Thursday, February 28, 2002

Time Out, London's entertainment and listings magazine, is campaigning for an extra public holiday for London:

'While living in London is unrivalled in terms of entertainment, energy and excitement, it can at times be tiring. We tend to burn the candle at both ends and travelling around our metropolis can get a bit wearing. That is why we at Time Out are campaigning on your behalf for an extra Bank Holiday for Londoners.

But we do need your support. We plan to lobby Parliament and present Mr Blair with a petition signed by as many London residents (or non-residents if you want to support us!) as we can collect. The new date will be March 10 2003.

The Time Out London Holiday will be a celebration of the city and with everyone's support we hope that it would become a day of free entry to events and London attractions for the residents. [not, then, another opportunity for us to get even more hammered than usual on the Sunday night...]

So help us help you and fill in the petition form.

Dear Tony Blair,

We have signed up to the Time Out Campaign in support of the need for an extra Bank Holiday for Londoners because...

- Londoners have fewer public holidays than residents of any other capital city in Europe
- Londoners endure many wasted hours sitting in traffic jams
- Our public transport systems are crowded and unreliable
- On average, Londoners work some of the longest hours in the UK and Europe
- The amazing diversity of events, sights, activities and nightlife (as listed in Time Out every week) makes fitting it all in to an average week pretty tight. We think that an extra day to really enjoy London is a necessity.'

Speaking as someone who's never averse to an extra bit of holiday, I'm all for it, although I can't imagine the rest of the country being particularly thrilled, any more than I can imagine it actually happening.

But still, if you want to lend your support, just go here.

Sunday morning. Well, early afternoon-ish. I'm lying face down on the right of the bed, and sleepily open my left eye wide to look at Kelvin.

'You know..' he says, ' look just like one of those dinosaurs in Jurassic Park.'

Hmm, thanks!

Anyway, I'm much scarier.

Wednesday, February 27, 2002

Amazingly, I managed to keep all three of my resolutions for this weekend. There was no karaoke (I'd made a hasty exit before the risk became too great), I managed to leave the Fridge still standing (me, not it), and I didn't start on the Sunday afternoon drinking till, well, about 3.45, which is at least a step in the right direction.

Saturday night was a blast of course, and one of the busiest Love Muscle nights for some time - meanwhile David is absolutely right about Sunday - a great night as always, and 'Evergreen', Almighty-style, is in equal parts fabulous and ludicrous. So needless to say I love it...

My flatmate Kirsty's just back from New York:

'Hello disco angels - had a fab time - shopped for Britain, ate oysters, hung out
in Chelsea (gay bit of course), saw Hugh Grant and went to a banker's luxury
champagne 'n coke den with Graham where dim millionaires with drug issues
tried unsuccesfully to buy our affection with Moet.

Came back to work today to find I have been posted to BBC property??

Sorry no postcards, but I do have A LOT of Oreos'

We think she had a good time.

Tuesday, February 26, 2002

The UK midweek figures on the singles charts (no, I don't know exactly when Tuesday lunchtime became 'midweek' either...):

2) WHENEVER WHEREVER - Shakira (30,934)
3) HERO - Enrique Iglesias (16,925)
4) SOMETHING - Lasgo (14,327)
5) WORLD OF OUR OWN - Westlife (14,155)
6) HOW YOU REMIND ME - Nickelback (12,615)
7) IN YOUR EYES - Kylie (8,536)
8) THE WORLD'S GREATEST - R Kelly (6,674)
9) YOU - S Club 7 (5,588)
10) SHOULDA WOULDA COULDA - Beverley Knight (5,480)

Any guesses for No.1 on Sunday?

I've been questioned in connection with a murder inquiry. No, really. Well, a 'death-in-suspicious-circumstances' inquiry, at any rate.

It seems that at the apartment complex in Gran Canaria where we stayed over Christmas, an elderly gentleman from the UK was found dead, early in the New Year. We're not sure why the circumstances are suspicious and not, say, one too many G&Ts, or the sight of some young Spaniard with only the flimsiest grasp of basic swimwear (the poor chap was in his 70s after all...) but the police are speaking with everyone who stayed there over the Christmas period.

Hence a visit last night from one not-unattractive policeman (could have worn the uniform though - harrumph) and his rather over-bubbly sidekick: the Anthea Turner of the policing world. A routine matter, once they'd established that we had left several days before, and didn't recognise his photograph.

Gotta feel sorry for the old chap - although I guess there are worse places to check out than on a sunny (if somewhat concrete-crazy) Spanish isle.

Friday, February 22, 2002

Ah, Friday. Thank fuck. And a great weekend in store (hopefully) although it will have some way to go to match up to the last three which have all been nothing short of legendary. Funny how as my weekends get ever more enjoyable, so the weeks in between get increasingly trying - one could wonder if there's some kind of connection. One could probably attempt to draw the chemical symbols.

This weekend though, I swear not to start on the vodka at 3pm on Sunday having only just woken from the night before (as at Phil's thoroughly twisted but very funny 'Margaret Memorial Afternoon' last week - complete with resting 'Margaret' laid out on the dining table, her black stilettos poking out defiantly from beneath the black sheeting). I swear not to require carrying out of the Fridge on Saturday, unless it is by Kelvin and for much more interesting reasons than simply being unable to stand.

And above all, I most fervently swear that under no circumstances, no matter how plied with cocktails, will I go anywhere the karaoke machine that will be apparently be gracing our work's night out tonight.

I do, however, reserve the right to break all three of these resolutions. Except the last one. I'm still recovering from the whole Glenn Medeiros incident...

If you're secretly a bit of a pop anorak like myself (somewhere I still possess a lever-arch file which contains every UK Top 40 chart from 1985 to about 1991, carefully handwritten down every Sunday evening while I listened intently to the countdown) then under no circumstances should you go anywhere near Poptastic! The UK Charts Archive Page. You may well be reading it for days.

Loads of great stuff, including in-depth chart/record reviews from almost every week from 1985 onwards, and a particularly interesting Review of The 80s and 90s from a pop-lover's perspective, which plots the emergence and lifespan of all the major trends in pop music over those two decades. The writer, Nick Whitelegg, is almost exactly my age, and perhaps as a result what he's written very much coincides with how I remember it: 1984 being the finest year in history for classic pop singles, the Stock-Aitken-Waterman heyday of 1987-1989, followed swiftly by the sudden backlash which saw virtually no pop acts of any note in the chart by 1991, and 1995 being the only early-mid nineties year with any distinguishable character whatsoever (and actually being an excellent year for music).

You may remember things differently, you may disagree with some of the opinions, but either way it's Pop Anorak Heaven. Beware.

Tuesday, February 19, 2002

Please tell me this isn't true...

Today, I am enormously liking the automatic Spam Generator (via which is producing gems such as:

subject: enjoy search engine china by recycling your family!

subject: learn to sexy dance and enjoy surround sound stereo!

although none more bizarre than a real (in the loosest sense of the word, I suspect) one I received this morning:

Subject: New Pill makes your semen taste sweet - she'll swallow and love it!

I guess now we know how Jelly Babies are made.

Monday, February 18, 2002

Righto, better update on the last week or so then I guess. Why? Well, because....because....oh, let's not start that one.

Gosford Park last Friday was a lot of fun, if not quite as stunning as I'd perhaps expected. However it's a brilliant exercise in audience-pleasing: you want a good juicy murder mystery, you get it. You want Maggie Smith to deliver loads of deliciously bitchy lines, you get it. You want - despite it being head to toe period costume throughout - there to be some gratuitous excuse for Ryan Philippe to get his kit off, and you're not disappointed. You really can't ask for much more than that.

Costumes and crowd-pleasing of a rather different kind - last Saturday was a whole fistful of fun, featuring for once a relatively tame stage show (although still not the kind of thing you'd want your frail and elderly grandmother to see), much debauchery, and I mighthave heeded Marcus' comment from a couple of Fridays ago. I might not have been the only one. It's hard to remember after this long, so I couldn't possibly say...

Thursday of course, brought that day, and the first in years I've actually had to observe. As a result of which I was hopelessly unprepared and had nothing planned - unlike my thoroughly gorgeous and wonderful man (sorry, forgot the schmaltz alert) who'd secretly booked us dinner at a fantastic restaurant in Covent Garden. Normally I'm as cynical as the next man when it comes to February 14th, but this year, I confess to feeling well and truly loved -up.

One of the things about coupledom is that, after a while, you start to get joint everything. Christmas cards, invitations, whatever - you're no longer Dave and Kelvin, but some mysterious two-headed hybrid called DavenKelvin. What you don't necessarily expect though, is a joint valentine. Which arrived, by way of a text message, from two not-very-secret admirers, a fellow couple of Vauxhall Tavern regulars (although not, I should perhaps add before I start some major inter-blog intrigue, members of the blogging community...). We're invited to dinner, which is most hospitable of them - although I think you don't exactly have to be Delia to work out what's on the dessert menu. Not that I have any major moral issues here of course, but somehow it really just wouldn't feel right, right now. Besides which, I believe it's what heterosexuals would refer to as 'swinging' - a word which conjures up for me images of 1970s bored married couples, big hair and Volvos. And for some reason, tupperware. I have no idea why.

Friday night, meanwhile, brought drinks for Dan's birthday at The Edge, which is nice enough but suffers rather too much from Rupert Street Syndrome - not the insufferably more-designer-labels-than-thou crowd, but the syndrome which dictates that no matter where you stand, however often you move, you are Always In The Way.

Saturday night though brought the ever-fabulous Hope, which I remember as a great night of dancing and chatting with an exceptionally high turnout of friends. Others remember having to hold myself and Kelvin up in particularly inebriated moments and my having to be taken outside for some fresh air to recover. I'm sure they're making it up.

As for Sunday, it's all a bit of blur at the moment, so more later when it starts to come back. If and when.

Thursday, February 14, 2002

And a Happy VD to one and all...

Wednesday, February 13, 2002

And, just to continue a relentlessly pop-themed week, via Mike, it's time to ask:
Are you part of the Dido demographic?

If you have 12 of the albums on the Guardian's list, you are officially a Dido. I am thrilled to find I possess just one of the CDs mentioned, thus rendering me almost utterly un-Dido-like. Which is probably the best news I've had all day.

Tuesday, February 12, 2002

Wow, ask and ye shall receive (see left). Thanks Popjustice!

Dear Job,

This is going to be hard for me to write, and maybe hard for you to read. But I'm afraid there's no easy way of saying it, so I'm just going to have to jump right in. I'm leaving you. I know we've had a lot of good times over the last four years, you've been the best job I've ever had and I've enjoyed it, really I have, but now, well, I just don't think that we're right for each other any more. It's not you, it's me. Well, no actually it is you. That thing you do where you sap my will to live on a daily basis is really starting to bug me if I'm totally honest. And then there's the salary - and do try not to get hung up about this, I know it really is what you do with it that counts, but I can't help having noticed that there are an awful lot of packages out there that make yours look, well, rather small.

And no, before you ask, it isn't because there's somebody else. It's just that I really don't feel you're the same job I fell for all those years ago - it used to be fun, there were prospects and I really felt like we were going somewhere. But now it's just all stress and heartache and to be honest I just don't see a future for us together.

I don't know where I'm going to go, but I'll keep in touch. I hope that maybe one day we'll be able to be friends - I'd like to remember you in a good way and not with the bitterness I'm feeling right now.

Sorry to break it to you this way, but I'm sure you'll be better off without me too.

take care,

Monday, February 11, 2002

There's a whole lotta linky-love goin' on

Yeah, I'm as big a link whore as the next man. So big hellos, warm welcomes, and just slightly-too-long, over-familiar handshakes to the daily dewayne, d-licious, combustication and onebadmouse. Go read.

From the 'why haven't I come across this before?' file, it's the rather fabulous Popjustice - keeping you up to date with the heavyweight issues of the day, like Paul from S Club's hair, and of course, more Pop Idol mania. Including the chance to get Nicki Chapman and Simon Cowell's verdicts on your very own performance, and Everqueen - the first ever site (although probably not the last) for gay fans of Will 'no relation, sadly' Young.

Speaking of whom, I was honoured to see that no less than 4.6 million people followed my advice from Friday. Ah, the power of the humble blog.

Friday, February 08, 2002

And in the spirit of the shallow pop culture trivia and vacuousness you've no doubt come to expect from this little corner of the web, I can only leave you this week with two vitally important words:


Don't worry Marcus, I promise to pass on birthday wishes to your friend this Saturday...

It's going to be something of a group outing, around ten of us at last count, even including my relatively/previously sweet-and-innocent flatmate Greg. He's also got lack-of-appropriate-outfit issues, so Phil and I are taking him on a shopping trip extraordinaire tomorrow, which should be a riot.

Although personally I'm still smarting from having to buy shorts in a 'large' last time. I'd like to think it was down to the chunky rugby thighs (ahem) but I fear it has rather more to do with my Evil Biscuit Addiction Which Must Stop.

With which, I'm off to the gym. There is much work to be done before I can spend Saturday night half-naked in a dingy South London railway arch. Oh yes.

Great Business Lies #324735:

'Dave, do you mind coming into this presentation? It'll only take about 20 minutes or so.'

I know it's a lie. I know I shouldn't believe it. I know that no work-related presentation in the history of commerce has ever actually lasted less than an hour. And yet, like Charlie Brown running to kick that football, off I go, thinking maybe, just this once, just this time...

And an hour and a half later, bleary-eyed and bored out of my tiny little mind, I stumble back to my desk, kicking myself all the way. Curses.

Wednesday, February 06, 2002

Wednesday afternoon already and I haven't even mentioned the incandescent festival of fun that was this weekend.

Although I'm sure those many regular readers I like to kid myself I have will be more than aware of the usual shenanigans, special mentions must go to John and Nathan's thoroughly civilised (well, at least to start with) dinner party on Friday night, which lasted well into Saturday morning (let's just say it wasn't exactly after-dinner mints that were being passed around), and Saturday night at Crash which somewhat unexpectedly turned into one of the best nights out I've had in a long, long time. It was the busiest I've ever seen the place - presumably down to the combination of most people having (finally!) been paid, and there not being a whole lot else on. And though for some reason I always tend to under-rate Crash, it has to be said the music and the atmosphere were absolutely sensational - dark and otherworldly, yet utterly uplifting and euphoric at the same time, and had I not been so determined to make it to the RVT later on Sunday, I'd probably never have gone home at all. A truly, truly incredible night.

Admittedly my perception was more than somewhat chemically enhanced and it's entirely possible I spent six hours dancing around someone's empty garage with someone switching the light on and off at regular intervals...

Monday, February 04, 2002

Today, we are mostly enjoying the addictive, in which your job is simply to, well, pick the hottie. Of course you do get numerous occasions on which you're stuck with rather less-than-ideal choices, but you still have to go for one of them. It's like recreating the end of a bad night out in the comfort of your own home...

Pop confessions...
It's not unusual to find me hanging around somewhere in Brixton in the early hours of a Sunday morning. But yesterday, were I not already far, far too old, I'd probably have been doing it for rather different reasons - namely, the auditions for the new fifth member of Hear'Say.

As expected, the queue of young pop hopefuls snaked through the streets from dawn. It's just a pity the Torture Garden wasn't running this weekend - I rather liked the idea of there being some terrible mix-up as people stumble out, and the band suddenly finding themselves with an all-singing, all-dancing, gimp-suited member with a bullwhip. Just think of the dance routines! Or maybe that's just me.

Anyhow, the reason I bring this up is I promised I'd elaborate on the tale of my bid for pop stardom at some point. Which began with seeing an ad in a national magazine for the 'Benson & Hedges Soundsearch 1995'. A competition for singers sponsored by, er, a cigarette company - but which promised untold fortune and musical success to the winner. So I duly sent off my tape, and was pleasantly surprised to receive a letter back inviting me to the initial auditions, which for my region, were to be held in Birmingham.

I don't remember much of the audition, but I'm fairly sure that much like Pop Idol (Will! Will!), you had not much longer than a minute each to impress the judges. And by some fluke, it came to pass that out of a couple of hundred auditionees, I had made it into the final 6 who were invited to perform at the regional final, held in the oh-so-glamorous Ritzy nightclub (think lots of 80's mirrors, under-age drinkers on alcopops, dancing round handbags to cheesy music, and you're about there).

So the preparations started in earnest. Being a keen songwriter at the time (a skill which seems to have all but deserted me in recent times - I'm not entirely sure why) I was determined to do an original song. A quick scan through the back catalogue turned up nothing completely suitable, so something new was required. The result, 'Right Out Of Nowhere', remains to this day my least favourite composition - proving conclusively that writing to order never produces the best stuff - but it fitted the bill: short (within the three-minute time limit), danceable, catchy in a Take That kinda way and, crucially, quite easy to sing (I have a tendency to write things which turn out to be far more vocally challenging than I'd intended).

On the day itself, we had the chance to rehearse in the afternoon, including each performance being recorded for the local radio station, and I met the other contestants - including the two Traceys, one a former Blind Date girl, and one quite possibly the campest, most flamboyant man in the world, looking like Christopher Biggins but sounding uncannily (and very impressively) like Alison Moyet. At dinner later, one of the other male contestants whispered to me, uncertainly: 'D'you reckon he might be gay?'
'Dunno..' I shrugged. 'Possibly.' Like, oh please, how blind can you be?!

Someone else whose gaydar clearly wasn't working that day was the girl who spent the evening quite shamelessly hitting on me, with the kind of blatancy that you'd normally only expect in clubs much seedier than the Ritzy. After about the fourth 'I can't believe you haven't got a girlfriend!' I did let slip that this was because I was currently seeing a couple of guys on a casual sort of basis.
'Oh. So you're a bit on the gay side, then?'
'A bit, yeah.'
'Oh, right.'
With which she vanished at high speed, presumably in search of a more appropriate target.

Though what she was thinking in the first place I have no idea - it was definitely one of those Days That Fashion Forgot. In an attempt to find some kind of suitable popstar-type garment I had somehow ended up with a black and silver-lame waistcoat (yes, a waistcoat. Yes, black and silver) and oh, good god, the fake tan. It was late October, I was looking pale and pasty, and on the advice of a friend I'd decided some colour was necessary before getting up on stage. So, ignoring all instructions I applied it liberally, and when an hour later I wasn't suddenly a bronzed Adonis, applied it again. And again. And by the time I finally went on stage at around 1am the orange was so bright it was like I'd been well and truly Tango'd. Not a good look.

Nevertheless, the performance went surprisingly well - I was introduced on to the stage by TV 'personality ' Paul Ross (actually a very nice guy, despite being responsible for some of the worst TV in British history), and suddenly the song was playing, and people were actually, like, dancing to it, and apparently, enjoying it. Which was a fantastic feeling, even if I knew at that point it was probably more down to the alcopops than any musical wizardry on my part.

I didn't win (the local paper charitably printed that I came a close second, although in actual fact there was no distinction made between the five runners-up) but Tracey (female) got through to the national final, and deservedly so, having by far the best voice of all of us. What became of her, or any of the others, after that I do not know though. I guess the instant stardom and success wasn't quite as certain as we'd been kidding ourselves it might be.

And that, aside from a two-week stint in a boy band two years later whose chief (only?) claim to fame was having once appeared on Richard and Judy, is pretty much as close as I've ever come to a pop career. One day, I may finally get round to some more recording and attempt to get somewhere as a writer. But I think it's fairly safe to say Robbie Williams isn't exactly quaking in his boots just yet.

Hmm....Robbie, I'm going to have to go now....

Friday, February 01, 2002

Random thought for the day. Postage stamps. If someone invented something now, where you had to lick the glue (made, lest we forget, from cows' hooves) in order to activate it - would it ever catch on?

And don't even get me started on envelopes...

..and a happy bloggiversary to Jonathan!

The King is alive...
...and working in a supermarket. Whilst in my local Asda last night (I had graciously given the Fortnum & Mason's delivery boy the night off due to the inclement weather, of course...) the following announcement was heard:

"Staff announcement: can Elvis please take a call on line 51. That's Elvis to take a call on line 51."

Unfortunately there didn't seem to be any sign of him, but I did notice they had a special offer on cheeseburgers...

Coming soon to an email near you no doubt, some Friday observations:

1) Despite constant warning you have never met anybody who has their
arm broken by a swan.
2) At the end of every party there is always a fat girl crying.
3) One of the most awkward things that can happen in a pub is when
your pint-to-toilet cycle gets synchronised with a complete stranger.
4) You've never quite sure whether it's ok to eat green crisps.
5) Everyone who grew up in the 80's has entered the digits 55378008
into a calculator.
6) Sharpening a pencil with a knife makes you feel really manly.
7) Whatever your age, the desire to make plastic dolls shag is almost
impossible to resist.
8) Nobody ever dares to make cup a soup in a bowl.
9) You never know where to look when eating an apple.
10) The most embarrassing thing you can do as schoolchild is to call
your teacher mum or dad.
11) The smaller the monkey the more it looks like it would kill you at
the first given opportunity.
12) Some days you see lots of people on crutches.
13) It's impossible to look cool whilst picking up a Frisbee.
14) You never ever run out of salt.
15) You can't respect a man who carries a dog.
16) There's no panic like the panic you momentarily feel when you
you've gotten your hand or head stuck in something.
17) No one knows the origins of their metal coat hangers.
18) The most painful household incident is wearing socks and stepping
on an upturned plug.
19) In every plate of chips there is a bad chip.
20) Triangle sandwiches taste better than square ones.