Well, Mrs P, my downstairs neighbour (if that doesn't somewhat tarnish the word), is clearly not a Naked Blog reader, or she would have realised that playing loud music until 2 am would definitely lead to me phoning the police. Which I did. However, the good lady avoided capture and detention by the simple technique of not answering the door. I know. I was at my own door, listening.
Neat trick that. Been doing a bit too much serial killing? Don't answer the door. Got more drugs in your flat than Boots the Chemists? Just let the bell ring till they go away. Sure as hell beats five years in da slammer, now don't it?
So I re-phoned the cops, and told them the noise was still there, and I still hadn't had one wink of sleep. Not only that, but the stress was making me smoke far more cigarettes than I'd budgeted for. There are times when nicotine gum just will not do. However, by now I think they'd decided that it was I who was the trouble maker. My voice sounds a bit posh, you see. Just not Leith at all.
Anyway, by 3 am she'd revived sufficiently to switch the ghastly thing off, so it was better after that. She drinks, you see. And goes psychotic. And howls at the moon. Middle age affects different people in so many different ways.
Well, that was it last night. The Truth About Gay Sex on Channel Four, completing the trilogy of The various Truths about Lesbian Sex, Gay Animal Sex, and last night us - which nicely shows the programme-makers estimates' of what we dykes and faggots should be classed with.
Ed: Stop being such a bitch, you silly cow.
NB: You can shut up right now. I've seen that German porn you keep in your desk. I'm thinking of changing your name to Regalia, darling.
And the programme was hilarious. Clearly designed to titillate and amuse a straight audience, it showed approximately nothing that any gay man wouldn't already know.
Some quotes: "When a man has his arm inside your anus up to the elbow, there's a great potential for harm." And also, "Me, I just look for uncomplicated sex. I don't want cups of tea or hearing what their dad does for a living. In fact, any longer than five minutes and I lose interest." And also, "It's part of every person, gay or straight, to want to care and to be cared for in a relationship." Oh yeah? Dunno what that makes me then. And hundreds of others.
Why don't these damn fools realise just how different they are from the norm, and stop pussyfooting about in some doomed attempt to ape the heterosexuals? For their information, almost to a man and a woman, the unattached people I know and have known are roughly one thousand times more interesting, edgy and fun than those locked into a "relationship", with all its frustrations and deceits.
NB has been quite single since age 25, yet I refuse to be thought of as second class - for that reason at least. How sad it is when people have so little estimate of their own worth that they can only be fully happy when parading their latest two-week "affair" around the one or two gay-ish pubs we have here. They sit, silent and simpering, with the unspoken words - "I've got one and you haven't." And their faces shine every bit as I'm sure does their kitchen sink. No way, José.
But back to the programme. I shouldn't wax emotional over things I clearly know so little about. One thing I did learn from the show was the term scoping, which appears to mean "walking a specific area in search of sex." In my day we called that trolling, and strangely that latter word wasn't used even once in the show. The language slowly changes, but the beat - it never does.
Find out how gay you are on Channel 4's Gayometer. You can put your result in the comment box. Me, I'm not gonna bother. Anything other than 100 percent would mean the test sucks.
Well, it is a gay test.
Of course I couldn't resist the damn Gayometer. And would you believe it, I turned out to be 36 percent gay. This is a travesty. Every nerve, every cell, every fibre of my being is of the pink persuasion, and I don't need some tick-box test to tell me otherwise. I did get a bit thrown by question two, which said:
Do you have sex with
There was no box for
(Collective global awwwwww.... what a shame. And he sounds that nice.)
Mensa Genius Test!
Can you outdo alan, who's so far got a perfect score?!!
Here are today's questions. You have to complete the phrases, e.g. 24 H in a D becomes 24 hours in a day.
Q16. 100 C in a R
Q17. 11 P in a F (S) T
Q18. 12 M in a Y
Answers to yesterday's in comment boxes below, as usual. More tomorrow.
Today is not particularly sunny, yet there is a solitary man digging up the road not far from my house. Why should this be? (It's a universal law of physics that roads only get dug on the finest of days, so the delight can be ruined, and the man tan his back.)
Well, I'll tell you. It's because we are trying to stop/or severely cut down smoking. In these tiny ways do I pay for past misdeeds.
How long does it take to drill one little hole? And what are these little holes for? I already have a sufficiency of gas, of electricity. My running water runs just dandy, and my cable modem has nary a hiccup these days.
Oh, it's not that loud, and not that close. A CD would easily drown it out. But - much more than music - silence is my finest sound. I want it. Now.
Ah - what the fuck! Where's the cigs? I'm off to the pub. Real noise there - Norma, Gerry and the ever-present ghastly Scot-FM. CU L8TR
Later... Next part of Mensa Genius Test
Complete the following expressions, e.g. 24 H in a D becomes 24 hours in a day. The next batch are among my favourites!
Q12. 3 B M (S H T R)
Q13. 32 is the T in D F at which W F
Q14. 15 P in a R T
Q15. 3 W on a T
Previous questions and answers in the preceding few days' posts and comment boxes. Remember - it only takes 23 correct to be classed as a genius!
So there I was on the stage yesterday, crouching down at my "Star Trek" control unit, cueing the music for the beginning of the bingo session, when suddenly I noticed this plump, gay young face right in front of me. It was C, my fresh-faced, eager new manager.
"Peter," he said. "Yes, honey," I just somehow replied.
Now, don't ask me why I addressed him so informally. As I've said in earlier posts, there's been some negotiating going on, as we both adjust to our differences and similarities. Over the last couple of weeks there'd been some progress, as I learned to bite my sometimes-sharpish tongue, and come to acknowledge the work-place stations and situations. Had I undone the lot, at a careless stroke?
"I'll honey yer!" he retorted, but I sensed more out of necessity than anger.
It's a nice word, honey. We use it a lot, especially those of us a little past the first flush, to whom the person's real name doesn't always pop quickly onto the tongue. But usually - until now always - between those of different genders. Had I made one small step for language liberation?
So I goes up to L, a supervisor, female, thirtyish, fond of a laugh. Let's face it, when working in bingo, a laugh is always welcome. "I just called C 'honey'," I confessed to her. "Fantastic!" she said. "Bet he loved that." Ironically.
Well - would you believe it! The moment my back was turned, L the supervisor had told C the manager that I'd spilled the honeybeans. And now it's all over the building, what with a bingo hall being just marginally faster than a Reuters newswire. For the next few days, until the next thing happens, we've got a hall full of honeys.
Always the innovator, me.
SEARCH ME, GUV!
From my search logs...
naked plump girls smoking cigarettes (watch that ash, girls...)
gay men with long nails (I trimmed mine even as I read it...)
Vitamin C free naked pics (I simply can't conceive of vitamin C being either naked or dressed...)
where does Kirsty Wark buy her clothes (In much more expensive shops than I can afford...)
naked lady shaped bong
pictures of lesbians who eat there (sic) customers pussy (the way the search came up, I didn't spot the last word at first. Lesbian cannibalism would indeed have been a first. But now that we've written it... )
Oh, and you can read us in Arabic here. Note the scroll bar is on the left, and Cherry the black part-Labrador is on the right. Must do funny things to your brain, all that reversal. Maybe they think the USA is a hotbed of communism.
Mensa Test - Part Three
Well - I bet you're not quite so confident now, eh? For those who don't follow Naked Blog every day (and why not??), here is the test to date. You have to complete the expressions, eg 24 hours in a day.
Q0. 24 H in a D
Q1. 26 L of the A
Q2. 7 D of the W
Q3. 7 W of the W
Q4. 12 S of the Z
Q5. 66 B of the B
Q6. 52 C in a P (WJs)
Q7. 13 S in the USF
Get those eight correct (answers in comment box below), and you're only 15 questions away from being a genius. Here are today's four...
Q8. 18 H on a G C
Q9. 39 B of the O T
Q10. 5 T on a F
Q11. 90 D in a R A
Well, I did promise they would get more interesting!
LIVE CHAT TODAY!
I'd really love to chat live to any NB readers tonight, in celebration of our first birthday a few days ago. It's on the Undernet (IRC), and the channel will be #NB. If that one is taken, check HERE for an alternative. Times are 10pm UK, and 2pm to 5pm in N America, depending on your location. UK readers who just have to watch the BBC serial 24 can join us after that. I'll still be around. Hope 2 c u.
Where is George Clooney when you need him? I'm afraid this Klez.gen thing is getting ootie hand, as we say here. I've had two of em today already, and mailservers are being shut off. Just this morning, I had an email to a regular correspondent in USA returned, saying that the whole of Blueyonder is banned from his server.
Now, when I tell you that Blueyonder is the ISP belonging to Telewest, the UK's second telecom company, you'll see how bad things are getting.
The McAfee virus people, never slow off the mark, sent a reminder that I could still save 20 US dollars on their latest, greatest Virus Scanner, so I took the plunge and bought it.
Several hours later, I'm thoroughly scanned, and relieved of four little buggers.
Now, all of these were in the Temporary Internet Files folder, so I could have saved all the bother, plus one hundred years of scan time, simply by emptying that folder first. My advice:
EMPTY YOUR TEMPORARY INTERNET FILES BEFORE VIRUS SCANNING.
You'll save loads of time, and probably get rid of any lurking nasties to boot.
A week from now, I'll be nervously pacing the house, practising witty one-liners to impress and delight Mighty Geek and his girlfriend HoBiscuit. This will be only the second time I've met anyone via this website, and the first time I've ever spoken to anyone from New York. Born and bred. Well, knock me down.
Well done! I'm sure you got the first four correct. (Post below.) If not, I'm sorry to say this is possibly not the webpage 4 U. So - you're only nineteen questions away from being a genius! (Answers in comment box for yesterday.)
Here are the next four...
Q4. 12 S of the Z
Q5. 66 B of the B
Q6. 52 C in a P (WJs)
Q7. 13 S in the USF
Cherry the black part-Labrador has had her first spam! The Nigerian one. That's the price you pay for having a "mailto" link on such a popular page. And that also explains how spambots operate. Hopefully the Klez.h and Klez.gen worms won't go winging her way with equal facility. Makes yer think.
A week ago I promised a birthday link-up for a wee get-together chatroom. Sunday would seem ideal, seeing as we're dealing with at least eight hours of time-difference. I've brought it forward to 2100 GMT, or 2200 BST. That's a bit late for UK readers I know, but I have to work until 9.30 pm. So, it'll be 10pm in the UK, 5pm on the right hand side of N. America, and 2pm on the left side.
Most probably no-one will turn up. But prove me wrong, and make my day! Get your IRC chat client here. Plus, that will give you a few days to practise. But don't - repeat, do not - go getting yourself an IRC habit. It's very seductive for borderline psychos. I know. I was one.
[I know other leading blogs have live chats from time to time. Any advice or info would be welcome. I know IRC is a bit "tacky", but it's free and universal. Plus I'm well-practiced at defending a channel against attackers.]
Out and about last week...
Many, many of you have made yourselves known to me over the last week or so. Thank you. And I've been scouting about a few new locations myself, with some surprisingly good results. So I'll be updating and extending the sidebar very shortly.
Just how damn intelligent do you think you are?
In the UK there's an organization called Mensa. It's for intelligent people, and you have to do a test to get in. Plus you probably have to pay money. Then you get to attend meetings with other equally-intelligent members. Sounds marginally more fun than committing suicide.
However, in recent days there's been a Mensa quiz circulating the bars, and in the Port o Leith we managed to get 34 out of 34 correct. (In a booze-fuelled collaboration, of course.) You only need 23 correct to be classed as a "genius".
Here are the first four questions. Answers tomorrow, but these four are pretty easy, to give you a false sense of your own grey matter.
Complete these expressions, replacing the capital letters with words....
Q0. 24 H in a D
Q1. 26 L of the A
Q2. 7 D of the W
Q3. 7 W of the W
Next four questions tomorrow. You can put the answers in a comment box if you want. (Drinkers in the Port o Leith, their families and associates are not eligible for this quiz.)
But very, very few of my male acquaintances are homophobic bigots. (Post below.) Such people are naturally excluded. So long as you have the common manners not to put your attentions where they aren't wanted, nowadays most people can co-exist quite happily. Some even enjoy the slight "raciness" of gay company - the razor tongues, the acid wit, and all the other clichés.
To illustrate and celebrate how far we've come in forty years, I've selected the following as my overall winner from the extensive web-writings. There are many which are funnier, but they're not quite suitable for a family audience - the family which has become the NB readership. Many too which are raunchier, but again the same applies.
A couple of days ago we had The Society of Women. This one is every gay man's dream...
THE SOCIETY OF MEN
I thought of Doshie when I came today. You know what wanking's like...pound, pound, pound, mentally browsing this one and that one. Faster and faster. Then suddenly - POP - some poor soul you weren't even expecting jumps into view. Sometimes inappropriate. Sometimes even the wrong sex!!
"Doctor, doctor, I think I'm turning straight!"
"Don't worry son, take this three times a day, and come back and see me in a week," the doctor says, reaching into his drawer and handing you a large black buttplug. "That's Dunlop Dan," he prescribes, proudly. "Lots of my patients swear by it." It's a proctocentric world.
But Doshie's definitely straight. He reminds you of this - every ten minutes - in case you forget. It started yesterday afternoon, after my riverside walk. (Met Darren and Deirdre Swann, by the way. This year they have just 3 youngsters. "Not bad for an old bird!" Deirdre cooed across the river to me.)
I goes into the pub, after my walk, blinking in the expected gloom. Where to set up camp? Who will join me and who - feigning indifference - stay where they are? Hardly had the words Pint of Carlsberg Lager left my quite dry lips then Doshie sidles up. "I'll buy that," he says then slips me a tenner. "What's this for?" I ask. "I haven't done anything for you."
Now gentle readers, let me tell you that Doshie is something of a sex god. Tall, bronzed, blue-eyed, dyed-blonde, white-teethed, and deliciously dissolute. And the word is - hung. The thought of me charging him a tenner is frankly ridiculous. Just NOT ON. Quite the reverse, if the menu even contained that dish. But it doesn't. "Doshie's off today sir." And every day. But not for Gwen. But we get out of order.
"Wanna sit outside and have a smoke?" he says. "I got some great skunk."
"OK," I reply, putty in his hands but trying not to show it. (I would actually have sat outside and shared a Barratt's Sherbert Fountain, if that's what he'd suggested. If sitting and talking is all you gonna get, then you damn well sit and talk. You get my drift, baby?)
So the sex god rolls a real big one, very efficiently, and we warm up for take-off. Others join us, straight and gay, keen to grab a free toke. I bring out a bottle-candle and hope it doesn't blow out. It doesn't, just flickers agitatedly in the falling evening. "It's for attracting sailors to the pub," I say to the landlady. "I tried singing naked on the table but it didn't work." "Oh" she says, no doubt thinking urgently about her retirement.
We chat, six of us, three from each side. It never stops amazing me how men can be such bigger fag-hags than women. Eyes gleaming as the straight guys say gay risqué things. Their eyes, not mine - not mine which have seen it all - it sometimes seems since time began. And my ears which have heard the songs. And my body which has danced the dance.
"And Doshie danced the dance last night, And paradise was twice as nice,
With Gwen beneath the diamond skies, But nothing good comes free.
While Mister Tambourine Man sang, His song of love for Nineties Man,
Don't be afraid - take what you need, How would you like to feel?"
So Gwen had a perfect birthday card. And soon I'll tell you about that tenner. Now that's really interesting.
We're one year old today - in the Blogger format, that is. Who would ever have thought?
Not everyone enjoyed the Gay Animal Programme (post below). Andy, from Bavaria (pron. Bavaaaaaria), thought it was shocking. "Then why didn't you turn it off?" I reasonably asked. "Oh, I vos vaiting for ze film after zat," he replied. "It's disgusting. Vy can't zey hav a gay channel for you people? Zat would be ze best."
My blood was boiling, I can tell you. Sandra, my personal manager, was trying to defuse zis (sorry - this) inflammatory situation. "Shut up, Sandra!" I had to say. "I will speak to this man."
"Listen to me, Andy," I said. "For fifty-five years I've watched animal programmes, and never - not ever - until yesterday has there been the slightest indication that animals have any sex-life other than "happy families".
"I know I'm not as old as you..." he replied. "You're right pal," I interjected. "Or as educated, or as intelligent, or as any fucking thing else. I pay my fucking TV licence, and I think one gay animal programme in fifty-five years is maybe not too much."
"I don't pay a licence," Andy laughed. "No, and I bet I pay your state fucking benefit," I thought, but didn't say it.
We should point out that Andy owns a pit bull terrier called Bart, whom he displays as a testicle substitute. But Bart, although visibly mature, appears not yet to have sampled the canine love-canal. "I hear Bart likes it up the bottom," would have been a great line. But, like many good lines, it came to me too late. And better never than late.
So you see, gentle reader, that the battle is nowhere near over. It's a jungle - from the moment you step out of your house. There are many, many men who insult and demean us poofs. I always tell them that if they were gay themselves they wouldn't last five minutes.
That usually shuts em up. If all else fails, then try, "If your cock was as big as your mouth you might be interesting." That one always works.
SIX OF THE BEST - NUMBER FIVE
But enough homosexuality. This is not a gay site - never was, and never will be. Our "battle" as such is laid to rest. I've done my bit. More than.
Working in bingo you meet all sorts of old ladies, and there are many tales they tell you. Often it's about their departed husbands, but rarely sadly. They've made the break. Picked up the pieces. Travelled on.
Some of them are really quite eccentric, and deaf as well, and these little foibles give much innocent pleasure to the staff. Following is an interchange with one of the strangest of all. From about a year ago, I hope you like it. (I've asterisked a couple of words, as they attract searches.)
A GOOD CLEANOUT
"So how are you Mrs McFarlane?" I said to her. "I heard you weren't very well yesterday."
"Oh - it's been terrible!" this white-haired, stooped old lady declared, grasping my hand. "Terrible!"
Mrs McFarlane is one of a pair - and her nickname with the staff is Dopey 2. There is another, Mrs Johnstone, who is Dopey 1, and the two of them are sisters in bingo. They sit beside each other, except for the evenings they've fallen out, and communicate in cackled remarks guaranteed to annoy all around them. We call their area the Dopey Zone, or - over the microphone - Zone D, for politeness.
There is also a Golden Zone, where the "Golden Girls" sit - each one vying to be Blanche, and even more tragically, the "Twilight Zone" inhabited exclusively by Mad Madge, who has always "just won sixty pounds on the bandit" or who is "getting married next week, you know." Such diversions make an apparently boring job bearable, and at times even enjoyable. All good harmless fun.
"I've had a good cleanout," Mrs McFarlane pressed on. "From Thursday to Sunday, with one of those - what do you call it - Annie.... Annie.... Annie...." She was rubbing her chest agitatedly.
"Get your gun?" I enquired, not entirely helpfully. "Oh you!" she laughed, grasping me even tighter. "No.... E*N*E*M*A! Thats what it was. E*N*E*M*A."
Things clicked into place. I knew what that entailed, and what it quite probably prognosed. "Oh, that's awful," I ventured. "Yes it was," she shouted. "On the toilet all the time."
I smiled, hiding my amusement at her frankness, and trying to offer empathy. "And then yesterday," she bawled, " - yesterday when I was at the hospital, they STUCK SOMETHING UP MY BACK PASSAGE, and that was even worse. Tests they were doing. TESTS."
"Oh dear!" I said, disengaging my hand and fearing bacteria. "When do you get your results?"
"In a week," she said, calming. "I'm sure it'll be all right."
It's a great feeling, having my "weekend" start on the day so many others return to their toil. I love my "four in a row" off work. Easily makes up for losing the weekends, which I never did much with anyway. I always, even when young, found the idea of a "Saturday night" with its demand to have fun, enjoy yourself, kick over the traces just too controlling. What if you want to have fun on a Tuesday? And quietly read on a Saturday? Strange child I was, even then.
Tonight Channel Four continues its hilarious new sex series (another one??) with The Truth About Gay Animals. This has been heavily trailed, and I was quite looking forward to it. At work it's been the talk of the staffroom, along with a debate on whether anal intercourse (human) is legal or not. (We can't afford a water-cooler - plus the water in Scotland is already cool and delicious.)
The title is silly of course. If gay is to mean homosexual, then that is an entirely human trait, about which much nonsense has been written also. Enough to sink the Titanic.
Here at Naked Blog we totally and completely understand the cause of such condition, and can honestly say that every other commentator is totally and completely wrong. But - once again - too valuable for free. Book is on its way. Sorry bout this damn book, but I enjoy eating, and poverty is not the ideal way to sail into the sunset.
Find out how gay your pet is on Channel Four's Pet-O-Meter.(To check out the test, I invented a cat called Tom, who turned out to be 46% gay, which seems a handy amount.)
Fascinated to watch a programme a couple of days ago called Top Ten TV Bastards. Great to see Eric Cartman in at number five slot, and they showed about 15 mins of sheer Cartman highlight heaven. I never realised he had only one parent, with his mother being a hermaphrodite. Fuck me.
In fourth position was one or other of the judges in the P*p Stars/P*p Idol genre. These men, however, were neither cartoons nor actors, but just being genuinely, sadistically, disgustingly rude to the teen hopefuls auditioning for these shows. Unspeakable. "What goes around, comes around," as we say in these pairts. I wish them nothing but bad.
SIX OF THE BEST - NUMBER FOUR
Haven't decided yet. Off to the pub. Tune in later, s'il vous plait.C ya. Bests to Josh, who's a wee bit off-kilter right now.
Well, the Gay Animals programme was a delight. We saw big-horned rams butt-fucking, a colony of lesbian seagulls, similarly Sapphic dolphins, and all hosted by a wonderful American comedian called Scott Capurro.
His mission was to claim, that if "true" homosexuality exists naturally in mammals, then it cannot be that abnormal in man. Well - we've been saying much the same thing for years, but doubtless Mr Capurro reached rather more people than have we. And it was fun. And he's cute as fuck. And gay, natch.
To complete an evening of rather beezarr sexual antics, Channel Four followed this 'Jungle Book Pridefest' with Cronenberg's (in)famous film Crash - its first terrestrial screening I think. Now either it was heavily cut for TV, or else in 1996 there was a great deal of media fuss about nothing.
My God, how blasé we're becoming. And Elias Koteas was equally hot, but differently from Capurro.
Today's archive tale is introspective - and it's back to masculinity and dominance, two favourite themes. Sex between a man and a woman is very, very affirming of their genders. For it to work, certainly the man has to feel, for the duration at least, that he is a MAN. That his brain, body and penis carry sufficient masculinity to complete the act. The onus is on him, and it's a one-man show.
Many gay men feel some masculinity, but not quite enough to make it with a woman. So they're happier in a two-man hook-up, where the demands are shared, and the testosterone pooled. It's down to dominance. You either got it or you ain't.
This one from a couple of years ago, nicely illustrates two different types of men.
Calling has its perks. People I'd never spoken to before come up and say, "I really like your bingo calling. When are you going to be full-time caller? You have such a clear/ sexy/ lovely voice." These snippets are not tossed lightly away.
Although my old ladies are the backbone of the Bingo Club, men go there too. Working-class men, rough of speech and tattooed of skin. Until recently, one of their number was my secret bum-chum for several years, now sitting there in front of me with his wife and daughters. Dominant. But these days they go somewhere else, I think.
I used to be nervous of this sort of man - the racist, homophobic football-fan type, but now they talk to me. They come up and chat. And it's all because of the calling. We've mobiled, upwardly, if you can understand my use of upward.
John is my manager, and he's very dominant. A tall, dark, utterly handsome Highlander by extraction, he's both feared and fancied. And not just by the women.
Although in this employment only three months, we already have responsibility and junior colleagues. John likes to demonstrate his top-dog position, his better grasp of my new job than I have myself. I have to submit, in front of the new-starts. I can't compete, simply not as skilled as him. (Or as young, or as hunky, or as virile, or as anything, come to think of it.)
Except one thing. The thing you're reading just now. He asks for a few notes on my progress. I write him a page so packed with style that he gapes. He puts it in his own folder, for his own manager. It's dog eat dog. I can churn them out standing on my head, pages like that - a never-ending supply of my own particular King of the Hill-ness.
I've criticised to his face his overbearing style. He says he's just winding me up. Three months ago I was the new boy - the fat old queen making her shaky way in a crowd of foul-mouthed knife-in-the-backs. (That's just some of the staff... others are a delight.) Last night came the ultimate accolade.
"Peter!" he shouts, as I pass his office door. I enter. He brings out the fags. (cigarettes). We smoke and chat, him behind his manager's desk, and me sitting across from him, friendly, joking and familiar. Oh - he pretends to talk about business, but in reality the gesture is quite different. It's to show me in his office, in a collaborative way, in full view of passing colleagues.
Many, if not most, gay men would rather have been women. Of the Doris Day type. Seeking little more from life than to "keep house" for some handsome, healthy Rock Hudson-alike. But it ain't to be. Not until they can do brain transplants.
So we do what people have always done in such predicaments - get on with it.
Many, if not most, gay men have very close women friends. Not for us the hatreds that sometimes suffuse the lesbian condition. We all of us live in the wide, wide world, and have to find our place in it. In truth it's not that hard - far, far easier now than when NB was a runt.
And working in the bingo industry - as I've done, on and off, for about five years now - brings me into close contact with the most delightful of women, both colleagues and customers. Here's a wee tale which unites the two. It's from three years ago.
THE SOCIETY OF WOMEN
The next day my supervisor introduces Claire. "I'm gonna put the two biggest blethers (chatterers) in the place beside each other, " she says, and smiles and leaves. I look at Claire. She's a teen, in the full bloom of mid-term pregnancy. We smile, awkwardly. We chat. It's gonna be OK.
I shut up and listen, keen as ever to learn. She talks. She tells me lots. Except her sperminator. He doesn't figure - at least for now.
So this old dear comes in. "It's my birthday," she announces to the two of us, proudly. "How old?" I ask - automatically and forgetting the protocol. (But actually the old girls love to tell you :) "I'm eighty seven!" she declares, beaming with pride. "No!" Claire and I chorus. "About 65!" I say, and reach to stroke her arm.
"Yes - eighty seven," she goes on. "It's seventy years since I had Tom my only boy. I was in hospital most of the pregnancy - and they thought I was gonna lose him. They tried to get me to have an abortion, but I said no. And you know, I'm so glad I didn't. Because now I've got four grandchildren and ten beautiful great- grandchildren. If I'd listened to them I would have nothing."
I smile at her, genuinely transfixed. And then I wonder if I dare venture....
"Claire here's just gonna have her first one," I tell the old lady. "Oh darling," she says, and then seventeen and eighty-seven each reach out their hands - and touch and hold for a long long moment. Red hair, silver hair. I look away, overcome and superfluous as the baton passes down. It's a matriarchal species.
Back to Basics...
But let's not forget, in the midst of this pre-anniversary nostalgia-fest (April 24, 2001 - NB first hit the streets!), that this is still indeed a blog.
So, what's been happening, round and about? Well - we've had more virus attacks than a Germ Warfare Institute. Mostly a thing called W32/Klez.h@MM. It's an email, plus attachment, with a different sender every time. Had it about seven times. Plus I've had the de-luxe Klez.gen version.
Also there was a kind offer of a three-week legal degree. However, I just can't see it. Stick a wig and gown on me, and the power would go so totally to my head.
"Fry him!!" I would scream, if I didn't like the look of them.
Or "Suspended sentence!!" if I sensed they were more deserving. Justice just wouldn't be blind. Mind you, it never is.
Someone called Garcia is keen to get me high. Legally, of course, with his fantastic, easy-to-smoke products.
From the ethnobotanical herbalists who brought the herba supplementals; Kathmandu Temple Kiff “1” & “2” “Personal-Choice”, pipe-smoking products/substances to the common market!!!
We are finally able to offer for your “Sensitive/Responsive”, “Personal Choice” Smoking Enjoyment….the “Seventh Heaven” Temple “3” Ragga Dagga (TM) Pipe-Smoking Substance Supplemental Product…. Introduced after three years of research and development; Temple “3” is “Personal Choice” legal Smoking/Indulgence….Redefined!!!
No thanks, honeypie. The world is divided into two types. Those who want to be "calmed down", and those who prefer to be "speeded up". NB is firmly in the latter camp. So fucking laid back I wouldn't jump if a hydrogen bomb went off. It's a metabolic thing. Plus more than twenty years of daily meditation have had a profound effect.
Yesterday I learned to my absolute horror, that NB is no longer the oldest gay blogger in town. OK, you have to go all the way to New Zealand to meet Billy, but he claims to have reached the ripe old age of 75. And still he watches gay stuff on telly. Just so fucking awesome. Must drop him a line and let him know they're not all 15 - 35. (Info. from Blogadoon.)
A few years ago, long before the days when every pussy-pansy in the land had a shaved head, the following (true) thing happened. I'd gone into my barber's shop for a Number 2, I think it was.
Cultural note here for the abroad people: real men go to barbers. The others to hairdressers.
Well, the Number 2 didn't seem to be doing it for me, so we went shorter. And shorter.
Fine. I looked different but fine in the barber's mirror. However, on crossing the road for a restorative pint, I accidentally caught a glimpse of this guy in the pub mirror. He looked scary as fuck. And - well, you can guess what's coming - it was me. Oh dearie dear. What price now my Mozart collection? Who now would believe the philosophy books on my shelves? No way, José. From now on it was the blade or the gun, leading inexorably to the jail.
As always, in such an existential crisis, I headed for the Port o Leith Bar, to get a second opinion. Well, several. Read on...
NAKED BLOG SKINHEAD SHOCK!!
By our Hair reporter, Ricki Lake
This story contains strong language and graphic sexual scenes, and should not be read by anyone.
Leith's "in-crowd" was rocked to its very foundations yesterday, when fashion superguru nakedblog burst into the "Abandon Hope" sporting a new, terrifying, skinhead hairdo.
"Dinnae gie's any yer fucking shite!" he snarled at his gaping gang of groupies. "This cunt's fucking hard from now on!"
Later that afternoon, in a more relaxed and expansive mood, NB gave the following interview exclusively to THE SUN.
Speaking from a plastic-covered couch in his £80 a day executive sauna club, he slugged back a can of Carlsberg Special whilst a trailer-trash youth (18+) performed an act of gross indecency. "That's smashin, kid," he purred to the tattooed, shaved and pierced lad. "Keep that up an we gonna be real good friends. What kinda car was it you said you wanted?"
"Goo goo!" said the guy. "A-glug-a-glug," manfully staying on-task.
So how did it feel to look like a hardened criminal?
"Strange, certainly," nakedblog replied. "It's kinda weird seeing people edge away from you in pubs and even in the street. I've dropped my voice half an octave, and stopped saying Please and Thank you."
He reached down then and stroked his young friend's shaved head, adjusting him to a better rhythm. "Don't want to disappoint em or disillusion, now do I? Within a very short time I'm gonna have to actually deck some cunt."
NB-watchers have been concerned lately about the star's apparent emotional disintegration. Spending hours a day outside tattoo parlours and piercing clinics, he now has the words "Travis" on one hand and "Bickle" on the other - a further worrying sign of descent into serial killing.
Our reporter made her apologies and left, with the words "I ate his liver..." trailing behind her, chillingly portentous.
So, dear reader. If you want to change the way you see the world, get a big bag of speed and flop in front of Internet Relay Chat for a few days. If you want to change the way the world sees you, get your head shaved. It really was a revelation. And cheap.
Yes folks - it's blogiversary week. April 24. To mark this utterly uneventful event, I thought we'd have a week of special features. A trawl through the extensive archives, possibly ending with a live chat next Wednesday, where I can answer your questions about Naked Blog, about Scotland, and about Life.
As I mentioned in one of the posts below, in the years BB (Before Blog), one of the main avenues of cyber community was with Internet Relay Chat. (IRC) Enthusiastically I embraced this fascinating technology - with a zeal. I loved the immediacy - the anonymity - "be who you wanna be" - the sheer excitement of a communication medium so novel. But of course, I overdid it, and friends began to worry about my mental health. To get the best from the Net, you really have to stay up all night, and of course, to do that repeatedly demands artificial stimulation. My longest continuous IRC session was 37 hours. As you can imagine, living like this plays havoc with your consciousness.
A few tales came out of this period - and from them I've selected this one. Enjoy.
I shouldn't be here you know, writing like this. I'm on holiday, goddammit. "Where did you go?" they'll very reasonably ask back at work. But what can you say? How can they possibly understand?
"Oh, I explored more of Cyberspace" I could reply. "I held hands and laughed and loved!"
They'll appreciate that - except my friends were thousands of miles away. OK, so the hand-holding bit was a lie, but still we did laugh and love, ignoring the body's normal requirements for wussy things like food and sleep. Put them on hold, and seize the night, for tomorrow we may die. Carpe noctem, dude.
Yes, I'm afraid it's been another Cyberbender. But not - NOT - like the one we so gloriously describe in Netsex. No, that was childish, that. Years ago, wasn't it? And my feet swelled up. No, these past five days have been spent on the website, typing, formatting, cutting, rearranging. Everything except writing, which is why, somewhat nervously, we're here again with you now.
But it wasn't all Website. Oh no - a boy's gotta have fun sometime. We got our Channel back again last night. (IRC Chat Channel). For three days and nights it'd been invaded and held hostage by bashers. This is called a take-over.
Gingerly I picked my way through the rubble-strewn streets - the bloody aftermath of this three day war - desperate to hear any faint sounds of life. In total I rescued two old ladies (Mother Theresa type), one young marine (Kevin Dillon type), and a newly-orphaned 12 year old boy (too young to type).
"What are you talking about Peter?" they said to me on the Channel.
"Oh sorry dudes! In Europe when we have a war there's always rubble and survivors. Got to be, or what would the News put on? Happens quite a lot, in fact."
"Oh," they said, unconvinced, and got back to trying to have sex with people. Booooring.
Last night on the Undernet I was invited to a class. An advanced users' class. God knows how they select for this - maybe Telewest tells them how much I spend on phone bills. More out of curiosity than anything I hauled my ass over there and went in. God it was full. About 200 students and 5 staff - Cynthia the teacher, and 4 tutors to take your questions. And it was utterly engrossing.
For over an hour Cynthia lectured on present day life in Cyberworld. You see, unlike the Compuserve we wrote about elsewhere, IRC is a jungle. No - worse than a jungle, much worse than that - a post- industrial wasteland of innocent citizens ranged against marauding gangs of hackers, bashers and virus-writers. It's a bit like Mad Max, really - except you get to choose what everything looks like.
But I assure you there's nothing imaginary about the gangs - the High Priests of Fundamentalist intolerance, screaming their hate against b*l*a*c*k*s, against J*e*w*s, and of course against Filthy Diseased F*ggot Sc*m. They are very real. And very frightening.
Be warned, the first time you see this, whether it's live on IRC, or asynchronous on Usenet Newsgroups, it stabs like a hot knife in the heart, and then you thank society for the literal civility of our print and broadcast regulations. We just don't have that sort of thing over here, do we Mr Lawrence?
But out there, there is no censorship. There is no goodness. There is no law.
Spending so much of our lives among the dancing digits and spinning discs of IRC programming, we have to retaliate. Or chaos would surely follow. For every hate-filled trailer-trash polishing his shotgun by day and his virus codes by night, there are others who write good code - flood protections, virus scanners and of course the silent, ever-faithful "bots" - those trusty little Cyber-robots guarding the Channels - 24/7.
Well, again I was quite nervous sitting down to you after more than a week off, and four days and nights of less than healthy living. But it was OK. Tomorrow, back to links and images. We're getting there. So where did I go for my holiday? "Oh...it was good. I saw most of the USA, this time...and met a red-hot dude down in South Africa. Plus I went on a fascinating course at the very limits of consciousness."
I'll smile then, knowingly. "Yep, it was great. You should go there some time."
Three times only have I met cyberpeople in real life. It always either ended or damaged the "relationship".
The first time was - oh - about five years ago, long before bloglinks had ever been dreamed of. The most important cyber-communities then happened on Internet Relay Chat, and the various shoots and offshoots which ensued. One day I was tippy-tapping away on #gaychat-uk when it turned out that three of us lived in easy walking distance of my local pub. We met. We chatted for real for an hour or so. And that was that.
Next was with a moderately famous writer and documentary-maker. Let's call him J. This man had chanced upon my earlier, non-blog site while searching for his own name. He was kind enough to email and offer some compliments on the pieces, which was fine, as I was - and remain - one of his biggest fans. Oh boy, did my stock rise in the pub. Amongst those who knew how to read.
We continued emailing and so on for a couple of years, until last summer, when the confidence and the opportunity coincided, and we met eye to eye. It's here, if you're interested. And that was that.
And finally, last year a local Naked Blog reader became quite a fan, and we chatted in comment boxes, emails and so on. Let's call her R. One early evening, unexpectedly, a mutual IRL friend brought R into the pub and introduced us to each other. She paused, at a couple of feet distance, transfixed and gaping. What could I do? Immediately I thought of Mick Jagger, and how I'd read that on meeting him, people would approach and then stop - so strong was his "star aura".
That is the kind interpretation. The less-flattering is that R couldn't believe such a sad old git was the mind behind all those articles. Her bubble was pricked. Her balloon burst. My (lack of) mystery revealed in all its tawdriness.
But either way, the intiative had to be mine. "Darling!" I cried, and gave her a star-like hug. (Or how I imagined a star would hug.) It were fab. We chatted a few more occasions, but she left the city. And that was that.
I guess some people are better in writing than in reality. Maybe that's why we do it.
Thanks to Edge and Geek for their contributions in the comment box a couple below.
You see, if you don't close, then you have to go on for ever - both options being quite frightening. A logical mind can be such a f*cker.
Anyway, there we were on Monday, as closed as Timothy McVeigh after his execution. But then, during the night, the next day's story started to write itself, and there was no option but to open up again. Here at Naked Mansions we gaily waste time and money - left, right and centre. But a story? No way, José.
Anyway again, our (mercifully brief) closure has been the talk of the internet, such as here and here. Thanks to Deborah and PBQ for noticing. Thanks to hoopty for his kind letters. And to geek, and so on, et cetera, undsoweiter. I love you all.
Out and about in Belfast
Major new find! Here at NB we do the work for you, so all you have to do is enjoy yourselves. Take a look at Prof B Quatermass here, and tell me if you're not quite gobsmacked. Particularly note the gent's views on blogging and on the rise and fall of rock and roll.
You'd think with a name like Ariel he'd be more receptive. (NB)
King of Closure or Drama Queen? The choice is yours to make.
Tomorrow - the ups and downs of meeting blogfriends in real life. Your views and experiences most welcome.
"Want to go for a walk?" Sandra said to me yesterday, on the dog and bone. "It's too dull," I replied, truthfully. "Then wanna just come round a bit later?" she pressed on. "I'm picking up L. (her daughter) at twelve." "OK," I said. But then she dropped the bombshell. "There'll also be X, Y and Z," she declared. (Three more 8 -10's)
"No way, pal!" was my instant response. "Sorry - not spending time with a bunch of kids." And do you know what happened? We spent time with a bunch of kids. Talk about malleable.
Oh - in truth they were well-behaved, mostly playing in the "other room", just occasionally venturing through to Sandra and me, playing their mouth-organs so Cherry the black part-Labrador would sing. She loves it. "Hoooowwwwlllll"
Sandra and I got quite drunk, and somehow Dusty came on singing "Yesterday, when I was young", by Jacques Brel, I think it is. NB had to flee the room clutching cigs in one hand and wine in the other, lest the children see a grown man blubbing and become distressed. Previously I'd only heard the song performed by Miss Bassey, beside whom Ms Springfield is undoubtedly a dwarf, musically. But it fitted the atmosphere fine. And Sandra comforted me in the kitchen.
Then Robin (don't call me gay, I'm bisexual) came round. I'm afraid I gave him a bit of a grilling, what with him being centre-stage in the biggest scandal to rock our little community lately. These are matters of which we cannot speak here, to protect the innocent, but - take my word for it - Edward VIII and Wallace Simpson got nothing on these dudes.
The wine was Hungarian Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot - quite quaffable in a budget way. Domain Boyar. Delicious and very tongue-loosening. I'll apologise to Robin later today. His doings are none of my business, godammit, but isn't gossip just so tasty?? It's the very oil of human communities.
Sandra's man, Alligator Johnny, came in after his work, and then we all played pool in their front room. Somehow my cigarette burned a small hole in Sandra's sofa. I've offered to pay for the repair. It might have set the house on fire. Aren't "might have's" a worry?
More seriously, I'll rebuild this site to its former glory later. My great thanks to Professor Bernard Quatermass for his letter yesterday re closure. He and a couple of others are my most faithful commenters. Think about it.
Well, here we are again, with a little design I knocked up myself. Granted, it looks a lot like the last one, but we have no artistic skills whatever. There's Daffodil yellow, for springtime. Plus a new font called trebuchet ms, which will take a little getting used to. Others will have to read us in default, although tomorrow I'll put in a cascade.
Still to do:
Add "Powered by Blogger" thingie.
Get comments on same line as timestamp.
Stop timestamp being a link, because it doesn't work properly.
Buy cigs, watch telly, go to bed.
What a twenty-four hours! NB recommendation.... Buy a cat to kick, rather than changing template and "closing down".
Smoke and expectation hung heavy in the air. It was 7.30 yesterday evening at the bingo, and there I was waiting, adrenalin trickling, to "open up" the session. Beside me, under the glitter ball and glaring floodlights, was C, my trainee manager - preparing his little spiel before we started the balls rolling. (Well, the numbers actually come from a chip rather than balls, for reasons too boring to go in to.) It's metaphorical. A metaphorical cliché.
Somehow my name badge (as if a STAR! ever need such) fell off my Marks and Spencer crushed linen suit, and then, in grabbing for it, I knocked the microphone quite out of C's hand. Live, of course. Clunkety - clunkety - bash - crash, it went, dangling like an amplified pendulum. Six hundred irritated old dears watching. Some at least enjoying our unscripted discomfort.
Boy, were our faces red! I should point out that C is also of the gay persuasion, and although very young, packs quite some avoirdupois. Oneself has less of that, but plenty of anno domini. Polyglots will get the picture just fine.
C hauled up the dangling Shure mike, composed his now beetroot young face, and began. "Well, after that slight mishap, Good Evening, ladies and gentlemen," he said, with a lisp to die for.
"Great recovery, doll!" I hissed at him. "Keep it coming!" This illustrates the informality of sisterhood, which at times transcends details such as rank. We're still negotiating our way round the fact that he is my manager, easily young enough to be my son, yet I can outslag him without even opening my handbag.
But it was worse than that. Behind us, in the cheaper seats, was a group of three middle-aged queens of the growing-old disgracefully type. Sunbed-lined faces topped by hair streaked and spiked and gelled - quite appalling.
But it was even worse than that. One of those three had been my lover. (Here I use the word lover ironically. I actually mean a one-week shag. Ten years ago - at least. Savvy??) We'd made mad, animal passion for that hot, horny summer week, but in truth you can't fuck all the time, and we had irreconcilable differences of intellect. I had one. He hadn't.
There are some men who are such perfect "fucking machines" that I swear all the brainspace normally reserved for thinking and talking is totally subsumed to testosterone. You open up. And take what's there. And then move on.
Eee bah gum - we don't have much money, but we do see life.
Out and about in Scotland
Blogger adlets sometimes work. Today, while preparing to knock off this wee ditty for youse all, I chanced upon cyberpumpkin, who describes himself as a gay Scotsman. Lovely writing, but a pity he's so young. Thirty three. Ah well - some day my prince will come. But probably not to the bingo.
Don't worry, we haven't gone all bilingual on you. Two-faced on occasions, but never double-tongued. Today is sunny and warm, so of course we have to return to bingo hell for three days - seeing no light, breathing everybody else's smoke, and smiling like there was no tomorrow. Which - sadly - there won't be too many of for some of em.
So many of you (two) have been kind enough to express your appreciation of the swan-song we wrote for you, that I feel it incumbent on me to offer the tragic aftermath. We've given this true story a C for caution rating, as it contains graphic violence from the outset.
TOOTH AND CLAW
Although Leith stands on the River Forth, of painting the bridge fame, there is another, much smaller river passing through its heart, called the Water of Leith. In its lower stretches it's now quite posh (see left) but still is home to jakies (drinking gents), working girls, and their clients. In some parts you can't even take a discreet piss without treading on a bunch of used condoms.
Rather more pleasantly, it also houses (or did) a locally-famous pair of swans which we named Darren and Deirdre in one of our earliest stories for you. Darren and Deirdre have featured in Edinburgh's evening paper, in election material, and there's even a pub named "The Black Swan". (Wrong colour, but right idea.) Year after year they nested in the same spot - the jakies keeping watch over their Carlsberg and chats - and the annual hatching was a feast of accessible wildlife for all to enjoy.
Last week Robin (who is not a bird), and I decided to take a look at this year's nest. "But it's not Darren and Deirdre any more," Robin said. "Some other swans chased them away." Only yesterday did I learn the full, awful, story - from a lady of a certain age with bird-food and a moustache.
"It was rogue swans," she told me, urgently. "They came from further up the river and chased the first couple away. They cornered the male and attacked him. People were phoning the swan centres and the paper and the police and everything, but nobody came. Its neck was all hanging and it couldn't lift it. It was terrible, I was that upset."
"And what about the female?" I asked, horrified. "Oh, she would go away to die," my swan lady said. "Swans mate for life, you know." Awful. We can't feel good about the new residents. But that's human. And swans are jest not human.
Naked Novel News!
Chapter Four is now available for your delectation. Learn more about Diana's astonishing past! Will she and John make their bid for freedom from Jerry Burrows, the evil pornographer?? Plus you can catch up on the previous chapters at the same site. This one is gonna run and run!
We're number 1 in the world for naked ikea catalogue, and I don't even know if they produce one. Stripped pine?? The mind literally boggles.
We're number 1 in the world for Blogging, on Netscape Search, ahead even of Blogger.com. Take That, Mr Williams. (How come no-one ever searches for Evan Williams naked? Why is it always Robbie? Or Prince?
I'd forgotten the power of Disturbing Search Requests. A couple of nights ago there was a search for oops tit slip movies, and this tickled my little fancy so much I thought I'd share it. Result? Tripled traffic!
There've been a couple of emails from readers too shy to write in comment boxes (do such people exist??), asking me to explain yesterday's Naked Top Ten - Funeral Edition. (See below.) These correspondents are from abroad, that huge place.
Here goes: 1 and 2 are self-evident. Sophie Raworth is an early morning BBC news-anchor, attractive, thirtyish, who almost always wears pastel V-neck cardigans, and little else visible. The perfect accompaniment to that "wake-up boner," for those who like that sort of thing.
Of Hilary Duff and Simon Rex I know nothing, despite asking on this forum previously. I have to assume you too neither know nor care, which is fine. David Boreanaz is an actor, a hunk who appears variously in Buffy and - shit! I've forgotten. Mr B. would be the perfect accompaniment to my "wake-up boner" if he were on at that hour, and if I were still able to get one. Boner I mean. Or am I kidding? Fucked if I'm telling you!
Exactly the same would apply to Messrs Wahlberg and Williams, showing if nothing else that my searchers have good taste indeed. And probably more boners. Ah - nostalgia, nostalgia.
Do you know, there was a show on last night called When Hippies Ruled The World, with extended contributions from Mesdames Rosie Boycott, Joni Mitchell and Germaine Greer. One was in sixties heaven. "If you're GO-ING, to San Fran CISCO... " (For more about these years, I'm afraid you'll have to wait for the book. Too good to give out for nothing.)
Marge Simpson demonstrably does not exist, showing just how weird some freaks are, and Jennie Bond is the BBC Royal Correspondent, which means she has to do her pieces to camera outside Palaces. I've never yet seen her inside one.
So, there you have the Naked Blog readership in a nutshell /nutcase. A global incarnation of my private neuroses.
I'm thinking of having a guest blogger, after I saw how well it worked for Tinka in Denmark. I've invited Rex, featured on the sidebar. (Not Simon Rex.) He writes a dream. You'll probably prefer him.
I really should watch things before I open my fat mouth. Caught TQM's funeral repeat in the pub yesterday, and confess I was quite gobsmacked. Or maybe it was the lager. And that's definitely why one was waxing sentimental in the little post below.
We do that sort of thing quite splendidly in this country. And this seques naturally into today's somewhat (ir)regular feature...
Naked Top Ten - the Funeral Edition
(All these people had naked after their names last night.)
1. Prince Harry (19 searches)
2. Prince William(s) (13)
3. Sophie Raworth (11)
4. Hilary Duff (10)
5. David Boreanaz (7)
6. Marge Simpson (7)
7. Mark Wahlberg (6)
8. Simon Rex (4)
9. Robbie Williams (4)
10. Jennie Bond (1)
All of which goes to show the power of globally-televised great-granny funerals. The little princes have been nowhere of late on NB, but there they were yesterday in all their royal glory.
Wonder what it's like, being at your great-gran's funeral, knowing that the eyes of the world are watching and thinking - "Has he just had a joint - or is he gaggin on one?" I should have been royal. I just know it.
The Queen mother is being buried as I sit here ignoring it all. Why's that? Because they're all the same. Hollywood may have few good stories - royal funerals have only one.
The reason we've said nothing about TQM so far is that we know little of her. Almost all her work was done before I was born, and this insignificant journal is mostly for our direct experiences. Yes - even NB doesn't go that far back!
But this much I have learned: She had greatness thrust upon her when her brother-in-law, Edward VIII, abdicated, and equally suddenly removed when her husband George VI died, and she lost the lot. The laws of succession are absolute, and it was a case of "The King is Dead, Long Live The Queen." Except that the queen was no longer herself, but her elder daughter, who remains queen to this day.
It's said they had an awful job getting her to move out of Buckingham Palace.
All this is happening in the fiftieth anniversary year of QE2's coronation, and that we do remember, both in the excited lead-up... (Day Off School!!!), and watching the event on a new-fangled thing called television. More of these matters nearer the time, June 2nd this year.
Naked Blog favours the monarchy, at least as practised by the present incumbent, the only one I've known. She is in charge of just about everything of any importance. All the armed forces, the Government, the Church of England, the judiciary, schools, prisons, taxes... the list goes on and on.
Every soldier, every politician (with some recent disgraceful exceptions), every judge, swears allegiance not to an abstract "nation", not to some office of popularly-elected "president", (with rife corruption in various countries of late), but to the Monarch herself.
As such, she both embodies and transcends the entirety of her subjects.
But there's more. Although a coronation takes place in a Christian church, the ceremony contains distinctly non-Christian aspects. In a private, un-filmed portion, the new Monarch is anointed with "holy oil", whatever that is. After the anointment, the Monarch is then deemed to be in some part "divine". (The King's touch.)
Yet it is fundamental and axiomatic in the Christian faith that divinity belongs only to God Himself, and to his Son, Jesus Christ. Ain't that a can of ecclesiastical worms?
So, you pays yer money, and you gets no choice at all. President elected by misleading ballot papers and partisan judges, or faux-divine Monarch? I think I'll stick with what I know best.
What was buried today was not merely an incredibly old, incredibly rich woman, but what she represented. Which was a Britain before my time, but which shaped and made possible the Britain I do inhabit. Not only does she represent that, but she was active in determining its form. For that I give thanks.
Pictures courtesy The Guardian
Working evenings, as I do three times a week, means setting the video. British TV is divided into four strands.
Early evening Cooking, Gardening, Homes, Ghastly soaps
Mid evening Occasional science or medical programme, Ghastly soaps
Ten to eleven pm slot News
Eleven onwards Ghastly young people demonstrating how dumb they are.
NB readers can guess out of this parched desert which tiny oases we try desperately to seek out. (And it ain't the News.)
Horizon used to be tolerable as a faux-science show, but now they've acquired a music editor who would in truth be better employed as a DJ. He/She slaps on a different blaring CD for almost every shot. Unlistenable twaddle. We have to watch in subtitles with the sound off. Cranky old-fashioned git or what?
The above preamble was of course to give my readers better value for their money. What we want to talk about is a particular programme last night called Bitter Sweet, on Channel Four, about diabetes.
Sickness shows follow a distinct pattern.
Everybody's either got it or gonna get it soon.
It wasn't always thus.
How you can avoid it. (Usually by stopping drinking /smoking /having sex with attractive strangers who are just as keen as you are.)
Last night's offering gave the first in spades, the second briefly, and skipped the third totally. Rather they spent the entire hour rattling on about how this condition was costing the health service a fortune. And it was only gonna get worse. There are a "missing million" who've got diabetes in Britain, and if they suddenly turned up, the very gates of hell would melt. The word expensive was mentioned about fifteen times, without exaggeration.
NB is moving into diabetic times. As you age, you ponder not only when you'll pop it, but how. Ideally I would have preferred my valuable hour's investment in this show to have given clear guidelines on how to minimise my risk from this malady. But of this there was almost nothing. Don't be obese. Don't be of African origin. Especially don't be of Asian origin.
Numbers two and three we have so far avoided. Number one? Is a 34 waist for a man obese? I hope not, although it's definitely not pretty.
No - what this show did quite brilliantly was to show, unintentionally, what a huge investment all those doctors and consultants (diabetologists!!) have in this illness. Remember, there's no money (or well-paid jobs) in healthy people. Heavens preserve us!!
Total grot. Although at least there was no blaring music.
Yesterday I promised the shocking, bloody follow-up to the Darren and Deirdre Swann story below. But, as no-one's shown the slightest interest in it (or anything else recently), I won't bother. Tetchy today or what? Work is pissing me off a bit this weekend. Just one more day.
The Water of Leith, my local river, is home to much birdlife. In recent articles we've mentioned a pair of herons, which are new, but the lower four miles or so also host three breeding pairs of swans, and Mallard ducks in abundance. Just the other day I saw one drake noisily shooing another away, so that he might enjoy the company of his rather frumpy female all to himself.
However, frump is in the eye of the beholder, and to that drake I'm sure the speckled brown partner was Victoria Beckham absolutely naked.
In the very lower reaches, near Great Junction Street bridge, there is a small landing used as nesting ground by a pair of swans. A swan's nest is 3 - 4 feet across... quite a sight. The annual laying and hopeful hatching of the eggs is a local highspot, and parents from miles around bring their children to watch this large-scale demonstration of wildlife.
The parents and eggs are literally so close you can almost touch them, yet remain, by and large, free of vandalism. A brooding swan and her partner are not to be tangled with lightly! (Although we did learn on our researches, that they'll do anything for lemon meringue pie!)
The most productive year for young was 1998, when we penned this interview with the new mother.
MISSING SWAN EGGS SHOCK!
Leith goes mental!!
By our swan reporter, Vesta Tilley
In a dazzling display of "swan-upmanship" Leith's most famous bird Ms Deirdre Swann yesterday hatched 7 healthy cygnets from her brood of 10 eggs.
"The tricky part was actually laying the fuckers - after that it was easy," Ms Swann explained, keeping a threatening eye on the other birds pecking about the nest. "I mean - look at the fucking size of them!" she laughed hollowly, while sipping from a can of delicious but economical Kestrel lager.
"Lager's good for mothers," she explained, pointing at the can with her elegant yet now somewhat scrawny neck. "Got iron in it. And folic acid. Do you think I've lost weight, by the way?"
The cygnets are perfectly formed, and ready to swim and even eat tomorrow or the next day, unlike other birdlets which seem to do nothing but open their gobs and demand to be spoon fed. You can see them gambolling about, pecking at inedible rubbish (for practice) then retiring back under mother's protective wing - literally. Hence the expression, which has seeped into the human, un-winged vocabulary.
Broken eggshells litter the environs, like so many of yesterday's things - important at the time, but now best forgotten. Let's face it, the Water of Leith might not be much, but it's a damn sight better than inside an egg.
And what about names for the new-born? Any ideas there? "Well, I've more or less set my mind on the days of the week, ye ken - with there being seven o' them an all," Ms Swann confided, proudly. "Providin' of course there's nae mair o' the wee fuckers still tae come - then I'm really up shit creek!"
So what about Darren, her husband? He was nowhere to be seen.
"Oh - he'll be down the pub, whooping it up with the boys!" she laughed. "You know what men are like - whatever species they are. And he was really pissed off when Hearts won the cup, so I guess this'll cheer him up a bit. Seven! That should get him a round or three."
She spent a few moments moving twigs and bits of plastic about the nest, lost in thought.
"It was your wonderful Germaine Greer who once said 'It's always the fucked sex that comes off worst.' Smart bird that. Now - if there's nothing else, I'll have to start thinking about the tea."
Deirdre's nest is in fact on the Water of Leith, just upstream from Junction Bridge. Go there. See wildlife without David Attenborough. And take your own camera - you truly don't need the BBC every damn time. Trust me, I'm natural.
So there I was yesterday afternoon, in the Port o Leith Bar, sitting between DJ Womble, one of the city's leading exponents thereof, and Fiona, one-time Queen of Clubs. DJ was slipping Fiona little ad-cards for his upcoming gigs, and Fiona had the visibly frightening experience of not know where some of them were.
And this from the woman who just ten years ago was probably the most famous face in Scotland. Apart from the telly, of course. Everything these days is apart from the telly.
Queen Mother aftermath...
Fi and I got chatting about Ma Bowes-Lyon. (HMQETQM, to give her her full title.) "Oh aye it was terrible!" Fiona exclaimed. "Terrible. When they heard of the old bat popping it they were all wanting to go with her." I should explain that my friend works in a home for the elderly and confused.
"Really?" I gasped, keeping her talking longer for this very piece you're reading.
"Yes... they were shouting... 'Take me as well. I'm ready to go'. Some of them are that auld they thought she was still the queen," Fiona cackled, laughing into her strong lager. "Missed a whole generation! One of them, Mrs X, is actually 104 herself!"
"Still the Queen - in black and white!" I laughed too, agreeing with her. "So what did you do?"
"I made the auld fuckers get out of bed, to prove they were still alive!" she explained. We chortled some more.
We're number one for blog gentle madness. And that sums it up. Gentle madness in summer, and gentle depression in winter. I can live with that. And I'm only about half of 104.
Jean-Paul Sartre corner
Why is it that road-menders with infuriating pneumatic drills only emerge on the sunniest days? Where are they when it's miserable? Who pays them then?
My favourite news story of yesterday. But you've got to take note of the date. (Had my little heart leaping for a moment, at the thought of those riches I richly deserve.)
This little story, from Google, the makers of the world's leading pigeon-pecking search engine. But I do have to add that the pigeons which send me my daily searches must be some sick little mothers indeed!
Took Sandra and her man Alligator Johnny to the bingo yesterday afternoon. Johnny is a great guy, but he has wild staring eyes and alligator teeth. He told me once the teeth were partly false, but yesterday they were biting his bingo pen big time.
We didn't win the game for sixteen thousand pounds. We didn't win the several games for one hundred pounds - in fact we won fuck all. And I suspect they both hated it. It's very fast you see. The numbers come pouring out like incontinence streams, and if you miss even one you're totally donald ducked.
We're planning a day-long hillwalk for next week. Not so many numbers.
Do you know what one of my greatest pleasures is? Wasting time.
Schedules, appointments - even social necessities - get totally on my tits. But I'm in middle-aged heaven sitting here, with about twelve things to do, only one of them urgent, and not doing any of them at all.
Genes and circumstances may have robbed me of a family of my own, but I've been compensated with a great gift indeed. Myself.