Diary of an It Boy
Emmanuel Ray from London
London Burlesque Week kicked off in sensational style on board HMS President on the Thames near London’s Victoria Embankment. International Burlesque Impresario Chaz Royal had done a fant-ass-tic job of building nipple-tasselled excitement amongst London’s glitterati who descended upon the boat dressed in all their finery. The performers were all attractive talented show specimens who glorified the age old art of stripping in style. Karyn Louise, our photographer had a wonderful time and wanted to wear some of the costumes. All guests in attendance had an enjoyable evening at this spectacular event. (Top left: Emmanuel Ray speaks at Styled & Frocked at Juju Chelsea. photo by Karyn Louise)
I attended the Styled & Frocked fashion show at Juju in Chelsea’s Kings Road as special guest. The event was in aid of the Tree of Hope children’s charity that raises funds for children’s specialist medical treatment and therapy in the UK and also provides support and advice to their families. I gave a short speech highlighting the importance of using fashion and other visual treats to draw attention towards worthy causes. Hellen Gooden of Bellviso make up did a fantastic job of airbrushing my skin to perfection, while Miguel Mendes - Hair By Miguel - gave me a glossy sleek mane. Models of Diversity put on a fascinating fashion show presenting outfits by Get Waisted and Bo Carter. I was delighted to meet BBC’s children’s TV Presenter Cerrie Burnell, an inspiration to dis-ABLED people who hope to make a career in entertainment. We had a long chat before she made her speech and were later joined by the glamorous Sally Farmiloe-Neville who acted as Presenter for the evening.
As the entire nation celebrated the long weekend courtesy of The Royal Wedding, I was on my way out of London for the countryside romance I told you about last month. Dustings of canary yellow rapeseed separated the gigantic green fields that whizzed past me as the near empty train cheerily hurried out of the big smoke. The bright April sun shone merrily in the clear blue sky, adding to mother nature’s version of this season’s colour blocking trend in fashion. I was in a merry mood, looking forward to meeting Lawrence-the-Admirer (I like calling him that). We had met at the birthday party of Johnny, an IT Consultant I had had a brief fling with while on the rebound after I broke up with my ex-lover Marcel. Ambitious, hard working and passionate about his work in business consultancy, Lawrence was shy, yet chatty and somewhat coy – a delightfully entertaining if not slightly annoying combination. I do seem to attract some interesting suitors, I hear you say!
Stephen Haselip, events executive at Hampton By Hilton hotel in Corby Northamptonshire was right on time to pick me up at the train station. Professional, pleasant and welcoming, Stephen related the history of Corby summarising its transformation from rural village to industrial town. Famous for its steel industry, Corby was also named the world’s friendliest town in an article published by CNN last month. Ironically some Corby’s residents thought this funny, mentioning their crime rate, while admitting it has dropped in recent years. Lawrence had strongly recommended I stay at the Hampton by Hilton and thankfully I already knew Stephen through events and promotions, so all I had to make was a phone call to arrange my stay. Stephen showed me around everywhere including the gym. A fitness instructor himself, he probably assumed I would use the gym regularly. I hadn’t seen the inside of a gym in 6 months and the last time I was at a certain popular gym in Mayfair, I had ended up in one of the private shower cubicles with a hot Brazilian guy and his cute Japanese boyfriend. Well, it is exercise in a way, isn’t it? Burns the calories!
(Top left: Emmanuel Ray, David Shipman and Steven Haselip at Rockingham Castle. Below: David Shipman helps Emmanuel Ray try on a medieval soldier's helmut. Top, right: "I am sure they had secret sex in this alleyway!" Emmanuel Ray shares a joke with David Shipman. Below: Emmanuel Ray and David Shipman at Rockingham Castle entrance. All photos by Ian Cameron.
What struck me at first at the hotel was how professional and efficient the staff were. Never a sour expression, never a delay. Everything seemed to happen on time and they waited hand and foot on me to make sure my stay was a pleasant one. PJ at reception was a vibrant girl with twinkling eyes peeping through a neatly groomed blond fringe. Kate, Gary and his charming voluptuous girlfriend Zoe kept me company as I used them as therapists during my late night drinking sessions. They seemed to have an answer to each one of my problems. These guys took customer services to a whole new level, which was clearly evident when the hotel’s General Manager Deborah Dew reminisced about carrying drunk naked men back to their rooms and waking up guests who had fallen asleep in the corridors! The joys of alcohol somehow become exaggerated in hotels! Marketing director Helen Jana-Mayiati also stopped by to say hello and we all said our good byes an hour later.
I was thrilled to hear that Lawrence-the-Admirer had arranged a private tour of the legendary Rockingham Castle, just for me. The castle was closed to the public but was reopening just for Britain’s First It Boy! Feeling very important and slightly big headed, I decided to make the most of it. Stephen drove me to the castle accompanied by his friend and journalist Ian Cameron. We were greeted by David Shipman, the distinguished gentlemanly head guide of the castle who related its fascinating history. As he opened the main door, I stepped back in time, into the iron age. At the entrance to this majestic castle built by William The Conqueror in the 11th century, stood Lawrence, awaiting my visit. A dull golden sunbeam lit his neatly styled auburn hair, before flowing down his slim toned physique that was wrapped in a well tailored outfit. He wore a navy blue shirt, faded jeans, a white linen jacket and beige shoes. The excitement of seeing him was enough for me to run towards him and take him in an eager embrace, kissing him passionately. Lawrence was the shy type. He did not like pictures and he certainly wasn’t what we gay men call “out.” The kiss startled him a bit, but like a duck to water, he took to it with ease, going with the flow, as I kissed him longer. Ian and Stephen started chatting to each other trying hard not to make it obvious that they were enjoying the show. David had the decency to look away modestly for a few moments, before uttering a sharp “Right,” announcing the beginning of the tour.