Good As You – From Prejudice to Pride: 30 Years of Gay Britain by Paul Flynn
Good As You is a powerful, sometimes funny, and emotional account of British gay culture from the hits of the 80s and the identification of HIV to the legalisation of same sex marriage. Flynn organises this into thematic sections—music, television shows, football, reality stars, politics—with personal anecdotes to introduce each part. There are interviews with various important figures, well-known and less so, and a wealth of detail, both factual and anecdotal, which makes the book a vivid account of the good and bad of gay men and popular culture across the last thirty years.
The format means that the book could be easily dipped in and out of, and it is a light and sometimes humourous read. The different chapters will have varying appeal depending on the reader—for instance, my personal interest leans more towards music and politics—but overall every section is interesting, highlighting things like the ongoing lack of acceptance in football and the connection of reality TV and gay culture in the 2000s. Of course, the spectres of AIDS, homophobia, and mental health loom large, and Flynn on the most part does not avoid them to make a nicer portrait of an upward struggle.
The book touches on most aspects of British culture, showing how ‘Gay Britain’ has evolved and changed over the past thirty years. Due to space constraints and readability, Flynn focuses on specific examples of important moments and figures (which may leave some people disappointed that their greatest influences aren’t included), creating a book that feels a bit like a documentary series, engaging and varied. Good As You is a book that needs to exist, part-personal memoir and mostly a look at the personal and larger effects of British gay culture until the present day.