Sunday, July 31, 2005

Plymouth = Crap

For some reason, my parents thought a day trip to Plymouth would be fun. It's rare that my parents and I agree on anything, but within minutes, we'd all decided Plymouth had been a Big Mistake.

Or, as my mum put it, "Even TK Maxx is crap."

Plymouth is one of those towns that is all featureless mall or flyover. The shops are all crowded with screaming children, the old patrol in golf carts, and every young women squeezes her pregnancy through stretch lycra.

The only saving grace was one rough man shopping topless. And even then, he had his girlfriend's name tattooed across his shoulders. In gothic font. And yes, that name was PAULINE.

It was a town that the people wanted to escape from. It's the only place where I've seen a bookshop devoted entirely to Fantasy and SciFi, where fat man smelling of their own sick queued patiently at the counter to see if volume three of the Scriptomagnotherion was in yet.

My Dad has one solution to life's problems. And even that failed. As the rain poured down, he sighed. "They don't even seem to have an Indian restaurant."

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

I Love You CSI


HIM: I love you, honey.

HER: Our lives are perfect.



GRISSOM: Even though I'm bizarre, I'm still very much in charge.

COP: Ah, it's "Gruesome" Grissom.

GRISSOM: Indeed. It's almost as though the writers invented a surname just to go with the nickname. I'm quiet.

COP: (unnerved) I'm vaguely unnerved.

GRISSOM: Do be. I don't actually have a character. Weird is all I have.

BLONDE WOMAN: I'm feisty.

COP: Is that it?

BLONDE WOMAN: Pretty much.

COP: Really?

BLONDE: (THINKS. FLICKS HAIR) Er... I've also got a daughter. I really care about her. This also means that whenever babies die, I'll cry and care too much about the case.

COP: Awww, that's nice.

BLONDE: And, I'm fairly sure my name's Catherine.

JORJA FOX: Damn! You got a name.

BLONDE: And my hair's really flicky. But apart from that we've got the same character.

JORJA: Pretty much. I'm just like you, but younger and not in the pilot. Can't you take the hint?

BLONDE: Nope. The Gays love me more.

THE GAYS: Oh god. We love you. We don't know why, but we love you so much.

WARWICK: Hi. I'm very intelligent, but work on the wild side, and have a gambling problem. But that's okay - they won't fire me as I'm the only black man in Las Vegas.

GRISSOM: I'm now going to talk to Warwick in Street Jive. My mother taught it to me. It's one of the whacky things I do occasionally, daddy-o. Hold my tarantula.

JORJA: Sleep with me Grissom.


JORJA: No reason. Just occasionally, I'll say that to you. And then we'll forget all about it. (SHE SHRUGS, AND STARES AT A SEVERED FINGER)

GRISSOM: Well, I'll just ignore you and play with my singing fish.

JORJA: Hey! Hang on. You get a talking fish, and a mother! Warwick's got street smart and a gambling problem. Blonde woman's got a daughter and even a name... why don't I have a name?

GRISSOM: Well, our mortician's just called Doc. He's happy with that.

JORJA: Yeah, but he's got a coffee machine, a walking stick and plays air guitar.


JORJA: You're kidding me?


JORJA: But no-one will call me that!

GRISSOM: My point exactly.


NICK: I'm called Nick. (HE GRINS) I'm gonna date me a whore!


NICK: I'm cross. When I'm cross, I take off my shirt.

THE GAYS: We love you Nick. Please stay cross.


GREG: (ON THE PHONE, IGNORES THEM) Oh yeah, honey, what are you wearing? I love you, woman of the week who we'll never meet. (LOOKS UP) Sorry guys, I was just on the phone to a Woman. A Heterosexual Woman. I know a lot of them. Intimiately. I lurve women. And will mention this every week. My hair is very carefully arranged.

THE GAYS: We could have you with two gins and a whistle.

GRISSOM: It's time we made an arrest. It's the person standing to the left of the obvious suspect.

BLONDE WOMAN: That's amazing. Why?

GRISSOM: Well, I'll be cryptic for a bit. Then we'll have some CGI of body parts and explain obvious science that we all know already really slowly to each other. Then I'll admit that it's always the person on the left of the screen who did it. Don't know why.


THE GAYS: Can't...stop...watching...

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Rolling News: War of the Worlds

PRESENTER: You join us as we're discussing the hostile invasion of Earth by Martians -

AMANDA CUDDLE: I'm going to have to stop you there, Michael. I should point out that there's still no proof that these visitors are from Mars, nor that their intentions are hostile. As such, your language is a clear example of Marsophobia.

PRESENTER: I'm sorry. But surely, with most of Europe destroyed, it's clear what these aliens are hoping to achieve?

AMANDA: I think, again, you're taking a simplistic view of their agenda and looking outward at a time when we should be looking inward, and even asking ourselves what we've done to cause this.

PRESENTER: Are you saying that it's our fault that millions of people have been wiped out by a Death Ray?

AMANDA: There you go again! We're finding that the term "Heat Ray" is more culturally correct.

PRESENTER: But still - they've covered the planet with a deadly Red Weed.

AMANDA: Oh, come now! The Garden of England has always thrived on diversity. Surely we can welcome the Red Creeper onto our soil?

PRESENTER: Not when it needs to be sprayed with human blood to survive.

AMANDA: Yet again, you're being very simplistic. It's easy to misunderstand intentions when there's a lack of cultural interplay - and easy to tar all Tripods with the actions of a scant few Visitors. We're earnestly engaging in dialogue with the wider alien community and key elements of that community in the hopes of promoting greater understanding.

PRESENTER: And how are those talks going?


PRESENTER: I'm sorry. I didn't catch that.

AMANDA: Well, currently, talks have been one-sided.

PRESENTER: They turned your teams into fertilizer didn't they?

AMANDA: We prefer to see it as dramatically increasing their liquidity in order to achieve a porous interface.

PRESENTER: Well, surely you'll condemn the slaughter of millions by the War Machines?

AMANDA: Firstly, I've got to pull you up on your terms again here. We prefer either Tripod, or Alien Mobility Support unit. As we speak, working parties are improving Tripod Access to key public buildings.

PRESENTER: But their agenda is clearly the end of all human life-

AMANDA: Please. Put yourself in their position before speaking for them, yeah? It's that kind of hate-filled language that's greatly increasing the culture of fear on our streets. Carry on like that, and people won't be able to pass a Tripod while out shopping without thinking "Uh, oh, Death Machine"...


Friday, July 22, 2005


After a fortnight of weird mobile phone behaviour, I rank OneTel, and got straight through to a man in a call centre in India.

My heart sank. How would a man such a long way away understand? How could he hope to explain why, in order to get text messages I have to leave the flat and walk five minutes up the road, hanging around on a street corner waiting for my mobile to ring like a guilty husband?

I was wrong. "Ah, sir, it's easy to explain - we've given top priority on our network to emergency services since those bombs. I see you live at the top of Tavistock Square, next to a police response unit, a fire station, and just by a University College hospital. That will cause your problems."

House Arrest with Servalan

I'm on holiday in my flat and it's wonderful. Oh, I had grand ideas, but have instead swapped them for my life as a pensioner.

The first day I didn't leave the flat as I was re-reading Harry Potter. Yesterday, I made it to the gym - jogged through Tavistock Sq, trying not to cry again. Was distracted by the CD I was listening to (how did it contain the Fast Food Song?), which meant that I jogged past Police Chief Sir Iain Blair grinning. Not good.

He took his revenge that afternoon by ordering all of Central London to stay at home. So I did, gleefully watching Blake's 7 Series Two.

Of all the things I've seen on DVD this year, Blake's 7 has been the most amazing. Not, and please note this carefully, "good" but "amazing".

Series One tried so hard to be great, but failed so amusingly. And by Series Three they'd given up and were just raiding the BBC Wardrobe for fabulous frocks - and that's just the men.

But I'd missed out seeing Series Two. And, oh, what treats. They start off with the best of intentions, trying to kick their naughty little Servalan habit. But, by episode three she's back - trying to sidle quietly into the background of a scene wearing a floor length white gown made out of feather boa. With a hood!

Gareth Thomas is still there as Blake, trying to save Earth in increasingly half-hearted hair-brained ways, recruiting people to the cause who promptly die. By the end of the series, he just gives up and goes back to theatre, leaving the show to Avon and Servalan.

Oh - and Orac. How wonderful is a show with a hungover pederast computer that tries to take over the universe by torturing rubbish telepath Cally?

Cally - you remember her - the one who each week spent so long getting her hair done that she'd turn up to wardrobe after everyone else had got the nice costumes, and have to make do with some old curtains and a safety pin.

As I listened to all the police cars in London wail up and down the road, and heard the radio talk about a "near miss" for London, I suddenly thought - I don't want our terrorists to be complicated men from Leeds with anoraks and shabby backpacks... No - if we must have terrorists can't they be like Blake's 7? I demand that they're woefully overdressed, hungover, and, most of all, completely incompetent.

Ken Livingstone! Awake! What London really needs now is Servalan.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

My, my CSI

Settled down to watch "other people's TV" last night with my flatmate. It's the Quentin Tarantino episodes of CSI. My flatmate is addicted to it, but I'm a little baffled.

She sat there, eating ravioli and giggling as the cast picked through the shredded bits of bomb victim. "Oooh! I've found a thumb!" exclaimed a slightly giddy lady. This seemed to be A Good Thing.

I was just distracted by the fact that their chief lab technician appears to be Charlie from Busted, and the hero was a man with enormous arms who kept grinning innapropriately.

Then I realised - he's so stupid, he finds the size of his arms a constant source of amusement. Even when buried in a box, he kept grinning. He'd be struggling away, panicking, and then all of a sudden... "Why, shucks look at my guns!" he'd think, and away he'd go, chuckling like a Cornishman meeting a cousin.

"You'll love CSI Miama," my flatmate suggested. "It's a spin-off. They solve crimes, but with their shirts off."

What absolute nonsense, I thought. And rushed out to buy the DVD.

Personnel Services

"So, I've finally done it with someone who works in HR," I tell Lee.

"Really, dear?" Lee barely glances up from the instructions on a packet of lo-carb pasta, "Did he give you a lot to fill in?"

"And lots and lots of positive feedback. All of it fairly meaningless but encouraging."

A narrow glare. "You can't mean-"

"Yeah. He actually said 'uh-huh, do go on' during sex."

He texted me afterwards suggesting we meet up for a date. Sad to say, I ran a mile.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Harry Potter (no spoilers beyond page 2)

The Prime Minster has just endured a week of terrorist attacks. He's visited by the head of the community who carried out these attacks, who blames a subsection of that community, headed by a mysterious fanatic who is against everything that responsible members of that community stand for.

Yup. Even Harry Potter is politically relevant.

Saturday was bliss, spent up on Hampstead Heath, catching the sun, reading all about Hogwarts, and occasionally meeting lovely young wizards who showed me their wands.

Friday, July 15, 2005

I hate Firefox

I know it's the best browser on the market, but it's got this smug "Look at me! I'm coded properly! The site you're looking at is not" approach that really appeals to a certain type of user.

Which would be fine if it was actually coded properly - but, like most things designed by Men Who Love Only Pizza And Beard Trimmers, it's surprisingly fussy about things like Flash - as pictures and animation are merely for "those morons who don't use Linux".

Don't get me wrong - the final products are marvellous things, but their rolling development cycle means that Firefox has more unstable releases than a young offender's institute.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Possible Pederasty

Dear, damn, Camden Council.

Outside my window is a nice new open-air football pitch, installed by the Council. I'm completely disinterested - although the sound of happy kids playing football is a lot better than the sounds of bored kids kicking in cars and torching the recycling bins (the council have given up, and they just sit there like half melted toffee, with fresh tin cans occasionally poked through gaping maws).

But anyway, as a gay, one of my deep fears is that, having read the Daily Mail, I'm bound to wake up as a Kiddy Fiddler.

So far, thank god, have been fine. Children aren't sexy. They're not even cute, frankly.

However, had a momentary panic last night when I glanced out of the window and thought "ohmyword". I looked again and sighed. No, I hadn't suddenly turned deviant.... the pitch had been taken over by topless Brazilian men. And, further extensive checking proved that they were real grow-up men.

Oh thank goodness. Not a paedophile. Just a perv.

I explained this to Darian today. "There I was staring at men, leaning out of the window, about to lose either my balance or my morals."

Darian shrugged. "That's my weekend."

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Tears of a Drag Queen

Saturday at a gay bar:

"Oi, you!" yells the drag queen to a short heckler, "Shut Up! What do they call you - Shorty?"

"No, Stumpy, actually," said the heckler.

"I can guess why!" roared the drag queen.

"No, you can't," said the man, taking his arm out of his pocket. He was missing a hand.

=== later in the same set ===

"And you, gorgeous!" she booms to a young man in the crowd, "What a great smile you've got - I bet you've got beautiful teeth."

He smiles widely - revealing that he, in fact, has no teeth.

=== Later still... ===

"Oi! You! Pay attention to me!" she yelled to someone sat down. "What's the matter - are you deaf?"

He turned slightly, so that she could see his hearing aid.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Dear The Media

Please stop sending your News Choppers up into the air at dawn to hover over Tavistock Square in the hopes of filming something Really Repellant.

We know the news never sleeps, but we have to.

Mystery meat

So, I'm eating my corned beef snack.

Slice one: Yummy.
Slice two: Scrummy
Slice three: Squidgy. Slimy. And just a little hairy.

Suddenly, I don't feel so... So... oh... excuse me...

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Blitz spirit.

So, the Somerstown Festival Of Cultures took place this weekend after all, just yards from the police barriers, bomb debris, and the giant "Trust us, you really don't want to see what's behind this" screen the police had erected around Tavistock Square.

As sublimely wonderful as ever, this year's highlight was seeing ladies in burkhas politely clapping a display of riverdancing.

The world's media were there - maybe drawn in by the sheer wonder of it all, perhaps by the cheap indian food, or the catholic stall outside the Dar-Al-Hikma bookshop (sadly not jam this year, but a tombola - top prize: some lucozade)... But I suspect the gentlemen of the press were actually drawn in by the helter skelter, offering the children of the street an unrivalled peek over the screens into the bomb site.

Friday, July 08, 2005

The saving grace of Muslim women

Went home in a foul, scared, and shamefully racist mood.

Years of Islamophilia went down the drain - all those hours spent learning Turkish, travelling to weird, hot places, eating the food (and then shitting it out half an hour later), not buying carpets, being tailed by fat secret policemen, and, even, yes, the three baffling times I've tried to read the Koran. Frankly, didn't care any more.

Bless 5Live, though. Bless 'em. Today, they ventured back into the radio phone-in, with the slight sigh of resignation that comes from people who knew that they'd done something really special yesterday, and were hoping that the magic dust would hang around a bit.

And it did, slightly. There was a man who'd seen the bus explode. And then there was Abdul from Wembley. He didn't help, to be frank. An angry young Muslim, his valid point about inter-community trust was lost under a "well what did you expect?" tone that made me grip my bicycle handlebars grimly as a pedalled past the flapping cordon around Edgeware Road.

But then, bless 'em, the Ladies of Islam phone in. First lovely Rashida who, having squashed Abdul like a cross mother, explained that harming innocents is just not what the Prophet would have wanted ("Not even trees," she emphasised, sternly).

And then a lovely lady rang in. "Ooh," she said, "I wear a hajib, and I didn't even dare nip out to buy bread, I felt so ashamed, you know. We're a peaceful people, but you just know that when stuff like this happens, people are looking at you."

Maybe it was the broad Birmingham accent, or the common sense, or the woman's obvious niceness, but I relaxed and felt 27 per cent less of an arsehole.

Of course, this Saturday, our street at the end of Tavistock Square has its annual festival of cultures, the rare time when the Catholic nuns set up their jam store outside the Islamic Bookshop. I wonder how that'll be...

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Inspector Fenner

"Will Inspector Fenner please report to the office" they said over the intercom at Euston.

"Oh," said my flatmate who knows all things. "That's a call sign, you know."

The sirens went off, and they swept us out of the station.

And then there was a very gentle boom.

We all screamed a little, like people on a slow rollercoaster, and then relaxed and smiled. Some of us giggled with relief. Whatever that was, it wasn't us.

Only when biking in, listening to Radio 5's brilliant coverage, did I realise I'd heard the bus bomb go off in Tavistock Square.

Tavistock Square is actually dedicated to peace. It's got a lovely garden with statues of peacemakers and pacifists.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


Oh what a waste of money. The only consolation will be the footage of Chirac looking agonised.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Gay Shame

First time I'd been to this - a celebration of how spledidly horrid it is being gay - a collection of grubby camp and disco misfits, it was a place to have fun, but not to pull.

Around me were mock funerals with undertakers wearing strap-ons, thimbles of sherry, modern art "happenings" and, the biggest Gay Shame of all, a diet coke with a twist of vodka was £4.50.

So, I drank beer for the first time in years. I'd forgotten what beer does to you, and how beer drunk isn't the same as vodka drunk. I bumped into someone who also hadn't drunk beer for a while. We stood, reeling, and glaring vaguely. "I'm about half an hour from wanting a fight," he said. Someone trod on my foot and I agreed with him.

At some point in the evening I had a rare moment of tact. I ducked into the loos to avoid a journalist who once offered me a blow job in return for a good review. Darian was puzzled, and I explained. I very nearly included the man's name, but for some reason didn't. Turned out to be a good thing, as his boyfriend was standing next to me at the urinal.

I walked home from the Elephant and Castle. It helped.

Friday, July 01, 2005

No Comment

The Register: BBC Culls Cult

Spam of the day

Tanya emails to tell me: "You have feelings of guilt and embarrassment"