Sunday, September 30, 2007

Unusual breakdancing on a Sunday

SoHo lunch started at 1 and finished at 10. I don't spend enough Sundays like this, pottering amiably around with pleasant company. We discovered that London's mintiest gay bar, The Box, now does table service, but in a dismissive "Wait in that corner. Someone will get you a drink - you're blocking the view of our beautiful bar staff."

We were in The Friendly Society when a young man in a wheelchair approached us and told us the story of his life. Whether we wanted to hear it or not. It says something about the times we live in that people in wheelchairs can now feel free to be a bit unpleasant.

"Are you single?" Tony demanded of my friend Tim.


"Well, I'm straight!" he snapped, dismissively. And then started to tell us again about the documentary film that was being made of his life. Tim went to the loo.

We were joined by a friend of Tony's, who was quite the most sexually available marine you could meet. "You have great eyes and teeth," he said to me, "What do you think of my arse?" and pulled down his trousers. "Do you want to touch it?"

", my friend, Tim.... is..." I managed.

"Tim? I can't stand that name!" wailed the marine, "My ex was called Tim!"

"Isn't that funny! I'm a bit weird about Pauls," I giggled. "What about you, Tony? Are there any people's names you don't like?"

Tony looked up sullenly from his wheelchair. "They used to call me Bent-Back. I didn't like that."

"No! That's not what I meant! Are there any bad Sandras in your life?"

Tony thought about it "I hated it when they called me Peg Leg."

The marine pulled down his trousers again. "They call me Bubble Butt, cos of my great arse. Can you see why?"

Tony told us some more about his hard life, as being made into a documentary. On the one hand, I really envied his ability to come over, introduce himself, and have a conversation with two strangers. On the other hand, he was truly terrible company.

Tim came back. I got up to go to the loo. The marine showed me his arse again as I squeezed past. He was, I think, completely missing the point of marines. They are supposed to be hard to get into. That's their charm.

When I got back, Tim was being lectured by Tony about how the Hackney Gazette had featured his bravura display of wheelchair breakdancing. And the marine placed a hand on my loins and squeezed. It was nastily like having an unfamiliar cat settle in your lap.

"Er, haven't we got to...?" I said to Tim.

"Oh, yes... we're almost certainly late for..." He replied, and we headed to the door.

"Myspace me!" cried Tony. "I reply to as many messages as I can!"

PS: Things that make me realise I'm 33: After a hard day's drinking, I do not have one more and go clubbing. No, I return home and thoroughly enjoy a documentary about Channel 4.


Went to see a play. After half an hour, the actor stood up and said, "Well, that's it. Shall we go to the pub?"

I have decided that this should happen more in theatre. It was a lovely evening, but meant that, by the time I reached the engagement party I was supposed to be at, I was a little drunk.

The engagement party was in a heaving Camden straight pub. It's ironic that North Londoners are against battery farming, but happy to drink in pubs so crowded a hen would faint. I eventually found the private party in a quiet area, with some rather lovely free food. "How long have you known Guy?" I asked a nice man called Darren. "Who's Guy?" he asked. It turned out I had gatecrashed his birthday party.

I never did find Guy. Every time I moved or turned, a bouncer would spin me around and back into the melee, like a dodgem attendant.

Friday, September 28, 2007

You, the reader

Things I've recently discovered about my readers. You are quite likely to be:
  • High-powered and fabulous
  • Quite attractive
  • My plumber

Miss Jalpa saves the planet

I know a lovely woman who actually does something worthwhile. She's saving the planet. She's currently in the Sudan. She summarises her problems as this: "So, there's a flood. There's also a civil war. You kind of assume that the really bad flooding would stop the civil war. But no. There they are, up to their necks in water, shooting at each other. Tiresome."

We have an evening of cocktails in a rooftop bar. She insists on paying the ludicrous bill ("Darling, we only got Cappucino in the Sudan last month. How long do you think it'll be before we get a decent martini?").

There's gossip. About randy aid workers, lustful body guards, and corrupt UN officials. About almost hopeless challenges and terrible terrible things. She says how one night they found the woman in the next door tent trussed screaming to her bed by her three bodyguards. When asked what they thought they were doing the bodyguards calmly replied, "We're gonna have a little fun."

She tells me all this and I think "I couldn't do your job." And then she starts talking about the plumbing and I think "I really couldn't do your job."

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Meanwhile, online..

No matter how hard your online dating persona, I can't take you seriously if you name yourself after a Doctor Who character:

"The Great Healer: I am a Master looking to gain a sport kitted slave."

Yeah, to come over, crap on my coffee table, and then we can cuddle while we watch the Tegan boxset together and bitch about the chromakey.

A little respect

Yesterday evening didn't quite go as planned. There were supposed to be fabulous drinks. Then I was going to see a Chinese Walking Play (sold out), a Numbers Play (sold out), a foreign film (only on on Wednesdays at 4pm. Clearly peak time for the sullen). Finally I decided - I was finally going to go and see a night of Gay Comedy at Barcode.

Instead, and rather marvellously, I ended up seeing Erasure in a private box at the Albert Hall (thank you Mr Morris). And I'm pleased to say I was a good boy on the bike ride home through Hyde Park. Although maybe that's because they've fenced off all the naughty bits. Who can say?

Job alert!

brand: Your Horse
job title : Head of Products
Your Horse Britain’s premier horse brand (magazine, website and show) is set to become the consumer champion of equestrian equipment...

I'm gonna have the Black Beauty theme in my head all day now.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

New web addiction

Hunters and Gatherers - lifting unfortunate profiles from gay dating sites. Safe for work (on the top level). I'm laughing like Phil Spector at a gun show.


In the supermarket, I get a text from my Irish ex. The preview says "Hi, how you doing"

I cycle home, thinking through the various possibilities, and mildly worried by how excited I am. Clearly, this means that I've never got over any bloke, ever. I mentally compose a witty, detached reply which proves that I am cool, calm, and in no way prepared to move back to Wales just to be with him if he'd just ask.

I open the message: "Hi, how you doing with the wedding?"

Oh. He's texted the wrong bloke.

Monday, September 24, 2007

On the couch

The squaddie rings to say he's coming over, and would I mind if he brought a friend, who turns out to be a therapist.

I don't know whether to expect a threesome or an intervention.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Thursday, September 20, 2007

It's not WMD, it's just a cat!

"A new kitten named Cookie will be introduced to the show, while the BBC said Socks would "also remain on the team". [Blue Peter editor sacked]

Further Socks fakery! In an interview on the BBC website, Socks announces: "Embarrassing moment? Having to be made look messy before being groomed on the show!"

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The night I shagged Harry Potter

Q: How did your interview with the world's top listings magazine go?
A: I accidentally referred to listings as "dull".

Afterwards, shaken and wearing painful shoes, I rang up Adam and begged him to take me out for a drink. We ended up in a gay-o-rama on a roundabout in Victoria. Adam's there, along with a charming young couple. Let's call them Perfecton #1 and Perfecton #2.

Gays aren't like they used to be. The Perfectons were 21, shared a flat, were terribly mature, and kept on popping open their Blackberries to check with their dealers... Their share dealers ("oh, I knew Northern Rock would rally").

It was kind of like VHS going out for drinks with a couple of DVDs. They were so shiny. It made me a little whistful.

We all ended up in an Italian restaurant. Adam wandered off for a cigarette/to abuse a waitress/phone his boyfriend.

ME: Oh.


ME: Your boyfriend's hand appears to be on my knee.

PERFECTON #2: Shouldn't it be?

ME: Well, it's ... I... gosh...

PERFECTON #1: How old are you?

ME: 33.

PERFECTON #2: Then not too old.

PERFECTON #1: No. Good.

PERFECTON #2: Then that's settled.

ME: ...


ME: Has anyone ever turned you two down?

PERFECTON #2: No. Why would they?

PERFECTON #1: We both have such good taste.

(They smile. In unison. It's not at all sinister).


That's the thing about The Gay Lottery. No matter how shitty your day, you may win at any moment.

PS: Perfecton #2 was an actor when young, and played Harry Potter in a video game before discovering an aptitude for Network Server Maintainance. "I was such a disappointment to Sylvia Young..."

Monday, September 17, 2007

London has a beach

The Polish Footballer and I meet up at the end of the Thames Festival. We've missed the fireworks, but walk hand-in-hand along the South Bank and down onto the beach.

He thanks me for lending him my flat briefly. "I played with your little trains," he said, and smiled. "You have so many."

We walked on for a bit. "I should have seen you a couple of weeks ago," he said. "I'd just moved out of my ex's and was having so much sex. I was such a slut, you'd have been very happy. Now though, I am off sex. Poor you. It was just too much endless empty sex, my god."

He shares his new flat with a Greek rich kid, his vile porn star boyfriend, and a marketing student who's never around. "But they are all such thin bitches! So I must diet, otherwise I can't steal their clothes!" The Footballer stays in at nights, watching Sex & The City and eating tinned tuna and miso soup.

We walk back along Embankment and sit on a bench just watching the river at night. I steal one of his cigarettes and he explains, very carefully, where the Polish translation of Harry Potter goes wrong. It's all to do with House Elves.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Hai World!

It's taken less than a year for Lolcats to go from a joke to a programming language. Called LOLcode, obviously. Monorail cat would be proud.

London's prettier than you

London was looking a bit sexy yesterday, wasn't it? All that late summer sun, gentle breeze and the bracing whiff of baked tramp wee. Unbeatable. I spent most of the day walking - insisting that a long-suffering soul walk to Paddington rather than catch the tube, and then rambling back to Holborn. The sites were amazing - not just pretty boys, but every few streets something remarkable - a petting zoo, a Socialist book sale, a woman trying to eat ice cream through her veil.

And then, in the evening, a rather lovely party where everyone wore hats. I would have gone on clubbing but a) I'd spent my clubbing money on sushi and b) I was dressed as a builder.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Squaddie and the Sheikh

The Squaddie's back, having dumped his Arabian Prince somewhere in the Seychelles. "I told him he was a spoilt child and terrible in bed. He threatened to call security, so I slapped his arse and got a plane home. Miss me?"

I still don't know what to make of the Squaddie. He chain smokes, drinks red wine from the bottle, but likes foreign films and caviar. And his Dundee accent grinds like a waste disposal unit (I wish I could attempt to report it - can Fawkes help?).

He pops round after work, his workbag containing a laptop and a collar-and-chain. "Oh, it's not for you," he mumbles, "Got myself a slave last night."

For some stupid reason I tell him about my horrific slave-dating experience, and he laughs. "You don't kiss 'em, you daft twat, you just tell them what to do and they love it. This one was a nice young architect, so he'd even got the sling hooks in his living room. I trussed him up, beat his arse with a paddle, and made myself at home with his drinks cabinet. After an hour he begged me to stuff some love beads up his arse, but I looked at them and they were the size of cricket balls and I thought fuck that and said 'You've been bad slave, you don't deserve it,' and made myself another drink. He loved it."

Sometimes I feel I'm a GCSE mind in an A Level world.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

More disappointed than surprised

I open up a long-forgotten chest and discover that, for a considerable number of years, I've owned Arnold Schwarzenegger's Junior on video.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Russell Howard topless

Every now and then, the BBC website surprises and delights.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Dinner Party

Like Abigail's Party crossed with The Wicker Man, but nowhere near as good as that sounds. The cast gave it their all, but were abandoned by the script and the Terry & June incidental music.

It was all so obvious - three couples (young, middle and old aged) in a big house in Essex. The moral was either "Money doesn't bring you happiness" or "Lower middle class pretension is abhorrent." Neither's particularly original, or valid.

Just as films about East End crack dens are all made by nice public school boys, so films about Essex ghastliness are churned out by North Londoners who think a trip to Clapham racy. After last year's Poliakoff horror where a man who has never worked in an office turned in a satire about office life, you'd think the BBC would have learned... But try and imagine Alan Bleasdale or Alan Plater turning in something so patronising and limp.

The only likeable character was George Cole. And the only likeable word was "succulent".

Shuffling mad

"Bitch! Bitch! Shut up, you stupid bitch!" I said.

The woman next to me blinked with surprise, turned away and quickened her pace down the street, hurrying away from this clearly mad stranger.

How could I explain I was listening to Any Answers on the radio?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The morning after the party

I discover someone had sex on Legoland:

There are only two problems with this:
  1. Surely it must have hurt?
  2. It's only when you have guests round that you realise that having your spare room filled with Lego is just, kind of, odd. Or, as someone said; "creepy".

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Signing-on and Signing-out

I've signed on. I haven't done this since leaving university, but since I'm technically unemployed, I appear to be eligible for some benefits. At the very least, I get cheap cinema tickets.

There's a curious selection of free magazines, including Pathfinder - "for career changers from all walks of life", but blatantly for ex-servic people, full of articles about how to leave the army and use your resettlement fund to become a recruitment consultant/kinky shoe saleswoman.

Among all the slightly weirdly worded adverts was one for Ex-Mil recruitment ( They're currently looking for an accountant who has experience of auditing in "a hardship location". Could this be you?

There's also an enticing backpage advert asking if you want the be "The Face of Munters. Munters is the world's number one organisation in damage restoration."

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The great thing about the tube strike

Is that the sun's shining and all the fit men in the area are off work. Goodness, there was a man in Costcutter who was both cute and gay (well, he was buying filter coffee, which is gay in Kings Cross).

When I left the shop, he was waiting for me outside. I smiled broadly, and then realised he was simply untying his dog. He walked past, and the dog gave me a pitying look.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Good news: re Cybercrime

Obssessively staring at pictures of someone on Facebook isn't actually stalking until you make one your desktop wallpaper. I have decided.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Coming up in Somers Town

I live in Somers Town. If you've ever wondered what's between Euston and King's Cross, the answer is a quaint little series of streets. My own estate (1920s Council Deco, thank you very much) is the old St Pancras' shunting yards, which says all you need to know.

In the five years since I've lived here we've really smartened up - the food's amazing, the people are friendly, and the local library is the British Library. Local drugs pub The Somers Town Coffee House is now a gastropub ("under new management: we now serve coffee") and on summer evenings crowds of ghastly media types spill out onto the pavements with their bottled cider.

We've a basketball court which is as popular with estate kids as it is with posh students. For me the sound of summer is six shirtless youths yelling "To me Stephen! Bitchin!"

We even have our own gang. Whereas other gangs have slightly more exciting names, such as the Tooti Nungs of West London, we only have the "Somers Town Boys 07", which is handy for filing, if nothing else.

Of course, things aren't all rosy. While it's been a good few years since the police cordoned off our bins to look for hooker bits, a real gang from Camden now commute down here away from their ASBOs. I get back from holiday to discover police signs asking for witnesses to a Murder. It took place at 6pm on a warm summer's night. Right by the gastropub, probably in front of a hundred nice middle class people too polite to notice.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Husband Watch

It's been a bad week for potential husbands. First, Owen Wilson's suicide attempt, and then Russell Howard gets a terrible new haircut. Both doomed cries for help. Owen won't get his girl back, and Russell will never get to speak on Mock The Week. One is fate, the other's fixed.