Welcome to COOL GAY STUFF! ... a selective digest & pointer to recent gay-interest media from across the Net ... thumb-nail sampled for you by the author of THE HADRIAN ENIGMA ... a sensual Roman-era Imperial romance & crime-mystery novel saluting the kaleidoscopic varieties of human affection & sexuality.

Your host --- historical novelist George Gardiner --- opens by highlighting forthcoming 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 account of history's real-life spirited relationship between the dynamic Roman emperor Hadrian Caesar and his charismatic beau, Antinous of Bithynia (whose more than 120 surviving ancient statues attest to his muscular good looks & personality). After exploring the suspicious death of Antinous at Roman Egypt's Nile River in 130CE, recent Amazon purchasers of the novel have awarded this book a top 5-Star rating by over half of its 25 Amazon-USA & UK reviewers (that's 54%, plus another 25% of 4-Star tributes).

COOL GAY STUFF samples these readers' praises (see below), & provides links to Amazon USA or UK to acquire a copy of the 498-page paperback (with a modest Amazon delivery charge). Alternatively, you may prefer to immediately download the affordable Kindle ebook format of the same work via Amazon. Please note: The paperback edition is not available in street book-stores; its sole purchase option is online (see below), for speedy plain-wrapped air delivery by Amazon wherever you reside.

A daily-updated COOL GAY STUFF Net 'sampler' follows, highlighting GLBTQ news, articles, videos, & reviews of gay-relevant or gay-interest media. This site avoids NSFW items and overt porn so you "don't frighten the horses" (Oscar Wilde's cheery 19thCent advice), or unsettle our very-welcome straight "het" visitors, who also enjoy a 'good-read' novel. This blog's formal Fair Dealing copyright criteria are posted at its conclusion. So, welcome everyone, wherever you are!


THE MUMMY .. a favorite theme is re-born for a new generation ...

Regardless if you are gay or not, this spectacular (even grandiose?) visual-overkill trailer has, since only early-December, received over 5-million YouTube hits. Mummies-&-magic give our hero - Tom Cruise - enough explosive action to fill half a dozen movies.

The blurb: "Tom Cruise headlines a spectacular, all-new cinematic version of the legend that has fascinated cultures all over the world since the dawn of civilization: The Mummy.

Thought safely entombed in a tomb deep beneath the unforgiving desert, an ancient princess (Sofia Boutella of Kingsman: The Secret Service and Star Trek Beyond) whose destiny was unjustly taken from her, is awakened in our current day, bringing with her a malevolence grown over millennia plus terrors that defy human comprehension."

I bet our human comprehension aims to defy that claim? THE MUMMY will be in global theatres in mid-2017!


ONE OF THE EARLIEST RECORDED SAME-SEX ROMANCES OF HISTORY : Hadrian Caesar and his very-fit paramour Antinous of Bithynia 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, & 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 or airfreighted 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 & 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!


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

BEING GAY / 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.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

CRISTIANO RONALDO has the perfect response ...

Gay speculation flies again after opponent calls Cristiano Ronaldo a gay slur
----  an abridged version of a report by Cyd Zeigler | @CydZeigler | at Outsports (USA), 21 November 2016 :-

       'Cristiano Ronaldo has been the center of speculation for years. .... During a match Saturday night, Atletico Madrid player Koke and Ronaldo got into an altercation on the field.
      Words were clearly exchanged and the two players literally butted heads (not figuratively literally — literally). Some TV viewers have claimed Ronaldo even took a swing at Koke. They were both given yellow cards for the confrontation.
      Oh, Ronaldo went on to score a hat trick and Real Madrid beat Atletico Madrid, 3-0. 

----  see more of Cyd Zeigler's report at Outsports at :- 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

WHEN Mr. RIGHT (or Ms. RIGHT) IS UNATTAINABLE / Homely advice for the hopelessly lovelorn ...

HOW TO BE HUMAN: when you fall in love with the very unavailable
----  the introductory pars (slightly edited) to a cheerfully full-some, extended "advice to the lovelorn" appeal reported by Leah Reich at THE VERGE (USA), 4 December 2016 :-

      'I’m a 21-year-old gay male who lives in the Pacific Northwest. I’m out to those close to me, but I’m in the closet publicly for now. I feel it’s a personal thing, my sexuality, so I only tell it to those I care about. ....
....  Being gay, and living where I do, I’ve never… well, had a romantic relationship and obviously, I’ve never gone the distance with anyone either. (I’ll freely admit, that’s a tough thing for me to say, especially when we live in a society where sex is held in such high regard, and those who don’t have it are either unattractive or have ‘other’ issues.) I didn’t fake it in High School and pretend to be straight by having a girlfriend or anything like that. I just managed to avoid the question, and since I identify strongly on the masculine side of the spectrum, most people haven’t a clue.
      So, about a year ago at work, a new employee was hired. He’s older than me by about nine years, but he’s still incredibly young and extremely, extremely attractive. He’s a jock who’s very fit, tall and handsome. But he’s also extremely kind and our personalities kinda clicked.
      At first before I really got to know him, I developed the usual crush on him. And as we became friends, and as I got to know him more, that crush went away and something far more powerful replaced it. I began to fall in love with him. I’m confident it’s love because well, when I’m around him, talking to him, I feel good — extremely good, like I’m worth a million bucks kinda good. He makes me smile and happy; he makes me laugh. I feel whole around him. .... '
----  see more of Leah Reich's profoundly-wise advice-for-the-lovelorn at www.theverge.com at :-

Saturday, December 3, 2016


Time for compromise on gay rights and religious freedom
----   opening pars from an extended essay about conflicted gay community and Roman Catholic views on issues of "religious freedom", as proposed by Thomas Reese at NCR (National Catholic Reporter), USA, 1st December 2016 :-

      'The struggle between activists for gay rights and religious freedom has been presented as a zero-sum game where no compromise is possible. In this contest, gay rights have been presented as the human rights of a persecuted minority which cannot be compromised, while religious freedom has been described as a protection for believers against infringements on their consciences and beliefs.
Does the recent election provide an opportunity for compromise or will opponents become more entrenched in their positions?
      The toxicity of this conflict is sad but not surprising. Gay people have suffered terribly from violence, discrimination, and persecution in the United States, often backed by anti-gay laws. Christian preachers supported this discrimination with fiery sermons demonizing gays and consigning them to hell. Only recently has the right of gays to live peacefully and function openly in society been recognized. Despite now having the right to marry, they are still looked upon with suspicion and discriminated against by too many. Since some churches spent millions of dollars fighting same-sex marriage, it is not surprising that gay activists see religious believers as their opponents.
      Meanwhile, churches and religious believers feel that they are being vilified for simply maintaining centuries-old teaching. They feel they are being forced to violate their consciences and creeds to accommodate changing societal values. .... '
----  see more of Thomas Reese's thoughtful extended essay at NCR Online - introduced above without comment - at :-

Friday, December 2, 2016

LONELY PLANET names Top Ten gay-friendly destinations ...

LONELY PLANET Names Copenhagen World's Most Gay-Friendly Destination
----  excerpts from a news report at ON TOP MAGAZINE (USA), 3 December 2016 :-

      'Lonely Planet has unveiled its list of top ten gay-friendly destinations. The list includes many of the usual suspects, including Palm Springs, Toronto and New York City, plus a few surprises, such as the exclusion of San Francisco. ....
....  Editors pointed to Copenhagen's history of gay rights and relaxed beauty in making it their number one destination.
      “One of the most tolerant and open communities in Europe, Copenhagen's functional yet edgy fashion scene, brilliant array of cocktail bars, excellent range of gay-friendly boutique accommodation and packed calendar of events make it the gay-friendliest place on Earth,” the site wrote. ....
....  The Lonely Planet's list of the world's top gay-friendly destinations includes [ ... as the top 5 - Ed.} Sitges, Spain (5), Palm Springs (4), Toronto, Canada (3), New Zealand (2) and Copenhagen, Denmark (1).
----  see more of the remaining five destinations of Lonely Planet's top-10 destinations at On Top Magazine's website, with thanks, at :- 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Gay Rights Activists March in Annual New Delhi (India) Parade
----  the opening pars from an extended news report by Associated Press/Asia and VOANews, 27 November 2016 :-

      'NEW DELHI —  Hundreds of gay rights activists marched in a parade in New Delhi on Sunday, highlighting the continuing discrimination India's LGBT community faces and demanding the repeal of a law criminalizing homosexual acts.
      As they marched to the beat of drums, some participants in the annual gay pride parade said much has changed in recent years, with people starting to accept them. But others said India's right-wing government is against the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
      Activists had cheered in 2009 when the New Delhi High Court declared as unconstitutional Section 377 of the Penal Code, which criminalizes homosexual acts. But the judgment was overturned four years later when India's Supreme Court decided that amending or repealing Section 377 should be left to Parliament, not the judiciary.
      The law makes gay sex punishable by up to 10 years in prison.  .... '
----  see more of this news report at Voice Of America News at :-

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

QUEER MONGERING / Blame "the gays" ...

BLAME THE GAYS: A Brief History of Queer Mongering
----  opening excerpts from a substantial essay by Quinn Lazenby at The McGill International Review (USA), November 2016 :-

      '.... Indeed, according to New Zealand Bishop Brian Tamaki, the country’s earthquakes of 2011 were the result of homosexuality. Mr. Tamaki defends his theological viewpoint: “Leviticus says that the earth convulses under the weight of certain human sin.” While the mainstream public credits the gays for Warhol’s soup cans and the music of West Side Story, very few people are aware of homosexuality’s necromantic influence on the climate.
      Beyond tectonic tremors, it appears that homosexuals wield the magnetism to summon hurricanes and even mass animal deaths. In March 2011, the Evangelical Minister Rick Joyner  attributed the Hurricane Katrina to the New Orleans Pride Parade. That same year, Cindy Jacobs of Generals International linked birds falling from the sky and dead fish washing belly up with the military admitting openly gay and lesbian troops.
      As a gay man, it is exhilarating to imagine that while I crunch on Frosted Flakes in the morning, the forces of my sexuality are churning ocean winds and fracturing the earth’s foundation. Of course, every seismologist or environmental expert would disprove these homophobic imaginations, yet scientific facts no longer seem to matter.
      While these sort of radical theories have existed on the fringes for many years, they are becoming increasingly normalized. In the post-truth era of President-Elect Donald Trump, minorities are scapegoated without evidence while experts are shouted down by the cries of “elitism.” .... '
----  see more of Quinn Lazenby's insightful essay at the McGill International Review at :-

Sunday, November 27, 2016

FIDEL CASTRO / The historical reality ...

Fidel Castro's Cuba had a sordid history when it comes to LGBTQ Cubans
----  the opening par to a commemorative report by Matthew Rodriguez at Mic.com (USA), 27 November, 2016 :-

      'In 2010, while speaking to the Mexican newspaper La Jornada, Fidel Castro apologized for the human rights abuses that LGBTQ Cubans, especially gay men, suffered under his reign.
      "If someone is responsible, it's me," Castro told La Jornada when asked about the mistreatment of gay men under his reign, according to the BBC.
      There was a reason he had to apologize. Castro, who died on Nov. 25, has a complex legacy — while he is revered by some, he was also criticized by others, specifically for his treatment of Cuba's LGBTQ community. ....
----  see more of Matthew Rodriguez' revealing report at https://mic.com/article at :-

Friday, November 25, 2016

GAY IDENTITY / The Grindr effect ...

The Grindrization of Gay Identity
----  the opening pars of a substantial, challenging opinion-piece by Krishen Samuel at The Gay & Lesbian Review (USA), November 2016 (with thanks) :-

      'GRINDR, Manhunt, Gaydar, Scruff, Jack’d—for any gay man who’s been “out there” for any part of the last two decades, these websites or applications have become a familiar sight. For many men they occupy a substantial fraction of the day’s stream of experience, and for many others they form an integral part of their personal identity or sense of self.
      But long before the arrival of the Internet, the social media, the hookup apps, there were GLBT people who lived, like everyone else, in what is now referred to as “real life.” I would argue that historically gay identity has always been characterized by a fundamental duality. The first identity is a response to the cultural prohibition or negation of homosexuality throughout history. This has been manifested as a lack of rights, a lack of visibility, a lack of social acceptance, a prohibition on the trappings of gay identity: sex acts prohibited, legal unions barred or blocked, blood donations refused, and so on, ad nauseam.
      A second identity arose, partly in response to this repression, that stressed the value of overt visibility, of being not just quietly self-accepting but publicly out to one’s family and friends and anyone else who would listen. ....'
----  see the complete essay by Krishen Samuel at www.glreview.org/article at :-

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

UN Human Rights Council victory ...

A Win for LGBT Rights at the Last Big Showdown of the Obama Era
----  an opening excerpt from a UN report by Mark Leon Goldberg at UN Dispatch (USA), 22 November 2016 :-

      'Human rights activists dodged a bullet in the General Assembly yesterday when a majority of countries rejected a cynical ploy to defang a newly established LGBT rights watchdog.
Countries voted 84 to 77 to keep in place the mandate of the “independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity.”
      This was a position created by the UN Human Rights Council in June to monitor the “protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation, and gender identity.” The newly created position stands alongside other independent experts and rights monitors dispatched by the Human Rights Council to monitor and report on a number of issues, from the rights of the disabled to the freedom of assembly and free expression. There are more than 40 of these independent experts in all.  ....'
----  see more of Mark Goldberg's report in UN Dispatch at :-

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

DUSTIN LANCE BLACK, movie scriptwriter, shows us his mettle once again ...

This First Look At Dustin Lance Black's LGBT Drama Series 'WHEN WE RISE' Will Give You Goosebumps
----  the opening pars from an extended movie-news report posted by Will Stroude at ATTITUDE magazine (UK), 21 November 2016 :-

      'Get ready for the LGBT television event of 2017. After months in the offing, we’ve finally got our first look at eagerly-anticipated LGBT drama series When We Rise – and boy does it look good.
      Produced by Dustin Lance Black and Gus Van Sant – the Oscar-winning duo behind 2009’s Harvey Milk biopic Milk the eight-hour, seven-episode series is set to tell the full and unflinching history of the US gay rights movement, starting with the infamous Stonewall Riots of 1969. .... '
----  see more of Will Stroude's report about "When We Rise" at ATTITUDE at :-
---- & visit YouTube's 2'15" trailer video for When We Rise in the sidebar at right, which has already attracted two million viewers.

The 50 Biggest Turn-Offs ...

Study Reveals The 50 Biggest Turn-Offs When It Comes To Dating
---- an opener excerpt from a very useful self-therapy list (you know who you are) for the socially adventurous, as reported by Graham Gremore at Queerty (USA), 21st November 2016 :-

      'Looking for love this holiday season? We’ve got some tips for you. Or rather, some pitfalls to avoid.
      2,000 single people recently participated in a survey conducted by the e-cigarette brand Blu about their top 50 turn-offs in a potential mate. Not surprisingly, body odor is the #1 reason people avoided any follow-up dates, with almost three-quarters of participants saying it was a deal-breaker. So shower up, fellas!
      Here are the top 50 turn-offs:
1. Body odor
2. Bad temper
3. Lying
4. Being selfish
5.  Cigarette breath
6.  Bad breath (unidentified food) .... '
----  see the remaining Top 44 turn-offs (very scary) listed by Graham Gremore at www.queerty.com at :-

Monday, November 21, 2016

LGBTQ AMERICA / A Call To Power ...

Dear Queer America: It's Time to Rise to Power
---- the initial paragraphs of an extended opinion-piece by Tyler Curry at HivPlus Magazine (USA), 17 November 2016 :-

      'Don't let Trump scare you into submission; it's time to take back America — here's how.
     Given our current tumultuous and polarizing social and political climate, members of the queer community can’t be blamed for fearing that Trump’s America represents the greatest threat we have yet to face.
      However, the Trump administration, the alt-right, and every emotion and belief wrapped up in the movement to “make American great again,” ain't no thing to the LGBT population. The truth is, queer people have faced and defeated far greater foes in the past. Now we just need to finish the fight. ....'
----  see more of Tyler Curry's call to his community at web address :-

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Trump To Welcome Gay People? ...

Trump's election is no blow to gay rights
---- the opening pars from an opinion-piece by Casey Given, a contributor at the Washington EXAMINER  (USA), 16th November 2016 :-

      'Judging by recent headlines, President-elect Trump is poised to rollback LGBT rights. "These Are the LGBT Rights that Trump Could Start Reversing," BuzzFeed proclaims in its typical clickbait fashion.
      "Anti-LGBT groups are absolutely giddy about a Trump presidency," ThinkProgress reports with the logical fallacy of guilt by association. Gays should ignore such scaremongering: A Trump administration will likely be the most welcoming to LGBT people in United States history.
      First, on the question of gay marriage, Trump told "60 Minutes" on Sunday that the issue is "settled." .... '
----  see more of Casey Given's opinion-piece at www.washingtonexaminer.com at :- 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Trump calls marriage equality 'settled' law
----  brief excerpts from a news-post reported by James Withers at the ever-informative Gay Star News (USA), 14 November 2016 :-

      'In his first major interview since winning the White House, President-elect Donald Trump says he's "fine" with same-sex marriage.
......President-elect Donald Trump is stepping away from the Republican Party’s stance on same-sex marriage.
      In his first interview since beating Democrat Hillary Clinton for the White House, the next US president sat down with CBS’ 60 Minutes. When asked about marriage rights for LGBTI couples, the president-elect said the following:
      ‘It’s law,’ he argued, according to ABC News. ‘It was settled in the Supreme Court. I mean it’s done. These cases have gone to the Supreme Court. They’ve been settled. And I’m – I’m fine with that.’ ....'
----  see more of James Withers' report at www.gaystarnews.com/article at :- 
----  see too the Los Angeles Times (USA) contrasting essay by Nico Lang titled "Don't buy Trump's flip-flop on marriage equality ...", 14 November 2016, at :-

Saturday, November 12, 2016

LGBT Rights Enter a New Period of Concern ...

5 Ways the Trump Presidency Could Affect LGBT Rights
---- the opening par to a substantial essay about issues such as marriage equality and immigration rights, written by Julian Sauvalle at OUT Magazine (USA), 9th November 2016 :-

      'President-Elect Donald Trump never believed in equality. What does his presidency mean for the LGBT community in the U.S. and abroad?
      America has voted: Republican candidate Donald Trump, a billionaire real estate magnate with no experience in politics and foreign affairs, will become the 45th president of the United States next January.
      Throughout his campaign, Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence, have made several worrisome claims regarding their stance on LGBT issues, and their administration may actively work to repeal some of the legislative progress made during the Obama years, such as the Marriage Equality Act and anti-discrimination laws.
      Here, five things that could change for the LGBT community, in the U.S. and abroad. .... '
----  writer Julian Sauvalle proposes five important points of recent community progress in anti-discrimination achievement which may be under duress in the forthcoming President Elect's years of office, posted at www.out.com/news-opinion (url below) at :-

Monday, November 7, 2016

Two penguins celebrate their tenth year of relationship ...

This gay penguin couple are celebrating their 10th anniversary
----  the opening lines from a closely-observed partnership highlighted in a report by Meka Beresford at Pink News (UK). 5th November 2016 :-

      'Two penguins are celebrating their 10th year of partnership, as a gay couple. Dotty and Zee are two Humboldt penguins that reside at Bremerhaven Zoo in Germany. .... They have been together for over a decade now and are completely inseparable. However, after a few years of dedicated partnership the pair had a DNA test.
      In 2005 the test revealed their gender, as well as the answer to why they hadn’t yet started a family.
      Dotty and Zee are not the only gay couple in the zoo either. Of the 10 penguin pairs at the zoo, three are gay male couples. ....
....  Scientists have found that more than 450 species of animals display gay behaviour. .... '
----  see more about Dotty & Zee by Meka Beresford at www.pinknews.co.uk at :-
----  and see a multitude of similar zoological reports across many species revealed in research biologist Bruce Bagemihl's exhaustive survey "BIOLOGICAL EXUBERANCE: Animal Homosexuality & Natural Diversity" (752pp; St. Martin's Press, New York, 1999. ISBN: 978-0-312-25377-6)

Friday, November 4, 2016

MONOGAMY OR BUST / The challenging issues for gay males ...

Monogamy or Bust: Why Are Many Gay Men Opposed To Open Relationships?
----  three teasing pars from an interesting - if controversial -  expansive essay by Zachary Zane at OUT Magazine (USA), 4th November 2016 :-

      'As assimilation into more mainstream culture increases, many gay men are shifting their attitudes on non-traditional relationships—becoming less accepting of them. ....
....  Like most people, I knew nothing about polyamory when I stumbled into it. I believed the false misconceptions that surround poly life.  ....
....  Love is love—isn't that what we’ve been preaching this whole time? And if love does conquer all, which I believe all gay and queer men believe, then we, as a community, need to be supportive of other queer men. Instead of buying into this boring, oppressive, homonormative gay culture, or losing our sense of openness as we continue to assimilate into the heteronormative mainstream, I’d like to see gay men expand their notion of what gay is, what love is, and what a relationship is.  .... '
----  see all of Zachary Zane's challenging essay at www.out.com/news-opinion at :-

Thursday, November 3, 2016


Do Lesbians Have To Deal With The Masc/Fem Questions Gay Men Get?
----  the opening words from an interesting conundrum essay resolved by Adam Dupuis at Instinct Magazine (USA), 1st November 2016 :-

      'As gay men in relationships, we've fielded the typical heteronormative based questions too many times; who's the top, bottom, man, woman, husband, wife, bride, groom, dad, mom?  We've also dealt with the "no fems" profile statements until we're blue in the face with the half hearted consensus that we all just need to love one another, no labels, we're all equal, etc., so on and so forth.
      Throughout the whole debate and hearing questions like the above over and over again, I've always wondered why we haven't really seen this debate in the lesbian community.  Maybe we haven't seen it because were too busy dealing with the male on male hypocrisy?  .... '
----  see more of Adam Dupuis' challenging article online at Instinct Magazine at :-

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

BRITISH MUSEUM hosts six month LGTBQ exhibition through 2017 ...

British Museum marks 50th anniversary of (Britain's) Sexual Offences Act with LGBTQ show
----  opening pars from a press release by Gareth Harris published at The Art Newspaper (UK), 1st November 2016 :-

      'The Exhibition will shine a light on same-sex relationships using objects dating from antiquity to today.
      An exhibition exploring gay love and sexuality based on objects in the collection of the British Museum in London is due to open next spring. The show, provisionally titled A Little Gay History (May-October 2017), coincides with the anniversary of the passing of the Sexual Offences Act in July 1967, which partially decriminalised homosexuality in England and Wales. ....
....  “The [forthcoming] display draws on material from ancient history to the present day, and from around the globe,” a museum spokeswoman says.  ....
....  “The focus of the display is important because it highlights, as Parkinson states in his book, that diversity is integral to human desire and the human condition. Love, desire and gender are relevant issues to us all,” she says. .... '
----  see more of Gareth Harris's report at theartnewspaper.com at :-
---- see also the Museum's announcement about an LGBT exhibition at the British Museum titled  “A Little Gay History”, an exhibition exploring homosexuality from antiquity to the present day, displaying from May to October next year, at :-

DEEPAK CHOPRA discusses a gay spirituality ...

After Gay Rights, Gay Spirituality
----  the opening pars to an extended 'Special to SF Gate' essay by well-known US spiritual philosopher Deepak Chopra, MD, published at SFGate (San Francisco) 31st October 2016 :-

      'It's taken decades for gay activists to achieve the most basic right that every minority deserves: equality under the law. In principle one might say that the battle has been won, even if some states are dragging their heels and some groups mount fierce resistance. Thirty years ago, it took mass protests to push for major funding of AIDS research, and the overturning of antiquated, prejudiced sodomy laws wasn't a sure thing when the Supreme Court took up the issue in 2003.
      The fact that the court did invalidate state laws against homosexuality was the bellwether for a shift in public acceptance that will only accelerate in the future. It's time, then, to consider another dimension that has been masked by the headlines over legal battles. That's the dimension of spirituality, where religious intolerance has been the norm and finding the way to self-acceptance has been a poignant personal struggle for every gay man and woman. .... '
----  see more of Deepak Chopra's essay at SFGate at :-

Saturday, October 29, 2016


TAIWAN GAY PRIDE: 80,000 take to streets amid rising hope for same-sex marriage
----  selected pars from a news report by Nicola Smith (at Taipei) at The Telegraph (UK), 29 October 2016 :-

      'It might have rained on their parade, but Taiwan’s wet weather did not dampen the spirits of Asia’s largest gay pride march, as over 80,000 took to the streets of the capital, Taipei, on Saturday to call for equal rights and same-sex marriage.
      Rainbow umbrellas went up, matching a sea of multi-coloured flags and hats, in a typically flamboyant scene that included lederhosen, gravity-defying gold heels, and a dozen young men clad in tiny briefs to advertise a gay social network app with their impeccable pecs. ....
....  This year, more than any in Taipei Pride’s 14 year history, the LGBT community had something to celebrate: same-sex marriage may finally be within their reach, making Taiwan the first country in Asia to grant full equality to LGBT couples. .... '
----  see more of Nicola Smith's report on the Taiwan Gay Pride at The Telegraph at :- 

Thursday, October 27, 2016


Gus Kenworthy, the Olympic medal winning freeskier, has shared his thoughts and feelings one year after coming out.

----  the opening pars from a substantial personal statement by a one-time reluctant ski hero, touchingly reported by Josh Withey at GT Magazine (UK), 24 October 2016 :- 

      'Re-sharing the ESPN cover that bore the cover line: “Coming out in the post-Michael Sam World,” on Instagram, Gus explained: “I am gay. Those three words are how I began the caption on this same photo one-year-ago, today. I remember waking up that day, with the most overwhelming sense of emotions. I was excited for a future where I no longer had to mask myself with heteronormative posturing. But then, of course, I felt apprehensive because I didn’t know how people were going to react.”
      He goes on to explain that he had already come out to friends an family, and “even if the rest of the world abandoned me, their support would be enough.”
      “When the day finally came, I was terrified of losing friends, fans and sponsors,” he reflects. “What I didn’t anticipate though, was all that I was about to gain. I’ve gained so much over the past year and I am so tremendously thankful for all of it.
      “I’ve started to love myself, a big step for someone who spent their adolescence in self-contempt. I’ve made lifelong friends, fallen in love and felt truer and happier than I ever imagined.  ....
----  see more of Josh Withey's report on Gus Kenworthy at Gay Times at :-

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The World of Gay Porn Receives An Airing ...

KING COBRA Is A True Crime Tale Amid The World of Gay Porn
----  actors Christopher Slater and James Franco front a currently-screening movie set in the world of gay pornography. The YouTube trailer (see right-hand column, here) is already approaching 2-million viewers, & is described as :- ...

      'Based on a stranger-than-fiction true story, King Cobra is a deliciously dark, twisted plunge into the behind-the-scenes world of the pornography industry.
      It’s 2006, YouTube is in its infancy, and internet porn is still behind a paywall. Taking the stage name Brent Corrigan, a fresh-faced, wannabe adult video performer (Garrett Clayton) is molded into a star by Stephen (Christian Slater), a closeted gay porn mogul who runs the skin flick empire Cobra Video from his seemingly ordinary suburban home.
      But as Brent’s rise and demands for more money put him at odds with his boss, he also attracts the attention of a rival producer (James Franco) and his unstable lover (Keegan Allen) who will stop at nothing to squash Cobra Video and steal its number one star. Co-starring Alicia Silverstone and Molly Ringwald, King Cobra is part delirious, tabloid-shocker satire, part American tragedy. ...'

Starring: James Franco, Christian Slater, Molly Ringwald, Alicia Silverstone, Keegan Allen, & Garrett Clayton as 'Brent'. Directed by Justin Kelly.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Fifteen gay romances of the Renaissance ...

Fifteen gay romances of the Renaissance Era
----  a fifteen page account incorporating surviving portraits of fifteen famed European royalty, artists, and scientists of the 15th-to-17th Centuries, plus their reputed fifteen important "inamorato", who were each understood to be homosexual in an intensely-Christian era hostile to gay relationships. This collection was collated by Jacob Ogles , with thanks, & published at ADVOCATE (USA), 21 October 2016. The fifteen are sampled & represented here by "No.9", renown British playwright William Shakespeare.

      "9. William Shakespeare and Mr. WH
      Some of the greatest thinkers, artists, and royals in European history had same-sex relationships.  The first edition of the bard’s sonnets published with a dedication to Mr. WH, a mysterious figure many scholars and critics believe to be the “fair youth” referenced directly in the iambic pentameter.       While these first 77 poems remain less sexually explicit that later words dedicated to Shakespeare’s presumably female mistress the “Dark Lady,” these early works include some of his most romantic passages of all time, including the famous Sonnet 18 (“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day”).
      The work also contains the clearly homoerotic tendency of showcasing many of William’s more forbidden desires, such as his pining in Sonnet 20 for the “master mistress of my passion.” Is Mr. WH a young earl like William Herbert or Henry Wriothesley?
      Or maybe a commoner Shakespeare knew through publishing? This secret followed him into the house of death. ... "
----  see the fourteen remaining candidates & their portraits assembled by Jacob Ogles at :-

Thursday, October 20, 2016

UK Gay Convictions To Be Abolished ...

Thousands of gay men in UK to be pardoned for now-abolished sex offences
---- opening pars of a substantial news item reported by Bianca Britton of CNN  (UK), 20 October 2016 :-

      'London (CNN): Tens of thousands of gay and bisexual men who were convicted of now-abolished sexual offenses in Britain will be posthumously pardoned, the government announced Thursday.
      The government proposal will also make it easier for living Britons, convicted years ago of since-decriminalized sexual behavior, to clear their names.
      The proposal has been dubbed the "Turing Law" -- named after World War II codebreaker Alan Turing, subject of the 2014 film "The Imitation Game." Turing committed suicide in 1954 after he was subjected to chemical castration as punishment for homosexual activity ....
....  Anyone previously convicted of the abolished laws can already apply through the UK's Home Office to have their names cleared .... '
----  see more about this issue including name clearance, plus recalling the Alan Turing case, in Bianca Britton's full CNN (UK) report at :- 
---- see too a supporting opinion-piece on this subject by Kaite Welsh at The Telegraph (UK), 21 October 2016, at url :-

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Germany is the queerest country in Europe
----  the opening phrases from a sociological report by Nick Duffy published at Pink News (UK), 18th October 2016 :-

      'Germany has the largest LGBT population in Europe, according to research. The news comes from Berlin’s Dalia Research GmbH, which published the results of a Europe-wide EuroPulse study, which interviewed 10,000 people across 28 EU countries.
      According to the study, reported by Vice.de Germany leads Europe in terms of LGBT population size, with 7.4% of Germans identifying themselves as LGBT.
      When asked to place themselves on a Kinsey scale between exclusively heterosexual and exclusively homosexual, 10.9% of Germans said they weren’t exclusively straight.
      Across Europe, 5.9% defined as LGBT, and 8.6% indicated that they were not exclusively heterosexual.
      The figure represents a large spike in Germany from 2000, when just 1.3% of men identified as gay, 0.6% of women as lesbian. .... '
----  see more of Nick Duffy's statistical report, whose figures are likely to similarly apply to other EU nations, at www.pinknews.co.uk at :-

[CGS Editor : The rise since 2000 from 1.3% of Germans identifying as 'gay' to 7.4% today perhaps indicates not a growth in numbers, but an increasingly less-oppressive climate of willingness 'to go public' about one's sexual proclivities. These numbers might increase even further over time - possibly to reach 10% of population -  as the EU cultural climate becomes less oppressive & more objective about gender-honesty issues?]

Thursday, October 13, 2016

WHO WATCHES GAY PORN? ... three reports

The Percentage of Straight Men Who Watch Gay Porn May Surprise You
----  the unexpected realities of the impact of porn on respective communities, researched for an extended article by Hayley Macmillen at COSMOPOLITAN (USA), 11th October 2016 :-

      'We didn't see this coming. A common belief about gender and porn is that while women of all sexual identities can get turned on by people of all genders, men only like to watch stuff that aligns with their stated orientation. Gay men watch men having sex with men, and straight men just want to see naked women, right?
      A study on gay, straight, and bi men’s porn preferences published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior is newly challenging this notion, as well as helping to answer the question of how men really feel about seeing condom use in their adult entertainment.
      When researchers led by Martin J. Downing, PhD surveyed 821 men about their porn-viewing habits, they found that 55% of gay men reported watching opposite-gender-oriented porn in the previous six months, while 21% of straight men reported watching same-sex porn in that time frame.       Bi men, meanwhile, reported watching gay porn at a rate of 96% (nearly as much as the 98.3% of gay men who reported watching gay porn) and straight porn at a rate of 88.3% (a little lower than the 98.5% of straight men who reported watching straight porn).  .... '
----  see more of Haylee Macmillen's eye-opener essay at www.cosmopolitan.com/sex-love at :- 
----  see also a supporting article "Over a fifth of straight men watch gay porn, study finds" at The Independent (UK), 14 October 2016 :-
----  see too "Study: Why Do 21% of Straight Guys Enjoy Watching Gay Porn?" by Daniel Villarreal at Unicorn Booty (USA), 12 October 2016 at :-

Sunday, October 9, 2016


STUDY: 93% of Straight College Dudes Enjoy "Cuddling, Spooning" With Their Bros
----  initial pars from a social behavior report by Matthew Tharrett at Queerty.com (USA), 10 October 2016 ...

      '.... According to a recent study out of the UK, nearly 93 percent of male athletes surveyed said they’ve enjoyed cuddling and/or spooning with male friends on a regular basis and — better yet — don’t understand why American bros don’t cuddle more often. Of the 40 participants surveyed, 39 also revealed that they’ve shared a bed with another man since starting college.
      Published in March in the journal of Men and Masculinities, the study observed the social habits of 18 and 19-year-old white, middle-income college students enrolled in study co-author Eric Anderson’s sociology of sports class at the University of Winchester. Along with co-author Mark McCormack of Durham University, Anderson concludes that homosocial behaviors becoming more acceptable among heterosexual friends is a sign of the times.
      Or, more specifically, “the expansion of esteemed homosocial behaviors for heterosexual men is evidence of an expansion of changing conceptions of masculinity in contemporary culture.” .... '
----  see more of Matthew Tharrett's report at www.queerty.com/study at :- 


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