World AIDS Day

Today marks World AIDS Day, and 40 years since the first cases were recorded in the United States. Thought it might be good to start a thread to highlight music / film / art / literature / whatever on the topic. Can be as focused or tenuous as you like.

Few things I’m fond of to kick thing off:

Derek Jarman’s Blue - broadcast shortly before his death in 1994, a monologue voiced by various actors about his deteriorating condition accompanied only by a blue screen).

We Were Here - brilliant documentary about how the pandemic affected the gay community in San Francisco - fully on YouTube

This LCD track -

To tell the truth I saw it coming
The way you were breathing

How to Survive a Plague - focuses on the start of Act Up

We Were Always Here - Podcast focusing on its impact on the black gay community in the UK


Thought it might be worth sharing some links about PrEP and u=u too


the fact that, with treatment, if it’s undetectable it’s untransmittable absolutely blows my mind still. amazing stuff when you consider that any discussion of hiv and aids in the 90s was, yeah you get it you die


I remember thinking this article was very good, it’s from 2017 (and by my friend who I mentioned to you elsewhere)

A bit of a tangent but hope it’s ok as Derek Jarman has been covered here - there’s a DJ show starting at Manchester Art Gallery this week


ooh didn’t know about this. the derek jarmans that manchester art gallery have in their permanent collection are so hardcore, fucking serious business. i love them so much

I booked a ticket and our work xmas lunch has been scheduled at the same time and I suspect I’ll be in the bad books if I don’t go. So if anyone wants my slot at 12pm wed 8th then let me know!
EDIT: I’m going to go at 3.15 on Friday now if anyone wants to join me

What’s the modern day consensus on Philadelphia do we reckon?

Feels like a landmark moment in “humanising” (for want of a much better word) the subject in a way that was probably very bold at the time but it definitely suffers from it’s social context as well and it is extremely sanitised in it’s depiction of a gay relationship.


How to survive a plague is incredible.

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Yep, Peter Staley has just released a book which hopefully santa is bringing me


Yeah this pretty much, the depiction of a loving gay couple who a barely tough each other is really off.

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If you ever get to see the televised version of Angels in America I’d heartily recommend it too, about Roy Cohn the prosecuting lawyer during the McCarthy anti-communist trials who eventually died of aids in the 1980s.

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SAFE by Todd Haynes is indirectly about AIDS and is a really great film

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Watched it when it was broadcast on Channel 4 at the time, over 2 nights IIRC. Need to rewatch. I saw the stage adaptation a few years ago at the National which was a bit of a marathon (about 8 hrs in total, with breaks).

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Yeah it’s a two parter! And sort of unrelentingly sad but the more abstract parts are totally beautiful.

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I had no idea about this, assumed it was about a grandparent. Was always my favourite of theirs anyway and stunningly powerful, so thanks for adding a layer to it

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also been meaning to watch Angels in America for years so might start that this month

I’ve never seen Blue, I want to. I watched Jarman’s The Garden last year, there’s some amazing imagery. I can’t find it online but there’s a section near the end where Derek reads one of his poems called Cold Cold Cold about the friends he’d lost, it’s brutally moving. The text of it is at the bottom of this page

Pet Shop Boys have many songs about AIDS, It Couldn’t Happen Here, Dreaming of the Queen, Being Boring. Your Funny Uncle is one of the saddest songs I’ve ever heard. It’s about the same friend of Neil’s who inspired Being Boring, Neil said of it “All the details are true: the cars in slow formation, and so on. He did have an uncle, who had been in the army all of his life and suddenly found himself at the funeral of his evidently gay nephew who’d died of Aids. I think it must have been quite a difficult situation for him, but he was really nice and dignified and spoke to all of his nephew’s friends. I had to give a reading, and the bit I read was from the book of Revelations…at the end it says there’s somewhere where there’s no pain or fear, and I found it a really moving piece of prose, and attached it to the end of the song.”

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I originally thought it was about a miscarriage, but then read that it’s apparently about an affair being discovered - it’s a great song, whatever the meaning you put on it!

Probably an inelegant example, but as a kid it was Waterfalls by TLC that really hit home how unexpected and tragic it could be. Obviously this was well into the 90s, and I think a lot of the AIDS/HIV discourse was about using condoms and having safe sex. So more about personal responsibility and less about the rights of LGBT people.

even the couple in the song and video is straight

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