But I'll never see that bus pass, I'm convinced of it.
There comes a time in a man's life when he realises that the book will never get written. That what little he knows, the tiny fragments he has achieved, are best dying with him. The world has moved on - the past is past, and it really doesn't matter any more. No-one cares. There is no immortality, except in the foul dreams of your sequined vanity.
And what can be worse than the bar-room drone, or the hectoring father... banging on about "the good old days". Eh - it were diff'rent then... better, like. What tosh.
I would say it here, but Dylan sang it fine in the glorious (see what I mean!) sixties. "Come mothers and fathers, throughout the land..."
Times I think every song has been sung, every sentence spoken, every thought even thought. More and more bloggers glossing a finite amount of stuff. That's why we rarely do stuff here any more.
It's been one mother of a December again, especially the last bit. Tomorrow comes January and that New Beginning. For me I'll have to get used to being in my sixties now. New ball game. Could be exciting. Could even rock one or two boats.
But I'll probably not. Too damn lazy.
My great thanks for your cards, gifts and good wishes over the season. How blessed I am.
In Other News
Just after saying we don't do other news, here is that Saddam execution cellphone video, as reported on BBC 1. It's gruesome. Best if you can speak Iraqi to catch on what they're all shouting about.
In the past, in the darker days - and o boy there've been many - there were a couple of tenets I clung to for succour. The first went something like this:
This moment - right now - is all that there is.
The rest is illusion.
It cannot hurt you.
I made a poster out of it. Someone said that I'd copied the words. Well - I agree they're hardly random, and others might well have come up with that previously. But I came up with it too.
The second pense might well be not only original but unique, and this is it:
When you wake in the morning, your sole purpose is to remain alive until bedtime.
Well - my sole purpose today is to remain alive until midnight, when I become an official "old person". With all the benefits and protections the state applies.
About time I was getting something back.
I was thinking of doing some sort of retrospective of my miserable shitty life, with all those black and white photos, but then I thought how fucking self-centred. So I won't. Which is also much less bother, more time to wallow.
The wallowing starts at four today, and lasts until the morning of January. Now I know some people are worse off than me. They have handicaps. Well, how about this for a handicap: how about being totally unable to relate to your fellow humans in any ordinary way? I would call that some sort of major handicap. Oh yes - sentenced to a life of perpetual loneliness and isolation. Think about it, if you dare.
So I WILL feel sorry for myself. It's my blog and I'll cry if I want to.
Last day in my fifties. Ooh la fucking la.
But I'll never see sixty. I'm convinced of it.
Update: t minus 6 hours and counting
You know you've overdone the pathos when a kind reader drops off a gift and concerned note at your workplace. Thank you, Mystery Donor. I won't embarrass you further. The flowers are lovely. Roses without thorns. What will they come up with next? And chocolates too. Organic chocs.
I've never owned flowers before, not being that sort of gay man. Don't even possess a vase. But a hefty Nescafe jar has made a great substitute. I trimmed the stalks according to the instructions, and poured in the rose food. So scientific! They'd better not die on me though...
Kindness from a stranger. Almost biblical. Thank you so much.
Update: t minus 150 minutes and counting
Just when you're getting a bit better, Trevor Horn comes on the telly...
As you can hardly have not noticed, the theme of the last couple of days has been my wasted life. Wasted in its traditional meaning. (Not intoxicated. Although there's been a fair share of that too :o)
So I'm sitting here, half past nine on the last ever evening in my fifties - dadding along, just one small whisky down the hatch - and feeling this massive mood slump is nearly over... when who should come on my television but Trevor Horn, the celebrated record producer. It's a greatest hits show on Channel Four.
Well, I was at school with Mr Horn. (Video Killed The Radio Stars.) We both played in the school orchestra - me first fiddle, and him double bass. (Frankie Goes To Hollywood.) He wore thick glasses. (Feed The World.) He was quite tiny - a couple of years below me. We used to bash him on his head.
I've bashed Trevor Horn on the head.
Just when you're starting to feel a little less of a failure, a little better with your life, then who should come on to really fucking rub it in, but Trevor Fucking Horn. So - ho hum - I guess it's off with the telly and on with Full Throttle and Simpsons Hit and Run.
Maybe tomorrow I'll be able to speak to people a little bit. Maybe. I've got three days off work, which is dangerous. It's safer at work. They're really so lovely.
I could make a YouTube about becoming sixty. With a clock in it. But without anything interesting to say that would be a bit naff. Uniquely naff.
Hi again. I shouldn't be sitting here, writing to you like this. Channel Four are doing Will and Grace, Simpsons, Friends, Simpsons and Friends. That's 8.25 am until 11 of non-stop mind-floss. Adorable. But I have myself to talk about.
Yesterday was fucking horrible, and there's no other way to put it...
"I wandered the streets And the gay crowded places..."
...thinking almost constantly of failure. My own failure, to have lived sixty years on this ball of rock and have so little. So almost nothing.
While others of my age would naturally have some sort of party, maybe in a nice hotel, with a meal, surrounded by children and grandchildren, yours will be holed up here with zoe the cat, plus an Iceland frozen dinner, stepping over the mess.
Mess. How choice. I could bang on for hours about how sorry I feel for myself, and whose and what's fault it is and so on and so forth. But I won't.
"Sing - if you're glad to be gay..."
Work today. Till four tomorrow. And then the horrors really begin. Sixty years alive on Sunday, with a dead mother exactly eleven of those. To the hour, almost. Oh yes, we have a fine sense of timing in this family.
[Ed: We were wondering when the dead mother was gonna show. Thought mebbe you'd forgotten this time. Me: Fuck off. You're fired.]
I've disabled the comments pro tem, as it can't be much fun for you constantly having to think up kind and cheerful ditties. My thanks to you are beyond my abilities to convey them. As they are also to that tiny handful of people IRL who've shown themselves to be such stars. Thank you.
OK. Off to watch more Simpsons and Friends. How much we owe those people in Hollywood, tirelessly churning out Prozac day after day, year after year.
This is terrible. Really fucking atrocious. Count your blessings, really count them.
The sole purpose of life is to keep you occupied till you die. I'm so sad I won't have my bus pass on Sunday. It was the only thing I really wanted. My new electric train.
"Some day you'll wake up and you'll be sixty, and then it'll be too late..."
That game dominated our lives in the early nineties. It was just everywhere, like Sergeant Pepper in 1967. You had to make a boot disk, with autoexec.bat and config.sys. Every game had a different boot disk, which you had to make yourself. You felt like a Jumbo Jet pilot.
It was the summer of Doom, Doom II, Full Throttle and whatever we could lay our hands on. Which was shitloads.
I chatted about it to the young man at the till. Paid staff. He said he'd heard of all the classic games, Full Throttle, Day of the Tentacle...
I smiled at him, with the wisdom of the ages. He'd even heard of DOS. "Monkey Island", his equally young buddy said.
So now I'm safe. I hope.
Day and a half of work, then a day and a half locked up in the house again. I did it over Christmas just fine.
Gales are forecast for the 31st, even threatening the world famous Princes Street New Year Party.
And then it'll be 2007. But the lady in the library said not to expect my bus pass till around the seventh. She said the computer wouldn't activate me until the thirty-first. So I'll be paying my bus fares for another ten days or so. Richard in the Village said just to stay in the house and sulk.
Middle class readers will doubtless have the entire week off, but those who toil at the coal face and furrow are well and truly back to work today. Yesterday, in fact, for shop workers in Scotland, as the sales kick off early here. It was bizarre, seeing sales advertised all over Christmas Day, as if Mammon couldn't wait another second to get his/her hands on any remaining spirituality.
Defining moment of Christmas TV was on Christmas Eve, as the Jew Simon Amstell lit one of those candelabra things they use. "I'm lighting some candles for the baby Jesus," he gaily quipped. "It was your people who killed him!" darted back Phil Jupitus... " - I don't mean your mother and father personally..." You had to be there. The rest of the show was equally enormous, as Amstell abused the hapless David Gest, much as a dog plays with a slipper.
Amstell is the new big thing. I have spoken. And he's a sister.
Elsewhere, Dario Argento's Deep Red was a nice second course after Polanski's Repulsion. How these artists use the medium! Nowadays cinema is nothing more than a means to tell a banal story, with effects and CGI substituting for wit and invention.
I watched half an hour of the Marx Brothers' Monkey Business yesterday, from 1931, and it contained more entertainment than an entire modern multiplex.
But I get old, and twitter and gibber. Where is my bus pass? Are they scared I'll use it illicitly? Whilst I'm only 59 years and 361 days old? How young is that!
Oh, and talking of sixty, which I'm still convinced I'll never see, btw, you don't just get a bus pass and 200 quid a year heating allowance - but you get free central heating too! Oh yes! Scotland - the civilised place to be old. I've also heard you don't have to sell your house to pay for your Shady Pines place when the time comes. But more of that later. Off you go now and pick up a bargain - and I DON'T mean a New Year Rent boy!
Last night I was movie making again - this time trying to synchronise video with music. Like this. Using stills, which I have by the bucketload. But it never happened, as you can only select whole numbers of seconds for your stills to last, and I needed 1.4 seconds to sync with Bach's Double Violin Concerto, movement 1. So I converted it into a transitions demo, which you might be vaguely interested in. All the pics are my own, but it got late, and I did some doublers at the end. Shocking. Transitions.
Before I could make the movie I had to steal the music obviously. (Not being in the ken of any friendly copyright-free orchestras.) So I put the CD in, and somewhat nervously clicked on RIP - an entirely new concept. And blow me! It was finished the first track and on to the second before you could say Dancing Queen on a C90! I had to dash down the list ahead of it, unticking all the ticks. You couldn't make it up. No wonder the music industry hates home computing.
Start with the scale so large you get the entire world on a matchbox, and in eighteen, yes just eighteen double clicks you can see the damage on your own house roof. (Click Satellite option, top right.)
Unbelievable. Takes your breath away. Try it now.
Just type yourself into the search, and then have fun zooming in and out.
(If like me you find the map displays only a letterbox at first (IE7), then check in the help (paragraph 3):"The easiest and safest way to..." Did it for me.
Christmas Eve in the early fifties was such an exciting time. My parents never, ever allowed even one peek at the gifts, so it was all a wonderful surprise, even though I knew what was coming.
When I was very young, my dad had a better-paid job than most of the hood. "Your dad makes twenty pounds a week!" my mother said once, proudly. This social one-upmanship evaporated by the time I was ten, due to some bad breaks and wrong career choices, but in my infancy I was the young royalty of the back street. And what better time and way to demonstrate that than with my Christmas presents. In short, I was told what I was getting each year, and that was that.
The most social-climbing thing of all was the Hornby Dublo electric train set, at a time my cousins could only afford clockwork trains. So common, clockwork. With a key.
But I hated it on sight. Hated it because I'd always been told in no uncertain terms never to touch anything electrical. And this damn thing was so electrical it even gave off sparks - sparking as the brushes moved along the tracks. Scary. Plus there was a strong ozone smell from the ionization. Smelly. Duchess of Montrose, it was called. 4-6-2. The only good part was making it go so fast it derailed and splattered over onto its side. My own private Christmas train disaster.
There was a set of points, a siding and a station. Plastic wasn't invented then, so all the platforms and little model people were metal. It really was the biggest waste of time I can imagine, but my dad loved it, setting it up and showing it off to all his friends. Me, I read my Christmas books and tried to disappear, waiting for them to start shouting at each other again when the happy pills wore off.
Hiya again! Last weekend before the happiest day of the year.
You'll all be rushing around buying goodies and gifts for your beloveds. But me, I'm at work in the a.m. and doubtless will be getting pie-eyed in the p. My only decision being which pub to go to. Decisions, decisions.
Well, somebody's got to do it.
It's a good life if you don't weaken.
Nothing else for it.
Publicans love you while you've still got money.
Me old mucker Jon Ronson goes to a town in Alaska called North Pole. (Alaska is big in the history of blogging, btw.) He really does. It really is.
Weather set to remain fine, esp. on Monday, the Bet Letham Stable Inconsistency. It's my day off, but there'll be no buses to the Pentlands due to people having holidays. Ah well. I can always walk up Arthur's Seat. Nature doesn't do holidays.
(Unlike sister publications, NB hasn't the slightest intention of closing this month. Not at all, Jose. If I'm gonna suffer, you're coming right along there with me.)
Strange traffic spike yesterday, putting us over the 2000 impressions again. Odd. No idea where they suddenly came from. Who is Katie Rees?
Seven more days left in my fifties. But I'll never see sixty. Never. A plane will fall from the sky.
On the passing of the December Solstice which happened at 00.20 GMT this morning, December 22. How was it for you?
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.
And that's it till June.
I hope you had a nice one!
1768: John Crome, English painter 1839: John Nevil Maskelyne, English stage magician 1858: Giacomo Puccini, Italian composer 1907: Peggy Ashcroft, English actor 1948: Noel Edmonds, English TV presenter 1949: Maurice and Robin Gibb, Australian pop musicians
Surprised and more than a little flattered to see that Richard from my sidebar has purchased a double Google Ad to proclaim his close personal friendship with me.
Charming though Richard is, I think "close personal friendship" might be stretching the wording a little. (We've exchanged comments for some years, but irl it's been just a couple of local blogmeetings.)
Whatever. I need all the close personal friends I can get. Richard you're in. Make mine a large one. (I do hope this isn't an unkind critic trying to do you in by association with the notorious!)
Strange that he,she and I all got colds on the same Tuesday. Must be bird flu. At least.
Poor darling zoe. I just gave her a spectacle wipe to sniff, and I think it hurt her nose. So I'm feeding her up on Whiskas Treats to say sorry. She loves sniffing things, especially socks and undies. Now she's licking her lips! Thank you Whiskas Cat Food.
Last winter this was all brand new, of course. Me in charge of a creature. Eeek! I can't even look after myself. But now, a year down the line, I think we can say we done all right - darling zoe and me. Food, water, litter and lurve. I recommend it, especially to those with no humans.
A Lady's Right
Forget what I said yesterday. Tabbed browsing rocks. I've arranged IE7 to open first off with Naked Blog and Blogger, and then I've made three different tab sets to add on. One has my blog A list. The second the B. (If you have to ask, then you're B. Sorry. But don't worry. Promotions can and will occur. This is only Day 2 of the miraculous fandango.) And the third has Grauny, Beeb, Papers, Metcheck, IMDB and other matters not as fabulous as blogs but important in their legacy way.
Splendid to be loading thirty thingmies at once! Priscilla could barely handle two.
Memo to self: get more RAM. Only got 512Mb. Or Gb. I lose track with such fast progress. The flash9.ocx error seems to have stopped. There was one .dll thing but it hasn't happened since either. Yesterday was the first time Brad was stretched in any significant way.
Totally brilliant programme on last night with Alan Yentob revisiting the pioneer days of TV broadcasting in Alexandra Palace in London. Imagine: And Then There Was Television.
This is a must see. Taking part were Sylvia Peters, Marguerite Patten, Richard Dimbleby (on film) and others, even John Logie Baird. Peters was an "announcer". They don't have announcers now - well, just in voice-over. Marguerite Patten was possibly the world's first TV chef, and Dimbleby the voice of the Coronation, Churchill's funeral, and other little knick-knacks.
I remember them all, as they happened. Well, from 1953 onwards at least.
As Sylvia Peters said, "There was absolutely nothing before us. So we had to make it all up as we went on." Talk about pioneering! Bit like the early blog days...
After the Yentob programme came Roman Polanski's Repulsion on ITV4. With Catherine Deneuve breaking the dramatic rule that nutters have to be ugly. Ooo La La!
This is still a great movie, and not just for the design. Whereas A Clockwork Orange was of that era but depicting a then-imagined future, Repulsion was sixties being just sixties. Oh the boxes of Tide and Vim! Sqezy washing up liquid. Lacy plastic plant pot covers. Oh yes. Waves of nostalgia.
Whilst I'd seen Clockwork once in the intervening, this was my first viewing of Repulsion for thirty years. And I think I understood it a lot better this time. (It's not really that hard... once you catch on that she's just hallucinating all these traumas and threats.) What's not explored is why she's so nuts in the first place.
Excellent movie, and not just for the period authenticity. I'd love to know your thoughts. And now I trot along my tabs to see what you're all getting up to!
For my tiny handful of transatlantic readers, enjoy your Solstice this evening. Raise a glass across the waters and the aeons. Us Brits will have to wait till 00.20 on Friday. Solstice tables.
Internet Explorer 7 has very kindly auto-updated itself onto Brad my quite new computer.
But what a load of old cobblers! It's exactly the same. What are tabs, why do I want tabs, how do tabs differ from the taskbar which is unchanged since Win 95 and still works perfectly well?
Ninety seven percent of improvements don't improve things.
Yesterday I walked in the Pentlands and the weather feature was not blizzard this time but thick fog. Pea souper. Twenty yard visibility. Invisible hills - again.
Robert missed the bus, but caught the next one, so we spent the morning missing each other also. "Where are you?" I phoned, plaintively. "I'm going down the side of something - CLUNK!" (His phone cutting out due to lack of electrical power.)
This informed me that he was somewhere in the Pentlands, going in some direction, but little more. We didn't in fact hook up until the Regent, which is about twenty minutes from each of our homes. This must rank as one of the most indirect ways to have a pint with a pal that's ever been known.
But now I'm pouring with upper resp inf. My nose makes its own private cataract.
It's almost exactly 48 hours to the Solstice and I have IE7 to worry about.
Tabs. That's Geordie slang for cigarettes, the kna's.
Tony my IT Manager was enthusing about IE7 in the pub on Saturday, and now I've got it.
My heart is in the hills, but my body must shortly go to a meeting at work. Pep talk. But it's just one hour, and then Robert the Writer and I will be doing Arthur's Seat, as there's not enough daylight left for the Pentlands.
But the weather continues to bode well for tomorrow. Hallelujah! He is risen!
Last night Clockwork Orange was on Film4, and I was glued to it. (I'm a contemporary of Malcolm McDowell, you see.) Hair. Lots of hair. We all had it. Big hair. Now it looks silly, but then it was de rigueur.
It's impossible to judge that movie today. It's probably the best British film made in my short lifetime, and certainly the one most written about. In its day. Things change, and the extraordinary becomes the everyday. The new, the standard. The future, the present - and then even the past. All those years. How we shuddered. I saw it three times in one week.
Before it last night was Buffalo Soldiers, a movie of the now, with Joaquin Phoenix the age McDowell was then. How visions of manliness do shimmer and shift!
If only Kubrick were still alive to show those assholes at the BBC how to use music in their programmes.
It is from the Serenata Flower company, and I have to go to the Port o Leith Bar to collect it from Tony my IT Manager. Tony is concerned that many of the products are Sicilian. He thinks it might be a coded warning. "I'm gonna sell you some flowers you can't refuse."
It really is a delightful hamper though, along with an equally nice letter from Peter Ahl, the CEO of Serenata.
I delete the offending post.
Not because of the hamper, natch, but after considerable thought, and taking into account the varied views of others. But the decision to end the action, as to start it, was my own. We might not be a Web 2.0 early adopter (wtf, mike?), but we were blogging away like there was no tomorrow when Google was still in its garage.
We have shown one company the error of their ways. Their apology was both well crafted and explanatory, and I feel confident comment spam will not be part of their marketing again.
But that is only one company. What about the rest?
Well, there's good news there also, in that the saga is now well in the public domain, and I don't think will be easily forgotten. The mud will soon wash off, but its memory will linger.
And, of course, we can always do it again - to anyone deserving.
The Real Thing
The Port was magnificent. Robin (don't call me gay, I'm bisexual), John Macaulay, Tony my IT Manager, and the quite glorious Little Alex, who is to become a dad in three weeks.
Mary the Legendary Landlady came in, looking quite... legendary. She's acquired D-One Bar, next door, and it's to be called the Port Inn. Quite which segment of her colourful customer base this is aimed at remains to be seen.
Tina the DJ, Woolly Dave, Robocop, GaryD, Andrea... all so splendid. Genuinely pleased to see me, I could tell. But Alex most of all. He really is a honey. How many straight men in their mid twenties would put up with the heavy breathing of an elderly queen all over them? Time and again? With no gain to themselves?
Glorious. How blessed I am.
And now it's midday and once more sunny and blue. Normally I'd have a couple in the Regent, and then the joy of Arthur's Seat. But there's work tonight. Sober and clean.
Tony and I talked cats. He too had to get a cat for mouse control. It's a neutered tom called Guy because of the date it was discovered. Guy acknowledges Tony as leader of the pack (his family), and gives due respect.
Then we talked slimming. Tony lost two and a half stones (35 pounds) using FitDay.com I'm gonna check it out, as my avoirdupois is starting to regrette rien. But you have to cut down on beer.
Talking of creatures... just been watching more Life of Birds on UK TV History. Such a waste of a good opportunity. The episode was about birdsong and bird communication.
So - this could and should be an interesting scientific and linguistic topic. But no. What Attenborough does, and always does, is to show (a) a bird calling for a mate and (b) a bird calling to mark territory.
Then rather than explore these further, he just dots about the four corners of the globe showing you exactly the same thing over and over again with different birds. Enough already! We got the damn idea from the first one.
Bird communication at its most interesting comes from geese flying in their well known V formation. This is a honking cacophony of noise - you hear them well before you see them - and you know, just know, they're communicating like mad. On this matter, DA was - as so often - quite silent.
Was glad when it finished really, as darling zoe was getting sensory overload. Prick up your ears.
Have a lovely Sunday. You've been well served with weather this weekend, but me I have to work both days. Gloriously, Metcheck shows the anticyclone lasting until next Sunday at least, which is typical for December. How blessed we are.
That is all for today, until possibly later, when there might be more. Or not. Depending mostly on Al Q'hol.
Twitter is strange. All those one-liners, yet almost no interaction. I think it'll be a five minute wonder, in the public form at least. Like an IRC chat room but without a topic. Mebbe as closed friendship groups it'll take off. For group projects too, it could be a killer app. And of course if it goes "blue" well then it's gone blue and that will definitely be that.
Because after all these years of "reading about people on the internet" it's all become a bit everyday. Try as you might, you simply can't be interested in everybody.
Unless they're fabulous like me, of course. And - perhaps not surprisingly - you can spot the experienced bloggers a mile off, as they're good at grabbing your attention.
In a full-on example of cutting edge media, I've twittered about this blog, while I blog about twitter. You couldn't make it up. And not bad for sixty this month :o)
"Hmmm. Looks a bit sinister," said the manager of the casino we went to last night. (Works Christmas outing.) We all had to join. It's the law. I thought I was a member already, but no. We all had to join. Joining meant standing in front of some camera to get photoed. But show me a camera and my face starts posing. Truly it does. I swear it has a life of its own, that old face of mine.
Table for Twenty, Please
The serving staff were deliciously Polish, of course. (Someone was saying we could save vast sums of public money by hiring Polish MPs from now on.)
"What would you like for dessert, sir?" asked the deliciously Polish young man. "What are you doing later?" I asked, but quickly, so as he wouldn't be too offended. Might not even catch on. My Duty Manager said he was getting worry lines. But I sure as heck wasn't.
At the end the new General Manager made a speech, and then I thought it might be nice if the most important bingo caller in Scotland, nay in the discovered universe, made a speech also, welcoming him to our little joint. And so it came to pass.
Good night all round, then. The youngsters left to go to some club or other up town, and were insisting I accompany them, but no, I said. This old body needs its sleep.
Lots of top bloggers are coming in to my comment box telling me to delete the Serenata Flower post. Never had people telling me what to do here before. Naughty but nice. What do you think?
All Of A Twitter
In order to get the links for the post just below I had to go on some other blogs. This I rarely do at this time of year, as it seems like prying. Too personal. Things I shouldn't know.
I learned that JonnyB is up for an award. Not a bloggie, but an award. You should vote for him. He was once my protege, sort of.
I learned from mike that there's a thing called Twitter. You say what you're doing at the time. You can do it from your phone, but I don't know the number. So I joined it. But I'm rejoining under my more common username. Thanks to mike for becoming my first friend. But I'm changing my username.
I learned that robin has closed his blog. (Cheating here. Learned it a couple of weeks ago, but things crowd in when you're depressed.) He too was my protege, once, sort of. O tempora, o mores!
Just took a swig of my coffee and something unspeakable came into my mouth. I spat it out and now feel quite ill.
I think I'll twitter that. Seems like their sort of thing. Anyone remember the most boring blog in the world? Was great. Real blogging that.
Hang on while I rejoin twitter and twitter about the unspeakable thing in my coffee. Yesterday at the casino I had two Christmas dinners. Gordon the cashline caller didn't want his. I asked him if he'd been on the toot, but he said no. I'd kill for a waistline like his, you know. Kill. No wonder if he doesn't eat his dinners.
I got a woman colleague her Secret Santa. It was three hyacinth bulbs in a basket. Ended up sitting next to her at the dinner, and I could tell she wasn't that impressed with it. Secret Santas are a very truthful concept.
Twittered. What the heck. Kept the same username. It's.... tada.... Peter McNaked! (The same as my Blogger profile, but different from YouTube and flickr.) I've just go no BRAND RECOGNITION.
Must go now and have half an hour of real life before work. Yesterday I played Simpsons Hit and Run till my hands hurt. Playstation can seriously damage your health. Skeletal health. All these kids will be manually crippled in a few years time. And who's gonna pick up the tab for their treatment, eh? The Sony Corporation? Wild Bill Gates? I think not.
There are seven days to the Solstice, and you are in the darkest fortnight of your life. God bless you and keep you.
For anybody west of the UK, make that six, btw.
Wyoming. Tallahassee. Nebraska. Kirkintilloch. Auchtermuchtie. Ozymandias, king of kings.
"In short, we are embarrassed to have been involved with spam commenting, however innocuous. We take full responsibility for what happened and really are very sorry to have been involved in the polluting of people's blogs with self-seeking links.
But we're also very grateful to Peter and the other bloggers for prickling our conscience and reminding us that it's our love for flowers that must always come first, not our quest for fame" More...
(Above from Technorati linkto. If I've missed you out, please pop in a comment. I won't start a campaign against you.)
This seemingly small thing might in the end prove quite seminal.
Moral Dilemma: Do we end the process here? Serenata CEO Peter Ahl has apologised and explicit in that apology is a promise to end the nuisance - from his company at least. To remove the offending post now would cause it to decay away quite quickly from his Google page.
However, that would also mean no other publications would take up the story. Organ Grinder blog is good: so too are other outfits.
We need to show the business world once and for all the power of blogworld.
Eight of the clock this morning we woke, the cat and me. Eight is a reasonable time, as there's a hint of light, and the dawn comes gradually over the next few hours. Full light is only from about eleven to one, but some people don't even get that. Sweden. Iceland. No wonder they drink. And don't get me started on Shetland.
Yesterday I forgot to mention an important BBC programme on Tuesday. Bank Robbery. Unlike 99.99 percent of programmes which have no importance whatsoever, and exist purely to shift Kate Moss cosmetics, unlike those programmes, this one will SAVE YOU MONEY. And - quite gloriously - hit those thieving gangsters called BANKS right hard in the goolies.
It would be impossible to read my organ for very long without seeing our main tenet, which is that
doctors make you worse
This is not desperately their fault... they probably set off wanting to do good, but they get sucked and suckered into Big Pharmy whose sole purpose is also to shift goods. And healthy people take no tablets. For that and other reasons, it's essential that most of the population is ill.
The second sine qua non of my writings is that
bankers rob you blind
Their aim is to put you in debt, and then when you are in debt to make you even more indebted. That, in brief, is their object. And now they're rumbled. Big time. Fucking A!
You see, it now transpires that all those "overdraft penalties" they've been charging for decades... those "thirty pound charge for exceeding overdraft limit" remarks... they're all totally fucking illegal!!
Oh yes. And what you do is claim them back. And they always pay. And they never go to court. Cos they're scared to go to court because of the publicity, and then everyone will want their money back. But the Beeb (and Naked Blog) have pretty well done that for them now anyway.
So, Peter. You'll be expecting a windfall then? Well not really. You see, I never exceed my modest overdraft. When you live on tiny pensions and wages like mine you can't afford to. So you cut your cloth according to your scissors. Now, back in the olden days when I was reasonably salaried, I was poor as a church mouse. Constantly getting these damn charges. Constantly. But the law only allows you to claim back for six years.
When does robbery cease to be robbery? And how about the Inland Revenue next, with their Self Assessment hundred pound charges? Now that takes stealing into the big league.
PASS THAT TIME
Dusted off the old PS2 last night, and popped in Simpsons Hit and Run. It's agreeably infantile, so I might hopefully get a few hours out of it. Normally with Playstation games I manage little more than 5 percent. I'm thinking Vice City and San Andreas. Brilliant concepts, lovely if only you could do them, but wasted on this old brain. I'm hoping Simpsons will be non-linear... that you can fail on all the tasks.
Tonight is my works outing. We're going to a casino. That might seem a bit like a busman's holiday, but there are good practical reasons. Namely that casinos are tooled up for late nights, which is the only time we evening workers can celebrate. Normal restaurants are shoving you out at the time we would reasonably be arriving. (Edinburgh has no 24 hour culture, unlike Las Vegas. Being highly Presbyterian here, it's still frowned on to be awake much after midnight.) Me I never am.
Thank you for all your comments recently, and I'm so guilty of not addressing you individually. This is due to temporary psychosis, so I can only say sorry in the generality. Likewise I'm probably not reading your blog.
Many things about damp boots, which I can now name as my topic of the year. I didn't know you had to reproof them. Guess nothing lasts for ever. Is it a spray? I could pop some on the roof.
Not much longer now. There's no real depression. You cannot be seriously depressed with the might and grandeur of Monday's near blizzard still etched on your retinas. And the knowledge that you made it safely. Oh - of course it's hardly Scott of the Antarctic. But these things are relative. Neither was it a sandwich at your warm and comfortable desk.
So no real depression, but much vagueness, lack of concentration, and that sine qua non, things starting to taste wrong. Specially coffee. Been here before so many times. Got the t-shirt.
Darling zoe doesn't seem to know quite what is happening, and sleeps even more than usual. She's eating only two or three teaspoons of Science Plan a day. Wish I was. Today I hit 13 stones 6 and a half... the heaviest for over a year. The Lord taketh, and the Lord giveth back. This time I blame corned beef. It's so moreish.
Must stop now, darlings, as Robert my personal handyman is coming to fix the window. Bob the Builder?
Spammers are alive and well in YouTube comments now. Bastards.
Slept fitfully again last night, although the wind has abated a little. Got the best two hours in the morning, finally rousing just after ten. Thanks zoe for your patience!
Normally I have to skip posting on Wednesdays, due to work, but by sheer serendipity my hours have changed and I don't start until 12.30 today.
The BBC are doing free ads for clothing chains again. Yesterday I saw reporter Andrew North sporting a Berghaus logo clearly visible from Baghdad, and then in the evening another guy with that ubiquitous North Face badge.
JUST STOP IT!! We don't pay our licence money to give product placings to already rich companies.
Or do we? Why not go the whole hog??
I can just see Dermot Murnaghan having a quick close shave with his Wilkinson Sword razor before handing over to the weather. Or Natasha Kaplinsky slapping on the Rimmel for a Kate Moss instant glow. Oh yeah... there's no business like show business, baby.
Standards? Wtf does that mean?
[Ed: shut up fer fs. You're showing your damn age again. Everybody's on the take these days. Everybody.]
PASS THAT TIME
Went into the game and record shop we never mention because of their famously crap service. They're doing twenty quid games at buy one get one free. Got Simpsons Hit and Run for PS2 and a compendium of encylopedias and dictionaries for PC. You can never have too much true information. Plus I got Crazy Taxi for PC for just four quid. I've already got it for PS2, but at that price...
Old people are attracted to simple plots and bright primary colours, especially yellow. That's why Tellytubbies are a firm favourite in elderly care homes. I've got my bed already booked, buster.
The Guardian never phoned. I think we can offer this story elsewhere.
"Excuse me, it's the Guardian," I muttered to Shell in the Regent when my phone went off a couple of hours ago. (That's twice it's gone off in one week, btw.) But he's from Sweden, and didn't fully get the import. On the old blower was Jemima Kiss from Media Guardian, wanting to know all about our Serenata Flower thing. Honey, I felt like saying - honey, if you need to ask then you haven't been paying attention, but I didn't. Say that. Can't expect everyone in the discovered universe to hang on our every word, now can you?
This morning I was in the Pentlands but it was horizontal sleet. At sixty miles per hour. Whipping, cutting, sandblasting your face. Blowing across the front of you in enormous shimmering sheets of greyness. Vile and awe inspiring equally.
Decided to abandon my walk due to terror, and do no hills at all. Too scary. First time I've ever cried off. Then it dried out, got sunny, and later sleeted all over again. Blackest sky I ever did see. So I did Hare Hill in between times. Weird hill. Four summits and a crater at the top. Then I walked off to Balerno, which was as boring as get-out, and landed in the Regent quite soaking.
And yes, I was in "calming down" mode when Miss Kiss came on the telephone. Fourth pint of Tennents, to be honest. T in The Guardian. She said she's really quite new. I said I was really a bit pissed. We shall see. Shell and the others decided it was mebbe Serenata Flowers spying on me. I told them off for being jealous.
So much has happened you wouldn't believe it, possums. So much. Mebbe if you're very good I'll toss a few pearls. Toss. Ten days to the Solstice. Who would have thunk? I can almost smell that bus pass.
Jemima Kiss and I are continuing our interview tomorrow when I've sobered up. Tomorrow is mad for her, but she can fit me in around four. Such serviceable flowers.
Tuesday Morning Update:
Goodday, sport. The above was written late last night, and somehow passed the midnight button.
I'm lying of course. The above was written late last night and I meddled with time. In case I didn't get one written today, and missed the start of the solstice countdown. Drama queen that I am.
This Orange County thing is quite superb. Thanks PB. It's the would-have-been scoop I offered to the Grauny a week ago - but due to their tardiness, florist.com got in first. Good research, and without even darkening my door. Viva la internet! However, a Grauny piece would still spread the word. I knew this story had legs - not in particular, but in the generality of what can be done. Not the players, but the game. Here's a short extract:
According to e-consultancy.com, Serenata is owned by former Goldman Sachs trader and hedge fund manager Peter Ahl. His SEO team obviously knows the value of inbound links but maybe this lesson from Naked Blog will be enough for him to call off the comment spam team and put them to work actually selling flowers.
Looks like Serenata owes Naked Blog a sincere apology and a gorgeous arrangement... just for starters.
I'll pass on the arrangement, thanks. Not the flower type. But a statement of regret and revision of practice... on their own site... might please a lot of the bloggers they've abused. And remove the offending piece from their Google.
Yesterday morning, metcheck.com had "light rain" for the earlier part, then clear. BBCi had their full yellow sun spider at both 10am and 1pm. The real world had amongst the worst storms we ever get in southern Scotland. Not once but twice. This was potential killing stuff, without the correct clothing. I'll still see to my dying day the vision of West Kip almost vanished in the leaden sky. A sky and a storm so vigorous they can practically "disappear" a hill range.
Hardly slept a wink all night again because of the wind. But there's no longer any creaking from above my head. This can only mean one thing: the loose bit has come off. The Lord giveth...
The Rimmel beauty potion that Cokehead Kate Moss punts is "anti fatigue" and gives "instant glow". They don't say whether it's best to smoke, snort or inject it.
Tramping through heather really wears you out.
It's difficult to be extremely lost when there's a mountain range on one horizon. But I almost managed that, on the far side of Hare Hill.
Darling zoe's tail is going a bit white at the tip. She's starting to look like a raccoon. Should I give her a champagne rinse, like my bingo ladies?
Tui is a New Zealand bird. As well as a lovely barman.
Yesterday my boots let my feet get pretty damp, although not swimming. Is this a fault? They were 100 quid a year ago.
Watched The Grifters last night on FilmFour. But it didn't seem as magical as the first viewing years ago. Mebbe time had added more than it actually possessed.
I swear this keyboard has got cat hairs on it. If that little cow is tramping the keys to get the computer to come on then I'll wring her fat little neck.
Just kidding. I love her fat little neck. And all the fat little rest of her. It's good to have another heartbeat round the house. (That last line nicked from somewhere. But it's too good not to repeat.) Times you can see why people leave all their worldlies to the local cat home.
Will and Disgrace
Channel Four were very naughty this morning, putting on the second part of a two parter Will and Grace, without ever showing the first. It was the one where Will's dad and his young mistress come to dinner. But yesterday was definitely the one where Will sold Grace's car to a nun. I remember the nun asking Grace what sex with a man was like, and Will answering.
Things like this fuck with people's heads and make them think they've lost an entire day when they haven't. (And don't even THINK of coming in my comment box and telling me I've lost an entire day. Bah.)
After W and G comes double Frasier, and one of today's was the ski lodge show, which I read about in yesterday's Frasier researches. Did you know, btw, that the actor Dan Butler who plays Bob 'Bulldog' Briscoe (that arch heterosexual), is a respected gay playwright? Now that's what I call acting.
No, the ski lodge was standard Whitehall Farce (mixed bedrooms, mixed romantic messages), except for the hilarity of the French ski instructor (ooh la la, btw) fancying Niles. Who then had to say the classic line, "I'm not gay, Guy," (You really had to be there.)
Cat On A Cold Wet Roof
The roof continues unfixed. Last night, after an excellent early evening in the Regent (thanks Babs, Drew, the two Davids, Christine and Ingrid), excellent early evening, I chanced into the local Scotmid Co-op for some messages. (In Scotland, messages means groceries. Don't ask.) I needed bread, tinned soup and tinned mackerel, to which I'm especially partial for my oily fish requirement. Zoe too loves to lick the tomato sauce out of the tin, but she avoids any portions of fish, which I generously used to leave for her. Tinned mackerel. But I forgot it.
I forgot it because I spied one of my downstairs neighbours who works there, and I didn't want to get into a roof conversation. (We've still done nothing. Nada.) So I took a swift right into soups and baked beans to escape him, but then made the mistake of pausing at cut flowers to look in the mirror, when he caught right up. Fourteen days we had, he said. And seven of them gone.
I know, I know, I replied, as the sliced meat lady switched off the counter lights, denying me her delicious corned beef at a mere 43p per 100g. Delicious. Even if it does make you fat as fuck. We'll stall for time, I said, unloading what messages I did have onto the checkout conveyor. Stall for time. Leave it to me and Tom the actor.
Today is double party day at the bingo. So colour me happy. (It's my job.) I'm thinking of starting a campaign to get back to green Santas. Santa used to be green, you know, to symbolise nature - till the Coca Cola company made him their shade of red, to symbolise profits.
The things you learn on my weblog. Do we really want our myths coloured by Coca Cola? I think not. So - green Santas please from now on. Tesco have got Joanna Lumley's voice advertising their phones. I could listen to her all day, but there's no point in getting a new phone, as no-one at all ever phones me. And she certainly wouldn't. I'm not that easily conned. Have a lovely Friday.
(1) It's Bob "Bulldog" Briscoe, played by Dan Butler, not 'Bulldog Drummond' as rather stupidly appeared in earlier editions. Thanks to Alan.
(2) Frasier creator Peter Casey continues the history of the series here and here. First class. Horse's mouth. Read how a pre-Friends Lisa Kudrow didn't get the part of Roz.
Darlings. Sorry for yesterday's rubbishy post. You'll be thinking I'm a huge phoney. (That's why Mark Chapman shot John Lennon, btw. Phoney. He'd just been reading Catcher.)
Of course I *could* have used the spellcheck, but there were only moments before work. Which was excellent. I could spend my life there. My own private Disneyworld.
Tomorrow they're getting a party. You get a party hat, glass of bubbly, and gift off Santa. Memo to self: must buy a Santa hat. Flashing, of course. Nothing succeeds like excess, especially when it comes to tat. I already own a flashing bow tie, a cherished gift from a customer.
It's The Real Thing
Talking of tat, I see Rimmel cosmetics have got Kate Moss, Britain's leading coke addict (rehabilitated). The potion she's plugging (you couldn't make it up) "hits the spot" and gives you "an instant sensation". Or summat like that. I tried to remember the wording, but it's that time of the year.
Vividly I remember when Rimmel started. "For Beauty on a Budget buy Rimmel." Being a boy myself, cosmetics were out of reach, another planet, but as a lady-in-waiting I found all that girly stuff fascinating. Boots Number 7 range started then too.
My mother used to sell made-to-measure corsets and bras. I spent my entire adolescence wading through pictures of women in their underwear... without one single sensory moment. Not one. We were so innocent in those days. Now they'd be off to the junior LGBT disco before you could say Will and Grace.
Which said programme was fab today, just an hour ago. As was double Frasier to follow. Channel Four.
No, my big interest as a teenling was in the twice-yearly "catalogue", awash with male models. Knitwear, slacks, you name it. There they all were in their preened-up glory. Me, I'd grab the book and rush it off to my room - eyes popping out at this cornucopia of male splendour and synthetic fibres. "Oooo - look at him! When I grow up I want to be exactly like him," I would gasp, in my pimples and perspiration.
And do you see the irony? For what are catalogue models but a wall-to-wall bunch of queens! In my pit village naivety I simply failed to realise that to be "exactly like them", all I had to do was wait ten years.
Nowt so queer.
Today Robert might come to fix my living room window. But then again he might not. I'm meant to be seeing Babs, but then again she might cancel. My problems mount up like rollers on the ocean horizon - all about to burst in and tsunami me. But then again, some people have no arms or legs.
Goodbye Seattle! I love you!
Frasier Update: Read co-creator Peter Casey on the origins of the Frasier character here. Tomorrow Niles. These are fresh articles, not dusty old kilobytes cluttering up a creaking hard disk somewhere.
It's fourteen days to the winter solstice for most of you. We are now in the darkest four weeks of the year. Stay well.
Once Were Warriors
Tui in the Regent told me there are no full-blooded Maoris left. Maori is now only a gene line. And btw it's pronounced "more'-ee". (I was listening intently.) So you've been wrong all this time.
No, really - I can hardly string twwo wowrds together. We're number three now on sere*nata flowers. nubmer 3. I offered the story to the Guaardian, but they don't seem interested. I offered it to Media Guardain and Guardian unlimited. They seem so uninterested they don't even reply to emails. Guess that's a hundred years of socialism. there is no such thing as society. m thatcher.
Been in the village a couple of times. Chav Gav. Jacks. Gwen.
Chav Gav has stopped dying his hair and it's quite grey. Distinguished. I said it was just like Fraaieir's dad, but he didn't agree with that and said George Clooney.
On Monday had a sunbath going up Easter Road. it's totally brilliant. You even get a hit in your brain off it. Sun, hit, hit me with your solar flares. Sun going down on me. Awesome. I'ts got to be 12.30, mas o menos. I got more anti depression walks I'll mebbe tell you about if i can be bothered.
No progeress with the roof. So fucking depressing. On Monda the metal strip on the top was flapping in the hurricane. Coping, said Drew. Only just I said.
Pentlands yestereday, as the winds down to 40 mph. There is no alternative. TINA.
mornings now are Will and Grace at 8.20 then double Frasier. Brilliant move, as by the time all that's over it's light again.
Walk into the light. Pass the time count the days try to keep laundered not to get fired.
Anmybody know a journalist might be interested in sere*nata flower thing? One who answers his or her emails mebbe. Pity to waste such a good story but to tell the truth I've long since lost interest.
Live my years instead of counting my days. Pentlandds were great. Chcav Gav was that interested in my trekking poles. I got w whole new pub to impress. I said theyyh were just fifteen quid from Lidl. Village is interesting. Used to go there a lot, i fyou recall. Babs used to work there and cook my lunch. I used to maintain their webpage. It was gay owned but they sold it. Ally and Dolly if you recall.
Chatted about readio matterws with Gwen. She said she didn't know what they were up to. We said we had no intention of signingup for five years for nowt. I said I was all washed up anyway. If I couldnt even complete a fortninght. she said itll all be boring community stuyfff.
I got to go to work now. Get me a journalist. please. its peter at the domain in the address box. weve come so far with your help. this story wants to move.
Yes, thanks in some part to your manifold linkages, our true report about Sere*nata Flowers has reached their Google Page 1. This is what I intended to happen, but there was a time I thought we'd peaked around #13.
Remember, they had ample warning of this outcome if they didn't cease spamming, which warning they chose to ignore.
Now we have to take this story to the wider world, so that our blog communities will never again have to put up with these infantile and destructive comment box shenanigans.
In my little broadcast below (7 min), I refer to Mr Angry and to PBCurtis, as these are the only two I've so far seen, due to seasonal depression. But I know there are others, and if humanly possible I'll get round everyone involved to thank them.
Now sit back and enjoy the latest production from Nakedblog Studios, LA (Leith, Actually)
(This must win some award for the ghastliest screenshot ever. Would you buy a bunch of flowers from this man?)
Oh yes. December dawns sunny, blue and calm. But don't let that deceive you for uno momento. This month is loathsome, vile. It exists purely to make the other months look better. To every thing, turn, turn, turn. Without the darkness, how can we enjoy the light? And other such platitudes.
I hate it, me.
In fact, I hate me.
And December offers fewer opportunities to escape these thoughts.
Life as distraction. Distraction from the thoughts of what might have been - had things been different. But you don't mean different, you mean better. We count curses, never blessings.
There. I've quite cheered myself up.
Last of the Buzzcocks series yesterday, with Amstell on top form, and most of the humour centring on a panellist (Jamelia?) whom I've never heard of. Apparently she'd called some other sleb "a slag", which Amstell seemed to find hilarious, but this obviously left me cold. Steve Strange (?) was a deliciously wasted has-been, and Amstell typically showed him no mercy. This has become a very cruel programme.
Been a couple of goodish movies on Film Four during the week... Very Bad Things with Christian Slater, Cameron Diaz and a host of unknowns, a black comedy gross-out - and also Switchblade Romance, just a gross-out. In French. (Fr. title Haute Tension.)
Pass That Time
Went into Virgin yesterday to check out the DVD sets. Simpsons down to 20 quid a series, but South Park remains resolutely at 40. Bit of a steal, as there are often just 17 episodes. I've heard you can watch them online for nowt, but as of this moment I've not yet descended into copyright theft. Just call me the Virgin Mary. Maybe I will. Descend. I did buy three of their sets already.
Games are another good time-passer of course, and I've been delighted with the DOOM Collector's Edition. Got DOOM, DOOM II and Final DOOM in one box. Ten quid at somewhere or other, or two for fifteen. GAME shop, if I recall. Got The Sims with it, but that paled after a few days, as it seems to have done for most of you. You truly do get sick of constantly putting grown adults on the toilet. Even darling zoe knows when to do that for herself.
Oh well. Off to graft for a day and a half. Stops me thinking about myself, I suppose. Be January in no time, and that gorgeous bus pass.
I haven't read any of your blogs for at least a week, due to complete self-absorption. Hope you're all doing well. Must catch up soon. Must reply to your lovely comments, which I truly appreciate.
When in Waterstones for a Windows MovieMaker book yesterday my eye chanced on Blog Directory 2007. It's the follow-up to 2005: A Year In Blog. The only one I recognised was Diamond Geezer. Wonder if they paid them this time.
WORLD AIDS DAY
It's World Aids Day. Don't catch it. If you've already caught it, good luck. (Don't forget that there'll never be a cure. Never. That would hit sales of combination therapies right in the gut.) HIV and nicotine replacement are what keep Big Pharmy shareholders in clover and their kids in exclusive schools. Fucking and smoking. How ironic.