Friday, January 31, 2003

Apologies for absence, I’ve been trapped in the house by Pink fans camped outside, threatening my imminent demise and being generally rebellious with their mad hair. Fortunately once the snow melts Mummy and Daddy should be along to pick them up in the Range Rover, and then they can spend the journey trying to split them up so that they too can have a fashionably dysfunctional childhood.

Alright, not really, I’m a lazy fucker and that’s that. And about to be even more so. Am doing what any self-respecting homosexual whose budget doesn’t quite stretch to Sydney or Miami would do in the face of continued sub-zero temperatures and defunct public transport, and that’s buggering off to Gran Estata Councila Canaria for a week in the sun. Provided that a) we can get to Gatwick Airport, and b) it isn’t closed when/if we do.

All being well, back next Sunday. Be good now.

Friday, January 24, 2003

Tesco invent credit card that won't work when you're drunk.

Nice idea.

Will never work in a million years...

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on mittens, brown paper packages tied up with kittens. Or something. On the grounds that it’s that time of year, and everyone else is doing it so why can’t I, it’s time to review My Favourite Things of 2002.

I use the word ‘favourite’ advisedly – ‘best’ implying some sort of objective judgment involving cultural significance, value and lots of other things that sound like far too much effort. Nope, simply the stuff I liked.

Favourite Album of 2002
Ah, there’s a problem with this category. On looking through my CD collection, I discover that, excluding one or two compilations, I didn’t actually buy so much as one album released in 2002. Largely because there weren’t any that I wanted. The main reason I don’t have an Amazon wish list is quite simply that I can’t think of anything to put on it. Which is probably a subject for another post, but for now, by default, the winner is (hastily opening envelope)...

Will Young – From Now On virtue of being the only 2002 album I actually possess. It was a gift, although a welcome one, as although I wasn’t quite prepared to fork out for it I was curious to hear it, at least. And it isn’t bad. Best in small doses though – after a while the endless succession of string-heavy ballads starts to grate, and it’s desperately in need of one or two upbeat, funkier tracks to break through the syrup.

Some good bits though, like the Burt Bacharach-written ‘What’s In Goodbye?’, and somehow I suspect the second album (should there be one), given more time and space, will be considerably better. For now though, I suspect this one is destined for a life as background music to suburban dinner parties, where it would pass the time inoffensively enough between the prawn cocktail and the passing-round of the Elizabeth Shaw mints. Apart from that god-awful duet with Gareth Gates, for which all concerned want a good hefty slap with a wet kipper or similarly unpleasant fish-based item.

Least Favourite Album of 2002

Admittedly I’m judging only by the singles, but in the merciful absence of much from Nelly Furtado or Dido this year, I’m going for the third member of that particular Axis of Evil, Pink. Did you see the European Music Awards? Just how out of tune is it possible to be? And then there’s ‘Family Portrait’ in which she whinges on about her parents splitting up: ‘I don’t want to split the holidays, I don’t want two addresses’ and so on (and on), as if it’s something even remotely unusual. All over the sort of lifeless, pedestrian beat that simply shouldn’t be possible on a drum machine in this day and age. Humourless, talentless, toss. In my humble opinion.

Favourite Film of 2002

Okay, so I’m not big on films either, but unquestionably Mulholland Drive. I suspect David Lynch is rather like Marmite to most people – you either love it or you hate it – but I’m firmly in the first camp so this was a dark, delicious treat (again, not unlike Marmite, should you be so inclined). My first impressions in January ‘..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..’ still stand. Must see again.

Least Favourite Film of 2002
The only other film I saw last year was Gosford Park, which can’t receive this award on the grounds of being really very good – so we’ll have to fall back on my least favourite film of any year: The Piano. Good god, even the thought of it and my hackles (wherever they are) are starting to rise. I remember being forced to sit through this at the behest of my then girlfriend, and whilst I’ve no aversion to girlie films (I’ll take ‘Mystic Pizza’ over ‘Lethal Weapon’ any day, thank you very much), this really was just too much. Was it just me who wanted to shout ‘Oh just cheer up you miserable cow!’ all the way through (at Holly Hunter’s character, not said girlfriend)? Lost patience about half an hour in, and when she and the piano finally sunk to the bottom of the ocean I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cheer. I’ve had rashes less irritating than this.

Favourite Single of 2002
Ah, now singles I can do. Much more up my street. Ten, in fact. Soon. Ish.

Least Favourite Blog Posting of 2003
This one. It's taking me far, far too long. Will attempt to continue, but first there must be biscuits. There must always be biscuits.

Friday, January 17, 2003

Rooster, monkey, goat and donkey form pyramid.

Er, that's it really.

Next week: kitten, orang-utan, cow and nine penguins form dodecahedron.

Thursday, January 16, 2003

I’m not even going to start on how monumentally bored I am this week, because that would be, well, boring.

But suffice to say that earlier, a new magazine called ‘PQ’ (‘for Part-Qualified Accountants’) landed on my desk. And I’ve actually read it. Highlight has got to be where they’ve asked some accountants what they tell people they do at parties. And it’s not all dull y’know. One wild and ker-razy woman, we’re told: ‘admitted that she once described herself – wait for it – as a hairdresser!’

Oh, the hilarity.


Monday, January 13, 2003

Apparently, if you come down with a particularly hefty cold and start sneezing your head off at 5pm on a Friday, then take Beechams Flu-Plus tablets, mix in some Benylin 4-Flu ones (the daddy of all known cold remedies in my book - so long as you don't mind being unable to see straight for two days) add some Contac capsules (potential new daddy) the following day, proceed to have a party at which you drink approximately nineteen bottles of red wine, mix in very little sleep, a little beer, vodka, and sundry mild narcotics, you'll end up outside the RVT feeling really fucking awful. Who knew?

Not to mention the three hours spent in casualty - not for me, but Walter, who right now, thanks to the aforementioned wine and a slippery bathroom floor, is probably the only person in Britain with multiple head injuries caused by an Ikea print. It's a long story. Fortunately he's okay, although I can't say the same for the Matisse.

Meanwhile you'll have to excuse me tomorrow, I'll be in Birmingham New York at a meeting glamorous premiere!

Sort of, like, via Birmingham.

Thursday, January 09, 2003

From the Land of Unlikely Headlines:

Groom Killed By Stripper's Boobs

Much joy in our household last night at the long-awaited return of Footballers’ Wives, on ITV1.

If you’re outside the UK, think Dynasty – fantastically far-fetched plots, power-dressing bitches, glamorous-yet-tacky settings, kidnappings, multiple affairs, the old been-in-a-coma-and-lost-memory device, parents passing off a baby as their own (who will apparently turn out to be a hermaphrodite, by all accounts – quite how they can not yet know this I am not entirely sure), a forthcoming lesbian fling and any number of secrets and double-crossings, just for starters. If I tell you that last night’s series-opener was introduced by principal bitch Tanya, floating round her private swimming pool on an inflatable chair, cigarette in hand, huskily recounting the story so far, you’ll get the idea.

Sensibly there is no football whatsoever, but there will always be at least one gratuitous scene per episode set in the men’s showers, post-match. You really can’t ask for much more from television.

All this and you get Jason Turner (Cristian Solimeno), easily walking away with the title of Sexiest Man On Television.
‘But he’s just a meat-headed, neanderthal bastard!’ protested Greg when Kirsty and I first expressed this opinion.
‘Yeah…’ we drooled in unison, with a dreamy expression.
Plus he always gets the best lines, as last night on discovering Jackie had given birth to his illegitimate child after all:
‘Yer baps were leakin’ milk, Jacks, I ain’t stupid!’ Brilliant.

Yes indeed, Wednesday nights have suddenly got a whole lot better.

Meanwhile, find out if you’re footballing wife material with this simple (and blatantly transparent) quiz.

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

And a very merry Christmas it was too. Helped enormously by not trekking home to spend three days marooned in some god-forsaken rural backwater with only occasional text messages for entertainment (generally of the ‘Arrghh! Get me out of here! Oh god, now they’re watching Heartbeat…’ variety) but for the first time, staying right here in the mothership.

Which I highly recommend, with the following provisos:

 Do, if you ever have the opportunity, go ice-skating at Somerset House. Opened in 2000 as a festive attraction, (and having returned each year since) the rink is set in the courtyard of the beautifully-lit building, there’s a huge Christmas tree, mulled wine, music and if you peer through the rain in the direction of a white floodlight, you can almost imagine it’s snowing. It’s like every film set in New York at Christmas ever, you get to fall over in a comedy manner, and if you don’t feel thoroughly festive by the end of it you’re really not trying.

 Don’t, however, attempt to go out for a meal in the West End on Christmas Eve. There you are, picturing yourselves and a few good friends, holed up perhaps in some cosy, jovial, over-decorated Italian restaurant enjoying a hearty meal and plenty of red wine, and it’ll all be warm, jolly and seasonal.

But no. They, and almost every other restaurant in central London will be closed. With the result that you may, like us, end up in the basement of a minimal, strip-lit Chinese restaurant picking at some distinctly unseasonal prawn thing that nobody really wants, to the accompaniment of what can only be described as Chinese Speed Techno. Seriously, you have to hear this stuff. It’s like someone has taken the fastest techno you’ve heard, played it at double speed, and got Alvin and the Chipmunks to do the vocals. Makes you eat really, really fast as well. On the plus side, it isn’t Slade.

 Do spend Christmas day with friends. It’s amazing how much better being stuck in the house is, when you’re with people you’d actually choose to be stuck in a house with. Huge thanks to Stevie P and co for a great dinner, great company, and a damn fine day.

 Don’t, however, having had far too many of those little chipolata thingies and far too much wine, find the nearest sofa or bed and think ‘I’ll just have a little lie down for ten minutes to sleep it off’. You will wake, five hours later, to not only discover you’ve slept through the entire thing, but the horrifying realisation that you have finally become your Dad.

 Do go out on Boxing Day. Most people will have finally escaped their family ties and will be determined to party. The sense of relief at it all being over will have everyone smiling, and you’ve still got another week before you have to even consider the word ‘moderation’. Not a word you’re ever likely to hear in the RVT mind you, which was a treat, as ever.

 Don’t, for heaven’s sake, get up at some ridiculous hour on the 27th to go and queue up for the sales. Outside Next. There will be a report on it on every TV news bulletin throughout the day, because there’s nothing else happening. You will be seen, because they always film the queue outside Next at 6am. And up and down the country, people will be shouting at the screen: ‘What’s wrong with you people? Can’t you get enough bland in the rest of the year?! How desperate can you be for a badly-fitting beige sweater?!’, and the like. Just say no.

I am a 29 year old man, and I'm really excited that it's snowing. In Central London! And settling and everything!! Exclamation marks!!!

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

Whilst we're on the subject, there I was thinking 'Live in London' in a sort of rock-concert publicity, shamelessly self-aggrandising sort of way, but it's 'where to live in London' that folk want to know about, judging from the number of times it pops up in my search requests. Even more often than Shakira or Travis Fimmel naked. Neither of which I can oblige with, I'm sorry to say.

But on the London thing, happy to help. So if you've surfed on in here from Google with that very query, or you want to know about a particular area, fire away, and I shall attempt to offer or solicit some sort of useful advice, in a public service kinda way.

Although I'm sure there are, like, y'know, books and stuff.

..and a Happy (belated) New Year!

(Not so much 'Live in London', as 'Considerably After The Event In London' as usual, but then I'm sure you've come to expect nothing less...)