Jun 17, 2014

10 Gay Things You Should Know About Cornwall

 Cornwall is a peninsula in the west of England, famous for King Arthur (whose Camelot was probably Tintagel Castle), and its long history of paranormal events, with stories of goblins, fairies, mermaids, mysterious disappearances, time slips, and ordinary ghosts.

But it has a long gay history, too.  Here are some of the highlights.

1. Daphne Maurier set the gay-subtext novel Rebecca in Cornwall.

2. Cornish folklore featured both mermaids and mer-men.

3. The Eden Project in Bodelva features biomes with plants from all over the world, as well as homoerotic and pan-erotic statue sets like the Rites of Dionysus.

4. This statue of a beefy Cornish miner is in Pendeen, Land's End.

5. Gilbert and Sullivan's comic operetta The Pirates of Penzance has a gay subtext-friendship between Frederic and the Pirate King, particularly as they are played by Christopher Atkins and Ted Hamilton in The Pirate Movie (1982).

6. The Cornish language, related to Welsh and Irish,  went extinct in the 19th century but is now being revived.  Over 500 people now state that Cornish is their main language. The Cornish Oafs on youtube, a rather muscular pair, offer language lessons.

7. In the Newlyn Art Colony near Penzance, painters like Henry Scott Tuke (1858-1929) celebrated the nude male form.  In 2013, Sir Elton John purchased "The Orange Jersey" for nearly a quarter of a million dollars.

8. Bob FitzSimmons was a wrestler who was the Heavyweight Champion of the World, but lost to Jack Dempsey.

9. In the famous series of novels by Winston Graham, 18th century nobleman Ross Poldark is in love with two women, plus young doctor Dwight Enys. The 1975-77 BBC TV series featured Robin Ellis as Poldark and Richard Morant and Michael Cadman as Enys.

10. Cornish Wrestling, or Omdowl Kernewek, is similar to Mongolian Wrestling: you use your raw power to push your opponent to the ground.  Except in this case,  you can only hold your opponent's jacket.  

Of course, the jackets often come off before the match is over.

There are junior divisions (by age) and senior divisions (by weight).  Gerry Cawley is currently the Heavyweight Wrestling Champion.