Naked Blog

More famous than Susan Boyle!


Friday, April 29, 2005

SUNNY AND BLUE, WITH WORK TO DO

Ghastly afternoon yesterday, in which I spent around thirty quid only to feel totally yucky this morning.
  • Had a warmed-up debate with Babs' Significant Other, which wasn't really satisfactorily resolved, even though I stuck to my guns, politely.

  • Had a flaming row with the manager of HMV Ocean Terminal over his attitude to my simple complaint about the blaring music. You couldn't enter the shop for the pain. Got home and had to report him to his Head Office. Had to. Can't have people like that dealing with respectable third-agers with disposable income to dispose of. I wanted to buy three DVDs for 20 quid, which they're advertising on telly. (End of the month. Grab the punters on payday... Oh these people never miss a trick.) I wanted to do that, but now I'll never darken their doorstep again. (Unless they calm me down with a substantial book of vouchers. Hint.)
  • Hunk for a Drunk

    Still raging in Bernard Street I bumped into Yorkshire Kriss, former Hunk Of The Week, barred from the Port o Leith, but always welcome in my heart. He was in "accepting" mode, so I bought him a couple in Carrier's Quarters. Some people you gotta pay to talk to. Goes with the territory. Kriss describes himself as "professionally unemployed", which is enchanting, but he said the Dole are trying to make him work. He's not amused.

    Got home to find I'd set the video wrong for the Three Tenors Leaders. Should have stuck to Videoplus. So now I'll never know how to vote. What was it like? Was there the promised Belgrano Moment?

    I'd love to write longer to you. Love to languish over lunch with a friend, before scaling my mountain in the afternoon's gentle rays. (Only takes an hour and a bit, up and down. We're not talking K2.) Love to do those, but sadly it's back to the bingo which makes it all possible. I hear there's a bingo storyline in Coronation Street now, with a gay Caller. How original is that? Does he write a weblog?


    And you say? (16)   Link to this


    Thursday, April 28, 2005

    YOURS, CONFUSED - BUT NOT TOO MUCH

    There's so much business going around the place about blogging... networks, advertising, aggregating, feeding - that sometimes I despair. I feel I'm on a different, much older planet. Is there seriously no room left for someone just writing about their life?

    Nice to take comfort, for one more year at least, that the official best weblog in Europe is exactly that. Or are zed's days numbered too? Is she about to get squeezed out by a conglomerate in Boston Mass. with business plans, reader profiles, network support and an advertising stream?

    And what's this nonsense about you must "get a topic and stick to it"?

    Keep them free, keep them small and keep them good.

    That could be the most important sentence you will read today. It needs to move.


    And you say? (20)   Link to this


    Wednesday, April 27, 2005

    FIT AS FUCK

    It's here now - it's really here again. You can even feel it around your kidneys, base of the spine, thrusting, churning, saying MOVE, MOVE! Wish I could remember my chakras, but I'm sure there's one down there for exercise and physical condition. Awesome, if a little creepy, as now I have a whole new monkey to feed again.

    Some of you will know of what I speak. More chakras.

    Movie News

    And how archaic that last sentence doth sound! Could it be related to yester eve's erstwhile viewing of Mr Shyamalan's entertainment The Village?

    OK - let's cut the pseudo-linguistic crap. Me, I can't say his name without putting a-ding-dong at the end. Try it. Shyamalan a ding dong.

    Me, I loved The Village. I don't give a monkey's what piss-elegant "critics" say about him tarnishing his gift. More people watched The Village than have probably seen Von Trier's entire output. Not that that makes either of them bad, just different. The Village. Catch it if you can. Catch it if you haven't seen it already. And DO NOT read reviews or discuss it until you have. Then tell me all about it.

    Hi Ho

    Work today, which is mostly good. Good in the emotional sense, as both colleagues and customers are fun to be around. Quite good in the physical sense, it being PE for the larynx. This did cause problems at one time, but cutting down from eight to six performances a week seems to have done the trick. Plus Arthur's Seat. Plus Richard's recommendation to take up singing. (Bowie's "Star... MAN..." ain't got nothin' on mine, baby!)

    Did I ever tell you Bowie is exactly one week younger than me? It's true. How close is that? Plus Val Kilmer and I share a birthday, but in that case we differ by thirteen years. He's a honey. Just like I used to be. So is Morgan Spurlock who's starring in Super Size Me tomorrow on Channel Four. Just my luck to invest three pounds fifty of my hard-earned to rent it, only to find the thing free on telly the very next week. Ah well - easy come, easy go.

    Not All Good

    The bad thing about working in bingo is the passive smoking. Litres of the filthy stuff. Oceans, swirling all around you, as your lungs work frantically to spot the oxygen molecule. There's one! Quick - grab it!

    However, due to the great vision of the Scottish Parliament, all this will soon be history. Next year, in fact, when the Great Scottish Smoking Ban comes in, with a complete and total ban on smoking in all enclosed public places. None of your wussy English nonsense about only every third week and only then if filet mignon is on the menu.

    This will work wonders for health and safety. Conversely, it might also close the joint down, if my bingo ladies decide they'd rather stay home and smoke. So I'm choked if they do, and unemployed if they don't. At least the dole office will be non-smoking. Stay alive with a P45.

    Summing Up

    Right. We seem to have segued painlessly from my (spinning) solar chakras to the bingo ladies fagsmoke, stopping off at a couple of movies on the way. Not bad, considering the price. See you tomorrow, Chuck, deo volente.

    Today is rainy and grey, but the forecast is brightening up. I thought you would want to know that.

    Labour is a shoe-in for the next election, btw. But you must turn out and vote.



    Touch Typing Results: Scott of gdayscott (not his real name) spotted secret and afterwards, both done totally with the left hand. To these, Alan of ashbooks added eggs. And whisked. No, I'm kidding. eggs is done with one hand. Eggs isn't. Tricky. Like Schrodinger's cat. But I generously awarded him a bonus point nevertheless.

    To these, asta (herself one-handed), added grated traded wears dear crated waded dreaded.

    Today's task, should you find yourself at a loose end with your employer's time and money, is to think of some right hand words of more than three letters. Me - I can already spot kill, pill etc.

    It's a very great joy, touch typing. You should definitely think about it.


    And you say? (19)   Link to this


    Tuesday, April 26, 2005

    UNDER CONSTRUCTION. DO NOT READ YET. (OK YOU CAN NOW.)

    Packed schedule yesterday, making me feel giddy even thinking about it!

    Blogging to you around ten of the am, then swift Guinness in the Regent around twelve. After that, straight up Arthur's Seat for my constitutional. (How I wish they'd change the name of that damn hillock! Mount St Arthur or summat. It's the "Seat" bit that gets everyone laughing.) Me, I just regard it as the "workout at the end of the road". Some nice young people at the summit asked me to photo them.



    Sandra my personal manager was awaiting on my descent, complete with automotive vehicle, which I know I say you should never use, but then aren't rules just made to be broken?

    Turning right from London Road into Easter Road I glanced at her and said, "Sandra, we're sitting bang on top of a sign saying NO RIGHT TURN." "Holy Shit!" she grunted, and rejoined the flow. An ambulance screamed past, tooting at us. "OK - I'm scared now," I confessed, as she swivelled back down into Montgomery Street.



    To Jayne's Bar in Leith Walk intending a pint and a healthy salad - a low-fat, post-hill pick-me-up. But it was closed. "Robbie's?" Sandra suggested, but that was closed too. "I'm sure they're going up the street ahead of us and closing them on purpose," I quipped.

    There seemed no choice but next door's City Limits. "Isn't this place terribly schemie?" I muttered, as we pushed open the door to reveal force ten B.O. laced with fagsmoke and dog.

    Gary McCormack (River City, Gangs of New York, etc.) was sitting outside the bar with a tanned man of about forty five. Maybe he was a top Hollywood producer. I didn't tell Sandra that Gary was in Naked Blog for the first time (post below), as she would definitely have shouted it to him. She's a wee minx like that some days.

    So she and I sat at the next table and watched while he held court to the adoring passers-by. We basked in the sun and noisy, smelly traffic, while Gary enjoyed mucho attention from the street. "Hi Gary!" "How ya doin, pal?" the people would say, and shake his hand. If the fan was a young woman he'd jump up and give her a kiss.



    So, with the indisposition of both Jayne's Bar and Robbie's Bar (maybe they're a secret item), we fell back on the default, the Cameo Bar - home of the famous Eggs Benedict to name the new Pope. With a continuing Catholic theme, I noted one of Today's Specials was Salmon Cardinale. You couldn't make it up. I had to try it out. Surprisingly good, although I didn't feel any particular religious fervour afterwards. Salmon, shrimps and Hollandaise sauce with additional green flakes. But the chips had to go back as he'd salted them.
    Touch Typing quiz. Ignoring words of one, two and three letters, there are two longer words in the above paragraph which are typed with one hand alone. And they are...?
    Answer: Swipe here... secret, afterwards... both typed entirely with the left hand. Know any more like that?
    VESPERS 2005

    Change of tone for the evening then, at Ally and Dolly's, two of my very few gay friends. The point of the evening was to break my shocking writer's block over Constitution Street, and in this I think we succeeded. Me sitting at the computer typing as fast as my fingers would go, whilst A and D shouted out the money lines. Awesome. One, possibly two episodes done, plus loads of ideas and asides. Only eighteen more to go. A doddle. Eeek!

    We had pink dip with rice cakes and celery, followed by home-made turkey and watercress curry with hot Naan. Delicious. After the curry was over, Dolly handed us all a sheet of A4 and made us write half an episode each before we left the table. He should be running classes in it, I do swear. My half episode contained Babs spotting Gwen shoplifting in the Ocean Terminal. (But it's just because she's pregnant. Hormones, you see.) This drama is heading more for League of Gentlemen than Coronation Street, methinks.



    And that's all. Today is rainy and grey, not sunny and blue, so no outdoor activities on the agenda. I should stay in and write more Constitution Street.

    Should...

    Fuck it! I'm going out. Hate sitting in on my own. That's why I'd never make a writer.


    And you say? (15)   Link to this


    Monday, April 25, 2005

    HAPPY MONDAYS

    Fascinated by the inauguration of His New Holiness yesterday. Great theatre, aided by the thought that at 78 the excitement might all prove too much, leading to the shortest Papacy ever. Liked the painting of Jesus above his head, as a slight reminder that Someone Else does technically figure in the Catholic Church - although most of the time you would never think it. They've done away with the Papal crown, and given him a fisherman's ring instead. Most humbling.

    What did they do before microphones and TV cameras, I wondered. Noted that HH was speaking into the exact same brand of Shure mike that I use also in the bingo, illustrating in a rather odd way that in some aspects, you truly can serve God and Mammon.

    Radio Gaga

    Caught the tail-end of the latest Leith FM meeting yesterday in The Village. Gary McCormack (Gangs of New York, Acid House, etc.) was there chatting to Wee Stevie and Henry. Just as well I didn't know he was a star, or I'd have fawned all over him. (Babs knows all of these things. She came in later.) He's a bit small to play hardmen, I would have thought. Plus those shades on top of the head are so very last century.

    Nevertheless, if he's between paying gigs atm, I'm sure I can persuade him to take a part in Constitution Street, my "Continuing Drama" for the radio. Well - dunno about continuing, as so far it hasn't even started. Babs and I had some brainstorms, and tonight I'm due at Ally and Dolly, Leith's most viperish duo.
    Constitution Street, written by Hollywood's Peter Russell and starring Gary McCormack. I can just see it.
    But now I just see the sun has cleared the overnight mist already. It's still nine thirty, and I have a cardiovascular system to address. Written drama can wait. I have an appointment with the real thing.

    Loads of weekend stuff for you below. Enjoy. Don't bother commenting, as I quite like the shape of the (0) motif. Like that geezer's Scream, someone sagely once said.


    And you say? (7)   Link to this


    Sunday, April 24, 2005

    HOUSE!

    Knackered. Cream crackered. Donald Ducked.

    Last night was the highlight of the calendar for bingo-players nationwide. In which crowds gathered in their hundreds at the Court of Saint Peter to see if we could repeat our world-famous million pound win again this year.

    But unfortunately we didn't. Didn't pull off the big one. What we did do however was pack the damn place from top to bottom, which had the Manager understandably laughing all the way to the printouts.



    In these matters my task as Caller is simple. It's to entertain and delight the enlarged crowd sufficiently so they come back for more in future.

    And I think the boy done good last night. Yep. Cracking jokes and making over six hundred people laugh is an exquisite sensation most folk never experience. It needs the supreme self-confidence, the feeling that you can do what no-one else in the building can, and you can do it better.

    And the winner was? Mecca Forge Club in Glasgow. That's two out of two wins for Scotland, which must have the rest of the UK fair fizzing. The Forge is a much bigger club than ours, last night with 1200 players, who each take home about 800 quid. "Hell mend the Weegies!" I rather waspishly declared. "We wouldn't even want such a small amount!"

    They laughed, and this eased the disappointment a little.

    Last year, when we did win it.


    And you say? (5)   Link to this



    A MOUNTAINEER'S ASCENT

    Alan, who normally hangs out on the Himalayan Massif, does "my" beloved Arthur's Seat yesterday. Lovely story and pics - my own favourite photo being the second one, showing the sloping green trail up ahead. Inviting.

    Go there and see them. Unmissable. Some day I'll find my own camera, but I think you're getting the hang of the place by now! Who needs Visitscotland dot com when there are bloggers about?

    Also scroll down Alan's page to 20 April: Not For The Squeamish, for some real mountain stuff.


    And you say? (0)   Link to this


    Friday, April 22, 2005

    APRES HILL

    Hiya! Good morning on Friday. Today was promised to offer more of yesterday's sunny and blue, but so far, simply so grey. Never mind. I don't know if my hypothalamus can cope with any more stimulation. See post below.



    To celebrate what seems a vivid attack of good health this year, I took out Super Size Me (2004) from Blockbuster yesterday. In this documentary, Morgan Spurlock, who is very easy on the eyes, eats nothing but McDonalds products for 31 days. He gained 25 pounds and became measurably ill. That's really all that happened.

    Oh - he does the Jamie Oliver thing with American school dinners also. Exactly like in England they're outsourced to the cheapest bidder, and consist mainly of chocolate, Coke and chips/fries. So now the American public will know as well. I'm surprised the food companies didn't have him shot.

    It's now illegal in the US to sue food manufacturers for making you ill or obese. That's nicknamed the Cheeseburger Bill.



    While I was watching it I ate an entire Cheese and Broccoli flan, by Co-op. Horrified to see it contains 220 kcal per quarter flan. Didn't need a calculator to multiply by four. Didn't realise you were supposed to eat only a quarter at a time.

    But it doesn't matter. Exercise cures all. Exercise is king. Just six short months ago I was almost crying from arthritis as it spread to more and more joints. Fingers, hands, ankles, feet. Now it's just a memory. See post below.

    Darby and Jim

    Mike and K celebrate twenty years together with an exchange of shirts. Wonderful, but it seems unbelievable - almost Arthurian - somehow. (My own relationships rarely lasted more than twenty minutes.) Think I must be hard to love. Plus I personally never really saw the point, even though most people appear to like them. That doesn't mean of course that you're any sort of failure when you're not "in one". Alone is every bit as valuable.

    Huggz and kisses to M and K from all at Naked Blog.


    And you say? (7)   Link to this


    Thursday, April 21, 2005

    SEASONAL... AFFECTIVE...

    I've written here often about the changing seasons. How daylight affects our moods and our operations. Today this afternoon was vivid, so fucking vivid.



    There I was in the Port o' Leith Bar with two of my closest friends, Sandra and Babs. Outside the sun beat down bigtime, and me - well I'd climbed Arthur's Seat already and got back down, as promised in the post below. Nae messin'

    We had a couple of drinks each. Babs was celebrating her new job as Chef de Cuisine to some of Edinburgh's finest firemen. (She's already sick of suggestions about firemen and their hoses, so dinnae bother!)

    Then Sandra pops in, straight from the hairdressers, sporting a Hepburn-esque twenty pound cut. "Fabulous, Darling!" we all echoed, and what more can I say.



    But after all this was over, after the booze and the chats and the bonhomie, it was still only four o' clock - and still the sun was beating down bigtime. (Today has been the most illuminated day of the year so far.) Take it from me - I'm not kidding. Talk to the hand - the hormones know what they're on about.

    So I'd been up Arthur's Seat already. Drunk all I wished to drink. Talked every idea available to talk. "I need to go up that hill again now," I says to Sandra, suddenly, plaintively. "Gonnae come up with me... gwan... "

    "Nah, cannae," she says, " - got my daughter to see from school ... but I'll drive you up to the Park nae bother..."

    Fuck me. It was still mid afternoon, and still the sun beat down, sunny and blue, and like a micro-organism in an Australian bacteria-field I found myself totally and wholly out of human decision. Photons ruled. Hot poker pushing up the back of my head. You should try it. But maybe you get that already from drugs.

    Wow, things were tricky.

    Radio Gaga

    Some day I'll tell you what happened, but right now I have to eat vegetables sharpish to bring me down. Broad beans and carrots should do it - maybe some sprouts, which are God's own food.
    "Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum."
    Hail Mary, full of Grace.

    All here at Naked Blog wish His New Holiness the wisdom to invade the United States and unseat the tyrannical despotic ruler there. Weapons of Mass Destruction.

    Showbiz Corner

    Did I tell you I'm on the radio for a whole month, starting in May? Guess I probably didn't. I'm sure we can find someone illegal enough to pop it all onto the net 4U. Grumpy Old Men, it's to be called - me and Stewart. Talk about Very High Frequency.


    And you say? (4)   Link to this



    ARBEIT MACHT FREI

    Has the new Holy Father gassed any homosexuals yet? It's an objective disorder, you know.

    Climb Every Mountain

    Can't write much, as Sandra, Cherry and I are due at the top of a small volcano in an hour's time. Let's hope we don't have to call the mountain rescue!

    Naked Lunch

    And of course we'll have to watch our luncheon menu like a hawk, in case they name another Pope after our choices. (Post below.) Imagine Pope All Day Breakfast.

    Pissed off

    Like Kevin of Kebabylon, we're getting hits through the roof for Paula Radcliffe p*i*s*s*i*n*g. Yet I never wrote about such a thing. Not once. Especially not last August, which is my "guilty" page. All you needed was to have "Paula Radcliffe" and "p*i*s*s*i*n*g" on the same page, even several screens apart, and the moment the arseholes started Googling the expression, muggins here was one of the choices.

    Heavenly Host

    I just daren't think of the bandwidth charges. 1222 hits yesterday. Please don't p*i*s*s again, Paula - not on my patch, anyway.


    And you say? (9)   Link to this


    Wednesday, April 20, 2005

    WE NAME THE NEW POPE - SHOCK EXCLUSIVE!!!

    So there we were sitting in the Cameo Bar, as intimated here yesterday, when my moby goes off. (Bog-standard Nokia... phone ads do nothing for me. Never been a fashion victim, nor likely to start now.) It was Cardinal Gordon Wildside from Vatican City.

    "Hi-ya Pete-a" he goes. "A-how ya doin today ma wee Proddy pal?"

    Wildside and I go back a long way. We were at school together, doncha just know.

    "Fine, Gordy, fine," I sez to him, winking at Sandra and Sam my companions. Sam had kindly brought me in a lovely gift of a stone bear. I asked him if he'd stolen it, which wasn't very nice of me, looking back. But hey - this is Leith, not The Vatican.



    "Petey, we got a problem," he says. "We need a name for the new Holy Father, and we need it now. All the world's a-waitin for the news... we got the man, we just ain't got the name-a."

    "Holy fuck," I sez back to him. "Gordy I got no idea. How long have I got? We're just having lunch."

    "Oh - sorry to interrupt-a," he says then. "A-what you all havin for lunch-a?"

    "Sam and me, Eggs Benedict," I replies, " - and Sandra's on Gruyere and mixed peppers Panini."

    "Petey - I think you just gave me a great idea!" he says excitedly. "In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti!" There was the sudden hissing emptiness of a phone hung-up. And half an hour later, the world met Pope Panini.

    (Editor's note. The above story is almost entirely true. The only part invented was the phone call and matters related. Other details are accurate and as they happened - and we were eating Eggs Benedict.) Spooky.

    Noon Update: Vicus Scurra also names the new Pope. Check it out. Anybody else?


    And you say? (18)   Link to this


    Tuesday, April 19, 2005

    CAMEO APPEARANCE

    I shouldn't be sitting here, writing to you like this. In just over half an hour I'm due at the Cameo Bar in Commercial Street with Sandra, Sam, and a mystery guest called Dale.

    Here's a little quiz to amuse you whilst I'm out enjoying myself and you're stuck at work. (Kindly donated by Jacks, who is female, and Chav Gav's LTLP.) Chav Gav kissed my hand as I was leaving the Village yesterday. I said I'd never wash it again. What is it about straight men in their thirties, eh girls?
  • Think of a number between one and nine. Any number will do... seven, four, anything takes your fancy.

  • Multiply by two

  • Add five

  • Multiply by fifty

  • Add 1754

  • Subtract your year of birth
  • What do you notice about the answer?

    (If you notice nothing then you've done it wrong, and you're really not that smart.)


    And you say? (18)   Link to this


    Monday, April 18, 2005

    BEYOND RECOVERY

    I'm becoming increasingly fazed by the term Recover post, poised as it is immediately over my opening cursor. There's the feeling that the more I write for you, the further we both will stray from the safety and homely charm of Recover post. We might even end up like poor Paula Radcliffe yesterday in the London Marathon, forced to take her dump Recover twenty miles from home and in full view of the world's cameras. Thank God it dropped out quick, eh hen?

    You know, I've often wondered if people who make a career out of something as pointless as running fast (a car will always be quicker) do it because they are totally hopeless at everything else. Sport wins by default. Does anyone seriously buy Flora margarine just because that emaciated oddity has it written across her breastless chest?

    Oliver Twist

    Enjoyed the British Academy Television Awards last night - for the first hour at least. Norton was on fine form, and he didn't even have to talk to the public. Loved his line, "Television depends on people you never see - so you won't see them here tonight either." Fab! Let's hope his future technicians don't give him a hard time in revenge. It's so easy to put ten years on a queen with makeup and lighting. Not that I'm suggesting for one moment...

    Oh - and strange, very strange that Jamie Oliver didn't get even a nomination. Clearly there's no category for television that does something useful for society. Or could it be - an my money's on this one - that the glitterati who live in these worlds have no notion that state schools even exist.

    A Handbag?

    Talking of queens, gay male readers (and there are a couple) might well find themselves as angered as I was by the lead commenter to this post of Gordon yesterday. Beyond parody. Beyond rationality. Beyond even truth.
    In essence Gordon's contributor says: in between wars men become more female. Hence there's a rise in homosexuality.
    I can't remember when I was last so annoyed at a piece of writing. But then maybe that was the idea.

    What's a boy to do on a rainy Monday? Maybe I need Bez.

    Thirty Three and a Third

    Currently a quarter way through Channel Four's 100 Best Albums ever. This was voted for on their website, so will be high on things like Westlife, and low on Dusty (87) and Meatloaf (86). The Beatles and Stones might barely register. And betcha Frank Sinatra will be nowhere to be seen.

    Dusty would have been 66 on Saturday, Dot told me at work.


    And you say? (24)   Link to this


    Sunday, April 17, 2005

    BLOGGY SUNDAY

    Good God! Earlier Blogger was down again, so I've just wasted my entire blogging time watching Jonathan Dimbleby with some second rank politicos. Then The Morning After Show on Channel Four, which was much better, as they don't take anything seriously. Or, rather - they pretend not to take anything seriously, as television is really an extremely serious (ie lucrative) thing.

    Do TV presenters always despise the public? (Rhetorical question. But your PhD might depend on your answer.)



    Were you happy watching Jonathan Ross taking the total piss out of Nicole Kidman and David Schwimmer? Or would you have preferred to learn a little about these enormous stars? And what about Shirley Ghostman? I've recommended him here a priori but I sense no-one gave a shit. This weblog isn't nearly as influential as the olden days. In the face of so much new, quite often professional competition, I'm exposed as the charlatan I always was. Plus people prefer their blogs to offer certainty. In an uncertain world there's always Blinkyblog!

    And what about Jon Ronson on Richard and Judy? "On" meaning "writing about", rather than "on". Is he losing his touch a little, or are they so far beyond parody he didn't try?



    Several of our NB favourites are "up for a BAFTA" tonight. Who will take home the gongs, and who will be left to lick their wounds with the dregs of the Chardonnay and a lonely snort of cocaine in the luxury john? Showbiz must be a nightmare.

    Me, I'm looking out my window waiting for the first taunting drops of three solid days' rain to start. Bingo is a bugger right now, as there's a huge National promotion which is packing them in like sardines, and we don't have any extra staff. Ah well. Mustn't grumble. At least I don't have Norton or O'Grady to compete with, but they do say that's how Peter Kay started out.

    Things could be worse. Or better. Or indeed exactly the same.



    New VCR is ace. And what about five hour tapes? Close your eyes for five minutes, and that's what they come up with. Set it to one-third speed, and you could tape every soap invented. The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party (six members?) are showing a vox-pop filmed in Princes Street. But you can tell they're all actors pretending to be real people! How fucking dishonest is that?

    Must stop now, but now I've started it's so hard to stop! Wonderful to see you again, and we really must do this more often. What about tomorrow?


    And you say? (7)   Link to this


    Friday, April 15, 2005

    SLOW NEWS DAY

    Blogger has added a feature called "Recover post". They truly do think of everything. Time alone will test Recover post, as I always save them in notepad first anyway. So easy, so practical, so memorable - once you've lost all your work a couple of times.

    Most of yesterday was taken up with friends' affairs I'm forbidden to mention here. So I won't. Trust is the bedrock of ethical journalism. It's surprising anyone still speaks to me, to be honest.

    New Kid in Town

    He's called Ian. About forty, from Vancouver Island, which he said was part of British Columbia. Eagerly I waited for him to say "aboot" for "about" like Canadians always do in South Park, but no joy.

    We chatted for hours in the Port, along with Mary, who has a sister in California. Vancouver is warmed by a sea current nicknamed the Pineapple Special, I think he said it was. Their equivalent of the Gulf Stream. So now you know. I got quite drunk.

    Radio Gaga?

    What's going on at Leith FM - the station with more managers than the Premier League? Sources close to the airwaves tell me that everyone's sacking everyone else. Maybe they need John Towers to inject a rescue package.

    I've got about two months of letters to open and emails to download. So I cleaned the toilet. Tis a start. Didn't use any products, just elbow grease. (And fingernails.)

    At last got my head around the new video, with all its modes and inputs. Last night I actually used it to record something, rather than just exploring the instruction book and obsessing about the connections. Quite good.



    Lunch at Sandra's where she showed me her 20 inch Goodmans LCD 4:3 telly. Impressive. So slim. Like I'm going to be.

    Once you turn the tide with your weight then it tends to float off of its own accord. You find you hardly ever want to eat, and I'm convinced the fat old bod goes into "self-digest" mode. (But it's making that initial breakthrough that's tricky.) Me, I've been up and down more often than a whore's knickers. But rarely this far up for so long.


    And you say? (6)   Link to this


    Wednesday, April 13, 2005

    ZOO TIME

    Fun and games with Babs yesterday in the Port. Ostensibly it was meant to be a scripting conference for "Constitution Street - the Soap" but quickly went way off the plot. (Did you see on the News they're making "Blunkett - The Musical"? You couldn't make it up.) Well - clearly someone did.

    Little Alex - The Musical

    Imagine my surprise when Little Alex bounded in and sat down right beside me. "Rock bottom, man," he wailed. "Rock bottom." (But I could tell he was partly kidding.)

    "Why's it rock bottom?" Babs asked. "No job, no home, no money," I answered for him. "Oh - stop moaning!" she retorted. "People like you always bounce back. Always."

    "Rock bottom... rock bottom..." he kept moaning, mantra-like. Eventually I gave in and bought him a pint of Guinness. Robin's stepson Pep (18) was there, and he tried out a bit of cheek on me. Cheek. To moi. Rarely a good idea.

    "Sonny - if you're gonna drink in the same pub as me you'd better stop being so adolescent," I snapped at him. "Just because you look twelve doesn't mean you have to act it."

    Well, that shut him up sharpish, but even that wasn't the end of his woes. "Yes - stop being so adolescent!" shouted dad Robin (don't call me bisexual, I'm a screaming queen now.)

    Modernity.

    Location, location, location

    To the Regent then, so's Babs could minister to her son coming home from school. Wee thing had a big egg bruise on his head, she said. Then he was off to football or aikido or something. I forget. So many activities they have these days. In my time it was books or telly. We took a taxi there, as Babs doesn't "do" walking. Taxi driver was one of my bingo men. "Is there anybody you don't know?" Babs asked, laughing.

    With the Port at one end of the fare, and the Regent at the other, that's my card well and truly stamped! But does this look like a face that cares?

    Testosterone City

    Back to the Port where big trouble was brewing between Little Alex and Weegie Gordon. I don't know what was bugging Gordon, but he seemed annoyed at Alex's "I Heart N Y" t shirt. Stools were hitting the deck, loudly, menacingly. Emma from the bingo came in and I introduced her to Babs. Both so polite. Nice. Emma is stunning. She's just back from a dance trip to New York, and loved it so much Alex is preparing to sell himself to raise funds for her next trip. Rock bottom, man.

    "My - this place is troublesome," I said to Babs, as we tried to get a word in over the two men shouting at each other. "And it's only a wet Tuesday afternoon."

    We laughed, and drank some more.

    Scart City

    Remember the olden days, when a TV had nothing but mains wire and aerial lead coming out the back?

    Changed days now, aren't they?

    Till recently I was just about coping with progress, one Scart at a time, as we ever so gently escalated through the technologies.

    But pity me now, faced with...
  • Telly (2 Scarts plus phono)
  • Freeview Box (2 Scarts plus phono)
  • DVD (One Scart plus phono plus audio co-axial), and now...
  • Video (2 Scarts plus phono), but let's never forget the...
  • Home Theater (sic) (3 Scarts plus 14 phonos plus 2 Coax plus 3 optical)
  • What's a boy to do? Mammy, where do I stick it? I swear it's more complicated than the Tardis.


    And you say? (15)   Link to this


    Tuesday, April 12, 2005

    TERROR AT NINE AND A HALF FEET

    "Arrrrgh!!! Not another bleeding mountain story!!" I hear you scream, as you nervously eye up the blogroll.

    But you'd be wrong. It is another mountain story - BUT - with a difference. And the difference is the Park Ranger. Hebe her name is. Nice girl. But we get out of order.

    Sandra and Me, and Cherry makes Three

    Oh - I won't bore you with all the ups and downs... the relaxing pints of Guinness in the Regent beforehand... turns out the nice young barman from Wisconsin is called Tony... he asked us our names... gave Cherry a dog bowl and some chews... the hills were alive... Sandra had that much hangover she almost passed out and had to go back...

    Me telling her she was going too fast and should set a gentler pace... got to the top and took some snaps... yes really... they're getting developed... Kodak moments... sat on the grass and had a Greggs pasty each... steak bake for me and cheese and onion for Sandra... did I tell you she's a vegetarian... Cherry had bits of both...

    What Goes Up

    Which way to go down... not back the way we came... how about Southside... that was too scary last time... let's just try it a bit Sandra says... can't go right I says... precipitous in twenty yards... carefully fastening our laces... then how about left she says... OK but I'm not convinced I says, doubtful...

    Left was OK... bit clamber scramble scrabble... all over the rocks but losing height... down, down, down... bound to be OK eventually...

    But it wasn't. OK eventually. You're not going to believe that we got all the effing way down from that mountain only to be stuck at the top of a ten foot wall leading down to the roadway. Ten. Foot. Wall. Jumpsville.



    "I'm not jumping down that!" Sandra said. "And there's no way Cherry can get down either." Me, I didn't even consider it. If Sandra says no, there's no way this fat old carcass could cope.

    I said go right. Sandra said left. We went left. And went, and went. "There's just no end to it," she wailed in despair. "This wall goes on for ever. What we gonna do?" At any time we could have slid off the hillside and over the wall, breaking limbs if maybe not actually dying.

    We sat on the grass, gorse needles up our bums. Sandra smoked a fag. It crossed my mind momentarily to join her, but no. "I'm gonna phone the mountain ranger," I said, suddenly. "How do you do that?" she said. "Easy. Dial the number and press Call."

    Smart bugger. But we didn't know the number. Neither did we know any directory enquiry numbers. Tried 192. Tried 100.

    Emergency. Which service?

    "I'm phoning 999," I said to her then. They'll put us on to the Park Ranger. They're for ever driving around the place in jeeps. It's their job. And don't forget - we pay for them out of our Council Tax."

    But the 999 lady only had fire, police, ambulance and coastguard. Eeny, meeny, miney, mo. "I'll take the police," I told her, that seeming the least melodramatic. We really were only about twenty vertical feet above the road. So near and yet so far.

    The police lady misunderstood our plight, and thought we had a car breakdown. Refused to help. "But we're stuck on a hill and can't go up or down," I said, with all the calmness yet assertiveness I could muster. "Oh, that's different then," she said, and promised to help. I sussed that the keywords here were stuck, hill, and can't.

    Happily Ever After

    About ten minutes later, there in front of us the Park Ranger jeep screeched to a halt. Boy were we pleased to see it! By now, Sandra was bravely halfway down, but there was little prospect of Cherry coping with a stone wall, and even less of me. Naturally I was hoping for a Brad Pitt-alike, or even Christopher Eccleston to rescue me, but what we got instead was a bespectacled girl of about twenty. The sort that goes into the Port o Leith Bar for a dare with her mates on a weekend night.

    Hebe, her name, I was later to discover. Hebe summed up the situation at a glance, sounded both supportive and understanding, but clearly wasn't that keen to have a two stone Labrador land on her head. So she bundled the three of us part way back up the hill, and skilfully led us, chamois-like, to the right and safety where the wall peters out (hate that expression) and we were back on terra firma. Terra non-droppa. All our legs intacta.

    Little Scene After the Credits

    "Do you do this often?" I asked her, once I felt safe enough to chat. "Not usually this sort of thing," she replied. "Usually education." "Thank you Hebe," we chorused. "Here's a map," she said. "If I were you I'd stick to the paths next time."

    Sandra and I gave each other a big hug. Then we hugged Cherry. The end.

    (Well, it isn't really, but I'm bored now - and... much more seriously... I expect you are too.)

    Coming tomorrow! My fabulous new VCR! Stops old porn tapes going in and out of colour!


    And you say? (12)   Link to this


    Monday, April 11, 2005

    SUNNY AND BLUE!

    Acres, screeds of stuff for you office-bloggers today. Three whole days' worth you probably haven't seen yet. So I won't hang around, as Sandra and the outdoors vividly beckon.

    Old-Fashioned Millionaire

    Totally gobsmacked to discover live on weblog yesterday that I was at school with John Towers (57) the chairman or owner or whatever of beleaguered carmaker MG Rover. Just what kind of class of 64 was going on back then? Him in the car business, Trevor Horn (56) the celebrated record producer, and Me (58 but don't look it). (That last one still in the chrysalis stage, btw.)

    He's got a "personal fortune"! I've got a "personal stereo"!

    Success-ologists could have a field day analyzing just why those two got right to the pinnacles of their careers, whilst moi, with technically far more academic promise, became Scottish Bingo Caller of the Year, and write a dopey weblog for a dozen (but very valued) readers.

    The Curse of Sodom?

    How much is to do with them being married (presumably heterosexual) men? Readers today have no idea of the gay-hating world of the sixties and seventies, when conventional careers were being forged.

    But I realise looking for external blame for one's own manifest failings is a cliched cop-out. "If I give her the wool will she make me one?" However - and this is just occurring as I write - there are almost no gay men of my generation (55 to 65) in any positions of prominence.

    Most interesting, if not exactly fiscally enriching.


    And you say? (9)   Link to this


    Sunday, April 10, 2005

    WINDY AND GREY

    My time off work begins with a typically-leaden sky. The thought that Charles and Queen Camilla are just a hundred miles or so away under exactly the same grey clouds does nothing to cheer me up. This moment as I write they'll be at Crathie Parish Church, experiencing a bit of good old fashioned Church of Scotland Presbyterianism. Probably being consigned to Hell for former misdeeds.

    Unlike the Anglo-Catholic tradition, the one you noticed yesterday, this is not a forgiving Church. Steal one sweet as a child - utter one swear word - and it's possible that four or five generations later your offspring might be considered rehabilitated. Possible, but by no means guaranteed. And let's hope to high heaven someone's warned Millie not to hang her knickers out on a Sunday, or she'll be tarred and feathered by the locals. "Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it Holy."



    Little Alex has left the bingo. I'll miss him. I hear he's working in Nobles Bar in Constitution Street, amidst the gangsters and crack dealers. We're all very worried he'll end up in separate suitcases. Most people try to avoid trouble - Alex adores it. It's his "hit" in the way that scaring myself rigid with cliff edges is mine.

    I bought that Humax PVR I was coveting, but took it back the next day. Not tuning all the available stations, most notably BBC Four. They checked it out in the shop, and praise the lord, the same fault happened there too. Bad or no signal. Gave me my money straight back. Comet service. (I hate returning goods.) And now they're stuck with a storeroom full of PVRs that don't work properly even in their own shop. Tricky ethical quandary.

    Today I'll buy a VCR. Need one anyway. All those tapes. You know... tapes. The real thing is no longer an option.

    Divine Intervention?

    I'm going to ask this repeatedly until I get a satisfactory answer. Why was Blogger down throughout the Pope's funeral? Is it owned by rampant Catholics who refused to allow a dissenting voice? I think we should be told.

    Fun and games at work when I started a rumour that the Happy Couple might pop in for a spot of bingo on the way to their honeymoon.

    Have a nice Sunday. There's acres of reading below this for both Friday and Saturday. Papal reminiscences. In particular don't miss Chav Gav.



    Faulty Towers (Oh well - someone had to do it first...)

    I think, but can't be sure, that I was at school with John Towers, one of the whipping boys over the Rover thing. The greedy Phoenix Four. It said in one piece "grammar school educated", and at 57 that puts him one year below me, which is exactly right. Google gave nothing, so I tried Friends Reunited, which is essentially despicable, but you have to give a genuine email address. homer@simpson.com is almost certainly taken.

    Towers was on telly yesterday in a short clip, and my Spock-like ears tuned right in to Geordie vowels, but there weren't any - in that piece at least. But my nose is bothering me. The John Towers I remember could actually have got that far. Trevor Horn, John Towers and me! What a generation!

    Shock Update: I wasn't wrong.

    How awesome! How rich! I mean - we're from the same pit village godammit! Same school bus and everything. John was a fine musician too in those days. On piano he would improvise his way confidently through pop, jazz and classical. Spine-chilling. Even the music master would stand enrapt.

    Did I fancy him? Come on... he was alpha even then. You decide :)

    Duet

    Vividly I remember one day him and the boy next to him on the bus duetting in perfect pitch to, "Last night I said these words to my girl..." (The Beatles were then the height of chic, I have to tell you.)

    Hmmm. Wonder if he'll have any moolah left after all this Rover nonsense to sub me a few thou for my next book? I'm convinced these ex-schoolmates become filthy rich just to annoy me. Ah well. That's him and Trevor Horn sorted. Who next? Me?


    And you say? (14)   Link to this


    Saturday, April 09, 2005

    UNHOLY WEDLOCK

    "They're like a pair of comfy old slippers." Jenni Bond, former BBC Royal Correspondent

    "Diana dead is bigger than these two alive." Some chick from the L.A. Times

    My own view is that the Diana-revering public will never accept this marriage. They feel - rightly or wrongly I have no idea - that it was those two who contributed so much to her misery when alive.

    Diana dead would still go quite a few rounds with John Paul dead, methinks.

    THAT PAPAL VISIT, 1982

    Indebted to Chav Gav for this memory of His Holiness's teen rally in Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh.
    "I saw JP MkII on his 1982 Edinburgh visit.

    Myself and five other gadges got stoned (not in the biblical sense) and moseyed on up to Murrayfield to see what all the fuss was about. Not because any of us were Catholic or even religious but, you know, it was a free gig. And it was surreal.

    To get to the stadium you first had to pass through the hundreds of market stalls which encircled it, (hardly the Pearly Gates). These were staffed by only the most devout of locals (ie over 80s only) and they sold the most cheap tat imaginable, all of it bearing JP's visage: teatowels, headscarves, teaspoons, belts, bookmarks, bagdes, pens, socks etc. However, the three tackiest souvenirs being hawked were:
    1. The Brick. Smaller than a normal house brick and charcoal in colour it had the Pontiffs image and the date and location of his visit moulded into it's surface. We could only speculate what it's purpose was: build it into your BBQ or fireplace, or buy a few and build your own chapel? No, we decided that, this being Scotland, it was intended to be kept until the 12th July when it should be lobbed at the head of any 'proddy bastard' taking part in an Orange Walk. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.

    2. Bling. And how. Earrings, brooches, rings, pendants, bracelets, charms, bangles, chains, and of course, crucifixes. All of it in genuine nine carat garish yellow. Both cheap and nasty. You could bet your last shekel that all of it would be green mush before you met Saint Peter. Thank you Cardinal Gerald Ratner. QVC, QED.

    3. The T-shirt. Our personal favourite. An array of them hung from the stalls and were piled high on the tables, all bearing different images of JPII with his name emblazoned above in a script-like font (not Times New Roman) and some Latin stuff below his pic. None of this interested us until one of the boys spotted a pilgrim wearing one. For there, on the back, were listed the dates and locations of his visit. Both of them.
    "Fuck me" sniggered John, "the Popes got his own tour t-shirt". We couldn't help but get a fit of the giggles, wasted as we were, and had to exit towards the stadium under the stern eyes of the god-fearing.

    I managed to lift (ie steal) a badge before we left which I later pinned onto my biker jacket, next to Joy Division but below The Clash. If anything, the stadium was even more weird."


    And you say? (9)   Link to this


    Friday, April 08, 2005

    TALK ABOUT LOUSY TIMING
    10pm (This was meant to be enjoyed as His Holiness was getting funeraled this morning.) My contribution, in the same way as Mr Bush and Mr Blair made theirs.

    Why has Blogger been mysteriously "down" all day?

    Anyway - here is this morning's post this evening. Bless.
    PAPAL BULL

    The Pope's funeral is a media circus, so I won't be watching. Like Blair and Bush, I'm not a Catholic, so his passing really has no effect on my life. Sometimes it's important for Christians to remember that it's Jesus they're supposed to be worshipping, not any man. Or woman. Even Mary.



    Vividly I recall the Pope's visit to Edinburgh in 1982 - on the weekend the Rolling Stones did a cut-price warmup gig here. They were on at the Playhouse in Leith Walk: he was on at St Mary's Cathedral just across the roundabout. So it's true to say that the Pope did once look down Leith Walk. Might even have cast his eyes over one's own house. Holy See.

    When he landed at Edinburgh Airport, he didn't realise Scotland was one more runway to kiss. Cardinal Gray, his host, had to grab his arm and point downwards at the tarmac. Cardinal Gray himself became a bit of a media star by reflected glory, and got a couple of features in the local press. Oh - it's all rock and roll at the end of the day, isn't it? They say he looked like Benny in Crossroads. The Pope stayed at his house in Morningside.

    Teen Rally

    There was a Papal rally for Catholic kids at Murrayfield rugby stadium. He translated his name John Paul into the leading European languages. Cunningly saved Juan Paulo to the end for dramatic effect because we were at war with Argentina then. Brought the house down, but the STV news edited the ending off. Those kids will be in their thirties today, those who survive. Memories.

    He drove along Princes Street in the Popemobile, and as it turned into The Mound, there was a sudden demonstration from Pastor Jack Glass and cronies, but the cops jumped on them all, and suppressed their freedom to whatever.



    Scotland is very, very Reformed - much more so than England. I haven't heard of the head of the Scottish Church (the Kirk) attending Rome today. So the Pope only got as far as the exterior of St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh's answer to Vatican City. The Moderator (head) of the Kirk gave a little speech in which he said he understood the Pope was here to minister to his own flock. Poor Pope had to stand and greet one thousand it seemed Edinburgh ladies, all in John Lewis hats. And all this under the baleful gaze of a John Knox statue, the Pope-hater supreme.

    The next night I managed to pay seventy pounds (a lot in those days!) for a six pound ticket for the Stones concert, but that's a tale for another time.

    In Brief

    Yesterday Babs and I made a start on the Constitution Street script. She's wonderful, being a total soap fan herself. G her boyfriend kindly helped too. Also I bought a Humax PVR, but today I'm taking it back as it doesn't tune all the stations. In particular it doesn't tune BBC 4.

    It's multiplexes, you see. MUX to give them their TLA. (The things you learn when you're stuck!) There are three of them, and this Humax only tunes Multiplex 1. (The others are called A and B.) So back it jolly well goes.

    I find Bush's media-grabbing over the Pope quite nauseating, to be honest. Sometimes I think Protestants forget the past too quickly. Or are we all Catholics now?

    Divine Right

    A Cardinal was shaking hands with everyone with his right hand, whilst holding onto his crucifix with the left. I could only assume this was to conduit some Jesusness across his chest and into his greetees.

    Catholics claim an unbroken line of hands going right back to Jesus you know. I think, but can't be sure, that that is called Apostolic Succession. It's hard to completely ignore Christianity when you're landed with a name like mine. The world can seem a mysterious place, but the trees are coming nicely into leaf.

    Tomorrow: Chav Gav goes to the Pope's 1982 teen rally!! It's a riot!


    And you say? (2)   Link to this


    Thursday, April 07, 2005

    THERE MAY BE TROUBLES AHEAD

    Fizzing right now with Bank of Scotland Halifax, or is it the other way round? Either way round they've just stolen almost an hour of what remains of my life, and left me with a day saveable only by alcohol. Copious alcohol. Fizzing.

    Do you want to know the tedious, boring details?

    Of course you do!



    Pin them back for a scenario where hi-tech digits meet low-tech, surly call centre workers. Oh dear. I try to make it a canon here not to diss the low-paid, but frankly my dears... (Maybe it's too much Frasier the last two days. Me, I'm definitely the Daphne type.)

    You would think, with all these lovely glistening Online Banking pages, that the humans behind them would be similarly polished. I'm imagining a Bill Gates-like team of pearly-teethed young things just sitting there aching to flick one tiny switch and solve all my online problems, whilst simultaneously pouring my coffee and sucking my doodah.

    But no. It wasn't like that at all. And now I'm sure they've got me marked down as "difficult - steal all you can from him".

    Kevin

    Contact number one - let's call him Kevin - took my account numbers, balance, etc and then said he was putting me through to Telephone Banking (a different branch) where they'd easily and definitely help me after I'd set up a Telephone Banking account.

    Suspicious already, eh? All I was querying was a bill payment to Scottish Power that had seemingly disappeared into cyberspace six days ago. Not quite James Bond stuff, I would have thought.

    Kylie Louise

    Kylie Louise at Telephone Banking asked me more questions than I swear even my mother ever did, and then eventually pronounced that I was now a Telephone Banker. And no - they wouldn't be confirming anything in writing. She even seemed reluctant to divulge the number of the Telephone Banking service, so secretive are these corporations.

    Sanjeev

    She then transferred me to Sanjeev, who was to answer my bill non-payment query. Glaciers had moved several inches by now. Scottish Power remained patiently unpaid.

    And guess what Sanjeev said - once I'd worked around his Punjabi Yorkshire? "I'm going to have to put you on to Online Banking." (That's where I'd started.) Well - I wasn't well pleased with that I can tell you. I could sense the San Andreas faultline crunching even from this far.

    Kayleigh

    OK then - back to Online Banking it had to be, this time with the lovely Kayleigh. I asked for someone in charge. That would have to be a Team Leader who would phone me in two hours time she said. So in desperation I settled for her. Same questions over and over again. Really fucked off. "You say you made this payment on Friday?" she drawled. "No. I don't say I made it - I made it." Again the Doctors Crane came to mind so I bit it all back.

    She asked for my email address. I refused to tell her. "How much more of myself do I have to tell you people?" I said, clenched. She said she was going to dinner. Leaving for the day. It was 11.15 am. I said put me through to someone else because I'm not leaving. She said they'd search the transactions and get back to me this afternoon.
    Moral: DO NOT MAKE BILL PAYMENTS ON YOUR HBOS ONLINE ACCOUNT UNLESS YOU'VE GOT A WHOLE DAY TO SPARE. The internet isn't faster, just newer.
    Grrrr. I feel exactly like Lyle does, but fortunately less often. Twadging grunch grommets. Thank you for your time and your patience if you've read thus far. Have a nice day. Thank you for shopping at Halifax Bank of Scotland.

    You know - a nice PVR might be the only thing to cheer me up this afternoon. I haven't the slightest intention of waiting in for their call. Now how can I purchase it without involving Halifax Bank of Scotland?

    The worrying thing is that the above grimy bunch wouldn't need degrees in rocket science to start bleeding my accounts dry now. I'm going to phone someone here in Edinburgh about all this. Someone nowhere near a Yorkshire call centre.


    And you say? (14)   Link to this


    Wednesday, April 06, 2005

    PETIT DEJENEUR

    (In the style of Paul O'Grady.)

    What's happened to BBC breakfast, eh? Not ownly has Natasha lost that Dermot - who's in the Vatican one die and Bristol the next - but now they've gone and took away Moira as well! "Here's Moira with the rest of the news." Except she wasn't, was she chuck?

    So our Natasha had to do the howl kit and caboodle on 'er tod, didn't she? News, interviews the lot! Next they'll have 'er on the roof with the weather as well! Tara Carol Kirkwood - seeya in the dowl queue chuck!

    Ah know the BBC's announced cutbacks... but get a grip fer heaven's sike! Next yer'll be havin' the doorman readin' the news owver a Nokia videophone!

    Anyway chucks...




    (You'll gather from that what a considerable O'Grady fan I am!)

    Love his teatime show on ITV, cunningly and doubtless successfully pitched against the Jurassic Richard and Judy on Four. That'll learn em not to go fucking off to rival channels! She knows what I'm talking about!

    It seems there's room for one and exactly one gay TV star at a time. A lineage of Everett, Grayson, Inman, Clary, Norton and now His Paulness. Ok, Ok - of course I know Stephen Fry is of the persuasion, as he might call it, but how many of the punters know that? It's the perception I'm discussing - not the actuality.

    And it was quite shocking to watch poor Natasha Kaplinsky having to struggle with almost everything herself this morning. So, if you're reading this, BBC - here's one licence payer who's not amused. Bring back Moira. Bring back Bill.

    I'd even do the job myself - for bingo wages if you want cutbacks! Talk about in at the deep end. Imagine sitting next to Natasha!

    TV Times

    Staying in for a day is remarkably easy just now. A good quality TV with digital reception can show real beauty. Gaspworthy, marvellous pictures. Why do you think I raved about all those mountain adventure DVDs?

    Yesterday was similar with Miriam Margoyles retracing Dickens journeys in the USA and Canada. The Britannia Steam Packet (Dickens' transport) is no more, so she chose the Queen Mary 2. This made for stunning telly, really - both on the ship and across the ocean waves... especially of course the sunsets.

    Uplifting. Who needs to actually do anything when you can see it all from your armchair so splendidly - and all for less than four hundred notes of kit?
    My Freeview box (Matsui DTR1) is now only around forty quid from Dixons etc, and I'd describe it as close to life-changing. It's such a joy that people with Murdoch objections can still bask in great quality TV without giving him one nickel. You can understand why he hates the BBC - the prime architect of Freeview.
    Election Special

    We're not planning on saying much on this, except to take the piss as and when. There'll be more than saturation coverage in and on the legacy media.

    Trust me, I'm Tony. I still do.

    Howard I don't - nor the party he represents. Just looking at Oliver Letwin makes me want to punch him.

    Lib Dem and SNP won't be forming the Government.



    Our pan-national governance by Global Masters will only allow three Labour terms at most. Even if Tony does win this one, it'll be the last for at least a decade. We only "get" a labour government now and again as a break from the Tories, and to (falsely) demonstrate that we're not a one-party state, which in many realities we are.
    Massive corporations are waiting salivating at the prospect of owning our Health Service. A burgeoning education "consultancy" is eager to accelerate the "third-worlding" of our State schools, so that all who can will pay.
    Everything else Margaret Hilda didn't succeed in selling off will - as sure as night follows day - end up in private hands almost as soon as Howard ascends to Number Ten.

    So please vote Labour. It'll be the last one I'll ever see. The end.

    Traffic Report

    Over 1000 punters here yesterday. Where are they all coming from? Can they all be searching for Natasha Kaplinsky naked?

    I need a new hosting service. The existing one charges ten quid a month, plus twenty-three more for excess bandwidth - even though I've reduced pics to a minimum, and deleted all the sound files. Naked Blog is bleeding me dry to the tune of four hundred quid a year. Much as I love you all, this is taking philanthropy a bit far, doncha think?

    Any ideas?

    Apart from delete it and get a life?


    And you say? (11)   Link to this


    Tuesday, April 05, 2005

    RETAIL THERAPY

    So much drama this week! What's a boy to do but a spot of shopping to take his mind off the world's worries. And fancy C and C postponing their wedding for a day! I mean how wussy is that? I can sense Charlie's great grandfather Henry VIII (inventor of the Church of England) frankly spinning in his grave.

    Anyway - after I'd adjusted to the re-appearance of Arctic temperatures, I trotted my newly-fit body off to Comet Electrical Retailer, in search of this month's gadget. (OK - I know... it seems nothing but spend, spend, spend these days... ) And the gadget of the month will almost certainly be a TV hard disc recorder. Probably this one. Apparently they're called PVR.

    You're just nowhere these days without a three letter name. VCR. DVD. DVR. PVR. DTR.... the list is endless. No wonder Betamax never caught on.

    Built In Redundancy

    And wonderful thought it does look, that purchase would then mean I owned two DTR's, if you get my drift. Redundancy already. But before I leave matters audiovisual, I want to show you this handy site, which I stumbled on from Google. I think they must have paid to get at the top of the list. You can do that these days, allegedly.
    (Must hurry this up, sweetnesses. It's quarter to midday and I need to get a life, as well as a gadget.)
    Anyway - the jury is out on PVR. I might instead just get a retro thing called VCR. That's a hundred quid less to PAY. What say you?

    Pitch and Toss

    To the Village, where Gordon the famous sci-fi and horror writer told me he was pitching a movie tomorrow. (Ie today). "LA or Edinburgh?" I asked, somewhat waspishly. "Edinburgh," he replied. "Last year I sold no less than three movies - all of them now in various stages of non-production." We laughed.

    To the Ocean Terminal, past loads of chav teen girls, some of them smoking cigs and thinking that made them look elegant.

    Discs of Delight

    To HMV in particular and the Quatermass DVD. Yes it's available. No they didn't have one. But yes they could get me one for 34.99. Frankly my dears I thought that rather a lot for a few ropy BW episodes - however historic the historicity. I'll maybe wait till it's half price. Probably just a couple of months.

    Something already half price were Frazier Series One and Series Two, a snip at 17.99 each. So I snapped them up. Comfort TV. Lullabies for the aged.

    And then - oh yes!!! - some super new shoes I've been needing for ages! I'm getting to quite love shoes. Look out Evita! These were for work, so they're black and what I can only describe as low-slung... like expensive cars used to be before SUVs caught on. Porsche. Or maybe Lamborghini. Concealed elastic at the sides, and as comfy as they're stylish. Yummm.

    Epilogue

    It's midday! That's it for today, folks! Now what great adventures doth this day forebode? Hmmm. To climb or not to climb? Been almost a week. Fitness goes as easily as it comes.


    And you say? (8)   Link to this


    Monday, April 04, 2005

    INTERREGNUM

    Nothing of great note happened yesterday.

    Today the Quatermass DVD is available at HMV. Quatermass Experiment, Quatermass 2, and Quatermass and the Pit (TV version). I'll almost certainly buy it. What did you think of Saturday night's performance of The Quatermass Experiment?

    I need some plotlines for Constitution Street, our proposed radio serial. Can't think of a thing. You know the damn place almost as well as I do, so come on...
    "Gwen had no sooner given birth to her bouncing baby girl when no fewer than three men appeared at the door with flowers. 'Oh fuck,' she muttered." By Dolly
    Willie writes strongly about the Catholic church.

    Sandra and I are contemplating a ride in her new car today. This would be exciting, were it to happen, as I'm almost never in cars. Do you still take along a blanket for your legs?


    And you say? (11)   Link to this


    Sunday, April 03, 2005

    IF YOU PRICK ME

    I've just been watching saturation coverage of the Pope stuff. Seven in the morning till now at ten. Of the myriad commenters, the most interesting wasn't any Cardinal, but in fact Ann Widdecombe MP. (I much prefer her to posers like Blair and Bush chasing the Catholic vote. No-one lies quite as well as a politician.) Ann is in serious danger of becoming a gay icon, if you ask me.

    Here, not in order, is what she said: She'd had an audience of 15 minutes with the Pope in the nineties. She was a Home Office Minister. He had some "holiness", rather than the "charisma" of pop stars and some politicians. They'd discussed "women in politics" among other things. She was very impressed with his use of advanced philosophical English.

    Conservatism

    When the BBC presenter touched on the Pope's conservatism (which they all get round to), mentioning abortion, women priests and homosexuality, Miss Widdecombe brooked no nonsense. "There are some things which are right," she boomed. "Far more people will leave a church which weakly vacillates on these matters."

    And this is where I take issue. Because there at several "rights" - not just Ann's idea of such.

    One notion of right would be the confluence of human morality. I think as a species we do have some innate feelings, instincts, survival strategies - including things such as love and protection of family, reluctance to kill except in extremis, support of the infirm and the concept of incest.

    Some people attach the term humanist to these things, but that's nonsense. People are such label queens!

    But what Ann Widdecombe meant was none of those, however. What she meant by right was "the teachings of the Catholic church". And of course those are no more right than the teachings of any other faith, cult, religion, call it what you will.

    Rights and Wrongs

    What the Pope professes as right has no more validity than an Ayatollah stoning an innocent woman to death after a man has raped her.

    What the Pope professes as right has no more validity than a Jew mutilating his baby son's penis because that's what they've always done. (Unbelievably, this is quite legal in the UK and other developed countries. Votes, you see. Votes.)

    In fact, what the Pope thinks has no more validity than what's on Naked Blog or any other. Probably less, as I've led a rather more "colourful" life than his celibate Holiness. Met and mingled with a quite splendid variety of people.

    Religions? Bunch of evil nutters, if you ask me. Dangerous nonsense, especially in faith-based legislations such as Iran and the United States of America.

    Sunshine on Leith

    Right - it's a glorious day, and my own idea of spirituality is at the other end of Easter Road, doing a spot of hill-walking. But unlike religionists, I don't insist that you do that too. Or threaten you with hell if you don't.


    And you say? (14)   Link to this


    Saturday, April 02, 2005

    GRAVEN IMAGES

    I learn from my television that His Holiness is on his last legs.

    His job was to profess the teachings of the Holy Roman Church, brooking no concessions to fads and fashions. Sanctity of life. Sanctity of marriage. The wages of sin is death.

    In this he succeeded admirably. He earned his keep.

    The Pope could have moved mountains, but chose not to, and I won't miss him at all.


    And you say? (8)   Link to this


    Friday, April 01, 2005

    HIGH AS A KITE

    "First for a week..." I said to the barman in The Regent, as he poured my pint of Guinness yesterday misty afternoon. "Very good," he said, pretending polite interest which was nice. I'd never met him before, and I swear he must be the thinnest person I've ever seen. You've heard of "cute ass", but this young man had no ass at all. His jeans and broad studded belts could have toppled to the floor at any second. Maybe that was the idea.

    "Arthur's Seat?" he asked, nodding out of the window at the mountain. "Yep!" I replied. "I like to do it once or twice a week. Constitutional."

    "Oh I could never do that!" he laughed. "I wouldn't either if I was as thin as you," I rejoindered. (Is rejoindered a word? Feels like it should be.)

    And thus I sat amongst the faggots and fruit machines and proceeded to get trolleyed.



    Scared you see. Scared of the heights and edges. Scared I might have a heart attack. Totally Scary Movie - going up that hill at my age with advanced heightophobia.

    Pint two followed pint one, relaxing somewhat, but still there was residual nervousness. I texted everyone in my inbox as I drank. Texting is such a remote and removed communication. Even I can face it up.

    Babs called back in the middle of pint three. Said she was coming there to meet me. So we had a nice half hour swapping news. So much news to swap. Totally good. By now I was on to pint four and a half. (The final half was to convince myself I wasn't a lush. Half rather than whole.) "I've got to do it, Babs," I said. "My mountain is calling me." (Unlike Sandra, Babs is not a mountain girl. I didn't even suggest it.)

    Doggies In The Window
    Oh - incidentally, before I forget... do you remember this February story? Well - just to prove that here in Naked Blog we never make it up, here we are recorded for posterity. L to R are Sandra my Personal Manager, Me, and Robin (don't call me bisexual, I'm a screaming queen now.)
    I've run out of time before work, and haven't even got to the main plot. Ah well. Guinness does things to a mountain climber. Stops you thinking you'll have a heart attack. You just steadily plod upwards, pausing for breath as required, but without compulsory "sit-downs".

    There at the top before I even knew it. Took the more natural path rather than the fenced-off steps. Fences are for poofs. Edging it more than ever before. (Edging as in killer crags.) Phoned Sandra and Babs to coo-ee.

    Need a new way down... look... haven't been there before... wonder where that goes... oops... too fucking steep, even this drunk... particularly this drunk... judging the slips if they were to happen... how much space to grab some grass before taking to the air with the seagulls your only hope...

    Terror In The Skies

    I did two horrifying paths. (Traverse of Samson's Ribs looking down on Pollock Halls.) Amazed they even exist (in the middle of the city). Thought back to my real mountain days decades earlier. Scrambling across scree. Keep moving or die. Those things where you have one leg on each side of a ridge... plummetville on both sides. Why do I constantly have to test myself like this? Why do I earn my living from behind a microphone when I'm too shy even to phone my friends?

    Back down. Part way down found a nice new winding path through the gorse - the sort I adored fifty years ago cos you couldn't see over the top then. Triumphant to the Regent again. Nothing had changed except me.



    Fine till 5.30 this morning, when I started re-doing the horrifying paths in my bed. Couldn't get rid of the pictures. Screaming as I slid to sloppy oblivion. And that'll last for ages, I know it.

    Awful. But not as awful as flying in aeroplanes. At least on the mountain it's me in control - with few mechanical parts to go wrong. Bootlaces?

    So who's for a pint and a plummet? (By now I'm back in the upper half of both fitness and smugness.) Babs said she could see by my face I'd lost weight. It's all good - if a little lonely.

    Have a nice April Fool's Day. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery :)


    And you say? (8)   Link to this