Well, there we were in our Spanish class last night, Ally and me, while I eyed up Stella our teacher. Having taught night class myself, I was aware how nervous she'd be feeling. Seventeen people in front of her, all better English speakers than her.
Surprising composition of the students. Only five male - at least two of those gay - and twelve women. Why don't red-blooded men want to learn Spanish? Well, I can tell you. It's because Spain is chock-a-block full of men already. And you don't mess with los hombres.
The reason Spanish men are so confident is that the whole of Europe flies in every weekend to get fucked by them. Oh - call me crude and generalising, and I know you will. But it's true... isn't it, muchachas?
Before the class, as a little relaxant, I'd trolled down to the Port o Leith Bar and the divine Mary. Big Straight Al was there, and Big Robert (what is it about big men?) and a small loudmouth I won't name on this occasion.
We chatted about Roslin, Al's home town, just a few miles from here. If you've read The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail, you'll have read about Roslin, home of the Sinclairs (St Clairs) and other Knights Templar families. "Someone said on TV last week that the Holy Grail was one mile from Roslin Chapel," Mary said.
"Maybe it's in your dad's lavvy," I said to Al, and he laughed. Al is a plumber. "We need something Spanish to drink!" I said to Mary, after the other John Macaulay and Robin (don't call me bisexual, I'm a screaming queen now) had come in. "Tio Pepe?" she suggested. "Make it four!" I declared, recklessly. But it was very dry.
"Muy secco!" said John. "Who cares - it's got alcohol in it!" opined Robin. He had a very dirty face from knocking a ceiling down. I told him how attractive that looked.
Stella was our teacher's name. This is confusing, as my close gay friend Stuart (not Stewart) went by that very name himself as a young gay man. A queenling. "Stella nova - the biggest bang in the universe!" was his selling point as a teen hanging around lorry parks. (I sense you might think that shocking, but don't straight teens experiment with sex also? Hasn't done him one bit of harm, anyway.)
In no time at all she had us chanting homilies around the room. "Buenos dias!" we declared to each other, bemusedly. But Buenas tardes and noches, mi amigos. "But these days everybody uses informal anyway, except in small towns," Stella advised. "Hola, que tal, que hay, que hubo - and the familiar como estas?"
(I have a sneaking suspicion that anyone in Spain under thirty will greet each other with hi! these days, such is the power and influence of you know where.)
"I met Al's sister," Mary said, smiling as she poured the Tio Pepes. "She's very attractive." Al beamed then, obviously proud of his attractive sister. "Lovely," I said. "But I'll stick with the model I'm familiar with!"
His fiancee Rena came in, with yet another gay man, at which point small loudmouth almost exploded. "It's turning into a gay bar," Al said, grinning. "I know," I said. "And look at the state of him."
It's such a shame that one person's bigotries can damage an atmosphere like that. I should have kicked his head in. Or got Al to.
MORE RADIO STARS!
Mike ups the spoken ante considerably with his own performance piece today. It's wonderful, and I thoroughly recommend it. He sounds so butch! Look out, Big Straight Al!
It's here! One million thanks to Stewart my producer for this week's show, with lots of added bonus features!
Rather than me simply reading the posts, which you've already read anyway, this time we've included EXTRAS... glossing and introducing the stories, multiple language selection (I'm kidding), and a specially-arranged Sing-Along-With-Abba track. (I'm not kidding.)
It's on Live 365. To save any signup hassle, you can immediately get there with
Oh - and don't forget to rate my station. One suggestion would be Exceptional.
The show lasts half an hour. We've given Stewart and the comments a rest this week, but as he's already building up his own fan club, we'll maybe rethink! All the segments are recorded in the first take, so what you hear is what was said. Slips and all!!
Note: There's a short (1 minute) station promo at the beginning.
Some heated debate in The Village yesterday, about Angelina Jolie's lips.
"Those lips are real," announced Babs, as she took a break from creating cuisine to chug on a Superking fag. But I thought she was somewhat vehement, less than delighted to see me, and responded accordingly.
"Do you know her personally?" I enquired, with more than a dash of you-know-what. "Have you inspected her medical records?" (All of this was right across poor Alex's face, who's here on holiday from her new home in Boston, USA.)
But Babs sidstepped, and re-volleyed afresh.
"You were exactly the same with Scarlett Johansson," she reminded me. "And she's only nineteen. She doesn't need to have it done." I slurped my Guinness, through narrow lips.
"Mebbe you're right there," I conceded. "But Jolie's a long way from nineteen. She must be... must be... forty-four!" I opined, producing an age which is both unfathomably old, and yet exactly the same as Babs'. Hehe. What a bitch. We all laughed.
So now it's over to you! What do you think about Angelina Jolie's lips? Answer in my fascinating new sidebar poll. Nirvana through shallowness, as someone once said.
Some slight time pressure today, as I'm due at Stewart's at noon to record. And right now it's after ten. Naked Blog flows best with a blank cheque.
Slept really well, with only one, sweet-relief "wee break" - just in time for Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda on Channel Four. Some dude that, owning a fucking nebula.
Bland stuff. Blandest of bland. Doctor Who visits LA for a day.
Taking Lives (2004)
Bland in a different way was this one, starring Angelina Jolie's lips, and Ethan Hawke's piercing eyes. Funny how names reflect characteristics. Mine should be "eagertoplease".
But those Angelina lips aren't real - in the normal sense of the word. No way, Jose. This opinion of mine provoked some discussion with my companions, Mark the masseur and Brummie Phil. (Resists temptation to launch into Clare Short impersonations.)
"Oi think they're real," said Phil. "Disagree!" I vehemented right back. "Unless that woman is African American - and her lips are the only African part - then they're pumped up with collagen to bursting point. No wonder they call it liposuction.
(Regular readers will detect the movie is hardly worth writing about.) Oh - it's OK in bits. There's a ropey plot, borrowing hugely from The Talented Mr Ripley. (Talented Mrs Lipley?) Great photography though... try dropping an acid before you go and then ignoring the story.
Babs and me have had lip conversations before, but ah cannae mind whae aboot. In Scotland it's so simple. The lips surround the oral cavity, and have some redness, some added thickness at the perimeter. As the years go on, the youthful fullness diminishes, leaving the elderly with only the merest, Planet Of The Apes-like remains.
(For years as a child I thought my Great Aunt Maud was actually part chimpanzee - because of her utter absence of lip feature.)
But this is Scotland.
In LA-LA land the lips seem to be something else... an organ in their own right, moving and pulsating around the face like something out of Cronenburg. It's no wonder Ms Jolie didn't have a large speaking part - the effort of all that lip movement would have worn most people out.
Or maybe I'm a dirty old man. Taking Lives. Five out of ten, agreed Mark and Phil.
Peter Bradshaw also does the lips in last Friday's Guardian. Just my version's slightly better.
PS: Probably more Naked Blog later. We've not had a decent chat (about me) for ages.
Well, you'll be wanting some Naked Blog then. It's rainy today, grey and heavy. Leaden, with a capital P. Heavens, now we're doing crossword clues in the main narrative. I feel psychosis coming on. Donnie Darko was not a good idea.
Get a grip, man. (This always happens when I go 36 hours without speaking to anyone.) Although Babs did text me last night. "There's a guy on the snooker wearing a Burberry bow tie," she txted. "It's an epidemic."
Now, snooker is not my thing. I bet that doesn't surprise you. Although I did once get a couple of lessons in pool, which is a smaller-tabled, bigger-balled version.
The trick is to imagine a ball touching the one you're aiming for, then simply aim for the imaginary one. Pots em every time. (Except, of course, it doesn't. But I'm sure we can put that down to advanced homosexuality rather than failure of elementary instruction.)
Queens among you will be thinking is there nothing she didn't stoop to in her pulling days? And the answer is very little. Hehe. When in Rome, darlings. It's why I was so attracted to the place in the first place. First middle-class person to live here, they tell me - and now look what's happened. Half a million a flat. (Not mine, sadly. Yet.)
Anyway, back to last night's snooker. Easily I dragged myself away from some obscure BBC channel bleating on about the Hegelian imperative of Socratic dialecticism (I'm making it up now - can you tell? It's infectious), only to see this dawg wearing not only a Burberry bow tie, but Burberry waistcoat as well.
Quickly I grabbed my mobile. (You can tell they're designed for youngsters by the minuteness of the letters.) "He's wearing a Burberry waistcoat as well!" I txted Babs. "What a schemie! But I bet he shags real good."
You see, for everything else, there isn't Mastercard. Despite what Belle would have you think.
Google is so connected she's developing psychic powers. There I was only yesterday mentioning the first blog I ever saw, which I wrongly remembered as A Touch of Life on Wry. Well, what should turn up in my Nedstat keywords today, after naked 43 and natasha 6, but bradlands 1.
Yes, that's it! The site was Bradlands, the blog The Daily Brad, and the strapline Serving up delectable juicy slices of life on wry.
It was one of those moments of revelation. Like the Paul I was almost called, falling to his knees on the road to Damascus. All that glory. All over the Guardian. (Sadly not archived.) And a faggot to boot. I wasted no time in writing.
And Brad replied. Kindly. He even said a kind word about this, which was what I was offering round about then. Some difference, eh?
So Brad - if you're reading this, dawg, you've got a lot to answer for!
Who would ever have thought?
Bought it on Tuesday, after walking out of The Butterfly Effect due to its sadistic sickness. Don't think for one moment Wes Craven et al have the monopoly on celluloid perversion. Plus the 5 pound 99 price attracted me. Well, now I know why. It's not the correct DVD, and has no extras at all, unlike the (undoubtedly) full price one which has commentaries.
I started watching on Saturday night after work, and the first ten minutes told me I wanted to continue. (Ten minutes is my usual cut-off. After that I often walk. Is that shallow and dumbed down?) Plus C, one of my young managers, had described it as a masterpiece.
Last night after yet more work I managed an hour, but then sleep was setting in, so I completed it just this morning. It's fascinating.
Regular readers (and there are a couple) will know of my "star-avoidance". Unless it's the first time I've seen the actor, I just can't get interested in their character. I concede that this, taken to its conclusion, would generate very short careers indeed. But what's wrong with that? Any damn fool can act. Children do it all the time, to get what they want.
Act a couple of movies, then back to MacDonalds or the bingo. And this is what might well happen to Jake Gyllenhaal the star.
Other commentators saw ET in it, and American Beauty, and Mulholland Drive. But they all missed My Private Idaho, which - particularly in the opening shot - is really staring them in the face.
An engrossing and absorbing movie. Don't try and make too much sense of the work, but rather enjoy it as style over substance. And what style!! The faces which will stay with you are Darko himself, his mother, and his loopy Fear/Love teacher. Oh - and one or two of the thuggy colleagues are interesting for different reasons! Tears to an old man's eye. Or summat.
Plus Drew Barrymore and Patrick Swayze. Stars might be a bad idea artistically, but they've usually got some dosh.
NATIONAL IDENTITY CARDS
One question for David Blunkett: will we be able to put our blog URL on the damn card? Otherwise I'm just not interested, dawg.
Thanks a bunch for all your informative comments over the beta version. This week's broadcast will see some changes, as I've now put some personal focus onto the project. (That's a fuckass pretentious way of saying, "I've thought about it a bit.")
Mike is being intentionally hilarious this week in serving up his daily routine - in detail. Thrill to his tulips as you bask in those and other delights of the Princess Diana Memorial Garden. Everything you wanted to know about mike is there. And even more than that. Starts yesterday.
What fun we all do have for you! And the weather today is the best this year, with sun beating down on the almost fully-leaved trees. Never did cherry blossom look so perfectly pink and white.
Me I'm off to record you some more Naked Radio. With extras. Thanks, Brad.
"The NHS proudly boasts that it's the biggest employer in Europe. In order to continue with that status, it's essential that lots of people are ill. Imagine what would happen if everyone got better! Be fucking chaos."
Comment box, April 15.
The NHS isn't the only culprit of course. Far, far worse are the pharmaceutical corporations, with their weapons of mass salvation. Let me repeat until it sinks in: there is no profit in healthy people. They are useless pharmaceutically, so must be made (or deemed) ill in order to consume lots of medicines.
Aids was a gift from God - all those combination therapies. That's why there'll never, ever be a cure for that condition. Where's the bottom line if they get better, eh?
But Aids didn't catch on quite as well as they'd hoped. Except in poorer countries - countries which couldn't afford the medicines. So they had to come up with something else. And the answer was staring them in the face!
Yes really. Cook a few statistics, make out it's the leading health hazard in the US of A (when it's apparently nothing of the sort - unfitness is much worse), and voila! Sit back and count the profits for your silly "cures". Mr Zhang of Kang Le Healthy Herbs isn't even in the first grade.
"Consider this: from the perspective of a profit-maximising medical and pharmaceutical industry, the ideal disease would be one that never killed those who suffered from it, that could not be treated effectively, and that doctors and their patients would nevertheless insist on treating anyway.
Luckily for it, the American health care industry has discovered (or rather invented) just such a disease. It is called "obesity".
Basically, obesity research in America is funded by the diet and drug industry - that is, the economic actors who have the most to gain from the conclusion that being fat is a disease that requires aggressive treatment. Many researchers have direct financial relationships with the companies whose products they are evaluating."
Well, it was yesterday, actually, when the calendar slipped past our first ever (Blogger) post, way back in 2001.
In a sense it's not a proper anniversary, as the sands of my cybertime go way back to 1997 on the other site. And the Blogger experiment was started purely and simply to inspire my friend Dolly to his own blog. This did eventually happen, but took more than two years! Now, everybody's at it, of course.
The first thing I noticed on "joining" Blogger was a sense of community. Mostly in the USA, granted, in sites such as A Touch of Wry (was that what it was called?) but there was a little here at home also. Grocblog, as he then was, was possibly the first gay Britblogger I discovered, following from Lubin of Dollsoup, whom I'd already corresponded with. Plasticbag Tom and I also exchanged a mention.
No, it was the USA where things were really goin' down, dawg. Carrie, Dave, Hoopty and Gee were NB's early patrons and promoters, and I still thank them - along with Barbara and Mike in Canada.
Now, roughly three novels-worth later (in quantity, if not quality!) it's fun to look back on the first proper post. This seamlessly introduced myself (aka magnificat) and my untidy house, and posited the ever-present danger of creature feature. Plus the first of many, many references to "lonely heart". What an old fraudster I am!
Tuesday, April 24, 2001
Oh dear. Something interesting has happened already. Or, rather, appalling. A creature, sounding large, is running all over my kitchen ceiling. There are three possibilities... bird, mouse, or even RAT!! It's a nightmare. Surely it must be a bird - a rodent would be naturally quiet, to say nothing of nocturnal, mostly. (For those new to magnificat, one lives in a hovel - uncleaned and uncared for - with various food containers scattered over the floor.) However, there is no food, ABSOLUTELY NONE, above my kitchen ceiling.
I do vaguely remember scampering feet in the past, with no ill-effects. Yep, it's a bird. Definitely. We live in the top floor of a block of flats you see, under the roof. Plus it's springtime, when nesting takes place on a massive scale. Except in my heart.
Oh dear, as I say. Who would have thought my blog would take off so quickly?"
I didn't expect to be doing this on Blogger for more than a week. To say that it's taken over my life would be something of an understatement!
[wipes eye] Thank you, thank you, thank you darlings for making it all possible. Without you I would of course be nothing - nada. Why don't they hurry up with that fucking microcharging? [/wipes eye]
Like all great broadcasting organisations, the Leith Community Mediaworks Group is not without its ups and downs, artistic differences. (I'm thinking BBC, I'm thinking Hutton Report, and so on.)
Why, only recently John Macaulay the Director General was having a "right go" at Tony my IT Manager, and John Paul, who shares a name with the Pope and last year put on the whaling thing in the Dockers Club. He's very nice. Laid back as fuck.
"It was terrible!" my source informed me, in his middle-European yet strangely cultured accent. "John was standing and shouting at them, calling them a pair of cunts! His wife tried to calm him down, but it was no use."
What has brought on this tantrum remains to be seen. Watch this space. Let's hope no-one feels the need to resign.
Babs too is feeling the winds of creative panic a little. Remember - she's scheduled to make a cookery programme about soup and lamb shanks. "It's got to be stuff that Mrs Schemie Chav can easily buy and cook," she confided. "Easily get the ingredients for in Junction Street between the fag shop and the Burberry market."
But Yorkshire Kriss blew her cool completely last week when he asked if she'd got her item storyboarded yet. "See if he asks me about that fucking storyboard one more time, I'll punch his fucking lights out!" she said, squaring her shoulders and flexing those serviceable biceps. "Kriss is always getting knocked out," said Dolly. "Yes, but when I knock him down he won't get back up again," said Babs. Tonight she's going out to dinner with Andy her new beau. The full works. Let's hope he keeps off storyboards. (Of course, some men like that sort of thing.)
Had to turn down Dolly's kind invitation to tea yesterday, and my first chance to see his and Ally's new hoose. I was really just that tiny bit too drunk, and how could I ever have lived down the social horror of throwing up in their sparkling bathroom?
I do hope the boyz won't hold it against me, and that a fresh invitation will soon spring up. Oh, and talking of socialising, guess who's signed up for a class in holiday Spanish. That's right. Ola!!
(Unkind critics might suggest that me - who goes nowhere - learning a foreign language is about as sensible as me - who never takes medicines - spending 60 quid on Chinese Herbal Medicine.) But unkind critics can fuck off. It's the unpredictability that keeps me so exciting to be around.
What's also very exciting is the story below, and the link to my own private audio blog, specially read for your pleasure. One million thanks to Stewart (aka cyberslut) my producer. So sign up now, and sit back and bask! It only takes seconds, for almost half an hour's delight...
Yesterday was action-packed, beginning with the Council Tax lady at 2pm. Until that hour, time just sort of... passed. Chicken pasty and Country Vegetable Soup from Greggs, while sitting on a fake 19th Century bench in Rose Street. Watch the people. Watch the people. Are they happy? They're nearly all so young. Are they in love?
Watch the pigeons. Aggressive begging. They're smart those birds, and one hundred percent fickle. S/he who drops the food crumbs gets the pecky lurve. They're so smart they ignore you till you've finished your soup, then silently gather just when the flaky stuff comes out. It's scientifically impossible to eat a Greggs pasty without generating pastry flakes, which - let's face it - have to go somewhere. "Might as well go into my belly!" thinks papa pigeon. Peckity peck.
Heavens. Next I'll be turning into one of those old ladies whose day peaks with a visit to the river to feed the ducks!! Quack! Quack! But you've got to watch the seagulls, as they're very greedy. Sometimes about fifty of them land all around you, in a cloud. It's just like something from a Hitchcock movie. Slowly, very slowly, you look for an escape, scattering food in the right directions to ease a safe passage. Gruesome.
But Rose Street just has pigeons. Too far from the coast for gulls. Unlike my home, whose windows carry the shitty streaks. Why do creatures always shit when they see my house?
Unfortunately all that hot food re-awakened the irritation in Upper Right Four, so I had to take a tablet. Paracetamol and codeine. Only one, as I didn't want to be gaga when I met the council tax lady. Thousands of pounds would hang on my performance. And when you never take tablets you get quite gaga with only one.
The Council Tax office in Waterloo Place, to the east of Princes Street, was a cross between Dante's Inferno and a Hieronymous Bosch triptych. Everything was there except Burberry, which I confidently expected to walk in any minute. Junkies shot up in one corner, while teenage girls smoked cigarettes and gave birth in another, then immediately started screaming for Tax Relief. Well, I'm just kidding, but you get the idea.
But I had one big ace up my sleeve. Middle-classness. Yes really... I'm sure you've long since got that one sussed. Council workers like the middle classes. Less likely to knife them, or cough TB germs into their faces.
(I'm getting bored with this. Let's speed it up a bit.) She said I owed more than three thousand pounds in arrears. I said I owed nothing of the sort - more like three hundred, tops. Her computer was as chaotic as the waiting room. This story will run and run.
To cyberslut's Restalrig high-rise then, to record some Naked Blog for you. It was a very great joy. He's got a smashing studio. Then we recorded the comments. If any of you don't want your comments performing, then just let me know. I'm not anticipating getting trampled in the rush.
I invited his teenage daughter to read the women's voices, but she was busy eating a pizza then off to visit her boyfriend.
You'll be able to hear us very shortly. Maybe today. How this will progress is still up in the air. Carpetbaggers.
To the Village to celebrate, where Babs started telling me I was wrong to walk out of The Butterfly Effect. Apparently Ally adored it so much he's going back to see it again. Takes all sorts.
Then she got her knickers in a twist because I checked my South Park DVD Set for scratches after she'd borrowed it, and before it got lent on to Dean. Am I bad?
Her friend Andy works for the NHS, and he said I should report Mr Zhang of Kang Le Healthy Herbs. He said that telling people they had a heart condition was out of order. I told him I didn't believe a word of it, but I could understand some people getting a bit of a downer from that. Thanks for all your comments about Chinese Herbal Medicine. Very interesting. I really can't find it in myself to take one single product I bought from Mr Zhang. But I have eaten a lot of cabbage. Trouble is, you've got to put a load of butter on the cabbage to make it edible. Yin and Yang.
Today I've got nothing to do, and it's only 11 am!! Suggestions on a postcard, please.
No fucker reads this blog anyway, so why don't I - for a change - say what I think.
The Iraqi people, like the Vietnamese before them, don't want to be invaded by the United States of America. Or "coalition forces" as we nowadays call them. The coalition of the willing. Which means white people terrified of Arabs. And Muslims.
I personally don't want my millions of tax pounds to be spent on destroying then supporting a country thousands of miles away to which I owe nothing.
Thatcher is gone. The Malvinas should have belonged to Argentina anyway.
My news bulletins have stopped asking, "why?" and now are just taking the British involvement as a given.
It isn't given. It's an exercise by our Prime Minister. A cocksucking exercise - for which he deserves to fall. Except the alternative would be worse. Cocksucking should be kept to the bathhouse.
There's no doubt about it. Blair is ruined by this. Bush may well be too - but that's up to that lot over there to sort out.
The Corporations rule everything. Our "leaders" only jerk to their strings.
Hello, stranger! :)
Candor is the brightest gem of criticism.
Don't be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality. If you can dream it, you can make it so.
Those who foretell the future lies, even if he tells the truth.
Isn't it lovely to have such messages delivered to your inbox!! And to think governments do nothing - nothing - about spam... because it's commerce.
I shouldn't be sitting here, writing to you like this. Later this morning there's a recording studio appointment to bring you the first of our naked audio blogs (any day now - can't wait... :) and then this afternoon there's a lady at the Council Tax.
It's all go. Life in the fast lane, baby. So here, in bullet form for maximum brevity, is a quick news summary:
The Tuesday cinema club went to The Butterfly Effect. Walked out after twenty minutes. Sick, sick, sick. They should be prosecuted for ch*ild ab*use. Don't go there. I mean it. "When the lights go up, you'll wish you could be whisked 113 minutes back in time to see something more rewarding." Philip French, The Observer
To cheer myself up, bought Kill Bill Volume 1, League of Gentlemen 2 and 3, and Donnie Darko. Sixty something quid at HMV. Probably could have got those four and one more as well, in the Virgin deal five for thirty quid.
Teased someone for taking so much time off work, and he said he was in remission from Hodgkinson's disease. Bet he was loving it, watching me squirm. Canadian.
Gave Mr Zhang of Kang Le Healthy Herbs a return visit. He'd overcharged me by thirteen quid, bringing the net cost of my medicines to a more affordable sixty-two pounds. He was dead keen to give me more slimming capsules instead of a refund, but I held out for cash. Chinese culture might be as ancient as fuck, but I wasn't born yesterday either.
Tim of A Free Man In Preston (scroll to April 19) addresses the "Naked Truth" weblog veracity issue with style, wit and elegance.
Other than that, haven't read one single weblog this week, hardly. The Tide is High.
"Leading bloggers Salam Pax, Rhodri Marsden and Gregor Wright debate the issues." So begins a blog article in Monday's Guardian. Hmmmm. Salam Pax is certainly "leading". But the others? They must be leading in the unusual and restricted sense that no-one's ever heard of them. Listen. Troubled Diva is leading. Plasticbag is leading. Naked Blog is a little bit leading. And many others I could mention.
The veracity challenge we posed here, and the responses, both in email, comment and blog, are roughly one hundred times more leading than the matters in Monday's Grauny piecelet. Get real. Move quickly, as it'll soon be gone. Possibly newspapers are too slow these days.
Must dash, darlings. You'll hear me before you see me!
I've just spent seventy-five - yes, seventy-five - fucking quid on Chinese Herbal Medicine. It's true - although the scenario reads more like a Hollywood failed comedy than a supposedly world-aware blogger.
There I was at tea-time, sitting on the bus with my two pound Daysaver ticket, thinking... "No Peter. Don't go home. The evenings are so light these days, and you've hardly had one ounce of value out of your bus ticket."
At this point I should have cut my losses and run home. Seriously. Home to the certainty of Meatloaf CDs, or maybe a touch of Dire Straits... and always the presence of you.
But for some daft reason my bus took me to up Newington, where I jumped off just after the Southsider Bar. Right outside the Kang Le Healthy Herbs shop, which I'd never seen before in my puff.
"Hello", I said to the guy. "I've got this bit of dryness on my forehead and the sides of my nose. Sometimes it even flakes a bit."
"Is no problem," the man replied, and proceeded to take my pulses. Lots of pulses, from both wrists. Allopathic (western) medicine takes only one pulse, but I know from my Ayur Veda (traditional Indian) studies that there are many more than that. Ayur Veda takes six: this man was taking loads.
"I should tell you I've had a couple of pints of Guinness", I said to him then. "Is no problem," he happily repeated. "How old are you? Do you have any children?"
(Do you have any children is code for, "Are you homosexual?" which is equally code for, "How's your immune system?")
"No, I have no children," I responded. "I am gay, but don't suffer from Aids." (Quick note for my heterosexual readers... when you're gay, everyone assumes you do. Suffer from Aids.)
"Roll up your sleeve!" he commanded.
Remember... I'd only just entered his shop moments earlier about the simplest and slightest skin problem. No need for the Catscan. No need at all. So he brought out the blood pressure cuff. Up and down. Up and down again the needle went. He let me sit gaping at the dial.
"You've got no problem with your blood presssure," he advised. I reminded him once again that I'd had several pints of dark beer, so that was hardly unexpected.
"But your heart isn't right," he went on. "It's supposed to go BOOM BOOM BOOM."
"Yes?" I inquired.
"But yours is going BOOM BOOM (pause) BOOMTY BOOM. Your pulse is definitely irregular."
To be honest - I wasn't that flustered. To have got to this age (57), without an irregular pulse would have been asking for the moon. I know I'm gonna last a helluva lot longer than Mr Zhang, as I later discovered he was called.
"Lose weight!" he said. "How much?" I said. "More than five kilogrammes," he said. "OK," I said - thinking I need to lose one mother more than that.
"Do't eat greasy food," he said. "Fried food," he said. "Fat food," he said, " - and don't drink milk ever again."
"Avoid cheese," he said further, " - and chocolate," he said. "But eat green vegetables, cabbage and sprouts."
So far, so hardly unexpected. But now came the sting. Mr Zhang leapt from his seat, rounded the counter, and before I knew it - there on the glass in front of me was one month's supply of weight loss tea and weight loss capsules. (Of course, there is no such preparation in the universe.)
For my bad blood (cholesterol) he produced more capsules and drinks, but I told him I didn't believe in cholesterol. That it was just a money-making fad. So he took the cholesterol stuff away.
"But what about your face!" he declared, suddenly recalling why I'd gone into his shop in the first place.
A cream was produced. It bore no price tag. Clearly beyond price. Me, I was starting to panic. Just call me an ambulance.
So this is what I've got, for my seventy-five, hard-earned quid...
1 box Feiyan Tea
1 box Shou Fu Jian Zhi Jian Fei Wan capsules. (Both of the above are for weight loss. Have you ever heard of anything so ridiculous?)
1 bottle Pifubing Xueduwan tablets
Three sachets of something in Chinese writing. (I think, but can't be sure, that both of the above are for my bad blood.)
1 tube of cream called Fuqingsong WeiB6Rugao. (That's the one for my skin, which if you recall is the thing I went into his shop for.)
I feel robbed. Yet maybe about to be healed. Isn't nature wonderful - across the globe?
Some day I'll tell you about that spring evening in 1978 I went to a Transcendental Meditation talk. Oh yes. Didn't that just set the cat among the pigeons of enlightenment!
(Tomorrow - Yusuf Islam. Mebbe.)
Naked Blog. We take the medicine - so you don't have to!
Last night was fun at the bingo. Some would describe going to bingo on a Saturday night as a "loser" experience. (No pun intended. Seriously.) While others would doubtless think exactly the same about people snorting lines of coke off a bathroom cistern in an expensive night club. On a Saturday night.
You pays yer money...
What was so good about it is a promotion you might have seen on the telly - especially if you watch channels with a "3" in them. Common channels. (Talking of which - yesterday I saw one of my bingo ladies with BURBERRY NAILS! Beat that! I bet she'll let me photo them.)
Anyway - it's a monstrous give-away by the country's biggest bingo operator. Almost 1.5 million squid over four weeks. No purchase necessary. Don't even ask how they've suddenly got that much money to give away. Don't go there. Bingo is mega-profitable!
The idea is that all the qualifying clubs in the country link up and play a meta-bingo game against each other, with one club (rather than one person) being the winner. Every member and guest in that club then gets a share of the prize, which last night was 100k. There are other prizes too.
So you have the bizarre (for bingo) idea of everyone in the club marking the same card, praying that their club will be the winner.
Well - guess who was there in the limelight, doing my Bruce Forsyth act as our numbers came up! Yes, that's right. Cheers from the rafters. Stella nova.
But we never made it. Waiting on 8 and 73, I think it was, and the winning club was in Slough. Still, one of our patrons left with a JVC DVD player. Nothing but the best!
Three more weeks of the promotion, and on the last night it's a million squid prize. Get yourself along to your local club. Saturday nights. Check they're doing it.
Most enjoyable, especially for me. I just naturally slipped into Bruce, as he seemed most appropriate. Other times it's a blend of Anne Robinson and Chris Tarrant. (OK, OK - maybe there's subtle overtones of Graham Norton. And Larry Grayson....) I'm going no further than that!
Oh dear. Oh dearie dear. It's a sunny day here in Leith-On-Sea and the urge is out, out, out... into the spring trees and cawing riverbirds. Quack! Quack!
But no - the urge says out but the imperative is in... in to the smoke hell that is my bingo.
There've been some deaths lately - a few more than usual. They always get a big hug when they've lost someone near and dear. It's not part of the job, but I do it anyway, as they move into the final phase of the society of women, which is widowhood. It's all-embracing.
Theirs is the last generation which actually stayed with their men.
All change, nowadays. "I'm in mourning for my man." "Which one?"
But the numbers go on. All is secondary to the numbers. Sometimes they can hardly mark their book for the tears in their eyes. But still they come. I encourage them to come, even though they're apologetic. Sinful, they think. Your people, your friends, I tell them.
There's been a lot of interest in the two recent topics, veracity of weblog and the limits of medicine. Thank you all. It's interaction at its finest.
Saturday today, and early (11 am) start. So let me offer you one from June 1999, about bingo, about cameraderie, and about cancer.
FRUIT OF MY WOMB
But the womb is a fickle friend. Angela's womb once gave her babies, but now it has cancer in it. Motherfucker. She just found out today, so she's in a bit of a daze. Understandably. Going through the motions, kinda blank. Diffidently.
I tell her she should have skipped work and spent good time with her husband, maybe drinking a little. Or a lot. She replies she would only think about it more at home. It's not every day a woman gets that news. Yet loads get it every day. Breast, womb, cervix, womb, breast. Why is it always the womanly bits, the baby bits, the life bits.
The womb is probably the only part that men don't have a swear word for. Maybe cos it's inside. Maybe - just maybe - because it's special.
We take care of her - don't leave her alone - keep talking - try and act normal. But normal's no fucking good today, is it? Bloody abnormal, isn't it? Abnormal cells - grow grow grow. Never die, die die the way healthy cells do. Cancer is immortal. Its own death is switched off.
Paradoxically. And tragically.
But not quite immortal. Our ingenuity has if not conquered them then at least given the buggers a fright. With ricin. Such a nice name, yet such a deadly poison. Natural as well, they tell me. Kills all human cells. Dead. Like Domestos in the lavvy. Bang. Dead. Shut the lid. Deader than dead. Deadest, dude.
And a nice dose of ricin can be shipped right into the heart of a cancer cell as easily as a boot virus into your BIOS. With monoclonal antibodies. That sounds good for her. Or hysterectomy - the misogynist's dream, but sometimes good too.
Later she comes to my work area to count some money. But not just that. No-one's said anything very useful yet, and we're two hours down the line - into her new life. It's time to kick in, and take that frightening chance you gotta take, treading so so gently on the crushed crystal of her dreams.
"You're gonna hear a lot of survival stories from now on, Angela," I say. "So here's the first." I tell her about my dad and his lung cancer and how he survived 15 years and still going. "And lung cancer's by the far the most threatening," I remind her, pointlessly. But that one was said recently elsewhere, raising hopes ending up sadly vain. But you got to try. And she's a damn fighter.
She smiles a bit and cries a bit. We cuddle while the bingo numbers hiss round the hall. Legs eleven, six and nine, full house. Of course it's not me she wants, it's her family. Right now she's with them. I love them all.
I'm delighted to say that "Angela" has made a full recovery, for the last five years. Yay. Doctors sometimes make you better. So why do I still cry over a piece I wrote myself?
Well - actually loads of people have died of breast cancer today. Loads of people have died all over the place, of all sorts of things - full stop. Forgive me if my eyes remain dry. The alternative is unthinkable.
Why do we so blindly accept this breast cancer pandemic?
"Am I the only one who wonders why? What has caused this pandemic of breast cancer? Why is everything directed at treatment, and seemingly nothing at avoidance? Your body isn't *meant* to turn malign on you like that.
But surgeons have to eat, and Tamoxifen has to get sold. Where's the profit in good health? Where's the bottom line, eh?
Sadly the reply was less than ideal. So I give up. (Aye, right!) If you want to give over your health to doctors, then that is your right. There are alternatives - lifestyles where you take back control of your health. Where you treat these people as consultants to give advice in certain situations. Like plumbers.
Yesterday's programme about the death of Christopher Alder in police custody was horrifying. Not because of the death, which was tragic and seemed totally avoidable with other action. (He was arrested at a hospital after examination for head injury following an attack.) For unknown reasons he became unconscious between the hospital and the police station, where he was left, still unconscious, on the floor. He died there in full view of the CCTV cameras, ignored by five officers. They said he was just acting.
No - not because of all that, however horrifying it truly is, but rather because of the lack of surprise on this viewer's part. Complete acceptance that the police are racist thugs, caring for nothing but their own skins.
But then you think a little deeper. You think that cops, unlike almost any other workers, put their lives on the line every single working day. For me. And for you.
Their raw material is the scum of the earth. They work not with clay but with sewage. Human sewage. And of course they soon get brutalised. Sunday school teacher just isn't an option.
This was an astonishing programme, even with Weegie Wark doing the narration.
Tom Watson is the MP for West Bromwich East (tell me that's a joke) and has his own blog. Today he's suggesting that bloggers should be invited to the PM's press conferences.
Naturally we wasted no time sending off our application. Think of it, darlings! The fame! The power! The champagne and glittering night-clubs!
However my career as blogger to the (Westminster) stars seems doomed before it gets off the ground, as his comments won't accept my offerings. Yet they're happy to take some other dewd writing about yellow litter bins outside an Edinburgh Lidl Store. I mean - since when was Edinburgh in West Bromwich East?
Decided it must be something to do with the "Naked" bit. Need another title. Blairblog?
Shock Update! We're in!! But in case you can't be bothered, here's our humble application...
"Dear Mr Watson... Staying in Edinburgh, and speaking as possibly Scotland's leading personal (as opposed to corporate or other self-interest (no offence, Tom)) blogger, I think mine would be an ideal blog-voice at Tony's press conferences.
With just an adroit choice of phrase I can make anybody look as good or as bad as I want to, depending on my mood de jour.
By appointment to the Prime Minister. Eh bah gum."
Think I've got a chance, NB-fans? Would you vote for me?
They say that an ideal pop radio station would play the introduction and first line only of each song, as the rest is redundant repetition. This Kinja thing works in much that way. Read the rest.
Here I've resisted the temptation to present you with a blank screen, as that would cause more irritation than amusement! Laugh and everyone thinks you're nuts. Cry and they're damn well sure of it.
Last night's post (below) has only the edited highlights of what was really an action-packed day yesterday, dense with interest and appeal.
Immediately after the dentist I was left with a well-known dilemma. Go home, it being not yet eleven of the morning clock, and sit in front of this screen as usual, or start to make a day of it. (Alcohol not essential, but helps.)
Put that way, there's no contest, really, is there?
To the Port o Leith Bar, and the lovely Pamela. She was that friendly. Today's nail colour was passionate plum. Macaulay was there, also Torrance and Karen. Karen and I chatted about Sandra in Caithness. Torrance wanted to go and see Shaun of the Dead. Big Robert came in, so off they went.
John (Macaulay) is the director of Leith Community Mediaworks Group, and as such is making three TV programmes at the moment. As well as Babs' cook-off (I can exclusively reveal she's thinking of lamb shanks and soup du jour), there's one about a boxing club and another one which escapes me.
I suggested to John that he'd make an ace co-presenter with Babs, but he declined as he's already presenting the other two shows. However he's got someone in mind. "It's got to be someone who Babs will be comfortable with," he counselled.
But the bad news is that someone's dropped the camera, and it's irreparable. So they're in the sad but unique position of being possibly the only TV company in the discovered world without a camera. I said I'd mention it here in case anyone can help.
Mark (Robocop) was there too, and Lynsey, and also Woolly Dave who I chatted to for half an hour without falling out. It's a very great joy to have so many people pleased to see you, people who're not after your money.
Lynsey's starting her own blog soon. I said I'd link to it, but I'm sussing it's really just a portal for her sex toys franchise. "Rampant Rabbit!" I said to her - knowledgeable about ladies' matters. "One called 'Heaven' is much better," she said, with conviction.
So - how are you, dear reader? How's Oklahoma today? Corn is as high as an elephant's eye?
Really I could sit here rabbiting on for ages. Saves doing anything distressing with the day. But no. Yesterday was good precisely for lack of blog. So let me leave you with a free plug for Virgin Stores latest offer. It's five CDs and/or DVDs for thirty pounds. Yes, really. And not just rubbish. It seems like half the store has got those sale stickers on them. The half which represents my past.
My entire life history is on offer at Virgin. I could easily have spent every penny I possess.
(Now don't miss LAST NIGHT'S thrilling episode. In vino veritas... )
"But you two are young enough," I said to them. "You're both still in your twenties. You can bring down the American Corporations. Start with Macdonalds and Starbucks."
The men looked back at me, enrapt, and I felt for a brief moment that guru thing.
It's been a busy day, my chickadees. There's something in stepping out at 9.30 am rather than 2.30 pm which perks up the pituitary pronto. Fair sets you up.
The new dentist was just fine. Efficient. Dental. What more does a boy want?
"I think that one will have to come out before too long," she said about Upper Right Four - source of all the recent misery. "Maybe we can put it off for six months... a year..." "But I haven't got that many left!" I wailed at her, " - to you it's just an extraction; to me it's one foot nearer the grave." Own teeth and hair.
It was the Zinc Grill where I was putting the world to rights with my two young disciples. Mark the masseur and I had just been to Shaun of The Dead, which I neither recommend nor not. It's British, it's funny in places, it takes the piss out of the genre bigtime - just it's picked the wrong month to do it in.
Because Dawn of The Dead (2004) is efficiently good, and has roughly one hundred times the budget. Go figure. Also, NOTLD 1968 and DOTD 1978 have just been on the telly, and been much remarked upon here. It's zombie-mania. Hard for a Britflick to get a word in.
"Would you mind if I brought Bruce over - he's one of my colleagues, and I don't like to see someone on their own," Mark said, indicating this guy standing at the bar. "But of course," I agreed. And Bruce was brought, but quickly left - for reasons we might later fathom out.
The rest of the day, post dentist, was totally ace. There's something about painkillers which lets you drink and drink without getting either drunk or sleepy. Just mellow. Feeling no pain. She'd injected the dodgy tooth then drained and washed it all with antiseptic. Doubtless chlorhexidine gluconate. Oh - I know these things. Have to keep one step ahead. Then she prescribed Metronidazole antibiotic, but I said I'd never take it. "Just one tablet of that will undo all I've built up at the cellular lever," I said to her. "I'm sure you're right," she replied, glancing around for the panic button. "But why don't I just write the prescription, and you can do what you want with it."
Fair do's, as we say here. Anybody want some Metronidazole? (This is not a spam.)
After the movie Mark and I sat with our Guinnesses, but I could see he was a wee bit chilly. April in Scotland is not Jamaica. So we repaired to the Zinc Grill, where they kindly gave us a seafood platter. Smoked salmon, shrimp, mussel, herring with onion. Four sorts of bread, melted butter. Quite delish. Sometimes it's good to run a weblog.
And that was where our story began. Mark's colleague Bruce asserted that the original Star Wars trilogy was Lucas's comment on the Vietnam war. I said that was nonsense - politely. I told them the war now was against Big Money. That Afghanistan and Iraq were just side-effects. That they would have to fight hard and long. But that I myself was simply waiting to die.
Sounds like quite some copout when you put it like that!
My bus driver home was a bingo customer. It was the first time we'd chatted, actually, as I'd always felt nervous of him before. Just simply so butch. Bingo is the one reality, and I am the star. Don't ever forget that.
Agony. Babs wasn't happy at me calling her a cook in yesterday's little tale. "A cook is someone who cooks in a private house," she informed me at the Village.
"Then what are you, sweetness?" I asked her. "I did think hard before I used that word. What do you call someone who cooks pub food?"
"Chef," she said, decisively.
So chef I am happy to report.
Sadly Babs the chef and I won't be pursuing the TV career I eagerly reported only yesterday. After considerable thought I've decided it's just not the correct project at this stage of my career. However - I'll be more than happy to lend a hand as script consultant, best boy, key grip, or whatever. What wonderful titles these people do have, their magic on us all to weave!
Agony. Tomorrow morning, at an unheard of hour for evening workers (9.50 am), I have to attend the dentist to get my crown re-glued - for the third time. I should be thinking of suing the dentist, but sadly he's shot the craw, as we say here.
So it's a brand new dentist in the practice, and I'll be one of her first ever patients! Hehe. She has no idea what she's in for. Probably sitting right now watching the telly and panicking!
Agony. But unfortunately that's not all. No way Jose. Would you believe I've developed full-blown toothache also, sufficient to take me to Boots in the Ocean Terminal, desperate for relief? (I never normally take tablets. They're all poison, if you think about it.)
"Could I speak to the pharmacist please?" I asked the young lady behind the skin creme franchise.
And the pharmacist was duly produced. "We have a preparation specifically for dental pain," she advised me. (Of course it was nothing of the sort. Bog standard paracetamol and Dihydrocodeine tartrate. Sex sells.)
But the young lady herself was a considerable stunner, in the dark-haired, lank greasy mould. "Has anyone ever told you how much you resemble Rachel Griffiths?" I put to her, as she read out the analgesic ingredients.
A middle-aged, middle class couple began to giggle nearby. My new pharmacist friend started blushing from the neck quite upwards. "Have you ever seen Six Feet Under?" I asked her then. "Brenda?"
"Oh that's who you mean!" she laughed. "Well, I've been called some people but never Brenda from Six Feet Under."
She wrapped the tablets. They were four pounds ninety-nine. We paid and smiled and parted. Middle class couple were still smiling too. No schemies.
Sorry it's taken till now for a Naked posting today. Being on that Kinja UK Showcase is intimidating, to say the least. This is a small blog, for regulars only. Strangers I'm not so sure of. And there'll be nothing tomorrow for ages. Might even have to get an extraction - and you can imagine what that'll do for my creativity!
(Fanny is always written first, in deference to her iconic status.) Johnny merely the stooge - a role I'll play to a T myself with the lovely Babs. "What's a boiled egg, darling?"
Sadly our potentially ratings-busting show will be broadcast only locally, as part of the Leith Media Group's attempt to overtake the BBC. (We've even got our own new Director General - the recently-married John Macaulay... dead ringer for Michael Grade in all but name and foreskin.)
But I'm sure it won't be beyond the wit of Tony my IT manager to donate a tiny morsel for your world wide delectation.
I hope all your doughnuts turn out like Fanny's!
Work starts next week, and Babs has already delegated the script to one's own capable hands. "Honey, we simply don't need a script," I texted her, lazily. "We're both so fascinating we can just make it up." But still she wants one.
Should be a riot! Wonder if we'll get to eat the grub afterwards!!
But that's not all. No way, Jose. I've also received a kind invitation to do a weekly Naked Blog reading on a leading Internet Radio Station. That's right! You'll be able to bask in our velvety tones from Alaska to Azerbaijan. From Fairfield to Fallujah.
Add to that those lovely people from Kinja putting us on one of their showcase pages, and you can see it's all happening down Leith way. (Do I need a Kinja? There are serious reservations, which everyone's overlooking in the fashionable rush.) Then why not come and live here and put another 10k on my house value! Sorry, no schemies.
Naked Blog. We set the standards: others do their best to follow.
So have a fabulous Easter why doncha. Go to church, rather than that movie. They've been around for ages. Continuity.
(Indebted to Whirligig for their great British TV historical resource.)
Decision time yesterday. Was I to stay indoors sneezing my head off and playing dire Playstation games, or go to the pub and risk sneezing over everybody there?
The die was cast. Village, it said, on all six faces. Village was the end result.
I was so pissed off at being in the house that even Great Junction Street (chav central) looked good. And smelled even better. The very great joy of snorting up car and bus fumes into my red-raw nasals. They loved it. Dried up in a trice. Once a city kid, always a bum.
Babs was sitting chatting to Andy. "Come and join us," she invited, but gooseberry's not my thang. "Thanks darling, but I'll stick to my own people," I replied - nodding towards Brian and Dean. "Stick to your own kind," she said. "You got it," I said back. But I did pop over for a wee blether later, of course.
Anyway, Dean was giving Brian a hefty row about something or other, and I didn't want to intrude. Ally was behind the bar, so he chatted to me a bit. Then GavnJacks arrived, but by then I was just a wee bit stocious. "Why do you never come earlier, when I'm sober?" I wailed at Jacks, but she just smiled. Nice.
Time to go time. Decided to walk - yes walk - all the way from Ferry Road to the top of Easter Road and Iceland. (I'd been chairbound this week except for one afternoon. Not good.) Took a wee look into Edinburgh's newest hottest gay spot, the Stag and Turret in Montrose Terrace (corner of Easter Road and Regent Road.) Or whatever they're calling it now. Cow and Moonlight?
Schemie city. Scribbled note on the door saying, "This is a gay establishment. Please respect the staff and customers." Sounds like a lost cause already.
Inside, this guy with too much facial ironmongery starts eyeing up my Switch card and twenty pound note. Two and two together getting five. Fuck off; I'm not a punter, I signal non-verbally, so back to his bandit he goes. (Slot machine.)
Eh bah gum, we don't have much money, but we do see life.
But what's so happy about getting nailed to a cross I'm still not quite sure, even after all these years. It's a very vicious thing to present to little kids, when you think about it. Jesus in the manger with Baby Gap clothing is much more acceptable.
But the chocolate eggs are ACE! Loved those mothers to fuck. I was allowed only one a day, commencing today, Good Friday. Generally there were about ten, from assorted aunts and parental friends, lined up in shiny tempting deliciousness - the very Vegas of confectionery. The more expensive ones, Cadbury's or Rowntree's, came in pretty boxes, but paper (and cardboard) were still "on the ration" in the forties, so many made do with coloured foil wrapping alone. The boxed ones usually had a puzzle on, which was definite added value.
That was when I first learned that if you really, really are desperate to have something, then you can maximise and prolong the ecstasy by unwrapping it very, very slowly. By holding it, sniffing it, even maybe a surreptitious lick or two...
...before WHAM - TAKE THAT YER WEE FUCKER - GET INSIDE MY GOB NOW!!
Haven't finished it yet. Well - the movie didn't start until 11.20 and goes on for more than two hours. I managed to stay awake until they began looting the shops and thinking it wasn't too bad an idea just to stay there. Oh, and the Hare Krishna zombie got his.
Unfortunately I'm finding the blonde security guard attractive, which is a bit of a distraction from the message. A message which seems to have escaped the hapless Guardian TV magazine previewer when he wrote...
"The flesh-eating zombies have taken over most of the US and a few survivors are besieged in a shopping mall (unlike my local Savacentre, where the zombies have already taken over)."
I thought that was Romero's point! (He's probably just left school. Bless.)
Thanks to all for making yourselves known here yesterday... bumper amounts of comments, votes, Blorgyet al. Sadly all the excitement has given me a cold. Yes - I know - I had one just three weeks ago. So this time I really musn't stay off work. Which might be a bugger.
The sun's shining weakly today, so I'll pop out and soak up some Tai Chi. Trees have it loads. I've drenched so many t-shirts in snot, there's nothing left to wear.
First the good: hearty congrats to the fragrant zed on the extension of her job until May 2005. this is especially fine for her, as she's on a year's notice anyway, so has decided to do nothing but blog for a year.
Honey - we're expecting a book in all that time.
Never before has an EC subsidy gone to a better cause. She's Eurotunnel and the Common Agricultural Policy rolled into one Albania bite-sized package.
There are as many types of blog as there are bloggers. The contrast between My Boyfriend Is a Twat and The World, Backwards is vast. So vast it would make an ideal examination question, once blogs hit the syllabi. (If they're not already there?)
But relax. I'm not attempting an answer. That's what poor schoolkids have to endure to spoil their enjoyment. (It can take decades to undo the damage that schools do. Decades to forget the drivel they shove into you. To realise that it's just two. You and the writer.)
And that's where blogs score so highly. No editor. Few reviews. Raw writing. And it never got much rawer than noodle - so painful sometimes you couldn't go on. That you were pleased to read him elsewhere in a comment box, where it looked like he wasn't quite so pissed off. Rarely can a man have poured out his demons so comprehensively and for so long. I'll miss him loads.
"Oh dear. Another one bites the dust. Yours is a unique talent, which never seems to need much "material" to weave such magic. Thank you for all you've given, and I know it can't have been easy at times. Some day, years from now, you'll maybe re-read it and think, "Was that really me?"
...yesterday was pictures of poor africans in Africa naked with no clothes on. This is tautology with a capital T, grammar students and proof readers - easily beating off Robbie Williams naked with his dick out - an idea which always tickled my fancy somewhat.
Spammer of the day...
...is Congruent J Moran, who offers these profound thoughts alongside the sales message...
The careful application of terror is also a form of communication.
Pleasure can be supported by an illusion but happiness rests upon truth.
I have a great deal of company in my house especially in the morning, when nobody calls.
That last one is me to a T as I blog to you each day. How chilling is that? And who would have thought a philosophy major would help sell generic viagra?
Well, there you have it. Just nine short months since I quit smoking for good, and now they're making it illegal. Don't you just love being a health icon!! There are leaders, and then there are followers.
Scotland has a history as testbed for UK legislation - I'm thinking Sunday shop opening, relaxed alcohol licensing, and the (shock horror) Community Charge (aka Poll Tax). Can't wait for this latest one.
I would feel sorry for my smoking friends, but I don't. Don't because it's just so damned easy to stop. If I could sail my way through it after almost half a century of the filthy weed, then so can anyone.
So my compassion on this point is - unusually - nil.
But what say you? Please vote now in the new sidebar poll. And comment down below. It will be read. (While you're there, please also take a few seconds to fill in my survey on blogging habits. Thanks.)
Much sadness yesterday as one by one my Tuesday cinema companions found other engagements. I've washed, and washed and washed myself almost skinless, yet still seem unable to retain any friends.
Oh there were excuses, ranging from sciatica (Ally), to mother in law visit (Claire), and so on. And true enough, Ally could hardly walk, and Claire's fiance's folks are in town for a few days. She was busy stitching her bag. How sweet, I thought. Times I feel sure I should have been a girl.
So my companion de jour ended up as the handsome Brian, former beau of Ms Dean, and quite a tasty morsel, I have to say. We saw Gothika. I don't think you'll like it. Very atmospheric, though, and shot almost entirely in mental hospital dark blue/green. It was over an hour before any red at all appeared, and that was a metal staircase. SAD people notice colour.
Dean got mad because Brian had been meant to make his tea for him, but went to the flicks with me instead. I'll make it up to him. He had a hangover, and couldn't get out of his dressing gown and slippers. That's actually more interesting than Gothika, now I think about it. It's got Halle Berry, who screams a lot, and Robert Downey Jr txting in his performance. Well, performance is too generous a term. He puts glasses on (doctor) and speaks the lines. Well, the ones he doesn't snort first.
Oh what a bitch I am today. I blame yesterday's bevvy, the first since Thursday. (Drink problem? What drink problem?)
Bad Films. Bad, Bad films.
Most of this week we've been banging on about horror flicks and certificates and suchlike. It's the full moon just past. It's Easter coming up.
So thanks to Insubstantial Adrian for this list of still-banned celluloid. Should attract lots of searches.
Axe (aka 'California Axe Massacre')
Beast In Heat
Blood Bath (aka 'Bay of Blood')
Deep River Savages
Don't Go In The Woods Alone
Faces Of Death
Fight For Your Life
Frankenstein (by Andy Warhol)
Gestapo's Last Orgy, The
House By The Cemetery
House On The Edge Of The Park
I Spit On Your Grave
Island Of Death
Last House On The Left, The
Love Camp 7
Mardis Gras Massacre
Night Of The Bloody Apes
Night Of The Demon
Nightmares In A Damaged Brain
SS Experiment Camp
Werewolf And The Yeti
Zombie Flesh Eaters
Well - plenty there to get your teeth into, NB-fans. Thanks again to Adrian. Nice blog, too - featuring a fascinating animated GIF in the title bar.
Yes it's true. There I was last night, drinking and commenting. Again. Much love and apology to zed, whose proof-reading commenters got thoroughly red penned, and to all of mike'sChristians. Those latter might not have been too pleased with my idea that the Resurrection would make a great zombieflick. "Take, eat, this is my body," was the very quote I used. How blasphemous is that. Allah be praised. It's a modern crusade.
Talking of which, the US Government appears somewhat bemused at the Iraqi people preferring an Islamic state to an American one.
Christianity versus Islam is where it's all gonna happen, you mark my words. God is Love. Heh.
"It's one thing to do it [blogging] on an employer's time; quite another to do it on your own." So signs off Nigel of Audi Olympics, with perfect semi-colonisation. And missed already.
But I must be the saddest blogfucker in the world, then. The best part of six mornings a week goes here. Fer nowt.
Sometimes I'm OK with it. "It's a hobby. Just a hobby. Like other old men go to the bowling club," I tell my (very few) mates. Except it isn't like that at all, now is it? There's one huge difference, and you don't need a degree in Transactional Analysis to spot it.
Then I ask, "But what else would I *do* in all those mornings?" And the only logical answer would be, "Clean the house". Or paint it. Or whatever else people do to houses - been so long I've quite forgotten.
So then I tell myself, "But I don't mind a messy house. There are no rats, goddammit. Who *needs* a clean house?" Except that isn't the whole truth at all, now is it? Some people do expect a house at least tolerably presentable. And which people are those?
So then I say, "This blog is stopping you doing something with your life. Those vague daydreams you've always had and ever will - the ones that Mother Nature (in her Wisdom) hasn't already snatched, that is."
And then I think, "Just shut the fuck up. You've got it (almost) all. And this is as good as it'll ever get. The book will never ever get written. Nor even the articles. The showbiz career is thirty years too late. And the tall, dark stranger long stopped off elsewhere - at someone with a cleaner house. At someone who would do more than think of him as copy."
And then I shake my head, and put the kettle on, and press Post and Publish. And while I sip the coffee I think of the next thing to write.
It's certainly a full moon horrorfest over at the BBC these days! Let's hope Michael Grade doesn't replace it all with Amazon Mud Wrestling.
This week's topic is modern horror, which means horror not inspired by Shelley, Stoker or Poe. American, in other words, unless you want to include Tom Paulin and David Dickinson, among many others.
Last night it was The American Nightmare, a horror documentary featuring anyone who's anyone since 1968. Those who pay attention might recall me raving about it featuring on The Hills Have Eyes double DVD. (Highly recommended, for those who like that sort of thing. Can't just be noodle, surely? Available for rent at Blockbuster.)
Specially interesting in view of the current zombiemania was George Romero, sitting with yellowed teeth...
Why *do* directors always smoke cigars? What *is it* with the phallic symbolism?
...and Dickie Attenborough glasses and demeanour. While Michael Moore was still at school, Romero was covering civil rights, lynchmobs and the NRA in NightOTLD, and - ten years later - consumerism in DawnOTD.
Add in Wes Craven talking about Last House on the Left; Tobe Hooper and his Texas Chainsaw Massacre; Carpenter and Cronenburg, and you've got a documentary to die for. Or at least un-die. There was also a Germaine Greer-alike, praising Night Of The Living Dead up to its undead eyeballs.
Last night, to put me in the mood for the documentary, I also watched Texas CSM again - the first time since the seventies. For its first 20 years it had no BBFC certificate, so the only way you could see it in Britain was on pirate video. Remember those? It was before Her Majesty's Government brought in draconian new video laws, so just about "anything went" dahn the local rental store. Horror, porn... all were there for a wink and a nod.
The picture quality was awful, of course - fuzziness and flashing in and out of colour. Well, the Texas CSM DVD isn't exactly Cinemascope, but it's a hell of a lot better than the first time I saw it.
Verdict? Terrifying. In the cinema, in 1974, it would have eaten the pants off Halloween, Exorcist and Alien combined. Yet I would also say it's a load of cheap shit, the product of a sick mind, and contains less art than a Mars Bar.
There were a few of them, back then. Video nasties they were called in this country. Off the top of my head I recall Driller Killer, I Spit On Your Grave, The Hills Have Eyes and Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Naturally I sat glued to them, in third generation pirate fuzz. Video killed the censors pencil.
Thanks to Gordon for this link to a reasonable feature on British blogging. Reasonable except for NB not being in it. Ah well. No journalist can be perfect.
Someone who is rightly featured very prominently is Lynn Gomm aka Moi, whose writing in one passage is possibly the most moving I've read anywhere, in any medium. You'll see the bit I mean when you get to it.
Also writing exquisitely about his son is Porny Boy Curtis today in a dentist story. These are bloggers so good I despair at my own feeble efforts.
But maybe not too much despair, as there's room for all in the "uber-blog", the MULTIVAC itself. Soon we (as an organic entity) won't need newspaper validation any longer. I'll bet you a fiver to a brick shithouse that blogs are hitting newspaper sales now, and hitting them hard. Who needs some anonymous, overpaid, cocaine-snorting hack in London when you can read the world? For free.
And talking of world, I can exclusively not quite reveal that Something Very Interesting is afoot round and about Naked Mansions. (Diva-style tease. Isn't it great?) Watch this space, and not for much longer.
The Medium is the Message
Never did understand what that was supposed to mean, btw. But I suppose if your name is Marshall McLuhan then it goes nicely with your initials. Marilyn Monroe might have said something similar, when she was alive.
But I digress. Having seen more than a little cinema lately, I'm starting to re-evaluate flicks seen on the telly. Specifically Night of the Living Dead last night. This was creepy enough on the small screen in the full flood of half a kilowatt of daylight light bulbs. (SAD people don't *do* mood lighting, darlings. Full on.) But in a cinema it would be fucking terrifying.
Can't remember whether I saw it back in 68 or not. Having a hard time of it with relationships back then. O tempora! O mores! Omygod!
Today it's haircut, council tax, dentist and Sarah, but not in that order. Sarah's become my only link to British Blogorrhoea. Vital to make a good impression.
Oh, and talking of good impressions, my employer wants me to enter the Bingo Caller Of The Year competition. Might be fun. Except the prize is a trip in an aeroplane, and as you know we just don't *do* flying any more. Not natural.
It's off to Los Angeles and Las Vegas for a week. How cultured. And I'm giving various women at work the chance to be my companion on the trip. We're even discussing Elvis-style wedding chapels. What fun lives heterosexuals seem to have.
Right now - there's tons of weekend stuff under this, so get a nice cuppa and settle back. The sun's shining here; the trees are semi-leaved, and the going is good. Enjoy.
PS: As something of a seasoned freelance hack, I noticed one or two of you chatting here and there about the cheques you'd got from the Observer for yesterday's column. Can I advise you not to cash them? For if you do you'll be landed with a Self Assessment Tax Return - every year, for ever.
And those mothers aren't funny. In fact it's probably already too late.
I shouldn't be sitting here, writing to you like this. My computer fan is putting me into an early grave, I swear it. "You don't need a new computer: you just need a new fan," counselled Brian in the Village last week. "They're only two pounds," he said.
Fine. But what use is a new fan in its box, eh? At some stage I'm presuming it has to be inserted into the casing. As a child I was repeatedly told not to touch electric wires, an instruction I'm still quite happy to follow.
Do computers really need fans anyway? It's not as if I'm doing Microsoft Flight Simulator or Toca Touring Cars or Doom 3. It's only a blog. Fifty words a minute, max. Plenty of pauses for thinking, especially on slow days.
Fuck it. sorry. I can't stand this. Really can't. I'm only persevering because sometimes it stops dead for a while, taunting me with little whirrs and phlegmy comments on the blog. Other times it sounds like a family of mice scratching away. Today it's daein' ma fuckin heid in, maaan.
(I'm aware that should be "my" not "me". But get into the twenty-first century, why doncha? Pedantry. No time for it. Last night I was watching Eminem in 8 Mile. He's got all the screen presence of herpes.)
This made me an instant guru on matters zombie, a role I played with all the gusto I could muster.
"But of course, darlings, Snyder just doesn't have the social comment that Romero put into his work..."
Times I lurve being elderly. I'm practising to be Quentin Crisp, except I've forgotten how to be gay.
It's true. Only last week a former suitor (successful, but only for two days), said hello in the Port o Leith. "Peter, it's more than thirty years since we first met," he said. "No, it's more than twenty years," I corrected, somewhat pedantically, but I wasn't happy with the look in his eyes. "Nineteen seventy five," he replied. "Exactly. Twenty nine years," I said, mentally pressing the End Call button.
"He fancied you," Sandra my personal manager said when we broke out into the daylight. "I know," I said. "But I'm not quite ready for Albert Steptoe yet." To be honest, I'm not quite ready for anyone. Even should Pitt, Madsen or Phoenix call at the door this instant, I'd tell them to fuck off. Michael Kelly might get one cup of coffee while we discussed his art.
Breakfast With Frost today was about health, and set, somewhat bizarrely, in a hospital. Bizarre because hospitals are probably the most unhealthy places you could ever be in. If the treatments don't kill you off, then the superbugs will.
The papers (but not the Jewish Chronicle) were discussed by Edwina Currie and Professor Lord Robert Winston. (His actual namecheck on the screen.) Bob, who isn't a botanist, said that GM crops were safe to eat. Edwina, who is a novelist and politician, said that MMR vaccines were safe, because she'd introduced them in 1998.
Later, the health secretary Dr John Reid said that just because California and the Republic of Ireland had banned smoking, there wasn't the slightest reason for the UK to do the same. (Thinks: this almost certainly means the Labour Party takes tobacco money.)
We're safe in their hands. What an old cynic I'm becoming.
Zombie Update! (Thanks to Chav Gav for the reminder.)
Last night was a bit sleepless, so I ended up watching this on video at 5 am, trying not to disturb my neighbours with the noise. BBCi
It was very good, but again flawed. Constanze came into her own in this episode, with lines like, "They hated me so much they still tried to wound me even after he'd died."
Hmmm. Fine if there's a reliable record of her saying that. Unforgiveable if it's screenwriter's nonsense. So much fakery around.
But once again, it fell to Charles Hazlewood to cause the actual damage. Here he is on the fortieth symphony...
"It's a monumental work in which he's able to encapsulate almost the whole human experience.
He isn't. The only human experience involved is the one of listening to music.
"It's Mozart at his most distressed. It contains fury, anguish, despair. It's biting, unsettling, weird."
It doesn't. It contains music and nothing else.
I know I'm possibly labouring this point, but there are so many commentators like Mr Hazlewood who insist on linking their own emotional responses with a putative, hypothesised emotion of the composer. You simply musn't do that. Beside Mozart we are but maggots, musically.
Hazlewood almost takes leave of the planet in his comment on Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, composed soon after father Leopold's death, and a thoroughly jolly piece to boot. He says, "In this work it's as if Mozart is saying, 'My father's dead but I'm OK.'"
Oh dear me. If Mozart really did say that - in words - then that is one thing. Otherwise pass the sick bowl.
Or am I being too harsh? It's just I see millions of people who might have turned on to Mozart and other composers being puzzled by all this "anthropomorphism" of what is really a verbal and emotional neutrality. Organised sound, and the rest you supply yourself.
Spammer of the Day is Perpetuation H. Seventeens who's kindly offering me a job in Australia. Thanks, but no thanks, as I really don't think they'd have me these days. A bit past my sell-by, Perpetuation.
Fascinated to learn on the news today that older cows are now to be considered for eating. (Can't find a link.) As something of an old cow myself, who hasn't been eaten for so long I've forgotten what it's like (although I did have an amazing dream last night about a trainful of American college students in Colorado), I'm giving it careful consideration.
But the most horrifying thing is this. In order that UK farmers can continue their luxurious lifestyles unabashed, my government gives them 300 million pounds a year to purchase these sad old cows, then burns them. (It's the BSE risk. Mad cow disease.)
Er - I don't recall anyone asking me if I wished my Income Tax to be spent in that way! What other workers have that level of state protection? What happened to investment and risk? Why are farmers always such a special case?
And - surprise, surprise - didn't they bring the entire BSE crisis on themselves, because of greed? (If you recall, the BSE epidemic was caused by feeding ground up infected sheep to normally grass-eating cows. To save farmers money.)
It was good to meet Sandra my personal manager yesterday, fresh off the Inverness train with her daughter who's sprouting like a weed, as they do at that age.
Wow how Waverley Station has changed! There's hardly a square inch which isn't selling you something - from flowers to coffee and everything in between. Even your brain can't escape, as there's possibly the biggest illuminated wall display I've ever seen, alternating between BBC News24 headlines and ads.
It's like science fiction, but come true. Take Tuesday in the Ocean Terminal Mall. I was walking along minding my own business, not a care in the world, when suddenly the wall started selling me a luxury apartment. The wall! I kid you not. Built-in speakers. These are the things I read about in the sci-fi novels of my teens.
The one thing the scifi writers didn't pick up on was what we're doing right now, though. Possibly Asimov came closest with his notion of MULTIVAC - the computer to end all computers.
We, as bloggers and blog-readers, have created the most startling man-machine interface ever known. So many human brains, just one or two clicks away from each other. It's a very great joy I've been spared to see it.
But I digress. Quite wildly. Must be something important irl I'm procrastinating. (I know myself like my right hand.)
Where was I? Oh yes, Sandra, daughter and moi set off for the new Omni Centre, yet another Mall, beside the Picardy Place roundabout at the top of Leith Walk. You've got St Mary's RC Cathedral (as visited by Pope John Paul), at one side, and a cathedral of capitalism at the other, as visited by us three.
We awarded the Slug and Lettuce the benefit of our business. Sandra had potato wedges with sour cream and chilli sauce, while Laura chose the duck wrap. Me, I was still replete from Babs' lamb-burgers for lunch. But they both gave me a wee nibble.
It was good. Then we went to Real Foods for some Apis Mel for Laura's rash. I'm something of a fan of homeopathic remedies, even if scientifically they can't work. Apis Mel, made from bee venom, really does cancel out bee stings, and the hayfever one stops you sneezing in an instant. I haven't tried any others. Never get period pains, darlings.
Sandra's got a job interview right now. (11 am.) Send her waves of good luck. I'm so glad she's decided to come back. I could tell her daughter too was glad to be back in the familiar city bustle. Life is good.
...the month ended yesterday was the busiest so far on Naked Blog, weighing in at a fairly hefty 22326 visits. This narrowly pips our previous best, which was also in March, 2003. (Click about on the blue Nedstat symbol at the foot of the page.)
But that month benefitted from (a) the first six chapters of my life, freshly written after the sudden news of my father's decease, (b) the start of the invasion of Iraq, and (c) my winning of the Nude Bloggies Award, which brought in reams of traffic. So you've got death, war, and sex all packaged in 31 days of red-hot material. Start at the bottom and scroll up. Blogs are a bugger for scrolling up.
Thanks to all for your interest in my little ouevre, and I hope I can long reward your visits here. Sorry to those who only wanted Natasha Kaplinsky and Sophie Raworth naked. I'm sure you'll find them somewhere. (Not :)
Just been watching John Walker, once of the sooper-dooper Walker Brothers, with Dermot and Natasha. What a bitch that Natasha is! Not once but twice she commented on "how strange it must be looking back at yourself like that", as if watching old clips wasn't something every celebrity has to deal with.
Mr Walker handled it well, simply saying, "It was a long time ago." Physically he's looking good, but oh that voice sounds a bit Marlboro. He's touring with a sixties troupe... Wayne Fontana, Peter Noone etc, all backed by The Dakotas. Cilla will remember the Dakotas. Maybe had one or two of em.
It's his first time back in the business for 25 years, and I wish him well. Especially for the interesting observation about the audiences - that it's as if they're "reliving their memories with him." How weird. He said it was "very uplifting".
I want a facelift. Who's gonna sponsor me? I'll pay you back when I'm famous.