It was a different world then, quieter, and in some ways nicer. All we knew was that we had to grow up, not to be kids anymore, to have and to love something different from our parents. The Beatles gave us that - in spades. But in order to fully grasp their enormity, you really have to be in your fifties today - something few, if any of you reading this are. Machts nicht - I can chat to Mary and Norma about our glory days later.
Although the TV News tried to separate Mr Harrison from The Beatles, to show respect to his own work, it really isn't possible, and the kindest, the fullest tribute would simply be to re-run old Beatles concerts and movies. Yes, he did other things, but he did more, so much more, as one of That Band.
The whole was indeed greater than the sum of the parts, as Bob Geldof - typically - misquoted, and I couldn't claim to have been a George man. For me it was John that did it (if anybody), as he was clearly the greatest star, particularly when with Yoko Ono he later appeared to go quite bonkers.
(Talking of bonkers, how I remember vainly trying to smash All You Need Is Love over my then partner's head. Records might be easily broken, but vinyl 45's aren't!)
But The Beatles died already for me, when they split up and left me bereft, and then they died again when John Lennon was so cruelly murdered, so now there's only Paul with his cringe-making Christmas Album, and Ringo fighting the bottle. All flesh is one flesh.
Thanks George. As a Beatle you were part of my youth, and now you're gone too. I wonder if Robbie and Victoria will get thirteen news minutes, if they last another thirty-five years.
Hi again. Been a nice couple of days. Got Sandra's website finished - again. This is turning into the Forth Bridge. Lots of fun chatting and drinking wiv me mates. Next year I'll really have to think about earning some money again, as this little inheritance is dwindling big-time.
Oh - something will turn up. At my age it hardly matters anyway - I'm never, not ever, gonna be Chairman of Microsoft now. Good health, a warm house and a full belly are more than enough. For which I never forget my luck.
So, with no further ado, I'll hand you over to two much younger webloggers today. Both in their late teens, both stylish writers, and with different but equally fascinating life situations.
Josh observes an older man in a not-too-thrilling job and gets to thinking about his own future. "I will be someone," he says, and we know what he means. But another thought, easily glossed over in the shuffle, is that of course he is someone already, and always will be. As also is the older man who inspires the tale. Nice stuff. Go there.
Ryan, much closer to home in England, begins work in a Supermarket. From there he writes a hilarious account of his new workmates, his stacking of yogurt pots, and his mother, who is a manager, overhearing the shop girls' opinions of him. Priceless.
That's all for today, as I've nothing as good as those. See you soon.
Harry Potter - just remembered I promised the definitive review. Well, unfortunately I never went - got an attack of the black horrors. Never mind - it'll do you good to form your own opinions, instead of relying on me for everything. "Everyone's a critic these days," I read some hacked off hack bleating, vis-a-vis IMDB, Amazon reader reviews and the like. He's right, but there again everyone always was. It's just that once only a tiny handful of critics ever got read. Now they all can be.
I must be run down. Got a horrible, niggling, irritating cold-sore inside my lower lip, just postioned to keep banging on my teeth. I checked it in the mirror. It's the exact shape of Africa - although thankfully not as big.
Yesterday was my late mother's birthday. She would have been 79. I remember the time she said, "Peter - I've had a nice life. I wouldn't mind if I died now." And I could tell she meant it.
Welcome back after a couple of days' absence! Monday was a "day off", and yesterday there was some technical problem or other. So, better late than never, the tale below is about Monday's adventures, when not just one, but two things happened. Talk about synaptic overload. Matrix was never like this.
I'm gabbling. Less fanciful however is the level of email viral attacks Naked Blog is getting. There've been two attempts by W32/BadTrans@MM and SnowWhite/Hahaha is now almost daily. Some of you reading this have me in your address books. Please, please get out that Harpic Power Foam. It's your cyber duty. By the way - W32/BadTrans activates even as you read it. Horrifying.
Off to see Harry Potter today, with Scott and Linda. So put your opinions on hold till you read our review - the only one that matters. Cya.
"Hello," she said. "I'm Ruth." "Not... the Ruth?" I asked, setting my pint down on the bar. "Yes," she replied, still looking a bit hesitant. "Your biggest fan." We hugged then. Fifty-odd years of all that life can throw at me, eight months of anxious blogging, more than two hundred hours of frantic typing, and there - in the flesh - was the end result. Ruth, my first reader. "And this is Cyberslut," she added, pointing to her friend.
The day had started as brilliantly as it seemed to be ending. Baking (for late November) sun beckoned me out of doors at midday, and my dancing feet took me straight to the riverside.
Company would have been nice, and I'd phoned Stuart my usual companion, for some walk and talk, drink and think. But he wasn't answering. Sundays are his busy day - Chef by day and Mystic by night. He'd be recovering.
So alone, yet not really alone, for always I have you with me, I set out on this journey up the Water of Leith. Like Apocalypse Now, but without the attitude. All around were sun and water, half-clad trees and fallen red leaves - a treat to the senses. Over and over again I thought..."If you could only see this... you would love the scene from here... what a beautiful city this is."
Ruth and Cyberslut bought a round of drinks, and we settled down for a good old blogchat. "We read Naked Blog every day," CS declared. "And get quite huffed if there isn't one." That wounded, like a hunting knife to the heart [Cut it out - Ed.], as there wasn't an edition yesterday.
I introduced them to my friends, Scott the engineer and novelist, Alastair the fashionable publican and restauranteur, and Roddy the trendy tree surgeon.
(By the way - Roddy's doing a great line in Christmas Trees right now. Leave your order in the Port o Leith Bar. Plus Scott is doing reprints of his two latest novels, ideal stocking -fillers. Also, Alastair's joint is taking orders for Christmas Lunch. See The Village to your left. I should be charging these people!)
Like most riverside walks in cities, you occasionally have to surface, to come back to the streets, and the traffic doesn't half sound loud after an hour of rippling water and wind in the leaves! Stockbridge was area I popped up in, a part of Edinburgh that truly thinks it's a bit superior.
Edinburgh is an incredibly snobbish city - I've never known anywhere like it. People are indelibly marked with three things, the job they do, the street they live in, and the school they attended. Well, that's the EFnet folk. My people lurk in the Undernet.
So I walked the shopping streets of Stockbridge, gazing child-like at the Christmas presents on sale. Magnetic galaxy, £19.99. Lava lamp, £15.99. Cambridge University Sound Mixing Studio - with microphone to record your own voice! £49.99. And hand-crafted jewellery, apparently priceless.
By now it was time for some more drinkies, so this time I got a round for Ruth and Cyberslut. The Guinness was pouring down the throat big-time, after such a healthy day. It's good for the lungs to experience something other than cig-smoke and petrol fumes now and again. Fresh air. Try it.
We discussed blogging. Ruth has just started her own, inspired by Naked Blog, she kindly said. I gave bits of advice, and offered the warning of how addictive it can be. She lapped it up. She's really keen. O what a day!
Ah well, Blogger has just swallowed my entire story. It's my own fault for not saving more often. So, that's it I guess - the day beckons, and there's no time to do another one. It wasn't that much, anyway.
Friday was apparently Buy Nothing Day. I didn't know that, but as it turned out all I bought were cigs, Guinness, food and a haircut. I hope that's acceptable. Interesting site, though. Adbusters. I'll be back. (But Big Money will win in the end, of course!)
By now you'll all know that our semi-literate Prime Minister is incapable of spelling "tomorrow" correctly. Talk about a red face! So The Guardian has dashed off a spelling test for you. I think it applies to all the English-speaking countries, avoiding words such as defense, offense and any other sort of fense.
Try it, and beat Naked Blog, who only got seven out of eight. (I was really undecided about the one I got wrong, but there was no phone-a-friend facility.) Excuses, excuses!
Bin Laden - the Musical
It was Sandra's young daughter who showed me this one. I like it. Whaddya think? Better than a butt washing fountain any day. (Thanks to Tara for butt washing fountain.)
That's an expression (I am most guilty), an old flame of mine used to use a lot. Raised a Catholic in a sectarian-divided town, he'd become an alcoholic and gay. As the whisky slipped down his neck, he would wax eloquent about childhood in his RC school, and his later battles with the priest over homosexuality. It seems that in Catholic schools children really do get sentenced to "Ten Hail Mary's". "And do you have any idea how long even one of the fuckers takes?" Jim would laugh.
But his favourite memory, his party piece even, was to drunkenly declare, "Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa... BEAT BREAST THREE TIMES!"
We got on great. It was just his drinking that got in the way, and so, sadly, he eventually had to go. Use 'em up and fling 'em out, eh?
It appears we missed sending Thanksgiving greetings to those involved. Happy belated. I've never been sure what that one's all about. Independence Day is fairly obvious, and had to be done, to curtail the spread of the Evil Empire. But Thanksgiving? I do remember Roseanne Barr/Arnold once saying, "It's just to celebrate trashing the Native Americans". But then Roseanne was never famed for Political Correctness. I used to enjoy her show: I wonder how she's coping with no longer being Queen of the airwaves.
Another Queen of the airwaves is Stephen Fry, he of various Britflicks. A few weeks ago SF and Cher were guests on Parkinson, and Stephen totally stole the show, taking over from the now quite slow Parky, and interviewing Cher himself. Parkinson's fury was [can't think of the best word]. Palpable.
Well, last night Stephen Fry had an entire half-hour with Paul Merton the comedian, possibly Britain's funniest man. It was 30 minutes of televisual bliss as the two of them discussed so many fascinating topics. You have no idea how refreshing it is to see an openly gay man, on television, simply being intelligent and entertaining - as opposed to the simpering, tired innuendos of Clary, Norton and Savage. Good on yer, mate!
I wonder if the time will come in my lifetime that I can recommend a nice BBC prog to you, and give the click for you to watch it? Got to, sooner or later, even if it's a bit small and blocky. Such quality transcends screen-size.
Somebody's nicked me Robbie Williams pic from further down. [It's back - Ed] Well, to be honest, it never was my pic - I just linked to it. Tony says you shouldn't steal pics, just link them. Well, I dunno. And the shagging kangaroos were missing for a bit as well. The National Geographic never had these probs.
Let's see what today holds, drama-wise. Fasten yer seat-belts...
Just been watching a quiz, The Waiting Game, with Ruby Wax. It was very good. Miss Wax is incapable of anything else. But what was striking to me about this was something I've never heard of before. Two of the contestants, Alan and Billy (no - I'm not making the names up this time) were brothers. And they were married to sisters. So where's the shock in that, I hear you ask?
Well, being still of (mostly) active mind, I got to thinking about their children - in particular the relationship between the children from the two different families. Because their fathers are brothers, they will be full cousins, that is, with one quarter of their genes in common. But because their mothers are sisters, they will surely to goodness have even more genes in common. Nes pas? Double cousins?
Now, creatures only share genes in submultiples of one half. That is half, quarter, eighth etc. So, if they have more than one quarter of their genes in common, then the only conclusion would be that they must have half their genes identical. Are you with me so far?
And the only relations who share half their genes are brothers and sisters, or parent and child. Thus we conclude that two children, from separate families, without a single parent in common, are full brothers or sisters. Tell me where I'm going wrong, before I explode. What a fascinating quiz.
Yesterday we were bleating on about a lack of provision at Naked Blog Inc for visitors. In particular for my friend and client Sandra, who is of course over the moon about her brand new website. We solved the accommodation problem by liaising in the Port o Leith Bar, along with Cherry the big black Labrador dog. (We haven't yet found a way of working Cherry into the website, but it'll come, it'll come. Family Values.)
Modesty prevents me from disclosing Sandra's URL, as one look and you'll all be wanting one, and frankly, my dears, we've tired of commercial websites already. Sell! Sell!! Sell!!!
From my postbag
However, yesterday's cry from the heart about living in squalor brought an unprecedented level of emailed responses. Three.
Groc in Worthing writes to say that he lives in exactly the same conditions. (Nice 2 c u back in action, Groc!) Jim in North America (I can tell by the spelling) praises our "neat journal", and asks if he might link to us. (Mais oui, mon ami!)
And last but not least, Ruth in Edinburgh says that she and her friends have become "a bit addicted" to Naked Blog. "Even your grim weather reports, eeeeven the state of your flat, eeeeeeeven the state of the man-hole cover outside. God, bated breath stuff or what!"
Thanks to all for those, which make our little efforts (well - that's a lie... if it was the tiniest effort I wouldn't be doing it!), all worthwhile. The least I can do in return is to give your sites a mention.
Seeing as there does seem to be a bit of a local fan-base building up, maybe we should think about a "Meet The Blogger" evening in the Port or the Village. You could each buy me a drink, and I could sell bound copies of NB, personally signed. Or Naked Blog t-shirts. My friend Dolly could design them. Hmmm. Tell me what you think.
Further thoughts: We could also invite the Press, those vultures whom I constantly decry - unless of course they can be of any use to me. From that might spring my life's earnest ambition, a weekly (paid, of course) column in Sticksville Gazette. Eat yer hearts out, Julie and Jon!!
Being Mick - a TV documentary on Mick Jagger, singer with The Rolling Stones
Hi. I'm really scared of this one, so I hope you'll sit with me a bit while I tell you what I can about a man most of you will barely have heard of. A couple of days ago here we were chatting about Mick Jagger, and the thought came that of all the people who were once so transcendentally famous, he is perhaps now the least ever seen. And why is that?
So, first we have to dip into rock history a bit, and I hope you'll bear with me for a moment or two. From 1964 until 1972 the pop music universe was utterly and totally dominated by two bands - The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. This was their time, they did it great, they came and conquered.
Nothing since has equalled their duopolisitic reign, with the possible exceptions of Elvis and Abba. No band, no singer has come close to that songbook and that list of hits. They were, and have been, unmatched, and their lasting influence in Britain and the world is extraordinary.
Mick was my hero - my main man. I sang every note, and lived every breath. At that time, in those days, we were invincible, Mick and me. Every song, every interview, every viewpoint and every expression - I was there. There was the time he was sentenced to a year in jail for possession of six amphetamine tablets. He got off from that, mainly due to a leading article in The Times newspaper, then the organ of note.
It was by the editor, William Rees-Mogg, and the piece was, "Who breaks a butterfly on a wheel?" On his release, Mick spoke excusively to The Times. And there was a TV interview with Rees-Mogg and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Mick looked stoned. It wasn't much. The Archbishop confessed that Mr Jagger had more influence on the young than he could ever have. I watched in black and white, in my mid-teen fervour.
On tonight's programme he went to a party of Elton John, another long-stayer, but never incandescent. A woman from The Telegraph came up to him. "Hello, Hilary from the Telegraph," Mr Jagger said to her - once the most interviewed man on the planet. "I just want to ask who made your suit?" Hillary asked - so facile, so vacuous, as if the clothes meant one tiny thing beside the man of once that stature. Stupid.
I loved you Mick - you were my youth. You offered me that glimpse of something else - something dark and exciting beyond the strictures of the constant study of mathematics and music. You were that light I aimed for - that possibility of things I was too meek to try - that Lucifer to everything else so holy. I served you well.
And thank you my readers, for being with me through this, this newer time, but not in vain, we share so much.
Sandra, my new friend, just phoned this minute. Yesterday I'd spent the afternoon dashing off a simple two-page site for her fledgling business, and obviously there were details to be corrected. "I'll just come to your house," she said, "and we can type it there."
Readers new to naked blog should be aware that this hapless little journal is created in the midst of chaos and disorder. You know those programmes where people have died, and the Council has to go in and clean up the mess? With white bio-hazard suits on? Like that.
"Sorry, Sandra, no can do," I replied. "This place is really off-limits to visitors. There's been no-one in here all year."
I don't really know how it came about, either, to tell the truth. Once you make the decision that you'll never have a visitor ever again, then there's not that much incentive to keep things tidy.
Newspapers can lie on the floor. Socks, etc., can rest where they're discarded, awaiting the monthly laundry. The carpet is unvacuumed, but that's ok as there's hardly any of it exposed to the air. That's why God invented old newspapers with lots of supplements.
"Oh, but you could make an exception," Sandra pressed on.
It's been my observation over this useless little life that women and gay men are the most interested in homes. Straight men and me generally couldn't care less. The cliches are all true.
"Sorry, hon - no can do," I replied, with finality. "That's why I have almost no friends," I explained to her. "People invite me to their homes a couple of times, never get invited back to mine, and then they think fuck him. I've seen it so many times."
In my dreams it would be different. In my dreams the house would rock with laughter and happiness as one lovely human after another enjoyed my ample hospitality. In my dreams.
So where did it all go wrong? When did the rot set in? I once read that extreme untidiness is a symptom of "deep-seated psychological disorder". Ya don't say?
Out and about
Congratulations to Dave, aka Mad Monk, for becoming a Blog of Note at Blogger. But, as usual, you saw him here first. Star Spotter. This award is particularly special, as Dave doesn't even blog with Blogger.com. Divine intervention.
Yesterday was a bit of a "night of the long knives" on my "Sites to see" list to your left. I truly hate ditching such lovely people, but if a list is to mean anything, it has to be really short. I hope you'll bookmark and continue to enjoy Mimi and Drew, as will I.
Thanks also for the lovely mention to Barbara. Appreciated, and yours is great too.
Tony has lots of plans for this php page, tarting it up, automating the weather symbol and so on. Hmmm. We shall see. Part of its style is that it looks so bloody awful. Bit like my house really. Funny old world, innit?
One month exactly to the Solstice. The countdown begins. There may be troubles ahead...
Yesterday was one of those dark and rainy Sunday afternoons, when Guinness seemed my only salvation. Scott was in the Port too, along with Glen, and Stevie Sticks. Mark and Pamela came in, exhausted after stripping walls all day, and had to be revived with a quick pint each. Eilidh (pron: ay-lee) the barmaid was handing over the shift to Pamela for the upcoming evening.
We discussed whether Mick Jagger was deserving of a knighthood, and were comparing his poly-fatherhood to Sir Paul McCartney's more settled shagging. "I'm not interested, anyway," Stevie said. "Sorry for asking you a question you're not interested in, Stevie," I said.
Suddenly my calm was shattered by feeling something warm and heavy being passed over my lap. It was a boot.
Scott, clearly dissatisfied with the lack of attention his shiny new motorbike boots were getting, had decided to take them off and hand them round. They're black, above the ankle, and dotted with silvery metal clamps and implants. Smart.
"What do you think of those, boys?" he asked. "Aye, ye could gie somebody a guid kick in the ba's with them," Glen said, his eyes coming to life a bit. "Too right," said Stevie, then returned to his texting.
As the boots got passed back to Scott's feet, I managed to sneak a quick sniff. "Not very leathery," I opined. "Are you sure they're not plastic?" The look I got would have withered a lesser man.
Pamela, Eilidh and I started testing perfumes. I liked Pamela's best, but it costs forty pounds. Ultraviolet. We drank some more Guinness, while outside the last of the light gave way to rainy darkness. It was five pm.
Scene: My local corner shop. "Could I have 20 cigs please, and a comb?" I asked. "Don't think there's any gents combs left," the guy replied. "Not much call for them these days." I looked around. There were three other men in the shop, all aged around 21, and not one single hair to be seen amongst them. Shaved to the wood, and this is November.
What a lot that David Beckham has to answer for! So then I got to thinking, "Why are the young such fashion slaves? Bald heads in the middle of winter." (And don't get me wrong - we too were fashionable once.) The answer, when it came hours later, was chilling to the bone.
"It is hardwired into our species to look and act just like everyone else, in exact parallel to the urge to hate and kill anyone who is different. Fashion and war are opposite sides of the same deadly coin."
Turbans and towel-heads. Homo sapiens.
But on to lighter matters. Someone who hasn't followed the compulsion to shave his head is Robbie Williams, who was on the telly last night singing from the Royal Albert Hall in London, possibly England's most prestigious venue. What a long way he's come from prancing those silly routines and playing second fiddle to Gary Barlow in Take That.
So much has TV developed, that even in that huge auditorium they could still show his face as big as if he were across the dining table from you. He looked good. Totally cool. But then I realised that of course the stage is his natural medium. Being looked at is what he knows best.
In his show he covered the Sinatra, Martin and Sammy Davis Jr (funny how you can't call that last man just Davis Jr!) songbook, and by all accounts he done good. Me, I only caught him during the ad breaks in a duff movie I was watching on another channel, as that music fails to fascinate me. I enjoy Abba and Monteverdi equally, but tend to miss out the crap in between.
Briefly I thought, "Nobody ever got rich by copying others," but then I thought of Mr Williams' probable bank balance, and I thought of my own, and I consigned that one to the bin marked Wrong. Good on yer, Robbie! What a drab world we would have without our entertainers, who so often sacrifice their very health on our behalf.
Oh dear. My dear friend Scott, an avid reader of this journal, confronted me in the pub yesterday. "Peter," he began, for that is my name. "Peter - there's not enough about Leith in your blog. It's all just stuff about blogs." I stood there, feeling guilty. Whenever anyone criticises me, about anything, I immediately know that they are right. It's the way I was raised - always to be wrong.
"And I'm so sick of reading about comment systems," he ploughed on, for that is how we spell it here. "First they work, then they don't work, and then they eventually work again. It's a nightmare." Guilty as charged. We have indeed made some references to such systems, as they are so fascinating, transforming as they do a glass magazine into an interactive medium. Twenty-First Century Blog.
But then when I got home I thought,"That's a load of poop, Scott." In reality we bend over backwards to try and inject some semblance of literary life into the flotsam of humanity who are our acquaintances. It's very difficult indeed to write interesting stuff about people who never do anything at all. You yourself have tried this also, Scott, with varying degrees of success.
Factoid: NB isn't a pub newsletter. It's read from Alaska to Australia, and everywhere in between.
Factoid: It has more readers in one week than all of the editions of InterPOL (a pub newsletter) have had, put together, ever.
Factoid: A weblog is a clickable thing. If you're not gonna provide carefully-chosen clicks for people, they might as well be reading Hello! magazine.
Factoid: In the last 30 days alone, we've referenced 21 members of our close community, started a protest about a building development on The Shore, organized a phone-in to Edinburgh Highways Department about a noisy manhole cover, and written a mini-obituary about a friend who died tragically young. Let the record show.
I get so sensitive at this time of year. I really should just stay in my house and stare at the ceiling and cry.
Having so robustly defended Naked Blog above, it's only fair to say that Scott has an excellent non-blog site, where you can read loads about Leith and elsewhere, and see tons of fab pics from his voyages round the world. With material like that... :) But thanks loads for the constructive criticism. Would that all would be so honest.
And that completes an entire article which is totally about blogs. Even more so, it's totally about this blog. You gotta love it.
You saw it here first department...
Readers who pay attention (and there are a couple), will have noticed a mini-feature about Buffy The Vampire Slayer on our Tuesday article below. In this little appraisal NB waxes eloquent about the series itself, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and so on. It's totally fab, A-list telly - up there with Homicide, South Park and The Sopranos.
As usual, not to be outdone by Naked Blog, The Guardian (Britain's most prestigious newspaper), today devotes a major article to Buffy-mania. (Readers who pay a lot of attention will spot a recurring pattern here.) The article's by Zoe Williams, and you can read it here. It's very long, but there again Ms Williams presumably has nothing else to do all week.
However, Britain's undisputedly leading columnist is Julie Burchill, who today returns to one of her favourite themes, slagging off the USA. In fairness, she has held off for more than two months, (business as usual - GWB), and she gives the English a fair roasting also. An interesting piece. See what you think.
PS Scott wasn't upset by our main text, and has promised to contribute a comment.
Hmmm. For a while there I wasn't sure how to spell jeopardy. You never know whether it's Herr Alzheimer, The Grim Reaper, or a fascinating thing we have here called Mad Cow Disease. You would love it.
This is kinda weird, as it's only 12 hours since I penned the one below, in twelve mins flat. Tony and I had just come in from the pub, where we were celebrating the new php comment system he'd made. But we'd only tried it on a test page, called Naked Test. Last night we were to go live.
With a stomach full of Guinness and Lamb Dhansak I had to come up with a readable post that wasn't techie-yawn. Talk about pressure. And Tony was sitting in his house, frantically php-ing away. The poor page didn't know what was hitting it. Zap. Zap. Zap. Talk about cluster-bombing.
But we did good. And thanks already to my first commenters. Be sure to peep at Noyen today, who writes the definitive guide to air travel. It'll kill ya!! Plus there's a great pic of kangaroos doing it. The female (doe?) looks like she can hardly have left school, but doesn't seem to be complaining in the photo. Just as well, as that big ol buck looks like he wouldn't take no for an answer.
I should steal it and pop it here with a link, but can't be that dishonest. Oh fuck, of course I can. Click that pic.
So that's it, for now at least. The sky is a strange mix of whitish clouds, fuzzy and indistinct, with blue interlaced. I think that means they're very high. Or very cold. Or both. We shall see.
Scene: My local Pakistani Restaurant, me waiting for a delicious Lamb Dhansak.
Anwar: Hi, how are you?
Me: Fine thanks, Anwar. What do you think about today's news?
Anwar: It's good. Very good. Those Taliban have got what they deserve. But of course the Americans have got a couple of motives also.
Me: Yeah? What's that?
Anwar: They want the hot water.
Me: What's hot water?
Anwar: Hot water is oil. And don't forget Afghanistan gives them a base close to China.
Me: Oh, I see.
The meal was unforgettable, as is the Middle East. I hope you enjoy the new comment system, and sorry all the beautiful former comments are lost. This is a brand new php system created by my friend and colleague Tony. Check it out. And be sure to try it out :)
Talk about diplomacy! "Thank you for fighting the Taliban for us, but I'm afraid no, you can't have Kabul." Take That.
"There may be troubles ahead. But while there's moonlight and..."
Our thoughts to the people of New York, and (although they hardly got a mention on my News) of The Dominican Republic. But there was one bit. Did you see the guy in the destination airport, freaking out? Of course you did. That's what TV news does - pokes its polished lens into people's ultimate grief, then sells it to the highest bidder. Fucking vultures. Words can't convey my hatred of them.
When I woke this morning, my window was covered in condensation. And that was just my breath from sleeping. Imagine if I'd been... (oh - complete it yourself). We got Arctic air outside again.
"Wow - a cleaning opportunity!" I thought. "Moisture + wipe = clean." Wasn't sure what to wipe it with, as anything used would from then on be an anthrax risk at least. Chose toilet tissue. Cheap, disposable, and not important till it runs out. And it worked!
Oh, the window still looks a bit streaky, but there'll be more moisture on following days - God willing that I live a little longer. Those autumn trees don't half look sharp against the chilly dawn sky! So the next pic I post of my view will be that much better. Arbeit macht frei.
Watched the Buffy movie the other day, but it wasn't a patch on the TV series. The TV cast is exquisitely well chosen, not least Ms Gellar herself. Almost makes me wish I was straight, so I could get the full effect. They did bring out Angel for a while, for those less into pussy, but it seems to have disappeared. Plus in the movie the vamps didn't disintegrate when she sticked 'em.
Our ultimate thoughts to the poor people of Afghanistan today, who can't have a fucking clue what's going on. What a fucked-up world we do live in.
Ross was a lovely man. I knew him slightly over the last three years, not that much, but enough to know I liked him and that he would harm no-one. A dealer in the past, he'd done three years in one of Scotland's hardest jails, and believe me, Scotland's hard jails make other countries' much like Teletubby land.
"Did you like what they put in the papers about Ross?" Sam said to me this afternoon. "What are you talking about, Sam?" I asked. "Ross is dead," Sam said. My God.
We'd chatted much. Been to parties. Money and tiny goods had exchanged hands. I loved his style, his fashion, even the so-up-to-date specs he always wore. Little things... big impressions.
Ross was just so alive. Even alive enough to marry an Australian girl. "Oh, it's only a marriage of convenience!" all the little people said, but his wife declared otherwise. So sad, so tragic - that woman has pain enough already.
But, according to the shitty local press, Ross was a City sex drugs man. Fucking vultures. Words can't convey my hatred of them.
Why do men who like drugs or their own sex always have to die?
A very warm hello to our new visitors from the 1% Bloggers Webring, who graciously took us on board this weekend. Appreciated, thanks. As well as our own humble scribbles, there's a short but excellent list on the blue sidebar, and also some background info about Naked Blog.
And for my existing, loyal fans, you'll now find up to 100 new and mostly fascinating blogs to choose from. Buy one - get one free!! The blue ? takes you straight to a random blog. Enjoy, but never ever forget your roots.
Old or new, there's not a lot for you today, after a weekend in the house alone. Tons of blog-a-licious gossip, but little real-life content. So - I faithfully promise to go out today, and trawl Leith for every last scandalous snippet. After all, life is what you do to find things to blog about. You deserve nothing less!
Out and about
Congratulations to josh for being selected as a Blog Of Note at Blogger. But of course, as always you saw him here first! Star Spotter. Great. And I hope there are even bigger, profitable things to come!
Thanks to Rannva for her emails and comments. Rannva has an unusual and original site where she recounts her quite trippy dreams. See what you think.
Staying on the "other side", there are rumours that the US Government has reactivated the Stargate project, which uses "psychics" to predict terrorist outrages, find Bin Laden, etc. Now, where were these folk on September 10, we have to ask ourselves?
From last night's searches I chose lesbian oil stories (diesel dykes?), and free gay insect porn (quit bugging me, mister). I know, you couldn't make it up!
So, fellow one-percenters - this is exactly what it's not supposed to be! All links and fuck-all content. But read on and back. We've got material a-plenty. And don't tell me you never get those quiet days!!
Readers, readers. All I ever get is readers. It's a nightmare.
I was going to call this one "Waiting for Dawn", but by the time I'd checked out cyberspace, or at least the tiny bit I claim as my own, the night had quite gone, and the big ol' sun is here now for today's brief house-call. Metaphor! Metaphor! What the hell's a meta for?
Yesterday was lovely, in which I did "fuck all", as we say here. Lounged about and smoked too much. Read blogs and the Guardian. Ate the remains of Friday's lamb Dhansak. (Quote from my Pakistani restauranteur, "The Americans will look after Pakistan. They need us to sell them their curries." Gotta love it.)
After that was crap TV time. (That's all there is at weekends, and precious little else on other days.) Paul Gasgcoine, a has-been football star from last century was "interviewing" with a more current nonentity. Gruesome. The man really is as limited as the media have always said. And to think I used to quite fancy him. And to think even more that my first ever spoof news story was "Gazza shags Granny shock!", Granny being the alter ego of my friend Stuart.
I won't link to that tale, as it's a bit naked, and we have an increasing young readership here. In fact, the readers are becoming so elevated that I'm too damn scared to write anything at all. This is a stage we gotta get through. Credo?
Last night while I watching faded footballers, Robin (don't call me gay, I'm bisexual) was having his 42nd birthday party, but of course I didn't go. This three-month Sabbatical has at least shown up one glaring fact about my life. For nearly five years I've blamed working unsocial hours for my lack of social life and friends. But it isn't, wasn't and never will be. The fault, if it is that, is entirely in me. So that's one lesson firmly learned.
So, will I do anything about it? You bet your sweet naughty bits I won't. Alone is good. Alone you never need ask or consider. Alone, nothing ever impedes the thoughts. Alone you don't even have to wash.
But - alone doesn't give you damn much to blog about, so I guess that's it again. Enjoy those loved ones you depend on so much. Cya.
Now, before my Inbox fills with anxious enquiries from those still young enough to actually feel anything, let me say that the above is entirely personal, is correct for me, and is of course from an elderly, if not necessarily mature, viewpoint. After decades of deliberation, I've come to the viewpoint that love is an entirely good thing, but only between the ages of, say, 15 to 25. Beyond that it becomes a bit contractual.
Shakespeare deliberately didn't set the greatest love story ever written in a Bingo Hall.
Nothing like a couple of quizzes to get to the bottom of problems.
Apparently I'm 71% Slut, which makes me sluttier than 93 percent of people. This is awesome, as I've been celibate for at least a decade. (But I confess to answering some of them from memory.)
The second quiz was from Colorgenics, which told me I was depressed and lonely, but that even a short vacation might just sort things out. If only.
Mornin' all! Just been reading blogs for about two hours, and still haven't thought of a single thing for you today. Neither did the searches yield fruit. So, how about me having the day off?
Are you a blogaholic? (post below) is currently the most-linked-to site in the known universe, according to the Massachussets Institute of Technology's index, Blogdex. Whereas Naked Blog is number 4065. I'm trying to feel happy about 4065, and pretty well succeeding.
Also, "yet you still manage to have a social life" is the most-searched item on Daypop. Which kinda confirms my idea that there was only one possible answer to that dumb quiz.
A couple of fun searches we have had recently were "naked porn to make stupid sisters go away" and "I was attached (sic) by Triffids." Lots more goodies on Disturbing Search Requests, including kylie minogue nuked.
I'm outta here. I think the sudden cold snap has slowed down my synapses. Cya.
It's cold. Yesterday teatime it even snowed a bit. But before that, Stuart was in the pub, in his pyjamas getting pissed. Well, to be honest, he had a woolly jumper and jeans on, but was proudly showing his pyjamas through the holes. Grey stubble bedecked his face, but there again, it bedecked mine too. Gary was there also, but his stubble was red. What a bunch.
Stuart works nights, you see, in a Care Home for the elderly and confused. He's always threatening to put me in his Home whenever I forget anything, but increasingly he forgets more than do I. It's the booze, I think.
Yesterday he'd finished his nightshift for the week, but couldn't sleep, so he decided on some liquid sleeping-draught. Strong lager. Some of you will know it well. Anyway - it was glorious to see him, as it'd been a couple of weeks.
"Why haven't you been in touch?" he asked, sincerely. "Did we fall out last time?" (We do fall out quite a bit.) "No, Stuart," I replied, sober and thus with the advantage. "Not at all - it was a lovely day. Didn't you read the blog?" It seems that nowadays nothing happens unless validated by blog.
We drank. We chatted, and hugged now and again. Barbara was there too, and Ian the owner, who bought us all a drink. Stuart and Barbara got into an argument about how to make Hollandaise sauce, which was exquisitely boring. "Barbara!" I declared, when I could see her face reddening. "He's just winding you up. You know what a wicked fairy he is." We laughed, and we drank some more.
Out and about
From Ilphin today I found Wil Wheaton, a delightfully non-celeb blog. Who he? He of Stand By Me and Star Trek TNG. Also Are You A Blogaholic? which I did with some trepidation, as I felt sure the answer would be YES, YOU SADFUCK! But it wasn't.
Bizarrely I got exactly the same score as Ilphin, 56%, which grades as, "You are a dedicated weblogger. You post frequently because you enjoy weblogging a lot, yet you still manage to have a social life. You're the best kind of weblogger. Way to go!"
Take That. Two questions I particularly liked were, "Have you ever phoned in sick to blog?" and, "Have you ever passed an internet cafe, and had the urge to go in and blog about where you are?"
Well, BlogBack comments are down again, (it's OK - I'm getting to quite enjoy it, like the Blitz), but Sandra is up, up, up!
Yeah, after waiting all of six days, a certain hosting company finally agreed to connect us to their server. I'd got to the point of threatening them with the Press if they didn't activate. This time of the year I can do without shit like that.
However, we're up, we're running, and I've got one morning to design her site. The poor girl's only been waiting two months.
Robin (I'm not gay, I'm bisexual), came into the pub yesterday. "Peter, I do hope you're coming to my birthday party on Saturday," he said. "You can even lift my cape." In truth, I hadn't a clue what he meant. "Cape?" Then it sank in.... Robin.... Batman.... (Old age brings such a slowing.)
"Boy wonder?" I declared. "Mair like an auld miracle!!" Ouch. But you should hear some of the things that queen has said about me in the past.
Naked Blog just doesn't do birthdays. Or Christmas. (No family - not a believer.) Or New Year. (Right idea, but wrong date.) The only occasions we celebrate are the Summer and Winter Solstices. Two festivals a year are enough for any boy.
So, a true friend is one who will invite you to their house for Christmas Day, but understand when you say you'd rather sit at home and be depressed.
Then as I was leaving, he repeated his kind invitation. "I hope you'll try and come along," he said. "And you don't have to lift my cape if you don't want to." Why are people so nice to me when I'm patently such a selfish bastard? Always the Outsider, I can't even mix with my own people. Psychiatric Help 10 cents.
From My Postbag
Right back in the early days of Naked Blog, we were raving about a site called psycho ex-girlfriend. The name is so descriptive we needn't elaborate. Today I chanced on one called i can still tell your wife, bill which seems along similar lines. Both of these only for the most prurient of readers.
Noyen has a great photo-story for you today. You'll laugh your cotton socks off. That young man must spend hours on his stories, whereas NB rattles them off in ten minutes max. (Laziness.) For Ilphin-followers there's a new look and a new episode. (I think it's called journal now.)
Readers under 25 might find this tale a bit shocking.
"I'm taking it back!" Sandra declared. "It's only across the road. They can damn well give me a new one!"
Privately, I had my doubts that a store would gaily take back a computer and hand over a brand new replacement, but Sandra seemed determined. So we unplugged it. We were attempting to connect to the net, for the first time, and Sandra was naturally very keen. Me, I was a bit concerned, as every time I've tried to get someone connected, it hasn't worked. And this was proving no exception.
Well, no dialling tone, to be exact. It's been a week for things not working, so I'd become quite stoic - expecting nothing, and taking what little hits life could throw at me, like a performing dolphin jumping for fish. Plus we had a nice litre of Haddow's finest red waiting for when the job was complete.
But the young man in the computer shop was adamant. "You've got to have the service department do a diagnostic check over the phone before I can exchange," he declared - quite loudly, really, so everybody around started looking at us. Useful technique, but we weren't to be put off that easily. O no. Tall, slender and lightly-freckled, with big blue eyes, and short hair gelled forward, the man reached for his mobile, the answer to every social impasse these days.
"We've had loads of people look at it," Sandra batted back. "Doshie, Duncan, Peter here..." "But are they engineers? the guy asked. "I am," I announced. "I've done tracert, winipcfg, internal diagnostic, uninstall, reinstall... you name it." (Readers of a technical bent will realise I was faking it.)
That phased him a bit. Deuce. Under his drab store uniform I could tell he was a lean, mean love-machine. I had visions of his gleaming musculature, naked in the half-light, with his proudly priapic penis jutting up and out, ready to service wherever it chose. "Maybe it's the lead," he said. "Try this one."
So, deflected but not defeated, we left the store again, me clutching the computer, and Sandra the new lead. "He was a bit of all right, wasn't he?" Sandra laughed. I could only agree. "Why don't we invite him over to help us?" she continued. "Yeah," I said. "Wonder if he's ever done a threesome?"
Waiting for a gap in the Newhaven Road traffic, we discussed the various ways we would have him. "Bet he's never [material deleted for reasons of taste and decency] before," I mused out loud. "Bet yer right!" Sandra laughed.
Oh - the connection went fine after that. It was the lead wot done it. So now Sandra can read her stories before anybody else does...
Nothing works. The internet is fucked. I'm going to get myself a candle, quill pen, heap of parchment and bottle of tincture of opium. That way I'll get far more readers than this, with far more interesting stuff for them to read.
On to Blogger. Template, to edit the page. But Blogger was fucked as well. Then, after about half an hour, Blogger came back, but then my super, hi-speed, broadband, cable access decided it would have a go-slow too. (Gotta get in on the act.)
Result. At least an hour to get as far as the Template. Then I couldn't remember how to comment out a line of script. Tried hash. That's the # not the drug. (Just been down-classed to a Class C here in UK, btw. That makes it so legal it's practically compulsory. But I digress.)
Calmed down and remembered that above all this was an HTML page, and even I the ancient one knew the HTML comment. We came, we saw, we commented out. Bliss. Nirvana. Nae fucking comments still, though. Then they came. But today they're gone again.
Marcus - of course I love you like the son I never had, but you've got to get this act together, or you'll lose your users in droves. I could have invented the World Wide Web this week in the time I've spent on BlogBack.
But enough. This is not the place for GeekSpeak. Others revel in it. Find them.
Talking of Geeks, his Credo Of The Web Log Writer had the airwaves, news-wires, comment boxes and even pigeon post fair buzzing yesterday. It's a meme already. (What is a meme, btw? It's a lovely word, but I'm one of those old-fahioned boys who likes to know what I'm actually saying. Like Karma.)
Rex writes to say he's "very impressed" with Mad Monk, and will be keeping a close eye. Rex is probably the most educated man I know, with a degree in English from Oxford University, so this is not faint praise.
Heehee. Apropos of all the net horror above, you'll never guess what I'll be doing in just four hours time? Connecting my friend Sandra to the internet! Yes, even despite the Wells Fargo speeds, she's still raring to go. I'm kinda looking forward to it. Must be like introducing someone to their first shot of a delicious but utterly addictive drug. Way to go, Sandra! Your life and your phone bills will never be the same again.
And if that doesn't work, we'll get drunk and talk about men, unkindly. More tomorrow!
Monday, Monday. I don't like Mondays. Rainy Day Mondays...
More songs about this day than any other. Now why should that be? Also, statistically, you are more likely to die of a heart attack on Monday morning than any other day. It's the stress of going back to work. Well, at least we don't have that one, for a while.
It's pissing down outside. "Pissin wi' rain," as a German exchange student once came out with, to everyone's delight. But I don't mind that. Rain is important, and gets the clouds out of the way. It's the hovering, thick, dry, useless clouds I can't stand. But you know that by now.
I'm so fucking anti-depressed now it's a miracle. Cop this lot...
one bag of rubbish taken out, and two more filled and ready to go
complete laundry done (and even hung up - no more purple stains this time)
replaced a light bulb (and had a new one ready in the house - that's the real miracle)
showered and shaved (on Friday)
all except one of obligations to others completed, and that one's out of my hands.
So we have every reason to be happy, even in the rainstorm. And yet, and yet...
A new scribe has appeared. Mighty Geek. Good. Except that a coupla days ago he writes the most devastating critique of web log writers. It's so to the point it draws blood. Quite put me off my stride, hence today's late offering.
So here are our views. Listed to the left here are writers, real writers, and a breadth of content and styles you would find in no daily or periodical. The quality at times equals that of the finest modern journalists. And it surpasses the minor hacks on even The Guardian.
That is why we weblog. And that is why we're grateful for the peer recognition from these and others. We take, and we offer back, simply because we can. The other things we sometimes say are only bovine poop.
Hi this Sunday morning. Not a lot today, as I have at least a half-day of webby stuff to do, and then hopefully to The Village for their famed Sunday Brunch. "A bunker buster of a grill." And you get one guess as to who was responsible for that remark!
My great thanks to Nine of Awkward Silence for the lovely letters yesterday about Saint John's Wort and other matters. Much excellent and recent material on your Edinburgh site.
Apropos of that, it was Nine who alerted me to the BlogBack comments being Donald Ducked. There's a new version, and you had to change your code. Plus if you wanted to keep your existing comments, you had to write down every single Comment ID number (7 digits), and fill in a form for every one. I was just in from the pub, and thought, "Fuck it - let's start again."
Today, of course, I regret that, and I really hope previous commenters aren't too offended. The upgrade was nothing to do with me. I trust this isn't going to happen a lot, as I love reading what you have to say. (OMG I'm sounding like the BBC.)
A brand new blog to check out is Diary of a Mad Monk, from a friend of Carrie who's just come out of the Seminary. I loved it. But then you know me.
Got to go. Can't relax until this online exhibition is perfecto. Nothing challenging, and there's auto-thumbnail, but it's a bit repetitive, and of course THINGS CAN ALWAYS GO WRONG. So that's two techy remarks today, from your ultra lo-tech NB.
The old comments are restored! All it took was a piece of A4 paper, a pen (cheap one will do), mug of coffee and packet of cigarettes. (Only two got used.) Thank you, thank you Marcus. You are a star, despite your funny name. I'll be sending you some PayPal just as soon as my card is useable again. (For the usual reason!)
Exactly a fortnight ago, Naked Blog was up in arms about an extremely tasteless and disgusting (to me) episode of a news quiz on BBC TV. We wrote to complain, and received the reply yesterday.
What was fascinating was last night's edition of the same Have I Got News For You show, which was so bland you could pour it over cauliflower. I guess we weren't alone in our complaint! America was hardly mentioned. Bush not at all, Usama neither, and Blair only once. The whole show centred around a man called Ian Duncan Smith, the leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. (Conservative Party - former home of Her Divine Radiance, the Blessed Margaret Thatcher. I'm kidding.)
It's good to see the BBC does take some note of its public. Well done.
Yesterday was a bit strange. Remember I said I had three things to do? Well, I got one done - a Christmas Menu page for a site I maintain - couldn't do the second, as the hosting company hadn't connected the domain, and then I took half a Saint John's Wort herbal anti-depressant. Well, three-quarters, to be exact. (We get a bit seasonally depressed, although it is still rather early in the season.)
Then I lay in a stupor for three hours, barely able to read The Guardian. I even watched Anne Robinson, whom I detest, and The Weakest Link. "Peter, you leave with nothing. Goodbye."
So - today's question is... anybody got any advice about SJW? I want to be anti-depressed but still able to move around. Or is that asking the moon when we have the stars?
Good morning world! I love you so much, wherever you are. Today is so nice I can't decide whether to give it a white cloud with sunbeams or a full yellow spidery sun. I'll decide by the end.
Had the most bizarre sexual dream last night, where I was "doing it" with a close friend. Ever had that one? And at my age as well. Worse is that whenever I close my eyes, I can still see clearly those naughty sexual parts. Well, even that's not the whole story. An orange was involved, and maybe an apple as well. The horror has led to amnesia.
Spent a great couple of hours yesterday with my friend Norma. (No - it wasn't her in the dream.) Charity Shop Norma, as we call her, is a survivor. Mid-sixties, evergreen and indestructible, she is a tonic to the flagging spirit. Until she gets too drunk, when she becomes a bit of a pest. But last night was just the right amount.
"Love your new hair-do, hen," I said to her. It was short and nicely cut, slightly Audrey Hepburn. "Thank you darling!" she cried, running her fingers above it for effect. "I asked the girl for a Judi Dench, but she was so young she'd never heard of her." We agreed that the young are totally lacking in culture these days.
"Here - d'ya wanna see my new earrings?" she demanded, diving into her battered but once-classy bag. They were in a plastic bank cash-bag, still with the price tag of 65pence. (About one dollar.) "Bargain, eh?" Norma laughed. And they really were. Norma might shop with limited means, but she never ends up cheap.
She got the left one in just fine, but the right one wouldn't go, so she went to the ladies room. Still no joy. "I'm sure when I got my right ear pierced the guy didn't put the hole in straight," Norma confided. So she sat, mono-earringed. We drank some more.
Out and About
Two Brit-blogs for you today. Ilphin is on cracking form after a quiet-ish spell. He raises the mother/boyfriend/teen son domestic situation to an art form. Bask. Start here and work forward.
Another Edinburgh-blog is Simon Fraser. Simon writes with interest and care about various matters both local and wider afield. Try him. He's markedly less neurotic than most bloggers, including of course this one. Carrie once famously blogged that she "would do him". See what you think.
That's all for today. It's already 9am and I've got a hundred things to do. Well, three.
Well, yesterday was pretty good, all in all, although it did have some rocky patches. I'm not sure whether to mention the bad part, as it's a bit local, but I'll try and broaden the story. Plus get some pics to illustrate my gripe.
The main part of Leith is called The Shore, where a river flows into the docks and then to sea. Once the haunt of prostitutes, dealers and other such, it's been over the last twenty years steadily upgraded into a desirable bar, restaurant and residential delight.
A key feature was the view... docks, cranes, ships and beyond that the sea. But no longer. Some bastard in some planning department has granted permission for a housing block which is now half-built, and which totally obscures the entire seascape. An utterly distinctive amenity (the public view) has been sold to the highest bidder and obliterated.
I feel robbed. I don't even live in that area, but I do visit it a lot, for that stunning and life-enhancing outlook. Gone. For ever. To Big Money.
My anger here is not at the property developers. Money has no morals: it exists purely to grow. Money would build "luxury apartments" over every scrap of grass it could find, unless controlled. My anger is at the public servants who allowed this obscenity to happen.
But what to do? A letter to the local press would seem to be a start, a petition even, but how to you get a half-built development un-built? Hell would freeze over first. And do I really, really want - at my age - to start getting involved in protests which won't ever achieve anything? Hmmm. As I say, I'll get pics.
For now, here's a pic of one of the views from my house, featuring the extensive Naked Blog Parklands, my private double-decker limo, and that noisy manhole cover waiting for Clarence.
Yesterday I promised to put up Fred Sims' exhibition on-line, but there doesn't seem that much point now, as all except one got sold on the opening night. I warned him this would happen. "Fred," I said. "Get that paint-brush moving. They'll go like hot cakes." It's "The Village Effect". But apparently he's got more works in the basement, so they can get put up also.
Art's such a funny thing. I'm one of the "I know what I like" punters. This is derided by the art-istas, but in fact it's the only logical and honest attitude to take. I can also judge roughly how long a work took to paint, given the required skills are already in place. So when I'm passing some galleries I could name, glance in and see a water-colour sketch the size of a paperback book selling for £2,500, then I know someone is making a killing. But it's not about quality, it's about fashion and investment.
And would I sell a ten-minute sketch for £2,500 if I could? You bet your sweet rosebud.