Naked Blog

More famous than Susan Boyle!


Friday, July 30, 2004

SUR LE TELEPHONE...

...is what Zed and I were yesterday afternoon. It's the first time I've talked to her sober. (Me, not her!) We chatted for five or ten minutes. She's so warm and approachable for one of the world's leading bloggers! I was a bit starstruck, I confess.

Zed was wearing only knickers, in preparation for a few laps of the new pool. It's getting algae on the bottom, but apparently her son will trample half the garden into it over the weekend, so she's not cleaning it till after that.

Then the people from Olympia are coming round to certify it really is Olympic-sized.

BUGWATCH

Scotland is bug mad at the moment. Following our earlier articles about flying ants, yesterday's Metro and Daily Record were trying to outdo each other with ant pictures. But you read it here first, as ever.

Yesterday the flying ants had pissed off, to be instantly replaced with something more akin to a midge. Except not biting. Yet.



The midge is the latest weapon in an intra-Scotland tourist war, with the east coast tourist boards advising visitors to avoid the Highlands, and instead go east to midge-freedom.
"Tourist bosses in the North-east, Tayside and Fife even trotted out a man dressed in a giant midge costume to highlight their campaign.

However, counterparts in the midge-infested Highlands bit back immediately."
The Scotsman
Naked Midge Advice: They really are a bugger. You absolutely have to cover yourself in repellent or you'd swell up to the size of a barrage balloon. Quite dreadful. God gave us such scenery, then such foul insects and religion to go with it.


And you say? (11)   Link to this



LAZY EDINBURGH NOVELIST...

...is the title of a lovely new blog by Abigail Bosanko. Who just happens to be on all the best-seller shelves right now with her book "Lazy Ways to Make a Living".

Read her adventures in Waterstones as she shoves Christopher Brookmyre off the end to make more space for her own ouevre!



Abigail - I share your pain about the Authors' Retreat tent at the Book Festival. It's such a stark smack in the gob to all the non-authors. The hapless punters whose only purpose is to buy the damn books.

When I first met Jon Ronson there a couple of years ago he eschewed the authors' tent, and instead sat with me at one of the plebs' bars. That's confidence. (Although he was glancing around hoping to be recognised!) That's showbiz.



You ask about mailme links. My advice: don't do it. There are things called SPAMBOTS which will find your email then for ever more bombard you with penis enlargement messages. Don't think your gender will protect you.
Instead conceal it as ABIGAIL [AT] BLAHBLAH [DOT] COM or whatever. For some reason they don't seem to decode those. With the template you're using you can put that in the section marked Optional Footer. You should also put several links to your book, but unfortunately Amazon doesn't support deep linking direct to the page. There might be other online sellers which do.

Why not install Haloscan comments and Nedstat site stats? Both free and easy. (Like me.)
Leith Connections. Have you got any? What about that whisky society? How's about kindly donating the odd piece to The Leither Dot Net, Leith's hottest new literary property? Could pay off bigtime, sales-wise.


And you say? (5)   Link to this


Thursday, July 29, 2004

LOVE IS ALL AROUND

Do you know, I hate to say this, but here at 57 degrees north the deciduous trees are already beginning to look just that.

Hints of yellow. Oh my god, and here's July not finished yet!

  • Thanks to Meg for the extra info on flying ants. She's expecting them in London any day soon! Me, I can't remember seeing the wee buggers ever before. Hopefully it'll be safe to walk the streets again today, even with a nice baked potato!

  • Just txted Babs. Haven't seen the wee thing all week. She broke her toe.

  • I've got three of those brown spots that old people get on my left hand. One on my right. "Liver spots" I think they call them, for some reason.

  • They were making out on BBC Breakfast this morning that you shouldn't leave your telly on standby. If nobody did that it would save one nuclear power station. (As opposed to any other sort of power station, presumably.)

    Emotive. All are too emotive. Just gimme the facts and fuck off. I've a busy life having fun.



    Didn't Mr President Clinton look fab at the Democrats' convention? They'd done his eyebags. And there was his adoring wife hugging him close and whispering, "Fuck off back to yer fancy woman - I fucking hate you." True romance.

    "The President, Vice President and me (he meant "I") all dodged the Vietnam draft," Bill said. "But not Senator Kerry! John too had a privileged background, but he was there!" (Rapturous applause, as they struggled to remember what Vietnam was.)

    Mr President Carter was showing his age a bit, though. Comes to all of us. Liver spots.



    It's been brought to my attention that this website and myself are the subject of vile droolings in the South of England. Ha!

    That woman has a list of targets as long as a wean's arm, and we seem to be pencilled in the July slot. Happened in 2003 also.

    Below is another one of her wee rammies, where she fearlessly takes on a major airline. It's not nice reading, to be honest, but sadly necessary. Go out in the sun instead, and leave the beetles under the rotting logs.


  • And you say? (9)   Link to this



    WITCHWATCH 2

    Seems I was wrong yesterday when I said Guardian/Belle de Jour was her last grand mal. There've been others since. Thanks to various of you for the reminders!
    Shock Update: In view of the (astonishing) lack of nasty material from elsewhere, and in order to preserve our kindly, caring reputation, we at Naked Blog have decided - once again - to bin the pesky facts.

    Into the fridge freezer.

    How much more can a boy keep quiet?

    Peace, love and harmony to all (decent) bloggers.


    And you say? (9)   Link to this


    Wednesday, July 28, 2004

    FLY POSTING

    Leith is covered with horrible black flies at the moment. Not those tiny harvest flies, so small that you wonder how they pack all the organs in, but substantial creations, about half an inch long.

    Mostly they're on the pavements, scurrying about aimlessly, but the braver ones go on your clothes or even in your hair. Quite ghastly. I couldn't even sit on my new-found dock steps outside Malmaison to eat a Pierino baked tattie.

    Alastair from The Village was 45 yesterday. He'd mentioned it to me the previous day, but drunk as I was, it completely slipped. Marge and Norrie from Malt and Hops had got him a game called Drinking Chess. "Pawn cocktail" I quipped, but no-one noticed.

    I have a problem with group conversation. Whenever I'm speaking, and someone else starts up, the attention immediately goes to the interrupter. I think there's a pecking order, which I'm at the bottom of. Stuart was particularly adept at stealing the limelight - little comments to deliberately distract. But he's in Auchtermuchtie now, which is quite a distraction in itself.

    Never mind - I got my microphone. And I got you. Babe.


    And you say? (17)   Link to this



    WITCHWATCH

    I've decided to remove yesterday's witch post and put it in the freezer. Thanks for your kind comments. She's just not worth the server space, which I have to pay for.

    That woman needs her little strops from time to time. The last one was about The Guardian. Telling them to re-do their competition. She didn't like the result. Belle de Jour. Maybe others since. I rarely go there. Much too blah.

    And now it's back to me again. Ignore it, you all advised. And so I shall - for the last time, though.


    And you say? (3)   Link to this


    Tuesday, July 27, 2004

    BLUE SKIES!

    Wall to wall sunshine on Leith yesterday! And I woke breathing better than I can recently remember. Fan-dabby-doo. There's nothing like ventilation to make your day go with a swing.

    So to work for the weekly business report, which was fine, then trolled off to the Village for lunch with Stewart the cameraman, and delivery of my promovid.

    That was fine too, so I told him just to send the invoice in. He did a grand job with such flabby, saggy material. (Me.)

    I know the camera adds ten pounds, but this ten had several extra zeroes. Thank God the new teeth have put me off eating.



    You have no idea how awful false teeth are. You simply can't speak. And as the Guinness flowed over them, under them, and eventually down the gullet, I thimply couldn't thpeak even leth. "Fuck thith for a game of tholdiers!" I said to Ally as we sat on the chain fence outside the Malt and Hops. So I stuck them in my shirt pocket for most of the rest of the day.

    Damned if you do, and damned if you don't. Later I found a little stone stair leading down into the dock, just near The Shore bar. You can sit in the sun, almost at sea level, and wait for the riverbirds to sail by. Transcendent. Higher up, and further along, the jet-set roll joints and get squiffy. Buddleia smell hangs heavy in the afternoon heat haze. God is in His garden and it's good.



    But what's this I see! After three years of strict "no schemies" policy in The Village, they've now gone pure ga-ga and covered the pub walls with gang slogans. "It's no longer just a pub, it's an installation," said Dolly, with a straight face. (The only straight thing about him...)

    Full story, by reporter Captain Cadbury.


    And you say? (7)   Link to this


    Sunday, July 25, 2004

    AL DENTE

    It's been a funny old week, all in all.

    Good video. Not so good video (my fault). New computerised claim checking system at work. False teeth. Nearly walked.

    (Did I mention the false teeth?) Oh fuck. They're ghastly. I walked into the bathroom yesterday morning and screamed. Pink thing in a glass looking like a Beta version of Alien.



    Now, my sensors detect that most of you reading this live calm, measured, ordered lives. Charity work Monday. Drama club on Tuesday. Parents (if surviving) Wednesday. Roast beef lunch with the adoring grandkids on Sunday after church. And so on.

    A peaceful life, reminiscent of an earlier, Thatcher age.

    But here at Naked Mansions, nothing is ever so simple. Things which should be straightforward never are, and the intentionally complicated (such as going on holiday) is too horrific to contemplate.

    Take Wednesday. There I was at work with Stewart my videographer, keen to lay down some track about how wonderful I am, when one of the relief callers calmly tells me that an entire new checking system had been introduced on my two days off.

    "If this shows on the screen, press that. But if it goes yellow press it twice. Then do the other... " So rather than simply being filmed as the best bingo caller in the country (which in itself might flummox some of the more peaceful among you), I had to be filmed being shown how to do it.

    Not the stuff of awards ceremonies, I'm sure you'll agree.



    But Friday was even worse. Loads of people my age have a partial denture. They're a fact of life. Natural conclusion to us living far longer than our teeth were ever designed for. So she (the dentist) sticks it in my gob at 1.20 pm, and tells me it'll take one day to learn to speak, and four to competently eat.

    Fine. Except that 25 minutes later I have to stick a microphone in my gob and call the bingo with a voice amplified to the size of a cinema. And a huge fuck-off lump of plastic in my mouth.

    See what I mean? Simple things made impossibly difficult.
    Note for the unknowing. Dentures are horrible, even partial. They're every bit as bad as you can imagine, and worse than that. I want you to brush. I want you to floss. I want you to eat nothing but Brussels sprouts for ever. You know it makes sense.
    And all that just for two gaps. UR4 and UR6. I'm tempted instead to learn to love my gaps. I've tried one meal with it in - on my own of course - and it gave me the pure boak. So now it's out, out, out, whenever I chomp. At least I'll lose a lot of weight. And company. Social exclusion by denture. Well - I've had it by everything else.



    John the achingly handsome Australian barman left yesterday. There was a farewell do in Jayne's Bar in Leith Walk. I didn't go. Partly because he didn't invite me, and even though in July I could have brass necked it anyway, Leith pubs on a Saturday night are not a good idea - if you prefer your blood to remain on the inside.

    I blame the young. And I blame alcohol.



    But it was myself I blamed earlier in the day, when an episode of less than expected competence cost the company a sum of money. I nearly walked. Came that close.

    When you demand the highest standards from those around, your own lapses can hardly be tolerated, now can they? Pumping with adrenalin and blood pressure I just kept dreaming of all those tempting pints of Guinness I could soon be on the outside of. Just two minutes it would take to grab my coat and waltz forever oot the door. Fuck yer bingo caller of the year!

    But no, but no. That age-old mantra kicked in. You must hand in notice. You must hand in notice. Do this shift then write the letter. Or you'll never work in this town again.

    It eased. I avoided all my colleagues. Ate alone and read the Guardian. Bristled with, "one word and I'm ootae here." They cottoned on. Gave ample berth.



    Angry like that I give very good show. It's the "can't sack me cos I'm just leaving anyway" syndrome. No less than two young guys were specifically complimentary about the evening session. "You've got a great style." Thank you. Nice. Smiled at them with apparently perfect teeth.

    Maybe I should edge it more often.

    I've named my denture Al.


    And you say? (11)   Link to this


    Friday, July 23, 2004

    HOW GREEN IS YOUR VALLEY?

    The BBC is looking for a family to "go green" for a programme series. This is for global warming. Presumably the family (why are sad and lonely individuals always overlooked?) should have distinct "red tendencies" at the moment.

    So it's time for a little interaction around these parts. Heavens, I pour out my soul to you day after day, and what do I ever get back? Well, that's rhetorical. They know who they are.



    Take me, for instance. How green am I? Well, very. And this is my green-index...
  • Get in a car about three times a year.
  • Get in a bus maybe four times a week.
  • Never get in an aeroplane.
  • Never clean the house.
  • Can make one bottle of washing up liquid last up to five years.
  • Can eat food a week after its sell-by date.
  • Others too numerous to mention.
  • My few weaknesses would be
  • This computer I'm staring at, and
  • Telly/DVD, due to frequent lack of human companionship.


  • Now it's your turn. How green are you? Have you any green tips? Or maybe you drive a gas-guzzler 4 x 4, jet all over the place, run your swimming pool at 80, and don't give a fuck about the planet?

    It's your call. As the guy said on BBC Breakfast (a scientist, so he must be right), green people can look their grandchildren in the face.

    Errrr. WRONG, DUDE. Green people don't have any grandchildren.

    Toldya I was green. But what's the betting they don't put me on their show?


    And you say? (9)   Link to this


    Thursday, July 22, 2004

    RADIO STARS

    I'm not a camera person, I learned this afternoon. Microphone is my thing. My larynx, not my face, is my livelihood and so it shall be, evermore.

    (Truly I'd not realised how sloping my mouth is these days. For all the world like a stroke victim - although I've thankfully yet to have my first.)



    What's this all about? Well, it's the conclusion of my entry to Bingo Caller of The Year Competition.

    And boy did I give them hell!

    "I am not the man you're looking for," I started. "You're wanting someone young, fit and sexy - and I'm not any of those."

    "If you're wanting a cross between Graham Norton and Paul O'Grady, then definitely I am not your man. But if you're wanting the old, fat, "speccy git" canditate - then I'm certainly yours in spades."



    Stewart my videographer was incensed. "Yesterday at your bingo you were so lively and interesting!" he kept saying.

    "No, Stewart - yesterday at work I was paid to pretend to be lively and interesting," I corrected him.

    But he still wasn't impressed. "Listen, Stewart!" I said to him. "You're wanting me with a big, white wig on - Lily Savage style. I'm not doing that. What you've brilliantly captured is me, myself, I. Fat, boring and depressed."

    He left, muttering.



    So now I'm convinced Show Business isn't for me. Oh - and I told them on the video that when I win I don't want Lorraine Kelly, like they usually do. Very Channel Three, I said.

    For me it should be Germaine Greer, Kirsty Wark, or the divine Natasha Kaplinsky. I told them also that I have degrees from two universities - back in the olden days when a degree actually meant something. And that I regularly read The Guardian and watch BBC 2. How impressive is that!

    I can almost smell Las Vegas already!!


    And you say? (5)   Link to this



    HAIR TODAY

    Yesterday's filming got off to a bit of a bad start due to my barber's stylist being shut. Possibly because it was Wednesday. Yes - they can be that old-fashioned in Leith! Olde Worlde.

    So, life being too short to pretend you're Elizabeth Taylor, I just had to knuckle down and get on with it. Nothing else for it, as my bingo ladies say.

    It was probably OK technically, but I was a bit nervous. Maybe if the punters had been forewarned what was going on they might have joined in a bit more readily.



    This was the scenario. (And you've got to imagine my trying to get not one but two big microphones into me sweaty mitt. Pure Mick Jagger, 1967.)

    Script:

    Me: (bathed in Stewart's floodlight) "Hi everybody and welcome to Peter's lucky bingo this Wednesday afternoon. Helllooooooooo!

    Them: (muted response) hellooo.

    Me: (waving my free arm around the lights and camera) "Look! This is a competition and I want to win it! Now HEELLLLOOOOOOOO!!!!!

    Them: (much louder) Helllooooooooo!

    (I'm sure Brad never has these problems.)



    So why hair today? The moving scissor snips, and having snipped moves on.

    Well - today I have my "piece to camera". My assertion as to why, above all others, I am the one to jet to Las Vegas, companion on my arm.
    Eeek! Now there's a thing. I don't know one single person who would spend a whole evening with me, far less a fortnight. How unsuitable am I? (In Vegas there are no sidewalks. The casinos open directly on to the street. Or is that road?)
    Yesterday's fashion choice was a classic white shirt with blue stripe, coupled with white embossed Paisley pattern tie. Both by Debenhams, that middle-aged cornucopia. Today I'm thinking of the breathless informality of rugby shirt. By Charity Shop. (I've decided not to shop in BHS from now on. I really wasn't that impressed with Philip Green's attitude to Marks and Spencer. Plus he smokes.)

    AIRCRASH INVESTIGATION

    Last night featured a cargo door blowing off a 747. Nine were lost as whole rows of seats got blasted into the ether through a huge hole in the fuselage. "I hope my son got sucked into the engine, rather than falling to earth for four minutes," his distraught father said.

    Once middle-aged couple spent the entire rest of the flight with their legs dangling over the hole! Sure beats Codona's funfair, that! (But they were strapped in for complete safety.)

    Turns out the airlines all knew about this fault, but it takes ten hours to fix, so they never did it. They budget it's cheaper to "lose" a plane every year or two than spend ten hours fixing the locks.

    Your choice. But please stop telling me to take a tablet and get on one of those death traps myself.


    And you say? (5)   Link to this



    COMMENT BOX PHILANTHROPY

    Received yesterday about the situation in Darfur.
    www.DarfurGenocide.org

    "Over a million people, driven from their homes, now face death from starvation and disease as the Government and militias deliberately try to prevent humanitarian aid from reaching them. The same forces continue to murder, rape and terrorise; and destroy the people of Darfur's villages and crops, and poison water their supplies.

    This site's sole purpose is to try to save lives by helping stop the genocide in Darfur.

    It empowers you to take smart, strategic actions to compel those in power to act. It also provides access to the best, most relevant and most upto date information available.

    The situation in Darfur is dire. The choice we face simple. Act now to help save lives and stop the genocide, or watch as another chapter of injustice, cruelty and tragedy gets added to human history for us to read about and regret. Regretting won't stop the terror. It won't bring back the dead, nor comfort those left behind."
    Today's BBCi

    (These sites offered for your information, on a "because I can and probably should" basis. I have no personal knowledge whatever of these matters. Janjaweed is quite a name for a militia.)

    I note also the same comment on diva. And because mike is away this puts his guests in a bit of a spot. To elevate or not?

    My guess, as one of his closer blogfriends, is that he probably would. We've helped build this medium - this is a call to use that.


    And you say? (0)   Link to this


    Wednesday, July 21, 2004

    TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY FOX

    Yes! That's me, folks. Today's the day Stewart from Wizards of Illusion is visiting my bingo to encapsulate on video the magic that is Peter.

    Then the wise and gifted judges of the Bingo Caller of The Year compo will take just one look before whisking me off to the Scottish Regional Final, in glittering East Kilbride.

    After that comes glittering London, and after that very extremely glittering Las Vegas!

    My cup surely runneth over.



    And yet. And yet.

    Regular readers of my organ (and if not, why not?) will by now be fully aware that I want to win this competition in the same way as a turkey wants Christmas to hurry along. (US readers substitute "Thanksgiving".) And the very indifference to the project, the "couldn't care less" approach to my video, will probably make it the biggest hit they've ever seen.

    Whereas the fame-hungry, Victoria Beckham types will come over as just that. Greedy. They'll end up straight on the cutting room floor. You better believe it.
    "Where did I go wrong? Why have I failed the competition?"

    "One sequin too many, honey. Should have practised being nice to people."
    The one thing I'm very high on is sincerity. And if you can fake that, you've got it made. Now excuse me please - I have hair and nails.

    (We don't have much money, but we do see life. I think that should be abundantly clear by now.)


    And you say? (10)   Link to this


    Tuesday, July 20, 2004

    SITTING ON THE DOCK OF THE BAY

    A few topics, none of them earth-shattering, which have passed my way recently.

    WORLD SCOOP

    One of Scotland's biggest employers, a department of [... deleted to protect my source...] has ceased placing job vacancies in the Scottish press after endless decades of such. They're now advertising purely online.

    So what, I hear you think? I don't even live there. And this is true.



    But think for un momento, my chickadee. Newspapers only exist on advertising revenue. The sales contribute next to nada. To lose your biggest advertiser at a stroke is the writing on the wall - for the paper press. No more Scotsman. No more (Glasgow) Herald. Soon.

    And what will replace dead trees? You're looking at it, baby. The future is Blog. Naked Blog. (That'll be seventy-five cents.)

    You saw it here first.

    PECKING ORDER (aka Here Come the Fucking Swans)

    Strolling beside our estimable Water Of Leith river yesterday, near the Raj Restaurant bridge, I chanced on a lady and small child throwing bread for the ducks.

    Sadly, this was no duck beanfeast however, as marauding gulls snatched the bread the moment it went airborne.

    "You can never feed ducks when there's gulls about," I advised the lady. "You work in the bingo, eh?" she replied. Fame.

    "That's right," I confessed. "But look! Here come the swans!"



    And then they rounded a little bend opposite the Coalhill landing. Swannish armada. Mum, dad and five kids - now approximately half-grown. But grey - so grey and drab.

    Hunger was more important than looks, however, as the swans immediately took over the meal. One gull which chanced its arm too close got sent off bigtime. "Squawk!!" So the gulls and ducks floated peacefully about the periphery, birdbrains doubtless computing the odds of the swans fucking off before the breaded humans.

    I felt a little sorry for the (human) kiddy though, with this stark lesson of, "Might is Right" and "Size matters."

    CHEESEY DELIGHT

    Continuing the culinary theme, I chanced this one to Babs yesterday. (She's been v poorly with kidney stones. Passed five of the wee buggers. Even moved her to give up her favourite brandy and coke.) Do you know, my fingers automatically typed "cock" there, rather than coke! Talk about IRC.

    No, what I said to her was, "Don't buy Co-op lasagnes - they've got no cheese in them."

    "Lasagne isn't meant to have cheese in, darling," she replied, sipping her experimental pint of lager. "It's mince, pasta and Bechamel sauce."

    "Well, it's rubbish!" I declared. "I've got three of them left (buy one, get one free), and I'm putting cheese on top."

    "You do that, darling, if you want," she said. It was grand seeing her again.

    NO COMMENT

    Thanks to shyfella for alerting me how difficult it is to comment on our sister paper, The Leither Dot Net. Apparently you have to sign up to Blogger or summat. How tedious, I agree.

    So - as ever, throwing it wide open to youse. We (the team) need free and reliable comments. How demanding is that, eh?

    And finally...

    We don't normally single out stories in our fantastic new weblog collaboration. But if you haven't visited The Leither Dot Net yet, then take a wee peep at Chav Gav losing his (ano-rectal) cherry.

    But panic not - it was nothing more penetrating than a doctor's finger. Great tale. Two down at the moment.


    And you say? (11)   Link to this


    Monday, July 19, 2004

    MISSING LINK

    Fun and games last night with the Random Number Generator at the bingo. (The RNG, as we call it, is an electronic device which does precisely that. Generates randon mumbers at the press of a button. Balls, as seen in the National Lottery Draw, are too slow for bingo. They just aren't used any more. "Shake yer balls!")

    Plus with the RNG you can link up clubs from across the land, and then have thousands of people playing simultaneously for much bigger prizes. Ten thousand pounds. Twenty thousand pounds. That sort of thing.

    Just because you're in Auchtermuchtie, it doesn't mean your (bingo) horizons should be limited. But, unlike the spherical, wooden solidity of a numbered ball, electronic devices do on occasions fail. Like last night.



    It were murder. Started with one of the 47 clubs dropping out - Halifax, Leicester or some such English town. (Don't they all sound just the same!) But Halifax or Leicester didn't go without leaving a wee electronic glitch in the works, some ghost in the machine - which meant that after generating 19 numbers it went back to the first one and started again! How daft is that! My ladies were up in arms. Never seen anything like it since the Blitz.

    Fortunately my Duty Manager eventually managed to sort the thing, but not for quite a few minutes - maybe five. And dead air.

    You're really supposed to keep the punters entertained in such a crisis. Laugh, joke, sing... that sort of thing. But it was my sixth shift in a row, and all I could think about frankly was, when the fuck's it gonna be over so I can get outta here? Home to the telly. My ace life.

    And it did come good. Eventually.



    Delighted to note that my sink-cleaning stint a couple of posts down has generated a flurry of copycat cleaning - from here to the USA, no less! Albert even washed his t-shirt!

    Tis the year of the soap - no doubt about it.

    Bests to Troubled Hyphen Diva for upcoming guest fortnight. Hard act to follow. (Unlike this feeble rag.)

    Today I have a one hour business meeting, (don't meetings sound so important!) then haircut, then possibly lunch, and no dentist whatever! New false teeth (2) on Friday! Watch these two spaces!

    Oh - almost forgot. Have to organise a promotional video about myself. (Yawn.) At least it's a fascinating subject.


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    Sunday, July 18, 2004

    NO MORE MR PRESIDENT

    (David Frost interviews Bill Clinton this morning.)

    David Frost reads Naked Blog. This is quite evident. It was only a month ago we were reprimanding David Dimbleby for addressing Mr Clinton as "Mr President" in his interview.

    No such problems with Frostie however, who avoided any protocol problems by the simple technique of not using the man's name at all. How easy is that?

    Good to know the movers and shakers are moved and shaken by my little blog - even if they don't always leave a comment!



    Frost: Since your book has come out, Monica Lewinsky has stated that this affair has ruined her life. Did you ruin Monica Lewinsky's life?

    Clinton: No. Kenneth Starr maybe ruined her life. And Linda Tripp. And the Press. But not me.
     
    Frost: Did you love her?

    Clinton: No. It was not about that, on either side.

    Awesome questioning, eh? (I'm not being sarcastic here.) I've never even heard the lurve word used about this relationship.



    Naked Blog says: the moment Monica Lewinsky first put the US President's dick in her mouth, she must have realised her life had changed for ever. For better in some ways. And for worse in others.

    In sexual relations the man always comes out on top. (If you'll excuse the pun.) Second comes a wife. Third a partner. And a very long way last is a "bit on the side", as we call it here.

    Diamonds are a girl's best friend. Quickly followed by a wedding ring.

    Heavens! How old fashioned am I?



    (The full Frost programme is on the video button here. Unfortunately the Clinton segment is badly mangled with misleading and unnecessary camera cuts.

    In interviews, cuts equals edits equals lies and evasion. (Or potential litigation.) When people are talking straight, you leave the damn camera where it is. Amateurs at the BBC! I counted seven cuts in two sentences at the peak. Had to close my eyes and treat it as radio.

    Quote of the day:
    "Blair's government took the intelligence reports on Iraq and changed all the question marks to exclamation marks!"
    You couldn't make it up! (But someone did.) Sheer class. Should be doing a blog.

    Watched Stigmata last night. What a load of old phooey! Omen meets Exorcist meets Patricia Arquette.

    Yesterday I had to report a young colleague to a manager for gross misconduct in front of customers. This is never good, and the technical term is "grass". It wasn't done lightly or immediately.

    Leither Dot Net News!

    Our new little publication has kicked off to a splendid start, with 13 posts already for your entertainment and information. Soon we'll hit the 1000th page impression, and I guess we'll crack out the bubbly!

    Anybody interested in contributing, just get in touch. We're thinking of around two posts a week minimum. (Hint!)


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    Saturday, July 17, 2004

    KITCHEN SINK DRAMA
     
    I've just cleaned my kitchen sink.

    Yes, really.
     
    Regular readers of my organ will appreciate the personality sacrifice involved in this - the victory of mundane mediocrity over sparkling individuality.

    But in this case it had started to smell. All that encrusted blackness had turned foul on me and was threatening to engulf my clothes also. Thus carrying to the outside world.
     
    Miasma. Mal-aria.
     
    And the one thing you may never, ever inflict on your public is smell.

    That bottle of Purple Herbal Fairy Liquid I bought two years ago sure comes in handy on occasions.


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    Friday, July 16, 2004

    ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER BLOGGER INTERFACE

    (New Blogger just ate my post. Seriously. Here goes for the remedy.)

    Nah. It's gone. An hour wasted. Pissed off. Can't have been any good, anyway.
     
    Do you know, with this latest Blogger creation you can't even Select All and Copy? Nor can you swipe and copy. How useless is that, eh?


     
    *Thinks...* If I could only remember the first sentence. The last one was, Time Passed.

    Prize for anyone who can guess where it was set! And who was in it!!
     
    PS Do NOT write your posts directly onto the Blogger screen. Learn from my mishap. Especially don't click on Preview, which was what chewed today's instant masterpiece.
     
    (Talk about Boldly Go.) 
     
    Captain's Log: 11 am: Mike takes time from packing his holiday shirts to offer an excellent Blogger tutorial in the comment box. Read it or weep.

    Key point: to save you have to click on the Edit HTML tag first.
     
    Official Blogger Help Page


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    Thursday, July 15, 2004

    CHEESE BOARD

    "Have you ever had a boyfriend?" Big Robert asked me in the Port tonight.

    "No," I answered. "Well - not since I was twenty two or some such age." He struggled with the concept. "Yes - even I was 22 once," I assured him, grinning internally.

    Then Robert pressed on with this question and that one - but the two teen barmaids who'd just arrived were earwigging the jackanory big time. (While Mary the landlady popped on her evening lippy.) Mary kens when to keep oot.

    "And that's it, pal," I said to him forcefully. "Ye dinnae get ma life story fer the price o' a pint o' Guinness." Yet still I had to shut him up.

    "So why don't you invite me to your house for dinner and we'll discuss it?" he asked. I laughed in his face. "Then come to my house for dinner." I laughed even harder.

    Men. What are they like? - eh, girls?


    And you say? (10)   Link to this



    FLY ME TO THE MOON

    (Fasten Your Seat Belts)

    I was filling the kettle just now when it dropped into the sink. How boring, I hear you think. But no - it could be the start of mad cow disease.

    Watched another great Aircrash Investigation show last night. I truly love that series, on Channel Five. It's reconstructions of flights that go wrong, and I just laugh at it and think, "YOU'RE ALL GOING TO DIE! AND IT'S YOUR OWN FAULT!! FOR GETTING ON THE PLANE IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!"

    Last night's disaster was caused by the plane cleaner sticking tape over the air pressure sensors so they didn't get Flash in them. But the daft ha'porth forgot to take it off. So the altimeters didn't work, and they crashed into the sea while reading 9700 feet. High sea.



    The cleaner got jailed. The company, Aeroperu, went bust, and everybody on board was "lost" as they put it. The relatives got extra compensation because of the exceptional horror their loved ones underwent. (As opposed to everyday horror, I suppose.) Why the relatives should cash in I've never been entirely sure.

    It's only once you've made that decision never to get in planes that you can truly start to enjoy plane crash movies. Fearless, with Jeff Bridges is fab, and so is Alive - until after the crash at least, when it all gets a bit cannibal and boring. Once you know they do nothing but eat ass for the next ninety minutes it loses the point a bit. (It's true! You see the rumps sticking up out of the snow, and them carving slices off.)



    Anyway - my plane ain't ever gonna crash, but my house might, if I don't get this damn water situation sorted. Big Straight Al had kindly agreed to check things out today, but I'm swithering.

    You see, it's possible it might all go away, and the leak be found through the wall into the next door tenement. Ostrich-style. And even the thought of Scotland's sexiest plumber in my house isn't enough to distract me from the filth and mess. Which would doubtless get discussed. (Disgust?) Sometimes it's hard to be a woman.



    Is anything exciting happening in the world? Has Tim Henman won any matches? Has Gordon Brown had that heart attack he always looks like having? Did Charles Kennedy say no to the last drink?

    I'm getting an awful lot of searches for Natasha Kaplinsky. How come Sarah Coburn never gets any? She's on in the middle of the night, and she's a fox. Tent pole city.

    Wonder if anyone ever jacks off over me calling the bingo.

    PS You can see where the aircraft engineers really chat here. And yes - they do watch the show.

    Plus the National Geographic Channel is doing a whole day of them! How sick is that!! (Wish I had that channel...)


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    Wednesday, July 14, 2004

    OLD FRIENDS, NEW DEVELOPMENTS

    Spent a happy couple of hours yesterday wit' me homies Babs and Tony. Port then Malt and Hops then Java.

    Tony's eldest daughter has apparently gone hormonal, and Babs' son (both circa 11) has sprung his pubes. Michty me.

    They weren't there, but Alice, Tony's youngest, was - and she was busy springing adult teeth and running her now legendary swearbox. However I try not to swear in front of youngsters, so I gave her one pound which is three swears on account.

    Children are fascinating in small doses, but I couldn't bear one all the time. So I raise my hat to the parents amongst you!

    HOUSE!

    Did I tell you I've entered the Bingo Caller of the Year compo?

    Well - somewhat tragically we seem to be through to the second round. Yes, I know. (I'd hoped my age and Krueger-esque photo would disqualify me at the first fence, but obviously not. Maybe they're looking for a freak this year.)

    So now we have to come up with a 3 to 4 minute video, demonstrating my skills in action, talking directly to the judges, and generally being the reverse of modest.

    Surely they'll fail me after that! No way Jose am I flying to Las Vegas.

    (Last time I wrote that my two US readers got a little upset. So let me stress it would be the same with... Peru.) If God had meant us to fly, etc...


    And you say? (6)   Link to this



    HERE IS THE NEWS (As much like Star Wars as we can make it today.)

    Regular readers of my organ will know of our contempt for broadcast news. With its dumbed-down, "pictures before words", approach to serious and complex problems, "The News" serves little more purpose than an Oliver Stone movie.

    Considerably less, there are some would say.

    So it was refreshing to read George Monbiot in yesterday's Grauny, singing Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 praises while damning the TV networks.

    Including - crucially for us - the BBC.

    It's a while since I've plugged a dead tree piece to you. (Found myself minus a chatee at yesterday's lunch. Stilton and celery soup followed by black pudding, chorizo, tattie scone and salad.) I think you might like it.


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    Tuesday, July 13, 2004

    PEE IN THE DARK

    Ever get a great title in your head, and then you've got to write the story to go with it? This is one of them. Well - so am I, some people say, but that's a whole other tale indeed.

    Claire (Princess Test Tube) and Fiona (Fifi la Wok) were post mortem-ing T in the Park yesterday in The Village.

    "The Darkness weren't up to much," Fiona declared, as she tried to hold her double gin steady. (Post-festival shakes. Ye'll have had them yersel') "I only stayed for two numbers. But Basement Jaxx were brilliant."
    "And Scissor Sisters too," Claire chirped. "The very best."
    "How did you get into them?" Fiona demanded. "Lucky bitch!"
    "We crawled under the tent," Claire laughed. "My friend got captured, but while they were dealing with her, I just got in. They stripped off bollock naked in the end."
    "It's a pity that lead singer's gay," Fiona said. "And weren't those toilets boggin?"
    "Smell them from a hundred yards," Claire agreed.
    "Honestly, Peter," Fiona said to me. "You just had to squat down and pee where you were. Mebbe get somebody to stand in front of you."

    She left then, for her shift in one of Leith's most glamorous restaurants. "Ah'm no touchin' knives today," she swore. "Too shaky."

    (This story also appears in today's edition of The Leither - along with a couple more great tales you might not yet have seen.)


    And you say? (6)   Link to this



    MOONLIGHT SONATA

    Apologies for the service interruption for five hours earlier this evening. (Whenever this happens, you can usually get us here, courtesy of those lovely people at Blogger.com)

    This is what I penned there, in my frustration and anguish at such an unproductive day/week/life.
    "Darlings - I'm having a complete nervous breakdown.

    I know some of you have your ups and downs... partners can be a bitch... children disrespect you despite years of your devotion... parents fuck off and die, the ungrateful bastards.

    All of those things.

    But never more than one at a time, eh?



    Currently we're suffering from...

    a Naked Blog server that's down, and which Ednet don't seem to give a toss about...

    Extracted teeth that my dentist doesn't seem to give a toss about... despite me getting through to the next stage of...

    Bingo caller of the year competition, which I don't want to win, because...

    It would mean flying to Las Vegas, whereas I would rather eat lugworms dug fresh from the beach...

    Which is even damper than the wall of my downstairs neighbour, with (alleged) water from my flat...

    And I can hardly breathe due to cat allergy and cigarette smoke...

    While my t-shirt printer remains down...

    And I disappoint all my recent blog guests.

    It's just not fair. Nature conspires to defeat me. Always has."
    Later, things picked up a bit, and there are some lovely new stories on The Leither Dot Net.

    Thanks ChavGav and Captain Cadbury.


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    Sunday, July 11, 2004

    PLUMBING THE DEPTHS

    Hilarious to watch Oliver Letwin, the Shadow Chancellor, on Breakfast With Frost Peter Sissons this morning. He was sitting on the edge of his sofa, head bowed, like a naughty schoolboy getting told off by his housemaster. All the authority of a blancmange.

    Yet Tories still insist on sending their male kids to expensive boarding schools to get serially sodomised. This morning's travesty of body language (and I'm not exaggerating) displayed all the signs of that.

    Give me healthy Tony any time. What a runner.

    Plus there was Charles Kennedy with his Marlboro croak, and Charles Clark the garden gnome. Bring back Thatcher, I often think.

    Spam fritters...

    Thanks to the following for kindly writing in recent days to advise me of purchasing opportunities.
    Retarded I. Scholastically
    Floridly D. Seedling
    Retardants S. Regalia
    Seediness T. Searcher
    Horsewhipped A. Predators
    Prescient E. Hyperbolae
    and classic simplicity of
    bungalow heartbreak
    The Leither Dot Net News!

    By the end of trading today, we'll have had close to 500 people crossing our pages! There are seven lovely stories there for your information and delight - and only three of them by me.

    (I really am trying to stay in the background.)

    So, keep the news and views coming guys - remember quantity has its place, as well as the other q thing. The more you do it, the easier it gets.

    Damp Patch

    Getting somewhat concerned about my downstairs neighbour's wall. Although I'm trying every possible architectural dodge to say - in effect - it isnae me, there's a growing possibility that it indeed might be. This will involve expense. And trauma. My floors might never be the same again.

    Times like this you need a man about the place. But who ya gonna call?

    Hi Ho (Is that the way prostitutes greet each other?)

    Yes today it's back to da bingo. (But only for one day.) Been a good week. Food, drink, visitors - sex, drugs and rock and roll.

    Those last three are in the Saturday story below...

    (You don't come on Saturdays? Why not? I'll set Oliver Letwin onto you...)

    And finally...

    It's farewell to P B Curtis of It's Funny Because It's Shit. Thanks for all of it, PB. Sorry you've gone. Let's hope for the best of reasons.


    And you say? (9)   Link to this


    Saturday, July 10, 2004

    T IN THE PARK (And speed in the bar)

    "I just got a ticket for T in the Park!" Claire (Princess Test-tube) gaily announced in The Village yesterday. "I'm so excited!"

    She did look very excited. Since Claire parted from her fiance last week she's spared no time, trouble or expense in changing her look - including a 95 quid hairdo. A clear and present case of, "I'm gonna wash that man..."

    Girls - I know you'd do at least the same. Some times it's good to be a woman - because as a last resort there's always makeup and tears.



    "It's such a pity about Bowie," people say. "But at least heart surgery is more excusable than a trapped nerve."

    "Bowie is exactly one week younger than me," I tell them, didactically. (They tend to assume that all old pop stars are over 60 already.) "And so far I've never needed heart surgery." Bitchily.

    Then people subtly let it be known that David's been replaced by The Darkness. Hell, even I know that, and I wouldn't recognise The Darkness if I fell over them in Scotmid carpark.

    It's very exciting. Scotland's little Glasto. And why not?

    Who cares if it's sponsored by Tennent's Brewery, and alcohol is by far the biggest killer of young men? Who gives a fuck? Old money. Old families. Tories every last one of them.

    The booze corporations were under very serious threat in the nineties, from recreationals. E was in and fatty acids out. But boy did they hit back, bigtime. Begone, old-fashioned whisky and gin, and IN, IN, IN were alcopops and rock festivals. And do you know - the bastards pulled it off. Drugs are last century and booze is so now.



    But not yesterday afternoon they weren't. We'd upped and offed for a change to the Erehwon Bar just off Nemo Street. Bit out of the way. ChavGav, Kinnon and Gus the dog.

    "Peter!" I suddenly heard. "Recognise that voice anywhere!"

    "Dirk Diggler!" I cried. "Great to see you man!" He jumped up and gave me a brotherly hug. It were great. "Man you're looking really thin!" I said, when the initial excitement was over.

    "Yeah it's the speed," he said. "I got it real bad."

    "Still selling?" I asked, out of concern only. We go back to the early nineties, Dirk and me. Blood brothers.

    "Yeah - I got base, I got rocks, I got every damn thing." He headed to the Erehwon gents then, and I knew I was meant to follow. Meant to re-meet Mr Tambourine man above the gents earthenware cistern, and start all that again.



    "I'm not starting all that again," I said to Gav and Kinnon. "No way. Plus there'd be more chance of me smoking." (Once you're an ex-smoker you do have to take a few precautions at lowering the risk. Not obsession, just caution. Recreationals are not the way to go.)

    But Dirk was not to be deterred, and passing slipped me a small white package. O.My.God. "For old times' sake," he said, and went back to his company.

    I looked at mine. Company. "Do you really think you could bear to see a near-sixty sitting speeding right in front of you?" I asked, somewhat rhetorically.

    Muted response. They didn't know what they were supposed to say. When it comes to drugs there's no room for camp or flamboyant nonsense. You have to know who everyone is, where everyone is, and exactly what every thing is. I was in charge.

    "Fuck it! If Jagger and Bowie can still make rock music, then I can take a little speed. And there's nowt wrong with my heart. Fuck it!"

    And so, gentle reader, 24 hours have passed in a sleepless trice of IRC and coffee, but no cigarettes. In front of me is still the balance of a very generous gift, saying EAT ME in bold imaginations. But no. Tomorrow is work, and that way would lie catastrophe.

    Taken a walk on the wild side. My own private T in the Park.

    "Some WHEEEEERRREEEEE over the rainbow....."


    And you say? (7)   Link to this


    Friday, July 09, 2004

    VENI, VIDI, VICI

    Well, that's Stuart back to his mother today, after a whirlwind 48 hours. Nick Nolte was conspicuous by his absence, but he's looking a bit hackit these days anyway.

    Unlike the primal Johnny Depp, who displayed early promise to his art in A Nightmare on Elm Street, last night on Channel Five. Twenty years old, and the first time I've seen it. Well, it's a classic now, innit?

    And yes, I enjoyed it, faults included.



    All in all I shared about eight of Stuart's 48 hours, but they were good. We only squabbled once - when he was making out that a nervous breakdown I'd once undergone was in reality unnecessary. "See him - I hate him!" I gasped at Dean. "I've known you both so long," Dean said, with resignation.

    That Was Then; This Is Now

    But you can't go back, really, can you? It's a year since he left, and over there in the country he's built a new life. Old friends and new. Saturday night dinner parties.

    Whereas here I just carry on as usual - except without him. His gain, my loss. So this last couple of days have been quite poignant, in a way. I even allowed him into my humble abode yesterday, although he looked quite faint at the mess.

    But you can't go back. Even the coffee was disastrous, because of the sterilised milk. We ate the almond slices though, and after he'd gone I froze the cherry cakes. Maybe for another year. I think they had fake almond flavour.

    It was easier than I thought asking him not to smoke. Smoking has ruined all my friendships. His face darkened, visibly. "Well then we'll have to leave quite quickly!" he asserted. So I compromised by letting him smoke on the landing outside. My neighbours sometimes do that, so what the fuck. Although the smell later did make me want to throw up.

    He can hardly breathe.



    Some day I'll try to analyse why Stu is so universally popular, and I am not. Dinners, lunches, parties, tarot sessions... you name it and Stu gets invited. Unlike one young man who was sadly confiding to me yesterday that he never gets included in his workmates' social nick nacks. Dinners and stuff. Sad that, for a young' un. No real problem for us oldboys.

    I feel sad too. But - there's still got two whole days' holiday left... so what the fuck!! Hehe. Maybe cya later, dudes and dudesses.

    (Just gotta keep daddin' along. Nothin' else for it.)

    Footnote: Did you see the programme about gurus last night on BBC something? It was very late. There was an excellent commentary on the biggies, starting with my own meditation teacher, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and how wonderful The Beatles were for him. Some day I'll tell you about my 45 minute phone call with Maharishi.

    But right now on a less elevated note, my downstairs neighbour has just been to the door saying there's water going on her bedroom wall. I offered to put some trousers on and have a look (pants), but she said she was going to the doctor. Er - that is not the correct reaction to taking a leak. (But as regular readers know - doctors have got almost everybody on their books.)

    So it's on the cards I might be seeing Big Straight Al today. Every queen's favourite plumber.


    And you say? (7)   Link to this


    Wednesday, July 07, 2004

    THICKER THAN WATER

    I shouldn't be sitting here at eight in the evening, writing to you like this.

    In just fifteen hours time, Stuart, my friend and bosom confidante, is coming to my house, he told me just tonight.

    Oh - he's out to dinner at the moment. A glittering celebrity - everyone wants a piece of him. Well - obviously I can't offer dinner, but I have bought almond slices and cherry cake for tomorrow. By Co-op. Plus some sterilised milk, which will last till October even if he doesn't turn up.

    But what a state the house is in! I could stay up all night cleaning and scrubbing, but almost certainly won't. No - once he's clapped eyes on Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, my hostess duties will be done.

    Look how well the Playstation plays - even with one whole inch of dust on it!



    Met a charming young (ish) man in the Port tonight. Alastair his name. About 35. Oh we chatted about this and that, mostly hairlines (of which mine wins hands down), when suddenly I said to him, "Are you gay?"

    "No," he replied. "Are you?"

    "Bent as a nine bob note," I confessed. "Surely you must have noticed."

    "I did get that slight impression," he agreed.

    "But my cock's as big as that schooner glass, if you're interested," I declared, boastfully, pointing to a largeish glass. (Lying, I have to admit. Plus just a tiny bit drunk.) He paused, for that vital millisecond, before demurring.



    Later, on leaving, Alastair offered me his cheek to kiss. "Are you sure you're straight?" I demanded. Tony my IT manager was right there. He'll back me up, if you think I'm fantasising.

    Then two guys from Zimbabwe came in. One of them looked just like Bob Marley. He said he'd been on a stage with Bob Marley when he was a toddler. In Zimbabwe.

    Stuart kens the Proclaimers real good. Fae Auchtermuchtie. "How ya doin, Stuart!" they cry to him. "How ya doin, boys," he replies.

    We don't have much money...

    (Another brand new Stuart (aka Granny) story here. He's so fucking famous. And popular. *Jealous.*)


    And you say? (4)   Link to this



    THE BOYZ ARE BACK IN TOWN!

    Just rejoice! I know he's more sunk than the Belgrano, but today my alter ego Stuart makes a guest appearance all the way from Auchtermuchtie, home of the fabulous bespectacled Proclaimers and their world-famous album Sunshine on Leith.

    (Did I say that already recently? Really must adjust my medication.)

    I'm so happy I could squeal!
    "When you gooooooooooo
    Will you send back
    A letter froooooooooom
    America?"



    Yesterday, Tuesdays, it's Leith Folk Club at The Village. Take a look along, but it's five quid entrance. For that you get a smokeless venue, but I did notice one or two bespectacled beardies spending a lot of time in the bar, chugging at their Embassy Regals.

    I chatted at some length to Alan Johnson the President, but had to confess I have serious reservations about the genre. OK if it's Joan Baez - fine, in fact - but it so rarely is these days.

    We were raised on JB, back in the sixties. Weaned. At West London parties you simply rotated Beatles, Stones, Dylan and Baez. There was hardly any other option. Even Cat Stevens hadn't got into his stride. Stereo was just beginning. The technology de jour was the Dansette Record Player (with Auto-change). We discussed marijuana like it was crack cocaine, but I never actually saw any. Watney's Red Barrel just had to do.

    "Look - there's Brian Jones arrested again! Look at the state of him! If that's what drugs do to you... "



    Leither Dot Net News!

    The team is coming together brilliantly. Today saw the first ever post by someone other than moi. It was Richard, an early day local blogger, whom we're delighted to have on board. (God - am I sounding like Ricky Gervais?)

    Also there's chavgav, and someone mysteriously called Husband. Whose husband? I'm losing my grip on the second day.

    Stats are already brisk, and we'll be well into three figures even on two thirds of a day's count. (And with no search engine input whatever.)

    There's an indoor plant-growing shop nearby called Sunshine on Leaf. It's little touches like that which make this place so special.


    And you say? (5)   Link to this


    Tuesday, July 06, 2004

    AND I NEED A SMALL VACATION...

    Did I tell you I'm on holiday this week? Probably not - been far too busy, darlings. Busy doing things for you, the selfless little creature that I am.

    But I did notice Greece winning the football on Sunday, then straight after some slightly tasty Swiss guy winning Wimbledon. I was pleased for the Greeks - they haven't had much of a good press since Plato and shit.

    Federer I wasn't so sure of. He's got hard eyes.

    Is Euro 2004 what we once called the World Cup?



    "Do you ever get days when everything seems to go wrong?" I asked, rhetorically, in The Village recently. It was about the Guest Week T-Shirts, and the local printer going bust.

    "Do you ever not get days when everything seems to go wrong," Roddy the tree surgeon replied. He was playing chess with somebody in the media. I'd allocated this week for sending them off to the deserving recipients, but they've not got past the drawing board stage atm.

    And that's not all. Last week things seemed on such a roll that I got my act together enought to buy hosting and domain (34SP) for our new locally-based webzine, The Leither dot net. I'd seen 34SP recommended on troubled hyphen diva. (Not genuine without the hyphen.)

    You can get a temporary, blogspot preview here, but it's a bit basic so far.

    Why is it so basic? Because the "proper" hosting won't accept Blogger publishing. I've tried every combination of everything, (all fourteen million), and eventually have had to give up and email 34SP. Not one of their support pages seems to have even heard of Blogger.

    Yet it all works fine with FTP Surfer, my usual (lovely) FTP client. But what is a blog without Blogger (TM)? It's the only one I know how to work.

    Shock Update: It's actually working now! Here. Big-ups to mike and Gordon, but I was doing almost all of that already. Never mind. The proof of the blog is in the reading. And the stats. And the comments. And...

    Now - where's my TEAM? (This new weblog is - for a change - hardly gonna have me in it at all!) Can you imagine that !?!



    OK - in a day or two I'll be laughing I'm sure (maybe even today... hint to the gods), but why won't things work the first time?. Why won't cheap and recommended T-Shirt printers remain in business at least until they've printed your fabulous Guest Week T-Shirts?

    I'm nearly sixty, you know. How many other oldboys would even think of dipping this far into technology? Thank God the fridge freezer just needed plugging in.

    Talking of old, did anyone see Maya Angelou on overnight BBC2 a couple of nights ago? Stunning. Rivetting. Like God made flesh. I wonder if she's got any bad habits.

    Oh, and my holiday weather? Cloudy, wet and cold. You couldn't make it up.

    Shock Update: The weather turned out glorious. Colour me sunburnt.


    And you say? (13)   Link to this


    Monday, July 05, 2004

    HERE IS THE NEWS, FROM THE BBC

    It was fifty years ago today, apparently. First TV News.

    And o my God what a disaster things have turned out.

    Thank the Lord it wasn't on the go during WW2 or we'd be under German rule now. Well - we already are, I guess. (Saxe-Coburg Gotha.) But you know what I mean.

    The reason TV news is such a force for bad is its constant dwelling on misery. We simply aren't evolved to have the entire world's problems beamed into our living rooms at 6pm. Every day. Not evolved.



    Faced with that constant, unremitting level of horror there can be only two possible outcomes. You either harden and de-sensitise... "Look... there's five hundred corpses, what a shame," - or you sink down and become ill.

    It's also a major political tool, skilfully employed to make people feel both bad and helpless. Then along pops Tony (or especially Maggie) with the balls to put things right and make you better.

    I dislike it. Hardly ever watch. If it's news I want (which it rarely is), I'll read the Guardian. Restrictive and mono-opinioned I know, but they're opinions I can usually live with. People buy papers that say what they already think.


    And you say? (5)   Link to this



    SMACK UP YOUR BITCH

    Smacking Laws to be Tightened

    Are you, like me, fed up to here with wailing do-gooders on TV saying "Children should have the same rights as adults."

    Stuff and nonsense.

    Children have far fewer rights than adults, and so they damn well should. Smoke? Drink? Drive? Fuck? Skip school when you want?

    Of course they do all of the above, but they're not supposed to. Neither are they supposed to run into the road, or stick screwdrivers into electric sockets, or take the backs off TVs and poke about.



    No, children are in a very special position of care, by adults. Care sometimes means NO! And NO! sometimes works best with a smack.

    I'm certainly glad my mother occasionally smacked me to deter me from danger.

    By all means come on my television and talk sense. But don't give me that shite about equal rights. Tell that to a one year old. (Except he or she won't have a clue what you're saying. Unequal comprehension.)

    There. I feel better for that. Me, I can hardly look after myself, far less anyone else, so it's a bit hypothetical.


    And you say? (7)   Link to this


    Sunday, July 04, 2004

    TV TIMES

    Sometimes it's hard to be a woman.

    Well - I'm sure to fuck it really is.

    Sometimes it's hard to be a faggot.

    Try that - Tammy.



    Last night on Channel 4 was a two hour programme almost beyond belief, it was that good. It was about portrayal of Britqueens in the Britmedia.

    I'm Free! it was called, for fairly obvious reasons, and bizarrely there's no net presence at all. But watch for repeats, etc.

    It did Frankie Howerd, Kenneth Williams, Danny la Rue, Lily Savage (who owed everything to Danny la Rue, apparently). You could see from the la Rue clips just what a cheap imitation Lily Savage really is.

    And especially it did Larry Grayson. But Larry Grayson was the thinking queen's demon. All that camp, yet kidding on he was str8. How awesome. How very Cliff Richard.

    Kenny Everett was there also of course, before he got ill, and even after.



    They did a masterly thing about HIV/Aids - which changed everything - by simply rewinding the tapes of Are You Being Served, and Kenny Everett, and everything else. All those showbiz queens trying desperately to rush back into the closet. Yet not one of them made it. Not with the Murdoch press and Kelvin McKenzie hot on their tales.

    The show touched on George Michael, who got away with cottaging, unlike Peter Wyngarde/Jason King who didn't. They managed studiously to avoid Sir Elton, doubtless on legal advice, but included snippets from Norton and Winton, that lucky, lucky pair of Victoria Beckhams. (Both of whom owe everything to Julian Clary, allegedly.)

    The end credits showed the tale was from Betty Films, which makes me strongly suspect it was a Graham Norton creation. But Betty Films seems to have no Google. What's going on?

    Oh - almost forgot. There was loads and loads about Round The Horne. A touch of Polari. It were good. All our yesterdays.



    And the programme ended with some vacuous Big Brother queen presenting children's TV. This is obviously a bad thing. Surely there's loads of straight presenters they could get - maybe some chick with big tits to point the kids in the right direction. At least he'll never make any intellectual demands! Queens are stupid - it's a well known fact.

    Hang the chi chi girl with a long rope - that's what I say.


    And you say? (6)   Link to this



    INDEPENDENCE DAY

    A very happy Independence Day to all my US readers. All three. (Note to self: really must get a US marketing strategy worked out. 500 million people can't all be National Enquirer readers.) Naked Blog: the global edition.

    And an especially happy Independence Day to me. How come? Because it's one (leap) year to the day that tobacco last touched my lips.

    July 03 2003 (My last day - although I didn't know it - as a smoker.)
    July 04 2003 (The first day of the rest of my life.)

    Glancing back at the posts and comments, I was particularly taken with,
    "The withdrawals are amazing. Like tripping and speeding at the same time."
    Thanks to all of you for your good wishes at that time, and I'm delighted to report that the boy done good. Getting free from cigarettes for a (leap) year is the greatest achievement of my life - by far.



    Part of me (a new part I'd never had before) even suggests,
    "Now you've done that, Peter, you can do anything!"
    But the more familiar reaction kicks straight in with,
    "You are a useless and worthless person, who will never amount to anything. And you're 57 so it's too late anyway. Grow up."
    (I know that second voice much better. Ho hum. What can't be cured... )

    Backlash and aftermath

    But nature abhors a vacuum. The time and thoughts that smoking used to occupy are now dedicated to the diametric opposite. I abhor cigarettes, detest them - and spare no time in telling any smoker I meet. Plus I'm consumed with guilt at the amount of fagsmoke I myself dispensed in 46 years of the filthy practice.

    Almost everyone I know smokes, so if I want to talk I have to breathe smoke. My work is a smoking cesspit, so if I want to work I have to breathe smoke. I doubt if there's one day in the last year I haven't breathed smoke, and it shows in my body.

    What should by now be crystal clear breathing is still far from the case. Although there was a massive, invigorating honeymoon period for the first six months, nowadays the health is sub-optimal again, due to imperfect ventilation from pulmonary secretions. The pipes, the pipes are playing "little tunes" again at night. Smokers will know those little tunes.



    My mother died from pulmonary secretion - drowned in her own fluids - a couple of years after she quit the fags, so I keep a bit of an eye on that one. Not that I want to live for ever, of course, but a little longer than I've done so far. As a non smoker.

    Bring on the tobacco bans, I say. Everywhere. I'd rather sit next to someone shooting up heroin than lighting an Embassy Regal. (Except that junkies all smoke. Funny, that.)

    "You selfish, aggressive sod!" I hear you thinking, but I disagree. If I can stop, I who used to wake every 2 or 3 hours to smoke, then anyone can. The only reason they don't is because they don't want to.

    And I'm sick of my pipes playing their tunes. Ban it, now.


    And you say? (26)   Link to this


    Friday, July 02, 2004

    IT'S RAINING MEN

    Apparently, the way all my women friends are so in love right now.

    I'm glad for them, even though it's quite boring. Drama and conflict are the stuff of interest, not Marks and Spencer menswear.

    Even Darren and Deirdre, our local mating swans, have five healthy-looking cygnets this year. It's fun to watch them teaching the nippers how to live on the river. But get too close, and there'll be all the drama and conflict you can handle.

    Me, I did it all in my very early twenties, and then when it went ratshit (as love almost always does) I just wrote it off to experience, and vowed, successfully, never to go there again.

    So I never got the hang of "serial love". Surely, somewhere in your brain, there must be comparisons going on. And can you really be loving a partner completely, with an eye out always for the next one?

    No comprendo.

    But the tale beneath is quite easy to follow...


    And you say? (3)   Link to this


    Thursday, July 01, 2004

    SEAMAN STAINES Not for the squeamish or easily shocked.

    Babs and Gwen were discussing the taste of semen when I arrived.

    Mmmm. Oooo. Ahhhhh, they went. "Salty, sweet."

    "That's disgusting!" I declared, my Guinness hardly poured.

    "Don't tell me you've never... " Gwen asked.

    "You betcha!" I said. "I even keep my mouth shut when I'm jacking off - in case any goes in!"

    The very idea.


    And you say? (19)   Link to this



    48 HOURS

    I can't remember when I was last so excited! Just finished acquiring a sizzling hot domain and affordable hosting for the latest project... a tree-friendly magazine called The Leither!

    Well, magazine is maybe a bit ambitious. Let's start with collaborative weblog and see what turns up.



    Already there's assembled a core of keen Leith writing talent, eager to tread the boards in what promises soon to be in the Guardian Unlimited league. Launch in just 48 hours!

    The Leither (TM) will blow you away!
    RULES
  • I'm in charge.
  • No drug dealing. Absolutely none.
  • This includes contraband booze and fags.
  • No libel.
  • No - not even you know who.
  • Whilst it's perfectly in order to express an opinion (eg slimy sleazeball), calling a person (for instance) a "thieving get" will rapidly land you in court.
  • I'm not standing bail for you.
  • No more rules, unless I've missed anything out.
  • Oh - no healthy lifestyles, puhleeze. Everybody else does them, and they're so last century. This is a heart attack publication.
  • "This paper will make a difference!" The editor

    "This is exactly what the community doesn't need!" Glenda Hacksaw

    "It's so fashionable!" Dolly


    And you say? (17)   Link to this



    MUST DASH

    Big-ups to mike, Sheriff of Nottingham, on his acquisition of a hyphen. Well, he actually had a hyphen before, first low down, then central, then ultimately vanished like a snowflake on a radiator.

    Some of us go back a long way!

    All the news that's fit to print is now at

    www.troubled-diva.com

    PS: See also this for sheer style! *Envy*


    And you say? (1)   Link to this