Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Merry Christmas! Off to start my shopping now. Yes, really.

Thursday, December 19, 2002

And slowly, quietly, the office stirs into life. It’s the morning after the Christmas party and all the traditional rituals are being faithfully observed:

 By 9.30am there shall be no more than four people present. Three who either didn’t attend the party or don’t drink, and me. Every year.

 By 10.00am the numbers shall have risen to about eight. Each new arrival shall be clutching a McDonald’s bag, their hangover having led them into the belief that a McMuffin is the answer to their problems. Too late, they will realise that the McMuffin is the answer to no-one’s problems.

 10.30am, and the ‘god, I was so drunk!’ stories have been mingling with the ‘what was she wearing?’s for some time, tales of ill-advised tequilas and even less-advised lycra. And everyone’s whispering about That Girl From Accounts.

 Sadly however, That Girl From Accounts has got every day off from now until the New Year, by which time it won’t be half as funny. Spoilsport.

 Nobody’s arse will have been photocopied. This is an office party myth. You have never attended, and hopefully never will attend, a party of any sort at which there is any form of arse-duplication. Or indeed one at which there even is a photocopier (although if you do find yourself at such a gathering, simply leave. Trust me. There’s a whole world out there.)

 Ditto secretaries and bosses in stationery cupboards. Will not have happened. Although my view here may be skewed by our not having any secretaries, therefore rendering this scenario almost entirely unlikely. Haven’t got a stationery cupboard either, come to think of it. No wonder there’s so little scandal around here these days.

 Many things shall have been lost, and there shall be emails pleading for their return. Our list so far: ‘Moses’-style kaftan (one), glasses, blonde wigs (two), pair of comedy plastic breasts (one), dignity (lots).

 12.00pm. Having spent the morning in the self-satisfied belief that you got through the evening embarrassment-free, you will suddenly have a hideous, juddering recollection. Yes, you did do that. Everyone did see you, and that was your tongue. Sorry.

Actually, the last one has yet to hit me. I think we’re safe. Until someone comes in with the photographs at least, of which at least one is guaranteed to be of you doing something embarrassing that you don’t remember doing. It’s the law. I'm off for a long lunch before anything incriminating can surface...

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Ah, it appears to be Wednesday already. Just about recovered sufficiently from the weekend to look at the screen again, and if I remember rightly, a fine weekend it was too. I’m fairly sure K & I cooked dinner on Friday night for friends, followed by Chris and Dave’s party on Saturday night, before heading to Crash, and Beyond, the RVT and the LA3, but it’s all a bit of a blur. I heartily support Luca’s endorsement of the Big Gay Disco Bus that runs between the latter two venues, though. Most useful, and one of those ‘only in London’ experiences I suspect.

More when I regain the ability to string a sentence together in less than half an hour, which, given it’s our Christmas party tonight (themed ‘Popstars: The Rejects’ – don’t ask…), may be some time…

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Good things that happened at the weekend:

 Spent Friday night devouring something big, hot and South African. Yes indeed, my first ever meal in Nando’s, South Africa’s finest chicken emporium. Have worked on some of their advertising before, but never actually eaten in any of their restaurants. Most impressed. Very reasonable and very good – just like going for a meal in their native country in fact.

 In another moment of middle-aged-ness, there was, for once, no clubbing on Saturday. Instead, standing in at last-minute for absent friends, a most civilised visit to the theatre in Hampstead (Stephen Fry’s somewhat controversial ‘Latin!’ – more of which another time perhaps), followed by an Italian meal, and relaxing in front of a Kylie documentary. Possibly the gayest night in history, admittedly.

Bad things that happened at the weekend:

 Aforementioned car thing. Still working (just) but have now discovered that driving around in freezing weather with the windows open and attempting not to breathe lest it steam the screen up, is not particularly easy. And you can’t sing along to your car radio without getting funny looks from passers-by. Apparently the good burghers of Southgate don’t appreciate ‘This Time I Know It’s For Real’ quite like I do. Boo.

 Record of the Year 2002? Gareth bloody Gates? And not even ‘Anyone of Us’ which at least had the benefit of a tune, but Unchained-flippin-Travesty, the most unimaginative, turgid, soulless, poorly-written and over-rated ballad in the history of pop? Were the other voting lines not working?

[Curiously, a search on the above item turns up barely any relevant links - perhaps the web is trying to eradicate this travesty from history as quickly as possible. Google is not just clever, but has taste too.]

Monday, December 09, 2002

It looks like it’s the end of the road for Mike. Not our beleaguered balladeer but Mike, my trusty VW Golf. Whilst I’d normally lump people who name their vehicles in with the sort of twisted sickos who send 'Forever Friends' cards with teddy bears on, I confess he’s always had the name.

It started with my friend Emily, in Maths class at school, who had a small bright yellow plastic motorbike out of a Christmas cracker, named Mike the Bike. Entertained us through many a tedious trigonometry moment, he did – quite how, at that age, I have absolutely no idea. Maybe anything is entertaining when your only other option is an algebra textbook.

A year or so later I got my very first motorised transport: a small bright yellow plastic moped, with a habit of falling over embarrassingly in front of the school bus. The resemblance was uncanny. Although I would probably have travelled faster on the one out of the cracker. Hence, also named Mike.

Since which time, through a mixture of tradition, comfortable familiarity and well, sheer lack of imagination, every vehicle I’ve ever owned has been Mike. Sorry.

He’s in a bad way though. I got in on Saturday morning to discover that Lake Windermere had decided on an impromptu relocation to what I can only describe as my passenger footwell. Small groups of fishermen had gathered on the western shores and one enterprising soul was organising boat trips. Well, okay the last bit’s not entirely true.

No problem with the roof, but seems there is a gutter below the windscreen, which, should it become clogged with seasonal leaf-fall, will instead divert all the rainwater directly into the car. Marvellous.

So now I have a minor ocean to my left, while those bits of carpet not under flood are growing some sort of fluffy white fungus which I’m quite sure can’t be good. Decide water has to be soaked up somehow, but there’s a lot of it. Drive to nearest steep hill (Muswell) and park, such that the water will at least run into one place. Boating trip temporarily disrupted by unexpected tsunami. Place enormously large cloth dustsheet into water, in vain attempt to soak up as much as possible. Only moderately successful, and operation hindered by it raining and being approximately minus ten degrees. Cold and wet, decide to abort mission and return to warm flat for coffee.

As it stands, most of the water’s soaked up but it’s a long way from dry. A couple days on a driveway in the sunshine with all the doors open would sort it out but it’s early December and sunshine is a good six months away (and by no means certain even then). I’d run it round for a couple of hours with the heater on full, except in the process of unclogging the gutter I appear to have rendered the air blower thingy unworkable. A prolonged blast with some sort of enormous industrial hairdryer would probably work, but short of Peter Stringfellow I can’t think of anyone who might possess such an item.

So, along with his many other injuries, batterings and bruises (he’s been on his last wheels for several years now), I fear this could be the last straw for Mike. Considering all he’s survived it seems entirely unjust that he should be defeated by a bit of water, but unless I can invent some brilliant way of drying out a car in a cold, wet December it’s going to be me versus the fungi and I’m no match for mushrooms.

Any suggestions?

(*Sigh* I remember when all this was sex, drugs and rock and roll hi-NRG pop nonsense. Now I'm rambling on about my car problems. Hello middle age, yes, I see you there. Next week, What's Wrong With My Oven? and Oh! That Terrible Trouble We Had With The Gas Meter).

Friday, December 06, 2002

Kylie calendar update: now no right foot, hair, face, or right breast. Left arm history by Monday. Butt still intact.

Much more adventy goodness over at the new and improved Popjustice blog, and we are loving the Newby's of Molford advert calendar.

Joy be with you all.

This here blog isn’t the only thing of Major Cultural Significance I haven’t been keeping up with lately. For example:

Celebrity Big Brother
Came, went, almost completely passed me by. Saw some of the final night, solely by virtue of the law of my generation that states, should you be unfortunate enough to find yourself in on a Friday night, you will be watching Channel 4. It’s the law.

Seemed largely uneventful – the only real mystery being how at no point did Mark Owen go:
‘Christ. There’s my old mate Robbie signing eighty-million-pound record deals and having yet another No.1 album, and here I am, stuck in a house in Hertfordshire with Les Dennis and Anne fucking Diamond.’, before proceeding to lose the plot entirely and bite the heads off all the chickens.

Popstars: The Rivals
Nope, missed this too, all bar about half an hour which consisted entirely of funny uncles Pete and Louis visiting identikit teenagers’ homes to inform them whether or not they’d got through to the next stage. At which point they burst into identikit sobbing/gasps of joy, which all got rather dull after the first ten minutes. Large amounts of stone-cladding, UPVC windows and Laura Ashley curtains were seen during the filming of these segments. Which, frankly, should have disqualified the contestants immediately but sometimes there’s no justice. No idea if the winners are any good, but we do rather like…

The Cheeky Girls
…who nearly passed me by until yesterday, when I had the pleasure of both hearing the record and seeing the video. Genius. Christmas wouldn’t be the same without a crap novelty record. Okay we’ve still got Las Ketchup but you can’t sing along to that unless you’re really, really drunk. This, however combines the sort of brilliantly inane lyrics that only Oasis can match, with the beat of another crap novelty classic, Whigfield’s ‘Saturday Night’, and as such cannot fail to be really quite marvellous. Plus, any song which contains the line: ‘Touch my bum, this is life!’ (surely one of the greatest pop lyrics ever) has got to be good news. And at least it’s supposed to be laughably bad – what’s your excuse, Lopez?

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Oh good. The dog from the Churchill Insurance ads is releasing a single next week. It's a cover of 2 Unlimited's 'No Limit'. Like I say, oh good...

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Can we just talk about advent calendars for a moment? My boss has kindly bought them for all of our team - mine is of the chocolate filled variety, and somewhat non-festively, features a big picture of Kylie. Whilst in no way ungrateful for said item, I feel I really must take issue with some of its finer details.

1. It's got thirty-two windows. That's thirty-two. Now, I'm possibly not the most avidly religious person you'll ever encounter, but even I know that the entire advent calendar concept hinges on counting down until, well, Christmas. Twenty-four windows max (not twenty-five, although admittedly I've never quite grasped that one). And when exactly is the 32nd December anyway? Presumably the final window is for New Year's Day but frankly if you can face chocolate on the morning of January 1st you really haven't been trying.

2. 'A milk chocolate surprise behind every window!' it gushingly claims. I'm not so sure. Having opened the first three windows to find a small, star-shaped piece of milk chocolate, I think I can just about guess what lies behind the remaining twenty-nine.

3. Not only a calendar, but flip it over and you can 'Impress your family and friends with this great cut-out Kylie necklace and microphone!' which even comes with handy instructions: 'Place necklace over your head and clasp the microphone in your right or left hand' (as opposed to what, it fails to divulge). Potentially, if your family haven't left the house since 1974 and have spent the subsequent decades with only a piece of string for entertainment they might, just might, be impressed by this. Try it over Christmas lunch. Second thoughts, perhaps Mr German Leather would like it.

Incidentally, due to the arrangement of the windows you may be interested to know that her face has already been removed, while her ass will remain intact until December 27th.

You know when you run into someone you haven’t seen for ages, and they ask the inevitable:

‘So, what have you been up to then?’

And there’s an entirely inverse relationship between the time elapsed since you last saw them and the amount of information you feel worth imparting. Two days and you’ll fill them in on everything. Two years and despite those six relationships, four changes of jobs, two house moves, winning that Oscar, the Booker Prize and the Turner Prize whilst simultaneously bringing about world peace - not forgetting that embarrassing incident with those nuns and that watermelon - your reply will, without fail, come out as: ‘Oh, y’know, the usual, nothing much – you?’

Drives me mad every time I do it. For which reason I’m not even going to attempt to fill in the last two months. Twelve days or so, however, might just be ok.

Thursday 21st November
To Grand Central for Kelvin’s birthday drinks. A good bar that we happened across due to its proximity to Expectations where we’d been shopping for Phil and Nigel’s ‘Naughty at Forty’ party (it was, they were). On paper – funky design, Shoreditch location, New York-style menu, Nathan something double-barrelled or other spinning electropop – it sounds like something out of TvGoHome’s worst nightmares, but in fact manages to be really rather nice, neither pretentious nor overpriced and a welcome addition to the list of Bars I Like. I should point out that my opinion is in no way influenced by the barmaid buying us pints on our first visit. At all.

Friday 22nd November – Mon 25th November
On to the Eurostar, and off to Paris for a long weekend – just slightly later, and somewhat wetter, than last year. But thoroughly lovely, much eating, drinking, shopping, clubbing – come to think of it not entirely unlike a weekend in London but y’know, like, French.

With the honourable exception of Sundays at the sadly-defunct (or indeed, de-funked) Palace, I’d never really ventured into Paris clubs that much, but this time we found some good ‘uns, of which I recommend (should you be visiting any time soon):

Butch @ Le Club, Friday
Which was, relatively. Like a lot of Paris venues, largely underground in cave-type rooms, small-ish and atmospheric, and good music, not unlike Substation South in London.

T Dance @ La Scala, Sunday
Much bigger venue on the Rue de Rivoli, and packed by 8pm. Decidedly 80s (think red walls, mirrors and chrome ahoy), more commercial music, extortionate bar prices and improbably built gogo boys – it’s Love Muscle does Paris, but with shirts.

B4 Lounge @ Cabaret, Sunday
As recommended to us by the locals and very, very nice indeed. In the basement of a hotel near the Louvre, very plush, lots of big white curtains, bedouin tent-style chillout area with lots of white mattresses to lounge on, and very friendly despite being, by all accounts, one of the most fashionable places to go in Paris at the moment. Not that the two things have to be mutually exclusive you understand, but speaking as more of a spit-and-sawdust sorta person, nevertheless something of a surprise. Speaking of spit-and-sawdust...

Le Depot
..of which I’ve written before. Still good fun. No garden-furniture-porn this time but they do now have probably the world’s only vending machine to sell crisps, chocolate and poppers. Press those buttons carefully or you’ll spend half an hour with a Kit Kat wedged under your nose wondering why nothing’s happening. I imagine.

Worth missing, on the other hand:
Le Queen
Paris’ biggest and most famous gay club, halfway down the Champs Elysees – but known as much for its draconian door policy and general pretentiousness as anything else. We waited as the entire queue in front of us were summarily dismissed for being too mixed (two guys, three girls), too large a group (six), too small a group (one), and not being gay (although they clearly were). Which makes it slightly worrying that we were ushered in without so much as a question – I suspect flashing my regulation gay white vest may have helped – it has its uses.

As a result, once inside it was all but empty, as tends to happen when you turn all your would-be punters away. I’d been here once before, in 1995, and vaguely remembered there being a large (and strictly policed) VIP seating area taking up half the dancefloor. It still does – more than half in fact, and whilst one look at any Paris cafĂ©, all chairs facing the street, will tell you that the Parisians love to sit and people-watch, it’s gotta be hard work for the DJs to generate any sort of atmosphere when half the crowd are sat sedately at a table supping champagne.

That aside, an excellent dinner at L’Equinox in the Marais, walking along the Seine at night, and a great Sunday brunch in the sunshine, all added to a gorgeous weekend.

Tuesday 26th-Friday 29th November
Truly, utterly, and quite spectacularly uneventful. Moving swiftly on...

Saturday 30th November - Monday 2nd December
..to a 30th birthday party, a flatwarming, the Fridge, more visits to Compton's than I've had in the last three years (I'm not entirely sure why), another party in Soho, the RVT, and finally the Red Ribbon Ball for World Aids Day at Crash. Which was both thoroughly enjoyable and full of utterly surreal moments. The minute's silence at midnight was particularly powerful due to its sheer incongruity on a crowded dancefloor, followed by the procession of Edna and the rest of the Regal Court, and later, a performance by Mr German Leather 2002. I'm not sure what I'd expected this to entail, but I think it's safe to say that his taking to the stage and growling through Kylie's 'In Your Eyes' came as something of a surprise to us all. Most importantly though, a successful night which I'd guess raised a decent sum - and all without being forced to endure a minor-celebrity-packed telethon and/or novelty single of any kind. Which can only be a good thing.

And brings me up to date. Speaking of dates...

Friday, November 29, 2002

…and we’re back. No big change of circumstances but work’s quietened down, I have learned many techniques of furtive posting, and dammit it’s about time. So, a few design tweaks, no more ads, photos, comments that work (hopefully), permalinks (coming soon to a post near you…) – bring it on!

More, much more, next week once I have code, links and mind all in working order - I’m anticipating greatest difficulty with the last one – meanwhile, oh hang on, the beer’s arrived. Excuse me…

Friday, October 25, 2002

Apologies for this here extended break. You wouldn't believe how many times I've started to post and been unceremoniously thwarted halfway through - loads to report, loads to say, just none of that slippery little time thing. Looks like it just ain't gonna happen until there's some major change in circumstances (or at least, a new desk). Plus, in the course of writing just the last fifty words or so, I've been interrupted by no less than five phone calls and three visitors. Oh hang on, make that six phone calls.

So, Live in London is officially, for the time being, on a break. I'll leave everything up - let's just consider it an extended intermission - so meanwhile go and read some of my lovely linkees, trawl through the archives, or hey, get out there, spread the word, love your fellow man, embrace the planet with your heart and soul and make the world a better place. Or, y'know, have another coffee and click on some buttons.

But I WILL be back - bigger, better and brighter (well, maybe with some new colours or something) as soon as circumstances allow and you (yes, you) will be the first to know about it.

D x

Friday, September 27, 2002

So there you are, happily beavering away (‘to beaver’ I feel, is right up there with ‘to plump’ in the league of under-rated verbs), skilfully filling your space with everything and nothing (especially the latter), not a care in the world and then, then, it strikes. You never see it coming. It gives no warning. It ambushes you while you are quietly going about your business and leaves you stranded. It is the Unexpected Hiatus, and it is not your friend.

This particular UH (as it shall henceforth be known) may be unexpected but shall not go unexplained. As regular readers (you lovely, patient people) will know, my recent desk move - to a position where my screen is visible to the entire sodding office - has not been entirely conducive to regular blogging. Surreptitious surfing has been the order of the day – but not surreptitious enough it seems.

A couple of weeks ago I had an email – too informal to be a warning, more like friendly concern, but from the MD and therefore to be taken seriously – that I would be well advised to keep my internet usage to a minimum during working hours, ‘in light of the positioning of my screen’. Goddammit I want my corner desk back!

Hence minimal activity – I’m writing this in Word as we speak, with the intention of uploading swfitly at lunchtime, but I can’t help feeling that trying to maintain a web page with such limited access to said medium is rather like trying to create a long-running TV epic when you’ve only ever seen ten minutes of Ready, Steady, Cook! and an ad for washing-up liquid.

I’d update from home but you could translate War And Peace into seven languages in the time it takes my PC to post sometimes. So, for the time being, expect updates to be sporadic and even shoddier than usual (yes, it is possible). I have my eye on a better desk. Normal service may yet be resumed. Watch this space. Just not too often, or you’ll be disappointed.

So what’s been happening? What’d I miss?

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Alright then, Italian breads. Friend or foe?

Y’see, I’m a big bread fan. Fresh warm loaves, bagels, baps and baguettes – all fantastic inventions, not to mention the incomparable perfection of a soft, fresh, processed-beyond-all-recognition loaf of thick white sliced.

But see these here fancy Italian types? Not so sure. Let’s examine the evidence, shall we?

Exhibit A: the ciabatta

Ah, there it is, proudly lining the shelves of that deli you get your lunchtime sandwich from. It says ‘Look at me! I’m so modern and continental! How fashionable you will be if you buy me instead of that tired old bap they’ve got hiding behind me!’

And granted, yes, it’s pleasing to the eye. Big, chunky, white and wholesome – you’re hungry, and it looks like it’s up to the job. But don’t be fooled. Its qualities are almost entirely aesthetic. No matter how fresh it may be, it’ll seem dry and stale already, and no matter how well-filled it may be, there’ll be just far, far too much bread for the filling. You’ll give up halfway through the sandwich once the excessive chewing has re-shaped your jaw, eat the remaining filling, and throw the rest away. Over-rated.

Exhibit B: the breadstick

Are these Italian? Who knows. About as appealing as the combination of ‘bread’ and ‘stick’ implies, though. Possibly the most rubbish bread invention after France’s ‘Biscottes’ - items which in any other country would simply be known for what they are: cold bits of toast. Bring back the bread roll.

Exhibit C: the focaccia

A real offender in the bakery stakes, mostly due to the fascination it holds for people who run ‘gastropubs’ or similar such establishments. There you are, looking forward to a nice, chunky, traditional home-made burger and – lo and behold! – it’s on flippin’ focaccia. This is in the belief that it will bestow upon the humble burger some newfound gourmet status. It won’t. It will just bestow about three kilos of unnecessary bulk, resulting in your being unable to get the damn thing in your mouth, and a filling-to-bread ratio that almost rivals that of the aforementioned ciabatta in its unsatisfactoriness.

Burgers go with sesame seed buns. It’s the law. Salt and pepper. Rock and roll. Terry and June. Burgers and buns, dammit. Leave it.

Exhibit D: the panini

Ah, now, all is not lost after all. The panini is possibly the best thing since, er, sliced bread. Hot, toasted, flattened into a size that’s satisfying to hold and easier still to eat, filled with cheese, ham, tomato or any number of options, it’s the perfect post-pub snack. None of the mess and concerns-about-its-origin of the kebab, I plan to make my fortune opening a chain of panini stalls on every street corner in the country – it’s a snack whose time has come.

Not to be confused with makers of sticker albums. Almost unlimited potential for amusing ‘punani’ gags. What more can you want?

So there you have it. 3-1 against. Next week: ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!’ – rated or slated?

Or some other poorly-researched and entirely pointless article. Ye gods, I need something to do.

I got the job! I got the job!

I didn't take the job. I didn't take the job.

You know when you think you want something, it seems like a great idea, and then you get it, and realise that you didn't really want it in the first place? Well, that.


Love and hate on the tube. On Sunday’s journey south, a rather over-amorous young couple. Him, covered, everywhere visible at least, in love-bites. Her, vacant grin, dazed expression, and glazed-over eyes; the sort of look that can only say ‘I’ve been shagged continuously for the last three days’ and says it loud. Sweet, really.

On Saturday’s journey however, two large, gold (and not a little cheap and tacky – I’m guessing the owner/s got out at Wood Green) rings on the seat opposite. Too big to have simply fallen from a pocket unnoticed, these were definitely hurled during some very public tiff (‘And you can keep your f**kin’ rings Darren!! I don’t want none of it, you bastard!’).

It’s like Trisha down there at times.

Monday, September 09, 2002

Monday afternoon, and all is well with the world. Well, y’know, apart from that impending war thing. But hey, didn’t we have a lovely weekend dancing to lots of lovely music with lots of lovely friends? Yes indeed.

Friday night’s ‘one or two pints’ at The Yard turned, as is traditional, into three or four, five or six, and an impromptu dinner for seven, from which I have learned that if you get Ken, Barry, Peter, Mike, Greg, Kelvin and myself around a table, there will be flirting. Good god, there will be flirting. There you are, popping out for a simple pizza and suddenly you’re embroiled in a hotbed of barely concealed lust. You don’t get that in McDonalds.

Saturday night, more Soho-based drunkenness, prior to Crash. A little on the quiet side for once, more than likely due to Action taking place just around the corner and competing for the same crowd. But excellent as ever, and while I’ve never really been much of a DJ-groupie, Tom Stephan’s superb three-hour set was more than worthy of all the hype he’s currently receiving. Funky, chunky, and very, very good indeed.

At one point I’m tapped on the shoulder by a masked drag queen:
‘Remember me?’
He lifts the mask, and I do, being a young Brazilian friend-of-friend, now resplendent in small blue cocktail dress and stilettos.
‘Any particular reason?’ I enquire.
‘Oh no, you know, I just felt like it.’
At least I think that happened. Either that or the drugs really do work, after all.

Woke up on Sunday morning to find that aliens had stolen my legs and replaced them with two large lead weights. I’m not entirely sure why – much dancing of course, but there is always much dancing. Good god, is this what happens when you are finally Getting Too Old For All This?

Later, the RVT of course, and a year since Kelvin and I officially became what I believe they term ‘an item’. Technically the anniversary’s today – I confess though that my initial response (‘We’re not having it on a bloody Monday!’) was less than romantic. Well, y’know, hangovers and all that.

Halfway through Dame Edna’s show though, a note is produced from her cleavage, and Kelvin’s only gone and got her to do us a dedication. I am simultaneously surprised, delighted, and just slightly horrified – but fortunately escape too much embarrassment on the grounds she can’t see my somewhat reluctantly raised hand (I may well add this to my list of reasons Why It’s Good To Be Short(ish), along with being able to sleep across the back seat of cars, legroom in aeroplanes, and others too rude to mention here). Jonathan’s impression of our first meeting on the Vauxhall railings, ‘like two rhinos on valium’ was uncannily accurate though. Now I remember what I said…

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Back, back, back, Sitges was wonderful as ever, more of which later no doubt, but first a confession: I’m in love with another man. Aside from Kelvin, that is. And it’s not the first time either: I fell in love with him fifteen years ago too, back when I was still struggling into my unsightly school blazer. Not for his looks, but for the way a single line from him could simply melt your heart. That, and some damn fine pop tunes.

I refer of course to Mr Rick Astley. Jonathan kindly alerts us to the release of his Greatest Hits album this week in the UK, meanwhile since Saturday I have been the proud owner of his most recent album, Keep It Turned On, released in December 2001, and purchased via the wonder of the interwebnet.

These days it seems Rick’s only big in Germany, where the album was released. Having heard nothing from him for nigh on ten years, and given we’re talking about the country which made musical superstars of David Hasselhoff and Scooter, I’ll admit I had reservations. But, with an Amazon gift certificate nagging to be spent and about to expire (there having been nothing, but nothing, that I actually wanted to buy in the last 12 months), I thought I’d give it a whirl.

And I was not disappointed. His first post Stock/Aitken/Waterman album (‘Free’) suffered from trying too hard to prove his credibility as a ‘serious artist’ and ended up just being, well, a bit dull. Perhaps not surprising given his eagerness to distance himself from the bubblegum pop – brilliant bubblegum pop, mind you, but bubblegum nonetheless – that made his name.

The new album though, like Kylie’s Light Years, is the sound of someone who’s got over all that, realises what they do best, and proceeds to do it, but with far more confidence, maturity and style than they ever had before. Here’s what HMV had to say on the album’s release:

HMV - December 2001
Oh irony of ironies. Just as TV show 'Pop Idol' reaches its climax, onetime pop superstar Rick Astley decides to make his comeback. Tea boy-turned millionaire, Astley sold more than fifteen million albums worldwide in the eighties - before packing in pop due to the 'pressures' of fame. Back with his first album in over eight years, 'Keep It Turned On' once again showcases his rich, deep voice, mixing it with lots of up-to-date electronic vocal effects and digital sounds. Replete with dreamy harmonies and heart stopping melodies, 'Keep It...' is a fantastic mix of up-tempo dance tunes and tearstained ballads that simply oozes panache from every groove. It's gorgeous, it's pop - what more can we say? Like he's never been away...

Very true. And then there is That Voice. Fifteen years ago, it was impressive, powerful, and instantly recognisable. Now, even stronger, richer, deeper and smoother, it’s better than ever. You listen, safe in the knowledge that every last note is going to be handled perfectly, with no unneccessary histrionics, just simple, honest emotion in a huge, warm baritone. It’s like being wrapped in the biggest, strongest arms imaginable and gently rocked to sleep, while someone rubs you all over with mink cushions. Gorgeous. You’d almost forgotten talent like this existed.

Of course, with That Voice, Rick could sing the phone book and it wouldn’t be half bad, but the material, all self-written or co-written, is more than up to the job. First track (and single in some places) ‘Sleeping’ is a smooth, Todd-Terry style dance track (a little reminiscent of his work with Everything But The Girl), overlayed with guitars and a great tune which deserves to be a huge hit. It won’t be of course, given the suffocatingly programmed playlists of most radio stations (why play Rick when they can play Jennifer Lopez another 15 times an hour?) but it should be. Meanwhile I confess there are lines in ‘Don’t Ask’ that bring on a Tearful Tuesday early, every time. Not because the lyrics are sad, they aren’t, but because the combination of Rick’s voice with the most gorgeous melody is so achingly beautiful it actually hurts. Straight after which, in bursts the title track, a joyous, uplifting, summery jangling-guitars-and-pianos anthem of the kind that Ronan Keating and writer Gregg Alexander would give their collective right limbs for. In anyone else’s hands this would still be a great song; in Rick’s it’s magnificent. And, a slightly ropy second track aside, the rest is just as good.

Don’t get me wrong, this is still at the end of the day a straightforward, adult, pop album. It’s not going to break any boundaries or take music anywhere it hasn’t been before. Neither is a Banoffi Pie going to revolutionise modern cuisine, but it doesn’t stop you revelling in the deliciousness of it – and when it’s done well, there’s nothing better. When it’s done this well, it’s incredible.

Welcome back, Rick. I had no idea how much I missed you.

Friday, August 23, 2002

Is there a finer pleasure known to 21st century man than putting the ‘Out of Office’ auto-reply message on your email?

You write: ‘Thanks for your mail – I’m now out of the office until 2nd September but you can reach any other member of the team on…’

You mean: ‘Bad luck, loser! I’m not here to deal with your tiresome enquiry or listen to your miserable whining. You’ll just have to try and direct that pile of tedious work you were about to dump on me to someone who might actually give a fuck – I’ll be too busy lying on a beach, surrounded by nubile young Spaniards, and sipping cocktails in the sun. Muahahaha! Oh, and get a haircut.’

With which, I’m off to Sitges. Back in September!

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

To anyone who may have found themselves unexpectedly welded to the floor of my local tube station on Sunday afternoon. I’m sorry; that was my superglue, I was trying to stick my knackered trainers back together, it went everywhere, I was running late, and the train arrived before I could clean it up.

I hope you were rescued before too long.

Why simply regurgitating the press release isn't always the best idea. From HMV's singles page:

'H & Claire return with a brilliant second single...'Half A Heart' is a no-nonsense, no-holds-barred mid-tempo pop ballad that shows how well both these vocalists have matured.

A no-nonsense, no-holds-barred mid-tempo pop ballad? To be listened to while indulging in kick-ass, in-yer-face, extreme macrame, perhaps...

Job-hunt update: seems my interview at the estate agency last Tuesday went better than I thought, as the Extremely Tall Interviewer has invited me back for a second meeting. Which is encouraging, being the first application that's progressed anywhere beyond the first stages, but does beg the question: what if I actually get offered the job? Do I even want it? Then again, I've got to do something. But is it wise to jump at the first opportunity when I'm not even certain it would be an improvement? Is a change really as good as a rest?

Gah. I'm going to go and look at some kittens. [via chachacha]

Brighton? Twice in a fortnight? Yes, indeed. Along with what seemed like half of London, Kelvin, Phil, Nigel, Jonathan and I took advantage of a rare sunny Saturday, and headed for the beach.

Nature did a pretty good job of designing Brighton beach. Pebbles on the beach so that you don’t get sand everywhere, but soft sand under your feet as soon as you get in the water – which is clean, clear, and, for the UK, relatively warm. Plus, at no point are you ever much more than a hundred yards from the nearest bar or somewhere that will serve you fish and chips in a polystyrene tray. Fantastic.

A perfect, lazy day, after which we headed home for a friend’s party in south London.

We could have stuck around and gone clubbing at Creation, but apparently the birds are a bit uptight…

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

In what could well become a regular feature, it’s time for: Bitching with Hear’say!

Scan the pop news on any given week, and you’re sure to find the Popstars-created band slating at least somebody in the music business. We don’t know if it’s a chip on the shoulder about that ‘difficult second album’ barely troubling the top 30, but there it is. Liberty X, Simon Cowell, Oasis, George Michael – they’ve all been on the receiving end of the biting ‘Say tongues, and they’re just the tip of the iceberg. So who’s next?

This week: Geri Halliwell, ex-bandmate Kym Marsh, and Darius!

Noel ‘AteAllThePies’ Hear’say on Geri judging Pop Rivals: ‘It's very ironic that somone who instigated the split in the Spice Girls is now acting as a judge and guide for pop wannabes. It confuses me. She's the one who left and now she's helping to put a band together.'

Myleene ‘Boobs’ Hear’say on Kym Marsh’s wedding to Eastenders’ Jack Ryder: 'I don't need to marry a celebrity to think that my life's complete.'

And Danny ‘Shrek’ Hear’say on Darius: 'Just because Darius has had a haircut it doesn't change his personality’.

Meow. Easy now, kids! (We still like the new single, though).

More next week, no doubt…

Seven days...


En masse, to Bonjour Vietnam in Fulham, to say au revoir to Peter and Jason (you see what I did there, huh? huh? Oh, never mind…), who are bravely heading back to a life of bingo and Bolly, entertaining troops of overweight fiftysomethings aboard a luxury cruise for the next five months.

Lots of fun, and lots of food, being an all-you-can-eat thing. Not of the congealed buffet that’s been sitting there all day variety, but where you simply keep ordering the (very good) food until the last person explodes in a giant mushroom cloud of monosodium glutamate. At which point you realise that seventeenth crispy duck pancake possibly wasn’t the best idea.


An unfortunate combination of being locked out by an absent-minded landlord, a basement flat, wet, slippery grass, and maybe one or two glasses of wine left my much beloved with a broken window and a knee injury, so a night of TV and big, stodgy comfort food. He’s on the mend now.


Which brought (yay!) Brighton & Hove Pride. K couldn’t go, but wouldn’t hear of me staying, so it was up early and down to Brighton (slightly later than expected having failed to allow the requisite half-hour it takes to buy a ticket at Victoria station) but there nonetheless by midday, in something approaching sunshine. Ian has a great account of events away from the park, Luca reports from the after-party, and for my part, the day went something like this:

12.30pm: Arrive at Damon & Graham’s house where the gang are gathered for drinks
12.45pm: Champagne on patio area, high on hill overlooking Brighton. Very nice indeed.
1.00pm: Is that rain? Oh, yes it is. Entire party retreats to kitchen.
1.30pm: Hmm, still raining. More champagne, anyone?
2.00pm: Rain now resembles tropical monsoon. Patio transformed into outdoor pool.
2.10pm: Hurrah! The rain’s stopped. Let’s go to the park, quickly.
2.11pm: Oh.
2.12pm: Thunder, lightning, average annual rainfall for particularly wet country falling by the minute.
2.45pm: Still raining. This is going to go down as The Year We Spent Brighton Pride In The Kitchen, isn’t it?
3.00pm: Yup. Apparently so. Oh well, more wine?
3.10pm: It’s stopping! No, it really is this time, look! Right, shoes on everyone, we’re off.
3.15pm: Five minutes down the street, and more rain.
3.20pm: Majority of the party abandon the park idea and head, sensibly, for a nice dry pub in town, while Jonathan, Damon and I gamely (stupidly?) continue the walk to Preston Park.
3.22pm: Okay, walking bad idea. Taxi!
3.30pm: Make our way into the park, undeterred by the hordes of people in plastic pac-a-macs runnning hurriedly in the opposite direction.
3.35pm: Queue to get into dance tent which is, understandably, extremely full.
3.40pm: Hmm, these trainers really aren’t waterproof, are they?
3.42pm: Or mud-proof, apparently.
3.45pm: Perhaps if I just get really drunk I’ll cease to notice the mud swishing around between my toes.
3.55pm: Or maybe not.
4.00pm: Find army surplus stall (there had to be one somewhere) and purchase pair of old, but sturdy, boots. Deposit mud-logged trainers in cloakroom. Am wolf-whistled at by girl with the exact voice of Karen from Will and Grace.
4.05pm: Hurrah, dry feet! And the sun’s out! Back to Wild Fruit tent to find Phil, Nigel, Dave and co, in what little remains of their gold Egyptian costumes from the parade. Not for the first time this summer I find myself dancing with friends in small gold pants.
5.00pm or thereabouts (from this point it all gets a bit vague): Manage to find Nathan and friends over at the main stage. Dusty O and Massive Ego are doing their cover of Dead or Alive’s ‘My Heart Goes Bang’ which is almost as delightfully bonkers as the original. Then there’s a Village People-style cop on stage brandishing his truncheon all over the place. Except – oh, it’s a she, and she’s stripping. Five minutes later and it’s tits akimbo. You don’t get that at Mardi Gras. And now, Limahl!
5.30pm-ish: We leave the strains of ‘Too Shy’ for a brief wander round the park. Despite the earlier downpours, there’s a real celebratory atmosphere. People are smiling, laughing and genuinely enjoying themselves. Lesbians are throwing each other to the ground and mud-wrestling. Everyone’s happy.
6.00pm-ish: Back to the Wild Fruit tent for the last couple of hours’ dancing, and finally, sometime around eight, I stagger wide-eyed, muddy-footed but happy, back to the station, and back to London. It had been, as ever, a great day.


A rare, nay, almost unique combination of having not been out on Saturday night, having the flat to myself and being in reasonably good voice, meant that I finally managed to get some recording done. Just one song, written some considerable time ago, but one of my better efforts, and I’m almost pleased with the results. I might even let other people hear it. Well, maybe. Apart from that high note at the end.

No shortage of high notes (hmm, nice link…) in the Dame Edna Experience’s phenomenal show at the RVT though, in exceptional form on an exceptionally good night all round. Marvellous.


Not marvellous. Entirely unremarkable. That’s what Mondays are for.


Job interview with a well-known firm of estate agents. The problem with which is that I really have no idea if I want to be an estate agent. I just want to do something, anything, that isn’t this. And pays a wage you can live on. So, on the grounds that it fits both of those criteria, and in the complete absence of any better ideas, I guess it’s an option. Throughout the interview though, I couldn’t shake the overwhelming sense of being a square peg trying to talk myself into a round hole. I don’t really think it’s what I want – but what is? What the fuck is?

Not strictly relevant, but I should add that the interviewer was (and I’m barely exaggerating here) about seven feet tall. Hands the size of tennis rackets. Most disconcerting.


Which brings me up to date. And, rather too obviously I suspect, writing, not working. Excuse me one moment while I pretend to make some phone calls...

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

In Passing: a site devoted entirely to logging bits of overheard conversations.

Oh go on then. See bandwagon, will jump. My blogtree thingy.

Of course, you might expect the offspring of my blog parents to be a highly literate, beer-swilling social adventurer with a vast pop trivia knowledge and a fondness for football shorts. Instead you got this. Children can be such a disappointment sometimes…

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

Things I’ve been enjoying over the last week or so, that I really probably shouldn’t.

1. Topranko!
On the surface, another cheap Channel 5 game show. But one that actually works. Like all the best ideas, it’s simple. Contestants have to guess the top ten answers in a given category – like the highest-grossing Tom Cruise films, or most popular flavours of soup, scoring more points for the more obscure answers lower down the list. And like the best quiz shows, you can’t help trying to answer the questions yourself – before you know it, you’re shouting ‘Oxtail!’ and ‘Cream of Mushroom!’ at the screen like your life depended on it. The rather impersonal hosting and abrupt, Weakest Link style departures need to go, but apart from that, fun for trivia bores everywhere. Just coincidence that the title is almost an anagram of ‘Top Anorak’?

2. Late Night Love Songs with Nigel Williams, on Heart 106.2 FM.
Heart is unashamedly cheesy at the best of times, and Late Night Love Songs, from 10pm-1am every weeknight, is like a whole camembert festival. The music itself is a guilty pleasure: ballad upon ballad from the likes of Celine Dion, LeAnn Rimes and Luther Vandross that you’d normally run screaming from, yet at this time of night, are a perfect oasis of calm after a stressful day. Then there are the ‘Love Letters’ – tales of heartbreak, woe and improbable coincidence blatantly ripped off from Simon Bates’ Our Tune in the '80s, while the whole thing is perfectly held together by Nigel Williams’ soft, reassuring voice: the aural equivalent of someone gently massaging your shoulders and making you a nice cup of cocoa. I have shamefully been known to have difficulty switching this off and going to bed.

3. Around The World (La La La La La) by ATC.
Coming on like the bastard lovechild of Eiffel 65 and Aqua, this is trashy Europop to the max, complete with nonsense lyrics and lots of xylophones. I suspect I’m liking it purely because it reminds me of our holiday to San Francisco, San Diego, and Las Vegas last year, when it followed us around (not least because a certain flatmate of mine bought the album). Look out for the near-identical follow up, My Heart Beats Like A Drum (Dum Dum Dum), which is, well, every bit as good as it sounds.

Going now before I embarrass myself further.

It's funny and it's got biscuits. No wonder I am enjoying a NiceCupOfTeaAndASitDown.

Auditions for ITV's forthcoming 'Popstars: The Rivals' began yesterday, with the panel of judges including Pete Waterman, Westlife manager Louis Walsh, and Geri Halliwell. Of course, there may be those who say that having Geri Halliwell judge your singing talents is rather like asking Hitler to assess your race relations policy. I couldn't possibly comment.

Monday, August 05, 2002

And I thought I'd had a great weekend...

Blimey. For the record though, I second the opinion that Saturday's night's Crash was indeed awesome - good to see somebody having such a good time - and a downright wonderful night at the RVT last night, for all the usual reasons, as well as apparently being the night for all manner of gossip, intrigue, and revelations. I'd tell you just some of the things I heard from some of the people, but then I'd have to kill you.

Along with which, three very different parties. The first being of the dinner variety, kindly hosted by good friends in Richmond and with something of a global flavour: Greek starter, Asian main course and, ahem, Colombian style dessert. Whatever happened to After Eights? Saturday night, meanwhile, began with a house party in Maida Vale, and Sunday afternoon, Phil and Nigel's gathering, entitled 'Before They Were Gorgeous' - involving all manner of suitably embarrassing photo and video evidence from our chequered pasts. I'm seeing Kelvin in a whole new light after seeing him on the back of that camel...

Friday, August 02, 2002

Speaking of crap TV, and indeed some very good TV, there's plenty over at Jump The Shark. It’s a site dedicated to long-running TV shows, which asks you to pinpoint exactly when, and if, said shows lost the plot, went downhill, or indeed ‘jumped the shark’ (a Happy Days reference, apparently).

Not exactly sure why you would want to bother, but great if you fancy spending an afternoon arguing about who was the better Fallon in Dynasty, and why Maddie and David should never have got together in Moonlighting.

Or of course, you might have something worthwhile to do.

...and then, the final indignity. Whilst waiting for the repair man to turn up and replace your car window, you find yourself watching 'Open House' with Gloria Hunniford, because it's either that or Commonwealth Ping-Pong (for fuck's sake...) on the other side. Horrific.

[self-pity] You know when you realise you've got virtually no money to get you to the end of the month and loads of bills to pay? And you make a determined effort to cut down, staying in every weeknight when your friends are out because you can't afford to go, studiously avoiding all shops so that you can't buy anything (not that you can ever afford to, anyway), wearing the same old clothes you don't like any more but can't replace, and existing on the most basic foodstuffs, in the hope that maybe, the next month, you might just about be okay? And then, then some b*stard kid decides to smash your car window, to steal your stereo (which is worthless anyway, being older than God), costing you everything you've saved and then some? Yeah. So far, August sucks. [/self-pity]

Apologies for absence. Too much work. Not enough time. Entirely missed my one year anniversary. Typical. Reminds me of my 18th birthday party, of which I missed all but the first half hour, before having to be carried home. Except at least there was vodka involved. Now it's just paperwork. Curses.

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Tomorrow, this site will be exactly one year old. So how will I be marking said bloggiversary? A radical new design? A witty, yet poignant, retrospective of the last year? A groovy, hitherto unthought-of interactive element?

Nope, looks like it’s messing about with the colours a bit and a slightly better sidebar. Oh well, there’s always Christmas. Still some tweaks to be made though – you’ll be amazed when it's finished.

Which will make two of us.

A Scandinavian guide to the word 'fuck'.

Very comprehensive, perhaps unsurprisingly...

Monday, July 29, 2002

You might not expect the chatroom of Watford football club to be a hive of entertainment. But this thread, which runs, and runs, and runs, is most amusing.

'Bimbo83' is outraged that her boyfriend Brian has gone on holiday to Greece with his mates, and in visiting the opposition's penalty box has brought back, and kindly given to her, a nice dose of hepatitis. And she's not happy...

Brian himself makes an appearance part way through, but it's Emma from Boots I feel sorry for. You'll see what I mean...

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Right, that's it from me for today, just time to say a quick happy birthday to Walt, who turns the big 3-0 tomorrow.

And wonder when, exactly, I turned into a local radio DJ.

Like a lot of people, I’m off to Manchester tomorrow. Not to the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games, but for lunch. Gratuitous, yes (and I’m still surprised the company’s agreed to it), but one of those nice freebies there haven’t been nearly enough of lately.

It’s an advertising awards ceremony and I’ve got to collect three, for a campaign for Selfridges. I’d love to claim credit for writing and designing the ads, but I’m officially in a managing, making-everything-happen capacity (although I seem to end up doing both increasingly often). It’s not an especially big or prestigious thing, but hey, it’s a day out.

Crossing my fingers for there to be no acceptance speeches required...

I’m entirely hopeless at starting conversations with strangers. And as for chatting someone up, forget it. But just occasionally, it happens. Sunday marked a year to the day that I first set eyes on Kelvin, across a crowded South London pavement outside (where else?) the Royal Vauxhall Tavern. How, given our regular attendance, I’d never seen him before I don’t know, but I hadn’t.

I remember standing with with Greg, Rick and Jonathan, chatting but not really taking part in the conversation – I’d been transfixed by the guy with the deep brown eyes and the incredible smile, who I could see over Greg’s shoulder. There was definite eye contact (that much I can do, just) but that was all so far, until a few hours and more than a few beers later, I saw him again, sitting outside on the railings, and decided I had to take the plunge and say something. Anything. Just a few words to break the ice.

And for the life of me, I still have absolutely no idea what they were. Too much to drink, too many drugs. But, a year on, one thing’s definitely clear. Wherever the words came from, I’ve never been more grateful for them.

Nice to know that Central Line drivers always know exactly where they're going. Heading west on the Tube at lunchtime, the following announcement:

'Sorry about this ladies and gentlemen, Oxford Circus is currently closed due to a security alert. The next stop for this train will be, um, er, the next station.'

How informative.

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Let’s talk about sex. Specifically, how much does your sex drive get to sit in the driving seat? How many decisions have you made, and how many things do you do on a regular basis, that, in the end, come down to the pursuit of sex? And what other things get sacrificed along the way?

I don’t know about you, but in my case, the answers are too much, and too many. Granted, I’m a man, I’m supposed to think with my dick (and as a gay man that’s supposed to go at least double) – but it’s a stereotype I’d rather not fulfil quite so automatically.

I chose to move to London because, as a media graduate, and keen actor/singer/performer, it made sense to go where the opportunities in those fields were greater. But was it actually about making something of my life, or was it about the nightlife, the size of the gay scene, and by extension, the opportunities for sex? In six years, I’ve got virtually nowhere with the former, and virtually everywhere with the latter. Which leads me to wonder where I’d be if I’d channelled my energies the other way around.

If I can find the dedication to keep going to the gym week in week out (which, like a lot of people, is at least as much about looking good as ‘feeling healthy’ or ‘getting fit’) why can’t I seem to demonstrate the same commitment to getting my songs recorded, writing more, and pursuing my ambitions?

Lotsa questions at the moment.

Bit of a heavy weekend. For once, I don’t mean just in the clubbing/drinking/partying sense (although that too), but yeah, a tough weekend.

There were good bits though: on Saturday evening we went to one of the open air concerts that run at Kenwood House, on Hampstead Heath, throughout the summer. It’s something of a London tradition, and extremely popular, judging by how early we had to arrive to secure a suitable spot on the grass – on which to sprawl, picnic, and imbibe yet more champagne. The concert itself was ‘A Tribute To The Rat Pack’, with good soundalikes of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr, among others. I think it’s a fairly safe bet that the real Sinatra never appeared under a giant ‘Sponsored by Waitrose’ logo, but you never know. A great setting though, with the audience on a hill facing across a lake to the stage, and as darkness fell during the last few numbers, fireworks for the big finish.

At the other end of the spectrum, circumstances which I’m not about to go into here have forced me to re-evaluate a lot of things - my life, my past, work, relationships, sex, self-esteem – y’know, the little things – a veritable soap opera’s worth of issues I suspect I’ve been guilty of pushing to the background lest they stand in the way of Having A Good Time, but now, for whatever reason, demand to be dealt with.

Some of them I might write about. It might help. Blog-as-therapy, and all that. Fear not though, we’ll be back to pop nonsense and yogurt before you know it...

Friday, July 19, 2002

On Earth, as it is in lego...

The Bible, as told through coloured plastic bricks. Extraordinary.

So there I was last Friday night, in an Earl's Court escort agency, choosing between boys.

Not for me, you understand, and not for, well, the usual purpose. But by way of moral support to a good friend who was after a hunky-waiter-in-skimpy-shorts to dish out the champagne at his housewarming and birthday bash the following night, just as a suitably decadent touch.

Kelvin and I were there purely to calm Steven's considerable nerves (and maybe just a little out of curiosity), and it was certainly an odd experience. Having been ushered from the street into the main living room of this perfectly ordinary-looking house ('Do you think it'll be all candles and soft music?' asked Steven. 'I doubt it - more likely techno and amyl' I replied - although in the event it was somewhere between the two), we were wondering exactly what was going to happen when our host drew back a large green curtain to reveal a glass door. Behind which, six shirtless guys lined up for our perusal, for all the world like you were choosing which puppy you wanted from the kennels. We could be seen just as clearly, resulting in much awkwardness on our side, not knowing quite where to look, but having to look all the same, that being the point of the exercise.

We attempted to come to a decision without too much huddling, conferring and pointing which would have felt just downright rude. I guess some people might enjoy the power in that situation, but to us it felt decidedly uncomfortable. After some discussion, Steven most liked the sound of one of the guys who wasn’t there that evening (a friendly 23-year-old Brazilian who did a great job on the night). So the curtain was briskly replaced, arrangements were made and we left, leaving the two ‘proper’ clients who’d just arrived to take their turn.

Definitely an odd experience, and having seen some of the real clients, I have a newfound admiration for the boys behind the curtain. Let’s just say it wouldn’t have been an easy night’s work...

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Posts now brought to you via Molly's suggestion of writing in Word and then uploading, by the way. Still frustrating, but almost bearable.

You may have read much about this year’s London Mardi Gras by now. Most of it not very complimentary, and with good reason. For my part, I had an alright kinda time, if only because, ply me with enough drink, and surround me with enough people dancing to suitably thumping music in a great big tent, I probably will. But a huge success it was not.

Prior to the event, there was much hullabaloo from most quarters about the choice of location, Hackney Marshes, in East London. I didn’t subscribe to this; having lived in the northern reaches of (whisper it) Zone 3 for six years, I’m well used to those central-dwellers who believe it takes three hours and a passport get anywhere further out than King’s Cross. Which is nonsense, it just takes a bit of nerve and some body armour.

Mis-advertising seemed to be the name of the game. ‘Just a short walk from Stratford station..’ read the publicity. Rubbish, as even the most cursory glance at the A-Z revealed, hence our trip aboard a packed train to the much-nearer Homerton station. ‘No more of those bar tokens that everyone hated last year’, promised an earlier ad. Which will be why the huge yellow banner in front of the gates read, er, ‘Bar Tokens’. ‘Gates open at 1.30pm’ (try 3pm once the necessary health and safety checks have actually been done), and so on.

Once inside, it was time to play ‘find the bar that actually sells beer’. Vodka jellies, alcopops and dubious-looking Red Bull wannabes all abounded, but could I find a nice, cold, honest-to-God can of beer to enjoy in the semi-sunshine? Not before I’d hiked approximately six miles round the site, anyway.

One of the reasons for the move to Hackney Marsh was supposedly that the venue could be ‘three times bigger than previous years!’, which it quite possibly was, although hands up anyone who thought, even fleetingly, that the Finsbury Park festivals were ‘too small’. No, thought not. The result was that, with the lower numbers more sparsely spread, the whole thing felt a little empty, and almost as flat as the Marsh itself. Not a great venue, and it's fair to say that going to ‘celebrate your sexuality’ in a hidden away corner of London where nobody can see you rather misses the point.

Purely in partying terms though, Radio 1’s stage and the Trade tent just about saved the day, so several hours and a fair few drinks later things had improved, and there were smiles all round, but next year it’s the March and Soho for me (and, I think, probably most people) unless there are some major changes.

From there it was back to the comforting familiarity of Soho, a bit of Bar Code, and then on down to Action for their post-Mardi Gras party. Which was good, but somehow didn’t quite live up to last month’s outing, I can’t put my finger on why, but somehow the requisite party atmosphere just wasn’t there. So we headed to Love Muscle, where it was in abundance, and it proved to be the highlight of the whole weekend. Actually, scrub that, Dame Edna’s show at the RVT the following day blew the whole thing out of the water of course, one of her finest and funniest for months.

So, not a complete loss, but I don’t think 2002 will be remembered as anybody’s favourite Mardi Gras. Still, roll on Brighton & Hove Pride in a few weeks' time, which will no doubt more than compensate.

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Now where was I? Oh yeah, Torquay, about a fortnight ago now. The 'English Riviera' as it would have it, and in fairness, rightly so. Okay, it isn't St Tropez, but there's an undeniable charm about the palm-lined promenade, and a certain sophistication among the faded glamour. It's also, on the couple of occasions I've visited in the last few years, a hell of a lot of fun.

This time was no exception, courtesy of our irrepressible hosts Paul and Rob. The five-and-a-half hour drive down to the South West wasn't a great start (note to the motorists of the Bristol area: the accelerator is the one on your right), but was swiftly forgotten amid much champagne on the balcony of their holiday apartment while the sun set over the bay (not to be seen again until Monday, this being Britain). Dinner at the Orange Tree, run by friends of our hosts, was genuinely superb, while later on at Rocky's, Torquay's gay 'nitespot' was genuinely scary for those unused to its, ahem, unique charms. Let's just say it's not likely to lose its Friday night clientele to the pages of GQ any time soon. Science, maybe. Why yes, that is my saucer of semi-skimmed, thank you.

But a lot of fun, four floors, a real mix of people, and much improved on Saturday night, when the club is at its busiest and the music is actually very good indeed. I'd tell you what happened afterwards, but you might be reading this at work. That, and the fact I'm still trying to blot some of the images from my mind...

Saturday also saw the local delicatessen raided for our picnic aboard a typically champagne-soaked speedboat trip around to some nearby coves - god, it's a hard life they lead down here - while the regular Sunday afternoon gathering at Ocean House, with a cocktail or two by the pool, rounded things off perfectly despite the lack of sunshine.

Hell, I was even happy to stay put rather than race back to London for the RVT. And you don't get much more of an accolade than that. Yep, I heart Torquay.

Finally, a few spare moments at home to catch up on some posting. Because it's official, I just can't write from work any more. It's irrational I'm sure, but with my screen in full view of those sitting near me and anyone who happens to walk past, I just can't, like, create. Granted, we're talking a few pithy comments and the odd tale here and there, not major works of art, but it's still a little like having people able to listen to music that you haven't finished composing, people looking at your painting when you can't even tell what it is yet. Rolf Harris might have been able to work that one, but not me.

Factor in the rumour currently circulating the office that our internet use is being monitored - how long we're spending online and on which sites - and you get, well, not a lot from this corner. Damned job - first it stole my hope, then it killed my soul, and now it's got its hands on my blog.

Did I mention I'm not entirely happy at work?

Wednesday, July 03, 2002

A whole week goes by and what do you get? Yogurt reviews.

Coming up, er, sometime: a wild weekend in Torquay, Dave gets on television, Mardi Gras, and how the political ramifications of the Nepalese government's latest economic policies may affect future growth on the stock markets of the Far East.

That last one might be a while coming, though.

Muller Lite Chocolate Yogurt. 99.7% fat free, it proclaims. Yes, because it's 99.7% chocolate free as well. Tastes a bit like yogurt. Doesn't taste at all like chocolate. Rubbish.

As feared, new desk arrangement is severely limiting blogging ability, on the grounds of the entire office, Chairman included, being able to see when I am Manifestly Not Working. I'm currently doing that trying-to-look-as-if-I'm-typing-an-important-pitch-document thing but I'm quite sure it's fooling no-one.

Still here. Just job-hunting. A lot.

Meanwhile, looks like I need a new picture-hosting facility, judging by the scary message below. I would upgrade but finances extremely tight at present - hence the job-hunting. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

A fantastic weekend though. Friday night's fundraiser at the RVT was a big success which you can read about here. Drag queens with water cannons, naked straight boys doing the hula, a surprise (and reluctant) appearance from Graham Norton, and plenty of money raised.

Saturday night's party meanwhile, wasn't a charity event but all the proceeds were ploughed into the decorations and entertainment, making for one of the most spectacularly lavish events I'm ever likely to attend. Held in the listed 19th Century ballroom of the Grand Hotel in Birmingham, with 300 guests, dinner, steel band, jugglers, cabaret, disco, and no end of wonderfully extravagant costumes (we felt downright plain in our cyber-silver get-up, in comparison), it almost made Moulin Rouge look like two bits of rag and a paper hat. The kind of party Elton John would have been proud of, methinks, and a truly spectacular night.

Quite how we got from there to Nightingale's, dressed only in the last remains of our costumes (leather shorts for myself and Kelvin, decidedly skimpy gold pants for Paul and Rob) remains a mystery. Apparently, getting taxis, getting into a club (being whisked past a long queue), getting drinks and getting home when you have absolutely no money on you and are wearing only your pants, is not as impossible as you might think.

Some pics, with mucho thanks to Kelvin for doing the laborious scanning. Must. Get. A. Digital. Camera.

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Curses. I wrote back last September or so how much I love my corner desk. It's a window seat and facing into the office (so free of people loitering behind me), and quite frankly, is the last thing keeping my job remotely bearable.

As of tomorrow though, an entirely unnecessary office re-shuffle (in the interests of 'fairness', apparently. Pah.) will find me plonked unceremoniously in the middle of things, with all and sundry able to see my screen. This means I will actually have to, like, work, which may drastically reduce my blog surfing and writing time even further.

Curses, I say.

Headline of the day: Danniella's boob explodes. Ouch.

Friday, June 21, 2002

Warning: rambling post with absolutely no direction coming up. It's Friday afternoon, deal with it.

So, Big Brother then. I've made no mention of it yet, on the grounds that I've really only had three words to say on the subject, which, in no particular order, are: 'Lee', 'arms' and 'woof!' (I'm with Chig on this one...)

But tonight's Spencer/Alex eviction could actually be very interesting. I'm for Alex staying in, if only because watching him skip girlishly around the house in flip-flops has been easily the most amusing thing so far.

Like the other big event of the day though, I shall miss it altogether, although not for a dull client meeting this time. The King's Cross Steelers, London's gay rugby team, are shortly off to San Francisco to play in the Bingham Cup, held in honour of rugby player Mark Bingham and his heroic efforts aboard United Flight 93 on September 11th. Tonight's a fund-raising event and send-off party held at some little place called the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, and knowing at least some of them, should be quite a party.

Meanwhile, belated reports from last weekend. In the unlikely event that anyone comes here looking for clubbing tips in London (and not, say, things such as the aforementioned search request) then I highly recommend Action. We rolled along to their second outing last Saturday and were most impressed. Great venue - I'm not sure what The Mayfair Works used to be, but it would have made a great school assembly hall, warehouse, or hangar for a small-ish aircraft with not very big wings. Much better than that sounds though, big, big dancefloor, plenty of bars, nice upstairs chill-out area, even an outdoor area for when it all got a bit too much. Very nice indeed, good music, and although we'd had fears of it being full of the sort of people who wear sunglasses indoors (you know the sort I mean), a very friendly crowd. Big thumbs-up all round.

So there you have it: Big Brother, Gay Rugby, Action. Actually I think I like that better without the commas...

Search request in my referrer logs, reproduced without comment:


So it's 9am this morning. 30 million people across the UK, and countless more across the world are gathered in homes, pubs and offices, glued to their TVs. The build-up has been inescapable, the excitement overwhelming - it's THE match everyone wants to see, and everyone is watching. The first game in four years I actually want to see (since England's last match of the previous World Cup, which for some reason I found myself watching in a certain London gay sauna. Don't ask...)

And where am I? On a sodding tube to sodding Paddington for a sodding 9.30 meeting with a two-bit pointless client (who finds the suggestion of postponing said meeting 'ridiculous') to discuss some rubbish campaign that will probably never happen, thus rendering the whole thing a complete and utter fucking waste of time. Grrr.

Still, that was that I guess. Strange how the same England flags that looked so jublilant and patriotic hanging everywhere a few hours ago now just look rather sad and forlorn.

That's the football then. Next on Live in London: girls, cars, beer and shagging.

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Yay! New Framley Examiner pages. Ridiculously funny.

That's my day sorted, then.

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

A new mum loves Ikea furniture so much she has named her new-born daughter after it.

"I remember thinking it was nice furniture and would make a nice name for the baby.", said mum-of-four Linda, 26.

Ikea will be a lovely sister for twins Homebase and Do-It-All, 2, and brother Carpet Warehouse, 3.

Okay, so I made the last bit up.

What would you sell your soul for? Apparently you can get £11.61 for it on ebay.

Me, I'd settle for some more sleep right now...

Friday, June 14, 2002

Camp cabaret news now, and American drag artiste Varla Jean Merman makes a welcome return to the Soho Theatre in her one-woman show. As they might say on 'London Tonight'.

Saw her last time around, but this review is spot on and probably tells you more than mine did. Good fun if you like that sorta thing.

Ah, weekend. Just about in sight, at last. There is a law that states that your first week back at work after a holiday will seem only marginally shorter than the average Ice Age - and this week's certainly been no exception.

Things I'm looking forward to this weekend: more Yard-based drunkenness this evening, the joys of Camden Market tomorrow, a barbecue at Jonathan's, possibly giving new club Action a whirl tomorrow night, and finally, on Sunday (after four whole weeks off - the withdrawal symptoms have not been pretty) - Return To The RVT! Hurrah.

Meanwhile, should you be in need of somewhere to overindulge this weekend, why not try the automatic Pub Crawl Generator? There's no quality control so who knows where you might end up.

Which could, of course, be half the fun.

I'm being pursued by Mick Hucknall.

Well, not in person, but Simply Red's 'Stars' has been following me everywhere I go today. On the radio this morning, in a shop at lunchtime, and on yet another radio station now. There's no escape.
'And I-I-I-I wanna fall from the stars...'

Oh if only, Mick, if only.

Thursday, June 13, 2002

I wondered why there was a group of about 30 excitable fans congregated yesterday outside the Chancery Court Hotel, close to my office in Holborn. Mostly too old to be screaming boyband fans, but simply not enough of them to have been anyone mega-famous.
'Michael! Michael!' they shouted (surely Michael Owen's in Japan? I thought. Apparently there's some football thing on.)

But thanks to Popbitch I now know - we have a certain M. Jackson in residence. Anyone want an autograph? (trust me, there's not much of a queue...)

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

You know you're getting old when...
A newsletter arrives from lastminute.com with their Top 40 gift suggestions for Father's Day, which falls on Sunday here in the UK. You're not sure what your dad would like, but there are things on it you'd like yourself. Lots of them.

When did I suddenly get middle-aged?! Hmph.

[trundles off in pipe and slippers in search of mislaid golfing magazine]

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

Two weeks ago it was Official Stress Week, judging from the number of sites (mine included) expressing some form of desperation and despair over workloads and that sorta thing. Just what was going on there?

This week, I'm declaring National Costume Dilemma Week. David's already having one; and here's mine.

I'm going to a sort of charity ball thing in Birmingham next weekend, partly organised by some of our more flamboyant friends. The costume theme (as opposed to the event) is 'Mardi Gras' - which is pretty broad, although one thing's for certain: knowing at least some of the (mixed, but predominantly gay) crowd, there's no danger of being too risque nor over-the-top. Quite literally anything will go, I imagine.

I'm strangely drawn towards some kind of gladiator outfit (as in the Russell Crowe movie, not the lycra-clad ITV gameshow, that is), but suspect this is purely because I quite fancy the idea and not because it has anything to do with the theme, which admittedly, it doesn't. And I already have the arm-bands.

So I'm thinking Mardi Gras and everything I see seems to involve silver hotpants, wings, feathers, or indeed all three. More imagination is needed, I feel. So, any suggestions?

Oh, and feel free to contribute your own dilemmas - even if it's just what to wear to work tomorrow. We'll all help.

I've been most remiss. Some of you lovely people have been signing my guestbook, and I've not even got around to thanking you for your kind words. So, belatedly, thank you. I love you all. Repeatedly. And with props/whipped cream/leather implements if required. The choice is yours.

And since we're doing the lurve thang: big hellos and linky-love to more lovely people who've pointed their pointery things in this general direction. Always appreciated (and apologies if I've missed anyone).

Not forgetting those of you who drop back here every so often to read this nonsense. You're lovely too.

Whew. Think I need a cigarette now. Was it good for you?

Monday, June 10, 2002

Speaking of chat groups, whilst checking the BBC website to see if there's any hope of sunshine for the weekend - and thus a bit of Highgate Ponds sunbathing-type action (there is - yay!) I couldn't help noticing they have a 'Weather Chat' room. Weather Chat?

This being Britain, I can only imagine every conversation starts something like:

dullbore272: Dreadful weather we're having for the time of year aren't we?
olddearinstockport: Ooh, I know. I thought it was going to be nice today or I'd never have gone out without my cardigan
dullbore272: They say there might be more showers tomorrow, too. *Sigh*
olddearinstockport: It's a woollen cardigan, you know. One of those nice ones from M&S.

Or thereabouts.

I've got a new PC. At work, at least. Finally the steam-powered monstrosity I've been struggling with for the past four years is consigned to the IT department bin and I have a sleek(ish), fully functioning mean machine. But four years' worth of settings, shortcuts, colour preferences and who knows what else have all of course disappeared. It's strangely disconcerting. And it's a PC belonging to someone who was recently made redundant. I feel like I'm walking around a dead man's house, looking in cupboards at things that aren't mine and wondering why they chose those curtains.

In other news, the MD and Chairman are having a company-wide email debate as to whether the guy in the sandwich shop downstairs is wearing eyeliner, and Mat has kindly changed my log-in password to 'Spunkboy'; this is revenge for my signing him up to 'Gay Bald Toupee Wearers', '19th Century Facial Hair', 'Piggers' (for people who love pigs, and boy, do they ever...) and other bizarre chat groups who now drop him many an email.

Just another day.

Back, back, back. And brown, goddammit, brown. Well, actually a rather Judith Chalmers shade of orange at the moment but if the gods of self-inflicted skin damage are smiling, very soon, brown.

Ibiza was lovely. Speaking as someone whose impressions of the island were previously based on mixed reports from friends, travel brochures, and shelves in music stores full of 'The Best Ibiza Club Anthems Ever!! Apart From All The Ones That Were On The Previous 19 Volumes', I hadn't been sure whether to expect a peaceful, idyllic paradise, or a frenzy of drug-fuelled hedonism in an aircraft hangar. Or indeed, both.

In the event though our week leaned, perhaps surprisingly, towards the former. We stayed around fifteen minutes' walk from Ibiza Town itself, in Figueretas, a small, beachside resort which is home to a handful of bars, restaurants, and most of the accommodation available through the gay holiday companies. Ours, the Sud Studios was probably the only disappointment of the holiday. We knew it wasn't going to be luxurious - it didn't need to be - but a sofa where the bit of wood serving as a makeshift support didn't snap the moment you sat down, beds that didn't collapse the moment you attempted anything more than a cuddle, and bathrooms that had been refurbished at some point since the 1930s might have been nice. Oh, and some, like, cleaning or something. Still, it was very reasonable, the location was great, and above all the views from the balconies were stunning, being right on the seafront - beaches to the right and left, plenty of palm trees, a gorgeous waterfront restaurant below where the waves practically lap at the legs of the tables, and the most incredible turquoise water stretching right out towards the smaller island of Formentera.

Apart from a couple of cloudy mornings and a couple of showers, we got lucky with the sunshine, so the days consisted mainly of lounging - on Figueretas beach, on the smaller gay beach nearby (something of a scramble down a cliff path to get there but well worth the effort - not least because the difficult access keeps it free of Families With Children That Scream), and by the Hotel Cenit's gorgeous rooftop pool, with its sociable atmosphere, a poolside bar, and being atop a hill, the most stunning views across the bay. If it weren't for that pesky, y'know, flight thing, I'd still be lying there now.

For the evenings it was into Ibiza Town, which consists principally of the Port area (lots of narrow, winding, whitewashed streets sprinkled with boutiques and bars) and towering over it, the Old Town (D'Alt Vila), an ancient fortress city accessed only by a handful of arches, with cobbled streets and history and character oozing out of every well-preserved stone. It looks stunning when the giant outer walls are lit up by night, too.
'Wow! It's just so...drama!' gushed someone who couldn't possibly have been me.

Restaurants - good, loads of them, many in exceptionally picturesque settings; Shops - lots of them, mostly tiny, bit limited but who cares? And then there's the nightlife.

Much of the rowdy, lagered-up, Club 18-30 hell you see on the likes of 'Ibiza Uncovered' is confined to San Antonio on the north coast, and the big-name clubs are out of town too, so by night it's largely locals, non-clubbing tourists, and the gay crowd filling up the bars. Ibiza's season doesn't really get going until mid-late June, and last week was apparently relatively quiet, but still lively enough - a clutch of bars on Calle de la Virgen blends more or less into one as everyone stands out in the street, and from there it's usually up to Angelo's, a plush terrace bar against the imposing backdrop of the D'Alt Vila wall.

Of the mega-clubs, most have yet to get going for the season. Space's opening party was already in full swing when our plane touched down (we, however were in a post-Purple daze, and in no state to contemplate anything stronger than one or two beers), while Amnesia was due to open Saturday night but postponed a week due to the relatively low numbers on the island. Still, with tales of three-hour entrance queues, £30+ admission, £7 water bottles and over-zealous security staff abounding, it's something I wasn't overly bothered about missing: at least it'll be something new to experience next time.

So, as a result, we saw rather a lot of Anfora, Ibiza's only gay club, tucked high up in the Old Town and home to a sunken dancefloor in a cave, impromptu drag shows, theme nights (Thursday's 70s/80s night is worryingly popular), an aviary and oh, all manner of other things. And certainly an eclectic crowd - as with many Spanish resorts a large German contingent (cruel tongues suggested they may have thought it was 80s night every night, to judge from the Bonnie-Tyler-backing-dancer look), Brits, French, Americans, Dutch men who'd left their wives on the other side of the island for a night of fun (which they duly found, mentioning no names...), amongst others.

And that was pretty much it - lots of sun, lots of relaxing - hey, even lots of sleep. That never happens on a holiday. Being too lazy to haul our asses any further than Ibiza Town means there's loads of the island, the vast majority in fact, that I haven't seen - and on the basis of what we did see, I'm sure it'll be beautiful. But plenty of time for that on future trips, I think. I can see there being many.

Next stop, the now annual return to the happiest homo hotspot of them all, Sitges, in late August. Two months and two weeks away. Not that I'm counting.

Friday, May 31, 2002

Of which, more much later, apparently. Am beginning to despair at current lack of any spare time whatsoever, resulting in inability to blog anything until several eons after the event. Really must find new job which allows for a little more breathing space. Except, guess what? I haven't got time.

So, just a quickie for now - this afternoon brings the company sports day (potentially hideous team-building nightmare), tomorrow brings Purple In The Park, and on Sunday: (Woo!) We're going to Ibiza!

On the subject of which, I promise a full report. Sometime around November, at this rate...

Tuesday, May 28, 2002

Saturday night continued at the new, improved Crash (now with an extra railway arch in which to comprehensively lose the plot) and then - the highlight of the weekend, on Sunday night, Miss Kylie Minogue, at Wembley Arena. Of which, more later...

Alrighty then. Two words sum up last week: Work Hell (tautology if ever I heard it). So let's skip straight to the weekend, the good times, the happy, smiling, fun-in-a-bun bits. And where better to start than...

Which I hadn't expected to see, clashing as it did with Kirsty and Claire's barbecue to celebrate moving into their new exclusive Clapham man-trap. It transpired to be an afternoon affair though, and much fun: I did my bit by 'chargrilling' (read: incinerating) a variety of meat products and helping to shift copious quantities of sparkling alcoholic concoctions (well, you've got to help out at these things, haven't you?).

From there it was a stumble on to the Northern Line, and up to the King William IV in Hampstead along with Greg, Phil, Rick and Jonathan, for the big event, on the big screen. Other pubs will no doubt be getting these in for the World Cup, with the King William it's Eurovision. Hmm, spot the gay pub.

Arrived too late for our entry, which I still haven't heard in full and probably never will, but the place was packed, and great to watch the show as part of a big crowd (almost as good as watching at home with the lyrics amusingly translated into English on teletext subtitles - try it if you ever get chance...). Ah, the cheesy presenters, the glitz, the glamour, the incomprehensible videos between each song - all present and correct. Big cheers went up for the Slovenian 'sisters' (okay, the song sucked but they deserved points for sheer, erm, balls), big cheers for Israel from the sizeable Jewish contingent of NW3, and as usual, big bewilderment at the utterly baffling voting. Latvia? Eh? One would almost suspect there's a conspiracy afoot to systematically bankrupt the Baltic nations by means of forced Eurovision-hosting. Well, it nearly worked on Ireland...

For the real Eurovision dirt though, go visit Chig and Mike, who were, like, there. And roll on, erm (rapidly flicking through atlas...) Riga!

Monday, May 20, 2002

And hello to Guy who I met in The Yard on Friday and at last night's RVT extravanganza. (y'see? remembered!)

I think I'm missing the gay shopping gene. Braving the West End on a Saturday maybe isn't the greatest of ideas (especially when you have somewhat over-indulged on the Friday night) but I thought I'd be ok.

The long and leisurely breakfast in Compton St was easy. And I survived Soho with relatively little difficulty, garnering a surprising number of purchases (for me, this means any number more than zero). By the time we reached Oxford St though, the bright lights and trying to take in everything at once were starting to do my eyes in, until I finally came over all funny in H&M and had to go home and lie down.

Is this normal?

It's time to leave the country
A glance at HMV's new releases page reveals no fewer than eight football-themed singles released next week, and one more the week after, including such stellar talents as, erm, DJ Otzi.

This cannot be good.

Can't get you out of my head...
It just won't budge. Liberty X's surprisingly marvellous 'Just A Little' has been going round and around in my head for days, and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. Ditto for quite a few people it seems, as it gets a well-deserved No.1 this week.

And if their next single - a cover of one of THE all-time great dance records (a hit in 1990 and still sounding fantastic), doesn't follow in its footsteps, I'll eat my proverbial.

Perhaps it'll make up for beating off thousands of Popstars hopefuls (which might sound like a scenario for a porn film, but isn't) only to be constantly referred to as the 'losers' and 'rejects'.

Yes, sirree, a good tune. Now somebody please make it stop.

Friday, May 17, 2002

Whoa, where did the last 14 days go? There I was, just minding my own business, and along came what I can only describe as a whirlwind of partying, clubbing, workin' like a dawg, and er, DIY - all of which pretty much negated any quality bloggin' time.

So, by way of an update, it's time for the Top Ten Facts I Have Learned In The Last Fourteen Days:

1. When friends say to you, on a Friday afternoon: 'Let's just go to The Yard for a couple of drinks after work' they are lying. This is especially true if it is a Bank Holiday weekend and reasonably sunny. The 'couple' will rapidly turn into about sixteen, and you will later find yourself staggering from your table in Balans, having taken approximately an hour to finish your steak, and being completely unable to face the fourth bottle of red wine that you don't even remember ordering. It will, however, be fun.

2. Love Muscle always rises to special occasions rather well. The Bank Holiday bash was a huge improvement on the previous month's somewhat dismal outing (largely down to the slightly altered DJ line-up), much to the relief of many.

Related facts: you would swear the resident strippers get, well, bigger every time. So does hostess Yvette. Yvette's frocks however, do not. The combination of these last two is not pretty.

3. The LA3 (or 'la-trois' as the D.E.Experience would have it) when held at the Electrowerks in Islington on a Bank Holiday weekend, is quite possibly the best fucking club in the entire known universe. I haven't stopped boring people since with tales of the wonderfully labyrinthine venue, fantastic music, deliciously dark'n'dodgy decor that made it seem for all the world like a spontaneous illegal rave (not that I would have any idea what those are like - no, really, before my time...), and utterly electrifying atmosphere. Okay, yes, everyone's favourite second vowel may have been affecting my judgement - I recall running into Rob a number of times whilst barely able to remember my own name - but really, this was damn good. Being a new and unexplored venue (to me, at least) added to the whole thing and in short, I can't remember the last time clubbing was this downright exciting. Absolute shit-hole mind you, but when did that ever stop somewhere being a whole lot of fun? (see also: Royal Vauxhall Tavern).

4. Kandi Kane is not the Dame Edna Experience. She is, however, a more than worthy stand-in; her show at the RVT on Bank Holiday Monday was a treat, and very funny, despite having seen much of the material on her last appearance. Anyone whose theme song is Odyssey's gloriously kitschy 'Native New Yorker' is just fine by me.

5. Four days of perpetual indulgence appears to leave you with a small, but consistent throbbing in your forehead. Like the veins are just too damn big or something. A definite throbbing. Or maybe more of a pulsing.

Either way, it will be like being in Babylon 5 or one of those many other sci-fi things where they seem to have decided that space aliens and super-intelligent beings of the future would opt to look exactly like humans, but with oddly-shaped bits of plastic moulded into their foreheads. Because, of course, they would.

6. Four days' partying = four days' hangover. The equation is apparently that simple. Suffice to say last week was a complete, fully comprehensive, write-off.

7. Don't go believing that, just because you have washed a dark green item of clothing several times before, it has lost its ability to find the white underwear you accidentally put in with it, and turn it a shade of green normally seen only in doctors' waiting rooms, and on Kermit the Frog.

8. Replacing your would-be-ok-if-it-wasn't-beige bathroom carpet with vaguely realistic 'wood effect' flooring is actually cheaper and easier than you might think - and it really will transform your bathroom. Yes, last weekend Kelvin, Greg and I came over all Carol Smillie (let's not conjure with that image, okay?...) and set about transforming our cosy but well-worn residence. A lick of paint, a big plant (Coco Palm, £5, Ikea), aforementioned flooring and a Playstation and voila! - it's a sleek, chic and stylish bachelor pad. You could almost be in Clerkenwell. Sort of.

9. Homebase, the DIY 'superstore', is evil and wrong.

10. I want to be an estate agent. No, really. Weirdness.