Quote Of The Day

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

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Back to the gym! #supportyourlocalgym

Back to the gym! Blimey! My first Spin Class too! #supportyourlocalgym

With smiling photo before...  

...and not so smiley after (heart rate @ 186 bpm !)






Wednesday, July 29, 2020

How some bands got their names (allegedly)...

* 10cc - more than average amount of ejaculation.
* Linkin Park — Wanted Lincoln Park but couldn't afford domain name
* Led Zeppelin - A worse lead balloon. Spelt wrong to encourage correct pronunciation.

Lots more here:---

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

The National Gallery (Reopened)...


Last Saturday afternoon Stuart and I went for a scooch around the newly reopened National Gallery in London's glitzy Trafalgar Square.

Timed entry, severely reduced numbers, a one-way system, masks, social distancing - it was a fairly safe place to visit.

The gallery contains some of my favourite paintings and, as we weren't sure if and when we'd get to go again, I took a gazillion photos.

Hey, if you wan to save yourself some legwork, take a look at a few below...

#supportyourlocalmuseum












Monday, July 27, 2020

Masculinities @ Barbican Art Gallery...

On Friday afternoon Stuart and I went to the Barbican Art Gallery at the glitzy Barbican Centre to see the final days of the Masculinities exhibition.

According to curator Alona Pardo, the aim of the exhibition is to explore how masculinity is “experienced, performed, coded and socially constructed” in photography and film from the 1960s to the present. An ambitious undertaking! But it is largely a success. They have brought together the work of over 50 international artists, photographers and filmmakers including Laurie Anderson, Sunil Gupta, Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Isaac Julien and Catherine Opie.

The show starts with archetypes such as those displayed through ultra-male power ; military men, uber-masculinity, male control, pecking orders, violence, aggression, homosociality* and testosterone-fueled sports. Although even here the images get subverted; what do we make of Thomas Dworzak’s cache of found studio photographs of young Taliban fighters, some holding hands amid ornate arrangements of flowers, their eyes rimmed with black kohl, their heads framed by brightly coloured, hand-painted haloes? The codes are so complex that, were it not for the occasional artfully placed AK-47, one would assume that these posed portraits were evidence of an ultra-clandestine gay culture in Afghanistan.

The exhibition goes on to explore masculinity from the female gaze, the queer perspective, and black masculinity. In the wake of #MeToo the image of masculinity is brought into even sharper focus, with ideas of toxic and fragile masculinity permeating today’s society. This exhibition charts the often complex and sometimes contradictory representations of masculinities, and how they have developed and evolved over time. Touching on themes including perceived vs actual power, patriarchy, sexualised queer identity, female perceptions of men, hypermasculine stereotypes, tenderness, and the family.

The exhibition shows how central photography and film have been to the way masculinities are imagined and understood in contemporary culture.

Although the whole show is great, my two favourite moments were two darkly humorous takes on extreme masculinity: a wall of colour portraits of Hollywood Nazis – portrayed by Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood, Ronald Reagan, William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy – by Piotr Uklański. And the incisive Laurie Anderson series Fully Automated Nikon; skewing as it does the casual sexism women encountered daily in 1970s New York by taking photographs of each perpetrator - usually to the utter rage of the dickhead.

The show closes this weekend so you’ll have to be quick if you want to see it!

*Homosociality: Typically non-romantic and/or non-sexual same-sex relationships and social groupings – may sometimes include elements of homoeroticism, as they are frequently interdependent phenomena.

 

Friday, July 24, 2020

Thursday, July 23, 2020

#supportyourlocalrestaurant

🎶 Enjoy yourself, while you're still in the pink
The years go by, as quickly as a wink
Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think 🎶
#supportyourlocalrestaurant






Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Kylie Disco...

New Kylie single out “Say Something” this Thursday 23rd July. 

New Kylie album “Disco” out 6th November. Can’t wait!








Tuesday, July 21, 2020

The London Walker's Tube Map...


Got a free weekend coming up? Why not plan a stroll around London with the excellent Londonist tube-style map of some of the key walking routes. Many excellent guidebooks and leaflets exist to help you explore the capital on foot.

Here's a short summary:

London LOOP: A 150-mile walk around outermost London.

Capital Ring: A 78 mile orbital trek around Zones 3 and 4.

Thames Path: The full route runs from source to sea, but some 40 miles can be enjoyed in the capital.

Green Chain Walk: A spaghetti plate of linked walks through the parks and woodlands of south east London.

Lea Valley Walk: Trek along the River Lea from Hertfordshire to the Thames.

New River Walk: Follow this 28 mile watercourse, a 17th century man-made river, from Hertfordshire to Islington.

Canal Towpaths: The Regent's Canal, Grand Union Canal and their branches offer many miles of pleasant walking in London. Watch our series of videos for more inspiration.

Waterlink Way: An eight mile route through parks, following the River Ravensbourne and its tributaries.

Hillingdon Trail: 20 miles of parks and rivers in this outer London borough.

Parkland Walk: This former railway line is now a sylvan walking route through Haringey.

Jubilee Walkway: 15 miles around the centre of London, taking in many famous landmarks.

Wandle Trail: This 12 mile walk from Wandsworth to Croydon along the River Wandle is perfect for a weekend stroll

Dollis Valley Greenwalk: A 10 mile trek, mostly through the borough of Barnet, following the Dollis Brook.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Annual Big Gay Picnic @ The Garden Of St. John's Lodge...

Yesterday we attended Tim's annual Big Gay Picnic at The Garden Of St. John's Lodge, Inner Circle, Regents Park. As ever. Great fun.







Friday, July 17, 2020

Night Swimming with Manta Rays... Flying sea monsters dancing in front of us in a magically blue light. An unforgettable night ->

It was late one Wednesday evening, much like any other evening you might think, when a small group of us took a small boat out; out into the rain and the dark of the deep, turbulent, tropical Pacific Ocean. Because this particular Wednesday evening actually wasn't like any other. We were looking for monsters. Flying sea monsters.

It was back in March, just before returning to what was going to turn into coronavirus lockdown, when Stuart and I were on holiday in Hawai'i. It had been an amazing holiday so far but while we still had a couple of days left, we were hoping to experience something rather special. Something we had been told would be unforgettable. A night swim - with the flying monsters of the ocean. Manta rays. 

Back in our boat, the rain and darkness that night was only the half of it. The ocean was rough. Choppy. And getting rougher. 

An hour into our bumpy, little voyage the little boat suddenly stopped. The engines had cut out; we just bobbing up and down in the swell. Where we here? Wherever 'here' is. We had lost our phone signal ages ago.

Our pilot and ship's mate then appeared briefly before launching themselves overboard into the darkness. We dashed to the side of the boat struggling to make them out in the pitch-black waters. Where did they go? Were they swimming away? We waited what seemed like ages, unsure of what to do.

Suddenly a dazzling incandescent blue light lit up what seemed like the entire ocean in front of the boat. Our crew had prepared a floating pontoon for us with huge battery-powered ultra violet lights pointing straight down into the depths. It was an incredible spectacle. Like a dazzling blue alien space ship floating in the water in front of us.

We soon plucked up courage, partly just to get a closer look, and jumped into the cold water. We swam over to the pontoon and as instructed lay flat on the surface of the choppy water face down so our feet were not dangling down towards the ocean floor. And a good job we did too. The blue light had attracted thousands of krill who were swarming just below the surface in the bright, blue light. And manta rays love krill.

Before we knew it, we saw huge shapes moving in the darkness beneath us. And they were enormous.

Manta rays are filter feeders and eat large quantities of zooplankton, including krill, which they gather with their open mouths as they swim. As they came into view, we were simply stunned. Their huge wing-like fins flapped gracefully as these monsters flew beneath us; they then barrelled round and round vertically - coming increasingly closer and closer to us with each fly-by. We squealed with delight as more and more came. Finally, within inches of us, we saw their eyes, their gills, their scales – with their huge mouths open in a majestic feeding frenzy. We genuinely thought they were going to swallow us whole. However, we were just too excited to be scared.

After about half an hour or so our crew signalled we had to leave. The waves were just getting too choppy. So we swam back to the little boat, and climbed back on board. The lights went out, the pontoon was disassembled, and we were told to strap ourselves in. Good job too; it was a roller coaster of a speed-dash back to the shore through the waves before the storm, that had been threatening to break, did.

Back on shore, we could not stop smiling. Did that really just happen? It did.  Flying sea monsters dancing in front of us in a magically blue light. An unforgettable night, swimming with manta rays. A once in a lifetime adventure.

If you ever get a chance to do it. Do.















Thursday, July 16, 2020

I May Destroy You...

I May Destroy You is probably the best TV show we have watched this year.

Written by and starring the amazingly talented Michaela Coel the show is powerful, funny, nerve jangling, at times a tough watch, and thought provoking.

Loosely based on Michaela's own personal experience with sexual assault, I May Destroy You follows Arabella, a budding novelist who is on a tight deadline. To rid herself of writer's block, she decides to have a night out with friends. The next morning, she realizes she has no recollection of the night's events, only to discover she had been drugged and raped.

Each episode deals with a different aspect or type of consent. And as it navigates its way through these nuances, the show offers a genuinely alarming look inside rape culture, while also highlighting themes of friendship and sexual agency.

Just watch it. It's great. And that last episode... that last episode... is a kicker.


Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Lucked out...

The weather forecaster on the BBC last night said if we were looking forward to sunshine today, we had lucked out.

But what exactly did he mean?

Have you ever lucked out? Well, good for you. Or not. Depending on where in the world you live.

to luck out
(Colloquial, idiomatic, informal: US, Canada) To experience great luck; to be extremely fortunate or lucky.
"I lucked out, and got the last two tickets to the big show."

to luck out
(Colloquial, idiomatic, informal: Britain, Australia) To be unfortunate or unlucky; to run out of luck.
"I lucked out, and didn't get the last two tickets to the big show."

And sure enough, the BBC forecaster was right. We had lucked out. It rained today round our way.