I was sitting yesterday afternoon in my garden, eating strawberries and listening to The Marshall Mathers LP, when a small hydrogen bomb went off in the garden next door. Mr and Mrs Patterson, their two children, and Cherry the labrador dog were all instantly reduced to ash, but Gordon the Goldfish had a miraculous escape. Nuclear scientists put it down to the curved bowl full of water somehow deflecting the damaging radiation.
I too survived, mainly I think because of the Factor 20 Ambre Solaire sunscreen I was wearing. Stupidly, I'd forgotten to do the soles of my feet (doncha always just!), and so they're a bit charred. But I'll recover. I always do.
Let's see if this tale attracts more than one comment - unlike the one below.
Stuart and I are off to IKEA today for a blowout. He's Ed Norton, and I'm gonna be Brad Pitt...
I was drinking my pint in the Port o' Leith Bar this afternoon, when Miss World walked in the door.
She looked fabulous - tall, regal, Nigerian, and wearing a trousersuit to die for. That's her to the right, in case you were wondering. Agbani Darego*.
We were all totally gobsmacked of course - struck silent by her elegance and glamour - but my good friend Fiona jumped to the rescue.
"Aye - ye look gorgeous hen - but what're ye daein' in a place like this?" she asked. We laughed then, nervously. It broke the ice.
Her photographer explained that he needed a shot of Ms Darego in an authentic bar, and - let's face it - they don't get more authentic than this one. Pamela the barmaid served coffee to Agbani and her entourage, and the shots were set up.
But Miss World was looking a bit lonely. Her beauty was isolating her from the usual pub chit-chat. So I told her about Tony The Hat, my bridge-playing friend. He's Nigerian also, I explained - an Ebo prince. She looked grateful that I'd made the effort.
The snapper was taking loads of pics - here, there, every time she lifted her coffee cup. I could tell even I was featured in some of them, so I took my glasses off and tried to look meaningful. It's not that hard. Well, neither am I.
Then came the big one - the piece de resistance. We (the drinkers, that is) had to line up behind the bar and form a group shot. Ethnic bar - ethnic punters. Can't go wrong. We gathered, we smiled, we did our best. "Love yer shoes, hen," Fiona said to Miss World, then discreetly started groping my family allowance. To be honest, I was too overawed to notice! Miss World to my right, indecent assault from my left - it's a man's life, right enough.
News of the World. This Sunday. If they use it. And if they do, I'll tell you which one is me! (Clue - I'm not the one wearing the crown. Nor either the one with the blonde beehive hairdo. That's Mary, the landlady... a beauty queen herself in her day.)
C'est la vie, say the old folks. It goes to show you never can tell.
Red-blooded male readers (and there are a couple), jealous of the above true story, can feast on the entire Agbani Darego experience at this site. Apparently the young lady is the first black African to win the contest in 51 years. I'm also aware that some of you will find the whole idea of beauty contests unappealing. But here at Naked Blog we only report the news - never manufacture it.
*Sorry 'bout the crap pic quality. I think they've done something to it to make it unscannable. Anyway - you get the idea.
Just now I saw my first housefly of the year! I always love that moment - the signal that winter is on its way out, and summer will as ever return. A bit like Columbus (Colon), spotting the New World seagulls with leaves in their mouths - or so the story goes.
I watched this newborn creature struggling up the window pane, marvelling at nature's diversity. Then I squirted it with flyspray. Living in squalor demands an insect-free environment. But I bet those damn moths put an appearance in again soon! They're in the carpet edges, and I can't find the vacuum cleaner.
It was fleas, rather than flies, which vectored bubonic plague (black death, Yersinia pestis) throughout Europe from the thirteen hundreds to the sixteen hundreds, and last night Channel Four ran an excellent programme on the matter, Riddle of the Plague Survivors - Secrets of the Dead. No space here for the ins and outs, but it seems at last someone's got round to the idea of asking why some survived when more than sixty percent perished.
They found a genetic mutation, Delta 32, in the descendants of the survivors. Then they found the same mutation in that small group of people who didn't get Aids when all around them did. People like me.
So for twenty years I've known there must be some such protection factor inside me, but all that time I've had to sit back and wonder why there was never any call from the researchers.
It's money, of course. Right now the Aids mega-bucks are in combination therapies, and a genuine cure would ruin the gravy-train. Wait till there's some apparent profit visible, and the vultures of vaccination will be there before you can say "share price".
The researchers into Delta 32 were Bill Paxton and Steven O'Brien. The "non-victim" featured was Steve Crohn. Tigress productions. Google will do the rest.
HIV-resistant DNA right here, right now. Free to any non-profit research project.
Out and about on Blogdex
Congratulations to Hoopty on his new domain, deservedly Number 1 on Blogdex. The man always said he wanted to be the biggest internet sensation since porn, and now it's happened. Happy for you, Mike!
I know I said we were finished with everything except pure literature. Forget it. Writing is hard work. You have to stare at the blank wall and hope nice words come into your head. Sometimes I haven't got time to wait that long. Plus Josh does it better than I ever could.
So, without further ado (isn't ado a funny word?)... from last night's searches...
granny gives gum job
wife came home slut after fucking all her workmates
Hi folks! Sunday morning and the cold spell has melted clean away, but not without confusions in its wake. No loss of life though, so far as I could tell. It's strange seeing on the news, "Snow brought chaos to Scotland." It didn't. Scotland is used to snow. It's what it's for.
No chaos in my home however, as this morning I woke feeling like a person again - the first time for months. Two days sans Guinness, two days of exactly the right amount of exercise, and two days of joshing with workmates and customers have left my head as clear as a bell. My body too has that delicious "tingle" - from muscles saying, "Thank you master, for using us". Talk about anthropomorphism.
And talking of Greek, did you know that Prince Philip's surname was Sichlesivig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg-Hesse? (The Hesse bit is optional, btw.) That, coupled with his wife's true surname of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, (before they changed it to the rather more English-sounding Windsor) and you have the double-barrelled name at the end of the universe. Fling em both together, stick a Spencer in there somewhere, and you can see why Prince Harry needs the occasional puff of pot. Even spelling it right would be a nightmare. No wonder both World Wars were a bit of an embarrassment.
(Information from this Prince Philip article by Sally Vincent in yesterday's Guardian. You might like it. It's full of bitchy little throwaways of the type we do so well at Naked Blog. In fact, for five thousand quid I'm sure I could have sat at my desk long enough to rattle it off myself. Nice to see our style is spreading, even to the "qualities".)
Here I'm tempted to revert to the old-style, over-the-top Naked Blog, and bring out those dictionaries of irony and silly mis-quotations. Hmm. We shall see. The transition to literary (hah!) posts have cost us a whole percentage point on "Rate My Blog". Clearly there are more punters wanting Robbie naked than fine writing.
Today completes the first "set of three" at the bingo. One little niggle has started already (this was inevitable, and emotionally budgeted for), and I'll keep you posted. Have to get names for em all first. Libel laws, you know.
Ilphin (sidebar) is a charming young man in England who was one of the very first to link to us. He writes a fascinating blog and journal, and he's a bit depressed that he isn't getting many comments. Over to you.
Bloody freezing tonight. As I stepped out of the warmth and smoky fug of my work at ten, the wind blew like knives at the perspiration still beading my head and neck. Straight from the arctic, slicing and searing, as quickly I yanked up all the coat collars I had. The ground too was sharing the pain - thick with sparkly black ice, the sort that catches the bingo ladies unaware, so threatening to their no-longer fit bones.
Above, there's half a moon in a cloudless sky, shining down on a light dusting of snow, all guaranteed to be crispy crunch by morning. There's a planet by its side. Jupiter, I'd guess. Seen Jupiter that bright there before.
In the car-park below and behind my home, a woman steps out of her car into the snow, grabbing her coat and hurrying, scurrying - the car-park lights making three long shadows like a floodlit football match.
All day it's been great. Wave after wave of love beating over my battered psyche - healing, soothing, rewarding. How can someone so befriended be so awful, I ask? And maybe, just maybe, they might be correct and I might be quite wrong.
Perhaps I don't just pretend to be their friend. Maybe after these five years there really is some underlying contact, some thought of we're in it together, girls - gotta make the most of it, eh?
The calling part was superb. Not too much this first day, just six games. But what a thrill hearing my voice properly again. It really is a wee stoatir, even if I say it myself. The voice that sells chocolate on TV ads, or pension plans for the over-fifties. It's only at work I can hear it as others do, you see, as the amplification is expensive, and essentially perfect. Nothing, nothing must impede the old dears hearing the numbers.
And conversely, vice versa, nothing must stop my own ears from hearing their calls of "house", however enfeebled their cries have become. Big money hangs on these two tiny diaphragms I call my ear drums, and I give thanks that I've looked after them, avoiding noise whenever possible, choosing silence often even to music. They have to rest you see, to re-calibrate. Like my soul.
I love bingo. I love old ladies. I should have been one.
Yes folks, it's true. We've joined that tiny elite who can serve up a single, unique page to a two-word Google-search. The words were linux and gobsmacker, and the page was our July archive, to your left. (Just take my word for it - it's a very long page!)
Well, this got me reading July 2001 all over again, and what a change. Where nowadays we have stress and angst, then it was peace and fun. Where now we're reduced to naked top tens, then it was dainty little slices of real-life tales. With real people, rather than just your good selves, who - however charming I'm sure most of you are - are quite invisible behind the glass of my cathode-ray screen. I read you, I sense you there, but that's as close as we ever can be.
The end of free
July also was a turning point in another way. I retired from my position as head caller with a large commercial bingo company, and set out to carve a new, if belated, career, courtesy of an inheritance from an elderly relative. It didn't happen.
What did happen is that I blogged a lot. But blogging never put food in anyone's mouth that I know of. So tomorrow - with no tail between legs whatsoever - I start back with my former employer. Sometimes it takes maturity to know when you've not quite got it right. And loving colleagues who accept you as you are, faults and all, the good with the bad. Perfection is not a requirement.
In short, I'm finished with popularity contests now, and NB will revert to its former purpose of offering the highest-quality writing that I can do.
Re-reading July was quite an experience. But of course, I didn't know any of you then. There were just three readers - four on a busy day. And they got the best I could deliver. You should try that month - it was quite a milestone.
As I wrote on July 26, "Readers who don't know me personally, (and there are a couple), must be getting sick to death of this week's topic, which is of course my imminent retirement. And loss of stardom. And possible dissolution of personality."
Is there such a thing as knowing yourself too well? Earlier this week I peeped into the abyss, but was allowed to step back.
Thanks to Geek for his congratulations. A small gesture, but much appreciated. I would have done the same for any of you.
And those of you who find the idea of your favourite blogger working in the bingo industry - rather than Microsoft - a little yuckky, don't worry. I'm used to toughing that one out in real life. Plus, there seem to be countless blogs by IT managers. Savour them. But we'll still be here.
It's been fun for seven months, and don't think for one minute I don't appreciate your presence. But glass people can only give so much. NB is all too human.
Yesterday I wrote, "It's a glorious day. By the end of it I will have both a haircut and a job." This is what happened, in precise sequence, after I left you.
Celebrated in The Port with the boozy pals.
Then walked to The Village in the pissing rain. (Talk about tomcat!)
Re-united with Stuart after four months. (And Ally and Dolly)
Played bridge back in The Port.
Finally, slept like a baby for the first time in weeks.
I think Davezilla refers to this as a "cheese sandwich blog", but in the hands of a master...
You may congratulate me! NB is once again employed, in a place I've worked twice before, full of old ladies all desperate to win money. You may also surmise what job that is. Three days a week. Start Friday! Gets me "out of the house", as we say here. (For a flavour, check out the bingo links in the post below. You'll love em.)
Otherwise I was staring bipolar disorder right in the face.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have laundry to do. Clothes to repair. Shoes to polish. Heck - I might even wash up. (Don't take that last one too seriously.) Talk to you later. I'm a busy man these days.
And where on earth's that ironing board? Oh - I see it, under a pile of pizza boxes...
O dear, o dear. It's rare indeed that my pieces here actually scare me. Normally the edginess is under some editorial control - "write this, not that - no, darling... that's too extreme... tone it down to this... "
But - and I have to say gloriously - early yesterday evening I just sat down and let it all rip, in a blistering critique of the blog process. Then I passed out.
Well, had a nap, would be a toned down way of putting it, after a "refreshing" afternoon with Sandra, Big Straight Al, (who was wearing his girl-friend's fur coat), Henry the IT man, and Cherry the black part-labrador.
Waking up in a complete horror, I rushed through to re-read what on earth I'd done... re-wrote portions, then finally hit Delete. Thanks to Barbara and cyberslut for the comments in any case. (B - I think your comments are broken.)
"It's not a writing experience any more - it's a fucking popularity contest. Pop Idol, but with dictionaries."
(Always prided myself on a pithy turn of phrase.) Nevertheless, the article does make some valid points, so later I'll gloss it and offer it to the side.
More about blog-stuff at Torill's site. Look for the link to blog article. Naked Blog started going downhill the day it started to get popular.
It's a glorious day. By the end of it I will have both a haircut and a job. Even if it means back to the bingo. And more bingo here. Can't go on like this. Hardly slept a wink in thirteen hours. Halloween H20 is shit, even though it's got Jamie-Lee Curtis. At the end she... (hee hee)
Google loves me. Like a limpet it clings to my every word, my every nuance - sometimes even putting the words into my very head, in the space where the Saint John's Wort used to be. (My God - I could murder one right now - maybe with half a bottle of New Zealand Chardonnay - and it's not even 10 am.)
We're number 1 in the discovered universe for "p*rn weblog". Stop laughing, troubled diva!!
We're getting searches for J*nath*n K*ng - a convicted thing I'm not even going to asterisk - all because I mentioned that Jon Ronson's controversial film about him was coming up on Monday. And there was me yesterday boasting how Google-savvy I am!
And yesterday I gets this email from the IT manager of a leading British manufacturing concern, asking me to remove all mention of their company from my site, as they find it in bad taste. (That's my other, literary (hah!) site, btw.) But it's just as nuts as this one. Worse, actually in places. And borderline pr0n.
Por qua? Because a couple of years ago I wrote a witty, shitty little ditty about something that happened one day involving their factory. And would you believe it? It's number 5 on Google-Woogle. So - as their global customers search eagerly for information on where to place their multi-million quid contracts (we're talking BIG business), what they get instead is the Madness of King Peter.
No names, no pack drill, no links. It would be horrific beyond belief if you were all to Google that tale, and push it even further up the chart.
So - I'm sitting here with a Drama Queen in one ear, and a Practical, Home-Lovin Man in the other. Watch this space!!
*Often attributed to Kenneth Williams' character in Carry On Up The Khyber. But those with longer memories claim it for a wartime radio show ITMA. Possibly even Victorian Music Hall before that. Who knows? Who cares? I'm a walking libel-writ.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for not sending any Valentine greetings. I've never had one in my life, and it's a record I wouldn't want to break now. [Fat chance of that, uglybug. Ed.]
As promised, here is this week's naked top ten, straight from my referral logs... (All these individuals had naked after their names.)
[Pop Idol 1]
[Pop Idol 2]
Simon Rex (19 requests)
Robbie Williams (17)
Tracy Emin (12)
Tory Spelling (11)
Sophie Raworth (11)
Prince Harry (7)
Ruby Wax (3)
Princess Margaret (2)
You'll note I left the top two places blank, in recognition that those two twatty finalists in the recent Pop Idol TV show would undoubtedly have been in number 1 and number 2 positions, had I been naive enough to ever mention them. But we're talking old-timer here. Been round the Google block too many times!
Prince Harry is on the way out now, until he hits the headlines again, (shouldn't be long, now he's got a taste for fame). Also his brother has disappeared completely, to be replaced with their late, great aunt Margaret. I knew someone would be sick enough to search for HRH naked, and I wasn't wrong.
For my lovely overseas readers... Tracy Emin is a "conceptual artist" who sells stupid tat for vast sums. There's a picture of an unmade bed further down this page. That's Emin art. Lucky cow, is what I say. Simon Rex and Tory Spelling I confess I've never heard of, but I'm sure you know better!
Sandra and I eventually made it to the clothes shops yesterday, and she literally forced me to buy loads of em. My card was red hot! We even did some Charity Shops. Talk about Second Hand Rose!!
I'd love to tell you about it... hilarious at times... but it's a beautiful day, and I really, really must take a very long walk. Been indoors too much. Talk to you later.
Try as I might not to write to you, for even one day, this simply isn't possible. Talk about addiction! Last night in the pub, Andy was unwrapping a tablet bottle.
"Want one?" he said, showing me this grey, dismal-looking tablet. "What is it?" I asked. "Looks like an antibiotic."
"Saint John's Wort," he answered. "It's got me fixed up just fine." So I explained that I'm in the middle of kicking that very habit, taken the last one three days ago, and it's proving far from easy.
"Oh - I went to a herbalist, and he recommended it," Andy continued, knocking back the SJW with a slug of lager. "Oh, I see," I demurred - refraining from saying that if he'd gone to an ice-cream shop they would undoubtedly have recommended ice-cream. Or a cinema ticket at a cinema. People always sell what they've got.
What this doesn't explain however, is the role of doctors over the last forty years, who have systematically poisoned whole generations with their filth. Oh yes - I was there when it all started. Librium, valium, mogadon, anafranil, etc. etc. ending up at today's wonder-blunder, sooper-dooper Prozac.
Doctors make you worse. Doctors are the pushers for the drug multinationals. Doctors really matter to those companies. And boy - do the companies look after them. No money of course - that's forbidden. But - let's face it - there are ways round every silly little regulation.
I've never taken one. I saw what they did to my mother over the decades. And now here her little baby boy is fighting mood-swings, depressions and rages - all the things which should have happened in November and December, just shunted forward to February. There truly is no escape. Mum and me must have been very bad indeed in some former life. Karma Chameleons.
Never again. No more medication. I would rather hang myself from the nearest oak tree with a dressing gown cord.
Out and About on the Arctic Circle
Onto lighter matters!! We're getting very big in Denmark, Norway and Finland, thanks to my new friends Tinka and Torill. Both nice sites. Appreciated. There's a guy from Finland comes into my pub. Eero his name is. Wonder if any of you know him?
Last night, amongst the pig-poo searches, came one for a story I wrote a couple of years ago on my literary (hah!) site, before Blogger.com took over my entire existence. The search was for Australian gay armed forces and the story is here. It's a bit cheeky, but I've a feeling most of you are at least as borderline nuts as me.
Thanks to Geek for his comment on the Rolling Stones saga below. Unfortunately I was in a complete rage over something that had happened irl just a bit earlier, and I deleted the lot, rather than the one cheeky sentence. Sorry. Won't happen again.
Ed: Oh yes it will. Face it honey - you're just the saddest loser on this planet. And you think you've got problems.
Naked Blog You can fuck right off. I was talking to Scary Kerry my financial manager yesterday, and do you know what she said?
Ed: I can hardly contain my indifference. (yawn)
Naked Blog: Cutbacks are coming, dude. Rationalisation. Downsizing. Gonna have to let you go.
Ed: Don't even think about it asswipe. With what I know about you, you'll never eat lunch in this town again...
Last night in the pub we had a heated debate. It was about the Rolling Stones. In the "young" corner was Sandy, a good friend and seaman, home on leave. In the "old" corner was yours truly.
Now - I know immediately what you're thinking. I bet you a fiver to a brick shithouse that you're thinking the discussion was about quality. About how today's pop music doesn't hold a candle to "when I were a lad." Wrong. False. Not true. I simply never go that road any more. They glaze over before you can say Patsy Cline.
Sandy, it turned out, is at least as big a Stones fan as was NB. And the laddie's only in his thirties.
"The Stones were as big in the eighties as they were in the sixties," he declaimed.
I disagreed. He named some late-period Stones song I'd never heard of. "Satisfaction," I replied. He named another. "Get offa my cloud," I told him. And another. "Let's spend the night together," I entreated.
Big Straight Al and Gaz were agog. All those pop titles slipping from these normally erudite lips clearly astonished them. They didn't even think I had enough brain cells to remember that far back. But Sandy was getting hot under the collar, and a flush was spreading upwards therefrom. I worried for his blood pressure.
"They were as big - BIGGER EVEN - in the eighties than they were in the sixties!" he half-shouted now.
"How the hell do you know? You weren't even BORN in the fucking sixties!"
"Yes - I was... I was FOUR!" Sandy retorted. "And anyway - I definitely wan't born when Mozart was around, but that doesn't stop me being a fan of Mozart!" I paused then, wondering if that was a valid point, or a non sequitur.
"OK, then pal," I said to him, placatory. "Maybe, just maybe you're right. To tell the truth, I stopped following them in '68 after Jumping Jack Flash." He calmed then, and bit by bit that flush subsided. We shook hands. We'd never argued before. Gaz had his back to us to escape the frictions, but that just landed him with Gerry Not Guilty.
Well, that's it folks - the Antibloggies are done, dusted and dispatched. Hearty Congratulations to Mighty Geek, who at last picks up the award he was so truly lusting after. It's for "Color Scheme most likely to cause Epileptic Seizures."
Hmmm. Every time I've been there - which is most days - it's been a tasteful pastel blend of greenish, orange-ish, grey-ish and white. But maybe he's got something wilder up his sleeve in the skins department. Cheeky little thing he can be, that Geek.
The one NB was sponsoring, "Most obsessed with Radiohead" went to The Stranger, who gets a brand spanking new nakedblog.com ABBA Gold, The greatest hits. It'll do him good. Learn what real pop music is all about.
However, to alleviate any possible disappointment, we've developed a co-sponsor, Punkarella, who is also offering a CD. Nice site, Punkarella - refreshing and lively.
From my referral logs
I see Paul Baker of Dollsoup has a re-vamped blog page. Paul writes about Ivan Massow's new site, but I checked it out and it seemed little more than a disguised way of selling you "financial products". He doesn't even offer a decent pic for his fans to drool over. Maybe you get that when you sign up.
Thanks also to Vodkabird for the nice mention, since deleted. *Sigh*. Never could keep friends for very long. Must be the shortest link I've ever had. And she's banned NB from leaving comments. Ah well - just have to leave em here then.
Oh, and now that that execrable kiddy/pop/abuse show is over, (as if!), some of you might be interested in a former Pop Idol, namely my pal Jon Ronson's film tonight about Jonathan King, the convicted you know what. Fascinating that Channel 4 placed it straight after the PI weekend.
PS If anyone else feels reckless enough to link to us, our brand new domain nakedblog.com is doing great business already. Go on! Do it now!! Show the world your wilder side. It's what we're here for...
Just spent a pleasant ten minutes teasing a navel-full of fluff from my mouse-rollers. Now it's so smooth you'd never think it was the same creature. So - get scratching folks... you know you'll thank me for it later.
Clean also in that yesterday marked the last half-tablet of Saint John's Wort. Ideally I'd have tailed off for longer, but that would have meant spending fifteen quid on another box, and let's face facts, I'm sure it's not that damn addictive.
Oh fuck - I think my brain's just split in two... (Only kidding folks! It's in two bits already!)
And just had a delicious lunch of rice, pasta, beetroot, tomato, potato, (I feel a song coming on... "You say tomato...") Wow - talk about showing your age!
And tuna. Tinned not fresh, I confess. Tuna doesn't grow here in Scotland - too Presbyterian. We got cod, haddock, whiting and farmed salmon. (But avoid the farmed salmon - It's got more fungicides than a farmhouse full of foot and mouth.)
Been studying quite intently a couple of high-profile, early-thirties faggots on the telly recently. First was Stephen Twigg MP (aka Twiglet) who shot to parliamentary stardom by unseating yet another pink oboe player, Michael Portillo.
Stephen was on Question Time, a "panel and audience" screaming match. (Sorry - discussion of current events.) He held his end up well, so to speak, and I was interested to note that he's Deputy Leader of The House, a job of some gravitas, as is now apparently his waistline.
There was a hint of a lisp. This was a pity. And he had [the sensitive should avert their eyes here] oral sex lips. (Is that a nice way of putting it?)
Much butcher however was Ivan Massow on Frost on Sunday this morning. Tall, even as he sat, appealingly nervous, and with the flashiest of Rolexes sliding up and down his manicured wrist. He's a millionaire businessman, you see.
Made his dosh selling insurance to the Aids-afflicted. (With wealthy gays it's nearly always insurance or porn... just look about you.)
And last week he got sacked from the Institute of Contemporary Arts for stating the obvious, that Tracy Emin-like installation shit is just that. "Self-indulgent, craftless tat." Good on yer Ivan. Wish I was thirty years younger, dude. I'd polish yer Rolex, big-time. Wideboy or not. And it's not the money I'm after.
Loads of new links and mentions on last night's referrals. Thanks a bunch and a half. Details and reciprocations as soon as I get round to it.
And finally... (Head-up-ass blogginess from now on. Just skip it. Need to get out more.)
Only the very short of sight can have missed the brouhaha over "originality" at the end of last week. It's on metafilter, DSR (What a con... not remotely disturbing... the things some people will do... ) and no doubt everywhere else. The debate went huge after a couple of throwaway sentences on a certain British site.
So, for the record, here are my views. The weblogger above begins by saying that there is "little original" on the web these days. Wrong. False. Not true.
The writing on our pages is the original work of the author throughout. We never copy, never plagiarise. (No need to, darlings... :) But I accept that inspiration is everywhere, in every medium. And the simple way round that is to acknowledge, credit and link. It's so damn easy. And honest.
But of course we're not alone. To your left are listed webwriters of at times breathtaking inventiveness. They, and everyone else we've ever recommended, are founts of sheer delight. Yes, I'm proud to be associated with their work, and to enjoy their reciprocal acknowledgement. Peer-group evaluation.
(Today, try Cracks in the Pavement, or Diary of a Mad Monk, or Troubled Diva if you don't believe me.) Little original? Don't make me laugh in your face. Un-be-fucking-lievable.
And that's quite enough of that. Most of you reading this could write me under the table anyway, any day.
PS There's nothing new in our titles. They're from songs, films... anything well-known and popular. Sometimes I adapt, or shorten them, to make you do a little work yourself!
Nevertheless - however famous - titles don't write themselves, and we owe a big debt to the minds which created them. In one sense, the whole "naked " phenomenon stems from W. Burroughs and The Naked Lunch. If only he'd known what he started... Jamie Oliver.... Quentin Crisp!
PPS I'll give odds of five-to-one on I get "Princess Margaret naked" on Google before her funeral on Friday. There's nowt so queer as folk.
Well, I could write loads... tell you about the chats my mother used to have with me about Princess Margaret's passions and abandonments. How she was so beautiful... and let's face it girls... what woman wouldn't look good in those outfits and those sparklers? How over the decades she gradually sank from view, spending ever more time doing fuck all on her holiday island.
Yep, we could do all that, but why bother? My mother would have been sad, but she's dead too. (Although she was quite upset when Bette Davis died.) All of life is showbiz. The royal family is now so utterly and totally dominated by the memory of Diana, and her living incarnation in her eldest son, that nobody really gives a flying fuck about any of the rest of them any more.
So - no more. The papers and the telly are better at insincerity than I could ever be. And Private Eye magazine scoops the pool for satire.
Bye Margaret. You smoked and drank and lived till 71. In that you were an inspiration to us all. Gawd bless yer, Ma'am.
Coming tomorrow: Ethics, morals and originality in the web environment.
Yep folks - it's finally here. (Once it's resolved.) Nine months' trial - what a gestation! - have persuaded me to keep on bloggin' till I drop. You need have no further fears about your naked fix. Just think... a few years time and we'll all be blogging at each other from our Nursing Homes!! Makes yer think!!
Dot com practicalities
You need do nothing. Send no money unless absolutely delighted. Our existing ~magnificat site is still the active page. But now when you're in the pub and somebody asks if you've seen any good blogs lately, well - our dot com will drop straight from your lips.
To be honest - I've lost count of the number of times I've tried to write out the previous, old-fashioned URL on a pub beer mat - only to see the punters glazing over in front of my very eyes, with the thought, "If the site is half as boring as the address..." writ large across their coupons. [Coupon: E Scotland slang for face... betya never knew that all you would-be Jocks!]
Naked Blog thoughts on Weblog Addiction
I've decided to postpone this pro tem, as I'm bored with being serious. Plus after a lovely day shopping with Sandra yesterday I'm now in a totally revived mood. We didn't actually buy anything - we didn't actually even visit any shops - but instead had a walk and talk, smoke and joke, drink and think. Gorge. Thanks doll. A friend is someone who knows you better than you do yourself.
Maybe we can persuade Sandra to leave us a comment some day! I know she's very shy, but I also know you like the "cast" to drop in from time to time.
Now, He's The King of the Bloggers...
A few days ago I promised a nice pic of Evan Williams, or Evhead, or even plain Ev, the creator and owner of Blogger.com This one is from the Guardian, and accompanies this article, if there's anybody left in the world who hasn't read it.
Isn't he just a dish? Howdya like to get yer hands on his software, girls? And if 400,000 users each spend 30 dollars on Blogger Pro - well, you don't need me to work it out for ya.
Barbara in Canada was bemoaning the lack of Blog-interest in the Canadian press, and heaping some praise on The Guardian.(And NB also. Ta, Babs.) It really is a beaut, that paper. One of those things, like Mozart and Beethoven, which make life just that little bit nicer. So all-pervading is it, that there's even a gay term derived.
You've all heard of leather-queen, opera-queen, drama-queen etc? Well - in this country at least, those of us with two brain cells to rub together are proud to be Guardian Queens. Am I right, or am I right?
Can't finish without a whopping great nakedblog.com thank you to Tony my IT manager for organising all this, writing htaccess files, comment-editing suites and so on. And he won't accept one penny payment. Nevertheless, I can feel some very early Christmas presents coming on for his children!!
For those readers under 50, and I think that just about scoops the pool, monkey on my back was a 1940's and 50's expression meaning drug habit. You would read in books by William Burroughs.... "hey man I got a real monkey on my back". To which the reply would be... "you gotta take the cold turkey, dude". Isn't it funny how innocent creatures get dragged into man's vices?
Same with nations. Having already dispensed with German Measles (Rubella) and Mongolism (Down's syndrome), the BBC about a year ago scrapped the term Siamese twins, replacing with the more correct "conjoined". But you would never have guessed that last week, when conjoined was apparently forgotten and with the lastest unfortunate case we were right back to The King and I.
Take autism. All the rage this week. To point out to my lovely overseas readers, there's a heated debate going on about MMR triple vaccine. (Measles, mumps and rubella.) "Safe as houses!" says HM Government. "You could spread it on toast."
"But it gave my kid autism!" say over 1000 parents. "She was never the same again." And that is exactly where the debate stands.
Unfortunately, in the UK, no-one believes goverment safety claims any more, after the BSE debacle. (Mad cow disease.) No-one can ever, ever forget John Major, our former PM, standing in the House of Commons saying, "British beef is entirely safe." Nor can they forget him a year later saying, "British beef is linked to New-Variant CJD." (The human form of mad cow.)
After that, the words "entirely safe" cease to have any meaning remotely resembling what is written in the dictionary.
"When, I hear you ask, is he gonna get to the point? I've got a train to catch sometime today." And the point is monkey, or more accurately two of em, on my back.
Saint John's Wort. Hypericum perforatum. Containing a psychoactive compound hypericin, effective against anxiety and mild depression. The plant that puts the weeeeeeeee!!! into weed.
Like so many things these days, I first came across it on the net. (Just taken half a tab, btw, with my second coffee. You're supposed to have it with a cold drink, and food, but what the hell.) Weeeeee mmmmmmm oooooooo zzzzzzzzz.
This is the second winter I've used it, successfully, for SAD. But as any of you who've had involvement with drugs will know, the more times you're exposed, the harder it is to quit. And that's where all the recent dangerously intemperate outbursts have come from. You cannot go around the public internet making libellous allegations against perfectly pleasant, innocent people. You cannot threaten violence and guns. You should not write articles about things you know almost nothing about, (gender issues), and expect an easy ride. Yer... just... not... on! as we say here.
Stars and Stripes
Naked Blog Inc, the UK's answer to Enron, was delighted to notice that last week not one of my USA colleagues made the slightest reference to the "State of the Union" address. Rather they concentrated solely on "The Bloggies" showing an admirable sense of perspective. Well done!!
Having said that, we do have here at the moment Under-Secretary John Bolton, who is quite some dude. "Mr Secretary", our finest interviewers call him, and boy can he tear them to shreds! With constant references to ... "as the President said..." you nevertheless are totally aware that Mr Secretary Bolton could argue Mr President under the table in fifteen seconds flat. Well done! I say. Bolton for President next time. Definitely one to watch.
Addictive? asks Hoopty, about Saint John's Wort. How do you define addictive? Surely anything that makes you "feel better" is gonna let you "feel worse" when you stop it. But - still it has to go. The alternative is to be permanently medicated, and that for me is "not on" either. Thanks to both Mike and Hoopty for input on this in yesterday's comment box.
Thanks to all of you for your kind words there also. There's already the term "linky-love", well now we got "comment-love".
Yesterday was great, incidentally. Went for a walk, to get away from Naked Blog for a bit. The Water of Leith was in full flow - brown, urgent, rushing, to the so-close sea. But so were my thoughts - and I didn't really get free from here at all. And that is monkey number two, weblogs, for tomorrow.
PS My good friend Sandra just phoned. She's determined to take me shopping for clothes. But, bizarrely, I haven't got a thing to wear even to go shopping. But I think I'll shave my beard off. Depressing as fuck. I saw it in a clean mirror yesterday, and was quite startled at how ugly I look.
Yesterday's post left me making criminal threats of violence to (unspecified and unknown) individuals. I hardly slept a wink last night. Something tells me my blogging is getting way out of hand. Are there clinics you can go to to get clean?
At this my GP, Dr Prozac, interjects by email: Hey kiddo... chill baby. Try some of these beauties... sort you out in no time. And the first bottle's on me... Go on... whatya got to lose, eh? Can't keep goin on like this, now can you? Trust me, I'm your doctor.*
But I resist his silken blandishments. Mind-altering drugs are not the way to go. Well, except alcohol, nicotine, caffeine and St John's Wort. (Trying to come off that last one, btw.) It might be over-the-counter, but it still packs quite a punch. Now the days are getting longer, it has to go Tubby Bye Bye.
I'm gonna blame SJW for these mood-swings and depressed replies to various kind emails. I'm gonna blame everything except myself - for everything.Thanks to anonymous in notsosoft comment box for pointing out three earlier occurrences of "I blog, therefore I am" in obscure and unread little journals. I've given up claiming any inventiveness or originality whatsoever. Naked Blog is a total ripoff from start to finish. Plus I'm not even one quarter as smart as I think I am.
Also thanks to my advisers from Canada to Constitution Street pointing out the hazards of Monotype Corsiva. (Our new title-face.) I just thought it looked prettier. Florid.
Florid Print. Now there's a great name for a band. Or anything else. Yours for one hundred dollars. But no... some asshole will undoubtedly find at least a dozen Florid Prints about the place. Isn't the web fucking wonderful?
Played bridge last night in the Port. It was me and white Tony against Mary and black Tony. Like chess, with extras. We won.
*This construction, but not the text, after Smallweed in The Guardian. It's a brilliant technique. (Naked Blog - the paper which credits its inspirations.)
Hi everybody! I've just woken up for the 60,225th time, and I'm feeling old. But help is at hand, according to last night's How to Build a Human programme. The treatment to go for is Human Growth Hormone, which at a stroke gets rid of all yer excess fat, wrinkles, grey hair, impotence, and everything else life has dished up in the last ten years. And only a thousand quid a month.
Dunno if it gets those ovaries a-poppin again, but let's face it girls... what freaky chick would want a baby in her fifties? Stick to the grandkids. You get to hand em back.
Human Growth Hormone. Correct me if I'm wrong (and you always do, bless yer hearts), but isn't that gonadotrophin? From placentas and suchlike? Anyway, How to Build a Human is a great series, so do look out for it on whatever cable you get your BBC.
Talking of cultural interchange, there's already been response to yesterday's rather learned treatise on European film. I'm afraid some of you really should learn to read more carefully before reaching for the Outlook Express. So, to summarise...
I didn't say one bad word about Hollywood. It's a delight. Off the top of my head... Star Wars, Alien, Hallowe'en, Fight Club... there are dozens, maybe hundreds. Sheer entertainment, without the encumbrance of one single thing to think about once they're over. Without Hollywood there would be no cinema remotely as we know it.
Yes, I do realize North America has thriving Independent Cinema. Yes, I do know that David Cronenberg started off being sponsored by the Canadian Film Body (or whatever), and let me also tell you that the best gay film I've ever seen is an American independent, The Living End, by Gregg Araki. But my little tale yesterday was about film not in English, if you look back. OK?
After the recent trannyrant debacle, Tony advised me that if you're going to be controversial, it's better to offend as large group as possible. Well, I hope the North American continent is big enough. People are so touchy these days. Blograge.
On to happier things! Dunno if you like the new Naked Blog title, btw. It's called Monotype Corsiva, and font-weight:bold; (See how clever I'm getting!) But nowhere near clever enough to do my own re-design, peeps. Still thinking what to do about that, and thank you again for your very kind offers.
Funnily enough, a couple of the Anti-Bloggies are Chronic Redesignitus, and Color Scheme most Likely to Cause Epileptic Seizures. Although I've learned my lesson, after the utter humiliation in The (real, now totally discredited) Bloggies last month, I still feel NB could be in with a shout for Worst Design, or even Most Depressing.
By one of those unbelievably lucky stints of being in the right place at absolutely the right time, (never happens irl - quite the reverse), I managed to land a highly-sought-after sponsorship slot, right up there at the top. Most Obsessed with Radiohead. Unfortunately, the Prize I chose is so totally naff to a Head-head (what is their damn nickname?) that probably no-one at all will enter. How about if I throw in a Radiohead book? Whadya think? Are they expensive??
If all Wil Wheaton could offer for Weblog of The Millennium 2002 was 25 lousy dollars and one of his own WWDN tshirts, I don't want to look too rich.
You saw it here first department
Readers often pay kind compliments to our taglines. But what is the point, if all that's gonna happen is they get ripped off.
From January 23 to 30 our tagline was "I blog, therefore I am". (After Renee Descartes [deceased], "I think, therefore I am.") Those who pay attention will have noticed. Then, on Jan31 the "gay makeover" arrived, and the tag was deliberately changed to some camp frippery. So, what should turn up today on this BBC story by Giles Turnbull, than... Ta Da... I blog, therefore I am.
Oh - all the usual suspects get a mention... plasticbag, notsosoft, Wil Wheaton... but where is Naked Blog in this piece? Fucking nowhere.
[At this point we consider our legal position, and recognise that Giles Turnbull has been kind enough to both explain and reply in Meg's comment box on not so soft. "Remember kids... "
"Peter, I didn't steal your title. I wrote a completely different one, but the editors at BBC news changed it. :)]
OK so it wasn't him. But some bastard stole it. This is Leith you're messing with, kiddo - not Islington. We know some very bad men indeed.
Robbie Grace Cripps, the blogging baby, is still less than three days old, but I'm already becoming a bit dismayed by her progress.
Whilst remarks like, "Hello everybody it's the first time I've ever woken up," are totally cute, her new obsession with hits and ratings smacks firmly of parental interference - almost certainly from dad. (Let's face it - her mother has more important things to do.)
And when a formatted, cut and pasted table of yesterday's visitors appears, arranged by country, to the first decimal place, I begin to smell a rat. At least keep her in plain text for the first few weeks, eh dad? Blogging about things that a new-born might actually care about?
I think Robbie needs a new script-writer, to preserve and develop the suspended disbelief. I would offer myself, but you'd probably want it for free. So, the next best thing, Daddy Cripps, is to rush out and buy a few videos of the Tellytubbies' Greatest Hits, and sit there till it's sunk in. I can personally recommend Laa-Laa's Best Song (brings a real tear, even to this jaded eye), and Over here, Over there, for the rudiments of prepositional grammar.
Out and about in Europe
Thanks to Tinka, in Denmark, for her kind words, "Funny, well-written and makes for compulsive reading." Why thank you kindly, ma'am.
We don't have that many readers of other first-languages. There's a gentleman in Portugal - or maybe Brazil, and for a time a reader was translating us into German. But much of our content doesn't really translate. Some of it doesn't even transatlanticise - but there ya go.
Euro Screen Gems
All of which brings to mind two directors I discovered during the December depression days. (Dare I really alliterate that much?) The first was Pedro Almodovar with All About My Mother, (1999), which is a brilliant study of femaleness, if there is such a word. Subtitled from Spanish, but you soon stop noticing.
The other was the Italian, Dario Argento and the film Suspiria (1977). Dark, moody and broody, with creepy, creepy music by Goblin and Philip Glass. Apparently it was highly shocking when it first came out, but I saw it on Channel 4 TV, with a crap print, lousy sound, and even worse dubbing.
At this point, I can almost hear my new friend Tinka in Denmark shouting "Lars von Trier" at me! And yes - he's a genius of course. But the one work I've seen is Breaking the Waves (1996), which is in English, and set in Scotland. Its brilliance beggars belief.
So - if you fancy seeing some cinema as art, rather than principally profit, give em a whirl. Suspiria isn't for everyone, but the other two are magic and delight.
Often I get to wondering if I'm Blogger's oldest user, so I was naturally fascinated to see that yesterday someone was actually born on Blogger. Yes - Robbie Grace Cripps is less than two days old, but already is blogging away like an old-timer. "Hello everybody!! I've just been born." (I know you think it's a spoof, but trust me, her blog seems totally real.)
And what a great start in life!! 500 hits and rising! Sure beats those faded and crinkled photo albums. Welcome to 2002, young blogger.
Plus she's British as well - the home of all the best blogs these days. After all - we did invent the language.
Don't forget that at 20 minutes and 20 seconds past 8 tonight it'll be 202020020202(Thanks to Tony, my IT manager, for that one.)
Earlier this week, novelist and playwright Michael Frayn said that a writer should write the same thing over and over again. "If people buy cornflakes, they expect cornflakes."
Heeding this, Julie Burchill returns to one of her favourite topics: fashion. I've read it seventeen different times over the years, but always she remains a treat. Who will she slag off this time!?!
Quote: "Unfashionable is the new fashion." Well, I've been doing that for years. Does it mean I'll have to go and get myself kitted out now, to remain unfashionable? Talk about paradox.
Note to Julie, from your biggest fan: Ecstasy has one c and two s's darling. From the Greek stasis, not from Stacy your shampoo girl. At least it shows you're confident enough not to spellcheck. Unless some Guardian dumbcluck has been making wild with the Add button.
Check out The Anti-Bloggies, with a fab Flash intro, real prizes, and categories to die for. I've just offered to sponsor Most Obsessed with Radiohead.
Well, after spending yesterday dotting around various big players' sites, and dropping comments like mouseshit, I think I'll distill here the "collective consciousness" I observed over The Bloggies.
First: The "Wil Wheaton effect" (six gongs just for being a minor TV star) discredits those particular awards so much that they're now probably beyond recovery. Similarly, awards by popular vote now are shown to be just... silly. The "real" Oscars are awarded by committees of industry practitioners, not the cinema-going public, who manifestly have only the slightest notion of the biz itself. So - whatever replaces The Bloggies will have to address that.
Next: Categories. It's astonishing that there wasn't one for "Best writing." And that journals were disqualified. So, someone has to decide exactly what is meant by a Blog.
Blogs are less about geographical place, and much more about people. Yet the only "person" category was GLBT. This has already caused some discussion, for and against. And of course it is four categories, rolled into one.
The two most fundamental characteristics are a person's sex and age. Are these important? Do women blog differently from men? Does a person who remembers WW2 blog differently from one who goes back no further than Ronald Reagan?
My answers would be (a) probably, and (b) certainly. So, if I were Queen for a day, I'd get rid of all those silly geography lessons, put the World back into WWW, and instead have
Blogs by women
Blogs by men
Bloggers aged under 25
Bloggers from 25 to 45
Bloggers over 45
Bloggers over 55
I choose 45 as it's on average a significant age for the ladies, and 55 because it's a significant age for me. Others will have other, valuable ideas.
Out and about
Many thanks to Laughing Muse for making us his Site of the Week. Appreciated. Josh is installed in Portland Oregon now, and has been doing some great snapping and drawing. Must-see. Mike recalls a visit to "Barbary Lane" with his usual perceptive and beautiful writing. I'm gonna sidebar him - even despite the jerkoff parties. Even despite him calling us Naked Grandpa. (Now gone, after a lawyer's letter.) Although, strangely, many a true word...
Also, a feature in the Edinburgh Evening News about my local pub, much-mentioned here, and my all-time favourite landlady, Mary. Will definitely interest those who demand the right to smoke in bars. (Thanks to cyberslut for the link.)
From my Postbag
I've had several anxious letters from readers concerned about yesterday's gay makeover of Naked Blog. They're worried that this organ is going to dispense with its usual worldly wisdom and perceptive analysis, and instead lapse into an orgy of who's wearing what, in which bar, and shagging whom. Of catty comments about Kylie and Madonna. And voting strategies for Pop Idol.
Rest assured, all my lovely, lovely friends, that NB will continue as it always has - a fascinating and indispensable guide to the meaning of life. It's a site by a homo for the sapiens. (Wow - did I just think of that? Sometimes I amaze even myself.)