Zayn Malik: does a crush only move in one direction?

Zayn MalikI know he’s the mysterious one, and maybe that’s the point. I don’t know much more about him. But I know I love him. It’s a ridiculous teenage crush, of course. I could never get a boy like Zayn. For so many reasons. But I can’t help loving him.

When he announced he was leaving One Direction I was over the moon. I don’t listen to their music—I can’t even name a song—so the reason I was happy was because the spotlight shifted to Zayn. The other hapless morons in his band were pushed into the shadows while the world speculated on the mysterious one’s reasons. Was he going solo? Was he choosing to settle down? Had he fallen out with the other lads? Who knew? Six months on, do we have any answers at all?

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The Carole King musical is beautiful but also totally desperate

beautifulSongs can be clingy. They stick in your head. But they’re also another kind of clingy. Songs often tell a story about someone who really wants to be in a relationship with somebody else. Yesterday I went to see Beautiful, the Carole King musical, and hearing a lot of her early songs together in quick succession mixed in with the story of her personal life I realised: man, was she hormonal and desperate. I’ve been thinking about relationships a lot—I’ve written about them here previously and I’ve been reading books like Michael Warner’s ethical polemic against marriage, The Trouble With Normal, and Julie Bindel’s assessment of queer politics today, Straight Expectations.

You might not be used to a queer analysis of a Carole King musical but here goes. Continue reading

Fulboy shows us the full man

I know more than a few men who perform for work. Tim plays a serious and together corporate manager. Rick jokes along with the tough banter of other men he doesn’t really like. And Luis crunches his numbers and makes line graphs and presents them with smooth confidence to colleagues. These are not actors: they are just men doing their jobs. But they are performing day in, day out, aren’t they? Isn’t that what we’re all doing at work?

Performance in the workplace. Rooney by Gordon Flood via Flickr
Performance in the workplace. Rooney by Gordon Flood via Flickr

Performance is perhaps more obvious in footballers. I am not talking about their athletic flamboyance. Or their artistry of punching the ball onward with their toes through moving obstacles. These things serve their aims of moving the ball to the back of the net. They perform in entirely different ways that are both unnecessary when you think about it and yet absolutely essential to their sport. Continue reading

The joy of sex in church

A reading of a lecture given by Rowan Williams in 1989 and entitled The Body’s Grace: An Address to the Lesbian Gay Christian Movement

A friend of mine asked me to read a speech by Rowan Williams, who used to be the Archbishop of Canterbury. I rolled my eyes at the suggestion because I don’t have much patience for the church and its leaders. But Richard Dawkins and the other aggressive God-deniers I come across have taught me a commandment of my own: He who dismisses the God stuff out of hand can be a total arse. I don’t want to be an arse, so I try to remember not to be dogmatically opposed to the church and its people. This is one reason why I accepted my friend’s request and why I read Williams’ speech. I’ve just finished it and I’m trying to take it all in.

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