Do I Sound Gay? review: ‘A fascinating subject, but pointless personal quest’

13:03 01 November 2015

Do I Sound Gay?

Do I Sound Gay?

Archant

Is it possible to de-gay a voice? Obviously not, but the role voice plays in determining character is an interesting subject, says Michael Joyce.

What is the root of homophobia? Maybe it is not the sodomy that enrages straight society, but the longer, clearer vowel sounds and the sibilant Ss. Most people these days have at least a gritted teeth tolerance for acts done between consenting adults, but many still draw the line at effeminacy. (A reversal from the ‘70s when homosexuality wasn’t much tolerated but everybody loved John Inman and Larry Grayson.)

This documentary suggests that the prejudice against camp-sounding, effeminate voices is shared by many gay men. After the break up of a relationship, film-maker David Thorpe decides that his effeminate voice is the problem. Around that time he found himself on a bus full of gay men and describes the hoi-polloi as sounding like “braying ninnies.” So he sets himself the task of making his voice less gay.

The role your voice plays in determining your character is a fascinating one. Thorpe’s film explores various theories about why some gay men have effeminate voices and the place of camp-sounding performers in American culture. The stuff not about Thorpe is interesting. For example, the film examines how in the movies a camp voice was originally linked with being sophisticated and upper class before gradually becoming associated with the sinister and villainous, often through the examples of the sneering villains in Disney animations.

It is less interesting when it goes back to being My Elocution Course. Firstly because phonetics and breathing exercises rarely compel but mostly because there is nothing much resting on Thorpe’s quest and the outcome is inevitable: you know there’s no way the film can end with him successfully de-gaying his voice.

Rating: 2/5 stars

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Stories

Yesterday, 22:59
Two diners were injured in the accident involving an unmarked police car   pictures: Emily Banks

Diners at Pizza East restaurant in Highgate Road were injured when an unmarked police car on an emergency call was in collision with another car .

Yesterday, 18:52
Spurs Ladies forward Bianca Baptiste (right). Pic: Clive Jones

Spurs Ladies won a cup double last season and forward Bianca Baptiste would love to go one better and secure a treble this term – but she believes the focus should be on the league and a top-three finish.

Yesterday, 18:35
Lyon's Alexandre Lacazette

Lyon have refuted reports that they have received a second bid from Arsenal for star striker Alexandre Lacazette.

Yesterday, 18:33
Meet the Agent Alicia Carter of Knight Frank in Englands Lane

Alicia Carter is on the Knight Frank graduate scheme and is seeing the Belsize Park property market through fresh eyes

Yesterday, 17:00
Fig and Bloom

Coriander Stuttard learns about Fig & Bloom’s approach to healthy family eating with tasty recipes and nutritional advice

Yesterday, 15:14
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino has shown his willingness to put his faith in Tottenham’s youngsters on plenty of occasions, and they will usually thank him for it.

Yesterday, 12:00
Adrian Lukis, Peter Egan and Nicholas Day in rehearsals. Picture: Johan Persson

Egan acts alongside Nicholas Day and Pride and Prejudice’s Adrian Lukis

Yesterday, 11:45
Matt Damon returns as Jason Bourne. Picture: Universal Pictures.

Matt Damon returns as a multi-faceted killer but remains without personality

Most read Hampstead & Highgate etcetera

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now