Journey through space to the Planet Fabulous, where the Ruler of the Universe will see you shortly.

Monday, August 18, 2003

Taking a Seat of Learning By Force

As mentioned previously, Gertie and I were swapping our alma matas and showing each other where we went to university. So, where I had shown him the arse-end of education with De Montfort Poly in Leicester, he took me to his seminal colleges: Oxford. What a joy. He’ll probably have a version of what happened up at his blog soon, but for the record, here’s my version of events.

MAY WEEK IS IN JUNE
In order to get the whole Oxford ambience, we delighted in buying pipes, walking the streets and within an hour, we were on the river in a little rowing boat. Gertie took out his pipe and lay back, while I stroked away. The odd thing about boats, I have discovered, is you can only row backwards, thus you need a nice man to direct you and while neither of us could decide on which was port and which was starboard or whatever, we settled on naming the oars ‘Ben’ and ‘J-Lo’.

It was strangely apt: we could never control Ben, and whenever we used J-Lo too much, we found we were heading straight to the bank.

CLUBBED TO DEATH
A weird thing about Oxford is that the Gay Scene is even less self-aware than normal. And by normal, most places in London, for example, think ‘irony’ is somewhere where you store the iron. But this place gleefully played the entire output of the Cheeky Girls, plus the Macarena and Las Ketchup in a gloopy europop puddle, and felt like was forever on the verge of playing a good record. It was just one away, you could feel it, leaving you hanging on the edge of the dancefloor, stirring your drinky and listening with your head half-cocked as you tried to decode what the latest intro was. Even when I went to ask for the fabulous Girls Aloud, we got Sound of the Underground, not the sublime No Good Advice. Sigh.

The Cavern in Oxford, I revoke your fabulous Gay Licence. Please hand back all Ikea catalogues and never darken our Gonéta towels again.

PULLED APART
While half-cocked, waiting for Girls Aloud to come on, a tall, lean chap leant around the speaker stack and caught my eye. I politely smiled back, and he leant in to hear what he was saying.
“Whatever you’re thinking, the answer is no,” he said with a smile that seemed powered by coke.
I was very taken aback. “I’m sorry?”
He repeated his statement. Now, this wasn’t how it usually worked: the correct procedure was that a man was meant to come up to me and say that I had a nice smile or something equally generic, and I’d pat them on the arm an tell them all about the wife. And they’d become enraptured with the description of this model-like Australian and the wonders his hairy little head contained that they would perfectly understand why I was turning them down, and I’d buy them a drink and everything would be well. Now, here on a plywood dance floor was an average-looking upstart declaring - not only did he think I’d want to debase myself by getting his love-snot flicked in my hair - but he was already turning me down! Outrageous!
I was so agog that I was still staring at the creature open-mouthed when Gertie came back from his trawl down the back of the club for anything in white trainers and a baseball cap. I explained what had happened with lots of gesticulating.
“Did you tell him about Jef?” he shouted over a high-energy version of T’Pau. “You know the usual about how sorry you are, but you’re going out with a model-like Australian?”
“I didn’t get a chance!”
“Outrageous!”
“That’s what I thought!”

Not even a suck on my pipe could cheer me from that.

NEW FAVOURITE THING!
Laser Quest! Well, in fact this is Old New Favourite Thing as I used to play as a kid but now have a new rekindled passion for running around grubby plywood halls filled with ugly teenagers and dry ice. If we ever went to war for real, it turns out that I’d be a crap grunt soldier running around, but I make an excellent sniper. I’m fully adept to sitting in a corner, sniping at anything that goes past thanks to years of hanging around with Declan. Anyway, Gertie equated it to a trip to the aforementioned Pleasuredrome sauna in Waterloo; he’s very much correct. I came out sweaty and bad-tempered after trying to beat off three boys, only to find the one you were after the whole time had been shooting all over some munter at the back.

GERTIE’S WELL-WORN GUSSETGetie’s gone all feral when it comes to men these days. What used to be a nice, polite boy who delighted in the classics can now be found in the corner of some dingy pub flicking through the pink paper or - more often than not - fingering boyz. The varied anthology of men he stunned and mounted for his collection is ever-more eclectic, although I did decline to watch him in action on Saturday night after the Friday night debacle. It’s a shame, I hear, as I would have loved Oxford’s Saturday gay night held in the local town hall, as it sounds like the Women’s Institute trying to do Trade.

When I left Gertie on the station at Paddington, he’d spied something attractive waving off his mother. Reasoning that a weekend looking after your parent left you no time for sex, he was in with a chance. I get a text message later on: “He roared off on a Harley. I just have a Miss Marple bike with a cheery bell.”

And let that be a life lesson to all of you.


ADDENDUM
“Gertie took out his pipe and lay back, while I stroked”
I’ve just realised how rude that sounds.

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