Damian Barr on growing up gay in 1980s Scotland, Margaret Thatcher, and Degrassi Jr High
Canadian readers of Scottish writer Damian Barr's book might be introduced to places they've never seen before, if you've never travelled to Glasgow: an old cement works called the Sippy, the Carfin Grotto gift shop, the Ravenscraig Steelworks...But one location in his autobiography will seem very familiar to Canadians. There it is on page 212... "After I breeze through my Higher I will walk in here with my books to my chest, Degrassi Junior High-style, and take my place."
It leapt out at us because there is so much American pop culture that seeped into Damian Barr's childhood growing up in working class Scotland: Dirty Dancing, Madonna's Like A Virgin, She-Ra, V, Dynasty, Salem's Lot...all of them in different ways both escapes and outlets for him as Damian understands what it means to be gay in the 80's. But there's one force overlooking all of that, a character he sees on TV, magazines and newspapers, who somehow is bigger than all of that -- Margaret Thatcher.
Damian Barr will be reading from his book Maggie & Me at the Ottawa Public Library tonight at 7.
But first he joined us in studio.