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Tom of Finland; Artist, Finnish, Socialite… gay?

We are all fans of Tom of Finland; Which sensitive young man can prevent their head turning at his detailed pencil drawings, their artful curves, their stirring images of society’s protectors? The career of Touko Laaksonen (real name – ed) is prodigious indeed, having creating over 3500 works celebrating the armed forces and the honest man’s working day. But a recent controversial article written by John Ronald, former professor of art history at Oxford University, has questioned Touko’s sexuality and the true meaning of his art. SPOCSYM is on hand to analyse the evidence of both sides and ascertain the truth of Ronald’s bold claims.

Artful Curves

Voice of the Uniform?

Tom of Finland earned his fame with his bold depictions of the uniformed man, at both rest and work. Chronicling the day to day business of these honourable men was his apparent goal. His respect for these men was stoked into a defensive inferno with the Vietnam War and the consequent surge in anti-war protests. A great swathe of the public rejected their own forces on seeing the realities of armed conflict, a fact with which Touko was both mystified and horrified.

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“Fancy, if you believe in what I believe in,
Then we’ll be the same, always.
Fancy, just look around thee,
If you will fancy all the girls you see, always.

My love is like a ruby that no one can see,
Only my fancy, always.
No one can penetrate me,
They only see what’s in their own fancy, always.”

Ostensibly a cute little whiteboy raga about nowt in particular, Fancy, from the Kink’s 1966 album Face to Face, may just be, in fact, one of the most potent insights into the ‘ooman condition ever penned.

Continual quest for pussy uncharted

Opening with a couplet so majestically devastating in its haiku-like beauty that one’s tear ducts are at once alerted to the imminent downpour, Fancy’s indefatigable brilliance lies in the fact that there exists no sensitive cat who doesn’t ache to locate she who ascribes wholeheartedly to the monogamous manifesto. More beautifully still, it remains Ray’s “always” which reverberates so deeply-rooted a chord — F to D, since you ask — within the soul of this scribe. For life, contrary to pub talk, FHM and the like, need not amount to a continual quest for pussy uncharted. One word, one person. We can be the same, you and I, girl. Forever. Cue waterworks. Read the rest of this entry »

“If you live to be one hundred, I hope I live to be one hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you.”

The ethereal Nureyev explores our deepest childhood memories with Junior Giscombe in mama used to say.

Sorrowful dance can be unbelievably heartbreaking, the visual depiction of sadness perhaps more potent even than words. Maybe a skilled dancer could pull this off; I remember the first time I saw Margot (Fonteyn – ed.), with her languid swan movements… hmm, enchanté.

In Mama used to say, Junior, however, aims not just at squeezing tears from the jaded, drug-addled audience of British Rhythm and Blues in the early eighties. He wants the infinite grey area of sadness yes, but tinged with an acceptance of it’s inevitability. Ambitious, you say, it can’t be done, I hear; well watch him!

Junior - dancing more potent than words

Junior wants his dance to convey the sorrow and pain at the death of a loved one, specifically his mother, but also the respect and happiness for everything she taught him. This he achieves through a reminiscence of his mother’s advice to a psychedelic cartoon backdrop (more on that later). Read the rest of this entry »

What, reader, would the sensitive young man’s life amount to without an occasional embrace procured directly from the pages of some analeptic manuscript or the other?

Sure, we can spin Isaac Hayes’ Need to Belong to Someone till blue in the face; at which point the plastic bag is removed. Purely as a safety precaution, you understand. But when snuggled beneath the duvet with book in hand, and a voice, whomever that human angel may be, says, “Hey hey hey. I feel your plight, little buddy. Thangs gonna be aight, y’hear?” — heck, it’s enough to penetrate the most cotton-wooled of hearts.

Plotless, floating environ

Jane Packer’s The Complete Guide to Flower Arranging hardly needs stating. The Highly Sensitive Person’s Workbook, too, comes indubitably recommended. Most notably, a well-thumbed copy of How to Talk to Women by Ron Louis & David Copeland will take pride of place under the pillow of any young man worth his salty lacrimations. Classics, each and every one of them. For those born with a skin too few, though, a single text continues to stand unchallenged in the sensorial canon: A Rebours by Joris-Karl Huysmans. Read the rest of this entry »

Ne Yo: the dance of schizophrenic indecision

Closer is about Ne Yo yearning for the physical contact of a stranger, but failing to get closer due to his schizophrenic delusions.

He pursues a woman in a club and imagines with intense realism his quarry whispering in his ear; telling me/ she wants to own me/ control me/ come closer. Ne Yo can’t break himself away and indulges in sexual fantasies; I can taste her on my tongue/ she’s the sweetest taste of sin.

Were this not expanded upon, it would simply be another love in the club song and dance, but Ne Yo’s accompanying moves provide the conceptual depth needed to make it unique. Read the rest of this entry »

Jona Lewie: a dance study of social bondage

In you’ll always find me in the kitchen at parties, Jona Lewie decries his lack of popularity at social events, perpetually relegated to the party no dancing dungeon, the kitchen. Shiny linoleum, sharp corners, possibilities of broken glass; the kitchen’s unsuitability for swinging arms and legs is well deserved.

Lewie explores this awkward location with jilting, staccato movements; a jerking head twist to avoid a cupboard corner, an arm thrust to catch a falling mug. A commendable realism of kitchen dancing peril is created and Lewie breathes a corporeality into the stilted actions. Whilst at times it may appear that he is barely moving, this is instead a carefully crafted physical metaphor for his lack of social and sexual success. Lewie’s shy head bob is a nod of agreement. Read the rest of this entry »