Naked Blog

More famous than Susan Boyle!


Thursday, September 30, 2004

WAY TO GO

Waxing gibbousWay to go! Love that expression! It's really quite new, you know... I would guess five years old, max. First saw it on IRC, as you do so many. IRC was the cutting edge of the language then, until SMS txting came along. Now it would be harder to tell.

What am I waffling on about? Hehe.

Tonight in the Port there was a beautiful and wonderful and on-going demonstration of unconditional love about my bingo-calling competition tomorrow.

Thank you all so very much. And thank you my stranger-lovers in the comment boxes below. Home or away, I won't let any of you down. But I'm a contestant, not a judge, and judges do occasionally make the wrong decisions :)

"Up yer wee hairy bits!" as my pal Stuart was once wont to say. (It's a greeting, like, "Cheers!") How very much I miss him.


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24 HOURS

I shouldn't be sitting here, writing to you like this. If you've been following the plot you'll know exactly what will be happening in just one day from now. It's an electric chair phenomenon. Death by a thousand bingo dabbers.

So, having procrastinated until there's no more cras to protinate, today must contain elements of
haircut
buying a suit
enquiring about travel to the venue
After that, if they ever get done, there'll be rest and recreation. And the next time we meet I'll be a winner. Or someone else will!

My customers have been wonderful. Some colleagues also. But only some. But that's human nature.

Food For Thought
"There are so many blogs because people feel anguished about not being able to express themselves. People turn to the internet because they discover that a relationship with 'the internet' is easier and cleaner than actually walking up to someone and having a conversation. On a weblog, you can say whatever you want for as long as you want, and for a lot of people this feels significant. Of course, it is all an illusion, and people are no better off for just dumping their mental states onto the world wide web - it's all so terrifyingly hollow. It occurs to me as I flick through blogs that these people did this to be loved by strangers, and I just can't find anything they have to say pleasing or profound or useful. It's quite depressing, actually."
This is by matt, in anna's comment box. I'm keen to hear what you think. (Not surprisingly!)

Note to the author: I've lifted your comment without your permission. Say the word and I'll remove it. It's just that it hits the very essence of what we try to enquire about here. Thank you for that.


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Wednesday, September 29, 2004

48 HOURS

The BBC have made an online Hitchhiker text adventure. For those of you too young to have a clue what that is, then type in the following instructions, one at a time. (Swipe your cursor to read.)

switch on light
look
get out of bed
take dressing gown
put on dressing gown
look in pocket
eat buffered analgesic
take toothbrush


And so on and so on. Me, I'm bored already, but for those of you at work, if you've run out of blogs to read, it could be just the thing to invest your employer's money in. (Jealous? Moi?) (Via Diamond Geezer)

ARMLESS AND LEGLESS

A thalidomide guy came into the bar yesterday. (This is true.) He has a right arm about one foot long, with two digits on the end. Of a left arm there is no sign. Still he managed to drink some pints, read some papers, and so on. He does quite a turn round the bars playing pool.

But it was his t-shirt that got everyone's approval. It said in big letters...

NO JOB, NO MONEY
NO GIRLFRIEND ARMS


You couldn't make it up.

Marianne Faithfull came on singing "As Tears Go By". The original, not the later ironic version. I must have visibly brightened. "Do you like that one, Peter?" asked barmaid Lindsay, 26. "I was nineteen when it came out!" I laughed. "Of course I fucking like it."

Middlesbrough Bob said at one time he would never have dreamt he'd be sitting at a bar between two gay men. (Me and Robin(DCMGIASQN))

In these small ways...


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Monday, September 27, 2004

NOT REALLY HELPING THE TROUBLED WATER

What do you call someone who sits for an hour with two other people, waiting for a game of bridge to form (requiring one more player), then ducks out the minute two appear at once?

Answer: why, Peter, of course. The man with no competitive backbone. The man who never says no. Who always tries to please, no matter what the personal cost to himself. It's always, always me who drops out when there are five players. Always. My life and my presence are quite worthless to everyone.



Naked Blog is closing for a few days now, as my employers all read it, and I see no reason why I should divulge any further thoughts and actions about the bingo competition. When you pay peanuts you get a monkey - it's a well known fact. Plus there's far too much commercial interest hanging on that result, and right now I feel like Dr David Kelly.

Dr Kelly without a bridge game. I really can't remember when last I was so unsettled.

Laterz, dudes.


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BELLE DE NAKED DIVA

Heavens to Betsy! We're now number five in the discovered universe for Natasha Kaplinsky - way ahead of pesky little set-ups like Hello Magazine and Sky News. And that's not Natasha naked. Quite fully dressed. Decorum, darling.

Just imagine what any of her myriad fanclubs would give to be on Google Page 1 ! (Is that a genuine exclamation?) Hehe. Send in your dollars anyway and I'll tell you my secret! Mebbe.



Oh - she's bound to read Naked Blog... even if we never did quite catch Christian Slater's attention. Now what would it take to get her to leave a little comment? And how would we know it was genuine?

Julie Burchill once left one you know, straight after the first Guardian Bloglist. (You'll see us there, a few inches below Belle.) But unkind critics jumped right in and said it was fake and I believed them.

News Extra: If you take a wee peep at the Google thing in the first sentence above, you'll notice the close proximity of a certain Nottingham-based cyber-rag. So that's how to get big in the charts. You'll also notice the presence of my own wee oeuvre nearby. Then imagine what would happen if you put ding dong Belle in as well! Guaranteed smasheroo!

Belle de Naked Diva You couldn't make it up!



Thanks for your kind and much appreciated good wishes after the post below, and sorry my mood seems to collapse a bit at the end. It's that time of year. Plus I'd forgotten just how long and busy and tiring a Saturday is at the bingo. Today is infinitely better.

Job blogs? We been doing it for years, matey. Probably the first one.

Post of of the Day

...is on No, Luton Airport, and it's about amniocentesis. Quite exquisite, as Tony shares an expectant father's thoughts. There have been family blogs before, and this one will soon join the greats, I confidently predict. Read it, then please reward him with a link, and help get No, Luton Airport on the map. The words "born to blog" might spring into your mind, along with maybe a tear.

And yes, of course he's me mate. But since when did that ever get anyone an endorsement here?


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Sunday, September 26, 2004

THE EXCLAIMERS

It's been a while since I've mentioned any other blog posts, as (a) I'm totally self-centered, and (b) we all read the same ones anyway, so it can be a waste of expensive bandwidth. (Could also include stuff on the lines of, "Other people are a mistake," but that's been said before, and by a much wittier man than me.)

Shut up Peter, and get on with it.

OK - anna of little red boat writes a fun but thought-provoking piece about the exclamation mark. Your writing will never be the same again.

Me, I have this rebellious streak, so look out for loads more of the wee buggers from now on!



Tony Blair was on BBC Breakfast with Frost. He was quite good, as was interviewer David Frost. The homepage is here, but don't click it - it's still set on last week's programme. Obviously hiring people to work on Sundays is not what the BBC is about.

Anyway - the emphasis now is that we're in Iraq to fight not Iraqis but global terrorists from outside. (Three times the PM said that, without once mentioning which bit of "outside" the global terrorists come from. The globe, presumably.) We have to stay in Iraq and fight them, or else they will have won.

Fox-hunting he refused to be drawn on, and about a smoking ban he said the Health Secretary was soon to make a statement. I would hope my Government is strong enough to face up to Big Tobacco. I would hope that.

But education is the priority. And careers, not just jobs. Guess that rules my job out, then!



Today, this Sunday morning, I feel old. And tired. With a larynx full of phlegm, and upper chest hurting from two working days of smoke inhalation. "Bring on the (smoking) ban!" exclaimed one of my young colleagues, but it'll never happen. John Reid will find some way round, some pussy-foot exemption, for industries like bingo and casinos which would be wiped out by a smoking ban. What's more important, money or workers' health?

So it's breathe their filthy smoke or look for another job. Hmmm. At my age?

(Thinks: they must have bingo in Ireland; what's happened to the business there?) All the discussion I've read has centred on Dublin pubs, and nothing else.



Five days to the bingo-calling competition. It's a lose-lose situation, so the best I can hope for is, "losing with dignity after a good try." To win would be the nightmare of nightmares. There's to be one winner, and everyone else is second. How civilised is that? (I might actually become mentally ill, as well as physically, before Friday. Can feel it gnawing around the edges.)

Anyone less competitive than me I've yet to meet. The very idea of competing - in anything - gives me total anxiety attacks. Couldn't even win an argument, as my bingo ladies say when they're feeling unsuccessful.

I can't even phone people, in case they don't want to talk to me.


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Friday, September 24, 2004

SEVEN DAYS

One week from today and I'll be gelling up me hair, polishing what's left of me teeth, and frantically trying to think of some crap jokes. Jokes suitable for an audience ranging from rampant drunken lezzers to sweet and holy church-goers. Bingo these days is not so much a broad church as drive-in bloody cathedral.

There's a whole busload going through to the "wild" west to support me. It's getting real now. Just seven days. Haven't done a single thing in preparation.

I'm to be chaperoned separately to the near-Glasgow venue by Andy my young gay manager. The company decided, probably correctly, that he would be the most familiar and calming influence. No need to butch it up. After the gig I understand the contestants get a free bar for the rest of the day. Me, I just can't see it. It would mean talking to people I don't know. So maybe I'll just hang onto Andy's coat-tails. He's totally OTT.



Tony my IT Manager says I should win it and then get on daytime TV. I said I never watch daytime TV because it's too common. Babs' son (12) gave Tony and me some coaching on Grand Theft Auto Vice City. We're both stuck round about the same part, roughly four percent in. I wonder how many people buy games and never get beyond the first four percent. Just now I'm stuck on Vice City, Manhunt, Wolfenstein, Half Life, Desert Strike and probably loads more. I've also ordered San Andreas, praying I'll be able to take it back to the shop, saying "It's got a fault."

I think the sheer difficulty of games will militate against their market success. How do you simultaneously satisfy an army of obsessives who want it as demanding as possible, whilst at the same time catering to your elderly players who want to complete it in say, twenty or thirty hours? That's complete. Get everything you paid for.



OK. Back to work now to look at the scaffolders old dears, for the last full weekend before next Friday's ordeal. Let me leave you with a spammer a day to make you smile.
Decorum H. Smuggled
Slayer F. Paperwork
Tyrannical O. Skater
Unborn B. Kindred
Classical F. Cistern
Papal S. Cardboard, and finally
Hollered J. Eruditely
How do they make them up?

PS: The Leither.net is on cracking form right now, with twin local topics being the proposed new waste dump in Salamander Street, and the working girls in Baltic Street right next door. It's nearly as good as living here! There's also a specially-commissioned piece by yours truly...

PPS: Today my smoking quitmeter on the sidebar nudges into three thousand quid saved. Yay me, and Allen Carr. God knows where it's gone though! I've hardly got that many pence to my name. Must have had a damn good time over the fifteen months is all I can say!


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Thursday, September 23, 2004

BACK TO WHERE YOU ONCE BELONGED

Work yesterday was fine. They've got the main hall decked out in scaffolding now, as I predicted. It's a former cinema. That's real cinema, not multiplex. So you know how big that is.

No hardhats, but there was a dropdead gorgeous guy called Craig who seems to be in charge of it all. Tall, partly Weegie, light coating of dust, New York T-shirt, 501's and rigger boots. (Not that I was looking of course.)

I was so pleased Andy my young gay manager was having a day off, as he would have wet himself on the spot. Queens love scaffolders. Well, anything manly really. Firemen. Cops. Not so much footballers these days as they advertise perfume and marry ridiculous popstars.

Me I would have shown Craig exactly where to attach his clamps. But then I'm almost a hundred, as you know, so I just kept me gob shut and ate my fish tea like old people do. (Fifty percent off for staff.) Little Alex found it all highly amusing.



"What's this scaffolding for?" a hundred and one old ladies asked me. "It's for hanging the customers we don't like!" was one suitable answer. "It's a big exercise frame - to keep yer supple!" was another. By the evening shift I'd got so bored with the scaffolding I told the hall we were keeping it permanently as a decorative feature. I had visions of glitterballs, lasers and naked pole dancers. Pink and green smoke gushing out onto cocaine-crazed, white-haired bingo players - betting their entire pension book on one turn of the cards.

"New York Subway 1979," I announced, but then I noticed the duty manager looking startled, so I pulled the plug on that particular line. They just don't appreciate my wit. But sometimes I think I do go a bit too far.


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Wednesday, September 22, 2004

NAKED BLOG - THE MUSICAL

You haven't really "arrived" in blogworld until you've been set to music. Like me. With this.

One minute there I was listening to Benny, Bjorn and Anni-Frid having a Mamma Mia reunion, when what should suddenly pop into my comment box but mike's tribute to TALKING HEADS. (My story of that name, not the band, silly.) Four or five screens down.

It's all very wonderful. Very late Marianne Faithfull. Totally radical. Thanks, mike.
Update: Today mike writes that although he was prepared to perform the piece, he doesn't wish to be associated with certain sentiments expressed there. Specifically the Belle de Jour bit. He's asked that the link not be publicised here, but that you find it in the relevant comment box, and also read his disclaimer there. I've now written an additional commentary myself, as if one person expressed concerns, then doubtless others will have them too. Sandra and Babs were startled also.
Comment box and link are here...


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HI HO

And that's my autumn holiday over. Thanks for bearing with me through the ups and downs. It was - as ever - quite a ride, surviving nine unstructured days. "Mammy, I'm bored!" Now we're back to bills and laundry and wondering whether my larynx will last to the end of the shift.

Plus they're doing a multi-million pound refurbishment to complement my sudden elevation in the industry. It'll mean dust and hard hats wherever you look. It'll mean having to strut my stuff to the full stare of handsome, hung studs with toolbelts hanging off their thirty-inch waists.

Too late to diet now, and a facelift wouldn't help. Ah well. I've had my day. It's just that this present lot wouldn't have been born then. (Sigh.) Time passes.

MENTAL AS ANYTHING

Although I've shared some of the emotional swings of the last few days, because it's good to share, there've been other, much worse times over the years. One I remember vividly when I worked in another job and somehow ended up with a whole fortnight off in February. Dark, dismal and depressed.

So I stocked up on recreationals, and sat on the floor in the corner of the room typing on IRC for almost the entire time. Not washing, shaving or anything. Only sneaking out in the dark to the fish and chip shop once a day.



IRC works best with slightly altered consciousness. Then you get much more feeling of "reality" of the people. Instead of simply reading a name, say BuiltStr8inLA you see him there in all his glory. When you "join" a chatroom, rather than just your own nickname appearing in an alphabetical list, there's a feeling you've walked into an actual room. "Hi there! I'm nervous :)"

Immersion helps. After ten hours solid they get even more real, and after twenty they're there in your home beside you, whispering. After thirty hours you can be in serious difficulty, and probably find it hard to stop. You can't simply switch off as then your electronic world would disappear, which is scary.



At the end of the fortnight, on the last night before work, I did switch off my so deeply involved little world and wrote this one for you.

INTERNET RELAY SPLAT! February, 1999
I shouldn't be here you know, writing like this. I'm on holiday, goddammit.

"Where did you go?" they'll very reasonably ask. But what can you say? How can they possibly understand?

"Oh, I explored more of Cyberspace" I could reply. "I held hands and laughed and loved!" They'll appreciate that - except my friends were thousands of miles away. Read more...
It was fun then. We really did feel like pioneers.


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Googlewhack!

Pifubing Xueduwan Does it still count if it's in Chinese?


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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

THE FINAL CURTAIN

Gimmee the moonlight...No! It's all been too wonderful, too precious to share. (What a tease!)

Back to the bingo grind tomorrow. Can't wait. Larynx is rested. Body is rested. Mind is calm and centred. Alcohol will soon be history.

For now.

Last Resort is a BBC filmed play I watched last night. Mind-blowing. You must try to see it. Has occupied much of my day today, and you couldn't ever say that about Graham Norton or Supermarket Sweep. Britain through the eyes of a refugee. Fiction though - not all grim bleakness. Nice story. Multi awards, the BBC page says. Doesn't surprise me one bit.

Tomorrow morning I'll share with you an "end of holiday" tale from 199-something. It's one of my favourites. About drugs and IRC. (Internet Relay Chat.)

And now you've got me waxing all wild frontierish! Davy Crockett.


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HAPPY EQUINOX!

Just noticed the date. That's what happens when you don't work for a week. You forget to look at the date. Normally (wrong word, dude - try usually), I also forget to shave, shower and wash my clothes... but had a fair stab at those this time. All in all, not too bad, hygiene-wise.

What's Yer Poison?

I've laughed in the past at people who ascribe "effects" to different drinks. "Such and such makes me depressed..." or "So and so drives me nuts..." That sort of thing. If I were to think about it for a moment, I would say that "Guinness makes me slow, sleepy and fat." And, "Spirits are too dear in a pub and don't last long enough." And, "Drinking from wine boxes in your house quite quickly makes you an alcoholic."

It was the slow, sleepy and fat I was undesirous of yesterday, so chose Stella Artois for a wee change instead. "Strong lager makes me drunk very quickly." And it did. Then on to the "house" Sauvignon Blanc with Gordon the famous Sci-Fi writer. (Small glasses only.) "White wine on top of strong lager is just plain stupid. Are you 57 or 17?"



Gordon was writing on his cute little palmtop while reading the paper at the same time. G2. I swear he earns about a hundred quid a word. Jealous? Moi? He provokes me into saying funny and interesting things then uses them in his oeuvre. I swear it's true.

Then someone else came in who didn't please me, so rather than make a scene I left. The rest of the day was now ruined, alcoholically, but it was still only 4pm. Hero to zero in two short hours. Plus I'd spent thirty quid.

I hear the Port was one fight after another over the weekend. Little Alex waltzed over intending to say hello, but instead he just said, "You're pissed!" That'll give them something to talk about at work... "Bingo Caller Of The Year Pissed in Port Sensation!" I can just see the headline. "It's a fair cop!" Peter called out, as Constable Gates, (21) with acne and blonde hair led him screaming to the cells. "Where's my broadband connection!! I've got to blog about this... My public needs me..."

In Other News...

It's sunny. It's the last day of my holiday. I'll shortly be off out to get pissed again. Like we did last summer.

If I don't drink I don't talk. And if I don't talk, well - then there is no Naked Blog. How I suffer and sacrifice for my art. Ars gratia artis. And of course for you, darling.

Drink problem? Nae problem. Drink, get drunk, fall over. Nae problem, as I just said. Repeating myself.



Have a lovely equinox, as the northern hemisphere slips into dark mode for six months, and our southern sisters ascend into the full sunshine of Super Trouper. Jealous? Moi?

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy starts today on Radio 4. They're webcasting each episode for a week also. I've still got the entire first series on C90 cassette. They're repeating that one also.

Equinox Update: It's at 16.30 tomorrow, apparently. Never let the truth get in the way of a good story. Thanks to terreus, astrologer to the stars.

The article below is unpleasant and due to its high alcoholic content should not be read by anyone...


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Monday, September 20, 2004

TALKING HEADS

If this happens again, that's it6 pm

Horrible people.

All day long.

Hate everybody. Specially Matthew and Gordon. Taking the piss out of the oldboy. Their day will come.

He was only trying to converse. Won't ever intrude again. Avoid la Village.

Spent a fortune, mostly in pubs.

But alcohol sucks.

Got to be the next thing to go.

After tobacco. Prohibition works.



Intoxication is not compulsory, you know. Any intoxication.

Except in the doctor's surgery. Office.

What is the Deaf community?

Is it like the gay community? A single issue handicap that (doesn't) bonds you to fellow sufferers?

And why does the telly always show deaf as Deaf?

Makes yer wonder.

Had some great shags off deaf/Deaf guys.

Just don't look behind their ears at the ironmongery, but grunt really loud as they fuck ya.



Even little Alex didn't cheer me up in the Port.

Guy Christmas punched Big Straight Al, for chatting up his woman -

- on Saturday night. I wrote about Saturday night already.

Men. Doncha just luvvem?

There are speaking men and there are fucking men.

Maybe my left thumb is well enough for Playstation now.

Essential to keep me away from people.

Qu'est-ce que c'est?

Only prostitutes sell writing for money.




Belle de Jour has stopped.

How does a Jewish prostitute make a living?

To take a foreskin up her minge?

How can she go to Jewess heaven after that?

Goyim cheese in the diaspora.

PS: (My life is in ruins. Never let yours be. Fuck them before they fuck you.)

It's dog eat dog out there.


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YOU COULDN'T MAKE IT UP #317

Fancied a change of outfit before I nipped out for the day, so picked up a pullover only to find two moths mating on it.

Regular readers of Naked Mansions will be used to the idea of "home as wildlife sanctuary", but even I draw the line at that. Buggers didn't even stop. Had to flick them off.

Any sex in my flat and I want in on the action.


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REFLECTIONS OF

If ever there was a day for "staying in" then yesterday was that day. Cloud, rain and wind rising to gale. Great for getting those pesky birdshits off the windows.

Oh there were plans of course! Even by eleven in the morning I was raring to go... off out to enjoy a Sunday of leisure like normal people do. The Village for Sunday brunch and then a yakkety yak.

But it didn't gonna happen dude. Got stuck here at the PC. Then moved onto Playstation with Half Life, which is idiotic like all console games. At least it doesn't fuck your right thumb though. Fight! Fight! Kill! Kill! Die! Die! Fuck Me I'm losing! (Each of those requiring a percussive use of R1 - as handologists would doubtless call it.)



Then it was early evening, dusky, but there still was time to go out, so I dined lightly on Tuna Pasta Bake by Iceland. (So as not to fall asleep and tempt the rats.) On the telly, Sir Andrew Davis was very boring on Sir Edward Elgar, who seemed equally boring himself, and wrote shite, boring music.
There is no English music. Or rather there wasn't until 1963 and the advents of Lennon, McCartney, Jagger and Richards. And no, Herr Handel doesn't count, even if it is decent stuff and he did write it here.
Then more Half Life until my left thumb started kicking in. Effing agony, and all from just working the direction joystick. Almost in tears. That's at various times this holiday: both shoulders, neck and now left thumb to contend with. I could swear I'm coming down with rheumatoid arthritis.

Greg Dyke stuck the knife into Tony Blair and Alastair Campbell, but nobody listened. He's history. Bought his way into the BBC job with 55,000 quid, apparently. Nice teeth for his age.

Fuck it - it's raining, I'm staying in...

An hour of "The Real Diana Ross" on Channel Five. I love Channel Five's "star exposes". So totally trashy, and they never have anyone on them who actually matters. (Although, to be fair, this one contained Robin Gibb, complete with schemiechav ballcap.)

The people who would have the most to say about Miss Ross, ie her five children, were obviously missing.
You know, Joan Crawford gave a gift beyond price to showbusiness when she so publicly cut her kids out of the will. My God doesn't that thought just keep them all shut up - until the old goat croaks it, at least. Then it's who can get to the tabloids first. Oh - I should have been a real star's child... I just know it... instead of simply my poor mother who had all of the histrionics, but none of the career.
Diana Ross was iconic to us, gay and straight, at that time. Whilst Dylan, The Beatles and Stones started out during our later schooldays, The Supremes - as they first were - seemed to wait till we went up to University. Super-premes we used to say, saving our grant money till we had the seven and elevenpence to buy that week's hit. Times you had to choose between a Beatle, a Stone, a Supreme, or A Whiter Shade of Pale.

Glory days, of course. Youth does that to people! I've still got most of the Supremes ouevre on 45's.

Then it became "Diana Ross and the Supremes". (We noticed the change, but couldn't disapprove.) Florence Ballard giving way to Cindy Birdsong - is that how it happened? What a name, anyway! (Even though we called her Cindy Birdshit. We were very young :)

Play For The Day

Can't finish without a small mention of another Dyke... Offa's Dyke, a BBC filmed play later in the evening. Really nice. Warm glow stuff. Hovis and tomato soup, and lots of English scenery. Normally I can't watch British drama because it's so appalling... cheap, amateurish and shockingly badly written. But this one done good. Quite good. Pauline Quirke was never over-stretched.

OK - it's still only 9.30 of the am, but that's it for now, folks. Today looks like sun and wind, so must get out there amongst it. No more Playstation till my thumb gets better anyway, and Daytime TV is one of the few bad habits I've managed to avoid. Me, I would choose depression over Trisha any day. At least those dramas I write myself!

Tara Chuck!


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Sunday, September 19, 2004

WHEN YOU'RE STRANGE...

Absolutely ghastly day yesterday. They get worse and worse. This must go down on record as the worst holiday I've ever had. Three more days to go, then back to bingo hell which will be even worse still. If ever anyone was put on this earth to suffer! Suffer alone.

Talked to: (listened to): Rena (about fiance Big Straight Al), Chav Gav (vaults under the High Street), Paul (his children), Ron (Naked Blog), Gwen (The Leither.net), Richard (his heterosexuality), Dean (his college courses), Brian (Half Life), Ju (glass fibre), Pamela (what are you doing here on a Saturday night?), Gazza (kindly wiped a seat dry for me), Mary (bottle of Carlsberg, please), Richard II (getting cold outside), Stewart (his radio show), Karen (Sandra), Karen's daughter (movies she's recently seen), Sandra (see you on Monday, that's definite), Johnny (hi there), Guy (his magazine empire), Tina Turntable (life as a leading DJ).

Communicated with: No-one at all. Not one person. Nemo. Life's a bitch. When you're strange.



You know you're getting emotionally fucked up when the most significant interactions happen in comment boxes. When you look forward to escaping from "real" people to the safety and comfort of the screen. And - let's face it - greater interest. Really, really worrying.

Start blogging at your absolute peril. Just say no.

More gloom below...!


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Saturday, September 18, 2004

NIGHTMARE ON CONSTITUTION STREET

The cow jumped over the moonDon't ever think of sitting outside the Port o Leith Bar for a quiet drink on a Saturday night. Don't even go there.

The interior was something straight out of Hieronymus Bosch, so I invested just one pound in a bottle of Carlsberg, for maximum economy, then decamped outside into the seriously cold but hitherto peaceful plastic sidewalk furniture. (Lots of pubs nowadays have tables outside. It's an attempt to look European.)

And hitherto's the only game in town. In no minutes flat it was every bit as ghastly outside as in. I just couldn't believe how much pavement activity could happen in Scotland in late September in the near dark - as I sat there with my beer trying to chill.

Drug deals right in front of you... dealer plus three Upper Middles. And dog. Must be powders with their probable income. Please go away. You've done the biz now so why don't you all fuck off? Cut the chat - you despise him really, so why pretend otherwise? It's late, the sun's down and soon there'll be no more outside to sit in. Go away. Give me some peace. Please.

Alone again, naturally...

Then someone starts asking you to be on their radio show. No thanks. Got to keep rested for the bingo comp. Bingo rules everything for a week or two. Give me some peace. Please.

People you hardly know. Plus children. People you know quite well. "How are you?" "Trying to be alone - no offence, but." People telling you about someone in their work who's got cancer, and every last symptom thereof. Why does cannabis turn people into such twats?

No! Fuck off! Tell someone who cares! Give me some peace. Please.

Then even the dealer takes his mobile off his ear for a minute and starts chatting.

No! Fuck off! Does this look like a face that's gonna give you my hard-earned money? I think not.

And that was my quiet half hour outside the local pub. I'll never again regret working Saturday nights at the bingo.


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TEST

This is a special test post to generate a special comment box to see if it works or not.

It also serves to test whether I'm actually capable of not writing anything.

So, with every reserve of will-power I've got,

I'll say,

Full stop,

Period.


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Friday, September 17, 2004

AND SOLITAIRE'S THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN

The cow jumped over the moonIn any one year I get four weeks' holiday. This, for me, means four weekends. And today is one of them. I have worked on average 13 weekends to achieve this Friday evening, and how am I spending it? Well, I can tell you. Utterly and completely, totally and irrevocably alone.

The summit and climax of 57 years on the planet, and I can't even have company for one of four Fridays off a year.

Pathetic. Not fit to live. Why don't we just get the next twenty years over with right now? Give the rats a real Big Mac treat, eh?
"I ate his prostate."
"Yeah? What did it taste like?"
"Stilton... Gruyere... Whadya expect at his age?"
"After you with that eyeball, dude..."
(I always was a lonely child, they used to tell me - those who knew or even bothered slightly.)



Tonight in the Port I talked to (or rather listened to) a man who has a paralysed left arm from a motorbike accident. He smokes dope for the nerve pain and wishes it was on prescription. I told him I used to smoke it in the nineties but now it just puts me to sleep. Plus I won't ever ingest nicotine again, in any shape, manner or form. I said it was a shame he had a paralysed arm, but lots of people can't walk.

Claire (Princess Test Tube) was there and she's given up men and is now dating a young woman. Camilla. She said it was all right to blog about it, so there we go. Enjoy the furry cup, mon cheri. As she left I told her she'd be back on the cock some time and she agreed, probably.



No Comment: Comments/hosting Donald Ducked again. This is becoming really quite tedious now. Seems to happen in the am, get fixed by the host, then break again the next am. Quite unacceptable. Sorry to all three who might have commented today.

(Those who follow the plot might notice that this is yet another thing to use up and waste my precious holiday hours. Like the rats. And the clanky manhole cover in the street. And the alternating frozen shoulders. Did I tell you about the frozen shoulders... ? Oh - and the Council Tax have sent no less than three letters this week. Let's not even go there.)

The point and purpose of going away on a vacation is not to enjoy some new place, but simply to escape from where you're already at. It's a nightmare. Fuck it! I'm out of here. See ya when I see ya. Have a great Saturday.


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MONEY MONEY MONEY

Bandwidth exceeded... blah blah blah. Hard disk quota exceeded... blah blah blah. Do you want to pay by Switch?... blah blah blah. The only people making money from the blogging craze are ISP's and hosting companies.

Do you know that every year I have to work three entire weeks at bingo hell just to bring you this stupid ouevre? This set of banal scribbles which no-one wants to read anyway because they're looking for Natasha Kaplinsky naked and they're too stupid to realise that if you type that into Google then that's exactly what you'll get. The WORDS Natasha Kaplinsky naked - and even then not necessarily in the same sentence. Fuckwits.



In three hours time my holiday will be half over. What have I achieved? One hour by the beach, and one in a botanic garden. Last night I must have been so starved of actual activity that I dreamt I was in an aeroplane for gawd's sake.

OK I woke before it left the ground, but at least that's a little progress. The woman in the seat in front of me had a large black dog, which I befriended for a bit but then told her it would have to get back in its seat as I had to worry about crashing. I noticed it had spilt its water bowl over the plane floor, which it occurred to me might help put out any fire.

The male steward was camp, in his forties, and I thought the pilot was a bit rough with the reversing. We were taxi-ing along the streets of Middlesex on our way to the runway. Then there was a large field to my left, with a stream in the middle of it. Again the water theme. I don't think we're quite yet ready for an actual flight.



It's becoming really quite scary with the bingo competition. I have this complete horror of winning it and collapsing in hysterics at the foot of the Las Vegas plane steps. "Darlings - I can't go on!" But I've stupidly signed a thing saying I'll co-operate in any publicity, which technically might mean they can force me to go to Vegas, as there's publicity involved in the holiday.

Plus I'm sure my employer has invested a three figure sum in the project by now. There will be pressures ahead. They're even chaperoning me to the venue to make sure I arrive. Two weeks today. Eek! It's really not fair at my age. I only said yes because he'd just awarded me a promotion.

The absolute thought of having any more newspaper coverage fills me with dread. Completely private person. Apart from this which mostly anonymous. And very expensive. How I suffer for my art.

If I win the Scottish final of the competition, which is by no means out of the question, then we're talking very deep doo-doo indeed. Just think how much pressure there'll be to go on to the UK final in London, as against the approbation were I then to withdraw, and my club lose all that publicity. I'm feeling far too much money is resting on my elderly frail shoulders, for and from which I myself get nada. Not one cent. Graham Norton or Paul O'Grady would collapse on the floor and shag their agents in laughter at the very idea.

Worrying indeed. And I'm full of cold. Exploited by everybody.

No Comment: Sorted! For now...

Nor, sadly, are you able to leave your sympathetic good wishes at the moment. This is due to an ongoing comment problem, which Tony my IT Manager is currently looking into with the heavenly host. It's tough at the top. I know just how Lauren Bacall must have felt with Nicole Kidman. Tony does far too much work for this site, and won't take a penny in payment. Kidman was legendary in Dogville, though.


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Thursday, September 16, 2004

TALLY HO!

Heavens to Betsy! Yet another breach of the House of Commons security as pro-hunt protestors storm a debate.

One of them was Otis Ferry, son of Brian Ferry the Geordie ex-singer, and we have to ask what sort of parent would lumber their kid with a name like Otis.

No-one appears to have been hurt.

The Naked Blog view on fox-hunting is that it is barbaric to set a pack of drooling, ravenous dogs on to a hapless fox going about its natural business of eating livestock. The various firearms acts allow farmers to shoot foxes and surely that is enough.

I'd be interested to hear any differing opinions.

No Comment

Except it would be rather difficult due to this comment box being f*cked. (Worry not, my valued correspondents... your contributions are quite saved, and I'm sure will be restored in the fullness.)

Tony my IT manager, who designed this until recently faultless comment system, has offered various suggestions as to the cause of its recent indisposition. All of which lead me to believe he "hasnae a clue", as they say in the posher parts of Glesgae.

Me I think it's just got too big. Creaking under the weight of so much collected wisdom.

Comment Update:

I deleted the post and replaced it, thinking maybe a new number might help. (They're awfully long numbers. Bound to be errors, like in cell division.) Then when I tried to comment, "test", what I got was...
Warning: fopen(comments/109537046517903527.comment): failed to open stream: Disk quota exceeded in /vol/home/magnificat/public_html/annotate.php on line 28

Warning: fwrite(): supplied argument is not a valid stream resource in /vol/home/magnificat/public_html/annotate.php on line 29

Warning: fclose(): supplied argument is not a valid stream resource in /vol/home/magnificat/public_html/annotate.php on line 30
Hopefully that'll mean something to some of you techie types!

So then I posted the comments for this post into the box below, but then it broke also. Just seems so rude to lose people's kind contributions. It's not that we're usually overloaded.

It's a nightmare. I might as well go to bed.


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MIRROR, MIRROR

Feeling sneezy and dopey, but nevertheless quite happy. Unlike poor Babs whose mother was rushed to hospital yesterday. She'd fallen in her house and it was some time before the discovery. Babs is understandably distraught. Best wishes to mum for a speedy return to the rudest of rude.

Andy her fella was there too, comforting her, and Pamela the barmaid, whom I haven't seen for months on end. Pam had bought a Pop Up Tent for five quid from the bag people. (Bag people go around bars selling junk from large shoulder bags they have to lug around. Watches, calculators, kiddies books and toys.)



Later the bagmen returned and started selling Pop Up Tents outside the bar for just three quid. Robin (don't call me bisexual, I'm a screaming queen now) bought one for his son. Well, I couldn't help noticing the price discrepancy, so I flounced back in and informed Pamela her five pound tent was now going for just three quid! Forty percent off!! (I actually shouted it down the length of the bar, so all could appreciate the fun.)

Then she was right out there among them - hand stuck out for her two pound reduction. And she got it - nae messin'. Bar staff's goodwill is essential for the bag industry to happen.

Robin's pal Tel is very tasty. So I sneaked a peck on his cheek as I left. Then kissed Robin's hand. How regal is that, eh? In these little ways do our lives progress to their conclusions.

Rat Update: I don't think there was any presence last night, although it was a bit windy, and noisy from that. The Council still haven't fixed the clanky manhole cover in the street, which is far more disturbing than any rodent.

Talking of councils, halfway through the evening Big Dave handed me a letter which could change all our lives. Read on...


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WHAT A DUMP!

In a test of whether weblog can actually achieve anything in the real world, today the Leither.net features a disturbing Council plan to place Europe's largest "waste facility" bang in the middle of residential Leith. Salamander Street. (You might have read about Salamander Street here just a couple of days ago.)

There will be lots of lorries, lots of smell, and lots and lots of rats for our children to play with. (The ones that aren't run over by the lorries.) The City of Edinburgh Council have allegedly been trying to keep everyone in the dark about it.

Full Story...


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Wednesday, September 15, 2004

ROYAL BOTANIC GARDEN EDINBURGH

...was where Sandra and I desported ourselves yesterday. Specifically to this...
From 31 July 2004 to 26 September 2004
Earth from the Air
10am to 7pm, Fossil Lawn.
Free
Scottish premiere of this open-air exhibition, featuring 150 photographs by celebrated French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand. It captures the characteristics and patterns of the natural world from a unique aerial perspective, providing a breathtaking pictorial record of our planet today. In association with Birds Eye, wecommunic8, Impact Photos and the Scottish Executive.
No booking required.
Well, our gobs were both quite smacked. Some stunning photography, mounted outdoors in a "wander round" environment. Go there. You've got eleven more days. Plus the gardens themselves are a minor treat, especially as always the hothouses. Bring on the Triffids!

So impressed were Sandra and I that we even walked round a small "Bird's Eye" advertising tent - those purveyors of over-priced peas and fish fingers. My advice - enjoy the Bird's Eye free exhibition, but then do your shopping at Iceland which is far cheaper because they don't sponsor exhibitions. Never allow advertising to pay. It is essentially evil, and you could easily get rid of it.



The Terrace Cafe was a bit of a disgrace however. Sandra chose a cheese and onion pasty which she quite enjoyed, while I plumped for the chicken nuggets and chips/fries, the item which looked the most filling per penny. But the chips were so dry and shrivelled I had to refuse them and take feta cheese salad instead. And then when we took our seats on the terrace I found the nuggets were almost cold. So far we'd already made two complaints, as Sandra had to ask for a cleaner tea cup than the one first offered. So I sadly chewed my coldish nuggets.

Spent the evening in the Port, getting pissed. Chatted mostly to Womble, Robocop and Kolja, and fell out with Beth. So easy to do. Kissed Becky (18) on the cheek. Being a grand old queen has its perks! No rat disturbance overnight again. Today is earmarked for Babs. Holidays are fun!

Footnote!Zed and Quarsan (aka the Twat) are three today! Nip over to Belgium and leave a nice anniversary message!


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PUBLISHERS QUEUE HERE!

I'm so famous now I'm getting hungry for more. (I never told you about last week's newspaper feature, did I?) Now I'm even turning magazines down if I feel they're "not quite right for the brand".

There's this novel, you see. It's fabulous, of course. Wrote it twenty, yes twenty years ago, on the arrival of HIV/Aids into Leith. Leith was then called "The Aids Capital of Europe", a state the property developers would rather pretend had never happened.

Rather stupidly I gave up after insufficient rejections. But times have changed. Leith is so on the map now, thanks partly to Mr Welsh and even moreso to Naked Blog and my blogkiddies. (Although the book predates Trainspotting by half a decade.)

And I have changed remarkably too. More brass neck than a foundry. The time is right and the tide is high. p*e*t*e*r [at] thisdomain You'll never regret it. Could be the surprise smash hit of 2005.

Natasha - get that sofa dusted doon, hen!


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Tuesday, September 14, 2004

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG RAT CATCHER!

Hi! Sorry I missed you yesterday. What did you get up to?

Me I had a great time, walking the beach to get some decent air into my smoke-ravaged lungs. (After five days of non-stop bingo hell.) Then a bottle of Bud in The Regent at the top of Easter Road. It was the "old queen" hour of the afternoon - me and three others. I should have made some effort to chat, but was more thinking, "Thank God I'm not as old as them." Felt positively sprightly in comparison. Young gays can be so callous.

They were playing a remake of Bridge Over Troubled Water (with drum machine), if you can imagine that much ruination.
"Like a.... oomchacha oomchacha!
"Over... oomchacha oomchacha!
"I will... oomchacha oomchacha!
Only a faggot with one braincell could willingly listen to such garbage. You couldn't make it up.



Started off earlier in the Port o Leith, chatting to Mary, Robin (don't call me bisexual, I'm a screaming queen now), and Gerry not Guilty. Was good. Gerry offered to help me find a publisher for my novel. We'll see. Words are you know what. Then some posh people came in - media types, I reckoned - and I left him to schmooze his way into their company. "Hi - I'm Gerry Surname. QC. Retired now, of course..."

In no time at all they were buying him drinks, and then they all uppped and offed to somewhere more salubrious. Even a retired QC's gotta eat. (QC means Queen's Counsel. It's a high accolade in the legal profession here.)



To Salamander Street with its flotilla of heavy lorries/trucks bouncing along the damaged roadway. Going from A to B. Always A to B, and never the other direction. C just doesn't get a look in. Handsome, hunky drivers - some of them wearing women's knickers. (It's a well known fact.) Oh, the tales I could tell... and probably would, if someone would just offer publication. Even a retired bingo caller's gotta eat.

Past Elbe Street, off Cadiz Street, Dock Street...

Then Seafield Road, and cross over the rusted railway line to the pathway between the trees. Beside the sewage works, but today the smell was graciously missing. They've fenced off a lot of previously accessible scrubland, and built lagoons. "Deep Water!!" the sign said. "Keep Out!!" Shame. I preferred it the way it was before, with sea views over the top of endless acres of red and yellow flowery weeds.

There's something about this town which seems determined to stop Joe Public seeing the sea.



Descend to the first little bit of beach at the Matalan S-bend, but it was only a few hundred yards/metres before the high tide started lapping the sloping sea wall, cutting us off from the rest of the beach. I toyed with the idea of traversing the wall half way up, dangerous but exciting, then thought of my age and ditched the plan. One of these days before I'm sixty!

Seafield Road promenade then, not much to see... rocks and rotting railings. Why did they never paint them? Everybody knows you have to paint metalwork next to the sea. Jobs for the boys to replace them, I'm sure. They should get a move on. Desperately dangerous at the moment.

The next town along the coast from Leith is called Portobello - Edinburgh's own seaside resort. Walking up Bath Street (I think) I saw this wall plaque... "Sir Walter Scott frequently visited this house in blah blah years. The home of Lockhart his son-in-law." (Apparently his daughter doesn't merit a mention.)

You don't often think of famous people having families, and popping round for their tea. So, ever awkward, I did think about it a bit. I especially thought of Scott's trip from Edinburgh to Portobello, by horse-drawn carriage. Cloppety, cloppety! I wonder if he ever got robbed by highwaymen. (I tried once to read a Scott book (Ivanhoe?), but found it too much of a struggle. Boring as fuck, to be honest.)



Port o Leith Bar then, eventually, and Monday evening bridge with Mary, Tony my IT Manager and someone called Alastair whom I haven't encountered before. He seemed a little eccentric. Tony and I both had to ask him not to pick up the cards until the trick was finished. Rather than just quietly do that, he argued both times, which is frankly a bit tedious.

Little Alex was there offering a well-scrubbed foxy appearance for middle-aged and elderly homosexuals to enjoy. He chatted to Liz, Mary's twin sister, who's here from California. In Portobello I bought an ultrasonic rat repeller. You just plug it in and watch those rats scuttle! It worked. Mind you, there were none the night before either, before I bought it. I'm counting on them realising my home has nothing much to offer in the way of ratsnacks. Imagine if they chewed my broadband connection! Mary says they can chew into your fridge.

More holiday adventures tomorrow, Deo volente...


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Sunday, September 12, 2004

NOT A SINKING SHIP, APPARENTLY

I'm being eaten out of house and home. Yes, literally. The last couple of nights I've woken to the unmistakeable sound of unwanted mammalian visitors... scratch, scratch, shuffle, scratch...

I'd thought they were in the skirting, between my flat and Tom the actor next door.

But no - last night at precisely 5.12 am the awful truth was about to reveal itself. BANG! SCRATCH! BANG AGAIN! It would have woken even the dead.

"That's Tom having noisy nookie!" I thought, desperately trying to keep our homes in human hands.

Not gonna happen, dude.



Stumbling panic-stricken to the door, I yanked up the draught stopper (pair of old black trousers) to see a whole heap of sawdust on the carpet. And teethmarks on the door - ON THE INSIDE.

We are not alone. Intelligent company at last. The creatures are in here beside me as I sleep, trying to escape.
All of which vaguely mirrors my romantic career also, what little of it there's ever been. Meet up with them... wham, bam, thank you ma'am... then it's how quickly they can flee out the door. (Although chewing their way out would have been a whole new level of desperation.)
So is it mouse (Mus muris) or even rat (Rattus rattus)? The jury is out.

Mouse indications...

Much more common, therefore likely. They've been here before, two or three times over the thirty years. There are half a dozen mouseshits on the kitchen worktop, to warn them off.

Rat indications...

The noise is way too loud for mice. They've never been here before, so obviously don't know the easy way to the kitchen, which bypasses the living room altogether. (I'm currently sleeping in there for reasons of mess.) There's some building work in a conjoined property round the corner which leaves the structure wide open at street level to creature ingress. Could get a fox in there. Cheap and cheerful restaurants litter the environment.

But - most chilling of all - a mouse wouldn't have to chew to get under the door. There's easily enough of a gap already. How scary is that, eh?



So watch for the next shocking update from Rat Mansions. (Hint to self: avoid Frank Herbert novels.) And - as ever - that's my holiday completely ruined! Starts tomorrow.

Shift rubbish. Clean. Exterminate!! What sort of vacation is that?
Could you sleep with a rat just one metre from your feet, chewing wood? And what if they think I'm dead, not sleeping, and start chewing me? Rats have Weil's disease in their urine, and fleas in their fur. Sometimes plague fleas. It's a nightmare! I'm not kidding! Stop laughing in Belgium! I swear if I ever actually saw a rat in my home the shock would kill me...
If ever a person was born to be put in a home it's me. Just can't cope with domestic life. Where's that Shady Pines brochure? But you need money for a nice care home, as the minute the dosh runs dry you're out on the street, sitting on your suitcase. Me, I'd end up in some Social Work dump in Pilton. Staffed by psychos for added entertainment. (I've met some of them.)

Or I think you can be put in long term psychiatric care if the Social Work decides you're unable to look after yourself. The possibilities are endless... What a rosy future awaits me.



Bingo caller of the year chewed to death by angry rats! I can just see the headline. "He never called our numbers!" Bernice, the head of the rat colony, complained to the sheriff between puffs on her asthma inhaler. "It's always the same ones that win!"

How'm I gonna sleep? How'm I gonna meditate - with huge creatures running over my Marks and Spencer slippers? It's terrifying. Quentin was wrong. It might not get any worse after two years, but after ten the rats come in. My days are numbered on this earth, I just know it.

Sawdust on your carpet can and does change lives. Don't go there. Stay clean, and keep your skirtings accessible. I thought they wouldn't come with their bio-suits and sprays until after I'd died.
[Editor's note: The above is an example of sitting down intending to write an amusing piece for you, and getting more and more scared shitless as the reality sinks in. Sort of "live thinking". This time it's serious. The rodent people would see the mess and phone the Social Work who would see the mess and phone the Mental Health who would see the mess and probably Section* me. Sawdust. Or rather, toothdust. I'm scared to go back in that room. This house is my nightmare, my absolute downfall, the ruination of my life. Hate would be too mild a word, it it's technically possible to hate a non-living thing.]
*Section (v, UK slang) to compulsorily detain a person under Section something or other of the Mental Health Act. Requires just two signatures, a psychiatrist and a psychiatric social worker, and that's you banged up for the rest of your life, with no rights at all ever again. Medication Time!


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Saturday, September 11, 2004

DAY OF DAYS

On the news coverage, New York, USA. September, 2001
Naked Blog hasn't done very well in this crisis - in contrast to some others who have been superb. This space was never meant for such analysis and comment, being rather the home for light-hearted observations of life's peccadilloes. In the face of such horrific reality, we've tended to freeze like a rabbit in a headlight, out of steam and out of depth.

But neither have we behaved vulture-like, such as those unspeakable newsreaders who get their rocks off in the dusty catacombs of these dreadful days, each of them praying for their Hindenburg moment. Some were thrust much higher than they had flown before, as the Sultans of Soundbite were literally unable to get there. Now eclipsed by Adie, Bowen et al, they can at least tell their grandchildren, "I was there - and I reported it. I was there, and I gave the murderers the A-feature they'd prayed for, beyond their maddest, most twisted dreams. I was there, and I made no fucking difference at all." Naked Blog, September 2001
It would be lovely to sit and write, three years later, that a much better world has risen from the ashes. But has it? Peace and love to all who come here, often or occasionally, on this the darkest of human days.


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Friday, September 10, 2004

THE LIMITS OF BLOG, AND WHY WORDS ARE SO FUCKING CHEAP

Three years ago tomorrow, something happened which generated more media coverage than anything previously in my lifetime. It also led to two whole countries being bombed to buggery. Essentially ruined.

More words were written then, in book, magazine, newspaper and blog (including this one) than on any other matter I can recall. The Guardian even hired novelists, those masters of reality, to pour out their otherwise unsaleable musings.

And what did all those millions, nay billions, of words achieve? Precisely and exactly nothing. The only words which mattered were those of US President Bush and US Defence Secretary Rumsfeld. And their subsequent deeds.



We as bloggers wrote our fledgling hearts out. I know I did. Urgently, as if somehow we might contribute maybe one unthought-of thought, or give one lone reader somewhere some tiny comfort.

But you learn. With more time comes more maturity. You appreciate the difference between blog and newsprint. They're paid to do it. They have access to researchers, newswires and fact-checkers that you can never have. A major news piece in a broadsheet is a product of dozens or possibly hundreds of man-hours. Time that you, the blogging hobbyist, can never ever afford. Nor why should you, when so many can do it so well for you, for the price of half a pint or less?

Then almost three years later comes Beslan and you think, "I know nothing of this. Without one single accurate idea of what's behind it, then my thoughts and words are worse than useless." So you write nothing. For a while. You appreciate the limit of your own humble literary effort, the smallness of its reach, and you accept that not one single person affected by Beslan will ever, nor probably could ever, read your scribbles.

Your silence is your maturity, and your acceptance that you're as insignificant in September 2004 as you were in 2001. You never did get "discovered". Then maybe you write about pop music. Something to cheer people up a bit.



So to that woman I read last night who so viciously criticises British blogdom for "ignoring" Beslan, then I say madam I utterly disagree.
Bah to them, the pissant blogging idiots who can't allow themselves to live in the world. Bah to them. Read more... (Scroll down to September 04)
(My own 9/11 starts here and works upwards. It was probably helpful at the time, but only to me. I pray there'll be no more opportunity to do it again.)


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Thursday, September 09, 2004

TV TIMES

  • Michael Howard shows distinct signs of losing his elderly marbles by appointing John Redwood to the shadow cabinet. There's one thing and one thing only which matters in politics, and that is television. And Redwood is about as telegenic as an afterbirth. There he was on Newsnight last night with Paxman, proving it. Not even a decent haircut to go with his new job. Tosser.

    Nicholas Soames comes in too. Old, old, old. Watch this space for sightings of Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven. Might as well, eh?
  • Xenophobia Special! Why do so many top people in British football have such funny names? Sven Goren Eriksson, Bertie Vogts, Arsene Wenger? I'm old enough to remember footballers with names like Stanley Matthews! Makes yer think, eh?
  • Pat Kane was on with Dermot and Natasha this morning. It's Natasha's birthday. Happy birthday hen! Gwan drop us a comment, eh? (She's bound to read us, as we're at Google #9 in the discovered universe, and slebs Google themselves every day. It's a well known fact.)

    WTF is Pat Kane, I hear you ask. One-time singer with Hue and Cry, probably the crappest band ever to come out of Scotland. Yes - infinitely worse than the Rollers. He's written a book, so now calls himself author. It sounded totally blah.
  • The BBC is launching a thing called fat nation. They had a schoolgirl from Birmingham on - with perfectly normal figure - and told her to stop eating chocolate. Ditto her brother with pizza. I hope if in ten years the girl has sadly developed anorexia then they'll pay for some private treatment for her.

    It is axiomatic that you never advise young or teenage girls to diet. (Except, of course, in extremis.) I thought these days everyone knew that. Making the programme comes first, though, eh?
  • New guy starts at work yesterday. I congratulates him on his confidence and microphone technique. (They have to run the floor, checking the winners' claims.) Turns out he's got a degree in Performing Arts. What a red face, eh?



    My thanks to all who commented on yesterday's much more serious post. Better material (than mine) is at Robin (here and here), Richard and now Alistair. Many more will have written also, and equally many not, for perfectly good reasons.

    Thought For The Day

    You know you're getting old when you spot a policeman and think, "boyband!" (There's something about hairgel and acne which doesn't quite marry with handcuffs and a truncheon.) Shame he never asked me to come quietly. I would have. Or noisily.

    No Comment

    Because of Haloscan's continuing indisposition, today we are extending hands across the sea to allow you to dump your comments for zed, alistair, sal etc here in the box below. No charge. Public service. (Our comments are bespoke, by Tony my IT Manager, who at this rate will soon be outblogging me.)


  • And you say? (19)   Link to this


    Wednesday, September 08, 2004

    I HEARD THE NEWS TODAY, O BOY

    Of the Russian atrocity I've seen and read no news. What little I know I've gleaned from workmates' unavoidable discussions and glanced-at front pages on the ubiquitous redtop press.

    That was sufficient to convey everything. Any more, such as the sick gratuitous "insider" footage the BBC were promoting this morning, is a ghoulish wallowing. I didn't watch it. On purpose, again. Maybe you did. That was your choice. I would say vulture.



    Why the apparent stony indifference? Well, I can tell you. One of the predominant mantras of the last twenty years has been this.
    There is no point in getting upset over things you can do absolutely nothing about.
    And that is the one I'd like you to ponder today. For quite some time, actually, as there are many layers to it. Many sides. From "how fucking selfish" through "I'd never dared think that way" to eventually "By staying well myself I have the strength to fight for things I can do something about."



    This was most evident during the Thatcher years. For all that time I had to sit impotently fuming while she raped the country she was paid to lead.

    Yet there was one thing, and one thing only I could do about her. What was that? Well, it was to vote Labour. Every time. Without even thinking about it.

    But - the fanatical madwoman went on and on, propped up by the votes of the southern English. (That is a matter of fact, not racism. Facts are never "-ist".) And then her successor, the grey man with the Y-fronts. And then that glory day when all my Labour X-votes came to fruition, and the evil of Torydom was cast down hopefully for ever. That greed and acquisition might never again precede the needs of a fair and equitable society.

    We shall see. The Russian people will decide. They still have elections there, I think. And governments reflect the consciousness of the people, just as news outlets feed the desires of their viewers and readers.



    Footnote At this point I could sign off with loadsa love for the bereaved relatives. But I won't - for two reasons. One: the people involved will never read it, and Two: because words are so fucking cheap. And I'm the king of cheap words. This time I'll choose abdication.

    Stay well and fight on. Naked Blog is small, but real. Today is one of the days I really do it for.

    (There is a feeling about that in the last few days our species took another step downwards - comparable to the New York mass murder.)


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    Tuesday, September 07, 2004

    Thought For The Day

    You know you're getting old when your first thought after masturbation is, "Made it"!
    It's lovely and sunny here in Leith today! So I'm off to buy some new trousers. (Pants.) I'm thinking of baggies for the middle-aged. The sort of thing Next and Gap will do to perfection. Marks and Spencer are so middle-aged these days it shows, which isn't the idea.

    There's a new shop in Ocean Terminal called Kurt Russell or Kurt Weil or summat, but they seem a bit body-fascist. Although I love going in there with slim people, as the shop design is quite beautiful. I should treat myself to one thing of theirs, because I'm worth it.
    A thing of beauty is a joy for ever.

    Peace, love and Brussels sprouts.

    Puzzle Of The Day

    Is Freecell 20418. I've spent ages on it, and never even got the aces all out. No cheating or looking up solutions. Give yourself a mention if you succeed where others have failed!


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    Monday, September 06, 2004

    SPEAKING AS A PARENT

    If you want to see blogging at its absolute finest (and you should want to see that), then go over to SAAP right now. Robin writes about the essence of blog, and the recent Russian atrocity. Unmissable.


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    PROUST AND A PINT, PLEASE

    It was a very great joy to go for a drink with some of my colleagues after work last night. Even though I'm older than the three of them put together. (Slight exaggeration for effect. But only slight.)
    You know - I really don't know if I can be bothered with this story. It was all quite slight, and the effort of highlighting the kernel, the essence, might be more than I feel like doing. That's booze for ya.
    So how about if we cut to the chase? Dispense with the support, assassinate the bit-players, fire all the extras?

    Leaving what, I hear you ask.

    Leaving sex. Or rather the absence of it. Because of body fascism.
    Oh, do get over yourself. Not that old thing again. Face it, you're over the hill, honey. So far past your sell-by even the ink has faded away.
    But this time I don't just mean me.



    NO!! You MUST NOT repeat that conversation with plump Andy. One word of that and you are lower than low, the very sliminess of a Murdoch redtop. Frankly, you stink.

    "I just can't stand poofs!" Andy said. "It's always the straight guys I go for."

    I nodded, old enough to be his grandfather. (Really.) But still with memory intact. "I know what you mean, Andy. I've always felt that way too."

    Little Alex clinked the glasses behind the Port o Leith Bar, on that his first shift. Malcolm told me about his new college course in car mechanics, and Emma with the bright green hair dreamt on about her dance career. They hung on my every word.

    John Macaulay (the gay one) gave Alex his cashcard to pay for some drinks. Pernod. "We haven't got a machine for it!" Alex said, grinning cocktease back at him. "Do you want me to swipe it in my ass-crack?" (Demonstrating.)

    Oh how the young and personable do hold all the aces! Especially if they're good at cards.


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    Sunday, September 05, 2004

    HERE COMES THE SUN, NOT

    You can tell it's autumn by the amount of interviews on the telly. When does a chat show become an interview show? Dunno. When it's Ross or Parkinson? You tell me.

    Over the weekend I've seen both Paul Newman (looks and sounds like he's been dead for several years. animatronic) and Christian Slater on Jonathan Ross. Well - I never did get to meet Slater in the Cougar Lounge, but judging from this it was no great loss. Clearly Ross had been ordered to omit all references to jail and cocaine. Which didn't leave a great deal to talk about.

    Chicken pox more or less dominated.

    With a better interviewer, both Newman and Slater might have shone, rather than bombing.



    Michael Parkinson thinks he's a better interviewer - bigger than the BBC in fact. Last night was his ITV debut, starring Tom Cruise, Billy Connolly and some medal winner. (No insult, honey - but going fast is not my thing. All a bit pointless, doncha really just think?)

    Cruise was impressive. Unshaven, unmade up, so far as I could detect, the camera showed him no mercy - with the biggest closeups I can recall on TV. Every crow's foot, every blemish, every single tooth and socket was there for you to pore over. Top gums.

    And Parkinson, even in the first show of his new career, made one of his famous bloopers when he said to him, after the first mention of Scientology, that he " -must be used to people sneering and calling it a cult".

    Cruise was furious and it showed. "Religious equivalent of racism!" he half-shouted, with only his (limited) acting abilities keeping a veneer of cool.

    Tetchy stuff. Cruise has been a Scientologist for twenty years, which to me, if not to him, shows that he's plain barking mad. I can say that here, even if Parky can't. In the sixties and seventies he wouldn't have been allowed into the country.
    Nevertheless he spoke brilliantly against the US practice of medicating dyslexic and ADD children with psychiatric drugs. (Catching on here too. Where they lead, we follow.) He said that this ruins the person's life, and I fully believe him. It also provides jobs for doctors and profits for the pharmaceutical companies. Doctors make you worse. Your health is the last thing they're interested in. Maybe Scientology has something going for it after all.


    Connolly came on and was incandescent. I was sitting with my finger poised over the OFF button, as normally he's quite emetic, but last night was bliss on a seat.

    On the Olympics: "It's just like Nuremberg! Oompah, Oompah... my country can jump higher than your country!" (Sticks the finger up!) Bliss, as I say, and so true.

    If more people had the guts to say that, we might just drop this London 2012 Olympic nonsense. Spending billions the country can't afford for a heap of temporary tinsel, and jobs for Sebastian (Lord) Coe and his well paid office.

    Try putting some of our vast wealth into housing for the cardboard box people, you Islington scum! But of course the homeless don't vote, now do they? Mrs Thatcher saw to that.
    Razorlight came on and were superb, thrilling, talented and terrified. You maybe didn't see them here first, but you certainly caught them early on. T in the Park, to be precise.

    Naked Blog. The one with the finger on the beat. (I really can't understand how the UK is bursting at the seams with pop music talent nowadays, yet the nineties were so monopolised by those ghastly Gallaghers. Puke on yer effing Wonderwall.)
    UPDATE: I've just been checking out the Parkinson on ITV website. Great front page, promising clips and transcripts, but after that it just crashes your browser. Story of my life. Promises, promises.



    My body, knowing at a cellular level the bingo competition is just round the corner, has decided to close down on me for fun. In the last few days there's been a stiff and almost immobile left shoulder, neck joining in with a sympathy vote, near chronic mild laryngitis (the smoke!), and then on Friday to crown it all I lost my new partial denture. Gawn. Eighty quid down the Swannee.

    It's my own fault for keep taking it out. But I don't think we ever truly got along properly. It just wasn't a man/plastic meld.

    PS: Little Alex from my bingo starts work in the Port o Leith Bar tonight! My two worlds have fully collided! Read more!


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    Friday, September 03, 2004

    THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU

    Yes, it's true. Our demon is exorcised, and bit by bit my face is losing its green contortions. Oh, there's more than a touch of Linda Blair about me.

    To recap: yesterday a link to this innocuous story was posted on a sex site newsgroup.

    In the afternoon I found it quite funny watching the hits flood in. They even rolled over onto The Leither.net in the punters' frantic search for something to get their rocks off to. Phoned IT Tony to have a laugh about how the cock on Pat's back was getting so many hits for his latest story there. (A Leith version of Diamond Geezer's Piccadilly thing. You should see it.)



    But when I came in for the evening, my mood had changed a lot, and suddenly I found this all quite defiling. Drink gives a man strange ideas. How dare sex site people read my stories! This is a local shop, for local people all over the world. Guardian readers.

    I tried to alter the post, replacing it with an uplifting spiritual message:
    "The Devil finds work for idle hands!"
    Or...
    "Too much masturbation will give you arthritis!"
    That kind of thing. The Mary Whitehouse of the cyberage.

    But New Blogger (things can only get better) seems to have no facility for editing previous posts more than 300 back. And that is a really scary movie.



    So I clearly couldn't do that, but was at least able to rename the page using an FTP thing. (Yes - I'm that clever!) This meant the pervs couldn't read the story. Then I wrote on their newsgroup, telling them I'd removed it, and asking them to kindly lose the link. And - to their credit - they complied.

    All the time the hits were flying in. 10 every 3 minutes at the peak, compared with the normal peak of 10 in 9 or 10 mins. Day count up from 600ish to 1200. And that was just for part of the day.

    Sex sells. But not with my stories it don't, matey. I feel dirtied.


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    Thursday, September 02, 2004

    PLEASE GO AWAY - BACK UNDER THE ROTTING LOG

    Our little world is being targetted by a sex page. See below.

    Try as I might, this most recent Blogger.com doesn't remove or edit posts from more than three years ago. Or if it does, I can't find how to do it.

    Meanwhile, my apologies to all the right-minded decent folk who come here. There is not now, nor will there ever be, the filth referred to below - that animals are searching for.

    Shock Update:

    Although I can't get onto the page they're linking to, I've been able to rename it, so they at least can't read my (wholly tasteful) story.

    Ideally I'd have loved to have put in big red writing "Fuck off you pervert!" That would have made them think a bit.


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    INFAMY, INFAMY

    Not only are we on Scaryduck atm, but some sex-site seems to have picked up on a story I wrote in 2001. Fairly innocuous I would have thought...

    Those archives are getting read at last! (I've tried quizzes.)

    Strangely, I would have thought the lesbian poodle in the tale below might have more tickled my deviant readers...


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    GAY DOG

    I've decided my life is incomplete without a dog.

    Yes, really.

    Until now I'd never entirely given up on the thought of a human companion - but let's face it - none of us is getting any younger, eh? A dog might not be just for Christmas, but a one night stand is often not for much more than half an hour.



    Take Tuesday, the last day of August, and coincidentally the nicest and sunniest of the month. After lunch in Homes Bar with Sandra my Personal Manager, (S had fish while I plumped for the mince wrap with chips and mayonnaisey salad bits) we collected Cherry the black part-Labrador and drove to Silverknowes beach.

    (For those outwith these parts I should point out that "beach" here means brick wall.)

    Cherry reading Naked Blog

    For reasons that have nothing to do with this doggy tale it's been over a year since Cherry and I have met. "Do you think she'll remember me without the fag smell?" I asked, stroking her neck while she rolled on the floor in what looked like delight. "It's OK," Sandra replied, " - she'll remember the Guinness smell."

    Silverknowes foreshore was awash with capering canines. Every shape, size and colour. There were humans too. Middle-aged couples, Muscle Maries and Ladies of a Certain Age with whole families of the damn things. It was doggy meet and greet bigtime. And human too.



    Cherry dived straight into the sea, because she loves to swim. "I'll never get her clean for days!" Sandra moaned. "This sea is bogging."

    I started throwing sticks for her to fetch, which I know she adores. Then Penny the poodle turned up but Penny wouldn't dip more than an inch of her long, black woolly legs into the foaming (with pollution) briney. Fussy bitch. So she settled for trying to get Cherry's stick off her, but Cherry was having none of it.

    There's something about wet coats which drives dogs wild, and quite quickly Penny started doing the lesbian thing on poor Cherry. That's not the first time the hapless mutt has had to repel the doggy minge. She's clearly an A list gay tease.

    Can't a girl have a swim in peace without that sort turning up and ruining it? I ask you. They get everywhere these days. Should put them all on an island.


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    Wednesday, September 01, 2004

    NAKED OLYMPICS

    Those quiz results in full, then. (You've waited long enough, while I (a) pretend to work and (b) enjoy myself in the sunshine.)

    You might hazily recall that I published a leaderboard after 3 of the 5 quizzes. After that, however, some people went back and started from scratch.

    This is good!! Shows lots of interest!

    So I hope no-one got missed out in the final count. Collating 5 scoreboards is not as easy as it might sound. If you're missed out, and sufficiently pissed (off) about it, just drop a note in the comment box to qualify for a complimentary jar of Nescafe Gold Blend. (I'm kidding!)



    Enough preamble!! Open the goddam envelope!!

    And the winners are...
    410 Soren
    400 Rex
    370 mike td
    360 IT Tony
    320 Invisible Nigel
    290 zed
    280 d. burr
    260 Richard
    250 asta
    250 Lyle
    20 lyle
    How splendid are those! Thanks a bunch folks for your interest.



    Medal Table

    Hearty congratulations to Soren for coming first! Well done! Soren gets GOLD!

    Everybody else gets SILVER!

    Except mike, who gets GOLD!
    ...murmur, murmur... what's she done to get gold when she came third? She been getting lessons from that Monica Lewinsky?...blah... blah...
    No, you schmuck!! It's just that from people who have never even SEEN the Port o Leith Bar or the Village, mike got the highest score.

    Simple, when you put it that way.



    Nor would it be right to overlook the glorious lower case lyle, who worked damn hard to achieve such a low score. To get everything so consistently wrong takes a really good grasp of the material.

    Lower case lyle gets GOLD also, I've decided.

    And that's it! More quizzes as and when. Loads of thanks to all who took part, and once again to Kevin for the initial idea.

    (If anyone fancies a Naked Quiz with their morning coffeebreak, they start here and work upwards. Five in total, based loosely on this weblog.)

    Thought For The Day

    How long do you have to listen to a car alarm going off before you're legally entitled to set it on fire? The car, I mean, silly.


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