One of the issues which is - apparently, although I have yet to see any evidence to prove the claim - ripping Britain apart is the subject of ‘gay marriage’. David Cameron - yes, that one, who gives the impression that he dare not let a bandwagon pass without jumping on it - has decided that our parliament must pass new legislation to allow members of the same sex to get married. It is pertinent here that we - ‘we’ being stuffy Old Blighty - already have legislation allowing couples of the same sex to enter into ‘civil partnerships’. These allow them to treat their other half as a heterosexual spouse might be treated in law and in practical terms each partner has far greater rights than they did in, for example, inheritance law and the legislation governing wills and property rights.
So far, so much to my approval. There is an objection that non ‘same-sex’ couples - usually siblings who have, for example, dedicated their life to the other - still receive unfair treatment under the law, and I have some sympathy for those thus affected. But I should also add that I suspect that a large proportion of those who cite this as an example of the new, ground-breaking civil partnership’ legislation as not being - to use a current, although rapidly ageing cliche - fit for purpose are more intent on discrediting the legislation for - ahem - homophobic reasons than from any finer, legalistic sensibility they might possess. Such objections have, however, been overtake by a far greater, in their view, ‘danger’: proposed government legislation allowing gay couples to marry.
Initially, I was rather bemused. Surely, I told myself, now that gay couples have the right to enter into a civil partnership, all their concerns about being treated as second-class and inferior have been answered, Surely, I told myself, they have been reassured that after all the appalling treatment the - almost always male - gay folk in our cultures have received in the past several millennia, things are now different? And, surely, I told myself, there is, at the end of the day, no need, in practical terms, for legislation allowing gay couples ‘to marry’? I was, honestly, bemused. So when the Tories - the Tories, mark you, which is a telling detail - announced that they intended to introduce legislation allowing gay couples ‘to marry’, I asked myself: why exactly?
I also asked two gays I know at work. I shall name them here as I don’t feel neither would object. First, about five or six weeks ago, I buttoned-holed a chap called Andrew Pierce who is, to put it cynically and at its basest, the Daily Mail’s ‘house gay’. (That is putting it very cynically, but the hell.)
Actually, he is a lot, lot more, a very good journalist - and my no means the first homosexual national journalist - who has very good contacts, can write well in the way journalists write well, has a good brain and knows what he is talking about. I asked him whether, now that gay couples could enter into civil partnerships, it was important to him and his other homosexual friends and acquaintances, that they might also soon be able to get married. He me told that no, it wasn’t.
A week or two later I asked another gay acquaintance at work, an artist called Phil Argent. I put the same question to him, and he told me: yes, it is. This surprised me a little (although I couldn’t tell you why it did so), so I pursued the matter and asked him why. He told me that it meant that finally homosexuals would be treated as equals. And that I could, and can, understand. It sums it up, really.
. . .
Those against the idea of gay marriage say that the essence of ‘a marriage’ is that is the union of two people who intend to procreate. And as two people of the same sex cannot procreate together, there can be no sense in which their union can be regarded as marriage. That, on the face of it, is a reasonable argument. But I would counter that, at the end of the day, what they put forward as the essence of marriage is cultural - I almost wrote ‘purely cultural’ - and that, as such, it is a definition which, over time, can and will change.
Most certainly many cultural norms have changed, and they have changed far faster than we might think. For example, when I went to university in 1968, it was still unusual for women openly to admit to having an active sex life. Many did, of course, but they did not admit to it openly. That has changed utterly over these past 44 years. And in terms of ‘fundamental change’ 44 years is but a bat of an eye. So objecting to the proposed legislation on ‘gay marriage’ on those grounds is, at the end of the day, a tad feeble.
There might, perhaps, be other observations which could be made - and, please note, I say ‘observations’ not ‘objections’ - but I shall not record them here until I have reflected upon how to express them without running the risk of being horribly misunderstood. And that last sentence might give you an idea of how easy it might be to be misunderstood, along the lines of ‘now, don’t get me wrong, some of my best friends are black/gay/communist/Tories/Americans/Liverpool supporters/chub fuddlers but ...
PS I didn’t mention that one of my brothers is gay. In fact, of my two brothers, the brother I am by far fondest of and spend most time with. So how liberal am I , eh? I mean, ten brownie points or what? Am I cool or am I cool?
. . .
A month or two ago, I wrote about The Kinks. They happened to be my first fave band, but apart from that they weren’t particularly distinguished (apart from, in the early days, being fucking great). Other contemporary and subsequent fave bands/artist were The Beatles, Jeff Beck, Steely Dan, Prince and, most recently Dave Fiuczynski. But that is all irrelevant. I am only writing the addendum to my piece above extolling gays and why the bloody hell can’t we have more of them - a government conspiracy or what? - so that I can include a mention of The Kinks.
Why? Well, the last time I did so a netbot, or whatever they call these things, came across this blog and linked it to some bloody Kinks fansite, and the upshot was that several thousands Kinks fans followed the link and visited this blog and my stats shot up. They all might, most probably, have lingered here for rather less than a millisecond, but stats aren’t that bright, so ‘readership’, for a brief and most glorious 33 hours hit the millions. And do you know, dear reader, I never got over it.
So here, in the hope that something similar will happen, is another mention of The Kinks. And Ray Davies. And Dave Davies. And bassist Pete Quaife. And drummer Mick Avory (who, apparently, was working as a painter and decorator and part-time drummer when he auditioned for a band which was to become The Rolling Stones. He impressed them and was offered the gig. But he turned it down because he didn’t think they were going to go anywhere. At least, that’s what I heard. I like to think it’s true. But either way it makes me like the guy just a little bit more.
. . .
Writing this, I am sitting with my stepmother at her cottage just down the road from me in Cornwall. We are watching Royal Ascot - I am inclined to write ‘Royal’ Ascot, but that would merely be gratuitously unpleasant, so what the hell - and I am logged on to Labrokes the bookies, placing bets on my stepmother’s behalf. Yesterday she one £10.50 after backing on gee-gee each way, but overall she must already be £70 down over the past three days.
I haven’t been betting on the horses, but I have been placing bets on various Euro 2012 events - in what half will racist chanting break out, will the Greeks beat up Germany’s manager in 90 minutes, that kind of thing. So far, I am also down, but more to the tune of about £25. Tonight Spain take on France and I am rooting for France because I have a treble, a trixie and various other bets which will only come good if France beat Spain and Italy beat England. Yes, I know that is unpatriotic, but, chaps, business is business. Germany have already done me a favour by winning last night (although I did have a separate punt on Greece winning, but only because the odds were so good).
The big noise here at Royal Ascot is Black Caviare, shipped to Old Blighty all the way from Oz, so a couple of bob has also gone on her. But there’s another ten minutes to go before we lose all our bets, which give me time to ask one simple question: what is it with British women and hats? Do they like looking stupid? Is it a sister thing, solidarity with all other sisters? I really don’t know, but they spend thousands on some silly hat and do nothing but end up being stupid. Maybe I’m just being too German on the matter. (Note to new readers: I am half-German, which also might explain that in the Germany v Rest of the World stand-off over the eurozone, I am firmly behind Les Boches.) Incidentally, all the guys or at least all the guys in the Royal enclosure (‘Royal’ enclosure) are wearing top hats. What is noticeable is that they are all variously tall. Second question: is there in significance in that? Are we to believe that the taller your topper, the longer your cock. Or even, the taller your topper, the shorter your cock and some kind of compensation quirk comes into it? Do you know, we shall never know, though doubtlessly some Phd student as beavering away at a thesis on the matter as I write (and you read - mustn’t forget the reader).
LATER: We lost in as far as we bet far more money than we one. What with the various bets, we must have placed around £40. We won £6.71. As the Yanks say, do the math. As the Brits say, do the maths. In either language it all means that gambling is a mug’s game, though bookies the world over will sleep well tonight, and till the end of time, knowing that whatever else is in short supplies, there will be more than enough mugs to go around always, a mug writes.