Friday, March 30, 2001

From this week's NME: What's on the NME stereo:
4. Downloading Porn With Davo - The Moldy Peaches.
So, that's what they get up to in their new flat! But what kind of porn could possibly satisfy all three of them?

Thursday, March 29, 2001

Attention web designers: run out of colour schemes for that website you're working on? Unable to come up with anything other than Zeldman orange? What you need is Visibone's random colour scheme generator. Click on 'random' a few times till you find something that almost works, then click the little X to delete the colours that don't look right. Et voila!
The Guardian is running a competition for SMS poetry.

Write a poem of 160 characters or less, then text it to the Guardian on 07753 828610 before 13 April. The winning poet will receive £1,000.
A colleague - I'll call him Steve - has just told me the best story:

He went out last night and met someone and went back to this guy's place. After doing the deed, the guy let his dog - a little fluffy thing - into the bedroom. Early this morning, Steve suddenly awoke from a terrible dream that this guy was strangling him while wearing black leather gloves.

When Steve woke up, he found he was covered in blood. There was blood all down his arm and on his chest. This guy's dog had come into heat and had bled all over Steve. He screamed, giving the dog such a fright that she shat. On Steve's leg.
The A to Z of the Vauxhall Tavern
W
is for Widdecombe
You may know Ann Widdecombe as the celibate spinster shown in the photos on her website, but she has a secret life. She and the Vauxhall's drag queen the DE Experience have been having a wild, torrid affair for years. Allegedly. Every week the DE updates us on their latest sexual shenanigans. The word 'furburger' is often mentioned...
A great poster for The Three Terrors Go Hollywood. Stephin Merritt, Dudley Klute and LD Beghtol sing their favourite songs from movieland this Sunday. I'd book a flight to New York if it weren't Dave's birthday this weekend.
How to dance properly. Thanks for sending me this, Guy. It's a pity he doesn't do your patented "bringing-down-an-axe-on-the-head-of-someone-at-the-far-end-of-the-club" routine.
"David, from this day forward you will also be known as Excessive Hunter." Nothing new there, then! If I include my middle name, I become Fearless Bastard. [link from orbyn]

Wednesday, March 28, 2001

The A to Z of the Vauxhall Tavern
V
is for Vauxhall
The word 'Vauxhall' is derived from the 13th Century mercenary soldier Fulk le Breant. He was hired to do some of the dirtier military deeds of King John. As a reward, he was granted the manor of Luton. He married a wealthy young widow and acquired her London house whose site came to be known as Fulk's Hall. This became corrupted over the years to Fawkes Hall, Foxhall and then Vauxhall.

Fulk le Breant was given the right to bear his own coat of arms and chose the mythical griffin as his heraldic emblem. The griffin thus became associated with both Vauxhall and Luton. In 1857 Alexander Wilson founded an engineering company on Wandsworth Road, Vauxhall. This company became Vauxhall Motors, and adopted the griffin as the company badge. It is probably a coincidence that Vauxhall Motors later moved to Fulkes' old stomping ground, Luton.

The Russian word for 'railway station' is voksal. There is a theory - probably apocryphal - that Vauxhall station was visited in the late 1900s by a delegation sent to Britain by Tsar Nicholas I. The delegation learned that Vauxhall, the last stop before Waterloo, was a ticket collecting point and thought 'Vauxhall' meant 'railway station'.

Speaking of Russians, the headquarters of MI6 - the Secret Intelligence Service, or 'spies' to you and me - are at Vauxhall Cross, a stone's throw (or missile's launch) from the Royal Vauxhall Tavern. Indeed, in September 2000, a missile attack on the MI6 building was launched from Spring Gardens behind the RVT.

Vauxhall has long been a hive of gay clubbing activity. Before Sunday licensing laws were relaxed, the Royal Vauxhall Tavern had to close in th eafternoon. I have fond memories of trooping off in a crowd to the nearby Market Tavern, where the condition of buying a drink was that you also had to buy lunch - a somewhat dessicated roast. At 5pm or so, the RVT was allowed to open again, and the crowds would stream back from the Market in time to catch Lily Savage's show, or Adrella's famous Liza Minnelli routine.
I haven't done a Wednesday Retro Bar pop quiz post-mortem in weeks. Largely because we kept losing. But not this week. We won. "We" being me, Dave and Jonathan. But we haven't the faintest idea how we managed to win. Over the course of last night's quiz, we dropped just three half-points.

It wasn't really a pop music quiz last night, but a TV one. A song would be played, and we'd have to name the TV show the song was from and answer a question about that programme. For instance, they played that annoying Rembrandts song, and then asked us to name all six of the main actors in "Friends" No problem. No problem either with Morcheeba's "Shipwrecked" theme, or with the title of the new album by the band responsible for the "Father Ted" theme, and we all knew the European city "Van der Valk" was set in.

But then came all the guesses: None of the three of us ever watches "Buffy" or "Angel" or "Cold Feet" or "Dawson's Creek". Yet we somehow managed not only to guess which bland song belonged to which bland show, but also came up with some ridiculously lucky guesses. We decided "Angel" must be set in L.A. because, er, it's the City of Angels, right? Right. Dave reached way back into his memory and plucked out the name Hepburn for the "Buffy" song, and I cannot explain how I divined that the "Sopranos" song was by Alabama 3.

However, our lucky streak ended when it came to picking the prizes. We didn't get the money, but the booby prize: the Hear'Say single. Jonathan seemed quite happy with it, though.

The three half-points we missed: name all seven "Waltons" kids, name the band responsible for the dreadful cod-reggae song featured in "Sabrina the Teenage Witch", and name the elusive son in "Absolutely Fabulous". Answers on an email.
I've been quite ruthless with my blog-links list. In: those who link to me [and those I love]. Out: those who don't. If you'd like me to link to your blog, and you have linked to me, let me know.
I posted a link to this yesterday, but it got lost amid my waffle. It's so fantastic it simply has to be seen. So here it is again:
Jesus.com.

Tuesday, March 27, 2001

QX Magazine reports that the Heath and Hampstead Society and the Corporation of London have recently expressed concerns about the cruising and public sex on Hampstead Heath. [In this weather??] The society's chairman, Martin Humphrey, says: "discarded sexual paraphernalia, such as used condoms, are both unpleasant and a health risk."

This reminds me of a letter I once read a couple of years ago in local newspaper the Ham and High, complaining about the condoms and "tissues covered in blood, semen, excrement and worse".

I've been puzzling over this for years, but I still have no idea what the "worse" could possibly be.
The A to Z of the Vauxhall Tavern
U
is for Undercover police
I have been at the RVT during two police raids. By all accounts, we're due for another one. The excellent discodamaged reports: "Jonathan [aka the DE Experience] got up and told us all that there were two of the Met's finest in attendance, and that all should be circumspect. Didn't see checked shirts or smell Kouros."

The police are there, of course, on the lookout for drugs offences, unlike the bad old days of AIDS paranoia when, as Derek Jarman reported, "more than 20 police raided the Royal Vauxhall Tavern in south London on friday night wearing masks and rubber gloves."

I haven't seen masks and rubber gloves at the RVT since their short-lived fetish night. Yes, I have performed onstage at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern...
BBC programme Son Of God has produced a computer-generated image showing what Jesus really looked like.

But they're wrong:

Jesus actually does conform to the popular golden-haired blue-eyed image we all know. And He has "a lean swimmer's body and a six-pack." He seeks a "loving young woman (22-29), preferably of recent Norse-Germanic heritage" who lives in the DC metro area, to take long baths with.

Thanks to the miracle of the internet, you can see Jesus' own website.
"What is the essence of Dave Sim? What is at his core? This man wants to be history, not a footnote in history. He wants to be big."

"Dave Sim is terribly, terribly, terribly wrong and terribly, terribly, terribly evil in some way"

"Maybe we should start some internet software countdown clock, ticking away the moments left before Dave Sim alienates every single human being on Earth."

It's not me they hate, honest, but some comic book artist or something. Link from Darren. Seems Dave's a bit of a misogynist, too.
NYLPM web editors dictate our middle youth

Freaky Trigger turns two, New York London Paris Munich turns one, Tom turns 29, and to mark all this he invites some terrific writers to write about some underrated songs.

And then he resigns as editor.
An e-mail I received yesterday:

Hi David 
I do not know if you are the correct David I am trying to contact. If you went to The Settlers High School in South Africa, matriculated in 1982, then you must be my long lost friend I have been trying to locate. If so please e-mail me at the above address.

Yes, I am that David. I have made contact with six ex-schoolmates in the last year alone, a couple of whom have tracked me down through this site. There may be something in the fact that it's approaching [gulp] twenty years since I left school.

Monday, March 26, 2001

Britta reckons I have been drinking too much coffee, and recommends some calming virtual tea. Ah, that's much better.
The A to Z of the Vauxhall Tavern
T
is for Trains

"the universe rumbles over Vauxhall Tavern, illuminating boys on the verge of things." Christopher Rye, The Accidental Londoner

As your train rumbles from Waterloo to Vauxhall, look out of the window to your left, just past the gaily-coloured tethered balloon. There it is, faded gold lettering on a black background running around the building's curved facade: "The Royal Vauxhall Tavern".

Or take the Victoria line tube around 5pm one Sunday and see how the carriage gets gayer and gayer the nearer you get to Vauxhall. I call it the RVT Express. The tourists get off at Victoria, leaving a curious mixture of Brixton-bound elderly black women and shaven-headed men in bomber jackets. While you hang around in the ticket hall, see if you can spot 'The Hoist Nightclub' on the 'Local Information' map. Then follow the shaved heads, the bomber jackets...
On the day someone came to my site via a search for cock and ball stretching, this is just what I need: My Little Phallus. "May present a choking hazard."
Gimme some. NOW!
My disco needs me.
Ian, the point of a nickname is that somebody else gives it to you. No-one but you calls you 'iansie'. If you want to know what we really call you, you'll have to cross my palm with silver. Or my gullet with lager.

I have hundreds of nicknames. I wish my friends would all get together and decide on just the one, be it Simdy, Sylvie, Sinead, ET, Dubs, or - most bizarrely - "Tall Dave". Now, I am not tall at all. I don't know my exact height, but I'm probably 5'8" or 5'9" - a bit under average height. So I rather like the fact that I have twice recently - when in the company of Dave - been introduced as "Tall Dave".
I considered coming in an hour late, claiming to be unaware that the clocks went forward, and allowing myself an extra hour's sleep. But as it was, I woke up at 4:30am and couldn't get back to sleep. So I watched the film I'd recorded - The Cable Guy and bits of the Oscars. I was wide awake, and totally alert. Unlike right now. I could really do with some sleep right now.

Friday, March 23, 2001

The magazine I work for had a subscriber cancel today over an admittedly insensitive cartoon regarding the foot and mouth crisis. But it was a lot more sensitive than this.
The A to Z of the Vauxhall Tavern
S
is for Sweat
Slick, slippery, smelly, steamy, soaking, slithering, sexy, salty, sweaty sweat.

Rivers of sweat streaming off naked chests. Clouds of sweat steaming off naked backs. Puddles forming in the small of your back. Puddles growing in the back of your smalls. Sweatshirts. Wet shirts. Sweat shirtless. Cheek to cheek to nose to armpit.
O(+> is ickle. But he's even ickler at the wonderful minipops, now available as folder icons for your desktop.
Bluebeat last night. 25 groovy young things of undetermined sexuality chillin' to some very happ'nin' sounds in a basement behind Leicester Square tube. Niiiiiiice.

On the tube on the way home, two teenage boys. One white, one black, both speaking exactly the same Jamaican patois, making it impossible to distinguish which was which.

"Someone's bin moulting." "Uh, man, not facial hair! Brrrr, you're like 30, man!"

Thursday, March 22, 2001

Note to advertisers in the magazine I work for:
Why not staple your photo to your press-release? I'm becoming a dab hand at erasing puncture holes with Photoshop's clone tool.
Oh, and write on the back of them with a felt-tip pen and then stack them on top of each other. I love the challenge of trying to hide those black smears. It goes without saying that you should fold them, of course.
And don't send me a tif file - send me a crappy low-res inkjet printout. I thrive on trying to remove those dither patterns.

Yes, I do occasionally do some work!
The A to Z of the Vauxhall Tavern
R
is for Royal
Except I can find no explanation, anywhere on the web, for why it is called the "Royal Vauxhall Tavern". What's so Royal about it? [Apart from the fact it's full of queens, of course.] Did the place once have the royal seal of approval? Did kings once sup here? Is that Prince Edward over there?

I may have to resort to the old fashioned method of looking it up in - gasp! - a book. If anyone does know where the "Royal" bit comes from, please let me know.
There's an awful lot of trauma out there at the moment. Tin Man's life over the last week or so has been several episodes of Sex And The City crammed into one. Dave has resigned and is about to go off and make a new life for himself on the other side of the world. Jonathan is going through hell with his poor cat.

An awful lot of big decisions to be made. Jeff, you definitely did the right thing. You too, Dave. And Jonathan, whatever you do, you'll fear you did the wrong thing - that's always the way with life's big choices. It takes a lot of strength to make the decision you have to make.
Overheard in Barcode last night:
"Howcome I know your surname and you never even remember my first name?"
"Maybe you didn't make that much of an impression on me."

Wednesday, March 21, 2001

The A to Z of the Vauxhall Tavern
Q
is for Queues
The Chill Out has become far too popular. I don't know how many people the Vauxhall is licensed for, but I'll wager it's about a hundred less than are packed in every Sunday.

Arriving after 5:30 virtually guarantees you'll have to wait outside, in the rain, till the show is over. Then it's one-in-one-out. Once you get in, join the queue for the coatcheck. Which intermingles with the queue for the bar. Holding your beer aloft, fight your way through the crowds and find a spot where you can see the show – preferably not behind the group of 7-foot-tall lagered-up bears. All that beer means you need a pee, so join the 5-minute queue for the gents'. Or the 15-minute queue for the ladies'. Learn to dance in an area of one-square foot, without actually moving any body parts. Finally, when you want to leave, there's that coatcheck queue again.

It's not as though this is a fancy West End club or anything - it's just a pub south of the river, for crying out loud!
Madonna video banned
The video for "What It Feels Like For A Girl", directed by her husband, Guy Ritchie, depicts gunplay, violent assault and suicide — elements MTV and VH1 apparently prohibit. In it, the pop diva portrays a self-described "nihilistic pissed-off chick" who cruises around town inflicting damage on any man that crosses her path.

After picking up Grandma at the "Ol Kuntz Guest Home," Madonna crashes into a car full of men who wink at her, threatens male police officers with a squirt gun before sideswiping their vehicle, and mugs a man at an ATM with a stun gun before wrapping her stolen car around a lamppost in what appears to be an intentional act.
Goldfrapp cover Olivia Newton-John's "Physical". There's an mp3 extract available here.
*Please say hello to VeryShallowPerson:I met you last week, said I really liked you, let you kiss me and make love to me, promised to see you again but not for a while because I'm sooo busy. Now I am looking for someone I consider to be better. I'll come on line and pretend we're to be friendly, then ignore you. My profile says "I'm single, so what are you waiting for?" I'll also telephone you sometime and make out I'm still interested in you, but still sooo busy, then come online again and talk to loads of other guys to make you feel bad.  But hey, I'm young, cute and everyone wants me, so I'll make the most of it and I really don't care about you or anyone else for that matter!!
Ian was just saying last night that we're due a Monkees revival. Who needs it when we have S Club 7, who are following the Monkees' patented manufactured-kids-TV-band-take-drugs route. Can we expect an incoherent, psychedelic surrealist S Club 7 film soon? Lord knows it would be an improvement on Miami 7.
I hate Brian Sewell. Hardly a controversial statement. Everybody hates Brian Sewell. I'm sure even Brian Sewell can't actually like Brian Sewell. I picked up a copy of the Standard on the tube last night, and his column reduced me to the kind of pompous, apoplectic bluster he specialises in. What was he waffling on about this time? The Sun:
How can a responsible newspaper, witness to so much wind and waffle these past four years, to so much aspiration suddenly deflated, to so much evidence of ignorance and inexperience, to so much pusillanimity masquerading as pragmatism, to so much double-counting, dissembling and duplicity, claim that Blair has done enough to deserve a second term?
That's a 55-word sentence. Has he never heard of a full-stop, or as the Americans call it, a period. Oh for something that could staunch his bloody haemorrhaging.
In my broadsheets I read nothing of such things, nothing of the girl whose breasts expand to match the lager she consumes, nothing of the dad savaged by a randy owl as he wended his way to the local pub, and nothing of the wretched young man who bought a haunted suit from Oxfam and had to have it exorcised - but such tales are small beer to The Sun, for the real core of the paper's interest is sex, sex, sex, as Tony Blair might put it in one of his more rhetorical moments.
It must be galling for Mr Sewell to realise that he doesn't work for a broadsheet, but for the bloody Standard. The sentence above was ninety-five words. But he was just warming up, doing vocal exercises, building up to his grand ululating 133-word aria:
Tracys and Sharons from Walsall and Widnes, knowing in their nudity, are undisguised pornography and so are the tales the paper tells - an oral sex orgy by 14-year-olds while Miss marks books, a bonk in the Crown Court loo while waiting for a case to be called, the man wearing nothing but his bobble hat when interrupted by a WPc, the girl who thought her boyfriend a successful lawyer until she discovered him on video doing "disgusting things" with a hundred other women - two whole pages of this salacious trivia illustrated by Steve's "barefaced right cheek" and, in a special supplement for women, many more such bottom cheeks, with codpieces and boots, all to be seen in Streatham by "hunk-hungry hordes of women" screaming for a glimpse of the full Monty.
Shut it, fat boy.

Tuesday, March 20, 2001

Laying down the gauntlet:
I challenge you to a game of iSketch Wednesday at 13:00 GMT. I shall await you in the Basic English II room. Bring your drawing skills.
The A to Z of the Vauxhall Tavern
P
is for Pleasure Gardens

Vauxhall, 1809

Spring Gardens, the patch of green behind the Vauxhall Tavern, is all that remains of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, which opened in 1661. These gardens provided all sorts of entertainment from drinking and eating to music, fireworks and balloon rides.

The Gardens were also notoriously frequented by prostitutes and men of loose morals. When the respectable heroine of Frances Burney’s Evelina (1778) makes the mistake of walking through the Gardens, she is accosted by a large party of riotous gentlemen who assume she is for hire.

In 1771 Tobias Smollett described Vauxhall as "filled with crowds of noisy people, sucking up the nocturnal rheums of an aguish climate; and through these gay scenes, a few lamps glimmer like so many farthing candles." He continued: "I no sooner entered, than I was dazzled and confounded with the variety of beauties that rushed all at once upon my eye, the place crowded with the gayest company. Among the vocal performers I had the happiness to hear the celebrated Mrs. -----, whose voice was so loud and so shrill, that it made my head ake through excess of pleasure.

"I despise their want of taste and decorum but when they crowd together, listening to a song, which one half of them cannot possibly hear, how can I help supposing they are actually possessed by a spirit, more absurd and pernicious than any thing we meet with in the precincts of Bedlam?"

Blogadoon notes: Boswell described the Vauxhall music as "not too refined for the general ear" and, despite one punter's complaint that the venue needed "more nightingales and fewer strumpets", contemporary engravings show huge crowds avidly enjoying the loud histrionics of over-dressed entertainers.

One such performer was Madame Saqui whose "appearance was rather masculine, her legs worthy of a circus strong man. Dressed in tinsel, spangles and plumes, it was rumoured that she earned around one hundred guineas per week."

In his book "Travels" (1795), Karl Moritz, a German contemporary of Blake, mentions his delight at the Vauxhall gardens and the music, although he thought the women "over-bold".

A number of brothels became well established in the surrounding streets, including one called "Slut’s Hole".

Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens opened for the last time on the night of Monday, 25 July, 1859, but their spirit lives on today at the Vauxhall Tavern.

Thanks to Ian for inspiring today's entry.
Who sez there's no rest for the wicked? Thirteen hours I slept last night. And do I feel better for it? Do I hell. I could sleep 13 more.

Monday, March 19, 2001

Ian and I took visiting Texans, Patrick and Will, on a tour of Old Compton Street last night, taking in Comptons, Mantos, the Village and Barcode. I think they were suitably impressed. They were visibly relieved to have discovered Comptons Cafe - Americans need to know they have access to food 24 hours a day. Thanks to Patrick and Will, I now know what chicken fried steak is - something which had puzzled me for years.
Dave has written a terrific review of the Daft Punk album:
"...this is fun, kitsch, and by turns very now, very 80s and more. It samples Barry Manilow. Whole sections of it could have been the music bed from those awfuls bits in the middle of 'Kids from Fame' when they donned their leg warmers and did an impromptu breakdancing set in between lessons."
Get your chainsaw-toting Emimem doll now. Link via the marvellously-named listen missy. Or, to give it its full name as suggested by its URL: now you listen to me little missy.
The A to Z of the Vauxhall Tavern
O
is for Outdoors
Spring is here, so summer can't be far behind. All the signs are there: the days are getting longer, fruit trees are turning pastel shades and daffodils are trumpeting their yellowness. On the pavements in Vauxhall, an equally glorious phenomenon indicates the start of summer - clusters of bare-chested men dotted around the Royal Vauxhall Tavern.

It gets damned hot inside the RVT. The two industrial air conditioning units rented by the Tavern management for the summer months try valiantly, but in vain, to combat the heat created by 400 men dancing wildly in a windowless room. Going outdoors is not merely a pleasant relief from the heat, it is essential.

In the early summer months, before it really warms up, steam clouds billow out from the doors. Vapour can also be clearly seen billowing from the hard-nippled torsos of the guys outside, creating a strange climatic condition - sweat clouds. Perhaps this is why it's called a "chill out"?

On sizzling summer Sundays there are far more people outside than in; sitting on the railings or leaning against the building. And there's always one wide-eyed half-naked zealot dancing wildly on top of a bollard. There are many more sprawled on the grassy banks behind the Tavern. Which brings us neatly to tomorrow's entry...
Michael Atavar has produced an "unlimited-edition" artwork for the Guardian. Far more interesting, though, is his own site. Read through the entire "four stars" section.
As I was going up the escalator at Green Park tube yesterday, there was a loud bang and the crowded escalator juddered to a sudden halt. I was telling Ian about this last night, and he asked, "did you read Tom's story about that happening to him?" [I hadn't.] We then walked into Barcode, and bumped into... Tom.
You know you're getting old when...
Met a young (very young) Swedish guy in the Spiral on Friday night. I told him I'd just been to see Soft Cell that night. "Soft Cell? What's that? A new movie?"

Friday, March 16, 2001

The A to Z of the Vauxhall Tavern
N
is for Normal people
Normal people driving past the Tavern, shouting abuse.
Normal people walking past the Tavern, eyes staring straight ahead, clutching their children to them.
Normal people writing letters of complaint about the foul language they can apparently hear all the way across the park.
Normal people queerbashing us abnormal people in nearby dark railway subways.
From my office window, I can see two flawlessly white doves on the roof of Ye Olde Swiss Cottage. So delicate, so beautiful. Ah, the dove - symbol of peace. Oh, hang on, they're shagging. And now a pigeon's trying to join in. I've come over all David Attenborough. Or Desmond Morris.
Last night, I saw the first Soft Cell performance for 17 years. Obviously, I loved it. I'm hardly going to come back saying "that Marc Almond, he's so crap".

And, boy, am I ever not.

This was just a short 30-minute set to launch the venue, Ocean. The bad news is it's tucked away in Hackney. The good news is it's a glorious venue. Externally, it retains the facade of the Methodist Hall it once was, bathed in blue light, with projections in the windows. The interior is industrial - all steel girders and exposed fittings. As for the toilets - well, they're very swish.

Being a launch party, the place was filled with record industry folk, press and, er, Hackney Council workers. There weren't many fans, but those there were had seen better days. In a telling age thing, I slipped off to the loo to do drugs - Wind-Eez capsules. Also, being a launch party, the drinks were free all night. Which helped get us through support band Add N to (X). Then Suggs came on and announced Soft Cell.

Marc slinked onto the stage wearing what looked like a black satin sheet. With his hair gelled up in a blonde quiff, he now looks like the girl in Roxette. Or a smaller Brigitte Nielsen. Only much less butch. Dave Ball looks like he had just wandered in to fix the heating and got roped in to help on stage.

Inevitably they opened with their first single, "Memorabilia", the song Marc claims invented techno. Or house. Or something.

Marc said "you all still want that 80s thing. What is it about that, huh? What is it about today that makes us all want the 80s back?" This was the cue for stunning new song [yes! new Soft Cell songs! how weird is that?] "Monoculture", an attack on today's bland, homogenised gay "scene".

Then another new number, "Divided Souls", already sounding like a future Soft Cell classic. Then came a Soft Cell classic from the past, "Forever The Same". Marc prowled around the stage, all ice-queen imperiousness, Dave grinned like he couldn't believe his luck, I lost it.

However, "Last Chance" is the sound of Dave and Marc plagiarising themselves. Look, guys, you wrote "Meet Me In My Dreams" together back in 1991, there's no need to rewrite it ten years later. Jonathan will have the complete set-list. I can't remember the running order, but they did "Bedsitter", "Say Hello, Wave Goodbye", "Torch", "Sex Dwarf" and the full "Tainted Love/Where Did Our Love Go" medley.

As the show progressed, the years stripped away, and I felt younger and younger, till I ended up the teenager I was in 1982, excitedly grabbing people and screaming. If Soft Cell can be this good at an industry showcase, how brilliant are they going to be tonight?
A pound will be donated to Comic Relief for every visitor Mo Morgan receives today. Go visit him, and while you're at it, why not donate something to Comic Relief yourself?
How awful is this? My boss went to see his daughter's first ballet performance last night. The whole family was there, in the front row. And his father-in-law had a heart attack and died.

Thursday, March 15, 2001

The A to Z of the Vauxhall Tavern
M
is for Midnight
Which is when the place shuts. This might seem early to non-Brits, but you've got to remember, this is England - the pubs shut at 10:30 on a Sunday.

Come midnight, the faithful die-hards are scraped up and swept out onto the pavement, where they mill around bewildered, hoping someone will decide for them where they're going next. "Should go home, but really want to go on." "Is Habit still on a Sunday?" "We could go to DTPM, I suppose." "Has anyone been to 333 yet?" Eventually everyone piles into cars or queues at the cab office, already inventing the excuse to tell the boss on Monday morning.

And, of course, M is also for Minkered
A series of drawings from an isometric perspective, in the style of a computer game. The subject of each drawing is an iconic image - both historical events (like the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr) and fictionalized events (like the picnic scene from The Sound of Music). Link from Jonno.
So it's official: Princess Anne is faster than Geri Halliwell.

Geri's Aston Martin DB7 was recorded at 60mph in a 30mph zone. "She expects to be treated in exactly the same manner as any member of the public," said her lawyer.

Anne, however, was zooming along a dual carriageway at 93mph in her Bentley when a police car pulled out behind her. She thought the car was there to escort her and carried on. This is far from her first speeding offence - she was also caught speeding in 1972, 1977 and 1990.
I wouldn't want to overreact, and at the risk of sounding like a complete hypochondriac, I think I'm dying! Doctors today, I think. But what fucked-up timing. It's the Soft Cell launch party tonight.

Wednesday, March 14, 2001

Celebrity Big Brother. The Pet Shop Boys said it best:

We're shameless
We will do anything
To get our fifteen minutes of fame
We have no integrity
We're ready to crawl
To obtain celebrity
We'll do anything
With anyone
Go absolutely anywhere
For anything
At all
Lost in Translation. Translates given text from English into French; then back into English; then into German; back into English, and so on, through Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. Your text makes less sense with each successive step - like a game of Chinese Whispers. But without the Chinese.

"Swish Cottage" becomes "Small house of Swish". Link from my 2p.
The A to Z of the Vauxhall Tavern
L
is for Love
There's a lot of love in the Tavern on a Sunday. True love, transitory love, chemical love, loved-upness, you're-my-besht-mate love, and a whole load of real love. I'm not going to claim it's unique, but the depth of caring I've encountered in the Vauxhall is rare on London's gay scene. The friendships I have built up over the years at the Vauxhall are with some of the nicest people I have ever known. One of our group is going off to live in Spain for six months, and it's like a member of the family leaving home. Richard, we're going to miss you.
Next time you're at home off ill, play my new game: The Kilroy Drinking Game.

Now, most drinking games are played in groups. But no-one ever watches Kilroy with other people - its audience is housewives, lonely pensioners, bored students, the sick and those huddled under the duvet with crippling hangovers. And just as no-one actually enjoys watching Kilroy, so you're not meant to enjoy this game. It's sole purpose it to get you drunk. Which might have the side-effect of making Kilroy watchable.

Basically, you have to take a drink every time Kilroy or a member of the studio audience says one of the key phrases. Firstly, you have to choose your tipple. This is actually decided for you by the theme of the morning's show:
"I'm fat and fabulous": Guinness
"Not to old to have fun": Port and lemon
"I'm a thief": Break into your flatmate's booze cabinet
"I want to change my sex": Alternate between white wine spritzers and pints of real ale

The phrases and the amount you drink:
"At the end of the day": Take one small mouthful. This one is discretionary, as if you were to take a drink every time "at the end of the day" is said, you'd be paralytic by 9:30am. [and your point is...?]
"But I love him": one gulp
"But I love her": two gulps (because no-one ever says this]

In addition, take a drink whenever Kilroy says: "Hang on, I can't get you from there", "You can't use language like that on the BBC", "Don't grab the microphone", or when he mentions that he was once an MP.

Bonus points: Finish whatever's left in your glass whenever an aged audience member performs a dance at the front to show how limber she still is at 87, or if anyone comes out with a real swear word.

If it all goes quiet for a bit, but you just feel like a drink, repeat this phrase three times: "Kilroy Silk, silly cunt". If you stumble over it, have a drink.

The phone-in round: Halfway through the show, Kilroy announces the theme for the next show. This is your cue to finish the entire bottle of whatever you were drinking and switch to the beverage appropriate for the next show. You must also phone in to be a contestant on the next show, claiming to be fat and fabulous, 87 and still randy, a transsexual, or all of the above.

The game can be adapted to any daytime chat show, with the appropriate drinks: Vanessa Feltz - spiked SlimShakes; Jerry Springer - home-brewed rotgut moonshine; Richard and Judy - anything; but you have to shoplift it.
This is so bloody addictive - an online competitive sketching game, a bit like Pictionary.

Tuesday, March 13, 2001

If "Karaoke" means "Empty Orchestra", and "Karate" means "Empty Hand", does that explain why "Karen Carpenter" always went hungry?
The A to Z of the Vauxhall Tavern
K
is for Karaoke
No, wait, come back! There isn't really karaoke at the Vauxhall on a Sunday. But there is something of the flavour of a karaoke evening in the show's sing-songs. The finale of this week's show was a rousing rendition of Robbie Williams' "Angels", and the DE Experience was drowned out by a cats' chorus of "and through it aaaallllll...". Pick a key, guys, any key.

At times, the atmosphere in the Vauxhall Tavern is that of a stadium gig - everyone pretending they're dead butch, pitching their voices an octave lower to shout "we will, we will rock you" and clapping their hands like it's Live Aid at Wembley. This week's most rousing moment was when the DE Experience sang Kylie's "Better The Devil You Know" and did the whole "first this side of the room, now this side": "Whoah whoah whoah-oh whoah-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh"

Lord knows what newcomers to the Vauxhall make of 300 men, crammed together, eyes rapturously closed, faces lifted, sincerely bellowing stirring anthems. But we love it, so all together now: "you don't have to say you love me, just be close at hand..."
"This novel is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author's imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental." - Lust by Geoff Ryman.

Yeah, right. 'Zoltan Caparthi' - "you know, the glass artist? The one who does fabulous piss-takes of beauty contests?" - is not at all based on Andrew Logan, the glass artist who organises the Alternative Miss World. The "art critic of the Evening News with the ludicrously posh accent" clearly has nothing to do with Brian Sewell, the ridiculously pompous art critic of the Evening Standard. And it's obviously pure coincidence that the "boxing champion, low of brow, high of aggression, with a neck wider than his head, currently in prison" is a dead-ringer for Mike Tyson. And then there's the "Maori player of the All Blacks, as broad as he is tall." Sounds like Jonah Lomu to me.

And if you really are pressed: The digested read, digested:
Rice queen plays God.
It's been a while since my Crazed Stalker has made an appearance here, but he has certainly come up trumps. Thanks to him, I have a ticket to the opening party at Ocean on Thursday - the first Soft Cell performance in 17 years. Of course, I'm also going to see Soft Cell on Friday. And on Saturday...
Read my lips:
And who came looking for labia? And waded through 69 other results before deciding mine was the right one? Enough is enough is enough is enough is enough.
Okay, hands up who came to my site looking for irregular practises with rats in Leytonstone.

Monday, March 12, 2001

The A to Z of the Vauxhall Tavern
J
is for jobs.
Do these people have to go to work on a Monday morning? Or do they all pull a sickie?
I swore I'd never blog one of my dreams, but the one I had last night - or rather one of the many I had last night - was so vivid I almost believe it really happened.

I can fly. But only about half an inch above the ground, and standing upright. And that's why no-one else ever notices.

What I do is, I jump forward, and instead of landing, I level out just before I hit the ground. I usually manage to stay in the air for just a few seconds, before I get scared, and put my feet on the ground again. But I'm getting better at it. Yesterday, though, I inadvertently floated off a cliff edge, but luckily I landed safely on the tree-tops of a forest canopy. Fortunately, there was a Greenpeace protest in this forest, and I managed to clamber down the three-hundred foot ladder they had handy.

I'm going home to practise some more.
I use my mobile phone for the following purposes, in descending order:
1. For text messaging
2. As a watch
3. As an alarm clock
4. As a phone

I send a lot of text messages. My itemised bill is at least six pages long every month. And my thumb is so well trained, it's lightning quick. Predictive text messaging is a great idea. In theory. Nine times out of ten, it correctly guesses the word you were intending to type, but just occasionally it throws up something completely different. The most annoying one is that every time I mean to write 'me' [which I do a lot!] it thinks I want to write 'of'.

Some of the alternative suggestions are quite amusing. For instance, try to type 'cock' and it will suggest 'anal'. For 'queer', one of the suggestions is 'puffs'; and for 'kiss', 'lips' or 'lisp'.

Here are some more I've spotted:
Alone, aloof, blond, clone. Afford, before. Andy, body. Fuck, dual, duck. Bums, buns, atop, cums. Rich, shag. Sim, rim, sin. Quotes, stoves, punter. Jesus, jests. Baker, cakes. Forbid, dosage. Scots, scour, pants.
You can tell it's been a rough weekend when my sole blog entry so far today is merely a couple of quotes from a late-night comedy; Ian has yet to surface, and Dave has gone AWOL. Not really surprising, as Dave was last seen at the Vauxhall looking much the better for wear; and the last time I saw Ian he was planning to go to LA3. This was after the Vauxhall, and after an oh-so profound discussion in Comptons about: arrogance vs ignorance; innocence vs arrogance; and a debate about which of us was the more competitive. "I am!" "No, I am!"

I'm meant to be doing the letter "J" in my A to Z today, but all I can think of right now is "jaded".
They asked me at school how I felt about sex before marriage.
I replied: 'pessimistic'.

It is said we are descended from monkeys.
I did not realise how far.

Eventually, I shall be the most humble man on earth.
But not tonight.

"My first is in chicken, but not in Honduras.
My second is in Honduras, but not in chicken.
My third is in both Honduras and chicken.
My fourth is in neither Honduras nor chicken.
What am I?"
"You are a cunt."

Attention Scum!

Saturday, March 10, 2001

Our friend Guy has a well-earned reputation for falling off podiums and stages when off his face. Last night, I fell onto the stage at the Artful Dodger. This was after several magnums of bubbly, and after we'd scared off all the other diners in the Vietnamese restaurant which used to be a public toilet with our male voice choir renditions of Dusty Springfield songs. Yes, the evening was as good as it sounds!

But it has left me with a world-class hangover, and three bloody gashes in my shin. I don't know which is more crippling.

Friday, March 09, 2001

An email I received today:

The next time some dodgy bloke is hassling you for your number, smile sweetly and give this number to him:

01279 633 452

Go on, try it.
In a spooky case of synchronicity, Dave has been drawing diagrams, too, showing how his circles of friends overlap.

Many miles away, something crawls from the slime at the bottom of a dark Scottish lake.
The A to Z of the Vauxhall Tavern
I
is for Incestuous
Thanks for hosting my pics, Ian
Try your hand at Dotmusic's new pop quiz. Be warned, it's highly addictive. (Requires Flash.)
Earthquake as artist. Very cool.
When I switched my mobile on this morning, a text message came through:

"OH MY GOD! HIS WIFE! HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? AND I THOUGHT MY LIFE WAS STRANGE! CAN I USE THAT IN MY WRITING?"

I have absolutely no idea what this is about.

Thursday, March 08, 2001

The recent Guardian article by Charlotte Raven in which she complained how crap pop is today compared to when she were a lass - ie 1981 - is the inspiration for a great Freaky Trigger piece comparing the top 40 singles of 1981 with those of 2000. I agree with most of Tom and Greg's ratings, apart from their inexplicable fawning over Craig David, Eminem and Britney. I'd be interested to see if they still score so high in a couple of years' time.
Ian said something interesting [for a change!] to me on Saturday: "You like books more for the writing, the language; whereas I go more for plot".

It got me thinking. He's right: many of my favourite books are not really about anything, but they're beautifully written. I'm not a fan of "genre" books. I can't be bothered with science fiction, detective novels, fantasy - I prefer reality. One of the things I loved about "White Teeth" is that it was set in Cricklewood, on the very streets I walk every day. My favourite novelists tend to be 30-something Brits. I can relate, y'know? I suppose my ideal novel would be about a mid-30s gay man, who grew up in South Africa and moved to London in the mid-90s.

My autobiography, in other words. But better-written.
The A to Z of the Vauxhall Tavern
H
is for hair - or the lack thereof

This pic was taken at the Vauxhall one Sunday about three weeks ago, on the occasion of Matthew's 30th birthday. Spot the man with hair!

According to the Queer Skinhead Brotherhood, "gay skinheads in Europe, especially London, have created a lively culture of their own; though they are primarily sadomasochists who took on a skinhead identity as a replacement for the biker and lumberjack styles of the leathermen." Nowadays, though, the London gay scene has got over its flirtation with skinhead culture, and it's generally only in fetish clubs that you'll still see guys insisting they are "real" skinheads.

The club which did most to increase the popularity and profile of gay skinheads was Oi!. When Oi! was started in the mid-90s, it attempted to foster a real skinhead culture in the gay scene - the look, the lifestyle, the music - but queens don't really go for that ska thing. Oh, they pretended to, but were secretly relieved when Oi! grew to encompass two dancefloors: one playing the dreaded skinhead stuff and the other playing the more acceptable trance. Of course, they didn't really go to Oi! for the music at all, but that's another story.

The Vauxhall on a Sunday tends to attract guys who could best be described as "post-skinhead". Back in the 90s, they'd have been Oi! regulars, and they still like the look - birds of a feather, and all that. But now they want a bit of a laugh and a twirl to some camp pop tunes after all those years of macho posing. None of the people in the pic above indentify themselves as skinheads. I should know - they're all my friends.

And none of them will be talking to me after tomorrow's entry in my A to Z of the Vauxhall - I for "Incestuous"...!
A gay Hear'Say website. Noel! Pick me! I prefer Danny, myself.
It seems that Cryptonomicon's search for Japanese gold in the Philippines has a real-life counterpart. Link from flutterby.

Wednesday, March 07, 2001

The A to Z of the Vauxhall Tavern
G
is for Gay
adj. 1. carefree and merry: a gay temperament.
2. brightly coloured; brilliant: a gay hat.
3. given to pleasure, esp. in social entertainment: a gay life.
4. rakish or dissolute; licentious; a gay old dog.
5. a. Inf. homosexual (used esp. by homosexuals of themselves). b. (as n.): a group of gays.

These definitions from the Collins English Dictionary could all apply to Sundays at the Vauxhall. Apart from the 'brightly coloured' one, perhaps. Try this dictionary.
2.4 million people have popped in to see if there's any coffee in Cambridge university's Trojan Room coffee machine. A webcam has watched its every perk since 1991, giving it - according to the Guardian - "the same iconic status as Marconi's first crackling radio transmission or Gutenberg's first printed bible". I remember logging on back in 1996. I didn't know why, it was just one of the things you did back then, and there wasn't a whole lot else to see on the web. But the plug is to be pulled when the computer department moves into a new building later this year. Read the coffee pot's biography here or check out its current status here.
Late last night, Bakerloo Line from Charing Cross to Baker Street: an old man in a navy blue woollen hat, precariously chewing a Wispa Gold with his few good teeth, rodent-like, strands of caramel stretching from his white-stubbled chin to his blackened fingers. Opposite him, a tea-coloured boy of indeterminate age, eyes which have seen it all, want to see it all, or fear they'll see it all. Could be anything from 9 to 90, like Johnny Htoo. Italian man opposite me, hair the colour and texture of a well-worn welcome mat.

Jubilee Line from Baker Street to Kilburn: Stylish woman with Jane Norman shopping bag, a three-pack of Charmin white toilet rolls peeking out. Standing in front of me, a gorgeous black teen wearing Sean John baseball cap, Sean John sweatshirt, Sean John denim jacket, and with an arse so good it looks great even in Levis engineered jeans - no mean feat. Sitting next to me, a white student, all lank hair and glasses, writing on his PDA (blogging, perhaps?), the bumping of the train thwarting his efforts to write in the recognised Palm Pilot script. Opposite, an elderly woman, alone, her hair a hillock of frostbitten lank grass crowning the ploughed field that is her face, her nose a strangely unlined obelisk, her teeth a mossy stone circle.

Kilburn Station: Youth using the public phone and a mobile simultaneously, his hair in Snoop braids like thick twisted wool. Next to him, trying to avoid the curling smoke from his joint, a pale, rather drunk, gay skinhead at the BT MultiPhone, trying to write a blog entry about his journey back from the pop quiz. Which they lost.

Tuesday, March 06, 2001

According to Luke, the songs that were number one on the day you were born set the tone for the rest of your life. On the day I was born, the songs at the top of the charts in the UK and the US were "A World Without Love" and "Can't Buy Me Love". So I'm going to die unloved, even if I pay for it. Oh, I'm really glad I did this now! How about you?
Should I be worried about my dad's sexuality? Don't get me wrong - he has four kids, is happily married, he even used to be an athlete ferchrissakes. But it's his record collection. His favourite singers are Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, Diana Ross, Shirley Bassey, Donna Summer, Madonna, even the Pet Shop Boys and Marc Almond. His favourite film of all time is Evita. I think I may need to have a word with him.
The A to Z of the Vauxhall Tavern
F
is for five o' clock, four quid, full, fags, fashion, Fred Perrys, footie kit, fraternising with friends, fancying, flirting, feeling-up, free-for-all, fun, frothy festive frolics, foetid fragrant fug, frantic, fuddled, falling off the stage, finally leaving, fucking, fornicating, feeling like shit the next day. Fabulous!
Colemanballs. OK, they're juvenile, but these sporting quotes made me laugh (thanks, Gabs).

"This is Gregoriava from Bulgaria....I saw her snatch this morning and it was amazing." (Pat Glenn - Weightlifting commentator)

"He's pulling him off! The Spanish manager is pulling his captain off!" (Soccer commentator George Hamilton on Spain manager Luis Suarez's substitution of Butragueno during their world cup qualifier with Ireland in Seville,1992)

"The black players at this club lend the side a lot of skill and flair, but you also need white players in there to balance things up and give the team some brains and some common sense." (Crystal Palace chairman Ron Noades, speaking in 1991)

"I owe a lot to my parents, especially my mother and father" (Greg Norman)

"Sure there have been injuries and deaths in boxing - but none of them serious" (Alan Minter)

"The racecourse is as level as a billiard ball" (John Francombe)

"He dribbles a lot and the opposition don't like it - you can see it all over their faces." (Ron Atkinson)

"Ah, isn't that nice, the wife of the Cambridge president is kissing the cox of the Oxford crew." (Harry Carpenter - BBC TV Boat Race 1977)

"Julian Dicks is everywhere. It's like they've got eleven Dicks on the field." (Metro Radio)

" .... and later we will have action from the men's cockless pairs..." (Sue Barker)

"Strangely, in slow motion replay, the ball seemed to hang in the air for even longer." (David Acfield)

"There goes Juantorena down the back straight, opening his legs and showing his class" (David Coleman at The Montreal Olympics)
Another week, another online test. This time it's Channel 4's Metrosexuality gay test.
I am 51% gay - a happy and well-adjusted homo. [Link from theBuzz.]

Monday, March 05, 2001

There is a special kind of mind at work on QX Classifieds. I use the word "special" in the politically-correct sense. QX have a new system, where you need to work out your D.I.C.K. number. "What does D.I.C.K. stand for?" you ask. Why, "Dating Interactive Classification Key-number", of course.

Fill in the two columns below - the left-hand side is for your details, the right column describes the man you are looking for:
My D.I.C.K.His D.I.C.K.
Category choice
0 No preference
1 Relationship
2 Casual encounter
Age
Insert age
Role
0 Active
1 Passive
2 Versatile
3 Non-penetrative
Ethnic background
0 No preference
1 African-Caribbean
2 Oriental
3 Asian
4 European
Height
0 No preference
1 Tall
2 Short
3 Medium
Build
0 No preference
1 Slim
2 Athletic
3 Medium
4 Muscular
5 Stocky
6 Large
Eyes
0 No preference
1 Brown
2 Green
3 Grey/blue
Cock size
0 No preference
1 Huge
2 Average
3 Small
Cock type
0 No preference
1 Cut
2 Uncut
Specialist interest
0 None
1 Red
2 Yellow and brown
3 CP
4 SM
5 Skins
6 Lycra/Sports
7 Rubber
8 Group
9 Multiple interests
H.I.V. status
0 No preference
1 Positive
2 Negative
D.I.C.K. number
Name:

Once you've filled this in, you'll have two 12-digit numbers. When you place your ad, you give your D.I.C.K. number, and the number of the type of man you're looking for. When there are matches, QX will send a text message to your mobile.
Forget the hankie code, this is so specific it's bizarre! Still, if 236100001090 is reading this, let me know.
Last night I thought I might have measles.
But now I realise that was a rash decision.
The A to Z of the Vauxhall Tavern
E
is for Ecstasy
It would be disingenuous to suggest that everyone at the Vauxhall on a Sunday is "on one", but a lot of them are - more than one, of course, as they've been out all weekend. This undeniably contributes to the atmosphere which could be described as "up" and "friendly"; or "chaotic" and "unhinged".

Now, other people's drug stories are about as dull as reconstructed dreams, but that's never stopped bloggers from relating their dreams. Or their drug experiences. I'd love to tell you about the times I've done ecstasy at the Vauxhall, but strangely I find myself unable to remember any. I do, however, remember my first E:

As I've said elsewhere, I grew up in South Africa. This was way before South Africa became a hip destination for Trade DJs to get a tan and cheap booze. Ecstasy only hit South Africa in the mid-90s, so I had to wait till I arrived in the UK at the age of 30 for my first pill.

One night, I went to FF, the infamous Sunday late-night gay club at Turnmills. I'd heard that Marc Almond was somehow involved in the club, and it was also rumoured that you could easily get E there.

I was standing in a dark corner, trying to work out where the dealers could be, or even what a dealer might look like outside of the movies (the answer - the same as in the movies) when I spotted a familiar face: It was Marc, drinking a mug of tea with the teabag hanging out. I was about to rush up to him and babble "I'm your biggest fan!", but realised I'd better think about what I was going to say. Composing myself, I casually walked up to him and said: "Mm babba shingle uhnunuhn adored mmnm xplored. I mean, I really like the new single, Adored and Explored. When's the album due out?" We chatted for about 20 minutes, and when I realised the conversation had pretty much run its course, I managed to blurt out that I wanted to try E for the first time, but didn't know where to get it, or how.

With that, he took me by the hand, led me under an archway and introduced me to someone. The rest is hysteria.
So the Manics go in at 8 and 9. I'm sure they'll claim this as a victory, but surely the fact that they brought the release date forward so as not to clash with Westlife suggests that they'd hoped to reach number one [and two]?
Meanwhile, the Divine Comedy limp in at 26, two places lower than that towering talent Caprice. Regeneration, my arse.
"The enduring image is of the naked artist reading a text from a long scroll that she unfurls from her vagina."
No, it's not The Vagina Monologues, but New York artist Carolee Schneemann exhibiting (?) in Manchester.
A certain friend, who shall remain nameless (and legless, and motherless) called my mobile twice yesterday, each time leaving a long, drunken rambling message on the voicemail. Except it wasn't my phone. So, apologies on his behalf to the stranger who had to listen to this.

Sunday, March 04, 2001

Why do the Gents' at the William IV pub in Hampstead always smell of fish fingers?

Saturday, March 03, 2001

Digging out my copy of No Logo this morning, intending to lend it to Ian, I discovered I hadn't finished it. Two-thirds of the way through, I'd bookmarked it - with a Fred Perry clothing tag!

Friday, March 02, 2001

Earthquake strikes Seattle: thousands spilled.
Ian has been messing around with Photoshop, trying to see what he'd look like with a shaved head. I think it's a winner. So much so, I reckon we should organise a Sponsored Shave. After all, Red Nose Day is two weeks today. Let's get Ian in a public place, I'll bring the clippers, you bring the money. A pound an inch, anyone?
The A to Z of the Vauxhall Tavern
D
is for the DE Experience

How to describe the DE Experience? Well, she comes on as Dame Edna, does a bit of comedy and sings a few songs. Sounds like your average drag show, right? Wrong!

That does even begin to describe her. She's guaranteed to offend everyone. She's a drug-taking, cock-sucking, dog-shagging, Widdecombe-licking, Myra-Hindley-babysitting comic genius.

And then there's the voice: spot-on vocal impressions of everyone from Karen Carpenter to Marc Almond; Whitney Houston to Freddie Mercury; Nat King Cole to Natalie Cole; Michael Jackson to Dusty Springfield.

She really should have her own TV (pun intended) show. See the DE Experience at 5pm at the Vauxhall Tavern - sorry: "Rrrroyal Vauxhall Tavern" - every Sunday. I do.
QX, the gay listings magazine, is now available for download every week in pdf format. This week's cover features a stunning photo of Marc Almond, part of an exhibition which opens next week at First Out Cafe.

Thursday, March 01, 2001

"Small earthquake - not many killed". Blogadoon - the fatal statistics.
The A to Z of the Vauxhall Tavern
C
is for Chill-Out
The Sunday afternoon session at the Vauxhall is called a "chill-out" session. What a misnomer. A chill-out session normally runs something like this:

You all emerge from Crash or Trade, saucer-eyed and blinking in the sunlight. Some poor fool mumbles "all back to mine" and you pile into some stranger's car. He drives very carefully and very slowly, jaw working manically. You get back to theirs and they put on a CD - inevitably Cafe Del Mar, Massive Attack or Chilled Euphoria. Everyone flops onto cushions. Someone spends the next 20 minutes trying to roll a joint. Red wine is opened. And spilled on the flokati (oh, yeah, sorry, man).

The ritual phrases are repeated: "blinding set", "we'll always be together, us", "Pete Wardman is like God, man", "top banana!" (some fag hag that no-one will admit to inviting always says that). One strange soul will decide that everyone should eat bacon sarnies, and those brave enough to attempt them will spend 15 minutes chewing one mouthful and then giving up and staring at the food suspiciously, wondering what to do with a half-eaten sarnie, before hiding it down the back of the sofa.

Two people who have just met that evening will declare their love for each other, and they'll curl up, head in lap, stroking what little hair the other has. Eventually they'll make their way upstairs, close the curtains and try to make love, but they won't be able to find their cocks, let alone get hard-ons. But they'll have a really deep and meaningful experience, you know?

Eventually you'll feel "together" enough to ask for directions to the tube, and still later you'll be together enough to understand the directions, and you'll make your wobbly way home, avoiding the eyes of your fellow passengers.

The Vauxhall "Chill-Out" is nothing like that. Yes, many of the guys there have been to Crash or Trade. Or both. But the idea is not to chill out and get your head together. Oh no, quite the opposite...
Next time you're on the Tube, take a look at the posters for the new Disney film, The Emperors New Groove. Note the svelte legs, the wide eyes, the rictus grin, the "Well, hel-lo Gurlls..." pose. It can mean only one thing: he's a drag queen. Or a sex change - I mean, come on, the emperor's 'new groove'?

But wait - see that nose? Yes, it's scene veteran Dave Lynn.
So cold this morning, I had to finally wear the gloves I bought at Christmas. Black leather gloves. Which make me look like some sort of clone leather daddy [but ya are, Blanche, ya are!]. Especially when I wear my black leather jacket, too. All I need is a handlebar moustache, and I could be joining the Red Indian, the traffic cop and the construction worker.