Camping out with Priscilla!


Last week, in the midst of a maelstrom of personal stress about my own physical health, arrived my birthday. I think many of us feel strangely inadequate if we do not experience joy on that day of the year when the terminus of our mortality seems a little nearer. Thus, I tried to mask my tears beneath grateful smiles. The following day, however, promised a release from pressure and a visit to the theatre.
My Mother kindly surprised me by buying tickets to watch a stage production of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. I have seen and enjoyed the film version on numerous occasions, reveling in its mixture of crude humour and unabashed campness. The prospect of seeing the musical theatre version seemed to offer a level of unrepentant escapism, I have rarely experienced in the last few years. Thus, I thankfully accepted my Mother’s invitation and boarded a train traveling to Glasgow.
Glasgow is a city of polarity. Beggars and bakers stand back to back on streets crammed with pleasure and pain. I would like to shout out for Glaswegians and their friendly acceptance of difference and verbal barbarism. In a world that seems to become increasingly smaller and homogenous, shows of individuality are to be applauded as acts of bravery against the will of the mainstream. Because of this, I enjoyed being in Glasgow and the spirit of a stage show, which embraced difference, not because it is different but, rather, is shared by all.
I smiled within at the groups of older women in the audience whooping and hollering at the gay male characters on stage, reminded of their counterparts in the 1970’s, who fawned over gloriously camp celebrities, like Liberace. Portrayals of effeminacy have always appealed to aspects of the female psyche. The portrayal of flamboyant sexuality is secretly desirable to many of us. It would be interesting to know how many heterosexual women secretly yearn for the freedom of the camp man; to have or to be, that is the question!

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