Sorry about the title, but someone had to say it. Copenhagen is a Michael Frayn play, broadcast on BBC2 last night, about the extended relationship between Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg.
Masters of Mass Destruction
The work of theoretical physicists Bohr and Heisenberg was in part responsible for the atomic bomb. However, their lives, their work and their relationship were coloured and determined by not one but both world wars. Like my own grandparents, they were the "two war" generation.
Much of "Copenhagen" is set in the Bohr home in Denmark in 1941, when the German Heisenberg visits and enquires whether the other has any contact with the physicists in Britain and America. The visit highlights the dichotomy between the scientific bond the two men share, and the nevertheless unforgettable fact that Denmark is under the occupation of Nazi Germany.
Heisenberg himself was under suspicion in his own country, as he insisted on teaching relativity, a subject at first proscribed because of Einstein's Jewishness. They even called Heisenberg the "white Jew" for that. Almost all of the German physicists were Jewish and by 1941 had fled the country, leaving Germany ever further behind in the search for and the rumours of the fission bomb.
A masterful play, and brilliant television - so evocative of my youth. How come? Well, partly because of the 1941 setting, but also in that far-off time the BBC was my second teacher. The Reithian BBC of the fifties showed programmes of real worth every week it seemed - concerts, plays, documentaries. All of them in glorious black and white, yet so compelling for the culture-starved child. Such a far cry from today's Pop Idol and EastEnders.
Also I think it's natural for people to wonder about the world at the time of their birth. The period before my own in 1946 is hugely documented, of course - but mostly in terms of landings and battles, occupations and liberations. That's why what little science they allow us to see is so fascinating... the decoding of Enigma and the development of the fission bomb.
Had things been different, and had I not been saddled with such a burden of personal difficulties and problems then I think theoretical physics and/or cosmology would have been where I too would spend my life.
Copenhagen, by Michael Frayn. I can't recommend it highly enough. BBC mini-site.
The Sunday Times newspaper today includes a CD Rom about "the month". If you buy it you will be assisting Murdoch and News International in their quest to dominate and control the world's media - and thus ultimately the world.
Yes - it's true. The social event of the year takes place tonight at The Village. It's a joint (ahem) birthday party of Babs the chef and Sam (not really sure what he does).
Question for youse all: What do you get a forty-three year old single mum and a forty-year-old queen? (And please don't say condolence cards.)
I hate parties, me. Try never to go to them. It's not that hard, as after enough rejections people just stop asking you.
Why do I hate them? Because they always feature blaring music making conversation impossible. And as I've reached that glorious time of life where my words are my only fascination, then without the words I'm about as fabulous as a choking goldfish.
Other reasons include complete lack of small talk skills. Inability to glide seamlessly from one person to the next. A tendency to seize on the other biggest loser in the place and cling on. The knowledge that everything interesting I've done in the last three years is on this site already. Too much to drink. Sometimes even a bit smelly. (The terror. I do shower.) Little, if any, interest in other people anyway. (They can always tell I'm pretending.)
And that's the real reason why I'm so happy to work weekends in my little bingo. The perfect, and honest excuse. But this weekend I've taken off. For the party.
Now - get thinking about those birthday presents.
Not going! Never do!! Well, at least no-one can say I didn't try. Took the weekend off work. Worried about it all day. Showered. Ironed a shirt. Ironed some trousers/pants. But then the truth sank in. The awful reality of what I would have to face all evening...
"Look at the state of her..."
"God, she's ageing fast these days..."
"Would you take a look at those clothes..."
"She's looking pissed already at this time of the evening..."
"Nae wonder she cannae get a man..."
"She couldnae get it even if she paid for it..."
"Fucking shoot me afore I end up like that..."
Queens are the sweetest people, don't you think?
Now - I've got pizza in the fridge and the telly is bearable. Sorry, Babs.
Today I feel I should fling my arms up in the air, Quickos-style, and tell the world I'm getting a RSS.
Not sure what it is, mind you, or where I'm going to put it, or even what it does. But everyone seems to have one, and let's face it, in this fast-moving world people can quickly slip behind.
So - you can now look forward to lots of... (I really haven't the faintest idea!)
We're at number 24 on google.co.uk for Tanya Beckett, as confidently predicted yesterday. Unfortunately it's showing as the long, technical URL, rather than the nippy nakedblog one. Machts nicht - I got over my google affair two years ago. But I know some of you out there are new to the game and still find it fascinating. Which it is.
Tony my IT manager was in the Port yesterday. It was the first time we'd spoken for several weeks after a dispute over a copyright statement. But the community is too small for schism. Tiffs are just fine, keep the adrenalin flowing, but splits are not really on the menu.
He really is a keen blog-fan, telling me loads about various ones I've tended to lose touch with. We discussed you all as if you were actual people, darlings... speculating on your very personalities. T'were fun.
Then Anil the accountant came in. We'd had something of a schism for a year or so, after a dispute over some Inland Revenue work. But last night I was in magnanimous mood. "Hi Anil!" I declared. "I notice you've stopped smoking!"
"Yes, you're right," he replied, in finest uptown Delhi. "Eleven months now." "Oh, I'm only fifty-five days," I told him. "But still that's very excellent," he said, taking my hand and acting all supportive. Tony of course is at the six-year level. It was yet another tobacco-rejection society. I love ex-smokers. Love not giving the government all that money. Love being able to breathe properly.
And no, bizarrely, I wouldn't love a cigarette. Had loads. Tick, done it, got the shadows I'm sure.
During the night I had this dream, this vision, that where we lead, others often follow. That stopping smoking would become so fashionable that everyone would do it and the tobacco multi-nationals would be fucked. Then they'd assassinate Allen Carr. Or make it look like suicide.
I've got one! I think. Maybe. (Doesn't look the slightest bit different if you ask me.)
It's just some tags I put in the head of the template. BlogSiteFeed. But it seems to have disappeared. Any experts out there? Why are (probably) simple things always made so difficult?
www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=the port o%27 leith bar is %2C if not a well kept secret%2C definitely off the beaten track. situated in the eponymous port area of edinburgh&btnG=Googl
Strangely we came first. And second.
It was all very apposite after today's comment box lecture on Naked Blog and Google - the shocking truth! And that in turn was sparked by our tale of Tanya Beckett, which led you to mention Sophie Raworth and Natasha Kaplinsky.
"Here lies the rub... by checking my referral stats I get a weird twilight-zone picture of what people are interested in.
And what they're most interested in is Natasha Kaplinsky. Before that it was Sophie Raworth, but when she moved to six o clock she immediately slid into Google obscurity. So it seems it's not enough to be a newsreader, you have to be a newsreader whom men watch in bed - for possibly obvious reasons.
I'll report back on the "Beckett-effect" now that I've learned to spell it correctly. Yesterday was her first appearance here, and normally referrals start after 24 hours.
How these women do their jobs, knowing that all over the country men (and youths) are wanking over them, defies belief.
Oh - and my money's on Natasha. (Had things been different, of course.) She looks like she might actually enjoy it.
So there you have it. Or not. It's clearly time for a poll. Thanks to all who contributed.
There's one done already, which saves all that tiresome waiting about. You can see very clearly the Natasha Kaplinsky effect I mentioned above.
I shouldn't be sitting here, writing to you like this. Today I've planned a trip to the Council Tax office at Gorgie Road. They seem to want to separate me from my money. They seem to want it so badly they've slapped a Summary Warrant on me.
(Oh - don't get worried, my chickadees - we're not destitute yet. They warrant almost everyone at this time of year. Because they can.)
So - I'll trot along and hopefully get someone as helpful as the Income Tax lady earlier this year. Sorted.
The flat just below me is for sale at a pleasingly high asking price. "Close to the trendy Shore area," it says in the blurb. I'm praying someone respectable will buy it, as the last fifteen years have seen one set of noisy nutters after another. Rented you know. To the DHSS. But please not for much longer.
Bet you a fiver to a brick shithouse it'll be someone in noo meeja wot buys it.
Sobig.F is back with a vengeance this morning, after a quiet couple of days. My own peak was on Sunday, with 474 virus emails in eight hours. That was when they started talking about possible gridlock.
My middle-of-the-night affair with Tanya Beckett continues on BBC1. (Last time I got her name wrong and called her Tania Brier, then wondered why the Google didn't come flooding in.)
What on earth that scarlet-gashed mouth would do for any normal red-blooded man at 4am beggars belief.
Ed: I hate it when you talk like that. Makes me want to check your lampshades.
Me: Shut it buster. Doesn't every vegetarian fancy a bacon sandwich?
Last night it was German lorries and lorry-drivers. Or, rather, trucks and truckers as Ms Beckett insisted on calling them. Tanya, darling - we're not the fifty-first state yet. And it's BBC not ABC who pays yer wages, hinny.
Then she started on the shortage of gasoline. (She meant petrol.) If she'd said one word about potato chips I would have thrown a brick at the telly, I swear it.
Why does BBC News 24 always act like it's set in the USA? Just last week they were banging on again about the Washington sniper, completely overlooking the fact that Washington, in NE England, hasn't got a sniper.
Oh, call me an old fusspot if you will. But somebody's got to care about these things. You see, their script-writers are probably aged around twenty, having no real notion of Britain as opposed to the land of Nike and Macdonalds and rap they've grown up with.
Am I beginning to sound like, "Disgusted, Tunbridge Wells"? Please tell me if so, and I'll go and join Greenpeace or become a road protestor.
A more realistic history of why Leith should be tacked on to an MTV list which reads Dublin, Frankfurt, Stockholm, Barcelona can be found in carol's unofficial mtv awards gossip column. Definitely one to bookmark for those who like that sort of thing.
You see, zed had this bf who.... (well - I'm not blasting people's pasts all over this best-selling weblog.) It's in the comment boxes if you're that keen.
Results just in...
Mike and zed are separated by seven bonks, (via Bowie, Faithfull and Jagger, plus others less famous). Mike and me by six (Bowie, Jagger). And me and zed by a frighteningly tiny five, (Faithfull, Jagger). (Which makes me just six from the Twat.) Are you getting the idea?
These are just maxima, of course. There might well be other, shorter routes, which people quite sensibly have kept their gobs shut about.
Well, my burned out street (yesterday's post below) has been all over the Evening News and even the Scottish TV News. Tongues are wagging, varying from, "I hope nobody was hurt," (they weren't) to "How convenient for X and Y," (naming a couple of house-building companies).
Naked Blog endorses both of the above sentiments. To that end, I wasn't at all surprised when I found on the mat a yellow card from the Leith Police, requesting my knowledge and information about the arsonous attack. Although I have none, that didn't stop me phoning Constable Dyer, for it was he, to tell him so. And - most importantly - to tell him that "everyone in the community is saying it's a builders' job".
"Thank you for that," PC Dyer granted. "So I hope you're going to investigate that avenue," I insisted, slightly inebriated. "Well, sir - the CID are well on the case, and I'll certainly pass on yours and the community's concerns."
They'll never do it, of course. Freemasons, the lot of them.
"Is there any food available now?" I asked the barmaid in Bar Java yesterday around three. "No - the chef's not here till seven. But we've got potato chips," she said - pointing to a basket of Golden Wonder (assorted). (You should supply your own Strine accent for that last sentence.) now... chif's... siven.... potiedoe....
"Madam," I riposted sternly. "Those are crisps, not chips." She looked back at me like she was dealing with a right nutter. "How long have you been in this country?" I pressed on - way beyond my customer rights by now. "About six weeks," she said, if a little reluctantly. Maybe I was immigration.
"Oh, well that explains it then, my dear," I smiled at her. "In this country we only say chips when we mean fried potato fingers." "Oh, we call them chips as well," she laughed back, more relieved.
How confusing is that? No wonder no-one important ever comes from Australia, faced with that in their formative years.
It's really quite serious, though. If we lose "crisps" we might as well lie down and let GWB bomb us all to buggery. Then sell us mobile phones and the New Yorker.
A big fire in a nearby street last night, just a hundred yards from my home. Whenever residents get together to complain about impending property vandalism development, one good tactic is to burn them out. Shuts them up and clears the ground for quicker building. Fortunately, thanks to the good offices of Leith FD, this didn't happen - unlike in Great Junction Street a couple of years ago. Is there no end to the property corruption in this town?
Well - somebody's got to say it. The Evening News never will.
My bingo was all of a-quiver. Ladies jumpy. You could smell the smoke drifting in. Leith is now being described as the most up-coming place in the UK. And to think I was the first middle class person to come here, all those decades ago. My solicitor actually laughed at the time. Now I rent him an attic.
Quite glorious retrospective of the forty-year phenomenon that is the Stones on BBC1 last night. I was glued to it as the fire engines milled about in the street outside. Low on academic discography and such - but high, high, high on film clips and social gossip.
As I wrote recently about Stella McCartney and her father Paul, it's impossible for the new generations to appreciate the fame of the earlier stars. They simply don't make them like that any more. Corporate jobs now, you see. Big Money. Back then musicians could manage their own careers.
Nigel Havers had a shot at it by comparing David Beckham's fame (finger and thumb job), with the Stones' fame (arms fully extended). Jade Jagger complained about the ageism fired at her father, and stated (correctly) that it's not in any rule book that a pop musician must be under eighteen and enjoy a six minute career. Marianne Faithfull was there too, looking fab, talking about that Mars Bar bust. But many of the other commentators were as insects. Probably those with the real gossip (such as me) aren't prepared to give it away fer nowt.
Oh yes - the young Mr Jagger was a hot topic du jour in the Coleherne and Boltons don't you know.
Quite, quite brilliant programme. I'll even keep the video copy I made, and not over-record it with Paul O'Grady.
Guardian article on the new legal downloads of the Stones catalogue. Forty seven pence a track, which is only 10p more than the seven and sixpence a vinyl single used to cost way back then. And yes - the first single I ever, ever bought was Let's Spend The Night Together. Aficionados amongst you will know what was on the B-side. Sorry I have no mugs for prizes. "It's a watershed for the music industry," said no-one very special. "Next it'll be The Beatles or Madonna."
TOP OF THE POPS
Thanks to the hugely-talented Nigel at Audi Olympics who's kindly put us in his own, personal Top Ten. Even though it's only at number eight. It seems you can bribe your way onto this chart in various ways, so our tenure there might be somewhat brief. (It's always been my rule never to pay for it.)
A certain duck is at number one, and boyfriend at number four position, I note...
Ooooo. I think I'm gonna throw up. Aaaaargh. Thank god I don't start work for hours yet. Maybe another cup of coffee. Lyons Coffee Bags, Medium strength. Delicious, especially for the new ex-smoker. Why didn't I stick to coffee yesterday?
I've long been a fan of Mr Depp's art. Probably from Cry Baby through Scissorhands and Ed Wood, then especially Don Juan DeMarco. Outstanding.
But time and tide make no-one any younger, and yesterday there was a subtle recognition that the prettyboy du jour was not to be Johnny this time, but rather the young Orlando Bloom.
"Isn't he gorgeous?" Babs kept saying about OB. "Yes," I had to agree. And then, "Look - they've put some facial hair on him to make him look more of a man!"
We laughed. And drank brandy. That was the killer bit. We drank Babs' brandy and coke until the alcohol dissolved the glue in the Coca Cola cups we'd nicked from the foyer. My advice: use plastic from now on.
So - if you were expecting an intelligent review then you ain't getting one here, mate. Pretty, pretty film. Pretty, pretty stars. And pretty fucking hung over, I can tell you.
Never again :) (And I'm convinced Depp's English accent was dubbed, although Babs disagreed.)
Now - where's that paracetamol? (Just kidding. Never take tablets, except for toothache.) Anybody got Betty Ford's number?
"The World Bank and the IMF have pulled their people out of Iraq," said Tania Brier in the middle of the night on BBC.
What is it about all these exotically-named telly people? Tanya, Natasha, Ulrika, Dermot? Is nobody called Mary or Jean any more?
Back to the point. Which is, what are the World Bank and the IMF doing in Iraq in the first place?
Clearly I've no idea. But I can hazard a guess. I can hazard that they're there to offer a hospital and a school or two, while mortgaging Iraq's mineral rights for a hundred years to come.
Vultures. Hanging's too good for them.
Oh, I almost forgot. Do you know what the news item was about? It was about Mobile Phones. Which system to introduce in Baghdad - the European GST or the American one? "It's our tax dollars are paying for the place," said one American official. "So it's only fair our boys get a good shot at the prize." Honestly. That's almost word-perfect, without a dictaphone.
The Iraqis have neither water nor power. They are shooting and bombing the Yanks and each other round every corner, yet Big Money gets to argue about mobile phones. You couldn't make it up. And Tania reports it as if it were the price of fish.
My advice: switch off your telly and stick with Naked Blog. You'll get a lot more sense.
It was a restless old night, tossing and turning, so when I tired of Miss Brier and her nightclub make-up I got to thinking about this Saturday's blogmeet in London. Specifically I wondered how the tables are ordered. Is it like a Hollywood restaurant, with subtle but unspoken A tables, B, then C - finally ending up at the No-zone as they call it in LA?
Do hopeful but unheard of bloggers "work the room", clutching spellchecked print-outs of their latest efforts, praying that Mike or Meg will give them a mention?
Who in fact are the new A-listers? Are they still Meg, who only has to open a window for thirty delighted commenters to do the same - or will it now be Alastair, the renowned winner of the Guardian comp-o? And what about Mike? Passed over for mention after mention, yet clearly amongst the very best. (Today, for instance.) And Tom, without saying.
It's a puzzler. I'd love to be there, but only invisibly, to write about it. My social skills are so sparse that I fly into a panic attack meeting even one person. That's why I hide behind this.
Yes, it's true. I was one of Cilla's first fans. Vividly I remember like yesterday seeing her on Sunday Night At The London Palladium singing "You're My World" in black and white. Must have been 63-ish. That's the year, not her age.
In an era of here today and gone tomorrow starlets and studlets, Ms Black has demonstrated the staying power of the decades. Aeons, it seems like.
How tragic then that she should get robbed in such a dreadful fashion. And that now the whole world knows she keeps a million quidsworth of baubles around the joint just for loose change. For tipping the poolboy.
You have to hand it to her PR person... "Forget the money, Cill... go for your son's safety and the sentimental value... maybe they'll swallow it."
And of course they did. The one thing which people like Cilla Black, who make their money from the poorest and most stupid sections of the population must never do is announce how very rich they are. This can annoy the punters who're paying her extraordinary wages.
Publicans have a similar quandary. "Look at my fabulous house that you've paid for!" The most skilful keep the Beemer at home and drive to the pub in a scrapyard wreck.
And stop getting myself in a complete state about what other people write on their sites.
It's no joke, believe me.
Even Barbara was far from amused yesterday. "Look at this blue top I'm wearing!" she declared, waving a finger in my face. "And it's nothing to do with you." I was startled, I must confess. Then she said I was verbose. And then fecund. Me, I hadn't a leg to stand on, especially as I don't know what fecund means.
Sorry, D and D. I fell for it bigtime.
Welcome back to both Darren and Mike, re-launching themselves with this five question thing that's going around. Both reply to their questions quite splendidly, although I did get a lot of fun with Mike's frequently listing the faults he hasn't got. "Oh - I've got that one!" I kept thinking.
Several of you have asked why I haven't joined in with this fad myself, and the answer is twofold. First, Naked Blog is searingly honest every day (too much so, some would say). And second, I think it's an awful imposition to demand that someone write five fascinating questions just for boring old me.
There's to be some sort of blogmeet for the Sarf of England bloggers this weekend. I can't imagine how many sunglasses will be on top of heads. Details on various of my blogroll, should you be interested.
PORT O LEITH MOVIE. THE VERDICT - ROSE IN A GARDEN OF WEEDS
With reference to the appearance of my local bar on BBC Breakfast this morning.
There were two episodes, the first at 7.21 starring la divine Mary herself, (along with a deadbeat guy), and the second an hour later, by which time Mary had been relegated to behind the bar while John Morrison (Scotland correspondent) droned on with two even more boring men. Officials of some sort - not even customers. What is it about Scotland and boredom?
Far more interesting was an "extra" if you like - a woman at the bar in the background. Christina (for it was she) began the piece by wearing my absolute bete noir - sunglasses on top of her head. After about ninety seconds however, she must have picked up on my psychic vibe (or realised she was on the telly), and she stuck the specs on her face. Now put her and Mary together, and you'd have enough material for a week. At least.
What a wasted opportunity. It was clear that Mary was by far the most interesting of the bunch, yet she got the smallest slot. I don't know how Morrison keeps his job. Oh yes I do - he's boring.
Yesterday when I waxed melodramatic about the iniquity of the booze industry, I was of course slightly pissed. I now want to clarify my position vis a vis alcohol workers. Those at the top of the alcohol manufacture business (including shareholders) are as immoral as any Colombian drug baron. Those slaving for them for the minimum wage under Dickensian conditions are not. Publicans come somewhere in between. I hope that makes things clearer.
SHOCK UPDATE... NATASHA KAPLINSKY IN PORT O LEITH BAR DRAMA!!
Yes, it's true! Well - maybe not the Natasha Kaplinsky bit - quite yet, nor either Dermot Murnaghan nor Michael Peschardt - or whoever else is sitting in these days.
What is quite definitely true however is that the Port o' Leith Bar is to be a major feature on tomorrow morning's BBC Breakfast TV.
You've read about it here so much - now see it on the telly! Mary the landlady is giving cheap drinks to all her punters. She's having hair and make-up people flown over from Hollywood, yet this writer - yours truly - will be tucked up in bed not showing the slightest interest!!
Be sure to tune in if you want to see the Port in all its morning glory. That's all I can say. The most significant pub in Scotland - here for you to read about every day on Naked Blog - tomorrow on the telly - seven to nine am.
Now, who's your money on for the interviews? I'm guessing Yorkshire Kriss, or Rex. Maybe even evergreen Norma, if she sobers up for five minutes, or Gerry Not Guilty ditto. Suicide Nick seems pretty stable of late, and Big Straight Al will quite definitely be shagging. Someone.
Lest We Forget...
Alcohol is the country's second biggest killer, after tobacco. It is an abomination, and all involved in its manufacture, distribution and supply can be thought of as crack and smack dealers. The scummiest of the scum.
But alcohol, like tobacco, is part of Big Money. "They" pretend they want you to stop or cut down, but in reality that would be catastrophic. In Britain the alcohol pushers even have their own PR front, called The Portman Group - charged with promoting "sensible drinking".
Aha! And take a look round any city centre on any Saturday night and see how successful that has been. The elderly afraid to leave their homes after dark - the young at major risk of a knife around the neck - and for what? For the profits of the brewers and distillers - and their pals in the Tory party.
I hate them. I damn them. And I despise them.
So don't forget to tune in to BBC Breakfast for the Port o Leith Bar tomorrow morning. It's about licensing changes. No-one will lose any money - of that you can be sure.
Yes - it was meet the famous blogger last night in the Port!
"I hear you write Naked Blog," this guys says, sidling up to me. "Naked what?" I reply, feigning being the wrong person to have a bit of fun with him. "Naked Blog," he repeats, with a little less certainty. There was a pause, a wee lacuna, while I pretended to think. "Is that some yellow thing with a picture in the corner?" I asked him. "Yes - that's the one!" he said, clearly relieved. "Oh - you'll have to forgive me - my memory isn't what it used to be," I concluded.
Well, it wasn't quite a conclusion, as John wanted to talk about the thing for quite a bit longer. "You should get it published," he said. "No - everybody's writing something or other these days," I told him. Unless you're already famous, or have a one in a million personality like Quentin Crisp, nobody gives a toss."
But John wouldn't be silenced. Words like "flair" kept dropping from his lips, and I'm sure I even heard the "g" word once. And do you know - he wasn't even trying to tap me for a drink!
Hibernian one - Heart of Midlothian nil
Much rejoicing in the environs last night after Hibs defeated arch-enemies Hearts in the pre-season Derby at Easter Road.
Ed: What the fuck are you talking about? Football?? This is meant to be a poof's blog, isn't it?
Me: Just because one doesn't worship at the beef curtains doesn't mean I can't take an interest in the wider world. From now on Naked Blog will have a new, inclusive, more catholic appeal. Integrated.
Ed: I'll believe that when I see it. If it's not about you, then you just ain't interested, sweetie.
I really don't know why I pay that man.
Babs was there too, with her new haircut, but none of the queens noticed. Shame. I must try and get Babs out of black and into more summery shades. Beginning to look a bit Morticia.
When a non-smoker wakes up feeling rough, he knows it must have been the food or the drink! Last night was lager then Ricard then Guinness then lamb biryani. Slept quite well, not surprisingly!
The company was good, though. As well as Babs and new John there was Robin (don't call me bisexual, I'm a screaming queen now). "I hope I'm not intruding on a date," I said to John apropos Robin. "Oh no - we've done that bit," he replied. "Nowadays it's just if we're both a bit drunk and a bit..." "I know," I said, helping him out.
It's a shame about Robin - he's everyone's last resort. But he seems to do OK out of it. Coupla decades younger (me, I mean) and I'd be in amongst the two of them myself. You better believe it!
Eyes Down. The jury is out. I would be tempted to say, "Just a little less, darlings." The wheelchair stuff was horrifyingly un-PC yet I found it very funny. The mariachi dwarf pure Lynch. The foetal scan hilarious. "Is that his eyes?" "No - it's his lungs." And O'Grady delivered his full range from A to B.
I couldn't help comparing the comedy with Victoria Wood's Dinner Ladies an hour later, with half the content, yet twice the enjoyment. But Wood is a master of the form.
Disappointing for workers in the industry, as there was so little bingo involved. Except this gem: "Get those sandwiches off the table. I've told you tongue is unlucky."
I learned at work yesterday that my doctor has retired. Without consulting me. Twenty five years we've been together, through thick and thin, and now he fucks off and deserts me.
Oh we've laughed and cried... although frankly more of the latter. Thirty I must have been when first I knocked on his door, one day after I tried to top myself. (It happens.) God knows what he must have thought ("Right nutter here...") but gamely he heard me out. Took me on.
My closest friend Colin was his patient too. I've never told you about Colin before, because he died of liver cancer about ten years ago. Maybe fifteen. Time flies. Dr M. attended him at his death. Family doctor. And now he's gone too. Good luck and happy retirement, Ian!
Nowadays I never go to doctors. Touch wood. But who knows what's round the corner, eh? Better make sure I'm with someone suitable. Someone who'll understand that I won't take a single thing he prescribes.
Talking of illness, R, my newly-diabetic colleague came in to visit us yesterday. The flesh was hanging off him. But he's stabilised apparently. On tablets. It's type two diabetes - controlled by diet. We gave him a nice card we'd all signed, and some diabetic jam and low sugar drink. I'd worried that might be a bit tasteless, but he laughed.
Question: Then why did MS download me a security patch? Maybe it was a different vulnerability. I've got so many.
What's your pet hate du jour? Mine's people with sunglasses on top of their heads. They do it all over the place - even in the brightest sun. It looks especially stupid on men with shaved heads. Comical.
There's a woman at my bingo who has her hair in some sort of bun creation. Within that are concealed combs and the odd feather. And in front sits a large pair of tortoiseshell shades. It's a like a whole second face on top of her own. Schemetrash.
Hating work right now. Can't wait till Sunday to get free again.
In the summertime, when the living is good... (How does that one end again?)
Welcome to Dearie Me and Web Guerillas who join us on the blogroll for a while. (And yes, I did check the spelling, and yes - you can put one "r" in it. It's gorillafication.)
I hope you've all got your worm patch (post below), by the way. Because right now you're only three computers away from me, and - frankly - I only go in for safer browsing. Oh, it wasn't always thus... but now isn't the time for those heady recollections. Even though the sun beats down from a cloudless sky, and - shit I have to go to work. To bingo hell.
Don't forget Eyes Down tomorrow - the new bingo sitcom starring Paul O'Grady. It will do nothing less than revolutionise our industry. Bingo is the last bastion of the un-televised... until now.
It was racism on the menu in the Port yesterday. (Oh - the fallout from Monday's great bridge drama is still being felt. Nothing like that had happened since the night Dusty Springfield died and I got so emotional I put a pint of lager over Stuart's head.)
"Let's face it," Berndt from Bavaria said to Yorkshire Kriss. "You're an English bastard, and I'm a Nazi bastard."
"And I'm a poofy bastard!" I chimed in, not wanting to be left out of the big boys' game. "Ah but we don't mean that," Gary the SWScottishM barman interjected. "We're just having you on."
But it wasn't any of us who was the target. It was Tony the Hat, my bridge-antagonist. For Tony is from Nigeria, you see. As the Ace of Spades. Not even remotely Hollywood. And according the the guys he doesn't like the 'B' word. So there. In Leith you gotta be a victim.
Hygiene was next. I don't know if all of you recall our somewhat unusual habits here at Naked Mansions. That we have a supreme immune system by the simple virtue of never washing up. And that our hair looks twenty years younger that it is by merely keeping all products well away from it.
Well Kriss takes this several stages further, and never washes. "It's deodorants that cause the trouble," he said. "If you don't use them then your body doesn't smell."
He fixed me with his limpid blue eyes. "Do I ever smell offensive, Peter?" he asked. "No Kriss," I replied gently, trying not to indicate how much I would love to sniff every inch of him. But I'm sure he guessed.
Eh. Bah. Gum. We don't have much money, but we do etc...
Eyes Down BBC 1 Nine pm Fridays. Clashes with Will and Grace. Story and pic here. Spot which one is me!!
MSBLAST Just received this from my ISP. Looks pretty serious. Trying to get the Windows Update, but they haven't got enough capacity.
Due to the spread of a worm which is affecting windows systems we have
decided to block ports: 4444/TCP
This block is a temporary measure to give you time to run Windows Update
on all of your machines. It is essential that this is done as your
antivirus software will not be able to prevent your machines from
For a more detailed explanation of the worm and how it works please read
the following article:
Advanced Support Engineers may find the following article useful:
It's called 823559 Security Update For Microsoft Windows, but the update servers are down.
Am I the only one who hasn't a scoobie about yesterday's Hutton Inquiry? I can only hope the good lord has it better sussed than the various news reports I saw. You'd think it would be simple. What did Kelly say to Gilligan? What did Gilligan say on the radio? What did Gilligan write in the Sunday Mail?
But no - I followed the Channel Four News like a bloodhound chasing a body in a suitcase, yet ended up not one jot the wiser. Obfuscation, I think posh people call it. In Leith there's another word.
So there I was sitting outside The Shore Bar yesterday with my Guardian. Well - theirs actually. No point wasting good money when you're spending two pounds fifty for your pint anyway. "Would you like an ashtray, Peter?" John Danskin the barman asked as he brought out my Guinness. John once told me his surname comes from Gdansk. "No thank you John!" I declared. "Smoking is so last century. I've been stopped for five weeks now. That's why I get angry sometimes."
Four English people were standing right beside us reading the lunch menu. I could tell they were English by the way they spoke. "Yes, you do get anger," one of them - a woman of my vintage - agreed. "It stays inside of you, instead of coming out." "How long have you been stopped?" I asked her, always keen to meet ex-smokers. "Fourteen years," she replied, in a posh Coronation Street accent. "Oh, I'm only five weeks," I repeated, but she wouldn't have my self-deprecation. "No - that's marvellous!" she insisted, and her husband agreed. He was about fourteen years as well. So were the other couple. It was a non-smoking bonanaza - a tobacco-rejection fest. Yet just along from us was a young man, probably restaurant worker, trying to enjoy his Lambert and Butler on a fag break. Aren't ex-smokers a bit gloating?
To the Ocean Terminal then, via the Scottish Office. Oh - it's meant to be called Scottish Executive these days, for no good reason that I can discern, but I liked it fine the way it was. Their once-idyllic view over the Forth is not for much longer, though - a whole bunch of placards for Skyliner Living are springing up. Skyliner are the high-rise flats for the noughties. Quite grotesque, from the pictures, and of course they'll build them so close together there'll be no decent view at all. Just into next door's kitchen. Honestly - the way things are going, it'll only be the ones on the beach with sea water lapping about the place which will even be worth thinking about.
I bought my pint of Guinness (three pounds now, for the Skyliner Living surcharge), and sat outside the Ocean Bar on a bench overlooking the sea. A grandmother and her grandson joined me, and we chatted about how it was cooler today. To our left was the Chancelot Flour Mill - not yet converted into Skyliner homes. A droit the (former) Royal Yacht Britannia, now a tourist racket. And ahead the hills of Fife, for as long as you still can see them. "See that land just in front," I said to my new companion. "Where that dredger is. They say it's worth four million pounds an acre. Or maybe it's forty."
A young man came and stood nearby, with a cardboard carton of coffee. Me, I've never had such a thing. Never felt the need for coffee so greatly that I would carry it about with me. I'm exactly the same with bottled water. He leant over the fence and sipped his coffee and smoked a Lambert and Butler Menthol - a rather strange concept. Under his shirt was a walkie-talkie which kept going off.
Then when my family mini-unit departed with much cheerios and nice to talks the guy came and sat beside me. Young, about thirty max, with stylish glasses and what I could now see was a Marks and Spencer cake. "Mind if I sit here?" he asked. "Not at all," I replied, slightly archly. "It's a public bench. But why are you wearing that radio on your belt?" (I think one has a right to know these things.)
"Most of the stores here employ plain clothes security," he told me. "Oh - then am I under some sort of suspicion?" I retorted. "I can tell you my shoes are Next, trousers Great Junction Street, and rugby shirt from a charity shop." "No - it's OK" he said. "Even security guards have lunch." I wasn't convinced. So I took a bit of his cake, just to make sure. Paul his name was. "Peter and Paul," I said, as he left. Now if I were only thirty years younger...
It's almost forty days and forty nights since last I put nicotine into my body, and I'm not certain I like the person I've become.
No, this isn't a subtle plea, a weakling's trailer, for a return to cigarette slavery. I honestly don't think that will ever happen. But I've become a monster, both in real life and across the cyberwaves. And it's bad.
Just as they say that jails couldn't function without the inmates being constantly stoned, so it seems that for fifty years all my human interactions have been mediated by the poison of nicotine. With that no longer there, it's like I'm exploding all the time. Every day this happens, and yesterday was the worst, when I came very close to starting a fight with a man.
Were it not that he's elderly (even older than me), and has lost half his organs in a spectacular hospital error, then my fist would have contacted his nose. And what was the cause of this out-of-control experience? It was a game of bridge. Or rather, the behaviour of one of the players.
Bridge Rage. You saw it here first.
"Not A Lot"
But it wasn't all bad. Earlier I'd lunched in The Village, then afternooned in this bijou little cafe I've discovered in William Street. Still haven't noticed the name. The smokers have the decency to sit outside, leaving the air within fragrant with olives, and bread and wine. J'adore.
To the Book Festival then, in Charlotte Square Gardens, and who should I almost bump into in the entrance tent than Paul Daniels! I have to say he looks exactly the same in real life as he does on the telly. There now, isn't that exciting?
Alan Ayckbourn and Christopher Lee had been and gone, and the next thing happening was Doris Lessing, but she was fully booked. My fault for turning up at the last minute. Strolled around a bit more, looking for slebs, but none to be seen. Even Mr Daniels seemed to have done a vanishing act.
Single battered chipsteak at The Chippy, corner of Rose Street and Hanover - the only place in central Edinburgh selling hot food at a realistic price. Thought about the Monet exhibition, but it was eight pounds fifty, and I only save six pounds seventy a day. So bus down to The Port, where all hell was soon to break out as detailed above. Such a middle class game, bridge. J'adore.
Spent most of yesterday with Brian, who is - not to mince words - far from unattractive. Bit of a stunna, in fact. Thirty-eight with jet-black hair which he assures me remains undyed. Must talk him into being Hunk of The Week.
It was at The Village, at their Sunday Pyjama Party. (Every Sunday afternoon in August.) Sadly I don't possess such garments any longer, as neither does Brian, so we had to sit, butchly, in our clothes. It was no real punishment!
"What's that ghastly music?" I said to Dean the barman at one stage. "It's a DJ," he replied. "It's Tokyo Blu," Brian confirmed. "It's absolute crap," I opined then, knowing full well the response. "Oh Peter you're just so old," they chorused. And of course they're right. But that doesn't make Tokyo Blu any better. About as musical as a construction site. Less, in fact, as there's usually a radio playing somewhere on one of those.
Great afternoon nevertheless, and the DJ finished at four anyway. My advice guys: ditch the DJ, save a fortune, and invest in some Woolworth Hits of The Sixties CDs. You can't go wrong with Procul Harum.
One To Watch
Today I want to point you to The Village website, now in its third incarnation. (The second one having been done by moi.)
It's a cracker, and shows what can be done when two design-mad queens, bursting with visual and verbal invention, get loose on (their own) pub website. Also, as an added bonus, if you click on the staff page you can see Babs the Chef, and Ian (aka Dolly) amongst others. Click further on Ian's pic, and you'll see a blog in the making. In the early seconds after the Big Bang. Trust me - his is an extraordinary talent.
The only reason I started Naked Blog was to encourage him to begin one himself. It's taken 2.5 years. Don't let me down now, kid.
Hack it up, hen
Duncan has been just So... hacked right now. How shocking.
Homes and Gardens
Is buddleia the new rhododendron? It's absolutely everywhere - with those drab purple flowers pretending to be lilac. It's especially prevalent along the banks of the Water of Leith, of last month's body in a suitcase fame. If those bushes could talk...
The Web Page Programmer: "I don't know - after all I've done for him, to be slapped in the face like that. Goes to show you never can tell."
The Chef de Cuisine: "He certainly doesn't seem himself at all lately. But he sure loves his grub these days since he stopped smoking."
The Publican: "Total twat. Is now and ever shall be. But business is business, and at least he doesn't scare the customers away. They just ignore him."
The Workplace Manager: "Strange guy. One minute you think you're having a decent chat, and the next you realise he's taking the piss out of something again. Not sure I like him. Never know where you are with him."
The Customer: "Oh, what a gentleman. If only they were all like him what a great place it would be. I just want to take him home and look after him."
The Next Door Neighbour: "Never see him or hear him. The odd time we pass on the stairs he's polite, but I know he's forgotten my name a dozen times. They say he used to be somebody but now his house is a rubbish tip."
Another customer: "Arrogant, insincere asshole. I would rather put up with honest scheme-trash than that oleaginous butt-wipe. And he smells."
Self Assessment: "All of the above, plus a liberal dose of perfection. I would have made someone a very nice partner, but no-one ever realised it. Their loss. And now that I've stopped smoking there's no upper limit to my wonder. Just wish it didn't make me a bit intolerant sometimes. But then other people aren't as good as me. My mother drilled that into me. Did I mention that I'd stopped smoking, by the way?"
Watched The Beach last night in its network premiere on BBC 1 and was mightily impressed. I'd heard loads about it, and certainly last century I was one of Leo's biggest (mature) fans.
It's a one-off, of course, based on a book by Alex Garland, which my sensors detect borrowed heavily from real life. You (quite literally) couldn't have made it up. But of course I might be wrong. And the moon might really be made of brie.
But how very much better it would have been without DiCaprio. I just can't get it together with star movies. How are you supposed to imagine for one second that "Richard" did all those things, when you know perfectly well that "Richard" is really "Leo", and would never venture five yards from his California home without an armed security posse.
Here's Leo in a cannabis field. Here's Leo drowning in the Atlantic. Here's Leo up a water tower pretending to be disabled. (Although in Gilbert Grape he really did shine, probably because he was then still unknown to most viewers.) Too late for that now, though. IMDB Reviews
Hi Your Majesty
The Queen has got an email account. William and Harry have been brought in to advise their gran on how to work it. But will they advise her about penis extension patches? (Safe and reliable.) And what about generic viagara?
It looks wonderful outside this morning - just perfect. I was meant to have the day off, to slope about town sipping white wine and chatting in non-smoking bistros and cafes - but sadly work she doth beckon. A colleague in his thirties has been struck down with diabetes, a condition I know little about. So it's all hands to the pumps. The numbers must go on. People need them.
Only yesterday I was writing about so many of you being materially well off. Today it's the turn of your significant others, as they're euphemistically called. "Shags", we used to say when we were young.
Everybody's got one - even gay bishops. Some keep them quietly in the background, while others have them adorn every post and comment. It's a zoo out there. Except for me, but then I've had my life, and in any case any hanky-panky on my part would only upset and confuse you.
But - life being not without vicissitude, all good things at times do come to an end, and what better place to turn to than your blog?
Recently Darren wrote with sadness and restraint about being dumped, and now it's the turn of Steve, who employs a different, more violent mode. Go there. See them both. Be with them - you're nearly all in the Smoke, goddammit.
Me, I know nothing about human relations and significant others. Nada. Oh - I did have one once, from age 21 to 24... the prime years for loving. But he was a cold and ruthless psychopath, playing on my weaknesses and vulnerabilities like a pipe.
It must be more than twenty years since I last heard from him, but it took until last year, strangely, before I was able to hate him as he deserved. He might well be dead, of course. Most gay men of my age are. No comment.
I'll never for the life of me understand why the bloggers I mix with (in an unmet, "cyber" sense) are absolutely rollinginit, while almost no-one I know in real life earns much above the minimum wage. Or works at all. Or owns even a chest of drawers to hide their stash in.
Why is this? Why am I the only poor blogger? Loads of poor people have mobile phones and can work them.
Nothing Like a Dame?
Dunno if it's the hot weather, or being an ex-smoker or what, but testosterone is coursing through my body. I can tell by the amount of facial hair these days, to say nothing of looking alive in the mornings. (Rather than at or near death, I mean.) Plus I've started staring at women's tits in a new, unusual way. Should I get help for this - it's a bit disgusting at my age. (56)
Death Smell Update
As the meat flies just failed to materialise, I kinda decided there maybe wasn't anything dead under the floorboards after all. Intensive sniffing near the fridge led to an egg and cheese salad box, which I've now eaten, so that might hopefully be the end of it. (Except for people nearby, but I don't give a shit about any of them.) Unless they've got big tits.
Sweet joy indeed is finding out from a girlfriend that a guy you've fancied for ages but can never have is a lousy shag anyway. (Thks to Bernice for essential info.)
Death smell is in my flat again. It too is sweet and putrefied and smells worst from behind the fridge where it's warm as well. Soon big black flies will appear from under the floorboards. Earth to earth.
Thanks to all for your good wishes and emails, which I'm replying to as fast as my frail and battered psyche will allow.
Putting a copyright statement on a thing doesn't make it true if it isn't.
WEDDINGS OF MASS DESTRUCTION
[Ed: That's a brilliant headline, by the way... where did you copy it from?
Me: Nowhere man - you know every single thing on this site is original, except where credited.
Ed: That's like awesome man... got any more?
Me: (Thinks some more about Catholics.) Hail Mary, Will and Grace?]
If gay people stopped trying to get married to each other and having nice lives which they're not entitled to, then what would Bush and the Pope get worked up about then? And isn't Six Feet Under more influential anyway?
Well - that's it for a while from me and the gang up here. We've had a lot of fun over the six years or so, and hope that one or two of the (true) escapades might have brought a little grin to your rushed and harried lives. You work too hard, many of you. Too much getting and spending. Too little stopping and thinking and looking at the trees.
But I digress. (Maybe for the last time!)
Farewell from Stuart, aka Granny, my one-time closest confidante, but now like so many, sadly gone. From the Port there's Mary, Rex, and Tony my IT manager plus Big Straight Al and all the other fabby hunks of the week. From the Village, Babs the Chef, Alastair, Ian and more recently Dean.
Let's not forget Sandra my personal manager, and Alligator Johnny. Robin (don't call me gay, I'm bisexual), Evergreen Norma, Gerry Not Guilty and of course the globe-trotting Scott. And doubtless many more my memory has missed.
As I say - it's been a whole load of fun. But I'm getting on a bit now - feeling a little tired. Feeling there are maybe more fulfilling things to do with what time I might have left than sitting alone with a monitor.
People always say, "It won't be the end." But in my experience it usually is. Some of you have been as precious as diamonds - I'm gonna miss you loads. And who knows... maybe some day the gang will re-form, and we'll head down your way once more... still as crazy as ever.
Tata the noo. Don't take life too seriously - it's over before you know it.
(Britain's oldest blogger shuffles off to Lidl for two ounces of chopped pork and a packet of razor blades... )