Thursday, May 31, 2001

Every morning, I tumble out of bed and stumble to the kitchen and whack a heaped tablespoon of coffee in the cafetiere to make myself a Big Breakfast-sized mug of black, unsweetened coffee. I make another cup as soon as I get to work, and usually go through a can of Coke or two in the course of a working day. Are there any bloggers who don't survive on excessive amounts of caffeine?
These are fun - create interactive postcards using a basic digital watch interface, like this one I created to sum up how I feel this morning. In fact, if you follow the interchange of cards between Jonce and davidsim from card number 2138 to 2157, you may be able to figure out what I got up to after leaving Barcode last night. Answers on an e-mail.
Last night's PoofBlogMeet™ began disastrously and then proceeded downhill from there. We had arranged to meet upstairs at Compton's, but that proved impossible, as there was a chain across the stairs and a sign announcing that the upstairs bar was closed. I positioned myself strategically at the bottom of the stairs, hoping to spot a familiar face or body part among the loud, chaotically drunk crowd, and sure enough, Scally's plaster cast steered into view. We soon spotted Iain and Tom, and were then joined by Jonathan and Davo.

While we were bunched together on the stairs, a few rollerbladers zoomed past the window, down Old Compton Street. And then a few more, and more, and more - an entire flotilla of skaters, with a police car in lukewarm pursuit. Remi arrived, mysteriously managing to recognise us, and then Ian finally turned up, and we decided to move the PoofBlogMeet™ to the more relaxed setting of the upstairs bar at The Yard.

We managed almost an entire evening without getting techie or geeky. Remi's pictures have turned out well, even if Tom and Iain look terrified. At closing time, some of us went home, while some went on to behave disgracefully at Barcode. I think you can guess which catergory I fell into...

Wednesday, May 30, 2001

I wonder if the person who searched my site a couple of times, trying to find out what a blogger is - and perhaps whether he is one - will be at tonight's blogmeet?
This is brilliant. Force William Hague, Tony Blair and Ann Widdecombe to dance to your tune. That Tony's a right little mover, especially to S Club 7.
David, you're a Convertible
"Ooo wee! You've got the wind in your hair, the sun on your face, and anyone with two eyes wishing they could nestle into your passenger seat. You're all about top-down, Convertible fun. We're thinking '69 Mustang, '64 Corvette, or Mazda Miata, in cherry red, of course. The car for you embodies youth, freedom, and summertime excitement. You've got a wild outlook on life and are always game for a good time. Since you're comfortable being the center of attention, you zip around town looking sleek and fresh, stealing flirty glances from your rearview mirror. Being so sexy and open, you attract friends, love interests, and joy riders wherever you go. It's no surprise if some hot number pulls alongside to challenge you to a little drag down Lovers Lane. You're the classic party mobile so crank up the music and hit the open road."
I stayed in on Saturday, curled up on the sofa with a bottle of Sancerre. Look, if you're going to drink on your own, it has to be something good, to prove that you're not just drinking for the sake of the alcohol. Anyway, three-quarters the way through the bottle, I had a brainwave, and furiously started making notes.

Come the cold light of day, I wish I remember what the brainwave was. Lord knows the notes are no help:

Park toilet, hedge on three sides: Fox On The Run
Glorious summer, long green tunnels: Puppy Love
SA, red fields: Beg, Steal Or Borrow
Dog bite: You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet
Mum, Dad: ???
Teenager: Dancing Queen
Andrew's arm: Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep
Pano's ear: Sakkie Sakkie
Railway station: abortion
Summer in London: Supergrass Alright
Labour's new campaign poster of William Hague in Thatcher's wig is a classic image. I don't think I'll be able to see Hague in future, without conjuring up a mental picture of him in the wig. The Tories have slammed Labour for using personal attacks in their campaign, but they're merely following the Tories' own highly enduring image of Blair with demon eyes in the run-up to the last election.
I've been given more feedback about the state I was in on Sunday, post-birthday cake. The word "grin" has been used by everybody, usually preceded by the word "inane", and in one case by the phrase "so fucking annoying I wanted to punch your face in".
Pop quiz at the Retro Bar last night, and we finally broke our unlucky streak of second places. Yes, we won. Admittedly, this was largely because our main competition - the Readers Wifes - weren't in. But, then again, we were a man short, as Dave was too shagged-out to make it. So it was up to us hardier stalwarts, me, Jonathan and "the-lovely-Darren-TM" to represent the side. Ian was there too, as was Darren's boyfriend Jim, but - well - let's just say we didn't feel we were breaking the Retro Bar rules which allow four members per team...

Once again, we destroyed any street cred we may have had by getting through the easy listening section without any bother [Bobbie Gentry, Sacha Distel and Roger Miller]. We had great fun with the "I'll name that tune in one" round, spotting Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and Jocelyn Brown's Somebody's Else's Guy from just the first note. Unfortunately, we confused En Vogue's My Lovin' with their Hold On.

We didn't do too badly in the indie round, which comprised three Radiohead-soundalikes. We recognised Muse, and assumed Starsailor must be in there too, so put them for both of the remaining questions. One was right, the other was Elbow [who??]. We spotted the connection between The All Seeing I's Walk Like A Panther and The Lorraine Bowen Experience's Julie Christie, even if we didn't know that the third part of the question was Lou Christie.

Next came the "what happened next" round, where we had to complete the ten words that come after "Like a rhinestone cowboy". We knew "riding out on a horse", and we knew "a star-spangled rodeo", but the conjunction caused major dissent - was it "in", "at" or "like"? We plumped for "at". It was "in".

We came a bit of a cropper on the covers round - we recognised some grungey version of Depeche Mode's Never Let Me Down Again but - frustratingly - no matter how much I racked my brain, examined the tip of my tongue and beat my head against the wall, we didn't get the thrash cover of Alphaville's Big In Japan.

Our final score: 17-and-a-half, reduced to 17 after being docked half a point for neglecting to include the final "Again" on the Depeche Mode track. Luckily, there were no real challengers, so no resulting tie-break this week. Unluckily however, we didn't win the money. Instead, we won a fitting prize - a huge book of..... pop quizzes.
I am covered in mosquito or gnat bites. The occupational hazards of al fresco entertainment. That'll larn me.

Tuesday, May 29, 2001

Attention all New York gay bloggers: Jonathan and I will be in New York from the 23rd of July to the 30th. How about setting up the first trans-Atlantic gay blogmeet?

Meanwhile, any suggestions - places to stay, bars to visit, galleries to patronise, men to shag - in New York and Boston gladly received. The accounts of my two previous trips to New York can be found here and here.
Spotted at Primrose Hill at lunch: ex-England footballer turned rapper, John Barnes, looking a bit porky to be honest. I did consider getting round the back, though.
Energy levels at the RVT on Bank Holiday Monday were distinctly depleted. A pity, as the management had gone to great effort decking the place out for a beach party - paddling pools outside; lilos suspended surreally, upside-down, bouncing on the ceiling; beach balls, frisbees and buckets and spades hanging down at convenient eye-gouging level. After Pam Ann, doing her usual Pam Ann thing, there were some half-hearted attempts at dancing from the tired-looking throng. Highlight of the day: Andy and Alex scampering around in skimpy swimming trunks, carrying drinks in their buckets. Musical moment of the day: Andy Almighty mixing Hear'Say's "Pure And Simple" with the Lightning Seeds "Pure" ("pure and simple every time"). Gratifying moment of the day: getting home and flopping onto my bed.
This is so up-its-own-arse it's great: Indy Magazine tells, and re-tells, the same mundane incident as 25 different comic strips.
Remember, gay blogmeet tomorrow at 8pm, upstairs at Comptons. See you there.
Who do I vote for is designed to help those of us who don't know who to vote for, or why, in the forthcoming UK General Election on June 7th 2001. It tries to determine, through a few short questions, the political party that best represents your views on key issues. However, my results have left me more bewildered than I was before, as I am apparently 11.5% Tory, 29.5% Green, 29.5% Labour, and 29.5% Lib Dem.
Sunday's picnic on the grassy knoll at the back of the Vauxhall Tavern to celebrate the birthdays of Andy and Richard was a huge success, even if nobody ate the sandwiches and the chicken drumsticks. But we certainly drank well - ostentatious queens that we all are, everybody brought a bottle a champagne - I spotted Lanson, Moet, Veuve Cliquot, Heidsieck Monopole, Piper, as well as a few supermarket own brands. No Bolly though, sweetie. Now, either the bubbles went to my head, or that cake contained a very special type of chocolate, as I was spotted much later leaning against a wall at the LA3, allegedly capable of not much more than grinning ear to ear.
In an ideal world, a music festival would be a bit camp, a bit less hetero-male-student, it would close with a dance party, and the bill would feature Soft Cell, the Pet Shop Boys and the Magnetic Fields. Voila! Wotapalava - a Lollapalooza-style festival geared towards the gay community. On Friday afternoon, at about 1pm, I idly suggested to Jonathan that we go to the Boston leg of the festival on the 20th of July. By 4pm, we'd booked out tickets, arranged our flights, and spent a fortune. Is it too late to tell him I didn't really mean it??
I'm back, but only briefly. The problems with blogspot have given me the impetus I needed to move Swish Cottage to its own domain at, coming soon.

Tuesday, May 22, 2001

Are you gay? (Or curious? Or cute?) Are you a blogger? (Or thinking of starting one?) Do you live in London? (Or nearby?)
If so, come and join us upstairs at Compton's on Wednesday 30 May from 8pm onwards for the inaugural UK Gay BlogMeet. Topics of discussion: men, blogging, stats, men, relationships, sex, the city, Sex And The City, bars, clubs, men. Alcohol will be drunk, bloggers will be drunk, photos will be taken, promises will be broken, friendships and passes will almost certainly be made.

Email me if you have any queeries.
Warning: This is deeply disturbing, and very upsetting. A series of arrest photographs of one woman over the course of 10 years. The harrowing effects of drug abuse and prostitution are all too clear.
Here's a quick pop quiz question to sharpen your wits. On the UK album charts, in which year, was...

... the number one album by REM
... the number two by Bon Jovi
... the number seven by Eddy Grant
... the number eight by Gabrielle
... and the number nine by Depeche Mode?

Answers on an email
Random Access Memory is lovely. A repository for memories. Go browse others' memories, then add your own.
Pop quiz tonight. Why not come along and support us, or better still, form a team and take us on?
More Pet Shop Boys stuff. Take a listen to this unreleased song, Homosexuality.

All together now:

Homosexuality - YES SIR!
Do you want to get next to me
Homosexuality - YES SIR!
Anything to fill your need.

At the same site, you can also listen to the Boys' own demos of some of the songs from Closer To Heaven - Positive Role Model and For All Of Us.
The I Love Music Top 100 records list is up. I own only 18 of them. The results reveal some interesting opinions on what's cool, what's not, and what probably is cool and therefore isn't. It's a very I-went-to-college-in-the-mid-90s list. I didn't vote, so have no real right to complain about the list, but no Pulp? No Blur? No Pet Shop Boys? No St Etienne? No Human League/Soft Cell/Depeche Mode? Instead, two bloody Manic Street Preachers albums?

Still, it's a more eclectic list than usual, and I do own four of the top five:
5. Manic Street Preachers - The Holy Bible
4. Magnetic Fields - 69 Love Songs
3. Abba - Gold
2. Britney Spears - "Baby One More Time" (single)
1. My Bloody Valentine - Loveless

Monday, May 21, 2001

Jonathan says: "Both Tom and Iain are making blatant attempts to pump up their hits by using "top ten" words from search engines. I think the practice is shameless and I would never consider such an act. No, I would never use the words National Lottery, Maff, Foot and Mouth, Exchange rates, Eminem, Inland Revenue, SMS, text messaging, EastEnders, West Ham, PlayStation Cheats, Westlife, Alton Towers, Harry Potter, Arsenal FC, South West Trains, UCAS, Eurovision, Buffy, Revision, London Eye, Route planner, Big Brother, survivor, sex, naked, lesbian, Microsoft, election, Nintendo, blog, fun, love, Manchester United, Liverpool, cricket, Beckham in one sentence."

And nor would I. Nor would I mention Final Fantasy, Dragonball, Digimon, Pokemon, Pamela Anderson, Anna Kournikova, Las Vegas, Marijuana, Loft Story, Survivor, The Simpsons, Skateboarding, Golf, Baseball, NBA, NASCAR, NASA, WWF, WWI, World War II, Vietnam, The Holocaust, Adolf Hitler, Ellis Island, The Bible, Shakespeare, Harry Potter, The Mummy Returns, Pearl Harbor, The Lord Of The Rings, Prom Hairstyles, Gnutella, Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Destiny's Child, Madonna, 'N Sync, Eminem, Korn, Limp Bizkit, or even Limp Biscuit. Or free download mp3 of any of the above.

Actually, I already did three months ago.
Tempting, but - after hearing what the BBC's Out Of The Closet In Brighton made of our friend Richard - not tempting enough...

"The Truth About Gay Sex for Channel 4 is going to be a fifty-minute, intelligent and thought provoking exploration of the various types of sex practised by gay men, how they get it and their attitudes to it. We’re looking for all types of men who will talk openly about their sex lives. Men who are single. Men who've been in a long-term closed or open relationship. Men who visit saunas or sex clubs. Men who meet other men on the net. Men who cruise in parks.
If you’re interested in taking part or know someone who might be then please call Oliver at World of Wonder on 0207 349 9000 weekdays between 10am and 7pm or e-mail"
According to Tin Man, I ignite in air at about 150 to 180°C. I'm about as hard as lead and quite ductile. I am the most reactive of the rare earth metals. And I am available commercially. What am I?
After the theatre on Saturday, we went to Andrew's flat-warming. He's moved into a converted school [everybody's doing it] just off Old Street. It's a lovely flat - two bedrooms, two bathrooms, huge double-volume lounge. But is it 450,000 pounds-worth of lovely? I think not.
I've been setting up a sickie for tomorrow - coughing, sneezing, complaining about a headache, and claiming I feel a bit ill after the prawn salad I allegedly had for lunch. Weather like this is not to be wasted on work.
I've been thinking some more about "Closer To Heaven". It's alright, in an Off-Off-Broadway kind of way, but 32 quid a ticket for a show with such low-rent production values? The problems are more to do with Harvey than ver Boys - the narrative falls apart in the second act, with a spectacularly lame drug overdose scene, followed by a bit of patronising moralising about how shallow gay life can be: "I'm not crying for me, I'm not crying for you, I'm crying for all of us." Oh, please.

The songs are generally fine. Four of them will be familiar to Pet Shop Boys fans: Shameless [which was the b-side of Go West]; and In Denial, Closer To Heaven and Vampires, all off Nightlife. In Denial is still a clunker, but works in the story-line. Vampires provides the show's only beautiful moment, accompanying the lovely two-boys-shagging scene.

The show is VERY gay - there's not a single straight male character [not even 'straight' Dave, to give the blindingly obviously 'plot' away]. There's a wonderfully savage caricature of a pop manager - fat, sleazy, shell-suited - Tom Watkins will sue. The two juvenile leads are perfectly adequate. The has-been 60s pop singer is very good - an amalgam of every faded junkie star: Dusty Springfield, Marianne Faithfull, Eartha Kitt.

Neil Tennant sat in the seat directly in front of us, and after the show he said the production was changing every day, with whole sections being rewritten. Perhaps by the time it opens [it's still in previews at the moment] Jonathan Harvey will have come up with a proper ending.
The Guardian's three-day special report on immigration and asylum seekers in Britain starts today. The report reveals some surprising statistics: despite the mass hysteria, the number of emigrants is actually larger than the number of immigrants.
Last week, the blogging community was devastated to learn of the tragic death of 19-year-old fellow blogger Kaycee Nicole. This week, the community is in uproar over the revelation that Kaycee was not real.
Tom and Claire from Big Brother are due to have a baby. Claire says: "He grew on me like a rash." Like he grew on Mel? Could it simply be that the new series of Big Brother starts this weekend?
Jonathan and Ian have already posted their impressions of Closer To Heaven.

In the words of the Pet Shop Boys themselves, It's Alright. Boy meets girl, boy meets boy, playwright loses interest. Was it worth it? Not really.
Circulated around the office recently was something called "The Breast Test". Pictures of twenty pairs of breasts, of which you had to decide which were real, and which were surgically enhanced. The average score among the straight blokes in the office was 16 out of 20. I scored a perfect twenty.

"You've obviously had loads of experience," said one of the more blindly stupid guys.
Seen on the back of one filthy white van this morning:
"I wish my wife was this dirty"
"Also available in white"
"Pleas clean"

Saturday, May 19, 2001

Last night's date was, in some ways, the most successful of the three I had lined up this week. A couple of drinks at the William, dinner at Pizza Express, then back to Adam's for coffee [real, not instant - he has the edge over Joe there].

This is how the three runners currently stand:
Raz: huge paranoia about his living arrangements. His paranoia, not mine - his mother lives in the flat upstairs, and he's not out. [He's out of the running, though.]
Joe: very sexy, very sexual, very assured, bright, friendly, great flat in Old Street. So much a slapper, he makes me look like Snow White.
Adam: nice place all the way out in East Finchley. Chatty, perhaps a little needy. Likes me a lot. Loses huge credibility points for his CD collection: Anne Murray??

Yes, I am the Adam And Joe Show.
Note to self [1]: If you're meeting the guys in town at 6pm, don't put a load of washing into the machine at 5.
Note to self [2]: If you do put a load in, leave at least one pair of trousers out. Wet pants are not an option for a night at the theatre.
Note to self [3]: Double-check what time you're supposed to meeting. Having to kill an hour in easyeverything is no fun.

Friday, May 18, 2001

Thanks to Frank for guiding me towards Living Proof. I have bookmarked it for future perusal.
Hoo boy! What a day! We're supposed to send the mag off to the printers today, but we're running way, way behind. And I'm not working late tonight, as I have date-number-three lined up.
The greatest product label of all time: Dr Bronner's Peppermint Soap. The label text in full, and a biography of the good Doctor. The label boasts of the soap's 18 uses, but neglects to mention the one where you wash your bum with it and then lay back in the bath while cool waves pulse through your very core. To clean body- mind- soul- spirit instantly uniting One! All-One!
I am not a fan of opera. I've been to The Opera twice, and have fallen asleep each time. I cannot understand why they don't just sing normally, instead of screeching and bellowing.

However... I think I've dicovered an opera I'll like: Oliver Knussen's "Higglety Pigglety Pop!". If you've got today's Guardian, turn to page 15 of the Review section. Just stare at that picture for five minutes - a woman dressed as a dog, carrying a bag down a giant flight of stairs. Genius!

Now read the synopsis: "the heroine of Higglety is a white Sealyham terrier, Jennie, who has everything a dog could possibly want, but is sure there must be more to life than having all that her owners can provide, and sets off to find it. In the big wide world she has a series of increasingly bizarre encounters - with a pig in sandwich boards, a cat milkman, a baby who refuses to eat, and a talking ash tree, before becoming the leading lady of the Mother Goose World Theatre. Jennie has found herself and become a star."

Double genius!
Jeremy Joseph has pulled out all the stops to produce a Mardi Gras line-up guaranteed to appeal to every gay man. And his six-year old niece: Hear'Say, Five, Steps, Atomic Kitten. This year, though, there's an indie stage, too, featuring such luminaries as Gay Dad, EMF and Bentley Rhythm Ace. I may stay home again.
Like Tin Man, I have been receiving inappropriate AOL searches. They fall into two very different categories: searches for photos of pre-pubescent girls sex; and gay, hairy, older men. Make your minds up, AOL - which am I? The annoying thing is, the AOL search is a directory, assessed by humans, rather than an automatic search engine.

Blogger won't let me post the links, as it converts ampersands, but to illustrate just how bad the AOL directory is, my site comes up on a search for hairstyles. Odd, when you think about it, but perhaps not as odd as the other top results: a review of Boogie Nights, a map of Lesotho, a biography of Alice Walker and a Wisconsin-based group re-enacting the Roman legionaries and civilians of the mid-first century.

AOL, sort it out!

Thursday, May 17, 2001

I hate Macs. Don't believe what anyone tells you about Macs being better than PCs. They're not. Give me back my PC any day instead of this irredeemably-crashing, non-CD-ejecting, graphics-card-trashing, keystroke doublinng, javascript-ignoring, Outlook-non-functioning, software-incompatible, software-non-existent, hanging, freezing, fucking, cunting we're-so-pretty-oh-so-pretty-yeah G4.

[Apologies to Orbyn]
After the film we chatted in Barcode till gone 11. One of us managed to reduce another of us to tears [sorry]; one of us caught another of us cruising a scarey bloke who had a tattoo instead of a right eyebrow; one of us caught another of us doing far worse; one of us spent five minutes trying to find his boyfriend; one of us had a pint of Guinness spilled down his new shirt; one of us slandered another's ex; one of us had a seemingly decent conversation with another of us while surreptitiously engaging in a mutual grope with the tattooed man; and one of us discovered that Barcode allow you to buy rounds with credit cards...

Imagine if they made a film about people like us, rather than some gay version of Steel Magnolias.
Went to see The Broken Hearts Club last night, a film about a group of about eight gay friends. I went with a group of about eight gay friends, which led us to ponder afterwards, which of us was which character in the film. [Why did no-one else think I was the Dean Cain character??] The film itself is instantly forgettable, a mildly diverting made-for-TV movie. The characters are all West Hollywood scene-queens named Taylor and Dennis, with fully paid-up gym memberships, glossy hair and perfect dentistry. But there are some resonant lines which gave us things to talk about in Barcode afterwards while dicussing our joint holiday: "Are we friends simply because we're all gay?". No, but the only reason we're watching this film is because it's gay.

There's a scene where the characters sit around and moan about typical gay films: "There's always got to be a tragic figure, someone dying of Aids. Imagine if they made a film about real people like us, and not some gay version of Steel Magnolias." A pity then, that The Broken Hearts Club is not even a gay version of Steel Magnolias, but more an episode of Dawsons Creek. Not essential then - wait for it to come out on video. And watch it with a group of friends.
The pics of last week's Sports And Shorts are on the web site, including the very dodgy mud-wrestling ones. [And yes, that is me, in the white England top, second from left. Not mud-wrestling, I hasten to add.].

Wednesday, May 16, 2001

In an article in today's Guardian, Rupert Smith describes the Pet Shop Boys/Jonathan Harvey musical, Closer To Heaven, as so gay it "makes Funny Girl look like a Guy Ritchie movie". The show features "a rap number about Caligula, with all the dancers in tiny gladiator costumes doing a tap dance".

We're going on Saturday. What am I going to wear?
Walking to work this rainy morning, I swore I was tripping. The greens were so, like, green, man. Fluorescent in their intensity, so vital, so vibrant, so green, as though I were wearing sunglasses with a colour-enhancing filter. The oak trees' wet, black bark coated in vivid green moss and lichen; the chestnut trees thrusting their outrageous clumps of creamy sex organs heavenwards, a Purcell trumpet sonata trilling in my ears... Tripping, I tell you. And that's exactly what I did, tripped over a bloody broken paving stone, the arrow that the council painted on it six months ago almost invisible now. Unlike the violent green stain on my knees.
While the others went on to Barcode last night, I piously resolved to have an early night. But London Transport conspired against me. Charing Cross station was shut due to a security alert. "No problem," I thought, "I can get the 139." So I crossed the road to what I thought was the stop for the 139, and one approached within ten minutes. And zoomed straight past - the stop I was at was for the N139. So off I ran to Piccadilly Circus, but somehow it didn't occur to me that I could get the tube, so fixated on catching the 139 had I become. I waited at the bus stop [the correct one this time, I checked] for five minutes, till it dawned on me that walking up to Oxford Circus would double my chances, as I could get the 139 or the 16. Halfway up there, of course, a 139 passed me. Grrr....

And obviously, I rounded the corner at Oxford Circus only to see a 16 pulling away from the stop. Now, as I say, I could get the 16 or the 139, but not from the same stop - they're 25 metres apart. I waited between the two stops for ten minutes, then thought I'd better go look at the timetable to see when the next 16 was due. As I finished perusing the timetable, I noticed that a 139 had crept unawares into the other stop. I ran for it, but the driver gleefully closed the doors in my face and drove off.

Finally, at nearly 1am, I boarded an N16, and probably wasn't in the best mood for the London Transport interviewer who asked me "Could you spare a moment? Can I ask you where you boarded this bus, and how far you had to walk to get to it?"

Tuesday, May 15, 2001

The quiz? Jonathan, who was last seen heading in Barcode's direction, has the details, but suffice to say we lost, as usual. By half a fucking point, as usual. To the Readers Wifes, as usual. We hate them. But, then again, Wendy - the pub manager - overheard one of their team pointing us out as "the enemy". It's all-out war now, girls.

Wendy had her hair in bunches and was wearing gingham. The quiz almost collapsed in hysteria when our team - 'Friends Of Dorothy' - burst into "Somewhere Over The Rainbow".
"Blame it on the train, but the..."
...bus? ...boss?
" already there"
Google reveals that the public are five-to-one in favour of "boss", but I'm not so sure.
Put me out of my misery.
Jonathan rose ably to the challenge I set him on Saturday: to include all the Pet Shop Boys' album titles in one SMS message. This is what he came up with:

Being bilingual my behaviour’s introspective. My life's discography isn't just relentless Disco. Actually my nightlife’s very alternative. Can I Disco 2 please?

Jonathan now suggests "this could start a trend. All the album titles by a given artist into one SMS. [160 characters or less.]" E-mail him any suggestions
When sinuses attack! No, not a new ITV docu-drama, but a kids' guide to sinusitis (say 'sign-you-sigh-tis'). Entertaining reading, though I am not sure if I'm disappointed or relieved to see that it doesn't recommend the treatment I was about to resort to - driving a six-inch nail into my forehead.
One date down, several to go. Last night's date ran my usual course of fascinating conversation, resulting in the loss of any sexual chemistry there may have been. Sometimes it's not good to talk. Next time, I'm grabbing the bull by the horns. So to speak.
Eddie Stobart be damned. On my way to work this morning, I almost got run over by a huge articulated truck for the wonderfully-named Prestons of Potto.

Monday, May 14, 2001

How many?? The list of UK blogs just grows and grows.
All human life is here
From the feeble old dear
To the screaming child.
From the student who knows
That to have one of those
Would be suicide
To the family man manhandling the pram with paternal pride.

Congratulations Nico.
Like the Eurovision Song Contest itself [which I missed, due to Sports And Shorts] this game is so bad it's brilliant.
Diamond choker.
For all my recent denials of the likelihood of me ever being seen in public wearing shorts, I found myself in full footie kit at Sports And Shorts on Saturday night. And what a great night, just plain, old fashioned good fun, all lads together, allowing us to release the suppressed yob within. Or something.

The whole thing, of course, is just butch drag. The DJ announced a quiz: "We've got hold of 2,000 questions from Match Of The Day. First question - who scored the winning goal in Manchester United's 1984 win over Leeds? Anyone? Anybody? Right, well that's enough of the football questions. Who originally had a hit with 'It's Raining Men'?"

The pavement outside had been cordoned off with seven-foot-high barriers so that passers-by couldn't see what was going on outside the venue. But those on the upper deck of buses pulling into Victoria could. So if you were on the number 8 bus and believe you must be going mad because you imagine you saw naked men mud-wrestling outside a pub, you're not - you did.
The week of dates:
Saturday afternoon, a date with Joe. A picnic in gloriously sunny Brockwell Park. "We" being me, him, his dog, two lesbians and their dogs. So perhaps not the intimate, romantic date I may have been hoping for. Or the debauched one I was more realistically expecting.

Tonight I have a date with Raz, the young Asian lawyer I met at Club Kali last week. He asked me if I like Indian food, so I don't know if we're eating out or at home.

This coming Friday I have a date with Adam, who last night in the William introduced me as "someone I'd always thought was well out of my league". Which was nice. I'm a sucker for flattery, heh heh.
I'm free on Wednesday...

This just in: I'm going to see The Broken Hearts Club on Wednesday.

On Saturday, we're going to see the new Pet Shop Boys/Jonathan Harvey musical, Closer To Heaven. So... a busy week ahead, then.

Friday, May 11, 2001

The first ice-lolly of the summer.
The first sitting-on-the-grass on Primrose Hill oohing and aahing at the panoramic view over London of the summer.
The first ogling shirtless lads chucking frisbees of the summer.
The first drinks in a beer garden after work of the summer.
The first Pimms of the summer.
And, this Sunday with any luck, the first lolling on the grassy knoll behind the RVT of the summer.
If genius is - as Edison said - one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration, I must be a fucking genius, as I have very little inspiration today, and I'm sweating like a pig.

Thursday, May 10, 2001

The Commercial Closet. How gays are portayed in advertising. Link stolen from v-hold.
My A to Z of the Vauxhall Tavern has been receiving loads of hits. Not from people searching for info about the RVT, though. Oh no...
armpit hear teen pic sexy
men elderly hairy
pubescent girls naked pic
natalie cole nude photos
gay friends pee together
let me see you pee
please let me see you nude
sexy girls for fulk
whitney sucking
dog shagging story
nude photos of the girls from s club 7

... and only one search each for 'vauxhall tavern' and 'royal vauxhall'. Still, it's nice to know that the A to Z is the top result in the unlikely event that anyone does perform a Google search for vauxhall tavern.
Jonathan, you're right - this is fab. A brilliant shockwave [or Flash] movie. Like a stick-figure version of Crouching Tiger. Go see.
Another eMode personality test. This one to determine your ideal career. Apparently, my personality type is "detective", with suitable careers being FBI agent, mathematician, financial advisor. While I have no affinity for the suggested careers, I have to agree that the analysis of three areas of my personality is accurate:
Conflict Style: You're an Avoider. When there's a problem in the office or you disagree with an approach, you'll prefer to let things ride. Workplace drama doesn't interest you, and taking a stand on any issue probably feels less important than making sure everyone gets along. You'd rather save your energy for your personal life. This attitude helps maintain a peaceful workplace, but it might let bigger problems build.
Motivation: Face it, you're a Slacker. Work is a necessary evil, so you're often counting the minutes between coffee breaks. As for advancing up the company ladder, you'd prefer to take the escalator. You don't let your personality get caught up in your career success. Maybe you get the job done, but you don't go out of your way to prove your merit.
Leadership Style: You're a Catalyst. You strike a balance between innovation and cautious skepticism. You know that perception is reality in the workplace, so new ideas are only successful if embraced by people who are trusted and liked. While open to change and trying new ideas in the workplace, you don't blindly go forward without careful consideration of the consequences.
I was seven or eight when it happened. I was getting ready for school, and my older brother handed me a pair of undies to put on. But these weren't my usual white Y-fronts. They were purple, with no hole for your willy. "They're gurrlz' knickers!" I wailed. Antony patiently told me that they weren't knickers, but modern boys' undies. (This was the 70s, when purple was the in colour, along with orange.) "I'm not wearing gurrlz' knickers," I cried, and, although I told Antony I had put them on, I went to school with no undies on.

And that would have been the end of it, except I had forgotten that we had PE that day. I dawdled in the changing room, intending to wait till everyone had gone into the gym to set up the mats and stack the pommel horse together. But I hadn't counted on weird Catherine Harrison, who spotted me as I hurriedly wriggled, naked, into my PE shorts. "David's nekkid!" she shrieked. Mr Webb came running in to see what all the fuss was about, and made me sit out the PE lesson.

Word soon got around the school that David wasn't wearing undies, and Antony cornered me at break. "Is it true? Aren't you wearing any undies?" he demanded. "No, I am, Ants, honest." "We'll soon see, then," he shouted, and pulled my trousers down in the middle of the crowded playground. "You liar! You're not wearing any!" he shouted at the top of his voce, "What are you? Some kind of pervert?"


I'd like to thank Jonathan Coe's wonderful new novel The Rotters Club for releasing that hitherto suppressed traumatic memory.
Before going to bed last night, I watched The Adam And Joe show. In it, they poked fun at the crop of memorabilia shows - Channel Four's Top Ten series, BBC2's I Love The 80s, etc. The Adam And Joe show opened: "Hi, and welcome to the Adam And Joe Show. Tonight we're looking at the Top Ten TV moments of all time. At number ten, it's the opening of the Adam And Show. Here's a clip:" "Hi, and welcome to the Adam And Joe Show. Tonight we're looking at the Top Ten TV moments of all time."

This self-referential postmodernism may go some way to explaining my dreams, in which I dreamed that I was dreaming. About dreaming. I kept waking up, but I wasn't sure if I was waking up from the real dream or the dream within a dream. Add to that last night's thunderstorm [it was real, wasn't it?] and you may understand why I am so tired this morning.

So tired that I didn't notice that I had cut myself shaving. While it bled profusely, I dressed, walked down to the tube, took the train into work, looking like someone had attempted to garotte me. And I'm wearing a white shirt, too. Or I was, anyway. The collar is now blood-soaked. And I have a posh book launch to attend tonight - I'm going as a bit of rough.
To the person who - just five minutes ago - searched my blog for the word "boyfriend", come back! I don't have one, but am open to offers.
LIke Fraser, I have been invited to submit my opinions on this year's big pop hits for the fourth Freaky Trigger Focus Group. While I am flattered that Freaky Trigger want my critical opinions, I am not sure I have anything worthy to say about S Club 7's "Never Had A Dream Come True", or Bob The Builder's "Can We Fix It". Apart - of course - from noting their triads, seventh chords, chromatic and diatonic harmonies; as well as pointing out the aesthetic criteria that go along with the rubric of 'authenticity'. Or something.

Wednesday, May 09, 2001

The first web page I ever made, back in 1996. Back in the days when it was de rigeur to have a background image. I clearly had no idea about dithering or anti-aliasing. But then, I created our company's web site with a text editor, using just one PC Magazine tutorial as a guide!
Do I go to Fist this Saturday, or to a Eurovision party? Sometimes, it's such fun being gay!
No real drama at the quiz last night - no evacuations due to fires, no riots, no dead-heats, no tie-breakers. No Dave. And also no Jonathan in our team, as he was quiz-master. He had rechristened himself "DJ Jazzy Jonce" for the night, so we named our team "The Fresh Princesses" in his honour. The team was just me and Darren, with Ian in an advisory role. [Said advice consisting entirely of "there's been no George Martin yet." Twice.]

The theme of the quiz was "Hey Mr Producer".

We were told that questions one, two and three would comprise six songs, all produced by the same person. Before a note had even been played, I said to Darren, "I bet it's Trevor Horn, and the songs will be "Jacky" by Marc Almond, something by Frankie Goes To Hollywood, and something by ABC." Dead right! Plus "Slave To The Rhythm", "Left To My Own Devices" and "Buffalo Gals". We didn't get the full name of the latter artist exactly right, so dropped half a point. [Answers on an email]

We dropped another couple of half-points on the next three songs. We knew it was James but didn't know or care that it was called "I Know What I'm Here For"; we thought Devo's "Jocko Homo" was called "Are We Not Men", but we knew that the Talking Heads song was called "Life During Wartime". We guessed correctly that all three were produced by Brian Eno.

Next was the 'crap pop' round, at which I failed dismally, but Darren sailed through, knowing Kylie Minogue's "Got To Be Certain", Bananarama's "Love, Truth and Honesty" and Dead Or Alive's "You Spin Me Round", and crucially we even added the parenthetical (Like A Record). Even I knew that these were produced by Stock-Aitken-Waterman.

Question 11 consisted of three songs: "Fox On The Run" by the Sweet, "Love Is A Battlefield" by Pat Benatar, and Mud's "Tiger Feet". We knew the connection was Mike Chapman, but were only given half a point as Wendy insisted, incorrectly, that it was Chinn and Chapman. We wuz robbed.

Next up were three songs produced by Giorgio Moroder: Limahl's "Never Ending Story", Chicory Tip's "Son Of My Father" and "Could It Be Magic" by Donna Summer. For the latter, we had to name the classical composer ripped off. We guessed Vivaldi, but it was Chopin.

Then came Depeche Mode's "Enjoy The Silence" and the Smashing Pumpkins' "Tonight Tonight", and something by Nine Inch Nails which we failed to recognise. But we did guess that all three were produced by Flood.

I hope Jonce is ashamed of his next 'spot the connection' round. He played "Since Yesterday " by Strawberry Switchblade, "Missing" by Everything But The Girl, and "La Vie en Rose" by Petula Clark. We actually correctly guessed the tenuous connection. [Can you?]

We had no trouble with the three Phil Spector songs, but the final two questions stumped us: who produced New Edition's "Candy Girl", Ash's "A Life Less Ordinary" and, er, something else? And we didn't know who produced the Manic Street Preachers' "Everything Must Go", Travis' "Why Does It Always Rain On Me" and something else I've forgotten. I thought the Manics one was Dave Eringa, who did indeed produce bits of it, but the correct answer was Mike Hedges.

We ended the evening on 19 out of 25. The winners were a new team, who scored 20, so once again we lost by one point. Of course, if we'd had Jonce on our team, we'd have got full marks!

Tuesday, May 08, 2001

Tonight's pop quiz is being compiled by our team mate, Jonathan. If we do well, we'll be accused of cheating [again], so perhaps we should deliberately answer everything incorrectly. That's our excuse and we're sticking to it.
The first beautiful day of the year - not a cloud in the sky, blazing hot sun shining - and I'm stuck in an air-conditioned office. [Actually, I'm told this weekend was lovely, but I didn't see a great deal of daylight.] Working here last summer was lovely - we'd all congregate in the sun in the little park behind our building. But the patch of green is no more. It is now a building site, soon to become the optimistically-named Hampstead Theatre (it's nowhere near). Peering out the window, though, I see the workmen have the right idea - they're all draped on the scaffolding, shirts off. Not as attractive a sight as it might sound, I'm afraid.
You know when you go to a gallery, and you write your name and address in the visitors' book, hoping they might invite you to the opening of their next show, complete with free wine? Well, you don't really expect it from a gallery in New York when you live in London!
Ah, Bank Holiday weekends. A perfect time to relax, to contemplate life, to take stock and catch up on much-needed sleep.

Not round here, it ain't. On Friday I went with Andy to Club Kali, the gay Asian night in Tufnell Park. I'd been several times before and love it, but I was worried Andy might not get into it. I needn't have worried - he had a huge grin on his face all night. (Admittedly, Andy always has a huge grin on his face, but it was huger than ever.) The music at Club Kali represents the crowd - 60% Asian. The atmosphere is unique in a London gay club - absolutely no attitude. It's like a Southall school disco (an arty, sensitive school, perhaps). Before going to Kali, we met up in Barcode, where we stood near the door and acted as unofficial meeters and greeters - we knew simply everybody. Including the guy in the current Regulation ad [check your copy of Boyz now] who'd had so much coke, a snog from him left my mouth numb for an hour.

On Saturday afternoon I went into town to spend the Virgin Megastore vouchers work had given me for my birthday. Quite why they'd done that, I'm not sure. We never do collections for birthdays - just leaving presents; perhaps they know something I don't. Anyway, I bought four CDs [see list at left] and popped into Comptons for a quick drink. Bumped into the usual lot, who persuaded me to go to Love Muscle that night. So I persuaded Ian to go to Love Muscle that night, and we went to Love Muscle that night. And what an excellent night it was. Even if I did spend half an hour convinced I was German.

On Sunday I got to the Vauxhall at 5pm, and discovered there was already a huge queue. Bank holiday, you see, everyone had the same idea - I'm not working tomorrow, I can get really trashed. And they did. And so did I. Left there at 11:30, made my way to the tube and picked up a couple of people on the platform. Dead classy, me. Off we all went to Habit.

Now, Habit was a real revelation. The next time you're walking down Charing Cross Road, look out for it. You won't see it, though... You know those crappy remaindered bookshops up near Centrepoint? Well, behind their anonymous exterior lurks a sprawling club complex. Four dancefloors - the "Tech House Basement", the "House Room", the room-that-plays-funky-stuff-with-no-one-in-it, and the huge "Nu Style Ballroom" with its vaulted glass ceiling and 160bpm hard house and sweaty shirtless tattooed men. Excellent stuff.

Unsurprisingly, I spent much of Monday in bed.
And then I went home, hur-hur.

Ah, the first day back at work after a Bank Holiday weekend. A perfect time to relax, to contemplate life, to take stock and catch up on much-needed sleep.

Friday, May 04, 2001

This Morning is no more. Richard and Judy quit ITV and move to Channel 4.
I seem to have agreed to accompany Andy to something called "Sports And Shorts" tonight. This is a club for men who are into sportswear. Now, this is just so not me. I have to wonder just what it is about the sportswear fetish. I can understand guys fancying sportsmen - lord knows we all bought the David Beckham issue of Arena Homme. But as to actually wearing the stuff... I don't own anything that could even vaguely be described as sportswear. I don't do shorts - I don't exactly have rugby player's thighs. I am your classic ectomorph.

I have never played a team sport in my life. When we played soccer at school, I always edged away from the ball. If the game looked like it was moving into my part of the field, I'd always be found on the other side. Same goes for cricket - it's amazing how I always seemed to be able to predict which way the ball was going to go, and then sidle off in the opposite direction. I was always the last one picked for teams. And we won't even discuss the showers.

These scars have lasted a lifetime. Forcing me into a footie kit would surely bring back the pain, the humiliation. But at least these days, I feel more confident that I wouldn't be the last one picked, and I might actually look forward to the showers.
Thank you, Ian, for my marvellous notebook. And Jonathan, for the so-Euro-cheesy-it's-hysterical Rosenstolz single.
Jonathan, Ian, Dave and me
Went out last night on a drinking spree
I was going to stay in, honest I was
But Jonathan said I had to go, cause:

"Meet my friend Richard, he was once a porn star"
It would be rude not to, as he'd travelled so far
[All the way over from San Francisco]
So we talked about trams and the last days of disco.

And there was Dave's friend whose name I've forgotten
But who, I think, I fancied quite rotten
We talked about goth and the Sisters of Mercy
And Gene Loves Jezebel and podgy Wayne Hussey.

Then Andrew appeared - he's Michael's old crony
And later I saw him leaving with Tony
Then somehow we ended up at Barcode
And I felt quite woozy from the beer I had swallowed.

Then I had to leave before anything improper.
And after going to Burger King and eating a Whopper,
I fell asleep on the train and went past my station
And I woke up this morning with a pounding sensation
And a realisation - a determination:
"I am staying in tonight, honest I am."

Thursday, May 03, 2001

Sadly, these 'bad' sites are some kind of ad for Lee dunagarees:;;

But this one is all too real. Sadly.
He boarded the bus on Hampstead High Street. The dye job partially covering his grey roots showed he had once cared about his appearance. His pastel yellow acrylic jumper and regular-bloke glasses suggested he had - recently - been a decent member of the community. But now the front of his jumper was a mess of unidentifiable smears, and the back had four large blood stains - not quite red, not yet brown - in a horizontal line, as though he had been stabbed repeatedly in the kidneys. He clung on to a half-full bottle of white Martini as he ricocheted down the bus, and sat down heavily next to me. "Piss off cunt," he said, quite clearly. I did.
What a sloooooow day. It feels like I've been at work a full day, yet it's not even 1pm yet. Judging from the empty desks around me - and the tiny number of hits on my site - I guess many people have used the planned tube strike as an excuse not to come into work. I wish I'd done the same. My sinuses are playing up - I want to drive a six-inch nail between my eyebrows to relieve the pressure. I feel some retail therapy coming on...
The Pet Shop Boys are to re-release their first six studio albums. The new versions will be remastered, and each will contain a bonus CD. Track-listings here. This is excellent news, as I only have them on crackly vinyl, and was thinking about buying them on CD.

On Saturday, May 12, the Daily Telegraph will feature an interview with Neil and Chris and a voucher which can be taken to HMV shops in the UK and exchanged for a free CD of the Pet Shop Boys performing four songs from "Closer to Heaven".
Madonna tickets are doing a roaring trade on EBay. £3,000 for two front row seats? Bargain!
Our MD has resigned suddenly under mysterious circumstances. Nobody is saying why, but the European head of operations is being brought in to focus on sorting out 'financial reporting'.

Wednesday, May 02, 2001

Marc Almond's next album, Stranger Things will be released on the 18th of June. Brief sound clips are available at the Theatre of Marc Almond. They are a little too brief to get any real sense of the album, but what I've heard sounds good, if not quite the "Les Baxter, John Barry, Martin Denny, Nino Rota" and "early Mathis, Bassey, Sinatra, Ray" of the press release.
Got a few hours to spare? Why not go see the RSC's production of Tantalus at the Barbican, directed by Peter Hall? It's only ten hours long...

This pales alongside Ken Campbell's 24-hour play, Warp. I was almost tempted to go see this last year in some Bankside arches as part of some new-age-clubbing-juggling-fire-eating-tree-hugging hennnaed happening. However, if you have just 18 hours to spare, you can watch Warp in the comfort of your own home on video.
Er, yes, I know it's a week since the last entry on the list of my favourite albums of the 90s. I have decided what the remaining three albums will be, but not what order they should be in. I'll try finish it off early next week. In the meantime, how about some guesses?
Overheard in the office yesterday:

"There's a group of Wombles at Oxford Circus. But they're not real Wombles."
"Er, Zoe, you do know that the Wombles were just men wearing costumes??"
Track 7 on the new Mogwai album is the most beautiful piece of music I have heard. Ever. "2 Rights Make 1 Wrong" features gentle feedback washes, radio static, vocoder, a drum machine, hammond organ, and banjo; and it climaxes with celestial backwards choirs before coming to a juddering, sputtering end far too soon at eight minutes or so.

Tuesday, May 01, 2001

Then this young man with an unhealthy tan
puts a drink in my hand and says I understand
You're in search of a place to continue the chase
of the heavenly taste I suggest in that case
That you all come with me to my place by the sea
where the glasses shall be overflowing with free
alcoholic delights (and free love if you like)

My Sunday night started at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern and ended in a Shoreditch pub, by which time it wasn't Sunday night anymore but - oh! - 7am on Monday morning. Quite why I went to such a low-rent dive when I could have gone to LA3 around the corner is unclear now. Still, it did allow me to see their "what, officer? alcohol? no, of course not" policy which entails not serving beer. But spirits and mixers? No problem.
The year has finally begun. After four months of there being no worthwhile CDs released, I've bought quite a few in the last couple of weeks: Orbital, Mogwai, Ladytron, Avalanches, er, The Searchers...
What is going on?? In the last two weeks, four guys - who I have known for years and have considered good friends - have come on to me, have told me they've always fancied me, have invited me home, snogged me, told me they regret not having made a move on me when we first met, or have surreptitiously groped me. What is going on, J, D, S and P?? Oh, and C, of course, but I didn't mind that one.
The week and a half off was good. For the first week I did nothing at all - getting up at noon and pottering around at home till it was too late to go out. The last few days were pretty hectic - the walk, the birthday, the constant minkering. A case of recharging my batteries and then running them flat again. Thanks to everyone who sent me birthday wishes. I think I may have contributed to Amazon's reduced losses this quarter.

I have read or deleted most of the 427 emails that awaited me on my return, I have tidied my desk, and read a few blogs. Now it's back to work, back to reality.