Quote Of The Day

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

Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Diana arrossted...
Following on from the dramatic news that Diana Ross has been arrested for drunk driving I think the scenario might have gone something like this:-

Diana Ross is seen driving erratically all over the road in the early hours of the morning. A Police Car gives chase and manages to force her car to the side of the road. The Officer then approaches the car.
Police Officer: Stop! In The Name Of Love.
Diana Ross: Don't you know who I am, Officer! I'm The Boss!
Police Officer: Step out of the car please Ma'am.
Diana Ross: Ok, Ok. I'm Coming Out.
Police Officer: Well, I haven't got all day.
She doesn't move.
Police Officer: I'm Still Waiting
She still doesn't move.
Police Officer: You seem a little drunk, Ma'am. Let me help you out of your seat.
Diana Ross: Don't touch me! No one is allowed to Touch Me In The Morning!
Police Officer: Didn't you see me following you? Didn't you look in the Mirror, Mirror, Ma'am?
Diana Ross: Sure, I saw your Reflections.
Police Officer: You were swerving all over the road. You looked a little lost. Do You Know Where You're Going To?
Diana Ross: Yes, I was Goin' Back home. I wasn't lost, I know this road well, just up there is where I take a right... It's My Turn.
Police Officer: Didn't your driving school ever tell you to Stop! Look, Listen at a junction, Ma'am?
Diana Ross: Can I go now? I don't see why You Keep Me Hangin' On.
Police Officer: You Can't Hurry, Love as I'm Not Over (with) You Yet. Breathe into this.
He breathalyses her which suggests she has twice the legal limit of alcohol in her bloodstream.
Police Officer: Tomorrow you're gonna have a really bad (Love) Hangover, Ma'am.
Diana Ross: I could do with something stronger, actaully. Have you got anything to Take Me Higher? 'Cos there Ain't No Mountain High Enough.
Police Officer: I think you'd better accompany me to the station, Ma'am.
Diana Ross: You have lovely Muscles, Officer. Do you Work That Body?
Police Officer: Thank you, Ma'am, but we have to go now. I'm tired. I've been Workin' Overtime.
Diana Ross: But isn't this the part When You Tell Me That You Love Me?
Police Officer: No, Ma'am, it's not.
Diana Ross: Someday We'll Be Together because I'm Gonna Make You Love Me.
Police Officer: Never gonna happen, Ma'am.
Diana Ross: Where Did Our Love Go, then? I thought we had an Endless Love. You Are Everything to me and you turned me Upside Down when I first saw you. Why Do Fools Fall In Love so quickly?
Police Officer: I think you're living in a fantasy world, Ma'am. You're drunk and I'm arresting you.
Diana Ross: Well I may not have Your Love, Officer, but Remember Me fondly Until We Meet Again.
Police Officer: (under his breath) What a Drama Queen!

Friday, December 27, 2002

Xmas Presents 2002...
Look what Santa(s) brought me for Crimble:-
Santa C - A Rough Guide to London Restaurants
Santa N - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club CD / Carter Beats The Devil (oh-oh, got that) / The Corrections (oh-oh, got that too)
Santa P & Santa M - The Office DVD + The Office scripts / Rick Stein cookbook
Santa M - Watch camera / Zelda: Link To The Past for Game Boy Advance
Santa B - Belgium chocolates
Santa TiG - Closer to Heaven CD
Santa D & Santa H - Cufflinks
Santa C & Santa S - Leather bound road atlas
Santa J - Office DVD (er.. that'll be two of those then!) / Gym ball
Santa M & Santa D - A case of red wine / a case of white wine / posh coasters / posh table mats / a cocktail shaker / a cocktail book
Santa S & Santa D - Trivial Pursuit 1980s Ed.

Thank you everyone.

Thursday, December 26, 2002

Mark's Dad...
On Christmas Eve we drove up to stay with Mark's Dad, Patrick, in Coventry for a couple of days. Despite having lung cancer, Patrick seemed in quite good spirits when we arrived - albeit very tired, which is only to be expected. He has lost a lot of weight in the past week or so which was somewhat distressing to see. Yet he obviously has lost little of his spark. He was soon getting us to help him sit up. He wanted to know who was coming and going and how we were. On Christmas morning itself, Mark was hanging out his bedroom window hooking up an aerial to the spare TV that we'd brough up with us so he could watch the Christmas schedules from his bed. He was certainly pleased to see us both - especially at this time of year - just as we were pleased to see him. As I think I've mentioned before, I have a real soft spot of Mark's Dad. He was so very welcoming to me when I first met him; strangely enough at Mark's Mum's funeral almost 7 years ago now.

Mark, his sisters (Bernadette and Anne), his brother (Paul), nieces and nephews have all been doing stirling work looking after Patrick and it is no small tribute to the way that they have been brought up that they all rally round him when he is ill.

Wednesday, December 25, 2002

Happy Christmas...
It was nice to see Bernadette & famly and Anne & family today. Anne & David bought us a lovely Xmas dinner. But there's not much on the telly tonight so I'm sitting on the sofa of Mark's Dad's place getting tipsy. Ho ho hum.

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Java wars...
Hopefully this is a step nearer to these two sorting their differences out once and for all. I'm fed up with not being able to control an increasing number of systems at work from my desktop. They all use Java and the Windows XP implementation is nonexistent/crap. It's a serious pain in the arse.

Sunday, December 22, 2002

The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers...
Yesterday afternoon I went to see TLoTR:TTT at the Warner Village, Islington. Time and repeat viewing will tell whether the second part of Peter Jackson's magnum opus is truly better than its illustrious predecessor. It certainly surpasses The Fellowship of the Ring in terms of wit, action and narrative drive. What it lacks - at least until the climax - is the first film's wow-factor. We are now accustomed to the environs and inhabitants of Middle-earth. Without an explanation for trilogy newcomers, the story picks up where FoTR left off. Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) are journeying to Mordor to destroy the world-threatening One Ring. They are joined by the avaricious, reptilian Gollum (a quite astounding, computer-generated creation, brilliantly voiced by Andy Serkis). Meanwhile, Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) are pursuing Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd), who have been kidnapped by orcs...
The following action is too densely-layered to explain here, which makes the achievement of Jackson and his co-writers all the more impressive. This is a compact, flab-free adaptation of JRR Tolkien's complex, lengthy book, and it suffers little from following three simultaneous adventures. When I say 'flab-free' I should perahsp warn you that it rolls on for nearly three hours - so make sure you have a comfortable seat, lots of snacks and a drink to hand.

The special effects, too, impress. Gollum is the first believable CG character, while the battle of Helm's Deep is one of the finest, most expansive combat sequences I've seen on film. In fact the cast do well not to be swamped by the spectacle. Mortensen again excels as the square-jawed hero, while Rhys-Davies' dwarf provides welcome comic relief - very welcome at times.

Unfortunately, with his every attempt at sincerity, Wood's Frodo still looks as though he's going to make a pass at his fellow hobbit Sam. However, Astin rises above this to give a standout performance. It's his moving delivery of the inspirational, climactic monologue that gives heart to the spectacle and elevates a film it's easy to admire into one it's possible to love.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Virus Alert: Inferno...
Anti-virus experts have issued a warning alerting computer users about a new Visual Basic script virus named Inferno. The payload is in an attachment called a_day_in_hell.gif.vbs. When executed, the script sets the monitor's brightness and contrast to maximum levels, sets the refresh rate to the highest possible value, and the palette is modified to display only red colours. At these settings the monitor begins to heat up and emit powerful radiation toward the user.

A very tanned virus researcher explained, "The heat and electromagnetic waves emitted by the monitor are enough to tan, or even burn, a user. I've been dealing with this virus for a couple of hours, and I have quite a nice base tan!"

One victim narrowly escaped severe injury. "I was about to open a bottle of Jumping Lizard Ginseng Blaster when I opened the attachment. Just then, I dropped my straw and reached down to pick it up. I heard this loud bang, and realized the bottle had exploded, and the liquid drenched my keyboard. I was really lucky. I only got a couple of shards of glass in my back. Unfortunately, my medical insurance doesn't cover Acts of Stupidity so I had to pay for the stitches myself."

While a few other casualties have been reported, mostly burns suffered by basement dwelling web surfers, some enterprising Internet Cafe owners have taken advantage of the virus by becoming makeshift Internet Cafe/Tanning Salons. "Most of our clientele are rather pale-skinned. With this new virus, we can help them look better, and charge double for our service," explained the owner of the recently renamed Surf-n-Tan Cafe.

Pregnant women and albinos are advised to avoid computers infected with the virus.

Monday, December 16, 2002

The end is nigh...
Not too many problems this morning. The odd cable missing, the odd PC that wouldn't boot and odd telex line with a dodgy cable. Nothing too crazy. Stoney silence on the appreciation front though. As a Bolshy act of defiance I shall leave a full five minutes early tonight. Ha! I laugh in the face of your indifference! I chuckle at the depth of your nonchalance! Bastards!

Sunday, December 15, 2002

The end is in sight...
After another 6 hours in the office today I think we're almost there. There are no major outstanding problems and so hopefully tomorrow morning will be fairly trouble-free. I only hope all my hard work is appreciated!

Saturday, December 14, 2002

I had a sleepless night on Thursday before a 12 hour day on Friday with the office move follwed by our Xmas party (planning, huh?) at the Cafe Royal. More sleeplessness last night preceded another 12 hour day today continuing the move. I've just got home and I'm bushed. I think I'll give the Sports and Shorts Xmas bash a miss.

Friday, December 13, 2002

Today's the Day...
Madness reigns today as I've got a deseperate scramble to get all our IT infrastructure shutdown, moved to our new office and working again. Wish me luck!

Thursday, December 12, 2002

When tomorrow comes...
I'm getting packed today for our office move tomorrow. Funny how you find old stuff hidden at the back of drawers. An old champagne bottle from a Xmas party years ago when I got so pissed I checked into a hotel (at the company's expense, of course) and ordered bubbly all night... a photo of me in 1991 in our company magazine looking soooo gay (oi! don't say it!)... an old tube of Smarties (pre-blue ones)... a pay-slip with a monthly take home of 384.56 quid... an old CV with my interests listed as theatre, swimming (what?!) and conversation (what!!!??)... ah, memories.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Xmas comes early (again)...
I just got a Xmas card today. Only it's not a Xmas card as such - it's a bottle of Absinthe. And an Absinthe spoon and some sugar.

Now does anybody know what I do with them (the drinking part I get, it's the heating and the water and the other stuff I don't know about)?

And will it help clear my chest infection?

And will I be able to see Green Fairy Kylie?
Ever closer...
Our office move on Friday is taking up more and more of my time, energy and will to live! I feel I'm on a roller-coaster at the moment - first good news then bad as things go right and then oh so wrong. In the grand scheme of things an office move is no big deal I know but making sure everything works 100% on Day One appeals not only to my competitive instincts but also to my 'I hate being criticised' ones too. I don't want people saying 'you could have planned that better' or 'why didn't you think about this'. Ok, ok, I know I wrapped up in my own little world on this one.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Xmas comes early...
Thank you Timothy G for my Xmas pressie! It arrived today. You're a star! And resourceful too - you checked my Amazon List.
A not so jolly wheeze...
I've got a chest infection. Pah! And as we are moving offices this weekend it is my businest week at work... EVER! Double-pah!
Out of Site...
Looks like the Internet is playing up again.

Monday, December 09, 2002

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets...
Yesterday afternoon I went to see HP&TCOS at the Warner Village, Islington. What a great film. Better than Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Sorcerer's Stone - darker, scarier and better scripted. If you have a youngster then go with them. If not, kidnap one.

Friday, December 06, 2002

A bit of a blur...
I can't tell you what happened last night. I'd like to but I can't. I just can't. Why? I can't remember. That's why. It's all a bit of a blur.

Ten of us met for drinks and food for Marky's birthday that much I know because I arranged it. I remember some drinks coming. And lot's of noise. Lot's. And when the noise got too much a stand up row with the manager in the restaurant. And I remember people swearing at us and us swearing back. And my debit card being snatched by a waiter. And us rushing for the door. But after that it's all a bit of a blur. Opps!
Stuff you just can't live without knowing...
Ben Schott's Original Miscellany is a book of useless information trivia. The Guardian has an article on it today and here are some of the examples they cite from it. Possible Christmas present?

Iceberg sizes: A growler is an iceberg between one and 5 metres above water; a bergy bit, 1-4; small, 5-15; medium, 16-45; large, 46-75; very large, over 75.

Nouns of assemblage: A malpertness of pedlars, a murmuration of starlings, an exaltation of larks, a murder of crows, a glozing of taverners.

Arabic words: All the words in italics are derived from Arabic. The admiral in the alcove, while sitting on his sequin sofa dreaming of harems, should fear the assassin rather than seeking solace in the alchemy of alcohol .

Unusual deaths of Burmese kings: In 1599, Nandabayin laughed himself to death when informed by a visiting Italian merchant that Venice was a free state without a king.

I love you: ... is "Ek het jou lief" in Afrikaans, "Aishite imasu" in Japanese, and "Rwy'n dy garu di" in Welsh.

Patron saints: St George is the patron saint of syphilitics, St Zita of domestic servants, and St Gabriel of broadcasters.

London Underground: The Jubilee line is the only one that interconnects with every other line on the tube network.

Napoleon's horse: Marengo outlived Napoleon by eight years and her skeleton is preseved in London's National Army Museum. A snuffbox was made out of one of her hooves.

Curious surname pronunciations: Tywhitt is pronounced "tirit", Knollys "nowls", and Althorp is pronounced "althrup", "altrup" or "atrup".

Alcohol measures: A nip is a quarter pint of beer. A tot is a sixth, a fifth, a quarter or a third of a gill of whisky. A noggin is one gill of spirit.

Lovely long words: Pneumonoultramicroscopicsiliocovolcanoconiosis is a disease caused by inhalation of fine particles; floccinaucinihilipilification is the estimation of a thing as useless.

Mrs Beeton's maxims: Thrust an oniony knife into the earth to take away the smell.

BA results rhyming slang: First - Geoff (Hurst), 2:1 - Attila (the Hun), 2:2 - Desmond (Tutu), third - Douglas (Hurd).

The metre: Since 1983, the metre has been defined internationally as the length of the path travelled by light in a vacuum during 1/299,792,458th of a second.

Litotes: Deliberate understatement. As in Churchill's remark: "Business carried on as usual during alterations on the map of Europe."

Eponymous foods: Chateaubriand is a cut of beef named after the Vicomte de Chateaubriand; Garibaldi biscuits were named after Giuseppe Garibladi, the Italian nationalist, who liked them.

Odd deaths: Mama Cass died of ham sandwich asphyxiation, Chet Baker by defenestration. Sonny Bono skiied into a tree in Tahoe.

Missile ranges: An intercontinental ballistic missile has a range of more than 5,500km.

Martini: One-third vermouth, two-thirds dry gin. Shake, garnish, serve on or off the rocks.
Soft Cell Review...
Thanks to Bryn for this review below from the Soft Cell gigs in the States this week. Sounds like a wild couple of nights, Bryn!

After what seemed like an eternity of a wait, Soft Cell finally made it to California Monday night! They played at House of Blues, capacity 1,000, maybe a bit more. It was like a mini-Ocean, with a floor area and wrap-around balcony. The gig wasn't sold out but the place was definitely packed! We all gave them very warm, loud and enthusiastic Southern California welcome.

Marc was amazing, he looked and sounded in top form. Dave looked really well too, I think he might have lost some weight or something. Think of one of the best gigs last year...Brighton....Brixton...it was just as good.

The crowd was really into the new songs and of course the 80's bit went down well. But what surprised me the most was that the crowd went crazy for and sang along to the songs from Sodom. We even had a mosh pit going during Best Way to Kill.

Marc forgot the words to the beginning of The Night and Together Alone but nobody cared, everyone kept screaming "We love you Marc." People were throwing flowers, flower bouquets and wrapped presents on stage including a red dog collar. Marc later tossed some of the flowers into the crowd one-by-one. He spent a lot of time reaching out to the fans and letting them hug and kiss him. Everybody wanted to touch him. Fans would grab the microphone cord and try to pull Marc to them. These are people who either have never seen Soft Cell, or haven't seen them since their first and only U.S. tour in 1983. Marc loved the attention.

We had stage crashers. About ten people jumped up on stage to dance with and sometimes dry-hump Marc. One woman used Marc as a pole and pole danced on him. He loved it.

With each song they did, the crowd got more and more crazy. During the break between the first set and the first encore the crowd was out of control. Screaming, pounding, stomping. I couldn't count how many times Marc said thank you and told us that we were a wonderful crowd. I don't know how things were in the DC and NYC shows but he said "I knew we would
get a warm welcome on the west coast." California loves Soft Cell! Yeah!

Wednesday night's gig:

I didn't think it would be possible, but last night in LA was even better than Monday night! The theatre was twice the size (at least 2,000 people) and the place was packed! People were very loud, very crazy, dancing and thrashing about wildly during the faster numbers and singing every word...loudly. Just like Monday night, people were passing up wrapped presents and bouquets of flowers. I'm not sure I've ever seen Marc so happy - he said that it was one of their best gigs ever and they played a 2 hour set! One of the best moments was during Baby Doll when loads of people in the front were holding up dollar bills and Marc let them stuff them into his trousers. If any of those pictures come out I'll be sure to send them.

Set list:



Thursday, December 05, 2002

Happy Birthday, Marky...
It is my beloved Mark's birthday today. 39 years young. Marky, I love you more than words can say. Have a great day (which I hope is in no way diminished by the fact that your toes may curl a little at the pictures below - which make me laugh and remind me of the fantastic time we had in Australia!).
We love you, Sydney! Opps! I've grown a beard! Shortly after the sand storm at Ayres Rock and looking remarkably handsome
Click for a bigger version of the images.
Happy Birthday, Scally...
'Tis Scally's (31st?) birthday today. Go wish him a happy birthday.

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Shift it...
We are moving offices on Friday week. That'll be Friday 13th. Good idea, huh? For anyone you has moved offices (or indeed house) before you'll appreciate what a stressful time this can be. Coupled with this as I am the IT guy (for 'IT' read computers, printers, faxes, photocopiers, phones, data services, web sites, mobiles, connections to branch offices & head office etc etc etc.) my role in the move is BIG.

At the moment I am spending about half my time in the new offices and half my time here in the old office. Consequently my blogging is rather infrequent of late. Normal service will be resumed post move.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Twilight Zone...
This morning I am in a parrallel universe where everything is going wrong - and in weird and strange ways. And I can't remember which one to do "look into the light" or "don't look into the light"? Help...

Monday, December 02, 2002

Microsoft Purchases Evil From Satan...
Redmond, WA - Microsoft in a recent all cash deal has purchased evil from Satan for $2.7 billion. "We've been after Satan for some time," said CEO Steve Ballmer. "Negotiations were tough but I think both Microsoft and the Prince of Darkness are happy with this deal."

Before the purchase, Microsoft already had 15% of the evil market, now that number is closer to 100%. The Department of Justice has voiced concerns over one corporation controlling so much evil, and has begun investigations into the deal.

"We feel that there are real opportunities with evil, and that when evil is integrated it into our next generation of Windows products consumers will appreciate evil on their desktop," said Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates. "Businesses haven't been able to fully realize their evil potential. With evil integrated into Office XP, corporations big and small will begin to see enhanced evil productivity."

"Evil is a real growing market," market strategist Frank Dresgan of Merrill Lynch said today. "Microsoft is a little late in the game, but even when they enter a market late they still tend to dominate. I think we'll see the same with evil."

"I've been dealing with Microsoft for some time," Lucifer said. "I've been at this evil thing for millions of years, and wanted a way out. I considered an IPO, but then Steve-O and Billy came along and told me about their "Evil Everywhere" plan and that was an offer I couldn't refuse."

Evil was founded by Satan close to the beginning of time. It has been growing steadily ever since, although most of the growth has come in the past five years with the development of the Internet. Satan plans to retire to a small island in the Bahamas and write a column for the local newspaper.
Danni in GQ...
"I don't discuss my boobs with a stranger," she said. Amongst other (questionable) things.

Friday, November 29, 2002

Adding insult to injury...
Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor is being treated in a hospital in Los Angeles following a car accident on Sunset Boulevard on Wednesday. Poor Zsa Zsa. But the BBC News has been adding insult to injury. On their web site they make the rather open-ended claim that, "Zsa Zsa is most famous for her multiple marriages..." Not as an actress, then?

But worse still on BBC News 24's TV Breakfast News this morning they ended the piece with the following, "Zsa Zsa Gabor is at least 85." Bitches. Well she was crowned Miss Hungary in 1936!
Beckham denies internet rumours...
David Beckham has issued a statement to say there was "absolutely no truth" in rumours about him on the internet. E-mail users around the UK and beyond have been circulating claims about the Manchester United star which first appeared on a website. But in a statement his spokeswoman said that repeating the rumours could result in legal action.

The spokeswoman said: "We are aware that there are malicious rumours circulating in the media about David Beckham. "There is absolutely no truth whatsoever in these rumours and the website we believe to be the source of these rumours has been contacted and all defamatory material has been removed.

"No publication of these rumours should be made as it would result in legal liability for defamation."

So there.

Thursday, November 28, 2002

Tickets please...
How tube users pay their fares will be much simpler if London Underground's (LU's) latest billing system project goes ahead.

The new application will build on the smart card system due to be introduced next year, and will allow travellers to 'charge up' their card remotely using the internet or telephone, or pay by direct debit at the end of the month so avoiding ever lengthening queues at ticket offices.

The project would be a world first for post-payment for travel. The system is expected to go live in 2004.

The software will be configured so the final payment figure gives the customer the best possible deal, claims the company. The idea is that if you have made enough trips to qualify for a weekly ticket then that is what you will be charged. Similarly for the monthly one. "So customers won't need to decide in advance whether they need a weekly or a monthly ticket - they will get the best deal no matter how much they travel", claims LU.

So we will have to trust LU to get the billing right and be confident they're billing us the right amount?

Fat chance. I'd rather queue.
Socialist Worker...
Every now and again there are a couple of people outside our tube station in the mornings shouting "SOCIalist Worker! Get your SOCIalist Worker" and selling the increasing comic-like newspaper of the same name. Not generally known for their sense of humour but generally good-natured these lefties are always happy to tease the champagne socialists (note the small 's') that inhabit Islington. This morning the boot has on the other (centre-left?) foot.

"How come the Government have billions for bombing Iraq but nothing for the fire-fighters?" proclaimed one of the ranting vendors waving a newspaper with a giant-fonted headline in our faces.

Mark remarked, "What? You mean you want the Government to start bombing the fire-fighters too?"

He smiled. We smiled. No doubt he'll have a witty rebuttal tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

The Long Flight Back (the star, the anguish, the midflight drama and the trouser fan)...
It's a long flight back from Australia. Almost 23 hours with a brief stop-over in Bangkok to refuel. Even so our flight was perhaps more eventful than most.

We didn't turn up particularly early at the gate at Sydney airport - we were too busy having a last schooner of Victoria Bitter (VB) at the Stonewall in Oxford Street. Funny though, later on that night the ceiling of the Stonewall collapsed. Luckily no-one was injured badly.

Anyway, so as I was saying, we turned up a bit late at the gate (extra security checks are in place now that Australia is on an official alert after the recent Bin Laden threats). And who should we see waiting to board but JK - Mr Jamiroquai himself. He was sitting with his minder flicking through a glossy mag. I recognised him first due to the brown wide brimmed pointy hat he had on (like the one's that Boy George has taken to wearing). The minder was glaring at people daring them to approach his boss - but no-one did. JK is known for his temper (did you see that thing on TV last month about celebs behaving badly?) As all the seats around that gate were taken Marky and I walked on to the next gate (which had already boarded) and settled ourselves there - just occasionally craning our necks round to see what JK was up to.

Marky and I started to read our books. Our part of the concourse was deserted all but for a couple of members of staff at the empty gate who were repeatedly calling for two passengers with (funny names) and was threatening to chuck there bags off. Suddenly there was a huge kerfuffle from the other gate as JK sprang to his feet and shouted "I DON'T BELIEVE THIS! I SIMPLY DON'T BELIEVE THIS!" He and his minder had been waiting at the wrong gate. Ha! The funny names were their pseudonyms! JK picked up his skirts and ran to the empty gate like a girl - and only narrowly missing getting bumped off. Even then the staff were asking him for him autograph. Tosser.

Once on our flight we settled down to watch some movies for the 9 hour first leg up to Bangkok. We watched All Or Nothing (Mike Leigh) and then Ladybird, Ladybird (Ken Loach). The latter film was a gut wrenching 'based on a true story' about a woman who was abused as a kid, later in life got beaten up by her boyfriend, had her four kids (all by different fathers) taken away from her by social services, had another kid with a Peruvian guy - then had that one taken away while still an infant, then had yet another kid with the Peruvian guy and had that one taken away too while still in the maternity hospital. You'd have thought she would have given up by then but oh no, she went then had a further three kids - all of which she was allowed to keep. After watching the film I had tears running down my cheeks. It was a very emotional film to watch.

When we touched down in Bangkok we got off the plane in order to do a bit of running around and stretch our legs for a bit. We wandered through duty free and tried to pretend we were awake enough to enjoy ourselves.

Back on the plane we had a change of cabin crew - our new one in economy was as cute as a button. Scottish, tanned and very tactile. Very. I didn't really notice him at first mind you but I could hardly fail to notice him before long (but more of that later).

The flight was to last 12 hours, after a brief dinner we tried to settle down to sleep and did indeed managed to get a few hours kip. What we didn't realise was what was happening while we were asleep. Someone at the back of the plane was trying to open the door. Not that he stood a chance at 38000 feet in a pressurised cabin but the mere attempt was enough to get the crew to spring into action. Literally. They managed to restrain him in a seat and kept him there for the rest of the flight. All he had to say for himself was "I hate the British". Yeah? Well, why fly BA then?!
When we landed he was bundled off the plane at Heathrow - I guess they'll press charges.

But back to our good looking flight attendant. As I mentioned he was rather attentive - perhaps 'rather' is too mild a word. After I first got on the plane he said to me, "where did you get those trousers from?" (pointing at my G-Star jeans that I wear virtually 24/7). I told him. "Oh, really. They're nice. Good fit.", he said. Subtle - not! Mark and I looked at each other and laughed.

Moments later he was back. "I've spoken to some of the other crew (huh? what? in the 15 seconds you've been down the aisle and back?) and we were wondering where you got them from?" "Didn't you just ask that", I replied. He seemed unphased. "You should try them on, " I quipped. "Hmm", he murmured. Uh-oh - we've got a fan here.

As the flight continued he passed me bottles of wine, was constantly at my side asking if I needed anything and kept going on and on and on about my trousers. "Where did I get them from, again?" "How much did they cost?" "Could he get them in London?"

By this point Mark wasn't even trying to hide his amusement; "Here comes your new boyfriend again!" "You've got a Scot stalker" etc etc.

He was quite cute so I decided to brave it out. I shamelessly wrote down all the details of my trousers - make, style, colour and even included my inside leg measurement (tart!) - and added my e-mail address "in case he wanted to know anything else about them". He hasn't been in contact yet - but he will be. I can tell. I can feel it in my trousers.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Almond liqueur ads dropped because they smell like cyanide gas...
An advertising campaign that wafted the aroma of almond liqueur through the London Underground has been dropped because the smell is similar to cyanide gas. Amaretto Di Saronno dropped the ads from their £1.5m Christmas marketing campaign after Home Office advice about the threat of terrorist activity.

The scent of the sweet-tasting drink was replicated using aromatherapy oils, but, unfortunately for the manufacturers, cyanide gas also smells of almond, although it's bitter almond.

Jon Evans, the brand manager, said: "The production of aroma is only one element of the campaign, and whilst we regret that Underground passengers will no longer enjoy this aspect, security issues are clearly more important than marketing activity."
[From: The Independent]
Vodafone PXT service...
One of the sponsor's of the Gay Games was Vodafone. They were basically plugging their new PXT (picture text) service. To do so they were running around taking snaps of people in bars and outside with a mobile phone camera. The results have been put on their Australian web site and guess who appears in one? Me and Scally!
What do Briton's do on average 149 times a year?...
Have sex, apparently. A poll by Durex has found adults in the UK have sex on average 149 times a year.

It works out at just under 2.9 times a week - making the UK the fifth most amorous nation out of 22 surveyed. The most lovestruck are the French who have sex 167 times a year, followed by the Dutch (158), the Danes (152) and Canadians (150).

The Global Sex Survey was compiled by using questionnaire answers from 50,000 people - 3,500 in the UK - through its websites worldwide.

Americans are more reserved than the British when it comes to sex, with the average adult claiming to make love 138 times a year, followed by New Zealanders (135), and the Spanish (121). Bottom of the list of 22 nations was Singapore where adults say they have sex 110 times a year.

Just under three-quarters of Britons fantasise about having sex with a celebrity, with Brad Pitt topping the list for women at 33% and Kylie Minogue the number one celebrity for men with 18% of the votes.

Other results from the UK section of the survey found 49% of men fantasise about sex with their best friend's partner. Fancy.

Monday, November 25, 2002

Just catching up with the news (Part VII)...
Trevor's dead. Tom's dead. There's a new manager/con man in the Vic. I don't know. Nothing happens for six months in Eastenders and then it all kicks off.
Just catching up with the news (Part VI)...
Kiki and Herb are playing again in London. Hurray! Gotta go at least twice this time! Anyone else wanna go?
Just catching up with the news (Part V)...
When we left to go on holiday Christmas was ages away. Now it's only a month away! Yikes!
Just catching up with the news (Part IV)...
There's a fire fighter's strike on! And London Underground have closed loads of tube stations as a safety measure.
Just catching up with the news (Part III)...
The Xbox Live UK service is about to go live. Xbox Live is an online gaming service that lets you play multiplayer Xbox games on the Internet using high-speed Internet access. Has anyone used it yet? Is it any good?
Just catching up with the news (Part II)...
Someone's invented a new mobile phone keyboard with numbers AND letters - about time!
Just catching up with the news (Part I)...
Oh no - not another Big Brother? But it's winter and it's at the same time as Popstars and Fame Academy (they're still on, right?) and it's got even crappier celebs than before and... and...

Sunday, November 24, 2002

Home - just...
Got back to the UK at 5am this morning and desperately trying to stay awake until night time. Drama on the plane though - more when I'm awake. Zzzzzz.

Saturday, November 23, 2002

Homeward bound...
Thursday we came back to Sydney for a few days. It was nice to just relax and do nothing for a while to be honest and spend a bit more time with Dave, Russ and Rich. They are all coming over to the UK together in late January. And Richard is kindly taking us to the airport for our 5pm flight this afternoon. In fact we're meeting them all for brunch in a few minutes so I'd better sign off. See you all back on the other side of the world...
Ayers Rock...
On Tuesday we paid a flying visit to the Ayers Rock Resort. It was an incredible 24 hours - not unlike being on a film set. Sure the Rock itself and the nearby Olgas were amazing but the thing that sticks in the mind is the resort. Not unlike the film Westworld or perhaps even The Stepford Wives it seemed to be staffed by autotomatons. Happy, smiling robots that were only too happy to help - but there was evil behind those eyes, evil I tell you.

Our trip to the Olgas was cut short by a Mummy style sand storm that chased us up a valley and eventually blocked out the sun and almost choked us to death. An hour later we were caught in a terrific thunder storm - lightning, torrential rain, the works. The weather was, as they say, against us.

To be honest we were quite happy to leave.

Monday, November 18, 2002

News from Blighty...
What's all this I hear about Posh getting snatched? And gas on the tube? What have I been missing?

The only news we get here is that England are crap at cricket and that Oz was robbed of a win in the Rugger at the weekend.

Talking of the cricket, on the second day of the first Test England were making a spirited defence after a disastrous first day. And the headline in the local paper? "The Empire Strikes Back" Fnah!
Up at the crack of dawn today we set off on safari. Travelling up the coast through Port Douglas we headed for Cape Tribulation. Apparently Captain Cook had a tough time round these parts so named places accordingly... Mount Perseverance... Mount Despair... you get the picture.

After an hour's drive we found ourselves walking through Wet Rainforest (very different from the Dry kind, don't you know?). We took a cruise up a river to spot some more crocs, swam in a creek (rather nervously), had a slap up meal in the forest and finally arrived at the Cape where we found golden sand and the coral reef just 50m off shore - "where the rainforest meets the reef" or so it says in the guide book.

It was a long day (12 hours) so we're now back at the hotel for one last night. Tomorrow we fly to Ayers Rock until Wednesday when we go back to Sydney.

Sunday, November 17, 2002

Night Zoo...
Saturday we went to a Night Zoo - basically a zoo but at night time (duh!). The reason for this is that many animals in this neck of the woods are nocturnal. Koalas and possums sleep for 20 hours a day the lazy gits so we had to catch them when they were awake. The evening was a little bit 'themed' in that along with the regular commentary we got 'genuine Australian banter'. Cobber. We also got dinner thrown in and a bit of singing and dancing too. A fun night out.
Great Barrier Reef...
On Friday we took a catamaran out to the furthermost point on the Great Barrier Reef to do some snorkeling and tour the reef in a submarine. Words cannot do the trip justice. It was everything you might imagine it would be. Brilliant coloured coral, fantastic fish and blue warm water to see it all in.

Naturally I got sun-burnt - what trip would be complete without it?
On Thursday we took a train up a mountainside to the village of Kuranda. It was an amazing ride that took us over canyons and by waterfalls. The village itself was a bit of a tourist trap but we did get to see some crocs, cuddle a koala, feed some kangaroos, get bitten by a parrot. The trip back down the mountain was by Skyrail - a 30 minute trip above the treetops by what can best be described as a ski-lift. Jesus, I was scared!

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Today (Wednesday) we left Sydney behind and headed up the coast to Cairns. It's a major stopping off point for trips to the Great Barrier Reef, tropical rainforest and other outward bound activities. The heat (and more importantly the humidity) here is very high but we have factor 15 sunscreen to spare the loads of the rashness that only the English seem to possess for going out in the midday sun (as I was saying to a mad dog only the other day).

We've booked a couple of trips so far - one to go up a mountain by cable car (I get vertigo) tomorrow and the other to go out to sea (I hate boat trips) on Friday. Sometimes even I amaze myself.
Oh Sydney you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind! Hey Sydney! Hey Sydney! (Part II)...
Tuesday was a repeat of Monday in many ways - we took the second Sydney Explorer Bus Tour - this time out to Bondi Beach. We broke up our journey by walking the coastal road from Bondi Beach to Bronte Beach. This has to be one of the most beautiful walks in the world. Amazing views, staggering cliffs and cute little picturesque bays and beaches. This walk was made all the more interesting between Bondi to Tamarama however by the 107 pieces of art that were installed along the way. On the rocks, in the seas and on the beaches. The exhibition is called Sculpture By The Sea and is "Australia's largest annual outdoor free to the public exhibition of contemporary sculpture". Great fun and at times very funny.

Later that day we met up with Dave, Scally, Russell and Richard to celebrate Dave getting his Aussie Citizenship. Well done, Dave! To receive his certificate Dave was dressed in an Australian flag, Aussie flag boxers and an Australian hat with corks hanging from it. He looked quite sweet - if a little bit like a super hero? Someone suggested 'Captain Australia'. Much champagne, more drinks, one A$5 steak plus beer and a small pub crawl later Dave was ready for bed. Unlike the rest of us who carried on the celebrations to the wee small hours. Last thing I remember is watching Shrek in a seedy club somewhere. God I was wrecked!
Oh Sydney you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind! Hey Sydney! Hey Sydney! (Part I)...
On Monday we did the first of a two part tour of the city. We took in all the sites from Mrs Macquaries' Chair to Woolloomooloo Bay on the fantastic Sydney Explorer Bus Tour. Quite a trip and well worth the A$30. Later we met up with Dave, Scally, Russell, David and Adrian and went for $5 steaks at T2 - bargain meal and great company. A great time was had by... Scally who had sex with a guy in the toilet who then joined us for drinks in the Oxford later and then then ended up going back to his place for a shag - not that I'm jealous at ...all.

Monday, November 11, 2002

A big finish...
Davie, Scally, Gary, Richard, Russell, David, Kevin, Marky and I went to Stonewall in the afternoon at about 3pm to start the serious business of getting plastered prior to the closing ceremony and farewell party out at Fox Studios. We got plastered all right. So much so we needed to go and have a lie down! About 5:30pm we went over to pick up R&R and co. from their apartment... [edited bit]

The closing ceremony was crap though. Just a bunch of boring speeches and thank yous that went on interminably. After about an hour we left to go back to out apartment to have a further kip and change.

At 10:30pm to stopped by in Charlie and Matt's apartment for a small party and then headed over to R&R's again to pick the gang up for a second time that evening... [edited bit]. As we approached Fox Studios the scene could best be described as a Gay Disneyland packed full of 15000+ people: two huge sound stages given over to dance halls and two other smaller (though still big by any one's standard) venues, a cinema (!), restaurants, shops, bars etc etc. All very impressive. We stayed there dancing until 6am. Marky even took his shirt off (love him).

After that I was ready for bed - where I stayed for the next day and a half (I only got up first thing Monday morning). Mark went on with Davie and Scally to The Shift. Those boys!
The last day of the games...
We stayed in Friday night (gasp!) so we could get up early on Saturday morning to go and watch the tennis open men's final (Netherlands vs US). It was a good match but the heat was incredible. The sun was beating down making it 34 degrees C in the shade so heaven knows how hot it was on the court. The US won in the end which was well deserved.

After that we headed back to the Novotel in the Olympic Park for a bevy and where we spotted Dorinda, the big black woman who's the chef on Channel 10's Good Morning Australia show. We love that show since we've been here we watch it faithfully every morning. Bert Newton, the host, is a very funny guy. His wig is called Oscar by the way.

Friday, November 08, 2002

We are the (football) champions...
Today, Friday, we went out to Meadowbank in Sydney's north suburbs to go and watch UK football team Stonewall play in the Division A Final. They thrashed Team Munich 3-0 and a very good match it was too. Well, what we saw of it. Due to an unfortunate combination of events we got lost on the way there. Very unlike me I know. Instead of going straight to the ground we ended up getting first a ferry, then a bus, then a train, then another train and then a third and final train. Oh, and then we had to walk. D'oh! We got to see the last 20 minutes though so I was happy. Note to self: take map and ask 'is this our stop?' at regular intervals.
Black Party...
Yesterday, Thursday Oz time, we went to watch the basketball in North Sydney. Lots of jumping about and floppy shorts (hmmmm) - much more watchable than I had ever thought possible. Oddly (OK perhaps not that oddly) I'd always thought basketball as being (a) a mainly male sport, and (b) a mainly black sport (influenced by all those American sports programs we get to see on TV in the UK and films like 'White Men Can't Jump'). But from what we saw yesterday it was a sport that had a broad appeal across all sexes and all races. In fact though I thought I wouldn't like it much I was more than pleasantly surprised to find that it was both fun and quite engaging. Who knew? I might actually give it a chance in the future.

Later that night we found ourselves surrounded by 10,000+ leather-clad, rubber-wearing and/or virtually naked dancing boys at the Black Party in Fox Studios. Beefcake, slim-bods and bears a go-go. It was a male only space and boy did some people take advantage of that fact (ahem). Both the sheer size of the event and the enthusiasm that everyone was throwing themselves into the party were equally stunning. Sadly the thumping (music), throbbing (hot bodies) and drug influencing (light show) all got a bit much for me by about 2am so I headed home to rest my bones, ears and libido.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

And Then There's Bea...
Yesterday we had a day off from watching sport. We sat by the pool (and got lobster pink the way that only the English overseas can), had a spa and went to a sauna. All very relaxing and restful.

In the evening we went to see Beatrice Arthur perform in her one woman show "And Then There's Bea". The star of Maude, Mame, and The Golden Girls, Bea recalled some of the highlights of her remarkable stage and television career with funny stories, songs and predictably salty observations of life in the spotlight. Beautifully delivered with a wry expressiveness, Bea's show was for me one of the highlights of the Games so far - and probably for many other Friends of Dorothy too (fnah, fnah).
Melbourne Cup...
Yesterday, Tuesday, we headed out to watch the touch rugby. The sun was beating down and the sweat was pouring off the rugby players as they ambled around the parched grass in Centennial Park up the top end of Oxford Street. Touch rugby is quite a fast game (I'd never even heard of it before) as there are no scrums - all you need to do is touch the opposition player for them to have to give up the ball. A strangely camp thing to do. A bit like playing 'it' or 'tag'. We only stayed and watched for just over an hour as we were keen to get back to watch the Melbourne Cup in one of the bars in town at 3:10pm. The Melbourne Cup is the big horse race in the Australian calendar - equivalent to say the Grand National in the UK. The bar we went to was a gay bar but it was packed and there was free food, free champagne and competitions all afternoon. Naturally we threw ourselves into the spirit of the thing and one thing lead to another. I shall perhaps pass a veil over the rest of what happened yesterday afternoon and evening but suffice to say it was a late night, this morning I ache a little bit (but a nice ache) and I'm grinning endlessly. 'Nuff said.
Mount Olympus...
Monday we went to the Olympic Park just outside Sydney to go and support Charlie in the swimming, watch some tennis and volleyball too. The pool where the swimming was taking place was an impressive size - but nothing compared to the how impressed I was with the swimmers themselves. Hundreds upon hundreds of lean, mean bods all freshed faced and bursting with energy. We spent hours watching them strut their stuff and show us what they could do in the water. Guy's friend Matt was in a relay team with our optician, David, and they won gold. Well done boys! The only slight down side to the swimming was the fact that as the Gay Games are inclusive by nature then that meant that anyone who wanted to enter a race could - no matter how bad they were. So there ended up being 51 (!) heats of ten swimmers in the 50m breaststroke alone - a marathon event just to watch. But it was a fun day. In the evening we had a drink with the lovely Russell, a friend from London, and popped into The Den. The way you do.
Let's get physical...
On Sunday we went to the first of the two body building shows. Lots of muscled men (and women) flexing and pumping and grunting and groaning. It was a strange mix of butch and camp. Great fun. Matthew Rush was there. Who he? Apparently he's big in the porn world but I wouldn't know anything about that. We got chatting. He gave me a couple of tips and a run down on his early days in burlesque ;)

Sunday, November 03, 2002

A big opening...
And what a big opening ceremony it was! The whole shin-dig was held at the Aussie Stadium put together by Ignatius Jones, the guy behind the Sydney 2000 Olympic Opening Ceremony, which should in itself tell you how spectacular it was. Fireworks, dancers, singers, projections, pink pom-poms, audience participation, drag queens and a coherent theme - what more could you want.

Afterwards we headed to The Barracks (uniform, leather and stuff) and then to The Phoenix (like the RVT but with more eclectic music) - where some minkering was had. Eventually we got to bed about 5:30am. What a great time we're having here.

Saturday, November 02, 2002

A bridge too far...
Having had a good night's sleep we were up early on Friday to face whatever Sydney had to offer. And what it had to offer was fantastic. We booked ourselves on the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. It was an exhilarating experience and if you ever come to Sydney it is a real must-do. Marky and I both suffer from vertigo to some extent but even we felt safe and secure - despite that nagging feeling that you might fall off any minute! The climb has relatively easy, the weather perfect and it was well worth the forty odd quid it cost.

In the evening we went round to Dave's for a beer or two and then headed off to Bear Night with a crowd of his friends. Having eaten nothing before starting a drinking session is, let's face it, the sort of thing an amateur drinker would think twice about, but not me, oh no. So within an hour I was practically paralytic and talking to any and everyone about any and everything. Apparently we went to another bar too and I got chatting to an Irish guy... an American guy... an Aussie guy.. etc etc. You get the picture. Today people are still reminding me of what I got up to but, dear reader, I am well advised to not repeat their plainly slanderous allegations here. I'm sure they're making it all up anyway.

Scally arrived today on the 'red eye' flight and we are all meeting up soon before going to the Aussie Stadium for the opening ceremony.

Thursday, October 31, 2002

Can't get to sleep tonight...
The theory goes: 'stay awake as long as possible to adjust to Oz time more quickly'. Some theory.

I've managed to stay awake thus far using a (not so unique) combination of stimulants: eating, drinking, shopping and casual sex. But I'm now flagging badly. The fatigue is actually beginning to drive me slightly mad. Proof, if proof were needed, being provided by recent trip to the record shop produced purchases of such dodgy CDs as The Donna Summer Anthology, Enigma's Greatest Hits and that ruddy Ketchup song. God, I must really need sleep badly.

And final confirmation of my poor state of mind from lack of sleep came when Mark returned from going out to buy some diet coke. He came back to discover me dancing on the coffee table with Las Ketchup blaring out at full volume. Lordy. I was even seeing Ketchup bottles dancing up there with me. He managed to talk me down eventually and into bed babling about ketchup.

Sleep deprivation is a terrible thing, my friends, and the delirium it produces takes many weird forms. Just say 'no'.
Those first impressions...
We arrived in Sydney this morning (i.e. Thursday) at 6:20am after a couple of very long flights (stopping at Singapore to take on fuel and dispel the 12 hours of passenger farts). Weather here is warm, sunny and well disposed. Rather like the people. The place we are staying is right in the middle of the gay area (Oxford Street) and a couldn't be nicer. We found our apartment quite easily in fact - just followed the trail of rainbow flags. We've probably got one of the best suites in the place actually - we're on the 14th floor with a commanding view of the city. Dave very kindly put us up for a while after our arrival while we got our hotel room sorted and gave us many pointers for places to visit and things to do. He is such a nice man.

At the moment I am fighting to stay awake (it's about 11am) but the sight of the semi-naked beefcake walking up and down Oxford Street and the fact that all 82 members of the various UK Swimming teams are all staying in our apartment block might just be the stimulant I need. No worries (as they say endlessly here).

More later.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible...
As I will be flying to the other side of the world for the next day or two. Wish me luck.
Inflight movies......
Tonight we're off to Oz. Hurray! But the movies on the plane look less than inspiring. Which do you recommend staying awake for?

Insomnia 1:58 | THRILLER | M Stars: Al Pacino, Robin Williams, Hilary Swank Director: Chris Nolan
Director Chris Nolan follows his brilliant film Memento with a psychological thriller set in the 24-hour daylight of a small Alaskan town. After a shocking murder, two LA detectives are sent to investigate. Both, however, are in trouble for not playing by the rules. And soon they're investigation is compromised by a killer who knows their dirty secrets.
Works up a respectable level of bleary-eyed paranoia – Village Voice

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood 1:56 | COMEDY DRAMA | M
Stars: Sandra Bullock, Ellen Burstyn Director: Callie Khouri
Vivi, a southern matron, is shocked when her daughter, Sidda, a New York playwright, reveals to a journalist she was abused as a child. So Vivi's three childhood friends, the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, go to New York, drug Sidda, and bring her back to the south to learn the truth about her upbringing.
A movie resolutely for and about women – NEW YORK TIMES

The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course 1:30 | ACTION COMEDY | PG
Stars: Steve Irwin, Magda Szubanski, David Wenham Director: John Stainton
Crocodile wrestler Steve Irwin wrestler a croc away from some poachers, only to find it's swallowed a secret electronic beacon and the poachers are US agents trying to get it back. To save the croc, Steve heads outback where he's sure he can lose them. Sound just a teensy bit familiar?
Delivers exactly what it promises – Variety

Life or Something Like It 1:43 / ROMANTIC COMEDY / M
Stars: Angelina Jolie, Edward Burns Director: Stephen Herek
TV anchor woman Lanie has it all – great job, baseball jock fiancee – until a homeless man predicts three things: the score of her man’s next game, the weather the next day, and that she’ll be dead in a week. When the predictions start coming true, she tries to turn her life and her heart around ... fast.

Bend it Like Beckham 1:52 | COMEDY | PG
Stars: Parminder Nagra, Keira Knightley Director: Gurinder Chadha
If you're young and can bend a kick like English soccer captain David Beckham, you're going to be a star. Unless, that is, you're a girl. Jess and Jules form an unlikely friendship as they struggle to realise their dreams while dealing with issues of race, gender and love.
The biggest UK sleeper hit since The Full Monty – Empire Magazine

Men in Black ll 1:26 | COMEDY | PG
Stars: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Lara Flynn Boyle Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Initially, Agent Jay is the only man in black – his sidekick is an alien pug dog. But Jay is forced to enlist his old partner Agent Kay in order to stop the villainous alien Serleena from finding a mysterious light force. The Men In Black then get to work amid some of the best special effects, and witty asides, in the business.
At times jaw-droppingly impressive – The Australian

Monday, October 28, 2002

Dark, Darkest, Darko...
Marky, Nikki and I went to see Donnie Darko at the movies last night.

Back To The Future meets Twin Peaks meets Halloween meets ET meets The Abyss meets Star Trek meets The Last Temptation Of Christ meets Harvey meets Stephen King meets Married With Children meets Amercian Werewolf In London meets...

Weird, funny and who-cares-if-it's-derivative-or-that-the-ending-is-a-bit-weak-it's-great. Go see. Especially on 30th October if you can.
Abigail's Party...
A bunch of us went to see Abigail's Party on Friday at the Swiss Cottage Hampstead Theatre. It was a great production - well acted, moving and oh-my-god-look-at-that-lamp-and-that-wallpaper-we-used-to-have-that-at-our-home-in-the-70s funny. Thanks to Guy for organising the tickets. Start spotters will be pleased to hear that Jennifer Saunders was there too (cue: conversation about Victoria Woods split from the Great Soprendo).

Friday, October 25, 2002

A vacationing penguin ...
A vacationing penguin is driving through Arizona and sees that the car's oil-pressure light is on. He gets out looking and sees oil dripping out of the motor. He drives slowly and carefully to the nearest town and stops at the first gas station.
After dropping the car off, the penguin goes for a walk around town. He sees an ice cream shop, and being a penguin in Arizona, decides that something cold would really hit the spot. He gets a big dish of vanilla ice cream and sits down to eat. Having no hands, he makes a real mess trying to eat with his little flippers.
After finishing his ice cream, he goes back to the gas station and asks the mechanic if he's found the problem.
The mechanic looks up from the engine and says, "It looks like you've blown a seal."
"No, no," the penguin replies, wiping his mouth, "it's just ice cream."

[Thanks to Guy for passing on the gag - had me in stitches]
Microsoft Announces Ads for BSOD...
Redmond, WA - In an effort to boost sagging revenue growth, Microsoft today announced it will begin selling advertising space on the company's world famous Blue Screen of Death (BSOD)©. The screen, displayed whenever Windows cannot recover from an error in the operating system's core, until now has historically served as a display of unintelligible diagnostic data that has not made any sense to anyone, ever, according to a survey conducted by the Gartner Group. In addition, the BSOD has scared most users because it was composed mainly of hexadecimal digits that, which in extreme cases, can lead to hallucinations, epileptic seizures and deviant behaviour in primates and rats.

The Bud Screen Of Death"Past efforts to make the blue screen more helpful by adding animated characters and changing the hue to a more user-friendly beige or aqua have failed," said head of BSOD Development Kate Verban. "When we failed to make the BSOD user-friendly, we decided that at least it could generate revenue. Displayed more than a billion times a day globally, the blue screen has a captive audience, with over 90 percent of the computer desktops in the world. This makes it an excellent platform for advertisers, comparable only to watching BBC's Fame Academy and makes watching the blue screen just about as exciting."

Tom Gordon, Director of Marketing for Anheuser-Busch, confirmed today that the beverage giant will be among the first advertisers, "We think it's a tremendous opportunity," said Gordon. "Picture this, you're working late at night on a crucial project. Your computer crashes. You've lost all your important work. It's definitely time for a beer, and we'll be there to remind you that the beer should be a beechwood-aged Budweiser. We like to call it 'The Bud Screen Of Death'."

For earlier versions of Windows, the BSOD ads will be installed using the Windows Update feature. However, Windows XP systems connected to the Internet will automatically install the new software in the middle of the night when no one is looking.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

Oz travel details...
Dep. LONDON HEATHROW on Tue 29 October 2002 at 22:15. Arr. SINGAPORE on Wed 30 October 2002 at 18:55.
(dash across tarmac to waiting plane)
Dep. SINGAPORE on Wed 30 October 2002 at 20:00. Arr. SYDNEY on Thu 31 October 2002 at 06:20.
(hang around for 8 hours until we can check in)
(suffer severe bed-bound jet-lag for two weeks)
Dep. SYDNEY on Wed 13 November 2002 at 12:20. Arr. CAIRNS on Wed 13 November 2002 at 14:20.
(tropical heat; insect and spider bites expected - lose leg in frenzied shark attack)
(get stung by jellyfish on remaining leg and stay in bed for 5 days - get up in middle of the night and hobble to airport for leaving flight)
Dep. CAIRNS on Tue 19 November 2002 at 06:15. Arr. AYERS ROCK on Tue 19 November 2002 at 08:55.
(hop around for 4 hours until we can check in)
(crawl all over ancient Aborigine monument of Ayes Rock and pick up local death curse)
Dep. AYERS ROCK on Wed 20 November 2002 at 12:50. Arr. SYDNEY on Wed 20 November 2002 at 17:20.
(stay in apartment nursing remaining leg, jellyfish sting and recent death curse)
(finally begin to get used to 10 hour time difference with UK just as it's time to...)
Dep. SYDNEY on Sat 23 November 2002 at 17:00. Arr. LONDON HEATHROW on Sun 24 November 2002 at 05:40.
(severe zombie jet-lag as arrive in UK and turn up at office to face four week work backlog)

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

BBC 1 Police 0...
Dr Who's Tardis has been wrestled out of Police hands.
...arbitrator Shaun Sherlock remarked that even if the police had built up any reputation, it would have only been in the area of policing and law enforcement and would not have extended into the goods and services which the BBC had applied to use it for.
I love that 'if' in there. Since when did such a small word say so much?
I've been driving in my car...
Next week Marky and I are going to Australia. We're principally going down for the Sydney 2002 Gay Games but also for a bit of a holiday.

We've been planning the trip for four years now - the day we got back from the Gay Games in 1998 which was held in Amsterdam was the day we started dreaming of going to Australia. We'd had the most fantastic time in Amsterdam and if there was to be even just the smallest chance of the slightest whiff of the same atmosphere in Sydney then we knew we had to go.

Now I've never been to Oz and so am not really sure what to expect. Have any of you been before? What are Australians like in their native habitat? Is there anything I just must see/do?

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

What's wrong with this picture?...
Check out this picture, its a real picture taken by an old lady somewhere in America. Keep looking at the left window and turn the volume up a bit................. (and oldie but a goodie)
What a Pong...
Ben and Sarah came over for lunch on Sunday. It was great to see them, as ever, but especially so because Ben had brought with him a recent eBay purchase of an old fashioned 1970s (?) Benatone video console. He'd bought it for just a tenner and before long we had it plugged in and where playing it with the same enthusiasm that we might have done 25 years ago - 'tennis', 'football' and 'squash'. The bat sizes could be switched to 'big' or 'small'. The ball speed to 'fast' or 'slow'. The angel of deflection to '20' or '40'. And the sound when you hit the ball was that oh so pleasing 'bing' noise. Ah how the memories came flooding back. Amazing how much fun you can get out of twisting one little knob. Missus.

(click for bigger images)

Friday, October 18, 2002

Busy, busy, busy...
I had an early morning meeting with one of our consultants yesterday. And then a four hour meeting with BT. And then another one hour meeting internally with my boss. I then had all my normal daily work to catch up on. It turned into a 12 hour day at work in the end. And when I got home the plumber due on Tuesday came round to try and fix a leaky tap. But he couldn't. So he's back on Sunday.

This morning I got up early and had to rush down to the Islington Council offices to get a parking permit for the new car. £95 for the privilege of parking outside my own flat, thanks very much. I also had to phone for another plumber to come this morning to fix our combination boiler as it's on the blink. £85 per hour + materials + VAT - we'll see how much that little lot costs.

And I'm meeting my parents, aunt and brother for lunch too. And picking up the new car today.

It's all go.
I was in John Lewis yesterday buying a birthday present for my mother. I was on the 5th floor on my way back to the lifts where I had to wait what seemed like an age for one to arrive. Next to the lifts in the Wedding List area was a man who was shouting very loudly into a mobile phone. I guess it was an International call: "NO. NO. I KNOW. YES, BALI. THE WEDDING WAS IN BALI. I'LL ASK IF THEY CAN GET THE MONEY BACK FOR THE GIFTS? (pause) OK. YES. I WILL. YES. (pause) YOU TOO. BYE".

Thursday, October 17, 2002

Bibliotheca Alexandrina...
Typical! A new library opens and they're closed on Tuesdays! Still I imagine they expect to offset the $220m building costs against the 2,500 year late book return fine that Archimedes and Euclid both have outstanding.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Pop Quiz answers...
1. Check the Meaning
2. Come Back Around
3. All My Life
4. For Lovers, Buck, Learn To Fly
5. Ladytron
6. Add N to (X)
7. Heaven
8. Johnny Slut
9. Joe Dolce, The Tweets
10. Rick Dees and His Cast Of Idiots, Los Del Rio
11. The Krankies, Starturn on 45 Pints
12. His Name was Ernie and he drove the fastest milkcart in the West
13. 2177
14. Killer
15. House Of The Rising Sun
16. Ghost Town
17. Back For Good
18. Honeybus
19. Marvin Gaye
20. Bobby Goldboro
21. (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay
22. 1968
Pop Quiz...
Now we hadn't been to one of these in a while but last night Darren, David, Jim and I ventured forth into the October night air to pick our pop wits against London's finest pop trivia anoraks.

The quiz was tough as there was big money at stake. We did reasonably well (17 out of a possible 22) but the winners did better (20.5).

Here are the questions. See how you do.

1. What is Richard Ashcroft's current single called?
2. What is Feeder's current single called?
3. What is the Foo Fighter's current single called?
4. Hits from the above three - fill in the blanks: A song For _ ; _ Rogers ; Learn _ _
5. Who cancelled a gig this week in London?
6. Who else cancelled a gig this week in London?
7. Where were the gigs to be held? (Hint: Hot chocolate, Temptation and Smiths)
8. A Cabaret Voltaire song has just been rereleased - what's the connection between that song and The Specimen and Atomizer?
9. Who sang Shutupa ya face? The Birdie Song?
10. Who sang Disco Duck? The Macarena?
11. Who sang We're Going To Spain? Pump Up The Bitter?
12. "You could hear the hoof beats pound as they raced across the ground, And the clatter of the wheels as they spun 'round and 'round.
And he galloped into market street, his badge upon his chest..." What are the next 13 words?
13. Add up the numbers: Temptation + a big Prince hit + Summertime Funsters + Red, Red Wine + Nena + Paul Hardcastle
14. What song have the Sugarbabes just covered?
15. What song have Muse just covered?
16. What song have the Prodigy just covered?
17. What song has McAlmont and Butler just covered?
18. Who sang I Can't Let Maggie Go?
19. Who sang I heard It Through The Grapevine?
20. Who sang Honey?
21. What is the exact title of Otis Reddig's song that starts "Sitting in the morning sun, I'll be sitting when the evening comes
Watching the ships roll in, And I watch 'em roll away again..."
22. What year were the previous four songs hits?

Tough quiz, huh?

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Who needs a car in London? Certainly not me.
- cars are expensive to buy
- cars depreciate quickly
- cars are expensive to run #1 car tax
- cars are expensive to run #2 insurance in London is ridiculously high
- cars are expensive to run #3 need a parking permit to park outside my own front door
- cars are expensive to run #4 petrol is expensive - and working for an oil company I should know!
- cars are expensive to run #5 congestion charges coming soon
- cars are expensive to run #6 car parking / parking meters for very expensive
- cars are expensive to run #7 annual MOT
- cars are expensive to run #8 regular servicing costs
- I don't have a garage
- cars get scratched by yobs
- I can't drink and drive
- I can't drive a car to work
- there is very good public transport in London (taxis, buses, tubes and rail) making a car redundant
- I'm always too tired to drive after work or at weekends to drive
- I can never find anywhere to park a car anyway
- I never go out of London
- driving a car is dangerous (to me and to other people on the road)
- cars cause pollution
- London is one big traffic jam (and not just during rush hour)
- the new traffic calming schemes slow things even more
- London has road works aplenty
- bus lanes slow traffic to a stand still
- red routes mean you can't park cars outside shops anymore
- cars bring on road rage

So guess what I did yesterday? Yes, I bought a car.

Monday, October 14, 2002

Did you know that Dougal is call Pollux in France? Or as we used to call him as kids, Bollocks. Oh, how we laughed.
My Dougal...
When I was nine years old I built a model Dougal to enter into a Cub Scout model making competition. I made it out of cardboard boxes, old newspapers and a lot of artistic licence. I wasn't a very good model maker but I had had a secret plan that would guarantee me first place in the competition. What my model may have lacked in artistic flare it was going to make up for in size. Using the maxim that bigger is better my Dougal was going to be HUGE.

It took me three full days to make. It ended up being four feet high, six feet long and two feet wide. It was truly a monster. When collapsed down it only just about fitted in my parent's stationwagon.

The day of the event arrived and we drove full of high hopes with my Dougal packed safely in the back. At the event itself we borrowed a step-ladder to assemble my Dougal and it was undoubtable the stand-out attraction of the competition. Everyone came to have a look. I just knew I was going to win. Big is best, right? However fate was not on my side. The judges made there tour and a hush descended as the winner was announced. And it wasn't me! It was some stupid boy with his Airfix model of a Spitfire! I was outraged. A rumour quickly spread around the room (spread mainly by me in a very loud stage whisper) that his Dad had helped him build the model plane (strictly against the rules) but no avail. No rejudgement was announced. I am not proud of what happened next.

I wish I could say I shook hands with the winner and was gracious in defeat but sadly that is far, far from the truth. I went beetroot in colour and threw a tantrum. A big one. First I cried. Loudly. My parents tried to comfort me but I was having none of it. Then I grumpily kicked my Dougal. Gently at first but then again a bit harder. And then again harder still. Everyone was looking. Then I set about it with such ferocity that in minutes it lay in pieces. I'd kicked in half way round the room and my Dougal lay at my feet. Dead. I then fell upon it and burst into tears of inconsolable misery. I could see other parents ushering their children aware from this dangerous child psychopath as my Dad gathered me up and gave me a rare hug. Probably reckoning on smothering the howling noise I was making as much as anything else. I remember little of the journey home.

I never entered a Cub Scout competition again. And I still bear the emotional scars from that second place red rosette that my mother rescued from my flattened giant Dougal as we left. I've never apologised to my parents for the scene I created that day. Perhaps I really should.

Sunday, October 13, 2002

Sports and Shorts...
Marky and I went to Sports and Shorts last night at the Stag in Victoria. We were both sporting our new Arsenal kits - me 'home' and Marky 'away'. David, Dave, Mark, Ian, David, Spence, Glenn et al were all in attendance - things got a bit dodgy at one or two points but that's dodgy in a good way :-)

Friday, October 11, 2002

Bluetooth finally puts down roots...
Momentum for Bluetooth is building as Microsoft and other mainstream suppliers incorporate the short-range wireless technology into their products ranges. An interim release of Windows XP will have it built in from the end of the year and an automatic download will be available this month. Apple has added support to Max OS X. IBM have put it in their ThinkPad X30. HP in the Desktop 450 printer and Palm has it in their new PDA. Volkwagen are even planning on putting it in the dashboards of their cars for use with mobile phones. And Tefal have a plan to use Bluetooth to allow kitchen saucepans let you know when food is cooked by making your phone beep. A sort of high tech egg-timer. I wonder if they'll get PANned? PANned?! Geddit?! PAN? Personal Area Network - PAN. No? Oh well, suit yourselves.
Oh dear...
I met up with my sister, Joanna, last night and all her T-Mobile pals for a drink or three - already hammered when I joined them, their Upper Street bar tour continued apace. Finally we settled on a dance bar that had cheap beer and enough space for us all. Fun was had and 1am soon came round. It was time to stagger home. Or so I thought. But there were other plans afoot. Oh dear.

From nowhere Jo piped up, "let's all go to the Glory Hole". What?!! God knows how she knew about Central Station's Thursday night of sleaze - I must have mentioned it at some point I guess. She was determined that we all go to Kings Cross and despite my protestations cabs where flagged down. And so persuasive was my sister that she managed to convince the straight boys to go too. This was such a bad idea. Oh dear.

I woke up this morning in a very bad state, not remembering quite what had gone on the night before. As I sit here now at my PC and piece together the night I remember only three things:-
1. Playing the game Which three women would you sleep with? / Which three men would you sleep with? with all the straight boys - they loved it.
2. Buying a bottle of champagne for no apparent reason
3. Taking an Italian straight boy for a 'fact finding mission' of the Central Station dark rooms - he was frankly speaking, quite shocked.

Oh dear.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

New Magic Roundabout film...
What slightly irritated me about the Magic Roundabout publicity this morning was that BBC Radio One, unlike other BBC sources, claimed that this will be the first Magic Roundabout film to be made. False. The video of Dougal And The Blue Cat (1972) was my constant companion through my alcohol fuelled late-70s and drug fuelled 80s. Essential late night viewing.

Dougal And The Blue Cat is quite a creepy little film with a strong psychedelic feel - everything in the garden starts to turn blue, the Roundabouters get brainwashed, Florence gets kidnapped and tied up in chains in a dungeon and Dylan trips out big time. Only Dougal is left to save the day...
Bremner, Bird & Fortune...
Last night Roger and I went to see Rory Bremner, John Bird and John Fortune live on stage at the Albery Theatre in a show called Beware Of Imitations. We both roared with laughter for two solid hours as the boys ribbed Blair, Bush, Duncan-Smith etc al. All very, very clever and very, very funny. Satire is indeed alive and well and on the West End stage.
John Wayne is Boot-leggy...
The next big Sugababes-style pop bootleg is going to be Liberty X's Ain't Nobody/Being Boiled.
[According to Popbitch]
Bored of the Things...
50 reasons why Lord Of The Rings sucks.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Why matchstick people are extinct...
Best of Bond...
The BBC web site is running a Who's the best Bond thingy?

So how this for a meme? What is your...

1. Best Bond?
2. Best Bond film?
3. Best Bond girl?
4. Best Bond song?
5. Best Bond bit?

For me...
Best Bond: Sean Connery (especially in Goldfinger and Thunderball)
Best Bond film: Live And Let Die (with Roger Moore as Bond)
Best Bond girl: Honor Blackman (leather clad Pussy Galore in Goldfinger)
Best Bond song: Diamonds Are Forever - Shirley Bassey
Best Bond bit: Sean Connery as Bond is strapped to Goldfinger's laser table and says "You don't expect me to talk do you, Goldfinger?". Gert Frobe's reply, "No, Mr Bond. I expect you to die"

If you publish your answers let me know and I'll link back to you - or leave your answers in my comments.
Rumour has it Paul has left A1. Chig will be gutted if it's true.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Marc gets a hernia...

Soft Cell postpone tour as singer falls ill

Soft Cell have been forced to postpone their forthcoming tour, which was due to start next week.

Marc Almond was taken severely ill in the early hours of this morning with an aggravated hernia.

It is thought he will require an immediate operation.

The UK and European tour, which was due to commence in 6 days, will be rescheduled for the New Year.

Soft Cell's manager said: "This is a very unfortunate event particularly considering the fantastic reception the band's recent live shows and new album have received.

"We are very disappointed that Soft Cell will miss the opportunity to play to their European fans but it is impossible that Marc could perform effectively in his current condition.

"We are confident that Marc will be able to perform on the band's American tour in November as planned and will be fully fit for rescheduled dates in the New Year."

I'll be honest with you, I wasn't going anyway. I think I've seen them enough times this year (five? six?).

[Thanks to David for the heads up and Mike for the sidebar up]
Brixton Rare...
(Can you keep a secret? Can you? The term Brixton Rare doesn't appear in Google. Well, it doesn't appear as I am writing this anyways - but maybe that will change when the google-bots get me. Oh, no! Not the google-bots!)

On my journey up to Brum on Friday afternoon I sat next to a man, Grant - Irish, straight, blue eyes and gorgeous. Naturally enough we got talking. I say 'naturally' not because I was trying to chat him up or anything but because he had the gift of the gab. In fact he didn't stop talking for the whole journey. He'd not so much kissed the Blarney Stone as deep throated it. But he was pleasant enough so I didn't mind.

We talked about everything - his travels, my travels, his sons, my dead cat, his ex-wife, my XDA and (once I'd told him I was gay) his trips to gay clubs. Eventually conversation got round to pills and dope. Not that I partake anymore you understand but Grant had an interesting tale to tell. He told me about a service called Brixton Rare based - surprise, surprise - in Brixton.

The service is run by two men who will deliver dope to your front door. You simply call them up and tell them what you want - Afgan, South African, Columbian whatever - and it is hand delivered pre-weighed and stapled close (with a special tamper-free staple) to 'guarantee' purity. Whatsmore, £2 of every purchase is donated to one of two hard drugs misuse charities. You choose which one you want it to go to at time of delivery. You can get their telephone number only by recommendation by an existing customer. Grant tried to give me the number but I refused. Sadly the service only runs in Southawk and I though moving there too higher price to pay.

So how's that for free enterprise? Grooming themselves for full legalisation, perhaps?
High Homer...
Did anyone see the Simpsons on Sunday night? It was moved to the 9pm slot so it was after the watershed. It was hilarious. Homer get 'addicted' to smoking dope. Exxxx-cell-ent. I still love that show even thirteen series in.

ANIMATION: The Simpsons
Channel: Sky One
Date: Sunday 6th October 2002
Time: 21:00 to 21:30
Duration: 30 minutes.
Weekend at Burnsie's. Series 13, episode 16.
After being attacked by crows, Homer is prescribed medical marijuana for the pain. One of the side-effects is that he laughs at all of Mr Burns's jokes, leading Burns to promote him to executive vice president
(New Episode, Subtitles, 4 Star)

Monday, October 07, 2002

Roger and I spent a lovely lonely weekend in Birmingham. Lovely Lonely as we had left out respective partners, Kevin and Mark, at home. A dizzy tour of restaurants, cinemas, bars, clubs and saunas did nothing to cheer our pining for our beloved boyfriends.

On Saturday afternoon I had the pleasure of meeting Chig (see pictures below). We had talked on the phone at length before we met just to confirm where and when etc. - there was a little flirting on that call but not too much. Chig even offered me his gaydar profile so I could see what he looked like - a fact which said less about Chig's forwardness than it did about how at easy he must have felt after our brief conversation. The allotted time was 1:30pm.

We eventually met 30 minutes later due to heavy traffic in The Green Room opposite the Hippodrome which is one of Chig's favourite haunts. We devoured some beer, some food (him veggie, me stuffed potato skins) and both finished off with hot chocolate with double-cream and flakes (diet be damned!). We talked about work, where we lived, who we knew and who we didn't. We discovered friends in common via Chig's work (which was perhaps unremarkable considering what he does). We touched on football and boys and boy-bands and music and blogging and bloggers and Korbyn and more music and Soft Cell and A1 and Birmingham and The 'Gale and The Green House and The Green Room and everything. I asked questions I shouldn't ("So who *do* you have sex with?") and forgot to ask ones I should have ("So how do you know Mike, then?"). We chatted and chatted and chatted and chatted. I now know where Chig's name comes from, where he lives, what he does do and what it doesn't. I know how much he drinks, why he gets to meet so many famous people and what he listens to at work. All very personal things I'm sure you'll agree.

Just had to get Mr Egg on the Internet one more time! The rather cute Chig showing me his best side The mini-blog meet poses for the Midlands press The Birmingham Morris Dancers try their best to entertain Chig The morning after the night before

Full set of pictures here.

So three hours later after I'd sucked out everything from him we went milling around Birmingham Town Centre - first a record shop (did Chig wait especially for my arrival before pointed buying Soft Cell's Cruelty Without Beauty?) then W H Smith's and finally Woolies. We stopped and watched Morris Dancers do there stuff and took snaps for a while - (quite rightly) Chig wouldn't pose with them despite my protestations. He ain't the media whore I am.

He walked me back towards my hotel when I was due to meet Roger and he gave me a quick peck on the cheek to say goodbye. As he did this three teenage girls walking past made a big "ERRRRRRRRR!!!" sound in disgust when they saw us kiss. "Were they doing that to us?", Chig asked glancing across at me nervously. "Who cares?", I replied. And we didn't.

So a nice afternoon, with a nice guy. What more could you want?

Oh, apart from a four hour trip to the sauna later that day... but that's another story.
Speed Cup Stacking...
This is simply bizarre.
[Thanks to Rog for the link]

Friday, October 04, 2002

The World's Funniest Joke -- Official...
From Reuters yesterday:

After a year of painstaking scientific research, the world's funniest joke was revealed on yesterday.

In a project described as the largest-ever scientific study into humour, the British Association for the Advancement of Science asked Internet users around the world to submit their favourite jokes and rate the funniness of other people's offerings.

More than 40,000 jokes from 70 countries and two million critiques later, this is it:

"Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn't seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other man pulls out his phone and calls emergency services.
He gasps to the operator: "My friend is dead! What can I do?" The operator in a calm, soothing voice replies: "Take it easy. I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead."
There is a silence, then a shot is heard.
Back on the phone, the hunter says, "Ok, now what?"

Researchers found significant differences between nations in the types of jokes they found funny.

People from the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Australia and New Zealand preferred gags involving word play, such as:
PATIENT: "Doctor, I've got a strawberry stuck up my bum."
DOCTOR: "I've got some cream for that."

Americans and Canadians favoured jokes where people were made to look stupid.
TEXAN: "Where are you from?"
HARVARD GRAD: "I come from a place where we do not end our sentences with prepositions."
TEXAN: "OK -- where are you from, jackass?"

Meanwhile, many Europeans liked gags that were surreal or made light of serious subjects such as illness, death and marriage:
A patient says, "Doctor, last night I made a Freudian slip, I was having dinner with my mother-in-law and wanted to say: 'Could you please pass the butter?'
"But instead I said: 'You silly cow, you have completely ruined my life."'

Marriage-mocking also featured in the top American joke:
"A man and a friend are playing golf one day. One of the guys is about to chip onto the green when he sees a long funeral procession on the road next to the course.
"He stops in mid-swing, takes off his golf cap, closes his eyes, and bows down in prayer. His friend says: 'Wow that is the most thoughtful and touching thing I have ever seen. You are truly a kind man.'
"The man then replies: 'Yeah, well, we were married 35 years."'

Death earned big laughs in Scotland:
"I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather. Not screaming in terror like his passengers."

And animals figured prominently. Take the number one joke in England:
"Two weasels are sitting on a bar stool. One starts to insult the other one. He screams, 'I slept with your mother!'
"The bar gets quiet as everyone listens to see what the other weasel will do.
"The first again yells, 'I SLEPT WITH YOUR MOTHER!'
"The other says: 'Go home dad, you're drunk."'

The survey revealed other fun facts:
-- Of the countries rating the highest number of jokes, Germans, perhaps surprisingly, laughed the most. Canadians laughed least.
-- If you want to tell a funny animal joke, make it a duck.
-- The most frequently submitted joke, at 300 times, was: "What's brown and sticky? A stick."

Researchers said no one ever found it funny.

The findings can be read at www.laughlab.co.uk
When two bloggers collide...
This afternoon Rog and I are going up to Brum for the weekend. I'm hoping to get the 15:45 train from Euston due to arrive at Birmingham New Street at 17:22 (like that will happen!). We're staying to the Ibis as we did last time - very classy (not!) - and tonight we'll probably just do a bar crawl (not doubt ending up at Boots).

I'll have quite a bit of free time over the weekend as Roger is going to be working at the NEC every afternoon at The National Wedding Show. When he's working I'll probably head off to some sauna, cinema or a bar - just to pass the time you understand. On Sunday though I'm going to go to the actual show - I want to try on one of those wedding dresses!

Actually Chig and I are talking about getting together on Saturday afternoon for a coffee/drink/very mini-blog meet. I'm quite looking forward to it as we have never met before. And if anyone else wants to join us let me know.... or send me an e-mail or something.