Music Reviews

Donald Currie

Sex and Mayhem, Part 1

This is a long monologue, augmented with music and sound effects, in which Donald Currie looks back on his life as a young man coming to terms with his homosexuality in San Francisco in the mid-1960s.

Still reading? Well, then this CD might be for you. It’s pretty much just a book on tape, except that Currie hasn’t bothered to get the book published first, but you might enjoy Currie’s voice (he describes his young self at one point as “as faggy as you please,” and that’s the way he sounds just about all the way through) as he tells his amusing stories, most of which center on his first real sexual experience – with his college drama professor. He’s fairly witty, and he obviously enjoys his own stories.

Sure, about half the time he’s annoying as hell: those sound effects have to get divided by about 700%, and the music (mostly cribbed from classical memories) is not very interesting. And Currie’s tendency to lapse into uncontrolled alliteration and/or The High Camp Voice when all you want him to do is tell the story… well, I don’t know what to say about that. There are times here where Currie’s self-regard overwhelms his talent, and those are hard and joyless times indeed. And the implication that we HAVE to listen to his story because “so many others” will never get the chance is just manipulation for manipulation’s sake.

But if you stick with this long enough to get past all the “oh poor me” stuff, you’ll laugh some and you’ll actually learn a lot about gay culture, about the middle 1960s, and about Donald Currie – and you’ll be happy for him when he finally scores. So what if the conclusion is all rushed and stupid? So what if he’s not exactly the New Gay Ken Nordine? Maybe some of those bugs will be worked out by Part 2.

Donald Currie:

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