I'm trying to feel sorry for the Queen today, but not really succeeding. If she were an "ordinary" woman, I would feel nothing but sympathy for her, what with her feckless children, at least one of her grandchildren a hashhead, a brute for a husband, and losing her sister and mother so close together.
So why are the naked eyes quite dry? Suggestions on a postcard please.
Naked Blog belongs to that bygone era when clothes had their labels tucked inside, often on shiny little white flaps behind the collars. Shoes had their name written either inside, or tucked away in the instep. Never, not ever, was the maker's name crudely and loudly displayed on the exterior. It's just the way things were. And the universe went round and round.
Now, I know that few readers of this organ are label-obsessed, and that is good, as we have little of that for you here. But I thought, this being the anniversary of one of the best brand-names ever ( I.N.R.I. ), that a wee lookback might be of interest.
The rot seemed to set in around 1970, when in Edinburgh at least, pretentious queens took to wearing ties with the letters YSL emblazoned on the front, towards the bottom. (Yves Saint Laurent.) Naturally NB avoided such mannerisms. Then bit by bit, year on year, the labelling seemed to enlarge, to the point where now you can hardly buy a sweatshirt without the maker's name in HUGE letters stretching from nipple to weary nipple. First you pay too much for the clothes, and then you're expected to advertise them for free. No way, Jose! Not for this consumer.
What brought this little rant on was the other evening, meeting my pal Ian for a drink with his feller. Now, Ian was kind enough to be my label consultant for the first portion of Naked Novel, and thanks for that. He was wearing a beach shirt, of the type you can pick up at any Spanish resort for a few pesetas. Red and orange patches, kinda flung on, like splashed paint. Abstract. And there, under his left breast pocket, was the first Dolce & Gabbana label I've ever seen. I touched it!! Awesome.
Then he showed me his trainers. (Running shoes, sort of.) DKNY they said, on a little stitched-in grey flap. Ian gave me a small and enjoyable seminar about how DKNY were just High Street, but High Street New York, therefore of more style-value than HS Edinburgh. I bowed to his experience.
"So what's the difference between DKNY and FCUK?" (French Connection UK), I asked, coming over all knowledgeable. "Ah," Ian replied, sagely. "It's to do with QUALITY." I waited, eager to learn more. "FCUK will make you look fabulous for one night," he explained, "but as soon as you wash it, it's ruined."
And this dear reader, leads me to the crux of my anti-fashion argument. At fifty-five, a bit overweight, and a bit balding, nothing - not even the very crown jewels themselves - would make me look fabulous. My fabulosa days have gone.
But - and this also is vital to the discussion - thirty years ago one did look reasonably fab. But then I would have looked equally gorge in tattered dishrags. And frequently did. These views are not new.
So if fashion does nothing for the young, and equally nothing for the mature, then what's the damn point in it? I wait with bated breath to learn where my thinking is faulty.
Naked Novel News!! Stacy's Chapter 2 is up and running! Catch up with all your favourite characters here!! Big high-five to Stacy.
Going Down to South Park
Southie is back, and already on incandescent form. Last night was the one where Big Gay Al gets sacked from his job as Scout Leader, and two disabled boys have the most vicious and extended fight I've ever seen. Uplifting, socially spot-on, and profoundly disturbing in equal measures. TV to die for. We sit at their feet and wonder.
Torill... please drop me an email. You are very hard to contact. Or am I missing something? ;-)
Wow, this country is hot today. Most of this week, actually. Sandra and I went for a walk along the Water of Leith today, with Cherry the black part-Labrador. I always walk the same route these days, for once you've found perfection, what's the point in settling for less? And normally, almost always, I walk alone. My job is such "high-contact" that the solitude is welcome - a relief.
But today we were two. And Cherry made three. As the traffic dropped off way behind us, I showed her the silence, and it took some of her stress. Well, not quite silence, for always there's the sound of the river and the gentle chirping of the birds. Exquisite.
Sandra threw a stick into a quiet part of the river, down from the Dean Village waterfall, and Cherry jumped in and swam about, her eyes a picture of doggy heaven matching her perfect doggy paddle. Untrained, untaught to swim, just totally natural, as was the shakedown on emerging.
To our right, the ivy-covered banks rose steep and high, the ivy enveloping the trees as well. And to our left always the water, sometimes slow and deep, others rushing and rocky. I showed her the prisms of light-shafts in the river, as the high, high sun trickled lazily through the fresh spring leaves. Like a causeway. Slanted columns.
"It's perfect," Sandra breathed, as she took a fresh cutting of ivy for her home. A variegated shoot. "Like Alice in Wonderland," I replied. Then we saw a strange bird. Its body was about the size of an oven chicken, but it had foot-long flamingo legs, a long spindly neck, and a pointy head and beak. "That's a heron," a woman said to us. "There's a couple now, and we feed them." Her dog was sniffing around Cherry's wet fur.
We turned back after that, as Sandra had to pick up her daughter from school. She was so good to me in the dark months, inviting me to sit in her kitchen, the two of us drinking one glass of wine after another, while I sat just staring at the sky through her window. It's good to give back when you can.
Tomorrow is the start of Easter weekend, although it's not celebrated in Scotland. It's only since the sixties that even Christmas has been recognised as a national holiday. All to do with the Reformation, you see. Ultra-Presbyterian - musn't appear Romish in any way whatever. Most Church of Scotland churches don't even contain a cross.
But the Sabbath is sacrosanct, or - more exactly - was. Every shop, every pub was shut throughout Sunday. Again, this only changed in the late seventies. Until then, the only place you could buy a drink on a Sunday was a hotel. And you were supposed to be a bona-fide traveller, although that one was overlooked quite a bit in the cities, at least.
In the far North-West, however, the Sabbath still rules with an iron fist, and children are not even allowed to play on their swing-parks on Sundays. To hang out washing would get a woman almost tarred and feathered. We're talking Wester Ross, Skye, Jura, etc. Quite ghastly. More about these matters can (accurately) be seen in the film Breaking the Waves, by Lars von Trier, a Dane.
(I know I've raved about this one before, but I get a feeling one or two of you haven't seen it yet. Trust me.) It's strange the partial picture that tourists get about a country. To know a place well, you really have to live there.
Full moon tonight. Glorious. I saw it through a thin layer of night-cloud which actually helped define its patterns and disc. The real, brilliant thing usually causes these elderly eyes some doubling against the harsh black backdrop. There's no doubt whatever why the ancients fully understood that the earth was indeed flat.
So much is going on. Yesterday in The Village I met Andy, who is studying physics at a local university. We talked mostly about mathematics. It was an experience almost beyond belief to chat to a much younger person who was actually interested in what I had to say.
Time after time I thought - well... that's fine... you've done the politeness bit, now get on with whatever you're doing. But no... on and on he went... Methods of Integration... Partial Derivatives... Fourier analysis... Fourier series... To say it was delightful having him hanging on my every word would be an understatement.
Brian, my sometime friend, was very disturbed by our conversation, however. It excluded him. He tried to be superficial. He tried to be destructive. He ended up bouncing on his barstool hissing and spitting like an evil hobgoblin. But every single time I batted the ball back to his court. Such a pity that an innocent chat should cause such ramifications. Aren't queens silly?
And Brian is a close friend. Imagine what my enemies are like!
It was only later, when I was having after-work drinks with Alastair and Ian, the owners of The Village, that the truth came out, while we discussed where to go for dinner. (Fisher's Bistro won.)
It appears, allegedly, that Brian had just this very weekend [Material deleted to protect the privacy of the innocent....Ed.] "And he's got 'a cock down to his knees'", apparently.
Gay readers, and there a couple, will know exactly of which I talk. The majority will just have, regretfully, to have their preconceptions preconceived.
Naked Novel News!! We've hit Google now - at Number One of course - ahead even of Naked Lunch - one of the most formative books of my youth. Who would ever have thought it??
Entirely in keeping with the lead story above, a few days ago Channel Four ran a film called Pi, by Darren Aronofsky - his name a subtle blend of goyim and yehud. It's very art-house... shot in black and white (and I mean black and white - almost no greys). The music is modern, making me wish I had a decent sound-system attached to my telly, and the theme seems to be the madness of numbers, and the Q'ballah. It's actually so scary that I've not managed to complete it yet.
*Certain names have been changed in this true story, for reasons of privacy, not to say lawsuits.
Well, the answer, dear well-scrubbed reader, is that they all feature in Persil Non-Biological Washing Powder, one of the NB products of choice.
And why do we raise this somewhat domestic topic on a lovely sunny Tuesday afternoon?
It's because that pesky Mike, from Troubled Diva, whose blog is rapidly becoming an internet edition of Smash Hits, chides me on my laundry habits, of all things. He says - and I quote from a comment box below...
Peter, I'm shocked. You do *laundry*? What, with all those harmful and corrosive cleaning agents? I would have thought that a rinse under the cold tap once a month would have sufficed. Or if the residue has built up in the meantime, maybe a quick scraping of the crust with a blunt knife.
And the reply is simple - here at Naked Blog we adore washing powder. It is one of God's great gifts. That and automatic washing machines. I always say, if the house is on fire, save the washer and the microwave. The rest can go up in whatever colour flames they choose.
Much nonsense has been written about the state and condition of the Naked Mansions, so it's maybe time to clear up some misunderstandings. Here is a much-read piece on my earlier, non-blog site, which you might even enjoy a little. It spawned a whole TV mini-series, as do so many of our thoughts.
The four Naked Blog rules for happy and stress-free household management are:
Don't wash up
Allow us to elaborate:
1. Don't clean People often come up to me and say, "Peter, how do you keep your house so neat, tidy, and clean?" And the truth is, dear reader, that I don't. It's really a terrible mess --- just that nobody ever gets to see inside it. Thus illustrating the first golden rule of housekeeping :-
Never let anybody into your house.
That way they'll never know, and what they don't know won't hurt them. To quote the magnificent Quentin Crisp ... "Your home is your dressing room, where you prepare to go out to meet your friends." Note the words "out" and "friends", as this next bit is absolutely crucial.
You are bound to know - everybody does - friends who enjoy having tidy, neat homes, with plenty of clean things to sit on, cook at, and so on. That is their choice, interest, hobby - call it what you will - just as yours is not to have those things.
Visit them. Cultivate them. Say how really splendid their home looks, especially in the Spring/ Summer /Autumn /Winter.
You get a helluva lot of invitations out of compliments like that, leaving you with all the time in the world to devote to fulfilling, life-enhancing pastimes. Who ever wrote about Mozart's kitchen, for fuck's sake?
There are of course, exceptions to the above - which prove the rule. I personally like a clean cooker, microwave and toilet. Call me anally-fixated if you must, but I take almost sensuous pleasure in shitting into a sparkling white bowl. (Incidentally, Boy George was telling me just the other week that coloured suites, especially avocado, are this year's fashion don't. They've gotta go, folks, no matter what the cost.)
But not your living room floor, oh no. Your carpet is not a mess, it is a living history.
I saw this headline under someone's arm in the bingo yesterday, and for one astonishing moment I read it as Maggie Caged. "My God - they've locked her up!" was what crossed my mind, but no - it was much milder. The mad old bat has been banned from making speeches any more, as they're bringing on minor strokes, apparently.
The headline is from The Sun, the UK's biggest-selling daily, and yet another Murdoch publication. That makes two of the buggers I've had to buy recently for your edification... first of all the now infamous Miss World pic, featuring me, from the News of the World - and now this one.
Way back in the early eighties, when the holocaust came to my people, I vowed that I would never, ever give one penny to the Murdoch organisation. The Sun newspaper in particular was vicious beyond belief to the sudden, ghastly plight of gay men, and it seemed that my little economic sanction was all that I had to hit back with.
So - no Sunday Times, The Times, The Sun, News of the World, Sky TV and a host of others. But yet, you can't escape. Every time I enjoy The Simpsons, that's dosh in Rupert's pocket... and so on, and so on, undsoweiter.
But back to Maggie, although HIV, Murdoch and Maggie are in my mind still intertwined. I think I'll type out the entire Sun leader for yesterday, as it provides a fascinating snapshot of long-gone times. This infringes their copyright, but dammit I did pay 35 pence for the thing.
OUR FRIEND MARGARET
Margaret Thatcher has transformed this country for the better. And her relationship with this paper is unique. We supported her through the miners' strike - she supported us during the Wapping print dispute. So the news that she will never speak in public again is something we deeply regret.
During her years at No 10 - from May 1979 to Novermber 1990 - she quite literally dragged Britain into the 20th Century. No other person can claim to have contributed more to the service of their country since Winston Churchill.
She gave our readers their own homes, more choice in the market place, and PRIDE IN THEIR COUNTRY.She created a free economy and a freer society.
Together with her old friend Ronald Reagan, she won the Cold War, saw off Communism's evil empire and freed the hearts and minds of millions East of Berlin. Like Tony Blair, she stood full square behind the world's most potent force for good: the United States. (Can you beat that for toadying?? Ed.)
Margaret stands head and shoulders above the Tory pygmies who threw her out of office. These rats will not get a footnote in history. Margaret will get entire volumes. Quite simply, she put the Great back into Great Britain. The Sun will always remain a true and loyal friend of this outstanding woman. We are in her debt. (By billions of pounds...Ed.) So is the entire country - and, indeed, much of the world.
Now - entire volumes could indeed be written about this cunning little piece of journalism. For it is not The Sun, as a business, but the Murdoch organisation itself, which is in MT's debt, allowing as she did this foreigner to crawl wholesale over everything truly British, and to buy whole swathes of print and television media in order to punt his ultra right-wing views. (See above.)
The bizarre thing about The Sun is that it is read almost entirely by working-class voters, who naturally vote Labour - not ever the Thatcherism which the paper always espoused. It was Rupert's great mission to convert them to Thatcherism, and in this he succeeded, for (was it?) three terms of office.
Mr Murdoch became an awesome but unelected force in this land, yet I despise him and his repulsive editors for what they tried to do to my people, and in that I'll never, ever change. A plague on all your houses.
Naked Novel News!! We're now rapidly heading for the breakthrough point of a four-figure readership!! And it's not even a serial yet!! Tune in fortnightly for more fascinating episodes. Will John Maclaren lead a respectable journalistic life in Florida, or will he go completely off the rails?
And what will happen to Megan Calder? Will she become a devoted little homemaker, besotted by her new relationship? Or a street-walking crackhead hussy? Who knows? Who cares?? Well - you should. Beats Murdoch into the fucking ground, big time. Next episode by Stacy.
Show how hip your site is by taking a FREE BUTTON from the top of this page!! Stacy made them.
SUNDAY SUPPLEMENT! Cut out and keep Pop Idol Special!
Having bought The Sun, for the Thatcher article above, I was astonished to find my eye alighting on this piece by Rik Brown...
Have the British record-buying public gone nuts over Pop Idol? And the answer must be: Totally.
The whole thing is a bit pathetic because the charts are dominated by Pop Idol winners, Pop Idol runners up, Pop Idol fat rejects and hundreds of others. And Darius is yet to re-surface too. I can't wait. It's what I live for.
By March next year, the only time you'll see G*a*r*e*t*h or W*i*l*l will be when they enquire if you want French fries with your Whopper. Etc, etc.
Astonishingly, Naked Blog finds itself completely in agreement with the Mr Brown on this vital issue. I did watch ten minutes, and that was quite enough to remind me that nobody ever went broke by underestimating the public's taste.
Compare and contrast Julie Burchill, in the ultra-highbrow Guardian, who a couple of weeks ago went severely off her trolley over the same topic. She even sank to the lowest intellectual bankruptcy, by describing those as snobs who didn't find Pop Idol to their taste.
Now, this snob has this to say: Pop Music is jest fine, for youngsters. Schoolkids adore it - and rightly so - providing as it does a shared experience which both defines their adolescence and delineates their generation from that of their parents. I'll even grant a licence up to the age of, say, 22. But after that, (sorry, Mike), different things should be entering Ms Burchill's and others' ears.
I'll read with greater interest what la Burchill has to say about Pop Idol after I've garnered her views about Mozart's later quartets, or even her favourite performance of Beethoven's Violin Concerto. (Nice easy piece, for the novice to enjoy. NB adored it at fifteen.)
Sun 1 Guardian 0. I never thought I'd live to see the day.
Well, folks - that's it... my first bit of Naked Novel there for ya to enjoy. Send no money yet. Also, none of them are me - honestly... it's pure invention! Now the baton passes to Stacy, and after that writer number three isn't decided yet. Forgive me not blogging to you this week, but - as I hope you'll see - that was quite a body of writing to concentrate on. Talk about War and Peace!
Today is the Equinox. Twelve hours day and twelve night, for everyone on the planet. To think that just three short months ago I was sitting about the place staring at razor blades. That's what Seasonal Affective Disorder means. (Or should it be manic-depression?) The decision is yours to make. All I do know is that every single moment of Spring has to be savoured, because in exactly nine months it'll be back to those razor blades again. Ho hum. Well, at least it beats being depressed all the damn time.
Blog will be back in full swing after a celebratory day off today. I deserve it.
PS Thanks to Stacy for the fab buttons! Take one for your site!! And to Michelangelo. Or was it Leonardo? Some talented sister or other, anyway.
One of the good things - possibly the only one - about being ill is getting better. There's something quite precious about looking back to just seven days ago, and noting how vividly one has recovered.
Upgrading from a 48-hour high fever, almost unable to move, to mobile, forward-looking and (almost) healthy. Oh, there's still that phlegm residue - doesn't it just take ages to shift? - but it's good to know from former experience, that shift it eventually will.
Last Sunday death was a possibility, and I don't say that lightly. That was the most ill I've been for twenty years, since as a much younger and reckless-living man, pneumonia once saw a home in my body. Death was there in the room with me, watching, evaluating - but this time He chose to move on.
There are two types of people - those who've had pneumonia, and those who haven't. To those who haven't I can say nothing, and those who have will know exactly what I mean.
Here's how to have a healthy immune system, and get over your infections quickly and naturally. One recommendation is essential, and the other optional.
Don't wash up, ever. Retain the same knife, fork and plate and simply use them all the time. If the food residue gets a bit crusty, you can scrape it off.
(Essential) Don't take antibiotics, even one, for at least fifteen years.
Antibiotics should have been a marvellous thing - conquering as they do the life-threatening infections - pneumonia, gangrene, septicaemia, meningitis and so on. But when they're bastardised and abused for colds, flu and sore throats, godammit, then of course the entire game has been ruined.
It became clear to me well over a decade ago that these tempting tablets would soon become useless anyway, as the germs in their robotic wisdom mutate to overcome them. What the germs don't overcome, though, is the human immune system, which - if given a chance - will in the majority of cases prevail.
So there you are. That little brown bottle you clutch on the way out of the chemists/pharmacy will systematically weaken and eventually ruin that one and only perfect defence which nature has given you. Medicine, once again, has made you worse.
Here endeth the lesson. I'm starting to sound like the Unabomber, although my employment precludes me from looking like him. But in any case - our love and thoughts to the anti-capitalist demonstrators in Barcelona. Love that city. Had some of the best sex of my life there.
Spanish men were invented as a service to the planet. What other country has plane-loads of people flying in to get fucked every summer?
That's what I've done to you this last week! Shocking. Here are the excuses...
Last Saturday I developed the mo and fa of a chest-cold. Can't ever remember being that acute. My own fault, of course, for bragging about my healthy body and hair. Pride comes before a fever.
After (just) making it through my shift on Saturday, I managed to stagger home, turn up the heating, put on a double layer of jamas, then got to bed and passed out. Just before leaving this world, I did have the thought... "You might not wake up from this one, Peter." But as I say - no time to worry, as oblivion soon forced in.
Some hours later I came to, not at all sure whether I was in fact still alive. In the pitch dark, my body just felt... different... not mine... someone else's... possibly an Angel. It was only when I tentatively checked to see if I could still breathe (only just), that the balance of probability was that I was still on this side of the Pearlies.
There followed thirty-six hours of being totally bedbound - hardly even able to get out and pee. Not funny, but... after fifty you get quite philosophic about these things... cold becomes bronchitis becomes pleurisy becomes pneumonia... "When yer number's up," as they say in Bingo.
However, once again... dodged that utility coffin for ya.
My segment of naked novel is basically finished. That means the 5000 words are done... in music I think they call that "laying down the track". But now comes the good bit... adding the melody. That comes in scribbled notes, over jammy blotches and curried mis-mouths as the days go on. Still got quite some days.
Ian of Slashhair gives some fascinating free haircare advice in the comment box somewhere below, and I'm sure he wouldn't mind a bit more airing of it here.
most women couldn't tolerate not washing their hair for long, because of their life-style - most styling processes need to be done on squeaky clean hair or they won't stay in. And/or the styling gunge needs to be washed out.
kids who are at school should #not# wash their hair. unwashed hair is the best defense against head lice. unwashed hair is technically cleaner than washed hair.
peter, instead of rinsing your hair in warm water each day; brush your hair for five minutes (using a bristle brush) each day and apply three drops of lavender oil once a week. believe it or not water is bad for the hair too!
lavender oil is antibacterial and antifungal, it helps to prevent a skin condition called seborrheic dermatitis. #one# does not want it.
Thanks very much for all that, Ian. I'm going to get a hair brush real soon, and pretend I'm Lisa Kudrow. (Friends is a great remedy for chest conditions, btw. Not only does it make you laugh, but the laughing leads to that all-important hacking up yer lungs. An all-round tonic.)
Now, between sweating, coughing and writing, there really hasn't been much to blog about this past week. Enjoying that Kiefer Sutherland thingie called 24. Hasn't he come on from that really quite ugly appearance he had when young, in films like Stand By Me?
One feverish afternoon I was reduced to watching Cruft's Dog Show. (Remember, I was very ill.) The judge appeared to select the winner, a standard poodle, on the grounds that its hairdo most closely resembled her own.
Hair. You just can't get away from it. Got to go now and spread what's left of my germs around these frail old ladies. Talk about Menace2Society.
And hi. Not a lot to say right now, as the demands of the Naked Novel project are pretty great. For a few more days at least.
Amazing to think that in the space of six short days we've drawn together such an impressive team, now numbering seven. Also, the first serial portion, that is - my "turn" - is well under way. I'll be glad when it's done, and I can hand the baton to writer number two and put my feet up for a while.
Doing this has brought out some skills that I rarely use - teambuilding, teamleading... and of course now the writing itself. I think it's fair to say that with any self-doubt whatsoever this just wouldn't have happened - for me at least. Writing to this group, and to the probable large audience we'll attract, demands egotism almost beyond belief.
I'll be leaving you for a few days, as all my writing thoughts have to go to my novel portion. But let me quote from a kind comment from Kirsten, attached to the post below: "I am but a lowly farmer but I see stars in the sky when I look at y'all." Thanks Kirsten - those words are a beautiful reward.
But even in your kindness, you are wrong. Without farmers there would be no bloggers. The reverse is not the case.
And it's pissin' wi' rain and blowin up a hefty breeze in EC Scotland. Great. Just the sort of weather that cleans your windows a treat. And talking of cleaning, I've been gratified by the kind comments and emails on one's youthful preservation in the photo below. So - without further ado - here are the Naked Blog tips to "Keep Young and Beautiful".
Choose young-looking parents. This one is essential, as without it you'll surely decay into a bag of wrinkles just like they've already done.
Have a naturally greasy skin. Remember - teenage acne translates into midlife moisture. And the scars soon disappear, as your skin inevitably loses its "precision".
Wash your face once a day in warm water with pure soap bar. Rinse totally and gently towel dry. Then - this is the key bit - forget all about it for 24 hours. It's a living thing. Give it a chance, OK?
The most important one till last - KEEP OUT OF THE EFFING SUN.
Next, hair. More nonsense is said, and more money is wasted, on this item than probably any other. Here's how to have healthy, vibrant hair, with no trace of dandruff ever.
Take a largeish plastic bag into your bathroom, and look around the shelves. Place any and every hair product in the plastic bag, and discard immediately. That includes shampoo, conditioner, strengthener, moisturiser, Pro-vitamin, Anti-dandruff - the whole damn lot. Wash your hair daily with warm water alone, towel dry and enjoy the healthiest hair you've ever known. Trust me. I haven't had a product on my hair for ten years.
But - the one exception is colourant. I don't use one, as my hair remains brown due to a genetic mutation. (Yes - another one.) But we're not draconian here, and we accept that a girl (or boy) can sometimes benefit from a little "colouring-in". Choose your colourant carefully. Some of em cause cancer, apparently.
Naked Novel project
We now have a dream-team of five of the web's finest writers. And me. I'm so gratified by the interest and willingness to get involved of all the gang. However, there are still a couple of vacancies - women only, I'm afraid. We've got tons of testicles already! (First instalment due in about a week!)
Talk about head and shoulders. Photo courtesy of The News of The World, Britain's most scandalous Sunday paper. The one you don't want to be seen in. Recent hits include "Harry Pot Head," and so on, and so on. Full story below - The African Queen.
1. Basics The style will be modern literary English with standard capitalisation. The content will be anything normally (and legally) publishable. Full use of world idiom is encouraged. Real cities etc. will obviously pose difficulties, so keep locations general. Globalisation will get us through. (Coke, Bud, Macdonalds, IKEA, Levi's, etc.) The dictionary should probably be Websters.
2. Workload Each "segment" will be between 5,000 and 7,000 words long. This is shorter than a chapter, but will keep up the pace better. You will have two weeks to complete your segment, but the quicker the better. We should all be prepared to write two, maybe three, segments spread out in turn.
3. Creative freedom Each contributor can introduce one and only one major character. Or you might prefer to work with what's already there. The work will be set in the present time, and obey the laws of physics as presently understood. (That is - no SF or Middle Earth shit.) Other than that your freedom will be total.
4. Loose Ends The first and last segments will be written by me, but the ending, denouement, and conclusion will be by agreement of all the contributors. Or a simple majority.
5. Ownership The work will be jointly owned by the contributors. However, if a contract comes your way on the basis of your spot, then good luck!
6. The team Already we have Geek,Mike,Rex and myself on board. Others please sign up below. We need a woman's touch. Preferably several.
7. The look If you care to glance here, you'll get one idea for the ongoing product. This will be a collaborative blog, with links to each writer's chosen homesite of course.
8. Invitation Bossy little thing I can be as the days get longer - and of course your own suggestions are most welcome. But the above should definitely work. So stick yer name in the comment box, for consideration, and let's get this show on the road! It should get very big indeed. We'll jointly decide at what stage to inform the press - obviously not until several segments are written.
9. Getting going We should aim to have the team, project structure and order of play finalised by 10 March, one week from today.
10. We're off! (Almost.) Thanks to all for your interest!
Hi! A few quick scribbles before I go to work. Had a lot of fun with the hydrogen bomb piece below. Even though it was done in annoyance at the almost total lack of response to the Miss World true story. Beginning to wonder whether it's worth having comments, as they seem to bring disappointment more than anything.
My contract with the Web Site Traffic Report is almost over, and it's ninety pounds. However, Extreme Tracking and Site Meter both look good, and they're free. Wonder which is better.
Beginning to think a serial story might be fun. I enjoyed "I was drinking my pint in the Port o Leith Bar this afternoon when Miss World walked in the door," so much that it might be an idea if we did a composite - each vying to outdo the other, of course. Geek could talk to bread, Josh could be perceptive, I could be depressed, and so on.
Had a good time at IKEA. The furniture is all arranged in little rooms, removing any need for taste whatsoever. You just buy the room. It was only later that the full horror sank in, as Stuart took me to the aircraft-hangar despatchery. "Flatpack city," he called it. End of dream. Later that day I had a blazing row with a young man trying to run my life for me. Essentially he was indicating that because of my total lack of both social and sex lives I might as well not exist. Oh boy did I rip him to shreds! And him only thirty-two as well. The cheek of the laddie.
Stuart awarded me seven out of ten for the debate, and suggested some fresh lines for the next time it happens. Oh, the young, the young! I do try as far as possible to restrict my company to the over-forties these days. Over-fifties are great also, but the gay ones are - sadly - mostly dead. But straight is jest fine. (No offence here to my younger readers and co-writers, who are specifically selected for their maturity of outlook and expression.)
Maybe more later. Work is a very good thing, I've decided. Structure.
Work is an even better thing when you not only get a 25 percent pay-rise after one week, but invited to apply for one of two Supervisor positions. Hmmm. Dunno if I want that much responsibility. It's tough in the middle.
Today was in a sense an audition, as it is the busiest session of the week, and my first time calling when the General Manager was present. We've secured the position of Assistant Caller. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go and polish my sequins...