When I woke up that Saturday morning, little did I know that something I was hiding from view from others was about to have the key put in the ignition and set me off on a journey that was to become the life I was born with.
It was a Saturday morning like any other Saturday morning. I always got up first because I’m an early bird.
The fact that I was 17-years-old didn’t put me off from watching it. I loved watching it. It got my weekend off to a perfect start.
Just after midday, I always made my way into town to buy an array of snacks for myself for the evening. Like Saturday mornings, I still preferred to spend Saturday evenings indoors watching television.
My parents thought it unusual for a boy of my age to want to stay in on a Saturday evening. At the time, I thought they knew nothing about the reason for me not wanting to go out. Years later, I discovered my mother had already suspected I was gay.
Whereas boys my age were going out to drink alcohol and date girls, my Saturday evening treat was the snacks (including a small trifle from Marks & Spencer) and Saturday evening television.
I always visited the same shops, either to browse or to buy something. On this particular Saturday, though, something I’d seen on TV that morning made me go into a shop I hardly ever visited.
Scanning the shelves full of newspapers and magazines for the music newspaper I wanted, it soon caught my eye.
On the front was a picture of the singing duo Chasand Dave. I didn’t particularly like their music, but I found both men sexually attractive.
Picking up the newspaper, I flicked through it, pretending not to notice the picture and taking little if any notice of who was around me.
Towards the back of the newspaper, I stumbled upon the advertisement section, and one of the adverts immediately got my attention.
It was a significant point in my life which opened up a door and invited me to step through.
I didn’t personally know any other gay people, yet here was an advert in a music newspaper about a world I belonged to yet knew little of.
Gay? Then you should read Gay News. Once fortnightly. For a copy, send a postal order for (I can’t remember how much) to –
At that moment, a member of staff entered the shop and shouted over to the cashier –
“I see the library is open again, Karen.”
She was referring to me and a few other customers who were all flicking through various newspapers and magazines. I quickly closed the paper and checked around to see if anybody had noticed me reading the advert.
At that point, I wanted to put down the paper and rush out of the shop, but the chance of being in touch with other gay people stopped me from doing so.
I told myself to be brave and quickly walked over to Karen, and nervously placed the newspaper by the cash register. “Got everything you need today?” she asked me as she pushed the keys on the cash register.
Nodding my head, I could feel myself blushing. I thought she knew which advert I’d been reading and was about to stand up and announce ‘This one’s queer!” Of course, that never happened.
As I walked home, my heartbeat raced. I kept looking behind to check if anyone was following me. After all, unlike my straight friends, it was still illegal for me (as a gay man) to have sex with a same-sex partner until I was 21.
Precisely one week later, I waited patiently for the postman to arrive. As soon as my first copy of Gay News came through the letterbox, I rushed downstairs before anybody else got to the post.
I was relieved that the people at Gay News did as they had promised to do in their advertisement. My copy of the paper arrived in a plain brown envelope.
My hands shook as I took the envelope up to my bedroom. Carefully tearing it open, I allowed the life I’d been hiding to start coming out of the closet.
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The Entertainment Files is a brand new feature on Hugh’s Views and News.
Over the coming days/weeks/months/years, I hope to entertain you with humour, laughter, challenges, music and lots more.
We kick off the series with my all-time favourite moment from the American sitcom television series, The Golden Girls. Warning – it does contain some adult humour.
The Golden Girls is an American sitcom television series created by Susan Harris. It originally aired on NBC from September 14, 1985, to May 9, 1992, with a total of 180 half-hour episodes spanning seven seasons.
The show stars Beatrice Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty as four older women who share friendship, and a home in Miami, Florida.
I hope the clip made you laugh as much as it makes me smile whenever I watch it.
Have you watched The Golden Girls? Do you have a favourite scene from the show? Share it with us in the comments section or by creating a new blog post, linking back to this post. Click here to find out how to create a pingback.
Make someone’s day by making them laugh.
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Over eight-million viewers tuned in to watch Jodie Whittaker’s debut as the new Doctor Who on Sunday 7th October 2018, and I was one of them. Read on, as there’s no spoiler alert.
Ever since it was announced, a lot of anticipation has surrounded how Jodie Whittaker would perform as the thirteenth Doctor. There have been mindless and senseless debates as to whether or not it was right that Doctor Who should be a woman, giving me the feeling that many were hoping she would fail in portraying a character that has typically always been seen as male in a man’s world.
My heart sunk during the first two minutes of the opening episode (The Woman Who Fell To Earth). There was little happening apart from Tosin Cole, one of the Doctor’s new friends (not assistants anymore), trying to ride a bike. The views and scenery above the city of Sheffield, on an autumnal day, may have been the attraction in the opening scene, but I knew deep down that it wouldn’t be long before something shocking would happen and that it would take us into the opening credits.
Ten minutes in, there were still no opening credits, but by now I was well hooked onto what was going on. The story unfolded at a nice pace, although when Jodie came crashing through the roof of the steel-plated train and immediately got up seemingly unscathed, I did wonder if her entrance was a little far-fetched, given that she must have come through the roof with some force to have broken through. Not even a hair on her head was out of place, but then I remembered how the last series had ended when the Doctor had fallen out of the TARDIS as a woman.
The comedy element of Jodie’s opening lines in the scenes that took place on the train, that was being attacked by an alien that reminded me of a similar creature that once featured in an episode of the classic 1970s science-fiction TV show Space 1999, was an instant hit for me. Jodie had already won me over, not just because she was a woman in a supposed man’s world, but because her portrayal of the Doctor was already completely unique to anything I’d seen before. The character of Doctor Who was not in the least like any of those who had played the part before.
I loved Jodie’s accent, I loved her sense of humour, I loved the way she ran about the set talking to herself while waving her arms as if to attract the attention of something viewers could not see. I loved the cheeky and direct way she addressed the ‘tooth-faced’ alien when she first encountered it, and I loved the choice of outfit the creators gave her. I could tell simply by the way she was engrossed in the part, that she was enjoying every second and was putting everything she had in to playing the Doctor, without going over the top with it all.
There were a couple of scenes in the episode that was, in my opinion, a little longwinded and silly, but that didn’t stop me from wanting to stay with it to see what was going to happen next. Maybe, just maybe, I could put this down to me witnessing a piece of television history, because this was the first woman Doctor Who, but the whole episode also had a completely different feel to it compared to previous seasons of the show. In fact, it almost felt like a completely new science-fiction show was being born.
If there was anything I didn’t particularly like about the new series, it was that there were no opening credits. I’ve always loved the thrill of that first few minutes of an episode that always led to the hairs on my arms standing on end as the cliffhanger is revealed, the theme music starts, and we get to find out the title of the episode. In last night’s episode, we got none of that until the beginning of the closing credits. I know the new Doctor Who team want to give the show a different feel, but I do feel that they have taken away a piece of the heart of the show by not having an opening scene that leads to a cliffhanger which leads onto opening credits and the show’s musical introduction.
I’ve never seen any problem with Doctor Who being a woman. However, the BBC have certainly struck gold by awarding the part to Jodie Whittaker. Already, now I’ve seen her in the role, I can never imagine there being another Doctor Who. The way Jodie threw herself into the role of Doctor Who has not only saved a classic, cult, show, that had flagged badly in its previous season, but has saved the BBC from destroying a show that many have thought was on a collision course with the vaults of ‘no repeats or return’ deep beneath the BBC.
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This is no joke. Sorry if you thought I was going to double you up with laughter. No, today I’m talking stereotyping! I thought it a thing of the past, but it seems it’s as evident today as it has always been.
Take, for example, television. Have you ever noticed that during a pub scene on a TV show, the men seem to be always drinking pints or bottles of beer while women are drinking glasses of wine or a gin/vodka tonic?
How often have you seen a man in a pub scene drinking a glass of wine and a woman drinking a beer? Some may say it’s down to taste, but surely not all the men in Coronation Street only drink beer while the women always order a glass of wine?
I’ll give it to Emmerdale (another UK soap-opera), as I have seen at least one female character (the vicar!) drinking a pint of beer. It’s refreshing to see but I’ve yet to see any of the men walk in and ask for a gin and tonic! It’s always “pint please, Chas.”
Let’s turn our attention to the news. I know a lot of people don’t watch the news on TV because it’s always depressing, but take ‘Breakfast’, the BBC early morning news programme.
Why does the man always sit on the left of the screen and his co-presenter, a woman, always sit on the right? Is it some kind of power struggle? Why can’t they occasionally swap positions?
Which leads me on to why does it always have to be a man and a woman when two people read the news on TV? ‘Breakfast’ does occasionally have two women presenting the show, but I’ve never seen them have two men present the show. Why? Is it not acceptable to have two men present the news together?
It’s exactly the same over on ITV. The man sits on the left of the screen while the woman always sits on the right of the screen.
Have you noticed that on many news programmes the male presenter always seems to be a lot older (not you Charlie) than the woman presenter? Very rarely is it the other way around. Is there a reason for that?
Let’s move on to driving. Yesterday, while waiting to cross the road, I counted the number of cars that drove past where there was a man and woman sat in the front of the vehicle. Would you be surprised if I told you that in just about all of the cars, it was the man who was driving?
I’ve seen it when on holiday as well. The majority of the time, it’s the man that drives a hire vehicle while the woman sits in the front passenger seat.
It happens in our family all of the time. We go and collect my sister-in-law and her husband and I can guarantee that my sister-in-law will sit in the back of the car while her husband will sit in the front passenger seat.
Same goes for my niece and her boyfriend. When they come down to visit us, it’s always him that does the driving regardless of whose car they are using.
Take two couples going off on a car journey together. Why do the men always sit together in the front, while the two women sit in the back of the car?
Sport also suffers from stereotyping. I was delighted to hear, today, that Tom Daley and Dan Goodfellow won an Olympic bronze medal in the synchronised 10m platform diving.
On TV, ‘Breakfast’ mentioned it all morning and the interview with Daley and Goodfellow was aired far too many times. They even interviewed a friend of Daley and Goodfellow who talked the audience through the last dive more times than I care to remember.
However, where was Clare Balding and Co when Ed Ling won an Olympic bronze medal in the men’s trap shooting for Great Britain? Was he not worthy of an interview Ms Balding? And why, unlike Daley and Goodfellow, did he only get a few seconds of a mention on ‘Breakfast’? Ed, if you’re reading this then, unlike the BBC, I’d be delighted to interview you and celebrate the fact that you won an Olympic bronze medal.
Finally, let’s turn back to drink. How many of you ladies enjoy drinking whisky? Does anybody out there consider whisky is only a man’s drink? Why am I asking these questions? It’s something that recently came up in conversation.
It seems I’m as guilty as most others at stereotyping. Reading through this post, why did I put an exclamation mark after the word vicar? Do vicars not drink alcohol?
Do you have any examples of stereotyping in today’s world? Does it bother you or is it something we just take for granted?
28 short stories and pieces of flash fiction that take the reader on a rollercoaster of twists and turns.