Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Waking Up With Evan

This week Evan Davis made his debut as a Today presenter, in the wake of a Guardian leading article 'In praise of Evan Davis' and a Media Guardian article that began 'Why does everybody like Evan Davis?'
So he could be forgiven for having even more of a spring in his step than usual.

It's been a good start. He has a lightness of touch without being lightweight and speaks pretty much like a normal human being. How he fares when he's let loose on the big political interviews remains to be seen.
And he seems to be getting on well with John Humphrys although this is unlikely to turn into a radio version of Brokeback Mountain.

Did I mention that Evan is gay?
Well, just about everyone else does. Or, to be precise, the amazing fact that a serious broadcaster without a smidgin of camp about him is 'openly gay'.
Is it any more relevant than that John Humphreys is openly straight?
In most respects, no. But for young people here's a role model that's refreshingly different from the 'professional poofs' who infest light entertainment. And for those of my age it's a pleasing example of how things have changed.
In my childhood there was a Panorama presenter called James Mossman. I liked and admired him enormously. I think it was Mossman who once caused a furore when he totally lost it with Harold Wilson over Vietnam. Other gay men of my generation have told me that they instinctively knew that Mossman was gay but this was never confirmed until after his death. It was, after all, illegal at that time. So the only unambiguously gay image that minced across our television screens was that of the loathsome Kenneth Williams, leaving many of us in the strange and confusing position of hating what we were supposed to be like but knew we were not.

Interviewers have shown an obsessive and prurient interest in whether Evan Davis has any forms of body decoration which he wisely declines to answer, although this only fuels their interest.
Does he have any tattoos? As a rule of thumb, if you pronounce the middle 'tt' in 'ta_oo', then you probably don't have any.
And does he have a 'Prince Albert'? I believe this is a silver or gold ornamental match-holder attached to a watch chain, made fashionable by Queen Victoria's Consort.
But I don't think Evan Davis smokes and I've never seen him in a waistcoat, which I think is a prerequisite for wearing a pocket watch.
It's an accoutrement more likely to be favoured by the historian David Starkey.
Now there's an ostentatious prick.


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