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

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

That Shane MacGowan Is A Catch, Isn't He?

Oh if only I had a tenner for every time I heard 'It's political correctness gone mad!' yesterday, I'd have enough cash to finance Britney's Starbucks for three hours. I'm sure you heard: Radio 1 decided to cut 'a slut on junk' and 'faggot' from the Christmas anthem 'Fairytale of New York'.

Naturally Peter Tatchell, the bird-like Gentlemen Who Likes Showtunes who apparently is the spokesman for the gay community, had a comment to make. He always does, mostly because Soho doesn't crawl out of bed til 2pm and he seems to be up and about come sparrow's fart. He claims that the use of the word is derogatory. Now sometimes I agree with his politics, sometimes I don't. This time I don't - in my time I have been a scumbag, a slut on junk and a faggot. I don't mind. I'm at ease with my inner faggot. And my outer one. And the ones that go in and out (we're back to being the slut on junk again, sorry).

It's fine, really. We don't mind. And personally I'm glad they're reinstating it as its brilliant to get drunk and put it on the jukebox and shout that verse at whoever you're with. Lets face it, no decent party is replete without most of the people listed in that song.

And lets face it, at this rate, we'll have to call it the 'Tale of New York' too.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Law

I was only recently reminded that I'd shared a train carriage with Jude Law back in the day.

You know, if you'd asked me a few years ago, I'd have said I'd have wanted him to shag me so hard, whoever pulled him out of my ass would be crowned the real King of England. But I couldn't tell you why. I mean look at him. He looked shifty. Not unattractive, but not especially good either. When I saw him on the train I didn't return to my seat dripping like a fucked fridge if that'd what you're thinking. I do believe it was about the time of 'Wilde', of which I recall he looked alright - though frollocking around ontop of a bi polar walrus would make anyone of us look good. Though over the years I've idly watched him deteriorate. Thus:

Talented Mr Ripley: nice enough, but outshone by pudgy house-husband Matt Damon in the ass stakes.


Sleuth: balding, pop-eyed series of twigs bundled together in a bad suit who, once you realise you'd snort if he won second prize in a beauty contest in Monopoly, you also come to the conclusion that he's a shocking actor too.

I hope this handy diagram has been of help to you, dear viewer.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Graceless Fall

Oh no! Liza Minnelli collapsed on stage!

Apparently she'd just come on in Sweden and was going through her usual monologue ("Hallo, Shweedens. Ya see, I remember... I remember when this used to be called Pangea... but me and ma mamma, we're gonna sing ya some songs, yeah...") when she dropped like a stone into the arms of a stage hand.

I read somewhere she's held together with sellotape. And sellotape melts under extreme heat. Theatre light produce extreme heat. You see where I'm heading with this? DO YOU?! DO YOU, YES?!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

There And Back Again

I see, he said fixing his half-rims to the end of his nose, that scientists have been experimenting with homosexuality. And for once I don't mean someone tried out 'Get her!' when their colleague was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Over on the Fox News site, they've announced that scientists have made flies gay then straight again. Clearly they're happy about this on that right-wing site, as it implies that they've found a 'cure' for all the Gentlemen Who Moisturise in future generations. Yeah yeah, but who'll measure your curtains, hm? Think on.

Hold up, the article says they're fruit flies. Oh well! That explains it all. I always imagine fruit flies to be those chi-chi little Spanish of the fly world - you know, the ones with the crop tops and unconvincing Tom Selleck mustaches who click their fingers together a lot and all want a guest role on 'Ugly Betty'. I mean, we're all familiar of the fair-weather dabbler are we not? I myself have had a dalliance or two with married men - there's something so wonderfully innocent about the slightly awkward way they phone their wife to say they're not coming home while you're plumping your pillows and opening the champagne with your teeth. Oh yes, my boudoir's been quite a little honey trap in its time, let me tell you. I've managed to find enough discarded wedding rings on my sideboard to smelt down into a solid gold Hazel Dean. And not a scale model either.

Whereas butterflies - no-one would have been the slightest bit surprised if they'd been on the Fabulous Bus all along, flapping drag acts that they are. They're the Tom Cruise/Jodie Foster of the insect world. In fact as I've been writing this, old Foster's finally bit the muff-bullet and announced that its ladies she likes down in her hairy snackitaria. Hurray for you dear. You're only 15 years late for your own party, darling.

Now this experimentation on flies, it makes me a little uncomfortable naturally. I have a litmus test for things like this: replace the word 'gay' with 'black' or 'jew' and see whether it makes you wince. Thusly, forgive me the use of this word, but you'll see what I'm getting at when the headline becomes 'Scientists Make Flies Niggers, Then White Again'. Make you squirm? Yeah, me too. And yet people are going to carry on with this 'gay testing'.

And call me old fashioned, I really don't think that's on.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Deck the Bowels

Once again I find myself full of the festive spirit. If festive spirit is Creme de Cassis, natch.

Well, I mean I always feel festive festive, but at least there's a reason to be with my tree up in the next room. Always have a star on the top - there's no need to for a fairy when there's two screaming queens dancing about in front of it, cooing like Brit Ekland in front of a burning wicker man.

We do tend to go a bit overboard with the ol' tinsel, we do. I used to know a gentleman who go the whole hog with his holiday decorations, and there wasn't an inch that wasn't lined with fairy lights and glitter come the start of December. He used to go as far as tinseling his sex toys! Well, you know there's always one show-off who has them on display in their bedroom to show the length and breadth they can get up their O-Ring? Honestly, these things were huge! Standing there like bedecked traffic bollards on his inherited sideboard.

He soon learnt his lesson though: he was running late one morning and grabbed the first butt-plug he saw. He only realised it was coated with glitter when he ran for the bus and caused himself serious internal injury. Well it's like gravel, that stuff! Though the most amusing thing about the whole incident was when he was patched up he was still suffering the... after-effects for a week afterwards. Not putting too fine a point on it, whenever he farted his gusset filled up with so much shit and glitter they looked like a Mariah Carey album cover.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Things Wot I Learned In The Last Week

Never go for sushi with a bisexual man. You end up with the most horrific tales about women.

Evel Knievel died. We hope that his coffin is shot through a burning hoop over six double-decker buses before being laid to rest under 16-fire extinguisher salute.

The people at Gaydar read this blog, thanks to the last post I wrote. Hello to dear old Alex and the team, who seem lovely, don't write in capital letters, and now own my soul after I realised they could dig out any old pic of me from my 1996 profile, including the ones I considered 'arty' at the time. Shudders

After sitting behind celebrity couple Brian May and Anita Dobson at a play on Sunday, I can reveal that Anita is utterly lovely, and Brian May is very tall. So bad luck if you want to see anything through his iconic spiral perm. I just closed one eye to mess with my depth perception, thusly seeing the stage to have an avante-garde black Christmas tree in the middle and everything was fine.

Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig hit the red carpet to promote 'The Golden Compass'. I advise you to check out any and all pictures of them; they still look like they're playing their zombie alien roles in The Invasion. Old Craig's never been the most zestful anyway, always looking to me like someone's animated the off-cuts from a leather tanning yard with black magic. Seriously, there's craggy and then there's Craig-y. If you ever had the misfortune of ejaculating over his face, it would just run around in a perfect scale model of Egyptian irrigation channels.

The coffee house opposite has started a 'Name the Teddy Bear' competition. With a trip to Sudan as the prize. Lovely.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Orange Sundays

At 11.28 GMT on Sunday 2nd of December, - the premiere site for Gentlemen Who Don't Care For Dating, went down.

Shored up on my islands of Facebook and Thingbox, I felt the tsunami shortly afterwards when all of a sudden the numbers of 'online chatting' shot up by 300 in a matter of minutes. I stirred my cocktail as, around me, feral gentlemen ran by yelling 'WOT U IN2 M8?' and 'PIXPLSTHNX' into the air like banshees with all the speed of Britney Spears running away from a court-ordered drugs-test. Their numbers swelled. They were up in arms (a change from legs) and people were scowering their mobile phone directories for those old shags that were to be saved for such emergencies, known in the trade as 'lay bys'.

On all accounts, it was unfortunate timing. Sundays are the busiest of days for the stock-market-like chatrooms; gentlemen had been out on Friday, got dolled up for Saturday night dancing and neither night nary a sniff of cock. Sunday afternoon was when pride was swallowed in order to swallow anything else. Theories were banded around as to why and how by the more literate members - maybe the Church had finally got to it. Maybe Martha Stewart had finally infiltrated the server hall and spilled what she called her 'Pious Punch' into the main hub. As people were refreshing their browser every few minutes in the vain hope that the trouble was at their end, the situation became more dire. There was talk of a mass gathering in Green Park in order to swap fuzzy cock shots in person. The UN was contacted - the back-up plan of 500 Polish rent boys being airlifted into the capital was pushed forward. Existing Gentlemen of Easy Favours in the city were instructed to start servicing for free and the government would supplement their incomes as part of a desperate attempt to regain order from all the bisexual men in the suburbs who's wives had all gone out for the afternoon, leaving them with five hours to kill and a nasty candlewick bedspread to stain.

All of a sudden Old Compton Street was rammed to the rafters and Soho had to enforce a one-in-one-out ticketing system. Three queens were almost crushed under the sheer weight of expectation. You couldn't move for gentlemen bending over and spreading their cheeks and inviting you to take a look.

And the most horrific of outcomes: people had to actually start talking to each other.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Glitter for Brains At The Movies: Battlefield Earth

Oh this has been a long time coming - mostly because I wanted to get my head around Scientology a bit more. But really, as far as I can tell, putting 'Scientologist' on your application forms is equal to 'Jedi' so I say fair game. Without further ado, we proudly present...

Battlefield Earth: The Glitterfied Script

The film opens in a cave, where Humanity has been subjugated by aliens for 1000 years.

I shall tell you of the old Gods, the ones that are dead. The ones that clearly Christian, yes. OooooOOOOooooo! The ones that will come down and smite you!

No time, old man. I must escape to... a putting green!

He does. And meets VARIOUS GRUBBY MEN before being CAPTURED by the ALIENS.

JOHN TRAVOLTA swans in. He has jazz hands. With six fingers. Because he is an alien.

Well, hellllooooo! And who's this fine young man?

He's one of the slaves that tried to escape.

Well, fancy.

Ohhh. You're really going with that performance, then.

The rat-brain shows intelligence and can operate machinery, which comes as a surprise to me, despite the planet we took over having lots of machines in the first place. I shall use him in my rather weak scheme to have leverage over everyone.

Is that the one where you betray me then I betray you and you do it back and it all goes a bit muddy when we get near the end?

Why YES! (waves wand around like a panto fairy) And I shall be QUEEN!

You know - the raised-up hair, the staggering walk, the squeaky, unintelligible voice... makes you wonder who came first, him or Amy Winehouse?

Take that young slip of a lad and strip him naked and let me instruct him in our ways.

JOHN TRAVOLTA notices people looking at him strangely.

I mean, lets educate him in ways of our machines so I can betray you all!

BARRY PEPPER is then forced into a machine and brain-washed with all the knowledge of the aliens.

Hey, is that the thing they used on Katie Holmes?

And now, with this machine, I shall teach you all about our race and how wonderful it is. About how, if you donate enough money you can achieve nirva- I mean, I shall teach you how to work our machinery. Just don't open any files that list all our weaknesses, how to use our weaponry and how to destroy our home planet with one easy bomb!

Now that would be silly, wouldn't it?



THE AUDIENCE (watching him go):
Well we're glad someone's having fun. He's playing the whole thing as if he was in 'Chorus Line II: The Wrath of Chakka-Kahn'.

Right everyone, I know all the aliens secrets. All we have to do is train ourselves in millennium-old military equipment that was left over from the year 2000 which has inexplicably still got power, fuel, and not a spot of rust on it and we can defeat them!

But how will we train on such equipment?

THE AUDIENCE (suspiciously):
Yes I'm glad that tramp asked that.

Don't worry! I've found a flight simulator over here under some coats and it'll teach us how to fly Apache helicopters in no time.

Oh! It's just like riding a horse!

Excuse me, what?

Yes! We'll be able to fly these oddly immaculate aircraft in a matter of hours! Now, I must go to Fort Knox to get some gold to allay John Travolta's suspicions.


Here! Have some gold we mined in order for your mad plan to succeed.

It's smelted into bars.

Yes. We, uh, used weasels.


Yes. Weasels.


Well, there you go! How marvelous!

He really deserves everything that's coming to him, the stupid dick.

Right - now!

And thusly a ponderous slow-motion montage of VARIOUS GRUBBY MEN attack the space aliens. Only its too dark and too slow to see who's shooting at who. And then the helicopters arrive.

Blow up the alien's dome!


Because we need something symbolic to show the end of the film!

The end? Then hop to it!

The dome is blown up, thanks to one of the Various Grubby Men. The aliens home planet is blown up thanks to one of the Various Grubby Men. BARRY PEPPER does nothing but get off with one of the Various Grubby Women.

You know, I thought that Scientology was all about aliens coming down to help us and shit. Basically they're asking us to believe in something that will come down and smite us! We have enough of that with Christianity!

Somehow JOHN TRAVOLTA has survived. They lock him in Fort Knox as some sort of DRAMATIC IRONY.

You can't do this to me! How dare you! None of you will work in this town again!

And none of them ever did. THE END.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Brief Interlude Before Battlefield Earth

I have a long-standing allegiance to Dame Kylie; she's my gal. I've stuck by her through unadvised haircut and various non-ironic bolero jackets for years. But now her latest album is out, I do question such loyalty. Dear viewers, I'm having a crisis of faith. Help me.

We Gentlemen Who Always Idly Flick To See Whether They Have Any Carpenters In The Karaoke Listings have a sort of gay spider-sense about these things, you know. We can sense desperation. Sometimes its good desperation and we'll all sit around it and watch it crash and burn in a spectacular way (cf Spice Girls new material) but sometimes there's a bad twinge in the gay Force and we start looking suspiciously at our Amazon wishlist and think 'Hold up...' And it's not just because there's so many dress-up Barbies on there and we don't have any 6-year old nieces in our family.

You see, I want Kylie's latest to be a success. I want her to win. The last thing we want is for her to become Britney, still thinking she's successful while loping around her mansion in a nigh-on feral state, looking through the bins for things to eat and hissing at her children when they get too close to the battered pizza boxes. You know there's a certain type of woman you know who just looks... grubby? Like they have dirt ingrained into them? That is what Britney looks like to me now. Oh she used to be so fresh-faced, but there's probably a reason she no longer wears knickers when she's out - she's regressed so far that she can't figure them out. Next she'll be grunting and bashing the phone in with a mammoth thigh-bone whenever it rings, and building a totem to the hologram that came free with her cereal as she thinks its a gift from the fertility gods.

And I see from that oh-so-reliable interweb that she's now dating a waiter she found in a restaurant - and before you get all cynical and go "Oh he's just after her for her money" this could have gone two ways: she's now forgotten how to use her credit card and thinks this is the best way to remove the debt, or she thinks that this guy is a good provider and hit him over her head to get her back to her cave. Ugg bring food. Ugg good mating stock.

Either way, with how physically mucky she is, if he even gets her slightly moist in her shaggy clam area, the surrounding grime is going to form some sort of hermetic paste and grout her to whatever she's sitting on at the time. Heaven help them if it's the waiter.

Anyway, Dame Kylie. I had a quick listen to a couple of tracks, and they didn't grab me. While I liked '2 Hearts' I did think it was a bit of a departure for her stock-pop oeuvre - and now I realise it was released because it was the only track that stood out from the rest of the clinical beeping and booping. Am I missing a trick? Was I wrong to tut, roll my eyes and go straight back to Girls Aloud's new album? If you so wish, there's a comments box below - tell me how right, or how wrong, I am. Thank you, darling viewers.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Hairplugs and Horlicks

My middle age is certain now: I found I'd purchased some Horlicks the other night. There's no going back now. My twilight years are stretching before me like the piss-stinking bry-nylon action slacks I'm sure to start favoring soon. I'll start watching 'Countdown' with a pen and paper to hand and shouting at the TV whenever the news comes on.

Heaven knows I yell at the goggle-box anyway; I had the drastic misfortune of watching the Nicolas Cage version of 'The Wicker Man' the other night, tucked up in bed before 9.30 with a warm mug beside me and a catheter at the ready. What an unmitigated pile of dross it turned out to be. Though why, I'm not surprised - has Nicolas Cage ever made a good film? No, think back... 'National Treasure'... 'The Weather Man'... 'Captain Correlli's Mandolin' - which incidentally, our local cinema didn't have any apostrophes, meaning for ages I actually thought he was called Captain Correllis Mandolin which sounded terribly romantic to me, but then I was somewhat backwards when it came to men at the time and I used to think I was lucky when the cashier made eye contact when he gave me change. For heaven's sake, Cage has been living off the success of one film for the past twenty years. I mean, it's just not done. Well, I know Liza Minnelli has made a career out of it, but then she has the audacity to drink vodka like Anna Nicole Smith and go on living, so clearly we Gentlemen Who Are Good Listeners are going to put her on some pedestal or other. Just one that isn't too high, has a handrail and a Stannah Stairlift to get up to it.

Cage, whereas. Every one of his movies tanks and I dislike anyone who can't take a hint.

Now, I haven't seen the original of 'The Wicker Man' - if I want to see podgy body doubles banging against a wall, I'd watch any Travolta sex scene where he has to be with a woman - so I had nothing to base it on other than I hear its a bit of a classic and everyone knows what the end is because its on the video cover. This version, whereas, isn't. Gone is the creepy setting that 'Balamory' is clearly based upon, and in comes the joyless feminist island where everyone's living in those homes in the background of 'The White Company' catalogue; you know, the ones that the River Island stores clearly wanted to be in the mid-nineties. Like you were really going to buy more nasty jeans if you were surrounded by antique typewriters and fishing nets.

Anyway in this film every one of the lady residents happen to be lacking in any foundations (be it make-up or garment), are a little bit humourless, and call each other 'sister'. My, it's a good job they have no TVs or radios on the island as all those clips from 'The L Word' and the Indigo Girls would be a bugger to clear.

And sleepwalking his way though this comes Nicolas Cage, bless 'im. Running his hand through his hair plugs when he wants to express any angst, slightly lifting his top lip over his unnaturally-white teeth when he wants to express anger. After an hour of slowly walking about the island we finally get to a satisfactory part where he's taken to the Wicker Man and roasted alive. Oh I tell you, there were marshmallows out in this house at that point in celebration. Hell, I'd have eaten them too if it wouldn't have given me a sugar rush and I'd have been up all night, as giddy as a schoolgirl with her pencil case full of correction fluid. It's the price to pay when you get to my age, dear viewer.

Speaking of glutton for punishment, I have a copy of 'Battlefield Earth' here, you know.

I may just warm the Horlicks and give it a go.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

An Egyptian Doorbell Goes Toot And Come In

I really don't know what all the fuss about the opening of Tutankhamun's tomb to the public so you can see his face. For Cher's sake, you want to look at a 3000 year old mummified face, Keith Richards will be touring in your area at some point. Hahahaa, oh me. Ahem. Anyway.

Most celebrities are mad, we take that as written. But every now and again they do excel themselves, like Dame Lindsey Lohan. We're giving her an honorific Gentlemen Who Read Cookery Tips damehood for her services to men across the globe; it seems she can't go fifteen minutes without sucking someone's cock. I'd like to think some medical wag told her she was protein deficient and if she didn't swallow two gallon of Finest White Sauce every two days, she'd just drop down dead. I tell you, the contents of her stomach must look like the contents of a spittoon in a gay sauna sloshing around in there. Her intestines must look like macaroni cheese.

Anyway, according to this she met a human magnet on Facebook of all places and plans to fly him over to LA to teach her how its done. Are you as confused as I am? This is Lindsey Lohan, nothing is without a base reason. There was probably a time when she couldn't find a corkscrew and thought "Wow! If I could just get one to fly to me when I wanted it!" and this is where we are now. The problem is that if she continues to lay men end to end in the way she did, some of them are bound to have metal cock-rings on and before you know it - swoop! - she's got three tonne of clinker up her engorged lady grotto. Whenever she goes through airport customs, they're going to think she's the Bionic Woman or something. 'Robo-Clopper', that's what we'll call her.

Another story that caught my fey attentions is that a man in India married a bitch to beat a curse for being cruel to a previous dog.

And before you ask, this story is not about Paul McCartney.

Da-boom-tish! I'll be here all week, don't forget to tip your waitress!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Friday, November 09, 2007

Old Spice

Rather in the manner of Moses' Tablets, there are several prophecies written on the back of a sacred loo door in the very first gay club that all we Gentlemen Who Are Good Listeners abide by. The third one goes thus: 'In your music collection, there will be an abundance of artists with the word 'Girls' in the title. You will love them. One will wax, one will wain, but you may only love one at a time." It's right under there under the note about Cher being the one true god and a note, in biro, about selling some old porn and a cave number, with instructions to arrive when the wife's off hunting.

And thusly this happens, whether we like it or not. In my lifetime, the Reynolds Girls begat the Spice Girls who begat Girl Thing who begat Girls Aloud. Although I'm using 'begat' in a non-literal term - I don't like the idea that the Reynolds Girls were licking up with the Spice Girls any more than you do, even though the former were the traditional shape for Ladies Wot Lez and still no-one's pointed me at a convincing boyfriend for Mel C, bless.

And so you can see our dilemma when, while we're giddy as schoolgirls with a pencil case full of leaky correction fluid waiting for the new Girls Aloud album to come out, all of a sudden the Spice Girls are back from opening whatever supermarket they've individually been doing. How should we feel? How should we react? Tell you what, lets have a look at the video shall we?

As you can see, it opens with the girls wandering into a dark wood room that kinda looks like an evil Habitat (and incidentally appears to be a very fake set) all smiling at each other with glowing respect (also fake) with an accidental close-up of Victoria's engorged breasts (you see a pattern?). They all then each grab a piece of furniture to cavort around and the song begins.

I have no problem with ballads in general, but this really is the crux of the problem with this song - much more than Miss Halliwell's Olympian abs and when Mel B lies down, her rather nasty bra gives her those ugly double boobs like someone's squeezed an icing bag too hard. But what I do have is a rosy glow about the Spice Girls being fun - recall their incompetent debut single 'Wannabe'. Four baggy-clothed teenagers and their red-haired grandmother running around and having a good time. That could have been any of us! And that's why I liked them. In this they roll around rather seriously, honking like seals while Victoria paws her straw-like thatch until Mel C comes in before the middle eight and reminds you that one of them can indeed sing, abet like she needs to blow her nose.

Don't tell me it wouldn't be dignified if they'd done something a little more upbeat. Nothing sets the gays on the dance floor more than women too old to be pretending to be teenagers hoofing it around a lit-up disco floor in a video. It's one of our essential food groups in fact; if we don't get enough our bones go weak and we end up with Adam-Ricketts. So think on.

Now we gays are a forgiving bunch, mostly because we've done so much GHB that we can't remember last week, so I'm willing to give them one more chance. You may have deserted us when we needed you the most, leaving us to the perils of Steps, but we can forgive. But, girls, if you don't start being fun, we're sticking with Girls Aloud. So think on.

Oh and no-one actually says 'looking glass' in real life anymore. Geri, you're giving away your real age again.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Hand Me My Leather

An awful night's sleep is how I came to be reading The Sandman comics at 4am in the morning. Yes, the irony is not lost on me.

I was spurred on by happening upon the new versions of the volumes in leather hardback currently doing the rounds. They are a thing of beauty and wonder. I covet them.

Alas, I tend to read comics before I go to bed so I won't be getting them; I imagine falling asleep under something that huge and leathery would give me nightmares about having sex with Dolph Lundgren...

Monday, November 05, 2007

Bit Nippy

One of the good things about we Gentlemen Who Moisturise is our ease at identifying our sexual fetishes. Rubber, leather - I know one wendy who gets off on being covered in Bird's own custard. Which I clearly have no problem with, but if your foreplay is boiling three kettles, you have to feel like you're missing a trick.

I did ask him if he felt naughty when turning down the pudding isle in Tescos, and he admitted he did a little. This, alas, really is beyond me. I mean, that's where they keep those make-your-own delightful Barbie cupcakes which are just dreamy that I really like making and oh my god I think I've found what gets me off. Perhaps my councilor is right: I really am a reincarnated racy grandma.

Ahem. Anyway. I also know a gentleman who practically spins on a sixpence if he sees Italian men in three-quarter length trousers. It has to be Italians, which is a pity as Shepherd's Bush is rife with Australians in shorts and flip-flops whatever the weather. I mean even now, with the weather turning to be as cold as my stepmother's love for me, there they are plodding along with their legs out, skidding through all the sodden streets of London in the most impractical footwear since my lesbotic friend went to her civil ceremony in motorbike boots. She'd apparently got confused after I'd said "wear something with a heel for a change" - where I was talking about a charming stiletto or kitten heel, she'd gone for something that could fell six bouncers with a well-timed roundhouse.

Anyway, I was walking along said London street not three weeks back, wrapped up to my lovely eyes against the bitter cold, when coming the other way was a rather thick-set Australian. How did I know he was antipodean? Despite temperatures eking towards those you'd get when fixed in Teri Hatcher's unfeeling gaze, he was clad merely in a pair of shorts, t-shirt and flip-flops with a pair of sunglasses hanging around his neck. I was agog.

Although as I got closer I saw he had indeed made a concession to the bitter gale blowing. You know what it was?

A woolly hat.

For goodness' sake.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

New Facts! Good Facts!

While I was doing research for yesterday's entry, I learned three things.

(Oh yes, this thing may look like its been thrown together in the middle of the night by three illiterate marmosets on mogadon, but there's real effort go into this. Oh yes. Sometimes I'll open that oracle of truth, Wikipaedia, at the same time I'm scrolling though, which I read it for the gardening tips. Anyway.)

1) Neil Patrick Harris, best known as 'Doogie Howser, MD' is a Gentleman Who Colour Coordinates. Well I never. Although, I think in retrospect I'm not surprised; it's just because I never considered it. It's not like he lisped and raised an eyebrow every time he mentioned 'anal' on the show. It's also nice to see that he's following the Hollywood trend of going out with someone a little bit hotter than he is. Well done, dear. We approve.

2) The Bogaert and Hershberger 1999 study concluded Gentlemen Who Know Showtunes have, on an average, slightly longer and thicker penises than non-gay men. Well, fancy! We win again! And while it's rude to brag - Ryan Reynolds, I'd quite like to rub your face in it. Call me.

3) A 2003 study states Gentlemen Who Can't Catch are better at Object Location Memory. You know, the $10 way of saying we can remember where we put things. I believe this is a necessary evolution due to having sex in darkened places like a sauna or Hamstead Heath; you want to recall where that sweaty gorilla with the back hair and eczema like peeling paint is sitting before you accidentally wander over and get more than you bargained for. Like coming away looking like a flaky pastry pie exploded over your back.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The House of More Than One Queen

I'll have you know that country is being 'rocked' (tabloid speak for someone tutting in The Home Counties) by a royal scandal at the moment.

I don't know the full ins and outs, but the words 'sex', 'drugs' and 'gay orgies' are being bandied about. Hell, throw in the words 'alien overlords' and you've probably got the Nicole Kidman/Tom Cruise divorce papers right there. Anyway, someone asked me if I knew any more details about the gay sex bit; clearly they thought that, as a complete wendy, there must be some daily briefing that all Gentlemen Who Moisturise get about what we're all up to. Or I could feel it though some sort of gay Force that connects us all together. I don't think there is a gay Force, though sometimes I wish there was. And it would explain why we all black out when Mariah Carey's 'Glitter' runs on cable - it's like a mobile phone network overloading.

Then they went on to ask me whether it was gay as in man-oh-man, or lady-on-lady. An interesting question indeed. See, I wouldn't mind a bit of lesbionics in the Palace; it's always the Gentlemen Who Are Good Listeners being found out for some shenanigans involving cocks and arses. It's always a gay scandal.

Do you know why lesbianism was never made illegal in the UK? The old story is that Queen Victoria never outlawed it because she didn't believe it possible for sex to happen between two women, though maybe it's because they closest thing a lesbian does to draw attention to herself is to lower her heel and shorten their name not-quite-masculine-but-still-leaving-the-HR-director-puzzled version of their given nomenclature. Lesbians don't have scandals. They have Whist Drives. And that's probably why they slipped under Queen Vic's radar in the first place.

Whereas we, the Gentlemen Who Have Clicked Their Heels Three Times On Many Occasions, are seemingly always up to something. It's all about show, darlings. It's all about the attention.

Lesbians are a little more stately, so maybe it would make sense for the Royals to have one in their midst. And lets face it, Princess Anne is a prime candidate for being a lovely licky lady - I've known similar types of women who are all wellies, head scarves and no foundation, and they suck up more carpet than a malfunctioning Hoover. Though poor Anne is cursed with a pair of regal gnashers that make it look like their sliding out her mouth; you know, the type that can eat an apple through a picket fence. I personally wouldn't want those teeth going near my metaphorical mimsy for fear of being hollowed out.

So come on, Ladies Wot Lick - how about a bit of scandal in the near future? You've got everyone gunning for you: the straight lads will think dreams have come true, and straight women will think it's all very liberating and modern.

And we gay men? Well, we'll be glad that the pressure's off for a while, meaning we can pop 'round the back and get up to some more mischief.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Lesbians and Lunges

You know, I always thought it was Hermione who was Good With Colours, not Dumbledore. The strong personality, the untameable hair - hell, she's already got the cat. All she needs now is an overstocked tea cupboard and the aversion to foundation garments and you may as well say the whole thing with Ron was a complete sham and say "See you down the Candy Bar!"

Anyway. My time with my new Personal Trainer is a dark period. I mean, I've done some things in my life I'm not especially counting as a high points; indeed as I think about it an incident comes to mind where I was under a Gentleman Caller who happened to be smaller on penis and larger of girth (it was the end of the night when he asked to come back; he was punching above his - considerable - weight and I was feeling particularly generous) and while he vainly tried to stuff his button mushroom into my moneymaker, heaving backward and forward with all the grace of a landed carp, you do think "Well, this isn't one of my more graceful moments is it?" But this is nothing compared to what happened today at the gym.

He made me do lunges! Lunges! I ask you. I haven't lunged at anything since I discovered Linda Evans was in the cinema seat in front of me during Labyrinth. Gentlemen don't lunge. They lunch.

And it seems that the muscles in my calves are a little shorter than they should be. This means that whenever I lower myself down weights in hand, my knees are drawn together like a theatre-goer clutching their Malteasers as someone tries to shuffle past to their seat. I mean, who'd have thought? I always assumed that whatever position I was in, my legs always naturally flew apart.

I mean, if they ever get around to making an action figure of me, it'll come with spring-loaded hips...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Bold 2-in-1

Why yes, there's a bit of a Life Laundry going on over in Glitter For Brains Towers at the moment. I've got myself a Personal Trainer (Alex, good chest, bad breath) and I'm just back from the induction. Well, blood pressure, reflex and strength is normal, but I seem to have lost an inch in height since I was last measured. I am agog. I always thought I was a six-foot wannabe (abet augmented with giant hair and large shoes you could walk over Hilary Duff in and do some proper damage). But now I should be said to be more of a middling five-footer. Such a declassification! I bet this is how ex-planet Pluto feels.

Although this was piecemeal to when he did the body-mass readout and I'm .5kg from being away from overweight.

To which (after much indignant spluttering) I raised an eyebrow and showed him my wrists, which frankly Karen Carpenter's bangles would slide off with a graceful ease.

I mean, I ask you. Overweight? On what scale. Geological? When he finally calmed me down, he then said that it was probably due to my muscle mass being what it was, which is clearly a good thing. Although it probably would have helped my case if I'd taken off my Beyonce-style hoop earrings before stepping on the scales. To which I called him a cheeky cat, squeezed his chest playfully and offered him a breath mint.

And so in a completely unrelated manner, I've decided to get myself a councilor. Well, as I get older, I notice its a lot more difficult to get men to listen to me talk about myself as the lashes I bat are now encrusted with age, decades-old Rimmel and the jizz of sailors who probably went down with the Exxon Valdez. So it turns out that I now have to pay for the privilege now. I bet he'll listen to me, telling me that I do not carry the excess weight of Britney Spears.

In the meantime, it's all stack shoes and baggy black jumpers. Nice. I'll look like a philosophy student.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

French Letter The Trois

It turns out The Boy's a bit of savant when it comes to languages, and can speak almost fluent French which was a surprise to both of us. He did teach me the basics, nine words that would get me out of any scrape I was in. You say them and five minutes later the waiter comes back with two Kir Royales! It's magic!

I have never understood French as a language; as you can tell my grasp of the English language is more of a stranglehold. I finally Took Against it when my charming Geordie teacher (which will explain why my wobbly french accent is via Newcastle and I still say things like "Je voudrais, pet") said, when asked, that there was no way to predict the genders of words. You simply had to learn it.

Well sod that, I thought at my tender coming-of-age. I can't absorb all that and the latest incoming technology as predicted by Dame Maggie Philbin on 'Tomorrow's World'. Something had to give, and that my darling viewers, was the language of our garlic-loving brothers. Thusly it was the only GCSE I got with a below-C grading and, lets face it, you have to be as retarded as whichever of the Spears children have been sucking down the mercury out of thermometers this week to fail one of those.

So instead of coming up against arsey French tour guides, we just walking the city and taking pictures, stopping in cafes and ordering champagne. Have a rest, a drink, then off again. Bliss! Though it did mean the pictures towards the end of the day thusly had a certain... avant garde approach.

ie fucked up.

Still, we happened to get in the background of the 10 o'clock French news by wandering past the Eiffel Tower at the right moment, careering about and trying to take a shot of what we thought was the Tower with our squinting drunken eyes. Turned out to be a novelty litter bin that was a lot closer than we thought. We didn't realise we'd been captured til we got back to the hotel and saw the repeat of the report and The Boy took a shine to the delightful slacks one of the embarrassing English tourists were wearing in the back of the shot. Oh well. We should be ambassadors, we really should.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

French Letter The Deux

I knew we were in trouble when The Boy stated the two places he wanted to visit in Paris were 'The Eiffel Tower' and 'Laboratories Garnier'.

Monday, October 15, 2007

French Letter The Une

What's it been? A month? Oh my darling viewers, forgive me for being so remiss, but the opportunity came up to be Britney Spear's defence lawyer and I told her it would be a laugh to try and get that bemopped retard out of the pickle she's in. To which she heard the word 'pickle' and kept asking whether there'd be "a ickle burger for ickle Britney to have, huh?" before tucking her dress in her t-shirt like a napkin and drooling glassy-eyed for fifteen minutes straight. Anyway, thank you for being so kind to all the guest writers. Didn't they do well? I'm presenting them with their complimentary soap and tiara as we speak.

Now, last week. Paris. I really should do a travelogue, yes? Although wouldn't it be a cheap common denominator just to sit back and go 'Oh look at the silly french and their hats and cigarettes!' But I know that you don't exactly come here to brush on your Derrida, so lets poke some fun at the cheese-eating surrender-monkeys instead, shall we? Yes.

Lets start with TV as that's clearly an easy target. But lets bypass the cheap TV shows ('La Roue de la Fortune' for example, has someone's dog wandering around the studio like a pub landlord's pet. And lets not start on the pre-op who's dollying in front of the letters, bless) and instead concentrate on the freaky-deaky adverts. I mean, I'm still scarred by this one that came on at dinner time that had several skeletons gyrating to an electro version of 'Stayin' Alive' in front of a giant cow before the cow lactates on them in fountains of milk. I mean it was everywhere and these skeletons were bobbing backward and forward like it was bathing in the elixir of life. I did a little sick up in my mouth just thinking about it while I write this right now, dear viewer. Although I think I really took against it as I imagined it to be how Jodie Marsh had the sex, coming up for air like she'd been artexed.

Anyway, the one that really set alarm bells going was an advert positioned between two adverts for cheese and one for bread. You know, for a country that prides itself on its cuisine, going by the telly all they stuff down their traps is Baby Belle stuffed in bread that'll take the roof of your mouth off, followed by a salami chaser. Nice. Anyway, this ad had a mother bringing over a huge bowl of cooked dry pasta. "Aww, mom!" the kids cry (I got The Boy to translate) insinuating they do actually have taste buds and would rather eat something other than the first recipe in the 'How To Cook' Cookbook, right after how to boil an egg. So what does she do? Does she whip up some vegetables to turn the carb-fest into something a little more healthy that won't have them buzzing their tits off gone midnight? Does she actually make a sauce for it, rather than leave the pasta mas drying husks that will compact to the roof of their mouths like the dried sludge around Pamela Anderson's overworked mimsy?

No. She goes to the fridge, produces three rolled up bits of ham and places them on top.

Madam, you are a culinary genius! The children seem to think so too, as they see this shambles of a meal and cheer wildly. The woman should be carted off by social services and certainly not applauded. Clearly they are delirious. And probably have scurvy by now. Oh you silly French.

Friday, October 05, 2007

A Slight Return

I'm back. Ish.

I'll tell you all about it in a few days when I get back from Paris.

In the mean time:

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Power Behind The Throne

Hello, Glitterettes. I believe I have come to be known as the Boy on here, and so I shall refer to myself as such.

Lee has asked me to take over from our delightful mystery guest and carry on blogging for him for a little while. Well, I say 'asked' but then it is quite impossible for a man who has seemingly fallen off the edge of the planet to ask you anything, isn't it.

Yes, dear Lee is MIA. (This does not mean Man At Argos as I thought for many years)

I last saw him a couple of weeks ago as we walked along Oxford Street shopping for pearls that we could clutch at key moments in conversations, and the next thing I know a stretch pulled up beside us and a slender, taloned arm stretched out and yanked him into the back seat. The weird thing is, I could see a red light moving back and forth in the darkness, accompanied by an unsettling 'fwoom, fwoom' noise. I'm sure I could make out five svelte figures in the murk of the back seat, but to guess at more than that would be pure conjecture on my part. I, as I'm sure all of you do, fear the worst.

Alas. Yet the show must go on. This blog has been our only source of income for a good six months now and I'll be damned if I don't keep it going so that I can carry on living in the style I have become accustomed to. Day after day of the most divine and extravagent meals lay out before me; mini kiev after mini kiev, glorious hosts of the most golden fish fingers and the most carefully constructed bowls of noodles, drizzled with sauce de tomate that you have ever seen in your lives.

And so until the return of my love machine, with whom I share a whole lotta history, I shall continue to write in the hope that he will read it wherever he may be and he will know that even though life got cold, he'll see the day when our sacred trust will bring him back home. He really is something kinda ooh.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Computing For Dummies

I hadn’t realised what a rich and varied readership my guest spot here at Glitter For Brains would get. In the last week, for example, I’ve had three proposals. Two of which I could only manage with Yoga training, and the third of which would be impossible unless I grew a third leg and put on a Bacofoil jumpsuit. I’ve been sent a recipe for raw chicken Yum Yums and coincidentally I’ve spent two days in a casualty ward having my stomach pumped. And I’ve been asked for advice.

Well, boys and girls, I’m afraid I don’t have the life experience to help most of you, nor should I pretend I do. Mr H from Clapham, might I suggest you stop pretending she’s just sleeping and call the police. Miss X from EC12, there’s nothing I can offer to help except that facial hair on a woman can occasionally end a relationship but only with the most shallow of men. Unless they’re literally tripping over the stuff, in which case you’ve got no one to blame but yourself and possibly an Italian ancestry. And Mr T of California. You’ve been locked in a garage, there’s an oxy-acetylene welder and four yards of drain pipes. I shouldn’t have to draw you a picture.

However, computer-wise I do have a little history and I’m more than happy to put it at your disposal.

Miss Helen Rolling-Stock of Dumbarton writes to say, “Dear Mystery Guest. Ever since my grandchildren moved away and my poor husband died I have been dabbling in the exciting world of computing, and I now consider myself quite the enthusiastic amateur able to search the web most confidently for knitting patterns, Agatha Christie reviews, and Oriental fisting techniques. But this week I accidentally deleted an image of my first great-grandchild. Can you help?”

Well, Helen, it’s important at first you don’t panic. It has been proven that panic causes cancer. But I’m afraid it’s a very difficult task to get any files back once they’ve been deleted. They go to the Recycled Bin, where they are broken up into ones (known in the trade as “bits”) and zeroes (“pieces”) to be used again in new files. Systems without Recycle Bins are now the main consumers of raw binary (mined solely in Siberia) and if they’re not phased out by 2010 then the Internet may well be unable to keep working.

However, there are a few tricks that we in the know have. If you have an older style Cathode-ray monitor, then leaving a magnet sellotaped to the front of the screen overnight might well drag the lost image out of secondary storage. If you have the more modern “flat screen” then you can always draw the missing image back in with felt tip and it will be there forever. The best thing about this approach is that it’s then impossible to delete by accident. Or deliberately, come to that.

Lastly there’s an absolute sure-fire approach that will help. Firstly, go into File Manager, right-click on your C drive, and select “reformat drive”. Say “yes” to any comments that come up, and don’t worry about how alarming they may seem. It’s just scare tactics: I can confirm absolutely that anyone who’s tried this technique has never got in touch with me again.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

On This Day...

Ten fascinating facts to cut out and keep!

...In 1654, Welsh gold mined in Dolaucothi was used for the first time in a royal wedding ring. This tradition has been maintained ever since: same mine, same seam of gold, and the same miner who is kept alive by supernatural means by the Queen Mother.

...In 1284 the battle of Egerton Stanwick took place. Or at least, it was scheduled to do so. Except it was raining, so they had a jumble sale instead. Edward I was reportedly very pleased with a woolly hat he found, and some sausage rolls.

...In 1774 a meteorite struck Tunguska, causing devastation and dust clouds the size of photocopiers. As a consequence property prices in the area rose sharply, as it was unlikely to ever happen again.

...In 1802 nothing happened at all. A small boy in Devon fell over and grazed his knickerbockers, but that was about it.

...In 1880 Alexander Graham Bell received the world’s first telephone call enquiring if he was happy with what he was paying for gaslight.

...In 1959 a research kitchen in Bolton produced the first of the range of cakes sold under the Mr Kipling label. A packet of six Bakewell Tarts cost a shilling. Mr Kipling himself doesn’t actually exist, but is one of the many names given to the legendary “green man” figure. American retail organisations have thus banned any Mr Kipling products from the US market for fear of a connection to Olde Magicke, psychic powers, and Michael Praed.

...In 1964 Doctor Who episode, The End of the Fire was broadcast. It marked the conclusion of epic eight-part story The Reign of Terror. Unfortunately due to the BBC’s deleted tapes controversy, and the Radio Times being on strike for the final two weeks of the story, few even realise this story is the length it was. A poor audio recording was recently recovered, said to include the sequence where the Doctor’s granddaughter Susan tells of how she made the whole thing up about orange skies and silver trees and that the word “TARDIS” is actually Gallifreyan for “sex shop”.

...In 1972 the world’s first iPod went on sale in Bloomingdales, New York. It was a Radiogram, sealed inside a bus, with racks of records tended to by dwarves. Due to its weak fuel economy, and the fact that the dwarves never got anything to eat, the unit’s life expectancy was reckoned to be about 8 months. Apple are still trying to get close to this with their more modern version.

...In 1981 tennis star Serena Williams was born. It’s a little known fact that she and her sister Venus were part of a sinister genetics experiment by the US government to create a super-race born to serve. Sadly no one looked up the work in a thesaurus.

...In 1982 the UK mining industry collapsed. Some blamed Scargill. Some blamed Thatcher. Few realised it was largely due to the efforts of a zombie miner from Dolaucothi who had threated to go on a rampage for fresh brains unless he was given more work.

Trailer for next week's Mouse

(grave voice-over) This week. On Mouse.

WILSON: It's serious, dammit Mouse. We took the laptop from that priest and put it through the MRI.

MOUSE: And what did you find?

Zoom in on:

WILSON: We found a Mass.

Mouse, 8pm this Fall

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Fowl Advertising

Ah yes, come in Nando’s. Sit down. I won’t keep you.

Now, it’s about this new slogan I’ve been seeing outside your restaurants this week. Let me see if I’ve got it right. “We put the chic in chicken”, is that correct? Yes? Good to hear I’ve got it right.

Please understand that I’m not angry. You’re not in trouble. No. No, stop crying. No, this isn’t like that thing with MacDonald’s in Form 3B last year. I would just like to invite you to, perhaps, consider what the word “chic” means to most of us.

No, Nando’s, that’s with a “K” on the end. Yes, I know, they’re very fluffy and we all go “ahhhh” at Easter about them, but no, I think perhaps you need some extra sessions with Miss Miningpost in English after school.

I’m just the average man in the street, of course. Which is how I came to be passing your restaurant in the first place. But here’s what “chic” suggests to me. It’s the word you think on seeing a French woman looking at her watch at Waterloo Station as men around her collide into each other. It’s the word suggested by impeccably done make-up on someone sitting on a stool in a bar as she drinks a cocktail you can’t even spell. It is the sunlit-caught tendrils of thin smoke from a Gitanes ghosting around the beret-covered head of a Gallic angel. It’s Juliette Binoche first thing in the morning, last thing at night, or any point of the day between.

No. No, that’s not Juliette Binoche. Do pay attention Nando’s as I know we’ve had this conversation before. Brigitte Bardot is... come on, you remember... That’s right. Not a human being, but a handbag made from a cow who wasn’t quite killed and came back to life. That’s right. See, these old lessons do come back, don’t they? Jolly good.

Anyway, I believe the point I am making here is that what “chic” is not in any way, at all, beyond any exception, is pallet after pallet of foetid damp clammy chicken flesh exposed to flame and slammed onto featureless plates in an eatery that marks a gravestone for the death of Western Society’s imagination.

I mean, I have to ask you Nando’s, what the hell were you thinking? What made you feel anyone would be interested in a deathly-cold slab of bulging puckered pale flesh long past its prime?

Yes, all right. Your point is taken. A lot of people did watch Britney on the MTV Awards. But would anyone want to dowse her in Piri-Piri Sauce and roast her in an oven? Apart from Mr Federline, of course. And Mr Timberlake. And anyone with a sense of humour.

No. I’m sorry, Nando’s. But this will not do. I want you to go home and make some changes. I don’t care if you have just spent one point two million pounds on re-branding. You should have thought of that before you started maligning class and aesthetics for your tawdry shop.

What was that? No, I didn’t “hear you”. Say that again.

Oh. Oh I see, Nando’s. You feel I’m being elitist in mocking your establishment, do you? Oh dear, life is so very jolly unfair isn’t it? Everyone picks on you, do they? Well let me tell you, I visited one of your restaurants a couple of months ago with my lady wife to mark our anniversary. I always like to support my pupils where I can. Of course, this was before all this “chic” nonsense.

When tackled by one of your backwards functionaries about what I wanted, I asked what was recommended. It was a choice between, “chicken, eggs and chips”, “chicken, beans, chips” or “chicken, beans, chips and chicken”. There was also “mystery surprise” which turned out on further investigation to be chicken. Which I would suggest is neither a "mystery" nor a "surprise". There was also “chicken, chicken, chips, beans and chicken”, “chicken, beans, coleslaw, chicken, chicken and chicken” and “chicken, chicken, chips, chicken, eggs, chicken, chicken, chicken, salad, chicken, chicken, chicken” an option which I suspected goes on, only a stag party of Vikings at the next table started singing and I didn’t hear the rest.

Now, I do not particularly appreciate chicken and so I remonstrated with the functionary about these options. I was offered “chicken, salad and chips” because – and I quote – “that doesn’t have much chicken in it”. Needless to say, my wife and I left. I wasn’t going to bring this up as I like my pupils to have a chance in life, but I’m afraid you’ve brought it upon yourself. Now go back to class.

On your way can you show the lawyers for Cleese, Palin, Chapman, Idle, Jones and Gilliam in please? Thank you.

Some Facts Just In...

According to one of the papers this morning, the following fascinating facts are true:

A) If you burst a paper bag near the ear of a Jersey cow, you stop its ability to give milk for up to thirty minutes

B) Spanish researchers found you could improve milk production by 60% if you gave the cow steel dentures

C) Pigs have been found intelligent enough to play computer games

Now whether these facts are true or not is arguable. Just because they’re printed and presented as so in a newspaper that views Diana’s death as the best assassination since Kennedy is a dodgy thing to accept in the first place. But let’s just say that they are. In which case:

A. What sort of paper bag? What sort of bang? Does it have to be a paper bag – after all, with a following wind and a bit of dedication (it’s what you need) you can get an almighty bang out of a crisp packet. Haven’t they tried twisting out little sacs of Clingfilm? And that has the added advantage of being waterproof so you could stop a cow’s milk flow in environments like – to pick a surreal example out of the air – when they’re out in a field in the rain. You don’t want their milk all over the muddy ground do you, but using a paper bag would be impossible. The scientists never think these things through. Plus if a paper bag blowing up can instil enough shock to stop milk flow for half an hour, it’s hard not to imagine the more inhumane effects that further experiments brought on. In the same way that scientists get very shy about why all their captive rabbits have such lovely shiny coats, or why all their beagles look cool in a French 1950s film noir way, not one of them will ever tell you how they know with 100% certainty that if you pull a Party Popper near a cow’s ear, it turns its udder inside out.

B. Apart from “Scientist”, how many other professions can watch a Bond film on a Saturday and then in all seriousness think, “blimey, that’s a good idea, gotta try that one at work on Monday”. Presumably after a nice glass or two of Rioja, and too much Parmesan on their paella, a Spanish scientist has watched The Spy Who Loved Me and left himself a post-it note saying, “explore poss. of making Daisy look lk Richard Kiel on Monday”. Suddenly science-horrors like cloned sheep or ears-on-the-back-of-mice pale into insignificance when confronted with a Friesian with two metal legs building himself a volcano lair out of hay. Or the Jersey in the field next door who’s fed three milkmaids to a pool of goldfish he’s rendered particularly frenzied by taunting them all morning about their inadequacies.

C. This was, of course, on a Nintendo Wee-Wee-Wee-Wee-All-The-Way-Home. Ayethangew.

Pretty Hate Machine

My brother hates David Beckham. It goes so far as to deny the guy any footballing ability (which he undeniably has) or indeed any positives at all, because of the masses of media attention the man and his wife continue to get. Personally, I don't believe they ever started off thinking, "right, we're going to ensure we're in all the papers all the time" and that their lives have become what they are because of the British press' inability to leave people alone. While the Beckhams' life now isn't something you'd turn down yourself, you do wonder if it's the one they'd have chosen had the UK media not pressed them into a mould they'd made for them.

So basically, I'll defend David and Victoria quite some way out of a sense of sorrow for the life they can never lead. I'll argue when anyone says David can't kick a ball. I'll argue that Victoria hasn't made the worst solo-Spice Girls singles. I'll argue that he's doing a lot more for kids' sport in the UK than the Government. I'll argue that she's not the vapid, silicone-filled airhead the media love to portray her as.

And then I see this:

Free Image Hosting at

Victoria, it's a shoe. A fucking shoe. That's why you can't get a ring tone.

Monday, September 24, 2007

So What Do You Do?

We define ourselves by our professions, but as such, define ourselves to no degree. The first question, the absolute first thing you will be asked in any conversation with a stranger is that faux chummy “so, what do you do then?” It’s the first heel crushing on a toe in our 21st Century Conversation Tango. Take your partners please!

Apparently you cannot answer thus: “I stand at parties (or in pubs, as applicable) while someone with a stick of celery for a brainstem cannot even come up with a good opening question”. This is generally frowned upon. What you’re actually supposed to do is then tell some person what you do between the hours of nine to five. Which as you’re no longer there (or else they’d already know) has no relevance. None at all. If it does, then that’s not your job, it’s your life, and frankly you’ve got a bloody cheek going out meeting people. Will it be a better night if you confess to being a secretary, a fireman, a human-sized hot dog in Oxford Street? For as I say, it’s the thing we’re defined by, and yet it shouldn’t be the thing that defines us at all.

It’s long been my least favourite expression in the world (well, up there with “it’s not you, it’s me” and “I promise not to fart while you’re down there”), but in recent years it’s taken on a far darker significance for me, as I become aware that if you don’t have an answer to it, you become one of the Invisibles. Pinochet might as well have whisked you away in the night with a sack over your head because to your correspondent you will no longer exist. There then follows an awkward pause as they realise “they’ve got a difficult one here” and go off to find the onion dip. Which in most pubs is quite a trick.

I am an Invisible at present. Three years ago I just sat at my desk one sunny day and thought, “fuck it, this is just not worth the aggro”. I had some savings behind me. And okay, so I wasn’t going to be buying swimming pools and fast cars, but I simply didn’t have to work. I didn’t have to sit with people years younger who I didn’t get, and who certainly didn’t get me. I didn’t have to try and get excited or proud about my company selling five thousand units of a Z-list non-entity’s exercise video. I didn’t have to suck Woolworth’s cock, in a word. I had other things I’d rather do. Creative stuff I’d always thought, “ooooh I’d love to do that”. And when the money ran out, I’d just do something else. A CV packed with more surprises than Q’s lunchbox would get me back earning when I needed it.

And take it from me, there’s a wonderful sense of freedom when you do this. It’s like that dream where you’re out in the streets in your underpants except – and this is the crucial bit – instead of laughing at you, everyone’s cheering and taking their own trousers off too. It’s like a London parade if Brian Rix were the mayor.

Two weeks later after the Great Escape, I was with some friends, and I got into conversation with someone I was rather interested in. “So what do you do?” came the question (the first one, naturally). “Oh, well if you mean work, I don’t. Really. Work for myself, actually.” And that was the point I vanished. You get marked down as dangerous in the stupidest, laziest of ways. Had I said, “I temp in an office straightening paperclips for 10p an hour and can only drink coffee I’ve made from my own saliva” then I’m sure the conversations that ensued would have lasted the rest of the night. Though obviously I wouldn’t have been buying many rounds.

Dating sites – which as I’m shy and desperate I frequent from time to time – get very odd about not you working “properly”. I do not want to click on “unemployed” as they mean “I stay at home watching Richard and Judy” but similarly all the other categories are wrong too. You end up having to put an explanation in your profile. And as much as you use words like “liberated” and “freedom”, you just end up sounding like one of the more exotic tampon adverts. Incidentally, did you know that a Monsieur Giscard Tampon gave his name to this form of sanitary product? What is less known is that he died after getting his head stuck in a drainpipe. They tend to keep that quiet.

So you slowly become aware that if you can’t answer that opening question, the “what do you do?” then you don’t do anything. What was intended as freedom becomes a rather splendid trap. And then you have a nice empty slot in your CV that marks you down as “difficult customer” so that you can’t even get the simplest of jobs. It’s self-inflicted, which is why I’m posting about it here. A bit of a warning from someone who’s vanished. A two-fold warning actually. For a start, be careful to continually play the game and make sure you can always answer that most banal of questions. And secondly, never, ever ask it of me.

For anyone who these days at a party asks me, “so what do you do?” will get the answer, “I poke unimaginative little twats in the eyes with carrot sticks” followed by, “would you like some Optrex for that? Or possibly just some peas so you can make some soup?”

Though oddly that’s the other thing about the Invisibles.

Because your party invites disappear too.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Down in the Mouth

It seems that the cattle disease Bluetongue has finally reached these halcyon shores (Bluetongue Probe).

Aware of their poor track record in correctly understanding agricultural diseases, the Government have immediatedly cremated everyone using a hands-free phone.

il est mort

Marcel Marceau is dead.

There will now be a respectful two minutes of riotous shouting.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Even Educated Saturday Supplements Do It...

Normally the closest this Blog gets to talking about “culture” is with a “bio” in front of it when describing why James is having to apply yoghurt to his privates. But as it’s Saturday, and the more highbrow newspaper supplements across the land are doing their food reviews, then why the hell can’t we jump on the “free grub” bandwagon? You know, the one where the axles are in very real danger of collapsing. The one driven by Jennifer Saunders and that Lisa Riley out of Emmerdale. The one that that whizzes past the roadsigns of "Kill Your Speed Not a Child" with a rebellious cry of "it's a free country, why can't we do both?"

So anyway last week we went out to trawl Soho (be fair, we’ve all done it) and we ended up at Zksplash on Frorth Street.

This new restaurant is half the normal shop width, and getting to the end of the bar where the loos are situated is an activity more often linked to Nintendos, gold coins, and Italian plumbers. Though from a look at the loos, no plumber, Italian or otherwise, has been near them for a while. A sign at the mirror over the sink suggests visitors, “now burn your clothes”. To the left of the premises is an unlicensed tattoo parlour, and to the right an old fat woman in leather gives singing lessons (probably). The resulting audio mix makes Zksplash sound like they’re playing the Gypsy Kings at full volume, only slightly more tunefully.

The owners are taciturn men who decided on arriving in London to adopt names that might make them feel a little more local. They chose Sandy and Julian and there is absolutely nothing Bona about them. At all. The only way they would ever crack a smile is if you used a chisel. And Julian’s got a big scar down the side of his face where it looks like someone tried. I have no idea what language they use to each other. It is so fast and guttural that if you recorded it and played it back to a 48k Spectrum you’d end up loading JetPac.

Now I don’t wish to be critical of the East Europeans. With the Express and Mail currently demonising them, they just don’t need it. And besides, if it wasn’t for them then fat businessmen would have to pay good old British boys and girls to suck them off in hotels near Kings Cross. And goddammit that sort of thing is unpatriotic. But these guys come from one of those “Bratislaviarimskikorsikov” places that you’ve only ever heard of because the prince from there was machine-gunned at his own wedding. Or was that Dynasty. It’s the sort of placename that would score 800 points in Scrabble if a) you could use Proper Nouns and b) a Scrabble board was 58 spaces to a side.

The question was raised before visiting as to what sort of food they did. As a food critic, one cannot state enough the importance of finding out what the local economy of the country is known for. Anyone who’s ever ordered the speciality in a Swiss restaurant, and then spent the next six hours trying to get through “cuckoo clock in a basket” will understand the problems here. There’s nothing more galling than your main course telling you that it’s past closing time by pecking you eleven times in the eye.

Zksplash as far as I can see adopts a range of fare both traditional and exotic. Try their “muscles ak zoinrim” for the sort of eating experience you won’t forget. However hard you try. My companion has this as a starter, to find that “ak zoinrim” should be capitalised as it’s clearly an Eastern European engine oil. Imagine, “fish avec Castrol” for a local equivalent. I myself choose the “garlic bread done in the juesystkir style”. This is basically a soft dough bread cooked in a used cardigan, and has much to recommend it, namely the very small portion it comes in.

The wine is served in a manner unique to Zksplash: warm and in wide bowls. I have enjoyed a couple of glasses of this citrusy, tart and dry cheeky little number before I discover I’ve been drinking the fingerbowl. Eventually after much remonstration with Julian, the Zkplash staff raid their sparsely stocked cellar to provide a bottle of vintage Kinnjibinji 2005. I am assured by an optician that I will eventually get the sight back in my right eye. And all I did was sniff the cork. My companion accepted the offer to taste it before drinking and is still in the coma. Though I’m hopeful for her recovery as I’ve just received a taped message from Duran Duran to help her wake up.

For the main course there is a choice of two specialities. I decide against the “young lamb cooked at your table” when I spot that on the menu a pencilled correction replaces “cooked” with “shot”. And that in turn has “with an AK47” scrawled in afterwards. Though it does explain what I thought was quite alarming woodworm in the furniture up to that point.

I order the Twice-Cooked Pork. When it arrives, it is clear neither attempt has been successful but that hasn’t stopped someone trying. On my plate is something that looks like part of the evidence file from a fire at an illegal abortion clinic, only without the humanity. A side salad sits disconsolately in the manner of your bedside nail-clippings after bath night. Given its distressing taste of perfume and faint cheese, the comparison is an accurate one. I don’t want to know how they grow vegetables in wherever Sandy and Julian come from but that is a terrible thing to do to a lettuce.

It might appear that I found no saving grace in this apology for a restaurant. That is not entirely true. I recommend anyone order the crepes because in this day and age you don’t often see oil fires of that magnitude. The last time I saw a fireball like that, it had Bruce Willis just in front of it dangling from a water hose. Sandy himself brings the plate to my table, leaving a wistful trail of ethereal smoke behind him as he jumps across three tables and under a moving platform for five thousand extra points. I am the only man left in the place with eyebrows by this point, though it’s hard to tell if the smell of sizzled hair is due to the crepes, or because someone else has ordered a salad.

The reason Sandy is having to help out serving is because of their choice of waitress. She is young and pretty, in a disinterested sort of way. She had clearly come off the coach from Eastern Europe three days ago and was offered either this job or being a hooker in Mayfair. Lying on her back for eight hours sounded like too much work, so she took this job. If she were any less mobile they’d be giving her paycheck to the hat stand and be hanging bowlers and trilbys from her ears instead. Every ten minutes Julian or Sandy come out to check she still has a pulse.

Glad to have survived the entire meal, I pay my bill and get a taxi home where I can enjoy a cigar and a large glass of emetic. If that’s culture, frankly, you can keep it.

Zksplash (1 out of 5): two people, £80 per head, not including personal insurance (though that’s recommended)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Mouse - Top American Drama Previewed Exclusively on GFB

We're in a new area of TV creativity.

Not since the mid-80s when the formula "x" + "detective" gave us hundreds of shows on prime time has one format been so abused. It's cool to be a TV misanthrope. And where in the 80s the value of "X" was anything from "raddled crime writer" (Murder She Wrote), "part-time chef" (Pie in the Sky), "whacky old medium dear" (Moon & Son), "shifty foreigner with slug lying in wait to trap bogies" (Poirot), now "X" can be any profession you like as long as it's raised to the power of "dysfunctional people hater". So we've had "medic" (House), "lawyer" (Shark), "surgeon" (3lbs) and now, coming in the Fall on the WB, we have "PC World employee".

Ladies and gentlemen, we give you:

"Mouse" - pilot episode

(Man playing video clip. It works fine. Then he plays a second clip, and the PC crashes. "Not again..." he says in frustrated horror.)

Titles, with music by a band that wants to be Massive Attack, but their Mum wouldn't let them out to play.

Mouse hobbles into the office. "Okay, what have we got?"

Cameron: "Recently rebuilt Windows environment. Suddenly started cold crashing whenever Windows Media was being used. Patient noticed the symptoms first when playing Oblivion."

Foreman: "Oblivion's pretty graphics intensive. Could be the graphics card overheating, causing the cold crash."

Mouse: "Wrong!"

Chase: "We discounted that. The machine was crashing first thing in the morning. It wouldn't have had time to get warm enough."

Foreman: "But it's June. The weather's got hotter. Perhaps that's just enough to tip it over the edge."

Mouse: "Wrong!"

Cameron: "Forget the Oblivion stuff. It could just be coincidence."

Chase: (incredulous) "You've got the same kind of crashing, two different programs, and you reckon it's just coincidence?"

Foreman: (grudging admission) "Chase is right. It's gotta have something in common."

Cameron: "The game system doesn't use any of the Media Player codecs. Hardware's the only common factor. And if that was failing, we'd get other symptoms. Hot air out the back. Irregular crashes just in Windows sessions."

Mouse: "Wrong!"

A put-upon nurse bursts into the office. "Come quick!"

Cameron: (distressed) "What is it?"

Nurse: "The PC. It's crashing!"

Mouse: "Wrong!"

(Ad break)

(Fade back in. A PC is surrounded by text books)

Chase: "It doesn't make any sense. The temp is low here. It can't be the card failing."

Foreman: "Perhaps one of the fans has died."

Cameron: "We'd hear it."

Chase: "But not if the others were still going. It wouldn't be enough change of noise."

Cameron: "The only way to find out would be to do an exploratory."

Foreman: "Open it up while it's still powered up? You're crazy. One slip and you'd short out the whole power supply. You'd kill it. We can't go invasive."

Chase: "Perhaps we could do a case puncture. Right over the fan, insert a probe, see if the fan's still moving."

Mouse: (who has been juggling disinterestedly with a scalpel, and is now popping a Vicodin because he's secretly impaled himself in the leg) "Wrong!"

Cameron: "I'm telling you, it's not hardware."

Foreman: "Then what would you do?"

Cameron: "Order a full set of new Codecs. Perhaps one's got corrupted. That would explain the Media Player failures *and* the Oblivion crashes."

Chase: "But you can't be sure Oblivion even uses those Codecs."

Cameron: "Have you get any better ideas?"

Foreman: (ashamedly shaking his head) "No."

Cameron: "Then hit the web. Find a Codecs package. Transfuse them immediately."

Mouse: (waving at the yellow elephants as they float by) "Wrong!"

(ad break 2)

(The PC seems to be running)

Cameron: "See, it's worked. That's the third video clip I've been able to play. No crashes."

Mouse: "Wrong!"

Foreman: (leaning forward, puzzled) "But you're not using Media Player. You're using another video player package that came with Nero."

Cameron: "Oh my God. I didn't realise." (She closes the application, runs up Media Player. One clip works. A second...)

Chase: "Dammit! It's crashing again. Quick, get clear! I need a recovery disc and a cold reboot!"

Mouse: (Chasing under a desk for a dropped Vicodin, bangs his head on the underside, is laid out unconscious. Before which he says:) "Wrong!"

Cameron (backing away in distress) "I didn't realise, I didn't..."

(ad break 3)

(The PC has reloaded)

Chase: "Perhaps it's Media Player itself. Got corrupted. We should load the latest version, and patch it up to date."

Foreman: "A Player transplant? But if the Player isn't the problem, you'd just make it worse. And this is version 11. It's unproven, man, it's unproven!"

Chase: "You got any better ideas? We gotta risk it. Download the new one. Boot it up."

Mouse: (Hiding the fact that he's accidentally cut his legs off when playing with an electric saw) "Wrong!"

Cameron: "But it can't be the Media Player..."

(Music montage as everyone looks in concern as Media Player 11 is downloaded from the Microsoft site and installed. While no one is looking, Mouse furtively stitches his legs back on.)

(At the end of the music, the computer happily loads Media Player only for:)

Chase: "There, good as new... What the hell?"

Foreman: "It's playing the clip in the wrong ratio... It should be 16:9, and it's 4:3..."

Cameron: "What have you done? Change the settings back!"

Chase: "I have! It's not making any difference!"

(All three look in horror at each other)

Mouse: (Gleefully off his tits on Vicodin) "Wrong!"

(ad break 4)

Chase: "I've checked all the FAQs. There's nothing about this."

Cameron: "Patient is fine. It's all working, except for that the ratio's

Foreman: (aggressively black because the writers have suddenly realised he's African American) "You call that fine? Dude can't go through his life in 4:3. This is widescreen age, bitch, widescreen!"

Mouse: "Wrong!"

Cameron (turning at him) "Then what is it? You've spent the last 41 minutes just saying the same word over and over, and being paid $50,000 by the production company every time."

Mouse: "Well, it beats learning a script each week."

Cameron: (quivering lips) "I'm so disappointed in you. I expected humanity and all I get is a grouchy pill addict with a unexpected accent. You're like a medical Pete Docherty."

Foreman: "Yeah, spill it Mouse. What's wrong?"

Mouse: "It *is* hardware."

Cameron: "Told you."

Mouse: "And it *is* software."

Cameron, Chase, Foreman: "Whaaaaaa?"

(ad break 5)

(Back in on incredulous expressions)

Cameron, Chase, Foreman: "-aaaaaaaaaah?"

(ad break 6)

(Still back in on incredulous expressions)

Cameron, Chase, Foreman: "-aaaaaaaaaah?"

Mouse: "What none of you did was check what sort of graphics card it was. You were all too busy going on about fans and temperature. The card is an NVidia 6600LE. And if you'd checked up, you'd have noticed that this doesn't work with DirectX Video Acceleration in Media Player. The card is only to blame when the Media Player talks to it. And the software is only to blame
when it talks to the card."

Cameron: "The 4:3... Of course... That only happened when the default settings changed back to Hardware Acceleration..."

Foreman: "But the defaults didn't use DirectX, so it wasn't causing the crash, but the Hardware Acceleration was enough to mess the display ratios..."

Chase: "Brilliant! So the answer is to just switch off hardware acceleration!"

Mouse: (starts hobbling off) "Exactly."

Cameron: "But aren't you staying to check the result?"

Mouse: "No. I left my bike parked in Cuddy's cleavage, and I've only got 2 minutes left on the meter."

All of them do a self-conscious laugh then look into the distance in sudden mournful self-awareness. End credits.

"Mouse" this Fall from the WB - Doing more to promote the rep of the PC World techys than the Gary Glitter trial

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Cottage That Changed the World

It's not exactly a new problem. How to seamlessly replace a popular figure for a while, without losing the original fanbase, and yet giving a convincing reason for the transition as you do so.

In Doctor Who in the Sixties, they'd do this by knocking the Doctor unconscious and then having him disappear for four weeks. Yes, William Hartnell was the Madeleine McCann of his day (actually, as a slight detour, does anyone else think Kate McCann looks like publicity bloodhound Heather Mills-McCartney? Is it mere coincidence that the second old Macca gets shot of the good-help-in-the-garden-what-with-that-Dibber-leg-of-hers Columninches-avore, we suddenly get "Kate" in Portugal? Hmmmmm).

But you couldn't just go around knocking people out for the better (allegedly - see The Crown vs Mystery Guest & Rohypnol) and so a more permanent substitution was required. In Doctor Who they came up with the concept of regeneration, where a character can change his physical appearance (and his shoes) through the power of alien science. Thus giving himself a new life, and ensuring that the Time Lord branch of the Clark's franchise went bust three weeks after launching. It's an interesting method of rejuvenation, but it does make you wonder what the middle section of Gallifrey's "Heat" magazine would look like: "Top Ten Failed Regenerations!", "Borusa: Has He Had Some Changes Done?", "Then and Now: Flavia denies renegeration story", and of course, "No Knickers Britneytrelundar shows off her Eye of Harmony!"

Now it's a popular TV industry myth that "regeneration" came about in a desperate planning meeting. This was, of course, in the days way before Facebook where TV writers can now let everyone know they are stuck on a plot point by the simple expedience of the "" function. In 1966, Gerry Davis' page would have been headed, "Gerry Davis is... coming up with a form of alien rejuvenation and has just score 17 points on Scrabulous with "Cybermen" which he insists will be in the dictionary in decades to come, honest".

What actually happened was that there was a big TV producers meeting in a hired cottage in the Cotswolds and some concepts were put up for auction. Innes Lloyd won the bidding on "regeneration" with an offer of eight shillings and Verity Lambert's phone number. He lost out on his original desire for "electrocuted by a hairdryer" to Coronation Street, a bitter blow as he still had the prop from The Web Planet. The First Doctor's last words were supposed to be, "Right, a quick ten minutes with Heat - ooh look, Castellan Spandrell's armpit stains - while this bouffante dries and Yynnngngnghgh!" So that got chucked out.

In years to come, perhaps people will appreciate how much this little Cotswold meeting shaped television. For example, the future creators of Neighbours snaffled the "goes abroad and comes back looking like someone else but No One Ever Mentions This" concept. They then sued Dallas in 1984 to block Miss Ellie's unique entrace. This is true, and not something made up to get a cheap titter over "Miss Ellie" and "entrance".

Of course, the real highlight of this auction went to the moneymen behind the Bond films, who got "cast a new man and just ensure no one ever comments on it". This one's still working today, so that a tall brown-haired Irishman can turn into a stocky blonde and despite existing in a world where everyone spies on each other, no one notices a thing.

But anyway, to sum up, Lee's asked me to help out while he's ever so busy drawing pictures, which made me think about all these substitutions and how I might effect my own change. I discarded at an early stage just pretending to be Lee as I don't know enough similes for "minky". You'd spot the imposter at once.

So join me as I hopefully keep us thinking and chuckling along in the wonky school coach of Life. Will you be the one snogging Millie Badgerhunt in the back? Singing a racuous version of Kool & The Gang's "Get Down On It" with the hilarious insertion of the word "helmet"? Sitting there damp and smelling slightly of chlorine with a verruca plaster currently unseen trapped in your hair? Or getting ever more nauseous with every bump until you projectile vomit over Jane Madden, class goddess?

Anyway, hello. For a brief while I'm stepping into Lee's shoes. I'll be back to post later when I've sawn three inches from the heels and scrapped all the sequins off.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

La Petit Mort

As far as I remember, two kids died at our school while I was there.

The first one was a boy in the year below me in school. Now, to understand this, you have to know there is nothing to do in my home town. These days there's even less - the laughable 'high street' has now almost closed down with every store vacant or turned into an off-licence, nail bar or tanning salon. You can either get wasted or have french tips, those are your two options. At least in my day there was a Kwik-Fit to go and steal tyres from to make a swing over the disused railway line - not that I ever did. I was far too busy learning BASIC for that sort of outdoor shenanigans. But you can understand why kids turned to drugs quite early, though saying that, the budget for proper drugs never really rolled in, and kids had to be inventive, sniffing everything from aerosols to air fresheners. Some would rack up maker pens and sniff them sliding them back and forth, looking like they were playing the pan-pipes. If you came across someone in the changing rooms with a swipes of primary colours under their nose and a slightly glassy expression, you knew you weren't going to get a straight answer to the question "Can I borrow you RE homework?"

Apparently this got more and more extreme: people would spray aerosols into plastic bags and inhale the fumes. Further than that, apparently the fumes from certain melting plastic gave off something wonderfully hallucinogenic, and thusly a spate of kids hanging around fiery, melting bins and snorting became commonplace. Soon the new bus shelters had to be replaced with the old-style metal ones after they went up in flames with a circle of spaced-out teenagers lying around it and proclaiming themselves "The Space Rhinos from Galaxia  14".

Apparently the boy died while sniffing WD40 sprayed into a Threshers carrier. We were all told this in the sports hall, gathered there to have the news broken by uncharacteristically solemn teachers. They told us the dangers of what had happened and how sad they were for the friends of the boy. I didn't know him, and my reaction was to laugh. Not out of cruelty or spite, but because it was the one thing you shouldn't do, and so I did. I had to bury my head in my locker until it passed. I'm really not sure why I did that - I've never been that au fait with my emotions; the only other time I've had such an extreme reaction like that to something that was when my mother tried to get me in a polyester for my third school uniform. Oh man, there were tears then. Oh yes.

* * * * *

The second one who died was over Cannock Chase, a huge bit of parkland where deer wandered and teenage couples conceived their ungodly offspring. Thankfully the two things were separate; there were no antlered children running about the common. Though there were an awful lot of kids with webbed feet padding around the vast council estate called The Avenues due to some blurring of the line between 'lover' and 'family'. Still, they had a natural advantage in the swimming gala, so people didn't give them that hard a time.

Anyway, Cannock Chase. If you were hard, you used to hang around there, so to a swot like myself it seemed like a Woodstock of free love, motorbikes, and girls with easy virtues who ended up screaming down the school corridors "You can't dump me Darren, this is yours!" before dropping out of school early and go and live in Wayne House, an enormous tower block to the south of the town that echoed with the cries of new-born children and reeked of the disinfectant they use to hide the odor of urine.

Clearly my sister was always over on the Chase. She'd embraced the fun at a very early age, often came back reeking of mints at all hours. She told me one day that she'd come back so drunk that she'd been sick in her make-up drawer in the night, and only realised when she'd got up and reached in for some concealer to hide the bags under her eyes the following morning. She was 14 at the time. And spent most her lunch money on Diamond White.

She happened to be over Cannock Chase when the girl died. It was howling with rain and uncharacteristically warm for the midlands, and rather than run for shelter, people were running around in it and having fun. The girl - it's bad of me not to know her name, isn't it? She's only known as The Girl Who Died to swathes of us from that year - she was lying on the grass, laughing and joking with her friends when - POW! - a bolt of lightning came down and struck her. Completely out of nowhere.

The inquest recorded that the lightning had struck the underwire in her bra and killed her instantly. It was a ludicrous death that apparently she would have approved of, so people mourned her with a strange acquiescence. And lets face it, they're a backward lot in my hometown, so most of them were convinced that she'd displeased the Gods somehow and there was talk of sacrificing a goat on the steps of Tesco to appease them.

The thing that always gets me about this story is while The Girl Who Died was laughing her last, my sister was a hundred feet away. She'd decided to take shelter under a tree, a ludicrous mistake in itself, and happened to be holding the aluminium can of cider aloft when the lightning crashed down.

Monday, September 10, 2007


My first kiss was with a girl called Stella Hackett.

We were friends merely through convenient location rather than anything in common; her house was right next to the bus stop, the unofficial marker that indicated the furthest I was allowed to play from my house. Though as time wore on I came to realise that Stella was somewhat free with her affections with any of the local lads who happened to be passing - something that I myself would be emulating a few years down the line. So perhaps it was more a kindred spirit I saw through those pebble glasses of hers at my tender age of six.

I forget how it came about - though Stella was somewhat older than me, and thusly far more worldly wise and knew words like 'pre-cum' and 'mimsy' and so became the authoritarian on all matters to do with sex. She'd probably offered to teach me in order to stop me playing with her Perriot dolls for once. Of course I was instantly resistant and scared of getting something hideous, especially as girls at that age are considered somewhat "ewww!" (a steadfast mantra I've clearly carried on with for the rest of my life). She announced that "Germs was a man who tried to kill Jesus" and that's why they had a bad reputation and didn't actually exist. All in all, it was a somewhat elaborate method of getting the chewing gum I was currently mawling about my mouth. She duly took it in her own, passed it about her misshapen teeth and passed it back.

I don't remember the kiss itself. Clearly I've blanked it from my mind in the manner of victims of assult. But I remember breaking away from her and she announcing "Yes, now we do it with more tongue." More tongue, I thought? As it was she was like an electric eel probing around what were probably my milk teeth. I doubtless made some excuse and skipped off home to rearrange the furniture in my Big Yellow Teapot.

The thing is, while I was up the top of the garden, my sister was down the bottom engaged in similar activity with Stella's younger brother Neil. I'm sure my sister won't mind me saying - and she's even less likely to find out as she doesn't read this dastardly pink website. In fact, she doesn't want to read full-stop; not that she can't, she just doesn't bother. Two Jehovah's Witnesses called upon her once and tried to convert her, trying to hand over a Bible for her to digest. She just looked agog and asked them whether it was on DVD yet.

Anyway. There's the natural curiosity at that age, and even back then at that junior age I seemed to want to see what Neil had to offer more than Stella's tonsil-tickling sessions. The 'You show me yours and I'll show you mine" saying was banded about a few times to Neil and he seemed more than happy to flaunt his wares to me behind their garage, with an interesting caveat: he also wanted to see my arse as well. For some reason this completely befuddled my tiny brain and thought much better of it, shying away from both aspects. Clearly this has completely reversed these days and if any gentleman caller shows the slightest bit of interest I'll present like a mandrill. But at the time, you know, I think I was a little prudish about the whole thing. How odd to think that. I never got to see what Neil was hiding down his bri-nylon school slacks, more's the pity.

About that time, my parents put their first foot on the property ladder and we moved away from Stella, her Pierrot dolls, bus stop and apparent germ-free life shortly after that, and we never spoke again. By the next time I heard her name - in my new school's History class some eight years later - I'd almost forgotten of her existence. Two lads to my right were asking in a low voice who they would shag if they had to out of Sharon, the dumpy girl with the lazy eye, or Madelaine, the outcast Jehovah's Witness who smelled of urine and biscuits. When the poor unfortunate lass was chosen - with the obligatory "ewww!" - they then ranked the 'winner' against her or the apparently more vile Stella Hackett.

My ears pricked up at the name; it transpired that Stella hadn't changed her ways. Indeed, her new mission in life was entertaining lads who would get wasted at the local pub and come a-knocking on Stella's door after closing time to relieve themselves. In fact, she was so indiscriminate and welcoming to more than one lad after the next that her aforementioned mimsy was said to have been like a bill sticker's bucket after a good Friday night. Saturday nights were even worse and I imagine on a Sunday morning the act of her uncrossing her legs was somewhat akin to pulling apart a toasted cheese sandwich.

They caught me ear-wigging, and one of the lads said "Would you shag Stella then, Binding?" with a cruel inflection. I opened my mouth, unsure what to say. If I said no, they'd accuse me of being gay - again. If I said yes, I'd be branded a fool for sticking my member in something that was clearly as safe as a bee's nest. I wrestled this around my head for a while before I was shot down anyway: "Forget it," said one lad, name now lost to me as much as my virginity. "He wouldn't know what to do with it."

Which I thought was rather harsh. And somewhat incorrect: I had been enjoying a somewhat fruity relationship with a boy the year below me for a good couple of months.

But that, my dears, is a whole other story.