I'm still a bit puzzled, confused over my sudden apparent popularity, as evidenced yesterday in the Port. (Post below.) I walked in at four in the afternoon, and sitting there were wall-to-wall heterosexuals. Blaring music (what other sort is there?) on the juke box. No faggots to be seen, apart from Andy (don't call me gay, I'm bisexual), who was sitting outside with some good-looking young man or other. (Quelle surprise!)
They were laughing, and Andy was shaking his hand. Putting the make on him, you see. By the end of the night they'd be in the sack together. Seen it so often. I thought I was good at pulling - in my day, of course - but A takes the biscuit. Should give masterclasses.
Well, knowing as I do that nobody loves a fairy when she's fifty-five, I was fully prepared to knock back my pint of Carlsberg quite sharpish, and bee-line for somewhere a little more ambiguous, when Juicy - just back from diving in Gozo - spotted me. Big Hug.
Then Hymie, Robin, (what do you think of my new hairdo?) Wee Robert, Big Robert, Big Al, (just back from surfing in Cornwall) Big Straight Al (Scotland's sexiest man), Tony my IT manager, English Peter and finally Chris from Bradford. We smoked Gitanes and discussed Camus - although "discuss" is maybe the wrong word, as my sum knowledge of old Albert is that he was killed in a car accident. But apparently he was a nihilist, so that wouldn't really matter.
But hey - what's goan oan? Nobody likes me. They never talk to me. It's just like school, but all of your life.
People with grave interpersonal difficulties traditionally turn to writing. Or they retreat behind a microphone, to ensure a crowd's attention. Here at Naked Blog things are so extreme we need both of those crutches just to retain some semblance of balance. Some "getting through".
How strange it was then, to have so many young men - all except one quite straight - serially sitting down beside me. Oh - don't think for one moment I was buying em all drinks. No way, Jose. Anyone can have company if they pay for it. If anything, the balance of the drink-buying went in my own favour.
No - it was just like the doctors, except - crucially - I was the doctor. "Next!"
I must confess I enjoyed the afternoon. But it was a one-off. Next time I'll be expecting it... comparing... remembering this post.
Big Robert told me I was using my age as a means to avoid a relationship. "Don't you want one?" he asked. "Not really, Robert," I replied. "Or I guess I would have done it in my twenties, or thirties, or even forties, when it might have been more likely." Big Robert seemed very surprised at that.
I know various people who judge their own lives as lessened because of lack of "a partner". Don't. As the late, great Quentin Crisp once said, "If you're actually stuck with somebody, then you might as well get on with it."
And as we say a little more directly, "If nobody wants to fuck you, then you must learn to love being unfucked."
In which we sat in the Port o Leith Bar for a Saturday afternoon while one younger man after another joined us for some wisdom. Talk about Quentin Crisp. More tomorrow, if I can be bothered. Remember - the competition is finished now.
In which former government minister Edwina Currie "kissed and told" about an alleged affair with John Major, our last Prime Minister.
Is Mrs Currie the second most important and influential woman in recent gay politics? Does she rank close after the late Princess of Wales?
Or is the new sixteen-year-old age of gay male consent - which she so vigorously championed - a licence for the unwary and immature to legally invite infected killer dicks into their bottoms?
Freedom. Peace. The space again to write what I want, without thinking, "This might cost me the competition." That was a bad part. While a book or a film are a finished thing, a done deal, a blog is not. It's a portion of someone's life, and any future competitions MUST be more time-condensed than this one. July 18th to September 26th is - frankly - ridiculous, for on-going, near-daily works.
As an entrant, good manners prevent me from making other than the most general comment on the results.
I've decided to take up fox-hunting, and to join the Countryside Alliance. I'm even thinking of starting a blog about it, called tallyho.blogspot.com. That way, when the Daily Telegraph gets round to a blogcomp, you can have just one guess as to the winner!!
You gorra laugh.
Anyway - now I'm off to the doctors to get a prescription for some Nicotine Gum and Patches. Not smoking is getting a bit expensive. (Or at least cutting down.)
Yesterday there were 200 - 250 extra visits here, because of you-know-what. Maybe I could have been a bit more welcoming, but - what the heck - they'll piss off straight away anyway. It's just the title that attracts. But I guess I'm stuck with it now.
Barfly... (just in the last hour)
#1 "So, Mick - what're ye daein these days?"
"Ah'm daein a bit o' writin'"
"Is that so?"
"Aye - signin' oan, ye ken."
#2 "Did ye ken they're tryin' oot some new eye-drops in Leith the noo?"
"No, Peter, ah didnae ken, pal."
"Aye - they've got Viagra in them. Makes yer look hard."
I actually saw some Viagra just a few minutes ago. Auld Nick brought them out, after I cracked the above #2. They are blue, and diamond-shaped - I guess so you're unlikely to take them by mistake. Quite awesome. Nick let me handle the package - respect. Ages since I've seen a drug - any drug - for the first time. They were in a bubble pack of four, of which only two remained. "Did you actually use those two?" I asked him. (Nick is 64.) Or did ye just press them out to look in demand?"
"No, I took them," he replied, earnestly. "That Canadian chick - we took one each."
"That's awesome, Nick," I replied.
"Aye Peter," he said. "Keeps a smile on yer face for three days."
Martijn takes his finger out of the dyke long enough to contact me about his current photographic project. You send in a photo and an accompanying story. Now just you do that, y'all.
Sorry no bj in the offing atm, Martijn. I did ask old Nick for one of his Viagras, (see above), but he resolutely held on to them. Said he might get lucky this weekend. (See attached Comment Box for explanation. Not for the easily-shocked.)
It's an outrage, of course. We wus robbed. Never mind, this is entirely in keeping with the pattern of my life, which is loser - or, more accurately, almost there but not quite.
Second Best Rose.
Nevertheless - with not the slightest trace of stiff upper-lipness, hearty congratulations to the winner and runners-up. As I frequently predicted here, only two of them I've ever heard of - and one of those only a few days ago.
So - what for Naked Blog now? Well, a few days blog-holiday first, natch. Then re-grouping and preparing for The Next Big Competition. This is fun. There'll be more, but The Guardian will always be remembered as the one that did it first. Fucking well done, as we say hereabouts.
But, dear reader, the only judge who truly matters to me is you. You who have chosen to make this site part of your day. Without your presence, and your interest, there simply wouldn't be any Naked Blog. So long as you're around, then I guess I am too.
And that's maybe the first ever recorded thank-you speech from a loser! Luvyatabits.
PS Who's gonna do the first "Minority Report" on the short-list? My sensors already detect a token poof, lezzie, tranny, old-boy....
This could have been communicated privately, but - what the heck - we're all media-stars now, so let me say how sorry I am that mike gets no recognition in this contest. His talent and efforts deserve more, much more public listing than he's had to date. I already had my bit of glory in the first Guardian list - it's time he got his. I salute him.
"Why is it that [a certain topic] is so inherently unsuitable for investigation and analysis at a higher level of generality? Are we condemned for ever to repeat the same behaviour, with collective memory forbidden; and to eternally relate personal anecdotes in a void?"
To which we replied,
"You are right, Charlie... I was quite wrong to question that or any other blog topic. The weblog is now by far the quickest and most inclusive medium for addressing complex ideas. Far, far better than the old-style "author, publisher, reader, reviewer".
The Blog, in its totality, is now the most significant medium of human interaction and accretion. It will very soon, if it hasn't already done so, overtake the old-style libraries.
MULTIVAC in our time."
And non-bloggers wonder why we get so excited about it!
And that's just one! Imagine if it were possible to re-trace your trails at will... how many more of the above you would find.
IN NOMINE WHO?
"My Father's house has many mansions," said Jesus, but just how many I'd no idea. Until I discovered Belief-O-Matic - the online quiz at the end of the universe. Forget those tedious little quizzes such as "Who is my Rockstar Boyfriend?" (It's Thom Yorke, incidentally.) Forget them completely, and immerse yourself in the fascinating and thought-provoking questions Belief-O-Matic sets for you.
On completion, Belief-O-Matic will score you against twenty major world religions. We took the test.
Naked Blog is...
A Unitarian Universalist (with 100 percent correlation)
A Liberal Quaker (86%)
A Neo-Pagan (82%)
Jehovah's Witness (only 6%)
[There are links to descriptions of each of the faiths, which - if you think about it, is just as well. Unitarian Universalist??]
My second lowest score was Roman Catholic, of which I'm only 16 percent. But I think that was less to do with doctrinal heresy, and more for claiming that neither homosexuality nor abortion had relevance to a belief-system.
Strangely, the church in which I was raised, Christian Protestant, still holds me with a sixty percent grip. "Give me a child at an impressionable age..." (Shit! That was a Catholic said that.)
Indebted to Green Fairy for this one, and also a cracker of a blog.
THE BIG NAKED CLEAN-UP
Shhh!! I shouldn't be sitting here, writing to you like this! Scary Kerry, my new house-keeper, is busy doing the washing-up, the first time for two years. She's purchased a special blend of sulphuric and hydrochloric acids, to kill those pesky bacteria. And mould. And - oh, who cares - moss as well! As of yet there's no sign of lichen, but give it all a little longer...
I'm just kidding folks! It's actually Fairy Liquid, but that commodity has come a long way over the decades. Remember Mild Green Fairy Liquid? Well, forget it. Today we're dining out on Purple Herbal. Or - pairpel airbel, as K pronounces it. She's from Liverpool, you see.
Kerry arrived on the dot of ten this morning, and I confess it wasn't too awful. I'd warned her, repeatedly, that she would never have seen anything like this, and - give the girl her due - she kept her cool pretty well. "Oh Peter, Oh my God," was all she kept saying. "Oh Peter, Oh my God. This is the worst room, right?"
"No, Kerry - it's the best one," I replied, in truth.
So - now she's joined me here, and now she's sitting on the bed beside me, glancing through the IKEA catalogue. "When I EVENTUALLY get to see your living room, I'll choose something suitable," she's saying. "How about a blast furnace," I'm replying, with irony.
Well - we've done two hours on the kitchen this morning, taken out twelve big binbags, opened exactly one year's letters, and K has vacuumed the carpeted part. Shake n Vac, she insisted on. Shake n Vac was bought.
More later, when I can escape again...
"Why are you doing all this for me, Kerry?" I asked, repeatedly, as the home-improving day went on. Oh sure - we were operating on a professional basis, but still her investment was big - much, much bigger than my own.
"Because you go around the place like a lost soul," she said. "And I can't stand back and watch that. Some people can, but I can't. Plus I've got plans for yer."
Hi! I can't begin to tell you how relieved I am!! Those of you who pay attention will recall that today Scary Kerry was to begin work as my new Personal Assistant. Her five year mission: to clean up the house, address my correspondence and balance the books - to boldly go (and I kid you not) where no woman has gone before.
But she's just rung and put it off till tomorrow. Ah, sweet sorrow. A whole day more to fritter away chatting with you here! And it's sunny. I sense a walk on the riverbank, twixt the technicolor trees. A lunch of Barbara's finest, and an afternoon plotting with Gordon my screenplay collaborator.
Now I hear my postman stuffing some letters through the door - but I give them no mind. I have staff to deal with that sort of thing, you know. Starting tomorrow.
People often approach me and ask, "But why Naked Blog? Who the hell would want to see you in the buff?" To which I can only reply, in reverse order, probably no-one, and let me tell you a story...
It began with the late, great William Burroughs, you see, and his Naked Lunch masterpiece. I was so young, so impressionable when I read it - probably 19 - that it stabbed right into me like a laser. You know that feeling of, "Hey - I'm not the only one... not the only freak in the carnival?" You know that one? Or are you too boring, more stereotyped in your thinking?
Probably not, or you'd have abandoned Naked Blog long ago.
While Burroughs, Ginsberg, Kerouac et al were hanging around Tunisia, a near-contemporary styled Quentin Crisp was hanging around London, accumulating his own masterwork, The Naked Civil Servant. (You may enjoy "accumulating his masterwork" for free. They come so easy at NB.)
And here it gets more interesting - for me, at least. For just as those guys were reaching the end of their youth, along came the baby Naked Blog - keen and ready to pick up the reins. Some are born to live, and others are born to write about it. I can't help it any more. I've simply stopped fighting.
But The Book, when it comes, will have a different title - which you'll appreciate me not revealing. A boy has to eat, even when old. And that's why ninety percent of my life-story isn't told here. Just snippets to tease, naughty nuggets for your tastebuds. The best is yet to come. It's worth diamonds. And one particular outcome this week would make it much more likely to happen...
One thing the great diarists never had to contend with was Google, the search engine from hell. That monstrous algorithm which will seize scattered words from across a text and conflate them into any sick search some weirdo wants.
Not always long searches, however. We're number six in the discovered universe just for naked. Plain and simple. Two spots ahead of that rectally-grinning Jamie Oliver, (The Naked Chef), and whole streets ahead Messrs Crisp and Burroughs - who unlike Oliver do deserve respect.
Much tutting by David's commenters over this story. He posted a link, and it got taken up all over the place. This has happened to us here also, many times. Whole stories have been nicked and only slightly re-written. But this is the first time we've inspired a damn exhibition!
Naked Blog, August 26...
"Some peace today, some light-heartedness after the emotional wringer of the last two days. Mangle, I almost said, in place of wringer, but mangle you won't understand. It was a pair of rubber rollers, pressed hard together, that you fed your wet washing through and it squeezed some water out. Hard work, elbow grease, arm power. A man's job on washday - which was always a Monday. No other day would do... tongues would wag... what's she been up to not to get her washing hung out on the proper day? And ironed on Tuesday. Or else."
"We make the point that laundry, of all domestic chores, has always been done predominantly by women," says Gail Cameron, the exhibition's curator.
Cheers, ladies. Persil washes whiter, and it shows. Full story by Michelle Hanson.
We of course make no suggestion that the timing of this exhibition is other than entirely coincidental.
No less a luminary than Emily Bell, the Editor In Chief of Guardian Unlimited pops into a comment box further down the page, so maybe we're not out of the great competition race just yet. Or maybe it's a fake comment. People can be so mischievous!
So - entering into the spirit of things, we might well do a spot of gentle campaigning this week - addressing ourselves to this weblog only.Alleszusammen our maturity will confound the critics. You gorra laugh.
In a comment box below, he poses this question to NB...
"You are having a celebrity dinner party. Which five people would you invite, and what would you have to eat?"
Here, in no particular order, is my guest list. Food bores me rigid, apart from its functionality, so the menu would have to be a selection of dinners-for-one from Harvey Nichols. Each guest can choose one, and I would do my best to warm them all up properly and have them ready at roughly the same time.
But - on to the meaty stuff... Da Guests.... Ta Da!!!
First up is Boy George, so that I can thank him for being the second most influential and important gay man in the last quarter of last century. Quentin Crisp would have been my first choice, but I gather that this dinner is real, rather than Six Feet Under.
Boy George's sheer attitude and style thrust him into prominence not just here but - for a time - everywhere. He strode the planet like a colossus, and we all owe him an enormous debt of visibility. I'm delighted that he's still going strong and pulling in both the bucks and the broncos.
Next Paul Merton, for being the funniest man on TV. His wit exactly matches my own in range and style, just he's got much more of it. OK, we all know they get to see the questions in advance on Have I Got News For You, but even so, his is at times an awesome performance, without that edge of schoolboy snivelling that Hislop is prone to lapse into.
Jon Ronson would be third, because I admire his writing talent immensely. If I had my time again (but of course you never do), his is the career path I would attempt to emulate. Star columnists probably have to be more than simply brilliant writers however, and I'd hang on his every word regarding how to make it big in the meeja. He possibly knows more than anyone else about the real rulers of the world. He was the first Jew to try on the white Ku Klux Klan hood on TV.
Ruby Wax would have to be there also, for her sheer incandescence. A depressive like myself, neurotic and self-centered ditto, I'm sure her company would sparkle - even as the token woman.
Other women I considered were Julie Burchill (might not write about it very nicely), and Jennifer Saunders - but I suspect that she's funniest on paper. I toyed briefly with the idea of Victoria Beckham, just so nobody would talk to her, but discarded that as too cruel.
Incidentally - Ruby Wax was the second Jew to don the KKK hood, but claimed at the time to be the first, to Jon Ronson's considerable chagrin. They could chat about it peacefully over the Bendicks.
And finally, a blast from my own past - the show business personality who influenced me most in my teens, and whose existence I can never totally shake free from (nor do I want to), Sir Mick Jagger. He was bigger, much bigger than most of you youngsters could even imagine, such is the transient, ephemeral nature of Plop these days. Mick would delight us over the port and cheeseboard with hoary and hairy tales about all the real celebrities he has known.
Well - that completes my guest-list, mike, but were dead people to be admitted I'd also have Yehudi Menuhin, David Oistrakh, Sir Isaac Newton, Alan Turing and Anthony Burgess somewhere at my table.
BUT THAT'S NOT ALL...
Next morning, over a working breakfast of scrambled free-range eggs and Arbroath Smokies (like kippers, but classier, darlings) we'd group as follows...
Paul Merton would put Sir Mick into Room 101.
I would interview Boy George for a stunning Guardian Weekend piece.
Jon Ronson would interview me for a much more stunning Guardian Weekend piece, and
Ruby Wax and I would work out a treatment for our latest sit-com, set in a well-known newspaper office, and called Carry On Unlimited.
Not a thing I've ever suffered from, to tell the truth. It's a concept quite alien to me. (But - oh dearie me - you don't come here to learn that sort of thing.) No, I was talking about the Great Guardian Competition, and its sudden unexpected extension to next week.
This has set the cat amongst the pigeons. Nigger in the woodpile. Fly in the ointment.
Por qua? Well, it's only human nature to build up your hopes and expectations to a date, if such is supplied. Now, here at Naked Blog we treat victory and defeat as the impostors they are, still hoping one day to be a man. But others have gone all out, hell for leather, arse over elbow to impress.
One dear blog-colleague artfully timed his output to end on the 18th inst. with the biggest bang since Hiroshima. Yet all for naught. They've got us by the short and curlies. Over a barrel. Hook, line and sinker.
It's a test, you see. See who can still come up with the goods, and who will fall exhausted by the wayside, all blogged out to buggery.
PORT OF GRIEF
So there I was on Wednesday, all blogged out, and fancying a wee pint to begin drowning my sorrows. The Port (o' Leith Bar) beckoned, and gratefully I sank into its warm smoky embrace.
Smelly, quite often too... dog, human, cheap perfume - but that's usually all - except maybe for the odd whiff of burning resin, drifting in from the street.
They smoke joints quite openly in Leith these days - pass em round like Woodbines. It's the law.
Me, I never touch the stuff. Puts me to sleep, and frankly I sleep too much as it is. Specially in winter. But I digress. Where were we? Oh yeah... cannibals' raisins. Turns you pure psycho too, in the end. Seen it for myself. They drift along for decades, thinking hash is the greatest thing since sliced bread, then can't understand why suddenly everyone starts looking scared of them, edges away, bars em from pubs. Suicide sometimes follows. Seen that all too often too.
Ed: Cut the drug lecture, fer gawd's sake, and get on with the story. Tell them about Pam the barmaid.
NB: It's easy for you to talk, sitting in yer comfy office - which I pay for, by the way. I have a duty of care to my readers. Some of them are quite young, you know. I worry for the wee things.
"So - what are ye gonna do with yer thousand quid, if you win?" Pam asked, grinning. "Oh, you know - probably spend it here or in the Village... whoever's nicest to me." I'm such a sucker for kindness. Publicans can spot it a mile off.
And then I started to tell her about this week's main adventure - even bigger than The Guardian - which was hunting down the address of my teen dream GI husband. (September 17, below.) Pam was loving it, I could tell, so I piled on more and more juicy detail till her eyes were as wide as saucers. (Not literally.)
"But what's the point?" I beseeched her. "All that's gonna happen - at best - is that we exchange a couple of letters. Maybe photos. He'll be as fat and old and bald as me. I don't want to see it."
"Youse never know," Pam said, smiling broadly and showing those gnashers to die for. "Youse might get back together again."
"Pamela!" I shrieked. "You're not listening! I'm 55 and he is 57"
"Well," she said, "just take it nice and slowly."
Then Andy chipped in from my right. Andy the retired rent boy. "Have a viagara each," he prescribed. "And maybe half an eccie."
It's the day before President Bush's speech to the American Congress, featuring Mom Arlene. But here we take a necessary break from catastrophe comment, and talk instead about yet another Disturbing Search Request, then our discovery that NIMDA is a backward administration (strangely, no other commentator was the least bit interested in that one), and finally a nice picture of Alligator Johnny eating some spaghetti.
Yesterday, I finally plucked up the courage to watch the film 9/11 about the NYFD. I was particulary struck by the men's greetings back at the firehouse, and their joy that their friends had made it.
I watched them embrace. Real tough men, not actors pretending to be such.
Men, embracing, is good to behold, simply because it's so rare. (Especially in Britain, this most loveless of lands.) Yet for gay men it's quite commonplace, so watching heterosexuals do it is an odd mix of the ordinary (for us) and the extraordinary. There are five stages, only four of which are "permitted".
Shoulders only, each putting an arm round the other.
Shoulders and chest, but no lower.
Full body, with double clasp. (Possibly three seconds maximum.)
Full body and cheek to cheek, followed by a butch "push-away" and slap.
Full body and kiss. (This never happens, no matter how much those shattered men needed intimacy right then.)
Sometimes it's hard to be a man.
NAKED MAKEOVER... WTF IS IT?
Well, you see, it's all a bit delayed now, thanks to you know what. I really, really don't want to do anything unusual to the site until that Guardian judging is completed. Wouldn't be fair. Plus the impending new designs are not mine, unlike this tacky yellow creation, which at least I did myself. (Not bad for nearly a pensioner! I hear you applauding.)
However, the first fifty readers today can have an exclusive sneak preview. Chocolat is the first, and Guardianista the second. Both are by my personal design consultant, alan of dublin.
In a couple of hours' time the results of The Guardian Best British Weblog competition will be known. Naked Blog is not even in the running, as my sensors detect from the referrer logs.
No matter, no mind. Here at NB we've made minimal changes - really just an attempt to be daily and to keep up the quality.
So let me take this maybe premature moment to wish the winner and runners-up every joy and pleasure from their weblogging, and long may it continue to fascinate them. If your writing is good, and you have interesting things to say, then we'll certainly be a frequent visitor. Maybe even become (cyber)friends, like all the bloggers on the sidebar here.
Tomorrow on Naked Blog...
Closed for a complete re-design and makeover! The one the judges never saw!! Grand re-opening soon!!!
You'd be amazed how easy it is to find out stuff about people. All it takes is a credit card.
But first - thanks for all your advice re the post below, which you really should read before this one, to save regulars from the tedium of a rehash.
Huge response - showing that good, old-fashioned romance is still the best way to get bums on seats. I guess it had the lot... young lovers, cruelly separated in their prime... it had continents, it had decades, it had army uniforms, flared bottoms, lashings of homosexuality... oh I could go on all day.
Well, maybe not lashings of homosexuality. Maybe a bit restrained in that department. (Deliberately of course, darlings.) Don't think for one moment that NB couldn't have your eyes popping out of your very heads should I choose to. But yesterday I chose not to. Real person, you see. Flagrant exhibitionism is jest fine, so long as it's only about moi - or my poor faithful friends who seem to have tacitly accepted having their every word and deed broadcast to the globe.
Here's how to find somebody in the USA:
Method 1 Go to Yahoo, and click on People Search. Enter the details, and press Search. Then you'll get a reply saying No match for that field. Try again. Still no match, demonstrating, as if such were needed, that you don't get owt fer nowt, as we say here.
It says: Try USSearch. This one teases you with the person's middle initial, which of course you'd long forgotten, but which just looks right. But nothing else. For more, you've got to pay.
For $9.95 you get
Complete Address and full reported name.
On a sliding scale to
$99.95, for which you get
-Comprehensive Locate Search includes:
-Current Address and up to 10 year history & available listed phone numbers.
-On Premise County Criminal Search includes:
-Last county residences searched, case number, charge offense, arrest file, disposition date, disposition & sentence
-Free Local and National media web-based search including over 675 sources.
Included with Comprehensive People Locate:
• Possible aliases
• CA, TX, NV marriages and TX, NV divorce records *
• Deceased search
• Tax liens *
• Small Claims Civil Judgments *
• FAA pilot licenses
• FAA aircraft registration
• USCG documented vessels
• DEA controlled substances
Hey look!! I only want to write to the guy - not snoop in his trashcan!
And don't feel for one moment that NB can't afford $9.95. Or even $99.95. It's just that nagging doubt about the safety of internet payments.
So today I tried a different approach, suggested by Jeanette. As before, the response was teasing. Full name this time, and town, but nowt else. For more you had to pay. But this time a more budget price of $3.95.
Should I or shouldn't I? Eeny, meeny, miny mo, as we say here, but usually in infancy.
I thought of Charles, innocently going about his business, with maybe dozens of "ex's" in his closet. I thought of the possible repercussions of a letter from the past on his present life. Then I thought of all your advice, which was unanimous in its encouragement to proceed - albeit with great caution and consideration. As I said above - thanks for that. It was exactly why I asked.
Timidly I clicked on Buy. And now - five minutes later - I'm looking at his address.
How does this grab you as an introductory letter?
Dear Mr Smith
While I was idly browsing the internet this morning I chanced on your name and State and it set me thinking. There was a guy I had a couple of drinks with in London, maybe 1965 or 66, with that name and location, and it just occurred to me it might be the same person.
This man and I had a mutual friend in (woman's name). I was a student at (institution). If this rings any bells, and if you feel like dropping a line, I'd be delighted to hear from you. If not, you can rest assured I won't attempt to contact you again.
(email - non-NB version)
Someday I'll tell you about loverman #2. He was a book in himself. Less Mills and Boon, and much more Friday 13th.
I'm in a complete state again. Let me begin at the beginning, which was 36 years ago. No - that's way too long. Let me begin at the second chapter, which was 10 minutes ago. (This is very exciting, btw! My hands are almost shaking!!)
Long, long time ago I fell in love for the very first time. (See - I'm so stressed we're resorting to song lyrics.) Well, maybe it was lust... I was only 19, after all. He was tall, blonde, blue-eyed, about a year older than me and I fancied him rotten. He was in the US Army, stationed in Germany, and on holiday in London where we met.
It was very early in my "gay career" (first six months), and previous congresses had been necessary but ultimately total let-downs. Yet here, with Charles (not his real name) was that sublime first time of "doing it" with someone I had the very hots of hellfire for.
Here I've got to interrupt the narrative to tell you why I'm so excited! I really, really think I've just discovered him on the internet! Correct name, with an unusual spelling, correct city (Seattle), and correct age, 56. What should I do?
Oh - who cares about form and structure? Let it all out for once.
He was in Germany, as I said. But his home was in Seattle, and we passed the long hot days and nights while he told me all about gay Seattle in the sixties. I'd never heard of the place. I didn't even know there was a Washington State and a Washington DC. English education can be very narrow. However, Charles considerably broadened mine.
My God! Now it's coming back even further. When we first met I wasn't in London - although at University there, I was doing a summer vacation placement at a firm of consulting engineers in Epsom, Surrey. After meeting at The Coleherne in Earl's Court we took a Southern Region train from London to Epsom, to my digs. As soon as the train was out of Victoria (?) station we fell onto the bench seat, locked in youthful passion. (Trains in those days had separate compartments, seating eight or so.)
Breaking after ten minutes to draw breath, we were more than a bit startled to see a train on the next track keeping dead pace with us, while its passengers gaped in. But Charles just laughed and blew them a kiss, butchly. He was my soldier boy, you see, and I was his forces sweetheart. I had it all worked out. We loved by letter and by lust-fuelled meetings for over two years.
Holy shit! I've just remembered now I've got a pic of the two of us, me now as unrecognisable as I'm sure Charles is also. But I can't post it here. Can I? That's why I can't use his name, lest Google bring us together. You can't go back. Must not invade. You tend to think they must be dead, you see. With you know what.
So why be such a drama queen over this? Why not just drop him an innocent email? Well - typically for Naked Blog - it's not that simple. When I say I've discovered him on the internet, I don't mean I've found his blog, homepage or similar. What I've found are three newspaper reports about a high-profile legal case he was involved in. Oh - nothing disgraceful... just innocently breaking the US embargo on visiting Cuba. Once again, more than that would compromise. I'm in such a bind here.
Charles has the right not to be contacted by spectres from his past. He might be in a relationship. Might have cast aside youthful homosexual experimentations and married. Oh, but how I wish, with all my being.
Must stop now, for a coffee and a fag (cigarette). Still quite shaken. All of the above is mike's fault, for posing one of the questions in yesterday's comment box. "Have you ever been in love?" Thanks, mike! You've certainly set my agenda for today!!
Talk to me. Today. I need your advice like I've never needed it before. Don't forget I only need post his name here, and Google would (not might) complete the task.
O tempora. O mores. O fuck.
IN OTHER NEWS...
Yesterday I engaged Scary Kerry to get my house, my correspondence, my finances and my act together. Starting Monday. I'm terrified already, of course.
Yesterday Gordon the famous SciFi author reiterated his suggestion that we collaborate on a TV project. Starting ASAP. I'm less terrified of that.
Yesterday I agreed to join a Village trip to what's billed as the (F)Rocky Horror Show next month. It's got Rhona Cameron in it as Riff-Raff. Not terrified of that at all!
The Guardian Competition judges are bound to have made their winner decisions by now. I can exclusively reveal that they've been nowhere near Naked Blog, so I guess that's that then. Next week back to self-indulgent drivel!
So what's new, I hear you ask? :))
PS The story of my long-lost love continues in the Comment Box below. Should you be remotely interested.
...as John Simpson referred to the Barrymore/Lubbock case on Frost this morning.
Much has been speculated, on paper and on blog, about Mr Lubbock's sexuality. His father has been particularly vocal in "defending" his late son's heterosexuality.
Who cares? It hardly matters whether Mr Lubbock (31) was hetero, homo or bisexual. The only material fact is that he is dead. And of the many possible outcomes which must have crossed his mind when he accepted Barrymore's invitation to party at his home, his own death would hardly have been one of them.
Guilty! Scream the Sunday tabloids, apropos the oleaginous Mr Barrymore - yet guilty of what, we have to ask? Rich, showbiz types using their influence and promise on the gullible must go back to Shakespeare's time and far beyond. Anyone for Socrates?
At what point does offering someone a drink or a drug become manslaughter, far less murder? "Who's next for this joint?"
And those rectal injuries. Do they not bring out the lewdness lurking in all our little recesses? Yet the coroner recorded an open verdict. There seems division between pathologists over whether those injuries contributed to Mr Lubbock's death, or if he even sustained them at Mr Barrymore's house. Witnesses report he seemed mobile (no pun intended) and not in pain.
Barrymore's career would seem to be quite over, and that is a blessing to the world, if not to him. This is no George Michael fandango. I've probably seen a maximum of 10 minutes of his TV work in total - enough to know that it wasn't for me, yet might well induce that ad-receptive passivity which the stations adore.
But I do remember how the gay press, which rarely rises above Hello! magazine (except when they're praising Naked Blog), worked itself into a frenzy of delight over Mr B's gay outing some years ago. "Michael's one of us now!" I remember reading. Not one of me, I thought.
Yet the open verdict did quite surprise me, I confess. Raised on a diet of programmes like Crime Scene Investigation, these days I fully expect the perpetrator to be detected from even a dandruff flake and banged up inside of 50 minutes.
With that amount of evidence - sex, drugs and the probability of rock and roll - someone would have fried before the first ad break.
SEARCH ME, GUV
These days I skip lightly over the search logs. They're just too damn depressing. ("Tony Blair naked" last night - I ask you! Number one on Google. You gotta put the "" in.)
But this morning I spied one which tickled my fancy for its sheer mistaken originality.
naked porn pics with high dissolution
Fink abaht it!
Next week, as part of our ongoing endeavour to bring the reader(s) what they want, we're hosting a short season of "You ask. I answer." (This is nowt at all to do with the fact that I can't think of a damn thing to write about. Say that and I'll sue.)
Questions can range from, "How do you think the Universe has changed now that the velocity of light is no longer thought to be constant", to "Why are you such a twat?"
Gay and forty. The shocking truth. What your mother never told you.
I don't know. There I've spent practically the whole month telling you all not to get ill, and I've ended up myself being the only one poorly. Much better today, and thanks to various for your concerns. The naked nose has dried to a trickle, naked head no longer frying passing bugs, and the naked pillow only harbouring half a pint of sweat instead of the customary gallon. I swear I'd be a definite asset in a desert situation.
IN A COMPLETE STATE
I don't know. I'd planned to rehash all of last year's 11 Sep writings, but now having second thoughts. It was only last night that I remembered that by the end of September last year I actually had to resort to anti-depressants, such was the state I'd reached. This was for a combination of factors, including the six-week continous cloud cover. And now, re-reading it all, I sense myself slipping again. For what? For no useful purpose.
The BBC has all but stopped. The broadsheets will stop, if not today then after tomorrow's weekend editions. So, maybe here at Naked Newsrooms (a Google if ever I saw one!), it's time to hang up the cursor. Plus, it's all here if you so desire.
Maybe allow me the small indulgence of quoting my dear friend Rex, in a sentence I'd completely forgotten...
What Rex said was, "Peter, if you never do anything else much with your life, then your writings of this last week will stand as something very special." Thank you for that one, R. Very much.
See how lucky I am to know such people! It's not Royston Vasey at all.
Just glad it's over, for me at least. And for most of you reading this. Back to the bingo in a few hours - the great leveller. To worship the God of Numbers. (Them, not me. I'm just His altar boy.) And how I'm supposed to hear the feeble shouts of "House!" today, with ears an inch thick with catarrh, is anybody's guess. Gonna cost the company a quid or two in ex-gratias.
The electronic proceedings are stored both on hard disk and a specially-modified video machine, but a plain audio tape deck runs constantly beside the caller, for disputes over whether a call was loud enough. Think I'll pop some nicotine gum over the recording head. That should shut it up.
Apologies to Scott, Sandra and Alligator Johnny for missing you this week due to all of the below. Here's to next time.
SOMETHING FOR THE WEEKEND
Thanks to Gordon (not opera) for sending me Peter Pan's Home Page. Randy Constan is 48, and he's an adult pixie. Rather than simply be a fan of Peter Pan, he's chosen to actually become him, as you can see from the photo. To quote Gordon, "The world, I think, is a better, brighter and more amusing place for the having the likes of this guy in it..."
Here on NB for some reason, we get the weirdest Google searches. Others have pages as wordy as ours, yet seem to escape much more lightly. Typically the searches are for "naked pics of X, Y or Z", where the letters stand for people as diverse as Cilla Black, Jennie Bond or whoever the latest "star" is.
But some are amusing. Last night came in, "pictures of victims of rhinovirus", and I had visions of some hapless s*choolchild expecting a grotesque Elephant Man deformity, whereas the correct image would simply be someone sneezing.
And boy have I sneezed these last two days! Sneezed me a river over you. Sneezed so much that at its peak yesterday I was up to a vest an hour. (Cotton vests are by far the kindest thing on the incontinent nose. It's only water and rhinovirus, after all.)
Yesterday was not the ideal time to be stuck in the house alone. But we coped. Others had much more to cope with. However, I did forgo the opera out of social consideration, which meant thirty quid down the drain.
Ah well. Easy come, easy go.
Plus this flu has meant I've only drunk about three pints in the last week. Saved a fortune on booze. It's my own fault for gloating at my blog-colleagues' sniffles, from England to Canada.
The analyses begin. The where and the when were all too tragically apparent, but that left the who, what and why? In a piece I would much rather never have written, we offer some thoughts.
"You see, what was attacked yesterday were not only thousands of good people pursuing their livelihoods, but also something quite different. Something we too have written about here and elsewhere. What was attacked yesterday was Money, the real ruler of the earth. Money which merely uses the offices of the USA and the European governments to further its only cause, which is to grow. And in this growth it treads carelessly and callously wherever it chooses, enslaving and impoverishing across the less-developed world in order to fuel its cancerous growth.
Most of those who perished were employed in the service of Money, and they have paid a terrible price - the ultimate price - and of course they didn't deserve it. But whereas they now lie dead amidst the ruins of the temple, Money itself is only slightly dented."
One year on from this, in a blistering attack on what he describes as the oligarchic governance of the US, Professor Simon Schama of Columbia University, New York, offers similar thoughts on yesterday's Guardian front page.
"Those most eager to put young American lives on the line are those who are the greediest for the spoils."
I hope for his sake the Professor's tenure is secure.
Any comment would be unworthy of the thousands who have perished. So let me just offer my own, and I'm sure that of all of my British readers', sympathies to our friends across the US on this most dreadful of days.
Drew and Mimi have already written their accounts - Drew was in a TV studio as it happened. Mimi has links to webcams.
God bless you and keep you all.
Sadly, the practice of linking to individual postings hadn't caught on then, and the sidebar constantly evolves, so I'm afraid those passages are now lost to us. But Drew and Mimi are still writing wonderful stuff. Maybe the best thing I can do today is to re-link those people who were so prominent back then.
Special love also to G and J, my two friends in NYC.
Not much to report from Naked Mansions these last few days. Work over the weekend was just - well - work, and yesterday the very heavy rain kept me indoors all day. Thinking.
That's a rare occurrence these days, thinking. Hours on end, no interruptions. No people, except for my good friends here in type - and no booze to sully and stupefy. Just me, some coffee, a very few cigs (five) and a loaf of bread without even butter to put on. After the first few slices I was quite getting to enjoy it. Keeps yer gannin, the kna's.
[Note to new readers. That somewhat Spartan diet was not through poverty, but rather the domestic chaos that regulars here have come to know and love. Fear not. I don't. On some level I'm sure that dry bread is very good for you indeed.]
I knew and fully expected that the Consciousness would be massively disturbed this week, with many people under enormous strain, and a few sadly not making it. But I didn't know quite how much until last night's dream. (I'm afraid this is another "at your own risk" piece.)
So often in dreams I fly - but it's an unpowered flight... a kind of gravityless swimming in the air. However last night I found myself at the controls of a Jumbo Jet... with my flight instructor beside me. We flew up and down the coast - dipped down close to the two famous Forth bridges, and so on. The sky was crystal blue, the sun shone, and I was loving it.
Then things changed, darkened, and we were above the houses in Portobello, a seaside town just ten miles from Edinburgh. Time and again I had to pull back on the stick to get the damn plane to clear the rooftops - only narrowly making it each time.
But safely we landed, to my relief. My instructor was G., a real-life acquaintance... hefty guy, straight, but he kept trying to show me that he was wearing pink lipstick and eyeshadow. This didn't figure. I didn't like it. Then it was only at the very moment of waking that I realised it wasn't G at all. That all along it had been C - my closest ever friend, never until now mentioned here, who died about a decade ago. He didn't fly, and he certainly didn't wear makeup. But he was gay and hefty, until the cancer got right into him.
NAKED NOTTINGHAM C*AMWHORES
Fun and games south of the border! Mike 'Dubya' Diva is threatening to drop his knickers for us all this week, if he makes even five lapses in his new "Tic-free" writing regime. That means, no Incorrect Capital Letters. And no sentences beginning with "And". And so on. It's all there. Talk about misplacing the plot.
So - have a wee peep, and take a fine-tooth comb. Note how to spell and pronounce fine-tooth comb. (The things you learn at NB!) And get that man butt nekkid. He'll love it.
PS Mike has confided to me in a private email that anyone who spots six stylistic faults can take him to dinner. (Eek! That wasn't supposed to be published!)
Mick, on the other hand, is straight, which - for obvious reasons - makes him potentially fanciable. Just how fanciable you can judge from his new, just-released pic. He's having a wee crisis as to whether or not to shave off his goatee. You decide.
THAT'S IT FOLKS!
No Naked Blog tomorrow, for reasons you will well understand. Not for me to add to the hectares of (mostly) drivel which others have produced and still will. What little we had to say was said a year ago, and we'll be dipping back then from time to time. Blessed be.
No getting away from it - it did happen, a year ago this week. And, in fairness, our print and broadcast media excelled themselves in the way they informed us. Nothing like that had happened before, and I hope never will again. (Some hope.)
But that was then, and this is now. Now it's quite different. It's cashing in.
Meditate if you can. Pray if you believe. Tell someone you love them. And switch the damn thing off.
A delicious piss-take on this week's expected TV coverage is here, at The Onion. It's American, of course, but just substitute our own Sultans of Soundbite as you read it.
And if you fancy eschewing the box bigtime, then help and advice is on hand at White Dot.
Me, I do watch telly a bit. I find that when I finish work in the late evening and return to an empty house, it offers something which no book or magazine can - imitation people, pretending to be my friend. But it's strictly for entertainment - films and/or well-crafted comedy only. For real thought I look elsewhere - often inside myself.
This is one I've been promising for months, but in typical procrastinatory (is that a word?) style, it's taken until now. For a change, it's not a blog. (Face it - we do get terribly incestuous.) But rather a bulletin board with a collection of highly intelligent and entertaining posts, at least half of them by my good friend Rex.
Think of one of the funniest blogs you've ever read, sans design and template, and you've got this...
The Top Ten Films of All Time
Birth of a Nation (harrowing gynaecological documentary in which the late Margaret Rutherford is shown giving birth to everyone in Britain)
Citizen Kane (the Michael Winner remake, starring The Krankies)
Bob Hope and Bing Crosby in Road to Perdition
Star Waughs (epic tale of a literary dynasty and its battle against absolute evil (= Polly Toynbee))
Schindler's Pissed (revisionist drama in which Oskar Schindler fails to save anyone at all, due to his alcohol problem)
Carry On Up Yer Naked Mediterranean Urchin (little-known collaboration between Pasolini and Talbot Rothwell)
Judy Garland in the original 1968 version of Rambo, swiftly withdrawn
Apocalypse When It Is Appropriate Francis Ford Coppola's searing account of John Major's foreign and domestic policy
Last year's gross-out teen sensation, Boring Ugly Gits + Random Bodily Fluids
and F W Stuporvitch's silent classic, Overdressed Polish Women Vaguely Indicating Malaise. Shurely you cannot disagree?
A self-centred trawl through a few sites listed in The Ageless Project
I've spoken here before on the stigma and separation from society which gayness affords, but yet another isolating factor for me is my advanced years. Not in the real world, and certainly not in my current employment, but here in what is such a horrifically youth-oriented medium.
So, when I was taking my daily peep at Euan's uplifting site, and chanced on his button for The Ageless Project, my curiosity got the better of me and I gave it a click. (I have to point out that these days I hardly ever read any new sites. It's impossible to keep up with the ones I know already.)
Naturally (well, wouldn't you?) my first choice was my own decade - 1940's. There weren't many. And the thirties held even fewer. All in all, NB worked out at the 22nd-oldest blogger on the block. This is not good. To paraphrase the late, great Quentin Crisp, "If being old is your style, then you must strive to be the oldest person there is." And QC achieved it, bigtime. Sadly missed. And yet he kept most of his marbles. (But more marble-talk later.)
Take a look at the page now, and scroll down till you see Linda and Charlene. I'm between those two chicks. Just below Charlene is Doc Searls - and here the full horrors started to sink in. (Links below.)
You see, these days NB is not the shiniest apple in the barrel. Not brightest button on the coat. Despite daily doses of Folic acid, and keeping an intoxication regime which by current-day standards is practically Spartan, that old grey matter no longer delivers the goods. Not the goods as I remember them, anyway.
Take Linda. Seventeen days older than me, and she's studying C++ with thoughts of Visual FoxPro and Visual Basic. Then compare me. I hang on to this daft idea that some day I'll be able to build websites. OK, I know that's very last century, but then so am I. Nevertheless, I have a dream.
A month or so ago I bought yet another book on webpages: I think I mentioned it on the site. Yesterday, I tripped over it on the floor - and realized that not only had I never opened it, but that I'd totally forgotten I'd ever bought it. Terrifying.
Take Charlene. She writes a great journal, which has several awards. Beautiful, tender script, unlike the jarring nastiness that can characterise this tome. Inspiring.
And take Doc Searls. Only 210 short days younger than NB, and yet he might as well be from another planet. He edits Linux Magazine. He co-wrote the Cluetrain Manifesto. That man knows more than I have forgotten. So now I'm suicidal. (Not really ;)
And yet, and yet...
Aged twenty-one, at the peak of my intellect and proud owner of a prestigious (as opposed to polytechnic) degree in mathematics, I was a quivering wreck of personality and identity crises. Under professional care. Aged twenty-three I made a sincere attempt on my life, over a broken romance... and so on and so on throughout my teens and twenties. Unbearable times. Too many thoughts.
Yet now the days pass easy and good. Warm house, full belly, good company. There are other modes of communication not so heavily memory-dependent - and of course I can still do this. Ever heard the expression, "Not a care in the world?" Simple when you can't remember them!
And some day I'll tell you about the thing which rescued me. (Although I've mentioned it several times :)
So - I'm thinking of joining the Ageless Project, but I hate self-promoting this site. Shy.
Yesterday I seem to have caused considerable hurt to Meg of not.so.soft. This was not my intention. My words were directed to your words, and not to your self. I have no cause, reason or wish to offend you, and as this appears to have happened through lack of care in my writing, then I must strive to think more carefully in future. British weblogging owes you a big thank-you.
But please don't feel unduly singled out. To my considerable shame, I've had a comment deleted on Here Inside, been called rude on The Obvious Blog, made several swipes at another close blog-friend over at troubled-diva, and so on.
Betsy: Don't you "darling" me tonight.
Me: What's wrong, darling?
Betsy: You kept me waiting on number 21 last week. For four hundred pounds! Me: Oh yes, I remember. And it came up in the next game.
Betsy: And do you remember there was some shouting?
Me: Yes. I had to stop the game.
Betsy: That was Lorna shouting piss off. Me: Ooh that's very bad. Lorna might get barred. You're not supposed to shout out like that.
To adapt a saying about another pastime... "Bingo's not a matter of life and death. It's much more important than that."
SPIT IN THE SOUP
But weblog competitions are not mortal matters either, despite the well-publicised rantings of some with largeish readerships. Latest to wade in is Meg of not.so.soft who appears now to have somewhat misplaced the plot. In this piece she writes about the consequences she predicts for the eventual winner. To save your valuable time for reading more Naked Blog, let me summarise...
The winner's name will be in a newspaper.
People will read it.
Lots of people will read the winner's weblog.
Then they won't.
The losers might be nasty.
Me, I have quite a different theory why plasticbag and not.so.soft have so publicly absented themselves from a competition either of them might well have won. And it's nothing whatever to do with the stated reasons. But everything to do with the "publicly".
Please, please let me know if ever NB starts lecturing you. Well - apart from my hatred of advertising. Allow me one weakness. It's free, the kna's.
Dream analysts, this way please. Here's last night's tale. A new type of spider appeared, pinkish coloured and the size of a large crab. It would climb up the hooks on the wall (don't ask), then throw itself wherever it wanted to go.
Now this is the even more frightening bit... wherever it landed, it would extend its legs like an umbrella, and there was webbing or sheeting between them. The sequence was climb, fly, land, shoooosh as the parasol appeared - as big as the room, sometimes. Partially blocking off the light from the window. I was lying there terrified in case one of them landed on my mouth.
Meanwhile, back at the bingo...
On Thursday, a day I don't work (like Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday preceding it), I'm told there was a mouse at large in the bingo hall. The ladies would see it and shout "Mouse!" But the poor, hapless caller kept thinking they were calling "House!" and thus stopping the game. And today, the busiest day, it's my shift to call...
There must be easier ways to earn a living than writing weblogs!
JUDGEMENT DAY. JUDGE NOT, LEST YE BE JUDGED. THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH. JUDGE DREDD. WHAT DO YOU CALL A JUDGE WITH NO THUMBS?*
[Enough already of the judge remarks...Ed]
But I can't help it folks! Entries have closed for the great Grauny competition, and now my life, my soul, my very essence is being pored over by these lovely and so-talented people. The editor of The Guardian - reading Naked Blog!! Puts a shiver up yer spine. [At least give me a column, Alan... even if you make someone else the winner.]
Naked Blog. Often imitated - never equalled. Judges - your task is over. Finito. Now close that laptop, finish your coffee before it gets cold, and go out and have a nice lunch in the autumn sun. You have my blessings.
PLAYING TO THE CAMERAS
Well, now that you've learned how to lay out your writing for maximum impact and readability (post below), then the key question arises of, "What do I write about"?
One answer, the easy and somewhat trite reply, would be, "Whatever you want!" And there is some truth in that. There's also some truth in the fact that more than ninety percent of blogs are struggling to achieve a two-figure readership. But, over-riding any advice I or other commentators would make, your blog really is your own. Treasure that voice. It didn't come easily and it might not last.
If in your writing you touch even one other heart, and that person thinks - "hey I feel that way too... I thought I was the only one," then your work hasn't been in vain. And you've made a friend.
NAKED MASTERCLASS - LESSON TWO
Here's how to write a blog which will attract and keep readers. It also illustrates some key differences between weblog and print.
From a personal weblog I want to know three things. Two major, and one minor.
I want to know what the person is like. That's is like, not looks like. Some of my happiest blog-reading has been of blogs with no photo, when I see and hear the author in my mind. How much of yourself you reveal is your call. In blog you can paint yourself any shade you wish, but the truth is far, far easier. Me, I haven't got the memory for lies. Give it out slowly, morsel by tasty morsel. Keep them coming back. And never underestimate how fascinating you are. Victoria Beckham doesn't.
Next, I want to know what the blogger has been doing. And no - this doesn't have to be exotic holidays... although they have built-in appeal for most. It can be as simple as this, or even this. Write, write and write again. As you develop, your writer's brain will start doing most of the work for you - sifting and sorting. Selecting and rejecting. Till at last you reach the stage when you can sit down with a cup of coffee, and an hour later you're gazing proudly at a well-crafted tale of publishable quality. With almost no effort at all.
Hey! Did I do that? Sure did, baby.
And finally, although it's quite some way behind the previous, I want at times to know what the writer thinks. About life, about death (gets blogged a lot, but not usually so beautifully as this), and about our place in the universe. I wouldn't be so interested in politics, or current events, as these are covered so well in the press. No - for me the blog is a place to marvel at what the print boys and girls miss out. That is our right. We give it free. To take or leave.
The webloggers listed on the sidebar are extremely carefully-selected examples of the above. You can do no finer than to learn from them. There are many others.
[End of Class. That will be two dollars. Inflation.]
Indebted to Rex, for this snippet. There doesn't seem to be a photo included.
In a sample of nine prominent Britblogs, Naked Blog is found to be the easiest to read.
Big-ups and thanks to David of Swish Cottage for his weblog readability chart published yesterday. There you will see that while you need at least the age of consent to comprehend Charlie's Here Inside, our own humble scribbles are jest fine for any 10 y/o Joe or Jean with a mobile in one hand and Mcdonalds in the other.
Naked Blog and the Primary School Syllabus. Why some parents object.
Naked Blog and Southpark. Why we should collaborate.
Naked Blog and Teletubbies. Why Laa Laa is a butch yellow dyke.
Historical Note: Vividly I remember my first PC, an Amstrad SX25 8Mb RAM/125Mb HDD. Bundled in the package was a two-floppy application called Correct Grammar, which included column for column the very stats now offered with MS Word. An early example of a Microsoft "acquisition"? They did buy up just about everything which took their fancy.
But seriously... David's findings re NB don't really surprise me. Reading from a screen is much less appealing than from paper, and I take active measures to try and keep you going once you've started. Crucial is the ratio of type to white space, and to get more of the latter I paragraph like mad.
Even like this, where it shouldn't be done.
Also - short, snappy sentences break up the monotony. Agreed? Remember - they're only one easy click away from abandoning your hard-wrung efforts. Terrifying!
But paragraphing alone isn't enough. You also need these...
As working rule, I arrange things so that there is always visible the sight of a line, a bold header or a picture. Preferably more than one. Ideally all three. A solid screen of writing is a no-no for me. So I don't give it to you.
[End of Class. That will be one dollar. I'm afraid that Naked humour can't be taught.]
ENTER. DON'T ENTER. SHUT UP
In yet another attempt to sabotage the Guardian Weblog Competiton (closing date tomorrow), Plasticbag Tom has created a cunning stunt to generate publicity for non-entrants. You send in your URL to him, and it goes onto not only plasticbag, but all the other non-entrants' sites as well. An instant clique.
In an attempt to sabotage Tom, I'm suggesting that no-one would ever know if you both entered the Guardian competition and told Tom a complete Porky - thereby getting the best of both worlds. Hehe. (But don't say you read it here.)
Yesterday a mentally ill woman caused quite a disturbance at The Village in South Fort Street. Oh, she did no physical hurt, but a lot of shouting and screaming left the two female staff who were in attendance quite shaken. I wasn't there, so my info is strictly second hand, but am told that the police were called on the emergency number, but didn't come for two hours. And then when they did come they opined that "when you run a pub you can expect that sort of thing".
Really? Have we sunk so low in our life-expectations that flagrant breach of the peace is to be regarded as normal - acceptable, even? And that anything short of actual bloodshed is no longer the concern of our well-paid law-enforcers?
The Leith Police dismisseth us.
From time to time Naked Blog finds itself on a bus. Now, Edinburgh polite society regards that as quite beyond the pale, but we are resolute enough to make our own decisions. Buses here are cheap, frequent and environmentally sound. Except for their drivers, apparently, as I deduced from this prominent sign.
"Our staff have the right to work without fear of attack. Lothian Buses will press for prosecution of anyone who attacks our staff."
A good sign, and well meant. But what a shame that such a warning should ever have to be posted.
Spent a pleasant, if unfruitful, afternoon with Stuart yesterday, in which we lunched on turkey and ham sandwiches, and a cheeky little Colombard from California. Then we tried to get Stuart's Win98 to recognise his Racal external modem. We removed it, re-installed it, re-booted a few times, moved it from COM1 to COM2 but all to no avail. Its little external lights resolutely refused to even shimmer , far less blink.
So I had to give up, and we decided to escalate the problem, as the help-line people call it. We've escalated it to Tony my IT manager, although he doesn't know it yet. How I wish I had stronger computing skills! Gives you an endless supply of lunch and dinner invitations!
Well, after my soiree with Stuart, then further drinks with Alistair and Glen (oh - we've all arranged to go to Aida next week. Kind of test our opera-going nerve again. Well, all except Stuart, who possibly feels it's still too early after his trauma last Thursday.), I flopped down at home to watch Monday's Six Feet Under.
Not impressed. Far too gay. Now, I know some of my quite vocal gay readers will differ from me here, but I just find "gay" too boring on telly. I know it all already. Much more fascinating is the concept of "straight", where people are attracted to people whose minds and bodies are radically different from their own. Weird. Yes, I know it makes babies, and it's ever so important, but that doesn't help me understand it. Answers on a postcard, please.
Much better was the programme just before it, called Origins. This was set in Britain and mainland Europe during the last ice age, and was the tale of two men and a woman who were the sole survivors of a bad winter. They set out on a (genuinely) epic (such an over-used word) trek to find another clan which would accept them.
Two things which marked this one out from the myriad "grunts n skins" shows were these: they flashed on the screen from time to time the progress of their journey... "Thames Valley, England..... Flanders, Belgium.... Black Forest, Germany.... but everywhere looked exactly the same. Ice. (Clearly they'd had to film it all in Canada or Alaska.)
And secondly, they had the characters speaking in what was obviously sophisticated and grammatical language, rather than the usual grunt-point-fuck idiom.
We overlook to our cost the fact that any one of those, given the appropriate training, could be designing websites right now. Or getting external modems recognised. Seven thousand years, or even seventy, in evolutionary terms is just yesterday. Makes yer think, eh?
Naked Blog was delighted to grace Sam's 39th (yes, really), birthday lunch at The Peacock Inn in Newhaven yesterday, with Postman, his lover. "Is The Peacock all right for you?" Sam had asked over the phone. "Of course, darling," I replied. "Anything with a *beep* in it is fine."
"What soup is it?" Postman asked of the waitress, who was a Scottish version of AbFab's Bubble. "Dunno," she said. "But it's lovely," she quickly added. "Green stuff with lentils in it."
After lunch Sam was waxing proud about his physique. "See that, hen," he said to me, pointing to his midriff. "Thirty-nine year auld, and still a thirty waist." Here at NB we treat waistline remarks with the same contempt as those about age. "That's wonderful, darling," I assured him. "But when I was your age I was still a 28." Total lie of course, but it worried him a little, as I flopped my new-found flab from side to side.
"Auld age disnae come itsel'," my bingo ladies say, and it's true. The only slim men over 50 I know are alcoholics, and seem never to eat at all. "Solids are for wimps," is another Leith philosophy. It's testosterone, you see - or rather lack of it. Caponisation.
My advice: if you're wanting more testo thingy, give up the cigs. It has a remarkable effect, as I'm finding to the cost of my tranquillity. If, however, you don't smoke, then you'll need more drastic measures. HGH or human growth hormone is reputed to be marvellous. I get spam about it every week. Plus it was on the telly, so it must be true.
Later, at The Village for drinks, we bumped into Stuart, one of last week's opera companions. Then Gordon, ditto, came in, and I suggested they shake hands. Gordon was brimming with apologies, but I told him not to worry. We would all go to lots more operas, just that we'd stay sober in advance. Stuart insisted that Kirsty Wark had waved back at him. He invited me to his house for lunch today, to fix his computer. It's not recognising either of the modems.
Yeuccch! Too much excitement lately, you see. Too much for a white lady.
Today is gorgeous and sunny, and I want nothing more than to rush out and take in the now-cooling rays, and spot the yellow in the recently green trees. But instead I'd better be sensible, lie down in a darkened room and just suffer.
"Aye - we'll pay for this one day soon!" we say here in Scotland. It's the third one of the trilogy beginning with, "What goes around, comes around," (Karma), and ending with, "Whit's fer ye will no go by ye." (Fate.)
Philosophical little country, when you think about it. Normal service quite soon I hope. It doesn't seem to be too deadly a cold, judging from my colleagues' recoveries.
Dave has bought a PlayStation 2 and I am sooooo jealous. Almost everyone I know has one, and at times I just feel so left out of the chats. This from the early-day DOOM adopter - the hippest burned-out hippy in Leith back then.
However, facing facts, I do spend an unhealthy amount of time in front of screens as it is. Playstation would mean either less Naked Blog, or less real life, which would ipso facto lead to the same thing. (Do I mean ipso facto there? Haven't a clue what it means, but it looks good. Mebbe it's de facto.)
Unless, however, you want NB to descend to the level of games reviews. But I just don't see it. Where would my drunken friends fit in? At least with grand opera you get a laugh.
Three things ended yesterday - a month, a festival and a summer. The month was inevitable. Try as we all would to hang on to August for its innocence, it must now pass and give way. To what, we can only imagine.
That summer had gone I knew when I stepped out of my sun-drenched bedroom into a house which was at last again quite cool. Scottish Weather - brought to you by Powergen. Frazier - brought to you by Britannia Retirement Solutions. Friends - brought to you by Jacob's Creek.
What the hell happened to the electro-magnetic field? My teachers at school clearly hadn't a clue!
And then the Edinburgh International Festival climaxed in the traditional way with a fantastic firework display. Brought to you by The Bank of Scotland. Anybody wanna sponsor Naked Blog, btw? A grand a month (thousand quid) would seem about right at the moment. We're Guardian recommended, you know... for now. (Even if they have put us in the palaeontology section.)
I can just see it! But please, no-one from the arms industries, tobacco or pornography trades. Ethical investors only. In fact, I'll tell you what... give it a month to bubble up, and then the people on my sidebar can vote.
It'll feel just like being in government! Next month we can introduce corruption, then cronyism, then we'll have a reshuffle... oh the possibilities are endless! Let's hope none of you oh-so-innocent-sounding bloggers are harbouring weapons of mass destruction!
So what about that pesky Saddam, then? Should he go or should he stay? This morning I was watching - for a change - and make no mistake about what this month's TV will be featuring - Baroness Williams, Bill Morris and some weegie Labour politician whose name I didn't catch. (Weegie=Glaswegian.) The sort who speaks as if his mouth were three-quarters filled with a large boiled sweet.
Mr Morris said, with almost startling unoriginality, that the UK could act as a bridge between the EU and the USA. (Everyone's an abbreviation nowadays.) Baroness Shirley said a bridge could be stretched too far. Naked Blog buttered another slice of toast, and contributed just as much.
Bill Morris said his TGWU (large union) would support Mr Blair. Labour back-bencher said the Party would support Mr Blair. Naked Blog wondered if my unaccustomed breakfast would help me not smoke a cig for a few more hours. The answer was no.
So - seeing as you asked, here are a few pearls of more than half a century's wisdom. Some you will have seen before. Some of you are new and very welcome here.
Politicians exist purely to get re-elected. They have no other purpose whatsoever. Think virus.
Mr Bush has very little to lose either way. Whether he bombs Iraq or not, sufficient US citizens will re-elect him. Last September secured that fact.
Europe also is safe. I don't foresee, in my lifetime, our continent being bombed either by the USA or by China, the only two nations powerful enough to do so.
The one with most to lose is in fact Mr Blair. He came close to making a fool of himself with all that glitzy yet ultimately impotent globe-trotting a year ago, and could easily reprise the act over Iraq. If he goes down, then my own world does significantly change.
UK voting patterns are entirely in the hands not of anyone in this country, but rather of Rupert Murdoch, the owner of our most populist media.
And finally, it is no earthly use making yourself ill over things you can do absolutely nothing about. Much more useful is to go for a nice walk and talk, or drink and think. Or both. And turn that telly OFF - this month especially.
A light-hearted look at alcohol, David Beckham and Brad Pitt, as we look forward to the Equinox on the twenty-first. Clock that rather unusual (but genuine) comment! Do you think I should have replied?
And even more finally! Thank you all so very much for your kind remarks and links to the opera night below. Very much appreciated. When you chronicle real-life events, it's impossible to gauge how successful you've been as reporter. The pictures are right there in your own head, whether you write them badly or well. Nice to know we got it right this time.