Friday, October 29, 2010

Caprica Cancelled

So, Caprica is cancelled. The quasi-mystical-virtual-reality-worrying-and-beards follow-up to Galactica is being replaced with something a bit more gutsy. Caprica was only really liked by people who spent their evenings ironing Team Jacob pillowcases while genuinely meaning to get beyond Chapter 1 of their copy Nietszche for Dummies. Blood and Chrome sounds a bit more.. you know... blood and chrome-y.

According to EW, Blood and Chrome was commissioned at a meeting at Comic-Con between an exec from SyFy and Caprica guru David Eick (no relation to the lizard guy). The conversation may have gone a bit like this:

EICK: "So, anyway, things are going great on Caprica..."

EXEC: "Uh-huh."

EICK: "Yeah, we've got a whole spiritual arc plotted out, a real journey of the mind..."

EXEC: "Right."

EICK: "Honestly, we are staring into the Frakking Abyss."

EXEC: "Sure you are."

EICK: "Mind you, the writing room has this idea for a show all about exploding spaceships and Cylons."

EXEC: "uh-hu... What?"

EICK: "Oh yeah, crazy isn't it? It's all zoom! zoom! pew! pew! pew! robots go smashy-smashy! kablooey! and I keep saying to them, guys, if you can really nail the true nature of the virutal soul by year three, then maybe, just maybe we'll do it as a web series."

There is a pause.

EICK: "Seriously, Caprica is a metaphysical allegory! It's Obama!"

EXEC: (mournful, quiet) "pew... pew... pew..."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Filling in

Last week's filling fell out. It was put in by dashingly handsome euro dentist. I go back and am seen by a different dentist - he isn't dashing. He's not handsome. But he has a great sense of humour, is painless, and an amazing dentist.

There is a life lesson here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Kings Cross Death Camp

In this world there are tough sells. Telling people that their new home is built on an Indian Burial Ground is one. Building a viral research centre in the middle of Kings Cross is another.

For some mad reason it's proposed to erect a viral monolith next to our estate. In between Somerstown and the sunlight will be 13 stories packed full of the deadiest germs known to man. Right next to the Eurostar. We've seen 28 Days Later. We've seen Survivors. What could possibly go wrong?

The people of Somerstown are normally fairly laid-back, but we're managing to protest the nightmare fairly well. We had a hilarious community meeting about it the other week. One woman pointed out it'd attract terrorists like flies to shit. Someone else pointed out that UKCMRI, the people behind it, already have quite a nice research establishment in a non-residential area. 

Brilliantly, UKCMRI had sent along someone to talk to us. Clearly, tough crowd, but he was marvellous. He turrned up late, saying he'd had a problem organising childcare. "Would you be happy if someone built this next door to your children?" someone asked. The man went pale. "Um, yes," he quavered.

Someone else asked, "How many of the seven chimneys will be used for burning animal corpses?", to which the guy responsed, "Um, well, not all of them, obviously." There was a ghastly silence. "I mean, most of the animal corpses will be driven away in special lorries...".  A hand shoots up, "So you're saying that there'll be lorries going up and down our road full of dead animals carrying plagues? The roads our kids play on?" The crowd tuts.

The man looks like he'd like to go home now. Instead he tries to explain the animal experiments. "You see, we use a lot of ferrets, especially when we're looking at the common cold. What's great about ferrets is that they get the sniffles." The crowd make a noise. It's the noise of people suddenly deciding that ferrets are the cutest things ever, and then imagining heaps of cute ferret corpses being burned. It's an odd noise. Children wail. Mothers clutch babies protectively.

It actually gets worse. The man haplessly tries to explain that many of the diseases they're trying to cure are "you know, things that people in this area, deprived areas, suffer from..." This goes down like a cup of cold sick. "Are you saying people like us deserve to have this next to us?" an irate woman demands.

It may be Nimbyism, but there's a point to it. No-one would dream of building the UK's largest virology  centre in Knightsbridge. As it is, slapping it on a bit of empty ground near the ignorant poor seems a safer bet. Only, it turns out, we're not actually the ignorant poor. I realise the people who are going to turn up to a public meeting aren't necessarily a representative sample, but they seemed sensible, informed, and above all scared. And, frankly, if someone told you they were planning on building the biological equivalent of an Indian Burial Ground next door, so would you be.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hate +1

Yesterday I left the flat to discover the RMT had organised an anti-cuts rally under the surprising slogan "We're all in this together". I'll remember that next time there's a tube strike cos your drivers are demanding free unicorns, Bob.

It is a hazard living on the same street as the RMT. Periodically you'll find the road blocked with TV vans, or, as yesterday, socialist workers with duffle coats pouncing on Saturday shoppers nipping into Costcutter.

Around the corner, the local fire station were also protesting the cuts. Their approach was to fill the road with firemen. Frankly I'd have taken a leaflet off them if it had said "Death to Kittens".

I got back to the flat and tried to work while hearing people blarting "Comrades..." at each other through megaphones. I rolled my eyes. Political protest sucks.

Then my friend Joe tells me that it's been a year since there was a Gay Hate Crimes Vigil in Trafalgar Square and they're doing another one. So, I go to that. Hypocrisy goes well with candles.

It's a nice thing, if you can call an event to protest gay people being kicked to death nice. Some of the speeches are really moving. The problem is that various protest groups view it less as a protest and more as a giant marketing pen. So, you'll be stood there trying to listen to Harvey Milk's nephew and someone will flyer you, get you to do a survey, take a newspaper or... frankly, fuck off. Couldn't you all just stand at the entrance to Trafalgar Square and do us as we leave, eh?

The event itself is fine, if padded. Two hours of speeches is a bit much, and soon people are running out of variations on "Hate hate, love love, please don't kick the gays". We kind of get that, otherwise we wouldn't be stood here with candle wax dripping down our hands. Some of us have even turned off Grindr during the two minute silence. Of course, it's all put into perspective by an Aussie friend of a friend who has been dragged along. "What's the point of this?" he sulks a bit loudly, "I mean, that kind of thing doesn't happen here, does it? This is England." Um, yes, yes it does. Quite a lot, actually. And that's why we're here.

It's the morning after, and I'm still finding those damn fliers in the back of my jeans. Apparently there's a "March and Carnival" against racism, fascism and Islamophobia coming up. What is this, Amazon's "People who like Gay Hate Crime also like..."?

And here's a leaflet suggesting that I hold my same sex partner's hand in public. For one thing, I should be so lucky. For another, it's got a picture of two lesbians in wheelchairs holding hands as they go over a bridge. What's interesting is the reactions of the people in the background. They're not going "ooh, lesbo touching" or "eurgh, disableds" but "I'm sorry, but you are blocking the bloody bridge, ladies". Even their dog is edging out of the way. The leaflet is printed on lovely lovely card. Lovely glossy card. Lovely glossy expensive card. Lovely glossy expensive "does David Cameron know who your printer is?" card.

I vow now, if I should miraculously get a same-sex partner, I will of course hold their hand in public. Out of pride and also to make sure they can't escape.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Whole Tooth

A disadvantage of modern dental hygeine is that I keep flossing out fillings. Well, I've done it twice this year. It's an awful feeling - the triumph of thinking you've finally dislodged that nagging bit of lettuce followed by the heartrending "ping" of enamel hitting basin and the sinking thought "Clumsy and Expensive! So you".

The good thing about my dentist is that he's hot. I can see no way of translating this into an actual dating opportunity as he's made me whimper simply by muttering "root canal, it's not so bad". He's very Eastern European preppy - wearing neatly ironed stripy shirts tucked into chinos in a way that just makes me want to hug him. A friend acidly comments, "Why not make the first move by reminding him that dental anaesthetic suppresses your gag reflex?"

That turns out not to be true. Halfway through surprise replacement filling yesterday there was a sudden "oh" from Hot Euro Dentist followed by frantic vacuuming of my throat, and not in the hoped-for way. Turns out new filling had immediately fallen out and vanished. It's not pleasant swallowing a tooth. It's even less pleasant having to bring it up again, especially when encouraged by cries of "Don't swallow it! Don't swallow it!" and "Oh god!".

Yesterday included googling "How poisonous are fillings?" with a face like a bloater fish. I'm increasingly jealous of my dad, whose visits to the dentist involve dropping his teeth off at reception while he nips out to the shops.

Monday, October 18, 2010


The really amazing thing about Loch Lomond is that it's under an hour from Glasgow. Compare this to my flat in London - with a bit of luck I'd be in Penge or East Croydon.

Just to point out, Loch Lomond looks like this, only prettier:

Other than that, there's not really much to say about the last few days. They've been lovely. And just occasionally, very very cold.

Hopefully, my next trip up here should include: The steam train to Fort William, the GlasGay Festival, and a foam party at the Polo Lounge. Followed by hypothermia on the walk home.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Differently Abled

I'm in the Polo Lounge in Glasgow. I've finally met Fawkes. My friend Tim and I are having a lovely time, when... a man shuffles over and introduces himself speaking slowly and clearly.

"Hey guys. Are you two deaf?"

We blink.

"It's just I saw all the waving and...."

We realise. We're not deaf. We're just camp.