Monday, May 31, 2010

I am not the crossbow killer

I'm on holiday at the moment (more later, but it's lovely thanks) when I receive a spate of texts about The Crossbow Cannibal, a case being presided over by my more useful namesake.

Curious to find out more (and with a broken laptop), I rush out to buy an English language paper and end up with The Times International Edition. It features a curious article which is, at best, insensitively subbed (and strangely missing from the Times Online site). In it the reporter wanders the streets of Bradford talking to friends of the three victims, sex-workers who appear to have been chopped into tiny pieces and dumped.

Here are a few quotes which illustrate what might have gone a bit wrong with the article:

"I've been taking my punters there ever Friday, right where they found the body. I've been doing punters right under my friend's nose."

"Sue was soft. She was an angel but soft as shit. She'd do punters for £10."

"My friends always used to have a laugh with her and she'd give her right arm to anybody."

Another draft?

Monday, May 17, 2010

The best of times

I have been going to the gym for quite a lot of years now and in all that time, neither of the following things has happened:

1) I've never developed arms like squirrels in a sack
2) I've never had sex

Apparently there's a lot of nookie in gyms, but maybe I go to the wrong ones. I did once go to the notorious YMCA gym on Tottenham Court Road which looked like an secret underground base for a gay Bond villain. The changing rooms had quite a number of very naked men displaying their obvious excitement - but they also contained several young children getting changed. Frankly, there's a time and a place, fellas.

I have twice *nearly8 pulled at the gym. The first was at the BBC gym at Television Centre. It was all a bit embarrassing. I was being obviously cruised but was at a really funny bit of The News Quiz and perhaps my best look is not laughing on a Swiss Ball. Undeterred, he followed me into the changing rooms and then lost interest when he I changed into my beloved Marvin The Martian boxers (quite why novelty pants with a "surrender you strange life-form, you" slogan are a turn off I dunno). The next week we bumped into each other at the Filling Station salad bar. Turns out there's no etiquette for "Hi! I haven't seen you since you hated my comedy knickers". I never saw him again - I like to think he left.

The second time I nearly pulled at the gym was very embarassing. I was chatting to a friendly and very good looking man. We got on like a house on fire. We walked out of the changing rooms together and he went to the water fountain. Now, here's where social skills would have helped. I could either follow him to the water fountain (which would have looked stalky as I clearly had no reason to be there), or I could leave. So I left, so as not to seem rude.

At which point the good-looking man gave me a look of disappointed disgust and said "Oh, so it's like that, is it? Bye then." If only Nancy Mitford had addressed this topic we'd be celebrating our civil partnership this weekend.

Instead of which on Sunday I did what I normally do. I went to the gym, tiny bit hungover and wearing my pyjamas (old t-shirt and trousers so baggy you can call them pantaloons). Merrily, I plonked myself down on the rowing machine.

Which is when HE turned up. You know what they're like - people who are so muscly gravity bends around them. He strolled in, lifted some very heavy weights with a fingernail and then dangled from the pull-up bar without a care in the world.

I tried not to watch him and instead rowed (a trifle unsteadily) through to the end of The Archers Omnibus (oh, Lillian...). Then I went and showered.

While I was showering, Mr Muscle wandered into the changing room and glowered at me angrily. It was a look which said "I know your sort. Yes, these are the biggest arms you'll ever see in your life, but the gun show is over. Now fuck off." This seemed perfectly fair, frankly. To minimise contamination I stayed in the cubicle until he'd gone into another of the showers, and then slunk into the sauna.

At which point he came into the sauna. How utterly, hideously embarrassing. It's not a big gym and the sauna is the size of a microwave oven. There was barely enough space for one of his biceps and oh dear me, just look at those thighs. How was I going to try and comfortably share warm oxygen with an alpha male? Paging UN goodwill ambassador Geri Halliwell.

I was just contemplating making some weak small talk along the lines of "oh dear, the light bulb's gone in here again" when... it all went a bit porn.

The next few minutes were among the happiest and yet least satisfying I've ever had. Sadly for my univesity education, I discovered that men with very large arms can do pretty much what they like. Annoyingly, I'd like to say all I could think was "You've made me feel like a princess" but instead my brain just went:
- Why me?
- Never ever leave me
- Do watch out for those hot coals

He kept on muttering "Gotta go. Really gotta go" which made it all the more urgent, but also all the more transient. Clearly, men with big arms have busy lives opening fetes and saving the world, but all I could think was "Must you? This is possibly the most exciting thing to happen to me this year. If not ever."

Afterwards we got changed. It was awkward. We still hadn't actually had a conversation. Neither of us was looking at the other - he seemed suddenly shy (which was a bit like Optimus Prime playing peekaboo). And yet again, Nancy Mitford remains tight-lipped on what is the right thing to say to an anonymous stranger you've just had sex with.

In the end, I settled for a grisly attempt at a matey pat on the shoulder. "Thanks," I said.

And he made that half-grunt half-laugh sound that men make which means "Yeah, that was a laugh", "You too,", "Don't mention it", and "Don't Mention It".

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Odd Couple

So, I'm at a party. And there's a married gay couple. I keep talking to them as they're near the food.

The thing about them is that... they're ALL about the sex. I talk incessantly about my cat, but pretty much their only topic of conversation was their sex lives.

This was a fairly nice, ordinary, mingly house party. There were straight men, straight women, a few gays... But (let's call them) Eric and Ernie filtered everything through cock-tinted spectacles.

Eg 1:

NICE LADY: "So how do you know our host?"
ERIC AND ERNIE: "Oh we spit-roasted him years ago."
NICE LADY: "Are these bruschetta?"

Eg 2:

"Any plans for the weekend?"
"Yeah. We're sling-fucking a Norwegian."

Yes. Eric and Ernie own a sling. This naturally required some explanation. Apparently they'd turned the spare room into an office-slash-dungeon. With a sling. Apparently it was self-assembly and was operational in minutes. I have a ceiling-mounted laundry hanger. This is excitement enough for me.

Ikea don't make a sex sling (although if they did, it'd be called Shünt), so Eric and Ernie got theirs mail order (I am trying to imagine the "we tried to deliver" note from the Post Office right now). Not so their cage. "No, we had that custom-built and fitted."

I don't have a cage for several reasons. These include:
  • I would lose the keys
  • It would take up valuable space which could be used for shelving, lego and cat-toys
  • I met one of my boyfriends in a cage. It would bring back unhappy memories. I avoid Nandos for a similar reason.
  • My flat is already cluttered with unwise impulse buys which are now gathering dust. There's a rice cooker, a USB vacuum cleaner and 10 metres of gold-plated S-Video cable. I'm wary of adding a cast-iron cube to the list. I'm not that much of a Star Trek fan.
Naturally, Eric and Ernie also have an extensive range of sex toys. They couldn't tell us in enough detail about their electro-shock butt plugs.

"Where did you get those?" I asked, stirring celery in the guacamole. "I mean, is there a catalogue?"
"Oh yeah. We got them from ErosTek."

It turns out that ErosTek are real. They've got a blog. Here's a sample post:
"When plugged into the AC adapter, the battery level displayed is higher since it sees the charging voltage being delivered to the battery via the charging circuit.... Don’t forget about the ET312 for 6 months and then expect the battery to have any life left in it." 

I have *exactly* the same problem with my mobile phone. See? It always pays to read the manual. Mind you, I salute ErosTek. I'm sure many companies will have done the following equation:

Electricity + Bottoms = Very Bad Idea

but clearly they've pressed on regardless. And the best thing? It turns out the electro-bummer is remote
controlled. This is supposed to lead to a uniquely tangled web of pleasure-pain-domination-control around the house at all hours of the day and night, but all I'm thinking is "What happens if the neighbours get a clicker for their garage?".

My new plan? I'm buying a universal remote.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

So wrong and yet far right

"Who is that?" It was the middle of election night. We were watching Ed Balls keep his seat. And there, on the screen behind him appeared...

Yes, it helped that he was sharing the screen with Ed Balls and a fat-suited David Tennant. But... who was that vision of utter beauty? It looked like David Beckham, only... (and this may have been that it was 5am) BETTER. Look at those cheekbones, the hard jaw-line, the stubble, the hair, the dead-eyed gaze...

Oh lord, please don't let me be fancying the BNP candidate.

Sometimes, fate plays cruel tricks. The head knows not where the heart may fall, etc etc. Sadly, it turns out that this political pornstar is none other than Chris Beverley, and yes, he really is a member of the BNP.


But maybe, you know, he's not all bad... Maybe he's a cuddly fascist? Although, let's face it, we'd want to skip the cuddling.

Let's find out more about Chris. Thankfully, he has a twitter feed, from which we learn that he likes 24 but not immigration. Also, TitansMarch has helpfully uploaded a video to YouTube where he says that TB is caused by foreigners and Labour and that we should... um, I actually had a bit of trouble following after that, maybe it was his slightly discursive argumentative style or the thought "he's lost weight recently. Wonder if there's a special 'only eat British food' zone diet?".

See, I'm a rubbish gay. I'm trying ever so hard to vigorously enter into mass debate with Chris but am just thinking "I wonder if he's done a charity calendar?". I mean, what pictures are there out there, oh internet?

January sees cheeky Chris taking a firm hold of his weapon, his cold, dead eyes making love to the camera while preparing to bury it to the hilt.

February shows him donning a sexy suit to pose with the French Nationanl Front and the Austrian Freedom Party. Woof, I hope there's Lebensraum in those Union Jack boxers, Chris.

March sees him saying "I don't hate Hitler" to Richard Bacon. I hope those two continued their sparring once the cameras stopped rolling. Phwoar.

April... the suit is working for you but I'm starting to wonder about the hair. Seriously, Chris, cross the floor to our side and we'd do something about that... pro-hawk?

May gifts us a Tom of Finland piece of fan art which it would be nice to see on a mug, teatowel, or jizz mop.

And that's just the year so far. I'm hoping that June sees him posing naked in front of unicorns and a waterfall, his manhood peeping cheekily from behind one of his Amazon picks, perhaps a tome about Jihad, sustainable indigenous culture, or just by Tolkien.

I know, I know, this is all wrong. I mean, it's not as bad as a gay I know who went to Milton Keynes to get beaten up by someone in Nazi costume and then complained about the trains home. But still...

I have decided, however, that this is post-modern. After all, this has been the gay refuge for liking everything terrible from Dynasty to Supermarket Sweep. Perhaps, just perhaps... After all, if Chris found out that he had a large - nay, swelling - gay following wouldn't he be slightly annoyed? I'm wondering about starting a carefully-worded Facebook group. We could follow him around, with t-shirts and flags. Maybe even a banner. I dunno what we'd call it... "Benders for Beverley"?

Not, sadly, that Chris will be out in an official capacity any more. At the election he lost his slender grasp on his seat. But the gays? Oh Chris, we'd have a firm grasp on your seat.

One final fact about Chris which came out after he attended a European National Front conference... he's fluent in German. Oh Chris, you had me at "Heil".

Thursday, May 06, 2010

In media res

People are in employment who've never not known the Internet. I remember ten years ago taking on a work experience student who spent the entire day on IM telling her friends how bored she was. And I thought then "tch. kids today".

But it's worse now. Or better. But genuinely... everything's changing and changing so fast it's like the theme tune to Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads.

For instance, roughly speaking...
  • In the 1950s, telly was in black and white, 4x3 and had 405 lines.
  • In the late 1960s, telly was in B&W, 4x3 and had 625 lines (hi def!)
  • In the 1970s telly was in colour (I remember a snotty kid called Dominic pointing at the Red Green and Blue dots on the formica front of ours and sniffing "Huh, yours only has three colours. Ours has all of them").
  • In the 1980s, telly got Nicam Stereo and by the end of the decade, we all got video recorders so that we didn't have to miss shows... if we could programme the sodding things.
  • In the 1990s, we got widescreen
  • In the 2000s we got... digital, freeview, PVRs, the IPlayer, bittorrent, HD, DVDs then Blu-Ray... 
Yes, there's a bit of a fudge in the last bit, but you'll agree it's all a bit of a rush. And now Sky is launching 3D telly, already making whatever you bought last year obsolete.

When I was a child, my parents got me a Boots B&W portable telly. It weighed so much it held down a tent in a storm, and you tuned it with a dial. I finally said goodbye to it in late 2001. Apart from anything else, my DVD player just had no idea how to talk to it. But I was sad to see it go.

Now TVs are things that we shrug off like frayed socks. The lovely Ros who is staying in my Glasgow flat at the mo emails to say that she can't work the telly. It's not broken, she just can't get the hang of it "but don't worry, I picked up a new one on the way home." That's where we are.

I've a trunk in the flat of obsolescence. It contains two laptops, the record player, the minidisc, the VHS and, of all things, the DVD-Recorder (which is soooo five years ago). I got the last two out yesterday to copy over some old tapes for my parents, and got a few minutes in and thought... "there must be an easier way". The answer is, madly, that it was easier to download the shows from YouTube and burn them to DVD on my laptop (with a menu feauturing pictures of my cat, natch).

Of course, the brilliant thing about YouTube is that, if the source is an old VHS tape, you get strange little bits of old wonder that remind you how brilliant telly was in those days. Or not. Please, for your own joy and wonder, watch the first 30 seconds of the following clip: