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Billy Budd, Russell Brand, and the Dark Corners of Male Desire – Episode 122

In this episode, Dara goes on a deep dive into Peter Ustinov’s 1962 film of Herman Melville’s Billy Budd. He recalls being struck by Terence Stamp’s remarkable performance and beauty when he first saw it over 25 years ago. A naval setting provides the battleground for innocence vs evil, but what was most memorable to Dara was the gay subtext and the grim denouement that it provoked.

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Chucking Original Sin in the Bin and the Pernicious Effect of Lifestyle Culture – Episode 119

This power-cut interrupted episode picks up where last week’s episode left off – with no clothes on! Dara wraps up his thoughts on nudity by addressing some omissions from last time. He briefly looks at a couple of male movie nudes before talking about his life modelling experience while in acting school in England in the mid-nineties. An article on a new photo exhibition that replaces Helmut Newton’s chilly women with male models raises questions of conditioning, objectification, and the dominance of the male gaze.

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Going Down in Flames – The Fall and Fall of Marilyn Monroe – Episode 73

In this episode Dara assesses the recently-released Marilyn Monroe biopic, ‘Blonde’. Written and directed by Andew Dominik, and based on the 2000 Joyce Carol Oates book of the same name, the film has been widely panned by critics and Marilyn fans, but Dara found a lot to recommend in the performance as Marilyn of Ana de Armas. He argues that de Armas imbues her characterisation with such sympathy and emotional honesty that she effectively insulates herself from many of the less subtle aspects of the film’s storytelling.

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If I can’t get love, I’ll take acceptance – Episode 17

In this episode, Dara reflects on body image and the objectification and commodification of female beauty and sexuality. He discusses the sexist rhetoric and dynamics that he has always found pervasive among many of the men he has known. Along the way, he revisits his own introduction back in the day to the sexualised female iconography of Playboy magazine.

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