Good As You by Paul Flynn

Review published on June 24, 2017.

This book was one of my top five reads of this year! SERIOUSLY! I truly loved this book; not only was a lot of it based in and around my hometown of Manchester, but the author grew up in the same area as I did (though I must mention the fact that we don’t know each other) so it made the reading of this book so much more magical because I know the road names and the clubs he spoke so often about.

So, Paul has been a journalist for 23 years. He began his writing at City Life magazine in Manchester and he doesn’t write like your average journalist either! He has such a lovely easy writing style it makes reading a total pleasure. The book is a story of how the power of pop culture can place real pressure on the government and the media to make tangible steps towards change. Its also mindful to mention that we are approaching the legalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales, and Good As You walks you through exactly what it took to get that legalisation.

Its also filled with exerts of conversations with celebrities who are out and proud and they make for awesome reading, they are very honest interviews, nothing is out of bounds. But its not just the interviews that make this book a must read, Paul also interviews some of his friends, like Alison, one of his life-long friends. She talks openly about individuals she met and has helped undergoing treatment for HIV and The Lighthouse. Whilst activist Robert Whittaker discusses his early encounters with a then unknown disease, his own diagnosis and the impetus behind the Terrance Higgins Trust.

The book is based in and around the eighties and nineties, but the detail in which Paul talks about the musical soundtracks breaking through at that time, along with the artists themselves was like travelling back in time. It even made me re-listen to some of the songs like Bronski Beat’s Smalltown Boy. I was a young girl when this first came out and I adored it then, but listening to this as an adult the song took on a whole new meaning and now I see its importance for a whole different reason. I loved hearing him talk about Boy George and Culture Club, Elton John, Freddie Mercury and George Michael and how important each of them were not only to the music industry but they all played their part in standing up for change.

I feel like 50 years is not long enough to have had legalised homosexuality, it’s far too short a time, it’s ridiculous that a government can tell people who they can and can not love! We love who we love and that’s the end of it. I’m thankful to each and every activist who stood up and worked towards changing the legislation, everyone should be free to love who they love, we need to stop the hate.

This wonderful book talks in depth about HIV and AIDS as well as The Lighthouse and The Terrance Higgins Trust these are all talked about at length and it makes for fascinating reading. If you want a book that’s outside your usual reads then this is definitely one for your list, summed up this book is “from prejudice to pride: 30 years of gay Britain”.

Pixie Allen 5/5

Good As You by Paul Flynn
Ebury Press 9781785032929 hbk Apr 2017

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