At the risk of turning this into a minor travel piece with a step towards highlighting the best gay-friendly places to strut along the seafront in your aussieBums (for example: Mykonos? Yes. Yakutsk? Not so much); but a recent trip to the Isle of Wight made dented my own strut, somewhat.
I’ll set the scene. You’ve seen the picture – all very sleepy and pleasingly nautical-looking (one of the boats in the bay was called Seaduction – how is that not amazing?) Now, don’t get me wrong: I am not about to launch into a 300-word tirade about unfriendly bed and breakfast owners or anything like that (and, sadly, such situations might be forgiven for being quite ‘on-trend’), but I was disappointed to hear quite pointedly homophobic comments as we tripped around the island. These were mainly about how we were dressed – OH MY GOD, A CARDIGAN! I know. Set sail, the island’s done for – the devil truly courses through me.
I mean, fair enough, if you make out in front of a one-legged, salty-looking sailor, then he probably has grounds to tut. Or direct a jaunty heckle your way. Fine. But put on some nice clothes and dare to step out as a two-legged, windswept-looking sailor-wannabe? Go fish.
It appears I’m not the only one who has noticed, either. Emma Thompson has recently provoked backlash on the island during an appearance on US show, The Late Late Show. When the host, Craig Ferguson, described a US island as “kind of like the Isle of Wight”, Thompson replied: “Oh, so they stone homosexuals there? Nice”.
She didn’t stop there: “I think they are still allowed to flog them, which of course some of them enjoy.”
In retaliation, Isle of Wight Council leader, David Pugh, commented: “It’s a great shame that someone with her profile should make such ridiculous claims. Presumably Emma Thompson made these comments to get some laughs on the chat show.”
She certainly received some laughs – uncomfortable or otherwise. However, on the island I certainly didn’t feel comfortable at times, though I greatly enjoyed my little holiday nonetheless.
But ridiculous? Well, to some extent. The spirit behind the comments shouldn’t be dismissed. And, besides, if Nanny McPhee expresses her dissatisfaction, then you straighten up and fly right.
Or, ‘fly Wight’? Hmm. Maybe I’ll wait a while.