Quote Of The Day

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

Saturday, March 30, 2002

QM dead...
Her Majesty, the Queen Mother died in her sleep today at 3:15pm. She was 101 years old. RIP, you likeable old bird.
Arsenal vs Sunderland...
I'm sitting here - feeling bored. Too sick to concentrate on anything (e.g. reading or even watching a video or TV) so I'm listening to Arsenal play at home instead - streaming from their web site. And a great match it is too. 3 - 0 to the Gunners by half time. Something to smile about at least (you can tell I'm not a good patient!)
Still ill...
Great. It's Easter. The sun is shining. Four days off work. And I'm still ill. Sore throat, chest infection and fever. At least I'm out of bed today so I can sit and watch TV at least. I'm sick and tired - of being sick and tired.

Friday, March 29, 2002

I'm ill...
I've been in bed since yesterday with a chest infection. Argh!

Thursday, March 28, 2002

Taboo’s a hit, by George…
Last night Alex, Ben, Bryn, Chris, Marky and I went to see Boy George's new musical Taboo at the Venue. I’d been wanting to go for some time and thanks to Bryn coming over from San Francisco we had the perfect excuse. Ben had kindly booked the tickets and very good ones they were too (C&D 14-16). We were almost sitting on the stage. The Venue auditorium is completely open plan so the actors performed, sang and danced in and around you which really made you feel part of the night club.

The show itself was sensational. Witty, outrageous and lyrical. The cast were exceptional - especially Euan Morton (Boy George), Mark McGee (Marilyn) and Drew Jaymson (Steve Strange).

Surprisingly the show stealer wasn’t Matt Lucas (Leigh Bowery) despite his outrageous costumes and songs (like Ich Bin Kunst!) but actually Paul Baker (Philip Salon). Being able to step out of the performance and interact with the audience meant he acted as a kind of Greek Chorus at times that provided much amusement (talking to a portly couple in the audience “Hello, you two. You must have a big fridge!”) and helped accelerate the plot when needed. Matt Lucas attempts at doing the same were less successful as you were laughing at him not with him.

The story itself was standard boy meets girl stuff (avoiding some of the let’s-make-it-really-gay mistakes of Closer To Heaven) around which the flamboyantly dressed fame and fashion obsessed bitches circulated - dropping their acid comments and casting their evil spells. It all rang so true! Apparently the ending was made a bit more upbeat after initial audience feedback in the previews.

Boy George 16 new songs are in equal measure funny, moving and sing/clap along. He’s lost none of his touch to write a good pop tune. Mixed in with these new songs are some of Culture Club’s classics, a hilarious version of Visage's Fade to Grey and a bit of Human League’s Don’t You Want Me? I picked up a mini-LP of four of these tracks on the way out and have been playing it all morning. The cast album should be out soon.

I would urge you to go and see the show. It's well worth it. We're already planning our next visit.

Oh, and on the star spotting front, we saw Paul Keating in the audience and in the bar afterwards. I struggled to find something nice to say though (seeing as Closer... was so crap). Only afterwards did it occur to me to have praised him for The Rose and the Ring we saw at Christmas. D'oh!
S Club 6...
And then there were six. Paul's quit.

Wednesday, March 27, 2002

I love my phone...
I've got a really natty phone. An Ericsson R380s. What I most like about it is you can scribble notes on it when you're on the move, you can sync everything (contacts, calander, notes) with Outlook and you can blog from it. Well, it turns out there's something else I like about it too. Ericsson continually develop the software that runs their phones and a new version of this software comes out every couple of months or so. So this afternoon I'm off to my nearest Sony-Ericsson service point to get my phone software 'upgraded'. I wonder what new features they've added this time?
Sleep sex...
Imagine awaking in the middle of the night to find your partner trying to make love to you - while they are sound asleep (chance would be a fine thing!) "Sleep sex" is a term coined by US scientists to describe the phenomenon, which can cause people to commit sexual acts on themselves or their partners - while asleep. This shocking news comes from the BBC.

Actually sleep has been getting as bit of a bad press recently. It appears that sleep can be bad for you, sleep can make you depressed and sleep can kill you. So I guess the Sleep Marketing Board needed a bit of good PR. Let's face it, no-one could really delight in the fact that sleep can teach babies things. Do you know any good sleep stories?
The Internet: Volume One...
Wanna see your web site preserved for all time in The British Library? The Digital Preservation Society are trying to do just that. Only 100 sites are archived at the moment but 10,000 are planned.
The Amazing Retro Webmonkeys…
Last night’s Pop Quiz was a lot of fun, though we didn't win. We got a respectable 16½ out of 21. The theme was one hit wonders i.e. artists who had had just one top 75 chart entry.

See how well you do and leave your answers in the comments.

01. The instrumental round kicked off with a hit called Nut Rocker. Who was the artist?
02. The every popular Popcorn was next. Who had the hit with that?
03. Back in 1984 a band called Doop had a hit. But what was their hit called?
04. The 1970s round was next. What was the name of the song and the artist who had a hit with the lyrics, “you can have it with a buzz, you can have it with a ring and if you really want it you can have a ding-a-ling”.
05. What was the name of the song and the artist who had a hit with the lyrics, “What's he like, Mavis ? He’s a real tasty, geezer”.
06. Who had a hit with Ring My Bell?
07. Who took a cover version of a Norman Greenbaum song to the top of the charts in 1986?
08. Who covered Scott English’s Brandy but subtly changed the title?
09. Who had a number one hit with Fire in 1968?
10. Urban Spaceman was a hit for who? And who was the famous producer?
11. Just Say No got to number five in 1986. Why was it recorded? (three key elements needed)
12. What was Jilted John’s real name?
13. a) Who had a hit with Dance Hall Days? b) Tarzan Boy?
14. a) Who had a hit with The Politics of Dancing? b) Together We are Beautiful?
15. Who is the odd one out (they had more than one hit) a) Minnie Riperton Loving You, b) Wild Cherry Play That Funky Music White Boy, c) I Eat Cannibals Toto Coelo
16. Whose 2nd hit was called Success? (but it wasn't one!)
17. Who had a hit in the 1990s with I Touch Myself?
18. Who had a hit with a song inspired by and called Tetris?
19. Paul Henry had a hit in 1978. What TV show did he come from?
20. What TV show did the singer Neil come from?

Tuesday, March 26, 2002

Wine tasting...
Last Saturday I got a group of us together to go wine tasting at Vinopolis. Fun was had I think. Click on any of the thumnails below to see a larger version of the picture.
Vinopolis March 2002 Vinopolis March 2002 Vinopolis March 2002 Vinopolis March 2002
Vinopolis March 2002 Vinopolis March 2002 Vinopolis March 2002 Vinopolis March 2002
Vinopolis March 2002 Vinopolis March 2002 Vinopolis March 2002
Rules for Cats to Live By...
It's almost a year since my cat, Oliver died. And there isn't a day goes by when I don't think of him. But this made me smile.

Rules for Cats to Live By

Always accompany guests to the bathroom. It is not necessary to do anything. Just sit and stare.

Do not allow any closed doors in any room. To get door open, stand on hind legs and hammer with forepaws. Once door is opened, it is not necessary to use it. After you have ordered an "outside" door opened, stand halfway in and out and think about several things. This is particularly important during very cold weather, rain, snow, or mosquito season.

If you have to throw up, get to a chair quickly. If you cannot manage in time, get to an Oriental rug. If there is no Oriental rug, shag is good. When throwing up on the carpet, make sure you back up so it is as long as a humans bare foot.

If one of your humans is engaged in some activity and the other is idle, stay with the busy one. This is called "helping," otherwise known as "hampering." Following are the rules for "hampering:"

1) When supervising cooking, sit just behind the left heel of the cook. You cannot be seen and thereby stand a better chance of being stepped on and then picked up and comforted.

2) For book readers, get in close under the chin, between eyes and book, unless you can lie across the book itself.

3) For paperwork, lie on the work in the most appropriate manner so as to obscure as much of the work as possible or at least. Pretend to doze, but every so often reach out and slap the pencil or pen.

4) For people paying bills or working on income taxes or Christmas cards, keep in mind the aim: to hamper! First, sit on the paper being worked on. When dislodged, watch sadly from the side of the table. When activity proceeds nicely, roll around on the papers, scattering them to the best of your ability. After being removed for the second time, push pens, pencils, and erasers off the table, one at a time.

5) When a human is holding the newspaper in front of him/her, be sure to jump on the back of the paper. Humans love to jump.

6) When human is working at computer, jump up on desk, walk across keyboard, bat at mouse pointer on screen and then lay in human's lap across arms, hampering typing in progress.

As often as possible, dart quickly and as close as possible in front of the human, especially: on stairs, when they have something in their arms, in the dark, and when they first get up in the morning. This will help their coordination skills.

Always sleep on the human at night so he/she cannot move around.

When using the litter box, be sure to kick as much litter out of the box as possible. Humans love the feel of kitty litter between their toes.

Every now and then, hide in a place where the humans cannot find you. Do not come out for three to four hours under any circumstances. This will cause the humans to panic (which they love) thinking that you have run away or are lost. Once you do come out, the humans will cover you with love and kisses and you will probably get a treat.

Whenever possible, get close to a human, especially their face, turn around, and present your butt to them. Humans love this, so do it often. And don't forget guests.

[Thanks to Roger who knew I'd love this]
Acid Mothers Temple…
Next Friday the Acid Mothers Temple are playing live to a screening of the late 80s cult Manga masterpiece The Legend Of The Overfiend at the Royal Festival Hall.

Overfiend is one of my favourite anime films and I love live music in films so I’m thinking of going. I don’t know too much about Acid Mothers Temple though but after reading the blurb I think I’ll like them.

Tokyo's psychedelic earth worshippers Acid Mothers Temple perform live a score to the cult, X certificate Japanese Manga classic "Urotsukidji - Legend of the Overfiend". The perfect accompaniment to Hideki Takayama's 18 certificate 108 minute long animated classic. Acid Mothers Temple unleash a lethal concoction of guitar solos, Jazz inspired improvisation and Krautrock-like noise to one of cinema's darkest fantasies. Graphic sex, demon-induced gore and supernatural shenanigans make for a night of deliciously uncensored hardcore horror. Take your warning. Adults only.

If you fancy coming too let me know.

Monday, March 25, 2002

Too much sleep...
Is there such a thing as too much sleep? I went to bed at 10:30 last night sober as a judge and slept right through to wake up at 8am this morning feeling like shit. Arrgggh.

Sunday, March 24, 2002

Friday, March 22, 2002

Do you have any bands that you would buy their music no matter what they put out? You have to buy every last single, every last remix, every last track no matter how crap? I have. In the past in used to be acts like Donna Summer, Bananarama, (early) Kylie, The Communards, Talking Heads, Kim Wilde, Erasure, Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Steps (sniff). I would religiously buy every single and album they put out - long past their sell by dates I can tell you. Thankfully I've managed to let most of them go now. I have disposed of nearly all my vinyl and have severely cut back on my CD purchasing. But still I can't not buy anything put out by certain artists. Certain bands just make me want to rush to the store.

These are (in no particular order):
Laurie Anderson
Soft Cell
Marc Almond
Pet Shop Boys
Depeche Mode
George Michael
Brian Eno

I need to have everything they release. And I have boxes of CDs in my attic to prove it.

So what did I rush to buy this lunchtime from HMV (all out this week)?
- Two George Michael singles - both remixes of Freeek!.
- One Marilyn Manson cover of Tainted Love - bizarrely because I love the Soft Cell version so much.
- Three Pet Shop Boys singles - two remixes and the DVD single of Home and Dry.

I shall probably play them just once. If that.
Thank you to those of you who have been asking about my hospital visit a couple of weeks ago. The blood tests are back and they all seem OK. The doctor thinks the nightly leg cramps and glove and stocking neuropathy must be some nervous system disorder. So I now have to go an see a neurologist. A three week wait. Ho hum.
Teddy Borg...
What you get when you cross a networking switch with a teddy bear? Why Teddy Borg, of course.

Cute and fuzzy teddy bear. Bored MIT students. An idle weekend. Spare network equipment. When all of these things come together, Teddy Borg is born. Look over the pictorial journey from average stuffed animal to network appliance.
IQ Test...
When Alfred Binet, the French psychologist, started to develop intelligence tests in 1904 he had no idea what he had started. What was later to become the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) tests are really only applicable to children. But it doesn't stop the rest of us wanting to have a go. The BBC is running a live National IQ Test one Saturday night next month after it's huge popularity on European TV. By way of training here are some straightforward IQ questions to get you in the mood (there are no trick answers). Let me know how well you do.

01. Which one of the following is least like the other four?
Celery - Lettuce - Onion - Grape - Asparagus

02. Emily is four years old. Her big sister Amy is three times as old as Emily. How old will Amy be when she is twice as old as Emily?

03. Bowl is to cereal as envelope is to?
Mailman - Stamp - Letter - Mailbox - Mailbag

04. What would the next number be?

05. WOLF to to FLOW as 8526 is to:
2856 - 6258 - 5862 - 5682 - 6852

06. If you rearrange the letters UGNAIA, you have the name of:
a river - a planet - a city - an animal - a plant?

07. Niece is to nephew as brother is to:
Cousin - Aunt - Mother - Daughter - Sister

08. Let's say that the following arguments are true:
Some gatekeepers are warriors
Some warriors are cowards
Therefore, we can conclude that some gatekeepers must be cowards.
Is this conclusion true or false?

09. That would be the next number in this series:

10. Which of the following five is least like the other four?
Smile - Grin - Frown - Touch - Sneer

Thursday, March 21, 2002

For all you ex-Steps fans...
Former Steps stars H and Claire are joining ITV1's Saturday morning children's show, SM:tv Live, in April. "Being an SM:tv presenter is a dream come true." Really. That'll make two gay male presenters then. Wonder how long it'll be before Brian feels threathened and votes him off like Josh, Big Brother style.

H and Claire are also booked to appear at G-A-Y on Saturday May 4th. They will be launching their single DJ (due for release on the following Monday) with a performance of the track at their very first live PA.

Their web site is called www.handclaire.co.uk. Bit of luck H didn't team up with someone called Job, eh? Then their web site would be called www.handjob.co.uk. Fnah, fnah.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang...
Last night we went to see the first preview of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium. And what a happy time we spent.

We were running a little late to the show as the the Victoria line was a bit screwed up. That meant we were getting a bit stressed as we sat on the train while the minutes ticked by and we calculated and recalculated how long it would take us to run from tube platform to Royal Circle row L. But as we turned the corner with a brisk walk we were soon skipping. Seeing the the Palladium made all that stress melt away. Just the sight of that huge shiny car hanging outside made us squeal with delight. We knew we were in for something special. We just knew it.

The foyer was a mass of reds and yellows and there was a sense of expectation hanging in the air (as Abba would say). Everyone was excited about seeing the show. You could see it in their eyes. Later on most of the front of house people crept into the back of the auditorium to watch too. No sooner had we taken our seats then the overture started with the opening bars of the Chitty theme. Immediately I was transported back to my childhood experiencing the thrill of watching what was for me one of the best children's musicals ever. That warm fuzzy feeling of nostalgia was an almost physical sensation. It almost tingled.
Act 1 followed the plot to Ian Fleming's book/ Roald Dahl's film pretty closely (car racing rivalry between Britain and Vulgar (read Germany) leads to espionage, kidnap and shameless jingoism). All the key scenes were there with equal measures of drama, comedy and those big, big musical production numbers. Toot Sweets was a sensational spectacle of dance, colour and music.Chitty Chitty Bang Bang a racing gallop that had the audience wanting to jump to their feet. Truly Scrumptious had everyone singing along. Hushabye Mountain was genuinely moving (ok, ok, I admit it, I had a tear in my eye). But the real show stopper was Me Ol' Bamboo. People were calling for encores which I think took the cast a bit by surprise. We expected a few technical hitches and indeed there were some (fluffed lines, inventions that didn't quite work the way they should). Especially amusing was when the Toot Sweet is supposed to toot for the first time and but it didn't. The cast went into some really funny ad libs that somehow endeared us even more to the show.

The interval cames after 90 minutes. And after all that stamping of our feet, singing along and laughing we were in need of a glass of wine or two. I immediately phoned Roger and gushed like a babbling buffoon about how fantastic the show was and how he should come and see it immediately. Poor man. He was probably pleased when I hung up when the bell rang for Act 2.

The second act was a lot shorter than the first. All the classics were there though: The Roses Of Success, Chu-Chi Face and Doll On A Music Box/Truly Scrumptious along with four new songs too. The childcatcher (Richard O'Brian) got to sing a new one called Kiddy-Widdy-Winkies in a suitably menacing style as he stalked about the stage like a wading bird trying to not get his feet caught in the weeds. Caractacus Potts (Michael Ball), Grandpa Potts (Anton Rogers) and Truly Scrumptious (Emma Williams) were excellent throughout the whole performance. But real show stealers were the Baron (Brian Blessed) and Baroness (Nichola McAuliffe). They got to be funny, threatening and camp all at the same time. At no better time than in another new over the top glitzy number called The Bombie Samba.

The finale itself was just amazing. The car (which was the star of the show after all) literally flew round the auditorium. People were on their feet cheering and clapping and singing and laughing.

Whether is was the "most fantasmagorical stage musical in the history of everything!" is perhaps open to debate. But for me it was the best musical I have seen on the London stage. It's as simple as that.

Wednesday, March 20, 2002

Madonna is a Bond Girl...
Hot off the press: Madonna is to compose and perform the title song for the 20th James Bond film, Die Another Day. More details later.
A cast of 44, including 19 children, 20 musicians and a flying car weighing one and a half tons. And me.
A New Crown...
The Queen's getting a new Crown for her Jubilee. No, not one to put on her noggin, it's one for her pocket. There is a new £5 coin being produced by the Royal Mint.

Oh, I forgot she never carries money does she. Well, it's a crown for we commoners then I suppose.
But wait, who's going to want to carry a thumping great heavy coin? Answer: no-one.
But then we said that about the £1 coin... and the £2 after that... D'oh! Looks like I'll need to get stronger trouser pockets again.
Webmonkeys at Pop Quiz...
We didn't win last night as we did last week but got a respectable 16 out of 20. Webmonkeys (for that is what we now call ourselves team name-wise) is getting into it's stride, especially now that Darren is a regular (this week sporting a rather fetching pair of glasses I might add). Along with Darren, David and my good self this week we boasted the lusciously lipped Dave too. Ian joined us later on after a little nap.

So to the quiz. I shall try and reproduce it as best I can but it ain't easy without the tunes, man.

01 - 03. Name all nine of these female singers. Three answers to each of questions 1 to 3.

04. What's the connection between Martine McCutcheon, Michael Jackson and Liza Minnelli?
05. Who have a single out this week called Home and Dry?
06. What 'Mark' was the singer of Metal Guru?
07. What 'Mark' was the singer in The Fall?
08. What 'Mark' was in the band that had a hit with Kings Of The Wild Frontier?
09. Name these five Nokia tunes... - no, no I simply can't bring myself to do it they were all such horrible versions. Instead I'll just ask you to fill in the blanks a) Ain't XXXX Sunshine b) Amazing XXXX c) Rhinestone XXXX d) XXXX XXXX XXXX Clowns e) XXXX By XXXX Man
10. Who are these two famous late 70s/early 80s musicians? They met in 1976. Both changed their last names. They formed a punk band together after seeing the Sex Pistols in London. One of them soon left to form his own (hugely influential) band. The original band went on and was soon signed to a big record label and made it very big. Both bands have now split. The two musicians now reformed as a duo.
11. You has a single out called Cocoon?
12. Ali G and Shaggy have a single out. What's it's called?
13. Iron Maiden have a charity record in the top ten. What it called? And for a bonus point, when was it originally a hit?
14. Whose single out this week has a cover of Suicide Is Painless as a B-side?
15. What the first line to the chorus of Madonna's La Isla Bonita:
<-----------------what is this first line ?---------------------->
When it's time for siesta you can watch them go by
Beautiful faces, no cares in this world
Where a girl loves a boy, and a boy loves a girl

16. Which female singer had a hit with Looking for Love?
17. Which female singer had a hit with Crush?
18. Which band and featured artist had a hit with the heavily sampled Feel It?
19. What was the year the previous three tracks were all hits?
St Patrick's Day...
Last Sunday was St Paddy's Day - as if you couldn't have failed to notice if you were anywhere near London's glitzy West End. Thousands of drunken people wearing green were staggering through the streets in comedy Guinness hats looking for booze, dancing and a good time. The police blocked off Strand at one point as everyone had decided to walk in the street rather than on the pavement. The luck of the Oirish, eh? Well, everyone looked all Oirish. Except they didn't sound Oirish. This was confirmed when upon closer inspection the majority actually turned out to be Oztrarlians. Sure enough St Patrick's Day had been hi-jacked by our antipodean friends.

Rather reminiscent of the fact that there supposed to be more Oirish people living in America than there are in Oireland.

Tuesday, March 19, 2002

A Mars A Day Helps You Work Rest And Play...

As you may know Mars is changing it's advertising. Out with the "A Mars A Day Helps You Work Rest And Play" and in with something new. But what? Well, I'm sure it's with no more than a hint of irony and a reference to the infamous (alleged?) sex act involving the Rolling Stones and Marianne Faithful in the 60s that they can up with the tag line "Pleasure You Can Measure". Nice one, boys.
Dolce & Gabbana advert...
Others have commented on the cuteness of the D&G model. I prefer the Calvin Klein guys myself - but each to his or her own.

Here is the latest D&G poster that is on every bus stop and in every tube station at the moment. As I took this snap last Sunday afternoon a few people were looking at me oddly. Apparently it's OK to walk past and glance out of the corner of your eye at racy posters like these pretending not to be too interested but to actually stop and stare (or God forbid, take a photo) brands you as some kind of pervert. We Brits are a funny bunch.
Holy Halo...
Don't worry, Marcus. Another prayer meeting will be held soon. Then you can come worship again at the Altar of the Holy Trinity of The Nintendo, The Sony and The Halo Ghosts.

Monday, March 18, 2002

Toothy wonders...
I have a lot of teeth. To put it mildly. So does my sister. In fact all our family do. At my sister's birthday meal last Friday our gnashers made a rare showing together in public.

Ivory poachers have been known to hang around outside our house.
This was posted to my comments earlier today after my posting about the 'sex with a goat' item...

Our animal welfare group noticed the case of the arrest of a zoophile who is being prosecuted. We wanted the court and others involved with the case to be aware of our group and our web site with information on sexual assaults on animals and those who do this like the defendant; http://www.asairs.com

In our experience, the defendant is likely to re-offend, the UK has a strict law against animal buggery and we urge prosecution and sex-offender treatment. A person who does this is known as a zoophile, which in many ways is similar to pedophilia. Unfortunately this abuse of animals is a growing problem.

If we can be of further assistance for information, please contact us.

Good day to you

The ASAIRS inc staff

A.S.A.I.R.S.inc is a non-profit animal welfare entity chartered and incorporated under the laws of the state of Missouri to promote awareness of, education about, and prevention of sexual abuse of animals (zoophilia)

Business mail;
Greg Myers, President
ASAIRS inc P.O. Box 1157 Arnold, MO 63010

Sunday, March 17, 2002

My head hurts...
I'm hungover. Home, safe and happy - but hungover. It's been a wild weekend so far. And more to come. Oh, dear. It's not easy being Green :)

Friday, March 15, 2002

Thumb bandits...
Tonight Marky and I are going to deepest, darkest Hertfordshire to have a family meal / birthday bash / Mother's Day celebration with Merts, Terts, Jo, Si, Dawn et al. We're kipping over at Myrtle's as I've got a USB card, CompactFlash reader and CD-R/RW to install on their PC in the morning. She's just bought herself a Nikon 775 (just like mine and just like David's) and wants to be able to transfer pix to her PC and then on to CD. My mother has become so 2002 lately!

Saturday we are heading back to Highbury by lunchtime. Drew, Marky, Marcus and I will be twitching our thumbs in the afternoon trying to get to grips with preventing an alien invasion, trying to rescue some bundles of fluff with teeth from hideously deformed scientists using a one-footed mutant and racing round Trafalgar Square at breakneck speed in Mini's. It'll be the first time I've seen Marcus without David which is kind of odd as I tend to think of them as one. Awwww.

Everyone has to be out by 9-30/10pm though as I'm getting my new Arsenal away kit all pressed and ready for Shorts and Shorts. No TV crew this time :)
Sadie and the Scrubbers...

Clean out your ears and take a listen to sexy cream and positive. Fantastic.

[Thanks to Jon (Hi Jon!) for the heads-up]
Xbox (those first impressions)...
Needless to say I played with my new Xbox well into the wee small hours last night. I'm hooked. Simply sensational. Mark got up an hour early this morning to play before going to work. It's that good.

And reviews in single sentence:-
Xbox: The graphics are excellent, the device a little big and heavy, the controllers equally so, but it has the feel of a well built device though and it will now be a permanent part of my living room furniture.

Halo: Tricky to get used to the controls at first, very satisfying killing the aliens though, not as smooth as I had expected, great fun and lots of strategy involved. (4 stars)
Project Gotham Racing: Looks fantasic, oversteering takes a bit of getting used to, the detail of say Leicester Square is close to photo realistic, most fun in multi-player mode with loads of nice touchs. (4 stars)
Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee: Superbly cute, witty, involving, challenging, funny gameplay. (5 stars)

Thursday, March 14, 2002

Video game madness: the reviews...
Some years ago I used to write games reviews for a magazine. Here are some of the reviews I had published of what were current releases back then.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time a.k.a. Zelda 64 (Nintendo 64 - Nintendo - £39.99)
Ask by boyfriend about Zelda and he'll foam at the mouth. It was exactly 5 years ago that they both competed for my affections on a nightly basis. Zelda always won. Long into the night I’d be running round finding secret weapons, casting spells, flying over mountains, swimming behind waterfalls, sweet talking goblins or battling multi-headed ogres in Zelda, the perfectly crafted alternative reality adventure game. The latest version, Zelda 64, lives up to and exceeds all expectations. It is a stunningly good game. All the brilliant gaming ideas from the Zelda series have been married to the 3D engine of Mario 64. Again Nintendo have got the balance right between real-time action and puzzle solving. Zelda 64 ia a truly superlative game that shines through it’s stunning graphics, ear-crushing sound effects and totally addictive game-play. Zelda 64 is the essential buy for all you N64 owners. And if you don’t own an N64 this is reason enough to buy one! It’ll take at least 70 hours at least to complete so more late nights ahead for me.
Zelda 2, Boyfriend 0.

Gran Turismo (Playstation - Sony - £44.99)
Sony has long been experts at crafting extremely playable racing games. The shelves of video stores are packed with old copies of Ridge Racer and Wipeout. Gran Turismo knocks the spots of all of them. It's a truly realistic driving simulation that has to be seen to be believed. Not only are all your favourite sports cars here for buying, selling customising and racing but after each race the cars are fully rendered and thrown round the course for an action replay that is of breathtaking quality. The Quick Arcade mode gets you up and running either against the console or if you have a second controller pitted against a friend. The Gran Turismo mode is the more solitary but ultimately satisfying aspect of the game however. You start by buying a car which you race in order to win prize money to get a better car. Sounds easy enough, eh? Well, the catch is that in order to race at all you must pass various driving tests to gain licences. These tests are not always easy and your reflexes, car handling skills and patience may be stretched to the limit. Once gained though you can enter tougher and more lucrative races so accelerating your progress to what are ultimately the International classes. The more you play the more points you win and so the better car you can afford. Getting a memory pack is essential so you can save your progress. This game looks good, plays well and is addictive. Fucking magic!

MarioKart 64 (Nintendo 64 - Nintendo - £49.99)
How could Nintendo follow up the corker that was Super MarioKart for the SNES? Well, they've done it. MarioKart 64 is a bloody 3D marvel that is fun to play, easy to learn and as addictive as crack. The cartoon style pseudo-3D nature that made Super MarioKart so revolutionary hasn’t been jettisoned rather it’s been enhanced. The graphics are smoother, the colours are richer and the tunes even more catchy. You race round course after course of delightfully coded worlds, each looking as gorgeous as cheesecake with extra cream. The brilliant, vibrant colours make you want to leave the race track and just drive around. Strangely enough if you do this on one course you come across the castle from Mario 64. The split screen four player racing mode is groovy either as a full-on racer or in the battle mode - if by “battle” they mean throwing empty red and green turtle shells at balloons, that is. Buy it!

Bomberman 64 (Nintendo 64 - HudsonSoft - £49.99)
Its’ 16-bit baby brother was the most fun you could have with four people alone together. Period. Unfortunately the 64-bit version is PANTS. Badly thought out and badly coded it's a nightmare to play. What should have been a sure fire winner is a pathetic waste of money. The characters are too difficult to control so you often blow yourself up by accident. What's more this game commits the cardinal sin in that you can't see what's going on. The action is all happening in the middle distance which is neither engaging nor useful. Avoid, my little friends, avoid.
Man had sex with a nanny goat...
A judge decided yesterday to spend two more days deciding what sentence was apt for a man spotted by commuters having sex with a goat.

Stephen Hall, 23, who is HIV positive, was wrestled to the ground by walkers who found him with the animal on allotments in east Hull as the passengers, on a train to Bridlington, called the police on their mobile phones. The commuter train had stopped at a red light, overlooking a shelter of tin sheets where Hall had imprisoned the nanny goat with his belt. Hull crown court was told that Hall had decided to assault the animal in a "spontaneous act". Judge Michael Mettyear told the court he was "sceptical" there was any programme helpful to Hall.

He was asked by Chris Dunn, defending, to bear in mind the consequences of a jail term for this unemployed and sick man. "It is difficult to know what else to say to mitigate in [this] case," said Mr Dunn. "All right-minded, normal thinking people would find this abhorrent. Clearly [he] needs help."

The court heard that Hall was seen having sex with the goat by a man walking with his grandson near Argyle Street allotments. Hall hid but then backed into view again, with his trousers round his ankles and a tight grip on the goat. He pleaded guilty to buggery at an earlier hearing. Rebecca Thornton, prosecuting, said the goat had suffered distress during the assault, which went on for up to 10 minutes.

[From today's Guardian]
Video game madness: the games...
I own literally hundreds of video games. Hundreds. I have boxes and boxes of them. Many cost me £30 - £50 each. Some as much as £70. As someone at work says (with just a hint of jealousy), "I can tell you don't have kids". Yeah, yeah. Whatever.

Well, having just got my new Xbox I had to get some games for it. Three very different games by all accounts: Halo (shoot'emup), Project Gotham Racing (city racer) and Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee (platform). If anyone wants to come over and play or has any recommendations of games I should buy then either drop me a line or leave a note in my comments.
Video game madness: the consoles...
I first got into video games when I was quite young and impressionable. Now I have no such excuse. A new system comes out and I'm queuing for it. Sad, I know.

Over the years I have bought:-
1 x Home Video System (pong, tennis, squash)
2 x Game Boy - original grey plastic
1 x Game Boy - clear plastic
1 x Game Boy Pocket - silver
1 x Color Game Boy
1 x Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
1 x Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES)
1 x Nintendo64 (N64)
1 x Lynx
1 x Sega Gamegear
1 x Sega Master System
1 x Sega Megadrive (aka Genesis) inc the 32-bit overdrive add-on
1 x Sega Saturn
1 x Sega Dreamcast
2 x Sony PlayStation (PSone)
3 x Sony PlayStation2 (PS2)
2 x Game Boy Advance (GBA)
1 x Nintendo GameCube (GC)

and as of lunchtime today...
1 x Microsoft Xbox

Update: I've just got back from HMV where I spent £507.42 buying the Xbox itself, three extra controllers, a memory pak and three games. I put it on the never, never too. Madness confirmed.
Hits, hits, hits...
David and I posted our URLs to Popbitch yesterday (for different reasons - him for Pop Quiz, me for British Gay Pop Stars). And as David correctly predicted the hits came flooding in. I had my most popular day ever with 497 hits. I don't suppose any of them will be back but it was fun to watch.

Wednesday, March 13, 2002

Robert Casement...
So he WAS gay after all.
So long, see you honey...
Chinese honey is tainted and has been removed from our shelves. Bee gone! Buzz off! The New Zealand bee industry has been hit by a blight - a plague of blood-sucking mites. So now we are running out. Stores are empty. Oh dear.
Google bombing...
We've been rumbled.
The list grows...
Jonathan Hellyer (our very own Dame Edna Experience)
John Jon (Foster)
Steve Bronski
Laz Steinbachek
Richard Coles
Jon Moss (ish)
[Thanks for the contributions. Keep 'em coming!]
Spot the connection...
Boy George
Holly Johnson
Paul Rutherford
Jimmy Somerville
Marc Almond
Andy Bell
Tom Robinson (ish)
Patrick Fitzgerald
Simon Gilbert
David McAlmont
Debbie Smith
Bandit Queen
Skin (of Skunk Anansie)
Sister George
Martin Rossiter (of Gene) Successfully 'inned' himself and also gave birth to a 7lb baby girl just before the Reading Festival
Elton John
Neil Tennant
Chris Lowe
George Michael
Stephen Gateley
Richard Fairbrass
Simon Fowler (of Ocean Colour Scene)
Sam Harris
Kris Kirk
Marilyn (aka Peter Robinson)
Freddie Mercury
Sinead O'Connor (ish)
Labi Siffre
2wo Third3 (well, 2 of them)
Dusty Springfield
7th Avenue
oh, and Will Young

Are there any more I should know about? If so, please let me know as I'm compiling a list of Gay British Pop Stars.

Tuesday, March 12, 2002

Bombs away.
gay blog UK Graham Norton naked Travis Fimmel naked kitchen whisk Ann Widdecombe naked Shakira naked nice bottom
gay blog UK Graham Norton naked Travis Fimmel naked kitchen whisk Ann Widdecombe naked Shakira naked nice bottom
gay blog UK Graham Norton naked Travis Fimmel naked kitchen whisk Ann Widdecombe naked Shakira naked nice bottom
gay blog UK Graham Norton naked Travis Fimmel naked kitchen whisk Ann Widdecombe naked Shakira naked nice bottom
gay blog UK Graham Norton naked Travis Fimmel naked kitchen whisk Ann Widdecombe naked Shakira naked nice bottom
gay blog UK Graham Norton naked Travis Fimmel naked kitchen whisk Ann Widdecombe naked Shakira naked nice bottom
Frank was run over at the end of January near his home in Cambridge, UK, and has been recovering from a broken pelvis ever since. People from all over the world can follow his recovery via two webcams, as well as find out facts about Frank or look at x-rays of his injuries. Needless to say, Frank is a cat.
Queer As Folk...
Our very own Fifth Columnist in the BBC (what a guy!) tells us that BBC Choice (one of the new digital channels) has purchased the whole of the US version of Queer as Folk. We watched some of the early episodes last year on tape and while not exactly must-see TV, they were certainly worth watching. Apparently no screening date has been scheduled yet but hopefully it'll get a suitably high profile slot.

Monday, March 11, 2002

Notes & Queries...
This was a question sent to last week's Notes & Queries in the Guardian.

If Tony Blair joins the Americans in attacking Iraq, is there any international law under which he can be prosecuted?

The effectiveness of international law is best shown by summarising an incident regularly cited by Noam Chomsky. During the Reagan administration, Nicaragua took the US to the World Court, which ruled in Nicaragua's favour and condemned what it called the US's "unlawful use of force" against the Latin American country. The US dismissed the judgment and announced that, henceforth, it would not accept the jurisdiction of the court.

Nicaragua then took the case to the UN security council, which considered a resolution calling on all states to observe international law - in effect calling on the US to recognise the jurisdiction of the World Court. The US vetoed the resolution.

Nicaragua then went to the UN general assembly, which passed a similar resolution. Only the US, Israel and El Salvador opposed it.

The following year, Nicaragua again took the case to the UN general assembly. Again the US and Israel voted against the resolution.

Draw your own conclusions on the likelihood of successfully prosecuting Blair and enforcing any judgment.

Sunday, March 10, 2002

Ian or David...
Ian's seem to be as plentiful as David's these days. I must know 5 or 6 of each that I have regular contact with. Makes life easier for me of course - being a bear of very little brain. I wonder how many of each will be at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern this afternoon?
Poor game & good game...
It was a disappointing result in the footie last night. Arsenal didn't really deserve the 1-1 score line against Newcastle United as they played a very scrappy game.

The company was delightful though. Our doctor friend, Ian, provided us with fine wines during the match and cooked us a delightful roast chicken dinner that we had after full time. We then spent the rest of the evening watching a tribute to Hattie Jacques on TV and various Carry On clip shows. It was great fun trading gossip about the various Carry On stars.

Saturday, March 09, 2002

Will Young comes out at last...

"I feel it's time to tell my fans I'm gay. It's totally no big deal, just part of who I am. I'm sure this will not come as a surprise to many people, although I've always been discreet and I'm not a campaigner when it comes to my sexuality."

Well, it certainly didn't come as a shock to those with any sense of gay-boy awareness! Gay till proven straight in my book.

Although one suspects that it was the threat of gay-exposure by the tabloids that forced you to come out rather than any noble feeling of honesty. Still, better out than in I say,

At least I get to wear my shirt...
It's the quarter finals of the FA Cup this afternoon. Kick-off 5:35. Arsenal are playing Newcastle United. Naturally I shall be shouting and cursing at the TV in my usual manner regardless as to whether, as expected, our local team Arsenal make mincemeat of the northerners or not. Ian has invited a bunch of us round for the match and then dinner and so I'd perhaps best to keep myself under some modicum of control. Something I was not intending on doing later, until I'd discovered that unfortunately Sports and Shorts has been delayed from this Saturday to next. Oh well. I shall have to take out my joy of winning or bitterness in defeat on some other poor establishment.
The Red Windmill...
Just released in the UK is the Moulin Rouge DVD (6 hours of stuff on it!) and Moulin Rouge double CD (all the tracks that were missed off the first CD). Natch I've splashed out and will be watching the former and listening to the latter this weekend. I'm getting ready to fall in love all over again.

Friday, March 08, 2002

Asylum seekers…
David, David, David and I all met in Bar Code last night set for our trip to King of the Boots at “the smallest club in London”, Asylum. Beneath the newsagent we found it and it was heaving. How tight was it? It was tighter than a camel’s arse in a sandstorm. How close was it? It was closer than two Norfolk family members on a sofa. How hot was it? I was sweating like a fat girl on a hot day. We were sweating like a bunch of paedophiles in a playground (that’s enough metaphors now, I think!)

The music was great however. All the usual suspects (including my favourite - the Freelance Hellraiser) were spinning their tunes. In my opinion Bootleg DJs are a bit like chefs. They take raw ingredients and put them to together in interesting ways. They cook up a storm, right? A little bit of the R&B, a little bit of Grange Hill and sprinkle lightly with Eminem. Works for me anyway.


Thursday, March 07, 2002


The place we're going to tonight is well hidden. Very Secret Squirrel.

Go up Charlotte Street in that small fishing village we call London. Stop when you get to Rathbone Place.

Then knock three times at Badkins Newsagent.

Then say the magic password "Bootleg". They'll let you in.
The Very Best Of Soft Cell...
This new compilation CD on Universal Music is set for release on April 1st. There will not now be a single release from this album. Tracks are as follows:

Tainted Love
Where Did Our Love Go?
Say Hello, Wave Goodbye
Sex Dwarf
Insecure Me (Edit)
Where The Heart Is
It's A Mug's Game (Edit)
Loving You Hating Me
Soul Inside
Down In The Subway
Divided Soul
Somebody, Somewhere, Sometime
Tainted Love (Soulchild Remix)
Say Hello, Wave Goodbye (Almighty Radio edit)
Not exactly walking wounded...
This morning's experience of the NHS was on the whole a good one. Of course it helps that my GP is one of my best friends and so he was happy to see me before morning surgery rather than wait for a slot sometime next week.

The day started at my GP's surgery. It's a while since I'd been there. The place was smart, clean, efficient and modern. I was impressed. Once I'd described my symptoms (persistent leg cramps, tingling in my legs & feet and easy bruising) I had to strip and then be prodded, poked, tapped and pricked along with suitable requests as to whether it hurt, ached or made any difference. I was made to lie down on his couch, stick my legs in the air, wiggle my toes, push against him and generally do all manner of undignified things. He eventually seemed satisfied that he had dome all he could and packed me off to the local Mile End Hospital to have a comprehensive set of blood tests done (see below) and a couple of x-rays to look for any trapped nerves or other back problems. His initial diagnosis was 'stocking and glove' neuropathy: cause unknown. That's a problem with the nerves that can effect the hands and feet (hence the name). This might help explain my symptoms. Oh well. Good to have a name for it anyhow.

As the hospital was only a short walk away I ambled down the road. Soon getting myself lost and having to ask for directions. D'oh! Hospitals of a certain age in London all look the same so I shouldn't have had much trouble finding it. A scatter of Victorian brick buildings normally only rising to just a first or occasionally a second floor in height. Somewhere on the site they inevitably seem to have a 60s looking 5 floor mini-tower building such as a 'heart ward' or a 'chemotherapy wing' tacked on the the end of the site - probably donated by some national charity or local philanthropist. Eventually I found the right place I sat waiting my turn in the 'blood test' waiting room (and bogging from my phone). As I was watching the other queuers out of the corner of my eye I noticed a plaque on the wall. Princess Michael of Kent had opened this wing in 1994. Blood testing isn't a very glamorous wing I would have thought, but then she's not a very glamorous Royal either, I suppose. I think the Queen must get all the big hospital wings to open. She'll be first on the list for 'cardiac care' or 'eye surgery'. The lesser Royals (Charles? Anne?) get things like 'baby unit' and 'x-ray' department leaving the rather sadder 'blood test' and the 'canteen' for the minor Royals (the Kents? Edward?) and the odd councilor. It's the hospital pecking order I suppose. Life can be cruel.

The two female vampires that eventually took my blood were friendly enough. "Tea? No? You been fasting? Good. What you got then? You don't know? Didn't they tell you? Oh, they don't know yet. I see. Take care, dear". I had to give five rather large amounts of blood. As Tony Hancock said, "that's almost an arm full !" Luckily the x-ray department was nearby so my slight lightheadedness from blood loss wasn't too much of a problem as a wobbled down the corridor. As I tottered in they were equally friendly but thrust a piece of paper in my hand stating in large type "Results of all GP Requests will take at least THREE WEEKS". I didn't know whether that was something they were boasting about or warning about. Still, I was the only one waiting so I was soon called in. "Strip to the underpants and put this gown on", said this young woman. "Doesn't matter which way round. Your clothes will be safe in there", pointing to cubical that had a large sign above it saying, "Notice: clothes are left at owners risk". Quite where else I could have left my clothes I have no idea. Having got changed I padded off after the woman who then positioned me on a very uncomfortable bed in a large white room while a huge metallic contraption was gradually lowered from the ceiling and positioned to be pointing at my stomach. "Don't you use lead to protect the eyes and stuff?" I asked her. "No", she said, "we go behind that screen". I laughed, "Not you! Me!" She just looked at me blankly. Suit yourself, I thought. "Why does it take three weeks for the results?" I asked her afterwards. "Dunno", she said. She obviously lost the passion for her job some time ago. Maybe it's all that radiation.

Having finished at the hospital I made my way back into town to go to work. I called my GP on his cell phone en route. He said that he'd expect the bloods back by next week and would give me a call then. So a successful morning really. I'm an arm down on blood, slightly less likely to have children and slightly more likely to get eye cataracts. But on the up side I'm a little bit closer to finding out what's wrong with me.
I'm in hospital at the moment...
Well this was a surprise. I'd been having a few cramps in my calf muscles ever since David & I flew back from JFK last summer. I called my GP about it the other day as it's been playing up a bit recently - waking me up at night, that sort of thing. Next thing I know I'm sitting in a hospital waiting room queuing for blood tests. They are going to test for problems in my thyroid function, liver function, bone, urea, electrolytes, creatinine (whatever that is), clotting, ESR (?), FBC (?), cholesterol & serum glucose. After that I'm having a back X-ray. Oh what fun. Wish me luck!
King Of The Boots...
Tonight is King Of The Boots at Asylum. We are planning a trip down there. Why don't you join us? It'll be fun.

Wednesday, March 06, 2002

I've never even had a filling myself. But no doubt one day all my teeth will just fall out by way of revenge. So it is with some sympathy that I note Ian's been to the dentist. He's got a root canal and a couple of Ds to come too. Poor love. Reading about it brings back memories of watching Orin Scrivello (Steve Martin) in "The Little Shop of Horrors" film singing the sadistic Dentist.

When I was younger, just a bad little kid, My mama noticed funny things I did
Like shooting puppies with a B.B. gun, I'd poison guppies and when I was done
I'd find a pussycat and bash in its head, That's when my mama said

Crystal, Ronette, Chiffon
What did she say?

She said, "My boy, I think someday, You'll find a way to make your natural tendencies pay

You'll be a dentist, You have a talent for causing things pain
Son, be a dentist, People will pay you to be inhumane
Your temperament's wrong for the priesthood, And teaching would suit you still less
Son, be a dentist, You'll be a success

The bizarre equipment used by Orin Scrivello has made numerous appearances in other Warner Bros. productions, notably as Jeremy Irons' gynecology tools in Dead Ringers (1988) and as the Joker's plastic surgeon's tools in Batman (1989). Marathon Man (1976) didn't bother too much with fancy kit, it just cut to the quick and got Olivier to drill straight through the teeth to the nerve. Apparently that torture scene was shortened in the screened version after preview audiences were taken sick.
Tax, man....
Yippie! I got a tax rebate today. Not a huge amount but better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. I'm beginning to quite like this Self Assessment nonsense now.

A two-legged table…

Rather like a table with just two legs, no matter how strong those legs may be, the table is going to fall. So it was with last night’s Pop Quiz. Both David and Ian were crying off due to illness or work commitments so it was left to Darren and I to bear the standard, hoist the flag and pin our colours to the mast (to mix far too many flag-related metaphors). Also in attendance were Dave, David and Iain. Damn their eyes. To say the quiz was hard would be lying. It was easy. Well so Wendy told us. It’s just that we were crap. Our catalogue of gaffs was frankly embarrassing. We dropped points all over the place; erroneously adding extra words to song titles (twice); saying the right answer and then changing it to the wrong one (twice); anticipating a question coming up and then forgetting the memorized answer (once); and, worst of all (crime of crimes), getting the words to Dancing Queen wrong! We slinked off at the end of the night with our lowest score ever. 9 (NINE!) out of 20. We hung our heads in shame. I shall do my best to reproduce the quiz here but nothing an convey the panic that began to set in as it all started to go so very wrong. Try and NOT look up the answers on the net (as they are all there I’m sure) and see if you get more than us at a first attempt. 01. Name the country and city where this year’s Eurovision Contest is to be held? 02. How many copies (+/-5000) of Will Young’s debut single were sold in the first week in the UK? (Try to not scroll down and look at the correct answer I posted only but yesterday!) 03. Who is number two in the charts with Whenever, Whenever? Which family wrote it? (will get you an extra bonus point) 04. What are the first 12 words of Abba’s Dancing Queen? 05. What are the first 10 words of Abba’s Mamma Mia? 06. What are the first 19 words of Abba’s Money, Money, Money? 07. What are the first 24 words of Abba’s Gimme, Gimme, Gimme (A Man After Midnight)? 08. What are the first 7 words of Abba’s Waterloo? 09. Name one of the four people who sung either the original Brat Pack version of Me And My Shadow or the recent cover? 10. Name another of the four people who sung either the original Brat Pack version of Me And My Shadow or the recent cover? 11. Name yet another of the four people who sung the original Brat Pack Me And My Shadow or the recent cover? 12. Who sung, and on what album, tracks with the lyrics, “jose jones told me alone”, “he was a guy an underwater guy who controlled the sea” and “as loud as hell, a ringing bell” 13. Five Nokia ring tones (a) (b) (here are two because I can't be arsed to look the others up. But they were tough!) 14. What 80s song has a break in the middle with merry-go-round music and someone repeating something that sounds like, “sinzier line in Berlin, sinzier line in Berlin”? 15. Who has a song in the charts that has been remixed and released from 2000 and what is the title? 16. Who had a hit with “It was a cold and wet December day, When we touched the ground at JFK, Snow was melting on the ground, On BLS I heard the sound” and what is track title? 17. Who had a hit with “Who's that lady, Coming down the road, Who's that lady, Who's that woman, Walking through my door” and what’s the track title? 18. Who had a hit with “Don't ask me why I'm running out of laughter, There's tears in these eyes” and what was the track title? 19. What was the year the previous three answers were hits? I hope next week we shall have our third and fourth legs back.
I'm saying nothing...
The less said about last night the better. (OK, OK, crisis at work this morning means I can't to do it justice at the moment).

Tuesday, March 05, 2002

Vanity Project...
Just to complete the flip side of my webcam vanity project I give you... my work webcam (now also added to sidebar). Like my home one it does all the things you might expect (update automatically every minute, launch in a new window etc). I may not leave it on all the time but hopefully often enough that you can see if I'm actually at my desk or not.
No Futurama...

OMG! Fox have cancelled Futurama. Noooooooooooooooooo!
[Thanks to groc for the heads up]
Travis Fimmel...
This well endowed model continues to make the news in today's Guardian. Do his well-filled briefs make men feel insecure? The Guardian went to Selfridges' underwear department to find out. Opinion was split.

Martin, 25, engineer:- "God, no, he doesn't upset me. Why not? Because he just looks gay. Male models never make me feel insecure. Do you fancy him? I can't really see why women would fancy him, he just looks like a big poof. Anyway, he's not that big, I don't see what the big deal is. My girlfriend would definitely not fancy him. He is totally not her type. Trust me, I know."

Michael, 37, charity fundraiser:- "No, it doesn't make me feel insecure - it makes me want his phone number! God, they should print it on the poster, that would get my attention. I don't think men get bothered by these kinds of images, it doesn't make me feel bad about myself, if that's what you are suggesting. I'm too busy thinking about him to worry about what I look like. I just think it's a really sexy image. Kind of exciting too, if you know what I mean. Do I think he's well-endowed? Hmmm, let's just say he looks like he'd be a lot of fun."

Matt, 27, 'in-between jobs':- "Bloody hell, what is that? Is that a registered weapon he's got down there? Of course men feel bad when they look at that kind of thing, any man who says he doesn't is lying. But really it's other men who make them feel bad, rather than women making their boyfriend feel bad. Do I think he's well-endowed? God, are you blind? Of course he's well-endowed! Bastard."
I must memorize, I must memorize...
Tonight's Retro Bar Pop Quiz may well have Pop Idol related questions. So to prepare I've dug out some useless useful facts about a few of the stars of that show.
Will Young's double A-side Evergreen/Anything Is Possible sold 1,108,269 copies in the UK in the first week. The previous best was Hear'Say's Pure And Simple which sold 549,823.
Gareth Gates single Unchained Melody out of 14th March (written for the 1955 film "Unchained") has been taken to the top of the UK charts by three artists: Sir Jimmy Young (1955), Righteous Brothers (1990 - in 1965 is only made #14)) & Robson & Jerome (1995).
Pop Idol reject Jessica Garlick will be the UK's Eurovision Song Contest entry this year.
Is there any other trivia I should remember?
Dermot O'Leary to present new shows...

Regular readers may know I have a slight pash for Dermot O'Leary, the sometime host of Top of the Pops. Well the good news (for him and me anyway) is that he has signed up to present two new BBC music and sports shows. The ickle presenter will front Re:covered and Dermot's Sporting Buddies for BBC Choice later this year, and will be associate producer on both shows. Each week in Re:covered, three diverse bands will perform their own songs and their choice of a cover version (I can see these ending up in the Retro Bar's Pop Quiz one way for another). In the other show, sports-mad celebrities will talk about their passions for their chosen game. Might I suggest a wet t-shirt competition too?

Monday, March 04, 2002

Battle of the Calvin Klein Ads...

So who is the cuter: Marky Mark in 1993 (on the left) or Travis Fimmel in 2002 (on the right)? These (and hundreds more) Calvin Klein Ads can be oggled over here.

Sunday, March 03, 2002

Queer Nation...
I'd decided to stay in last night. Mark was away so I had the place to myself. I was chatting to shel online in Canada and we were swapping videos, gossip and he helped me setup my home webcam (now added to sidebar) so it how does all the things you might expect (update automatically, launch in a new window etc). Little did I know that this webcam would come in very handy - and sooner than I'd thought.

Earlier in the day I'd got an e-mail from Ian urging me to come to Queer Nation down in Brixton, He was getting there at about 12:30. This was followed up with text messages and eventually a telephone call later on in the evening. I finally conceded to go but hadn't got a clue what to wear. Normally I'd ask Marky but he was away. Luckily shel was on the other end of a webcam and this turned out to be the perfect answer. I spent the next hour parading up and down my bedroom like a catwalk queen in various outfits and while he passed judgement of what I should (and should not) wear. It was so funny. Here is some of the conversation.

(who was signing on as bob)
Jonathan says: so we have three choices of top
Jonathan says: orange with flowers
Jonathan says: we have black lycra
Jonathan says: and we have abercrombie
Jonathan says: red
Jonathan says: red aber or orange and flowers?
bob says: try on the red aber
Jonathan says: ok (I try it on)
bob says: tuck it in for comparison
Jonathan says: I never tuck!
bob says: really? hehe
Jonathan says: easy tiger!
bob says: lol
Jonathan says: and next on the catwalk we have the orange with flowers
bob says: orange with flowers looks better than I expected
Jonathan says: it's south african so might fit in with the Queer Nation crowd...
bob says: or they might perceive you as mocking as well
bob says: let's see the lycra
Jonathan says: OK
Jonathan says: now *that* I tuck!
bob says: hehe
Jonathan says: might I add that you are stepping into my b/fs shoes very nicely thank very much
bob says: heheh
bob says: what can I say...the result of going to the bar for dozens of nights and mocking bad fashion
bob says: okay, stand further back
Jonathan says: the lyrca shows off my 6 pack and my (ahem) crotch a lot better
bob says: all i can see is your belt buckle
Jonathan says: I'll don shoes while the judges consider their opinion. (Swimsuit section cancelled due to time constraints)
bob says: hahaha
bob says: i'd go lycra or red, depending if you're being naughty tonight
Jonathan says: naughty? would that mean red or black then?
bob says: naughty = black
Jonathan says: the scarlet woman?
bob says: although I do really like the red
bob says: BUT
bob says: if you got it, flaunt it
Jonathan says: hee hee
Jonathan says: Lyrca I think. I'll wear the orange tomorrow to the Vauxhall.
Jonathan says: (i.e can't be bothered to do any ironing tonight)

Once I actually managed to myself sorted out and get out of the house and get down to Brixton the club was great. Cool disco groove music with some house and charty stuff in there too. I danced my little socks off with David, Marcus and Ian and finally got home around 6am. I fun night out. To be recommended.

Saturday, March 02, 2002

French and Saunders to return...
Comedy duo Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders are to team up again on TV for the first time since a 1999 Christmas special. They will return for a 40-minute special, to be shown on BBC One in March. Among the sketches will be the pair's own take on the award-winning fantasy film The Lord Of The Rings. Both have been concentrating on solo projects, with French working on an as-yet-unseen comedy called Ted and Alice, and Saunders recording a new series of Absolutely Fabulous. (I thought that last bit of news might make some of my Amercian friends happy!)

Friday, March 01, 2002

The baby cheeses made me do it...
This is the official homepage of the exciting cutting edge sport known as Cheese Racing. Here you will find everything you need to know about this deceptively simple, yet addictive and fiercely competitive sport. Sad, sad, sad.
Turner on-line...

Thanks to the Tate, the Heritage Lottery Fund and BT the entire Turner Collection of 30,000 paintings, watercolours and sketchbooks can now be explored online. I love Turner and have been browsing around the site for the last hour (it's a bit slow today though as this is launch day).
Madonna tickets...

Last night I first heard that Madonna was taking to the London stage. She'll be playing an Art Critic in Up For Grabs (written by Australian David Williamson) at the Wyndhams Theatre, Charing Cross Road opening on 23rd May. I was straight on the phone to book tickets for one of the early previews.

Ok, her acting hasn't been anything to write home so my hopes aren't too high for an earth shattering performance but let's face it, she's a STAR. And they don't come much bigger. Who cares if she's crap? It'll be an event!

If God turned up out of the blue you wouldn't ask him to tap dance, would you?
TV Show make-overs...
Some TV shows are a little bit staid and need livening up a bit. They need a make-over to bring them into the 21st century.
So I give you:
University Challege Extreme - In a fit of pique Jeremy Paxman decides to shoot first, ask questions later.
Free condoms for everyone...
First let me be idealistic: As a matter of principle all condoms should be free and freely available to anyone. Especially to gay men. They should be free to people you need them and free to people who want them. Freely available in public places, freely available where people meet to have sex, freely available at bars, shops, clubs and saunas. Everywhere.

Ok, now I'll be realistic for a second: What does 'free' actually mean? Nothing is free. Everything costs money. 'Free' simply means you don't pay for it directly. For example, the Government meets the cost of such things as a 'free' education and 'free' health care but of course it comes from the public purse. It's not free. It is we who pay for these services in the end through our taxes. 'Free' in this sense means simply what is provided as one of these services. Therefore I would suggest that there are no such thing as 'free condoms'. It is a service. And services cost money.

Ok now I'll going to be even more realistic: There is no infinite budget for any kind of health promotion; smoking, cancer, you name it. And this is especially true for condom distribution. Now the Government funds much of it's health promotion work directly via the NHS (but not exclusively though, their are other agencies too). And it's a hard reality but despite health being a such hot political issue at the moment the NHS just doesn't get the funds it needs. Certainly it can't begin to satisfy the entire UK requirement for condoms all by itself. It's just too large a demand. Fucking huge (if you'll excuse the crude reference). Equivalent to only four condoms per gay man per year in London alone. There is simply neither the money nor the political will to increase this provision at the present time. However what money it set aside, small though it is, is put to good use. The free condoms schemes are very effective. But then I would say that, wouldn't I? My nearest and dearest Mark works for the NHS and runs one of these schemes - Freedoms - the world's largest free condom distribution scheme. They take the money they are given and make it go a very long way. They negotiate hard with suppliers and buy in big numbers so the cost per condom is very low. They get good value for money. However there is such a huge demand they can but make a small dent. And to make things worse, if this genuine requirement for condoms weren't high enough, some irresponsible people don't just take a couple of condoms from the Freedoms dispensers - they empty out entire boxes of them leaving others frustrated and asking, "why are the free condom racks always empty?" And in the last couple on months this shortage has become particularly acute.

So what's the solution? How do we ensure that there are enough condoms for all? Well, first off I'm going to suggest something rather radical: people need to take responsibility for their own sexual health. I'm sorry, but it had to be said. The NHS has a part to play but basically if you can afford to buy condoms - you should. No, you must. If you're running low go out and buy some more before you run out. Don't rely on free condoms in venues. They are not a right, they're a service. They should be there to supplement your regular supply if you find yourself caught short. They should not be there for you to hoard at the expense of others. I repeat: if you can afford condoms you should buy them yourself. It's your health. Take control.

But there's a problem here. Condoms (and lube) ain't cheap. Packets of three condoms costing £2 is not uncommon. So how come we used to get them free and now we got to pay through the nose? Well there's an answer to that too. Condoms are now a lot cheaper than they used to be. Because of the bulk ordering that the NHS does for it's own supply we, the punters, can take advantage of this discount. Freedoms are just launching a mega box of either 25 Condomi condoms + 30ml Eros Bodyglide lube or 50 Condomi condoms + the big 100ml Eros lube at the discounted prices of £10 and £15 respectively. In most shops the lube alone would cost at least £9! And the small profit made will be ploughed back into the free condom distribution to further increase the reach of that scheme. You'll be able to buy these boxes on their web site or in bars, shops and saunas around town.

So what do you think? Should the NHS be coming up with more money for the freebies itself? Is it responsible and sensible to buy condoms for ourselves? Are you happy to buy condoms in bulk from the NHS? It's not exactly privatization is it. I'd be interested in your comments.