‘Just imagine the absurdity of two openly gay, recently married, middle-aged, middle class men escaping the liberal sanctuary of anonymous London to relocate to a Muslim country’.
Thus opens Jack’s book and blog, both of the same name and both of which tell of the ecstasies and the agonies of his expatriation with hubby Liam.
The relocation, purely and simply a total kick-back against the chafing demands of predictable office life (and, in Liam’s case, against the personification of furry handcuffs in the form of his boss), was, after some consideration, to Türkiye.
The choice was heavily influenced by Budget, who accompanied them at the negotiating table whenever and wherever. It was Budget who insisted that Turkey would allow Jack and Liam a better chance of fiscal survival than, say, Spain – even though Spain would probably have been the more sensible choice over a Muslim country, albeit a moderate one, for gay men with a propensity to shout, “I am what I am!”
Actually, many of Jack’s challenges did not, in the end, come from Turkish attitudes, although a homophobic murder and the snatching of a small child are of course immensely challenging. No – his biggest source of problems were to be found amongst the expat community. Here, Jack has excelled – he has compiled a whole new lexicon of terms for the various shades of expat. I won’t spoil the fun by naming them, but Jack’s somewhat scary caricatures of expat types are both undeniably spot-on and hilarious.
In fact, most of Jack’s writing is very funny, apart from the few areas of pathos. He observes people pithily, taking no prisoners. But he also writes descriptive passages with mastery, painting landscapes and creating moods excellently.
I thoroughly enjoyed Perking the Pansies – it is one of those books that I was sorry to have finished, and I look forward with immense anticipation to the follow-up.
Nice one, Jack!