My best friend is rich, handsome, intelligent, successful, funny – and has a huge house. So obviously he is gay. This week I went to watch him play gay football. This is not like straight football, where they score goals and bite ears off if they don’t win.
In gay football if someone starts scoring goals they are viewed with suspicion. At gay football the changing-room chat is about salon-quality hair products, there was no scent of Lynx deodorant, and, I was pleased to note, Kappa tracksuits and baseball caps were quite clearly out of bounds. Imagine my relief when I arrived to find no cheap shoes within a two-mile radius.
The players strolled on to the pitch in a catwalk-style single line. They very politely took their positions, smiled at each other with their £3,000 porcelain veneer bonded teeth, and then played about for an hour, saying “Sorry”, “Thank you”, and “Are you going to the Shadow Lounge tonight?” In this match, Alexander McQueen was not a label, he was the goalkeeper. There was some serious grooming on show that would put Victoria Beckham to shame.
I grew up with people who sported the dishevelled intellectual look – which may sound familiar to readers of the New Statesman but, believe me, doesn’t wash at Stonewall Football Club. I never let heterosexuals near my hair. The only people who allow heterosexuals near their hair clearly enjoy looking like my dear friend Andrew Neil (we’ve met only once but in show business that makes us best friends), who increasingly looks like he’s been dragged backwards through Allied Carpets. An afternoon at Stonewall Football Club, and with any luck he’ll come out looking like Melvyn Bragg.
The football strips were immaculately ironed and I could smell the fabric conditioner from the terraces. The best thing was that the stadium was bereft of men who wear anoraks over their suits (shoot them!). I showed my support to my friend by standing on the sidelines doing impressions of John Inman.
On inspection of the changing rooms, I noticed that their football kits were individually made and there was no “One Size Fits All” – because gay people, like all of us, are individuals. Except where music is concerned, in which case it’s Kylie all the way.
It was highly entertaining. The match ended when someone nearly scored. This is how football should be – a nice polite glamorous game where all the players wear Manolo football boots. After the match everyone had a pint of poppers and went home relaxed.
Of course I am exaggerating the stereotypes, but it was refreshing to watch a football match where manners seemed to count and Wayne Rooney lookalikes were frowned upon. If all football was like this, I might be tempted to buy a season ticket for Wolves.
I had been invited to take part in a debate at the Cambridge Union on Monday night. The dishevelled intellectual look was in full swing and there was enough dandruff to carpet Santa’s Grotto.
Some of these students don’t know how lucky they are. I used to be a teacher in Tower Hamlets. On parents’ evening (which was more like singles night) I would say, “Your Dylan is doing well”, they’d say, “Who’s Dylan?”, I’d say, “He’s your son”, they’d say, “How is he? We haven’t seen him for a while.”
My opposition was a delightful group of boys from the Footlights. They invited me to dinner, where I was served what tasted like Pedigree Chum. They agreed and apologised in that uniquely English way. What they lacked in culinary finesse they made up for in alcohol. There is nothing funnier than watching white middle-class boys being drunk and disorderly. If they behaved like that in Brixton, they’d be on Crimewatch. The debate was entertaining and enlightening. Once again, I showed my support by standing on the sidelines doing impressions of John Inman.