Physical

A blog by Tom Gale. A new LGBTQ+ writer. Salford, England. Aug 2022

Greetings and salutations to you my merry band of readers. Lovely to have the pleasure of your company once again. Thank you.

Back in the olden days. When I say olden days I’m referring to 1981.

The Australian songstress Olivia Newton John recorded the single Physical. For her (pause for dramatic effect) eleventh studio album. The video was a treat for young men like me. Closeted gay in the military. As it featured actors doing physical activities. Well they were pedalling and lifting light weights barely doing enough to break a sweat. I knew from doing my Basic Fitness Test. Run/ walk a mile and a half in 15 minutes or less. Take a three minute rest then run back this time in 11 and a half minutes or less. If you failed it meant you most likely wouldn’t get a pay rise and you would keep doing it until you did.

It was around this time that I discovered that I enjoyed playing a sport for the first time. Squash was the sport. I wasn’t terribly good at it but I enjoyed it and it made me sweat. A quick shower and change after and I was in the swimming pool doing lengths of a 25m pool for a bit. I’m not going to tell you how long I took as you can read all about it in my soon to be published memoir. I will tell you this, I wasn’t the last.

When I went home on leave that year. I decided to surprise my mum and so she had no warning I was coming. She opened the door and looked me up and down. Then asking the same as she would anyone else.

‘Yes can I help you?’

‘It’s me mum.’

I thought her eyes were going to pop out. She screamed loud enough to wake up the neighbours.

‘Oh Tommyson. Look at you. The army have made a man of you.’

I started howling with laughter and grabbed in a bear hug lifting her off the ground. Yes I was pleased to see her but more to stop her blubbering all over my clean pressed uniform.

So going back to ONJ and her physical men. It was good to see men being objectified sexually in a pop video for a change. I had no one that I could share that with plus I hadn’t quite reached puberty yet.

It was an alright song on an alright album. Even though the lyrics were about having sex. There was nothing in your face or gratutious about it. Just the fact that ONJ had had a pretty good career and could now insist on putting her own stamp on productions. Due in most part to her being lousy in Grease. That’s Sandra Dee lousy with virginity in Grease.

It was a huge smash hit with some terrific music and dancing. A fun film for the Summer. Would you be surprised to hear that I saw that film, no less than twelve times in the Summer of 78 as a boy soldier. I was with a different girl, and yes that does say girl, everytime. I loved musicals and of course all the girls wanted to see the dreamy John Travolta. It was always on me and think that was part of the reason I went twelve times, word about a guy paying to get you into the pictures. Spread like wildfire.

Sorry was that a question from the back? My favourite character? That’s easy Rizzo played by Stockard Channing. That song The Worst Thing I Could Do was just so clever.

Sadly ONJ died of cancer a couple of weeks ago. She was only 73. So to celebrate her life and career I have been buying vintage 1970s clothing. There’s a special edition of a club I’ve enjoyed over the years. Your Disco Needs You or YDNY and the rather wonderful and talented DJ John Loved Wimmin will be behind the desk giving us so much great music it’ll be one to remember. I will be dressed up and the reason for that is so that I can raise money for my charity. Macmillan Cancer Support.

I shall include details of pages to go to should you wish to do so when you finally get to see what I look like when making a fool of myself for a good cause.

Right I’m off to put on the fake tan and I’ll see you all again very soon.

Until then take care of one another. Peace.

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