Quote Of The Day

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

Friday, August 30, 2002

Rick Astley's Greatest Hits out this Monday...
See the lovely, lovely red-haired Rick dancing.
[Link from Guy]
The Torture Garden...
Last Saturday was amazing. The Torture Garden is a monthly event for people who like to dress up outrageously in rubber, leather, fetish, drag, chains, wigs and whips. Gary, Fran and I got down there about midnight and by a bit of blagging got in on someone's guest list (saved us £45 so I don't feel too guilty). I was wearing my chain-mail shorts, a half-harness and boots. It was a fairly youngish crowd, 50/50 men and women and about 25% gay. It was a good humoured crowd too and people were out to have a good time and a bit of a laugh. There were lots of tits, bums and dicks on show and not much seemed to be taboo in the way of dressing / undressing. Quite a lot of straight couples had the women leading the men around on leashes or chains. Not that is was very hard to lead these straight men (or women) astray by themselves I can tell you. Or rather I can't tell you. Er, OK. 'Nuff said.
(A rather belated posting of) Our 10th Anniversary picture...
This was the snap that Drew took just before we went out on our tenth anniversary earlier this month. Little did we know what a terrible time we had ahead of us at the restaurant.
10 years and still joined at the hip! Marky is my daemon.

Thursday, August 29, 2002

Music for a generation...
EMI will probably get evicted from the FTSE 100 on Sept 10th as their share price has been doing so badly recently. The reason? US CD shipments are down 7% in the first six months of 2002 and UK recorded music sales are down 15.4% in the three months to June. Oh, and Aaliyah's family are suing EMI's Virgin America label for negligence over planning the flight where she died last year.

So why are record sales down so much lately? Is home copying killing sales? Is internet piracy hitting profits? Or is it just that there is no good music around at the moment? I suspect the latter.

[rant on]

I can't remember the last time I got excited about buying a CD. Or the last time I queued on Day One to buy an album. Sure there have been some passable stuff over the past few years but nothing AMAZING. Nothing that really gets me all excited. Boys bands, manufactured bands, bland dance music, 80s groups reforming to afford to buy themselves a pension, homogenous sound-alike R&B records and excessive riff samples / cover versions have meant that we are in the poorest quality era of pop music in a generation.

The breakup of 5ive... The demise of my beloved Steps (sniff, sniff)... The passing of Boyzone... Let's be honest, who really gives a fuck? Not a semi-quaver of their music will last for posterity. And longevity is as good a measure as any other. I had the late 70s/early 80s as my era of music to grow up to - that rich time of diversity in pop music from soul to disco to punk to electronica. What will people remember of today's tripe. What has 2000/2001/2002 given us? Gareth Gates? Ha!

Where's the next big thing? Where's all the excitement gone in music? You tell me.

[/rant off]
Simon and Sarah's Wedding (in pictures)...
Ben and Simon Simon and Sarah Mark and Jonathan Sarah-Jane and Mark

It's a long wait for the bride There's three people in this marriage! Little head - BIG HEAD Toasting, er, the cake

Mr Simon Timothy Jordan There was I, waiting at the church Mrs Sarah Elizabeth Jordan The blushing bride The Honeymoon Hotel

Click on the following links to see a full slide show of the photos from our camera (11) or of the photos from Ben's camera (101).

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Simon and Sarah's Wedding...
Last Friday Ben drove Sarah Jane, Marky and I out to a small village near Cirencester for Simon and Sarah's wedding. The traffic was very light and we arrived in good time. In cact in such good time that we had a pub lunch and a game of dominoes in the the Bathurst Arms where we were staying. Simon came to pick Ben up early as he was the best man while Sarah Jane, Mark and I relaxed and waited for some of the other guests who were staying at our hotel to arrive. Which they did. In numbers. And promptly stole our allotted cab ride so we had to rush to get ready early so the shuttle taxi could get us to the venue on time. The swines!

The place we were all heading for was called Cripps Barn - and it was a barn too. A very nice one though. Apparently it was the site of many raves back in the late 80s/early 90s. We were the first to arrive - even beating the caterers. But as the fatal hour approached and more guest turned up - so did the wasps. I think there must have been at least two nests maybe more in the locale. Poor Sarah Jane must have been wearing something that they liked as she was pestered from the moment we arrived. In fact they seemed to swarm around her. Not being a particular fan of wasps (who is?) Sarah Jane spent most of the day haring across the lawn with arms waving all over the place looking like a very well dressed windmill. To add injury to assault when a wasp flew near Mark he was so startled he managed to chuck an entire glass of champagne over Sarah Jane's dress. She was not having a good day.

The weather held up quite well though but it wasn't cloudless by any means. The ceremony itself was sweet and ended with the bride and groom dancing down the aisle to Stevie Wonder's Signed Sealed Delivered I'm Yours which was great fun.

Ben's speech (below) was well received and the food was excellent. I sat next to a woman who used to be in Climie Fisher and the DJ used to be the older boy in the Oxo Family. Funny who you meet at weddings.
New to my sidebar...
I'd like to welcome bitful, chig, Guardian online and terreus to my sidebar as sites I like. Hi guys!
Untitled...
In Sept 1982 Marc and The Mambas released there first album Untitled. The original art work for the album cover was up for auction on eBay recently. The winner paid $860. Wow!


On the left is the original artwork (Click on the picture for a bigger version).

On the right is the actual album cover.

I have to say I slightly prefer the original. The notes at the bottom are quite telling too: "WHAT IS THE TITLE?"

[Thanks to Bryn for the info]

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

The Best Man's Speech ~ 23 August 2002...
This was Ben's speech at Simon's wedding last Friday.

I first met Simon in about 1987 at “Champagnes”, Horsham's hippest live music venue. He was there to catch a set by a band who at the time were taking the Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire music scenes by storm with their unusual, some might say naïve, mix of white funk and black punk. That band were “Stigmata Club” and if I remember rightly I was the bass player and vocalist, and on this particular night I was wearing DM shoes, cycling shorts, black roll neck, fake national health specs and several gold chains.... in an ironic manner of course, this was the 80’s after all.
It is perhaps worth noting that Simon, who after we’d finished playing was introduced to me by a mutual friend, was sporting a very tidy beard, a pale blue golfing jumper, chinos, a pair of grey slip-ons and something I can only describe as a mullet... a look that suggested culture, maturity and a fear of being refused service at the bar.
I was determined to see beyond the facial hair and we got chatting. I quickly realised that here was a fella obsessed by style, fashion, music, design and popular culture, but with almost no interest whatsoever in razors. We hit it off immediately and talked about our hopes and dreams for the future. In retrospect, I’m glad the band broke up without a record deal saving me from a life of rock and roll excess … and I’m sure Simon is equally pleased that he changed his mind about joining the navy and seeing the world.
Over the next few years I saw a lot more of Simon and got to know more about his past. He told me of the early 80’s when he was a “casual”, a tracksuit wearing tearaway, and how he used to “run with the boys” causing mayhem around the towns and villages of Sussex. In fact, Simon later admitted that it might be more accurate to say that he “Ran behind the boys” and only witnessed the mayhem from a safe distance, before realising that he was mixing with some of the hardest men in Billingshurst ... it was time to move on.
He told me of the best job he’d ever had, working in a ladies' shoe shop. Perhaps displaying early signs of fetishism, he explained how he had to fetch the shoes from down a steep staircase in the basement and occasionally on his ascent he would be able to see up the ladies skirts. It was on one such occasion that he made a shock discovery about his boss Mrs Williams, which explained why she also left the loo seat up and why she had to order her shoes from a special shop in London.
A few years later Simon moved to Balham, got a proper job, and traded in his beard for an unreliable racing car.... it was time to compete with his father in some tangible way, and how better than strapped into a souped up Mini Cooper... stationary at the side of a race track, punching the steering wheel and screaming “Bugger it...bugger it to hell”, while Mr Jordan senior raced past shouting “You’ll never beat me son! Never!”
Every so often over the years Simon and I would meet for lunch or perhaps a few beers in the pub of an evening and he would try to explain to me exactly what it is that he does for a living. It turns out that he helps provide creative solutions incorporating marketing strategies and aesthetic desires in a variety of commercial marketplaces.... or something like that... I suggest if you have a few hours to kill you ask him yourself!
Anyone who has ever stayed with Simon of a weekend will know, and others should be warned, that after a night on the town, on awakening and moving around confined spaces, he is likely to involuntarily fill the air with a stench that can be described at the very least as primeval and that windows and doors have to be flung open with much haste and, as the other unfortunate occupants of Simon's space run for sanctuary screaming their complaints, the man himself grins like a proud father who has just witnessed the arrival of his first born.
Moving on now to more pleasant pastures, and focusing on what it is that brings all of us here today……
And so it was that a few years back Simon met Sarah Woodhead, a petite and attractive journalist from Manchester making quite a name for herself in the fashion writing business. Before long the couple had fallen in love and decided it was time to move in together and buy their own flat... well technically I think it was Sarah who bought the flat... Simon bought the Scooter.
The happy couple spent many a relaxing evening in Stoke Newington, sipping fine wines and listening to the sound of Yardie bullets ricocheting around the streets below. But after a few years they grew tired of the excitement of North London, having to duck under yellow Police incident tape and scrape sawdust off your shoes on the way home from work had lost it’s buzz.
Sarah's career was going well and Simon was a partner in his own business called “Jump”. He’d got the idea for the name from an ex-colleague, who one morning after checking his e-mails had inexplicably leapt out of the window behind him. Being only two floors up everyone agreed it couldn't have been an attempt to voluntarily shuffle off this mortal coil, more likely a knee-jerk reaction to one of Simon's trouser shouts. The colleague was uninjured but the company was born.
A little while back Simon and Sarah moved to a lovely house in East Dullish. Perhaps, now they have a bit more space and a garden, it won’t be long before we hear the pitter-patter of tiny feet.... when Sarah finally gets that dog she has yearned for, for so long.
BUT SERIOUSLY..... I would like to ask every person here to join with me in a toast, wishing Simon and Sarah every happiness for their future. I hope all your dreams come true.
“To Simon and Sarah”

Monday, August 26, 2002

Skinupndown...
Go look! bobupndown has a new haircut. Nice one, shel! Go give him a hug too. He's been injured, poor lamb.

Sunday, August 25, 2002

Insomnia...
I crawled home at 7:30am this morning. Happy but tired. Torture Garden was great fun last night. I shall relate more details as I remeber them but one thing: I got a chance to chat with the founder, David, about Future Sex.

Saturday, August 24, 2002

Torture Garden...
Back from deepest, darkest Oxfordshire I'm off to the Torture Garden tongiht - dusting off the harness and rubber shorts. Should be fun.

Friday, August 23, 2002

The Bride and Groom!...
We are just setting off for today's wedding. Hopefully the weather will hold up as the reception is in a barn. Back tomorrow kids.

Thursday, August 22, 2002

The weekend starts here...
I'm starting the upcoming Bank Holiday weekend rather early. Sarah and I are meeting for a liquid lunch in Old Compton Street in an hour and I don't expect we'll get much work done when if we make it back to our respective offices. Tonight we've got Nikki, Ben & Sarah round for supper and then B&S are staying over. Tomorrow we're all setting off early to the glorious Cotswolds for Simon and Sarah's wedding. Meeting up with the men from last Saturday's Stag Night should be fun - I'm blessed cursed with an ability to recollect what people say to me when they're drunk. The slight disadvantage I have to this gift is that I can never remember what I say when drunk! D'oh!

We're back on Saturday afternoon and I'm thinking of going to The Torture Garden on Saturday night. Has anyone been there recently? It used to be a lot of fun years ago.

And then there's Sunday and Monday to plan too. So much time to fill and so much to fill it with. What plans are you got for the coming weekend?

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Monoculture E-Card...
Wanna hear Soft Cell's new single Monoculture? Well those lovely people at Cooking Vinyl records have produced a fantastic Monoculture E-Card to delight us one and all. Nice one boys and girls.
Dubai...
This is the hotel we're staying inNext month I'm off to Dubai for a week. It's the annual company Oil Spill Drill - where we rehearse what we would do as a company if there was a real oil spill from one of our ships. At every level we practice what would in real live be a major damage limitation exercise - the logistics, communications, documentation and public relations. Oh yes, and the wild life. Not that I'll be wiping pretend crude oil off pretend sea gulls, you understand. I'll just be oogling the riggers, engineers and rescue men as they romp around in the surf. And why are we going for a week when the the drill itself actually only goes on for just 24 hours? Well, we get a few days each side to have a bit of a holiday acclimatise so as to make sure we perform to the best of our abilities on the big day. We're staying in the Hilton for one night on the way down there and then at the Royal Mirage for the rest of the time. I've never been to Dubai before and I'm really looking forward to it. A holiday? No! It's work. Work, I tell ya!
Fireman Sands...
I was late getting into work today. But I had a good excuse. My tube train caught fire and we were all turfed off and the station was closed. "Will Inspector Sands please come to the operations room?" - he might have done better going to the platform to put out our fire.

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Going For A Song...
Shazam, the music identification service, has finally gone live. You just dial 2580 from your mobile and point it at a source of loud(ish) music. Perhaps my prediction four months ago of the end of Pop Quizzes was a little premature though. I just tried it out and while it got the first first track I fed it, the Pet Shop Boys' Left To My Own Devices, it struggled with Marc Almond's Saint Judy. And then I sang down the phone a medley from my early days in burlesque - and I'm sure it blew a raspberry at me before hanging up in disgust. Hah!
It was a testosterone fuelled weekend (Part III)...
On Sunday afternoon having spent two very boozy nights out and not getting in until 4am each time what did I decide to do? Stay in? Get some rest? Me?! I went out for a drink. To the Man Bar. 'Nuff said.
It was a testosterone fuelled weekend (Part II)...
My friend Simon is getting married this Friday to the lovely Sarah. The service takes place in Cripps Barn in the Cotswolds and Marky and I will be there to wish them well. As is tradition, Simon decided to have a Stag Night and his was last Saturday. There we're just twelve of us invited (although I think a few more than that turned up or joined as the evening wore on). We started in the Barley Mow in Curtain Street at about 5pm and I eventually fell into bed some time after 4am the following morning - much the worse for wear.

We were a modern sensitive crowd of Stag Nighters – none of the shaving foam, inflatable dolls and handcuffs you might expect from a group men out for a good time. But that was what made the evening so much fun really. It was an evening of male bonding. Not of showing off and acting stupid.

After the first pub we went to a place called Time For Tea directly opposite the Spiral in Shoreditch High Street. Time For Tea is basically a cinema owned by a couple who have converted their downstairs into a screening room complete with a 35mm projector, large screen and proper seating. She is a stunningly beautiful ingénue. He is an ex-TA, ex-bricky, ex-actor and now a budding art director / production designer – and so gay with his Village People handle-bar moustache and tight T-shirts! “Haven’t we met before?” he asked. “The 70’s?” I replied archly.

Upstairs they have a 1940’s style home that is open to their guests with a roof area and a fridge stuffed full of beer. Simon had hired Get Carter (the 1971 original with Michael Caine not the crappy remake with Sly Stallone the year before last) from the bfi and the plan was to watch it before heading off to eat and drink some more. As it turned out there was a slight technical hitch with the sound (it was too low) but that didn’t stop us filling in with our own comments (the way you do!) We gave up eventually but to keep us happy the guy showed us some 1950 strip tease films instead which were hilarious. We cut our losses soon after that and left for food - promising to come back later as he said he'd soon get the sound fixed.

Next stop was The Social in Islington (big brown leather sofas and posh clientele) where we had an amazing spread of food laid on for us and an open bar. Before long we were downing shots of tequila and the conversation was getting a bit more fruity. Funny how straight men start ‘asking questions’ when they get pissed and there’s a gay guy around that they don’t feel threatened by. “Do you always tell people you’re gay?” “Do you think I’m handsome?” “Would you fancy me?” Hardly original but quite sweet really and I held my end my quite well (missus!)

Having got completely bladdered by midnight we all headed back to the Time For Tea cinema to watch the end of Get Carter. And sure enough Michael Caine voice was now in fine fettle. More drunken revelry ensured and four hours later I was finally in bed. A great night out. Thanks Simon!

Monday, August 19, 2002

It was a testosterone fuelled weekend (Part I)...
Mark was away sailing and so I was off the leash. On Friday Ian and I went to Darren's birthday bash at a bar/club by Tower Bridge. It was also the launch of a Tamla Motown compilation that night so the drinks were free (for a while). All my lovelies were there including Jim, Patrick and Jason. It was nice to meet Rob (who I'd heard so much about last weekend in Brighton) and Tony again too. By midnight we all decided to head over to the Royal Vauxhall Tavern as there was similar music being played there and we wanted to continue the fun. By 3am things were getting a bit jiggy and so it was definitely time to go home so Darren, Jim, Patrick and I all got a cab back to Islington. And Patrick related an interesting fact. The picture for the album cover for The Streets LP Original Pirate Material was actually taken from his kitchen window (just down by City Road) and they were back again last week making a video to use in their upcoming tour. Well I was impressed! He should have asked for freebies to the show.

Friday, August 16, 2002

Royal Festival Hall...
I got their latest blurb from the post today. Upcoming events of note:-
- Kirsty MacColl: A Celebration on Monday 23rd September
- St Etienne playing Thursday 10th October
- Sparks playing Saturday 19th October
Brighton & Hove Pride (in pictures)...
Shampoo at Havana Are they really drinking so early? Now *this* I like Grinning idiot #1 Grinning idiot #1
Awww! See no, hear no, speak no Gene Kelly? Pah! Jonce and a fly-human freak Mr Sandman
You can see the full slide show here.
SAT...
Braai, bobotie, gumboot dancing, springbok kebabs, milktarts, boerewors..? It's all Double-Dutch to me. Well, Derivative Dutch I suppose. And this weekend is all comes to London. On Sunday I might pop down and relive a few memories from last year.

Thursday, August 15, 2002

Some penguins are prostitutes...
Apparently
[Link from Popbitch]
Monoculture...
The new Soft Cell single 'Monoculture' has entered the German alternative chart, as voted for by DJ's, at number four and the video for the single is on rotation on the German music channel 'Viva'.

However, if you're not in Germany, don't despair as the Monoculture video can now be viewed in the Bar area of the Theatre of Marc Almond web site, along with exclusive photos from the video shoot.
[Thanks Michelle]
Case rests, M'lud...
Q: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
A: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
Q: And Mr. Dennington was dead at the time?
A: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy.
Q: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
A: No.
Q: Did you check for blood pressure?
A: No.
Q: Did you check for breathing?
A: No.
Q: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
A: No.
Q: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
A: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
Q: But could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
A: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practising law somewhere.
Rock Star Complains of Lesbian Bias in Microsoft Word...
There was a funny little article in the Registry the other week. A geologist had complained that when he was writing about dykes - the long mass of igneous rock that cuts across the structure of adjacent rock - the Word grammar checker would change his "the dykes which cut the granite are 2m wide" to "the dykes who cut the granite are 2m wide." And I thought the only gay stonecutter was Grandpa Simpson.

Lisa: You're a member of the Stonecutters, Grandpa?
Abe: Oh, sure. Let's see... (pulls out wallet, starts going through it) I'm an elk, a Mason, a communist. I'm the president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance for some reason...ah, here it is. The Stonecutters.

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Happy Birthday to Loo...
Britain's first public toilet opened exactly 150 years ago in London. The public convenience was opened on 14 August 1852 opposite the Royal Courts of Justice in Fleet Street. Flushed with it's success others soon followed.


And you can find lots of other wonderful facts about our public loos at the British Toilet Association (BTA) web site:-
- You can become a BTA member for just £25 + VAT
- Support their Save Our Toilets campaign
- Sponsor the organisation itself
- Swap anecdotes about toilets with like minded loo enthusiasts (Jesus, I can't believe I'm writing this - Ed)
- Have you been to a really excellent loo lately? Sadly you'll be just too late to vote for it as the Loo Of The Year 2002 though.
- Buy the Good Loo Guide
- Read about the Toilet Management Manual - produced to help those at the "service delivery end of the spectrum"
- Obtain a "motivating/inspirational" video of the best loos in Britain
- Take a "toilet focussed" training BICSc course
Lilly Law...
I have mentioned Colin Richardson before in these pages. He is a former editor of Gay Times and now works for Mark's group in Camden Primary Care Trust as a writer. He has written a fascinating article in today's Guardian which I would recommend you read. The article concerns itself with upcoming changes to UK Criminal Law and how these changes will affect gay men in particular. (This comes at a time as changes to UK Employment Law are also being considered which I believe will have an equally dramatic impact).

The Home Office has issued a summary report for changing the Criminal Law called Setting The Boundaries. This will probably form the basis of the new legislation. Again it makes for fascinating reading.

Here is my 2p worth on the proposals:

I support strongly Recommendation 26 which states that those recognised as giving help, advice, treatment and support to children and young people in matters of sexual health should not be regarded as aiding and abetting a criminal offence, nor should the children and young people who seek help and advice about sexual health matters, including contraception.

I support strongly Recommendation 44 that the criminal law should not treat people differently on the basis of their sexual orientation.

I support strongly Recommendations 45-­ 47 regarding the repeal of current offences of buggery and gross indecency. I also think that the conviction and sentence of anyone convicted under these provisions should be reviewed. Gay men have been unfairly penalised for years by the law on gross indecency.
Want to Know How Big He Is?...
Comdomi have launched a site that helps you judge how big a man's dick is. It's called Size Him Up (safe for office viewing). Supposedly it's not just the simple big hands + big feet + big nose = big dick mantra but a scientifically based study. Anyone care to verify the data?
Four Rules for the Gay Man...
1. It is important to find a man that cooks and cleans.
2. It is important to find a man that makes good money.
3. It is important to find a man that likes to have great sex.
4. It is very, very, very important that these three men never meet.
[Thanks Rog!]

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

He comes the Flood...
This weekend Drew and Steven are going away for a couple of weeks on their first summer holiday together. How romantic. And where are they going? First Prague and then Vienna. Oh dear. Take your wellies, boys.
Kiki & Herb...
We went to go and see Kiki & Herb last night at the Soho Theatre in Dean Street. It was great fun - full of energy and very funny. Kiki (Justin Bond) has a voice like gravel (chain-smoking since the tender age of two?) and Herb (Kenny Mellman) can play a mean piano for 90 minutes non-stop.

Many of their favourite artists were in the show (Bob Merrill, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Kate Bush and Bonnie Tyler) and many of their favourite themes too (people die, nostalgia, politics and childhood).

Well worth the mere £7-50 door charge. The only disappointing thing was that it was in a theatre and not a more apt red velvet bedecked night club.

Monday, August 12, 2002

Download the Internet...
Does it take you ages to access the pages you want on the Internet? Is the world wide web a world wide wait? Do you find hear the call that "the Internet is down" more often than not? Well, thanks to some bright sparks in New Zealand that can all be a thing of the past. Why not download the entire Internet to your hard disk? (You might need a floppy or two standing by too)
Would Like To Meet (again)...
Richard Smith, the gay guy who was in last week's BBC program Would Like To Meet, has written an update on the BBC web site. Bless.

Friday, August 09, 2002

Brighton & Hove Pride...
Tomorrow is Brighton & Hove Pride. The march kicks off at 11am and the fun and games run until 8pm in Preston Park. Most of London is planning on going as far as I can tell.

The only slight hitch is the weather. It has been raining all week and apparently the recent floods has made the park a water-logged mud bath. I think we'll maybe take a rain-check tomorrow morning and decide then.

If we do end up going there are some great deals available for getting there by train. The normal day return for the trip London-Brighton from Victoria Station is £15 and from Kings Cross Station (which takes a little longer) is £10. But there is a special deal tomorrow - if four of you go together is is just £20 all in (yes, just £5 a head). Bargain.

Weather permitting, I think we'll be getting the 10:04 (arrives 11:45) from Kings Cross Thameslink if anyone wants to join us.

UPDATE: Found a much better train - leaves Kings Cross Thameslink 10:09 and arrives Brighton 11:23. We need to get the cheap tickets from Kings Cross Travel Centre though not the Thameslink one.
Loyalty...
I am a man of many faults. Though I'd like to think I see most of them myself, I readily accept that there are many others that I don't see that could only too easily be pointed out by even the most casual observer.

One fault I know I have is that I hate to be let down by someone. But really hate it. The dreadful feeling of disappointment when someone or something that I expected or trusted just isn't there for me. It is really quite gutting. I'm big on loyalty, you see. It means a lot to me. For me disloyalty can be forgiven but never forgotten.

But what do I mean by 'loyalty'? That surely is the crux of it. Well, for me loyalty is a matter of respect. It's something that needs to be earned (and sometimes hard won) but can be all to easily spent. Loyalty requires an ability to know when someone needs your unconditional support - being there for them when that time arises. Knowing when to say, "that was good" when you perhaps would give a more qualified answer to another person who had done something similar. That's not to say that loyalty prevents you from being honest, of course. Loyalty, like trust, shouldn't be blind. You would expect a true friend to be honest. But a true friend would also know when to bite there lip and say the right thing. Loyalty means that you stand by someone even if you believe they have done something wrong.

So for me loyalty is right up there with the biggies like 'devotion', 'trust' and 'love'.

So where does my problem lie? Why is this 'loyalty thing' a fault you may ask? Well, life is full of people who you think you can trust but who let you down. It's full of missed appointments, missed opportunities, people not wanting to listen when they know you need to talk, friends talking about you behind your back, not being supportive when you have done something wrong, criticizing you or being rude about you. Why beat yourself up about it? Why take it so personally?

Well, if I judge (I hate that word, but frankly I judge people a lot) that someone is 'a friend' I expect certain things of them. And one of those things is loyalty. And when that loyalty is demonstrably not there I lose a little bit of faith in them and in the adult world. I wish I didn't, but I do. It just supports my deep held theory that on the whole people are arse-holes underneath and can't be trusted.

So maybe I've been lucky so far. Perhaps if I'd met nastier people or been let down by friends more often when I was younger I'd be more used to it by now (at the grand old age of 40). Maybe I've been lucky or skillful and chosen my friends wisely up until this point. Perhaps life really IS full of shitty and mean-spirited people and I just haven't come across many of them. Or maybe I've done nothing to deserve loyalty from anyone anyway. Maybe I deserve what I get. Who knows?

But at the end of the day I'm still left with my view on life. My way of looking at things. And part of that view is to expect loyalty from friends.

And if it's not there I have to reappraise that person as 'my friend'.
It's Friday! Shake it, baby...

Thursday, August 08, 2002

Would Like To Meet...
Last night's Would Like To Meet on BBC2 show was a gem. They had a gay man on for a pleasant change. A Wiltshire school teacher called, Richard, who was criminally shy and almost pathetic at putting his best foot forward. At times endearing and at times darned right frustrating you just wanted to shake him and say, "Wake up, man! Get some self-confidence!" He put his hands up to his face all the time, apologized for everything he said and cried when he felt sorry for himself. It was going to be a tough 6 weeks preparing him for his date at the end of it.

The three style gurus on the program took their job very seriously and did their business very well. They improved his self-esteem (almost too much, making him all but aggressive), updated his clothes (bit too Top Man for my taste) and transformed his body language (teaching him how to stand proudly, be more intimate and finally, how to flirt). And it's in this last part where the program really shone. Watching Richard walk up and down Old Compton Street and practice his flirting was laugh-out-loud funny. He had a straight woman guru, Tracey, giving him tips and he took to it like a duck to water. "You've given me a gaydar," he said. "I'm teaching you how to cruise. How to flirt", Tracey replied. Apparently the way to flirt is as follows:- as you walk past someone stare directly in the eyes for three seconds, then drop your eyes to the floor as you pass and then look back. Stare, drop, turn. Easy.

Later in The Yard, bolstered by the success of his new found flirting ability, Richard chatted someone up - a rather dishy Yank, called Seth. The date was set and over dinner things went very well. So well in fact the buzzer was pushed and the cameras were switched off. Fab.
The Theory of Everything...
Paul Dirac is in the news at the moment. The Institute of Physics in London have decided to celebrate his birth 100 years ago with a cartoon strip.

I remember studying Dirac's work at University. He was a bit of a hero of mine being as he was:- (a) clever, (b) a physicist and (c) British. Three features that are in no way related.

The importance of Dirac's work lies essentially in his famous wave equation, which introduced special relativity into Schrödinger's equation. Taking into account the fact that, mathematically speaking, relativity theory and quantum theory are not only distinct from each other, but also oppose each other, Dirac's work could be considered a fruitful reconciliation between the two theories. It was a big step towards that illusive goal a Grand Unified Theory (GUT).

He also predicted the existence of antimatter (specifically the antiparticle of the electron) that was later discovered in nature. Antimatter is generated by smashing high speed particles together. Not a cheap thing to do. Antimatter is the most expensive material on earth:- $62.5 trillion a gram.

[Thanks to the Guardian for some of the info]
Greenwich...
Warming up with a coffee Tourists in our own city Awww! Bless!
[Click on pictures for bigger versions]

Last Sunday Marky, Drew, Steven and I went to Greenwich for the day. We took a boat down the river Thames complete with riotous commentary from the ship's captain. We had a great day out with mucho drinking and eating and jolly japes. Amongst other things we learnt where the word 'wharf' came from - WareHouse Along River Front. Fancy.
Soft Cell news...
Here is the latest news from Michelle who runs the Theatre of Marc Almond web site.

RELEASES
The long awaited new single from Soft Cell, 'Monoculture', is released on 16 September. The single will be available as two CD's and a 12" vinyl. Details of the track listings are below and the artwork for the releases can be viewed on the Soft Cell News page at the Theatre, where you can also pre-order copies direct from HMV.

CD 1 - FRYCD132
Monoculture (Radio Edit)
Monoculture (Playgroup Remix)
Monoculture (Antoine 909 & Oggie B Edit)
Monoculture Video

CD 2 - FRYCD132X
Monoculture (Extended Version)
Dancing Alone
Monoculture (Jan Driver Remix)

12" Vinyl - FRY132T
Monoculture (Jan Driver Dub Version)
Monoculture (Playgroup Instrumental Remix)

The latest changes to the release dates for the album, 'Cruelty Without Beauty', are as follows: Japan, 27 September and USA, 8 October. Elsewhere remains unchanged with the release on 30 September.

TOUR DATES
The following dates have so far been confirmed for Soft Cell, with the possibility of further shows being added. As soon as we receive any additional confirmations from the management for this leg of the tour, and of course the forthcoming US shows, we'll let you know.

16 October - Dublin Ambassador Theatre (Tel: 01 872 7000)
17 October - Glasgow Barrowlands (Tel: 0870 9033444)
25 October - Manchester Academy (Tel: 0161 832 1111)
27 October - Birmingham Academy (www.birmingham-academy.co.uk)
30 October - Bristol Academy (Tel: 0117 927 9227)
31 October - Brixton Academy (www.brixton-academy.co.uk)
3 November - Copenhagen Vega Musikkenshus, Denmark (www.vega.dk)
4 November - Berlin Columbiahalle, Germany (www.columbiahalle.de)
6 November - Dusseldorf 3001, Germany (www.d-3001.de)
7 November - Zurich X'tra-Limmathaus, Switzerland (www.x-tra.ch)
9 November - Tilburg 013, Netherlands (https://tickets.lvp.nl)

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

Topsy-turvey land...
I spoke too soon. Our meal last night to celerbrate our 10th anniversary together at The Almeida was a nightmare.

The evening started out OK - we were a little early for dinner so we had a drink in The Mitre round the corner from the restaurant. But once we had taken our seats at the Almeida things started to go awry. The French (and very French at that) waiter seemed to take an instant dislike to us. He had just three tables to look after. All couples. He stuck his nose in the air and seemed intent on ignoring us - refusing to let us catch his eye when we wanted a pre-dinner drink while we studied the menu. When eventually we did catch his eye he just looked at us in contempt and walked away. Goodness only know what we had done to deserve this treatment - I've eaten in posher places than that before but never been made to feel so uncomfortable and unwelcome as we were on our arrival last night.

When the waiter finally did come over he just said, "Ready to order" (note, this was not a question - just a statement). "I don't speak French", Marky reply politely, "could be explain what some of these dishes are, please?" Blank stare from waiter. Then a snort. "I don't need to explain the starters, I suppose", he stated. We looked at each other and but let him continue. He raced through the main courses translating the titles. This wasn't really much help when many of the dishes had rather obscure titles even when translated ('Chef's Fanfare' anyone?) and were costing up to 34 quid each! However we soon decided on what we were going to have (duck salad and a selection of meats to start and beef on the bone for two), finally got to order our pre-dinner drinks and some wine (a Chablis 1st Cru - 1995) and settled back to enjoy our evening together. Or so we thought.

Then things got even worse.

The food all turned up are the wrong time. We waited a little over 15 minutes between when Mark got his starter and I got mine. We tried to attract our waiter's attention throughout this wait but without luck. He just stuck his nose even higher in the air and pretended not to see us. He was avoiding us like the plague for some reason. Did he think we were just going to disappear and he wouldn't have to serve us? Utter madness. Eventually we had to call over another waiter from a different part of the restaurant (who couldn't have been nicer). He checked in the kitchen and to ensure the food had been ordered correctly (it hadn't been) and made sure it was on it's way (it was now). When it did arrive our origianl waiter made no apology. He just dropped it down in front of me and left.

At that point I said to Marky, "I'm just not enjoying this meal at all. He's so rude. Let's just leave." Marky laughed and said, "you're turning into me! That's my line! It's Topsy-turvy land!" I then said, "we are NOT leaving a tip, that's for sure!" And Marky said, "that proves it. You ARE turning into me!"

We struggled on through the rest of dinner (the food was good but made indigestible by the rotten service) and instead of ordering a desert or more wine we simply asked for the bill. When it arrived Marky said to the waiter, "can we have it without the 12.5% service added, please". Our waiter almost spat at us in fury. The manager was called. We explained what had happened and she completely sympathised with us and apologised profusely. "I'm from Finland and can't read French either", she admitted, "let alone understand from the name of the dish what the meal actually contains". We bonded straight away.

So we paid for our food and drink only and left heads held high. If only I'd taken a picture of the look the waiter gave us when we left though. It could have soured a whole ocean of milk.

We retired to the Eddie and laughed about it. You've got to, haven't you? We're not going back there again.
Bad day at work...
This has to be a joke, right?

It claims to have been taken near the South African coast during a military exercise by the Royal Navy. Maybe it's just a mock up, maybe not - but it looks good though either way.

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

A warm feeling inside...
On the spur of the moment Marky and I decided to have an anniversary lunch today in Old Compton Street. We headed over to Soho and walked (sometimes) hand in hand looking in restaurant windows for somewhere nice to eat. Eventually we settled upon a simple Italian place. The sun was shining (just), the food at the restaurant was good and I was left with a warm glow in my tummy afterwards. Although maybe that due to the double mocha with floating flakes and double cream I had for desert at Costa!

Sharing a meal today day brought back memories of other anniversary meals gone by. Our 1st when we stayed in and cooked and never got as far as desert(!) Our 3rd was a nightmare from start to finish (cold food, bad service and eventually a silent walk home!) At our 5th we got so drunk and rowdy the waiter had to tell us to keep the noise down. Our 7th was at the Tate Modern when the food was sent back 7, yes 7, times. At our 9th the waitress liked us so much she came and sat down with us and joined in the celebrations!

So we're out for dinner again tonight for our 10th. A bit posher than the lunchtime venue though - The Almeida in Islington. We'll try and not show ourselves up this time either.
A long, long time ago...
This is my favourite picture of Marky - looking mean and moody. It always makes me smile
On 6th August 1992 I fell in love. Happy 10th Anniversary, Marky. My soul, mate.

Monday, August 05, 2002

Timetable of New UK Legislation…
(I’ve spent the last few days researching upcoming UK employment law – and this is what I found)

At present in the UK you can get sacked for being gay or having HIV.

But all that is about to change.

On 29th November 2000, the European Council unanimously adopted a new Directive requiring equal treatment in employment and occupation in the areas of age, religion, disability and sexual orientation.

Some of this is already covered by existing UK legislation but the EU Directive set deadlines for the laws to be implemented in the Member States.
- Anti-discrimination on grounds of race and ethnic origin has to be law by July 2003
- The anti-religion and anti-sexual orientation law has to be on the books by 2nd December 2003.
- For the anti-age and anti-disability laws the latest date is 2nd December 2006

Race
The anti-race law will tighten up some loop-holes in the existing Race Relations Act. Long overdue and necessary in my opinion.

It'll mean Anne Robinson can be locked up for her comments about Welsh people.

Age
The age discrimination law will mean the total abolition of the retirement age. The law would also apply to all ages not just those over 40 as in the United States. That will mean it applies to young people too.

The biggest effect is that you can’t just dismiss someone because they are old. You would need grounds for dismissal based on conduct or performance issues.

Ninety year old air pilots anyone?

Religion
When in place this law will allow employees to take time off from work on religious grounds - for instance to pray. It may even lead to employees claiming a “moral objection” to certain types of work.

Is there a religion where God tells me to have every other Monday off?

Sexual Orientation
This legislation will finally place beyond any doubt the right of individuals not to be discriminated against on grounds of sexual orientation. Cases in recent months have reached this conclusion already. This will overturn an earlier ruling by the European Court that the same sex partners of employees were not permitted to the benefit of perks offered to the spouses of employees, such as medical insurance, travel, pensions and life assurance.

About bloody time.

Disability
Prior the anti-age and anti-disability laws coming into affect there will be an amendment tabled in October 2004. The two changes are:
1. those with cancer or HIV will be deemed disabled
2. small businesses (under 15 employees) will have their exemption removed entirely

So when the law that covers disability comes into effect (the EU say the latest is by 2nd December 2006) having HIV will officially classify you as being disabled and it will be illegal to discriminate against you in employment.

About bloody time too.

Friday, August 02, 2002

Today's tunes....
I went out and bought George Michael's Shoot The Dog today. It's certainly not his best track. In fact it probably rates down there at the bottom of the pile. But I consider myself a fan. And as I've explained before I support the people I like - even through the bad times. When I got back and listened to the various mixes I was even more disappointed than I thought I was going to be. It is, what can only best be described as, POO-POO KA-KA. Oh well. Better luck next time, love.

While I was in HMV I also splashed out on the CD and DVD of McAlmont and Butler's Falling. Very nice - if a little, er, predictable. The last time I saw David McAlmont was a few months ago on stage in Central Station Kings Cross singing Yes. Three times in a row! By the end (in a rather drunken state) we were shouting out "NO!"

The final audio delight of the day was something different and yet really quite pleasurable. It was a double CD of recent chart dance tunes called Breakdown: The Very Best Of Euphoric Dance Vol. 4. Marky bought it this morning from the excellent CD-WOW for just 12.99 and I was ripping it for a bit of work time destress music. Lots of bibiddy-boboddy tunes to make the day go faster. The best of the day by far.
Exchange 2000 SP3...
Read more here. Some useful fixes since SP2. In fact so many it makes you wonder how SP2 worked at all! I run both Windows 2000 and Exchange 2000 at home so am particularly interested in both recent version 3 service packs.
Colourblind...
Does anyone else think that Darius Danesh's Colourblind (widely tipped to be this week UK #1) sounds a bit like Joan Armatrading's Love and Affection? And the video looks like Jason Donavan's Too Many Broken Hearts? I see Almighty have been doing quite a few remixes for the promo 12". A sure fire way of getting some gay-club play. A pity that reportedly they aren't on either of the two CDs you can buy though :(
Take Me Out…
Marky took me out to the theatre on Wednesday night to go and see Take Me Out at The Donmar Warehouse. It’s a new play written by Richard Greenberg set in the macho world of baseball. And although baseball is the backdrop to the action it is also there as a metaphor. A metaphor about how individuals fit into teams. About how men interact with each other and how relationships change.

The lead character is Darren Lemming (Daniel Sunjata) a mixed race, sporting hero who just so happens to come out on national TV. His team mates are shocked. His close friends have mixed reactions. The team begins to lose it’s solid foundations. Though Darren still shines.

However when later in the season the team’s fortunes take a serious turn for the worse a new pitcher is brought in, Shane Mungitt (Frederick Weller). Now our Shane is a great player but a bit thick. He keeps himself to himself. Oh, and he’s a bigot. And a homophobe. You can see the trouble brewing I can tell.

The first chance he gets on national TV he disrespects the rest of his team mates (“it’s bad enough playing along side coons, spics and nips. But faggots?!”) Now to say this doesn’t go down too well with the ethnically mixed team or Darren would be putting it mildly. Shane is promptly sacked. But with the assistance of one of the team member tries to make it back on the team. That’s when the trouble really begins.

The play examines how friendships between men are formed and can rupture. How people become involved with each others lives and how jealously and intolerance can bring you down. Intriguingly Greenberg suggests it can be the very language we use that can cause these problems in the first place. If we fail to express ourselves properly we are not only failing ourselves and also those we are trying to communicate with.

All of this is delivered by a sparkling script packed full of one-liners (none of which I can remember now of course!)

The cast were really excellent – acted well and always believable. The staging was cool. On stage nudity was common – no more so than when six of the super hunky team mates shower full frontal a step or two away from the twin set and pearls sitting in Row A.

But don't go and see this play just for the naked men or just because it's a 'gay play'. Go and see it because it's good. And it's funny.

Thursday, August 01, 2002

Spider-man's on the phone...
I've finally managed to squeeze Spider-Man on my phone. He is now small but perfectly formed and swinging around on my XDA. The format I used was Windows Media Video (WMV) which actually works surprisingly well. Not previously being much of a fan of Windows Movie Maker I was pleasantly surprised that it all worked so easily and gave me a pre-built choice of output bit rates and screen sizes to taste. It had three options for PDAs. I'd recently bought a new 256Mb SD card for my XDA so even on the highest PDA setting I had space to spare.

And while I'm banging a drum for M$ let me say here and now the Windows Media Player is actually pretty smart too. I used to hate it prior to version 6.4 but now it's up to version 8.0 it's actually got some pretty cool features. For instance, connecting my XDA to my PC allows me to copy files from my PCs's MP3 library and convert them to an appropriate bit rate on the fly (right-sizing). No messing with fiddlesome settings every time. That means I can now fit about 10 full length LPs on my phone. Not bad.
Arsenal...
The new stadium has finally got the go ahead from the High Court. It'll mean that the Gunners are now going to be even nearer to us. Two cheers.
Windows 2000 SP3...
Read more here. (Link won't be activated until later today - well, maybe!)
Future Sex...
Last night Channel Four finally screened the Future Sex show that I'd been filmed for last October. So I guess now news of my fetish for football kit is out in the public arena. No surprises there!

As to the quality of the program, preceded as I was by some Torture Garden virgins, some New York dominatrixes (dominatrices?) and Gus the sneaker sex guy (who I know quite well as it happens), I can pass no comment. The fact that it was on in the graveyard slot probably says it all though.

It was funny to read yesterday of Chig's account of being at the same Sports And Shorts night when the Channel Four filming was done. I'd purposely tried to give the program's screening a very low profile (apart from texting a few of my nearest and dearest early yesterday evening) and so hadn't mentioned it on my site or commented on Chig's posting yesterday. The reason? I didn't particularly want my folks (sorry Mum!) or my boss (sorry David!) finding out about the show before it's airing. Mainly because I hadn't seen it before it was aired - so I had no idea whether I would come across as a freak, a pervert or worse. My fears were unfounded though.

Luckily the production team seemed to keep in some of the points that I was trying to get across about footie kit, male bonding and the (rather lame) rainbow metaphor without making me seem too weird. Considering it was a 14 hour day's filming and the actual piece was condensed down to about a 7 minute item I shudder at the though of the quality of 13 hours and 53 minutes of film on the cutting room floor!

As the program aired I got phone calls throughout from my friend Kit. All he could say was "Your poor mother! Your poor, poor mother!"

So did you see the show? What did you think?

(Incidentally the show last night was the answer to last week's riddle. In some ways I was pleased no one got it!)

UPDATE: A few people from work watched the show last night and have been popping into my office and calling me a "TV star" (sarcastic but well natured).

I think in general people found it very funny and that indeed was partly the intention. I got loads of text messages and phone calls after the show and this morning saying how much fun they thought it was to watch and to those people I say "Thank You" - it was fun to make too. I shall certainly heed you advice Andy, "Beware * fuckers!" :-)

I really like being on TV - and I make no apologies for that. I've been on game shows, the news and documentaries. Hell, I even dated a TV producer! It's not everyone's cup of tea perhaps but there you go. And almost everyone has been very supportive of my little weakness. Which is nice.