Cleopatra’s Wedding Present
Travels through Syria
Robert Tewdwr Moss
Cleopatra’s Wedding Present was published in 1997 the year after its author’s death. He was murdered on the day he finished it.
The title refers to the fact that in antiquity Syria was given as part of Cleopatra’s dowry and thereby became an Egyptian possession.
I originally read it in the late 90’s. It’s stuck with me and comes to mind every now and then particularly with Syria so much in the news these days. The sub-title, Travels through Syria, is what Moss did back when that was still something one could do. It’s also where he met and had an affair with a Palestinian commando which he chronicled in this slim volume.
The original hardback (pictured) is hard to find these days, and apparently valuable if the resale value on Amazon is anything to go by (and I left mine…?), but it’s been reprinted and is available in a less attractively designed paperback edition. It’s well worth finding and reading.
Robert Tewdwr Moss was, needless to say with a name like that, not a Muslim writer, but if you’re interested in gay characters by Muslim writers check out this post on Five Muslims Who Wrote Gay Charters. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t personally read any of these books, at least not yet.
Sweet Tooth: A Memoir
A frank, funny, quirky memoir about a young adult, but not necessarily for a young adult audience. The author grew up in North Carolina and the majority of the book covers teenage years where he is trying to come to terms with being gay, being different and being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The concept is original and well written.
Parts of the book were more fast-paced and engaging than others but that’s the nature of memoir – especially non-celebrity memoirs which can’t rely on the star power of their subject matter to make what they ate for dinner sound interesting.
The depiction of the low blood sugar episodes were unique and provided a real insight into life of someone living with type 1 diabetes. The writer managed to maintain a sense of humour throughout while still leaving me in no doubt of the danger.
Overall a good read with fantastic 1980s music references.
Guest Reviewer Wayne Berkeley Herbert is a North London actor and writer.
Being Conchita: We Are Unstoppable
by Conchita Wurst
John Blake Publishing Ltd
For many of us Conchita Wurst burst onto the stage and into our lives by winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 2014. She appeared, like the phoenix in her winning song, to have emerged fully formed from the flames but she was no gimmick thrown together by a desperate national broadcaster – cough cough BBC, but rather a tried and tested singer and performer in her home country Austria with a history of competing and winning singing contests.
Memoirs that begin with child abuse are like mysteries that begin with a dead prostitute: they divide their readers into two categories, the ones that put the book down thinking they’ve been down this road before versus the ones that keep going. We’re glad we kept going with Not My Father’s Son, a family memoir by Alan Cumming, the theatre, film and TV star with a recurring role on the hit US series The Good Wife. Continue reading
Last night I went to my local movie house to watch Stephen Fry pitch his new book More Fool Me to a live worldwide audience from the Southbank Centre.
Unscripted and unrehearsed, by his own admission, he opened by greeting the audiences around the world who had come to watch. Continue reading