It's glorious. Not a cloud in the sky. I'm going out. So there.
Yesterday afternoon was nothing less than superb. Can't say much, for fear of embarrassing my hosts, whom I've already named, but it was all I expected, and more.
Then I trolled along to The Village, carefully clutching my camera bag. "I've got 15 photos left!" I shouted. "Who's first?" So I took a lovely (I hope) portrait of Shetland John - a new friend and quite splendid man.
The Village was totally happening. It was the opening night of Fred Sims' exhibition in their cafe-gallery, and this one is gonna fly. "I'm sixty!" Fred declared at me, apropos of I can't remember what. He was wearing well - long arty hair, seventies style, grey and white mix. "If you've got it, flaunt it," as we girls used to say. When we had it.
So I snapped away at Fred and his pics, devil-may-care. His own favourite seemed to be this huge work, about 2m by 1.5m, which he was hanging in the bar. The gallery was already full. "That's a tryptych!" I declared to Dolly, stoned. (Me, not Dolly.) It was like a panel, more than a painting, except it wasn't sliced. Think of Bosch and "Garden of Earthly Delights".
"It's got three perspectives," Fred explained. "Left, right and centre." I gave Dolly the longest and lingeringest look to say..."Tellt ya!"
I'll be putting Fred's exhibition on-line for you to enjoy, for that is my job. Should do it today, but... it's too sunny for indoors! Maybe later.
And on a personal note, many, many thanks to Edge for the lovely letter about Naked Blog. Very much appreciated. In fact, praise like that almost stops the flow!! But not quite. Thank you again.
Not much for you, dear reader. This morning I slept long and well, with none of that fitful 5.30 feeling of, "what am I gonna blog today?".
Yesterday I was glancing around Bloghop, where we've just achieved our hundredth vote. Three figures now - big league! There I chanced on a teenblog from a UK young man. Call it investigative journalism. Regular readers will know of our obsession with the blogging phenomenon, and the earlier references to some fantastic teen layouts.
But this guy writes well, not just lays out. Along with the usual "I hate my life/I love my life" and "I love this CD/I hate that CD" and "My room is like this, but now it's like that", this blog shows a new (to me) development, which is "Blog as rutting behaviour", or "Blog as mating call". They're all at it - left right and centre! It's the new Roxy Ballroom.
Young people are not just designing blogs - they're pissing on the ground to mark out territory. They're posing at the top of the hill, antlers aloft, and roaring across the Glen that is cyber. (I decided against giving the link, as it would probably scare him shitless. But find your own - they're everywhere!)
And when the first comment after his post is from a girl saying, "I want Ross's penis", then you know Ross is doing something very, very right indeed.
This afternoon I'm going to visit Sandra and Alligator Johnny. Johnny is a great guy, but he has wild staring eyes and alligator teeth. He told me once the teeth were partly false, but this afternoon they'll be chomping down big-time on the vino del casa.
Ostensibly it's to do some more photography for Sandra's website. In reality it'll be that plus a gorgeous intoxication of smoke an bevvy. Been weeks since I was off my face! And I don't care what I said about that further down the page - it's a lady's privilege.
The sky is pale grey in the northern dawn, waving sheets of thin white cloud from coast to coast. The seabirds circle and squawk in the cool Atlantic wind, which shakes and batters the trees and their last-hanging leaves. It could be bright today. It could be miserable. But I am bright indeed.
Thank you, emailers and commenters, so much. Your good wishes and common sense have ensured the future of Naked Blog until the next tantrum. I love you all. I feel so very Judy Garland. "SOME WHEEEEERRRRRE..... "
Talking of skies, a picture speaks a thousand words, and Josh has some cool (well, frozen) Alaskan pics for you today. Must get some Leith pics up. The place is totally photogenic, but in a different way. There's little natural. Man's hand and works are everywhere. It's a port.
Ilphin is off-line, which is a bit worrying; Carrie eats Tostitos whatever they are; Mimi gets a donation for her hosting; Noyen is in retreat but can't resist the odd pic and comment; and Drew recovers from his week of French passion to climb back on the museum, gallery, restaurant, bar, theatre, cinema, lunch and dinner party circuit with elan. It wears me out just to read the man. Do you know, he only missed three blogs during that so-saucy week? Dedication. Luvvya!
And do you also know, it was a Frenchman who brought me to live in Leith, thirty years ago? Well, not someone I'd ever met, but rather the writer Jean Genet. I'd just finished reading Querelle of Brest, a darkly homo-erotic tale set in the French port of Brest. And in my impressionable twenty-three-year-old mind, Leith seemed to offer a tantalizing glimpse of men and mysteries not yet tasted. I saw the fog rolling in from the sea around the lighthouse; I stood transfixed at the majesty of the young sailors and truckers, and I knew I had to have it.
Some fall for beauty. Some prefer danger. In Leith you get both.
Out and About...
What is your Viking Name? Mine is Petr Backstabber. Seriously! I know you think I make it all up!
Plus, take a look at The Mighty Geek, poet and raconteur. His dog story is totally fab. Awkward Silence too, has some updates the noo. You can calculate your evilness quotienthere, and see if your name adds up to 666. Very topical.
Frankly, I've already run just about everybody I know through their damn 666 calculator, and the only name which hit the triple-6 was Dollastair, a camp combination of two good friends. Always knew there was something a bit sulphurous beneath those devil-may-care exteriors. Even Granny came nowhere close, in any of her guises.
First day of Greenwich Mean Time. The clocks have gone back. This is when Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) kicks in for loads of people, myself included. Expect hysteria and tears from now on.
O dear. O dearie dear. My characters on the sidebar are quite an eventful bunch. No sooner does Mimi find herself jobless and broke, then a new job with exciting prospects opens up. Now it's Ilphin's turn. Already coping with starting at university in a condition of sleep disorder, he's now been evicted. By his mother. For sleep disorder.
Hugzz from all in Scotland. If you were only closer, I could list at least six men who would be all too happy to have you stay. This might alter your reputation a bit, however. Not ruined, just... different.
And special good wishes from NB. Being chucked out by your mother must be uniquely awful. Sometimes it's a case of tough love, and her pillow might be tear-stained every bit as much as yours. Really sorry about the Hallowe'en redesign too, but it'll always keep for next year. Or just post it up anyway, when you get a chance. This time next year, I can confidently predict, your situation will be markedly improved. You've got too much going for you.
All of which leads naturally to today's topic, which was gonna be the future of this webpage. Ever since the comment feature appeared, I've been quite underwhelmed by the amount of interest shown. Thanks to those who have posted comments, but they've tended to be people I know irl anyway. The rest just don't do it, for whatever reason.
Coupla days ago I find a horrifying new advertising practice on Lycos, and it attracts one comment. From a friend. Yet a weblog colleague changes her background pattern and gets about twenty opinions. Whassgoanoan, as we say in Scotland?
Dispiriting, I'm sure you'll agree. This leaves two options. Stop the comments. Or stop the blog. Yesterday I got myself in a total state about it, but having read the young man above, things are back in perspective.
Yesterday, in a bizarre farewell to British Summer Time, I actually did something - apart from eat, sleep, shit and blog, that is. The sun was glorious in the cloudless blue western sky, as if to taunt, "This is the last light tea-time you're gonna get for four months, chummie".
So I managed a couple of hours' updates on some friends' business site. Oh, it was only FrontPage2000, and I know you'll fall off your IKEA chairs laughing, but for me that's quite an achievement, so fuck you. I never cease to amaze at how these mid-teens can come up with blog layouts to die for - yet the same kids are constitutionally unable to read, write or add up. (I blame the schools - seriously.)
We've bred a generation more literate in mark-up than in language. I said it all months ago to you, when I first discovered the rudiments myself. HTML is the new literacy. Just a pity I was born forty years too soon, as I find all this stuff utterly fascinating, yet because of anni domini it's really not possible to make much progress. Then, my intellect flew with the gods.
Well, it'll be another day of solitude today. Everybody I know has been to not one but two parties the last couple of nights. Friday was Reiki and tarot in aid of Waverley Care charity, and on Saturday there was an Ultra-Violet Hallowe'en Spooky Spectacular. Both at The Village.
So my friends will be in intensive care now. Some of them are not youngsters themselves! Me, I just toddle off to bed at 10 o'clock, so there's never anything to recover from. Tick. Done it. Got the t-shirt.
There's only so many decades you can kid yourself that gettin off yer face is remotely enjoyable. No matter how ultra the violet.
Now - where's that damn Zimmer?
Fifth Column Watch An occasional feature devoted to enemies of the state employed in the UK media. Tonight, Alex Thomson, chief correspondent for Channel 4 News. His comment yesterday, "The US Government have made the brutal calculation that they would rather see innocent women and children being killed and maimed, than face the sight of US troops coming home in body bags."
In my young day the man would have been shot - for treason. And rightly so. The Foreign Secretary himself was obliged to go on TV this morning to try and offset the one-sided coverage and reportage my country is daily bombarded with. But of course Mr Straw couldn't offset an egg-timer. I warned of all this here at NB at least a week ago, as you cannot fight a real war with the quite phony medium of television.
Angus Deayton, Jonathan Charles, Alex Thomson. Who is next?
Disturbing Search Requests But enough gloom and doom. There's been too much on this site, I fear. Here are today's submissions to DSR.
what girls think of guys with tiny cocks
moist housewife pictures
teletubby taliban doll,
that last one being my favourite. And you saw it here first!
Combination DSR's Normally these searches arrive singly, and in predictable patterns. There will be about twenty for Robbie Williams naked, and at least fifty for enema in every conceivable variation. I kid you not - we are the clean arsehole of the universe. Yet this morning I was pleasantly surprised to see Robbie Williams enjoying an enema. (Not literally, ya bass. Get real.) His appeal is clearly widening.
Well, NB was closed for a few hours this morning, but I've decided to let it run a few more days. Why bother my arse in the face of such underwhelming indifference?
It goes two ways, you know, and I'm really no longer prepared to spend so much of my time doing this, when it's clear that 99 percent of the readers can't be bothered even to type out one miserable sentence in response. If indeed, they even exist.
The fat lady's on the last verse, and Elvis is in sight of the EXIT. Hallowe'en is the closing night. What a pointless exercise it's been.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your calls yesterday to Clarence the Road-Mending Lion. My manhole cover is (temporarily) fixed, and last night NB slept the sleep of the dead. It was so silent it was like the first snow-fall, when the snow's still soft and the tyres make no noise at all.
I needed it. Sleep-deprivation is, legally, torture. Unfortunately, that amount of physical stress over the previous two nights will undoubtedly allow illness to set in. Let's hope it's cold sores rather than cancer. Thank you again.
THE STRANGE TALE OF LYCOS AND THE INTERSTITIAL ADS.
There's only one story today folks, and it's not a pretty one. There I was, sifting through yesterday's searches, when I stumbled on one of those long garbled URLs you sometimes get. You know the type - four lines long, and with % and & all over the place. The key features seemed to be Lycos, naked blog, and a company I later found was called tangozebra.
So I clicked to see wassup, and this is what happened. Click it. It's quite safe. Did you get what I did? A fresh copy of Naked Blog, but with a difference. The difference being a large advertisement for a Ford car.
Now, at this point my pals in the pub and I will start to differ. They'll say I'm living in Cloud Cuckoo Land. That it's a harsh commercial world out there. That there's no such thing as Santa Claus. We haven't discussed it yet, but I know they will, so I'm getting the first word in, if you like.
My views on advertising on the web. It's a case of fair exchange. If an organisation hosts my pages for free, I can expect a banner (blogspot) or a pop-up (yahoo-geocities). But what have Lycos ever done for me? They send about a hundred traffics a week from their directory listings. I can easily live without that. And I never agreed to a powerful, professional ad to be placed in front of my freely-donated material.
Aha, I hear you say. But all sorts of Search Engines and Directories are covered in ads like bee stings on a bad honey day. True. But do I have to click on those ads? You bet your sweet ass I don't.
Long story short. Lycos appears (and correct me if I'm wrong), to have sold out its vast collection of yours and my pages to an advertiser to use as they wish. You can write to tangozebra here. Lycos are a bit difficult to contact, for obvious reasons, but this page should get their attention. I already have. Withdraw your pages. It's the only fight-back we have. Who needs em? 1984 was seventeen years ago.
Next step. I post a shortened version of the above on Disturbing Search Requests. Then, providing Sean doesn't censor it, it'll hit my static userland and should be global as people wake up. Then I write to The Guardian computing editor, and then possibly some online mags. Any ideas?
Or, of course, you might have no problem with people making money off your pages without your knowledge or consent....
Hi. How are you today? I need your help, after yet another sleepless night courtesy of my loose manhole cover in the street outside. (See Cock a doodle doo, below.)
Streets in this polar outpost of a town are managed by the City of Edinburgh Council. They have a friendly cartoon figure called Clarence the Lion, who is the one you phone to report faults. Clarence has his own number at 0800 23 23 23. It's free in UK. Outside of the UK you have to add 0044 at the front, and I'm afraid there'll be a charge. But more about charges and benefits later.
When the Clarence-line answers, there'll be a recorded message asking you to press 1 on your keypad. Press it. Then a friendly woman will come on and ask for your problem. This is the exact script you say.
"Hello. I'm phoning because I'm very concerned about a noisy and extremely dangerous manhole cover." She'll ask where it is. "It's at the foot of Easter Road, beside the florist's shop." If she asks the name of the florist, it's called Awesome Blossom. (Trendy or what?)
Now is where the fun starts. She'll ask your name. Say anything. She'll ask where you are. Tell the truth. Be it Anchorage, Alice Springs, or anywhere in between, give that chick a hot phone day she won't forget.
Then when she recovers enough to ask how you know about this malicious manhole cover in baja Buenos Aires (or wherever), again tell her the truth. "I saw it on the internet." (No need to be more specific.)
Thanks in advance, dear reader. Tonight we sleep with the angels. Well - that sounds a bit terminal. Tonight we sleep in peace. By the way, all who help out qualify for a free pin-brooch. Choose between "I'm a friend of Naked Blog", or "I fucked Clarence".
That'll teach em to ignore my phone calls. Luvyatabits.
My house is a war zone. All night long there was the RAT-TAT-TAT of a loose manhole cover in the street outside. CON-CLANK!!! CON-CLANK!!! I literally haven't slept since 4am, and am feeling trippy as hell.
Then I sit at my desk, hoping that caffeine and nicotine will restore brain-chemicals to something at least functional, if not ecstatic, when there's an enormous BANG on my window. Duck!!
But it wasn't a duck - it was a herring gull dropping a bunker-buster shit on me. That gull will be pounds lighter now, as I'm sure it hadn't shit for a week. You can see the fishy bones in it. And all this on a day when it might, just might, not rain, giving the avian faeces ample time to fossilise.
Did you know that cock birds don't have cocks, by the way? Lots of people don't. Birds and bees, you see - they anthropomorphise. (Luvvit!!) No, both sexes have an organ called a cloaca, which does pissing, shitting, fucking and egg-laying (where applicable), all in one handy package. Gotta realise how much they'll save, not needing separate urologist, proctologist and gynaecologist.
None of which gets rid of my window-shit. I might have followed Tony's advice and cleaned them, but it's been so long that I've forgotten how they open. Plus I think they're all taped up for draughts.
Lordy me! There's a funny bright light shining on the buildings outside. War zone indeed. Or is it what used to be called the sun?
Eight of the clock, ante meridiem. A street-light outside my window just switched off, so I guess it must be light now. Tony kindly writes to suggest that all this cloudiness is due purely to my dirty windows, and were I just to make that tiny effort, go that extra mile, then the full shining glory of the Teletubby sky would be transparently clear. Tony spends a lot of time buried in PERL and mySQL manuals. So I'm giving today one raindrop, as it could indeed be worse.
It was worse in much of southern England, where tons of places got flooded last night. So why do people build houses near rivers, I hear you ask. Well, it's historical. Rivers were where cities started, as there was always something to drink, and somewhere to park the ship. A sort of marine internet, with wooden packets and lots of lag.
Anyway, enough weather talk. We're rightly famous for it in Britain. Just had a very pleasant half hour trawling the cream of weblogs, listed to your left. One time I used to start with the traffic reports, but they're generally pretty depressing, as all the world's sadfucks land on my pages looking to satiate their obscure perversions. I can only imagine the horror when they find this!!
Got an odd email last night from a guy, asking me to clarify a remark I'd made about Thom Yorke, a member of Radiohead. (Now there's a whole new bunch of traffic! Thanks, Google.) Oops, I thought. My first lawsuit. But no, he was just genuinely interested in the term "renter". (It's nothing to do with living arrangements.) He said he liked strange words. I recommended the book Trainspotting, set around and about the very street I'm writing to you from.
Weblogs. Variety. Length and breadth. Caribou and handsome French lovers. Jealous? Moi? Drew: I dare you to write a love scene. Double dog dare!! Pretend it's about other people if you want, to preserve your modesty.
What a horny old goat I'm becoming. Must be the St John's Wort. Last night in the pub, Scott was looking very dapper, having shed his facial hair and shaved his head to the bone. "Did you do your pubes?" I asked him. "Trimmed them," he answered. "I did that once," I affirmed, "when they started to go grey a bit. But then they went brown again."
"Oh," Scott agreed. "That was convenient." "Yes," I said. "But now my belly's so fat, I can't see them any more." (This isn't strictly true, but it's my experience that people like you more if they sense you're not perfect. Loads of people like me. I'm fast becoming a "must" for parties, as the token grandad.)
"Look!! It lives, it breathes, it even knows how to smoke a joint!" I smile then, beneficently, there being no need to enlighten their tiny heads about what else grandad knows.
Image is tricky in your fifties. Me, I've kinda settled into respectable but with a bit of a past. Some guys my age do better. Stewart is a great sixties survivor. Robin does a fabulous unreconstructed hippy. But they're both as thin as whippets. Fat is a feminist issue.
I've invented a term to describe how fat people are. It's their PTQ, or Pizza Topping Quotient. Tons of fun at parties.
Duncan Donuts was in the pub also, with a yellow towel round his grizzled head, Northern Alliance. Desert is the new chic. Sandy the sailor was there too, now in mid-thirties, but I first met him when he was eighteen - then a stunning skinhead in white vest, red braces, jeans and bovver boots. (Doc Martins. The more holes the more cred. He had so many holes.)
Well, there's a bit of Leith fashion review for you today. Maybe c u a bit later. Or maybe I'll live a bit.
It's been days since we've recommended any sites, so here's a couple.
sunday hero by melissa. "I'm all about rage today, when I'm not crying about beans in my shoe." Thanks to Stu at feeling listless for that one.
Prison Pen Pals "We have prisoners from the USA, Australia, Africa, Canada, Egypt, Belgium, England & Ireland."
They say all the up-market Manhattan chicks are frantically dating firefighters these days, because of their strength, independence and virility (you mean they've only just noticed? Ed.), but you can go one notch further up the testosterone stakes with your own real prisoner.
It seems they're mostly interested in women, which is understandable, as men would tend to be readily available in situ. Let us know how you get on, and maybe we'll make a feature of it here...
Much later. I don't know why I'm sitting here writing to you like this, as there's nothing at all to say. Nothing except the transcendent glory of the music I'm listening to, and the very great joy of knowing you, and sharing your species. There are those who study the cosmos, seeking the ultimate mystery of creation. "But why is the universe the way it is?" they ask, and the reason is simple. If it wasn't the way it is, then I wouldn't be here writing to you tonight, and nor would you be reading, and neither would we be building these filmy threads linking our so uncertain lives.
We seek contact, but contact now comes in different clothes. No longer exclusively the province of the forty-year-married couple by the fireside, we nervously push other channels, as the machinery admits - building and sometimes dissolving those tenuous ties which connect us across continents and ages. "I write to you, a stranger in a foreign land. I write to you, for you will understand."
We are locked in language, that pedestrian thing, yet ultimately our greatest gift - for those who can handle it. That cursed group who simply cannot stop. Why did you climb that mountain? Because it was there. Why did you write what you did? Because it would have hurt more not to. Thank you all so very much. You have changed my life.
In the olden days, when Naked Blog was young, there used to be weather. Sometimes it would rain. Sometimes it would be sunny. Sometimes both, several times a day.
But that's long gone. What we have now is constant thick black cloud. Day after miserable grey day. It's driving me fucking nuts.
NB is taking a day off, for reasons of the above, and also the below. You've had a good run for your money recently. Keep those comments coming in, to ensure the author's continuing interest. Apart from that - no charge. Have a good one wherever you are, hopefully sunnier than Leith.
It's 7.30 am and the sky is not quite black, but the darkest of magenta. Here in Scotland we're so far north that the seasonal swings are big. When I say north, we're talking Moscow, we're talking Gulf of Alaska. And big swings bring big depression for so many.
I bumped into old Mrs Stewart yesterday, in the street outside the Bingo. "Oh hello!" she croaked. "How're ye doin?" Until a couple of months ago, I was her Bingo Caller, a profession of the highest esteem but sadly lowest pay. I'm not kidding! For any Bingo-addict her Caller is right up there with the Doctor and MP. Awesome duty to call the right numbers for that ever-elusive Big Win!
"Oh, I'm fine," I said. "And you?" "Fine," she agreed.
Sometimes the numbers come - most often they don't. But these ladies are hooked. Numbers are their very life. And even though you and I both know it's totally random, you still have to walk the walk as surely as you talk the talk.
Take Elma. She was always giving me a bad time. At the end of each fickle Bingo night she would dramatically rip up her now-useless cards and start shouting that it was - "all a total fix, and it's YOUR pals that win every night! Always the same damn people!! I'm never coming back!!!" You get that one a lot, when you're a Bingo Caller.
I'd met Elma also about a month ago, at the bus stop in Leith Walk, her chin bristling with a week's white stubble. "How are you?" I said to her. (With, "You daft old bat," on my mind if not my lips.)
"Terrible!" she said, as I knew she would. "Terrible. I lost my sister last week."
That I didn't expect. That definitely called for a hug, even though the street was packed, it being tea time. "Yes," she went on. "She fell over and broke her hip. Then she got a blockage." I didn't ask. But then came the killer line. Then came the thing which defines Bingo the world over. "And today I was waiting on number 53 for four hundred pounds!"
Do not underestimate the power of Bingo.
But this story's about Mrs Stewart. They always tell you their symptoms, my Bingo ladies - and of course they have to go in one ear and out of the other. The only requirement is infinite patience. We'd had a chat a year ago about her health, this wacky old thing and me, which you can read later. (It actually gets more hits than this page.) But yesterday the news was a bit grim. Very grim, in fact - yet the old dear either didn't understand, or preferred not to think.
"Oh - I'm starting my therapy on the thirtieth," she said, fixing me with large blue eyes which must once have been very beautiful. "Go into hospital once a week." "What kind of therapy, Mrs Stewart?" I asked, genuinely interested. "Radio," she said. "Radiotherapy for my lungs." We chatted some more, then had a quick hug before we split.
REAR ADMIRAL After reading our report on the now-notorious "fag-bomb", Rear Admiral Stephen Pietropaoli, a top US Naval Official, has condemned this "unfortunate incident". Good on yer, Steve, and wish there were a few like you over here.
We must stress again Naked Blog's view, that our anger was never directed to the US fighting men, but to the photographer (a bit), and to the newspapers for running it (a lot). It's entirely possible that the photographer chalked the damn thing himself. And wasn't that his lucky day! Seems to have hit the papers the length and breadth of the planet.
I would be personally upset if any serviceman were to be disciplined for a remark you can hear in any Leith pub any night. Editors however are a different matter. Full story.
BBC IN PAY OF BIN LADEN?
Well, it becomes clearer by the day that the fifth column is as active as ever, and it's called the British Broadcasting Corporation. Having attempted to rubbish the US and the coalition's efforts with cheap satire and nauseous innuendo on smart-assed "quiz shows", they've now taken to broadcasting al-Qaida propaganda....
This man's house has been reduced to rubble... look at the corpses being carried through the streets... this little girl has lost her family of seven.... the Taliban are holding firm.... we will smash the Americans' skulls into the hills....
All of that, and more, from a certain Jonathan Charles. Or should that be al-Charles? Or maybe Bin Charles?? I know that's pretty fucking serious, man, but it's word for word what was said.
Listen. We are at war. Our country has a democratically elected government, headed by a Mr Anthony Blair. If you don't like the government, their decisions and alliances, then vote for another one. But keep your Commie, pinko, Zionist views to yourself, Mr Charles and the BBC. My grandfather would be turning in his grave. But of course, he just had Churchill to listen to. Changed days at the Beeb, dontcha think?
Who the hell can the decent citizen complain to? Well, the BBC is here. Anybody know the URL for Downing Street? Fifth column indeed. And I never did trust men over twenty-five who dye their hair.
Not any more you don't, chum. HIGNFY is a topical, humorous quiz show, until yesterday one of my favourite programmes. Topical humour however is in deep doo-doo right now, as there's really only one topic. The programme re-started last night after a summer break, and it was, frankly, abhorrent to me. I couldn't watch longer than eight minutes, as men I'd previously held in esteem transmuted into objects of my scorn, not even worth pissing on. Here are a few facts:
Mass murder is not funny
Terror is not funny
War is not funny
Anthrax is not funny
Bombs which miss their targets are not funny
And that was just the first eight minutes! Although today's papers aren't on sale yet, it still being early a.m., I can confidently predict there will be outrage over this show. For my part, I've written to the BBC asking for whoever was responsible to be sacked. Can't say fairer than that, guv. My licence fee pays their wages. Get rid of em.
PS The BBC site is a masterpiece of confusion and bad navigation, but you can write to the BBC from here. Spare no-one's feelings - they certainly didn't last night.
Burchill Double Bill!! Yes, Miss Julie's back, with twice the fun for your 85p!! And at last she addresses September 11, tastefully and restrainedly. She speaks from the perspective of her own writings on Afghanistan at the time of the Soviet Invasion, and offers a different slant on today's rulers of that country. Go there. It's now clear that her absence on that crucial first Saturday was an act of taste and decency, and she writes quite scathingly (as have we), of all who jumped on tragedy's tram-car for their own advancement. Out of the rubble.
Beckham, by Burchill David Beckham is captain of the England football team. He is also a top model, and is married to Victoria, formerly "Posh Spice". Who cares? (Sorry about the creased pic, btw - it was the last one in the shop.)
A lengthy extract from her forthcoming book gives us Julie-istas an extended treat. Although the project is transparently that of yet another media-slut cashing in on David Beckham's glory, nevertheless her adoration for the man shines out of every sentence. There are many killer lines, as you would expect and even demand, but in this book a fundamental problem arises for her.
Julie Burchill's main instruments are venom and bile. Oh, she does "serious" just fine (see above), but her fans want blood. On every second page, at least! And where to stick the sisterly stiletto when you so clearly love your subject? Well, the answer, as you will see if you read the extract, is to pierce several times with a fork into everybody else! You gotta love it!!
I'm not going to buy this book, for the simple reason I'm not that interested in the Beckham family unit. For me, David B is completely described in all the wonderful photographs. I don't desperately want to know about his life, or his wife - I just want to be 20 again so I could fancy him more realistically. Extract.
2001 "Last night Israeli troops moved in to a Palestinian-controlled town on the West Bank. They went in a convoy of tanks and armoured-personnel carriers."
1951 "Oh little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie.
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep, the silent stars go by."
Funny old world, innit? And do you know, the BBC reporter didn't once say the name Bethlehem? You had to read it off a road sign. Looks like we're not allowed to use Christian references in Britain these days! Whadya think?
Several readers have written to inform me that the "surging water" in yesterday's story is a strong sexual symbolism. So strong, in fact, that in Hollywood it's second only to a train entering a tunnel while blowing its whistle. (Younger readers won't have a clue what I'm on about. This was the in days before they could show a couple shagging on-screen. So they used trains and tides instead.)
But the black, infected water in my dream indicated that rather than seeing sex for the wholesome, life-enhancing, procreative and God-given act which it always is, I'm really a sick and depraved old cunt. I don't know why I tell you these things here. Fuck off and read the Disney Home Page if you don't like this one.
Talking of sick, in the last couple of days I've been attacked by Sircam (Joan Gomez) four times, and SnowWhite (HAHAHA) once. Time for that Harpic Power Foam for a few of you.
Cracks in the Pavement, by Josh If you don't go there now and read this, then you simply don't deserve a nice life. Incandescent. Catcher In The Rye, but current and better. Somebody give this lad a book contract quickly, before a bunch of jealous "writing professors" damage his talent.
Had my first anthrax dream last night - it was quite scary. Ever the creative type, my anthrax didn't come in a letter, disguised as something nice to snort, but in a bathroom hand-basin. It was blowing back with black, brackish water, Freddy-style, which was unpleasant enough. But then a voice on the radio said, "The water coming in and out of your sink is polluted with anthrax, but there is no need for alarm, so long as you don't inhale the deadly spores." Eeeeek.
I only hope that isn't some prescience of an actual water attack. And no, I'm not giving the evil men ideas - I'm quite sure they will have thought of water already. There haven't been any real anthrax attacks in the UK yet, but plenty of false alarms. So yesterday they raised the penalty for such a hoax to seven years. It's marvellous what you can achieve when the Opposition are working with the government.
And where now those assholes who claim that people (hoaxers) aren't influenced by what they see on the TV News? Cretins in classrooms.
The battle for hearts and minds The bad guys are winning it. Pure and simple. Six thousand was awful, tragic, horrific. But they've got six million to wave at us. "Look at our starving and soon-to-be-freezing children!" they shout at us daily. Yet who is supposed to look after the people? Is it the UN? Is it the US? Is it Christian Aid? No, peeps. It's the government. And who is the government? Well, I kinda get the impression they're called Taleban.
The above is what Scott Andrew would call "amateur journalism." Mr Andrew doesn't much care for bloggers writing about post 09/11, and reckons we should stick to layout and HTML chit-chat, leaving the serious stuff to "the objectivity of professional journalists." What an asshole.
Professional journalists on the BBC freely give out details of the Prime Minister's flight plans, compromising his safety. Professional journalists called Yvonne Ridley enter Afghanistan illegally, get arrested, and then are released leaving their local guides to who knows what fate. And professional journalists working for Murdoch publications are subject to their proprietor's daily agenda, from which they may not deviate. Get real, Mr Andrew.
The Weblog phenomenon Others have written about this ad infinitum, so here's my two-pennyworth. Starting this blog in April was both the best and the worst thing I've ever done. Worst because it takes up so much time which could be put to both social and skills-development use. And best in the amount of quality reading in the Weblog community it's led me to.
When future people look back at the PC age, I'm convinced now that the major social (as opposed to business) use of the medium will be the proliferation of personal journals. Until now there were only two options. A tiny, tiny number got to write their chit-chat in the print media - gossip, opinions, doings. And the rest had to sit back and read. Or keep a diary for just themselves.
But now, anyone who wishes can offer their writings to the world. And if they're good enough, the world will find them. That is what's got the print boys and girls scared. That's why they've coined the term "amateur journalism," as if the fact of print and a pay-check somehow makes the scribbles superior.
Here we speak not at all out of envy. NB has freelanced for several years for national broadsheets, under a different name. That Rubicon has been crossed, and I know the joy of that first fee turning up in the post! But imagine the world we're rapidly entering, where no-one needs ever buy a paper or magazine for gossip or opinion, when the same and better is free on the net!
But what about news? I hear you ask. Well, there's news a-plenty on TV, radio, and the growing use of internet news-feeds for the true addict. We're not there yet. Net-connection is far from complete, and finding sites to enjoy is still hit-and-miss. But all that will come with time.
The more quality sites I find, the more I fall in love with blogging. In what traditional medium could you find such variety of age, occupation, interest and even location? Last night was a bit sleepless, so I spent some of it in Alaska, with Josh, who is nineteen. Josh writes with such clarity, immediacy and insight that he brought this jaded eye close to tears. Go there, and start at the beginning of his archives. There's a wee bit of CD chat here and there, but you can easily skip that. All bloggers have quiet days!
Yet five years ago all this would have been impossible. That's how far weblogging has come.
PS You might, if you were so minded, compare Josh's "amateur" writing with Scott Andrew's "professional". Ooooo. Subversive or what? I'm gonna end up in court with Carol. I just know it.
Carol came into the bar last night. A new bride, she was looking radiant in a punky dress, black biker jacket, and with a mound of pink hair to die for. Her husband Bruce is a total stud... tall, affable, and with shaved sides and bleached blonde topmop. And his eyes looked like they hadn't focussed on anything for quite some time. Carol is 45, and she'd just spent the night in jail.
That's terrible, I hear you say. Writing about people like that. Well, firstly it was already in the local paper, and secondly Carol has kindly given permission for us to do so. Carol is a party girl. Carol defines party girl. I'll get a pic here asap, as words don't do this grand lady justice.
But why in jail on her wedding night? Well it was a simple misjudgement. Carol and Bruce had been celebrating their wedding in The Village, a prominent party bar in Leith. One drink led to another, as you would expect, and Carol made the slight mistake of driving home. And getting stopped by Leith PD. "The Leith Police Dismisseth Us", you've maybe heard the tongue-twister.
But Carol wasn't dismissed. Ninety-three microgrammes, and that was only the alcohol! (Heehee - just kidding, doll.) Next morning in court, she explained to the Sheriff that she and her hubby only had two hundred pounds for their honeymoon, so he was kind enough to fine her just one hundred of them. Infinite justice. And Enduring Freedom.
Staying on a jail theme, the BBC are going to re-create the infamous Stanford prison experiment, with volunteers divided into "guards" and "prisoners".
Apparently the guards turn into sadistic psychos, and the prisoners beg and plead to be released, but nobody releases em. Sometimes they have complete nervous breakdowns!
The guy who did the original 1971 experiment, Dr Philip Zimbardo, said at the time that it should never be repeated. But hey - ratings is ratings! The BBC are to show it Big Brother-style, but I don't think you get to vote for the guard you would most like to fuck you. Full article.
From my postbag. Thanks to feeling listless for making us his "Site of the Day".
And if nobody else puts any comments on soon, I'm taking the damn things away. So there.
Talking Point The Guardian was bleating on yesterday about Press freedom, and the right to report the war against terrorism fully and impartially. That means, in Guardian-speak, to be as Commie as they wish. (Oh - just because NB reads The Grauny, it doesn't mean we're taken in by it!) What do you think? Full, free and damaging - or controlled for the duration? Should the bombs which go astray be reported in such detail? Have your say to an intelligent readership.
Sam came into the Port last night, with Shola the neutered German Shepherd. I knew it had to happen someday, and had been kinda avoiding him for a couple of weeks.
The trouble all started on a Saturday afternoon in early October, the day Stuart and Dolly were having a combined birthday party. Sam that day had not only Shola, but Shane, who is only eight weeks old, and who kept getting a hard-on. (I should point out that Shane is also a dog - we're not going all p**do on you.)
They made a lovely pair, the puppy cuddling in to the adoptive mother, and there was one Kodak moment after another. Sam sat beaming, a proud dad at last. I've just noticed they all begin with the letter S. Strange.
So far so good, and where's the drama in that, I hear you ask? Well, it's a-comin. Do they allow dogs into bars in America, btw? Here some do, some don't. It's kinda like a relic from the past, like smoking.
Anyway - nature took its puppy course and Shane shat on the floor. (We're still a fortnight ago - do try and pay attention.) And here things get a bit yuccy. Readers of a nervous disposition exit now. It was only a puppy-poop... runny, I noticed. Shane is weaned and eats ground-up puppy food, Sam told me, as he efficiently wiped up the mess.
He made to take it into the gents bathroom. I asked him not to. He ignored me and did it. I objected vehemently. There followed an hour of heated and utterly drunken argument about the disposal of dogshit in human toilets. And we were nearly at blows when Shetland John came in and took command. Thanks, John.
The present day So, there we were last night, facing off across the Port o' Leith Bar. "Are you ignoring me?" Sam demanded. "No, Sam," I replied, life-worn and weary. "I just didn't hear you."
"So - have you got something to say to me?" He pressed on, agitating for another scrap. Then I pulled out one of my finest moments - the sort of line you could practise for weeks, and still not get it as good.
"Sam," I said. "I'd planned on getting really angry with you - but I just can't be bothered."
Cool or what? We laughed, we joked, we go back twenty years, that young man and me.
Well, at last we got us a comment system. Feel free. Unfortunately there's no counter available with this one at the moment, so you'll just have to click to see what others have put. I'll try to reply to all contributions.
Talking of replies, the following might be of interest to anybody who noticed the bomb story a couple of posts down...
Read Ananova report on the fag-bomb if you wish. Looks like it was circulated more widely than just in the openly homophobic Edinburgh Evening News. My own anger goes more to the newspapers for running the photo, than to the author of the message. Frankly, men who are risking their lives to save mine can say what they bloody well want. I'll even help them. But don't the papers just love a nice gratuitous gay-bash? Could well be a case for the Press Complaints Commission, if you ask me.
There's a story on their site that the band Anthrax are so upset about the current disease outbreak, they're thinking of changing their name to "Basket of Puppies". Yet in Britain at least, there's a similar name which ties in soft white puppies, soft white toilet paper, and also a big load of shit. And what is that name? Andrex. Pity it's already gone, guys.
Rex did the rockstar boyfriend test yesterday, and he ended up with Thom Yorke as well. So we've decided to share him. Here are a couple of Thom pics - I think he's growing on me a bit. From Radiohead, apparently - a band which I've heard of but not heard. They're supposed to be very good.
I'm glad my rock star boyfriend is in such a good band. Imagine if I'd got hooked up with someone from Hear'say! Mind you, I wouldn't chuck Robbie Williams out of bed. Well, until he'd finished the sloppy biz. I won't link to Robbie, as that is not the sort of reader we want here at Naked Blog.
What we do want is the sort of guy and gal who appreciates Noyen. They're going on the sidebar - now. I'm even gonna steal one of their ideas and put it here, as a taster. I know they won't mind, and the pic was copyright anyway :)
Great writing. Great 'tude.
I've now read all of Ilphin (hence the possible teen style of today's stuff - I'm nature's biggest mimic), and am impressed enough to add that one also. His site was getting very few hits when he started, just 19 in two weeks, yet he pressed manfully on. Glad to return the link. (My advice - combine Rant and Ramble. Keeping two diaries is just cruel to your readers.)
Quite nice night in the Port o Leith yesterday. Met up with Scott again, just back from nearly three months at sea in the Southern Hemisphere. Best hemisphere to be in these days, if you ask me. He's grown a beard, which neatly divided his pals into "leave it on" and "take it off." It's amazing how people feel so free to make personal remarks. I just asked him if he'd dyed it.
Don't be so bitchy!! Brown facial hair when you're in your forties is extremely youthful! Scott has a fab site which has far more info and pics about Leith, where we all live, than I could ever get round to doing. Plus tons of shippy stuff for those readers of a nautical bent.
Readers too mean to invest 85p in Saturday's Guardian (or indeed our overseas readers), look to NB for Julie Burchill links, and yesterday she was on cracking form, this time demolishing the whole of art. Good on yer Jules, and great to read some sense about those parasitic poseurs at last.
The thing I love about Julie is that she either writes something I'd thought of already, and agree with, or else something I'd never thought of, but nevertheless come to agree with. Meeting her would make my sad little life complete. So if any NB readers out there could arrange it, we'd reward you amply.
Naked Blog riding high in all worthwhile ratings, bringing both traffic and quality links. A-List here we come!!
It's raining, but I'm going to The Village for brunch. No doubt there'll be stories later. Regrets to Groc for dropping his link, but it just wasn't happening, man. Groc was the first blog ever to link to us, and I feel like a rat. Keep in touch.
This is my rock star boyfriend, and the reasons why.
Break open the champagne! Your rockstar boyfriend is Thom Yorke. You and Thom Yorke are a match made in heaven! You're both quite shy, but highly intelligent and creative people. You might be described as being a wallflower at parties, but it is probably because you're so deep in thought! Music is a huge part of your life and you prefer to experiment with different genres of music, rather than sticking to the same thing, which makes you a perfect couple!
So why aren't I ecstatic over my new love? Hard to tell.
Click on my beloved's face and do the test yourself. See who turns up for you! (Although, without being too self-centred, some of the analysis does fit NB fairly well. Creepy. Where does this guy live again... )
Talking of rockstars, who should I bump into yesterday in the Port o Leith Bar but Stevie Sticks, the tiny but talented drummer with Wayne Paycheck. Me an Stevie go way back to before he was so T In The Park famous.
Last night he was right amused by my tale of drawing thirty quid out of the "hole in the wall" (autoteller), then walking away like a wally and leaving the cash in the machine. Wee radge get. I can only hope the money went to someone who really needed it, like a drug addict.
Haven't had a pic for a couple of days. While it's loading, grab a peep at ilphin. This is a Brit blog by a blue-haired goth with sleeping disorder, who is just starting at university. I've come across a few "starting uni" blogs of late, this being the educative season, and they sure do take me back.
To where, I hear you ask. Well, to 1965 in fact, if you can imagine such a year. To 1965 when I was simultaneously coming to grips with leaving the nest, living in the metropolis, hard academic study, and accepting the fact that I was eighteen-year-old jail-bait. (Sex acts between men were punishable then by 10 years in da slammer. And you weren't even a man till you were 21. Cool as.)
So the reason I like uni-bloggers now is that I can vicariously re-commence my studies in a Windows-wide environment, where a GaySoc is no more startling than the latest version of PHP, rather than having to live for three whole years without being able to tell ONE SINGLE PERSON about my "condition". Think about it - if indeed you can. (There's no suggestion that ilphin is other than heterosexual.)
Which brings us neatly to the offering above. Your mouse will show you the chalked text. I do despair. Is there anything at all we're not responsible for? First it was Falwell and Robertson - now it's the brave forces of the USA. Infamy, infamy - everybody's got it infamy.
Read Ananova report on the fag-bomb if you wish. Looks like it was circulated more widely than just in the openly homophobic Edinburgh Evening News. My own anger goes to the newspapers for running the photo more than to the author of the message. Frankly, men who are risking their lives to save mine can say what they bloody well want. I'll even help them. But don't the papers just love a nice gratuitous gay-bash? Could well be a case for the Press Complaints Commission, if you ask me.
NB has been getting traffic from Awkward Silence, another Britblog, (Glasgow in fact - the noose is tightening!) so we're grateful and pleased to return some traffic.
And finally, from my postbag, Eric Gauger kindly writes to offer some notes and interviews on Afghanistan. Thanks. I'll get to your much-praised travelogues soon.
Naked Blog sends sincere birthday wishes to Mary Moriarty, landlady extraordinaire of the Port o Leith Bar. Mary is a grand lady and good friend for many, many years. Long may she sail these waters.
We celebrated with fizzy wine, a chocolate cake and an hour of bridge. Simple pleasures. Great people.
One of last night's searches was for tony blair naked. Eeeeeeek!! But somehow I can't see David Beckham naked feeling the pinch just yet!
Yet another review! But solicited this time. Coupla months ago I submitted Naked Blog to Weblog Review, and thought they'd forgotten about it. Or that it was just so good they got jealous and binned it. But no - what should pop into sight yesterday but my Official Weblog Review!
Now, let me make it clear that we don't do Weblog Review,Bloghop etc, looking for praise. I'm old enough and ugly enough not to give two ratshits what people think about either NB or the bits of myself I choose to reveal. But I do want more traffic, and review sites are good for that, PROVIDING you're at the top of the ratings, or pretty damn close. Being twenty-fifth is as useless as being 200th, for let's face it, who the hell is gonna wade through 24 blogs before getting to yours? Now are you with me so far?
Long story short, Carrie from Bulletproof (for it was she), gave NB a highly creditable 4 out of 5. This in turn led to a Reader's Vote of precisely 3.5625 out of 5. Guess what? We're number 2 in the world at the moment. Yee Haa!! Many thanks Carrie.
"In fact, the creator of Naked Blog infuses so much of his own personality into each entry that the reader is pulled into the author's daily life and, summarily, overwhelmed by it. Not that this is a bad thing, so long as one doesn't find the life of a 50-something gay Brit offensive. [I don't. Ed] In fact, if one is willing to move beyond the seemingly farcical exploits, there is politcal satire and pensive thought to be found aplenty at Naked Blog."
You can read the full review, or - if you haven't got time - it can be summed up as, "Nice writing - look could be improved."
Hmmm. I could have told them that. You should see my house - this is the very Sistine Chapel in comparison.
OK then, NB fans - over to you. We need a pretty page and we need comments to get us the award that Carrie dangles. You temptress, you. You don't get me for a Splashy Salmon treat.
Some fine writing at Noyen, a collaborative blog from nairb and sickbadthing (luvvit!). And they said hell would freeze over before a straight guy got mentioned here.
"You read it here first" section "By the way - skip the novelists... Ian MacEwan, Jan McInerney, et al. Asking a novelist what they think about a real matter [WTC catastrophe] is much akin to asking Barbara Windsor." (Naked Blog, September 15)
The highly-respected Private Eye devotes more than half a page to this same matter in their current issue 1038. It's not on-line, and sorry I'm not typing it out. But they give long and illuminating quotes from the drivel that (mostly) The Guardian chose to run, looking in on Ian McEwan, Jay McInerney, Martin Amis, Tony Parsons, and of course the execrable Jeanette Winterson.
Let that be the answer to why I don't read books any more. Stick to Naked Blog. Oh, and South Park.
SACK KATE ADIE This was the headline in yesterday's Sun. Apparently she and Jeremy Bowen (another autocue-jockey), were chit-chatting live on BBC Breakfast TV day before yesterday, giving the world details of the Prime Minister's flight plans to "sensitive" areas.
If ever these two puffed-up buffoons were brought too close together, there would be such a critical ego-mass that the universe wouldn't go "nuclear", it would go "black hole". Beat that UBL!! I don't know how that nice Sophie Raworth can bear to sit next to him.
Thanks to the guy at Cynic's Tea Party for the following... "Many of Peter's entries are about what he did and who he saw on a given day, but he writes with such outright panache that even topics you don't care about seem interesting."
As I say - thanks a lot. I've always said that any old fool can write about (e.g.) "My Trip Across Antarctica", but it takes skill to craft interest out of, let's say, "A quiet day with a good friend."
A quiet day with a good friend "Yes, I've ignored you all summer and here I am crawling back in October," I said to Stuart yesterday. He laughed. He knew what I meant - and once again he forgave me. Seasonal.
He always takes me back, but in truth I don't go very far, and I never abuse him. It's just that there are demons to face, and challenges to be met, which are best faced and met alone. I'm not a bleater. But winter's not the same, you batten down, you count your friends.
We were sitting in his kitchen with a bottle of vino de tavola and sliced sausage rolls. You could call it lunch. Outside, the clouds scudded across the blue, blue sky, chased by the very devil of a draught. There hasn't been much blue of late. Damn depressing.
So we finished the victuals. "We gotta go out, pal," I said, nodding to the clock. It was almost two. That's late-ish, but not as desperate as it'll get in December. Stu agreed. We hit the coast road - big sky.
"Fancy a look in the Ocean Terminal?" Stu ventured. "I'd really like to see it." This is a new mall being built right on the sea-front, alongside the Royal Yacht Britannia. Why not? I thought, so timidly we entered this still-unfinished monument to capitalism, copping sly looks at the hunky workmen when we thought they weren't looking back. Some languages are international indeed.
There are those who say, "Why do you like Stuart?" And I always reply, "Because he puts up with me." And others say, "Why don't you two get hitched?" But that wouldn't do. Just too alike, north poles repel, it wouldn't work.
I don't know about you, but I find giving all to someone a bit scary. I've only ever done that with two people - the first one left me when I was twenty-three, and the second died when I was forty-three. Shit happens.
"D'ya reckon they'll think we're terrorists?" I said to Stu, as we strode through unfinished corridors with rows of unoccupied units. The pair of us looked suspiciously ordinary. "They'll be on mega-alert you know."
Just then a tall guy walked past. "He's anti-terrorist squad!" I cried to Stuart. "That's the second time he's passed us, and anyway you can tell by the ball-cap!" "Ball-cap?" Stu pondered. "Yes - so they blend in better!!" I told him, knowledgeably. But our mall-trip finished without incident or arrest.
Outside again was bright, bright, bright, so great after all the cloudy weeks. We trudged to a lighthouse stuck on a wee promontory, and watched the lines of planes come in to land.
"Look how slow they are," Stuart said. "Yes, that's cos there's such a strong headwind," I answered. "It seems very fast to them up there." "But what if the wind suddenly stops?" he asked. "I guess they take a dive," was all I could think of. Readers versed in aviation might know better.
The wind really was strong beside the lighthouse, and Stuart's eyes were streaming with tears, but he said he was loving it. Mine were quite moist too, but of course it was just the wind. Elemental.
Now that Britain is an official terrorist target, we would not be human if we weren't to debate where and what might happen. Naturally London would be the Prime Target, but - if they wanted to get creative - they might just settle on Scotland, famous home of the dreaded and forbidden al'Kuhl. (Yes, booze is an Arabic name.)
Well, as luck would or wouldn't have it, Naked Blog and most of our friends live within spitting distance of the seat of Scottish Government, in Leith Docks. Yes - we have our Docklands too. Very classy. We bought slum, as that's all we could afford at the time, but prices shot ballistic.
My good friend Stuart (aka Granny) lives the closest to the Scottish Executive building, and just one fraction of one degree out with the aiming, and that would be the biggest bang even he had ever had.
"Here lies Stuart in one thousand pieces.
Never could say no to a Scud."
Hissing and Spitting The management at one of my drinking haunts appear to have been passing out copies of Naked Blog to certain customers, and, by the law of averages, not all of said customers are always written about kindly. That's the way of the world - it's a seaport here, not a monastery. So nowadays NB can't enter these premises without facing a barrage of spluttered abuse from the drunken and slighted. Decisons, decisions.
Three weeks and five days. Probably ideal. There was no rush, no knee-jerk, but rather the appearance of 110 percent statesmanship throughout. Not in my more than half a century has there been anything like these last three weeks and five days.
Acres of trees have been felled. The airwaves hummed with pointless comment. And those of us who inhabit the dancing digits and spinning disks of cyber have been far from silent too. At first it was just despair. Now, we pray, a glimmer dances which might just be hope.
From the moment our forces engage, anywhere in the world, then the traditional media are rightly censored. From now we will hear propaganda and deliberate misinformation. All of the on-screen orgasms that Peter Snow et al, with their 3D models and pointy flags, can generate are as nought. Retired colonels will as ever be wheeled out to say what they "would have done". But it's all worthless. There's never been anything like this.
We send our very best to the brave men who defend us from chaos and tyranny. And to our leaders, we wish infinite wisdom in their quest for enduring freedom. Or at least for the semblance of it. For some of us.
And what has sparked this global determination? With young lives being lost and billions being spent? Well, a half-dozen pen-knives and box-cutters, apparently. Plus a group of people willing to die for a cause they at least believed in. As our young men too are trained to be.
An old man sighs and watches and waits.
If you've got an hour to spare, and want a recent history of Afghanistan from the Soviet invasion in 1989 right up to the present day, then look no further than a masterly yet harrowing film by John Simpson for BBC Panorama. Thoroughly recommended.
Regular readers, and there are more and more of them, won't have failed to notice that just days after we mentioned Robin's alleged bisexuality, who less than Julie Burchill herself should devote her entire column to the subject.
Rather surprisingly, as la Burchill cheerfully admits to her own feelings towards fashionable young chiclets, she gives bisexuality short shrift indeed. But es machts nicht, as they say in Germany. (Another of her recent rants.) What does matter is the increasing raiding of magnificat/Naked Blog by the salaried scribblers. Take this from last night's searches...
Date/Time: 10/6/2001 12:39:01 PM
Remote IP Address: 22.214.171.124
Remote Host Name: norn.guardian.co.uk Who Is co.uk?
Domain Origin: United Kingdom
Browser: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 4.0)
Referring Page URL:
Now that particular Guardian employee was on 13 pages of our main site, from 12.39pm to 12.50pm EST. And journalists never read for fun!!
Naked Blog doesn't mind at all labouring away here for null financial reward. If we didn't want to do it we wouldn't. But it does stick in the throat a bit that others could be reaping monetary benefits from what is really meant to be freeware. (Obviously we wouldn't be raising this point if it were the first time. But it isn't.)
Incidentally, as Ms Burchill's biggest fan, we must point out that the coincidence referred to in the first sentence above is exactly that - a coincidence. We are fully aware that the Guardian Weekend Magazine would have been printed days before our publication here, and there is no suggestion whatever that Julie Burchill has ever been even remotely inspired by our internet material. So there.
Equally coincidental is the timing of yesterday's piece by Madeleine Bunting, again in The Guardian. (Intelligent people really can't stand anything else!) Entitled CLEAN UP, (not online yet) it's all about stripping away your human scent, and replacing it with chemicals.
And what did Naked Blog feature on September 24 recently? Well, in fact it was stripping away your human scent, and replacing it with chemicals. There are leaders, and then there are followers. I just wish they would toss me a packet of cigs now and again.
War Against Terrorism So you think OBL and al'Quaida are wicked, evil men? You might well be right. But they've got nothing, nothing, on some of the mad queens Naked Blog has the horror of knowing.
It seems that when some gay men reach the end of their desirability (around age forty, give or take a face-lift or two), all of the latent madness and psycopathy, kept dormant till then only with near-constant sex, comes oozing unchecked like green bile to the surface.
Take Tarquin. Well, don't in fact - your life will damaged if you do. Tarquin is to social interaction what Fred West was to child care. Taleban Tarquin, if he had the brains, would be right up there in Northern Afghanistan, knocking together atom bombs like they were going out of fashion.
A tragic man, yet not deserving of the short, drugged and drunken life I can confidently predict for him. Another brick in the wall.
Don't miss Ursula, Veronica and Waldorf next week. They're a scream!
Fun last night at Andy's place in Broughton Street, just off the 'Gay Triangle'. Alastair, Robin (don't call me gay - I'm bisexual) and I were there, so you could more or less write the script for yourselves. AbFab got nothing on it, Sweetie!
There we were in the very bright kitchen, drinking boxed wine like it was going out of fashion. (Which it never will.) "Helluva bright in here, pal - do ye no ever think aboot a dimmer switch?" I said to Andy. Wrinkled Andy just laughed, as the doorbell suddenly rang, loudly. It was just beside the kitchen.
"My God, it's the Drugs Squad!" I thought, ever the cheerful one. But no, it was two guys from Scottish Power, speaking to Andy about some electricity deal or other. "Are you aware, Sir, that you could save seventeen percent on your power bills just by changing to Scottish Power?" we heard floating into the kitchen.
"Telewest are doing NINETEEN PERCENT!" I shouted so they could hear. Then it was Alastair's turn. "ARE THEY CUTE?" he bawled at Andy, then put down the joint he was making and went to the door for a look. "One of them is," he declared, returning. At that, Robin decided he'd had enough so ended the scene by shouting to Andy, "Come back to BED, DARLING!" The door closed, you could sense to the relief of all. Man, it were great.
Read Julie Burchill on Robin's bisexual condition.There's always been a word for people who will have sex with anything, even a Venetian Blind if it kept still long enough, and that word is 'slut'. Deal with it. Sorry, Robin, my fondness for you is legendary. But Miss Julie, she ain't never wrong.
Much musing on my colleagues' blogs about the single condition. The lady in Bulletproof and Bleeding (sorry, I don't know your name, but thanks for the mention, anyway!) is almost thirty-three and single. Drew also is single, and writes very thoughtfully about it today. Go there.
He writes that singular status seems to mark you out as a "second-class" person. Even in gay life, partners are a definite plus, validating your existence. And married men in particular jump onto the career ladder several rungs up. We couldn't agree more.
Being married, or even partnered, is a definite plus in income terms. But that is all. Gay men in particular carry a burden of suspicion with them even these days, and this is somewhat ameliorated by the shared supermarket trolley at 'cut flowers' on the way to 'fresh meat.' "You butch and I'll mince, darling!" we used to say in the sixties.
However, married with kids has also a clear downside. And what is that? Well, it restricts you to the respectable, safe and secure. Your wings are clipped. Your heart and your cock can never again fly free. That's the deal.
Quit corporate. Fly high. Let your dreams take you to where you never dreamt. And if like that you go too close to the sun, then at least you felt the fire. And the memories never die. Trust me. I'm quite old.
Anybody know how to install a decent comment system? I've had a lot of requests for that. Mimi? Bulletproof lady? Help!
Don't know if it was all the wine, or maybe my unorthodox washing-up practices (i.e. never), but Naked Blog is feeling quite explosive today. In fact, I'm urgently aware of every inch of my gastro-intestinal tract. Better stick a pizza in there quick for the sides to grip on.
Thanks to Tony and Torquil for their generous help yesterday, but after all those hours we're still as uncommented as ever. Doncha just hate files called cgicomments.cgi
Regular readers of NB will not have missed yesterday's concerned discussion about the Queen's "other three" children (Princess Anne, Prince Edward and Prince Andrew), and their apparent failures to justify their expensive existences at public cost. So none of you will be surprised that only hours after this piece appeared here, Prince Edward himself visited a school in Leeds, England.
Although the mainstream media were being kept at arms' length, and even the BBC's Jennie Bond got security-shouldered out of the way, Naked Blog did get in one small question. "Your Highness," we politely began, "how does it feel having everybody think you're a bit of a fag?" Unfortunately the artist formerly known as prince was whisked away before we could hear the answer, so NB ended up taking Jennie Bond for a nice hot cuppa in Starbucks.
She's very nice to talk to, not at all lah-di-dah, considering the palaces she stands outside of, and much younger-looking than she appears on telly. Jennie might be doing a guest column here at NB in the not-too-distant future.
"It's Reiki I'm giving you - you don't need to get your cock out," Stuart commented, smiling. We were at The Village on one of their scheduled "Healing nights", and tonight it was Introduction to Reiki. Cock out? Well, not at all. I was merely undoing my pants a bit, the better to relax my diaphragm. These things are important when you're being spiritual, you know.
I'd gone there with Shetland John, another well-travelled guy in his fifties, each of us more sceptical than the other. If this here Reiki was ever gonna work, they would have to prove it pretty damn good.
We'd sat, five of us, at a table with incense and a candle. Three Reiki-ites and John and me. Eleanore talked the talk. I asked the questions. John sat quietly.
"Are you a Master?" I asked Lady E. "Yes," she replied. "And Mac here is also. Stuart is still on the path." I came on all pupilish. "Then if you are a Master, then I should say, "Thank you for that answer". (I can wax very esoteric when I choose.) "Oh, we don't bother with crap like that," Master Eleanore demurred. So I demurred too.
"Now," Stuart began, once my trousers were sufficiently undone. "I'm going to treat you as if you were a stranger." (I'm actually a close friend.) "Do you have any conditions?" "No," I replied, hopefully. So he went on, "Do you want a physical or emotional healing?" "Neither," I chose. "I just wanna try some Reiki." "OK, then I want you to take a deep breath." Ahhhhhhhh. "Now let it out." aHHHHHHHH. "This time when you take a deep breath, I want you close your eyes and go in your mind to a place of complete beauty and safety." And that was how we started.
Eleanore I'd actually met a few months ago. She has a jewellery and New Age nick-nack shop in St James Centre, Edinburgh. She and Mac had been very close to Stuart for many years, and it was something I was necessarily excluded from. I'm not clairvoyant, don't read cards, (although a dab hand at bridge), and I was a Reiki virgin. But not for much longer!
Stuart rubbed his hands with some smelly unguent. It was nothing I'd smelt before, sort of lemongrass but not quite. As I sat motionless and shut-eyed, I could smell this lovely lotion as his hands moved around my head, channelling the universal energy. (So they say.) I started slipping then. Slipping into meditative consciousness, although I gently chose not to think my mantra. (We've practised TM for more than twenty years - these states are familiar.)
Then the hands started gently touching me. Crown. Eyebrows. Shoulders. Arms, and really all over the damn place. I don't remember, as by now I was quite blissed out. Time had ceased. The places of safety and beauty ran behind my eyelids like a Spielberg of my youth. It were fucking great and I didn't want to stop. Not to come back. But he gently brought me. So we giggled. We hugged. It was like a new friend. Stuart, I mean, not Reiki. "Wow!" was all I could say. "You did well," he answered. "Thank you for that Reiki," I said to him. "You're welcome," he said.
Talking of youth, anyone who's ever been to university will enjoy a site called Imperial doughnut. Look for the section called University Challenge, and enjoy this 18 year-old's fine descriptions. And Michael, for that is his name, is even brave enough to link to this old queen on his site. Good on yer, Mike.
Further back in years still is one I discovered next to mine on Bloghop. (That's the coloured ratings buttons to your left. Choose green.) For sheer style and inventiveness, Digital Junkie would be hard to beat. And he's only thirteen. Jealous? Moi? :)
When I "came to" after my Reiki, I noticed John getting his from Eleanore. Man, did he look away with it! Then it was Claire, and then we all just lolled about the place saying, "Oh my God, I don't believe it," and things like that. The after-effects confirmed the effects, if you get my meaning. As new people came in to take our places, you could detect the "jangliness" in them. Strange, but not unfamiliar to Naked Blog, who has attended many advanced courses in consciousness.
So, what is it, and how many marks out of ten? Here goes. The Reiki procedure induces a large flood of endorphins (natural opiates), which give an immediate and lasting sensation of relaxation and bliss. You feel this bliss thrusting up into your brain like a hot poker. It is very similar to Flotation Tank and also to deep yogic meditation. Whether this is "Universal Energy", or biochemical process I can't say, and nor does it matter. What is important is that the process is quick, efficient, and doesn't involve practice or training. My own feelings were validated by the people I saw around me, and Reiki is definitely real. Although what it really is is another, less-important, question.
I've decided the reason I'm getting so down is that almost everyone I ever see is totally nuts. I say this factually, rather than unkindly, and I'm sure the referees would heartily agree. (When I say "nuts", I don't mean, "what a card - he enjoys a jolly prank." I mean genuinely, certifiably psychiatrically ill.)
This is a major problem with retirement. Whereas until recently, when I was working, 95 percent of my company was nominally healthy and happy, albeit quite old many of them, my day now alternates between isolation and the padded cells I call my local bars. It's astonishing. You really wouldn't believe it. Largactil on the rocks, please, barman, and a dash of antabuse if you don't mind.
But all is due to change tonight!! Tonight in The Village there's a talk on Reiki, originally from the people who brought you Pearl Harbour. Reiki is said to blow your mind faster than Big Boy over Hiroshima. I'll keep you posted.
It says on their website that Reiki must not be given to people under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
(MATERIAL DELETED. REIKI IS VERY INTERESTING. MORE TOMORROW.)
This might lead to some interesting questioning. Here's a fun pic. It's not me. I don't got no truck.
Bile and Bulimia What the British papers won't print. Last week Prince William, Diana's son and second in line to the throne, commenced his education at the mediocre but quite old University of St Andrews. This is basically a refuge in Scotland for rich English Sloanes too thick to "get in" anywhere decent in England. Despite his being Madge's eldest grandson, I'll bet you a fiver to brick shithouse that there'll be no throne for him ever to accede to. Within a year of adulterous daddy Charles' reign commencing (whenever that might be), the country will be up in arms for a republic. The only reason royalty has hung on this long is that HM is older than nearly all of her critics.
However, PW's fame lies not purely in his lineage, but in the obvious fact that he's the dead spit of his late, adulterous mum. "Aye - Diana's no deid while that laddie's aroond!" the old folks say. As well as inheriting his mother's facial features, he's also taken on the royal taste for various blood-sports... foxhunting, shooting birds, etc, but that's by the by.
His course is Art History, one of the softest of soft options. But again, the Naked blog bets are on the table that he'll never complete it, even in the academic vacuum that is St Andrews. Por quoi?
They'll blame media intrusion for upsetting his concentration. And in a quasi-diabolical set of events this has already started, as his own uncle's beleaguered TV company, Ardent Productions, made free with the 24fps over the course of last week. You couldn't make it up.
Incidentally, although Charles and Elizabeth do turn up for the (very) odd thing or two, whatever has been seen in recent years of William's aunt and two uncles (Anne, Andrew, Edward), pressing-the-flesh wise? And how many millions a year do we pay for those three? I think we should be told.