Kings Head Theatre Queer Season 2017

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Coming Clean, Kevin Elyot’s first professionally produced play, looks at the breakdown of a gay couple’s relationship and examines complex questions of fidelity and love.

It was first performed pre AIDS at the Bush Theatre, London, on 3 November 1982.

Now it is being revived for its 35th Anniversary into The King’s Head Theatre 2017 Queer Season; a curated 9 week programme of LGBTQI Theatre opening in July.

King’s Head Theatre’s Artistic Director Adam Spreadbury-Maher directs this first London revival of Kevin Elyot’s play that questions fidelity and the limits of love written before his hit play ‘My Night With Reg’, a noted classic of  queer theatre.

bullandgateThe play is set in a flat in Kentish Town, north London, in 1982. Struggling writer Tony and his partner of five years, Greg, seem to have the perfect relationship. Committed and in love, they are both open to one-night stands as long as they don’t impinge on the relationship. But Tony is starting to yearn for something deeper, something more like monogamy. When he finds out that Greg has been having a full-blown affair with their cleaner, Robert, their differing attitudes towards love and commitment become clear.

In 1970 I moved to Dartmouth Park Hill near Tufnell Park tube close to Kentish Town, so was asked where the characters would have cottaged, drank, cruised and found sexual partners as part of character development.

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Set in pre-AIDS 1982, I was asked by the Director to speak to the cast about Gay Life in the 60’s and 70’s so they could develop character parts and ask questions about their respective character backgrounds, so I started out sharing what information about queers were available during criminalisation and what it was like when I came out in 1967 and the background to it. It was a bit of a hoot really talking for almost 90 mins with them scribbling notes and developing production ideas. They were only 3 days into rehearsal, and no one was around in 1982 so it was an eager audience.

We discussed Cottaging, Dirk Bogarde films ACCIDENT & VICTIM, Polari, Politics, The Colhearne, Earls Court Gay Scene in the 60’s, Zipper, HIM Magazine, Crisco, COLT Porn Mags, Poppers, pills, Hampstead Heath, Jack Straw’s Castle, BANGS and Marlboro Red Lights tucked into Capped T shirt sleeves. It was like memory lane. 

Check out all the plays in the season here and get OFF your phone for a while.

http://www.kingsheadtheatre.com

 

My results with Conscious Connected Breathwork in 1-2-1 and Groupwork

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Robert “Bubbles” Beck is a director, writer, and performer with a flair for the fabulous. He has worked with David Parker for the last four years as his Personal Assistant – hence the reference to ‘AbFab’ in his name! He first encountered breath-work in 2013 and wrote about his early experiences for urban LIFECLASS. The following article first appeared in May 2014 on www.urbanlifeclass.me 

Follow him on Twitter @robertjamesbeck

The beauty of breath-work is that it allows me the chance to work on myself, as well as assisting others to do the same. While I have only been on this path of personal development for a relatively short amount of time, the profound effect it has had on me is something I am keen to help others discover, and particularly within the gay community.

Something I’ve observed is that those who are most sceptical about breath-work are the ones who have the greatest reaction to it. I was hugely sceptical when I started but after a number of really fantastic breathes, some reading about the science of breath-work, and now my work as an assistant I not only feel better in myself but am helping others on their own journeys. Pretty impressive for someone who used to believe that meditation and self-help seminars were a complete waste of time!!

LBG2015-BREATHE-WEB1280x800One workshop on the 27th April 2014 was a special one for me because it was the first time I was allowed to assist on a breathe this size. Having 15 people breathing at the same time meant that I had to be able to trust myself to provide that comforting hand or to guide someone through an integration independently while the trainers were off in another part of the room. It was a real learning-curve and taught me so much about recognising and appreciating the stunning effects that evolutionary breath-work and a bit of positive thinking can have on a person.

As is usual with our seminars, we began by asking ourselves some difficult questions, supplied by David who was facilitating the session. ‘This is what I want to ACHIEVE’ seems like a simple enough question to answer but comes with all sorts of caveats like “but I won’t achieve it because…” or “achieving that would be great but I don’t have the time…” We all build walls around our dreams that stop us from getting out there and trying to make them happen.

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Similarly, a question like ‘This is what I want to LET GO OF’ can throw up issues where we recognise something is bad for us and yet somehow unable to let go of it. How many of us have been in a relationship that we know is no good and yet are unable to walk away from?

Stopping to ask yourself these questions and forcing yourself to articulate answers can allow ideas to formulate that you’ve probably already had but have been hiding from. This is why I love this kind of work – because it is truly soul-searching and gives you that space to really get to know the person you are and the person you want to be. As a creative individual this is an invaluable exercise.

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These questions also allow you to structure your breathe a little bit.  The first time I breathed I found that focusing on my creative blocks beforehand meant that I became acutely aware of what it was that was stopping me achieving my creative goals and what I could do to break the chain of me blocking myself.

I have also breathed while focusing on my relationships and what it is that I want to get out of them. As a gay man, it can be hard to be truly honest with yourself about your relationships, but I found Breath-work gives you space to reflect and be open with yourself and become the key to becoming healthy and happy.

As well as being a great tool for relaxing and meditating, the fantastic thing about breath-work is that it’s a practical exercise that you can do to help yourself unclog the blocks that are stopping you from achieving your full potential. It also provides you with the space you need to reflect on aspects of your life that might not be working for you at the moment and to help you develop a set of coping mechanisms that will turn your life around. 

breathe-deep-21-300x199So if you’re ready to try something new which could get you out of a slump and transform the way you think about your life then give evolutionary breath-work a go.

My journey from hardened sceptic to total devotee is proof that this kind of work can benefit everyone. So take a breath, dive in, and get ready for results. 

Bungie Jump Relationships – Can’t stay, can’t leave.

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I’d like to run away from you, but if you never found me I would die, 
I’d like to break the chains you put around me, but I know I never will, 
You stay away and all I do is wonder why the hell I wait for you, 
But when did common sense prevail for lovers when we know it never will, 
Impossible to live with you, but I know, I could never live without you, 
For whatever you do, I never, never, never want to be in love with anyone but you.

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David Parker peruses . . . 

How many relationships do you know that constantly break-up, then return to the mire of the codependent malady, a few months later? I call these BUNGIE JUMP Relationships. Can’t Stay. Can’t Leave. Bounce back. Try one more time.

Pop songs have a lyrical tradition of loss not love. We call them LOVE ALBUMS, Romantic Operas to intimate connection of the heart, revelling in heartbreak, not heart-warming mindfulness, or the concept that ‘everything is temporary’. We don’t want to hear that, it must last forever, or not at all.

The projection of fear, loss, low esteem, financial depletion or other such devices can keep you in an unhealthy relationship, even in the workplace.

Listen to this haunting ‘love song’ of entrapment, capture and coda infusion.

Would you call this LOVE?

If you identify with the lyrics, or feel at loss within your relationships, it may be that your emotional intelligences needs re-balancing instead of riding the bungie-jump of fear.

This classic tome comes highly recommended for adjustments.

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Relationship Coaching can stop you jumping without bouncing back.

A FREE INTRODUCTION explains the process with no obligation to continue.

Email a brief history or problem for a no-selling, no obligation, no sign-up FREE 2 hour Introduction or ask for a 30 min Skype with a brief assessment of where you need direction. Any email questions will be answered before a Free Introduction booked. Here to help.

This where you begin to take responsibility for yourself, not your partner.  

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mygaytherapist@yahoo.co.uk

Trending in 2016 : Breathing Education, still trending in 2017.

AHEAD OF HIS TIME : DAVID PARKER ( mygaytherapist.me ) has over 25 years experience as a Breathworker, Relationship Coach & Trainer, leading Residentials, Seminars and Workshops in the UK, Australia, South America, Morocco, Canada, Sweden, Italy, Austria, Estonia, Spain and Goa in India. 

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Trending Agencies have often been called ‘the backbone of marketing’. You may have wondered how when you shop for Home Furnishing, for example, there is a common thread built into current styles, colour, patterns and textures. In wearable fashion, the same thing occurs, this season has one colour mix everywhere, replaced by another 6 months later, how does that happen? This is the role of Trend & Fashion Forecasting.

Leading Agencies like New York based SPARKS & HONEY predict lifestyle trends, while companies in the fashion retail sector use fashion forecasters like WGSN, who predict over 2 years ahead what we will be wearing.

This unites designers, factories, and analysts together to plan ahead cost effectively, thus creating global trends, they hope we will buy or buy into. But it can be risky, local weather, and climate change, can deeply upset fashion trends, and who can predict what clothes we will need in 2 years time while seasonal, crazy weather patterns, can deeply effect a corporate balance sheet.

imagesLIFESTYLE TRENDS, however are easier to predict, based on factual past evidence of what is rising, falling and coming into play. The speed of high technology has created a faster turnaround of ‘what’s in and what’s out’, creating equal havoc for the leisure industry, as for retail fashion.

I recall, that in 1980 I was told by budding computer experts that ‘computers solve one problem while creating another’. How prophetic. 

The pace of information overload, constant mobile phone use, 24/7 contactability, and increasing low wage economies today, has created a more stressful society, with decreasing boundaries and relationship turmoil. No wonder we have barely time to BREATHE. No wonder we need to learn how to do it efficiently and I teach you how, in 121 or Groupwork. #BREATHE

So it comes as little surprise that leading forecaster SPARKS & HONEY has cited BREATHING EDUCATION as one of the essential trends of 2016.

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© SPARKS & HONEY 2015 
 Image: Kite_rin / SHUTTERSTOCK

I have been advocating the practice of Conscious Connected Breathwork for over 25 years – now science has caught up – from New Age to Internet Age.

SPARKS & HONEY say’s :

imagesMost humans take 20,000 to 30,000 breaths daily BUT MOST DON”T KNOW HOW TO DO IT PROPERLY. Now modern science is saying that breathing ( like drinking water and getting a good nights sleep ) can help lower blood pressure, boost immunity, reduce stress and fight obesity.

BREATHING RETREATS and workshops featuring belly breathing, conscious breathing, and yogic breathing are on the rise. We will see more attention to breathing as a psychotherapeutic tool in 2016.

CULTURAL CHALLENGE : Try to find and attend a breathing class where you live. 

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(We run 3 BREATHING Groups a month in London. Contact us.)  So now you know!

Click the BREATHWORK link : https://mygaytherapist.me/breathwork/

Sex Addiction. . . More, more, more . . .

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An addict will always get their fix, whatever obstacles are placed before them, and if your fix is sex then the internet is a dealers den. It’s not just immigration hoo-ha that is filling UK newspapers, but Prime Minister Cameron’s demand to block online porn, in ‘order to protect children’, bastard love-child of the so called ‘snoopers charter’.

We’ve heard this message before when homos were banged up in prison, before they were de-criminalised in 1967, in order to ‘protect children’ and that never worked as we weren’t peodophiles, but paid the price for ignorance. Nor will this, but that’s a different story, this blog is about sex addiction costing you more than money, and blocking porn isn’t the answer.

sex-addictionSince 60’s liberation, gay men have notoriously been labeled ‘promiscuous’, in much the same way that society called women that enjoyed sex ‘whores’. Neither viewpoints hold water, nor does a current study by the University of California, published last week, on the respected Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology site, pronouncing that “Sexual desire, not hypersexuality, is related to neurophysiological responses elicited by sexual images ( not sex addiction )”. 

This small study of 53 people ( including 13 females ) with no indication of sexuality preferences, has been panned from all quarters as meaningless, even though it hit headlines : in short, it concludes that sex addiction is a fallacy and people are just plain horny. Partners of sex addicts would certainly disagree, with this conclusion.

However, the rise of the internet, has increased opportunity for sexual exploration and therefore sexual compulsive behaviour can become unchecked. My view is that the internet has offered space for sexual and emotional discovery, that encourages the notion that sexuality is not so black or white, that developing grey areas of ‘men who have sex with men’ and bi-curious, have enlightened those who in the past were simply suppressed or confused.

However, sex addiction IS real. You know at least one sexual compulsive who needs more, more more, and it may be you. So where do you begin to arrest this condition? Let’s start here :

Cruise-Control-Weiss-Robert-9781555838218Robert Weiss in his book CRUISE CONTROL / Understanding Sex Addiction in Gay Men, writes on the topic of seeking a cure :

” Many people who read books like this one enter 12 Step programs, seek therapy, and check into treatment centers are seeking ” the answer”. They want to solve all their problems and answer all their questions – as if their addiction were an equation in a maths quiz.

Some will drop out or give up when they find out that they aren’t going to be cured once they figure it out. The problem is that they don’t actually want or know how to solve the problem; somehow they think that having that “Ah-ha” moment of understanding will be enough.

No amount of information is going to stop a sex addict from repeating patterns of problem behavior. You can only meaningfully change your behavior by taking deliberate, ongoing, active, and committed steps toward change. While this and previous chapters have described and discussed understanding sexual addiction, upcoming chapters will focus on creating change. As we move forward, we’ll learn how to make this happen one day at a time. But first, let’s consider how party drugs and other addictive substances become intertwined with sex addiction”.

Change occurs through action not just understanding, and recovery stems from acting out the unfamiliar. Maybe you are in an open relationship where goal posts keep changing or one wants more than discussed when it comes to boundaries. Yet the perception of sex addicts fisting themselves in a selfie or sauna sex salivation is also a fallacy, as as many kinds of sex addicts abound as the range of fetishes on a porn site. Often sexual compulsives are serial relationship finders believing that regular relationship sex will keep them away from pursuing addictive habits, but it rarely works.

mirror-man-150x150Most sex addicts hunt alone anonymously, while many are also romance addicts addicted to the chase, sexting, flirting, grooming, arranging and avoiding feelings of ‘being alone’ and seeking approval. Real approval comes from looking in your own mirror, not outside of it.

In recovery, healthily ‘being alone’ is essential in determining feelings of withdrawal, patterning and self valuation. Many support groups for sex addiction exist, check the net, or purchasing the book above, will at least acknowledge that sexual activity is getting out of hand and can be resolved.

Maybe some chems need to be dropped or reducing alcohol if you use frequently. We know that some things go together like apple pie and custard, but sex addiction also has it’s own companions : and you know what they are and where they lead.

Put a lid on it.

A-kettle-boiling-006Do you resort to the silent treatment when you are upset with someone or go hell for leather in a latin way? Is your stance to seethe like a boiling kettle or perhaps one volcanic eruption and it’s over?

Either way anger pushes buttons like grindr on speed dial. Don’t you just love people who express ‘passive aggressive’ under their tongue while ‘mopping & muttering’ cleaning the floor? This is likely to indicate “YOU should have done it”. Inter-personal relationships huh, no wonder they call them a “laboratory of learning”.

Passive aggressive types who can’t express in words what they want, really pushes buttons in those who do the volcanic eruption and it’s over. Trying to decode ‘shoulder shrugging’, ‘don’t know’, ‘not sure,’ ‘I’ll have what you’re having laziness’ can blow the whistle off any kettle in reaction, and there you have it – reacting – rather than responding, never works. Living with others who cause you to blow your top, making you feel irritated, ignored or victimised is difficult, but it’s even more difficult to accept that those feelings are not “given’ to you, you simply choose to employ them, because often you couldn’t get your own way.

Learning to accept the behaviour of others, rather than wish they acted out differently, is the key to emotional balance, and maybe anger is a luxury you can’t afford anymore. It always leaves you short changed. 12 Step Programme material talks about being ‘powerless over people, places and things’ which means we can only change our response to others, not change them. When you accept this at heart, it’s easier not to take things personally, if anger is around you. This reminds me of The 4 Toltec Agreements with Self, but the two that stand out for the solution to other peoples anger toward you, are these :

Don’t take Anything PERSONALLY. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality. When you become immune to the actions and thoughts of others, you won’t be a victim of needless suffering.

Don’t Make ASSUMPTIONS. Find the courage to quietly ask questions and express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings and thrust anger.

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Similarly another well read practiced tome, ‘A Course In Miracles (ACIM )’, states that “We are never upset for the reason we think”. This helped me a lot when in emotional turmoil about someone’s behaviour toward me. It stops me in my tracks to recall that what is happening in this moment, be it an angry client, or a late bus when I need it, is that getting angry is unlikely to make the bus arrive and that ACCEPTANCE is the answer to emotional wellness. This also means that when a client or friend is angry ‘they are never upset for the reason they think’ – it’s more about the unhealed back story. Whatever is unhealed in the past, like abandonment, abuse or guilt will resonate like a boiling kettle at some point. You just happened to be standing there. This does not mean that we avoid taking responsibility for our own actions, thoughts and behaviours – we are not exempt- but it does offer the facility to view the bigger picture of a quarrel or internalised angst.

Recovery from codependency also means creating boundaries in order to perceive a situation correctly. Checking out your role in someone’s anger toward you, means yes you might have responsibility here, so if you are wrong own it. If you feel ‘wronged’ question it, then recognise whether, this is ‘their stuff’ or ‘your stuff’. Getting defensive is not a solution but a fuller understanding of the bigger picture, including ‘you are never upset for the reason you think’, and not inviting debate, can end the game. Let feelings pass, see the facts and reconcile later.

larry-kramer-e1304350020598There are occasions where anger has relevance. I remember a time in the AIDS years when Larry Kramer rattled gay cages when he said ” gay men weren’t angry ENOUGH” over AIDS and created ACT UP in 1987, a direct action protest organisation over apathy to the solutions of friends dying, with the slogan SILENCE=DEATH. 78 years young, he is still is a fiery, angry, wonderful, beast of passion. So yes there are times when anger has a purpose! Some say we are not vocal enough about rising HIV rates when we live in a world of information about the virus, and the current rise of social media and armchair activism, though often criticised, has at least lent fervour to our spirit of injustice on world events.

Perhaps we need more Larry Kramers’s to remind us of our silence, where it’s wise to express anger and if WE don’t do it – who will?

http://blogcritics.org/book-review-the-four-agreements-by/

http://acim.org in many languages.

This blog of mine was first published in HIM-MAG on October 1st 2013 : http://www.him-magazine.com/2013/10/01/put-a-lid-on-it/

Spit it Out!

Learning to Express Yourself is a Key to Success.

Many people can’t ask for what they want because they don’t know how to express it. I was one of them. Now look at the word ‘express-ing’, it means fast, speedy and direct. As a kid I had a stammer from god knows when till a teenager and dreaded queues in shops and ticket offices. By the time I was asked what I wanted nothing came out but splutter, shame, public humiliation and deep embarrassment, everything except fast, speedy and direct.

davidparker_keepcalm_sept13On top of this I had a nervous squint. I contracted meningitis on the spine when I was 6 months old and over the next 12 years was a frequent visitor to brain damage tests with a final conclusion that I will ‘grow out of it’. Well I did when I discovered alcohol & drugs. This masterful brew gave me confidence, a clear speedy voice, though often sharp and bitchy. In future therapy sessions, I was told it was an act of survival, an old pattern, thinking I could not be heard. Oh and I was ‘a red’, a ginger, an outsider and gay, way before fetish sites put red as a hot topic of sexual attraction. All in all, a teenage nightmare. No wonder I embraced getting ‘out of it’.

We had no knowledge about addictions, codependency or ‘finding yourself’ in self help books in the 70’s, it was all about sexual liberation, learning to express yourself through your body, so I soon got the hang of that. Less talking, less stammering, less nervousness, more action.

This inadvertently led to many years of sexual addiction until a virus took hold of my priorities, being forced to learn how to express myself ‘to serve myself first’, not heed to the demands of others. This aspect of codependency is rife in the gay community and often leads to unsafe sex as people-pleasing leading the way to a man’s zipper, but the desire to be connected, to belong, to seek approval as an act of expression, can leave you short-changed when it comes to emotional satisfaction. Clearing up the mess of others as fixer, or being entangled in a relationship with someone who cannot express themselves via depression, past abuses, alcohol dependency does not bode well in the healthy relationship stakes.

fear-is-in-your-head1Assisting or understanding a partner with these issues, while detaching, in order not to get sucked in, is extremely difficult, but essential in order to manage your own sanity. Learning to say NO more often and ridding yourself of the belief that ‘when you get YOUR needs met, others lose’ is the key to emotional recovery. This may appear selfish in print, and to some unloving, but in reality the biggest aspect of relationship breakdown is ‘ not getting needs met’, because often those needs have failed to be expressed because of ‘harming’ the other person. Not wanting to rock the boat by telling the truth faster creates suppressed anger, game playing, dishonesty and fear. The opposite to love.

When I started a recovery process from active addiction over 30 years ago, I shockingly discovered I was shy. Quite the opposite from the persona I had created. Then I had to learn to communicate verbally & sexually without chemical support, and the stammer came back along with the nervous squint and it felt like I was back at square one, which I was. Back to being the emotional wreck of a teenager with the luggage of 17 years of using.

With self help groups and counselling I managed to explore the reasons, and the lessons of coping with and managing demons like ‘Not being good enough”, “feeling damaged” “not a real man” etc and turn these negative lies into positive statements of truth. In 1984 I began spending every night, for the next 3 years, going to sleep with Louise Hay affirmative tapes on a loop in order to find the real me buried beneath the shames. Then with yogic rebirthing breath work started to express my subconscious emotional fields, until I healed my body and released chronic active hep B from my body in 1996 without medication. That’s a whole story in itself.

davidparker_expressyourself_sept13Eventually the stammer and squint left me, confidence was acquired and I learn’t to ‘tell the truth faster’. For the past 10 years I have travelled the globe every 2 months leading seminars on personal development, holding a room of 30 -50 people for 3 days without a manual or script, just focussing on ‘the NOW’, and allowing things to occur organically. So perseverance paid off. The only way I could express myself in my using days was by being workaholic, by constantly thinking I needed to be in control, while my life was totally out of control. Today I am still clean, sober and Hep B free, long may it continue, a day at a time.

safe_image.phpThis was my monthly piece in HIM-MAGAZINE : http://www.him-magazine.com/2013/09/01/spit-it-out/