Fender Bender

December 1998

He's Behind You!!

Well, slap my thigh, straighten my wonky wig and paint on my ridiculous makeup, yes kiddies it panto time again. Oh, what fun it is to see all the crappy ham actors come out and play on the stage dressed as Widow Twanky. I just love to do a panto, it the one time of year you can actually do something that is happy on stage and isn't impossible to script or simply create. You can totally overact and get away with it and it's just so much fun to be the badey, be it Milifecent or Snow Whites evil step mother, it just so much fun. Typically I end up as the panto dame. I wonder why? It's not my choice to go on stage in drag, I just get made to do it. It's still fun because I can chat up men on stage!

I better just stop there and explain myself before I lose those of you who have never heard of a Pantomime or, god forbid - you will realise, I mean, think I have gone totally mad. I haven't, honest. I don't know if in other countries the Christmas panto is as much a tradition as it in Britain. We just seem to love it. If the very word panto makes you think I am talking about strange underpants you should read on.

To tell the total truth you haven't missed that much if you have never seen a panto, they are targeted at little children and parents desperately trying to hang on to their lost youth. There is a standard format to a panto. I'll begin with the cast. We have our Hero who is always a guy played by a girl, the Beautiful girl (yes, played by a girl) and the desperate character who is desperately in love with our lead girl but he never get her. All of theses characters are the most lovely characters you could hope to meat. We always have at least one bad guy or girl who it totally horrible. Also there is the essential panto Dame, the source of most of the bitchiness and comedy in the panto, always a lady played by a man. There is always the standard struggle between good and evil and it being Christmas time and all that, good is always triumphant. The cast is usually made up of one or two minor celebrities for the light entertainment world proving once and truly that they are in fact more talentless than we had originally thought. The rest of the cast are serious actors, for them it's just a bit of fun.

OK, I am being really bitchy about pantomimes, they do have their good points. They get people into theatres which is something that doesn't happen much nowadays unless it's something like West Side Story (which is quite nice really if you are a romantic) or Rent (which is just brilliant). Also they bring money to theatres which helps keep them open, which is also very good. Also if you are acting in them they can be a lot of fun even if, like myself, you are a carp actor.

I really don't know why I keep going on about pantos, I suppose it's nice and festive which now, things all seem to be. I know I am usually not happy when I am told to be and do my best to turn left when told to turn right but I'm going to go along with the big happy red and green Christmas band wagon. It's one of the aspects of society I like. I know there is this huge commercial drive to it but it keeps some of us employed. The nice thing about Christmas is there is a lot of emphasis put on togetherness and family which I never notice or feel at any other time of year.

There is, however, a problem with the togetherness. It made me feel really alone last year. (This is the depressing bit now.) Last Christmas, the build up, the day, the aftermath, all of it was absolutely horrible for me. I was really fucked up with this whole gay thing. I really wanted someone to share my feelings with, someone to love me for me etc., etc. I had been dealing with the gay thing for about six months and I had only really started to think about it with any seriousness and it was really depressing me. I had just given up all the future I had planned for myself and accepted that I was different and all this clashed head on with the whole Christmas thing. It really didn't help having to be so false to everyone. I like to enter a room with the clash of lightening, boom of thunder and an ever-present mortal presence about me. But oh no not at Christmas, I had to go in to a room with a heavenly beam of light silhouetting me in the door way with a faint but present smell of 'niceness' about me and be polite to everything. As you can guess this didn't help, people being shoved in my face all the time and me just wanting to be alone.

Well, this year it should be a happy one. I am gay, I'm not scared of it, I happyish, I've sort of got the rest of my life blue printed in my head but I'm still alone. But that doesn't matter. I'll have my family to talk about mundane things to, my four gay friendly friends to talk about men to and my self to talk about stuff. What a fun time it should be.

I better leave you now. I know this had been boring. It just had to come out of me, I'm deflated now so I'll do three things and go. Firstly thank you for reading my entire column, it means a lot to me. Secondly I'll say if you are having a hard time of it lately or you just want someone to listen write to the all replying and listening address 'Fend@sylvestris.demon.co.uk'. Thirdly, no matter how shitty it is for you at the moment I which you a truly HAPPY GAY CHRISTMAS.

Love and Freedom

Fender Bender

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