COOL GAY STUFF is a sampler of recent LGBT highlights from around the Net, with thanks to Google Chrome, YouTube, & Blogger. They're teaser snippets from gay-themed (or simply gay-interest) Web selections you may have missed, always pointing you to their originating sites. Yet these re-blogged LGBT summaries are NOT only for gay gals & guys, so there's no eye-popping porn here nor racy NSFW items likely to startle 'het' visitors (reflecting Oscar Wilde's quote "don't frighten the horses"). It's basically your host's selective sampler of the Net's new coolest gay stuff.

*** When logging-on allow A FULL 30-to-40 SECS for the entire complement of Web links to load. (This homepage is likely to stay firmly 'stuck' until that damn rotating circle-thingy quits whirling.) PS:- Google Chrome' s two columns are likely to be increasingly misaligned if you use other browsers.

The 30 recent selections with pics or videos, updated daily, precede a library of the best new LGBTQ movie trailers & statistical odds-&-ends.

NOTE: But some browsers will only deliver the first of the 30 dated daily items initially, and not display the remaining 29 items. If you click on HOME (in blue, center screen at the base of the solitary item) the full complement of the month's previous items will magically appear.

Submit comments at the original sites, they'd welcome your opinions & Likes/Dislikes. Links are provided, but don't forget to return to COOL GAY STUFF afterwards.

Your host, novelist George Gardiner, opens with eye-candy videos followed by publication details of my widely-praised historical-romance/crime/erotica novel "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History". This is a fiction/faction re-imagining of history's real-life m/m romance between ancient Rome's 'good emperor' Hadrian Caesar & his hunky 'Favorite', Antinous of Bithynia. The 498-page paperback or ebook purchase options are displayed below.

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

EDDIE REDMAYNE performs a double-act ...

Approaching three million YouTube hits in its first three days online, the 2'37" first trailer for "THE DANISH GIRL" reveals the true story of artist Lili Elbe (British actor Eddie Redmayne of The Theory of Everything, Les Miserables, etc) undergoing his/her transformation of gender in an era uncomfortable with such 'radical' phenomena.

The remarkable love story inspired by the lives of artists Lili Elbe (Redmayne) and Gerda Wegener (Alicia Vikander).

Lili and Gerda's marriage and work evolve as they navigate Lili's groundbreaking journey as a transgender pioneer.

Coming to global screens this northern hemisphere Autumn/Fall ...


ONE OF THE FIRST RECORDED REAL-LIFE SAME-SEX COUPLES OF HISTORY : Hadrian Caesar and his famously-hunky boyf, Antinous of Bithynia (Rome, circa 125 CE)...

.... The first two pages below are an invitation from your host George Gardiner to explore his recent historical romance/crime/mystery/erotica novel "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History". However, if you are a returning visitor then you should ...


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

HADRIAN & ANTINOUS - recorded history's first 'out' lovers ...
... back & front cover of THE HADRIAN ENIGMA. .. CLICK ON THE PICS for direct link to its Amazon USA page to check reviews, prices, & purchase of a paperback or Kindle ebook.

OPINIONS OF "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA" - brief excerpts from 19 US & UK Amazon reviews ...

"Five stars ... This is a good & fast read."
Fr Mike Mangoian (USA) at Amazon USA

"Five Stars ... I loved this book ... If you like mysteries, try this book. ... Lots of fun ... "
Eric Sootin, Asheville, NC (USA) at Amazon USA

"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, & at :

" ... 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

"... 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

"... Five 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 Five 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 book or ebook purchase website with its 19 reader's reviews (ten awarding Five Stars for excellence!) can be read in full by clicking on :-


LUST, LOVE, INTRIGUE, & MURDEROUS REVENGE: challenging suspense fiction suggested by real events in history's most unusual true 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 available via online sources. (Not available in street stores.)

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.

BUY ONLINE ONLY (not in street stores). CLICK NOW ON A LINK BELOW to select or compare your preferred purchase & delivery options ...

For an Amazon-USA or overseas 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 online search to locate the title.


Thursday, September 3, 2015

GAY REVOLUTION | A new history ...

The Arc of History
----  two brief extracts from a book review of The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle. (By Lillian Faderman) at The Economist (UK/USA), 5 September 2016 :-

      'A half-century of tenacious struggle has paid off slowly, but surely.
      Lillian Faderman’s new book, “The Gay Revolution”, is the most comprehensive history to date of America’s gay-rights movement. The story usually begins one hot night in 1969, when the drinkers at New York City’s Stonewall Inn responded to a routine police raid with a riot, waking the consciousness of many across the country. But Ms Faderman goes far beyond Stonewall, cataloguing the wearying political and legal battles that began two decades before and continue still.  ....
....  the book is silent on another big issue: why America, so gung-ho about individual rights, has been one of the slowest among Western countries to extend them to gay people (it was the 22nd country to legalise same-sex marriage nationwide).
But others will wrestle with these questions. Ms Faderman has ably drawn the map that future historians of the struggle will use to chart their courses.'
----  see more of The Economist' s brief review of Lillian Faderman's new book (published by Simon and Schuster; 816 pages; $35 and £25) at :- 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

WHY ARE WE GAY? | A well-informed summary for lay people ...

Why Are We Gay?
----  very brief excerpts from a substantial science report by Brendan Shucart at (USA), 1st September 2015 :-

      'Centuries of studies have tried to examine the value of homosexuality to human beings as a species. ....  Homosexual behavior has been observed in more than 1,500 species. If the point of life, from an evolutionary standpoint, is to pass on useful genes, why is anyone gay? Humans have been trying to answer that question since we began applying scientific principles to human sexuality.  ....
....  Citing examples from such far-flung settings as pre-colonial Hawaii, medieval Florence, and feudal Japan, anthropologist R.C. Kirkpatrick has theorized that gay sex can help build relationships and form alliances for both individuals and families. It fits with what we know about the physiological traits of gay men and the environmental realities which increase the likelihood of homosexual behavior — large families already dense with aggressive males and overcrowded living situations with limited resources are both scenarios where more cooperative, socially inclined males could come in handy.'
----  see more of Brendan Shucart's stimulating report at at :- 

Monday, August 31, 2015

FIRST TIME SEX | Twelve thoughtful tips for ladies (and others) ...

12 Tips for Amazing First-Time Sex with the Girl You're Into
----  here are the first two of twelve points of perfectly-good advice for ladies-who-like-ladies by Sasha Garwood that's also reasonably adaptable to almost any member of the LGBTQ fraternity, or straights too, regardless of gender. This entire good-sense article focused on women can be seen at SheWired  (USA), 19 August 2015 :-

      'First-time sex can be nervewracking, but there are ways to make sure everyone has a good time...
      Whether it’s your first time with any woman or your first time with a new person, first-time sex can be nerve-wracking however close you are to your partner. Here are a few confidence-boosting hints and tips to ensure everyone has as good and comfortable a time as possible. (Pre-negotiated discomfort excepted, obviously.)
1. Ask what they like and let them guide you. Let your partner tell or show you what feels good for them. (Providing you’re comfortable with it, that is). Similarly, don't be afraid to tell them what feels good for you. If neither of you are sure, explore slowly and see where you end up! Everyone is different, and there’s nothing worse than feeling pressurised to respond to something that really isn’t working. If you’re both first-timers, just listening and responding to the other person is a great way to learn.  
2. Talk about it a bit ahead of time. Lots of people find it awkward talking about sex, but if you’re able to discuss in general terms things you find hot or a turnoff, mention particular activities you’ve always liked or wanted to try, share fantasies or bits of porn, maybe even look at one of the yes/no/maybe checklists floating around on the internet, by the time you get to the actual nudity bit you’ll have a much better idea of what your partner might be into and/or things to avoid. .... '
----  see more of Sasha Garwood's 12 Tips' thoughtful advice at at :- 

Saturday, August 29, 2015


The 50 weirdest and coolest facts from LGBTI history
----  the initial five facts from a welcome historical report by Joe Morgan at Gay Star News (UK), Feb 2015 :-

      'Did you know churches blessed gay marriages in the 'Dark Ages'? Discover and more :-
      1. The world’s oldest porn, which dates back over 3,000 years, features both male/male, female/female and male/female couples.
      2. The oldest ever known chat up line was apparently said between two men. A mythological story from the 20th dynasty of Ancient Egypt is between Horus and Seth, who quarrelled for 80 years on who should rule. Seth attempted to persuade Horus to sleep with him, saying: ‘How lovely are your buttocks! And how muscular your thighs!’ They then have sex.
      3. In Egypt, two male royal manicurists named Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep were found buried together in a shared tomb similar to the way married couples were often buried. Their epigraph reads: ‘Joined in life and joined in death’. Having lived in 2400 BC, they are believed to be history’s oldest recorded gay couple.
      4. Some historical gay and bi figures have turned their lovers into gods. Alexander the Great wanted to make his boyhood lover Hephaestion a god when he died, but was only allowed to declare him a Divine Hero. The Roman Emperor Hadrian, of wall-building fame, was successful in making his lover, Antinous, a god after he drowned in the Nile.
      5. The church sanctified gay marriages in the so-called Dark Ages, with one being the Byzantine Emperor Basil 1 (867-886) and his partner John.  ....
....  and so on for another 45 extraordinary & revealing facts about the nature and personalities of gay life across the ages. You can't say we haven't been told, folks. The list is at at :- 

Friday, August 28, 2015

ANTINOUS & ANTINOOPOLIS | Antinous-Osiris temple found ...

Archaeologists at Antinoopolis (Middle Egypt) Find Evidence of an Antinous-Osiris Temple
----  brief extracts from a news report at the celebratory site ANTINOUS The Gay God (USA/Europe), 27 August 2015 :-
      'BIG news has reached us from ANTINOOPOLIS, where archaeologists have found evidence of a temple dedicated to Antinous-Osiris and a large harborside peristyle court. Finding the exact location of the ancient waterfront is important since it may indicate the site at which Antinous died.  ....  
....  Using ground-penetrating radar (GPR), archaeologists have found a large square compound of paving stones bordered by columns ... which could mark the site where Antinous drowned. ....  Writing in his annual report, James B. Heidel, president of the Antinoupolis Foundation, says the discoveries in the past year at the site have exceeded all expectations.  .... '
---- see more of this Antinous The Gay God report at :- 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

GENES, GAY & OTHERWISE, in today's cultural context ...

Is our desire for genetic answers cultural rather than scientific?
----  brief excerpts from an extended science article by Simon Copland at The Guardian (UK/USA), 27 August 2015, prompted by a new book :-

      'Genes and the Bioimaginary', by Professor Deborah Lynn Steinberg, investigates whether the foundations of much genetic research are scientifically sound.
      Are we trying to use science and genetics to answer questions that are really cultural in origin? The last few decades have seen what some describe as a “genetic revolution”. Advances in genetic science have seen genes become all-encompassing in political and scientific discussion.  ....
....  But is this based on sound science, or is it instead a cultural phenomenon using science to back it up? That is among the questions Professor Deborah Lynn Steinberg asks in her new book Genes and the Bioimginary.
      In Genes and the Bioimaginary, Steinberg investigates the crossover between genetic research and our society. Steinberg argues that “culture — including science — forms the context, locus and foundation of the search for genes.” In other words, genetic science both shapes and is shaped by culture, or as Steinberg explained to me “the popular has infused the scientific even as the scientific has infused the popular”.
      What does this actually mean? Most scientists will tell you that science is “objective”: science presents the facts and it is up to society to interpret these facts and decide how to use them. Steinberg argues, however, that it isn’t as simple as that, particularly when it comes to genetics. Culture doesn’t just define how we interpret the science, but influences the production of the science itself.  .... '
----  see more of Simon Copland's essay & the issues raised in Professor Steinberg's new book at The Guardian at :- 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

GAY JAPAN | Overcoming the cultural silence ...

Why an anime character can be openly gay in Japan, but you can't
----  brief excerpts from a perceptive lifestyle report by Japan-observer Naomi Gingold at PRI (Public Radio International) (USA), 25 August 2015 :-

      '....  Japan — unlike the US — doesn't have a Puritan history that says homosexuality is some kind of cardinal sin. And for years it wasn't uncommon to see a cross-dresser on TV giving fashion advice or a Japanese cartoon with gay characters.
      But while being openly gay has been OK for famous people or anime characters, on an individual level, it’s been really hard to be out in Japan. Schoolyard bullying and discrimination are known problems. And LGBT individuals often feel isolated.  ....
....  The Japanese Parliament now also has a committee looking into how to end discrimination. And Yokohama, Japan’s second biggest city, adjacent to Tokyo, recently announced a city-supported LGBT festival for this fall.  ....
....  One big way to tell perceptions are shifting is by looking at what’s happening to Tokyo’s gay pride festival. In 2014, 15,000 people participated in the festival. In 2015, the number was 55,000.  .... '
---- see more of Naomi Gingold's substantial report at at :- 

Sunday, August 23, 2015


"GAY DIRECTORS, GAY FILMS?" review: The onscreen depiction of sexuality
----  the opening pars of a substantial review by Ryan Little of a new book by Emanuel Levy at the Washington Post (USA), 21 August 2015 :-

      Don’t let the question mark fool you: “Gay Directors, Gay Films?” is definitely about gay cinema. It’s a thorough examination of five openly gay directors who have each made films both obscure and mainstream, and there’s no lack of gayness in their respective oeuvres. Veteran critic and academic Emanuel Levy follows the depiction of sexuality as it’s shown onscreen by gay directors while simultaneously exploring the overall work of these exceptional filmmakers.
      Levy is particularly fascinated by Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar — and for good reason. The many stages of his career — the outlandish camp of “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” to the affecting melodrama of “All About My Mother” to the more recent darkness of “The Skin I Live In” — make for a compelling arc. Levy peppers his overview with quips, quotes and an appreciation of Almodóvar’s bold choices and deep empathy.'  .... '
----  see more of Ryan Little's review of the Levy book at at :- 

Friday, August 21, 2015

COCA-COLA tells it like it is ...

Coca-Cola's Short Film on Teen Gay Romance is Heartwarming
----  the introductory pars of a refreshingly-enlightened post by Ainee Nizami, Team iDiva (India), 21 August 2015 :-

      'A new short film by Dustin Lance Black, American screenwriter ("Brokeback Mountain"etc) and LGBTQ rights activist, in association with Coca Cola takes a real and honest look at young, gay romance and their struggles with peer pressure and bullying.
      ‘The Text' talks about choosing empathy over bullying, specially aimed at the teen queer community. The ad shows two young friends, one of whom learns about his friend's relationship with another boy.
      It's heartwarming to see a film that doesn't view the LGBT community through stereotypical glasses. It's a very real, honest and heartwarming struggle of two teens. No drama. .... '
----  see more of Ainee Nizami's sensitive post at at :- 
----  and visit the 7-minute Coca-Cola video in the sidebar here (on right)  .. but don't forget to return to Cool Gay Stuff afterwards.

LGBTQ HISTORY : A century of debate ...

"THE RIGHT SIDE OF HISTORY: 100 Years of LGBTQ Activism"
----  selected pars from the Amazon sales page's details of Adrian Brooks' new book about the past century of evolution towards gay liberty, published USA June 2015 :-

      'The Right Side of History tells the 100-year history of queer activism in a series of revealing close-ups, first-person accounts, and intimate snapshots of LGBT pioneers and radicals. This diverse cast stretches from the Edwardian period to today.  ....
....  The book shows how LGBT folk have always been in the forefront of progressive social evolution in the United States. It references heroes like Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, Bayard Rustin, Harvey Milk, and Edie Windsor. Equally, the book honors names that aren’t in history books, from participants in the Names Project, a national phenomenon memorializing 94,000 AIDS victims, to underground agitprop artists. .... '

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

GAY OR STRAIGHT? : Young Brits are re-thinking self-definition ...

'I'm a bisexual homoromantic' : why young Brits are rejecting old labels
----  brief excerpts from an extended societal opinion piece by Rebecca Nicholson at The Guardian (UK/USA), 18 August 2015 :-

      'Miley Cyrus, Kristen Stewart, Cara Delevingne … it’s not just celebrities who refuse to define themselves as gay or straight. Nearly half of young British adults say they aren’t exclusively heterosexual. It can ony be a good thing.
      The gay-straight binary is collapsing, and it’s doing so at speed. The days in which a celebrity’s sexual orientation was worthy of a tabloid scandal have long since died out. Though newspapers still report on famous people coming out and their same-sex relationships, the lurid language that once accompanied such stories has been replaced by more of a gossipy, “did you know?” tone, the sort your mum might take on the phone, when she’s telling you about what Julie round the corner has been up to. And the reaction of the celebrities involved has morphed, too, into a refusal to play the naming game.
       Arena-filling pop star Miley Cyrus posted an Instagram of a news story that described her as “genderqueer” with the caption, “NOTHING can/will define me! Free to be EVERYTHING!!!”. Kristen Stewart, who has been followed around by insinuations about the “gal pal” she is often photographed with for a couple of years, finally spoke about the relationship in an interview with Nylon magazine this month. She said, simply, “Google me, I’m not hiding”, but, like the people surveyed by YouGov, refused to define herself as gay or straight. “I think in three or four years, there are going to be a whole lot more people who don’t think it’s necessary to figure out if you’re gay or straight. It’s like, just do your thing.” .... '
----  see more of Rebecca Nicholson's refreshing observations at at :- 


25 Lesbians Every Gay Guy Should Know
---- the opening pars to an extended essay with a by-no-means comprehensive list of ladies we love who love ladies, assembled by Jameson Fitzpatrick at New Now Next (USA), 8 August 2015 :-

      'You know Rosie and Ellen, Melissa Etheridge, Rachel Maddow and Jane Lynch—but the sad fact of the matter is that a lot of gay men are out of touch with lesbian history and culture.
      And while we may have our differences (breasts might as well be elbows to me, my lesbian friends hate the smell of manstink), we are two sides of the same queer coin. Plus, our sapphic sisters have always had our backs: when many gay men were sick or dying during the worst of the AIDS crisis, lesbian activists were among our greatest allies.
      From the historical to the contemporary, consider this just a starter-list of lesbians* whose names you’d better learn—and let us know who you’d add in the comments. Below, get acquainted with 25 lesbians every gay guy should know. .... '
----  Jameson Fitzpatrick then provides a list of profoundly notable women, starting with the ancient Greek poet Sappho (6th Century BCE) and Queen Christina (17th Cent. Sweden), and continuing through another 23 women of substance to today's generation. See New Now Next''s informative article at :- 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Same-Sex Parents Are Among The Happiest Families, Australian Study Finds
----  the introductory pars from a science news report posted by Mel Spencer at Gay Star Family (UK), 16 August 2015 :-

      'Same-sex parents are some of the happiest and most supported family set-ups in Australia, a five-year study of family life satisfaction has found.
      Dr Bronwyn Harman, a researcher from Edith Cowan University, Perth, uncovered the findings in her study of hundreds of parents, aiming to discover how resilience, social support and self-esteem contribute to a family’s overall happiness levels.
      Despite a positive shift in attitudes to equal marriage and LGBTI parenting in Australia, the study found same-sex parents were less concerned about public perceptions after battling stigma and discrimination in the past.
      As a result, same-sex parents were found to be the most resilient of family set ups, in a study which also included straight couples, older first-time parents, single parents, step-parents, parents of children with a disability, parents living in rural areas, parents of large families and teenage parents.  .... '
----  see more of Mel Spencer's report at at :- 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

YOUNG GAYS | Half of 18-24 year olds not 100% het ...

Half of young people don't identify as '100% straight'
---- the introductory pars from a statistical appraisal by Nick Duffy as Pink News (UK), 16 August 2015 :-

      'Almost half of young people in the UK would not define themselves as “100% straight”.
YouGov asked 1632 people to plot themselves on a Kinsey scale of sexuality, from 0 (exclusively heterosexual) to 6 (exclusively homosexual).
      Among the population as a whole, 72% of adults chose 0 (exclusively heterosexual) – with just 23% differing.
      4% ranked themselves as exclusively homosexual, with 19% identifying as somewhere on the spectrum in between the two.
      However, among 18-24 year olds – who are likely to have grown up in a more accepting environment – the figures are shockingly different.
      1 in 2 young people are not 100% heterosexual ... '
----  see more of Nick Duffy's report at at :- 
----  or visit a related report at International Business Times (UK) at :- 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

GAY UNCLES? | Guy Ritchie delivers a pacy movie whimsy ...

---- the opening pars from a whimsical review of the Guy Ritchie movie which opened in the US today, written by Jason Kehe at WIRED Magazine (USA), 14 August 2015 :-

      'The Man from U.N.C.L.E., the new spy thriller about two enemy agents who become partners, comes out today, and it’s already overloading critics’ gaydar. In his (quite positive) review for Variety, for instance, Richard Lawson points out the “surprising abundance of teasing homoerotic innuendo” between Henry Cavill’s Solo and Armie Hammer’s Illya. Honestly, though, the only thing surprising about it is that he didn’t see it coming.
      After all, this is a Guy Ritchie production, his name gives a clue to his principal obsession: guys. For as long as he’s been a filmmaker, Ritchie has made it his special mission to work out the fraught complexities of the male-male friendship/relationship/partnership/romance—to the extent that some of his movies, especially pre-Madonna, don’t even feature women. .... '
----  see more of Jason Kehe's review at at :- 
----  and check the lively trailer video in  the side-column (right).

Friday, August 14, 2015

JAMES DEAN | Seen through the ambitions of a Magnum magazine photographer ...

JAMES DEAN lives again, via a movie about the photographer of his iconic shots
----  the YouTube blurb describing a new movie from director Anton Corbijn

      'Inspired by a true story, LIFE charts the friendship that developed between Magnum magazine photographer Dennis Stock and actor James Dean when Stock was commissioned to photograph the actor for Life magazine in 1955.
       Robert Pattinson (Twilight series) and Dane DeHaan (Kill Your Darlings) will star as renowned Magnum photographer Dennis Stock and Hollywood legend James Dean in director Anton Corbijn's new feature film LIFE.
      Although there is currently no U.S. release date, Life will open in France on September 9 and the UK and Ireland on September 25.'
----  visit the YouTube trailer in the sidebar (right).

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

EISENSTEIN | The movie ...

Beloved Russian filmmaker recast as love-struck gay bottom
----  the opening pars from a precis-review of a new Peter Greenaway film, written by Brett Josef Grubisic at DailyXtra (Canada), 10 August 2015 :-

      'A politicized innovator from the silent film era, Sergei Eisenstein remains a household name (if the household in question contains Russians, film school students, or heavy duty film festival goers).
Otherwise, general knowledge of the man’s output between Strike (1925) and Ivan the Terrible (1945) might be summarized in a gif: a montage segment from the influential “Odessa Steps sequence” in The Battleship Potemkin (1925) during which an infant in a carriage rolls down stairs in the midst of a ferocious revolutionary battle.
      After the worldwide success of those early Moscow-shot films, Eisenstein travelled to Europe, the US, and Mexico before returning to the Soviet Union. There, he married, taught, made a few more movies, and fell in and out of favour with Stalin. He died in 1948.
      The strikingly attractive, perfectly composed beginning of Peter Greenaway’s Eisenstein in Guanajuato depicts three cars passing by cactus and agave on a dirt road.
It’s 1931 and Eisenstein is arriving in a beautiful Mexican town to shoot a new movie project with an unknown topic.
      On screen a few minutes later it’s dark. The drunk Russian director is vomiting in an alley and cleaning his ass and shoes at a water tap following a particularly explosive bout of traveller’s diarrhea. (From the artful symmetry of that scene to the fascination with taboo imagery — the director’s best-known film, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover, concludes with cannibalism and death by gunshot — it’s clear that we’re in a wonderfully theatrical and artificial Greenaway world.) .... '
---- see more of Brett Josef Grubisic's report on Peter Greenaway's newest film & its festival screenings at :- 

STEPHEN COLBERT | The gay-friendly comedian's new CBS show draws closer ...

Stephen Colbert's new comedy Late Show draws ever closer
----  the opening pars to a news report by Kevin Fitzpatrick at ScreenCrush (USA) about gay-friendly Colbert's approaching September new show for CBS Network, 10 August 2015 :-

      'The September 8 premiere of Stephen Colbert’s new Late Show tenure draws ever closer, and with Jon Stewart finally stepped away from the spotlight, Colbert has taken every opportunity to redefine his post-Comedy Central career. Straight out of TCA, we now know what familiar musical guest will join George Clooney for the premiere, amid a host of other new details. ...
.... In addition to previewing a more “intimate” theater-like setting for the revamped Ed Sullivan venue, Colbert admitted to chomping at the bit to get started, particularly with all the “Dry-Trumping” he’d had to do without an outlet to crack jokes on a certain buffoonish presidential candidate .... '
----  see more of Kevin Fitzpatrick's report on the forthcoming Stephen Colbert's Late Show on 8th September at at :- 
----  and visit the show's 30sec YouTube promo in the sidebar here (opposite). For non-USA readers, the new Late Show is likely to be syndicated to many global networks where other CBS shows are screened. But don't forget to return back here to Cool Gay Stuff after screening.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

GAY PARENTING | More evidence that kids of gay parents do just fine ... ...

3 Studies Find Children Of Gay Parents Fare Well
----  the opening pars from a news report by the staff of the Washington Blade (USA), 7 August 2015 :-

      'NEW YORK — On the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, new research suggests that children raised by gay parents are well adjusted and resilient, HealthDay reports.
      Four new studies were scheduled to be presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association in Toronto that set out to assess the psychological and sociological health of children raised by same-sex couples.  .... '
----  see the explanation of the research outlined by staff at at :- 
----  and/or visit the original report at HealthDay from US Health News at :- 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

XAVIER DOLAN, Canadian movie-maker, talks about his work ...

Director Xavier Dolan On Why You Shouldn't Call His New Film A 'Gay Thriller', Directing Kathy Bates & Susan Sarandon
----  brief excerpts from an extended interview by Chris Azzopardi with Canadian film director Xavier Dolan, republished at PrideSource (Michigan, USA), 6 August 2015 :-

      'Xavier Dolan is fulminating against the gay tag that typically accompanies his revered art films.
Though indies such as "Laurence Anyways," "I Killed My Mother" and "Mommy" have earned Dolan substantial queer cred, sexuality-based pigeonholing has been irksome for the 26-year-old cinema prodigy. Surely, however, it hasn't stopped him from moving beyond those perceived barriers. ....
....  But first he's making his press rounds for "Tom at the Farm," an eerie drama centered around a young man (Dolan) asked to keep his sexuality on the DL while staying at his dead lover's mother's farm. The film opens Aug. 14 at Cinema Detroit.
"Tom at the Farm" mingles grief with sexual desire. Why do you think sometimes these two emotions converge, and what drew you to explore that hybrid on screen?
I'm glad you're bringing that up because I remember on set saying it's gonna be an extreme mixture of violence and emotion. I feel like when you watch a thriller you are not emotionally stirred - you are anxious or you are scared - and then when you watch an emotional movie, you are rarely scared or freaked out. I saw that it could be an interesting way of approaching a thriller, to combine these emotions, not that I think this film is especially emotionally stirring, but it's a little morose, a little blue, in the beginning. Characters are indeed grieving, and there are moments of sincere emotions toward the end with the mother. It was all about finding a balance. I think that happened quite organically on set, and it was pretty clear to me when was the right time for which emotion.
There's a real sexual intensity between Tom and the brother in this film, and this lingering feeling that they'll get it on.
You know what? It was originally planned as such. We shot a scene, but I feel like in the end it wasn't what the movie was about. It wasn't about romance; it was about something else. It was about a theme that is larger than sexual desire, even though it's cool and, you know, sort of a nice supporting narrative to add tension, but it wasn't something that needed closure or needed to actually happen for real.  .... '
----  see more of Chris Azzopardi' s interview with Xavier Dolan at at :- 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

STONEWALL | A historic event finds its cinematic portrayal ...

Roland Emmerich's Movie Tribute To The Foundation Of The Stonewall Legend Approaches
----  a YouTube precis & trailer of Emmerich's movie about the birth of the gay rights movement, releasing in the US & elsewhere in September, published 4 August 2015 :-

'STONEWALL is a drama about a fictional young man caught up during the 1969 Stonewall Riots. Danny Winters (Jeremy Irvine) is forced to leave behind friends and loved ones when he is kicked out of his parent’s home and flees to New York.
      Alone in Greenwich Village, homeless and destitute, he befriends a group of street kids who soon introduce him to the local watering hole The Stonewall Inn; however, this shady, mafia-run club is far from a safe-haven. As Danny and his friends experience discrimination, endure atrocities and are repeatedly harassed by the police, we see a rage begin to build. This emotion runs through Danny and the entire community of young gays, lesbians and drag queens who populate the Stonewall Inn and erupts in a storm of anger.
       With the toss of a single brick, a riot ensues and a crusade for equality is born.'
----  Co-starring with Jeremy Irvine (War Horse) are Jonny Beauchamp (“Penny Dreadful”), Jonathan Rhys Meyers (“The Tudors”), Ron Perlman (“Sons of Anarchy”), Joey King (White House Down) and Caleb Landry Jones (X-Men: First Class ). Written by Jon Robin Baitz (“Brothers & Sisters”) and directed by Roland Emmerich (Independence Day), Stonewall will be released on September 25.
----  visit the 2'22" trailer of STONEWALL in the sidebar column for a taste of Emmerich's latest movie.

Monday, August 3, 2015

GREG LOUGANIS : Olympic Diver & gay man

HBO (USA) screens "an intimate documentary" about a famously 'out' gay sportsman ...

"BACK ON BOARD: GREG LOUGANIS, the intimate documentary"  looks at the public triumphs and private struggles of this LGBT trailblazer & traces his story from a difficult childhood, through his Olympic conquests, to a transformative post-Olympic life, outlining the discrimination and other obstacles he has faced throughout his remarkable journey • 

Debuts Tuesday, Aug. 4th at 10PM on HBO (USA). See more at :-  She Magazine (USA)

----  check the trailer for HBO's Back On Board in the side column (right). Readers outside HBO's transmission should keep in mind screenings elsewhere for this program, plus its availability on dvd.

Friday, July 31, 2015

GAY HISTORY | Or alternatively, 'A History of the Word Gay' ...

The Down and Dirty on Being "Gay"
----  the opening pars from a substantial, well-researched history of the origins of the epithet 'gay', blogged by Larry Paros, writer & educator, at The Blog at the Huffington Post (USA/UK), 31 July 2015 :-

      'Time to clear up all the confusion surrounding the word "gay."
      "Gay" is a multi-faceted word. Apart from its primary definition of "bright" or "lively," its meaning as "sexually loose" and "dissipated" has been its most popular and enduring definition.
      Being "in the gay life" once put you in the fast lane. "Feeling gay" left you amorous. The "gaying instrument" (19thC) was the male member, without which it wouldn't be possible to "gay it."
      The "gay woman" was a major literary figure from Chaucer to Shakespeare, right on through the nineteenth century. She was "gay in the arse," "groins," or "legs" and spent much of her time in a "gay house." Even today, in England, we have the "gay girl," a hardworking flat-backer trying to turn an honest shilling (or is it a euro?).  .... '
----  see more of Larry Paros's revealing history of the word "gay" at the HuffPost at :- 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

ACCEPTANCE OF GAYS | The growth phenomenon ...

Acceptance of Gays and Lesbians Is Growing
----  opening pars from an extended report by Stephanie Pappas at LiveScience (USA), 30 July 2015 :-

      'In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, many gays and lesbians celebrated. A new study suggests another reason for the community to cheer:       Subconscious attitudes toward lesbian and gay people are improving.
      A quick glance at most public opinion polls reveals that explicit attitudes toward gays and lesbians have been on the upswing for some time.
      For example, more than half of Americans — 53 percent — told the Gallup organization that they supported same-sex marriage in 2011, up from 27 percent in 1996. Another Gallup poll found that moral approval of homosexuality rose from 44 percent in 2006 to 59 percent in 2013.  .... '
----  see more of Stephanie Pappas' well-informed, substantial statistical report at :- 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

GAY CATHOLICS | Where is Pope Francis heading? ...

The Pope Francis Statement That Changed the Church on LGBT Issues
----  brief excerpts from an upbeat report by Christopher J Hale [Executive director at Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and the co-founder of Millennial] at (USA), 28 July 2015 :-

      'Over the last two years, the Catholic Church has become more open to welcoming the LGBT community.
       “If someone is gay and searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Two years ago Tuesday, Pope Francis uttered these words, sending shockwaves throughout the Catholic Church and the world. His position stood in contrast to that of his predecessors: Months earlier, Pope Benedict XVI suggested that gay marriage was a threat to global peace.
      Under the leadership of Pope Francis, the Catholic Church is evolving on LGBT issues.  ....
....   1. Pope Francis said that God doesn’t condemn LGBT individuals — Sept. 30, 2013
In an interview with America Magazine, Pope Francis revealed his pastoral approach toward the LGBT community:
A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being.
----  see more of this controversial, extended appraisal of Pope Francis' theological intentions for Catholic gays, written by Christopher J Hale, at http:// at :-

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

ZAC EFRON's latest opus, for Efron aficionados ...

"We Are Your Friends"- A new film starring Zac Efron
----   excerpts from the YouTube's publicity blurb for a movie many readers of this site will find has irresistible appeal ...

      'From Warner Bros. Pictures and Studiocanal comes the romantic drama “We Are Your Friends.” The film marks Max Joseph’s (MTV’s “Catfish: The TV Show”) feature film directorial debut, and stars Zac Efron (“Neighbors”), Emily Ratajkowski (upcoming “Entourage,” “Gone Girl”) and Wes Bentley (“Interstellar,” “The Hunger Games”).
      “We Are Your Friends” is about what it takes to find your voice. Set in the world of electronic music and Hollywood nightlife, an aspiring 23-year-old DJ named Cole (Efron) spends his days scheming with his childhood friends and his nights working on the one track that will set the world on fire. All of this changes when he meets a charismatic but damaged older DJ named James (Bentley), who takes him under his wing. Things get complicated, however, when Cole starts falling for James’ much younger girlfriend, Sophie (Ratajkowski). ....  Set for release in late August, 2015,
----  check the pacy 2'32" trailer for "We Are Your Friends" in the side-column (opposite). 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

GAY ACCEPTANCE | A reasoned argument ...

The Reason Why We Need More LGBTQ Characters in Popular Film
----  the final par of a timely, well-argued opinion-piece by Trevor Evan David Norkey at Movie Pilot (USA), 26 July 2015 :-

      '.... In Conclusion: Not only will the addition of gay characters to popular movies expand the horizons of these films, but it will help thousands of people in the closet across the world begin to accept themselves once they see they are not alone and that being gay can be a very normal thing.
      It will stop people from seeing being straight as the only option in order to be accepted by society. And maybe, just maybe, it will show the less accepting people out there that being gay is finally acceptable in our society.'
----  see more of Trevor Evan David Norkey's essay at at :-,manual,manual

GAY ITALY | A long way to go ...

Human Rights Court Tells Italy Same-Sex Marriage Rights Are Human Rights
The European Court of Human Rights has condemned Italy’s Vatican-inspired rejection of civil unions and gay marriage.
---- the opening pars from an extended news report by Barbie Latza Nadeau at The Daily Beast (USA), 23 July 2015 :-

      'ROME — The Via San Giovanni in Laterano in Rome is a picturesque cobbled street anchored on one end by the ancient Roman Coliseum and on the other by the Catholic Church of San Clemente, which boasts 2,000 years of history and a pagan temple in its basement. It is also designated as the Italian capital’s official “gay street” and every single establishment is draped with rainbow flags and promises to be gay friendly. This is certainly not the only area of Rome that caters to the LGBT community, but it is the only one that does so openly.
      At a bar called Coming Out, a group of young men having lunch tell The Daily Beast that being gay in Italy is complicated. “This street represents our position,” one says. “We are stuck here between the Catholic Church and a long history with traditions that are impossible to modernize. To be gay in Italy is about knowing when to admit it and when to keep quiet.”
      Indeed, gays in Italy have long had to march a fine line. .... '
----  see more of Barbie Latza Nadeau's challenging report at at :- 

Friday, July 24, 2015

GAY GENES | We're born this way? ....

'Gay Genes':  science is on the right track, we're born this way. Let's deal with it.
----  brief excerpts from a science report by Qazi Rahman at The Guardian (UK/USA), 24 July 2015 :-

      'In a recent Guardian article , Simon Copland argued that it is very unlikely people are born gay (or presumably any other sexual orientation). Scientific evidence says otherwise. It points strongly to a biological origin for our sexualities.  ....
.... Remember, sexual orientation is a pattern of desire, not of behaviour or sexual acts per se. It is not a simple act of will or a performance. We fall in love with men or women because we have gay, straight, or bisexual orientations and not because of choice. So let’s stop pretending there is choice in sexual orientation. Who truly “chooses” anything of substance anyway? Surely our choices are the result of things we didn’t choose (our genes, personalities, upbringing, and culture).  ....
....  But the science shows us that sexuality has a biological basis: that is simply how the science turned out. It’s no use denying it. So let’s use it to supplement, but not replace, a discussion about LGB rights and social policy. The biology of sexuality diversity tells the world to deal with it. We are who we are, and our sexualities are part of human nature.  .... '
Dr Qazi Rahman is an academic at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London. He studies the biology of sexual orientation and the implications for mental health and is the co-author of Born Gay? The Psychobiology of Sex Orientation ]
----  see more of Qazi Rahman's informed article at at :- 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

TOM DALEY, Olympic diver, becomes a shark .. sort of ....

Tom Daley - From competition diver to shark
----  Young 'out' Brit Olympic competition diver Tom shares his experience of being converted from an athletic young spunk into a make-believe shark, all for charity; at YouTube 16 July 2015 :-

      'Personable and, to many eyes, extremely cute, Tom Daley shares an ep of his regular video diary with YouTube trolls like us.
      Tom tells us: "Ahead of the start of UK Shark Week (2-8 August), the experts at SeaWorld challenged me to transform myself into one of the ocean’s top predators and most misunderstood creatures. I wanted to raise awareness of the threats sharks are facing in the wild. Watch this video for an exclusive peek behind the scenes on the shoot!"
      David Attenborough he might not be, but he is seriously OK eye-candy for celebrating UK Shark Week (for those of us domiciled in the UK).
----  see Tom's video in the sidebar, opposite, or catch it at YouTube at :-
----  but don't forget to return here to Cool Gay Stuff afterwards.

Now COOL GAY STUFF shifts to mixed miscellany in both columns ...

... the pages below in this column offer trailers of recent gay-interest movies likely to be available on dvd etc, plus independent reviews of THE HADRIAN ENIGMA ...

... then follows copyright details & a bibliography of academic literature consulted as research for writing THE HADRIAN ENIGMA.

The pages in the side-column offer miscellaneous gay or m/m related links, videos, & sources. Have fun, folks ...



.... here are ten movie trailers from recent international sources (below), updated regularly ...


"THOSE PEOPLE" | Innercity gay life shows its face ...

BISEXUAL WOMEN | How to be oneself? ...



GAY LIFE in Switzerland in the '50's ...


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.

GAY MOVIE about high school love ...



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 :-

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 :


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 :-


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COOL GAY STUFF & its url of M/M ROMANCE NOVELS make no claims as to the sexual orientation of any person mentioned, pictured, or assumed-by-inference in this blog.

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 soon. Immediately below this bye-bye lies the bibliography consulted to research THE HADRIAN ENIGMA, its times, & historical personalities.