Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Having a PA

Got phoned by someone's secretary. Here's how the conversation went....

PA: Hello.

ME: Hello.

PA: I'm [Someone Important]'s PA. You're meeting him today.

ME: Yes?

PA: He called me just now from the train to ask if I could call you.

ME: Okay.

PA: I was wondering, would you like me to call him and ask him to call you, or would you like to call him?

I am not hungover

I merely require more bacon.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Rolling Stones

Never thought I'd ever see them in concert. But I did, and they were *almost* as enjoyable as Girls Aloud.

Partly, it's just the fact that they're there. Standing on a stage, less than a quarter of a mile away from you. It's just amazing.

Ignoring the amazing songs, and the stunning stage show (floating stage! fireworks! streamers!), there was just so much to take in, especially during the bits where they "played a new song".

Mick Jagger - amazing dancer, appalling dresser.

Keith Richards - chain-smoking legend, with an appearance rather like a mummified vegetable discovered down the back of the freezer.

They're all so thin! Is there a Rolling Stones Diet book? Is it from the same publishers as the Kate Moss Diet?

Hi-Definition Big Screen Wow. Not only could you see all of the words on placards, you could also see every single crow's foot.

It was just amazing.

Battlestar Galactica

(six episodes in, no spoilers)

Dear Battlestar Galactica

Goodness! You've certainly cornered the market in grim and gritty. But would a joke kill you? Go on - crack a smile! Cheer up - it might never happen! I mean, really, 24 is funnier than you. Doesn't that worry you?

If you carry on at this pace, you'll crack and do something really inadvisable. Like a musical episode.

PS: Dear Jamie Bamber, I appear to have dropped my pen. Would you mind picking it up for me?

How I broke the internet

I just googled "google".


I'm going off rattling between London and Cardiff on the train every week. Thankfully, there's a train strike at the moment, so I can't.

It should, truthfully, be fine - after all, I normally spend my evenings watching DVDs and eating crisps, so why moan about having to do it on a train?

It comes down to four things....

1) - we have to use them, but they're hateful. Their machines barely work, and their customer service helpline only operates 9-5... and yet, when it is open, calls are taken by shrill women in India with the volume turned to 11, so it's like having a row with the speaking clock.

2) Other people. Pissed businessmen sneaking cigarettes in the corridors. Fat straight couples going for all the bases. Japanese Tourist girl who giggled through all 400 of her digital camera pictures, with the bleep-bleep-bleep still turned on....

3) ....And children. Bloody, bloody children. Why do people assume all gayers are paedophiles? I HATE children. Girls with their princess skirts and recorders, boys who SCREAM when they've dropped their crayons, the Aled fucking Jones prodigy who sang Old Macdonald all the way from Newport to Reading.

Children are so annoying that they have their own carriage. And do the shoot-me-i'm-so-tired parents take them there? No, they take their squealing spittle merchants into the Quiet Carriage. Yes, the Quiet Carriage - where slippers are compulsory.

The apocalypse will come when 3 year olds start using mobile phones on trains. Then the world will end. Out of shame.

4) Swindon. Is there, oh is there, a tedium quite like sitting outside Swindon for no apparent reason for 40 minutes?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Spam of the week

I have been invited to a "Product Development Metrics Summit" by a "John R. [Dick] Power".

It's the fact that he points it out in his sig. Like he introduces himself to people as "Hi, I'm Dick Power."

Monday, August 21, 2006

Babies and single women

My beautiful friends had a Christening yesterday. The wonderful Gemma and her husband Serge, the French kickboxing count, formally saved the soul of young Anna Petra Pennings.

It was interesting. I remember these from when I was a kid, running around in plastic black shoes and touching the font (would it, oh would it open up into Narnia?). I'd forgotten how loud they were though - Petra was eerily silent in her vast cake of a gown, but the other babies squealed all the way through.

The exception was Kate's Amelia. Kate's always had A Very Hard Stare that's worked wonders on a succession of boyfriends. Amelia tried out a tentative wail and Kate just glanced at her. Amelia closed her mouth and went to sleep.

But what to get as a present? A tankard? In the end, I went to a bookshop and grabbed all the books that meant the most to me when I was a kid. Wasted on Petra, who is a mere few months, but I figured Gemma and Serge would find them funny when they'd finally got rid of their dull Dutch cousins ("oh! London is craaaaa-zy, yes? Wild, huh?").

So Gemma and Serge got:
  • Alice in Wonderland - dull but obvious
  • Miffy - she always seemed so sad. And now kids get a version they can stroke.
  • Flat Stanley - still as weird as ever
  • Richard Scarry - although the Rainy Day Activity Book is long out of print. Boo.
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar - the first book I ever read. My appetite has been regulated ever since by the belief that if I eat enough, I'll become pretty.
  • Eloise - actually never read these, but saw an article about them in Vanity Fair and decided they're just the kind of books I should have read.
  • Mr Happy - is happy. Therefore good.

I left out Mog the Cat (dated - Mog foils a robber stealing cutlery), and a Moomin story book (yikes! how creepy were they?). Also figured Tintin/Asterix are barred until Gemma and Serge decide which language Petra will enjoy them in.

Most of the fun came at the lunch party afterwards. Especially the pack of slightly deranged single women, surrounded by tired young mums and fat young dads.

Appallingly aware of our singleness, we all started to drink very quickly, and laugh loudly and brittly. "You're gay," they bayed, "Surely you're having a lot of sex!"

"No, not really," I explained. "There's this nice man, and we go out for drinks and hold hands."

"Awwww," they all said.

"Now, there's my friend who's just come out of a relationship. He's very attractive, he's a single gay man, he doesn't feel like another boyfriend, so he's working his way through gay London at warp speed."

"Oh, how sad," they all said.

"What? He's having the time of his life."

"No, no, no, not really," they all said. "He's doing it to hide the pain."

"Then he's hiding it very thoroughly. And in a lot of different places. Five last Sunday."

"That's so tragic!" they sighed.

"But he's just come out of a relationship. He's cheering himself up, proving that he's sexy and desirable, and making a lot of rough men happy. What's wrong with that?"

One broke away from the chorus - "It's... it's.... it's just wrong."

"Basically because he's having a lot of sex?"


"A lot of sex and no emotional involvement?"

"There's no such thing as meaningless sex! How can you say that!" they all roared.

"I didn't say it was meaningless. Casual sex makes him happy and it makes me happy - on a dull Sunday afternoon there's really nothing like a blow job behind an oak tree for cheering you up. It's fun... and if you learn their names and how long they've been over here from Brazil, then it's pleasant and polite, but that's it."

They just stared at me. One of them shook her head.

I suddenly realised - I really don't understand women.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Your home-selling horrors answered!

Are you a scary home-selling dragon? Do you terrorise the menstrual mothers of the neighbourhood with tupperware targets and crystal campaigns?

But hey - aren't there just sometimes not enough hours in the day? Especially when, girls, it comes to emailing out a newsletter full of bible quotes and fuckin scary salespeak.

Then rush to UNIT News. They'll write your emails for you, leaving you plenty of time to push your children around on tricycles.

Why not read a sample newsletter. And remember - don't just let anybody dump into your mental factory

Random Link

Every now and then I click the "Queer Diaries" link on the left. Often it goes to a broken page, or the latest entry reads - "January 13, 2005 - I'm know now that Roo really cuts through all my shit, so I'm just gonna follow him to LA. I'm following my dreams. Will post again next week to tell you they went. Wish me luck!!!"

So, I click it this morning, and get a food diary. Sample entry:

    Brunch today was scrambled tofu plus a piece of toast with Earth Balance.

    Midafternoon I had an apple and some raw cashews...

    Peach Berry Smoothie. Whizzzed it up in the blender. It's okay but I think I used too much flaxseed.

Oh my god. Why?

PS: Suddenly I feel fat.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Which train are you?

James "likes to think of himself as A Really Splendid Engine. This can occasionally lead to high-falutin' ideas about the work suitable for such a noble creature. Invariably they land James in trouble."

What engine are you?

Hand cream and matches

Sometimes the line between tragedy and comedy is very thin.

Woman has panic attack on plane, they search her handbag, the world media goes mad.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Glorious weekend spent going through my old Lego. I'd just meant to see if I had all the bits for the castle, but ended up building Lego Town all over again.

Blissfully therapeutic. Scary Lego things I'd forgotten:
  • Lego Shell Station Is there now a Lego recycling plant?
  • Too many nurses Lego nurses are a bit creepy. More so when you realise you've got five identical clone nurses, all with evil grins.
  • Lego Sex Change Simply swap the perm for a hat. Creepy.
  • Legoland is now gay All the new Lego is about men. With rakish grins and stubble. Compare 1980s Fire Chief with 2005's:

  • Old lego plans are now online Whoosh!


In London, I work over a wine bar. I've always ignored it - there's something about "wine bar" that says 1980s, tossers, sneering, tossers, Nelson Gabriel. Tosser.

It's partly cos I don't like getting drunk on wine. It's like fingernails scratching down the blackboard of my soul. Plus I say stupid things.

But, on an impulse, I went for a drink there after work. And yes - even with three people in there, the wine bar stank of sneering. And yes - three drinks were £12.

But, I realised... they don't just do wine. There are spirits. And cigarettes and... then it hit me.

I work over a pub.

Suddenly, being back from holiday isn't that bad.

Unplanned Pub Crawl

Saturday REALLY was going to be a quiet night in. Then a quiet drink out. Then a quiet drink in Vauxhall. Which was running late. So I went to Duckie and had a brilliant time.... And then finally went for that quiet drink.

It was great catching up with an old friend, but Barcode Vauxhall was HEAVING. If I did drugs, it'd be okay. No, it'd be fun. Instead, my vodka blanket just sighed and said "I'll be outside."

So, I stood there till half two, doing finger puppet dancing in a tiny pocket of space, surrounded by people grinning their heads off. And I think I had a good time, but... it was just this vast sea of slightly steaming muscle.

The night bus home stank. Really stank like a sweat orgy. After a quick game of "where's the tramp?" I realised it was me. Euw.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Quote of the Fringe

"All ferrets can do it, and it fools all ferrets"

Ken Campbell on ventriloquism.

Back from Edinburgh

First holiday in a year. Amazing. Things to know

  • Dylan Moran was a long way away, very funny, and really needs to work out what he thinks of gays.
  • I spent more money than I knew I had.
  • Student theatre is exactly how you remember it.
  • Had supper next to the Goodies.
  • Stayed in a gay sauna. Again.
  • Didn't have sex.
  • Edinburgh is FULL of boy totty. All that nervous energy.
  • Listened to two Celeb Big Brothers talking about a third: "Very keen on recycling. We drank champagne on the last night and he said 'Promise me, if I go out, you'll do one thing for me - put the bottle in the right bin.'
  • AL Kennedy was amazing.
  • Saw a play about a bench on top of a hotel. So bad I couldn't sleep through it.
  • This week's midlife crisis: Why am I not a 30 year old, 6 foot tall, blonde fit comedian from the North? Why? Why? Why?
  • I keep dreaming that John Reid is going out with Paula Radcliffe. Whenever she's out running and has to pee, policemen form a ring round her for privacy.

Friday, August 04, 2006


Just got a text. From a man. I cannot remember him at all. But it sounds as though we've had sex. Or worked together on a really difficult project.

How do I reply?

The Unluckiest Man in Forest Gate

Poor Mohammed Abdul Kahar. What are the chances of...
  • Being mistaken for a terrorist?
  • Being accidentally shot in the shoulder by a trained firearms officer who was actually using his gun as a, um, torch at the time?
  • Being arrested as a child pornographer?
  • On the very same day that the report into your shooting comes out?

I mean, goodness me. That's quite a run of bad luck. I suspect by the weekend we'll also discover that he ordered the death of Princess Diana, and broke Wayne Rooney's foot.

Meanwhile, over to the IPCC report, and poor old officer B6:

B6 was the first officer to climb the steep, narrow and dark stairs. He states that as he climbed the stairs was was shouting "armed police". As he was wearing a respirator any words spoken would have been muffled. As it was dark, B6 was using the torch fitted to his MP5 Carbine. B6 says he was carrying the weapon "raised to an off aim position in front of me"....

B6 states that he heard a "pop" but did not register that it was a shot (he was wearing ear defenders, a helmet and a hooded suit)... We note that the safety catch was off... and the officer was wearing two pairs of gloves.

Cruise Control

What a week it's been for bush botherers. George Michael appears to have made cruising cool.

I knew it was in trouble when the straights started doing it. Will it go the way of disco and crystal meth?

It was even on Any Questions, and the panel said "well, not my cup of tea, but my sharply-haired friend Jasper can do what he wants..."

What with ASDA and M&S in trouble for their increasingly provocatively sloganed kiddie clothing, how long is it before we see kids wearing t-shirts that say "Cruisy slut" and "Cottage grrrl"?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Pirates of the Carribean

Goodness me, but that film went on for EVER didn't it?

Leaving email

This is quite the best "I'm off then!" work email I've received for ages. And it's from a publicist:

I wanted to let you all know that I have taken the very, very difficult decision to leave this wonderful world (and it truly is a wonderful world).

The reason for my departure isn't that they never changed the colour of my office from this appalling yellow - but a more happy one named David who lives down in Cornwall. He's a wine merchant - I'm no fool.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A mountain problem with the gays

So, you're an author, and you've come up with a book that will do for werewolves what Buffy did for vampires.

The marketing department are all behind you. But someone in sales doesn't agree. "Look," they say, "The title - it's very good, but it's also quite a naughty gay term."

The author doesn't believe it. Marketing go away and check. Yes, the title is gay slang, but they think it's quite obscure, and, anyway, it's not going to put off young teens or their parents.

Then a gay film comes out that popularises the phrase, but still the author sits tight. After all, the phrase isn't actually used in the film, only by people trying to be funny. And anyway, that's not going to put young teens off reading this gripping werewolf thriller. And, luckily the book has a lovely cover that's going to stop people thinking of gay shagging.

So, the book comes out. The title? Bareback.