Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Bombs Away!

Well, this could well be the last thing I write.

As I speak, we're trapped in the building while the police have closed off Wood Lane. Beneath us, a nice young man in asbestos is carefully edging towards an abandoned car.

It's a bomb warning. A serious one. Last time this happened, my office got blown up. The laser printer's not been the same since.

We rang up the BBC's alert helpdesk to find out what was going on (switchboard were rubbish and suggested we ring "repairs and maintenance"). It's a great message, which tells us that Television Centre has been "invacuated". Bully for them.

Meanwhile, here we sit, abandoned over a soon-to-implode car. And not even a pretty young intern to spend my last five minutes with creatively.

The Weekend That Taste Forgot

This weekend I saw both Girls Aloud and Revenge of the Sith. One was a manufactured confection that cynically exploited children and ... look, you're way ahead of me here... Girls Aloud were brilliant.

I remember Lee introducing me to them. I'd just finished working on Fame Academy, and was cynical about anything that wasn't Ainslie.

Lee's eyes narrowed and glowed red. As they always do when either ending a life or spotting a Pop Sensation. "Trust me. It's like when a blind poodle plays the piano. It's amazing that they can do it at all."

And he was right. What innocent pleasure's been wrung from The Show, Sound of the Underground, Love Machine, and even, at a pinch and a slap, Jump!

Seeing them in concert was just wonderful. The audience was entirely composed of gays and seven year old girls (insert obvious joke here). With one exception. An ex All Saint turned up with her daughter, and promptly fell asleep.

We screamed and shouted and sang and just adored the whole spectacle. I've lost my heart to bulky dancer Craig. Especially when he turned up in a schoolboy outfit during their version of Teenage Dirtbag.

And the Girls were great. It helped that each one had a professional dance minder, there to keep then roughly in time. Even better they remembered to mime to almost every song - except for one when they just had to move and sing at the same time... with hilarious results.

I'm so happy. Apart from anything else, I realised that this was the first proper actual concert I've been to. I don't think seeing PAs at G.A.Y with your hands down the pants of some novel Swede counts.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Paperback Writer

Never having had a book published, I'm just not qualified to snip at a website devoted to "published authors". And yet, there's something about www.publishedauthors.net "for published authors only". I suspect it's either a cruel vanity publishing showcase... or a superbly executed spoof.

Who can say when they showcase such authors as "Trilby Plants" and his Gatekeeper about "Old Magic — the Magic of Unmaking, energies that can undo the forces that bind the Gates, releasing creatures capable of destroying humankind....

There's also Aaron Dockery's Blood Heist: A group are blackmailed into stealing from their ex-employer, Jonathan Baker. Indigo and his brother, Robert Lawwe, lead the team on a deadly mission while avoiding the possibility of a crewmember working secretly for Jonathan. Other complications arise when Indy falls in love with the fiancĂ©e of Jonathan Baker, Madelynn, and outside forces take an interest in the crew’s mission. Heist is the first book of the powerful Blood for Blood series, but definitely not the last. Note that "definitely not the last" bit.

Or Malcom C Latham's Champion of Champions: about Cymar, his parents, and men from Los Alamos, New Mexico, go to Saipan in the Cyril’s yacht, to neutralize the Atomic Bomb, because they believe the explosion will cause atmospheric ignition.

I really should stop now. It's mean-spirited of me. And yet... Well, don't ignore the self-help spiritual journey book But It Was In The Valleys I Grew with its stern warning: "You will be encouraged as you read the author’s passage to search and find how the winds of life have blown you too, hopefully enabling you to see growth in the valleys of your own life."

Yes, it's true. There has been growth in my own valleys. But the steroid ointment did wonders.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Beware of Greeks, Bears and Gits

Only men with boyfriends chat me up at the moment. Three in the last fortnight, and it's really rather distracting.

It's probably rather flattering, but only in hindsight. At the time, I'm just floored when they go, "Hey, you're great. But, well, I'm with someone."

"Well, not anymore," I'd reply... if I were better at evil, but I'm rubbish at that and instead look like a hamster with a broken wheel.

I spend ages lamenting that I always have to make the first move. Now, all of a sudden, there's an outbreak of forward men... it's just that they're attached. And faithful. And probably have dogs, ponies, yachts and stuff.

Last night, typical example. There I am, sat in the corner of the pub, trying to make myself invisible and I get chatted up. I'd rushed out of the flat, desperate to avoid the urge to smoke, and fled to Central Station. I just wanted to have a quiet drink, a subtle ogle, and to read my copy of Doctor Who Magazine in peace (I'm mentioned, fleetingly, this issue. It's like fame).

It was a mistake - it turned out to be the launch of Bear Pride [Note for non-gays: Hairy Fat Men]. Not my type - hence me hiding in the corner and letting them get on with it. It didn't work out so well - people kept trying to teach me pool or buy me beer. It turns out the phrase "Actually, I'd rather read what Billie Piper thinks about Cardiff, thank you" turns out to be the perfect answer.

Then, suddenly, someone sat down next to me. And, as the bench didn't sag, I figured it was someone slim. I sneaked a glance. It was the extraordinarily presentable barman, smiling at me. He laid one of his rather muscly, tanned arms on my shoulder, stared into my eyes, and said:

"Oh, you like Doctor Who? Cool."

A barman, crossing over, sitting down. Flirting with me. About Doctor Who. One lives for moments like this. Well, unless you're Lee ("Darling, don't do the help," he always says, although he does go rather quiet whenever they bend over to refill the fridge).

He was called Nikolas, he was from Greece, and kept saying weirdly charming things ("Joss Wheedon - you know Buffy? - he has a grasp of dialog that - yeah, works as well in comics. The situations are corny, but it's what the people say...."). All the time staring into my eyes.

Then suddenly he stands. "Sorry. You'll still be here in a bit? I'll come and find you. But first, I must dress the strippers."

Well, naturally I waited. Although Bear Strippers are certainly an experience I could have done without. Muscle. Hair. Leather. Cigars. In unusual places.

Eventually I caught up with Nikolas. He was all over me. "Hey! I'm working till two. Hang around till then?"

I mulled it over. By this time, the party was in full swing, and nude, hairy, fat man were standing around nibbling on scotch eggs. In the corner, Bear Porn was playing on the screen (It looked rather like those pictures of Saddam in the tabloids last week. Only naughty).

"Actually, I'll go in a bit. You want my number?"

At which point, he told me he was with someone, and I suddenly started to find the antics of Bad Saddam rather fascinating.

Still, the evening wasn't quite a total write-off. On the way out, I got distracted by a handsome stranger who didn't even mention a boyfriend. I remember thinking "I'm having sex. And Doctor Who Magazine is in my back pocket. Is that sacrilege? Or cool? Or just a bit weird?"

Thankfully, the comments system still isn't working. So I won't have to read Lee's vitriol.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Comments system

Appears to be on strike. Ah well. Here are some repeats:

1) Yr blog is not as funny as Lee's

2)Do you know how stupid you sound?

3) That's me you're talking about. It didn't happen that way.

4) Don't touch my dolly.

Sporran the moment

An evening with occasional txts.

It was a mournful night at the Black Cap, probably caused by the combination of
Eurovision failure and Kylie hovering between life and tribute band.

Text: Wall-to-wall Kylie. Men with big arms and careful hair are dancing very slowly.

Text: Thank god for the football! There's a pretty man here in a kilt.

The pretty man in a kilt did not escape Sandra's attention. The drag queen called him up on stage. He turned out to be South African.

Text: What is it about South Africans flooding the gay scene? Last year it was Brazilians. Is there a gay exchange programme? Can I, oh can I be swapped with a Latvuanian?

When Sandra asked him to take off his top she got more than she bargained for. He whipped off his pants. With a squeal of delight, Sandra ordered the DJ to lie down and inspect the kilted undercarriage. At which point, the South African dropped to the floor and started to thrust...

Text: Oh my god! Live sex show!

A shocked Sandra eventually managed to wrest the grinding kilt wearer off the DJ. I've never seen her speechlesss before, but this was certainly quite spectacular. And how better to follow it than with a support act singing MOR ballads? Well, quite.

Unfortunately, the South African was so pretty that most of the other Handsome Men left in disgruntlement. There was one attractive man there, standing near an old man with a twinkle in his eye. So, I started flirting with the one attractive man left.

Text: Must not chat up escorts in front of their clients

Saturday, May 21, 2005

What did you do on Eurovision night, Daddy?

So, I'm supposed to be carefully capturing a BBC Three Doctor Who programme. But, instead, the office Sky box has gone all gay and isn't shifting off Eurovision.

How do I placate the nation's Doctor Who fans? Do I just capture half an hour of camp nonsense and slap the Doctor Who credits on it? It worked in the Eighties...

Friday, May 20, 2005

Weird week

Nice things:
  • Sleeping
  • Brighton
  • Expensive meals in silly restaurants
  • Still not smoking.

Nasty things

  • Sorting the Not-Boyfriend thing out. Not fun. Not sorted.
  • The Council want three grand to refurb my block.
  • Spending an evening being eyed-up by a man with big arms. When I finally go over to speak to him, he's completely disinterested.
Bizarre things

  • Well, the United Nations could send me to prison. I do hope to explain more.

Sunday, May 15, 2005


Cheap shoes, I told myself, staring sadly at the blister on my big toe on Saturday.

I hobbled happily around town that day, and, thanks to magic vodka, even managed some disco flailing in the evening.

But, by Sunday, the idea of walking around Brighton defeated me. So, Lee and I went into Boots, and I threw myself on the mercy of a nice lady to help me by a padded plaster, or something.

"These are corn plasters, dear. Is it a corn? No? Well describe it... Ah, I see. Hmmn. No love, sounds like you've got a veruca. Have you been wandering around changing rooms or a swimming pool recently?"

Lee sniggered all the way home.

The Gay Lottery

There are times in every gay's life, when their numbers come up. It's a personal thing - maybe it's partnership legislation, a new drug, an undiscovered Steps megamix, or... well, probably it's getting the captain of the rugby team.

But you know what I mean. It's A Good Day where Lovely Happens. Friday was just such a day. A long boring afternoon of dull choices - haircut? return electrical equipment? hoover? write letter to council? - resolved itself fairly inevitably into prowling the corridors of a gentleman's sauna, wearing a towel and a hopeful expression.

Sadly, I suddenly found myself in a stalker chain. I'm not sure if there's a better way of describing it - but, suddenly, someone attractive walked in, and I followed him faily casually into a sauna cabin. At which point, I realised I wasn't alone, but that two other people had also followed him in there. All of us trying to look nonchalant, but serious and moody.

I caught the bloke's eye. We giggled. He left the sauna, chuckling.

I caught up with him and apologised. He shook his head, "It happens all the time."

What followed was a lovely afternoon hearing about someone's life that had perhaps been polished slightly for entertainment purposes, but who really cares?

Aiden was a South African money launderer, who'd been in the country for six years, professionally drifting between accountancy and porn. He was also one of those people who is very... lucky... horizontally. Put it this way - his gay lottery numbers came up regularly, and he'd frequently find himself... well, deflowering a firman on top of a fire engine, for example.

The only lack of luck he'd had was over his porn star name. I always wondered how people settled on a name - do you keep your first name but add an aggressive surname, such as, uh, "Thumper"? Or do you just start from scratch? Turns out, he'd spent a long time choosing a good name, but the director forgot what it was, and instead named him after the sadly drab London suburb he was living in at the time. Horrors. Imagine if he'd lived in Ealing Broadway?

Anyway, he was charming company and thoroughly entertaining. So much so that I lingered on a little longer than I should, occasionally trying to phone my friend Mark, who I was seeing for supper. Hampered by bad mobile reception. Which meant that I ended up wandering around with Aiden and my mobile. Which was not, perhaps, the wisest thing.

Mark actually managed to get through. "Where are you? You're not still in the sauna are you?"

"..... yeah...."

"The table's booked for eight, ya whore. You on your way?"

"....pretty much there..."

"How much longer?"

"... five more minutes.... oh!... [giggled, whispered conversation] ... make that ten..."

"Right. Hang on. Are you, ah, okay?"

"nonononoo. Everything's fine. *ow!* No, it's Great. Really good. Yup. Very good indeed."

"I see."


Supper turned out to be lovely, and full of stranger tales. Mark and I ended up drinking with a gay rights activist and a gay doctor. The activist explained what happens on Gay Burns' Night, while the doctor told a very complicated story about winning the gay lottery in a country mansion on a snooker table with a Swedish club owner called Hellgay. Actually, that's less the lottery, and more Naughty Cluedo.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Rude Boyz

I finally made myself go, and it was rather fun. Someone, somewhere is probably writing a thesis on how G-A-Y is stupid but Rude Boyz is ironic. I dunno, but when amateur strippers are introduced as "having a JJB Sports card, and his pants are from Brixton market"... well, something's going on.

Anyway, booze was cheap, the music was loud, and I didn't smoke. And at midnight, an entire other half of the club opened up and it was... sleazy.

Sadly, the French can mix a nightclub and sauna rather well (ah, dear Le Depot, with your tie-fighters outside and your scary cyborg strippers inside). At some point, though, the English cut corners and introduce queuing.

Queuing is our veneer of civilisation which we apply to anything. It separates us from those mucky foreigners with their odd food and strange hand gestures.

So, even in the seedy, anything-goes backrooms of Rude Boyz there's queuing. People trudge obediently round as though they're waiting for a coat check rather than a "cruise cabin". The cruise cabins were a magnificent example of English corner- cutting. Just as we modelled Butlins on a Swiss ski resort, but with formica instead of log pine, so someone decided that throwing together a set of cardboard cupboards counts as "Amsterdam-style cruise cabins".

Hilariously, one bulged and then split open, like a little orgy pod full of surprised sweaty men with baseball caps.

Managed not to have sex. Although someone did thrust an erect penis at me and mutter "suck!" without glancing at me. Which probably has a minimalist charm.

It was all thrilling and just a little bit horrible. But, at one point, I did meet a nice guy called John. From Romford. "You deserve to be here!" I yelled, my head giddy from £1 vodka and nicorette. "Yeah!" he said. "I work here. I'll meet you on the dancefloor in five minutes."

He never did, actually. But by that time, they were handing out free glases of... hmm... actually, tasted a bit like lube... but... hummm... I remember in a magnificent gesture deciding to tell people they were very pretty before I left. Oh, yes, I was that drunk. So drunk, in fact, that the taxi driver and I chatted like old friends all the way home.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Deskworkers of the world unite!

So, I'll be on strike then. My union is taking us out of work for three days this month. And we're all rather thrilled.

How often do nice middle-class people get the chance to act like miners? I feel suddenly all dirty and like not washing my hair.

There's even talk of a strike picnic. I'm wondering whether to do something fabulous with drizzled chicken.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

MP in pants: happy ending

Remember Chris Bryant? The Labour MP who had his private gaydar pics sent on to the world's media?

Well, he hasn't suffered too badly for it, really. Certainly his raised profile has done wonders for his researcher-hiring powers:

See pretty researcher Mark

Interestingly, cheekboned Marc's picture appears on Chris Bryant's server, but not on his website. Google can't find any reference to his, ah, duties.

Funnier still, the picture of Chris on the BBC News website is captioned: "Chris Bryant: drugs coming in easily"

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The "Next Blog" link

Ever tried clicking it? Mine took me to a Blog dedicated to "keeping people up to date on what is happening with Commercial Real Estate and Businesses in Uptown Dallas". It even features a smiling man in a suit.

Oh. I wonder if the poor sod's ever clicked back to here. I'm sure I'm bringing down the neighbourhood.

Surrounded by horror

Someone at work is making a horror movie. About a boy who escapes from an orphanage, becomes genetically mingled with a pig, and starts to kill campers in the woods.

Which is fine, only he can't stop talking about it, slipping it into every conversation...

"Yeah, not bad, not bad. Worried about the pig boy make up. As you would be..."

"How was your weekend? Me? Spent it covered in mud and blood on set, being a villager, a footsolder and then Crossbow Peter."

"I can't shake off this cold. Must be from that nightshoot where we just couldn't get the lighting right on the skulls..."

"Nah, I'm not so worried about the script, but we're still working on the bodycount. Problem is, we're a small crew and you can't all be dying if someone's gonna operate the camera. Then there's the problem of if the sound guy's in a scene, we'll have to dub it later... but hey, that's the problem of being a short film maker."

I've a suspicion of short films. Partly because I worked on some after university. The directors were all lovely but would spend more time talking about film stock than about the script, and the phrase "hey, writer, why not visit us on set?" would normally mean "we could really do with someone to hold a sheet of tin foil for eight hours".

Of course, the main reason I hate short films was after our old department head employed a very pretty Trustafarian to do work experience. One of the beautiful girls in the office decided to go and ask him out on a date, but came back, her face fallen: "I decided not to ask him after I head him on the phone saying 'Hey Tarquin, fancy coming round to the barge tonight and making a short film?'"

Monday, May 09, 2005


Wonderful, bleak, poignant film about the fall of Berlin and Hitler's death in the Bunker. I try and only watch one really withering film every three years. This gets me off the hook until either 2008, or when Miss Congeniality 3 comes out.

Not only does it manage to make Hitler understandable (without making him symapthetic), but it also inject him and Eva with character traits oddly like those of the President and Stockard Channing in the West Wing. Well, for about the first five scenes.

PS: Top news for gays: Only one sexy Nazi. And he doesn't do anything evil onscreen. Phew.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Small world of sleaze

The other night, I just had to leave the flat and go jogging. Otherwise I'd smoke.

So, off I went, across London, to Hyde Park (dead), and then back... past a gay bar. Barcode. What a perfect place for a breather.

I bumped into Mark, out with a TV director called Jerome, who was muscly, French, and very outgoing.

Jerome was snogging a taxi-driving opera singer he'd just met. A few minutes later, he had his hands on the trousers of someone else.

Mark was distracted. "See that man over there? The guy who looks like a Brazilian rent boy?"

I'd only noticed that he was smoking a lovely cigarette.

"Either he's got a very large mobile phone, or the penis of an elephant."

Jerome glanced over. "Monstrosity!" he shouted, and marched over to the Brazilian, had a whispered conversation, smiled, and then turned back to us, his hands far apart in the universal sign of The Whistfully Estimating Angler.

Mark and I gasped. The Brazilian grinned.

Jerome came back over. "Oh, it's real!" He shrugged. "Anyway, I'm off to the loos. He's said he'll show me it."

He was gone for quite a while.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Hands-off manager

I had a meeting with my manager today. The first for months.

I told Nairn, the nicest person in the department, and one of the other people I share my manager with:

"You had a meeting? With *him*? Blimey. Don't shout about it, or everyone'll want one."


I haven't smoked or seen the Not Boyfriend for five days.

hmmn. I wonder if nicotine misses me.

Of course, five days into giving up, strange things happen. For one thing, the cravings are horrible - which means I either drink myself into a stupor, or eat *anything* or both. So, I'd just like to issue an apology to half a bottle of vodka, a block of posh chocolate, a packet of jaffa cakes and half a salami. Last night won't happen again.

Worse though is watching my body try and rid itself of quite a lot of poison. Either it's like coughing up elastic bands, or it leeches its way out of my pores. The spots are just horrifying. And my voice has risen an octave.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Vote! Vote! Vote!

Today I cruised someone in a polling booth. Didn't get me anywhere, but that's democracy for you.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Giving up is easy

I haven’t smoked or heard from Adam for four days now. You can get lovely liquorish nicotine gum, which is blissy and kills most of the cravings. Of course, I’ve been in the country, which has made it easier.

When I get back to London, will I get a craving for cigarettes every time I go to a pub? And will I get a craving for Adam whenever I head to the cashpoint?


Why do 1 in 3 men on a train look like Michael Howerd?

It could be worse...

When life gets you down, and even your cat kicks you in the teeth, just remember – YOU COULD BE A TRAVELLING BUSINESS EXECUTIVE.

On a recent business trip to Leeds I stood in a queue for the train at 7.30am and marvelled (yes! Whatever the hour, TBE is happy to queue and tut). I was sandwiched between three young women with sensible suits and luggage-with-wheels (“yah, Trish, I hear it’s a pitched day of sales presentations…”) while behind me were two men sipping at their ridiculously over-specified-coffee-with-lids. And they were talking, something like this:

TBE1: What really excites me is that these guys are really on the ball?
TBE2: Progressive?
TBE1: I’d say really forward-thinking. You can really feel the dynamism with them.
TBE2: So we should take a synergistic approach with them?
TBE1 would clap at this point, but then there’d have been a posh coffee fountain.

The train back was worse. Sat in front of me were a charming couple who were a) in love and b) writing memos on their identical laptops while sneaking the occasional kiss. The memos went a bit like this:

“Hi Patrick

I’ve been put in charge of driving forward SMART-UP, the initiative which replaces TeamFast. I’m working directly to ExCo, who I’m sure would be delighted to count on your support in helping us carry forward the resolutions as we form them through a collaborative process across departments and business groupings…”

Me? I was on my way to a meeting about making a game where Daleks kill people.

I was reminded of this on the train this afternoon. I was reading the Attitude naked special (bliss! It comes in a naked Philip Olivier wrapper, and includes an interview with Kelly Osbourne that just gives and gives). Anyway, having struggled through 80 pages of boy totty (with some content, oddly, left in), I then realised I was in a seat facing Three Very Pretty Straight Students. Realisation: Ninety minutes ahead of agony while I try not to notice them.

So I concentrated on anything else. Which turned out to be the businessman behind me. Making a phone call. “Hi! Ted! Hi! Ben here. Yeah. Thought I’d phone on ahead just to tell you that Susan and David were a real pleasure to meet with. They really got the idea, and were so onboard with everything. I’ve got a real sense of excitement and energy from them that…. Oh? They said no? Ah….”

Sunday, May 01, 2005


The Not-Boyfriend is still charming, but irritating. I’ve almost accepted that he’s never going to pick up the tab, but he now takes it for granted that he can invite along friends for me to buy drinks for.

Charming as he and his friend are, when an evening ends with them laughing off into the night, saying “Let’s go find old men to buy us more drinks!” I can’t help feeling bad. Adam thinks of me as an old man to exploit. And he’s only 18 months younger than me.

It’s been fun, but being student mum to a high-maintenance disco whirlwind is getting tiring. A token, uncalculating, unselfish gesture from him would be a pleasant novelty. His current definition of this appears to be saying “We’ll stay in round yours. That’ll save you money. Can you put a pizza on? Oh, and if you have a tenner…”

It’s been fun having a comedy non-boyfriend for all my friends to laugh about. But, frankly, victim just isn’t my colour.