Then Andy, my some-time photo-model, comes up to me in the Port. "You're just exploiting people with your Hunk of the Week thing, aren't you?"
But he deserved an answer. It's a tricky thing. "Maybe yes, and maybe no," I began, creating time while the old brain went into overdrive. "But there've only been two so far, and they both were willing victims. Both knew exactly what was going to happen, and if you've changed your mind then that's fine."
That seemed to mollify him a bit. "And don't worry about your picture," I assured him. "It's already deleted. Not up to standard." Robin (don't call me gay, I'm bisexual) joined us then. "He's just winding you up, Peter," he said grinning.
"But no - Andy's got a valid point," I pressed on. "Without the cooperation of so many people here and elsewhere there simply wouldn't be any Naked Blog. But they love being in it. They're all a load of exhibitionists - I just give them space."
Well handled, Peter. Could have been a touch unpleasant. And the truth hurts. It's a rare commodity - not to be dismissed or diminished.
The (real life) part of the day - after the obligatory cyber-morning - had begun with lunch at the Village with Kolja. He's a telecom systems programmer. Not all my friends are in the mechanical trades, you know.
He had tomato soup and pork sate, while I plumped for wild mushrooms with garlic followed by smoked haddock and poached egg.
To be honest, my tummy was a bit tender from a rather hot chicken bhuna the night before. And not just my tummy! We're talking mucosal membranes...
There was a heated debate about the number of cigarettes you were allowed to bring into the country. Eight thousand! said Babs the chef. Three thousand two hundred! said Kolja. He lost the fight, but in fact turned out to have been correct.
Roddy the tree surgeon turned up with a mate. But his pal just read the papers, so Roddy joined K and me. When lunch was done, I quickly asked Roddy if he wanted to be Hunk of the Week, and of course he said yes. He suggested it would make a much better pic if he was holding his chainsaw. We all agreed, but the chainsaw was away in his house, so I took one without it. I'll do another hot action shot next time. In fact, now that I think about it, naked with a chainsaw could be really quite erotic. Hmmm. Or would that be exploited?
Oh - it occurred to me after yesterday's somewhat personal post that you'll be wondering why I gave up a well-paid and secure job to basically bum about in bingo halls. Well, I didn't. It gave me up. Stress. Twenty years had taken their toll. Sometimes you've got to know when to get out.
Ten or twelve years ago I was a medical wreck. Tranks, constant attacks of bronchitis, depression, problem drinking. Gruesome. Since becoming pensioned but happy I haven't had to consult the quack even once in the last decade. You discover what's getting you down, and ruthlessly remove it - no matter what the financial or social implications. There is only one alternative, and it comes wrapped in a big pine box. And that's quite enough of that.
Here's one for all you mobile phone users... Kolja warned me that one leading British service provider analyses your call patterns, then inserts and bills you for calls you didn't make. Naturally, legal reasons prevent me from naming the company. One to watch out for.
And talking of phones... yesterday I sent my first ever txt msg ! To Nine, a friend of Sarah and Dean. It were that clever... all you do is hit the correct buttons and the phone guesses what word you meant. Txt msg no more... it's text message the noo!
So there we were in the Port, yesterday teatime-ish. Quiet. Not many souls. Andy, my model from yesterday was sitting, but I felt a bit strained, somewhat unsure that we'd maybe transgressed the limits of intimacy so publicly in the photography session. We didn't chat. But it'll all come right.
Tracy came in, so I left my seat beside Scott and talked to her. "Hi Trace! You still going out with Garry?" "No - not for three years now." "Oh - I'm sorry, hen... it's just that last time I saw him the two of you were together." "Yes - we're still pals. I still worry about him."
Time passed. Tony my IT manager came in and Scott immediately grabbed him. "Hey, Tony... look at this." (It was Scott's new Communicator. The first one had broken already.) Then Tony and I got into a huddle about my hosting arrangements. More time passed, more drink went down welcoming throats until the door flew open and who should stroll in but Big Speedy Garry. With a girl I presumed was Tracy's replacement.
We call him Big Speedy Garry because his name is Garry and he's more than six feet tall and possibly half that across. They say he's a sex machine. I wouldn't know. Not built for it, unfortunately. You can't win em all. (But I had a damn good hit-rate in my time.)
"Hey man - great to see you - how're you getting on - what're you up to these days - and who is this?" Garry and I go back about ten years, to when he'd just arrived in town from Outer MonFifea. Dunfermline, or some such place. How gruesome. He was especially kind to me at the time of my mother's death around six years ago, and things like that you just don't forget. Now do you?
His companion was looking at me intently. And - oddly - I felt I recognised her slightly. (This is not unusual. Because of my earlier teaching career, and present calling, one has arguably the most-recognised face in North Edinburgh. A star in New York, and a star in LA. Frankly, I love it.)
"This is Susan," Garry said, with that edge of pride over a good catch. "Hi, Susan," I said, welcoming warmly anyone who makes my friend happy. "You should ken me," she said. "I used to be in your class." Oh fuck.
Now - just to explain - this happens a lot. All the time, in fact. But never until now having an affair with a pal who knows so much about my later, post-teaching life. The years when restraint flew oot the windae and real life began.
Anyway... we passed names back and forth until I was able to identify her class and her time. It was very warm... Garry looking on beneficently as the dominant male. "Oh - and I've seen you at the bingo as well," Susan laughed.
"Yeah - some change, eh?" I laughed too. "Well at least I don't have to pretend to be respectable any more," I told her, and she smiled. "You have no idea how often I was tempted to walk into the class and say, 'Hey kids - guess what I did last night!'"
Took the Robin photo and story below to the pub last night, ostensibly to show it to him, as he isn't on the net. (Yes - there are such people!) But he was away - in Caithness with Sandra and Johnny at Blogster. So I made sure that all the other guys got to see it. And yes - it worked a treat. Now they're (almost) all queueing up to be Hunk Of The Week. I love men. Really do. Truly.
One guy - let's call him Andy, to save his blushes - was especially keen. "So, Andy - are you gonna be my hunk of the week?" I asked him, expecting no. "Yeah - sure Peter... when do you want to do it?"
"How about now?" I gasped, in a "while the iron is hot" situation. Plus he was looking so fucking mellow. Two days' growth, jeans ripped at the knees, work-stained dark jacket. For once I was glad the hormones were never replaced, or photography would have gone right oot the windae.
"Where do you want me?" he murmured. (And no - I'm not making it up.) "How about down there," I suggested, pointing to an unoccupied seat. There was a yuppie at the next table, probably calculating his life-expectancy. He didn't matter. Cypher central.
Andy sat, but then the table obscured his lower half. "We can't see your body," I explained. "And it's particularly gorgeous today."
Anyway - long story short - I took a dozen or so, but none were any good. After my Canon A10 35mm, the naked photo-standards are high indeed. How I just longed for a 200mm lens and my normal, powerful flash which can fill a small pub without straining a millivolt - plus some gorgeous Kodak film to make the world so pretty. But it was not to be. Pixels R Us, nowadays. And tiny flash. And near-useless metering. And no depth of field. And - oh I could go on all day. But I'll get the hang of it. The trick with limited equipment is to learn the limitations and work to them. People are a bit like that as well.
COME TUMBLING DOWN...
Guy on BBC News this morning was bleating on about leaves on the rail tracks after the weekend storms in Wales and the South. They've got a special train called "Leaf Buster" which hoses them all away. Here's a few he'll be hosing soon.
Robin is fit, fortyish and always up for it. What he lacks in conventional good looks he more than makes up for in the charm department. With a unique combination of silver tongue, brass neck and (reportedly) iron knob, this man is arguably North Edinburgh's most successful romancer. And don't let that traffic sign mislead you.
Domestically, Robin juggles his work as builder and decorator with being a full-time single dad. He is looking for love.
INTO THE FIRE...?
(Just thought I'd recycle this comment from last week...)
In this post, Duncan of the uniformly excellent So... is writing about about gay matters in the acting profession.
"On another level I really hate this kind of attitude where people think that straight actors playing gay is such a triumph. Yeah? What about the gay actors who play straight all the time?"
To which we (somewhat obtusely) replied...
"And yet... and yet... people in any form of public life are not free to live and act as they might themselves wish to, but rather are constrained by what the public (their paymasters) will continue to pay for.
That public, in turn, is heavily influenced by the press, especially the racism and homophobia rampant in the red-tops.
So, in gay showbiz we have the contrast between, say, Boy George and Graham Norton who manage successful careers despite being gay (because to pretend otherwise would be ridiculous), and a long-term Christian pop singer who has always denied the fact. (If indeed it is the case.)
From your own former profession, I vividly recall Sir Ian McKellern once saying that it was far easier to build a career in theatre if you were heterosexual.
Enormous progress has been made, even in my lifetime, but there´s still a way to go."
There are probably many more examples.
Well, Mr Bush might be sitting jerking off with his finger on the red button, Ms Estelle Morris might be reinventing herself as an Avon Perfume, but last week there was of course only one story fit to print. "A bunch of Z-list celebrities having sex with each other," as Ian Hislop (far from) memorably described it. Isn't he becoming an ever-bigger twat by the week, btw?
Here on Naked Blog we specialise in Family Values. All out stories are designed to uplift and inspire. So we have nothing - nada - about Mr L*eslie or Ms J*onsson. In particular, we don't have, from the last 10 hours alone...
pic j*ohn l*eslie wheel of fortune
"j*ohn l*eslie" blog
"J*ohn L*eslie" Wheel
j*ohn l*eslie scumbag
j*ohn l*eslie tv presenter home page naked
Neither, incidentally, do we have these...
prince harry free naked pics
whit naked men
Arabic Actors getting naked
goan fat porn
kiefer sutherland without his shirt on
naked black men
prince harry naked pictures
russia nokia picture message adult
simon rex naked
gay naked men
pictures of naked edwina currie
seaside cottage naked girls
naked bosnian girls pictures
pictures of naked male sailors
I would despair. Throw up my very hands in horror and resign. Except that there was one, and only one search for naked blog, which we do have - in spades. Even though it probably bears no resemblance to what the searcher wanted.
After the horrific, bonk-busting revelations yesterday by Ms Scandinavia Wrinkle concerning a tall, unnamed Scottish TV presenter, Granny of Leith was quick to set the record straight. Speaking exclusively to Naked Blog from her penthouse pad in North Edinburgh, Madame Granny was in reflective mood.
Granny: "I can remember it like yesterday, honey," she said, as she poured herself a generous glass of Haddows finest Chardonnay. "I'd just been on that quiz show - what do you call it - oh yes... Take Your Pick. I go on a lot of quiz shows you know," she explained, "what with my mystic powers an all."
Naked Blog: Did you win?
Granny: Yes - of course. I won a microwave. And it was just as I was leaving that... brute assaulted me.
NB: What happened?
Granny: He grabbed my ass and said, "How would you like some meat in your new oven, darling?" I was mortified, I can tell you.
NB: Then what?
Granny: He took me to dinner that night. McDonalds in Princes Street. Very posh. I chose a Veg-E-Burger and he had a Whopper. But while I was putting ketchup on my chips I noticed him slipping something into my Coke.
Granny: Yes - Rohypnol it said on the bottle. "What's that?" I asked him. "Help you relax, baby" he replied. "OK then," I said. Well - let's face it honey - I've tried just about everything else. And later, in his suite overlooking the Forth, he... raped me. A single tear welled in each eye, then trickled gently down her careworn cheeks.
NB: Date rape?
Granny: You betcha. Like on just about every date in the calendar. After a bit I was even getting to like it. But then he left me for that Blond Bimbo Bitch!
Her eves went misty then, and she started playing with her bag of runes, nervously. "You'll have to go," she said. "I've got that Estelle Morris coming round for a tarot reading. She wants to see what the future holds for her."
NB: Not the ex-Secretary of State for Education?
Granny: The very same. I get them all coming here. Oh - and don't believe for one minute the reasons the clapped out old bag gave for her resignation...
NB: Why not?
Granny: (Leaning forward, conspiratorially.) You need look no further than Cherie. Ever since that John and Edwina thing she's been convinced that her Tone has been getting a little - how can I put it - extra-curricular activity. So poor wee Stella had to go. Offski. Done and dusted. It's the men wot gets the pleasure right enough...
So there I was after the pub, stuffing turkey and salad down the lager-fuelled gullet, when what should come on but the news. BBC, of course - nothing common about moi, intellectually at least.
"The Washington sniper has claimed his tenth victim.... (blah, blah) Police issued the following statement... (blah, blah)"
Whoa - m'dears!! Hang about. For the information of the British Broadcasting Corporation, let me just mention that Washington is a town in N.E. England. Used to be in County Durham. Maybe nowadays in an abomination called Tyne and Wear. To my almost certain knowledge, it has no serial snipers whatever.
So - maybe they're talking about another country. Foreign, I think they call that. And would you believe - the word America wasn't uttered until 10.02 and 54 seconds. Bush for PM next time? I think we should be told.
PS I can re-assure you that in this morning's bulletins they were bending over backwards to stress Washington DC and American Police. Clearly I hadn't been the only complainer.
THE NAME OF THE GAME
Next up was an interview with some firefighters. (Weren't they once called firemen in this country?) Never mind. But guess what one of them was called! No, I know you won't believe me, but it was Chris Roast. You couldn't make it up.
FROCKY HORROR SHOW
Yep - it's that time of the year again. Time to dust off those frocks and basques, and see it the midriff can be squashed into last year's model. Me - I'll just go as a fat biker. No limits to the inches.
There are teams from both The Village and The Port. The Village people are sitting above the Port folk, so it'll be just like that Scumbag College episode of The Young Ones. I'm with The Village on this one. Buffet and Taxi thrown in.
Rhona Cameron's in it. I'm sure she'll be very average.
Once again, apologies on behalf of my hosting company for lack of NB in the last 24 hours. Apparently they're not the only one. They said that BT Internet has an 80 percent packet loss this morning. How careless.
We have not closed down. Are irritated rather than depressed. And if this continues we'll just go elsewhere.
Happy Tuesday, one and all. The weather here in East Central You-Know-Where continues grey, wet and forbidding. Very Scottish. Very Presbyterian. "Aye - we'll all pay for this one day!"
Anyway - I'm getting off the plot already. There I was yesterday, banging on about community disappearing, and the provision of TV as an intimacy substitute. Nothing original there, nor in the next observation that the TV people have been quick and ruthlessly efficient at filling this gap - on an entirely commercial basis - with the fake intimacy of soaps.
Invented in America, along with commercial television itself, these have swept the very nation, hoovering up all except the most resistant. Even me mate Barbara in Canada, and all her pals, sit glued to Corrie and Eastenders for their fix of English reality. They know where the real Brits are to be found... that we don't all live like the Blairs and the Saxe-Coburg-Gothas.
Me, I never watch them. My life is soapy enough. I'd rather live one minute of my own constrained reality, than gawp at an hour of some screenwriter's output. I can write myself, after a fashion - so I'm not that interested in others' attempts, to be honest. (Except for the very talented.)
Here's what was in last night's launderette... from terrestrial stations only. Heaven alone knows how frothy you could get if you paid the Murdoch shilling.
6.00 - 6.30 Home And Away (Channel 5) Flynn fights for Sally's affections, and there's a new chef at the diner.
6.30 - 7.00 Family Affairs (Channel 5) Lucy's determined to visit her mother with Pete, and Sadie's disappointed when she discovers that Geri's been lying about her pregnancy.
7.00 - 7.30 Emmerdale (ITV) Zoe is troubled as she faces the prospect of terminating her unborn child, Pollard and Gloria resort to dirty tricks to aid Eric's parliamentary campaign, and Steph's presence makes Marlon squirm.
7.30 - 8.00 Coronation Street (ITV) Sarah risks everything to win back Ade, Gail is appalled when she discovers the truth behind her holiday in Spain, and Peter (Yay!) gets a little too comfortable at Lucy's.
8.00 - 8.30 EastEnders (BBC) Anthony puts pressure on Tom over his relationship with Sharon, and Trevor's mind games finally take their toll on Little Mo.
8.30 - 9.00 Coronation Street (ITV) Gail is devastated when she finds out what's happened to Sarah.
And that's about it for yesterday. But don't worry - every day is the same! Three hours, or half of your evening, devoted to Flynn, Sally, Lucy et al.
THE TRUE COST OF SOAP
Plus, while you're enjoying these challenging and thought-provoking dramas, you'd be unwittingly exposed to more than fifty - yes fifty - advertisements, the sole and only reason for the whole shebang in the first place. Democracy? Don't make me laugh in my rheum.
No wonder a survey by Whitaker's Almanac found that only 10 percent of respondents could name five government ministers, yet almost half (46%) could name five characters from EastEnders.
The sole purpose of television is to shift product, and the sole aim of Western society is to create a docile, ill-educated, semi-literate population eager to spend what pittance they earn on advertised goods. Big Brother has succeeded beyond Orwell's wildest dreams.
I was a bit surprised to see the Blair Witch Project roundly dissed by both Vodkabird and The Journal of a Writing Man. I watched it on Sunday, for the third time, and still found much to enjoy. The first viewing was very disturbing, and the full impact of the gloriously obscure ending didn't hit me till the middle of that night's sleep. "O MY GOD!! THAT'S WHY HE..."
But once again, innocence is everything in cinema. The best state to view any film in is one of complete ignorance, and I've been blessed with that condition for many great movies.
Nowadays we all know about the making of BWP - the Geopositioning Satellites, the food parcels, the guided improvisation - so the celluloid magic diminishes. But at first, armed only with the highly creepy, faux-genuine website, it was quite frightening enough for my £2.99 rental.
The trees are holding onto their greenness really quite late this year. Except the ones in the Naked Car Park, which are looking a bit autumnal. There are times I'm so glad I don't live in a country with a season called Fall. Much too prosaic.
From time to time today, you might find odd pics popping up and down as I experiment with my new digital camera.
You can see the same thing looking North East, with the wild trees in Naked Park clearly outdoing their more cultivated counterparts in the bottom left.
However, the shot which will for ever be the first is Big Straight Al below, and I can report how very hurt he is at the lack of response to his likeness. Obviously my photographic skills have failed to do justice. Must try harder.
[That's enough trees - Ed. People come here for angst and neurosis - not bleeding Nature Study.]
"I've no doubt that some live by the terrible cliche that is if you have no-one, no-one can hurt you, but I'm disappointed that the article didn't even suggest that one reason for [being single] is simply down to the disillusionment people have with the fairytale dream of true love and marriage, and simply prefer to live on their own, enjoying independence free from societal pressure about the 'natural' way to live."
To which we (somewhat obtusely) replied...
"In order to fall in love with someone, you first have to talk to them. Nowadays people are unable to talk. They text, they weblog, and at the end of the day they mingle in pubs and clubs where the music makes speaking impossible. In the midst of the most enormous instruments of communication we are struck quite dumb."
OK - ten out of ten for the construction (which owes a little to Crisp), but all the above really represents is a couple of plugs for the umpteenth time of some NB hobby-horses... the rapid disappearance since the fifties of conversation, and the commercialisation even of romance. 1984 looms ever closer, if you just substitute any famous brewer for the State. Corporate pulling. Is that what they call it these days? In Scotland it's "bagging off".
There seems to be no area left of human existence which doesn't require payment to our Masters.
(Let me point out that I'm having some wine at the moment. It's pissin wi rain, there's no grub left in the house, and wine dulls the hunger pangs better than coffee. Soon I might even smoke.)
Why so many single people? I suggest it's not that hard to spot.
the cessation of community
leading to the commercialisation of meeting places (physical, virtual and agency)
and the provision of "intimacy substitutes" namely TV, computer games, mobile phones, internet chat and weblogs
all in the cause of Profit.
I've written here previously about the staff lounge where I work - six or so people sitting round a table in total silence staring at an afternoon soap on TV - but now I've detected a new phenomenon. Take a look round any pub you're in - and note how many are texting, even though they're surrounded by company.
Chatting? Where's the profit in that? Get em all texting sharpish. Ecstasy? Fight back and win with alcopops. You know it makes sense.
[End of rant mode. And that was just one glass - honest :)]
Big Straight Al playing with Scott's new mobile computer.
We called up Naked Blog on the mobile, but the tagboard java made it a bit slow. Interesting thing, though. As is BSA.
A little tale from August this year...
Well, who should approach us at the Village bar but Big Straight Al, the plumber. More than six feet of prime lean meat, heavily-inked arms, and dyed-blonde hair to die for. Whole ensemble set off by his dirty work-clothes.
"My God, you're looking gorgeous tonight!" I gasped, with no attempt to hide my adoration. "Wanna go to the pictures tomorrow?" he replied, ignoring the compliment as the right it surely is. "I've got two tickets for The Guru."
Mop my brow with a sweaty rag.
"Yes, of course I'd fucking love to go," I said to him. "But you do realise it'll be written about on the website, and so will you." Alcoholic confidence. He grinned then, quixotically. Everybody loves to be in things. Even this. He's driving me to the cinema in his plumber's van. If I had hormones left to flood...
Special big-ups to Sarah, who - on landing a job right next to the (Scottish) metropolis - will doubtless soon be re-instated on the correct side of the bar. Nice goin, hen - but ah aye kennt ye had it in yer.
I don't think I mentioned how much fun it was to meet her. I need more young people in my life. Invigorating. You just know they can chat for a couple of hours without needing a nap.
Thanks also to Stuart and Ally for their company during Sarah's visit. Stuart was on fine form, outrageous as ever, with me taking the role of reluctant headmistress. "I'm going to the lavvy now. Do you think you can behave yourself for ninety seconds?"
The word is, he hasn't sobered up all week! See what effect you have, Sarah... Plus Barbara is going on holiday for a week, so Stuart has to do relief chef-ing. Ah well. Makes a change from all that hand relief.
Drinking, posing, chatting and smoking. No-one noticed this last thing. The clue is in the cig packets and lighters. The day was the 15 Oct. This time, as Darren observed, the clue was in the yellow lettering. (Even though I half-hid it with a Boddingtons's tap.)
So far as I can ascertain, no-one dyes their hair. (This was just a feeble attempt to correct a common misconception re my own barnet.)
Black and White man is David Essex, and notice how much worse than me he's wearing. My own secret is sex, drugs and rock and roll... if anyone's remotely interested.
My friend Stuart attracted much interest in this quiz. Known commonly as Granny, and variously as Mystic Smeg, the reason he's looking a bit "down in the dumps" is that the photographer had just shouted at him for being radge. It's not his most flattering shot, so - in fairness - I've appended him in happier times. Wrong answers here were Rex, Robin (don't call me gay, I'm bisexual), Tony my IT manager, Scott, a hamster, and Dame Edna's Madge.
Another common mistake was the venue. It's not the Port, which is much darker. As mentioned above, it's in fact the Village, even though that view isn't particularly IKEA. (Thanks to Darren for that observation.) The photographer was Ally, owner of the joint.
Note how bravely young Sarah is coping with this excess of middle-aged faggotry. I'm not sure she's ever spent an afternoon quite like that one. Or will want to again.
Here's Stuart in a particularly carefree mood. Now, who could the others be?
And here's a little fantasy tale I penned quite some years ago - in 1998. It continues this week's Geordie theme.
Gazza Shags Granny Shock. (Caution: this story contains graphic descriptions of what some people call indecency. Me, I think it's great - with the right person, of course.)
We're now the proud owner of a Fuji A101 digital camera (thks for all your advice, Darren and Alan), so you can expect this rag to ever more resemble OK! and Hello! for a while. Until I get sick of it.
But first I have to learn how to work the thing. The camera part is quite easy, but I haven't transferred any pics to the computer yet. I'm hoping I can just stick the wire in and use the photo software that came with my scanner. Boy, it doesn't half eat up the batteries!
HOT NEWS FROM UNDER THE KILT...
Remember that true story about the Edinburgh man shagging a traffic cone? You should do - it made MetaFilter, Salon, Encyclopaedia Brittanica, and so on.
(Pity I hadn't my digital camera handy - might have copped a world scoop.) Anyway, Mr Watt appeared in Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday, but his sentence was deferred for four weeks.
Who is the black and white person in the background?
(There are various clues scattered around.)
FREE WIN-A-STYLISH-SHIRT COMPETITION
No - it's not from me, of course! I can hardly afford to dress myself, let alone give clothes as prizes. If you haven't already seen it, then mike is running a generous competition to give away one of his ultra-stylish M & S DKNY shirts. (Unkind critics have suggested... [Oh do shut up! No wonder you have no friends. Ed])
Voting is easy. I'm sure at this late stage u can just put it in the comment box.
POP STUFF TO END ALL POP STUFF
Chig continues his quite brilliant series on pop of the last fifty years. Or summat. Unbelievable value.
The above should have various entities attached, but I don't know what they are. It's deja vu as once again (hint) I'm due to meet Sarah. We've just phoned. She sounds deliciously Geordie, which probably means I won't understand a thing.
Oh - I know you English think the Scots are unintelligible, but believe me it cuts both ways, honeys. Even though I have a foot in both camps, as it were. We're meeting in the Port. For coffee. Aye, right!
Yesterday evening was fun there. "I really enjoy your company, Peter," handsome young Roddy the tree surgeon said. (I was buying him a pint at the time.)
"Really?" I gasped. "I'm usually nervous of young men."
"Oh - we're not all monsters," he grinned, flashing gnashers to die for... [That's enough. You've got to live here you know. Ed.]
MORE FROM THE DARK SIDE
Well, what did you think of yesterday's blog revelation? Bit shocking, eh? It seems that we're onto the Third Wave of blogging now. The 2001 starters seem to specialise in Guardian-ish stuff like this. This concert, that posh meal, the other holiday. Educated, middle-class, publishable, SAFE.
But this year is throwing up some strong meat indeed. Today's pick is The Trash Whore Diaries, highly explicit sexual thoughts and practices of a kitchen salesman in Aberdeen. You might like it. Or there again...
Totally fabulous to watch Clockwork Orange again last night, and then - in reverse order, thanks to the modern age - the day before's Channel Four trailer. (One major moan here - the film is called Clockwork Orange, with no "A" in front of it. Both the makers of the hour-long prequel and even the sponsor of last night's screening seem unaware of this.) A wee bit insulting, that.
Yesterday was my sixth viewing. Much more of this and I'll be becoming word-perfect, like the guy who can recite every word of every Star Wars film!
The sequence goes:
Three times in one week on its release in 1972.
Once, in the nineties, on a scrappy pirate video.
Cinema again in March, 2000 (which was a disappointment), on its re-release after almost thirty years, and then
Last night's viewing which, paradoxically, lit the magic once again.
"The film has been banned in Britain for 26 years, which means that no-one under the age of 44 has been legally able to watch it here. But now it's re-released, and a group of us are going on Tuesday to see it. All under 44, except for me... "
Why, amongst those, was the 2000 viewing disappointing? Because the fright had mostly gone. In 1972 Clockwork Orange was terrifying. On that, you'll just have to take my word. It electrified the land. I went again and then again just to have my guts churn with acid and my tremors shake the seat. Some people walk cliff edges. Some ride roller-coasters. Then, I sat alone in the dark.
But something else had gone too, in the intervening decades. Something Mark Kermode referred to this weekend when he mentioned just a sample of the things the film had inspired. From style boutiques to recreational drugs. From Bowie to Heaven Seventeen - the list goes on and on. What once was shatteringly futuristic has now become the norm, such is the power of this film and its design.
"Over and over again as we sat in the cinema, and I could see one point after another failing to register, I just wanted to scream... "We'd never seen that before - it was so shocking for us then!"
So, last night - not even expecting to be scared any more - I was able to re-enjoy it on a new, middle-aged level.
Most people, including until last week me, think John O' Groats is the most northern point of the British Mainland. But that honour belongs to Dunnet Head. (Post below.)
No, JOG is not the most northern, nor southern, nor highest, nor lowest. Like Laurel and Hardy, Morecambe and Wise, it is nothing without its partner, Land's End, in Cornwall. They are the two most separated towns, you see. Furthest apart. You can't have one without the other.
So Sandra, Johnny and I poured out of the car at the Visitor Centre. There's a museum, with the placard, "The Last House". In there we learned the history of the place. It runs like this...
Jan de Groot was a Dutchman (pay attention, Martijn), who came here in the fifteenth century, and very enterprisingly started a ferry service to Orkney. The fare was 4d. (For my younger readers, let me point out that "d" used to mean "pence".)
Well - the ferry was popular... guy probably had a monopoly... so the sum of 4d became known as a "Groat", after his name. When he retired, he built a big house for his family, in the place now called John O' Groats.
Isn't history is easy when it's as understandable as this!? In fact, if you could get rid of that Royal Family, which seems to have been dysfunctional for ever, the whole damn lot might be much more pleasant.
A CLOCKWORK BLOG
However much it will be discussed, Clockwork Orange is now old hat. Things have "moved on", as they say - in both film and literature. Where once we had Psycho, there now is American Psycho.
Yesterday, to my considerable startlement, I discovered a stunningly different and original weblog, which has "moved on" so far it's almost over the edge. The writer is unknown - he gives no details. Neither is there one single link, since its inception in June. (Oh yes - I've read every single word. "Glued" I think is the term. Haven't been so glued since josh, who's gone quiet now, for his own good reasons.)
There's a hit counter averaging 12 a day. With one sentence I can change that for ever. Yet this is violently dangerous stuff, and you proceed at your own risk. I really shouldn't, but something dark and selfish and egotistical inside me demands it.
Oh fuck. But this is almost certainly the best writing currently available on the web. And maybe he's making it up.
Not much Naked Blog last week, because of mini-holiday and then hosting problems. (Denial of service attack. How modern. Today seems so full of violence.) Many of you have commented kindly on the photos in the post below, but I can only take part of the credit. Although they're all from Google images, they are the pictures I would have taken if there'd been a camera available. The old boy beside the wall isn't me.
"So - how do you come to have a nice friend like that?" Old George said to Johnny and Sandra, nodding in my direction. (He obviously doesn't know me very well.)
"We've got lots of nice friends," Sandra retorted. "Just I'm the nicest," I chipped in, agreeing with her. It was Tuesday evening. We were getting tanked up in the Harbour Hotel.
[To preserve S and J's privacy in these tales, I'm going to call their new home town Blogster. Ster is a very common suffix in Caithness - it's Norwegian for small town, hamlet, Old George had explained. Think Scrabster, but there are gazillions more.]
We'd lunched earlier, in Thurso, on cheese and tomato paninis. Then drove to Dunnet Head, the most northerly point of the mainland. There was a car park, lighthouse, and a group of three houses. A rocky path led down to a small stone wall, where a notice said, "Overhanging cliffs. It is very dangerous to go beyond this point."
"Fancy it?" Johnny said. I peeped over the wall, and saw a definite path.
The hotel bar was getting quite rowdy. "That group round there's a bunch of English bastards up shooting," George said, pointing dismissively to the back of the lounge.
"Peter's English," Johnny quickly said, trying to deflect further racial comment.
That's no problem," George said. "Up here we don't mind the English. Or Catholics. Or even them with their heads wrapped up - what do you call them?" I immediately thought of Christopher Lee in The Wicker Man, and shivered more than a little.
George fished a battered cheque from his pocket and showed it to Sandra and me. "That's just for two weeks' work," he said, proudly. He's a dry-stane dyker. Thirteen hundred pounds it said on the cheque. "Hard graft," George declared.
[Dry-stane dyke is a dry (unplastered) stone wall. They're quite common in farming and rural areas.]
Johnny, Sandra and I considered the overhanging cliffs, our red plastic waterproofs flapping angrily round our heads. "I'd love to go a bit further," I said to J. "But it's really, really windy." And it was.
Johnny was having fun stretching his arms out and leaning into the near-gale. Five degrees... ten... even further he leant. "Pete's right," Sandra agreed. "Next time."
So I stayed safely behind the wall, with the most northerly point of the mainland just three yards in front of me.
I'm quite an experienced walker, and have trod the edge of many a precipice, trying in vain to master my terror. But not with new boots I hadn't yet tested. And not with an overhang.
More later.... And sorry if you've been having problems getting on to NB recently. The minute I turn my back...
It's not been an easy week at the bingo. The mouse problem is costing us customers. Plus someone's reported us to the Environmental Health. Plus someone's threatening to phone the Evening News.
And when I turned up for the shift at 1pm on Friday, after my little holiday, what should I walk into but a total evacuation of the building. "Is it mice?" I asked, disoriented. "No, a fire alarm," I was told. "It's a drill, right?" I said. "No, not a drill."
The ladies stood there clucking. (Fortunately the weather was kind.) Three fire engines turned up, and a load of firemen poured out. And a firewoman. One.
"Ooh - I know her!" said MargeTheLesbian. [Legal considerations prevent me from reporting what was said next.] But Lady Fireman (who was gorgeous), and Marge were soon deep in chat. Awesome. I can't imagine the banter that goes on at the Fire Station. Me, I was in homo heaven, eyes moving lasciviously over the menu, while desperately thinking of ways I could convincingly burst into flames.
But the excitement, in its various forms, was short-lived. False alarm. Cigarette smoke and a smoke detector. Soon the ladies were back in their lucky seats, and all were given a free cup of tea - the company's catch-all panacea.
Compensation of a more solid form was in question on Saturday night, when I missed a claim. That means - didn't hear the player's shout. (This is every Caller's dread.) And it was made worse when I saw who the quiet shouter was... a lovely lady I'd privately made one of my favourites.
"Really sorry about that, love" I said. "We'll check the tape." Normally, at that point, you're hoping the shout is too quiet to have registered. The machine's a battered old thing, and the same tapes are recorded over and over again, so - to be honest - if the ears haven't caught it, the tape usually doesn't either. But this time I wanted her to get the money. It was only a tenner - a part prize on the way to something bigger - but I knew that it would make the difference between her enjoying the evening and disappointment.
Many, many of the women I'm very fond of. But the ones who remind me of my late mother have a special place. I can't even tell you this woman's name, as she hasn't been coming here that long. Seventies, small and walking with two sticks, she always manages a smile as she makes her halting way along. Some make-up too, nice to see, and with her husband walking protectively behind her. It's their Saturday night out. Could be the highlight of their week. I have no business ruining it like that.
C, the Duty Manager yesterday, is less than half my age. Handsome, witty, intelligent and straight as a die. He surfs the net. He might even read this.
At the interval I got right onto the phone to him. "There was no missed claim," he said. "Nothing on the tape at all. You're in the clear." Bad news. I didn't want to be in the clear. I wanted to be deaf as a post, so my substitute mother could get her money. I knew I had to play him like a violin.
"Oh - that's a shame," I said. "She'll be so disappointed. I could see her close to tears during the rest of the book." I couldn't - in fact. That was a lie. But I did sense her tangible sadness. "You know, C," I pressed on. "You have the power to make that woman's evening for her. Just say you did hear a little claim. Just a tiny little voice. Customer relations."
"Is that what you want?" he asked. "Yes, C, it is." "OK, then," he agreed. "But it seems like it's you giving me instructions."
Ten minutes later he appeared back on the floor. "I'm not giving an ex-gratia payment," he said. "Because it wasn't a missed claim. But here's ten pounds of vouchers for her to spend here any time. You might want to give them to her yourself."
She was delighted.
Later again, as he and I stood waiting for the start of the £100k National Game, I just gently said, "C, you showed there the wisdom of Solomon."
I don't think you get things like that working in new media.
Another young man at work is Andy. He was waxing lyrical about Brian (not their real names). "See Brian - he's from the upper echelons," Andy enthused. "That's why he's so good at general knowledge. I bet he reads The Guardian when he goes home."
"I read The Guardian," I quickly asserted. "Nothing wrong with that." Andy laughed. "Too many big words for me!" he declared.
Time for a quick plug, I thought. "Not at all, Andy," I disagreed. "This morning you could have read Julie Burchill going on about wives doing lesbian acts to keep their husbands' interest. But she said that if you have to work to keep his interest then you've already lost him."
That got all their attentions. "And then, if you wanted," I pressed on, "you could have read Jon Ronson writing a marvellous story about the US Anthrax hoaxers. Great stuff."
"But if you'd read The Star, like I did," Billy countered, "you could have read [so-an-so] going on about racism in football. How Arsenal have nine black players, and only two white, and nobody gives a fuck."
"Really?" I said. "That is interesting. In the early days of black footballers they used to throw bananas onto the pitch."
"I know," he agreed. "And one team's even got a Chinese player. They're leaving him alone for now, so long as he can still come up with good football." The conversation scattered a bit then, as we discussed what they would throw onto the pitch at a Chinese footballer.
Later, at the start of the evening shift, I gave him the Guardian Weekend magazine with the Burchill and Ronson stories. "Try that," I said. "It's easiest to start with the magazines." Fortunately The Star seemed to have disappeared from the pitch, as otherwise I would have been honour-bound to read it. Quid pro quo.
Steel Magnolias. Adored it the first time. Watched it yesterday, and this morning, for the second. Flawed masterpiece, or Golden Girls Special? Average cinema rescued by the brilliance of the script and the playing? Or something more? Can't help wondering what Almodovar would have made of it. Obligatory trannies?
My Google searches are often so awful that I can't even face the referrer logs. Google is but an algorithm. What's definitely not an algorithm is the increasingly filthy spam I'm getting, culminating this morning in a shocking and illegal display of photos right there on my Outlook Express. The subject header, twelve words in block capitals, would lead directly to jail. Without passing Go. It was clearly deliberately designed to stick out a mile and more on any ISP's logs.
Can't it be made an offence to send such material? And don't tell me innocence is any defence. Don't think for one moment, as the p*orn s*quad kick in my door and seize the computer, that NB's various quite cultured listings will make one whit of difference. Mud sticks. Always.
Help. If this goes on we'll have to close all the existing accounts, and start up again with a new domain name. For the first time in my life I feel like an innocent victim. Persecuted by p*orn.
UK Child Protection Record Under Fire (UN report expected today.)
(Note how the BBC is subtly immunising us to the term "under fire", btw. For future use, no doubt.)
Well - it appears we keep our young people in poverty, beat them, criminalise them in the pram, and provide an education which wouldn't disgrace a developing country.
Not forgetting: force-feeding them burgers and recreationals, chaining them down in front of PS2 and the telly, so they'll want everything they see, and despairing when they decide that crime alone will fulfill their aspirations.
Unless they can play football, or are pretty enough to catch a record producer's penis eye. And let's not forget dealing.
New Labour. Things can only get better. Or maybe worse.
That's got the socially-responsible bit out of the way. It's such a strain, having so many depend on me to tell them what to think. But darlings - I can cope.
I'd love to give you all the goss about my meeting with Sarah yesterday. But the wee thing never turned up! Maybe I'd got the time, place or day wrong. Nae probs! I wasn't exactly standing in the rain, wearing a blue carnation and holding a copy of The Times.
It was a pity, as I'd got various suspects lined up: Gordon the famous Sci Fi author (who met Rutger Hauer last week! Talk about name-droppping!!) Babs the chef and TV critic. Gwen the radio production student, not to say gf of Scotland's sexiest man, and so on.
Booked my ticket to Thurso yesterday. Seven hours on the train.
Scotland is so big, up and down the way.
Close to Thurso is John o' Groats, where I want to stand atop a cliff and look northwards to the Pole. I should do that. Then, if the night clouds clear, I'll wonder at the stars, hanging near close enough to touch, and so bright they don't merely twinkle but throb. I should do that also. And then, if conditions (and luck) are right, I might be blessed with my first ever sight of the aurora. I should do that before I die.
You read it here first department...
"Popstars, Pop Idol and Pop Rivals have all had their deleterious impact on the aspirations of our pop kids and on radio station playlists. And in the rudeness of bankrupt style fascists like Geri Halliwell, Simon Cowell and Pete Waterman, they have shown a way of behaving in public that should be condemned rather than rewarded with more air time."
(Just a sample of the above-linked Guardian piece.)
Someone with a large heart and even larger home to accommodate a handful of quite mental tagboarders for a day or night or summat. We will of course refund your out of pocket expenses. Thanks to all who have already offered. A short-list will be randomly plucked out of a waste-bin.
While I was waiting in the advance booking lounge (hah!) to order my train ticket, I got chatting to a bingo customer. (They get everywhere!) He told me that the mice have got so confident at work that they've abandoned the floor and are sitting on the seats these days. He said that on Wednesday one appeared on a chair right beside an old dear. She jumped up and screamed, but it was a linked game so they couldn't stop! Worra laugh.
Back to the Bingo today. Well, it's better than Back to Basics. Isn't it, John?
Why aye, man! In just a couple of hours I'll be meeting Sarah for a pint and maybe a lunch. Should be fun.
I know many, many of you meet fellow-bloggers like it was nothing - but for me, it's never been easy. Steeped in internet-speak for at least six years, I sometimes write "younger" than my given years (downright juvenile at times), and am always a bit concerned that the stark, Michael Parkinson-ish reality might startle youse full-on kewl dudes.
The first "meet Naked Blog" incident was with Radgeruthibabes in the Port o Leith Bar. But with no prior warning, there was no chance to get worked up. This is how it happened...
"Last year a local Naked Blog reader became quite a fan, and we chatted in comment boxes, emails and so on. Let's call her R. One early evening, unexpectedly, a mutual IRL friend brought R into the pub and introduced us to each other. She paused, at a couple of feet distance, transfixed and gaping. What could I do? Immediately I thought of Mick Jagger, and how I'd read that on meeting him, people would approach and then stop - so strong was his "star aura".
That is the kind interpretation. The less-flattering is that R couldn't believe such a sad old git was the mind behind all those articles. Her bubble was pricked. Her balloon burst. My (lack of) mystery revealed in all its tawdriness.
But either way, the intiative had to be mine. "Darling!" I cried, and gave her a star-like hug. (Or how I imagined a star would hug.) It were fab. We chatted a few more occasions, but she left the city. And that was that.
I guess some people are better in writing than in reality. Maybe that's why we do it."
Next was with Geek and HoBiscuit, again in the Port o Leith. That time I had many, many weeks to worry about it, and needed a whole day of solitary calming and self-controlling before meeting.
AN AUDIENCE WITH...
"Well, NB-fans. Just woke after a delightful evening yesterday with Geek and HoBiscuit. And how charming and lovely they both were. And young. But bloggiquette demands we draw a curtain over things. Or does it?
For I sense - know really - that you're all dying to learn more, as I had built this up into quite a thing. Would I even turn up, or - relapsing into unseasonal depression - simply go to bed instead? What is it really like - meeting someone you've read at such length? And vice versa. All those revelations... are they now to be regretted and withdrawn? When cyberspace elides into meatspace how do the all-too-human participants cope? We've come a long way from the engraved card on the silver tray, you know. "A Mr Geek to see you, madam. Shall I show him in?"
Next day, my friend Mystic Stuart gave a startlingly original, and I'm sure quite misjudged opinion of the occasion.
"You'll never build up a fan-club unless you give them clairt!" Stuart declared. We were sitting in the Northern Bar, at Canonmills, desperately trying to enjoy a cooling pint sans some ridiculous football game or other.
And now to young Sarah. Practice makes perfect. I hope.
Last day of my eleven day break. Went nowhere. Did next to nothing. Except get my house in some semblance of order. Can't be bad.
There's little point in writing an "end of holiday" piece, as I already did it quite spectacularly (as I say with no false modesty) a few years ago. You might enjoy it. I might even have referred to it before. Auld age, the kna's.
PS For my archivists: The above Internet Relay Splat contains the first recorded use of "I shouldn't be here, writing to you like this." Talk about Stylistic Tic.
No folks! Not a personal ad. (Internet inches start at about 8 anyway.) Just my upgrade from MSIE 5.0 to 5.5. Seems exactly the same, except for coloured scrollbars. Hope I haven't stupidly ignored the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," imperative.
Anyway, as you've probably noticed, the Glad Café tagboard seems to be Scary Ducked. "Closed due to family illness." That one always makes me sad.
[Editor's Note: It does nothing of the sort. You'll be thinking I've gone doo-lally at last. But no! There quite definitely was a different site on www.spellcnut.blogspot.com. I checked it twice, to make sure. But now it's vanished without trace. Not in my history - not searchable - nada. Clearly a Bermuda Triangle situation.]
Much fun and games at World of Chig these days, as the great number 1 countdown gets into swing. Quizzes, Trivia, Daft Answers - it's all there. Who is Bulimia Ramsden?
The more I read Rex's Dysfunktaboy, the funnier it gets. Much more of it, and I'll be too blogged out to buggery to go on. Cheeky monkey!!?!
Martijn is still needing lots of pics and stories for his project - get them on that Eurostar today.
Overnight, while the tagboard was still working, someone attracted to Cherry the black part-Labrador dropped a poop message. Upshot is Dog News which my sensors initially thought might be just too shocking for words. But no! It's a collection of respectable and amusing items appealing to your inner (or outer, if you've got one) Dog. There's also a list of Dog Blogs.
I've done too much IRC over the years, I can tell.
Why do the young seem so wedded to small bottles of water? They carry them everywhere. Is it a sudden, youthful propensity to dehydration? It can't - for once - be the telly, as I could swear I've not seen such ads.
How I feel like grabbing them and saying, "Ditch the drink, dork, and free up a hand!" Must cost a packet too, when you add em all up.
Me, I've never, ever bought water in my life, except on holiday. Stupid really, when it comes out of the tap so easily. Maybe that's what the kids do. Just buy one bottle and top it up.
Shhh! I shouldn't be sitting here, writing to you like this. In just no minutes at all the man from Telewest will be here to fix my cable modem connection. It actually broke about three months ago, but I couldn't have a repairman for reasons of (domestic) filth.
But the mess is cleaned now - at least so far as he'll get to see - so it's fasten your seat belts for some major hi-speed surfing soon!
Search Me Guv!
And talking of Major, yes - of course it's happened. Just 48 hours after the Romance of The Century broke, (and do click that link, btw - it's new stuff), we're number 4 in the discovered universe for "Edwina Currie Naked". All the news that's fit to print, that's us.
Bit of a JobCentre on the telly last night, as we segued from Coupling, which seems to be set in an office, to The Office, which definitely is, to That Peter Kay Thing, which did a very perceptive take on the Bingo business, my own profession.
And also, like everyone else, we gratefully acknowledge the return of The League of Gentlemen, a show I seemed to miss the first time round. Barbara at The Village is bringing me up to speed, much as she did with South Park.
In return yesterday, I gave her a mini-preview of what to expect from The Office. "You see, Barb - the humour in League of Gents is because it's grotesque. The Office is funny because it's so very close to real-life, and you'll already have come across every one of the characters."
(Sorry no prog links atm. It seems my new Cable Modem has broken the Channel Four website.)
Yes - it's true. We've fallen (abstractly) for the Cable Modem Guy. First man in my house for literally three years, and whadya know?
A subtle blend of Cruise and Mortensen but with a butch North Edinburgh accent, the only thing missing was a Scotland tattoo on his arm. Oh silly me! There it is.
"Would you like some coffee? I haven't got any milk," I asked him. "No - you're all right, pal," he replied.
I'm amazed how calm I was, throughout. No meditation. Not even one cigarette. (My sensors detected he was a non-smoker.) And now we're the proud renter of an up-to-date Motorola SURFboard. With all the correct lights lit.
PS to Darren: Telewest men come when they're supposed to. But I wish my light was lit too. Hehe.
What on earth has happened to Scaryduck, the winner of the Guardian Weblog Comp? No updates since Thursday. Come on dude, whether it's Hollywood or News of The World, your readers need to know what's going on. Don't think that thousand quid came without major obligations!
My good friend Rex does an entertaining take on weblogging with his page Dysfunktaboy. You might like it. (And don't worry about any of the subtle references. They're all aimed at NB, as we're the only one he reads! Taste.)
Old age in men presents in myriad ways... thinning hair, reading glasses, drooping willy, waistline impossible to control... but yesterday came a Naked first. "How's that, Sir?" said Debbie, a new barber I was auditioning, as she flashed the finished mirror around. "Fine, Debbie," I replied. "Very nice. I'll be back."
"Now, would you like me to trim your eyebrows?" she asked. "I do eyebrows and ears, but not noses, you understand."
"Yes, I do quite understand," I affirmed. "But I think the brows and ears are OK for now, thank you."