Welcome to COOL GAY STUFF! ... (aka :- http://www.mmromancenovels.com/). COOL GAY STUFF is a digest of Internet snippets highlighting recent gay media you may have missed. Each selection is thumb-nail sampled & Net-linked for deeper review by the author of THE HADRIAN ENIGMA ... a sensual Roman-era M/M romance & crime-mystery saluting the kaleidoscopic varieties of human affection, relationship, & sexuality.

Your host --- historical novelist George Gardiner --- surveys new gay-interest movies or other gay-appeal media ahead of introducing his highly-praised, erotically-charged, 498-page "good read" Roman-era thriller & romance titled "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA - A Forbidden History". This is a fictional novel of history's real-life relationship between the dynamic Roman emperor Hadrian Caesar and his spirited charismatic beau, Antinous of Bithynia (whose more than 120 surviving ancient statues attest to his muscular good looks & distinctive personality). After exploring the youth's suspicious drowning in Roman Egypt's Nile River in 130CE, purchasers of the book via Amazon have happily awarded it a top 5-Star rating by over half of its 25 Amazon-USA reviewers. (That's 54% at 5-stars, plus a further 25% in 4-Star tributes).

COOL GAY STUFF uses snippets from reader's praises (see below) for you to assess the book, plus provides direct links to Amazon-USA or UK for speedy purchase of a copy of the 498-page paperback (plus a modest mail-delivery fee). Alternatively, you may prefer to immediately download the thrifty Kindle ebook copy of the same text? Please note:- the paperback version of THE HADRIAN ENIGMA is not available in city book-stores; its sole buying option is online (check sources, below), with a speedy plain-wrapped copy mailed via Amazon to your preferred mail address.

Then follows the past month's daily COOL GAY STUFF's Internet 'pin-board' sampler of notable GLBTQ news, articles, videos, movie trailers & media reviews of likely gay appeal. However, this site avoids NSFW items or hardcore porn, so it doesn't "frighten the horses" (Oscar Wilde's cheery 19thCent literary advice), nor unsettle our very welcome non-gay visitors who too might enjoy a 'good-read' historical novel such as THE HADRIAN ENIGMA. This blog's formal Fair Dealing/Non-Profit copyright criteria (in US practice) are posted at its conclusion, plus a catalog of the novel's historical research resources. So, welcome everyone, wherever you are! ENJOY!

DWAYNE and ZAC deliver some early summer laughs ...

Don't say you haven't been told! This movie's latest trailer reveals its intended ditsy edge as both Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) and his newest beach lifesaver recruit, a bulked-up Zac Efron (The Hunk?), confront urgent beach rescue action among crazed-but-nubile beach-side fulsome ladies (The Chicks) wearing not-very-much at every opportunity, while a gang of comedy gangsters causes mayhem all round.

One of this site's established faves, Mr. Efron, wears his new body and arrogant charms with cheeky aplomb while he and Dwayne dish out comic justice to the movie's baddies. It's sunny, cheerful, goings-on timed for the northern hemisphere's fading winter chills. Have a look in May...

Movie directed by Seth Gordon. Cast : Dwayne Johnson (The Rock), Alexandra Daddario, & Zac Efron.
US release date : May 19, 2017 ... with a similar time scale in other global markets.


ONE OF THE EARLIEST RECORDED SAME-SEX ROMANCES OF HISTORY : Hadrian Caesar and his very-fit paramour Antinous of Bithynia, set amid the Roman Empire (circa 125-130CE) two centuries before Rome legalized Christian beliefs.

The two-line blue web-address (below) is an invitation from your host, author George Gardiner, to explore his 498-page romance/crime/historical erotica/m-m romance "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History" at Amazon USA.

Alternatively, a click on the actual book cover-pics (below) will also deliver you to Amazon (USA) to explore purchase details via its Amazon Online link :-

HADRIAN & ANTINOUS - recorded history's first 'out' lovers ...

HADRIAN & ANTINOUS - recorded history's first 'out' lovers ...
... back & front cover of THE HADRIAN ENIGMA. .. CLICK ON THE PICS for direct link to its Amazon USA page to check reviews, prices, & airmail-purchase of a paperback or instant Kindle ebook download.

OPINIONS OF "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA" - quotes from 24 Amazon USA purchasers ...

"Five stars ... a good read."
Viola Noll at Amazon USA

"Nobody will ever know what, exactly, happened to Antinoos. But this is IMHO the best yet story about what might have been. ...."
David Woodworth (USA) at Amazon's USA sales site

"Five stars ... This is a good & fast read."
Fr Mike Mangoian (USA) at Amazon USA

"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 :- http://jeannetomlin.blogspot.com/

"Five stars ... a tour de force ..."
Elisa Rolle, Amazon Top 1000 Reviewer, USA & UK, & at : http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1092070.html

" ... 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 http://www.desicritics.org/ 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 :- http://kitmossreviews.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/the-hadrian-enigma-forbidden-history-by.html

"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

" ... I would recommend the book to anyone interested in the Hadrian/Antinous relationship"
Harrison Sheppard at Amazon USA

NOTE: Amazon USA's &
UK's online book & ebook purchase sites with their 25 independent reader's reviews (fourteen awarding Five Stars for excellence!) can be read in full by clicking on :- http://www.amazon.com/Hadrian-Enigma-Forbidden-History/product-reviews/0980746906/ref=sr_1_1_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1


LUST, LOVE, INTRIGUE, & MURDEROUS REVENGE: challenging suspense fiction suggested by real events in history's most unusual true 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 available via online sources. (Not available in street stores.)

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 ONLINE ONLY (not available in street stores). CLICK NOW ON A LINK BELOW to select or compare your preferred purchase & delivery options ...

For an Amazon-USA delivered (or air-freighted overseas) 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 :

COOL GAY STUFF now introduces current news, media, & opinion selections across both columns ...

With many thanks to the originating sources, this left-side column offers "
Mobile First" news excerpts ... a 'text-only' stream for mobile devices to identify & promote teaser-snippets of LGBTQ-news, relevant text selections, & trailer details of likely gay-interest movies .... culminating in independent readers' reviews of

... meanwhile, the right-hand column (viewable only via full-frame PC's, laptops, & notebooks etc), displays supportive pics, graphics, cinema trailers, or short videos relevant to the main column's text subjects ... and more!


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Salute to the Trump Era ...

Welcome to the Trump Presidency
----  the opening pars from an extended political report by Molly Ball at The Atlantic (USA), 20 January 2017 (with thanks) :-

      'He’s moved to establish his dominance of his party, of Congress, and of the media. Now, he turns to the nation.
      They streamed into Washington this week to collect their reward, the activists and party hacks and true believers who helped make it happen. The members of the Republican National Committee, representing every state and territory, gathered in the ornate, slightly dowdy ballrooms of Washington’s Omni Shoreham hotel, where they took care of the party’s business between being feted at lunches, receptions, and inaugural balls. The mood was jubilant: Against all odds, after years of frustration, everything they worked for had come to pass.
      The Republicans—a few hundred RNC members and nonmember guests—took their seats in rows of chairs to hear the good news: control of Congress, 33 of 50 governorships, control of the legislatures of 32 states. On the stage, their chairman for the last six years, Reince Priebus, told them their efforts had been key to the party’s success. .... '
----  see more of Molly Ball's interesting report at The Atlantic at :-

Friday, January 20, 2017

Gay pulps once never made it ...

Why gay pulps never made it to the shelves of mainstream bookstores
----  the opening pars from a substantial publishing report by Jeremy Willard at DailyXtra (Canada), 17th January 2017 :-

      'Imagine the courage it must have taken to pick up a copy of Summer in Sodom from the local dime store in the 1960s.
      Beginning in the late 1940s, books with gay subject matter (and often suggestive titles and cover art) sauntered for the first time onto the shelves of many drugstores, soda shops, dime stores and other such places across the US. The subject matter of gay pulp books was still taboo, but the books were available to those brave enough to take them from the rack.
      Among their more enticing titles are things like Summer in Sodom, Lost on the Twilight Road, Gaydreams, Skid Row Sweetie, Bad Boys, The Gay Rebels, The Price of Pansies, Queen of the Road, Rough Trade, Cycle Sadist and Leather Sucker. ....
....  Ian Young describes the rise of the gay pulps in the opening of his 2007 book, Out in Paperback: A Visual History of Gay Pulps. .... '
----  see more of Jeremy Willard's revealing history of  'pulp publishing' at www.dailyxtra.com at :-

Thursday, January 19, 2017


Troye Sivan : HEAVEN ft. Betty Who

----  Written by Troye Sivan, Jack Antonoff, Alex Hope, and Claire Boucher. Produced by Jack Antonoff. Directed by Luke Gilford.

".... we have always been here. we will always be here. this video is dedicated to all who’ve come before me and fought for our cause and those who now continue the fight. in dark and light times, let’s love forever. love, troye x ... " (YouTube quote)

Music video by Troye Sivan performing HEAVEN (C) 2017 Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd.

New album 'Blue Neighbourhood’ feat. “HEAVEN” & “YOUTH” available now: http://troye.si/vanBlueNeighbourhood
'Blue Neighbourhood' merch & more here: http://troye.si/vanStore
----  see video of HEAVEN in side-column (at right, with thanks), or visit YouTube at :-

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

MOONLIGHT "... is masterful ... "

"MOONLIGHT" Is A Masterful Film About Community And Alienation
---- opening phrases from an extended film review by John Ehrett at The Federalist (USA), 18th January 2017 :-

      'This film about a young black gay man largely transcends politics, offering instead a poignant story about meaning and belonging.
      Critical accolades notwithstanding, “Moonlight” is almost certainly a film few conservatives have seen, or are likely to see. The one-sentence synopsis of the film—a young black gay man’s coming-of-age story—would almost certainly lead one to expect a polemic against social injustice, a cinematic broadside against the impending horrors of the Age of Trump.
      “Moonlight,” however, is not such a movie. Instead, it tells a deeply felt story that largely transcends politics, raising memorable questions about life and relationships that cut across all demographics.  ....
....  But perhaps the most enduring strength of “Moonlight” is its thematic timelessness. This is not a race-relations story in the vein of Paul Haggis’ “Crash” (in fact, there are no white characters at all), a gay love story à la Ang Lee’s “Brokeback Mountain,” or an explicitly political critique like Ava DuVernay’s “13th.” And in many ways, this refusal to focus on anything other than its central character is what makes “Moonlight” a potent viewing experience. .... '
----  see more of John Ehrett's sensitive review of "Moonlight" at The Federalist's online magazine, plus visit the film's 2min10sec trailer in Cool Gay Stuff's right-hand pics-&-videos column accessed via PC's, laptops, and other full service devices :-


'A THIRD GENDER: Beautiful Youths in Japanese Prints' to debut at Japan Society in New York City
---- the opening phrases from an art-book report by Hilton Dresden at OUT Magazine (USA), 19th December 2016 :-

      'No previous American art show has explored gender and sexual expression during Japan's Edo period in such detail.
      In March, "A Third Gender: Beautiful Youths in Japanese Prints" will debut at the Japan Society in New York City. The exhibition will be the first of its kind in the U.S. and will investigate the "wakashu" ("beautiful youths") who were considered a third, unique gender during the Edo period (approximately 1603 to 1868).
      Yukie Kamiya, gallery director of the Japan Society, said in a statement: “We could not be more excited to bring this imminently relevant exhibition to New York City. With our long history of presenting traditional and contemporary Japanese art, we look forward to exploring Japan’s Early Modern era, which is often characterized as a moment of isolation, from an unexpected vantage point—namely, how the richness of lived experience in the Edo period can serve as a touchstone for issues that resonate within contemporary society.”  .... '
----  see more of Hilton Dresden's report at www.out.com/art-books at :-
[See at artwork at right: Suzuki Harunobu's Two Couples in a Teahouse, 1769-70. Courtesy of the Royal Ontario Museum, Sir Edmund Walker Collection. 926.18.280.]

Monday, January 16, 2017

83% of Germans endorse gay marriage ...

Germany has the 'highest level of support' for gay marriage
----  selected lines from the opening pars of a news item reported by Marilyn Stowe of Stowe, Family Law LLP (UK), 15 January 2017 :-

      'Germany has the highest level of support for gay marriage among countries where it is not yet legal.
      In a newly published survey, almost 83 per cent of Germans said same sex couples should have the same marriage rights as heterosexuals. More than three quarters – 75.8 per cent – believed there should be equal adoption rights and 67 per cent said those couples should receive the same level of support as their straight peers when it comes to seeking IVF treatment.
      Despite these positive numbers, some people also expressed some anti-gay sentiments. Almost ten per cent of participants believed homosexuality was immoral and a little more than 18 per cent said it was unnatural. .... '
----  see more of Marilyn Stowe's statistical report at www.marilynstowe.co.uk at :-

Saturday, January 14, 2017

IS AMERICA GETTING GAYER? ... (or are Americans simply being more honest with themselves?)

America is getting gayer and gayer, according to new Gallup survey
----  introductory pars from news report by Graham Gremore at QUEERTY online magazine (USA), 14 January 2017 :-

      '.... A new Gallup survey has found that more than 10 million Americans, 4.1% to be exact, now identify as LGBTQ. That’s an increase of more than 1.75 million since the last survey conducted in 2012, which found 3.5% of Americans identified as LGBTQ. ....
....  The survey is based on a total of 1,626,773 telephone interviews with randomly selected Americans ages 18 and older living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The survey was conduced from June 1, 2012 through December 30, 2016.
      Millennials showed the sharped increase in overall LGBTQ self-identification, going from 5.8% in 2012 to 7.3% in 2016. Generation Xers remained more of less than same, hovering around 3.2%.          Baby boomers went from 1.8% to 1.4%, and traditionalists (folks born between 1913-1945) went from 1.8% to 1.4%. .... '
---- see more of Graham Gremore's striking report at www.queerty.com at (with thanks) :-

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Impact of President Obama on LGBT Rights ...

History will be kind to President Obama
----  a single par from an extended opinion-piece by Karl Fowlkes Jr at the LGBT news-source Washington Blade (USA), 13th January 2017 :-

      '....  However, one of the greatest impacts that President Obama had on the LGBT community was not legislative or policy — it was when he voiced support for same-sex marriage in 2012.  Conversations about same-sex marriage took place at dinner tables, living rooms and barber shops around the nation. Even my 76-year-old Baptist minister father came around and stated that same-sex couples should have the right to marry. Public opinion immediately started shifting toward acceptance of same-sex marriage, which culminated in the approval of same-sex marriage by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015.
      President John F. Kennedy once said that history will be the final judge of our deeds. .... '

[Earl Fowlkes is chair of the DNC’s LGBTQ Caucus and president of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club.]

----  see more of this Washington Blade article by Earl Fowlkes at :-

Thursday, January 12, 2017

FELLOW TRAVELERS / An opera about being gay in the McCarthy era ...

Lavender & under suspicion
----  the introductory pars from a substantial account of the 1950's USA's gay "Lavendar Scare", adapted as a contemporary opera, reviewed by Roberto Friedman at The Bay Area Reporter (San Francisco USA), 12th January 2017 :-

      'One of the best gay novels of recent times, made into an opera, was named in The New York Times' end-of-year list for "The Best Classical Music of 2016." Based on gay historical novelist Thomas Mallon's brilliant Fellow Travelers (2007), the opera of the same name centers on a gay romance during the "Lavender Scare" of the McCarthyite 1950s in Washington, DC.  ....
....  Fellow Travelers, the modern opera conceived and developed by G. Sterling Zinsmeyer, premiered last year as part of the Cincinnati Opera's 2016 season and received rave reviews from the press, including the Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, and Opera News. The work received standing ovations at every one of its 10 sold-out Cincinnati Opera performances.  ....
----  see more of Roberto Friedman's update & review of Zinsmeyer's contemporary opera at The Bay Area Reporter at :-  http://ebar.com/arts/art_article.php?sec=outthere&article=618 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

LA LA LAND wins big in the city of its namesake ...

----  the trailer and the movie's brief details of this year's Golden Globes cinema awards winner

      LA LA LAND tells the story of Mia [Emma Stone], an aspiring actress, and Sebastian [Ryan Gosling], a dedicated jazz musician, who are struggling to make ends meet in a city known for crushing hopes and breaking hearts. Set in modern day Los Angeles, this original musical about everyday life explores the joy and pain of pursuing your dreams.'

      Now confirmed as a real contender for this year's Academy Awards, this unexpected movie musical stars (community faves) : Ryan Gosling & Emma Stone, plus John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt, Finn Wittrock, Callie Hernandez, Sonoya Mizuno, Jessica Rothe, Tom Everett Scott, Josh Pence
▶ Directed by Damien Chazelle

LA LA LAND opens in the USA in cinemas on Thursday January 12th. Its 2-minute YouTube trailer can be viewed in the Net/PC/laptop/mobile-accessible side-column for Cool Gay Stuff pics & videos (here, at right).

Monday, January 9, 2017

2016's GOOD GAY THINGS ...

Look At All The Good Gay Things That Happened in 2016
----  an end-of-year appraisal by Matt Baume at the ever-lively Unicorn Booty (UK), 7 January 2017 :-

      'The international advances of last year ranged from the small (marriage legalized in part of mostly-uninhabited Antarctica!) to the large (ex-gay camps banned throughout the entire country of Malta!) but one of the most important milestones centered around visibility. That’s because raising visibility is one of the first steps to securing more rights and overturning unjust laws.
      So it’s a big deal that the Navy announced they’ll name a ship after noted veteran Harvey Milk; and that an openly trans woman addressed the Democratic National Convention for the first time.
      The U.S. Chamber of Commerce gave the Small Business of the Year Award to Equator Coffees & Teas, the first time that award’s gone to an openly LGBT-owned business.
      And there were even advances for fictional queer characters, from Sulu to Tracer to Wonder Woman; and a slew of great queer films came out: Moonlight, Women who Kill, Love is Strange, and more. Proving that we exist everywhere is a crucial first step to improving LGBT lives.  .... '
----  see more of Matt Baume's inspired assessment at Unicorn Booty (at the web address here :-
https://unicornbooty.com/good-gay-things-2016/ )
----  and/or visit Matt's lively 4-minute video in the right-hand sidebar confirming his ebullient view of 2016.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Young Men On Being Gay ... a new book

"BECOMING WHO I AM: Young Men On Being Gay"
----  the introductory pars to a substantial review by Jim Piechota of a new book by Ritch C. Savin-Williams titled: "Becoming Who I Am" at The Bay Area Reporter (Online), 5 January 2017 :-

      'In Becoming Who I Am, a rewarding study of youth, sexuality, and identity, Ritch C. Savin-Williams, a human development professor at Cornell University, offers clear and insightful glimpses into the lives of young gay men. His new book "shares my accumulated knowledge and perspective with those of you who believe you might be gay, know you're gay, or want to find out what gay teens experience."
      His text, based on over 40 years of career research, is primarily comprised of expansive interviews with gay youth who were more than willing to tell their stories about "growing up gay in today's world."  .... '
----  see more of Jim Piechota's review of Ritch C. Savin-Williams' timely book at :-

[Becoming Who I Am: Young Men on Being Gay by Ritch C. Savin-Williams, Harvard University Press, $27.95]

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Japan's gay samurai literature ...

How same-sex samurai stories made gay love beautiful in Japan
----  the opening phrases from an historical reflection by Michael Lyons at DailyXtra (UK), 3 January 2017 :-

      'Ihara Saikaku’s book of short stories celebrated male relationships in the 17th century. Despite Japans attitude towards LGBT people now, same-sex love — at least male homosexuality — was once a cultural pastime. ....
....  Funny that same-sex love, at least male homosexuality, was once not only celebrated, but a cultural pastime. Published in 1687, Nanshoku ōkagami, or The Great Mirror of Male Love, was a book of 40 short stories by Ihara Saikaku.
      This was at the height of the Tokugawa period when merchant classes, while still considered lower social status than farmers, were enjoying greater wealth that gave them access to prostitutes, urban pleasure quarters, art and popular fiction — the four were often interlinked. .... '
----  see more of Michael Lyons' fascinating 2-page essay about Japanese same-sex samurai stories at :-  http://www.dailyxtra.com/world/blogs-and-columns/history-boys/sex-samurai-stories-made-gay-love-beautiful-in-japan-212815 
----  see too a fascinating one-page history of gay relations in pre-20thCent Japan at :-

Sunday, January 1, 2017

PRESIDENT OBAMA and the gay community ...

19 Ways Barack Obama changed the world of LGBT rights
----  the opening lines of an extended, detailed, and substantial 19-point essay written by Nick Duffy for Pink News (UK), 29th December 2016 :-

      'With Barack Obama coming to the end of his Presidency, it’s easy to forget the incredible number of ways the Democrat flipped the conversation on LGBT rights in just eight years.
      Ending the Republican-dominated Bush era of politics which saw LGBT people pushed to the margins, across eight years the Democrat has changed the paradigm again and again, often in spite of a hostile Congress

      As the end of his Presidency approaches, we take a look back at his range of achievements, which undoubtedly make him the most progressive LGBT ally to ever hold the office of President.
      1. Signing a federal hate crime law
....  The Hate Crimes Prevention Act was signed into law by President Barack Obama in October 2009, added federal-level hate crime protections for crimes based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.
    Under the law, people who commit hate crimes anywhere in the US can face a federal charge, even if their state has no hate crime law. ...'
      2. Overturning 'Don't Ask, Don 't Tell' .... étc
--- Nick Duffy continues with his assessment of eighteen further ways Obama has influenced US policy on the legalities of the LGBT community, at :-

Saturday, December 31, 2016


Trump must prove that he supports 'our LGBTQ citizens'
----  opening phrases from a substantial Editorial at The Los Angeles Times (USA), 29 December 2016, published by The Times Editorial Board:-

      'Among the many constituencies viewing the presidency of Donald Trump with apprehension are gay, lesbian and transgender Americans, who are disturbed by what they heard from members of the president-elect's inner circle and by language in the Republican platform.
      Vice-President-elect Mike Pearce, for example, has espoused troubling views on issues of importance to the gay community. As a member of Congress, for instance, he supported a constitutional amendment to outlaw same-sex marriage, warning that "societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family." .... '
--- see much more of The LA Times' editorial at :-

Thursday, December 29, 2016

HOMOSEXUALITY: An age of acceptance? ...

HOMOSEXUALITY: The Age of Acceptance .. Why We Are Witnessing An Incredible Revolution in Attitudes
----  the opening pars from an extended gender-&-relationship opinion-piece by Ben Wardle, LGBT Ambassador at HUFFPost: Young Voices (UK), 29 December 2016 :-

      'Since the beginning of civilisation, there have been several moments that have changed the course of human history forever.
      The abolition of the slave trade is one notable example of much-needed progress, as is the vote for women and the fight against racism by figures such as Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela. ....
.... Then there is the fact that being gay is actually illegal in over 70 countries worldwide, and even punishable by death in over 12. It is clear that so much misunderstanding, lack of awareness and education, ignorance and bigotry is continuing to stand in the way of the full acceptance of homosexuality.
....  The dawn is finally breaking on a golden age of love, acceptance and inclusion...may we seize this momentous opportunity. .... '
----  see more of this interesting & well-informed essay at HUFFPost at :-

Sunday, December 25, 2016


From beauty pageants to bathroom battles, 5 major gains for LGBT rights in 2016
----  the introductory pars to an extended news commentary by Kieran Guilbert at The Independent (Singapore), 20 December 2016 :-

     '(Thomson Reuters Foundation) – From bathrooms and beauty pageants to diplomatic disputes and Donald Trump’s U.S. presidential victory, 2016 was a turbulent year for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people worldwide.
      Gay and transgender rights took more prominence than ever in the global media spotlight after several high-profile legal battles, and celebrity and cultural endorsements.
      Yet LGBTI people worldwide still face discrimination in many aspects of life such as employment, education and healthcare, and are subjected to widespread violence, campaigners say.
      However, gay and transgender rights groups are being increasingly backed, and are fighting to change policies and laws to protect LGBTI people from violence and discrimination.
      Here are five of the biggest gains for LGBTI rights in 2016:  ....

---- the issues follow, encompassing (1) the new UN gay rights investigator; (2) North Carolina's transgender bathroom law; (3) films & tv shows which highlight LGBTI issues; & (4) gay rights in the media; are explored by Kieran Guilbert at http://theindependent.sg at :-

Friday, December 23, 2016


Paris and gay love through the eyes of Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas
----  two iconic women of the 20thCentury are revived in a live theater show at San Francisco, reported by Hannah Rubin at jWeekly.com (USA), 22 December 2016 :-

      'One of the best gay love stories of the 20th century took place in Paris, and soon will be on stage in San Francisco.
      Theatre Rhinoceros presents “Gertrude Stein and a Companion,” a show chronicling the witty, romantic relationship of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, two key figures in the Parisian modern arts and literature movements of the first half of the 20th century.  ....
....  The play begins with the death of Stein in 1946 and the birth of her ghost, who pays a long visit to a mourning Toklas. The resulting dialogue contains a rich portrayal of 20th-century Paris, through the reminiscences and commentaries of the two female companions. The play also flits back and forth in time, bringing in the voices — both humorous and intelligent — of many of the duo’s artistic companions of the era, including Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso.
      Using text from Stein’s writing, letters and interviews, the interworkings of the women’s relationship is revealed. “They were regular in being gay … they were gay the same length of time every day,” declares the lilac-colored flyer for the play. .... '
----  for SanFranciscans, see more of Hannah Rubin's complete report in www.jweekly.com at :-
---- 'Frisco residents may wish to know :-
“Gertrude Stein and a Companion,” Dec. 28 – Jan. 8 at Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson St., San Francisco USA.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

TEN BEST LGBTQ BOOKS, from The Bay Area Reporter ...

Best LGBTQ nonfiction of 2016
----  a Christmas-time highly-condensed appraisal of three of ten selected non-fiction reads from 2016, thumbnail-reviewed by Brian Bromberger at The Bay Area Reporter (San Francisco USA), 22 December 2016. This post at Cool Gay Stuff hopefully provides a glimpse of Mr. Bromberger's useful signposting of his selected ten books ...  :-

      '2016 will go down as the Year of the Memoir, with seven of these top 10 books having some autobiographical component. Most titles document past political and cultural struggles that allowed the LGBTQ community to enjoy the rights we have today, and remember heroes who made those rights possible.
      3. When We Rise: My Life in the Movement by Cleve Jones. In this love song to SF, Jones charts the rise of the LGBT movement in the 1970s, its partying, dancing, drugs, and uninhibited sexual freedom, but also the building of a community, amassing political clout.  ....'
      2. Love Wins: The Lovers and Lawyers Who Fought the Landmark Case For Marriage Equality by Jim Obergefell and Debbie Cenziper. For Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court case that established marriage equality in all 50 states, it all came down to love. .... '
      1. How To Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS by David France. The definitive history of the successful battle to halt the AIDS epidemic. .... '
----  visit Brian Bromberger's full expanded article of ten recommendations at The Bay Area Reporter at :-

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


Why the Tiny Island of Malta Has Europe's Most Progressive Gay Rights
----  the initial sentences from an extended news report by Kate Samuelson at TIME.com (USA), 15 December 2016 :-

      'But the European island is far from perfect for LGBTQ people, activists say.
      Malta, the tiny southern European island with a population of just over 420,000, made history earlier this month by becoming the first European country to criminalize “deceptive and harmful” conversion therapy, defined as any practice which aims to change, repress or eliminate a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
      Under the new bill which was passed unanimously on Dec. 5, those who practice conversion therapy will face fines ranging between €1,000 and €5,000 ($1,065 and $5,324) and a potential five month jail term. The bill also states that neither sexual orientation nor gender identification can be classified as a disease, disorder or shortcoming of any sort.  .... '
----  see more of Kate Samuelson's extended news report, which identifies several contradictory factors in Malta's apparent support for LGBTQ issues, at TIME's website of :-

Monday, December 19, 2016


How Gay Asian Romance Films Like "FRONT COVER" and "EAT WITH ME" Are Crushing Stigma In Hollywood
----  the opening pars from a perceptive movie industry observation by Jonathan Patrick, writer at CREATORS.CO, and published at MoviePilot (USA), 20 December 2016 :-

      'There is a bizarre treatment of #Asian men in Hollywood movies and television. Too busy being depicted as the "model minority," Asian men rarely score the part of the love interest or the romantic lead, as if they are something less than sexy and masculine. It was a breakthrough moment when John Cho was revealed to be the star and love interest in the short-lived show #Selfie.
      As if this weren't already a bad situation for Asian men as a whole, gay Asian men (who don't simply deal with being desexualized, but also struggle to break free of the stigma that most #LGBT people face) hardly exist in mainstream media. While gay romance films are becoming common in Asia, they are difficult to come by in the U.S.
      In recent years, however, two such films have come out: Front Cover and Eat With Me. These films highlight the culture and struggles gay Asian men face, and show us that gay Asian men are as sexy, empowered and desirable as anyone else. Here's how  .... '
---- see more of Jonathan Patrick's comments on the increasing internationalization of the movie industry, as published at MoviePilot, accompanied by two video trailers, at :-

Saturday, December 17, 2016

TRUDEAU: a new style of Canadian leader? ...

Has Canada become a leader in LGBT rights because of Justin Trudeau?
----  the opening phrases of a report by Rob Salerno at DailyExtra (Canada), 15 December 2016 :-

      'In his first year, progress has been made on trans rights, HIV criminalization and anal sex laws.
      It’s hard to overstate how thirsty for change Canada’s LGBT community was after a decade under Harper, so when Justin Trudeau came to power at the end of 2015, many were optimistic that our photogenic PM would usher in a golden age for queer Canadians.
      And while some people — including, on several occasions, this author — were skeptical that Trudeau would live up to his own hype, 2016 did in fact turn out to be quite a year of progress.
For the first time, the prime minister — and much of the federal cabinet — marched in a Pride parade.  ....'
----  see more of Rob Salerno's report about the new Canada at www.dailyxtra.com at :-

"THE REAL O'NEALS" Christmas pageant ...

Watch TV's Cutest (male) Couple Get You In The Holiday Spirit
----  (For USA readers & syndicated global viewers): here are the opening notions from a refreshingly upbeat blurb about a tv show's gay characters in the ABC(USA) tv series "The Real O'Neals", posted by Savas Abadsidis at HIVplusMag (USA), 16 December 2016 :-

      'The Real O'Neals' gives his first boyfriend in the anything but cliched, but maybe the funniest Christmas pageant episode of any show ever.
      If you haven't been watching ABC's The Real O'Neals, you're missing out. Starring gay actor Noah Galvin who plays the lead, goody two-shoe, gay son Kenny O'Neal. Tensions build as Kenny is being replaced by Brent played by Sean Grandillo as the new soloist in the church choir and Kenny sets out to sabotage his chances, until he learns the only reason Brent joined is to meet him. They then improvise a rap solo in one of the best mash-ups of Oh Night Divine' ever.
      As an EW.com exclusive reported: "Kenny and Brett sound great together, and their chemistry goes beyond music  ....'

----  (1) you can check-out the entire Christmas ep's 2'30" kiss scene at :- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8IyENsLeJ4
----  or (2) to learn more about Kenny & Brent (or Brett?) you will have to be in The Real O'Neal's (ABC-USA) tv-network's catchment areas. But the two pics posted in the right-hand column should convey the show's casting standards. Or, maybe you should visit the original magazine post at :- 

Thursday, December 15, 2016


A Gay Bear Porn Mag Changed My Life
----  the opening pars of an extended gay-tribe reminiscence by author Benjamin Adams at VICE.com (USA), 14 December 2016 :-

      'I never expected to find existential enlightenment from the pages of a porn magazine. But when I was 18, that's exactly what happened, after I wandered into one of Portland's many adult bookstores on a lark.
      I was browsing the racks when I came across a bare-chested, lumberjack-built man on the cover of a magazine called BEAR. He wasn't waxed or tanned, and instead of the chiseled bodies on the covers that surrounded him, he was bearded, beefy and hairy all over. To my eyes, he was perfect—and seeing him on the cover of a gay magazine was, in that pre-internet era of the late 80s, a revelation.
      For homos like myself, BEAR Magazine was much more than a porn rag. It was my first exposure to a subculture that would come to dominate the next decade of my social life. Seeing that cover made me realize that there were other men out there who were attracted to heavyset, hirsute guys like I was. .... ' 
----  see more of Benjamin Adams' whimsical reminiscences at VICE.com at :- 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


Why the Christian Right Is Head Over Heels About Trump Becoming President
----  some opening & final phrases from a substantial opinion-piece by Alex Kotch at ALTERNET (USA), 13 December 2016 :-

      'Trump catered to them, and it worked—even on evangelical leaders who were skeptical of his commitment. ....
....  By the time the votes were tallied, 81 percent of white evangelical and born-again Christian voters had cast their ballots for Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States. Even though the real estate mogul is ..  now on his third marriage who has bragged about sexual assault, a large majority of the Christian right supported him.  ....
....   Now that Trump is the president-elect, most radical Christian leaders are on board.
....  Trump may have pretended to care about issues dear to evangelicals to get elected, but by welcoming a significant right-wing Christian presence among his advisers, transition team and Cabinet, he could usher in a conservative social policy shift for which the radical Christian right has been fighting for some time.'
---- see the entire 6-page Alex Kotch article at www.alternet.org/election at url :-
----  (Alex Kotch is an independent investigative journalist based in Brooklyn, NY. Follow him on Twitter at @alexkotch.)

Monday, December 12, 2016

TEN LESBIAN MYTHS / A Guide To The L-Word ...

10 Myths About Lesbians You Need To Stop Believing Now
(No, we don't all love the L-Word)
----  the introduction to a newly-revisited, extended essay challenging many common fallacies about lesbians, as perceived by writer Rebekah Allen and published in teenVOGUE (USA), 23 November 2015 :-

      'Forget everything you think you know about lesbians. Well, not everything. Some truths remain undeniably unavoidable (say, for example, that whole 'being attracted to women' thing), but for some reason our identity also comes with a bunch of misconceptions and stereotypes that range from casually cute to potentially dangerous.
      Of course, some stereotypes exist for a reason. Personally, do I own at least 10 beautiful flannel shirts? Yes, proudly. I also own around 30 pairs of Converse and I literally have a rainbow tattooed on my body. However, I am fully aware that the next girl I swipe right for on Tinder might hate rainbows and think flannel is downright atrocious. Is nothing sacred anymore? Who can we trust?! Just kidding...
      Lesbians may share a label, but most of us couldn’t be more splendidly different. It’s time the world acknowledge how diverse lesbians and our culture can be instead of lumping us into a few key words and cultural icons. .... '
---- see more of Rebekah Allen's entertaining revelations about the truth of the L-Word at TeenVOGUE at :- http://www.teenvogue.com/story/lesbian-myths-debunked 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

UN GAY RIGHTS ADVOCATE / Vitit Muntarbhorn of Thailand ...

UN's new gay rights advocate unfazed by anti-LGBTI opposition
----  selected pars from a news report filed by Ellen Wulfhorst / @EJWulfhorst / at Thompson Reuters Foundation (UK), 9 December 2016 :-

      'NEW YORK, Dec 9 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Nations may outlaw same-sex relations, execute gay people and oppose the very existence of his job, but the United Nations' first investigator tasked with combating violence and discrimination against gay and transgender people is undeterred.
      Even countries perceived as the most virulent opponents of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) rights may have pockets of openness and tolerance, said Vitit Muntarbhorn of Thailand, the U.N.'s new gay rights independent investigator.
      Muntarbhorn's job - to address, protect against and combat violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity - was created by the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council despite strong objections by Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries. ....
....  "What is important from my perspective is not to see countries or governments as monolithic," Muntarbhorn told the Thomson Reuters Foundation this week, in one of the first interviews he has given since his appointment in September.
      "If you start to liaise and bridge-build, you will also find niches where you will find people who are more open," he said. .... '
----  see more of Ellen Wulfhorst's report at :-  http://news.trust.org/item/20161209185343-icsns 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

BEING GAY / what is Nature's motive ... ?

Homosexuality. It's about survival - not sex!
----  the introductory qualifications of a public TEDx speech & video presented by Dr. James O'Keefe MD at TEDx Talks (USA), 15th November 2016 :-

      'This passionate talk from Dr. James O'Keefe MD gives us a deeply personal and fascinating insight into why homosexuality is indeed a necessary and extraordinarily useful cog in nature's wheel of perfection.
      James H O'Keefe MD, is a Board Certified Cardiologist and Director of both the Charles & Barbara Duboc Cardio Health & Wellness Center and the Preventive Cardiology service at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute.
      He is also Professor of Medicine at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. His postgraduate training included a cardiology fellowship at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Dr O’Keefe is board-certified in Cardiology, Internal Medicine, Nuclear Cardiology, and Cardiac CT Imaging. He is consistently ranked among the ‘Top Doctor’ lists regionally and nationally as one of America’s Top Rated Physicians in Cardiology. 
       He has been named as one of USA Today’s Most Influential Doctors. Dr O’Keefe has contributed more than 300 articles to the medical literature and has authored best-selling cardiovascular books for health professionals including: The Complete Guide to ECGs (which is used for Cardiology Board Certification), Dyslipidemia Essentials, and Diabetes Essential. .... '
---- visit Dr. O'Keefe's interesting & well-considered TEDx 17min25sec video presentation at :- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Khn_z9FPmU
(where the first 3min25sec of his speech covers his fundamental proposition)
----  or alternatively view the same YouTube video of Dr. O'Keefe's 17'25" TEDx presentation in Cool Gay Stuff's right-hand column (video format at right), later accompanied by many appreciative YouTube viewers' comments.


.... here are a dozen movie trailers from recent international sources (videos below), updated regularly ... with thanks to
YouTube & the movies' international distributors in cinemas, specialist screenings, & home dvd's ...


"THE PASS" ... its movie trailer

"BEING 17" / Young love finds a way ...

Twenty-two year old David has it all – he’s young, hot, and he’s just got into the prestigious dance school of his dreams. But he has a secret: for two years he’s been sleeping with his sister’s husband, Jules.

SOFT LAD is the directorial debut from Leon Lopez, an examination of lust, jealousy and their consequences in contemporary Liverpool. Starring UK artists Daniel Brocklebank (Coronation Street) and Jonny Labey (EastEnders).

Passions ignite and hidden secrets are revealed when a graphic designer in Los Angeles reconnects with an ex-boyfriend he hasn’t seen or heard from in 15 years. LAZY EYE is a story about roads not taken, unfinished business, and the struggle to adjust to progressive lenses. Written and directed by Tim Kirkman (LOGGERHEADS, DEAR JESSE, THE NIGHT LARRY KRAMER KISSED ME), LAZY EYE stars Lucas Near-Verbrugghe, Aaron Costa Ganis and Michaela Watkins.


"LILTING' - British actor Ben Wishaw tests his range again ...


"What is like to live in a world where you have no grasp of its language, and your only lifeline to that is lost." In "LILTING" Ben Wishaw, wide ranging UK character actor from Shakespeare to James Bond movies, tests his range even further.

"Best gay-themed movie ever!" ... ?

STONEWALL | The birth of a Movement ...

FREEHELD - A subtle gay rights challenge ...

VENICE FESTIVAL ENTRY: "From Afar" (Venezuela 2015)

Peter Greenaway's EISENSTEIN, Stalin's eccentric filmmaker ...


BISEXUAL WOMEN | How to be oneself? ...



GAY LIFE in Switzerland in the '50's ...




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 :-http://historicalnovelsociety.org/reviews/the-hadrian-enigma-a-forbidden-history/

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 : http://jeannetomlin.blogspot.com/


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 :-



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Bye-bye for now from George Gardiner's THE HADRIAN ENIGMA rainbow-community site ...

Thank you for visiting my book's information site COOL GAY STUFF.

Please come back soon to note new posts, movie trailers, or publications & reviews.

Immediately below this bye-bye lies the complete bibliography consulted to research THE HADRIAN ENIGMA, its era, its historical personalities, & its cultural forms.