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


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


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


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.