Gay men are great dreamers. As children, they often feel isolated and marginalised, and dream of what they will become as adults. Welshman Gareth Valentine is ample proof that childhood dreams can be made real.
Not only is Valentine’s Requiem, which he composed and conducted, in the shops, but also he is conducting Cole Porter’s glorious backstage musical Kiss Me Kate in London. Valentine enthuses that Kiss Me Kate, recently transferred from Broadway to the West End, is ‘like a box of chocolates, one great song after another to choose from; it is the gay composer’s greatest show’.
Valentine has had a remarkable career, ‘I was brought up in a council house in Wales,’ he says. ‘My parents could only afford for my twin sister to go to piano lessons. Thank goodness she hated it. Otherwise I wouldn’t have taken to piano like a duck to water. What would I do today?’
A boy singer at Aldeburgh, he was taught singing by the tenor Peter Pears. ‘Benjamin Britten had recently died,’ he says. ‘I used to go to Peter’s basement ﬂat in lslington. He’d teach me how to sing and I’d accompany him on the piano . . . Peter would probably turn in his grave if he
thought I’d end up conducting West End
Losing a lover to AIDS inspired Requiem
packed and next to me sat my partner Mike, himself
Valentine has conducted three of Kander and Ebb’s musicals, Cabaret, Chicago and Kiss Of The Spiderwoman. ‘It’s difficult for musicals to address serious subject matters, but it can be done,’ he says. ‘Kiss Of The Spiderwoman dealt with gay repression and political dictatorships.’
While working on the show, he got on particularly well with Broadway diva, Chita Rivera. ‘Chita is such a trouper, she never has her understudy go on.’ She has championed his Requiem since, and wants 100 CDs for her friends.
Valentine’s Requiem has been a real labour of love. ‘My Requiem was liturgically celebrated on 15 May 1993 at Southwark Cathedral, London. It was written as a visceral response to the grim swathe of AIDS which touched almost everyone I knew at the time. The cathedral was
infected with HIV and recovering from radiotherapy. He was gravely ill but managed to be by my side for this monumental service at which he took his first, and last, communion. I shall never forget his response after he consumed the body and the blood: “Will I be alright now?” I answered yes. He died on 15 August that year with his family and friends at his bedside.’
Anyone who loves Faure's Requiem will love Valentine’s piece. Passionate, dramatic, intense, it is a real emotional roller-coaster. Fusing a whole variety of forms, including choral, opera, musical theatre, folk and plainchant, the Requiem compels the listener to respond. Sensationally performed by a top-notch cast, you can’t help being moved. (John Binnie)
I Gareth Valentine: Rodi/rem is out now on TER
Making Room (Serpents Tail 517.95) CO...
It’s A Family Affair (Diva $315) .000
A big issue for lots of gay couples is: babies. Should we have any or not? Do children provide yOu with continuity? Do they force you to grow up? For generations. gay people have been denied even the possibility of parenting. but with changes in adoption laws in America and more high-profile gay parents here. that is changing.
Michel Tremblay‘s Making Room is one of the best books I've ever read. The French Canadian dramatist. author of over twenty plays including The Gurd Sisters writes eloquently about two men falling in love in Montreal. Jean-Marc is nearly 40 and a confirmed bachelor; Mathieu is in his twenties and a struggling actOr. Two such unlikely men shouldn't be partners. but they are. and Mathieu has a surprise: his four-year-old son.
Delicate. Vividly written, Without the graphic sex which predominates so much gay literature. Making Room speaks directly about the urban gay experience. Though that descriptiOn belittles the novel, it's not JUSl the two men. we understand lvlathieu's ex- wife. her new partner. his mother. we even get inside the child's head in nursery. Tremblay is a major artist. and his compassion. understanding and truth helps us understand the way we live now. I would recommend this magnificent novel to anyone: fathers. mothers. gay. straight. male or female.
It a Family Affair by Lisa Saffron. feunder of Pink Parents UK. is a wonderful. informative read. Taking you through all the stages of prospective parenthood. from first thinking about having a child. to knoWing when is the best time to conceive. to exploring various methods of conceiVing. through to actually bringing up a child as a lesbian parent. it is well written. accessible and com;)rehensive. Full of
Father and father: a way
fascinating case-studies with parents. children of lesbian parents. partners and surrogate fathers. you can dip in or read it cover to cover. (.John Binnie)
Steve Retson LUBT Centre. I 1 Dixon Street. 22] 7203. 5.30—8.30pm. Free. Weekly. Gay men's sexual health advisory service.
Lesbian Health Clinic Sandyford Initiative. Sauchiehall Street. 2] I 6700. 5.30—8pm. Free. Weekly. Health advice. T.F.I. Bi-G-Les Youth Group LGBT Centre. I I Dixon Street. 22l 7203. 4—8pm. Free. Weekly. An open meeting for young LGBT tip to the age of 25.
Glasgow G00 Badminton (‘iames llall. Knightswood Secondary School. ()0 Knighlswood Road. 954 2404.
7 0.30pm. Weekly.
Glasgow G00 Swimmers (‘ontact 64‘) 5896. 7.30—9pm. Weekly. Informal swimming session. (‘all for more information.
LIPS Glasgow Wometh Library. l09 Trongate. 552 8345/7539. 2—4pm. Free. Thti I0 Jan. Fortnightly. Support for lesbians and bisexual women under 25.
Presque Rien (ii-T. Rose Street. 332 8128. 8.30pm. £3.75--£4.75 (£2—£3.50). Wed 16 8; Thu 17 Jan. Intense French homo-erotic feature exploring a first love affair between two boys on a beach.
T.F.I. Bi-G-Les Youth Group Drop In l.GBT Centre. I I Dixon Street. 22I 7203.4 -8pm. Free. Weekly. .-\ drop-in time for LGBT tip to the age of 25.
Girls on Top Bennetts. (ilasst'ortl Street. 552 5761. llpm—-3.30am. £3~£6 (£2 -£5 ). Fri 4 Jan. Monthly. The girls come out to play on the second floor at Bennet's monthly women only night with 1)] Sara spinning the toons.
Meet Me in St Louis (il’I‘. Rose Street. 332 8|28. 8.30pm. £3.75 £4.75 (£2,423.50). Fri l I Jan. Gay icon Judy Garland looks ravishing in this musical froth set in turn-of-the-century America.
LIPS Glasgow Women's Library. 109 'I'rongate. 552 8345/7539. 2—4pm. Free. Sat 5 Jan. I-‘ortnightly. Project supporting lesbians and bisexual women aged 25 and under.
OLGA l.GBT. l I Dixon Street. 221 7203. 2.30 4.30pm. Free. Sat 12 Jan. Monthly. Group for older lesbians MAST I.GBT. I I Dixon Street. 22I 7203. 2 5pm. Free. Sat l2 Jan. Monthly. By appointment only.
Gay Rambling Group (‘ontact 950 1081. Sat 12 Jan. Fortnightly (alternating between Saturdays and Sundays). Call for more details on meeting places and times.
Icebreakers l.(}B’l‘ (‘entre. ll Dixon Street. 221 7203. 1230- 3pm. Free. Sun (3 Jan. Monthly. Group for lesbians. gays and bisexuals new to the scene.
GOC Cycling Group (‘ontact (>49 5896. Sun I3 Jan. Monthly. ('all for more details.
CDT on Sunday The Stand. 333 Woodlands Road. 0870 600 6055. 7.30pm. £5 (£4). Sun 13 Jan. Monthly. The Stand's monthly dose of camp high
jinx with host (‘raig llill. top guests and
the chance to win a meal for two via Jill I’eacock's very special gameshow.
:1 17 Jan 2002 THE LIST 59