Naked Blog

More famous than Susan Boyle!


Friday, August 31, 2001

PLUS CA CHANGE

Well, as usual, when naked blog has a gripe about something, you can be sure the mainstream media will be quick to pick up on it. Read, if you can still bear to see the word, John Mullan in The Guardian on Google.

And that has to be the last reference here for that over-enthusiastic, illiterate algorithm. We will close our eyes to the degradation, and look only upwards into the light, and inhale the fresh sweet air of....

David Beckham. What a peach! Friday nights have been good telly for some time, but tonight's was ecstatic. New Friends, new South Park, New AbFab (yeah), and a programme I wouldn't normally have given house-room to, until something caught my eye. I know - it was when I spotted Richard E Grant. "If he's talking about Beckham, then maybe I should listen," I thought, reaching for the remote.

There followed 30 mins of glorious pictures of this handsome man, thankfully without his appalling skeletal wife. (The Beckhams illustrate beautifully the two types of celebrity. One is famous through talent, and the other merely by extreme good fortune.) The second type is sadly by far the more common.

Angus Deayton and Gary Lineker were on the programme also, and Ulrika Johnson, whose transformation into a crocodile handbag is now almost complete. I told her all that sun would be her undoing! It's tough being a bitch - I got the t-shirt. Los crocodilos they call them in Spain. Women with leather faces from the sun.

Misogynist? Moi? Darlings - take a look at my lampshades.

Bumped into Ian yesterday, who was a companion in the twilight zone, and his wife Fiona. They're going to live in Holland. We had a pint or three. I wish them well.


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Thursday, August 30, 2001

AND SO I FACE...

Naked blog is now closed. Too many unpleasant searches. They're getting worse and more threatening by the day. And all this for a few daft stories and a wee bit of melodrama.

Thank you for your loyalty and readership, and who knows... when the search engines stop making innocence and fun into hatred and filth, then maybe we'll link up again.

Peter


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Wednesday, August 29, 2001

BEYOND BELIEF

Naked blog approaches the end. Just had a search for "Jon V*nables is a c*nt", and it's now about time to hang up the mouse. Yes I've mentioned Mr V*nables' name, and yes, in writing which draws on the direct speech of a working-class area, I'm sure the C-word might have turned up, but NO, I'm not prepared to pepper my work with asterisks from now on.

Get a grip, Google. It is you and only you who have created this climate. The way you structure your operation means that any extended piece of modern writing will inevitably end up on some mad fucker's search result. It's just not on. Never used to be like this, and I've been doing online stories no different from these since 1997. I sense a Guardian article coming on.


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Sunday, August 26, 2001

SEARCH ME, GUV!

Like my colleague Groc, I'm really getting fed up with the number of people landing here looking for porn. At first I just found it mildly amusing, in a "sad fucker" sort of way. But now the search terms are becoming disturbing. There are some very sick and perverted minds out there. You see, the search engines have changed. Previously, if you put in a silly, long and overworded expression then you would just get "0 matches found. Search again."

Now, with the great God Google, it can actually find a site for almost anything you care to type in. Here's one of the milder examples from yesterday. (I've highlighted the search term.)

Date/Time: 8/26/2001 4:30:17 PM
Remote IP Address: 64.12.106.66
Remote Host Name: cache-mtc-ak07.proxy.aol.com Who Is aol.com?
Domain Origin: US Commercial
Browser: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; Windows 98; DigExt)
Referring Page URL:
http://google.yahoo.com/bin/query?p=naked+ladies+o
n+tv+getting+there+ass+and+fucked
&b=21&hc=0&hs=0

And here's how one of my pages apparently, (but not even remotely in reality), was matched...

naked blog
... here on Naked Blog, so ... UP MY ASS!!" Alligator Johnny ... reputation is fucked. But, sadly ... this is getting tiresome) dusty ... ago, there was ... see TV about ... DINNER LADIES. ...
http://www.ednet.co.uk/~magnificat/2001_07_01_archive.html

So there you go... seven totally separate stories conflated into one pervy search result. That's not why I write this stuff. I don't want people like the above anywhere near it, to be honest. And Google could as easily stop it.

Mind you, giving my Blog the title it's got hasn't helped. And neither does having a friend named Granny. You just have NO idea how many people are into N*ked Gr*nny s*x!! Kills me those do, cos I just imagine my friend Stuart (aka Granny), instead of an old lady. Although unkind critics have suggested he's rapidly heading that road. Ooooo.


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FOR BETTER OR WORSE?

It's official. The BBC is going down the tubes by trying to compete in a ratings battle. Dumb and dumber - no quality left. And what quality there is gets shunted onto Sundays. All the rest is soaps, (sink, doc and cop), gardens, houses and twat-chat. Thus opined some ITV boss or other at the Edinburgh International TV Festival this weekend.

Well, readers of both Naked Blog and my main site will be in no doubt whatever over our total agreement. In fact, the guy might well have got the idea from us, as we generally lead opinion by roughly half a decade. (Don't believe me? Check out the ditty below for tips on how to stay healthy by eating germs. We first wrote that in 1997, and now they call it the "hygiene hypothesis". There are leaders, and then there are followers, right enough.)

A brief history of telly.

I've been an averagely keen viewer since 1952. In those distant days, TV made a huge impact on the small and isolated pit village of my childhood. (Bear in mind that until cinema, and then the war, even my close ancestors experienced nothing more distant than, say, fifty miles. Nor had I.)

Those early tellynauts were as if from outer space. They had such bizarre names... Humphrey Lestocq... Macdonald Hobley... Eamonn Andrews... all this to a Hovis lad surrounded by Smiths and Browns and Greens. They wore evening dress... suits and bow ties, low cut dresses showing off their hooters, to use a South Park term, and I sat entranced.

The voices too, were as alien as their manners. "Radio Times, price thruppence. (Thats one and a quarter pence, btw) Stamped, addressed onvelope. BBC Television Centre, Lime Grove, Shepherd's Bush, London W12. So sylvan.

Old hits

The favourite shows were What's My Line? with Eamonn Andrews, David Nixon, Barbara Kelly, Gilbert Harding and Isobel Barnett, later to become the shoplifting Lady Barnett. A very early sitcom was The Grove Family; crime had Dixon of Dock Green as its sole ambassador; and America popped up only occasionally - with I Married Joan, then later I Love Lucy and the Phil Silvers Show.

And yes, Children's TV really did contain those now-iconic characters! We had Andy Pandy, Muffin The Mule, Flowerpot Men, and the occasional novel serialisation. My own favourite was slightly later, called Lost In Space, a teen space serial - set on a planet called Hesikos, as I recall. Little did I know then, at seven, that there would be a lifetime's interest both in SF and handsome young spacemen!

But was it golden?

It was fuzzy, it was black and white, it was tiny, and it sucked. If there was ever a "golden age" it certainly wasn't then. Looking back now, with the benefits of both hindsight and social experience, I can see clearly what was happening. It wasnothing more than a condescending, down-talking bunch of upper-middle class twits. "Watch the upper classes at play!!" screamed What's My Line. "Here is The News, from The BBC," and if I speak slowly you thick clods might understand it.

And yet, and yet... they were entertainers, not rocket scientists. The only things which separated them from me were their clothes and their voices. Success on TV was then, as now, simply a matter of luck, an appealing bottom, or the correct synagogue.

And now?

I was going to tell you about a show I saw yesterday, on children's TV. It was called the Biz Quiz, and had six young women contestants, plus a male quizmaster. Victoria Beckham was one, and another was the fiancee of Robbie Williams. There was also Cher's daughter, but she didn't get a look in because of the former two squabbling at each other over their menfolk. Mrs Williams-to-be was ghastly. As well as her appalling manners, she was so ugly and fat, almost beyond belief, that any man taking even the slightest interest in her must surely be gay. By his choice of consort, Mr Williams has answered every UK queen's deepest question, if not desire.

Anyway, it's getting late. The quiz was shite, the questions puerile, the contestants rude, the compere incompetent, and I can only hope any eight-year-old girl watching would have been filled with the hope that if they can make it on to telly, than she can too.

Changed days indeed.


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Saturday, August 25, 2001

IT'S NOW OR NEVER

There are three sorts of things:

  • Things you HAVE to do.
    I have searched my brain for thirty whole minutes on this one, and the only thing I can think of that you absolutely, rock-solid, no-getting-away -from-it have to do is EAT. (Possibly also SMOKE for those of us with foolish pasts and weak-willed presents.)

  • Things you really SHOULD do, but nothing too awful will happen today if you don't.
    Includes, in no particular order... wash, shave, clean house, pay bills, reply to letters and emails, turn up for invitations you've accepted, and loads more. It's the mañana culture, and I think, if we didn't actually invent it, then we've certainly taken it to new heights.

    For instance, yesterday I washed my first dinner plate for....ta da... 10 months! I kid you not. I've been getting by jest fine with one unwashed spoon and one equally unwashed coffee mug for at least the whole of 2001, and who knows how long before that?

    And have I suffered? Are my insides perforated with poison and pus? Bursting with boils and bacteria? You bet my sweet ass they're not! Sound as a pound, if you must know. And probably in much better nick than yours, if you're one of the latter-day hygiene phreaks.

    More of these domestic matters in a popular piece we penned a couple of years ago. Enjoy.

  • Things you CHOOSE to do.
    These are the goodies - your reward for not wasting precious time on unnecessary fol-de-rols. My list would include, in no particular order... going for walks by the river, playing bridge, writing this fascinating article, reading Julie Burchill, watching films, drinking, talking. Your mileage may differ.

    Think different, as the Apple ads used to say, with fine grammatical ambiguity.



    We've written in earlier months of Madonna as being a "triumph of exposure over talent". Sit back and marvel at Julie Burchill ripping the mediocre huckster to bits here. Julie's on cracking form at present. While you're at the Guardian you can nip back to last Saturday, where she does a similar hatchet job on Isl*m. Outrageous.


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    Thursday, August 23, 2001

    BITS AND BOBS

    Having a bit of a rest this week so far, and playing lots of cyber bridge. Get quite twitchy when I'm not doing it. Yesterday I jumped up too quickly from the comp to make some coffee while my partner played my dummy hand, and nearly fainted. Had to crouch right down. Postural hypotension they call it. Means yer circulation's fucked. Not irreversibly, of course. Nothing is irreversible. But can we really be bothered getting out the bike and going through all that sweating again? To say nothing of falling off and breaking bits, like last summer.

    Drew is on sizzling form right now, with California Man Revisited and Dear California Man. You could pay several pounds and still not get writing as good as that. Good on yer, cobber!

    The Guardian Online supplement prattles on about blogs today, and refers to GBlogs, a list of UK blogs and journals. It singles a couple of them out for mention, but obviously is under-researched as no mention at all is made of the one you're reading right now.

    There are almost as many blog lists as there are blogs. A strange pastime. Making lists, I mean. Not blogging - that is sheer 100%, dyed in the wool, homespun neurosis. And our readership doubles weekly! That means, if it continues, that well within a year we will outsell The Sun :)



    Doncha just hate the Tory leadership contest? Can't you just see neither of the rich wanks striding the world stage? Clarke looks like he's about to take his last breath, and the other like he took it some months ago. No, magnificat can confidently predict that there will not be a Conservative government again in my lifetime.

    Who needs one, when our Tone does it all for them? The world is ruled by Big Money. Governments are increasingly irrelevant, and populations totally so, except for their intended purpose of consuming.

    And yet it's so easy to hit back. No need to chuck missiles at Seattle, or Gothenburg, or ... where was that last place? No need at all. Just stop buying their damn stuff!!

    If people just made a simple decision not to buy anything they saw advertised on TV, even for one month, the whole commercial broadcasting system would be brought to its knees. And that's only a start. Your next decision is not to buy any clothes which have their name written on the outside. Why the hell should you give these assholes advertising and your cash? Just don't make any sense, if you ask me, guv. We have the internet - for now at least. We don't need to risk our eyes and our limbs fighting the forces of global capitalism.

    But make no mistake. We have the internet only so long as it doesn't affect sales. The moment that happens, the plug will be thoroughly pulled, big time. For who owns the wires? You got it. BT and Ma Bell.

    I can confidently predict the US Government will read this article within a week. I'll tell you when it happens.


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    Wednesday, August 22, 2001

    OVER TROUBLED WATER

    The Microsoft Bridge Zone is down today, after yesterday's flood attacks. Well, not quite down, but I've managed only one and a half hands in 45 mins. No fun. A bit like IRC in the early days.... "Hey guys! We've just lost North America." Or.... "Shit - the southern hemisphere's down." I don't know. And they used to say the internet was bomb-proof. Maybe so, but you wouldn't want to be in a hurry to see if Aunt Edna had survived the blast.

    Been on the Bridge zone quite a bit recently, this being my fourth successive day of isolation. Total calm while my system gratefully re-embraces the silence of freedom from banality. Quality telly (yes, there is a little!), useful browsing (well, mostly), and bridge on tap - until today, at least. We have some great chats.

    There were the four hours around midnight once with Dolphin386 and Lewis14 from South Africa, and also EddyEd from Kentucky. Ed was my partner facing me, with Dolphin on my left, and Lewis to the right. Two against two. Battle of the hemispheres.

    "Lewis breeds horses and I buy them," Dolphin said, glancing across the table at his partner. EddyEd's ears pricked up instantly. "I was at the Kentucky Derby last week," he announced, sounding as excited as you can in plain type. "I backed this horse, and that one, and the other." (I can't remember their names.)

    "Sorry I can't afford to buy a horse," I joked with Lewis. "It's all right, Peter - you've got all that whisky!" he replied. "I plan on visiting Scotland next year," Kentucky Ed said then. "If I live that long. I'm 68 years old."

    At that a so-vivid picture thrust into my mind. These three men also were waiting to die! I just knew it, I could touch it and feel it, even across the particle-storms of cyber. "I'm sure you will, Eddy," I typed quickly. But, in truth, I have no idea. And he's only fourteen short years older than me. (Younger readers - and there are a couple, should note that fourteen years approximates to about 5 of your minutes.)

    Doin good, lookin forward, making plans. We all agreed it had been a great game and chat, and that we would link up again soon. But I haven't seen them since.


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    Monday, August 20, 2001

    JANUS

    There's a strange blue colour in the sky, which the old folk tell me was quite common once.

    Last week was really pretty damn good, in which several to-do's got to-done, the most important of course being the long-awaited yet terror-inducing meeting with writer and broadcaster Jon Ronson. About our chat nothing will be said here - it wasn't an interview, and I could tell he was covering his bases a bit. But my friends' reactions are below at Celebrity Squares. We had other achievements also for your delectation, especially Tax Me Mental and Harpic Power Foam.

    Yesterday I wrote to Drew (sidebar) asking him why his life is so wonderful, floating along in the company of delightful and beautiful people, faced only with choices between equally fabulous opportunities, whereas mine seesaws between the barely tolerable and frankly suicidal, surrounded only by neurotic misfits like myself.

    It was a bit much to ask a total stranger. Hope my letter doesn't upset him. Nevertheless there do seem to be people who have apparently charmed lives, both circumstantial and personal. Maybe it's to do with expectations. Or maybe it's to do with the way you're raised.

    To-do's for this week...

    Sort out Council Tax. This didn't get a look-in last week.
    Meet lady from trendy web-portal re freelance copy. Ditto.
    Investigate adult teaching opportunities. Idleness isn't working, and is becoming expensive.
    Haircut, new clothes, new glasses.
    Touch up tache and sideburns with Just For Men. It targets only the grey, you know.


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    Sunday, August 19, 2001

    OUT-OF-BODY EXPERIENCE

    Oh dear. A radical lesbian lady has written to warn that if she ever meets me she will... "rip your pathetic balls off, you sad old queen." This possibly indicates why Sandals holidays (post below) were not too keen to entertain her and her "sisters". Lesbians do tend to get in a bit of a tizzy about gay men. They can't understand why we have all this penile power - the very thing they lust after for themselves - and yet never point our penis at the pussy.

    I remember once suggesting to a bulldyke acquaintance that it would be fun to swap bodies for a couple of weeks, for the Christmas and New Year holidays. "Just think, Pip," I said to her. "A fully-functioning willy for you instead of all those strap-ons."

    "But it doesn't fuck minge," she replied, thoughtfully. "It certainly would if your brain was working it!" I laughed. "And of course I get your fanny for a fortnight."

    "Hmmmm..." she murmured. "And what state would that be in when I got it back?"


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    Saturday, August 18, 2001

    PC WC

    Militant feminist readers (and there are a couple) have written in droves to complain about my use of the word "housewife" in the piece below. "An ecstatic housewife squirting Harpic Power Foam... " I'm sure you get the idea. They tell me that housewife hasn't been used since the fifties, that I'm showing my age, and that how do I know the woman was even married? She might have been a Top Doctor, or Lawyer, like Cherie Blair! She might even have been a lesbian!!

    To all of which, dear correspondents, Naked Blog stands guilty as charged. We will strive to ever better ourselves - to boldly go where no ONE (geddit?) has gone before. But please don't shoot the messenger here. It wasn't our decision to use a female person in the ad - they could as easily have had Bruce Willis or Mark Wahlberg (yummee) if they'd been available. And at least Shake and Vac has got a fat (male) biker these days.



    All of this lesbian inclusiveness leads to a story which, to my mind anyway, I find hilarious. (Thanks to Paul at Dollsoup for this one. I hope you enjoy the gloss, Paul. Oh and good luck with the book, btw. I'll buy one.)

    There is an ultra-luxurious holiday company called Sandals. (Don't wear.... :) They operate in the Caribbean and West Indies, and no less a luminary than Julie Burchill wrote about them ages ago in a dentists' waiting room mag. Their resorts are for couples only, honeymoon-oriented, and much sexual activity is encouraged. Quiet reading by the pool is quite frowned upon, as Ms Burchill discovered to her chagrin.

    A lesbian lady and her lover determined to go on a Sandals holiday, and were outraged to discover from the brochure that they would just not be welcomed. So they complained to the company that the TV ad didn't state this. So now it does. One male and one female only goes the text. Then Paul and no doubt others saw the new-style ads, and fired off accusations of homophobia to the ITC. "It's like saying 'whites only' " Paul declares in his blog.

    And maybe it is. But you do have to ask what sort of lesbian woman would want to cavort herself with her lover in a hormone-packed resort of lusty men and women, knowing full well the prurient interest that so many heterosexual men have in lesbian activities. Get real, girls. We've made more progress in Europe than I would ever have dreamed possible decades ago. But Jamaica isn't Europe.

    There are loads of gay holiday companies, anyway. Some day I'll tell you about my trip to Ibiza twenty years ago, before it was common, and when I was still alive. It was with an outfit called Uranus Travel, and my God did your anus get about.


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    Friday, August 17, 2001

    HARPIC POWER FOAM

    Regular readers (and there are a couple), will have noticed my obsession this week with Harpic Power Foam. Since I first clapped eyes on it last whenever, I just knew it was the cleanser for me. I'd seen it on the telly one drunken evening, as I lay in a semi-stupor, too idle to turn off the sound. Tip: You should always hit the mute during the advert breaks - that way they influence you less. It's like seeing a movie without buying a ticket. Subversive consumerism. I love it.

    Anyway - there was this ecstatic housewife squirting Harpic Power Foam into her already immaculate toilet. "Seems a bit pointless," I thought, reaching for another mouthful of Co-op boxed salad. (All you can stuff in the bowl, for only 1.69.) "I could have lent them my own lavatory for the advert," I muttered. "That would have sold their foam by the truckload."

    Then she lightly brushed the bowl with her white plastic lavvy-brush, and - voila - it was ready for open-heart surgery! "That's for me!" I declared, as I reached for a piece of Co-op sliced wholemeal loaf. I do eat a somewhat high-fibre diet, I must confess. They say it works wonders for the bowels, but does create a need for the very product we're discussing, if you get my drift.

    Well, the supermarket was buzzing with happy shoppers. Bingo ladies were everywhere, getting their pensioner specials. "Hello Peter - enjoying your retirement?" they would ask, friendly. "Oh yes, Jean - it's braw," I would reply. Or Margaret, or Betty. But the section I wanted, the bathroom cleansing section, had not one trace of Harpic Power Foam. "That's shocking!" I thought. "They should know when something's on the telly that folk are going to buy it. Typical Co-op, if you ask me. No wonder Russia's in chaos."

    Then I saw a large empty section, bare of products. "I bet that's where the Harpic Power Foam is meant to be," I thought. "It's more popular than they'd ever imagined." You can also get Harpic Power Block with Active Ball, to clean right round the drain and shift the crinkly brown stuff in your pipes. You can get it - but they didn't have any of that one either. It was clearly to be a Harpic-free day.

    There is no substitute for Cadbury's Smash, they used to say, but I really really wanted to clean my lavatory after all this time, so took what I hoped might be the next-best thing. Domestos WC Active Mousse. You shake it hard, turn it upside down, then squirt it at your skidmarks. Wait ten minutes, then put on your happiest smile and scrub till spotless. And it worked. Beautifully. A foam by any name would clean as sweet. I'm a Domestos man, me.


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    Thursday, August 16, 2001

    TAX ME MENTAL

    Mr J Campbell is my Recovery Officer at the Inland Revenue. Or at least he was until this morning, for now I'm fully recovered. Recovery Officer is the last one you get before the Sheriff Officer, who is serious shit.

    We've chatted often, on the phone, Mr Campbell and I. He seemed gruff and fatherly, with no hint of emotion or humanity. You felt a joke between us would die quicker than a lavatory germ with Harpic Power Foam.

    But today we were to meet IRL. There's not been a dull moment this week, I have to say. "Mr Campbell, please," I said to the woman at reception. "He's expecting me." Minutes passed. "I bet he's in the middle of his lunch," I thought, for the City is quite choked with traffic during the Festival.

    As the bus crawled fitfully along earlier, you could watch a symphony orchestra playing under a large tent in Princes Street Gardens. There were cameramen and a giant screen, to make it look more like the telly. I couldn't hear the work because of the street noise, but from the applause it was clear we'd had an entire overture. In how many cities in the world could you get that from the top of a Number 12 bus?

    A very young man arrived, clutching a wad of papers. My God, they've sent the office boy, I thought. He must be on Work Experience. "Hello," the youth greeted me. "Are you Mr Campbell?" I asked, incredulous. He was wearing a maroon sweatshirt with "New York 98" written across the chest. Beneath that were jeans and white adidas trainers. His hair was short and lightly gelled. He was, in brief, a honey. Probably exactly the way I would have looked and dressed, had I too been twenty. Strange how people fall for those who resemble themselves. Don't believe me? Check out the married couples you know.

    "Yes, that's me," he smiled, flashing perfect gnashers. "I'd thought you were an older man," I stuttered. "But it doesn't matter that you're younger... it's just that on the phone... "

    "It's all right," he grinned, in charge of the meeting, you see. Remember - this young gent is my Recovery Officer, and we're not talking mouth to mouth. "Lots of people think that."

    Won't bore you with the financial chit chat, but when we got to the end he said, "So if you've got the funds available, you could just write a cheque for the complete amount, and I'll cancel your arrestment." (Regular readers will recall my rage a month ago when Mr Campbell seized my every asset. It was a nightmare. But then I didn't know how cute he was. This dude could seize to his heart's content.)

    "Oh yes, I'll write the cheque," I declared, breathlessly. "How much did you want?" Never has a tax cheque been written with such delight. They've sure got my number at the Inland Revenue.


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    Tuesday, August 14, 2001

    CELEBRITY SQUARES
    Edinburgh International Book Festival, Charlotte Square, Edinburgh

    There are days, and they don't come along very often.

    There are times, but for me they're few and far between.

    And there are people, in truth less than twa haundfae, I have watched and wondered at from afar.

    For YES, I really, really did it. Met Jon Ronson. Twice. For twenty minutes. Now I can do ANYTHING.

    "I like Edinburgh," Mr Ronson said.
    "Pretentious and piss-elegant," I truthfully replied. "Leith is much more fun - Trainspotting country. And it's just two miles down the road. I'd love to show you round."
    Watch this space...

    (Celebrity readers - and there are a couple - need never worry here.)



    Back at The Village, the reception was mixed. Ally, Dolly and Stuart, who are not great fans of the written arts, had little to say to my excitement. "Well, I can see you're quite underwhelmed," I announced. "Sorry it wasn't Kylie - or Robbie." That put them in their place. Queens hate being thought shallow.

    Andy and Bernice were more understanding. Just finished courses of antabuse, for synchronised alcohol situations, they had some serious catching up to do. "This is just my third glass of wine," Bernice said proudly, pointing to a glass which could easily hold half a bottle. "You're doing fine, hen," I assured her. "Just fine. I'm proud o' ye."

    "I can understand your excitement meeting that guy today," Bernice said then. "What was his name again?" So I told her. "I met Alasdair Gray once, and it was a highlight of my life," she went on, taking a nice refreshing sip of Australian Chablis.

    "That's so cool, Bernice," I said to her. "So fucking cool."

    "So, if I read that book by Jon Ronson, will you read one of Alasdair Gray's?" she entreated. "No, Bernice," I had to demur. "No, I couldn't read Alasdair Gray." Mr Gray, in common with most Scottish writers of his generation, is reputed to be dull, depressing and parochial. Most Scottish writing is like that, except for Irvine Welsh, who is depressing but never dull.

    "OK then - one chapter," I negotiated. "One chapter and that's it, Bernice." The mobile rang. It was Danny, for Andy, his friend. But things were not too friendly today, I could tell.

    "If you come into this bar, I'll rip your fucking face off - DOLL!" Andy snarled down the phone. This is the way queens greet each other in Leith. You would love it.


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    Monday, August 13, 2001

    MONDAY, MONDAY

    Hmmm. Don't know why I was so down in the dumps yesterday. But today is much better, even despite a cloud cover stretching from the rooftops to outer space. At least there'll never be water shortages here. (Water is the new oil, btw.)

    At nine on a Monday am you have not only the day ahead of you, but the week also. Five days in which to achieve things, make things happen, and accentuate the positive. (OK - I can tell you don't believe me, but at least I'm trying.)

    Last week too was quite excellent, in which I...

    Upgraded my machine to FrontPage 2000
    Upgraded myself to FrontPage 2000
    Undertook and completed my first commercial web project. Now they want me to be their PR man.

    Well, all right, the site was already in existence, but it did need an awful lot of updating, plus injecting a little of the madness they call magnificat. Strange that after all my HTML studies, the first ever job was in FrontPage, the very thing I was trying to escape.

    To-do's for this week...

  • Sort out Inland Revenue (I thought when I hired someone, that would be the end of it. Ha!)
  • Sort out Council Tax (I owe them nothing, nada. If anything, I'm paid up until 2005. How can I make them believe that, when it appears that neither of us has any records. I can tell their statements are purest fiction. Dare I brass it out??)
  • See woman from trendy local web portal re freelance copy.
  • Maybe, just maybe see Jon Ronson on Tuesday. But he's become such a star this year.
  • Clean toilet with Harpic Power Foam. Strangely, toilet ads are the only ones I ever look at. Anal or what?

    Of course, I could put it all off and go to the pub. Makes yer think. Do you enjoy reading my tittle-tattle, btw? I don't have exotic holidays or fractious partners to talk about, I'm afraid. With no family, and friends you can count on one finger, (if that), there's not an awful lot to blog about, except the obvious. Banal self-absorption, Paul once called it, but he might have meant someone else. Other people are a mistake, Quentin once called it, and I know he didn't mean anyone else.


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    Sunday, August 12, 2001

    JURASSIC PARK

    Solitude strikes like a lightning bolt, as I knew it quickly would. You are all I have and know - without you there is nothing, nada. It's round about three on a Sunday afternoon, and, retired now, I'm yearning for sleep - sleep until tomorrow morning. Mornings are OK. Mornings have a slight air of promise about them - a hint that maybe, just maybe, something nice might happen today. But by now it's over - fucked. Yesterday's Guardian, some TV if it's not utterly intolerable, then sleep, blessed sleep, until the morn. I love mornings. Life should be mornings only.

    There's only so long you can sleep, you see. With some training, and some fitfulness from 3 - 5 am, you can squeeze in about 10 hours - but that's about it. In winter it's different. When the real depression kicks in, (for this is just kiddy-on) I can go from 8 at night until 9 next morning - big time. That's more than half the day taken care of, by the way. But not now - not now that the grey morning glow fills the sleeping parts with its waning invitation. "Come on - you're alive - and today might be better."



    Modern life is the antithesis of intimacy. Chatting was once all the vogue - now you watch other people faking it on the telly. Music too was a huge social occasion - concerts, vaudeville, opera - wherever your tastes took you. Now you put on a CD. And of course computing power - this very thing - has gobbled up what little might be left. Alone again, naturally. Ah well, there's always the Microsoft Bridge Zone. Let's all be sad lonely fuckers together. "Two hearts!" Or shoot up your school. That way they'll notice you.

    My DNS company (DomainsRForever - geddit?) has gone bust, so I don't even get email these days. Ten days after I lost my job as bingo caller, I lost my nakedbingocaller name also. Funny or what? Just because you're paranoid, it doesn't mean.... (I'm sure you can complete it.)

    Believe me, how I lust after death - it's never out of my thoughts. Sleep is OK, as long as you can make it last, but the biggie - oh my God that must be bliss. Recycling. I've finished my lap.

    In her later period, it's said that Marylin Monroe used to stare for hours at her phone, willing it to ring, even if it was a wrong number. I don't even get those.



    Later Forgive me. I shouldn't be here writing to you like this. It's just that having spent three years of Sundays dreaming of not having to work, of being a "normal person", then on this, my second Sunday of leisure, I really lost the plot. But it's nearly over now, and the telly is quite reasonable. Waiting for God.

    OK, I know TV is a cop-out, and one should be strong, and independent, and resourceful enough to fill one's day with meaningful pursuits, but it ain't necessarily so. Just been watching Michael Lewis' excellent programme The Future Just Happened, in which, by astonishing coincidence, he too explored human isolation in the midst of gadgets of communication. He went to Finland, to talk about Nokia. Nokia are huge in Finland. They are the next Scandinavian thing after Abba. Every Finnish teen has a Nokia phone, leading nicely to today's...

    Quote of the Day: "If you want to start a relationship with someone, you can just text them. You don't have to say anything." (Unnamed 14 y/o Finnish girl.)

    What is to become of us all? On Tuesday I'm invited to meet Jon Ronson at the Edinburgh Book Festival. It would be fascinating, but I'll be too shy to go. All I'm good at is insincerity.


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    Wednesday, August 08, 2001

    NOTHING IS FOREVER


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    Saturday, August 04, 2001

    BEFORE THE STORM?

    Calm. Deep breath. Calm. Let it all out. Calm. Woosh. Calm

    Today we are gonna write a nice newsy blog, the sort other people do. It will simultaneously inform and amuse, and each and every reader will leave it feeling... "Hey - I'm glad I clicked onto Naked Blog today. I'm sure gonna bookmark that one!"

    Calm. Rex, my sanity counsellor, is away in England, and I miss him. Calm.

    Last night was my leaving do with my (former) colleagues. Oh, there was the usual nervy hour thinking no-one's gonna come, but in the end no less than thirty were there, which from a staff of 25 shows at least a little popularity. Calm.

    We had chicken wings, still warm and slithering round the plate in their natural juices. ( Woops - going insane again - this isn't Cronenburg). There were little warm breads with diced tomato on them, which I think are called brochetta, but that might have been something else. There were tiny little cooked grains, a bit like school puddings, but without the milk - maybe that was brochetta. And there were fabulous prawn wraps, still moist in a mild vinegar. (Have you noticed how wrap is the in thing these days? Everything's a wrap. It's the new aspic.) And the meal was completed with lamb testicles and a crisp white sauce.

    They weren't really testicles, just looked like em. Dissolved on the tongue. Delicious, but made you quite unable to talk, lest a cloud of diced lamb escaped your foot and mouth. Calm. For readers who understand these things, I kinda remember they were called kofti.

    My colleagues were enormously impressed with The Village, as was I, and they've promised their unending support. As have I. Fabby. Why is everything going so well these days? Even the Inland Revenue have taken a softer line.



    Thanks to the wonders of technology I've just finished watching last night's TV, which was superb. Friends, South Park, and Ali G. American readers, (and there are a couple), will know two of those shows. Who cares about Kyoto when your country can come up with shit like that!!

    Drew was kind enough to write a letter about his reference two posts down, to which I immediately replied, even in my post-party semiblivion. I hope we have a greater understanding now. Paul's done more Jamie4U, which you can find on Dollsoup to the left. Don't miss it!! Have a great Saturday! Calm.



    Corrections and clarifications: The bread pieces with tomato on them were bruschetta, not brochetta. The grain thingy was couscous (Sp?) mixed with veg and called tebullah (or some such spelling). Kofti is in fact kofta.

    When I were a lad these would have been: tomato sandwich, frogspawn and meatballs. Campbells do the latter in a bright red tin.

    Read Alexander Chancellor in The Guardian on ridiculous restaurant terms. Still a great night, though.

    (Sigh.) Why can't I be a proper queen like everybody else? Calm.


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    Friday, August 03, 2001

    PETER'S LAST SUPPER

    Well, there ya go. I shouldn't have done the one underneath this. Blogs are for fun, after all. Nobody mentions the unmentionable much, except in those dark and fearful corners of the media where it lives. I tried for half an hour not to write it, but whenever you do that, more and more comes into your head, until you rush through to the computer and bang it on, then type in a frenzy with eyes shut and teeth clenched. Then afterwards, lying in a near-anxiety attack, you think - what have I done? Why have I offended Groc and Paul and Drew? It's not for me to say what they should and shouldn't write.

    And then you think of the delete button - so near, so easy. But sometimes, just sometimes, the imperative overrides the niceties. Let it stand.

    Too much, too soon... (you know the next line)


    It's my retirement party tonight. Another one! I hear you thinking. Well, the way it turned out the farewell on Sunday (below) was all for the customers, with no energy or opportunity for my dear colleagues. So tonight I'm buying them supper in The Village.

    I hope the menu isn't too posh. I've never heard of half the things. And there's absolutely no pizza squares or sausages on sticks. Plus it's in an art gallery. Oh dear. I do hope my leaving doesn't reinforce their deep-seated idea that I was never really with them to start with.

    (Sigh.) When you're strange...


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    Thursday, August 02, 2001

    I HEARD THE NEWS TODAY, OH BOY

    Fasten your seat belts. I shouldn't be here, writing to you like this - I'm feeling very angry. Just been watching Channel 4 News, where a General this or that was sentenced to 46 years for the genocide of thousands of Bosnian Muslims. The report lasted from 7.02 to 7.08, packed with horror and death, and then - without a single pause - "Good news for home owners..." I nearly threw something at the telly, except that would have been pointless. "Good news for home owners" means that the masses can once again be sedated, and live longer in the relative luxury we call Europe, while outside the forces of Gap and Macdonalds and Coke wreak havoc wherever they go.

    My colleagues Groc and Paul rail regularly against what they call "gay culture", as if we people were Martians. They both have special and incisive talents for satirising and illuminating these gay media, as if Hello and The Sun and Smash Hits did not exist for the majority. This very afternoon I lent my copies of "Our Lady of The Flowers" and "Funeral Rites" to a Shetlander in my pub who'd expressed an interest. That is your gay culture. As is all of Tchaikovsky. And Michelangelo. And Karma Chameleon. So who gives a fuck if this magazine or that website shows nothing more than stupidity? Stupid is what they want us to be. Stupid is quiet. Stupid is sedate. Stupid buys Pot Noodles and Sunny Delight.

    And I'll tell you what else is gay culture, more than any amount of muscle marys in skimpy shirts. Drew writes about his weekend on Fire Island, USA. He writes about his friends popping ketamine, and no doubt fucking the night away. But unfortunately he ignores the historical and symbolic importance of Fire Island, and its notoriety as a place for spreading disease. Doubtless there were other such places - but Fire Island has brand recognition, the very Auschwitz of Aids. Too young, you see - all are too young. They never saw the holocaust; they were still battling acne.

    Disease Pariah News. (DPN) Now there's a publication you could never call trite. Gay culture.



    Lest readers get the wrong idea, the Dark Angel of Death in fact passed over my house. But I felt the flutter of his wings, I saw the power of his penis, and I smelt the sweet temptation of his breath. Most of my friends were not so lucky. Forgive me. This is not pleasant.


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