Search Browse On This Day Map Quotations Timeline Research Free Datasets Remembered About Contact

On Holding The Man

Mon 4 Apr 2011 In: Books View at Wayback View at NDHA

Holding The Man has been released as part of the Popular Penguin collection and a number of people seem to be picking it up for a first or second read. The beautifully, brutally, heartbreaking story is one that will sit heavy in your chest. In 2009 I saw the Silo Theatre production of Holding The Man. It was opening night, where traditionally you hang around for free drinks afterwards, but my gay friend and I were out of there like a shot. He was in pools of tears and had to walk up the street with me for hugs so he could compose himself. I wasn't in a much better state.     Holding The Man is a powerful story. A heartbreaking, horribly beautiful, raw, powerful story. Because it's a true story. A story of how HIV came along and ripped our beautiful men from us like a thief in the night. And Charlie McDermott's portrayal of a young man who goes from the highs of the footy field and young love, to a slow brutal death in a hospital bed, has haunted me since. A few months ago I was browsing a bookstore and saw Penguin had put out copies of Holding The Man in its Popular Penguins series and picked up a copy for an utter bargain. It sat on my shelf for a number of weeks because I guess to be honest part of me dreaded reading it and knowing I would end up in buckets of tears. Then one day I just really needed something new to read so I picked it up and was drawn into the world of Tim Conigrave. Conigrave's account is honest. There is no bullshit. He doesn't skirt around his mistakes or his failings.. I think about all the mistakes I have made in my 28 years and it strikes me that Tim and the boy he fell in love with, John Caleo, never really got a chance to begin. The writer's pure humanness is what makes the book hurt so much more when it plunges into the reality of trying to survive a virus which very little was known about at the time. Reading Conigrave's writing is like nattering with a gay mate on your couch over a couple of beers. It's just so personal. I'm only a generation or so behind the time when HIV suddenly ripped through our community and I just can't imagine losing my lovers, my best friends, or my family to such a thief in the night. Holding The Man and the story of Tim Conigrave will forever sit heavy in my chest. Jacqui Stanford - 4th April 2011    

Credit: Jacqui Stanford

First published: Monday, 4th April 2011 - 10:56am

Rights Information

This page displays a version of a GayNZ.com article that was automatically harvested before the website closed. All of the formatting and images have been removed and some text content may not have been fully captured correctly. The article is provided here for personal research and review and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of PrideNZ.com. If you have queries or concerns about this article please email us