Toronto
3 min

Stars & Stipes

Freddie Mercury is obvious Pride listening

Credit: Xtra files

Okay, I’m going to confess that, unlike every other music columnist, I do not have a romantic “sitting-in-my-bathtub coming-down” vignette about the first time I heard Patti Smith’s Horses album.



She’s a more-than-worthy icon and brilliant poet; I’d gnaw off my own arm to meet her. But I’ve come to realize my one true stalker-like love is reserved for the fey and frail southern boy who graced the corner of Yonge and Dundas last month to throw fruit out at the audience of cotton-clad college types in celebration of his queerness.



Michael Stipe of REM bolted on stage during a rainstorm in a bright yellow hat to sing his newest single “Imitation Of Life” from the album Reveal.



Into the first verse, I was certain in that moment I was no longer a dyke. Nor was I straight nor bi nor pan nor poly nor “above labels” or whatever the kids are calling it these days. I swore to be soley Stipe-oriented for the rest of my days. (Okay, until I saw a PJ Harvey lookalike at the XXX Diner three hours later, but that’s another story.)



Stipe has officially (as in Time magazine officially, not like the obviously-yet-silently gay N ‘Sync boy) came out as having been in a relationship with a man for the past three years. No one seemed to care much, especially the “Man On The Moon” mouthing crowd outside the Eaton Centre at said concert.



Stipe stated that people were taking his silence on the subject to be a lack of courage rather than a desire for privacy. C’mon, we shiny happy people are always desperate for poster children, are we not? We need more cocksucking rock stars!



In the spirit of being proud as punch to be the sexual freaks that we are, I’ll list off my favourite deviant rock icons for you so that you can have a good selection in your CD player during Pride weekend.



Every Pride needs a soundtrack, after all. (Remember that time I woke up on a rooftop wearing nothing but rainbow glitter sparkle? “Jesus Built My Hot Rod” was playing in a passing car. Oh, the memories!)



• Pansy Division. Dirty punk boys talking about their morning hard-ons. What’s not to love? When I saw the San Fran queercore boys at Lee’s Palace some years ago with the sadly now-defunct lesbo-lookers Claudia’s Cage, I was certain I’d never seen anything as blissful as a mosh pit full of fairies singing “breaking the law, the sodomy law.” Favourites include “Hockey Hair,” a song about Canada, yo.



• Fifth Column. Another confession: Rough Trade was before my time, but I do remember when I first I heard “All Women Are Bitches: Repeat,” back in my bi-curious days of trading mixed-tapes through the mail with my American riot-grrrl. Pioneers! I still covet my “Donna” 7-inch. Nobody over 30 will now date me, but it had to be said.



• Vaginal Creme Davis. She’s a black bisexual drag queen from NYC who ate whip creme and strawberries from between the toes of three frat-boy look-alikes at Vazaleen some months ago. She made T-shirts that say: I’ve had 34 abortions. She’d be the grand marshal of my Shame Day parade, that’s for sure.



• The Bronski Beat: Okay again, maybe I was seven when the super-gay “Small Town Boy” and “Why?” made their way to pop radio. But keep in mind that I came out in Montreal, where Men Without Hats’ “The Safety Dance” is still the crowd pleaser of the night in most village bars.



• Freddie Mercury. So maybe he’s obvious. His band was called Queen, for God’s sake. Let’s congratulate him for bringing the buttless chaps to the honkey tonk boys in my shop class.



• Leslie Mah from Tribe 8: She wins my femme in rock icon award. She can trash around with long hair and heels and, well… just listen to the track “Femme Bitch Top.” It’s true genius.



But still, my most refined love goes to Michael.



Just listen to the song “At My Most Beautiful,” from the album, Up, when he sings earnestly, “I count your eyelashes secretly/with every one whisper I love you.”



Oh, swoon.