Skip to content

I wrote about soft porn and the female gaze for The Guardian

I got such a lovely commissioned from The Guardian this weekend. They wanted me to write about the series of stamps celebrating the work of homoerotic artist Tom of Finland, but in the context of the female gaze. You can read the article online HERE.

As a special treat, I’m also going to post my first draft here too because, well, it’s nice sometimes to give the bits that got cut an airing, as it were.

The male nude is, let’s be honest, a faintly amusing figure.

Those hairy knees, fleshless dugs, the hopeless sagging of veined and twitching genitals, the too-long toes. From Lucian Freud’s paint-thick, thigh-sticking appendages to the baby carrot and hanging plums of Michelangelo’s David, it’s hard to pull off a naked man. If you’ll pardon the expression.

But perhaps, as the Finnish Postal Service’s latest release suggests, it takes a gay man to show a real man. Finland’s new philatelic celebration of the phallus is a series of stamps showing the work of famous homoerotic artist Tom of Finland, due to come out in September 2014. The stamps show perfect curves of smooth thigh, lustrous moustaches, rounded shining pectorals and lantern jaws. Imagine the Vitruvian Man, buffed from the pages of an Armistead Maupin novel.

Tom of Finland, known as Touko Laaksonen to his friends, influenced an aesthetic that stretches from advertising to arthouse, with everything from Arnie and the A-Team in between. Looking at his images today, my first thought is not of Gautier’s Le Male or Paul Gandy’s boat glistening bronzed body in those Dolce and Gabanna adverts. No. My first thought is of Rambo. (Continued)

Goppeldangers: Lorde

As it’s Good Friday, here I am as Our Lorde

I’m still in New Zealand

But only for another fortnight.

I’ve written about the whole adventure, from climbing mountains to getting concussion, on

Read it and weep.

Goppeldangers: Edmund Hillary

He is, after all, famous in New Zealand.

I wrote about Women Who Eat On The Tube for The Guardian

The lovely people at Comment is Free emailed me on Monday night at 9pm saying “Are you awake, wherever you are?”

And so the commission to write about the Facebook group Women Who Eat On The Tube was born. 48 minutes later and I had filed 750 words on the subject. As my granny always said, if you can’y play well, play fast (and if you can’t play fast, play last).

You can read the article online here, or it will be in the print version on Tuesday.

Here’s an extract to whet your appetite:

There is no famous blog called Men Who Eat In Ford Transits. Nor is there a hugely popular Facebook group called Men Eating Chicken On Night Buses. And I am yet to find a website dedicated to photographs of Men Who Eat Boots Meal Deals On Trains. Yet Women Who Eat On Tubes has 15,400 members and counting on Facebook. The David Bailey fan page has, by contrast, just 1,782….

I wrote about eating alone for VICE

VICE have just launched a very exciting new food channel called Munchies. I encourage you all to have a look at it as soon as possible.

I wrote a little piece for it about eating alone. Here’s how it starts…

Reservations are now being taken at Amsterdam’s Eenmaal; a stripped-back, hyper-chic restaurant that seats, serves and satiates only single diners.

Cashing in on the unconnected chomper is, clearly, big business. According to a study by the Hartman Group, nearly half of all American adults eat most of their meals alone. And where American diners lead, we in Britain are sure to follow (just look at that snore-inducing trend for so-called ‘dirty burgers’). Also, according to the Office for National Statistics, single people account for 7.7 million – or nearly a third – of Britain’s households. Tap into the appetite of that demographic and you’re laughing all the way to the bar…


Goppeldangers: Mary Pickford

With thanks to Nick for his work in my Photoshop absence.

Check out page eight of today’s Otago Daily Times

For those of you who don’t, unaccountably, subscribe to the Otago Daily Times, you can read the interview here.

I was so spectacularly concussed during this interview – I’d spent the morning in A&E and was still throwing up on a fairly regular basis – that it’s a minor miracle (and a testament to the journalist, Hamish) that they managed to find anything print-worthy at all .

At least, that’s my excuse for getting the word ‘norks’ into the ODT.

I wrote about writers and editors for The Guardian

After going to a talk between the Luminaries editor Eleanor Catton and her Granta editor Max Porter last weekend, I wrote a little piece for Guardian Books about the writer-editor relationship.

Henry James called editing “the butchers’ trade.” But he also said, “I glory in the piling up of complications of every sort,” so you can see how the old anglophile and his editors may have crossed horns.

However, if we’re honest, wouldn’t we, the reader, prefer to chew over a well-honed slice of literature than wade through fatty hunks of unedited, flabby prose? Isn’t the editor’s first loyalty to the reader, and not the author? Isn’t it better to wield the knife, pummel the flesh and present the choice cuts than to club out something that the cow might approve of?


Goppeldangers: The Chronic

Nick Scott made this, because he’s the best.