Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Anyone for Camping?

I've got a deep, dark confession to make, Banditas and friends! In the early '80s, I had a HUGE crush on Adam Ant whose picture graces the top of this blog. When he sang Ant Music, I was in ant heaven. Or perhaps I should say the ANT-eroom to heaven! But the weird thing is I only liked AA when he wore make-up and his rather naff highwayman gear. When he looked like a normal guy, I wasn't interested. Why?

I'm a huge fan of the Scarlet Pimpernel but find him much more attractive when he's lily-livered Sir Percy Blakeney. I much prefer him making up groan-worthy verse about seeking those Frenchies everywhere than saving people from the guillotine!

I could go on. Captain Jack Sparrow. That man can wear eyeliner! David Bowie in the 1970s. ALL Restoration comedy which I developed a real fondness for when I did English lit at uni. Frances Crawford from Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles. Camp as they come but SOOOOO dashing and gorgeous. Lord Peter Wimsey from Dorothy L. Sayers' classic mysteries.
I have a fairly loose theory that the reason I find these men attractive has something to do with their ability with the English language. Well, Adam Ant aside! But all of these dudes can talk their way out of a corner better than most. Do these particular examples float my boat because they might be camp, but they're dashing as well?

So a couple of questions. Am I alone in my attraction to these theatrical but extremely gorgeous manifestations of masculinity? Do you have any camp heroes of your own - and no, Caren, we're not talking about the scouting movement! What is the eternal lure of the camp?


Keira Soleore said...

Color me clueless, FoAnna, but I'm mystified by the term camp? Would a campy man wear eyeliner and be a dandy? Is Beau Brummell camp?

That edition of Scarlet Pimpernel with Andrews and Ian McKellen floats all my boats as does Capt Jack Sparrow. (Why oh why didn't he get the girl?)

Anna Campbell said...

Keira, is camp an English term? Sorry! I forget that we're occasionally divided by a common language. It's sort of overtly theatrical. I looked up Websters but it gave me a really silly definition so I didn't use it. There's certainly an element of effeminacy in it. Beau Brummell definitely counts as camp! Men in eyeliner are definitely camp. A lot of new romantic music and musicians are definitely camp. Ziggy Stardust is definitely camp. The old Stewart Granger swashbuckling films are definitely camp. Hmm, clearly camp works for you if Jack Sparrow and Anthony Andrews do!

Banditas, can anyone help us with a definition of camp?

Christine Wells said...

Hmm, camp is like one judge's definition of pornography--I know it when I see it! But I would say flamboyant in a slightly feminine or effeminate way is a good definition. It's usually used in connection with a male, but I'd also label Absolutely Fabulous camp entertainment. Drag queens, the rock band KISS when they used to paint their faces, anything over the top like that. Even the '60s television series Batman was considered camp because it was so costumed and colorful and stagey.

Anyway, Anna, loved this post! I am highly entertained by these characters but I wouldn't say I'm terribly attracted to them. Except the Scarlet Pimpernel, but only because I knew he was a man of steel underneath! But hey, whatever floats your boat!

Donna MacMeans said...

I don't think camp is a uniquely British expression. Anything over the top would do. The first thing that comes to mind is The Rocky Horror Picture Show for ultimate campiness.

Keira - Beau Brummel is definitely camp (smile).

I never had a crush on Adam Ant, but David Bowie was hot. I love Jack SParrow's character. I think what I find attractive about camp is that the purveyor has to be extremely self-confident in a swaggering way to pull it off.

Hmmm..I'll have to think more about it when I wake up --

Suzanne Welsh said...

Foanna, I adore the Scarlet Pimpernel! And even though I loved both sides of Sir Percy, I believe it was the contrast in his two sides, both used to protect the innocent that I loved.

As for camp men, I'm afraid I have to include Freddy Mercury in there. Besides the fact the man had a voice to die for, he was veryyyyyyyy sexy...uhm, apparently to both sexes.

Joan said...

I had a crush on Robin from the '60's BATMAN show....

But that's as far as I go into liking the camp stuff. Scruff and eyeliner? Together? Nope, can't see it.

I agree with Suz though, I would like the Scarlet Pimpernel because underneath is a rugged hero dedicated to saving the innocent.

Anna Sugden said...

Ahhh Adam Ant - loved him! Like you, Foanna, only made up. He was kind of weedy otherwise. I also liked a number of the punk stars and a few of the New Romantics (boy am I showing my age!)

But the ultimate was Billy Idol!!! YUM!

Camp to me is a male with effeminate tendencies. It can range from the mild (Adam and Jack) to the more OTT (Tim Curry in Rocky Horror, John Inman in Are you Being Served? and Dame Edna)

I don't know that I like camp per se. I do like rebels and bad boys -
I was always more Stones than Beatles and dark, bad cop over blonde good cop.

To me, these guys are rebelling against the expected codes of society (didn't that sound grand?! LOL) and tempting you to join them.

I can be tempted.

Anna Sugden said...

Oh forgot the super yummy David Bowie. *sigh*.

jo robertson said...

Camp is alive and well here in the states too! I think of campy as something so outrageous and over the top in its theatricality that it has its own sophisticated appeal.

Like Donna says The Rocky Horror Picture Show comes to mind first. It had a cult following and my Goth students used to attend the showings and recite the lines along with the actors, dress up as characters, that kind of thing. It gets quite . . . out there.

But camp/campy in general refers to something outrageously theatrical but also sophisticated and smart in its own way, I think.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

I like Christine's definition - colorful, costumed and stagey. Well said, Mdme DW. Oh, and Jo's masterful " outrageous and over the top in its theatricality that it has its own sophisticated appeal." There you go.

I agree w/ both Fo and Vrai Anna, Adam Ant only appealed when in full war paint, same w/ Tim Curry in Rocky Horror. Gotta say, though that I loved both Percy and Zorro for the same reason as Christine - the steely-eyed, deeply capable, principled man beneath the wimpy fop.

But be it the paint or foppishness, its the ego and strength of the men beneath the disguise that attracts. You got some big brass ones if you can stand to be labled fop or fey but have the strength of character to play it and know it isn't "you."

Also, there's a super-high-intensity animal magnetism to all the characters/rockers mentioned. They each have this certain mesmerizing quality. Even Robin from Batman and Robin days. (I thought he was yummy too, more so than Batman in the old TV shows)

That being said, Jack Sparrow seems to top them all, doesn't he? Devil-may-care, but deeply and resolutely principled underneath. (Skewed principles, but principles nonetheless, right?)

Great post, Anna! Grins.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

PS - By the way, I think you hit on it Anna, in that it's often too the way they use the language. Music! :>

Caren Crane said...

Ah, yes, men in eyeliner. I loved Adam Ant! He had those lovely full lips and great breeches. *g* Also adored Michael Hutchens of INXS, who was also quite camp.

In engineering school (early 80s), there was a gorgeous guy from Jordan. He had tatooed eyeliner (like Prince - the king of camp!). This guy was quite masculine, but the eyeliner added such an exotic edge. And he had *great* hair. Y'all know how I am about hair!

And Foanna, I think it unfair to tease me with a blogline that promises I can tap my inner Girl Scout and doesn't deliver. Though I don't mind the side trip with Adam, David, Beau, Jack and the Scarlet Pimpernel a'tall!

doglady said...

Gotta' love Tim Curry in RHPS! The height of camp! And I love Captain Jack Sparrow! I have always been fond of Beau Brummel, the Pimpernel and Lord Byron - Regency era camp for sure! I think the most attractive thing about them is that are sure enough of their own masculinity that they can play the fop with bravura and we still find them sexy!

Caren Crane said...

Doglady, did you read Diana Gabaldon's 'Outlander' series? I would pay a lot to see Jamie Fraser in his Moroccan red leather heels!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, guys, this has turned into a really interesting discussion! You're right - it's actually the contrast between the charisma and sex appeal and the utterly OTT quality that makes these particular foppish types fascinating. I hadn't really got that before, but that's it. And there's that smart, sophisticated, self-mocking quality that works for me too. I love a man who can laugh at himself. Because there's such a 'knowing' quality with camp, isn't there? All these men are masters of their particular game.

Oh, man, I'd forgotten Tim C in RHPS. I thought he was SOOOO sexy ("come up to the lab, and see what's on the slab. I see you shiver with antici..." Who could resist?).

And Freddie M? What a showman! And Zorro!

Doglady, you're right about Byron. I hadn't included him in my list of camp luminaries, but he SO belongs there.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Anna, I was so laughing about RHPS and antici... I can sing just about every line from the bloody thing. (And yes, Cassondra, our pals are rubbing off on us, language wise.) Caren, I love the hair too...

Beth said...

I wouldn't have said I was a camp lover until Caren said Michael Hutchins was camp *g* I crushed on him as a teen as well as Prince! My hard rock loving husband and son just groaned during the Super Bowl's half time show when I admitted I actually LIKED listening to the artist formerly known as Prince ;-)

Captain Jack beats them all though!

Great post, Anna!

Anna Campbell said...

Jeanne, I caught RHPS on cable TV the other day and it was tragic that I, too, knew nearly every line. Something we can try next time we get together over some red wine!

Beth, Michael H was definitely camp, as is Prince. There's something almost serpentine about both of them, isn't there? Yet again, I think it's the knowing theatricality that I respond to.

Beth said...

Well, I must say that I do like Nathan Lane, especially in the Birdcage - he does a great woman. And I think Cary Grant was the epitome of what a well turned out man should be. However, for the most part I like my men alpha - Russell Crowe in Gladiator and LA Confidential, Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, and Joaquin Phoenix.

Anna Sugden said...

Not only do I also know all the words ... I can do the Time Warp! It's just a jumpt to the left ...

Ahhh ... Cary Grant. *sigh*.

Which reminds me of Errol Flynn *sigh* He fits the camp and sexy category. I loved his autobiography - what a rascal!

Helen said...

The seventy's was a good era for guys putting on make-up and dressing in high heels and satin clothes and I loved them all I went to a lot of concerts at that time and listened to all their music I love the Rocky Horror Picture Show I saw that a couple of times live at a theatre in Glebe. In a lot of the historicals I have read the way some of the males are dressed in their bright colours and clothes that obviously was the fashion then in Shana Galen's Pride and Petticoates there was a character called Freddy who was so over the top on the way he dressed but I loved him he helped make that book fantastic so yes I love people and characters in books and films that do things differently.
Great post
Have Fun

Anna Campbell said...

Beth, hear you totally, my friend, about the alphas. Mind you, I had to laugh - Russell Crowe made quite a good living before he was a famous Hollywood star playing Franknfurter in Rocky Horror in a travelling stage show around Oz and NZ. I never saw him, sadly. I would have loved to see our Russ in fishnets.

Helen, did you see our Russ in Rocky Horror? I agree with you about glam rock. Wasn't it cool?

Oh, Anna, the Time Warp! Takes me back to school dances!

Keira Soleore said...

Thank you all for educating me on on "camp."

Oooh, Queen Freddie and Antonio Zorro. Very, very cool!!

I have to agree that Johnny Depp seems to be the epitome of what should be really effeminate but the overall effect isn't. Though taken individually the gestures, the walk, the makeup, everything is effeminate.

Caren Crane said...

Beth, never forget Joaquin in "Gladiator". He was a bit camp there! Of course, I am a big fan of Cillian Murphy in "Breakfast On Pluto". Not quite the same, since he was clearly homosexual and cross-dressed. But he's so pretty with those big blue eyes! *g*

Beth said...

Oh Anna, Russell Crowe in fishnets, please say there are pictures somewhere.

Caren I thought about Joaquin in Gladiator, he was definitely camp there, but the thing he kept on doing with his tongue in that movie kind of creeped me out. He was also very beta in The Village, but I think it is the scar on his lip that screams alpha to me.