Though of course he never went away. Since he appeared in that film back in 1986, making him one of Hollywood’s biggest box office draws, Tom Cruise remained forever Maverick for the next three decades or so. Captured like a Mayfly in director Tony Scott’s amber filters, frozen with that boyish grin and annoyingly-endearing arrogance – and maybe a bit of ‘work’ and weave.
Like the famous portrait of Dorian Gray, Top Gun preserved Mr Cruise in his prime. (His ‘painter’ Mr Scott, however, died in 2012, by suicide.)
Luckily the much-delayed sequel comes just before the limits of medical/cosmetic science were reached. Mr Cruise is 57 – yes FIFTY SEVEN – years old.
Top Gun 2, the sequel to the 1980’s most definitive – and also ‘gayest’ – movie is due to ‘go ballistic’ in a multiplex near you next year. Expect damp seats aplenty. Mostly those sat in by middle-aged straight men. And Simon Cowell.
I doubt that it will be as satisfyingly gay/camp as the original – that would be pretty much impossible. But it seems that the remake gives a nod or wink to the latter-day reputation of the first movie, with the glimpse of topless, oiled male volleyball.
If the (typically unrealistic but highly aesthetic) flight sequences in the newly-released trailer look a bit X-Wing Star Wars, that’s probably deliberate.
Producer Jerry Bruckheimer drew his partner the late Don Simpson’s attention to the California magazine feature on US Navy F-14 pilot training which inspired them to make their most famous movie, declaring excitedly “It’s Star Wars on Earth!”
I learned this and other fascinating TG fanboy factoids – including that those famous steamy locker room scenes were actually Tom’s idea, and that hyper-hetero Simpson was an early, high-rolling metrosexual with an eye for the gay aesthetic – earlier this year while reading a page-turning biography of Don.
‘Beer before wine makes you feel fine, wine before beer makes you feel queer.’
That old drinking adage may now finally have to be officially amended to wine and beer – and anything else alcoholic – in any order, make you feel queer.
A recent study published in The Journal of Social Psychology claimed to show that heterosexuals become much more interested in the same sex when drunk. Straight men especially so – going from zero interest in a dude when sober, to almost the same level of interest as in a dame after ten drinks.
Call me old-fashioned, but isn’t this slightly redundant? Didn’t we already know this? Isn’t this, in fact, what beer was invented for? As a ‘lubricant’ for ‘male bonding’, in rugby clubs, fraternities and the British Army?
A British paratrooper chum tells me that a popular pastime of the mauve berets is ‘naked bar’ – someone shouts ‘NAKED BAR!’ in the vicinity of alcohol and then everyone has to strip off, enjoying their favourite tipple in the altogether.
Needless to say, if I was a para I would be the one shouting ‘NAKED BAR!’ before anyone else. Probably over breakfast. I would single-handedly kill the tradition with overuse.
And then there is the old joke US sailors like to tell about Marines (and which Marines of course like to tell about sailors):
Q: What’s the difference between a straight Marine and a bisexual Marine?
A: A six-pack.
That ‘ten drinks’ standard the study came up with probably only applies to civilians.
Let’s not forget that for hundreds of years, before the current fashion for blaming hair whorls, ring-fingers and amniotic fluids, drunkenness was regarded as one of the chief causes of sodomy. It’s certainly way more fun.
I of course have been conducting my own selfless researches in this area for decades. Though in truth I’ve been somewhat hampered by the fact that I’m far too gay to invite a drunken straight man home with me. He might throw up or piss the bed. Or snore.
Anyway, how good is the drunken, unrehearsed, un-douched sex likely to be? Even without the hangover and guilt. Much better just to flirt drunkenly before heading home separately. Having sweet dreams of what might have been.
I can also vouch for the fact that beer can make a raging queer more bisexual too. Or at least, more likely to snog women. Indeed, I have experienced heterophobic discrimination as a result of my drunken sluttiness. Many moons ago I was barred from gaining entry to Love Muscle, a famous gay club in South London because I shared a taxi there with a random, but pretty woman, and we’d started snogging. (The bouncers were unpersuaded of my gayness, even though I was topless.)
It would be interesting however if someone repeated the study, this time secretly giving the guys alcohol-free drinks packaged as alcoholic and seeing if they still feel queer after downing them. This would help answer the age-old question of whether the suppressive effect of alcohol on inhibitions is more physiological or psychological – giving straight guys permission to entertain not-so-straight thoughts.
‘Oh boy, was I drunk last night!’
Or, as the Romans used to put it: in vino, veritas.
This post originally appeared on Mark Simpson’s Patreon page.
According to a recent article on male image from DR, the Danish version of the BBC, ‘From Hippie to Sex Symbol‘, the 21st Century belongs to my Rocky Horror-esque creations – the Metrosexual (‘metroseksuelle’) and the Spornosexual (‘spornosexsuelle’).
Although I might quibble with some of the things the article says – at least as filtered through Google Translate – I can’t disagree with them about that.
Shame they didn’t actually credit Dr Simpsonfurter.
In a new Mother’s Day-themed KFC ad he leads a selection of prime succulents: stripped, battered and deep-fried, covered in MILFy sauciness – just begging to be eaten.
‘I LOVE you mom!’
So many baskets and buns – so little time.
OK, it’s fingerlickingly awful. Mind you, you have to give it credit for taking on not one but two taboos in one ad: cannibalism and incest.
It’s possible of course, in an age of viral annoying advertising, that its awfulness was intentional. That I was meant to groan at this ad, its terrible taste, and share it, snarkily. In which case, it worked a treat.
But even if it was intentionally awful, it’s difficult today to imagine the roles reversed and a KFC ad featuring a troupe of female strippers moaning “I LOVE you, dad!” served up deep-fried in a bucket.
But then, as the ASA ruled a while back, men can’t be objectified. And in fact, because men can’t be objectified this ad doesn’t exist. And these ads don’t exist either. So obviously this KFC ad is just a bad dream brought on by indigestion – probably caused by eating too much fast food.
AHHM was written by Jimmy Perry and David Croft, the duo behind the other smash hit 1970s hit BBC sitcom Dad’s Army. Croft was also behind Are You Being Served?, thus he and Perry dominated my childhood viewing, making them essentially the architect of my terrible sense of humour.
Set in India in the dying days of both the Second World War and the British Empire, AHHM told the travails of a concert party of misfit men – or ‘boys’ as they refer to themselves in their theme song – that just want to survive the war and have a bit of a giggle amidst the relentless boredom and heat, and put on a show to entertain the men. (Perry was drawing on his own experience: during the war he had served in a Royal Artillery Concert Party in Burma.)
Their old school, barrel-chested, ramrod-backed, racist, homophobic ‘SHUUUUT-TUUUUP!!’ BSM would have scoffed at the new, Mister lah-dee-dah Gunner Graham American Psychological Association guidelines for men and boys. Clearly a fervent believer in the now officially pathologized ‘traditional masculinity ideology’ – though he would just call it ‘backbone’ – he is forever trying, and failing, to turn the ‘effeminate poofs’ in the concert party into ‘proper men’, and save the British Empire from decadence.
Everyone else though – the squaddies they entertain, the local Indians working for the British Army, and especially the pipe-smoking Colonel – love the ‘boys’ of the concert party and their degenerate, painted poofery and can’t wait for post-war, post-imperial dissipation.
There was also a regular hint that this mustachioed scourge of poofdom who sees poofery everywhere has latent ‘omosexual tendencies himself – or is at least ‘guilty’ of behaving like an ‘omo. Williams dotes on Gunner ‘Parky’ Parkin, one of the hunkier (by dismal 1970s standards) young soldiers in the concert party: “Shoulders back, lovely boy, you’ve got a fine pair of shoulders on you. Show ’em orf! Show ’em orf!” He sings his (non-existent) praises to the officers and covers up his failures.
He thinks the lad is his illegitimate son; so he is showing paternal pride and affection for his own virility. But we and the concert party know he isn’t Parky’s daddy, so the joke is he’s unwittingly displaying something else. Freud should have had a writing credit for this sitcom: he saw a father’s love for his son, and the ‘male bonding’ of all-male groups, as a sublimated, socially-acceptable outlet for universal homoerotics.
The BSM also sometimes appears to be wearing eyeliner, though I’m sure this is just a 1970s TV camera pickup issue.
The reason BSM Williams was such a fondly-regarded prime-time act in the 1970s was down to Davies’ great comedic performance (and it was a performance of course – apparently he was a very kind and gentle chap). It wasn’t just about the virtuoso shouting – it was also about those baby blue eyes in silent close-up: so expressive when reacting to/mocking other people’s lines
And because even forty years ago, the bristling Sgt Major represented for most UK viewers under 50 an already outmoded, comically inappropriate imperial masculinity. If one that was still vividly recognisable, especially to a male generation that had, like Davies, done National Service (it ended in 1960)
For anyone under 50 today, probably the most recognisable part is the waxed Edwardian moustache – but only because it’s been recycled on the ironic upper lip of hipsters and Movemberists.
Possibly only one of the concert party ‘poofs’ seems intended to be taken for an actual poof: ‘Gloria’, played by Melvyn Hayes – who was the cross-dressing star of both the concert party and, alongside Davies, the sitcom itself. Yes, judged by today’s standards it was racist and homophobic: I’m sure plenty of 1970s viewers enjoyed seeing the bloody campers getting a beasting from the Sgt Major – I know I did.
But he was the cartoon baddie, and the past. Annoying and ridiculous as they are often presented, the ‘poofs’ were the sympathetic characters, and the present.