Halsey @ the Electric Ballroom, Camden.

Hey pals,

I managed to get my hands on a ticket to see Halsey at the Electric Ballroom in Camden on the 10th. I’ve seen her once before (Brixton O2 Academy) and had a great time. Halsey really is a great performer, however, I was a little worried about how this performance would go as the video at Wembley, a few days prior, looked pretty wank. She had clearly put in so much effort on that performance but got nothing back from the audience.

I’ve always found smaller gigs to be more exciting and lively because we all feel so lucky to be there seeing our favourite artists, and I think a lot of performers feel the same way, like they are going back to their routes.

This was my first time as a disabled person going to a gig under an accessibility ticket so I got a pretty sick view from the elevated fire door and a handy stool to sit on (more on this experience specifically in another post).

I got to film the opening to the show, Castle. One of her first album songs that brought a lot of nostalgia for my first year of university. Immediately, the whole crowd screamed and sang along. When Halsey asked us to jump, we did. (Okay, I didn’t but emotionally I did.) The bass in her music was so intense I felt like I was at an underground rave, the laser lights in her show helped.

At the half hour mark, Halsey stops between songs, “I wanna talk to you about something for a sec, is that okay?” Everyone cheers hesitantly. Halsey is wearing a t-shirt with a picture of Melania and Chris, the lesbian couple who were assaulted on a bus in London at the end of May. It happened in the town we were all gathered in to see Halsey. Halsey is an openly bisexual woman and a lot of her fans are LGBT+. She asked us if we knew who these women were and talked about the viral new story that had haunted the internet since it happened.

But the sad reality is, after the pride parades are over, and after the bars close their pride nights, when the glitter is being swept out of the streets, a lot of people get on those trains and get on those busses, and they try to wash the rainbows off their bodies and peeling the stickers off their clothes. And when Pride is over, it’s not safe to be gay anymore, because they’re worried that someone is going to viciously assault them or viciously attack them. So when people around the world ask the question, ‘why isn’t there a straight pride parade?’ The answer is because, if there was one, you wouldn’t have to get on the bus and be terrified of being beaten or killed afterwards.” Everybody cheers. “That’s why there’s not a straight pride parade. Because every fucking day on public transport is a straight pride parade. So we need to take moments like this when we are all together-” Someone throws her a gay pride flag, her face changed from anger to happiness as she holds it up in front of her. “We need to take moments like this, when we are all together, to remember how lucky we are to have a safe space right now…” She drapes the flag over one of the speakers at the side of the stage. I could see all the people filming this in the audience, I was a little too busy trying not to cry. For me, this felt like a moment to be present in.

“If you are in this crowd and you are queer, you need to make a promise to me, I need you to make a promise to me right now, you need to promise me that you will not be afraid, say it, I will not be afraid!’ The crowd echo back.

Halsey shouts again, “I will not be afraid, I will not be afraid, I will not be afraid.”

The atmosphere in the room turned from your typical London gig to a room full of revolution. I couldn’t hold my tears back anymore, and as I chanted with everyone else, I looked out across the crowd. A thousand odd people chanting that they won’t be afraid in the face of homophobia, we vibrated with this rebellious energy.

Now I understood why a gay bar from home in Brighton is called Revolution.

I had been one of the queer people who removed their glitter and rainbows after LGBT+ events for fear of being a target. Being disabled as well, I felt even more vulnerable, that I wouldn’t be able to get away. But right here in this moment watching one of my icons on stage shouting ‘I will not be afraid’, I felt powerful.

Halsey then went into Strangers, her song about being in a toxic relationship with a woman. Her stage lights flashed rainbow. I sniffled and wiped my tears away as I sang along.

Halsey stopped the show at one point, to make sure a fan who had passed out got out of the pit safely before continuing. She made a point of telling us that if we feel weird or need to go, that we should because that is what’s most important. It was really endearing to see her so concerned for her fans. I’ve been to my fair share of gigs as a teenager, and I don’t remember many, if any, of the bands stopping like this and checking in with us to make sure we were okay.

When Bad At Love started playing, my bisexual heart filled with joy. This song in particular meant a lot to me, as I had always gone through turbulent relationships and also thought of myself as ‘bad at love, but you can’t blame me for trying’.

Halsey took a moment to talk about her emotional growth over the years and how one of her songs was about desperately wanting to love people but feeling unable to form a genuine human connection (at which point, I loudly declared, “SAME!”) and in the spur of the moment, she added Sorry to the set list. One of her few slower songs, she asked the crowd to turn their phone torches on and wave along to the music. She did this at the gig I went to in 2016, and turning around in the pit to see everyone’s lights was incredible, and it only got better from a slightly heightened point of view. As the instruments fell away, it was only us and her singing the final chorus in floods of white light.

She looks at us, a little bashfully, and asks if she can perform Nightmare again. She performed it near the beginning of the show, and the response was great. I love this song and was actually low-key glad she asked! No one in the crowd is gonna turn her down, so we got to hear Nightmare again. One of the reasons I loved that song was it (and the music video) reminded me of some good ol’ punk rock from the 70’s like the Runaways or The Sex Pistols, but with a bit of an early 2000’s emo sound. And seeing her jumping on that tiny stage, and the crowd moshing along with her, really brought that feeling to life.

THEN SHE FUCKING BRINGS OUT YUNGBLUD and performs 11 Minutes. I had my suspicions he might come on and I’m so pleased he did. To see them both perform together was incredible, they really had fun with it and were kinda disgustingly adorable. At the end of the song, Dom declared a lot of mushy shit explaining how much we mean to Halsey and how amazing the connection she has with her fans.

Halsey kicked him back off stage to perform Without Me, another song that hits me right in the feels machine and reminds me that I am way more important than my ex’s have made me feel.

Through this gig, I was reminded of why I fell in love with her music so hard. Having an emotionally unstable mental illness that manifests in having all these big, confusing and gross feelings I couldn’t put words to, until I heard her music. With each song, I understood more and more of myself and I had been lead to believe I wouldn’t love any music as much as the emo shit I’d listened to in my teenage years, thankfully that was wrong. As I sang these songs at the top of my crackly voice, I’d remembered each significant moment they marked in my life over the last four years and some of them really were the worst moments, but Halsey gave me power to pick myself up and carry on. I am sure I am not alone in feeling like this.

~ Artie

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25 Shows and Films with LGBT+ Rep on Netflix

Hey pals,

I thought I’d put together a little brief list of shows and films on Netflix that I have watched with LGBT+ rep in, give a brief overview of the kind of representation and my general opinion of the piece. If anyone wants a more indepth review of any of the below, please let me know!

The Good Place: undertones and side comments that make the lead, Eleanor, and Tahani seem more fluid than actually displayed. I think there may have been a moment at the end of the show when both female characters admit to this mutual attraction. Really fun and interesting show. A good mixture of light-hearted comedy and a deeper look into humans as a whole.

How To Get Away With Murder: a murder/crime show based in a Law school. One of the set main cast is a gay man who dates around a bit and then has a set main partner. I love the couple here and I’m a sucker for crime shows.

Edit: the lead, Annalise Keating, is also shown as bi/on the bi spectrum as the series goes on! So a nice bit of rep here. season 5: Gay immigrant woman on trial at risk of being deported ep 2 the other lawyer lady had a girlfriend. HIV positive Asian man.

Valentine’s Day: bit of a spoiler but Bradley Cooper and Eric Dane are together in this (pretty iconic if you ask me) very limited rep. Eric Dane is a huge sports star and has to decide if he’s going to go public. Valentine’s Day is a film where many characters’ paths intertwine and overlap. Light and fluffy.

Friends From College: a set of friends (kind of like a harsher more realistic version of ‘Friends’) One of the set cast is gay and in a long term relationship/gets married. Weird dynamic in the relationship, and both white dudes. Still enjoyed the show even though everyone is an idiot who make dumb choices.

You: creepy thriller-esque show. Spoiler alert, the best friend of the main girl is gay af and kinda shows bad rep of having a closeted gay best friend. She’s just as freaky and possessive as the main guy, and he is a literal stalker. Season 2: Forty Quinn was thought to be gay and apparently was but it was never displayed on screen. Also some minor roles, Love Quinn’s friend Charlie Barnett is a queer Black man (played by the gay actor Gabe Miranda, I think he’s a fantastic actor and wish he had more star time in this show). IF YOU WANT TO SEE LOVE AS A QUEER WOMAN CHECK OUT MY KINDA SPOOKY KINDA GAY POST!!

Sex Education: Obviously main character’s best friend is a black gay guy who likes to do drag! I love this representation and the look into his family dynamic. Spoiler alert, the bully turns out to be gay as well and it’s a bit of a trope-y ‘homophobic bully falls for the out gay kid he picks on’ but I’m kinda a sucker for it. Very typical British humour. There’s an added love interest for Eric in a later season, and some sapphic storylines too. Not exclusively lesbian either! Pansexual, bisexual, gay, even an ace storyline too.

they will be adding a nonbinary character in the next season.

Grace and Frankie: it’s all in the main plot! Grace and Frankie’s husbands are gay and have been having an affair for 20 years and they finally come out and tell the wives. The show is about the wives’ relationship to each other as older women. Incredible actresses (and Lily Tomlin (who plays Frankie) is gay), really great comedy show that exposes a lot we don’t often think about or look at about being older. Highly recommend.

God’s Own Country: The whole plot is about being gay. Main character is a closeted gay guy in Yorkshire and the new farmhand from Romania developing a relationship that starts as a secret and develops into something really soft and sweet. A nice look at how UK countryside see/react to gay people. Recommend but you might cry a bit.

Alex Strangelove: I wrote a whole review on this in an earlier post on my blog so check that out for details! The love interest is amazing and I wish there was more time spent on him and the MC’s relationship developing, there wasn’t quite enough but this is a great fluffy film. Antonio Marziale plays Elliot and is also gay himself and is in other queer media. 

Riverdale: Pretty lackluster in rep. Kevin is our resident gay guy who isn’t quite main character status but is around often enough. Has a couple of romances and does take a good look at why he sneaks off to the forest to get with other gay men and why it’s different for straight couples. I wish they’d given him more of a cute romantic arc. Also lesbian/bi woman rep. Spoiler, resident school bitch Cheryl is a lesbian and has been in and out of conversion therapy and falls in love with the cute mixed-race Tony who is out and proud Bi, but prefers women. They have a better, more developed plot. Also just adding that one of the lead actors came out as Bi this year!

Handsome Devil: All about being gay in Ireland. A film full of lovely accents, set in an all-boys boarding school (another trope I love) and the only two gays in the school are romed together oooooo! Don’t worry though, this is strictly about being friends which is a night breath of fresh air. Also features Andrew Scott as the only gay teacher about (he also plays a v. sweet gay Welsh bloke in Pride, I also recommend that but it’s not of Netflix). Bullying, homophobia, sports, friendship.

4th Man Out: group of dudes in their mid 20’s find out their mate is GAY! GASP! ‘But you don’t act gay?’ and ‘you don’t fancy me right?’ kinda dialogue. Quite funny, nice to see a different P.O.V. instead of the usual stereotypes. He’s very shy and struggles with finally starting to date men and has a bit of a falling out with his bezzie mate coz they got drunk and said some dumb stuff. A good light hearted film.

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Finally some trans rep! Bit of a spoiler I suppose as it takes a little while for Theo to come out and start identifying as a man. This actor is very cute and plays the role well, a little bit of transphobia and a nice link to family history of a ‘female’ family member dressing like a man back in the day and having an affinity with this ancestor. A nicely weaved in bit of rep to a show that’s not solely about LGBT+ topics. Edit: I knew I forgot something! Ambrose!!!!! bi spectrum character who visibly dates multiple genders and dabbled in a bit of polyamory. Polyamory and orgies are relatively normalised in this world of witches. Queer poc rep, also I love him. Icon. Also aunt Zelda is queer! I hope we see more in the upcoming final season.

Once Upon a Time: very lackluster with their first attempt. Seems like someone said ‘hey we should put something gay in here’ so they put in a Dorothy and Red Riding Hood storyline. It was nice to have Red as a canon Bi woman and seeing a wlw relationship compared to most shows going straight for mlm. They did it better in their last series with Alice and Robin, more developed and actually relevant and weaved in with the rest of the plot compared to a one off episode where you never see them again. I did enjoy this show for the most part but felt very repetitive and very white which was a shame as it was a show about redoing classic fairy tales.

Intervention: three queer women in the main cast (I know WOW) one is a lesbian, one is bi and one is ‘fluid’. The plot is about everyone’s relationships and the toxicity within them that no one wants to face. Nice look into biphobia and the insecurities of lesbians who date bi women. Adult not YA.

Pretty Little Liars: I have conflicted opinions about the rep in this show. Emily tends to go for very domineering women (Alison and Paige) and though I loved her and Paige together, particularly when they sorted her closeted ass out, she seems to just forgive and forget a lot when it comes to Alison who I think is genuinely an awful person who did crazy horrible things to many people. Alison and Mia are some nice bi women rep, showing completely different characteristics outwardly and in personality and showing the fluidity of a bi person’s sexuality. Over all, hate the rep a lot and Emily ended up with the wrong person IN MY OPINION!!! (it has been confirmed that Haleb, the actors anyway, are both bi which is nice to know)

Jane the Virgin: I really like this show as it’s very different from typical western TV shows as it’s inspired by telenovellas. We have a brief relationship between Jane and (some guy sorry I forgot his name) who is bi and they have a nice conversation about being bi and being in a relationship. Raffael’s sister is a lesbian (who dates her dad’s wife…?) though she’s not in it too much. Then our main gal, spoiler alert, Petra is out as bi!!! and dating JR. Petra’s character development is great and she’s much softer and loveable as an out bi woman because her character seems comfortable in her skin now and not so uppity. The actress of JR is actually queer herself! She has played a few queer women.

The Umbrella Academy: I have many feelings about this show I love Klaus so much and I don’t know how they want us to believe Vanya is straight but whatever! Klaus is my son. and season 2 VANYA FINALLY gets to be the gay she was destined to be. Also a disabled child in the second series. Series two can be quite upsetting as there are some very graphic moments of the civil rights movement in the ’60s so a content warning.

Mamma Mia!: Colin Firth plays the gay dad and I couldn’t have loved it more. That’s it though.

Like Father: they go on a cruise together and one of the couple’s they sit at the dinner table with is a white gay male couple. That’s all.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post: A film/book I’m pissed I didn’t know about sooner. Huge Trigger warnings for this, particularly for trans women there’s a really awful moment nothing is shown but a lot of blood and explicit explanation. A nice selection of queer rep includng POC. Kinda sucks that it’s seen through white eyes (the main character is played by Chloe Moretz) but the other two main characters are Native American (A Two-Spirit character) and mixed-race Black and are very verbal about the differences. They’re at a gay conversion camp basically. A more intense and less funny version of But I’m A Cheerleader. 

Someone Great: one of the main three women is a lesbian (and also black) who is dating a woc. About a third of the plot is about her relationship/commitment issues. The film is generally a very cute gal pal film with a nice mixture of representation.

To The Bone: Her mother is gay. There’s not a lot on this but there is definite homophobia from her father’s new wife trying to blame all her problems on the mother’s sexuality. Trigger warning for people with eating disorders.

Gossip Girl: Not a lot of rep considering how many hundreds of characters there are in this show! Serena’s brother, Eric, is gay and has a few boyfriends, one was bi. There’s an air of Chuck Bass being a little bi, apparently he was more clearly bi in the books but I’ve not read those YET but do headcanon Chuck as bi… I see it. I started reading the books and talked about it on my channel, I will be doing a reading vlog/a video specifically about the books.

Special: the first show I’ve seen that involves a disabled and queer main character! I find his character frustrating but very lifelike. Though he is disabled and gay, he still shows a lot of male privilege and an unhealthy relationship with his mother that comes from ignoring the problem and not communicating. He acts a lot like a teenage boy. Still a good watch, and at 15 minutes an ep you’ll get through it quick.

These are what I have watched SO FAR, and if you guys like this format of short reviews/impressions of shows and films, I’ll carry on doing them!

part two and three are here. 

~ Artie