Sunday, 8 December 2013

Au Revoir

Hi there. Yes, it's me - long time no see.

I can't believe it's been more than six months since I last wrote anything on here. Six months of wedded bliss to be sure: everything is wonderful.

But there's the rub Gentle Reader. What's a cheerful fairy to do? After all the business of officially coming out, exploring my sexuality, dating, finding my Fella and having our civil partnership... well, what's it all about? I mean, really? When you get right down to it?

I have a lot to continue talking about. However, I've not really felt that this is the place to keep doing it. Mike's Blog had a very real purpose and I don't think, when all is said and done I should rejig this blog and turn it into something else.

On the other hand I still want to blog.

So what's the solution?

Well, it's time to draw a line under this part of my life and take the opportunity to officially call time on this part of my journey. It is a bit sad, but I think a long time coming.

The good news is I ain't done yet. This is not goodbye, just au revoir. I (and we) have a lot going on so I am going to keep publicly dumping my random thoughts on the interweb. If you feel you might possibly be interested then please visit and follow my new blog 'A Cheerful Fairy'

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Mr and Mr

Much Joy, Gentle Reader, Much Joy! The Cheerful Fairy is a Married* Man. And, conveniently, so is his Fella!

A surprising amount of things went wrong on the day! The suits were wrong; some guests dropped out literally at the last minute; I managed to briefly lock us out of the venue; the registrar came down with glandular fever; oh my!!

Nevertheless we managed to pull off an amazing day. I spent a significant amount of the ceremony reminding myself of the importance of breathing but I managed to get both of our names right and say my vows and the wording Fella had written for our exchange of rings without stabbing myself in the ear or setting fire to anything - this counts as a win.

Friends of ours made the cake, made the rings, and were the ushers; they all managed to do their jobs perfectly and I could not be happier with how perfect the rings are. The venue was perfect, as was the wedding breakfast, and the reception. I think everyone had a great time which was very important to both of us.

Well, it is done then. My Fella is all mine now, woo hoo! All we need now is a mortgage and a puppy and we'll just about have the full set.

My next post will be the Cheerful Fairy's guide to civil partnerships. In the meantime here's some pics of the venue before the main event!

(I'll put all the wedding pics in an album and post a link soon)

Monday, 13 May 2013


So, the time is upon us Gentle Reader. In 48 hours your Cheerful Fairy will be a married Fairy! Fella and I will be hitched at 14:30 BST on Wednesday, and as Hogzilla transitions almost seamlessly into Groomzilla there is no more than I can do that is in my hands. All the preparation and planning and here we are.

I tell you what – it’s true what they say; this is one of the most stressful things you can do. I can’t imagine why, when all my future happiness depends on is the smooth running of local government, families playing nice together, and the ability of people to follow basic instructions…

Mind you, given we’ve picked a mid-week wedding day and a venue in the arsehole end of Strumpetville we’re looking at a pretty good turnout (even if about 10% of out invitees have passed away, Agatha Christie eat your heart out).

The Cheerful Fairy’s handy guide to a civil partnership will be gracing this blog very soon. We’ve certainly had ups and downs getting here, but some real highlights have been finding an amazing venue, having great friends helping us out, and the gorgeous gorgeous wedding rings (again made by a friend).

Some of the things I’m pleased about are the theme, the wedding favours, and the creative side that organising this has revealed in me. I can’t go into detail – yet – as some guests are also readers but when it’s all happening I’ll definitely be posting links, photos and details!!

Who’d have thunk it – frumpy old me getting wed to my gorgeous man? But at this stage I’m quite relaxed, very poor and thoroughly grateful.

So, here we are, less than two days to go. Just need to write my vows and speech now. Simples! I’ll let you know how it all goes.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Gosh darn it.

There comes a point in everyone’s life when for the good of themselves and probably those around them they need to acknowledge who they are. Yes, gentle reader, it is time to come out. I am, at least a little bit, a fan of Thatcher.

Not the Tories – Section 28 is engraved on the heart of every right thinking gay or lesbian person out there. Nor her overly black and white approach to things, from the monetarism that caused such massive unemployment to the breaking of the miners’ strike, both of which could have stood some more planning for the support the people these policies/actions left behind would need. I like privatisation, economic liberalism and empowering people to own their own homes. I dislike greed, selfishness, the over centralisation of power in central government’s hands, and selling off social housing without empowering local authorities to build more. It was, I think, right to go to war for the Falklands. And it was wrong to ignore apartheid.

Ultimately it may well be I dislike more of the Thatcher Government’s activities and legacy than I could ever list. But overall what I do like is reform. Some strong effective leadership that spent less time spouting bullshit and more time cutting through it.

What has caused the Cheerful Fairy to brandish his handbag? Frustration. Frustration as the apparent blindness , the almost wilful ignorance of our current Government and, worse, Parliament.

I truly believe we need more than ever a reformist government – or maybe just some common sense. For instance...

Why propose a ‘mansion tax’ when there is still up to a 50% discount on council [property] tax for second homes?

Why boast that people on minimum wage are paying less income tax. Surely they should pay none?!

Why ask the wealthy elderly to voluntarily give up their state benefits? Instead means-test them (especially when everyone gets a bus pass, whilst the bus service itself is cancelled to help reduce the budget deficit) or, even better, just phase them out and make the state pension a bit bigger.

Why tinker with a 45% or 50% top rate of tax when the richest (and to be clear it ain’t wrong to be rich) pay only a sixth as much national insurance (NI) as their lower paid brethren*? You could instead keep the 40% top rate; raise income tax thresholds so no-one on minimum wage pays any income tax; and have everyone pay, say, 9% NI on their earnings.

Why put on the po-faced performance on television about how little corporation tax corporations pay when you could simply change the tax regulations with the stroke of a pen?

Why not let local authorities set their own planning rules and business taxes, and compete for business – go to Manchester or Newcastle if you want to see how a little freedom can go a long way?

Why indeed.

I don’t seek to answer the questions; there are subtleties at play in all the queries I’ve posed that a post will simply never be able to cover, and I’m too dim to really understand. My point is the current lot aren’t up to the job. And that means to make it work we all have to get involved, fight for what we believe in, and if nothing else vote in the upcoming elections. And every election after that.  

Next time on 'Things I Don’t Know Enough About to Discuss: Scottish Independence (a tentative yes)'

*People pay 12% national insurance on wages up to £41,444 and 2% on earnings over that. This means a man or woman earning £1,000,000 a year, (paying 45% income tax and 2% NI) has a marginal tax rate of 47% and someone on minimum wage (paying 20% income tax and 12% NI) a marginal rate of 32%. My suggestion would change this to 49% and 9% respectively.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Four funerals and a wedding

Spring has certainly sprung here in Strumpetville. The sun is shining, the balcony is getting more verdant by the day and your Cheerful Fairy is very much feeling the benefit of the warmer days and lighter evenings.

Fella and I are due to be civil-partnered in a shade under three weeks. It's getting quite exciting/nerve wracking and it would seem weddings have some fractal properties - behind every activity is another, and another ad infinitum. I long, gentle reader, for the days when in exchange for money goods were received and services rendered. And having enough spare cash to engage in retail therapy! But soon, my pretty, soon...

Looking back on the near-four years we have been together it struck me how much of our time has been shaped by death. Perhaps an odd thought when we are preparing for the new beginning that married life represents; and at the height of spring as well.

I first met Fella's family as they returned home from the funeral of his grandfather. He met most of my family at the funeral of my grandfather. Then of course there was the tragic loss of Fella's mother to cancer just over a year ago. Most recently we travelled to Cardiff for the funeral of Fella's uncle.

All of this has taken a heavy toll on Fella and he sometimes finds it difficult to cope with grief. We will no doubt think a little of the people we have lost, the people who won't be there. I myself up to now have never really had to deal with death very much. Great grandparents faded away when I was a child, and I've been lucky there were no deaths, accidents or illness, amongst my peers. That is all. Therefore I don't know how to help Fella when he gets very depressed about his loss.

I think the point I'm trying to make is that when 15 May comes around there will be an touch of bitter-sweet about it. You can never really predict how people will react but more than one person has cautioned me to be on the look out for some bad behaviour. Warnings I haven't appreciated receiving; they to add a touch of nerves.

Really, birth and death will be part of our lives together and I'm sure one thing that can't hurt is focussing on the future and our lives together. Especially since Fella's sister in law is due to give birth to the first niece/nephew a few weeks after we get hitched :-)

Monday, 1 April 2013

Six weeks...

There are but six weeks to go until Fella and I have our civil partnership. The planning and preparation, I must admit, are taking a huge amount of time – most of our spare time now! I do not know how we would have managed to get as far as we have without everyone involved getting on with each other (florists, caterers etc) and having friends who are helping out with big things like the rings, the cake, etc.

Still, the logistics are still somewhat daunting. For example, we need to let the registrar know in writing two weeks before the ceremony if we want to dispense with the kiss at the end of the ceremony. And the holistic interconnectedness of all things: the colour of the flowers affects the colour of the suit; the music we choose affects the order of the ceremony. And then there is what we may not do: no religious symbols; we may not bring the cake to the venue until the day of the ceremony;  and so on.
One thing all the planning and organisation has revealed is some of the funny attitudes people have about things. I’ve touched on ‘reverse discrimination’ before but the things people expect about our wedding, and things around it, have been quite an eye opener. In some ways it raises the bar for us a little [OOOO, I’ve never been to a gay wedding before!!] but it seems, gentle reader, that some people half expect us to go down the aisle on unicorns and Liza Minnelli is our celebrant. Whilst this may be true, it has been surprising discovering some of the assumptions people carry about.

We have, much to Fella’s annoyance, been various asked about our hen do; bridesmaids; and maid of honour. Now I need hardly point out to you the obvious but it is startling how many people need remind that we are two men, and as such we have entirely dispensed with the bride in our arrangements. Yet the ability of people to add two and two and get wibble seems insurmountable. It has proven a little handy, in that one of our friends has only been allowed the day off work on the grounds that she is a chief bridesmaid. Not wishing to look a gift dissonance in the mouth we’ve made her an usher.

For me, I’m just keen for people to have as much fun as possible without getting consumed into making every last detail perfect (for that way madness lies, wibble). It will be the people that will make it enjoyable. That and six weeks of intense dieting.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Gay Marriage (my tuppence worth!)

It is 10 weeks today until our civil partnership, so we’re very much getting into the detail of planning. Quite a lot of things to do, of course, and plans to make. However, by and large the big details of the day are done.

The day itself is of course not our wedding day. Civil partnerships in the UK are specifically and legally separate but (almost, but not quite) equal.

However, there are plans afoot by the Government to bring in equal marriage – not gay marriage, which would be separate by fully equal – but instead extending existing marriage rights to gay couples.  A decision that Sir Humphrey Appleby might describe as ‘courageous’, nevertheless a few weeks ago the proposal passed the first stage of the legislative process in the House of Commons.

The legislation had a tough ride, and the debate was marred perhaps by some rather pompous and insensitive remarks. Among the usual  “what next? Siamese twins marrying narwhales?” brigade who are so far off the map (a) their minds cannot be changed and (b) they are Mostly Harmless in that most people recognise they are frankly barking, there were some rather more pernicious naysayers.

One argument ran that this change would force people like teachers to act against their conscience and compel them to treat gay relationships as equal when they don’t believe this is so.

Well, the previous Conservative government had no difficulty enacting charming legislation forbidding teachers discussing homosexuality in positive terms (section 28 which banned  the “teaching in any [state funded] school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”)

Another, frequently made, argument was that extending marriage to gay people devalues straight marriage and anyway we have civil partnerships and those are the same.

To me this is like saying Rosa Parks was wrong on 1 December 1955 to refuse to give up her bus seat to a white man, as she was required to by law. After all, she was still on the same bus and still heading the same place, at the same speed as white people and in almost, but not quite, the same comfort. Now, instead, all this civil-rights nonsense has devalued bus travel for white men!

It’s not a very good argument, and vanishingly few could rationally support it. But even if they did, the argument might be said to be missing the point.

And let us not forget that ‘gay marriage’ has been legalised in countries on every continent (if we include Nepal where the Supreme Court has ruled it must be enshrined in the new constitution). There does not appear to have been a collapse in morality and family life in any of those places. Nothing that has rocked them like the recent scandals to affect a certain Church currently searching for a new leader…

But I think it is the third, broad argument – one made of many strands - that demonstrates the blindness some people have when it comes to gay rights and tells us how LGBT people are still not quite seen as having the same validity as straight people. For all the arguments around religious freedom; the value of marriage; the future of children – how can anyone who values marriage as the bedrock of society or argues in favour of personal freedom be logically against everyone having the freedom to enjoy it?

The future of the legislation is uncertain but I think it is unlikely to be completely derailed. The politics around it will become increasingly toxic, I fear. The largest party split its vote 42% for and 46% against. If the Government’s own party can’t muster a majority either for or against its own policy… well, there may be trouble ahead.

But we shall persevere.