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

*** When you log-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.) Note:- Google Chrome' s two column alignment is likely to become misaligned if you use other browsers.

Thirty recent selections with supporting pics & videos, updated daily, precede a library of current LGBTQ movie trailers & notable odds-&-ends.

NOTE: Some non-Google browsers only post the first of the 30 daily items, neglecting to show the remaining 29. But if you click on HOME (in blue capitals, center frame, beneath that solitary item) the full complement of the month's 30 items will magically appear.

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

Your host, novelist George Gardiner, opens with eye-candy videos followed by the Buy Now info for his widely-praised historical/romance/crime/erotica novel "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History". It's a fiction/faction re-telling 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 buy-&-deliver options are outlined below.

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

MAYBE SKIP THE FILM ... just enjoy the 2'40" trailer

OK, so there's nothing gay about this movie .. but if you and your partner enjoys stuff like "Night At The Museum", you'll probably adore this piece of lively hokum.

Scenario: "Upset about moving from a big city to a small town, teenager Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette) finds a silver lining when he meets the beautiful girl, Hannah (Odeya Rush), living right next door. But every silver lining has a cloud, and Zach’s comes when he learns that Hannah has a mysterious dad who is revealed to be R. L. Stine (Jack Black), the author of the bestselling Goosebumps series. It turns out that there is a reason why Stine is so strange… he is a prisoner of his own imagination."

Goosebumps will be in theaters worldwide from late-October onward.


ONE OF THE FIRST RECORDED SAME-SEX COUPLES OF HISTORY : Hadrian Caesar and his famously-hunky pal, 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 :- http://jeannetomlin.blogspot.com/

"Five stars ... a tour de force ..."
Elisa Rolle, Amazon Top 1000 Reviewer, USA & UK, & at : http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1092070.html

" ... 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 http://www.desicritics.org/ 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 :- http://kitmossreviews.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/the-hadrian-enigma-forbidden-history-by.html

"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 :- http://www.amazon.com/Hadrian-Enigma-Forbidden-History/product-reviews/0980746906/ref=sr_1_1_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1


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.


.... (but if your browser only shows a sole news item in the column immediately below, click on this blue url address to instantly summon-up the twenty-or-so others awaiting your view) :-

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

STONEWALL | A less antagonistic review ...

Stonewall: The real history of an uprising
----  some opening pars from a film review by Keegan O'Brien at the Socialist Worker (USA), 6 October 2015 :-

      'Reviews of the movie Stonewall have been negative, but the Hollywood film does offer a chance to talk about the real history of LGBT resistance,
      Given all the negative reviews, I was bracing myself for a real disaster when I walked in to see Stonewall, the new movie directed by Roland Emmerich about the riots in June 1969 at the Stonewall Inn in New York City that gave birth to the modern LGBT movement. But despite Vanity Fair's claims, I didn't find the film to be "terribly offensive and offensively terrible."      While Stonewall has some significant problems--the two biggest being how Emmerich chooses to frame the story and key aspects of history that he leaves out--the film has several positive accomplishments that I think it would be a mistake to ignore.  ....
....  The film does a good job at portraying what life was like for LGBT people pre-Stonewall. For many young people who've come of age in the past decade, it can be hard to imagine a time when LGBT people were widely despised by society, when gay bars were illegal and regularly targeted by police raids, and being caught almost definitely resulted in rejection from friends and family and being labeled a sexual psychopath--a designation that got you blacklisted and legally barred from employment in most private and government sector occupations.
      Stonewall brings that not-too-distant past to life and gives viewers a sense of just how much things have changed in the past 50 years.  .... '
----  see more of Keegan O'Brien's extended review of Stonewall at http://socialistworker.org at :-

Monday, October 5, 2015

TIM COOK on LGBT success stories ...

Tim Cook: people need to hear LGBT success stories
----  excerpts from a news report by Matthew Clark at Sun Times Network/Outspoken (USA), 4th October 2015 :-

      'Saturday night Tim Cook was honored with the Visibility Award at the Human Right Campaign’s 19th annual National Dinner. During his acceptance speech, the openly gay Apple CEO discussed the need for LGBT success stories.
      "Sometimes you just have to be loud, because people need to hear that being gay is not a limitation. People need to hear that being gay doesn’t restrict your options in life. People need to hear that you can be gay or transgender and be whatever else you want to in life – a CEO or a senator, an Olympic athlete, an award-winning actor or actress, an amazing husband, wife, father, mother. I thought that was a message worth sharing."
----  see more of Matthew Clark's report at the Sun Times Network at :-

Sunday, October 4, 2015

GAY RIGHTS | Hillary Clinton, a major contender for the US Presidency, enters the fray ...

Hillary Clinton defends gay rights in strongest speech on issue
----  brief excerpts from a news report by Heidi M. Pryzbyla at USA Today (USA), 3 October 2015 :-

      'Hillary Clinton pledged Saturday to champion new federal laws banning discrimination against gays and lesbians and warned that Republican presidential candidates will try to undo a Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, among other protections, if elected.
      "We’re going to face some ridiculousness, especially from our friends in the GOP," Clinton said, delivering her strongest comments to date on the issue in the 2016 presidential race.  ....
....  Clinton also pledged to press a new generation of laws to protect the gay and lesbian community .... "I want you to know that I get it, I see the injustices and the dangers that you and your family still face, and I’m running for president to end them once and for all," she said to an extended applause.  .... '
----  see the full report by Heidi M. Pryzbyla at www.usatoday.com at :-
----  see too "Clinton Promotes Gay Rights as Main Pillar of 2016 Bid" from Associated Press at :-

Saturday, October 3, 2015

GAY RIGHTS MOVIE | "FREEHELD" with Julianne Moore

"FREEHELD": a weepie boosted by Julianne Moore and gay rights fight
----  some opening pars from an extended movie review by Kenneth Turan, contract reporter, at the Los Angeles Times (USA), 1st October 2015 :-

      ' ....  The based-on-fact story of a dying New Jersey police detective who in 2005 fights to leave her pension to her domestic partner, "Freeheld" is a politically correct romantic weepy that plays in 2015 like a self-congratulatory victory lap for gay rights in general and same-sex marriage in particular.
      Make no mistake, those are important issues and hard-fought triumphs, and you would have to be a stone to be completely unmoved by "Freeheld," especially with Moore as the star. But having its heart and mind in the right place is not enough to make this a better movie than it is.
      As directed by Peter Sollett and scripted by Ron Nyswaner, who wrote the similarly earnest "Philadelphia" more than 20 years ago, "Freeheld" begins with a romance so sweet and so square it could have sprung from a same-sex Nicholas Sparks novel. (The real story won an Oscar when it was made into a short film with the same name.)  .... '
----  see more of Kenneth Turan's review at www.latimes.com  at :-
----  & visit the 2'25" YouTube trailer for "FREEHELD" in the side column at right (but don't forget to return here afterwards, folks) ...

Friday, October 2, 2015

POPE FRANCIS reveals all, at last ...

No More Benefit Of The Doubt For Pope Francis - Ever
----  very brief excerpts from a striking opinion-piece by John Gallagher at Queerty (USA), 1st October 2015 :-

      'So much for The Advocate’s Man of the Year.  By choosing to meet with Kim Davis, the reigning pin-up queen of homophobia, Pope Francis has sent the clearest possible signal about where he stands when it comes to LGBT rights. In doing so, he vaporized the good will that he generated during his visit to the U.S. last week. As turns out, all those friendly-sounding statements were little more than a distraction from the Vatican’s hard-core disapproval of all things gay.  ....
....  A lot of disaffected Catholics, gay and straight alike, had hoped that the pope was more open to LGBT people. ....  Yet doctrinally the pope has never wavered from the existing line that homosexuality is a moral disorder. ....
....  The meeting with Davis, however, is a declaration that the pope has declared his allegiance with the religious right when it comes to gay issues. A more colossal PR blunder is hard to imagine.  ....
....  Yet Pope Francis is a Jesuit, the intellectuals of the Church. There are few naive Jesuits, and you don’t get to be pope by being one. The pope knew what he was doing when he met with Davis.  .... '
----  see more of John Gallagher's sense of outrage at Queerty at :-
----  and read the huge array of reader's comments in the COMMENTS column which follows.
----  But see too "Pope Francis met gay couple at Vatican embassy in US", posted by Ashley Gold at BBC News (Washington DC USA) on Friday 2 October 2015 at :- 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

ROME'S GAY HISTORY via Oscar Wilde Tours (USA) for October ...

Nero's palace and Rome's gay history
----  for ancient history buffs: brief excerpts from a promotion introducing the history-oriented Oscar Wilde Tours (USA), August/September 2015 :-

      'Who was Rome’s gayest Emperor?  That’s a tough one.  There were rumors about almost every Emperor .... One of the top competitors, however, is certainly Nero, who was said among other things to have married two of his male slaves  ....
....  As a careful historian, I have to say that I take these rumors about the Caesars with many grains of salt:  just think of the things people say about modern politicians, and multiply by 10.  But the rumors themselves, aside from being colorful, *are* gay history.  And certainly Nero was considered a wild and scandalous person. ....
....  And luckily, these days we can visit the ruins of the overdone palace he built in Rome, so we can get an idea of why the Romans saw him this way.  The palace was called the Golden House, and it stretched between three of Rome’s seven hills, centering on a great lake in the valley where the Colosseum stands.  Nero had it built on the burn area of the great fire of 64 AD—which is presumably why people came to believe that he started the fire (speaking of how rumors get started). ....   The underground ruin, with other ruins on top of it, plus trees etc., has always however been in danger of collapsing, and it  has often been closed over the years.  But luckily, a great new effort is being made to preserve the Golden House, and it is open to the public, so it will be one of the highlights of Oscar Wilde Tours’ gay history tour of Italy this October.
      Check out this article about the preservation of the palace, and think about coming on our gorgeous and fascinating tour, designed to show what we mean by our motto, “Traveling through Gay History.” .... '
----  see more of Oscar Wilde Tours' travel plans for the near future at their interesting site at :-
---  And to learn more about the gay Italy tour–or to book–click on:  Oscar Wilde’s Gay Italy Tours 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Bill Gates donates $6 million to research vaccine for HIV
----  brief excerpts from a news report by Nick Duffy at Pink News (UK), 29 September 2015 :-

      'The Microsoft founder retired from his role with the tech firm in 2008 to dedicate himself to philanthropy and work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
      Last week, he donated $5.8 million to researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Florida, to fund HIV research. ....
....  The research is one of a number of promising avenues of research into HIV/AIDS that could revolutionise treatment – though changes are likely to be a few years off. .... '
----  see more details of Nick Duffy's report at the ever-lively www.pinknews.co.uk site at :-

Monday, September 28, 2015

OBAMA on religious freedom & same-sex marriage ...

Obama says religious freedom no reason to deny gay couples right to marry
----  the introductory pars of an extended news report from Associated Press published by Fox News (USA), 28 September 2015 :-

      'Freedom of religion isn't reason enough to deny any American their constitutional rights, President Barack Obama said Sunday as he addressed members of the LGBT community, one of his major sources of political and financial support.
      Speaking at a Democratic Party fundraiser, Obama said it's important to recognize that some parts of the country remain uncomfortable with same-sex marriage and that it will take time for them to catch up to the majority of Americans who support such unions.
      But while Americans hold dear the constitutional right to practice their religion free from government interference, he said that right can't be used to deny constitutional rights to others.  .... '
----  see more of this AP report from www.foxnews.com/politics at :-
----  and see more on this subject in Obama takes digs at GOP for its anti-LGBT view at :-

Saturday, September 26, 2015


Author challenges gay men to lead societal change
----  selected pars from an extended book review by Louis Weisberg, Staff Writer, at the Wisconsin Gazette (USA), 25 September 2015 :-

      'Many gay men view the legalization of same-sex marriage as the culmination of the LGBT civil rights movement.  ....  In his book Gay Men and the New Way Forward, Raymond L. Rigoglioso looks at “the whole question of what’s next after gay marriage.”
      “Do we fade into the woodwork or come out of the woodwork?” he asks.
      An author and personal coach, Rigoglioso’s answer is that this moment in time affords an opportunity for the beginning of an era of gay leadership. Gay men have long been cultural and thought leaders, he says, and society would benefit if they applied what he calls all of their “gifts” to society at large.
      Rather than looking at the acceptance of same-sex marriage and social assimilation as an end point in the gay movement, he regards it as the halfway point for gay men. He urges them to go farther, to reach their full individual potential and use their gifts to the benefit society.  .... '
---- see more of Raymond L. Rigoglioso's challenging vision at www.wisconsingazette.com/books at :-

Friday, September 25, 2015


Pope: 'Basis of marriage'being called into question
----  two excerpts from an extended news report by Chris Johnson at the Washington Blade (USA), 24 September 2015 :-

      'One day after promoting the idea of a “tolerant and inclusive” society, Pope Francis hinted at the Catholic Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage, saying “the very basis of marriage” is being called into question. The pope expressed his concern over the state of marriage during his speech on Thursday before a joint session of Congress and months after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage nationwide. ....
....  Francis never explicitly condemned same-sex relationships in his remarks, but that viewpoint would be consistent with the Catholic Church’s opposition to marriage equality. Even though Francis has taken a more moderate tone on LGBT rights, he has called same-sex marriage a “destructive pretension against the plan of God.” ....
----  see more of Chris Johnson's revealing report at www.washingtonblade.com at :-

Thursday, September 24, 2015


Young Gay Men Long for More United Gay Community, LOGO TV Study Finds
----  the opening pars to a news report by Dominic Preston at Frontiers Media (USA), 24 September 2015 :-

      'The survey finds that gay men are proud to be sharing their culture with the mainstream, but fear losing what makes the gay community special.
      A new study commissioned by Logo has found a gay community conflicted about its growing acceptance in the mainstream, happy to see gay culture shared but worried about losing its community spirit in the process.
      The ‘Gay Men in America’ study of 1,000 gay men aged 18-49 found that 61% of gay men in their 20s and 30s agree that “in the past, the gay community was more united than it is today.”
      Meanwhile 85% of those aged 18-49 feel that “even as gay people become more accepted, we should have places that are just for us” and that, “it’s sad to see gay neighborhoods and bars disappear.”
      That desire for a stronger gay community is echoed in the fact that 87% wish the community “was as united during the rest of the year as we are during Pride.” .... '
----  see more of Dominic Preston's report at www.frontiersmedia.com at :-

Monday, September 21, 2015

ANCIENT GREEK POWER & PATHOS | A new US exhibition running until 1st November ...

Power and Pathos in Hellenistic Greece
----  the opening pars from a survey of an exhibition of antique sculptures, written by Georgette Gouveia at The Gay & Lesbian Review (USA), 10 September 2015 :-

      'When we think of the ancient Greeks, we think of the body beautiful, particularly the male body, and  all those graceful gods and Herculean heroes. But a new exhibit and its accompanying coffee-table catalog (Power and Pathos; Edited by Jens M Daehner and Kenneth Lapatin; J. Paul Getty Museum, $65, 367 pages) present a more complex picture of the human form as represented by the ancients.
      Power and Pathos tells the story of the Hellenistic Period after Alexander the Great, when Greek culture spread through the known world, bringing with it a greater emphasis on realism in art. Works like the poignant Statue of a Seated Boxer (3rd century BCE, in bronze with copper inlays)—with his wrapped hands and puffy, bruised face—and the charmingly pudgy Statue of Eros Sleeping (3rd century BCE, bronze) are a long way from the absolute perfection of the Apollo Belvedere, which we know as a Roman marble copy of a Greek bronze of roughly Alexander’s time (350-325 BCE).  .... '
----  see more of Georgette Gouveia's review at The Gay & Lesbian Review at :-

Sunday, September 20, 2015

HONG KONG LGBTQ RALLY : attended by over 15,000 ...

Over 15,000 attend gay equality rally as Hong Kong lags years behind on LGBTQ rights
----  brief pars from an extended news report by Tom Grundy at the Hong Kong Free Press (China), 20 September 2015 :-

      'More than 15,000 revelers gathered at an LGBTQ rally near government headquarters on Sunday, organisers estimate.  ....
....  Local celebrities Gregory Wong, Anthony Wong and Denise Ho were present alongside US Consul General Clifford Hart, who urged Hong Kongers to “move conversations forward and change mindsets”. ....
....  Hong Kong remains years behind other international cities on the LGBTQ front. Homosexuality was legalised in 1991 and the age of consent was equalised for gay couples in 2006. In 2008, a judge upheld a ruling against RTHK for broadcasting a programme about homosexuality which failed to give air-time to homophobic counter viewpoints. .... '
----  see more, accompanied by striking images & a video, of Tom Grundy's report at www.hongkongfp.com at :-

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

POLL: Equality Under the Law Triumphs in USA ...

Poll: Equal Treatment Prevails in Views on Gay Marriage
----  the opening pars on a news post at News Channel 9 ABC (USA), 17 September 2015 :-

      'Most Americans say equality under the law trumps individual religious beliefs – a view that leads to broad support for requiring recalcitrant County Clerk Kim Davis to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.
      In general, 74 percent in this ABC News/Washington Post poll say that when a conflict arises, the need to treat everyone equally under the law is more important than someone’s religious beliefs. In the specific case at hand, 63 percent say Davis, of Rowan County, Kentucky, should be required to issue marriage licenses despite her religious objections.
      See PDF with full results and charts here

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Marriage Equality could be coming to Australia soon, as Prime Minister Abbott is ousted
----  three opening pars from an extended news-report/opinion piece by Jon Green at America blog (USA), 14 September 2015 :-

      'Australia’s center-right Liberal Party, which hold the majority of seats in parliament, has changed leadership, ousting Prime Minister Tony Abbott and replacing him with the more moderate Malcolm Turnbull. As voters select parties, not leaders, in Australia’s parliamentary system, the governing party can can replace the prime minister at will, simply by holding an internal vote to select a new leader.
      The Liberal Party made the change in hopes of improving its standing in public opinion in advance of the next round of elections, which will take place in roughly one year. The Party has remained unpopular for much of the past two years that it has held the majority, in no small part due to Abbott’s opposition to marriage equality.
      This switch means that every political fundamental is in place for marriage equality to become the law of the Land Down Under.  .... '
----  see more of Jon Green's report at http://americablog.com at :-
[Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+.  ]

Sunday, September 13, 2015

GAY VICTORIAN ENGLAND | The scandal of 1870 ...

Meet Fanny & Stella: Victorian gentlemen who shocked Britain & were prosecuted for the unnatural offence of being transvestites
----  brief extract from a book review by Martha De Lacey at the Daily Mail (UK), 2015 :-

      'When two glamorous women departed The Strand Theatre in London on 28 April 1870 after a show, passers-by were startled to see them being arrested by police officers.
      The women, who had been flirting openly with male members of the audience all evening, had also, unbeknown to them, been the object of the officers' attention throughout the play.
      Producing a warrant card and apprehending the ladies, the arresting officer said: 'I'm a police officer from Bow Street, and I have every reason to believe that you are men in female attire and you will have to come to Bow Street with me now.'

      The officer was correct in his belief. The 'women' were Fanny and Stella, a pair of middle-class gentlemen with a predilection for cross-dressing - and their subsequent court trial for being transvestites scandalised Victorian England.
      And now their extraordinary tale has been chronicled in a new book by writer Neil McKenna, author of The Secret Life Of Oscar Wilde, entitled Fanny & Stella and published by Faber in February.' 

---- see more about this new book, and visit the Daily Mail for its spectacular photo collection from the book of Fanny & Stella at :- http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2271845/Arrested-cross-dressing-Meet-Fanny-Stella-Victorian-gentlemen-shocked-Britain-prosecuted-unnatural-offence-transvestites.html 

Saturday, September 12, 2015


Homophobic People Often Have Psychological Problems
----  the opening pars of an extended essay by LiveScience Contributor Stephanie Pappas at Live Science (USA), 11 September 2015 :-

      'Homophobic attitudes may say a lot about the person who holds them, new research suggests.
      A new study of university students in Italy revealed that people who have strongly negative views of gay people also have higher levels of psychoticism and inappropriate coping mechanisms than those who are accepting of homosexuality.
      This doesn't mean that homophobic people are psychotic; rather, psychoticism is a personality trait marked by hostility, anger and aggression toward others. But the study does suggest that people who cling to homophobic views have some psychological issues, said lead researcher Emmanuele Jannini, an endocrinologist and medical sexologist at the University of Rome Tor Vergata.
      "The study is opening a new research avenue, where the real disease to study is homophobia," Jannini told Live Science. .... '
----  see more of Stephanie Pappas' post at www.livescience.com at :-

Thursday, September 10, 2015

GAY-THEMED VENEZUELAN FILM | "From Afar" (Desde alla) ... Spanish language competitor at Venice 2015

VENICE FILM REVIEW: 'From Afar' (Desde alla)
----  the opening pars from an extended review of a new Venezuelan film competing at this year' s Venice Festival, offered by Guy Lodge at Variety.com (USA), 10 September 2015, plus a 2-min trailer of the film in the right-hand sidebar :-

      'Lorenzo Vigas' impressive debut charts an unlikely May-December romance with grace, subtlety and tension. Looking, not touching, is the act of choice for a sexually wary gay man in “From Afar,” and his hands-off approach is shared by the expert storytelling in Venezuelan helmer Lorenzo Vigas’ pristinely poised but deeply felt debut feature.
      Rarely taking the path of cheap exposition where convincing character psychology will do, this smart, unsensationalized examination of the slow-blossoming relationship between a middle-aged loner and a young street tough trusts auds to make the necessary connections in a narrative that merges its characters’ respective father complexes to moving, equivocal effect.
      Discerningly realized and performed — with its reliable Chilean star Alfredo Castro giving a veritable master class in fine-point anguish — this Venice competish entry marks out Vigas as one of Latin American cinema’s more auspicious arrivals of recent years. ....'
----  see more of Guy Lodge' s review of this new film at http://variety.com at :-
----  and visit the 1'50" YouTube trailer for 'From Afar' (Spanish language with English subtitles) in the side column (at right).
----  see the news report of 14 September at Big Gay Picture Show advising readers how 'From Afar' won this year's highly-regarded Golden Lion Prize at this year's Venice Film Festival, at :-  

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

GAY 70'S | Brazil recreates its wilder side in "TATTOO" ...

"TATTOO": Bringing a bit of gay glitter to 1970's Brazil in a new film
----  brief excerpts from a new movie post contributed by Tim Isaac at the always-adventurous Big Gay Picture Show (UK), 9th September 2015 :-

      'Set during a repressive 1970’s Brazil, Tattoo is bold and distinctive – following the lives of men who refuse to live, and love quietly. The most flamboyant of the group is unquestionably Clecilo- a powerhouse of unapologetic energy and sexuality.  ....
....  A heady mix of sex, nudity, drugs, with generous lashings of glitter, Tattoo will rock your world.
      Winner of Special Jury Prize, FIPRESCI Prize, Best Actor (Jesuíta Barbosa), Best Supporting Actor (Rodrigo García), Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival.’
      "Tattoo" is out on DVD in the UK, courtesy of TLA Releasing, on November 23rd.'
----  see more about "TATTOO" by Tim Isaac at www.biggaypictureshow.com at :-
---- or check the colorful & chaotic 2'30" YouTube trailer of the film in the side column opposite.\

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


Rugby Star, Gareth Thomas, Talks Coming Out Gay in Guinness Ad
----  excerpts from a news post by the Magazine Staff at On Top Magazine (UK), 7th September 2015 :-

      'UK rugby star Gareth Thomas talks coming out gay in a new ad from Guinness.
      The ad is part of the beer giant's Made of More campaign (#madeofmore), which celebrates “stories of strength of character and integrity form the world of rugby.”
      In the 74-second clip, Thomas says that the physical pain he endured playing rugby “was nothing compared to the demons” tearing him apart. ....
,,,,  Thomas, who retired from rugby in 2011 following an injury, publicly announced he is gay in 2009.'
----  see more of this post at www.ontopmag.com at :- 
----  & visit the YouTube video of the Guinness ad in the sidebar at right.

Monday, September 7, 2015


Your gaydar is definitely off, because it doesn't actually exist
----  the opening pars from a challenging post by Francesca Kentish at METRO (UK), 7th September 2015 :-

      'Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have challenged the popular myth that some of us have a sixth sense when it comes to dating, otherwise known as ‘gaydar’.
      For those who think they can spot the difference between a homosexual and a heterosexual, think again – it turns out gaydar doesn’t exist.
      The study, published in the Journal of Sex Research, found that when people use their gaydar, they’re just spouting harmful stereotypes, which can’t be used to identify someone’s sexuality.
      Because, surprisingly not all gay men love pink, musical theatre, carry a Chihuahua and work as a wedding planner.  ... '
----  Read more at: http://metro.co.uk/2015/09/07/your-gaydar-is-definitely-off-because-it-doesnt-actually-exist-5379823/ 

Sunday, September 6, 2015


WHOA! Chinese cinemas to screen a gay romance for the first time ever
---- excerpts from a showbiz report by R.S. Benedict at Unicorn Booty (USA), 5th September 2015 :-

      'After a full year of deliberation, Chinese censors have decided for the first time to allow a gay romance to be shown in cinemas nationwide. The film is called Seek McCartney, and its showing marks a growing trend towards gay acceptance in the Asian country.
      The film’s director Wang Chao announced the government’s decision on his Weibo microblog on August 29. He called the move “one small step for the Film Board, one giant leap for filmmakers,” ....
....  Though LGBT characters have appeared in Chinese films before, this is the first movie approved for wide release that focuses on a same-sex romance involving the protagonist. The film’s release release marks significant changes in China’s attitude toward homosexuality.  ....
....  The film, Sino-French collaboration Seek McCartney, stars Han Geng as a young man who travels thousands of miles to search for his lover, played by Jérémie Elkaïm.  ....
....  Being LGBT is still heavily stigmatized in China, but the nation has gone from calling homosexuality a crime to approving a gay romantic film for general audiences in the span of just 18 years. That’s tremendous social progress!  .... '
----  see more of R.S. Benedict's report at https://unicornbooty.com at :-
---- and visit a separate account at www.care2.com at :-

(Cool Gay Stuff will provide a video of the movie's trailer, if-&-when it becomes available via YouTube.)\

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 Advocate.com (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 www.advocate.com 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 www.shewired.com 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 www.gaystarnews.com 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 :-  http://antinousgaygod.blogspot.com.au/ 

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 :-

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 http://idiva.com at :-
----  and visit this touching 7-minute Coca-Cola video in the side column (at right)  .. but don't forget to return to Cool Gay Stuff afterwards.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


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 :- http://www.newnownext.com/25-lesbians-every-gay-guy-should-know/08/2015/ 

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 ...

GAY HISTORY | Stonewall is remembered ...

Peter Greenaway's EISENSTEIN, Stalin's eccentric filmmaker ...


"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 :-http://historicalnovelsociety.org/reviews/the-hadrian-enigma-a-forbidden-history/

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 : http://jeannetomlin.blogspot.com/


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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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.