Crawling through technology, life and love
Pool Paradise - GC on Wii
Podcasts - Chris Moyles, Mark Kermode and Stephen Fry
Bits and Bobs:
Gerry's Lyrics Pop Quiz
Sites I like:
Top 40 Singles
Some blogs I enjoy:
Books recently read:
Time Out Guide to Havana (and Cuba)
And The Hippos Were Boiled In Their Tanks - William S Burroughs and Jack Kerouac
At My Mother's Knee ... and Other Low Joints: The Autobiography - Paul O'Grady
Star Maker - Olaf Stapledon
My Booky Wook - Russell Brand
When You Are Engulfed in Flames - David Sedaris
Then We Come To The End - Joshua Ferris
A Spot of Bother - Mark Haddon
The End of Mr. Y - Scarlett Thomas
I Never Knew That About London - Christopher Winn
The Arsenal Miscellany - Adam Gold
Young Hearts Run Free: The Real Story of the 1970s - Dave Haslam
Magical Thinking - Augusten Burroughs
Veronika Decides To Die - Paulo Coelho
Time Out Guide - Amsterdam
Lillian's Story - Kate Grenville
The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins
Schott's Original Miscellany - Ben Schott
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J K Rowling
A Gay History Of Britain - Matt Cook
Time Out Guide to Madrid
Time Out Guide to New York
Kingdom Come - J. G. Ballard
The Hours - Michael Cunningham
Mutants - Aramand Marie Leroi
A Young Man's Passage - Julian Clary
Growing Pains - Billie Piper
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Wild Swans - Jung Chang
Highbury: The Story of Arsenal N.5 - Jon Spurling
Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins - Rupert Everett
Affinity - Sarah Waters
Lighthousekeeping - Jeanette Winterson
Tipping The Velvet - Sarah Waters
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
Of Human Bondage - W Somerset Maugham
Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
Lucky Man - Michael J Fox
Labyrinth - Kate Mosse
Fingersmith - Sarah Waters
The Night Watch - Sarah Waters
The Pedant's Revolt - Andrea Barham
The Republic Of Trees - Sam Taylor
Written On tbe Body - Jeanette Winterson
Untold Stories - Alan Bennett
The Plot Against America - Philip Roth
Read All About It - Max Clifford
The Folding Star - Alan Hollinghurst
Thursbitch - Alan Garner
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim - David Sedaris
Staying Alive - Matt Beaumont
The Bookseller Of Kabul - Asne Seierstad
Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince - J K Rowling
A Short History Of Nearly Everything - Bill Bryson
Count Karlstein - Philip Pullman
The Shadow Of The Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
The Spell - Alan Hollinghurst
The Double Life Of Daniel Glick - Maurice Caldera
The Smoking Diaries - Simon Gray
Straight- Boy George
Digital Fortress - Dan Brown
Deception Point - Dan Brown
The Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency - Alexander McCall Smith
Angels and Demons - Dan Brown
Sydney - Time Out Guide
Oryx and Crake - Margaret Atwood
Eleanor Rigby - Douglas Coupland
The Scarecrow and His Servant - Philip Pullman
Tha Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
Planet Simpson - Chris Turner
The Line Of Beauty - Alan Hollinghurst
Barcelona - Time Out Guide
The Closed Circle - Jonathan Coe
The Clerkenwell Tales - Peter Ackroyd
Copenhagen - TimeOut Guide
The Butterfly Tattoo - Philip Pullman
The Broken Bridge - Philip Pullman
In Search of the Pleasure Palace - Marc Almond
Brick Lane - Monica Ali
Vernon God Little - DBC Pierre
Last Exit To Brooklyn - Hubert Selby Jr
You Shall Know Our Velocity - Dave Eggers
Touching The Void - Joe Simpson
Life Of Pi - Yann Martel
Istanbul - Time Out Guide
Millennium People - J G Ballard
The Duchess Who Wouldn't Sit Down - Jesse Browner
Hey Nostradamus! - Douglas Coupland
Eats, Shoots and Leaves - Lynne Truss
The Wind-up Bird Chronicle - Haruki Murakami
Our Man In Havana - Graham Greene
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon
Lyra's Oxford - Philip Pullman
Doran - Will Self
Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
the book, the film, the t-shirt - matt beaumont
High Society - Ben Elton
Man And Wife - Tony Parsons
I Was A Rat - Philip Pullman
Harry Potter: The Order of the Phoenix - J R Rowling
Great Apes - Will Self
Barrel Fever - David Sedaris
Round Ireland With A Fridge - Tony Hawkes
Close Range - Annie Proux
The Third Way - Anthony Giddens
dot.con - John Cassidy
The Salmon of Doubt - Douglas Adams
One Hit Wonderland - Tony Hawkes
The Thief Lord - Cornelia Funke
The Corrections - Jonathan Franzen
The Cloud Sketcher - Richard Rayner
Keane: the Autobiography - Roy Keane
A Wasteland of Strangers - Bill Pronzini
The English - Jeremy Paxman
How to Lose Friends and Alienate People - Toby Young
Dead Famous - Ben Elton
The Amber Spyglass - Phillip Pullman (again)
The Subtle Knife - Phillip Pullman (again)
Northern Lights - Phillip Pullman (again)
The Bear and The Dragon - Tom Clancy
101 Reykjavik - Hallgrimur Helgason
Forward The Foundation - Isaac Asimov
Carter Beats The Devil - Glen David Gold
The Tin Princess - Philip Pullman
Atonement - Ian McEwan
The Tiger In The Well - Philip Pullman
The Rotters Club - Jonathan Coe
Generation X - Douglas Copeland
Perfume - Patrick Suskind
All Families Are Psychotic - Douglas Coupland
The Shadow In The North - Phillip Pullman
No Logon - Naomi Klein
The Dirt - Motley Crue
Miss Wyoming - Douglas Coupland
The Amber Spyglass - Phillip Pullman
The Subtle Knife - Phillip Pullman
Northern Lights - Phillip Pullman
The Ruby in the Smoke - Phillip Pullman
The Sandman - Miles Gibson
Blood and Gold: The Vampire Marius - Anne Rice
The Actrocity Exhibition - J G Ballard
Shameless - Paul Burston
Sing Out! - Boze Hadleigh
Brilliant Orange - David Winner
New Boy - William Sutcliffe
London - Peter Ackroyd
Wonder Boys - Michael Chabon
One For My Baby - Tony Parsons
How To Be Good - Nick Hornby
White Teeth - Zadie Smith
Lust - Geoff Ryman
Tulip Fever - Deborah Moggach
Dead Souls - Ian Rankin
The House Of Sleep - Jonathan Coe
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius - Dave Eggers
What a carve up! - Jonathan Coe
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay - Michael Chabon
The Grapes Of Wrath - John Steinbeck
Heartwood - James Lee Burke
Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson
Man and Boy - Tony Parsons
The Map Of Love - Ahdaf Soueif
e - Matt Beaumont
The e Before Christmas - Matt Beaumont
Friday, August 31, 2001
Sports and Shorts...
I've put my Arsenal kit in the wash ready for tomorrow night's Sports And Shorts at the Stag. It should be great fun. I'm wondering though if the reason I enjoyed myself so much last time was that I didn't know anyone there. My friends were away. Mark was away. It was an adventure. This time it may be a bit more inhibiting as lots of people I know are going. However England are playing Germany tomorrow evening with a 6:30pm kick-off. We're having a football and drinks party first - so I'll probably be so well oiled by the time we get there I won't care too much!
I saw some clips this morning of tonight's new series of Absolutely Fabulous. Looks good. I'm trying to not get expectations too high though because I am bound to be disappointed if I do.
Thursday, August 30, 2001
Down and up...
It's been a stressful week. Twelve hour days at work. The guys from Head Office have been, screwed the e-mail system and gone home. The deadline for getting my birthday party invitations has come and gone. The printers screwed up and need to reprint them all. I won't get them out by the weekend as planned. Oh, and I still can't shake this cold.
On the up side it's Sports and Shorts this weekend. I had such a fun time last time I'm really looking forward to it.
Since you ask...
A few people have been asking me who the guy in the black T-shirt is (three photo along, top row). His name is Patrick. The other guy with his shirt off is Liam. I've known Liam for sixteen years. I went to his wedding (!)
Wednesday, August 29, 2001
What a week. Working twelve hour days at the moment. Happy but busy.
Monday, August 27, 2001
Sunday in photos...
Sunday: Good day, bad day...
Good day: It's a Bank Holiday weekend so no work on Monday. Hurrah!
Bad day: Got a call. Had to work on Sunday instead. Pooh!
Good day: Got paid quite handsomely for my work - cash in hand. Fantastic!
Bad day: It rained all day so cancelled the plans to go to the Vauxhall Tavern after work.
Good day: Sod the rain, Marky and I went to Bar Code to get sloshed anyway.
Bad day: Got too sloshed too early. I must learn to pace myself.
Good day: In my drunken state I decided to enter Soho Pink Weekend Treasue Hunt.
Bad day: Had to sprint all over the West End hunting for clues from gay bar to gay bar and answering health related questions. Three stages of syphillis anyone?
Good day: I won first prize! Dinner/dancing and a cruise for 4 on a restaurant boat on the Thames and a crate of champagne.
Bad day: I was almost paralytic by midnight when I was meant to be on stage at Sound On Sunday collecting my prize.
Good day: Everyone else was paralytic too so that was OK!
Bad day: We got home at 1am and as we walked up to our front door there was a car crash in front of us. Four cars involved.
Good day: Luckily no one was hurt.
Bad day: Finally got in and there was a message on my machine to say I had to work today as well. So here I am.
Saturday, August 25, 2001
It was OK...
The Buffy show I watched was called 'Buffy vs Dracula'. Was it a good one to start with? I don't know. I quite enjoyed it though. It was all rather self aware which was a plus point. But not much actually happened. I guess I can see what people like in it but I probably won't bother watching another one though. I have the feeling they'll all be rather the samey. Unless anyone wants tell me different...
I have a confession to make. I have never watched Buffy The Vampire Slayer before. An episode is just starting on BBC2. Though I'm tired and want to go to bed I might give it a whirl - just to see what people are going on about. I'll let you know what I think.
Friday, August 24, 2001
Sad to all alone in the world...
From today's Guardian:
Middle aged men were given an official public warning yesterday - remaining unmarried and living alone is hazardous to health and increases the risk of premature death.
A study by the office for national statistics found men living alone after the age of 45 were 50% more likely to die prematurely and significantly more susceptible to long term illnesses such as diabetes and rheumatism affecting the quality of life.
Cripes! Does living with a boyfriend help I wonder? I reread the article. It doesn't say.
100 Greatest Kids' TV Shows...
On Bank Holiday Monday Jamie Theakston will be presenting a show on Channel 4 that will run through my memories of childhood (and beyond). All those kids' TV shows you loved (or loved to hate) have been voted for and the chart of the top 100 has been compiled for the show. I list here some of my favourites (in no particular order):-
Hector's House (Hecot, Zaza and Kiki frog)
Captain Scarlet (I always thought Captain Black was sexy)
Rainbow (with the Trinity of George, Bungle and Zippy)
Live and Kicking (both Andy/Emma & Jamie/Zoe versions)
Dr Who (especially the Tom Baker era)
Andy Pandy (I had his trousers!)
The Clangers (especially the Soup Dragon)
UFO (scared me shitless)
The Woodentops (I actually thought the dog was real)
Torchy The Battery Boy (which incidentally features a baby dragon called Sparky. No, not that Sparky)
The Tomorrow People (I once asked my mother for a jaunt belt for my birthday)
Hong Kong Phooey (I used to think all Americans were like Rosmary - the friendly telephone operator)
Blakes 7 (I organised conventions for B7. We had Paul Darrow et al coming to give talks)
Wacky Races (Dick, Penelope and the gang. Actually most H&B cartoons get my vote as I've blogged at length on earlier ocassions)
The Singing Ringing Tree (that was when I belived in magic)
SM:TV Live (but only when Ant & Dec are on)
Space:1999 (especially the first 'pre-monsters' series. Before 'the Americans suits' got their hands on it!)
Thunderbirds (natch. Still watch it today)
Do you have a favourite kids' TV show?
Thursday, August 23, 2001
I'm making plans for the weekend. What does the panel think? Should I go and see 'Hedwig And The Angry Inch' at the cinema? Is it any good?
This is where it starts to get hairy...
Starting today and for the next week I am installing a Windows 2000 Advanced Server cluster, Active Directory, an Exchange 2000 cluster and new fax and telex connectors at our office. All user's mailboxes and public folders are then being migrated over. Wish me luck! I'll probably need it.
Wednesday, August 22, 2001
Martin the window cleaner....
Martin, the window cleaner: What's that you've got there?
Me: It's my new digital camera. Nice, isn't it?
Martin, the window cleaner: Let's have a look.
Me: I'll tell you what. Let me take a picture of you first and I'll show you what it looks like.
Martin, the window cleaner: Oh.
Me: Carry on with what you were doing and I'll take the shot.
Martin, the window cleaner: But what would you want a picture of me for?
Oh, did I mention that Martin is ginger. And plays football. And is coming to my party... :)
Hell is a place on earth...
I dragged my bones out of bed this morning as I HAVE to be in work today. There is a guy coming from Dell to build some server kit that just been delivered and he needs my guidance. So before leaving the house I take a few Day Nurse to set myself up for the morning and keep this wretched cold at bay. The drugs do their work as I travel in on the tube. The morning fog rolls in. As I approach the door at work I can tell something is wrong though.
I can see a sea of faces. And they’re not happy ones. In fact the company is up in arms. No one can logon, no one can access their files, read e-mail or access the Internet. They circle me like Frankenstein's crazed villagers with lighted torches. I rush to the computer room my heart pounding; wolfing down a couple of Neurofen en route as I’m starting to get a headache. After some frantic dashing from system to system I discover a rogue DHCP server has been screwing things up royally overnight. Users have been given wrong IP addresses. Why? How? Major fire fighting starts. I try to pacify the screaming hordes. Phones calls flood in from all over. Stress level rise. Dell guy phones to say he's got his dates mixed up he'll be here tomorrow. But that's too late! Voices are raised. Finally I track down the rogue DHCP server. It is put to an agonising death. Word gets out that things are now OK again and the roar of discontent starts to subside. Users start to calm down. Reboot and you’ll be fine. Reboot and you’ll be fine, I say.
It's 10:15 and I've not been to my office yet. I take a couple more Neurofen for good luck and head back office bound. Along the way I see a new bod I've not seen before. "Hello, I'm new today. Can I have a computer, a phone, logon access, e-mail, internet access, an library database designed and running by 10am, please?" Stupidly I say, “but it’s gone 10 now”. She scowls. Oh dear, we’ve got off on the wrong foot. Then my boss comes up and says, "Sorry, forgot to tell you, the Southampton office also has a new person starting today. Can you arrange an extra computer, a phone, logon access, e-mail, internet access etc etc this morning 10:30am latest?" I go back to my office trying hard to think how I can magic computers and telephones out of thin air. But it's not easy to concentrate due to the rapid onset of the effects from the second dose of the Neurofen.
As I walk in the phone is ringing. It's the new bod from Southampton already. "Where's my computer?" Then the new librarian walks into my office without asking. "When you design this database for me can you include blah, blah, blah?" And my boss walks in and joins in, "Jonathan, can you…blah, blah, blah, blah, blah?" And my eyes glaze over and I just watch them through a fog of painkillers. "Blah?" "Blah, blah, blah" "Blah, blah?" "Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah?" I don't hear what they say. I just see their lips moving and their eyes darting at me and then at each other.
After a while they stop talking. I come to. I can suddenly hear them. They both look at me and say, "Well?" I nod slowly not knowing what I've agreed to. They leave. Thank God.
I just sit down in my chair and stare at my screen feeling spaced. After a while my head bobs forward. I’m tired. Really tired. I'm ill and I'm tired. I need to sleep… and dream of sheep.
Tuesday, August 21, 2001
Big up to the Pop Quiz champs from my sick bed...
I was late home tonight and felt really lousy with this head cold. So I stayed in rather than going to tonight's Pop Quiz. I was in bed when David just called. The quiz is over and he, Marcus, Ian and Shaun won! The big money too! Well done, boys! David will no doubt have the gory details in the morning.
Looks like they don't need me anymore (sniff).
Bringing it all together...
Having spent quite some time researching one of David's postings I shall now try and bring it together with another one.
How many palindromes can you think of in pop, either artist name or song title or both? They must read the same backwards as forwards so The Grateful Dead's AOXOMOXOA would count, as would The Electric Light Orchestra's OLE ELO. Bela Fleck and the Fleckstones had the amusing titled UFO TOFU but these are all a little obscure. There are some much, much more obvious ones than that. So to get you all in gear for tonight's Pop Quiz try your hand at these easy ones:-
1. Can you name two very famous palindrome band names? One of these bands had a big hit with a palindrome song. Can you name that too?
2. Can you name Steely Dan's famous palindromic album?
3. Black Sabbath and The Misfits both had very similar palindromic titles. Can you name either?
Answers to comments.
More than eight repeated letters...
Well you did ask!
There are 9 A's in AQUAETHYLENEDIAMINETETRAACETATOMANGANATE (An inorganic compound)
There are 9 E's in DIHYDROXYBENZENEHEXAMETHYLENETETRAMINE (A chemical compound)
There are 9 I's in FLOCCINAUCINIHILIPILIFICATION (An estimation of something as worthless)
There are 11 L's LLANFAIRPWLLGWYNGYLLGOGERYCHWYRNDROBWLLLLANTYSILIOGOGOGOCH (A Welsh town)
There are 9 M's in DIMETHYLAMINOMETHYLENEAMINOMETHYLENEDIMETHYLAMMONIUM (A chemical compound)
There are 9 O's in PNEUMONOULTRAMICROSCOPICSILICOVOLCANOCONIOSIS (A lung disease caused by the inhalation of very fine silica dust)
There are 9 S's in POSSESSIONLESSNESSES
There are 9 U's in HUMUHUMUNUKUNUKUAPUAA (A triggerfish),
I like the letter Z so ZENZIZENZIZENZIC (The eighth power of a number) gets an honourable mention even though there are only 6 Z's.
(Thanks to Google, various letters sites and a lot of ground work by me!)
I'm throwing a party next month. It's my 40th birthday so I thought I'd push the boat out and hire a bar in Soho. It's on a Saturday night and I'm planning on inviting all my friends to come and get legless at my expense. I've already thought of over 120 people to invite off the top of my head and I haven't even consulted my address book yet! Step one is to get some invitations made up. I want something fun and funky. Not too plain but not too twee. I've had some ideas of my own and a great suggestion from David. Shelved was the idea of a CD invitation of my favourite hits (not enough time to get them all pressed). Also scrapped was the idea of a pop quiz invitation - the answers to leading the party (not everyone knows pop trivia in such detail). I finally asked my once-straight Italian graphic designer if he would mind coming up with some ideas for me. He jumped at the chance as long as he could come to the party too (!). Deal done, he is currently beavering away in Photoshop armed with photos of me jumping around and mucking about and some rough idea of what I'm after. He's promised a full mock-up by tomorrow afternoon. Can't wait.
Here kitty, kitty, kitty...
We watched Josie and The Pussycats on VideoCD last night. What an unexpected surprise! It was one of the funniest films I've seen in a long time. Made in the same part of the forest as 'Clueless' it's self-aware throughout. It's a satire poking fun at the pop music industry in general, but it focuses mostly on the twenty-something members of an 80's style rock group and their managers. Lots of rock and roll cliches are exposed and used in some twisted joke or other. The plot about "subliminal messages tracks under the music" is very well played. We had fun spotting all the hundreds of product placements at first (A&F, Revlon, MacDonalds, Pepsi, Sega) until we realised it was actually part of the plot. Reminiscent of that scene from Wayne's World. It's a fun movie. We laughed out loud. A lot.
My favourite bit:
Wyatt Frame : Hey Alec N., how's it hanging?
Alan M. : No, actually, it's Alan M.
Wyatt Frame : Yes. Well, what's with the initial, anyway? It didn't work for Sheila E., doesn't work for you.
Alan Cumming plays Wyatt Frame, the evil manager. I loved him as the really camp one in TV's 'The High Life', the baddie in 'GoldenEye' and 'Spy Kids'. More recently he's been on stage in 'Cabaret' in New York. He seems to have taken over from Tim Curry as the generic camp, British baddie. A mantle I've always rather fancied myself. :)
Monday, August 20, 2001
Mr X's gossip column...
- Which high ranking health professional was spotted sucking off an Amercian in the toilets at Hope and then asking whether people wanted to taste it?
- What popular blogger said on Saturday night, "If you smell anybody farting, it's me"?
- Where was a mad woman heard to whisper, "I never met you before but I love you"? to a big-nosed, balding blogger this weekend?
- Which normally mind-mannered blogger turned into an acid-tongued crazy loon and then resorted to shin-kicking after his chat up lines failed to impress a would-be beau?
Send your gossip to Mr. X (from an idea by Homer Simpson)
Woe is me...
Cold worse. Please send chocolate.
Sunday, August 19, 2001
Saturday night, Sunday morning...
Party #1 was down in Brockwell park yesterday afternoon. Matthew and Richard were entertaining to welcome Richard back from Spain. Matthew put on a lovely spread and all the usual suspect were there. I didn't realise that Karl owned the house. Or that Craig and Peter lived there too. In other news: two and two made four.
Party #2 was to celebrate Darren's 36th at the Retro Bar. David, Ian and I legged it down there a little late but were soon joined by David's squeeze, the nubile Marcus. Among others, the lovely Danny and the gorgeous Joe were also there.
Just after 11pm we set off to Hope down in Brixton Hill. Hope is a fun venue - very similar to the RVT. Everyone was up for it and before long the entire attendees of Party #1 turned up too which was nice.
Darren and I cabbed it home by 4am. Fun night.
I think I'm coming down with a summer cold. Ugh!
Saturday, August 18, 2001
Friday night, Saturday morning...
I 'bumped' into my friend Charlie last night. It's ages since I've seen him and is was weird seeing him again. Dilwyn went to introduce us but as I told him, Charlie and I go back a long way. As the evening wore on Charlie started to confuse me a bit though. All that chat. Made me feel quite numb. Foggy brained. In fact I was pleased when he left and I had time to recover. Now I remember why I don't see him very often.
This morning Martin the window cleaner is coming on his monthly visit. Martin is ginger, tall and goodlooking. Sadly (for me) Martin is also straight. Gay-friendly but straight. This doesn't stop me waking up early and running round tidying the flat, polishing and cleaning. I'm such a queen sometimes.
Friday, August 17, 2001
Friday afternoon fun...
This made me laugh. It's nearly 1Mb so beware if you have a slow link.
I hate airports. The huge space, the suffocating recycled air, the constant announcements for missing passengers and children. The open plan bars and restaurants, the oppressive fluorescent lights and the doddering passengers wandering aimlessly trying to kill time. Hanging around with nothing to do. Bored to death. But most of all I hate airports because they have airplanes here. And I hate airplanes. Or to be more exact I hate flying. Or to be more exact still I hate the idea of crashing. Dropping fast. Falling. Turbulence. Oh dear, I have sweaty palms again just thinking about it.
So here I am in Amsterdam airport waiting for my flight home. It's been a fun couple of days. Got lots of work done. Got lots of boys done. I even found time to meet some friends for dinner which was great too. So why am I feeling a bit out of sorts? Sure, the nerves are a bit on edge about flying. But it's not just that. Nor is it the slight drag of fighting off the beginnings of a sniffly cold. Though God knows I don't need another one of those. No, it's because everytime I come to Amsterdam I don't want to leave. I want to stay here. I want to live here. I love it. The relaxed atmosphere. The relaxed people. The impossibly tall Dutch boys. The quaint canals. The nightlife. The saunas. The warm welcome that the city extends to me everytime I step off the train at Centraal Station. Sitting here now I find myself planning my next trip back already. Amsterdam is my second favourite city.
Thursday, August 16, 2001
Last week I finally got round to watching A.I. (Artificial Intelligence). Again I'd got it on VideoCD so I cracked open a bottle of wine and settled back to be entertained. Overall I was entertained. It's an interesting and emotional film but to be honest it helps if you go in with low expectations. I'd loved the short story 'Supertoys Last All Summer Long' and perhaps was expecting too much of this film.
Plot: A highly advanced robotic boy longs to become "real" so that he can regain the love of his human mother. I sum it up as 'Pinocchio.com'.
Best character: Teddy. Whenever he came on screen we shouted 'Teddyyyyyy!' Jude Law's Gigolo Joe was a close second.
Worse character: The father (Sam Robards). Nothing to do, nothing to say.
Best bit: When real son (Jake Thomas) and robo-son (Haley Joel Osment) compete for Teddy's attentions. Teddy, ever the diplomat, just runs to 'Mummy!'
Worst bit: The ending. It really was quite an odd ending. It looked as if it had been written by a different scriptwriter entirely. It was more Cameron
than Spielberg/Kubrick: looking vaguely like The Abyss(mal).
Best cameo(s): Shared honours go to Robin Williams as Dr Know and Meryl Streep as Blue Mecha.
Wednesday, August 15, 2001
A little mouse with clogs on...
In twenty minutes from now I'm off to Heathrow airport. My palms are sweating already. I hate flying. By early evening I shall be enjoying my first beer in Amsterdam. My mouth is watering already. I love drinking. By late evening I shall be downstairs at the Cuckoo's Nest... 'Nuff said. :)
Let’s face the music and…
It was big money pop quiz last night at the Retro Bar. Needless to say we lost. But had a lot of fun doing so. David, Ian and myself faced the music. First round was a video clip of The Cult with Ian Astbury on lead vocals. Clearly spotted at the front of the audience was a punk DJ Lush. Then was Tall Paul remixing INXS. Easy so far. Then there was a round of punk acts. We got The Ramones, The Cure, The Boomtown Rats and PIL. But what we thought was X-Ray Specs was in fact the Au Pairs and what we thought was The Sugar Cubes was in fact The Slits. Oh well. Then we had the worst question of the night. It was Wham!’s ‘Edge Of Heaven’ as a what-happens-next poser. Well do you know what comes after ‘Yeah Yeah Yeah, La La La La La’? We thought we did. But we didn’t. Shame really as we had the right answer at one stage but crossed it out and for some bizarre reason Wendy gave two points for getting it correct. Then we had Sammy Davis Jr. singing the ‘Rhythm Of Life’ from Sweet Charity followed by three chill out tunes. Badly Drawn Boy, Faithless and Black Box Recorder. The chronology question was to put these four ABBA songs in there correct order of UK release. Being queens we got this easy. Can you?
A. I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do
B. Summer Night City
C. Ring Ring
D. Under Attack
Next was current releases. Should have been easy. But still we only got the first one right (Shaun? Where were you?) Depeche Mode's ‘I Feel Loved’, Groove Armada's ‘Super Styling’ and Missy Elliott's ‘One Minute Man’. The 70s round was easier. Even if we were only given one note as a clue. Slade's ‘Cuz I Luv You’, Mott The Hoople's ‘All The Young Dudes’ and David Essex's ‘Gonna Make You A Star’. The last round was early 90s Madchester bands. We got Inspiral Carpets but couldn't think of the song title (‘Dragging Me Down’), The Shamen's ‘Love Sex Intelligence’ and The Charlatans' ‘Weirdo’. The bonus was to get the year right. We got it wrong by one again. We put 1991 where of course it was 1992. Fifteen and a half out of twenty-two. The winner got twenty but didn’t win the cash. So next week it has to go. Why do we always enjoy ourselves more when we don’t win?
Tuesday, August 14, 2001
I watched Planet Of the Apes (2001) last night when I got in. I'd got it on VideoCD and after a few mediocre reviews from some of my NY blogger chums hadn't felt like seeing it at the cinema. The film was fine. 'Fine' as in Tim Burton's done way better in the past. Pee Wee's Big Adventure, Batman and Edward Scissorhands are all in my top ten films. I did enjoy it but for a blockbuster I expected a more epic vision. Grander images. More expansive storytelling. Wilder location shots. But sadly many of the scenes were just set in 'another part of the forest' as the Bard would put it. The characters were often predictable and the dialogue almost wrote itself. Sure the costumes looked great, some of the jokes witty ('Cheetah! Cheetah!', 'Damn them all to hell' and 'Why can't we all just - get along!') and the (special) effects pretty slick. But. Where was 'the message'? Where was the politics? The social commentary? Why was Marky Mark so wooden? Why wasn't the sexual chemistry between ape and man satisfied? In the book, the apes are technologically very advanced - why in the film have they only got spears and stones? It's been said before and I can only but agree. The original was better. See it if you have a spare afternoon. Or wait for the video.
I bought the new Human League CD 'Secrets' last week and have been listening to it ever since. All the classic feel is there which was, for me, a bit of a relief. Thanks to (new band member?) Neil Sutton it's a fabulous retro-styling of the Human League sound. Phil Oakey's voice has lost none of the deep and booming sexy treacle-like richness that we know and love. Susan Sulley and Joanne Catherall’s sweet harmonies complete the sound that is for many people the epitome of early Eighties synthesiser pop. There are sixteen tracks of which seven are instrumentals. This is a trademark of early Human League and a tradition that works beautifully. The single “All I Ever Wanted” has had scant radio play so will perhaps not chart - which is a shame. It is fabulously perfect pop single. Other highlights from the CD are ‘Shameless’, ‘Love Me Madly?’ and ‘122.3 BPM’. If you ever liked the Human League you’ll love this.
Monday, August 13, 2001
No, it's not just the way his trousers hang...
Just for Iain: Not that these things matter, of course, but he was hung like a horse. (Positively the last pix from the Gay World Cup - honest).
Some (more) pix from the Gay World Cup...
After some requests. Here you go.
Some pix from the Gay World Cup...
England won beating Germany 1-0. Here are some images. I've got lots of the actual game itself but you don't want to see those do you :)
Sunday, August 12, 2001
Since my flight back to Blighty two weeks ago I've had cramp in one of my calf muscles. And the calf's been a bit swollen. Well I thought it was cramp. I called by doctor about it on Friday. He sent me straight to A&E to have it checked out. The symptoms suggested DVT. The duty doctor thought it was only either minor clotting (it's the big clots you need to worry about apparently) or even an exploded (!) vein. Neither of which was worth a ultrasound scan. So I'm left a little bit in the dark. Is it DVT or isn't it? Needless to say I've been popping pills ever since (aspirin, Nurofen etc.) . Eeeeks!
Friday, August 10, 2001
Gay World Cup...
Tomorrow we are going to the final of the Gay World Cup. The GWC is being sponsored by Freedoms - the world's biggest free condom distribution scheme. It just so happens that Freedoms is run by my boyfriend, Mark. So I am hoping for a VIP pass to the showers :)
If I must...
I have to be in Leiden, Holland next Thursday on business. Hmph! All that way for a lousy two hour meeting in a quiet little town! So I've decided to stay in Amsterdam instead as it's only 20 mins on the train from Ledien. And I've decided to go the night before too. And come back the day after. And stay in a posh hotel opposite the Cuckoo's Nest and in the next street to the Web. So what was going to be a boring trip is now two fun-packed days in Amsterdam with a business meeting squeezed somewhere inbetween. I believe it's called 'working the expenses'.
Thursday, August 09, 2001
Hello my new friends...
For courage above and beyond the call of duty I welcome to my sidebar:- bobupndown, fredo, groc and mermaniac.
A bit on the side...
As some faithful readers may be aware I do a bit of work on the side. This second job takes me to some strange places. But last night was an exception. I was simply doing some IT work for a local design company. I turned up just after 6pm and set to installing Win2kPro, the odd McAfee update and sorting out some of their intranet stuff. It’s a small firm and everyone else had gone home except for the guy whose computer was getting the new OS. He was hanging around looking over my shoulder and making idle chit-chat (you're ahead of me I can tell). Now I'd met this guy once before. Last year when I was doing some work for the same company I’d clocked him. Cute, Italian, tall, dark hair, green eyes, eerily deep voice, late twenties at a guess. Back then I thought he was straight. He looked straight. He acted straight. He never made any eye contact (always a good sign of straightness). Hell, he even had a girlfriend. Well, last night when he was leaning over me to get a closer look at the screen I wasn't so sure anymore. I put it down to the fact that as he's Italian the encroaching of personal body space was just something that came with the territory.
I finished up around 9pm and he suggested going for a drink as he had had 'one hell of a day'. I was bit surprised but thought, why not? He’s cute. What did I have to lose? Ten minutes later we were settled in at a local hostelry. We chatted about work and about why he was living in London. It was the usual story of wanting to travel and see the world. We seemed like a nice guy. I just wasn't sure why he had wanted to go for the drink with me. Is that what straight men do? Just invite each other out for a drink? As he spoke I noticed he was knocking back the double G&Ts like they were last year’s colours. Five in the first hour. Wow! He's really going for it, I thought. As the alcohol had its effect his tongue started to loosen. He started to tell me more about his personal life. He said that he’d been having ‘doubts’. Doubts about what, I wanted to know. He told me he had split up with his girlfriend six months ago and was looking at ‘new things’. “So you’re gay, are you?” I said with my usual casual directness. “Oh. Er. Hmm. Not gay exactly”, he said, “But not 100% heterosexual either”. “I see”, I said. We chatted some more. And he started to bat his eyelids and flash his green eyes in my direction. As the bar was about to close I said pointedly, “Where do you live?”. “Nearby”, he replied. I smiled. He smiled. We left.
So that was another late night (note to self: schedule some time tonight to see boyfriend).
Wednesday, August 08, 2001
Wheeling and dealing...
Apparently I am worth exactly $2,079,170. That means I could buy a controlling interest (51%) of both David and Scally and still have $338,081 left over. But that would only be enough to buy me 19% of Iain. Hmmm. Thinks. Which 19% would I get? Could I cherry-pick? :-)
Kate Bush in public sex shocker!...
I urge you to read Michael's totally brilliant Me, Late Night New York and the Hounds of Love posting. Kate was never so wisely quoted.
He moves in a mysterious way...
We are a Non-Profit organization that hopes to express the love of God to youth all over the country in a new and dynamic way.
Well, you've got the 'new' bit right. The Christian Wrestling Federation. (Thanks to pleaseohplease for the link).
The nicest things happen when you least expect them...
We went to the first Pop Quiz at the Retro Bar in ages last night. We didn't win - a lousy 16.5 / 20. David will no doubt have full details. The fun really started afterwards though.
This week is the Gay World Cup. Twenty-three teams from all over the world have descended upon London (or Chiswick to more precise) to play football. All week there are football matches by day and social events by night. It just so happens we got wind (thanks, Shaun!) of one such social event going on at Central Station last night. Ian, Darren, Darren's friend Tony and I decided that this was something not to be missed. And we were right! What harm could a night cap do? What harm indeed. The place was packed. We had trouble even getting in but Tony has the silver tongue of the Irish and blagged us all in. We went upstairs first to get to the coat check, get our bearings and get a pint. No sooner had we mounted the stair then we knew that we wouldn't be staying for just one pint. There were cute boys everywhere. Not only that but they were all fit and toned, from outta town looking for a place to stay and horny as hell because their boyfriends were all back home. It was like shooting fish in a barrel. Cute, sexy, fit fish at that. To ease the introductions downstairs there were various drag acts, strippers and a 'cutest footballer' competition. These were barely needed as soon everyone was down in the basement bopping on the dance floor or bobbing in the dark room.
There are more events planned this week but Saturday is the big one. The Cup Final during the day followed by a big party in the evening. I need hardly state that I shall be going to both.
Tuesday, August 07, 2001
Star Trek Voyager - Endgame...
Last night was the first showing on Sky One of the last episode of Star Trek Voyager. I've always had a bit of a fondness for STV and so I thought it would be fun to see how they got back to earth. Sure enough it didn't disappoint. We had two hours of action including time travel, the Borg (Borg Queen, Borg cubes, Borg spheres etc.), explosions, lots of external space shots of space ships and good acting. At the end there was even a trailer for the 'new' Star Trek series in the autumn called Enterprise. What more could you want?
Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones...
So George Lucas has come up with a name for Episode II at last. It seems to be big news everywhere. But for me 'clones' mean just one thing though. Heavily-moustached, thickly-bearded, plaid-wearing, leather-clad, tight-jeaned, hanky-wearing, hairy-chested, high-energy dancing, omnipresent, older-than-me poofs from the Seventies. Goodness only knows what it would be like if they attacked.
Monday, August 06, 2001
How time flies...
A long, long time ago...
On 6th August 1992 I fell in love. Happy Anniversary, Mark.
Update: I've checked. Nine years (that's real years as opposed to 'gay years') is an official life sentence. You normally need to be convicted for multiple murder, actual bodily harm with menaces and/or even minor regicide for that kind of stretch. But I would happily 'go down' and stay at Her Majesty's Pleasure with my baby. Who needs time off for good behaviour, either? I have a cell mate who is also a soul mate.
Saturday, August 04, 2001
The plumber and his mate...
OK Fredo, Bill, Ron and Bryan. You asked for it...
Our bathroom shower was leaking down to the kitchen below so I had to call out a plumber to take a look. He came. But he couldn't figure out where the leak was coming from exactly. After some thought he asked me to get in the shower so he could watch to see whether it was the way I was showering that was causing the leak. No, this is not the plot to some porn film. This actually happened. This afternoon. Marky was highly amused and took some snaps (curse that new digital camera!). Below is one pic he took. If you look carefully you can see the plumber on the far left. There are more but I've 'stainglassed' a couple where the trunks come off. You can find them here.
Madonna spits AND swallows...
Hope you weren't planning on that New Jersey date... the material girl has a sore throat. Gargle girl. Gargle.
Friday, August 03, 2001
“I can’t begin to explain how intensely interesting, witty and enjoyable Jonathan is. He’s one of those people that you take an immediate liking to, someone you want to be your friend, someone who loves to laugh, someone you just want to hug because you get this burst of intense affection just talking to him.”
This is a view shared by just two people. Michael (I know this because he wrote it) and possibly my mother (on a good day). Don’t you just love rose-tinted spectacles?
Mrs Bridges at Code Amber...
The Red Cross have code names for various possible national emergencies. During such emergencies there would be a need for first aid at any public gatherings, mournings or marches. They use these code names when referring to emergencies rather than actually saying "what we are going to do if there is " or "what we are going to do if the Prime Minister is killed". Each code has three levels.
- Code Green means that the situation has been planned for.
- Code Amber means that the emergency is expected soon.
- Code Red means the emergency has actually happened.
The code name for the Queen Mother dying happens to be called 'Mrs Bridges'. I don't know why. It just is. Yesterday 'Bridges' was at Code Amber. And she seems to be on the road to recovery too, poor cow.
News just in (from my friend who works at the Red Cross): "I have just had a call asking me to go to Mrs Bridges' office on Tuesday morning to discuss finishing touches. Maybe someone knows something that the rest of us don't?"
More holiday snaps...
David and I went out for a drink after work. It is the sign of a true friend when they will sit though five hours of you talking about your holiday, showing you pictures and telling long rambling anecdotes of a sexual nature. It is a truer friend still that will actually listen, ask questions, smile, surpress any yawning and genuinely take an interest in the detail. Big up then to Ian, Darren and Mark. It's not as if we told them everything last night!
Wednesday, August 01, 2001
David, myself and Dan taking it easy at PS1. Quick - call a dentist! The Teethmen from Another Planet are invading!
Click here for a full photo record of antics in Boston and New York. Including some (but not many) pictures of US bloggers.
And open letter to Stacey...
You have overstepped the mark, missy!
Speaking as one of the original cast members of the Fox Kids' show FAO Girls I demand either additional payments to cover usage of my image appearing on the internet or for those images to be removed with immediate effect.
Our original contract with Fox was for the show FAO Girls as well you know. Except for a few publicity shots, any other pictures and likenesses of me as result from that show were specifically NOT included in the contract.
Ok, so we got drunk a few times and took a few lesbo shots for the show's producers - but I didn't think they'd be haul-assed round town to all the magazines and weirdo internet sites either.
Next you'll be telling me there is a porn web site detailed lurid acts performed by the FOA Girls in some sordid hell hole when we were New York on there last 'The FAO Girls take Manhattan!' promotional tour. Jeesus, those Motorola guys knew how to party.
So, missy it's either cough up or take 'em down (as my manager always says).
You shall be hearing from my lawyers in due course.
Tammy (your ex-friend and co-star)
Blogger ate my template. Got to reconstruct it. :(
What do you do, with a big but...
Hey, I like the sound and look of this meme. Big up to Ron for starting it and Bryan for making such a valuable contribution.
A rush of hyperactivity...
I'm dashing round the office full of energy. My jetlag seems to have disappeared. And what's more:-
- My boss is away from today for two weeks. Hurray!
- I got approval before he left to go to Amsterdam for a few days on 'business'. Hurray!
- I've got tickets to go to the Gay World Cup next week. Hurray!
Life is good.
No news is good news...
Being away on holiday has it's advantages. I didn't pickup a newspaper or magazine or watch TV or listen to the radio. I had a complete news blackout for ten days. Bliss. The only problem now is that I don't know what's been happening in the world. I'm out of the loop. Zeitgeist-free. Can anybody give me a quick news/current events précis of the last two weeks in 25 words or less?
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