Monday, February 28, 2005

A place I've never been

The fabulous Joe My God goes to a Fisting Party run by a chiropracter:

    "I've always found that the guys who want to be fisted the MOST, are the guys with whom I enjoy it the least.

    No challenge. GLOP. Like stepping thru the Stargate, but with less resistance. Reminds me of the tiny old psychic lady from Poltergeist, throwing the rope into the void: 'STEVEN, NOT YET!!'"

Adam's theory about the Pope

He's been replaced by a muppet from the Jim Henson Creature shop.

Under those vestments are seven highly-trained puppeteers on wheels.

The hospital visit? They're casting for a new voice after the old one walked off, having got a really tempting offer to voice up Hollywood movie trailers.

Call that snow? III

So, it's still snowing. It's not settling, but it's got cocky. The snow's not falling - it's sauntering. It's meandering. If it could, each snowflake would be clutching a martini glass and looking snippy.

Jonte Leung-Jones

My ex-flatmates started texting me in a flurry from Australia. First Lorraine's waters broke, then she was sent back from hospital, then, all of a sudden, in a mad flurry she was back in and then a couple of hours later, out popped Jonte Leung-Jones.

I immediately rang Paul. "Is that a boy or a girl?"

"Boy," huge sigh of relief from Paul, "And he's got the mum's nose."

This is a good thing. With their mix, there was some trepidation about what the beast would look like. Lorraine is almost five foot Australian Chinese. Paul is nearly seven foot, stringy and with a big nose. For some of the pregnancy, the lump was named "Anything but a girl".

Paul's promised to ring me up later with more details of the tearing. I really don't want to know.

Friday, February 25, 2005

London on £30 a day

Hmmph. It seemed easy to get by in London on £30 a day. After all - most days I spend a mere tenner at most. After less than a week of the experiment, I've spent £350.

I am gutted. That's just wrong. Part of it is the factor that is the NotBoyfriend. Even though he's working about seventy hours a week and been promoted four times... he's still not been paid (bastards), so is still borrowing money (fine), but is also still so poor he can't buy a round. Or a pack of fags. Or a travel card.

The NB's lack of money does put my worries into perspective (How do you survive in London with literally No Cash?), but he has blown my budget a bit. A cheap evening out is suddenly twice as pricy, and even a quiet evening in is suddenly complicated.

None of this is his fault, but I appear to be using it as an excuse to hide my normal crapness with money. Which isn't healthy.

Luckily the weekend is looming, which gives me a chance of spending lots of time at home. Not moving. Not spending anything.

After several weeks of patient DIY, I have now finished my wine rack. But it's rather large. And I now can't afford any wine for it. So it's cluttered with mostly empty bottles of Costcutter Vodka. Class.


So, the NB and I were walking home from a Robin Ince's Book Club when we saw a Man/Beggar confrontation going wrong.

You know the kind of thing.

BEGGAR: Got any money, bro?

MAN: uh, sorry, no.

BEGGAR: Sorry, bro? Got nothing have you? I am better than that!

MAN tries to hurry on, but BEGGAR isn't letting him.

At which point we swished into place between the two.

"Don't worry, sir!" we informed the man, "There are now two gays between you and that nasty man. We your fluffy pink shield and will escort you away."

The Beggar tried to shove us. Adam gave him a look and we walked calmly on.

"Your fears are over. He's going to have to get through us - and, while we're not that good at fighting, we assure you we're excellent screamers."

The man was terribly greatful as we saw him all the way to Euston Square. As he left us he turned, shook our hands, and beamed. "God bless Ken Livingston!" he said.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Call that snow? II

According to today's Metro, we should stay at home and only travel in an absolute emergency due to the blizzard-like conditions engulfing London.

Er. There's a slightly icy puddle, and a sad dusting of snow on the roof of White City Tube station.

Talking of snow.... was having a charming evening out with Andy and the NB in a Wetherspoons in Holborn. We were hid round a corner away from the room full of fat men in business suits shouting at the football.

The NB nipped off to the loo during half time and came back a couple of minutes later. Grinning. He sat down, and then sniffed happily.

We both stared at him aghast. "You scored free coke? In Wetherspoons?"

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Monday, February 21, 2005

Saying No

The 30th Birthday party wasn't as dreadful as it could have been. I only flirted with one straight man, many of the people I was at school with have put on a pleasingly vast amount of weight, and only one person appeared to be horrifically successful.

I was adopted by three marvellous women, one of whom, Irma, clocked me at once. "You smoke, they're menthols, and you're wearing hair product. Are you gay?" she wailed happily.

Irma had grown up on the corner of the gay scene in Toronto, which meant that she'd been drinking with drag queens since she was 12. She'd briefly been out with the host of the party, "but then I left him for a photographer. What can I say? He was dumb and very pretty and lived in Paris."

Her friend Stella had an interesting job as chief pharmacist at a prison. She'd once arrived at work to find that convicts had broken in with bombs made out of Oxygen cylinders. She also admitted that she'd stolen a set of handcuffs from work.

Stella's other claim to fame was that she's once turned down Robbie Williams. He'd clocked her on the dance floor, sidled up and said, "Hi, I'm Robbie. Want to come back for a private party."

"I'm with friends."

"Bring em."

"There are eight of them."

"That's too many. It's just you I want."

"Oh, well. See ya, then," said Stella, and got on with dancing.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Chicken kebab

Daniel and I have agreed that shagging teenagers is rather like kebabs...

1) They seem like a really good idea at 3 in the morning.
2) They look good skewered.
3) They keep repeating all night.
4) Pretty much anything goes into them.
5) They come covered in sauce.
6) You spend the next day getting rid of them.

Dull dull week

It's been a week of nights in, working on a freelance project that seemed fun when I started it months ago. Nights of crawling into bed at eleven, eyes running, grabbing a pack of fags and falling asleep over a book. Nights when "a bit of a treat" means two muller-lite.

They've been cheap, but, oh!, they have been dreary.

Thank god I no longer have broadband, otherwise I wouldn't have resisted using the Gaydar to order in. Bad, bad me.

But tonight is going to be different. For tonight, I am off to the 30th Birthday party of someone who I *really liked* when we were at school, *quite liked* when we were at univesity, and *rarely tolerate* ever since.

I hate it when a friendship just... changes. When what you admired about them inflates beyond recognition. I hate being out for drinks and thinking "Why can't you be how you used to be?"

Last time I saw this friend, I was biking home, and he was rollerblading. "Can't stop!" he boomed, "In training for the International Student Olympics!"

Apparently, he's written a novel. Rumour has it that its hero is based broadly on him, and is about his quest to find a woman worthy of him.

I go to attend his birthday party with some trepidation - I'm dying to be charmed and disarmed by him once more.

PS: I'm going to a cheesy birthday. Darian is going to the launch of a sauna.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Seafood Sticks

Aren't they gorgeous? Remember when they were called Crab Sticks? Then Fish Sticks? And now, finally Seafood Sticks.

I'm addicted to them, but noticed that Tesco's claim theirs are made from "Surimi". Surimi? I thought. How nice - an exotic fish. I wonder what one looks like?

Chewing happily away on one, I googled "Surimi". And gagged.

Here's a brief description (sic):

Surimi in brief is a fish minced meat that has been leached by washing with water then mixed with sugar and other additives then frozen. It's widely used in Japan for the manufacturer of Fish jelly products...

The Surimi blocks is a by product for food processor company, in which the Surimi blocks will be process and shaped to look like imitates products such as the well known imitation crab meat, fish ball and so on. Either, you know what is Surimi.

Thanks Surimi AllInformationCentre. It was the word "leaching" that did it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Night Mayor

Dear Ken

I know you love public transport, but have you taken a nightbus recently? Obviously not, 'cos you still haven't armed the police.

Trying to buy a ticket last night outside Tottenham Court Road was horrible. The touts have got worse - it's like a nasty version of Delhi. I put out an arm to try and prevent one from gripping my friend Samantha's shoulder - and was grabbed, shoved into a doorway, and had fists in my face.

Surely it's possible to buy a bus ticket without being physically attacked, screamed at and spat over?

PS: And no, I don't fancy the Olympics much.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Friendly bacteria

Rick and I bought some Yakult at the weekend, curious to find out what exactly it does.

It's supposed to make you regular.

We can report that it actually makes you prodigal.

Which can be harrowing if your weekend includes horseriding in Exmoor.

Not Brando

I've spent most of this week on a film set doing background interviews. Not as glam or fun as it sounds, but a highlight was organising interviews with child actors. Done as a group, sat on a sofa in a props store.

"What are those?" asked one of the (very young) kids.

We swung round to look. They were pointing at a splendid array of nude girlie pinups.

While the team tore down the pics, I went to distract the parents. Pictures of talented offspringhad already come out, when one parent paused and said, "Hang on - I know you..."

My heart sank. I knew what was coming.

"Aren't you-?"


"Marlon Dingle!" I looked up from the restaurant table. A man's hand was outstretched, a nervous smile on his face. "It is you, isn't it?"

"What?" I said, spilling noodle. Lorraine and Paul had put down their chopsticks, and were watching as the man was joined by a jolly, blushing wife with a camera.

"Marlon! You're Marlon Dingle out of Emmerdale." The man boomed, proudly. Waiters were slowing down, and people were starting to notice.

"I'm afraid you must be mistaken..." I began.

"No, he isn't!" valiantly put in the wife, readying the camera. "As soon as I saw you I knew it was you. We've been watching you for ages."

I stared sadly down at the dirty table in front of me, the pile of crumbs, and the plum sauce on my shirt.

"No, really, really, I'm not...."

There was no stopping them. "Come on mate, I know it's your evening off, and I don't want to disturb you, but we're fans. Great fans. We'd love a signature or something."

"I can't, I really can't-"

A pause. A nasty one. "Don't you have any pictures on you?" He asked.

"No. I'm really not Marlon Dingle." I pulled a card out of my wallet with my name on it.

The man barely glanced at it. "Of course you aren't Marlon, really. That's just your screen name. But we'd love you to sign something. Then you can get on with your evening."

Lorraine kicked me under the table.

"But, I'm sorry. I'm really not the actor who plays Marlon Dingle."

"Well then," said the wife in a steely tone, "If he says he's not, dear, then I'm sure he's not. Let's not disturb his important evening."

She turned and walked away. The man went to follow, but leaned over and said in a way that was both disappointed and matey, "It's alright, mate. You enjoy your evening. Marlon."


"It is! Ooh!" cried delighted stage mother. "Of course, I don't watch it, but I'd recognise you anywhere."

There were delighted gasps from the assembled stage mums. Except for one who was slightly hard of hearing. "What's that?"

"He says he's not Marlon Dingle, love."

"He's Marlon? How lovely!" came the reply.

A firm hand shot out, squeezing my cheeks. "You're a little chubbier, mind."

At that point, thank god, a harrassed Assistant Director turned up to give me a bollocking for nicking his child actors.


In case you were wondering:

So there you are. Not only will I never be famous in my own right, but I look like a z-list 'sleb. Only fatter.

Cashpoint Danger

Cashpoints are now officially the scariest places in England. If you use a Barclay one, you stand a horrible chance of winning a day at Arsenal for you and ten of your mates.

I shall be boycotting them until I'm sure the promotion is over.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

The Real DaVinci Code

Terrible cash-in documentary on Channel 4. Does Tony Robinson take you inside the world-beating bestseller?

Or does he walk across a lot of fields looking scruffy? You decide.

The show had no structure, no sense of fun, and no real desire to actually reveal anything. It was a complete shower of cold piss for any fans tuning in for the real story behind our favourite characters such as Noted Royal Historian Sir Lee Teabing, how Dan Brown got the idea for the book, or how the book can be so cack-handed and yet rivetting.

We got a hint of it in the few opening moments, with a micro-interview with Dan Brown claiming the book is accurate in every way, cutting to Robinson failing to find a completely made-up university department. An hour of this would have been quite fun, but instead, it went rotten, abandoning the built-in structure of the book in favour of... well... stuff like this.

ROBINSON: (grimly driving a hire car at sunset) I'm off to visit a man who claims to own the real grail.
(Cut to Robinson walking alone through field. In grubby mac)
MAN: (holds out marble eggcup) My grail!
ROBINSON: Are you sure? Is this tiny object really that which held Christ's blood?
MAN: No. It's a grail. It's not that one.
ROBINSON: So this frail, cheap object with "MADE IN EDIBURGH" might not actually be the only link between mankind and our creator?
MAN: Probably not, no.

ROBINSON: (driving another hire car) I'm off to meet a priest. Does he have the true grail?
PRIEST: We think ours is from the Eleventh Century. But it's covered in nice gold bits.
ROBINSON: It looks like an Easter Egg.
PRIEST: 74 per cent cocoa. None of your Cadbury muck.

ROBINSON: (striding alone through Jerusalem) Is the real secret of God's bloodline concealed here, at the Dome of the Rock?
NICE MAN WITH BEARD: Well, the Templars dug here a lot. But they didn't find anything.
ROBINSON: Ah yes. Tell me more about the mysterious Templars.
NICE MAN: Not really. The pope killed them all.
ROBINSON: But not before they revealed their arcane knowledge...?
NICE MAN: 'Fraid so.

ROBINSON: I'm walking across this lonely field towards a castle. It was here that the last of the Cathars, a group of knights more weird than the Templars, met their end.
ROBINSON: So, some escaped? Taking with them the knowledge of Christ's true passing on earth?
WOMAN: Well... four of them sneaked out with a bundle.
ROBINSON: Ahhah! The grail! We've found it! Which way did they go?
WOMAN: Ah. Whatever it was, it took four of them to carry it. The grail's very small.
ROBINSON: What if it was well wrapped in lots of newspaper?
WOMAN: I don't think so. Sorry.

He walks away across a lonely field, hands in scruffy pockets...

Friday, February 04, 2005

Wales Today, Tomorrow the World

Hilariously, there was a local news piece on Wales Today about the new series of Doctor Who.

There was much excited fanboy specualtion about what it might contain. They've obviously never watched local news. They were expecting glossy revelations, exciting costumes, new series clips, and Russell T Davies speaking from the new TARDIS set. Instead...

"wobbly sets... long scarves... disused quarries.... laughable monsters...."

... cut to large fan getting Far Too Excited About New Toys (against background of Franklin Mint Who plates)

... cut to Alpha Centauri Clip.

... cut to nervous man from Art Department surrounded by rubber.

... cut to Monoids.

... cut to Russell outdoors, looking cold, "Fabulous! Marvellous! Wales!"

... cut to rubbish looking toys.

... and now the weather.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Hoxton Hoax - Trashbat

I was taken in completely by trashbat. The tube posters of an Smug Hoxtonian holding a Nasty-Shaped Phone and declaring "It's well weapon" have been irritating me for the last week.

I know people like this. I work with people like this. I despise them and their nasty-haired, sneering cool. I was agonised that finally these fools have their own kind of phone. These twats who think DJing involves merging one R&B record slowly with another, who once owned micro-scooters, who snorted fat dot-com redundancy packages... oh, i loathe them and their twatty hair.

I loathe them for their secret collection of Oasis albums. I loathe them for the fact that they secretly know about wine. I loathe them for admiring Kate Moss's heroin twat boyfriend while secretly hoping he doesn't smell too much. I loathe their collection of ironic corduroy. I loathe that they feel they own the Millennium Falcon.

I love the fact that there's now a Channel Four show dedicated to mocking their horrible, stupid, back-hair infested, flicky-highlighted and self-deprecating fisherman's hat-wearing lifestyle.

Wigs! Commuting!

Ann on her journey in: "I sat next to a transsexual. They were reading an Alias novel."

Paperwork exercise

My brilliant sessions with my Management Coach have sadly ended. They've been rather lovely, if a bit off from the point. I wanted a coach to make me stop hating work so much. I adore my job, but loathe my employer. It's the old trade-off. And luckily my coach understood this, and was terribly helpful.

Out of the door went the Sympathetic Listening, the nodding, and the "How does that make you feel?", and in came "Now, I was once working for a complete shit and... well, do you want to know how I got him fired?", and, "Yeah, people often turn nasty when you sack them. Buy security a box of chocs, and they'll get him out before he's done anything to wreck your career."

When The Big Changes here were announced (and oh, we've had many), he was always there with the right kind of word for the situation. "I dunno how you feel fella, but I think we're screwed this time."

Best advice was about paperwork "Either don't bother, or take the piss." He once found a form so irritating, he confiscated all copies of it, including the masters, locked them in a cupboard and threw away the key. He waited for the storm of protest from the department who logged the forms.

Nothing ever happened.

He currently adores 360 Appraisals. He had to write one for a colleague, and praised his "ability to bond with on-air talent." His colleague was shagging a weathergirl.

So, when the inevitable "Post Training Assessment Form" came through, I filled it in as a tribute to him...

1. Since you have been on this 6 month leadership journey, how would you say you are expanding what you do as a leader? What are you doing differently as a leader that you are most pleased with? Please give illustrations as specifically as you can.

I’m afraid he hasn’t been able to solve the problems that I came to him with. He’s made me realise that it’s just a job, though.

But, sadly, in these last six months, most of the reasons why I turned up to work and enjoyed it (no matter how tiresome and stressful) have pretty much gone.

Thanks to the changes here, my team are demotivated, fearful and rather bored. As am I. I don’t feel I can honestly offer them any reassurance, and don’t feel I can deceive them about it. Just as my job has become unrewarding, I can’t promise to make theirs fulflilling or exciting. But at least they still have jobs.

My coach has been brilliant at listening, being sympathetic, and reassuring me that nothing I experience is new.

I’m now better at writing to-do lists.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Business Meating

Well now. There I was, off to a Terribly Important Marketing Meeting. One I'd been dreading for days.

One of the heads of picture publicity would be there. A man who's suddenly so eye-catching that last time I met him I spent the meeting mumbling and giggling. And tossing my hair. Even though it was shaved.

But I'd completely forgotten that he'd be there. Or what he looked like.

On my way past the meeting room, I noticed a devastatingly handsome man, and couldn't help cruising him in a "oh my word! The Face! The Hair! Those Eyes! Those Arms! The packet! Ooh! The flat stomach, ooh the face..." way. It wasn't subtle.

"Oh! Hello!" said the nice man from picture publicity.

I was mortified. Spent the next two hours staring at the faux-wood-grain pattern on the meeting room table.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The kind of day i'm having

I've just moisturised. With hair gel.

Make. It. Stop.