Naked Blog

More famous than Susan Boyle!

Saturday, September 30, 2006


...of September. Thirty days. Hath September.

Hath is such a lovely word, doncha just think? Ann Hathaway. I'm sure she hathed.

D'ya think Will talked to her all... Shakespearean... when she was... you know?
"Methinks thou hast the ripest lips of Spring,
Full-bodied, like the hawthorn in fruition."
Oh, I'm sure you can finish it yourself. What a dirty old man I'm becoming these days.

Indulgence. Self-indulgence.

Bloggers here and there have been using the terms a little critically. To which this blogger, ever paranoid, is quick to think, "That's me they mean."

But I thought that's what blogging was about. Stuff that would never get into mainstream because it's personal. Personal about a person, as opposed to personal about Pete from Big Brother. Or Jade Goody. Or Pete Doherty, if you'll excuse an overdose of Petes.

Surely there's acres of stuff already about the Labour Party Conference, should you wish to read that kind of thing. And they say some people do. This one's (mostly but not always) about me. TIOLI.

Now - enough of returning the sniper fire. What will October bring? It's very exciting!

Yours, unashamedly indulgently...

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Friday, September 29, 2006


A time of some reconciliation in the Regent yesterday, as I chatted more with my "blast from the past" friend Gordon. This time I was in there first, after the Pentland walk. Gordon arrived then, ordered his drink, nodded and left for the lounge part. Feeling snubbed by my frostiness of a week ago, I imagined, and returning the favour. Oh well.

But no. It turned out he was there on a date, but after an hour joined us at the bar and confessed to being stood up. I commiserated of course, darling, while congratulating him on still being "up for it" at fifty-six. (Frankly my dears I find the idea of sex in your fifties quite horrifying. But each to his own.) There, I've said it.

But of course, none of you spring chickens reading this will have the slightest interest in that elderly topic. Yet.


Watched half an hour of BBC Breakfast this morning, apropos of having nothing else to do. I got this slight urge to see what was happening in the world. And do you know? I'm still no wiser.

The main story was mental health. Or rather, lack of it.
How I wish people would stop saying health when they mean illness. We don't possess a National Health Service. Never have done. We have a National Sickness Service, dedicated to preserving the jobs of millions of people across the land. For that to happen, the country has to stay essentially ill.
But I digress. People with schizophrenia can't get access to talking therapies. Apparently talking therapies are the bees' knees for people with schizophrenia. Strange, as I can't really conceive of a conversation which would assure someone those "voices" aren't real. Just can't. If I had the voices, the last thing I'd need would be a health professional adding to them. But what tf do I know? I just pay for the damn thing.

That was the main story. Yes, really. Bugger the world, let's do mental health/illness. Then it went to some chick in Norfolk who said the local Cromer Crabs were hard to get nowadays because of Velvet Crabs. She spoke to a fisherman, who sounded exactly like JonnyB, but he said it wasn't the Velvet Crabs to blame. So she went off him pretty sharpish.

And that's what's happening in the world today. Schizophrenia and crabs. Oh, someone called Ian Katz, the executive editor (how many damn editors does that paper have) of The Guardian, was on, saying that wallcharts had done real good for the Grauny. Giving them away like crabs. He had jeans on but no tie. Comment might be free, but I wouldn't have thought a nice executive suit would cost that much.

Hills Are Alive

...with this little beauty.

Is it a magic mushroom? If so, I know where to get kilogrammes of them.

Tried magic mushrooms myself once, in the naughty nineties. Never again. Got raging diarrhoea. Never off the pan all night. If there was a trip going on I never noticed for intestinal spasms. I think the word probably is "poisoned".


Thanks to Saltation for this one, "Keep Your Jesus Off My Penis". (Not for devout Christians, I would have thought, but ordinary people might enjoy it.)

BBC are doing a series Autumnwatch, which should be good for all you outdoor fans. Well, hillwalkers pay just as much licence as football fans. And don't get me started on Top Gear.

Find your grid reference on this scalable map from Ordnance Survey.

Plus I signed up as a recorder with the Woodland Trust. Makes sense, for the respectable elderly gent or gentess.

Plus finally, if you're as vague as me, then you might not have noticed it's the last financial day of the month, should you need to move your money around.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Yesterday was forecast, correctly as it turned out, to be a break in the generalised miserables we've been having lately. Les Mis, as they say in the dressing up job.

Oh, and talking of dressing up, did you see the end of Lost last night? What an anti-climax! What a jolly wheeze to get you buying more boxed sets! But this time we were fore-warned. Warned by the ending of Series One all those months ago, that in Lost, endings bring no conclusions. So last night we knew what to expect, which was a massive plot development.

But I will say this to you. (Waxing all Prime Ministerly. And wasn't it fabulous of Cherie to derail the entire governance of the UK like that! Behind every great man is a woman they say.) This to you. It was very naughty to re-introduce a character we neither remembered nor cared about to dominate the last two sorry episodes. And to have his "relationship" (how I hate that word) seemingly the cause of the entire soap.

We shall see. Or maybe we won't. I'm seriously sick of spending so much time watching it.

Climb Every Mountain

So this weather window yesterday afforded a lovely day out. In the Pentlands for a change. Haha. Well, it was a bit of a change, in that last week's heavy weather had totally damped down the all-pervading smell of sheepshit. To walk the Pentlands means being at one with lungs full of sheepshit powder. They say it's good for you. Prevents asthma and allergies. Doesn't seem to prevent alopecia though, which is becoming more and more of a feature. Hair today.

Grass was absolutely everywhere. Even on what had previously been hard-baked rocky mud. Grass, grass, grass. What a species. Green pastures, dude.

What A Dump

One sheep had had the temerity to shit on a stile, the one where I sometimes have lunch. Black affronted, I was, and set to cleaning it up with a convenient stone. (Well, some unsuspecting city type might slip and woopsadaisy into their Berghaus and North Face. Well, not really North Face. No genuine mountain person wears that junk, do they? Just for meeja types on t'telly.) I cleaned it with a stone. Scrape, scrape.

Here's the sheepshit story in photos. Don't look if you're having your cornflakes. But it's something to remember next time you're tucking into a nice lamb chop.

And here's a happier one to end with. Snapped by one of two guys I got chatting to at the top of West Kip. I think they might have been a couple. Civilled, as we call it here.

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Monday, September 25, 2006


Nothing succeeds like excess...

Forget expensive therapists. Ponder no longer your real, inner nature. (Some call that the subconscious, but they are wrong.) Instead just invest ten of your earth pounds in a copy of The Sims, and after a few hours your own personality, traits and failings will be there for all to see. There, in the characters and situations you have created.

For instance:

Bob and Jane Newbie were quite nice people when they came into my care. Good(ish) jobs, bringing in two decent wages. Why, in no time at all they'd purchased a real pinball machine and a baseball practice net. Fun all the way.

But what happened? Well, due to the laziness and faffing about of their Divine Watchmaker (me), they both lost their jobs and are now too depressed to even look for new ones. Rather they exist on pizza scraps. In fact, I don't know quite what they exist on, because I abandoned them (see how it works? are you receiving me?) in favour of a new family called the Pleasants.

Jeff Pleasant, daughter Jennifer, his wife and his son. I've forgotten the names of the wife and son, because they are stone dead. Already. And why is that?

Because the home I lovingly furnished for them had no phone. I forgot to buy them a phone. So when the shiny new oven went on fire the first time it was used, there was no way to phone the fire service. (This game is clearly pre-mobile/cellphone.)

Scream, scream, scream. Somehow, extinguishers materialised, but it was too late. The fridge was on fire. The cabinets were on fire. The sink was on fire. Then Mrs Pleasant went on fire. Quickly followed by her son.

They're there on the kitchen floor still, the dead Pleasants, in urns. (There seems to be no mechanism for shifting the remains into a more sacred resting place.) And dad and daughter often burst into tears when they pass those reliquary urns on the kitchen floor. It gets worse, though. Because there was no money left after the housefire, they had to live purely on phoned-up pizza until they could afford a new fridge and food.

Just Can't Relate

But none of that is important. Nothing is as the shock you get on clicking their personalities. Not only is the home so filthy that roaches gather daily, but they have no relationships at all. They exist purely as autonomous creatures. Eat, sleep, work.

Oh, occasionally the Prophet (peace be upon him) (me) has them phone up neighbours, but when the neighbours come round there's nothing to eat or drink, and nothing to do either.

I'm sure you're getting my drift.


What you simulate is what you are. The programming cannot lie.

And that has to be it for now. I must see what my poor creatures are doing - alone in the dirt.

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Sunday, September 24, 2006


Readers of Friday's post will recall my purchase last week of The Sims DeLuxe Edition. (I didn't tell you about the DeLuxe part, it not being in my nature to brag.)

Well, last night after work, too tired to remain awake for the telly, but not yet desirous of slumber, I decided to install the wee thing. This despite a 10 page booklet listing out every possible hazard that might befall me were I to do so.
One thing which did arise from this booklet though was an entity called dxdiag. Got loads of stuff about your system on it. Try it. You'll love it.
Now regular NB readers will also recall my frequent complaint about mainstream media feeding off the ideas they steal from me. Like leeches. So imagine my shock and horror when I switched on the telly this very morning, only to find it completely populated by Sims.

Carry On Sims

Yes it's true. Tony Sim came on and chatted to Andy Sim about the Sim Conference they're having in Sim City this week. He said that the important thing was the country and completely refused to be drawn on his feelings about Gordon Sim. But he didn't resile one single word he'd ever said on the matter.

Andy Sim got very excited about "resile", and said it at least three times himself. Resile, resile, resile. He's such an excitable Sim! Despite having had umpteen lessons about not interrupting his guest Sims, and making some progress therewith, the enthusiasm for Tony Sim meant him almost slipping back into his agitated ways.

Before Tony Sim, Yusuf Sim (the artist formerly known as Cat Sim) was on, but he said nothing at all. That beard really doesn't suit him, whoever designed his Sim face.

Kiss Me, Honey, Honey

The next programme had Gloria Sim along with a pair of scientist Sims. Richard Dawkins-Sim said that you couldn't disprove the Sim Creator, just as you couldn't disprove Thor with his hammer. He's written a nice new Sim manual about it. For sale.

Daniel O'Donnel-Sim and Rupert Everett-Sim were on banging their gums about their beliefs, as if anyone cared. Well, mebbe their Sim-fans do. But there should be a mandatory message on with Sleb-Sims saying, "What this Sim thinks is no more important than what you think."

Gloria looked much more at ease with the O'Donnel-Sim than she did with the Sim Professors, when she was somewhat uneasy, kind of Sim-outranked.

A bald, bearded Man-Sim came on who used to be a Woman-Sim. Most impressive from the neck up, but remaining a resolutely tiny Sim. Shame. He was raised a Methodist, but the Methodists rejected him - although nowadays they've taken him back. He has a Sim Family, but I was making coffee and missed how that came about in the almost certain absence of Sim semen.

Thank you all for your kind concerns and suggestions about my health, and I'm pleased to report it's now considerably better after two solid days' work. (You don't seriously think I do this job for the money do you?)

Nothing of Thursday's mini-breakdown is unusual, sadly. It's just those things normally happen in December, not September before even the clocks go back. And in December I'm armed and ready to square up.

Ah well. When the going gets tough you thank your friends, both real and virtual. (Although those boundaries are fast dissolving.) Thank you. So many of you I'd LOVE to meet, although the idea of "open" blogmeetings is a bit pointless now. Well, maybe as pointed as a football crowd - loads of people with only one thing in common.

Right - back to my Sims... Are you supposed to just leave the computer on and let them get on with it? Do they still have Sim lives in standby?

Stand By Your Sim.

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Friday, September 22, 2006


Dreadful day yesterday. I think the SAD must be starting, but it's not even the equinox yet. I'd kinda hoped all the exercise and daylight would have helped this winter, but shit I'm cracking up pretty bigtime.

Yesterday it was triggered by a huge shock in the Regent. There I was, breezing in w/o a care in the world, when who should greet me but someone I hadn't seen for quarter of a century. I'd naturally assumed he was dead. As you do. But no - he was sitting there large as life and nearly as old.

"How ya doin?" he asked. "You're lookin' well."

"Bald, fat and old," I replied, not being desirous of compliments. "Oh and alcoholic." (It's best to stick the knife in yourself first, before the world gaily does it for you.)

Days, My Friend

We were inseparable in our twenties. Four of us, a gang of queenlings. Gladys, Sandra, Petal and me. (Despite the strange names, all notionally men.) Then yesterday's pal - I'll keep his youthful nickname secret - fell in love with someone - someone I met first... story of my life - and then he felt inclined to shove me out of the way. This was very hurtful. I said I'd never forgive him, and yesterday I didn't. Icebergs would have melted faster.

Disturbing, though - seeing someone back from the grave like that.

So - it was New Scientist magazine time, and I sat and read and read and read while the guys chatted on without me. This week's secret of the universe is that it doesn't matter what you eat. It's only your exercise and lifestyle which matter. Lifestyle meaning of course BAD HABITS. Me I felt smug on everything except drinking.

David the Writer came over and forced me to start talking. Thanks Dave. My former buddy had left, after shaking my hand, and I asked the men if it was OK to join them. Honestly I'm that insecure. People think I'm taking the piss.

On the third pint now, so what passes for conversation took place for half an hour or so. Karina came in and I apologised for Tuesday. I think she was OK. Then foolishly as it turned out I texted Robin (don't call me gay I'm bisexual) in the Port, and said I'd come down and pay him the final instalment for that plumbing all those months back.

Port In A Storm

The Port when I got there was a nightmare. Remember when I had all those problems with the radio station and had to resign? Remember hateful comment after hateful comment coming in here from local trash? Well, there the comment authors all were, lined up at the bar. Bar stools at the end of the universe.

I didn't even buy a drink. Pulled Robin away from the bar and we quickly settled up. Little Alex came over, asking what's wrong, but I could barely speak again. Thanks Alex for trying. Incoherent. Got to get out of here.

Fled to the Ocean Terminal. To M and S Food. "Do they have anything so common as margarine here?" I asked of this young woman also browsing the shelves. "Oh look - here it is... one pound thirty nine. I don't think so." "There's nothing cheap here," she agreed, laughing. Strange how easy it is to do false talking, even when you're incapable of the real thing.
Bought an Ultimate Doom set and the original Sims for fifteen quid the pair in Game. Doom for the nostalgia (the best period of my life), and Sims because I missed it out first time, and they say it occupies you for days on end if you let it. I'll never install them though, in case they damage Brad. Still got Vice City in the wrapping. What's the point? I'll never get to the next area.
Ah well. Nobody said it was a picnic. My life is just in ruins. Things could be worse.

You know, I'd almost give my right arm to live somewhere else. Anywhere but this shithole. Preferably where there are lots of hills but no people whatsoever.

PS: Set your clock, if you're so inclined, for the Autumnal Equinox in the wee small hours of tomorrow morning. September 23, 0403 Universal Time. You'll have to convert that to your local time yourself. I'm beyond calculation.

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Thursday, September 21, 2006


Well, young colleague Magde leaves us today to return to the Mother Country. Last week it was Natalia, both of them summoned back to Poland by their university. They'd planned to stay longer, and enjoy the Polandisation we're awash with here, but 'twas not to be. I sense the Polish government is shitting itself at the exodus of the young and the skilled.

"It's a country of old people now," said Piotr, our original and now only Polish person. Not being a student, he's not so easily reclaimable. Maybe when he's learned the bingo trade quite thoroughly, he can go back home and set up a chain. They don't have bingo, apparently, which is a bit odd.

BLOG-MODULE #237: Ethics of telling stories about real people.

We all do it, but some do it more than others. Zed tells stories about her nearest and dearest, using their real names. Jonny tells them about his family and fellow villagers - with obvious nomes-de-plume. Me, I regularly spout forth about my drinking buddies and also use real names. (Almost always.)

How do we get away with it? Is there a moral aspect to this?

For me it does cause soul-searching. (I'm getting to yesterday's Rough Trade post shortly, as it's a beautiful example.)

It's undoubtedly a rocky path, taking conversations and views spoken in good faith and blurting them all over the internet. Here at Naked Blog I do that over and over again. It's what it's for. No-one, not even Quentin Crisp himself, could have filled five or six posts a week with purely his own views. You have to have variety, different voices.

And here again, thanks to technology, you can see the cast you're reading about. A picture speaks a thousand. Read about Stewart on the mountain; SEE Stewart on the mountain - THE VERY NEXT DAY. It's mind-boggling what's available.

So, Peter. You get a pretty blog, with wonderful people enjoying it and some of those even commenting and forming a community. You even get a little money, now. (Little being the word!) But what's in it for the cast? What do the punters get, and why do they let you away with it?

I'm guessing here, as I've always been too nervous to ask, in case they turn the taps off. But I think most people like a bit of stardom, don't they? Even the little they get here is something - and face it, most of us pass through life without our thoughts ever going beyond family and friends. So there is a publishing benefit. Some pleasure in knowing that what you've said is interesting or amusing a few thousand people. And by absorption into the blogosphere potentially many more than that.

Over the years I've learned to gauge people. Some adore being here... words, pictures, the lot. Others are more circumspect, somewhat cautious, and yet others are a no-go. They truly don't want reporting, so of course I don't. Easy.

A. Nonymous

But not all blogging is upfront. We blog also about people who won't ever read the thing. Oh yes you do. You blog about shop workers (a lot), about telephone operatives (a lot), about the man who comes to fix the thingy, and is discourteous to the cat. Some bloggers are one hundred percent of this type, until that sad day when the shit hits the fan. For those I have little sympathy. Made your bed, kind of.

Which brings us, by way of a rather long prologue, to yesterday's little opus, Rough Trade. How immoral is it to write in such depth, AND WITH SUCH ASSUMPTION, about an innocent guy chatting to you in the pub?

I must stress, if it wasn't clear in the post, that "Andy" did me no harm whatever. Nor did he indicate that any future harm was on the cards. He asked for no drinks (rather he bought me the first one), asked for no money, and made no inquiries about my circumstances or whereabouts. The only thing unusual about the interaction was his slight "out-of-placeness" there. "Who's yer pal?" as Alan the owner asked.

The post was ENTIRELY a result of my own overheated imagination, coupled with a sense of caution out of all proportion to reality. Yes, it is dangerous to invite strangers to your home in those circumstances, but no he never indicated he even wanted to do such a thing.

Mea pretty seriously culpa, Andy.

I didn't mention that we shook hands as I left the bar, then pulled forward mutually into a shoulder hug, and he kissed my ear. Tasty.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Gay male readers - and there are a couple - will know immediately of what I speak. They are so familiar with what's about to appear here, that they needn't even read it.

Yes, that's right. A deliciously dangerous man sat down in the pub and started chatting. Possibly chatting up. I didn't wait around to find out. If I had hormones left to flood. But I haven't, and that's that. Saves a lot of bloodshed.

Even such an authority as the late Quentin Crisp acknowledged this male "genre". (Well - it would be pretty hard to deny it.) When he famously said, "There is no great dark man."

"Who's yer pal?" Alan the owner asked, when my new friend popped out for an Embassy Regal. (Smoking in Scottish bars is illegal. But the smoke-breaks allow the stagehands to rearrange the furniture for the next act.) We'd been chatting quite animatedly about Bush, Blair and Brown. Andy, for that was his name, was wondering if Bush meant well. I said he probably did, but only for the American people, and he was no President Clinton.

"He's not my pal!" I retorted to Alan, keeping an eye on the door and my friend behind it. "You greeted him when he came in - I thought he was a pal of yours." Andy had said he'd recently upset a lesbian couple. "Did you chat one of them up?" I asked. "No, I shagged her." "That would cause some upset," I agreed.

Later, as the conversation started to drift away from politics and more towards sex, I asked him if he realised this was a gay-owned establishment, and that I myself was gay. (I joked over that last bit, as people tell me it's a bit obvious.) He laughed too, and stroked my shoulder. He'd long since moved bar stools so as to be closer to your author. Your author who thirty years ago would already have been wondering what colour sheets were on the bed back home. Or twenty years. Or - fuck it - even ten years, give or take.

To Die For

But not now. Death by invitation home is one of the principal ways to go for elderly gay men. You simply CANNOT ever do it, or allow yourself to get that drunk as to encourage it. Better all dried up than all sliced up.

But - definitely a memorable diversion, and it's good to have emerged unscathed. What was he like? Dish the dirt, hen! Well, age mid forties, swarthy, perhaps gypsy-like complexion, two days' growth, left gold earring, leather jacket, shirt crumpled with three buttons undone, jeans and trainers. Not that I was paying attention, mind.

Men. Doncha just luvvem? The tales I could tell, and maybe some day will :o)

Writers' Group

Yes, even after all that, it was still our regular Tuesday meeting. Robert the other gay one is in Venice with a one-way ticket. Death In Venice. Hope not. Karina was there, David and Drew, but I was that drunk by now, and horned up over the afternoon's excitements that I started drooling over Karina's pal, whom I won't name so as not to embarrass him. He wasn't even there - I was just drooling in his absence.

Shocking. Talk about growing old disgracefully. Sorry, K. But we agree he's a honey.

I can see my drinking career in this boozer flushing down the pan bigtime. At least the Port takes everybody. Mebbe time to go home.

(Just because you're single, doesn't mean you have to have a boring life you know.)

Thai The Knot

A week or so ago I told you about Pam the Port O'Leith barmaid getting married in Thailand. And now there's a bloodless coup. Some people could start a row in a church, I truly swear it.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006


This new Google Toolbar is a bit of alright. Just wanted to know about the singer Dakota Staton for a sharp-assed comment elsewhere (but never forget, other blogs are a MISTAKE), when what should pop up but ten Dakota searches, starting at Dakota Fanning, the diminutive child-star turning into dwarf-woman, and encompassing everything about Dakota except Ms Staton. No mind. Was a breeze to type her in.

But I've now noticed you have to manually delete the old search to put in a new one. Bummer.

Small Talk

How've you been, my chickadees? Anyone see Graham Norton last night? Not three bad. Sandi Toksvig said she hadn't seen a penis for eighteen years, at which both Patrick Swayze and some comedian guy jumped up and unzipped right into her face. Or rather, mimed that. And also, you can tell they edited out the bit where they thought of it. Graham and his writers were on good form, slagging off both Islam and Catholicism. "So the two religions can once again unite in their complete hatred of the gays," he quipped.

(Pause while zoe checks my desk for itinerant mice.) She's such a wee sausage. Today we're gonna have lots of quality time, while I keep my feet up and watch videoed TV programmes. (Arthur three times and five Pentlands in the last week. Plus of course I'm on my feet all day at work.) People wouldn't need hip replacements if they just got off their asses a bit. Even a tiny bit. I bet you don't spend your whole day sitting.

Bored With Brad

Don't think I'm getting nearly as much as I should from new computer Brad. Just doing blogging, email, Freecell and pinball. The Freecell on Priscilla had been broken for ages, but there is a good site, I think it is. Could type it in to my Google toolbar, but I'll leave that for you to play with. It's a gated community. Gated! Get it!?!

Photo collections were going OK, until the Corel Photo Album 6 went out of its free trial, and when I sent the money the new one won't work. So now I'm photo-less again. Not that much cop then. The only improvement is in speed. And lack of blue-screens.

Man Of Letters

The Google company have sent me a letter!!!

It's about the AdSense programme, but I'm guessing it might be worth more on eBay than the AdSense fees. It's got the Google word in big pretty colours on the back. Definitely a collectible.

The Shop is Open

Collectible also of course are zed's fabulous My Boyfriend Is A Twat t-shirts. And other stuff. What a wheeze! Wonder if they thought of that right back in the beginning. Get over there and order your t-shirt now. Guess straight men might find the slogan a bit odd. But who needs them? Straight men, I mean. All that testosterone and strutting.

Cannae Be Arsed

Isn't everything just such an effort at this time of year? Even for super-fit people like me. What it must be like for you I can only imagine.

I've decided that Lost is the most sleep-inducing programme in the history of programmes. It's not humanly possible to remain awake through an entire episode, unless at ten in the morning, and even then only after three strong coffees.

Cry With Fry

Stephen Fry (arguably the greatest living homosexualist) is on t'box tonight, banging his gums about bipolar disorder. (The illness formerly known as manic depression.) Me, I think everybody has ups and downs. It's a matter of degree, isn't it?

Remember: more people are made mentally ill by prescribed medicines than any natural cause. Yesterday in the Regent Drew told me I was nuts, but I said he was more nuts than me. David the Nurse threatened to medicate us all if we didn't shut up. David the Writer asked me what I thought of comic actor Catherine Tait. I said she was a genius.

It's sunny and blue today and my heart is in the hills, not sitting in a poky flat watching shite telly and breathing cat hair. But the legs MUST get some rest, or injury sets in. Some of you have been there.

If I can somehow get these pics out of the camera and up on to flickr, then I'll post a couple for you. I got lovely rowan berries, and magic mushrooms for all my (two) ageing hippy readers.

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Sunday, September 17, 2006


Well, old Ratzinger seems to be off the ropes now, after his personal apology to (unspecified) followers of a medieval superstition. The cloth-headed one, as opposed to the virgin birth one. But not before churches have been bombed and an Italian nun shot to death.
"Islam IS the religion of truth and love, and if anybody says different we'll fucking kill you."
Just about sums it up, n'est-ce pas?

(Don't feel for one moment that Popes and governments apologise because they think feelings might have been hurt. Cultures un-multi'd. Don't be so naive. They apologise because of the threat of bomb and bullet. Nothing less.)

It's Christians v Muslims next, bigtime. Crusade Missile.

Rest And Recreation

I'm really getting to like my lazy Sundays. Legs up and watching Eps 21 and 22 of Lost, ready for the double episode finale a week on Tuesday.

Searched this week's Radio Times for Himalaya, but nada. Sorry. Still, having alerted you I'm sure it'll come along sometime. I can wait.

Delighted to see Everest ER on BBC last night. Sheer magic about a tented hospital at Base Camp. Totally gruesome frostbite pics. They don't rush to amputate nowadays. Just clean the wounds and give oxygen and fluids, and the body self-amputates where necessary. How considerate of it. Two guys got really upset when their docs said they couldn't continue upwards. Guess I would too.

Half way through the programme I started dreaming about doing it myself. Everest - even at my age. Alan once said I'm fitter than a fair number who do go up. Daydream believer, that's me. To be honest, it's probably the only thing left. I've done everything else worth doing.

Round And About The Comment Boxes

(An occasional feature where I get to recycle the better of my recent comments.)

Anna was banging on (fascinatingly) about the nature of the blockbuster movie. Although she loves popular culture, and she's in no way an Indie girl, there's nevertheless loads of blockbusters not so far seen. Jaws, Close Encounters, Alien, sort of thing.

The comment box rapidly filled with commenters (54 - I'm not jealous) eager to outdo each other with their own personal "not-seens, never will see" lists.

Through which we calmly browsed, before adding:
"I win.

I haven't seen the Wizard of Oz. Not on a plane. Not with the sound turned down, and not on fast-forward. Simply not.

Beat that, you bunch of naysayers.

But enough about me. The analysis here is lacking an important point. Some movies/films sell in shitloads because they're good. (Bonnie and Clyde, Mash, Pulp Fiction, et al, ad nauseam.)

Others, such as Titanic or anything with Tom Cruise in, sell in shitloads because our Hollywood masters have discovered a way of actually making people go to movies. Strange but true.

There is an entire industry of celluloid, newsprint and cathode ray devoted not to art, but to separating people from their money. You have to admire them. In fact, I believe you're a part of it! (This is an observation, not a criticism.) I too separate old ladies from their pensions."
Next On Lost Naked Blog

I defend the writer Jon Ronson on Pandemian! Yes, I've decided one recycled comment is as much as you'll put up with in one post. So you'll have to nip over there and read it yourself! (Noted also that half my blogroll are reading Pandemian w/out even telling me. Tsk.)

There was also a wadge of political stuff on BBC Editors' Blog. But they don't publish comments until they're moderated, and clearly don't bother moderating them at weekends. This is called feedback and interactivity. I loved the one from the editor of newsnight bewailing the fact that no-one watched his show any more.

I told him he should get rid of Paxman and Wark, pop them inside the Science Museum next to Archaeopteryx, and hire Russell Brand, who is arguably the most/only interesting person on television.

*Headline courtesy of The Sun.

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Friday, September 15, 2006

"The days cannot all be sunny. Upon each a little rain must fall."
My mother
How was it for you, darling? Yesterday's heavy weather, I mean.

Me I was all right in the house. (Did you know, btw, there's no such word as "alright"? A common mistake, but one which separates the sheep from the goats, lexically.) As does "it's" for its, which STILL appears in the weblogs of those who should know better. Ahem. Least said.

[Ed: Shut up Peter and get on with it. Anyone would think you were perfect yourself, you Alzheimer-ish old thing. All those repetitions.]

And I was all right in the Regent Bar, where I dined royally on mushrooms in white wine sauce. (There's a nice moral glow comes from eating fungus, as opposed to something cuddly with a mother, like a lamb.) Hasn't got a face on it. Kind of rubbish species anyway, fungus, like Salmonella.

But it was after the Regent that things got interesting. Fired by this comment from Mad Jim...
"You weren't smoking on Arthur's Seat last night were you? ;O]

Why not do your walk in the Pentlands anyway, even if it is raining? You won't die of wet. Besides, the whole character of the hills changes in these conditions and you shouldn't miss it.

NB - You are under no obligation to respond to this comment.
...fired by that comment, I looked up at Arthur's Seat and paused. The sky was black, well very dark grey, but there was no rain then. The mountain looked back down at me and laughed. "What are you, Peter? Man or mouse? Come up and see me. See what the big man's got for you. Twenty-five minutes, baby. That's all it takes. Twenty-five minutes."

Put like that, there was no real choice, now was there? I was twenty-five minutes from a glittering new experience, a mountain in foul weather. Bye bye fair weather friend. And new experiences aren't round every corner at my age. Oh no. Not till you start forgetting absolutely everything, but that hasn't happened yet.

Put like that, I girded my loins and set off up, responding to Jim's kind comment.

Alone In The Dark

Three quarters there and two young women, the only other humans I'd spotted - in fact the only other creatures I'd spotted (animals have more sense) - asked me the best way down to Holyrood Palace car park, which I was happy to provide, moving naturally in to Ranger Mode. "It's a bit steep dear, but the worst will happen is you'll slip onto your bottom." Thank you, they said. Wearing next to nothing, poor things. Soaking wet t-shirts. (Dampness and light rain had started.)

At the summit, soon after, I was utterly alone. Looking over the might and grandeur of the entire park and being the only person there. I touched the summit pillar and communed with the spirits. My own private Himalaya.

Clouds rolled in. Thick black ones. It was early evening. Way down below, cars had had their lights on all day because of the pervading darkness. Fifty metres visibility. Forty, thirty, twenty. (It didn't get less than that.) Now Edinburgh had disappeared too. Eliminated by one million gallons of moisture. Wiped from view. Now there REALLY WAS just me and Arthur. "What ya gonna say, big boy? What ya gonna do to to me now? I did exactly what you told me. Give me some experience!"

Nothing at all came back. Clouds tumbled and rolled just metres below me, clinging to the grassy pass. I looked and wondered and felt the joy. Felt gratitude too, even to this lifeless mound, this heap of prehistoric rock. Because readers who've been around for more than a moment will recall my early misadventures here, my determination to conquer the fear of these slopes and make it to the top. And the achievement. And the repeats, and the step by step rescue of my health from gouty arthritic old man to the top five percent of fitness as now it is. Oh yes. That's what I thought as I stood there alone in the clouds on top of Arthur's Seat. My conquest. I did it. But thank you Sandra, thank you Johnny and thank you even a little Mad Jim. (See Jim's fab mountain photos.)

I think that might be a good place to stop :0)


Later, off the hill, I was making for the Southern Bar and some warmth and dry. A young couple passed me, heading mountain-wards, just where I'd come down from. Man and woman this time, students in all probability. "Excuse me," the guy said, friendly and smiling. "Where do you have to stand to see Arthur's Seat like a lion?"

"You have to do that tomorrow," I replied, pointing up and back at the swirling dark. Then I gave them directions for tomorrow. Whin Hill - scene of the recent fires. They had flimsy cloth shoes on, especially the girl. Blue and pointy hers were. Pretty but not fit for purpose. The baton passes on.

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Thursday, September 14, 2006


Today turned out to be the wettest for some years. Not just wet for a bit then getting better - but wet for a long bit, then kidding on it was better so you go up Arthur's Seat mini-mountain - then flinging it down with gay abandon as soon as you're up there.

Fortunately my mountain jacket (shell part) did the biz jest fine. Dampish arms and shoulders, but really quite dry front and back, which are the bits where pneumonia sets in.

Had a cheeky wee umbrella all that time in my daysack, but forgot about it until the Southern Bar. (Pint of Tennents - no salad. Definitely no salad.) Piece o' piss after that... home now and fully changed. Soaking wet stuff drying out. Oh - there's nothing like it. Spirit of the Blitz. Everybody should live in Scotland.

Kitchen Sink Drama

Low Winter Sun (post below) starts at nine, not eight as billed on Channel Four website earlier. Twenty minutes from now. I'm kind of anxious, as most British drama is unwatchable shite. Oh yes it is.

The only reason we soak up so much US stuff is that we can't tell from here how lousy it is. We don't know what the voices are meant to sound like.

But here we do - and unless it's something like The Young Ones, AbFab or The League of Gentlemen then you might as well bin it before even glancing there.

Two Pints of Lager And A Packet of Crisps. I ask you. I truly do.

Not one of those dumb-clucks would pass Drama 1 in any self-respecting College. Unadulterated piss. As is 99 percent of Britdram.

So there.

Low Winter Sun

OK then - it wasn't all bad. Both Forth bridges were in it, and Edinburgh Castle, but those were the only locations. The rest wasn't even filmed in Scotland.

How do I know that?

All those ciggies. For the last six months it's been totally illegal to smoke in an indoor workplace - INCLUDING film sets and theatres. So you can happily show - and they did - cops drunk, taking drugs, taking bribes, killing punters and slicing their heads off into the bath. All that and more we expect from our police these days. Face it: life ain't Dixon of Dock Green. But chug on a Benson and Hedges in the corridor and all hell should break out.


If the film-makers have broken the anti-smoking legislation - the strictest in Europe and rightly so - then they should be prosecuted. There is no place on Scottish screens for cigarettes.

Drama a bit dull till the last half hour, when it went nicely ballistic.

Wallop! Kick! Stick the heid on him! (And that's just our two cop heroes.) It's all about as believable as Jack and the Beanstalk, with dialogue creaking along like one of my bingo ladies on a walking frame. Why oh why don't they just get someone - anyone - to "normalise" the script? Clearly the writer has never heard an Edinburgh conversation in his life.

The short officer is best, despite the Weegie accent. Only three voices were genuine Edinburgh - one being that chick Neve McIntosh from Bodies. Watched the first 90 minutes only, as three hours of horror is bad for you.

Naked Stars: 4 out of 10, and all of those for Brian McCardie. To whom I'd happily hand over my badge and my weapon. Even cook him dinner. (If he didn't mind something microwaved.)

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In Tibetan, with English subtitles.

This is going to be the oddest film posting ever, because it's so good I can't think of adequate words.

Struck dumb. Dumb struck. Plus I don't want to take away even one iota of the innocence. Put even one of my thoughts into your Himalaya-less head.

It was on BBC 4 last night, which hopefully means several quick repeats.

Please do tell me what you think. Haven't been this bowled over since Bonnie and Clyde. Or Alien. But they weren't yesterday and Himalaya was.
That's it. Be quiet, Peter.

I'm so excited! Can't wait to see it again. Wanna come with me?
Imdb (GGMM! Oscar-nominated. So I'm not the only one...)

Excellent review, much of it in the director's words. If you would rather read about the film than see it.


In case you've been in a blog hiding place for the last few days (says he who completely missed PetiteGate), or in case you've been (over)doing real life - there's been much fun and games in the Blogosphere (how neutral I am to that word) over comment box etiquette. Specifically, the obligations of the blogger to his or her commenters. Are there any? And if so what are they?

There you see. I can put things in to words when I want to. It's just that some movies are beyond them.

Like the very Blogosphere itself, this debate is a bit all over the place. But not totally. You'll get the gist in comment boxes to this one and that one. Plus a post from Status Anxiety. So that's that. Sorted. Everybody's gonna keep doing exactly what they're already doing.


Hands up them who like people writing about themselves in a fascinating way.

Yes, I thought so. And stop shouting at the back or you won't get your milk at playtime.

Froosh Bamboo. Infrequently Asked Questions. Yummmm.

Plus if you're not reading PornyBoy Curtis then you must be on some denial kick. Top of his game. And he's making stopping noises. Stop him stopping.

Wet Dreams Are Made Of This

(It's six in the morning, almost. A time I love now there's no longer any mouse danger thanks to Her Gorgeousness.) Actually, the wee sausage is getting a tad grey at the tip of her tail. Comes to all of us. But I'm wondering if she'd thank me for dyeing it for her. Put a bit red back in. Grow old disgracefully, like her owner.

Where was I? Wet dream? Chance would be a fine thing. Subtract fifty years mebbe.

No I'm talking about a BBC weather forecast which showed for today the top three quarters of the UK (the part that matters) under an Olympic-sized swimming pool of water. I'm surprised there was any blue left in the paint box. Apart from the green and yellow bits, which are Monsoon.

And here's me not been up the Pentlands for a whole week. Pencilled in for today, but it looks like the pencil will wash away bigtime. Oh, I did Arthur's Seat on Monday and Tuesday, but that's just a mere pimple, my dear. Don't even need to pause on the way up. But what a good excuse to get blootered in the Regent beforehand.
"I'll be leaving you now. Because I'm so fit and you're not."
You can just imagine it.

Yesterday Himalaya. Today looks like not even Scald Law. Anybody know a good Sundance?

Drama Update

Just noticed an Edinburgh crime play on Channel 4 tonight. Low Winter Sun. I'm not in it, me (not criminal enough), but I'm sure they nicked the damn title from here. On at 8pm, so there can't be much realistic dialogue. YFCY FYP YBIFGKY That sort of thing.

Edinburgh is the most photogenic city in the UK, especially the criminal parts.

Crikey. I've got ads for Steve Irwin videos and Steve Irwin t-shirts. You couldn't etc. Just couldn't.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Is there something wrong with Flickr? I've got pages and pages of photos coming up as spaceball.gif when you click on properties. (Not on the "album" pages, just after you've selected one. In the 500 by 375 size.)

Virus or what? Theirs or mine? End of an era?

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Changing pub after five years of blogging about a previous one is not good literary form. Try as we might to introduce David the Writer, Nurse David, Drew... even Meg the Lesbian Sandwich Lady... it's just too much. Like coming to after three years in a coma. Or telling you that Steve Irwin's death was just a YouTube stunt.

"What tf happened to Big Straight Al, to Scott the Ships Engineer, and to Robin (Don't call me gay I'm bisexual)?" I hear your plangent cry. "And what about SANDRA AND BABS?"

Are You Sitting Comfortably, Then?

Yesterday was a retro day. Very retro. Even changed my mountain back to the earlier model, Arthur's Seat. After that to the Southern Bar where I had the most ghastly salad in the history of salads. Tomato and Mozzarella it was billed as, and technically that was what you got. But straight out of the fridge? With no flavour whatever? Gruesome. So I told the barman. "Did you enjoy your meal, sir?" "No, it was horrible."

Well, what should come along then but a Number 10 bus. To the Port O' Leith Bar, almost door to door. And who should be sitting outside but a bunch of people I didn't know, interspersed only with Juicy the Plasterer and Little Alex, looking very chavvy in a white jacket. (I'd put up the photo, but there are problems with Corel Photo Album 6 which I won't bore you about. Mebbe it'll go up anyway. I think WinXP has built in photo stuff.)

Served by Eilidh (rhymes with daily). In came John with partner Andrew, then Kevin the shop girl. Little Alex sat down and we discussed fatherhood. His, impending. "The baby's got to get a bath - " he wailed, " - what's wrong with the ordinary bath?"

I told him it's because they piss and shit themselves all day long, and if he shat himself all day long he'd probably like his own bath.

Mary the landlady came in. (Mary is the most famous landlady in all of Scotland, so I think she merits a mention.) Not that I'm one to namedrop, you understand.

Pam the barmaid was in Thailand getting married to Andy that very day. She's Mrs Turner now. Scott was there, but he gets everywhere. Best wishes to both from all at NB, dearests. Enjoy your honeymoon and avoid the sex industry which I understand is rife in Thailand. It's rife in Leith too, but less classy.

Since I buzzed my hair to the wood last week, David the writer and Drew from the Regent are both now also sporting "Number Ones".

"They seek him here...
They seek him there..."

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Monday, September 11, 2006

This post will chronicle my doings and writings in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attack on September 11th 2001. It's not easy reading; it's very long (appallingly long, but those were appalling times); and if you'd rather get your nine eleven stuff from other media then that is what you must do.
But this isn't just about nine eleven. That you can get anywhere and everywhere. Oh no, Jose. This is about blogging nine eleven. Difference.

Blogging was as much in its infancy as was suicide bombing. These are peculiar juxtapositions of history, and this weblog actually was a tiny part of the former. Silence now just wouldn't be right.

It was scary to write for an audience of new unknowns. All you knew was that most people reading you were in the USA and in New York. There must have been some British blogging, but I can't recall much apart from Meg and Tom.

So blogging was you and the USA, baby. And suddenly their skyscrapers were falling out of the sky with aeroplanes in them.


I'm not one for watching TV news, as well you know. Pointless, banal - reporting nothing more than our species' rush to self-destruction. (And that's on a good day.)

So I chanced on a neighbour on the stair...
"How are you, Caroline?"

"I'm in a state of shock."

Blah, blah, blah as she explained. "It's war!"
Well this is nothing different from your own recollections. And me, a former broadsheet freelancer and current webwriter of three years - me, I decided to remain silent, take the easy way and say nothing. Nada. Leave it to the paid hacks in paper and cathode.

Until - that same day - glancing through my referrals as then you could, I saw this one:
"david boreanaz thoughts on america under attack."
That one referral. That one search. David Boreanaz. That probably teenage American (foxy Boreanaz was in some TV vampire show of the time) seeing my page for a moment. And I knew right then that I had made my bed now, had entered the global forum, and silence was not an option.

Not. Just wasn't. Was not. However unversed in international affairs, I had to say something to the American people who made up almost all of the "page impressions".

So this was the first day - the horrified going to bed after a day paralysed in front of the television.
Tuesday, September 11, 2001


Any comment would be unworthy of the thousands who have perished. So let me just offer my own, and I'm sure that of all of my British readers', sympathies to our friends across the US on this most dreadful of days.

Drew and Mimi have already written their accounts - Drew was in a TV studio as it happened. Mimi has links to webcams.

God bless you and keep you all.

Now - who are Drew and Mimi? First of all, Mimi, despite the name, is not the blogger currently known as Mimi in New York. (At least I think not.) She was a masseuse with domain Tony my IT manager and I used to chat about her lovely stuff in the Port O'Leith bar, laughing as she so often had to fight off amorous male customers. (Blogging hadn't sunk to the gutter in those days.)

Drew used an application called Diaryland. He was a Brit expat in New York, and I read his tales avidly, basking in the Dr Niles Crane middle classness. A sort of early day Diva. (Gay blogs up till then had been Tom of Plasticbag, The Daily Brad in America and that was all I knew of, at least. Apart from this one.)

On day two I introduced the notions of attack on "Money", the raison d'etre of the WTC.
Wednesday, September 12, 2001

What was attacked yesterday was Money, the real ruler of the earth. Money which merely uses the offices of the USA and the European governments to further its only cause, which is to grow. And in this growth it treads carelessly and callously wherever it chooses, enslaving and impoverishing across the less-developed world in order to fuel its cancerous growth.

Most of those who perished were employed in the service of Money, and they have paid a terrible price - the ultimate price - and of course they didn't deserve it. But whereas they now lie dead amidst the ruins of the temple, Money itself is only slightly dented.


Day three was to bring solidarity from Britain to the USA.
Thursday, 13 September, 2001

You will have seen and heard Lord Robertson, the Secretary General of NATO, and a Scot, saying those words which have not been said for fifty-two years, "An attack on one is an attack on us all."


Day five is Saturday, and the whole of British Queendom waited mouths agape to read the country's greatest commentator - and US critic - of the time, Miss Julie Burchill in the Guardian.

Only to be greeted by "Julie Burchill is away."
Saturday, 15 September, 2001

We've avoided The Guardian, both in print and on-line, until today, to preserve the formation of our own thoughts and opinions. They're just so damn good at the Grauny that you can't help but think - oh yes, that's it, I almost thought of that myself, what's on the telly or should I go to The Village?

Day six and we sense a mood of national depression. That's my nation I mean. I'm sure the USA was thoroughly depressed also.
Sunday, 16 September, 2001

My local Indian Restaurant, which is Muslim-owned, had its window smashed in the night before last. So yesterday I went in to buy a small meal, which I didn't really want, but to show some support. The owner came out of the kitchen to greet me, and just stood in front of me, quietly. "I'm so sorry about this," I said, waving my arm at the still-wrecked scene. "Thank you," he replied. "There've been some others who have said the same." It seemed time for a big hug. So the notionally Christian fag hugged the non-terrorist Muslim straight guy, and it was good.


Day seven, one week, and we're forced to comment on the behaviour of the news media. This is nothing new to this writer, and there's loads in my earlier site... "Circling like vultures around the horrors of the planet..." sort of thing.

So this...
Tuesday, September 18, 2001

But neither have we behaved vulture-like, such as those unspeakable newsreaders who get their rocks off in the dusty catacombs of these dreadful days, each of them praying for their Hindenburg moment. Some were thrust much higher than they had flown before, as the Sultans of Soundbite were literally unable to get there. Now eclipsed by Adie, Bowen et al, they can at least tell their grandchildren, "I was there - and I reported it. I was there, and I gave the murderers the A-feature they'd prayed for, beyond their maddest, most twisted dreams. I was there, and I made no fucking difference at all."

There wasn't that much more after that from me. Sometimes you just have to shut up and move on. "Nimda is a backward administration." I think I can accurately claim that one.

So there we were. Bit startling, eh? Me, I'm satisfied that what little I could usefully write I did write. Whether or not anyone read it is a moot point. Comment boxes were still a while in the future. It was an innocent time for blogging.

Except my friend Rex, who along with Scott and Tony were my only readers for three years (grasp that - new bloggers... three readers), who most kindly contributed:
"Peter, if you never do anything else much with your life, then your writings of this last week will stand as something very special."
Thank you for that, Rex. Very much.

If you continue to scroll up the page you'll meet Carrie of Bulletproof and Bleeding (now here) - bigger in relative terms than any blogchick now could even dream of. She lived in NYC and she ruled the blogwaves - and she sent me traffic. Put me on the map - a thing I've ALWAYS done for others since. Which is why - whatever else they say about me - they can never accuse me of overlooking newbies. Never. Goes around, comes around, as my bingo ladies say.

Also from NYC was Mighty Geek, who came all the way to the Port O'Leith Bar to say hello - one of the world's first ever blogmeets. There was Dave the Mad Monk, Hooptyloops in California, and Barbara in Toronto. Glory days.

Well, I hope you enjoyed my little Bloghistory Module. And maybe now see my 2006 "Lifetime achievement" Bloggie finalism in a fuller light. We do what we can, when we can. But the sword will always be mightier than the pen.

Oh, and don't even think of getting in to an aeroplane today.

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Sunday, September 10, 2006


Zoe the Naked Blog cat gets upfront and personal for ya. She's a wee sausage, as you can see, and totally at home in front of the cameras after her catwalk training.

Spot That Diva!

Gordon Brown was on Andrew Marr this morning. It was filmed yesterday and heavily edited, to the point of incoherence at times, but Gordy came across as OK. Hangers-on like Chris Patten were left to slag him off later in the studio. "Almost looked like a normal person."

Mike (not yet on Andrew Marr, but it's only a matter of time) continues his assault on Nottingham's media. Pausing only to point us to a lovely feature on BBCi which I'd overlooked. A feature about his Bloggie nomination.

Vaguely I remember moi being a Bloggie finalist earlier this year - the only Scottish one evah, if I rightly recall - but not one single editor came a-knocking at Naked Mansions. Ah well. Limelight never did suit my complexion.

We love it when our friends do well.

Small Pond

Tomorrow is of course 9/11 day, and I've been re-reading the NB stuff. Rather painfully, as it's real and very raw. There are references to blogs and diaries long since defunct (maybe they got lives), and we meet my first (then) blogstar patron - a New York flight attendant called Carrie. Many mentions too of a new-fangled thing called Google, and the subsequent necessity of asterisking contentious words.

Tomorrow I might do a mini-feature, or I might ignore it completely, depending on the weather - and the absolute fact that no amount of weeping and wailing will bring back one single person. Repair one single shattered family. But if you're at all interested, you know the date quite well already, and the archives are still there. Still archived, after all this time.

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Friday, September 08, 2006


Bumper Weekend Edition! Put the kettle on!

Hiya! Yesterday was a screenless day, so no post and no replies to comments, emails or even text messages, all of which are building up bigtime. My bad.

It's so wonderful to be wanted, darlings, and not for my money or my body! Although a bit of the latter wouldn't go amiss - before winter sets in. "What you gonna do when it gets dark at four o'clock?" asked David in the Regent yesterday. "Be very depressed," I replied, miming cuddling a pint and staring in to it. For three months.

Al O'Pecia

Bought some Sea Kelp yesterday, from Real Foods. North Atlantic kelp, it said on the bottle. (Clearly better than rubbish kelp from the Irish Sea. Probably radioactive, that kelp.) So why this sudden ingestion of concentrated seaweed? Because I've discovered an alopecia forum, and one or two of them there were recommending it for hair loss. What they were definitely NOT recommending was a Mirena coil up yer front bottom, so if you've got one of them and you value yer barnet, then get it whipped out quick, girls. Me I've never needed such a coil. My eggs just never materialised, only the egg mentality.

Hair Today

Two choices, really for patchy hair loss. Grow it long and do comb-overs with ghastly stinky hairspray, or keep very short to minimize the visual impact. I chose short. Nipped into John Lewis and purchased a Remington Hair Clipper. Made in China. Just thirty quid though, which shows that a bowl of rice a day sure keeps those prices down.

There was a foxy dude pictured on the box, like always with gents grooming gadgets. I looked at the shop assistant. Young man working in John Lewis - very likely gay. Let's have some fun!

"Will it make me look like him on the box?" I demanded, imperiously.

He was struck dumb. Gaping for the right answer. Questions like that had never been in his training.

"I would pay ten pounds more for that feature..." I pressed on.

We laughed then, after a beat. I let him off. Something to tell his partner that night, over their Marks and Spencer sushi to share. Must be a strange life, working in John Lewis, reacting to their bizarre, social-climbing Martians all day. People you never see any other place except in John Lewis.

Me, I worked in an off-licence in Great Junction Street for a year, but that is a different side of retail. Jaikie side.

So here I am this morning, with a number one all over. (One eighth of an inch. Or three millimetres for those of metric persuasion.) Looks hard as fuck, to be honest. Did it myself, but I'll take my new clipper in to work so I can get it touched up if necessary. Nice young women colleagues I have. And men, but better to be touched up by a woman.

Friday's Blog Of The Week Status Anxiety. Beautifully written observations of her life. Just the kind of blog you'll love.

Discovered "anxious" via this post, which ponders the nature of blog "success". I know blog popularity is a bit few days ago, but it's a topic no serious blogger ever tires of.

Which is all by way of saying I'm gonna RECYCLE MY MUSINGS, as they're too good to be buried in anxious's comment box. (He said, with the full confidence which comes from distant transactions.)
Keep it interesting, keep it legal, but most of all keep it coming. You're so right there.

I enjoyed reading your piece, even though in essence I think you're attempting the impossible. If there was some "magic formula" to get you a successful blog in the terms you mean here, then it would be sold for a guinea a bottle.

But here's a thing I don't think anyone's mentioned yet - uniqueness. Each of the "top blogs" has something that no other blog has.

So mike isn't remotely like zed, who isn't remotely like anna, who isn't remotely like JonnyB, who isn't remotely like andre, and so on.

There will be no overlap. Their voices are distinct. And freed from the MSM requirement to write about actual "stuff", they are thus able to parade their individualities bigtime. And they are glorious.

But the shop isn't closed. Certainly not. Only last year I was delighted to champion Tokyo Girl, for instance, who went on to scoop a Bloggie in her first year. By and large established bloggers are welcoming and helpful, rather than obstructive and discouraging. I've found.

News From Around The Johns

From time to time we bring you interesting lavatory posters. (They can put things on toilet walls which might seem a little... tasteless in the body of the kirk.)

Take this one. Or rather, don't - without a condom on it at least.

Eye-catching or what. It's about Health Education for the young. There's a club night with DJ Trendy Wendy and Co. I must meet this Trendy Wendy chick some day. Not much happens in this town without her imprimatur.

HIV Comeback Tour

And that's it. I WILL reply to comments et al just as soon as.


Well, not quite it. Five years ago I'd have lit a cigarette while I read and hopefully enjoyed my post of the day. Then walked away, utterly unaware that in just a few days time, on September 11th, something was to happen which would stop every fledgling blogger in his or her tracks. That the fun and novelty of having people in other countries avidly reading your stuff was about to be tested to its very limit. For just a few days, what you were to write actually mattered.

Every blogger. Across the planet. With no exception. See you on Monday.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Yes, that's right. Fun and games on Radio 4 yesterday with the gorgeous Zed and osobutch Twat, aka Quarsan. Details here. You can choose the full hour, with its unedited authenticity, or the quarter hour shared with Petite Anglaise.

Naked Blog has decided that zed and Quarsan just have to be the next Richard and Judy.

We love it when our friends do well.

Life Is OK In America

The next few weeks of the British Broadcasting Corporation's blog-o-rama will be from Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Seattle and Tennessee, as it's a well known fact that there are no further British blogs worth mentioning. Well, actually there are, but given a choice between Seattle and Stevenage, I guess the answer is obvious. It's only the licence-payers' money, after all.

They did exactly this with the blog feature on BBCi earlier this year, when the same points were made, and clearly utterly ignored.

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Well, there I was yesterday, enjoying my post-5-hills pint in the Flotterstone Inn, when who should breeze into the beer-garden but my former radio co-star Stewart. He is convalescing his newly-knitted ankle.

I said I wasn't that impressed with his posting my radio performances on the internet without even asking. He said it was accidental. Twice or three times he said that. Well, I've heard of accidentally deleting, but never yet accidentally podcast-safing, formatting, posting and leaving for a week. But you live and learn.

We laughed. He's going to be big in podcasting, apparently. I said darling we were doing all that two years ago with Live365 Radio. It's all so over. Like blogging. The next big thing is about to arrive, but no-one knows what it is.

Sting In The Tail

Not such fair dinkum for the Australian croc hunter. But what a way to go - pulling a stingray barb out of your heart. Apparently the cameraman had to stop the camera, which was noble, but a bit damn stupid. Those who live by the camera...

(This is now in dispute.)

Wasn't at all impressed though by the footage of him feeding a crocodile while holding his baby in his arms. Very Michael Jack*son, I thought. Stupid stunt. But he didn't deserve to die for that.

Sun, Beach and Barb

There are some ways of dying which have just oodles of panache. Avalanches, lightning, anything near Mount Everest, but most especially trying to save a child or a dog. (Only a dog. Not any lesser creature.)

Others, such as emphysema, evoke little sympathy at all. In fact people are more likely to die laughing watching you try to waddle. So I guess we can put death by stingray barb firmly into the former group. Not that common either. Apparently the last death by stingray was in 1945, but you wouldn't think they'd have noticed with the war on. Apparently Australia has gone into national mourning for Steve Irwin. He was a good bloke.

Germaine Greer isn't a fan, clearly. Haven't heard from GG since BB.

Why won't my new computer make a keyboard shortcut for Internet Explorer? (Any comments saying I've got a crap computer will be deleted.) As will anything mentioning Opera or FireFox. If people had been meant to use Opera or FireFox then God wouldn't have discovered Seattle.

All The Fives

Watched another prom last night. (Sadly Charles Hazlewood is back, complete with charity shop clothes and repulsive hairy chest. Yeucch! Whatever happened to manners? Wtf at the BBC is he sleeping with?)

It was Beethoven 5, brill as always, quickly followed by Tchaikovsky 5 which was clear and present shite in comparison.

I haven't heard Tchaik 5 since 1965, when I last played in it. (Yes, you read that right.) "Played in", as in first violins of London University Orchestra. We were touring Germany, postwar. Bitter December days. I played it in Hamburg, in Munich and other towns and cities I forget. We took a bus trip to the Iron Curtain, which was a big barbed wire fence with lookout towers. We were warned NOT TO ANNOY THE BORDER GUARDS or they might shoot you.

Some people visit places - others play symphonies in them. Darling. Tchaik 5 is still crap though, even if he was a sister.

Tuesday's Blog Of The Week

Is Smaller Than Life, by Salvadore Vincent. (I so nearly wrote "Dali".) Salvadore is a mate of JonnyB, and has frequently "held the fort" in Jonny's occasional absences from the village.


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Monday, September 04, 2006


Edinburgh architecture is famously all over the place, and the lack of planning and "anything goes" that we see today is really nothing new. Take Calton Road. From Classical to Fairy-tale to Bauhaus to Chalet to Chateau - all within five minutes' walk. I deliberately omitted Her Majesty's Holyrood Palace, as being a special case.

I really must explore this interesting street further. It's got loads of photographic opportunities.

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Friday, September 01, 2006


Fun and games in the blogosphere over the Top 50 British Bloggers list-o-rama in a magazine. Included are mike, alistair, tom, anna - and by a little EU expansion we have the gorgeous zed also.

Excluded are andre, JonnyB, and of course this cutting edge rag you're currently reading. Pah! I say. Pah!

Radio Ga-ga

Loads and loads of you guesting on radio shows, podcasting, etc these days. If you want to hear yours truly (at last) actually presenting a radio show, then Stewart my former co-star has "podcast-safed" some of our better stuff, and showcased it here. (Start with Grumpy 3b. Don't click on the top one, as I'm not in it.)

Whilst I'm somewhat ambivalent about Stew using my organ and my performances to market his own radio career (mine is in ruins), I think you might possibly enjoy this just a little. Kind of "meet the blogger", but I get no closer than in your computer speakers.

All shows broadcast in June this year, I think it was, on Leith FM. Beginners might usefully learn a wee trick or two from this pair of old hands. Afraid you'll just have to imagine the songs, as trying to get a licence for net-casting is harder than finding a virgin in a posh girls' school.
"Actually, listening further, this podcasty thing is seriously marv. Link to it, why dontcha?" (Troubled Diva, Top 50 Blogger and Famous Critic)"
Your radio hosts in happier times:

Your station. (Start with Grumpy 3b. Or Grumpy 3a.)

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