Friday, July 31, 2009


So, I go and see Dashing Hypnotist. And he certainly ticks all the boxes, and the actual hypnosis is extraordinary.

The results are both mixed and remarkable. To start with, I'm not trying to give up smoking entirely - for the moment just stop pottering around the flat late at night, chainsmoking with a glass of vodka on the go. It seems pointless when I could just be reading a book.

Instead I'll find myself in the flat at 11, absolutely tired. Sober and with no urge to smoke. Just tired. So tired I just have to sleep. And I'll crawl into bed, and then... lie there. So utterly absolutely lifelessly tired, but not asleep.

And I'll remain there, almost helpless with tired until 1am. I think this is my body adjusting to trying to sleep without the whee! of nicotine and booze.

And then at 1am I'll get up, stagger to a sofa, and pour myself a drink and find the cigarettes. And I'll start reading a book - and i'll know that if I can just have a drink and a cigarette I'll feel sleepy... only, i keep failing to reach for the drink, or i'll light a cigarette and look down and find that i've let it burn out in the ash tray.

This I find both curious and impressive.

The Really Weird Thing is that I am suddenly remembering Bitter Arguments from the 90s, the guy who cheated on me with someone called Nigel who wore Yellow Jeans (!), Dreadful Rows at Work from the early 2000s, and dinner a couple of months back where I made polite small talk rather than saying "Go away, I no longer work for you, you vicious fool."

This I find even more curious.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A new blog about Murder!

The Agatha Christie Reader
My friend Kate and I are reading all the Agatha Christie mysteries, at the rate of one a week. It's an excuse for Kate to re-read them, and for me to actually read the things rather than just watch them on Sunday nights. We're starting off with "The Mysterious Affair At Styles". Do join in.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

How the scam works

I am out for drinks with one of the Steves. A guy sits down at our table.
"You want to buy?" he asks.
Steve looks at him, surprised. "I don't want any DVDs," he explains.
The guy places a plastic bag on the table (a Woolworths bag!) and starts to unwrap another bag inside it.
"It's a t-shirt," he explains, "Good t-shirt." He rifles around some more.
"No thank you," I say, and look away. He's boring me and my Inner Daily Mail reader has taken over. Just look away, Jeremy, look away, and maybe the ghastly man will disappear.
"Please," the man urges, reaching further down into the endless plastic bags, "I'm starving."
"No," says Steve politely.
The man stands up and shakes his head sadly. Then he leaves the bar.

"That was odd," said Steve. "He said he was starving, but he's got a really nice bike."
"Yeah," I agreed, "And he didn't even work the rest of the bar. Just sat down here. And what was with all those plastic bags? Especially ones from Woollies?"
"Some people," we agree.

An hour later we realise the guy has stolen Steve's wallet and mobile from the top of the table.

We are not talking about

The giant Lego house. It makes me feel giddy just thinking about it.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

This week Pavel say

Pavel, Newham on July 22nd, 2009
I am love for Sam, he have body long with breasts who look like eyes of Homer Simpson! I will have no men but him to kiss now, Sam you want Lithuania hot boy??

Will add link when I've got the tiniest bit more time. Honestly, school on a Saturday.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

All hail the hypno-toad

Right. Fine. I am toying with giving up smoking. And, I figured, why not try hypnosis? And then I started looking at the websites for London hypnotherapists and got freaked.

1) They all have this weird expression:

I can't tell you what it is, exactly. But it's the expression that goes with the phrase: "You remarked earlier on the unusual almond seasoning in the soup..."

2) Awful websites
Sunsets, water droplets, clip art of hands clasping a planet... Even, mercy me, the blink tag. Oh, it's like the mid 90s.

3) Therapy speak
"Well done for arriving here!" or "Congratulations. You've already made a significant step in finding this page", or "I am a cognitive hypnotherapist and the approach that I use is interactive" etc.

4) Scare tactics

This link: "How much does it cost?". Sheesh. No.

5) Too much detail at the wrong moment

"Would you please note that my appointments manager, Ian, works flexible hours Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you call and he is not here just leave your name and number on our answering machine and Ian will call you back"

6) Odd ideas

"In 2002 I was the first hypnotherapist in the world to enable clients to make their own subliminal message recording. I withdrew this facility in 2006 as it was taking up too much of the session time. I have now revamped and relaunched this innovative idea, and it is even better than before." What? This is based on the sure fire knowledge that everyone loves the sound of their own voice.

So, in the end, I've decided to take the shallowest possible approach based on the following tried-and-tested dating criteria:
1) Are they fit?
2) Do they live near by?
3) No telltale signs of a serial killer?

On this basis, after an exhaustive search, it looks as though I'm going to be hypnotised by Will Young:

And, via the magic of gmail ads:

I bring you Baconnaise!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

All's right with the world

Pavel's back:
"Pavel, Newham on July 15th, 2009
Andy, you jealos of he love for me. Jonny is pure and beauty have. You see his eye have love for Lithuania boy!"

Friday, July 17, 2009

Next Book Alert!

I have a new book out in October! Here's the cover! Curiously, although it's being printed in the UK, you can currently only order it from Canadian Amazon, where it is ranked #35,865 in fiction sales. I'm guessing that means aboot 3 copies.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tonight you're not mine

"Hello!" I say to the man at the bar. He turns and looks at me, and then he smiles.
"Two things you should know," he says, "My name's Joshua and I'm a complete slut."

He is also Irish and has "piercing blue eyes". I am, of course, both confused and grateful that I keep meeting men who proudly advertise their frequent flyer status.

Of course, it all goes horribly wrong. Why wouldn't it? It's my line of work. Oh, I'm evasive, but it doesn't help. His piercing blue eyes widen. "What kind of spin-off tat?" he asks, "Cos I'm fairly sure I've seen you on-"

oh no.

"Oh my god! I am the biggest Doctor Who fan in the world!"

oh please no.

"I'm desperate to write for the show. Who can I talk to? You must know."

no, really I don't work there any more. Sadly, there's always been a plan in my head for how this is supposed to happen. I finally meet a sane Doctor Who fan and we spend our days happily making sweet love while rearranging our DVD collections to neither's satisfaction. Only this isn't how it's working out...

"I have a boyfriend."


"And I drive him mental with Doctor Who."

course you do.

"He never lets me talk about it."

why would he?

"And, you know, much as I'd like to sleep with you, I think I'd prefer to have you as a friend. Wow. This is so exciting."


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The curious student

Oddly, I forgot to write about Drogaz. He emerged a couple of months ago from the Orange Facebook and insisted we meet. There's something engaging about this as a notion. 22-year old Fashion Student with Eastern European Eyes and Effort Hair? What's not to love?

So we meet for tea in Marble Arch. And he approaches, and there's so much swish in his stride his hips are on ball-bearings.

"I am Drogaz," he intones, plucking off one pair of sunglasses and replacing them with another. He rearranges his hair and smiles. "We drink."

We walk to Starbucks and I think, "This is odd."

He asks me what I do for a living, nods, and then smirks. I ask him, and he pulls three phones out of his pocket. "Guess," he says.

"Oh," I say.

He nods. "Yes. I work three hours a night, party loads, and get given amazing clothes. I shock you, yes?"

Not really. It's just a bit...

"Don't worry," he pats me on the forearm, "I buy you coffee."

And we sit outside and he chainsmokes and laughs. And then one of his phones goes off. "Is friend Julian," he sighs, lifting his sunglasses so that I can see him rolling his eyes. "He is very dull but he is safe. If I do not like you I tell him and then he tells me I must feed my cat."

"You have a cat?" I say, "Well, I have one too and she-"

He waves away some smoke. "I am not interested in your cat. I am interested in you."


Julian arrives. He is very odd. He's from Hong Kong, is also, uh, a well-funded student, but behaves strangely like a geisha. I realise that sounds weird, but he sits there, giggling quietly from behind a FAN, and occasionally whispers something to Drogaz, glances in my direction, and then whispers again.

This is the point, I think, when I should just go. But Drogaz stills me with a glance. "You stay," he says. "Julian and I have private talk."

They go and stand round the corner. Chainsmoking while Julian giggles. He is somehow managing to smoke while fluttering his fan, creating an effect like a bellows.

They shuffle back.

And I look at Drogaz and he looks at me and I think "this really is One Of Those Dates."

"We have been talking about you," murmurs Drogaz, "We say good things."


"Which is unusual, as we are such bitches." (Julian titters at this), "But no. You we like. But some - oh! - some! I have four friends, we are like mad crazy bitches.
You would not think, but we are unlucky in love. Julian is Samantha and I am Carrie. You know Sex and the City? Is the story of our lives! Is our favourite show! "

"I must use the bathroom," says Julian and goes inside.

Drogaz leans forward. "Of course is not. Is shit show. I would rather be watching Stargate: Atlantis, but do not tell him that. He is viper."

"Umm," I say, suddenly rather liking him. "Is Julian going?"

"Soon soon," says Drogaz. "Why? You hate him? He is very dull. If you wish, I tell him."

"No! No!" I protest, "It's just, this isn't what I thought..."

"I am not a slut!" A shrug, "Not in daytime. No. We meet. We have coffee. We have walk in park. Maybe we kiss. Is nice."

Is nice. Julian comes back from the bathroom. We get up to go round the park. Julian follows. So, we walk round the park. And I'm thinking I'd rather not be, and yet at the same time, finding it all enjoyably silly.

How does it end? Ah. We get talking about Romania, the beloved country where Drogaz comes from. I ask him why he came over here. And how long he's been here, and things like that. And also, you know, why a 22-year old would be...

"Haha!" he laughs, "Of course I am not 22! I say that to stop the foolish bitches! No! I am 17! Well, soon."

And that's when I announce it's time I went home and fed the cat.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Breaking the internet III

An oddly anonymous message arrives with my name as the subject heading.
"Seriously - don't give up smoking. Looking good the other day." Attached to it is, curiously, a picture of a nipple. It is not my nipple.

And I think "Well, either those Nigerian Bankers have changed tactics or that's kind of creepy stalky" but also "A stalker who pays compliments. Could be worse."

Monday, July 13, 2009

Breaking the internet II

"@stephenfry Ianto(from torchwood) is dead... comfort me stephen! COMFORT ME!"
auroraginga neatly puts the case for not bothering with Twitter.

Meanwhile, don't forget to slash BBC Wales's catering bill by sending them free coffee. The same site also offered you the chance to, ah, email someone who wasn't Russell T Davies or fax a Cardiff taxi firm. w00t.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Breaking the internet

DigitalSpy's GaySpy section has introduced fit reader of the week. I urge you to go to there. Not, naturally, for the topless picture of Danny from St Andrew's university. No. But for the comments, such as:

Pavel, Newham on July 7th, 2009
I am so love for this man, he chest has hair for kiss. He like my brother Piotr of Mockba. Perhaps he underpants can send me. I not live far!

Blessings upon you, Digital Spy.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Crude analogy

Reader Erskine-Davidson points out that my radio play made it into Pick of the Week. I am insanely excited by this.

I play the opening of the show to Lee. He looks at me. "Given how much you love Radio 4, this is your nirvana, yes?"

I nod. "It's like you starring in porn."
Lee smiles. "With Adam Baldwin."

Monday, July 06, 2009

Drinks went well

"Another one?" I ask Grinning Polish Man.
"We could," He shrugs and looks around the bar. "But I am... how you say?... slutty."

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Radio! Torchwood!

You can listen to my Indian Torchwood play here

There's a lovely picture, and, to celebrate, the Delhi High Court have decriminalised gaying, which is probably a bit more important.

Meanwhile, I got to hear my name in between The Archers music and the Torchwood theme. That was bang.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Caught on tape

It's 30 years of the Walkman. To celebrate, BBC News got a 13 year-old to swap his ipod for a walkman:
"It took me three days to figure out that there was another side to the tape... Another notable feature that the iPod has and the Walkman doesn't is shuffle".

Coincidentally, this weekend I was suckered in by Maplin's £40 gadget for turning your tapes into mp3s. And am I having fun?

Oddly enough, nearly. I am rediscovering my love of The Older Woman (a comedy series starring Martin Clunes and Zoe Wanamaker which is as utterly brilliant as it is totally forgotten). I am quietly stunned that I own a Def Leppard album, but with hindsight not so surprised that I own Roxette.

But I'm also a bit baffled. The Maplin walkman-to-MP3 is actually rather fiddly. I've a suspicion that they've taken a few thousand old we'll-never-sell-these dictaphones and added a USB soundcard. For a start, the dictaphone is mono. And comes with some horrible software. What's needed is a clever thing that lets you play the tape and spits out an MP3 at the end. Not a complicated jumble of wires and things that requires endless fiddling to produce a sound file that i'm still not sure i've cleaned up. At the most, the software should have 1 button. Not more waveforms than a surfing beach and a manual about how to ride the equaliser - I just want to listen to the Duchess of Malfi without the hiss. And no, don't even get me started on trying to do it in Audacity.

I guess it's the tape's fault. They sounded fine back then, but now they're horrible. Especially stuff recorded off the radio which is like listening to distant music in a rainstorm.

And tapes are so random. Where is episode 5 of The Older Woman? Guttingly replaced by half an hour of 24 year-old me pottering around a room clearly not seizing the day but obliviously wiping comedy gold while doing the ironing you dull fuckwit.

I have even found an "audio diary" I kept while backpacking. Cos everyone likes listening to the sound of their own voice. Especially when it's squeaking "I can't stop throwing up and Ollie really hates me, I wish I was back home".