Me and Tom Daly - and why we should ALL stand together
I thought it was about time I put pen to paper again - the whole point of running a blog, I guess, is that one pens slightly more thoughtful pieces as opposed to the “speaking in hashtags” responsiveness that Twitter and Facebook tend to garner.
I remember once that my lovely chum Patrick and I had had been speaking about the pros and cons of linking Twitter to Facebook - in terms of every one of your tweets being posted simultaneously to your Facebook timeline.
The conclusion was that this gets confusing for Facebook friends who don’t tweet, as the 140 character limit means that an endless stream of status updates on Facebook gets irritating and annoying, pretty bloody damn quickly. Patrick, as always, summarised this most eloquently by saying that he felt that a Tweet and a Facebook status update have different “weights” - which is the exact word he used and, I see no reason to disagree with that.
They do. Whilst one can have a differing of opinion on the weight of a Tweet or a a Facebook status update, the physical limit of characters available means that less, can sometimes equal more. And vice verse - depends on your audience I guess. I feel it’s about directness.
Extrapolating this further, I feel that the whole point of having a blog is that one can expound further, and be even more self indulgent about things that matter to you.
As I once paraphrased, “Twitter: where you’re honest to strangers. Facebook: where you lie to your ‘friends’…..”. Facebook always feels slightly more Erving Goffman.
The familiarity of one’s audience can be both liberating and constraining, regardless of the subject matter. I tweet to 1,400 (according to today’s stats) people; a minority of which I know in person, the majority of which I will never meet, and to a certain sector, people to whom virtual friendship has become a tangible, real quantity.
I interact with anyone who chooses to respond to @IainMarley - I follow back people whose biographies are, how can I put it, questionable…. Nadine Dorries is a classic example. As is Westboro Baptist Church, who seem to have blocked me…. I can’t think why….
In Twitter terms, yes, we’ve had a “Tweetup” - and absolutely wonderful each one has been. Delightful to know that the personality that is expressed through 140 character updates translates, unfailingly, in to a real world reflection of the person in question.
Twitter relationships seem to be about subject matter - backstory of interpersonal relationship is completely secondary - there’s an almost cavalier “take it or leave it” attitude on Twitter, which is both refreshing and sometimes, frustrating.
This, however, is a blog piece - “long form thought” - which will, of course, be publicised over both social media platforms.
So, Tom Daly? What do we make of that then? More importantly, what did the world think of that?
I wish him every happiness in the world. Absolutely every single happiness. BUT, and shame on the so called “Pink press”, he didn’t “come out” - he simply said he was in a relationship with another man. End of.
I have been in that awful situation when suddenly, what was a quiet, closeted, same sex “relationship”, occasional weekend fuckfests, with nice meals and genuine affection that go beyond it being “just sex” and then, when the other person in question responds to your question “I’d love you to meet my friends”, with the words, “Who am I?”, and you foolishly response with “you could be my friend……” - because you can’t bear to be honest about who you are and are attempting to engage the other person in sharing your own lie about who you are.
Why should they? They’ve broken the barrier already.
What has been interesting and appalling are the responses to Tom declaring that he is currently in a same sex relationship.
Mostly my jaw has hit the floor at some of the sniping, from the so-called “gay community”.
From some bitter old queens raising their eyebrows with the “like THAT’s a surprise” to the equally as irritating “why is this news?” line.
I’ll tell you why it’s news, fuckwits. Whilst we can all agree that it shouldn’t be, it is.
Fact: Most same-sex couples I know think twice before holding hands in public outside of a few “safe” areas. I do, even when I’m tipsy with Grahame in Manchester - I’m conscious of where I am. It’s ok walking along Canal Street - it’s NOT ok walking up Ashton Old Road after we’ve been to the off license. Funnily enough, nobody seems to give a shit in Frankfurt.
Fact: Our school playgrounds, and the Radio 1 breakfast show when Moyles was being “down with the kids” on his breakfast show - still abound with casual homophobic insults.
"Oh, you’re so gay!" - if you’re a parent, with children who use this, for god”s sake, intervene, take ownership, stop them! It’s NOT acceptable. You’re facilitating association with "Gay" with being "a bit rubbish". Because winning Olympic medals and being successful are so rubbish….
Fact: LGBT teenagers are still more likely to suffer from mental distress or suicidal thoughts. That’s not acceptable. To a teenager, maybe, just maybe, they have sat alone and realised that, it’s not just you.
Fact: LGBT people are still abused, beaten up and even killed in modern Britain. You only have to look at some of the appalling tweets Tom Daly has received since posting the video that show how much further there is to go.
Tom Daly has taken steps, admittedly tiny, small steps, in making same sex relationships a little more normalised - it’s a very long, very slow, very tedious road to true equality but my goodness, here’s an impact - but let’s not make him a totem, because I’m sure that’s the last thing he would want - though the cynical side of me, with his follow up tweet about the imminent availability of his new “Calendar” brought upon me a feeling of the “Ben Cohens…..” - let’s leave that there. It matters little.
As Gary Lineker tweeted; maybe closeted footballers will even take heart from Tom’s example and finally, we can start slaughtering that taboo as well. Gays on a football pitch? Yeah, whatever.
I don’t care who Tom Daly’s shagging - male or female. Not bothered. None of my business. As long as he’s happy that’s all that matters. And him being happy should matter to everyone, because that’s just kind of a nice universal thing. Share the joy. Let’s not get wrapped up in boxes and compartmentalisation.
It’s called love. It is universal. Free. it should be celebrated. And to declare a love that isn’t whole heartedly approved by sponsors or Daily Mail island, takes courage.
The sniffy gays who are giving it the attitude of the “came out after me” variety, they have short memories. Not in my name.
I’m Iain Marley. I like Tom Daly - I’m not an avid watcher of television or of waving flags to “Rule Britannia”. I don’t engage with Hello magazine, reality television, confessional anything. I’m really happy that he’s a happy lad. Because from what I know - and as my mother would always say, “he always comes over really well in interviews”. And he does.
Because we all deserve to be happy. Each and everyone of us.