It's coming... o v e r y o u r h e a d . . .


Crawling through technology, life and love

Contact me:
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Listening:

Playing:
Pool Paradise - GC on Wii

iTuning:
Podcasts - Chris Moyles, Mark Kermode and Stephen Fry

Reading:
All 24 25 Tintin books

Bits and Bobs:
Wish List
Gerry's Lyrics Pop Quiz
Minipops Quiz

Sites I like:
Marc Almond
Top 40 Singles
News
IMdb
The Register
Hacks
Recent GBlogs
Arsenal FC

Some blogs I enjoy:
bboyblues2000
bitful
blogadoon
brainsluice
chig
groc
minkered
scally
sparky
troubled diva

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


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Friday, September 28, 2001
Positively the last mention of my birthday (honest)...
You must be as fed up with my birthday as I am by now but here are some pictures from my birthday party last Saturday.
jonathan gets zapped!jonathan gets zapped!
jonathan gets zapped!jonathan gets zapped!
And there are a lot more pictures here. Click on the thumbnails to see a slightly bigger version. I have even bigger and more detailed copies of each picture. Let me know if you want me to e-mail you copies.

God, I just noticed there's even one of my sofa! Note to self: I must learn to edit! Anyone know any online courses? :)

From this morning I am going into 'radio silence' for the next 4 days as I'm off to a remote retreat in Scotland. Back on Tuesday.


Thursday, September 27, 2001
Spelling be...
Is spelling important? The reason why I ask is because a) I am the first to admit I'm rather bad at spelling myself and, b) certain people delight at pointing out my (and others') errors. My spelling seems to bother them much more than it bothers me though. Why is that? Should I care more?

It's interesting that over the past few years my spelling has certainly got a lot worse than it used to be. I used to be rather good at it but these days I just can't give a toss. I tend to rattle off text at great speed (80 words a minute / 40 of them mistyped!) making many typos which more often than not aren't actual spelling mistakes in themselves. I simply hit a neighbouring key on the keyboard in my hurry to get my thoughts down on the screen and don't bother to watch what appears. I tend to shove my fingers in the general direction of the right key and hope for the best. Mavis Beacon be damned.

Now all this wouldn't matter too much if I actually proofread my work and corrected what I knew to be incorrect. The problem is I don't. If a spell-checker cares to pick it up fine, if not then I certainly can't be bothered to check it manually. Funnily enough I'm actually quite good at proofreading when I can be bothered. I generally know a spelling mistake when I see it - I used to do it as part of my job many moons ago. But I just don't think it matters anymore. Spelling just isn't important these days.

So I put it too you: Ignorance is bliss, money doesn't buy you love and spelling is overrated. Wadda ya think?


I'm off for a bit of a break...
The last week has been exhausting. My birthday seems to have gone on for five days. Out every night and celebrating like a loon. It's been great fun and thanks to everyone who has made it so special. But now I need a break. And where better to go than Scotland. So tomorrow we're off to stay in a beautiful place in Stirling called Gargunnock House (1580-1794) for four days to recover.

Well when I say recover, what I really mean is sixteen of us are going to go wild and crazy celebrating Ian's 40th birthday. We're flying to Edinbourgh tomorrow, hiring cars and going to tear up the countryside. The English are coming! The English are coming!


Flight Q33NY...
Hello to all my hundreds of new readers. Sorry to disappoint you but no such flight exists as Q33NY! It's a hoax.


Wednesday, September 26, 2001
Oh My God!...
Ten minutes ago I was sitting in my office minding my own business when something caught my eye. A flash of colour and a bit of movement. Next thing I know two mystery dancing girls are singing 'Happy Birthday To You' and planting big kisses on me. I nearly had a heart attack! Everyone came out of their offices to watch. I went beetroot! My boss grabbed a camera and took some pix - and then e-mailed them round to everyone in the company!
jonathan gets zapped!<
My heart is still racing - with surprise, joy and excitement. Thank you so very much ladies whoever you are... I'm touched. I've just got to explain to Mark why I've got lipstick on my collar and a black feather boa.

PS: Bryn and Larissa (your disguises were good but I know you too well!)


Pop Quiz...
What a fun (but tough) quiz it was at the Retro Bar last night. Not quite all the usual suspects were there - David cried off ill, poor lamb (get better soon!). So we sported a team of the sage-like Ian, the sober Darren, the animated Tony and my aged good self. Cheerleaders for the evening were Scally and Davo who with a bit of persuasion and a small injection of zerocrop formed a team of their own. We all gathered round the central high table and set to it.

The quiz was all cover versions. Easy you might think. But not easy enough for us. We got fifteen out of twenty-one and a half. The winners got sixteen and a half (and the cash - £87).

First we heard 'The Tide Is High' by Billie (we thought it was Emma Bunton!) but who did the original? We got that one right (and a bonus half point for the real answer too!) Next were four covers versions of Depeche Mode tracks and we had to put the DM versions in the correct order of single UK release. We got it right but can you?
A. Never Let Me Down - Smashing Pumpkins
B. Shake The Disease - Hooverphonic
C. Master and Servant - Locust
D. Stripped - Ramstein

Then we had three tracks and we simply had to say whether they were 'original' or 'cover'. We got them right, can you?
1. I Think I'm Alone Now - (that Tiffany hit but this wasn't Tiffany singing it)
2. 'They Don't Know' - Kirsty MacColl
3. 'Jackie Wilson Said' - Dexy's Midnight Runners
The following round was three Euro hits and all we had to do was recognise the language. The Millionaires' "Fantasy Island" [in Dutch], Petula Clark's 'Please, Please Me' [in French] and some weirdly named band singing 'Downtown' [in Serbo-Croat]. Ian correctly pointed out that our answer of Yugoslavia should have got the full point for that last one but we held our peace.
Next we had two bands doing covers of TV themes Five doing 'Inspector Gadget' and The Ramones doing 'Spiderman'.

Next were four covers versions of Duran Duran tracks and we had to put the DD versions in the correct order of how high they got in the UK charts starting with the highest. Any idea?
A. 'Hungry Like The Wolf' - Real Big Fish
B. 'The Reflex' - Less Than Jake
C. 'Ordinary World' - River Fenix
D. 'View To A Kill' - ?

Then we had two tracks from the Coneheads soundtrack:- k.d.lang & Andy Bell doing 'No More tears (Enough is Enough)' and Morton Harket doing 'Can't Take My Eyes Off You'.

The most popular round of the night was the ABBA thrash round. We heard three trash metal versions of ABBA hits 'Money, Money, Money', 'Voulez-Vous' and 'Eagle' and we simply had to name them.

The 'what happens next' round was to write down the first 18-words of Erasure's 'A Little Respect'. We got FOUR words wrong! Eeeks! Can you do any better?

The 'spot the connection' round was 'A Hard Day's Night', 'Hide Your Love Away' and 'Step Inside Love' - we got it right. Can you? Bonus point was to know that the first track was sung by Goldie Hawn.

The final round was to identify who had the original hit in the UK with:-
1. 'If I Can't Have You' - Kim Wilde
2. 'I will Always Love You' - Sarah Washington
3. 'This Is It' - Danni Minogue
And to guess the year all these covers came out. We actually got it right! Can you?


Lisa, it's your Birthday, Happy Birthday, Lisa...
Thank you one and all for your kind cards, gifts and wishes from the bottom of my middle-aged heart.

Special thanks to Tony - who has a fantastic front end (!) - for this lovely musical birthday web page he made for me.


Tuesday, September 25, 2001
Gas Masks...
All over London gas masks are being snapped up. There is fear of a chemical attack. There is panic buying going on at Army and Navy Surplus Stores and (you guessed it) gay and fetish shops throughout the capital. Regulation, Expectations and Skin Two are all sold out and have more on order. So who would have guessed, being into heavy S&M might actually be good for you.


Billie Ray Martin...
It was good time for music in the capital last night. We could have gone to see Gary Numan at the Shepheard's Bush Empire or Bjork at the Coliseum. But we plumped for Bille Ray Martin at the Jazz Cafe.

Darren, Jim, Ian, David, myself and my date (name withheld for the moment) all headed of to Camden. Great company, great show. BRM is a kind of Elvis impersonator. She adorns her band with toy Elvises, she has an big full colour Elvis tatoo on her left arm and she plunders the Black rhythm and blues heritage with the same sense of style as The King. And as was said of The King, 'there is a black person in there trying to get out'.

It was nice to bump into Martin there. I hadn't seen him in yonks. Following on from that it was funny to find out that Darren and I know even more people in common than I'd realised. Funny because Darren and I only met so recently.


Monday, September 24, 2001
The party was fun...
Well I had a good time anyway! Everyone seemed to get on OK and the the place looked fantastic. I've got lots of pix - but don't worry I shall edit heavily (to publish later today or tomorrow). Thanks for coming everyone!

Later I shall publish the top 5 list of people who were "asked about". i.e. who was most fancied (with pix!)


Zeitgeist...
The startling facts:- Start Word and write the number Q33NY - this was the flight number of one of the planes to crash into the World Trade Centre. Change the font to something big - 72 preferably and then change the font to Wingdings. Wow! Spooky!

The rather unstartling truth:- Is a little different.

Yes, well, I didn't believe it for a second :)


Saturday, September 22, 2001
The day of the party arrives (the people)...
I've invited lots of people. 147 in total. Too many really as the fire limit of the place is only 110. Oh well. Maybe no one will turn up anyway...
As I'm a completely anal human being I've broken down the people invited by arbitary definition i.e.
people people people people people people people people people people people people
Gay 110 Straight 37
Man 124 Woman 23
Friend 135 Family 12
people people people people people people people people people people people people
So that means the average guest is 75% gay and 25% straight, 84% male and 16% female and only 92% of a friend. Huh, so all my guests are bisexual, hermaphrodite who aren't the 100% friends they claim to be, eh? :)
people people people people people people people people people people people people


The day of the party arrives (the music)...
The fabulous DJ Juggy is going to do the DJing tonight for the second half of the party so I've made up some CDs for the first half.
music music music music music music music music music music music music music
CD #1
Frankie Goes To Hollywood - Two Tribes
Grace Jones - Slave Of The Rythm
Pet Shop Boys - Left On My Own Devices
Marc Almond - Jacky
ABC - The look love
Malcolm McLaren & The World Famous Supreme Team- Buffalo Gals (original version)
James - I Know What I'm Here For
Devo - Jocko Homo
Talking Heads - Life During Wartime
Kylie Minogue - Got To Be Certain
Bananarama - Love, Truth And Honesty
Dead or Alive - Spin me right round
Sweet - Fox On The Run
Tiger Feet - Mud
Pat Benetar - Love Is A Battlefield
music music music music music music music music music music music music music
CD #2
Limahl - Never Ending Story
Chicory Tip - Son Of My Father
Donna Summer - Could It Be Magic
Depeche Mode - Enjoy the Silence
Smashing Pumpkins - Tonight, Tonight
Nine Inch Nails - Closer
Strawberry Switchblade - Since Yesterday
Everything But The Girl - Missing
Petula Clark - La Vie en Rose
Ike & Tina Turner - River Deep Mountain High
Ramones - Do You Remember Rock'n Roll Radio
Crystals - Da Do Ron Ron (rare stereo!)
New Edition - Candy Girl
Ash - Life Less Ordinary
Spaceman - Babylon Zoo
Texas - Halo
Travis - Why Does It Always Rain On Me
Manic Street Preachers - Everything Must Go
music music music music music music music music music music music music music
CD #3
Human League - Mirror Man
Double trouble ft. rebel MC - Street tuff
Crown Heights Affair - You Gave Me Love
Smiths - Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now
J Geils Band - Centerfold
Nick Straker Band - A Walk In The Park
Tom Robinson Band - 2-4-6-8 Motorway
Foreigner - Cold As Ice
Irene Cara - Flashdance What a Feeling
Rialto - Monday Morning 519
Spin Doctors - 2 Princes
The Piglets - Johnny Reggea
Starship - We Build This City
Fleetwood Mac - Albatross
Bucks Fizz - My Camera Never Lies
Red Box - For America
Smokie - Living Next Door To Alice
Splodgenessabounds - 2 Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps Please
music music music music music music music music music music music music music


Friday, September 21, 2001
Ab Fab (the 4th week review)...
This was the worse one this season so far. It bordered on boring. It was called "Donkey". Having a meal in The Ivy with friends Patsy tells Edina that relationships only work if one partner is a 'racing horse' and the other one is a 'donkey'. Eddy says she wants to be a racing horse but her friends tell her, "you can't be a racing horse - you're too fat!"

So Eddy's goes on a diet, sorry I mean, a detox. She keeps a video diary and starts a boot camp style excercise regime.

At one point she gets so tired she falls asleep on her bed and has a vivid dream. In her dream Marianne Faithful plays God and sings 'The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan'. The high point of the show.

A small plot line is Patsy at her magazine. When talking about a launch party her advice is: "Cocaine. Lines inside mean lines outside"

Bizarre line of the episode is from one of Saffy friends: "The snail had his own trailer". Don't ask.

Eddy eventally gets desparate about her situation and can only explain her size because she, "once got stuck on an eating loop at Yo Sushi!"

She is just about to give up the detox completely when she discovers a lump on her arm. A muscle. That spurs her on anew. The detox finished she is slimmer and sporting a little black dress heads off to meet her dining chums once again.

But her friends still think she's fat! So she gives up and starts eating trifle. Like we care.


Win a date...
Enter this fabulous competition and win a ticket to see Billie Ray Martin at the Jazz Cafe in Camden on this Monday night - and a date with me!


Eastbenders...
Eastenders has been fab all this week. There have been two separate story lines - both away from Albert Square. In the first, Steve Owen and his gang have been planning a robbery. There's been parties, strippers, flashy apartments and the high life. Gosh it looks glam to be an East End gangster. Maybe you kids should try it.

In the other story line Asif and Martin have been to sunny Soho in search of beer and girls - and to blow Asif's £180 of reading list money his Uncle gave him. Sure enough they found what they were looking for. Underage drinking, strip club, wild party - they did the lot. Gosh it looks glam to go to Soho. Maybe you kids should try it.

Strangely enough both story lines had gay characters in them. One of the crooks in the first plot line was gay - with a young, cute, stripped-to-the-waist house boy to boot. Yum, yum.
Eastbenders houseboy
And the other story had Martin playing pool with a lad, Craig, who turned out to be gay and made a pass at him at a party later on. Martin reacted badly but was soon calmed down. They ended up being firm friends.
Craig tries it on
Gosh it looks glam to be gay. Maybe you kids should try it.


Thursday, September 20, 2001
Ask the audience...
The police have been called in to Who Wants To Be Millionaire? in investigate their latest £1m winner. Why? They cheated, allegedly. Whenever Chris Tarrant read out the four possible answers to a question someone in the audience coughed at the right answer. Excellent! What a great idea. But why were they so subtle about it? Why didn't they just sound a klaxon instead?!


Call me anal...
We were attacked last night by the dreaded Nimda (Admin spelt backwards) computer virus. Of our 11 servers 4 were infected (some NT, some Win2k). I've spent the morning cleaning/patching/installing/updating and at last I think we have a clean system. It didn't help that some of our overseas offices kept reineffecting us. I have to admit I rather like antivirus cleaning. Call me anal but I like the idea of cleaning and purging.


Wednesday, September 19, 2001
This feels a bit funny but...
I present to you my Amazon Wish List. I'll try and tuck it onto my side bar when I have a mo.


Party, party...
Just in case it's escaped your attention I'm going to be 40 next week. To mark this milestone I thought I'd have a party. A big one. It's going to be for all my nearest and dearest and I know what they can be like so I thought I'd make it easy for them. It'll be easy to get to (a bar in Soho), they will be fed (Mrs Woo's finest chinese finger food), there will be decorations (the wonderful Christopher has a 'plan') and there will be tunes (the lovely Darren will be DJing). Oh, and did I mentioned it's an open bar too? Free booze! It's gonna be fun.
40th invite - front40th invite - back


Tuesday, September 18, 2001
Stress equation...
I've had a pisser of an afternoon. The stress generated by a situation seems to be inversely proportional to the amount of control you have over it.


Do you take requests..?
It's not my birthday until next week but today I got my first birthday card. It was from my ex-boyfriend's mother. Paul and I stopped seeing each other almost ten years ago but his mother Veronica still has a soft spot for me. We three used to sit on her sofa in her house in Warrington and laugh ourselves silly. We'd laugh at each other's jokes, laugh at whatever came on the TV and laugh at nothing at all. We used to have such fun. One time we all got roaring drunk and found ourselves down at Warrington's Gas Work's Social (20p to get in, beer at 82p a pint). On stage was a terrible Elvis impersonator with an electric organ murdering one classic after the other. After half an hour Dutch courage got the better of me and I went up on stage and asked him if he took requests. Yes, he said. Which of The King's songs did we want to hear? None of them, I replied. Sing some Kylie. So he did. He knew them all and gave us a medley! We pissed ourselves.


Sunday, September 16, 2001
Star Trek Night...
On BBC2 tonight is an evening devoted to Star Trek. After we get back from my niece's 9th birthday party this afternoon I shall be in need of a stiff drink. What better way to unwind than to put my feet up to enjoy the delights of one of my favourite cultural phenomena?

19:30 Star Trek Night
Jonathan Ross celebrates the 35th anniversary of Star Trek, going behind the scenes and interviewing key actors. Plus a feature film and the chance to vote for your favourite captain's episode to be shown later in the evening.

I don't know if JR is the best one to start this evening off - but as he seems to have been taken on by the Beeb to be their generic film/pop cultural attaché I guess he will have to do. He is a fan so the jokes may (!) be kept to a minimum.

19:35 From Enterprise To Franchise
Star Trek actors, writers and producers help explain the phenomenon of how the cult 60s series grew into the world famous multi million dollar franchise, with an ever growing army of fans.

There have been 600 episodes and nine films so far. And let's face it a ridiculously huge amount of merchanise.

20:10 Make It So
Rubber aliens, mini skirts and home made special effects. We go behind the scenes to ask just how the tricks are done and commemorate photon torpedoes, tricorders and the 24th century bra.

There have been quite a lot of good special effects in Star Trek over the years. My favourite is the entry of the Borg Queen in First Contact as her head and spinal column float down to her body.

20:35 Trials And Tribble-Ations
An introduction to the classic episode in which the DS9 crew go back in time to join Captain Kirk and his team as Lieutenant Uhuru acquires a cute, cuddly, cooing creature known as a tribble.

I've never actually seen this episode. I rather lost interest in DS9 after the start of season 5. Shame on me as this is a classic.

20:40 Star Trek: Deep Space 9
Trials And Tribble-Ations: In pursuit of a vengeful Klingon intent on killing Kirk, the DS9 crew go back in time and try to blend in. Meanwhile Uhura acquires that cuddly tribble, and chaos ensues.

I shall be glued to my set.

21:20 Warp Factory
From the phasers, transporters and warp engines of the original series to the plasma conduits and microfusion of the 24th Century, we boldly explore where Star Trek can go next.

The 'science' of Star Trek still fascinates. It's what the whole £22 billion 3G mobile phone spectrum auction was all about - trying to make a two-way communicator with video just like in Star Trek.

21:55 Viewers Vote Winning Episode
The favourite Captain's episode voted for by viewers. Choices are: 'City On The Edge Of Forever', featuring Captain Kirk, 'In Theory', featuring Captain Picard, 'Far Beyond the Stars', featuring Captain Sisko and 'Counterpoint', featuring Captain Janeway.

I love COTEOF - so it will be getting my vote. Joan Collins as a smoldering temptress is a joy.

22:40 Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
The crew return to Earth from self imposed exile on Vulcan, to discover a probe causing the planet's destruction. Spock surmises that only the extinct humpback whale can help to save Earth [1986]. W/S

Cheesey but fun. Star Trek going back to modern Earth is always a bit of a hoot.


Saturday, September 15, 2001
Ab Fab (the 3rd week review)...
This week's episode was called 'Paris'. It was a rather poor affair again I'm afraid. The 'plot' such that it was involved Patsy going to Paris to take part in a photo-shoot using 'old' and 'new' models. Of course she is completely over the hill and everyone knows it. She shows herself up at every turn. Eddy and Saffy and Bubble go along too. Eddy and Saffy eventually get bored of the preparations for the shoot and go to explorer the delights of Paris. They take part in a fairly sweet bonding session of shopping together, dining out together and doing the sort of things that Patsy might do with Eddy if she wasn't so busy on her photo-shoot - by busy of course she's getting pissed and trying too hard to look 60s glam. The particularly touching scene with Eddy amd Saff is when ordering food in a posh French eatery Saffy orders in French. Eddy is stunned and genuinely proud. Naturally she goes on to ruin the moment:-
Eddy: "Say something else in French, darling"
Saffy: "Oh, Mum. I can't. Stop embarassing me"
Eddy "Go on, darling, it actually makes you sound interesting!"

Sadly there were no great belly laughs. Just a few amusing scenes like the one mentioned above. The ending was perhaps a little predictable too given the copious hints during the show (I won't give it away here).

Shame that we are half way through the run (they only make runs of 6 shows in a run in the UK unlike 13 or 26 in the US) and it doesn't seem to have hit it's stride yet. Here's hoping next week with be better.

Strangely this week Will & Grace was quite funny. They got a dog. Hilarity ensued.


Friday, September 14, 2001
Open letter to NYC bloggers...

Dear All

It must be weird to have lots of people call you up and e-mail just to say, "are you alive?" and "are you OK?". Even days afterwards - when by now we know you're alive and we know you're OK. Please forgive us.

With each passing hour we get further reports from New York on the tragedy. The feeling of helplessness, uncertainty and doubt that this creates spurns us to check and recheck with our friends. We can't quite believe what has happened and we can't quite believe you are all OK.

You have lived through a terrible thing. The worst act of terrorism the world has ever seen. You may be feeling lucky that you have escaped unharmed. But don't get survivor's guilt. It's you and people like you who will rebuild the city's community, rebuild the connections to the outside world through your blogging, carry on and reshape the future of your city. Show us all that there is hope for New York.

You are all brave people and I salute you.

Jonathan


Thursday, September 13, 2001
Check the date on the ticket...
Just a few weeks ago David and I were having the best holiday we had ever had. And going up the WTC was one of, if not the highlight of the whole trip. We had just the best time up there. Running round, eating, drinking, laughing, recording a short movie, taking pictures, eyeing up the cute men and generally behaving like big kids. I get a knot in my stomach just thinking about it now.
WTC ticket
WTC David
WTC Jonathan


Bloody foreigners...
I work for a Middle East oil company. This country is a close ally of the US. Very close. To the extent that some other Arab states are sometimes embarrassed about such close ties. The currency is tied to the US Dollar. Every National I have ever met is fiercely pro-American. Americans even get higher pay scales in our company for just being American. They love Amercians.

There's a guy who works in our office who has just been called away to his son's school. Apparently his son has been beaten up and kicked in the face and left covered in blood. A group of boys in his class were shouting "Arab! Arab!" It makes you sick.


Wednesday, September 12, 2001
Pop Quiz...
It was a fairly muted affair last night. Everyone's thoughts were on the other side of the pond. We didn't win. We only got 13 out of 20. I'm not suprised. Here's the anwsers for the curious.

Team name:
The Matthew Appreciation Society

One hit wonders' follow-ups:
Kung Fu Fighting - Carl Douglas
Boys Summertime Love - Sabrina
Dub Be Good To Me - Beats International (+ bonus point for featured artist Lindy Layton)

TV themes (daytime Soap operas):
The Young Doctors
The Sullivans
Sons and Daughters

Featured Album:
Automatic For The People - REM

New Releases:
Smooth Criminal - Alien Ant Farm
The Nobodys - Marylin Manson
In The Air Tonight - Li'l Kim

Beatles Covers:
Ob-la-di ob-la-da - Marmalade
Across The Universe - Fiona Apple

Three songs to give you a film:
Robert De Niro's Waiting - Bananarama
Sing - Travis
Big Yellow Taxi - Joni Mitchel
Can you guess the film?

Three songs to give you a film:
Fight The Power - Public Enemy
S Club Party - S Club 7
Hit Me With Your Rhythym Stick - Ian Dury and The Blockheads
Can you guess the film?

Three songs to give you a film:
Walk Like An Egyptian - The Bangles
Mama Mia - ABBA
Coming Round Again - Carly Simon
Can you guess the film?

Songs With Brackets:
Showing Out (Get Fresh At The Weekend)
Aint No Love (Aint No Use)

Release Order for Madness Singles:
A. House Of Fun
B. Wings Of A Dove
C. It Must Be Love
D. Michael Caine
Can you get the order right?


Chillingly prescient...
From Mon 10th: "Well FUCK everybody! I'm pissed off today and if one more infuriating thing happens I'm going to explode." Michael I haven't heard from you, baby. I've tried all your numbers. Are you OK?


Tuesday, September 11, 2001
My thoughts are with you...
Thinking of you all in the US and especially in NYC. What an utter tragedy. Quite unreal. No one could have predicted it. Which is probably why it was seemingly so easy to do. Dreadful. Just dreadful.


Nailing my colours to the mast (I'm probably going to regret this)...
My name is Jonathan. And I didn't love Hedwig. There I've said it. I really wanted to love it. I really did. I love musicals. I love Rocky Horror. I love 70s music, I love punk, I love Blondie, I love glam, I love Roxy, I love transsexuals, I love films. But I didn't love this.

Why? Well, for a start it was all so two dimensional. From the 2-D cinematography to the 2-D acting and the 2-D animation - it betrayed it's stage origins at every turn. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing per se, some of my best friends are two dimensional and some of my favourite films are stage musical adaptations. It's just that there seemed to me to be no real depth to the piece. No field of vision if you like. Where was that extra element, that extra dimension that makes you go. "Wow! This is great! What a cool film"? The story went nowhere. The device of telling a narrative in flashback only works if there is some element of surprise or revelation at the end. But there was none. Ultimately it was plotless and indeed pointless. I wasn't engaged by it at all. Christ, I even enjoyed that car wreck of a film we know and love as Velvet Goldmine more!

The characters were flat emotionless vessels that sailed on a sea of androgynous rock clichés. I couldn't bring myself to really care about a single last one of them - apart from maybe Hedwig's wig. Or rather Hedwig's lead wig, I should say, for there were many. That lead wig had a life of its own. It could act the split ends off those other wigs. I see big things for that wig. That wig will go far.

Philip French writing in the Observer says of the film, "It reeks of self-pity disguised as stoicism and has unrealised aspirations to social comment (Hedwig's rise and fall is somehow equated with the Berlin Wall).". And I tend to agree. Hedwig is pretentious. But not in the way he means. It's not pretending to be grand or significant or commenting on society. It's simply pretending to be a good film. Pretending to be a good rock musical film. Which it isn't.

Oh, and don't get me started on that ending. What a mess. What happened? Who cares.

Now you all hate me, let me say what I did like about Hedwig - the songs. The songs saved it for me. The songs were good. The songs were memorable. I liked the songs. Maybe I should have taken Bill's advice and bought the soundtrack first. Then I might have liked it more. Maybe even loved it (?). But I doubt it.

Moulin Rouge is the best musical film of the year. No contest.

Comments and hate mail to the usual address :)


Monday, September 10, 2001
Sorry...
Went to see Hedwig yesterday. And I so wanted to like it. Sorry. Beat me, whip me, tell me I'm bad.


Sunday, September 09, 2001
Life On A String...
I got up early this morning and left Mark sleeping... peacefully. I wanted to listen to 'Life On A String'. Laurie Anderson's new CD. Laurie Anderson is coming to town in a few weeks and I wanted to get really... you know... familiar. With her. Again.

Whenever I find myself. Writing. Or talking. About Laurie Anderson. I find myself putting in punctuation. At odd. Places.

Write your own manifesto. That would do.
Just make sure you use a pencil
So you can always get it... you know... right.

When you fly, to feel safe you should carry a bomb. The chances of one bomb on a plane is pretty remote. But the chances of two bombs are astronomically high. So if you carry a bomb on a plane you're much less likely to be taken hostage or blown to little... pieces.

Freedom is a scary thing
Not many people really want it.

It's like at the end of a play and all the actors come out and they line up and they look at you... and horrible things have happened to them during the play and they stand there while you clap and now what? What happens next?

Now I'm thinking. And listening. At the same time.


Friday, September 07, 2001
Ab Fab (the 2nd week review)...
Much better this week. Maybe my expectations weren't so high but I actually think the jokes were funnier and the plot better too. This week's episode was called 'Fish Farm'. Edina returns from a Marilyn Manson concert, and spies a handsome young man Jago (Crispin Bonham-Carter) working up a sweat in her garden the following morning. Patsy immediately recognises him as the younger brother of a well-known aristocrat, and Eddy sets about a vigorous pursuit of her potential suitor, hoping that her dreams of a life of luxury will soon be realised. Meanwhile, Mother is also busy flirting wildly. Though she now has a job on the Harry Potter film.

Some of the old magic was back. Sadly no Jane Horricks this week but you can't have everything.

Best line:
Eddy: "We're going to New York this week"
Saffy: "I didn't think they let people in with a drugs conviction"
Eddy: "Darling, it's not a conviction"
Patsy: "Just a firm belief!"

Another good line:
Patsy : "Keep your face away from me and your (she coughs) hair!"
Saffy : "My hair isn't anywhere near you"
Patsy: "Your face hair!"

(Incidentally we get Will & Grace straight after Ab Fab on Friday nights. Is it me or is Will & Grace really tired? And I've only seen three episodes of that show)


Rest In Peace...
I've just heard that the Queen Mother is dead. She is supposed to have died last night. And that it'll be announced at 6pm London time.


An uncomplicated evening...
But a complicated blog entry.


Vespertine...
barmy old björk I've been listening to Björk's new Vespertine CD over the past couple of days. To be honest, in the past the Icelandic one has sometimes left me rather cold. But this CD has been a real eye-openner for me. It is heavenly. Buy, listen, love. Fav tunes are "It's Not Up To You" and "Pagan Poetry". I'm a bit of a convert now. I must fish out 'Debut' again and give it another whirl. Is there any other Björk stuff you think I should home in on?!


No rest for the wicked...
I had to work over the last Bank Holiday. So today I'm taking the day off as Time Off In Lieu (TOIL). I've made a list of a zillion things to do (clean, washing, bit of DIY, invoices, haircut, etc.). You'd think I might actually lounge around all day and be a slob. But it's just not me. Having mild hyperactivity as a child has never worn off.


Thursday, September 06, 2001
A little more Blusher, a little more Rouge...
I've just booked tickets to go and see Moulin Rouge. Again. I love that film as you may ready have read! Every time I hear Ewan McGregor sing 'Your Song' I get all choked up thinking of Marky. Sentimental twaddle, I know, but I'm gay so I do sentimental twaddle.


If pressed...
There are few things I hate in life. But one of them is ironing. Nice to see someone has a sense of humour about it. These guys will go anywhere to brighten up there ironing experience and so have created a sport called Extreme Ironing (ei). You can even join in by sending your own ei shot for their competition. Some people just have too much time on their hands.


Wednesday, September 05, 2001
Dreamteam...
Sega's Dreamcast console may have 'gone west' but we Arsenal fans still wear it's logo with pride. This shot from last week's Sports and Shorts - that's me on the right.
four Gooners at shorts and shorts


I am shocked...
The article and picture of the little girl and her mother trying to get to school on the front cover of yesterday's Guardian was quite distressing. Today it appears these little girls can't go to school without having bombs thrown at them too. What is the world coming to?


Size is everything…
People tell you size doesn’t matter. People tell you that what is important is where you put it, not how long or how wide it is. People tell you that you should be happy with what you’ve got. People say there’s nothing wrong with a small one. But people are wrong.

Everyone wants a bigger one. Everyone wants to be the envy of their friends and yet appear nonchalant about its size. Sure, it can be too big. Sure, it can look out of proportion. But secretly we all want a big one. The bigger, the better.

Usually I can resist the urge. Usually I just wait for it to pass. But this time it’s different. This time I’m going to do it. I’m going to get myself a bigger one. A much bigger one.


Tuesday, September 04, 2001
What a nuisance...
Last night at half past midnight the phone rang. It made us wake with a start. The sound of a phone ringing is deafening when you and your world is fast asleep. Mark sprang out of bed and rushed to phone. Night calls often bring bad news. The worst things flash through your mind.

In this case it was a crank call. Someone either 'having a bit of fun' or just plain making a nuisance of themselves. Naturally they witheld their number. If it happens again we may think about blocking calls that don't give out their number to our home phone. That may cause a few problems with international calls and calls from companies that don't display their numbers though so it's not ideal.

Have you ever had a nuisance call? What have you done about it?


Sunday, September 02, 2001
That's big of you...
Tory party leadership candidate Iain Duncan Smith has indicated that if he wins, he would consider repealing Clause 28, a law which stops councils from promoting homosexuality. He said in the Sunday Telegraph today, "Clause 28, I accept, has about it a totem that identifies the party with hate and dislike of people. It is about saying to a group in the community `we actually rather dislike you.'" Oh, so you're not worried about poofs then, IDS? Just what people think about you. How nice.

IDS, you are a fucking hypocrite. You've consistently support C28. What's changed? Oh, I know. You're up for a chance to be leader of the Tories.

Well IDS we actually rather dislike you and we actually rather dislike your party. I hope you lose the election and I hope your party never gets back into power again you homophobic wanker.


Sports and Shorts (the review)...
What a result last night! England thrashed Germany 5-1. As the jingoistic BBC1 sports commentator put it, "England hasn't beaten Germany this soundly since the last war!"

After the match we went to SnS. All the gang were there. Beer was drunk. Jokes were shared. Fun was had.


Saturday, September 01, 2001
Ab Fab (the review)...
You know that feeling you get when you tune in to The Simpsons and it's an episode you've seen a dozen times before. Or when you turn on Frasier and you realise it's one from years ago that you know backwards - but you watch it anyway just in case there's a 'good bit' that you'd forgotten. Sure, you see that these repeat shows are still funny. Sure, you're in familiar surroundings and you know the characters so well as to get even the slightest subtly in the performances - you don't miss a single joke. But there's still this underlying disappointment that you've seen it. This feeling of: Why aren't I watching a new one? Why do we get repeats all the time rather than brand new funny episodes that we will love and cherish and repeat the lines endlessly to our friends? The sad fact of these old episodes is that we feel a bit cheated. We see that they were (and still are) good but we want the 'new stuff'. The funny 'new stuff'.

So it was with last night's Ab Fab. OK, it was a new episode but it could have been a episode from seven years ago in a mid-season run. I kept thinking we had seen the show before. Lots of the lines had been recycled. In fact at times the script was all but writing itself. Such a shame as Jennifer Saunders (Edina) has such a gift for reinvention and plot development.

Allegedly the characters had all moved on - but there was precious little evidence of this in last night's show. Jane Hollicks (Bubble) has a new character to play though called Katy Grin. She's Edina's new business partner and presenter in her TV production company, Radical TV. Hopefully Katy might develop into something new and exciting as the series unfolds. Evidence is that she appeared in last night's show on a TV ad for a discount carpet store endless repeating variations of the phrase, "It's carpets, it's madness! Carpets! Madness! It's Madness, it's carpets!" which was very funny.

But the other more established characters were essentially unchanged.

Saffy (Julia Sawalha) is still at home - only older and more frumpy. The mother (June Whitfield) still lives with them though she actually has some rather spiteful lines about how fat Edina is/was. Patsy is completely the same. Sadly she did nothing in this first episode but looks glamorous and help to develop a plot line about anti-aging Parallox facial injections. Was it me or were the references to ME a bit tasteless?

So in summary I would say that it's good to have them back. But I hope the series gets better. Otherwise I'll be looking forward to those familar Ab Fab repeats rather the ‘new stuff'.


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