Movie Review: Call Me By Your Name

Call-Me-By-Your-Name-Film-Poster-2017

I will be brief.

Without giving anything away that is not already out there, this film is about Apricots. Yes, Apricots.

It is set in summer somewhere in Northern Italy, in the early 80s when white folk threw their limbs all over the place in the name of dancing to music….It is now 2017 and not much has changed since.

The main character is a precocious, 17 year old,who mopes around the house shirtless named Elio.  He is on vacation with his parents in their house surrounded by apricot trees, in the village. His father is an American Professor and his mother a translator. They are a multi lingual family and dialogue flows effortlessly between Italian, English, French and German. If you never thought German was a sensual language, you’d be in for a  pleasant, albeit brief surprise. Read More »

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Wild Thoughts

The hustle is real, so off to work I go.

I do the 10 minute walk to the London Underground station. I have my headphones on. I am listening to music from my “recently played” playlist set on random selection mode. There are 175 songs. Means songs from Classical, Musicals, Pop, RnB, Gospel, Hip Hop, Afrobeat and possibly Apala music genres can start playing any time. I like the unpredictability.

The sassy song “Trouble” by Iggy Azelea ft. Jennifer Hudson is currently playing.  

I get to the Tube station and the platform is crowded.  About 3 people deep from the edge of the platform, there is some delay on the line. I was hoping for a trouble free journey into work today.

And right on cue, Andra Day starts singing “Not Today” in my ears with her mellow and soul stirring voice .

I maneuver myself into position on the section of the platform, where I can get on the carriage nearest the exit when the train arrives at my stop. Most people do this.

I am behind a young interracial couple. They are probably in their mid to late twenties. She white, blonde, about 5’7” tall, wearing light make up and a body hugging short black dress, that accentuates her curves. He Indian, stands at roughly 5’10”, athletic build, wearing a blue turban on his head and a light pink shirt tucked into a pair of grey slim fitting trousers and holding a gym bag. I assume he will be going to the gym at some point in the day. They look so loved up.

Tina Turner starts to serenade me with “Two People”. How sweet.

I steal a look at this bum. It would be rude not to. It is visible. Not flat. Not big, but round and firm. It complements his athletic body nicely. I know I shouldn’t foster stereotypes, but for an Indian, “Baby got back”.  Would I tap that?  Most likely, but that’s not up to me. He kinda looks hella straight. I will call him Ramdeep.

Blue turban 6

 

Two busy trains come into the platform in succession. No one gets off from the carriage we are positioned in front of, so no one gets on. Shit I will be late for a meeting at work. A third one comes in. Some passengers get off and more people on the platform try to occupy the space they vacate. Back in the day, in Lasgidi (Lagos), I learned how to squeeze myself into a crowded Molue bus. If they think I will forget those skills for the sake of propriety, they have another thing coming.

Molue

I manage to get on.

Fela Kuti starts playing  “Shuffering and Shmilling” through my headphones. The line in the song “49 sitting and 99 standing” very much describes the situation in the train carriage. The rest of the song, though released over 30 years ago, highlights endemic corruption which is still very pertinent to Nigeria…But I digress.

It’s a tight squeeze. My back is pressed against the carriage door. Ramdeep with the nice cakes, is in front of me. He is facing his girlfriend with his back to me and his firm round butt just about grazing my groin area. Any slight movement and it will brush against me for sure.

I press my back as much as I comfortably can against the door, to create a respectable distance between my groin and his butt. I won’t be in this position for too long. Maximum 3 minutes.  The next stop has connections to other underground lines and a good number of passengers will get off.

The train sets off. 30 seconds into the journey, something causes Ramdeep to move back a bit. Perhaps being the attentive boyfriend that he is, he is trying to give his girlfriend a bit of space to ease the crush on her. Not sure if he is aware but, he just entered the unspoken allowable personal space of an adjacent individual in a packed train.

I don’t say anything. No point causing a fuss. Besides if he doesn’t mind his backside just about resting on another man’s groin…more power to him.

Now, his butt is grazing my groin and he unconsciously mirrors the slight rocking motion of the train, only he is subtly swaying back and forth into me.

Christina Aguilera  croons “Want your skin up against mine. Move my hips to the baseline…” from her song “Get mine, Get yours” from the playlist. 

Oh Lord, this is not good.  It would be over in about 2 and a half minutes. Wrong.Read More »

Whose Child Is This?

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/oct/30/kevin-spacey-anthony-rapp-apologises-accused-sexual-advance-14-year-old-boy

spacey-rapp

Any form of sexual harassment is inappropriate between adults of consenting age and more so if the victim is underage.

Yes what a 26 year old Kevin Spacey did to a 14 year Old Anthony Rapp, 30 years ago was improper under any circumstance.

Since Mr. Rapp’s (now 46)  story broke yesterday, Mr. Spacey (58) has issued a statement in which he stated that he was “beyond horrified” by the allegation.  He has drawn the ire of many Social media commentators (basically anyone who has access to a keyboard)  because in the statement, he effectively blamed his actions on alcohol and for good measure he took the opportunity to come out as a gay man.

Many people have said, he has used his coming out to deflect from the issue molesting an underage person. A tactic he borrowed from his fictional character President Frank Underwood,in House of Cards. While I see where they are coming from, I do not necessarily entirely agree with that conjecture.

Firstly, It’s been an open secret for years that Spacey is gay. There was an unfortunate incident many years ago during his residency at the Old Vic theatre in London where he was the artistic director (2003-2015), when it was reported that he was attacked while walking his dog around 3am,in a park well known for night time gay cruising. Maybe he was researching  a forthcoming role – Go figure.

Secondly, these days when actors in the West where homosexuality is accepted come out, it does not have the same “wow-factor” as it did 20 years ago. So if it was his intention to use coming out as a softening the sexual advances on a minor blow, it is as limp as a dick on a guy high on GHB at a chemsex party.

I have also read comments that this scandal strengthens the assertion by homophobes , especially those from my Village, that homosexuals are pedophiles by default. Also they will say this one incident was pivotal to Rapp, turning gay. For the next foreseeable future I think one would need the communication skills and tenacity of Sean Spicer to refute these assertions and many more on social media forums. The battle will be fierce.

I am not defending or condoning what Kevin Spacey did. At best it was reprehensible and at worst lewd. However I feel I should  ask a few (probably unpopular) questions  and I am by no means taking away from Anthony Rapp’s terrible ordeal, but –

Where were his parents?

Who lets a 14 year old child go to a Nightclub?

Who lets a 14 year old child into a Nightclub?

Was no one chaperoning the Anthony Rapp that night? Had he no curfew?

From the story so far, what happened that night was entirely Kevin Spacey’s doing and I wholeheartedly agree, but it could have been prevented.

It wasn’t right what happened to Anthony Rapp and he would be forgiven for sending some Klingons to sort Kevin Spacey out, but he shouldn’t have been in that situation unchaperoned even at the best of times.

Perhaps underage kids being allowed to go clubbing , people not raising an eyebrow and chalking it down to just having fun, is the norm in the Hollywood.

But this is a sad consequence of such nonchalance.

Klingon_2

 

 

 

 

Movie Review: God’s Own Country

God's Own Country

The last gay themed movie I saw without muscular guys dancing with their tops off in a night club and then copping off home with one or more guys to have wild drug induced sex all weekend, was Moonlight.

Unlike most gay films, God’s Own Country is not set in the concrete jungle of a big city, but rather it is set against a lush rural backdrop. You can almost breathe the fresh air as the camera pans over rich expanse of rambling fields of green grass in the foggy and wet English countryside. What’s more the film reminds us of how gays used to hook up back in the day sans mobile broadband network or Wifi.

Without giving much away, the film is about a gay farmer (Johnny) in the Yorkshire Pennines who manages to have hard, no strings attached sex with other guys without using modern technology (Read Grindr, Scruff, Instagram, Facebook, etc).

Then a Romanian worker (Gheorghe) who insists he’s not a Roma gypsy (which is a damn shame, because I have seen male Roma Gypsies around London they have bubble butts for days), arrives on the farm and an initial personality clash, they have aggressive sex halfway through a meal of hot Pot noodles. And just like that we get Brokeback Mountain on the Yorkshire dales.

Who knew Pot noodles was such a potent aphrodisiac?

 Romance blossoms between Johnny and Gheorghe as the latter teaches Johnny how to make love and not just have aggressive sex. A bit like how Khalessi tamed Aquaman Khal Drogo and taught him how to have sex in other positions, other than doggy style in Game of Thrones.

What happens when Johnny’s family find out? Does it end well? Is there a happy ending? As a film maker myself – I make home made porn – I understand only too well the displeasure of having the ending of my movie revealed to a non-paying audience, therefore I won’t reveal how the movie ends.

All I can say is that despite the story being told in an aggressive macho background with gratuitous showing of Organic British livestock- and I just don’t mean the grass fed cattle and sheep on the farm; there is a tender tale of love that is soul-stirring and the saliva lubricant sex scene could almost be forgiven.

Assuming my movie ratings counted for anything; I’d give the movie 4 out of 5 stars. Go see it if you can.

Meanwhile I am off to stock up on pot noodles 🏃🏿🏃🏿

Coming Out – Mother’s Woe

“……Yes Mum. I am gay”

Those words knocked the wind out of me; like a sack of garri had fallen on me.

Chima. My son. Gay?!?

How?  

When?

“I can’t exactly explain the “How”, but I have been aware of my attraction to men for a long time now. For more than half my adult life and I have come to terms with it” He responded. A bit defiantly too.

And you didn’t you say anything?

“Mum”, he said calmly, “Growing up we never discussed anything related to sex. You and Dad never gave me the “talk”. Sex was a mute subject, but I knew what the expectation was. As a young adult coming to you with those thoughts would not have been well placed.”

“If you had said something, we could have gone to see somebody. A doctor; Maybe even the Pastor.”

“I don’t think it is a sickness and I don’t think you can “pray it away”. Believe me I tried” He said. “The feelings, for me at least, will always be there. However to act on those feelings is a choice. I have chosen not to repress them just to satisfy what society deems as normal. It would be living a miserable existence.”

“Did you try?”

“Yes, I did. It wasn’t for me. I was unhappy.”

“Maybe it was the wrong woman.”

“There were several” He replied.

“Jesus!” I exclaimed

There was a sermon on TV the other day, by an American Televangelist, I forget his name. The sermon was about homosexuality, I did not pay too much attention to it, as I thought it would never affect me. I wish I had. Now Chima my son, says he is gay.

“You know it’s a sin. You know what the Bible says about it.” I quoted a few Bible passages for him. He said he had heard it all before and quoted just as many if not more, Bible verses for me that advocate love and God’s compassion.

We talked some more. I told him I was worried for him. I was concerned about his well-being and future. It will be a lonely one. He assured he was fine and that he was far from lonely. He understood that the news would take awhile for me to process and that we will talk some more.

We hugged and he left for his house.

I cried. Not sure why. Mixed emotions. Was it because I know he will never get married to a woman, have kids and continue the lineage? Or that he went through this without being able to confide in me? His brother and sister have known for a long time. He told them, but he couldn’t tell me.

Had I failed in my duty as a mother? As a mother you want the best for your children. To protect them from harm; Pray that they grow up accomplished and be a continued source of pride to you but with this now, I am not so sure.

How do I explain this to my sisters? His cousins? My in-laws will say it’s my fault, that I should not have shunned our cultural values when raising him. Now they will say he is an efulefu – a worthless man, because he has no children.

There were no signs. He does not present the stereotypical effeminate look used on Television to portray gay characters. He is quite the opposite; he is manly and ruggedly handsome just like his father. Or maybe there were signs when he was growing up and I ignored them.

I remember when he was 3 years old his father and I lived in England then. We used to take him to a child minder to look after him while we were at work. The first one we took him to had a daughter around the same age. We thought it would be good company for him as he would have another child to play with. He did not take too well to that child minder and would not look forward to going there in the morning.

We found him another one. This one had a son, Simon I think his name was. He was about 4 years old. Chima got on well there and would look forward to going. Whenever we approached Simon’s house, you could see him looking out the window waiting to catch a glimpse of Chima and I coming down the road. As soon as Chima walked through the door, Simon would take his jacket and put it away and take him over to his toy dinner set and they would play. Little boys don’t play with dinner sets. Was that a sign?

As a teenager in Nigeria, though he played football with all the other boys in the neighborhood, he was not crazy about football like his father or any sport for that matter. Instead he would watch TV soaps like Dynasty and Dallas. But there were hardly any gay characters in them.

He was into the popular music artists and their videos at the time – Michael Jackson, Prince, Wham, Janet Jackson, Madonna, Tina Turner (But come to think of it , he spent lot of time watching Tina Turner walking in the music video “What’s Love Got to do with it?” I thought he was admiring her legs. But most of his mates liked these same artists and they turned out ok. They are married with kids. What happened to him?

He was a very obedient child. As a teenager he did not give either his father or myself any trouble. While his mates were causing trouble for their parents, like staying out past curfew; selling their mothers’ jewelry to fund parties or what not; Driving the family car without permission and being generally irresponsible, Chima was very level-headed and attend to his chores and school work. He was very helpful when his younger siblings arrived and could be trusted to keep things in order while we were at work.

My friends had only high praise for his behaviour and would frequently congratulate us on how well-mannered and responsible Chima was.

“Why can’t you be like Chima?” They would say while meting out punishment to their errant children. I am travelling to Nigeria in a few days and they will ask after him and when he is getting married? How can I tell them he is gay? What will people say when they find out? I bet they wouldn’t wish their children were like Chima now.

But I should have suspected something was amiss , when in the last 20 years he has not introduced any lady to us, not even as an acquaintance. Always men.

Maybe growing up I was too strict with him having female friends coming round to the house. I didn’t want any problems with an unwanted pregnancy. There was an Igbo girl from his university he was close to and she used to visit during the holidays. She was very beautiful and was studying Economics or something similar. I made some discreet enquires in case they were going to get serious as she had marriage potential. I found out that her family was OsuSocial outcastes. I discouraged their friendship. Is that what caused him to swear off women?

Was he born that way or was he turned gay? I know the bible abhors it and it is not in our culture. But he is my son; my own flesh and blood, my firstborn, I cannot disown him.

I will keep praying for him. With prayer and faith, despite what he says, he will change. Or at least be chaste.

God will do it for me.

 

Coming Out

“…Mum. I am gay”.

How did we get here?

You are gay. You have known for more than half your life. You struggled with it at first but you are at peace now. But you are also a Nigerian; culturally both don’t inherently go well together.

You grew up in a moderately Christian home – your mother being the fervent church going parent and your father being phlegmatic about the whole Church going thing.  Sex was a taboo and any talk or depiction of it was frowned upon. “Children came from God and He provided them strictly only within the Holy sanctity of matrimony.

In your early teens you learned about sex from straight porn supplied by very resourceful mates. When you watched it, your attention seems to be focused more on the male form rather than the female one, but you thought nothing of it. You regarded it as normal. And when you took matters into your own hands, it was the male form that nourished your imagination.Read More »