Naked Blog

More famous than Susan Boyle!

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

ID and EGO

Thanks to all for your thoughts yesterday on the introduction of ID cards to the UK. Fascinating differences of view, which is what blogging can be all about.

Still plenty of time to insert your two pence, if you wish. It will be read.

But today the accent is lighter. We look at DVDs, which are far more use than mobile phones, I've already decided. Then a gripe-ette about modern language use. When does a mistake become an accepted usage?

Are there any rules? Should there be any rules?

Read on...

And you say? (2)   Link to this


People keep lending me DVDs! It's fantastic! Very kind! But what a lot of extra time they take to watch.

Gone are the days of seeing a film/movie as a finished product, which you view and then remember or forget. Which you like or dislike, or something in between.

I now know Training Day (lent by Tony my IT manager) better and in more detail than any movie ever in my life. I've seen the film. I've seen it again, with the director's commentary. (This was every bit as fascinating as the fiction, btw.) I've seen the making of it documentary. Heard the actors discussing their parts. Seen (and fancied rotten) the director. Watched the trailer. Played with subtitles for the hearing impaired. "Oh - that's what they're saying in that bit!"

But is Training Day worth that amount of my time? It's good-ish, and that's as far as I'm prepared to go.

Next came Shrek, lent by Ronnie at work. I watched the movie. Laughed a bit, here and there. Clicked on the Commentary, but it didn't come up. Now I'm watching The Tech of Shrek. Then there are games. Then there's a voice studio where you dub your own voice over the cartoon characters. I'm gonna be the beautiful princess.

Gone for ever are the days when a film lasted 90 minutes. Now each one is a several-day project. But is it right that we should see so much behind the scenes? What does that do to the magic? What would Bette and Joan have thought?

Captain's Log, Supplementary

How do they get all that stuff on to a disc the size of a CD? We were brought up to the idea that a CD can store 650MB tops. We're also told that movie consumes not Giga- but Terabytes or more. Where does it all go?

Now I know the picture quality is crap (sub-VHS... don't fall for the hype), and it's only part of the screen, but even so...

And you say? (8)   Link to this


I learn from Nigel that the young use imply and infer interchangeably these days. It's an outrage. But to who(m) do you complain?

One of the worst areas for spellings and grammaticals is Teletext/Ceefax.

"I done it" is everywhere, even among the brighter young things.

Scotland is a little different, where its rich and extensive spoken dialect makes standard English almost a second language. Ken whit ah mean, pal?

Naked Blog isn't free from faults either. But I do it quick.

"I done it quick" once appeared in Julie Burchill's column in The Guardian. She was writing about her Diana book. But Burchill is a master of letters, and both The Grauny and her readers are aware of that.

Got any language peeves yourself?

And you say? (21)   Link to this

Monday, September 29, 2003


Scotland is often used as the testing bed for legislation. We're thinking Sunday opening of shops, we're thinking all day licences for pubs, and we're especially thinking of Mrs Thatcher's sine qua non, the Poll Tax Community Charge.

Well, pin back yer shell-likes and listen to yer elderly uncle for a change. Remember all those Bodysnatcher movies? Where a guy rushes in front of your car with a sign screaming THEY'RE HERE?

Do you? Because it seems that unbeknowns to you and to me, there's been a different kind of invasion going on - this time in Aberdeen rather than Baltimore or Salem. Aberdeen teens have all been issued with ID cards this summer, called - innocently sounding - Accord.
"THEY have been carrying these cards for more than a month now, unaware they are the guinea pigs for a national scheme which has raised the spectre of the introduction of Orwellian-style identity checks." Read more...
Nice one, Mr Blunkett. Pick one of the most affluent cities in the country, yet geographically isolated. Select a group naturally open to innovation, and give them the most socially sensitive item since World War Two. Then tell them it's just for paying for their school dinner.

But wait! There's more...

The experiment has worked! Next step all of Scotland, no less.
"EVERY secondary school pupil in Scotland is to be issued with an ID card bearing his or her name, age and address, under a controversial government scheme branded last night as an assault on privacy.

The ‘entitlement cards’ will be issued to 400,000 12 to 18-year-olds from March next year and will be used for a range of services including school meals and leisure centres." Read more...
And that's it. Coming soon to a police station near you. Blunkett is dead set - he's prepared to stake everything on ID cards, the stupid twat. Maybe they'll do for him what the Poll Tax did for Thatcher. I only hope that blood isn't spilled in the streets in pursuit of his blind fanaticism.

ID cards are the death of community, or rather the acknowledgement that community no longer exists. We have gone so horribly wrong. Fortunately I won't be around to see that much more of it - but many of you reading this will.

Resist. It is your right to walk the highway and byway without being stopped and questioned by agents of the state, which the police now are in all but name. If you let them take that from you, then we'll see that 1984 was simply 20 years too soon. Our surveilled society has gone much too far already.

And you say? (31)   Link to this

Sunday, September 28, 2003


Ewan McGregor was on Parkinson last night, and one has to ask why?

We could also ask why they cleared the set of the far more talented Ronni Ancona (that's an impressionist, not a coffee machine!) and the transcendent Stephen Fry. (Example... "Courtney Cox? Not recently.")

Cilla didn't mind sharing with Jo Brand and Helen Mirren last week - and she's Cilla.

So does this young upstart seriously think for one moment that he's in danger of displaying anything resembling talent?

Look at the record...

Shallow Grave Grossly over-rated, but hit a nerve simply by being a BritFlick. Can only be enjoyed in the same way as something European with subtitles.

Trainspotting Like many people round here, I have a rather unusual relationship with this franchise. I only have to lean slightly out of my window to see (what's left of) Leith Central Station which gave the name. McGregor was visually right for this, being the correct age and skinny, but his performance was emailed in. Trust me if you're outside Scotland - he sounds as authentic for a Leith junkie as Kirsty Wark would have done. Hopeless.

Brassed Off So were the public, who stayed away in droves.

Star Wars 1 and 2 Again, it's a visual thing. Stick a brown robe and a beard on him and he's passable. And at least for these he learned an approximation to an English accent - which is one hundred percent more effort than he put into his voice for Trainspotting.

And there you have it. A prime example of what Julie calls, "those who raid the dressing-up box for a living." Honestly, you had to have seen the show to writhe in the self-absorption and nonsense - how he'd debated with himself whether or not to try heroin. Honey - you can stick a whole coca field up your nostrils for all the world cares. Gene Hackman you ain't, and never will be. (Seriously resisting any "hack" puns...)

Wow! That was fun. Who's next?

Oh, and in an entirely unrelated piece, John Patterson writes about him in yesterday's Guardian. Similar to the above, but a little more praising.

And you say? (11)   Link to this

Friday, September 26, 2003


Thanks a bunch to him and to her for inviting me to dinner, and of course I'd love to come.

Your return invitations are in the post as we speak.

But my first one - my own first fantasy dinner - would have only two guests, Josh from Alaska and Marc from NYC. It would be so startling someone would just have to film it.

(Who was it said, "It's not worth saying anything unless it's on camera."?)

So - any TV types out there... get in touch. I can outwax Ruby with one hand behind my back.

And you say? (6)   Link to this

(Best enjoyed after Thursday's post below. It's senior citizen meets new technology.)

Back after I've finished my DVD! (See below.)

Now - where's the popcorn?

Peter loves modern gadgets.

Update: I'm hooked of course. So far I've learned Step, Zoom, Menu, Setup, x32 forwards and backwards - oh the list goes on. I've watched Training Day, which was OK ish, although my fave undercover cop movie remains the under-rated Deep Cover with the then adorable Laurence Fishburne and the never quite adorable Jeff Goldblum.

Although it's a bit druggie. Well, very. And I'm convinced you enjoy drugflicks best when partaking yourself. Which of course one never does. These days.

But back to DVD. I'm part way through the second viewing of Training Day, where Antoine Fuqua the director bleats on about it. That's called Commentary. Have they all got that? Does Hitchcock talk about Psycho from beyond the grave?

He seems a bit obsessed with telling you what a MAN he is, and about all the undercover cops he knows irl. He (none too) subtly indicates that Denzel is more important than him, but that he's more important than Ethan Hawke. It's all a bit Duke Street, but blacker.

OK then - my main use for the DVD will be TV series. Boxed sets. Dean's already bought SFU series 1, and I'll buy series 2 when it comes out, and I imagine that's the way it works. Ideas? Recommendations? Is there a button which makes them all naked?

And great thanks to S, my anonymous patron.

And you say? (4)   Link to this

Thursday, September 25, 2003


Someone who is rich has kindly given me a DVD machine tonight. It's because he enjoys Naked Blog and he knows that I am poor.

None of you should start feeling guilty about this, or planning similar such donations.

Remember - NB will never carry advertising. Will never sport a "wish list".

This is just my silly, trivial little gift to the world. It's all I have to offer.


Yes, it's true. The DVD is playing along nicely. And underneath the (widescreen) picture is the script in some middle European writing.

Da? Bine?

And instead of the actors acting the film, instead there's a rather monotonous voice-over talking about the making of it. (It's called Training Day, starring Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke - lent by Tony my IT Manager, another kind benefactor of this site.) You can get Spanish, English, French, possibly loads more... quite awesome.

But where are these freeze-frames I've heard so much about? My new remote hasn't even got a STOP. What on earth do the four arrows surrounding the Play button do?

Oh - it's all too much for an old boy. I was at the forefront of computing you know... also first on the block to get a microwave and a CD. VHS? I even had the Philips Double Decker format before that.

You name it - I was in there first. George was there. But now I haven't a clue. Plus my prostate feels kinda funny these days.

And you say? (3)   Link to this


Yes, it's true. Following on from the stunning international success of Leith FM Festival Radio on 87.7 fabulous megaHertz, we're now going to get our own TV station.

Requests are already flooding in for yours truly to step into Parkinson's Russell and Bromleys, and to that end I'm approaching The Proclaimers, Irvine Welsh and a couple of incontinent old whalers from the Dockers Club.

Eddie and John are keen to come on my show to air their grievances about being barred from the Village, and Fiona Macaulay will at last be able to tell the world about that toilet roll incident all those years ago.
Schedules will include...*
  • Constitution Street
  • Hi-de-Hibee!
  • Fawlty Towerblocks
  • The Hazzards of Duke Street
  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Banana-Rammy
  • Stolen Antiques Roadshow
  • Supermarket Sweep
    (The list goes on and on...)
  • * Some (but not all) of these were published in yesterday's Edinburgh Evening News, which has the full story.

    And you say? (6)   Link to this


    Baby is sick. Stop laughing, Babs! Despite my "cow stomach", as she sweetly put it yesterday, today one is somewhat tender in the nether regions. Sensitivity. Awareness of organs not quite ecstatic.
    Was it:-
  • (a) The egg salad roll which had been on the pub counter for many hours, unchilled?
  • (b) The cooked ham sandwich which I spat out - unfortunately not until after eating a quarter of it - because it tasted metallic?
  • (c) The Goodfellas frozen pizza eaten to dilute the toxic effects of (a) and (b) ?
  • (d) The five or six pints of Extra Cold Guinness?
  • If (b) is the correct answer, well I've still got the evidence in the fridge, and I really should do something about it. Like sue the co-op.

    Shock Bio-rhythm Update! Alerted by robin on Speaking as a Parent, I trolled over to Daily Bio-rhythms and guess what came up!
    Your state of health is momentarily moderate.
    Tendency: it's getting better promptly.
    Physical: You're still not exactly full of beans. Be patient, you will be soon!
    Emotional: You feel well and are in a good mood. And it shall get even better!
    Intellectual: If you have to make important decisions, put them off for a few days if you can - you'll see much more clearly then.
    That's really awesome, dudes. Not only have they spotted my health condition, but they also know the correct use of "momentarily". Even the tendency is mind-boggling, as you'll appreciate when I tell you that since writing the above I've been to the loo and ... well I don't need to spell it out for you.

    Quite, quite special. I intend to make Bio-rhythms a key feature of my daily life in future.

    And you say? (9)   Link to this

    Wednesday, September 24, 2003


    People read blogs for different reasons. Me, I like it best when they write about themselves, or people near and dear to them. Cold opinion I can get from any paper - reviews in any magazine. That's why the political blogs leave me unmoved. Who is dis guy? WTF cares what he thinks?

    No - I'll entrust my political conditioning to the Guardian and the BBC. They seem the least of many evils.

    Did you know the Grauny's becoming a bit of a star in the US, by the way? Partly it's the superlative online site of course, but the other reason is more interesting. They just don't have a realistic left of centre newspaper there.

    Oh but how I'm rambling on. It's a slow news day here at Naked Mansions! Happiness, incidentally, is leaving a wrapped sliced loaf on the kitchen floor by accident, and finding in the morning no trace of rodent activity. Or insect.
    Ed: Get to the point, willya! I've got a lunch date with that hot new chick in Classifieds.
    Me: OK, OK. You men are all the same. Read mike's review of Bridget Riley here.
    Ed: Didn't ya just say you don't read reviews?
    Me: Yeah, but mike's learned to put elements of himself in his reviews. Learned it from us, maybe even possibly.
    Ed: Then what? That it?
    Me: Well, not exactly. Staying at diva there's this wonderfully personal piece about him and his fella.
    Ed: Then what? That it now?
    Me: You're getting just a bit above yourself these days, you know. Remember who pays yer wages, pal. And remember Alastair Campbell.
    Ed: (Thinks) Why's he crawling up diva's butt today? Must be something going down...
    Heavens, is my life so dull I have to make people up? I feel a best-selling novel coming on.

    And you say? (13)   Link to this


    Many fashions come from London, if not most of them. Oh, Liverpool certainly had its time and Manchester gets the odd look-in too. Wigan we remember for Northern Soul, which was after my time, and Blackpool for Coronation Street, which wasn't.

    Leith, where I make my home, will now for ever be associated with heroin. And right next door to Leith, in a Brighton and Hove Albion relationship, is a little place called Edinburgh. It's made styles too - especially in the naughty nineties.

    The lastest one to come to my attention is a particular hair colour - a russet blend of pillarbox with damson, yet not without undertones of chemical pink. It's odd, striking, yet totally suitable for human hair, unlike green and blue, which aren't. And I want me some - while I'm still alive.

    But - before splashing out my hard-earned dosh on such a jolly jape, I thought I'd test the water a little. Do a little market research. In the Village.

    "I've decided to get red streaks!" I announced at the bar - to instant stunned silence, as the words "mutton", "lamb", "dressed as" hung plangent but unspoken over Madonna's Greatest Hits.

    Babs was the first to break the ice. "You're too old, Peter," she declared. "Everybody'll just say 'Who's that old man with the dyed hair?'"

    I chose my reply carefully. "You fucking bitch," I said to her.

    Then Dean chipped in. "Get grey streaks, darling!" he offered.

    "You fucking little cow," was his reward for that.

    That's it then - exactly what I expected! I'll make my appointment today. Quentin didn't get where he did by listening to... insects!

    And you say? (13)   Link to this

    Tuesday, September 23, 2003


    You may congratulate Naked Blog on achieving 29th Google place in the discovered universe for "blog".

    Oh we've been at 29 before. But this was in 2001, before the "blog explosion".

    And it's actually much better than 29, if you take out mega-sites such as Blogger and Blogspot. In fact there were only three I recognised as being what I and most of you call personal blogs. Where Is Raed? at four. Dullest blog in the World at 12. Tard blog at 19, and then of course us.

    This deserves a drink!

    And you say? (9)   Link to this


    Babs came in then. "I've got our next cinema trip worked out!" she said. "It's Ned Kelly."

    "Heath Ledger," I replied. "Orlando Bloom - from Pirates," she agreed. "But I don't want to go," I said, reluctantly.

    "How come no?"

    "Not interested in Ned Kelly. The only reason they keep making films about him is that he's the only interesting Australian there's ever been. Trying to think about a famous Australian is like trying to think of a famous lesbian. There are one or two - shadowy, evanescent... floaty concepts in the remains of your cerebellum - but you just can't put your finger on them."

    "So I take it that's a no?"

    John Macaulay came in... the nice one, from Leith. "I'm forty-one next week!" he declared. "Oh John, that's shocking," I feigned. "When I met you you were just a lad in your twenties. You being forty-one makes me feel a hundred." "I know!" he laughed. "You nearly are!"

    Two men and two women came in, strangers, possibly skipping their fat club for the evening. "My God! You're fat!" John shouted at the first guy. He didn't seem to mind, but one of the ladies did. "If you're saying that about him - what are you gonna say about us?" she demanded, trying to ease and squeeze her way behind a table. "Dunno - haven't decided yet," John declared, grinning.

    Later, the one in red came over between us. "Why are you so nasty to us?" she demanded. "You're obnoxious." (It was John she was meaning. By now I had my arm part of the way round her waist, and already was kissing her on the lips. I'm not Leith's leading customer service bingo caller for nowt.)

    "I'm Cathy and I'm 59," she told me. "We've been celebrating today because we've passed our QVC's."

    "That's fabulous, Cathy," I agreed. "But QVC is a shopping channel, sweetness. I think you mean NVQ's. Now what lovely NVQ's did you pass?"

    "Guidance and counselling," she told me. "That's wonderful," I told her back. Then she went to help Alice (5) with today's blackboard masterpiece. I couldn't make out the theme, but there was definitely a horse there. Maybe it was Alice's take on Ned Kelly.

    The one in white came over between us. She too told John he was obnoxious, but I was marvellous, and what was the connection between us and were we partners?

    Our subsequent hysterics somewhat fazed her. "What IS IT ABOUT THIS PLACE?" she half screamed. "Listen, honey," I began. "This is the Port o Leith Bar - possibly the most famous bar in Britain."

    "In the world," John agreed.

    "And you are currently standing talking to two of the most A-list celebrity drinkers. Right here, right now - on your first visit." A pause for breath, but not inspiration - which was flowing as fast as the Guinness. "Normally it takes people six months to get as far along the bar as you have - one stool at a time."

    Then my piece de resistance. "From the moment you walk through that door, you realise that everything you thought you knew was wrong. After tonight you will never be the same person again."

    It was truly one of my most dramatic moments. But then John broke the spell. "Now go away," he said to her. "And your tits are too big."

    Later Mary made him apologise. Time passed. I ate a ham salad roll and the bridge people came in but I ignored them.

    And you say? (12)   Link to this

    Monday, September 22, 2003


    It's got to be Speaking As A Parent. In content this budding gem relates to My Boyfriend Is A Twat, which is expanding so fast it's almost a franchise. We're talking Zed herself, Quarsan and Quickos to name but three, and children coming on line as fast as they learn the alphabet.

    And in style SAAP isn't a zillion miles from both Nigel and myself. Which maybe explains why it's in Audi Olympics Top Ten, although naturally at a safe and respectable distance below oneself. Like attracts like.

    Family is clearly the way to go. WTF wants to read about middle-aged queens with wrinkle-angst and prostate conditions? With a million men behind them, but now nary one to be seen?

    So... the next family blog you read might well be me - making it all up! What a jolly jape!!
    Thinks... a bit of lewdness never went wrong in an internet title, now did it.... I've got it!!! Welcome to the penetrating insight of...

    My Husband's Got a Really Big Dick!
    Dot com

    And you say? (12)   Link to this


    Anthony and Nixon, two recent visitors to my organ. Both gay men, but my what different blogs!

    Shite's Unoriginal Miscellany with Diamond Geezer. The first is £9.99, and the second given away free. (Although I'm always telling him it's too good for free.)

    And you say? (2)   Link to this

    Sunday, September 21, 2003


    When I were t'lad, I were that fit I could chop down't tree with'n egg whisk.
    Kidding of course. But I have cycled much of Scotland, Highlands and islands.

    This morning I got out of breath cutting my toenails.
    I'd get my bike out again, but it's gathered so much dust I fear the wheels won't go round any more.

    What's your preferred fitness training? (Please don't include sex, as it's not a realistic option.)

    And you say? (9)   Link to this


    Farewell to pogo and Gaisgeach, and thanks for all the comments, guys. Good luck in your writing course(s).

    What has happened to Charlie?

    It's the equinox. From tomorrow we're in the dark hemisphere. I hate it.

    And you say? (4)   Link to this

    Saturday, September 20, 2003


    We seem to have unleashed an autumn of Cilla-madness.

    First there was our story of exactly a month ago.

    Then a Channel Four screening of Cilla in Black and White

    And now Nigel of Invisible Stranger writes to tell me that this carrot-topped icon of something-or-other is on Parkinson tonight. Is there no end to the nostalgia?

    Nigel, like me, is in essence a fan of the early, black and white Cilla, and thus he also writes...
    "Cilla in Black and White was a decent biography, but sorely lacking in any good song clips. Better to get the very excellent new 3CD collection (Best of 63-70). Also, she's on Parkinson tonight. (BBC 1 21.55) I love the old Cilla. Chuck."
    To which we didn't waste a moment in replying...
    "Even the few lines of "You're My World" they showed (why, oh why not ALL of it??) demonstrated clearly the difference between then and now pop.

    Then, in 1963, she stood alone on a totally empty stage, quite still, and sang beautifully two songs.

    Now - she'd be wearing a bikini and a microphone headset, and gyrating about the place with twenty deodorised queens™ doing the same behind her. And with a camera cut after every two words. Because now she wouldn't actually have any talent."
    Some days I can see why me mam clung to Vera Lynn so long.

    ™ I've patented this term as it would make a great name for a group.

    And you say? (5)   Link to this

    Friday, September 19, 2003


    It was in my forties I first realised I was getting a bit slow on the uptake. But I blamed everyone else. Too fast! I would say. Too slapdash! Too assuming!! Give me the information in a form I can assimilate and I'll learn it just fine. I used to be a near-genius, you know.

    Take last night. (Readers new here won't know we've been investigating RSS recently. What it is, and what it does.) Last night I was sitting in the pub debating nothing more taxing than the DVD machine which a friend has kindly decided to give me, when who should come in but Tony my IT Manager.

    "Come over the road and I'll give you a demo of RSS," he says to me, and I'm like, "OK". So I puts my Guinness down and toddles over to his house. "There's Alan from Oddverse!" he says, showing me a bunch of typing on the screen - and I'm like, "Yer what?"

    It was a page of funny-looking text, sure... but there was nothing of Dublin about it. No scent of the Liffey. No hint of "Alan-ness" that I've grown so familiar with. I hated it, and told him so.

    "It doesn't have to be just text," Tony pressed on, furiously clicking here, there and everywhere. Suddenly Quickos popped up, in full colour, on the lower right portion of the screen. Tony was like, "There!". I'm like, "Why don't you just click on Quickos in the first place?"

    Oh - by now he was rattling it out like a dude at gunpoint pleading for his life, and I could sense my inputs frying. "Let's go back to the pub," I beg. "This is dae'in ma heid in."

    So then I gets a bit accusing, don't I. "I'm nearly sixty!" I tell him, as if he could ever forget. "You wouldn't talk that fast if you were explaining something to Mary!" (Mary the landlady is reputed to be in the region of 65.)

    And it took at least one more pint of the Liffey Water before I could resume my chat about DVD's. Am I too old? Or is Tony too fast? Maybe it's a bit of both.

    And you say? (7)   Link to this

    Thursday, September 18, 2003


    As ever, you saw it here first. Tonight at 9pm Channel Four are showing an hour's celebration of Miss Cilla Black's career.

    This will surprise some of you teeny boyracers!

    (We never write here about the transient and ephemeral - which as I've often told you darlings is pretty much everything since 1986.)

    Where Naked Blog leads, others eagerly follow - even if it takes them a month!

    Cilla! As you've never seen her before... (It'd better be damn good after this build up!)

    Tape request: Already there's a demand for tapes of the show. If you've got one, please see Rob in the comment box below.

    And you say? (9)   Link to this


    Slippers, gorgeousness, existential philosophy... all welcome.

    Give Zed your comment-lurve!

    Plug your own site free on my cutting-edge organ!

    And you say? (16)   Link to this


    Good show on Five last night, about phobias. (Oh, and why do all five channels put their best offering of the day on at 9pm, after 23 hours of relative dross?) But setting that aside, this was an excellent show by any measure.

    Phobias featured were
  • writing in public
  • birds
  • frogs
  • buttons, and
  • baked beans (yes, really)
  • In the past I've seen programmes about arachnophobia (surely the brand leader), and my own pet horror, heights.

    It was interesting that both the bird lady (who after treatment was able to venture a few feet into a zoo birdcage), and the beans man (ditto was able to open the can, and watch them bubbling on a stove) developed their conditions as a result of films - the Birds and Tommy, where someone drowns in beans I think he said.

    Interesting also that whereas birds, beans and buttons are all harmless, and thus irrational fears, others - such as snakes, spiders and of course heights are all potentially lethal.

    Phobias seem to be treatable. The spider lady in the paragraph above went from being unable to enter a room until it had been checked for spiders, right up to handling a big ole tarantula.

    I've even seen a programme about fear of heights, although being a sufferer it made me extremely anxious. At the end of the treatment the group were led to the top of a skyscraper, and invited to walk to the edge. I had to switch off. Anything to do with heights and edges and I have to close my eyes. It's getting worse.

    In fact I'm so bad now I even get anxiety playing Tomb Raider 2, where she jumps about cliff edges. And don't say I haven't tried... I've abseiled down many a cliff and even strode a path alongside Loch Long* which is our answer to the Grand Canyon... with no fence and only the grips on your boots to save you from a thirty-second plummet to splattersville.

    Reliving that latter is causing me real grief at the moment, in nightmares and even creeping into daymares. I worry for my mental condition. Aeroplanes are out of the question since Pan Am Lockerbie. I don't really care who accepts responsibility - falling out of the sky for eleven minutes is not my preferred last rite.
    * Andrew Gilligan Corner: It was a long loch. A long way down. And there is a Loch Long. But that might not have been it. Accuracy omitted on grounds of time...
    In school geography we mostly did Australia.

    And you say? (17)   Link to this

    Wednesday, September 17, 2003


    Blogs go through many fads and fashions.
  • Take sidebars. On the left. Then right, for blind people. Then on both sides, for top and bottom people.
  • Take faces. Arial. Verdana. Helvetica. San serif. Trebuchet.
  • Take author pics. None. Disguised. Full-on in yer face.
  • Then there's RSS. XML. Blogchalk. Webrings. Blogrolling... the list goes on and on. (Those last few words invariably mean the writer can't think of any more.)
  • Above all of these, Naked Blog stands like a colossus - our five year mission merely to churn out the highest quality product at an affordable price.

    Till now. I saw it and just had to have one. Miniblog, I'm talking about. The question is... what to put on it? I'm thinking of things which will be interesting for a few days... like the MTV awards.

    Your (polite) ideas will as always be welcomed.

    My grateful thanks to Tony my IT manager who had the thing up and running within a day of my mentioning it in the pub. Write to him and buy one.

    And you say? (13)   Link to this


    Most of yesterday afternoon was spent facilitating the re-union of two love-struck but separated friends. It was Romeo and Juliet. It was Heathcliff and Catherine. It was Mills and Boon.

    Good luck to both! (Oh - they ken whae they are... avid readers of my organ.)

    And you say? (1)   Link to this

    Tuesday, September 16, 2003


    (I'm sure it's not original, but it seemed like it last night on my fifth pint... )
    Evergreen Norma: "I've led a very chequered life!"
    Me: "So have I. But mostly on the black squares..."
    Laugh? I nearly started...

    In Other News, Vicariously
  • I learned from Bob that Middlesborough is the prostitution capital of NE England. Bigger even than Newcastle, he said.
  • Barbara got so Brahms and Liszt she fell out of the bath and broke her first two fingers. Fortunately it's the left hand, leaving the other one free for romance.
  • Big Straight Al is the new Friday night barman at the Port, and he was waxing proudly about his popularity. "What were you on?" I asked him cheekily. He smiled, Sphinx-like. As did Mary the landlady.
  • Stuart the Friday DJ came in with a six foot three drag queen called John, I think it was. He does Rocky Horror gigs.
  • Tom my next door neighbour is playing Cato in Julius Caesar at the Lyceum. He gave me a half-price ticket.
  • Tony my IT Manager explained how Blogrolling works, but I couldn't understand it. He said he would look into a Mini Blog for the sidebar. Three other leading fagblogs have got one, and they might be more than a fad.
  • I'm so surrounded by talent, all I have to do is breathe in...

    And you say? (12)   Link to this

    Monday, September 15, 2003


    Lyle of Dummies For Destruction writes today about Affleck's and Lopez's (non) wedding being a Sun headline, and he's asking who cares.

    Surprisingly many do. Or think they do.

    A couple of weeks ago on BBC Breakfast was Rabbi Shmuley Boteach promoting his book, The Private Adam. His thesis was that we're all too involved with celebrities. It was the time when Madge snogged Britney at the MTV awards, and the Rabbi asked if we could conceive of Paul and Ringo ever doing that. (We couldn't, of course.)

    He said that while The Beatles did their best to escape the spotlight, today's slebs actively run in to it. Me, I thought he was far too young to have much idea what the Beatles did, but let that pass.

    Very young also are a couple of girls at my work. Let's call them Maisie and Daisy, to protect their privacy. Teens. You know the type. (Or possibly you don't, if your life is mostly middle class.)

    These girls sit glued to the telly. They can tell you every detail about every character in every soap man and woman have devised. They rarely read, except to learn more about actors and pop singers - chatting as if they really knew them. And they will feel genuinely involved in Mr Affleck's and Ms Lopez' comings and goings. Victims of the modern age, you see. The new chimney-sweeps.

    For Maisie and Daisy are your future, folks. They've just completed eleven years of "education" at astronomical expense to the taxpayer, from which they've gleaned the rudiments of reading and adding up - slowly. They're happy to work for next to fuck-all pay, and have all the self-image of a dart-board. They exist to get stuck.

    What little they do earn will be spent on advertised goods. Mostly unnecessary "beauty" products. Soon they'll fall pregnant to some witless youth who'll leave them about a month after the child is born. If not before. His genes say fertilise. Her own say nurture. The World Trade Organisation says consume!

    And Ben and J-Lo spend half their obscene earnings on security to keep Maisie and Daisy safely away from them. The other half often fuels the Colombian economy, because the pressure on the megastars is too much for most human frames.

    And you say? (19)   Link to this

    Sunday, September 14, 2003

    Out and about

    (This is my first experiment with the new Blogger time-shift feature. It's a bit scary.)

    If it's below the one above, rather than above the one below, then it's worked.

    I'll put the content in later, as I feel my meditation coming on.

    Holy shit - now I'm on yesterday. For real. I knew I shouldn't have touched it.

    Tardis Corner

    (This one was actually written tomorrow.) And it's about Scaryduck's Fabulous Worst Music Act In The World Poll. Ever. Which was written yesterday, but flagged not to appear until tomorrow also.

    Oh Blogger Time-Shift - what have you unleashed on the world?

    So far Naked Blog has contributed...
    "Heavens am I too late to nominate Madonna? And if multiples are allowed, then why hasn't anyone mentioned Gareth Gates and Will Young? Cliff Richard and Cilla Black likewise fit into the easy-vomiting category. In fact, make it simple... every single act since Dire Straits."
    Get over to Scaryduck now yesterday tomorrow and place your nominations.

    And you say? (4)   Link to this


    You could have knocked me dahn wiv a fevver, guv, when I was watching Frost On Sunday this morning.

    There was Frostie, back from the longest vacation known to man (Betty Ford, perhaps?) interviewing (separately) the two most-loved Americans in the discovered universe. Giuliani, because he saved New York, and Bush Senior, because he isn't Bush Junior, so his damage-potential has mostly vanished. (And give the guy his due, he does keep his gob shut, mostly.)

    I noted he's started referring to "The President" nowadays, rather than "Our son, the President". Could this be an attempt to distance himself? Is he gonna write a Mommie Dearest in reverse? Only time will tell.

    But back to the point. Which is floral. Surely in a country with the financial clout of the USA they could have got two different bunches of flowers for the two different interviewees? Maybe a nice tinto rosso vine for Rudy, and a cactus for George? Your own ideas will be welcome, as ever.
    Sir David's nine-fifteen appointmentSir David's nine forty-five

    And you say? (10)   Link to this

    Saturday, September 13, 2003

    WHIT'S FER YE...
    What's for you will no' go by you. (Scottish saying, meaning fate.)

    So there I was chatting to D my colleague in the bingo this morning. "Did you see David Bowie on Jonathan Ross last night?" I asked her - a woman of roughly my vintage.

    "Oh - I was never a big Bowie fan," she replied.

    "I think he's a love him or leave him kind of star," I agreed. "Do you know he's the closest celebrity to me in terms of age?" I said then. "Just ten days younger than me."

    "Really!" D exclaimed.

    "Yes - and doesn't it just show how people develop separate lives?" I said. "There's him on Jonathan Ross, and me in the bingo... "

    We laughed and went about our tasks.

    And you say? (4)   Link to this

    Friday, September 12, 2003


    "So what time will we be eating?" I says to Gary on the dog and bone. "Susie doesn't get in from work till six-thirty," he goes, "and by the time she cooks it, it'll be about seven-thirty."

    "Gary, that's ridiculous," I says to him. "You can't reasonably expect your lady to slave away at her work all day, then come in and stand there cooking the tea. We will cook her tea for her."

    Gary pauses. "OK then, but don't go giving her too many ideas..."

    Cut to two hours later, in The Village. "You're looking very dapper today," says Babs the chef. "Yes, I'm invited to tea at Big Speedy Gary's and Suzie's," I reply. "We're having steak and chips and salad. Gary and I are cooking it."

    There then proceeded negotiations with the barman over the quality and quantity of the "background" music. Beyonce at volume seven is not my chosen way of spending beer money, to be honest. Absolute shite, to coin a phrase.

    "Put Dusty on!" cried Babs. "I'm not putting that old cow on!" Dean shouted back. "Madonna's an old cow and you've always got her on!" declared Babs, momentarily victorious.

    Then Gary turns up, doesn't he. "The house is a fucking tip," he tells me straight out. "I'll have to clean it." Me, I blanche at the thought. Not the thought of the mess, but the thought of housework. Regular readers will ken fine that we just don't do housework. The very sight of a vacuum reduces me to full-body panic tremors.

    So we go to his house, and he washes up and scrapes candle wax off the dining table with a ruler, at the same time cooking the tea. Me, I behave like a guest and surf the internet, don't I? Getting tore into the Thresher's Pinot Grigio.

    But when he brings out the vacuum (upright model) my heart melts a little at the thought of a grown man reduced to such femininity.

    "I'll be Freddie!" I scream, and grab the vacuum right out of his hand. "Hoove, Hoove, Hoove!" I go, all over the carpet. Nearest thing I've had to a blow job since last October.

    The tea was delicious. The company exquisite. Thanks both.

    Readers more interested in a history and philosophy of blogging than in my dining arrangements can find much post-pub (nice) writing in the comment box to the post below. (The 20-plus one.)

    And you say? (8)   Link to this

    Thursday, September 11, 2003


    Extract from Naked Blog, September 12, 2001
    "You see, what was attacked yesterday were not only thousands of good people pursuing their livelihoods, but also something quite different. Something we too have written about here and elsewhere. What was attacked yesterday was Money, the real ruler of the earth. Money which merely uses the offices of the USA and the European governments to further its only cause, which is to grow. And in this growth it treads carelessly and callously wherever it chooses, enslaving and impoverishing across the less-developed world in order to fuel its cancerous growth.

    Most of those who perished were employed in the service of Money, and they have paid a terrible price - the ultimate price - and of course they didn't deserve it. But whereas they now lie dead amidst the ruins of the temple, Money itself is only slightly dented.

    It will immediately bounce back, for its governance is all we understand. Government by Truth and Goodness and Fairness is not even at the starting-block."
    Oh how we did wax in those days! Full article.

    And you say? (24)   Link to this

    Why aye, hinny!

    Taken last visit, but none of us has changed.Lovely to meet Sarah again yesterday, fresh up from Northumberblog. Also Chloe and her pal whose name escapes me.

    Nice to see not one of these überstylish young ladies with sunglasses on top of their heads. Our influence is spreading towards world domination.

    In other news...

    Osama bin Laden (remember him?) brings out new anniversary video.

    World Trade Organisation holds talks.

    Blogger brings out interface four. (But it's not wildly different from two.) Or am I missing something? (Still no scrollbar, though.)

    Hear Salam Pax on BBC Radio. Audio

    And you say? (19)   Link to this

    Wednesday, September 10, 2003


    Last night Channel Four screened the much-trailed Jump London, a film about a group of young Frenchmen who specialise in urban acrobatics. They use steps and walls, roofs and pillars both to explore and celebrate their splendid physical prowess - running, jumping, holding, hanging.

    Hugely impressive, especially for the once-athletic but now couch-potatic like myself.
    "Forget tubes, trains and cars, packed pavements, the congestion charge and crowded platforms. What if you could take the high road across London - leaping between buildings, jumping over rooftops, letting nothing get in your way?"
    What indeed? Yet, like so much of modern life, there's a snag. Clearly the home viewer can never see the real thing - only ever a film of it. It's a three-way synthesis of movement, film and music.

    And - much like cricket, the entire day's activity was edited down to really a very few minutes. Possibly seconds.

    Fantastic stuff, nevertheless, showing a new relation between the urban environment and man. Showing man enjoying and playing with the built structure in a quite different way from the builder's intention. Free running. It'll catch on.

    Guardian Report.
    Free Run Website.

    And you say? (17)   Link to this


    It's all very well being so family-friendly, but before someone slaps a U certificate on us, we'd better revert to our former, shocking state. So - without further ado, here are a few of yesterday's searches. Strictly 18-plus only.
  • orlando bloom naked
  • pam st clement+naked
  • Robin Cook's Abduction cliff notes blog
  • gruesome words in poems on the wtc
  • heisenberg probably slept here - comments and summary
  • how pound does hilary duff weight
  • "Allen Carr" smoking Christian
  • "kkk hood" and "how to make"
  • what Dusty Springfield would wear
  • only naked old men
  • blogger anorexia weighed bottoms in G2 Guardian
  • And this, my favourite for a while...
  • scotland's hardons wall
  • It's referring, presumably, to Hadrian's wall. What's in a name, eh? And why should Naked Blog be the world's repository of filth? Not fair, I tell you...

    From my mailbag...

    Comes this from Lillian Mohr. "Could you handle a massive penis?"

    Lillian, honey - bring it on!! Never mind the pills - send me one of your successful students!!

    Election Special! Battle of the Blogspots!!

    Get your cute ass over to My Boyfriend is a Twat and vote for your favourite blogger! Sadly there are only two to choose from, much as in the days of Thatcher and Kinnock. And one isn't one of them. Never mind - zed will see sense soon I'm sure!

    At the moment, Audi Olympics leads Troubled Diva by a short head. But, if I were a betting man, I think I'd put my money on TD. He's got a huge and dedicated fanbase, even though not all of them have progressed that much beyond Gareth Gates. Mike's also got the biggest blogroll in the discovered universe. Ninety-two, unless more came on while I was counting... :)

    And you say? (13)   Link to this

    Tuesday, September 09, 2003


    We have a very young medium here. And a community in a sense it's never been known before. Zed of My Boyfriend Is A Twat writes publicly in my comment box...
    family values ... how appropriate. i've been sitting here for the past half hour pouring my eyes out because my youngest brother will be getting married on saturday and i can't afford to go.

    if the aliens (parents) had any family values, wouldn't they try and help me out ? or the other 2 brothers, one of whom is an engineer with an extremely reputal company (hence HUGE salary) and the other who is an extremely skilled and well-paid engineer working for one of the oil companies ?

    it must be true of what the aliens used to tell me : i ask for too much.
    So there you are. What zed needs to complete her family happiness will be but small change - poolboy money - for many of you who've enjoyed her writing for free for so long. And yes - that means you and you.

    Nellie Pledge

    So get that chequebook out and do a little community writing. Now. Naturally I've already made my offer.

    OK - I'm aware this is possibly a first. But Hollywood didn't get where it is by looking to others for the rules.

    And you say? (16)   Link to this


    Alice came up to me in the pub yesterday. "Do you know it's Mary's birthday today?" she asked me, very politely. To get the full flavour of this conversation I should tell you that Alice is five. Six tops.

    "Which Mary?" I replied - thinking immediately of Mary the landlady... a woman who's seen off a birthday or two in her time.

    "Mary in Heaven," replied my young conversant. "God's wife." At that she repaired to the pub blackboard to draw Mary in Heaven having a bit of a knees-up with the Angels. Conceptual clash, but wtf cares - you're only young once.

    "What are they teaching them in school these days?" I said to Kevin the shopgirl, who'd just finished a hard day at the shopface flogging overpriced furniture and tellies to the hapless poor at a lifetime's exorbitant interest.

    "Dinnae ken, pal," he replied - glancing around the joint for the talent. But there was none, so he gave me back his attention. Thanks.

    Later I collared Alice's dad, aka Tony my IT manager. "Tony!" I said to him in theological despair. "They've told her it's Mary's birthday and it just isn't! Mary doesn't have a birthday - she's too... holy!"

    "I know..." Tony nodded in agreement. "But don't worry - tomorrow she'll be on to something else!"

    Alice continued working on her Sistine masterpiece. Time passed. Kevin and I went next door to Bar Java before the bridge people came in.

    More Family Values

    Nigel (Audi Man) announces the birth of his son Timothy. I sense, but cannot be sure, that it's his and his wife's firstborn. You can adore Timothy having a kip here on My Boyfriend etc.

    Pogo writes delightfully about his son's starting school.

    I love blogs. In what paper or magazine could you gain so much pleasure from people you've come to think of as friends? Conversely, how many of you have lost some interest in your former favourite columnists? I know I have. Newspapers daren't do the personal. (Except possibly Jon Ronson - but he was to some extent influenced by moi.)
    Have you got a family value today? Feel free to publicise it here.

    And finally...

    Thanks to all for your interest in my somewhat turbulent weekend at work. I've decided after much deliberation that it would be incautious to go bleating on about my employer's business, especially as they now all read this rag.

    So as a compensation, here are some bingo tales from my earlier site. They're from the second half of 1999.
  • June 99 is a little flavour of the second time I started work in that place. (I'm now onto my third employment there!)
  • Lotto! is the first ever time I called the bingo. Thrill to my real-time terror!
  • The Society of Women still brings a tear to my eye. It's about pregnancy and the generations.
  • And Fruit of My Womb has got me in floods now, so I'll have to stop. It's about cancer. How cheerful. (She got better, honest.)
  • I hope you enjoy them!

    And you say? (19)   Link to this

    Monday, September 08, 2003


    Taken on Fujifilm FinePix 101, set to maximum resolution. (Haha - not really!)Tonight on my way home from the pub, the moon was in perfect fullness and Mars in total redness just to its left.

    I've seen Mars many, many times, but obviously now is a special time for viewing that planet. And yes, it really is bright - every inch as startling as the news reports had predicted. Approaching the brilliance of Venus and Jupiter - but red, red, red. The heavens declare.

    You can see why Communism was such a hit in the States.

    Some of you might have heard of Radio Luxembourg, on 208 metres medium wave. For those who haven't, I offer no explanation. It's part of European broadcasting history.

    They had a serial then, an early radio SciFi, (circa 1955) called Journey Into Space - set on Mars and featuring characters called Doc and Lemmy. How I hugged that electric radio, shivering in adrenalin horror, as Luxembourg - the primary pirate station - came and went into the cosmic garble. The terror! The canals!!

    Glory days, and set around the time of Quatermass and 1984. It wasn't all Vera Lynn then, you know.

    The best software for the stars and planets is called Skyglobe. I unconditionally recommend it, especially at this historic Mars approach, when no opportunities should be missed.

    Spot a little green man and give him my number!

    And you say? (10)   Link to this


    Quite an eventful weekend at work. I know many of you secretly wonder, but are too polite to ask, what such a talented, lovely and - let's face it - sexy person as myself is doing working in the bingo industry.

    You watch the grotesque BBC sitcom Eyes Down, full of characters with all the dimensions of a piece of string, and you think, "That can't be Peter - surely?" And of course you would be right: my workplace is one hundred times more comedic than any Paul O'Grady synthesis.

    It's a funny old thing, work. I often sit here reading about your sumptuous lifestyles in this office and that one - going to this meeting, enjoying that jaunt about the place, and I think, "That should have been me. I can do that. Giesa job."

    Then I too turn to the TV, and take in a masterly show such as The Office, and I think, "How pointless is all of that? Who cares about business and selling and what shall it profit a man?" I just couldn't do it. Couldn't invest my energy for the enrichment of others - no matter how much dosh I made. As the song used to sing, "This is my life." My talents, my efforts. They can never be yours - unless I choose to offer them.

    I've don't work for money principally. Always they've been jobs I enjoyed doing, or wanted to learn, with a modest pay packet as a bonus. And people - always people. The thought of working with things leaves me as cold as an iceberg lettuce. I think the real reason I never make any progress with the web books I occasionally buy is not so much senility as the thought, "who the hell cares?"

    Tick, done it already you see. Once you've learned to programme one computer, you should free your mind from that digital detritus for ever. Transcend and surpass the silicon. Me, I've learned three! Fortran IV Univac, HP Cobol, and most recently Sinclair Basic ZX81. All that DO and GOTO and IF and PRINT! You gotta love it. Then leave it - and get back to something worthwhile, fer gawdsake.

    This post isn't coming together today at all. I'm writing in Notepad, as I just can't face the new Blogger interface (third one) after a weekend off writing. But it isn't happening. I'd planned to tell you about some of the conflict and intrigue which peppered the workplace the last few days... why did I tell a manager to fuck off? Why did a caller colleague almost feel my fist on his nose? How did we reconcile a twenty pound cash difference at ten o clock last night?

    Drama. The stuff that queens are made of. Not style sheets.

    Maybe more later.

    Shock Update! Blogger interface reverts to version 2! I'm waxing literary as I sit here...

    Now - do these lovely readers really want to know the behind-the-scenes bingo gossip? Hmmm.

    Cathode Rays

    Graham Norton was on last night, doing standup from the Roundhouse. It was shite.

    Welcome back to Oddverse Alan, after his brief hiate.

    Happy first birthday to Diamond Geezer. NB seems to be in his all-time top twenty referrers, which is a little surprising as to my vague memory we only linked that site for two months or so.

    Is it fickle to move people on and off your blogroll? I do read more of you than appear there, you know - I just click from one of the Andrex sites.*

    And now it's a much nicer day than the forecast fore cast, and I must repair to the Council Tax office. Not going there soured my entire holiday, but I'm used to it.

    What's happening in the world? Is Blair still PM? Has Dr Kelly changed his mind? Have you bared your bum for Bush? And what about Audi Man's new baby son?

    *© Naked Blog, 2003

    And you say? (9)   Link to this

    Friday, September 05, 2003


    Do they go together? Is wrinkly-sex on the menu, or should it be swept under the mat - along with incontinence pads and walking frames? Should you teach your granny to suck eggs, or should she be left eggless? It's a mighty question.

    All this arose from a throw-away remark on a recent post about an unexpected sexual offer this week - the first such for ten to fifteen years. Naturally my inner Mary Whitehouse kicked in and I declined at once. Me, I get in a complete state over what colour socks to put on, far less the prospect of throwing away my chastity at a stroke.

    Let sleeping dogs lie, I say. Not for me the Viagra-totin auld hippies I see around me - chicklets hanging on their every word. How do they do it? And why?

    The odd time I catch a glance of myself in a mirror I feel physically sick. Not only do I increasingly resemble facially my late father, which is disconcerting enough, but the (big) bit from the neck down is repellent. Especially when I think back to how it was once.

    But that was then, this is now. I know few if any of you are anywhere near my state of decay, but hopefully it'll come some day. The state, if not the decay.

    Hi Ho

    Back to work today, after a few days off. Back to my bingo ladies who haven't had a whiff of nookie for a lot longer than me, yet still get around with a smile on their faces. Sex? No thank you, Vicar. I'd rather have a cup of tea.

    And you say? (25)   Link to this

    For Change's Sake?

    Yet another change to the format. This is becoming increasingly tiresome. What I really need is a secretary. Also I made just a tiny change to the strapline and it republished the whole damn lot. Ah well. Beggars can't be choosers. You better believe it.

    House Call

    If Dr Maya Angelou can do so much for black people, and Dr Germaine Greer ditto for women, I've come to the conclusion that a nice PhD is the very least I should be aiming for. My mam would have been that proud of me.

    Back in the sixties, when I was alive, a Bachelor's Degree actually meant something. Now it's a bit like a GCSE.

    Yes - I've got to do it. While I still can. It'll keep me off the streets and out of pubs. Meet fascinating new people at summer schools. Maybe even go on Saga holidays with them! Now what the heck should I choose? So many talents...

    And you say? (4)   Link to this

    Thursday, September 04, 2003


  • Last day of my holiday. Been OK. Never did get to the Council Tax office, though.
  • Libby Purves was on BBC Breakfast and she said that she finds time for things by doing no housework and ignoring fashion. I agree.
  • Got a letter from a reader telling me that file jdbgmgr.exe was a virus. It isn't. Check it out on Google before taking any action.
  • Maya Angelou was on BBC Breakfast and she was very compelling. But could it be that's because she's an old black lady with a good line in headscarves? And a voice like a nightclub jazz singer?
  • Yesterday I was in a position to have sex for the first time for so many years I've lost count. At least a decade. Somewhat startling.

  • And you say? (12)   Link to this

    Wednesday, September 03, 2003

    British balloon altitude mission reaches no feet at all.

    British manned balloon mission abandoned. No-one hurt.Oh well, so it sprung a leak, and they're all saying what a tragedy.

    I heard it on the news, and my first thought was, "O my God, the plunge, the fireball!" But no - it never even got off the ground.

    There's something wonderfully British about that. Any other country would have got at least a few feet into the air.

    But think of the alternative. Half way to Mars and then the damn thing comes to bits. "Life flashed before me? Darling I had time to write another chapter."

    Libya has admitted responsibility. US President Bush announced that he would, "Get the bad guys". The Washington sniper is taking a day off in sympathy. Cliff Richard is to sing it on his Christmas record. BBCi

    And you say? (10)   Link to this

    Tuesday, September 02, 2003


    Diddle-omp Diddle-omp Diddle OMPOM
    Diddle-amp Diddle-amp Diddle AMPAM

    ...went my new mobile phone yesterday, vibrating on every fourth Mozartian note. It's an awe-inspiring performance, sadly only too rare in its execution. But then I am pretty old these days. As was Stuart, my kindly caller.

    "Hey Patricia yer ratbag!" he goes. "Get yer scabby arse along to The Village and I'll get yer yer lunch." Such an honest country, Scotland. None of that middle class hypocrisy you read about and see on TV. I do adore him - the leftovers from Saturday's party which sadly I was too emotionally distraught to attend.

    Oh we cuddled like recently-separated twins, but Babs was rather more cool. "Single mum of 43!" she declared, apropos a recent blog entry. Words can wound. But these are never meant to. So I gave her a hug, but hugs are cheap.

    Then seven people came in for lunch, and she got in a bit of a state. "Look at them!" she mouthed to us from the protection of her kitchen. Seven! And they never book!!"

    Stuart and I tried to look all sympathetic, but soon burst out laughing. Queens can be deeply shallow.

    I had the pasta with wild mushroom sauce and melted goats cheese, after pastrami and sour cream starter. Stu chose battered pork escalope with pesto, and gave me all his olives. Then I got his potatoes. He doesn't eat much, you know. Uses up lager-space.

    Roddy the tree surgeon came in and had pastrami also. "This is delicious!" I said to him, and he nodded agreement over his Guardian. Roddy's a former Hunk of The Week, and he's promised next time to pose with a chainsaw and stripped to the waist. Only a man so confident in his heterosexuality can be that generous with his image for a poofsite.

    Gwen came over to join us. She's looking braw these days. Much heehaw and cackling as Dolly brought out his new photophone, so I took a picture of Gwen's tits and she loved it. It'd never really occurred to me till then that a woman is the only person who can't see her front assets in the same way as everyone else.

    Stuart got a bit jealous, and was pulling at his top to emphasise his own much smaller mammary endowment. "Keep taking the oestrogen, darling," I said to him. "You'll get there in the end." He's starting at a college soon, studying catering, food preparation and fine cooking. Gwen, his niece, seems still to be pursuing a career in showbiz.

    The National Health

    Babs came over to join us after her shift, and then Alastair. Puff, puff, puff they all went, and soon there was an atom cloud of fagsmoke over the table. Six smokers and moi. Smoke is a bit of a blessing, as it's a heaven sent excuse either to leave a company, or to sit right at the edge, which is my normal relation to life.

    Still, someone's bringing in a law in Scotland to ban smoking entirely in places where food is served, so that's obviously marvellous if it happens. All except two of my friends smoke their heads off, and I appreciate they'll have a different viewpoint, as I would have had too, just seventy days ago. Yesterday was the most vivid example I've noticed of how smoking accelerates as the beer slips down. They start off on about two an hour, but soon end up almost continuous. Horrifying. My love and pity to one and all.

    Bernd came in with Matthew. Bernd's been pretty poorly, after he fell off his pushbike and got a brain clot. "How are you, darling?" Gwen cooed at him. "Oh not so bad," he replied. "Zey took ze staples out today." He showed us the side of his head, above the left ear, where the staples had been. Bernd too is a former HOTW - the last one, in fact. I spoke to him, but he seemed a bit dazed. Maybe medication. Our bests for a full recovery.

    Matthew and I chatted in the gents. Matthew's an absolute stunna also, and our accidental meeting in the small bathroom was potentially a wee bit embarrassing. But he handled it like a man. He's off to Ohio to be resident Scottish piper in some joint or other. Invited me to his farewell do at the Central Bar this month.

    John-John came in, uncle of Ricky Rockstar, and Christina's former bf. He hadn't aged, even though it must have been ten years. It's funny meeting the ten-year people, as that naturally takes me back to the crazy nineties and the start of the kitchen period. "If you can remember the nineties, you weren't there!" I declared to Stuart. "That's the sixties, stupid!" he retorted. "Well, yes and no. Most of our friends weren't born in the sixties, Stu," I said to him then. "And it's equally true about the nineties - maybe moreso."

    Andy came in, who I also hadn't seen for years. His mighty frame and power of voice would once fill any room. And he was the first person I ever bought dope from, way back in those very nineties. Prime dealer. But he's older now, a little stooped. He's only got one lung left you see, from the cancer. "I just take it one day at a time, Peter," he said to me, as he rolled a fresh cigarette. Golden Virginia. We shook hands and separated, as I could sense it wasn't the place to talk about futures.

    And you say? (14)   Link to this

    Monday, September 01, 2003


    Yes folks! It's that time of the year again. Time to polish off the Caesar salad and lapse back into the abacus. Septem. Octem. (Not really). Novem, and of course the dreadful Decem.

    What am I talking about? The calendar, of course, numpty! It's the first of September today, in case you hadn't noticed. That time when we try and pretend summer's still here, even if only in India, while we photoshop out the brown leaves for green. (That could be the first recorded use of photoshop as a verb. Compare hoover.)

    Ageing with Attitude

    It's true. Just one day after I write about my birth in 1946, BBC Breakfast makes that this week's topic du jour. And not before time. Demos, the think-tank, have brought out a report (The New Old) on baby-boomers, whom they define as people born between 1945 and 1965. Pretty stupid range, if you ask me.

    Watch my lips. I am a baby-boomer. Di McDonald, the nuclear protestor whom they featured this morning is a baby-boomer. (b 1945). Vanessa Feltz is a fat, neurotic woman born in 1962. There's plenty of stuff booming about her, but nothing remotely baby.

    The term derives from the frantic amount of shagging that went on when WW2 finished, leading to a boom in babies. Simple as that. End of story. I've never understood heterosexuality, but cannot deny its popularity.

    But back to the topic, which is ageing with attitude. Seems we're all going to keep protesting. Not lie down and vegetate in bingos and bowling clubs. (That's lawn bowling, for my international readers. V popular with the over-sixties.)

    Well - you certainly get tons of protest here. When do I ever stop protesting about how dreadful everyone is to me?

    Only last night this gay man in his thirties was banging on about how I would never get into his knickers. (I hadn't shown the slightest interest in doing so, incidentally, and we were not in a pick-up joint. The horror!) Once, twice, three times I endured this over a period of a couple of pints, then decided enough was enough.

    "Dude," I said to him. "I think I should tell you something. Even if I were twenty years younger, I have to say I wouldn't give you a second glance." Pause for sinking in, then segue to, "I like my men to look like men."

    That, in gay chatter, is a weapon of mass destruction. There are many more, as I'll reveal from time to time.

    Ageing with The King

    Mildly interesting picture of what Elvis might look like today had he lived to 68. There's also a quite facile article, with gems like, "The hair changes colour and recedes." No shit, Sherlock.

    You can send in your own picture and have it aged, if you're morbid enough. Sort of face-lift in reverse.

    Didn't Billy Connolly look impressive in the film Mrs Brown the other night? Mighty huge close-ups. The camera loves him, dressed like that.

    And how do you get a job in a think-tank? I'm always thinking. More than is good for me, some would say.

    And you say? (11)   Link to this