bella          Aled Jones
  • Love Changes Everything             Teatro
  • Nothing Compares 2 U  All Angels
  • Ángels (Edit)      All Angels
  • Total Eclipse of the Heart             Jill Andrews
  • Total Eclipse of the Heart (Glee Cast Version) [feat. Jonathan Groff]       Glee Cast
  • Mandy  Donny Osmond
  • Bring Me To Life               Evanescence
  • Love Hurts          Gram Parsons
  • It’s a Heartache Rod Stewart
  • The Bridge          Shaun Johnston & Amber Marshall
  • Everybody Hurts              The Corrs
  • 10 / 10   Paolo Nutini
  • Please Do Not Go            Violent Femmes
  • When the Stars Go Blue                Tyler Hilton & Bethany Joy Lenz
  • I Know Him So Well (feat. Emma Bunton)            Melanie C.
  • Every Breath You Take   The Police
  • Man Like Me      Robert Downey Jr.
  • I’m Yours                             Jason Mraz
  • Gravity Sara Bareilles
  • Love Theme       Lisbeth Scott
  • Leaving On a Jet Plane (Glee Cast Version)          Matthew Morrison
  • Make You Feel My Love                Adele
  • Calm After the Storm (Eurovision 2014 – The Netherlands)The Common Linnets
  • Next to Me         Emeli Sande
  • Your Song            Ellie Goulding
  • Never Can Say Goodbye               Dianna Agron & the Cast of Glee
  • Saving All My Love For You          Dianna Agron & the Cast of Glee
  • Seasons of Love               Dianna Agron & the Cast of Glee
  • Take My Breath Away    Dianna Agron & the Cast of Glee
  • You Keep Me Hangin’ On              Dianna Agron & the Cast of Glee
  • Homeward Bound/Home             Dianna Agron & the Cast of Glee
  • I can’t go for that/You make my dreams                Dianna Agron & the Cast of Glee
  • I Don’t Want To Know    Dianna Agron & the Cast of Glee
  • Just Give Me A Reason  Dianna Agron & the Cast of Glee
  • Love Song           Dianna Agron & the Cast of Glee
  • Lucky     Dianna Agron & the Cast of Glee
  • Marry You           Dianna Agron & the Cast of Glee
  • We’ve Got Tonight          Dianna Agron & the Cast of Glee
  • Cherish/Cherish               Dianna Agron & the Cast of Glee
  • (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life   Dianna Agron & the Cast of Glee

 

LaBellaBorgia Speaks,

P.Mistry-Norman

16-06-2014

Rock Me, Amadeus, Rock Me to Sleep…

If you’ve ever seen the film Amadeus, you’ll remember that one of the most moving and human aspects of it is Antonio Salieri and his destructive jealousy of Mozart.  This is something I’ve been empathising with poignantly over the past few weeks (actually, my whole life) and has been making me cry myself to sleep for too long so I have to get it out there into the universe so maybe it will make me better and stop raking me over the coals.

Let me start properly by telling you that I used to sing.  I mean, I could really sing, with every blood cell in my short and stubby body.  It was everything to me and it gave me such joy in life.  Even when everything else was crumbling around me and life felt unbearable, I would just sing and I’d feel better.  I think it made me not feel so alone.  After all, you don’t need anyone to be able to sing…  I was in choirs, I did duets but I did solos too and the confidence burst that you get when people clap or give you chances to excel like that is unlike anything else in life.  That was all I wanted in life – to sing.   Don’t mistake me for someone who thinks they could sing professionally but it was my main hobby and pastime.  I’d get to school first and leave school last to sing.

My best friend is a fantastic singer and when we used to perform together, my life made complete sense and I was happy.  Even though he never sung with me willingly and I had to drag him to every rehearsal and concert, it meant something that he validated me when we performed together so successfully.  It was a time when I was alive, when I could feel the breath come and go as I sang to people who cared.  Now, I’ve lost him to better and brighter things – namely, a band.  How am I supposed to compete with that?  I can’t – that’s how – and I’m painfully tired of trying.

The singing stopped after I passed my Grade 8 and joined university.  I realised what I was truly gifted at was being an MD because I know how to make music.  I know how it should reverberate in the air and carry on until it stabs your very soul.  I lost the ability to produce music like that myself but I found I knew precisely how to draw that kind of passion and emotion out of others; it’s one of the things that reaffirmed my belief that I was born to teach but that is the brief outline of how my music died.

After you’ve been told so many times that you’re rubbish and are shown by your closest friends whom you trust with your body, your heart and your soul, but was foolish to trust with your voice and asked what the point of singing is and how it’s going to earn you a penny, you begin to learn that singing is for nothing and that you really have nothing special, unique or worth valuing.  Much like young children who witness something traumatic lose the ability to speak despite the fact that nothing physical has affected their vocal chords, I know without a shadow of a doubt that something psychosomatic is changing my singing ability and making me sound like a dying cat anytime I sing.

You can’t imagine the pain I go through whenever I have to sing because I have things to get off my chest that simply won’t be alleviated through writing this blog or talking to people, and I hear myself sound like a poor entry to The X Factor.  More than anything (except a family of my own) I pray for God to return my voice to me and give me back that particular thing that I’ve lost.  I can deal with the loss of my mother’s love, the loss of my home and friends, even the loss of my sanity (though that ship may have been lost at sea…) but I’m truly not sure I can take another night of singing myself to sleep and singing my heart out only to comprehend innately that it’s just one more thing on the long list of things at which I suck.

Now, to wind this post down, I go back to Amadeus and Salieri.  In the film, Salieri is depicted as a man who struggles with self-worth, a fruitless relationship with the Almighty, overwhelming jealousy and homicidal tendencies.  All of these aspects of his life are what makes him so similar to me and in no small part, warns me of things I struggle with now and will continue to battle for the remainder of my natural life.  I’m not implying that I’ll go about killing people who are better singing or end up in Bedlam but my tendency to truly hate and envy those who have not lost their talent (yet!) worries me and I recognise it is a true destructive force in my life.  That is something that has to change and who knows, maybe one day I’ll find my voice again and life will be tolerable.

LaBellaBorgia Speaks,

P. Mistry-Norman

12-06-2014