Yes, it's that time at last. Time to hunt out the sand shoes, spade and pail. (Why do you never hear of pails any more? Nothing but bucket, bucket, bucket. Bring back the pail, that's what Naked Blog says.)
Butlins! Pontins! Oh, you're never alone at a holiday camp. Morning, campers.
Others fly high into the sky - with no regard for the planet beneath them.
Gas guzzle, gas guzzle, guzzle that gas!! Fasten your seatbelts, there is a terrorist in seat 14B.
Others again sit in the house staring at computer screens and wondering if they can afford another two games at two for fifteen quid. Something, anything to pass the time. Cheaply. Non-alcoholically, if necessarily alone. Not at a camp. Not high in the sky.
Consuming protein. Could go to the more deserving.
A bingo lady died last week. She was lovely, but she knew it was very close. Couldn't breathe, you see. On oxygen. Except at the bingo, her second home.
Every day she would give me a cake. "Your bum's out the window!" she would say, when she didn't win. Or, "It's cold tonight - for your bum!" Mild Irish accent. She told me she once sneezed her false teeth out, over the side of the ferry to Ireland. We laughed.
They die all the time, of course. Well, only once each, but you know what I mean. I don't go to any of the funerals, because if you went to one you'd have to go to them all, and I'd never be away. I think my life's bleak enough already.
With Bernice, one of my young colleagues. It was yesterday, after work, and I introduced her as my long-lost daughter from an earlier marriage. How we all laughed. Nurse David was our servitor. On top form, as ever.
David the Writer likened a friendship to a series of concentric circles. He traced this out on the bar. I said that's a spiral, but only said it to cover my confusion. I'm not used to friendship. Not used to people being kind. Well aware that I'd taken what these people had offered, and kicked them in the teeth. Here on me blog. Me lovely, pretty, UK100 blog. Arsehole.
Sticks and stones, but words hurt too.
Such A Lovely Place...
Drew asked what I'd meant by likening the bar to the Hotel California. I said you can check out any time you want but you can never leave. I said I was practically living there. Said it'd taken over twenty years to escape from the Port o Leith Bar. And I didn't have another twenty years left to spare.
Alan the owner was understandably cool.
Am I man enough to say sorry?
But don't think that's the end of things. Oh no. It's November on Wednesday, and you ain't seen nothing yet, dudes. We discussed nervous breakdowns happening live on blog. Reality madness.
On the ending of British Summer Time, overnight
How's yer house for GMT? Me it was a bit confusing, as the video and Freeview box changed by themselves, but the scattered-about battery clocks obviously hadn't. Nor darling zoe. Which I've corrected. (The clocks, not the cat.)
You don't mess with time. Emotions always, recreationals occasionally, but we don't do time. Time can get you sacked, so I've always worked closely with it. Gravity is the dimension I still have problems with. Avoirdupois. Back over the thirteen stone mark again today. Fatso. Feed a cold and become obese. I should have married Victoria Beckham. Truly should.
Fascinating programme sometimes. I'm sure you know the format. The programme makers hunt out two families as dissimilar as they can find, then swap wives/mothers for a fortnight, so (hopefully) all hell will break out. Teen kids are essential for those adolescent strops.
Let's call last night's wives Mrs Clean and Mrs Dirty, as I've no notion of their actual names.
Mrs Dirty was a biker's wife, biker in her own right too, and she moved into the Clean house quickly to throw out all their cleaning products. She said there would be no more cleaning in the house.
The Cleans were distraught - they even took to cleaning surreptitiously when she wasn't looking.
Mrs Clean, on the other hand, moved into the biker house and immediately cleaned it from top to bottom. The Dirties were distraught too. Mr Dirty the biker said she'd removed all trace of him from the lounge. She had not just emasculated him, but stolen his very identity. (They were just kiddy-on bikers you could tell... office by day and bijou rallies once a month.)
Mrs Clean was in floods when her new family wouldn't co-operate. They were just so resistant to cleanliness. So she made them all sit round the table for dinner. They'd never had a family dinner, and they did like that a bit.
But oh, the ending. Talk about cathartic. Mrs Clean got back to her house to find her husband and the kids had gone totally dirty. They laid on the couches in disarray. They didn't cook meals any more. They didn't even take their shoes off indoors. Her very raison d'etre had gone right up the Khyber Pass.
Yes, Mrs Dirty had won hands down. She not only got her own family happily back, but had thoroughly phukt the Cleans menage. Mister Clean even stated that things would have to change now. Leaving his wife exactly where? With her Mr Muscle spray and little else.
Truth is always more interesting than fiction. Look at Naked Blog.
So how are you feeling these changeable times? Me, I've really been a bit under the weather for a few days. Not really ill, not totally well, just sub-optimal. Anyway - one is on holiday after this evening's shift, so we'll see what we will see. I'm imagining lots of hill-walking. For a change.
You can never get too much sky over your head. Ever.
Good morning! (Resisting the urge to put "catfans"!) This writing for two can make a guy schizo, I swear it.
Oh what a day yesterday. Rainy, then sunny, but oh so very windy. Which makes my draughty old tenement into a wind tunnel. Which in turn often makes me sneeze me little head off. Strange, that. I can spend hour after hour on the Pentland hilltops in the howling gale, which it usually is, due to pronounced lack of shelter - and not suffer a smidgen. Bit breeze in the house though, and I'm doing auditions for Niagara.
Had to go out teatime to get some Vitamin C from Boots. Oh, did zoe tell you? Tonight at work there's the biggest promotion for fourteen years, and I'm up to here with alopecia and snot. Ah well. On earth to suffer, going gets tough, etc.
After Boots, had to get in a little sociability, even if it was just other people's. To the Cameo Bar in Commercial Street. (I think. Mebbe Sandport Street. Leith street names are SO exotic.) Mentioned the lounge gas fire would have been nice, and lo and behold in ten minutes there it was switched on, the guy looking eagerly for my approval. Or rather my organ's.
Influence, I tellsya.
Later, along Commercial Street. Past the lowering grey modernity of the Scottish Executive building to the Ocean Bar - fortified by twa Tennents. Wrapped up in me new outdoor gear, as warm as a bean in a microwave, despite the ongoing gale, even at sea level. (Mas o menos.) Mebbe ten metres.
Oh that place is ruined! Ocean Bar. Not only do they let kids run about the place screaming (I blame the parents - I'm sure that's not what was envisaged when we said we must Europeanise our drinking laws. In Europe the kids sit there and behave - here the parents abandon them to irritate other people for a change), run about the place screaming, but there's a big fuck-off, pull-down TV screen showing Sky Sports. I ask you. It's so damn big you really can't take your eyes off.
Sponsored by Sims 2. You see - there's no escape.
But maybe there is, a little, and if only for a moment. I at last plucked up the courage (lager) to text Sandra, and she texted back. We're hoping to meet next week, when I'm on holiday. Hoping also mebbe to go to London to look at the Queen. Me, not both of us. Although...
Thanks to Pornyboy Curtis for giving zoe her first link! She's already got her own Technorati at 983,196. And thanks also for your comments there, which I do read to her.
Funny old world. Must dash and buzz me hair - hopefully look a bit less grotesque for the packed house tonight. Nightmare on Elm Street. Have lovely weekends. I will. What's to become of us all, eh?
The thermometer in my study kitchen today showed a heart-warming 61 degrees, the coldest since records began this autumn. It's always been a draughty hole - trying to be the same temperature as outside. Entropy must decrease. I'm sure I'll get pneumonia before I get my bus pass.
That pass looms ever larger. December 31. Sixty years of wisdom. Will I ever get there?
Throughout my twenties I just didn't want to reach thirty. No gonnae. Didn't care about what happened after thirty because that was old beyond thought, beyond human reason. People were in their twenties, after that it was old people.
Thirty came. I honest can't remember how or if I noted its passing.
Forty I was sitting in the house the night before, alone as ever, when the doorbell went late. Someone I'd invited a few days earlier, a former lodger, and he'd kindly remembered and made the effort to visit. Thanks John. We played chess, and we played Chuckie Egg on the Amstrad CPC 6128. Midnight came on the Teletext, we clinked glasses, and that was my youth gone for ever.
Until you're forty you can kid yourself you're "still young". Mid to late thirties nonsense. Forty gets rid of that one, irrevocably. Kicks it into touch. You can be this, or you can be that, but with a four in the figure the one thing you can't be is young. Maybe "a young forty" is the best to hope for. Or what I did myself until the alopecia, which was "young for my age". (Now I'm quite ghastly. Repellent. Like something out of The Exorcist.)
Fifty was much more tricky, as my mother had, very dramatically, died on the day of my forty-ninth. (The death wasn't dramatic, just the timing.) I was in reduced circumstances then, after a turbulent decade, working at the bingo and finishing at ten in the evening.
So I laid the groundwork. Earlier in the day I said to my then lodger, Evergreen Norma's son, "David, tonight I'll be coming in from work and it's my fiftieth birthday and the first anniversary of my mother's death. I would rather go straight to bed without talking if that's OK." But he came to my lounge and spoke. I was pretty mad, but talked back a bit.
And now - a much more peaceful decade this time, if poor as a church mouse. Happier and healthier, especially the last couple of years.
So will I make it till December 31? Watch this space. I've a sneaking pessimism that says probably not. I want that bus pass so very much - the summit of my ambition, the plastic recognition of my contribution to the planet - want it so much that I truly won't ever get it.
It would be my lifetime achievement award. A bingo lady at last.
Just wasted an entire hour on zoe's blog, trying to get comments working for her latest post.
Desperately juggled with the comments settings page. Hide comments. Show comments. Sign out. Sign back in again. Lose some more hair.
No result. Her latest post remained resolutely uncommentable.
Only when I dug deep into the Help did I find the important permission isn't even ON the comment setting page. How stupid is that.
Not sure what to do today. Probably worry about my hair and hate myself. Was playing with video on the digital camera last night. The pictures were fine, just no sound. But oh my bona riah. (Parlari: Lovely hair.) Pretty much got to shave the entire head. Then I'll look like an ageing pimp. Until I'm sixty and become an old pimp.
Any ideas how to get a .MOV file on to YouTube? It says invalid format.
As well as copious rain today, there's more than a little breeze.
Fifty four miles per hour for the top of the Pentlands, according to Metcheck. This is called strong gale. Branches break from trees. I need to be there, shaking my fist at God. "You haven't killed me yet, ya big fucker!" Whoooosh!!!
Plus, nearly forgot, laughed myself daft at Star Stories on E4. Last night it was George Michael.
I'd seen the series billed in earlier weeks, and guessed it would be documentary. But no - it's much better than that. The nearest comparison would be Spitting Image but with humans instead of puppets. Same wicked and destructive wit.
It was all there - the closet years with Andrew Ridgeley, the outings by an incandescent "Boy George", the public lavatories, drugs, the lot. You have to laugh, because Michael has made an awful lot of money by contributing exactly zero to the human condition. Great series. Five Naked Stars. Wednesdays 10.30 E4.
Thanks from me this time for getting zoe's blog off to such a great start. 130 page impressions and 14 comments on the first day would please many a human blogger, I'm sure. I'll be nipping over now and again to check on her progress, and see how the wee thing's enjoying herself as a hot new writer.
Was fun setting up a new blog. Templates, comments, stats. Took me back to a younger, more innocent time. (Memo to self: that's what can happen when you don't live in public houses all the time. Alkie.)
I Love Zoe The Cat won't be the last one, btw. There's another I've got planned - for the next sober day. Or what passes for "plans" in this pickled old cerebellum.
"Gay men don't have ambitions, they have daydreams." Quentin Crisp
Anyway, sweeties - must dash. Here's a comment box dump I did yesterday when Blogger was broken. It's only 12 hours old, and references some important TV on Monday.
(Talking of which - I was scoping out that new BBC series Torchwood yesterday. Trust that Russell T Davies to get in a hot 'man on man' kiss on the first episode! You gotta laugh. You could see how one of the actors was so not enjoying it. Otherwise the show was adolescent sub-everything rubbish. BBC simply can't compete with Buena Vista.)
From My Comment Box Last Night
Seems zoe has made such a cybersplash she's not only fuckt the blogger comments, but la blogger herself.
So I can't bore you to tears with today's walk, which was - in fact - quintessentially boring. Healthy, but boring.
Didn't go to the Regent, as it's all got a bit Hotel California. Sent my regrets to the writers' group. I'm not a writer, anyway, I'm a blogger.
Writers create joy from nothing. Bloggers bleat on about themselves in a manner which is *meant* to be entertaining, and sometimes achieves that.
So, no space to tell you about the Jon Snow Muslim chitchat on Channel 4 Monday night. (OK except for the shouty guy. Why do they always have a shouty guy on?) Plus if that was a representative British audience, then I'm a Martian rentboy.
Then it was the delectable Fanny Cradock. Billed as the "first TV chef" - by someone obviously too young to remember Philip Harben in the early 50s. Oh the young. How little they know and how much they do pontificate.
But enough. Genug. Was a great Fanny drama, although leaving lots of questions unanswered, which we don't really have the space to pose here.
Oh, btw. Get on over to mike's and check out his vidcast. Pretty damn good.
Was in Princes Street Curry's just yesterday scoping out the video cameras so's I can jump on that bandwagon for you too before it crashes. It appeals to my showbiz side, my inner Natasha Kaplinsky. Over 200 quid though, by the time you get the batteries and firewire. Yet I've already got a video feature on my latest camera. But there's no sound - and silent movies went out even before I was born.
There's a work-around, though! Need to simply record the sound directly on to Brad, methinks, and then synchronise. I believe they call that a clapper board. Or slapper board, in my case.
This could be lots of fun. "Ready for my close-up, Mr de Mille." (I talk rubbish for a living, so there's absolutely no problem with content.) No problem at all.
[Fade to credits, as Peter walks off into the dusty distance, yakking non-stop.]
Yes, I know, I know. Doctors make you worse. But only if you let them actually do things to you. Just talking can't make you worse, can it?
It's me alopecia, ken. There I am, healthier than ever in my life without exception - (was always a sickly kid. Plus started smoking at nine... people did that in the fifties...) but the old riah's falling out like a Hiroshima snowstorm. (That is one contrived simile, btw.)
And of course working in show-business. Even if it's so-far-along-the-pier showbiz it's fallen off the end. Still can't afford to be unsightly. Michty me. How I was put on this earth to suffer.
I'm thinking a nice wig. Seriously. By the time I get that bus pass in December I'll have a head like the southern hemisphere. (Like that one better?) Be able to trace the bus routes on it like a map. A wig like Frank Sinatra, rather than Elton John. That's partly why I need the doc. National Health.
Strange, being disfigured. I got a North Face woolly hat from Tiso on Monday to hide my head. North Face. Who would have thought I'd ever wear a thing with the label on the outside? How common is that? That's why I shop in charity shops. Class. But it was the only one they had.
"I'd like to see a doctor please," I said to the woman, politely. She stared at me like I was speaking rubbish. "You can see a doctor next Wednesday," she eventually replied, patiently. (It was this Tuesday when she said next Wednesday.) Thus being eight days away. Be pretty shitty if you were in agony.
When I were a lad (how you must be sick of hearing about that) when I were a lad you went along and just sat in the waiting room and waited. Listening to the wifies smoking and chatting. Interesting chat. Who the new woman in the fish shop was. Who was the best doctor. Who'd just died. Have you tried the new black and green tablets yet? Everybody swears by them.
Endless Woman and Woman's Own magazines spread out on the centre table. Marjorie Proops. Katie Boyle. Barbara Kelly. Eve Somebody, your Editress. Ash trays everywhere of course.
Anyway. Enough of the nostalgia. All I'm saying is... fifty years ago you got to see a doctor in half an hour. Now it's eight days, and they call that progress. They call that spending billions on the NHS. Arseholes.
Paws For Thought
Zoe says miaow, and thanks you for giving her new blog such a great start! Over 200 page impressions already. She's especially pleased with all the catty comments, heaps more than her master ever gets. And she promises to update as soon as her claws recover from yesterday's typing marathon.
One man who's suffered a huge amount of negativity - far more than even I get - is the Prime Minister.
So here I want to play the old age card and state - unequivocally - that Tony Blair is the best Prime Minister there has been in my remembered lifetime. (Which goes back to Mr Attlee.) And that the present government has been the best I've ever enjoyed.
You might well disagree. But - surprise, surprise - this one's about what I think - a concept that rarely gets exercised irl due to intense shyness. A (blogging) voice for the dispossessed, the man in the corner of the bar balefully watching the networking world - and wondering when it all started to go wrong.
Anyway, I'm waffling as usual. There's loads of weekend stuff below you won't have seen, due to your only surfing on your employer's time. Me, I actually have to work when I'm at work, but that's the low wage economy for you.
But it's not really a job, it's an anti-depressant. Yes, really. One of the accepted treatments for "the depressions" is to train people to act happy. Act. Me, I do that for a living. No matter how fucked up and pissed off, I slip without the slightest effort into MC work mode.
"Hello Peter, how are you?"
"Brilliant! But how are you?"
Just a short hour earlier I would have been at home staring blankly at the kitchen knives. Never fails.
AND THE BIRD OF PARADISE
Here's a fab YouTube about Tony, Gordon and David. Thanks to Urban Chick for finding it. (You must sort out that childcare so you can manage a hillwalk blogmeet :o)
Poor Andy Marr is still tucked up in his sickbed, so once again it was down to Huw Edwards. But oh, what a bore of a show this week, apart from the always great value Gyles Brandreth, and some chick from the Sun whose name I didn't catch. (Sorry ladies - I promise this is not a stag feature from Autumnwatch, and later in this post I will *prove it*. So there.)
Yes, it was doze along with William Haig - surely the best aid to sleeping since morphine - and Trevor Thing about veils and Poles. (Poles have 50s attitudes to black people, Trevor slipped in at the end of his yawnsville set. But if they gonna come here they gotta respect our Rasta brothers. And he would have dreads himself if he wasn't bald.) (I made that last bit up - but he did allude to dreadlocks.) Me, I was dozing at the time. You can see why I never made it as a TV critic.
He said if we're not careful there'd be "Fire in the Streets". Clearly hoping anyone who can remember Enoch Powell's "Rivers of Blood" has long passed on.
NUMBER TWO IN NOTTINGHAM
Talking of TV, what's the goss about the new Robin Hood? The Radio Times gives me mixed messages - the pics all show him with a "fuck you as soon as look at you" 'tude, but the copy, last week at least, described him as a "little pipsqueak you want to send into the garden to play with his bow and arrows". Me I'll take the first version, por favor.
They say Nottingham has the worst crime rate in Britain, so maybe there'd be a place for a new, 2006 Robin Hood.
In fact - there's a story idea. "Robbin' da Hood Midduk". (As ever, you saw it here first.)
HEAVEN AND DEARTH
Things hotted up considerably with Gloria Hunniford, already a "must-see" with her wonderful 3 R's of race, religion and rent-a-sleb.
On the panel were the evergreen and enormously wrinkled Ann Leslie (tellt ya!), a black man with the biggest white collar I've ever seen, and some ex-punk Muslim who looked like he'd just stumbled out the Port o Leith Bar by mistake. Or his Big Issue pitch beside Scotmid Co-op. After you with that joint, dude. Peace be upon him.
Anyway the black man with the enormous thing said that Pentecostals regard homosexuality as a sin. Well - "sin" is a meaningless term to this writer, so I can't usefully reply. Hereabouts we tend to stick to human behaviour because of its greater visibility.
What homosexuality actually is might interest a few readers btw, and I can assure you I've stumbled on the absolute answer to that question. I can further say that all other commenters are wrong, and that before I die I intend to pass on my stunning revelation. I've had 59 years just to work on this, but my findings are too mind-blowing to give away for nothing.
Sorry. There are limits. I have my old age to think about, and nobody buys bonkbooks from old slappers like me.
The BA "cross woman" was on then - a really bizarre dame - in that she seemed unable to answer Gloria without lapsing into biblical quotations. Constantly. That's why BA wanted rid of the daft cow - nothing to do with what she was wearing round her neck.
"How much is my ticket then?" "What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world?"
"What time does this plane get in?" "Ere the cock crows thrice."
"I want First Class." "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle."
She was actually worse than that, far worse - just I'm trying not very successfully to fashion some Christian airport jokes. She was a check-in clerk. Your own thoughts might be more amusing. Usually are.
Bizarrely, the most interesting hour was on shopping channel QVC where they were flogging digital cameras and photo software. Watched the whole show and didn't buy a thing! Take That!
It's all so gloriously live and amateurish. Later they had a gadget hour, one of them being an MP3 maker. But the sound didn't work, so they had to just tell you about it. QVC! Who would have thought? (Must remind you here, peeps, that NB posts are my own, genuine observations. Only the two text ads at the top are "ads" in the sense everyone understands that.) My, aren't we a sophisticated, cutting-edge bunch? :o)
And that's about it, midduks. Visited GAME shop last night in Ocean Terminal mall. Why are PC games so utterly dire compared to fifteen years ago? So bereft of everything entertaining? So exactly the same as every other one? Even the lauded-to-the-heavens Sims just eat, shit and shower all day. Even the puny Playstation 2 brought us the Grand Theft Auto masterpieces.
Ah well. It was always too good to be true, I suppose.
It's because I'm hateful, shallow.
Plus all of the above.
GOOD WHILE IT LASTED
Looking for a new pub to waste my hard-earned in. Due to rudeness and rejection. And someone (anyone) to be my friend. Seems decades since I had a friend. People don't have friends when they get old, just families and relationships. Neither of which.
Born to be alone. Born to be a loser. Two more alopecias last night. Can't work in showbiz much longer. Need to lock myself in a cupboard for a year. Mouseproof, flea-proof. Old people consume valuable protein. Drain on the economy. Economy drain. Youngsters hate us because we are their future, wrinkled, prostatic. Patchy hair loss. Patchy loss of everything. Blogging substitute for living. Except it isn't. Doesn't. Cut the mustard. Moutard. Mouton. Cadet.
This is shitty, but I'm starting to enjoy it, so should reallystop. Reallystop is the answer to everything. Choose reallystop for a quick solution. Act now and save $$$$$.
STILL LIFE WITH CAT AND COMPUTER
Yes, it was exactly one year ago today that my friend Sandra came round to rescue me from a morass of mouse invasion - the horror of which is still coming out in my hair. (Unless it's some other horror coming out in my hair. My life is like a page out of Wes Craven's notebook.)
We went to Seafield Dog and Cat Home, purchased zoe for twenty five little pounds (including cat carrier cage), and this year of mouse tranquillity has been the result. Except I'm consumed with guilt that zoe has no cat company. And not always that much of mine. Guilt, guilt, guilt. Where would we be without it?
I love zoe like I've never loved another creature, and I'd be inconsolable if anything happened to her. In. Con. Solable.
Madame I salute you and I thank you. Maybe today I'll pluck up enough courage to text Sandra. Zoe can be the excuse. On a scale of self-confidence I'm somewhere around minus five. Have a lovely weekend. I won't.
How would you like being told that you're more genuine in your writing than you are in the flesh? How would you like that?
"Why are people so interested in the emergency services?" Writer David asked in The Regent a couple of days ago. It was our weekly writers' group. David's just written one peach of an Edinburgh story which he's sent to Scottish New Writing. Me, I have awful trouble making stuff up, so give mega respect to those who can.
But having said that, I still ultimately prefer those who don't make it up, like Burchill and Ronson.
And prefer - most of all - those who actually live it rather than write about it. Like the paradigm-shifting Boy George, featured on't telly, yet again, this week. "We were just making a pop record. I never knew every thirteen-year-old girl on the planet was going to fall in love with me." I have so much respect for Boy George it hurts. You had to be there.
(It seems the NYPD haven't had quite enough diversity training though. Verbally tortured BG all night, calling him "faggot" and related compliments.)
Which leads us, by serendipity, (you think I ever plan this rubbish?) back to emergency services and my friend David in The Regent. We were discussing blogs.
Specifically, I was explaining to him and Robert about the bloggers who'd broken through the paper ceiling - had books published out of the bloggerations. I mentioned a policeman, ambulance driver and prostitute. (Some ribaldry about prostitution as emergency service!)
Then we got on to anonymity and the recent brouhaha over another female sex-blogger. (Not a prostitute.) She had her book serialised in a paper, and then they outed her, which has turned out strangely convenient.
I said it was inconceivable that the cop and the ambulanceman could stay anonymous much longer. The cop had his stuff in the Daily Mail already, and yes parts of it are controversial, so the press will be sniffing around the police cells (and publisher's houses) pretty damn thoroughly.
There's little escape from the News Of The World. Ask Tommy Sheridan.
USE AND ORNAMENT
These bloggers have huge influence in the world of Brit Blog. Their blogrolls direct swathes of traffic to the eager serfs, panting at the feeding bowl and comment box. (None of the afore links to here, not surprisingly. We never kiss ass. Not our style.)
And sex goes on selling, as it always has and always will. Without sex there would be no internet, or at least not one as developed as it is. And emergency services sell too, because who isn't scared of crime and dying? But what we don't get enough of, except for a couple of brave and gifted perseverers, are marvellous tales of real life. Real life as most people know it, or in my case remember it. No nee-naw sirens. No fumbled liaisons with the rich or engorged. Just good old-fashioned home cooking, served with lexical relish. There used to be more of it, but they stopped.
So this one writes that some man or other "- deserves to have his balls lovingly sucked and fondled, I think," and gets 43 comments. Plus a book about it all.
While this one describes the most loving fathering I've ever encountered, and won't make double figures.
Afterthought: Please don't take this as criticism of any of the bloggers or genres mentioned. Or sour grapes. Or "should have been me".
While in the heady, early days of Naked Blog and Guardian lists a book might have seemed a distant possibility, it's now clear that can't be. Not with material like this at least. What the crossover bloggers have shown is just what makes a book and what doesn't. We already knew about sex, and we knew about celebs. Both of them surefire. But they've pointed out a couple of new areas too: nee-naw and stethoscopes.
And when I compare the comment boxes of two blogs, that doesn't seek to demean the "larger" one. It just points up something about readers, that's all. Something a bit trashy, lacking.
But I still love blogging, me. And my bingo ladies say, "House!".
Tomorrow is zoe's and my first anniversary. I've already taken a wonderful birthday portrait of her. But what can we do to celebrate? A live mouse would make an ideal gift, but that is too cruel to contemplate. Too, too cruel. We don't hate mice, we just don't want them living here.
Three of us there last night, in the Regent. David, Robert and moi. Karina was otherwise occ.
Robert had been away for a month, in Venice, Rome and Barcelona. There was no gay scene in Venice at all. "What about the Gondoliers?" I asked. He said they were everywhere - everywhere - but not any gay scene. He said everything in Venice goes at 10 miles an hour. Even fast boats have to go slow, in case they make a wash.
Rome he didn't say that much about, but you wouldn't think Rome and Venice were in the same country. Barcelona was fab, despite him getting robbed twice. Once by a pickpocket and once by two guys pretending to be cops and searching him. It just goes to show.
Lovely evening. Nurse David came in, with his better other half, Derek. Real nice guy. There used to be a famous gay couple here in the seventies called Derek and Dave. Dave was from London, so they became Derek and Dive. They ran orgies.
It was David's birthday. I told him he shared it with Gordon and The Twat. (MBIAT) He was forty one, and I told him I could see he was still well up for it.
MCAFEE SPAMKILLER 8
Been having a few probs with McAfee Spamkiller 8. Difficult, nigh on impossible to rescue filtered messages. Really, version 7 was so good.
However - after two hours on their support pages, I think I've got it sussed. I'd configured my POP3 accounts as Webmail, which is not what you do. So now I've unconfigured them, and things seem okey. It sticks [SPAM] in front of the subject, and they go into a Spamkiller folder. (Oulook Express.) From there you can one-click rescue them s'il vous plait.
But really, the last one was fine. The one with the red surround and skittle figures for friends. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Got two new nasty insect bites above my right knee overnight. Ouch! Strangely they look more vicious than fleas. Mebbe spider. I'll get the bairn to the vet and some Program Flea Injection soon as. Plus spray the bed a bit. I'm not revulsed or pulsed, just itchy.
Mad Jim, whom I haven't met but seems quite charming, wants a Pentland walk next week. Any takers pls leave your 'tails below. Monday, Tuesday or Thursday.
I'm gonna stick a veil on that Karina, I swear it.
Someone was writing that it's gone straight from summer to winter. Hate to disagree, but where I'm stationed it's quite splendidly autumn. Berries are everywhere... even big ones like conkers... leaves are starting to fall... geese return from the arctic... ewes get tupped left, right and centre. (I was explaining to Karina when we were in the Pentlands the practice of dyeing the ram's belly so the colour comes off on the backs of the ewes after "servicing".) That's a very clumsy sentence about a hopefully straightforward act. Wham, bam, thank you ram.
Dye Me To The Moon
"Why does that one have three different colours on it?" Karina asked, pointing at a ewe looking like a refugee from Blackpool seafront. I said she was mebbe a wee whore. Ewe whore, kind of.
Some of them had dye on their necks, but we didn't discuss that at this early stage in our friendship. (Don't ask. About that dye. Just DON'T.) I would never lie to you, you know that.
It's Gordon and Quarsan! Happy happy happy. Where's Kylie when you want her?
(My own next birthday I get my coveted BUS PASS - the established badge of seniority hereabouts. You can go all over Scotland with it. I will do that, go all over Scotland with it on your behalf, and write about it here and there.)
Got three of the buggers, round and about my left heel. Achilles tendon. So itchy.
That I don't mind though, being a country lad, but it's the possibility of flea invasion of my home that bugs me. However - there is a secret weapon, which goes "Miaow!". Yes, really. For something like twenty pounds at the vets I can have darling zoe injected with flea poison which kills them if they bite her. Bit like a living fly strip, if you can remember such things.
But oh the ethics of stuffing your cat with a product you wouldn't take yourself, even if it were available for humans, which it isn't.
Interesting Trivia Fact
My first ever published (and paid for) sentence:
"This morning, while sitting thinking in the bathroom, I saw an insect walking on my leg." The Scotsman, circa mid to late eighties.
Yes, it was the previous flea drama, insects unwittingly carried home from a cat-owner's house. I owe so much to fleas.
Strange how many of you have gone from blog to freelance journo, while I sit back with that "done it all before" wisdom. Ten pence a word, it was then, which hardly paid the bus fares. Better off with Google adz, honestly. At least you just have to sit there. Not go to places and talk to people you're not remotely interested in.
For me the ABSOLUTE glory of blogging is that you can be completely and utterly yourself, rather than pandering to readership and editor. Scotsman readers tend to be teachers, social workers and Scottish Executive pen-pushers. People trying to look posher than they are. (What do you call a clerk these days, now that no-one handwrites? Key-tappers?)
Just dispatched forty of my earth pounds to the McAfee Corp for their latest wheeze.
What's this one got that the last one didn't? Two things... Site Advisor and Data Backup. I left the Privacy service unchecked, as that one really fucked up Priscilla.
So now all your lovely blogs have a green button. Except the ones which are only grey. But wild horses wouldn't drag out of me which those are. This isn't Downing Street.
Yes that's right. No work, no hills, no nothing. I even washed up a little - two sandwich boxes and my unbreakable Thermos flask. Outdoor stuff. Tonight the writers' group reconvenes, as Robert is back from Venice. Me, I can't write anything except blog these days. No time. No interest. If it's not about me, then what's the point? Other stuff you can get elsewhere. Can and do.
Tata the noo.
High noon, and I honestly can't remember whether I've meditated or not...
I hate sloppiness, me. Slang I'm just fine with. Modern usage, too. But not wanton mistakes from those who should know better.
Ironically this does excuse almost everyone under 50 with the misfortune to be "state-educated". Shortly after I left school in the summer of 65, hippiedom kicked in and they abandoned anything as oppressive as actual "teaching". (Mustn't overload their young heads with too much knowledge.) So instead we got the farrago of multiculturalism, equal opportunities, modern studies, media studies, sex, drugs and drama that they're still landed with today, poor suckers.
Not that there isn't some value in these matters. But there's rather more in reading, writing and arithmetic.
Jings, crivens and help ma boab - I've started to sound like the Daily Fucking Telegraph. Like father, like son.
Santa's Sleighbells Ring
Two people you would expect to pronounce "roofs" correctly would be X, a BBC presenter, and Y, the curator of building fabric of Canterbury cathedral on Gloria Hunniford this morning. It's hardly rocket science. One roof, two roofs. But no. It was the usual... rooves, rooves, rooves.
FUCK OFF why doncha! Get OFF my television! Both of them at it. I nearly threw my dictionary at the screen.
Same with that dead DJ John Peel. His programme was called Home Truths. Not troothes. Never troothes. Ain't no such nigger in the woodpile as troothes.
I hate sloppiness, me.
Also on Gloria they were chatting about the veiled teacher. She appears to be suspended. So they had her on film, speaking. Now, I know at nearly sixty my hearing ain't what it once was, but you could have shoved a loudspeaker up me bum before I could make out what the woman was saying from behind that veil. Clearly make out. Make out with the clarity in English as a first language I would expect a teacher of my children to possess.
'Nuff said. England appears to be so short of teaching staff that intelligibility is no longer a requirement.
Huw Edwards was quite brilliant this morning. Fast, incisive, not a moment wasted. Move over, Andrew Marr. That could have been a costly manflu the wee thing's got. He lives in Edinburgh, you know. Mebbe he'll be in The Regent tonight.
The head of the EU was on too. Most impressive.
Hardly slept a wink last night, after crashing out too early in the evening. I hate insomnia. Really pity people who get it a lot. So I used the hours to revise the last two episodes of Lost, Series 2. What drama! I'm going to contradict my earlier dissatisfaction and say that viewed sober and awake they made a fitting end to a pretty and intriguing series. And left the certainty of more to come.
Plus Desmond, a drunken Scotsman! Home from home. Ooo la la.
Stretch Limo (Economy version)
Oh - and please helpa yourselfa to my latest screensaver below. You need to see it full screen for the proper effect. Extremely cheering, if I say it myself.
But things are not quite so green these days... comes to all of us, darlings... so now we bring you the pick of October, lovingly photographed for you at Flotterstone Bridge, near Edinburgh, on Thursday.
Enjoy. And thanks for putting my little organ in the Top 50 Influential Blogs in the UK. (Bottom of post below.) We try always to use our influence to good effect, even if at times it might not seem quite like that.
No, really - not a lot. A Paul Daniels couple of days.
Wednesday at work I told them all to shut up. That there was too much noise. That it was a bingo hall, not Princes Street. This made the staff laugh, and gave me some cred. Princes Street cred.
Yesterday's bus driver to the Pentlands was the guy I'm pretty sure I got the man flu off last week. But he looked better. Didn't sneeze once. One middle-aged woman passenger kindly enquired about his health and wellbeing. He said he was better. She said he had a better colour. I was glad about that - not wanting to get more flu after just getting better.
Walked the Pentlands alone yesterday, as Karina's legs will need a couple of days' rest. I already explained the rudiments of leg and knee health to her, on the final descent from Turnhouse to Flotterstone. "Ow my knees are hurting," she'd said. "Now that you're an athlete you need to take extra interest in your legs," I replied. I told her my knees too were my Achilles heel, a metaphor I find amusing, but no-one else ever notices. Just like Naughty But Nice in the veil post two below. Pearls before speed-readers.
Attempted to watch BBC Autumnwatch last night, as it was the last one. But I got so enraged by the male bias in the deer portions that I had to restrain myself from chucking a placenta at the telly.
FUCK OFF with your stag stag stag chat. It takes two to tango, baby. And less of the Attenborough shite too. "A stag that holds thirty hinds." How about, "Some hinds who tolerate a man about the place for a couple of weeks a year." How about that, BBC? Gruesome. If I were a woman I'd be jamming their switchboard. Instead I write it here and let you do it. Well, a boy can't do everything himself. Except celibacy.
I see my alma mater, Imperial College, have banned face coverings after reading Monday's NB post. Ah well. goes around, comes around. Their teaching's shite, anyway, or at least was in the sixties.
Talking of terror, which is only loosely connected to the above paragraph, I was more than a bit scared to see not one but about a dozen real soldiers come in to the Flotterstone Inn yesterday afternoon, where I was enjoying my apres hill T in the park. They'd just spent the afternoon practising shooting and killing skills on the Castlelaw range. Big Straight Al used to play there and collect the bullets when he was a lad.
I said nothing of course, knowing young soldiers' penchant for violence. (It's their job.) But my thoughts zoomed back over four decades, recalling the many, many squaddies and exes who have graced my able boudoir. Oh yes. "One at a time, boys," I silently spoke, while lifting my glass to my lips and saluting their masculinity. Twelve. Imagine it.
"You wouldn't even feel the last six," said Nurse David, later in the Regent. "No, but they would," I rejoindered, grinning in to my Thai Green Chicken with rice and mini-naan.
We fell out a bit, later, David and me, when I told him to stop trying to top my punchlines with punchlines of his own. I explained that queens always talk in punchlines, whereas straight men tend not to. He got cross, and wouldn't speak at all for a while. But then we melted. He really is lovely, and I just didn't want sensible chat to deteriorate into queeniness.
Well, that can pretty much do for today, doncha think? Have you had your money's worth? Just in case not, here's a pretty autumn pic. Who needs the BBC with all that rutting and strutting? Embrace your feminine side. David and I do.
Blog Of Influence
Thanks to anna for pointing out that your favourite organ is listed in the Top 50 Most Influential UK Blogs. (Or words to that effect.) The article is here, and you have to click on "download UK 50". However. It's an .xls file, an Excel spreadsheet. If, like me, you don't possess such a thing (not influential enough) then you can open it in notepad and get the gist amongst the confetti. Many of your faves are there, to be honest - not just this one.
Well, what's been happening in that tortured corner of creation you call your life, Peter? Have you anything worth sharing with us mere subjects, we slavers at the mortal coil? (What is a mortal coil, by the way? Does anyone know, or is it just one of those daft things that people stick in their writing when they can't think of anything else to put?) And why does this paragraph consist entirely of questions?
Monday, after my quite magnificent diatribe against culturalism, was a doddle. Pottered about, as they put it, then down to la Port to mix wif me old muckers. Here's me, Evergreen Norma, and Scott the ship's engineer.
Readers from outwith Scotland might be interested in the No Smoking sign above Norma's head... a sign which is on its way to a pub near you. As sure as night follows day. Scotland doesn't just win at football, you know. We rock, health-wise.
After that, along this street to the Tiso shop, there to invest a little of my hard-earned loot.
It was anti-wet clothing. Yawnsville for most of you, I know, but I'm just sick of sitting in the Flotterstone Inn with wet cotton shirts freezing me down. From sweat, not rain. Rain is a different kettle of fish.
Anyway, I got some clothing so dry that you mustn't fall asleep in it or you wake up a mummy. Yes, it's that drying. Perfect for the obese - lose a pound an hour. (I jest but only slightly.)
To my new home the Regent then, where later as I was staggering out the door, Karina offered to come on Tuesday's walk. Oh yes, I quickly replied.
Bet she'll never go through with it, I thought. 'Twas merely pub talk, the way you do. But no! There K was, large as life and getting on the bus. It was her first time. And my ninety-ninth, mas o menos.
Here she is, an hour later and 300m higher, on the top of West Kip - the first summit - as I point out the road ahead. The long and winding road. "No way..." she breathed, the first of many such that lovely day.
I decided we'd just do my normal route, but slower, and with the option of terminating at any point.
And here, four hours later than that, on Turnhouse Hill, the fifth of five. Yes, really. This was entirely due to Karina's own determination, as me I was ready to abandon ship after Hill #3, and descend to the valley below. It was really quite windy, cold, and the sky had gone black. But no. "Five we said, and five I'm doing," said K. (Or words to that effect.)
You rock, girl. I lived her wonder of novelty, vicariously.
Great day. There's nothing like being alone with someone seven hours for sharing lives and forging friendships. Recommended.
And por qua? Why are you not punishing yourself by slaving away at low-paid work, or exhausting yourself climbing hills? Hills that have been there almost for ever, showing no signs of going away. Or sitting writing pointless blog for half a dozen kind readers too well-intentioned to ditch you in favour of someone younger, fresher, better? (There are only so many blogs a girl can read in one day, you know.)
Why, Peter, tell me why.
Isn't it strange how many of you do your Monday blog so early. There I was at half past seven, ready for the hill climbing possibility, Iceland food all defrosted in its snappy Tupperware box. The legs willing, eager almost, as too much sitting about is just not helpful. But oh the weather. Weather. Whereas the forecast was sun, sun and more sun, the window showed rain, grey and darkness. The darkling sky, as some poetic twat would put it. The lowering clouds. Fuck off! Write in modern English, why doncha.
Talking of modern, isn't this a fun thing with Jack Straw. For my three international readers let me bring you up to speed. Mr Straw is an MP. So he has "surgeries". (Think "office". It's more sensible.) In these surgeries he politely asks people concealing their faces with veils to remove them while they talk to him.
This you might expect from conversational manners, as we enjoy them in this country - but no. There is yet another outcry from followers of a medieval superstition. Yes, that one again.
It used to be so simple in the past.
There were countries. In countries lived people who had practices. They practised their practices in their countries. (Unintentional spelling lesson there for my less-literate readers, btw. I'll let it stand.)
All went well, century after century.
Till the middle of last one when loads of them moved to other countries. Then rather than do new practices in the other, new countries, they insisted on continuing with the old. The ones from afar. They demanded this as right, by law. Enshrined.
What's the answer? Sure as heck I don't know. I see only the question.
But, as an afterthought - will the current "Polandisation" lead to the same problems - and these are problems - don't try any pious bullshit on me - will the Polandisation lead to conflict too? Already our local press is trying to fan the flames with features about how Polish people will work for less than the statutory minimum wage, and are (I quote, I quote) taking all the jobs from locals.
Oh, cheer up Peter you auld grump, why doncha! It's Monday morning and people are depressed enough. Just cos you've got the day off, and the sun has got his hat on, and the germs - what's left of them - are peeing down the toilet. And so on, unsoweiter.
Yes. A refreshing pint of Tennents has got my name on it somewhere. A day off. Naughty but nice.
Gratuitous Pretty LeithPic
But what's that in the background? Oh dear, it's Gregor Shore Housing. Spot the environmental rape obliterating what used to be the natural horizon. Desecrating God's view - there for millennia, and destroyed in a decade. And we take their money to fund our radio stations. Sponsor our festivals. Well, they do. I wash my hands of the whole damn place.
Think I'll move to Iran and refuse to wear a veil. Practise homosexuality, if I can remember how to do it, because it's legal where I come from. Insist on a same-sex civil partnership. It's my culture. See how long before they shoot me.
No hurricanes. No rain. They say it's because of El Nino. Tallahassee has a superabundance of vegetation, such that my weekends are given to making war upon it, so I'm loath to water plants. But I am having to water ornamental shrubs and herbs. Can't really complain about the lack of hurricanes, can I?
Marco Rubio, a Floridian of Cuban descent, will be the new Speaker of the House in the Florida Legislature for the next two years, and there is speculation that a Cuban-American may also be the President of the Florida Senate. This is fairly significant, as it marks the arrival of South Florida and the departure of the old Southern Good-Ole-Boys of North Florida, (think Rod Steiger in "In The Heat of the Night"). If Fidel croaks while these guys are in power, things will get very interesting. The Bay of Pigs, the gift that keeps on giving. You read it first on Naked Blog.
My supervisor at the library has left for a job in Athens, Georgia. She was, in addition to being a talented administrator, a dead-ringer for Nigella Lawson. I will miss her.
With your talk of Irvine Welsh, I wondered if you had heard of Jeff Torrington's "Swing Hammer Swing". I saw it a while back and noted it for later reading, but never got to it. Of course, it is set in Glasgow, so...
Wish we had frozen Indian Cuisine here. We have a good Indian restaurant, Sam Rat, but nothing in the freezer at the grocery store."
From Brett in Florida
Thanks for that, Brett, as ever.
Are You Ready?
Slightly interesting programme about ready meals on the BBC last night. Interesting in the sense that you'd rather do almost anything else except commit suicide.
The first half was devoted to (you're not going to believe this) showing people buying convenience foods, taking them home and putting them in the microwave. Then they fed them to their kids and finally themselves. That portion of the show was for viewers who thought you only had to stick a dinky aerial in your chicken korma and it becomes a broadband router.
Fuckwits. The BBC, not the viewers. To think we pay licence fee to learn what to do with ready made meals. Oh - there do exist both chiller meals and frozen meals. Best not get confused about those, then. Drop yer frozen lasagne on yer bare tootsies and it could be A and E. Chiller equivalent you'd probably get away with. Fucktards.
What do you think about the new, Freeview Film4, with added ads? (Here at Naked Blog we can no longer take the moral high ground over the advertising profession. Never say never.) But the interesting ones seem to be on in the small hours, when you're guaranteed to fall asleep part way through. Last night it was Buck and Chuck (or summat), and the night before Clerks.
Oh, I know that's why God invented video recorders, or their heirs and successors, but wtf ever watches night TV the next day? Answer: no-one. You all have lives to get on with. Even I do, a little.
Nice To Meat You
Don't forget the latest Scottish Blogmeet in Weegieland today. Right next to the Central Station. Oh, the tales I could tell about that place, when I was young, of course. Bigups to Uncle Gordon for arranging. Sadly work calls, on this occasion. Well, as it does every other Saturday too. Social isolate. (I don't do evenings either.) But it is fun having weekdays off, I assure you. Climb every mountain in peace.
Work calls, as I say. Of course I'm nowhere near one hundred percent fit after the manflu darling (who did invent that term btw?), but they're having two new promotions today, and my oppo is on holiday, and it's warm there and smokeless these days too. (Thanks, Jack!) So I'll struggle in. Only five hours. Be over before you can say legs eleven.
Haven't had a drink since Tuesday. And that wasn't overboard. Before that, Thursday. So I'm below the government limits at last! Call that a drink problem? I don't think so. I should get lightly smashed after work to celebrate.
This "all things in moderation" hasn't shown up on the scales though, due to massive consumption of frozen curries. Still a fat bastard.
I think this is going to be a mercifully short manflu episode. Much progress since yesterday, due to a really fuck-off healthy lifestyle over the last year, coupled with my patented anti-flu dietary regime.
Only for you will I share my secrets...
This consisted of Chicken Al Jazeera for lunch, followed by Beef Madras for dinner. Both from Iceland - the shop, not the place. Plus a Hofels Neo Garlic Pearle with each serving. Plus apples as required. And don't forget lashings of Boots own brand vitamin C. It's a man's life, with manflu - and also on the BBC this week.
Yes, the highlight of the BBC Autumnwatch four evening (why not five?) extravaganza was surely the sight of a stagdick half the length of the beast's body. No need for viagra there, I'm sure.
We saw loads of staggish behaviour... fighting, roaring, strutting, but of the hinds we saw and learned almost nothing. This reflects the male bias verging on misogyny so prevalent in the BBC.
We did see one poor deer peeing, one getting a good seeing to off a three foot dick, and that was it. No magazines, no lunches, no trips to the hairdressers... nada. Male, male, male. I tell you, if I were a female licence-payer I'd be more than a bit pissed off at that, to be honest. It's the men what gets the pleasure...
(And any same sex behaviour was consigned straight to the cutting room floor. Intrinsic moral evil. Happy families and missionary positions. Our Father.)
Anybody else find they're having to sign out and sign back in again to get anything published? This has been going on for a few days now at Naked Mansions.
Thanks for your kind solicitations yesterday in response to my uncharacteristically "sorry-for-myself" posting. It was the germs, the snot, the shivers. Today I'm taking off work as I can't face anything more demanding than watching the telly and writing to you. Hopefully Saturday will find me more or less fully recovered, if smelly from all those strong spices and meat.
MMMmmmm. Beef Madras. They sure know how to treat their meat in Madras. (Or Iceland.)
Here's madam zoe's contribution to autumnwatch yesterday. Readers easily shocked by lady parts should look away. This photograph was entirely unintentional, as explained in the post.
New Kid On The Blog
You might enjoy A Scandal And A Disgrace, an interesting addition to Scottish and Edinburgh blogging. I've read every word. The first ever sentence is right where Lord Bragg was standing with Irvine Welsh.
"So there I am, minding my own business, wandering along Duke Street, about to grab a right into Academy Street, when I hear what sounds like someone being sick in the doorway of a boarded up pub."
Turns out it's a couple shagging at nine in the morning. These are true aspects of Leith the environmental rapists property developers hope you won't find out about until after the entry date.
And on the Edinburgh Festival...
"Now it's Edinburgh Festival time which means the streets are full of students pretending to be witty and/or talented, when in fact they have supply teacher written all over their useless faces."
Although this is not a site for animal porn (heaven forfend - and there's been plenty of that on BBC Autumnwatch this week), I did find this shot of zoe quite amusing. I'd meant to snap her front half - acting all respectable and secretarial - but by the time the camera came out of the case and warmed up, this was the only view remaining.
It demonstrates that if a girl wants stability, then modesty sometimes goes right out the window.
You might have an entertaining slogan which zoe will enjoy.
Household Notes: The phone was dusted in 1988, if I recall. It is a Philips Screenphone, as then supplied by the Bank Of Scotland for a prehistoric online banking service. Still works, but only the phone feature, as you can detect from the dust distribution. Basket-seat dining chairs by John Lewis, circa 1974. (You think I make it all up?)
But is this photostory in any sense misogynist? I would hate that.
Sitting around the place feeling that your life is worthless, pointless, an abomination of misplaced intention is one thing. That no-one in the discovered universe actually gives two shits about you is yet another. But having a nose pouring with snot while you've got a microphone in your left hand, a random number generating button under your right, and five hundred people in front of you wanting nothing so much as a big win, is something quite different again.
But I did it. Just last night.
When the going gets tough.
Gordon had it. Andre's got it. Who says germs can't move along wires? Never heard of a computer virus? Ha ha. You weren't expecting that one at 8.25 in the morning, were you. The body might be fucked, but the brain is as sharp as ever. Sharper. So sharp I can cut myself.
I should really be watching BBC Breakfast to get something to bitch about here, but it'll be all about JohnnyNobody who's appearing in NothingWorthWatching at the WhoReallyGivesAFuck Theatre. That's called culture. They've put that interesting woman on Breakfast now, beside uninteresting Dermot. She's good. Heard her gig a few weeks ago on News24. Heaven forfend that BBC Breakfast should have someone with some personality on. They tried Bill Turnbull, but he turned out just to be a bitchy old queen bitching on at hapless, helpless Declan Curry. You couldn't watch it. It was Christians and lions.
Thanks to all one of you who noticed my new picture at the top. Good to know my little efforts are of such interest. Yesterday I spent fifty five quid on potions at Boots The Chemist. Got a five pound fragrance voucher for my troubles. Gave it to one of my bingo ladies. She's seventy, but still up for it. Go girl.
Thing about Boots vitamins is they're all on a buy two get one free basis. So if it's a twenty quid thing, like my joint supplement (glucosamine sulphate with chondroitin), then you've pretty much got to buy two of the buggers to get the saving. Otherwise you just feel you've made a donation to Boots shareholders.
So I'm sitting here with a stiff left knee but a mercifully dryish nose. For a while. At least it's a wonderful excuse not to go hillwalking. Rest. On a cellular level. Maybe some Sims. (I completely cured Jeff Pleasant of his depression, and now he's got a job! Yes, really!)
I'm getting bored with that game already. Thank heavens I didn't get the updated thirty quid version.
Seven Year Itch
I feel our interests are diverging. Like the possibly tectonic plates in yesterday's post, which no-one only one person took the slightest notice of. So it's time for some divergent blogs, methinks. Naked Blog can only carry so much variety, so much of all things to all wo/men. Everything I do here, others do better. Andre does the depressions. Mike the gays. Coppers and ambulancemen do much more interesting jobs. Zed does the family. Jonny the soap. The only thing I can really do with any conviction is me.
I've got just about five minutes, so I think it's going to be mostly pictures. (Inasmuch as the cast seems to be avoiding me atm.)
This is how it works: Monday evening you watch the excellent BBC Autumnwatch. It's mostly about red deer, seals and other such things you'd never actually "watch" in your entire life. That's what TV is for. That and volcanoes with the adorably Scottish (in a "thicko landed a PhD" way) Dr Iain Stewart, who still sometimes says jollergy when he means geology. They keep telling him, because sometimes he'll really overemphasis the geeeeeee bit.
I know you're not gonna believe this, but here are two tectonic plates pulling apart in the Pentland Hill range. Or maybe not. Wtf do I know about anything. It's just that I walk about with my eyes and ears open, and only from this spot in the entire universe is this feature as visible as this.
But back to Bill Oddie and XXX and YYY, possibly one of the handsomest men I've ever met. Fuck off, Brad Pitt - you're just a pretty face. YYY bigs it up with the rutting red deer. Genuine outdoorsman. And wears woolly hats to die for.
Bill and XXX were going on about geese on Monday. They come here from Arctic Canada, via Greenland and Iceland. As you would. Well, you could have knocked me down with a goosefeather when what should I see (and hear) on my walk yesterday but four, yes four flocks of goosie goosies, flying south to appear on Bill's programme.
Here they are. Sorry no emotional dramas for a day or two. It'll never last.
If you go on my flickr page there are some fabulous matching horses. Mostly on the current Page 2. I'll mebbe make up a set. Mebbe not.
We spent much time debating the collective noun for horses in the Regent yesterday. (In these small ways do I dictate the goings-on.) I'm sure there's a German word for goings-on.
Great programme last night on ITV. Like no author interview you've ever seen, I promise. But sadly I was dozing during the first five minutes or so, so missed any contributions from Mary the Landlady, Little Alex, Chav Gav or other luminaries.
But I certainly saw Mr Welsh, and he was glorious. It wasn't until afterwards that it struck me how utterly and completely free of bullshit his interview was. Perhaps the surroundings helped, the Leith Dockers Club. (Apostrophe omitted by usage and convention.) Some of you will have heard my own humble radio broadcasts from that very gaff.
The thrust was the latest novel, The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs, in which Mr Welsh explores what he calls the "duality" of experience. He cites Stevenson, Hogg (I think) and Wilde. The book is about a hard-drinking young man called Skinner, and Kibby, a middle-classer whom Skinner hates.
"To hate is a very positive emotion, not unlike love. If you don't like someone, the natural thing would just be to keep away - but to hate them involves a great deal of interaction." Irvine Welsh, from memory.
Now, the South Bank Show is not short of a bob or two, so rather than the traditional "readings" which book programmes employ, they went one better with some nifty dramatisations. Most of these were set in the Central Bar in Leith Walk, a few yards from my home, but some in the Port O' Leith Bar, a den with which NB regulars are already very familiar.
Irvine Welsh gives great interview. No bullshit, as already mentioned. Nor either from Melvyn (Lord) Bragg, who had clearly taken trouble to familiarise himself with the Welsh lexicon, and who with his questions was attempting to understand a culture so very alien to his own.
We here in Leith were blown away by Trainspotting. Headfucked. Gobsmacked with joy. Joy at reading about our town with our real streets and our pubs, written for the first time ever in our language. And of course it arrived at the very peak of recreational drug culture here in the nineties. What has happened with Mr Welsh's work since I don't know, not being a reader these days. (If you read you copy, there's no escaping that simple fact. And if NB is anything, it is at least one hundred percent original.)
But patiently, to Lord Bragg in the Dockers Club (apostrophe omitted by usage and convention), Irvine Welsh explained his work and his life. And with bullshit omitted also. I do hope Will Self, Ekow Eshow and the whole bunch of Newsnight Review couch-surfing wankers were watching.
Here is another commentary, which I haven't read yet, due to two paragraphs previous. Still wish I'd seen Mary the Landlady, though. Anybody make a video?
The Guardianon the new novel. (Liked it but with reservations.) The Times on the new novel. (Hated with a vengeance.)
Oh yes. Eighth month, the word means. Except it's the tenth, and we all ken why that is. Egomaniac Roman Emperors who couldn't be arsed renaming the whole set. "Get me in somewhere in the middle while the sun's shining, and fuck the nomenclature." (To be said in Latin, natch.) But of course they used those funny numbers now only seen on old movies.
Do you know, to this day I can't walk along a Roman road without fantasising a marching army - all togged out in those little leather skirts. Soldiers trying not to get a bisexual hard-on due to staring at the bum in front of them for seven hours. Maybe that's where the notion of an army marching on its stomach came from.
And how they must have hated getting drafted to Newcastle - if it was as tedious then as it is now. And how fascinated I was to read in the Radio Times that Emperor Nero married his slave boy. I hope he bought him lots of new outfits. And a nice chariot.
Anyway. Enough of the homosexualist philandering. Genug. Well, maybe not ganz genug.
Yesterday in the Regent after work, who should come in again, but my new/old friend Gordon. (That makes three times out of my last three visits there.)
I was chatting to David the Writer. He said he doesn't recognise his portrayal in my organ. I said it's like hearing your voice on a tape recorder - seems strange till you get used to it. I'd just showed him Jon Ronson's yesterday column in the Grauny magazine. (Hadn't realised they'd given him the Julie Burchill spot.) Nice one, Jon. Nice gig if you can get it. But come back Julie anyway. Your gay male audience needs you. All that hatred and bitterness about Madonna and Mrs Beckham.
But David didn't really look at Jon Ronson's column beyond a cursory glance. And then something really bizarre happened. Then I said to David that in tomorrow's blog there'll almost certainly be the line, "I showed Jon Ronson's column to David the Writer, but he didn't really look at it." For some reason that tickled me pink, in a self-referential way. (I was on my fourth pint, having done something of a pub crawl along Holyrood Road.) Blackfriar Street is a bit of a dump, isn't it?
Some Londoners were walking down the opposite side of the Royal Mile shouting abuse at everyone on the shop side. "Fackin' tike you owl on - fackin' lowd o' you..." they gaily quipped. Twats.
Then Gordon swept in to the bar. "Oh my God," I breathed to David. "Here he is again. I'm gonna have to tell him I've been writing about him. Have to. It would be immoral otherwise."
So I did. Gently mentioned my organ, and that he was now a character in my true soap, and gave a synopsis of his lines so far. But Gordon isn't a techhead. He has no internet. He has no computer. He even has no mobile phone.
Oh - and that's another story. During September, due to social withdrawal and concentration on solitude, I barely had my mobile switched on. About three hours in total for the month, I'd guess. Then it struck me that I'd paid my phone service for about eighty minutes and 100 texts for the month, the month which now contained only eight more hours. So I sent a gushing Send To Many to anyone I felt could stand it, demanding that they continue to adore me, despite my completely ignoring them. Be fun to see if I get away with it. So far only three out of about twenty have replied.
Gordon and I discussed where our friendship might go. Whether indeed there still could be one. (It would be difficult to stress how extremely close we were in the seventies, for really quite some years. Gay men would know the term "sisters".)
But that was over a quarter of a century ago. Where were we now?
He said we were both different people. I said I felt we were essentially the same, except older, and except for the lives we'd led in between times. I said I could hardly believe we'd lived in the same small town (for that is what Edinburgh is, socially), and not crossed paths, even once. Until last week.
Strange. I think I'm going to name it The Regent Effect.