Maurice Ently

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Cowboys my arse...a pair of namby pamby sheepherders!

COLLEAGUE
"What are you doing tonight Maurice?"

ME
"Going to see Brokeback Mountain"

COLLEAGUE
"Oh that's that gay cowboy film"

ME
"It surely is"

COLLEAGUE
"Urrrr I hate that shit"

ME
"What shit?"

COLLEAGUE
"You know, gay stuff like that"

ME
"But I thought you were gay!"

COLLEAGUE - shifting from one foot to the other
"Nah nah, not me mate"

ME
"So you don't like gays"

COLLEAGUE
"Nah, it's not that, i've got nothing against gays....I just don't like Gay Cowboys"

ME
!!!



How many gay cowboys could a slightly slow middle eastern man living in croydon have met?

So off I went to see some gay cowboy action with my delightful significant other. The cinema was pretty busy and our screen almost full. On arrival I scanned the room.
To my right were a large mixed group of 15-16 year olds, behind me a couple of lesbians in their early forties (the sexuality isn't an assumption based on elvis hairstyles and ill fitting slacks, they were talking loudly about 'their experiences' - the age is an assumption), in front sat three generations of one family, the eldest of which must have been about 75. So a broad and balanced mix of people.

I knew nothing about this film, other than the description of it as a

'gay western'.

It turns out that my other half knew even less and was very disappointed to see a 60's pick up truck in the first scene.

"I thought this was an old western...where are the injins?"
"No..it's set in 1960's-80's"
"I wouldn't have come if i'd known that...i love old westerns"

mmmmmmmmmmm, me thinking he don't quite get that we haven't come to see jeremiah jones.

So here we are watching a film which is being talked about as a gay western, if you know nothing else about this film you must know that it is about two men who have a relationship, yet when the first love scene is shown the teenagers laugh and mutter things like 'that's well gay' (for once, unlike the inanimate ruler or pencil tin, they have used the term in the appropriate context).
The lesbians coo and caw about how beautiful it is, the old people shuffle uncomfortably and I cry like a little baby.

Meanwhile, my other half is becoming increasingly irked by the lack of 'action' in the traditional western sense of the word

"I mean they didn't even try and fight that bear, a real cowboy would have done. they're not even herding cows either, it's bloody sheep"

I composed myself and continued to watch one of the most beautifully portrayed but ultimately tragic love stories I have ever seen unfold.

Perhaps it was because of recent events in my life, perhaps it was because of the saddnes I felt on behalf of some of my friends grappling with their sexuality, perhaps it was simply because i'm a sukker for a love story, whatever the reason I sobbed my little heart out from start to finish.

I highly recommend this film. YES it's slow and NO there are no sign of indians, gun fights, swinging saloon doors and busty wenches therein but it's very moving.

The sexuality of the central characters is not THE issue, in fact, certainly one of them simply wasn't gay! It is about two people who feel a connection, who communicate with one another in a way that they can't communicate with others, who are drawn to one another on an emotional and spiritual level, who feel passion for one another and express it in the most natural of ways. It is a classic love story.

The director has achieved something quite remarkable in that, as a viewer, you really believe the love that exists between these two men, and you really believe that it continues to grow deeper over a period of 20 years AND you want them to be together, you don't care that they are gay, you don't care what others will think, or even that they will leave their wives, you just want them to be togetether.

The film raised the following issues for me:

- why so many people do what is expected of them rather than what they truly feel is right for them
- how hard it must be to be part of a minority group in an area where your particular 'minority' are despised and even attacked
- whether i would be brave enough to challenege the recvieved wisdom of my family and community if it meant ostracising (!) myself and putting myself in danger
- how so many things conspire to complicate something as simple as love
- how so many people behave/don't behave in a certain way in the hope of being with god in some magical kingdom in the clouds, even if it means making huge sacrifices on earth - the only existence we can be SURE of
- The way in which we decieve ourselves and others

i know this is rushed and rambling but it's been a while since i blogged about anything so i need to get back in the saddle and slowly rebuild my blogging skills.

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