“You want it to freeze but you’re weak in too deep…”

Hello honkytonks 🙂

The other day I caught sight of a headline regarding the death of Bernard Manning. That reminded me of 70s comedy in all it’s non-ironic (Ed: or what it?) occasional non-PC gags. In the 70s there where only – brace yourself kids – just 3 channels back in the day (BBC 1, BBC 2 and ITV). Most of society thought that it wasn’t alright to be gay and men had to be 100% male – anything less than that was just ‘wrong’ (because wearing a frock is gay right? Yeah right [rolls eyes]). However, there were a few performers who had an impact on my already confused growing up: John Inman, Dick Emery, and to some extent Larry Grayson. A trinity of non-vanilla lifestyles and comedy performance. 🙂

It was all about performance and while I didn’t make lifestyle choices based on Are You Being Served, the fact that you had characters that were content with their alternative lifestyle jumped out at me. Occasionally, they were the butt of the joke but so it was with the *ahem* normal folk in there too. With a child’s naivety I looked to these characters, not as true role models, but thinking “if these guys are cool with who they are, is being different that bad?”.

I now know that not everyone appreciated the Mr Humphrey’s character, but I’d like to think he helped bring acceptance in rather than push a stereotype: the gay equivalent of an Uncle Tom if you will.

[ insert tea break here ]

I’ve come back to this post after a rather nice cup of hot choccy and it seems I’m contradicting a glib comment I made about looking to kids films for role models. Post in haste, regret at leisure 🙂

Is it better, I wonder, to have nice telly where the bad stuff – like the dark side of Manning’s wit – is kept away or should it be all in the open so we can discuss this with our (grown up) children and say why we do or don’t agree with it?

Many Happy Returns NottsChams!

Thursday was good fun. We had a packed house, or church hall to be accurate (oh yea merry sinners!! 🙂 ) as it was the 25th anniversary of the group. I’ve never played in-door badminton in heels with a tea tray before and to be honest, I don’t think it’ll catch on! 🙂

[ The lyric is from Girls Aloud’s Biology and if they ever made Transgender: The Musical, I’d put a pony on it (monster! monster!) in being in the show ]


  1. Oh, I really have to disagree with you. Back in the 70s I hated Inman, Emery, Grayson. Perhaps my perspective was different because I was older than you – I was a teenager. Perhaps you never had anyone shout “I’m free” or “shut that door” whenever you did something vaguely unmasculine? When I look back it seems like everyone I knew thought gays were limp-wristed hairdressers in floppy hats and it was precisely because the only gays they knew of were John Inman and the rest of the caricatures. These people perpetuated the stereotype. To say they brought acceptance is like saying Emily Howard brings acceptance for transvestites – and you don’t think that, do you?

  2. > Oh, I really have to
    > disagree with you

    Please do. Another’s viewpoint is always interested. Y’see, I never had the “I’m free” catchphrase used at me as a put down, so, yeah, I guess it will mean different things to different people.

    To be honest, I’m not really sure how to reply. Mr Humphrey’s clearly is a massively exagerated character. Both the writers and Inman stated that they didn’t write/perform him as a gay man, more a mummy’s boy. Is that a PC cop out? [shrug] Possibly, possibly not. Who can say? I know also that Grayson was threatened by a group of gay men who thought he was a straight guy cruelly sending them up.

    All I can say is as a kid, I saw these guys doing their thing and sometimes they got away with it. I also overheard occasional adult talk about them reminding me that not everyone is a welcoming as they look.

    Maybe the auidence was laughing at them initially, but in later years that seemed to change as they became part of the media background. Hell, from what I’ve read Inman became a bit of a gay icon. But I can only dip into that history from my own childhood memories and the snippets of gay culture shown to me via the media.

    I don’t like the Emily Howard character because she’s not a biting satire of the TG behaviour. I think you could go sooo much further with the character, but, maybe a lot of it would go over people’s heads. Instead we have another catch-phrase driven comedy-by-numbers one joke performance. To answer your question, I think Emily will be used as a put down for TG folk for sometime to come. However, does talking about her make people aware of our existence?

    All that said, I think a lot of trannys have more in common with Cupid Stunt. Iffy wig, comedy boobs, fishnets and they can’t keep their legs shut 😉

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