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

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Ho Ho Ho

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Almost forty years ago to the day, dear old Doctor Who turned to the camera and wished 'A very merry Christmas to all of you at home as well'.

Which was sweet, and also brilliant because Doctor Who fans have been trying to justify it for as many years before going mad and dissolving into a puddle very much like the Wicked Witch of the West. Arguments range from 'well, maybe someone was watching them in the Space/Time Visualiser' to 'Well clearly the mad, apparently-homophobic actor William Hartnell had just had a knock on the head with his very own Lucky Poofter Spade and couldn't tell which way was up'. Either way, the show was fined two-and-six and banned from appearing on Christmas day for almost four decades.

Myself, I'm still a bit 'meh' about the whole thing. If I were a publican, I'd be opening 'Bar Humbug' right about now. And all this after I've had about four separate Christmases this year..! You'd think I'd be drowning in Christmas spirit, but in all truth, I can't even get the lid off and there's no ice in the refrigerator.

One of them was a lovely pre-Christmas Christmas in the wilds of Devon a few days back. First holiday in ages, at the behest of my lovely chums Dan and Moray. I climbed a mountain one day. In a slight heel, too. Well, I'm told there are no mountains in Devon, but to me it was higher than Whitney on Grammy night, so I say it was a mountain. I felt like I climbed to the top of the world..! Only there were cows at the top.

"Well, that seals it, then," said The Boy. "Cows can't climb mountains."

"Perhaps they found the cable-car," I mumbled before turning up S Club 7.

To balance this raging act of heterosexual outward-bound, I made a cake too. Teach a man to fish, he'll eat for life. Leave a gay in a kitchen long enough, he'll come up with the baked goods.

And I'm still here in just my jeans, tapping away. on Christmas Eve, when nothing should be stirring, not even a mouse. Well, bar the swizzle-stick in my martini, but they never put anything in these rhymes about I still have presents to wrap. Hell, I still have presents to buy..!

Christmas. It's all about the apathy if you ask me.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Friends and Pens

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They say you should never work with children and animals. But that's only the top two of the list you know, and goes on to include 'old friends', 'any man who wears sandals' and 'Sean Young'. Because apparently she's a right old cow.

Though you know me, I'm always one to throw convention out of the window - I was the first person in my cul-de-sac to own a bolero jacket. So when my old dear friend The Very Paul Vyse, that well-known transport-based lothario, graciously offered to let me pop in and fill up the desks just before Christmas at his well-known magazine, what else could I do but accept.

Well, I say working, its more like guesting in his situation-com. 'The New Paul Vyse Show'. Everything is done with such theatrics around here, at the end of each day you do expect someone to hold up a caption of 'You Have Been Watching' while various office workers look to camera holding repro pages and scalpels with a look of mild British shock on their face.

And you have to have your wits about you. There I am, daydreaming about that new Densel Washington film - you know the one? 'Deja Vu'? I just keep thinking 'I'm sure I've seen that before...' when I'm asked to comment on disparate things like what the colour of soap operas should be, and what we think of the cutout on John Nettle's hair.

It's very demanding.

What with that and being half cut on booze for the most part.

I've also learned never to work in an office mostly populated by women. They lay siege to the thermostat. Somehow they've managed to crank it up from 32-degrees, past 'pot-roast' to 'broil' and I'm sitting here sweating like a worried prostitution punter in Ipswich. And still there are girls wandering around in scarves saying "Brr! Isn't it bitter..?" No! No it's not! It's hotter than the surface of the Sun, you bizarre horse. I physically can't pick anything up as my hands are so sweaty; I've been pawing at my cup of coffee for the last three hours. And heaven help me when I try and write something as the pen just shoots out of my hands! Do you know there's four embedded above me in the ceiling tiles. And its very difficult to concentrate with Papermate stalactites dangling so.

And as it turns out, working with your friends is a riot. We haven't been sober for any of it; it has taken me three days to do two pages because the vodka visor has been plastered to my face.

But I tell you something, you know that new Densel Washington film? 'Deja Vu'? I'm sure I've seen that before...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Time and Tide

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They say romance is dead.

I remember my dear friend Gertie being darlingly jubilant about a boy; he'd probably managed to pry the mobile number out of some prepubescent bar tender from Prague, and was in an uncommonly happy mood. "Oh he's just so dreamy..!" he sung, taking to swinging around a lamp-post in the manner of Gene Kelly. Unfortunately the lamp-post was coated in anti-climb paint and he ripped his hand open.

"London," he muttered some time later, his mood dulled, "is not a city for romantics."

I am, unfortunately, finding this to be the case in all matters these days. While The Boy and I are embarking on The Greatest Love Affair, I've discovered things have changed so much since I last had to do this; you no longer make mix-tapes for your beau - you let them at your iTunes for the afternoon with a datastick. Which is a lot more intrusive, as you have to spend a good fifteen minutes explaining why you have so many remixes of Bonnie Tyler songs.

Still. We're finding other 'culture-share' items to show each other. He's just discovering the joys of Alias ('Is it just about the wigs?' he said before I patted his hand in affirmation and topped up his creme de menthe). And he's given me his favourite book to read. Stephen King. 'Needful Things'. Now, I've never been a fan of the writer; for one, every author photo on the back flap makes him look like he's listlessly raping a monkey. But one must brave such things in the name of romance I hear, so a few nights ago I turned down my bed, smoothed down my nightie and cracked open the cover.

Now I gather its not a new observation to wonder whether King can write anything not set in some tiny town in the middle of nowhere - indeed, after his near fatal car crash some years ago, his first book afterwards was about a man involved in a car crash. So write about what you know; though why there hasn't been a book about raping monkeys is a mystery. And I am enjoying the colloquial town in Needful Things so far is all rather sunny, and seems to have a good schooling system. If the locals are a little obsessed with cheap glasswear.

And I can forgive that Needful Things is just a hilariously shallow spit at commercialism. No, my problem with Ol' King is that I think almost every one of his novels (and probably including some rather overwritten, doom-laden notes to the milkman for that matter) have been made into middling films or TV movies, so all these tiny towns in the top right hand corner of the States start to blur into one. As do the stories, so I'm left casting each of the characters in my head with c-list actors like Denise Crosby in a nasty peasant skirt and a dresser full of floral-print crockery.

Thankfully, he divides up the chapters into short sections, as if he can only write one A4 page of prose before going off and torturing ants with a magnifying glass, so it's a rather easy read. And The Boy says that it does get better towards the end. Personally, I can't wait to see what someone has to do for a decent pair of slightly heeled, shin-length calf-leather boots because I've been looking for a pair forever.

Ah. The things we do for love. It's just a shame you have to move with the times.

You see, I don't think romance is dead. I think its just got its Out of Office on.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Sex And The Lower Orders

I know you bally foreigners don't think we British have The Sex. I'm sure you think we just sit around holding pale, clammy hands, and only 'push the beds together' when our ardor is inflamed by a particularly good episode of The Antiques Roadshow.

Well, it's not true. Well, mostly. A lot of it happens because there's cock-all else to do in this weather. I myself found that I tended to be sleeping with people just to keep warm, though when I mentioned this to a colleague, he said that 'Britain must have been going through a mini Ice-Age then.' So I Took Against Him and wrote 'I have only one testicle' on all his Post-It notes in UV pen. I can't wait til he goes through Customs this weekend.

So we're not as outrageous about it like our European brethren, so what? The second-worst thing about it is there's often a little bit too much over-compensation in the media as a result. How else do you explain our Carry On films, or not being able to open a copy of Cosmo without an article on how lewd suburbia is, including interviews with 'Jean, 38' who's just discovered swinging and bondage ever since her kids left home. That as may be, 'Jean' but I bet you don't have anyone over without a good whirl around with the hoover, and changing the pot pourii to a more racy 'Jungle Spice'.

But by far the worst part of driving it underground and suppressing it is the problems that arise: we British are currently captivated by the latest serial killer who has bumped off five prostitutes so far. Of course he's known as 'The Ripper' - every serial killer we've had since Queen Victoria gracefully straddled Mr Brown's purple-headed custard-chucker has been known as some sort of Ripper. It's a terrible business, and I do hope whoever's doing it is caught.

You see, I'm a firm believer that prostitutes (or 'Women Without Any Typing Skills' as my mother refers to them) are a Good Thing. And they should be allowed to keep brothels as, for one, it gets them off the streets. Again, I have no problem with, but you get that much stretched PVC out in rainy weather and its not going to be pretty, know what I'm saying. The squeaking alone will sound like thirty cats being sandpapered (or, as we also know it, 'Emma Bunton's latest album'). And lets not forget about that much Harmony root-lift fizzing away as soon as we get a quick downpour - next thing you know you've got a slick of it running down the high street and cars are aqua-planing right into Comet shop-fronts.

So I'm not sure why brothels aren't legal. Look, if the Masons are allowed to taunt goats and engage in same-sex orgies, why can't some girls get together and have one of those charming knocking-shops above an off-licence? You know, the ones with flock wallpaper, and a kettle that takes too long to boil? This way we can all think of prostitutes as the Fifth Emergency Service, right up there with The Automobile Association, and L'Oriel Hot Hair Repair.

I do speak with some experience: I myself was a male prostitute for a grand total of one week, stopping after one Gentleman Caller requested that I did something unsavoury with an Oxo Cube. I'd got this 'romantic' idea about it all after watching Pretty Woman and thought I could get a bit of cash and learn to shop in an Eighties-style montage. But it was not to be and I gave it up sharpish; you should see how picky I am when I'm dating. I once turned someone down simply for having a dried bit of foam on his ear from shaving. Honestly.

People are just after that connection, if you ask me.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Fizzbomb Royale

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I gather I'm alone in my non-appreciation of Daniel Craig.

Most gentlemen I know are all a-flutter over his sinew-y charms, yet all I shall say is we had a sofa that colour and texture back in the 1970s, and you know what that was like when you sat on it in hot weather. Pity poor Eva Green as she has to romp with him during the humid conditions of Venice; she'd be peeling herself off that with a 'schluuuuck!' and a wince.

I said this to one of my viewing companions, the marvelous Teutonic German broad Astrid. Although I did have to say it several times; she was so enraptures with Mr Craig that she was fizzing at the bunghole to such an extent we had to chisel her off the velour with the plastic spoon from a Screwball ice-cream while the credits ran. She claims that Mr Craig had managed a "minge-tighteningly brilliant performance" but I know for a fact she has not kept up her pelvic floors and hasn't been able to even come close to gripping anything wider than a Pringles tube since The Falklands War. But still she insists that ol'-saddlebag-with-eyes Craig could turn the most violent of Ladies Who Use Powertools to the ways of the cock.

I'd have liked to have put this to the test, but all my lesbotic friends have all 'reverted to their factory settings' and are not really available for untainted commenting. All of them. Was there a meeting? Did a memo go out? Does it mean that pippin songstress Pink has gigs nigh-on empty now? Who's buying camomile tea?! For one, I may have to start auditioning for a new Lady With Chunky Watch for a friend; I really need to get the house wi-fi'd and you can imagine how ludicrous a gay man is with cabling. We just tend to match them by colour and then tie them in lovely bows.

But while we're on the subject, were we all aware that Dame Judi of Dench's character in Casino Royale - there was much talk of making her a Lady Who Enjoys Bad Girls? I'm slightly glad they didn't; why the insistence that any woman who is a 'ball-breaker' come out on the side of female tennis players? It's such a cliche these days it does little to break the stereotype and besides, this way she just comes across as a frustrated mother who's sons have just phoned to say they won't be coming home for Christmas, which is far better. You know you can distract any Lady With The Potential To Teach Gym with a decent picture of Charlize Theron, whereas here she's going to save the world efficiently, then go off and stick her hands in the sink saying "No, it's fine. As long as they're happy. Now slice those onions for me - I have a bath to clean."

Instead we get to see a pyjama'd man lying next to her in a bedroom scene. I personally hope it was Geoffrey Palmer lying prostrate there, meaning her mumsy character from the OAP-warming situation-com 'As Time Goes By' is part of the canon. And that her character Jean Hardcastle was really running the world in between firing off pithy notes to the milkman.

Oh yes, we love Dame Judi here at Glitter for Brains. We should send her something from the offices to show our appreciation, but looking around all I can see are a couple of A*Teen posters and a cravat we once nicked from Christopher Lee at the Gormenghast premiere (he was ratted, we had to stand on a chair). We've decided our favourite thing about her is she'll team up with Maggie Smith every year or so and do any old drama based on a load of hats they find at the back of the RADA store cupboard. 'Ladies in Lavender'? A happy accident after Dame Maggie's wafty ethnic wrap ran at 60 degrees.

Although. Wouldn't it have been nice for just a moment in Casino Royale for Dame J's wardrobe door to have swung open and her lobster suit from the FilmFour ad to have been seen?

It all links in, see.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Well, bugger me.

There I was flicking through The Pink Paper, the UK's national newspaper for Gentlemen Who Once Learned to Vogue, and trying desperately to skim past all the worthy articles about excitingly-bearded local reverends which nearly take up a whole third of the paper. With each page turn, I thought we must ask ourselves: are all God's shepherds taking Exodus 33:23 a little too seriously; 'I shall remove my hand, and thou shall see my back parts but my face shall not be seen'.

And while you're still reeling that I know a bit of the Bible, I shall tell you I skimmed on - on! - though he other two thirds, which are always some nice pictures of Sir Ian McKellen and an advert for Sandi Toksvic's latest book on something like tofu's place in DIY. Myself, I was looking for a little titillation of some pictures of half-decent cock disguised as 'masseurs' at the back when I spied something utterly ludicrous:

Glitter For Brains is up for an award for Best Gay Blog 2006.

I don't think I've ever dropped my vodka before. But right there and then, history was made.

God knows what I could win. Perhaps something cheap and plastic - oh, we're back to the gentlemen at the back of the paper again, aren't we? - but I need something as a talking point in my breakfast nook, so if you're not too busy, would you be so kind as to click here and vote?

Oh, and an added incentive: you can win a plasma screen if you vote! I'm assuming that excludes my dear Yankee brethren, but you live in the Land of the Free where tax rebates flow like milk and honey, so you don't really need one. And my darling Canadians, you can just feel smug you don't live in America and vote anyway.

My section's down at point number 61, although should you have any strong feelings about what you feel is the car of the year, give that a vote too. God knows why that's in a survey for Gentlemen Who Can't Catch - cars? They're lucky its tick-boxes otherwise they're going to get several hundred thousand answers of 'Um, that kicky little red one that's in the advert with that man who used to be in Holby in it.' Likewise for which police force you prefer. Perhaps you, like my good self, have been sampling their various methods for some time with a girlish cry of "I won't come quietly, officer!" and wish to see them honoured as best you can. Oh, and while you're there, don't forget to take a look at the competition - they're all fabulous.

Now go. Shoo. Vote. Go make Cher proud of you.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


When one's Boy says 'Come up my grand opening,' it transpires one shouldn't automatically turn down one's bedding and get the char to warm up the hot water bottle. It can also mean that he's going to be on stage, and due to the ties of boyfrienddom, one should show one's support. Especially, it transpires, if it's amateur dramatics.

Does the words 'am-dram' strike fear into your hearts as much as mine, dear viewer? You can barely get me to the theatre now, uncultured wretch that I am. Yet that simple contraction contains as much horror to me as the words 'poly cotton blend' and 'We have your reservation, but we're going to have to put you next to the children's party'. Thirty star-struck hoofers mis-stepping and clapping across the stage at irregular intervals to the lesser-known hits of the musicals? I'd rather skid in sick, frankly.

Oh well. It's what you get when you take on a new relationship, isn't it? In for a penny, and all that. And besides. His ex-boyfriend was going to be there. Whom I'd be meeting for the first time.

What else is there to say but 'On with the show..!'

* * *

I'd gone with my good friend The Very Paul Vyse, a gentleman who'd never met a bottle of spirits he didn't like, or at least got chummy with at 3am after eyeing each other warily for sometime. He's not what my mother would call 'a morning drinker', but let's just say he's had to have his carpet scotch-guarded. And vodka-guarded. And whiskey-guarded. And...

Anyway. Another thing you should be aware of is Paul tends to go for the 'younger' Gentlemen Who Can't Catch. So when he discovered this am-dram thing was going to be on hallowed university grounds, he'd hoiked up his skirts and practically dragged me by the hair to get there in time. And I shall say this: letting Paul Vyse on university campus was a little like letting Stevie Nicks in a powdered sugar factory - you know no good is going to come of it, but it's going to be hilarious to watch. And true to form, as soon as we got to the student union, his eyes were out on stalks. Well everything was, but lets draw a veil for decency's sake. Or at the very least hang a veil over it.

* * *

So. Isn't it really embarrassing when you meet your boyfriend's ex?

It's even moreso when he doesn't know who you are, or that you've been doing his boyfriend for the past six months. And they've only been ex's for a fortnight, for that matter.

I'd bumped into the Boy as he was running up the stairs in a school uniform (most of the young cast were dressed like it for the first number, causing Vyse to almost inhale his own fist as they ran by us on the stairs) and grabbed him to wish him luck with the show. An expression of horror flashed over his eyes when he wheeled around to find it was me holding him, and he bundled me into a cupboard. Now, I can tell you, I'm no stranger to being banged in a cupboard behind the stage - hell, it's how I put myself through the RADA back in the day, but this time I objected slightly.

"What?" I said.

"Will's out there!" he hissed.

Ah, the ex. "Introduce us then!" I said jovially, and the Boy gave me a look that I've only seen once before from him, when I'd jokingly suggested we stayed in and watched the StarCops marathon on UK Gold. I shouldn't have messed with him - he was just about to go out on stage - so I apologised, and told him to break a leg, and left him to it with a smile.

I'd go and make my own entertainment, and rounded on the former competition.

Will was prettier than I thought, causing a whole gamut of emotions from jealously to a bizarre triumph that I'd stole his boyfriend from him. He was younger, too - over a decade younger than me - looked a bit too clever by half. Shorter, beardy. Of course, from the off, I clearly Took Against Him.

He rattled his collection tin in my direction. "AIDS awareness!" he said chirpily. I said good evening, and I reached deep into my pockets, and put all the money at the top of the collector. The sheer volume of coins jammed in the top.

"Sorry," he said with a smile, catching my eye. "Normally I have no problem whatsoever getting it in the hole."

Good lord. The little bugger was flirting with me. The smile on my lips was a polite one; inside I was howling with laughter.

* * *

"He did what?!" screeched Vyse. I shushed him as everyone in the theatre turned around, thinking the act had started. I told him, and he laughed like a machine gun for a moment. We both agreed it was an interesting turn of events as we settled in for curtain-up. Vyse was still seemingly looking forward to the show; I kept getting the words 'am-dram' whizzing around my head. My despirited nature was clearly catching, as not before too long we were both sitting, arms folded, like Sattler and Waldorf in our imaginary royal box. Though I think The Lady Vyse's slow turn in mood was due to an empty glass in his hand.

The band struck up. Well, the 'struck' was more in the manner of a deer and a 4x4 driven by Margot Kidder on tamazapan on a darkened highway.

I slid down in my seat and sunk my fingernails into Vyse's thigh in embarrassment, hissing an apology to him. Oh lord, my boy was going to be on in this shambles at some point. I haven't dreaded seeing an entrance as much as when I accidentally turned around in the communal showers at the BBC and saw a flash of Miriam Stoppard's minky.

I tell you, that thing was like a bear-trapper's hat that'd had been plugged into the mains.

* * *

It transpired that the orchestra was the only weak link; everyone on stage ranged from passable to down-right marvelous. No sign of the Boy so far, bar a quick hoofing around to Baggy Trousers. What exactly is the protocol if your significant other is shite on stage? What do you say, and what do you do? I suppose in the case of Sarah Brightman and Andrew Lloyd-Webber, you marry them.

The orchestra continued to screech their way through the classics. Our favourite moment of the whole thing was when one castmember started singing a song from The Sound of Music, the opening line being 'The most beautiful sound in the world...' as the violin section sounded like they were making weasel smoothies in an unoiled blender.

In the interim, I lightly fantasised about what would've happened if Will had walked in on us talking, or how I could contrive it so he found out who I was. Oh I'm aware there's nothing to be gained from this at all, but the final stamp of ownership on the Boy would be getting free of the ex. The Boy still daren't call me from home, still was careful beyond all to keep my existence hidden. It's frustrating, but then you have to imagine how bad it is for him, at the tail end of a relationship and having to live in the same house until the lease was up. But such reverie was broken by the Boy flouncing onto stage.

I held my breath, and the first couple of lines were belted out with accompanying choreogaphy.

Good lord.

He could sing! He could dance! And at the same time!

I was instantly put in mind of Melanie Griffiths complicated performance in 'Working Girl' where she had to both hoover, and be in high heels. Never has such a balancing performance been wrought before me - the Boy hoofed and camped it up with the fluid ease of a seasoned pier-end professional. I couldn't take my eyes off him.

* * *

The Lady Vyse and I sat in the bar afterwards. Much to no-one's surprise.

"When's he coming down?" Vyse asked. Somehow he'd managed to get a coterie of people around him already; the man's a magnet for people and booze. We never have to worry about helping him retrieve drinks from the bar because he's run out of hands; the wine bottles just tend to float around two feet behind him like the Hand of Omega.

I said I had no idea. I doubted that he even would. He was probably on Will-Duty, and would be looking after him. Chances are we wouldn't get to congratulate him.

"We'll see," said Vyse with a knowing look.

And the Boy did arrive. He was shaking slightly, nervous and delighted that everything was over for the night. We bought him a celebratory drink, congratulated him heartily and talked gaily about summer season in Bridlington. I'd come and sell antiques to finance his upcoming Retin-A habit, and he'd say he was leaving me if I painted anything else in watercolours when I was drunk on cheap wine. It was a glorious time. Yet his eyes were darting around the room whenever we spoke, checking to see that Will wasn't watching.

"Oh for goodness sake," I said, standing up.

"What? What now?"

"I'm just going to go and say hi," I said. "To Will."

"No, please," he said, laying his hand on my arm. His look was beseeching, his manner broken. I held his gaze for a few seconds, his hand for a little longer. There was silence for a second more.

"I wouldn't dare," I said.

He shook out a sigh of relief, then flashed a smile. I returned it, sitting back down and leaning in close.

"You know, I'm really grateful you sat with me for most of the night. I didn't think you'd even come down for a drink, let alone hang around."

"Why?" he frowned.

"It's difficult, isn't it? For us. At the moment..."

I'd leaned close enough to smell his sweat-dampened after-shave. He kissed me, his eyes only darting over to see whether Will was watching at the last second.

* * *

When he'd left to go home, Vyse announced that he had faith in him. "I told you he'd come, didn't I?" he said through a fug of smoke before wrapping his arm around a unfortunate student's shoulders. He'd picked this one up when he'd popped outside, a floppy-haired 21 year old who looked well out of his depth, and up well past his bedtime for that matter. "I knew he couldn't keep away from you."

I shrugged, happy in my haze. The Lady Vyse patted my head before turning to his young charge.

"So, young fellow. Do you know the difference between giving head and a cucumber sandwich?" he asked. The wide-eyed ingenue shook his head, clearly dizzy from the double vodkas he'd been plied with.

"Ah," breathed Vyse. "In which case, you and I should really go on a picnic..."

Friday, December 01, 2006

Middle Of Nowhere

I think some time ago, I prophesied meeting my long-estranged father at his hospital bed, him wired to some machine and trying to absolve all his differences while I listened passively - but then I have watched too many episodes of Dallas. There's never the drama when you want it: the actual event was in Victoria bus depot. Though thankfully neither of us were drinking meths from a paper bag. For a change.

There's no real reason why my father and I haven't spoken for ten years. We just sort of drifted apart, stopped calling. I heard that I'd offended him so kept out of the way. I have to say I thought it was no great loss: his idea of the high life is driving a lorry very fast and eating curries too hot for the ceramic plates. And I like tofu and quite fancy owning a Morris Minor, thankyouverymuch. We've never seen eye-to-eye on anything really. Fashion, music, politics, humour - nothing clicked, and I spent most of my teenage life rebelling in my room. And by that I meant I spent three weeks wearing black and listening to Donna Summer records moderately loudly.

But.. ten years. I suppose I was curious to see what he was like these days - and to meet my newly acquired stepmother. Apparently he'd mellowed over time; in all fairness I've completely changed. Well, slightly changed. Well, I've grown a beard and switched from hair gel to wax, but that was a big day in our house. We opened the lambrini and everything.

But when we met, drama it was not. It was just... there. It just occurred. The gay within me (and lets face it, there's been a few of them over the years) wanted tears, recrimination and possible storming off. But no. We chatted about the weather. Curse you, television, for making me this way. You see, while my mother's remained hilariously young (she's downloading Ibiza anthems I haven't even heard of from my father's aged thirty years in the ten I haven't seen him. He's got two topics of conversation: food and how to cook it, and the holidays he has been on. And has now got that old-man thing of telling, in exquisite detail, tales of holidays you're never going to go on of where to buy your food, where's best to stand to get the bus and where does the cheapest nachos. And not content with telling me when he's pissed the night before, he trots them all out again the following afternoon for the matinee performance.

Although we did get the obligatory stories of my childhood for the benefit of my new stepmother. Her name's Stella, and I've never met anyone who enjoys being told what they think so much in my life. And she lapped up the tales of my childhood that were suddenly rosy - the worst of which was his rewriting of my coming out story, to make him this gallant champion of the gay cause. Was he fuck; I looked me up and down and said "You sure? Your voice is a bit deep..." and went off to get another can of beer, more or less leaving it at that.

And then he was gone again. I got an open invite to go up and see the step-family, though I really can't be fagged. I've half a mind to go, if only to see how nasty their sofa set is. And chance to rifle through Stella's wardrobe to see whether there's anything bar the seven pairs of nasty jogging bottoms she seems to have brought with her on her trip down.

Family, you can't choose. You're born into them, and have to make the best of what you're given. There's nothing keeping you together but a thin strand of genetics and circumstance, and I have nothing in common with my father. Why I should pursue this dream of idealised family life is a mystery to me. And I'm sure he feels the same. While we were at dinner, he was talking to my stepmother and summed it up thus:

"...he said to me 'Dad, when I grow up, I want to be shot into space' and I said 'Son, if I hadn't been pissed that night with your mother, you would have been'."

Closure? Hm. Not in this lifetime.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Final Words

I had my first Thanksgiving last week.

I think it's very important to give thanks; as you can imagine, the amount of time I've fallen to my knees and praised the Lord above for what's before me is too innumerable to mention. So when marvellous ex-pats Bob and Larry said they were going to throw open their doors and asked us to enjoy an enormous turkey, I thought it would be a fabulous way to spend an evening, although by enormous turkey, I thought they were getting Madonna's 'Swept Away'. What a marvellous film. Personally I can't think why it was a box-office flop, and every light-hearted comedy should have an ugly anal rape scene at the beginning. I can certainly imagine Mary Poppins being improved so.

But it turned out to be a turkey bird, as given to the pilgrims by the native Americans. Oh, if it wasn't for those generous indigenous population, where would we be today? No America! Well, there'd be no Murder, She Wrote for one. Or Cagney and Lacey. And that thought just scares me beyond all reason. So bless you, native Indians - you have improved our quality of life beyond all measure, and for that, I was more than willing to give thanks to you. And your casinos, cheap bracelets, and willingness for your likeness to be captured in wood to stand outside cigar shops throughout the United States.

Now, dear Bob and Larry invited a whole host of fabulous people, and I installed myself on the sofa between the mother of the rather glamorous neighbour. Said neighbour was a beautiful middle-aged Lady Who Lunches, slim as a supermodel and "wasn't eating..." but looked at the turkey with an approving glance as she wandered over to get herself a glass of iced water. Clearly as soon as she came into the room, every single gay put down their forks and flocked over to her to pay homage, where she dutifully told us stories of how he decorated her lounge. God, did she know how to play to her audience.

Her mother, the darling lady sitting next to me, turned out to be the former Mrs Nicholas Parsons (he's a light entertainer, dear Yankee brethren) and also knew how to spin a yarn. On the other side was one of my favourite women in the world, who's currently investigating the recent poisoning of the Russian spy who took the Halloween costume of Homer Simpson a little too far by going completely bald and yellow. He's 'sleeping with Baby Jesus' now, as my charming ex would have said, his passing spawning conspiracy sites across the web. Did you hear what his last words were? "The bastards may have got me, but they'll never get us all"

I thought that was wonderfully dramatic. Or he'd been out to see Casino Royale the week before.

Right there and then I decided I should start working on my final words, spurned on by this poor unfortunate's passing. Well, you only get one shot at them, clearly, and I'm hoping for a big turnout when I go. I mean, if my ex's alone try and congregate around my bed, I'm going to have to hire the V&A and put on a decent buffet. Well, you don't want anyone nipping out for a ham salad sandwich and missing the big event, do you?

Although, I'm not a great public speaker, that has to be said. I have a horrible feeling my last words will be something like 'Did I leave the iron on..?'

Or, indeed, "Why on earth is this handbag ticki-"


Friday, November 24, 2006

An Apology

A few weeks back, I went to the Science Museum's exhibition on computer games.

Oh yes. We Gentlemen Who Can't Catch have a natural affinity towards computers. You know that old saying? 'Teach a guy to fish, he'll eat forever. Teach a gay to use the Internet, he'll find porn whatever.'

You probably don't cause I just made it up, but the sentiment still stands. I mean, I have a Bachelor of Science honors degree in Information Technology, although in all fairness I only picked the longest sounding one because I wanted my business cards to be almost a foot long, and you ain't gonna lose that when you're tucking it into your hopeful conquest's dinner jacket at the end of the night. I know - I've experimented.

Anyway, we two homothexuals were wandering around the exhibits, which seem to be a homage to Recent Nostalgia, where you wander up to a section and go 'Oh! Lemmings! I used to play that!' then turn around and go 'Oh! Arcanoid! I used to play that!' and then on to the next. Probably Bubble Bobble. I'd gone with my new friend Jonathan who, to be frank, a fascinating piece of work. He's a joyful fellow who's so into self-hypnosis and mind control he can literally Meg Ryan over a chocolate brownie. 'If you believe what you're doing internally, it can manifest itself outside the body too' he said to me once. Well, wouldn't you want to be able to do that? So I've been slowly dangling a rubberised plug in front of my face each night and trying to believe I'm a confident, clever individual - but it isn't working, so I've settled for trying to be more like the Flying Nun. I liked her style.

He's a marvellous thing. And halfway around I then discovered he's also an ex of one of my ex's. After the brief confusing, icy narrowing of the eyes, we soon broke into '...and did he do that thing with you? You know, the one with the...'

I'm curtailing exactly what it was as the ex reads this. And sales of Smints are doing OK for themselves as they are.

Jonathan had gone off to try his hand at The Prince of Persia (I didn't ask, but he had a gleam in his eye) so I was wandering around and wondering whether it's too late to change the family motto to 'Life's Too Short To Dance With Ugly Men' when I heard a familiar voice. Could it be..? My face darkened. Was it really my old nemesis - here, of all places? I sidled up and bent over, looking directly down at the cause of so much anguish in my childhood.

"Ah. Speak & Spell. We meet again."

It sat there impassive. So I pressed the On switch.

Speak & Spell and I have a long history. It was my dream toy as a child, spurned on by ET (it taught you how to spell and it dialed aliens! What's not to love) and it was a joyous Christmas when I finally got one. But there was one stumbling block: it couldn't spell 'colour'.

It foxed me. For about two years. 'NOW SPELL COLOUR' it would demand, and each time I'd plug in C-O-L-O-U-R and it would say 'THAT IS INCORRECT'. My open-mouthed surprise was soon replaced by lip-quivering anger, then tears, tantrums and resentment. I went to bed crying most nights, taunted by its voice. And I never did get twenty out of twenty in its score.

I circled around it, dutifully answering all its trials. I managed 'dissipate', 'europe' and 'onion'. But then it turned on me.


I did. 'C-O-L-O-U-R'


I tried again. Same letters. The longing to be right was eating at my stomach.


"My mobile phone has more computing power than you," I hissed.


"No it's not, you bizarre colonial piece of shite!" But it just beeped and told me I'd got 19 out of 20 so I gave it a sly and quick punch up the bracket and walked on.

And that's why, ladies and gentlemen, if you go to the Gaming Exhibit and Speak & Spell is gone for repairs, that'll be years of childhood anger spilling over to be taken out on a gaily-coloured plastic. And I'm only half sorry.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Federline Core

Let's talk about Dame Britney, shall we? Oh yes. Long overdue.

Now Dame Britney Spears and I have a lot in common, you know. We're both from poor white trash, though I hide it a little better by having learned which one's the soup spoon, and it's not really acceptable to find oneself pissed in an alleyway at 3am, wiping a stranger's congealed love-custard off the back of one's legs with a McDonald's napkin.

No, at times like that, you should use a Pret-A-Manger napkin. Much classier.

Oh, and we've both been in for 'knee operations' too; God bless you Britney for trying to get away with that one! We raise our cups to you (mysteriously now a double-D, but don't let that shock you...) in salute to your brazen attitude to the press and public. Of course I made a right song-and-dance about my operation: just little nip and a tuck. Though the Hungarian nurse asked me whether I wanted 'hospital corners' just as I went under; I assumed she was talking about my bed linen and said yes. To this day I'm loathed to look behind my ears just in case I'll find anything untoward. Like washing instructions, or a mint on the pillow.

And we've both starred in little bedroom antics that 'accidentally' got recorded and - whoops, however did that happen - got on the net somehow. I'd just like to say mine was a little more tastefully shot, had more of a plot, got me through university, and is still available from all good outlets for a remarkably cheap £18.99. Do go and get a copy - I could do with a few things - like a new icing bag, what with Christmas coming around. And I think it would be a delightfully ironic thing; for when I'd finished my scene, I looked like I'd been iced by Romeo Beckham in front of a strobe light.

Anyway. We, the Gentlemen Who Can't Catch, have been praying for this moment for two years. Oh, she fell from our glittering graces when she first shacked up with that Fedaline - especially after spurning Justin. Lets not state that he's our ideal catch, but we wouldn't mind checking him for leaks, lets say. Whereas, this laughing stock, this shambling succubus of air came in, riding on your back (don't picture it, gay brethren! Think of Egyptian cotton bedsheets instead!) and demanded to be taken seriously as a rap artist. K-Fed? Oh please. We're glad he's now Fed-Ex. And she can get back to doing proper things instead of squirting out babies and wandering around McDonalds in Daisy Dukes that make her look like uncooked sausage meat with a denim belt pulled tight. Now she can be forcably slim by the record company! Record some more fabulous pop music! And do videos where she's an air stewardess and plays her boobs like an accordion!

And proof that love's course never run's smooth. And I should know; you see that post below this one? The one about the boy who wasn't going to leave his fella? Thank you all, by the way, for the support and vitriol; he saw all that. Bless him. And then went off and dumped his boyfriend.

Salutations and elation!

So what have we learned, ladies and gentlemen? Never do a constructive argument. Never think about these things rationally. Do what Britney and I do: throw a hissy fit and send a text message. Works every time!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Do What..?

Drinking to forget. What a noble pass time.

I woke up, surrounded by debris. And we're not talking a couple of pizza boxes and a your knickers hanging off the light fitting - pah! Such things are for amateurs!

I thought for a moment that the house's ghost had got a bit uppity in the night. Oh yes, we have one, though we don't hear off it much; it just knocks books off the shelves when there's nothing on telly, and it's easy to placate with a Rosemary and Thyme rerun. I don't really believe in unfriendly spirits. I mean, even in Poltergeist with all those ghosts stacking the chairs upside-down on the table? All they wanted to do was get them out of the way so they could do a little bit of hoovering under there. It's true.

But my head said otherwise. Oh, the pain William, the pain! I recall going out with the Very Paul Vyse and we talking over some problem and him being really sympathetic, and he found a cocktail menu and we'd decided to drink it all alphabetically. It started getting blurry around Cosmopolitan, though I did remember hacking up a bit of Mojito into an ashtray so clearly we'd gone on.

I wonder what I'd wanted to forget?

My memory's fairly appalling at the best of times. I can't even remember whether Madonna's in favour at the moment or not. The best I've been able to do is construct a little swiss-style weather barometer thing - you know, the little chalet with the two doors for when it rains or shines? One door has her in her pink disco leotard for the good days, and a black beret clutching a hand grenade and being 'all controversial' for the other side. Oddly, the grenade has just been swapped for a little coloured baby. One hopes she doesn't pop out start throwing that when the weather takes a turn.

I shifted around in the duvet, head like lead. I could feel something tickling my ear and I hoped that lump in the duvet next to me wasn't a stranger. It turned out to be a bucket of chicken and a feather boa. Oh, that means the mascara on the pillow was mine too, and - yup - there was the karaoke CD. I bet I'd been singing into a hairbrush (currently wedged in a place my old IT teacher was itching to get into during my sixth form final year) that well-known women-who'd-been-dumped hit 'All By Myself'. Which can only mean one thing - boy trouble.

Ah yes, the Boy. The guy who I was half seeing, which had got somewhat more serious than either one of us had expected. Although we'd reached an impasse in where we were going; he couldn't or wouldn't leave his boyfriend, and I couldn't (or wouldn't) wait until he did. I was meant to give him until the lease on his house was up. It was explained to me in appalling detail, but each time he left to go back to his boyfriend, a little more of me resented him for it the closer we got. He told me to wait for three months. 'It's nothing,' he said. 'We can do this for three months.'

Turns out I couldn't. Weak little me.

I've had to take a step back until he leaves his man. It's not fair on any of us. So I'm going to hold, three months, waiting in the wings like the Phantom of the Opera. Keeping my distance, watching him from afar.

And wondering.

And wondering whether I should have forgotten.

Friday, November 10, 2006


There's a very, very thin line between sexy and silly.

Lesbians in movies - with the hair like they've been raiding Bonnie Tyler's hairspray collection and the nails like Freddy Krueger - I personally can't see how any man can find that sexy. They look silly. Yet they're the prerequisite in most straight porn films, tupping each other with frightening fake conviction, and even more frightening ferocity. I tell you, if I were a Lady Wot Licks (a nightmare I often have; that and the one where I've just bought that darling ramie cotton-look bedsheets, only to find them remaindered two days later) and I saw any such lezbean coming at my delicate, fleshy ladygarden with those red talons, I'd tell her to sod off back to her own country.

In a Gentleman's Health Club I used to frequent - you know the ones where you get the free white towel and the massages are extra - I noted that they have installed half a car in one of the upstairs rooms since my last pad around the corridors. The idea being that you can fulfill some sort of fantasy of being diddled over the hood of a car while the shuffling spectators cheer on. Oh apparently people do fantasize about such things - although mine will only be addressed if they include a dungeon downstairs with a dip-tank that'll get Lurpak out of cotton trousers. I'm not saying why; while I did enjoy that afternoon immensely, I do miss those trousers a lot.

Now, the problem with the vehicle installed is, well, it's a really gay car. And this is really the crux of my argument:

4x4 with bull-bar to swing off? Sexy.

Renault Clio in pastel? Silly.

I just have to say it's not as much fun being shunted over the bonnet while all the time you're imagining looking up and seeing someone doing the school run through the windshield. Next time I'm there I'm going to leave a bag of M&S shopping on the top of it, just to be really authentic.

And die laughing while watching someone getting done on the hood with a look in their eye that says 'I wonder if there's any low-fat peach melbas in there...'

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Well, I mused while washing the blood off my hands when I got home, that didn't go as expected.

* * *

There's been a couple of psychic 'markers' in my life that I keep getting bugged by, if you delightful viewers will forgive my airy-fairy manner once more. One is to keep getting tested for diabetes because I just know I am going to be one at some point. Another is to learn some self defence before I'm mid-thirties as it will be needed (no more details, just 'it will be needed'). There's one or two other ones, but I shan't bore you with future fashion mistakes to avoid. It's more fun otherwise.

Well, it turns out there's a group of Gentleman Who Can't Catch who gather together a few days a week to do jujitsu. Who, one supposes, I should really call Gentlemen Who Can Throw. Fair viewers, I thought it'd be a good thing, and possibly a laugh as - lets face it - I've had more than my fair share of tossing gentlemen callers over my shoulder in the past, so it's sort of a busman's holiday for me. And I would learn something about the jujitsu slap! The chinese burn, and the devilish mussing of the hair!

So picture the scene, first time there. Everyone else in their fetching white robes, looking like the clientele outside a Hilton Hotel when the fire alarm had gone off. Me in black trackie bottoms, hands currently around a lesbian's throat.

It may have been all part of the move she was showing me - how to get out of a stranglehold - but I have to say I felt very, very uncomfortable about putting my hands around a woman's windpipe. Dear viewer, one does hope that you've never had to be in this position. Maybe you have, or maybe you will: perhaps you've been trapped in a cable car with Keira Fucking Knightly, or will happen to be at a bake sale where any or all of the Pussycat Dolls had been within arms reach and you and felt like doing humanity a favour. But as I had my nicely manicured digits around that (admittedly quite boyish) lass, one did feel an odd, instinctual pang of self-loathing.

That was until she punched my solar plexus and rammed my jaw upward, twisting my right arm behind my back and forcing me to the mat with a cheery 'hai!' that is. Goodness, one doesn't want to get in your way for the last of the Birkenstocks, I almost said. But thought better of it as I was now in a position that she could clearly break my arm. See? Respect power if you must; but never underestimate a Sturdy Lady who can punch properly. They tend to be very angry.

* * *

I got told off for swearing on the mats.

You have to respect the dojo, I was told. Bow to your sensai, wipe your feet, respect at all time. And no swearing. Which is when I discovered that people were taking it Very Seriously. There was no sissy slaps, and no-one sniggered about the tossing. It wasn't gay at all! So I decided to buckle down and take it seriously.

Then rammed my foot back too far on my forward fall and ripped off my big toe-nail on my left foot.

Blood everywhere. Despite being, what we all agreed, to be the gayest injury ever. And I apologise to my sensai for yelling 'Fuck!' on the mats again. I think he forgave me this time.

* * *

Well, I mused while washing the blood off my hands when I got home, that didn't go as expected.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Consider Sodding Off

Writer's block. It's a terrible thing.

I need to be constantly stimulated. For example, PJ Hammond - scribe of some of the most classic television scripts of our time - he writes under a mirrorball, which I think is lovely. Maybe getting up and throwing some disco shapes in between plotting to what happened to Sapphire and Steel in that garage.

But my stimulation has been a bit lax of late. Of course I blame Iain M Banks. I thought 'well, why not read some proper sci-fi for once!' and then got trapped in this world of charmingly descriptive prose where NOTHING HAPPENS. And this is why my urge to write anything has been weaker than Posh Spice's excuse of not taking pictures of her kid 'because he's got epilepsy'. Like rot. I say let's throw him in a discotheque and watch him foam his way to oblivion to save us from forty coming years of banal headlines.

Anyway. Iain M Banks and his succubus books. Do you know Consider Phlebas takes four chapters to describe a train starting up. And Excession is about... well, it's about 300 pages too long (tatty-boom!) and the plot is about someone who went to a party, someone who may or may not be dead, someone who wants to be an alien then coming together and meeting. So as far as I can tell, it's like Abigail's Party with more outrageously-named Space Cocktails. It's beautifully done, but by the gods, I've been on Pride marches that move faster.

So I'm going to give them all up and do colouring books instead. And if anyone suggests I read anything more 'creatively fulfilling' than a Mills and Boon, I'm going to twat them.

Monday, November 06, 2006


Of course, homothexual pubs can be equally as scary.

And we're not just talking the price of a bottle of wine these days (lord, do magical pixies drain it through Brad Pitt's gold-plated jock strap now?) but those certain pubs that are just full of wraiths and pensioners. The Public House of the Lost. That Smells Slightly of Ralgex.

There's one up near Marble Arch which I only ever visit dutifully on Hallow e'en, so I don't know whether the cobwebs there are for decoration or not. It's the kind of place that, if you hear a good laugh from someone, it's usually followed by a 'chink! splash!' as their false teeth fall into their pint. And everyone clusters around the toilets - maybe it's for saucy reasons, maybe their bladders aren't as strong and any slight shock (burst balloon, we've gone to decimal currency, etc) may cause a yellow monsoon about their comfortable brogues.

Of course, in any gay ecosystem, there's the tiny teeth-cleaning bird to the crocodile. And in this place, it's the stick-thin boys who only ever go in there on pension day. They're an artform in themselves, watching them inveigle their way into an elderly man's affections for the night. For some reason, they've also taken the Pet Shop Boy's 'Rent' off the jukebox too.

Now, as I'm sure you all know, I like having the willies put up me, so I was in there on Hallow e'en for a bit of a scare. Girding my loins against the shambling zombies after a pint. After you install yourself in a corner, you can fair get ratted on pre-war price pints, and sing along to some rather marvellous Vera Lynn tunes before kicking out time.

I can't remember much after that. The last I recall is tripping over a kid in a scary Condoliza Rice mask and nicking all his Curly-Whirlies. I must have gone into a mad sugar spiral because I've just had my phone bill and I think I spent the whole night texting Moira Stewart to ask her how she gets her hair like that.

Monday, October 30, 2006

All Bar None

Is it wrong to be slightly heterophobic?

I mean, I haven't been in a straight pub since Victoria Beckham had the surgery to make her look like a mouth-breathing guppy. We Gentlemen Who Are Going To Buy The Greatest Hits of Girls Aloud Wot Is Out Today Oh Yes We Are, it's so easy to get entrenched in your own little world of tinsel and gays that there be no need to wander into the smoky, mahogany pub world of the heterosexual unless you're really desperate for a wee after downing a bottle of Lambrini for a bet - as I'm sure we all have. It's a silly little fear, like I was wary that I was going to get into a fight for looking at someone's pint or spilling their girlfriend or something. Which in retrospect is as silly as every straight man coming into one of our wendy bars and expecting to be bummed within an inch of their life as soon as they bend over the bar to get a Baccardi Breezer.

Hang on, they drink pints, don't they?

Well, expecting to be bummed within an inch of their life as soon as they bend over the bar to get a pint of Baccardi Breezer, in that case. We must get our facts straight, ho-ho.

Anyway, my mate AJ and I had gone for a walk and were looking for a hostelry as, frankly, the nights were drawing in and my nipples were so affected by the chill that you could tie some ribbons to the top and pretend it was a maypole. So we made a choice to duck into the first pub we could find.

Which happened to be a bar that seemed to be someone's front room, with a jukebox in the corner. And this is where The Straight Fear comes in.

You know there's a weird feeling about stepping into a strange bar and you think that you're suddenly under terrible scrutiny? A card-carrying homothexual gets that each time, with a weird checklist of 'Oh lord, how gay did I do my hair before I came out? Is this shirt too low-cut? Do I look like someone who should be presenting a fashion show or someone who should be kicked in an alley just past a tube station?' All while trying to walk towards a bar in a manner that is both graceful and manly. Oh you try it - you look like you're being operated underneath by a magnet.

I know it sounds like we really should just be ourselves, and I do so agree. But still, there's something so primeval masculine about these pubs that just makes you question your behavior over and over again. Gone is 'How FABULOUS do I look!' when you leave the house, to 'How gay do I look?' when you go through the doors.

I was fine after the first vodka. Not the first this weekend, thank heaven: I'd had a glorious weekend with The Boy down in Brighton. Where I was still on a high from the a day in the week when he accidentally called me his boyfriend in the BBC canteen. Oh the romance, all over a tepid serving of penne pasta! I told him he couldn't call me that as he's still got one already and that was being greedy. But I still had a warm feeling inside me like I was Jodie Foster on that pinball machine.

So I took him down to Brighton for a (sly) celebration. And what a celebration it was; currently, down in some hotel near the sea-front, there is some poor functionary is looking at some sheets going 'HOW many times?!' Either that or wondering why two gaylords brought a pot of school glue away with them for a holiday.

anyway! The pub. Clearly we were getting at ease with the whole place because we went and played darts! Deadly fucking things they are; less so when I discovered that to do it properly, you don't throw underarm, but that's genetics for you. I threw one, and it bounced out of the board and embedded in the parquet flooring ONE INCH from my foot. And I don't like danger. I get palpatations just by carrying a CD too near the security barriers in Virgin.

And you have to do addings in darts! I can't do numbers. My brain doesn't work like that - I do pictures and words. So the obsession with Soduku is a mystery to me; you want to spend three hours putting little numbers in boxes, come over here and do my tax return.

By the end of it, I was convinced I'd won; though I think AJ thought the same. We were too pissed to care. We'd drunk ourselves silly and taken over the jukebox with Cilla Black songs and Girls Aloud. And that, my dears, is the key: there's no need to be heterophobic. Just take your gayness wherever you go!

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Palace of Man

(Enter Jay, resplendent in towel)

JAY: Beardface!

LEE: Gallager!

JAY: Where on earth have you been?! It's been a fortnight! The TiVo is full of Girls Aloud nonsense and I can't empty it!

LEE: I've been here, all the time!

JAY: In a sauna? You can't live in a sauna!

LEE: I can, and I have! And I thought this would be the first place you'd look, to be honest. Has it really been two weeks?

JAY: Yes! How on earth..! but..! How did you..?!

LEE: You're spluttering, dear.

JAY: Yes I bally well am! You can't live in a sauna!

LEE: Er...

JAY: Well clearly you have. Although I must say - your pores look remarkable. I can now bear to look at your nose without thinking 'you know, I've had socks with smaller holes in them'.

LEE: Do you mind?

JAY: ...I mean they used to look like the crater from where the dinosaurs were wiped out.

LEE (pointedly): Anyway. What are you doing here - you're not even dressed for it. You're wearing your day clothes!

JAY: I'm wearing a towel.

LEE: On your head.

JAY: It's a good look.

LEE: You look like a minimalist Carmen Miranda.

JAY: Come now, how can you have lived in here for two weeks. How did you survive?

LEE: You can live quite easily here. It's got everything I need: steam, sunshine and boys! The lounge has a TV that's constantly tuned to Magic music, and you know no trip to a sauna is complete without a Bonnie Tyler marathon. This place has even got a maze for those 'in between' moments when I get little bored.

JAY: Where?

LEE: There.

JAY: What, the piece of corrugated plastic in the shape of an 'S'?

LEE: I never said it was hard to solve. They're like this is most saunas, you know. Although... I have heard of one in Cleveland... Oh, it sounds like the Ritz of all saunas! It has an indoor beach..!

JAY: You're joking. But I'd insert something funny about 'catching crabs' here, but you're too misty-eyed to listen.

LEE: Oh Gallagher, I'm perfectly happy here! You can really make a go of it, you really can. See those two over there - that's Howard and Ian.

JAY: Who?

LEE: Them. There.

JAY: What, under the two brown leather throws in the steam room?

LEE: Ah. I think your glasses have fogged up.

JAY (squeaky squeaky squeaky): Good lord! The steam's completely dried them out. They look like beef jerky!

LEE: They've been here for three years this month, you know. They're so happy here.

JAY: Beardface you can't stay here for three years! You're the only one who knows where the can opener is. And I'm hungry!

LEE: I have a new home now. Come see my cubicle - I've been doing it up.


LEE (continued): See? It's quite homely!

JAY: Oh! That is nice! The mirror ball, the posters of Cher... look, you even have a little mat that says 'Welcome - Wipe Your Feet'!

LEE: Ah. That's my underwear. Look. See? It's printed on the back.

JAY: You disgust me.

LEE: Come on. It pays to advertise in here.

JAY: Not that - I can see some ceramic 'Lilliput Lanes' on your mantelpiece. How gauche. Clearly your time away from me has impaired your views on such matters. Come on - come home. It's time to throw in the towel.

LEE: But it's lovely in here! We had a dinner party the other day; Howard, Ian and myself. We raided the vending machines and had a party.

JAY: They have roast chicken in the vending machines?

LEE: Well, crisps.

JAY: Beardface, there's a whole world of things out there, bar cock, vending machines and steam rooms. The real world awaits.

LEE: Has anything really changed in two weeks? I mean really?

JAY: Yes!

LEE: Go on then. What did I miss?

JAY: Korea threatened more nuclear tests.

LEE: Hum.

JAY: Heather McCartney is suing the world for all the money she can stuff in her fake leg.

LEE: Meh.

JAY: All Saints have reformed and got a new single out.

LEE: I'll get my coat. You grab the 'Lilliput Lanes'.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Corridor of Man

I do my best thinking in saunas.

Mostly as it starts with 'Why am I here?' and often sidetracks into a more metaphysical bent, if you'll excuse the term.

It was that dead time inbetween gentleman callers: I'd already had one. Well, two. Well, one and a half, as I'd walked out when he wouldn't stop tweaking my nipples. Actually, not tweaking them - twisting them. I kept slapping his hand away, but he insisted, so I said "If you wanted to tune in to Radio Two, why didn't you fuck a radio?" grabbed my towel and left.

So here I am, standing in a sauna corridor, just waiting for everything to reset so I could go back out there and do it all again. You'd think I'd be happy with one (and a half); the only reason being is that the entry fee is fairly steep and you're often weighing up what you're getting for your money. So far it was fourteen pounds for a quick fumble and a hand-job, and frankly you can get that in a nightclub. With a bit of luck you may at least get a Girls Aloud sound-a-like act thrown in as you're tossed off.

It's kind of like waiting for the cistern to refill. And there's not much you can do but sit around and watch the passing parade. Which is always funny. Because no matter how pretty the man, no matter how utterly beautiful, somewhere on his body he will have the key to his locker, making him sound like he's got a cat-bell on as he wanders around the corridors.

(I tuck mine under my watch, readers. Little bit of a tip for you.)

I've got a friend who loves these places. Not for the sex, for the atmosphere. I can only half-understand that; for me the atmosphere is half pure sex, and half the giddy risk of getting a verucca. They're charnel houses of emotion. Palaces of grit and jism.

So why do I go?

Positive reinforcement, they call it. You succeed once in getting something you wanted and you're going to go back. I'm chasing an elusive, glorious afternoon where I'd gone with two very attractive friends and we'd accidentally started an orgy about us just by Rob raising his eyebrow and Darryl dropping his towel. Oh, heady days indeed. That very afternoon I had more pricks than a blind seamstress' finger. And it was quality cock too. Often you come to these places and get some ratty old portions that look like a length of knotted fisherman's rope - seemingly with barnacles.

It's rather like going to a car boot sale. There's innumerable everyday items, but every now and again, you see something really special. Something you'd never normally be able to get, and maybe he'll shrug and follow you into a booth. You see, I'm slightly unfortunate in that I fall between two categories of men. I'm far below those beautiful hunks of meat who only seemingly go to saunas make people wonder what the hell they're there for. Yet I'm (and do forgive my arrogance) slightly above the pot-bellied oafs who can barely get through the corridors without their nipples touching the fetching murals of roman torches encased behind perspex to avoid splashback).

Like this guy here. You should see him. I'm thinking 'If you're going to cover yourself with tattoos, you should at least get electrolysis first, love. From the look of you, it'd like trying to read an IKEA instruction book through a privet hedge...'

My eye ached. My one success here, an Italian, had got a little carried away and coughed his filthy love-muck all over face and some had ungraciously gone in my fabulous green-tinted peepers. I say he was Italian - the only reason I suspected was he said 'ciao' after mopping up and smelled slightly of Chinzano.

You see, you're not allowed to speak in here. It's mad. You're being intimate in many, many ways, but talking..? No. Not allowed. Frowned upon. Positively discouraged,

The only ones that do are the blue t-shirted functionaries who patrol the corridors. You tend to ignore them for some reason, as if they've been labeled 'not for sex' in your head. Like furniture. And girls.

Mostly they spend their time installed in their little rooms, sitting reading the Metro on packs of kitchen roll, completely immune to the shuffling, undulating atmosphere. They'll wander out with a damp cloth and a pair of surgical gloves every now and again to hose down a cubicle. They're like the Doozers in Fraggle Rock. With more singing.

Anyway. I went to a psychic some time back. "You're unique," he said. "You can separate sex from emotion really easily" and I thought 'not that unique, mate - it just means I'm a raving homosexual'. And you could see them all here... There's a guy wandering around who's utterly beautiful to look at, one you wouldn't mind chancing your arm with. But then he starts forward and you notice he walks like a duck. Seriously. With the neck and everything.

There's the one on speed. This is the third time he's been around here in so many minutes. Unsurprisingly.

And there's the man with his towel so high that he looked like he was wearing a ra-ra skirt. Not a good look.

I find it best to gave yourself a yardstick when you get in - a gentleman who isn't all bad, but just that little bit below your league. Not necessary munting, but one you wouldn't normally do even after a few pints. The idea being that if you catch yourself hiking up your towel for him in a dark room, you've clearly lowered your standards and should get out of there. I chose a bizarre little knuckle-dragger with ears like wing-nuts. That helps - you'd be able to see those even in the steam room.

The steam rooms are always good for a laugh as someone's always got their equipment out, though you have to be careful what you're getting as visibility is low. It's rather like The Nothing from Never-Ending Story has descended, and you're left groping around and hope that's the door handle you're pulling in the hope of getting out. Well, you never know! One sharp twist, and the next thing you know you've either made it outside, or you're wiping something unsavoury out of your hair and batting away an offer to come back to his as 'the wife's away, mate'.

Speaking of which, I'm told that lesbians have saunas, apparently. It happens once a month (make your own jokes there) where one of our establishments are graciously given over to our Be-Good Tanya-loving brethren. Lord only knows how it works. Can you imagine our less dainty Ladies Wot Lick cruising? And how would it all work out sexually? For one, I'm completely mystified how they stop the Pringles going soggy in the steam room...

Half hour and still nothing good. I realise my foot's gone to sleep, so I shuffle around a bit, accidentally catching the eye of someone. Didn't mean to, but any movement sets them off. Like raptors.

Oh, it's the yard-stick. I sigh, get my towel and go home.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A Fabulous Letter

Warning: Contains Spoilers for Battlestar Galactica Season Two

Dear Doctor Baltar,

If you really want to build a Cylon detector, just check the crews to see who is a b-list cult TV star from yesteryear. Within you'll find him from Due South, Xena Warrior Princess, and Al from Quantum Leap.

If you ever see someone who looks like Claudia Black on your ship, run. Your show will be cancelled within the year.

Lots of love,
The Gays.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Learning Latin The Hard Way

In the first year of blogging, you're really just finding your voice. Setting your stall out. Trawling your past for interesting stories to captivate and intrigue your fabulous audience who just happens by because you accidentally mentioned 'Alistair Appleton naked' and Google went mad.

In the second year of blogging, you skip through your daily life exclaiming 'Ooh, I could blog that!' to anything that happens to you. Mercilessly repackaging situations, pinching ideas and conversations wholesale for tbe amusement of the hypercyberinterweb.

By the third year, you're actually putting yourself into situations where you think 'Oh now this'll make a grand story!'

* * *

I've been a bit down of late, as you know. I was hoping to put it down to Seasonal Adjustment Disorder, but there's a gorgeous new line of kicky little jumpers in Zara this season, so who dares be depressed its the weather's gone south. Instead I have the fallout of a long term relationship. Four years! That's forever in Gay Years. Come on, you see how fickle we homothexuals are: one minute we're exalting the Spice Girls as the second coming, next we're baying for Geri Halliwell's head on a pencil-thin pike (or - as we usually know it - 'Posh Spice'). It's a long time for we Gentlemen Who Have Two Copies of Brokeback Mountain Because The First Starts Glitching Around 20 Minutes In. Well, it's a long time for anyone, but I'm just saying that we boys are a little more easily distr- ooh, look! Kittens! Which seemingly helps when you're trying to cheer yourself up.

One of my friends has a great saying: 'put yourself in the way of fun'.

It's gradually becoming a motto. Although I have oft mistaken the words 'in the way of fun' to be 'in any passing boy who pauses long enough to tie his shoe laces'. Initially I thought it was terribly constructive thing to do, but last night I had a dream where I had sex with a midget. Honest to God. A freaky little man, and there was me bouncing off him like a Pontin's trampoline.

You don't have to be Freud to note this probably means my subconscious is worried I'm partial to nailing anything at the moment. Standards are things that the Royal Mail sticks to, not me.

* * *

So then came the priest.

Literally honest-to-God. A priest. We met in a bar; I was reading a book, he was drinking a pint and we fell into conversation. He was hilarious, had tattoos, talked about ordering the communion wine from Sainsburys. We got on like a polyester wig too near a cigarette. Very, very attractive gentleman. If we'd had someone like that in my parish, maybe I wouldn't be the Godless little oik I am today.

We were several doubles down when somehow these things often turn to matters of the boudoir. I'd assumed he was celibate; no idea why. But what was suggested we did was not even close. I was slightly taken aback to be asked to be taken back (grin). Although I'd already had a conugal visit that very afternoon with a gentleman caller: I'd popped in to see my Boy - the affair - on the lunchtime and we'd had urgent, fabulous sex on his office floor. There's three girls who work on the floor below him and I'm sure they heard every guttural sound, and in a few cases, whoops. He likes to whoop. It's very endearing.

But anyway, the priest - very persuasive gentleman - tried to inveigle me back to his. He was very good at talking me around and I tell you, he could save my soul any time. But something in the back of my head just niggled the whole way there, becoming worse when we lay down on the bed. Although his bedroom was a riot, all mirrorballs and crucifies. It was like the set model for a Madonna stage show, but with nicer throws and watched over by a couple of choice portraits of Pope Benedictine and the Royal Family. And as I lay there being kissed, my mind wandered slightly: 'How cool with this be,' I pondered, 'blogging about how a Catholic priest accidentally licked my affair's dried love-muck off my pods while I was being stared down upon by a picture of the Queen Mother! That would rock!'



Was this why I was doing it? Just to blog it?

Oh fuck.

I snatched my coat off the floor, stamped my boots on and left. Sharpish Running for the last train with the fear of God in me.

* * *

'One should put oneself in the way of fun. But only if you're 100% sure' I think shall be my new motto.

I've since apologised to the priest, and I hope he forgives me. Weird - asking a priest's forgiveness for not having sinned.

It's been a weird old time. What seems to have happened is I've bypassed part of my brain that's taken out the 'should I?' and replaced it with a 'can I?' sometimes followed by a 'can I get a decent story out of this?' And that's not really fair on anyone now, is it? Pah, another reason to be woefully introspective.

But hell. If being chased around a bedroom by a tattooed priest with a bottle of rosé isn't God's way of saying 'For My sake, start having fun!' I don't know what is.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Just Another Kink In Your Steel

Well. The new Girls Aloud song is a right barnstormer of a hit.

Which I assume is a good thing. I've never stormed a barn. Oh yes,
I've been biffed in the back alley a few times, and I did once break
into a Greig's Bakers because my blood-sugar was so low I was
hallucinating I was a member of a Stars on 45 tribute act. Which is a little recursive, but anyone two streets shy of a Curly Whirly won't argue with you in that state.

But Girls Aloud! Those of you new to these hallowed glittering halls (wipe your feet, genuflect to the statue of Cher) won't know of my obsession with these
fivemarvelouss lasses. For you Jonny Foreigners out there, imagine the Pussycat Dolls without the split-crotch panties and theherpess cream, and the need to latch on to some 'credible' rap artist to maypole around in the video. What we have here are four winners of a national talent contest, picked for their looks, singing and dancing. And also Nicola, the ginger one who we love because she always looks like she's counting the dance moves in her head whenever she appears on screen. She's our favourite. She's the one who you watch going '...aww, bless.' Like the kid with calipers you see at a wedding.

So, to be honest, this song came as a complete surprise: we thought we'd get three albums and a Greatest Hits, but it seems someone's left a recording studio unlocked long enough for them to do an entire new album! The gays rejoice! But the biggest surprise it is marvelous. It makes me want to hie it to a podium somewhere - anywhere - take off my top and dance like a spastic being electrocuted.

And witness the video! Fantastic. The girls have cars and there are many shots of them caressing a gearstick. Whatever could it mean?! Well, to be honest, they never go with very high-brow concepts with Girls Aloud promos. Witness, in order:

The Sound of the Underground: The girls are underground

No Good Advice: The girls are covered in tin-foil. Clearly not good advice to anyone, bar marathon runners.

Life Got Cold: The girls look cold

Jump: The girls break into 10 Downing Street. And jump on a bed.

The Show: The girls own a hairdressers (yeah, we're not sure either)

Love Machine: The girls go to a club and drink alcopops.

I'll Stand By You: The girls go to the beach, seemingly in November

Wake Me Up: The girls are given motorbikes. Probably because they are loud and would indeed 'wake you up'.

Long Hot Summer: The girls open a garage, for no other reason that their tits can be splashed with motor oil.

Biology: The girls stand in a room with butterflies. Cause they're, like, biological. (or 'byo-logick' as Nicola would probably say)

See The Day: The girls are trapped in a snow globe. (Do, if you get a chance, YouTube this. There's a brilliant moment where Nicola is lying around with her dead eyes next to a pool of water. But its so dark it looks like blood and she's been bludgeoned by the director or something. Hilare!)

Whole Lotta History: The girls go tglasses. And wear glassses like sexy supply teachers.

So, basically, don't expect Citizen Kane if you're watching The Aloud. In this video, they're given cars. Oh yes. Cars, and a back-projection screen which they then dance in front of. Ooh, irony! They're playing with you as the audience: do you see?! Do you?

Despite it being exposed as being fake by the girls themselves, it's interesting to note that they still don't let Nicola drive.

Probably because she's hanging out the back window with her tongue lolling out like a big old Red Setter.

Girls Aloud. I love you.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Attack with A Blunt Weapon

Clare looked glorious, but is there ever a moment when brides do not? It's not just the frock, I'm sure - there's an inner poise and grace that wells up from within. Radiant, that's the word. And Clare certainly was that. Although I'm a firm believer that anyone can do anything in a wedding dress and still look amazing. Like dance, serve burgers to guests and run across busy roads.

"Ooh. Salmon. Lovely!" I said.
"What are you, one of those 'vegetarians'," the woman said from across the table, saying the word like we Gentlemen Who Can't Catch say 'vagina'. I frowned; I'd barely taken her in as we sat down, but there she was, issuing judgment from over the centerpiece.
"Oh come on. You can't be a proper vegetarian and eat fish," I said in my best matter-of-fact voice. Probably came across as a bit prissy, but who the hell did she think she was anyway. Hmph.
She didn't look up.

It turned out that Richard, a man to our right, loved nothing more than running around in fatigues, locking and loading and shooting likeminded men with a pellet gun in a forest near Worksop. He seemed nice enough. Clearly had a subscription to every gun magazine going, and after a few pints would probably try to count the ways he knew how to kill a man using the cutlery in front of him. Including the rather fetching ribbon the napkin was wrapped in.
"I wish you'd assassinated James Blunt," I exclaimed, plucking a name out the air. I was going to say Geri Halliwell, but I do try and butch up for these things. You never know who you're going to sit next to at a wedding, and the last thing you want to do is have an outbreak of rampant homophobia on someone else's big day.
"I like James Blunt," she said. It was barely audible, but the point was being made.
Well. Clearly the woman had no redeeming features at all. I resolved to make as many attacks on James Blunt as I could for the meal.
She went back to texting someone, then started scraping at her husband's summer pudding with all the deftness of a JCB digger.

* * *

People were starting to cry.
I hung my head slightly. I didn't really know anyone here that well, coming along as my flatmate Jay's 'plus one'. It felt slightly intrusive to be at the service; there were aunts, great grandmothers - whole rafts of women sobbing into their hankies. And I was getting nothing but a slight sadness and embarrassment that this didn't mean as much to me as the poor bridesmaid over there who was a mess of snot and mascara.
At least there were no hymns. There's nothing like celebrating a blessed union like a loveless, dirgy old tune about some green hills miles away.
The hall was draped with ivy and fairy lights. The window they were in front of gave the view of the sea rolling in, and the clouds were low and spectacular.
It was so lovely. I wished I could have shared it with someone.
I thought on: there was only one person who would have appreciated it as much as I could have. Who I'd have liked to have been there to see what I was seeing.
And that was my recent ex.
Right then, I had such a physical feeling of missing him I almost gasped.
"You may kiss the bride," someone announced.
Something pricked at my eye. I put it down to hayfever.

* * *

It had taken us this long to get to what our occupations were, which was a surprise. Although we did have that stalwart 'so how do you know Neil the groom' to go through first. Most of us knew him through playing Warhammer. Or in my case, wandering though the kitchen while he and Jay were playing Warhammer and offering him a tea.
"You work on Doctor Who?" asked her husband. She was still texting, barely looking up over her glasses.
I nodded, and also mentioned the spin-off Torchwood, where I'd help design the computer graphics they use on the main Hub set.
"Oh mate, let me shake your hand!" he said, and grasped my palm in a firm grip, and proceeded to unspool about how scary the Daleks were.
"I couldn't stand the Yetis," said my new arch-nemesis to no-one in particular.
She turned out to be an RE teacher. Or a PE teacher. I couldn't hear over the crowd.
"I've never been a fan of organised religion," I said, edging my bets and preparing to clamber up onto my soap box.
She thought for a second, and I could feel myself tensing for the retaliating blow. "Hmm. Neither have I," she said.
We caught each other's smiles by accident.

* * *

I'd had a terrible night before. I've been half-seeing a boy. It's a good thing, as he's got a boyfriend and I'm taking the time to discover myself. And most of the boys in London, for that matter. Gays, eh? Well, it started to go wrong. Just a little, but just enough for me to question whether it was a good thing for me to be seeing him when I'm in this state.
There's nothing like looking out onto a blistering sea on your own, wind picking at your tie as the sun sets while you mournfully ponder your life.
Until you realise you've started looking like an Alias cut-away scene, usually where they play soft rock. So you snap out of it with a giggle and go and get more wine.

* * *

It turned out she was called Ann. She thought the new series of Doctor Who was very good, but as sci-fi went, she much preferred Aliens.
"I just love it when she gets into that big machine at the end and yells 'Get away from her, you bitch!'"
Everyone had joined in with her last bit, and we started discussing the merits of Sigourney Weaver's shaggy perm, sadly lost to the acting community since Alien3. We all mimed a tear.

* * *

Someone told me you should always invite a gay to a wedding. They're always the first up the bar, and first on the dancefloor. And the natural friend of the Wedding Gay is the Cynical, Worldly Woman. You can normally find them around any alcohol, barstool or away from any men. If you find one at a wedding, you're guaranteed a good time.

* * *

"Oh yes, all men are bastards," she agreed. "Me, I can't nod off until I've read three chapters of a serial killer before I go to bed," she said.
And she taught children. Clearly I approved.
By this point I'd moved around and accidentally scratched Ann's arm with a wild gesture, while we compared the relative merits of Keanu Reeves. She knew every word of the classic 'Rebecca' too. Recited swathes of it for us at the table right there. Brilliant.
By this point, we'd discussed belief, boys and where the best place for your cat to sit in order to get the cutest picture.
"You know," she said. "I've been thinking. Of things I could get you to do for me for free."
"You cheeky mare!"
"No, go on. We have no budget at school. Come in and talk to my girls! They'd love you! No, really, they would!"
What a strange turn of events, I thought, loving every minute.

* * *

We said goodbye to the bride and groom, who thanked us for coming and getting everyone up dancing.
We said we were just doing our jobs. And told them we'd had a brilliant time.
At the start of events, I hadn't known anyone; by the end of it, friends all over the room. Neil and Claire made the most beautiful couple.
I wish I could have gone back to the beginning. I'd have cried at the service like everyone else.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I was on the tube the other day wondering why on earth my nipples were so delightfully tender.

I was also wondering why they were saying that the Jubilee Line had 'good service' , when clearly a 10 minute wait and pressed into the fragrant armpit of some dockyard matlow is no way near 'good'. I take good service to mean a decent sommelier and a discrete matre 'd who turns a blind eye to the third different gentleman caller you've brought in here this week.

But back to my nipples. They hadn't been this tender since I accidentally took my mother's HRT for a week thinking they were Neurofen. Didn't clear up my headache, but I could spot kicky little handbags at fifty paces and was a whizz at bingo.

You see, mine have never worked. They're rather like an unwired doorbell, actually; all too often I'd find a double glazing salesman, or on one instance a Jehovah's Witness, pushing away at it with no result. In my worldly experience, it's always the second place gentlemen head to when you're getting over-friendly. For gentlemen who do have sensitive nipples tend to rip open your shirt and nosh away like they were Geri Halliwell and your tits contained talent. And because mine never did anything for me, I thought that everyone else's was the same, so I'd just skip over them and go straight for the 'main course' as it where.

Or, in one or two cases - the cheese course. Until I made them wash it.

I'm curious - but not envious - about the whole thing. I do want to know what the fuss is about. Like Coke Tab. Or Penelope Cruz. And I bet I'll be left similarly disappointed. Is it a direct relation to size? I mean on a cold day, one of my friends had nipples like someone had wallpapered over two light switches, and you can nigh-on make him spaff his undercrackers with a well-timed flick. Would I want a button on me that did that? On me?

I'd much rather have a button that caused me to ooze Nivea Q-10 from my pores last thing at night. I hate having to slather my face as it is; I always put too much on, and look like I've just accidentally wandered into a bukkaki car-wash.

Er. Not that I'd know what that looked like at all. Grin.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Moving the Veil

When I finally come to shuffle off this mortal coil, I've decided what I want to do. I shall become a poltergeist. And go and live in an obsessive-compulsive's house.

And just move things.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Best A Man Can Get?

Sex sells. Particularly razor blades, it seems.

You have to admire Gillette - haven't they been peddling the same old advert for centuries now. Here's that well-trod template in full!

Show a technological breakthough so spectacular that you will dearly wonder how you have been scratching a life out of the earth like a Neanderthal for the last however many years of your life. What on earth is that you have been shaving with? A mammoth bone? Good lord man, what you need is... this!

Present the latest dream-product, in close up, zooming detail, possibly using a bit of computer imagery to show you that it's SO NEW its barely off the production line. It says we love you that much, take it! Take our prototype! Take those handsome scientists that are nodding smugly at a job well done who are probably going to go home and have wonderful sex with their wives now their minds are clear of furthering mankind with a blade that can now shave closer than before.

Meanwhile we, the bedazzled audience, positively licking the screen in ecstasy at a leap forward on par with that to halt global warming, are treated to more computer graphics of how these five blades will lift, separate, and tease your hair. Oh! And don't forget that shot of your just shaved, chiseled chin being stroked by some honey-haired lass, as she admires the smoothness, comparing it to that of Teflon and how it won't rake across her love pillows during a good stumphing later on. Now you have shaved you can go and raise a family! Bike ride! Sail! Yes, the very encombant nature of your beard stopped you doing this - why the wind-drag of your whiskers alone would have previously sunk the catamaran you're now manfully handling!

End with a lilting tag, sung by a gravelly-voiced man, implying that you would be a FOOL to even contemplate using anything else near your skin, for every other razor is a rusty old cutthroat that'll give you hepatitis-C if you're even in the same room as it.


Of course, this sort of thing is completely wasted on the Gentlemen Who Record The Oscars. Our interest is piqued by the odd shot of the topless meat before it's shaved, styled and foisted outside to go on what looks like a terrible adventuring holiday in Centre Parcs. But why on earth would we want a product that saddled you with some dire-looking harridan after your love porridge everytime you went near a razor?

I'd rather not. I've grown a beard, thank you.

The thing is, they're now so wrapped up in their own mythology that they've started creating adverts that nigh on parody their own idiotic stylings. The latest one, for Gillette Fusion, has a delightful looking FEMALE scientist. I know! How forward thinking! She too has honey-coloured hair, although she wears it up as per all TV scientists, and a lab coat. And she strides purposefully into a darkened room, right before laying a high-security briefcase on a pedestal before a topless, hunky man.

She opens it up, revealing shaving foam. "It's ready" she says.

I'm not joking. Firstly: who carries shaving foam around in a specially-designed briefcase? Secondly, who hangs around in a darkened hanger while topless, waiting for a clearly-not-a-scientist to come in and present them with shaving foam? I mean, really. Just because she's got glasses on doesn't disguise that she really looks like she gets her money rithing around astride a greasy pole, pillow-fighting with breast-augmented wenches over a pit of jello.

Meanwhile, he's looking at her, smiling in the manner of 'You have done well.'

She smiles knowingly in return. With a look over her scientist glasses that says 'My, now you're cleanshaven, you're going to be poking my scientific womb with that splendid pump-action custard-chucker of yours any second now!'

Honestly. It makes no sense. The whole premise is so detached from reality, its like Paris Hilton is responsible for the ad campaign.

But you think we men have it bad, have we seen the advert for the lady version? 'Look!' says Gillette Venus. 'It's pink, it's waterproof and it vibrates! Oh yes. Bet you're thinking what we're thinking too!'

Good god. Give us strength.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Secretly, I've always wanted an exotic limp.

You know, exotic as in 'hmm, that gentleman across the room - he seems windswept and interesting. I shall hand him my dance card at once!' rather than 'sounds like a macaw'. I love limps on actors - its a ham's first vestige of making a character stand out in an ensemble cast, followed by an accent, a moustache, then a wig. "Oh," they'll say in dress rehearsal. "I really see this character with a colostomy bag...'

Note for actors. You can only do this if you're thinking of doing the Shirley Bassey mini-series. I'd, uh, imagine.

So, limps. Of course they are interesting until you actually have one - rather like an eyepatch, or 'The House of Elliot' on DVD. So I now have a limp thanks to a rather embarrassing incident a few days back when I drunk one tequila cocktail too many, thought I was She-Ra, Princess of Power, and leapt off a wall to save Cowl, twisting my ankle. It now feels that the bone is made of breadsticks - so I'm having a unique insight into being elderly. Or Madonna.

Oh! Just thought! It was very much a case of 'one tequila, two tequila, three tequila - floor'!

I shall chalk this up to another one of Gay Sustained Injuries, of which there are many in my life. If I were to ever get an eyepatch, I'd wager it would be after the time I give in to one of those 'extend your lashes!' adverts that mesmerise me. Who wouldn't want to get long, Maybelene lashes when they show how long they could be?! Look at them! They're brilliant! You'd have to tip your head back just to open your eyes! Although if I did that, I'd probably hit my head on a shelf behind containing sixteen copies of 'Now Voyager' and have to be taken in with concussion.

So I'm limping. Half my friends are going 'Good lord, what did you do?' while the rest are looking at me with a snide grin asking 'Good night, was it?' No sympathy! None whatsoever. In fact the only advice I've had from my so-called friends is to elevate my legs. Before adding 'You'll have no trouble doing that, now will you?!'

Bunch of gits. I'm expecting no such behaviour off you lot.

Looks daggers at the comments box