Authors: Will Self and David Gamble
Publishing House: Viking
'Perfidious Man' depicts the trend of a socially ailing masculinity - the concise book is an attempt of balancing a stance requiring a voice, a male voice amongst a plethora of feminist publications since the early 1990s. Initially, the vision seemed alien, due to male views being oppressed when it came to talking about them as an emotional entity. Masculine men prefer not to express their plights, nor do they huff or engage in flamboyant gestures of displeasure. They sit in corners of bars in clusters of three's, whining the night away, murmuring their lives would be tainted, marred if any form of ill wordage projected from their rubbery cake-holes into the direction of a feminist, who'll in seconds will recruit eight members near her vicinity to disperse of masculine findings. Men don't work in the same means when it comes to gender solidarity - instead they're keep mum and cower to the corner, hoping they won't get barred. The term: "Calm down, calm down, missus;" is inscribed on the Liverpudlian male's brain; repressing masculinity - afraid, lost, resembling a tortured soul. Long gone are the 1980s, when Bonnie Tyler croaked she wanted a hero - fresh from the fight. Now-a-days - fresh faced, moisturized skin, manicured finger nails, along with a healthy bank balance 'metro-man,' would only suffice.
David Gamble a photographer, observer, and evidently has an entity of a man. Peruses amongst the artists and harnesses celebrity as it is his food and water; spontaneously clicking naturalism - from the banal to the poignant to the inane. His project, 'Perfidious Man,' really asks questions as muses - what is it like being a man in early twenty first century Britain? His probing gets a response from novelist, social commentator, Will Self who David Gamble invites on his quest in getting a coherent, plausible answer. Gamble might as well be sifting for zodiac signs on Hastings pebbled beech. Self tends to offload a fair amount of literature emissions before unloading a gem. 'Perfidious Man' is remarkably short at 160 pages long, including Gamble's natural photos of man in relevant 'Rodin styled' perplexities, on gallivants and play. The collection simulates "masculinity" - Whereby, Will Self addresses the mood, ambience, and character - defining his own master-craft in words; by flicking through his own background experiences, socio-economic developments, prominent moments that actually defines what man is? Not that everyman is anywhere close to being a Will Self clone, heaven forbid. We'll be craving for Radio Four phone-ins asking; Wayne Rooney; Man or United? - Mel Gibson; Brave or got Heart?
Of course when it comes to manning up Self throws in the metaphoric 'minuscule penis concept' satire that's profoundly the case, according to his Psychologist, known as 'Zak Busner' in Self's novels. Or when Self's manliness gets an ego deflation moment, he denotes man's natural masculinity is to 'go out guns blazing' - 'tempers riled up to boiling point' - 'abusing anything that moves; swallows and hedges, each line-up to take the flack.' Role models are scarce - they've been replaced by feminists. Images of maleness, sit with the elderly, charismatic Quentin Crisp, random drinkers and protestors, and the gargoyle face of Stephen Hawking. Male role models have let modern manhood down; 'Perfidious Man' as David Gamble the photographer portrays lost maleness sublimely; however, the book concept opens up an entirely different role for Self: 'parading himself as a role model for modern maleness'. He plays on it with witticism, yet magnificently flourishes out details of his late Pa's penis. A misconception here, masculinity's trait is to not divulge incredulous private details about colouring or genitalia arrangement. Men keep it hidden from other men so not to deflate their male egos; away from the smirks and leering gazes of Stephen Frys'.
Coll-in the plumber!
Startlingly normal poses by Gamble begs me to observe beyond the images - nothing emerges, not anything new or unknown. Is it the drip, drip of feminism in our society which has soften masculinity, too the extent, seeing lambaste male parading has been superseded by the females. Today, they're afraid of being labeled, told they're sexist, by females that exhale sexism from every pore of their existence. So, Gamble's pictures to me do appear normal, I'm a product of society conditioning; but thirty years ago they'll be far from the norm. Gender roles have crossed, causing a myriad of social confusions - and society has allowed the plight to happen, for the sake of equality. Self, known for his deliverance of perverse humanity, breaks into a musing premise of trans-gender roles and then introduces 'trump-card' Stephen Whittle. An intelligible, articulated male professor, who was born a women; whereby, in his own words hits home how emotionally retarded society our modern western society is, in regards to masculinity. For any recognition of having a gender change the labyrinth from morphing to female to male is on the same scale as socializing with a Minotaur. His compelling account underlines Self's notion that masculinity is in chaos. You could hear Self's humanistic tones through the words of Whittle - as if Self was prodding deeper into the bee-hive trying to get the honey. Whittle's words of 'masculinity being stripped from its origins' denotes that social criminality has taken place, over a long period of time; the result of the constant intravenous 'drip, drip of feminism' - plausible rhetoric, albeit, the facts speak for themselves.
It is interesting how David Gamble plays out the images as if a well orchestrated slide-show and Will Self and Professor Whittle digest the content, to their students i.e. the readers. Is it educational? Maybe not; but stimulates a historical muse into where we've come from. Masculinity has been incredulously diluted - and the media has subconsciously aided it. How many times have we heard the fad concept of 'metro-man' - gone online to see what type of man we are on social network sites? Maleness has been recycled re-packaged - re-branded - re-used - re-vamped to the point that the origins have become ambiguous. Only individuals who've experienced trans-genders from female to male can bring the subject up without being classed as sexist. A very clever piece of maneuvering from David Gamble and Will Self - Stephen Whittle spoke with decorum and clarity - a grandiose intellectual that mustered up genuine clout to a subject a feminist would disparagingly acknowledge. Recommend.©1st2thebar 2011