Only a few hours ago I was writing here about the Forth Ports Authority, and their disposal of their land for high-rise building development to the detriment of the public view - a once-priceless asset now rapidly disappearing.
What I didn't mention was the building company involved, an outfit called Gregor Shore, the principal rapists of the environment. I said - jokingly then - that mine might be the shortest radio career on record if I were to talk about that on the show today.
So imagine my shock when what should come in to my Leith FM headphones today but an advert for that same Gregor Shore and their billion-pound abomination Platinum Point. Danielle Milne mouthing their propaganda in the sexiest tones.
Helplessly I gaped at Stewart my co-presenter... my mouth I'm sure doing a Gordon the goldfish impersonation. "I know you have strong feelings about these building developments," Stewart said, when we went back live a moment later. But I bottled it. Didn't want to embarrass Tony, Mary, Sandy and the others responsible for the Festival and the radio station.
But now I've climbed Arthur's Seat this early evening and my mind's made up. Why not? Anyone not against Gregor Shore is not a friend of Leith - no matter how many platitudes they foment. Tomorrow, live on air, I'm saying that Forth Ports Authority(landowners) and Gregor Shore (builders) are environmental rapists. Neither Leith festival nor Leith radio needs their poisoned money.
This really will be a short radio career. Ah well. The pay was shite anyway. The Scottish media show no interest in this development. Scottish Parliament ditto. Edinburgh City Council are we're told helpless. Is mine really the only voice? Watch this space in case something happens.
Photos soon to follow, now I've rediscovered the Finepix camera.
I shouldn't be sitting here, writing to you like this; I have a radio show to prepare. Strange how Stewart my other Grumpy Old Man abandoned me after yesterday's show. I didn't think I was that cheeky about his music choices. It's meant to be entertainment, isn't it? And isn't conflict the lifeblood of interest? Just because I said he'd put all our six listeners to sleep didn't mean I didn't appreciate him trying.
Topics covered were:
Malcolm Rifkind becoming head of the Conservative Party (nae chance.) That would mean a Scot at the top of every party, and there's more than enough (understandable) backlash in England already. I mean look at Kirsty Wark and Lorraine Kelly.
Smoking in bars. Mary Moriarty has now ascended to legendary status, according to The Scotsman. After the show, Mary and I had drinks and joked about me saying, "Who's Mary Moriarty?"
The Non vote in France. But neither of us had a clue about it.
Leith, Leith and more Leith.
Today I think we'll slam the new housing developments that are making the place like New York. Unfortunately the landowner in question (Forth Ports Authority) is one of the leading sponsors of Leith FM and/or Leith Festival. Dinnae ken, dinnae care. Mine could be the shortest radio career on record. But money doesn't buy me. Somebody has to say it. This town is being raped for cash.
That could be all for this morning, as I've now got two separate groups to prepare for... readers and listeners. And yes - of course you come first. Leith FM is here today - but Naked Blog goes on for ever.
Naked Blog says: sadly this stunt might just work, which would be a tragedy for the entire Scottish people. Mary must not be allowed to get away with it - even if she's all over my television for a week and a day. Health must come before profits.
Write to your MSP, and re-state just how vital it is that they not be deflected from representing the views of the Scottish people. Views on smoking as expressed in the fullest possible public consultation. Keep the ban, but ditch Margo MacDonald at the next election. You can be sure my cross will be nowhere near her name.
Tomorrow I'll provide a sample letter to save your busy time if you wish.
Yes - Naked Bloggers - it was one of those nights again last night. How I wish I'd stuck with my original plan and vegged out in front of the telly. But no - purely in the cause of finding something to entertain you with, my little legs took me pubward.
I've abandoned that nectar of the River Liffey now in favour of T in The Park. That's right - Tennent's lager. Sometimes Carlsberg. Cooking lager, as Mary calls it in the Port.
T in The Park.
M in The Port.
Two Scottish institutions. Which is exactly what I should be in.
Big-ups to all our readers, (several new ones of whom I discovered just yesterday. It was Big Al's pics what done it.) To Robocop, Little Alex, Eilidh (rhymes with "daily") ( Mary's daughter), John Macaulay from Lewis, and Craig, and John (aka JC) who chatted in the john, a place I don't normally do such, but if it's praise for Naked Blog then that's OK.
White Tony, black Tony, sex toy Lindsay, big Andy, big Dave... now that I've rediscovered the Fuji Finepix there's no good reason why you shouldn't see these wonderful characters in the fullness of.
Canadian Ian who's stuck around longer than I expected. He's kind and gentle with lovely twinkly eyes, so I asked him if he was gay and he said no way, but he does enjoy the company.
And to Guy who's offered some freelance writing for his magazine company (we shall see), and to Dannielle who's offered some voice-overs for the radio station on Sunday, and mostly to Stewart my partner on the mikes, the other Grumpy Old Man, without whom I'd be.... (dunno). The glory days are almost here again. I can smell them.
The story below is about binbags. It was written last night in alcohol consciousness (because writing pissed can be fun), and due to its direct and rude nature should not be read by anyone.
Everything now hinges on those two little flaps of muscle, shiny with expectation. How scary. Eek. Why am I so neurotic?
Nip over to zed's place, as the poor thing's got clinical depression. Give her a virtual hug. Maybe apply for a guesting scholarship on MBIAT. (Think of the exposure!)
Sadness this evening after I stuck my Ocean Pie (a microwave creation with fish, potato and a million additives) Ocean Pie in the oven to await my evening treat. Buy one, get one free from Scotmid Co-op... the very Big Brother of haute cuisine.
"So - what shall I do while it's cooking?" I asked myself, adding up those micro-minutes and remembering I no longer smoke.
"Take out some rubbish!" I thought - mused - considered. "That won't be too awful, Peter - and you're exactly in the mood for it." Six pints of lager - at least - but you said no to the cocaine.
(Drugs? Just say Yo! By the way.)
Yo! Take out the fucking rubbish for sure - but do you know - I couldn't do it.
Couldn't find one - not one - black fucking binbag in the house. How creepy is that? No wonder my home is such a tip! But now I've worked all this out, there's no more guilt at all. Hehe.
Me, I got quality telly to watch - right now. (With surround-sound as you know.)
So fuck off and get your own life. This one is mine.
Day off. NB and everything. Just gonna sit. I could sleep for a month.
Forgetting 99.9 percent of what you recently knew about digital photography is really fucking scary, I can tell you.
Quentin Crisp said that his youthful ambition was to be a chronic invalid. Mine is to get put into a good home.
I'm told that in his later years, Harold Wilson used to go around the place saying to people that he used to be the Prime Minister, you know.
People in their twenties can have no concept of this, nor should they. They've got enough on their minds with all those ghastly relationships they keep having.
He loves me, he loves me not. I remember your pain. Take my advice and tell him to get to fuck. Reclaim your life. It's not a dress rehearsal.
But to every thing there is a season.
Me, I'll possibly last another ten to fifteen years, going by my parents which is the best indicator. But these days a year flashes by in moments... far, far quicker than even a school holiday once did. That's why old people look so placid. They know they're gonna be dead in five minutes anyway.
A football team won the UEFA Cup, apparently. I'm still trying to work out in what way that is "historic".
A telephone ringtone is going to be Number One in the chart, supposedly. This is good, and removes all pretence that pop music is about anything other than making money. And why not?
Both the above occupied significant portions of BBC Breakfast News this morning. I should have stuck to my plan of not writing any NB today.
Photos of Al's operation scars will appear here shortly, once I've worked out how to do it. (It was so simple in my day. You snapped the camera shutter, took the film to the shop, waited a few days, then showed them to people.)
Me, I've had to do a crash revision course in electronics in the last 24 hours. And now I have to re-master the art and craft of photo software. It's a nightmare. Especially at my age. See you in a couple of hours, hopefully.
How I suffer for you all.
Well, I've spent the entire morning getting these pictures to you, so there's no time for the story. Had to relearn everything. The lot. Auld age disnae come itsel'.
I've joined the Now Generation! and put this batch of pics on Flickr. They actually look better there. Sharper. Go and see them and comment s'il vous plait. (But I'll leave them where they are for now - just to be on the safe side.)
Coming tomorrow - Edinburgh Royal Infirmary - we dish the dirt!
A visitor's impression of that cathedral of sickness. We leave no superbug unturned!
Apologies to non-UK readers, who won't know what this is about.
Remember a couple of weeks ago when I penned a fairly robust condemnation of a Derren Brown show? Now - don't get me wrong... I'm not anti-Derren, despite his schemiechav name. If he wants to blow his brains out on telly - fine by me. The fake seance was alarming, but at the end of the day all involved were volunteers, and there was at least a group of them.
No, the one I took umbrage to was where an unsuspecting victim was put into coma, kidnapped, and then terrified almost beyond understanding, all for Derren's career. Not good at all.
And that would have been the end of it. I have no illusions about the small reach of my organ. (Naked Blog, that is.)
But no. Imagine my surprise, when glancing through yesterday's referrer logs, to see the site of Mick Grierson, the man who designed the video game - the one which caused the victim's seizure. He cites various objectors, from the Observer up to Naked Blog. NB even gets a QUOTE!
If you've the slightest interest in Derren Brown and his tricks you should definitely go there. (And - by the power of the interweb, I think it's a fair assumption that DB himself will have read Naked Blog.)
Three Dot Roundup...
Pleasant couple of hours in the Port yesterday... started to restock my fridge and freezer after the great defrost... so much ice I half expected the Titanic to sail past the window... four pints to be precise... going to see Big Straight Al in hospital this afternoon with Sandra and Little Alex... Scott is back from sea, but was busily chatting up a film-maker... must find the Fuji Finepix to snap BSA... you're never too ill to pose for the press... what can I get him as a present... Sandra suggested a book... telling people you're a radio presenter evokes so much silly respect... but I could get to like it... Nicola Benedetti on Natasha's sofa this morning...
Do you ever get those days when your FreeCell just flows off the mouse pointer? When nothing you do, no move you make, ever ends with that nasty little popup of death? SORRY, YOU LOSE.
Well - swing on this, sucker - actually it's YOU who's the loser, cos I've got a life outside fucking FreeCell - yes truly I have - while all you do is sit inside people's computers dealing cards all day. Oh yeah. Talk to the hand baby, the face is editing Wikipedia.
A whole new thing entered my life yesterday. Wikipedia. An online encyclopedia which anyone - and that means anyone - can edit or write.
I hear you laughing.
But before you dissolve into the Kleenex box, take a look at the Replies To Objections, certainly some of the finest technical net writing I've seen. (A few of those verbose mega-bloggers might well take lessons in how to use one word when only one is required.)
This I had to explore. But what am I expert in? Neurosis? Not as such - I only really care about my own. "Other people are a mistake." Quentin Crisp (In fairness also - I have to listen to my bingo ladies' problems for a living.)
Well, anyway - I quickly rewrote a couple of topics and removed some advertising that companies had inserted, which is clearly against the Wikipedia guidelines. And do you know - it really does work. Out with the old - in with the new. Quite a feeling, suddenly becoming an encyclopedia editor. Now - what else am I expert on?
I sense Wikipedia will occupy me for quite some time, as it's far more tranquil than things like Slashdot with all those cliques, flame wars and permissions to speak - and even then only what the Slashdotters want to hear.
Top 100 Scottish Websites
You'll have noticed that blue flag just under my picture. (Taken in Gorgeous Galloway, incidentally.) Me, not the flag.
Naked Blog has climbed steadily up this chart over the last week, and on current form will soon reach number one, a position I don't think it deserves. I mean what about NHS Scotland? They must get a few hits. And BBC Scotland?
If nothing else, this does illustrate the democracy of this 'ere interweb thingie. Via Gordon, who's generally first with everything.
Have YOU ever been pregnant? Yes or no, Gunnella wants to hear from you. Take her fascinating questionnaire, which is all about pregnancy myths and lore, rather than boring shite like epidurals. (Probably not boring if you're screaming, I quite agree, girls.) Don't worry that the Finish button ends up on Page Not Found. She still gets all the info.
Wonderful to see that nice Gordon Brown on BBC Breakfast With Frost this morning, setting out his stall for the Premiership, whilst of course denying any such intention. I must say he does exude an air of health and strength which Tony of late seems to be lacking. "Trust me, I'm Gordon!" Does that light your candle?
They've even trained him to smile more, an attribute once totally missing. He smiles so much now he even does it before he knows what the question is. I confidently predict he'll be the next Prime Minister, and a very good one too. You read it here first.
*Our title stems from Gordon's quote, "After two terms it's time to renew New Labour's [something or other]. I was just tickled by renewing the new. Of course - going back to the old would be an equally logical possibility. Prescott for Premier, anyone?
Corrections and Clarifications
Indebted to Graham from Walthamstow, who points out that "I'm in Pieces, Bits and Pieces" (Friday's title) owes nothing to Liverpool, but everything in fact to Tottenham. Discipline letters are in the post, but so far no heads have rolled.
Bits and Pieces was one of only two hits I can recall from a band called the Dave Clark Five - the other being Glad All Over, with its delicious double entendre. (One of the finest such till "When you're in love with a beautiful woman - you know it's hard. It's oh so hard.) Joy unbounded for adolescents of all ages.
Right - that's enough for now. The emphasis of this three day workbreak is to be knee health. Then, hopefully, I can restart some gentle hillwalking again. It was foolish, plain stupid, to bash about the place thinking only of my cardiovasculars, and nowt at all about the bony bits. Elderly at that. Thanks to all who proffered advice.
Sitemeter is down. Yooplay Channel (Freeview 53) is down, so no Tetris for Peter. But note, E4 is coming to Freeview on Friday.
Schedule (And please note, that's pronounced shed-yool in this country. Those who say sked-yool will never be my friend. Never. Unless they own a car.)
This week, life as normal. (Hah!) Next, that plus daily broadcasts on Leith FM. Next again, full time broadcasting and Leith Festival-going, combined with generalised stardom. Requests for interviews etc to my management please. All sofas considered. You're never too old to be interesting to someone.
Before the dust finally settles on Mr Galloway and the US Senate, I want to highlight a comment from Brett, which I think probably speaks for millions of disaffected US citizens, despairing at the way their country is going, yet powerless to do anything about it.
In terms of size, Brett's words are but a speck of dust - but take enough specks of dust and you create a star.
"Listen, we don't know who Galloway is over there, but he gave the speech that Kerry should have given. He gave a voice in the halls of American power to a multitude here in America for whom NONE of the dissembling, cowardly Democratic politicians have had the guts to speak. It was the writing on the wall at the Feast of Belshazzar. It is only a matter of time now. THANK YOU GEORGE GALLOWAY AND THANK YOU SCOTLAND!"
I'M IN PIECES, BITS AND PIECES (Large post. Dunno why.)
(That title should ideally contain only the first three words. But then I have to remind myself that some of you are a little younger than one, and thus more familiar with Wonderwall and OK Computer than the Liverpool Sound.) Oh, we knew how to live in those days. Six shillings and elevenpence for a single, and nineteen and six for an LP. Albums were things you put photos in. Photos are things you now call images. A single had two songs on it. You should know these things. Help you understand your parents/grandparents.
But I digress. Yesterday was Defragmentation Day. Yes, really. Last week the kitchen sink, now the hard disk.
Queen Of The Desert
Priscilla (333MHz, 4.9Gb, 128Mb) has been well sluggish* for over a year now, and recently wouldn't work for more than half an hour without a reboot. Even pulling the plug out and replacing it added only about fifteen minutes. As for switching off? Forget it. (Well - except for the one and only time just referred to.) I had more fatal errors than Harold Shipman. My blue screen of death was selling policies.
Important Note: Those not interested in Spyware and stuff skip to Aren't Scientists Getting Younger these days.
So we started to defragment. Vaguely I remembered from last century that you have to disable True Vector from Zone Alarm firewall. Then I had to disable McAfee VirusScan also, after putting the Cable Modem on standby. (Even so, the Zone Alarm still logged six attempted scans, even through a standby modem.)
And now we're done. It took eighteen hours, as despite the above, the bugger still kept restarting every ten minutes. What could that have been? "Disc contents have changed. Restarting..." Oh, I felt for poor Priscilla, in this possibly her last ever defrag before hitting the Hard Disk Heaven in the sky, where all the portals are pearly, and Saint Peter does the file allocations.
Fly In The Ointment
Something else Zone Alarm logged was an attempt to dial out by WCMDMGR.EXE I checked on Google and it turns out this is malware deposited by Wild Tangent Games. But you can disable it in Control Panel, so I did just that. Better late than never. Ideally I don't even want it there, but it probably means some sort of Registry work, and I just don't go there, Jose. Plus I haven't even got a Wild Tangent game.
Tetris is my only vice. I do it on speed seven, and let the first five pieces just pile on top of each other, then work around that starting with piece six.
Love it to bits, except it costs 75 pence a day on Yooplay. (Freeview 53.) Plus I'm worried it might put shadows on my new TV tube.
Aren't scientists getting younger these days?
Not wanting to stray too far from Priscilla in her stress, I made yesterday an "in" day. It was strange not having any internet for eighteen hours - to read and re-read your lovely blogs, and to answer comments left on NB. Instead just the relentless clunk clunk clunk of those tiny blue squares on the screen. Zillions of them. Bringing order out of chaos. If only my house could organise itself as easily.
Many TV shows caught my attention between the bowls of steamed frozen vegetables. On BBC Four a Dr Iain Stewart was waxing about the geology of the Mediterranean area. Journeys from the Centre of The Earth.
Dr Stewart is (geologically) something of a rough diamond, and I sense his doctorate possibly owes more to the local Poly than to Harvard or MIT. (Bristol University, it turns out. Not that wrong then.) In short - he can't pronounce everyday words such as vulnerable. Or even geologist, his own damn job. Vulnable and Jollergist. Jollergy.
His East Scotland accent isn't unlike Ewan McGregor's - maybe a touch more Fife in it - and he has an unusual (for television) manner of making his eyes wild and stary, and aggressively jutting his jaw out at you. I was dying to phone Sandra and say that her Johnny was on the telly.
Tasty though. He can grind my plates any time.
More Bristol Cream
Equally tasty, and cast out of almost the exact same mould (where do they get them from?) was the presenter of Journey of Life, Steve Leonard. Bristol University again, it turns out. Coincidence or what?
Steve is a honey, if you like your totty with a brain cell thrown in, but even he couldn't manage "vulnerable". (I know it's a tricky word, especially after a drink. Bridge players struggle with it on a regular basis. But this is the BBC, godammit! Cope. Nuclear.)
Very televisual. He can sample my DNA on a regular basis. (I think it must be springtime. I knew all this exercise would lead to bad thoughts.)
Also good on BBC Four was The Thick of It, by Armando Ianucci, yet another Scot. How they can get away with that (hardly fictionalised) portrayal of Alastair Campbell is something to marvel at. Maybe Campbell loves attention.
(*well sluggish. Just because you're old, doesn't mean your language has to be also.)
Fascinated to read in all the papers yesterday that Britain is in the grip of gangs of out-of-control children. Much as in that US movie Kids (why is there a movie about absolutely everything?), these youngsters live, eat and breed on the streets, pausing only to rob a few old ladies of their bingo winnings so that they can continue lives of dawn to dusk White Lightning cider and the latest pink ecstasy tablets. Oh, and probably cigarettes - the great delineator these days.
Note to posh people who might be reading: Magner's cider and cocaine for you, dearests. And no ciggies of course. Class.
As I say - febrile stuff, but is it actually true? Or is it the product of a senior policeman's imagination, the better to bump up his budget for next year?
Certainly here in Leith I've never seen any signs of such in my thirty-odd years. At lunchtime the kids spill out of the local High School and make their ways to the various refuelling stops (mostly Greggs the baker) in what appears to be perfect order. Uniforms. Chatting and playing. Not even smoking.
Older teens, the ones who hang about the Jobcentre (oxymoron) until recently tended to sport an item or two of Burberry, but again there's no sign of menace or disorder. On seeing an elderly gent (me) they just get out of the way.
Yet Leith is teeming with pubs, has a vigorous drugs trade across all social strata, and is somewhat notorious for prostitution zones. Yet where's the organized crime? Where are these feral kids? Why are the streets quite pleasant to walk?
Yes - it's true. You should all rush to live here at once, and snap up these expensive new housing developments, to keep the market buoyant. I'm probably the most feral thing you'll ever meet.
Thanks to all who contributed to the George Galloway debate yesterday. Interesting range of views. Me, I exercised my favourite position - on the fence. (I really, really don't know much about him.)
I arrived second last at the Blogmeet on Saturday, so missed a couple of people. One was Shauna of what's new, pussycat?. Fantastic blog, sheer top class, and I'm planning to read every word. (Since May 2000.) Strange that in this hi-tech, instant message world it should take a missed pub meeting to bring a person's work to notice. That could have happened two thousand years ago. And doubtless did. (Was Moses really on time with those damn tablets?)
Yes - that was the decision on points after George Galloway's barnstorming attack on the Senate Committee yesterday, all the more horrifying for the other George (W. Bush) because it seemed to be airing live as it happened.
What a star! Love him or loathe him (and I do neither, knowing too little to form a judgement), you have to admit that was an Oscar-winning show.
It was a powerful performance, the Times says, while the Telegraph describes an assault on Capitol Hill. The Financial Times acknowledges blistering testimony, while the Guardian lauds street fighting form. The Sun admits a barnstorming performance, while the Daily Record says the MP "spanked the Yanks".
The above shamelessly lifted from this BBC page, which has more, including links.
NB readers from outside Scotland might not realise how very, very aristocratic Galloway's accent is - the finest of cut Scottish glass, outclassing even that doyenne of the newswaves, Kirsty Wark. And did you note his delivery... slow, with plenty of pauses, so that there could be no transatlantic misunderstanding of the enormity of his words. Not enormous to us here, as we're used to anti-US sentiments, particularly over recent years. But to the ordinary people of the United States, expecting something on the lines of Tony Blair, that must have been some shock indeed.
"Who is dis guy?"
I estimate it'll be a while before they have him back.
I'm feeling very sorry for the woman now. Sorry because if the cancer doesn't get her, the press will. She has almost no chance of the space and privacy she needs to get well. And if she thought they were intrusive when she was a healthy pop star, she's no concept of what will happen now. "Kylie loses weight!" "Kylie weeps as her hair falls out!" "Brave Kylie goes in for mastectomy!"
You hate it as you read it, but you know every word is true - and it's your money which pays for it. Animals, the lot of them - from the frankly gutter press up to and including the BBC.
She should be able to get injunctions banning them from within a mile of her home or hospital. And one thing's for sure - breast cancer won't have such coverage again for a very long time.
More Cheerful Matters
A few days ago I enjoyed Driving Miss Daisy for the first time. Lovely, if somewhat predictable period piece. Heavens - now even the sixties are a history book.
Jessica Tandy was marvellous of course. Well - everyone was, except maybe Aykroyd who might have been a touch cartoonish. But again, maybe that's what the director wanted. And how does Freeman do that falsetto squawking at his age? Do African Americans really talk like that? "Well sho Mizz Daisy - just whatever yo say, missm!"
Such a shame that as always Channel Five lop off the sides to make their movies 4:3. Yes, you can use your TV's zoom feature, but then you're losing some top and bottom as well. Much more of that, and you might as well switch on the radio instead.
Sorry no links in the above, but IMDB has not once but twice frozen up Priscilla my computer, and I can't sit here all day. No really - I can't. Unless they get George Galloway to call the bingo, but then he might be a bit scary.
Lots of health news this week - some you win, some you lose.
Big Straight Al is on the mend, and can be visited in the Western General Hospital, Department of Clinical Neurosurgery. He's NOT expected to suffer any paralysis. Mardi Gras! I would go, but he would just think (rightly) that I'd be fishing for a blog article - and even a photo. No, there are no depths...
The other Big Al (confused now?), has completed his treatment for Serious Illness, and now has only six percent death in him, and ninety four percent life. This is excellent, and he looks so much better. I told him exactly that.
Diminutive Ozzie chanteuse (cliche central, that) Kyle Minogue has developed breast cancer, that killer of singers much greater. Very best wishes, even though I've not met her, nor ever shall. Her contribution has brought joy to many - in a world where sometimes joy is in pretty short supply. She was highly regarded for her professional, non-starry attitude by the stage crews and engineers at the MTV awards here in 2003.
Me. Well - I'm reluctant to drag myself into such glittering companies as the above, but I'm not perfect either atm. It's Left Knee. (Don't know the medical term, sorry. LK1 ?) Just when you develop a hefty outdoor habit which does your heart, lungs and larynx the world of good, what should go and happen but one of your knees gives out.
I know. Auld age, etc. But the key knee thing is that all this has happened before - in my prime - so I'm fairly good at treating it. Partly that involves rest, so on that account my weight has gone up a pound this last week - back to fourteen stones. (196 pounds) Nightmare. The only saving grace is that yesterday it was two pounds more than that even.
So I raided the frozen sprouts bigtime! Seriously - you can shovel them down with gay abandon, and not put on one milligramme. Hardly. Plus they've got lots of cancer-fighting agents. All that dark greenness swishing about.
Totally disoriented this morning when I switched on BBC Breakfast and saw Bill Turnbull sitting with some new chick. Had to pinch myself to believe that it really was Tuesday, and not some bizarre day like Saturday. Where is Dermot? Where is Natasha? And - even more telling... where is Rob Bonnet the footie correspondent?
My sensors detect a night of three-way sex, drugs and easy on the rock n roll. Then they all phoned in sick. We shall see. I should write a book called Coping With Voyeurism.
Pleasant couple of hours yesterday, first in The Village, and then the Port. Kevin the shop girl was there, and also Little Alex, who had gloriously stoned eyes. I asked him about the uprising in Uzbekistan, but he didn't know too much about it. So I bought him a pint of Magners cider, which I tasted too, and have to confess is nothing to write home about. Amazing what suckers people are for ads on the telly. Anyone remember Sol? (Although that was largely a word-of-mouth phenomenon.)
So now the US government can summon members of Her Majesty's Government to answer questions, can they? What next? Tony impeached for not fighting enough wars? (Assuming that situation were ever to arise.) Makes you think.
If you're not reading Toasty's Futon (Just snuggle up and stop hyperventilating), then you're missing a real treat. It's written by a mate who cannot be named for legal reasons, and it's effing brilliant. Think Fawlty Towers, League of Gentlemen, Keeping Up Appearances...
Oh it was lovely. So glad I went. You'll be wanting to see photos, worth thousands of words, but in this I'm dependent on Wee David and Gunnella. Memo to self. Really, really must dig out the Fuji Finepix. It can't be that lost.
Present were four lovely people I hadn't met or read before, Gunnella, David,Martin and another David, plus three I'd read and re-read over the years. Richard of Richard Bloomfield,Gordon McLean the Grand Vizier of Scottish Blogs, and then a little later turned up Alan Sharp - writer, actor, mountaineer, etc. Meeting those three was an especial joy.
I'd always had mixed feelings, some reservations, about face to face meetings from this new-fangled gizmo called internet. Memories linger from the beginning... never give anything away... only meet in a well-lit public place... it's a jungle out there...
Well, now that the internet is as pervasive as the biro pen, I guess it's time to re-evaluate. And yesterday was a perfect jumping-off ground.
Perhaps more relevant, there's also that nagging danger... what if I don't like so-and-so? That I used to love their blog, but now I've met them I can't love it again. Is ignorance really bliss?
Because it's so easy to lie in print. Much harder face to face, even for a couple of hours. (Unless you're a politician, maybe.)
So - do get to the point, Peter, it's a lovely day - I'm delighted to pass on that the aforementioned Richard, Gordon and Alan are every bit as gorgeous as their blogs do indicate. Different, because the flesh is much more than the typescript. Different, but yet the typescript successfully conveys the goodness of its creator.
Yes, indeedy doody. And I'm not that often wrong.
Right - that's enough of embarrassing people out of their bedsocks. What did we find to talk about? Well I can remember some of it. (And there was almost no techie. I don't recall the letters RSS or CSS occurring EVEN ONCE. Wunderbar.)
Topics covered were...
Christopher Eccleston, hit or miss? HIT! declared Gunnella and me, but Alan demurred. I told him he was jealous, as his own acting career hadn't reached quite those heights. (Yes - were thatdrunk friendly you could call someone jealous on the first meeting.)
How kind the landlord was to keep buying us rounds of drinks, once he learned we would all blog about his smashing pub the Jolly Judge just off the High Street. (I knew Naked Blog would hit paydirt in the end.) I told them that Mary from the Port would get quite faint at the very thought, which is maybe a touch unfair.
Zoe in Belgium and the reason(s) for her current dysbloggia. (I just invented dysbloggia. Cute, ain't it?) Rest assured, dear zoe, it was all very kind, well-intentioned, and concerned. Much love from all present.
Pa**ula Rad**cliffe traffic spikes. Did she number one or number two? David decided on the basis of stomach cramps that it was probably the latter. Me, I jumped up and mimed what I'd seen on the telly, to some amusement.
Blogs and patronage. I told Gordon he was a complete blogwhore. He didn't disagree!
Is Tinky Winky a gay icon? Is he even gay?
Me, me, me and more of me. Interesting topic this. I even ordered (in hopefully the nicest possible way) Wee David to take some photos of me with Gordon and Alan. He promised to email them. I await with bated breath.
Alan's multiple exploits - writing, acting and climbing this mountain and that one.
At this point we were joined by a vistor from South Carolina called Glyn, who had possibly the most perfect teeth I've ever seen in real life. Perfect. Glyn had made two short movies, one of 18 minutes, and one of 15. We were very impressed. He said he was from the South Carolina boondocks, and I said I was getting the feeling of Deliverance and The Hills Have Eyes. He said he knew someone exactly like conehead guy in The Hills. (Michael Berryman.) Very handsome chap. (Glyn, not Michael Berryman.)
Homeward bound, I noted the top of Leith Walk was awash with teenage girls in tiny pleated skirts right up to their snatches. Could this have been related to a Girls Aloud concert? It was 9.45 pm and I was very brave being out in the busy streets at that time on a Saturday night. Very.
Post Script Another topic was to name your favourite blog, not counting anyone present.
Notes: (1) These look quite a bunch! I'll check them out. (2) My own TOTP is omitted because you'll spot it's mine. And (3) that might not be the correct URL for Meg's Not So Soft, which someone at the meeting said had re-started.
In Other News...
...has Patricia Hewitt been seeing Margaret Thatcher's elocution coach? The woman's become a caricature.
Photo credits: Bigups to Wee David for the snap at the top of this story. More pics can be enjoyed here, and here. Many thanks to Gunnella for calling me "alarmingly charming" - what a perceptive young woman she is :)
I know I shouldn't have, but it was yet another wee jaunt up Mount Saint Arthur yesterday. Even the clunky left knee wasn't enough to deter me, but I did make a point of zig-zagging on the steeper bits, reducing the strain on these elderly tendons. Plus tubigrip helps, of course. During the night I monitored the situation and there doesn't seem to have been any damage.
My knees and I go back quite some way, you know. It was knees that stopped my running hobby in my thirties, so then I changed to cycling, which is good, but not the same. You don't get the "high" that runners all adore. Plus there's traffic to contend with.
No - some of my most ecstatic moments have been spent running flat out along Portobello sea front... mouth wide open, effortless total breathing... "being breathed".... just you and the wind and maybe even a touch of God. Then you take your top off and feel your torso covered in sweat... which you can swish about the place, so sensuously. Auto erotic.
I did all that for a couple of years, but then some overuse coupled with the wrong footwear led to splints, frozen peas, and even crutches for a while. Silly to go on. Had to stop. Cycling took its place, sort of. But I was devastated for a while.
And now regular climbing. I'm just so hooked on cardio-vascular! Try it. You might love it too. AAAAAAARRRGH! WHOOOOOOOOOSH! AAAAAAARRRGH! WHOOOOOOOOOSH! How healthy does that sound?
Rest In Peace
...to Rachel McCaig, Leith's former First Lady of the licensed trade, who was buried on Wednesday, having died at age eighty. I hear the cauldron-stirrers were making their gobs go about who should and shouldn't have been at her funeral. So no change there, then.
Rachel and I went way back to the seventies, when she was manageress of Nobles Bar in Constitution Street - one of the first in Scotland to embrace the concept of "go-go dancers". Remember them? One dancer, Tanya, was especially famous as she could keep a black top hat on her bare breasts and still dance about.
Rachel had to simultaneously sell loads of beer to the men, whilst protecting the virtue of the "girls", who were easily offended if the audience went "too far". More than once I watched her dragging an amorous sailor or trucker out the place by his ear.
Glory days and rich pickings for the young gay man. Then she retired, and the brewery ripped the heart out of the premises, and changed its name, effectively ruining it. So the nearest unreconstructed bar then became the Port O' Leith, and the rest is drinking history. Rachel worked part time for Mary in the Port for many years.
CALL THE FIRE BRIGADE!
Babs seemed mightily impressed with her new job yesterday. Apparently the firemen are mostly over forty, have incredible bodies, but unattractive faces. They tend to be married and have grown up children. "Just the sort that's ready to stray," I mused, reflectively - but not on my own account, obviously. The Nobles days have long gone now.
We were chatting in the Regent, her local, and after my mountain hop I popped back in and sat alone reading gay magazines. One called ScotsGay had adverts for local outdoor clubs and so on, but the writing was so small I couldn't read it. You have to sit silent in such bars, as if you do speak they'll think you're trying to pick them up. That's what gay bars are like, if you haven't been in one. Nevertheless it was OK sitting amongst my own people for a while, before venturing back out into Easter Road and hettie-land.
What Has My Boyfriend Done Now?
Pop over to the lovely zed's. She's stopped blogging for what my sensors detect might be sad reasons, and I'm too concerned to phone her and find out, in case she thinks I'm prying.
Yes, it's true. Thanks to the kind encouragements of Gordon and anna, and the even kinder co-operation of a colleague*, Grandmama now has a window of sociability on Saturday from about five onwards. So don't get too pissed until then. Or do if you want. See if I care. I'll be the sober one who turns up smelling of fagsmoke, sweat, and old-lady adrenalin. House!
(Due to contractual obligations, I'm unable to sign autographs for less than a fiver. Sorry.)
Now - it's a lovely day, and I should buy a new outfit for the occasion. Or maybe charity shop, which will be more interesting and possibly a touch Bohemian. Please remember, I'll be terrified. At least you lot will all be the same age, and straight, mas o menos. And work in computers.
Oh - and I'm sure NB fans from England will be welcome too, should they wish to board the Chattanooga Choo Choo. (The train you need will be called GNER - redolent with the history of the iron horse. None of this Virgin nonsense for us.) So take a walk on the wild side.
What have I let myself in for? It's so exciting! But I'm definitely thinking two rooms, btw - one for CSS, RSS, blah de blah, and the other for human interest.
Shock Update My Blogger has just developed Word Verification. You have to copy some arty letters into a box. Wtf for? And now it's gone away again.
(* at this point too many of you write "work colleagues", which is tautology, and you really should stop it.)
BABS' FIREMEN'S DINNERS
Big-ups to Babs, who today diversifies her culinary skills into a new job cooking for Edinburgh's finest. Firemen, that is. Apparently she got the job by supplying the correct answer to the question, "How do you cook a steak pie?" (The answer is, with no pastry underneath the meat.) Yes - I realise that sounds odd, but this is Scotland, and that's how we do things here OK?
As well as steak pie, curry is also a firm favourite with the lads. Well - you can't save lives on bread and jam, now can you?
Fun and games at Sandra's last night, when she threw one of her famous impromptu soirees. How the wine did flow as we chatted and laughed the night away! Because I'm possibly Scotland's leading personal journaller, naturally my own exploits were the subject of much discussion, to which I was more than happy to contribute. I can chat about anything so long as it involves me.
Key topics were the loud music at HMV, and Sandra, Cherry and me getting rescued off Arthur's Seat - which Johnny (Sandra's fella) thought was an inappropriate use of resources, and might have put genuine people at risk. (As If S, C and moi were in some way less than genuine.)
Like father, like son...
Robin was there too, with his young son Christopher. Christopher's very into grunge music, so Johnny taught him grunge on guitar and drums until upstairs started banging on the ceiling. Johnny thought the idea of Stewart and me just talking on the radio would be extremely boring, unlike Stevie Sticks, who's on at midnight and is a big Frank Zappa man. I told him our show would feature Mr Zappa as and when appropriate, along with Tom Jones and Demis Roussos, then launched into my own rendition of A Little Green Rosetta, which shut him up for a millisecond.
Christopher (14) told us he'd completed not just Vice City, but San Andreas as well. He'd spent four million dollars on prostitutes, and a staggering billion dollars on pole dancers. He said he'd had lots of sex in cars, which startled his father a bit, and also said that if you move the camera to the front of the car, you can actually see the couple "doing it". How voyeuristic is that. I told him I was sick of spending forty quid on a game and only getting five poundsworth out of it. He said he would lend me a cheat book.
Totally splendid evening, rounded off by the staggering news in my comment box that the world famous Josh from Alaska is visiting Britain next month. Awesome. Whatever have we all started?
Out and about
Scottish Blogmeet this Saturday in Edinburgh, apparently. Why not go along and beat the previous national record of Me, Sarah and Caitlin? Sadly I won't be in atttendance, as [insert excuse].
Many thanks to the lovely Lyle for all the advice on cutting my blogging bills. And to the others too. It's always good to have a couple of techie friends in your armoury! You know, I could have two decent holidays a year for what I currently spend on bringing you this rubbish. (Except I probably wouldn't go on them.)
Thanks also on Big Straight Al's behalf for the kind words after his dreadful accident. All we can do is wait and hope and pray. The whole community is moved, on edge, waiting. People understandably asked what he was doing up a tree, and I can only answer that trees were his thing, apparently. It's respect for each other's differences, and a refusal to be judgemental, to insist on golf club conformity that marks us out as a community. Trainspotting tours are just so nineties. Today the action is exactly what you're reading now. I never, ever dreamt it would last this long or go so far and so deep. Welcome to Barbary Lane Constitution Street.
Having tired of my brief withdrawal from society, yesterday found my dancing feet lightly skipping, gaily tripping towards The Village. Such a serviceable pub, and free of that pesky "ned element". Chavs, you might say at your end. Me, I prefer to say good riddance. There's definitely something of the Niles Crane about me.
Oh, I'd earlier done my bit for personal progress, having not only shaved (on a day off!), but (readers of a nervous disposition should look away) also cleaned the sink! Yes, really. There were traces of vegetable casserole lingering since 2002 I truly do swear.
A Complete Spectacle
Ally at the Village was visibly buoyant, having just taken delivery of a brand new pair of varifocal spectacles. Brian came in, with his pronounced yet not unfriendly Geordie accent. "Hi Peter!" he goes, butchly. "How's thou gannin on?"
I point him to Ally's new glasses. "You have to say how nice they are..."
"They look fucking great man!" Brian agreed.
"And how expensive," I continued, milking the moment.
"They look fucking dear man!" Brian said - the Ernie to my Eric if ever there was. We laughed. You couldn't make it up.
But Ally was having focusing problems with the new bogles. I sympathised, having once tried a "varifocal simulator" at Boots Opticians in Princes Street. It was exactly, and I'm not exaggerating, exactly like an acid trip. In which the visible world seems to float about the place with a mind of its own. "Your brain soon adapts!" said the eager young salesman through his rimless Pradas. "Yes - but do I want it to," I mused, settling instead for fixed vision. Fixed is quite enough for my elderly cells to cope with. And cheaper, to boot.
Really sad, not taking the piss this time. Big Straight Al fell out of a tree at the weekend and broke both his legs, his hip and his neck. There might be permanent consequences. Only time will tell.
Al was kind enough to be the first ever Naked Blog Hunk Of The Week, lighting up many of my gay readers' (and there are a couple) days with his foxiness.
Since then he's graced many a story here with his humour and sanguine outlook on this bizarre world we find ourselves in. I wish him every recovery, at its own pace. Love you, man. Send him your love too.
Clunk Click, Every Trip
Here I was going to write about my knees getting "overuse" injuries thanks to all this new health I've been having up and down the hills. And the tubigrip bandage I'm using on the left one. But in view of the above, it wouldn't be quite appropriate, would it?
As regular readers will recall, here at Naked Mansions we have a totally Green lifestyle, involving no cleaning products whatever. The bottle of Purple Herbal Fairy Liquid purchased three years ago still remains only half used, and is yet in possession of its lovely chemically smell.
However it's a smell, or rather miasma, of a different sort - round and about the kitchen sink - which is prodding me into a fury of cleansing today. Indolence is fine, so long as no-one knows about it. But smells cling, in much the same way as mud sticks. I blame the spring temperatures. There was no problem in winter.
Today I weighed only thirteen stones and thirteen pounds, the lightest since whenever. This is not unrelated to last week, in which I ascended Mount Saint Arthur not once but twice, plus the added bonus of a stroll along the top of Salisbury Crags. My first ever such. It's nice up there, like a flattish elevated meadow. No hint of the plummet to certain death just yards to your left. (Or of course right, depending on the obvious.) So it's not a place to go if you're tired of living. Me, I don't like looking so far down on my adopted city. Reminds me too much of aeroplanes.
Don't miss yesterday's post below. Now with added Derren Brown.
New Kid On The Blog
Don't miss Toasty's Futon, written by a Naked Blog character. How classy are my friends?
The Meaning Of Life
All you have to do is make each day vaguely tolerable, at times enjoyable, and then don't look for anything more. There is no Shangri La. You always die in the end.
I'm not a great funeral-goer, me. I've been criticised at work recently for not attending such-and-such's funeral, but frankly - in bingo people pop off at a steady rate, and to attend all of them would put a strain on even the cheeriest of souls - which as I'm sure you've ascertained, one is not.
No - let me continue to give what I can to the living, and let the dear departed rest easy in their wooden box - as they ascend to that vast, angelic bingo hall in the sky, where Saint Peter always gives them at least one small win each session.
Don't know if you saw Derren Brown on Friday, but it was unspeakable. Surely must have broken every rule in the TV rule book. In which he:
induced coma in an unwitting and unsuspecting young man with flashing light
kidnapped him while still comatose
locked him in a ruined hospital-type building, alone, confused, and unable to escape
then set actors made-up as "zombies" to attack him
The poor man was, understandably, terrified beyond any viewer's understanding.
Appalling. Brown should be banned from British public broadcasting henceforth. When will they ever learn? Case after case of long-term damage from stage and TV hypnosis. Whilst the performer gets rich quick, and arsehole viewers applaud.
Vont to be alone
I'm retiring from public life for a while, as the interactions are increasingly painful. Alone is the safest. So I don't know what, if anything, that will leave to write about here. You can only do so much on Arthur's Seat, and I'm inclined to think it's been done. Maybe I'll think of something.
How do you change hosts to 34SP? How do you stop Google sending people to your site? Naked Blog with my present host continues to keep me in the poorhouse. A dozen gorgeous readers but almost a thousand per*vert hits a day - every one of which costs me dear. If I'd known it was gonna end up like this I'd never have started. Fuck Google, fucking my life. (I can still remember the first ever time it appeared. Yahoo Google. Then Google Yahoo. Then all hell breaks out. Memories.)
If the rest of my life is going to be like this, just with mental and physical deterioration as a bonus, then I really - really truly - can't see the point. It was better in the olden days, when people popped off at thirty five and bingo was yet to be invented.
More of the same, but probably without the war. It's all good.
Elections are so boring these days. Boris Johnson was the only interesting part. Even Paxo and Hislop failed to ignite me. And maybe it's time to pension off David Dimbleby, as I find there's only so long you can enjoy having someone stare at you over the top of his glasses. Most school-masterly. But the Dimblebies are bigger than the Windsors.
Vivdly I recall the time Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe was defeated, after being tried for attempted gay-related murder. "Do you think that trial would have damaged your chances?" asked the hapless reporter in black and white. "It would hardly have enhanced them," replied Thorpe, with upper middle class iciness. We need more Thorpes and Norman Scotts around the place. Badger-spotting in gay trolling grounds just hasn't got the class, darling.
One fun thing might have passed you by this morning. Charles Kennedy is reportedly "stuck in Scotland in the fog", and thus unable to come to London. (Pissed, mair like. And that poor baby. All those cameras flashing.)
Cue Robin Cook in Edinburgh: "That's a lovely fine day in Scotland," says DaveyD to him. "Good morning David - " replies Cock Robin, " - yes - I'm sure it'll be fine right across Scotland." You couldn't make it up.
And what about Twiglet? (Stephen Twigg.) That hair! I couldn't help thinking that a sequinned jacket and a few expensive streaks would have done wonders for his chances. Or at the very least a Robbie Williams-alike partner up there beside him on the stage. Six pack and tats. Look at Sean in Coronation Street!
There aren't enough family blogs. Far too many by neurotic singletons such as moi. Thanks to all who've commented recently about the radio farrago. Cherished. And thanks to S and B for their company and support yesterday. But mostly company. Like both the Doctor and the Dalek, I am so utterly alone.
A truly happy day is the one where you discover a new wrinkle on your face, AND a hairline crack in your living room wall. Mardi gras.
Thanks to (almost) all re radio situation. Gwen's kindly given me six days' time out to consider my position in view of the revised information. Ghastly, quite ghastly. Babs is worried about my wellbeing, I can tell. So am I, a bit.
Voted Labour, after toying briefly with the idea of Scottish Greens. (Well - they don't get many votes, poor things, and Labour's a rock solid definite here anyway.) But it was the One in Ten slogan that changed my mind. Who says advertising doesn't work? I never said that.
Oh, and did I ever tell you about the two occasions I was asked to be a Parliamentary Candidate for this constituency? It's true.
Update: Thanks to the fragrant zoe, our radio abuse has reached the very summit of blogdom. I don't deserve you all. Truly don't.
Yes really. Artistic and temperamental differences.
What is he I on about now? Well, they cut me out of the Poster, in simple terms. Omitted. Me, with one of the most recognised faces in town. "Is it because I is too old?" I asked the snapper responsible. "No, not that." "Then is it because I is too gay?" I asked further of his wisdom. "No, not that."
Is Stewart (my intended co-presenter) on it? No. Is Mary on it? No. (Mary was in yesterday's Times newspaper, btw. Article on Trainspotting Tours of the locale. But worry not, Naked Blog is a better guide.) Is Wee Stevie (Sticks) on it? Yes. And of course the elegant and lensworthy Danielle and Donnacher, Leith's answer to Richard and Judy.
But not moi. So last night I resigned by text message. Send To Many - such a serviceable communication. What would you have done, dearest reader?
Daleks... unforgiveable breach of ownership and trust... fucking with the culture because they can... all should be sacked... where's Terry Nation... Black Death was not bubonic plague but haemorrhagic fever or Ebola... virus not bacterium... no fleas required... never could comprehend how Delta 32 mutation was supposed to protect against both Black Death (bacterial) and HIV/Aids (viral)... Depiction of gay male characters in Continuing Drama... Sean in Coronation Street to be precise... not good... if that was blacks or Jews there'd be an outcry... take the piss out of the poofs... Alan Sugar was very good on secular versus religious Jewry... And what awful acting from everyone, apart from the imprisoned bereaved mother... no Ena, Elsie, Bet, Racquel, Mavis, Rita... what's the point... All so old now... Kevin's wife I remember playing a schoolgirl junkie in some dumb cop show decades ago... sort of proto Prime Suspect... thing is... my life is a total soap already... endlessly winding between scenes, shoots and locations... Take 29... ready for my close-up, Mr DeMille... shoot from the left please so you don't see my missing tooth... Next... i'm voting Tony, by the way... not because I don't care about one zillion dead Iraqis... not because of that at all... but because voting for Howard is hardly gonna bring them back... chances of Tony joining with the USA in another war???... exactly and precisely nil... chances of Howard ditto???... who knows which way the wind blows... Lib Dems might have done better with a different leader... who doesn't pronounce "us" as "uzzzz"... who doesn't look so unhealthy... right old Port o Leith face... aren't Blair and Brown the greatest double act since Morecambe and Wise... you can fool all of the people for a few days at a time... got to go now and prepare for my next election scene... Exterminate...