Monday, September 29, 2003

Oddly lonely

Bradley cancelled me by text message. Sensed "something wasn't right".

Suspect he spotted I was a superficial cheat. But there we are. Stunned me more than I thought it would.

Consoled myself with a happy evening of booking train tickets and DIY.

Saturday, September 27, 2003


Gemma and Serge got married today. Wonderfully.

They had such a lovely wedding in the back of Brighton Pavillion (unbelievably startling venue - a Victorian gothic Bond Villain HQ).

TRUE LOVE MOMENT: Gemma stumbled over her vows and announced that she would "honour or obey." She paused, and giggled. Serge grinned and stared at her.


The party was just startling, although the DJ was Not To Our Liking. He was firmly on the soul train, spinning James Brown and Barry White at a largely indifferent crowd. Wonderful Harriet led a delegation to see him. Steps? No. Kylie? No. Girls Aloud? Not a chance.

When he played Abba, we all felt duty bound to dance - with a sickly grimace on our faces.

Friday, September 26, 2003

Dr Who

On Friday, the BBC announced it was bringing back Dr Who. Properly.

Typical. You wait eight years for a revival, then two come along at once.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

An Interesting Accountant

Tonight I met the most interesting accountant ever.
Her name was Jo and she bumbled up to Bradley and me looking for a ciggie.
Eventually, she sat down and was wildly entertaining. More so than her tag along accountant friend (though he did announce "My sister is a model. She looks like Sarah Michelle Gellar. Makes a fortune. But puts paid to me fancying Buffy").

At the end of the evening I told Jo she was the most interesting accountant I'd ever met. "Darling," she announced, clasping my hand and exposing more boobage, "I only said that. I'm really an actress."

Mystery solved.

Intolerable Cruelty really very very good. The whole idea of a Coen Brothers rom com is startling - and yeah, rightly so.

It's both a transcendence and a send-up. It uses so many of the tropes of a standard mainstram flick, but with a little sour spin.

The biggest, cleanest, dourest of all is the use of the Sudden Public Speech + Applause. It's a standard cinematic device: if stuck for closure, introduce a spurious gathering of the people in a public meeting cum courtroom. The otherwise charmingly unsettling In & Out is a classic example - all of a sudden, Kevin Kline is making a public speech about The Gay, gets a standing ovation, and the film soars off the rails.

Same thing happens here with George Clooney - but in a very dour, Coen way. Well done them.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Inspector French's Greatest Case

A really lovely old penguin crime book. Lots of fun. Written completely in Upper Class speak.

Lots of jokes about the food in France being rubbish, the lower classes being stupid, and the Dutch being untrustworthy.

The plot hinges on a secret code hidden in the Oxford English Dictionary, and relies on us not knowing that the villainess was brought up in Peru.

The ending is terribly tidy - there are two villains. One is unmasked, and goes happily to be hung. The other (the interesting, morally complex one) instantly takes a suicide pill, thus saving messy discussions of moral complexity.

And the empire is saved.

Monday, September 22, 2003

Modern man managment

It's all gone wrong.

Not only was lovely Byron too hungover to come round on Saturday, but, worst... I've lost my mobile phone on the road home last night, so my Big List Of Men is lying crushed underneath a really big truck in Holborn.

I've spent the day using my investigative skills to track down the men that matter. It's not looking good - even with my attention to small talk, I've only really got a clutch of first names and a vague memory of jobs to go on.

How am I ever going to hunt down the lovely Byron? And what about the luscious Adam.
I know he's deputy manager of the Four Seasons in Witney. But I also know his boyfriend is the other deputy manager.

So far, I've hunted down cute Bradley, to his Ladies Accessories department store head office. Is very sweet - got through to his secretary who told me "Oh, he's in handbags at the moment..."

Clubs, threesomes, and the shape of Brussels

Never go clubbing with your ex.

This is what I did with favourite ex, Simon. Now blissfully unhitched from the slightly creepy Michael (after six gloriously unsettling years), Simon is back on the singles scene, and has the arms to prove it.

Simon is one of those people who has arms. Big, proper arms. The kind of arms that make Ben Browder look like a girl. Plus breasts that would make Jordan envious. Simon is seriously, wonderfully buff. And most of the time I manage to forget this. But Simon, unhitched from slimy not-cheating-on-him-at-all-even-though-he-had-a-gaydar-profile Michael, has really hit the gym. And he's hit the gym hard. So hard it's wincing.

He could barely fit through the door when he turned up on Friday. He was wearing the one of those Emergency Issue Gay Special Forces tshirts that only get given out to men with a serious figure to hug.

"Do you like the tshirt?" he asked, the gravitational force of his pecs making the woodchip wallpaper explode. "I'm worried it's a bit in-your-face."

"Yes please," I muttered, making a feeble effort to chop coriander. "Help yourself to a really big portion of Naan bread. Blow job?"


"Chutney? The jars are on the shelf on the left."

We ended up in the Black Cap. Simon suddenly got curiously envious of my Brazilian fun, and demanded I set us up with a threesome. I duly trotted off into the crowd, and fetched him back something he liked the look of.

Five minutes later, all was going well - young Brussels tourist Matteus and I were snogging, and it was up to Simon to step up to the mark, join in, and then we'd be merely a swift taxi ride away from making our French friend lucky Pierre....

Alas, I had forgotten that Simon's chat up technique was a little rusty. Simon stepped forward, smiled, and issued the immortal question:

"So, Matteus, what shape would you say Brussels was?"

Appalled, I went off to the loo. Five minutes later, my worst suspicions were confirmed. There was actual small talk. Interaction at a human level. They were even talking about some of the historic roof structures in Belgian churches.

A quarter of an hour later, it was worse still. Matteus was, in halting English, trying to describe me to Simon. "You friend... he is keen. No. Sharp... No... I mean, yes, easy."

Soon, I went home alone, spared the slight freaky trip of a shared shunt with my ex.

Simon turned up at my flat later the next day. Obviously happy for a man who hasn't had sex for two years.

"How did it go?"

He shrugged. "It was really nice. We went back to his place, cooked a simple meal, and then had a really warm cuddle. It was meaningful."

Meaningful? Pah!

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Week of Men update.

MONDAY: Mark. There was a lot of drinking. Some of it with his boyfriend, who runs a restaurant I've never heard of. Ended up sitting in a flat at 3am with a BBC3 Celebrity (yes, I am aware of the tautology). When Mark's boyf wasn't looking he squeezed my bum. Which wasn't confusing at all.
Dropped into my fave bar (Site), which is in the process of shutting down. It's taking longer to die that Peter O Toole, and with less booze. My favourite Latvuanian barman was there - smacked off his head on some chemical or other. Mark kept on asking him if he was a rent boy.

TUESDAY: Brad. Saw Calendar Girls. I cried a lot. Discovered that Brad thought I'd done a runner halfway through the film, when all I was doing was emptying my tiny bladder. Wow. Never realised how easy it is to play mind games with the insecure. There was, alas, only kissing. Brad says he isn't ready yet to "take things further". Seethe. Even Princess Di put out on the third date. The irritating thing is, he's quite lovely.

WEDNESDAY: Phil. Texted to say he might not be able to make it - he's hungover. Am looking forward to a night in with a lust it's dangerous to speak about.

Monday, September 15, 2003

Men Summary Update

Features new entries in some top slots. As ever, chance of duvet rippling marked out of 10.

SUNDAY: Matthew. Doctor of Art History with big arms. We had dinner. 5/10

MONDAY: Mark. Drinks. 0/10

TUESDAY: Brad. We're seeing a film about old ladies taking their clothes off. Should be good for a popcorn fumble. 6/10

WEDNESDAY: Phil. My fortysomething raving wrinkly's just won a year's supply of Lancome Moisturiser. Hooray! 8/10

THURSDAY: Dieter. German fashion designer. Drinks. 4/10

FRIDAY: Simon. Favourite ex. Never go back. If he has a beard: 0/10, If clean-shaven: 3/10

SATURDAY: Byron. Australian surf dude. Repeat visit. 10/10

SUNDAY: Gary Russell's Birthday. Doesn't count. 0/10


Luis and Luce: too hard to schedule.

Adam: rang me up breathing heavily at two o clock last wednesday, gasped out my name, muttered "you're great" and then rang off. Can't work out if this is a good sign or not.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Old dog/New Tricks

Trying to give my dad travelling directions around central london. It's
like trying to teach a penguin to cook.

The curse is come upon me

My weekend is collapsing. My parents are hurtling towards me by caravan as we speak.

After weeks of planning and cajoling, and offers to book them rooms in a nearby hotel, all of a sudden, I discover they are inexorably wending their way over, swimming slowly up England's motoways like a blood clot through a fatty artery.

It all started when I mentioned that I'd, at some point, need a new sink for the flat. All of a sudden, they have one. It's in Somerset, and they're reluctant to ship it. For that would cost money.

Whereas, obviously, driving it hundreds of miles in third gear in a caravan isn't a hassle.

So, they're coming to stay, and to find dust and gentle fault with everything.

My flatmate has fled already. Tonight, in a vodka haze, I'll be staggering around the flat clearing away all trace of gay fridge magnets and rude games of hangman, and frantically, terribly tidying away everything that could possibly be described as dirt, in any context of the word.

Armadale by Wilkie Collins

Quite the best Really Good Book I've read in ages. 700 pages of jolly small print.

I firmly believe that, if it wasn't so very long, it would be read by everyone. At school. Several times. With a song in their heart.

It's got everything in it, which is really surprising when you consider it was written in 1864.

Both Woman in White and Moonstone were, i remember, strangely fabulous. This one is... well... intriguing, cos I had no idea where it's going. It's got heaps and buckets of atmosphere. It begins with a rivettingly nasty backstory narrated by a paralysed man dying of syphillis. As he talks, his wife is standing forlornly in the room, and their child is playing with his toy soldiers, staging battles on his father's crippled hands.

Every 200 pages or so, the story changes gear and shifts sideways into a new book - it's a bit like a Robertson Davies sequence, as the story romps from German death rooms to a Carribbean tale of pirates, to an English country town mystery, to a London Victorian spy thriller, ending up with a murderer stalking the corridors of an insane asylum.

It really is the most incredible book, presided over by the ghouslishly beautiful, and thoroughly evil Lydia Gwilt: forger, prostitute, bigamist and poisoning psychopath. With great hair, and some musical talent.

I urge you to read it. At the very least, I urge you to buy it - it's very thick and serious and looks great on shelves.

Sabina: cool fact

Her mother is terribly eager to marry off this Pakistani female Doctor. She's thirty, incredibly talented, a specialist, and startlingly beautiful.

Her mother keeps on arranging for prospective mates to come to work just to watch her. Sabina is undestandably creeped out to discover looming little fat men with combovers and an appreciate glare lurking in A&E.

Growing old.

Am now 29. It didn't hurt nearly as much as having a filling put in.

Top tips for birthdays:
- don't let anyone know about them. makes it easier for people to know when you're lying.
- spend them abroad. if not having plastic surgery, then in a villa on a distant Italian mountain where no one can hear you howling.
- have an older friend with the same birthday. My friend Rick turned 30 this year. On the same day. On an Italian mountain. Everyone was so busy scrutinising him for sudden sagging, no one noticed me glaring at my crumbling reflection in the mirror.

Sudden thought: Every time you squeeze a spot, do you also squeeze some life out of your fave?

Things that made this birthday better:
- Spending it on an Italian mountain.
- Near a pizza oven.
- With lovely people.
- And an incredibly glam juniour Doctor called Sabina who spent every available moment asleep.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Men Summary update

BRADLEY: Now wants drinks (9/10)

DAMIEN: Arranging charcuterie with him on Friday lunctime. (9/10)

LUIS & LUCE: Received apologetically randy text message. (5/10)

THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER: I have a lead.... Some bloke came in for a meeting today. He was smily, cute and quite gay. Plus well dressed. Turned on the full charm. Suddenly remembered I'd met him before and don't like him. (2/10)

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Men summary

In alphabetical order, with the chances of it actually getting anywhere in the next fortnight at the end. Out of 10. In brackets.

ADAM: Furiously texting me with some terribly novel suggestions. (5/10)

BEN: Actually, just a friend. But a really lovely one. (0/10)

BRADLEY: Back from holiday. Tanned. (7/10)

BYRON: Moving flat. (6/10)

DAMIEN: Wants to do something in his lunch hour next week. (8/10)

JIM: Wants to show me Hoist. Am hoping this is a club rather than a sexual position. (4/10)

LUIS & LUCE: Scheduling nightmare. Also, can't face getting banned from any more clubs. (2/10)

MARK: We're going out drinking. He'll get all touchy feely, then mention his boyfriend (0/10)

PHIL: Spending some time with his kids. (5/10)

THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER: We haven't met yet. But give me time. (5/10)

Old school crush

Off to Tokyo at the end of October, to meet up with a man who I fancied at school more than Jane Austen.

He is, obviously, as straight as he is lovely. It was one of those things that I was never sure about - mind you, I seem to remember that, at the time, I was all giant glasses and nylon pyjamas.

But still... a boy can have fond nostalgic memories.

Anyway, the point is, that, lovely as this guy is, he had an even more attractive brother. Who I'd completely forgotten about - until Wouter casually informed me that... his brother now has a boyfriend. Pause. Wobble. Heart flutter.

Funny how odd that feels. Discovering that someone you've forgotten about is....
1) Still handsome
2) Gay
3) Unavailable

Weird mix of emotions. None of them easy. Or funny.

So, to close, I'd just like to mention that Adam the Restaurant Manager texted me at 4am to inform me that he was playing with himself. Not particularly funny, but certainly bizarre. I mean - what am I supposed to say to a detail that? Especially since, when I eventually received the message, the only response I could send was "Eating bran flakes."

Kinky boots

Watched a fabulous episode of the Honor Blackman Avengers last night, The The Nutshell.

Stunning - amazing to compare Patrick Macnee's performance in it to that in the Linda Thorson stuff. Here he's gritty, scheming, and compellingly charming. At the end he played the part as a quaintly baffled alcoholic who wanted to be somewhere else. It's like the Tom Baker era all over again.

Monday, September 01, 2003

If gaydar was more like Amazon...

1) When logging on, it would have Recommendations and Special Offers
2) At the bottom of every entry would be: "People who've had this man have also had the following men..."
3) There would be a completely pointless Garden Furniture section

"It's like amazon, but for sex"

I've always had mixed feelings about Gaydar. I still can't work out if it is the internet's killer app, or just The End of Civilisation as we know it.

There's something fantastically reductive about it. You get a page to say everything possible about yourself, to talk about your wants, your needs, and your aspirations. You can even put up pictures to convey a true picture of yourself....

And yet, you get entries that are just a picture of an erect penis and nothing more. No text. Apart from perhaps a token indication that the person likes "sex and food".

Who are these people behind the penises? I happen to know one (not, I rush to point out, through gaydar). An actor friend (real name: Dickie. I kid you not), has a gaydar profile that is something like "/thickcock" and it is just a picture of his thick cock. Well, several pictures. From different angles. But it still looks like an indifferently cooked quorn sausage.

It's just alarming, frankly. Dickie is a mature adult. He's a startling actor, he's witty, complex company. He can sing, dance, and read books with small print and few pictures. But, when asked to sum himself up as a potential mate... all he can do is the online equivalent of shoving his todger through a hole in a toilet wall.

I can't claim complete innocence here. I log onto gaydar about once a month. Oddly, it's rarely with the explicit purpose of sex - it's actually to catch up with a guy in Sheffield called Linten to chat about his kitchen units (we're both doing up our own flats, and quite like talking about the boring form of drilling and screwing). But I have ended up ordering men off gaydar. Always with mixed feelings - after all, I'm wouldn't order shoes online, so why sexual partners?

It's not something I ever feel comfortable with - if I ever chat someone up over gaydar, I try and stumble towards some form of elegance. I was surprised on Saturday to receive three unsolicited offers - the most eloquent of which was "Hey, cum round and worship our cocks." Since it was from a couple, I can assume that it was the work of two hands. I'm being careful with the phrasing there.

All that said, I did end up inviting an Australian called Byron round for grubby athletics yesterday afternoon. You could say we threw down a blanket on the moral highground.

Paint or Porn?

When buying some paint yesterday, I suddenly realised that the titles of the colours are now alarmingly similar to those of certain sweaty vids owned by my friend Lee.

For instance, I am painting my shelves in Russian Velvet II.

Psychic to find Dr Who

Josh Green on the BBCi message boards:

"Wouldnt it be worth a try to get a psychic medium in to see if he/she can locate missing Dr who adventures, it works on murder investigations, i dont see why it wouldnt work on locating missing who's..."

This makes me so happy.