Aug 28, 2020

"My Left Nut": An Irish Comedy about a Giant Testicle

When Belfast boy Michael Patrick was starting puberty in the 2000s, he noticed a swelling on his left testicle  At first he thought it was normal.  Then, when it got bigger and bigger --as big as a giant avocado--  he thought it was cancer.  He was afraid to tell his Mum -- his Dad died when he was eight.  How would she deal with another death in the family?

Plus as the oldest boy, he was expected "be a man."  How would this affect his manhood?  So he hid for three years.

On a positive note, his classmates all noticed the bulge and assumed that he was very well hung.  But of course he couldn't do anything even moderately sexual.

How did he get around showering after gym class?  Swimsuit season?  Doctors' appointments?  It would be interesting to find out.

Finally it sort of fell out of his pants in front of his Mum, who took him to a doctor -- he didn't  have cancer, it was a condition called a hydrocele, where fluid collects in the scrotum. It can easily be drained -- problem solved.  Michael felt like dolt for letting it go on so long.  His mates were...well, relieved that he wasn't hung to his knees.

In 2017, Michael and his friend Oisin Kearney wrote a confessional stage show, My Left Nut, which he performed at the Dublin Fringe Festival.  He performed in other places, too, such as a juvenile detention facility, and was touched by the many men who came up to him afterwards to talk about their own genital problems -- issues that they had been afraid to discuss all their lives.

In 2020, a three-part tv adaptation aired on BBC3, with newcomer Nathan Quinn O'Rawe as Mick and Jay Duffy (top photo) as Danny.

Mick is straight.   I don't know if any of the characters are gay, because it is directed by Peter Gay, which flubs up the searches.  But the promo shows two of Mick's mates hugging, so maybe.  But at least there will be a lot of talk about men's private parts.

Hopefully it will show up on Vudu, Netflix, or Amazon Prime soon.

"Get Duked": One of the Best Movies I've Seen This Year

Get Duked, originally Boyz in the Wood (2016): "an anarchic, hip-hop inspired comedy that follows four city boys on a wilderness trek as they try to escape a mysterious huntsman."  So The Most Dangerous Game in the Scottish Highlands?

The trailer doesn't show any girls, so maybe there's some buddy bonding.  But it could just as easily depict casual homophobia.  And I HATE movies where main characters die, so I'm going about this carefully.

First I check to see if any of the boyz are gay in real life.

The boyz are:
1. Sam Bottomley, known for the Brit-kid schow Rocket's Island, as Ian.  Nothing specified.

The other three are juvenile delinquents participating in a program where bad boys are dumped in the wilderness and forced to learn survival skills.

2. Rian Gordon (below), who has been in some British soap operas, as Dean.  His instagram name is Wee Rian.  Nothing specified.

3. Lewis Gribben (third photo), who played Dylan in Deadwater Fell, as Duncan.  No beefcake photos.  His twitter feed tells us: "Did you honestly think we were gonna release get duked and that be it hell nah the boyz are back in this sick music video get watched it tomorrow to see what shit we got into."

I don't know what any of those words mean, but I don't think he's gay.

4. Viraj Juneja as aspiring hiphop artist DJ Beatroot.  He has only a few acting credits, but he had a short film, Fuddu, selected for the UK Asian Film Festival.

His instagram (fourth photo) has this film of him kissing his bicep.  A fan writes "Buff!," and he responds "Don't get any ideas, lol."

Gay-positive comedian Eddie Izzard plays the mysterious Duke who is hunting the boys.

I fast-forward to the end.  The boys are still alive.

Ok, I'll give it a shot.

Scene 1:  The three juvenile delinquents are watching an orietation video, bored, texting.  They drive to the wilderness while comic strips reveal their mischief: they burned down a school toilet (it took a lot of lighter fluid). They meet the fourth: Ian, a "sensitive and sheltered boy" who enjoys knitting and has trouble making friends/

Camera zooms in to posters of the many boys who have gone missing in this wilderness.

Scene 2: Their first task is to find their way across the wilderness to a distant campsite, without their cellphones.  The counselor says: "The whole thing is fraught with danger, and I'm amazed that they let teenagers do it, but there you go.

The boys frolick and try to get Ian to smoke hashish.  DJ tries out a rap song:
My dick's a tyrannasaurus
Balls big like a bull, 100% Taurus
Make you come so loud, you'll sound like a Greek chorus.
The biggest dick in history...girl, you'll be screaming.

Ok, he's heterosexual.  Although I do like hearing about gigantic dicks.

A mysterious man is watching them. "Vermin!" he snarls.

Scene 3: They ask directions from a friendly farmer.  Discussions of whether the term "orienteering" is racist and if the Duke of Edinburgh is real or "like Santa."

The Duke appears and starts shooting at them.  They run up a ridge and go through their stuff, looking for weapons.

Whoa!  Ian is sitting cuddling against Duncan, with his arm in Duncan's lap. Homoerotic!

Fortunately, Dean knows how to make a bomb from everday items.  He downloaded the intel from the internet.

Scene 4: Cut to the police station, where Sergeant Morag (Kate Dickie) is apprising the officers about the "suspected terrorist."  They need this bust to avoid getting shut down due to the low crime rate.

Scene 5: The boys throw their bomb at the Duke.  It doesn't work.  They try lighting the hashish and throwing it at the Duke  His trousers catch on fire, and he rushes off.

They run up a mountain, where they get cell phone reception, and Duncan calls the police: "There's a psycho pedophile with a gun chasing us!"

"You can't call him that!" Ian protests.  "You're sixteen -- it'd be fine!"

Duncan is sitting on Ian's shoulders to make the call!

Sergeant Morag adds "pedophile" to "terrorist" on the case board, and she and PC Hamish go off to catch the criminal...teenagers?

Scene 6: The boys arrive at the campsite, where their counselor, Mr. Carlisle, dismisses their story.  They notice that his leg is burnt.  He's the Duke!

They attack, and end up killing him.

Ian: "I've never seen a murder before.  I'm homeschooled."

Scene 7: They discuss what to do now.  They're lost and they just killed their counselor.

The real Duke arrvies, with his wife, the Duchess. They don't hunt for fun -- they are trying to rid Britain of the out-of-control "vermin" who are threatening the country by being boisterous. They chase the boys on horseback.

Scene 8: The police officers drive  through the Highlands.  discussing how important the case is.

Meanwhile the boys return to the farmer and yell for help, but he can't hear them.  They continue running.  Ian hurts his ankle, and the boys abandon him.  Hey, what happened to the homoerotic buddy bonding?

The officers find the makeshift bomb and concludes that it's a whole gang of pedophile-terrorists from London!

Scene 9: While Dean and Duncan hide in a cave, DJ investigates an old barn, which is full of his rap fans!  They invite him to get high on "rabbit shite."

Meanwhile, the Duke and Duchess capture Ian,  put an antlered head on him, and recite poetry about the hunt.  Dean and Duncan rush to the rescue.  DJ's new friends arrive in trucks to help.

Scene 10: Morning. The Duke and Duchess escaped.  They need to capture the Dukes to prove that they didn't murder their counselor deliberately, so they're going on the offensive

The police officers saw the debacle last night and conclude that they were zombie drug-dealer pedophile terrorists.  They start tracking the boys while the Duke and Duchess look on.

"You wankers!" the boys shout.

The police hear "Alanu akbar."  Arabic!  The drug dealing pedophile terrorists!

Scene 11: The Duke and Duchess run into an old farm house and escape through a secret passage.  They emerge at the coast, the boys in hot pursuit.

The Duke and Duchess are unrepentent: "We've given you this perfect world, and all your lot can do is turn round and say we've ruined it."  But being guaranteed a job after Uni, being able to buy a house on a working-class salary -- those things Boomers take for granted are impossible for the younger generation.  Plus environmental catastrophe.  Boomers will soon be gone, leaving the younger generation to clean up their mess.

This is getting heavy, man.

Whoops -- the Duke blew a horn earlier, and now oldsters with guns are arrivng en masse.

At least Ian and Duncan are linking arms.  Back to your homerotic buddy bonding at the moment of crisis>

The boys are surrounded.  Guns cock.

Whoa, Deus Ex Machina!  I can't explain what happened -- too complicated. But a very funny callback.

And, by the way, Mr. Carlisle turns up alive.  And pissed: "You killed me! You'v failed!"

And, by the way, Ian spends nearly the entire last scene with his arms around Duncan.

The police finally arrive and ask if they've seen 50 heroin-covered zombie pedophile terrorists.

Scene 11: The boys are getting ready to leave, when they see four girls about to set out on the wilderness test.  Uh-oh, so close, and now the hetero flirting begins!  But they just want to give the girls the sword and the gun they got from the Duke; "You'll need these."

The boys walk off.  Dean kisses Duncan.  Wait -- um...

Nobody mentions a romantic interest in anyone during the film, except in the rap song.  Nor are there any homophobic statements, except in the final song: "Mr. President, suck a dick -- this is our time."

I guess this is their time.  Being gay or straight is irrelevant.

My grade: A

Aug 25, 2020

Ocho Rios: Tracking Down a Jamaican Bodybuilder

Sometime during the 1990s, I was walking through the living room, and I caught the end of a music video.  It was about a frizzy-haired musician in a 1970s suit trying to sell his new song.

As he acts it out, we see him in drag, in a blond wig and a muumuu,  in a lush tropical setting, singing to a drag queen chorus
Musician:  I met a Negro in something something (four syllables). I didn't notice the inherent racism of the scenario at the time.

The drag queen chorus squeals as a massive bodybuilder walks by, thrusts out his bulge, and flexes his bicep.
Musician: I met a Negro...

Jamaican-accented bodybuilder:  I'm a Negro...

The bodybuilder then takes the drag musician rowing, where he sings:
Something something...I'll make you mine.

He lowers his swimsuit, and her eyes widen, shocked at his enormous penis.

That's all I remember: no title, no names of performers, not even the full video.  But it kept getting stuck in my head, inappropriate term and all.

I would be at the supermarket, or on the bus, and suddenly catch myself singing I met a Negro in something something.  I got quite a few stares!

Recently I decided to use my internet sleuthing skills to track down the music video, and the Jamaican-accented bodybuilder.  All I had was: 1990s, frizzy hair, Jamaica, drag, and the term "Negro."

Dozens of keywords searches on Google and Bing turned up nothing.

Wait -- this musician was obviously gay and from the 1970s.

"Gay composer" and "1970s"eventually  led me to Paul Jabara (1948-1992), who composed such disco hits as "It's Raining Men" for the Weather Girls, my favorite song of all time, and "Last Dance" for Donna Summer (which won the Academy Award for  Best Song in 1978).

There was a song called "Ocho Rios" in his discography.  No lyrics online.  But the right number of syllables, and Ocho Rios is the name of a town in Jamaica!  Could it be the source of my elusive music video?

Digging deeper, I found an article about a "pop operetta" De La Noche: The True Story," which Jabarra tried to get produced in 1985.  It was about a "lady of the evening" who finds true love with a 7'2", 300 lb  Jamaican bodybuilder!  Their union results in female octuplets, who are stolen and sold on the black market.  She searches for 21 years, and finally finds them, performing as a musical group, the De La Noche Sisters.

Sounds silly; no wonder Jabara couldn't get the funding to make a stage musical.

"Ocho Rios" is a track on the album, also released as a single.  It didn't get much airtime, as the term "Negro" was deemed offensively racist.  So Jabara produced a music video about his troubles, and got it played on MTV.  A least once.

I finally found a synopsis: turns out that there were no drag queens, just bizarrely over-made up women. The lady in the muumuu was Pat Ast, formerly a member of Andy Warhol's Factory.  And "The Negro" was voiced by Paul Jabara himself, feigning a basso-profundo Jamaican accent.

But who modeled the Jamaican bodybuilder?

More searching revealed that in 1973, Paul Jabara wrote and produced a musical, Rachel Lily Rosenbloom (And Don't You Ever Forget It), which folded after only a few performances.  Perhaps it was an early version of De La Noche: there was a song entitled "Oh, Ocho Rios," and a cast member named "That Negro."

Played by Andre de Shields, who would become a renowned stage actor, with credits including Hair, The Full Monte, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Ain't Misbehavin'.  

Obviously not the same person as the Jamaican bodybuilder, whose identity remains a mystery.

But at least it's not an ear worm anymore.

You can see the music video on youtube.

See also: Subtext Songs of the 1980s.

Aug 23, 2020

Drowning in Sunshine": Whimsy Turns into Traumatizing, Soul-Destroying Horror

Drowning in Sunshine: "a profanity laced, indie, brutal, chirpy, fun, and weird story" about a woman named Lucky who is shot in Miami and washes up on the shore at Brighton.  She meets Jack and David, and....

On the off chance that Jack and David are a gay couple, I watch Episode 4: David is "kidnapped," and Lucky and Jack must go on an "epic quest" to rescue him.

The opening credits are animated: Lucky falling off a boat, while the evil Black {Alexander Huetson, left) looks on. Candy and Cameron look sinister outside a mansion.  Lucky shoots a gun, which changes intoa squirt gun on the beach, aimed at Jack and the belching, beer-guzzling David. Meanwhile Sophie looks annoyed while Jeremy plays with a sword.

Nice to have all the character and actor names spelled out.  Unfortunately, most of them have no other credits on IMDB, and are very hard to find.  No Cameron (Sergio Carbello) anywhere.

Scene 1: Stephanie, who has a pony tail and leather gloves, is on a couch, furiously texting while Jeremy plays video games. He seems to be autistic, and has a hairlip, but he's still cute.  I'd date him.

I looked up the actor, Steve Wallace: very impressive talent agency page, lots of paid and unpaid jobs, testimonials about how nice he is. It hasn't been updated since 2014.

Vera drops by to snarf at Stephanie for not getting work.  She is apparently a paid assassin, but unemployable after some disgrace.

Scene 2: In a very elegant apartment, Lucky is preparing a homemade pepper spray.  Jack (Ryan O'Carolan) comes in and takes a sip,with comic consequences.  He's extremely cute. Two for two!

Scene 3: Flashback to Miami, where Lucky and her friend are discussing Mr. Black, who wants to kill her.  Detective Rodriguez, FBI interrogates her on the party last night, where she shot a drug lord.  He wants her help in tracking down Alvarez, but she refuses.

Rodriguez is rather hot, too.

Scene 4:  Back at the apartment, Lucky discovers a ransom note: David has been kidnapped!  But it's ok: Jack points out that the note is humorous; their "bad ass and super cool best friend David has been kidnapped by an evil wizard." They must figure out the clues to rescue him.  Apparently this is a role-playing game you can arrange at Brighton.

Scene 5: Back on the couch, Sophie is ruminating over her failure in the paid assassin business.  Jeremy -- her brother -- suggests video games to take her mind off it.

I get it -- this show juxtaposes real brutality with the whimsy of Brighton.

Scene 6:  The riddle on the back of the "ransom note" leads Lucky and Jack to the Pavilion.

Flashback to Miami, where Suit Guy tells Cameron that the paper trail is too long, he can't hide all of his illegal assets.  They decide to transfer everything to someone else, who will then take the fall.

Lucky tells Cameron that she doesn't like Black hanging around.  He offers to kill him, as a favor.  Lucky hints that she might want to find another job.  Cameron gets irate: "I didn't hire you to be my cook, I hired you because you're the only one I can trust!"

.Scene 7:  Lucky and Jack arrive at the Pavilion, a faux Arabian Nights palace with a "cheap Chinese restaurant inside."  A pirate asks them a riddle: "the poor have it, the rich need it, and if you eat it, you'll die." (Answers at the end)

Scene 8:  Sophie loses the video-game battle. She complains that it's all nonsense; she knows how to kill people in real life.  Jeremy wants to learn real-life killing techniques, so she brings out her weapons. He touches a stun-gun dart and collapses.

Immensely cute, and a basket!

Scene 9:  Lucky and Jack go to the Pier (nice location shot) to get the next clue from the giggly Green Fairy. Her riddle: "I am the beginning of eternity, and the end of time and space. I am essential to creation, and surround every place." They are under surveillance from an out-of-place narc, who thinks something nefarious is going on and warns his superior.

Flashback to Miami, where Black has brought Lucky along on a hit.

Scene 10:  The next clue comes from a very bored Princess. Her riddle: "The man who makes it doesn't want it, the man who wants it doesn't use it, the man who uses it doesn't know he's using it."

 Flashback to Miami: Black beats up the hit, Leon,then asks Lucky to finish him off.  When she refuses, he puts his arms around her until the gun goes off.

Scene 11:  On the beach, they rescue David from an evil wizard: "If only I hadeth a friend as badass and bitchin as thee!  Thou friends should stop blowing thee off when they do cooleth things!"

They go home, where Jack puts the ransom note in a drawer with the others.  Evidently David plays this game a lot.  I get the impression that he's a little needy.

Beefcake:  No body shots, but lots of cute guys, and a couple of bulges.

Other Sights:  Very scenic exteriors.

Gay Charactess:  No one specified.  Jack and Lucky aren't dating, so maybe he is gay.  David is a scally dude, probably not.

Heterosexism:  No one expresses any heterosexual interest.

Answers to the riddles:
Pirate riddle: nothing
Green Fairy riddle: the letter "e"
Princess riddle: a coffin

The Descent into Traumatizing, oul-Destroying Horror:

After the break.  I suggest you stop here.  I would give a lot to be able to turn back time and never watch the last episode.

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