Imagine my surprise (and delight) yesterday at seeing Rena behind the bar in The Village. Yes, they've poached her away from the antipodean Bar Java in Constitution Street.
We chatted about next month, when she's moving into her new love nest in South Queensferry with fiance Big Straight Al. South Queensferry is the southern end of the Forth Bridges. It is a town dominated and defined by bridge-ness - one of them a Golden Gate-alike, and the other a definite one-off. Like painting the Forth Bridge.
Claire was there too, showing Rena the ropes, and I was saddened when she told me her engagement to Phil was over since Friday. Phil is the brother of Dolly, one of her bosses. As I say, saddened. I've known Claire for many years, but Phil only fleetingly.
Phil actually came in to chat to his brother, but Claire was being very icy.
Gwen my radio host of earlier in the month came on to take over the evening shift. She too had a long relationship with Big Straight Al, but now quite over. Mark the Massage Monster was there too, Tom Cruising his way round the Mountgay Rum offers. "Don't ask for a Mountgay!" (That way you get a reduction. It's a bit complicated.)
The offer comes in a glass with a convex bottom which rolls all over the place. Apparently that's because in Barbados they get lots of earthquakes. Yeah, yeah. And the worm's got mystic powers. My sweet ass.
I'd been having a long semantic discussion with Woolly Dave over the origin of the word "gay" meaning homosexual. I told him it was quite new-fangled, and back in the sixties people were either "queer" or "normal". He thought it was an invention of the American queens, who were declaring how happy they were. I told him it was a quite different meaning, an old English term for "men and women of the night". Port people. The world over.
Then he started getting tore into the newly-single Claire, so I went to join ChavGav and Jacks. I apologised to Jacks for not coming over until her feller appeared, but she said she was used to it. They really are a splendid couple, quite free of that cloying display so many employ in public. In fact, they hardly exchanged a single word. But you could tell that all was well.
I wished and wished and wished for a camera, to preserve that bar line-up for ever. A story behind every face. And it's my little job to tell it. Quite splendid.
Who needs Coronation Street, eh? I was so overcome that I left without paying my bar tab.
But the one time when you're actually in it you just cannae find one for love nor money. Trust me. I walked the entire lengths of the Royal Mile, Princes Street and Rose Street yesterday afternoon. It was like a world tour. So many visitors, languages, cameras. Thank God celluloid is old-fashioned now, or the entire town centre would be a fire hazard.
But not one Big Issue could I spot. And I would have bought three. Well - they can't be that homeless, if you ask me.
Oh - and I was in a foul mood already with my dentist. The mini-false tooth thingie won't now be available until the end of fucking July!! That means I have to spend the entire height of summer unable to smile or speak properly. I'm tempted to take my gap elsewhere, to be honest. How'm I ever gonna be bingo caller of the year, edentate? All the thixes, thixty thix. It'th a nightmare.
As promised yesterday. This is a long piece, two pages, where Clare Harris describes her first ever night at the bingo. My bingo. It's a well-written and researched piece, with more content than you would actually expect. But do bear in mind it's a gift of a topic. Bingo, especially the first time, can be overwhelming.
Here's where she introduces the most important element, the caller, me.
"Later in the evening, as I'm patiently filling in my own unlucky numbers, the honey-toned bingo caller confirms these adverse effects: "May I remind you, ladies and gentlemen, that we were the lucky winners of the Groundshaker last month. So there's a lot of folk in Las Vegas, New York and Spain just now."
(I actually said Florida rather than NYC, but never let etc...)
"Whatever the pitfalls, the velveteen sounds of tonight's bingo caller assure us that everything's going to be fine. He's amazing - part Des O'Connor at his gameshow host prime, part childhood doctor who tells you it's not going to hurt."
"Despite high hopes of hearing the famous legs eleven or two fat ladies there are no fancy slogans here, just the numbers, read out slowly and in that soothing 'there-there' tone. I could listen to him all night, (which is probably the desired effect)."
When the Link Up's over, our very own Des is back, and he's on our side: "Well, that was a waste of time, wasn't it?"
"Sorry, Des, but even with your lovely voice helping me along I'm not sure I could handle the stress of this more than once a month."
"I hope this isn't going to appear on Naked Blog," Glen said to me yesterday. "Whadya mean?" I replied. We were sitting in Bar Java in Constitution Street. I'm just a sucker for pubs with big windows.
"Me sitting in some poof's joint," he explained. "Because I'm just here to celebrate the new window."
I looked. It was a blue stained glass creation, cross between Village and Bondi Beach. Doubtless delightful to the proud owners.
Glen you will have read often in my comment boxes, but usually as Captain Cadbury (don't go there) and Tripod (walking stick since a stroke many years ago.) Gay men call him Glenda, but he admits no gay leanings whatever. Can get quite huffed, in fact. Then calls us all "poofs".
We chatted good. Chatted about everyone who'd died, and how we'd outlived them, and how us two were good for ages yet. (Glen admits to being 53.) We talked about how handsome we'd both been - Glen before his stroke, and me just... before. We've had our ups and downs.
He told me I'd be a big hit in jail - of all places. "They'd all be after you, Peter," he explained.
I replied, "Maybe forty years ago." Then I said, "Definitely he would be a hit in jail... " pointing at the eye-candy young barsteward. "But not at my age, Glen. Hardly. It's young meat they would be after."
The eye-candy barman pumped up the MTV volume a couple of notches and Glen and I complained. So then we left. "Would have bought some more drinks if you hadn't done that," I said to the young man, archly. "A customer asked for it," he retorted. "One customer," I declared. "Did you ask the dozen who were chatting and ignoring it?"
The young. So much to learn. Times I hate their slim, firm bodies and unlined faces. "You were once like this, but look at you now!"
Yes, it's true. Those of you who are not fortunate enough to live in God's Own Country (Scotland, in this instance) will not either be fortunate enough to possess the latest (big) issue of the Big Issue In Scotland magazine. It's a big Big Issue, because it's a birthday Big Issue, at the new, big birthday price of twa pund.
Helping the homeless is one thing. Putting them up in Malmaison Hotel for a week is something else, doncha just think?
Now, the confused amongst you might be wondering why Scotland, rather than my birth country, should be the recipient of today's lavish praises, and the answer is simple. It's been OK here.
England was tricky. Parents. Adolescence. Then gay adolescence, which is a different kettle of fish.
There was the dark, Satanic pit village. Then Metropolis. (The real one, not some northern wannabee.) Plus love, and hate. Then, "Oh my God - is that what I have to do with my body!?!" I want my mother. But my mother is nuts. I have to be a man over this. Myself, metrosexual... those were the days, my friend.
But soon, quite soon, they had to end. London was dae'in ma heid in, as I would (probably not) say nowadays. So one fled. Overnight, in a wreck of an old Ford car, with an even bigger wreck of a battery inside it. Scared to stop at the overnight Service stations in case it wouldn't restart again.
Eyes on the "commercial driver's lounge", knowing that was where I really wanted to sit. The gay light was already lit, by then, you see, and I sussed it would burn brightly in Scotland in spades. I wasn't wrong, as the next two decades would declare. But I get out of step. We're talking Big Issue.
It's about bingo, this big (twa pund) issue, you see. More specifically my bingo, the one you hear about here. And more specifically still about moi. I have studied the arcane mysteries of the Newtonian Universe, the loving relations between numbers in their prime, the origin of the natural number system, and more axioms and principia than you could shake a stick at.
And what is my reward? My reward is to be a Big Issue star - how fleeting my fame, how hallowed my Mall entrance presence to the world. "BiGishoo!! BiGishoo!! Get your BiGishoo... Peter's in it this week!!"
O tempora, O mores. O fuck I have to go to work for the Monday meeting. Then the dentist, where Sonia will continue my fitting for a dental prosthetic. (False tooth.)
Coming tomorrow!! Extracts from the Big Issue In Scotland, where the writer compares me to Des O'Connor!! You couldn't make it up!!
(This has been very lovely. Have wonderful Mondays all. I know I will. Monday is the new Saturday, sez Des.)
In a wonderful piece of electioneering yesterday, Jack McConnell, Scotland's third First Minister, declared 24 June a Scottish public holiday from now on.
"This is in celebration of our good friends Portugal's stunning football victory last night," Mr McConnell said, beaming, his Brylcreemed hair glinting in the STV lights.
"We've had Victoria Days in the past, but now it's time to bring things up to date with a David Day, doncha just think? What a penalty kick that was, eh? Could've done better meself with me eyes closed."
Mr (Teflon) McConnell departed then for the golf dinner he'd reluctantly forgone in order to show face at the recent D-Day remembrance.
Three new tower blocks sprang up on the Leith skyline. Money changed hands.
Today's rain is less heavy, less intense, less determined to reach the ground at all costs than yesterday's. Thus, it's making a little headway into the birdshit on the windows. The ideal window-cleaning weather is moderate rain coupled with strong, gusting wind. It's a blast.
And today's temperature is eleven degrees, max. That's 51 for those of you still old-fashioned enough to use Fahrenheit. I do remember one year it snowed on June the second, so I guess eleven degrees is no lower record.
But I hate it. "What's happened to the weather?" my old ladies grunt, as they try to find a spot for drying the umbrella. That bingo hall is umbrella city. If they don't poke your eyes out, then you trip headlong over them and drop your tray of pound coins.
"Lucky pound coins!" I cry. "Get your pound coins here! Every one a winner!" It's a lie, of course, but we share the joke.
Where are they now?
Mike is languishing at Sashinka pro tem, because of hosting difficulties.
Torturette has modified his typeface for added readability.
Bloggerheads has made a remarkable multi-media rant against Bush (mostly) and Blair (a bit). Here at Naked Blog we offer no opinion on world matters, but you can enjoy the piece anyway for its presentation skill. "Opinions are like assholes. Everybody's got one and they all stink." Luvvit!! Via Gordon.
Thanks to whomever plopped us onto Blorgy yesterday. Get over there and VOTE. Remember - if you don't vote then extremists get in. BNP.
Me young mucker Darren re-surfaces after a gap on darkinformer.co.uk Catch up on one of my favourite young men about town!
But it's not all compliments! No way, Jose. Someone has Naked Blog on his FUBAR* Shitlist! Get over there and give the man some traffic. Show him what double figures are like. (We're on the fourth click down the scrollbar, along with the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank.) To think he spent good money on a .net for that heapa poo.
*I'm guessing it means Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition. Moi!!
It's high old summer in East Central Scotland, and it's pissing down. Cats and dogs. What a week for a tennis tournament, eh? At least the football people have the sense to play in Portugal, which must be Europe's answer to the Sahara Desert.
I'm sitting here in what some would grandly call a study (Trans: computer and yet more mess) and looking out at the rain. Wishing it would deviate from the intensely vertical, and CLEAN THE EFFING BIRDSHIT OFF MY WINDOWS.
Why the damn gulls use my home as a toilet I'm not totally sure. It's to do with being a top flat, and them landing on the roof. The sequence must go...
feet set to thump
shit on one of Peter's windows
land and have a good old birdy chat
Or summat. So where's the silver lining in this tartan monsoon? Well it's inside my head. The ear part of my head, to be precise.
Yesterday, in a 21st Century manifestation of the new butch, Babs' fella Andy kindly replaced my computer fan. Out with the old! In with the new! This one is not only near silent, but actually shifts air. You can sense the whole gadget is revived. Naked Aerated Blog. Our bearings run smooth.
Would that my lungs could be aerated so easily. They're doing some really odd stuff with phlegm these months. Weird. But you have to take into account this is my first summer as a non-smoker since 1956 - so they must be a bit confused also, in a pneumatic way.
Dust. Mites. Pollution. Everyday irritation, but without being doused in thick tobacco smoke 30 - 40 times a day. We will survive.
Any other ex-smokers had these effects a year later?
Watched that cigar-toutin' Billyboy Clinton on telly last night, doing an extended ad for his book. Intrigued that Dimbleby addressed him as "Mr President". Would his US counterpart greet the Queen as "Your Majesty"? Or is our deference to that country now total?
And staying with domestic politics for a mo, what do we think of the United Kingdom Independence Party? Force in the land, or midsummer madness? Is Kilroy-Silk the new Michael Howard?
Me, I love the real Michael Howard these days. Every time he gets on his feet I'm just wishing I was his scriptwriter. If he wasn't a Tory I might just vote for him. Plus he's even older than me, and still alive!
The professional part of me wonders how many bingo books he could mark, though.
GUEST WEEK NEWS!
Yesterday Dolly presented a clutch of marvellous, so-stylish designs for your Naked Blog t-shirts. Now comes the task of converting paper to wearable cloth. Watch this space! It's so exciting!! Who would ever have thought it, that rainy morning in 1997, when Stuart and I sat down with Netscape Composer and wrote, "Hello world, from sunny Leith!"
Fair brings a tear to ma e'en. Iceland do totally fabulous mini-cottage pies for just 99p. Chilled, not frozen. Enough for a tasty bite without needing a nap afterwards.
So there we all were on Calton Hill, Scotland's answer to Glastonbury (it's true), waiting for the sun to set when the fucking heavens opened.
It was Rex's fault, sitting there innocently in the Port o Leith Bar early yesterday evening. "I've got to support Croatia," Mary said, vis a vis some footie game or other. "I picked them in the sweep." So that got that out of the way, then.
"Rex - darling! Have a pint!" I gushed. "It's our day... June 21st!" He happily acquiesced. Made round to go round, as we say here. Soon we were discussing the latest developments on Naked Blog, and Josh and Charles Bukowski. (Note to self: really, really must get Rex roped in to the next one.) Oh, and then Big Straight Al sat down, looking that foxy you could just reach out and grab his family jewels so lightly concealed beneath the green of his cammo trousers. (Pants.)
Eek! Down boy, down. You've had your day, and you sure as hell made the most of it. That's the key bit. Je ne regrette. (Do you know, they're using that song, her recording, her song, to advertise sofas on the telly? It's a fucking outrage. Someone should set their warehouse on fire. (When there's no-one in it, of course.) My advice: do not buy any product which abuses the glory that was Edith Piaf. The heavens declare.
"Let's go up Calton Hill for the midsummer sunset!" I suggested. (We've done it before.) Claire got roped in too, and Evergreen Norma, although she changed her mind when the taxi arrived.
First we needed a picnic, and what better watering hole than Thresher Wine Shop in Elm Row. Claire (Princess Test Tube) stayed outside texting around for more bodies, while Rex and I chose two bottles of Romanian Pinot Grigio, and some Peking Spare Rib and Five Spice Oriental Crackers. I also got three Mars bar mutations for emergencies. Women adore chocolate, especially test tube women. You can never go wrong with a Mars Bar, especially if it looks like it's got runny toffee stuff inside.
(Heterosexual men, of which I am not one, should note that this can also be an inexpensive hotline to a shag!) Mind you, some of you would need to buy an entire case, methinks.
If I can be bothered here, I'll glance around Google images and ruthlessly steal some pics of the view from Calton Hill.
It must rank with Barcelona, with San Francisco, with just about anywhere on the planet as an aerial vista of town and sea.
(Although nowadays somewhat marred by a new hotel in Picardy Place with a roof-lawn.)
But the very best position was occupied by a bit of a weirdo - in a pointed witchy hat. "He looks like a serial killer," I muttered to Claire. "Hiya!" we coo-eed to him.
"Hi - mind if I join you?" Alan (for that was his name) replied.
My head said no, fuck off, but my lips said something less discouraging. Then he kindly offered us one of his stash of Newcastle Brown Ales.
"No thank you, Alan," I replied. "We've got Pinot Grigio." Posh bitch or what? I'd even sent Rex into a shop to get plastic cups, but all they had were plastic shot glasses. So we sipped Romanian Pinot Grigio from tiny plastic glasses and watched the sun set fitfully over the hills of Fife.
I gave a glass to Alan, but he spat it out. He was from Inverness. Possibly on day release. Betcha a fiver to a brick shithouse he'll be in the Port o Leith Bar before you can say two pounds a pint.
The sun and clouds were doing a fabulous Ten Commandments light show - beams in every fucking direction. "Isn't this wonderful?" I gasped, and silence was the fitting reply. Rex was getting tore into Alan, as he has an affinity for nutters, so Test Tube and I sat on her coat and began to shiver. A cold front had come across, and there were still ten minutes to the start of sunset. You can see the entire disc slip away.
Stewart my Naked Blog Radio manager turned up with binoculars, and we stared at the two Forth bridges. More to the point, he also turned up with a car, as by now it was spitting onto rain. The sun was clearly not set, as now and then a beam would shoot skywards, but we sensed the show was over for this year. Plus we all had our hoods up.
Rex and I produced umbrellas. "It's just like Vettriano," I quipped, as we made our way a little sadly to the warm, waiting car.
Bye, bye, Alan. We knew you only briefly, but I hope our company was OK. (I really must start being nicer to people. It's a reaction to work.)
"I don't care if it got cloudy and cold," Claire said. "It was just nice that we went there and did it."
How blessed I am. O world, bring on your worst! I am invincible today.
Yes, it's true. My fifty-seventh Summer Solstice, and all is good.
I should really have switched on BBC Breakfast, as solstices and Stonehenge are the very essence of Natasha's red sofa. Things like foreign policy and the Iraq war seem totally beyond her ken.
(I've just cracked open a bar of Dairy Milk chocolate which I bought some months ago for baiting my mousetrap and never used. It's quite vile. Why a mouse would Christopher Reeve it for Dairy Milk I've no idea.)
The City of Edinburgh Council have sent me a letter saying I owe them a two figure sum of Council Tax. But just you try to pay it, using a method more recent than my birth year! They've got an automated phone answer that's not unlike a radio show.
Press this to listen to that. Or that to listen to this. If you don't speak English, or cannot hear this message, or have no fingers, then use a really fucking big thought wave. If you're just a dude wanting to pay his bill, then fuck you, rich cunt. Why aren't you unemployed so we can patronise and control you?
Try it if you want a laugh. 0845 1300 902
And it's not really a laugh of course - it's a tragedy of the age. A tragedy we workers have paid for so they can give expensive contracts to their Masonic pals, then sit on their arses all day ignoring the phones.
So how am I, darlings? (The last time we chatted, we were in a bit of a state about work and not feeling a hundred percent. Only about 67.)
Well, the three days (six shows) passed not too bad, and yesterday I even started feeling a bit human again. A little less smoke-damaged. I've put in for a week's holiday starting in a fortnight, so that'll give the system some space to recover from the recent new demands. I really seem to be doing this job remarkably well, judging from between the lines, which is the only place to really judge things from.
(Just gobbled off the Dairy Milk. After the first square fades away, it's not quite so ghastly.) But nothing - nothing - like the chocolate of my youth.
Training requires effort and rest. Any athlete will tell you that.
Watched a movie on TV last night called Turbulence. It was sublimely awful - a disaster movie in the literal sense. What is it about Ray Liotta? Why does he look so much like young Tony Curtis? Why do stars always resemble each other? Pitt/Beckham? Streisand/Aniston? Even Dillon/Le Blanc/Gareth Gates for heebies jeebies. There are many more examples.
Now how do I get myself more like Quentin? You know it makes sense.
GUEST WEEK NEWS!
There isn't any! Today I'll be networking with the divine Dolly over design options for your memorial souvenir T shirts. You can expect your gift probably in two to three weeks. Send no money now. Or ever. Asta - I'm replying to your email as soon as I feel quite well.
NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
Someone doing the rounds of the comment boxes recently and deservedly is torturette, with Screaming Seed. Start at the beginning (May) and bask.
AND FINALLY, IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN...
The Heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork.
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum.
Some ripple in the cosmic calm yesterday, as England v Switzerland came on in the Port o Leith Bar.
"Who're we gonna support?!" I cried, knowing full well the answer. (In Scotland it is traditional - compulsory even - to shout for England's opponents.) You should have seen the scenes here after England v France at the weekend. All the maturity of a 10 year old.
"Oh - I'm used to it," I said to Sandra my Personal Manager. "Been here more than thirty years. But it is still always very hurtful."
Some England supporters came in then, so Mary had to temper the bar's Anglophobia just a wee touch. Business is business, after all.
"The English don't hate Scots," I said to Scott on my other side. "Why do the Scots hate the English so much?"
"It's the same all over the world," he replied, with the full authority of his job. (Merchant seaman.) "Everybody hates the English."
I was quite riled now. The Irish beer had done its work. "Just as well we were there for you in the Second World War, isn't it?" I half-shouted. "Or you'd all be speaking German now."
How cutting is that, eh? But, "It was the Americans won the war," Scott said.
I don't believe it.
I kinda gather this wishy washy morning that we won. Shires 3, Chocolatiers and Novelty Clockmakers 0.
Kinda gather, but can't be sure, and to be honest I can hardly contain my indifference. Gay men are constitutionally incapable of watching football. Footie-phobia is the very essence of our personalities, everything we hate - the memories of those Wednesday afternoon schooldays being taunted in the changing rooms and beaten up by the bigger boys. (Why is it always Wednesday? What do games masters do the other four days?)
The veneer comes over later, but the resolve it never goes. SOME DAY I WILL NEVER HAVE TO DO THIS AGAIN.
(And then of course we learn quite different coping strategies for the bigger boys.)
"See yer at the match, pal!"
It serves me right, of course, bleating on a couple of days ago about a medicated population. Now I've got head cold and bronchitis. Couple that with slight speech impairment from my recent extraction, and you have a rip-roaring, zippity doo dah start to my new duties.
I need a holiday. In an operating theatre. To feel this awful I should be on a lot more money.
Between forty percent more work, one hundred percent more responsibility, worrying about Guest Week, being on the radio, leading a full social life and getting a tooth out, my body has said enough.
It has caved in.
Forgive me waxing melodramatic. It's my Buddha nature. Just a bit sniffly is all. The (geographically) nearest fellow sufferer is Gordon's wife, to whom I send much love. Tell me it's not a knockout.
Oh - you lot can start to wind down for the weekend. Thursday is the new Friday, isn't it? But me - I'll have to call bingo for five sessions in smoke hell with a raw larynx. Suffer? I'll give you suffer. For my art.
This afternoon I've got Sandra my Personal Manager, who's coming down from Caithness which is Scotland's answer to Alaska. Before her I can probably fit in Babs the between jobs chef.
Playing with the girls. As gay men start, so do they sometimes finish.
Watched Muriel's Wedding yesterday. Had the vaguest idea I'd seen it before, before my Rachel Griffiths adoration fully kicked in. But they say if you can remember the nineties then you weren't really there.
(Best enjoyed after reading yesterday's tooth extraction tale below.)
People talk about having a tooth removed in the same way as losing a superficially attractive, but really rather shallow, boyfriend. But it's quite different. The tooth isn't an added extra, a Fabulous accessory, it IS YOU. The act of extraction quite literally splits your body into two.
In the jar is the part that dentists call Upper Right Four. And in the chair, wishing his mother was still alive, is the part that dentists (and others) call Peter. Same DNA. Same urge to live and procreate.
(Did I tell you I had a heterosexual dream two nights ago? First one ever in my life, I was telling Babs the next day. Seriously enjoyable. Don't know what's happening to me since I stopped smoking a year ago.)
So what if the tooth jumped out of the jar, put its coat on, and walked out of the door, rather than the Peter part?
Why does it never happen? Because size matters. Might is right. It's the bully that gets all the attention.
It's all old age, of course. All this dentistry malarkey. Never needed dentists in the (very) olden days, when kids got born, started shagging when they felt like it, had 15 kids of their own and died at thirty.
No problems. No pensions. No HRT. Not even any menopause. (I wonder when that became fashionable?) Maybe around 1492.
Nowadays of course, we have my bingo ladies. A total construct of the National Health Service. Not one of the five hundred sitting there is in a natural condition!
Honestly, I'm not kidding.
Every single one of them is "under the doctor". They're all on one pill or another, ideally several.
Blood pressure. Water retention. Analgesics. Antibiotics. Anti-depressants. Anti-coagulants. Anti-inflammatories. Hormones. Calcium. Folic acid. Antidotes. Antidotes to the antidotes.
I'm serious here! They've got every fucking old person in the country on their books!! And nobody (except me) even notices. An entire population, MEDICATED FOR PROFIT.
And who pays for all these lovely medicines? Who lines the pockets of the Pharmy corporations? Well I do, of course. And you.
Think about it. Spread the word. There is life without tablets.
My mouth feels so much better now I've split with Upper Right Four. Wonder how it's feeling this morning? Maybe I should send a wee text. No hard feelings, sort of thing. Still say hello when we meet.
Somewhere between 9 and 9.30 this morning, in a haze of drug needles and pliers, Upper Right Four and I parted company. For ever.
We'd been together for almost fifty years. Thick and thin. Sweet and sour.
Own hair and teeth? Rapidly looking not that much like it, pal.
A poem was the only way forward. To ease my mortality anticipation syndrome. (MAS - you saw it here first.)
"Wee sleekit cow'rin tim'rous beastie... "
Nah - done to death at high-fat, high-alcohol, red-faced dinners the length and breadth of Scotland and the diaspora.
So how's about,
"The Tay, the Tay, the silvery Tay... ?"
Even worse. The man's a laughing stock all the way to the bank. The Ed Wood of Scottish poetry.
Then try this.
Upper Right Four
Is no more.
In a dusty bin
By the dentist's door.
I've finished my inspection -
A lotta love and infection
We'll soon heal up your socket,
And fleece your meagre pocket.
Shite, eh? But it's teatime now, and I'm tired, NB fans. Been on the road since 8.30 this am. Novocaine, paracetamol, dihydrocodeine tartrate, plus onion rings with Babs and basil dip. In the Grassmarket, in the sun.
Even a Macdonald! Yes really. I thought it would be soft, warm and nutritious. Kind to the healing gums. Double cheeseburger meal - with one pound reduction because I didn't want a drink.
The very fragrant mike has had to move back to his old (blogspot) digs pro tem. Never paid for his Princess Diana Memorial Garden, apparently. You know, I always said something like this would happen. Too many pansies do not a fuchsia make, as my Great Aunt Jessie used to say.
I shouldn't be sitting here, writing to you like this. Last week's Guest Week was splendid, comprehensive, even awe-inspiring at times, and in the face of such wonder it would be easy to strike dumb.
Not having to write left me free to think a lot, and even at such an advanced (in blog years) age, this old dog was faced with some very new tricks indeed. There's something quite profound, slightly creepy even, about this new-fangled (ish) medium we've thrown together. And I wonder if the creators of the original Blogger code had any idea of what they were unleashing on the world.
Most of you reading this are exactly that. Readers. And we'd be lost without you. But for those of us deeply involved in the process - the content-makers, developers and risk-takers - there's something else going on. And that something can best be described in one word, family.
The family you haven't met - and in most cases never will. Yet family still regardless. ("Still regardless" is what your English teacher would have called tautology. But I'm a better writer than your English teacher could have dreamt of. Still regardless.)
(The bracketed passage above is why you come to Naked Blog. I wouldn't let you down, now would I? And I can read you like a book.)
Until now, my blog-family was very small. Chronologically, mike, zed and robin - with reminiscences of the distant josh. For reasons quite unfathomable (and that's why I'm throwing it so open), I feel I know and like those four people way beyond the skilful words. Because skilful words are everywhere, and they mean to me next to nada. The Guardian's full of them. But Guardian family? I think not! Like the meal you pay for and enjoy, you expect nothing less - and you rarely form an attachment to the unseen chef because of the exquisition of his Caesar Salad.
(There's probably no such word as exquisition, but does this look like a face that cares?)
Yet blogging's different. And why?
And why also has my blog-family suddenly expanded and exploded to encompass all of my last week's guests?
I've got an extended family!
Now here I can sense one or two of you (or hopefully even more) thinking, "What a sad fucker - to have to get his lurve across the internet."
Yet no, no and even thrice nay. Last week - partly because of my own freedom from the cursored screen - was especially full of F2F contact - at work, at play, and even four hours on the radio, godammit. Hardly the stuff of hermitage.
And still the blogfamily enlarged, with each and every post these lovely people from across the world dropped here onto my screen in Leith.
I thank you, and I salute you. Tell me where you live and your souvenir t-shirt is on its way.
Now - must rush, darlings. My new duties (which are still going splendidly, btw... thanks for asking) require a "meeting" on Monday mornings, even though it's a day off. Fortunately you don't have to dress, although cleanliness is I'm sure appreciated.
It's good to be back. The first few paragraphs were quite hard work.
That about defines it. A couple of weeks ago I was reading The Naked Blog, thinking to myself, he'll never in a million years ask me. He's nice, he doesn't mind my few comments, even commented on my blog once. I'll have to be sure to see what happens. And look what happened.
I wanted to be asked, some of you may have even noticed a little comment volunteering, but I didn't think it would happen. How do I feel? After the last post, embarrassed, obviously, and a little humbled by the experience of being in such entertaining company. I shall leave my last post as a testament to being a clever dick. The pics were really very ordinary, but I'm going to try to post them on my own scribblings, and I will of course let Peter have copies. They aren't really worth it.
I hope we've entertained Peter, and feel that he will have a lot to say in the next few days. Has the break been invigorating? We Naked bloggers have been privy to a couple of behind the scenes email postings, and I think he'll be back with a vengance. I hope so.
Thanks very much Peter. I've really enjoyed myself. Welcome back.
I am enraged and appalled, I want to scream to the whole of Leith, DON’T GO THERE! There’s a boat at ocean Terminal, posing as a tourist attraction. Charging 50p to board and then once on the “MV Dourus” The truth is revealed.
We were conned out of our fee (all be it small) & promised a tour round the worlds oldest working passenger ship & the added attraction of a floating book fair. Once we boarded the horrible truth was all too plain. The ship is a recruitment point for militant religious missionaries. Bent on converting the world to their own, perverse and deeply disturbed moral & political horseshit!
There is no mention of Christianity on any of the pre-board literature, but once on, you’re faced with an array of books with titles like “Sex is for sinners”, “find the only true path” & “The rules god gave us”. Apparently we have 2 choices in life, Think, feel & love, as we see believe is right , and go to hell; or surrender all self will, point of view & blindly follow a edict that allows millions of people to be condemned, judged & preyed upon, and go to heaven. Don’t make me puke!
So this famous chef has banned his children from his restaurants. All the,"children shouldn't even be seen, let alone heard" folks line up by that corner. All the "children need to be children and they'll learn through osmosis" folks please line up by this corner.
Fine. Look at all the space. There is middle ground.
By the time I was six, I was a restaurant veteran and my two-year-old brother wasn't far behind me. I'm sure my love affair with food had its beginnings in restaurants, because Lord knows my mother was never much of a cook. But she did know how to teach us how to behave at a dinner table, wherever it was, and she made sure that eating out was always a treat.
It seems that the main argument in the Guardian article is that children's palates can't handle rich food. I'd agree, up to a point-- but it's his restaurant-- and aren't meals individually prepared? Which leads me to suspect that he takes them only to diners because then he doesn't have to worry about how they behave. That's just sad. Now, if I'm wrong, and he's just using his son to cover his grease addiction, then I apologise, but I've seen this too often.
When I was three, the waiters at Asti's in New York wrapped the Yellow Pages in linen, so I could reach the table. We had a marvelous time, right up until the moment our waiter informed me that he would be calling the police if I didn't finish the last meatball on my plate. Luckily, he accepted my pleadings for leniency.
I remember 21 and The Four Seasons a few years later as living theatre. I felt so glamourous.
In our hometown, there wasn't a restaurant our parents liked, that we hadn't been to as well at some point-- greasy spoons included.
The key was table manners. A couple dining at another table one evening, sent over a bottle of wine to my parents for having raised such polite children. They were not witnesses to the pinch, poke and whine debate over which of us was taking up more room in the back seat of the car on the way to the restaurant. My brother and I could wage war for hours, given the chance-- but we knew where to pick our battles. Under these circumstances, calling a truce was really no effort at all. We loved restaurants. We could order whatever we wanted and people would bring it to us. What's not to love?
We also learned early on that quiet polite behavior in adult company results in being forgotten about almost entirely by the time dessert cart rolls around. This in turn leads to hearing some interesting conversations. The fascinating ones are overheard a few years later while sitting on the stairs in your nightclothes when the adults think you're fast asleep in your bed. Such an education. But that's another story.
So manners dictate that I thank Peter for kindly inviting me to Naked Blog for the week, and thank all of you for such wonderful and informative comments, but pure emotion says that even the most profuse thank you won't convey what a treat this has been.
I think of all of us, who have guested this week, as the introduction of some new seasonings to the menu, ( spicy, sharp, mysterious-- name your own) but you can't survive on a diet of spices alone. The signature dish is Peter himself, and I'm looking forward to his return.
when i was a kid, i couldn't wait to grow up...funny as the time goes by, i wonder what the hurry was...there were so many sweet things that i had in childhood...things that i wish i had now...people that i wish were still around...time is transition...what once was hot in some cases has turned very cold...and the life that i lived then can only be seen in photo albums and in memory...but this is not all bad...because transition is also addition...new loved ones, new friends and new opportunities that weren't possible in the good old days...time has led me here...and i am glad...because there is a joy in getting to know new people...even if it is from a distance...i am so very glad to have found you all...thanks to a chance link i followed a little more than a year ago...i watched for awhile...but within a few months i had joined the friendly crowd in PETER'S comment box...many thanks to all of you for putting up with me this week...and for all the comments!...i don't get all that many on livejournal...so it was a special treat to get some feedback...and my biggest thank you goes to PETER...for inviting me into NAKED BLOG ...and for all your kindness since i first popped up here...i leave you with one more song...when i wrote this one 5 years ago i was thinking of my ancestors...some of whom once lived in SCOTLAND, IRELAND, and ENGLAND...i wish you could hear the tune in your head like i can...but for now...the words will have to do.
IN SWEETER DREAMS
as the sun begins to rise
above the trees, to break the night
i can feel it's distant warmth
is touching me
i see a car go 'round the bend
i see a highway with no end
i see a place i used to be
when i was young
as the days go by so fast
turn the present, to the past
the one thing that will last
i am older, just the same
and yes i can go home again
when i gaze upon this place
in sweeter dreams
and the dream will have no end
and yes i can go home again
i can see all my old friends
the way they were
i will visit now and then
all the places i have been
as i remember when
in sweeter dreams
After Massage monster appearing last night in a purple bandana & again today at the culmination of the Leith festival on Leith Links ( congratulations & many thanks to everyone who pulled Leith Festival together this year. It was a Triumph). The topic of conversation got on to Hanky codes.
This is an old and practically extinct way of communicating between gay men. Back in the days when meeting like-minded men was a covert operation; a hanky sticking slightly out of the back pocket of your Levis was a signal to other gay men. This as so often happens, became quickly polluted into a form of speed dating semaphore shortly before the practice died out almost completely. Now the hanky code is used only in small “-specialised” sections of the gay community.
Never the less, I myself used to be quite an expert on the old code & despite never using it, always found it amusing to observe. So, for nostalgia reasons I thought I might look it up again. Please note despite the many hundreds of variations, there is not a single colour or pattern that exclaims “has got or likes to have Varicose Veins!”
COLOR WORN ON LEFT WORN ON RIGHT
BLACK heavy SM top heavy SM bottom
GREY bondage top fit to be tied!
BLUE, Light wants head cocksucker
BLUE, Robin's Egg 69er anything but 69ing
BLUE, Medium cop copsucker
BLUE, Navy fucker (top) fuckee (bottom)
BLUE, Airforce pilot/flight attendant likes flyboys
BLUE, Light w/WHITE Stripe sailor lookin' for salty seamen
BLUE, Teal cock & ball torturer cock & ball torturee
RED fist fucker fist fuckee
MAROON cuts bleeds
RED, Dark 2-handed fister 2-handed fistee
PINK, Light dildo fucker dildo fuckee
PINK, Dark tit torturer tit torturee
MAUVE into navel worshippers has a navel fetish
MAGENTA suck my pits armpit freak
PURPLE piercer piercee
LAVENDER likes drag queens drag queen
YELLOW pisser/WS piss freak
YELLOW, Pale spits drool crazy
MUSTARD hung 8"+ wants 8"+
GOLD two looking for one one looking for two
ORANGE anything anytime nothing now (just cruising)
APRICOT two tons o' fun chubby chaser
CORAL suck my toes shrimper (sucks toes)
RUST a cowboy a cowboy's horse
FUSCHIA spanker spankee
GREEN, Kelly hustler (for rent) john (looking to buy)
GREEN, Hunter daddy orphan boy looking for daddy
OLIVE DRAB military top military bottom
GREEN, Lime dines off tricks (food) dinner plate (will buy dinner)
BEIGE rimmer rimmee
BROWN scat top scat bottom
BROWN LACE uncut likes uncut
BROWN SATIN cut likes cut
CHARCOAL latex fetish top latex fetish bottom
GREY FLANNEL owns a suit likes men in suits
WHITE beat my meat (J/O) I'll do us both (J/O)
HOLSTEIN milker milkee
CREAM cums in condoms sucks cum out of condoms
BLACK w/WHITE Check safe sex top safe sex bottom
RED w/WHITE Stripe shaver shavee
RED w/BLACK Stripe furry bear likes bears
WHITE LACE likes white bottoms likes white tops
BLACK w/WHITE Stripe likes black bottoms likes black tops
BROWN w/WHITE Stripe likes latino bottoms likes latino tops
YELLOW w/WHITE Stripe likes asian bottoms likes asian tops
BLUE, Light w/WHITE Dots likes white suckers likes to suck whites
BLUE, Light w/BLACK Dots likes black suckers likes to suck blacks
BLUE, Light w/BROWN Dots likes latino suckers likes to suck latinos
BLUE, Light w/YELLOW Dots likes asian suckers likes to suck asians
RED/WHITE GINGHAM park sex top park sex bottom
BROWN CORDUROY headmaster student
PAISLEY wears boxer shorts likes boxer shorts
FUR bestialist top bestialist bottom
GOLD LAME likes muscleboy bottoms likes muscleboy tops
SILVER LAME starfucker celebrity
BLACK VELVET has/takes videos will perform for the camera
WHITE VELVET voyeur (likes to watch) will put on a show
LEOPARD has tattoos likes tattoos
TAN smokes cigars likes cigars
TEDDY BEAR cuddler cuddlee
DIRTY JOCKSTRAP wears a dirty jock sucks dirty jocks clean
DOILY tearoom top (pours) tearoom bottom (drinks)
MOSQUITO NETTING outdoor sex top outdoor sex bottom
ZIPLOC BAG has drugs looking for drugs
COCKTAIL NAPKIN bartender bar groupie
KLEENEX stinks sniffs
KEYS IN FRONT has a car looking for a ride
KEYS IN BACK has a home needs a place to stay
HOUNDSTOOTH likes to nibble willing to be bitten
UNION JACK skinhead top skinhead bottom
CALICO new in town tourists welcome
TERRYCLOTH bathhouse top bathhouse bottom
WHITE w/MULTICOLOR Dots hosting an orgy looking for an orgy
I only wish there was a suitable colour up there to show my gratitude to Peter for his guest blog week, it has been a real blast Thank you! I’m off now to weave a new hanky pattern that screams, “We’re out of biscuits & I want a Hob Nob.” Depending on which pocket you put it in of course.
Occasionally Mrs Andy and myself take our breakfast at Number Four on a Saturday morning, so I was pleasantly surprised to find something to tell you about as soon as we arrived. Rather than take ages of boring prose I came home to find my £12.99 digital camera, and took a few shots, presented below. I do feel that the fact that the camera cost that amount is absolutely true to the spirit of Naked blogging.
Here we go then.
Number Four, "Best Teashop In The Village"
St. Edmunds, "With Fascinated Onlookers"
Careful observers will see terrified people at the top of the Church tower.
Now the question you have to ask yourselves is, did I feel lucky? Did I in fact enter into the true spirit of the Naked Blog Guest week, climb up the tower, with my camera, to take advantage of the unique opportunity to get some wonderful panorama shots? Did I get my kit off on a Saturday morning in Sedgefield and abseil down the side of the church tower?
after writing stuff for NAKED BLOG for almost a whole week now, i can understand why PETER and the rest of you need an occasional break...on my wee little journal i just write when the spirit moves me...many of you with large audiences feel obligated to put something out every day...actually it's not the writing that drags me down so much...it's the typing...i get tired of typing!...but so far it's the only way i've found to get the words on the page...i could write 'til the cows come home if i didn't have to type it all out...word by word...typo after typo...go back...delete that...insert correction...bllleeeccchh...i want one of those speech recognition thingies that types it all up for you as you say it...better yet...i would like to be able to control my telekinetic powers so that i could just think it...and it would be on the page...got another 84 years to go before they invent that...it's gonna be a long wait...almost as bad as the wait was for the personal computer to be invented...well...see ya back in this space on sunday...
out of gas
but being in this blog
has been a blast
i'm so tired
just one more day
then the blog goes back
to peter's way
i'll be relieved
to see him write
but i've still got one more entry
At 5.00am BST tomorrow morning I shall be pootling off to Glastonbury for a weekend of fun with fellow druids. I have no idea what time I'll be back on Sunday so I may miss the official close of Guest Blog Week.
So I think now would be a good time to thank Peter profusely for having invited me to blog on his own private bit of the Blogosphere. I can't even begin to tell you how honoured and absolutely delighted I was when I read said invite. It's been a wonderful experience of blogging in a community environment with some really excellent writers. I've enjoyed it immensely.
Ronnie and Ray. Could there be two American men more different? Well, of course there could, and I'm sure I'd think of some examples,if I put my mind to it-- but not today.
I've been splitting my time between the television and the radio watching the state funeral and listening to the musical tributes. (I'm a media junkie)
I still don't know what I think of the state funeral. It's not the first I've witnessed, but this one rankled me more than once. I never liked the man or his politics but I respected his ability to sell his vision to the American public and follow it through. Several former leaders, including Bush Senior spoke eloquently. I think most of George Junior's eulogy was an exercise in self-congratulation of the highest order disguised as praise of another. That it was immediately followed by the choir singing the Battle Hymn of the Republic, sent me off in search of liquor, sedatives or something to throw. I settled for throwing.
I was also a bit taken aback to hear several newcasters announcing " Ronald Reagan is now on his way to California". There was a time, when anything less than, "the body of Ronald Reagan is now being transported..." would be cause for severe reprimand. Tricky philosopical belief systems be damned.
General crankiness and agitation was not relieved until I turned on NPR and listened to some of the best descriptions of Ray Charles and his music ever written. If you only know Ray through "Georgia" stop here, at the NPR page, and spend some time. He was an original. Some called him a bluesman, others an R&B artist, but during the Terry Gross interview, (sadly abridged on the web version) he said himself that he was his own man, and didn't fit any definition. So true.
Ronnie and Ray were exceptionally talented communicators. My preference is obvious.
(I hope you don't mind me posting this Andy, I was going to contain myself to comments on your own fine post, but I got a little carried away.)
TAPS GLASS, SLIGHTLY EMBARRASSED SPEECH SHUFFLING PAPERS AND LOOKING DOWN AT THE TABLE A LOT
Well, it’s almost time to slope off back to my own blog.
If you follow me back there, please do visit the people on my blogroll. Some well-known, some less so, but all great reading.
I must thank Peter. Rather than moaning and bitching about pushy and eager new bloggers swamping the streets of Blogland, he’s been as generous as generous can be. (Ditto Lynn.)
(Although to be fair I think it’s time to draw the line now, and close the door on newcomers before they spoil the internet for us established people).
And thank you all for your attention, comments and the odd nice and supportive email.
Listen to me. I’m getting drawn in again. Thinking of you all as ‘real people’ rather than the virtual internet entities that you are. I HAVE TO KEEP REMINDING MYSELF THAT YOU BLOG PEOPLE DO NOT REALLY EXIST AND IT IS NOT REAL LIFE.
It is a worry, when you find that you’ve bought a birthday present for somebody whose blog you like, but haven’t actually bothered to send real family and friends cards or gifts for a number of years.
And when you start using blog-comment-speak in real life conversations is when, I think, it’s time to reassess.
LOL me no LOLs.
I have this final nightmare. I’ll be walking round London when I’m confronted by a mugger. The scene progresses like this.
Me: Hullo clouds, hullo sky! Yikes!!
Mugger: Hand over all your money and your mobile phone. Or I shall beat you to within an inch of your life.
Me: *grabs mugger in judo hold, wrestles to ground and holds there until police arrive*
Mugger: You twat. Just because you put an asterisk at the start and finish of that sentence doesn’t mean that you actually PERFORMED that particular act. Take this. And that.
Me: Ooof! Ow! Ooyah!!
What a strange week it has been so far. I'm not referring to the oddness of blogging here, which has turned into a hotbed of creativity, humour and a little depravity, but I'm referring to the bigger world that we all observe and comment on.
The death of a President has brought a dignity and grandeur to things American that is rarely observed, as brashness was replaced with sombre respect when the coffin was brought to Washington. I had thought that America was about to go "Princess of Wales" on us, but not so. It seems that no matter how much people disagreed with his policies, the abiding memories are of a nice guy. I must try to be a little less cynical. I watched Nancy, the current Pres, Grobachev and Maggie pay their respects. It seems that Baroness. T., wherever she travelled in the last few years, has always packed a black dress for this occasion. Now my day is ruined by Maggie memories.
Ray Charles, who was black and bumped into pianos way before Stevie Wonder, has also gone. His anthem, "Georgia On My Mind" has, I believe, also become the state anthem. I love his music, and looking at my collection of classics, which include Mingus, Tatum, "Count" Basie, Thelonius Monk, Bernstein, Miles Davies and Michel Petrucciani. I see that all except the last were American. I must try to be a little less cynical.
The latest news from the auction of Audrey Hepburn memorabilia is that over a million and a half pounds has been raised so far. I would love to possess something once owned by her, and with that generation of thespians basically gone, I wonder if the Pitts, Clooneys and di Caprios will live up to her example. I blame the demise of Parkinson on the demise of classic cinema. (If you don't know who Parkinson is, you are probably American. Don't ask, the answer involves cricket) I'm feeling a little less cynical now.
Last of all, for now, I've been studying the content of my inbox carefully over the last few days, for that tell tale sign that may hint at bigger things. There has been nothing from the Guardian, the Village Voice, the Onion, the BBC or even the Northern Echo. But last night, I was asked to write for Sedgefieldweb, the village website launching next week. I'm even going to the launch party.
I’m taking my varicose veins out of the closet tonight, I am going to parade them up & down behind the bar. We are throwing a beach party in the pub tonight, including palm trees & surfboards and silly outfits.
Alastair, my long-suffering Gimp is DJ for the night. With his supper coool, supper doooper CD decks. He has been growing a tash for the last 2 weeks in preparation of being “Magnum PI”. I on the other hand as yet don’t have a costume; maybe I’ll do David Hastlehoff from Bay watch, or free Willy, or both. Either way my varicose veins will be on display for the world to see!
one thin wire take me 'round the world, yeah
one thin wire take me 'round the world
plenty of places i ain't never been yet
plenty of folks my voice have never heard
but somehow i can make it 'round the planet
on a wire so thin it's too damn hard to see
comin' into someones home that never met me
straight from my house way across the sea
one thin wire is all it takes to make it
cross the miles to your computer screen
at least that's how i envision how it happens
while scores of scientists beg to disagree
for me all this is nothing short of magic
taking me to wherever you may be
one thin wire take me 'round the world, yeah
and bring you into mine across the sea
(i was just going into blogger to edit the previous post and this happened...hope you don't mind)
i got my first job as a radio announcer in my hometown when i was 14 years old...it was the culmination of many of my dreams of younger childhood...i had been preparing for the job all my life..."danny, what do you want for christmas?"...answer: a record player..."danny, what do you want for your birthday?"...answer: a tape recorder...i had many such requests when mom and dad would ask me what i wanted...and i played with those toys to the very limit...dragging my family and friends into my pretend radio station to be my guest...when i couldn't find someone to join in with me...i'd do all the voices myself...one of our family friends named TOM was a newsman at our local radio station...and believe me whenever he came around he would see me toting my cassette recorder with me...one day he asked me the question i was waiting for...he asked if i would like to try out for a job at the radio station...i couldn't believe it...i thought i was way too young to get hired...but he insisted it was no problem...i of course applied for the job...went into the recording studio for the first time and made a demo tape...then came the long month long wait...i was a very excitible boy and i wanted to know...but mom said..."don't bug him too much"..."he knows you want the job"...well i got the job!...i was ecstatic...and i was scared to death too...i did not want to fail...everything depended on me doing well...the first day of training for the job came...now this is the part that almost nobody knows...the night before that first day of training i went on a campout with some friends...it was a warm february day and our parents let us do it...the next morning we awoke to a very snowy world...and were having a great time playing in the snow...i don't remember all the fun stuff we did that morning...but it was one of the best times i ever had...and then it was time to go to the radio station...dad came to pick me up in his pickup truck to take me to the radio station...it was a moment that i still recall with crystal clarity...i didn't want to go...i didn't want to leave my friends...i thought about what i was leaving behind...i was leaving behind my childhood...for the more mature world of responsibility...and there could be no turning back...i thought of all this as we drove back to town...the DOOBIE BROTHERS "BLACK WATER" playing on the tinny AM radio...of course i told no one how i felt about this...and i left, as i knew i had to, to train for my job at the radio station...the mixed feelings did not last long...once i got into the studio i was hooked for good...i even grew to love country music...a style of music i thought i didn't like...reminiscing with my old co-workers during our stations 40th anniversary last december brought back many of the memories...including the memory of that very first day...i had often wondered why they chose me...over the older, more mature candidates for the job...a few years ago the owner of the station told me why he hired me...he said something to the effect of 'you weren't the most qualified one...you for sure weren't the most mature one...we hired you because you were the youngest one...we knew that with all the bright enthusiam you had, that you would stay...and we wouldn't be losing you to college in another 6 months or so... so here i am in my hometown on the same radio stations i was when i was just a boy...i haven't been here for my entire career...i was in several other cities including TERRE HAUTE INDIANA for a few years...but when the opportunity came to come back home...i took it...and i still find that the elderly people who listened to be when i was a teenager still think of me as that sweet boy who worked on sunday mornings and played their favorite hymns...back when this journey started...because i was the youngest one.
I've been trying to think of a way to explain a Come From Away. It's hard enough explaining the concept to a CFA, not that we do. Ever. Well. Hardly ever. Explaining it to all of you is almost impossible. As far as I know, none of you are CFAs. You are far away, but that's not the same thing.
So I'm only going to scratch the surface here. A full explanation could take months.
If you were to visit the Maritimes, you still wouldn't be a CFA. You'd be a tourist. In the Maritimes that's a one syllable word.
We're very friendly to tourists. We have a reputation across Canada for being friendly. We will stop on the street and give you directions with a smile. We will even take you to your destination if it's too complicated to explain. I've done it myself. We have been known to invite you into our homes and feed you, if we take a shine to you. We will not take a shine to you if you are loud, patronizing or dressed in sandals with socks. The cod's gone and the mines are closed. Tourism is bread and butter. But that's not why we do it. We do it because it's hardwired into our DNA and because we find most tourists entertaining in a " Did you hear what she asked me?" sort of way.
Unfortunately, tourists often get the wrong impression and think being friendly is the same as being a friend. They soak up all that friendliness and cheap land and decide to move to the Maritimes. People from Ontario and Germany are most susceptible to this delusion. They open quaint Bed and Breakfasts and wait for the money to roll in. Most are out of business within five years, if they ever open at all. They are now CFAs who have failed to adapt .
Failed CFAs do not understand how business works in the Maritimes, and they never learn. To start, it is essential to adopt the pace. It's leisurely. To a CFA it appears that nothing is getting done. Not true. Our poor CFA may have a super-duper business plan, endorsed by his bank with an architect all lined up and raring to go, but he, or she, has not laid the ground work. Ground work is getting to know about half a dozen key people in his neighbourhood well enough to be able to refer to them, their children and either their parents or grandchildren in detailed conversation before he ever begins.
The first time a CFA is asked " And who was your father?" and is unable to provide a reply that at some point mentions a Maritime hamlet, his card has been marked. His only chance of eventual success is to work the conversation around to one of the key contacts. This cannot be a direct jump. It's no good saying, "My father's still in Toronto, but I know the mayor here". Wrong on so many levels.
When I mentioned key contacts-- it's almost never going to be the mayor. No, you need to have spent time with people like the butcher, the owner of the drug store( pharmacies are national chains and beneath contempt), the local business owners, farmers or fishermen around you. The guy who runs the local garage or corner store is also good bet. The mayor, or head of the Chamber of Commerce come much later, after you have been clued into who the backroom boys are. Oh. I'm giving far too much away here. I'm in danger of having my credentials pulled, so I'm not telling you how you connect with these people-- suffice to say that a knowledge of the weather helps, but will only get you so far. Money won't do it either.
Without clearing this crucial hurdle our CFA will find his application for re-zoning keeps getting tabled at council. The contractor is unavailable for weeks at a time. The plumbers and electricians never return calls. Suppliers won't extend credit. You get the idea. I'm already assuming that our CFA has already overpaid for the land. (For free I'll tell you that if you really need to talk to the plumber or any other trade, they'll be at the local Tim Horton's early in the morning. Tim's is a donut chain, and there are almost as many Tim's in the Maritimes now, as churches. No small achievement.)
But it might not turn out that way. Allowances are made for CFAs, if they are polite.-if they ask, don't demand-if they remember names-if they keep promises- if they learn all the social codes-and if-- above all-- they don't complain or try to change the way things are done no matter how daft it may seem. CFAs need to eliminate 'why' from the vocabulary. I cannot stress strongly enough how important this is. This is the thing about CFAs that irks the locals the most. A CFA will move to a place because he says he has fallen in love with it, and then immediately sets about trying to change it. A successful CFA learns how to make improvements without appearing to do so.
This is easier said, than done. Every village, town and city has it's own history of feuds and family squabbles which somehow manage to impact the political structure. The CFA will not be told about them if he asks. They are understood by the locals and considered none of his business. The CFA must intuit and wait. The information will find him if he has enough patience and befriends the right people.
If he is very lucky,the CFA will be accepted and supported by his neighbours-- who will call him a friend. His children may even be considered locals, but that more usually occurs in the third generation.
It is a point of pride with my husband that when we moved to Halifax, he was habitually greeted with surprise when he told people he wasn't a Maritimer. I must admit, it makes me smile too.
Mark has two ways that he wears his trousers. He calls them the Sitting Down position and the Standing Up position.
When he sits down he has to undo the button and fly so that his little pot belly can hang out comfortably.
When he stands up the button and fly are closed. This is because if they weren't his trousers would fall down and trip him up as he walks. Mark already has problems staying vertical (he has MS) so he doesn't need to have his trousers down around his ankles. He's quite capable of falling over all by himself, thankyouverymuch.
I've suggested that perhaps he's put on a little weight and that's why his trousers are now tight.
He reckons I'm wrong.
To prove the point I examine the trouser label which says that the trousers are a 38 inch waist. As they are now tight he must be bigger that the 38 inch waist he was when we bought them.
I show him the evidence.
Mark shrugs. He says that they must be a small size 38 inch.
How's that for logic?
It's just not worth the effort arguing the point, is it?
They are Nikes! I feel like the dog’s bollocks as I run, and make trendy street hand signals to the village kids with my thumb and little finger. Run! Run! Run!
When I bought them, I was torn between a cool brand and specialist running shoes. Then I found that Nike makes specialist running shoes and my problem was solved. They also make specialist badminston shoes, volleyball shoes, basketball shoes, squash shoes, discus shoes and table-tennis shoes. It is important to buy a pair for each sport you do, otherwise you will not perform to your optimum.
The point was that I was after serious sports wear, not fashion. I actually got them a few months back, but haven’t worn them up to now as I didn’t want to get them muddy. Run! Run! They are comfortable and bouncy.
I am concerned about Nike’s reputation for exploiting a vulnerable workforce.
However, I have the bright idea to make the run ‘ethics-neutral’. So, every ten paces, I make sure I think a very liberal thought. That way it balances out. I also resolve to read the Guardian extra hard when I get home.
The Cheerful Builder is beavering away on my return. By this point I am gasping for air, but the air is a combination of plaster dust and paintstripper (and air), so I sink into a patio chair outside. I need more exercise.
i believe that life is a series of comebacks...you arise so high...only to fall on your butt and have to crawl back up the mountain again...the way i see it, it's better that way...because once you reach the top, there are no more mountains to climb...and it seems to me that would get kind of boring...the following is written about a time in my life when i just emerged from a very down period...i was very unsure of myself...and the lingering doubts kept me from stepping back out into the world...these words were the first real steps i would take in that effort...in writing this song i was challenging myself...telling myself that it was true...i had been knocked down...but i could get back up again.
REMEMBERING THE FALL
remember when you never got the call?
remember all the helplessness?
remembering the fall
you'll understand it all
you're searching now the way you used to do
running in the darkness
for a feeling that you knew
you'll see one come through
you can be what you want to be
you can see what you want to see
and if sometime your aim is true
the good you plant will grow back up to you
an old friend looks and sees you walk away
he thinks that he knows you
but he don't know a thing
just how far you came
after all you take another look
pieces of your life
are like the pages of a book
they'll read you again
In a return to my world of far reaching Loose Morals.
I went to the gym today. There’s nothing new in that, I spend more time there than I did wanking as a teenager, but today was different.
You have to first understand that I don’t go to one of those posey gyms. No I spend my posing pound on designer shades & Fabulous accessories, so when it comes to a 2 way plush bench press, the budget is well blown. I go to an Edinburgh municipal gym, which has the advantage of being cheap, but the down fall of being full of overweight housewives & pensioners desperate to cling to life’s mortal coil no matter what cost.
Imagine my surprise when sweating furiously on the exerciser bike I spot in the mirror a 20somthing Adonis on the peck deck behind me.
Well hello dolly! I stared for a few seconds enjoying the view & then resumed my work out as the program I’d previously programmed in hit high resistance. By the time I looked back he’d gone & I wasted no more time on what could have been.
I finished my work out and retired to the open plan changing room & showers. After a brisk hot shower I rubbed myself down, bringing much needed blood to the surface of my skin, & headed to the lockers to apply youth’s angel breath and get dressed.
Low & behold there he was, Perfect like a marble statue Topless & perfect. His ripped disco tits sporting just the right amount of hair and pert nipples shooting skyward. I sucked in my six pack, which looks more like a keg these days and prayed my loosely wrapped towel wouldn’t fall to reveal a less than impressive flaccid cock.
Imagine my delight as I reached up to my locker in the top row, he bent down next to me, fiddling with one on the bottom row.
I finally got mine unlocked and as the door swung open, my old sweaty pants fell out and landed on his head.
I went to Matthew Jones today, the village Barber, for my late spring cut. Although slightly delayed, this has been due for quite some time, the major evidence of which has been the Count Dracula streak of grey flowing backwards from my temples becoming more and more pronounced. The metaphor fails when you realise that the barnet is a mousy dull brown where it isn't grey, and I would need a cummerbund of industrial strength to deal with other "non draculesque" qualities.
Not for me I'm afraid, the unisex salon with the hyper expensive product displays, the lean backwards triplicate hair washing stations manned by gum chewing children, the ten minute "consultation" confirming the underconditioned undercleansed nature of my hair, followed by the late arrival of the stylist with the blond hair streaked with black, and black roots that must have taken hours to put in.
Unusually, there were no other customers waiting in the salon, discussing with all and sundry the current state of the England squad for Portugal next week, or the possibilities for the upcoming Leek show. There are at least three major village vegetable competitions coming up in the next few weeks. By no means is Sedgefield a hotbed of competition gardening either. You have to go further into the wastelands of the Durham coal fields for that. My boys were not present either, as our haircutting needs have gone out of sync. No, the topic for the day was haircuts.
Matthew had noted the long untidy nature of my non draculean locks, and expressed surprise at the current length. I asked for a particularly severe tonsure, to a slightly raised eyebrow from Matthew, and battle commenced.
"It's not going to be anything like what I got in Sri Lanka, Matthew." Snip snip.
"Why is that Andy?" Snip snip.
"I had an all over number three in Columbo. Best haircut I ever had. When they'd finished with the clippers you used to get a ten minute massage with a mains powered massage machine they wear like a glove." Snip snip.
"Really" Snip snip buzz.
"The Istanbul experience was even stranger you know." Buzz
"Oh yes?" Buzz snip snip. (I'm not going to bother with effects any more. It has potential, but you get the idea)
"I was very surprised when he got the tweezers out with the cotton wool on it. When he lit the cotton wool and started waving it around my nose and ears I nearly died. Got rid of all the excess though."
"Any other gems then Andy?"
A brief period of silence followed while scissors snipped their delicate and deliberate way around my nasal areas.
"Morocco was best - a haircut AND a shave with a cut throat. No hot water either. Just lots of lather and extremely cheap after shave. Always a terrific shave though. Nothing better. I've got a picture of him somewhere. If I remember I'll bring it next time."
If I find somebody in Sedgefield with a scanner, I may show you as well.
My grey hair is almost invisible now, hacked right back to skin level, but I'm still spitting and blowing hair from nose and mouth until shower time later.
Regrets I've had a few
But then again
I wish I had more
Oh I regret not having enough regrets.
Look, look, I've hardly any. Je ne regrette irene, for example, she was great.
But here's another one. I regret I'm unable to participate in Peter's generous invitation this week to guest-blog on naked-blog. This week is poor timing for me in the same sense that the Titanic's maiden voyage was unfortunate, D-Day was a beach party, and 9/11 was an air traffic control incident.
My apologies and my regrets. Not that there's enough of them.
I know, I promised to explain CFA, and I will, but later. Right now I'm obsessed with the weather. All Canadians are obsessed with the weather. You would be too if it behaved as wildly as ours.
How obsessed are we? My morning newspaper carries a report of an Ontario cable company being buried with complaints from angry subscribers who are outraged that said company plans to remove The Weather Network from its basic service. Heads will roll.
There are dozens of jokes about our seasons. Most run along the lines of-- 'We have two seasons. Winter and almost'. Winter is not a dance with zero Celsius and the odd inch or so of snow. We spend weeks in the -30s, and we know what the windchill is and behave accordingly. We get hulking masses of snow, sometimes all at once. The photo was taken this past winter by a resident of my last address in Nova Scotia.
My current location, the outskirts of Montreal, is a little different. Well, we are distinct,ya know. Our seasons can be best described as damn cold followed by damn hot. Yesterday we officially entered damn hot. 31C. By my reckoning, Spring lasted 16 days.
You see, anyone planting out tender annuals before the May 24th Victoria Day weekend,runs the risk of having them mercilessly smitten by a killer frost. I've seen it happen. It's not a pretty sight. Some years, not even May 24th is late enough, but the gardeners among us learn to read the signs and this year,with the lilacs in bloom, the neighbourhood erupted in a flurry of compost spreading, digging and planting. It was a lovely Spring.
The highlight of Spring came this past weekend. Clear skies and soft air throughout. Friday ( yes, Quebecers endorse the three-day weekend) was spent participating in a university alumni golf tournament. I am a terrible golfer. I don't care. After decades of agreeing with Mark Twain, I was seduced by the distinctive 'click' of a perfectly struck shot and my heart was lost to this silly game. I also think I was swayed by the disappearance of plaids and white belts from local courses. But golf is just a diversion. My real passion is food. And so to Saturday...
Quebec is home to a marvelous type of restaurant, la Table Champetre. There are dozens of them dotted throughout the countryside. They are working farms, raising the animals that appear on the menu.
Here's how it works. A large group of friends book the establishment for the night and choose the 7 or 8-course menu in advance. Wine and spirits are brought by the guests.
It doesn't matter that it took 90 minutes to get there and another 90 to get back home in the wee small hours of the morning.
Our group of 20 experienced a little bit of culinary paradise. Pheasant en croute, wild boar and apricot pate, trout in mussel sauce, quail in a port reduction and an overflowing selection of unpasturized cheeses were just some of the stars. Forget diets. Life is for living. The kicker? The price worked out to 45 dollars per person.. taxes included.
We could have dined as well in many Montreal restaurants, but not so cheaply, nor in such a relaxed atmosphere. There is no way to describe the abandon of a table full of francophones singing all of The Sound of Music.
Sunday at home was cafe au lait and croissants on the backyard deck. Followed much later by a leisurely bike ride by the river breathing in the perfume of wild phlox and lupins. A light dinner of antipasto and contented sighs all round, ended the day.
Monday hit with a thud as the thermometer started to climb. It's all uphill from here. But there are perks. Festival season has begun. We love our festivals-- jazz, comedy, theatre, Caribbean, fireworks, World Beat, etc. Downtown Montreal is just one big party from now until the middle of September. And hey, so what if it was 29C by 8:30 this morning. It could be worse. It could be winter.
When I first started blogging a wazillion three years ago what I was most taken with was the web log in it's purest form. You'd hit a blog link and there you'd find an entry full of links to some really quite obscure pages. I didn't, and still don't, know how half these bloggers got to some of those links. They're either very good at searching, have loads of contacts online or spend 24/7 surfing the net because they have no life. Of course it's entirely possible that they're all three.
I get to see an awful lot of weblogs. Running threebloggingrings means that I get 15-20 blog sites a day landing in my mail box as ring applications. Looking at that number of new blogs means I see a real spectrum of content, from the dire to the sublime. I also get to click on some fabulous links. Here's one of the links I discovered today:
There’s the main one (used most Sundays but not, shamefully, by me), a smaller subsidiary one (occasional services, somewhat overgrown) and a spooky disused one (spooky and disused).
The main one is directly opposite the cottage. Dozing in bed on a Sunday morning listening to the bells is one of the pleasures of country life.
Many generations of villagers lie in the churchyard, including the long-ago residents of our place. The same surnames crop up over and over.
In the corner of the plot are the war graves. The RAF station on the edge of the village provided the occupants of this – pilots that had been downed (or crashed) over the region or who had been pulled out of the sea off the North Norfolk coast.
It could define ‘military precision’. Immaculately uniform, the stones stand to attention like pawns at the start of a chess game, equally spaced to the millimetre and looking as new as when they were first placed. The grass is as beautifully kept as any golf course. Somebody still cares.
Probably one third of the interred are from Canada, Australia or New Zealand. As you walk around, you can’t help yourself from thinking that it was a bloody long, long way to come to die.
If one third are from the Commonwealth countries, another sixth are German. Of course, they died here too, in flames in the fields or washed up onto the shore. Even today it’s still a shock to see the insignia on the headstones in this context – sixty years of war films have preserved its sense of menace.
At first, when the powers that be discovered that a German had been buried in the same line as the English pilots, they planned to exhume the body and put it elsewhere. The villagers, however, refused to disturb the airman, and he lies there to this day. Future German burials were grouped together, facing the Commonwealth stones, with equal reverence and dignity.
when i write songs, usually i write from my own experience, my own joy and heartbreak...but sometimes a song will come from a completely different direction...this is the case with this one...it is based on a news story i read at work from the newswire...i didn't read this story on the air...i just read news like a demon all during my airshift to give me something to do with my mind between records and it was a story that caught my.eye...i may never know why:
(TUSTIN CA) 3-6-2003
RESIDENTS IN THE RED HILL AREA OF TUSTIN ARE CALLING FOR BETTER STREET LIGHTING AFTER A 14 YEAR OLD BOY WAS STRUCK AND KILLED LAST NIGHT. THE "ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER" SAYS CLINT COLEMAN WAS IN THE CROSSWALK WITH HIS FRIEND, 19 YEAR OLD SAM CRABTREE WHEN THEY WERE HIT BY A PICKUP DRIVEN BY JOHN MINO. MIN0 TOLD HIGHWAY PATROL OFFICERS HE NEVER SAW THE TWO AND THAT THE CROSSWALK WAS DIFFICULT TO SEE. HE WASN'T CITED. COLEMAN WAS KILLED INSTANTLY.
it was a tragic story where a young life was lost...but i see many such stories in the news everyday...still i was compelled to print the story and take it home with me...once home the simple song came together quickly...within the few words of the news story i felt i had made a connection...like i had known this person somehow...and he was reaching out trying to tell me something...this is the message i recieved...in the form of a song.
i was walking with my friend
but i never did come back again
i was young, i was just fourteen
waiting for what might have been
we crossed the street the lights were low
now that's as far as i can go
the car hit me and my friend
now i never can come home again
do you feel me?
about to slip away
do you know me?
from another time and place
do you hear me?
callin' in the night
tryin' to reach you
turn this wrong into a right
i was with my buddy sam
he was older than i am
five years difference between us two
if it bugged him, i never knew
my life i left at the starting gate
before i knew, it was too late
will you recall or give a damn
about a kid named clint coleman
i never made it across that street
so in real life, we will never meet
but my soul has business too
can't be done, if not for you
i thought i had alot of time
to see this world outside of mine
could you help me find a way?
to tell my friends that i'm okay
i have put this out on my blog before...but i wanted to get it out just one more time...before a larger audience...this is not my best song...far from it...but if i've ever been touched by the supernatural...then this was such a time...i did some research later and found out clint was a good kid...and quite a personality...to my knowledge no one he knew has ever seen this...but maybe it's better that way...who knows?
I have decided to put my new throbbing (varicose) veins to good use. As I cannot divine water with them, (The baby Jesus is my witness, I’ve tried.) unless you count falling in puddles, which I always seem to manage if there’s one in a 3 mile radius. And as Al-Quaeda already beat me to air terrorism, I won’t bother sitting in economy class ticking like an organic bomb. I thought I might do traffic.
Anyone of you budding amateur spies, with the aid of the latest satellite communications and a small, but perfectly formed hearing aid, will have heard Peter on Public access radio today. Otherwise known as Leith Fm 87.7. His Velvety voice devours the microphone like ice cream left out in the sun too long. He was nothing short of fabulous. Oh how I yearn for his morning glory again.
I should explain that Leith FM 87.7 is a Hailey’s comet in a broadcasting foggy night sky. Only running for 1 or 2 weeks of a year and then disappearing again almost as soon as it arrives. Last year Peter was one of the leading lights of 87.7, but this year he bowed out proffering to leave the show to young new blood (his words not mine.). Today he was a guest on another show “ Topless Radio with Gwen” I too, am a feature on said show having done 2 hours last week , they’ve invited me back this Thursday ( Are they Mad, or just Desperate?). So to fill the time this week, I thought I might do a little travel report, you know the sort of thing: - Tailbacks at Achilles heal & new lights on the inner thigh. They are very sensitive these veins of mine.
I know it’s a weak joke, but this is access radio & on top of that its my arch blog-nemesis The Unholy G presenting the show. Also one of Peter’s Naked Lunch guests, & my Wife.
Yes Shocking but true, me & the unholy she goddess that is Gwen are spliced. I needed a Passport & she needed something interesting to say about herself at parties.
Through an accident at birth, I popped out in Birmingham. Therefore, desperate for a few Scottish credentials, I offered The Unholy G a lifetime of Quiche recipes & a mention in my will, in exchange for her hand in marriage. With no other offers on the table, she accepted, She’s from somewhere called Dundee (which I am led to believe is a small backwater just a little northwest of Korea.) Thus, I have my Scotia passport & she’s got most of my T towels!
Last May, 2003, on a lazy Saturday morning, I was dozing peacefully in my apartment on the third floor of a block of more than 80 residences in Hay Riad, on the southern outskirts of Rabat, Morocco. I was living and working out there at the time, as I have done on and off, since 1998. My regular readers may be thinking that I've lived in Sedgefield for donkeys years, and they would be only slightly mistaken, as my family have always remained here, despite my travels.
My father rang at about seven thirty in the morning to ask if I was OK. My response was to say of course yes I was fine and what the hell time did he think it was????
He went on to explain about bombs in Casablanca hitting a hotel, a Spanish restaurant, etc. etc. You have heard the details elsewhere, and heard the death toll. A friend lived in the hotel for four months on his arrival in Morocco a few years ago, and knew four of the dead by their first names. The number of police checkpoints trebled overnight, and the country has changed beyond measure since that day.
The point is that Morocco is not a democracy, more a benign dictatorship with leanings and nods to a fledgling Parliament, and everybody has an ID card. It didn't help the more than 40 dead. The Bali bombings were not prevented by National ID, and I believe that in Spain, ID is also compulsory.
If I was in Sedgefield, and not running naked in Leith, I'd be ranting there. Here I'm just making a point or two. I've tried to find my old "Carte Sejour" this evening, just so I could quote the number at you, but it is quite possible that it has been "tidied away" forever.
The reason for writing this is that somebody with common sense is speaking out, and the BBC report it. As usual my blood started to boil, steam exploded from my ears in true cartoon style. I have written a couple of times recently, lamenting the proposed introduction of ID in this country. Is there just the glimmerings of hope that we do not have to suffer it here.
Courtesy of James, who is off school having put a very large pointy sharp plasterboard screw into the bottom of his foot because he doesn't listen to his mother and refuses wear his slippers in the house.
Of course I have now completely lowered the tone of guest blog week and will almost certainly get voted out of the blog.
Town vs Country? or How you can have your cake and eat it
I know one or two people who consider urban living anathema to the Druid path even if you're living in the suburbs. I remember that a member of my Grove once said to me that where I live may have all the amenities but it's a pretty soul-less place.
I couldn't disagree more!
Perhaps I'm fortunate in that my city is very provincial. The city status comes by Royal Charter rather than because we have a cathedral. Stuck almost at the mid-point between Birmingham and Manchester we actually have closer ties to Liverpool than either of the other two cities. Links formed through the great canals that once transported coal and pottery, the area's bread and butter industries. Of course those were in the heady days of the Industrial revolution. The coal mining industry is gone from Stoke-on-Trent and the pottery industry is in serious decline, barely a ghost of what was once the centre of excellence for Wedgwood and Doulton china, earthenware and decorative pottery. Most of that production has been transferred to Malaysia or Taiwan where labour and materials are considerably cheaper. A sad indictment of an industry where labels once meant craftsmanship rather than made on the cheap.
Before you start thinking that I'm painting a rather grim view I have to tell you that there's a certain spirit within Stoke-on-Trent that you won't find in many other places. A sense of community that's still holding on. I suspect it's a comradeship that's developed over the years when people were poor but immensely proud of who they were/are. The dark landscapes of bottle ovens and the giant ferris wheels of the mines have given way to landscaped parks and green-way but the people hardly seem to have changed at all. The Potteries has always been renowned for it's friendly and polite people. I remember as a child hearing my grandparent's exchange an 'Ow Do (a polite hello translated as How Do You Do) with people in the street. You can still exchange hello even now and most people will smile or respond in kind. You'll find that same politeness on the road too where the majority of the drivers are happy to give way to another and will say thank you with a wave of the hand or a flash of the head-lights.
It's been said that no man is an island and I believe that. Country living may offer you fresher air and a slower pace of life but Constable-painted-villages lose something if there's no community spirit within them. Humans are a gregarious animals. As much as I enjoy getting back to nature there's always something more fulfilling in touching base with another human being. I don't believe there has to be exclusivity. One is always better with the other.
It’s from the Parish Council (Church Fete Organising Sub-Committee).
Instructions are stapled onto the side. I study them closely as I return to the cottage.
I am to put something to the value of one pound into the bag, seal it, then return it to the shop. Then it will be sold for a pound at the Fete in July.
I am better with words than figures, but even I can spot the flaw in this plan. If I put something in that’s worth a pound, and they sell it for a pound, then I am personally down by goods to the value of a pound.
These politicians think that we don’t notice, but once more they are taxing by stealth.
However the LTLP points out that I can buy a bag myself while I am there. And as long as the person concerned has honestly filled it with goods to the value of a pound then we will be all straight.
She is clever.
I am a bit nervous about attending the Church Fete. I’ve been watching a lot of Midsomer Murders recently, and am afraid there will be a bloody ritual killing. But I feel I should go. I just hope that they don’t ask me to open the thing just because of my Naked Blog celebrity.
But what to put in the bag? It’s unlikely that I can hit EXACTLY the pound mark, unless I went back to the shop and bought one hundred penny chews, which would kind of give the game away.
If I’m a bit under then there is a chance that I might be discovered. A bit over and I will have to ask for change, and I would hate there to be any unpleasantness.
The anarchist in me thinks I should include a bit of weed, or an old jazz mag. But again the risk of discovery is there, and my pound loss would pale into insignificance against the cost of having to move house and change identity.
I'm an attention seeker, and that title came to me in a flash of inspiration this morning during our family meeting, to vote in the European Union Parliamentary Election. Election Day is June the 10th, so we have to ensure that our postal votes arrive on time. The voting procedure seems to be simple enough, as long as you know somebody who can write. The ballot paper has to be detached from the rest of the voting paraphernalia by tearing along the perforations, so that the declaration of who you are can be separated. I think it was Isaac Asimov that wrote a short story based on the phenomenon of a substance created from the amazing extra strength perforations have against the strength of paper alone. We used scissors.
"Would you like me to tell you which way to vote?"
"No, Thank you dear!"
"Piss off Dad!"
So - a one hundred percent turnout in naked Sedgefield then, no hanging chads, and after a few moments studying of what to put into which envelope, I nipped off to the post box to do the deed. Some things remain the same I suppose. I miss telling the exit pollsters that my name is Blair, A.
there are friends...people you know that you like...that like you too...and then there are the special ones...friends that made a special impact on your life...that you couldn't imagine having made it this far in your lifes journey without them...the song posted farther down the page is about such a friend...one i trusted above all the others...and the one who was always there for me...just to listen...when i was hurting inside...sadly she's been gone now for over 20 years...but the memory of her lives on very strongly in me...and occasionally i still have adventures with her in my dreams...dreams of our shared youth...this is for SUZY.
THE LONG WALK
little blonde haired boy
steppin' off the bus
a bad day at school again
he's almost had enough
but a friend awaits
and she greets him by the road
and makes the long walk easier, back home
he tried to just fit in
but the world goes by so fast
when you're lookin' out the window
the present is the past
but a friend will be there
to meet him by the road
and she'll make the long road easier, back home
and the teachers just can't understand what's wrong
what must the boy be thinking of
and why does it come out so wrong
all the tests say that his mind is strong
but he's not like all the kids that go along
he just stares out the window
while the others do their math
he doesn't want to follow
he just wants to leave the path
he only feels free
when she meets him by the road
and she makes the long walk easier, back home
there's a brown haired dog
who is waiting for her friend
she waits there for the bus
she will wait 'till it comes in
she will sit there patiently
'till he meets her by the road
and he makes the long walk easier, back home.
In my far-reaching world of loose morals, I went to the Doctors today. It was not my usual Dr; instead, I had the pleasure of being prodded by a strange man.
"How can I help?" he asked. I rattled off a list of bizarre and completely imaginative ailments, in an attempt to have my balls cupped. He prescribed a gross of equally bizarre and probably, innocuous pills & potions.
In a final & desperate attempt for a bit of groin action, I parried. “And then there’s my legs.”
I could tell by the way he drew the blind, I had him. “Would you like to remove your trousers?” “I’d love to.” I unbuttoned my fly & slid out of my jeans. His surprisingly warm hands moved up my inner thigh inside my Army regulation sisal shorts; “Cough Please.” aC#ou-gh-gh “And again Please…..and again”.
Finally He stood back looked me up & down & said, You’ve got Varicose Veins, I’ll send you for a referral, but you’ll need surgery. At least a dozen veins must be stripped out & tied off.
When Peter mentioned that he was interested in our geography, I thought to myself, what could I possibly write that would give anything but a grossly distorted view of Canada? Check an atlas. It's a big country and I've not even seen most of it, let alone spent any time soaking up the atsmosphere.
Landfills have been created to handle the amount of drivel written about what it is to be Canadian, and we've still not progressed beyond our universal reputation for being nice (boring) and polite (pushovers). Problem is... this world view is partly true.
It's our public face. It was adopted generations ago as a means of survival. Our climate is harsh and most of the land is only fit for raising black flies and mosquitoes. Our ancestors were deranged. Survival depended on the kindness of neighbours and in many respects, it still does-- especially where I was born and raised-- the Maritimes.
In the Maritimes you say hello to everyone you pass on the street. If you are driving, you raise the index and middle finger of whichever hand is resting at the top of the steering wheel.
For practical reasons, this is a rural rule. In the city, you only have to nod at those with whom you make eye contact. In fact, most of Canada can be divided into rural and urban. Some of us blend.
I discovered how much of a city boy my future husband was, early in our courtship. We met at university in Nova Scotia, where my mother was born. I had a car, a precious commodity in such an isolated locale. One Saturday, I decided I was going to show him a particularly beautiful part of the countryside. In the hour along back roads it took to reach our destination, I assumed that the steady decrease in the the amount of conversation was due to D's increasing absorption in the rolling hills and river views.
Another car,passed - one of about a dozen that day. I returned the two finger wave again.
D, clearly exasperated, asked, "Who was that?"
"Then why did you wave?"
I explained the rule.
"So you don't know any of those guys?"
"Of course not. We're in the middle of nowhere. Who do you think I am?"
It was clear what he was beginning to think. I forgave him. City boy.
But he still wasn't clear on why we'd wave to each other.
"Look around. There are no gas stations on this road. It's miles between farms. It's a bit of a sign that you'd be a neighbour if someone broke down"
"What if you didn't wave?"
"Then he'd think I was a CFA"
"Come From Away. I'll explain it sometime."
If you met my son, James, in the street you wouldn't know there's anything wrong with him. However, there is. I'm not talking about ASD (Autistic spectrum Disorder - you can find out more about James on my site). I'm talking about his age. He's a teenager.
Shocking, isn't it.
I'm almost ashamed to admit it. I mean what person wants to come out and let the world know that she has a teenager in the house?
He's of a certain age that turns small humans into rampaging hormone riddled monsters. Mr Hyde shows all the qualities of a geriatric nursing home care assistant when compared to a hormonal teenager. It's not just the screaming matches and world class sulking either. James, when he's hungry, can be more terrifying than any ravening werewolf. To see the remains of a ravaged biscuit tin...well, it's stomach churning. I don't wish it on my worst enemy.
But it does get worse.
I know, I know. I shouldn't share but I want my story to be a lesson to others.
You see the tirades, the weeping, the gnashing of teeth are eclipsed by the teenager who is...
*cue atmospheric music*
And unfortunately I was so busy yesterday that I wasn't able to give my teenager the full attention he needs. And he got bored.
James isn't very good at keeping himself amused. That really is his ASD. Although he wants for nothing - he has every games console on the market and access to a PC as well as having his own tee vee and Sky channels - there are times when he struggles to maintain any kind of attention span. This is usually when he needs to be able to come and talk to me at regular intervals. I've been moving furniture around and changing rooms so I wasn't there for him and had to tell him, constantly, to go and find something to do.
So he did.
The result was that when he came down for dinner he was sporting bruises all over his nose and face.
I was horrified when I saw them.
I thought he'd had a major frank and open discussion with his older brother that had come to blows. When I quizzed him he hadn't got a clue what I was talking about. In deed he only believed that his face looked like it had been used as a punch bag after he'd taken a look in the mirror.
There had been no fighting with his brother.
No walking into furniture
No falling down the stairs.
No collisions with closed/open doors.
It was a mystery.
Until he mentioned he'd been bored and playing around with a shampoo bottle top.
It appears that this particular bottle top could be squeezed and then used as a suction cup. He'd been trying it out on his arms and legs. Finally he had a go at his face.
He'd been giving himself self inflicted bottle top love bites!
It'll take about a week for the bruising to dissipate. He's very embarrassed about it and spent most of last night trying to think up excuses should anyone should ask him what's happened. He's loath to mention the bottle top: it would be status destroying to tell the truth and he has so little of any kind of status as it is. So, he's going to tell everyone he walked into an open door. I just hope the teachers don't get suspicious and call in social services!
You know, if it hadn't made such a mess of his face it could be funny. In a Mr Bean kind of way...
I wake to the sound of gunshot. Three shots. Bam, bam, bam!
It’s just after 8am. Another shot. Bam!
It’s joyous to be living somewhere where the sound of gunshot means that there’s a ‘shoot’ rather than a ‘shooting’.
I don’t feel particularly refreshed, having drunk too much last night then watched the scary Anthony Hopkins Eats People film. Beside me, the LTLP snores gently like a baby – I want to reach out and gently touch her hair.
Oh that this was true. In fact she is snoring like a big heffalump, and I want to reach out and gently bash her over the head with a wok.
Sensing that this would not get Sunday morning off to the best start, I ease myself gently out of bed with the grace of a ballerina. I grab some clothes and slip downstairs.
Having been recently appointed as a very important guest contributor to Naked Blog, there is a swagger in my step as I walk into the village. (The village, not the Village). A few people are up already.
“Good morning!” I say to Lady in Her Front Garden, as I pass by.
“Good morning!” she says in reply.
“Good morning!” I say to Man With Beard, on the corner of Church Lane.
“Good morning!” replies Man With Beard.
Honestly, this constant social intercourse is just exhausting.
None of them mention the Naked Blog thing. That is what I like about Norfolk. People take folk as they find them, and they would not dream of treating me any differently just because of my celebrity status.
The shop is closed on Sundays, but newspapers are left outside.
I pick up the paper, chuck the money into the honesty box and amble back for a cup of tea.
hello to all NAKED BLOG readers around the world...my name is DANNY...but i appear in the comment box as d. burr...i'm the NAKED BLOG correspondent from the southern part of ILLINOIS in the USA...but i have many long lost relatives on my mothers side who may pass you on the street if you live in SCOTLAND, IRELAND, or ENGLAND...as i know most of you do...so in some way i may be connecting to my roots whenever i appear on PETER'S blog...in one of PETER'S most recent entries he told the story of how his mother and father found each other...and in the end the story of his father's passing...well i'm not exactly on the same track as he was...but i am going to speak of a passage of a sort...a nostalgic moment brought on by a song on the radio...that took me back in my mind to a place i can never really go to again...my teenage years...and i thought of all the things that i did with my friends...driving around the countryside...drinking beer...and singing along with the radio...i thought it would be great to be able to do that again...but the painful realization came to me that most of my close friends have moved away...and the ones that have remained in the area might not see the fun in it that i still did...i remember the song that spurred those thoughts as i was driving down the streets of my hometown...the was "RAMBLIN' MAN" by THE ALLMAN BROTHERS...soon as the song ended i drove straight home and wrote down the song that you'll find below...it took no more than 15 minutes from start to finish...and at the time it was the best song i had written...i have done better since...but this song marked the first time i was able to capture a feeling that meant alot to me...but i hadn't yet found a way to express it ...i was amazed that i could do it...and a couple years later, it became the title of my blog...here it is for all to see:
"SINGIN' TO THE MOON"
saw the full moon
risin' nice and slow
thought about you
don't know why, you know
must have been that song, on the radio
we would belt that thing out every night, oh
who were we singin' to?
can we still sing at all?
when the sultry sun fell down back then
we were singin' to the moon
i go to places
that we used to go
half lookin' for you
on the sly, you know
must have been song, on the radio
the one we'd be singin' every night, oh
(back to chorus..then to bridge)
and the days go by too fast these days
i don't see the nights at all
i was just thinkin' 'bout our crazy ways
you know i just had to call
so i'm drivin' round with the radio
blastin' it out, cruisin' down the road
then here comes that song
that we both know
and i started screamin' it out, oh
(to chorus...then end)
that's it for now...excuse any typos you may find...because i don't dare try to go back into this thing and try and correct 'em...
It's gone 1.00am on the morning of June 7th and day one of the guest blog week. I thought I'd come by and take a look at where I'll be blogging for the next seven days. It helps if you know your surroundings. You know the sort of thing; find where he keeps the tea bags, see if he has enough milk in, try and discover the hidden stash of chocolate digestives.
It's pretty quiet at the moment. Actually it's a bit like sitting up and watching the inhabitants of BB5 as they sleep. Of course just what one would expect when you're poking round someone else's pad in the wee small hours. A bit strange really, in the same vein as going on a self catering holiday and trying to cook on an electric cooker when you're used to a gas one. So it might take a couple of days for me to settle in. After that it should feel like a home from home and I'll get into the swing of things. I'll be cooking with gas, as it were. Or not. Never mind; a very poor joke and attempts at jocularity are always unwise when you're knackered and no one is awake to appreciate the comedic intent.
I'm off to bed. To rejuvenate the old grey matter. Which is always A Good Thing.
Lynn x PS I have no idea why is says Sunday above my posting. Probably something to do with the strange time keeping in Scotland. Or one of Peter's little quirks. Bless :)
The last few days have been very difficult in Sedgefield, following the invitation to "guest" here on the Naked Blog. I have felt the pressure of wanting to perform, to produce something acceptable, entertaining, perhaps informative. I worried that it might be too long, badly spelled, with terrible grammar, and have bad punctuation. I wondered about what to say, what would be interesting. Then I worried about how blogger works, was it going to be easy to actually post, could I manage the formatting of the piece, would I have difficulty with the process. Then I thought bugger it, if Peter doesn't care, I wont bother.
Geography, he said in the invite. Well that's obvious - I'm in Sedgefield. There are about 3000 households, and the village has given its name to the wider constituency, which my mate the Prime Minister represents in Parliament. So, on election night, when the BBC takes us to the PM's seat in Sedgefield, more than likely we'll be going to Trimdon, to see Tony at the Labour club, early in the evening - or to the count in Newton Aycliffe, much later. The last place we'll be is in Sedgefield. So read my ten things to do in Sedgefield for Ten Pounds. There, that's the geography over with for today.
I've had some experience with blogging teens. ThEy TeNd To UsE eBoNiCs. Their blogs start with "I'm so bored" and they don't appear to know that a sentence starts with a capital letter. Most tend to use an "i" when they should use I. About one in fifteen actually manage to make some sense. David Huffaker studied 70 blogs. I've studied 70 this week. Why are his conclusions so different to mine?
Believe it or not I've been reading a magazine called OMNI this week. Volume 7 Number 1 from October 1984. I used to buy that publication each month, and read it avidly from cover to cover. The Synchronicity is breathtaking, as the main feature is an interview with Ronald Reagan. I've read it again twice, to try to find something apt. How about this -
"I'm not at all sure that the continued technological revolution is going to reduce the amount of time we work on the job, so much as it will change the way we work - making us more efficient and maybe even letting more of us do our work without having to waste all that time slogging through rush hour traffic. I've heard it suggested that instead of commuting to work in the future, some people may be computing to work. After all not very many people have the benefit of living quite so close to the office as the President does."
He got that right I think. My abiding memory of him will be the TV shots of The Queen riding conventionally, and Ronnie doing it "Western Style". Unfortunately all my Ronnie memories have Maggie associations, which is a terrible shame.
The reason I still have that edition of OMNI? The fully intact Hexahexaflexagon never removed from the centrefold. How many of you can tell me what that is without resorting to Google? Until recently I had the "Spacehips Have Landed On Earth" iron on T-shirt transfer edition as well.
Yesterday marked the end of the first week in my new duties. It's been tough, but I will survive.
I'd been doing a lot more (bingo) calling over the last few weeks anyway, and it's definitely not making daisy chains. Anyone who works with voice production will tell you that speaking for a living is physical effort and exercise.
But it's responding to training. The breathables are pleasantly "worked-out" this morning and the speakables tuneful as ever. It's a shame it's all conducted in a smokepit.
Sundays I have a young woman assistant to do the donkey work, while I just breeze on stage for the starry bit. These things work fine till they stab you in the back and pinch your job.
Babs no longer works at The Village, due to reorganization. I'm meeting her on Monday for the full low-down, but sadly it's not for blogging. She has herself and a young son to provide for, so food parcels, next-to-new clothing and discarded Playstation games would be much appreciated. Brandy also. Doesn't matter how few stars it's got.
Like most people born in the nineteen forties, I have a somewhat ambivalent relationship to that entity - for without it I wouldn't exist. What other circumstance could mingle the DNAs of a man from Buffalo NY with a woman from a Durham coal-mining village?
Think about it, then tell me what to think. Here is that story, written last year, immediately after news of my father's death.
(Blogs are very good indeed for bereavement, as many of you are finding.)
Talking of which, Ronald is dead; George can't pronounce "tyranny", and why do so many national leaders get Alzheimer's? (Wilson, Reagan, Thatcher... I'm sure there are loads more.)
Not one of the D-Day interviews has asked the veterans whether they now think it was worth it.
But then they doubtless did, and we owe them not only our gratitude, which is cheap, but every material concern our rich nation can provide. Till the end of their days.
Here is my parents' D-Day (or thereabouts) romance. You can read the rest of it upwards from here.
EPISODE ONE - OVERTURE
My dad was born in 1921 in Nova Scotia, Canada, into a large family - five sisters and a brother. When he was still young the family moved to the USA in search of their fortune, and settled in Buffalo, State of New York, which is where he grew up. Like many young men of his generation, he volunteered to fight in WWII, and joined the Royal Canadian Air Force.
He was stationed at an airbase in the north east of England, from whence lady fortune took him to a dance in Darlington one Saturday night, which was where he met my mother. (b 1924). I sense queens and young women had something of a ball during the war years, as Quentin Crisp so richly describes. By "dance" here I'm describing the smoke-filled dens you'll have seen in the b/w movies. Wall-to-wall uniforms and Bette Davis hair-dos. (Respectively, of course.) "Officers' doormats," my mother used to say to me. "Some of them were nowt but officers' doormats."
Here also you have to appreciate the enormity of the social and genetic effect that that war produced. Never before had so much eager fertility been moved around the globe in such quantity. And my mother and her immediate generation had the awesome task of handling it. Makes yer very eyes water at the thought!
But there was a pecking order, a hierarchy, in which the local boys came nowhere, unfortunately. The real prize, glittering in its (often eventually tarnished) promise, was a ring on the finger from a "Yank", an "Aussie", or a Canadian. (Don't think there was a nickname for that latter.)
How come? Because that was a girl's ticket out of the hell which was wartime England - particularly the already-depressed NE, which offered little more than subsistence wages and your husband's early death from coal-related disease in the mines.
My mother was sitting at a table beside the dance-floor, with her friend Celia Newton. Mam had only decided to go along at the last minute, for a reason I forget. "See that Canadian over there, sitting on his own?" Celia nudged mam. "He keeps looking over here..." To be continued.
There I was sitting in the Village, glancing through a Guardian piece on the new extortion. "Gie's loadsa dosh or we'll do a DDoS on yer company's website." Possibly couched in different words, as they're mostly from eastern Europe, allegedly. Eurotrash!
Tucking into Babs' exquisite lamburger and salad when what should come on the radio but a personal message! For moi!!
It was Gwen, doing her Topless Afternoon Show on Leith FM 87.7 MegaHertz. "Hello to Pete the Teach!" she cooeed. "Also known as Peter Russell! It's to tell you that Stuart's in town and he wants to meet you and he's currently in the Malt and Hops."
Local Community Radio at its finest. I'm guesting on her show on Tuesday afternoon, and Gwen's guesting here on Naked Blog next week as her busy schedule permits. Interweb details to come, so you can all hear me, s'il vous plait. (What's the plural of vous?)
Her main guest yesterday was Dolly. He was so cool, giving great guest (thks mike!) and not letting the listeners know what good friends he and "Unholy G" are in real life anyway. They chatted about naked blog and how they were both guesting next week.
Then Lindsay from the Port came on, but she soon got started on her sex toy franchise, as I guessed she would, so Tony my IT Manager had to phone and tell all three to cool it for an afternoon show! You couldn't make it up. Tony makes a great paterfamilias. He's probably the only sane person I know, come to think of it.
Stuart turned up and we trolled off to the Ocean Terminal Mall. To Kurt Muller, a menswear shop so new they haven't officially opened it yet. "Nice shop," I said to the shopman, " - and you're bound to get loads of old queens coming in, trying to look younger." I was nodding towards Stuart, who was rifling through printed t-shirts. He doesn't like them with writing on, but pictures are OK. The shopman was ecstatic at that, and didn't stop grinning for the duration. "He still shops, but I've given up," I informed him, sagely.
The fake leather smell was tasty, but the Kurt Muller mirrors somewhat cruel. I know I'd just had lunch, but my rugby shirt was hanging like a pregnancy smock. I guess hanging tops are off the menu for a while.
You should all check your details on Blogger/Settings/Members.
asta: you'll need to give yourself a profile name, or your posts might come out anonymous.
jonnyb: you've disappeared. I'll resend your invitation. Cut and paste the supplied link into a browser. Webmails don't work for this sort of thing, apparently.
andyn: probably ditto.
dolly: yours is at spillage
gwen: so is yours.
Scott: I sent to benellisei and blueyonder
Big Straight Al: someone contact him and tell him about this please
Basically I can resend invitations till the cows come home. Only takes a second or two. Plenty of time. Keep in touch. Peace with honor.
If you were feeling left out, then feel so no longer. The reason you haven't had your invitation is because I haven't sent them, due to the new necessity of earning a living on Wednesdays.
Oh, I know... and at my age as well. Never mind. Even Lily Savage had to start somewhere.
So this is the deal. (I've just spent almost two hours on admin! Yes, really. Even had to learn how to get people's actual email from their underlined name.)
You'll by now have had your automated Blogger invitation. Follow the instructions. I haven't a clue what they are. You have to sign up to a Blogger account, if you haven't got one, naturellement. (It's simple and free.)
I should have written personalised emails to you all, but you know how unlikely that would ever have been. Regard this as your personal email.
*Clears throat and addresses the assembled guests, immediately before dinner is served.*
Write whatever you want, within the law, in your own style and manner. If you prefer song lines to sentences, then song lines it should be. Don't get in a state about spelling. Nobody cares. Well, I don't.
At least three posts during the week June 7 to 13, please, spread out. More would be highly delightful. (But remember you're not getting paid.)
Your invitation includes elements of geography. Let me encourage you to bang on about where you are and what you do. Remember I'm stuck in boring Scotland, desperate for a holiday.
And that's it. There's not the slightest reason why this shouldn't be the best guest week in the history of guest weeks. Me, I'm highly unlikely to even cheep.
Here are the invitees. Contact me if you haven't received your invite and you would like one. It's currently 1200 BST Thursday.
asta, josh, dolly, danny, jonnyb, AndyN (need an email, andy), Lynn, Mint tea, gwen (desperately busy being a radio star, bar person and new girlfriend) (hope she doesn't get mixed up), Sal, Scott.
(I'll put a proper list up with links once we see the state of play.)
"Do you have a problem with sex?" Mark the masseur asked me yesterday. We were sitting on the balcony of the Ocean Bar, watching a couple of tugs delicately manoeuvering Fred Olsen's cruiseliner Black Prince. There was a clash of luxuries as it floated gently past the half-built Skyliner Living slums of the future. "Buy an apartment from us, and next week we'll build another one right in front of you!" Yet still the poor fools flock. Equity. Rental. Thank God a sea view was never part of my package.
I grinned inwardly at his question. The ultimate question from any mid-twenties queenling, packing them in with gay abandon. (Not you, Mark - I'm talking general.) "Never mind wrinkles and stuff - what's it like for shagging when you're sixty? How's yer bum fer lovebites?"
Mark was drinking Kronenburg, while I stuck to my usual Guinness Extra Cold. All around us, handsome young men walked about in pairs, some Beckhamesque, some veering more to the US "grunt" look. Those helmets! So butch! So Imperial Stormtrooper! Hitler didn't know what he was starting, outfit-wise.
My young friend was understandably agog at the scenery, and I shifted my seat so as less to impede his view.
"Mark," I began. "That's quite some question. You do realise it'll be headlining on Naked Blog tomorrow?" (This is a good technique for conversational gems. Gets permission out of the way, even if only implied.) "You're a little minx wanting in it again!" I said, subtly reinforcing the point then leaving it for ever.
"Do I have a problem with sex? Or do I have a problem with no sex? That's maybe the real question."
So I explained about libido, which he'd heard of in the abstract, and how the insistent pressing urges which lead queens up so many garden paths and down so many dark and dangerous alleyways of the night are not fixed. Not constant. Desire is a fluctuating thing; at its very highest in your twenties, and then bit by gentle bit floating away into the pornvid of your dreams.
If you're very, very lucky it goes away at the same rate as the opportunities. And I have been that very lucky. Can't get it. But don't want it.
(Or maybe I'm just good at kidding myself.)
So we went off to see The Day After Tomorrow, because Pornyboy had slated it and I wanted to see what his ultimate cinematic horror might be. Well, it'll be roughly eponymous.
"I cannot recommend this film highly enough, speechlessness you would understand if you were ever fool enough to see it."
But it was sold out, despite being screened at twenty past every hour.
I remember when that cinema was almost a private view. Nothing lasts.
Yes - it's true!! Our first ever guest week here at Naked Blog. Starts Monday. Look out for your invitation, which will land in your Inbox shortly. It truly won't be spam. (Well, I said I needed a rest!)
What I want is to give space to one or two talented writers who're maybe not getting the readers yet their work deserves.
The guest-list in my head is truly stunning, comprising past and present bloggers, non-bloggers, and spanning various continents and hemispheres.
But - like a horny queen at closing time - I'll settle for anyone I can get.
The events of the last week have led to many of you writing kind comments here and elsewhere. Too many for me to individually acknowledge, and I know you didn't write them for replies anyway.
A huge collective thank you. They were beautifully received, and some day I'll do the same for you. What a (nice) monster we seem to have created.
Kolja has re-started smoking after thirteen years. How scary is that? Alistair too, after thirteen days. Not quite so scary. My entire bronchi and lungs are in a constant state of passive smoke damage.
The other one. It started broadcasting yesterday on 87.7 Sunny Leith MegaHertz.
I'm not on it this year, due to having only so much larynx to go round. But Gwen is, from 2pm to 4pm. We wanted to listen to her yesterday in the Village, but the radio wouldn't work.
Because of the restricted service licence, you can receive Leith FM only in line of sight of the Leith high-rises, I think. It's meant to be on the internet also, but try as I might last night, the URL was nowhere I could spot. (I don't actually own a radio.)
Much more importantly - be sure to check out my own personal radio show at the top of the sidebar. It's a knockout! (Edition three. Been online for about two weeks now.)