COOL GAY STUFF is a news-watch hot-sheet of new LGBT-friendly highlights from around the web. They're snippets of fresh gay-themed or gay-interest gems you possibly missed offering you a 'taste' to point you to the originating sites. But these samplers are NOT only for gay guys & gals, so we avoid hardcore porn or NSFW items.

Place your comments at the original sites, they'd enjoy your views. Links are provided.

Your host, author George Gardiner, opens with recent eye-candy videos & pages describing his widely-praised historical/mystery/erotica novel "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History". It's a fiction/faction re-imagining of the real-life m/m romance between ancient Rome's pre-Christian 'good emperor' Hadrian & his famously imposing 'Favorite', Antinous. Paperback or ebook options are displayed. Then follows 25 gay-appeal news reports, updated daily, ending with a broad sampler of recent LGBT miscellany. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: This site makes no claims about the sexual orientation of any person mentioned in text, image, or presumed by inference.

NEW GAY MOVIE | "Burning Blue" ...

Don't Ask, Don't Tell is recalled ...

BURNING BLUE is a romantic drama which tells the story of two Navy fighter pilots who fall in love while living under the US Military Services' former "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell" policy. The fighter pilots find themselves in the midst of a forbidden relationship throwing their lives and careers into disarray. BURNING BLUE will be in select U.S. theaters and on VOD on June 6. It is likely to appear in other indie movie markets later in 2014. The movie is co-written and directed by DMW Greer.

NOW MEET HISTORY'S FIRST 'OUT' SAME-SEX COUPLE : Hadrian Caesar & Antinous ...

.... The two pages below highlight your host George Gardiner's recently-published historical romance/mystery/erotica novel "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History". However, if you are a returning visitor then you should ...


HADRIAN & ANTINOUS - history's first 'out' lovers ...

HADRIAN & ANTINOUS - history's first 'out' lovers ...
... back & front cover of THE HADRIAN ENIGMA. Click on the pic for direct link to its Amazon page to check reviews, prices, & purchase a paperback or Kindle ebook.


"Five Stars ... Excellent ... couldn't put the book down ... one of the most enjoyable novels I've ever read ..."
Lloyd F Adams (USA), at Amazon USA

"Five Stars ... The best book I've read on Hadrian and Antinous."
JANE (Canada), at Amazon USA

"...I recommend it to any historical fiction fan, especially any fan of the redoubtable Mary Renault. ..."
J.R. Tomlin, author of historical fiction, at :-

"Five stars ... a tour de force ..."
Elisa Rolle, Amazon Top 1000 Reviewer, USA & UK

" ... an absorbing new book ... compelling writing ... action sequences that are brilliantly staged & paced ... on a higher plane than mere homoerotic titillation ... courageous & convincing ..."
Reader Down Under (Australia), at Amazon USA (scroll further below to unedited review)

"... extensively researched picture of life in the Roman Empire ... a mix of mystery, comedy, gay & straight romance - is an entertaining read ..."
Laura Staley, Historical Novels Review, USA, at :-

"... an age-old love story with a twist ... an unexpected delight ... his storyline hooked me immediately ..."
Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson of READER VIEWS, Austin TX, USA

"... You will feel engaged and challenged ..."
Nan Hawthorne, author Beloved Pilgrim, at Amazon USA

"... extremely readable ... it's a page turner ... Gardiner has written an interesting & gripping story ..."
Kim at India

"... 5 stars ... a compelling crime mystery ... a hard book to put down ..."
Terence Charters, Hobart, Australia, at Amazon USA

"... An adventure through Hadrian's world. The story is easy to read and full of the homoeroticism that we love about this era. ..."
P. Novotny, London, at Amazon UK

"... a definitive 5-star read for me ..."
Aleksandr Voinov, UK, reviewer at Speak Its Name

"Five stars ... A masterful recreation of Ancient Rome ... the historical details are a delight ... characters are outlined in a vivid way which is like meeting old friends ... "
Ernest Gill, Hamburg, at Amazon USA & UK

"Five stars ... as a reimagining of the Hadrian-Antinous relationship in the context of the age it is fascinating."
Muriel Perkins, Texas, at Amazon USA

" ... this is a novel about the nature of love ... but this is far from just being a gay romance. ..." Kit Moss, historical author, at :-

"A truly exceptional book on 'What Greek Love" is all about ..."
John R. Shelton at Amazon USA

"Five stars. I so enjoyed this book. Highly recommend it ... "
Stephen Forte, Birmingham, Alabama at Amazon USA

NOTE: ***Amazon USA's 17 readers' reviews - 8 awarding five stars for excellence - can be read in full by clicking on :-


LUST, LOVE, INTRIGUE, & MURDEROUS REVENGE: A powerful novel suggested by real events - history's most unusual love story ...

THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History
A novel
(C) George Gardiner
ISBN13: 978-0-9807469-1-4 (at Amazon USA, UK, Europe, Australia etc) in 498-page paperback or Kindle ebook.
Also iBookstore, iPad, Nook & ePub ebook formats etc available via online sources, including Lulu.

The scene: ancient Rome, 130 years after Christ yet two centuries prior to Christianity being legal. Caesar Hadrian is the popular ruler of a vast pagan empire at the height of its power & wealth.

Hadrian, one of Rome's "five good emperors" searches for & eventually locates the love of his life .. Antinous, an elite Greek athlete, huntsman, & cavalry cadet. They become 'companions' under the ancient Greco-Roman mentoring tradition of an erastes (mentor) & his eromenos (student).

During an imperial pleasure tour of Egypt Antinous is discovered dead in the River Nile. Hadrian is distraught. Is the death a drunken prank gone wrong, suicide, murder, or something far more sinister? Hadrian assigns historian playboy Suetonius Tranquillus to investigate.

THE HADRIAN ENIGMA is the outlawed record of Caesar's investigation into one of history's most suspicious fatalities. It reveals more than Hadrian may want to know, or wants others to know. Set in a society increasingly reflecting facets of our own times, it portrays an era of torrid relationships, raging ambition, wealth inequalities, & uninhibited morals within a severely macho culture of honor, shame, pride & prejudice.

Only purchased online (not in street stores), CLICK NOW ON A LINK BELOW to select best price & delivery options ...

For an Amazon USA paperback :

for Amazon's Kindle ebook or Kindle-For-PC's download :

[If you buy a new print edition of THE HADRIAN ENIGMA, or have purchased one in the past, you can buy a Kindle ebook edition for only $1.99 - saving 80%. Print edition must have been sold by Amazon.]

for Amazon UK :

Plus ...

The paperback is also available via mail-order at Diesel Bookstores, Powell's Books, & Vroman's Books, California. Use each store's search facility to locate.


... if you have arrived at this blog via BING Search or an archived post, you will see your item immediately below this message (or be told the post was deleted). But: THE PRESENT MONTH'S 25 OTHER POSTS WILL HAVE BEEN DISPLACED TO DO SO (rendering side-column pics & videos far off-topic). To restore everything to their proper view, click on our blogspot's url address, in blue here :-

Everything will be magically restored ...


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

GAY RIGHTS (2) | Twisting the Bible's view against same sex relationships ...

THE BIBLE | Stop twisting the Bible, there is no message against same sex marriage
---- selected pars from an opinion piece by Adam Hamilton at (USA), 12 April 2014 :-

      'Moses and Paul are being misinterpreted: They were against gang rape and pederasty, not loving relationships. ....  There is no record in the Torah of two men seeking to share their lives together as companions and lovers. There are two instances in the Torah of men lying with men as with a woman. It seems likely to me that when Moses commands the death penalty for a man lying with a man that he was addressing these practices that are described in two separate passages in the Torah. Let’s consider each of these two passages.  ....
....    There are a host of things described by the Law of Moses as unclean or an abomination that we would not consider unclean or abnormal today. Eating pork, or rabbit, or any seafood that does not have scales (lobster, crab, clams) was detestable and an abomination. Yet we don’t consider eating these things an abomination today, nor a violation of God’s will. Is it possible that the backdrop for Moses’s condemnation of a man lying with a man as with a woman was this sense that something was either clean or unclean, acceptable or detestable based upon whether it was “normal” (i.e. conforming to the norm) or abnormal?
My point in all of this is that we too quickly assume we know what Moses was condemning  .... '
----  see more of this challenging, extended, & thoughtful view by Adam Hamilton at at :-

Monday, April 14, 2014

GAY RIGHTS | UK's Archbishop of Canterbury challenged by US bishop ...

GAY RIGHTS (1) | US Episcopalian bishop criticizes Anglican Primate in UK
----  a brief excerpt from a critique published in The Daily Beast (USA) 13 April 2014 :-

      In "What the Archbishop of Canterbury should have said" the Episcopalian (USA Anglican) Rt. Revd. Gene Robinson, IX Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire (retired) has seen cause to go public questioning the Anglican Communion's Primate, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. Here are the opening three pars from Gene Robinson's declaration of "what the Archbishop should have said" ...

       "Justin Welby said the Church of England can’t rush on gay marriage because it could could become a rationale for violence against Christians in Africa. But that lets the murderers win.

       I admire Justin Welby. The committee to nominate the next Archbishop of Canterbury was obviously thinking outside the box when they went beyond the usual deep-thinking, theological wizards and academicians to nominate this thoroughly 21st-century Christian to lead the Church of England. Welby spent most of his adult life in the business world, getting ordained as a middle-aged man, and serving as the Bishop of Durham for just over a year before becoming Archbishop. He is a man of deep faith and brilliant intellect, with a healthy dose of modernity and realism. I think they made a great choice.
      Which is why I was stunned to read an account of Archbishop Welby’s response to a call-in show questioner about the newly-implemented marriage equality law in England. In response to a question about why the Church of England does not allow its clergy to officiate at civil same-sex marriages, Archbishop Welby responded:
      “I have stood by gravesides in Africa of a group of Christians who had been attacked because of something that had happened in America. We have to listen to that. We have to be aware of the fact,” Welby said. If the Church of England celebrated gay marriages, he added, “the impact of that on Christians far from here, in South Sudan, Pakistan, Nigeria and other places would be absolutely catastrophic. Everything we say here goes ‘round the world.”
      Welby was referring to violence against Christians in Africa that the perpetrators have justified in connection with supposedly gay-friendly activities by the Anglican churches in the United States and Canada. He said he had been warned during a visit to South Sudan that Christians could face violence from Muslim neighbors who believed that having Christians nearby would make them gay.  .... "
----  see more of Bishop Gene Robinson's extended & thoughtful questioning of Archbishop Welby's statements at at :-

Saturday, April 12, 2014

COOL GAY MOVIE | "BOYS" ("Jongens", Netherlands 2014) soon on dvd/vod

"BOYS" | A Dutch contribution to the youth coming-out genre
----  a promo announcement from Wolfe Video (USA) about a forthcoming gay-themed movie, 12 April 2014 :-

    'Premiering at the current Boston LGBT Film Festival (USA) and heading for other film festivals over coming months, "BOYS" is a Netherlands-made (English subtitled) movie on a sweet gay teen romance.
      In this uplifting gay romance, two teen track stars discover first love as they train for the biggest relay race of their young lives. Chiseled Dutch phenomenon Gijs Blom stars as Sieger, a thoughtful 15-year-old who grapples mightily with his emerging gayness. Equally handsome Ko Zandvliet co-stars as his love interest, the spirited and outgoing Marc.
      In their boyish summer courtship the two of them swim, bike, run — and share ice creams and kisses as they gradually find the courage to be vulnerable with one another. The romance between them unfolds with a palpable sense of longing — and an aching sequence of heartache as Sieger tries to fight the inevitable. With its authentic and perfectly poignant tone BOYS (Jongens) ranks as one of the most wholesomely romantic gay teen films ever.
      "BOYS" will be available via Wolfe Video (USA) in VOD & DVD later in 2014. View the 1'30" trailer in the sidebar.

Friday, April 11, 2014

COMING OUT, the Jewish way? ...

David Comes Out To His Family Over Shabbat Dinner
----  excerpts from a new short film from US Jewish LGBT organization Keshet. A post by Elissa Goldstein at Jewcy (USA), 3 April 2014 :-

      'The video depicts David working up the courage to tell his family as they pass food across the Shabbat table and discuss Obama’s recent appearance on Between Two Ferns (great touch). .... '

----  see more of Elissa Goldstein's post at at :-
---- and view the especially-touching YouTube video in the sidebar (with many thanks to Keshet).

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


French boy band DESTAN misses out on Eurovision selection
---- though not gay in any specific way, this is a report from France this week about an institution which possesses a distinctly gay-interest aura : Europe's annual tv-blockbuster musical spectacular, the Eurovision Song Contest

      Perhaps perceived to be an eccentric choice of subject as a Cool Gay Stuff media snippet, your editor George has selected a rejected French entrant competitor as France's representative act for this year's Eurovision contest to enliven your day. Sadly, the jumpin'-&-gesticulatin' French boy-group trio known as Destan failed to be selected.
      On 2nd March France finally announced its entrant for the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest being held in Copenhagen (Denmark) on the 6th, 8th, & 10th of May. This Europe & Mediterranean-wide contest of musical acts attracts 180 million viewers to its eccentric mode of glitz&glam musical contest.
      Fourteen French judges chose French trio Twin Twin singing "Moustache" to be the nation's official competitor. These were one of three contenders, which included boy-group Destan.
      However, because this site's readers' tastes may run in directions other than a florid punky/funky novelty group like Twin Twin, your editor exhibits his own idiosyncratic taste by presenting a video clip by Destan to show what France & Europe may have missed for this year's Eurovision Contest.
      Possibly more a One Direction-style cover than entirely original, the song by the three energetic lads of Destan nevertheless strut their stuff in the rapidly-shifting world of boy-band ephemera. Paris looks pretty too in the video's backgrounds.
----  see Destan's cheery video in the sidebar opposite. Applaud the trio's cheeky Gallic charms. Sorry, but English translation is not provided, but I doubt that matters much to this site's readers.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

STROKE | Erotic art goes mainstream in New York ...

"STROKE":  Erotic gay art, once hidden, on display in New York's Soho
----  the opening pars from an extended summary by Kavish Harjai of an art exhibition on gay themes in New York City, published by the the Washington Square News (USA), 8 April 2014 :-    

      'Museum-goers are flocking to the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art for a stimulating, never-before-seen exhibit.
      “Stroke: From Under the Mattress to the Museum Wall,” which is on display from March 28 to May 25, features gay erotica meant to explore sexuality and identity.
      Robert Richards, the curator of the exhibit, said he proposed the idea four years ago, and it took off in the past year after Hunter O’Hanian became the museum’s executive director.
      Richards said the exhibit visually explicates an important period in gay history.
      “The show is about beauty — beautiful drawings [and] beautiful men,” Richards said. “It’s a huge body of work that can’t be forgotten because it defines a whole era of gay men’s lives.”
      The 80 illustrations from 25 artists, originally published in magazines from the 1950s to the 1990s, are now mounted on the red and yellow walls of the museum. The exhibit also has pieces from as recently last year. The media of the erotica encompass ink, paint, pencil and gouache.  .... '
----  see more of Kavish Harjai's report at at ::-

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Do women enjoy porn too? ....

Yes, women like porn too
----   a single paragraph excerpt from an extended & very witty op-ed article by Tamara Jones at (USA), 3 April 2014 :-

      ' ....  There are many ways to embrace our own sexuality, and I truly believe this is one of them — acknowledging what you're turned on by, and not fearing it or feeling shame. Now, I'm not saying to go shout it out at the grocery store that you love porn, but there's no reason for shame, judgment, or fear. Porn will probably be here until the end of time, so I say leave the shame and stereotypes at the door.
[TAMARA JONES is the author of the ebook Lady And Her Porn. ]
----  see more of Tamara Jones' entertaining opinion at at :-

Thursday, April 3, 2014

COOL GAY MOVIE | A scary gay thriller ..

NEW GAY MOVIE |  "Tom At The Farm" screens at Sydney Film Festival
----  brief excerpts from a promo post at SameSame (Australia), 3 April 2014 :-

      'Young Montreal-based director Xavier Dolan gave us gorgeous films Heartbeats, I Killed My Mother and Laurence Anyways. Now he’s back with Tom at the Farm, a tense and complex Hitchcockian psychological thriller about a young man who attends the funeral of his gay lover in rural Quebec, only to find himself trapped in a dangerous dance of lust and sadistic impulses with the deceased’s brother. It looks amazing, and scary. Watch the movie's trailer in the sidebar opposite, & check the interview video with Xavier Dolan about Tom at the Farm.'
----  see more about new gay movies at Australia's at :-
Many other films for the 60th Sydney Film Festival will be announced soon, with the fest running 5-16 June. Find more details here on the Sydney Film Festival website.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE | Paris celebrates with an exhibition ...

Robert Mapplethorpe (USA 1946-1989) art photography exhibited in Paris
----  an announcement of a major exhibition of the provocative US photographer's work, exhibiting until 13 July at the Grand Palais, Paris

      'Robert Mapplethorpe was one of the great masters of art photography. He produced highly stylised black and white portraits, nudes and still lifes. Over and above the erotic power that made Mapplethorpe’s work famous, the exhibition presents the classic dimension of the artist’s work and his search for aesthetic perfection, through over 200 images that span his career from the early 1970s to his untimely death in 1989.'
----  see more about the Paris exhibition & bookings etc at :-
----  & check the video teaser in the sidebar opposite.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE | Survey shows rapid US social shift ...

Dramatic Change Towards Marriage Equality
----  excerpts from an article published by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research (GQRR) USA, 27 March 2014 :-

      On Thursday, the Human Rights Campaign and Americans for Marriage Equality released the results of a bipartisan study of likely 2016 voters conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and TargetPoint Consulting. The study revealed that as support for marriage equality continues to grow, voters’ attitudes toward the LGBT community and the implications of marriage equality have also shifted. Key findings include:
  • As is the case with most public polling, support for marriage equality lands at a majority, but this survey probes much deeper, exploring which groups have evolved, voters’ assumptions around marriage equality, and what voters believe a country where marriage equality is legal would look like.
  • There has been a huge shift toward social equality, with favorability ratings for “gay and lesbian” people increasing and the number of people who know a gay or lesbian person reaching 75 percent.
----  see more of this GQRR report summary at :-

Sunday, March 30, 2014

GAY HISTORY | UK's first gay marriage ...

The UK's First Gay Marriage
----  the opening pars from a news post by Nico Hynes of A/P appearing at The Daily Beast (USA), 29 March 2014 :-

      'A whirlwind romance that began in Los Angeles sealed a place in the British history books this weekend as Sinclair Treadway and Sean Adl-Tabatabai became one of the country’s first gay couples to be legally wed.
       They exchanged a pair of simple gold bands in a ceremony that began at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, the first day same-sex marriages were allowed in Britain. Treadway’s parents, who flew in from the U.S. for the celebration, were among 100 guests crowded into Camden town hall in North London.
      With the British Prime Minister among those offering congratulations, Treadway, 20, from Simi Valley, California, said it had been an overwhelming experience just one year after he met his partner in the U.S.
      “It’s all happened too quickly it's hard to take it in, but I am just so thrilled and amazed that our wedding is so important not just to us but to the rest of England and Wales and the world,” he said.  .... '
----  see more of Nico Hynes' substantial A/P report about this historic occasion at at :-

Friday, March 28, 2014

"GAME OF THRONES" to be even more daring ... maybe

"GAME OF THRONES" cast members would like to see more male nudity
---- brief excerpts from a post by Patrick Yacco at Gay.Net (USA), 26 March 2014 :-

      '....  The topic was brought up in a GQ interview with Kit Harington, who portrays Jon Snow. The British actor believed that it was fair for all the actors, regardless of gender, to be required to disrobe if necessary.
      "It's only right," stated Harington, "if you're going to make a show where nudity and sex is a large part of it, that you be a part of that."
      Fans may also be shocked to learn that the production team relied on a "butt double" during an sex scene last season. Harington had broken his ankle before production began, and a similar-looking raven-haired crew member stood in for Jon Snow’s derriere.
      Peter Dinklage was recently asked by Entertainment Weekly as to whether or not his character, Tyrion Lannister, would ever have a nude scene. Dinklage, who's frequently required to act in scenes with prostitutes and mercenaries, said that he hasn't "read a script yet where there is one. But if it's appropriate for the material, [he'll] definitely go to the gym." ....
....  Whether or not more male flesh is flashed on screen remains to be seen, but anyone interested in finding out can tune into the show’s upcoming season premiere on HBO (USA) on April 6  [with other global markets to closely follow - Ed.]
----  see more of Patrick Yacco's post about Season Four of 'Game of Thrones' at at :-

Thursday, March 27, 2014

GAY HISTORY | British politician celebrates arrival of same-sex marriage

Rainbow flag will fly over London's Whitehall to mark same-sex marriage
----  excerpts from a news report at The Guardian (UK), 26 March 2014 :-

      'Nick Clegg [the UK's Liberal Democrat Party leader & deputy prime minister] encouraged the country to raise a glass to mark the first same-sex marriage ceremonies this weekend.
      The rainbow flag will be flown over Whitehall [London's govt admin center] this weekend to mark the country's first same-sex marriage ceremonies, Nick Clegg has said.
      Gay couples are able legally to tie the knot from Saturday, with some planning to do so as soon as the clocks tick past midnight.
      The deputy prime minister said the multi-coloured flag – adopted as a symbol of the gay community in 1970s San Francisco – would be flown above the Cabinet Office and Scotland Office from Friday. He encouraged the whole country to raise a glass to mark the occasion. "As all the same-sex couples make their vows this weekend, they will be making history," he said.
      "Finally, after years of campaigning, any couple who wants to get married can get married. Together we have made our country a place where we celebrate love equally, gay or straight – and for that reason we should all be raising a glass. .... '
----  see more of this development in the UK's social history at at :-

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

COOL GAY MOVIE | "In Bloom" now on dvd

Review : "IN BLOOM"
----  brief excerpts from a movie review by Roger Walker-Dak at The Gay UK (UK), March 2014 :-

      'This is the rather gritty story of a hip very young gay couple in Chicago's 'Boystown' coming to terms with how tough one's first love can be.
      Kurt is a small time drug dealer who supplies pot to his peers, whilst Paul his boyfriend of two years has a dead-end job in a local grocery store that he can barely tolerate. When the long summer starts, they are having fun and very much into each other and seem the perfect couple, but some seven months later they have separated and can barely talk to each other.
      Everything had been going well with them until one night one of Kurt's good-looking customers puts the moves on him  .... '
----  see more of Roger Walker-Dak's summary at at :-
----  the dvd of In Bloom is available at Amazon. Check the trailer in the sidebar opposite.

Monday, March 24, 2014


The Online Dating for Lesbians App :  Has Dattch rewritten the rules?
----  a par from a substantial report by    at The Guardian (UK), 24 March 2014 :-

      ' .... Enter Dattch. The free UK-based lesbian dating app has just launched in the US at the inaugural Lesbians Who Tech summit and has also won an award for best-designed app at the Launch Festival.
      It faces competition from Brenda, which is like Grindr for lesbians, and the predominantly hetero Tinder. But unlike either of those, Dattch (a combination of date and catch) claims to be the only one designed specifically for women, rather than aping existing straight or gay-male versions. "We've found that girls often need a helping hand to get talking," says Dattch CEO and founder Robyn Exton, who set up the company after noticing marked differences in behaviour between men and women dating online.
      "Guys will see a picture, send a girl a message and see what happens. Whereas girls will look at a picture two or three times before deciding to send a message," she says.
      So how has Dattch approached the problem of dithery would-be daters?  .... '
----  see more of this enticing extended report about Dattch at at :-

Sunday, March 23, 2014


"YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS: Life & Style in Hollywood's Golden Age"
----  two pars from a substantial review by critic Jonathan Yardley of Hollywood actor Robert Wagner's new book, at The Washington Post (USA), 22 March 2014 :-

      ' ....  Wagner is actually less interesting as an actor and screen personality than as a participant in, and close observer of, the life of the movie community. His previous book (also written with Scott Eyman), “Pieces of My Heart” (2008), is an affecting memoir that focuses on his two marriages to the incandescently lovely Natalie Wood, whose drowning in 1981 near Catalina Island left lasting marks on him, though he happily remarried in 1990, to Jill St. John, another lovely actress.
      Wagner seems to have known anybody who was anybody in Hollywood over the past three-quarters of a century, to have been greatly loved by almost all of them, and to have watched them at work and play with a knowing and sympathetic if occasionally mordant eye. ....
....  The world inhabited by Wagner’s generation, and that of stars whom he knew but were older than he, such as Gary Grant and Joan Crawford, was entirely different from that of today’s stars. “We who were lucky enough to be in the movie industry at that time lived in a cocoon of golden lace,” Wagner writes. “We were protected from the consequences of our behavior by the vast studio apparatus. .... '
----  see more of Jonathan Yardley's review of Robert Wagner's & Scott Eyman's new book at at :-

Thursday, March 20, 2014

GAY HISTORY | Remembering Yale historian John Boswell ...

GAY HISTORY: Celebrating John Boswell (USA 1947-1994)
----  opening excerpts from a birthday commemoration at the ever-interesting Band of Thebes (USA), 20 March 2014 :-

      'When Publishing Triangle ranked the 100 Best LGBT Nonfiction Books of all time, they included works by Plato, Freud, Foucault, Faderman, Duberman, et al., and their undisputed choice at #1 was Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality by John Boswell, a history professor at Yale.
      He was 33 when it was published in 1980. Newsweek said it was, "an astonishing work of scholarship that ranges with ease over fourteen centuries...What makes the work so exciting is not simply its content -- fascinating though that is -- but its revolutionary challenge to some of Western culture's most familiar moral assumptions." Specifically, he proved that the Roman Catholic Church hadn't always been antigay, had either been indifferent to or had actually celebrated male - male love until the twelfth century.
      No surprise, Boswell was attacked by some conservative academics who thought he was promoting a gay agenda and by some gay people who said he was a Church apologist. Ultimately the complaints only added to the book's popularity because it was impeccably researched; it won the 1981 American Book Award for history.  .... '
----  see more of this commemorative post about John Boswell's contribution to revealing much about gay history at at :-

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

GAY HISTORY RECOLLECTIONS | Kelly Cogswell's "Eating Fire" ...

"EATING FIRE :  My Life As A Lesbian Avenger"
----  excerpts from the content summary at Amazon USA of a new book by Kelly Cogswell (USA), 18 March 2014 :-

      'When Kelly Cogswell plunged into New York’s East Village in 1992, she had just come out. ....   ....  A couple of months later she was consumed by the Lesbian Avengers, instigating direct action campaigns, battling cops on Fifth Avenue, mobilizing 20,000 dykes for a march on Washington, D.C., and eating fire—literally—in front of the White House.
      At once streetwise and wistful, Eating Fire is a witty and urgent coming-of-age memoir spanning two decades, from the Culture War of the early 1990s to the War on Terror. Cogswell’s story is an engaging blend of picaresque adventure, how-to activist handbook, and rigorous inquiry into questions of identity, resistance, and citizenship. It is also a compelling, personal recollection of friendships and fallings-out and of finding true love—several times over.  .... '
---- see more of the content summary of Kelly Cogswell's book "Eating Fire", published in Kindle, paperback, & hardcover formats at Amazon USA at :-

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

COOL NEW MOVIE | "The Maze Runner" in September with Dylan O'Brien ...

"TEEN WOLF's" popular co-lead becomes a movie action hero
----  see a budding-if-hesitant youngster grow to movie stardom almost overnight

       Global readers familiar with the wolverine shenanigans of the popular MTV (US) tv-series "Teen Wolf", currently screening its fourth highly gay-aware season in several global tv-markets, will know of the fey charms & witty appeal of one of its lead (non-werewolf) characters - 'Stiles' -  played by young US actor Dylan O'Brien.
      Further to "Teen Wolf's" macabre goings-on, Mr. O'Brien is beginning to appear in other major movie manifestations. One of these is "The Maze Runner", where a dystopian hunger-games-like ordeal is inflicted on O'Brien's central character of Thomas, who now matures into a hero hunk contender. Gone are the funny faces & smartass jokes of werewolf-world, O'Brien becomes a teen action star. The movie is based on the best-selling YA novel by James Dashner.
        Synopsis: When Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) wakes up trapped in a massive stone maze with a group of other young men, he has no memory of the outside world other than strange dreams about a mysterious organization known as W.C.K.D. Only by piecing together fragments of his past with clues he discovers in the life-threatening maze, can Thomas hope to uncover his true purpose and a way to escape. "The Maze Runner" opens in cinemas across the USA on 19 September 2014 & follows in other global markets.
----  see more about Dylan at "The Maze Runner" WEBSITE at:
---- or check the 2-min trailer for the movie in the side-column here.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

GAY PARISIAN LIFE | Edmund White's latest ...

Gay Paree : Food, feuds, and phalluses - I mean fallacies
----  the opening pars from a book review by Ian Thomson at The Spectator (UK) of Edmund White's new book, 15 March 2014 :-

      'A review of Edmund White's Inside a Pearl, an X-rated memoir of the gay author's 15-year exile in Paris.
      In his preface to The Joy of Gay Sex (revised and expanded third edition), Edmund White praises the ‘kinkier’ aspects of homo-erotic life. Practical advice is given on frottage, spanking, sixty-nining, cruising, blowjobs, fisting, rimming and three-ways. Of course, Proust-inspired poetic exaltations to homosexual love have long characterised White’s fiction, from A Boy’s Own Story to Hotel de Dream. Yet White is no mere popinjay in thrall to high-flown campery; his mind is drawn to some very dark places.
      Between 1983 and 1999, as an ardent Francophile, White elected to live in Paris. His chatty, salacious account of those years, Inside a Pearl, dilates knowledgeably on the gorgeousness of the ephebes to be found along the Seine; but the book is also a serious guide to the city’s gastronomy, literature and social customs. ....
[Inside a Pearl, Edmund White, Bloomsbury, pp.261, £18.99, ISBN: 9781408820452] '
----  see more of Ian Thomson's review at at :-
---- or see a more considered review by Australian book critic Peter Craven at The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), 15 March 2014 :-

Thursday, March 13, 2014


German archaeologist suggests the British Museum's Warren Cup could be a forgery
----  excerpts from a substantial news report by Dalya Alberge at The Guardian (UK), 13 March 2014 :-

      'A Roman silver drinking vessel that depicts two sets of male lovers is one of the most prized jewels in the British Museum, singled out by director Neil MacGregor for his critically acclaimed History of the World in 100 Objects.
      But on Wednesday, 15 years after the British Museum bought the Warren Cup for £1.8m, a highly respected German archaeologist suggested it could be a forgery.
      At a public debate staged by King's College London, Prof Luca Giuliani challenged the museum's view that it dates from the 1st century AD.
      The professor of classical archaeology at Humboldt University in Berlin dismissed it as a creation of the early 20th century, arguing that such explicit imagery is unprecedented in Roman silverware. He suggested instead that the cup was designed for the pleasure of its former owner – a wealthy American gay man, Edward Perry Warren, who bought it in Rome in 1911, and who also acquired other "counterfeit" pieces, he said. ....
....  Giuliani said at the beginning of the lecture on Wednesday night that his thinking was "an experimental line of thought". He also made reference to the fact that the cup could be deemed genuine if it showed signs of ancient corrosion on the inner side of the cup.
      Williams was able to confirm that it did indeed show signs of corrosion and showed an image to prove this, leading Giuliani to say if that was so, then he would need to change his mind.'
----  see more of this challenging report by Dalya Alberge at at :-

Monday, March 10, 2014


Exiled Iranian Pop Icon's Song About Gay Love Causing A Stir in the Islamic Republic
----  brief excerpts from a substantial news report & video posted by Toby Sterling, Assoc Press, at LGBTQ Nation (USA), 9 March 2014 :-

      'AMSTERDAM: ....  Googoosh was Iran’s first pop diva, though the 1979 revolution interrupted her singing career for two decades until she left the country. Her music has remained popular with Persian speakers everywhere and underground in Iran, where her status is comparable to that of Madonna.  ....
....  “Don’t tell me to stop loving: you can’t do that and I can’t either,” Googoosh sings in “Behesht” (Heaven).
      Navid Akhavan, an Iranian-born German who wrote and directed the video for the song, said it has been viewed by more than a million Iranians online or via illegal satellite channels since its Valentine’s Day release, and was clicked on half a million times in the first 24 hours.
“That shows the subject is something that, if you’re for it or against it, draws attention,” Akhavan said in an interview with The Associated Press during a visit to Amsterdam.  .... '
----  see more about Googoosh and 'Heaven' ('Behesht') in Toby Sterling's report at at :-
----  and view the touching 6-min YouTube video of Goolgoosh singing 'Heaven' in the sidebar.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

COOL GAY MOVIE | "THE CIRCLE" (Der Kreis) 2014

"THE CIRCLE":  Winner of Berlin Film Festival's Teddy Award
----  a brief report following Berlin's February festival dates

      Following its premiere at the 2014 Berlin Film Festival, "The Circle" (Der Kreis) is doing the rounds of other film festivals.
      Synopsis:  Zurich, 1958. The young teacher Ernst Ostertag falls head over heels in love with the transvestite star Robi Rapp and finds himself torn between his bourgeois existence and his commitment to homosexuality. Ernst becomes a member of the gay organization DER KREIS and lives through the high point and the eventual decline of the organization, which in the whole of Europe is seen as the pioneer of gay emancipation.
Director:   Writers:  &  .   
Stars: , , |
----  see the English sub-titled trailer in the sidebar, opposite.

Friday, March 7, 2014


UK's LGBT Jewish Community Record Their History
----  brief pars from an extended report by journalist Iram Sawar at the Huffington Post (UK), 7 March 2014 :-

      ' .... At the launch of the Rainbow Jews exhibition and film at the London School of Economics, Esther's story is one of a multitude that have been recorded to celebrate LGBT history month. The two-year "Rainbow Jews" initiative, the first of its kind in the UK, was awarded a grant by the UK Heritage Lottery Fund to research, record and archive the experiences of LGBT Jews from the 1950s to the present. The project was conducted by the Liberal Judaism, whose Chief Executive Rabbi Danny Rich, believes there needs to be more work of this kind.
      "It's a matter of justice. The main issue is that the Jewish community don't want to talk about being LGBT because there's a prejudice there and because of that the LGBT voice is absent."
       Liberal Judaism was the first religious movement to introduce an official liturgy for blessing same-sex ceremonies back in 2005. However, according to the project's director and instigator Surat Knan argues that more needed to be done to recognise Jewish-British LGBT rights.  .... '
----  see more of Iram Sawar's report at at :-

Thursday, March 6, 2014

MAINSTREAM LITERATURE | Is gay sex taboo anymore?

Is any kind of sex still taboo in literature?
----  a brief excerpt from a challenging article by Nigel Farndale at The Spectator (UK), 8 March 2014 :-

      '.... With the exception of Fifty Shades of Grey, a not very literary novel about bondage and sadomasochism, heterosexual sex doesn’t even register on the cultural radar any more, other than as something to be mocked at the Bad Sex Awards. Forget Lady Chatterley’s Lover, even Updike’s Couples or Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint wouldn’t get noticed if they were published today. In the age of online pornography, there’s nothing to say about polymorphous couplings that hasn’t been said already, nothing remarkable, nothing shocking.
      Social attitudes do ebb and flow, of course. Could Lolita (1955) be published for the first time today? I doubt it. The publishers would be surrounded by torch-carrying mobs calling for Nabokov and other ‘paediatricians’ to be lynched. But I can’t see novels dealing with consensual ‘vanilla’ sex, be it heterosexual or homosexual, ever having the power to shock again.  .... '
----  see more of Nigel Farndale's provocative view at at :-

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

COOL GAY SITES | A list of gay activist sites worth following ...

101 Gay Rights Activists To Follow On Google +
----  the introductory par to a substantial list of hot gay activist's sites, posted by Joseph Atkins of Gay Dating Sites (USA), 4 March 2014 :-

      'Gay activism is strong within the LGBT community. Such activism may be expressed in the form of music, song writing, poetry, rallies, legislation lobbying, and more. It is through such works that the gay community is able to show solidarity, as evidenced by the following activists on Google+.
      Many activists for gay rights will often become politically involved by joining various organizations that can better facilitate change through growing its membership or championing the cause.
      Check out our list of our favorite 101 LGBT activists you can find on Google+.  .... '
----  see Joseph Atkins' list of sites, activities, and addresses at at :-

... Now COOL GAY STUFF (at url M/M Romance Novels) returns to mixed miscellany in both columns ...

... the pages below offer trailers of recent gay-interest movies, memorable "M/M Moments" from past cinema, unedited reviews of THE HADRIAN ENIGMA, & useful gay-interest links from across the Web ...

... then follows a bibliography of academic works consulted as background research for THE HADRIAN ENIGMA.



Gay comedy "LOVE OR WHATEVER" arrives on video in May ...

COOL GAY MOVIE for 2014 ...


COOL GAY MOVIE about high school love ...








Published on YouTube 16 July, 2013 :
Various lives intersect in and around a West Hollywood motel in this kaleidoscopic comedy about sex, love, and the meaning of life.
The characters include a medical student (Matt Riddlehoover), his extrovert boyfriend (Andrew Callahan), an adulterous actress (Starina Johnson), her lover (Heather Horton), and a dutiful husband (Phil Leirness) whose wife (Amy Kelly) wakes to find she has a penis.
Available November 12 on DVD/VOD from TLAgay:



Romeo and Juliet are Shakespeare's "star crossed lovers". When two enemy families meet, forbidden love ensues.
This newest version of the William Shakespeare classic is directed by Carlo Calei and stars attractive youngsters Hailee Steinfield (Juliet) with Douglas Booth (Romeo). Release date: '"Coming shortly" in 2013.




CHEEKY LOVE TALE for gay or straight ...

NEW GAY MOVIE | Crisis in 1985 ...


"FREIER FALL" ("Free Fall", Germany 2013) at Kino 2013 ...

BEAR CITY2: The Proposal (2012) takes-up where BEAR CITY (2009) left off. It plays in select US cinemas through 2013.

"Beauty" ("Skoonheid") ... a Cannes prize winner

SKOONHEID’, ["Beauty"] which is the first Afrikaans film to be screened at Cannes, is about a middle-aged Afrikaans man, Francois, struggling to find happiness. He lives a tightly controlled life with his family in Bloemfontein which unravels when he becomes infatuated with the young son of a long-lost friend.
The Cannes Queer Palm is awarded to the film with excellent artistic qualities and that deals best with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transexual issues.


A fair-haired young man, dressed in rich ceremonial armor, is found dead in the Nile River. When he is identified, everyone realizes the dangerous political implications of this death, because Antinous was the eromenos—the lover and protégé—of the Roman Emperor Hadrian.

A grief-stricken Hadrian appoints two members of the court, Suetonius and his patron Clarus, to find out how and why Antinous died. They have two days to find the answer, permission to interrogate anyone except the Emperor and Empress, and the promise that they may forfeit their lives if they fail to satisfy Hadrian.

Failure is a distinct possibility. While Antinous was well-liked and respected, the circle of suspects is wide, as it often will be when the victim is the confidant of an absolute ruler. The two sleuths quickly draft unlikely but able assistants to help them, including a scribe and an observant, multilingual prostitute.

The book offers an extensively researched picture of life in the Roman Empire of 130 AD. Gardiner is equally convincing when writing about imperial politics and succession laws, marriage and sexual customs, philosophy and the theater.

But The Hadrian Enigma—a mix of mystery, comedy, gay and straight romance—is an entertaining read.

(See more at :-

"BOB'S NEW SUIT" - Gay themed movie on dvd

M/M ROMANCE IN THE CINEMA ... movie history's first same-sex kiss

"WINGS" ... movie history's first same-sex kiss ...

Wings is a 1927 silent film about World War I fighter pilots, produced by Lucien Hubbard, directed by William A. Wellman and released by Paramount Pictures. Wings was the first film, and the only silent film, to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.[4] Wings stars Clara Bow, Charles "Buddy" Rogers, andRichard Arlen. Gary Cooper appears in a role which helped launch his career in Hollywood and also marked the beginning of his affair with Clara Bow. See more at :-

THE HADRIAN ENIGMA - an unedited review by historical novelist NAN HAWTHORNE ...

Gaius Suetonius, a bit of a muckraking biographer, tells this story about an investigation into the sudden and unexplainable death of the youth, Antinous, by apparent drowning in the Nile during an annual festival of the death and resurrection of the god Osiris. The small group of investigators commissioned by Caesar Hadrian has two days to learn how he came to be found in the river dead. The path to this knowledge is difficult, involved, often contradictory and definitely dangerous as the investigators follow leads full of red herrings and mislaid people and things. At the heart of what they learn is how the boy came to be the eromenus to Hadrian’s erastes, a relationship between a mature man and a young one entering his career that was at least mentor-mentee and likely erotic. It seems that Hadrian was looking for such a companion and found it in Antinous, but from there the enigma stretches. A Roman man was not supposed to engage in an equal love relationship but only dominate the eromenus, but from the start the two men’s relationship was much more, and this fact if revealed could damage the Empire.

If you are expecting a nice neat Hercule Poirot detective story, let that go. This murder investigation, if that is the crime that took place, is far more challenging for both the investigators and the book’s readers. The solution does not even come to light until almost too late, during the investigation report. Rather than being a spoiler, I offer you the foreknowledge of a much more skillful mental workout. Perhaps the greater mystery is why the emperor asked Suetonius to lead the inquiries, as the latter is known for leaving no salacious stone unturned in his research and writing. Does Hadrian really want to know what happened to his lover? Does he really want everyone to see the seamy side of his court?

The structure of the novel is a series of interviews with witnesses and suspects about the days before and immediately after the young man’s death. In seeking background about Antinous, Suetonius and his fellows explore his life and relationships before becoming Hadrian’s companion. The individuals who supply this intelligence come at it from a number of quite different perspectives, with enough gaps between them to offer ambiguity. You will find yourself guessing “whodunit” and changing your mind several times as you follow the investigation and meet other players in the story.

I found that starting at the point of the lovers’ first night together I began to feel a sense of the tragic nature of their erastes-eromenus compact. It is understood that it cannot last more than a few years, but since in this case love enters the equation, the tragic nature of Antinous’s life starts to permeate all succeeding events. I found this quite moving and that it added a layer of anxiety as I read. As mentioned above, this is a novel about the nature of love. One aspect of gay male romance is constant threat to happiness and fulfillment, but this is far from just being a gay romance. The central characters are both men, but loves of other kinds make their mark throughout. There is family, marital friendship and sexual love, and the tension comes when the masculinist nature of Roman culture interferes and invalidates it. The subtext, as the author told me, is the same as we face now, when romantic relationships are more broadly defined but still not part of the heart of our societies.

One aspect of this novel I found pleasing was the mix of archaic and modern terms. Readers sometimes balk at modern slang, but when the very essence of a novel is that everything in it is an implicit translation, it is absurd to say that there would not have been a slang counterpart in the ancient language. Further, Gardiner confines his slang to the appropriate witnesses, those who would have used slang. That the words eromenus and boy-toy are in the same paragraph made perfect sense to me.
This novel will stick with readers for some time, its many subtle undertones drifting up and down in contemplation. It is also simply a good mystery novel. You will feel engaged and challenged and you will find you had encountered every little detail at some point in the book. No surprises, that is, if you were paying attention.

---- see more of Nan Hawthorne's work at her blog at :-

Nan Hawthorne, Historical Novelist

THE HADRIAN ENIGMA | A review by historical fiction author J.R. Tomlin ...

An excerpt from a review of August 15, 2011

" .... In 130 AD, while accompanying the Emperor Hadrian on a tour up the Nile, the beautiful youth Antinous plunges into the Nile and drowns. Hadrian, near maddened with grief, declares Antinous a god. However, Suetonius just happens to be along on this imperial tour. Already the author of juicy books on contemporary Roman life, he is perfectly placed to investigate this mysterious death, so Emperor Hadrian commands him to investigate and find the murderer within 48 hours or suffer the consequences.

In the imperial compound on the Nile, Suetonius searches for clues. Here, semi-isolated, the bubbling cauldron of the Roman court has been transplanted to a fabulous tent city. Yet, the mystery of Egypt is an ever present backdrop to this baffling death. .... Why was Antinous clad in heavy ceremonial parade armor and weapons when he died? How did he come by a slit on his left wrist and strange marks on his throat? And how can Suetonius unravel all this when the Emperor refuses to let Suetonius even touch the body to examine it? The characterization is vivid and the historicity meticulous in this novel. I enjoyed savoring the characters and setting as Suetonius unraveled the imperial goings on. .... "

See more of J.R. Tomlin's review at her author's blogsite "Writing & More" at :

M/M ROMANCE in the cinema | "LOVE SONGS" (France 2007)

Love Songs (French: Les Chansons d'amour) is a 2007 French musical film directed by Christophe Honoré, starring Louis Garrel, Ludivine Sagnier, Chiara Mastroianni, and Gregoire Leprince-Ringuet. It was one of the 20 films selected for the main competition at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.
The movie is noted for its portrayal of an intensifying relationship between a 20-year old Breton, Erwann (Gregoire Leprince-Ringuet), & mid-twenties Parisian Ishmael (Louis Garrel) in today's Paris. The 4-min scene above displays the eventual consummation of the pair's growing relationship.



Hooray for Hadrian (and for George Gardiner) !, August 31, 2010

By a reader down under (New South Wales, Australia) - See all my reviews

This review is for: THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History (Paperback)

George Gardiner's absorbing new book, which focuses on the relationship between the Roman emperor Hadrian and his young paramour, Antinous of Bithynia, quite possibly heralds the thrilling emergence of a new Mary Renault. (As uneven as it is in some places, to my mind it is a big improvement on Margeurite Yourcenar's book on Hadrian from the 1950s).

Gardiner begins his narrative with the discovery of the dead body of the beautiful youth, who has apparently drowned in the Nile. He coopts as his central figure cum narrator the actual historical figure of Suetonius Tranquillus, who is charged by the supreme colonial ruler Hadrian Caesar with the urgent responsibility of uncovering the reasons for, as well as the manner of, the death. Suetonius works night and day as a kind of investigator/ prosecutor and his dogged inquiry drives the plot. The narrative unfolds as a kind of antique murder mystery, then, and one of the book's great strengths is in the well-paced twists and turns of the plot, throwing up a number of suspects and scenarios along the way that keep the reader intrigued until the very end. Gardiner's humour shines through this character, who is forced to carry out his investigation under the double pressure of a pressing deadline (why is Hadrian so intent of winding it all up in such a short time, we wonder) and the threat of execution if he doesn't come up with the answers.

This is compelling writing. Suetonius is a good choice, as he is known for his history of a dozen Caesars, and the author brings him vividly and humorously to life. Indeed, Gardiner skilfully and imaginitively re-works established historical figures and creates a cast of composite characters where necessary to serve his narrative ends. The fact that he can do this convincingly, with such an extraordinary mixture of ethnicities and beliefs, is writing of a high order. The mastery of research is remarkable, not only for Gardiner's command of the details of ethnic artefacts, weaponry, costume, architecture and so on, but also for the complex politics of Roman colonial expansionism in its abrasive encounter with other cultures. The era was marked by a complex intermingling of belief systems, and Gardiner's fictional world is woven from a rich and amazingly detailed fabric. Very occasionally the research seems almost oversupplied but for the most part it serves to underpin his imaginative reconstructions with persuasive authenticity.

Also among the book's strengths are the finely imagined conversations between characters, both historical and concocted, that move the investigation so beautifully along. There are certain set action sequences pieces, too, that are brilliantly staged and paced--the boar hunt, for example, when Hadrian rescues Antinous, and the marvellous climactic scene where Suetonius brings his prosecutorial charges home (albeit uncertainly, with some lines of inquiry that don't pan out).

The only thing that broke the spell for me was Gardiner's occasional jarring choices in language idioms. There's no doubt that the language(s) of the time and place would have been salted with colourful vulgarities, and the dialogue should reflect that, but some of the terms chosen have such strong contemporary associations for us, here at the beginning of the 21st Century, that they they jar and jolt in the reading. `Toyboy' is one example, `getting your rocks off,' `muscular stud' and `gaga' are others that don't ring well to my ear. It's a pity, because sometimes they drop the reader right out of the spell he weaves so skilfully, otherwise.

In contrast, many of the scenes and dialogue move with stately Latinate constructions within a convincing and well-sustained narrative voice. Gardiner has set himself the difficult task of creating a hybrid language that can include both convincing formal language, and everyday vulgarisms, that ring true within his own reconstruction, yet sound right to our contemporary hearing. It's a delicate juggling act and sometimes he drops his balls. (If he had perhaps reserved their use strictly in dialogue, say, to help with characterisation? Perhaps some of his choices might be better realised in a second edition.)

Another of the book's great strengths is hinted at by the book's sub-title. It's a `forbidden history' not simply because Hadrian issues an edict that only the official `party line' should be recorded (and by implication, Suetonius' project of recording events for us to read goes dangerously gainst the edict of his Emperor). It's forbidden history too because Gardiner has constructed a counter-narrative to the centuries of heavily judgemental readings of this iconic same-sex relationship. Positive affirmations of same-sex bonding were exiled in silence as soon as the early Christian commentators started to impose their dominant narratives over all acceptable behaviours and ideals.

In Yourcenar's 50s version, Antinous's moody adolescent pouting makes Hadrian looks like a bit of a fool for dallying with the youth, but Gardiner proposes a heroic reading here that highlights the finer elements of the erastes/eromenos partnering, which was not only tolerated but celebrated in ancient times. For me, this moves the book onto a higher plane than a mere homoerotic titillation and places the relationship where it belongs, in the heroic company of Patroclus/Achilles and the legendary band of Theban warrior-lovers.

Gardiner successfully and daringly recuperates the much-despised and consistently misrepresented ideal of man-to-man love, here based on respect, admiration and the inspiration of noble ideals, as much as the undeniable and enjoyable erotic attraction, which we see only fitful glimpses of among sporting figures and others today. During the continuing culture wars of our own times it's a relief to read this inspiring alternative with its healing potential as an affirmative voice emerging from the diminishing, culturally imposed silence.

In a strange way `The Hadrian Enigma' is reminiscent of E.M. Forster's gay-affirmative novel `Maurice', which Forster was unable to publish during his lifetime. Forster's wistful happy ending for a same sex coupling was unthinkable in the mid-twentieth Century, and even today, it's hard to read such partnering as anything other than morally sinful - such is our pervasive indoctrination by churchmen - or psychologically misdirected (`homosexuality' is still construed as a kind of `failed development' in conventional psychological readings). Certainly such a relationship will still be regarded as second best to the pressing imperative of reproduction. Gardiner has struck a blow with this courageous and convincing re-telling.

So, for me this is a 5 star book for the outstanding and detailed research and the creative work that underpins the imaginative reconstructions; at least 4 stars for its plotting, but only 3 stars for the strange inconsistencies in his prose style. This averages out to a solidly earned 4 stars.

I do hope Gardiner is deep at work on his next book of historical fiction. He certainly has all the skills required.

See this review in situ at Amazon at :-


Aleksandr Voinov of Speak Its Name reviews my novel ...

A specialist review site for gay historical fiction, Speak Its Name has reviewed The Hadrian Enigma. I am told Speak Its Name receives 700 hits a day from readers of this genre, making it a prominent source of opinion for readers of gay historical fiction. Speak Its Name pursues a tough line in its reviewing standards. It says it takes gay history, history in general, & the quality of the writing into critical consideration.

Aleks Voinov, an author in his own stead & one of the site's key reviewers, has given the book a satisfaction rating of 4.5 out of 5, by which it defines the book as VERY good in Speak Its Name's eyes.

As a reviewer Mr. Voinov finds a great deal to admire and many things to critique. But that's the way it goes in literary criticism, folks. Check Speak Its Name's fascinating website & review lists, plus read Mr. Voinov's full 2-page critique at :-

M/M ROMANCE in the cinema | "MAURICE" - the missing shots rediscovered

MAURICE (UK 1987) - A reconstructed bedroom scene - M/M MOVIE MOMENTS

MAURICE, a novel about homosexual love by the British author of "Room With A View" (1908) and "A Passage To India" (1924) - E.M. Forster (1879-1970) - was written in 1913-14 but not permitted to be published until after the author's death in 1970. In 1987 the British film-makers James Ivory & Ismail Merchant produced a movie version of the novel. Ivory, the director, delivered an elegant & stylishly visualized rendering of the Forster novel, establishing the highly-regarded 'Merchant/Ivory' style of movie.
The 1987 film starred James Wilby as the pivotal character Maurice Hall, a young London stockbroker, with Hugh Grant as his initial lover Clive Durham, a university companion. As the story progresses & political considerations preclude Maurice & Clive from continuing their relationship, Maurice finds solace in the arms of Alec Scudder, Clive's estate gamekeeper, played by Rupert Graves. One night Scudder climbs into Maurice's bedroom at Clive's country seat to express his passion.
The movie's bedroom sequence is reconstructed here to its original edited format. The colored shots represent the sequence as depicted in the 1987 movie, while the discolored shots show the scenes included in the first edit but deleted from Ivory's final movie.
With many thanks to YouTube & the clip's original postees - G.G.

An unedited review from READER VIEWS USA. 5.0 out of 5 stars : Gripping Mystery and Fascinating Love Story, May 2010 :

"The HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History" -
(c) George Gardiner
Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson, May 2010, for Reader Views at :-

THE HADRIAN ENIGMA could be definitely classified as an age-old love story with a twist. “He” is the Roman Emperor Hadrian, a strong and powerful figure. “She” is not really a she, but rather another male, the young and winsome Antinous of Bithynia. The two develop an intense and powerful attachment, based on the erastes-eromenos relationship.

This premise alone would make for an interesting story, but things get really interesting when Antinous is found dead one morning, having obviously drowned in the river Nile. A renowned lawyer, Gaius Suetonious Tranquillus, is hired by Hadrian himself to investigate the death of the unfortunate youth. Was it an accident, suicide, murder, or possibly religious sacrifice?

Gaius Suetonious Tranquillus proceeds to interrogate anybody with possible knowledge of the deceased as well as of the intricate relationships within the imperial court; finally reaching a conclusion and unraveling the tangled web of deceit surrounding Antinous’ death. How will Hadrian react to this revelation?

THE HADRIAN ENIGMA by George Gardiner is an unexpected delight in many ways. While I definitely enjoyed it greatly as a mystery, based on the historical facts, it also opened my eyes to the erastes-eromenos relationships, which were common and accepted in Classical Greece and the Roman Empire. It prompted me to do quite a bit more reading and research on that topic, which was so far unknown and definitely very exotic to me. As somebody who appreciates having her mind stimulated and who loves to learn about new things, this was a welcome challenge to me.

I’ve also greatly enjoyed Gardiner’s attention to detail, vivid descriptions of people, customs and rituals as well as intricate political games depicted in his book. His characters were well defined and believable. His storyline hooked me quickly, and even the many excursions into the tangled past did not confuse me. He truly brought the ancient world to life for me, and I am thankful that I dared to venture outside of my usual comfort zone.

This book would definitely appeal to open-minded people who are curious about “alternative” lifestyles as well as those who simply enjoy well written historical fiction, based on real events. Regardless of the reasons prompting a reader to pick up this book, I am certain that everybody will appreciate Gardiner’s lessons on love and human relationships.

Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson
Reader Views, Austin TX, USA, May 2010


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Bye bye, for now from George Gardiner's COOL GAY STUFF ...

Thanks you for visiting my site, even though it's about far more than m/m romance or gay entertainment, isn't it?

Thanks too to those whose texts or visuals have been studied, reviewed, & promoted in the posts. Their item & its link to the originating source remains in the line-up for about four weeks. Comments should be posted at the originating sites. They deserve your feedback.

New entries are posted almost daily. Please come back...and bring a friend. Immediately below this bye-bye lies the bibliography consulted to research THE HADRIAN ENIGMA, & its times & historical personalities. Come back soon.