Friday, December 31, 2004

The Backroom Boys of the BBC

I guess it had to happen eventually. I've finally shagged someone I have something in common with. Unfortunately, it's the wrong thing.

Bad Things always happen when I try and give up smoking - my vodka monkey really comes alive. In this case, it was a mini pub crawl, which ended up, much to my surprise in Central Station. I spent some of the time chatting to a charming young barrister called Lee ("it seemed local, and sounded fun, and - oh god, what *is* the stripper doing?"), and then, when he left...

Well, there was this bloke, and he was handsome, and we were obviously both feeling a bit shy - so the obvious thing to do was bang each other senseless in the back room (please don't let this be my new bad habit). We were all over each other, laughing, fiddling, and swatting away the hands of fat strangers.

After a while we paused. To be exact, he turned round from the wall mid-shunt, and said, "Hmm, you're still there aren't you?"

"Yup."

"Thought so. In that case, someone's giving me a blow job, and it's not you."

"Well, that's ruined the magic of the evening."

"True. Fancy a drink?"

So we got talking. Found out each other's names, had a bit of a laugh, you know. Until the dreadful moment when we started talking about jobs.

Him: "I'm a kind of interactive strategist."

Me: "I edit websites."

Him: "Really? How funny. That's some of my job. Who do you work for?"

Me: "The BBC."

Him: "So do I."

And that's where it all went wrong. Suddenly work collided with harmless grubby fun, and we both stopped smiling. At work, I'd only come across him through an appointment with my boss's boss's boss and a stern warning to not put a foot wrong. Here, it just took a winning smile and a filthy mind. Isn't the real world funny?

It suddenly got sad. We went from "I want to take you home and bang your brains out" to "We really should meet up for coffee sometime. It would be nice."

Monday, December 27, 2004

Sherlock Holmes and the Silk Purse

The problem with national treasure Rupert Everett is that we’re running out of things for him to be bad in. The pampered prince of petulance needs a home, and he’s sulked through enough films, so now, alas, we must try and fit him into television.

Rupert Everett is a character (one shouldn’t say actor) of such pronounced distaste for the world that, when one sees him slouching though London’s gay soho, one doesn’t think “Is that Rupert Everett?” but, instead, “Who is that pissed-off man?”

It’s natural to see him as an ideal TV Sherlock Holmes – isolated, miserable, and as certain of his own brilliance as he is convinced of everyone else’s inadequacy. When I say “it’s natural”, I mean, it’s natural if you’re one of those TV casting types. It’s actually A Very Bad Idea.

The whole of Sherlock Holmes And The Silk Stocking was actually A Very Bad Idea. It is aptly summarised by Nancy Banks-Smith: “it was - just give me a minute to straighten my face – about a footman who has a foot fetish”.

But let’s talk about Rupert Everett – he was the most noticeable thing about it. An acquaintance claims to have sucked him off in Hyde Park: “He looked bored throughout, and came with a sigh.” Whether or not the story’s true, it perfectly describes him.

The art of television is capturing performances in a nicely-shaped bottle. Here, the bottle looked lovely (rolling fog, grand buildings and, as my mum said “lovely staircases”), but it was empty of any acting, bar a residue at the bottom from a couple of child actors who didn’t know better.

This was a prime example of good-looking bad television. No one ever sets out to make a bad programme, but it’s so easy to make a decision, a compromise, or a suggestion that tips it from being Something Good into A Thing Of Hopeful Desperation.

Here, so much effort had gone into nice staircases, plush gowns and lots and lots of smoke that one frequently forgot that there was something wrong with the script. There was music, lighting and atmosphere – proving that, if a script is flawed, everyone can turn up to work except for the poor people charged with delivering the lines.

This was wild, improbable Sexton Blake rather than rational Sherlock Holmes. The great detective should assemble available clues into a solution that startles a satisfied audience, able to tell itself “That makes wonderful sense!” The Silk Stocking did not make sense. Nor was it wonderful - its clues made revealed only as Sherlock Holmes solved them, like ducks in a fog-bound shooting gallery. Rupert would enter a room, Steadycam would wobble, fog would roll and then he’d leap off, eureka through a window.

The myriad historical inaccuracies didn’t help, being little details there for us to scratch irritably at. If we weren’t so bored we wouldn’t question an almost-possible world with phones, but no cars, 1910 clothes for Holmes but Victorian for everyone else. There were servantless houses, a practising female psychologist, widespread fingerprinting, men in lady’s bedrooms without social ruin, and exultant smoking of cigarettes without an ashtray in sight. Yeah – all possible, but not probable.

The biggest anachronism was the plot. Holmes vs a Motiveless Serial Killer just doesn’t work. That’s why Holmes meets Jack the Ripper is such a laughable clichĂ©. The great brain can only solve great problems of logic – not the mystery of a cracked mind. Especially when, in this case, it turned out the villains were identical twins. Neither had a motive, other than that one of them got some form of gratification from touching lady’s tights. Don’t worry - you could tell from the look on Rupert’s face that he hated it too.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Darian's Party

It’s weird meeting people you feel you know but have never met. Last night I went to Darian’s birthday party in a friendly corner of Ghetto. I only know him through his blog, but he was marvellous, and excelled at having a circle of bright young things around him. His boyfriend is also very tall.

I liked Ghetto – it’s over six months since I last went. Ben and I stood in a corner, drips of sweat falling on us from the ceiling, trying to discuss the film we’d just seen. We stared at the sea of elbows around us, and realised that neither of us dared see the other dance. But now I’m falling in love with it again – it wasn’t too crowded, the men were pretty and flirty, and vodka was £2.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Chavtastic Croydon

Nothing much was going to happen today, so Lee suggested we travel to Croydon, and it was agreed that we should both go as chavs. We met at London Bridge – me top to toe in sports wear, with a cap. Lee was dressed, as usual in smart brown things. He shrugged. “I didn’t own anything hideous enough. I’m appalled that you do.”

Croydon was blissful – we went to TK Maxx, watched shoplifters, ate at Pizza Hut, bought bargain books, and fought to get into sports shops. Most amusingly, people there really were dressed like me, only with less layers. I was keeping warm thanks to a layer of ski thermals. What the hell was keeping these people alive?

Come Dancing Party

The Strictly Come Dancing party was a joy. When else can you say that you did the Timewarp with Esther, chatted with the lady who did the radio mikes (“hiding it in a strapless back gown is the worst”), and eyed up all the wrong people?

I encountered a whole new look last night. It’s the look that you get given after you’ve eyed up a pretty man. You look at him. He looks at you. And then his minor celebrity boyfriend glances at you with a look that says “Yes, yes, he is mine. Now bugger off.”

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Top Tip on Dating

If you’re trying to impress a second date, it’s probably not a good idea to suck them off in the bogs at Barcode. I’ve a hunch it could be tacky.

Talent

A blaze of half-hearted Christmas shopping and leftover trifle. Met the adorable Gary in town for tea, then later caught up with him in a pub for a drink. He was surrounded by lovely, clever people – which made up for the pub. I hate the Fitzroy Tavern. It’s not that central – so why does it sometimes feel like “The only fucking pub in old London town”? If it was less popular, it would be lovely – there’d be space to sit and muse over peanuts and old scores.

There was a lovely young man there called Scott. It was his first time in London, and he’d taken instant exception to two things – the tube and my cheery demeanour. He kept ruffling my hair, damn him. I fear I like him.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Party

Had Christmas Drinks, which narrowly avoided turning into a wake. I love my friends – they’re so supportive, reassuring, and downright sexy. Along with the normal group of people I’d like around my deathbed, of all things, lovely Mark turned up, randomly on the way back from Christmas shopping with his new boyfriend.

Mark had been deeply in love with his old one, but Paul won him with admirable romantic cunning. For Mark’s birthday, Paul gave him a pair of Eurostar tickets and said “take who you want”. It obviously worked.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Sports Night

Aaron Sorkin is a genius of television, and I’ve been rewatching The Show He Did Before The West Wing: Sports Night.

It’s such an interesting dry run – shot on video, impossibly short episodes, and the first few episodes even have a laughter track. Of course, you’ve never heard a laughter track like it – it’s nervous, mild laughter from an audience frankly baffled by the sheer pace, intelligence and style of the show. It’s like asking people to guffaw at an ice sculpture in a microwave.

Only Sorkin could make me love a programme about sport. Of course, it’s as much about sport as the West Wing is about politics – his genius is clever people in crisis, and this show is a strangely comforting, melancholy tale of an under-funded, over-worked team of people making a brilliant show that the network just don’t understand.

Google it, and you’ll find out how closely the show parallels the struggle Sorkin had keeping it on air – a network that kept hoping it would dumb-down or die off, a constant battle for ratings, and a behind-the-scenes battle to keep an actor after they’d had a stroke (not only do they write it into the show, they keep nagging away at it).

Amazingly, the show lasted two fantastic seasons. And is so obviously a dry run for The West Wing, with a similar repertory company in front of and behind the scenes. There are sour bhuddas, recovering alcoholics, brilliant-but-needy women, and charmingly vulnerable men. Poignantly, it seems to have been set in the World Trade Centre.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

The Day After

As far as I can remember went: Bugger, Bugger, Bugger. Hell, Damn, Why Me? Bugger, Bugger, Homebase, Christmas Tree, Fairy Lights, Bugger, Bugger, Bugger.

Friday, December 17, 2004

All good things

It’s now public, so I can write about it (Tuesday morning). On Friday, I was told my site was being shut down next year. No debate, or argument, just a “let’s go for coffee, there’s a press release coming out” from my new manager.

I was so stunned when he told me it was happening, I forgot to ask why. Still don’t really know, but like the end of a relationship, I guess it doesn’t really matter. The important thing is it’s over. And your life falls apart.

Actually, good analogy; You kind of hope it’s not really over, you don’t understand, and you hate yourself. When I have managed to sleep, I’ve woken up full of fear, shock and shame.

I’m upset, I’m stunned, and glad I’ve got lots of supportive friends, who say all the right things,along the lines of “oh, you were so good for each other”, and “did you see it coming?”.

Of course, when real relationships end, there’s normally some indication. I’ve had my suspicions, but only in the way that every time your lover leaves your bed, you’re afraid you’ll never see them again. And of course, I’m not used to seeing my shattering failures printed in the Guardian.

My friends are slipping me some fantastic sleeping pills. I’m still waiting for them to work. I’ve got bored of listening to Radio Four turn into the World Service and then back again. I’m tired of vodka breakfasts beginning with that strange military music medley they play just before Farming Today and ending with Woman’s Hour. I hate feeling this horrid. I feel so desperately alone and miserable. I wish I could cry, but sadly, these days, I only do that when watching Aaron Sorkin shows.

Others are better at it. My old boss rang me up from a wedding on Saturday night. He’d only just heard, and was so upset it sounded like he was in tears. Which was really sweet of him.

My team are all being fantastic. They know I’m a selfish old sock, and are letting me get on with my own Greek Tragedy grieving rather than looking to me for consolation and reassurance. I’m a broken man, so what can I say without sounding hollow? They’re all lovely, surprisingly strong people, and seem to be coping much better than me. If I was a better, stronger person, I’d be busy “being there for them” – but no. I’m at home, on holiday, and where there’s self-pity on tap.

PS: Hell of a day to try and give up smoking.

(By the way, BBC-types, please note: I’m talking about my reactions to the news, rather than discussing how it all came about. I really don’t know, I can’t speculate, and I’m sure these things, regrettable as they are, happen for sound and careful reasons. The last thing I want is to be hauled into a room and bollocked when I’m feeling this horrid. I’ve still got a job, and other great things to work on – just let me mourn this one.)

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Oh, the foolishness of drink II

I lost half of today. I spent the morning slightly hungover. And then made the mistake of grabbing a sandwich from a corner shop in Stockwell. One of those shops where the sandwiches are on the counter, and there’s a mad man standing outside on the phone, shouting hands-free to Jesus.

Now, I’ve heard people say “It’s not a hangover, it’s food-poisoning”, and never believed them, but, oh dear god… All of a sudden, at two in the afternoon, my body started compulsively vomiting. In an explosive and rather boring way that went on for hours.

The worst bit was going to a recording of The Now Show, and having to run out into the street to throw up. I found an empty parking space to heave into, and had a merciful few seconds of peace, before someone started parking their BMW. I staggered out of the way, and thankfully passed out for a bit. Then brushed myself off, and trotted into the recording.

Now, I’m blaming the sandwich, but also admitting that, if I hadn’t been a bit hungover, I wouldn’t have brought it. It was “sausage and creamed chicken” – only a fool would have bought it..

Oh, the foolishness of drink

I’ve promised to seduce a barman at a top London hotel next time he’s on shift and bored.

I can’t even remember his name. It was 79 CXR. He was rather too good-looking to be in there. There was vodka. And then one of those rather squalid rooms that nice hotels seem to delight in giving the poor sods who work for them.

Top celebrity fact:

Hannah Gordon can split an apple using one hand. She once did this in front of Sean Connery, who was amazed, “How can you do that? There’s barely a pint of you”

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Script or Sauna?

Well, I didn’t get to read much of the scripts I had. Instead, I got distracted by Paul, a rather nice man fron Hungary, who claimed to have come to the sauna “just for the detox”. If so, his detoxing regimen is unusual, demanding, and far-reaching.
Like nearly everyone in London, he’s a waiter. He’s fully-trained as a chemist, and would love to work as a lab technician – but waiters get paid more and the hours are better. When he moved over here, he split up with his boyfriend, who he’s still missing.

PAUL: His name is Martin.
ME: My old boss was called Martin.
PAUL: Sexy name. I cannot here it without thinking about him. Wild and passionate.
ME: I just think of a lovely cuddly bear of a man it was surprisingly easy to deceive.
PAUL: That too.

Weirdly, I’m seeing him again next Monday. He likes me. Or, as he put it. “Martin good name. James also good name.”

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Stereotype?

We're moving office next year. Our business head just came and asked me if I'd like to look round the new office. "Yer know. To talk about paint colours, furnishings, wall hanging and... uh... fabrics and stuff. It's, ah, your area, isn't it?"

Oh. Right.

I'll turn up with a beret, a small dog and a quiche.

Foolish modern agony!

It's underwear night at the sauna. And I promised a friend I'd go...

...But, some really important scripts have turned up that I'm dying to read.

Do I change my plans...?

... Or do I try and combine the two?

It could be an ideal combination - after all, it beats reading Boyz on those sun lounger things...

... Or it could go disastrously wrong. After all, it's bad enough leaving scripts on a train...

Miss Marple Review

Miss Marple's best friend, Dolly Bantry, writes:

It's so charming - simply charming - to find oneself back onscreen. And how adorable that I'm now played by Joanna Lumley! Wonderful!

And what of my dear Jane Marple, now played by Geraldine McEwen? Oh, isn't she utterly marvellous? Mind like a hatchet, though her posture suggests that she's left the coat-hanger in her swishy cardie. And what an adventure! All that chasing around in splendid hats and drinking. There was even a special leather riding bonnet for Jane that was last seen on Wallace and Gromit - or was it left over from when that Rutherford gorgon was staying in St. Mary Mead? Who can say?

Well, it's hardly surprising as nowadays old-fashioned crime has to be quaint, sparkling and frothy like that ersatz champagne so adored by those lovely bachelor men Who Dance At The Other End of The Ballroom. Brilliant!

How lovely it is to be in a world that's always sunny, and the drinks are always flowing, and the men are just so, so... well, let me just say, one of the suspects was the adorable Jamie Theakston, and every one else was simply too, too famous to be there!

Even dear Simon Callow - d'you think it was piles or a St. Vitus Dance he was suffering from during filming? One just can't tell! But, how divine to see him literally hopping from foot to foot during his scenes, seemingly longing for the lavatory - which had been probably been stuffed with a fake body and burnt down. Probably by lesbians. Oh, simply divine!

And a marvel to see that old friend of ours, Day-For-Night Filming - who I hadn't seen since the Children's Film Foundation in the 70s. So nice to be getting work again - though one cad suggested that it was because we'd drunk away the budget! Cruel, cruel, cruel.

How marvellously talented and novel it all was. Especially when they changed the ending (and a murderer) by introducing thrillingly modern lesbianism! Well, my dears, none of us batted an eyelid (except for dear Mr Callow, who by that point was batting everything). But, honestly - how reassuring to see that all *that sort* are wickedly evil. I'd never have guessed. TV producers, my dears, minds like sinks.

Anyway, I really must attend to the garden. The begonias are divine at this time of year! But before I hurry off my dears, one little secret - yes, you were correct. Every time Jane and I were having a cup of tea, there was gin in it!

Marple, currently running on Sunday evenings on The Other Channel. As soothing as cocoa with a slight tang of almonds.

(PS: Wonder what the copyright is on reproducing stuff I write at work?)

Monday, December 13, 2004

Nicole Kidman: A fabulous letter

Dear Nicole,

Frankly, your latest attempt to pay off your Matalan store card is a little desperate.

Luv,
The Gays

PS: We remember when you dissed skivvy perfumes, and said you made your own out of vanilla. Bet you smelled like a candle. Now you look like one.


Sunday, December 12, 2004

The way I walk

It's a two minute trot from Euston to my flat. I managed to pull on the walk home on Saturday night.

Can this really be the first time I've done this? But how marvellous - it was just like one of those Monty Python "do you want to come back to mine?" sketches.

He was Spanish, cute, courteous, and in bed within ten minutes. His sexual technique was disappointingly unlike the rest of him. Remember those fifties exercise belts that ladies used to wear, jiggling and grinning away madly? Yeah. Rather like that.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Strictly Come Dancing

Our fabulous security guards proved how this has now entered the nation's bosoms. They're two nice, burly blokes of a certain age, and on Saturday they were hotly debating who would win.

TED: Now Julian, now, he's not a dancer, but I'm glad he's in.

JON: Yeah, but I'm glad of a bit of light relief before Jill wins. It's good balance.

TED: Jill? You mean Denise.

JON: Denise? How can you say that? She's got the moves, yeah, but not the sparkle.

TED: Don't you start - She's got charisma. Don't you remember her doing the jive? Now, she came alive in the jive...

Kashpoint - different clubbing

Kashpoint - Best night's clubbing in ages. Although, apparently, it's old hat (proves I wasted my twenties).

Most surprisingly, it was at Central Station. Yeah, I know. Only time I went there I mistook the backroom for the toilets. Only to discover I wasn't the first person to do that. *shudder*

This time was different - there was a giant pom-pom standing on the door selling tickets. Inside, everyone was dressed in a weird collision between punk and 1930s Berlin (without Lia Minelli). There were fluorescent flappers, gentlemen dressed for a weekend's hunting, battered bowler hats, and an Edwardian fellow with a pleasant, open face and a shock of curly hair.

It was like a sci-fi convention organised by the Scissor Sisters, with cocktails by Kate Bush. There was shouted, live music on the ground floor, seedy christmas carols by candlelight upstairs, and downstairs women dressed as undertakers danced to mashed-up Beatles tracks.

It was so amazing, I felt almost completely at ease. I only had a mini panic attack - and went and hid in the backroom, smoking a calming cigarette while surrounded by weirdly dressed random shaggers.

Met a geographer called Russell out in the club. He was vaguely puzzled "I only came here for a quick half," he muttered. He was lovely, if rather ironic. He gently swatted away a pass from me with the phrase, "Well, if it wasn't so weird in here, well, I would. But it is. Last time I came to play pool and ended up pissing on someone, so hey."

That somewhat took the shine off him. The varnish was completely removed when I left and discovered him with his hands down a fat man's pants on the pavement.

But what an amazing evening's clubbing.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Hangover Cure

Chocolate-covered pretzels. The combination of salt and fat is fantastic. So long as you can quell the gag reflex.

On Annism

Weird Office Christmas Party moment. Was explaining to Ann (the Angostura Bitters of our office) some of the antics of our marvellously corrupt IT guy.

ME: ... And then there was the time he brought a woman off in his office while showing her Battlestar Galactica.

ANN: Old or new series?

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Dying Wishes

Every now and then, my work gets emailed by people with last wishes. They assume that, because we cover old TV and shows like Angel, we'll be able to help them with either a copy of/tickets for a programme for a frail relative.

So far, so sensible, and sometimes, we can point them in the right direction.

Slightly more disturbing are the occasional emails we get from America. They're always roughly the same: "My two year-old boy died recently. Angel was his favourite show. Can I have a signed picture from the entire cast to include in his coffin?"

When we got the first one, I remember feeling a bit moved by it - and sadly helpless. We're in the UK. We have nothing to do with making Angel. Which hasn't been made in a year. The cast have moved on to other projects...

And then my "hang-on-a-minute" kicked in. Angel's an adult show. Why would it be a big thing for a two year-old? Why bury a picture of the cast in the coffin? Hmmn. What does that mean?

(Dante Rossetti buried a book of poems to his wife with her corpse, as he felt they were too painful for the public. Now, that I can understand. Of course, his publisher couldn't, and dug them up.)

We've received about six of these requests now. Should I be taking them at face value, or am I right to suspect it's a manipulative scam to get merchandise by large ladies with black fingernails?

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Damn my gayness!

It can strike at the most inappropriate times. I saw but fifteen seconds of "I'm A Celebrity..." and what was my one controlling thought?

"My, doesn't Paul Burrel have nice arms?"

*sigh* I give up.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Teaser Trailer

The teaser trailer for Doctor Who went up last week. And the fans immediately melted.

Some fans have decided, purely from the fact that a teaser exists, that Doctor Who will be going out on Xmas Day. Based on No Information at all.

This is despite the fact that:
1) No tx date has been announced
2) Beyond "Winter 2005"
3) Which is either Jan-Mar, or Sep-Dec next year.
4) Filming is still taking place with lots of CGI.
5) What's the point in burying something this big in the middle of christmas...
6) ... rather than giving it its own marketing campaign?
7) The HitchHiker's Film has a teaser out now. And that's still a year away.
8) Life is quite short, actually.
9) Time they're spending worrying about this could be spent having sex.
10) Perhaps with other people.

No, I'm not having a stroke...

... but our telephones have been sanitized with something that smells exactly like burnt toast.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

The Sex Tutor

Last year I went on a terribly useful course about Picking Up Men. It was a great course, and, if nothing else, taught me loads about how to networking at dull events. The same tutors (GMFA), also run some apparently wonderful courses on Sauna Skills, Oral Sex, and an Arse Class.

I mention this, cos yesterday I got to shag the tutor off the course. Completely by accident, I suddenly found myself on top of, well, i guess "sex professional" is the best phrase.

And blimey. And oh my. And goodness me. And. Well. And, oh, he really knew his subject. From top to bottom. And *blushes again at the memory*.

Many nasty things were said about Wallace Simpson. That she was a man, that she'd worked in a Vietnamese Brothel. But by far the commonest rumour about here was that she was proficient in a piece of esoteric eroticism known as "The Spanish Trick". Thanks to yesterday's shag, I think I now know what the Spanish Trick is. And, oh my...

Anyway, his name was also James, and he's a thoroughly nice bloke, who's making a tidy living out of applying traditional training methods to unusual situations. Or, as he puts it: "If you can make a man to walk across hot coals, you can teach him to take it up the arse."

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Secret Society

A charming weekend at my parents, spoiled only by their attempt to induct me into a secret society.

They tried to make me go to a carol concert. Not just any carol concert, mind. Only after I'd put up a fuss and politely explained that I'd be spending the evening in with a bottle of scotch and Rosemary & Thyme did I realise that it was yet another ploy by my parents to get me along to the local Masonic Lodge.

My dad is a mason, you see, and is terribly keen that I join in. I'd rather not. I'm fine with shirt-lifting, but trouser-lifting really isn't my thing. Plus you need a good head for both God and Algebra.

Getting me "in" has been a long-term ambition of my dad's. In the town where we used to live, the Grand Master ran the local fruit and veg shop. I popped in during a visit to buy cauliflowers, and by the time I got home, "a call" had already been placed to my dad, and he explained to me that I was summoned to the lodge.

Ever since, it's been a combination of polite refusals, and bizarre subterfuge. This time it was a carol concert. Last time I went home, they tried to tempt me along to a concert by The Wurzels.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Doctor Who porn

Proof that my sad childhood is now back in fashion. Lovers of nakedness and terrible puns can gasp at the adventures of Dr Louise Flangebatter as she grapples with Emperor Minge The Merciless and the deadly Phaleks.

There is a trailer. It looks bad and nasty. As in cheap and stupid. Not hot and horny.

Trailer (it's really *very explicit* and nowhere near as fun as you'd hope).

Play.Com listing (safer and funnier than the trailer)




Sunday, November 28, 2004

Liver Betrayal

I still don't think I had more than five vodkas. And yet, yesterday, my body disagreed. And in a very sneaky way.

7am.
BODY: Your head hurts.
ME: It's seven o'clock. I'll take some pills. Go back to sleep.

7.30am.
BODY: Your head still hurts.
ME: We took pills.
BODY: No. You just dreamt you did. Pills, now, please. And a tiny glass of water.
ME:

8.30 am
ME: Can I get up and go to the gym now?
BODY: I'll get back to you on that one.

9 am.
ME: Oh, come on. I can't be hungover. No.
BODY: ...
ME: Are you still here?
BODY: ...
ME: Okay then. Let's go lie on the sofa. We'll watch TV. You can keep your eyes shut.

9.30 am
BODY: I'd like a yoghurt.
ME: Are you sure?
BODY: Yes please.

9.45 am
BODY: I didn't like that yogurt.
ME: Then why did you ask for it?
BODY: *strange giggling*

11 am
ME: What am I doing lying on the living room floor?
BODY: It's cold. I like cold.
ME: Am I better yet?
BODY: I think so.
ME: Shall we get up then.
BODY: One thing. Could you ask your flatmate to cook with less smells?
ME: What?
BODY: That. Toast. It. Smells. Horrible.
ME: What?
BODY: .... help me...

Noon
BODY: All better now. Another yoghurt please.
ME: Are you sure? You didn't like the last one.
BODY: Yoghurt! Yoghurt! Yoghurt!
ME: Okay.

12.15 pm
BODY: I didn't like that yoghurt either.
ME: Then why did you ask for it?
BODY: I lied.
ME: Well, what are we going to do about it?
BODY: ....
ME: Oh no. No. No. No.
BODY: Run.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Ebay

Ah well. How disappointingly levelling ebay is when you're a collector of tat. I decided to auction off a few of my more amusingly esoteric things (a Captain Scarlet annual from the 60s and a foolishly rare 1953 Giles book)... I figured a hundred quid or so would come in handy.

A quick glance at ebay reassured me that the most valuable was worth a fiver at most. So I may was well continue to treasure them myself.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

America: What will they think of next?



The Hip-E: A PC targeted at teens, but with loads of parent-friendly features.

hate. hate. hate. hate. hate. hate. hate.

(pause)

But, ooh, you can hang it on the wall. or go blading with it. or, hey, probably do drugs off the screen. bonza. and, thanks to all that spyware, your parents will be able to hunt you down with a gun.

Watch that corporate video again. Maybe without laughing out loud at the bit where it stops trying to be all 'tude and street, and goes all calligraphy swirly when it tries to sell it to WASPy girls who still make outfits for their barbies.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The smell of burnt toast

So, you're a rising young porn star (in every sense). You're filming tomorrow, and you decide you need a healthy tan. Obviously, you pop into a tanning booth. After all, what could possibly go wrong?

Monday, November 22, 2004

Insomnia and Johnson

Oddly, ran out of things to do on Sunday, so went to bed at nine.

Woke up at 3, completely unable to sleep, so whiled away the hours reading Boswell's Life of Johnson.

Rapidly discovered that the famed English man of letters and father of the dictionary really was quite an arsehole.

He's one of those people who's so lazy that his friends are always having to make allowances for him (a mate dropping round begging him to finish a book is forced to take dictation while Johnson remains in bed). He seems rude, tiresome, and quite extraordinarily indolent.

Surprising fact: The only form of exercise Johnson enjoyed was being dragged across ice by a barefoot boy in harness. The man sounds like a depraved cardinal.

Unbearably, people are always coming up to Johnson and saying "You, sir, are the most intelligent man I've ever met." (Only in irritatingly verbose phrasing). He's even welcomed to Oxford by a Don wringing his hands at the prospect of teaching such perspicacious sagacity.

I was pleased to note that a much younger me had left a note in the margin at this point. "Creep". I felt proud.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Oh no....

Was GAY always this horrible?

Friday, November 19, 2004

Not the only orange fruit

Boots no longer sell home highlighter kits. I didn't let this stop me from getting fabby blond highlights. I grabbed a normal kit, a small paintbrush, and with a bit of artistic dexterity, let rip on my stylish locks.

After 20 minutes I understood why my hairline is receding. It's shrinking away from me in embarrassment.

I am now a strange, piebald ginger. I look like a cat doomed to spend the rest of its days in the sanctuary.

I decided to go to GAY. It's the only place where my locks would feel at home.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Question of the week....


q: Is crap 1960's Doctor Who any better on drugs?

a: Let's just say no.


Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Meanwhile, at the gym...

Personal trainer Sam just went down on bended knee.

Me: If you're proposing marriage, the answer's no.

Sam: Actually, I'd like you to do this. Good for the legs.

Me: The answer's still no.

(PS: It's hard to be aloof and dignified when you're on your knees.

*pause*

But I am working on it.)

Action Man Puppet Adventures

Most lovely, gayest, silliest thing of the week? Making your own photostories with Action Man figures:

Truly amazing Doctor Who adventure

Sapphire and Steel

Search for the albino bigfoot Sasquatch (includes outtakes)

And a sweater catalogue


Tuesday, November 16, 2004

It's that time of year...

Poor Annual Staff Survey

You do pick your timing. There we all are, dreading redundancies, outsourcing, or relocation to the Falkland islands... and you turn up.

At times of crisis, we're looking for words of comfort, of reassurance, of fuzzy warmth.

And what do we get on our desks instead, bleating like a sacrifical goat that's been to a good school?

You. We get you. And here's how you start...
- The purpose of my organisation is clear to me. [Agree] [Neither] [Disagree]
- The organisation shares its aims and objectives with staff.
- Communication here is open and honest...

*sigh*

What do I do, again?

Somedays, it's fun to keep a note of when it goes quiet and I can actually start my day's work.

Today, the screaming stopped at 4.30pm.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Kazaa too far

Kim on file-sharing insults

Text

... from a Sauna Shag:

"HI IT'S SIMON HERE. MY REAL NAME IS DAVID. BUT I SAY SIMON AS I AM SHY."

Actually, Simon is a fairly safe name to pick. Nearly all gay men seem to be called either Simon or Matt.

I suggest bringing it in as a classification. Perhaps Simons could all be the nice guys, and Matts could all be the slightly rough ones that you can't help but love.

Bloody Students

On a whim I went to the Black Cap for a drink last night. The sexy scoutmaster from last week was there (sigh), with his boyfriend (ugly, of course. they always are).

I also discovered that (hurrah) I'm back to having panic attacks in crowded gay clubs. When I'm on my own, the only thing that stops me fleeing is filling my legs with vodka. What a curious quirk.

Anyhoo - there was a drag queen, hula hoop contests, and a water pistol fight, so it was all great fun.

And then I got chatting to a Media Student called Matt. I've never really met a media student before (oddly, you don't meet many of them in the media. Try Tesco's). He was telling me about their gruelling coursework - this week's assignments include:

1) List the names of 10 TV Production Companies
2) Draw a TV timeline from the start of the BBC through to the launch of ITV3
3) Watch 28 Days Later and write an "interrogation of genre"

Apparently, last term they had to watch Coronation Street "for a whole week" looking for formula and signs.

Sudden flashback to my time at University, when I asked if I could write an essay on Dennis Potter (I was feeling Brave and Adult - I'd lost my virginity the night before). My tutor leaned out of the window, puffing on her tenth cigarette.

"Hmmn. Television. Yes. Why not? I saw a programme once...."

Back to Matt. What a curious beast he was. One of those shags whose charms rub off all too easily. By the morning phrases like "Basically, right, my maturity scares people, 'cos, well, anyway..." were wearing thin. He also had his own theory about zombies:

"Imagine if you met a real one. In the street. Like, people would try and help it, cos they'd think it was just an ill man. Or woman. So they'd try and nurse it. Or cure it. Or something. If they were real. But that would be wrong, as they'd just try and infect them. It's frightening, isn't it?"

I glared at him. "Oh, you're like my friend Becky. She sits behind me in class. She says I am a one, you know. But she thought the bloke in 28 Days Later was well fit too, so that's okay."

BlogExplosion

Lee's raving about BlogExplosion. It's apparently a great way of getting people reading your blog... but I'm just a bit put off by their website.

Somehow, it comes across as slightly like a pyramid-selling scheme. The PhotoDisc pictures of smiling men in plastic yellow hats and multi-cultured crowds don't help.

Anyway. Want to buy some Tupperware?

Odious

Remember all that fuss about the Odeon website? Where their lawyers duffed up a guy who'd made an accessible, text-only version of their hideously complicated site?

Well, lookee-do at the new Odeon homepage. The old site is still there (five clicks and a lot of agile mousing to find the time of a film - but don't even think about booking a ticket unless you're on beta blockers)... but they've now launched a text-only version. And it's fabulous. Two or three clicks, and there you go - not only the times of the film you want to see, but everything on at that cinema that week. All on one page. Genius.

How sad that all it took was a lot of lawyers, public humiliation, and the Disability Discrimination Act before they saw sense.

PS: They now have a third link on their homepage. It takes you to a page telling you all about how they like the disabled. They've got ramps and everything.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

A (mean) but fabulous letter

Dear Hairdressers,

We're onto you. Don't think you can take a wonderful old barbers that used to charge seven quid and turn it into a salon simply by repainting and filling the window with bottles.

And don't think you can hike up your prices by thirty quid just by adding a cute Italian receptionist.

Well, okay. But he'd better be very flirty.

Love,
The Gays

Lack of personal space

Days off are great. You can unwind, relax, spend time with yourself and your own thoughts.

Yup. After four hours I was climbing the walls. After five I was down a sauna.

FACT: The accepted euphemism for this is "Going into SoHo to read the papers". This is the phrase that Simon's cheating ex used to use - and, although Michael is long gone, the phrase is too good to let go. Acceptable usage from yesterday follows:

Lee: So, how were the papers?

Me: Well, I flicked over some English titles, and then thumbed through a French one quickly.

Lee: Don't touch anything in the flat.

Friday, November 12, 2004

The singles section

Singles sections are back in HMV. Only they're now sections for desperate singletons.

It's true - look in the DVD section. Turn right, gently... gently.... and there you are ... a sudden fuck off wall of Sex and the City. Turn just slightly further right and *slap* Will & Grace box sets towering over you. Back away and *crash* you're up against the Justin Timberlake calendar.

Look down. Yes. That's right. All of a sudden you're wearing pink slippers, pyjamas, and holding a half-eaten slab of Dairy Milk covered in cat hair.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Fire in the Disco! Gay Bar! Gay Bar!

It was all going so well in the Black Cap. There was disco, there was vodka, and I was happily flirting with a gay scoutmaster.

Suddenly, Sandra the drag queen was cut off mid rant by a loud ringing of bells. "Christ!" she roared, "It's Matalan again - Tell 'em I was just seeing what it would look like outside the shop."

Then there was the smoke, the smell of burning and a quick exit. Half of us ended up out on the pavement, and the other half were bundled out of the fire exit to the M&S car park.

Out on the pavement, Lee and I cadged champagne from fag hags ("I broke me nose on me high heels," one claimed), and waited for the firmen.

They turned up, to tuts of disappointment.

Lee grabbed his phone. "Hello, 999? We asked for pretty firemen. Send more. With pizza."

I dragged Lee round to the fire exit at the back, so that I could find the scoutmaster in the crowd penned in in the M&S carpark. It was strangely like visiting him in prison. Yeah, he had a boyfriend, but it was kind of fun chatting to him through the bars. I checked my pockets, but didn't have a nail file or anything useful to pass him.

The prisoners were fairly calm. Most of the gay men were snogging and smoking. The lesbians were giving each other rides in shopping trolleys.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Captain Zep

Oh, goodness, this is marvellous.

If only they'd made K9&Co like this with cardboard cutout aliens, super-stylised CSO, and a gang of children clamouring for space badges and adenoid removal.

How can you not love a show that has:
1./ aliens with furrrrench aczents ("zer is nuzink zo demonstrative as a demonstration, non?"),

2./ a black man called "Brown" who's constantly being asked if his name is "White" (ho.ho.ho),

3./ the ability to re-cast Captain Zep between seasons, turning him from a serious detective to a tea-addled fool,

4./ sexy female professors with ice-cream cone haircuts,

5./ superb model shots. Both of them. And I could watch them over and over again. Which is a good thing, as they show them at least four times an episode.

6./ a planet of vegetable people who rather disturbingly say things like: "Come, my old friend, let us have some carrot wine together..."

7./ lines like: "I discovered the queen had a twin brother who was exiled ten years ago for his opposition to fish freedom..."

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Shame/Bragging/Wine/Foolishness

I can't remember why we ended up dancing past Russell T Davies in a posh restaurant. But we did. Hollering and waving.

He looked up and waved, "Who is that gay in the window?" he apparently turned to his dinner companions and said, "I can spot 'em a mile away. In the dark. Through venetian blinds."

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Email of the day

From Canadian Matt:

I had the weirdest weekend just past. I went to Crew's on Friday night (gasps of shock and disbelief...I know) and ended up getting invited to an after party.

Anyways, it turns out that this guy owns several gay internet porn sites (bedfellow.com is the biggest) and has a beautiful loft condo in kensington market.

The party is populated with hot, young porn models and porn model wannabes. There was lots of alcohol and literally bowls of gak (is that a correct spelling?) lying everywhere. It was so surreal.

To make a long story short me and this porn mogul spent a good deal of the evening talking and he asked me if I would like to go to dinner. I accepted although, I am not to sure how I feel about him...he is 40 and not at all my type.

So, we had a great dinner last night at Café Le Gaffe in the market and then went and saw The Grudge afterwards (scary movie). He had his personal assistant drive me home at 4am in a very nice (and fast) BMW.

He wants me to have dinner with him again tomorrow before he flies to LA on wednesday to launch a new site with Chi Chi LaRue. I'll keep you updated...


Toronto really is like this. It's so nice to be back in London where the gay scene is a little more tranquil and they have chairs.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Dress to impress

So, I have a meeting with a lot of very important TV Marketing people. Who I want to like me and take me seriously. This is always hard, as I always say stupid things. But today will be different. I will make an Extra Special Effort.

It's only when I get into work that I realise that I'm wearing a T-Shirt with "YOU SUCK!" written on it in giant letters.

Cue frantic scrabbling around. Nope. Nothing even vaguely wearable in my gym bag, so I eventually turn up in a thick wooly jumper. It has vivid horizontal stripes. That clash wildly with the vertical stripes on my trousers.

So I go to the meeting. It's in a nice warm room, and I begin to boil to death.

Worse, a man I've had meetings with before is there. He's always seemed a little dull and nondescript, but has been terribly easy to deal with. But not now. He's back from holiday, transformed by tan and stubble into an amazing god of a human being.

He keeps talking to me about really important stuff. And all I can hear in my head is the buzzing of my heart, and, distantly, Queen singing "Fat Bottomed Girls".

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

John Peel dead! :(

Selfish inner thought: Why him? Why couldn't it be an unpopular presenter? Like the host of any dreadful Radio 4 panel show? Or an Archer?

Social Consciene

The other weekend I got caught up in the Peace March through the centre of town.

There I was, on my bike, forced to walk behind people with long hair and no shampoo.

I suddenly realised how far I've come since student radical days. My main thought was "Get out of my way! I've a bathhouse to get to."

How sadly shallow.

Nightmares

I've been having weird dreams recently.

1) Lee and his boyfriend took me to a bar where, if you went to the bar naked, you got free beer. But none of us liked beer.

2) My parents had brought a five story house that was a collapsing junk heap. They were living in three rooms, perfectly restored and furnished. The rest was a burnt out wreck. "It'll take a while, won't it luv?" said my mum.

3) Our department found a new way of deciding job losses. Our boss got everyone together in a spooky house at night, and read us ghost stories. The people who got scared were made redundant.

I'm trying to connect these. I just can't.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

The common cold

Is not going away. Bugger.

On the other hand, every day ill is another day not in work and curled up at home watching the West Wing.

Only worrying thing - it appears to have taken my alcohol tolerance.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

The Joy Vampire

All the fun's been sucked from my job, and I don't even have a hickey to feel smug about.

Thanks to the "new regime" (corporate-speak for "cuts, fear and weirdness"), my whole approach has changed.

I haunt my email, desperate for distraction (I even read Guy's endless sexist joke emails), and constantly pump sound into my ears to deaden my brain (Melyvn Bragg or Girls Aloud, it's all the same).

Lordie, it's been years since I've put a CV together, but there it is. Number 5 on my action list. After "Prepare Budget Projection" and before "Submit Task Spec Spreadsheet".

Suddenly my job isn't about creativity. It's about spreadsheets.

Yeah - I'm trapped in a double maths lesson. All we have to do is conduct business in French and throw in Rugby practice and it'll be school hell all over again.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Karl's new girlfriend

I adore Karl's new girlfriend. First time I met her, I thought - there's a gay man in the body of a lady. Not a fag hag, but a genuine gay man's hearltess soul.

The week after, she proved me right. On a drunken evening out in a curry restaurant she shagged a complete stranger in the bogs.

Karl's still seeing her. I approve.

New Doctor Who logo, same old fans

There's a new Doctor Who logo, and the fans have gone mad, mad, mad:



Speaking personally, I'm sure the hysterical outpouring from fans at every new detail of the new series comes from an unjustified fear that the new series will be poo, and that simply by shouting loud enough they can make it good.

This is wrong. For one thing, the new series won't be poo. For another you're not going to seem like a reasonable interest group if you issue fatwahs about every little thing. There have been online death threats about casting, the size of the new TARDIS, and now the logo.

I've now responded to several texts and emails from friends with "Look, it's only a logo."

Somehow, I've completely forgotten that I was once an obsessed 13 year old who traced the neon logo onto graph paper so that he could recreate it on a computer.

My favourite musing on the logo comes from Page 38 of an online messageboard thread devoted to the new logo. It goes thus:

If this image opens out into the ultimate, mesmerising trip of an opening sequence then I suppose the slit of colour is the 'logo' and point of recognition.

If this is the end of the opening titles and the universe is contracting and the words take on the mass and colour of the dying cosmos, then perhaps we'd be getting somewhere.

Symbolically this could also represent Doctor Who 'saving' the universe. The D and O of Doctor and the O of Who are undergoing some sort of effect and look like they're at angles. Something is 'happening'.

Equally it could be that nine short lines shoot from the dot and rotate to letters from centre - 9 letters, 9th Doctor? Turn it on its side and it might be a modern recreation of the Hartnell titles. There is something a bit warm and familiar about the pointed ends.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Why I love colds

Colds are great for boys, aren't they? We can cope with every other hardship - from mending a fuse to reading Andy McNabb books - but we just can't handle the common sniffle.

But they're brilliant. They stop you from moving, thinking, or, indeed, being able to much of anything beyond watch TV, drink whisky, and feel sorry for yourself.

They're like a divorce - except they only take up a couple of days, and give you time off work.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Hotel Hangover

We didn't like our hotel. The BBC has a marvellous booking system, and this seemed the nicest in our price range. It had a great lobby - but the rooms were rather Dole Hostel - the curtains were nailed shut, the beds were collapsing, and the lights flickered.

After looking round several rooms, a fab lady from the BBC Hotel people found us a much nicer hotel. Which was a good thing - when the taxi picked us up the next morning, the driver said, "Ay, ay, lads - you fleeing Fawlty Towers, then?"

Apparently, the hotel is famous for its shoddiness, and for the fact that the street outside is the biggest hooker haunt in Cardiff. Which would explain the number of shifty people loitering under the railway bridge. That had puzzled us.

But breakfast was nice. Everything came from a tin. Even the yoghurt.

New chat up line

"Excuse me, are you a Doctor Who monster?"

Met a charming man who I recognised vaguely from somewhere. His name's Trey (changed by deedpoll from Jason), he's 19, and finished his work on set by asking Someone Important for a drink.

Due to everyone being very drunk, nothing sadly happened with young Trey. He phoned the next night, but we were too knackered to go out.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Working from Wales II

There's been a lack of updates, due to the weird computer situation here.

I've got the internet, email, and a working computer. But not necessarily in the same building.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Working from Wales

I'm spending the week in Wales, working on a very exciting BBC project that I can't really talk about. But everyone in BBC Wales is very nice, and pleasantly cynical.

Plus, given to moments of complete childish joy, as in "Shall we just go and ?"

BBC Wales really does have a woman playing a harp in the middle of a corridor.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Thank god for the Monday Guardian

I met my new manager. It did not go well. How weirdly scary.

****

Update: About a week later, I'm still waking up worried.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Portillo no longer alone

Dear The Busted

So, you've finally come out. As Tory. How sad.

Now we know why you went to the year 3000. To see if there was a Conservative government.

There wasn't, was there?

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

The Child Actor

Eric was so gay you can hear him on Mars. He was the kind of gay man who puts the twinkle into Twink. And, much to Matt's seething disapproval, I'd caught his eye.

"I never knew you liked Russian orphans," growled Matt as I went over to talk to him.

Eric, it turns out, is almost 20, and follows his mother around the world, from marriage to marriage ("She's on number eight. South African. Don't like his house."). He's currently dividing his time between a thriving fashion and jewelry business ("Do you like my jacket? My last secretary gave it me."), marketing Red Bull in Canada (it's only been legal for three weeks), and acting. He loves LA, although, "I'm straight there. Everyone's straight in LA."

According to Eric, he was a regular in a series called 2030 CE (it's well worth following the link). "Mom was sleeping with the producer, so I got a part."

This show is now my new favourite thing. After a catastrophe, the world is run by teenagers. Remember the show from "Cruise of the Gods"? Someone made it. The show's Imdb page includes a review which states: "Pure Crap". I want to see it now.

Canadian politeness

Sign in a Toronto sauna: "Caution: Wet Floor"

Monday, October 04, 2004

Nasty new experience

I've maxed out my credit card. How did that happen?

How a lesbian became a drag queen

The Toronto Drag scene really is royalty. Every year they have a pageant to elect the Fabulous Imperial Court Of Toronto. There are drag queens wandering around with titles like "Her Imperial Majesty The Queen Mother Consuela Centigrade the Third".

Every bar you go, there's a man in a skirt. I've just seen the same Cher medley performed twice in an evening.

They've just held a Drag Idol competition. Stunningly, it was won by Bonnie, the fiendish bull dyke security manager at Crews Bar. Last anyone saw of her, she was a short, scowling pit bull in a lumberjack shirt.

Out on the smoking porch, her girlfriend Bonnie roars, "Okay fags. Stub 'em out and get in there! She's on." Meekly, we oblige.

Suddenly, she's on stage looking like... well, like a very pretty man dressed as a stunning woman. There's big hair, a bigger dress, and the biggest high heels, and she's strutting to torch songs like there's no tomorrow.

Matt leans over. "My god," he gasps. "She's.... smiling!"

Later Bonnie totters out to the smoking deck, pushing Candice, a drunk drag queen in a wheelchair. "These shoes are killing me!" she bellows. "How do you dance in these things every night?"

Candice shrugs, and points to her foot. It's in plaster.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Actor/Waiter

So, Cameron is an ex of Matt's. Matt points out that he's "had work done" - he's an aspiring actor (Sample quote: "They've offered me a musical about the second world war, but I don't know if I'll take it.") who spends most of his time waiting tables and worrying about his appearance.

He looks pretty stunning. Although, when Randall points out that most of the work he's had done makes him look like Bon Jovi, I suddenly saw his point.

Anyway, Cameron is charming and witty and appears to be coming on to me. Of course, Matt is with us, and having a generally shitty time with Randall, and so the seduction of an ex has to be carried out with care and sensitivity. Despite consuming a large amount of alcohol, we behave with perfect deportment until Matt leaves.

***

Two days later, I meet up with Matt again. "You left suddenly," I say.

"Well, yeah. There you were in the middle of the club, my ex's hands down your pants while you were dry-humping him."

Oh.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Sleaze night

Matt takes us out on a tour of the naaaastiest bars in Toronto. Because you have to.

First up was Remingtons, a gay stripper bar. Matt got us really good seats at the front, by one of the poles. Which meant that, every few minutes, an athletic Frenchman's crotch would fly over my head.

We were the youngest people there who weren't dancers. The clients seemed to be a lot of jolly old Canadians with fat wallets, eager to pay for "A Private Dance in a VIP Booth". This sounds like a euphemism, but, if I remember Lee's visit here correctly, it isn't. The guy just dances around you for a bit and then takes your money. It's more like paying to have Steps come round to your house. Rather than Tatu.

Although, the dancers get naked. This surprised Damien and me. Especially with the way that their shorts just vanished. Blink, and they're gone. Naked man dancing around in socks and tattoos. It just looked weird, and oddly unerotic.

At the back of the stage was a mirrored wall, with massive bum prints on it.

Nearby, a young looking man was being dry humped by an enormous old man. I had to explain what "dry humping" was to Matt, and he added it to "gak" as his new favourite words.

Randall and I went outside for a smoke. Normally, there's a camaraderie among Canadian smokers. But not this time. As soon as they saw us, the smoking strippers went into a huddle.

Second stop was Sneakers. A bar for rent boys to pick up clients. It was just horrid, made worse by a man clapping his hands round our shoulders and saying, "You four pretty boys get on so well. When does the orgy start?"

That killed the conversation stone dead.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Bathhouse

The thing I most want is sleep. But I'm too tired to sleep, and the evenings are merging into one long, relentless drag show.

I peaked at 11.30 pm tonight. For some reason, no-one in Toronto dreams of going drinking on the scene until 11pm, and doesn't stop till after 2. If you're battling jet lag, and relentless tourism, it's all a little horrid.

Tonight, I just couldn't take any more. Especially as poor Matt was yet again upset by Randall, who regards Matt as much as an elder brother as he does boyfriend - which means poor Matt has to listen to a stream of info about guys Randall has seen/fancied/shagged since they last met.

So, I left early and went to a sauna. The cleanest, nicest one ever. So typically Canadian. I was immediately accosted by almost the only clients - two young DJs who'd popped in for a quick steam before going out for their sets.

This was great, but still I couldn't sleep. So, I stayed for a bit, waiting for any customers to turn up. It was genuinely a bit spooky - padding through the set of Alien, hearing distant bangs and groans, all the while floating on a cloud of near hallucinogenic tiredness.

Good fact: For no good reason, you can smoke in the sauna until October 6th. From then on, just as winter sets in, people will be standing on a balcony. In temperatures down to -25. With howling winds. In a towel.

My fellow guests...

An Irish guy called Damian (charming) and a German called Jorg (scary).

Jorg's English is halting and shouty, and his taste a bit weird. So, at breakfast we were startled when he suddenly snapped:

"Tell me... you will tell me about Rimming."

Everyone went quiet.

"Rimming. Rimmingtons. A bar called Rimmingtons. Apparently you get to see precisely 150 hot mate strippers. This I want to see."

"It's only about eight strippers, you know, bud." says our host.

"No. The guide book is specific. 150. That is what I expect."

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Smoking

They've banned smoking in Canada. Which immediately means I want to.

I've spent this week smoking in odd places, generally outside, chatting to charming strangers, feeling exciting and rebellious.

All this will change next month when the temperature plummets. The whole idea of having to stand in disco gear in a foot of snow to have a smoke is a horror.

A Room of One's Own

Find myself a lovely room in a House on McGill, a gay guesthouse, and almost, get a night's sleep.

I'm shattered. Constant clubbing, no naps, and the sharing of water beds with a man who's only very rarely providing conjugal rights has all proved rather tiring. I have Louis Vuitton bags under my eyes.

Promptly crash out for a few, lovely minutes on a bed that doesn't wobble. Then it's more of being out on the town, watching Drag Karaoke and Randall and Matt work out whether they love each other or not.

Share a cigarette with a lesbian huntress from the Yukon. Apparently, they have no daylight for several months of the year.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Sky Captain (no spoiler)

Look, but don't touch. It's a beautiful, stunning film, that gradually eases back on the sheer style and grudgingly replaces it with charm.

If, like me, you watched Lord of the Rings on DVD mostly on fast forward, you'll recognise the storytelling feeling of Sky Captain - it's like the best bits of a trilogy. By 20 minutes in, you're already on Epic Story Four, and still have No Idea Who These People Are.

The visuals are, as everyone will tell you, coherent and staggering. The virtual sets are jaw-dropping. But there's one scene (and it's a small one) that, tellingly, uses a real set (a bedroom) - and it's the most charming scene in the film. Suddenly, the picture is in focus, the perfomances come alive, the actors are touching, and the characters are suddenly much more interesting. The next scene's on top of a spectacular mountain, and we're back to normal - fuzzy vision, and the performances are stone dead again.

It's like a film made with zombies. They look like Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow, and even sound like them. But they've got the dead eyes and disinterested air of one of my dates.

Halfway through, Angelina Jolie pops in. She was probably just over to water Jude's plants and shoot up in the bath, but couldn't resist picking the lock on the studio and stealing the entire film. Bless her.

(Most charming moment: Lenscap.)

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Drag in Canada (Lumberjack Song)

If I never see another Drag Queen as long as I live... *shrug*

Canada's gay scene is drag obsessed. And it's not even good drag. Stick-thin horrors pout out, mime indifferently to Torch Songs, wave their arms about, and look pissy.

At least English Drag is often funny, the acts frequently sing, and there's a touch of real daring.

Over here, they're treated like minor royals, and do almost as little. The Toronto scene is full of gossip about them (... Felicia's stopped taking her meds again... She's been dying for the last ten years... Consuela offered to rim my boyfriend for free. In front of my face, the bitch!... Julie tries so hard, but she's just all attitude - and they say she *stole* that dress... Tracy and her man split up. It was a row over who'd been chewing her eyeliner...).

The highspot was definitely Sunday night. The drag staggered into a club in Ottawa, fresh from competing in Miss Gay Ottawa. Some were so drunk they were speaking french, one did her act with her back to the audience, and another one just sat off to one side of the stage, swearing under her breath and wiping her armpits with her wig.

Sitting watching it with Matt and me were two young men in love. It was a truly touching site, until I nipped out of the club for cigarettes, and came back to find one of them crouched over behind a dumpster, sniffing gak and talking about dumping his bloke for one of the drag acts later on that night.

Ottawa: Fascinating Facts 2

It's at the very edge of British Canada. There's a rocky point where, if you fall in the water, you're in Quebec. Matt and I did something Almost Romantic here.

Ottawa Animation Festival

The animated online movie I was an executive producer on was shortlisted in the Ottawa Animation Festival. Since the horrid thing ate through my hairline like nobody's business, it seemed only fair to turn up and see it entered for an award.

Steve, who'd done all the work was there, and he's a decent, fun guy. But the movie was entered in the "Mostly Pretentious Wank" category, so Matt, Steve and I had to suffer through three hours of Unhappy Line Escapes The Tyranny of Circle (with cello music), or Anna: The Adventures of a Woodland Pansy.

Interestingly, the co-star of the film, Sophie Okonedo now appears to be the toast of Canada. She's snapped in Toronto by Entertainment Weekly, and she's in this month's Vanity Fair. Wow. And to think she turned up every day on a mountain bike. Giggling.

Ottawa: Fascinating facts 1


  • Ottawa is the capital city of Canada.
  • It'll be quite nice when everyone moves in.
  • It's a mind-numbing five hour drive from Toronto. On a straight road.
  • Dead skunk smells from a mile away.
  • It's the coldest capital city in the world. Beating Moscow.
  • The Parliament building was built in 1920. But looks 800 years old.
  • The clock tower is modelled on Big Ben. But with one improvement - at noon it plays "Three Blind Mice".
  • Still no idea if Matt and I are supposed to be shagging. But we are sharing A Very Nice Room In A Castle.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Oh, Canada...

[The story so far: I meet Canadian Matt in LA. We hook up again when he comes over to London with vile gooseberry best friend Darryl. Now, with a slightly increased, sweeps week two-parter, we continue the story in Canada. Yes. It is just like a crap episode of The New Avengers....]

Matt meets me at the airport. I'm pissed, as Air Canada suddenly deluged us with booze two hours before landing. But I'm very happy to see him.

Matt is a lovely, charming, if engimatic man. Even when we're having sex, I wonder if he's just being polite. But, surely, if he's invited me over to Canada for a week, ordered me to stay in his one bedroom studio flat, and told me he's not got a boyfriend, then surely, surely, this means I'm guaranteed a shag? And some eye contact?

Long-term readers of this blog will already know that the answer isn't that simple.

While I sit having lunch with Matt and a friend who manages the airport, Matt tells him that he thinks he's back together with his boyfriend. I grip my McChicken sandwich a little tighter. "We had a fabulous time last night, I've had no sleep, and it looks as thought I'm back in his good books." He smiles happily (Matt? Smiling? This is new). "I'm in love."

And, it appears, I'm still staying in his one bedroom flat. Which is going to make fooling around for any of us rather complicated.

Here's some of Matt's story: Two months ago, Matt meets Randall, a charming American student half his age (Matt is 36). They connect, have a marvellous time, and then one night, Randall leaves him for a stripper. Matt is devastated. Then Randall's stripper gets deported for statutory rape (apparently the fifteen year olds in Philadelphia are maturing fast). Randall is now devastated. And the two appear to be comforting each other. Or are they?

Matt and I go back to his flat, and I crash out on Matt's bed. Just when I thought I couldn't be more tired or confused, it turns out to be a water bed, and I come flying off it.

Matt immediately starts telling me how confused he is about the situation. He's not sure if he has got Randall back, after all (he's just phone to say he's flying out to see the stripper). I'm unsure if this means we are touching or we aren't. All I want to do is sleep, but Matt wants to do is play music, and tell me about our exciting evening of boozing, clubbing and going to see Ru Paul. And he isn't joking.

Matt puts on some Sarah McLachlan. It was the music he played when Randall broke up with him. Then he puts on some worryingly chipper Celine Dion. It was the music he played when Randall came back to him.

"Anyhoo," he says, "Now you're here, and Randall may be going off to see his stripper. What kind of music should I play now?"

"Tell me," I said, "Have you ever heard of Girls Aloud?"

Ru ApPauling

We stagger into a club called Lust on Lombard. It is far nicer than any London club - it's plush, and full of very pretty people. All of them, in various states, waiting for Ru Paul.

And waiting.

And waiting.

She comes on at 1.30am (by which time I'm almost comatose from jet lag). She sings three rubbish R&B tunes, yells at the crowd "I am a fabulous bitch! Yeah!" then lip-syncs some more.

"Would you bitches like to ask me any questions?" she demands.

A hand shoots up. "I just wanted to say that you are an idol of mine. You are beautiful and sexy and clever and I really love you."

"Why, thank you! Next question, someone else?"

Another hand. "I just wanted to say that I admire you for being both a comedienne and an actress. You are supremely skilled."

"Yeah. Next question."

She then sang a song called "Give Me Money!" In which she sashayed up and down stage, snatching money from people waving it at her.

And then she sang the song again, to get some more money.

Then she left the stage.

I never thought I'd miss the Black Cap.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Air Canada

Air Canada is the quiet old village shop of airlines. The cabin crew are entirely comprised of little old ladies, with big smiles and not much stock.

The inflight magazines have been stolen from a Doctor's surgery, the chairs craftily pinched from a retirment home, and the inflight entertainment system has been rigged up by one of the attendant's charming young grandchildren.

All this would have been a giggle, except for the irritating family sat next to me on the plane. Four of them. Two adults, blissfully unaware of their screaming children. The brats were strapped in, and started to wail. Not normal wailing, but BLUE BLOODY MURDER wailing. The kind of screaming you normally only hear in the queues at Argos.

Ignored by their parents, the flight crew descended, coddling the bratlings with colouring books. The children continued to scream and wail, all the while happily colouring in and kicking the seat in front of them.

As we taxid for take off, an attendant zimmered her elderly frame up the aisle to the father. "Sir, we're pausing in take off. Discipline these children, or we'll have to ask you leave the plane."

The Dad shrugged, and obliged by viciously punching one of the children. It responded by punching him back. The Dad reached for a pillow, and started to stifle the child.

The plane took off. In stunned silence.

Foreign Spirits

"Tastes just like a fine whisky," Rick told me. "Made out of coconut palm, but with all the depth of a single malt. Or, that's what they said at the airport."

We cracked open the weird Sri Lankan bottle. And became immediately hammered.

Sometimes, waking up at five to go the airport is a thrilling excitement. And sometimes, you'd cry if your head wasn't hurting so much.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Some girls try too hard

On Monday I went to an aerobics class it the gym. On a whim.

I took one look at the three jolly Ladies of A Certain Age who stood there in lumpy lycra, and, in a rare macho moment, I thought "I can take 'em."

No, I couldn't.

I was fine on the arm exercises (Dumbell raises with 2kg weights, how sweet!), and the stomach work was made easier by the perfect view it gave me of a nearby blond man doing press ups.

But the 20 minutes of lunges nearly killed me. I looked around, the blood rushing in my ears, to expect to find the dear ladies all dead. No. They'd barely broken a sweat, and were grinning genially at me. "Would you like a cup of water, dear?" one asked.

Two days later, and I can still barely walk.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Oh, mess!

Mess orbits around Mark. He's suave, he's charming, and, apparently, terribly influential in the world of TV. He's so powerful, he's dismissive about the presenter of PopWorld. Wow.

But, somehow (and I know this from bitter experience), despite Mark's urbane sophistication, there's an aura of danger to him. aka: Catnip for Gays.

What began as a civilised little drink and supper at m'club suddenly turned sour when Mark's ex boyfriend turned up. They parted amicably. So amicably you could hear a pin drop.

Mark's ex was drunk and in an odd mood ("Put that down to the fact he took a twenty minute detour - sniff. sniff." said Mark). He sat in a leather chair, muttering "I'm bored and want to dance and see naked men." Or being rude to waitresses. Or telling us about the (once) A-List Restaurant he Maitre'Ds ("God darlings, Trisha is sooo demanding.").

Ben had brought along with him a charming man called Leigh, who, it turned out, was a media journalist, and wanted to sleep with neither Mark nor me ("Pity, I needed some good coverage of my Autumn line-up", sighed Mark).

Mark suddenly left us to go glad-handing around the batch of Independent TV Producers he'd spotted. He's very good at that - he does the easy smile; handshake; elbow clench and overall personal warmth thing well.

Leigh nipped off to the loo, at which point, the Ben suddenly materialised next to me. "You smell great," he said.

"?"

"Let's shock everyone here and do something really, really wild," he murmured, leaning forward, his hand spreading across my leg, his lips opening like a shark's.

"Good idea. Let's order peppermint teas. Waitress?"

***

Things got worse. Out drinking with three men, and the one I *don't* fancy is all over me like cheap moisturiser.

We left the nice club, in search of a new gay place that Ben had heard of. It's apparently divine and very "intimate". It's called "Too, Too Much". We got there, and discovered it's Closed On Mondays.

Ben threw his hands in the air and spat, "This place is over! It's dead! Finished already."

Then he uttered the words that kill 99 per cent of evenings stone dead. "Let's go to the Shadow Lounge..."

There were bored men with big arms who were there purely to go home unhappy. There were foolish drinks at fools' prices. There was drag. In a hoop skirt.

[I now hand you over to another blog of the same evening]

German sausage

Ann is back from her holiday in Germany. She was surprised to see that the Ladies' loos in a small motorway service station not only sold novelty condoms, but also "Ein Vibrator, mitt Batterien".

"It was only four euros. Worth it for the batteries alone."

Monday, September 20, 2004

Farscape Bragging (no Spoilers)

The new mini-series is very good indeed. Hurrah. And *phew*.

PS: Sniff!

New favourite drink

Cheap whisky and cherryade.

Really surprisingly good. And gets you pissed very quickly.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Commuting Horror of the Week

Having to listen to William Hague smugging away every morning as he reads his pisspoor biography of William Pitt the Younger.

It's an appalling biography appallingly read. The man's reduced a complex character to a series of quaintly unamasuing incidents (they aren't even anecdotes by the time he's finished telling them), and the whole thing has the rosy hue of a badly written press release.

Hague also has the gall to make snippy little comments about Pitt's alleged gayness. The only thing more irritating is the way he manages to pronounce "wine" as a polysyllabic word. Hearing William Hague say "Fahine Wahines" just about finished me off.

It's my age

Last night I was Too Tired For Karaoke.

On reflection, this can only be a good thing.

For one thing, the world is Not Yet Ready for my baritone Britney Spears. I practised on the bike ride into work yesterday, bellowing "Hit me baby" as I pedalled across the Westway. All was not so well as I bumped through Notting Hill to Toxic.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Meanwhile, on HitchHikers...

Lovely story from Karl's new girlfriend, an extra in the HitchHikers film.

She recognised MosDef's stand-in, looking sheepish at a train station. She asked him what was up.

Sadly, he explained that they'd been filming an amazing special effects sequence that day, where they destroy a caravan with high explosives.

Everyone on location had been ordered to turn off their mobile phones during the arduous set up and he'd forgotten.

His phone rang. The caravan blew up.

Monday, September 13, 2004

The Da Vinci Code

Lee got me this as a birthday present, signed by every seccie he saw reading it on the tube that day.

I devoured it this weekend, mindful of the famous review beginning "This is the worst book I've ever loved."

So much of the book is clever people telling each other clever things. Patiently. In the back of cars. Or mulling over clues which you've solved already (as Lee put it: "Don't you get tired of being five pages ahead of them?").

But many of the flaws are in themselves a delight. Who can help thrilling to a character being described as "Sir Leigh Teabing, noted British Royal Historian"? Several times.

And what gay can resist a giddy clap of incomprehension at the way a range rover isn't just a range rover, but a "A Range Rover, with polypropelene mounted headlights, reinforced chassis and improved ground clearance." An aeroplane isn't just an aeroplane - it's a flying Haynes manual of turbo twin propellors and adjustable tracked seating.

See? Even the hateful bits of the bit are a joy. And the wafer-thin characterisation only adds to the wonder. Tell me more about her sweater and less about her motivation! Go on...

Interestingly, for a suspense novel, there is only one suspect for the super villain. And his name is so ludicrous it has to be an anagram (or is it: Grail be heisting").

Wedded bliss

Gemma offered me a lift to Kate's wedding. She assured me she'd forgotten how to drive, and she wasn't lying.

Only Gemma could make enjoyable fun out of a 300 mile drive, packed with valiant lurches towards third gear, short screaming fits, and constant rows with husband Serge (well, I say rows - generally he'd yell "Christ! We're driving on the pavement!" and she'd mutter "Yes. I know").

Gemma also perfected the Emergency Sulk. It's enormously like an Emergency Stop. During a particularly tense argument on a crowded country road she simply switched the car off at the ignition. No one died.

The wedding itself was a miracle of calmness. Kate and Mark looked charming and thrilled. Kate's brother stood next to me, sobbing during the service, and singing each hymn louder and lower than the last. Kate's mother grinned all the way through. There were hats.

The reception was a fine chance to see the hats dance. There were rose petals, amusing speeches, and small talk. We were surrounded by lawyers and accountants, so the small talk was small. Gemma decided to stay sober and drive us back ("I'd think less of myself if I mingled with these people drunk.").

Distressingly, I discovered that someone I knew and loved at school has grown-up to become A Horrible Person. I was about to say "hi" to him when I heard him toasting someone with the words, "Chin-Chin, Roger! I say, this man taught me to quaff port at an age when I could barely appreciate it." Apparently, earlier in the day he'd greeted Kate's grandmother with "What ho! I didn't know Kate had a younger sister."

Naturally, I ended up speaking to him. "What about you, old sprout? Anyone special? What? No. Pity. I'm marrying a Brazilian model. She's as rich as Croesus and I'm damn lucky. Poor you."

After two more people had asked me sadly if there was Anyone Special In My Life, I vowed to snap at the next person, "No, but I've had a fabulous summer of rough outdoor sex with strangers. Why?"

Got introduced to old friend Sam's charming mother. She's just had a mediaeval siege engine built in her garden, and was brimful of sensible advice about oysters, pregnancy, and dancing in high heels. Suddenly, she leant forward. "Tell me my dear, is there anyone special in your life?"

I looked at her. And made a bold decision. It was at this point that someone drove a wheelchair over my foot.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Suggestion of the week:

Someone's told me to join a Gay Ju-Jitsu class.

Surely that's Ju-Ju-Jitsu?

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Touched by greatness

Being gay's fab. You get to shag meet such interesting people. And sometimes, they've shagged people even more interesting.

Last night's bloke was not only the cousin of someone who got into the last ten for Girls' Aloud... but he'd also had A Rather Lovely Man from EastEnders. No Lee, not Shane Ritchie.

So, while I've never shunted celebrity, I've touched people who've fimbled the famous. It's odd that this should be exciting. It's like sitting next to a 'sleb on the bus - a weird kinship formed through physical proximity and nothing more.

So, hullo then H from Steps (I'm one away from you on the shag tree). Hi there, also, annoying Blue Peter presenter (also one away). A distant wave to Matthew Kelly (I am but three away from a journey through your smoking curtains). And a surprised serve to Tim Henman (Four away with a slight bisexual twist).

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Look if away if you're not a Dr Who fan...

The worst thing that's happened to me today: I was being interviewed by The Most Attractive Researcher in TV ever. About Dr Who. And I was doing reasonably well, until I happened to mention VidFIRE.

"Really?" he asked, leaning forward. "What's that? It sounds great..."

Oh, the shame of suddenly realising you've just shifted into Fan Gear, and there's nothing you can do to stop the damage...

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Thirty

Things I did in the last year....


  • Bought a central heating system.
  • Got an IMDB page
  • Beat Philip Schofield, but not Dick and Dom in a poll.
  • Discovered Wales, Scotland and Australia. It rained most in Australia.
  • Nearly died.
  • Been messily in love with the wrong man.
  • Failed to fall in love with the right man. Sorry.
  • Met a man called James Bond.
  • Discovered the joys of depression. None.
  • Given up smoking. Four times.
  • Met the living author I most admire.
  • Built a wardrobe.
  • Finished knitting a scarf.
  • Learnt backgammon.
  • Played Strip Twister.
  • Got grey hair.
  • Kissed in the New Year.
  • Joined a Posh London Club.
  • Been to a Battle of the Bands.
  • Learnt to surf.
  • Taken opium.
  • Eaten hospital food.


Weird places where I've done Very Bad Things:

  • A cage.
  • Toy section of a department store.
  • Traffic bollard.
  • Blue Peter garden.


Well, that was my youth. Now, I guess, all men in their twenties are just "prey".

Monday, September 06, 2004

Small World Two

Having learned about the fate of a man I once dated, I bumped into another guy I dated four years ago. In pretty much the same place I first met him. More alarmingly, he's just split up with someone who sounds supsiciously like an ex.

Lovely French Laurent looked apologetic. "Me? I have done little. Same job, same flat, same car. But you - all will have changed for you, yes?"

Er, well...

PS: Had forgotten how marvellously diffident the French can be about sex. Last night saw the best Gallic Shrug I think I'll ever see.

My "K" hole

In this case, K stands for Kebab.

Went round to favourite ex-Simon's, intent on rushing out to spend an evening chav clubbin' in Stratford. Grabbed a kebab on the way - but, the salad was full of onion and pickled cabbage. I didn't realise this, until I suddenly had the most amazing, alarming, attack of trapped wind.

I arrived at Simon's looking thin and great. I left looking like I was pregnant. And making noises like I was giving birth.

Added to that, we went out with Simon's sleazy ex Michael and Michael's new boyfriend, grumpy teacher Marco. The two were in the middle of a row, which continued all through the evening.

The worst night unfolded, with me sitting in a quiet corner, whimpering, surrounded by two arguing gay men, and Simon, sadly drinking himself into a stupour.

All around us in the club were quite charming men in tracksuits, or, adorably, a pastel spattered leisure suit. It was wonderfully nasty. And I couldn't do a thing about it.

Eventually Simon took me home, propped me up on the couch, and made me peppermint tea with vodka. Things started to feel better.

Then Marco turned up on the doorstep. He'd left Michael, and needed somewhere to crash.

Simon then started to entertain us with stories of his sex life. Which is getting wilder. He currently has three boyfriends. Last week he had four. He's now dropped Greek Panos ("He was getting jealous of Freddi, Gianni, and Matthew, and didn't want to play with us.") - but only after Panos had seduced him in every form of transport going, from Connex South Central through to First Class on BA.

Simon is now settled with Freddi and Gianni, and new arrival Matthew. They have happy gay weekends, immersed in each other and a big pile of drugs. They're starting to sound weirdly like an evil version of the Cast of Friends. This weekend, they were all off to a Fellini movie together, before going back and shagging till dawn.

In a fortnight's time, all four are travelling up to Alton Towers. "We'll be riding the rollercoasters by day, and by night... heh-heh-heh!" Simon told me. At least four times. They're staying at Alton Towers. All in one room.

Matthew's already got them a present - while high on a day trip to EuroDisney, he found them each a Mickey Mouse mug with their name on it, to drink from in the mornings together. This strikes me as a new high in Sleazy Twee.

Most alarmingly, realised that new arrival Matthew is actually someone I dated. Things never worked out between us, mainly because, although he looked like a male model, he seemed appallingly shy, bookish, and cripplingly reserved about sex.

Shocked to realise that he has obviously been cured of this. Enquire how. "Oh, we kept slipping him pills till he stopped talking about sculpture and took his pants off."

Grudging admiration for this approach altered slightly when Simon continues. "Yeah, sometimes he still starts namedropping, but we soon find something to shut him up. Hehheheh."

Three horrid facts for three horrid days

YESTERDAY... Lorraine, wonderful Australian friend, announced she is pregnant. Immediate panic among circle of friends, as though pregnancy is something that might be catching.

TODAY... My boss announced he's leaving. And looks happier than he has in months.

TOMORROW... I turn thirty.

Is anyone else getting an "end of season cliffhanger vibe"? All we need now is a wedding with a lot of bitter jealousy and guns and... hang on. I've got a wedding this weekend. Poo.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Drinking with A-Gays

I've never been an A-Gay. I never will be. I'm happy making my way along with all seconds, the misshapes, and the slightly soiled gays.

But last night, Lee and I went for drinks at The Box. This is where they have a bicep check on the door, and you'll regularly see The Pissy Old Gay Formerly Known As Rupert Everett staring sadly at the mirror in the loos.

The place is so minty gay, they have mineral water on tap, and give change with a grudging flounce.

As sadly befitted our reduced status, we sat outside, to say farewell to Lee's flatmate Ian.

Ian has been in London for a year, and has joined the A-Gays. He did this by having a nice job and a quarter of a million in savings. He's leaving London with a bevy of friends called Chico and twelve grand of debt.

Lee and I felt oddly out of place. All Ian's A-Gay friends were very drunk, and strangely aggressive. Their first order of business was to work out if we'd...
a) slept with anyone famous
b) slept with any of their friends
c) slept with any of them.
d) were likely to.

Then they lost interest and spent the rest of the evening yelling "Confront the C***!" loudly at female cyclists.

The only beacon of joy was Lee's other housemate, Straight Boy Mark. Straight boy Mark is tall, handsome, and out to ruin it all by growing a beard. He tucks his shirt in, wears weird shoes, and has an irritating amount of social skills. That said, he'd dragged along a female friend who he kept on touching, like a straight boy's rabbit's foot. Can't say I blamed him.

Long lunch

The great thing about working from home is that, if you get up at dawn, you can get a full day's work done by lunchtime. Which was good, 'cos yesterday's lunch went on for nine hours.

I love my friend Rick. We have so much in common. Well, we share a birthday and a hair colour. But, unlike me, he is warm, laid-back and generous. Generous with his expense account.

Lunch included three courses, three wines, cocktails, shopping, a trip out for a McFlurry, and backgammon. It also featured cameo appearances by Rick's girlfriend Jess (Miss Jean Brodie having a catfight with Nicole Kidman), and an epilogue read by Mr Lee Binding (he turned up, sat in a chair, steepled his fingers and looked sinister).

I did discover that it's a bad idea for an old and valued friend to meet a new and valued friend. They can swap humiliating stories. In Rick's case these were stories that I'd long since forgotten about - like pretending to have a girlfriend, my rubbish university hair, and my weird ability to whinge about my love life to strangers - all habits I have, of course, shed.

Rick also revealed his trip to a gay sauna - he and some pissed journo friends had mistaken one for an after hours drinking club. With hilarious consequences.

We all shared our mutual grief at the news that our handsome friend Scott has passed on beyond the veil. He's moved to South London with his Hungarian girlfriend.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

X Files Dream

(I've nearly finished watching the X Files, and the mounting confusion is starting to solve itself in my subsconscious with an X Files/Charlie and the Chocolate Factor crossover:)

The Government announce that they've hidden Two Tickets to The Truth in chocolate neck implants. So Mulder and Scully race across the country, frantically searching for them. With hilarious consequences.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Beach Party

It rained on Sunday, so we went to East India Quay's beach party. It was just like England by the sea - wet, but desperately cheery.

As the wind whipped around, majorettes performed to Rachel Stevens' "Some Girls Try Too Hard". The irony was lost on them. Especially when they swapped their batons for pom-poms and performed the same routine to Chumbawumba.

Saturday night/Sunday morning.

It seemed like a good idea. Go East for the night. Sadly, all was not well with The White Swan. Drinks were cheap, the men looked cheaper, but the DJ appeared to have come from a wedding.

Hell hath no fury like the tutting of a gay club when the DJ plays on "I Will Survive".

Did spend some of the evening trying to chat up a man called Andrew. But he seemed Awfully Posh, and had about him the kind of Bright Indifference of a war widow putting on a Stiff Upper Lip. "Oh? Are you going? Oh, I daresay I shall cope. Chin chin!"

I consoled myself by deciding that his nose was pointy. Very pointy.

We left at three. Lee grabbed a taxi, and waved me off to the next door sauna. His argument was a) It's cheaper than the taxi home and b) Soon I'll be too old for it.

In theory, seeing in dawn in a sauna is a great idea. In practice, four hours is A Very Long Time when you're tired. You've got to find someway to fill in the time... I had sex with three men. That filled in an hour.

Most of the rest of it I spent napping on their roof garden. Which was odd. Especially as it was cold, and people kept wandering out to point at the sky, saying "See that next to the moon? It's very bright, and it's not moving. It's got to be a spacecraft."

Staggered downstairs at five thirty. Got distracted by a blond man walking up the stairs. "Hello you!" he announced, cheerily. "Fancy a shag?"

Actually, I really wanted coffee. But...

"Only," he continued, "Would you mind not buggering me? It's been a long night, and I'm so tired of being shagged."

In which case.... we had coffee.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

ITV1: Other people's Television

While at my folks the other week, they made me watch Foyle's War with Michael Kitchen.

It's a great idea for a TV show - everyone loves a murder, we all like Dad's Army, and we adore Heartbeat - so comfortable wartime mystery is going to be, like, the best programme ever. And, oddly, a lot of people think it is.

But it isn't. Foyle's War is rubbish. Where it could be subtle it's lumpen ("Damn you, conchie scum!" a conscientious objector is told). Where there's potential for dramatic irony (Foyle's best friend runs an Italian restaurant), it's bludgeoned (Italian best friend burnt to death by baying mob when war with Italy announced).

Shuddering through this is the wonderful Michael Kitchen as Foyle. The lines leave a bad taste in his mouth, and in some scenes he makes acting look like a bad habit he's trying to give up.

Things we've never done

On Friday night Lee and I went to Hyde Park Rose Garden. Where you can find pretty men wandering around looking for sex. Well, this is a lie. On Friday night you find the kind of men With Nothing Better To Do.

The following shouted conversation takes place behind a big bush...

LEE: I need more. Get it out!
JAMES: Allright. Let me just get it ready.
LEE: Looks fine to me.
JAMES: If you're sure. Grab the top.
LEE: Yeah. This is looking ready.
JAMES: Would you mind twisting it gently please at the top?
LEE: Sure. Don't worry - it's not going to go everywhere.
JAMES: You're sure you're okay swallowing it?
LEE: Can't wait.
JAMES: It's nearly there.
LEE: Oh yes... yes.... yes...
JAMES: I can feel it-

*pop*
*fizz*
*sploink*

Another bottle of babycham triumphantly opened. I wiped my hand down on Lee's jacket, patted him fondly and said "Cheers for that, mate." Then went off to retrieve the cork.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

A marvellous party

My friend Ed is now a businessman of some distinction. He runs a firm called discoo that appears to make T-shirts and Glamorous Stuff. Their first birthday party was a predictable medley of free cocktails, thin people, and lapdancing.

I got there late - due to it being in Covent Garden. The only way to find somewhere in Covent Garden is to ask Someone In Authority. Streets rarely have names, and only occasionally numbers. All the nightclubs look like hairdressers, and all the salons look like pie shops. The only shop you can recognise is Lush, and that's cos it smells.

The lovely Verity was the bouncer. She's petite, classy, and seems to know every Fridge-Shaped-Man in London (Once heard the fearsome bruiser outside Ronnie Scott's refer to her as "my crew"). Ahead of me in the queue were two drunken businessman, trying to blag their way past V, watched with some interest by two beefy doormen:

DRUNK: Let me in, luv.
VERITY: It's guest list only, I'm afraid.
DRUNK: Oh, come on...
VERITY: No, sorry mate. Tonight's not your night. It's a private party for Discoo.
DRUNK: Yeah, well, they're clients of mine.
VERITY: I'm sure they are, and I'm sure you were invited - but you didn't reply.
DRUNK: Look. This guy with me, he's a client of mine. You're making me look a fool in front of him.
VERITY: I'm not the one making you look a fool. Go away.

The Drunks shuffle away. The doormen applaud Verity quietly, then turn to glare at me.

Verity drags me inside. "Drink?" she demands, "Only we've got £500 behind the bar and twenty minutes in which to spend it." She gets me a Mai-Tai. Well, a jug of Mai-Tai. Things get orange and everyone is lovely.

As always happens when I'm somewhere interesting, I bump into Alex from work. I never see him at work - always at parties, staggering past me, and announcing "I. Am. Wasted!" He was with a friend who worked for Popbitch, who was looking for a girl called LJ. He'd gone out with her 8 years ago and "she made the best compilation tapes".

I *knew* who LJ was. I'd met her at the last of these Ed-type things. I think. I wandered over to her. "Hi! LJ! Your ex-boyfriend from 8 years ago is here. He still loves you."

"That's marvellous," she said, excitedly, then her face fell, "Only I'm not LJ."

In the background, there was poll dancing going on. I suddenly found this interesting.

Wonderfully, Digby was there. Digby's a lovely friend from school. Who, it turns out, has been reading this blog. Er. Hello, Digby! Digby also took a charming picture. It appears to be of Verity and, uh, me. I have no memory of this. Ah well.

Digby had brought along an American comedian called Eddie Ifft, who was having a reasonably great time. Well, until introduced to a woman who yelled, "Go on! Say something funny!"