The bottom line (see below) is that we won. Big time. We won two hundred and fifty quid - shared amongst the three of us. Lynda, Little Alex and Me.
And it was my winning card what done it. That's the way I am. Caring, sharing winner.
To the Port then - much Guinness and tequila - and then some cocaine turned up. (It follows the money.) Would you believe it? Big time. But just a little for me, of course. Bijou toot-ette. So glorious to absorb, and then to laugh at the youngsters - those languishing in their twenties - so eager, so hopeful, so much their bodies at that age can give them.
Yeah you! It's you! Fuck off into the gents for a line! (You indicate with your finger and your thumb so ready and so enabling.) Because you are the agent. You are The Man and don't let anyone so easily forget that.
It's been a while. Little Alex has as always got it sussed.
John Paul tells me I'm to have any Leith FM radio show I want. Any hour, any day - the decision is mine. Amazing to be so wanted. We shall see, but probably it'll all be fine.
The reality is that at this time of year the possibilities are endless.
Yesterday I determined to climb Arthur's Seat again, in the absence of Johnny and Sandra, who last time could be construed as helping.
I also chose the North Face, this being uncharted territory for me. Even at pushing sixty there are still new places to go, new avenues to explore.
Boy was that mountain busy! Talk about day trippers. All ages, sizes and conditions. Chatting gaily away as they pushed their young (mostly) bodies further than most people would dream of for a Sunday afternoon walk. Higher and higher. It's a living thing.
Me, I only got half way though. Chickened out. Cluckitty-cluck. But I did discover whole new acres of territory to explore, behind the Salisbury Crags. An entire highland vista, just in the middle of a city. It's amazing the council hasn't sold the land for luxury apartments. How strange is that? They sell every asset they're meant to be protecting. It's how they see their job.
Oh, and by the most amazing coincidence I'm forced - forced I tellya - to pass the Regent (gay) Bar on the way both there and back. Yesterday I got as far as chatting. A year ago the place scared me rigid.
Well, OK - I chatted only to the staff, and only about six sentences in total, but it was a start. Two of the punters there looked exactly my own age. With trophy boyfriends. I wonder where you hire them.
Bars like that are an entire new world these days. A mountain I might not ever completely climb. Or nettle grasp.
But the Port o Leith Bar isn't. Back to reality, and people I more fully understand. Sandra was there and Johnny, and they hung on my every word about the mountain. There was a guy called Andy, who told me he was 53 and asked if he would have any luck pulling a woman in my bingo. I said probably not, and they're mostly very elderly anyway. He said he didn't mind as long as they had a pulse.
He said he'd had some luck in bingos in the past. (Romantic luck, not financial.) I said he'd have a better chance in the bar where he was, as that sort of woman does come in, and at the bingo he'd risk wasting a whole evening for nada.
Me, I can't think of anything worse than being so desperate for a shag it affects what you do and where you go. You'd think at 53 all that would be behind him now. Sounds horrible. I felt sorry for him.
Starving now I gulped a couple of packets of cheese and onion crisps (potato chips), but they didn't make much difference. Little Alex came in to run the bar for the evening... single-handed by the looks of things, as Lindsay his co-worker had got herself too wrecked. I hope he managed. Today he and I are off to play some bingo at an establishment near Meadowbank stadium. See us there upstairs, with Lynda from the buffet!
Don't you just hate shops where you have to pass the snack shelf to get to the newspapers? Clark's Foodstore at the Foot of Leith Walk is like that. My Saturday Guardian seems at the end of a very long tunnel papered with Pasta Snacks, Filled Rolls, Birds Trifles - and yesterday a new but favourite weakness... Ardennes Pate.
OK - I'll buy some, but share it with Little Alex, I told myself. (He'd very kindly given me a Greggs prawn sandwich when I'd finished calling the afternoon bingo shift.) Starving, I was - starving. Hope it isn't diabetes. You know - that sandwich slipped down such a treat I would have given him almost anything (within reason) in return. One prawn sandwich deserves another.
It had been an exciting session. A woman won just over two thousand quid on the National Bingo Game - that's second prize. She was in easy reach of the top prize of 50,000 pounds, but it went to someone in Swindon, England. That's bingo. I also got him half a fried pizza.
Fuelled by pate and soft bread, the evening shift went quite ballistic. Had to consciously slow down. Plus there was a table of drunk (ish) women in the balcony area, where I couldn't see them, but easily hear their heckling. They kept winning small amounts. I kept sending them up different young men to check their claims. "Oh - we want the last one!" a woman shouted. "Too late!" I said back. "You've worn him out - he's nothing but a dried out husk."
In these small ways do we attract and keep the customers. It's a cut-throat industry, but yesterday was a definite plus. What're you on tonight, two of them asked at the end. High on life, was my reply. Springtime.
It's a very great joy when the winter blues finally go tubby bye bye. Begone vile hormones, and let the sun shine in.
A very fine Scottish good morning to my visitors from The Bloggies
This cottage industry of a weblog represents the daily ramblings of an elderly man living (only barely clinging on) in Leith, a seaport adjoining Edinburgh.
Just below this is a piece about the liberation of the Nazi death camps, with quite some debate in the comment box. I've now re-read it, and the kind contributions very carefully - and don't retract a single word.
Below that is a heated debate about CRT versus LCD televisions, and below that is your official greeting post! Things move fast, blogwise hereabouts.
And so it passes, time passes, the hour passes, and sixty years also pass. It was good the old people turned up, here in London, to mark the holocaust liberation. Lord Winston the Jew with his fertility treatments put to one side. Stephen Fry the half-Jew we never knew but with that name we maybe should have guessed. The "hommosexual" as the gay half-Jew said the word. The gypsy violinist showing us once again what that great instrument can do, not always for the Germans, but for the folk people too. The other Queen, the real Queen, still smarting from her grandson's greatest error of his life - past, present and future. But her grandfather never did learn how to speak English, das glaub Ich und das weiss Ich. The black man in the wheelchair - telling us how he wouldn't have been let to live. And the Prime Minister acting tears in his voice so desperate for re-election.
The Queen, the queen, the politician and the doctor. The guilt is in all of us, as the other great Jew of my life, Yehudi Menuhin, said when he played the violin in Berlin after the War. Who among us can hold his hand on his heart and say that he would never do the same? Ever, no matter what the circumstance?
Mary in the pub tonight said that even people ten years younger than her (she's in her sixties), couldn't fully grasp the enormity or understand. I think she meant me. Becky the barmaid of eighteen said Schindler's List told people all about it. I told her Spielberg is a Jew making a fortune from his own people's horror. She looked surprised.
A few days ago I talked about DVDs in HMV store. What I didn't mention then is a French film called Nuit et brouillard (Night and fog), which I haven't set eyes on for thirty years. Made twenty years before that, in 1955, it's the bleakest and most searing depiction of the horror, made whilst still so fresh in the film maker's mind.
You should never watch this film, for if you do you'll see yourself in a whole new light. Because the horror is in all of us - in you, not just in "them" - waiting to choose its moment, its charismatic leader and its identifiable victims.
In the eighties my own people suffered a second holocaust - a viral pandemic. Many perished. But all were put at risk of the gas ovens, courtesy of the British press, with the people baying again for our poisoned blood. Semper vigilans. We are deeply flawed.
A new section where we read the blogs for you - to save your own precious time for your employer. Today's Bloggie Awards section is most humorous weblog.
(Well - you knew I would start there, didn't you?)
I've now read every word of all five finalists' front pages, and must confess to finding little to even smile about. Oh. Dear. Me.
Two of them are in a team. The only one remotely funny is Go Fug Yourself, a site for snapping slebs and then slagging them off. Well, if that's for you go vote there. It's not for me. Awful plastic surgery was funnier, if you like that sort of thing. Jackie Stallone was funniest of all, but she's a person, not a weblog. Yet.
I would authoritatively say there's more humour in one sentence of the people on my sidebar than in that entire set of finalists. Authoritatively. (I was going to single people out, but decided there were too many.)
Naked Blog, the one you're reading, is of course funniest of all, but then you probably need an IQ of greater than 100 to realise that.
Now, I realise the wording of the category doesn't insist on the article or essay actually being on a weblog. But are we to seriously imagine that real life webloggers are so silent and lacking on this topic that they had to start raiding the paper press? I think not. Shame on the judges.
Incidentally, this is the place where I offered the prize self-help for the bleak, as I thought that was funny at the time. Now I don't think it's funny at all. Nikolai has moved it to another category, but I won't complain, as he's got enough on his plate running the treadmill to keep his site up.
Update: Try Bloggers vs. Journalists is Over, by Jay Rosen. It's the dog's bollocks, and puts into the most eloquent of words so much of what I've been thinking myself over the years. (It was the tsunami what done it, btw.)
Everywhere you look there are blog awards at the moment, most of them listing a zillion works no-one's ever heard of. And why not, if that's what they want to do?
Why not put the stars to one side for a while, and instead take a look at a really lovely and well-written blog by me mate Tony? No, Luton Airport. Now also linking to his wife, Louise. Loopylog. They're expecting a baby in six weeks. If you like Naked Blog, then you'll love these, as they're in all the same places, just by less neurotic people! A must for mums and dads everywhere, but with enough between the lines to satisfy the hardened urban sophisticate.
Thanks for all your helpful, if conflicting advice in yesterday's comment box about my next TV purchase. Thank heavens no-one recommended plasma, as that would curtail my Guinness drinking for months to come.
I'm thinking of this one, as it's got plenty of bang for not very much buck. (Buck and bang have both been absent from my life for so long.) Plus it's 100 Hz which Scott says is fab. Unfortunately it comes with a stand, and I've already got one, painstakingly assembled by my own fair hand. I even went to B and Q for screwdrivers, if you recall.
Maybe I can give the stand away. I know! I'll make it into a plant feature! Or a DVD library. Oh, the possibilities are endless. You can never have too much shelf space, especially in fashionable chavvy silver.
Talking of DVDs - HMV are knocking 25 quid off boxed TV series now. Forty nine pounds down to twenty-four. I spotted the first two series of 24, and Series 2 of Six Feet Under, which I bought for just 24.99 Plus I still had my December mini-vouchers, so got three quid more off it.
Yesterday Sandra and I took Cherry the black part-Labrador for a walk along Portobello beach. (Did I tell you there's beach here, as well as mountains and riversides?) Well there is.
This was my closest exposure to the sea since the tsunami, and I must say I was eyeing those breakers with a bit more respect than normal. Breaker, breaker.
"The thing is to watch if the water suddenly all disappears," I explained to Sandra. "Then you've got to run like fuck." She wasn't that impressed though, and threw another stick in the water for Cherry to fetch. "Fetch! Fetch!" Cherry loved it. A couple of years ago she had some arthritis in her back legs, but Sandra put her on a diet and now she's fine. Sandra loves her dog.
To the Cameo in Commercial Street then, for lunch. Sandra had green salad and potato wedges (she's a vegetarian), while I plumped for the Eggs Benedict, served with chips (Freedom Fries) and side salad. It was exquisite. We chatted about how our lives were working out. Sandra told me to get a relationship, but I told her I didn't want one and I was far too old anyway.
A few weeks ago, Babs had ordered the Benedict there also, but as a professional chef she was a little disappointed. The eggs were too firm, and the sauce had separated, she said. But no such problems yesterday. It'd been ages since I'd tasted anything so nice. Freshly-cooked food is so much better than microwaved freezer meals, don't you think? Worth splashing out on now and again, if for nothing else than the sheer celebration of not being a smoker any longer. You can breathe but it's nice to taste.
SPEND, SPEND, SPEND
Thinking of splashing out also on a widescreen TV, this being the last logical stage in my audio-visual updating. Are they any good? Why do they fatten people's faces? What's the point of that? Are 28 inches enough? Any other advice? Thanking you in advance.
Yesterday's story below therefore makes less sense than it might.
In brief: The Bloggies is an annual award system, the blogworld's equivalent of The Oscars. No less than two of my nominees have made it to the finals, Troubled Diva and My Boyfriend Is A Twat. This in blogging terms is pretty damn huge, considering the immense standards these days and ever rising.
Our own involvement is not as a competitor, which I couldn't realistically expect - except perhaps for a category they don't have - but as prize donor.
However, donor or potential winner, we're all up the same bandwidth creek without a paddle. I'm sure once Nikolai Nolan finds a shilling to put in the meter then things will be off with a swing once again. (There's already the most shameless self-promotion and brown-nosing going on all over the place!) Hilarious.
Prisoner is a show that splits people right down the middle. Or rather - it used to. It has its lovers, and it has its detractors too. There seems no middle ground.
But way back in the early eighties it strode the British airwaves like a collossus. Never was hair so Brylcreemed as on those lady warders' heads! Never was scenery so flimsy, and plotlines even more so - than in that show. A whole generation of young lesbians grew up in thrall to its hyperreality. For them it simply showed the way.
And also - in a sense - Cell Block H as we called it here, encapsulated all that is deeply Australian. After Rolf Harris, Edna Everage and Kylie Minogue - there really was no place else to go. To say nothing of Jason Donovan.
Interesting fact about Australia #13:
Did you know that the biggest-selling record in the land of Oz ever - by any artist - is Joe Dolce's "Shaddap You Face"? My case is closed. Let battle for the Bloggies commence.
Clearly - as a sponsor - I can't be seen to influence the vote in any way. This is not the US Republican Party. But two of my nominees are My Boyfriend is a Twat (in Best European), and Troubled Diva (in best GLBT). Go there - and vote as your conscience truly dictates.
OK - that's your welcoming speech to my little organ. Now - if you have a moment - why not dip your toe gently into one of the UK's leading personal weblogs? Guardian listed. BBC listed. BBC broadcast, etc, etc.
"This blog will change the way you think and feel about your life." magnificat
(You join us just as the author and principal character is struggling with the tail end of winter depression, or SAD.)
Darlings. Today I've decided to reward your patience and loyalty by investing some coppers in Scottish Power and heating my study a little.
A combination of high electricty costs and low wages means I can't afford to heat my home throughout, the way most of you reading this probably can. So I follow the government advice for the elderly and retire to one heated room. And the computer is in a different one. Ah well. At least I can watch lots of digital telly and DVDs in my bespoke bedsitter.
Really no idea what to write about, as it's been a week since I've spoken to anyone outside of work. Really going off al k'hol bigtime. All that messing up of the system - God's work. Yet one time I used to practically bathe in the stuff.
My own avoidance of the devil's brew seems to be in direct contradiction to its uptake by the young. Oh how the government must be regretting their exhortations in the nineties. "Drink booze! Eat beef! Stop taking drugs!" (Although to be fair, that was the Tories, promoting their chums on the farm and in the boardroom.)
And what has happened? Well, I can tell you. The pleasantest, most loved-up decade since the sixties has degenerated into street-brawls, violence and even murder - so that booze shares might continue to rise. My own former stamping grounds in Constitution Street are now a no-go area at weekends. And that's the headquarters of the Leith Police. Imagine what the rest of the manor is like!
I'm becoming concerned about the amount of my money the Scottish Executive* spend on media companies, particularly TV but now increasingly also websites. Only last week my pal Babs was reporting that she'd clicked on a publicly-funded (paid for by me) jobs site only to find it was nothing more than a portal for a standard commercial agency. Who do you have to go on holiday with to get one of those?
Naughty, naughty, Peter. I'm referring of course to the hubbub up here over the close friendship between Jack McConnell, First Minister for Scotland, and the political broadcaster Kirsty Wark, whom more of you will be familiar with. Conflict of interest kind of thing. Bit like Tony and Cherie snorting coke with Jeremy Paxman.
Take a look at your TV, which I've been doing myself a bit more lately. Note how many ads have the Scottish Executive logo at the end.
The latest one is for Broadband For Scotland. It's a site and an ad.** Except the Scottish Executive don't sell broadband. It's sold by BT, Telewest, AOL and maybe some others - laughing all the way to their respective banks as my taxes advertise their wares for them. Stop it. Just stop it. Surely ISPs can promote their own goods, thank you. None of them looks particularly broke.
Their are myriad more examples. Keep a weather eye open. And ask yourself which companies are awarded these extremely lucrative public contracts. The words "gravy" and "train" keep bubbling up.
*The Scottish Executive is the Scottish "civil service", with a gorgeous new building in Leith Docks. (Formerly called the Scottish Office). The lawmakers are the Scottish Parliament, with a gorgeous new building outside Holyrood Palace. Lazy journalists confuse matters by almost always saying "Executive" when they mean "Parliament". Here at Naked Blog we understand simple English.
**Also - you'll maybe have more success than I did in finding the agency and web consultancy producing this webpage.
I'm not going to congratulate "Bez" for winning the CBB thing, as from what I've seen he's a drug-fucked slob. And after listening to his gutter speech, I'd cross the street to avoid him. Yet strangely, some of the housemates - who clearly know him better than do I - seemed to quite like him. Caprice, Germaine Greer.
But it was a fun eighteen days, guys - in bleakest January. Thanks for keeping me company. Few others did.
Here's how the votes panned out in our little CBB poll...
Whereas the public's vote generated this ranking...
Showing our own vote very closely matching the public's, except - crucially - NB readers elevated Brigitte Neilson to first place, a view I shared myself.
So - how long till John McCririck will be advertising Diet Coke, eh?
Jackie Stallone has all the makings of a gay icon, and has already been on Top of The Pops. (Only a speaking part so far - but just you wait.)
Oh - I can just see it... Jackie's hair dye... Jackie's eyeliner... Jackie's plastic surgeon... Jackie's latest single.
Thanks to the almost 100 who voted.
At last completed watching Pirates of The Caribbean, and now realise why I've fallen asleep on every previous attempt. (Even this viewing took three mugs of black coffee and raspberry jam sandwiches.) The movie is boring, childish, and three times too long. Yes, Johnny Depp is wonderful, but no that doesn't make up for the near-total lack of narrative interest. (Postage stamp, licked so often the glue's worn off.) Pretty, pretty picture, though. Fun for all the family. Made millions from all concerned. Including me.
Definitely must go out today, if only to prove that the world isn't 4:3. I've had a pain in my lower back left for a few days, which I told myself was kidney cancer. However, a manager said it was only hypochondria.
Work continues to be the most fun in my life. (How sad is that, I know? But I simply don't give a toss what anybody thinks. Anybody.) There was a glossy magazine snapping away there just last week, so I'll let you know if anything comes of it. My day off and I missed the fun, but I'm told Little Alex jumped on stage and did a fair imitation!
Today I really want to talk to people. Really do. I miss it so much. So hard to make friends. When you're strange.
A year ago it was mah jongg solitaire. I played it on the PC till my neck hurt like a hot poker. Fortunately, after months of going with the flow, the habit dropped. But now there's a new one! Tetris.
Oh - I know it's been around for ages, but wouldn't life be far too sameish if everybody did everything the minute it came out? Look at Monteverdi's Vespers 1610. Nearly four hundred years old and still going strong. Ya reckon Robbie Williams will last that long?
Tetris I play on my Freeview box on Channel 53 called YooPlay. Yoo have to phone them for a code which costs 75p. Yoo type in the code and then yoo can play till midnight. Yesterday I reached 74,000 points mas o menos. And my neck hurt to buggery.
But - the good news skeleton-wise is that all those rheumaticky aches and pains have disappeared. Faster than chastity in a whorehouse. But don't for the life of me ask why. Could it be the Boots Cod Liver Oil with Calcium capsules? (Take one a day with liquid. Always read the label.)
Doncha just love that "always read the label"? It's everywhere. But don't do it. Seriously. Think about it. You've got other things to do with your life.
It could be that. Or it could equally be my mega-hike up Arthur's Seat a couple of weeks ago with Sandra and Johnny. That was body-transforming. Huge exercise always is. My advice? Forget your prissy gyms and get yourself some boots. Or a bike. Just do it. Tell them an old man sent you.
Or it could equally be dropping the corned beef. Not literally. It's just that I was eating it by the tonne - straight out of the fridge. Got so hooked that I didn't even bother making sandwiches. Just grab, munch, munch. Oh, go on then. Couple more slices... really must put this back... getting as fat as a whale... well, one more won't hurt... make it two for a mouthful... when's that damn kettle gonna boil...
Changed days. I've still got a freezer full of the stuff, but that's where it's staying. Packed with salt and nitrite and God knows what.
Talking of God, did you see that Einstein programme on BBC Horizon last night? Programme is maybe the wrong word. "Concert" might be more appropriate, given the amount of Bach and Beethoven we were forced to listen to. (If there's one BBC person I'd happily throw into Camp Delta it's the Horizon music editor. JUST SHUT UP, PLEASE.) Isn't there enough "background music" everywhere you go, already? What a tosser. Probably aged 25 with a degree in Liberal Arts from Liverpool John Moores University. I know the type. They usually end up in teaching or outreach work, but one or two escape.
God. Where was I? Oh yes, the long and short of Einstein is that he didn't age gracefully. Instead of keeping up to date with developments in quantum theory (don't ask - I don't know either) he persisted in trying to write a Grand Unified Theory of everything. I do know that such things are called GUTs. The idea is to unite gravity with electromagnetism and the strong and weak nuclear forces.
But whereas both Newton and Relativity are deterministic worlds, Quantum is firmly probabilistic. Like bingo, sort of. And Albert's view was the famous, "God does not play dice." Or bingo either, presumably.
There. That's all of last century's physics in two handy paragraphs. Amazing what a girl can do, when she turns her hand to it.
Next week on Horizon: The Theory of Relativity - everything you ever needed to know. (Maybe they'll put on Gareth Gates singing "I've Made A Stupid Mistake".)
Background music. To relativity. Whatever next? But now I'm off to call some bingo.
(Talking of bucks - ya reckon Georgie boy was putting the frighteners on the whole world with his little speech yesterday? I do. He's seriously scary.)
From Gordon. I don't usually do these things, but after being named there I felt kind of obligated.
1. What is the total amount of music files on your computer? Zero. I have this thing about copyright.
2. The CD you last bought is: Marshall Mathers Album by Eminem.
I only really enjoyed "Stan" and "The Way That I Am."
3. What is the song you last listened to before reading this message? "I've made a stupid mistake", by Gareth Gates. (Interval music at work yesterday.)
4. Write down 5 songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you:
(a) "Unchained Melody" The Righteous Brothers. This was a 45rpm vinyl gift from the first (and only) person to "lurve" me, almost forty years ago. But recently I re-evaluated that relationship, and decided that he was a manipulative, using, semi-psychopath, trading on my innocence. (We were both 21 at the time which in those days was called b*are*ly le*ga*l.) Those three sentences sum up my entire romantic history, incidentally. (Wow! Almost forgot to asterisk that. Imagine the Google-perv count!)
(b) "If You Go Away" Dusty Springfield. Some months before meeting the above interpersonal catastrophe, I was laying with a girlfriend of the time (yes, really) having a post-coital ciggie when what should come on Radio 1 but Dusty's latest. (They came thick and fast in those days.) When the record finished we clung to each other, vowing eternal togetherness. It lasted another month.
(c) "(I can't get no) Satisfaction" Rolling Stones. Just because. You had to be there. Maybe it's really called "Satisfaction (I can't get no)"
(d) "Paint it, black" Ditto. The comma is essential.
(e) "Magnificat" Claudio Monteverdi
In my later thirties I embraced the new CD technology with a vengeance. Quad 100 (real) Watts amplifier, Castle speakers... I shook the street. Although Dire Straits were the band de jour, and I bought all their stuff, along with Police, Roxy Music and Meatloaf, the CD which shocked me rigid was a performance of Monteverdi's Vespers 1610. By shocked rigid I mean sitting paralysed in my seat unable to do anything but continue to breathe. Few (probably no other) pieces of music have ever had that effect.
A few years after the CD period I abandoned pop music totally when Oasis became the next big thing. A society which admires that fucking garbage is not one I care to inhabit. They've now gone, and I really don't imagine a revival ever. (I'm quite good at predicting revivals, btw. Got Dusty right down to a T. And Abba. But then Dusty went and died.)
Plus, in the nineties (correct me if I'm wrong) didn't the emphasis change away from songs and more toward club/dance music? That stuff's OK (infinitely better than the Oasis/Madonna duopoly), but it has to be very loud, and you have to be at least a little drugged. "Right in the Night" by Jam and Spoon was one I remember enjoying.
5. Who are you going to pass this stick to? (3 persons) and why?
Zed, so she can vent her spleen about Avril Lavigne. Andre, because he's in her house now, and on his blog he's got one of those pesky "On the iPod" things. Try silence! And lastly Danny in Illinois, because he's a genuine radio man, as well as singer songwriter himself. Ditto with Gordon about mike being fully "musicked-out" right now! Endurance blogging! Let's see the latest shirts!
Nothing much today. Been shacked up alone too long. Practising for being old. Did go out yesterday for a couple (of hours and pints), but nothing startling enough to mention here. Big Straight Al came in wearing what looked like a Biggles jacket, but ignored moi and sat with two younger queens. As yer do.
It was eerie hearing my voice for the first time for so long. "Pint of Guinness, please," I said to the girl in the Iso-bar. She was banging cutlery and empty bottles. CRASH! CLATTER! Wow that hurt. Even more than Dolby. She had loud music on to drown it out, which just made things even worse. I could have left, but knew everywhere else would be the same. "Quiet pint" just isn't an option with the young.
Couple of pints of Dutch courage there (I was the only customer - sheer heaven), and then back to the base line, the very ground zero of drinking, the Port o' Leith Bar.
"Hi guys!" I says, breezing past the gay-friendly gangsters at the door end.
Motto: always be nice to gangsters. (a) It stops them killing you, and (b) you never know when you might need them. Urban queens the world over (well, this hemisphere at least) will know of what I speak. (Decades ago I could be nice to them in a quite different way, which most of them seemed to enjoy.) Nowadays it's more like Barbara Windsor without a Kray twin to be seen.
"When did you first realise you were gay?" asked Middlesborough (non-gangster) Bob. "If you don't mind me asking, that is..."
"No problem," I laughed. "One of the... many functions of this bar is gay education of straight men."
"That's true," he said. "Ten years ago I'd never even met a gay man - now I drink with them every day." (In these small ways (well, actually pretty fucking big), do we do our bit for "the cause".)
And then I concluded by explaining that old gay men (sadly only those few who survive) can face exactly the same catastrophic loss of libido as do many straight men, and told him what a blessing that is. No more stiffies, any more. (Give or take.)
Oh well - I hope that's a semi-reasonable post whisked up out of nothing. The secret is in the detail.
Celebrity Big Brother...
...has, as predicted gone off the boil now. Chav Gav in the comment box for yesterday says this about Bez:
"How can you not want Bez to win? In turns he's been compassionate, uncommunicative, ebullient, confrontational, empathetic and confrontational. In short, what we're all like, just condensed and concentrated. What's not to like? With his personality he'd fit right into the Port. BEZ TO WIN.
Thanks for that, Gav. But me - ah hae ma doots. It's because he's so very Port-like that I really don't care to see him on my TV. Plus, I couldn't help noticing that when he found out he was nominated for eviction, he threatened actual violence to the other housemates, which might well have put them in a state of alarm. "I'm gonna bang some fucking heads together today." Not only is this unpleasant, but it's actually a crime. "What does that mean?" Brigitte asked the others.
He should have been strong-armed out of the place right then. But hey! What do Endemol think about something as silly as the law when there's money to be made?
My vote is for Brigitte. She seems to be genuinely caring at times, even to the extent of careworn. Now well over the hill at 41, she knows she's looking at smaller and smaller cheques for what's left of her acting career. And she smokes so much she's put lines all over her face, as John McCririck very rudely remarked on day two, I think it was.
McCririck's earning potential has gone through the roof now, with this, doncha think? Nice job, if you can get it!
Don't forget to vote in my fascinating sidebar poll. Current leader is... (well, you'll have to go there and find out... but it wouldn't be giving the game away too much to say that my own choice is doing quite well!)
Have nice Wednesdays, y'all. Me, I'm back to work for a day, and some sanity with my bingo ladies. Three days off in a row is proving a bit pesky.
PS Also, text BRIGITTE to 84444. Do it now. Will only cost you 50p plus text charge. And who will be evicted tonight? If my little poll is anything to go by, it'll be Caprice. Nil point
Don't forget to make your mark in my Celebrity Big Brother poll to your right. Let's see how NB readers agree or disagree with the hoi polloi!
Results of last poll
"Should the BBC have broadcast the controversial musical Jerry Springer, the Opera?"
Don't care 28%
Thanks to the 103 people who voted, and showing that NB readers are typically not bible-waving tub-thumpers. Well done. My own vote went to Yes, also.
Quite liked it, but it did go on a bit. (Although, as a stage show, that's probably what the audience wanted. Value for money.) Watching the telly, I always get to thinking, "What else is on?".
Note that my Big Brother question is who do you want to win - not who will win. I felt that was more human, more personal. I'm tempted to tell you my own favourite, but I'll hold back. (Clue: it's a woman. :)
CABIN FEVER, OR THE FAINT BEGINNINGS OF AGORAPHOBIA
It's difficult to describe just how irritating the last few days have been. In the total absence of human contact (not even one text message - mind you I never switched it on), matters blogwise take on greater import than usual. Sometimes you even get the impression there are people behind the flickery pages, writing them.
Why? Wherefore this urge to communicate - this diametric reversal of the past, when writing was done only for money? Legacy media, they're called nowadays. You saw it here first, although I saw it somewhere else.
Anyway, sports. The long and short of it is I seem to have been dropped from the barbie-circuit (that's meal, not doll) bigtime. No more cracking the Fosters on the beach beside the surf, and watching the sun set Star Wars fashion from right to left. (That would totally freak me, btw.) It's my sun. It goes from left to right, the way God nintendoed.
But - back in the northern hemisphere - a side effect of getting high quality sound and TV is the disincentive to go out. Why risk cold and wet and wind - and the grey drab bleakness of the Scottish January? When you can flick a couple of switches and instantly be padding with lionesses in the Savannah. (Is "lioness" socially acceptable? They're a wholly matriarchal society, you know. Germaine would love them, from right to left.) Me I'm old enough to remember when lady actors were called actresses. Lady managers ditto. Strange how waitresses haven't made the leap yet. Maybe it's a minimum wage thing.
Oh well. Maybe laterz. I should make some effort today, as it's back to work tomorrow. But now there's snow factored in the equation, and I haven't shaved or showered since Saturday.
Outside. How scary is that movie? People. They might look at me. There's that old faggot, they might say. Doesn't he look shifty? What a tramp! Isn't he the one that was on the telly last year? But that was another time, another place, another mood. Why be one person, when you can be several? Cuts down on holidays bigtime. Eh?
COURAGE OF HIS EVICTIONS
John McCririck evicted from Big Brother house
It's the end of an era, I tell you. What a performance this man has delivered. McCririck will make millions from endorsements now - he makes McEnroe look and sound like Kirsty Wark. Well done, sport! BBC
Nothing in the Grauny yet (maybe post-Greer it's suddenly beneath them again now), but instead there's a digested pisstake of Belle's new book. Funny attitude to take when it was them wot done it, ken whit ah mean, pal?
So is CBB all washed up now? I'm going to find it hard to work up any enthusiasm for the remaining crew. And really, without total immersion it's pointless anyway. One hour's highlights can represent the housemates any damn way the organisers want.
Oh dear. Big Brother, Belle de Jour... Money is the root of all evil, I was brought up to understand. Well, I must be pretty damn Godly then. Another day of isolation. Purgatory. Dined on sprouts, chestnuts and wild mushroom soup. (That's wild mushrooms - not wild soup.) I've made a resolution never to buy kilogramme blocks of cheddar cheese again. Or any cheese at all, come to think of it.
Backlash from Australia, where Paul of buggery.org rightly says that my little weblog is a heap of pants. That whilst he writes about terror, religious intolerance, the movies of Woody Allen, and the respective (and very different!) legacies of Ronald Reagan and Susan Sontag - all I do on Naked Blog is "daily accounts of bingo calling, crisp eating and fag smoking."
This is as untrue as it is hurtful. I've never written about crisp eating (maybe he's thinking of Quentin Crisp), and my highly intellectual organ has prominently featured the greatest living Australian, Professor Germaine Greer, quite often lately.
And not just her Big Brother thang, but an in-depth sentence on her views about embracing aboriginality and making Australia the hunter-gatherer example to the Southern Hemisphere.
It's because I'm so intelligent and wide-ranging that I have so few friends, I swear it. Paul has temporarily changed his rather startling title picture to one of some butterflies. I heard they'd named an Alice Springs Cafe after Naked Blog...
Yesterday I stayed in all day, as the thought of drinking alcohol and inhaling other people's tobacco smoke didn't appeal. This is what my wonderful life is reduced to. Working and drinking. Society. Ambition. Comfortable old age. Three generations round the Christmas dinner table. As Tears Go By. (The later, ironic version.)
Sorry. I must not do this. In the total absence of any human being to say these things to I far too often use and abuse your good self.
I test your patience. You'll soon have had enough. I've seen it happen to other "misery blogs".
Ruckus going on over at zed's. Seems some woman (not zed, silly - some other woman) fuels her blog almost entirely with other people's posts and comments. (I'm not linking from here for obvious reasons, although I've called her a thief to her face in her comment box.) As have zed, andre, Anna and others. Despicable.
CELEBRITY BIG BROTHER...
...doesn't delight as much these days. With the departures of Greer and Stallone, the broth has run very thin indeed now. For this reason it's essential to preserve John McCririck for as long as possible, as he's now the only one who even slightly amuses me.
Today's public vote is between John and Bez. Text john to 84444 to save John and evict Bez. (Cost 50p) Bez has completely lost his appeal, along with his teeth and complexion. Sad. But then I never knew him in the first place. Leith is replete with bad-teethed spotty junkies. My own teeth and skin are not so splendid atm.
WITH US IN THE WEATHER STUDIO
Why is the BBCi (press red) weather forecast so damn useless? It really is the pits, getting things diametrically wrong on a daily basis. Yesterday it had a big yellow sun symbol plonked right on my house for 3pm. I'd planned my day around that symbol.
But what was the reality? Total cloud cover, and lashing wind and rain. You couldn't make it up.
So what could I do? I paid an entire pound to play a digital TV game called Tetris. Yooplay it's called. I played Tetris till my neck was damaged.
Today's forecast is for gales and snow. They even used the b-word. (Blizzard.)
Since early December I've had four social days. That is four days where I've spoken to people not connected to my work place. How involving is that? How life-affirming? No wonder this blog plumbs such depths of uselessness. Have a Happy Monday.
No queen should read this heap of tripe called Naked Blog.
Everybody's got it etc.
By my quite skilful manipulation of the global cyberwaves (even though I say it myself), we've been for the last 24 hours or more the lead story in a US gay webzine, Queer Day.
Number of visitors to Naked Blog from that site: around 200
Number who've left even one word of comment: exactly zero.
Thanks, guys. Been a pleasure.
So I'm going out to get rat-arsed - and I feel like arguing with everybody I meet. Little Alex is off work today. Hmmm. (He was in charge of the door at the Port on Saturday night. Had to keep fifteen people inside from fighting, at the same time as fifteen outside. That young man thrives on conflict, I swear it.)
...to visitors from that US gay webzine. There's nothing for you here. No tight buns (is that what you call them?), no abs, no six-pack. These are merely the inane ramblings of a sad fat lonely old queen. Your worst nightmare. Your Jackie Stallone in everything but hair dye.
Vote to SAVE JACKIE, btw! Text jackie to 84444. It'll cost you 50p, of which 25p goes to charity. Although it sticks in my craw to give even 25p to filthy-rich TV execs, it's vital that the former Mrs Stallone is saved for as long as possible. Zoo time, if you will. "Where's the wine I ordered? I can't eat dinner without wine. What's this you're giving me? Pasta and peas?" Jackie Stallone
I've written to that US gay webzine asking to be removed from their damn poll, but they've ignored me and not replied. Well, I'm not the world's best replier myself. I'm losing actual sleep over this. Hate competitions. Some of you will recall my withdrawal from a real-life competition which I might well have won, just a couple of months ago.
I think it stems from childhood. As a fat kid, always last in the races. Always laughed at for something I couldn't help or control. As a fat gay kid, always last to be picked for the rough team games. Always laughed at and pointed out.
And of course those childhood memories never totally go, now do they? Still today I hate that churn of stomach acid, that horror of rejection, that total familiarity with last. Which is what that US magazine is exposing me to once again, without my knowledge or consent, and in defiance of my clearly-stated wish to be removed.
Oh, and did I mention that I hate being gay? It's the pits - as you'll find out for yourself. Ruined my life. And my parents'. How fabulous is that? But - as my bingo ladies say... just got to get on with it. Nothing else for it, eh?
So why not vote for duncan, mike or tom. Real nice queens. Living the life. Not me - I've had my day. Nothing to say.
Yes - at last it's sunny again. And I'm sitting here in a temperature of 46 Fahrenheit degrees to bring you the latest news and views from Sunny Leith, East Central Scotland. Leith - where even the junkies read the Guardian.
Prince Harry the Nazi shock!
Seems that number three in line to the throne is so bereft of his royal marbles that he's taken to attending parties wearing a Swastika arm band. How much longer are my taxes going to fund this young man's drunken and debauched lifestyle? He's a walking advert for a republic, if you ask me.
I know we're not supposed to mention it, but he's packed full of German blood in the first place. Ya don't get to be called Saxe Coburg Gotha for nothing! Vorsprung durch Technik, if you ask me. Of course there are those who would say that with Goodbye England's Rose for a mother, and her fondness for athletic men, then maybe just maybe his dad might not be all whom we think he is. James Hewitt is the name most bandied about. (But it's not the place of Naked Blog to spread gossip and scandal.)
Partial Story. (They're withholding the photo, and it's not even on Google yet. Give it three more hours.) Here at Naked Blog we support gay people by not buying Murdoch products. Actions speak louder than words, n'est-ce pas?
Celebrity Big Brother continues to delight. It's quite astonishing how caught up you get in these people's lives - just like blogging at its best, but with pictures and sound. Watch Brigitte stir the spaghetti! See Kenzie searching for a mother and father! Don't see Jackie, because she'd been promised eight leading English people! ("I was kinda hoping Bill Gates would be here." Jackie Stallone) Imagine Germaine at home watching, and wondering what she's thinking. If indeed she even is. "Beside Germaine we are all nothing." John McCririck"
There've been few references to their jobs or their "celebrity". Until yesterday, when this exchange took place...
"What's the most you've ever been paid for one day's work?" McCririck to Caprice "Half a million pounds." (Gasps from crowd.) "I realise I'm very fortunate."
"I don't think half a million for ten days work is too much," said John. "That's only fifty thousand a day!" Jeremy replied. "I don't get out of bed for fifty thousand pounds!"
Lucky bugger, is all I can say. But, unlike Prince Harry - these people do work operate in the harsh commercial world, and presumably make far more for their employers than they're being paid.
Queer Day awards
I've written to the organisers of this, asking to be removed from their competition. See yesterday. (Now removed.)
First off, ghettoisation. Naked Blog is not a "gay blog". There's little or no (Kylie, Madonna-based) gay material here. We don't do discos, clubs, drugs, sex, or even the Scissor Sisters. As a gay man I'm a sheer disgrace, existing purely on memories of younger, slimmer, less-lined days. Although I don't try to disguise the reality, that doesn't mean a need to celebrate it. I hate being gay. Hate it with a vengeance.
Also I'm not doolally enough yet to ignore the tokenism going on here. Two blogs in England, one in Wales and one in Scotland.
But one in Australia? G'day mate, but no thank you. I've removed all linking to that site, now that I've had a look. Naked Blog is a respectable written entertainment. It does not, and will not ever, link to sites containing explicit sexual imagery.
Many thanks to mike for his kind endorsement. "Always the bridesmaid, never the bride!" You gotta love it.
Cowardice? Prissy over-reaction? Get off your high horse dear? Done those three for you to save your time. Why can't life just sail long more peacefully?
Guardian readers amongst you (which I think is just about everyone who qualifies) can't have failed to notice a large article yesterday about a guy getting sacked from an Edinburgh Waterstone's bookshop for slagging them off in his blog. He called the company Bastardstones. He called his boss Evil Boss. He huffed and puffed about his holiday arrangements.
If the Guardian's account is to believed, this strikes me as an employment deathwish. How much does your blog put your job at risk?
We're number six in the discovered universe for Germaine Greer naked. D'ya reckon slebs search for themselves naked? You bet your sweet naked ass they do!
So hi there, Germaine - the thinking gay man's totty. We were reading you before we'd ever heard of Julie Burchill. Right on! (But you should have stayed in the Celebrity Big Brother House, and showed that Brigitte Nielsen who was boss.)
Thank you, thank you, thank you darlings for all your nominations for The Bloggies TM 2005. (Now closed.) We shall see just how successful you've been. There are many, many good blogs out there these days - and the last words I ever want to utter on this site are, "I'm ready for my close up, Mister de Mille." Me - I nominated just about everyone on my sidebar. Because you're worth it.
Talking of which - I'm assuming you all saw the entrance of Jackie Stallone (Sylvester's mother) into the CBB house last night! How totally trashy! What an immense blend of intellect and sheer yuckiness we now have there.
"I went on a cookery class. Learned how to make a sandwich. It was quite good."
The former Mrs Stallone is only six years older than Dr Greer, but her face with its dolphin-collagened lips and surrounded by the unlikeliest of red hair is a glowing example of what not to do. Never in her wildest dreams can Germaine have imagined she'd be serving a boiled egg to Sylvester Stallone's cartoon mother. I don't know whether to write awesome or awful!
Do go there.
Another place you might want to go is mine - now that it's sporting a luxury TV stand, replete with all the latest hi-tech gadgetry. And I did it all meself. And no I didn't get excited. Too knackered, lying on my side with a torch trying to replug all the bits together again. (I'd taken notes of where each lead went. Methodically.)
Quick whisk round with the vacuum, hire a skip for the rubbish, and we're sorted. Cocktails at mine around seven, darling. I can just see it. Friends. Oh - if only.
Celebrity Big Brother. But the really good stuff is on this forum updated every few minutes. You know - I'm lusting after this so much, there's a real temptation to rush out and get a new Freeview box to receive channel E4.
Germaine Greer has left the building. Is CBB still worth watching now? What can have got into her silly head? From here (700 miles away) it all was going so swimmingly. Surely Mrs Stallone's facial surgery can't have upset her all that much?
Come back, Germaine! You brought class to the chavness. Me, I moved cultural mountains because of you - and almost bought an E4 subscription. You've let me down bigtime.
I made a TV table yesterday. Truly, I did. Oh - not from wood and nails and stuff... how old-fashioned is that? But a self-assembly kit from Comet, which at 60 quid worked out a good hundred less than the next one. I do so love a bargain!
The test will come when I place the TV and all the associated modern gadgets on it. Will it stand the strain, or collapse limp-wristedly like its creator? Watch this space to find out.
Oh, and the reason I haven't gone that final hurdle yet is that it needs a Phillips screwdriver for optimum tightness, and - search as I might - I just couldn't locate one anywhere in the house. Even in that certain drawer where you always put things you know you'll forget about - as that'll be the first place to look (obviously), but of course it never works. So that vital extended warranty, that instruction book, screwdriver or battery charger is simply never there. Just a ruler, paper clips, and some wholly unnecessary paperwork for gadgets you've long since discarded. Plus a bead necklace from Ibiza in '81. Even the mice have given it a miss.
Therefore, this will have to be a somewhat curtailed Naked Blog, as I've an unusual, manly urge dragging me to the DIY store to buy screwdrivers. Then I'll re-install my TV and gadgets on the new table, and after that I might get a small erection. (The last manly thing I did in the house was putting up a mirror in the bathroom in 1984.) Got so excited I had to... you know.
Too much information, sweetie!!
OK. See you later, once I've completed my erections.
Vote Naked Blog before 3am Tuesday morning. Bloggies TM. 2005 Right - I'm just off there now to do some nominations. A more rascally person would have struck deals! Honesty and sincerity will be the death of me, I swear it.
For my gentlemen readers: Do you get excited doing old-fashioned manly things about the house? Plumbing kit tumescence? Masculinity's such a funny personality trait, isn't it? So fragile, yet so deadly. Gay men find it hilarious and exciting in equal measure.
Out and about
Nothing to do with the above, but Gordon writes movingly about his body-mass today. (I shrink from using the F-word.)
Celebrity Big Brother continues to delight. Brigitte Nielsen rises to challenge Germaine Greer's hitherto supremacy, whilst John McCririck has a devastating attack of depression. Caprice shows she's actually alive.
Some gay commenters find Jeremy attractive, but me, I'd plump for Bez every time. For reasons which need not detain us. (But remember where I live.)
A new person is to be introduced into the house today, but the housemates don't know that yet.
When does a musical become opera? Watched it last night on BBC 2. Much outrage at the broadcast apparently, presumably from people who hadn't seen it. Maybe they'd seen the play.
It was on pretty late (10pm), and I'd been at work since 11 that morning. Tired. The first act was a nice take on a typical Springer scenario... fat guy whom no-one in their right mind would fancy, playing one woman off against another, but then all the time really dating a gay tranny.
Some really nice "Jerry Springer moments". And I am qualified to comment, as a few years ago I had my own private Jerry addiction. (Yes really.) It only lasted a week, praise the Lord, and I conquered it with total immersion. I watched up to four Jerrys a day until I couldn't stand it a moment longer. And I've never watched since. Not Jerry, not Oprah, not Trisha, not any of the bunch of over-paid charlatans.
Another "story" was the guy who had an adult baby fetish. (This actor had the biggest breasts I've ever seen on a man. Pendulous. And believe me - I've seen more torsos than you've had hot dinners. In my day.) He sang real good - but oh those titties were a turn-off when he stripped down almost nekkid.
And He was the one chosen to play Jesus in the rather unnecessary and silly second half. (Religiosity.) All the lead actors played two roles. So Jesus was not "portrayed as a nappy-wearing fetishist", as stated on Heaven and Earth this morning, but simply the one actor playing two roles. The fat guy in the first story above was God in the second half, and so on.
Verdict? Overlong with some funny moments. As offensive as a raspberry blancmange.
And why Kirsty Wark voicing over the, "this daft play might really offend you" stuff at the start of both acts? Isn't Miss Wark in enough trouble already over her ill-advised friendship with Jack McConnell, First Minister for Scotland? Or is McConnell just being played by two actors?
Vote! in my new sidebar poll.
CELEBRITY BIG SHAMBLES
Awful last night. Repellent. Six of them round a table spinning a wine bottle and asking a question of the one the bottle pointed at. Banal schoolyard questions. "Would you sleep with John McCririck for ten thousand pounds?" (John had sensibly gone to bed.) Germaine kept a distance and busied herself in the kitchen area.
All of them talking at the same time. This is (barely) tolerable in real life, but over microphones with no attempt at mixing or separating it's near painful. Plus they had them on silence for half the time, presumably for their own protection from the tabloids. Eg.question to Kenzie, 19 y/o boybander, "Which would you prefer, a fuck or a blow job?" (They silenced his answer. But lip readers would have had a field day.)
Nevertheless Kenzie, McCririck and the divine Greer are the only ones worth listening to. Possibly Neilsen. What a bunch of tosspots, the rest! That Bez is especially repulsive - the guy in a pub that everybody moves away from.
Update: Daft Germaine-coverage in yesterday's Guardian. From a maggot.
"She is no longer a woman with a gorgeous and exciting brain, who has made a contribution to our intellectual life. It's not that she's lost credibility, it's that she's lost her core."
(Dermot O'Leary and I are as one on this.) It's Dr Greer who's leading, whilst old-fashioned commentators are failing to adapt. Of course, each to her own opinion. They also reckoned on the telly today that Germaine and 19 y/o Kenzie would make a good romantic coupling. Watch this space...
The Prime Minister was on BBC Breakfast with Frost this morning, possibly wishing he was on CBB instead. Refused to answer one single question about his relationship with the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The question about "should he have come home from holiday over the tsunami" never even got asked. Changed days. "Trust me, I'm Tony."
It was strange for me, working two days in a row - yesterday and its predecessor. Survived. Quite enjoyed it, to be honest. Gives the mice the place to themselves for a bit.
Babs, Scott and I were sitting chewing the fat in the Port o Leith Bar yesterday when this cop strolls in. Confidently, as they do. What is it about cops that makes them so damn sexy?
Evergreen Norma was drunk as a skunk, but there was this other guy, whom I won't name because he's repellent, who was even drunker. Drunk, drunker, drunkest. He was so bad that even Norma was telling him to shut up.
And into this other-world existence, this Cuckoo's Nest of the licensed trade, walked the young constable. I'm betting Mary was shitting herself.
"Cor - look at him!" I gasped at Scott. "And look at all those gadgets he's wearing!" (I could count at least ten, from the handcuffs on his broad black leather belt [Cut it out. Ed] up to the walkie-talkie clipped to his shoulder. The man was a walking Christmas tree of arrestment.) "I just want to slowly take them all off him," I drooled.
Scott agreed, enthusiastically. "Do you want me go over there and pull him for ya, boys?" asked Babs, grinning. "Hehe," we agreed. "That would be fun."
Then Scott got called over for a statement, the bitch. I could only watch helplessly from the wings as he clucked and tut-tutted at this pocket-sized stud. It was about someone getting beat up outside the place last week. Shit happens.
No statement from moi, as I wasn't there, but never let that little detail keep me from my man. I noticed our glasses were conveniently heading to zero, so over I trotted for a Guinness for me and brandy for Babs.
"My, officer - what a lot of paperwork!" I declared, nodding towards his little black book. "Yeah, I guess you're right!" he answered, smiling. Then emboldened by his friendliness, I pushed the envelope a little further. "Pity I can't buy you a drink," I said. (I'm not making it up. Fuck off.) "No," he agreed. "Not for the next two hours." "Maybe later then," I concluded, returning to our table with a wall-to-wall smirk.
Years since I've been that bold. Don't know what's getting into me. Used to do it all the time - even give masterclasses to the novitiate queenlings. Oh... the stories I could tell.
You'll be very disappointed in me. Last night I dropped off my academic perch bigtime, as my channel hopper brushed past Channel Four. It was the start of Celebrity Big Brother, and some blonde chick I'd never clapped eyes on was walking a long red carpet to the crowd's shouts and cheers.
"Has Davina (McCall) had her nose done yet?" was my first thought, quickly followed by, "That one looks a lot like Germaine Greer," ending up with, "Fuck me - it is Germaine Greer!"
The thinking man's sleb!
And - glory be! - there's also that repulsive John McCririck... the betting shop barfly who hit lucky. The very Carol Vorderman of the race tracks! Quickly and easily I settled down in front of the box. It was about midnight. The housemates were "getting acquainted".
Apart from those two above I hadn't the faintest idea about the rest, and even less interest. (Is this the show where Vanessa Feltz made an arse of herself one time?) Wouldn't be hard.
How will Dr Greer conduct herself against this much younger competition, I wondered. Will that carefully-constructed Newsnight Review persona hold up in the harsh enquiry of 24/7? There was one youth there looked like he should be doing homework rather than being on the telly. Would they take the old bag to pieces?
But no!! Effortlessly Germaine has taken control. Oh, a couple of younger men, thirties, made tiny little digs at her, but she rode over all like Mother Superior. Especially she laid into McCririck, who really does have all the fuck-ups his appearance would suggest. (Is there a nascent Gary Glitter under all that horrible jewellery?) Then Germaine ordered him to "lay off" an attractive young woman he was quite nastily starting to bully. Excellent!
This show will run and run. Unfortunately (or maybe not) I won't be able to immerse, as it's mostly on a channel called E4 which I haven't got.
Update: You can pay 4.95 a month and get it live on the internet. But you won't catch me doing that. I can remember when internet content was free. Everything's a racket these days.
Naked Peter watching reality TV. It's a seismic shift, I tellsya.
Jack and Emily are top baby names for 2004. Adam is down. Mohammed is up. Madison makes an appearance. Yawn. Wtf am I writing this drivel? More baby names.
Should a blogger date another blogger, asks andre. Only if they use contraception, was my sage reply. Imagine a child with a double dose of blogging genes! Poor thing would be writing all day long. Never going out except to find things to blog about. "I got badly beaten up by the school bully today, and this is how it started off..."
THE BLOGGIES TM 2005
Yes folks - it's that time of the year again. The time when bloggers across the world put all that fake camaraderie to one side and show themselves in their true, catwalk colours. Me! Me! Me!
And why not?
It's more appalling than Celebrity Big Brother. But why should we stick on the high ground for ever, when in January there's much more fun in the gutter?
One leading, award-winning UK blogger has already mass emailed every single one of his commenters, asking them for a nomination. How cheap is that, eh? Are there no depths?
At NB we traditionally make it to various long lists, but so far no further. We often score highly in...
Best British or Irish weblog
Best glbt weblog (why should it always go to discobunnies? eh?)
Most humorous weblog (you're smiling right now, aren't you?)
Best writing of a weblog (goes without saying)
Weblog of the year
Act quickly! You've only got till January 10 to nominate Naked Blog.
Yes really. Climbed Arthur's Seat at last. Well - in true Naked Blog style - not quite all the way, as the summit was a bit scary. Not "heart attack" scary (we'd already had several on the way up), but precipitous scary. Scary like "one step wrong and I'm falling 823 feet".
So I found myself a flat ledge, plonked my ass on a not too comfortable rock, then clung on for dear life, while the wind howled all around my lugholes. Sandra and Johnny had ascended the summit ahead of the oldboy, and were lost to sight.
But they soon returned, the way friends do on mountains. "I'm not going up!" I declared, firmly to brook no attempts at persuasion. "It's too steep and I'm getting dizzy." (This was a lie. Not so much dizzy as really, really scared of heights and precipices. Even though I've scaled the Cairngorm National Park more times than most people etc.) That's been a while. Not since my early forties. I was the most senior person on the hill yesterday by at least a decade.
"You don't want to go up to the top anyway," said Johnny, returning to my improvised Base Camp. "It's too fucking windy. I nearly blew over."
"I'm not going up either," said Sandra, adding solidarity to my wimpiness.
"And - " I said, with even more firmness, " - I'm not going down the way we came up. It's far too steep. I need a safer way."
"Just follow Sandra," Johnny advised. "That's a more gentle path." He was right. He kindly kept chatting on the way down, assuaging my anxiety. The way you would to a frightened child. But you don't worry about that when you're pretty damn scared!
Lovely, lovely day. Then pizza at the Vittoria in Leith Walk. "Do you think the waiters go to a school to learn to talk like that?" I asked. It was pure Godfather speak. I had the Finanziere. (Means financier.) Johnny had Funghi (I'm guessing you know that one), and Sandra some spaghetti creation. It was very spicy. She's a vegetarian.
Then to the Swedish bar, Boda, where we dissected the day and started planning the next one. This could be the start of me reclaiming my health! Stopping smoking is fantastic, but still you've got to move. Often and vigorously. Fifty eight. Who would ever have thought? How blessed I am.
Da capo al fine
To the Port o' Leith Bar finally, where all dreams start and finish. Big Al was there, Big Robert and Linda. (Linda's quite big-boned too, but we're ever the gentleman here on Naked Blog.) Robert and Linda swapped jackets. Cross dressing. Linda was now wearing a cammo jacket, and Robert a black fleecy nylon ape-suit top. "Who do I look like?" he asked. "Oh, Bigfoot," I replied. "Or Liberace." "King Kong," Al chipped in.
"Who was that guy who died on the radio?" Robert asked. "Marc Bolan?" I offered. "Yes, I think I'll be him," he said.
Some minutes passed, while Robert admired himself in the pub mirror. "Are you getting a wee stiffie from that?" I asked him. "Some men do when they wear women's clothes." (God - is there anything in life I don't know?)
"A demi," Robert concurred. "Posh bitch!" Al chipped in. "Everybody else says semi." We laughed.
"Did you see Germaine Greer on the telly last night?" I asked Andy (real name) the barman. He's just back home from his emu farm down under. "She was talking about aborigines."
"Don't get me started on aborigines!" he exclaimed. "Bunch of petrol-drinking, benefit-scrounging tossers!" It seemed fairly clear which side of the aboriginal fence Andy was on. I told him a little of Dr Greer's new book, and her plans for the whole of Australia to embrace aboriginality, and then lead the world in the ways of the hunter-gatherer. But I sensed Andy was no more impressed by Dr Greer than by his aboriginal acquaintances.
Disaster? What disaster?
Thanks to all who voted in our recent Prime Minister holiday poll.
"After the tsunami, should Tony Blair have come home from holiday abroad?"
The results are...
Nothing in it, as you can see.
I'll leave that poll there for a day or two till I think of another one. Any suggestions?
Three minute silenzio
For UK and EU readers, if it's not already too late, there's to be a 3 minute silence today at noon GMT to remember those killed in the recent disaster. Seems a bit pointless to be honest, but maybe the young will find that sort of thing quite moving.
The forecast for today is gorgeous. Great big yellow spider symbols plonked all over Scotland like an arachnophobia movie. But it's just an interlude - a wee lacuna - between storms, rain and gales. Got to go out. Been house and chairbound for far too long.
When I drew the study curtains ten minutes ago the breath fair drained from my body. There's a huge low bank of cloud in the southern sky, stretching from left to right as far as you can see. It's a mix of white and grey, with splashes of sulphury yellow too. All along the top there's the icing of sunshine's silvery lining - bright, bright yellow this time, against the chilly blue above. High in the south-west, what's left of the waning moon stands proud against the growing heat of the day, while sea birds fly past cawing - their underbellies lit by the low-lying sun. It makes me very, very happy. Far happier than a man has a right to be.
Wow! That was exciting. You need to do descriptive writing now and again - it's the ground zero of our little craft. But back to what you really come here for. Gossip.
Yesterday was disorganised with military precision. The BBCi (Press red) 24 hour in-depth forecast showed double raindrops at 3pm, 6pm, 9pm and after that I forget. It's lovely to have such detailed three-hourly predictions, but it would be even more lovely if they actually happened. Not one (real) raindrop condensed over the entire period. (And these were symbols plonked exactly on my house - we're not talking generalities. Nothing to do with Michael Fish and his don't be silly hurricanes in France.) As a forecast, it couldn't have been more depressing and more wrong.
But I went out anyway, strolling along Great Junction Street to the Village lifestyle bar. Almost everywhere was closed - even the Sikh-owned fashion shops. I'd kind of imagined they'd be on some other, more exotic calendar. Leith is very Sikh-friendly. They're the second biggest minority.
The Village was pleasant enough, so then suitably fortified we trotted off to Comet to get a TV stand for all my new gadgets. Balancing them in a heaped up triangle on top of the set is all a wee bit precarious, if you ask me. One drunken lurch and Bingo! My sound will never surround me again. My digits will fuck off to Africa for a gap year. And my DVDs will spin in their very grave.
Lugged that lot home in a taxi, then down to the Port - the real challenge. If you can make it there, you can make it any where...
(Little) Alex was sitting with his new gf on one side, and Robin (don't call me bisexual, I'm a screaming queen now) on the other. Talk about covering your options. Alex jumped right off his stool and gave me a great big young-man hug. This was not unpleasant. Then bijou kissettes with Robin (darling! mwah! mwah!) - our respective stubbles bristling Desperate Dan sparks in the dim light. And last but not least, Alex's new lady friend Ally. Her job to protect her man from this now redoubled faggot-attack. As if!!
We laughed. We joked. We celebrated life's diversity, but I do think Alex allowed Robin's roaming hands a little too high up his thigh. "Fuck off Peter - you don't know what you're talking about!" said Robin, when I mentioned this. But not unkindly, or I might have smacked him.
So we laughed some more and drank tequila and Guinness. Ally said the Guinness in Dublin was better than the Guinness in Edinburgh, and I had to agree with her. Time passed. The New Year established. And then we played bridge, but no-one fought. How blessed I am.
Bundle of laughs
I'm having a good experience with Virgin Mobile Airtime bundles. Phoning more, texting more, and spending less. Check them out. Me, I get the 10 quid for 60 minutes talk one month, and ten quid for 200 texts the next. Unused stuff carries forward to the next month. Takes all the worry out of picking up the phone. (Apart from DNA damage.)
More Hot Bloggin at da BBC
(Also see yesterday.) An interesting new BBC piece about work blogging. (Via Zed.) The usual suspects are all there, together with Waiter Rant, which I discovered yesterday and is worth a wee peep.
Here at Naked Blog and its predecessor we were "work blogging" while the current bunch were still at high school. It's a fine line to tread, but I think common sense should carry people most of the way. I hope so, as all my Managers read it!
Running out of things to blog about. Yesterday that ol' rocking chair got me again. Dined on bread, cheese and jam. Delicious. I've abandoned the surroundsound system completely until my ears get better.
Today I can jot a few thoughts down, but don't feel up to a polished narrative. If that's OK with you.
There's really only one thing happened this last week, and I've already said all I can muster on that. Part of me wonders what possible use Colin Powell and Jeb Bush can be to stricken countries, but I guess for all that aid they deserve a few photo ops. Never mind the disruption their visit will cause. Notable we've been left out of President Bush's Axis of Aid. Guess we didn't try hard enough in Iraq.
Mike writes Phuket pre and post tsunami here. Orbyn reports from Galle here. Actual "in the water" stuff. Both quite brilliant accounts.
(Following on from yesterday...) At a time when quality, traffic and readership have rarely been stronger, it was mildly dismaying to find Naked Blog somewhat downgraded to the "also present were" section of the Guardian's long-standing Rich List. But look at the company we're still in! Mike, Tom, Anna, to name but many. And welcome to JonnyB! Well deserved. I'm sure Willie will be next. But where is Alistair? Or is he beyond lists?
Maybe I should have "developed" the site more. It really is a bit old-fashioned. And I don't think the horizontals work in anything other than 800 x 600 resolution, which is the one I use. Whenever I browse it on another computer, there's loads of spare yellow stuff on the right, and the title is reduced in size to near insignificance. So I look at things like this and this with a pale tinge of envy.
Also thinking of a new font. Can't even remember what this one is, but I know there's loads easier to read. What's your fave typeface?
Alain de Botton, the philosopher's Ross Geller, was waxing not too dreadfully yesterday on the subject of holidays. His one hour programme required him to go on about six holidays. Ah well - someone's got to do it. His thesis was, "Endless energy is spent wondering where to go, but no-one ever stops to think about "why"?
As an inveterate holiday non-goer, this was good to hear. Good to know I'm not the only one who's more than content where I already am. This is my third major life location - I didn't just stick where I was born. But I think - as you might glean from these pages - that it's probably been third time lucky. To know a place at all, you actually have to live there.
Let Them Eat Aid
Don't forget to vote in my fabulous new sidebar Poll! As you know, our esteemed PM chose to remain on holiday with whatever millionaire he's currently friends with. Should he have come home to supervise the aid efforts? Or should he enjoy a well-deserved break on the beach? And what about the Blair children? Has Euan got his gf with him again, or is it all washed up? (Dreadful expression in the circumstances, I know.)
Betcha a fiver to a brick shithouse there'll be an animated tsunami song on the net somewhere. Betcha.
The weather pretty much put paid to the great outdoors yesterday. Most uninviting for my traditional New Year's Day walk. Must be global warming. So I stayed in and watched rubbish DVDs and telly. How did you start 2005?
And how's yer boozing doing? Me, I've touched the devil's brew once only since way back before Christmas. Saved a fortune. And liver cells as well. Hate the damn stuff anyway. Only do it to be sociable. Never keep it in the house.
Talking of booze, Charles Kennedy was on a BBC tsunami show this morning. His eyes looked less hungover than a fortnight ago on Breakfast With Frost, but you could still see the remains of yesterday's bevvy. Shame. He could get counselling. He probably thinks he's getting away with it.
John Simpson said President Bush hates the UN, and that's why he's tryng to upstage them in the disaster relief. Everyone agreed the British people have been wonderful, and the government should match the public's contributions. (But it's good to remember where "government money" actually comes from.)
From where I'm sitting, the disaster relief looks like one God-awful shambles, to be honest. But then I've only got the TV to inform me. Not there. Couldn't be everywhere, anyway. Did you know that in Thailand they're mass-burying the locals, but preserving the bodies of the white man. (Locals is PC for "natives".)
And talking of locals - were you, like me, reduced to blind fury at the Vicar of Dibley show last night? For my overseas readers (and there are a few), let me explain that the Vicar of Dibley is a BBC sitcom series where Miss Dawn French plays a (very, very fat) Vicar. (Priest, Minister, Reverend.)
So far, so very old-fashioned comedy - long past its sell-by.
Calm, peaceful, and utterly predictable. Dad's Army with dog collars. Until last night, billed as a "New Year Special", where all concerned seemed to take leave of their fucking senses. Clearly made pre-tsunami, the show ended with a grotesque (in the present circumstances) and harrowing plea for something to be done about the death toll in Africa from starvation and disease.
Here are the facts as I see them. Yes of course something should be done about the death toll in Africa from starvation and disease. Of course. And in Asia. And every damn where else where there's death and disease. (I won't bore Naked Blog readers by reminding them of the role of the Pharmaceutical Corporations in contributing to this death toll.)
But when I switch on my TV for a sitcom, then a sitcom is what I expect. Not - not in any circumstances - the cheap, below the belt, kick in the guts stunt the BBC pulled yesterday with this show. Unspeakable, and certainly unmatched in my year or two of viewing.
Charity begins at home, they say, Miss French. You might fool some BBC viewers into thinking you actually are a vicar, but not this dude. You're not remotely a vicar - you're a very rich entertainer. Why not publish your own charitable givings before trying to con your (often quite poor) viewers into parting with their meagre pensions? Eh?
Sorry, but I can't remember being so furious at my television for a very long time.
Right. Glad I got that off my chest, and naturally a stiff letter is winging its way to the BBC even as you read. This one will run for three days. Watch your Grauny letters page.
It's 11.30 of the am, and if I'm to get out it'll have to be shortly. I really don't want to do a three day indoor thing again this week. Plus my freezer is getting a bit depleted now. (That jars a bit with the paragraphs above, I do realise.)
Should Tony Blair have come back from holiday? He's been conspicuous by his absence throughout the catastrophe. Knock once for yes, twice for no. Oh fuckit - let's have a New Year Poll!! That'll sick him. Top of sidebar.
New Year Clearance!
We've been downgraded! Yes, really. After queening it up for years in the higher, more A-list portion of this Guardian page , we now find ourselves relegated to the servants' quarters down below. Below the salt. The also-rans.
It's the end of an era. The only survivors from the early days seem to be Sashinka and The Willesden Herald. And what has replaced us at the top table? A bunch of businesses, if this one is anything to go by. Betcha they'll be gone as quick as they came. Look at Belle.
Ah well. It couldn't last for ever, eh? Down with the old - in with the new. Many, many thanks to the Grauny for promoting us for so long. Soon there'll be no room left for the small man. Progress.
May 2005 bring blessings and boons. May you cope with the bad shit it'll probably bring as well. Wtf says "may" these days?
I always remember my friend Hamish from Shetland who, when asked what he wished for the new year replied, "To get to the end of it". What amusing friends I've had over the years. It's just keeping them that's the problem. Keep on dying, moving away, or becoming hopeless alcoholics. Must be me.
I've just had my first proper post for the year swallowed up. Must have been rubbish. (It was the Save as Draft feature which threw me. You don't normally think of "Save" as a risky proposition, so I never checked the Firewall was open.)
Hope y'all had a nice celebration. Me, I trotted off to bed as I would any other Friday night. No different from any other night.
So I hadn't been at all pleased earlier in the day to read this in The Guardian...
"It will be a dull soul who does not raise a glass tonight. "No different from any other day," says the new year's equivalent of Scrooge, the wet blanket who goes to bed early with cocoa and no companions."
Maybe Miss Bakewell could have spent some time in my bingo hall then, chatting to the women whose husbands have died this year, and were sitting close to tears at the thought of their first New Year alone. Maybe she could have told them what dull souls they are. Or those, like myself, whose family and close friends have long died, and who just don't want to intrude on other people's homes and families at significant times of the year. What wet blankets we truly are, JoanieB!
God - there are times I hate the chatterati. Churning out drivel about real life, when they've never had to soil their hands with such for decades or even ever. I mean, who the fuck is Joan Bakewell? She seems to have been around as long as the Queen, but her contribution is a big fat zero.
Peace. Calm. Chill. Joan Bakewell can't hurt you. She's just ignorant and unthinking.
I hereby resolve...
Every New Year my parents would make a New Year's resolution to stop smoking. This lasted a small number of hours or days, and then they were free to smoke their heads off till the next New Year, as everyone knew January the First was the only day in the discovered universe to stop smoking.
That was my childhood intro to the world of New Year Resolutions. Me, I never make them, being essentially perfect. Plus I think you should regard every day as an opportunity for improvement, not just the one we're in atm.
But you may well differ. Come on... fess up... whatya planning on improving this year?
PS: In my search for the ultimate fuck-off sound movie I think I've half deafened myself. So we're back to near-zero, mouse-squeak levels till things heal up a bit. I've even set my subwoofer to MIN. One of these days I'll find a gift that doesn't damage me.
Weather Studio: How's yer New Year weather? Here I've got snow, hail, rain, sleet, gale - and the odd rumble of thunder. I can tell you it's shifting the birdshit off the windows bigtime.