PDF The Penguin Book of Gay Short Stories

Book description

Here's something for all you armchair philologists - it's a new functional shift (I think that's the term). The word "gay" as we know formerly meant happy, pleasing, optimistic, fun-encrusted, joy-bedaubed, that sort of thing, as in the very first line of "Island of Dreams" by The Springfields (1963) :

"I wandered the streets and the gay crowded places"

Then in the early to mid 1960s the new meaning bubbled up from the homosexual demi-monde, maybe as a replacement for "queer" which really did need replacing. By the 70s and 80s the new meaning had replaced the old one.

But now my daughter Georgia (aged 13) tells me that one very common phrase used at school is "that's really gay" or "that's so gay" - and the intended meaning is nothing to do with homosexuality, because it now just means "that's really rubbish" or "that's so feeble". I daresay the latest meaning has grown out of the well-attested strident homophobia of certain types of working-class British boys, but now its use has floated free of its origin, as indeed the second meaning did of its own in turn.

So - the stories in this volume, whilst rarely gay (first meaning) are very definately not gay (third meaning). But they are gay (second meaning).


Even in 1972 Gilbert O'Sullivan in a song about being left at the altar was singing

To think that only yesterday
I was cheerful, bright and gay

(Alone Again (Naturally))

but he was a bit of a throwback. Great song, by the way.

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Book info

PublisherPenguin Books
Release date 01.12.1994
Pages count688
File size4.5 Mb
eBook formatPaperback, (torrent)En
Book rating4.13 (85 votes)
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