Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Monday, December 31, 2001

My Own Mini Review of 2001…
All in all 2001 has been a great year for me personally. Last year I made a very conscious decision as I was approaching the big 40 that I was going to go out more and do more stuff. That generally meant going out drinking more, eating out more, playing more games, more holidays and going to see more shows. These are all things that I enjoy doing anyway so it was no big challenge for 2001. However I think I have succeeded rather too well. I now regularly go to the RVT on a Sunday, am often in Bar Code after work, Marky and I are eating out more than we used to, Tuesdays have become regular Pop Quiz night, Fridays I usually play pool down at the Artful Dodger, we went away a lot and we saw loads of great shows and concerts last year. Work has been good too (not without its ups and downs; but hey, that’s life).

High Points of 2001
NotAWedding - London Partnership Registration
NotAHoneymoon - South Africa
40th Birthday party
Holidays – Amsterdam, Vienna, Madrid, Boston/New York
Concerts - Soft Cell (numerous times) and Goldfrapp
Starting this blog and meeting lots of other bloggers on both sides of the pond
Setting the Retro Bar Pop Quiz

Low Points of 2001
My cat Oliver died of cancer
London 2 Leeds 0...
Our trip to Leeds for New Years has been cancelled. The reason? Let's just just say that there was a divergence of opinion between Marky and our host on Saturday night that ended up with Marky travelling home on the Sunday. That means that we'll be in London tonight instead. Chris and Stu have invited us over for a dinner party tonight with the usual gang of Christopher & Craig and Tony & Gordon. Everyone is bring a course (either starter, main or desert). We're going to take some alcohol instead. Should be a blast!

Sunday, December 30, 2001

All work, all rest and all play makes Jonce a happy boy...
It's been a fun packed day or two since Marky went to Leeds.

On Friday my boss told me that he is prepared to buy back some of my holidays for cash. Fantastic. I still have 20.5 days annual leave to use for 2001 and I get an additional 25 days on January 1st for 2002. That'd give me 45.5 days to use! So I'm going to sell him back 15.5 days. That's over half a month's salary extra in my January pay cheque. Yippee! It'll help pay off some debts I've accrued in the last three months due to birthday, NotAWedding and NotAHoneymoon.

Later on I met with David and Marcus in Bar Code. It was nice to meet up and have a chat though the place was bit of a zoo. After an hour or two I sloped off in search of other pleasures. I jumped into a cab and popped into to the Artful for a play. I played some pool. I played away. I played at home.

I slept in on Saturday as I really needed the rest. When Marcus (no, not that Marcus) came round at 2pm I had to rush to get ready and we drove into town to do some work at my office. My boss had also agreed to give me TOIL when I work weekends so I didn't mind too much giving up my Saturday afternoon. We finished at about 4:30pm and then popped over to Expectations to do some more work.

By the time I got home I was knackered. I cooked myself a big juicy steak, cracked open a bottle of red and slumped in front of the telly watching 'Who Wants to Be A Millionaire'. I need an early night as I'm off to Leeds Sunday to join Marky for three nights.
Me? Straight acting...?
How Do You Rate?

Friday, December 28, 2001

At last Boy George's musical, Taboo, is about to open at The Venue, Leicester Square. It has previews from January 11th and opens on January 29th 2002. It's essentially about the early 80s pop scene, the outrageous fashions of the day, the hedonistic night clubs and the outlandish clothes. I can't wait. Why? You see I was there (sort of).
Taboo flyer
Back then I was just coming out. We Home Counties Queens normally contented ourselves with simply going to The Bell in Kings Cross, The Euston Tavern 'down the road', Traffic 'up the road' or The Pidgeons 'out East'. Rarely did we venture further south or west to The Union Tavern, Banana Max or (heavens!) The Coleherne. On special occasions though we would dress up and go into the West End to a special club. Wearing clothes I wouldn't be seen dead in now, carrying enough make-up to fill the Cheddar Gorge and an attitude that could kill at 50 paces we'd make a sweeping entrance at the only club to be seen in - Kinky Gerlinky. Actually back in the early and mid 80s there were a few clubs to be 'seen in'. Taboo was one and Kinky Gerlinky was another. I never went to Taboo though. I was a Kinky Girl through and through.

Once inside we'd get pissed ASAP (usually smuggling in a half bottle of vodka), dance to Spandau or the Durans or some such thing and then gape at the full-on party people who did all this so much better than us. The regular characters that went there (Philip Salon, Leigh Bowery, Boy George, Marilyn, Steve Strange et al) would dress up like Christmas trees and yet somehow could get away with it. They made their own clothes or had people do it for them. And they dressed to impress. We, meantime, just looked on - a bit sad really - basking in their reflected glory wearing whatever Camden Market had to offer. Still, we had fun. If Boy George managed to capture half the fun that we had on those nights out it'll be a show worth seeing.

My friend David is making the costumes so hopefully he can get us some freebies.

Ewan Morton playing Boy George Luke playing Billy Matt Lucas playing Leigh Bowery

Contrary to rumour, Paul Keating is NOT in it. The part of Boy George is actually to be played by Ewan Morton (a new comer) and the part of Leigh Bowery is going to be played by Matt Lucas (most famous as George Dawes on Shooting Stars).

The 1980's Margaret Thatcher rules politics, riots run through Brixton, Live Aid unites the world, the new romantics, style magazines, designer labels, and the Queen's Silver Jubilee were fresh in the minds of all the Great British Public. Boy George's new musical TABOO brings to life a decadent decade; a vibrant era of colourful dreams, dazzling fashion, and the beginning of pop culture, as we know it today.

Featuring 16 brand new songs alongside classics hits including 'Do You Really Want to Hurt Me' and 'Karma Chameleon' this witty and entertaining new musical takes on the life, times and styles of the innovators who shaped and defined the face of a decade. A love story of passion, ambition and betrayal unfolds alongside the journey of Boy George's rise and fall from International stardom.

Performances begin 11 January at The Venue, a stylishly retro, reclaimed dance hall off Leicester Square in the heart of London's West End.

The superb creative team for TABOO is lead by the multi award-winning West End and Broadway Director Christopher Renshaw with Book by 'This Life' writer Mark Davies-Markham, with designs by Tim Goodchild, choreography by Les Childs who recently choreographed Robbie William world tour and lighting is by Chris Ellis.


Incidentally, Boy George was seen scribbling away furiously at the disappointing Closer To Heaven last summer - let's hope he was taking lessons on what NOT to do. They've only booked a provisional 20 week run. Time will tell.
Damn, I wanted to be Tigger...

Take the 100 Acre Personality Quiz!
I Hate Kit...
My best friend in the whole wide world is Kit. And I hate him. Why? It's not just that he knows me better than anyone, nor is it that he won't let me get away with anything, it's not even that he knows where the bodies are buried. No the reason why I hate him is because he knows how to push my buttons. He knows how to tease me and get away with it. And I can be a prickly pear at times, believe me.

Kit and I met up last night for a chat and a giggle and a belated exchange of Xmas gifts. I gave him his Back Street Boys DVD (there Kit, I've outed you!) and he gave me something I can't divulge here. Anyway I happened to mention how upset I'd been over Steps splitting up on Boxing Day.

Me: "Shame about Steps splitting up, eh?"
Kit: "I didn't know you liked them."
Me: "What? Of course I liked them. I loved them. I cried when I heard that they'd spilt up"
Kit: "Oh"
Kit: "What was it then? Creative differences!"
Me: "Bastard!"
Sad to be all alone in the world...
For New Year Mark and I are going up to Leeds to stay with Ian. We are promised a fun packed night of bars, boys and boogie. We're both looking forward to it. Unfortunately though we can't go up there at the same time as I have some work to do tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon. So Mark is leaving this morning and I am going up on Sunday. That leaves me all on my own tonight and Saturday night. Any suggestions?

Thursday, December 27, 2001

Pet Shop Boys - News...
If you saw Closer to Heaven during it's run at the Arts Theatre earlier this year why not vote for it or for the lovely Paul Keating to win a People's Choice Award? At time of typing Paul is in a close 2nd place. Your vote may count!

Alternatively if you're a Sunday RVT fan like me you may fancy downloading 'Positive role model - Paul Keating Almighty Radio Version' (3.98MB) or 'My night - Full Length Version' (8.20MB) Once you've downloaded the file, you will need to change the file extention from .psb to .mp3
Pet Shop Boys – New Album and tour...
(Thanks to Bryn for alerting me to this!)

Pet Shop Boys have completed their new studio album (for release in Spring 2002) and will be previewing songs from the record in a series of university concerts in February. These culminate in a special headline appearance at an NME Brat 50th anniversary show at London’s Astoria on February 14, with a full list of support bands to be announced by NME.

Mirroring the direction of the new album, Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe will be joined on stage by two guitarists and a percussionist. Eight of the album’s ten tracks feature Johnny Marr on guitar but he will not be touring with them as he has other commitments.

Chris Lowe comments: "We’re really proud of these new songs and can't wait to play them in, what are for us, different venues". This tour will be the first time Pet Shop Boys have played in universities.

Pet Shop Boys new single, ‘Home and dry’, will be released by Parlophone in March to be followed by the as-yet-untitled new album.

On January 15 a busy period of activity for the duo kicks-off with the screening of a video made by Turner Prize-winning artist Wolfgang Tillmans to accompany ‘Home and dry’. The video, the first time Tillmans has worked in this medium, will be shown in the new art gallery (called ‘Inside Space’) in Selfridges, Oxford Street, for 10 days, beginning on Jan 15. Wolfgang Tillmans won the Turner Prize last year for his photography.

Meanwhile tickets are now on sale for the university tour, which plays:

Fri 8th BRISTOL UNIVERSITY (tel. 0870 444 4400/0117 929 9008)
Sat 9th KEELE UNIVERSITY (01782 583700)
Sun 10th NORWICH UEA (01603 508050)
Tue 12th TEESIDE UNIVERSITY (01642 342234)
Thurs 14th LONDON ASTORIA­ NME NIGHT (020 7344 4040) [SOLD OUT]

Tickets are £15 (£12.50 concessions/student/unemployed).

National credit card line 0870 400 0688

Buy on-line at:
www.gigsandtours.com or

Stargreen 020 7734 8932
Way Ahead 020 7403 3331
Bart - my special little guy...
(Thanko to Hanko)
The Beautiful Light Of Madness...
I got a very sweet e-mail the other day from a guy in Germany called Hanko (Hi Hanko!). He said some nice things about my site (flattery will get you everywhere) and says he's thinking of starting a German blog site - do it!. Today Hanko sent me an MP3 file of a Marc Almond song that I had never heard before. It's called The Beautiful Light Of Madness and was only performed live on the Fantastic Star tour. It's a great song in the style of I Created Me in that it comes direct from Marc's soul. His voice swoops and soars as he bears his all. My God I wish I had seen that show.

Und jetzt, auf Deutsch...

'Das Schön Leichte von Wahnsinn'...
Ich bekam neulich von einem Typ eine sehr liebe E-mail in Hanko genanntes Deutschland (Hi Hanko!). Er sagte einige nette Sachen über meiner Stelle, Schmeichelei wird Sie überall bekommen, und sagt, daß er daran denkt, eine deutsche blog-Stelle zu beginnen, machen Sie es!. Heute schickte mir Hanko eine MP3-Akte von einem Marc Almond-Lied, vor das ich nie gehört hatte. Es hat gerufen Das Schön Leichte von Wahnsinn und wurde nur aufgeführt, ernähren Sie sich von der Fantastic Star Tour. Es ist, ein großes Lied im Stil von Mir Schuf Mich darin, daß es kommt, leiten Sie von Marc's Seele. Seine Stimme stößt herab und steigt, wie er trägt, sein alles. Mein Gott, den ich wünsche, daß ich gesehen hatte, dieses zeigen Sie.
I'm gutted. My favourite pop act has decided to call it a day (sniff). We will all remember where we were when we first heard that Steps are to split. I was sitting on the sofa watching the Boxing Day BBC1 News. I cried.
The band say:
'After five incredible years, we have all decided that it is time to move on to new challenges. We have always said that when the time came we would leave as good friends and go out while we're on top, and although we are all very sad, that's what we have done. We are all looking forward to announcing our next plans - but for now we just want to send our heartfelt thanks and love to all the people who have supported us - you truly are the best fans in the world!'
Better Best (But Not) Forgotten.

Wednesday, December 26, 2001

Thank you, Father Christmas...
You have been especially generous this year.

Father Christmas Marky
Zelda: Ages
Zelda: Seasons
Arsenal away strip (shirt)
Arsenal away strip (shorts)

Father Christmas Paul & Father Christmas Madeline
Mouse Trap

Father Christmas Mum & Father Christmas Dad
8 piece stainless steel cutlery set
Mixed case of wine
'The Bear and The Dragon' - Tom Clancy
'Forward The Foundation' - Issac Asimov
'Nigella Bites' - Nigella Lawson

Father Christmas Joanna
2 pairs CK socks
Gold rimed photo frame
Non-stick frying pan

Father Christmas Simon & Father Christmas Dawn
2 gold framed pictures

Father Christmas Drew
'Your New Favourite Band' - The Hives
'Northern Lights' - Philip Pullman
Vespa T-shirt

Father Christmas Nikki
Cowboy ironing board cover
Kitchen glamour gloves
'The Sandman' - Miles Gibson

Tuesday, December 25, 2001

Secret Santa...
Thank you Secret Santa for my present.
Eastenders: The Musical...
Christmas Day TV is normally pretty crap. When I say normally of course I mean nearly always. Repeats of 'family films' like The Wizard of Oz and Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang, and dreadful Christmas 'specials' or one offs of tired old comedy shows. And don't get me started on the Queen's Speech.

Two things raised this year's BBC1 schedule above the norm however. First was Alistair McGowan's Big Impression which included the impressionist doing an extended skit on Eastenders including a big hilarious finish with Eastenders: The Musical. Regular readers will know I'm an Eastenders junkie so seeing it done in a musical style gave me the same thrill that Buffy fans must have enjoyed when they saw Buffy The Musical. Some of the Eastenders cast joined in the finale too which gave it a nice twist.

The second show that stood out was Eastenders itself. The most memorable moment was when Trevor pushes Little Mo’s face into her Christmas dinner. He knocks the plate to the floor, and throws his wife into it, making her eat the turkey. He's a nasty piece of work is our Trevor. Later on when he discovers Little Mo’s contraceptive pills (they were supposed to be trying for a baby) he beats here up as the camera pans to children singing carols on the TV. Very festive.
Christmas morning...
Mark's Dad has just left for Mass. Bacon is sizzling in the pan, scrabbled eggs are on and the champagne is ready to be uncorked. The presents are all waiting to be opened under the tree. There's a turkey in the fridge waiting to be cooked. The wine is chilled and ready to be quaffed. OK, it's not snowing but apart from that - it's a perfect Christmas morning. Happy Xmas everyone!

Especially all my friends in the US who have had a hell of a time of it these last few months.

Monday, December 24, 2001

Sunday, December 23, 2001

Google gets more than 150 million queries per day. That's a lot of hits. This gives Google a unique insight into what the Interwebnet people are looking for day by day. Google have added up all these hits and produced a Google Zeitgeist page that shows us their most popular search words for 2001. It sums up a year in a few words. Makes for interesting reading. (I've decided to post the full lists below to see if it makes my site hits total from Google go up - I'll let you know if it does)

2001 Year in Review Timeline

Top 20 Gaining Queries 2001
01. nostradamus
02. cnn
03. world trade center
04. harry potter
05. anthrax
06. windows xp
07. osama bin laden
08. audiogalaxy
09. taliban
10. loft story
11. afghanistan
12. nimda
13. american airlines
14. american flag
15. aaliyah
16. fbi
17. kazaa
18. lord of the rings
19. jennifer lopez
20. xbox

Top 20 Declining Queries 2001
01. pokemon
02. olympics
03. vote
04. gnutella
05. napster
06. election results
07. electoral college
08. darva conger
09. big brother
10. euro 2000
11. exit polls
12. wap
13. x-men
14. sydney olympics
15. election 2000
16. svetlana khorkina
17. florida supreme court
18. tatiana grigorieva
19. florida secretary of state
20. olympic gymnastics

Top 10 Women 2001
01. britney spears
02. pamela anderson
03. jennifer lopez
04. madonna
05. aaliyah
06. kylie minogue
07. shakira
08. anna kournikova
09. andrea thompson
10. mariah carey

Top 10 Men 2001
01. nostradamus
02. osama bin laden
03. eminem
04. michael jackson
05. howard stern
06. george harrison
07. josh hartnett
08. dale earnhardt
09. bob marley
10. michael jordan

Top 10 Movies 2001
01. harry potter
02. lord of the rings
03. final fantasy
04. tomb raider
05. shrek
06. pearl harbor
07. moulin rouge
08. planet of the apes
09. american pie 2
10. the fast and the furious

Top 10 Music Groups 2001
01. beatles
02. u2
03. nsync
04. backstreet boys
05. linkin park
06. pink floyd
07. metallica
08. limp bizkit
09. blink 182
10. enya

Top 10 New Products 2001
01. windows xp
02. xbox
03. playstation 2
04. gamecube
05. nokia 5510
06. internet explorer 6
07. nokia 3310
08. gameboy advance
09. ipod
10. nokia 8310

Top 10 Video Games 2001
01. counterstrike
02. the sims
03. operation flashpoint
04. moorhuhn 3
05. wolfenstein
06. commandos 2
07. empire earth
08. max payne
09. diablo 2
10. fifa 2002

Top 10 Sports Queries 2001
01. anna kournikova
02. tour de france
03. dale earnhardt
04. wimbledon
05. us open
06. british open
07. lisa harrison
08. melbourne cup
09. world series
10. new york marathon

Top 10 Brands 2001
01. nokia
02. sony
03. bmw
04. palm
05. adobe
06. dell
07. oracle
08. ferrari
09. honda
10. canon

Top 10 Retailers 2001
01. amazon
02. ikea
03. toys r us
04. walmart
05. circuit city
06. barnes & noble
07. costco
08. bed bath & beyond
09. abercrombie & fitch
10. gnc

Top 10 News Resources 2001
01. cnn
02. bbc
03. new york times
04. msnbc
05. washington post
06. fox news
07. cnet
08. associated press
09. le monde
10. the economist

Top 10 MP3 Music Services 2001
01. morpheus
02. napster
03. gnutella
04. kazaa
05. audiogalaxy
06. imesh
07. limewire
08. bearshare
09. aimster
10. mp3pro

Top 10 Television Shows 2001
01. loft story
02. big brother
03. simpsons
04. survivor
05. gran hermano
06. south park
07. friends
08. temptation island
09. buffy the vampire slayer
10. charmed

Saturday, December 22, 2001

Friday, December 21, 2001

Marvellous Marcus...
Marcus is a lovely, lovely man. He is kind, generous, good-looking, nubile, Swedish, big-hearted, broad-minded, fun to be with, witty, wise, patient, thoughtful, attentive, considerate, funny and a huge Kylie fan (like me). All this is a rather roundabout way of saying thank you, Marcus, for the fantastic birthday present (below).
Kylie loves Jonathan
Thanks a million, Marcus, for the sexy Kylie autographed picture and have a great Xmas and a rip-roaring Happy New Year - Jx
Separated at birth...
Either that or aliens have kidnapped Sparky and replaced him with Elvis Costello.
Fun Things to do With a Microwave...
Microwave ovens are essential to modern living. They can not only heat up nutritious Cuppa Soup, Pot Noodle and meal-in-a-bag sustenance but they can be a fun toy for all the family. You can put light bulbs in them (see them glow!), bars of soap (watch them grow!), or CDs (watch them sparkle!). Still not convinced? Frightened of damaging your oven or indeed yourself? Well check out this nutter who has done all the above and more and has the pictures to prove it.

Thursday, December 20, 2001

The World's Funniest Joke (so far)...
Starting back in September a science project headed by Dr. Richard Wiseman (University of Hertfordshire) in collaboration with the British Association for the Advancement of Science called LaughLab has been trying to find the world's funniest joke.

The current leader is:
Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are going camping. They pitch their tent under the stars and go to sleep. In the middle of the night Holmes wakes Watson up: "Watson, look up at the stars, and tell me what you deduce."
Watson: "I see millions of stars and even if a few of those have planets, it's quite likely there are some planets like Earth, and if there are a few planets like Earth out there, there might also be life."
Holmes: "Watson, you idiot, somebody's stolen our tent!"

Close second:
A couple of hunters are out in the woods when one of them falls to the ground. He doesn't seem to be breathing. The other whips out his mobile phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps out to the operator: "My friend is dead! What can I do?"
The operator, in a calm soothing voice says: "Just take it easy. First, let's make sure he's dead." There is silence, then a shot is heard. The guy's voice comes back on the line. He says: "OK, now what?"
Secret Messages...
Our game of secret messages is a little one-sided as David's referrals don't seem to work properly.
Great Cockup...
Want to go to Wetwang, Bushy Bottom or Nob End? Find out where these quaint little places are, and loads of other rude sounding UK places besides, by clicking here. [Thanks to the Guardian for the link]
The Rose & The Ring...
Last night Ian, David, Mark and I went to see a new musical / fireside pantomime at our local theatre pub The Hen and Chickens. Much acclaimed, The Rose & The Ring is based upon the novella by William Makepeace Thackeray (which you can read here) and is stuffed full of wonderful tunes (Michael Jeffrey) and award-winning, puntastic lyrics (Peter Morris). The company were first class, belting out thigh-slapping ditties and heart felt laments without a hint of irony. With it's abundant use of tiaras, leather boots, heavy makeup it was a romp that cleverly indulged in theatrical camp, yet steered clear of more obvious homosexual camp. It was kind of' Shakespeare - The Musical'. Great fun.

Cast members that require special mention are:-
Paul Keating, who played Prince Giglio, was suitably cute but his ability to hit / maintain a note left something to be desired.
Julie-Alanah Brighten, who played Fairy Blackstick, could not only sing (especially 'A Little Misfortune') but also sounded a little like the late Marti Caine.
Oliver Senton, playing Padella (among others), who threw himself into his role with such gusto.
Jeremy Worsnip, playing evil would-be king Valoroso, looked and acting suitable menacing while delivering the best song of the night 'Spectable'.

Wednesday, December 19, 2001

Serious Retail Therapy...
When you're feeling low: go shopping. This afternoon I spent two hours shopping in Oxford Street (most of the Xmas pressies bought now) and when I got back to the office I bought £60,000 worth of computer equipment. I feel much better now.
I'm generally a very happy person. I smile a lot and laugh a lot. I love life. However occasionally I will inexplicably feel sad. Low. I don't know what brings it on. It just happens. Sometimes it lasts a few hours - but it has been known to last for days, even weeks. More occasionally still (maybe once a year?) these periods of sadness can turn into something much worse. I can get into a black mood. Black moods are dreadful. Sometimes they manifest themselves as a dissatisfaction with any- and everything around me - I end up hating things that I normally love, or believing people hate me (paranoia). Sometimes it is simply depression, a blackness that descends upon me, suffocating me. I hate myself when it happens. I can't stop it though. It's like falling from a great height - you can't prevent yourself from falling and you are so very painfully aware that sooner or later something hard is going to break your fall. I can't talk myself out of these moods either. I just have to wait for them to pass. Luckily I can spot the signs so I tend to avoid people when I'm starting to feel low just in case it turns into a black mood. Mark (who is a Trojan in these situations) thinks I should talk to someone about it professionally but to be honest I don't want to discover that deep down I hate myself. I'd rather be happy 99% of the time and deal with the other 1% sadness as and when it happens.

Somebody once said to me, "whenever you're feeling low remember that every night, someone thinks about you before they go to sleep." That helps. A little.
Damp Squib...
After all the build up to our Christmas Party Under the Sea, it turned out to be a bit naff. Sure, we had fun of sorts but corporate banqueting can be a bit of a trial at the best of times. Mass catering never serves up anything more than adequate, Miss Simkin's from Accounts always has one too many when the booze is free and you always get stuck talking to the most boring people that you spend the rest of the year avoiding. To help numb all the effects we hit the bottle big time. This helped for a few hours. By the time they started playing the music that you would only ever hear at a wedding we knew it was time to leave. So at midnight (in true Cinderella fashion) we fled.

When we got home we did what any normal couple would do. We wrote our Christmas cards. Only thing was, we were completely blotto by that point. Goodness only know what we wrote. So apologies if you get a drunken scrawl from us this year.

Tuesday, December 18, 2001

Goodbye, Bryn...
Last Friday Bryn had a leaving party prior to her flying back to the States. A crowd of her friends including Benedict (Hi Ben!) gathered downstairs at the Village to see her off and wish her well. Her work visa has expired and she has had to leave. It's be fun getting to know Bryn - and indeed Larissa - over the past six months. We first met on Gloria Hunniford's Open House, then we met up in Madrid, for drinks, at my birthday party, at my office (!), at the Brixton Academy and final at the Union Chapel (twice!).
Bryn and Larissa
Bon voyage, sweetie, and good luck with the Dutch passport.
London Pride...
You heard it here first: Meridian Delta will win this afternoon's bid for the Millennium Dome. What's more the plans are currently that this coming year's London Gay Pride will not be in Finsbury Park (as it has been for the past few years) but at the newly owned Dome. I wonder if the Pride committee know that it is the US Republican and homophobe, Philip Anschutz, who is the guy who's fronting the bid for the Dome.
Atlantis Pride...
Our work Atlantis-themed Christmas party at London Zoo in Regents Park is tonight. And it is the first time in four years that same-sex partners have been allowed to our Christmas party.

When our previous MD joined the company for the start of his three-year stint he decided that the Christmas party was 'a family time' and encouraged people to bring their children. Same-sex couples were 'not welcome' - unfortunately still a legal thing to do. Needless to say I refused to go by myself. Either I went with Mark or not at all. In fact as word spread around the company about the same-sex ban (not by me you understand - the personnel department were outraged and told the typing pool) more and more people decided not to go. In the end all but the management team boycotted the event. The following two years the Christmas party was cancelled completely. HA!

Now we have a new, much more enlightened, MD. He is positively welcoming of all people and their partners. So tonight Marky and I will be dressing up in black tie and walking into the marquee hand in hand with heads held high. We're back!

Sunday, December 16, 2001

Finally got the wretched things working at last. Thanks Phil.
So: Graham Norton...
Four years ago we were regulars at the Screamers comedy night on Wednesdays at the Yard. Mainly a gay comedy club it showcased such talent as Tina C, Ursella Martinez and the wonderful Graham Norton. Now Graham has his own Friday night Channel 4 talk show, So:Graham Norton, which is also being screened in the United States and Canada too. So successful is he now that he has a string of awards including 2 Baftas, an International Emmy and another win at last night's British Comedy Awards for best comedy entertainment programme. Interesting to see that the "racy TV presenter" is set to get a talking waxwork in Madame Tussaud too. His waxwork, dressed in one of his Versace suits, will be ready to talk to visitors to the London Madame Tussaud's by the end of December.
The real Graham's on the left
Apparently his figure will talk at the touch of a button - well, series of buttons in fact. Each rated (i.e. censored) for the appropriate audience. Ranging from a 'U' will be "I've had a full body wax and didn't feel a thing" through to '18' which will be "I'm not usually this stiff". Oh dear. Make you money while you can, Graham. Five series of "So" in a little over two years might be bordering on overexposure.

Friday, December 14, 2001

Sports and Shorts Xmas Party...
Tomorrow night is the SnS Xmas do. I shall be there - in full kit as ever.
Scally and Jonathan Camera Girl Smoozing with the starts
From the SnS site: Channel 4 were filming at our October Sports Kit Night. They followed one of our regulars (me!) round all day, shopping for kit at the Arsenal Shop, getting ready to go out, and going to Sports Kit Night at the Stag. Then they inteviewed some of our regulars about their love of Sports Kit, what they like about it, and what they do in it (ooer, well it is a late night show). The show will be broadcast in February, and we'll keep you posted about the day and time so you can set the video.
And talking of Google...
Being vain I thought I'd put my name into Google and see what came up. And guess what appeared top of the list? What happens when you put your name into Google?
Link of the day...
As others seem to do this regularly I thought I'd try it out. Someone searched Google for Linkin Park violence Andy Williams and found me. How quaint. Give him one from me, boys.
Black out...
There's been a power-cut in our office for the last hour. I've wheeled a huge UPS into my office and I am running a heater, a lamp, our leased line router and my PC off it - so I'm sorted (for 40 minutes anyway!). We're all supposed to hang around in case the power comes back on. But when the sun goes down (very soon) it'll not only going to be cold (the heating's off) but dark too (the lights are all off). Early trip to the pub anyone?
Faith Of The Heart...
Enterprise co-creator and executive producer Rick Berman is well aware of the negative reaction towards the Enterprise theme song, 'Faith of the Heart,' but he still thinks it is very appropriate for the series. "I'm in the horrible minority of people who like the song," Berman told Sci-Fi Wire. "I think it fits beautifully." The producer is unfazed by the uproar over Trek's first lyrical theme. "I think it's a song that's got a lot of hopefulness and uplifting qualities to it," Berman said. "And I like it. I've met a lot of other people who like it, but I've also heard a tremendous amount of banter about people who don't. And what's a Star Trek series without something for people to hate?" Berman's view is shared by fellow Enterprise executive producer, Brannon Braga (story). "We can't please everybody," Braga said in an October interview. "There are some people who love the song and there are people who think it's cheesy. They came with a petition with 1,000 signatures. But plenty of people find the song very uplifting." 'Faith of the Heart' was written by Academy Award nominated songwriter Diane Warren, and performed by British opera sensation Russell Watson. The song was recorded by Rod Stewart for the movie 'Patch Adams.'
Like it or loathe it? Mark loves it. I think it's pants.
Snowball fight!...
I got to level 4 - beat that!

Thursday, December 13, 2001

Marc Almond at the Union Chapel 2000…
Last year (also on 12th December) I went to go see Marc Almond at the Union Chapel. That concert was recorded and is now available as a CD at the current concerts or direct from The Theatre Of Marc Almond web site.
Marc Almond CD front
The CD is a very good recording capturing the atmosphere of last years show very well. It is especially collectable as it contains the only recording of I Created Me. The picture on the back cover (below) is of Marc singing Saint Judy from the pulpit. Sadly something he doesn't repeat in this years show.
Marc Almond CD back
Pop along to the fantastic Oozak site and take a listen to kazoo version of Billie Jean, Groove is in the Heart and Smells Like Teen Spirit. [Link from The Guardian]
Marc Almond at the Union Chapel 2001…
I couldn’t mention that I was going to see Marc yesterday as it was meant to be a surprise birthday treat from my brother Simon - and I know he reads my site. I was also treating my sister-in-law, Dawn and my sister Joanna as early Christmas presents. They are all big Soft Cell fans so they kind of knew what to expect but none of them had seen Marc perform solo before. I knew they were in for a wonderful evening. What I didn’t realise was just how wonderful it was going to turn out to be.

We got down to the Union Chapel at about 7:30pm (when the doors were due to open – or so I thought). There was no queue. Odd. In fact the doors had opened at 7pm. Everyone was already inside and the support act (?) (Radiohead sound-a-likes) were already in full flood. We took our seats (second row from the back) and got a couple of beers. After the first band had finished there was a brief interval. We spotted some familiar faces way down the front in the middle and so went to say hello. To get their front row / middle seats Bryn and Larissa had been queuing since 4:10pm (Mad! Quite mad!). They had been keeping themselves warm with frequent trips to refuel with champagne at Oddbins across the road (So not quite so mad, then!). Apparently the second set of people to start queuing arrived at about 5pm. Not quite such big fans. Obviously. Also near the front was sexy David. “I’m a bit drunk”, he said. I smiled and held eye contact with him for slightly longer than was strictly necessary. Britta was also in the front row. She had arrived at about 6pm (if I remember correctly). I have something to give her tonight. I like Britta.

Finally the lights dimmed and at 8:15pm Marc appeared. Dressed in his long black leather jacket sporting his bleached blonde (almost white) Tin-tin quiff.

He opened with Glorious following it up with Come Out (both songs from his latest Stranger Things CD). The crowd went semi-mad. His voiced seemed in good shape for these opening numbers but the sound system was a little distorting so many words were if not lost then at least harder to understand.

Marc when did a bit of audience chat. “Welcome to a hit-free evening of gloom”, he said. He then welcomed on stage two violinists from the Marc and the Mambas days and proceeded to do Under Your Wing (again from Stranger Things), his alternative version of Almost Diamonds and Night & Dark (both from Open All Night). All three songs were haunting renditions – Joanna leaned across to me at one point and whispered , “What fantastic words!” Too true.

We then were treated to a run through Marc’s back catalogue with Black Heart (the Mambas only 7” single back in 1982) and Motherfist (always a good sing-a-long from Motherfist and Her Five Daughters). Then Marc sang Midnight Soul (again from Open All Night). This was obviously going to be a show for the fans.

The crowd all hushed for What Makes A Man. Moving and well sung, if a little rushed for my taste. Marc’s voice almost seemed to be getting a little shaky from this point on. He rather galloped through the next five or six numbers in fact. There Is A Bed (from Motherfist and Her Five Daughters), Broken Hearted and Beautiful (originally a B-side from the Ruby Red 12”), Jacky (from Tenement Symphony - Marc even forgot the works – twice!), Moonbathe Skin (from Stranger Things) and Champagne (again from Tenement Symphony).

Then Marc sang a Charles Aznavour song Our Love, My Love which went down so well at last year's gig.

The closing run of tracks were all simply sensational. Caroline Says (a Mambas track from Untitled), I'm Sick Of You Tasting Of Somebody Else (another Ruby Red B-side). Tragedy (from Open All Night), These My Dreams Are Yours (from The Stars We Are) and his new track I Created Me that brought the house down.

A short pause for a change of outfit and Marc come back on to do two numbers as an encore. The much hinted at Ruby Red (from Motherfist and Her Five Daughters) and Torment (from the Mambas Torment and Toreros). He had been on stage for 1 hour 50 minutes (the same running time as last year). We left with the words to that final song ringing in our ears, “more and more and more and more…”

The show was more than I could have hoped for. An inspired mix of old and new, cherry-picking from his back catalogue of obscure (yet fabulous) album tracks and B-sides that we love him for. It was Marc’s show start to finish. We were just there to watch the master perform. He is a world class entertainer unmatched by many for sheer vocal and lyrical talent.

Oh, and my brother loved it too.

Wednesday, December 12, 2001

Pop Quiz…
We didn't win last night but we came close. A mere 16 out of a possible 20 – but it was enough to secure us 2nd place and a prize of a Santa Selection chocolate box each. There wasn't much money up for grabs for the winners (£26 and a bottle of bubbly) and the money had to go as this was the last Pop Quiz of the year - next week is the pantomime and the following weeks are Xmas and New Years.

Our team name was ‘The Mincing Pies’ - inspired by the free Christmas crackers and minced pies on offer (courtesy of the gorgeous Wendy). Our team consisted of David, Dave, Ian and myself. The ever lovely Marcus seemed happy to watch – though he was there for another reason (more of that later).

The theme of the quiz was Christmas records.

01. What was last year’s UK Xmas no. 1? Simple really.
02. ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’ by John and Yoko and The Plastic Ono Band with the Harlem Community Choir was been released 4 times in the UK but what year was it first released?
03. Who had a hit with ‘Wonderful Christmastime’?
04. Who had a hit with ‘2000 Miles’
05. Spot the connection between ‘A Spaceman Came Travelling’ and ‘Driving Home For Christmas’ (clue: it’s not a travel connection)
06. ‘Step Into Xmas’ – Elton John, ‘Merry Xmas Everyone’ – Shakin’ Stevens and ‘Another Rock and Rollin’ Xmas’ – Gary Glitter. What are their real names?
07. Who took ‘I Believe’ to the top of the charts in 1953 for an incredible 18 weeks?
08. Who sang ‘Lonely Pup (In A Christmas Shop)’?
09. Dido has recorded a Xmas record. Can you name it?
10. Which two boy bands sang ‘I Don't Wanna Spend One More Christmas Without You’ and ‘Christmas Time’?
11. How many weeks was Whitney Houston’s version of ‘I Will Always Love You’ at no. 1 in 1992.
12. Who was recently rerecorded ‘Islands In The Stream’ with Dolly Parton?
13. What three successive years were the Spices Girls at the Xmas no. 1 slot with ‘Too Much’, ‘2 Become 1’ and ‘Goodbye’?
14. Can you name Willy Nelson’s Christmas hit?
15. Who covered Wham’s Last Xmas in 1995?
16. “Rocking around the Christmas tree at the Christmas party hop.
Mistletoe hung where you can see every couple tries to stop.
Rocking around the Christmas tree, let the Christmas spirit ring.
Later we'll have some pumpkin pie and we'll do some carolling.
You will get a sentimental feeling when you hear”… what are the next 12 words?
17. Who sang ‘Frosty The Snowman’, ‘Sleigh Ride With You‘ and ‘I Saw Mama Kissing Santa Claus’. The Crystals or The Ronettes?
18. Who has a current chart hit with a cover of ‘Country Roads’?
19. What is Cliff Richard’s current chart hit?
20. Who has a current chart hit ‘I Believe In Xmas’?
If you can get any of the answers drop them in my comments below.
All in a good cause...
Shameless, Shel. But if you don't ask you don't get. Pop over and see my friend Shel and give a litttle bit to charity while you're there.
Hi Jon,
Since I don't have you on my AIM/MSN lists (hint hint ;-) I am pimping my blogiversary penny drive for charity... if you could mention it on your site for me if you feel it's worthwhile, i'd appreciate it...
there's banners and buttons there too
When Louis Met The Hamiltons...
When I got in from Pop Quiz tonight (we didn't win but came second and won a Santa Chocolate Selection each for our trouble - more details later) Mark had taped a documentary for me - When Louis Met The Hamiltons. Louis Theroux is an interviewer par excellence and has done the dirty on a range of other subjects from the KKK to faded magician Paul Daniels. He is relaxed and manages to get his subjects to condemn themselves out of their own mouths. He lets people be themselves. A rare gift.
Louis and The Hamiltons
Neil Hamilton is an attention seeking, disgraced ex-Tory MP with a battle-axe wife, Christine. Louis just happened to be making a documentary about them when a sensational story broke around them. The Hamiltons were bizarrely accused of rape. Two weeks later the case was dropped but the inside story that made up the bulk of the documentary made for a fasinating 80 minutes of television. Far from being irritating the Hamiltons come across as an oddly charming couple, very British, full of stiff upper lip but ultimately both flawed characters. Their fatal weakness for publicity is their undoing. They just can't resist a photocall. And then complain about the press's attentions. So you're left feeling that whatever the rights and wrongs of their escapades they are getting exactly what they ask for. If you live by the sword you die by the sword.

Tuesday, December 11, 2001

What do you give the man who has everything?...
Clue: remember Play-Doh. Well relive those memories with some of these fun templates below. Only these templates aren't for Play-Doh, they're for the turdtwister. You may wish to exercise or stretch your rectal opening prior to inserting the device. Trial insertions with other, smaller objects may ease the anxiety some users experience on using the Turd Twister for the first time. Start with something small, such as a pencil, or your finger, working your way up to thicker items such as a candle or a turkey-baster.
templates templates templates templates templates templates templates templates templates templates templates templates templates templates templates templates templates templates
[Thanks for Michael for the link]
UK Christmas Number One Singles...
1973 Merry Xmas Everybody - Slade
1974 Lonely This Christmas - Mud
1975 Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
1976 When A Child Is Born - Jonny Mathis
1977 Mull Of Kintyre - Wings
1978 Mary's Boy Child - Bony M
1979 Another Brick In The Wall - Pink Floyd
1980 (Just Like) Starting Over - John Lennon
1981 Don't You Want Me - Human League
1982 Save Your Love For Me - Rene And Renata
1983 Only You - The Flying Pickets
1984 Do They Know It's Christmas? - Band Aid
1985 Saving All My Love For You - Whitney Houston
1986 Caravan Of Love - The Housemartins
1987 Always On My Mind - The Pet Shop Boys
1988 Mistletoe And Wine - Cliff Richard
1989 Do They Know It's Christmas? - Band Aid II
1990 Ice Ice Baby - Vanilla Ice
1991 Bohemian Rhapsody/These Are The Days Of Our Lives - Queen
1992 I Will Always Love You - Whitney Houston
1993 Mr Blobby - Mr Blobby
1994 Stay Another Day - East 17
1995 Earth Song - Michael Jackson
1996 2 Become 1 - The Spice Girls
1997 Too Much - The Spice Girls
1998 Goodbye - The Spice Girls
1999 Seasons In The Sun/I Have a Dream - Westlife
2000 Bob The Builder - Can We Fix It?

I own seventeen of these - only six of which I would buy again. How many do you own?
Dr Terrible's House of Horrible...
You may think David's gone mad and turned into a gibbering wreck of incoherent words. And you'd be right. That's because we both watched the same thing last night. And it was a scream.

David and I have taken to having Monday night SMS chats. He in Kilburn and me in Highbury. First there's University Challenge to mull over. Are the contestants cute? Are the questions easy? Is it a close match? Do they have a gay question setter? Every few minutes our phones beep with some pithy comment from each other.

Following that was 'The Kumars At No 42'. The creative team behind 'Goodness Gracious Me!' Genuinely funny Indian humour in a spoof chat show/Indian family home setting. Very Alan Partridge. Which brings us on to...

Dr Terrible's House of Horrible. Steve Cogan's latest foray into TV. Not quite as funny as Alan Partridge or Paul/Pauline Calf but funny enough to have us laughing. Some of the episodes have been a bit duff but last night's episode featuring Voodoo Feet was a real return to form. I only hope David was watching it alone (as I was) as our constant SMS message would have annoyed the hell out of anyone else in the room.

And tonight don't miss When Louis Met The Hamiltons. It's going to be fantastic. I shall have to tape it as David keeps seeking assurance that I'm going to Pop Quiz (reason undisclosed).

Monday, December 10, 2001

It didn't look that big in the shop window...
I waited at home this morning for the arrival of a new bed for our spare room. Marky's Dad is coming to stay with us for Christmas so we thought we'd better get him something comfortable to sleep on. Unfortunately we hit a slight snag when trying to get the bed off the van and in to the flat.

Note to self: when ordering new beds check dimensions. Especially check that size doorway >= size of bed.

Anyone got any ideas for getting something massive into something modest?

Sunday, December 09, 2001

Paint your palette blue and grey...

If I were a work of art, I would be Vincent Van Gogh's The Starry Night.

I am a tiny village at peace while overhead rages the tumult of the heavens. Objects whirl and flash around me in a fevered haze only partially reflected in reality while I remain grounded and secure in my isolation.

Which work of art would you be? The Art Test

[Thanks to Sparky for the link]
WTC, UFO and all that...
Aliens, UFOs and the World Trade Center on September 11th.
In a devastating piece of investigative journalism, a Japanese web site's owners have located two pieces of film - once close to the Twin Towers, one further back, which both show a mysterious black object shooting across the sky as the second plane crashes. It behaves like no airplane we know.

To the layman, this may look like a small imperfection in a tiny patch of video film or some crudely knocked up hoax - but to the trained eye, it is quite clearly an alien aircraft.

See for yourself.

[Thanks to The Register for the item]
You, the Knight and the music…
There was no Ant and Dec on SM:TV Live or CD:UK yesterday. They have left for bigger and (I suspect not) better things. Cat Deeley was left to run the show(s). It just wasn’t the same. The show(s) felt a bit naked without them. I suspect the planned series of ‘guest presenters’ will do nothing to help either. Shame.

One item that they had on CD:UK that was of note though was a telephone interview with (please call me Sir) Elton John in Las Vegas. There was a sour faced picture of him on the screen while he denied rumours of leaving the music industry. Naturally he was on to plug something, in this case his new single “This Train Don’t Stop Here Anymore” – a rather charming return to form for our Elton. So impressed was I that I think I shall add 'Songs From The West Coast' to my Amazon wish list.

'This Train…' perhaps appropriately, features the backing vocals of Gary Barlow (the dullest man in pop) and the video features sexy little Justin Timberlake (the luckiest man in pop).

Personally I quite like ‘pop will eat itself’ / self-referential / up its own arse pop videos. And this is a prime example. Justin Timberlake plays Elton John in the video circa 1974 and I must say he pulls it off rather well.

I can see The Sun headline now. “Britney Spear's boyfriend, Justin Timberlake, pulls off Elton John!” Fnah, fnah.

Saturday, December 08, 2001

Art for Art's sake...
Nikki, Marky, David, Marcus, Ian and I toddled along to the art exhibition last night. A work in progress I believe would be the best description. The church was very cold, the art less so. We didn't see anything that really grabbed us but at the same time there were some very interesting pieces. In particular a full scale hollow wax female nude statue candle by Victoria Ann Jones.
Victoria Ann Jones
After the exhibition we went to the Edward VI and then Marky, Ian and I went on to the Spiral. Much fun was had. Well, I guess it was - I found a number in my pocket this morning!

Friday, December 07, 2001

Chequebook, Jerry!...
There's a new art exhibition opening near us tonight. It's at an old church behind Highbury Hill that's been converted into an art studio / gallery. The last opening there was when David and I were in NYC. Mark went that time though and loved it. He said that there were ten different artists displaying - mainly paintings; some abstract art and some modern art.

Apparently the gallery is run by Frank and his partner Rod (who also runs a Spec Savers in TCR bizarrely enough). Getting down to brass tacks, the place has a bar (main thing!) and last time there were lots of cute boys (another main thing!).

I'm not exactly being dragged there but Mark has been hinting that we need some art for the flat. So I'll be taking my chequebook. I feel like Jerry Ledbetter from The Good Life.
My boss just came storming into my office and said, "you ARE going on a training course. I don't care where you go, what you spend or for how long you go but you are required to be trained and that is what is going to happen. Don't do it in your own time either!"

Eeeks! So can the panel recommend any good computer related courses / training centres in London?

Areas of interest are:-
- Microsoft Certified Professional / Engineer courses
- Microsoft Exchange 2000 Admin courses
- Basic web site design (Dreamweaver, FrontPage)
- Basic Flash
- anything else?

(and no, David, I'm not going on a basic English language spelling course!)
Go give someone we know a pat on the back. He is the new Books Editor at the Electronic Telegraph. I see many swanky book launches ahead. You work them, girl.

Thursday, December 06, 2001

I Created Me...
I hope I’ll know when the end has come
I hope I’ll know when to surrender
For they say the spotlight can be harsh
When your years need something tender

How will I recover from the end?
Will it come with a thud?
Will it be a painless transition?
Dipped in honey or drenched in blood

I hope I’ll have no confusions
About those gruelling illusions

I created me
From dreams and fantasies
I created me
I created me
I created me
A little irony
‘Cos I hated me
So I created me

Will you still love me without my make-up?
When the darkness falls
And there’s no more ovations
No more curtain calls

Will you still love me without my make-up?
Or when the light turns cruel
Will you see me as a fallen hero?
Or simply as a fool

I created me
From dreams and fantasies
I created me
I created me
I created me
A little irony
‘Cos I hated me
I created me

So where has all the glamour gone?
And where are all the stars?
Where are all the dreams I had?
The ones I had when young

So where has all the glamour gone?
Now everything’s painfully the same
Don’t think I’ll ever get a chance to taste it
All over again
I created me
From dreams and fantasies
Start with a shady past
And crutches built to last
Threw in a little fate
Left it to marinate
With bitterness and bile
It festered for a while
I created me
I created me
I created me
I created me
I created me
I created me

So you stand there taking all the credit
Saying you gave me every line before I’d even said it
Yes it’s true you helped a little with the shaping
And stuck the knife in when I was aching

Just a little pain
With every hurtful name
It’s true you built the base
But I gave the pain a face
I created me
From words that always hurt
The ones that cut you deep like bender and pervert
Weirdo, sicko, freak
Queer and faggot too
Yes it’s true my dears
I’m in debt it’s sure to you

But just remember that the end’s not always final
‘Cos I’ll live forever on CD and vinyl

So go now, for God’s sake, let me be
‘Cos I created me

I created me
I created me
I created me
I created me

I created me

[Words and music: Marc Almond]
Marc at Union Chapel (update)...
If you want to watch last year's concert AND be able to control what part of the fabulous 1hour 48min 57sec show you watch, pop along to http://www.virtuetv.com/music/concerts/marcalmond/intel/w_250.asx. Zip along to 1hour 39mins to see him sing St Judy from the pulpit. Class. Or at 1hour 23mins see him sing 'I Created Me'. 6 full minutes of bliss.
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...
Is it me or does Christmas come round faster every year? Maybe it's because I'm getting older and the years go faster. Or maybe it's that I'm truly realising what a blatantly commercial exercise the whole thing is and dread it financially.

Nothing new in thinking that, of course. Christmas has long been considered an excuse to sell junk to punters. 'Our most important selling period'. But why do we spend so much money at this time of year? 40% of all sales occur in the run up to Christmas. Suddenly we are gripped with this urge to buy things. Spend money we often don't have. Why? Is it simply because we feel we have to? Present pressure, if you like.

I heard a commentator on the radio the other day saying that you shouldn't buy Christmas presents. His reasoning was summed up in a single question. "Can you remember what you got for Christmas last year?" The answer he predicted would be "No, I can't". So he concluded that why bother wasting all that money when no one remembers what they gave or what they got. It's pointless.

I related this to Mikey last night and his response was, "that's all very well but you'd sure remember if your mother didn't get you anything!" Fair point.

I know people who 'opt out' of Christmas entirely. Stay indoors and watch TV. Others I know go away for Christmas. Go somewhere hot and lie on a beach. I can hardly blame them. As this year I am completely devoid of Christmas spirit. This year I can't wait for it all to be over. This year Christmas is cancelled.

Bah, humbug!

(And any ghosts of Christmases past, present and future who may be reading this can shove off!)
Marky's birthday bash...
Last night we went out for Marky's birthday. Starting off at The Mitre in Upper Street we met up with Michael and Nikki. Then moving on to Le Petit Auberge for food we were joined by Colin, Micky and Christpoher. Presents were given, toasts were made, songs were sung. Much alcohol (but little carbohydrate) was consumed and the waiters and waitresses joined in all the fun too. Marky told us some of his stories from Russia (something about a prison sauna, some twigs and a lady in full make-up - I choose to forget the details). From there we moved on to The Edward IV where we bumped into Neil. At midnight we were swept out with the rest of the rubbish and decided to call it a night. Good food and good company - a successful night all round. And Mark certainly seemed to enjoy himself which was the main thing.

Wednesday, December 05, 2001

Look acerbic up in the dictionary and this is what you find.
Nasty Virus...
If you get a e-mail message entitled "Hi" with an attachment called 'goner.scr'. Delete it ASAP. It is a very naughty virus. I've had over 100 copies sent to me this morning alone.
Happy Birthday Scally...
Go wish David a Happy Birthday too.
Marc Almond Webcast...
[This straight from Bryn]

Not everyone is fortunate enough to see Marc Almond perform live, and for those living too far away, tomorrow is your lucky day! The concert Marc did at Union Chapel last December will be webcast tomorrow, Wednesday, for all to enjoy. Watching on a computer screen certainly won't have the same effect as hearing it live, but I hope it will give some sense of what is so magical about his music.


From California: 9:00 a.m.
From New York: 12:00 p.m.
From London: 5:00 p.m.

If you like what you hear, you can purchase the CD of the very same live show from www.marcalmond.co.uk beginning 15 December.

Bryn XX
Happy Birthday Marky...
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday dear Marky
Happy Birthday to you

Tuesday, December 04, 2001

Pop Quiz...
We won, we won, we won. More details here.
Late and late...
A big thank you to Guy for by birthday present that just this second arrived: Monty Python's Life Of Brian. The release had been delayed by a couple of months so that's why the Amazon delivery was late.
Spooky then that the Executive Producer of the film is also late... George Harrison.
Project Ginger...
IT has arrived. IT is here. IT could be the most significant invention since the Internet, something that will "change lives, cities and ways of thinking".
Alternatively, it could be a motorised scooter.
Harry Potter and the (insert correct regional word here) Stone...
Well it's a long film, well over 2 hours. But ultimately worth watching. Or was it? Remaining so/too faithful to the book it had few surprises and was a little like listening to Stephen Fry or Jim Dale read it to you with your eyes closed. Having said that, the special effects were impressive, as was the the cinematography and the acting by the adults and children alike - excellent. John Williams' music reminded me of a Tim Burton film score (Bit of Edward Scissorhands? Bit of Batman?). In fact there was a bit of an Edward Scissorhands thing going on with the feel of the flick too. Only minus the irony and humour. For that was the film's only fault I'd say. There was little humour in it. Not that I expect slap-stick or wry post-modernism mind you. I just would have liked a lighter touch in the way some of the scenes were played. I remember the book being funnier.

Whether it deserves to be one of the biggest box office money earners of all time is open to debate. It's enjoyable, yes. It's well made, yes. But unlike Star Wars it has no new surprises. We know how it all turns out. There no, "Oh my God! Harry and Hermione are brother and sister!", or "Who would have guessed Lord Voldermort is Harry's Dad!?"

So whether the you think the stone should belong to the Philosopher or the Sorcerer it's still worth seeing. Especially at home, with the lights off, an open fire roaring, curled up on the sofa with a bottle of red.

Have you seen it? What did you think?

Monday, December 03, 2001

Harry Potter movie...
I have in my hand the Harry Potter movie. Naturally I shall be handing it into the nearest police station at my earliest possible convenient moment. And on a completely unrelated topic did I mention how busy I am and how short I am of convenient moments? :-)

Sunday, December 02, 2001

New liver please...
Guy's do on Friday was great fun. Twenty odd queens eating, drinking and making merry at Joe Allen's. We all got a bit drunk and so when we were kicked out of there lots of us went off to Bar Code to round the evening off. By closing time Ian and I had other plans thought and headed off to The Spiral (Staircase). At 4am I finally rolled home much worse for wear.

By 10am I was in work (severely hungover I might add). Worked through till 5pm and then home for food and a quick go on The Simpsons: Road Rage (basically a clone of Crazy Taxi).

Later on we headed down to Brixton to Scally's 30th birthday bash. Lots of food, lots of drink and good company. No doubt Scally will have the pictures.

We dropped into Central Station briefly on the way home to lend our support to the World AIDS Day benefit for Freedoms going on there. Just as we arrived David McAlmont was taking to the stage which was utterly fantastic. He performed 'Cry' and 'Diamonds Are Forever'.

Getting to bed at 4am again (becoming a bit of a habit?) I was up again to be in work for 10am (another habit?). Luckily I didn't have to stay in work too long and so have spent the afternoon watching 'Big'. I love that film.

Saturday, December 01, 2001

Coming to you live from Scally's party...
The drinks are flowing, fun is being had & I'm sitting in the corner blogging! Geek!
Happy Birthday Scally...
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday dear David
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday Big Brother...
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday dear Simon
Happy Birthday to you

Friday, November 30, 2001

Your pipe can never be too fat...
As it's almost Christmas I went wild today. I just ordered a 3Mb leased line for work (no contention, good SLA, the works). Very fast. So we've going from a poxy 64k line to a 3Mb one i.e. 48 times as fast. And the cost? Just £800 pcm (the 64k line used to cost us £391 pcm). Very cheap. All from the cute people at Centric Telecom. Cute sales guy too :)
The Devil, idle hands and me...
Busy day at work today, Guy's birthday do tonight at Bar Aquada/Joe Allens, working tomorrow (early start), Simon's (my brother) birthday tomorrow, Scally's birthday party tomorrow night, working Sunday (early start), setting up Christopher's PC in their new flat Sunday afternoon, back to work Monday. Phew! The wicked and me have no rest. Anyone want to sell me some extra hours in the day?

Thursday, November 29, 2001

We've been back a little over a week now but it seems like months ago. Funny how fantastic holidays seem to disappear faster than mediocre ones. Anyhow, I've published some of our pictures below. Click on any image to see a bigger version of it.

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And there are a load more pictures if you click here. Does it look as if we had a good time?
Our Christmas Dinner...
We've just got the details through of where and when our company Christmas Dinner is to be held. It's going to be at London Zoo. The theme is Atlantis. Here's the blurb sent round by admin today. Heaven help us.


This Christmas escape from reality into the world of Fantasy, discover the mythological city of Atlantis.

Stroll along the quayside among sailors and traders who will amaze you with their magic tricks and comical acts.

The Adventure to Atlantis begins aboard a submarine, which you enter via the conning tower onto the main deck. Here you can drink your Sonar cocktail surrounded by rumbling machines, a hive of activity and the realistic sounds of radar. As the vessel dives to the bottom of the ocean, look through the periscope and portholes to see the surrounding seascapes.

As you near the ocean floor, the ground shakes and the doors will open to reveal…

Atlantis: the lost city

The crumbling marble pillars, statues and mosaic adorned walls of this once great hall lie amongst the swaths of seaweed. Fabulous sea creatures, giant fish, mermaids and dolphins circulate through the hulls of wrecked ships.

The guests will enter the seabed dining hall for a grand feast fit for any sea king. Seated at fully themed tables bedecked in gold and turquoise, you and your guests will be convinced that Atlantis was fact not fiction.

As dinner is completed the Fabulous Oyster Club Disco will open up, hosted from high by DJ Zeus in his golden chariot.

Visit the Submarine Bar to participate in the Casino and Virtual Reality games. Try your hand at chasing other ships or knock down a Depth Charge at the Engine Room Bar.

Atlantis fact or fantastic legend…you decide at this luxurious, once-in-a-lifetime sub-aqua night of adventure.

This synopsis is subject to artistic licence
Something in the eye…
Our little baby Nikon 775 camera is ill. We used it on the beach in Cape Town and now it’s got sand in its eye. The lens cover doesn’t open when you switch it on. I’ve sent it off to Nikon for repair. I bought it in the States so the warranty isn’t valid in the UK. Heaven knows how much it’ll cost to fix.

Wednesday, November 28, 2001

Forever the same...
Why does every Star Trek: Enterprise episode seem to have a cave and most have a plot twist of a big secret underground facility? Maybe the caves were a job lot.
It's Taboo...
Watching Joan Bakewell's Taboo on the BBC tonight was a treat. This week Joanie was exploring the changing attitudes to sex over the last 50 years. The usual bases were covered from the Lady Chatterley's Lover trial through to Queer As Folk. The program ended with an interview on the set of a porn film. Joan's face was a picture as she turned her nose up while watching two porn actors going through the motions. The director was waxing lyrical about the pert breasts and the firm young buttocks of the actress. Peering closely Joan gloated, "he seems to have lost his thrust."

"Porn is like junk food", she concluded. "An imitation of something much better". I think she missed the point rather. Porn is a means to an end not an end in itself.
He came, he took some pictures, he left....
Dan departed these fair shores on Monday after staying at our place for just over a week and I have to say it was lovely to have him here. Dan is thoroughly house trained and I can recommend him to friends and family alike.

I first met Dan when I was in New York earlier in the year at the first BigGayTransatlanticBlogMeet. I was rather taken with him and as we spent more time together I started to develop a bit of a crush on him. I ask you, a crush at my age! Well, I think Dan realised what was going on but he didn't laugh too hard so my blushes were spared. In fact he seemed happy to spend time with me and we had a lot of fun those last couple of days.

When I got back to the UK I had a chance to get things in perspective. Mark and I talked about it and Mark's advice, as ever, was the best - we're never too old to fancy someone and a crush is a crush, nothing more. He was right of course and a week later I was feeling a little foolish about the whole thing. Dan, for his part, joked about how I got over him quite so quickly!

When we learnt that Dan had plans to come to London I repeated an offer I had made earlier that he should come and stay with us. Mark and I were really happy that he was coming though we would still be away for the first part of his visit on our NotAHoneymoon in South Africa.

I made a few plans for Dan's visit (theatre, blogmeet, Space:1999) and all in all I think he had a nice time even if things didn't work out in the romance department quite the way he had hoped. I know the feeling!
The more I practice, the luckier I get......
I'm feeling much better today. I think all I needed was a good night out with the boys. Which is exactly what happened. Sure, we lost the Pop Quiz at the Retro Bar but we played our Total Pop Quiz style - we all contributed evenly to the answers which was very satisfying. The winners only dropped half a point so we didn't really stand a chance anyway.

Afterwards Darren and I popped up to Central Station to meet up with Marky and Drew who were at a Pub Quiz of their own in support of Freedoms. We found them playing pool and spent a couple of hours playing, drinking, laughing and pointing at the strange people - of which there are a lot at Central Station.

During a run of success and after a particular spectacular shot at the pool table I remarked that I seemed to be very lucky tonight. My opponent said you're not lucky, you're good. Which put in mind of a quote that the great American golfer Ben Hogan made. Hogan used to be accused of being lucky when he won. Hogan was one of sport's legendary obsessives, a perfectionist who practiced constantly and even managed to rebuild his career after a car crash had left him unable to walk. Some of his best golf was played when he was in complete agony and barely able to stand on his rebuilt legs. "Yes, I'm lucky", he used to reply. "And the more I practice the luckier I get."

Tuesday, November 27, 2001

Pissed off...
Everything is conspiring to piss me off today. I guess you could say I'm having a bad day. Roll on tomorrow.

Monday, November 26, 2001

Ps and Qs...
My Mum and Dad were always big on Ps and Qs. When we asked for anything they'd always say, "What do you say?" to which the only acceptable answer was, "Please". After the thing was given the ineviatably question was, "Now, what do you say?" to which the only answer could be, "Thank you". Please and Thank You. Please and Thank You. Please and Thank You. It was instilled into us from an early age.

Saying thank you works both ways, of course. Not only does the person you're saying it to feel appreciated but also it means that you are the kind of person who actually cares how other people feel. You want some else to feel better. It's a win-win situation.

So I was especially pleased to get an e-mail from Michael saying, "Just a line to say that I enjoyed myself enormously on Saturday night and I hope you did too. Thanks for organising it!"
Room With A View...
Just finished the big move round in the office. All the happy little elves now have their computers working, their phones working and are busily nesting in their new offices. Quite why we all had to shift around was a bit beyond me. But now I can look out over the square from my gigantic new office. I have no one else near me so it's quiet and I have all my technology to hand so I'm a happy bunny. I wanted to invite everyone round to my office this afternoon for tea and cakes as a 'house warming' - only it's Ramadan so out of respect for our Saudis I'll perhaps wait till next month.

Sunday, November 25, 2001

A blow for Liberty...
Bush and the Turkey
A turkey named Liberty takes President Bush by surprise during the annual turkey pardoning event three days before Thanksgiving. The Guardian were running a caption competition but it had to be cut short due to 'overwhelming popularity'. And my contribution? A BLOW FOR LIBERTY
Net users 'sociable and successful'...
Internet users do not deserve their reputation for being socially inadequate loners, a study has found. Despite jibes that computer users meet their friends online, researchers say they are actually more likely to be sociable and community minded.

And so indeed it was at last night's GayBlogMeet. Welcoming Dan to these fair shores was Michael, Michael, Tom, David, Marcus, Ian, Davo, David, Rick, Mark, Drew and myself (amongst others).

As ever at these things blogging hardly got a mention as the fascination with digital cameras, drinking and gossip seem to dominate most conversations.

No doubt Dan and David will both publish pictures aplenty in due course.

Saturday, November 24, 2001

What I've been reading today...
- Can I have one please?
- These I don't need.
- She successfully prosecuted Gay News over a poem - sod off to Hell you ugly old Harpie.
- Pong on speed.
Mother Clap's Molly House...
One line review: Great show. Very gay - sometimes toe-curlingly so. It worked - mostly. 8/10

Sparky and I were running a bit late as we'd stopped off in Bar Code for a pint after work and at Satsuma for a Bento. Mark was rightly getting a little anxious at the theatre and our cab seemed in no great hurry. We arrived just as the final one minute bell was being called so we walked straight through to our seats. Immediately we were struck by how many gay men were in the audience. A disturbingly high number in fact. The rest of the audience seemed to be made up of the regular smattering of twin set and pearls brigade who 'have to see everything'.

I'll not give too much about the play away (as you should really go see it) expect to say that it was funny, well acted, musical and entertaining. The first act was set in the 16th (?) century in a dress hire shop in the City. The old man dies and the the wife has to take over the running of the family business. The prostitutes who are her regular clientele strike a deal to pay her less and less for their dresses so she is eventually forced to seek alternative income. As her shop assistant seems to be a bit of a Molly (i.e. gay) a thought strikes her...

The playing was excellent and many of the dialogue and jokes were blatantly contemporary (giving an almost pantomime feel). The humour was wicked, the language coarse and the customes revealing - at one point every character on stage was wearing a dress. Drag-tastic.

At times the action conjured up images as diverse as Oliver Goldsmith's 'She Stoops To Conquer', Eastenders, Absolutely Fabulous and Gimme, Gimme, Gimme.

The second half introduced a second strand to the action set in modern day London where a group of gay men are planning an orgy. The drug dealer had arrived and the guests were starting to arrive. Some of the action was extremely explicit on and off stage - gay anal sex (on), oral sex (on), abortion (off), masturbation (on) and rimming (off). It certainly gave the twin-set and pearls brigade something to think about. I woman behind us was heard to say, "What's rimming?" The gay men were in stitches.

Later on Sparky and I meet Mother Clap reincarnated as a coat check woman at the Artful Dodger. Spooky.

Friday, November 23, 2001

All Change...
I've just spent the last three hours packing up my office. Over the weekend I'm being moved to one twice the size (hurray!) about 50 metres away. It'll be nearer the computer room too which I guess is a good thing. I don't suppose I'll use the extra space much other than simply collect twice as much clutter as before. On the up side I'll have two nice big windows overlooking the park in the middle of Berkeley Square. Bliss.
Secret Santa...
Secret Santa
The theatre...
I'm really excited today. Tonight Mark, Sparky and I are going to see Mother Clap's Molly House at the National. The tickets warn: This play contains language and scenes which some people may find offensive - oh good!
Molly Clap
Mark's brother Paul (Hello, Paul!) bought me the tickets for my birthday present back in September. By all accounts it's a great show. Full review tomorrow.
Last night Dan, David and myself visited a few East End hostelries - all very swish places full of after work city types and urbane yuppies. We arrived quite late due to public transport issues so largely the clientele already had bellies full of liquor and so were at vox forte. Maybe they were practicing for Christmas early. Not my cup of tea really but the company of our little threesome was exemplary (Ian was working, Mark was preparing for a conference) which also more than made up for the chilly, windy weather too. Nice to actually get a chance to chat to Sparky. He admitted that he was holding back from the full American overseas mode (which I love by the way) as he let David and myself do most of the talking. It was good to catch up with some of David's Barcelona stories but there are plenty more I'm sure. It'll be interesting to see how the porn film drama pans out too.

We didn't have too late a night as we were back at the flat not long after midnight. Dan and I watched a bit of Steve Coogan on tape which still makes me laugh even though I've watched it a dozen times.