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

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Once More With Hobbits

Well, it transpires that you can indeed get some Christmas spirit in your blood if you really try, and I’m sitting here in a glowing haze with a warm feeling running throughout. Yes, dear readers, Christmas spirit does indeed turn out to be rum! Ho ho ho!

As the taffeta veil draws upon another year in my remarkable and fabulous life, I always like to take time out to reflect on you, the little people, and what you’ve managed to bring before me to delight and amuse me over the last twelve months. Well, what a bumper crop of daftness and joy there has been, and here at Glitter for Brains, your Ruler brings you a slice of the best! Welcome to the Glitter for Brains Awards for Fabulous Things, Two Thousand And Three!

Best New Favourite Thing:
First place: the Alias! At last, a show that can fill all the voids in our programming. Is it a sci-fi/cult drama? Is it an action series? Is it a family-orientated soap opera? Why, it’s all of the above! It’s like a fabulous vitamin supplement of show! Who needs to watch anything else when it all comes in this one, deliciously-wrapped package?


Best Thing On My Desk This Year:
First place: The complete synopses for the Farscape Mini-Series, just begging me to read it. Ah, the pleasure. I did have to stop flicking when it was revealed who was carrying Aeryn’s child, though. Excitement!

Second Place: A Liberty X gold disc. I used it as a coaster then sent it away.


Best Single of the Year:
Girls Aloud, No Good Advice
What a wonderful piece of electro-pop nonsense, and the result of putting ‘Oh Mickey’, ‘My Sherona’ and a Blondie track in a blender, then baking it in tin foil at Gas Mark Fabulous for a week. Shamefully, the Girls haven’t been able to top this with any subsequent singles, meaning our already-fickle attention is wavering to whatever else is shiny in the hit parade. Still, I’ve just been sent a Christmas card from the Girls. Bless them.

It’s an e-card, but hey.

And it went to everyone on their mailing list, but I can’t help think there was a bit of extra love in mine after bumping into them outside a café a couple of weeks back. Nice that they remembered...


The Glittering List of Men
It’s been a bumper crop of totty this year, with all sorts of boys thrusting lasciviously onto our screen in the most provocative manner! It’s all a girl can do to flutter her fan and play coquettish! Here’s a list of who’s catching our eye and sending a cocktail over to our booth this year...

The Alias’ Secret Agent Vaughn, despite a nose you could plough snow with.
The Wife, especially when he puts a suit on.
Aragorn. But not Viggo Mortislock with short hair. He looks silly.
This Johnny Wilkinson. We have no idea why he’s here all of a sudden (I think he scored a home run for England or something) but we likes what we see.
Ben Browder, still a favourite. Fun fact: we were due to interview la Browder a few years back. There was even a call from the agent asking whether we wanted him in his leather-trousered costume (spluttered tea everywhere) but some fool blew up the Twin Towers and his plane was grounded. And that’s why we hate Muslim Fundamentalists, kids.

But the surprise winner is Will Tippin from TV’s the Alias! We shall be celebrating by rubbing the screen with our naughty parts every time he appears until we get a static shock. Oh, how we love it when they play hard to get. Rrowr.

Dropping out of the list:
Kelly from The Stereophonics. Get a haircut, you imbecile.
Justin Timberlake. You’re just too silly now, dear thing.
J from 5ive. I’m very sad about this entry as J has been top for many years, and not just that fabulous dream I had back in 1998. Do tell me the curly mullet we saw you with was just to fool your rabid fans, dear boy.


Word of the Year:
First place: Bonza!
Second: Philippino.


Best Failure of the Year:
H and Clare. Did you really think tampering with the world-encompassing powers of Steps would end pleasantly? Be gone, you half-wits. You are banished to children’s light entertainment shows, and will be forced to watch bandmate Lee’s terrible Crossroads episode over and over again.


Biggest Disappointment of the Year:
First: Matrix Revolutions. Don’t get us started.

Second place: Kylie’s Body Language. Poor effort all round, you little antipodean lovely. Apparently it ‘will grow on us’. Well, it’s been a good month or two and we still think it’s breathy twiddly-knobbed nonsense. Here – here’s a copy of the Sugababes’ new albumen. Go. And. Learn.


They Who Can Fuck Off:
Anyone associated with the joyless Dead Ringers, bar John Calshaw. He shall be held aloft as our new faux-Tom Baker.
Daniel Bedingfield.
50 Cents, you chuntering fool
Tourists incapable of Getting Out Of The Way


Man Your Spy in The Metro And Think ‘Fwoar!’ Before Realising Who It Is:
Ian Huntley


Best New Application Of Technology:
Oyster Cards. A dear friend called David Bailey took great patience in telling me how they work:
‘Transport for London have developed ultra-thin weevils that live inside the Oyster cards. When you wave the weevils against one of those big yellow discs, they all shout across to a weevil queen living inside, giving her details of how long it is until your card expires.’

How clever is that?


And finally, Daftest Thing To Happen To Your Ruler This Year:
First Place: Being told off at a party by a Doctor Who for throwing balloons around.

Second place: Going on a log flume with a former child star of the Famous Five, who then screamed ‘Aaah! It’s gone right down me arse crack!’

Third place: my cat starting to bring back cuddly toys.

Fourth place: getting fan-mail for this blog. Bless you. I really do adore being able to empty my brain of stories that I’d probably forget next week. And it’s odd to think that people actually read this nonsense to boot, but bless you all. I hope you’re all enjoying this rubbish as much as I do purging my head of it.


And that’s it from your Ruler. We’re leaving Maggie Philbin in charge for a couple of days. Oh, she’ll be fine: there’s some mince pies in the fridge from the Christmas party and all the cava she can drink. Until the new year, it’s a very merry Christmas to all of you at home, too.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Party Favour

I appear to be back at work. How dashedly inconvenient. You take just one Sudafed too much and you have no idea what you get up to!

Yes, your ruler ails again - a foul sickness that has taken hold of my nose and decided it should try and constantly empty it so it can make more room for boxes, one believes. You know the worst thing about having a continually runny nose? Having a goatee below it. Yes, think on that while you tuck into your lunchtime baguette.

My dear Wife has been an absolute star, as always, mopping my fevered brow and cooing show tunes to me to calm my raddled nerves. His healing hands deserve an award - they really do - as his laying on left well enough to attend A Very Gay Party on Sunday eve. As it was only to be around the corner from my fabulous Peckham palace, I grabbed some cocktail cherries and (what I believed to be) a handkerchief, and staggered up the road.

In one respect it was nice to meet so many new people, although I did initially wonder why they all kept giving me knowing looks and saying “Oh, so, you like to be pissed on, do you? And then clean it up?” which I must say is a very forward thing to ask of a gentleman, even in this uncouth day and age. Now, I’ve never engaged in any watersports of any kind, unlike my vaguely filthy evil best friend Declan. He was invited to by his then partner who was lounging in the empty bathtub at that point, and Declan being Declan thought it would be a jolly good laugh. And besides, this fellow wasn’t the most hygienic at the best of times so Declan’s 90% proof piss must have been like Calvin Klein to him.

It gave us all a good laugh down the local hostelry one evening as he told the story. It also earned him the moniker ‘Voldermort’ as now he’s most certainly had a slash on someone’s forehead.

Anyway. Back to me at a fabulous party. I was chatting away to all sorts of delightful people at this do, including one mary who has now redefined the term ‘theatrical’ for me. A gentleman of a certain age, his gestures were all hands, his voice pitched perfectly to reach to the back of the room. He even worked in the box office of a west end theatre, and told a delightful story of when he’d been out on the sauce at a showbiz party. He’d finished drinking at three, got to work for ten-fifteen. By ten-thirty, he was lying at the bottom of his box, flat as if he were in a coffin. By eleven, his eyes shot open at the sound of tapping on the glass at his window, and saw a rather worried woman staring down at him. He sat up, heaved himself into his chair and without an ounce of expression on his face said “I’m sorry. I fell down.”

I adore that, and him. He spent the rest of the night wrapped in a curtain singing Sunset Boulevard to anyone who went near, only pausing mid-chorus to ask me whether I like being wee’d upon before asking whether I like cleaning for people too. Before I could answer, he’d launched into a new number and was gone for the rest of the night. I was finding all this most perturbing and took the host aside to ask him why. With raised eyebrows, he asked why else would I have a yellow hankie in my back pocket, that on closer inspection turns out to be a cleaning duster.

That will teach me to grope for a handkerchief in the dark, won’t it just.

So the night wore on and Steps were played. I am aware it is foolish to drink with a cold still present, but I was reluctantly pressed upon to partake in the hilarious healthy side-options of alcohol. Just a little, said I. And make sure it’s a spirit. Now there’s only a few things that come in tots: whiskey and Michael Jackson (tatty-boom! I thank-ya!) but what I believed to be one glass of medicinal, life-giving whiskey turned out to be somewhat more: as soon as I put the glass down, it was topped up by my mischievous hosts. So the one glass I did drink ended up to be several.

It was all very embarrassing. I went to get my mobile phone from the back bedroom and awoke in the pile of coats some time after. Rolling around on the fake Prada and fun-furs, I became aware of another person in the room, standing by the door in puzzled bemusement.

I said: “I’m sorry. I fell down,” flicked my hair and left.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Aragorn

I am doing Return of the King tonight.

Thank heaven I kept the receipt.

I Got The Key! I Got A Secret!

With the fabulous gala premiere of Cold Mountain occurring last night (I’m sure my invite got lost in the post) dear Nicole Kidman was on hand to be unutterably fabulous and just darling, wowing the crowds with hints dropped about her sham marriage to Mary Cruise. And, joy of joys, Nicki (she hates it when I call her that) was given the prestigious honour of the keys to the city by Sydney mayor! How lovely!

From what I gather, the keys to the city used to be actually quite important, being the only way through some of the more imposing gates barring the way to get in (London) or get out (Liverpool). Heaven forefend you lose them: one instance is at the end of the 18th century Sarah Brocklebank, daughter of Thomas the gatekeeper, lost the keys to the city whilst playing a game, and as a result her father lost his job. He never spoke to her again.

I assume this ‘game’ was the incident played at the end of the night at the Halfcock Inn, where everyone throws their keys into the centre of the room, and Sarah managed to get the door key of a Mr Nevelle Shanksdip and was heard singing ‘Greensleeves’ in soprano through the wall at five-past three in the morning.

Anyway. Sarah became obsessed with finding the keys and spent her life searching, until, as an old lady, she finally remembered where they were. She burst in to the Lord Mayor’s parlour to tell him, but dropped dead before she spoke. Oh, irony of ironies! You won’t get poorer timing this side of a Cheeky Girls record, do you? Fortunately, this incident set a new standard, and now cities are happy to always leave a spare set with the neighbours. In this case, the charming market town of Harrogate is more than happy to come in during the holidays and water York’s plants.

Nowadays the keys to the city are beautiful yet completely useless (c.f. Phixx) with the only benefits being you can sit in the Alderman's court (that barrel of laughs) and drive your sheep through the precincts. Those of you whom have been to Croydon will know that you don’t need a key to allow you to steer your brood through the shopping area; merely a hair scrunchie and a benefits book. And the keys are presently not only worthless, you can get them for the most unlikely of reasons. For example, in 1916, Samuel Born won the keys to the city of San Francisco for inventing a machine that mechanically inserted sticks into lollipops. Yet while my initial reaction was ‘How daft is that?’ on closer inspection, perhaps the residents of this city saw this wonderful device and instantly thought of new and exciting applications for it. Voila! Instant award, and the midnight sounds of ‘Greensleeves’ in soprano coming through a multiple of walls.

Ah, happy days.

In confidence, I myself was awarded the keys to the city on two occasions, though these things never turn out well for me. I was awarded keys to the city of Atlantis (whoops), as well as the keys to Cambridge in 1992. Yes, um. It was all rather embarrassing, in truth. I’m sure you older readers are aware of the difficulties in getting in through your front door when drunk; that interminable time when you’re trying to put the key in the lock and keep missing time after time after time? Well, after a night on the shandybooze, I was there for a full hour attempting in a staggeringly wearisome manner to get the key in the city lock. And what do you know! It turns out I’d been trying to use my car keys after all! Oh, how I laughed - until worse happened: I managed to get the key in and turn it before I figured out it was the wrong one, only to find I’d left the whole city in gear! It was now rolling down the hill towards the river!

Thank heaven we caught it all on camcorder, though – that £200 quid from ‘You’ve Been Framed!’ paid for a lovely new hostess trolley.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Alias Mysteries Revealed!

Warning! Contains spoilers for Alias Season One!

I am utterly delighted to have introduced Gertie to the wig-centric gubbins that is Alias - he appears to be lapping it up with a fervour only previously seen in lifts, toilets and bushes. I'm glad I've finally got someone to chat it over to as the Wife has only managed to see the pilot and is therefore basking in the slightly misguided notion that it may actually be competent television.

Gertie's now up to the revelation on Page 47: that god-awful picture of someone who looks nothing like Sydney, despite the apparent convictions of the FBI agent endowed with The Wicked Witch of the West's nose. Even as the episode closes, Syd's trying to put her hair in up in a desperate 'hey-hey! Look! It's me!' You have to worry: this man has to pick out criminals for a living.

What's even more hilarious is that the production office realise this and have to address it in the next episode. But, thankfully, Gertie has already found out who this person is who's going to threaten the world with destruction.

It's Charlotte Bronté.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

One True Accent

This Saturday forged a rare occasion for your ruler, for I managed to catch some of the gormless Pop Idol for the first time in my life. It is oddly compelling, non? I even had to tune back in for the results to find that the vivacious Sam had been kicked out. Just how?

And, to add insult, someone informs me that the dead-eyed talent vacuum who's not Michelle comes from my neck of the woods. Ah. I thought his accent grated.

You see, I never really had this notorious accent, much to my surprise. It is probably due to never really going outside to be sociable, instead finding solace in television and the Doctor Who Knitting Book. Thus my accent is the fine, clipped English of a BBC newsreader of Thatcher's Eighties - i.e. not the semi-sexy rolling welsh of the new millennium. Ah, but listen closely to me, and you may be able to hear a fabulous exotic twang of Moira Stewart on my lower vowels.

Anyway. Back to this Mark. Further digging suggests that he's from Darlaston, near Walsall, a larger town some eight miles from my tiny burg. One of my learned friends suggested that he may have even gone to my school; we from that area just inclined to pick the biggest township that people down here have heard of, and that just tends to be 'Birmingham'. Walsall is some way down the pecking order of recognition, and there is a whole world of difference between it and Brownhills. Walsall has an art gallery and everything.

Well. Brownhills briefly had an art gallery too. It were called Athena.

Just imagine, though if he had gone to my school. He would have been a wide-eyed first year fag to my mature sixth former. A faithful, yet dead-eyed servant to laugh at my bonne mots.

What do you mean? There were plenty of fags at Brownhills Comp, as I have explained earlier. "One in four men has had or will have a homosexual experience in their life," said our sex education teacher.

"It'll be one in three when Binding learns to drive," shouted someone at the back.

Hmm. And for your information, one can drive. It's apparently terrifying to watch.

I just say that you can't get the full experience unless you're wearing a leopard-skin headscarf.

Getting A Load Off My Chest

As requested by a few of you, I shall tell you the saga of what happens when someone likes me. A little too much. And I warn you now, this is not a happy tale.

My stalker was the oddest gentleman: he kissed like his mouth was hinged at the rear of his neck and walked like a clockwork soldier. For the sake of this entry, we shall call him Steven, and we met when he arrived in the offices of the magazine I used to work upon and asked to speak to someone about Star Trek: Voyager.

You'd think that it would be a marriage made in heaven, wouldn't you? But no.

As I was busy, I arranged to meet with him for a drink later in one of the more glorious holes in old London town, despite my misgivings of fraternising with the peasant class. He was from the sticks and found the lights of this town beguiling, as well as monetarily befuddling: they hadn't gone decimal in his backward village yet. He also seemed to hang off my every word, which is always terribly flattering.

There are two defining moments when Steven became a stalker. The first: while supping an elegant ale with a friend, I receive a rather panicked phone call from my then housemate. Steven had called around at my house and was sitting in my lounge, waiting for me to get home. He also kept trying to get into my bedroom to 'leave me a present' and my housemate was having to manhandle him down the stairs. I found this oddly hilarious and duly told him to throw him out. He did - with much effort - and phoned me to tell me Steven was waiting on the lawn and wasn't going away. I theorised that he had to travel back to his little village some hundred miles away sooner rather than later and would be gone by the time I arrive home. Fortunately I was correct, but in retrospect am sad to have missed a boy calling up to my bedroom window that he loves me, and have since made sure I have a long blonde wig and a plastic red rose to hand in case it ever happens again. When it comes to romance, the classical look is always best.

Now, I am a forgiving soul. The gentleman obviously had some issues, and I misguidedly thought I could help him overcome his now-professed love of me. Well, I'd seen Tricia once, and fully believed I was more capable than the fake-nailed harridan. Not taking this seriously really was my biggest mistake, but I really did think stalkers were things that happen to other people. So I met him for a drink or two, explained that he was sweet, but he wasn't my type, yet he obviously wasn't getting the message. In fact he was getting more and more desperate in his attempts to seduce me - including rolling up at my house after his last train had long gone and begging for somewhere to stay. As I made up the spare bed, something obviously had broken on his trouser zipper as he had stripped naked and had started fondling himself. And me, a devout Christian! I decided this was too big for me to handle, so to speak, so I did something almost unforgivable: I gave him to my Evil Best Friend Declan to play with.

That, unfortunately, didn't go to plan. Declan, of course, broke the boy; one time leaving him lying on the concrete, vomiting his guts up in Trafalgar Square. Yet he wasn't as stupid as we both thought, and slowly started driving a wedge in between Declan and myself. Very slowly, very cleverly, he engineered Declan and I to have an enormous argument (that for once wasn't based on what was better: Princess Leia in Endor wear or Princess Leia in Hoth bodywarmer) and Steven attempted to manoeuvre in to be very consoling.

Declan and I put aside our differences for one rather frosty meeting in a bar and talked it all through, and discovered the common source of the propaganda was Steven. I was not happy, Declan less so. His eyes narrowed across the smoky table. "Open season," hissed my best friend, and we resolved something really must be done.

It was around this time that I got the second thing that confirmed Steven to be a stalker. A phone call:

(ebullient, bouncy) "Hi, Lee! It's Steven!"
(reserved, cool) "Hi. How you doing?"
"Great! I've got some fantastic news! I've got a job!"
"Really. That's good. Where?"
"In London! Isn't that great."
I sighed.
"But that's not the best of it," he added.
"Go on..."
"I'm going to be working on the same magazine as you! Two desks away! I can be with you all day!"

Oh lord. It's not just me, but that is a little desperate, isn't it? Well, desperate times require desperate measures. I theorised the only way I left was to give him what he wanted, but make it as sour as possible. So, following his lead, I did the exploit in the most selfish and horrid way possible. Three times on three separate days. And each time I could see his hopes dashed a little more. It was quite horrid to see, but it was beginning to consume my life. His presence was constant, asking me what I was doing after work, and following me around. Indeed, it was a risky gamble to take, but it was either this or the police. And I'm not bringing in Judy Justice and Her Talking Broach in case they dredge up my old shoplifting charge.

That shade of lipstick - never suited me.

He didn't speak to me after the final time, added to which I left the company a month later. Steven was a definite contributor to that. I did bump into him and his present boyfriend a few months ago along Oxford Street. He didn't stop, but stare he did. I hope to never discover whether it was shock, hatred or longing.

Going Bump In The Night

I really should get some Christmas spirit.

My housemate complained that the noise from Marley's Ghost is keeping him awake at night.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Sex For Breakfast, Sex For Tea

Just when one assumes you’ve shed all shag buddies, what I believe is the last has just crawled out of the woodwork. This is despite the almost ceremonious quitting of the more... racy websites available, the closure of several hotmail accounts and leaving my phone barren of numbers soon upon meeting the Wife. I thought I was free, but no. It appears this persistent little one has lain in wait, choosing to wait over two years before dropping me a line to ask me ‘how u doin?’ via text.

I did - briefly - hanker for the old days of meaningless sex in my fabulous royal bed when I received his slightly illiterate message (he wasn’t employed by me for his brain, lets say) until you weigh it all up. One argues that ‘why have cotton when you can have silk’, but in the case of these people, it’s more ‘why have nightly plastic disposable incontinence sheets when you can have a gorgeous Australian?’ Besides, I’m living it though Gertie anyway, who shed any vestige of moral high ground by having sex in a lift this weekend.

How very council.

Oh, he’s always maintained that he has the moral high ground: when confronted about this sort of thing, he always looks slightly taken aback and splutters that he listens to jazz and the World Service - like that covers everything. For one, he may be humming extracts from Berg’s ‘Wozzeck’ from his headphones in the middle of the night, but it’s normally in the rose bushes of Hyde Park attached to a Latvian. I, for one, would find it difficult to get the subtle nuances the arias with the gentleman tugging away down there with his mittened hands.

The second card he plays is that I once attained gentlemanly company when walking through Vancouver at 4am one morning with jet-lag, and ended up in an alley with this fellow. He’s just jealous as it was the alley that Sylvester McCoy got shot in during the 1996 Doctor Who TV Movie. Also, he somehow readily forgets that he too had a boy in an alley in the middle of the night, and was stopped by the police to boot. There have been many more: bushes, pub toilets, trains - the list goes on and on. He believes that he is somewhat purer by the belief that I did a lot of this first, and to some extent trained him to do it. But no - Gertie may be the follower in my footsteps in some respects, but he’s beating a whole new path through the bushes, and one I’ve never even dreamed of before. He’s most certainly Darth Vader to my Ben Kenobi. Oh, it was a long time ago he relinquished the moral high ground, and there’s certainly no way he’s going back up there, no matter how many lifts he rides.

His excuse for which? That the lift was that the blessed event was in was Art Deco.

Anyway. I’ve told this old shag to be off with himself, and after several semi-literate communications back about the various parts of my body he misses, he has finally got the message and gone off into the night. Besides, if the Wife does see sense and up and leave me, all I have to do to get my list back is hang around outside whatever Gents Gertie’s currently in and console whomever tearfully comes out of the cubicle, chased by the cheerful cry of “It’s not you, it’s me.” Or “I’ll call you. Really.” It’s often like the Normandy Landing when he’s been in there, truly.

How things have changed indeed, young Skywalker.

I've Been To A Marvellous Party

You know when you've been to a delightful party: your beard smells 80% proof and you leave your umbrella.

The Christmas parties continue apace, this time with a brief sojourn to Putney where former lesbisexual housemate Kimberly had set up house with the wonderful Lady Sarah of Drege. They now live in a terribly adult house with a terrifyingly large bookcase and a dado rail which may, or may not, turn into a dildo rail in the bedroom - we never found out. As we supped on some rather... medicinal-looking vodka, we talked house, of coving and plumbing, and they confessed they were missing our darling Peckham palace slightly - the sound of drug deals, the quaint 'pop!-pop!-pop!' of the drive-by shooting late at night. We discovered the loudest sound you get in Putney was the quick 'slap!' of a leather glove against someone's face, followed quickly by a cry of "You bounder! I shall see you on the common at day break!"

As the evening wore on and the Wife and I had further installed ourselves upon the plump sofa did the lesbisexual hosts inform us that the house is so old that we were over a trap door, leading directly to the deadly cellar containing all sorts of hideous paraphernalia like kd lang standees and a glut of Indigo Girls albums. Certain death would ensue; we took it that we both had to be very entertaining lest a large lever would be pulled and we drop into this hell-hole in a light entertainment stylee. We were never funnier, I can tell you.

The subject of Christmas rolled around. I still refuse to celebrate at the moment, and we briefly discussed my opening of a public house for other non-partying members of the parish. I could call it 'Bar Humbug'. Hmm.

But anyway. The witching hour fair approached, and with the cocktails fair potent, it appeared that everyone else was up to the eyes with Christmas spirit. And certainly full of it was the delightful Susan. I simply adore this woman; an Irish Catholic lesbisexual who can't hold her drink, who adores Kap'n Kathy Janeway as much as I. By the end of the evening, she sat clutching her whisky bottle and talked through her Christmas memories, with one causing the most raised eyebrows and the most laughs. When she was about six or seven, she would pray to God around the festive period:

"Dear Lord, I know you have some sort of divine plan for everyone, but if you could see to it that the angel Gabriel doesn't get me pregnant, I'd be really happy. I mean, go on if you have to, but if you can see to it that it's someone else, I'd be really happy."

Aww. Bless her.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Deck The Halls

Oddly, before the lesbisexual housemates left, the house was even more bedecked with tinsel and fairy lights than it is at the moment. There were four of us sitting around the lounge last night, mulling over the lack of basic glitter in our lives these days so close to the big day when an jolly fat man slides down your shaft in the middle of the night.

So raged the merits for a fake tree and for a real one. I have no problems with the former as I've grown up with a raddled old green tree that used to drop from the loft the day after my sister's birthday. There were several signs that Christmas had arrived: there was the yell of "Fuck!" by my skyward father as he tried to retrieve said tree. The second would be my mother dusting off the Phil Specter's Christmas album so we could listen to Darline Love and co belt out songs to distant and crackly it sounded like they were originally recorded on sellotape. The final one that proved that the big day was only around the corner was the arrival of the Kays Spring/Summer catalogue, abnormally.

The musing continued over dinner (in all other housemate's case) and over knitting (in mine) as we put across learned arguments as to what type we should get. Real, fake - all virtues were discussed, including a tree that had caught the eye of the Fabulous Caroline, girlfriend of Impossibly Beautiful Mark. It was a bright pink Barbie one, fibre optic, that glowed heavenly in Woolies widow. She wasn't surprised that I too had spied this garish monstrosity and secretly coveted it.

The look of horror in Mark's eyes said it all. I believe that finally, after all this time, we may almost be oppressing him, the poor boy. So if we do indeed get the pink tree, I think it's only fair that we get him a black one, with go-faster stripes, low suspension and a kicking sound system.

And maybe some pink fluffy dice, he added coyly.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Whee-whee-whee!

You know, one day, I really must tell you all about whatever happened to my stalker.

Family Matters

My dear sister is staying with me for a two-day sojourn. Bless her, she's not the brightest bulb in the box, nor is she the most reliable. I was meant to be in town last night, supping a glorious pint of crème de filthe with the lovely Jayson, and mon soeur was supposed to be joining us. A conversation between she and I:

"Meet me in town. You won't have your car, will you?"
"Nonono, I'll come on the train. Don't worry!"

Hours pass.

"Lee! It's Nick. I'm at Earls Court!"
"Whatever for?"
"I'm trying to find the road to Peckham!"
(slow, dawning horror)
"You're in the car, aren't you?"
"Yeah! I'll be at your house in about thirty minutes!"
"But! But! I'm at Oxford Circus and I'll have to get home and... oh, there's no point, is there? You're not even listening. Sigh. I'll be there in around forty five minutes."
"Half an hour? See you then!"
"No, forty- you've hung up, haven't you? You silly bitch."

So you can imagine my horror when she slammed down her wine glass last night and proclaimed she was 'dead interested!' in learning about space. She sat there coming up with all the usual questions like "wow.. so space goes on forever? Yeah, but what's after that?" like she was going to be Stephen Hawkin's next lab assistant.

Talking science with my sister is akin to force-feeding a sheep caviar. But Lovely Housemate Iain hunkered down, prepared a speech about superstrings and 12-dimentional physics and launched into her little world that normally just contains information on the best hair conditioner and scrunchies to use. I left them to it and went to do some work.

I'm not sure exactly what happened between the two, but I did pass Iain on the way to the bathroom later. I've never seen someone so ashen faced and glassy eyed.

Restless

Damn you, 50 Cents, I didn't sleep at all last night.

Normally the more... 'urban' nonsense that populates the music channels goes straight over my head as I dodge between that and the umpteenth Christina video. But some twee babble by the aforementioned cretin was lodged in my brain for all the lovely hours when I should be dreaming about members of Phixx. I can't tell you which one it was because it has been called to my attention that he talks through every single track, they all sound the same, and there's not a tune in there at all. All I could say is it's fairly recent and it has steel drums in it. Pfft.

Talking on records should be confined to poor charity records where the c-list celeb denizens of light entertainment hide their lack of talent by talking and/or vocoding their way to the chorus. Or, equally, should appear in the middle eight or sexy coda to the song a la Girls Aloud. Bonus points are indeed available for mentioning the dirty sheep you do not need.

But for someone to chunter through an entire record in little more than a speaking voice - and still to remain incomprehensible - is an unforgivable crime that's filed right next to Brian Adams. Mr Cents - if that's even your real name - how did you even get a record contract? So you've been shot in the face. Boo-frickety-hoo. One more sleepless night interfered with by your rumbling bleeting and I'm coming to finish the job myself.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Knit One, Flirt One

Delight upon delight, our dotage is continuing! By the light of the needless Living TV, Gertie and I once more spent the evening in with two types of knitting needle and some very gay-looking wool, discussing the ills of the world, how it would never happen in my day, and how you could pop into town for twelve pence, leave your front door unlocked, and still get change for the bus.

Impossibly Beautiful Housemate Mark has proven surprisingly tolerant of my - and my friend's - unusual antics, yet still almost dropped his new bike when he came in to see us two on the sofa with needles poised, Gertie's on some sort of small pink flag, and mine twiddling away on a nice Season 18 scarf. He shook his head and proclaimed us gay clichés of the highest degree. Well, dear things, we simply had to object! Fight our corner, as it where. Going out and getting high on Devil's finest disco powder to chat up stupid yet pretty men: that's a cliché. Having your own stylist at a hairdressers: that's a cliché. Staying in and beating wool into submission - well! I thus proclaim knitting to be the new rock and roll. You can even do a line in public without anyone batting an eyelid.

Although you can also do the same with cocaine on any Peckham bus route in my experience.

Jigsaws, whereas, are another matter. We were trying to find more of them to sit and complete, but it appears kids do no longer like jigsaws. I strolled everywhere looking for the joyous wooden puzzles, frequenting everywhere bar Hamleys (renamed 'The Christmas Hellmouth' at this time of year). Even John Lewis, last bastion of middle-class "now play with something quiet while Father snoozes after the Queen's speech" has nothing. WHSmith? Equally nothing. Unless you have an urgent desire to recreate the Haywain, naturally.

Still, as neither of us know canasta, we were happy with the knitting. I retired sated to bed with a good couple of inches to my name, and shall be fiddling with it in front of the TV whenever time allows. And as Gertie bedded down for the night on the sofa, he even talked about letting Mark have a go with his to see whether he could make it grow even further.

Yes, the oddest thing about Housemate Mark. I've noticed that he sleeps with his light on whenever Gertie stays over. And I'm sure I heard the sound of a chair being scraped up to the door handle.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Old Age Boy With New Age Boyfriend

So, it's not all glamour and showbiz in my life, you'll be pleased to know. What did you do with your Saturday night? Well, while my beautiful Wife went off to explore the more occult aspects of this world (true), Gertie and I were in his flat doing thirty year old Doctor Who jigsaws and knitting. The conversation:

"How much of the same blue can you get in one bloody jigsaw?"
"I really cant cast on using these, you know."
"It's just all TARDIS. Oh! I think I've found some celery."
"Next time, I'm going to bring some knitting needles. There's no way I can do a scarf using chopsticks."
"Of course, it could just be the lines around Davison's eyes."

We decided that we were having our old age early, and in our dotage, we will be sniffing coke off rentboy's arses in Malaga.

Save It For Later

I went to a showbiz party last night. My group of friends were told off by former Doctor Who Sylvester McCoy for firing balloons in his general direction.

But still! Showbiz!

I was suave. I was debonair.

I had something in my teeth for most of the evening. D'Oh!

Sunk Without a Trace

I adore my lovely Wife for many reasons. He has hair like Goldie (that’s either the Blue Peter dog or Mz Hawn, not the rapper). He can breathe through his ears. And he has a fantastic ability to torpedo anything that I find even slightly impressive.

Like China White. When I finally got to see him this week, I launched into an overly excited, expansive review of the glorious place, the seating and the clientele, the waitresses and the toilets, while he lay patiently back and waited for me to finish*. I did, and he mulled it over for a second as he put something worthy and with lyrics on the stereo. Then he cocked an eyebrow and stated that it “Sounds like something from an Atomic Kitten video.”

And, damn him, he’s right. Gah.

He’s done this many times beforehand; one Gertie will never forgive him for was an occasion where he and I were cooing over Mark, our Impossibly Beautiful Housemate. The Wife looked up from the paper and announced that he’d seen Mark running to the bathroom in his pants the other day. Gertie and I exchanged glances; we had him now. We could draw him into our fan club with ease now he’d seen the unearthly beauty that is Mark In His Pants. “A sight to behold, is it not?”

“He looked like a skinned chicken,” he stated and went back to the paper.

Love him.



* Do stop making up your own jokes at the back.

Friday, December 05, 2003

The Toilets of Old London Town

By Lee, aged 28 and a half

Here’s part one of a brief tour around some of the more notable bogs in the country.

China White, Piccadilly
You may ask what I’m doing in such a high-class establishment. Oh my dear things, this week has been a non-stop cavalcade of z-list parties and cabaret acts this week, leaving me as a shambling mess at my desk. No Girls Aloud can perk me, no coffee too potent. But it was with great aplomb that I attended a Christmas do at China White last night, a place whose entrance is synonymous with pictures of drunken faux celebs clutching to the door jam like sailors in the middle of a storm, landing straight into the pages of Heat.

The toilets are another matter. The urinals are slabs of Charlie Dimmock-esque stone, leaning against the wall at a rakish angle. You’re not sure whether you’re taking a slash in a bathroom or a garden centre; indeed you’re not sure whether you should be pissing in it at all. It reminds of a tale of one associate who queued up to relieve himself in the loos of a packed yet tiny bar, and got in there to find people were also using the sink as the urinal. Swallowing his pride, he followed suit. Later, after queuing again, he once more took this option, only to find that the whole mood of the place had changed and sink-wee was not de rigour before being sneered out of the room.

Sidenote: I did dash into the ladies when everyone was too pissed to care. I was determined to find a seat that Jordan, darling of the tabloids, had used not 24 hours earlier. She does have a very distinctive bum print, does Jordan.


Mash, Oxford Circus
My first induction into the whizzy world of the media was in this bar restaurant, whence upon going into a toilet cubicle, I ran my finger over the cistern to find it covered in dust. Believing the cleaners to be rubbish, I finally noticed that the dust was white and very expensive. Ah, my naive days.

Still, the urinals in there are unique in their construction, being a mix of concave and convex shiny stainless steel, thus giving them the properties of a funhouse mirror. It’s worth hanging around there to watch the gentlemen unfurl, then catch a glimpse of their reflection with a gasp. Every one of them are thinking “I don’t remember bringing that!


The Site Bar, Charing Cross
When I used the cubicle in there the other day, I heartily reminisced that the previous time was during the ownership of the previous tenants, where the dive was under the moniker ‘Brief Encounter’. At that time, I happened to be in there with a Russian ballet dancer, and we both took great pleasure in the numerous signs ‘If you do ejaculate on the stainless steel, please wipe it off. It leaves marks’. Most charming.


Public Toilets, Carnaby Street
Oh, another one full of shuffling elderly maries. One of my more gentle-natured friends (I do have some, I promise) accidentally ended up in there, and caused much excitement due to him being a bit of a looker. They can smell fresh meat, you know. Anyway, he’s a sweet thing and didn’t rise to their advances, not even when one gentleman reached around to grasp his manhood. Completely out of character, he hissed “If you don’t move your hand, I’ll piss on it!” causing the gentleman in question to back away with fear in his eyes. Genius.


The Pineapple, Leicester
The clientele of this salubrious wendy bar come in two types: sixteen-year-old boys of easy virtue and a need for cash, and elderly gents whom have got their pension in their wallets and viagra at the ready. In there, many years ago, a certain mary of our community was heading down the passageway to their gents, when his boyfriend barged up to him and accused him of sleeping around. And set about his face with a knife.

Horrifying, I know. Of course, evil best friend Declan laughed himself off his stool at this, and never misses an opportunity to head to the toilet door with a yell of “I’m just off for a slash!”

Thursday, December 04, 2003

The Diamante Celebration

Oh!

It was with a shock akin to the Canal Incident™ did I recall I have been officially out of the closet ten years this very day! Having not so much come out as shoot out, one must sit back and reflect – well, this sparkly sequin dress is a simple charm! – upon the decade upon which I unleashed myself on the world. Ten whole years! And what have I accomplished?

Divinely, absolutely nothing! How wonderful is that?

I do hope I’ve been a good wendy. Oh, I’ve had my fair share of relationships as well as one night stands. Unfortunately, the two often overlapped, by so much as a year with the last bleak association. But still, in those ten longs years I’ve slept with so many men I lost count after the second centenary, but if you laid most of them end to end, no one would be the slightest bit surprised.

I’ve just recounted to my colleagues exactly how it came to pass, and I’m utterly surprised at what a greenhorn I was back then. In the suburban and surreal of settings of the sorrowfully charming Peterborough, where I was attending a lifeless engineering course, I stumbled through the dark to find a phone box as far away from the house where I was in residence. I’d managed to steal a sheet of the local paper and secreted it in my room, hiding it from the God-fearing Irish couple I’d been placed with by the college. It had the number of an helpline for any gay man in the area, and so around seven, in the pitch black, I headed out, determined to find a public call box sufficiently far from their home that they wouldn’t even suspect.

I spent two hours walking around in the dark not finding one that wasn’t vandalised or removed, and instead walked around in a big circle and ended in the box right outside their house. Desperate, I called from there.

I spoke to a rather charming man who said that he’d meet me in town, would be with a gentleman with a rose in lapel (that I later discovered was a) pink and b) plastic), and that they would take me for a drink. They were perfectly amiable, and invited me to a big gay party that was occurring at that very moment. I had to be reassured several times that it wasn’t one of those swingers parties and I wouldn’t have to be touched or anything.

How times change.

And here I am today, sitting in a web of fabulous friends and glittering artefacts. I’ve passed my first, fifth and ninth anniversary (Baccara, Cottage and Margot Ledbetter respectively) with style and panache. One can only aim for the next ten years to be as equally, if not moreso, fabulous. But at the moment, I’m celebrating my Diamante anniversary with a bottle of Babycham and a pink rose. Join me, why don’t you!

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Happy Birthday...

...Daryl Hannah!

You’re 42, but I’m not sure how old your prosthetic index finger is.

There May Be Trouble Ahead

Today I’m orbiting on the Satellite of Love, as being Wednesday, I take a day off from ruling you all with an iron fist. I’ll make sure I’ll point and wave when I go over your house. In my place you’ve got z-list chanteuse Sonya whom, I believe, we managed to rescue from her incarceration in the Bolton production of Grease. She was so pleased that she shattered all the windows in the limo with a top-c, for which I’m making her pay for. So I officially own her for the next seven years, it seems. Do drop me some suggestions of what I should do with her.

Meanwhile, with my other job that takes up most of the day, there is turmoil. Not only have I actually been busy for the first time in around two years, leaving my blog and manicure to suffer, but my boss has decided that she’s finally had enough of our whole dysfunctional department and is heading south to Australia. Little realising that I’ll be following her a month later. Vote now if you want me to go with a hunting spear.

When Jo (for it is she) first started, we were more than a little at odds. I found her too meddlesome, she found me aloof and difficult. Well, I am. It came to a head when the management were planning to send us onto ITV’s flagship show Gladiators to battle it out with oversized cotton buds, but it turned out to our great surprise that we both had an allergy to Ulrika. This common ground was the first inkling of a friendship to come, one that will culminate on her last day on Christmas Eve when it’s just us two in the office, happily making snowballs.

Oh, not with snow. No, with Avocaat, dear.

In the interim, we’ve been interviewing possible replacements for her position. We had this dullard arrive who was thrust into the meeting room with the four-strong department. Recall the moment when the blank-eyed cow was lowered into the raptor pen in Jurassic Park, withdrawn moments later as a ragged mess. I do not lie when I say that the gentleman in question withdrew his application a day later.

Yesterday, we delighted in a second dupe arriving into our world to try out the job. How's best to describe her?

My, she wears a lot of black.
She's got a big personality.
Oh, she looks like she's the life and soul of the party.

In short, there’s not a cake trolley in the world she doesn’t look like she’d pass. I theorise that she doesn’t wear a lot of black at all, and actually turned up to our interview in a lovely floral-print dress. It is simply the case that her mass is so large that not even light can escape her gravitational pull, resulting in her looking like she’s wearing stretched lycra. Shudder.

She did give a good interview, and will be very accomplished at the job. Almost too good, I feel. I am also worried that she didn’t flinch under my scowl at all.

All of a sudden I’m feeling very, very aloof and difficult.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Come In Number 69, Your Time Is Up!

It was on our lackadaisical search for that aforementioned gentleman that we discovered one of Declan and my old haunts has been lost in the ongoing Pub Wars of Greater London. West Central used to be a must for us on a Wednesday night as it was Singles Night, and always good for a quick fumble in the loos with a numbered badge with a man attached. We used to adore baiting a man whom Declan thought had the aspect of Young Mr Grace, whereas I likened him to Arthur C Clarke (full name: ‘Arthur C Clarkecreatorofthespacesatellite-authorof2001-currentlyresidinginSriLanka’ in every newspaper article you read). But West Central has gone, reverting back into the non-fabulous version. Like Risk, you may have to give up territory to gain it; the last bastion of heterosexuality on Old Commotion Street was called the Rat and Parrot, next to the Ann Summers shop. Over a matter of months we all took turns in popping in and dancing around our handbags until all the usual beer-swilling clientele just gave up the ghost. I did witness the last pungent trucker slam his pint down and leave in frustration when Kylie came on the jukebox, leaving it free to be converted for Men Who Are Good Listeners as soon as we’d disposed of his fetid barstool.

According to the decorators of the establishment, there’s only one way to get the smell of straight out of a place: cover it in leopard skin. It works, though - no self respecting heterosexual would go near it, and even tourists who often wander into our quiche-serving public houses get the message straight away. I even know the Italian for ‘Fuck me! It looks like Jackie Collins’ tool shed in here!’ but can’t really do it without a squeak of an expensive shoe doing a 180-degree turn. Yet with this becoming one of ours, we had to relinquish one to them. So, fair well West Central, and bless them, they’ve gone as far as fumigating it in their own way to make sure no gay man would ever cross the threshold.

West Central has become a sports bar.

Shudder.

"Veryverygoodnotbad"

Milk curdled after being on the counter for only two minutes? Cat sitting in the corner of the room, hissing and slashing at anyone who goes near it? That’s right, my evil best friend Declan had popped down to visit for the weekend. There now follows a full casualty count. If your husband or relative is on this list, you may apply for governmental aid or a state burial.

It was on the Thursday evening that he arrived for his birthday, full of pep, verve and some very cheap vodka, his mood oddly ebullient. Earlier in the week his horoscope stated he’d pull a man with the use of new chat-up lines, plus other events he claimed had already come true in the week. Probably a calf would drop dead in his village. That’s always happening near him. But he decided that we were going out with gusto in order to find this gentleman caller so he could use this new line and ‘tip his filthy concrete’ (his words). Personally I feel that there was no way he could have improved on the old chat-up line, which was the height of good taste: “How about slipping me a length? I’m dripping like a fucked fridge here.”

Two days of drinking and still no sign of the final divination coming true. We drank a drink in it’s honour on our pub tour, encompassing all other bars from the playgroup that is Ku Bar to the elephant’s graveyard of 79CXR. If you travel from the former to the latter via the Yard and Rupert Street, you can witness the lifecycle of the gay man in full, it’s really rather creepy. But with all this Professor Trelawney nonsense going on, I was spurred on to give the psychic thing a go myself the following day, while Declan went to church. I’m not sure why he does this; maybe if he doesn’t burst into flames crossing the threshold means there’s still some good in him after all. Needless to say that he met me post-reading looking like Judith Charmers.

For myself, I think the carbon test for any divination should be whether they say you’re going to get married and have kids. Declan had been to a psychic a few weeks beforehand and been completely unimpressed. “You’re going to get married to a woman you already know,” lisped the psychic. “And you’re going to have two kids called - “ Declan couldn’t remember what they were called. It was something common and he’d lost interest as soon as he said that he was going to be hitched. Honestly, it’s his own fault though; would you go and see a psychic called ‘Barry Potter’?

Anyway, mine turned out to be a little more competent. She lay down the cards and asked me straight out whether I was a mary. “There are no women in your cards at all,” she said, staring over my left shoulder. I’d been warned about this - this was where she saw her visions which included my job (spot on, describing the equipment I use) and a silver sports car that I should watch out for. But in a good way. She even described my trip to LA for the convention and then going on to Oz. It was all rather unnerving. I was also to watch out for a guy called Barry, who had nice arms and shaved head. Oh, dear Mandy the psychic, that really was an easy point, wasn’t it? I’m always on the lookout for someone like that! And some other guy, about five-foot-seven who worked in a club who would be a threat to my relationship but would then become a very good friend.

I must admit that I was feeling rather uneasy about all this until I managed to tie it all down in my head. Besides, Declan’s prophecy hadn’t paid off: come Sunday evening, and he still hadn’t, so I decided to call it a day drinking and head home with Declan promising to follow me behind and just have one more drink (I dislike leaving him unsupervised). Three hours later when I passed out, I get a phone call. He’d pulled.

I get to idly question him when he finally crawled back to my house a few hours back to relieve us of his arcane spell books and samsonite luggage. The guy was called Pete. And I asked him about a new chat-up line. Indeed he did use one:

“Let’s go back to yours. By the time you’re finished, I want to look like a plasterer’s radio.”

Barry, if you’re out there, drop me a line. We can get it all out of the way and you’ll get a Christmas card to boot.