Meeting 2- Tales of the City

Just back from the second proud pages meeting, and I would never have guessed that Tales of the City would have split the group in the way it did.  Before I get to the Photo 27-04-2017, 18 51 09discussion, I must thank Paul Mitchell for making use of the chalkboard and drawing a scene of (SPOILERS) DeDe at the fat camp thinking of the boy who delivered her bananas who might be the father of her unborn child.

 

Its fair to say people had strong opinions of this book.  At the end we all gave the book a score out of 10, and while the average score was 5.5, this middling score doesn’t represent the range from 2s to 9s.  The positives included the way the book represented the family we choose rather than the family we are born into, and the witty lines such as “the room was so still that Michael could hear the hair growing on Brian’s Chest.”  The book was originally written as serialised stories in the San Francisco Chronicle.  Some felt that this contributed to the book feeling quite ‘bitty’ with a little character or plot development.  Having said that some people likes the episodic style.  Negative comments included “I didn’t get it”, “it’s insipid”, “It left no lasting impression”, “I’m looking forward to forgetting it”.  A few people commented on how dated it felt, and how poorly treated issues of paedophilia and ethnic definition were treated.

Photo 27-04-2017, 18 26 33Paul A, gave us an insight into living in San Francisco at the time, with people chattering on the sidecars wanting to know the details of the latest instalment.    While I agree with many of the criticisms raised tonight, I personally love the book because it can quickly describe a scene and whisk me away to Barberry Lane.

Life would be boring if we all had the same opinions, and it was a great friendly group.  I hope everyone enjoyed tonight as much as I did, even if they didn’t enjoy the book.

Reflections on the first meeting

41ykxoixiul-_sx331_bo1204203200_Last week eight of us got together for the first Proud Pages meeting at the Tyneside Cinema. We met up in the headspace room where Paul Mitchell had made use of the chalkboard wall to draw a scene from the book.
This months book was Coming Out by Jeffery Weeks and it’s fair to say there were mixed opinions. Some would have liked more on topics such as; the lesbian mothers who had their children taken away, the trial of Oscar Wilde, working class voices and LGBT histories of the 80s and 90s. Other areas were particularly singled out for praise including LGBT and the political left, the changing attitude to LGBT issues in Russia, and the surprising role of the church in supporting political reform in the 1950s. Using the book as a starting point the discussion drifted off in to a few relevant tangents such as the issues of class and what it is to be a ‘good gay’ in the eyes of society.

The time flew by and before we knew it we were finishing off with everyone giving the book a score out of ten. Scores ranged from 5 to 8 with an average score of 6.75. A few people felt that the evening’s discussion had helped them appreciate the book more and, I think, a good time was had by all. Did I mention there was tea and biscuits?