Ian was looking stunning last night, I have to admit. It was the opening of his exhibition of paintings at The Village, (Festival Venue 227). In he strode, butchly chewing gum to calm his first-night nerves, dressed from head to foot in blue. He was wearing a blue suit, blue shirt, and blue tie. On his face were wrap-around shades, blue of course. Any bluer, and you would have slapped him straight into a movie.
When that boy wants to, he leaves Shirley Bassey standing. He'd even given his two-day scalp a light grey skunk stripe. Style!! (You've either got it, or you ain't, honey!) Now, if only he could sing...
Barbara was chatting about her kidney stones earlier. She'd first got one in Morocco, from eating the local food, so she had to be rushed home in an air ambulance. Fifteen doctors undressed her and examined her, but they only gave her throat lozenges. It was 1976, you see.
"Then I got them in the other one," she explained, showing me her scar. It was three inches long, white and wiggly. "I had a hundred little ones," she went on. "Some people have them made into necklaces."
Then we gossiped about placentas. Stuart was there as well, taking in the Sun horoscope. "Capricorn: You've got an ache up your sleeve," he read to me. "That's a funny place for an ache," I said, a bit bewildered. "Oh - I mean ACE up your sleeve," he corrected. I don't think literature is truly Stuart's forte. But he's very good in company. He had a tarot gig in a posh Japanese restuarant that night, so maybe needed some ideas. But it turned out he'd got the week wrong, so when he got there they had to send him back. Not too accurate a prediction there, I guess.
But anyway, placentas. "I never ate mine," Barbara said. "But they did offer it to me. Apparently it's full of vitamins and antibodies."
"That's right," Stuart, who is a nurse when he's not telling fortunes, agreed. "They're full of them. But you can take tablets instead."
"A friend of mine had a placenta party," Barbie went on, giggling slightly into her expensive bottled lager. "She'd made it into pate and cute little sausages. I didn't have any."
"No," Stuart and I agreed. "Doesn't sound too hygienic either," I said, always the Germ Queen. "I mean, eating your own might be one thing, but eating somebody else's...."
Ian turned up then, (this was before his opening), so Barbara and he discussed the menu for his party. Barbara's the chef, you see, and Ian owns the joint with his partner. A bit later two straight guys came in and Stuart and I fell out.
Quote of the day: "She wasn't over the top - she just didn't know where the top was."(Commentator about Shirley Bassey)
Last night, my final night at the Bingo, was successful beyond belief. It integrated the past (Freda) with the present (me), and pointed some hopeful eyes to the future (who knows?)
I have to tell you my farewell speech.
"This is the last page I will ever call for you." (A line I stole from Freda, the first lady of Bingo in this city, and a caller for 22 years. This is how she started her last page, when she retired five years ago. It was brilliant then, so I stole it now.)
"Yes, and before I do, I want to give a mention to all my colleagues in the club. Without them there would be no bingo for you to play." A wee lacuna while that sank in. "But more important than that - more important than anything - is YOU." You could sense the silence settling. Is he gonna make it???
And then I pulled out a Quentin Crisp line - (but did even he, the master, think of it himself?) - a Quentin Crisp line I have always cherished....
"If I am rich it is because I have taken my wages in people. YOU are my reward."
I swept my hand dramatically around the whole audience. There was spontaneous applause for this, this most rehearsed of farewells. But then I really did call the last page, and my voice really was close to tears. I milked it for all it was worth. I am retired.
Found another blog worth recommending. It's Ambivalent Attitudes by Drew, a gay UK guy living in New York. Heterosexual readers, and there are a couple, might wonder why all my "must-see's" are of the left-footed persuasion. Biters of the pillow. Players of the pink oboe.
And the answer is, I don't really know. Maybe it's just that there are so many zillions of blogs around, that "gay" is a useful filter to cut down the numbers. Filter further into "intelligent" gay, and then further still to "intelligent gay who can write", and you're getting down to manageable proportions.
Readers who wish to learn about heterosexual life can, quite simply, just look out of the window. It gets everywhere.
So, on this, the last ever working Saturday, I'll stop now, as I sense stories to come as the day progresses.
It turns out the virus warning I gave you a couple of posts below was all too genuine. It's a worm called Sircam, which noses out your (possibly dodgy) gifs and jpegs and emails em off to anybody in your address book. Not recommended. So I must be in the address book of at least one infected person. Who can it be..... ?
Two more working days!! I can almost SMELL the freedom on Monday, if I make it till then.
In the meantime, do NOT open email attachments. But you should know that anyway!! Soon they'll make viruses and stuff that don't need attachments - just float down the line into your little beige box, then work their wormy worst. It's a nightmare.
Regular readers of Naked Blog will appreciate our little worm alert being a whole 24 hours before The Guardian, which as well as costing 50p (that's a ten-bob note) is rapidly careering downhill.
Too many youngsters writing for them, you see. When will they realise that whilst people under 40 might be nice to look at, (although even this is by no means guaranteed), so far as actually knowing anything, or having opinions worth reading - forget it. How sick I get of fresh-faced Guardian cherubs bleating on about this and that as if they'd just discovered it anew.
Get a life. Get hip. Get old.
Qote of the Day "Aim low. Aim so low that no-one will even notice if you succeed." (Marge Simpson)
Readers who don't know me personally, (and there are a couple), must be getting sick to death of this week's topic, which is of course my imminent retirement. And loss of stardom. And possible dissolution of personality.
Tough. It's just for three more days.
Today was a mixture of the expected and unexpected. The latter was provided by the huge ticker-tape advertising screen at work, which normally shows the promotions, no-smoking areas, and other tittle-tattle, but from now on is totally devoted to me. How sad, the travelling red letters declared. Special night on Sunday, blah, blah. Peter's wit and charm, blah blah. £250 free game, blah blah. I was quite overcome.
"And all you have to do is un-resign," Andy the most junior manager said. "Just take it back." But I knew he'd been sent. I was expecting it.
"No, I know they're being very nice about it," I explained. "But really they're glad to see the back of me. Attendances are still going down." But I left that space - that wee lacuna of possibility - that it might, somehow - with the optimum conditions - happen. Wicked scheming bitch that I am.
Cathie, one of my dearest and oldest colleagues spoke in much the same vein. "All you needed to do was put your inheritance in the bank," she said, "and then you could have taken early retirement when it suited you."
"Never thought of that, Cathie," I told her. "Maybe that would have been a better idea..."
Watch this space. I don't THINK they're reading this blog, but you never can tell.
My water's off this morning. Somebody's been reading us in French. Very creepy. "C'est un gobsmacker." Totally in love with Bullcowboy, as you probably expected. If this were a Mills and Boon, I would be a twenty-something virginal career girl with a domineering father. I'd travel to Edmonton Alberta Canada, against my father's instructions, where my love and nursing care would have my cowboy out of his wheelchair, away from saddo cyberzones, and back on the bull, (and me too, of course) in a fortnight.
But life ain't a throwaway romance novel. Still, I'll cherish the few minutes we did spend typing, and hope to "see" him again.
This is only the second time in half a decade that anything in cyber has affected me quite so strongly. The first one is here.
We're getting listed here and there. Should pump up the readership, hopefully. Especially as 95% of blogs appear to be by 30-ish neurotic American chicks, at least we're coming from a different place. In three of those senses.
Had two ultra-suspicious email attachments, on the lines of...
Hi. Just thought I'd send you this file for your comments. See you later.
So there was Barbara and me sitting in the pub, chatting about this and that, when this tall, sophisticated guy butts in. He had an opinion on all we'd been saying, then none too subtly told us his job. "I'm a police officer," he declared. "Well, you can just FUCK OFF," was my automatic reaction. "And stop listening to private conversations."
But of course I didn't say it. Dreadful way to behave. Shouldn't be allowed. I've instructed Ian the owner to address him as "Officer" next time he appears, so the whole world will realise. Plus he wasn't even sexy.
Not a lot to say today, after Sunday's mega-rant. Horror and terror still setting in big-time. Must get a haircut for this, my last ever week in the public eye. Six days to oblivion.
Getting so damn sick of people saying... "But you CAN'T retire - you're not sixty-five." How very very much I want to be a seventy-year-old bingo lady. Shopping in the morning, bingo in the afternoon, telly at night. Repeat daily. They got it sussed. Trust me - I used to be a bingo-caller.
Waiting to die, yet knowing it could be ages, is such a fucking pain.
You see, you just write shit like that just above, and then you come across someone who is really suffering... Cop this...
Place: MSN Bridge zone
I spotted him entering. I wanted his body. Or at least his bridge. So I leave the game I'm in, and hunt him down. There he is, on his own, at the bottom of the screen, with 3 bots as partners...
"Mind if I join you, or do you want to be alone?"
"I'm very new to this game. Greenhorn lol"
"I've taught a lot of people."
"Edmonton Alberta Canada"
"Cowboy country." (seductively)
"I'm a rodeo cowboy who got paralized (sic) last year"
(Huge pause while my world-view collapsed then reshaped to look like a wheelchair...)
"Hazard of the trade, but I promised myself and God that I will walk again and ride that same bull again."
I played bridge a few hands, till the tears in my eyes made the screen hard to see. And I still don't know which one of us I'm crying for.
G'day mate! It's Sunday morning, grey-skied as usual, and I just don't know what to do with myself. Shakespeare would have dashed off a masterful soliloquy, before going to a boozy lunch at Ye Pheasante and Crossebow, but I can't. My mind isn't noble enough.
This extended period of notice has given far too much time to reflect. The diem wasn't carpe'd quick enough, and now I'm left with a whole bunch of doubts.
Work has its uses, you see. It gives you something else to think about. Without that, one might easily slip downwards (well, landslide, probably) into solitude and despair, punctuated only by inheritance-eating trips to The Village. Structure. That's what a life needs. Structure and format. Things to aim for, whether achieved or not. Then on to the next one. And it has to be said that the last period of elongated idleness was destructive in the extreme. (Even the Devil was stretched.) But I'm keeping that for the book.
Almost half a decade I've been associated with this workplace and many of those people, on and off. There are two ways of looking at time spans. In terms of what's gone before, five years is no big deal. But as a fraction of what might remain, it is much more. Never thought of that until now. Blogs have their uses too.
It seems a whole diary culture has evolved without me noticing. Lists are everywhere. Submit, Get Listed, Get Read. Only very occasionally, perhaps once a week, do I glance at someone else's stuff. Can't say I'm often driven to rapture. "Other people are a mistake!" (Quentin Crisp.) However, we've sent in our details to one or two. Always seems pushy, that. Prefer people discovering the stuff themselves. But then that about sums me up. Always the last to be picked for the team. Haven't an assertive bone in my body. Please don't kick me very hard.
People keep asking what I'm going to do, and the only honest answer is, "I haven't the faintest idea." That kinda throws em. But now it's throwing me as well. Hmmm....
The sun's just come out, lighting up the gorgeous trees.
But soon there'll be the first yellow leaf.
"So, when's your last day, Peter?" Brian the manager asked this afternoon.
"Sunday, but I don't want any publicity," I retorted. "If there's any hint of Press, champagne, or expensive presents, I just won't turn up."
"Oh - we'll have do something," he insisted. "For the Club."
I frowned, still not convinced. "How about a free game?" he suggested. "Peter's Farewell Flyer. We could make it for £250."
Well, there ya go. Even my leaving becomes a publicity stunt.
Watched Jurassic Park last night on the telly. Life can never be that bad while there's still nonsense like that to enjoy. Yee-Haa!! I'm a Farewell Flyer!!!!
Later... It's official. In a dead spot tonight, a wee lacuna, Brian my manager announced one's imminent departure, and the £250 Free Game. Then I was left to speak to more than a thousand people, with no warning, no preparation, no script.
But we coped. Queens don't lie down just when things get tough. And when I'd finished there wasn't a dry eye in the house.
I spoke about slippers. I explained about rocking chairs in front of the telly, but do you know, not one person believed me. "But why's he REALLY leaving?" was the question of the day. For make no mistake - this topic will run for at least a fortnight.
In Leith, where I live, I'm just so much bigger even than the G8 conference - and the very talk of the Post Office. For now. For one more week. And then it'll be ... "whatever happened to... what was his name? Is he still alive? Yes, I'm sure I saw him just the other week - with a funny-looking man."
I should BE so lucky. Take a look at my first day. Or maybe the first time calling. Might raise a smile.
Just a tiny point today, after yesterday's mega-rant. I don't know how many of you remember the Venus Fly Trap story, (July 3rd - below), but it was interesting to see that the Beeb have incorporated this theme into one of their station idents.
Q. How do you turn a G7 meeting into a G8?
A. Talk about the Russians all afternoon, then invite them along at night.
There are new readers here on Naked Blog, so we need to show it's not all Alligator Johnny and his perversions. There's a lot goin down this week, not least being one protestor dead and one critically ill in Genoa, Italy.
First was John Pilger's masterly hour on Carlton (yes, really), The Real Rulers of the World. Here he explained how the New World Order operates - and it's very simple. Aid, in the form of loans, is given to a country such as Indonesia, for which the main condition is that the country "integrates" its economy. An integrated economy is one where the people are forced to work in near-slavery conditions making clothes for GAP and suchlike, while the natural resources are plundered until they too are exhausted. Repayment of the loans keeps the country effectively poor, however, and in perpetual thrall to the United States.
So he talked about debt-cancellation, (hot topic since the seventies), and on this he had access to the men at the very top of the World Bank and the IMF. The World Trade Organisation was also mentioned, which, like the World Bank and the IMF, is utterly unelected.
And now, tonight, we have the protests in Genoa - or Geneva as Bob Geldof called it. There've been a lot of peaceful protests against the Corporations in the developing world, but it was only when violence hit Seattle and then Gothenburg, that the Western world took notice.
(magnificat mode on) Darlings - it's just the sixties all over again! Stick a wee flower in your hair and fire up your Joanie and Bobby digitally-remastered CDs. (mode off)
Much more can be read at John Pilger's site. But be warned - these are chapters, rather than articles. Another explorer, with a different but complementary approach, is Jon Ronson, who brought Bilderberg and Bohemian Grove to our attention in his own quirky style. John and Jon.
If I were a younger man, I might get excited. I didn't in the sixties, as then I had more personal and immediate problems much closer than Vietnam. An older man now, again I must leave it to others - but the world is not doomed so long as there's even one commentator, one handsome protestor, still alive. You shall overcome.
Rex and I had our free staff-training lunch at Wetherspoons. Plus two free drinks.
Alastair apologised for shouting on Monday. He had a broader grasp of the situation.
I get invited - again - to maintain the Village site, but STILL no controls. Won't hold my breath.
I score a verbal victory over Johnny.
Wetherspoon's was fun. It's nice to get something free, even more so when you've given nothing in return. Well, you had to fill in a questionnaire after your visit. The Balti Chicken was OK, but the rice was definitely on the cool side. The toilets though were something else.
Then Rex and I strolled to The Village, which was heaving with testosterone. Johnny was there, with an unnamed and unshaven pal. Johnny is a great guy, but he has wild staring eyes and alligator teeth. He once told me the teeth were partly false, but today they were all in place, a subtle blend of the natural and the plastic.
The glasses were low, and the spirits high, with much delight and amusement at our arrival. Soon happened one of those utterly informal - yet profoundly philosophical - exchanges, which characterise and illumine our integrated lifestyles in Leith.
"You just wanna stick your DICK UP MY ASS!!" Alligator Johnny shouted at me, pointing at his bumpit, lest I'd forgotten where it was.
"Only if you ASK ME NICELY!!" I shouted back. (In truth, I don't want to do anything of the sort - but the straight guys get hurt if you don't wanna sodomise 'em. Nobody enjoys rejection.)
Well, THAT sure shut him up. Dolly giggled behind the bar. Bang, bang, bang went Robin in the basement, where he's making an office. "Where we goin next?" said Rex, planning a bender. Happy daze.
Well - what a day yesterday turned out to be! In which...
Stuart repaid me a loan after a longish period
A Tall Dark Stranger in The Village was very friendly
I did a Very Bad Thing
Alastair, owner of said Village, literally shouted at me. "Peter!!" he shouted, with at least two exclamation marks.
My reputation is fucked. But, sadly, that's all. Let me explain....
I should start by saying that Stuart has demanded to be in today's blog, so - here goes, honey. Stuart is one of the most fascinating friends I've ever had. Had our hormones been sympatico, we would have made a wonderfully alco-tragic couple. But they weren't, so we didn't. Instead we became "sisters" - an intense but non-sexual bond. "God help the mister - who comes between me and my sister!" is the anthem of gay sisterhood. It's false of course. The moment something appealing in trousers appears on the horizon, (which is usually the other end of the bar), then sisters start to claw each other's eyes out. But enough. I'm sure you've got the idea.
So this is what the little bitch did to me this weekend. He'd been reading tarot cards at Edinburgh University. He's very good at it, and makes a pile of dosh. Because of his spiritual gifts, Stuart is fondly known in the area as "Mystic Smeg", which is really too complicated to explain to non-UK readers. And he owed me some money - not a lot, but enough for me to want it back. Yet there were no signs. Repayment was not on the cards.
I went into the Village. And there he was at the bar, sitting and sipping - legs crossed and cigarette aloft. I coldly grunted hello, then sat to study my Tax Return. (This is the utterly thrilling off-duty life of the famous international star.) I sat and studied it hard, hating him across the room. "That thieving little cow hasn't the slightest intention of paying me, not now, not ever," I thought, evil radiating out from my third eye into his very solar plexus.
He went to the lavvy. I ignored him. He came back. "Mind if I sit here?" he said. "I'd really rather you didn't," I replied, as nastily as I could muster. I'd just been fantasising about panning his cunt in. "I just wanted to say that if you come round to my house, your money is there in full," he announced, glowing in victory. Well, you could have knocked me down with a giant dildo.
We cuddled. We hugged. We declared our undying love. He told me he'd been ignoring me on purpose, the better to enjoy my discomfort. He'd even mystically summoned me to go to the bar at that very time, for his enjoyment and entertainment. Alastair the owner was bending down and washing the glasses, the better to hear every word. What a rich and varied life we all do lead.
But then Tall Handsome Young Man thrust himself into our private world, and things went decidedly pear-shaped after that, I can tell you. More tomorrow, or when I can be bothered...
It's Sunday night, and hello to you too. Just finished what should have been my last ever, ever, day in bingo. But nothing's quite that straightforward. Two more weeks to go. But really I don't give a shit. This last week has predicated probably the most startling life change since ten years ago - when I left another job, depressed, exhausted, and unable to cope.
But this is different. Every brain cell now is firing on max. Folic acid. Caffeine. Nicotine. And nothing else.
First mention today of a "leaving do", from Dot, who's very nice. I shuffled and hedged. "Hadn't thought of it, Dot," I circumscribed. "Does anybody actually KNOW me here? Would anybody MISS me after I've gone?" These are important questions, hard to answer, best kept quiet. (You got to understand I am the star. The questions are shite.)
This evening at the bingo there was a small gap, a wee lacuna, and I took the pleasure of looking up at the spotlights, the stars in the roof shining down just on me, and I thought, "So soon it'll all be gone - no more, the final curtain."
And I thought of the pain of writing a book, (for, make no mistake, we've done it three times before), the solitude and the madness, and I wondered, "Am I right to swap? Will anybody really want to read my drivel?"
But then I remembered that the answer was in the very fingers typing to you now, and in my cells which know it all, and in your own so keen to learn. And then I knew I was doing it right. "Full house!" I called. "Any more claims?"
Search news: (Oh this is getting tiresome) dusty springfield elton john. Where are we? Number 2 in the UK. And also number 3. On what poxy little search? Well, Google, actually. Try it. Look for magnificat. All we need now is for the book to be half so popular.
Our involvement with a certain webpage would appear to be over. Ah well - another one bites the dust. Anyway, I've decided webbing is a bit common. Now at last there'll be time for THE BOOK. I'm already thinking of a £10k advance.
This am was very cloudy, rainy grey, and led to some quite vituperous comments here and there, about people I do actually care for quite a bit. Silly me. But it's sunshine on Leith again now, with corresponding uplift of spirits. Today would have been my last Saturday at The Bingo, but they've talked me into two more. One down - two to go. I'll miss the place, with all of its faults. Hope they're not expecting leaving "do's", or suchlike.
Tony is much better than me, anyway. Plus he's a flasher.
Have you got any little gaps and empty places? Want that fulfilled feeling more of the time? Then look no further than Giant Dildos. Guaranteed to bring a tear to your eye.
Search news: Excite - "diary of a genius". We are number 10 in the world. Just thought I'd share that with you. It's nonsense, of course. Several of the higher entries are about Linux, and a Dali Book, and so on. We should be much further up.
Rex has invited me to be his guest at a brand new Wetherspoons at the end of my street. It's a free meal, while the staff train. Something very similar happened here, about a year ago. I will naturally be delighted to attend, but there is of course no such thing as a.... complete it yourself.
There seems to be some debate as to whether Wetherspoons (a national chain of pubs/bars - something like MacDonalds with beer), is classy, trashy or schemie. I really can hardly contain my indifference, but, being at the end of my street, and replacing a grotty snooker hall, it's bound to do something good for my value.
My God, how acquisitive we've become since Great Aunt Lily passed on. To them that hath shall be given. Them that hath not can just fuck off.
Compassion is guilt. Natural selection. Do-gooders are fuck-ups. I used to be one. Global warming melts the ice.
SorenB has kindly written on my guest page. Life sure is peachy, when you're a genius with a diary.
Resigned from my job. Rich now, you see. Not quite finished yet, so they can still work their evil persuasiveness on me, but it's only till the end of July. Then free again, free to live and learn and walk and wonder. Readers who are following the plot might think I'm being quite callous, somewhat cold, couldn't care less, about my Great Aunt Lily. Fact is, I only ever met her once, when I was 15.
She was the Elizabeth Taylor of our family - rich, made-up, lots of fancy clothes. "You have your father's wonderful voice," I remember her saying to me. I smiled, nodded - not knowing quite how to speak to rich people. It was, in truth, a state visit in all but name.
But she remembered me, her great-nephew. A spinster herself, she made her money by running guest-homes for the elderly, and inveigling herself into their wills. I also remember her saying, about money, "If you can get it legally, get it. If you can't, still get it." This became a family joke.
So let me thank you, Great Aunt Lily, for choosing me among the favoured. There are a lot of us. Large families were de rigeur in your time. I hope life dealt you more than just dosh, but now, of course, I'll never know.
Around thirty years ago, there was a family hubbub that Great Aunt Lily was engaged to Sir Billy Butlin, the king of camp. (Butlin's holiday camps - a long-lost British pastime.) No marriage became of this, and the topic wasn't much mentioned again. Great Aunt Lily remained a spinster to her dying day. But in one of those strange synchronicities which can amaze and delight, Patrick Keely from Granada TV emails asking me about the time I spent working in one such camp, a hundred years ago. I was only 18, fresh-faced and never been kissed, and it was my first time away from home. Etched and engraved.
What I divulge to Mr Keely will be in direct proportion to his budget. For £10k he can have me on camera for a whole half hour. Holiday camps - I ask you! But even Quentin had to start somewhere. More of those distant days.
You just gotta see this one! How to make a gas giant bong. Hilarious.
Letters have their uses. Just opened one this am to find that I've inherited a substantial sum from my late, Great Aunt Lily.
Apparently they'd sent it in April, but I never got the cheque. Scary.
If put to sensible use, this money could improve what's left of my life. And that's creepy.
Later, calmer. Nothing good will come of this, you mark my words. Suffering is all I know - all I worship and adore. Bad news will be just around the corner, waiting to jump out and shout "Hi! REMEMBER ME?"
I'm thinking of a cancer diagnosis. My throat does get quite sore. Or maybe prostate.
Somebody or other has just won a cup for batting a ball over a net. Woo hoo. Fame for five more minutes. But even that beats the current adoration of celebrity - the guy did at least do something. (Bat a ball over a net.)
Whereas otherwise we are daily bombarded with images of no-talent, gyrating popsters strutting their stuff for MTV and Coca Cola. No talent, no use, no reason to exist.
When did you ever see TV about someone in their twenties who excelled - globally - at mathematics, cosmology, philosophy or literature? I'll tell you the answer. Never. Nor will you. Because intellect cannot be dumbed down. Cannot be associated with Coke, with Nike, with Budweiser, with Marlboro. These products demand the widest audience, which is, of course, as thick as pigshit.
So go on then, Ivanosevic, or whatever you are called, and enjoy your time. Milk the bastards for every penny, for make no mistake, that is what they will do to you.
(Local gossip - please ignore.) I see Edwin has a pronounced skunk patch atop his pretty thatch. So white, so young, so cruel. After a disastrous three-day affair with Sam, he's now apparently taken up with Scott.
Later that day: Rex emails me to say that after deep and meaningful consultations with the above parties, he can assure me that it's a load of bollocks. "Face it, we're being lured into a wilderness of mirrors, where no-one is what he seems to be," he writes. Well, that about sums it up. Anyone for tennis?
Now - the only reason I watched it was that it came on straight after Panorama. Honest. And the only reason I gave it more than 20 seconds was that I immediately spotted the well-kennt voice of Mavis Riley, played by Thelma Barlow, and the only British heroine worth the name. Mavis is in fact the only woman I could conceivably ever have been. Well, maybe Hilda Ogden, but I'm not so snappy, or possibly Dot Cotton, but neither am I religious.
American readers won't have a clue what I'm talking about. These are the First Ladies of British soap, and therefore huge "gay icons". So if you thought your author was at all stand-offish about "the condition", then let these revelations assure you otherwise.
We are also, not that it's your business, a huge ABBA fan, and Dusty, although we never fell for Kylie or Madonna. (Both triumphs of exposure over talent.) But - each to his/her own, as they say down Leith while they cosh you over the head for the price of a pint.
At the bingo today, which transcends soap, Mrs Stewart was quite agitated about her friend Mrs Thomson. "They should stop giving her tranquillisers!" she shouted - Mrs T being deaf, as well as tranquillised. "She never talks much now, like she used to," she declared, equally loudly.
I later learned that Mrs Thomson had been driven to today's bingo in a police car, something which will form an episode in itself, once I get the fuller picture.
"Do you take tranquillisers, Mrs Stewart?" I asked her, sensing an audience building up, and playing to it. "No, but I've got to go to hospital on Thursday," she said, unpeeling a KitKat. "I've got a shadow. I'm sure they'll give me some pills to take it away." She crumpled up the wrapper in her gnarled and veiny hand.
Today I met a very important person - a pupil from the past. It was in the bank, nothing much, just settling up. The hunk in front turned and grinned - splashes of paint, rigger boots, who are you?
Yes, we were each other - how ya doin, lookin good, you've lost some weight. So few minutes - so much to remember. You're staying here? My dad has died. Still got a wife? We're best of friends. It's good this way. We get on great.
Thirty-plus, a shaven head, but not his face. What can I say?
There's not the space. May be some day. For you are glorious. Indeed.
Andy is a sex addict. Diagnosed. If he doesn't shag he gets really irritated - tense, unworkable. "How long can you go?" I asked him in The Village, trying to sound calm while my every orifice was gagging on it. "Eight hours? Six? FOUR?"
"About eight," he answered. "I had hoped Bernice was the girl for me - she seemed up for it as much as I needed it - but after a year now it's faded away. I really gotta do it all the time."
I felt sad for the priapic Andy, as much as I regretted that I myself am not thirty years younger and a possible candidate for his pansexuality. Ever too late, that's me - the master of the missed opportunity. Believe me, he would not have gone wanting. But then thirty years ago he would not have been born.
Later, in Mac's Bar, Charlie my colleague was in vibrant mood. Just 19 and already a dad, he's wooed and won a mother aged only 21 herself. Steps. Hormones and grins flew around the pub as he chatted about how happy he was. "It's difficult for me to think of you as a man, Charlie," I said, "because you are so very young. But I'm trying to accept it." He smiled back, possibly understanding, possibly not. The one thing the young cannot feel is young.
"So, how's your own love-life, Peter?" he asked me. "Doing OK?" What could I say? Admit that the bingo's biggest star was a sexual nonentity? Invent cool young lovers who didn't exist? No. I was beyond believable deception.
It was a very warm encounter with the fully-functioning Charlie, and great to know that at least some of the young are human. It goes to show you never can tell.
I shouldn't have done this piece. It will lead to trouble. Some names have been changed.
Search News: diary+gay+man on Netscape had us listed at number 2. In the world. Out of 2. Sorry guys to my left!!! (Heehee no I'm not!)
"I've got a Venus Fly Trap," said Juicy the plasterer, in the Port o Leith Bar. Juicy is a fascinating guy. His mother is a top lawyer, very upper-middle, and Juicy rebelled against that with body art, piercings, and by changing his name from Julian to Juicy.
"Hey, lemme see it!" I shouted. "I bought a Venus Fly Trap kit when I was a kid, but it only grew half an inch then died." The plant was produced from somewhere, and placed proudly on the bar in its decorated earthenware pot. "We need flies!" Doshy the CADman declared, heading for the gents and quickly returning with one. The fly was a bit dazed, and Doshy also was none too steady aiming it into the plant's grasping pod.
"I've got steady hands - I'm a bingo caller!" I announced, and grabbed the pliers off him. We had no tweezers. This is a man's pub, you understand. Ever so, ever so gently I lowered the hapless insect into its waiting, green, spiky casket.
Nothing at all happened.
"It's closing slowly," Doshy said, wonder in his voice. "Aye, it is that," Juicy and the men agreed. But then the fly made a last desperate break for freedom, and tried to jerk its way out. The plant slammed shut instantly. Nae messin. Nae escape. The whole pub broke into spontaneous applause for Juicy's voracious vegetable. There was one flimsy wing left sticking out of the now tight-shut pod, a reminder of what we'd done to that innocent insect. It's not that easy being a fly.
I just swatted a big spider on my kitchen wall, with a rolled-up Guardian. There were large pictures of Robert Thompson and Jon Venables on the front of it. Makes yer think.
Also think about Jim Morrison who died thirty years ago today. Unswatted Guardian piece here.
Twenty-four degrees no less, right now in (normally) frozen Scotland on North Sea - just a few miles from the Arctic Circle. It's too hot to walk, to drink, even to think. It hit me like a sauna as I left my home. Not natural, not here, global warming. The last time like this was in Spain, when I was another person in another life. I nearly passed out, and had to be driven in a car, fast, with the windows open and my arms hanging out. It was a country road. Most of them are in Spain.
Useless day, apropos above. In a reversal of the usual position, the Port was fairly quiet, but the Village juke box was set to deafening. There's really no escape. Stuart was there, aka Granny. Today he's an angry Granny - angry at Rex, for writing that he gives blow jobs. "He just had no permission to write that and use my name that way," Stuart declaimed. "I'm taking action."
When I can be bothered I'll put a link to the latest edition of InterPOL, the Port o Leith newsletter, where all these scandals are exposed. Meanwhile you can consider the futures of Thompson and Venables, this week's hot legal topic.
The heat on those young men will last considerably longer than the heat on East Central Scotland, that's for sure. We have, as usual, no opinion whatsoever.