Naked Blog

More famous than Susan Boyle!


Sunday, May 30, 2004

TRACE 'N TONE

Fun and games on Breakfast with Frost this morning.

First off Tracey Emin sits there giving the British public a severe telling off indeed because they'd laughed at this week's art fire on a couple of programmes. They laughed because the word was that the destroyed "art" was mostly Emin and Hirst tat.

My advice comes straight from the playground, Tracey: telling people to stop laughing at you is one surefire way to make sure they continue.

You might have fooled some rich twunts who've spotted investment potential in your tents and beds, but that's all. You're not art: you're fashion. And we all know what happens to fashion.

But let the laughing continue... all the way to the bank, in your case. Not with my money it won't, though. A truly career-shattering interview. Talk about famous for being famous.



Sol Campbell came on for no good reason I could ascertain (possibly because he wasn't Henrik Larsson, who might have deservedly had an interview), and he got his black man/sports man handshake at the end. We've written about Frost's handshake protocols in October last year, so this time I had my eyes glued to Sir David's right hand. Which was resting on his right leg. And I must admit that on this occasion, the handshake instigator (such a classy word) was Mr Campbell himself.



The Prime Minister wasn't important enough for a handshake (middle class), but he did make some super Brownie points and has earned my vote next time. Frost was banging on about the usual yawns... Iraq, terror, popularity polls... that sort of thing.

Then, on a question about Gordon Brown I think it was, Tone turned straight to the correct camera, grinned broadly, and said, "I think I've given you enough headlines for today: can we get on with the next bit?" Class in a glass.

I feel genuinely sorry for people who don't have Tony as PM. He should really be running the world.

Frost on Sunday - the complete video.


And you say? (10)   Link to this



HERE TODAY

But now on to the topic you're really interested in.

Me.

It wasn't all (or even mostly) huff, you know.

The last few days have been very humbling. All I said was I felt like a rest, and unlike a puppy, a rest is not for ever.

Nevertheless, the kind outpourings of compliments for the work (which you do know), and affection for myself (whom you don't), was the stuff of dreams. And maybe nightmares.

For how do I ever stop now?



Dispassionately, there are issues of blog/personality meld going on - possibly to the extent of identity confusion. Definitely for someone's erudite blogticle soon.

You think you know me. You even think you can "read between the lines". But maybe I'm just damn good at writing between the lines. Never thought of that, now didya? :) (Remember I earn my living by persuading people (customers in this case) to "like me".)

And they've just offered me a sizeable promotion! Oh yes. More on that another day. There are pros (sorry Belle) and cons.



But fuck dispassion. An equally valid mode is the Judy Garland, my big sister in all but name.

And here Judy would put her fingers to her lips, then fling her arms wide to her adoring audience, whom not only has she never met, but cannot even clearly see.

*Clears throat*

"Some WHERE... "

(I think you get the idea!)

My huge thanks to all, but especially of course zed and mike, for this and that. With friends like these...

Thanks even to my detractors, who stayed pretty damn restrained. Well - NB remains free at point of use, after all. (Unless mike and zed were making busy with the delete key :)

Sites to See

Long, long time ago, when blogworld was young and the WTC still stood, an equally young man of seventeen in Alaska quickly became a blog phenomenon. Cracks in the Pavement garnered review after review, and even that to-die-for Blogger Blog of Note.

Josh and I kept in touch throughout his most prolific period, which he's now re-released as archive. There's also a stunning newly-written "front cover" for you.

He's now in his early twenties, living in Portland Oregon, and is studying design at college. His pen is mostly quiet, for now.


"Would it be possible to blog roll me or add a link to my site please? I can link to your blog in return. It would generate more hits for both of us. My url is http://chiraag88.blogspot.com"
What should pop up in my comment box yesterday but the above.

Now why should one wallow in existential huffs about relative placing in the blogosphere when there are still keen youngsters starting out?

Humbling. Take a wee peep at Chiraag's site. Especially if you're under 20 :)
"My blog shares have fallen drastically, and I have a english exam on friday. Chicken Nuggets in Mcdonalds taste different now."
Class in a glass.


And you say? (18)   Link to this


Saturday, May 29, 2004

HUMBLE

The last few days have been very humbling.

More words tomorrow.

Extraordinary.

Thank you.


And you say? (9)   Link to this


Wednesday, May 26, 2004

TATA FOR QUITE SOME TIME

And now it's time for that long holiday I've been promising myself for ages.

It's not so much losing half a dozen readers, as gaining six mornings a week. But for you half dozen... yo! you rocked. And thanks.



No emails, please. They only upset me, and I can't reply.

All it ever was was a few private thoughts.

Now they're talking newspaper, radio, movie even.

Beyond belief.



I've considered the options, and rocking chair has won out. Too old. Too tired. Too don't give a fuck.

You do it, if you care that much.

But then you already are. Splendidly.

Cheers, Peter

PS What little there is to be said will probably be said on Diva or Twat.


And you say? (10)   Link to this



INTERMISSION

The cinema club convened at six yesterday, but it was the wrong time. Moments too late for the early evening shows, but long alcoholic hours ahead of the eight o' clocks.

Plus, a round for seven in the Ocean Bar is getting into re-mortgage territory. Conran didn't get rich by doing happy hours. I accepted one pint from Dolly, because I just did, declined one from the newly-sacked Reuben (called some Village customers 'fat slags', so the story goes), and left.



I was feeling very close to sixty, and there they all were in their twenties and early thirties. Wtf wants to gaze on my human wreckage? OK for the cinema, because it's pretty damn dark.

Plus, there really wasn't that much on. The Day After Tomorrow conceals its scenes of extended peril for a couple more days; ScoobyDoo 2 is out of the question because I haven't seen ScoobyDoo 1, nor shall I without torture, and so on.

JD's latest, Secret Window (is it?) got some interest, as did Carrey's current carry on.



Then I started getting label rage. Dolly was sitting there wearing sunglasses with the name GUCCI on the frame. Have I ever mentioned how much I detest people wearing things with the brand written on them? How fucking, fuck-off stupid it is first to pay twenty times the actual cost to buy the thing, then ADVERTISE IT FOR FREE? (Sorry Lyle for swearing so much.)

Have I mentioned that? Well then now I have. I think the Gucci shades were Reuben's, but that doesn't make things any better. Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, D and G... over-priced wankers the lot of them, appealing only to the snobbish and insecure.

Burberry for the salaried.



So I left. But I said that already. To the Port O'Grief, and a couple with Beth Sinclair, who very sensibly buys her own. We chatted about her scaffolding on the corner of Bernard Street and the Shore, and the monstrosity luxury development outside the Malmaison hotel.

But obnoxious loudmouth was there also, whom I won't name for legal reasons. He was trying to inviegle himself in with a couple of young women. Early twenties, as opposed to his treble that.

"I like women," I overheard him roaring at them. "Especially if they're prostitutes," I felt like chipping in. "Tell him you're not prostitutes, girls, and he'll leave you alone."

By eck.



This afternoon Babs wants to get drunk with me, but tonight I'm due at the label-wearing Ally and Dolly for dinner. If they don't dis-invite me after the above! Isn't blogging wonderful?

Talking of which, mike has made a blog link-list. But it's not a very good list, as NB isn't on it. I've set him an exercise of coming up with a more meaningful list. Plus he's a bit poorly, so get over there with your Night Nurse.


And you say? (10)   Link to this


Tuesday, May 25, 2004

DAFT QUIZ FOR A SLOW TUESDAY

Who is your Inner Bombshell?

Well, as my meat counter encounter has failed to enthrall, try this latest from Quizilla. Via Brian of Shadowfoot, who's feeling the winter in New Zealand. Doncha just feel for the poor guy? :)

And how does Quizilla afford all the bandwidth charges?

YOU ARE MAE WEST!
Va-Va-Voom! Your Inner Bombshell is Mae West.
You've definitly got a lot of wit, a lot of
smarts, and you know how to use people to your
advantage. Ever heard the phrase "doesn't
take any crap from anybody"? Well that's
you! Just like Mae you never want to settle
down, and can't imagine being with just one man
for the rest of your life. You don't care about
conventions and have no filter from your brain
to you mouth. Check out the movie "She
Done Him Wrong" to see your inner
bombshell in all her voluptuous glory!


Who is your inner bombshell?
brought to you by Quizilla


And you say? (12)   Link to this



ARE YOU BEING SERVED?

(This story contains explicit sexual thoughts, and should not be read by anyone.)


The problem with writing a post that you like, is the next day you've got to do better.

Sprouts.

Most of yesterday afternoon was organised around the early evening sprout run to Scotmid (such a Chavvy name) Co-op in Duke Street. But first I needed sliced meat, and my server de jour was Diego. Oh my.



Tall, dark, Hispanic from somewhere, you just knew he'd get hardons to die for. With thick, tangled black hair just everywhere a body gets hair.

Eagerly I watched as he manipulated somewhat awkwardly my sliced corned beef. "Three packets, please," I instructed, feeling it would be forward to use his name at this early stage. "Two for the freezer and one for eating now."

But then I could tell he didn't understand a word I was saying. Love, however, is international - it needs no verbal baggage. Diego. San Diego. Maradona, Diego, San. Fuck me over the counter, pal.

Then we moved onto the apple and honey roast ham, which poor Diego made such a hash of I had to secretly drop the two packets later beside yoghurts and spreads, just round the corner from cut flowers. But it was wonderful watching him, wondering if he was blushing inside that dusky, hairy exterior, as all his slices fell apart. Handle my meat any time, pal. No way would this pork sausage fall apart.

Age is a cruel thing. Sometimes I swear Evergreen Norma gets loads more than me.



Just half an hour earlier, Big Robert had come up to me in the Port. I was sitting between Beth Sinclair and Robocop Mark, and we were discussing the fabulous new programme for next month's Leith Festival. It's a cracker.

"What did you mean when you wrote that I had, "more acting talent than Paul O'Grady?" Robert asked me.

Quick shufty over his face for signs of anger. Probably none. You have to appreciate just how very big Big Robert is. If it came to a choice between him and Diego from the meat counter I'd be pretty pushed, I can tell you. Ideally one would find some way of incorporating both studs into the evening. I'm sure it wouldn't be that hard difficult :)

But Robert deserved an explanation. "It means nothing," I stressed. "Nada. It's just a non-sentence. You see, Paul O'Grady has no acting talent at all. So to say someone has more talent than Paul O'Grady incorporates everyone on the planet."



I think he was OK. Fingers crossed. I seem to be falling out with just about everyone these days. Must be frustration. Night starvation. Aggravation. Lack of sensation.

Everyone I meet I immediately signal I'm aware they don't like me. Can't remember when last I enjoyed a chat that wasn't some sort of battle. No-one introduces me to anyone any more. I'm becoming a liability in my friends' bars, I'm fully aware.

Yet it's not my fault. It's everyone else's.

Watched a programme about Henrik Larsson last night. The footballer. What a funny-looking little thing he is. Wouldn't get anywhere near my sprouts, I can tell you - even if he can crack nuts with his bumcheeks.


And you say? (9)   Link to this


Monday, May 24, 2004

ANOREXIA VERBOSA

Did I tell you how slim I'm getting? Did I share that with you? Well, maybe slim would be language-abuse somewhat, but certainly less fat. Most days I'm one entire belt notch smaller than before. I swear I could get into 36 inch trousers this week. (Pants.)

And what has wrought this nouveau emaciation?

The answer is sprouts. Hundreds of Brussels sprouts, which I now eat with the gusto reserved formerly for Chicken Biryani, Lamb tandoori and so forth and suchlike.

Sprouts are the new Macdonalds. And it's all down to my recent purchase of a large, luxurious freezer. Don't call me obsessive, but it's currently harbouring sprouts from three different manufacturers, for variety of diet. Co-op. Iceland. Farmfoods.

Such lovely names, redolent of the early Labour movement, and Land Girls during the war. Oh... I remember it well...
Ed: Shut the fuck up, why doncha! Have you taken your medication today? I know it makes you fat, but face it honey... it's outbursts like that which stop you being taken seriously as a journalist. Like Ian Sample and Andrew Heavens.
Maybe it's the pesticide residues, but me I get a warm glow after about 25 of the wee buggers, with a tablespoon of Lurpak butter for ease of slipping down. A physical comfort, enhanced by the sure and certain theory that they're really, really good for you. Leafy greenness coursing through what's left of your veins, soaking up cancer and cholesterol like fly paper in a heatwave.

I want my Brussels sprouts. (Shame you can't eat them all the time, for reasons of human contact.)


And you say? (11)   Link to this



GAY NEWS AND VIEWS

Ben from Washington DC, USA writes poignantly about turning away from homosexuality and toward God. Scattered Words. He says what most queens never dare quite face up to, except in the dark, drugged corners of their backrooms and brains. That much homosexual behaviour is shockingly, shatteringly different, more promiscuous, more demeaning, than the hetero.

My own view is that however lovely such a God idea might be, for those who would find that idea lovely, it just ain't gonna happen, dude. Especially at age 22.

God bless him and keep him. (Or should every gay man be rushing to Massachusetts to pose in front of His n His wedding cakes?)


And you say? (27)   Link to this


Sunday, May 23, 2004

VERY FANNY

I'm not writing any naked blog till the computer fan shuts up. Just not. No matter how much I love you.

Sincerity is the key to successful blogging, doncha think?

See ya later if it shuts up.

LONDON OLYMPIC BID (Or, Millennium Dome Reloaded)

How sick are you of having your tax millions spent on senseless projects which the country can't afford?

London Olympics? JUST SAY NO.

Here I would like someone skilled in button-design to make one called ANYWHERE BUT LONDON. They should incorporate the Olympic circles, to piss off the IOC over the design copyright. (Who was that lovely person who did the one for Destruction For Dummies?)

Is it unreasonable not to want to spend my taxes inflating property values for already-rich Londoners? If they want to improve wasteland, use their damn Council Tax. I didn't notice any London money coming here for the MTV awards last year - rather it all came out of my pocket. Heavens, I feel like a French Revolutionary.



Talking of which, it's all a bit guillotine-ish for Air France these days, isn't it? First their Concordes burst into flames, and now the airport terminal collapses on the paying public.

If I get any more scared of these things I'll never leave the house - but even that has its hazards. The Guardian this weekend was full of articles about the horrors of house dust. Just a few years ago everyone was saying how marvellous it is, and how it prevents you getting asthma. Farm children are the healthiest of all because they bath in the damn stuff.

I dunno. My house is full of it, and there's nothing wrong with me.



Did you know you get more dust in the rooms you inhabit most? Yes, it's true. (I can uniquely tell this, because I never clean anything at all.)

The study I'm sitting in now has inches thick of dust over everything - composed, so we're told, of (my) dead skin. I'm in this room several hours a day. Living room similarly. I only got my Playstation 2 in December, yet already it's almost buried, with little or no blackness still visible. But the kitchen (seven minutes at 800W, then stand for one minute) has none at all. A little black grit that must come in the windows and cracks, but not one iota of the grey fluffy stuff.

Amazing. They really should do scientific tests on this house. And pay me loads of tax dollars for the privilege.

Update: The articles can be accessed from this Guardian Search page on Ian Sample the author. But before you click on the stories, just feast your eyes on the quantity! The man is a writing dynamo! And you thought you wrote a lot with your blog...

FAME RELOADED

I'm turning down so many chances for celebrity these days. First there was the radio gig for Leith Festival, then a starring spot in a forthcoming Evening News blogticle, and next will be the National Bingo Caller of the Year contest, which my company are urging me to enter.

The prize is a trip for two to Las Vegas, which sounds fab until you think about the terrorists on the plane and the guns in the streets. Plus I genuinely dislike gambling.

Las Vegas must be like Blackpool but more. The only way to get to know a place is to live there. These celebrity chances might well not come again. I want to be alone.


And you say? (19)   Link to this


Saturday, May 22, 2004

DEGREES OF SEPARATION

It's lovely with a weblog to receive a
  • comment, but even better is an
  • email, but even better is a
  • phone call, but even better is a
  • face to face, but even better is a
  • home invitation, but even better is a
  • shag, but even better is a
  • partnership, but even better is a
  • marriage.
  • Have I missed anything out?


    And you say? (14)   Link to this


    Friday, May 21, 2004

    BON VOYAGE...

    ...to Sarah, who leaves today for northern Greece. To work with wolves. My entire knowledge of Greece comes from the film Shirley Valentine, but somehow I don't see Sarah falling for "Boat is Boat" in quite that sort of way.

    Tara hinny. Thou tak care an hurry back.


    And you say? (2)   Link to this



    UNFINISHED SYMPHONY

    Good miggly-moggly from east central scottle-bottle. Today's a bit graisy-daisy, and I'm like totally wooshty-booshty. Your moggleslop.

    Yesterday they sent me a Halifax Money Card, which is a bit odd seeing as I don't have an account with any entity called Halifax. My views on the usurers are a matter of note. I smelled a rat. Before I know it they'll be sending me statements with charges on, I thought, probably rightly.

    So I phoned their call centre, where a Punjabi Brahmin did a passable imitation of Scouse. "Very good sir, wak," he started. "I will most certainly be looking into this for you." (I'm exaggerating, but you get the idea.)

    I've heard of touting for business, but this is ridiculous. Anybody else had a Halifax Money Card?

    And take Paypal. They're constantly on at me to verify my details. But there I smell an even bigger rat. A cyber-rat. What if it's a hacked-up scam from Congruent J Sleepiness? The world is a perilous place.



    Especially if you're in the hands of the US Army, apparently.

    Read this article from William Rivers Pitt on Truthout. It's a startling piece, claiming that the prisoner abuse is all ordered from very high up indeed. Via Mint Tea and Sympathy, from the other side of Leith Links. (Did you know just last week I walked past the front door of Rockstar Games? It's in that big fuck-off building that looks like a town hall overlooking the bowling green. Awesome. I was struck dumb by their Vice City code.)



    Then, to cheer yourself up, try The Exorcist in Thirty Seconds (with bunnies). Via Dragon.

    Also, there's a great spoof (at least I think so) South Park script - the Metrosexual episode. So close to the truth you have to pinch yourself. True or false? Via mike.

    Also from Dragon is this tale of Wendy McClure being interviewed by Fox News (remember them... "BBC are a bunch of Commies...")about blogging. It's funny, and it's got loads of pictures.

    HI HO

    Not looking forward to work with my usual gusto this week. There are unresolved issues from last time, which it's not prudent to delve into here. More news as it breaks.

    PURPLE POWDER ON PRIME MINISTER SHOCK

    Purple is just so seventies, darlings. The tints du jour are surely fluorescent pink or Burberry oatmeal.

    OUT OF THE MOUTHS...

    Much amusement earlier in the week about the size of my organ blogmeet. This from Dolly, the other owner of the Village...
    "Only one showed, although international phone calls came flooding in, and melted the village switchboard (one non-technical BT payphone). It may be that actually meeting complete strangers that know every intimate detail of your life is too threatening, or that people feel they canít possibly live up to their alter egos."
    Fascinating. But then I expect nothing less from him.

    Tata the noo.


    And you say? (15)   Link to this


    Thursday, May 20, 2004

    BOYZ N THE HOOD

    "Hey Kriss! Good to see ya! I heard you were dead!"

    "That's not very nice!" chimed Pam, my barsteward in the Port.

    What is it about bar people who have to get involved in the customers' conversations? That's twice this week, in separate establishments.

    "Who said I was dead?" said Yorkshire Kriss, looking a tiny touch startled.

    "Babs," I grassed, choosing a barstool at the door end. It was glorious sunshine outside in Constitution Street. "That's fine!" he laughed. "We get on really well now, Babs and me." I sipped my Guinness and waited - for what I knew would be Grade A material.



    "No - I'm far from dead," he continued. "I've been walking the West Highland Way and making love to a beautiful woman beside rockpools." Those were his actual words. Here on Naked Blog we don't make it up. No need to.

    (Plus most punters are so desperate to get into my organ that they speak to me in pre-printed prose anyway.)

    I raised my left eyebrow, fractionally. "Elise," he said proudly, knowing that we'd previously met. And yes, she is very beautiful. And yes, I was glad they were making love beside rockpools, because the last I heard she was throwing all his stuff out of her flat. In Lisle, her home town.



    Never runs smooth, does it? He started working me to buy him a drink. I pretended to resist, while mentally setting his limit at two. Young French girlfriends don't come cheap. But I was to be pleasantly surprised.

    Evergreen Norma came to join us, unusually sober for the tea-time hour. "Hello darling!" she declares. "Aren't I looking fabulous! I should have something seriously wrong with me!"

    I had to agree that yes, she was looking fabulous for somewhere in her sixties, and yes also it was great she hadn't got anything seriously wrong with her. Apparently.

    "Norma - I could have stolen a cigarette off you, but I didn't do it," said Kriss, " - so give us one anyway." But no. Norma's tenpack of Superkings were despatched to her left breast for safety and motherly warming.



    Then it was Norma's lovelife. "I'm sure you're still a great shag, Norma," I said to her. "And now you don't have to worry about all that contraception nonsense." "Exactamente!" she agreed, thrusting her bosom skywards. "Still a great shag, you better believe it. Of course you'll never know." I feigned regret at this, being the gentleman I am.

    Kriss scrounged a roll-up off Karen, who was there with her new Brummie boyfriend Paul. He had a lot of tattoos - the old-fashioned, coloured sort. He said he was from Birmingham, but didn't sound exactly like Dolly and brother Phil. But some people say Birmingham when they really mean Black Country. (To my US reader this will be quite incomprehensible. It's not what you think, homie.) Anyway - I could follow what he was saying better than Norma managed. Maybe because of Dolly and Phil.



    Kriss showed me his filmscript and storyboard. It's called LEITH BARFLY TALES, and I can fairly say that no matter how many Cannes awards it eventually wins, you saw it first here. And what is it about Leith and bars? Is there anyone in this town who isn't intoxicated?

    "Why does it start at act two?" I asked him. "Because act one's got lost," he replied, (...insert the correct adverb, meaning that's not surprising considering the title)

    It all looked mightily impressive. "When are you going to make it?" I asked. (Just on Monday they were filming Christopher Brookmyre's Quite Ugly One Morning in Nobles Bar just two doors down.) His brow furrowed. "Dunno," he replied. "Leith Mediaworks said it was brilliant. All we asked them for was equipment, but it wasn't there. That was in early April."

    It would seem there's developed a definite case of "artistic differences" between the creative people and the Leith Mediaworks. "How much product do they actually have?" I asked. "None," he replied. "Not one second of material. It's just a Day Centre there. They just sit and drink coffee all day."

    (At this point I must state that - much as I love Yorkshire Kriss - I've not the slightest idea how true any of this is. Nor have I made the slightest attempt to contact anyone from Leith Mediaworks. This is a blog, not the Evening farking News.)

    And never let the truth get in the way of a good story. Watch this space. Even if you never watch LEITH BARFLY TALES, by Kriss Robb.



    Now - this is the fourth of four days off, and the sun is shining. There's been a (very) mini blogmeet, a cinema trip, three fall outs and a reconciliation. (Our world is too small for long term feuds.) The only thing missing this week's been a decent chat wit' me homegirl Babs.

    Boyz n Girlz n the Hood. (Or is that "homies and bitches"?) Not bad for nearly sixty, even if I'm not such a great shag as Norma.


    And you say? (15)   Link to this


    Wednesday, May 19, 2004

    BLOGMEET!

    That Monday meeting in full, then. It seems like everyone else involved (all three of them) has written kindly, whereas oneself - the instigator - is struck dumb.

    Well, not at all. It's just that yesterday was action-packed, repairing some slight break in the calmness, some wormhole of the cosmos, at my favourite pub.



    And the turmoil doesn't start and end there. Oh no. Here we go gathering nuts in May.

    You might remember a couple of days ago me/my mentioning that a journalist was wanting an interview about Naked Blog. Well, yesterday I phoned the paper to make arrangements, sort out venues, make-up, hair, etc. when I was told (falsely as it now turns out) that they'd never heard of the gentleman.

    So just last night, post-pub, I writes to him to that effect, and today he replies that he in fact has been commissioned to write such a piece.

    That paper should get its act together. Sorry, Andrew. Mea culpa.



    I'd taken all sorts of advice about the project, as - basically - you don't want every Tom, Dick and Harriet in the locality knowing so much about you. It's not always suitable. Not family entertainment. Dubya would really hate it, in case I came to Massachusetts and got married.

    And imagine crowds of jeering schooldears going, "Hey look! There's that auld poof on the internet!" Or even worse words to that effect. Isn't it funny how internet has retained such a sleazy air to it still? "Chatroom" is just unmentionable in polite company.

    Also I'd noticed how those in a recent Guardian blogticle had suffered all sorts of "outings" to their families, and - frankly my dears - for putting bread on a newspaper's table and nothing on my own...

    I just don't want offline fame. (Not with this level of honesty.) What little we have here is quite enough. (But I'll never make Quentin like that, I understand.)



    Meanwhile, back at the Village, my Monday blogmeet got off to a slow start. Caitlin was there, and really... nobody else. We chatted away like old friends. It was our second meeting.

    But imagine my surprise, while still only halfway down the first pint, when the phone rang all the way from Belgium!

    Yes, really! It was the gorgeous zed. We chatted bigtime, and then she mentioned something about the Twat. "Is he there?" I demanded. "I've got to talk to him. Got to be able to say, 'I talked to the Twat!'"

    And so it came to pass. They both sound lovely, and quite different from what I'd imagined. But don't even ask me what I'd imagined, because I couldn't put a voice into words.

    Quarsan had once lived only three minutes from The Village! How close is that? And he adores zed, he confided in me, man to man.



    "I can't believe I'm talking to Europe's leading woman blogger!" I gasped at one point. (Apologies to women across the world if that use of "woman" seems demeaning. It wasn't meant to be. Only to exclude the penis-wielding oppressors, as Babs likes to call them when she isn't getting wielded.)

    But zed was modest. "Oh no, I like this one and that one," she replied. "This one and that one are fine - in their way," I agreed, " - but there's nothing really there I couldn't get from the Guardian. MBIAT is unique. As is Speaking As A Parent."

    We talked about the New Wave then, as possibly spearheaded by Farting Through My Fingertips. (When oh when is he gonna get rid of that horizontal scrollbar? I ask you. I just can't read it any more, so am only assuming it's still good.)

    And then we called it a day. And what a day! Later I fell out with Brian, Dean and Gwen about matters.

    Don't forget the latest Naked Blog Radio. Clicky on the top of the sidebar. All enquiries to my agent, please. (It's been praised all the way to Illinois, USA.)


    And you say? (6)   Link to this



    VILLAGE PEOPLE'S CINEMA CLUB - van helsing

    We went. We sat. We didn't fall asleep. That is its only recommendation.

    Van Helsing has a 12 certificate, and if you're anywhere between that age and 13 then it might well delight. Otherwise, forget it. Reach for the Playstation - it's more realistic. Yawn.

    I actually said Van Helsing was worse even than Sex Lives Of The Potato Men, which must itself go down as some sort of Golden Turkey. In SLOTPM the jokes were unfunny and the dialogue abysmal. But at least it had some dialogue to dislike.



    Unlike Van Helsing. "They've completely dispensed with plot," I whispered to Dolly after about ten minutes. "I know," he said. "It's the latest fashion. Less work for the DVD when it comes out."

    "But there's no photography in it!" I whispered on. "Everything's fake!"

    "I know," he agreed, slipping me a Cherry Menthol Airwave chewing gum. "But it's so fabulously tacky."

    Afterwards we went for a pint or twa in the Ocean Bar, and discussed how the new highrise apartments were slap bang under the flight path for passing terrorists. Then we debated who was the bigger star, Cher or Madonna. Cher's just been on in Glasgow.

    I voted for Cher. (Bit of a Madge-phobe. Just too gay.) (Plus I remember Cher in black and white.)


    And you say? (9)   Link to this


    Monday, May 17, 2004

    HOWDY, STRANGER

    Yes, the time has come. The East of Scotland's second (so far as I know) blogmeet. Details a couple of posts below!

    Hendrix-cat, mint tea and Richard have kindly said they're not coming. Caitlin has even more kindly said she will.

    Just tell the barperson you're a blogger and get pointed in the right direction. Remember... it's a bar and restaurant anyway, so they're not gonna turn you away. Roll along and have a good time. Remember you're a blogger.

    Plus special guest appearances!

    Naked Blog Radio

    Edition three is here, and it's bigger and badder than ever!! NEW Details at the top of the sidebar. Thirty seven minutes of naked, bootylicious goodness! This station will change the way you think and feel about your life. Grab it while it's free! (Movie coming shortly.)

    Normal Service will hopefully be resumed tomorrow. Oh no it won't - just remembered I'm due to talk to the Evening News. Dunno though. Got to think it through. Too much fame is not a good thing. Look at Jill Dando.

    Blogmeet 7 pm Update:

    The Village and I have severed connections, because of some reasons. Don't know how long for. Many, many thanks to Caitlin for turning up, and to the gorgeous Zed and Quarsan for so kindly phoning.

    It's astonishing talking to people on the phone after reading every word for well over a year.

    That's all the astonishment I can handle for quite some time!


    And you say? (14)   Link to this


    Saturday, May 15, 2004

    HI HO

    Good morning campers, from East Central Scotland.

    A few quick points.

    Tonight at work is the big 1.1 million pound giveaway, when they all get their hot cheques. There's a party, with bubbly and - essentially - cabaret. No, not me, darlings. They couldn't afford it.

    But suggested performers are
  • Shirley Bassey singing "Big Spender"
  • Kylie singing "I should be so lucky", and
  • Eartha with "Old-fashioned millionaire"
  • What say you? (There's talk of Justin and Gareth also. Gareth must surely be on the way out by now. Sadly his stammer would preclude any future career as bingo caller - but we could always put him in the buffet. How narrowly he avoided that, when you think about it.)

    BLOGMEET MONDAY VILLAGE (See below)

    Andrew Heavens of the Edinburgh Evening News is doing something about blogging toot sweet, and has expressed an interest in coming along.

    Any objections?

    Obviously he will identify himself to everyone he speaks to, and no-one needs talk if they don't want to. Tell me what you think.

    This is genuine consultation. He isn't currently invited. It's not a done deal.

    NAKED BLOG RADIO...

    ...returns today, with the usual mix of head-up-ass chat, readings and music. Bigups to Stewart my producer who's done all the hard work, whereas I just float in and make the coffee. Stewart will presumably append the details in the comment box below. It's not leithfm any more.
    It's Monday. Still a few clerical concerns. Words can hardly express my apologies for this inconvenience.

    You deserve much better. Mama has spoken.
    And that's it for now. It's possibly the only time in my entire life I'll have been in the presence of 1.1 million pounds, and not one penny of it mine!


    And you say? (16)   Link to this


    Friday, May 14, 2004

    BLOGMEET MONDAY 17 MAY !!

    Due to Sarah leaving next week to live in Greece we've thrown together an informal Blogmeet in The Village, just moments from Leith's fashionable waterfront. Sadly Sarah won't be able to attend. But come anyway, and mingle with the stars. Don't let Manchester have all the fun!
    Time: afternoon and evening.
    The Village
    16 South Fort Street
    0131 478 7810
    MOUSE UPDATE: Body count to date: nil. But I blame the old-fashioned wooden mousetrap. Today I opened the cupboard under the sink, for the first time for several months, and what should be there but two Selfset mousetraps. Go off if you even look at them the wrong way.

    Gimme the mousetrap. Gimme the chocolate. But have I got enough killer instinct to slaughter a fellow mammal? Makes yer think.


    And you say? (16)   Link to this



    ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER MOVIE DEAL

    It's hard being famous you know, even unpaid famous. Only yesterday I was chatting to Big Robert (what is it about big men?) in the Port. Our first proper conversation after two years. "I looked myself up on Naked Blog," he told me, " - and it says I'm the best shag in the universe."

    Was my face red! Did I really write that? Not from first hand experience, I hasten to add. But news travels. Why else did speaking catch on so quick? I wonder how cave-queens got on - in the very olden days. Did they stay home and tidy the caves with the women, while the men went out catching mammoths and playing football?

    Robert's making a series of movies about Leith jobs, and naturally world-famous bingo caller comes high up any such list. I shared the bingo ethos with him over our Guinness and Stella. Yes, it is mostly old ladies, but old ladies are people too.

    Dunno though. Leith is still very cave-like. If you're not a Hibs-supporting straight white male then it's best to keep your head down a bit. Mingle. Assimilate. Integrate.



    All this was after a couple of hours at Stewart's, recording edition three of Naked Blog Radio. It's the best yet. Loads of extras. More extras than text, if you ask me. I must stop giving my blogging tips away free!

    NBR is off-air at the moment because of financial constraints, but Stewart's busy relaunching it even as I sit. We're avoiding leith_fm, as that rightly belongs to others. I'm sure he'll announce it in the comment box as usual.

    Also we're thinking of monetizing our assets somewhat, but more news later when we've firmed up the business plan. (Thought about it a bit.) Even stars have to eat.



    Talking of stars, it's been interesting this week watching Jeremy Vine interviewing a bunch of has-beens pop icons on BBC 1. I watched Lionel Ritchie, Deborah Harry and today Elvis Costello. Did I ever tell you I was at an EC concert once? Yes, that's right. Edinburgh Playhouse, round about 1980. I'd just come back from Ibiza that day, before it went common. But o boy could you shag a lot. Was hardly on my feet the entire fortnight.

    Costello was quite forgettable though, and he didn't say even one word that I recall, although I was stoned ootae me nut at his show. He's really a one hit wonder, if you boil it down, although he obviously thinks his songs have some importance. As did Jeremy Vine, who was practically sucking his dick.



    I think I upset Big Robert as I was leaving the bar, when I suggested he was only chatting because he wanted me in his film. He said that was rude and hurtful, but with Robert you never can tell. He's got more acting talent than Paul O'Grady.

    Then down to the shore to dangle my legs over the edge and watch the parked ships. There's a new one called Floozie Mary or summat. Delicious and serviceable baked tattie w/ mozarella cheese from Pierino's in Bernard Street. One pound seventy. A bargain.

    And it was when I was passing Pierino's in the reverse direction, Portwards, that I chanced upon Danielle, the new director of Leith Community Mediaworks Group. "Let me buy you a drink," she said, blocking my path a little. "We need to talk."

    I didn't want to embarrass her in front of her pals, so remained warmly polite. "You can get me through Tony," I replied. "He's my agent. But I'm not doing any radio shows."

    A boy can only get pulled so many ways, eh?

    Some days I feel the blogging equivalent of Edith Piaf.


    And you say? (8)   Link to this


    Wednesday, May 12, 2004

    BLOGMEET MONDAY 17 MAY !!

    Due to Sarah leaving next week to live in Greece we've thrown together an informal Blogmeet in The Village, just moments from Leith's fashionable waterfront.

    Specially welcome will be
  • bloggers
  • lesbians
  • lesbian bloggers
  • blog readers
  • anybody else
  • Come along and mingle with the stars ! I'll be there also !! (May is the best time to get me, as I can be depressed the other eleven months.)

    Time: afternoon and evening.
    The Village
    16 South Fort Street
    0131 478 7810

    MOUSE UPDATE: Body count to date: nil. (Although I did set a mousetrap beside the microwave, then "cooked" a pretty boring Tuna and Pasta Bake, to entice them into my clutches.) It's a very primitive wood and plastic trap, however. Today I want to find a metal one called Selfset. Goes off if you even look at it the wrong way.


    And you say? (29)   Link to this



    MINE'S A LARGE ONE

    It's strange the people you bump into. There I was, just yesterday in The Village, glancing at The Guardian apropos of vaguely finding "Mathematics and the Antichrist" or summat, when who should sit down beside me but Bernice.

    Now - I hope you've been keeping up with The Grauny recently. Over the weekend it was quite splendid on the topic of toiletries. They're more dangerous than an A-bomb over Hiroshima. Packed to the gunwales with toxins. You expose yourself to several hundred chemicals before you even leave the house, apparently. (Then you start inhaling petrol and diesel fumes.)



    Well, if you've been keeping up with Naked Blog before that, you'd be in no doubt of that, anyway. My advice: ditch the lot. Everything, except one bar of Palmolive soap. Trust me - it's all you need.

    Stop squirting nippy shite under your arms, and within a day or two your underarms will stop smelling. When you are hot, then perspire a bit. Stop trying to fight essential nature. It's there for a purpose.

    Aloe vera isn't "kind to your skin": it's a fucking irritant, and will bring your back out in a rash. This is the sort of idiocy we're constantly exposed to, as well as chemicals. For their profit.

    Nothing is tested any more. When they got rid of animal testing, they got rid of testing, full stop. Sunscreen is "supposed" to stop skin illness, but nobody's got the slightest fucking idea whether it does or not.

    Plus a woman eats two pounds of lipstick in her life. Well, I know one who won't!



    Bernice was lightly made up, nothing excessive. She had a diamond stud in her nose, which gave that slightly racy air as she ordered her Chardonnay. Large. Me, I would have tried the new Sauvignon Blanc they've just got in, as pub Chardonnay invariably disappoints. You just can't get the quality and keep your margins safe at three quid a glass.

    Heavens I'm sounding like Matthew Gluck or the oleaginous Winner man.

    "Have you got a light, please?" she asked, pulling out some menthol creation. I looked around. Place littered with ex-smokers. (Need a new word for such folk. So many of them. Ideas?) Babs had a green plastic lighter. I fired Bernice up.

    It used to be such a come-on, "Have you got a light?" Now, of course, it's a six-lane turn-off. "MY GOD - GET AWAY FROM ME, YOU STINKY PERSON!"

    (I've just spent ten minutes reminiscing about all the guys I've picked up with "Got a light, pal?" But I won't bore you with the details. And now I've lost the plot... Where were we? Ah yes... just about to tell you why I'm writing about Bernice. Ready for more? Good.)



    "I drink two bottles of wine a day," she said. "That's a lot," I told her, but she didn't seem to think so.

    "Couple of glasses in the afternoon," she recounted. "Two while making dinner. Two or three with dinner. Couple after dinner. It soon mounts up."

    "You forgot the couple in the middle of the night when you can't get back to sleep," I added, not waspishly but sagely and with concern. "You see I've been there, Bernice. It's too much."

    I took a long slow draught of my Guinness. We were chatting like old friends. Bosom buddies. At least alcohol does that for you.

    Then Dolly came through from the back and spied her smoking and gave her a row for that. Apparently they'd quit together a month ago. Poor woman. Getting two lectures now. But she handled it well. Said that if we had the stress she's been through we would definitely smoke. And there's no arguing with that, and who ever would want to?

    Bernice. Loved her to bits. As she left I noticed her shopping bag was packed full of wine and beer with just one long vegetable poking out the top. Sheer class. My kinda friend.



    Dean came in then, and said something about Schindler's List. "Never seen it!" I declared, with alcoholic bombast. "I just can't take to the idea of a Jew making money out of the holocaust." "You mean Spielberg?" he said. "The very one!" I affirmed.

    "Same with HIV/Aids," I carried on. "Fucking immoral making money out of serious illness. That's why I've never watched Philadelphia and Hollywood rubbish like that."

    "I loved Philadelphia," Dean said. "Even though it did have Tom Hanks in it."

    "I watched it last month for the first time and thought it was a load of shite," Dolly said, from stocking up the wine chiller. Dean didn't get upset.

    Chavgav came in and we chatted a bit. But then he got kinda deep into Babs' guy Andy. Mantalk. I've always wondered how straight guys relate to each other, in a "I fuck fanny too," kind of way.

    A hundred years ago when I was twenty there was this girlfriend I lived with. She got us invited to another couple for a dinner party. But rather than butching it up with the man of the house, I spent the entire evening fancying him. Often wondered how much he sensed of that.

    It takes all sorts.


    And you say? (23)   Link to this


    Tuesday, May 11, 2004

    ON MOUSEOVER

    You lot are privileged you know. Every time I try to stop doing this stupid blog, something comes along that I just HAVE to share with you.



    If there was one thing which defines me and my circumstances, one word or concept to sum up and encapsulate my life and surroundings, that word would probably be filth.

    Not filth in any moral or intellectual sense, heaven forfend, but rather filth in its everyday sense of muck.

    Take just now. There I was in the kitchen, putting away the iron (I'm lying... I don't put it away, just place it on the kitchen worktop), when I noticed a couple of black pellets close to where it usually stands.

    Yes, that's right.

    Mouse shit. Dozens of them, when I looked a little closer.

    Here you'll be wondering how it took so long to spot the wee traces, and it's really quite simple. I never look at the kitchen worktop. No need to.



    Oh, it holds a typical assortment of things... dried up food plates, couple of dead plants, couple more hanging onto life by a thread, few tins of house cleaning spray (untouched), pretty but useless knives in a wood block and so on. So I can't imagine what has suddenly attracted small rodents to my home. They're quite definitely NOT eating food scraps in the living room, as I regularly check the bread packets for signs of chewing.

    Strange. I think I'll have a nervous breakdown. Either that or the one I seemed to already be having might ameliorate a bit.

    Last time all this happened it was much easier, of course. My friend Stuart (aka Granny) was still in town, so we had a couple of mouse parties where we got pissed and cemented all the cracks. Tres butch, Stuart with cement in his hands, while I played computer games.

    It's really quite awful. Last time all this happened I would wake in the night to the sounds of them partying in the kitchen... knocking slices of toast onto the floor and so on. They got that toast dragged almost halfway through the hall. Wee fuckers love toast. It was years before I could look my electric toaster square in the eye again.

    Michty me. The key thing to do at this precise moment is (a) tell you all about it, and then (b) get drunk and tell all my irl friends about it. You need do nothing now. Send no money now.



    The flash never went off, so we're very healthy lookingMuch more enlightening than mouse shit was my meeting with Sarah yesterday in the Village. We took a photo to illustrate the event. I'd suggested that I should strip naked and she could laugh at my pixellated penis, but Ally the boss forbade it on his premises. Heavens. Three or four decades ago queens were desperate to get the clothes off me. Time wounds, doesn't it, girls?

    So we took a more conventional pic instead, which I'll share with you when S emails it to me. Sarah is my main link to British blogorrhoea, you know. If it weren't for her you wouldn't really know that I exist. Could be some sort of mouse shitting on white formica.

    Sarah's going to Greece a week on Friday, to work with wolves. She's needing ideas for her last post. I already gave her the title.

    I asked her what Lyle was like, as I know they've met at Manchester blogmeets. She couldn't really praise him highly enough, which isn't surprising. Some bloggers really are as nice as they seem. And he's not the only one, by a long chalk.



    Radio and newspaper people are crawling all over my bingo. You can't hear the damn numbers for the sound of shutters snapping. Yesterday I played bingo myself at a nearby competing organization, with Lynda one of my colleagues. We didn't win. Nada. But it was important for me - as now the country's leading bingo caller - to put myself about the industry for a bit. Attract new business, sort of thing. Re-establish old ties.

    What fun we all do have! Apparently we're all to be given a lavish party in a hotel varying by gossip between three and five stars! I really must start thinking about an agent.

    It was smashing chatting to Sarah again. She's coming up again next Monday, and I'm ordered to produce lots of fascinating people.

    Right Dean. We're needing a bunch of your lezza pals, OK. Give the girl a send-off. My bingo lezzas are a bit brutal, if (temporarily) rich.


    And you say? (20)   Link to this


    Monday, May 10, 2004

    THRUST UPON THEM

    I shouldn't be sitting here, writing to you like this.

    It's a lovely sunny day, and there are better things to be looking at and talking to than a computer screen.

    But something so extraordinary happened on Saturday that I want to record it for myself as well as for all you gorgeous readers.



    Remember this, from April, about a huge, nationwide bingo event?

    In particular note...
    "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."
    Yes, that's right.

    Do you have any idea what it's like standing in front of 263 people who've just won a million pounds amongst them?

    Well I do.

    It's fucking amazing. It's one of the greatest images of my entire life. It's a memory I hope will flash before me on my deathbed, should Al Zheimer sufficiently spare me. Call it karma. The TM people call it Nature Support.

    The staff aren't part of it, of course. The payout. We leave with nothing. But still we saw the joy.



    Now, I know for many of you reading this 3.8k is small beer. A tip for the hotel bellboy. A weekend citybreak with cocaine.

    But these bingo players aren't like you. For them this is a fortune. A chance for a holiday. Some relief from ever-present debts. A few new frocks and fuck the expense for a month. Or straight dahn the booza for some extra liver damage. The world's your oyster, baby.



    For I have seen 263 people jump screaming into the air, when our number came up. 10, it was. Small lesbians dancing on tables. Downing Street.

    I have read from a calculator in a voice shaking with emotion and disbelief, "Subject to scrutiny, every person in the building now owns three thousand and eight hundred pounds."

    "WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY"

    "You're now sitting in the most hated bingo club in Britain"

    "WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY"

    "Of course you're now very famous. The Evening News will be lurking outside wanting your life story!"

    "WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY"

    Tell them nothing till the money's on the table. Be Mrs Beckham!"

    "WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY"

    I rose to the occasion, as you do. Had to. It's my job. We still had seven more pages to play, which required peace and quiet after all the turmoil. The managers had all fucked off to do paperwork, leaving only moi and my adoring public.

    Boy, was my voice fucked by the end! But we did it, and I was there for them. For once they saw something of the real me, because no pretence of joy was required.

    There's more to jobs than wages. Believe me.


    And you say? (13)   Link to this


    Friday, May 07, 2004

    ANOTHER DAY OFF

    Because I'm still worth it.






    Even though some days I feel...






    200


    And you say? (9)   Link to this


    Thursday, May 06, 2004

    CASTING COUCH

    The Port o Leith Bar tonight was like something out of Los Angeles. This one and that one were posing about the place, with words like, "Darling - I've got this fabulous slot! What are you doing this year?"

    Nothing, I reply. I'm just not buying in to it this time. Not working my balls off for the enrichment of others.

    It's then that their gaze goes glazed. A clear and present case of nothing to talk about. Ever again.



    "They're all coming out of the woodwork tonight," Andy says to me. "What are you gonna do this year?" "Nothing," I reply. "Two weeks is far too much. But there's plenty of replacements - from nineteen down to about... twelve."

    He laughs. "I know what you mean."

    "I wrote about you just last week," I mention apropos of nothing much. "Said you were laid back as fuck."

    Tony my last year producer pushes open the lavvy door then. We exchange nods but not one word. Icy as the fucking Titanic.

    "It's just I'm stoned all the time," Andy confides. "Oh - I'd kinda thought that," I reply. "Kinda thought it even last year. Used to do that myself a bit, but now it's just got boring."

    Babs orders yet another brandy. Sandy the councillor or whatever the fuck he is breezes past. Power specs.



    "Hi."

    "Hi, how are you?" (I really don't give a shit - implied.)

    Leith was very much like Los Angeles tonight.

    But there's nothing deader than last year's star. That's why Hoffman and Nicholson are so desperate to keep going - even though they've got more money than God.

    Me, I like to think I've got a stage or two past that. Like to think.


    And you say? (5)   Link to this



    DAY OFF

    Because I'm worth it...




    Wanna waste some time?




    Try this.


    And you say? (9)   Link to this


    Wednesday, May 05, 2004

    FINISHED SYMPHONY

    You see - if I thought I was actually letting people down by not presenting radio next month then I'd maybe - just maybe - consider.

    But no. Leith is choc-a-bloc with young radio presenters, all desperate for that breakthrough, that essential exposure.

    It would be vicious to deny them that.

    Live long and be Mrs Beckham.

    (Thanks one million to Gwen, who did her best to talk me out of it. Sadly Gwen hasn't the faintest idea what it's like to be an old queen. Nor need she ever.)

    This is Naked Blog, on 87.7, signing out. Good night and ta-ta the noo. And if you're listening on your own, then a very special good night to you. [/fake emotion]

    Why are performers always so damaged themselves?


    And you say? (8)   Link to this



    IN OTHER NEWS...

    Bet you didn't know that if you use a newsfeed then Live Journal users can just nick all your posts (and pass them off) at the click of a button.

    Zed had this just yesterday. Read all about it. (Including 66 comments.)

    Here at Naked Blog we will never, ever have a newsfeed. I simply don't understand them, and use none myself. The picture, strapline and amateurish layout are all part of the experience.



    I'm meant to be recording more Naked Blog Radio today. Then tonight there's a meeting of Leith FM. But Upper Right Four is acting up again, inflaming half my face. Plus I'm having serious doubts about being a radio star again this summer.

    It's all a bit pointless really.

    OK if there was a chance of it going somewhere. But at my age - let's face it.

    I think it'd be easier just to let Naked Blog be my swansong. Anyway - Tony should be the first to hear.

    Below is a handful of yesterday's TV shows. Islam, nostalgia, and Vice City. Yawn.


    And you say? (18)   Link to this



    SHARIAH TV

    Muslim readers (but I don't know if there are any) will already be aware of Shariah TV, a Channel Four effort I caught in its second edition last night. It's like question time, but on a much tinier scale. Questions and answers about observance of Shariah (the law) in a non-Muslim country.

    Fascinating.

    With no exaggeration, I learned more about Islam in that half hour than in the previous fifty seven years. And you can't say fairer than that, guv. (Sometimes it's great being old! Just let any of you try pulling a stunt like that! :)



    Here's what I learned: Charging and paying interest is haram. That means prohibited. But you can use a credit card, so long as you settle the balance before the end of the month. Student loans are problematic, and you should first try private loans from your family. If that doesn't cut the mustard, then yes, you should take a student loan, as the Koran also tells you to acquire knowledge. You take the loan in the awareness that it's the only available option, and you speedily pay it back.

    This is the doctrine of necessity. Faced with starvation, it's permitted to eat even pork.

    Mortgages split the panel. One Imam said that because a family home was basic to Muslim life, then necessity came in again, and a mortgage was halal. (Halal means "permitted". And you thought it was a kind of meat. You did... don't try and kid me!)

    But another Imam said that mortgages were definitely haram, but the government had an obligation to house people and Muslims should live in council houses.



    Now, call me a people-watcher all you want, but I can spot middle class no matter how halal the garb. Council house was just not an option for these clearly educated and wealthy people. I sense. Stone me if I'm wrong, of course.

    Well, I kinda guess they'd stone me anyway, given half a chance. Haram as old get-out, that's me and my kind.

    Oh, they covered lottery funding also... it's OK for everything except building mosques, but ideally let the money go through another agency first. But they didn't get onto queendom. Yet. Wonder if they ever will. Shariah TV. Recommended.

    I especially like their ideas on the evils of usury, which they call riba. Maybe it's time for me to take the veil.


    And you say? (14)   Link to this



    MORE CATHODE RAYS

    TV was much in evidence yesterday, but thankfully it was braw. (Braw is Scots Islamic meaning good.)

    And why was this? We don't usually get TV on a Wednesday Naked Blog... we expect the latest news from round and about the bars. Like Tuesday, just one day further on. What Babs said next.

    Village PeopleWell, Babs is poorly. Here's a picture of her in happier days. The other two are Sarah and Dean, keepin' it real. And yesterday I decided I was too fragile from Monday's alcoholic excess. So I stayed in.

    But if I don't drink, I don't talk. It's a sair fecht.



    At ten on BBC 2 was a great show called That Was The Week We Watched, a title clearly derived from David Frost's groundbreaking sixties series, That Was The Week That Was, or TW3.

    Last night's episode was about 10 - 16 November, 1973. That week's happenings, as filtered through the medium of television.
    "That was the week we watched Princess Anne marry Captain Mark Phillips, the first ever episode of The Last of the Summer Wine, and The Adventures of Black Beauty."
    And they wheeled them all out. Bruce Forsyth and Tony Blackburn showed how much damage 31 years does to a human face, while Gary Glitter at number one hadn't yet become a Cockney Rhyming Slang. (Yes - they actually said that!)

    I wonder what week they'll pick next.



    Completing a fab TV night was a show called Frontline Scotland, which last night was all about Grand Theft Auto. Leith Links was on it, but sadly not my house. However I do now have a slight idea where Rockstar Games are based. They're very secretive, apparently.

    With good reason. Last year a couple of American kids helped themselves to daddy's rifles and started taking pot shots at passing cars. Nothing unusual about that, I hear you think. But there is.



    Just as the Columbine kids (or those associated) tried to blame Marylin Manson for the slaughter (when Mr Manson was nowhere near the place), in this latest tragedy they're blaming Grand Theft Auto.

    Bereaved relatives are suing the children, their parents, Walmart for selling the game, and obviously Rockstar for making it. People not being sued are the rifle manufacturers. This is all old news, from last September. But it was a good programme, nevertheless, if only to whet my appetite for future levels!

    The (valid) point was made that one million copies have been sold in the UK, with not one single shooting as a result. Nor even punch-up.

    (And yes they did show shagging in a car. But it rocked so much it fell into the river and everybody died. Karma is the Law.)

    (Frontline Scotland, including click here to watch the programme.)


    And you say? (4)   Link to this


    Tuesday, May 04, 2004

    HAS MISS KAPLINSKY LEFT THE BUILDING ?

    What's happened to wor Natasha? There she was last night, reading the Bank Holiday News from 10.40 pm to 11 pm.

    But that is not Natasha's spot! That's where they put beginners, for practice.

    And why was the deadly-drab Jane on the couch beside Dermot this morning? They have all the sexual chemistry between them of a tripod and gauze.

    Naked Blog readers demand answers! At the very least, Natasha has to interview violinist Nicola Benedetti on the red couch. Show her what celebrity is all about.


    And you say? (6)   Link to this



    MISS BRAHMS AND LISZT

    Is it possible to be a part-time alkie?

    How can a person not even think about drink on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, yet on Monday rapidly find himself on the outside of a gallon of Guinness? That's gallon as in eight pints, not gallon as in dramatic exaggeration.

    (Just had to consult el dictionario about the spelling of exaggeration. Howdy Alzheimer!) Plus yesterday I wrote "practice" when I meant "practise", but couldn't be bothered to change it. I'm estimating only about one reader would have spotted the mistake, anyhoo. People under forty can neither spell nor add up. It's a well known fact. Yet I blame not them but the schools. Poorest standards in Europe, just about - coupled with possibly the highest pay.



    Only last week, Babs was summoned to her son's primary school because of "certain concerns". Her son is 11. She was understandably worried.

    "Babs," I said to her. "You have to realise that if this young woman (his teacher) is under forty then she will be barely literate and numerate. It's essential that you take control of the interview from the outset."

    "So how do I do that?"

    "As you're sitting down, look her square in the eye and say, 'Spell pneumonia, bitch!'."

    Babs laughed. "And if she gets that right, then say 'and now liquorice'. And if she gets that right, then say, 'and now the other way'. If all else fails, try diarrhoea."

    "For numeracy, just ask eleven elevens. Gets em every time. She'll never dare summon you to that school again."

    It must have worked, as the interview apparently was a great success. But what is it about schools and homework? I never had homework at eleven, and I ended up fucking brilliant. For a time.



    But that was then; this is now. Yesterday I came out of my regular three days "on the waggon" to fall off it quite spectacularly. In the Village. Ally was maitre d' as Claire (aka Princess Test Tube) is no longer there. I'll miss her loads. One of the nicest bar people I've had the pleasure of giving money to.

    One pint followed another down the thirsty gullet, and soon I was in fighting mood. Verbally. Yet the angel on the other shoulder was pro-active also. "Peter," she whispered. "These people want to enjoy themselves too. It doesn't matter if they're boring, or wrong, or anything else about them. Just chill. You can't change them, but you can leave them."

    In this wise I ended up at the other end of the bar, the staff end. The owner, almost by default, has to chat to you. There I stood, master of nothing I surveyed, watching all these people enjoying themselves, as even Ally extricated himself as quickly as possible. Drunks are no fun. No matter how profitable.



    But it was when I started browsing the gig leaflets under the payphone that the awful reality faced me. Fifty seven years on the planet, doing my best and trying my hardest, had left me with only leaflets for company.

    Anxiety set in - the first time since the winter - as I imagined all those people looking at me. Wondering why the old queen was on her own at the end of the bar, and wasn't it just her own fault for being a queen in the first place, and aren't I glad I'm not one of them. Thoughts like that. Horrible thoughts, that are meant for the dark days, not bright sunshine.

    Quickly I gathered my chattels and departed. "I'm not doing cheerios," I said to Ally. "Too many people. I'll just sneak out." And sneak I did. To the Port o Leith - the bottom line. The one which takes all comers. Almost.



    John Macaulay was there, the gay one. "Hello Peter," he said, in that lilting Lewis accent. "This is Craig, and this is Tel." I shook hands with Craig and Tel, then quickly fled. I gathered they were practising homosexuals. They would have no interest in a galleon.

    To the staff end of the bar once again, and Mary. Then Kevin the shop girl came in, looking not shoppy for a change, with it being a bank holiday. Leather jacket. Jeans. I expressed surprise but pleasure at his choice.

    "Look at all these queens," I said to Mary the owner. "It's becoming a gay bar." "When was it ever anything else?" she replied, smiling.

    Integrationism. I have a lot to answer for. It hasn't always been easy you know. And even though the youngsters know nothing - nada - about the bar's history, I've learned to let it stay that way. What use are the old? They just consume protein.

    Our story continues in the post below, written in vino veritas. I hope you like it.

    Today I have to get up to speed on Kill Bill 1, as tonight's cinema is pencilled in as KB2. Plus I feel like going to bingo - and playing for a change. Paying yet more people to be nice to me.



    Footnote For brevity I omitted the topic which had initially pissed me off yesterday. It was the Bay City Rollers, of all things. I dared to venture that - as basic pop, not pretending to be anything else - Shang a Lang and Bye Bye Baby weren't that awful.

    Derision.

    Why can't some twats think just a little outside the envelope occasionally. To question the received wisdom. Or do I just have to be right always, as Babs one recently remarked.

    Anyway - this is a long-winded way of saying that Robin of Speaking As A Parent writes interestingly about BCR and other pop music today.

    (Oh - and neither of my musical critics had even heard of Franz Ferdinand. So fuck them.)


    And you say? (24)   Link to this


    Monday, May 03, 2004

    THE BRIGHT ONE IS VENUS

    It's Monday bank holiday evening. I'm sitting here, totally pissed off, and the main reason is the computer fan. Oh - occasionally it stops - for increasingly less than a few minutes, but the imperative is on. On and on it drones - determined as if nothing else is, to prevent any further Naked Blog.

    Right - that's it. I was gonna chat about this incandescent night in the Port I've just had, where the big players like Big Speedy Garry (what is it about big men?) and Fiona Mac were discussing the closing weeks of Bernice, Queen of the Silver Dollar. She's not gonna live much longer. Lung cancer. Happens.

    I was gonna mention that, but this constant whirring in my right ear won't allow it.



    We got onto poverty, for some reason, and I sense Fiona wasn't getting her drinks bought fast enough. Then she said she would happily donate a baby to a rich American couple. "Half a million quid, the white ones are going for," I said to her. "For that, I'll throw in a kidney," she replied.

    As I left, with my young friends gazing up at me from their bar stools, it had to be something said. "Well - I know it was all ten years ago," I reminded them, as if that was needed. "But at least we're all still alive."

    Some day, maybe some day, you'll hear about the nineties. By now you must be sick of all the trailers.

    That other incandescent thing in the high southern sky is Venus. Way out of its normal league. Way out of its usual brightness.

    I'm just sayin'


    And you say? (4)   Link to this



    RADIO GAGA

    No - it's not Naked Blog Radio, for a change. It's LeithFM, my other small claim to fame. I promised Tony my (other) producer that I'd start preparing some programmes this week, but to be honest, I haven't a clue. I'm so very much a now person that I've difficulty even with the concept of tomorrow, far less thinking what to do with it. It's all those years of meditation.

    Lend Me Your Ears

    So send me your ideas. Imagine you live in Leith. (Well - some of you already do.) Imagine there's a daily radio show, maybe in the mornings while you wash up or stuff the kiddies' clothing in the washer. Imagine there's a camp but bland old queen on the radio.

    What do you want to hear? Or do you immediately switch over to the BBC?

    Pack my comment box with good ideas, and the very best will actually be used. We're that interactive. (ie desperate :)

    PS: Thanks to all recent e-mailers. I rarely check email, because the spam is so dismaying. So most letters probably get lost, but a couple have survived all the "filters" recently. Many thanks for your kind words. I'll do my very best to reply, but my life is seriously chaotic. It's the only way I can live. It was especially nice to hear from someone "what a difference I'd made to his life". Making differences is why we're in business. Glad to hear it sometimes happens.


    And you say? (15)   Link to this



    SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE BINGO...

    ...was somewhat action packed.

    Oh, I know you think it's all sweet old ladies, trying to mark a bingo book between dropping their glasses on the floor and coughing up false teeth on a boiled sweet. But it's actually nothing of the sort.

    Money.

    That's what I want.

    (Here the seasoned NB reader might detect a desperate attempt to inject some passion into the piece.) It's the Naked Blog Radio, you see. Been described as less jagged than people expected. "About as interesting as a shopping list," opined one commentator. (All contributions are valued - honestly.)

    Bland. Bland. Bland.



    I dunno. I'm a writer, not an actor. Maybe it's not such a good idea after all. Maybe I should hire Tom Freeman, my next door neighbour. (I mean literally next door. Just through the wall. I used to hear him shagging till I gently complained.)

    Tom's a pro. Just back from touring with Romeo and Juliet. Immediately before, it was Cato in Julius Caesar at the Lyceum in Edinburgh. "At least you should get a GCSE in Shakespeare after all that," I commented, drily.

    And now I've lost interest in Saturday Night at the Bingo.

    NEXT!



    READING GAY CHORUS

    It was a pretty blogless weekend, but late last night I chanced a wee peep at Lyle, to see that he'd enjoyed a performance by the Reading Gay Chorus.

    My thoughts were (a) glad that he enjoyed a performance. Then (b) wtf is a gay chorus?

    (Regular readers - and there are a couple - will know that I'm a total integrationist.) In fact, I can lay some claim to inventing the word, which I'll tell you about some other time.
    "Heterosexuals are everywhere. They made us. We should love them." Boy George


    Here's a quote from the website.
    "The chorus offers gay men and women an opportunity to meet and indulge their passion for singing in a safe and friendly environment."
    Well, call me an old soldier all you want, but I've seen many choirs in my time - even sung in a couple - and never once have I got the impression I was in some sort of musical Basra. That angry baritones would put a hood on my head and then pee on me like largo louts.



    Here's what I wrote in Lyle's comments...
    "I really can't think of anything more repellent than a "gay chorus". Imagine if someone set up a "straight chorus". The queens would be heard screeching in every key known to man.

    Enough of this ghettoisation. Stupid, stupid idea. Well - obviously there's no law against people associating to sing.

    But - yet again - just IMAGINE what would happen if someone tried to form a "white chorus", say. Quite awful. I think I've got a topic for tomorrow's blog. (Except I have only about 2 gay readers left. Rest have long since fucked off due to lack of Kylie.)"
    What say you? Safe place for singing, or rampant heterophobia? Can we expect to be treated as full and equal members of society so long as the Reading Gay Chorus exists?


    And you say? (16)   Link to this



    FIRST FIDDLE

    Congratulations to Nicola Benedetti on winning the BBC Young Musician of the Year compo last night in Edinburgh. (On right of picture.) That girl will go far, and - as so often happens - you saw her first here.

    I would imagine it was a pretty much open and shut case, though, as she's already a working professional. She and her sister appeared on BBC News 24 this morning, from their home, facing questions even more banal than usual. "You mean you practice eight hours a day!?!" (Astonishment. Like playing a violin concerto is a touch harder than Playstation.) "But that can't leave any time for academic studies!" (As if geography or "modern studies" are going to benefit a world class musician!)



    I'm looking forward to Nicola Benedetti's first recording. I only hope they don't do a Nigel Kennedy on her - churning out trash like Vivaldi's Four Seasons. She's a league ahead of that.

    But they will. They will. There are already rumblings of, "the next Vanessa Mae". Which must be a tad distressing for the existing Vanessa Mae.

    Can art survive in today's total commercialism? Would Macdonalds sponsor a Hindemith quartet? Or how about the Nike Symphony Orchestra? I can just see it. "There's nothing andante about OUR shoes."

    What would you say to Nicola, who (thanks to Google), will almost certainly read this? Serious musician or pop star? It's a far from easy choice. Look at Mrs Beckham, and all that she enjoys. (Except a square meal, of course. :)

    Trivia: You can see a list of previous YoungMOTY winners here. Something very unusual appeared onscreen during Anna Markland's piano performance. What was it?


    And you say? (6)   Link to this