Sam and me relaxing in George Street. Then we went to Harvey Nicks for some window shopping.
An SAS-looking guy opened the door for us - he had a radio earpiece. "This is serious shit, hon," I said to Sam. "They'll be watching us on every camera." (It would be clear from our clothes and demeanour how near to penniless we were.)
Menswear on the first floor. (For my transatlantic readers that means one up.)
Shoes... blue leather shoes for 750 pounds. The most expensive shoes I've ever seen. "Would you buy those shoes - even if you were rich?" Sam asked. "Like a shot, hon," I replied. "Like a shot. I'd buy every damn thing that caught my eye."
Soon a young brown-skinned salesguy turned up. (His skin IS apposite to my tale.) "You're of Indian descent," I said to him. "How do you feel having one of your holy words used to sell fashion?" I turned, pointed. The section was called MAHARISHI.
"Oh, I'm not religious," he replied. "But anyway - we've also got JESUS ELVIS." (Or maybe ELVIS JESUS, I forget.) He swept the two of us along, past PRADA and PAUL SMITH, right up to JESUS ELVIS. (Or vice versa.) "You even get a free Jesus cross and chain," he said. Sam was mightily impressed, I could tell - but I sensed more by the young man than the fashions.
"Let's go to the Newtown Bar, hen," Sam declared, after Harvey Nicks. (A reasonably respectable gay haunt, frequented by those past the first flush. People like us, in fact.)
"OK, I said... we'll play rentboys and sugar daddies." He laughed at that.
Newtown pretty uneventful. "Next I fancy that cool place on the corner of Broughton Street," I declared. Where the cool people mill about, coolly.
"OK, hen," Sam said. "And we can sit outside, so I can smoke." (Sam has conquered the demon drink, and I'm proud of him. He says the weed is next. I mentioned Allen Carr, but he thought I meant Alan Carr, the uber-camp comedian.)
First we dropped off in some sex shop. Wow what porn they were selling! All legal too. Did you know it's on DVD these days? And not all American? Awesome.
Here's a shot of the toystore.
Then to the Port o Leith Bar - the place which launched a thousand somethings. Mary the Landlady was there, and Gary, and Little Alex. "You don't need to worry about your hair here," Gary said. "You're at home now."
This week I've been reunited with not one but two friends.
Oh, I should say that I've got just 30 minutes here with you, and then I LITERALLY don't have a moment to myself until Sunday evening. Some call it getting a life - white men call him The Lone Ranger.
Thank you all for enjoying the pic of Turnhouse Hill below. It's a very great joy to sit on top of a mini-mountain and blog away at California or Seattle or some such place, and then directly to you. Progress.
That was Monday.
Tuesday I texted Stewart my former hill-walking companion. He's bought trekking poles. I said it's the last dry day for several - fancy trying them out?
Normally as you know I'm far too shy even to text anyone, far less converse on the telephone, but something - maybe alcohol from the day before - propelled me forward.
And what a nice day! Some bits of the Pentlands I'd never been on, and then some bits I had. Oh we talked non stop.
Remember the dead Maharishi? Of course you do. Well, he's made lots of Colleges over the decades, combining meditation with standard stuff, usually business courses. And guess where the next one is to be built. That's right. Leith. You couldn't make it up. Clearly my quarter century of meditation has enlightened the local consciousness so much that former sleb Donovan has selected our town for the next Academy.
Some come here to plunder, others to enlighten. You decide.
Our day in the hills took a little longer than I'd anticipated, as Stew is still on the road to full fitness. So I ran out of food. Hit the wall. Fuel emergency, as they say in aeronautics. But Stewie kindly gave me grape juice and dried apricots in the bealach. Much revived, I was then able to shove him up the last hill, Turnhouse. After which we collapsed into the Flotterstone for much needed sustenance. I had lager and potato wedges, and Stewart had Pentland Ale.
Then to a Wetherspoons pub in George Street, a former bank, The Standing Order. This was cheap and reasonably cheerful, but they had football on in the main room, so there was a bit of an abundance of up-market schemies, if you getta my drifta.
I must say my new Italian friends seem to have arriverderci'd as quick as they ciao'ed. Foreigners. Only good things to come out of Italy are pasta and Joey Tribbiani.
So that was two quite hard days. Stewart did well on Tuesday. Eight hundred metres ascent is not to be sneezed at. We made promises and plans.
Well. You could have bowled me over with a Columbine when who should I see behind the bar in the Port Inn last night but Sam Shaw! How lovely. Like the warm bask of a nice fire when you return home. Constitution Street - the home of civilised life. Oh - but it's so dug up. For the trams. Sam said he hadn't had a drink for over five months. I said that's marvellous - I wish I could do the same. You kind of imagine there's some guiding intelligence behind the tram fiasco, but times I kinda wonder. They say Princes Street is gonna be shut for seven months. This town is too important, too beautiful, to be left in the hands of here today, gone tomorrow politicians. It needs some sort of World Heritage protection from the carpetbaggers and money grubbers who're running it. Surprised Donald Trump hasn't put an offer in for the Port o Leith Bar.
I was nervous about showing Sam my new, white, oldman hair. Makes me look roughly ninety. I've aged twenty years in two with this alopecia. But I plucked up the courage. Went to the gents and stuck my woolly hat in my pocket. Came out. Sam talked about everything else except my hair, thus proving how awful it is.
Ah well. Some of us were put on earth to suffer.
And suffer I'll be doing plenty on Sunday, leading about twenty folk southward into England, across cowfields and bog and hill. Roman remains. I'll look like one after that, I tellsya. Have a lovely weekend.
Eagle-eyed readers might have noticed last night's post, VILLAGE PEOPLE, is no longer here. That's because it wasn't helpful. Don't drink and post. You'd think that'd have sunk in by now - what with me being a Lifetime Achievement person.
Respectability at last! It's taken all these years to come to pass, but soon I'm going to be on a jury. Next month, if I'm selected. How exciting is that.
Sadly I won't be able to discuss the case here, as they send you to jail for that. But I wish I could, as I'd value your opinions no end. Verdicts were never my strong point. It takes a fashion advisor and several pints of lager before I can decide on even a shirt to buy. Sending a man to the electric chair or some such fol-de-rol just hasn't entered my orbit so far.
Trial by blog. It would be so simple. I could put the salient points of evidence here each day, and at the end you could all vote in the comment box. "HOW DO YOU FIND THE DEFENDANT?" And "IS THAT THE VERDICT OF YOU ALL?" Ooooo. You couldn't make it up. So great I'm amazed no-one's thought of it yet.
In reality of course, no-one reaches a verdict purely (or even mainly) on the evidence. Only a machine could do that. The difference between myself and the other jurors will be that (hopefully) I'm a little more aware of my prejudices.
People who are CLEARLY GUILTY include (but are not restricted to)
People under 25
Unnaturally pale people
Drinkers in or near Great Junction Street
In fact, just about everyone in Leith
It strikes me that some of the above categories also include just about the best homosex going - and this might pose a problem in the court, as if you know the accused you have to say so.
Because - gay male readers will know of what I speak - the criminal classes make amazing lovers. Amazing. Oh yes. *Rolls eyes at the memories over the decades.* The simple fact of them being with someone consenting - enthusiastic even - rather than having to rape their way through the showers every Friday night, fills a handsome ex-con with joy to behold. Oh yes, yes. And don't get me started on the muscles and tattoos. Real, not gym-tits. Butch, not spray-on.
We have a traffic spike unseen since the days of Natasha Kaplinsky naked, Jude Law's penis, Harry Pothead, and (few readers will know of this one) the New York Devil Pic.
Although at one time Naked Blog regularly rode the thousand plus statistic, this has of late been somewhat less, averaging 600 to 700 page views per day. So average that these days and months I rarely even look. Yet something, strangely, impelled me to do so today. And what should I see but 1.6k for the day and not yet finished.
And where do these lovely new visitors come from? Well - Italy it would appear.
Mamma Mia!! Allegro con moto!!
(Must be the mentions of the Holy Roman Empire. Naked. Woops, silly me. There I've said it again.)
Naked Blog welcomes our Italian readers con gusto. Click on the newly installed Babel Fish on the sidebar for your reading pleasure, which begins with Zoe the naughty cat.
I shouldn't be sitting here, writing to you like this, as Wee Robert has promised to come round and fix my window this afternoon. But hey - anything's better than housework.
...was the scene which greeted me on my return from the hills on Tuesday. (As described in the true story below.)
...Darling Zoe (the woman trapped in a cat's body) surveys her gruesome handiwork. She's used up six of her nine lives, I tellsya. Any more of this and it's the Big Shiny Needle at the vet's.
(One of my bingo ladies was so upset at that last thought she said it should be me who gets the Big Shiny Needle.) But sadly it'll be me who gets the Big Shiny Bill for glazing. I hope Rob comes quickly, as I can hear the broken glass moving and scraping in the perma-gale.
Thanks for your many comments about Saturday's cow adventure. Particularly moo-ved (sorry, Danny) by Danny's comments about befriending our bovine cousins. Mooing at them. Well, I wish I'd had you there to calm me down, D!
Several comments about outdoor pooing. This is a fact of life, for all creatures of the field. Only two days ago I watched a ewe letting forth a stream of poo, showing no obvious signs of either modesty or feminine hygiene. "I can do that," I thought, correctly.
What hillwalkers, campers, mountaineers etc carry is a "Shit Kit". In my case this is simply a few pocket-sized Kleenex packets, a re-sealable pack of Wet Wipes, and a squeeze bottle of hand sanitizer. Works a treat. Complete package.
But what to do with the "evidence"? There are different schools of thought. The most extreme is to bury the faeces with a trowel, and burn the used tissues. This sounds both laborious and dangerous to me. Excessive also, considering that the entire Scottish countryside is one huge sheep farm. With occasional cows and horses thrown in to make you nervous.
Shit is everywhere you look.
In summer months the Pentlands are humming with the smell of sheepshit, and the buzzing of the flies which enjoy it. So I don't get too rattled. Fly activity removes ninety percent of the mass in four of five days. Trust me, I've checked. Always was an enquiring kid. And tissues disintegrate quickly in the ever-near rainstorms we enjoy as the price of our grass. Balance. Nature in harmony. Shitting for Scotland. Enjoy.
(But do try to hide the signs of your activity from passing humans.)
On Saturday I walked over the raised earthworks built by Roman Legions two thousand years ago. Loads of them. This was the northern limit of the Holy Roman Empire. The final frontier.
Exciting or what. (If you have the slightest hint of imagination.)
Oh dear. Robert isn't here and it's almost three o-clock, and soon the gin-star will be over the horizon. What to do with my creaking glass? Maybe buy some industrial sellotape. Seems to work, if untidy. Then we can make progress next week.
Darling zoe has got to learn some decorum, and not fling herself about the house with gay abandon.
Yesterday I got home from my five hour stint in the Pentlands to find the living room in disarray. Darling zoe (the world-famous woman trapped in a cat's body) had clean knocked over her scratching-post cum perch, and cracked the window behind it.
What a fright she must have got!
A little more force and she might have gone straight through the glass and ended up in the street several floors below. Under a Number 1 bus. (Ocean Terminal.)
What a fright I got!
Fright also on Saturday when my route took me through a field of cattle. Bulls, cows - I don't know. Seems rude to look. Unseemly.
I put on my bravest swagger of course. Pretended to be the farmer. Tried not to recall that there've been 47 cattle "incidents" since not that long ago, resulting in ten fatalities.
"Don't look back, Peter!"
"Don't make eye contact!"
"Pretend you're not afraid!"
Well, I pretended and pretended until just after a boggy part across the path. Plodged through the bog, and allowed myself the luxury of a wee peep behind.
Twelve cattle, with a collective weight of ten tonnes or more, were staring balefully at me from behind the boggy part. Ten yards away just. They'd followed me, silently, across half the field!
"Look for the fucking escapes!"
"Don't speed up - might trigger a stampede, with me underneath it."
"Where's the fucking gate?"
And there it was, in a distant corner. With a picture of a Centurion helmet to indicate it was on a Roman road. Dere Street. I looked back at the cattle, still waiting silently at the bog and watching. Yanked out the old willy for a wee, in case I still needed to run. Let out a fart which turned into something more. Literally shit myself.
It's a man's life in the outdoors, you know. Later I took on the full might of the Holy Roman Empire, and made a daring border raid on England. You couldn't make it up. Any of it. Called getting a life.
I know, I know - been a week again. Tell me about it. Here it is ten o clock. All that lovely time I could have been bloggin at ya, I've instead been glued to the telly. Frasier, Will and Grace, Friends. And all of them one hundred percent poo. Oh dear me. All series go through bad patches. But for three of them to have the skits at once... I do despair.
And of course, when I'm not glued to the telly, then there's a new mobile game I'm glued to instead. Pile Up, it's called. Like Tetris, but with coloured balls. Totally addictive. Bought it when I was poorly, just three pounds, and it comes complete with Gem Drop, which isn't quite so good, but then I'm always playing Pile Up, so I wouldn't really know.
Mobile Games are a licence to print money. One hundred percent profit. No costs whatever.
Thanks to my readers for all your good wishes when I was poorly, in marked contrast to people who actually know me, who sent none at all. Nada. Zilch. Big fat zero.
Never mind. I still love them. Sort of. Got no choice. Made my own bed, and I'll lie on it alone.
So during that feverish week in bed, with only me and zoe to talk to each other, something rather strange happened.
All this time you thought darling zoe was a cat, now didn't ya? Well it now transpires she's not. She's had a catscan (several, in fact)and it turns out that she's really a woman trapped in a cat's body. That's right. So we've decided to save up for experimental and outrageously expensive Species Reassignment Surgery. In Morocco, of course.
Not that much of a biggie... re-shape the ears, file a few teeth and claws, lots of hair remover and some nipple-ectomy. We're having Victoria Beckham's surgeon for the boobies. After all, when a girl's going from ten titties down to just two then she wants to be sure they're right crackers!
And then we're having a civil partnership. In Leith Registry Office. The Catholic Church is dead set against it, but we're going ahead anyway. The National Enquirer has made an offer we couldn't really refuse.
TRAVELS IN TIME AND SPACE
Doctor Who has been on. The original, in fuzzy black and white, from 1963.
EX TER MIN ATE!! ANN I HILL ATE!!
Wonderful. Made me sixteen again. Took me right back to acned, masturbatory teenage.
At first I wasn't too sure though. The acting is even more wooden than the scenery. There's someone called Barbara who's a dead ringer for Cherie Blair, William Hartnell (the first Doctor) can't get his lines out to save himself, and all of them are old, so old for children's telly. (In those days clearly the cult of youth hadn't kicked in. Remember, they were still hosting Six Five Special with Pete Murray and Katie Boyle.)
Anyway. It was the Daleks who grabbed the nation's imagination - nothing to do with the script, story or production. Daleks alone. "Killer Pepper Pots!!" the tabloids screamed. We loved it, in a pre-Beatles way.
You can see what all the fuss was about on BBC iPlayer. If you've only got time for one episode, then try number four. Up till then it's all just risible studio jungles and rubbish lines. (You might not be able to access the iPlayer. It's become so popular it's breaking the internet, apparently.)
The present Doctor, David Tennant, was on Jonathan Ross with Catherine Tait, who blurted out to the million viewers that he (Tennant) sleeps with men. Poor men, is all I can say. What a twat. It's terrible when actors start thinking they're anything more than lucky.
Terrible also what the BBC is doing to our heroes of comedy. Dead heroes, so they can't hit back. I simply refused to look at the Frankie Howerd one. Some really sick people at the Beeb.
But moving on to real talent, Bob Dylan has got an honorary Pulitzer Prize, which is wonderful. Everyone's blocking the Olympic torch, which is even more wonderful. But China will prevail. They are Daleks of the age.
Baby's poorly! Chest cold. A cute one, of course - so this is coming from my sick bed. Only noticed it last night after work. Straight to the chest, bypassing the head completely. Mebbe for the best, having just emerged from a period of semi deafness due to head cold.
Must have been overdoing things. Tuesday last week to Sunday gone would have taxed a man one third my age. Flattened.
This morning straight Nathan was in a gay bar with Will. And what were we writing about here only yesterday? That's right! Straight men in gay bars.
And Robin really does have a book deal. With Harper Collins. You couldn't make it up.
Hearty well dones all round to Robin. And no I didn't get the idea there.
FAME AT LAST
Observant viewers of BBC Breakfast this morning might have noticed a feature on "which is the best ever guitar riff"? Clearly neither the voters nor the Beeb have a very good idea of what a guitar riff actually is, as the examples portrayed were songs, not twangs. But no matter. Sloppiness is all around.
Joe Public was as ever encouraged to email or text in his two pennyworth, and the one they saved for last was from a "Peter in Leith". (Moi.) I Can't Get No Satisfaction was Peter's choice, and of course it is the right answer.
Bah Baaaaaaah Baba BAMP Ba Ba Ba Bah Baaaaaaah etc till vocal
(It was also actually I who corrected the pronunciation of "roofs" one day last week, in a Breakfast feature about thatch.) Roses to Louise Munchkin and Chris Hollins for debating that one on air, and rasps to the moronic Tim Muffet who insisted on continuing with the very idiotic "rooves".
Hoof, hooves Roof, roofs.
So easy a kid could say it.
Another one which gets my damn goat is "troothes", as (wrong) plural of "truth".
No such beast. It's "truths", with hard "th". Standards slipping everywhere you look. And don't get me started on on-screen captions. Couple of weeks ago they had the word "Restaurateur" underneath some dude. Aldo Zilli, but that's unimportant.
Too Many Poofs?
"My - what an interesting mix of sexuals!" I cried on entering the Village yesterday tea-time. There were four poofs, a straight guy, and a dabbling tranny.
That joint is becoming increasingly gay, which from long experience I know eventually drives out the straight men. This is due to a mixture of embarrassment and the likelihood of misinterpretation. My closest straight friend there (who can never be named) was noticeable in this regard last night.
But bars have to be mixed. Have to. There is no place in modern Britain for ghettoised drinking. None. We're here and we're legal, so GET OUT THERE AND MINGLE, girls.
Talking of joints, the observant amongst you might have noticed Mary the Landlady in the Scotsman yesterday, venting her rage over rude customers. (That's what the feature was about. I'm sure she didn't choose the topic.)
Also in the Port O Leith Bar last weekend there was a movie being made. (So I'm told.) A real movie, with Dougray Scott, although I gather he wasn't there. Some of my friends got fifty pounds for being extras. (Or at least the promise of that at some future time.) Mary had a speaking part. I think the movie's to be called New Town Killers (or summat). But without having co-written it, I'm not that interested, to be honest.
Talking of fiction, Will and Grace is on cracking form the noo. Or at least the part they're showing on Channel Four in the mornings... which I suspect from some of the references is circa 2001. Stan Walker has just gone to jail. Cher was in it a few weeks ago. Woody Harrelson has been completely and utterly mouth-watering (for both Jack and myself) for the last few episodes.
Which got me thinking about fashion. In Will and Grace, Woody Harrelson's character, Nathan, is very straight, and very macho. Wearing tight white trousers (pants) and floral shirts. Which outfits, fifty years ago, would have got him jailed for effeminacy before you could say short back and sides. Which goes to show the clothes don't make the man.
Anyway, waxing philosophical on your ass.
Summer Time, and the light is all over the place. Walk and talk, drink and think. The going is good. Even without a book deal.
Many of you have written asking why the blog silence for so long.
Well, now I can tell you.
The blog silence has been so long because my agent (*coughs modestly*) and I have been negotiating the deal of a lifetime.
With MGM Television (aka Two Jews and a Newspaper).
It's to be called DESPERATE OLD QUEENS. Playing me will be Sean Hayes. That's right. Sandra will be by Megan Mullaly. Harper Collins are in town RIGHT NOW flashing big green dollars at me for the book rights.
Oh. My. God. You can hardly believe it.
"We love this guy's raw, unflinching honesty. Nothing is too painful or too private for his laser-like observation. Definitely the Next Big Thing." Harper Collins