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

Friday, October 31, 2003

Fresh Meat

There’s a new guy in the office.

And while this isn’t a unusual occurrence in this fabulous media world in which I inhabit, this new accounting addition is a little different. When new boys start, there’s normally a scrabbling over the desks to see the new recruit by myself and the book girls, a polite bit of interest of “Hmm, nice smile,” before we all head back into the deeper reaches of Heat magazine. This new guy - it has been a world of difference. No comments. No appreciative wolf-whistles. And I have discovered why: this time we really all do fancy him.

It’s akin to poker. No-one wants to tip their hand, coquettishly hiding behind lever-files like they are regency fans. Over the last week, necklines have slowly been descending to nigh-on navel, and there’s enough lip-gloss going around to reconstitute back into a whale. We may have to put a tarpaulin down over the side of the office where the girls are as there’s a puddle heading towards accounts. After one of our bubbly book dept blondes kneeled by his desk, flicking her hair as she flustered over an accounting problem she knew bloody well how to solve, I’ve decided to move from the defensive to the offensive. He will be mine. I’m already making his voodoo doll dance to ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’ underneath the desk.

I idly wonder if you can get rohypnol on eBay?

Thursday, October 30, 2003

A Fond Farewell

I miss my old housemate Kimberly Lesbian. She was the nicest and brave of all lesbisexuals, and as her old room slowly fills with the stuff of the new guy, I’m forcibly dealing with the absence of her and her lovely gal.

Yet she may not be a proper lesbisexual after all, and all this was a ruse to get out of our wood-floored Peckham palace. When she went, she left her checked shirt, her cats and her tool box. Are these not the lesbisexial symbols of power? The licky-lady equivalent of the crown, the sceptre and the orb?

The other day, I gathered them together in the lounge as an experiment. I can report that while I didn’t have an urge to do some plumbing, I did suddenly recall how to wire a plug. And I’m sure that I had tuna casserole in the fridge for tea was not a coincidence.

Fetch Doctor Scholl

Your ruler is feeling very old at the moment.

I’m certainly too old for getting that special kind of drunk as per last night and the night before, the type where you don’t realise you have ripped off half your thumbnail opening the door of the last train home. I only noted it when I smeared blood over Jane Asher’s face while flicking over my Housewives Choice – something I gather we gays can go to hell for. And I’m certainly getting too old for getting out of bed while hungover: this morning was like trying to scrape a barnacle off Elizabeth Taylor’s aging elephantine hide. How does the Amazing Liza manage it? According to the fantastic divorce papers, she was apparently chugging down a bottle of Dame Vera Smirnoff in under two minutes, as well as (further on) being able to shoot lightning from her fingers and has already assembled this fully operational battlestation around the moon of Endor.

The reason for my Liza-like pickling #1 was dear Gertie finally washed herself up on these shores again after weeks of being down under. As we hadn’t seen each other in over a month and immediately set about putting the world to rights while simultaneously draining the bar. In my head, at the time, I recall an evening of bonne mots and armchair philosophy that, in retrospect was probably arm waving and shouting, leaving a well-reasoned argument on the current state of public transport degenerating into me shouting “raise taxes!” and James repeatedly retorting “I’m a non-smoker cyclist in Birmingham!”

This is now favourite rejoin. Ian Duncan-Smith could have saved his career with this outburst. With this one line, Liza can squish the thin-faced machinations of her plastic hubby and we can all go home happy.

Anyway. Liza pickling #2 came last night when I was invited for a swift beverage with a young friend of my sister’s who just happened to be up in London. As per always in these situations where semi-strangers from afar drop by, his opening gambit was “You know, I think I’m gay...” thus dissolving the night into me leading this poor thing through the usual list of philosophical questions on whether he had Nice Nails or not. It also has to be done drunk to get the true answers, hence why I can’t see properly today.

It’s rather sweet that people do think of me as an authority on all things mary, but I’m not. I just muddle along myself. It would be a lot easier if you could take them to one side to show them ‘Oklahoma!’ then ask: ‘Did you sing along?’
‘Then you’re one of us. Welcome to the club, here’s your complimentary hair wax and Kylie album’.

This too made me feel very old, wistful for the days when I lumbered through questioning my own sexuality, and thinking he’s got his whole life ahead of him to pole-dance in a go-go bar and try his first drunken fumble at G-A-Y. He was also being far too forthcoming with details of his inside leg measurements and six-pack he’d got from kickboxing.

You know, in hindsight, I think I was being hit on.

Final confirmation of my age came as I lumbered in this morning, head like a balloon from two nights imbibing. My mother said you know when you are old: all the policemen look adolescent. As I shambled up Charing Cross Road, I happened across a copper who looked like he was dressing up for a school play. He was ten if he was a day.

Nice face, though. A couple more years on the force, and he can certainly ask me whether I’ll come quietly.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Wanna Know What I Was Up To This Weekend?

Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?

I've never known my dear wife to play a part so well.

The Wallpaper Started Peeling

I’m sure you’re aware that smells are the most evocative of the senses. My sense of smell isn’t great, which may lead to an answer why my memory is like an elderly German goldfish presented before a court for Nazi war crimes.

This is connected: my eyes are streaming, and every time I look up through the fog before my desk, the clouds part to reveal a tatty pub with leopard-skin seats and a sticky carpet. I’ve tracked the reason down to 7.32 this morning. While leaving the wife’s house at that ungodly time, I grabbed a miscellaneous bottle from the shelf and sprayed a little on my collar. From the effects, you’d think it was mace - I’ve finally traced it back to a frosted glass bottle of ‘ck one’, which I thought they stopped making about the time of Brut. If I hold my hands close to my nose, I’m instantly conveyed back to any gay bar in 1994 where a glut of wendy men (who are never seduced by advertising – no, mary, never) are all wearing this eye-watering fragrance. All of them. It was so prevalent it should have been called ‘cliché one’.

These were the times when you could open a door to a bar and a James Carpenter-style fog of this stuff would roll out onto the streets – it was like mustard gas, taking no prisoners as it stripped the lungs in seconds. Nobody could smoke in the mid-nineties lest the whole place goes up. There was a time from late-1994 to mid-1996 where I couldn’t see anything clearly at all while out on the pull.* Finally, it was banned under some universal gay treaty, and we could all literally breathe easily again.

I’m sniffing my hands once more. But only because Whigfield’s Saturday Night has just come on the jukebox in the pub in my head.

* That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

"Self-Loading Cargo"

I'm not the greatest fan of public transport (if the good Lord had wanted us to travel like this, he would never have given us commoners and sedan chairs). But when it comes to commuter rants, no-one has cornered the last seat in the crowded train like dear Vee, whom maintains a blog so bilious to Connex and its various denizens that it should be prefixed with a pH warning. Vee has, in the past, detailed with great care the under-evolved flotsam and jetsam that cause her mornings to go as smoothly as sand in the Vaseline.

So you can imagine I was less than delighted to get a Vee 'Full House' this morning on my slow-moving cattle wagon. Included in these archetypes were:

* The fat woman who tries to slide into a seat next to you with a joyless 'harumph', preceding to eat the contents of her lunchbox with such pig-hungry arm-waving fervour that you assume she?s conducting a one-woman pie orchestra. She was responsible for three jabs in the ribs and all the low-flying pastry I could eat.

* The French woman opposite, who had just been given a mobile phone over the weekend, yet had decided to wait until rush hour to try out all the new and exciting ringtones her new toy offered. After settling on a highland jig, she advanced on to calling all her friends to call her back so loudly, it was if she wasn't speaking into a high-tech piece of equipment, but a tin can and string.

* The tourist in front of me with the rucksack so large you could store estate agent Stephanie Slater in it. Of course he got excited with every passing tree or station, twatting me about the ear as he span to look out of the window.

* The one beautiful boy on the train sitting opposite me. Not a bad thing, ostensibly, but I accidentally caught his eye while staring straight ahead after the post-Frenchie fume, and he tutted and flicked his head with such disgust I immediately wished all his hair to fall out.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Gay Card

I'm sorry, but I use mine so often I should be able to collect points.

A Series of Terrible Coincidences

At around 6.30 last night, I bumped into one of my ex’s. This is a frequent occurrence as I do have quite a few - they call me the Black Widow of Birmingham down in darkest East London for one reason or another – but it was notable for one or two reasons. Not because of the universal constant of you only bump into your ex when your hair’s gone flat (I was most pleased to see he was loosing his. Ten points to Gryffindor) but because I happened to be carrying £65 of pornography and two wigs.

I would have loved to have stopped to explain, but I had to rush home for I have a delightful new hobby, eBay, where I’m currently hoovering up z-list celebs autographs for pittance. I already got Kate Mulgrew in the bag, and while it doesn’t say ‘To Lee, “Take This Cheese To Sickbay!”, love’ above the heavenly words ‘Kate Mulgrew’, it will do once I’ve got a black marker and mastered her scrawl. She was very cheap - £12 for a picture that’s been under her divine buffalo-hide hand. I tell you, you can get Trek merchandise for a trifling amount at the moment due to no-one giving two hoots about the new series. I actually found Nichelle Nicols herself for about $35 plus delivery.

As for the signatures, I searched the goddess Angela Lansbury out for the darling Zbornak, and was delighted to see that you can indeed buy her image avec moniker. Like the gorgeous Z, I’ve had a long fixation with the foul-mouthed trucker Angie since they started showing Murder, She Did on a Sunday nights before Surprise, Surprise, both becoming essential viewing fast. And my mother said that she never guessed.

Oddly, Wig One looks a little like Angela’s do in Death on the Nile. Perhaps I should have given Wig Two to the balding ex in retrospect. It would have been the charitable thing to do as the nights draw in. I quite like the idea of him flouncing about in a Smiffy’s™ Cher wig, and when you think about it, Cher was in Stuck on You with Jack Nicholson in 2003, and Jack Nicholson starred in About Schmidt alongside non other than Angela Lansbury. More perturbing, one of the grubby movies I’d purchased without looking at the actual title was called ‘Bignobs and Broomsticks’ and included a leaflet for another mucky film called ‘Stuck on You’. Freakish. I haven’t had a chance to check to see whether Angela appears on the soundtrack, or whether ‘Arnold raced through the door’ appears in the liner notes. For those of you who can’t recall, ‘Arnold raced through the door’ is the only thing you can see on Jessica Fletcher’s typewriter as she bangs away at her magnum opus in the title sequence, you know. I recall that quite clearly. In a final, more worrying link, it was going to be the first line of My Evil Best Friend Declan and my porn book we were going to write, filled out to a full ‘Arnold raced through the door as Jeremy screamed as he took it up to the hairy root’. We collared Rebecca Lavine, queen of the Virgin Mucky Book empire at a party once and told her of our plan. She looked non-plussed and said it would never get through.

Apparently everyone has a book in them. I'm sure you're not surprised that mine’s filthy.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

The Ruler Of The Universe

For those of you who know me, you will be aware that I’ve been the Ruler of the Known Universe for a good couple of years, although I’ve never really elaborated on it much. For the first time, I opened my doors to a nice journalist so he can peer into my inner sanctum. Here’s what he wrote...

'For those of you who didn’t know, the universe has an owner; a startling fact that came to light recently in documents unearthed in Westminster’s Planning Proposal department dating back a couple of billion years. These records show a proposed extension to the planet Earth called ‘the Moon’ (for the noted use as ‘granny flat’) and were signed by a Lee Binding. With much trepidation, we sent our gallant reporter to investigate this mysterious being at his enormous mansion…

Q. (shouting) Hello there!
A. Eh? What? Who’s that? Come close – I’ve forgot my glasses and dislike you attitude.

Q. (shouting) Ah. Right. Um, your throne is somewhat high. Surely it would be easier for you to come down than me to come up.
A. Sauce. But if you wish for further examination - sigh - I can come down off my throne for a while. Just make sure there's a voddie and orange waiting for me when I get down there.

(slow ‘oof!’s as someone slowly descends down stairs)

Ah, hello. You look like a right one. Are you here to peel things for me?

Q. Eh? No, I’m here to ask you a couple of questions.
A. Oh. Don’t you have to seek my audience?

Q. I think I found them on the way in.

(Interviewer moves curtain. Three hundred primed people burst into spontaneous applause. Closes curtain)

Q. They’re very quick.
A. Aren’t they, though? They help me when I’m making decisions.

Q. You don’t say.
A. I do. And I’m Ruler of The Universe, so my word is law.

Q. Well, that’s why I’m here. I’ve come to interview you for the local parish internet site. Are you willing?
A. And you can stop that as well. Honestly, the youth of today, with their ‘I’ve come for you’ and ‘you’ve been rubbing off on me again’. It’s enough for a man to go blind, you know.

Q. Ah. Sorry. I’ll be more careful in future.
A. Don’t you bloody dare. Now, this interview. What do you want to know?

Q. (shuffles notes) Ah, um. Right. Let’s start at the beginning – we in the office have only just discovered that the universe had a ruler. How did that come about?
A. Must we? (sighs) Oh, alright.
My exalted self started when I proclaimed myself ruler of the universe. I was fairly easy to get a celestial army to back me up, enough firepower to flatten the galaxy. It was also handy that I'd got the correct forms from the Post Office.

Q. Er, right. So in what ways do you use your powers? Do you feel you are a benevolent ruler?
A. Benevolent? Certainly not! If you’re a tourist, a peasant or a pain in the bum in any wrong way, you will probably get to feel my wrath.
The wrath is housed at the Lee Binding Palatial Mansions as a charming centrepiece to his ruler’s greatness. Tickets are £57 per person.

Q. So, with the whole universe at your disposal, you -
A. Ah. I’m only in charge of the Known Universe, you know – the bits we’ve mapped so far. There’s a huge part of the Unknown Universe that I have no power over. There’s some other guy in charge of that – we pass in the canteen every now and again. He seems nice.

Q. So it’s the same with any number –
A. I think we’ve all got your number, ducky.

Q. Ahem. Yes, well. So how would you describe yourself?
A. Erm, six foot. I think. That's what it says on my box, anyway. That and 'choking hazard' for some reason I’ve never been able to divine.

Q. So, do you run the universe on a day-to-day basis?
A. Oh, no no no no! There’d be no time to the fun stuff if I did! No, I have a team under me; I also have a couple of people who work for me. Did you see what I did there?

Q. Unfortunately, yes.
A. Well, I leave much of the day-to-day running of the universe in the hands of Stacy. And what big hands she has. Big everything, in fact. She likes her pies. She deals with most of the admin, but every now and again, some lower being makes a play for my throne. I then send her to go and sit on them until they beg for mercy. I trust that your interest in my position is purely journalistic and little more? Only if it is to become somewhat more… practical I shall have to have a word with Stacy. And she's looking pretty overweight today, I must say.

Q. Who? Oh - Arg! My god, I thought that was a wardrobe with two spades leaning up it. I’d heard you controlled vast minions, but I didn’t realise it was just the one of them.
A. Oh, you’ve riled her now. Look at her quiver! (It’s akin to a lava lamp, to be fair) – I don’t think she liked you referring to her ‘vast minions’ as she’s very sensitive about those, and the fact that she has to use a J-cup bra. Well, I say J-cup – it’s more two buckets and a yard rope. Yes, you can always tell when she’s mad: her love eggs fall out. It was either that or two Yeti control spheres had appeared from nowhere.
Anyway, getting away from my assistant’s breasts – which, I concede, is quite difficult to do even in this space – your next question, please.

Q. Right. Um. So it’s a fairly cushy job, then?
I’d say, on the whole, no. I do try and mediate the various disputes across the universe, and the only day I get off is Wednesdays. I normally bring in a z-list celeb to man the phones for the day – oh, the hilarity that’s caused! Jane Asher was in once...

Q. And?
A. We had an entire galaxy created out of sponge. The jam crust just blackened every time it went too close to its star. Shocking. And the time we had Linda Barker... well!

Q. Could you just not employ more competent people?
A. Would you want me back in charge if I did?

Q. Good point. So what are you plans for the future?
A. Oh, all sorts. My immediate plans are to get you a drink, you young minx you, and show you my Eppings.

Q. Don’t you mean your etchings?
A. No, I own Epping. And have a spare. Would you like to see?

Q. Ah, um, I’ll pass. But what about long term goals?
A. You’re not that interesting.

Q. I meant as ruler of the universe...
A. Ah. I’m with you. I’m just going to carry on as I am, a mysterious being plotting my Machiavellian way through the space lanes, and making sure it all runs smoothly. There’s a whole universe out there that needs looking after – planets, people – my task is endless. Whole star systems... And I’ll be here, up the back, with my hand in it.'

Bump-And-Go Action

What an odd day. So far, I’ve bumped into Phil Jupitus in Borders which was frankly, not that difficult: we had to shout for him to breathe in when he entered as we suddenly found ourselves pinned against the Jackie Collins’s. And early this morn, I could have sworn I saw Will Young reluctantly hugging a tramp. There had been some discussion beforehand, an exchange of cash, a hug and resulting in the hobo yelling “I’ll never say anything bad against you again, gov’nor!” to Mz Young’s retreating tailcoats.

How odd. Well, they say that these things happen in threes, so just in case, I’ve got my gold pen and publicity still of Bonnie Langford at the tip-top of my clutchbag.

Monday, October 20, 2003

"You Bring Me That Black Bitch Up Here And I Will Show You How I'll Do Her!"

With the sun slipping southwards, I find myself with a malaise brought on by the chilly weather. Cheryl The Destroyer’s trial does help slightly. I’m hardly in any doubt that she did lamp Mrs Ambunkdo of 38 Acadia Avenue first as, frankly, those toilet attendants really are a menace to society. They perch in their spider’s web of Dior and Calvin Klien aftershaves, plotting the downfall of mankind and girl groups from their little tables. Do you know that the Obsession is actually mace? This is why you wake up three hours later in a cubicle, on hands and knees with your kidneys missing. But smelling fabulously.

This is why I always keep a green picnic cooler of kidneys at the coat check. Oh, they say I’m overly cautious. They also say I’m slightly selfish, and that the sixteen spare organs could go to some children’s hospital somewhere. I say I’m being vigilant – and I have the scars at the base of my back to prove it – and yellow is such a good colour on some people, anyway.

I do not know what’s in the soap, and nor do I want to. I recall one incident where the bothersome attendant was so insistent that I sample his lathery delights he actually chased me out of the door, his nozzle aimed with Navy-like precision at my fleeing palms. It does seem they are without power away from their lollypops as he stopped on the edge of the dancefloor, blinking in the light before returning to his table post-haste to continue peddling his squirts and sprays to strangers.

Speaking of which, it is a well-known fact you can graduate with your Gay Card only when you’ve had a fumbling in the Formica bingo-hall of G-A-Y, and there was one Gents gentleman who did help me out with a squirt and a spray on a stranger whilst in their loos, and so my hat is firmly off to him. “Remember to tip your host,” he rumbled as we left the cubicle, a little flushed. He even made sure we washed our hands with his soap that he... hey!

Anyway. This doesn’t help poor Cheryl who’s probably being fitted for her prison uniform as we speak (hopefully made of No Good Advice tin-foil). The only other toilet attendant she’ll likely to meet being the woman who comes around in the night to empty the buckets, thank you very much. But just imagine if you could get your hands on the raffia work she’s going to be doing in her social hours - to eBay with you, post haste! Meanwhile, the rest of the Girls will be around to promote their new single Jump, a slightly lacklustre cover of the Pointer Sister’s magnum opus. With my Fickle-o-meter wavering in some direction away from it, it seems I’m gradually losing interest in my jumpsuited Argos artisans. Yet there is one notable delight in the video, as pointed out by Weirdly Dark Housemate Ian: when they’ve all got their glasses up against the wall, purporting to listen to the inserted film footage of Hugh Grant in the next room, most of the girls are using it against their ear. One, whereas, is looking through it.

Oh dear.

Good luck, Cheryl. I already made my t-shirt with ‘Free The Croydon One’ on it.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Constitutional Errors

Early this morning, while I was climbing the ladder at the front of my house to the roof, for some reason I found myself humming ‘Do You Know The Way To San Jose?’. Both are admittedly unusual places to be - the front of my house taking precedence over San Jose this rosy October morn, as I haven’t had to go up there since the last time that Impossibly Beautiful Housemate Mark found and boarded up the hole between my room and his, and I’d had to resort to more external means to see him arise. San Jose is a perfectly acceptable place to be of a morning. Unless you went to sleep in such a place as Wigan the night before, of course.

Never let it be said hangovers and altitude mix. Although if you’re one of my more Argos-attending, tracksuited commoners who wandered too close to this site, you’re probably reading aloud anyway, stumbling over the big words and mary references and have already said ‘hangovers and altitude mix’. Indeed, twice now. But they don’t, and having to clear out the gutters at some ungodly time while still smelling of wine that, last night tasted of roses and love, and this morning tasted to Brut and philately is deeply unpleasant. But as I hummed Dionne to myself for no discernable reason, not looking down on the three stories Victorian terrace below me, I found greatly placated that you can put a hundred down and buy a car. And that pretty soon they’ll make you a star.

I’d like to be a star, but am hindered by the terrible enamel dental work that happened to me as a child and, while I tend to open my mouth wide when I laugh, I never do it all the way because you can see the words ‘Armatage Shanks’ on the last couple. Indeed, my fillings at the back are of such shoddy work that they tend to pick up radio signals on cold mornings when I’m above sea level. The first time it happened I having a brisk constitutional along Hamstead Heath in November and suddenly found Andy Bell of Erasure in my mouth – not a pleasant surprise, I can confirm. I also find it impossible to wear a contraceptive coil at the same time as I have the unlikely ability order a taxi just by bending over. But today was one of those cold mornings and I suddenly realised Dionne was coming from my back molars.

Have you ever listened to the words, by the way? Apparently she has lots of friends in San Jose.

Of course you do. They really are your friends, dear Dionne. This is why they’ve all moved to a place where you can’t find.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003


Currently clustering together with some warm Vimto and a notepad are the Anglican church, debating their future and the effect of enabling gay members to lead parishes. As expected, the more conservative members of the flock say this is wrong and against the scriptures, while the liberal side say what the heck, they’ve been doing it for years anyway and they may change the curtains in the vicarage at last as those ones at the moment are shocking and have you seen their wallpaper in the hall, or something of that ilk at least. Either way, this argument has been brewing for quite some time, and it threatens a schism of the like not seen since the Anglican church was born in the first place, as it’s quite clear that the policy of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell it from the mountains’ just isn’t working any more.

As I’m sure you expected, I’ve come across a couple of mary clergy upon my travels; it seems to attract the Men With Nice Nails almost as much as the vocations ‘personal shopper’ or ‘childrens TV presenter’. One I met was training to become part of the Vatican, a drastic life change that had already turned him celibate due to his ideals. When I asked why he was doing all this, leaving the country and all, he tapped my arm and said “It’s all about the frocks, love.”

Frankly, I think it’s all about belief anyway. If they can do the job well with enthusiasm and conviction, surely this makes anyone ideal for the position? Well, this is why the Men in Big Hats are banding together to argue about something that has been rife for years, and thus we reach a turning point in the history of the church. Will marys get accepted for the first time, or will the Anglican church get split into opposing factions? Whatever the outcome of this debate, it won’t give as much entertainment and pleasure as the headline it spawned when the subject was first broached a couple of years back:


Finally, technology has enabled for the recreation of a ‘virtual Sanatra’, a 30ft projected version of the singer to be used with a live orchestra to give the illusion of the singer performing live for you. I can honestly tell you I was far more excited due to me misreading it as a 30ft ‘virtual Sinita’ to perform.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Lost In Translation

I see dear old Nicole Kidman's won a court case for libel, dispelling the rumor that she and Jude were doing it behind Sadie's back. You can tell she's been spending too much time in America - to most Australians, 'libel' is something you get on the side of a bottle.

Tan Lines

I must say I’m looking pretty special today.

And not in a Sunshine bus way, either. The holiday has left me rested and bronzed (well, a beaten copper) and I think a tan really suits me; it gives a healthy look to my otherwise pallid, underside-of-a-fish complexion.

Yet I cannot understand how people take tanning too far. It isn’t like there’s a thin line between ‘healthy’ and ‘Judith Charmers’, is there? There must come a point when you can’t see your hand when picking up one of Ikea’s earthenware pots. That itself must ring some warning bells. Or perhaps it’s when you’re having your holiday photos printed and you discover that there’s an extra cost at Boots due to them having to put a fifth florescent colour on the snaps every time they print your face.

I bumped into Dale Winton once in Heaven in the ‘VIP’ lounge a few years back, when he was drinking in the fame of Supermarket Sweep (and several gins down too, by the look of him). Even in the shadow, he glowed with a strange, unearthly radiance. You have to worry about the nature of someone’s skin at this point; up close, dear Dale looked rather like a cheap seventies leatherette sofa. One winces at the idea of any sort of sexual encounter with the man - I fear it would be close to sitting barelegged on that sofa during the summer, and you’d have to peel yourself sharply off the daytime star with a wincing ‘shlik!’.

Excuse me. I now have to go and wash out my imagination.

Monday, October 13, 2003

What's That Against My Leg?

Hello. I’m back. I’m not even close to the colour of Judith Charmers, thankfully, and ready to take back my throne from Judith Hann for the former Tomorrow’s World star had gone quite dizzy with the power. She is forcing everyone to do live demonstrations with new inventions, making sure that the plug was out first, the minx.

While I organise a coup by the copier, I’ll give you a little tip-by-tip guide to all of you planning to go over to the sunny States in the near future. Aren’t I just lovely?

Tip #1: Try Something Different
Regular readers of this column will be aware that I enjoy having the willies put up me. Be it watching Aliens in the dark, or simply toying with a careless match - such as green gloves with a pink jacket – you can guarantee I’ll be beaming with delight with the terror. As I hadn’t done it before, I signed up to visit Universal Studio’s Halloween Nights with a jolly heart, where they turn off the lights, turn on the smoke machine and release all the grateful ‘resting’ actors in Florida dressed as zombies.

It is highly recommended although, in truth, it wasn’t that scary. The monsters can only jump out at you, loom behind you with malice and bang doors in your face. Frankly, that summed up my last relationship.

Tip #2: Take a Child Star with You
If you’re going away for more than a week, make sure you pack your own former star of The Boy From Space or Look and Read with you, as they will prove invaluable in the most unlikely of situations. We had managed to procure one of my freelance bosses, Gary Russell, a semi-lascivious luvvie who’d delighted in Dark Towers, Phoenix and the Carpet and a couple of other seminal classics when the BBC were still broadcasting out of Alexandra Palace. He now reigns on high as producer of the Doctor Who audios, resulting in us almost having a news story for the oroborus site Outpost Gallifrey when he ripped off his toe-nail at SeaWorld.

Frankly, you haven’t lived until you’ve heard a former star of The Famous Five scream ‘It’s gone right down me arse crack!’ behind you on a log-flume.

Tip #3: Check Out The Local Scene
One night, a select few of our merry band ventured out to the bright lights of the Men With Nice Nails and Ladies Wot Lick for Julia, the lesbisexual member of our too-merry band in the hope of getting her a little holiday romance. Well, it was high time – the oxymoronic quiet northern lass hadn’t worn anyone else’s ladybeard in nigh on two years, so we piled into the big gay Mystery Machine we’d hired for the duration and dropped into Orlando’s place to be. In reality, we had popped in to find the local equivalent of Boyz to get the lay of the land, but when the doorman said they had seven bars... well, it would have been rude not to stay.

Delight upon delight, they served Dame Vera Smirnoff with such abandon that measures came based purely on whether the barman liked your face. Mine was served in pint glasses – I kid you not – and I was quite giddy when I went for a walk around the complex, which turned out to be a hotel. Now, delight in this: marys get there early to said hotel, hire a room for the night. They then either a) go a-dancing inside to catch some local talent and then ask whether they wanted to go back to their hotel room, or b) stand with the door and curtains open to the room until you happen upon a likely lad who is similarly taken, and then at least the door is closed. I thought this was all marvellously efficient, being in awe at the gay man’s ability to turn anything to sex until I was approached by a rather leathery elderly gentleman who then asked me back to his room. I asked him whether it was pension day, but it turns out that the humour doesn't translate. Shame.

Tip #4: Sample the Local Cuisine
Despite a couple of good efforts in the club, I didn’t get to see whether everything was supersized in the US, but the food portions certainly are. Of the people in Orlando, 75% are obesely overweight, and had taken to using motorised wheelchairs to get from one ride to the next via the souvenir hot-dog stand. A further 20% are the last-ditch cripples who have been sponsored by the local paper to pop over to the Magic Kingdom before they turn completely yellow. 3% work for Disney, hanging around ride entrances like Amsterdam mucky houses; meaning that it was only really our party that were walking around any theme park at any one time.

But I digress. The food was fantastic, resulting in me going up a t-shirt size while I was over there (from too-tight-look-at-my-bitch-tits-I’m-James-Goss to medium) thanks mostly to a couple of sojourns to the International House of Pancakes. This fantastic chain is stuffed to the brim with a glut of cheerful Brendas, Barbaras and Brittneys; the latter causing much hilarity on our last visit as she was so Legally Blonde that she messed up the order and had to keep coming back with a new series of options and apologies. We thought it was hilarious to see the tiny hamster in her head whirring overtime, left a generous tip and kindly pointed out which one was her elbow and which was her arse.

She, of course, didn’t get it.