Pink Paper goes BUST!.. again

June 20, 2009

EXCLUSIVE: Flagship Gay Mafia Gutter Rag Sinks

GayMafiaWatch can exclusively reveal, after a troubled 20 year history the UK’s only national “gay newspaper” (The Pink Paper) has gone bust.

The last ever issue will be out in time for London Pride.

This is not the first time the publication has folded. It has struggled to stay afloat over the past ten years having eventually reverted to a fortnightly tabloid broadsheet. Despite claims by the paper’s owners Millivres Prowler Group that the company is suffering from a loss in advertising revenues like much of the media sector, GayMafiaWatch believes that is only part of the story. Last year the company dropped top shelf-gay mens mag AXM explaining it would continue to be available online. Only a few months later the company (which also owns Prowler storesused the Pink Paper to attack rival sex-shop firm Clone Zone (which owed them £100’s thousands in unpaid bills).

Last Thursday (18th June 2009) we called the Advertising desk at the Pink Paper to find out the next copy deadline – to which we were told would be 4th July. The following day a source at the distribution company that delivers the publication all over the country told us they had not received any orders to distribute the title outside of London for the next issue – confirming the news.

Farewell Pink Paper. You have served us well over the years, even if in the end you will be remembered as just another slain soldier in the ongoing pink pound war.

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Taking Libertas

February 11, 2009

York based Lesbian bookshop “Libertas” was once known as a beacon of light in a sea of isolation.

Sadly the day of the specialist bookstore has come and gone. Even the the big high-street chains have had several years of trouble seeing a string of mass mergers between the mainstream book and multimedia retailers, companies that have established links and distribution contracts with one of the main gay mafia “families” also in the same business.

Dillons was bought by HMV, Ottakers was taken over by Waterstones which became a subsidiary of HMV. The group proceeded to take over a number of stores from struggling rivals including Fopp and 8 Books etc stores from rival Borders UK. The market now consists of three key players – Virgin, WHSmith and HMV (HMV have been poised to take WHSmith over).

Despite being a relatively small, local operation based in a small shop in York,  it’s owners quick thinking and success in mastering the mail-order market had paid off. Only 4 years after it was founded the company became “Europe’s Number 1 Lesbian Bookstore”. Sadly the actual bookshop itself which also sold gifts, greetings cards and specialist Lesbian products and local merchandise operated at a loss but stayed open despite facing an uphill battle.

The founders of Libertas are now retired and approaching their 70’s. It’s obvious they cared a great deal about their romantic little lesbian bookshop and must have been heartbroken to be forced to close shop for the last time in 2004. The actual bookshop itself wasn’t just a shop, it was a meeting place for Lesbians and other Women from all over the country. Something that to this day is missing although that does continue to some extent through the York Lesbian Arts Festival that was founded by a group of Women who used to meet at the shop. Various other Women’s groups, reading clubs and small businesses also used the premises including the once independent “DykeLife” newsletter, a free community alternative to the mainstream women’s mags such as DIVA.

The famous Lesbian colonies that still exist throughout the small villages of Yorkshire such as Hebden Bridge weren’t the only people who saw Libertas as refreshing. As the country’s only Lesbian bookshop it also offered gay, bisexual and trans women a national alternative to the male dominated gay lifestyle stores like Clone Zone and Prowler.

When it was announced the shop may be forced to close various reports and letters appeared in the gay press from it’s supporters expressing their shock and dismay. This is a slightly different story than the one portrayed by the Millivres Prowler Group – owners of rival online book store “DIVA Direct”, DIVA magazine (as well as many other titles including GayTimes, AXM, the Pink Paper as well as owning their own chain of gay lifestyle shops and publishing houses) which claimed they were stepping in as the bookshop’s saviors and would keep it alive through the established Libertas online store.

As a result, Millivres Prowler completely took the operation over and moved operations to it’s London office. Two years later the group relaunched DykeLife as a glossy magazine and filled it with targeted advertising and placements for it’s own products, capitalising on the acquisition of the 7,000 strong subscriber base built on the bones of the grassroots alternative it once was.

Despite the claims by the Millivres Prowler Group that the spirit of the bookshop would continue through the continued existence of the Libertas online store at http://www.libertas.co.uk which now redirects to “DIVA Direct”. It’s final remnants exist as the “Libertas forum” – a message board for reviewing titles available through DIVA Direct.

Today it appears Libertas is well and truly dead, although spinning in her grave – May she rest in peace.

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend.  Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.
~Groucho Marx

“What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world an loses his own soul?”
~Robert Fulghum


DIVA editor attacks Peter Tatchell

January 29, 2009

Editor of Lesbian lifestyle magazine DIVA Jane Czyzselska (who has also written for the Horse and Hound!) with help from fellow pen pusher Ben Summerskill of “gay equality group” Stonewall have dedicated an entire page in the Guardian’s Comment is Free to launching a rather scathing and hollow attack on fellow trooper Peter Tatchell entitled “Take Pride in Gay Respectability”.

She has decided to compare the likes of money-mad Stonewall to the legendary American gay rights personality and the subject of a new Hollywood film – Harvey Milk.  She believes “if he were alive now he’d be rooting for more “smug marrieds” – meaning complacent gays and lesbians who sit on the fence when it comes to the rights.

In reality, if Harvey Milk were alive today he would notice how different the world is. He won’t be sitting smug in a swanky office on London’s Southbank. He’d be wondering why married doesn’t mean civil partnered and why police still spend vast resources on persecuting gay men who have sex in the woods. He’d be questioning why an organisation named Stonewall, has consistently alienated so many marginalised groups he spent his life (and eventually was killed fighting for both within the LGBT Community on it’s fringe such as sex workers.

Harvey Milk was heavily involved in the founding of many frontline, radicalised activist movements including the San Francisco Coalition on Prostitution, one of the first such “sex-workers unions” in the world. Yet it’s European cousin which still exists today was protesting in unison with angry transgender people outside the Stonewall Awards only last November in protest at the nomination of Julie Bindel (another controversial Guardian Comment is Free journalist).

He’d be asking why the annual turnover of the LGBT voluntary sector in Britain is just £10 million – with about 20% of that going into Stonewall’s wallet with the remaining estimated 1,500 other LGBT groups left to fight for the rest. This may sound like a lot of money the size of the pot available to LGBT community groups – the type of organisations pioneered by queer activists such as Harvey Milk in the 1960’s and 70’s equates to just 0.03% of the income of the entire charitable sector.

It’s also worth pointing out that Czyzelska’s employers Millivres Prowler Group are one of Stonewall’s biggest private sponsors. According to it’s chairman, Chris Graham Bell the company “has historic roots in gay and lesbian rights campaigning and has strong values and beliefs regarding the support of civil rights for our community.”Offering more proof of private business interfering with an apparently independent lobby group.

Even though Summerskill already has his own regular column in the same newspaper, in which he often makes similar attacks on Peter Tatchell and grassroots campaigning this week Stonewall’s highest paid member of staff was given another opportunity to dismiss the work of pretty much anyone who isn’t in the gay rights game for the money. As Jane Czyzelska’s article starts off it quickly descends into appearing to be a platform for Stonewall’s work and yet another outlet for Summerskill and his gay mafia friends to make false claims about the success of their work.

The picture Summerskill paints of his “radicalism” is a fraud. What he describes isn’t radicalism, it’s fraud. Note his nod to the “radicalism”of companies in the FTSE 100. Many of these big players in the stock-market along with a number of institutionally homophobic institutions recently did paid Stonewall in excess of £1,500 in exchange for a place in the group’s own prestigious “stock-market of inequality”.

Stonewall’s work with young people around homophobic bullying gets a regular cash boost from it’s annual “Equality Dinner” where wealthy members of the public make donations in return for spending an evening with celebrities at the Dorchester Hotel. What a shame this cash isn’t reaching the places that really need it.

In August 2008 Stonewall received criticism from the gay community in Liverpool after it failed to speak out after the homophobic murder of gay teenager Michael Causer. In October a planned recruitment day in Liverpool run by Stonewall for the youth volunteering project mentioned in Czyzelska’s article had to be canceled because hardly anyone had registered. The local gay youth group “GYRO” which recently launched it’s own homophobic bullying resources complained they weren’t even told about the event. Another questionable claim made in the article is that Stonewall has seen it’s “active” supporters double and them under 30 is higher than ever causing Czyzelska to blindly state “this is hardly a sign of apathy and complacency”. The truth is – lending one’s support to an organisation like the Stonewall of today is exactly that – apathy and a sign of being complacent. Czyzelska her self describes Stonewall of representing “apathetic conformity” at the start of her article.

Summerskill has a rather contorted view of what activism is. According to Summerskill activism is either “politicised” (the camp he places the likes of Peter Tatchell firmly in) or “smug” (much like himself) – but argues both are equally as radical.

He may well be right, but the terminology is wrong, and it’s designed to confuse people.

Most people will hear the word “political” in this way and instantly assume he’s talking about smiley politicians and out of touch political parties – boring, moaning, infighting and lacking in integrity. But in truth Stonewall itself and those who founded it (Labour Party activists) are no less political, and probably more so.

“Politics” is close to Stonewall’s heart. It courts with representatives of all parties inviting them to debate gay issues whilst leaving fringe activists standing out in the cold like it did at it’s recent Awards ceremony at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.

Tony Blair was the guest of honour at last year’s Stonewall Equality fund-raiser. Ben Summerskill himself used to be a Labour politician. His predecessor, Angela Mason now works for the Labour government as the Director of the Women and Equality Unit. It is Stonewall who are in the politicised camp that has a narrow agenda not set by the community they work for but political think tanks and business men with lots of opinions.

Most of the “radicals” he tries so hard to tarnish through his use of clever wording are grassroots campaigners who focus on thorny issues Stonewall itself finds hard to grasp (and it’s financial backers wouldn’t touch with a barge pole) such as transphobia, laws around sexual offenses and international human rights abuses (which Stonewall’s funders such as Barclays Bank and Lloyds TSB have been accused of providing finance to).

While Stonewall are leaving by the back door of Lloyds TSB with a nice fat suitcase of money, the real Human Rights activists are banging down the front door in anger at the bank’s decision to block money going to humanitarian charities based in Gaza. This year Stonewall decided to put Lloyds TSB at the very top of it’s “Diversity Champions” index.

No wonder Ben Summerskill just loves brandishing his knife at the real activists like Peter Tatchell who not only tackle domestic issues without asking for the world on the plate, but also around the world. OutRage! has stood up for the human rights of LGBT people in Palestine. Whilst Stonewall smug in to bed with the perpetrators of human rights abuses., happily taking the cash and doing whatever their master tells them – there’s a name for that.

Although she makes many valid points and even provides some balance in her padding of yet another out of touch Summerskill rant, as Czyzelska implies in the title and as the 80’s pop duo once Mel and Kim once sung, – “we ain’t never gonna be respectable”

– well Jane we don’t need your respect any more than Harvey Milk need buy your trashy magazine.


Elton John: Libel Queen

December 29, 2008

In a long overdue victory for free speech, Sir Elton John has been left fuming yet again after loosing his latest libel case against the Guardian newspaper.

This is a mighty blow to the ongoing efforts of one of Britain’s top gay mafia henchmen to seal the lips of all those who question his beloved charity, a battle in which has no doubt cost the “gratuitously offensive, nasty and snide” showman dearly. Journalist Marina Hyde claimed Elton’s AIDS Foundation does not “raise serious funds” and is merely an excuse for “self-promotion”. This is the third time the charity has come in for criticism in a national newspaper.

During the 1990’s, gay mafia charity “Stonewall” often flirted with Sir Elton, flying the entertainer and his entourage across the Atlantic from his L.A home. In November 1999, the organisers of it’s glamorous gala fundraiser at London’s Royal Albert Hall faced a legal challenge from the Scout Movement,  enraged by Elton’s use of erotic dancers as part of his performance for the sold-out event who (although aged over 18.) were dressed up as Cub-Scouts alongside Elton (who’s real name is Reginald Kenneth Dwight). Several right-wing gay-bashing homophobic family-rights groups got on their moral high-horses and claimed “Stonewall should be condemned for holding boys up as sex objects” causing similar claims to be published in The Sun and other tabloid newspapers. Stonewall itself had to make a full public apology whilst Elton stayed silent.

At the time Stonewall was lobbying to equalise the age of consent, and although it may seem like a long time ago now, it was still a very tough battle to fight. Public support was critical, lack of it contributed to several delays to the campaign along with the repeal of Section 28. Elton’s involvement probably didn’t help.

Since then Elton’s work with Stonewall has dwindled and his reputation for making brash personal attacks on other gay icons and celebrities with big gay followings such as Madonna and George Michael certainly no longer makes him a favorable act to headline at a glitzy money-making ball these days.  In fact Elton’s now got his own charity,  naughtily after himself.  Just as the name “Stonewall” itself has slowly begun to drown out, Elton’s charity along with a rather convenient plug for his entire career, the Elton John AIDS Foundation is a name you probably will have heard more and more over the past few years. Combined with the 61 year old’s tendency to mouth-off and throw a queeny-strop at the slightest snippet of criticism or unflattering photo taken of his baldy noggin, the charity itself has given him even more opportunities to indulge in his favorite pastime – suing some ass.

Those who believe in the existence of parallel universes will probably envisage Sir Elton pursing a career in Law. At least in this one he’s got all the right wigs for the part!

Who Elton’s thrown his dummy at:

Elton’s petty legal fights have now whisked the Rocket Man into cyberspace, and although he’s a self-confessed Luddite and technopbobe he’s known to indulge in a bit of silver surfing.

One of his more mean pursuits involved sending the Lawyers down to the webmistress of entertainment “gossip message board” – Countess Joulebine. He managed to secure a hearing by citing precedent set in similar case (Godfrey v. Demon Internet Limited 1999) which involved the former owners of the Pink Paper and Boyz Magazine David Bridle and Kelvin Sollis. The case involved material published by Chris Morris, a former Stonewall activist who had switched sides to grass routes gay rights group “OutRage!” headed by Peter Tatchell who was about to publish details of an apparently “fake” HIV charity “Positive Lives” (now defunct) on his website hosted by Demon Internet.

It appears Elton’s lawyers had in-depth knowledge about this particular case involving the owners of this other allegedly “dodgy HIV charity” which went to court only a year previously,  putting the Pink Paper’s main rival publication “OutCast” right out of business.

David Bridle still publishes Boyz Magazine, and having recently done away with it’s previous editor he is firmly back at the reigns. The Pink Paper was sold to rival publishers Millivres Prowler Group in 2004.

Any brave soul (like Chris Morris, Marina Hyde, Countess Joulebine and a long list of others) who dares question the apparent charitable operations of any gay mafia entities face being silenced by a wall of law suits, funded by gay mafia barons with rich friends and a long list of Lawyers, Publicists and Spin-Doctors armed with everything they need to cover up the most heinous of scandals.

Final Facts

  • In 2007 Sir Elton caused yet more fury after announcing he intends to Shut Down the Internet altogether claiming the web is “destroying music” and “stopping people going out”. Who knows what his real agenda is?
  • In an obvious blitz of damage limitation, less than two weeks after Elton went red in the face after loosing this latest battle with the Guardian, Harrow Council announced it was considering naming a street after him.  However it appears there is already a lovely little street right beside the Bus Station that is infact called “Elton Avenue”!
  • Like most secretive criminal societies, the “gay mafia” has friends in high places, but not all. Even within it’s own close-knit circles there is in-fighting and fierce rivalry, as well as family-like births, deaths, and civil partnerships! We’ll be going more in-depth on who’s who in our forthcoming features “Gay Mafia Families” and “The Gays After Tomorrow”.

Related Links

AfterElton.com


Youth Workers slam “Puffta”

May 3, 2008

As a result of last years GayMafiaWatch expose and a backlash to it’s badly-handled outreach into the community, Youth Workers from around the country have slammed Millivres Prowler’s “Puffta” website. Numerous professionals who run services and groups for LGBT young people have decided to remove links on their websites of the tabloid-style magazine aimed at young gay men which sells discounted poppers and explicit DVDs, advocates steroid use and promotes ‘the body beautiful’ stereotype which has been blamed as being the source of spiralling rates of poor mental wellbeing and high-risk behaviour.

Schools Out! The Lesbian and Gay Teachers group, known more recently for it’s launch of LGBT History Month and tackling homophobic bullying in schools has removed the link from it’s interactive Student Toolkit which was recently launched at a high profile event at the House of Commons. Posting in the National Youth Workers News Group, “Huw” – a youth worker in Peterborough and a member of Schools out said the link to Puffta was removed because it distracted from the good work being done by other, genuine, credible organisations. Positive Nation Magazine also featured Puffta last year and was faced with a barrage of letters from readers complaining about Puffta’s graphic imagery.

The lead youth worker at Gay and Lesbian Youth In Calderdale said “I only recently came upon Puffta because it was included in a link on Schools Out and had a look at it. I certainly would not put a link to it on any of the websites I am involved in (and have told Schools Out). There are many excellent websites for LGBT young people set up by LGBT youth groups around the country.”

Jean Wright who has set up a number of LGBT Youth projects across London over a period of 20 years and now works as a sexual health nurse in Lewisham also came across our article and had this to say “I am outraged at the style Puffta has chosen to imitate in it’s attempts to produce a resource aimed at young gay men”. “I have written to Millivres Prowler Group explaining the damage they are doing by targeting young gay men with these types of messages and the consequences individual face as a result”. “Marketing Puffta to an impressionable audience alongside mail-order sites that sell poppers and material that seems to promote steroids, bareback sex and reckless behaviour is extremely irresponsible”.

GayMafiaWatch view this response from the community as a positive result. The next step is one for the Millivres Prowler Group to take. It seems the way forward is for Millivres Prowler to divert it’s immense resources back into the community as opposed to it’s current tactic of simply stomping all over the existing support and groups out there that it could instead be publicising and working in partnership with.

In it’s own words (“Our Values” – on their website)  the comapny says it aimes to “behave ethically by being professional, honest and fair and to act with integrity at all times in building close, secure and lasting relationships.”

As it stands right now this is simply not true.

* Millivres Prowler Group (MPG) is the largest gay and lesbian business own Puffta along with the Pink Paper, AXM, the Gay Times, DIVA, a national chain of adult stores and a worlwide distribution network of various porn publications, magazines and books.


Puffta – Cashing in on Coming Out

May 12, 2007

Puffta, the self-styled online magazine aimed at young gay men has been designed solely to make money out of gay young people, who are sold a lifestyle to aspire to through it’s clever marketing campaigns. The site bills itself as “the UK’s leading site for gay teens” which is “often imitated”. Google doesn’t seem to think so, in fact there are dozens of ‘gay youth’ sites out there that rant dozens of pages high which have been about for as long as Puffta if not longer and who aren’t now fuelled by an unlimited PR machine. No doubt they are just as popular, but then who can say as Puffta is the only site to make this bold claim.

Not so long ago this little known website set up by 17 year old Simon Johnson in his bedroom was originally up and running as a lifestyle and support site for young gay men. It has recently been transformed into by the Millivres Prowler Group (in it’s own words) a” premier brand for gay youth”. Which is precisely what now Puffta is, it’s a product, a resource in which to sell and make a profit out of by it’s owners and advertisers. The site is a medium by which teenage gays are trained as future customers.

So what’s so wrong about that I hear you ask? Women’s magazines target lonely housewives with celebrity gossip whilst and make money by peddling cleaning products and make up, teenage girls magazines have done the same for years, and straight ‘lads mags’ have controversially exploited macho masculinity to sell cars and soft porn so what’s the big deal with the owners of Puffta making a few quid out of young gay guys?

Firstly, Puffta has attempted to establish the darker and damaging aspects of the so called ‘gay lifestyle’. Many of which you could argue are responsible for many of the social problems younger gay men face today. Young gay lads notoriously aspire to look buff, pretty, sexy, thin – because they are told to by the media. Puffta reinforces these often unrealistic aspirations, leading to even more lads who simply ‘do not fit in’ to feel excluded, suffer low-self-esteem, self-harm and attempt suicide.

As well as their original titles of the Gay Times, and Diva, the Millivres Prowler Group recently acquired struggling original gay news rag “The Pink Paper” and gay tabloid mag “AXM”. Millivres Prowler are now the most influential powerhouse in the gay media. It now appears Puffta is under their control.

Pop, Porn and Potions

Sexy black pop divas, photo galleries of pumped up steroid muscle-mary’s and reviews of pricey high street labels, crikey Puffta has pulled out all the stops to pull in an audience, “It’s what every gay boy ever wanted!” claims one reader. At least it’s what Puffta thinks they want, or what it wants them to want. It’s a narrow, vulgar and offensive generalisation of what it means to be a junior queer in Britain today. The cliché’s are blinding, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a parody.

What about other types of music other than commercial pop and dance? There’s nothing wrong with porn but then most guys I know that purchase dirty videos and magazines are in a position to – they earn good money and have no problem walking into clone zone or even HMV to buy it up front, or they have good networks of gay friends they can borrow and copy it from. When you’re living at home with your folks and are shit-scarred of walking into a shop to buy a mucky DVD and you don’t yet know many other gay guys to borrow from – except those you’ve chatted to online. I’ve done it myself. Younger gay men hunt the net for whatever they can find for free, or download pirate copies. There’s no money in that and that’s what Puffta is concerned about.

Cashing in on Coming Out

“Puffta priorities:
1. Going out (clubs/bars)
2. Drinking
3. Fashion & toiletries
4. Mobile phones
5. CDs & DVDs
6. Computer games
7. Holidays”

The Puffta “media pack” says it all. It makes an attractive pitch to potential advertisers;

“Teens don’t just spend their
own money, they spend
their parents cash, too!”

“Less work – more play! – Target not the limit”

This doesn’t help send out a responsible message to young gay people at all, combined with corporate gay charities such as Stonewall who are proud
to fund their anti-bullying initiatives in schools though an insane number of sponsorship deals with credit card companies like American Express, or the disproportionate number of queer students who drop out of university deep in debt (according to the National Union of Students).

“SPENDING POWER… Gay youth are consumers like everyone else.
Commercially aware, they know their brands but can be
particularly fickle. They have disposable income and
punch above their weight with their spending power.
They are male, aged 13-21, and are UK-resident.”
“The student market is worth £15 billion”

Puffta sponsored LGBT Student Pride in 2006.

The press pack does attempt to hold the horses and claim that’s not what Puffta’s solely about.

“What is important to stress is that Puffta is responding
to a genuine consumer need for something different,
rather than in any sense being supply-led to generate
ad sales revenue.”

This argument falls flat on it’s face when they then compares Puffta’s “something different” appeal to that of proper magazines. As far as I’m aware there are no
magazines on sale in the UK that publicly target 13-21 year old gay men in this way. Puffta is a website, it came runner up in the Boyz Magazine reader awards second only to Gaydar, and as we’ve already mentioned, there are dozens of quality internet resources out there that it duplicates. What makes Puffta different is that it’s full of targeted advertising and without that it would not exist. So what does Puffta think it is? Is it a community website, a dating service, a ‘lads mag’, a support group? It’s glossy packaging for all of those.

Sign up as a member to Puffta and you’ll be lucky to”see the SEX edition. We’re hot.” “We talk sex, sex, sex” – “hot xxx gallery” “naked men – how to see them” We’ve turned the members area into a special sealed SEX edition”. You’re also invited to enter a competition sponsored by condom giant Durex (owned by multinational corporation SSL International which has an annual turnover of £608.9 million). Puffta and Durex neglect to mention that as an ‘at-risk group’ most young gay men can get unlimited condoms and lubricant free on the NHS – or from gay youth groups and clinics such as Brook, nor do they visibly mention the need to use lube for anal sex. What an excellent foothold in the market for SSL thanks to Puffta… and you get to see some dirty photos in return.

Puffta does young gay men no favours. It is dangerous.

There are some very good articles on Puffta, and the site’s editors do try make a responsible effort to be a little objective, but that’s often contradicted by catchy cover stories which home in on people’s insecurities such as:

“Spotty Boys – ‘Scrub-up!” – a review of anti-acne lotions that Puffta recommends, with a gratuitous advert on the right hand side of the page for one such product. The title of the article is almost like an order. We all know that if getting rid of acne were as simple as investing in face wash then. Nearly everyone gets spots in their teenage years, it’s part of growing up and always has been. Our hormonal juices give us no choice. But when there’s so much pressure to look the part and bed that hunk, this type of article fuelled by product placement by big pharmaceutical companies should expect to be questioned.

“Smoking – Makes you Fat!” – If you’re not fat then you don’t worry about it do you? The article assumes the reader is thin. If you’re overweight then that kind of headline is going to grab you attention – and it can cause distress. The article is a cleverly disguised seemingly sensible article promoting anti-smoking. It’s basically saying being young, gay and overweight is bad, and Puffta does not approve! Besides, the evidence to base such a ludicrous claim like “smoking make you fat” is dubious and vague.

“Muscle Please!” – We popped down to Soho Gym Camden to have a look at the muscles on offer. We asked the beach ready beauties what muscle they like the best. Accompanied by vain articles entitled “Steroids – Bottled Muscle”. The article glamorises steroid use and links it to an exciting gay lifestyle of partying and sex with hunks. It neglects to mention the specific and horrific side effects Steroids can have on your health and your wealth. Puffta wants you to look good, and you want to look as
good as the blimp breasted model boys on nearly every page of the site. You’ll be able to show them off on the beach. Not surprisingly there’s been a steady boom in the gay travel industry with resorts like Gran Canaria, Sitges and Myknos – gay travel firms are big advertisers in Puffta’s sister publications, they bring in the big bucks. The popularity of such hedonistic sex holidays amongst gay men is not without a downside.

Recent surveillance by the Health Protection agency shows an alarming peak in the number of younger gay men acquiring HIV, syphilis and several other sexually transmitted infections that were at one point in decline, as well as new ones such as LVG. It blames the increase on increased travel from the UK by men who have frequent, casual sex with men to locations like Gran Canaria. The press pack tells us that holidays are Puffta’s priority #7. Back home the link between unprotected sex and use of drugs and alcohol causing a decrease in of inhibitions and an increase in risk taking is stronger than ever before according to the Terrance Higgins Trust. The gay scene has a lot to answer for. Going out/Clubbing – Puffta Priority #1, Drinking – Puffta Priority #2.

One Last Puff

Friends tell me “that’s what gay life is all about”. I say Puffta provides a good window on to many parts of gay life but it’s all to easy to feel they are pushing a way of life. It feels uncomfortably contrived. Puffta isn’t solely to blame for damaging the image of young gay men, nor do I believe it isn’t more than capable of realising it’s mistakes and evolving into something slightly more helpful to the gay cause but the devastating longer-term consequences of which we can see today in the older generations of gay men, who luckily were not the targets of this kind of mass-gay-junk-shop commercialism springing up all over the place are worrying at the least.

Just as well Puffta is only a website and not a magazine, because it’s just about Sold Out.

  • We’ve made every effort to ensure quotations and points raised in the above article are accurate at the time of going to press.
    If you would like us to print a correction please leave a comment below. Feedback and discussion is welcome.