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

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Glitter For Brains At The Movies: The Day After Tomorrow!

We Go So You Don't Have To!

Another case of 'Glitter for Brains at the Video Shop'. Unfortunately this film was so bad that we had to have a poke at it. And that's not just Jake 'Doe-eyed' Gyllenhaal! So, without further ado, we present...

THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW: THE ABRIDGED SCRIPT!
WARNING: Contains Spoilers!


The movie opens as we skim across the CGI GLACIERS, FOREBODING MUSIC booming.

THE AUDIENCE:
Uh-oh.

ROLAND EMMERICH:
What? Does my impressive CGI terrify you? Does my music simply grasp your heart in cold, clutching fear?

THE AUDIENCE:
Not as much as the words 'Written by Roland Emmerich', Produced by Roland Emmerich', and 'Directed by Roland Emmerich'.

Meanwhile, DENNIS QUAID is addressing the UNITED NATIONS OF EVERYTHING.

DENNIS QUAID:
...So. To reiterate. Fossil fuels are bad. Fossil fuels. Are. Bad.

STUPID POLITICIANS:
Look, we?re going to disagree. No reason other than to make you look good. Now get out with your half-baked theories pinched from a Whitley Strieber book!

DENNIS QUAID gets ejected from the CONFERENCE.

IAN HOLM:
I thought you were marvellous in there.

DENNIS QUAID:
Why thank you, Ian Holm. But why are you here?

IAN HOLM:
I'm not quite sure, actually. I think it's to add a bit of credence to this flimsy film.

ROLAND EMMERICH:
But we have a message! Fossil fuels are bad! Are you listening, audience? Are you?

THE AUDIENCE:
Ooh, look. We have those same coffee cups as Dennis Quaid.

IAN HOLM:
Anyway. I'll be in Scotland if you need me.

MEANWHILE, the world starts to FREEZE. TORNADOS wreak havoc. The SEA rises and swamps NEW YORK. Some CGI WOLVES escape from their pens, and head straight for the THIRD ACT.

CUT BACK TO:
IAN HOLM. Even he's surprised he's still in the SCRIPT.

IAN HOLM:
Er, gravitas, gravitas, Shakespearean foreboding. Cup of tea anyone?

CUT TO:

DENNIS QUAID:
I have to go and save my son!

THE AUDIENCE:
So the only scientist who knows what's going on is allowed to leave his post to go and find his son?

ROLAND EMMERICH:
Do you want us to spend the rest of the movie sitting in an office? Well? Do you?

THE AUDIENCE:
Er. No.

ROLAND EMMERICH:
Then shush. My vision is unfolding.

THE AUDIENCE:
But most of the north hemisphere is dead! Why on earth do we care for Dennis Quaid and his doe-eyed son?

ROLAND EMMERICH:
Fossil fuels bad. Family good.

Meanwhile in New York, JAKE GYLLENHAAL realises that the ANNOYING WOMAN FROM PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is dying from a cut on her leg.

JAKE GYLLENHAAL:
I think there'll be some penicillin on that boat over there!

THE AUDIENCE:
What boat?

ROLAND EMMERICH:
This boat!

And for no reason, a CGI RUSSIAN TANKER glides up FIFTH AVENUE.

THE AUDIENCE:
Ah. The SS Deus Ex Machina.

JAKE GYLLENHAAL:
Come, Comedy Sidekicks! We have a half-baked action sequence to do in order to prop up the limping third act!

So they go and SWING from the GANTRIES and halls of the tanker, just as the CGI WOLVES turn up. Predictable hilarity ensues.

THE AUDIENCE:
Run! Run Jake Gyllenhaal! Run like someone's just spit on their hand behind you!

JAKE RUNS.

For what seems like an eternity, we now follow DENNIS QUAID trekking from DC to New York.

DENNIS'S COMEDY SIDEKICK #1:
Hey, you don't think I wouldn't come with you, did you? I've been going on expeditions with you for what seems like forever!

THE AUDIENCE:
Well, that's his death warrant freshly inked.

Indeed, DENNIS'S COMEDY SIDEKICK #1 falls through the snow into a MALL. We now follow DENNIS and COMEDY SIDEKICK #2 in what feels like REAL TIME.

DAYS PASS. Suddenly, the storm stops for no reason, just as DENNIS QUAID finds JAKE in the LIBRARY.

STUPID POLITICIANS:
And in wrapping up, we admit we were wrong all the time.

CUT TO THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION:

ASTRONAUT:
Well, will you look at that. The sky's never been clearer.

THE AUDIENCE (SARCASTICALLY):
There's something we're meant to get from this.

ROLAND SIGHS, and uses a HUGE LASER on top of the Space Station to carve out 'FOSSIL FUELS ARE BAD!' over the top of ASIA.

The End.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Mountain Fallout

It really was a good job I wasn't around for the last couple of weeks.

I've only just shaken my depression over seeing Brokeback Mountain. Yes, I know I'm in the minority. In fact, the only other time I've been so low after seeing another film was after seeing 'Philadelphia', but that was mostly because I'd just paid money to see a Tom Hanks film.

Oh yes, 'Philadelphia' was back in the day when I could snare a man with an uncrossed leg and a toss of my brick-red hair. And I'd gone to see it as a date movie with a gentleman caller who (try and keep track) was going out with the guy who was having an affair with the teenager who was sleeping with a politician. He'd only taken me to the cinema to get back at his cheating boyfriend, but it turned out that trying to touch my tuppence in the car park afterwards was somewhat less likely as I was now deliberately pouring snot and tears from every Polite Orifice. Well I wasn't playing along that night as, like all good girls, I never put out without dinner and a movie. And I don't class a bag of Revels and a choc-ice as 'dinner'. No cheese course, you see.

He bravely tried consoling me, but as soon as his hand went Southwards I blew my nose on his collar and theatrically announced "I shall never have sex again!" and pulled back so he could see my ensnotted visage, make-up sliding down my face. In fact I'd produced so much mucus that I was attracting slugs from all corners of the car park. He gave up after the sixth attempt and drove me home.

You see, ladies and Gentlemen Who Moisturise, one should never get into a car with a stranger who's offering you chocolate. One should always hold out for the Sherbet Dib-Daps. So flash forward six months where this 'gentleman' has left his boyfriend and is now employed by a global corporation and offers me a job. Well, more correctly, offers me a night away to 'talk' about my 'interview' in a two-star Travelodge just outside the glamorous town of Slough. I'm not proud of what happened between those brushed nylon sheets that night. Nor how we clogged up the jacuzzi. And certainly not in the slightest about the two prints of someone's arse cheeks you could see on the window when you boiled a kettle near them, but I left my student days with some degree of solvency, just not much dignity.

So, what's the moral of this story? Don't be a ten-credit touch in a Showcase Cinemas car park? Be careful around hotel windows? Do you know, I'm not sure yet. And I'd ask the Wife, my moral compass, but he's even more affected by Brokeback than I am, wandering around like Liza Minnelli without her little blue pills. In fact I cut my hand on a disco ball the other day and he refuses to wash the checked shirt I was wearing, instead hanging it on the back of the wardrobe door next to a postcard. And he keeps trying to get me to change the tire on the car.

Thing is, we haven't had a toolkit since the Lesbians claimed it back. And even my gay brain knows you can't change a tire with a hammer and some fireworks...

Ah, it's good to be back.

Friday, February 24, 2006

That's all, folks!

It's said that newspaper columnists are allowed to write just one column in their whole career that adresses the subject of how hard their job is. You know the kind of thing: "Gosh, you've no idea - this is a hard job, writing about things every day. I just can't think of anything today. I often have this problem..."

I suppose the same is true of bloggers, so that's what you're getting today.

It's my last day on Glitter For Brains. I've thoroughly enjoyed my time here, filling in for Lee. And the response and comments from everyone have been lovely - thanks for sticking with the blog while Our Fabulous Leader has been away, and thanks for seeming to enjoy it so much. BUT, by 'eck, it's been hard work.

He's long since given up now, but Lee used to pester me almost daily about starting up my own blog. I tried about three or four times, but just couldn't get into a groove. I didn't want to do a kind of daily confessional (my life is far too boring for that to be worth reading); I would rather have done... well, something like I've been doing while I've been here at G4B. But then, Lee does that - and he does it with so much more dedication and drive than I ever could. (Plus, our senses of humour are far too similar, and nobody wants a Glitter For Brains knock-off cluttering up their precious internet.)

The closest I'm ever going to come to blogging is keeping my Flickr account updated. Although that's slipped since I've been doing this, because there's only so many hours in the day. And that's what amazes me about Lee, and about a lot of the people whose own blogs he links to: you do so much stuff, of such quality, every blimmin' day of the week. You all have my undying admiration, and my unwavering readership.

So that's about it. Lee's back on Monday, so things should return to normal then. Well, I say 'normal', but you know what I mean.

I don't know if I'll ever be back to grace these pink, sequinned, velvety halls, but you can rest assured that I've loved every minute I've spent here, making a new arseprint on Lee's glittery throne. Take care, all, and I'll see you in the ether!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Two sides to every story

I work for a TV listings magazine. Anthony Daniels, best known as prissy metal queen C-3PO in the Star Wars movies, is appearing in a few upcoming episodes of BBC1's daytime job-dodger fodder Doctors. Today, our features editor has asked me to arrange an interview with him.


Second half of the story first:

I phoned Anthony's agent.

ME: I was wondering if I could interview Anthony about his forthcoming appearance in Doctors.

AGENT: I see. This is for [magazine name deleted], is it? Hmm. What kind of thing would you like to talk to Tony about?

ME: Well, obviously, we'd like to chat about his work on Doctors, how he found it working on a soap, that kind of thing.

AGENT: Hmm.

ME: And, as a lot of our readers would know him from his work on Star Wars, I'd like to ask a couple of questions about that.

AGENT: Hmm. How long would this take? Will it be face to face, or just over the phone?

ME: Well, it would only be, say, 15 to 20 minutes of Anthony's time, so over the phone would be fine. Really, no trouble at all.

AGENT: I see. 15 minutes... Well, I'll have to talk to Tony, obviously, and see what his schedule is like. I can't get hold of him today, as he's very busy. I shall try to phone you in the morning, and I'll let you know what Tony says.

ME: Thank you.


First half of the story second:

I tried the press officer for Doctors first, as it's normally easier to arrange things that way.

ME: I was wondering if I could interview Anthony about his forthcoming appearance in Doctors.

PRESS OFFICER: Oh, I'm afraid you'll have to speak to his agent, as he's filmed all his stuff now, so he's not with us any more.

ME: OK, no problem.

PRESS OFFICER: But I can't imagine you'll have any difficulty. I mean, it's not like he's going to be busy with anything else! [LAUGHTER]

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I do like to have a project...

One idle thought in an email, and suddenly you find yourself with a mountain to climb.

So, I've got just over a month to photograph 13 of my friends, and myself, in various poses to match the photographs from the Radio Times Doctor Who 10th Anniversary Special.

I look forward to dressing one of them in furs and seeing them writhe around the grounds of Crystal Palace Park. Heaven knows where I'm going to find a giant maggot, 100 dolls and a sprightly yellow roadster called Bessie, though.

Still. The things we do to pass the time. I'll make sure Lee (who will be menaced by a Cyberman on Brighton beach) lets you know how I get on.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Border Control

The shutters are down. The barbed wire is up. The bloodhounds have been loosed upon Offa's Dyke, and she ain't happy about it.

It seems Lee is stuck in Wales a little longer than he originally planned. Today was meant to be my last day here at Glitter For Brains, but I've been asked to extend my season to the end of this week. Lee will return next Monday but, in the meantime, you'll have to put up with this:

TEN THINGS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT ROY SCHEIDER

1) Ironically for the star of Jaws, Roy is actually half-shark, on his mother's side.

2) That bit in Jaws when Roy is on the beach and he realises the shark is about to attack, and the camera pulls in on him while the background seems to drop away? That's called a dolly zoom. This fact will amuse my friends.

3) Since starring in Jaws, Roy's career has gone from bad (Seaquest DSV) to worse (The Punisher). Luckily, he's got a lucrative sideline appearing in other movies, working under the pseudonym 'Angelina Jolie'.

4) Roy is having Brad Pitt's baby, but he doesn't want to talk about it.

5) It is one of the tenets of Scientology that images of Roy should never be created in any media; to do so is the greatest blasphemy. I'm not a Scientologist myself, but I did join in when they burnt all my local Blockbusters' copies of The Rainmaker.

6) The boat in Jaws - you know the one, the "bigger boat" - was Roy's own real-life yacht. Man, was he pissed off about that.

7) Roy's house is bigger than your house.

8) After mating, Roy produces an egg sac that can contain up to a thousand tiny eggs, which is hidden under a rock, attached to a plant stalk, or encased in a web. Tiny roylings hatch from the eggs - they look like tiny versions of the adult. The roylings climb on to their father's back after hatching, where he feeds them. In some species of Scheider, the father dies when the young are ready to go off on their own, and the roylings eat his carcass.

9) In his younger days, Roy spent a summer working at his local McDonald's. He lost his job when he was found slathering a naked co-worker in strawberry milkshake and sending her running into the midst of a hungry pack of obese Americans for his own twisted amusement.

10) Roy is currently appearing in shackles at the Old Vic.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Cutitons, uglatoms and adorabolicules

So, which are cuter - cats or dogs? We're here today to find out.

(And I'm feeling much better today, thank you for asking.)

For this experiment, you will need:

A cat
A dog
A camera
A wide-angle lens

Quick heads-up about wide-angle lenses: at their more extreme lengths, as well as taking in more of a view than the human eye normally can, they have the effect of distorting anything that strays too near to the lens. As we shall see...

1) THE CAT

This cat is my own lovely ginger pussy, Gramsci.

Gramsci

A perfectly handsome animal, I think you'll agree.

2) THE WIDE-ANGLE CAT

wide-angle cat

Freakish! Get it away from me, before it attacks!

3) THE DOG

dog

Note that the dog is engaged in cute dog-like behaviour, trying to catch a stream of water in its mouth. The stupid thing.

4) THE WIDE-ANGLE DOG

wide-angle dog

How simply gorgeous! Can we keep it, Mummy? Can we?

CONCLUSIONS

We can see that dogs are rendered cuter by the application of a wide-angle lens, while cats are made to look threatening and unpleasant. But why should this be?

In taking the second photo in each case, the wide-angle lens is drawing in more light particles in order to make the picture. But along with these particles, it is also capturing more of the other particles present around animals - namely cutitons, uglatoms and adorabolicules.

Dogs - dirty, noisy, dangerous things that they are - have a tendancy to absorb more uglatoms. This means more cutitons and adorabolicules are floating freely in the air around them. The wide-angle lens takes these in, condensing them into the photo with the dog and making the dog itself seem cuter and more adorable than it actually is.

Cats, on the other hand - being graceful, beautiful and stately - absorb the cutitons and adorabolicules, leaving the uglatoms to float free. Hence, when seen through the all-encompassing wide-angle lens, the uglatoms are combined with the image of the cat to present it as a ghoulish misrepresentation of its true self.

Ergo, I can say without doubt and without a shred of obvious bias, that cats are cuter than dogs. Science says so. Anyone who says otherwise is a crazy.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Monster Mash

Your beleagured stand-in blogwriter is sick today, and home from work. Thankfully, there's nothing wrong with my stomach, because I've just gone through the Glitter For Brains Design-a-Monster competition, and it's enough to make an 'orse sick.

You may remember that last Friday, I asked for you to send in your ideas for how this blog would look if it were a monster in BBC1's shonky old sci-fi series Doctor Who. So, without further ado (because I want to get back to bed, to be honest!), we present the top three.

Number Three

The lovely Paul sent in this terrifying picture. Avert your gays! It's Vanessa Felch!

felch

As Paul says, "She certainly scares me and she looks like she'd be able to absorb a lot of extras on Dr Who. Ugh." Ugh indeed.

Number Two (snigger)

Trashbinder has been surfing the zeitgeist, it seems, to find the most horrifying thing lurking deep within the public consciousness today. And, if the last series of Doctor Who could do it with normal Big Brother, we can do it with Celebrity Big Brother!

monster

Shudder! I think you've smudged your lippy a bit, Pete... Oh. Oh, never mind.

Number One!

Finally, big congratulations to someone calling themselves Herman the Rabbit. As his prize, he walks away with some rubbish I don't want any more. And here it is - The Horror of THE CHERLURIAN!

cherlurian

A personal favoutite (and, if we're playing by the rules, definitely the one monster that says "Eek! It's Glitter For Brains made flesh!). Herman! Email me again with your address, and boundless riches* shall be yours!

Thanks all. I'm going to leave it there for this week and return to my sickbed. I shall see you on Monday, when I'll get on with that cats-and-dogs thing I was blithering about last week.

* Terms and conditions apply

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Great CD Robbery of 1991

The finest act in the world of modern pop is, of course, Girls Aloud.

They can pretty much be summed up by this line from their song 'Graffiti My Soul': "Spike heels and skin tight jeans / I've gotta fistful of love and it's coming your way, baby". In other words: "Don't I look like a slapper? Fancy a quick handjob?" Marvellous.

When my Better Half came home the other day to hear me listening to Belle and Sebastian, he yelped with surprise. "What's this? It's not a girl band!" After I'd sulked for several hours and got all my anger at him out in true passive-agressive style, I came to see he had a point. Not everything I like is sung by women, but an awful lot of it is.

Girls Aloud, to me, represents one end of a grand line of trashy tradition which stretches all the way back to Bananarama, and beyond. Here is that line:

fig1

A fine line of wonderment, which takes in such cultural landmarks as the Spice Girls, Shampoo, Shakespear's Sister, B*Witched, Daphne and Celeste... Pure joy! But this is how that line has looked to me for the last 15 years:

fig2

And all thanks to one drunken day in Durham. I'd left a lot of my CDs at a friend's house, and we'd headed off with a big gang to the beautiful jewel of the North East to get horribly sloshed. We were students. There was jumping into rivers involved. Great fun.

When we returned, wet and shivering, to his house at the end of the day - horror! He'd been burgled. His stereo, TV, Sega Megadrive... All gone. As had a big pile of CDs, including mine. I couldn't stop crying for days. A big slice of my late 80s/early 90s musical touchstones - gone!

Both Voice of the Beehive albums. Bananarama's Wow. Even Big Bang by We've Got A Fuzzbox And We're Going To Use It. In all, I lost about 20 CDs that day, which was a big dent out of my collection back then. I can't even remember why I'd taken that bunch of gay nonsense over to my friend's house that day - his taste, after all, being more along the Whitesnake-and-Lynyrd Skynyrd lines - but that decision had sealed my fate. All I was left with was the CD single of 'Meet El Presidente' by Duran Duran and a few Tanita Tikaram albums. (My friend, it seemed, wanting nothing to do with them.)

For years, my music collection has limped along with that little chunk of flesh bitten out of its side. As a student, I was too poor to replace the missing items at the time and, as the years went by, I forgot all about them. Occasionally, I'd be in a record shop and remember they were missing. I'd have a flick through their stock but it soon became clear too much time had passed and most of these gems had been long deleted.

Slow on the uptake as I ever am, it only occurred to me last week that eBay could be the answer. And BANG! Before you know it, there's the two Voice of the Beehive albums and the Fuzzbox one back in my collection. And they sound just as good as I remember. It's like having an arm stitched back on; a whole four- or five-year period of my late teen years has been woven back together.

The relief!

I'm not going to replace the two Sinead O'Connor CDs, though. Some things are better left in the past.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Sunny Stevenage

I'm getting civilly partnerised later this year. (We try to avoid use of the word 'marriage', for bolshy politico reasons, which I won't go into here.) He and I have had some preliminary chats about how we want our special day to be, but we're both quite certain of what we *don't* want it to be.

In short: no white, no bouquets, no wedding cars, no big ceremony (but a *very* big party), no rip-off crap food at some poxy hotel... None of all the shmaltz that everyone feels they *should* have at their wedding, just because it's the done thing.

Anyway, live and let live, and all that - and more power to those gay and lesbian couples who've gone the more traditional route in recognising their civil partnerships. We absolutely need such pioneers to show the doubters and h8rz that we're just as 'Good As You', and deserve for our loves and lives to be recognised in the same way as anyone else's. Right on! Woo!

Except. Have you seen Gay Times recently? Specifically, the adverts therein? Exploitation much?

In planning our own connubiations, we've decided not - under any circumstances - to say to any venue we approach for the aftershow shindig that we need it for "a wedding party". Why not? Well, as any fule kno, the proprietors will just hike the hire cost by 100 per cent, offer to defrost some heart-shaped chicken nuggets for twice the usual asking price, and bring in their own DJs and PA systems and x and y and before you know it, you're paying the £17,000 we're told is the average cost of a UK wedding.

No thanks. We'll happily splash some cash around, but we're not going to be idiots about it.

Anyway, back to Gay Times. I won't normally let it in the house, but the Better Half snuck one in under the laser beams in the hallway. Flicking through it the other day, I was appalled at page after page of adverts for rings, venues, services (and even a pink car! But that's beside the point...). You name it, if it's anything to do with a traditional wedding day, it's in there.

Maybe you'd like some "sensitive, creative, funky [dear God]" photography by Hayley Lehmann? Or would you like to enjoy your special day at Fennes, "a Georgian country house [which] has such a welcoming feel that you could easily imagine it as your own home". CUT TO: two newlywed queers rearranging all the antique furniture and tearing down the 19th-century oak panelling and replacing it with bold floral print wall-hangings from Habitat. "Well, you said it was our home..."

And it goes on. (Much like my good self.) Turn the page: f64 Gallery photography, the Mermaid Theatre pimping itself out as a venue, Dorset wedding planners, Stephen Einhorn wedding rings (hideous)... About the only advert I can get onside with is one for the British Humanist Association's guide to creating your perfect partnership ceremony.

But on the very next page from that... Gird yourselves... "Express your commitment and devotion! Choose Stevenage Arts and Leisure Centre!"

What?

It's a freaking sports centre!

I know there are certain among us who done luv de gymnasia, but that's ridiculous.

"Do you, Michael 'Mary-Ann' Manlove, take Phillip 'Felicia' Fudge-Nudger to be your lawful wedded bitch?"

"I do."

"Fabulosa! Now, hit the floor and gimme fifty!"

Oh, and Happy Valentine's Day.

Friday, February 10, 2006

RARRRR!

Crayons at the ready! It's time for the Glitter for Brains interactive Friday group competiton!

Now, some of you may have heard of a wacky little science-fiction show called Doctor Who. And some of you may have heard of a straight-laced TV programme for middle-class, football-dodging children called Blue Peter. Twice in its history, BP has run a competition to design a monster for Doctor Who. Most recently, some pre-teen autist... I mean, artist... won the competition with their design for a preposterous creature called the Absorbaloff, which defeats its enemies by sucking them into its translucent tummy. The Absorbaloff will be made flesh in an episode of the second series later this year.

Rubbish!

1) Given the new series of Doctor Who's focus on council estate life, 'Asbo-alott' would have been a more apposite epithet.

2) Children know nothing, and shouldn't be allowed to meddle with the important business of making monsters for TV shows.

So, this is where you come in. We, the great and bountiful readers of the Glitter for Brains blog, are going to design our own monster. But this will be no ordinary monster, oh no.

This monster will be Glitter for Brains made manifest! Imagine if, due to some terrible accident involving a stand-in blog writer, a cup of coffee, six Girls Aloud CDs, a dodgy PC, five tons of sequins and Cher, this whole blog CAME TO LIFE! Just what would Glitter for Brains look like if it were a monster in Doctor Who?

To your notepads! To the computer art programme of your choice! Show me your vision of this hideous creature!

When you've drawn your monster, scan it in and/or turn it into a jpg, and send it to g4bmonster@googlemail.com. We'll go through the entries next week, and announce the winner next Friday!

The winner will be able to sellotape a printout of their design over the TV screen during transmission of an episode of the next series of Doctor Who, and thereby pretend their creation has actually been used by the production team on the show itself. Also, I've got some bonkers stuff lying about my desk that I'd like to get rid off, so the winner can have that, too.

So, come on. Terrify me (no corduroy, please), titillate me, transfix me with your boundless creativity.

I can't wait to see what you come up with...

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Cut the cords

I have a scar on my knee, all because of fashion.

Many moons ago, I was on holiday in the Lake District, in northern England, with my parents and older sister. Mum and Dad had a static caravan in a small park up there, and we'd visit most weekends. This was one of those weekends.

I have amazingly fond memories of those times up there, and my love for one of England's most beautiful areas abides to this day. Even if, on this weekend, something terrible happened - and, worse than that, it would return to haunt me as I grew into adulthood...

This must have been in the very early 1980s, and I must have been no more than ten years old. But so safe was this caravan park that my parents would often let me go off on my own to play. The park was surrounded by hills, and there was one particularly steep slope, swathed in bracken at its base, at one side of the park. Moss-covered rocks were dotted here and there across the slope as it made its way up into a dense wood.

On the warm, sunny day in question, I decided that I would explore this cool, dark forest to see what lay beyond. I set out on my own, bravely into the unknown. This must have been quite late in the afternoon, as I know that it wouldn't be long before we were driving round the night-time roads of Cumbria, a flannel pressed to my wounded knee, in search of an open A&E department.

Now, to understand my state of mind on that day, you must know that the young, impressionable boy that I was had seen a video copy of An American Werewolf in London just a few days before. I think it was my brother's, and I knew I shouldn't be watching it - but I learnt my lesson when I was too scared to get past the dream sequences, and didn't go back to finish watching the film for 20 years. And I was an imaginitive child (common euphemism for 'a little moontouched'), so when I heard the sound as I pressed deeper into the gloomy wood, my terror began to increase...

There I was, far from civilisation (if you could call a static caravan civilised), and something was stalking me through the trees. I couldn't see it - every time I turned to find it, it was gone. But I could hear it. A definite swishing, sweeping, swooshing noise, following me with every step I took. I'd stop and listen out for it - but it knew I was trying to find it, so it stood stock still and silent, waiting for me to move again. So, I'd start walking - slowly, so slowly - and there it was again, the noise, swoosh, swoosh, swoosh. The werewolf of the Lake District was following me...

Panicked, terrified, I turned and ran back for the caravan, and the werewolf took flight after me. SWOOSH, SWOOSH, SWOOSH! My heart racing faster and faster, I burst through the edge of the woods and into the open. SWOOSH, SWOOSH, SWOOSH! Still it came. I careered into the tall bracken, catching sight of Mum and my sister walking down a different path towards the caravan.

'Mum!' I yelled. Actually, I probably screamed like a girl. 'Muuuuum!'

Then WHAM! I tripped and fell forward. My mum and sister would always describe how I disappeared suddenly beneath the bracken and then all they could hear was this unearthly wail, as I cried my guts up at the wound in my knee.

When I fell, I had smashed my knee against the sharp edge of one of those moss-covered rocks. I'd made a clean, irreparable tear in my brand new corduroy trousers, and had gashed my knee horribly. Off I was rushed to hospital for six stitches, and into the bin went the trousers. I never tried to penetrate the wood again.

Flash forward eight or so years. I was an 18-year-old man about town, and I was walking away from home to go and meet some friends in town. I'd just blown some of my paltry pay from my job in a restaurant on a new pair of trousers.

I was some way down the road before I noticed the noise. Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh. Immediately, I was transported back to the time in the Lake District. The werewolf had a long memory and now it was coming to finish the job. I quickened my pace and tried not to thing about this childish fancy, but swoosh, swoosh, swoosh - the beast was catching up with me! This was ridiculous, I thought - but my pumping heart said otherwise. I stopped, my blood running cold. The noise stopped too.

I cautiously took another step. Swoosh.

Then another. Swoosh.

Then I looked down at my new corduroy trousers. And took another step. Swoosh. And one more. Swoosh. It swoosh was swoosh the swoosh bloody swoosh trousers! Swoosh!

It was the bloody swooshing trousers all along!

I've never worn corduroy since.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Aw!


There. Now I've got you all onside, I can begin...

Wales.

Land of... My memories mostly involve an aquaduct, cold, a peacock, a terrifying game of truth or dare, and the far-too-late-in-coming realisation that Doctor Who conventions are truly dull. Of course, it's best not to realise this when you're stuck at one in Swansea. I mean, what are you going to do instead!?

Look at me, here two minutes and I've already alienated literally ones of Lee's readers.

When Lee asked me if I wanted this gig while he was away, I could swear he said he was going to spend a fortnight in Wales. None of this "off on holiday" business. In fact, I've just checked my emails. He definitely said Wales. Now, that can't be a holiday.

Well, whatever, I'm sure he'll return in two weeks, replete with straw donkey, a bottle of ouzo and seventeen shades of lovebite.

Off he's gone, and you're left with me and the kitten. Not that this is my kitten, but a bit of creative internettery borrowing never killed anyone. I'm sure you'll be coming face to face with my hairy, ginger pussy before my time here is up. But it's not all cheap filth here while Lee's away, oh no.

Warm up your pens and papers for Friday, let me warn you now. We'll be engaging in a group activity. Oh, yes. I didn't give up on a teacher training degree for nothing! (You may even wish to use coloured pencils.) And, next week, we'll be conducting some experiments that will conclusively settle the eternal cats-v-dogs argument. You will need: a cat, a dog, a camera and a wide-angle lens.

Oh, hang on. There we have it, then. I've just had textual intercourse with Lee, and it is confimed: Wales it is. So, stalkery guy on the comments board (What is that? Like, the 15th stalker Lee's had?), off you go! And if you want to try stalking me, don't bother - I'M ALREADY BEHIND YOU!

Oh, I slay me. I really do.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

...But The Moment Has Been Prepared For

I'm taking a break.

Yeah, I know. We win an award and then we fuck off on holiday with the winnings to spend it all on cheap vodka and even cheaper go-go dancers. But those little latino boys need to get their income somehow, and lets face it, we are a charitable organisation. God knows that's true - you should have seen some of the people we've 'escorted home' at 2am some nights. I didn't get the name of this one, but I swear his day job was curdling milk.

Actually its not like that. You know I mentioned I've been working 15 hours a day? Well, what's the worst thing you could get in the other nine hours? That's right! Insomnia! So I'm taking a couple of weeks off to go and relax. See sunshine again. Finally put all my doilies into order and watch 'Now Voyager'.

We're leaving you with £20 for the milkman, and a rather wonderful guest. Apparently the first thing they're going to do is show you their pussy, so make sure you pop by tomorrow to compare and contrast to a bear-trapper's hat. Be nice to them. And I'll see you all in a fortnight.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Glitter For Brains at the Movies: Brokeback Mountain!

We go so you don't have to!

Surprisingly, we actually liked it! But clearly not as much as going up to the kiosk and asking for 'Bareback Mountain'. Damn functionary didn't even bat an eyelid as she handed over the tickets. Boo!

Anyway. On with the show! We present:


BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN: THE ABRIDGED SCRIPT
Warning: Contains Spoilers!



HEATH LEDGER arrives into TOWN. He has a STOIC EXPRESSION on his face.

JAKE GYLLENHAAL:
Yee-haw, parnder. You looking for work on yonder Brokeback Mountain?

HEATH LEDGER (stoically glancing under the brim of his hat):
Mumble mumble mumble.

THE AUDIENCE:
What? Can you hear a word he's saying? And what the hell is Jake doing Yosemite Sam?

ANG LEE:
You will not need to hear a word they are saying. My story - it is told purely by glancings. Here a glance to see love blooming like the flower. There a glance to show dreams cruelly crushed. Ha! Glancing!

So HEATH and JAKE GLANCE at each other for a WHOLE HALF HOUR.

JAKE GYLLENHAAL:
Yee-haw.

HEATH LEDGER:
Mumble.

They LEAP on each other and have FILTHY BUM SEX.

THE AUDIENCE:
Did he just use spit as a lubricant?

THE GIRLS IN THE AUDIENCE:
Oh god! How romantic!

THE GAYS IN THE AUDIENCE:
Oh god! How painful!

Meanwhile the GAY SEX continues into the NIGHT.

HEATH LEDGER:
Mumble mumble mumble shunt.


EXT: BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN. THE NEXT MORNING.

HEATH WAKES UP with a STOIC EXPRESSION on his face. He leaves the TENT and saddles up his HORSE.

JAKE GYLLENHAAL:
Uh, ah. Well. See you for supper?

HEATH LEDGER:
Mumble mumble mumble.

JAKE GYLLENHAAL (wincing):
Yeah, I sure is glad it's you on yonder horse and not me, pardner.

They GLANCE at each other. DAYS PASS.

JAKE GYLLENHAAL:
Well. See ya.

HEATH LEDGER:
Mumble.


EXT: BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN. DAY. MONTHS LATER.

RANDY QUAID:
You boys - I've been watching you and your homo-ee-rotic wrestlings and I've decided you're fired from looking after my sheep. For Gentlemen Who Can't Catch are not to be trusted, thus reinforcing Health's self-loathing for poking you up the Chocolate WhizzWay.

JAKE GYLLENHAAL:
Goshdarnit. Well Heath, what about you and I go get ourselves a little ranch somewhere?

HEATH LEDGER:
MUMBLE MUMBLE MUMBLE!

HEATH hits JAKE.

THE AUDIENCE:
Hmm. Well. We're not really comfortable with all this sudden turn into domestic violence.

ANG LEE:
Ho. Is merely a glancing blow! Ha! Ha! I kill myself. Really.

Time passes.
HEATH LEDGER gets married to MICHELLE WILLIAMS. He doesn't GLANCE at her much.

MICHELLE WILLIAMS:
Come on Heath, lets move into town. There's a lovely place above the laundrette. We could raise the kids all nice like away from this deliberately depressing-looking house.

HEATH LEDGER:
Mumble mumble.

MICHELLE WILLIAMS:
Oh yes. I'm sure we can find somewhere to store all your lovely baking equipment.

HEATH LEDGER:
Mumble.

MICHELLE WILLIAMS:
Yes and the 12-inch remixes of Frankie Goes to Hollywood. And no I don't think it's strange at all.

There's a KNOCK at the DOOR.

JAKE GYLLENHAAL:
Yee-haw li'ddle dawgie! Its been a few years, damn sure. We shall mark this passage of time by the length of our sideburns. Now lets kiss in plain view of your wife!

HEATH LEDGER:
Mumble slurp gargle.

JAKE GYLLENHAAL:
Now if you'll excuse us, Miss Michelle, we're off to do some fishing. In, uh, a motel room I booked.

MICHELLE WILLIAMS:
You can't fish in a motel room, you silly!

JAKE GYLLENHAAL:
No. But one of us can 'drop anchor in Poo Bay', if you get what I'm saying missy! Now you do some crying and stuff - you might get a Supporting Actress Oscar out of it.

MICHELLE WILLIAMS bursts into tears on cue to camera.

INT: HOTEL ROOM. NIGHT.

JAKE GYLLENHAAL:
Move in with me.

HEATH LEDGER:
Mumble mumble.

JAKE GYLLENHAAL:
I know you're a summer and I'm a winter, but surely we could find a colour scheme to get along with!

They GLANCE at each other for a VERY VERY LONG TIME.


INT: HOSPITAL. DAY. MANY MONTHS LATER.

JAKE GYLLENHAAL:
Will you check my sideburns to see how long has passed?

ANNE HATHAWAY: (gets ruler)
I'd say about... ooh... two years...

JAKE GYLLENHAAL:
Ah good. We're married and have a son then.

The Nurse brings a baby in and places it in ANNE HATHAWAY's arms. Right on cue, GRAHAM BECKELL turns up.

GRAHAM BECKELL:
Is that my grandson? Aww, look. He's the spit of me. Go get something out my car, Jake.

GRAHAM BECKELL throws his car keys at JAKE. Hilariously, JAKE doesn't CATCH them. This shows that under all this, he is a SCREAMING HOMOSEXUAL.


EXT: BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN. DAY. YEARS HAVE PASSED.

JAKE GYLLENHAAL:
You're never going to move in with me, are you?

HEATH LEDGER:
Mumble mumble mumble.

JAKE GYLLENHAAL:
I am not going to change the bathroom suite. It was a gift from my mother. I don't care if it clashes with your antimacassas.

HEATH LEDGER:
Mumble.

JAKE GYLLENHAAL:
Oh I can't take it anymore! I'm bailing from this film in case it becomes a stigma on my IMDB write-up. I'm off to do something desperately matcho, like a war-film... yeah! A testosterone-fueled Eye-rack-ay war film! Yee-haw!

HEATH LEDGER:
Mumble.

JAKE GYLLENHAAL:
Oh it's alright for you. You're playing Casanova next. I mean, come on - the ultimate seducer of women? Gimme a break. I'm outta here!

HEATH LEDGER:
Mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble.

JAKE GYLLENHAAL:
Look. Check the length of my mustache. This means it's the 1980s. All gay films of the 1980s mean that the gays have to end up miserable. So bye!

JAKE GYLENHAAL walks offscreen and DIES.

HEATH looks STOICALLY around. An EXPRESSION ALMOST crosses his FACE.

INT: JAKE'S PARENT'S HOUSE. DAY. DAYS LATER.

ROBERTA MAXWELL:
Our son would often talk about you. Would you like to see his room? We haven't changed it since he was a boy.

HEATH LEDGER:
Mumble.

ROBERTA MAXWELL:
His room is first on the left.

HEATH climbs the stairs with a STOIC EXPRESSION on his face. He ENTERS the ROOM. Is it WHITE and FEATURELESS.

ROBERTA MAXWELL: (O/S)
...I mean second on the left.

HEATH opens the OTHER DOOR and almost hits his head on the MIRRORBALL. He takes in the CHER POSTERS and the collection of BARBIES. He accidentally steps BACKWARDS and nudges the RECORD PLAYER so it skips off THE MAMAS AND THE PAPAS and onto THE CARPENTERS.

HEATH STOICALLY looks around. He finds the JACKET JAKE was wearing when he PUNCHED HIM. It's still got BLOOD on it. He takes it DOWNSTAIRS.

ROBERTA MAXWELL:
You want that?

HEATH LEDGER:
Mumble mumble.

ROBERTA MAXWELL:
Are you sure? It's absolutely covered in Jake Gylenhaal's blood and sweat!

HEATH LEDGER:
Mumble.

ROBERTA MAXWELL:
Sure. Take it. But just tell me what eBay is..?

THE END.


(For Ron Hilton)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Dander Is Up

I am enraged. En. Raged.

And it takes a lot to enrage me. A poor haircut, or maybe even the cable shorting out when I'm watching Totally Spies.

But when a TV 'fashion designer' hoiks up her bovine thighs to stand on a soap box and proclaim that she doesn't want us Gentlemen Who Ordered Suddenly Susan On DVD to run the country, my long-standing dander is fully up.

This Lowri Turner, a pan-faced fabric frightener, states that we'd be rubbish at governing as most of our worries are about whether to chose a black sofa or a cream one. Good lord, woman! That's like saying all straight people care about is where the next baby is coming from!

'My gay friends have not sat in accident and emergency with a small child. They have not had to make the decision over whether to give them MMR. They have not struggled to get their child statemented or gone through the schools' appeals process. Without these experiences at the sharp end of our public services, they do not know how they function.'

And I bet, dear Lowri, you haven't been in a HIV clinic, fretting as you wait for the results. I bet you've never been classed as a second-class citizen by your pension and mortgage company.

And I can tell from this distance you're a complete stranger to salad. And do something about your pores, dear. You can serve dip out of them.

Ah, but before we can accuse her of prejudice, she tacks on this immortal caveat: "Oh, some of my best friends are gay." Oh that old cure-all. You can picture her saying it a dismissive flap of her cloven hoof as we all look at her incredulously. Well, not any more they're not, love. We're all on a mission to make sure you can't get a decent haircut this side of 2050.

She's clearly mad anyway. We have it on record that she thinks former Doctor Who Jon Pertwee is sexy. Yes, the third one. The one who looks like Molly Sugden:

Molly and Jon

This mad, mad argument comes thanks to those two Lib Dem politicians coming out last week. Well, my dear Lowri, if they're coming out so late in their career, don't you think it already proves that we do run the country. You just don't know it yet.

(pauses for breath)

Anyway. If it was all about scatter cushions, we'd still do a better job than the Straights. Witness this and see whether your eyes can stay in your head for longer than twenty seconds before the jelly starts running down your cheeks.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A Slurred Return

Hey-la, hey-la my boyfriend's back.

I'm all overcome.

Which is a devil when it hits the headboard, isn't it. Thank heaven it's not velour. For one, the texture is such that it looks like you'd gelled a stoat, and for two, I'd have to leave Club Gay for having a velour headboard.

And we do love Club Gay. You get an annual complimentary coach trip to look at the Queen's old frocks at Kensington Palace every year, just so you can wander around saying 'Ooh, she does love her high bust-line, doesn't she?'

Anyway. Boyfriend. His hours are all to cock at the moment after coming back from Australia, and understandably he was in bed by 7pm on Saturday night, leaving me to watch Stargate SG-1.

Good god. What utter nonsense. Are you telling me there's ten years of this rot?

This close to turning it off, then Ben Browder appeared in his undercrackers and I was forced to watch the end. AND the following episode of Atlantis in case it was cross over episode and they'd decided to spin out that storyline for a whole other hour.