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Christmas Presents



Ever since her superb 2011 electro EP, home to the queer disco favourites I Wrote the Book and Open Heart Surgery, we’ve been clamouring for The Gossip’s Beth Ditto to make a dance album. This isn’t it. Instead, the Arkansas-born singer calls her first solo LP “my Southern record but not necessarily a country record”, which is a tad vague but not inaccurate. Fake Sugar glides confidently from Fire’s soulful rock stomp to the title track’s country-fried shuffe before getting epic in the middle: We Could Run is a massive arenaready anthem, while Ooh La La is a hip-shaking celebration of the strong women in Ditto’s life. But it’s not all bombastic: Ditto also shines on In & Out’s slinky pop and Lover’s yearning balladry. A decade after The Gossip stormed the charts with Standing in the Way of Control, Ditto remains pop’s only body-positive queer female icon, so it’s obviously great to have her back. The fact she’s returned with an album that showcases her strengths as a performer – warmth, empathy, and lots of emotion – makes it even sweeter. And as for that dance record, if and when she wants to make it, we’ll be ready.

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Our July cover star Tommy Dorfman is one of the rising stars to emerge from Netflix’s controversial new series 13 Reasons Why. The 25 year old revels in the controversy, noting that the show has instigated a conversation around mental health in young people that is sorely needed. Incredibly frank, and incredibly cute, we sit down with Tommy for an exclusive, no-holds-barred shoot and interview about his husband, struggles with addiction, gender fluidity and The Spice Girls (duh). Tommy’s unique tone and personality evince a positive response to hardship within the LGBT+ community, and his use of platform to promote love and equality demonstrate his rightful place in the limelight. This responsibility that our idols and icons alike have to enact change and project positive messages cannot be understated in a world increasingly burdened by a cacophony of hatred. Elsewhere in the issue: Paul O'Grady declares war on Russia; Debbie Harry on why she considers herself 'unisex'; Geri Horner on her George Michael tribute; Jonny Pierce on his sexual awakening; Miles Yekinni on why the muslim and gay communities should be standing shoulder to shoulder; plus style, travel, culture and much more!
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