Dishonesty in online dating
And here, in the painted shed in which we are slumped on cushions drinking tea, a wood burner smokes, glimmering, in the corner.
Against this backdrop, the Reverend Richard Coles – Britain's most famous vicar, former pop star with The Communards and beloved Radio 4 host – is inhaling a round of sandwiches while enthusing about the joys of dogging."I was very much healed by the experience of anonymous sex with strangers in lay-bys," he says.
"I don't think I do, actually," he says, almost disguising his irritation.
"There are moments when I hear Church people say things and I think, 'Can I really be a public representative of an organisation that does this?
He is clear, too, on Christian responsibility to combat HIV/Aids.
"In areas where HIV is still lethally rampant, the Church should be giving out condoms. I don't see anything salutary in making it harder for people to protect themselves from HIV in the interests of doctrinal position."The virus has far more personal resonance for Coles than for most. "But the harder part to admit was that there was a dark glamour to being HIV positive, there was this drama and I was drawn to that."Throughout his book, the unlovely honesty is bracing, a lifetime's confession. "I wanted to dispel the myth of my own loveliness, because it ain't true," he says, his chocolatey baritone voice rising and thinning.
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listened, and then wailed, a howl of grief."Nearly 30 years on, the grief remains. what would the world have been like with Mark in it? (The madness of which is wonderfully illustrated with one line in the memoir: "Did I buy a speedboat? Screaming rows and petty jealousies amid this deathly, diseased landscape eroded their bond. Shame was one of the drivers that brought me to God, because I needed to be forgiven."For what? selfishness, silliness, wildness, taking shitloads of drugs, being irresponsible.
"When Mark died, I just could not believe in a universe that made sense of any kind," he says. And, during a European tour, Coles fell ill with shingles, common in the immuno-suppressed. And lying about being HIV positive was a big thing."He describes, too, his descent into pills and thrills after the break-up of The Communards. "I was addicted to the experience of taking drugs," he says, "not to any particular drug.
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