John Grant: The gay interview


In tomorrow’s print edition, we have a review of the sophomore CD from out 40something recording artist John Grant, Pale Green Ghosts. (Quick preview: We really liked it.) Before you check out the review, though, you might wanna read up on the Iceland-based Grant himself. Our Chris Azzopardi sat down with the musician for a tell-all interview in which he discusses his HIV status, his addiction and the new album.

“Who wants to hear about some diseased faggot and his disease that he got that he deserved because he’s living this horrible lifestyle?” Grant says outright when he explains his HIV catharsis piece “Ernest Borgnine,” a self-proclaimed “expression of anger and absurdity” that sorts out his behavior through the perspective of the track’s actor-namesake — a song he says isn’t a fit for radio audiences. No matter; it wasn’t for them anyway. It was written for Grant.

“I needed to explore why I allowed myself to get HIV after I spent so much time getting sober and turning my back on self-destructive behavior,” he says. “Why did I have to keep the self-destructive behavior in the realm of sex for myself?”

It was always some realm for Grant. The realm of drugs. Of alcohol. Of sex. “It didn’t matter what I could get my hands on to achieve that different state of mind,” he says. “I can do it with food, or with spending money.”

He could do it, unprotected, with an HIV-positive man. And he did, resulting in his seroconversion. “This shouldn’t have happened — and yet, here we are. And what does it say about you that you still allowed this to happen?” By turning the song’s perspective onto Borgnine (an actor Grant adored and once met at a New York restaurant), he found his answer: “That you weren’t completely willing to let go of your self-loathing. That I still had a long way to go … and still had many things that I needed to let go of.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Iceland OKs gay marriage — uanimously

Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir
Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir

Iceland’s Parliament voted 49-0 to approve same-sex marriage today, according to Reuters.

In 2009, the country became the first in the world to elect an openly gay or lesbian head of state when Johanna Sigurdardottir became the prime minister. Iceland remains the only country with a gay head of state.

Iceland is a small country with a population of 320,000. Houston’s Annise Parker was elected to run a city with more than 2 million people.

The law does allow a religious exception. The Church of Iceland, a protestant denomination, hasn‘t decided whether to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies. The law says, “Ministers will always be free to perform marriage ceremonies, but never obliged to.”

Most people in the island-nation belong to the church that has roots in the Scandinavian Lutheran Churches.

This marks the first time same-sex marriage has passed unanimously anywhere.
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—  David Taffet

Blame the gays … it only makes sense

Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir
Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir

I haven’t read anywhere the real reason for the Iceland volcano that has air traffic across Europe shut down. Most are treating this like a natural event.

But we know better.

On Feb. 1, Johanna Sigurdardottir was named Prime Minister of Iceland, the first openly gay or lesbian leader of a country. She was named interim leader until elections in May.

I’m not sure why Pat Robertson didn’t catch this, but obviously if gays and lesbians caused Hurricane Katrina and September 11, we caused this. And unlike the voodoo nonsense or whatever it was he blamed the Haiti earthquake on, I say we take full credit for that one too.

So if you’re sitting in an airport waiting for a flight or had your vacation plans canceled, blame the gays. We caused the volcano. It’s our fault.

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—  David Taffet