THE PRIVATE LIFE OF JOHN GIELGUD GIELGUD’S LETTERS
Ed Richard Mangan (Weidenfeld & Nicolson 220)
These 800 personal letters - many never meant for public reading - which span eight decades of John Gielgud’s life, make fascinating reading. He has long been reckoned Britain’s eminent classical performer, gifted with a voice which aroused ecstatic response, but which today might sound a little over-done. Gielgud’s list of distinctions are incredible: a knight, an Oscar winner, a star actor/director in the West End and Broadway, he even had a theatre named after him. He came into contact with a glittering crowd, Coward, Capote, Garbo , Brando, John F Kennedy, and these famous faces make cameo appearances in
his often hilarious letters. The letters are fast, funny and bitchy but rarely malicious. Gielgud sounds like someone who realised how lucky he was.
In 1953 Gielgud (like Alec Guiness) was arrested for soliciting in a public toilet. The letters’ depiction of the forbidden domain of pre-liberated homosexuality is so revealing. It’s a world of blackmail and subterfuge, but there’s also a camp quality to it, particularly revealed in Gielgud’s obsession with fellow actors’ ‘big baskets’. The letters recount details of gay orgies in the Hollywood hills, or dirty books smuggled from Morocco. The bravery with which Gielgud faced up to his cottaging arrest and his actor friends’ insistence that he go on with the show is inspiring, and so are the ovations Gielgud received. Only the gutter press did everything in its power to stop the actor’s career. His long term love affairs are also candidly revealed. Gielgud met his last partner at an exhibition in the Tate Gallery in the 505 and they stayed together until the lover’s death in 1999. The letters may at times be too theatrically inward-looking, but they are a delight to dip into for their joyful
gossip. (John Binnie)
Events are listed by city, date, then type. Submit listings at least ten days before publication to editorGlicho.uk, by post or by fax on 0141 353 2803. Listings are compiled by Brian McGeachan.
Clubs Girls on Top Bennets. 90 (ilasst'ord Street. 552 5761. Fri 8 May.
llpm-3.30am. £3 £6 (£2 £5). Monthly. The girls rule the roost tonight in this long running women only gathering. where fag bags can also strut their stuff. Fresh at the Polo Lounge, 84 Wilson Street. 553 l 121. £5. Take your chance to get fresh with the partner of your choice at this Friday nite dance frenzy courtesy of Andy and Michelle. Shy guys can also take advantage of the smaller. darker (camp as Christmas) Trophy Room before making their way across to the main dancing area for the hardcore mUsic. Veterans prefer to get a discounted ticket by buying some booze in the sister club Delmonicas next door.
May Bank Holiday special at Bennets (ilasst‘ord Street. 552 5761. Sat 1 May. llpm 3.30am. £3 £6
(£2 £5). (ilasgow's oldest gay club invites you to join singer Rachel Mcl-‘arlane and sing along to her No 1 hit ‘Take Me to the (‘louds Above.‘ Let cigarette lighters be held aloft. Passionality (‘uhe. 34 Queen Street. 223 8990. Weekly. 1 1.30pm 3.30am. £3 (£2 with llyer). This place has established itself as a firm favourite with the young and trendy crowd. (‘ommitted dancing queens mix joyously with a mixed student crowd who enjoy DJ Shawn's stomping sounds and the cheap plonk.
Pink Penelopes l’enelope’s Nitcclub. 18 Jamaica Street. 847 0820. 1 lpm 3am. Free. Weekly. Following a stretch longer than Jeffrey Archer's jail time Penelope's have sotiglit to re-establish their gay night. Time will tell whether it succeeds. l~‘.l'.N. at (‘ube l-‘or queers with strong constitutions who. after partaking of ('ube's Monday night shenanigans (see above). can‘t resist coming back for more. Fourplay linvy. 26 (‘ambridge Street. 332 3437. llpm 3am. £4 (£2 with flyer). Weekly. New gay club.
Allure The Tunnel. 84 Mitchell Street. 204 1000. 1 1.30pm 3am. £3. Weekly. New gay club from the people behind ('ube's Passionality and l-II'N. promising happy. cheesy pop in the company of DJ Darren.
001' The Stand. 333 Woodlands Road. 0870 600 6055. Wed l I May. 9pm. £6 (£5). Monthly. This month's comedy slot is ably lilled by a superb Tina (‘ Special. The [rule/mule)” (no less) advises us. ‘not to miss the outrageously tasteless Miss (" in this one-off solo show. Doors open 7.30pm. and the show starts at 9pm.
Metrosexuality (‘ity Nightclub. Market Street. 226 9560. 1 1pm 3am. £3 entry before midnight; £4 after. Weekly. New club from James Longworth (Blaze. Vibe) featuring DJ l’ilthee (Vibe. Kiss) spinning an urban music soundtrack.
Salsa LUBT (‘entre for Health and Wellbeing. 9 Howe Street. 523 1100. 8.15pm. A recommended donation will be requested for each class. Weekly. Booking is essential to join in this ten-week programme for lesbian. bisexual and transgender women.
Yoga LGBT (‘entre for Health and
Wellbeing. 9 Howe Street. 523 1 100.
7.30pm. A recommended donation will be requested for each class. Weekly. ten- week programme for lesbian. bisexual and transgender women.
Polysuper—Camp Newtown Bar. 26b Dublin Street. 538 7775. 10pm—2am. Free. Weekly. DJs Polysuper Pete and Ali whip tip a storm of camp classics and disco hits.
Blaze ligo. Picardy Place. 478 7434. Fri 30 Apr. 1 1pm- 3am. £3 before midnight; £4 after. Fortnightly. DJ James Longworth promises to ignite the gay weekend with a chart and funky house soundtrack.
Fever at £90 1 lpm-3am. £10 (free to Taste members before 1 1.15pm; £8 for members after). Those nice folk at Taste launch this brand new montth venture. (iive it a try and see whether you can score on and off the dance floor. Polysuper—Mix Up Newtown Bar 26h Dublin Street. 538 7775. 10pm—2am. Free. Weekly. New night of cheezee disco pop and charty hits for boys and girls with DJs Polysuper Pete. Ali and guests.
Luver The Liquid Room. 9c Victoria Street. 225 2564. Sat. 1 May 10pm—3am. £12 (£10 members). Monthly. Residents Tommy K. (iP. Newton & Stone and Jared serve tip a slice of full on. driving house. Velvet The (‘ommplex. 39—40 (‘ommercial Street. 555 5622. Sat I May. 10pm 2am. £6 (two for one before 10.30pm) (£5). Monthly. A new venue for the club night for gay girlies and their invited gay boy friends.
. Joy Venue. (‘alton Road. 557 3073. Sat. 8
May 1 1pm 3am. £10 (£8 members). Monthly. The wonderful Alan and Maggie Joy continue to enliven the weekend with their mix of funky. twisted home as Joy settles into its new venue.
Edinburgh Fridays .
Mingin’ Birthday Party at Ego.
l lpm-3am. £5. 2 May only. It’s time to celebrate the birthday of that joy-giving event that is Mingin'. Devotees of the
dance should prepare to worship at the altar
of this mecca of gay music. (‘oincidentallyz it‘s Alan Joy‘s birthday also. so expect extra-special party vibes.
Taste The Liquid Room. 9c Victoria Street. 225 2564. llpm—3am. £5 before
1 1.30pm; £8 (£6 members) after; £10 non- members on guest DJ nights. Weekly. Tasty brew of house and garage with Jon Pleased rolling in to perfonn his quarterly residency on Sun 11 Apr. BootyLUSl-lous Medina Nightclub. Lothian Street. 10pm-3am. £3. Weekly. The Sunday social settles into its new venue and becomes a weekly affair featuring DJ Dale Lush and residents Simmone Black and Pimpster & Gee all playing a masterful blend of R&B. soul and funk and more.
Bruce’s Sunday Social Club at The Stand. 5 York Place. £4 (£3). Join the hilarious camp leader Bruce Devlin as host of the evening. Not strictly gay. but any self-respecting connoisseur of the gay scene must include it in their ‘must-do’ list. None but the brave should sit ringside. when Bruce is on. Doors open: 7.30pm. Show starts 8.30pm
Polysuper-Cheez Mood Club. Omni (‘entre. (ireenside. 07788 474 414.
10pm -3am. £1 before 1 1.30am; £3 after (£2 with membership card or discount
pass). Weekly. New cheeze feast with a mix of 70s. 80s. 90s and the best from today in the company of DJs Polysuper Pete. Ali and guests.
Vibe Ego. Picardy Place. 478 7434.
l lpm~3am. £3 (£2 members). Weekly. James Longworth provides the sounds upstairs at this charty party while Nathan Scantlebury plays an R&B mix downstairs. The best of the Vibe acts including Beverley Rainford and the Vibe Dancers. Tai Chi
LGBT Centre for Health and Wellbeing, 9 Howe Street. 523 l 100. 7.30pm. A recommended donation will be requested for each class. Weekly. Booking is essential to join in this ten-week programme for lesbian. bisexual and transgender women.
001' at the Stand, 5 York Place Tue 1 1 May. The Tina (‘ Special is featured on this nite of superb camp comedy (See Glasgow Wed.)
THE COMPANY Robert Altman’s cinematic splendours (from MASH to Gosford Park) have established him as a unique talent. Gay culture vultures already revere Altman for championing the movie career of jazz diva Annie Ross. This refreshingly intimoate insight into the world of ballet dancing features actual members of Chicago’s renowned Joffray Company, securing an authenticity to the dance sequences and the gripping backstage plots.
THE SADDEST MUSIC 1N THE WORLD The Great Depression forms the backdrop for director Guy Maddin’s musical and melodramatic comedy. Filmed in the style of the silent film, it centres on a luckless Broadway impresario and his contest for the saddest music ever. It stars a legless Isabella Rosselini and delivers Maddin’s visual delirium and way off-beat humour.
PERFORMANCE Considered by many to be the ultimate cult film, Performance secured both infamy and stylistic kudos when it was unleashed in 1970. An innovative directional collaboration between Nicholas Roeg and Donald Cammell, it twins the seedy and glamorous world of London rock and the underworld. Starring James Fox as an especially vicious enforcer. Gay fans loved the lengthy shots of co- star Mick Jagger’s rear end. An under-rated masterpiece. See film (p24) for screening info.
29 Apr—13 May 200.) THE LIST 79