Wednesday, October 31, 2001

While trying to figure out where to position some of the towns on the map, I've come across some dreadful local community web sites. Chesterfield, sort it out!
Oh, I do love the internet. I'm doing a 12-page consultancy survey for our magazine, packed with tables, graphs, charts and maps. I was worried about how I was going to do the maps, figuring I might have to scan a map of the UK and then spend hours editing it in Photoshop, adding the county boundaries, or deleting the ones I didn't want.

But no. The Ordnance Survey provides free downloadable maps in EPS format. Oh, I do love the internet.
The pop quiz is rapidly turning into a blogmeet, and the following day's report-back is turning into a linkathon, but here goes:

In one team at last night's Halloween-themed quiz were Davo and Scally and boyfriend. In another team, there was Tom and friend. Or was Davo on Tom's team? I dunno, but our team - 'The A-list' - comprised me, Ian, Jonathan and, making a very welcome return, Karl.

Whew! That's got all the html out of the way. Now to the report-back. We won!

For the first three questions, we had to identify the women with horrific hair. No problems there - they were Toyah, Kelis and Christina Aguileira. Next up were three horror movie themes, and here Karl came into his own, recognising the themes to The Omen, Poltergeist and Nightmare On Elm Street.

We correctly spotted the rather obvious connection between a bossa nova version of Witchcraft; Glen Cambell's Wichita Linesman; and something by Pickety Witch.

We then partly disproved Wendy's theory that "All Goths Sound The Same" by identifying Andrew Eldritch and Pete Murphy, though we did think Nick Fiend might be Andi Sex Gang.

Next up were three questions based on I'm Being Followed By The Rolling Stones by the dreadful Murray Lachlan Young [whatever happened to? you never see him and Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen in the same room].

By this stage, we were rather drunk - the couple of pints at Barcode before the quiz were probably not a good idea. But, thanks to the cover version by Marc Almond, we knew that Total Eclipse [not that Total Eclipse] was originally done by the scary Klaus Nomi.

Three covers of Bowie songs followed. We got two of them - Scary Monsters and Ziggy Stardust, but failed to recognise Station To Station.

Next we had to put these four Siouxsie and the Banshee songs into their order of release date: Cities In Dust, Peek-A-Boo, Dear Prudence and Overground. We got two of the four right.

The next Spot The Connection round was easy - Swastika Eyes by Primal Scream, Scream If You Wanna Go Faster by Geri Halliwelll [and Jonathan Green] and, oh, I don't know, something else with scream in it somewhere.

Finally, Karl had a very vivid memory of seeing The Monster Mash on Top Of The Pops when he was a kid, and he even remembered what year it was.

Our winning score was 17 out of 20, and - for once - Jonathan did not draw the crap single, but chose the money instead. 64 quid.

And the others? Well, Tom, Davo and friend did well, but Scally and co set a new record low and were immediately awarded the booby prize.

Tuesday, October 30, 2001

More office fun:
If senior management in our company wish to let all staff know of some important event, they send an email to **All Users. I discovered an evil little trick you can use it for:

If you have a load of pictures of one of your drunken colleagues making a fool of himself at a party, scan them and e-mail them. Put **All users as the subject but just BCC the message to a few select friends - including the person you want to humiliate. Watch the panic as he opens the email, thinking you've sent it to everyone.
Oh God, I'm a shrew.
The diminutive shrew is intelligent, thrifty and self absorbed, it knows how to get what it wants -- regardless of who stands in its way. Cursed with an overactive metabolism, the shrew is unable to stand still for even a minute. Whether it's picking up the kids, shopping at a garage sale, or poking its nose into other people's business -- it just keeps going and going. If their outa my way attitude provokes resentment from its friends, that's just too bad. A shrew's gotta do what a shrew's gotta do.

Their sharp eyes have a knack for spotting the hole in the fence, and with their ability to make instant decisions, they impetuously seize the moment and scuttle on through. Their smart mouths and high energy are put good use in the workplace, and they excel as salespeople and journalists. But sometimes their reputation precedes them and they find a built-in resistance to their pitch even before they've opened their mouths.

The shrew can be a demanding, high maintenance individual whose obsession for resources dominates its life. Although it has a reputation for being bloodthirsty and vicious, these labels are not entirely accurate, since it is rarely aggressive and its attacks are limited to a shrill verbal assault in the form of an incessant whining. Without the time to take other people's feelings into account, it creates a number of enemies as it blazes busily through life. Consequently, it needs to be wary of the vicious claws of the feline personalities and the clumsy but powerful canines.

With its devilish sense of humor, the shrew will romance you with its witticisms and inspire you with its insights. The shrew has an enviable set of bedpost notches, for when it comes to chatting up, they are exceptionally persuasive. They pride themselves on being able to talk anyone into a fling -- especially those torrid encounters of which the shrew is so fond. With no qualms about telling white lies, they have become so adept at these little falsehoods that they're prone to believing in them themselves. There's something about a shrew's sexuality that makes it seem younger than it really is. Perhaps it's their bright eyes, glossy hair, or excess makeup, but more likely it's their high energy level that reminds us of our youth.

The shrew's scattered thought processes make it an awkward dinner partner. Unbound by logic and unfettered by reason, its thoughts tumble out in a string of disconnected words -- making for amusing but disconcerting conversation. But, when it comes to issues of the heart, shrews rarely shoot from the hip. So, when a shrew appears self-absorbed and uncommunicative, it is generally a symptom of an impending emotional showdown.

Careers: Journalist, Production Assistant, Actor
Hobbies: Travelling, Computing
What animal are you?
The solution to my problems with tidying up: Cleaning The Fucking Kitchen For Dummies.
Speaking of glass recycling, there are bins for green glass, and bins for brown glass, but no bins for the greeny-brown glass that chardonnay usually comes in. And certainly no bins for all my oh-so-pretty silver, gold and metallic pink Pendulum bottles.
I've never been very good at keeping my home tidy, but now that I spend most of my time at Marcus's place, I'm far worse. I tend to use my own home as a closet, a laundry. I chuck my bag down, do some washing, then fill a bag with more clothes and I'm off again. On the rare occasion that Marcus spends an evening at mine, I have a quick tidy-up, but only a very quick one. We'll have a meal, and a bottle of wine - or two - and I'll add the empty bottles to the growing pile in the corner.

This morning, I was stricken with guilt. The cleaner was due to come round, and I felt horribly embarrassed about all the bottles. She might think I'm an alcoholic! I was running late for work, but I gathered them all up and hauled them off to the recycling bins around the corner.

I gaily chucked the bottles in, enjoying the satisfying clunk as they hit the pile, or the even more satisfying shatter. But, goddamnit, one of the bottles still had some wine left in [how unlike me] and it poured all down my arm, wetting my side. Thankfully it was white wine, so it didn't stain, and I figured I wouldn't need to go home and change.

But it was old wine, rotten wine, deeply, horribly smelly wine. I didn't realise just how smelly till I got into work. What will they think of me? They must think I've been drinking all night. No change there, then!

Monday, October 29, 2001

"...I didn't. I promise. No, I don't know. Sometimes these things just download themselves onto your computer. I don't know. No, look, I didn't. I just said I didn't...

...Okay then, I did. So what? Yeah? Well you too!"

[sfx: telephone slamming down]

"Oh shit, David, my wife has just found all the porn I downloaded. What am I going to do?"
God, you're a predictable lot!
Number of people who have viewed the filthy picture of Justin Timberlake: 82
Number of people who have viewed the clean picture of Justin Timberlake: 73
Marcus and I invented a new drinking game yesterday: Thank God or Not Thank God. It's very simple - Marcus's CD collection consists almost entirely of albums by black American women. Soul divas. Foremost in the acknowledgements is almost always, "I give thanks to God".

Here's how you play the game: pick a CD, and ask "Thank God or Not Thank God?" The other person has to say whether they think the artist thanks God or not. If they're wrong, they have to drink. If they're right, you have to.

A typical round may go like this:
"Whitney Houston - Thank God or Not Thank God?"
"Easy - Thank God"
"Damn, you're right [gulp]"

"OK, Byron Stingely - Thank God or Not Thank God?"
"Ooh, tricky one. He's not got a lot to be thankful for: Not Thank God."
"Correct [gulp]"

"Right, TLC. Thank God or Not Thank God?"
"Thank God."
"All three of them?"
"Hmmmm... maybe not Lisa Left Eye Lopes - she did burn her own house down, after all."

Suffice to say, we were quite drunk by the time we eventually turned up at the Vauxhall Tavern, which probably goes some way to explaining the little drama we had. It's all sorted out now, Thank God.

Saturday, October 27, 2001

I'm on fire!
What a bizarre, twisted evening. I'll write a longer entry later, but for now let me just say that it involved: sexually-confused colleagues, mad buskers, deeply-bowing Japanese girls, drunk friends locking themselves in the loo, broken mirrors, friends secretly packing their cases in preparation for leaving their husbands, friends having their wallets stolen... and a boyfriend who slept through it all.

Friday, October 26, 2001

Oops! I have fixed the Justin Timberlake link.
I'm not a fan of pornography. I have never owned a porn video or a porn mag. I have no problem with porn - when I do get to see it, I do find it - shall we say - effective.

However... There's a pornographic picture of Justin Timberlake doing the rounds. When I saw it, I wrote the pic off as a clever Photoshop job, and it almost definitely is. But then I saw the latest issue of Arena Homme+ magazine, which contains the same photo, but with what appears to be a strange watermark covering up the dick. I've posted the two photos on a separate page. Do not follow this link if you're under 18, or if you're offended by explicit sexual images.

Thursday, October 25, 2001

Damn! I wish I had a digital camera. There's a young homeless bloke who sits on the pavement across from our offices all day. Horribly thin, his angular cheekbones sticking out of his pale, blue-veined skin, a can of extra-strength lager by his side, he displays all the signs of being a junkie, and is often unconscious.

When I passed him yesterday, he was smoking a huge roll-up and reading the Evening Standard. The headline? "Cannabis to be legalised".

He's slumped over a local Camden newspaper today, the front page headline: "Addicts should be given heroin".
Peter Pan has found his Tinkerbell!
As Marcus says, many of the men he fancies are black, yet he denies being a 'dinge queen'. Almost all his boyfriends have had something else in common, too, yet he denies being a size queen!

Aside: Menus in South African restaurants often print the letters 'SQ' next to prawns, oysters, langoustines and other shellfish. For years, I wondered what it stood for, till my chef boyfriend told me it stood for 'size queen'. "Lobsters are like cocks - no-one wants a small one. The gay boys are the worst - always going for the biggest one in the tank."
Buskers on Covent Garden piazza this lunch time
Opera singers: 1
Balloon sculptors: 1
Hair wrap salespeople: 2
Magicians: 1
Roasted chestnut stalls: 1
Didgeridoo players: 1
Make your name out of twisty wire stalls: 1
Animal rights protestors: 2
Steel bands: 1
Living statues: 1
Students who asked to take a picture of me and Marcus for an art project: 1
Men resting a football completely still on their head while they take off and put on their T-shirts: 1
More beer. These are utterly gorgeous: electron microscope pictures of beers. Link filched from Vaughan. ["filched", I said, not "felched".]
Got pretty drunk myself, last night. Two pints with Marcus on Old Compton Street, then two pints at not-a-blogmeet to celebrate Marcia's birthday. Then off to another birthday celebration - and another two pints - at Barcode. Must remember to eat before evenings such as these.
"You have one message. Message sent yesterday at 22:41"
Hello David, I'm in Leeeeeeds. I'm very drunk, and I've talked to so many people. I've met the gay vell - vill - village, and they all know Jonathan! and Maaark! and they're going to their partnership thing! So, quite intriguing. I'm very steaming, I'm going for a curry now. It's still early - not even ten o'clock. I've made so many friends, and they are so friendly... I tell you, ooh, you should try pr - pr - provincial now and again... it's... interesting. But you get very drunk. Anyway I'm here for another two nights, so I shall en - enlighten everyone! Alright then, byyyyyyye!
"Press 4 to store this message"

Wednesday, October 24, 2001

An Atlas of Cyberspace - many, many ways of representing internet traffic around the world using geographical metaphors. Plus the ultimate geek gift: a poster showing a map of the internet that you can, like hang on your wall
What a marvellous tube journey home from the quiz last night. No, not the bit shared with Jonathan and Darren, as entertaining as that was; nor the bit shared with Davo, as lovely as that was. No, I mean the bit shared with five young stoned blokes who fancied themselvs as popstars and two American girls on the pull.

"Say, do you guys have a record deal? We work for Sony - this is your chance - you can audition for us right now. Here, use my hairbrush as a mike."

And did they ever! We had a couple of human beatboxes, their unsynchronised rhythms overlapping to form avante garde synchopated patterns. We had strangulated, emasculated, castrated boyband wailing, and - best of all - we had rapping in both English and what sounded like Ukrainian from a matted-dreadlocked eastern European beatnik.

"God, he's gorgeous," whispered one of the girls, "he should be a model." Thereby proving the existence of the long-held theory about beer goggles. "You can keep the hairbrush," she said, as they alighted at Kilburn. He looked like he could use it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2001

Those marvellous people at B3ta have compiled their top ten web games. I'm hooked on Lego Junkbot.
Americans - please read this article by Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy - Why America must stop the war now
Here is a list of the countries that America has been at war with - and bombed - since the second world war: China (1945-46, 1950-53), Korea (1950-53), Guatemala (1954, 1967-69), Indonesia (1958), Cuba (1959-60), the Belgian Congo (1964), Peru (1965), Laos (1964-73), Vietnam (1961-73), Cambodia (1969-70), Grenada (1983), Libya (1986), El Salvador (1980s), Nicaragua (1980s), Panama (1989), Iraq (1991-99), Bosnia (1995), Sudan (1998), Yugoslavia (1999). And now Afghanistan.
This personality analysis seems pretty accurate to me. I'm an "introverted thinker with auxiliary extraverted sensing". A scientist, basically.

The potential ways in which an ISTP can irritate others include:
  • focusing too much on the current task at the expense of longer term or interpersonal issues
  • not seeing the wood for the trees
  • not completing a task before moving on to the next one
  • not communicating his/her understanding of the situation
  • taking shortcuts
  • seeming to flit from one thing to another

    Yep, that's me, all right. [Link nicked from Tom.]
  • Tonight is the pop quiz at the Retro Bar. "What quiz?" This quiz! Yes, I've compiled all my quiz report-backs on one page. Did someone say "anal"?
    I'm sure that it has rained, but I'll be damned if I've seen any of it. Sure, the pavements are plastered with soggy orange leaves, there's the unmistakeable smell of damp everywhere, and the subway under Finchley Road is awash.

    There are flood warnings all over the telly, but I haven't seen a drop. Many UK bloggers have talked about Saturday night's incredible thunderstorm. Didn't see or hear a thing. Of course, the fact that I've been (a) cooped up in a windowless office, (b) camped up in a windowless club or (c) crashed out in bed all weekend may explain it.

    Monday, October 22, 2001

    You thought the photos of me when I was young were a scream? Go and take a look at Marcus's...
    I've always prided myself on having pretty good gaydar. No, I'm not talking about my profile on the gay dating site, but gaydar — the supposedly innate sixth sense that allows gay men to spot other gay men. This device removes the guesswork.
    Just bought the new album by Pulp. I hope it's not - as the artwork suggests - a poo LP.
    Mental notes made in the company lift:
  • to the two girls who stopped the lift on the first floor, got out at the ground floor, then waited for another lift to the basement: Walk, you lazy cows!
  • to the two guys who had obviously shared a lunchtime joint in an enclosed space: You stink! And you're talking rubbish!
  • to the guy on the fourth floor who drank too much beer at the Vauxhall Tavern yesterday: Don't fart in the lift! Sorry!
  • Hello to Peter, who accosted me at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern yesterday with the words: "Hi, is your name David?" When I replied that it was, he told me that he has been a regular reader of my blog since the days of my A to Z of the Vauxhall Tavern. He said it helps him keep in touch with gay London, as he's been working as an entertainer on a cruise ship for the last nine months. (And, no, he does not look like Jane McDonald!)
    The London Underground system is a vast, complex network and we shouldn't be surprised when it goes wrong. Surprised, no, but bloody annoyed. I spent this weekend at Marcus's place in Oval. My journey to work involves a Northern Line (Charing Cross branch) train followed by a Jubilee Line one. Simple, no?


    When I got to Oval, I couldn't get onto the platform as there were hundreds of people there waiting for a not-in-service train to pull out. Then we played The Misleading Indicator a farce in four parts starring a bewildered announcer. "Via Bank," said the indicator; "via Bank," said the front of the train; "via Charing Cross," said the announcer. The crowds surged forward. I played a waiting game. The next train was - according to the indicator - a Charing Cross one, but when it arrived the announcer told us it was for Bank. Another train arrived. Both indicator and announcer agreed it was a Charing Cross one, so I got on. They were both wrong.

    After a seven-minute wait at Kennington and telling a pushy woman to fuck off, I got on the right train and alighted at the very next station - Waterloo - sure my troubles were behind me.


    "Due to an earlier defective train at North Greenwich, delays are occurring to all destinations on the Jubilee Line." The platforms on the new Jubilee Line extension stations are very wide. This is a good thing, as a lot of people can cram onto one during a 13-minute wait for the next train.

    I guess I should apologise to the people I snarled at, the people I bashed in the shin with my heavy weekend-at-the-boyfriend bag, and the man I fell on top of as the train lurched out of Westminster.

    Friday, October 19, 2001

    When I was in New York this summer, I met a guy who told me, at great length, about a club he used to go to in the eighties called The Saint. "It was amazing, there's nothing like it today. The lighting was unbelieveable - it had a dome with a planetarium in it!" "Yeah, right, keep taking the drugs," I thought, but this morning Guy sent me this site full of photos taken at the Saint. It really was stunning. Pity there are no pics of the 80s clones, though...
    Oh, what fun you can have in an office of Mac users when they're all out at the pub. I wasn't able to join them, as I've got too much work to do.

    We have fancy G4 machines with a 'spoken alerts' facility. When you do something wrong, or your system is about to crash, it can speak to you instead of just having an alert box pop up. It comes with standard phrases like "Alert!", "Oh my!" and "It's not my fault!"

    I've just discovered that you can add your own phrases - simply type them in, and the computer-synthesised voice will read them out. So I've spent my lunch hour running round to everyone's computer and typing in silly messages: "Richard Johnson is drunk!"; "Shirley Cavanas is going bananass"; "Donald McIntosh is looking at porn on his computer!"

    I've turned their speakers way up. Now, about that work I'm meant to be doing...! "Quit blogging when you're meant to be working!"
    Your One2One itemised bill
    Calls£12.7037 calls were made
    Text messaging£12.44176 messages
    The least desirable address in the world? Corner Anthrax and Parable Streets.
    What's it all about, Damien? Ian and I went to the opening of a Damien Hirst exhibition last night. And what a load of pants it was, too. Lazy, dull, uninspired. And - of course - hugely overpriced. Most of the work was on the level of a vaguely witty newspaper ad - it holds your attention for all of two seconds before you turn the page and forget it forever. The Last Supper [price on application] is a series of 13 silkscreened panels, each of which looks like the packaging for pharmaceuticals. In pastel shades of hospital green and cream, they look just like medicine boxes. But here's the joke: each 'medicine' is revealed to be a foodstuff: "Beans and chips," says one; "Cornedbeef," says another. "Arse," says I.

    Still, we did have a couple of the lovely - free - blackberry cocktails. Cheers, Damien.

    Thursday, October 18, 2001

    Spotted last night at Canary Wharf: a freakish elf with dodgy hair and bobbed nose...
    HabboHotel habitues should check out Dubit, a 3D virtual world, where you can chat with other visitors and invite them back to your groovy customisable apartment. Modelled loosely on London, there's an Underground system, shopping malls, a strip joint, a modelling agency, slum areas, something called Drugs Alley, and loads of advertising billboards for trendy clothing companies. There's also a games zone, though I haven't the patience to figure out how it all works. Pretty exhaustive.

    The site has been nominated for a Bafta. Doesn't work on a Mac, though.
    Sorry about last night, Marcus!

    Wednesday, October 17, 2001

    The supplement to this month's Men's Health magazine virtually screamed at me from the shelves of the newsagents'. I certainly am a skinny man. "I know what," I thought to myself, "I'll buy the magazine, and make a commitment to following the exercise regime. I'll report back on my progress every day on my blog." I figured I could be a sort of Bridget Jones of the exercise world: push-ups: 24 (v.g.), sit-ups: 12 (v.v. bad), biceps: 7 inches (oh dear).

    I got the mag home, ripped it open, and - well - I'm afraid it's not going to work. Note to the editor of Men's Health - look, the reason that we're skinny is that we've never seen the inside of a gym. I don't happen to have a bench press at home. Or one of those pulley things. Or a Swiss ball, whatever one of those is. Dumbbell!

    What was that you said? "Join a gym??" I don't think so!
    A conversation last night between two bloggers:

    "What on earth was story on your blog today supposed to be about?"
    "Oh, I know. I've been battling to think of anything to write about lately."
    "Mmm, I've noticed. But then I've been crap of late."
    "That's for sure. That thing you had today about --"
    "Oh God, don't. I'm so embarrassed."

    Well, one of those bloggers is doing better today. The other... doesn't appear to be awake yet.
    I see I'm not the only one who had trouble getting to work this morning. Luke says it all.
    There's something about setting a quiz that brings out the sadist in people. Instead of entertaining the crowd with a few well-chosen puzzles, the amateur quizmaster chooses convoluted questions about obscure subjects that only he [and it always is a 'he'] can possibly know. And so it proved at last night's Retro Bar popteasers pop quiz. Normally the quiz is set by Wendy and DJ Lush, and they ensure they include music from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and new releases. Last night's guest compiler Peter took great pleasure in torturing us with ridiculously difficult questions.

    You'd be forgiven for thinking this is sour grapes, but it's not - we won! We had our own devotee of the wilfully obscure. Although we always enter as a team, it's often a one-man event. Without Darren the rest of our team - me, Ian and Jonathan - would have struggled to reach double figures last night. As it was, we got 16 out of 20.

    With a knowing nod to the other team of UKGayBloggers present - Scally, Iain and Davo - we called our team 'The A-list'.

    For the first three questions, we were played bizarre cover versions of well-known songs, which sounded like Pinky and Perky. On helium. After a bit of deliberation, we recognised the Sex Pistols' God Save The Queen, Rod Stewart's Do Ya Think I'm Sexy and a brilliantly perverse Save Your Kisses For Me.

    Next up was a good example of the level of difficulty: we were played an original Chi-Lites song which was later sampled by Groove Armada, and had to name the product advertised by the later version. Confused? So were we. We couldn't decide if it was a mobile phone company or Bacardi Breezer. It was neither - it was Mercedes Benz.

    Next were three early songs by acts which later went on to be [mildly] famous. We managed to spot Dead Pop Stars by Altered Images and Romford Girls by Billy Bragg, but the song which we guessed was by an early U2 was actually I'm Falling by an unrecognisable Dead Or Alive.

    Next up were two 1993 remixes: We Are Family by Sister Sledge and Temptation by Heaven 17. After some deliberation, we correctly named the year each was originally released. We also sailed through the chronology round, putting these four Gary Numan songs into their correct order of release: I Die, You Die, Are Friends Electric?, Cars and We Are Glass.

    More bizarre cover versions followed, with a Ukranian version of The Smith's What Difference Does It Make?, a Spanish version of McFadden and Whitehead's Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now and the Gypsy Kings wailing on their brilliant Spanish rendition of Hotel California.

    Then came our worst round: 90s dance samples. The first track was Golden Girl by John Barry, but, although it was on the tips of our tongues, we didn't manage to name the song it was sampled on: 6 Underground by the Sneaker Pimps. The second song was much easier - Red Alert by Basement Jaxx. The third was naggingly familiar, but we couldn't name Ooh La La by the Wiseguys.

    Finally, there was the 80s dance round, with D-Train's You're The One For Me, Sylvester's Do You Wanna Funk and Indeep's Last Night A DJ Saved My Life. No problems there, and we also managed to name the year they were all released.

    Our score of 16 out of 20 was enough to win. However, we didn't win the 37 quid on offer, but instead got the booby prize: a bloody Steps single, much to Jonathan's delight. Honestly, I worry about that boy sometimes! Thankfully, next week's quiz will again be set by Wendy and DJ Lush.

    Tuesday, October 16, 2001

  • I live in - or near - Cricklewood. It's OK, but not even those running websites for the place are all that positive about it:"Cricklewood is an area of North West London, England. It broadly covers a Mile radius from the intersection of Cricklewood Broadway / Lane. Would you like it? If you like clean streets, fresh air and uniformity of population, No. There are some very nice suburban roads within Cricklewood, but the surrounds will probably not appeal to you."
  • Much nicer, and more useful, is cityneighbours, the site for residents of Kilburn, West Hampstead and Hampstead.
  • This is what I see out of my window at work.
  • This is what I see out of my window at home. [no, not a "This page cannot be displayed" sign, it's meant to be the web site for Westbere Copse, the spooky little wood running along the railway line between my road and Cricklewood Station.]
  • Finally, here are two lists of London community web sites.
  • Email and internet were down in the office all morning, resulting in some very pointless conversations:

    "I want to go see Ken Dodd."
    "He's dead, isn't he?"
    "No, but his dad's dog is."
    "Yes, Ken Dodd's dad's dog's dead."
    ...can't sleep, must stop thinking, perhaps I should lie on my back, but no, that doesn't feel right so I'll roll on to my side, yes, that feels a lot better, now if only I could switch my mind off but, ooh, my ear is itchy, I'm going to ignore it, I'm ignoring it, I'm ignoring it, ouch, have to scratch it, but now the itch has moved to my cheek, I wonder why it does that, I mean I know it's in my mind but it's almost like there's some kind of itch mite travelling across my face, like my body is crawling with them - it could make a good blog entry - sorry Marcus, I hope I didn't wake him up; oh, now my neck's itchy, I'm not going to twitch my foot, I'm not, I'm not, aarrggh, sorry, oh, that's okay, he's still asleep - he'd sleep through anything, still, at least he's not snoring - yet - must remember to send off those pages first thing tomorrow morning, I just hope the ISDN line didn't crash after I left, because that would be, oh shut up, just go to sleep, stop thinking, now just roll on to your stomach, ooh no, try the right side - that's better, now switch my mind off, think happy thoughts, try a smile, not that I'm worried about anything, but sometimes even just smiling can make you feel better, there, doesn't that feel - no, I just feel stupid and - yes - my ear is itchy again, oh just shut up and try thinking visually instead of verbally, like try dreaming even though you're awake, that usually helps, okay, I'm in a car, travelling down a hill, look out of the window, take in the view, yes, there's, no it's not working, can't see anything, just think about nothing, nothingness, I can't switch my mind off even though I'm really tired, must get some sleep, can't sleep...

    Monday, October 15, 2001

    Arabs warning you not to go into the centre of London? Q33NY and NYC in Webdings or Wingdings? URLs, such as, supposedly registered just before the attack? Bogus Nostradamus predictions? The devil's face appearing in the smoke of the World Trade Center? The Klingerman virus? Tourist guy? Numerology? Astrology?

    All the myths, urban legends and rumours surrounding September 11 debunked here and here.
    Marcus and I were wandering down to Bar Room Bar on Saturday afternoon, when I stopped and stared at a billboard advertising the new Peugeot something-or-other. "Whoah, that's freaky!" We stared at it in amazement for a couple of minutes. Too much for a hungover Saturday afternoon. I can't find the ad online, but I've tried to recreate the headline below.
    A suggestion to the folk at the Vauxhall Tavern: introduce Loyalty Cards. There should be some kind of incentive scheme for those of us who spend small fortunes there every Sunday. Perhaps we could exchange all four colours of armbands for a Reward Card, entitling us to discounts at the bar.

    And around the bar... Lord knows I'm a Frequent Flyer.

    We were there yesterday for the usual Sunday madness, and we were also there on Friday for the White Party to mark Jason's three-year anniversary. We'll no doubt be there again for Thursday's Globe Centre fundraiser, although - as it's a school night - I think we had better take a gentler approach. Not sure my liver can take much more of this.

    Friday, October 12, 2001

    The three very drunk Glaswegian girls who decided to tackle me and Marcus downstairs at Mantos last night got more than they bargained for:

    "Shoo us some of yer fancy London dancin'," one of them ordered Marcus. He performed a brilliant parody of Straight-Student-Wot-Can't-Dance, stepping clunkily from side to side, "It's all the rage down here."

    "Ooh, yer a stoater," she slurred at Marcus, "yez can cop off with me - a hole is a hole, eh?"
    "Oi you," I warned her, "you leave his hole alone!"
    First Dogs In The News, then Cats In The News, and coming very soon, Pigs In The News.
    Marilyn Manson has recorded a cover of the Soft Cell hit Tainted Love, which will be released as a single next month. No word on what's happened to Soft Cell's own re-release of this song - the excellent Almighty remix has been heard at the Vauxhall Tavern and Hope* for about six weeks now. There's an album of Soft Cell remixes due out, and they are touring again, playing Brixton Academy for Halloween.

    Thursday, October 11, 2001

    Youth has gone
    Though we're still young
    It's hard I know to believe
    That I was somebody's son.
    Don't hide the photos
    Or turn out the lights
    I'm quite sure [?]
    We've both seen
    Funnier sights...

    2001 [not what you expect, and probably not safe for office viewing. The page is configurable - five minutes ago it was a teen porn site; currently it's a gay porn portal.]

    Wednesday, October 10, 2001

    Go to Google. Do a search for David girls. My site is the number three result*. Do a search for David boys, however, and I'm nowhere to be seen* I'm more popular with girls than with boys. Is Google trying to tell me something about my own sexuality? Is my life destined to become a Bob And Rose plotline? Unlikely!

    But did you watch Bob And Rose this week? Whoo! The show climaxed, quite literally, with Bob's jealous fag-hag friend demonstrating to Rose how to use gay chatrooms (harder, faster, deeper). This was interwoven with Bob's ex boyfriend seducing him by telling him about a shag he'd had recently (faster, harder, deeper). The scenes were edited and layered and intercut, fasterharderdeeperfasterharderdeeper. Pow! Brilliant television from the writer of Queer As Folk.

    *[It was at the time of writing - it's not now.]
    *[And nor is David Boyes, incidentally!]
    Sparky - who is soon arriving on these shores - has published a list of all the bands he has ever seen, or those he can remember. I spot a meme! Looking through his list, I realise I wouldn't count a lot of the bands he's included. For instance, I was at the same gay band showcase that he was at one night in New York, and therefore also saw Morplay, The Maul Girls, Paxton, The Velvet Mafia and Russ Turk, but I haven't included them in my list because - well - no-one's ever heard of them! [And never will.....] I've also excluded bands I happened to chance across at festivals when there was nothing better on. And all the South African bands you've never heard of, but which were the only bands who ever toured SA.

    Here are the artists I can remember seeing in the last five years or so:
    Marc Almond
    Beautiful South
    Black Box Recorder
    Nick Cave
    Cocteau Twins
    The Creatures
    Divine Comedy
    David Holmes
    Kirsty MacColl
    Depeche Mode
    Heaven 17
    Human League
    Lightning Seeds
    Magnetic Fields
    Billie Ray Martin
    My Life Story
    Sinead O'Connor
    The Pastels
    Pet Shop Boys
    Primal Scream
    Rolling Stones
    The Selector
    Sing Sing
    Soft Cell
    The Stranglers
    Super Furry Animals
    Yo La Tengo

    These are the pollution and environmental problems in my area:

    First the good news:
  • The centre of the postcode NW2 3SE is not within 250m of an indicative flood plain.
  • There are no known licenced landfill sites within the neighbourhood of NW2 3SE.
  • There are no known licenced waste processing sites within the neighbourhood of NW2 3SE.

    Now the bad:
  • There is a moderate risk of foundation damage to domestic properties from natural subsidence hazards within the postcode NW2 3SE.
  • The neighbourhood of NW2 3SE is within an area which has a history of landslides. Further local investigations are recommended.
  • An analysis of Ordnance Survey Maps published between circa 1880 and the current day indicates that the neighbourhood of NW2 3SE has a history of past industrial use.
  • Nitrogen Dioxide levels: High
  • NOx Levels: High to very high
  • SO2 Levels: Medium to high
  • Benzene Levels: Very high
  • Butadiene Levels: High
  • CO Levels: High
  • PM10 Levels: High to very high
  • Lead Levels: Medium to high
  • Ozone Summer Mean: Low to medium
  • Ozone Daily Mean: Medium

    I can't wait for the reaction of the EvilBloggerTriumvirate when they check the air pollution levels in their area. What's yours like?
  • Tuesday, October 09, 2001

    I am not easily shocked, but this is pretty damn stomach-churning. Want to see a pic of an eight-legged lamb? A cart of dead children? A decapitated head? Deformed babies? Elephantiasis of the scrotum? Genital warts? Me neither, but all of these - and far, far worse - are available at a web site I just came across accidentally while checking how to spell elephantiasis [don't ask].

    I was going to put in a link to the site, but then I looked at the message board - these people are scary, and I don't want a link back to me. If you really wanted to find it, simply entering the above phrases into Google should work.
    Commitment! I have just confirmed a holiday for Marcus and me. Six days in Barcelona. In late-November, ie in six weeks' time. Considering this is a relatively new relationship, that's either a bit foolish or beautifully confident. I'm sure of one thing: we'll have a great time. I love Barcelona, been there four times. Marcus has never been, and I can't wait to show him around. As many of my friends who have been away with me know, I am very happy playing Tour Guide.
    I've spoken before about the trouble Marcus has sleeping. Or rather the trouble I have sleeping through his snoring. But the poor boy does feel rather guilty about the problem. Take a look at the gift he bought me yesterday.
    Minimal blogging today, as I have work to do. For a change. Normal service will resume as soon as the tedium allows. Yawn.

    Monday, October 08, 2001

    I am a sucker. But you already knew that. I'm a sucker for a bargain. Show me a "three for two" offer, and I'll show you three CDs I really don't need. And I'm a major sucker for gimmicky packaging. I have often bought albums simply for the packaging - I bought the version of Spiritualized's Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space in the 'medication' box, with the side-effects leaflet inside, and the CD in a foil pop-out. I bought their new one in the opaque box with the 3D concave girl following your every move.

    But today I feel like a real sucker. I wasn't going to buy the new Garbage album. But then I saw this limited edition version. Sucker! Oh, it's beautiful, all right - a hexagonal construct with fold-in interlocking tabs. Beautiful but completely impractical. I really don't need to spend five minutes refolding and interlocking the damn thing every time I want to listen to the album.

    And I felt even more of a sucker when I left the shop. V-Shops don't put price stickers on their goods, but put the price on the shelf. There were two different versions of the Garbage album on the shelf: the fancy one and the regular version. But just one price ticket: 13 pounds. Yet when I took the album to the counter, they rang up 16 pounds. Yes, I paid three pounds more for the privilege of folding some bits of card. Sucker!
    I hate emoticons or smileys or whatever you want to call those annoying bits of punctuation used by people who can't write to indicate that what they have just said is meant to be :-) funny. I refuse :-( to use them*. So you'll understand why this cartoon in yesterday's Observer cracked me up:

    * (Lying in bed and texting a big smiley to your boyfriend's mobile while he's cooking you breakfast doesn't count, OK?)
    Help! On Friday morning I spotted Gavin, an old friend, on the tube. He told me that Paul, my best friend back in South Africa, was coming to London on Sunday [yesterday]. I told Gavin I'd email him for more details. But it turns out I don't have his email address in my address book, and nor have I kept any of our old emails.

    Now, I know Gavin works for a posh department store. I remember it has a fancy double-barrelled name. I think it's somewhere off Bond Street or Savile Row. But I can't for the life of me remember what it's called. Can you?
    While staying on on Saturday night, we caught the late late omnibus edition of Lost. I had seen the ads for it, and had written it off as a nasty bit of cheap telly. But it was brilliant.

    Three teams of two people [plus a cameraman] are flown somewhere and dropped off. They are not told where they are. They have no maps. They have camping gear and three days' food and water, and two-hundred dollars. The first team to touch Nelson's Column wins.

    Last week's shows made for fascinating viewing. The teams were dropped on a remote Russian island inside the Arctic Circle. The entertainment was largely due to the nature of the contestants. All human life was here - tomboy Mel, whose job was given as "pub quizmaster". "Unemployed," said I. Anti-establishment west country boy Tom, inventor. ("Unemployed.") Hyperactive, psychotic alcoholic Charlie. And best of all, a Rastafarian named Herbtree.

    Watching Tom and Herbtree bumble across Eastern Europe, trying to score some weed, charming every girl they met, and seemingly taking part in a very very drunken all-male orgy on a train, made for compulsive viewing. "The cameraman has lost his undies. What are all these stains on his T-shirt?"

    You had to pity control-freak businesswoman Sarah, who had been teamed with an increasingly psychotic vodka-fuelled Charlie. She sensibly treated him like a child: "Come down from there now, and put that cigarette out."

    The two girls were first back, having applied lipstick and hitchhiked through Germany and Holland, finding some poor gullible Belgian chap to drive them miles and lend them money. As a reward for all the hardship and poverty, they won 5,000 quid, and a chance to do it all again this week against two new teams. This time, it's the Sahara. Although I'll be tempted to watch it on Channel 4 at 10:30 tonight, I might just stay in next Saturday night, load up on the vodka and watch the omnibus. Oh, and Channel 4 may wish to take a look at this page on their web site!
    My reputation as a glamorous man-about-town is in danger. Stayed in Friday, stayed in Saturday and made only a brief appearance at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern on Sunday. See, Patrick, my life is not so tres Queer As Folk, after all.

    Saturday, October 06, 2001

    UK readers may remember an email that went around before the last census, encouraging us to state our religion as "Jedi Knight". The theory was that if enough respondents gave that as their religion, it would have to be recognised as an official religion. Most of us wrote this off as a stupid prank, and I seem to remember an official government spokeman saying it was a load of rubbish.

    However... it worked! Take a look at the bottom of page 18 of this census form. "Jedi Knight" is given as a valid option, along with Rastafarian, Mysticism, Santeri, Wicca, Satanism and Christadelphian. What's a "Cooneyite"? A lover of farces?

    Friday, October 05, 2001

    Ian clearly hasn't seen this
    Depose the Taliban, say I, and return to power Afghanistan's true leader, Alexandre Cheveux, Marquis D'Afghan
    Via Marcia, the brilliantly freaky Switcheroo Zoo. Create your own animal. Probably best played after a couple of joints or a tab of acid. Here's my winged PigApeCheetaZebra:
    Hurrah! I've fixed my comments. In case this happens to anyone else, this was the culprit:
    <BASE TARGET="_blank">
    It seems that Reblogger won't work if you have that bit of code - which automatically opens links in a new window - in your header. Problem solved.
    Every large corporation has one - The Organiser. The bloke who volunteers himself to run every committee. The MC for the company quiz. The winner of the wackiest outfit contest at the fancy dress party. The referee for the interdepartmental five-a-side competition.

    In our company, The Organiser is a man whom I shall call by an anagram of his real name - Pidgin Fell Here. For our enjoyment today, he's organised a company-wide effort to raise money for Jeans For Genes Day:
    Remembered to wear your jeans today - Friday 5 October? If you have, well done and thanks for the £1 donation for the privilege. If you haven't - Well, we're going to fine you £1 for forgetting. Money please in the bin in reception. Even the intranet homepage is sporting it's jeans - well after a fashion - check it out!
    What Pidgin seems to be ignoring is that most of the staff here - apart from him - wear jeans every day. He's entered into the spirit with typical gusto - I've just bumped into him downstairs in reception. Not only is he wearing jeans - they have groovy 70s patches sewn onto them.

    He was also behind the company's recent Blood Donation Day. He was the first one up on that bed, shirtsleeves rolled up, jaw set in grim determination. I - of course - didn't give blood: I'm not allowed to. I know giving blood is essential, I know it saves lives, and I know I shouldn't laugh about it, but the posters that have subsequently appeared in the kitchens are unintentionally hilarious:

    Under the headline "We'd all like to THANK YOU", are photos of grinning people, thumbs aloft, whose lives have presumably been saved. Below each picture is a caption giving their name and their particular condition, but they give the impression that these are their names: Victoria Cancer, Jonathan Portal Hypertension, Beth Aplastic Anaemia, Bradley High Bilirubin Levels, and my own personal favourite, Lloyd Leukemia.
    The whole of page 10 of today's Guardian G2 is taken up by a poem called 'No More War'. In white type against a black background, the dodgy lyrics intone: "No more war, no more war / Please / War's a whore / It ain't like it was before / It's not a joke anymore / Inshallah / Inshallah". The authors are named as Cullis and Shepperdon, and a web address is given:

    Fux - or Flux - appear to be a band. A rather aged band - they look like John Thaw and Prince Edward. Should you bother - but I don't suggest you do - you can listen to audio samples of tracks with titles like Macho Man, Elvis On The Moon, Boys In The Band and Cruisin' For A Bruisin'. A quick listen proves them to be phonkay shit, over which a Johnny Cash soundalike recites gravelly sentiments. The two of them look so middle-aged, so respectable, that I wonder if they could be the Shepperdon and Cullis working as Chairman and Purchasing Director respectively at Stamco Timber.

    But no, my guess is that it's art, darling. Is it art? No, it's arse.

    Thursday, October 04, 2001

    More 'poetry'. We've been doing haikus in the office all afternoon:

    Grey rainclouds spew their
    Spit on Swish Cottage windows
    Deadlines come and go

    David is so bored
    Though he has a lot to do
    Magazine can wait

    Haikus are rubbish
    Well, all mine are anyway
    I give up, alright?

    Clarissa's haikus
    Are nearly as painful as
    Robert's hangover

    good job they are much
    less precarious than Dave's
    future job prospects

    Where were you, David
    when we needed you to say
    how the lines should work?

    Was in a meeting
    Productive use of my time
    With the bossy twat

    I once had a mate,
    who was productive with a
    bossy twat. Nuff said.

    We can't come with you
    To your Christmas lunch this year
    We have our own. Shit.

    cold processed turkey
    bossy twat chats and makes jokes
    lunch will be so fun

    Boogies on the floor
    Getting jiggy with the staff
    I'm gonna be ill

    maybe we'll limbo
    pash the boss in the cupboard
    photocopied ass

    fuck you, mean haiku
    your rules lock like a dark cage
    trapping crocks of shit
    As my effort towards celebrating National Poetry Day, I give you the only poem I can recite off by heart:
    There was a young mouse called Keith
    Who circumcised men with his teeth
    It wasn't for leisure
    Or sexual pleasure
    But to get to the cheese underneath
    We have a 'coffee' vending machine in the kitchen at work. I say 'coffee' because, while I have no idea what the dark liquid it produces actually is, it certainly ain't coffee. After making your selection, it whirrs, clicks and hisses, then lets out an alarming grunt before dispensing varying quantities of the stuff into your mug. There are all sorts of options available:
    • Coffee
    • Espresso
    • Decaffeinated coffee
    • Cappuccino
    • Creamichoc
    • Chocolate
    • Leaf tea
    • Hot water
    • Whitener
    • Sugar
    • Strength

    Those two blank ones at the bottom intrigue me. What are they for? Soup? Juice? Cocaine? Strychnine ? I have decided they must be for producing Irish coffees, and - after everyone's left for the day - I'm going to run up some labels on the colour printer for them:
    • Whiskey
    • Whipped cream
    Let's see if anyone notices.

    Wednesday, October 03, 2001

    My boss has been re-designing his CV all day. Does this mean Personnel are again going to make me an offer I can refuse, I wonder? But then again, my name has been dropped from our intranet phone book, so perhaps they know something I don't.
    What I saidWhat he heardWhat I meant
    I love it when two people in a relationship can just sit silently, engrossed in a book, not needing to talkI love listening to you. No, of course I don't want to read this. Shut it! I'm trying to read
    I believe in open relationshipsWe'll cross that bridge when we come to itI believe in open relationships. For me.
    Dave Marsh in Saturday's Guardian wrote of his appearance on University Challenge. And also of his appearance at the Retro Bar Pop Quiz:
    A few days earlier, I'm sitting on the floor of a crowded gay bar in the West End of London on a hot summer night, squashed between three young women barely older than my own sons. We're trying to concentrate on ear-shattering extracts from Richard Cheese's Lounge Against The Machine, but not having much success identifying his camp versions of punk classics - although we do get a point for recognising his ironic take on the Dead Kennedys' Holiday In Cambodia. A bucket of lager and countless Marlboro Lights later, we've scored 10 out of 20. A team of regulars scores 20.
    We were that team of regulars. We think. Actually, a trawl through my archives reveals that we didn't win that night, but - hey - it should have been us.

    Just as it should have been us at last night's quiz. 'Us' being me, Jonathan, Ian and Darren. Another team was formed by Scally and Davo and friends. Last night's theme was 'Through The Decades', taking us from the forties through to the noughties. Oddly enough, we proved to be far better at the forties, fifties and sixties than at the seventies, eighties, nineties and beyond.

    Forties: The three Glen Miller songs were easy: Moonlight Serenade, In The Mood and Chatanooga Choo Choo.

    Fifties: We managed to tell the three Eddie Cochrane intros apart, even though they sounded virtually identical: C'mon Everybody, Summertime Blues and Three Steps To Heaven.

    Sixties: After a great deal of debate about whether it was "you", "you'll" or "you'd" and whether it was "I", "I'll" or "I'd", we managed to correctly write down the first 28 words of Sandie Shaw's Puppet On A String. Can you? We also got a bonus point for knowing the year it won the Eurovision Song Contest.

    Seventies: I've always considered David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars one of the most over-rated albums of our time, so it was no surprise that we failed to recognise a track called Lady Stardust. We did, however, get Starman and - in an inspired bit of guessing - Moonage Daydream.

    Eighties: Stevie Wonder's I Just Called To Say I Love You, Blondie with Call Me and Fun Boy Three with The Telephone Always Rings. Easy. And the connection: they're all to do with telephone calls.

    Nineties: This was the round that caused us the most trouble, and we did amazingly well to get two of the three songs right. First was that song that goes "my love has got no money, he's got his strong beliefs. My love has got no power, he's got his strong beliefs," and we actually remembered who that was by. Then came a song called Where Do You Go, but we couldn't for the life of us remember the band responsible for it. After shouting "KRS! Culture Beat! Captain Something Project! Clivilles And Cole! Haddaway!" we settled for KRS. It was none of the above. The third nineties crap dance song was something with a woman shrieking "Stay!" over a trancey keyboard riff. This led to much shouting again: "Enigma! Robert Miles! Dario G!" Then someone said the magic word, and we all went, "Ah, of course!"

    Noughties: The current releases were easy: Chain Reaction by Steps, Side by Travis and Andrognyny by Garbage. The final question was to name the band covering Mott The Hoople's All The Young Dudes. We guessed Noel Gallagher. Incorrectly.

    So... a final score of 19 out of 22. Not enough, I'm afraid, as the winners got an incredible twenty-one-and-a-half, dropping just half a point for getting one word of Puppet On A String wrong. They deserved to win. There's no bitterness at all when I say they truly deserved their Michael Jackson calendar!

    Tuesday, October 02, 2001

    You have to check out the paparazzi photos at While the big stars have so many lookouts they're never caught off guard, the less stellar talents aren't so lucky. You have to pity poor Billie Piper, and a search for 'Barrymore' produces pics of both Michael and Drew looking much the worse for wear. Entering keywords such as 'drunk', 'fat', or 'shopping' can produce satisfying results, too.

    The thumbnails below show [from left to right] Ant McPartlin coming out of a toilet, Marc Almond out shopping, Michelle Collins with her tit hanging out, a packing crate about to be loaded into Robbie Williams's new house, and Tom Cruise running to board a plane.
    If you're a Kylie fan, you probably shouldn't read this. Specifically Marcus and his flatmate Johnny, who forced me to watch Kylie On A Night Like This - Live In Sydney last night, the bastards.

    The set looked like something knocked together by the Changing Rooms team:
    "Hi, I'm Smiley Carol Smillie, and we're here in the lovely city of Sydney. Pink team, you've got Linda Barker and five-hundred pounds."
    "Right, guys, I see a nautical theme. Handy Andy can knock us up some portholes out of MDF."
    "But, er, won't that look a bit dull?"
    "No, because halfway through the concert, we'll cover it with this lovely yellow ruched satin curtain!"
    "Ooh, lovely!"

    The costumes were no less laughable. One couldn't help but feel sorry for the poor male dancers who were forced to wear six-foot wide feathered epaulettes over bare shoulders. Actually, being the camp Spanish queens they were, they loved it. Kylie's own costumes were varied, but all managed to show off her pert arse, which seemed to have its own camera tailing its every move.

    It's no wonder she appeals to gay men - she's completely unsexy. Oh, she's gorgeous all right, in a non-threatening, pretty sort of way. She's squeaky clean - or is that just her voice? Kylie's main vocal talent is a supersonic squeal, which she lets out at the end of every second line: "Put your hand on your heart and tell me - ow! - that we're through, ooh, oh - ow!" The most exciting moment of the concert came when she led the crowd in a Mexican wave. The poor girl was overcome with excitement: "Oh my god, I can't believe it. Yeah! God! Yeah! Ow!"

    In the time-honoured tradition, Kylie ended the gig by thanking her band. "Ladies," she shouted, "please thank my lovely backing singers!" I assumed the "ladies" was addressed to the crowd - gay men, young women and little girls only. There were seemingly no straight men in the crowd [or indeed on the stage]. Every time the camera was trained on two more queens whooping it up, the two gay men I was watching it with laughed; though whether it was a laugh of derision or recognition, I'm not sure.

    I am told the actual event was thrilling, camp, kitsch and delightfully tacky. The video, however, captures none of this and merely looks cheap and nasty.

    This customer review on Amazon says it best, although I assume he meant "superb":
    Reviewer: A viewer from the Netherlands
    Kylie looks suburb.
    So the World Wrestling Federation has been ordered to stop using the acronym WWF, to avoid confusion with the World Wildlife Fund? Where's the confusion? One is an organisation set up for large, cuddly bear-like creatures who can't breed, and the other is - oh, make up your own punchline!

    Monday, October 01, 2001

    I'm quite chuffed with myself - I have just spent the afternoon teaching myself about 404 error files. OK, it's hardly rocket science, but considering I'm not exactly the most techie person, I'm pretty pleased.
    If you haven't yet read Rusty is a Homosexual, do so. It's the story of a child who is rescued by a fireman, developing a fetish for men in uniform. It reminded me of something that happened to me when I was a kid.

    I was four years old and my sister was eight. I went snooping around in her room. I had managed to bolt the door, but now I couldn't get it open again - I was locked in. I panicked and started crying. My family came running to see what had happened to me. They tried forcing the door, but it wouldn't move, so my mum called the fire brigade.

    But I didn't need the fire brigade to rescue me - I had a plan. My favourite ad on telly was a Weetabix ad in which a strapping young man whipped off his shirt and dived from the top of a waterfall into a crystal pool. If he could do that, so could I. I looked out of the window. In the distance, beyond the houses across the road, past the fields, behind the factory, lay a pond.

    When the fire brigade arrived, they found me stripped down to my underwear, balancing on the window ledge, hands together over my head. "Don't worry," I gaily told the fireman who climbed up a ladder to get me, "It's all right - I'm going to dive." He laughed and threw me over his shoulder, carrying me to safety.

    Unlike Rusty, I didn't develop a fetish for firemen. Divers, possibly.
    I have a confession to make. No, this isn't part of my declaration to be more open. This is something far more embarrassing: I am hooked on reality TV. The cheaper, the tackier, the better. I've taped every episode of Model Behaviour. For anyone who's not seen this yet - what are you waiting for? It's hysterical.

    "I have the same personality as Geri Halliwell," said one big-haired midget, lips a-quiver, "I have something to prove. I didn't have many friends at school... I don't know why. Sometimes it makes me cry. But look - I can jump into the splits!" Which she then demonstrated, with ball-clutching vigour.

    Then there was the pasty-faced peroxided poodle-haired bimbo with the photo album of dodgy "glamour" shots. "My bruvver did 'em on the compyootah." Heartbreaking. Or the square-jawed Iranian housewife: "I tink I verry ekspressif for de kameraa."

    And we were glued to the final of Soapstars on Saturday night. I'll admit to having a tear in my eye as the young Scottish cabbage-picker won a part in the soap. Why? Lord knows. I don't watch soaps. The last time I saw Emmerdale, it was called Emmerdale Farm.

    But even I have to draw the line somewhere. Yesterday's TV schedules included a programme called Soapstars Dogstars, in which viewers were invited to choose the soap family's dog. That's just one reality TV too far.