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

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Well Healed

We all have our Lourdes, a place where we go to be healed. And for me, it was the Girls Aloud gig this weekend gone.

One should not dismiss the healing power of Girls Aloud - it is said that one glance from Nadine can make the lame walk, and one look from Cheryl can make a toilet attendant run the four-minute mile. For us, fifteen minutes in and the Boy's contact lenses had stopped giving him gyp, and three boys in headscarves behind us were yelling their cancer had gone into remission during the interval. I just thought they were going for the whole Norma Desmond look.

We'd got there early and managed to see some of the band equipment being unloaded, included a couple of boxes labelled 'Nicola' - who, for the uninitiated, is the ginger one who we all think is a robot. She was probably in those boxes herself, having been taken apart at the end of each gig and transported from venue to venue, snap-fit together just before she's due on stage, like a russet Borg Queen. In fact this Nicola has been upgraded, and can do singing and dancing at the same time now. Oh there's still a hydraulic hiss whenever she kicks her leg up, and they still haven't fixed the eyes, but she's better than the model that was on the last tour. That one spazzed out whenever it got too near to the cameras and couldn't get over the door sills.

There was a horrid moment when she tried to 'Mariah Carey' some of the notes during 'Life Got Cold' and it went a bit wrong. The Boy leaned over and said 'Syntax error' and nodded sagely, causing me to spray 7-Up over the row in front. They didn't care; bar the gays, the place was filled with Women Of A Certain Age who perpetually look like they're on a hen night, and the two blond bits in the row in front of us were having a riot, dancing in that way women over thirty do: arms swinging low like session backing singers and doing a step-step-bob, step-step-bob. And when the Girls announced they were going to do a Dirty Dancing medley, there was screams of happiness from the row in front and, one suspects, a small amount of wee too.

Other band member Sarah looked marvellous (bar an unfortunate wig during three numbers that looked as convincing as any rug Brittney's been sporting lately) and ditto for Nadine and Cheryl. Kimberly, who incidentally is the one who always gets dropped for a magazine cover as often as Nicola when they only want three girls on, did not look her best. She's got a new hairstyle that, when brushed back as it was, made her look like Aughra from The Dark Crystal when she was underlit. When she waved at three kids near us, they burst into tears and asked who the monster was who'd eaten Kimberly.

The concert finished with a rousing chorus of 'Biology' and a promise that they'd be back next year, apparently scotching all the rumours of them splitting up in the autumn. It would be lovely, but this was a Greatest Hits tour, the girls looked a little tired and Nicola needs new treads. So we'll believe it when we see it. The Boy and I sloped off into the night, but not before nipping near the back of the venue and seeing whether Nicola was bluetooth compatible. We're not sure, but I think we got her to walk into a wall at one point...

Friday, May 25, 2007

...By Any Other Name

How often do we wander around, cursing our parents for not thinking fabulous enough?

I'm talking about your given name, this time around - and there's not one Gentleman That Can't Catch I know that didn't want to change their name when they were young. I even know some who have, and it got me to thinking the reason that we do kick against our name is that it's the first piece of identity we can claim as our own when we're young. And clearly if we're of a more 'glamorous' nature, we're going to be a little disappointed that mom and pop have called us 'Dave' when clearly we wanted to be named something that sounds like it could be in lights above 'Mariah Carey's Glitter'. I mean, your name tends to be the first thing you learn to write. Though I seem to recall this wasn't the case for me; my mother taught me to write 'Three more bottles of vodka please' at her behest so I could go down the corner shop for her. And when they asked why her handwriting was all to cock, I was to say 'Parkinsons'. And if someone mentioned 'social services' I was yell that a man had touched me and to run home as fast as I could. Which I still incorporate into my pulling technique to this very day.

The second thing I learned to write was 'Lee is excused from games because of an inner ear infection' so I didn't have to get dirty with the other boys - but ironically, this has changed since. And when I was asked why my mother's handwriting was like a madwoman's breakfast, I said that she's drinking three bottles of vodka a day and they would nod sagely and let me sit in the corner and play with the Lego. Ah, happy times.

So anyway. I was named after Lee Majors because dear ol' mom had a crush on the bionic hunk, the dirty mare. But from an early age I wanted to be called Robbie. Or failing that, prefix my name with 'Princess'. There were long discussions over the dinner table as to why this wasn't possible because I didn't have the necessary bits (a fairy castle, a pony and a vagina). I can't remember why on earth I wanted to be called Robbie - it's something else I can ask my hypnotherapist when I pop round. We're also regressing to find out whether I was really Dolly Parton's old tote bag too. Larks!

Thankfully I've settled into my name - in fact I'm glad of it. Mostly because I can spell it when I'm drunk, and that goes a long way with a police officer. And frankly, that's what life's about!

Have a good weekend, all!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

She's Got The Range, Darling

Every now and again, I do get the strangest and most wonderful things in my in-box. Well, naturally excluding the offers to father a child (lesbians - no!. Do I have to hit you on the nose with a rolled up newspaper?) But yesterday both surpassed and excelled itself: there, peeking over the offers to make money from a South African bankrolling operation, was Dame Shirley Bassey singing a cover of Pink's 'Get The Party Started'.

Dame Shirl is known in the business as a 'veteran performer' - meaning she's probably wearing a wig and is a right ol' bitch, darling. Hell, these days she's probably just dust held together with Rimmel and hate. I once got the mad opportunity to see her perform live once after I'd ligged into a corporate event - one of those where the company wants to show how lucrative it is by airlifting in a celeb for three songs at a cost of £750,000. She stormed on stage right, continued to the microphone, opened her mouth and then - without breaking her pace - carried on walking all the way off stage-left. Fortunately she'd left her microphone on, so we could all hear her yell "I can't get these fucking false eyelashes open, darling!" behind the curtain. You have to admire such professionalism; in fact I've just spent a good half-hour searching for the famous clip of her on YouTube where she's performing at some ITV thing and she is announced, the orchestra strikes up and she comes on stage... and freezes. The presenter has to go and grab her, but all the while she's looking in horror at the set (which contains a little pool and a bridge to the main stage) and repeatedly muttering into his lapel "You didn't tell tell me there was going to be water! You didn't tell tell me there was going to be water!"

All I shall say is we all know vampires can't cross running water.

Despite the fact that she can't get openings right, Dame Shirl does have a voice that can strip paint at 40 paces and her version of 'Get The Party Started' is a wonder to hear. It first appeared in an M&S advert last Christmas, clearly when some gay man exploded all over the pitch document. As a sidebar, I have to say I love this ad, but darling Erin O'Connor - the model who first appears and is as wooden as my gorgeous new Heals coffee table - used to go to my school two years below me. Now I can't legitimately claim that she's got my career, but all I shall say is that you can hide your roots, Erin, but we all know your terrible secret, dear. With your sister being ginger, we're all placing bets on your cuffs and collars matching. Oh yes.

(Lovely dye job, by the way.)

Anyway. The song. Brilliant for many ways: it sounds like its been grabbed and dipped in a Bond score before exploding in a pop-tacular way that all the kids will love. Things that are hilarious in it:

1) 'Cruising through the west side'. Dame Shirley doesn't cruise, she sashays. And the west side of where, exactly? I know the west side of Swansea can be a bit rough, but she's more than likely talking about that bit of Selfridges isn't she now? You know, where the sale rack is. Although, come to think of it, it's like the start of 'Saving Private Ryan' around there on pension day, so perhaps she has a point...

2) 'I can go for miles, if you know what I mean'. I hope I don't know what you mean, Dame Shirl. I don't want to imagine you in any particular sexual situation, so I'm choosing to imagine that you do indeed go for miles, but for a special offer on cat food like ordinary people of your advanced age.

1) And of course, Dame Shirley 'coming up'. Can you imagine her on ecstasy? Fucking hilarious! She'd probably cough discretely before demanding 15 bottles of mountain-snow water is airlifted in for her. And then throwing some wicked shapes.

For you mere morals, you can listen to it on Dame Shirley Bassey's MySpace page (words I never thought I'd ever write) and it's the second song down on her list. I must admit I did a special sex wee when I heard it the first time, so all you gays out there, do put a tarpaulin down before clicking - or at the very least, have a handy wet-wipe to hand. Just a friendly warning, darlings!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Blighty

Aaaaand now I'm back. From Outer Spain.

Hello everyone! Lovely to see you again. A huge thanks to Dicky for taking over while I was away; as he bends over to pick up his satchel, why don't we give him a warm hand on his exit? I seem to recall him being quite fond of that, all those years ago...

I suppose you want tales of which waiter I was giving the glad eye to, don't you? Well, none of that sort of thing went on; I was very careful to keep my hand on my ha'penny, thankyouverymuch. Though I did get more than a knowing wink from some dolly gentleman on the flight over; some space fairy in a polyester one-piece handing out coffees. I really must get that t-shirt made with 'I Don't Do Staff' on it, to ward them off. Or just a swatch of natural fibres to wave at them so they run away yelping, like chimps shown a naked flame.

Ahem. Anyway you can tell you're approaching middle age when you're willing to pay just that little bit extra for a flight that is at a reasonable hour. You get a much better functionary too. Now I'm grateful for the air industry - and indeed the hair industry - for being so kind to we Gentlemen Who Think That Mirrorballs Can Be A Viable Decorating Option. But it's true to say that the nicer ones do travel on the more expensive flights. While the night-shift tend to be the parrot-haired goblins with that special kind of moisturised sheen that only we gays can muster; they exude Nivea like trees seep sap.

The plane back was also hideous at ungodly o'clock in the morning, but for a different reason: in front of us were three screeching nail technicians from Essex who had that special kind of hair that you get on Spanish holidays caused by too much sunshine and too much chlorine. The final result was as if they'd gone past a straw donkey and thought 'Oh wow! Hairpiece!' Seriously, I was considering just grabbing a handful and pulling to see whether it was as brittle as Britney's sanity; it did look like it was going to fall to pieces any second.

But now back, and on to the routine. I've had to extend my gym workout by half an hour to get back in shape after living on ice-cream for a week. It's true what they say - a moment in the mouth, a month on the hips.

If only the same was true of Ryan Reynolds.

Monday, May 14, 2007

More Than I Needed To Know

This time last year I did some work for Panini. Having got bored with just selling Spiderman comics and football stickers, the company had bought a magazine aimed at teenage girls. Not unreasonably I expected to be greeted by a predominantly female staff. I was wrong, I was stuck in the basement with a bunch of lads, who as the weeks moved on, quite reasonably I suppose, started to show great interest in the World Cup. I thought I had the measure of them until I was introduced to their tradition of playing Scooch's cover of The Littlest Hobo. Quite charming. To begin with.

Tom has just arrived home. Any hope I had that Eurovision was drifting into the realms of a bad memory have been dashed. He's bought the DVD and CD single of Flying the Flag (For You). He's played the video, the karaoke version, and the behind the scenes Learn The Dance Routine track. Incidentally, the big gay choreographer who teaches you to be a plane, has massive sweat patches under his arms.

Tom has just been into his room to fetch the Scooch album. And he's singing along - "my heart went boom, and all of a sudden we were on the moon" - pausing every now and then to let me know what chart positions the various single achieved.

And at this point I don't need your sympathy, because I know that across Europe, everyone (excapt Malta and Ireland) has let it be known just what they think of Scooch's brand of sacharin pop nonsense. Apparently, we should be impressed that Scooch accepted their defeat with dignity. They're pleased they scored a 12 for Great Britain – even if they scored very little else – and they've got a top five single. Well, who gives a shit about the charts these days. Oh, right -Tom.

To be serious (not that I'm making this up you realise, it's all true) I think it's a shame that people use the argument that Eurovision is a bit of a joke, so it's only right that we should enter in that spirit. Sadly, in recent times the better British entries haven't been sung by British artists.

Scooch are British of course, right down to their salty nuts.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Doesn't It Just Wear You Out?

Yesterday a telegram arrived from Spain - do you still get telegrams? No? Well you get the idea - DickStop, it said, Getfinger outStop.

OK, so Lee is probably far too busy getting beautiful bronzed Spanish boys to massage sunblock into his pasty pelt, downing pitchers of sangria till his head fizzes, dancing the night away... that sort of thing. But I know that if he was here, he would have brought you an insightful reflection on Tony "equality for gay people!" Blair's ten years in power... or, at the very least, a rundown of the very best frocks off of the 52nd Eurovision Song Contest.

I did catch a bit of Blair's speech, but he's dragging this departure out so long I wouldn't be surprised if, come June 27, he's stood on the doorstep of no 10, saying, "Hang on a mo, I've just got to pop back for something." And Eurovision... well, I didn't watch it. I mean - why would I?

This kind of laziness is one of two very good reasons why I wouldn't blog on a full time basis. The other hinges on the fact that I'm a very confessional kind of person - which suits - but I fear that might open up my potential readership to a world of self pity. The horror!

But laziness, in some small measure, I'll put my hand up to with pride. This weekend I've been gloriously lazy, because that's what weekends are for. Although I was brought up short at one point. Tom, my statistically astute flatmate, had asked me to tape Like Totally Doctor Who while he was away in Bristol pretending to be a Dalek. It featured the editor of Doctor Who Adventures asking a bunch of kids to design a spread for his magazine in half an hour. "Are they trying to make my job look easy!" I railed. "I'd clear a good six hours for that kind of thing." Even Lee himself would insist on the best part of the morning and some complimentary sandwiches.

I've seen the future. And it's geeky Welsh children making me look lethargic, workshy and past my prime. Have pity on me.

Whoops. x

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Furious!

God bless the virtual nature of this blogging business. If we conducted these little monologues face-to-face you'd be peering at me closely; looking for the fear in my eyes. Recently, Lee has blogged about Arthur C Clarke's fondness for foreskins, how Disney had a thing for blonds, and rimming. I'm not sure why I agreed to step into his shoes for the week.

Nevertheless - here we all are.

I'm very mild in general and not well disposed to controversy. Immediately after work today, in fact when I should have been writing this, I went for a pint with a friend. I amused him with an intolerant rant which is apparently out of character. But not today. No: today I am channeling fury. The sort of fury that emerges from the wrong end of a bank holiday weekend when your boiler gives up the ghost leaving you with no hot water.

So who's been pissing me off today? Well, it goes without saying - Sir Patrick Moore. I'm surprised he has such a rich appreciation of the night sky with his head rammed so firmly up his ample behind. He thinks TV has gone downhill because it's run by women. Is it? Really? I think there should be one wavelength for women, he mumbles as his monocle glints maniacally, AND ONE WAVELENGTH FOR US!!! By 'us' I presume he means bigotted old farts. Does he realise how tedious he is on The Sky At Night? I mean - how to suck the joy and wonder out of space... get some silly old tosser in a pin stripe suit to gabble about it incoherently. I once saw him recording an episode of Room 101 (a BBC TV series where a celebrity nominates hated things - he chose women - to be locked away forever). During a break in recording he asked who was on next week and Paul Merton said Johnny Vegas. There was a murmur of diappointment from the audience. They would rather have seen Johnny Vegas. Think on that, Patrick Moore.

Next up - Pipex. Over the months and years I have been vaguely aware that I could get cheaper internet access, but I stuck with Pipex because They'd Never Given Me Any Trouble. I got home tonight to find a letter saying that I might be aware that they hadn't been billing me properly and that they were going to debit my account by £93-76 on - or around (I love the accuracy) - the 15th. I'm going to phone the fuckers tomorrow and tell them where to go.

Ah - better now.

I apologise for using this blog just to get things off my chest - but it's healthy. If you're inclined to leave a comment, why not tell everyone what pissed you off today? Go on - don't hold back.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Boots

For me, there's a magical time at 3am, when all the fairies and pixies come out and dance around your bedroom.

Or that's what it feels like. Recently I've been working a lot, like fourteen- fifteen-hours gay (I couldn't do straight if I tried. Seriously. If I even try to talk to a lady, my hands start flapping like a grounded sea lion and I can't help but ask who styles their hair. It's like I'm Pavlov's poodle or something. Anyway...) and it takes its toll. By the second week I was still wearing the same clothes as I believe them to 'be lucky' now and looked like the wild man of Borneo as my beard had grown to Blessed proportions. As I'm allergic to coffee I'm having to kickstart myself each day with some sugar-filled 'health-drink' called Purdeys and two weeks in you can't move for discarded bottles around me. To walk across the room causes an avalanche of empty bottles. It's like living with Liza Minnelli.

I'd ostracised the Boy too as he's a wonderful distraction, though he did offer simply to come over and make sure I was taking care of myself. He kept popping up on MSN and reminding me to eat, and insisting that I change my t-shirt, even offering to come over and do it for me. He has a chisel. And doesn't mind the stains of semen and taramasalata.

Three o'clock in the morning was when I really should have gone to bed, but was convinced I could push through and just design one more page. I'm sure you've all been in this position: the day's still in single figures, and some one's wanting you to do something for them that you really have no need or urge to. I've done it; if it gets me a bed for the night, I'll gladly roll over and let them get on with it as long as they don't wipe their member on my valance and make sure they tuck my nightie back down once they've done. This is a mad time when you still feel like you have to do the work, but you're physically incapable. And I wake up five hours later to find the I'd done the strangest things. Like download as many versions of 'These Boots Are Made For Walking' as I could.

Well I do like the Nancy version, but I don't like the best bit of the song happens at the end when yes, she does finally start walking, and the orchestra goes mad... and then it fades out. So I decided to find the definitive version - and this is what I found:

The writer of the song, Lee Hazelwood actually did a version. Now I like Lee Hazelwood. He's one of the only people who, when he sings, you can practically hear his moustache. His version of 'These Boots' is kinda like the DVD commentary, where he rumbles through the lyrics and points out where the engineer had to leave the room because he thought it was too arousing. Nancy Sinatra? Arousing? Did I miss a memo? Sure her hair was high, and her dresses had a nice empire line to them, but she had a face like a bag of spanners. Though I did love her attitude to mascara - more is MORE! I've seen some video footage where she has to flick her head back just to open her eyes rather like a toy doll.

The strangest version did belong to Bucks Fizz, Eurovision winners back in the day (in a formative way, I liked them because they did a little dance move where they tore off the girl's skirts. I liked it because it was camp, silly, and they were really nasty pleated things that did need to be removed anyway, so bonus). But then I found French/German industrial rock combo KMFDM's version. Which isn't half-bad, has grunge guitars and shouting, and contains a lot of 'oi!'-ing. How very Wonder Stuff. I find it's the perfect accompaniment to the stepper machine at the gym.

Whereas, Geri Halliwell's version is the perfect accompaniment to hoovering, or using any sort of loud power tool. It is the worse one I have, as Geri manages to to sound like she's raped every song she's attempting, probably with a barbed strap-on. You know the ones that, once they're in, don't come out without some serious anal tearing... that someone told me about, yes. Geri plays it 'angry', and meaning she just says every line, not singing it. Honestly, has this woman ever sung, or does she pretend to do scales by shouting at different volumes? Good ol' Geri 'sounds like a thousand crows in a furnace' Halliwell. I'm glad her last album flopped and the record execs are using the CDs as coasters around the building.

The best version I have so far comes from a complete surprise: Billie Ray Cyrus. You may remember him as a mullet shuffling around in cowboy boots, dancing like he'd shit himself. He sings it playfully, and says 'luuuuurve' instead of 'love' which is clearly endearing in a red-neck hick way, and he has a delightful way of tailing off when singing about his boots walking all over you. Like he's forgotten why he's wearing said boots, but then that's the boon of living in a state that has more pesticides in the air than nitrogen.

In total there are 34 versions, and I've only been able to find 14, so my collection is far from complete. If you have any versions you want to send over, drop 'em over to glitter4brains@googlemail.com and I'll be obscenely grateful. And means I can get over this weird fixation even quicker.

I finished the book I was designing, by the way. So no more 15 hour days. And so I'm going away for a week, taking a break. I'm going to Spain wearing a lot of wafty white linen and a sombrero. I aim to come back with a lot of wafty white linen, a sombrero, a few bottles of unpronounceable spirit that'll double as a tile cleaner, and a Spanish waiter who's just desperate for a Green Card.

I shall leave you in the capable hands of Dicky, my favourite ex boyfriend. Be nice to him and see you in a week.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

High Barnet

And while we're on the subject, you won't be surprised to know that we Gentlemen Who Enjoy Ironing take great care over our hair on our head either. And I've been blessed with a gorgeous hairdresser, the Teutonic beauty that is Iris. Well, that is until a few week's back.

"I'm leaving," she lent in and whispered, barely audible over the buzz of the clippers.

"What - now?" I asked, lowering my Woman's Realm, and wondering if she was going to leave one side of my hair that long in a Phil Oakey style. I may be able to pull it off if I use a little more mascara than normal.

"At the end of the month. Can I have your number to take you with me?"

Well! I felt so Secret Squirrel! I passed her my mobile number under the desk, as well as a Star Bar just in case she got captured going over the wall and bid her adieu, wandering out of that salon for the last time. I'll miss it so - although the fear of bumping into a couple of my ex's who use the place will no longer be. No bad thing - what is it about hairdresser mirrors and lighting that make you a) look 300 years older and b) have fabulous hair the moment before you sit down, despite having to peg it into place for the last week because it was as lifeless as Danni Minogue's career? Not a good thing to be doing when you bump into anyone who's shared your bed - or in most my cases - towel.

Oh Iris. My Germanic beauty. I love you because you don't talk to me about where I've been on holidays, what I did on the weekend, and whether the weather will hold til Friday. I would find you wherever you went.

And yet... Over the road from my house has opened a gay ol' hair salon with chandeliers and the type of flowers you'd get in Barbara Cartland's tool shed, and is run by some mincer who moves like he's being worked by a magnet underneath the floor. I feel one should support local businesses, especially ones of the Fabulous nature. And my hair was looking like a mad woman's breakfast - all over the place first thing in the morning. And I was going out that evening... So I went there. And I admit it was with a guilty heart. It felt like I was cheating. Like I was walking into some brothel instead of my lover's bedroom. Somewhere in London, my beautiful Iris would be looking at her dusty clippers and wondering where that silly gay was who used to come in with a little too much product on, so much so she didn't so much cut his hair as chisel it.

Thankfully, my new stylist has done a wonderful job. Although he asked me to hold my own ear down while he trimmed the thatch behind it which has never happened to me before. I was glad he was considerate enough not to spear my ear with his shears, but I wondered if this happened in other salons? Do they ask Beverly Knight to hold her own ear down as they trim her barnet? Or do they get one of those multitude of ephemeral hangers-on that exist in hairdressers merely to look bored, hang around the till, and flick through Harpers and Queens without looking at the pages to do it for her?

Oh, I'm sure we'll never know. But what do I care? I have fabulous hair, and that's all we need to know.