// January 2008
Is it just me or is there something a little bit odd about getting blog comment spam warning you of the dangers of blog comment spam?
Because I’ve just had some and it really confused me.
Is there any greater evil a person can inflict on their fellow commuters? I think not.
Now, I’ve always harboured a kind of seething resentment towards people who keep their rucksacks on their backs when travelling because they invariably pay no attention to the amount of space it’s taking up behind them. It’s almost as if they completely forget it’s there, slamming it into people as they turn round and so on.
But recently the trend has been towards having those pointlessly tiny mini-suitcases on wheels and I’m beginning to think they hack me off even more. There’s a veritable plague of them round Liverpool Street at the moment, weaving around half-heartedly behind their disinterested owners, tripping people over and even occasionally running over their feet.
(The great thing of course is that when they run over someone’s feet they tend to fall over, greatly annoying the drooling lackwit in charge of the damn thing. But then they do tend to tut and glare and make it look like it’s my fault they weren’t paying attention.)
The other day I also had the great pleasure of being stuck behind some stupid – and I apologise for my use of this word, ladies, but believe me it does apply here – bint who stopped dead at the foot of an escalator as she fought with the suitcase handle. This mainly served to create a huge bottleneck as further, increasingly frantic, passengers accumulated behind her. Then, apparently oblivious to the carnage, she then proceeded to swing the case round behind her, thus causing further mayhem as we scattered to avoid its path.
I’m sure I heard one person spit “stupid bitch” in her general direction and if so I must confess I think the tag was richly deserved.
Of course, my feelings on this are probably unfair since I’m sure there are people out there who have rucksacks and wheelie-cases who are careful, thoughtful, and considerate, and would probably be mortified to have caused even a fraction of such chaos.
But on the whole they do seem to be fairly reliable markers of rabid stupidity. Honestly, people, if you do harbour such a grudge against humanity couldn’t you just become a P.E. teacher and stay out of my way?
Woah. That’s a bit of a shock isn’t it?
I’ll admit I’ve not seen his films. Not a single one. Nor paid a huge amount of attention to him generally. But news of his death has left me reeling somewhat. He seemed a nice guy, well-regarded as being dedicated and good at his job, not out partying the whole time and so on, and so it all seems a bit wierd really. I can’t help but feel sorry that he’s gone, and sorry for the family and friends he’s left behind.
I can’t help but feel it’s also a bit of a shame that pretty much every newspaper has gone with the “must mention Brokeback Mountain on the front page as if it’s the only thing he ever did” angle, though.
Oh well… I trust he’s found some peace, and that his family will come to terms with the undoubted shock of losing someone so young.
A word to the wise… if, for whatever reason, you finally decide to get your sagging arse back down the gym for – oh, I don’t know – say, the first time this year, you really should be a bit careful about it. You know, ease yourself in, take it a bit slowly and don’t just throw yourself into it with gay abandon.
Because if you don’t, you don’t so much hit the gym as it hits you.
Not that I have any personal experience of this you understand.
It’s a sad-but-true fact that as a result of all those roadsigns I saw in my youth, I spent a good few years thinking that “Loose Chippings” was an incredibly common place name in England.
Now of course I know better. After all, it would be a silly name for anywhere wouldn’t it?
(Although, it appears that Chipping Sodbury, Penge and Tring are for some reason perfectly acceptable.)
Here’s a little story that takes the whole concept of STDs to a new level: a virulent form of MRSA which can be contracted simply by touching.
Sadly, since it has so far been 13 times more prevalent in gay men in San Francisco than in other people, it’s something that seems to be getting known as the “Gay MRSA” which is really annoying – although thankfully BBC News is a little more balanced in its reporting.
I think the thing which annoys me most with the “Gay MRSA” tag is the fact that – like with HIV’s previous status as “the gay disease” – it creates a feeling of complacency in the straight community. And as we all now know, although in HIV’s case the initial stages of the epidemic in the “developed” world were largely restricted to gay men, the reverse is now true. (Interestingly, the earliest cases are now believed to date from as early as 1959 and involve straight people).
But no, calling it “Gay MRSA” is a nice easy piece of tabloid shorthand – no matter what the dangers of lodging that idea in the public consciousness might be.
To be honest, I’d even argue it’s not technically an STD since it’s transmitted through any form of skin-to-skin contact. This means that anyone who has physical contact with anyone is actually at risk. Wrestlers are mentioned in the article – for a spot of balance you understand – but you do have to ask the question: do straight people not shake hands?
There are times I think we should bring back public information films because people seem to be getting increasingly stupid. Trouble is, in affairs like this it’s common sense really that leads the way, so any advice is likely to be a bit KYTV in its content:
If you are a sexually active gay male, or a wrestler, or sexually active gay wrestler, and you are concerned about Gay MRSA…
- Shower after sex with a good supply of hot water and an antibacterial shower gel.
- Avoid having multiple partners in the same period without washing.
- Check yourself regularly for boils and signs of infection.
- Lie face down in a sauna for three days letting hordes of sweaty strangers have their wicked way with you.
- Take part in a game of Naked Jelly Twister with anyone who has a suppurating skin condition.
- Marinade any boils or sores under a poultice of stale urine and a protective layer of cling-film.
Forewarned is Forearmed!
(That was a blisteringly patronising Public Information Film.)
Needless to say the Christian Right have seized upon this in a big way, missing the point totally.
Bless their little cotton brains.
That was better wasn’t it?
On an not-unrelated subject to my last post I have been thinking about the term “Guilty Pleasures” and have decided that there’s something about the term which really annoys me.
The thing is, every time I’ve seen it of late it’s been always used in terms of identifying items of popular culture that you like but for some reason feel you shouldn’t. That said, though, I’m not convinced that any examples I’ve seen are really anything to feel guilty about. As I see it, if it’s something you enjoy and it gives you pleasure, why should you feel guilty about it?
Now, admittedly you can take this logic a step too far. I’m sure Peter Sutcliffe enjoyed stoving in the heads of the various ladies he killed, and Jeffrey Dahmer I’m sure likewise got pleasure from killing, dismembering and storing the bodies of young men.
But you know… These are acts where a guilty feeling would genuinely and justly apply. I’m not sure that finding a song, or a TV programme or a magazine which makes you laugh, smile or feel in some way euphoric is really in the same league, somehow.
Really, in these cases the use of a label such as “guilty pleasure” is all about deflecting possible criticism from those who attempt to be arbiters of cool. But, as far as I’m concerned, these people’s pronouncements are not worth anything. They always smack of over-compensation, really; covering up a personal lack of depth with a veneer of cultural snobbery.
So no, I don’t feel guilty about any of the things I enjoy and I don’t see why I should. As far as I’m concerned anyone who has any real depth will have the confidence to freely and joyfully paddle about in the shallows as well as have a proper serious plunge.
Both are good, both are valuable, and in combination will balance you out as a person. And that’s not something to be guilty about at all, in fact it’s something to aspire to.
A random thread on Thingbox put me onto the existence of this little gem of a series, made in the US for a subscription gay channel (some people have dubbed this phenomenon “pay-for-gay” which amuses me), and I have to say that I have become rather hooked.
It starts simply enough, in Dante’s Cove, with a woman walking in and discovering her husband to be in the process of being buggered by his valet on the eve of their wedding. The obvious thing to do, therefore, is to kill the valet with a flash of her eyes, and then imprison her fiance as an ugly aged figure for a hundred-and-fifty years until he can be released from his aged form by the kiss of a young man.
And after this, ladies and gentlemen, it goes a bit mad.
It’s essentially Dark Shadows crossed with Buffy, crossed with softcore gay and lesbian porn, which makes for startling viewing I can tell you. The plot, such as it is, steams along for a while and then you suddenly think “hang on, there’s been no sex for 15 minutes, what’s going on?” before, right on cue, you’re rewarded with some quite surprisingly frank (if obviously non-penetrative – this is for TV after all) boffing.
The men are at times almost distressingly hairless and jock-like – although I seem to be coping since they are generally rather woof (especially Charlie David who plays Toby) – and the acting veers wildly between mediocre and appalling, but there’s definitely a certain captivating quality to the whole thing.
If nothing else you have to keep watching to see if Tracy Scoggins manages to nail down her English accent at any point. So far the signs aren’t looking good, I must say, but it’s a fascinating blend of vocal styles all the same. On one occasion she even managed to pronounce “aspirant” like “arse-print” which I’m afraid to say almost made me choke to death on my dinner – but it still made me love her all the more.
The thing I love most though is that in three short series it’s done all those things you’d expect from an American soap opera. It’s changed the actors playing two characters completely, replacing them with people who look nothing like the originals (“Hey Michelle, good to see you, you’re looking… different!”). It’s even changed location completely so that series one is set on a visibly different island to the subsequent ones (“It’s amazing what a lick of paint can do”).
But best of all they’ve also had to completely abandon a plot strand when one of the actors didn’t come back for series three. “There’s a new power in Dante’s Cove!” says the end of series two. Series three starts with: “Whoops, she appears to have died in a Tsunami! Got out of that one…”.
So, couple all this insanity with melodrama so thick you could tar a fence in it – and season with that wonderful trick that US soaps seem to have of having perfectly reasonable conversations switching to heart-wringing arguments with no pause for breath – and it really is something to behold.
I’m absolutely loving it.
Of course, given my track record with series like this, it’ll probably do a Hex and finish the season on a cliffhanger and then never get recommissioned. Oh well – such is life.
Well, how was your new year?
I spent mine at home, on my own, sober, watching crap telly and only pausing at the stroke of midnight to raise a (slightly larger than I’d intended) glass of Amaretto to the new year.
Frankly it was bliss.
Over the last few years I’ve come to regard New Year’s Eve parties as a bit of a nonsense really. I somehow either find myself trapped in a houseful of almost complete strangers whose attractiveness causes my normally low self-image to crash still further; or else crammed into a bar – where the DJs are trying to be cool – whilst being jostled left, right and center while it slowly dawns on me how awful the journey home is going to be.
I have enjoyed precisely two NYE events since moving to London. One was a private bash at the Griffin last year where it was just about the right number of people and they were mainly people I knew. The other was an OUTintheUK event where Other Rob and I did DJ duties over the actual moment. (Boney M doing “Auld Lang Syne”. Who’d have thought?)
But there we are. Nothing much seems different. I look back at 2007 and think it was okay, really. Aside from the buildup to the collapse I suffered in April it’s been not too bad. Following said collapse I changed jobs (hello comfort zone – nice to be back), and moved to a bigger, more transport-friendly location. I even had a boyfriend for a few months too, which was a novelty – although obviously this now precludes the possibility of me having another until about 2011). And the Quiz is – whilst utterly exhausting to keep going – well received and went out with a bang for the last one of the year. And I got 25,000 words into my novel which is officially more than I’ve written in six years so I’m quite pleased.
Okay, 2007 slightly fell apart at the end with a death in the family and the associated running around and so on as detailed previously, but on the whole it was good.
So what for 2008? Well, drinking less is on the agenda. Friday aside (where Daniel and Orlando came over for a very pleasant evening) I’ve been laying off the sauce mainly over the last week or so and feeling quite proud of that too. The health and monetary benefits of this are something I hope to be reaping over the coming months as long as something awful doesn’t happen. And I finally will be rid of the tummy, I’ve decided. The gym-going starts in earnest on Monday and I WILL NOT FALTER!
I have trips to see Girls Aloud (amazingly good tickets) and Kylie (rather less so) over the coming months – did the Spice Girls on Wednesday by the way which was fun – and a trip to Gran Canaria coming up in February so there’s some other events to look forward too.
And in between all that hopefully I’ll get the novel doubled in size on the way, and a new Vitriol and Old Lace website should be live by the end of the month (trust me – it’s gorgeous) so Daniel and I can start pushing that again too.
I’m feeling quite positive about 2008 really. Hope it all goes well for you too!