God’s Own Country


“God’s Own Country”. No doubt you have your own definition of that, according to where you live. For Brit’s like us, strictly speaking, we would remove one letter, leaving “God’s Own County”, with the same issues applying! And usually the county you were born in.

This is a film review without having seen the film. The English county of Yorkshire’s answer to ‘Brokeback Mountain’. Yorkshire people are known for plain speaking: ‘calling a spade a spade’, as they say. ‘Now’t wrong wi’that’ as they would also say!

Today’s pictures are unrelated to the story. I don’t have files of Yorkshire’s gay folk.

The film is the story of a closet gay who reluctantly shoulders the burden of his father’s failing livestock farm, and a Romanian worker drafted in to help with lambing (something we do know a little about from our Welsh connections). Let’s say the Romanian’s caravan is soon rocking…

It has excellent reviews. But my point here is that we found out about it through ‘The Times’, which we get a day late here,  in an article written by another Yorkshire gay man, Mark Smith, who tells of his own growing up in Yorkshire when being gay was unimaginable. He’s about to get married in Amsterdam to another Yorkshireman, and he writes how much things have improved these days, which is great. Definitely a film to see.

Our attention, however, was drawn to other things in Mark Smith’s article. He comments that he knew he was gay from a very early age (I didn’t understand enough to recognise the symptoms until much later!). He was in trouble “for playing in the girl’s end of the sandpit” and encouraged to make friends with boys. School tried to ‘toughen him up’ with rain-lashed football.

There’s something odd here – seemingly an admission my Mark that, if you’re gay, you will display an effeminate side. OK some do. Dave and I definitely did not. We wanted only to play with boys, be with boys, watch boys… the more masculine the better. We always wanted to be a prime example of boyishness, or manishness. Being accepted by your own kind as ‘one of them’. I cannot recall ever willingly playing with girls.

So are there two ‘types’ of homosexuality? One where you want to clone with your own sex and one where you seek to act like the opposite sex, maybe to attract another of your own? We have never successfully answered that question, and you may wish to comment!

Another depressing point in Mark’s article is that his school PE teachers chastised under-performing sportsmen by calling them ‘poofs’ and ‘pansies’. That is horrible. Some people are not cut out for sport – as sports instructors we most certainly recognise that. We would always encourage under-performers in some way, as I hope that this blog (and indeed my books) shows.

So: full marks to Mark! There’s a nice picture of him in ‘Times 2’ dated September 14th, if you can get to that either in print or on-line. Just ignore the picture of Hilary Clinton on the front page!

And with that wholesome image above, the rest of today’s pictures are just random. Enjoy.

 (Coming soon [end-October?] – cast out from his community, a gay native American boy and his spirit guide embark on a life-changing journey. Pre-order from your bookseller by quoting ISBN 978-1-784653-23-1 [Vanguard Press])

About tonycavanagh

Born Northampton UK; school Oxford UK and Oak Ridge Tennessee, where I met my wonderful partner Dave, also from UK. Oak Ridge is our main training base for acrobatics and circus stuff, but we also established a base in Wales (UK) to serve us when we are working in Europe. Our 'story', of finding gay love, learning the acrobatics trade and then of how we got shot at during our show (and worse was to follow - just to prove that the risks of being an acrobat are not always the most obvious ones!) are now available in my three books 'Loving the Boy', 'The Power of Love' and 'Against All Odds'. Links available on most blog posts. Actually, waiting for the imminent arrival of the first printed copies was far scarier than anything we do in performance. A fourth book - not about us but exploring the sadness of a gay Native American boy denied his true identity - is currently with an agent for evaluation. watch for 'Let The Future Find Me' in due time. And now to book five... another boy, another quest... seems its always boys...
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