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Today was destined to be a bad day. First of all, I was due to be in London for two days and I was going to be able to go to the popshow event that is on probably right now. With so many acts that I have big-upped that it seems very unfair that I am not there :( Then this was cut down to one day in London and an early start in Manchester tomorrow. So no overnight stay or opportunity to go to popshow. And I was hoping to have a bit of shopping time in London before I got my train home, but no! My meetings finished around one - and then i got a call from head office asking if I could work on something urgently for them, and I felt too new in the job to say no :( So no shopping/coffee in starbucks either. BOO!! Oh well, i am still loving my new gay class merc and I am excited that I get to give it a good run up to Manchester tomorrow! Hurrah! And i can blast new music in the car and use my sat nav. Darren and I have got all technological this weekend - we finally got our wireless connection set up around the apartment, we both have sat. navs for the cars and we got a laptop so I can blog in any room in the house :) Hurrah. Note to self. Must stop spending money... Anyway, todays post has a slightly religious theme, but not necessarily about religion. Just go with it - it's still packed with pop goodness!!

In about two hours flat, I completed the amazing book "Confessions of a Mormon Boy" by Stephen Fales. Actually to call it a book is an understatement. It's more of an experience and is also a play that is currently doing a very successful run in LA. In many ways Stephen and my upbringing are mirrored. We were both good little Mormon boys, serving the church as we should, raised by devoted families and struggling to come to terms with being gay and reconciling that with religious teachings. Stephen went a lot further in his devotion than I did by serving a full two year mission, getting married and having children before realising he couldn't live this lie any longer. Moving to NYC and become a high paid escort probably weren't part of his plan, but what makes the book so engrossing is the very human way Stephen deals with wanting to be part of his family's life still and also trying to hold onto the values of his youth and upbringing. Very touching and quite similar to the interview I have done for Gay Times that will be out in a month or so. I am hoping the play will come to London this year so I can revel in new words like oxy-mormon and mormosexual. And I am SO going to try wearing a BYU (Brigham Young University) t shirt next time I am out and see if it has the same effect as it does on an often chatted up Stephen! Truly a book that made me smile and cry at the same time... .
LINK: Mormon Boy website
Reading Stephen Fales book reminded to dig out that other great mormon story - Latter Days. A story of a sexually confused mormon missionary who meets a party animal out gay bloke and takes a bit of a fancy to him. The story deals with many interpersonal issues that aren't at all limited to gay life and would cross boundaries to mixed religious marriages and differing moral values. However, the exploration of religious issues in same sex relationships is handled incredibly well and the main cast give incredibly nuanced performances that lend the story heart and soul. Jacqueline Bisset as the motherly restaurant owner has the most amazing line of the whole piece when she is discussing with Aaron (the mormon missionary) the rules of his church and says " so your church forbids drinking of alcohol and doesn't like gays? Frankly i can't imagine heaven without either." Ultimately the story is about the amazing transformational power of love and how sometimes, just sometimes, you can create your own family when yours rejects you. I'd be most interested in hearing what Stephen Fales made of this story...
LINK: Purchase the Latter Days dvd

I know I only wrote about the altar boyz off broadway show a couple of weeks ago, but since then I have really gotten into their soundtrack and am enjoying it immensely. Plus it fits nicely with the theme of todays post. The idea for the show - an out and proud Christian boyband with it's stereotypical characters (honestly throw in a eskimo and you would have a full set) - could easily have been a one trick pony, but is actually a life affirming examination of friendship and a brilliant music satire all wrapped up into one fine package. In fact the cd is presented as an album by the fictitious band, complete with corny in character liner notes - there is little to identify it as a soundtrack to a stage show and could easily be misclassified in shops! The musical style is catchy pop/rock and contains some of the most cheesy yet hilarious lyrics this side of an adroit Simpsons musical number. An utter delight from start to finish, one can only hope that this is another show that makes it over to England...
LINK: The Altar Boyz website

Ooo. Another piece on Simon Curtis. Well he is my top tip for 2007. And he has a few songs on his forthcoming album that fit nicely with the religious theme of todays post. Simon grew up in what is commonly known as the Bible Belt of America and in his song Religion Reduced tackles some of the issues around organised religion and the actual chaos/hurt/distress it can cause. I particularly like the way the song starts off with some sinister sounding synth strings and a choir-esque voice bringing the song in (I'm a firm believer in the fact that a song is enhanced if the music mirrors the lyrics). It's clear that Simon feels organised religion is far from the idea of how spirituality should be and for me the fact entire groups of people can be excluded for who they chose to love is astonishing. Insightful lyrics like "you're no better than the bible belt/make a mockery of things I have felt" and "history has been proven to repeat itself/ignorance can lead to hate so educate yourself/forcing other eyes to comprehend your vision/i think we'd all be better off without religion" utterly enforce the need to look at the ways people worship and how many things happen in this world that are as far removed from God's will as can be, yet are done so in His name. Jadion said in a recent interview that Simon is a lyrical genius and he certainly is. Pop so needs someone who tackles weighty issues with conviction and not just for shock factor. I get something new from his music every time i listen to it. Stunning.

EDIT (22/02/2007) ~ Jadion emailed me with some slight corrections that i'm sure he won't mind me sharing "You didn't quote the whole line, it is "Kaballah you're no better than the bible belt;make a mockery of deeper things that I have felt". This song deals with all the FAD religions like Kaballah and Scientology as well as the hipocrisy of the hard core bible belt Christians and the utter insanity of the murderous Muslims who are hell bent on taking over the world SOLELY because of their religion, not because of ANYTHING the USA or Britain did. The psycho left wing liberalism in the west and northeast of America is JUST AS BAD AND JUST AS HIPOCRITICAL as the right wing bible thumpers, the left wingers too are a religion. The message of this song is basically, Spirituality is a relationship between man and God... RELIGION is a relationship between man and MAN." Thanks as always for the input :)

~ I've been loving the homohollyoaks storyline with genius lines like "I'm not homophobian" (better than when some guy on a documentary went "I'm not racist, so i don't mind gays"). And they scrub up well for the photoshoot in the top pic. However, even the sign on the wall seems to be against them in the pic below it...

~ Is this the cover for the Feeling's american album release? Am so disappointed if so. I love the quirkiness of their UK releases...

~ Is that a phone in his pocket or is Jakeypoos just happy to see me. Please god, let him be happy to see me. Or my good ami Simon!
Coming Thursday - yes dudes, I am taking tomorrow off as have a very long day at work. I might get something up so check anyway! If not will have some yummy goodness for you on Thurs involving some Roberts...


  1. Anonymous said...
    Hey! I noticed that you talked about altar boyz! I got your email in a google alert and thought I'd comment. I'm one of the many altarholics that love the show so much. I'm glad you really enjoyed it! They lyrics are so catchy and the boyz make is all worth while! Well maybe I'll be seeing you around on the site sometime! Take care :-)
    Dan said...
    I watched that movie "Latter Days" a while back as I got it from Netflix and really enjoyed it. My only problem with it was that I felt like it tried to do too many things - it tried to be an indictment of the Mormon church as well as being a drama about gay relationships AND coming out AND etc. etc. My favorite line from the movie was by the owner of the restaurant (a famous actress whose name I can't recall at this particular second) said "Your church doesn't like alcohol or homosexuals. Hmm... Well, I definitely won't be joining. Can't imagine heaven without both."

    I'm thinking I want to read that Confessions of a Mormon Boy book as well - I'm a bit fascinated by LDS theology (although I myself am not LDS) thanks to a friend I made (and then subsequently lost) over the internet a few years back.

    Anyway, great post, as always.

    Mary said...
    Originally found this through a random link, but I'm so glad I did...

    I've heard a lot about "Confessions of a Mormon Boy" but I never had the chance to actually pick it up and read it. But you've definitely motivated me to do so ASAP and damn it for running in LA and not NYC!

    Again, I feel the need to watch Latter Days now. It seems like something I could watch, if not actually enjoy.

    I think the Altar Boyz are fantastic (as a show and a semi-boyband) but this line you wrote - "but is actually a life affirming examination of friendship and a brilliant music satire all wrapped up into one fine package" - really sums up for me why I love it so much.

    I *heart* the Jake pictures like you wouldn't believe. Haha.

    I need to save this blog if only because I feel like you'd give me many good recs! :o)

    Paul said...
    Cutekatelyn - thanks for commenting! I definitely plan to visit the altarboyz site more often now i have become an addict :)

    Dan - i guess because i was up on the LDS theology, Latter Days didn't seem so crowded to me, but a great story told at the right pace. You should read Confessions - not only is it a script of the play, but has lots of comments and extras in from the author. Great stuff. I'm just starting under the banner of heaven - another LDS themed book!

    Hey Mary - good to have you on board! Hopefully i will see you back here regularly :)
    J'ason D'luv said...
    OMG, as usual, I'm the voice of dissent. Latter Days is actually the top grossing independent gay film here in the U.S., but I thought it was poorly acted and cliched throughout. There were some great moments tackling the conflict of religion and being gay, but, ugh.... it was just so tacky.

    That said, Pablo, what is up with the U.S. cover art for The Feeling? It comes out next Tuesday here, and they're touring the States again in support. I guess that means I'll have to bed Dan, yet again. Sigh.

    Random Jake at the bottom. Not that I'm complaining :-P
    Anonymous said...
    Hey, I saw your blog in a google alert too and saw that you talked about the Altar Boyz. I'm happy you liked the show so much. I enjoy it myself. The songs are always running through my head.

    I hope you come visit the Atlar Boyz again soon.

    Bobbie said...
    Oh, wow, I totally love that Jacqueline Bisset quote from the movie!

    And I'm a great fan of Altar Boyz too - saw it in NYC and plan to go back again!

    Anonymous said...
    I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


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