Update Thursday: Many thanks to (in order of appearance) Alan, JonnyB and mike for their sterling efforts. I was fascinated to see how the NB people and places have ingrained and endeared themselves. Reality is the new escapism.
The competition is still open! Fab prizes. See comment box for explanation!
Good morning, campers. I see most of you sitting at your desks, bored with your tasks already, and wondering what Peter has been getting up to. Let's go and find out... hehe!... check the boss isn't looking... click on Go...
Hi there! How ya doin? How's yer bum for love bites?
And what has Peter been uptae? Well, quite a lot.
But not nearly as much as my neighbours it seems, who are fully engrossed in bang, clang and clatter. Or rather, paying strong young men to bang, clang and clatter on their behalfs. It's a nightmare. Made me feel so slothful just now I even put a washing on, just to feel I was doing something. Contributing to the common good. Like the Cadburys and Frys. Not as much as fixing a roof or laying a floor, but I did at least put it on myself.
So - nearly sixty years on the planet, and I've at last achieved "washerwoman". And why not? More important than the IT most of you seem to be stuck in. If you ask me. Which I'm fully aware you didn't.
Render Unto Caesar
It's an irony of the age that the exact day before I step back into freelance and the attendant tax mayhems and brouhahas, what should pop through my door but a statement of how very many thousands of pounds those Inland Revenue charlatans owe me from over the years.
Between that tax rebate (when it arrives), and my freelance fee tomorrow, I could easily stop work for a year or more. Write that book - the one I keep harking back to, yet forward also. Be something. Be somebody. Entity rather than nonsuch.
But maybe not. Tried that before, within the space even of this weblog, and it didn't work. Earned nothing. Spent everything. Drank myself daily into destruction and depression. Till the bingo came to the emotional rescue yet again.
It's a lovely contrast - the isolation and virtuality of doing this (even though you are very real) - and the full-on, in yer face, physicality of the day job. From Home Alone to Hurricane's Eye.
Here is what money can't buy:
Stopping smoking. Did that myself.
Tackling overweight. Did that myself.
Exercising your body. Costs nothing.
A weblog packed with Grade A readers. That's you. And finally...
Me Love. The Beatles sang eloquently about that one. But you learn to live without it. I see my young colleagues in mid-throes, such ups and downs tormenting them, and I think thank God that's over with now.
Eventually you realise that all there ever is, is you. The only life you can ever live, is yours. The only company you can absolutely depend on, is your own. And the only one who will never, ever hurt you, is you.
Cool now - Summer in the city!
The temperatures drop daily now, and the wasp activity is falling off apace. Soon it'll be safe to go back up into the attic and remove the nest. But next year they'll probably return, as I think creatures realise this is something of a wildlife sanctuary. Just call me Saint Fucking Francis if you will. (Note to self: must stop storing my clothes on the floor, as it only puts moths in them.)
Many lovely comments of late, and thank you all, especially Sal this time, who likes nothing better than to get a skinful and pop round his favourite blogs, dropping his pearls. Beats magazines, cos you can get all interactive. And unlike me, he always remains pleasant and interesting. What a fascinating man.
Don't know if I can respond to my comments atm, as a local hill beckons. Today I've got to be good to the larynx, as tomorrow a gent is flying up from London to record the dulcets. (Good to the larynx means exercising hard, not speaking much, and avoiding cigarette smoke.) Kinda rules out the Port o Leith then.
Tide in the affairs
Life's been quite odd in the last two weeks. Sorry to be enigmatic (but others are much moreso all the time.) However, things will shortly be crystal clear, as - strangely - you will soon be making money for me too.
Do I head south to the hills and some fitness at least along with the booze?
Or north to the docks and life's shambles on toast?
Needless to say, I chose the latter. And now I'm wanting to rewind the tickometer. But it doesn't backwards tick. The moving hand drinks, and the drunken mouth shouts, and the alkie has no friends. Except for publicans, and even then only till he's broke.
There may be changes ahead. Gottabe.
"Travel light, Peter," I said to myself on leaving. "No camera today - you really won't need it." Mobile mebbe, cos you never know - but I could's well've left that home too. Cry and you cry alone. Not every day it's your dead dad's birthday.
So what did I see now, what did I see?
I saw a squirrel in Bernard Street, and it came into the Iso-Bar for a drink. Grey, possibly young (ish). Doubt if it was 18 anyway. And then in the car park outside Maritime Court a seagull was standing on a car roof. Clear as day. As close to me as you are now. Posing it was, posing. Daring me to get my camera out, and then fly away fly away before I pressed Go. But I didn't have it, only a mobile phone, it was my only gadget de jour so the game was up before it even started.
Squirrel and gull. A nature explosion. Scavengers, rodents, and rats of the skies. I think he maybe did love me a little bit, just couldn't ever express it. So cold. They were in those olden days. You didn't expect much from your dad.
Extras and Tate great again. Finished now, methinks. Yours to own on DVD. Did I tell you I get DVD spam now? Yeah - ever since I mentioned them a couple of weeks ago. Makes a change from erection spam and loan spam. The internet is fucked. Taken over by commerce, which is what they want, as communication is too dangerous. Even this, in its subversive little ways.
So much screaming of sirens outside today. It's like Chicago. Or Miami Vice City. Next door's dog has kept me awake since about five. Another next door is getting their roof fixed. Bang, clang, clatter! It's an audio nightmare.
Lost continues with next to nothing happening. Strange island that - it makes the lame walk, and the dead leap out of their coffins. But only if you're a principal character. The rest can rot in the crashed fuselage. Don't know how much longer I'm prepared to subsidise Channel Four with that "one to two" ratio of ads to programmes. We should really boycott this presentation, or they'll just do it again in future. Own it on DVD instead. (The guy who plays Jack can't act. Hero is his only role - outside that he doesn't cut the mustard one bit.) My dad wanted me to be just like Jack. Really, really did. And look what he got. Never got over it. Never. Two ruined lives.
KILL BILL VOLUME 2
Nice to see Bill Turnbull back on the red sofa again this morning, but he was still quite shaken after my Wednesday text. (You could see he was faking it.) Today he called Declan Curry, "Our own little fashion expert". Declan is of course plainer than a pebble-dashed wall.
But wtf cares about any of them? They all earn more in an hour than I get in a month.
"Good morning and welcome to BBC Breakfast. With Bill Turnbull and Natasha Kaplinsky."
Except it isn't. Wasn't.
Natasha if off giving her all to her new husband - which is understandable, so long as he's absolutely, filthy, stinking rich - but where is Bill today?
Well, I can tell you.
Pin them back and listen to yesterday's tale of woe, enacted live on mobile phone and television set between me and Mr T.
Hung over I was yesterday, wasn't I, after Babs birthday bash. So it was with bleary eyes I peeped over the duvet at the morning telly. Work beckoned at midday, and I had only till then to get my mind, body and voice into some semblances of employability.
But Bill on BBC Breakfast was driving me nuts. Specifically his handovers to Declan Curry at the London Stock Exchange. (For readers in other countries let me explain that this news-lite show is on evey weekday morning, studio-based with guests, but with the weather and business news "farmed out" to the exterior. Carol Kirkwood can be just about anywhere with the weather, but Declan Curry is always, always in the London Stock Exchange.)
Declan, every plump inch the Geography Master, stands there with a "please love me" look, but knowing full well that everyone's left the room to put on the kettle. Don't deny it - you know you do that. It's what the Stock Exchange is for.
And now a spot of history. This BBC news show contains more real-life drama than an entire series of Big Brother, you better believe it. The power structure goes like this...
Natasha Kaplinsky is Queen. She can't read one sentence off the autocue, but that doesn't matter. She has something much more valuable in TV terms, which is charisma by the bucketload. Plus she's the most-searched broad on Google UK. Without Natasha Kaplinsky naked I might as well shut up shop here at Naked Blog.
Until recently, her consort on the couch was Dermot Murnaghan, but after a concerted capmpaign here on NB (too boring), the Beeb appear to have ditched him and appointed Bill Turnbull, who has the beginnings of a GSOH. Beginnings.
Now are you still with me? We're almost at the good bit. Hang in.
Hand Me Over
Part of Bill Turnbull's "charm" is in his handovers, principally to weather girl Carol Kirkwood, who gets patronised, and even worse to Declan Curry who gets the bottom of the barrel. Especially yesterday, when things had sunk to the level of the schoolyard.
For instance, after a feature on rabbits (they're digging under Hadrian's Wall and making the Roman forts collapse) Bill called Declan "Elmer Fudd", and after a cake item he accused him of "liking cake". (Poor Declan is quite plump, as well as Geography Master-ish.)
So something snapped then in my dehydrated brain. I grabbed the mobile and texted:
Bill Turnbull should stop the aggressive handovers to Declan Curry. They're embarrassing, not funny.
Well, naturally I thought that would get binned along with the zillion requests for Natasha's photo to wank over - but no. They showed it to him during the news bulletin. I know they did, because you could see by the fury in his face. And when it came to the next handover, all he said was (looking me straight in the eye), "Here is the business news, from Declan Curry at the London Stock Exchange."
How formal is that? My gob was smacked, bigtime.
And today - well, he just wasn't there at all, now was he? Replaced by that John Sopel (I think) stand-in. Did he jump or was he pushed? Did my little text cause him so much angst he just had to get pissed? Too pissed to turn up? Have I pricked his red sofa bubble just a little too hard? I think we should be told.
Well - it's a nice fantasy, isn't it? The truth is more prosaic - hungover, after Babs' Birthday Bash yesterday. I got her a plant in a bottle of oil. Tall, elegant, swanlike even. I think she liked it. I chose black, as it's her favourite colour. Definite touch of the Goth in that woman, methinks. You can use it as an oil burner, or just put it on the mantlepiece and look at it.
G, her partner, was there, and they were off to the Smokestack later for nosh. Romantic dinner for two. (She got round the pesky stop smoking thing by postponing it until today.) Nice idea. Fingers crossed. And thanks on her behalf for all your kind birthday wishes yesterday. I'm sure she'll be touched when she gets to read them. Or maybe not, if she's dying for a fag.
Lost Horizons - Spoilers possible
Lost gets soapier and soapier, so far not living up to its fearsome reputation. The "creature" is obviously very tall, as Lock was looking right up at it before he brought home the hog. So he's seen it, yet is declining to say. The island has healing powers, as it cured whatever had put him in a wheelchair. Jack is far too goody goody, and has certainly got a murky past, possibly involving booze. Kate is impossibly beautiful, so can only be innocent of everything. I've heard on the grapevine that they find a tunnel. I've heard that the Japanese couple speak English all the time, but pretend not to.
In a global village it's difficult - probably impossible - to show a suspense series so "out of synch" in different countries. They say all the episode summaries are on the internet. I'd be surprised if the episodes themselves weren't there. Plus it's hitting the shops on DVD in a couple of weeks.
More of the supernatural, please. Real life I can get any day.
Melting pot or not
Thanks for the thoughtful comments to yesterday's paragraph on the apparent mono-racial makeup of the Gate Gourmet workers. Much food for thought on these sensitive issues, but these are huge topics and are widely discussed all over the place.
I think the French have taken a useful step in banning religious dress and artefacts from schools. Religions - vile laws from beyond the dark ages - are to blame for so much horror, yet let's not forget that both the World Wars of the last century were all-Christian affairs, as was the Irish terrorism. Or am I wrong?
So how's the diet going, Peter? Well I can tell you. I've lost one pound in four weeks. At this rate I'll achieve my target weight some day in 2008, mas o menos This might seem discouraging, but no it isn't. It took fifteen years of utter sloth to get this fat, so three years to lose it isn't that bad.
Yet it hurts even with this small loss. Passing a Greggs bakery shop, nose pressed against the window staring at the pasties and sandwiches inside. Obsession with food already. Buying a pack of 6 chocolate caramel fingers because you're almost passing out, and getting such a hit from the first one you shovel the lot down. Sound familiar?
Standing in the pub knocking back pint after pint and calculating that you then must eat no food at all (well maybe one tin of soup) that day.
When I started on July 19 I weighed 13 stones and 13 pounds. Today, August 24, it's 13 stones and 12 pounds. But today is a booze-fuelled peak from Babs' mini pissup. Peaks last two days and then go. So I weigh each day and calculate the weekly average. It's a slow, slow process, but worthwhile I think.
More about human weight:
Based on my own daily observations over 36 days. Weight has never been the same two days running. It goes up and it goes down, usually in runs of two or three days. Most (three quarters) of the variations are of one pound or less. The biggest daily rise has been two and a quarter pounds, and the greatest fall three and a quarter pounds. Highs (and lows) last for two days.
So now you know. How fascinating. (The author was schooled in the sciences as a young man.) Should have made a name for himself before now. Some of his ex-classmates are cosmologists - while all he does is look at the stars.
Fun and games at the bingo yesterday (a different bingo - we're not allowed to play at our own) when my friend Lynda shouted for 130 quid.
Later, back at the Port, Johnny and Stewart agreed with each other that it was totally sad for a bingo worker to play the game on his day off. "Yeah - well I'm the sad fucker with 65 quid in my tail," I retorted. That shut them up, bigtime. Sixty-five pounds is a lot of money in Leith. Could buy someone's life.
Little Alex wandered in, still looking a bit shellshocked after featuring in Friday's story. A bit dazed, confused, disoriented he seemed, and I hoped that this sudden exposure on the world wide web hadn't upset his personal self-image.
So I bought him a pint of Magners, that quintessentially Scottish way of solving most, if not all, of life's little condolences. (Wrong word, but I fancy it. Shady Pines.)
"Why do people drink Irish cider?" mused Stewart. "Surely cider should come from Somerset?" And other such cliches. The BBC did a feature on the newly-fashionable cider drinking this morning, without once showing the brand which has set the trend! Bet Magners were well-pissed off. "It's just like Sol," I told them both. "Look how that came and went like wildfire. Couple more months and Magners will be as much history as William Wallace." I do hope they're not investing their Euros in new plant or anything.
And talking of plant, what is it about those Gate Gourmet workers? I see them on my telly every day and wonder if I'm in Britain or Uttar Pradesh. Or is it racist for that to even cross my mind?
Three Sentence Review - The Descent
From the guy who brought you Dog Soldiers and Kevin McKidd. This time it's chicks, and you can't tell one from the other even before they go into the cave. But it doesn't matter, because after minute 57 all they do is scream anyway. IMDbPeter BradshawMark Kermode
Sleepless during the night, so watched a tape of Full Tilt Boogie, aka the making of From Dusk Till Dawn. Fascinated to see and hear Robert Rodriguez and Lawrence Bender for the first time. Why does Quentin always come over as such an insecure prick? "I can fuck any girl on this set, but I just don't want to." I always, always get the feeling with him that he's the kid in the corner whom nobody liked. Maybe because that kid was me, too.
Happy birthday to Babs!
Wild horses wouldn't drag her age from me on to the public internet like this, but the clue is in the title to this little piece.
Babs and I met at the Star Wars end of the Port o Leith bar, oh about fifteen to twenty years ago. Barracuda her nickname was then, and she took no hostages in her search for the ultimate young man.
Now, after her share of ups and downs on that rollercoaster called Life, I can safely report that she's found him. Plus she acquired a son on the way also, soon to embrace adolescence.
Mother, lover, friend, and don't forget chef to Edinburgh's firemen (you can't put out fires on bread and jam), Babs has done it all. Yet she still finds time in her busy schedules for insignificant little me. Here's tae ye, hen! And many happy returns.
Shhh! Here I can exclusively reveal that Babs has on several occasions recently promised to stop smoking on her birthday. (And now I'm gloating in that repulsive way only an ex-smoker can.) This could lead to a somewhat fractious celebration. Maybe we should just forget all about it, and not remind her, eh?
Apologies for the non-appearance of Naked Blog yesterday, due to the author doing other things. But when you're getting anything between a thousand and one and a half k a day for simply having the words jude, naked and law scattered around the joint, then there's not the hugest of incentives.
There's a nice wee photo story below this, which you might have missed on Friday. Probably only really funny if you know the people involved, which rules out 1536 of you.
Three Sentence Review - War of the Worlds
Cruise still can't act, and Dakota Fanning shows every sign of following in his footsteps. You know the story anyway. Might be better on the big screen, but don't go if you're at all sleepy. IMDbPeter BradshawMark Kermode
Tomorrow: The Descent
Enjoying a delightful pre-climb drink or three in The Regent yesterday with Michelle, one of my colleagues (why do people insist on saying work colleagues? Talk about tautology), when a dog came in with its owners.
"I've got a lovely dog myself," Michelle (21) told me as she stroked this fawn creation. "And he's gay." (We were sitting in a gay bar at the time, so the observation was really quite apposite.)
"I've heard of that before," I told her. "People will think animals are all heterosexual, but they're not."
"He got gang-raped when he was young," she went on. "It was terrible seeing him bleeding from the back passage like that."
"Oh - I agree.. that's awful," I sympathised. "Does he still take it up the bottom?"
"Yes," she said, grinning.
"Then you must get him a nice collar," I told her. "Leather, with studs all round."
She laughed. "He's already got one just like that."
I explained to Michelle how decades of David Fucking Attenborough and the BBC were specifically to blame for mis-informing the public about animals' sex lives - telling people that animals did "happy families" and nothing else. I told her that they (Attenborough/BBC) had deliberately created a quasi-religious myth that non-reproductive sex was a purely human aberration. Mate for life my sweet fanny.
Strange saying all that, in the Regent Bar, while one thousand pipers and more were five minutes away in Holyrood Park strutting their stuff. I had to flee up the mountain to escape the racket. Couldn't bring you a photo, because it would look just like a shortbread tin, and here we don't do plagiarism and cliche.
A single wasp was inside my kitchen window yesterday, glumly (anthropomorphism alert) watching its pals outside coming and going to their nest in my attic. This was very, very scary. If one can get into my home, then so can thirty-five thousand. Frantically I searched for the tin of flyspray I'd bought in 1993. Doom, it's called, to go with the then-fashionable game. Doom was nowhere to be seen under the mess, so I had to resort to squishing the wasp with a rolled up Radio Times, and hoping this wouldn't create a wasp maelstrom with me as the victim.
This is all so frightening I might have to phone the council today, but I've no idea where the phone book is, or what number you dial for an enquiry these days, and I've not the slightest idea how much it costs. (The directory enquiry, I'm meaning, never mind the pest control.)
There might be one other person on the planet who starts on a fruit diet and then gets a wasps nest in his attic. Possibly one other, but I doubt it. How I was put on this earth to suffer. For you.
Recipe of the Day - Low Calorie Ham Sandwich
A doddle to prepare, packed with flavour, yet putting almost nothing on to the waistline.
Method: Spread the mustard thinly on the bread, and enjoy with a tin of soup.
Tastes exactly like the real thing, but minus all that fattening meat. Suitable for vegetarians.
Hard times for Little Alex in the port yesterday. "Rock bottom, man," he wailed at me when I entered. "Pissed and broke! Rock bottom - ah'm tellin ya... "
Then an idea dawned, germinally. You could see it forming behind his limpid but ever so slightly Slav eyes.
"What if I drag myself up a bit and go down the docks?" he mused out loud. "Do a bit business. Might earn me a fiver mebbe - get in a couple more Magners."
Mary the legendary landlady, his employer (but not for much longer I sense), had left in a hurry the previous night, doffing her wig and pastel jacket. These were quickly acquired and in front of our very eyes he transformed himself into an excellent impersonation of a typical Leith "working girl".
Alex can look passably butch, as we've noted before, but yesterday he was unstoppable. It was his feminine side coming out - all pinkness and blonde. You could tell he was enjoying it bigtime, as were one or two of the gentlemen pensioners at the other end of the bar.
"Come on son! Get yer lipstick oan!" Jackie was shouting over the top of his OVD rum and coke, while he banged the bar with his other hand in excitement.
Off Alex tottered seawards into the failing light, and we promptly forgot all about it. Leith's like that... nothing really startles anyone any more.
For half an hour.
And then he comes back, doesn't he, smiling like the cat that's got the cream. "Drinks on me, folks"! he cries. "I got me a couple of punters just like that!"
"Hey Alex dude, that's amazing!" I'm like. "What did you have to do to get the dosh?" not that it's really my business.
"Nothin!" he said. "Just took the money and split, didn't I? Fucking Russian radges..."
Suddenly the peace was shattered then, or what passes for peace in the Port. (No glass actually flying through the air.) Shattered as two hefty sailor types burst through the door.
"There's the fuckin radge wee cunt!" they shouted, in downtown Russian you could tell.
"YOU!! FUCKER!! C'MERE PAL!!" they bawled at him.
Alex was terrified. Divested of his wigs and finery now, he knew there was no escape from the beating which was sure to follow.
"Take it like a man," I murmured at him. "And if you give them the roubles back they'll mebbe just give you a light kicking."
These sad pictures tell their own story now, dear reader. And the moral of our story is: don't dress up like a tart if you ain't prepared to do the tarty thang.
Credits: Thanks to Andy, Gary and of course Alex. Sorry no time to print them out, guys, (da bingo) but if you go on to my Flickr page, and click on the pics till you get the large size you can print them out yourselves from there. Sometimes things happen so fast it's hard to keep up. But I think we did good. Hope you enjoyed acting in my little story. The real truth is of course too shocking to reveal. Too much for television.
Hi to the 1500 odds and sods who came here yesterday looking for Jude Law naked. T hope you got satisfaction a bit further down my page. The link is still there.
We haven't got Jude Law naked. We haven't got Jude Law fully clothed. We have no interest in Mr Law, either his "work" or play. His relationships do not move me. I wouldn't piss on Jude Law if he was on fire. I hope this conveys this website's utter indifference to Jude Law.
Hint to young searchers, where ever you are: the chance of finding a genuine picture on the internet of Mr Law in the altogether are about as likely as a snowflake in the Sahara. Get real. Get a life. Phone a friend.
Why am I suddenly writing about Jude Law? Because my stats tell me 1574 people will come here today, and all except five of those are searching for variations on the above. Why this has happened I've no idea. Must be Google having a touch of the monthlies. PMG.
Polly Wolly Google
Vividly I remember in the early days of Troubled Diva, when mike was but a fledgling blogger (oh yes - we go back further than almost everyone), he got so sick of requests for "Gareth Gates (who he?) naked" he eventually put up his own drawing of the guy.
And don't get me started on how much bandwidth this is gonna cost me today. Not since Paula Radcliffe took her dump, or Natasha Kaplinsky decided to get married, have we suffered (and paid) so much for our art. It's enough to give a man blog depression.
Kaplinsky, Radcliffe, Law. Thank God we've never written about Britney Spears or Cheryl Crow! Whom else do the young obsess over? Thora Birch?
OK then - as a reward for reading this far and demonstrating that you might have the wit, style and intelligence to become a Naked Blog reader... click here. (I've seen worse.) *wink*
Iso-Bar, Port o' Grief, Regent, Arthur's Seat, Regent, Port o' Grief.
A certain reflexiveness there, doncha think? Some coming and going. Up and down, literally and physically. (All our mountain climbs start at sea level, you know - unlike some expeditions I could name.) Of course I should have had the last one in the Iso-Bar, to complete the chain, but it gets a bit yahoo there in the evenings... photographers and the like. Christian Slater.)
Vont to be... alone
Guy comes into the Iso-Bar, where I'm peacefully sitting with my first drink for seven days and reading The Independent. (All there was - what a heap of pants.) "Self service in here?" he snaps at me. (There was no visible barmaid.) "Nae fuckin' idea pal. Shout," I goes back to him, really fucking furious. "Do I look like I work here?" might have been better, but I didn't think of it. Asswipe. Then he sits down and tries to chat to me, but I freeze him out, don't I. Too much like Danny de Vito. Bermuda shirt and shades in the cleavage. I always preferred em big.
And me, I was wearing a Bermuda shirt myself... blue, printed with photos and magazine stories. Difference is - I bought mine in a charity shop for 2.99 as a joke. Break the ice at parties - not that I'm ever invited to any.
*Thinks* I wonder how Natasha does for parties? She could be at one every night of the week if she wanted. Probably got to ration them. Plus she has to look fab at seven am. I see they've taken my advice and seem to have given Dermot the heave-ho. Shame - but showbiz is nothing if not cruel. I'm sure he'll find some sort of work in panto. Same with Natasha... just she'll hang on a bit longer.
Hills Are Alive
Up and down the big hill then, just because my intoxicated body demanded it for the feeling. (Lovely quote from Muriel Gray, possibly the only interesting thing she ever said: "Climbing a mountain is a lot like sex. You get hot, sweaty and eventually reach a climax. Difference is you don't wonder if Ben Lomond will call you the next day.")
Compressing time here a little, as neither of us has got all day, I chatted to Kolja, Big Al (he's much better), Little Alex (he's looking for work in security. Rockstars, not warehouses. That young man will go far, you mark my words. Not sure where, but definitely far.) Robocop and Karen. Andy and Jill. My cup runneth over. My Budweiser down the hatch.
Dodgy Video Discs
Guy comes into the Port then - wee, Thai-looking, cluching a black bag. "You want DVD's?" he's like. And I'm like, "Whatcha got, how much?" He doesn't speak, but brings out The Descent, War of The Worlds and Stealth. "Ten pounds," he goes.
"Anybody bought from this guy before?" I'm asking about the place. "Been in before," somebody goes. So I give him the tenner. "You want chick?" he's like then. "What's chick?" I'm going back. So he brings out this picture of a vagina that won't die wondering, with attendant penis up for the gig. "No. No chick," I'm going. Kolja and Robo are laughing, them knowing something he doesn't. But I notice they don't buy any chick either.
Got home and too drunk to work the DVD. Thought the bastard had fleeced me. But no - in glorious fuzziness, with the titles in Russian, I started to watch War Of The Worlds. What Wells would have thought I've no idea.
So there you go. Less than eighteen months from 60 and I'm breaking the law already*. Send food parcels.
*Naked Blog, a literary entertainment, is a work of pure invention. None of the characters depicted here, their words or actions, exist outside of the author's imagination.
Thought I'd better take a glance at my email, seeing as there might be a job opportunity there, the first since I started online in 97. (Who says blogging doesn't get results?) Horrified to see I hadn't checked it for a fortnight. Can I really cope with the torrent of automated cack that's currently gliding past me?
You'd think it'd be a simple task to devise something to remove any letter containing the words v*i*a*g*r*a or c*i*a*l*i*s, but no... my heavenly host doesn't seem up to it, if you'll excuse the pun. It's bizarre really, as the last thing in the universe I wish to do is have sex with anyone, yet day after day I've to sift through this ocean of other people's lost erections.
If your body can't or won't do sex, then you must learn to embrace celibacy. Call it your second virginity. Call it any damn thing, but please don't write to me about it. Spam is the curse of the age, and they could clamp down on it, but nobody's got the balls.
I was suprised and delighted yesterday to complete a mission on GTA Vice City, the first such since February 2004. (I'm not the world's fastest at these games.) A marketing dream, me, as I still buy the damn things knowing full well I'll never progress beyond five percent completion. I suppose I could use cheats, but (a) I don't know where they are or what to do with them, and (b) people of my generation were raised not to lie and cheat. (I know things have changed a bit nowadays, where success at all costs is what matters.)
"Waste The Wife" the mission was called, in which my character, Tommy Vercetti, is paid to bump off this broad some hood has got sick of. (I think "hood" means someting else these days, but I'm writing in black and white). You have to crash your car into hers. I'd attempted this at least a hundred times over the year and a half (no, I'm not exaggerating), but she always escapes. Always.
Till yesterday, as I say, standing in the middle of the road (in the game of course) when this truck pulls up and stops. Idly I pressed the green triangle, and then - wow! - I was driving the truck.
Waste The Wife! I thinks, remembering a distant conversation with Babs' son, who said that it's easy as long as you have a big vehicle. So I ambles along in my truck, don't I, not the faintest what I'm doing, and surprise surprise she wastes at the first crash. Didn't even get the cops on my tail. Oh boy did I drive that mother carefully back to the save point! Next missions I have a building to demolish, and then some Cubans to waste.
That's enough game talk. Non-gamers will have no clue and even less interest. But I will say this to you... Vice City and San Andreas are immense not only as games, but as worlds. They come the closest to interactive entertainment there's ever been. It's their worldmap, but within that constraint you are the star, and you do what the hell you want.
And that's really enough game talk. Readers of a discerning nature will detect that it's an exact week since I actually did anything. Hence all the tellyblogging and now even games. How my world has shrunk all of a sudden - not that it was that enormous in the first place! Let me check my emails and see how much of a star I've become.
Weight a Minute
Nope - still arriving by the sickbucketload. So what now, brown cow? Weight has touched a new low of 13 stones 9 pounds these last two days, the first time there's been a figure nine involved since I began recording four weeks ago. This is encouraging, and persuades me to stay indoors and not eat food or drink alcohol. But if I don't drink, I don't talk, which is a bit of a state to be in. Sign of a mismanaged life, doncha just think. Is there that much point in being a skinny hermit? Thin and utterly alone. Isn't life such a beach?
And there's millions would kill for a bag of apples, I know that. But knowing that doesn't make me skinny. (I stand in front of the kitchen window eating them, tormenting the wasps as they come and go into their penthouse apartment.) Then when I wake, I wonder if I've been stung to death yet. Last night I even bundled my apple cores into the fridge, lest the smell of ripe, decaying fuit should waft upwards a metre and drive them into a stinging frenzy. It's tricky, having such venomous upstairs neighbours.
Emails have stopped at last. I have 455 messages. I'd be surprised if more than one of those was actually from someone.
Surprise Update: Thanks to andre, Dai, Dylan and Stewart for emails. This must be some sort of record.
Site News: Atom feed is back, but I've completely forgotten what it is or how it works. Feedburner is on the way. Tony my IT Manager has acquired a job - yes, really - so I'm loathe to take up his busy time these days.
Word of the Day: Tanorexia: addiction to sunbeds. Sufferers are naturally called tanorexics. Or fucking idiots. BBC Breakfast, this morning
It sharpens the mind considerably, having just a few millimetres of ceiling-board between you and thousands of stinging insects. (There's a nesta vipers hornets in my roof atm.) Post below.
Every time you open a door to another room, you tense up and hold your breath for the solid black wall of buzzing evilness which might be there to greet you. Going to the lavvy during the night is a particular fear. Penile. And here and there, cables are drilled up through into the attic area, and I fantasize one million mandibles munching their way round the edges, and then to my apples, and then - for dessert - to me. Golden Delicious, as ever was. Don't even think about Granny Smith.
Turning on the tap also, you await the dead insect bodies flushing out into the basin, dead as doornails after one drink too many from the attic tank. You rinse your teeth and new partial denture, wondering what percentage of liquid is insect-contaminated. Insect-related. Carbon-based life form. Covered in in mites. Consuming their hairy furry bodies.
Oh - it's a drama-queen's writing paradise, of course - but yet, and yet, you have to seriously wonder. Maybe it isn't such a good idea to have apple cores in a bag, odoriferously, even though I do of course remove them to the outside daily. Maybe we have all seen one too many silly movies (Amityville Horror - on last night just to torment me), or read one too many James Herbert novellas.
So maybe we should just co-exist, like madwoman and her teenage son - a nuisance now and again, but not really that often. Because they do at least keep the larger creatures at bay. Live and let sting.
That Cook funeral, then
So much for me banging on about hats. I didn't notice one single woman wearing one. Certainly not Gaynor, who looked very fetching in plain black with a silver necklace thing. And two young Cooks beside her. Strange dynamic that, as they'd normally be sitting with their mother. But as principal mourners, I guess that was the only place for them. Even if they hated her, a situation about which I have no idea.
Something I do have an idea about is that ghastly John McCririck. How fucking dare he upset the family who had invited him to their funeral by delivering a wholly inappropriate tirade against the Prime Minister as he did. I'd suspected from Big Brother that he was nothing but a psychiatric reject, and that performance certainly confirms it. Disgraceful.
Plus Gordon Brown did it earlier and better, when he said, "Nice to see so many people who've come here from all over the world." But of course Brown has brains. McCririck is a self-seeking asshole. I hope whoever employs him cancels all his contracts. That's what I hope.
(I don't care about the rights or wrongs of the PM's non-attendance. That's a different issue. What infuriates me is that man's appropriation and abuse of an unrepeatable and very important occasion, for those concerned.)
Well - there it was again last night, the third showing of the two pilot episodes, and the second of episode three. I think the Channel Four execs obviously want as many as possible to get in from the beginning. I read on the forum rumours that a record shop which we never mention any more because of their crapness at handling legitimate complaints is selling the entire series from the middle of next month.
The forum also has many comments about the high level of advertising. Last night I taped the first three "hours", pausing out the ads, and it came to not three but precisely two hours. That's right - three episodes in two hours. They've learned how to call forty minutes an hour. Orwell would have loved it.
Plus there was a really quite obtrusive DOG (Digital Overlay Graphic) throughout, saying E4 2ND CHANCE. And the ending of episode three was totally cheesey. And maybe popularity isn't the way I should be choosing my viewing. I mean look at Madonna. Or Big Brother.
A man has invited me to do the vocals on his bingo site. Hmmm. Sounds more Les Dennis than Graham Norton. Face it, Peter. You ain't never gonna be a star. Left it too late honey. No matter how much you spent on your partial denture.
Byeee! Off to the bingo now with Lynda. Last week we won thirty quid! Today it might be the 20k National prize. Eyes down!
Flying insects have moved into my roofspace, and are coming and going just above the kitchen window.
It's a nightmare, even worse as I've only just spotted them, and you are the first to hear of it.
"There's a couple of wasps at the window," I thought, in ignorance and bliss. (It's wasp season here in Scotland.) My windows, as you know, are never opened, precisely to prevent ingress of insect.
"Hey - that's rather a lot more than a couple..." it sank in as I stared. "More like Princes Street on a Saturday afternoon." And then the awful realisation. They weren't "at the window" at all - they were entering and leaving the premises.
Oh. My. Buzzing. God. (It's just like something out of Exodus.) Next stop, pillar of salt - I just know it.
And how long will it take their insect brains to find a way into the main body of the kirk, via any of the several mouseholes? Stung to death and eaten by a wasp or hornet horde (I can't make out which yet) is definitely not on my list of "ways to go".
You haven't heard the last of this. Oh no. I feel threatened even as I sit here - my own Room 101. How will I ever sleep tonight? They could come down the chimney!
That'll teach me not to buy apples.
Footnote: Just occurred to me how this compares to my first proper blogpost in April 2001. It's a jungle up there, a zoo.
The first three hours of Lost are on again tonight - E4 from 8pm. If you haven't gone digital yet, then today affords you that perfect opportunity to flash the plastic at your electrical store. (Only a small flash is needed.) My own Freeview box is the Matsui DTR 1. Dog's bollocks. You know you want one.
Update: And when you've gone and scheduled three hours of planecrash telly, plus one hour's "making of", then what should go and happen but a real plane crash? Pesky. Tragic even, for those concerned. So will they or won't they cancel the broadcast? Their website says nothing, but I think we should be told.
The BBC's Thursday evening comedy slot must surely rank as a creativity peak. Three shows, with wildly, howlingly, different surfaces - linked only by that most tenous and encompassing idea of comedy.
Extras was brilliant last night, more than making up for the shakinesses so vivid so far. The script tackled head on the cruelty of television as an employer, chewing up and spitting out performers like papier mache. Les Dennis it was last night, with the camp Scot Gerard Kelly as sidekick. There was also a career-threatening "knife-in-the front" for Graham Norton, currently at his peak, but eventually to be washed up just like Dennis or Kelly. The viewers are fickle masters, and few stars are loved as long and consistently as Brucie or Cilla. (And even Brucie had his downtime.)
Catherine Tate continues fantastic, with new characters every week - yet her brand of grotesquerie might pall the quickest. They should give some credit also to her support actors. Great performances, yet do you know what any of them are called? Showbiz - never famed for its kindness and consideration.
Absolute Power was about Osa*ma Bin La*den's cousin attempting to buy British Airways. That sentence is so hilarious in itself, that you hardly need the half hour show to go with it. (Bit like some of my titles here.)
Right - I'm off to watch Cookie's funeral. See which wife has got the bigger hat. (Hats are very important to Edinburgh ladies. Jenners of course.)
"A great lover will always leave women squabbling at his grave." (Voltaire*)
*Had you going there for a minute, now didn't I?
It wasn't really Voltaire said that - it was me.
But people only believe quotes if they're from someone they've heard of - and preferably foreign. (Including Irish.) There are no Scottish quoters I can think of. Except mebbe Burns. Certainly not Welsh or Rankin. (The drabness.)
Funereal thoughts are not far from any of our minds here in Auld, Grief-Stricken Reekie.
As we wrote here earlier, the "will she/won't she" quandary of what to do with two Mrs Cooks at one Cook funeral has been sorted, on the surface at least - although there are simmerings under the cauldron, oh yes.
Mrs Gaynor Cook's people are claiming that it was her idea, and hers alone, to invite the spurned but vengeful Mrs Margaret Cook to Robin's society funeral tomorrow. (Michael Foot will be there! If he survives!)
Dr Margaret Cook's people are spreading the quite different word that it's only because Cookie's two sons leant (metaphorically I'm sure) on Gaynor that their mum got her invite and chance for a new hat.
Eleven am tomorrow, High Kirk of St Giles, High Street, Edinburgh. (Invitation only, sorry.) They're even stopping the Fringe for an hour or two. They're even talking about a permanent monument. Has the world gone mad?
People stop me and accuse me of heartlessness over this gig.
I thought everyone died.
These are the actual facts about death, so pin them back. This isn't a place we visit often here.
Dying. Everybody does it.
Sometimes it hurts just before, sometimes not.
In Cook's case, he died with someone he presumably loved, doing an activity he loved also. He probably felt no pain.
That's no sadness, that's a fucking celebration, man!
Hypothesised futures are exactly that, hypotheses. "He had so much left to do." Give them no mind. This applies as much to dying at nine as at fifty-nine. Every life is complete in itself. It is one hundred percent of what there is. Not a percent more, not a percent less.
They should never have put "God" into dying. Especially his. Robin will spin in his grave, you mark my.
The bereaved weep only for themselves.
Naked Blog this week has been a celebration of Mr Cook, if you did but realise it.
I'm so exhausted. Been watching my videotape of Lost since 5.30 this morning. Didn't realise there was a third hour on E4 last night, so missed that. Goddam.
Who am I? Well, Jack the doctor of course. What a peach. More realistically, the mousey Japanese wife is me to a T, although I think she breaks out of her shell later on. Even already she's undoing the top button on her cardigan, against her husband's specific orders. He's what we call a pure radge, but what's the betting he triumphs later? And what about that cocaine, eh? Fiver to a brick shithouse it gets used in one of Jack's operations. Loved the tail coming off the plane, but that was done already in Alive! (Bit of a planecrash fan, me.) Hopefully there'll be lots more crash stuff. "Fasten your seat-belts! Start the fans now! Take twenty-three!"
Got to go and lie down. Knackered from lack of sleep. Work yesterday was fine. New boss fine. False teeth fine. Slight authority struggle (I have a little) in the evening, which I'm not entirely sure I won. Secret then is to behave as if you're not the least bit bothered - never even noticed it happening - and make damn sure who wins next time.
Thanks for all your kind and encouraging comments about yesterday's lonely hearts post. Vividly I remember my late great friend Percy, who after a pint or several would wail, "Women always want to be ma friend, but none of them'll go to bed with me."
So thank you again, friends. The offer is now closed. Geschlossen. Ferme. Tancat.
Celibate? Can't even give it away!
Those people at BBC's Hardtalk have got round to updating their webpage after a few days, and the controversial interview I wrote about thus...
Chilling half hour during the night with Stephen Sackur interviewing a man called A*n*j*e*m C*h*o*u*d*a*r*y on Hardtalk.
All letters answered. Ages 30 - 45 preferred, but at a pinch I'd take anything legal and breathing. Love of the outdoors important, and Good Sense Of Humour Essential. (I mean essential. Trust me.)
There now - where was I? Oh yes, Robin Cook.
Dr Margaret Cook writes an appreciation of her late former husband, and father of her two sons. Scotsman
Scotsman obituary of the man, who's now being held up as the Greatest Scotsman in the Universe, Evah. Hmmm. We shall speak no ill of the dead. Except to say that personally I could never see what the fuss was about. Apart from his serial adulteries and drunkenness (which I actually find endearing), if you took away the posh accent there wasn't that much left. More than once I've seen him thrashing like a flounder - even one time with the almost-dead-himself Sir David Frost... not known as telly's Rottweiler.
John McCririck (yes really) on Blair's funeral snub. I'm fascinated they're having a cathedral funeral for Cook, despite his lifelong hatred of religion. Who says politics isn't just showbiz with a big budget?
The above Scotsman links might require a free, first time only, registration. Worth doing, as there's loads in the Scottish press I can bring to you on occasions. It's not all Bay City Rollers tribute bands, you know.
Out and About
Sorry if you don't understand the new strapline about "tertiary blogging". (The nonsense.) This refers to an article on Gordon's site. I'm sure it'll go away in a day or two, once those interested have smiled.
Talking of smiling, guess who got his new state-of-the-(mid-priced)-art, hi-tech false gnashers yesterday? That's right... no more grimacing at the camera on top of mountains.
"Will I ever have teeth like David Beckham?" I wailed at Sonja my lady dentist. "No," she grunted, thinking "who is dis guy?"
So far the wallies are doin' jest fine. I've drunk, eaten, and smiled for Scotland. A snip at 360 quid. Yes, really. So just you keep brushing and flossing - to avoid such expenses as long as possible. (Tertiary blogging health and finance.)
An apology to those in some areas who didn't receive their copy of Naked Blog yesterday. This was due to a situation of non-bill-payment at my heavenly host. Now rectified. Roll on 34SP.
It's back to work today, but with an added twist. That's right! A new General Manager. "Hi Boss! I'm Peter, your Star!" I'll have to say when first we meet - before flashing my partial denture at him. Sadly I can't discuss these matters much hereabouts, due to the public and truthful nature of my tertiary organ. All in all, it was an excellent week and a half's break, featuring lots of exercise, companionship and laughter. Who could ask for anything more?
Hi! Been a while since we chatted, what with one thing and another.
At the afternoon bingo with L, where we won a cheering thirty quid between us. Won right on the first house - my book. I was that surprised I had to shout twice, as the caller almost didn't hear me the first time. And there's me spending half my days telling my own customers to shout up! After that thirty quid the luck ran quite dry.
Then L and I started up Arthur's Seat. L is a local lass, spent her childhood playing in Holyrood Park - almost has a PhD in the place. But that was nearly fifty years ago. People change in that time, even if the Park never does.
I guessed she'd be having a considerable clash between what she did then ("See that steep path - I would have been right up that..."), to what was possible now. (At the moment.) So we went only halfway up. I think she was really a bit disappointed. Maybe it's a mistake to revisit the magic places of childhood with an older body.
We shall see. Drinks in the Regent followed, and lovely chats. "It's not too late for you to meet someone," says L. "Guess it is," I reply. "Gay men are pretty much over the hill at forty - unless you've got money." However, we decided jointly that neither of us wanted any men anyway. Too much hassle. Let sleeping dogs lie.
One of those days which totally went against the weather forecast. Bright sun and bits of light cloud were on all the TV screens, but out the window it was visibly pissing down. How do they do that? Sky News were every bit as bad as the hopeless BBC. Can't they just buy a bit of seaweed or something, or clean the damn windows and look out? I mean - it's not like Edinburgh is Foula, or Rockall.
Anyway - I toyed with the idea of staying in on my own for the evening, Saturday being the most dangerous night of the week, but then I thought wtf - it's only four of them a year I get off, so I might as well go across the threshold at least. Make an effort.
To The Regent Bar again, where I watched a guy my own age putting the make on a much younger man of about thirty. Fascinating to watch the action. I could never do that. The oldboy was American and kilted, and I think he must have been playing the "exotic" card. Me, I've been to that pub about thirty times now, and not talked to one customer, ever. Much too shy. Plus I do talking for a living. But the staff are very pleasant, unlike many a bar I could name. And the music's tolerable.
(Rushing it a bit now... I can sense you glancing at your watch... )
Some time in the Park snapping away, then back to the pub where it was now technically Saturday night, and I was technically out on the town. A crowd of trannies were in the corner near the toilets. Four of them, one at least my own vintage. Pure Edna Everage, but without the squeaky voice. "It's their Saturday night," Wisconsin Tony the barman told me. A jaikie came in and plonked down on one of the leatherette sofas and started pestering the punters. "What's a jaikie?" Tony asked, so I explained. Later he got ejected.
Hiroshima BBC 1 This was praised to the high heavens in Radio Times, so naturally I was expecting the bees knees. It was drama/doc/reconstruction/interviews with those surviving. See it if you haven't already. It's certainly worth ninety minutes of your life.
There was an unbearably poignant and tragic passage just after the bomb, where a mother was unable to lift the wreckage from her daughter's body, and the girl perished in the fire, all the time pleading with her mother to save her. As television this was the Kooh-i-Noor Diamond - beyond price - but you really do have to question the morality of using a young girl's horrific death to earn your next Iceland freezer meal. If I'd had even one drop of bevvy inside me I'd have howled the place down, I swear it.
There were attempts to justify this act of war, the most popular being that by taking those lives, then many more (mostly American) would be saved. They also touched on, but didn't wallow in, the grotesque behaviour of the Japanese to their prisoners of war. For decades my dad wouldn't have a Japanese product in the house.
Chilling half hour during the night with Stephen Sackur interviewing a man called A*n*j*e*m C*h*o*u*d*a*r*y on Hardtalk. He states that all non-Mus*lims are legitimate targets simply for not being Mus*lim. Also, the London bomb*ings are small retaliation for the thousands of Mus*lims killed in Ir*aq and Afgha*nistan.
Horrifying, all the more because it's happening now, rather than before most of you were born. Last night's programme should not have been transmitted, as it gave the man so much platform for his incitements. There will be complaints, you mark my words.
These people have been given so much publicity of late that it's tempting to say bombing works.
...even if not all who would climb them are suchlike.
Bye Robin Cook. I never knew you, nor anyone who loved you, so I won't pollute the cyberspace with cack.
Question: Will Margaret Cook, his spurned ex-wife (for a much younger model), have the neck to turn up at his funeral, after those deliciously bitchy things she put in her book about him? "Lying passed out on the carpet with a brandy bottle clutched in his hand."
"I don't know what the funeral arrangements are going to be but I hope to attend. But obviously I will take Gaynor's wishes into account." Margaret Cook
She's a consultant haemotologist (retired), you know. Writes a column in The (Glasgow) Herald. Very interesting. Totally agrees with me over Big Pharmy being such a force of malevolence.
It's all to do with the prestigious medical mags. You know the names. Well - all those wonderful research articles by Lord this and Professor the other are not written by them at all! No way! What happens is the Pharmaceutical companies write the articles themselves, not stinting in praise of their own products of course, and then pay the eminent medic to put his name at the bottom.
Everyone's happy. The Professor gets his or her "honorarium" for doing sweet FA, and the wonder drug sells in shitloads, because Joe GP thinks well if it's good enough for Lord Professor His Holiness, then it's good enough for his bunch of dole-scrounging hypochondriacs. "Come back in a fortnight if it hasn't cleared up. Next! (Never get to the golf course at this rate...)"
Mebbe Robin Cook had had some dodgy heart medicine.
Hillwalking myself yesterday, but with no partner half my age to prove anything to I'm technically still alive, although you'd never think it to look at me. And today I'm 13 stones 13 pounds, the very highest since I got this new bathroom scale on July 19.
But I know why that is. I have no problem with that. It's because I was off work for a change, and found myself in the Regent quite alone for a change. I must have drunk eight pints of lager and eaten three freezer meals, along with half a stone of fruit for health.
Fat bastard, eh? (Iceland Vodka Chicken is the biz, btw. 400 grammes of deliciousness and only 480 kcal.)
Why oh why do unfit men of 59 go and do silly things like extreme exertion when they're not used to it? Such a shame. They say he was a good politician, and I'm sure some people loved him. I wonder if he got any time to realise he was dying. I wonder if he wanted Margaret back. Probably his mother. Most men do.
I'm feeling very sad today, for my great friend Danny in Illinois, who has lost a close family member.
In a blogworld which sometimes seems self-seeking, wantonly competitive and occasionally downright nasty, Danny's warm and loving comments here are like gems. (Not that loads of your kind offerings aren't the same. I'm just sayin'.)
Danny's blog is here, and his contributions to last year's NB Guest Week are lovely also, in this month. You should read his comment in yesterday's post, and then say hello on his own site. Please.
"SINGIN' TO THE MOON"
saw the full moon risin' nice and slow thought about you don't know why, you know must have been that song, on the radio we would belt that thing out every night, oh
(chorus) who were we singin' to? can we still sing at all? when the sultry sun fell down back then we were singin' to the moon
i go to places that we used to go half lookin' for you on the sly, you know must have been song, on the radio the one we'd be singin' every night, oh
(back to chorus..then to bridge)
(bridge) and the days go by too fast these days i don't see the nights at all i was just thinkin' 'bout our crazy ways you know i just had to call
so i'm drivin' round with the radio blastin' it out, cruisin' down the road then here comes that song that we both know and i started screamin' it out, oh
(to chorus...then end)
Love you, man
Although Cramond Island remains inaccessible during civilised hours due to tidal considerations, nevertheless Sandra and I put yesterday to good use by trawling the charity shops in Stockbridge - after a refreshing cup of coffee in Hectors. (What a packed sentence that is, btw.) There were three hee-haws at the next table, nibbling salads and talking about their "photoshoot, darling", but Sandra said the one making the most noise had an arse like the back of a boat.
I caught a glimpse of myself in a large mirror, unexpectedly. Don't you just love those frank portraits, not? I could swear I looked like a guy straight off the rubbish trucks outside. It was bucket day. With my short hair. And belly under the t-shirt like the back of a boat.
I got four shirts and a tie for under twenty quid total.
Today Lynda and I are bingoing and then ascending. If the weather holds out. The forecast is markedly worse than yesterday's. You'd think with the zillions of public money they get they could at least get the next twenty-four hours correct.
Gervais nil point. Tate slipping. Haven't seen Fry/Bird yet. Can't stop playing tetris. Can't lose any weight, just as I'd suspected.
Babs was in a minor state when I got to the Port. (Sandra had ended up not going to IKEA, and Lynda and the bingo I put off till today. The forecast wasn't good.) That's weather, not winnings.
What's the weather got to do with bingo, that quintessentially indoor sport, I hear you ask. Well, it's a bundled package. I go to the bingo with Lynda, and afterwards she comes up Arthur's Seat (which amazingly is right next door to the bingo), with me. Quid pro quo, Clarice. Quid pro quo. (Well, actually it's free.)
"I'm stuck here - the damn buses are on strike," Babs said, mobile clutched to her earhole. "Wildcat strike!"
The bus drivers are indeed locked in wage negotiations, and it's been Saturday service for weeks. Except on Saturdays, when there's no service at all. And Sundays. They've already lost several times over the wage difference between what they're demanding and what's on the table.
It's just like the eighties and Maggie and the miners, except sans visible star. Like Arthur. Or that handsome fireman who just seemed to cave in all of a sudden. Strange that. Some day we'll be told.
I was a bit astonished. Babs only lives at Abbeyhill. "I'm a bit astonished," I said to her, blankly. "It's only ten minutes walk away. I'll chum you. I'll even carry your bags." But she was inconsolable. Babs is not one of life's great walkers. However she does clean her house and raise a son, so that's maybe quite sufficient exercise.
We sat and sank some drinks in rapid succession, in case we sobered up. I told her about the day before's tomato soup with Mary at Malmaison costing three pounds ninety-five a shot. "Was it nice?" she asked, with professional interest. "Exquisite," I said. "But you couldn't have it every day - at that price I mean."
I'll Take the High Road
Then I told her about the wedding party there also, at the next table to our soup. "Lovely bride..." Mary my companion had gushed at the lovely bride - and I suppose in a thousand dollar ivory satin dress and tiara she was pretty lovely. But me I had eyes only for the two guys, replete in Highland Dress. There's something about a man in a kilt, especially if he's got a fashionably-shaven head. (Like me, almost.) "But of course they've got to have the legs for it," Babs declared, pouring a little more coke into her brandy. (My fingers just typed "cock" for some reason. Too much IRC, if you ask me. Need to get a life instead of sitting here moping morning noon and night.)
"Look - there's a bus gone past," Al said. He's got Serious Illness. On strong painkillers. Babs beetled off. Me I went to the Shore Barbers for my number three all over. Nice. Saves all that tedious worrying if you've remembered your comb.
Back at the Port, Kevin the shopgirl was chatting to JC the charity worker. "I got my daily fix of Naked Blog today," JC said. "Lovely, as always." (You think I'm making it up! I'm not. You have no idea what it's like to stand drinking in a pub where every single customer knows every detail of your exciting life. No idea. Well I can tell you. It's a bit creepy. Sure cuts short a lot of conversations. Especially the ones that start, "What you been up to, then, Peter?")
"I should mebbe go and talk to my own people," I said to Al, nodding towards Kevin and JC. "But what do they want with an old girl like me around the place?" So I chatted to him instead. Multiculturalism. We chatted about his illness and his treatment. It's very painful. I asked him if he was gonna die, and he said he hoped not. I rubbed his back. He said rubs were very good these days. I bought two PS2 games at Blockbuster. Price Clearance. One of them works your telly at NSTC 60Hz. Impressive. Why don't you get that all the time?
Today I can't decide whether to get pissed with Babs, play bingo and possibly climb Arthur's Seat with Lynda from work, or cross the tidal causeway to Cramond Island with Sandra.
With some adept juggling it should be possible to fit in all three, as the next crossing to the island isn't till 18.12.
Yesterday Mary (Scotland's most legendary landlady) and I had tomato soup and bread in Malmaison, which for us is the height of class. Then back to the Port where Alex was losing bigtime on the bandit, and a two-bit hash dealer was trying to flog me some "chocolate".
"So last century," I said to him. "These days it's coke or nothing, darling."
By now quite drunk I grandly announced to Canadian Ian that I'd heard Vancouver was the most boring city on earth. He looked so dismayed I quickly offered Seattle as an alternative. "No, it's Portland," chipped in Robocop. We laughed.
(Sandra's just rung to ask if I want to go to IKEA. That's a fourth consideration. Truly my life is packed with joy.) I'm away now to have tomato and four bean soup. Any more vegetables and I'll sprout, I truly swear it.
Oh dear. One day into my holiday and he's back again. (Post below.) Him. My personal Mr Hyde, who even at this late age refuses to lie down and think is that all there is.
There may be troubles ahead on NB. And anger. Those here for the long haul have seen it all before. Remember: it isn't me.
Right. On to happier things, while I still can. Today's weight was 13 stones 10 pounds with no added fractions. (192 pounds) The lightest since I bought this scale two weeks ago. This makes me very happy, but rather than celebrate with pizza I'll just chuck down a couple of Conference Pears. Getting to quite like fruit. Goes down well after a few pints of lager. (Well so do lots of things.)
Lager which I enjoyed yesterday with Gary and Little Alex. Gary is the Assistant Manager of Nobles Bar, and is currently sporting scars from being hit over the head with a bottle last week. Evergreen Norma was there also, but she got quite tiddly and we had to tell her to fuck off. It's OK - she expects it. Plus she never remembers.
Acceptable if not earth-shattering Chicken Caesar Salad in Iso-Bar, then to the Co-op for bag upon bag of fruit. I got Conference Pears. Granny Smith. Golden Delicious. Pink Lady. Braeburn.
Strange eating fruit. I think you have to wash it thoroughly, as it's drenched in organo-phosphates. Then the taste is extremely intense. Extremely. Remember - I've eaten no fruit at all since stopping smoking two years ago, so we're talking outta space.
Bits and Bobs
Amused by the TV ad for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which says it contains mild language and peril. What's mild language? And is the peril mild also, or full strength? I think we should be told.
A few days ago I wrote here that companies which place spyware on your computer should have their asses sued, and I see from Computer Buyer magazine in the dentists yesterday that this is already happening. My, that was quick. They wrote the article even before reading Naked Blog. Talk about mild prescience.
It's the New York Attorney General suing an intenet marketing company called Intermix. Claims they "Installed a wide range of advertising software on users' computers, capable of redirecting browser software, adding unwanted toolbars and causing ads to pop up on screen - all without the owners' permission." (I stole the magazine for you. I'll take it back.)
Catherine Tate continues excellent on BBC 2 on Thursday evenings, still sandwiched between Gervais and Fry/Bird. She was on the red sofa one morning, but it wasn't a Natasha day, so only half marks. Gervais really does seem to be going down the tubes. Last Thursday's outing was almost embarrassing. One trick pony? But of course that could possibly be levelled at Tate. Time alone will tell. And if Gervais never does anything else, then he always has The Office.
Difference between Office and Extras is of course the family of characters in The Office. Ensemble to die for. Whereas Extras is just him and his female sidekick, and I think Doctor Who has dibs on that format.
Out And About
Talking of "more-ish" characters, Tokyo Girl goes gloriously on with her Effie and her Ulf. (Ulf's just been offered a substantial sum to impregnate some woman. Nothing like that ever happens here in Leith.)
Another came to my attention last week was Killing Time, the blog of a staff journalist. (How do they do that? Blog when writing's their livelihood, I mean.)
Tetris fans, of which I am one, will love this history of the game, and the rights, no-rights and lawsuits along the way.
Discerning readers (and there are a couple) who are equally choosy in their viewing, will doubtless have seen both the Conan Doyle show and the R L Stevenson shows recently. There's been more than a touch of the Deacon Brodie in me, you know - but that's too interesting to give away for free. (Got my old age to think about.)
M'Kay. That's yer lot for now. I'm on holiday, so have to enjoy myself. Not start thinking about how few summers I might have left, and why don't I make the fucking most of them, because some day soon I might not be able to walk.
The government are going to send everyone in England over 60 a bowel cancer testing kit. Presumably people in Scotland, Wales and N Ireland are more disposable.
The post below is of a depressed and whining nature, so should not be read by anyone.
Nowhere to go. Nobody to go there with. No money to spend when we both don't get there.
And you wonder why I get a little unhappy now and again.
(As always, I'll make the best of it, put a brave face on, think of all the money I'm saving, not to say weight being lost. I'll just about get perfect when I die.)
Here at Naked Blog you should detect nothing out of the ordinary. Eat this message.
(I bought apples and pears!)
Others have much more to put up with. No limbs. No food.
But it makes you wonder where you went wrong.
A Witch to Live
Shhh! I'm not allowed to mention "gay", lest I be accused - by the tinyminds - of being "gay-hating". But I'm convinced that's mostly to blame. I would have made a good, if maybe boring, family man. Semi-detached. Spirit of the fifties. Zeitgeist, slippers and pipe.
"Don't forget your trigonometry homework Samantha, after you've finished cello practice."
My life could have been like that, could so easily have been. But no... instead we trash it daily on the jagged rocks of enforced non-conformity.
Seeking out the poorer quarters where the ragged people go, Looking for the places only they would know. (Simon)
Look at that nice Alan Turing... Enigma variations. Won the war for us, they say. Topped himself over a bit of rough trade, they say. What u got to joke about that... Graham and O'Paul? Where's the hit single, Elton? Crocodile Rock? Or Candle in the Ass?