Wednesday, January 30, 2002

Pictorial evidence from Saturday night's party - from which it's shamefully easy to trace the increasing drunkenness (particularly on my part) as the night wears on...

No, I don't know what was going on with the hats, either...

Tuesday, January 29, 2002


So what
animal best portrays your sexual appetite??

Who knew?

Ooh, lookee. New colours! Ahhhh.

Monday, January 28, 2002

Now, it could be embarrassing when, shortly after the weekend, you go into a shop to purchase something, absent-mindedly hand over a £20 note, and only once you have done so, notice that it is still rolled up really, really tightly. Like, y'know.

As luck would have it though, the name of the shop in question? So High Soho.


Meanwhile, it was a curious Sunday. A freak Sunday. A one-off, never to be repeated Sunday. Why? Because, believe it or not, I did not go to the Royal Vauxhall Tavern.

I'd planned to. But by five o'clock the back I'd put out on Saturday (not, I'm sorry to say, through some over-athletic, ahem, exertion, but more mundanely by trying to Lift A Stereo At A Funny Angle - don't do it, kids!) still wasn't permitting much in the way of movement, much less actual dancing.

So Kelvin and I set out to spend Sunday night like, y'know, normal people do. And thoroughly disorienting it was too - like when you're jet-lagged and don't really know what day or time it is. It can't be 7pm on Sunday - where's my pint? Where's Edna? Why have I got so many clothes on? What's going on??!!

And have you seen Sunday night television?

Like Saturday night, I have learned my lesson. Staying in is Evil And Wrong. Going out is the new going out.

You heard it here first.

Well, the party all went off okay, from what little I recall. I had a couple of hours of the usual 'is-anyone-going-to-turn-up?' concern, but eventually, braving atrocious weather conditions, the troops arrived, the music played (which, incidentally seemed to go down fine, despite my earlier concerns...) and the alcohol flowed. And flowed. And flowed. When one of your guests happens to be a wine and beer buyer for a large and well-known supermarket chain, you'd be amazed at just how much of aforementioned product they can rustle up at a moment's notice. Not to mention the vodka shots, oh good god the vodka shots...

Things I do remember: Hats - lots of hats. Absinthe. Seeing rather too much of the toilet bowl (probably related to the previous item). Someone arriving about midnight and saying 'Hi! I'm a friend of... a friend of...' and being completely unable to remember who their friend was. Having a debate with Dan about the respective merits of the Almighty mixes of 'The Way To Your Love' and 'Halfway Around The World' (it's 'The Way To Your Love' for me, but only by the tiniest of margins...). Being a hopeless host by collapsing into bed with Kelvin at half-past-three well before everyone had left, while my erstwhile flatmate collapsed into bed with one of our guests...

Things I don't remember: Pretty much everything else. How there came to be gold glitter spray sparkling over almost everything in my room (including most of my work clothes - that's going to be an interesting look this week). How I managed to rip my jeans. Anyone actually leaving. Oh dear.

Still, a good night I think. Although what with the near-poisoning by alcohol, throwing up, clothes destruction and rather painfully pulling a muscle in my back one thing's for sure: I'm going out this Saturday. It's safer...

Okay, so 'prolific' isn't exactly my middle name at the moment. It's Stuart.

But there will be writing. Lots and lots of lovely writing. Possibly. Or not.

Friday, January 25, 2002

To no-one's great surprise, I'm not an avid reader of sports pages or websites - but nevertheless, ladies and gentlemen, I give you: the best football headline ever?

Wednesday, January 23, 2002

And as another holiday season slips out of sight and out of mind, up pops another excuse for Hallmark and co to flog you piles of useless tat.

Fortunately the people who brought you the gallery of unfortunate Christmas cards are here with a whole host of Unfortunate Valentine's Cards you can send instead.

From the 'let's-milk-a-great-show-for-all-it's-worth-until-everyone's-tired-of-it' file: So Graham Norton is to go five nights a week on Channel 4, from May. Don't do it, Graham!

Very excited Dave at the moment. OK, so it's only been three weeks since the Gran Canaria escapade, but already the general dark/cold/dullness of the British winter has got me hankering for the heat and craving the sunshine. So the good news is that, in a little under two months' time, Kelvin and I are off to sunny Cape Town.

It's somewhere I've always wanted to visit, up there in my top three wish-list with Sydney and Rio, so I'm more than somewhat happy about it. And better yet, my tour guide - sorry, boyfriend - just happens to be a local, and if you can't rely on a local to show you a good time, then who can you?

Counting days already....

Tuesday, January 22, 2002

It occurs I've written the whole of the previous post with no mention of the sex, drugs and rock'n'roll. Which were all present, although not necessarily in that order. With the possible exception of the rock'n'roll.

Will attempt to be more salacious in future, honest.

Thirty-six hours...

Saturday 9.00pm
Leave house (running late as usual), heading for Sven's birthday drinks in Soho.

Saturday 9.25pm
Exit tube at Piccadilly Circus, text message flashes up from Kirsty with the Pop Idol result. Yes, we are actually tragic enough to have pre-arranged to do this. I am hooked - I think it's something to do with knowing that, had it been around five years ago or so, I'd almost certainly have entered. I kid myself that I'd have got past the first audition. I do not kid myself, however, that I'd have got anywhere near the final ten - judging from my experience in a similar competition many years ago in a glamorous (ahem) Birmingham nightclub. A story for another post though, I think.

Saturday 9.30pm
Arrive at Freedom in Wardour St, where aforementioned drinks are taking place. Freedom has long been one of my least favourite venues, being a shining example of everything that can be wrong with a London bar. Overpriced? Check. Pretentious? Check. Staff who act as if they're doing you a favour by allowing you to hand over vast sums of your hard-earned? Check. However, having closed last year and recently re-opened under new ownership, there was hope that things may have changed. They haven't.

Surly door woman attempts to charge us £5 to get in, despite it being only an ordinary bar, not a club, and it being only half-past nine. After much explaining that we are here for a birthday bash for which the host has reserved part of the venue, which at first they deny all knowledge of, we are grudgingly allowed in. We get (extortionately priced) drinks and join the others in the corner they have reserved. We're standing, and though the bar is all but empty besides ourselves, the staff are quick to inform us that we can't stand where we are, we'll be in their way, and can we please sit down at the table next to us? Not that they're actually coming round with trays of drinks or anything - presumably they just require a clear path to mince to full effect in their hideous crop tops.

So we're sat down, and five minutes later, the staff again - we can't actually sit at that table, we'll need to all squash up on to the same table as everyone else. This despite the fact that bar is still half empty and there are spare tables galore. The urge to shout: "But there's nobody else here!!" and "I've paid £5 for this bloody beer and I'm bloody well going to drink it where I bloody well like!" becomes rather too strong, so making loud noises of disapproval in the staff's direction, and apologies to Sven, we leave.

Freedom is still, officially, the worst bar in London.

Saturday 9.50pm
Over the road to The Village - maybe not London's most exciting venue, but with like, actual pints, normally priced, and hey, you can even stand (or sit) wherever you like. Infinitely better.

Saturday 11.45pm
A tube ride to Brixton later, we make it to Hope at the George IV. It's suitably bustling, the music is great, and the usual drunkenness and debauchery follows. I attempt to dance up on the (rather high and narrow) stage, but give up on realising that what I'm doing in my inebriated state isn't 'dancing', but somewhere between 'balancing' and 'teetering', and probably dangerous. A great night, though.

Sunday 6.00am
Bed. Much needed.

Sunday 2.00pm
A combination of rain and laziness makes us order a cab to Phil and Nigel's place in Swiss Cottage, rather than attempting public transport. A magical mystery tour of North London ensues, covering the six miles or so in, er, just over an hour.

Sunday 3.10pm
Arrive at Phil's for drinks, viewing of the lost holiday photos (which have returned and may even make it to this screen once judiciously edited), and Moulin Rouge on DVD. Not one to do things by halves, the TV is draped in red satin for the occasion, and a tray of popcorn and choc ices appears halfway through.

Sunday 5.45pm
To the Vauxhall Tavern just in time for Dame Edna's best show for weeks, and the usual frivolity. Fantastic.

Sunday 11.45pm
Return home to find Greg and Kirsty, who've clearly been drinking continously since Phil's, dancing on Greg's bed, wine in hand, Abba blaring, and on the mobile to a friend in Hong Kong. Oh dear. And I thought I was drunk.

Monday 9.00am
Ouch. Extremely hurty head. Monday. At work. Ugh.

Friday, January 18, 2002

Is it just me who, when buying a banana and then returning to the office, has to press the buttons on the door keypad and the lift, with the banana?

Wow, what a week. Sometimes, you just can't keep up with it all, the social whirl, the drama, the tears, the laughter, the relentless pace of big city living. And then sometimes, you get a week like this. In which, I can categorically state, not one single thing of note, interest, or worthy of comment, has occurred. Hence the lack of updates. Not that it normally stops me - yeah, I know.

Still, such is January. So in an effort to combat this seasonal malaise, we've decided to throw a party in our flat next weekend. Not a big, over-the-top, ballons-and-party-poppers-a-go-go party like we normally do, but a more civilised gathering. A soiree, if you will. As a reaction to whole festival of tack that is Christmas, we're thinking clean, fresh, simple, and minimal. Cynics might interpret this as simply being too broke at the end of the month to go to town on decorating the flat. Cynics would be right. But it should be fun.

It's fallen to me as normal, as the owner of the largest CD collection, to sort out the music. An easy, nay enjoyable, task as a rule - simply involving throwing some long tapes together so that I don't have to spend all night hovering over the stereo and can get down to the important business of drinking and, er, hosting. For some reason though, it's proving difficult this time.

Our last party, at Mardi Gras, was easy. It's the gayest day in the whole calendar, and so I simply put together the gayest tape in the whole world ever. Nothing was considered too camp or cheesy for this tape. With the exception of 'It's Raining Men', which there really should be a law against.

However this time will be an altogether more mixed affair - straight people, gay people, compulsive clubbers, people who haven't been out since 1992, techno devotees, and people whose ears bleed at anything harder than Steps. How to satisfy such a varied audience? My first attempt was to throw in a bit of everything - a hard house record here, a cheesy pop tune there, a bit of this, a bit of that. Which resulted in an incoherent mess that in trying to be all things to everybody succeeded only in being everything to nobody.

So I've decided the only way forward is just to play what the heck I like. Hell, I'll enjoy it even if nobody else does. So, to no-one's surprise, it all now sounds rather like a Sunday night at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern. Some people will be like: 'You MUST lend me this tape!', and some people will be like: 'What IS this bollocks?', but I am determined not to care. I shall simply top up their Babycham, bring out the Ferrero Rocher, and dazzle them with a cheese-and-pineapple hedgehog. How can it fail?

Tuesday, January 15, 2002

From the junk mail folder this morning:

Jumpstart Your Desire in both Men and Women
Super Sex Pill with no side effects!

"I've had fantastic sex, but this stuff made me feel like I
had rockets shooting out everywhere . . . rockets!!!" says Made-Up Name of California.

Is it just me, or does this sound rather uncomfortable?

One can only feel for the unfortunate partner...

Monday, January 14, 2002

Another Monday, another hangover. Which, today, we have decided to treat with the soothing sounds of Jazz FM. Nice. And it's working pretty well to be fair, although the continuous flow of soft muzak is giving me the impression that I've spent the entire day milling around a supermarket.

Another fine weekend though. Mulholland Drive was everything you'd hope for from a David Lynch movie: beautiful, intriguing, stylish, eerie, cryptic, sultry actresses, red curtains, black coffee, the dwarf guy - the works. And, as ever, deliciously confusing - I'd have to see it again to even try and make sense of the plot (not that making sense is necessarily the point), but meanwhile the writers of this article have had a pretty good go.

Saturday, and Love Muscle rolled around again, this time with fake snow (which is a bugger to get out of your drink when it falls in) adding to the usual party atmosphere, while Sunday at the RVT, as David notes, was almost as awash with bloggers as with alcohol - along with a near-full house of the usual suspects. Hence the hangover.

Is it Friday yet?

Friday, January 11, 2002

So I just booked in for a re-assessment thing at the gym, and was told the following:

'OK, so that's next Friday, it'll be with Joel, y'know, our new Aussie fitness instructor. He'll sort you out.'

Six months ago I'd have paid good money to hear that kind of thing...

Joy of joy of joys. And one of those odd coincidences. Only on Tuesday was I wondering "when oh when is the fabulous Black Books (probably the best new comedy for years in my humble opinion) going to come back on Channel 4?"

And the answer is: tonight. Hurrah! Okay it's only repeats, but I'll still have to get that video going nonetheless, for this evening we're off to see Mulholland Drive, something else I'm thoroughly looking forward to.

For someone who watches very little TV and even less cinema, today is an embarrassment of riches.

Thursday, January 10, 2002

OK, it's time for a little game. No, really. It'll be fun, honest.

What you have to do is change one letter of a film title to come up with an entirely new one, and a brief synopsis or tagline for it. For example:

'Epic drama about an exotic fruit shortage in the French capital' - Last Mango In Paris

'Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the synagogue...' - Jews

'Children's film about an orgy in the back of an old car' - Chitty Chitty Gang Bang

'Medium-length record visits earth, befriends small boy on bicycle' - E.P.

...are just some that our office have come up with so far, but I know you can do better. Drop any suggestions in the comments box, email me, or whatever - and I'll post the best, oh, sometime. Winners will receive an all-expenses-paid sense of achievement for two in the location of their choice.

Come and have a go if you think you're bored enough.

Inspired classified ads...

STAIRS for sale. Unwanted gift. Used
once. Owner upstairs and not coming
down now. £200. Must collect. Tel
Framley 943 208

HOLIDAY PHOTOS - 36 exposures. Would
suit young couple with two blonde children
who've been to Spain. £5. Box FE8219

LADIES' magnetic bike. Sticks to any
surface. Graceful and magnetic. With
'Lady' costume. £47. Box FE8034

These and many, many, many more at the Framley Examiner. Love it.

Wednesday, January 09, 2002

Hyper-irritating, over-rated warblers aside, there are very few things that really get my goat. I probably have one of the least-got goats in London.

However. I received an unsolicited email earlier, informing me of the latest update to the truly horrifying (I'm not linking it, they really don't deserve the traffic), a site which 'is aimed unashamedly and squarely at the A-List of London gays. We want to become the standard guide to the worlds [sic] gay elite who want to know where to go and what to do while in gay London.'

Ok you might think, maybe it's a bit tongue-in cheek, just a bit of fun. But there's no irony to be found whatsoever. They're actually serious. Aside from the unforgivably naff name, doesn't this strike anyone as just ludicrously, up-its-own-arse, pretentious? Aha - but they have an answer for that:

'If you think our mission to accomodate the world's gay elite sounds pretentious or you don't know what the A-list is, then I'm sorry, you're obviously not on it.'

Well, newsflash. You've asked me to be. Twice. Waggling your sorry camera in my direction. And on both occasions I've declined, because it is deeply, deeply pretentious.

Doesn't the very notion of having an 'A-list', a group of people who are somehow superior to all the mere mortal clubbers and look down their noses at everyone else, completely go against everything that good clubbing should be about: i.e. inclusive, attitude-free, and welcoming regardless of shape, size, age, or colour? Why don't you just install gas chambers at the door and get rid of anyone who doesn't fit into your 'supreme race'? And this from a site which purports to concern itself with providing a guide to the best-quality clubs in London.

Still, I guess it does serve as a guide of sorts. Simply skim through and you'll know exactly where to avoid if you don't want to be surrounded by the kind of people who would buy into this elitist nonsense. Handy.

Tuesday, January 08, 2002

And in shock news today, Dave finally works out how to put some pictures up on his site (yeah, I'm so tech-literate it scares me too...)

Still, should anyone be wondering who's been writing this nonsense all this time, herewith the awful truth. Tell me, do you think this was too much for the office Christmas party?

Dave, Greg, Phil and I having another night out on the town...

And somewhat more sensibly, posing in front of some scenic old people in Paris..

There'd be holiday photos from Gran Canaria but a whole catalogue of catastrophe has wiped most of those out. Which is probably just as well, all things considered...

Monday, January 07, 2002

Shamelessly stolen (but too good not to) from the excellent troubled diva: it's

It is to have lots of fun when you seeing of this site!

I'm sorry, Google searcher, I can't oblige with naked pics of vin diesel, but should you have any luck, the email address is just at the end here...

New comments facility up and running (thanks to Molly for the link). Hurrah.

I've got RVT ear today. It's a condition brought on by prolonged exposure to high levels of high-energy, hands-in-the-air pop nonsense at extremely high volume in a run-down shack on the side of a South London roundabout. Which has led, as always, to everything being somewhat muffled today.

On the plus side, I'm thinking of capitalising on this by pretending not to be able to hear the phone and thus having a stress-free day.

On the down side, it hasn't prevented me from being subjected to Nelly Furtado's new single on the radio just now. You've got to hand it to her. Three consecutive singles so intensely, fingers-scraping-down-blackboard irritating that you have to reach for the 'OFF' button immediately - there's got be some kind of award for that, surely? (The 'Dido', perhaps?)

And, somehow, impossible though it may seem, each one manages to be even more irritating than the one before. I have it on good authority that her fourth single will be an interactive experience whereby she follows you around, repeating everything you say in a childish voice, whilst continually prodding your shoulder.

This madness must be stopped.

Christmas is over, the decorations are down, and it's time to consign all those cards to the bin. Especially if they're anything like this lot...(via mybluehouse)

Wednesday, January 02, 2002

...and a Happy New Year! If somewhat belated.

So, how was it for you? I'm still recovering, but it's safe to say both Christmas and New Year roundly kicked the butt of any previous year in no uncertain terms.

Christmas Eve saw the aforementioned six of us up early, heading for Gatwick, and on to the Air 2000 (who must be considering a name change sometime soon - let's face it, would you really want to fly Air 1982?) flight to Gran Canaria. I settled back, kicked my shoes off to get comfortable, and the woman next to me fainted and spent the rest of the journey with her head in a plastic bag. I hope these two things are not related.

We arrived to glorious sunshine, 23 degrees, and warmer still down at our destination, Playa del Ingles. Our accommodation, the recently-opened Club Tucanes proved to be among the best we've stayed in on the island. I'd say it doesn't (yet) quite have the magical atmosphere of the Vista Bonita, but there was no doubting they'd made an extra effort with the facilities (big beds! duvets! CD player!) and with its central location I'd be surprised if it doesn't very quickly become the most popular gay complex in the resort.

Christmas Day: sunshine, swimming, and sunbathing, followed by a full Christmas dinner, served at tables around the poolside. The Bolly flowed as fast as the banter, we abandoned the traditional party hats in favour of wigs and reindeer antlers (don't ask...) and a thoroughly good time was had by all. Which has got to be a first for December 25th.

This was also the night Phil and I opted to brave the infamous/notorious Yumbo Centre in suitably festive gear - leather shorts and santa hats to be precise. Tragic but true. Which prompted all manner of people to come up and talk to us - not least the nearby table at who were determined to guess our professions:
"McDonald's manager!" was their wildly off-course guess for Phil, while for me: "Rent boy, definitely!"
I'm not sure whether to be flattered or offended.

From the relatively civilised Pub Nestor (semi-drunkenness with seating) we, like everyone, followed the time-honoured crawl up to Tubos and Mykonos (drunkenness with a bit of dancing to trashy europop), and onwards around 4am across the centre to the XL Club (further drunkenness, limited ability to stand, delusions of ability to speak Spanish, could be playing 'Agadoo' on permanent repeat for all we know), and finally staggering home at 6am.

Which, aside from a couple of great meals out, was pretty much the pattern for the rest of the week. Gran Canaria's fantastic for a bit of cheap and cheerful winter sunshine, but the words 'cultural' and 'scenic' don't crop up a lot. Unless you really love concrete, that is.

Friday's catamaran trip was a highlight as ever though, spending most of the day lazing on a boat in the sun, and although the weather over the weekend wasn't up to much it at least allowed for more time to sleep off the daily hangovers without worrying about missing the sun.

Normally I'm reluctant to leave but on this occasion I'd been missing Kelvin so much (cue throwing-up gestures from the others at the soppiness of it all...) that I was really looking forward to our return on New Year's Eve. And against many odds, after a frantic dash from Gatwick Airport, I finally made it through the doors of the Vauxhall Tavern to meet him just fifteen minutes before midnight.

I can't really describe how incredible the following half-hour was without descending into utter schmaltz, so look away now if of a low-saccharine threshold. But suffice to say it was a more than happy reunion. If it was a movie we'd have been running across a beach in slow motion, arms wide open - as it was, it was more jostling through the crowds, trying not to dislodge anyone's pints, but hey, the effect was much the same.

And as 2001 turned into 2002, Jonathan counting everyone down, the party poppers exploding everywhere, Big Ben chiming over the sound system, good friends all around, and 'Your Disco Needs You' blending seamlessly into 'Reach', we were locked in a kiss that must have lasted from 11.59 until well into the New Year. Sometimes, you just know, right there at the time, that you'll remember this as one of the happiest moments of your life, and that was how it was.

God, listen to me. It's like I've swallowed the entire Wonder Years scripts or something...