Naked Blog

More famous than Susan Boyle!


Sunday, June 30, 2002

BLOG OFF

Hi. Sorry there are still no further instalments of the Great Camping Adventure.

I think I've lost the blogbug. After last week's holiday glory of getting to know so many interesting people for real, blogging to people I'll never, ever meet has suddenly lost its appeal. Keeping this weblog has significantly reduced my social interactions, and caused actual harm to my life.

Rex has volunteered his services as guest blogger. I hope you'll enjoy his writing.


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Friday, June 28, 2002

ECCE HOMO!
(Behold the man!)


Hi NB-fans, and thanks for all your messages and expressions of regret at my absence for short vacation. I was delighted that not one of you wrote how pleasant things were without me, even if that's what you really thought. I love you one and all.
Ed: Cut the Judy Garland crap, fer chrissakes, and get to the point. Did you bag off or not? Bag off = meet a partner for hopeful later congress
NB: I'd forgotten how much I hate you. Your contract is just so terminated.
That's shut him up. Now - it's hard to know where to begin, so much happened in such a short time. Much of what occurred was on the emotional and psychological level, rather than sight-seeing, and involves real people and their lives. (Not us three - we got on just fine.)

No, over those three days I met more folk than in the previous three years. I got to know a handful of delightful new friends more intimately than anyone has a right to expect, so open and generous of spirit are the people in Galloway. And amongst us (but mostly sam) we cupided two women together for a first date, one gay, one suddenly wanting to be.

Well - you hardly expected a travelogue, did you?



DAY ONE

Getting there. Easy-peasy. Postman (Graham) is a great driver. We stopped for a refreshing pint in Kirkoswald in Ayrshire, where a guy started chatting. He was as randy as old get-out, first over us three, and then over a young woman who came in. And he was eighty-one. "That's just how I want to be when I'm eighty-one!" I said to sam. "Honey, you're there already," he affirmed. Turned out that oldboy was going to Portpatrick also. We all arranged to meet. It didn't happen.

Me and my trusty manservantPutting up the tents.

Incredible to watch. My idea of a tent was of the type they used a lot during the Crimean war, with a pole at each end, and a lot of strings. Just like the picture on the Camp Coffee bottle.

But nowadays it's different. If you can imagine two taut bows, at right angles, and covered with material, then that's what you've got.

One hundred percent sealed from the outside world, except for a ventilation gauze at the top. Very hi-tech, very easy to erect, and totally synthetic.



Five Explore The Ruined Castle.

It's actually fenced off, being on top of a cliff edge, and like totally dangerous. But we climbed over the fence. Inside was exciting. Ruined. Dangerous. Lots of photos, which I'll show you once they're developed.



Portpatrick learns of our presence. There we were, drinking in the Village Inn, when a group of bikers came in. One of them - very attractive - had quite stoned eyes. "See that wan - he's smacked ootie his heid," (high on heroin) I hissed to sam and postman, over my Seamans Rack of Lamb. (Quite delicious, and so huge you didn't know whether to eat it or marry it.)

Sam took a thoughtful bite of Beef and Ale Pie, and turned surreptitiously round for a look. "Aye, ye could be right there, girl," he agreed. He and postman forked their mange-tout onto my plate, when there was an almighty crash as smackheid biker fell off his bar stool and literally smacked his head on the back of our seating, before lying stunned on the floor. "Omygod" said postman, over his Sirloin Steak with Bouquet of Garden Vegetables. "Look at the state of that!"

But sam, who is a carer in real life, wasn't taking this sitting down. Instantly he abandoned his Beef and Ale Pie, and ran over to the hapless and helpless young stud. "Turn on your side" he ordered. "What's your name?!" he demanded then. "He's called Mark," the chief-looking biker replied. "It's him ah'm esking, no you!" Sam snapped at him.

Back at our dinner table, I was beside myself with horror. "Look at her!" I gasped at postman. "Why does she always do that? Why the hell can't she just keep out of things? Before you know it we'll all be fucking lynched!"

Coming tomorrow... Bar-stool fall - the shocking repercussions! Learn just what this incident did to Sam's reputation!!


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Monday, June 24, 2002

TIME FOR TUBBY BYE-BYE

It's 7.30 am on the morning of the big vacation. My name is Naked Blog, and this will be the longest day of my life. Doubtless many of you reading this go on holidays all the time. It's no big deal for normal people. But this is my state of play...
  • The clothes I washed yesterday aren't dry
  • There are no batteries for the torch
  • No film for the camera
  • No new towels (I can't show my ordinary ones to queens.)
  • The Special Delivery letter the post office are holding hasn't been collected (could be anything)
  • I can only find one walking boot
  • It's four years since I slept outside this house
  • The roof is leaking
  • I know I won't sleep one wink tonight
  • I'll catch athlete's foot from the showers
  • I can't cope with people for more than three hours at a time
  • I'll worry constantly, about something
  • What if we all fall out
  • There might be ticks in the grass
  • The dogs might have fleas (or get them)
  • I couldn't bear to eat anything cooked on a camping stove (bound to be tainted with fuel)
  • I'll smoke far too much (already started)
  • And drink (not started yet)
  • See you Thursday, if things go well. Otherwise - whae kens?


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    Sunday, June 23, 2002

    FINAL PREPARATIONS

    I shouldn't be sitting here, writing to you like this. There are clothes to wash, towels to buy, walking boots to hunt out and see if they've petrified or not. "Hen, we're only goin' fer three days!" Sam said to me on the phone last night. "Dinnae fash yersel." (Don't work yourself into a stressed state of mind.)( I LOVE Scots expressions.)

    This is with reference to tomorrow's camping holiday, which regular readers will already be sick of, but you have to keep new additions in mind. It's only polite. It's the first holiday I'll have had (and don't forget - we're not there yet!) for at least a decade, and while I was making my coffee this morning, I got to wondering why.



    It's preparations, you see. The things I'm not doing at the moment. Going on holiday always involves effort, and my entire life revolves around being effort less. Literally.

    Nothing - nothing - must damage the silence and the thoughts. To clean, to wash up, to take out rubbish would distract from and impede the concentration on the only topic of real interest. My self. That's why I've even stopped buying The Guardian these days. I'm simply not in it. And that's why blogging is a meta-phenomenon. Everyone else is at it too!! (But, as always, it takes Naked Blog to hit the button.)



    Watched Angel last night. (OK - I know I'm not in that either, but a boy can dream, can't he? That's why fiction is a meta-phenomenon.) Now, I know the world and his blog-wife raves about Angel, but it's really a load of cack. Take away the televisual glory of Mr DB (who might be somewhat plain irl, remember), and what have you got? The dramatic equivalent of the Beano or the Dandy.

    But Boreanaz is glorious. And so is anyone with the name Charisma Carpenter.

    Vicellous Shannon pic courtesy of www.dunas.com(There was someone, now left or dead, in 24 called Vicellous Shannon if I recall. "Vicellous!! Yer tea's ready!".)

    But last night they kept showing DB's naked upper torso, which was both unappealing and unnecessary. Unappealing through its unnaturalness (gym-pumped), and unnecessary as he wears his clothes so well. If I were to have a fantasy about DB, (which I won't, due to anno domini) I think we would be attempting some form of congress while he remained essentially dressed. Doubtless one or two things would crop up.



    But anyway. Back to me. I'm sure there are entire hard discs devoted to DB which you can find. Another reason I don't go on holiday, apart from preparations, are the sheer distances involved. You really don't have to go very far to be somewhere else, if you see what I mean.

    And if in everyday life you go nowhere at all, then going even anywhere is a treat, if you also see what I mean by that. Take me. Work is 4.5 mins walk away. Pub 1 is oh, anywhere between 8 and 10 mins, and pub 2 heading for 15. Go further than that, and you've got a holiday! Princes Street now, that's one and a half miles away, and it's awesome!! Shops! Young people! Fashion! I go there at least twice a year. You simply don't need Ibiza.



    Going very long distances would require flying, and of course we simply don't do that. Planes do crash, and don't try and tell me they don't. And please don't either accuse me of being innumerate. I have a mathematics degree from a prestigious university, and currently work in gambling. Enough already.

    Smaller distances, by which we mean of course Europe, used to be in range, but closer integration has raised fresh barriers. Nowadays you need a passport to leave these shores eastward or south, and that means going to Glasgow and queueing all day, so I'm told. Neither of these ideas is appealing.

    So, all in all, tomorrow's trip to Portpatrick is ideal. Except for the car part. Do you have any idea how terrifying they are, for one who's never in one?


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    Saturday, June 22, 2002

    WEDDING BELLES

    Well, as I mentioned yesterday, the Solstice is past now, and the year is officially in decline. It's a bugger, living the natural seasons instead of the human ones.

    Well, as I also mentioned yesterday, it's still cloudy, grey and rainy. Grainy. Hate it. I really was destined for the tropics, but something bad in an earlier life put me here near the arctic circle instead. Karma Borealis. Boreanaz. (I think I've done that one before. It's the Alzheimer's ye ken.)



    However, declining or not, this new half-year packs a punch next week. Monday to Thursday are sleeping under canvas in the far south-west of Scotland. "So - who're you going with?" asked Margaret at work. "Is it that couple you introduced to me once?" (She meant Sandra and Johnny.) "No," I demurred. "It's not them." But she was persistent. "Then who is it? Man and woman? Two men? What?"

    "It's two men,"
    I confessed. "But I don't know how big their cocks are." Sometimes nosiness needs punishing a little.

    Margaret was flustered, but pulled a recovery. "I never asked that!" she snapped, somewhat missing my irony. "And anyway - it's not the size that matters." But by then I'd gone quiet, victory - if not cocks - already in my hand.



    But that's not all. Oh no. Next week is extra busy. Because on Friday there's a Bingo Wedding. Yes, two of my young colleagues are tying the knot.

    In the current mode, they each have one child from a former liaison, and a third, mutual offspring is on the way, so - deo volente - they will begin their married life shortly with a family of three. And they're aged about twenty. Charming, lovely. I'll be delighted to attend.

    There seems to be quite a split in parenting these days, where some begin in their teens, and others never catch on at all. Bit like the cave days, I guess - although I suppose everybody was at it then. I don't think resistance was wise. Or maybe I've been watching too many sackcloth and sandal movies, fantasising that I was the strong good-looking one in charge of the tribe.



    I did suggest to Andy and Bernice that the Bingo Hall itself, where they met and wooed, would make an ideal venue for their ceremony - each at opposite ends of the huge auditorium, he in his suit, and she in her white dress and veil, approaching each other Wuthering Heights-style, while making their vows over the radio mikes. They could meet up and kiss midway between the bar and the buffet, giving - voila! - an instant reception. But they didn't think that was a very good idea.

    Talking of bingo, I hear Lily Savage is to star in a bingo sitcom, so that should be really tacky fun. Bingo is jam-packed with both sits and coms, and I always meant to write such a sitcom myself, but - as ever - missed the boat.

    Oh dear. It really is raining quite a bit. My campsite will be totally sodden. But nobody ever said life was meant to be easy.


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    Friday, June 21, 2002

    SICUT ERIT

    Sicut erit in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum.
    As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. World without end.
    Because, today, on midsummer's day, it's good to reflect for a moment on what makes it all possible, from the lowliest bacterium to the most advanced Operating System. It's cloudy here today, and the grass will be damp. But you can, if you wish, read Rex's and my adventure last midsummer on Calton Hill, the only place to be really.



    More prosaically, I've just been buying me jeans for next week's camping trip. I thought I might have to go to Marks and Spencer to get that essential pairing of waists which are bigger than legs. I know it's just not sexy, godammit, but you'll be old yourself some day. Maybe.

    However, Uptown was not essential, as Great Junction Street, Scotland's fashion capital, was sporting a cool shop with jeans for everybody from boybands to fat bastards. Awesome what you can get for fifteen quid a pair. So I got a 38 for comfort on the hills, and a 36 for those slinky laid-back barbeques in the long, long sultry June evenings. Aurora borealis.



    This story from June, 2001...


    SUNSET BOULEVARD

    "Hey Rex! Fancy taking a taxi up Calton Hill to watch the sunset?" I said to him a few hours ago. It was 7pm. "But the Solstice was yesterday," Rex replied, accurately. "Well, what the fuck. It's a great evening, and it is at least the longest day."

    They say you should never go back. Never try to relive. And yes, OK, it was the same scene - but a different time, a different friend, a different me. We went. We watched. And we drank and laughed.

    This might not look much, but it's fucking huge"Let's climb on that monument!" I cried. "Get an even better view." You might have seen pictures of this part-Parthenon - started then abandoned after one collonnade wall. But it was very high, and there were no steps. "Come along, Rex," I instructed. "You first - I'll push you up."

    Imagine now, if you can, two middle-aged, bespectacled queens trying to mount an enormous Greek palace wall, higher than our heads. And that was just the first level. I put my hands on Rex's ass and manfully shoved. Then he hauled me up after him. There were young people way way above us, sitting chilled between the columns, and they gave a little round of applause. In public, stardom is all.

    Later, on our drunken way home down a steep grassy slope, Rex lost his footing while chatting to a sunset cowboy. Next thing he was spinning down the hill, Sonic-style, helplessly and deliciously out of control. His carrier bag flew one way, his glasses another, but give him his due, not one squeak escaped his wine-drenched lips. Blossom Cabernet Sauvignon. I would have screamed the place down.

    In these little ways do we make our existences bearable.


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    Thursday, June 20, 2002

    CARRY ON CAMPING

    In the pub yesterday were Sam and Graham, my camping companions for next week. You can just about make them out in the photo there. The castle is called Dunskey Castle, and along with the three of us will complete the quartet of old ruins.

    Today I'll have to look out my outfit for the week. I've never slept under canvas before, although unkind critics would say that in my day I've slept under just about everything else.

    People in Scotland have a different relationship with the outdoors from those in most other countries. Almost everyone here has done some measure of mountaineering, or at least hillwalking, almost everyone has camped, and insofar as those go, we all possess a pretty much full set of clothing and boots. Me - I've done just about every mountain worth climbing, including Cairn Gorm. (OK, I know there's a ski lift part of the way up, but only part.)

    Add to that caving, gorge-walking, abseiling down sheer cliff faces (ruins your stilettos, darlings), and you have the complete package. Schwarzenegger has stunt-men. We do it for real.

    Not for us the white-faced, desk-hugging, cocaine-sniffing, gym-slutting, lily-livered southerners! O no!! Here, a man's a man for a' that, ye ken. Monarchs of the Glen - that's Sam, Graham and me. And if Glen isn't up for it, then we'll try Hamish or Jimmy.



    Later, if we tire of big sky and 22-hour daylight, we can pop on this wee boat, and head off to the Emerald Isle. Belfast or Larne. Take your pick. I sensed Sam is keen on that, but me, ah hae ma doots. "Darling," I said to him. "Darling, it would be just my luck to breeze into a Catholic pub wearing an orange t-shirt, bowler hat, and humming God Save the Queen."

    "Wear neutral colours," Scott advised. "Shades of grey." (Scott is planning to join us on Tuesday. This holiday is very exclusive, but we were able to extend the guest list that far.) Plus he's bringing his digital camera, so - given that there's an internet café somewhere at hand - I'll be able to send you a few instant happypics.

    You should see me first thing! I look 120. Easily.

    Out and about in the Blogosphere

    Henry Copeland writes in Pressflex.com about some possible futures of blog. He uses the terms Blogosphere, which I feel I've come across before, Blogonomics, and at one point casually tosses in clickocracy, which I adore. Now, I know that blog-articles are major yawnsville, chucked out by print-writers who haven't the faintest idea, but this one is better.

    Back to real blogging: Jeeem of Jimsjournal comes up with another cracking restaurant review. This time there are no ticks, but the portions are a bit small, so Jeeem eats Louie's bread roll!

    Follow that, if you dare, with Jeeem's Father's Day letter to his late father. I offer no warnings. Proceed at your own risk through this piece which simply wouldn't appear in print media.


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    Wednesday, June 19, 2002

    NO COMMENT!

    Well, there we were yesterday, 'fessing up to an unaccustomed spot of comment whoring, when what should my jaded eye alight on than Mike, of troubled diva. Today he poses a set of ten personal questions, each demanding a comment in answer! Questions range from which book should I read next? to which hand should I masturbate with? He's that kind of guy, Mike. We play like lion cubs in the Savannah, affectionate to each other, but lethal to outsiders.

    Straight from the fridge

    Mucho thanko to Chig, another addition to our readership, and yet another pro journo. I'm sure he won't mind me quoting...
    As if that wasn't bad enough, I eventually get around to reading the Naked Blog, which so many others have linked to and recommended, and then.....oh and then it's an hour and a half later, and I realise I am completely hooked. Could people just stop writing stuff that's so bloody interesting? Please?
    Thank you kindly, young sir. We aim only to delight.

    Cathode Rays

    Whilst the world and his blogwife are raving about Six Feet Under, Chig is the only other blogger I've read who notes the unnerving coupling of roles of the actor Eric Balfour.

    It's a bit tricky when you're watching one of your two fave progs (SFU), and all of a sudden on pops an actor from the other one, 24. Unsettling.

    Especially when the guy is wearing not only the same facial hair, but the same damn EARRINGS as well. Makes you think you're on acid, when you ken fine you haven't dropped one for nearly half a decade! (How holy is that?!)

    In SFU, Balfour plays a druggie who, naturally, giggles a lot, and this brought home the fact that I've watched 16 (?) hours of 24, and no-one has even smiled!

    Event Horizon

    Students of the medium of blog have a built-in opportunity to catch a beauty almost at the moment of conception, which was Friday last week. Darren continues his daily dose of self-revelation, and is now on the very point of posting his pic. (My advice D: get it over with quickly. Otherwise they'll get so excited that anything less than Hayden would be a disappointment.) More seriously, I've never been at a blogbirth before, and it's a fascinating thing. I feel just like a galactic midwife. Chewbacca.

    Screen Gems

    Well, as there's not much in real-life to chat about the noo, (other than my impending holiday in tent next week), let's continue with the virtual. On Saturday night, FilmFour are doing a Blair Witch night. Now here let me confess. I loved BWP. And that was in the safety of my own home, on an almost prehistoric system. Alone in a deserted cinema, I would have been scared shitless.

    You all probably know the score by now - the film was much-publicised with a faux-genuine and creepy website, setting out the history of Blair, and the preliminaries to the movie. Then they took the website down, or changed it to an ad for Blair Witch 2, which I don't recommend. Awful, in fact. Some you win, others beat you up.


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    Tuesday, June 18, 2002

    A DAY IN THE LIFE

    In order to make today's true-life story interesting, I'm actually going to have to write, rather than serving up the usual tired buffet of stock repetitions and stylistics. It began on Sunday's post below, when we quite deliberately dropped a point of gay interest, and snagged from that a record number of comments - every single one of them from gay men and women. And thanks to all who contributed.

    I think, but am not sure, that this is known in the blogging trade as comment whoring. Some bloggers are spectacularly good at it, writing just one or two sentences then sitting back and watching good material flood in. Others write long, thoughtful and generally excellent articles, and attract approximately zero. Alan of Cyberpumpkin recently wrote a piece consisting solely of the letter U, which garnered no less than three comments, if I recall. Stylish or what? Clearly a Jedi master of the medium. (And leaving him loads of time in his day to pursue interesting, non-blog activities.)

    Me, I love comments to bits. They let you know, in a way which no amount of referral logs do, that someone is actually there. But it's give and take. I try to write a little something - every other day or so - on all my daily reads. Not to fish for new readers, as by now all will have come or not, but just to say... yep, nice one, dude.



    So, yesterday was comment box in action, as I consciously lived an afternoon of integration. Here at NB we do the living for you, so you need do no more than read. It's a service. Free service. Plus it keeps me off the streets.

    "Hi, my name is Peter," I said to this young guy. "And I am a homosexual." He was 24, a worker for a drugs project, and we'd never met before. It was The Village Inn, and he was new to the area and somewhat vulnerable. Unsure of himself. With today's fashion statement done wrongly. (Andy: if you're going to wear shades on top of your head, they have to cost more than 2.99.)

    Now, at this point - before you get too excited, let me confess that the paragraph above is part fiction. The red part. But I did think those words, not just at the beginning but throughout our hour-long chat, which ranged from cosmology through drugs to carpet selling. You see, I wasn't chatting alone. You were with me - you readers and kind commenters - as this interchange progressed.



    "Would he be sitting here chatting to me if he knew I was gay?" was high in my mind, as we elided from Neils Bohr's atomic model to Einstein's views on quantum physics. "But he's probably guessed already," comes quickly behind that one, as Andy struggled to remember the name of his employer for the previous seven years. "It's OK, Andy... I know where you're coming from... " I tried to ease him. There were healed-up track marks over the veins on his hands. "And of course, he might be gay himself," as I closely tracked his eyes when Claire the attractive barmaid turned up for her evening shift. But his eyes spoke otherwise - to Claire who didn't notice, and to me, who did.

    An hour of Andy was enough. It was a high-voltage situation. Alastair, the owner of The Village, offered a lift back to Constitution Street, and Glen, another drinker, came along for the ride. "Fancy a drink in Nobles?" Alastair suggested. "But first I have some things to pick up."

    "Peter and I can have a drink while we wait for you,"
    heterosexual Glen said, but I declined. "No thanks, Glen. You've called me a poof too many times in the past for that to ever happen."

    Disintegration.

    Back in the Port, Scott and Rex were furiously chatting up straight guys. I too was chatting to two such men, but my chat was to not up.


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    Sunday, June 16, 2002

    JEAN GENIE

    We don't often write about affaires homosexuelle here, as these thoughts rarely occur. But just recently, glancing at Sarah's blog, I've noticed her mentioning a couple of times that she can have difficulties in gay establishments because she doesn't outwardly appear "very gay". Women come up to her and accuse her of being straight (the shame). Sometimes she even has trouble getting into such places in the first place, and so on.

    Now, I really know little about ladies of the Aegean persuasion. But for men of the Pythagorean, of which I know everything which needs to be known, and more besides, the situation is simple. Those who can "pass as straight" are by far the most sought-after. Remarks range from, "Oooh you would never tell", to "You should see her after a couple of gin and tonics, dear". These gay men wear their apparent "straightness" with pride, and generally consider themselves several rungs above the "screamer". Me, I think I probably come somewhere in between. Middle of the road, that's always been my way. Ordinary, rather than extraordinary.

    Ghettoblaster

    The above stuff is all very well, but today's topic for discussion is whether or not, in 2002, there's any actual need for gay bars, clubs, ghettoes and so on. (Vividly I remember hearing of a council tower block in Newcastle which was nicknamed Homosexual Heights! That same city, btw, has a street called Shakespeare Street which once housed a Gents Public Convenience known to the locals as Anne Hathaway's Cottage, or simply Anne Hath's. You couldn't make it up.)

    The whole ethos of gay establishments seemed to fill a need when such activities were illegal. "Friend of Dorothy... Who's That Hiding Behind the Green Door..." and so on. But now, surely to goodness, it's time to take our full place in society and simply be.

    That's why NB avoids programmes such as Queer As Folk. That's why we were invited down to Channel Four to object to the first series of Out On Tuesday. That's why we don't feel Gay Pride. Or Gay Shame either.

    Be it. Do it. Get on with it.

    A Star Is Born

    Big it up for Darren, my most faithful commenter and tagboarder, who's taken that first step to Independent Blogdom. I'll be fascinated to see which way his blog develops. Already he's inviting offers of romance to be sent in on a postcard - but yesterday's postcard is today's comment box. We shall see. I only hope he doesn't abandon us here completely!


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    Friday, June 14, 2002

    PISSIN WI' RAIN

    Which is ideal weather for returning to work! Well, what an eventful four days off. And now I can hear the dreep, dreep, dreep of rain on my ceiling.

    Johnny eats da birthday teaMy advice: Never, ever buy a top floor tenement flat. It costs a second mortgage to get the roof fixed, and you never get the contributions from the lower-down residents. And then of course the rot sets in, literally. (I hope Rex will approve of my literally here.)

    Happy Birthday, belatedly

    Total apologies to Alligator Johnny, who was 37 yesterday. I was physically drained after three fairly hard days' bevvying. My thoughts were with you all.

    Can't buy me love?

    Jewel or Costume?Interesting item from Darren of Tag-Board fame, (and shortly to be the world's newest blogger). "People have looks or money. You don't get both."

    Naked Novel News!

    Chapter Six, by Caitlin, is here. I'm saving it for this evening after work, so you can get in way ahead of me if you want to. The previous chapters are there also so you can revise. It's all just too exciting!!

    Cathode Rays

    Watched The Weakest Link yesterday, US Comedians episode. Although they weren't nearly as hard on Annie as a previous one with Tom Arnold and Carrot Top, her performance was totally drab and lifeless. As if she'd given up. And there's so much Botox in her face that they couldn't show her any larger than a postage stamp.

    To think that an entire continent will see Robinson, Windsor and the memory of Spencer as typical Englishwomen.

    Out and about in the USA

    Josh's new design. (Yesterday he got a real-life marriage proposal in his comment box! How romantic is that?)

    Superqueen

    You may congratulate moi also. It's after 11am, I've been up for more than three hours, and only smoked 2 cigs. Yesterday 13. Last week 97 only. How healthy is that?


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    Thursday, June 13, 2002

    ARS GRATIA ARTIS

    I'm instructed by Cyberslut Lawsuits Inc, (Solicitors to the Stars), to make the following correction and clarification re that art exhibition at the Ocean Terminal. (Post below.)

    When I suggested that Linda and her friends got barred from the Mall for going nekkid and causing a ruckus, this was not in fact the case.
    "The true story of the Leith Festival Art Exhibition opening is much more fun than you`ve heard so far Peter.No one took off their clothes.However there was some `human body performance sculpture ` where a man held his genetalia in his hand while adorning them with Lindas specs.and standing frozen as a living sculpture among the exhibits.I believe that is called performance art.
    [Wed 12 Jun 20:23 BST] cyberslut
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Thks for that, CS. Performance art is what I'd overlooked. Were you there? Was it you who adorned his genitalia with Linda's specs?
    [Wed 12 Jun 20:36 BST] Peter
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Yes.I was there.I was Musical Director.This DID NOT include assisting any arists with their`equipment`.However I did resist all attempts by the mall security to restrict the creative juices of the performers."
    [Wed 12 Jun 20:45 BST] cyberslut
    Naked Blog enterprises would like to make it quite clear that there was no suggestion that Linda herself did anything more salacious than put her specs on a guy's dick. We unreservedly apologise for any distress caused to Linda, her family or associates, and have made a substantial donation to charity.

    Thespian Towers

    Our great thanks to Tom my neighbour for being such a great sport yesterday with regard to his new-found literary fame. Naturally we wasted no time in proposing a collaborative work, about which more later.

    Birthday Boy

    Today is Alligator Johnny's birthday. Of course one is invited, so that the social occasion of the month can be fully reported. But dare I go? These people relax very seriously indeed. Hmmm. We shall see.

    Domestic Goddess

    So many of you have written expressing your sympathy with our current impasse over rubbish piles in the house. From these I've selected the following from Richard, who clearly understands my plight. Note the remark that it took him a whole week to get the place sorted out. And that's why we don't start. Whatever is the point of beginning something - anything - which will take a week to complete? The world might have mass-destructed by then. Get real.
    "Sounds like a flat I used to inhabit (along with various rodents) in Roseburn. I had narrow pathways through the rubbish on the floor, allowing access to the bed, sofa, and fridge - but little else. When I moved out, it took me a week to shovel it all into a couple of dozen bin bags.

    At the moment, I manage to maintain a reasonable state of off-clean. On the face of it, it doesn't look too bad (or so I tell myself) - but there has been no actual effort made to clean it for weeks."
    (e) (w) [Wed 12 Jun 11:39 BST] Richard
    I must find this young man, and propose to him.


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    Wednesday, June 12, 2002

    LANDING CONSPIRACIES

    You show me yours...

    Well, what a turn up for the book, yesterday evening. There I was, wending my weary way home post-pub, when who should I chance upon but Tom, my young next-door neighbour. Oh, we chatted about decor (he's just painted his front door), and mess on the shared landing, and other profound matters. I told him I thoroughly approved of his colour change, from salmon pink to aspic green. "It's like a roulade," I explained to him, but I'm not sure he knew what a roulade is. And now that I've checked the dictionary, it's quite clear I don't either. I meant salmon in aspic. Geddit?

    Anyway, our chat lasted at least five minutes, the longest ever, so I thought I'd offer him Naked Blog to glance at. And blow me down if a couple of hours later he doesn't send me his own home page.

    I'm living next door to an actor!



    Eeek!! I thought later. What if you've written screeds of bitchy scribbles about him over the years, and now he's reading them and getting upset? Or worse still, suing? "Next-door hyperstud" was one frequent description, vis-a-vis certain love-making noises, (I'm sure you know the noises I mean) but that was before I met him. Also we had a fortnight's turf war over his rubbish on the shared landing. What did I write about that?

    I'm a nice guy really, deep down, but sometimes it is pretty deep. So - if George Lucas is reading this (and if not, why not?) then I'm sure Tom could be persuaded into Star Wars Three for a consideration. I would only need fifteen percent.

    PAINT WARS

    Some local news for the world to enjoy. It's Leith Festival Time again - that month when we celebrate all things Leith... web-design, drugs, executive housing developments, prostitution, musicians, writers, rent-boys, actors and not least artists.

    Leith is full of art, most of it well within the range of an unschooled 14 y/o. However, it changes hands for big bucks, so is a handy merry-go-round for the averagely-talented to try and jump on.

    Yesterday Sandra my personal manager and I were due to go to the Stag and Turret at the top of Easter Road, where Linda is having her exhibition. This is the second venue for such, the first being the much more prestigious Ocean Terminal shopping mall. Robin (don't call me gay, I'm bisexual), still has a water feature installed there, but no-one's bought it yet.

    However, at the opening night in the Ocean Terminal, Linda and her friends got totally trolleyed, and started taking their clothes off and upsetting the shoppers. So they were escorted off the premises, and told where to take their art. Allegedly. This sort of behaviour is called "very Leith."

    And finally...

    Your thoughts and prayers today for Tom, my handsome and talented young neighbour, with aspic green front door, who's learned within the last 24 hours that he's living next to a nutter in a rubbish dump. I must leave you with the final sentence from his email...
    One thing that interests me is your obsession with the mess in your house. Is that why you want the landing to be so Feng Shui?...;op
    You know me better than I know myself. Welcome. Your life will never be the same again.


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    Tuesday, June 11, 2002

    AFTERMATH

    Previously on Naked Blog:
    Yesterday morning we got our knickers in a right twist over the intended visit of the men from Telewest to investigate my Broadband connection. As happenstance would have it, they never came, although this might not be unrelated to the fact that I'd inadvertently forgotten to switch my security buzzer on. It's default position is OFF, to deter all visitors. The reason we literally can't entertain even one guest ever is the disgusting and slovenly state of my home. This is due to a psychological condition as yet unnamed and undiscovered. How about homophobia? (Fear of people... homo sapiens.) Yes - that's it! Homophobia. And you read it here first.

    The following took place between 3pm and 7pm on the day of no California Primaries.


    Robin (don't call me gay, I'm bisexual) and Sandra my personal manager were sitting in the pub looking bemused. "How are you?" they chorused. "We were reading your blog." "Well, how the hell do you think I am?" I retorted. "Fucking desperate, that's what. And thanks for dropping a consoling comment. Not."

    "We were just leaving," Sandra continued. "Sorry." "That's fine," I said. "Just leave. I don't care. I'll sit and read this fascinating issue of Licensed Weekly. (This is not the sort of bar which lays on newspapers for the punters. They wouldn't bring them back. Anything which isn't screwed down... ) But she gets Licensed Weekly for nowt, of course.



    So there I was, flicking through pages of Who's Buying Which Pub, Hot Tips to Sell More Snacks, and best of all - the MagiFix Potato Oven.... "Just ten potatoes a day will make you 5,2450 a year profit! Self-financing on one potato!!" when who should walk in the door but Rex. "How are you, my son?" he asked. "I was reading your blog. Gather it's not a good day."

    And he was very sweet. For an hour. Listened to various gripes, offered bits of praise about Naked Blog, and asked interesting questions of same. (Rex has been my most devoted reader, btw. He's almost word perfect on the entire ouevre. (Sp?) I think I'll make him my archivist.)

    We chatted about fathers, and mothers, and brothers and sisters. He told me that Eero, the Mighty Finn and God of Sex was leaving Scotland. For ever. For Finland. This was not good. Some of us are more devoted to this cause than others. One in particular will be bereft. But this is what community is all about. The alternative is to spend all your time skulking in some rat-infested rubbish-dump of a flat.

    Rex was amazingly kind. And all for just one pint of 80 shilling, which works out cheaper to run than the MagiFix Potato Oven. Sandra was kind too, (before she left), and invited me for tea on Thursday, which is Alligator Johnny's birthday. These events are ever lively. What kind people I do know. And some of you were kind enough to drop comments below. Appreciated.



    From my mailbox
    Shoking (sic) news. Osama bin laden IS FOUND.

    Well Maybe that bustard wasn't fount yet!

    But, what you just found is an amazing way of supporting the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!!!

    My name is Debbie and I am a proud American babe, My fulltime job is to play with myself on my webcamera! : )

    If you can cum to visit my website, a full-version software is given away. Which can connect to my webcam.

    True patriots... Enter HERE!!!
    (I was impressed with Debbie's advertising skills. If you really, really want to avail of her webcamera, I'll supply the URL.)


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    Monday, June 10, 2002

    THE SCOUSE CONNECTION

    7.30am I shouldn't be sitting here, writing to you like this. In 2.5 hours the Networkers are coming to get me back online. But as of now, I can't let them into the house because of the mess. Vile mess. Certifiable mess. Lock you in a Home mess. You've seen the programmes where people die alone and rot for a few months, and then they have to put bio-suits on to go in and clean it up? That sort of mess.

    So, while I'm gaily bagging up for the next wee while, I can think of nothing finer for you to read than Jeeem's latest restaurant review.

    "Oh - not a f*cking restaurant review!!" I hear you saying. "My local paper's full of them, and they're soooooo boring." And of course you would be right. But not this one. Do you think I have no discrimination? Note Jeeem's use of the American language, amongst other delights. (And then, thus pleased, if you want more of him, you can read this.)

    Maybe I'll be back later, but I have to see the General Manager at work ASAP today also. This weekend was not ideal. We have things to discuss. Ciao for now.



    Later. 8.45am

    Seventy-five minutes to go, and I still haven't started. Familiar feelings wash over me.
    "You don't have to do it. No-one can make you. Put them off till tomorrow. Go out and don't come back. How dare they intrude on your privacy like this. You can't possibly do three years of cleaning in seventy-five minutes. Get drunk and don't worry about it. Have a laugh with Evergreen Norma and Gerry Not Guilty."
    Dearie dear. All I want from life is to write to you here, go for walks, and chat to my acquaintances. Is that too much to ask? I'm almost sixty, goddammit, and have worked hard all my life. Paid my way throughout. So why does that same life conspire to attack me? Income Tax Self-Assessment forms. Council Tax letters. And now this.

    Compulsive untidiness, someone once described it as. And I was only nineteen then. At least that shows consistency.

    Even later

    Just heard the deafening plop of the postman pushing a letter through the door. It sent my blood-pressure through the roof. I could even feel the vessels vibrate. (I don't open letters either, you see. Too invasive.)

    So, the feelings have won. If a simple letter can cause such actual physical distress, then what chance a person? Man, even. Or - worse still - men? It can't be done. I'm phoning up. Then going out.

    I'll tell them I'm ill. It wouldn't be that much of a lie.

    11.15am

    Shhh... (I'm typing very quietly.) They still haven't been! Mardis gras! Managed to sleep most of the first hour. (They're due between 10 and 12) One blessing I've always had is sleep virtually on demand. In winter, when I'm really depressed, I can clock up 12 to 15 hours a day, no problem. One single hour here or there is easy.

    I have a strange relationship with this house. It's the only one I've ever owned. Bought it when I was 26, and lived here ever since, almost thirty years. I've grown in it. Not up, but middle-aged then old. And I plan to die in it if humanly possible. It's not a house, it's my live-in coffin.

    In my younger, wilder years I've done the Vile Thing in it. In every room. In every position. With every body. So that's why it has to be so fortressed nowadays. Having someone here would be like indecent exposure, so many once-horny ghosts haunt every nook. They wouldn't see them. But I most surely would. Naked Mansions, indeed.

    And when That Day does eventually come, no-one at all will notice - for weeks on end, and possibly months. There will be much smell, and the flutter of tiny insect wings, and the scamper of rodent feet. Re-cycling, you see. It's all the rage.

    The Networkers still haven't come. Just forty minutes to go. I might yet escape intact.



    Slovenliness doesn't start as a plan. You don't set out to be such. It begins with just one magazine, laid on the floor to be read later. Then - next day, there's another... also got some interesting stuff in it. Then, on top of those two a plate appears, with knife and fork. Must wash that one soon - but hey - there's plenty more.

    And then, before you know it, you're two feet deep in mire. Nothing to it. Anyone can join in.



    11.55am

    Just five minutes to go. I think I can safely go out now, and claim that they never came. What an ordeal! My name is Jack Bauer, and this has been the longest day of my life.


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    Saturday, June 08, 2002

    TAGGED!

    Hi. Not a lot of time today, as ninety minutes from now I have to be at work, and I still haven't meditated or ironed a shirt. (Yes - I do iron, and launder.) It's only the house which is a disgrace. Although yesterday I took out two big black rubbish bags from the kitchen.

    But enough. Two quick stories today. The reason I'm running so late is that for once my search logs contained a lot of interest, rather than X, Y and Z naked. Last night I took up the offer from Greg Grothaus (very apposite atm.) to place 5,000 free ads on people's tagboards. It's an incentive for people to go enhanced, which is 20 USD, currently with 5 USD off, plus all the ads.

    He even gives advice on how to word your tAd.
    This is an advertisement for your product/service/website, you should do everything you can to draw people's attention to your message. Ads that have a call to action have a far better response rate than ads that simply advertise a site or service. Your objective, obviously, is to get as many people to take action (click on the link) as possible.

    Be sure to include keywords that make people want to click thru to your website. For instance, "We specialize in web development" doesn't say much to most people. Instead, "Get better results -- and more paying customers -- from your website" invites people to click thru and learn more. You should use keywords and emotinal triggers to grab the user's attention. Also, make it clear why they should click thru to your website. The purpose of a text ad is not to portray your company or service in the best possible light, rather it is to get people to click on a link where you can portray your company any way you like. (My emphasis)
    So, that's it. Don't brag, get them to click. Thus advised, we created the following:

    Naked Blog. The one the professionals all read. Find out why. Today.
    Cool or what? It's only been up less than 12 hours, during the night, and already got me about 25 hits.

    Although, hits do not a readership make. Oh, and the reason I'm late is that I've just been reading 25 tagboards! Talk about voyeurism! (Nearly all of them were very young, and borderline illiterate. Maybe not the ideal NB demographic. But, what the heck. It was free.)

    BAGGED!

    In yesterday's post I was waxing eloquent over nature, art and other fine matters along the Water of Leith on Thursday. Apparently, while I was enjoying these things, the police were searching the river's lower reaches for a body. "It was all over the news," Lesley said at work. "I don't know how you missed it."

    "Oh my God..." I gasped. "I think I saw that body - but it was on Tuesday, not Thursday." It's a saying, popular in both Leith and Edinburgh, that anyone who comes to a "sticky end" will "end up floating down the Water of Leith." It's a way to go. It's the sort of expression said about queens who hang about lorry parks or dodgy bars late at night. It's a risk you take.

    Where was I? Oh yes, Tuesday. There I was, shortcutting along the river stretch between Coburg Street Bridge and the Village exit-steps, when I noticed a large package floating downstream. Just near the new development next to the Raj restaurant. It could easily have been the size of a person, but all you could see was black plastic wrapping and string.

    Oh, and a solitary seagull on top, which had pecked through the plastic, and was eagerly pulling out strips of white stuff from inside. Intrigued, and slightly aghast, I watched. A woman approached and I pointed it out to her. "What do you think that is?" I said to her. "Don't ask!" she replied, and replaced her stereo earplugs. I wondered. I really wondered, as I continued my short-cut.


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    Friday, June 07, 2002

    PITCH INVASION

    When it comes to art, I'm quite demanding. I have to like a piece. You could say I'm one of the much-derided, "I know what I like" people. Because, in truth, there is no other valid position. The alternative would be to spend your time looking at works you don't like.

    But, overriding all this is another, more central factor, which is my deep-seated love of nature. Not exactly Pantheism, but getting there. My main view, often expressed to practising artists, is that I have yet to see a work of art - any piece - which comes close in beauty to that of a tree in springtime. Most of the artists tend to agree with me, before getting back to whatever they're practising on.



    Yesterday was sunny, for the first time in ages, so - with delight - I girded up my loins and set off for my usual river walk. It takes anything between one and four hours, depending on the ratio of walking to drinking. (Well - once you've had that first drink, you need a wee after about half an hour, now don't you? And what nicer place to do that than in the next pub along the walk? You know it makes sense.)

    Most of the pubs were showing some ridiculous football match or other, although thankfully there wasn't that much shouting at the TV. That'll be saved for today, no doubt, when - as I gather - England are playing Argentina. In Japan, of all places. What a long way to go. I hope all that raw fish doesn't give them diarrhoea on the pitch.



    When it comes to football, I'm quite dismissive. Alligator Johnny phoned me on Wednesday of this week. "Sandra and I are having lunch in Wetherspoons," he cheerfully invited. "Would Your Majesty care to join us?" "Yes, sure, pal," I replied. "Oh, and we'll be watching Germany playing Ireland," he continued. "Oops, sorry Johnny," I said. "No can do." "Why - don't you like footie?" he asked. "I would rather commit suicide," I informed him, gravely.

    However, when it comes to England v Argentina, I will be secretly hoping that England win. Not that I have the slightest interest in either team, simply because that will cause the maximum annoyance to my (Scottish) friends and colleagues. What a bitchy little thing.
    "Eng-ger-land! Eng-ger-land!! Eng-ger-land!!!" I can just see myself with a red and white painted face.


    Two-thirds of the way along my river walk, in the portion between Stockbridge and Roseburn (or - alternatively - between Bert's Bar and the Murrayfield Arms) is a sidepath leading to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Although I've trod this riverside dozens of times, I've never been tempted to abandon God's beauty for man's (and woman's) humble scribbles. Until yesterday. Well - at least the stony footpath leading up to it looked suitably sylvan.

    Courtesy of National Galleries of ScotlandThe first picture you see is the Roy Lichtenstein "In the car". (How I wish I had pics of these for you. I asked if they had a catalogue to buy, but nada. Only expensive Art Books.) But you're bound to know this one. It's a huge fuck-off comic square of a man driving a car with a woman in the passenger seat. Most often it's mutilated with thought-bubbles. Hang about while I search for it sur le web There ya go.

    It was nice to see for real such a much-copied work. My second fave was by Otto Dix, "Mädchen auf Fell" (Girl on a fur), which I don't seem to be able to find for you. She was in the classical style, long curly hair, curves and largeish belly, and - quite bizarrely - a sh*ved v*gina. (Forgive me asterisking, ladies - but if you had to wade through the searches I do every day...) I liked it. But then I read on the card that Dix was being ironic. Or summat.



    Scotland is not a large country, not rich, and this collection wouldn't rank amongst the world's finest. With only a proportionate Arts Council funding, and no sugar-daddy money, it would pale besides those of many cities in the world. But there was some Picasso, Hirst, Moore, Hepworth and Whiteread - and also the obligatory "Non-art" of a few skeleton cubes arranged in piles like lego, a piece of paper with a two inch tear in it (no, I'm not making it up), and even a crushed car in a solid rectangular block. Modern art. You gotta luvvit.

    Sated by man's finest attempts, I retraced my route down the sylvan steps back to trees, wild flowers, water, river-birds, and smells, glorious smells. (I've almost stopped smoking, you see. Averaging 10-15 a day, down from forty. Smell and taste are overwhelming. I love it.)



    On Monday the Telewest Phone, Cable and ISP men are coming to my house to repair my network cable connection. There's been no-one over my doorstep for at least two years. I'll have to clean it up a lot, or within an hour of them leaving I'll be visited by The Council, The Public Health Department, and a Psychiatric Social Worker.

    It's my life's greatest ambition to End Up In A Home, but not quite yet, por favor.

    (Updates on the Clean of the Century over the weekend. It'll be gruesome, but there again, I haven't lifted a finger for about three years.)

    Out and about at Scotmid meat counter

    But first to Mike, who's taken up the idea of "People you could(n't) have been" (couple of posts below), and even improved on it, by supplying explanations for each choice. A fun read.

    Then to Alan, who offers a tantalizing recipe for Tuna Ceviche in Salsa, which you should definitely make. (Don't ask why I'm recommending a recipe.)

    And finally to Scotmid, where the sliced turkey breast is back down to 49p for 100 grammes. I could eat it all day. With everything. Except that it's almost certainly full of hormones and penicillin to counteract the cruel and cramped conditions in which the birds are probably raised. Should I boycott this product? How many birds would that rescue? But what if everybody did it? Am I talking myself into becoming a veggie?


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    Wednesday, June 05, 2002

    5 JUNE 1952

    At school today Miss Bennett said it was my turn to go to her house on Friday for my tea. Every week two people have to go. I'm going with John Pigg who lives in the Council Houses. I'm a bit excited cos you have to get the bus. I don't get the bus very much because we've got a car. It's called Ford 8 and it's black and has a funny smell inside.

    Everybody that's been to Miss Bennett's says her house is very posh. I've never been in a posh house, although mam says we're a lot posher than the people that live in the Council Houses. I asked her how you could tell what were Council Houses and she says it's because they all look the same. Also in my village are Colliery Houses and there live the men who work in the pit.



    The pit is across the beck which means stream. There are Colliery Houses around it and it looks very frightening. There are two big wheels on the top and sometimes you can see them going round. Nearly all the boys go down the pit when they leave school but my mam says I might not have to go down the pit. She says my brains will get me a better job than that.

    Billy Johnston in my street just started down the pit. He's 15. He comes up the street after his shift covered in dirt. The pitmen all have a big tin bath and sometimes they have a bath in the yard. Billy Johnston always grins at me and you can see his white teeth and eyes in his black face. Sometimes he gives me threepence for sweets. That's nice. Last week he was having his bath in the yard and I just watched him. I don't think he saw me although I watched him for ages. He had his back to me.



    The pitmen get their coal for nothing but we have to pay for ours. It comes on a horse and cart in big sacks. A man with a shiny black jacket puts it in the coalhouse which is at the bottom of the yard next to the toilet. It's six and threepence a bag. Sometimes it's good coal and sometimes it's bad and hard to light. To light the fire you have to put newspaper in and sticks and ashes and coal. Also you get very dirty. Sometimes mam does it and sometimes dad. If it doesn't light properly mam gets mad and shouts.

    Mam cooks the dinner on the fire but Nana's got an electric cooker. It's called Electrolux but Nana calls it Lectriclux. We can't have an electric cooker cos we haven't got power cables. But dad bought mam a vacuum cleaner. It's called Goblin Juniorand it's very noisy and smelly with a big cloth bag that blows up when you switch it on.

    When I went back to school after having the measles I was half a book behind. But I got caught up in one day. Sometimes I pretend to get stuck on the words even though I can read them.


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    Tuesday, June 04, 2002

    WORRA LORRA BRIANS
    Today's fascinating feature brought to you by dial-up modem, due to my HiSpeed Broadband Cable Modem being donald ducked. Here at NB we spare no expense to entertain you.
    The Guardian Weekend Magazine has gradually evolved into a weekly Julieblog, detailing little other than the thoughts and life-story to date of Ms Julie Burchill. And the letters column doubles as her comment box. In Saturday's piece she waxes all fake-bashful over the myriad books, TV plays and stage plays that she's in, or has been in, or is about to be in. She compares the different actresses who've played her with both herself and each other.

    Jealous? Moi?? Darlings, I'd kill for it.



    So, this got me thinking, as these things are meant to, about my present complete lack of fame, and how to correct this. (It wasn't always thus, you know. Decade ago we were up there on The Scotsman newsagent boards... Read All About It.) We put the alternative into alternative health. Probably the piece de resistance was my breathless account of an hour spent inside a flotation tank - an article still spoken of with awe within this country's walls. I'm sure you can imagine it.

    However, because of generalised life mis-management, my budding career as a journalist went somewhat pear-shaped. Well, fizzled out, to be more accurate. Too late now to have much other than Crisp-appeal, I sometimes sit and ponder who I might have been...

    People I would have been good at...
    Angus Deayton
    Marge Simpson
    Lisa Simpson
    Ian Hislop
    Any newsreader
    Julie Burchill
    Germaine Greer
    Ross, Phoebe or Chandler
    Stan from South Park
    Anyone called Dimbleby
    Peter Mandelson
    Princess Margaret
    Quentin Crisp
    And, conversely, no chance of being...
    Hitler
    David Beckham
    Victoria Beckham
    Homer or Bart Simpson
    Dusty Springfield
    Mother Teresa
    Dalai Lama
    George Bush (either)
    Margaret Thatcher
    The Queen
    Albert Einstein
    Yehudi Menuhin
    Joey, Rachel or Monica
    Boy George
    I'll stop there, for reasons of phone-bill. But I'd be very interested indeed - fascinated even - in your own choices in those categories. Either on your own blog, or lacking that, the comment box below. I'll be checking up over the next few days.

    PENNY LANE

    The Telewest Phone, Cable and ISP company have their help-line call-centre in Liverpool, a city and port not unlike Leith, just on a far huger scale. And closer to Ireland. Yesterday I might as well have actually been there, the time I spent on the phone trying to get this Cable Broadband up and running again. Talk about Day Tripper.



    The first man was Brian. "Hello, Telewest Blueyonder Broadband support here. Brian speaking, how can I help you?" A great student of voices, I immediately pictured young Brian as a Pop Idol with brains. And of course, that once world-famous Beatles accent. So we went through Brian's repertoire, winipcfg, command, ping, release all, reset all, blah blah blah. I won't bore you with the details. "You know what, wac," he said. "Maybe if you re-installed your Network Interface Card, that might help."

    Well, we got the thing working for a while, so that was the end of him. But twenty minutes later, with my NIC card carefully re-installed, it just broke down again. Disconnection, Brian had called it. The next man was Colin.



    "Maybe if I talked to Brian it would be better," I said to Colin. "Then we won't have to go through his gig again." Colin, when he spoke, delighted me. Forty at least, with decades of Embassy Regal down his gullet, he would have looked as at home behind the wheel of a 30-tonner than with a headset round his greying temples. If I still had hormones left to flood, they would have flooded then.

    "There's about forty Brians in this call-centre," Colin growled. "It's a very common name in Liverpool." And again, all in the most Scouse of Scouse accents. A proper scally, I think they call them there. Colin's repertoire was a bit different, involving much rebooting both of the Cable Modem and my PC. And Colin said "brilliant" a lot. He also told me not to even think about IE6 with Windows 98. "Go for 5.5," he gravely announced. "It's brilliant."


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    Sunday, June 02, 2002

    HOME ON THE RANGE

    This weblog is becoming far too trivial. We're number two on Google for blog reviews Star Wars clones, which we do have, and number three for Hayden Christensen naked, which sadly we don't.
    Note to all Hayden fans - there won't be any naked pics, sweeties. Do you really think someone who's planned a showbiz career from an early age would (a) possess naked pics, and (b) allow them anywhere near the internet? Think about it. Then try imagining, cos that's all you're gonna get.


    So today, this being Sunday, and at one time slightly posh, I thought we'd raise the tone a bit.

    Professor Hampton pic courtesy of BBCiThis story from Stuart at Hydragenic...
    "The social impact of new communications technologies is a greater number of social ties, more diverse social ties, more support. It doesn't cut into your phone communication. It doesn't interfere with your face-to-face contact. It just increases communication." (Professor Keith Hampton, MIT). Full article is here.
    To which we replied, on Hydragenic,
    "Hmmm. Two ways of looking at this. One is that the communication we're having now would never have happened without technology. The other is that while I'm typing to you, whom I'm extremely unlikely ever to meet, I'm not engaging in the primary communication of talking to people."
    You'll note from Professor Hampton's pic that he is Very Young Indeed, and hence grew up in what I've labelled the post-conversation era.



    Few, if any of you reading this can comprehend a home with newspapers, radio and the Royal Mail as the only media. The rest of the time you damn well talked - and not on the phone, because you didn't have one. Radio and the written word were the only communication changes in the home, since pre-history.

    For these reasons, Professor Hampton's concept of such changes can only ever be very partial.

    Trivial? Who said trivial?? Now where's those Hayden pics???


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    Saturday, June 01, 2002

    NAKED NEWS!!

    Naked Top Ten (Results from last night's searches. All these people had "naked" after their names.)
    1. Hayden Christensen (49 requests)
    2. Hilary Duff (18)
    3. Simon Rex (16)
    4. David Beckham (10)
    5. Robbie Williams (7)
    6. Graham Norton (3)
    7. Anne Robinson (2)
    8. Tom Selleck (2)
    9. Big Brother (2)
    10. The Queen (2)
    No real surprise at the Number One slot. I'm surprised it took as long as two days, and we're actually number three in the Galaxy for Hayden Christensen naked, behind ananova, but comfortably ahead of trash mags like empireonline.

    Ah well, it had to happen with such a popular blog as NB. Couple that with a Big Brother tale we wrote a couple of years ago, and it's clearly going to be the Summer of 69, Google-wise. Note some interesting new entries in the bottom half.

    Thank heavens we've never written about anything so shocking and controversial as F*I*F*A W*rld C*p F*otball!


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