Friday, December 13, 2002

I am just going outside, and may be some time. Swish Cottage will be taking an extended break. It should be back in time for its second birthday, written from home, on a new iMac. That's the theory, anyway.

Till then, study the Google Zeitgeist review of 2002.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

  • Deleted my favourites
  • Cleared my cache
  • And my history
  • Exported my address book
  • Deleted all 'sent mail'
  • Burned my mp3s onto CD
  • And my jpgs
  • Uninstalled pirate software
  • Searched for files containing my name
  • Or my boyfriend's
  • Writing an email telling everyone my address is changing
  • Collected many copies of the publications I've worked on
  • Got glowing references
  • Given everyone my details in case they need a freelancer
  • Burned software and files onto CD

    ...what else do I need to do?
  • The Mirror reports on the case of the Coronation Street actor who was knifed by a rentboy: In the witness box, John Savident, 62, who plays butcher Fred Elliott [his character is butcher than the actor? Duh!], strongly denied cruising gay bars.

    Married with two children, he admitted meeting 30-year-old Smith in a well-known gay nightspot in Manchester and inviting him back to his flat at 2am for "theatrical discussions".

    The Guardian takes up the story... Once at the married star's flat, they continued talking for at least three hours until the early hours of the following day.

    Mr Savident told the court he had gone into his bedroom to charge his mobile phone and he was shoved face down on to his bed at knifepoint by Smith.

    He said: "I suddenly felt somebody come up behind me and whizz me round so I was face down on the bed and then I felt a prick on my throat."

    Back to The Mirror: Savident was left bleeding from two neck wounds, robbed of cash and valuables, and pleading with a 999 operator to keep the incident out of the papers.

    In court Savident, once a policeman, denied intending having sex with Smith. He also denied not even asking Smith's name, saying: "He did tell it to me, but I forgot it."

    Susan Klonin, for Smith, said: "You wouldn't need to know his name for a quick sexual interlude."

    Savident said: "Not having been involved in any of those actions I wouldn't know." He rejected as "nonsense" that he made a move on Smith by touching his testicles in the toilet.
    At this time of year, the papers are full of speculation about the Christmas number one. Three of the country's leading newspapers came out and made their predictions today.

  • The Times are backing Cherie Blair's cover of the Karyn White anthem I'm Not Your Superwoman.

  • The Mirror wonders if the Christmas number one could be Cherie Blair with a cover of the Boy George classic.

  • However, I am backing The Guardian, which quotes Cherie's reworking of the first two lines of Soft Cell's Tainted Love, which Cherie rehearsed for Stars In Their Eyes last night. Cherie makes a wonderful Marc Almond - the suspiciously dark hair, the over-generous eyeliner, the hastily-applied lippy, the histrionic gestures, the dodgy friends. "Tonight, singing live, Cherie Blair is Marc Almond!"
  • Tuesday, December 10, 2002

    Of all the books I've ever read, the one that left the most lasting impression was Rabbit, Run by John Updike. I loved the three sequels, too. I was very excited when I saw that Updike had written a further instalment in the saga, called Rabbit Remembered. And I was even more excited when I received it in the post today. Thank you so much, Timothy. I shall savour it during my time off.
    Marvel Comics are to introduce their first gay title character, The Rawhide Kid. Does he ride bareback, I wonder? This blurb from Marvel's site suggests it may get a bit raunchy [ranchy?]: "Get ready to slap leather! That loveable red-headed scamp is back! And no one handles a hot rod like the Rawhide Kid!" In a bubble in the first edition of the series, Rawhide Kid comments about the Lone Ranger: "I think that mask and the powder blue outfit are fantastic. I can certainly see why the Indian follows him around."
    Disused London Underground stations.
    I'm sure every London blogger will open today with, "My God, it's cold". And they're right, you know, it's bloody freezing. Just a couple of weeks ago, Marcus and I were walking down to the RVT in T-shirts, saying, "I can't believe it's nearly December." Well, winter has finally arrived with a vengeance. The BBC's asthmatic weather girl gasped with glee this morning: "The maximum temperature today is two degrees, but with the wind-chill factor, expect it to feel more like minus ten!" On my walk down to the tube station, the wind was really biting. I felt as though my ears were being attacked by a school of razor-toothed piranhas.

    Piranhas that don't live in warm, tropical places - or swim - clearly.

    Monday, December 09, 2002

    Had enough of advent calendars? Try the Framley Examiner's advert calendar.
    [via Dave]
    From: Jennifer Hawkings

    Browsing through the CNN website I came across this CNN article which seems to be about you:
    Gosh, really, Jennifer? An article on CNN about me? And about Marcus, too? And Alexei? And Charles? My, you have been busy. Now go away.

    Sunday, December 08, 2002

    Saturday, December 07, 2002

    Aaaah, this is really sweet. An online advent calendar. Each day reveals a Christmas memory, a Christmassy link and something special. I loved the snowflake designer.

    Friday, December 06, 2002

    Advice. I've had it up to here with advice. Right now, I'm going through an 'interesting' time, employment-wise. Can we say the word "redundancy"? I am actually quite happy with the situation. Oh, I wish they would give me more money, but I've looked at the law. Yes, in cases like this, one usually does get more, but there is nothing saying that has to be the case. And that's fine - I'm still getting a decent amount, enough to tide me over for a few months. I am looking forward to taking a break; I just want this uncertain time to be over; I want to make it as hassle-free as possible.

    But people at work don't think I should be happy with that. "You should take them to a tribunal"; "You should join a union"; "You should sue them for constructive dismissal"; "You should speak to so-and-so".

    And then come the follow-up questions: "Did you join the union?"; "Did you talk to a solicitor?"; "Did you speak to so-and-so?"

    "No."; "no"; "no".

    And then come the report-backs of whispered conversations: "I don't know why I bothered helping him - he's so ungrateful"; "he's being very foolish"; "well, he's going to get what he deserves".

    At first, I thought people were only trying to help; that they had my best interests at heart. But I now realise there's more to it than that. They want to stick it to the company. They want there to be trouble; they want a bit of drama in their boring work lives. They want to stir it up from afar and then sit back and watch it all blow up.

    I don't. I may be making a mistake, but it's my mistake. What if I follow your advice and that turns out to be a mistake? Just leave me alone.
    Schott's Original Miscellany sounds very me. In fact, I hope I get a copy for Christmas. Indeed, as my friends know my love of trivia, I fear I may receive several copies. Can you all just get together and decide who is buying it for me? From the Guardian:'s hard not to be suspicious of the book as all-purpose present solver and cultural signifier. Isn't Schott's Original Miscellany just a slab of data cast into an already information-overloaded world? Do we really need to know who supplies bagpipes to the Queen? Or whose portraits are printed on American banknotes of various denominations? Stop saying yes. Or that, in all the countries where one drives on the left (such as Kenya, Japan, India, Zambia and the UK), there is only one exception to the rule, namely Savoy Street, off Strand in London, where traffic has to drive on the right? And why do we need to know that the correct usage in the previous sentence is, according to Schott, "Strand" rather than "the Strand"?

    ...the book isn't just a compendium of lists. It is a mixture of encyclopaedia, dictionary, almanac, lexicon, treasury, commonplace, amphigouri and vade-mecum and some other things too.

    Wednesday, December 04, 2002

    "Quick!" I texted Marcus last night, "BBC1, now! it's the campest movie ever!" Predictably, he loved it.

    The Price Of Beauty [aka The Tail Of Two Bunnies] was so bad, so unbelievably cheesy, it was brilliant. As a drama, it was dire; but as a camp comedy, bliss.
    I've just had to pay $70 in bandwidth charges thanks to that search request, with a similar amount probably due at the end of this month. To try to cut down my page size, I've reduced the number of postings on the front page, removed the tiny background image, and deleted some extraneous bits of code.
    A while ago, on Stuart's site, I said I didn't get comics, or graphic novels.
    "I don't like comics. Oh, I remember I quite liked When The Wind Blows, but every time I've tried to read comics these days, I've given up in frustration. The phrase 'graphic novel' has always seemed to me to be wishful thinking. Comics don't do what novels do - they don't involve me in the same way. I love language. The brief panels can't have the intoxicating effect that a beautifully descriptive passage in a novel can. I certainly can't be bothered with superheroes, dark forces and fantasy. Or with troubled teens, espionage or religious struggles, much detective fiction and science fiction. But I am willing to be proven wrong."
    I challenged Anna to recommend a couple that I might like despite my extreme prejudice. She has done.

    Thanks Anna, I'll give these a try and let you know what I made of them.
    Stop this renaming madness. A year or two ago, my local Our Price was renamed "V Shop". I've just noticed it's been rechristened again, and is now called "Sanity". Turns out they've been bought by an Australian company. Their logo, an upside-down "i", will mean I'll always think of them as "Insanity".
    The Greatest Gay Briton? Vote now.
    Next Friday is my last day of employment. Next Friday? Why, that's.. that's... Friday the 13th. Details will be forthcoming after that date.

    Monday, December 02, 2002

    On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
    An advent calendar full of nude men.

    Right-click link and save to disk. Not work safe, and requires PowerPoint.

    Update:This link wasn't working earlier, but I've fixed it.