50 Shades Of Gay With Rupert Everett [VIDEO]

Its cringeworthy title aside, Britain’s Channel 4 this week broadcast a fascinating look at gay life in the 70s and 80s in which host Rupert Everett tours demised gay bars and cruising sites, pondering whether things were more fun when gays were outsiders to mainstream British society. The Telegraph reviews:

Everett idiosyncratically explored the changes in gay life in the half-century since the decriminalisation of male homosexuality. “I can only imagine what my father would’ve thought as he took the 8.17 train from Witham into Liverpool Street and read the news that homosexuality had been legalised,” Everett pondered, in gloriously plummy tones. “Not knowing that across the country, I was sitting in my school shorts, plotting and preparing for a long career as a screaming queen.”

Much has been gained in the journey towards mainstream acceptance, yet has the rebellious, outsider spirit of gay culture been lost along the way? Our host thought so, as he spoke Polari slang and reminisced about cruising leather-clad men in alleys. He zipped around the country to meet LGBT people from all walks of life: “gangsta gay” rapper Jai’Rouge, actors from youth soap Hollyoaks (“It’s like porn!” Everett exclaimed delightedly) and Essex carpenter Steve, who cheerfully puts up with lots of “banter” on building sites.

You might want to watch the bootleg clip below right away before it vanishes from YouTube.

(Tipped by JMG reader Kent)

  • j.martindale

    Oh, for our misspent youths!

    I have a feeling that the young will still find a way to sow wild oats. I am perfectly happy with my gray adulthood.


      My youth was well spent…and spent…and spent…ah, what memories…

    • Ben in Oakland

      I wrote once that had I been in Spain as a young man, I STILL would have misspent my youth, but would have had a much better reason for it. Oh, those Andalusian men. Black hair, olive skin, green eyes.

  • Gustav2

    Just like a middle class Trump voter waxing nostalgic for a time that wasn’t as ‘fabulous’ for everyone else at the time.

    • Leo

      Coming from someone that derided gay parenting with a disingenuous apology following the backlash. I’ve always put Rupert in the disingenuous, blinded-permanently-by-self-loathing camp with Morrissey and D&G.

      Can’t speak for all gay millennials obviously, but as one, my impression is the majority are tired of the meathouse preening of the gay haunts and are perfectly fine with “assimilation” (whatever that means nowadays) and the ones that want to rebel are going to do it regardless.

      Finding a balance between the bars and the apps, each of which have their downside, is an ongoing conversation.

      Anyways I’m going to watch this, mind you, but with the same weary cringing as I did with my second viewing of Boys in the Band. In the meantime, Rupert, as far as the younger generations are concerned, you’re crowing to an empty theater.

      • Gustav2

        And we all know every straight marriage started with cocaine and hookers giving blow jobs under the table. LOL He paints with a very jaundiced broad brush.

      • Roy Biv

        I’m a millennial.

        I still like having gay-specific clubs, bars, restaurants, and yeah, even the occasional bathhouse because I know, at the very least, the men there are gay whereas mainstream spaces could still hold homophobia and to be quite honest, gets a little bro-ey.

        Now, it’s great that one can be gay walking nearly-everywhere in the cities being gay but I get seriously sad when I see old time gay bars/clubs close, especially recently.

  • blackstar

    Never was the same once the Drag Queens took over the Leather Bars “tongue in cheek”

  • Joe in PA

    No thanks Rupert.

  • Joe in PA

    Isn’t he the one whining about not being able to get work? Ahhhh, the good old days.

  • j.martindale
    • Natty Enquirer

      Depression, too. They often walk hand-in-hand.

    • Mrs. Councillor Nugent

      One of the things I admire most about Maupin’s Tales is that they were written as a series of newspaper columns prior to publication of the first volume in 1978. The books may not represent everyone at the time, but their contemporary nature makes them invaluable compared to someone’s inevitably faulty recollections.

  • Gigi

    Do we like Rupert again? I seem to remember him going off several on how he ruined his career by coming out when in reality, it was his piss poor attitude that was the problem.

    • kcken

      He’s still got a piss-poor attitude.

  • billbear1961

    Ah, for the good old days when we were routinely and ruthlessly lied about and treated like garbage but could have naughty fun in the shadows!


    Well, if the Trumpists and the vicious SCUM they’ll put on the courts have their way, we may see a return to those days in the States, Rupert.

    Not something YOU have to worry about, is it, Mr. Privilege?

    • Gustav2

      but…but…but anonymous sex was so much better when I wasn’t rejected because I was young cute thing and it didn’t use an anonymous sex app to reject me as an old fart.

    • BobSF_94117

      Uh… I know plenty of people who lament the change in community in the last few decades. They aren’t privileged.

  • Gigi

    I’d forgotten how pretty Rupert was back in the day. Here he looks like my ex. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/94ee34f3d63a435aa59880ef842180accca0b165551f067d550a5c70d0933b67.jpg

    • ohbear1957

      His jaw line could cut a bitch.

      • Gigi

        As could his acerbic tongue.

    • Elsewhere1010

      And now he isn’t, which explains quite a bit. It’s a bit like he looks in the mirror and realizes he wouldn’t sleep with himself because he’s not pretty enough.

      • Dazzer

        Everett has never gone for ‘pretty’. His partners have always been at the rough-trade end of the spectrum.

        • Elsewhere1010

          Hmm,that’s what I meant to say — he knows he’s no longer pretty enough to attract rough trade, mild trade, Trader Joe’s, none of ’em.

          • Dazzer

            Ummmm….. nope.

            He did a show a couple of years ago about Lord Byron and, emulating his hero, he swam naked across the Bosphorus. The man has an absolutely banging body.

            I doubt he has any problems getting laid.

          • Elsewhere1010

            I was thinking more about how he sees himself.

    • Dean

      I like him better now. He doesn’t look so polished. Mature men are so hot. So glad to be one of them.

    • JCF

      Is this what they call “squiring”? What a Sassy Gay Friend did for the Ladies Who Lunch in the day (or maybe still)?

  • billbear1961

    O/T: I understand the tyrant usurper made an ass of himself in a press conference in Poland.

    Appears they didn’t take it easy on him!


    • kelven

      I watched the clip of the woman asking him about Russia. So cringe worthy. Even an amateur psychologist would see he is a transparent liar with constant tells. The fact that he can’t even speak in complete sentences in a simple organized fashion underscores how far out of his depth he is for the position he is in. I can’t wait to see him on the witness stand being grilled by professionals who will once and for all expose him for the venal, vulgar, petty, vicious buffoon that he is.

    • kelven

      OT – have you seen Zootopia Mr. Billbear? The polar bears are awesome!

    • Acronym Jim

      So much cheering jeering.

  • kcken

    Says he doesn’t believe in gay marriage.




    • billbear1961

      Well, that takes care of the jackass for me!


      If HE doesn’t want to marry, fine; but he doesn’t believe others should have the RIGHT to marry?

      Fuck the callous shit!

      • Câl

        Actually, far be it for me to defend him, but having watched the whole show, he seems to think that marriage is OK that for all that want it but sees it as an outdated and unnecessary institution, for straight people as well (or even particularly for straight people where he has said before that marriage a product of patriarchy). This comes across as being anti-gay marriage but is more nuanced than that. He likes to see himself as edgy and provocative but in the soundbite world can come across as a prat. There are generation of feminist thinkers from the 70s and 80s in the UK and Oz (at least) who see marriage in this way.

        • Gustav2

          That is as old fashioned as fundies asking a gay couple, “Which one of you is the woman, you know, cooks, cleans, does the dishes?”

        • Ben in Oakland

          Edgy as a beach ball, and as provocative.

          • Dazzer

            Nope. You should read some of his books. He’s an incredibly witty man who’s spent most of his life sailing close to the wind.

          • prixator

            Did he write a book called something like “Are You Working?”?

        • Roy Biv

          It makes sense. I’m American and I was exposed to these ideas and I lean towards them.

          WHY should gay men participate in a dying tradition that typically ends in divorce, and quite frankly has no reason for gay men to participate it in the first place? Besides being rammed down our throats by Hollywood and a culture that says there’s a “one for everyone.”

      • Shy Guy

        In the programme he says he sees gay marriage as a wonderful social achievement, but that he’s personally never liked marriage (gay or otherwise). He doesn’t object to others marrying.

      • JD

        Actually, he said he sees gay marriage as a milestone, but that he is not interested in it (for himself). my partner and I have been together over two decades, raised a child, now grandparents…we do not need to marry. In some countries, it is wholly tied up with enshrined laws and marriage is the route to equity and fairness. Not so in Canada. If we married, it would be simply because I want to proclaim my love loud and proud…but the invitees already know that…so…

  • j.martindale

    Rebels aren’t nearly as convincing at 50 as they were at 18. Get over it, Rupert.

  • Mrs. Councillor Nugent

    If you were out, urban, and inner circle, it could work pretty well. If not, then not so much.

  • joe ho

    If your sexual orientation is your only way to be edgy and out of the main stream, then you’re not really very edgy and out of the main stream to begin with.

  • joe ho

    And he probably is wistful about the days of slavery.

    I mean when else can people have that very special experience of total legally mandated submission to another person. Something ineffable was lost when the slaves were freed.

  • Michael McReavy

    I didn’t know who Rupert Everett was. Really I still don’t much about him. To me, just another actor that I can’t place. Not carrying any baggage about him, I quite enjoyed watching this programme. Non-controversial premise: Society changes and some things are lost while much has been gained.

  • unsavedheathen

    One of the most handsome men ever to grace the silver screen who destroyed his appearance through vanity and bad plastic surgery. Sad.

  • BobSF_94117



  • Dean

    I remember going past the Coleherne in a taxi with my mother when I was about 10 or 11. All the men were stood outside and I asked her what the place was. She said: “it’s a place where they do terrible things to each other. Don’t you go in the Brompton Cemetery either. It’s the same in there.” Said cemetery is a few minutes walk from where the Coleherne was. Now, when she’s visiting me here in Schöneberg and we’re passing a gay bar, I’ll still joke about it with her and say “Look mum, that’s one of those places where the men do terrible things to each other.” She still laughs.

  • thom

    It’s easy to eroticise shame. Lots of us do it. But I will trade secret hookups, faked marriages, threats of jail time and widespread hatred for the openly celebrated marriage I have with my husband. For the children and family we intend to have and for the acceptance from my (larger) human family.

  • Ben in Oakland

    Things were so much better when the olive could harass you with impunity, politicians could blame you for the fall of western civilization, and priests could scream about your morals while they fiddled the altar boys.

    • CanuckDon

      Are we talking about the past or the present?

      • Ben in Oakland

        Both of course. You got my point.

  • The New Paige Turner™

    Just for fun – Rupert was on “Graham Norton” and told this funny story about Princess Margaret (The Queen’s sister) and his night on the town with her.


  • Dazzer

    I’ve always liked Rupert Everett.

    He’s an eccentric and he doesn’t try to fit in. He’s like Boy George and George Michael in that respect. He wears his flaws with pride. He doesn’t apologise for who and what he is.

    In that respect, there’s a major cultural disconnect between the US and the UK.

    I’m not saying that one is better than the other. But there are miles between the attitudes of the different countries. In the US, the argument that seems to have won is: “I’m the same as you”. In the UK it’s “So?”.

    In the US, people seem to look at him as a bitter queer who never managed to crack Hollywood. In the UK, Everett is a stately homo who’s made his millions as an independent producer of films and stage actor par excellence. When he’s older, he’s going to be giving his Macbeth and King Lear to rave reviews. He’ll probably end up with a knighthood.

    I understand and see from the comments that Everett is a deeply polarising figure. But as much as he’s despised in the US, he’s deeply loved by many in the UK.

    • Ross

      I, too, have always liked Rupert.

      In his youth he was a “rent boy” and I admired that he was always open about it.

      He was brilliant in My Best Friend’s Wedding. An ideal Husband, too. And a little-known film, B. Monkey. And so many others.

      He does not look like he did when he was twenty. And neither do I. But I find him very attractive still.

  • pj

    id like to have his next program be about how a former pretty boy handles being a middle age gay man in london.

    • Dazzer

      He did a show similar to that a couple of years ago.

      But Everett has never thought of himself as a “pretty boy”. He’s always approached his own appearance as a commodity. He was selling himself as a rent boy from the age of 15.

      When he gets plastic surgery – which he’s very open about – he does it for a role rather than for vanity.

      He’s not an obviously nice man – but he’s very honest.

      • BobSF_94117

        Plastic surgery for a role? With those cheekbones? Fool.

        • Dazzer

          It was for Blythe Spirit on Broadway with Angela Lansbury.

          He got the surgery because the women playing his wives were infinitely better preserved and he wanted to look viable on stage as a husband.

          From all accounts, the surgery was constantly painful and he was a nightmare to work with. It’s noticeable that when the show transferred to the West End, Dame Angela didn’t come with it.

          • BobSF_94117

            Body modification for acting seems so wrong. Where’s the illusion?

            I’ve always found him to be one of the most beautiful/handsome men, at any age.

  • JWC

    very Good

  • JWC

    It’s , i suppose in some ways vengeful , for us who were not “pretty bois” to see these “classics” be consummed by middle age. Pot bellies, baldess and a variety of the plagues of growing older. As the “common run’ we learned a valuable lesson back then , as we were not on the pedestal of youth and beauty we learned acceptance We had no where to fall , They fell to our level. Over time I have briefly reconnected with some of these classics and I always sense a degree of bitterness on their part Not so much that they have to consort with us but they lost what once was That veil of beauty which they took way to seriously faded and they were left shattered and broken , never realizing that beneth it all ,they and we , are only humans. All we could say was welcome

  • KevInPDX

    I don’t know much about the dude except from the sound bite world were he has not been presented very well. He did a 2 parter or long episode BBC gig aired on PBS (5 years ago?) playing Sherlock Holms and knocked it outa the park.
    Boy he was pretty as a lad for sure, wow! Then he went and got old(er) like I did lol

  • countervail

    Sorry, I can’t watch anything with him in it. He has such a perverse and twisted sense of reality I’d rather spend my time and money elsewhere.

  • Mike Solo

    We watched it here in Scotland, and it was good, but not great.