guy_interrupted's blog

Sex, drugs and sausage rolls: London life, love and other random stuff

Archive for June 2010

The tale of Guy, Interrupted

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Image: Old book on writing desk

Once upon a time...

Every tale has a beginning. This is mine:

There once was a small boy who loved words.

At the age of two, still in nappies and barely even toddling, he was gatecrashing his older sister’s reading classes, bullying her into submission and demanding the tutor’s time, until at last, his bemused but secretly very proud mother sent him for lessons of his own.

He was fascinated by letters, and how he could put them together to make syllables, then words, and finally — sentences and paragraphs.

Books were his friend during difficult times — his parents divorce, bullying at school, an unsettled childhood. Something about the clean white pages filled with neat, ordered rows of words calmed him, and, once he started turning those crisp pages, he happily escaped for hours into the worlds they created in his mind.

He dreamed of becoming a writer. He wanted to use the power of language to affect others, to fuel their emotions and imagination the same way it had done for him as a little boy.

The boy became a man, and never lost his love of words and writing. He started a blog — at first in secret, fearing people would think it was no good — but eventually admitting it was him writing the posts he so often posted links to.

He dreamed of the day he would hold his first published book in his hands. He could see the book in his mind’s eye. For some reason it always had a yellow cover. He saw himself at a party to celebrate its launch. All his friends were there, and it was one of the happiest moments of his life.

Then, one day, a respected author who was familiar with his work asked him to write a short story. The short story was for a collection featuring new and established authors.

Numerous disappointments over the years had left him slightly cynical, and even as he sent the finished manuscript, in the back of his mind he believed nothing would ever come of it. Until a few weeks later, when he got an email with a PDF attachment. It was a proof of his story, laid out in book format, typeset and bearing his name at the top of each page. It blew his mind.

On the 15th July 2010, he’ll be at the London Literature Festival, doing a reading from that very story. Its title is Dying, And Other Superpowers, and it’s part of a collection entitled Boys and Girls, published by Glasshouse Books. You can buy a copy here if you’d like – it only costs a tenner, and £2 from every sale goes to The Albert Kennedy Trust.

On the 12th August, he’ll be at the launch party for Boys And Girls. All his friends will be there, and it will be one of the happiest moments of his life.

His childhood dream will have come true, but hopefully, his tale is only just beginning.

Oh, and the book’s cover? It’s yellow. Funny how life turns out, isn’t it?

Written by guy_interrupted

June 30, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Why we should never stop being scared of AIDS

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Image: AIDS awareness poster

The "Don't Die of Ignorance" campaign of the 1980s

As an HIV/AIDS activist, one of the questions I wrestle with daily is this:

At what point does educating people about HIV start to dilute the fear of the virus itself?

Sorry to get all controversial on you, but bareback sex feels good — that’s why people do it.

It’s no good brushing it under the carpet in the hope that people will conveniently forget this small point, because it’s a simple fact of life; your dick is packed with nerves that respond favourably to something warm and wet. And no, I don’t mean apple pie.

Well, I’ll tell you what doesn’t feel good: The fact that I couldn’t snog the face off of my gorgeous, HIV negative (now ex) boyfriend when we went to bed at night, because there was usually blood in the sink after I spat my toothpaste out. Nope, that’s pretty depressing, actually.

Or what about the fact that I can’t drink alcohol any more because of the damage the years of medication has done to my liver? Tonic water, anyone? Just me? Oh, okay then.

I’ll tell you what else doesn’t feel good: that despite still being relatively young and in my prime (I’m 31), I’m usually so exhausted by the end of the week that I sleep for half of Saturday and tend not to move past the sofa for the rest of it.

And did I ever tell you about how I got this scar on the side of my face? No? Well that was from last November, when I changed my medication, had a massive allergic reaction to it and was found hours away from a coma at the bottom of my stairs by my mother, who came round to check I was OK after nobody had heard from me for four days.

This, ladies and gents, is the reality of HIV.

In July 2008, I wrote for the Pride Blog, and I talked about HIV and the “Tombstone Generation”. For people like me, growing up in the 1980s, HIV/AIDS was without a doubt regarded as a killer. We were bombarded with images of falling tombstones and icebergs, and ominous voices telling us: “don’t die of ignorance.”

Before this period, the message was even closer to home. Paul Burston, author of “The Gay Divorcee” recently told PinkNews: “”For those of us who are 40-plus…we didn’t need ‘icebergs’, we saw friends die in hospital.”

I guess if you were sexually active in the 80s, going to a funeral every week in the 90s would have put the whole barebacking issue into perspective.

Fast forward to 2010 and things have changed dramatically. Take me for instance. I have a great job, I earn a good salary. I don’t live on benefits. My boss is very understanding about taking time off for hospital appointments, and treating the virus means simply taking five pills in the morning. It’s just become a part of my daily routine, like putting my contact lenses in so I can see properly.

Yes, HIV is now very much a ‘manageable condition’ — rather like diabetes.

In the developed world at least, we’re so fortunate to have treatment and care available to us, and I can’t put into words the respect and gratitude I have for the men and women who dedicate their lives to finding new treatments, vaccines, and hopefully one day — a cure.

But with all these advances in medical science, we’ve ended up with AIDS no longer being the killer it used to be. So it’s only natural we worry about it less.

It’s also invisible — you can’t see it, so it becomes easier to bury your head in the sand and forget about it, as opposed to, say, a dirty great weeping sore on the end of your cock.

It feels like lately, AIDS awareness campaigns have taken a very softly-softly approach, concentrating on a gentle “use a condom” message.

This is all well and good, but what about showing people the harsh realities of HIV? The anti-smoking lobbyists have got it right, with a slew of increasingly more graphic ad campaigns, and images of rotting teeth and blackened lungs gracing every fag packet.

Should we take our lead from the anti-smoking groups and start including similar on the DVD cases of bareback porn? Or would that ruin our fun too much? I mean, who wants to think about AIDS when you whack a porno on in the background while you’re sticking it to/getting banged senseless by some cute guy who thinks you’re hotter than molten lava?

If you were around in the mid 90s, you’ll vividly remember the image of Leah Betts in her hospital bed, which was circulated to the press in 1995. Her mother released the photo in the hope that people would see it and think twice about taking Ecstasy.

What would make you think twice about barebacking? An advert asking you very nicely to use a condom, thank-you-very-much, or being slapped round the face with the image of someone in the last hours of their painful life, covered in KS lesions, getting water through a drip and pissing it from a catheter?

Now ask yourself this: Is a few seconds spent having a giddy, bareback orgasm worth that?

Written by guy_interrupted

June 26, 2010 at 11:21 am

The lessons I learned in Ibiza

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Image: Ibiza Town

Ibiza Town

This is what I learned on holiday in Ibiza:

  1. I’m never again flying from Stansted…
    …and the same goes for flying with Ryanair.
  2. Getting a tan may be bad for the skin…
    …but it’s incredibly good for the soul.
  3. My friends are even more fantastic than I realised…
    …and my best friend knows me frighteningly well.
  4. A jetski is guaranteed to make you look cool…
    …and even falling off one is fun.
  5. Most of the island’s public toilets have run out of soap…
    …and the hand dryers are all broken too.
  6. Mixing beer, mojitos, caramel vodka shots and gin is a tremendously bad idea after six months off booze…
    …and smoking on top of it doesn’t help the situation.
  7. I never used to get knackered after five minutes of dancing…
    …and my stomach never used to wobble either.
  8. The film ‘I, Robot’ in Spanish translates as ‘Yo, Robot’…
    …and this makes me laugh like a seal.
  9. Laughing can make you forget you’re hurting…
    …even if it’s only for a few seconds.
  10. I learned that saying goodbye always hurts like hell…
    …but even more so when it’s your decision.
  11. And that I don’t know what’s worse — only having part of someone…
    …or not having them at all.
  12. That sometimes you shouldn’t dare to hope…
    …because it can be as destructive as despair.
  13. And when you’re missing the person you love…
    …there’s little difference between one mile and a thousand.
  14. That you can run as far as you like from a broken heart…
    …but eventually you have to return and try to mend it.
  15. And even though I didn’t want to come back…
    …it’s also really nice to be home.

Written by guy_interrupted

June 13, 2010 at 11:10 am

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