Tuesday, December 27, 2005

All I got for Christmas was...

My parents in London for a week installing a new bathroom. A lovely sweet gesture that turned out to be A Horrible Thing.

My dad's now in his 70s, and refuses to admit it. Sadly, in the last six months his hands have started shaking, which made plumbing tricksie. He's also getting forgetful, not helped by my mother anxiously cleaning up after him. He's very deaf, so he can't hear when you tell him where the screwdriver is. And his nasty temper has become a helpless rage.

A typical day (and there were Nine of Them) went like this...

DAD: Bugger's leaking. (HITS PIPE WITH WRENCH) Now it's gone everwhere. Get me some newspaper you bugger.

I run off for newspaper.

DAD: Where's my wrench? I just put the bloody thing down.

MUM: Oh, I've just cleaned it and popped it back in your toolbox.

DAD: I said, where's my wrench? Oh. It's leaking again. Have you seen my wrench?

I run off and get the wrench and put it quietly by Dad.

DAD: There it was all along. Why does this thing keep leaking?

ME: Er... Don't you turn it clockwise to tighten it?

DAD: What?

ME: Clockwise...

DAD: You bloody bugger! I am... no hang on... You bugger, letting me do that for ten minutes like that and not saying a word. You lazy sod.

ME: Please get out of my house.

DAD: What was that? Oh. It's leaking again...

On top of that, it took them minutes to disable the central heating, turn off the water, and fill the house with necessary bits of DIY gubbins. I even caught Dad trying to store plywood in my flatmate's room. Within half a day the flat was cold, damp, full of grit and completely cheerless. All that was missing from my childhood was an extra four stone and regular beatings.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas in the Ventilation Shaft

I spent most of Christmas on my own in the BBC Broadcasting House "business lounge" - a desolate room. The only interesting feature was that ... something... was scuttling about near the open ventilation shaft over my head.

A horrid experience, made rather worse by my ex phoning to tell me about his new boyfriend.

But, slightly vile as it all was, it was sooo much better than the last week with my parents.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Blitz spirit

There's always a right time to go home. On Saturday it was when the man who'd been chatting me up was all of a sudden getting off with a bald fat guy instead.

"Return to base," said my body, too drunk to have any better ideas. So, I tried to leave.

"Sorry," the doorman said, "Security alert. Suspected bomb. We're all in here until further notice."

I went back inside, and tried not to notice that the man who'd been chatting me up was now licking fat guy's scalp. It was a small bar, so this wasn't easy.

I switched to Plan B, and chatted up someone prettier. He turned out to be called Paul and worked in a hotel ("Bar work, you know. Behind it. Under it. On it. Rich bitches."). He was out with his boyfriend's gay cricket team. His boyfriend looked rather like you'd fear a 40 year old gay cricketer would look. I was heartbroken.

Paul was defensive, "Six years, you know. It works. We go to Trade, he plays the slot machine, loses track of time, thinks I've been gone for 10 minutes. As far as he's concerned, monogamous bliss."

I looked over. His boyfriend was indeed playing the slot machine, oblivious to a fight going on next to it.

Paul shrugged. "And anyway, I'm normally very well behaved. Otherwise he'd take my gaydar profile away."

I pointed out this wasn't going to stop me chatting him up. After all, we could be blown up at any second. How would you like to spend your last minutes?

Paul glanced over at his boyfriend, "He does seem to be really enjoying that fruit machine, doesn't he? And, you're right, we could die at any moment..." He grinned.


Most alarming thing I've seen on gaydar recently:

Friday, December 16, 2005

Alcazar Split

In a week that's been full of crumblies remembering where they were when John Lennon was shot, spare a thought for Alcazar, who appear to have split up without anyone noticing. Gutted.

On their official site, there's simply a bizzare message from One Of The Ladies explaining:

It´s time for your favourite band to take a break from this wonderful and fantastic years we´ve had with Alcazar."

So much wonderful people we have had the pleasure to meet and beautiful places we´ve seen!

I just wanted to thank you all for making our journey with Alcazar to the most terrific time of my life!

And, of course, a message from Magnus, who has just finished a spot in Grease as Teenangel:

Hmmmm.... it feels kinda strange. The Grease-adventure is over.... I was just lurning the lyrics and how to sit on the magic carpet - and what-do-you-know, suddently it is all over.

Remember that the whole idea of the break is to gather new strength and a small break from it all. I will continuing recording my first pop solo album!!! (In one of them I sing "I'm not the woman that I used to be" (LOL). It sounds hilarious!!!

I will keep you all informed and hope you would like to take part of and follow me on my journey as a new-born Solo Artist.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Sick Building

On October 23rd I told our building management team that the light over my desk was giving me headaches.

On December 14th, after much prodding, a man turned up, grunted, stood on a ladder, and turned the light off after flicking a switch on the top of it.

If I'd know it was that easy, I'd have stood on my desk to do it. Only that would contravene Health and Safety regulations. Instead of which, I've sat at my desk, suffering regular headaches and blurred vision.

Odd, that I'm prevented from doing something to stop me from becoming ill out of concern for my health.

Saturday, December 10, 2005


So, is having sex in the doorway of The Mousetrap:

a) So tacky only a tourist would do it...

b) A fine old London tradition....

c) Unforgivable if you reveal the ending?

Friday, December 09, 2005

Things which remind me of my ex.

Tourists in Bulgoslavia are warned to be aware of attractive people who come up to you in the street and persuade you to take them to expensive bars and restaurants.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

My last night of holiday

Going back a couple of days, my last night in Bulgoslavia (and, frankly, the last time I wasn't sat at my desk, terrified) was brilliant.

I was supposed to be meeting up with Daniel the expert on International Relations (and when I say expert, I mean he was pretty good). Sadly, Coxx was closed ("Private Piss Party"). So, I ended up in Mystery Bar, and bumped into George the exciting Toronto skinhead and his student pals.

There were two good looking men, all over each other in the corner. "He's cute," I said to George. George tutted. "The man he's with - Rent."

This didn't make sense - but apparently a fair number of young Hungarian gays aren't that good at self-esteem. And why should you be, when it costs about 10 euros?

Sadly, I ignored the pretty man who'd hired love, and concetrated on getting smashed with George and his student friends. And then the bar staff brought over a bottle of spirits and some chocolate santas and got smashed with us.

At some point, a friend of George's turned up to give them lifts home. "Come with us," he said. "We'll show you the unseen Hungary."

George looked up and giggled, "He means the shitty bits."

So, we tore round the suburbs, rattling through wasteland past crumbling concrete blocks and abandoned cinemas.

"Hey!" yelled the driver, "You know speed bumps? We don't have them here..."

There was a sickening thud and a lurch as the car smashed across the road.

"We have pot holes."

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Work/Life Balance

"Go on holiday!" they say. "The rest will do you good."

What they don't say is "And then, when you get back, it'll all have turned to shit and you'll have to sort it out. And we'll still find ways to blame you, even though you weren't in the country."

I actually want to be back in Bulgoslavia. Miserable, bullet-ridden, rain-sodden, whore-raddled hellhole that it was. At least it was kinda fun.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Terror of Bolgoslavia

Things I now know about 20th Century history in Budapest:

  • After the fall of communism, they turned the secret police HQ/Torture chambers into an amazing museum/art installation, called the House of Terror.
  • It includes a labyrinth made out of soap, celebrating their postwar economic collapse.
  • The smallest cell in the dungeons is the size of a vertical coffin.
  • Most of the cells have radiators. A sweet touch, until you realise people were chained to them.
  • There's a casual little array of torture implements set on a tiny table. By a big drain.
  • It's one of the most disturbing places I've ever visited.
  • It's also the least appropriate place I've ever been cruised. Dear god, man, couldn't you have tried it on in the Hall Of Propaganda, not in a blood-spattered padded cell?
  • The Soviets took most of Hungary's German population away as slave labour. Their definition of "German" included everyone whose surname ended with an "r". As that's what Hitler's name ended with.
  • A friend was renovating his flat, and discovered a forest of Soviet bugs hidden behind the plaster.
  • The Gellert Hotel used to be Nazi HQ. It now serves quite terrible cakes.
  • The House of Terror makes no mention of the Jews. But this is because it was built by a right wing party seeking to get reelected.
  • After a couple of days, you can navigate Budapest by the bullet holes left in the buildings.

People in concrete houses...

So, outside it's your typical Bulgoslavian Indian Summer - miserably cold, horizontal rain, and howling wind.

Inside is a snug little bar, filled with candles, cheap chocolate santas, and only one rent boy. "Hey," yells the author of Hungary's leading book on churches, "you work in Wales, eh? Ever been to Aberystwyth? Most godforsaken place on earth..."

The door bangs open and two people run in, while several others leap up from the table, frantically wedging the door shut before more rain pours in.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Speaking Bolgoslavian

  • Turkish is very close to Hungarian apparently. In fact, there are very few words in common. Small in Turkish is kucuk. When I used it to ask for a small bottle of vodka, I didn't realise it was also Hungarian for "you filthy faggot".
  • English films are popular and cheap on DVD in Hungary. Almost irrestistible is the new Noah Wyle film, Librarian: Quest for the Spear. Or, as it's sold in Hungary: TitKok.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Night of the Hunter

I was quietly paying my bill at the hotel bar when he introduced himself.

"Hey! You!"

I turned. Sat at the bar, in three different types of tartan flannel was a very large, very old American man.

"Yes! You! You'll have a drink with me!"

I stared at him, glassily. I've reached that stage in life where I only drink with strangers if they're dashing young men, or mad old dears.

"No, sir! Sit! You travelling alone? What's wrong with you? Barman! This man will have a beer."

ME: "I really think not, if you don't mind."

"Damn you!" he roared. "No one has ever turned me down for a drink. Barman! Pour that damn beer!"

"Thank you, but no, and please, not beer. I don't drink beer."

"DontDrinkBeer?" he banged his fist in a bowl of peanuts and roared. "You're quite the damndest rudest... sit down, I tell you!"

Weakly, I sat down. I'm normally terribly good at fending off old men - but then they're either wearing towels, or we're stood behind a box hedge. I suddenly realised I have absolutely no experience of saying "no" in social surroundings.

The barman gives me a look. For a second, I mistook it for "I, Ustlav the devastatingly attractive barman, have realised that I must do the sweet filthy with you, lucky visiting tourist." Then I realised the look meant, "Thank fuck! Someone else for the old bore to talk to."

Ustlav vanished. Leaving me alone with Hubert Hubert (as far as I can work out, that really was his name). Hubert wanted to bellow about a lot of things, but generally about money. Oh, and killing things.

Hubert was a hunter, and very pleased with listing how many sweet, fluffy things he'd shot, and how much it had cost to hunt each one, either a lot ("5,000 euros a day to shoot boar. Imagine that, my friend...") or not very much ("The Count, why, he's a rich man and he won't take a penny off of me. Not even for elephant").

I didn't really say much to that. I considered meakly muttering, "But aren't elephants, you know, rather nice..." but didn't really see an opening.

Then Hubert moved on to shouting about the opera. "Jeez, man, seats for NOTHING. I mean NOTHING for orchestra seats at the opera. I tell you man. Like 30 euros. Nothing to you. I went tonight. You should go."

"What's on?"

"Uh, Puccini something. Anyway - seats were NOTHING. Can you imagine?"

At that point, any desire to go to the opera died.

"Now, my friend, I'm gonna write for you the name of a restaurant. You're gonna go there - unless you're too chickenshit to drink wine. Great food, and the prices are dirt. Really good hungarian stuff. I'll let you in to a secret - tell the manager you know me and you're in for a treat."

Not liking snot in my soup, I demurred.

"Are you going to the baths?" he asked. Fool! Of course I was going to the baths - 500 years old, and full of nudey lovelies looking for jollies. "Amazing, my friend. The massage is a steal - like 10 bucks, and these big burly men - They pound you with their fists and it's like nothing on earth. You can barely walk afterwards."

He had my giddy attention.

"Course, they had a lot of problems with homos there, so they've now got guards to stop that shit. But all the same - don't stare too long at the scenery, if you know what I mean. heheheh."

The baths vanished off my itinerary. Who wants to go to a sauna for their skin?

"Now, what is it you Englanders have against George Bush, anyway...?"

You've forgotten how scary Furry art is, haven't you?

And remember: "Furries are not plushophiles, but plushophiles can be furry." (More...)

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Gay Bulgoslavia

Things I now know about gay Budapest:
  • It's rapidly developing, in the same way that Estate Agents say "King's Cross is rapidly developing". Perhaps they mean "upsleazing"?
  • The Hungarian flag looks rather like the Rainbow flag in the dark, so it's all too easy to blunder into an expensive hotel by mistake.
  • Since my guidebook was published, everything's moved.
  • The only places that haven't moved are the hooker bars.
  • There isn't a phrase in any language for "too old for rent, too young to punt - so i'll just sit in this corner reading Dorothy L Sayers, if that's okay..."
  • Actually, I believe the phrase is "falling between two stools", which is unfortunate.
  • There's one gay bar without either a sling or a rent boy - but that's because it's too small. Mystery Bar is an art deco caravanserai squeezed into a living room. Silk tents, ornate mirrors, and a stall selling liquor. The sheer lack of space means that the line between drinker and bartender is thrillingly blurred.
  • Even a place described as "the most cultured and friendly gay bar" has upsleazed. It's now called COXX, and has a wet room. Don't ask.

A picture of Bulgoslavian Lesbians

Trying to find a picture of a Hungarian gay bar to post that didn't feature a dripping sling. Instead found this charming picture of two delegates to the Bulgoslavian Gay Collective. And doesn't it look great?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Welcome to Bulgoslavia

If you're going to go to Hungary, go on a whim. Someone else's, preferably. And do, if possible, fly with Hell's Angels.

They were adorable. They were heading for some Hell's Angels' Gathering (never join a group that's a bitch to apostrophise). Large and jolly and rather sweet - it was like a gay bears' outing, only with lady groupies who were lean-to-the-point-of-addled.

The Angels next to me would keep flexing their ballpoint-tattooed fists and saying "outrageous" things, like "Doug, I'm gonna get me a bloody mary. I will!" And then, when the stewardess arrived, would meekly ask for an orange juice.

Between then was squeezed a cardboard box, "It's the trophies, Doug. Well, they're awards really, but, you know, I'm uncomfortable with the idea of singling out individual achievement..."

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Been so miserable at work for the last two days i can't even type. Spent all of today lurching from one meeting to the next, until eventually, i fell asleep half way through a sentence.

The person i was talking to turned away, and when he turned back, I'd just muttered "jesus" and had my head in my hands.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Tell it to the marines

Am the only person to have heard the news about the video of naked marines beating each other up and thought "well, shocking and dreadful, but, you know, kind of hot..."

At lunch Daniel agreed: "A month before there's a theme night at Central Station."

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Ooh Krums, it's Harry Hotter

Things to notice about the Harry Potter film:
  1. Harry is now nearly grown up. In order to distract us from the horror of actually fancying him, the producers have flooded Hogwarts with hot young Bulgarian male porn stars.
  2. But that doesn't stop them from throwing in a topless bathing scene. It's just wrong.
  3. Lucius Malfoy now looks like H from Steps.
  4. Michael Gambon is playing the world's first Swedish-Canadian wizard. Badly.
  5. Hermione appears to be in a different film. Which she's also stealing.
  6. Viktor Krum arrives all scrawny muscle from Bulgaria... and then hits the catering truck. Cue special Boreanaz lenses.
  7. When Viktor and Cedric go off into the maze and are warned that they may lose themselves... well, I was hoping they would find each other.

Things NOT to notice about the new Harry Potter film:
  1. It lasts forever.
  2. Even though they've cut out loads of stuff, it still feels dull and padded.
  3. More endings than Lord of the Rings.
  4. It's not very good.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


Cycling stops being a joy in winter.

This morning I got off my bike to discover quite a lot of mouse wrapped round the front wheel.

This afternoon I spent four minutes trying to pedal through a hail storm. Then realised that cycling with one hand thrown over my eyes was silly. Plus, I was squealing like a ninny.

Still, it washed the pureed vermin off my trousers.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Vote Kinky!

So, you're Kinky Friedman, the last Jewish Cowboy and cultural phenomenon. You smoke cigars, you write mystery novels starring yourself, and hey, one day, you decide to run for Governor of Texas.

He's got no money, but he may well win - partly thanks to a brilliant online campaign.

But also maybe because his slogan is "Why the hell not?"

Monday, November 21, 2005


So, the only highlight of a miserable weekend was one act of amazing generosity, when Lee decided not to let two charming men escort him home, but instead helped me out when I lost my keys.

Other than that, a completely miserable time. Saturday was dull. Sunday involved a migraine of the retching-and-sobbing variety. It would not go away, the Special Magic Cancer Pain Pills not even touching it.

At one point I came to on the floor of the laundry room, face down in melting ice, and I thought "You're going to have to go to hospital. They'll think you've got meningitis again, and they'll give you another lumber puncture."

At which point, I panicked, and quickly wondered about ending it all. Of course, any elaborate suicide plans were a non starter - I was in so much pain it had just taken me three hours to change the batteries on my walkman.

I shifted around slightly on floor, and flipped open the door of the deep freeze, resting my head on the shelf. No, I thought, as my brow came to rest on some frozen samosas, no, I shall go with dignity.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Hell is other people having fun.

Getting to Cardiff station at 8.02 - just as the 8pm pulls out of the station (why are all trains out of Cardiff delayed unless you want to them to be?). Cardiff is also the only station in the world to have their station clock set five minutes fast, like a daffy receptionist.

What to do in 90 minutes until the next train? I had too much baggage to go to a bar and get drunk, so I went for Pizza. Big mistake. I'm still trying to work out what exactly it is that gives me crippling indigestion (onions? cheese? carbs? or just stuffing my face like a pig?), but by the time I made it onto the train I wanted to pass out. Or explode. Instead, I sat in the corner, belching like an Australian tourist.

I worked out I'd be back in town for 11.20 - just time for a quick gay drink and then bed.

Then the train stopped for an hour.

Cardiff trains do this. Often just for the heck of it. But tonight was different. After 50 minutes we were told that, two young gentlemen had locked themselves in a train toilet and the police had been called.

I was about to phone Gaynesty International and protest when an update came through. They'd only locked themselves in the loo when confronted by a ticket inspector. They'd threatened him, been aggressive, and then retreated to the bog.

The ticket inspector, shaken, had called the Transport Police. Of which there didn't seem to be any at Bristol Temple Meads. Perhaps there was a suspicious bun at Bath Spa.

Now, I'm all very supportive, naturally of the poor ticket inspector. These young men just didn't seem nice. And train employees should never be shouted at. Not even on Cardiff trains.

However, as I eventually staggered off the train at oh-god-half-one something struck me... Train companies are terribly keen on charters for respecting their workers, but quite happy to abandon their passengers.

I remembered catching the 8.30pm from Swansea one night, and spending an hour to Cardiff on a train full of drunken, screaming men, all looking for a fight. Did the train staff do anything to sort out this bear pit? Or did they take one look and bolt themselves in the driver's carriage leaving the passengers at the mercy of Swansea Lads? Yup.

It's not acceptable that we should be stranded for an hour just because of a lack of Transport Police at a major station. Actuallty, it's not acceptable that we should be stranded for an hour at all.

Anyway, my point is that four hours on a train, struck with bugger all to read (well, apart from The Times, and that no longer counts), and indigestion left me in a foul mood which hasn't lifted. I've spent the day in, waiting for a call to go to the gym, or meet in town for tea. And I've suddenly realised, the planned highlight of my day....?

A trip to a bathroom design showroom. Oh dear me, no.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

What does he see in him?

The homepage of Gaydar specialises in images which in theory shows the diversity of the gays. But in practice, it looks like auditions for The Odd Couple:

Gay Clement Freud:

Body-language of model on the left says "Get your hands off me, creepy motherfucker":

"Of course I'm in an open relationship - I'm with the Gay Fonz":

One of these gays would like a green card. Can you spot which one?

Gay on the left has just noticed the t-shirt and realised his boyfriend of six months is blind:

Unlikely look-a-likey

Why does Jonny Wilkinson look like Tony Blair?

Saturday, November 12, 2005

From lust till dawn

Gaydar at 3am is an odd place. Like a party that no-one really planned on being at, where the guests are yelling strange things like:

"Much older sub guy for lad(s) do as he likes with me except fucking while spitting in my face - quirky but genuine;."

"ne1 want to shag in my car?"

"i want to fuck a nice tight, white latin arse. msg me"

Then Sean messaged me: "It's weird here. Read any Joe Orton? You're just around the corner from me."

So, bizarrely, we went for a walk. In the middle of the night. In ice cold Camden. Yeah. That didn't last long.

Anyway, Sean was lovely - he talked to me about musicals as we finally drifted off to sleep at dawn.

The only sour note was getting a message from him later. "Hey u! Did you accidentally walk off with my wallet?"

Oh no, I thought in the couple of minutes before he texted to say he'd found it. First shampoo, now wallets. I'm becoming my ex-boyfriend. After kleptomania, all that's left on the list is drug-dealing, prostitution, 14-year olds, and bad karaoke.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Hooray for Hollywood

And then, at the end of a really, really, terrible day at work, I discover the-play-wot-I-co-wrote is on in, uh, LA.

Tick. Good thing.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Boys 1999

I'm sorry. There hasn't really been much talk about boys on here recently. Have I discovered discretion?


Sadly, what with living in caravans and Cardiff, there really haven't been any. For four whole weeks. This is some kind of weird, spooky record.

I might as well be celibate. Or straight. Or, what's the word? Oh, yes. "Choosy".

In which case, time for a memory from back when I did have sex. All the sensible boys are blogging about the death of club legend, Simon Hobart, founder of Popstarz.

My best time in Popstarz was, oddly, as I was leaving it. I was with a bunch of straight friends, and, as we sauntered out, "Beautiful Stranger" started to play (Yes, it was 1999).

I caught the eye of a very handsome man. He looked back, and we both laughed as we realised what the song was. Then we shrugged, and got off with each other in an ironic, we're-gay-and-it's-Madonna way.

This took less than a minute. I know that this is an eternity in gay years (time enough for a relationship or a cigratte. Take your pick). But my straight friends were amazed. They turned around to put their coats on, turned back, and discovered my marital status had changed. I extricated a hand, and waved. They left.

It turned out his name was Adam, and he was a reformed Tree Hugger. He'd spent most of the summer up an oak trying to stop a bypass. But he'd moved to London, got a hair cut and gone out clubbing.

The two of us had a magical evening, walking hand in hand down to the Embankment as dawn rose over the Thames. We dared each other, step by slimy step, to see who could get closest to the river. Adam did. And fell in.

Now, normally when the police go by and I'm semi-naked in a public place, there isn't an innocent explanation. But for once, as we explained to the motor launch, it was all fine - We were simply swapping some of my dry clothes for his damp ones.

We squelched back to my flat, wet, freezing, smelling of pollutants, and giggling. It was only when I opened my bedroom door that I remembered that at some point in the week, my flatmates and I had filled my room with balloons.

It was that kind of perfect night out. And why I'll always love Popstarz.

But what of Adam the Tree Hugger? Sadly, I fucked it all up. Always meant to find him and say sorry.

My father’s technology

I’ve spent the last five days in a storm-lashed caravan at the bottom of my parents’ garden. It’s given me time to think and read the papers (did you know one Indian village attacked another recently, believing them to have killed a cow for a feast? They were wrong, but three people died).

There have also been a few spells of mindless DIY (taking out double glazing – my mother prefers the potato sacks we’ve boarded up with). DIY is roughly how I communicate with my parents. If you drew a Venn Diagram around what we have in common, it would pretty much be DIY, gout and crisps.

For instance, I’ve realised my parents still don’t really know what it is I do. They know I make a website. They think it should be available on Ceefax (and therefore a Good Thing). They know the website is for a TV programme. But, sometimes, they seem to think I actually make the programme. “Why weren’t you on the National Television Awards last week?” demanded my mother.

Clearly, we have moved on from the days when merely working for the BBC was enough to make my parents proud.

I am not alone in the parental career confusion. A colleague, who edited the BBC’s Buffy website, was alarmed to discover his mother had assured the local hairdresser that her son produced the programme. The hairdresser was much impressed, and also hopeful that the end credits would soon include “Hair by Sparkles of Working”.

Of course, I kind of envy his relationship with his mother – she demanded to be taken to see the Firefly film recently. The only time I've ever been to the cinema with parents is when my dad took me to see my first ever film. Which was Condorman, if you're curious.

I guess parent-envy is part of growing older. Like flats, pets and jobs, I love what I have, but that doesn’t stop me from bouts of envy.

I envy mothers who ring up with saucy gossip from the Cistene Chapel where they’re sketching. I envy fathers who criticize their son-in-law’s joint-rolling. I envy a mother who starts offering relationship advice to gay pole dancers on nights out with their son. I even envy parents who leave their children hungover.

The set of parents I have though, are fantastic. Yes, I wish I could actually have a conversation with them. I yearn to be able to tell my mother that her fantastic cooking poisons me (I got busted with a bottle of PeptoBismol this time – fallout almost as bad as when I came out). I wish I could do something to win their approval beyond stripping the wallpaper in the downstairs loo.

But, it’s their grumpiness that I adore the most. Whenever the phrase “Push the red button” appears on TV my father repeats it, loudly and slowly. “Push. The. Red. Button.” It’s the same tone of disdain he uses for “Labour Government” and “Child Molester.”

Friday, November 04, 2005

Award Ceremony

I'm glad I never worked in advertising. I have friends in advertising. They look tired.

Last night was the, um, Interactive Marketing, uh, something awards. I don't really know, but braying Brians and strapless Sarahs were all delighted to receive a small metal brick for their labours in promoting expensive things to other rich Londoners.

You can tell we didn't win, can't you?

Anyway, it was interesting going to an awards ceremony. It was on a vast scale, where, at the other end of the hall, above a cloud of cigar smoke stood Andrew Marr, talking to himself.

He'd initially come along to present the prizes, but, drowned out by champagne corks and heartiness, he was reduced to a strange mumbling statue in a corner. Occasionally, his anecdotage would waft over: "... I tell you that dog controls England... Do you have any nails... And then Miss Caplan squats down naked over the entrails..."

We were sat next to a table of successful public schoolboys. Now, I'm a failed public schoolboy - you can tell. In quiet moments, I look miserable. One of the deep joys of my life is that rugby is no longer compulsory. But I'm never quite sure it won't be again. One reason I'll never vote Conservative. Just in case.

Anyway, the table next to me was awash with braces, swept-back hair and hearty hardi-har laughing. Wine was drunk, pushed over, or thrown aside in favour of bizarre brandy-Baileys combinations. Uxorious waiters smarmed over them with bread and biscuits, and endless boozeucopia.

Our wine waiter just refused to serve us. And kept demanding money for drinks we'd already paid for. Or, he'd come and take away our water jug.

That said, I had a magnificent evening. There was a live band, who insisted on performing Blues versions of Scissor Sisters tracks. There was merriment. And, of course, we set our tablecloth on fire.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Woman in office: "Hmmn. People definitely get better looking as they get richer, don't they?"

Club update

My swishy London club has been in touch. Would I like to take part in a charity auction for "a limited edition chip fork by jeweller Gavin Turk"?

Well. Would I?

Monday, October 31, 2005

Strangers on a Train

So, we got on the train carriage.

"Look! Gays!" yelled a voice. Then a plastic bottle hit someone in a face.

Yes, this is South London. Where small children run riot on trains because Ritalin hasn't made it over the border.

There were three of them, the oldest barely twelve. There were eight of us. When they weren't bouncing up and down and smashing seats, they were screaming names at us. Which was quite unfair - our party actually included two straight men and a nicely dressed lady. Perhaps they thought we were gay simply because we weren't wearing tracksuits.

In a way, it was faintly harmless. It was doubtful they'd actually manage to tear a seat out of the floor and hurl it at us, so they stuck with names they'd picked up from that delightful Afro-Carribbean music I've heard to much about.

"Battyboys! Battyboys!" they screamed.

"We prefer gay!" we yelled back.

"Har! Har! You suck cock!" they shouted.

"Well, yes." We were a bit bored now.

"You fuck the arse too!" they roared.


"You got AIDS!"

"No. But we do have iPods."

That was about all they knew about the gays. So they just jeered "Battyboy" and threw empty cups in our direction.

Richard, who I believe was Mr Gay Muscle 2003, wanted to do something about it. But luckily, John was a lawyer. "You can't actually touch them."

But we could criticise their clothes.

"Oi! Battyboy!" they'd scream.

"Oi! Matalan!" we'd yell back.

Eventually they got off the train, trying to spit through the window.

"Write to us from prison!" we waved. Where no doubt they'll learn all sorts of jolly facts about anal sex. Hopefully at the end of a razor.

Weekend Highlight

Wrestling on a floor, dressed up as Joan Collins.

Physical Jerks

Out of the corner of my eye, I can see a woman doing squat thrusts at her desk. Whilst video editing.

UPDATE: She is now doing abdominal exercises, so I keep being distracted by a pair of legs flying through the air.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


The BBC has launched a new site about how accessible their site is for visual and hearing impaired people.


It's the only page on bbc.co.uk *without* a text only link.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Midweek: One week after the fall

Libby Purves trailed this week's show with: "Live Dangerously. Listen to Midweek"


And, if you're wondering why I'm only really talking about Radio Four at the moment... Well, it's partly that not much else is happening, and partly because what's going on at work is complicated and not easily repeated. But I miss Cardiff.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Radio 4

Meanwhile, in the Archers, Clarry Grundy was quite literally crying over spilt milk.

And, on Broadcasting House, Fi Glover had a Plant Photographer on standby, just in case...

Friday, October 21, 2005


This morning I popped a note through my new neighbours' letter box.

"Morning! Would you mind moving the bed away from the wall a bit?"

Honestly, it was like listening to an angry lion trampolining.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Gomorrah with Libby Purves

Midweek is the most comforting programme, the radio equivalent of a cup of chicken soup and a lapful of kittens.

So, what were they thinking when they invited in both Joan Rivers and Darcus Howe?

Darcus had come on to mutter about his latest film, covering his complicated relationship with his son. He was complaining that the director kept on showing people who didn't understand him. Like his first wife. Who said he abandoned their children.

"No white person has ever understood me. Not even her. I say to her why don't you go join the BNP or something?"

At this point, Joan Rivers sighed, "I'm bored with race."

Darcus bristled. Unusually. "You're entitled to be bored with race. I am not."

Oddly, Joan "my parents fled Hitler and Stalin" Rivers just took that.

However, Darcus carried on. Big mistake. "Since 'black' offends Joan-"


"How dare you! How dare you!" she began. "Son of a bitch!" she continued, explaining that perhaps Darcus's relationship with his children would be better if he'd not kept on abandoning their mothers.

Tables were banged. Microphones thudded. Would it be too much for Libby Purves, the glowing Mum of radio?

LIBBY: I really think you should- now... come on you too... Perhaps... Darcus, you'd like to say that you didn't call Joan a racist. And then...

JOAN: That's right. Go on. And then you can talk some more about your stupid film.

LIBBY: Yes, Darcus, let's talk some more about your stu- film.

DARCUS: I don't want to say any more.

JOAN: Quite right.

LIBBY: Then, Joan, let's talk about you.

JOAN: I'm too upset.

LIBBY: Then let's turn to Andrea, and talk about Plant Photography...

Oddly, the other guest on the programme was Jackie Collins, normally a bit spicy for radio. But not today.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Hang the DJ

Men in Dinner Jackets become strange at 2am. They roar, stampede and rampage through a hotel bar like randy cattle, with dangling cumerbunds, loose ties and wandering hands.

I had my bum pinched twice by strangers. I was invited to get into a fight. Someone offered to arm wrestle me for one of my cigarettes. Someone else kept on trying to force money into my hand.

The women meanwhile sailed through like nervous galleons, still looking amazing, but with hair gradually getting lower.

Anyway, I left the Holland House at 2am, before it sank into the ground. And, if I lingered any longer, I'd have had to help carry an orchid into a taxi.

Biking home drunk and wearing a DJ was going very well... until I passed a gay club. What, after all, could be the harm in a quick last drink when I looked so fine?

I left, 10 minutes later, having met Francis, a fashion stylist for Marie Claire, on a trip to find industrial wasteland to shoot shoes in. He was staying in the hotel I'd just left.

He was as mad as anyone who works in fashion. His room was a disaster of clothes, magazines, and expensive moisturiser. Although 29, he was addicted to botox, drinking and shopping.

His grasp of conversation was erratic. "So, you work for the media? Hmmn. What do you think of the Kate Moss thing? I love her, but she's dressing so severely now. Do you really think that tweed is coming back? They keep saying that about the 80s. I got my underwear on ebay - it's vintage 70s addidas, but I wear it over a sixty quid prada thong - isn't that just mad? Anyway, did you ever see Fashion TV? They used to have catwalk shows on a loop. I loved it, but it's gone now. This music is from a catwalk show from a Swedish designer. They say that that Swedes are the new Germans. But not for shoes. Anyway -"

He glanced at the bottle that room service had brought up - "oh, this isn't Veuve Cliquot - " and dropped his cigarette into it.

In the morning, I stole his shampoo.

I found my bike on the street where I'd left it, goodie bag still intact (Pudsey pencil, two TARDIS phone flashers and a book by Sarah Kennedy about toddlers).

The sun was shining, it was a glorious morning, and I was wearing a dinner jacket. I went to Iceland and bought pizza for breakfast.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Hear it for the boy

Out drinking in Club Exit on Student Night. A Wednesday meltdown where it's £10 to get in and drinks are free. Security roam the building, throwing out anyone too drunk or behaving strangely (one bloke was thrown out for trying to pay for a drink).

Anyway, met a lovely group of students, through Trey, who used to be a Doctor Who Monster and has held the title of Fourth Most Attractive Man in Wales for two years (for some they didn't hold the competition last year).

I liked the students - Trey, Darren, Will, Steve and Hugh - fun, silly drunken Welsh boys with floppy hair and secretary drinks. And I liked one of them especially after he asked me what I was studying. A few minutes later, we were standing by the dance floor.

"I like you," he said.

"Well, I like you too."

A pause.

"No. I like Hugh."


Work email of the week

I'm in the process of drawing out a pretty picture of what a white label "bees knees" system would look like and to compare that against what solutions we've got or getting. I'll circulate this and perhaps set up a discussion if there's interest.


Thursday, October 13, 2005

Wasted Day

Up to London for two meetings and then back again. How bad could it be?

Turns out, the *only* nice thing about yesterday was a swift gin with Ashley. The rest of it was horrid.

Journey up: The train in front of us broke down. Result: A journey of four hours.

Journey back: The train in front of us broke down. Another four hours.

Let's not even talk about the meetings...

Instead, let's dwell on why it is that train seats have arms rests you can't lift up. So it's impossible to stretch out and sleep. No matter how empty the train. Or how bored and tired you are.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Failed Insomnia Cure

Cure: Watching a Hitchcock movie and eating Ryvita.

Outcome: Nodded off during the special features. Woke up in a sweat, dreaming about red mist and sailors.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Email from the past

An old colleage sent me the following, from the days when I used to run a website offering careers advice. Yes. Irony.

Anyway, desperate people would email us, begging for a solution to their careers dilemmas. And we'd try not to answer with "You've sat on your arse for three years. You can't avoid accountancy now."

But there were the odd exceptions:

Dear Dr Job

Many earth centuries ago our mothership crashed on your pathetic planet, and it is now necessary for my stranded minions of darkness and myself to find a regular source of income.

A visit to a careers service was futile. I was forced to destroy the fool who demanded that my army and I make an appointment, and furthermore, apply for a parking permit for the imperial deathwalker.

So, I turn to you for advice. Although I lack an accredited degree, I am recognised as god-emperor in three systems. Since my army operate as a hive mind, our interpersonal skills are exceptional, and we have perfected our teamworking ability through a rigorous in-house seminar programme (I am an Investor In Darkness).

Although we we laugh at the computer systems of your galaxy, I have taught myself several book-keeping packages with some success, and am a keen user of Lotus Notes.

I have good shorthand, and limited keyboard skills (I am cursed with a claw instead of a hand). I am hard-working, sincere, punctual and can kill easily with the power of the mind.

Obviously, it is hard to find a job that can meet my almost insatiable lust for conquest. However, if the work is interesting enough, we are willing to job share, although the army of perpetual terror will not be able to provide holiday cover for each other.

Yours in evil
Supreme Overbeing of the Third Dominion

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Celebrity Stalker

So, Lee and I are standing in Club Exit, in Cardiff (imagine a village hall with a light-up dancefloor).

We are watching the glum Chris Martin, in Coldplay's video of Fix You.

Lee stiffens. "That man" he said, putting down his sherry carefully "is outside my house. Creepy."

The shot changes. "Oh," I say, "Now he's stood outside my house."

Lee turns to me, chilled. "We are being stalked by Chris Martin."

In a glimmer of video editing, he's jumped back from Euston to London Bridge. And yet Chris Martin is still dressed like he's on his way to work at TK Maxx.

There's another cut, and Chris is standing by a delapidated archway. "Hmmm," said Lee, "if I'm not mistaken, he's now outside the exit of Pleasuredrome Gentleman's Sauna. I'd be worried."

And with that, Lee heads for the dance floor, stepping nimbly over a discarded pair of heels. "Oh look," he says, "the two men you fancied have got off with each other."

Friday, October 07, 2005

Office Politics

I've never done office politics well. They're tiresome. I like liking the people I work with, I like my job, and I like getting to do my job. These things are all good.

Of course, every now and then, my department in London goes through One Of Those Times that happens to every office. Unhappy things happen. Everyone's a bit uneasy. It's not sinister, but it is unsettling.

It's currently one of those times, and I've been delighted to be at a distance from it all down in Wales. I like going home and being able to sleep at nights. I like going to the gym and not muttering darkly all the way through situps and scaring the ladies on the rowing machines.

But yesterday, a tiny tendril of upheaval lashed down at me from London, leaving me confused, hurt, and rather paranoid. I got an email out of the blue from someone who cheerily announced they're suddenly managing one of my projects for me, they understand I've been having difficulties, but let's not dwell on my failure, things will be done A Bit Differently from now on.

Oh. Muttered so darkly at the gym this morning that even the man who sings while benchpressing gave me a look.

Wap bam boom

Curse modern phones. Previously, the worst possible thing that could happen with an unlocked mobile is that it would briefly pocket call the voicemail of an ex.

Last night, my phone spent four hours trying to download "Football Mad" pictures. Oh my god.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The N Word

I don't know what was more surpising. Hearing John Humphreys use it on the Today programme, or him then saying, "And, here to discuss it with me is Asher D of So Solid Crew."

Monday, October 03, 2005

The Gays Next Door

Lee and I walked up the entryway to my flat. As we did, some polished young men with careful hair were carrying expensive shopping out of a Trendy Jeep into the flats next door.

They looked at us. We looked at them. They looked back at us and grinned.

"Well," said Lee. "You're not clearly not the only gay here. Give it half an hour and they'll be round to borrow a highlighting kit and a cup of cocaine."

Hello London!

Things I discovered on my recent trip to London:

  • It hadn't really missed me. But I'd missed my friends.
  • My flatmate hasn't missed me. The whole flat has a feel of "you don't live here anymore". There are fresh flowers, new scatter cushions, and I'm sure I spotted pots of paint in the bathroom cupboard.
  • Cycling is joyous! What possible fun can I have cycling to BBC Wales through parks and across rivers when I could be pedalling through six lanes of traffic on the Euston road? Bah.
  • It's surprisingly easy to leave. Hence gatecrashing a wedding in Oxford at the weekend. Thanks, Darian.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Poor Tony Blair

Isolated, villified, and threatened with dire criminal proceedings for a one-word outburst at a moment of natural fury?

Is this Tony Blair facing prosecution for being rude about the Welsh?
Or his party arresting a heckling pensioner under the terrorism act?

Indy love

Hatefully, I'm starting to really like the Independent. Take their profile of David Hockney's pro-smoking visit to the Labour party conference:

Only metres away, the Royal National Institute for the Blind was handing out research proving that smoking causes blindness.

"It used to be wanking that caused blindness," Mr Hockney said.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Neighbourhood Twatch

"Can I help you?" asked the man under the umbrella.

"Well, no, not really, I'm waiting for a friend to arrive." I was stood in the carpark.

"Only we have had some burglaries," said the man, crossly, "And I can see you're wandering around."

I spread out my palms. "I am empty handed," I shrugged. "Just waiting. I'm staying in Flat 70, if you're worried."

"I am worried," he said. I realised he was a weaselly, disappointed looking man. I took against. "This is a neighbourhood watch area, see."

I turned to walk away, popping my headphones back in - it was The Archers (oh Will! Oh Emma! Oh Ed! The Grundy family meltdown). As I walked on, I realised the man was screaming at me, a sentence which ended "-NOT EVEN SORRY!"

"I am sorry," I said. Plainly neither understanding nor meaning it.

I wandered off around the carpark. He stood, watching me from the porch for a while. I got a text ("It's too wet! sorry!x"), so pottered back inside. He had gone.

I went back indoors, up in the lift, and back to my flat. As I unlocked the door, I heard a noise behind me. I turned around.

There, at knee length, peeping around the corner, was the weasel man. A grin on his face. "Go on," he said, licking his lips, "Let's see if the key fits. If it doesn't, then we'll call the police."

The key fit.

"Well," he said, "Perhaps next time you'll be more polite in a neighbourhood watch area."


He began to rant, boringly, still crouched over. He shouted about burglaries, my foul manners, and how I'd like it if my car was broken into.

"I don't own a car."

"So you don't care about the rest of us! I SEE!"

"Well, not personally, but I do generally. I was merely saying I don't own a car. Do carry on."

"No. I can't be bothered with people like you." And, with a glare, his head vanished back around the corner.

At that point, I shut the door. It's the first time I've ever been terrorised by the Neighbourhood Watch. Is this the kind of thing I can expect from my thirties?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Pride And Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice, handsome, clever and rich, with a good script and clever cinematographer seemed to unite all the best of British cinema, lacking but the attachment of a Star Name to make it the happiest of perfections...

Thankful they were that young Miss Knightley, a woman of no small accomplishments, came to the film set, and was happy to be called upon to spare no exertions in the achievement of A Cheery Film With Bonnets, which is about all we can make these days, really. Apart from nonsense about criminals hitting each other.

Anyway, for the curious, the film goes a bit like this...

KEIRA: I'm not wearing make-up you know. It emphasises my untainted beauty.

BRENDA BLETHYN: The character of Mrs Bennett is normally played as a fool. This makes her annoying. Instead, I'm playing her as a worrying fool. This makes her even more annoying.

CARDBOARD CUTOUT ON WHEELS (aka MATTHEW McFADYN) : *squeak* *squeak* *squeak*

KEIRA: I'm going to dance exuberantly. This proves that I am a free spirit. Then I'm going to say things that are very clever in a deadpan fashion. But I'll smile. Very slightly.

THE AUDIENCE: We are in love with you.

DONALD SUTHERLAND: This is Donald Sutherland. I'm not in at the moment. Please leave a message.



KEIRA: But you're a cardboard cutout on wheels. I cannot love that.


KEIRA: Oh, Bren - I'm about to express an emotion.

BRENDA: Right ho, dearie, I'll just nip outside and turn the weather on. Is it going to be a happy emotion? I can do you a lovely autumn sunset, suit "whistful" a treat, that would.

KEIRA: No, Bren. I think I shall be quite sad.

BRENDA: Fair enough, dear.




KEIRA: I haven't slept all night.

THE AUDIENCE: You're the most beautiful thing in film.

MATTHEW McFADYN: I haven't slept either.

THE AUDIENCE: You look like shit.


Monday, September 26, 2005

Social Worker

"Methyr Tydfil," I said. "What a pretty name. Is it nice?"

Sometimes I say really stupid things. It turns out that Methyr Tydfil is an almost unique blackspot, nearly deserted by industry, with 60 per cent of the male population signed off sick due to mining-related injuries. Or just depression.

This weekend I meet a social worker who used to have to deal with the mental of Methyr, but's now much happier dealing with learning difficulties ("The kids are great, but, oh, the parents...").

I can't exactly remember when it was decided he was coming back to mine. It could have been shortly after his flatmate announced "Watch him - he'll miss the last train and sleep with anything."

Certainly, in amongst the booze and another miserable attempt not to smoke, an arrangement was made. A mature gentleman's agreement - not really about love, or passion, more a "well, you'll do" on both sides.

Of course, he did do a final beauty pass of the club before we left, just in case he could find anyone better. I found him wrapped around a blond youth and began to make dignified excuses.

"Oh no!" he said, looking up, "He's working early in the morning. With you in a tick."

Sometimes, revenge is a dish best served without lube.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Censored in the name of the Lord

The Independent: There are Mormon firms who censor films to remove pre-marital sex, blasphemy and naughty thoughts.

They were being sued by the film industry. However, the Bush Government passed the Family Movie Act, which explicitly allows them to continue.

What's the next move? Will studios start releasing their own "clean" versions of films... or, since CleanFlicks and CleanPLay are mostly concerned with God not gore, will we see a spate of films about clean-living hunks with guns?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

New Euphemism

Cocaine user: "Friend of Kate"

Usage: "My ex is a close friend of Kate."

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Mysterious Skin

Next time I see a film described as "an unconventional love story about child sex abuse and alien abduction", I'll remember not to take along a pack of corned beef.

The good news is that Greg Araki's finally discovered how to tell a story. But did it have to be so horrible that a lesbian couple fled sobbing from the cinema during the pederasty-fisting-threesome?

Interesting casting: The kid from 3rd Rock, young Alan Tracey from Thunderbirds, and Dawn from Buffy.

Monday, September 19, 2005

I wish I'd known...

I had a cleaner. It could have been worse, but how shaming to discover the coffee table emptied of fag ash, vodka bottle and cherryade.

How awful to discover my papers tidied, with a Doctor Who book and an advert for a gay sauna placed neatly on the top.

And worse, how terrible to discover the wooden animals liberated from their cupboard.


Why are men with 0% body fat always 43% mad?

Albertas was out on a Saturday in Cardiff wearing a kilt and drinking white wine. I'd have talked to him for novelty value alone, but he was also rather well put-togther...

And completely bonkers. Perhaps we could ban pretty men from speaking? There's that terrible thing where you're thinking "I know you'd have to be mad to sleep with me, but couldn't you be just a little crazy?"

He was a Spanish-Russian make-up artist who "loved to do the dead in Casualty", made a hobby out of buying expensive bottles of Cognac and not drinking them, and lived in a luxury apartment in the City Centre. Which turned out to be a small front room in Roath. No, I still have no idea where that is, either. But there was a futon.

In the morning he popped out to make coffee, bumped into his flatmate (a brassy lady with a pink nightie and split ends) who got terribly excited and insisted on popping her head round the door to "Just have a look at the shag. Hello luv - he really likes you you know, and misses his boyfriend terribly...."

His most disturbing habit: Yelling out "oh shit!" during sex. However you think about it, it's not reassuring.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Cardiff Flat

Someone went to Africa, had a Spiritual Time, and filled their flat with lots of carved wood, paintings of Savannah, and cheap printed versions of ethnically woven rugs.

This is my flat in Cardiff. Every time I get home I discover another gazelle and pop it in the closet, which is now a Noah's Airing Cupboard of wildebeest, herons, and wise fat men with spears.

My little chunk of veldt nestles between Cardiff Town and The Bay. Having grown up in Milton Keynes, there's a certain cosy familiarity to the starter-home desolation of the Bay, with the howling wind, endlessly straight roads, and complete lack of shops.

I'm one minute from a Salsa class, two minutes from a multiplex. Three from an opera house. Four from a Bowlarama. But a newspaper is a bike ride away. As is toilet paper, chewing gum and yoghurt.

My first weekend was spent in splendid isolation, just loving the sheer pensioner feeling of it all, trekking to a market, chatting to butchers about interesting cuts of meat, and taking ages to prepare meals from scratch. I nearly, very nearly, went to an organic food festival on Sunday.

I've also learnt, now that the weather's turned, not to pack for a long move during a heatwave. The thought of another day in Cardiff without at least one cardigan was just too much to bear.

Monday, September 12, 2005


Things about the last year:

  • Indigestion Suddenly, red onions are no longer my friend.
  • Metabolism Oh. It's not just a myth that it slows down. Goodbye fat yoghurt, hello secretary-strength Muller.
  • Clubbing GAY really is Disco Inferno without the disco. How did I never notice that?
  • Too young for you A whole swathe of men are suddenly unavailable. And I didn't even get a chance to say goodbye.
  • Hair I liked having a slight widow's peak. I liked having no chest hair. Now I look like Basil Rathbone with a chest wig. And as for nose hair - isn't it supposed to be inside your nose, not on top of it?
  • Babies No, I'm not getting one. They're like iPods. Everyone else either has one, several, or so many they leave them in cupboards. No. Not me.

Welcome To My Country

When I was young, I always wanted to work in a foreign country. I just never dreamed it would be Wales.

I decided to make a grand entrance, wearing my suit. Of course, there was the small matter of the backpack with all my worldly possessions. And my bicycle. But my flat was only a few minutes from the station. What could go wrong?

Everything. After two hours of pedalling around I realised that:
a) My flat wasn't in the centre of town.
b) There were no keys for me at the stage door of Cardiff Millennium Opera House.
c) I had nowhere to sleep.
d) My suit looked like a crumpled rag, I was covered in sweat, and about to pass out.

The solution to all this, naturally, was to book into A Very Nice Hotel. And, within half an hour, I was stood in a passing Gay Mardi Gras, belting out "You'll Never Walk Alone", surrounded by young gay men with the right kind of "rugby build". Good.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

A fabulous letter

Dear George Lucas,

Please find attached Joss Whedon's tiny finger. It's got rather more talent than you. Do be a dear and put it in charge of your corporation forthwith, would you?

PS: And, if ILM can hurry up that Virtual Cher project, we'd be terribly grateful. She's starting to fizz.

The Gays

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Gay Chatlines II

Was flicking through one of those Magazines About Gadgets For Boys With Lots of Pictures Of Ladies Holding iPods.

And there at the back, lots of adverts for Gay Chatlines. But curiously, all aimed at a slightly different market - can you guess what it is:

- Best mate dares me to suck him
- Drunken stag night ends up in bed with groom
- Mugger made me gay at knifepoint
- Skinheads approach me in empty tube carriage
- Hunky boss blow-job to get promotion

Outrageous Claims vs Disclaimer

Kim on online TV file-sharing


Life solves big problems with small moments of wonder.

My pretty-much-best-friend Rick is having a birthday supper tonight. He is wonderful. As are the friends we have in common.

Sadly, they're not attending his birthday. Instead it's a lot of people I've never met, and a woman who has been played by a drag queen for the last few years ("oh, darling, i see people going into Tesco, and I pity them.... Honestly, my family has made so much money out of Iraq that it's embarrassing... It's so hard buying a second house in Paris, you know...").

And then, all of a sudden, someone offers me a ticket to the Firefly premiere. Best present in the world.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Ever have one of those evenings where you've just got a lot of tins and no real idea? Here's what I ate last night. I think it was a stew. It was honestly delicious:

1 tin of corned beef
1 tin of baked beans
1 tin of kidney beans
handful of frozen sweetcorn
8 olives
2 crushed chillies
Marmite stock
Tomato ketchup
Worcester sauce and basil.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Hardy Annual

"Pah!" said Laurent, lighting a cigarette, "We do this every year. We meet at about the same time, have the same chat, and roughly the same sex in roughly the same setting."

He tutted, Gallicly.

"Still, at least it's a different tree every time..."

Separate Tables

"Stop looking over my shoulder!" barked Andy.

"I can't help it," I bleated. "My ex is sat on that table. On a date."

"Well, stop looking," suggested Andy.

We left, instead. Andy glanced dismissively at both of them, just as the date brayed at something funny Adam said. "Hum. He's not bad looking, but did you hear his laugh? Can you imagine what he'd sound like in bed?"

I was quiet.

"Are you ok?" asked Andy.

"Yeah. Just... well, Adam said he spent every evening in hospital at his dying flatmate's bedside... and, well..."

As we walked down the road, a gentle laugh eeyore'd on the breeze.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Poppy and Menoptra

The Web Planet is coming out on DVD. It is the single weirdest, worst Doctor Who story ever - an incomprehensible mess of giant ants, hopping caterpillars, and Martin Jarvis playing a butterfly who thinks he's Hamlet. With vaseline smeared over the lens.

Lee and I sat down to watch it. One episode in, I brought out the two leftover painkillers from hospital last year. Rather lovely painkillers containing mostly opium and a lovely warm glow.

Now, I'm always a bit reticent around recreational pharmaceuticals. Thing is, you always know where you are with Vodka (unless you buy it from a street market in the Gorbals), but why trust your mental health to a stranger who hasn't discovered deoderant?

But these pills were, as I said, supplied by the hospital, to use whenever mind-bending pain occured. And, the Web Planet certainly qualified.

Within minutes, we'd stopped groaning as Ants fell over, and furry tea-trolley monsters crashed into walls. Instead, we just started to giggle contentedly. Soon, nothing could shake us... not even when the planet Vortis was invaded by a fleet of giant butterflies, all flapping their arms.... and, by the time the story ended with the entire cast on their knees, lapping at a puddle of water and cooing, well, we were just quiet.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Today's fact

My ex is appearing on Watchdog.

SURPRISE #1: He's not the subject of an investigation.
SURPRISE #2: It's not Crimewatch.

Two years of blogging

It's summer. It's time for repeats. Find out what I was doing in August 2003:

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Curing the Common Cold with Disco, Snickers and an Estonian

Fuck the germs! To the Black Cap on Monday night, for vodka and Laquisha Jonz's "Bling Blang Blung!" an interactive game show hosted by a Burberry drag queen.

How wonderful! I thought, when I was dragged up on stage. Please let it be the current affairs round, for I have read Heat this week. Or at a pinch, films...

No, it was not. I had to perform fellatio on a Snickers bar. Placed between the thrusting thighs of a DJ. The aim was to remove as much chocolate as possible in 30 seconds. Actually harder than you'd think. Especially as I was competing against a young Estonian, the European experts in head.

I am pleased to report that I won.

But only because the Estonian used his teeth and bit the end off. Nasty.

PS: Have you noticed that latin terms are always used for simulated sex? Curious.
PPS: The Estonian spoke no English. But was charming. And later on, I'm pleased to say, I let him win.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Gay Chatlines

I have invented only one of the following chat lines. Can you guess which one?

a) Law student gang banged in fetish club
b) Masseur shagged on building site
c) Model shagged by skinheads
d) Diary of pig boy Kevin.
e) I let dole officer shag me to get housing benefit.
f) Uncle Bob hard shags camp wimpy nephew Paul in correction room.
g) Tranny Lindsey gets it on with public schoolboys
h) Boyfriend punishes me after I bring home non-organic produce.
i) Muscleboy slippered in gym by Copper.
j) My first rimming.

Calls terminate in Kleenex.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Sofa & Snot

Punched out by a cold for two days - a real "drink as much as you like and you won't get pissed" zinger. For amusement, got The Interpreter and The Village from Blockbuster.

The Interpreter was bobbins - and it's not a surprise when you discover from the special features that the film was written as they went along. And that the original ending was laughable. Also features an unbelievably self-indulgent rant by director Sydney Pollack about the evils of pan-and-scan transfers - but Why? We're watching the movie on DVD. In widescreen. Why are you shouting at us you strange old man?

The Village was worse - Fabulously shot and realised, until The Twist starts to rear its ugly head. It would have been better not to have revealed it, and let film fans argue about it for years. Otherwise you're left wondering at so many stupid, stupid moments (like why keep A Costume under the floorboards in the village prison?). Again the Special Features don't make the film any more special. M Night Charlatan instead explains that the monsters only got red cloaks at the last minute when the original monster suits didn't look good on camera. Worse, the actress playing the blind girl turns out to have kept a diary, which she narrates over violins and pastel woods:

Oh! Ivy! Ivy! Ivy! Ivy! Ivy! *giggle* Ivy! Oh! I swear I shall know you better than I know myself... Cherish this moment... Love this stillness... Why, this film has been a dance... I am afraid to leave - you must always be ready... When it was over, Night did not yell "cut!" - he yelled, for everyone to hear "check the gate!" ... I have just seen the finished film, and I do not thing I will ever recover. It wounds me. Night has bestowed upon me another gift - the film has made Ivy Walker alive again.

Commitment to SparkleMotion

Had the deep joy of watching the Special Edition of Donnie Darko. The film's still brilliant, and it's great seeing the deleted scenes in their original context.

But isn't it strange how much of a film you forget after only a couple of years? Suddenly remembering that this film has so much in it - Patrick Swayze, SparkleMotion, Drew Barrymore... and it's all so brilliant.

Even nicer was discovering that this edition has a commentary by creator Richard Kelly and fab indy director Kevin Smith. Yup, the Kevin Smith of Clerks.

It's an enormously funny, bitchy commentary ("So, Richard, which of the cast did you try to bone?"), but also contains a slight taint of jealousy ("I've never made a film like this...") that's balanced neatly by the way Kevin Smith sucks air through his teeth every time Richard Kelly says "And this bit's just like a comic, isn't it?"

Best of all is when Kelly's explaining how the townspeople are all subconsciously helping Donnie achieve his quest, and Smith flips - "Oh, come on!"

There's also the joy of their mutual loathing of the original DVD packaging: "In the tradition of Stir of Echoes and Final Destination..."

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Chitty Chitty

Davide was an Italian fan of English musicals ("oh yeah, i've worked in the opera, but I'd really love to work on something like Mary Poppins..."). He stopped by wanting to take mucky pictures, but we got distracted by the obvious far too quickly, and he had to run off to see Chicago.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

A police suggestion

Dear the Police

Have you considered taking on my flatmate? She'd be ideal. She's always forgetting to video stuff, and great at wiping tapes of important things.

Mind you, judging by the hair in the bath, she doesn't have a problem with Brazilians.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


23, an accent like thick coffee, and a brain sharpened by a politics degree and a summer job in a call centre.

We met in Cube, the only place to go in Glasgow that's open late, late, really late on a Monday. It was packed full of old friends all saying strange things to each other - such as the an old man shrugging sadly at a young man and saying, "But Douggie, there was a place on the bus for yuz. We waited..."

Anyway, there was Mike. Hurrah for him. I think I cheered him up. "Oh, man - I had the worst one night stand last week," he told me, "I let this bloke piss all over me - you know, like water sports. Woke up the next morning dying for a shower - and he didn't have a working bathroom. He just waved, put his clothes back on and went back out to work on a Virgin train. Man, I felt dirty - had to go to uni, buying new clothes on the way. I stank."

He paused. And smiled. "Do you have a working shower?"

"Yes." Hang on. "But-"

"Oh. No - none of that! Not again. Being sniffed at by old ladies on the bus cured me."

Friendly Society

Not only does Glasgow have the best gay bar in the world (The Polo Lounge), but also wonderfully friendly people. They may be after your body, or your cigarettes, but they do it in such a persuasive way, you can see why it's the home of the UK's call centres.

The other night, had a fabulous, moochy evening chatting away to complete strangers - including a female social worker dealing with alcoholism in the Highlands. "Oh, it's like a disease - some people can't drink sensibly. I mean, I'm able to call a halt to it tonight after five pints. Why can't they?"

See - marvellous new friends. There are limits, however. At one point, I was reading Vanity Fair (US recruitment policies: shocking), and a man came and sat next to me, leaned over with his elbows on the magazine and stared at me. He wasn't pretty.

HIM: Are you American?
ME: No.

An awkward pause. I start to break eye contact and return to my magazine.

HIM: So. Got any weird tattoos?
ME: I'm leaving.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Well, I decided I needed a few highlights to fit in in Scotland. All the scottish gays have them, and safe in the knowledge that No One Who Knows Me was around, off I went to try and find a barber's who do them in Glasgow.

Alas, no. Everything else in Glasgow is sickeningly cheap, but highlights appeared to cost £80. Even at a place called Deb's.

So, I went to Boots, bought a kit (one containing bleach, a swimming hat and a femidom) and went to work. The results weren't bad, if a little lopsided.

Not to worry, I figured - I'll just dab some of the spare gunk on the right side to even it up, leave it in at the cinema and nip to the gents after an hour to wash it out.

Everything went without a hitch - no one even commented that half of my hair was purple, slimy, and fizzing. But disaster struck at the interval - no mirrors in the gents. So, I figured I'd leave it till I went home. Hmmn. Hmmn. Not actually such a good plan.

I look like I'm wearing a run-over tabby. But let's not dwell, eh?

Monday, August 22, 2005


Well, I guess as I enter my gay twilight (or, "Twiglet") I'd better get used to rejection... but, oh... the madness, and the sadness.

Randomly, I bumped into Simon, a top shag from last year.

Still as sexy as ever, but now a fully qualified Gay ("I've not looked back since you, mate.") and terribly huggy, I figured I could settle down for a couple of quick drinks and then vanish into the night with him.

It all went wrong. Dad always told me "Never go back" - and it's as true of restaurants as it is of top shags. Suddenly realised that Simon and I had nothing in common. Worse, it was really hard finding things to talk about: "So, the uh call centre. Is it, um, all right, then?" (pause) "Yeah. Kind of."

Even worse, I started getting on with his friends quite well. They were lovely, but Far Too Young and it was another world. There's a scene in Educating Rita where Julie Walters goes to the pub and her family and friends are all sat around singing along to an awful song. And it's at that moment she realises She Really Doesn't Belong.

Well, that night, I Was Rita. They were all sat around, singing along to the Steps medley and doing the motions, and it was kind of fun for a bit, but realising that they were going to be doing that All Evening. With Vodka Twistees and camera phones.

I suddenly felt really old. Even more so when Simon leant over and said, "Look, mate, you're a great mate, mate, but you're just a mate, mate. Is that Okay?"

"Yeah," I said. One of his friends fell over looking for her high heel and screamed with laughter.

Re: Bewitched

Dear Nicole

We're having words. Oh, don't worry - this isn't quite a gay intervention (or "gin-tervention"). No - we're not yet at the stage where we asked David Boreanaz to choose between Career or Carbs.

Look love, you have to stop picking films just cos you think it'll please the gays. We'll always love you. Moulin Rouge is so fabulous it's now included in the Gay Induction Pack along with a Fag Hag and some glitter.

And we adore the gossip - we've all heard the reports that "Nicole doesn't do food", and the legends of the string of pearls that you pulled out of Johnny Depp's arse. All lies, of course, but what fabulous ones!

No, the only problem is the films. Seriously, what's been up? I mean, we loved the trailer for Stepford Wives, but it's all been a bit wrong since. We're trying to forget the Chanel Incident, but it's going to be harder with Bewitched. What were you thinking? Second fiddle to Will Ferrell? In a remake of Anchorman? That was always going to be stolen by Shirley Maclaine and Michael Caine?

Ask to read the script first next time. Or at least check the film has one. And, above all don't worry about making us happy. For so many reasons, you're irrestible to homosexuals. Why, just look at Tom Cruise!

He's a reason. Not a gay.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Jenny Eclair's menu

A woman sat down next to Jenny Eclair during the Kit and the Widow interval.

"Can I recommed something, Mrs Eclair?" she asked.

The sunglasses were lowered, and a dazzling smile emerged. "Of course you can dear. I always like to see one or two different things."

"Well, there are these Chinese Buffets. Amazing! All you can eat for only six pounds. And there's chips too..."

What the reviews really mean

"...Really broke down the generative distance between audience and narrative..."

"Oh, that." said Kate. "Only one person turned up last night."

Token Gay Play

Was actually rather good. Called "Minor Irritations" it was all about the insecurities of a not very successful actor playing his emotional turmoil off against his job in a call centre.

"oh...." sighed my friend Kate as the play started. She's having a tough time looking after the emotional insecurities of her cast, and this was like extra homework for her.

Five minutes in, some late arrivals edged in. They were all large ladies with frizzy hair and lots of bags. The play had the seal of approval of the International Association of Fag Hags.

The play's main problem was that the author starred in a play about his own life... and wasn't that good at playing himself. Worse, he couldn't actually write for himself convincingly.

But apart from that gaping hole in the middle, the play was jolly enough - every other character was deftly written and well played - it was just rather hard to believe that they'd fall in love with a borderline autistic emotional wreck given to lengthy monologues of self-doubt and sudden bursts of tears.

For the first time, i experienced the urge to heckle. "Leave him, he's not worth it!" I kept whispering, as yet another lovely waiter fell for Ben's whining charms.

But it did have one genius idea - that there's a secret American gay society that sleeps with visiting Englishmen to cheer them up and reinforce the myth that their accent is attractive. It's called the Out Of Your League League.

Poisoning Pigeons in the Park

Another sign that I'm now a middle-aged gay was spending Saturday afternoon seeing light musical comedy performed by Kit and the Widow. Especially when they were joined by Dillie Keane, aka the smoking ruins of Fascinating Aida.

The idea of the show was simple - three old hands, the Tom Lehrer songbook, a piano, and some bitching. To keep themselves entertained, they'd recruited a forth member, a rather attractive young man called Mark Wolfenden, who spent the entire two hours escaping their predatory clutches... as when Dillie Keane wandered past, patted his hair a little too long, and then walked off, licking her hand.

It was all rather wonderful, in its own subversive way, although the whole thing was stolen by Dillie Keane, who sailed around like a singing Lynda Bellingham. After her breath-taking Basic Instinct homeage, she vanished over the back of a chair and lay there panting. An alarmed Widow ran forward and felt for a pulse. "Quick," he yelled, "Call the national trust."

Friday, August 19, 2005

Edinburgh Festivalities

Arrived in a mad whirl. Within half an hour I was having coffee with Elvis impersonators, while my friend Kate explains how well her show's going.

There are lots of people, mostly actors wearing their hearts on their sleeves. I managed to see two comedy shows (Chris Addison and Robin Ince, both brilliant), get slightly drunk with the cast of a disastrous vaudeville show, and then spent the entire night being treated *very roughly* by a sexy radio producer with a voice like gravel and arms like steel.

Am in a gorgeous apartment above a gay knocking shop. Enjoyed it terribly last year, and this year it promises just as entertaining. My room's just been vacated by a drag queen (not a spare lipstick in sight). One alarming touch was when the manager said "There's the DVD player - we've got loads of porn down in reception. Just pop down if you feel like using any."


The deep joy is that my terribly straight friend Rick is turning up today to stay on my floor for a couple of nights. I haven't yet told him about my unique accomodation.

Magic Wednesday

Quite the best day off ever. Well, it began terribly well - I was ordered for lunch by a terribly nice young Polish executive called Bart.

He'd got bored of spending lunchtimes either nipping out for sandwiches or going to the gym and figured, well, now I've got my own office, I may as well put it to good use.

I tottered home giggling and picking paper clips out of my trousers.

Then, to the theatre to see Billie Piper's Spirit Trap. Surely it can't be an anti climax... Could it...?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Online shopping again

The internet was invented so that men could lie to get sex.

I've not ordered from gaydar since a man with a surprise combover turned up on my doorstep. However, I've reactivated my profile recently - now I'm moving to Wales, it may be the only way to avoid celibacy.

Oddly, gaydarwise, Cardiff is a little disappointing. We like rugby players. They're nice - but gaydar appears to just be offering men who stopped playing rugby years ago, but still eat as though they do.

Adam suggested I try out a different site "fitlads.co.uk". It's a different world. Whereas Gaydar is rebranding slightly as the McD of online shagging, fitlads appears to be run by a couple of blokes, and has a sign-up process that includes the immortal phrase: "Oi! Ladies, this site is only for blokes. Stop signing up to have a peek at chav cock."

Most of the profiles appear to have been written in a hurry on a mobile phone at a bus stop. They're remarkably blunt, full of promise, but lacking in punctuation.

Despite the different approach, it's fundamentally the same. It's one thing to look at men through a glass darkly, but face to face, it's all too easy to think; "You're really not 33, the only bit of you that's 'defined' is your pot belly, and, er, no way are you drinking my piss..."

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Pop and the Human Soul

"Extraordinary how potent cheap music is," Noel Coward once remarked before slipping into a bellboy.

How right he was, I only realised as I jogged in to Ultim8 Pop Party, a free CD kindly thrown jeeringly given to me by the editor of the TOTP website. Looking at these songs through the lens of a couple of years, there are many lessons for us:

1) Baby One More Time by Britney.
At the time we wondered whether it was about spousal abuse or teenage alcoholism. Now we simply marvel that she's married someone called Kevin Federline, whose name is a homonymnic rhyme with the song title. Freaky, eh?

2) Year 3000 by Busted.
How I miss you. Except for the ugly ones. They deconstruct their own song on Popjustice

3) Sk8er Boi by Avril Lavigne.
Hmmn, thinking about this, what Avril doesn't realise is that the Sk8er Boi will gladly dump her for the girl who said See You Later. Men are like this. Even if they don't wash their hair.

4) Spirit in the Sky by Gareth Gates.
"I've got a friend named Jesus. Or Krishna." A brave attempt to reset Britain's multicultural agenda. But, sadly, too little, too late.

5) Cheeky Song by the Cheeky Girls.
"Touch my bum. This is life." Ah. Perhaps no one has ever understood a good Friday night quite so well.

6) Fast Food Song by the Fast Food Rockers.
Their website was last updated in December 2003. A weirdly ourobouric ditty about where one-hit wonders end up working. Pop, take note.

7) Tragedy by Steps.
"oh!my!god!" I thought, pulling short on Portobello Roard outside my ex's squat, "This song is my life! I really am going nowhere. I've lost my soul and am losing control. There is no-one beside me. The feeling *has* gone."
So profound is this song, perhaps if I rename it Le Tragedie d'Escalier, I'll be prouder of its message.

8) Who Let The Dogs Out by Some Wankers.
A mistake. This song has nothing to offer human society. Unless it's about Hen Nights. In which case, fair point, lads.

9) We're Going To Ibiza by the Vengaboys.
From a distance, this is actually a surprisingly poignant paean to the human urge to escape everyday mundanity for a metaphorical "Island". Why else the semi-mystic chant of "Eoha-Eoha-Yahweh!" - less Spanish, and more primal scream.

Meanwhile, a google search reveals the following puzzle: Did they change VengaSailor?

Ah, how well I remember (My VengaBus has, dear readers, gone on a VengaDetour), that merry evening at GAY when they were performing to a packed crowd and getting a great reception until VengaCowboy strutted forward and yelled, "Good Evening London! Some good lookin' women here tonight!" Even the twinks booed.

10) Mambo No 5 by Lou Vega.
I think, if you asked Angela, Pamela, Sandra and Rita, Monica, Erica, Tina, Mary, Jessica about it now, they'd tell you there are more effective forms of birth control than: "Jump up and down, move it all around, put your hands on the ground, clap your hands once, clap your hands twice."

11) Mickey by Lolly.
Why have I been dumped? wails Lolly. What have I done wrong? The answer, my dear, is simple and lies in your plea: "Any way you want to do it, I'll take it like a man."

As many gays could tell you dear, never play the sodomy card too early. It only makes you look cheap.

How I remember, sadly, deciding that I wouldn't see a Swedish man again after he offered too much too soon. Well, within the first ten minutes to be precise. Against a tree on the way home. Just too eager. Plus, somehow, my novelty Action Man watch got triggered. Nothing taints the mood quite like a tinny bark of "Alert! Action Man! Deep Sea Patrol! Dive! Dive! Dive!"

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Wager and the Pre-Order

Now, the Pre-Order is a shag that probably won't happen. It's like he's been announced on Play.Com, the packaging looks great, the special features impressive... but the delivery date keeps on slipping.

It now doesn't look as though I'll get the Pre-Order until early next year. Why?

THE GOOD NEWS: It's the subject of a bet. The Pre-Order has been bet money that he'll sleep with me this year. He's a man of principle. As am I. So we've agreed not to. And split the money.

How fantastic does that make me feel? I'm regarded as such a seductive swordsman that people bet on how long a man can elude my inevitable clutches... This is obviously marvellous.

THE BAD NEWS: The value of the bet? Er, 50p.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Oh. Craig.

Now he's out of the house, hmmn. He seems almost sweet, actually. Still as mad as a hedgehog shagging a spatula - "I see Anthony more as a friend, now, really I do, no really. No, that's absolutely really the truth. Really."

Bless St Davina, faced with the job of confronting Big Brother's first gay stalker contestant: "Anthony didn't want you to save him, he just wanted to sleep."

And then the show played out with to his hyena cackle.

What the Butler Saw

"Boys cannot be put in the club. That's half their charm."

Still my favourite play. Ever. Even in a mediocre, village hall production at the Hampstead Theatre.

Only Orton could destroy society using the Aristotelian unities of Time, Place and, uh, the other one, doing Euripides' Bacchae as written by Readers' Digest.

It's still the funniest, weirdest thing ever written, and it's still shocking. Samantha gasped out loud. "Does he have to use the word 'Rape' so much?" she demanded in the interval, "And does it have to be quite so funny?"

And grubby ex Adam would do well to remember the admonishment of Mrs Prentice to the naked blackmailing bellboy: "When I gave myself to you the contract didn't include cinematic rights."

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Unspeakable trouble

Today, I'm in trouble for something I did because I was told to do it, even though it turns out that I wasn't supposed to do it or even know that it needed doing. I did it anyway. Or rather, I told other people to do it, but not to tell anyone that they were doing it. They did it, and didn't even tell me they did it, but they did it all the same. But someone who shouldn't have known about it checked just in case they had done it, discovered it was done, and then told everyone. And now I'm done for.

The three hour commute

A bit of my bike shattered this morning. I was surprised. I'd not known it was there until it came flying off in the middle of Regents Park.

What's that? I thought, staring at the grubby thing. An hour or so later, I was in a bike repair shop just off Oxford Street. It appears to have been staffed for a gay porn film that never happened. Some of the cast appear to have been waiting for quite a few years.

I stood patiently waiting for the tall dark-haired man at the counter to patronise me. I figured I could just about handle it from him. But instead, the owner (short, bald, pierced) decided to serve me.

"What's the problem?"

I held up the broken metal thing. "Well, I don't know what it is, but it's not happy. It used to have a spinny wheel."

"Humph. Deraillier."

"Is that really what it's called?"

He gave me a look. A look of cunning, weary appraisal. A look that said, "This fool knows nothing. I can exploit him. If I told him his bike needed new cheese, he would agree. But can I, oh can I, be bothered?"

He sighed, and produced an intricate device and tapped my chain with it. "Oh dear. This is loose. When did you last have this serviced?"

"By you. A month ago."

"And to think no one mentioned this. Dear me. A month? Are you sure? How remiss. Did you oil the carriage?"


"Thought not. Well, we'll have to replace that as well. Which means the rear gear will have to be removed. Otherwise we'll be loose and not biting. Won't we?"

I held up the broken metal thing. And stared at it sadly. Its tiny wheel didn't spin.

He took a phone call from a more important client. He was already on another call. I admired his multitasking. He could patronise three customers at once - and two of them weren't even in the same room. Even the more important one received a brief, "We used to do that in a single package. But now it's more of a bespoke service. Yes. Ha ha. Most amusing."

The tall, dark-haired sales assistant leaned over and tried to help me. "What needs doing?"

I held up the broken metal thing. "This is being replaced. And my chain. And some gears."

He arched an impossibly neat eyebrow. "Really? Normally we replace the carriage as well."

"That too! He said that too! I've only just learnt that this broken metal thing is a deraillier."

He snorted dismissively, and began to fill out a form for me. Slowly. He handed it to me, lightly taking the broken metal thing out of my hand as though disposing of a dead pet.

"Come back tomorrow after 5."

I left, thinking, Thank god I don't own a car.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Big Brother:Anthony and Craig

The great thing about Big Brother is that it's like a party that you can turn up to, as late as you like, and there's still stuff happening.

This year, it appears to be the unrequited lust between Craig (ghastly gay mooncalf) and Ant (oblivious straight fencepost).

ANT: Straight Vole. &  CRAIG: Gay Vulture

Last night's show closed with them in the hot tub:

CRAIG: Don't hold it against me. Don't hold it against me.

ANT: I won't hold it against you.

CRAIG: Good. Cos I don't want you to hold it against me.

(It is obvious that he'd really like Anthony to hold it against him, rather firmly)

ANT: Ok.

CRAIG falls forward into hot tub. ANT places his hands on his shoulders, holding him
under the water. And begins to count. Slowly.


Or was it?