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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Thursday, December 30, 2004
Kate Bush Come Back...
Thanks to Bryan for sending me this article from The Times:

December 26, 2004
Profile: Kate Bush: Can she pull off the big sway-back?

In the cluttered loft that houses the memory of the average middle-aged bloke, a video flickers dully. It displays a child-woman of ethereal yet sexual allure who sways with beguiling swimming motions as her voice leaps the octaves of her 1978 hit Wuthering Heights.
The news that Kate Bush is planning a comeback after 12 years has lit up the captured moment when she erupted on the music scene as a 19-year-old, tangle-haired gypsy with a dazzling talent and a totally original approach to pop.
So agonisingly have devotees awaited her return that the writer John Mendelssohn penned a novel entitled Waiting for Kate Bush, published last month, featuring a Bush obsessive who has sent her 2,000 unanswered e-mails and is tormented by self-loathing.
Nobody would believe that Bush’s long silence was about to end had she not posted these words on a fan club’s website: “The album is nearly finished and will be out next year.” In a rare burst of garrulousness she added: “I hope you will all feel it’s been worth the wait.”
Now 46, the elusive Bush spent the interval at her home near Reading making sculptures, planning films and enjoying the company of Bertie, her six-year-old son, and his father, the guitarist Danny McIntosh, who played on Bush’s last record The Red Shoes.
A little more light was thrown on her absence by Peter Gabriel, her friend and collaborator on the hit single Don’t Give Up, who recently told a Canadian interviewer: “She’s being a mum and loving it. So music’s gone from being full-time to part-time (and) that slows you down.”
The doctor’s daughter from the London suburb of Bexleyheath altered the chemistry of pop in a career that produced nine albums and 13 hit singles, including The Man with the Child in His Eyes, written when she was only 13. Her unique performances combined musical theatre, dance, poetry and rock, crowned with a voice that could scale the upper registers with what has been described as a captivating screech.
Nobody had seen or heard anything quite like her before. One reviewer wrote: “It beggars belief . . . a stunningly original stage performance . . . it is devastatingly effective . . . a dazzling testimony to a remarkable talent.”
Her success was all the more notable because she was one of the few women to be taken seriously in the male-dominated world of pop, governed at the time by the aggressive sounds of punk. This 5ft 3in nip-waisted shy sprite not only composed and arranged her songs and produced her stage shows, but she also designed her costumes and was managing director of her management company.
Many female artists have claimed Bush as an inspiration, including Madonna, Björk, kd lang, PJ Harvey and Katie Melua. OutKast, the US hip-hop duo, want to do a song with her if they can track her down.
Male singers, too, owe a debt to Bush — perhaps none more so than Sir Cliff Richard. When he first saw her perform Wuthering Heights he was so impressed with her arm- flailing and gyratory motions that he incorporated them into his own static stage act. Like other Brontë aficionados, he probably imagined she had a detailed knowledge of the book, but it turned out she had not read it. The song was apparently based on her memory of the last moments of a television film.
In the studio, however, her perfectionism verged on control freakery. Recording the song Wow, she reportedly performed hundreds of vocals over several weeks, despite the producer’s insistence that he was perfectly content with the first take.
The experience led her to assume control of producing the album The Dreaming in 1982. Characterised by sound effects and animal cries, the record was not a success. Some blamed Rolf Harris’s contribution on the didgeridoo.
Catherine Bush was born in 1958, when British pop was waiting to be rescued by Elvis Presley. Her father was an English GP who played jazz piano, married to an Irishwoman who had been an accomplished folk dancer in Co Waterford. She was brought up in a comfortable home with two older brothers, John and Paddy. Both were fanatical about folk music and Kate imbibed their records of folk, sea shanties and Irish jigs.
She liked Buddy Holly and Presley, but her main inspiration was traditional music. “Irish airs, the uillean pipes — music like that affects me physically,” she said.
She also enjoyed hymns and took violin lessons at convent school, St Joseph’s at Abbey Wood, near Woolwich. “We lived in a farmhouse. I used to play hymns on an old organ in the barn till it was eaten out by mice,” she recalled.
By 11 she was writing poems; at 13 she was mixing music with the words. Her songs were intensely emotional, drawn from personal terrors and nightmares. “Horrible things fire my imagination,” she admitted. She had a particular fascination for films such as Don’t Look Now and The Cruel Sea, with “watery” themes.
Through her brothers, she joined a folk group called the KP Bush Band, playing pub gigs in the Lewisham area. When she was 15 she was introduced to Dave Gilmour, the lead guitarist with Pink Floyd, who encouraged young talent. “Absolutely terrified and trembling like a leaf, I sat down and played for him.” Gilmour liked her songs and put up some money for her to make three tracks.
The next year she was signed to Floyd’s record company, EMI, which was at first reluctant to let her record her preferred song, Wuthering Heights, until she felt ready to “handle the situation”.
She left school with a stack of O-levels, a recording contract and a windfall legacy from an aunt.
While getting more experience with the folk band, she started dance and mime classes. Emulating David Bowie, she studied with Lindsay Kemp, the mime artist and choreographer, and began to conceive of performing Wuthering Heights as a windblown figure with over-theatrical gestures.
The result was a sensation. On reflection, Bush said she was never too young to be a musician and her only ambition had been to get 10 songs onto a piece of plastic. “It couldn’t have happened fast enough. School inhibited me. It wasn’t until I left school that I found the real strength inside. All the rest was karma. It was meant to be.”
Ironically, the icon of Top of the Pops did not particularly like pop music, citing Chopin, Debussy, Sibelius and Erik Satie as her favourite listening. She also seemed oblivious to the effect her sultry performances had on audiences.
“I don’t deliberately try to be sexy when I perform,” she said. “I just concentrate on getting as much emotion and feeling into it as I can. I can feel myself switching on in front of an audience. It’s a very physical thing.”
The single’s success helped power her debut album, The Kick Inside, to the top of the charts and her sudden riches enabled her to set up home in south London with her cats Pywackit and Zoodle. In January 1979, accompanied by a troupe of dancers, jugglers and musicians, she set off on a scintillating tour. It was to be her last.
Instead she concentrated on studio work during the following decade and her hit albums included Never for Ever in 1980, the highly acclaimed Hounds of Love in 1985, and The Sensual World in 1989. There followed a four-year break until her collaboration with Eric Clapton on The Red Shoes in 1993, but the album was not well received and she vanished from view.
In recent years she has appeared in public a few times. She sang on stage with Gilmour at the Albert Hall in 2002 and appeared at the Q magazine awards. The industry tried to lure her back with the offer of a Brits lifetime achievement award but she turned it down because she would have had to have performed live.
Now she is ready to face the spotlight again. This, remember, is a female star whose versatility has perhaps never been surpassed, who pioneered the fusion of dance and circus entertainment in pop and conjured a new persona with each song. For fans, the anticipation is palpable.


Monday, December 27, 2004
Easy...
We are taking it easy here at overyourhead this week. Kicking back and enjoying the holiday season. I have twelve days off work and intend to destress and have some fun.

Christmas was fabulous. We had a house full of people, a table piled with food and a fridge full of drink. Presents were happily given and gratefully received. Marky managed to genuinely surprise me with a gift which I didn't know I wanted as did my mother (more of those later).

We've just got back from staying with my family in Hertfordshire where we were treated to food, drink good company and lots of games.

So what if our car broke down yesterday? About time we dumped that rust-bucket anyway. It's all good.

So Happy Holidays to one and all.


Friday, December 24, 2004
Brain Teasers: The Answers...

1. SWIMS

2. A drawbridge

3. The number is 9. For example: 147 X 9 = 1323 1 + 3 + 2 + 3 = 9


Thursday, December 23, 2004
Brain Teasers...

1. What 5-letter word using all capital letters looks the same upside down?

2. What is open when it is closed, and closed when it is open?

3. What number, when you multiply it by any other number, does the sum of the digits in the answer always add up to that number?


Coka Cola...

[Thanks Guy]


Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Kiki and Herb, a Valentines Concert...
Roll up, roll up for Kiki and Herb, a Valentines Concert at The Bloomsbury. The notorious Kiki and Herb are the creations of Justin Bond (vocals, slag drag) and Kenny Melman (piano), respectively, a psychotic sixty something lounge duo who dont cover songs as much as assault them! Book your tickets now! We're going on Tuesday 15th February.
[Thanks David]


Snow, Snow. Thick, Thick Snow...
For an Xmas message click here: A Happy Xmas to All My Readers


Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Round The Horne: Revisited - Christmas Edition...
Paul and I went to see Round The Horne again last night. Well, when I say 'again', it's a different show from last time - this one is a special Christmas edition with two newly updated scripts. Just as funny as before. Gentle humour with just a hint of Carry On.

The show's actors are dead spits and dead sound-a-likes to the erstwhile radio stars, so full praise needs to go to them: Kenneth Horne (Jonathan Rigby), Betty Marsden (Kate Brown), Douglas Smith (Charles Armstrong), Kenneth Williams (Robin Sebastian) and Hugh Paddick (Nigel Harrison).

Best gag of the night (two actually):

The recurring and ever youthful phrase: "Snow. Snow. Thick, thick, snow." Followed of course by some quickstep music.

And: "Here are the answers to last week's quiz. We asked you to finish the title of a song. Number one: Gone With The... The answer was of course wind. And most of you had it (boom, boom). And no, Mrs Flangegobbler from Wales, the answer wasn't 'Christmas Club money'."



Monday, December 20, 2004
Pete Wylie and The Mighty Wah!...
On Saturday night Paul and I went to see Pete Wylie and The Mighty Wah! at the Islington Academy Bar. It was a short set (curfew at 9:45pm) but packed with great songs, both old and new. Sure enough we got all the hits including Come Back, Sinful and The Story Of The Blues.

Pete Wylie has the biggest mouth and biggest ego in the business but coupling that with a neat line in self-deprecation provides for quite an amusing line in inter-song stage chat.

"What are you doing there? Sending a text message? What are you going to say? 'Wylie's shit'?"

"'My life flashed before me. Only I wasn't in it' - that's a line from another one of my fucking songs you never bought!"

"I hope someone from the band pulls tonight. We're all single and could do with a shag. If not it'll be the six of us in the circle on the bus on the way home."


Friday, December 17, 2004
Coming Out Of The Closet...
It's our Christmas Party tonight so I need to wear a posh suit. It's also a jeans day at work. Major fashion crisis.

Bright idea: I'll wear my posh suit to work and changed into my t-shirt and jeans when I get into the office. I'll then change back before the party. Sorted. But where in the office could I strip off? Where indeed. I chose the rather cramped stationary cupboard in the corridor by the kitchen as for some (bizarre) reason it has a lock on the door.

It's semi-dark in there but I manage to change OK. Imagine my reaction then as I stumble out of the cupboard in my Fred Perry t-shirt buttoning up the flies on my G-Star jeans and two secretaries are walking past. "Didn't think you could come out of the closet twice" quips one. Bitch. She'll get red wine spilt on her tonight!


Margaret Cho...
Last night Paul and I went to see the sassy blogger Margaret Cho perform her show at the New Player's Theatre. We'd seen taped recordings of her before but never a live show. This was Margaret Cho's first performances in the UK and she went down very well. Better than well, she went down a storm. Shame the place wasn't busier.

The targets of her musings were perhaps rather broad - Bush, homophobia, moral majority, sexism, racial stereotyping etc. - but her timing was pin-point accurate. It was obviously a well written well rehearsed show; lot's of gags about gays, lot's of gags about the American Presidential election, lot's of gags about menstruation. But what exactly did I expect from a left-wing, fat Korean-American lesbian (as she described herself)? What else indeed?

She did start with a rather funny piece about David Blunkett: "I didn't know he was blind. Honest to God. And when I saw him holding Tony Blair's hand I went... GIRRRRL! I thought Blair was Bush's bitch!"

She did some very funny routines about being a fag hag, gay porn, lesbians who love whale watching (it's the blow-hole they like apparently) and a gay porn book her mother used to sell called 'Ass Master'.

At one point in the show she says rather wistfully "When I was young I always dreamed of being surrounded by men." She pauses and looks around the mainly gay male audience. "I should have been more specific."

A fun night out.


Thursday, December 16, 2004
Giraffe...
Keep staring at the picture and you will see a giraffe.


WiMAX vs 3G...
I've recently got a 3G card (384kb) for my laptop. First impressions? It's OK in that it'll seamlessly switch from 3G to GPRS but it's not as good, or as fast, as having a WiFi card (11Mb) and good old hot spot. If only WiFi wasn't restricted to such a small area... Well, now it isn't. Along comes WiMAX. WiFi on steroids.

WiMAX offers high-speed wireless data connections over a range of around 30 miles. The technology features both increased range and download speeds compared to WiFi (802.11x), which is intended to provide coverage over small areas. Along with WiFi, other fixed-wireless broadband systems currently exist, including hardware that can deliver services over several miles. But many of these also require "line of sight" between a transmitter and receiver to function - WiMAX does not.

So WiMAX and other new high-speed wireless technologies are likely to take market share from 3G as well as xDSL. In a white paper (yes, I do read such things) research firm TelecomView says that WiMAX will supplement and in some cases replace 3G, xDSL and other wireline technologies to provide broadband services. TelecomView estimates that WiMAX will capture more than 40%t of the wireless broadband market, leaving 3G with less than 60% in 2009. In addition to stealing market share from 3G, the report suggests that WiMAX will also be a threat to fixed-line high-speed broadband services.

Opps. That £22 billion paid for all those 3G licences looks like a bit of a mistake now, huh?


Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Erasure's Bell reveals he has HIV...
Andy Bell has made a statement on the Erasure web site about having HIV.

From BBC News: Erasure's Bell reveals he has HIV: "Erasure's Andy Bell reveals he has HIV. The star told a Finnish newspaper he was diagnosed six years ago after falling ill on a trip to Majorca. 'I found out I was HIV positive in June 1998 when I had a bout of pneumonia in Majorca,' the 40-year-old singer said in a statement on the Erasure website. 'Being HIV does not mean that you have Aids. My life expectancy should be the same as anyone else's so there is no need to panic.'

Since his diagnosis in 1998, the Erasure star has been taking combination therapy. 'I am feeling fine - in fact I have never felt better,' he told fans, thanking them for their concern. 'There is still so much hysteria and ignorance surrounding HIV and Aids - let's just get on with life, ie making music, doing a live tour and generally having a good time,' the statement said.

Paul Hickey, who has been Bell's partner for the past 20 years, has written about the singer's condition in a book due to be published next year.

Erasure, a two-man group made up of Bell and Vince Clarke, will release a new album, Nightbird, in January. They are due to embark on a European tour next year. 'With Andy's recent successful hip replacements, he is in better shape now than he has been for some time and we can certainly expect to see an outstanding performance from him next year,' the website continued. Erasure have been on the music scene for 20 years. Chart hits include A Little Respect, Sometimes and Ship of Fools.
"


Blue Chamber...
From the makers of Crimson Room we now get... Blue Chamber. Fab.

For those of you who may not have seen these online puzzles before, the basic idea is to get out of the room. But just how you do it is not explained. You have to click around the screen looking for clues to aid your escape. Totally addictive.
[Thanks Bryan]


Cat Fight!...
...He knows that I don't like to tour, that I smoke too much pot, and that my albums still have a habit of going to number one. George Michael hits back at Elton.


Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Christmas Tube Strike
Looks like there might be a Christmas / New Year's Eve tube strike. Bah, humbug!


Gay Popeye...

Popeye recently appearred in a Minute Maid advert as a gay man partnered with his arch-rival Brutus.


Which is odd. With his pipe, tatoos and bulging muscles...


...most people had him down as a lesbian. (Boom, boom).


[Thanks HIGNFY]


Monday, December 13, 2004
Erasure Breathe Video...
The complete 'Breathe' video can now be viewed online (in Real & Windows Media formats): http://www.erasureinfo.com/releases/singles/breathe.html


Which (Middle) Class Are You?...
Ten easy questions to determine: Which (Middle) Class Are You? You could turn out to be White Vain Man, No Sugar Babe, The Loft-Wingers, (Jamie) Oliver’s Army, The Notting-Pillbillies, The Suburberrys, The Normal Actuallys, The Hornby Set, The Saga Louts, The Fair-to-Middlings or (what I am apparently) alt.middles?

alt.middle: You’re tooth-achingly aware of other clichéd social behaviour, and try to avoid looking like a cliché at all costs. Even the simple act of reading a newspaper is fraught for you. Larger purchases such as cars provoke endless nightmares before you settle for the safe bet of a VW Golf. Your friends tell you to stop worrying - but how can anyone be conscious in the world today and NOT be worried. You could be a disaffected student, disillusioned fortysomething or bewildered seventysomething, and you are made wistful by the apparent innocence of the postwar generation. You thank God for BBC4. You feel an overwhelming desire to have been born at a different period in history. 1951, say.
[Thanks Bryan]


Friday, December 10, 2004
Richard & Judy's Book Club 2005...
I haven't read any of Richard & Judy's Best Read 2005 Shortlist. Can anyone recommend any of them?

The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
The American Boy - Andrew Taylor
The Promise of Happiness - Justin Cartwright
Feel - Robbie Williams and Chris Heath
The Jane Austen Book Club - Karen Joy Fowler
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
The Sixth Lamentation - William Brodrick
My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult
Perdita: The Life of Mary Robinson - Paula Byrne


Brain Teasers : The Answers...
Well done Jon and Bryan.

1. £38.

2. The answer lies in using Roman numerals. 1461 would be I IV VI I



Thursday, December 09, 2004
Brain Teasers...
1. A wine seller earned £532 in a day. Red wine cost 3 times as much as white wine. Of the 140 bottles sold, only one quarter were red. How much would 5 bottles of red wine cost?

2. I live at a house number (1461) and I want to place it on a clear piece of plastic in such a way that it can be viewed from both sides and still show the correct number using the number only once. How can I do this?


Google Ranking...
Indulge me a moment.

The Google Web Directory "integrates Google's sophisticated search technology with Open Directory pages to create the most useful tool for finding information on the web."

So if you were to search in the Society section under Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual (6097 entries) and then under Gay Men (718 entries) and then under Personal Pages (405 entries) and look at all the entries beginning with 'O' (7 entries)...

Sure enough, the top ranking is... (drum roll please)... me!

Over Your Head - http://www.overyourhead.co.uk/
A gay London weblogger.

This ranking uses a green ratings bars which according to Google: are a measure of the importance of a web page, as determined by Google's patented PageRank technology. These PageRank bars tell you at a glance whether other people on the web consider a page to be a high-quality site worth checking out. Google itself does not evaluate or endorse websites. Rather, we measure what others on the web feel is important enough to deserve a link. And because Google does not accept payment for placement within our results, the information you see when you conduct a search is based on totally objective criteria.


Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Recurring Dream...
I've been having a recurring dream recently. Which is odd as usually I don't remember my dreams let alone have recurring ones.

It's in a huge basement of a private members bathing club. There are low ceilings and hundreds of interconnecting rooms and passageways. There are individual bathrooms - candle-lit, plush red velvet, Victorian tubs, white porcelain, ornate gold taps - each tub filled with deep red blood. Two attendants, dressed in opulent finery wait in every room. These men are obvious to me as servants, formally dressed. I am lead weaving through the maze of rooms corridors trying to find one that's free. Peering into each room, all seem occupied. Eventually we find a vacant room where I bathe. Sitting upright in the blood.

So what's all that about then?

Apparently: "Blood in dreams is rarely a well-received image, unless it is connected with an anger object. The blood of another in this case may reflect seeing oneself as ultimately victorious. Most times, blood represents depletion, injury, or death. This depletion may be physical, or it may reflect the loss of other essential resources, including emotional or financial assets." Oh, dear.

I shall take some comfort from Blanche Deveroe (in the Golden Girls): I feel like I'm in the middle of an awful dream. But I know it's not a dream cuz there are no boy dancers.


Tuesday, December 07, 2004
Zoomquilt...
Take a look at Zoomquilt - a collaborative and very trippy art project.
[Thanks Andy]


Ho, ho ho...
An elderly man in Adelaide calls his son in Sydney on the week before Xmas and says: "I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing; 45 years of misery is enough."

"Dad, what are you talking about?" the son screams.

"We can't stand the sight of each other any longer," the old man says. "We're sick of each other, and I'm sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Brisbane and tell her." And he hangs up.

Frantic, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone.

"Like heck they're getting divorced," she shouts. "I'll take care of this."

She calls her dad immediately, and screams at the old man, "You are NOT getting divorced! Don't do a single thing until I get there. I'm calling my brother back, and we'll both be there tomorrow. Until then, don't do a thing, DO YOU HEAR ME?" and hangs up.

The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife. "Okay," he says, "they're coming for Christmas, and paying their own air fares."


Monday, December 06, 2004
Mark's Birthday...
Sunday it was Mark's birthday. A crowd of us went out for beers, Turkish food and more beers.

A great time was had by all. Suffice to say Mark seemed to really enjoy himself and we have much documentary evidence - little of which I can share here (!)

Thank you to everyone who came and made it such a special day for him.

Happy Birthday, Marky!


Billy Ray Martin...
Last Friday night Darren, Ulrik, Jim and I went out to deepest darkest West London to the Cobden Club (http://www.cobdenclub.co.uk) to see the rather wonderful Billy Ray Martin (http://www.billieraymartin.com) present a showcase of fantastic (and, let's face it, more than moderately gay) artistes. We were treated to the warblings of skinhead Zerocrop (http://www.zerocrop.com), the high-energy gay rap of Fierce Girl (http://www.peoplesound.com/artist/fierce_girl) and, of course, the lovely and gorgeous Billy Ray herself. It was a great show, a great venue and a great ambience. Roll on the next one in February 2005.


Friday, December 03, 2004
Ice Skating..
Drew messaged me yesterday morning while I was at work. "Fancy coming ice skating today with my class?" "I can't I'm at work" "Well, if you change your mind, meet us outside Somerset House 10:45" By 11am, surrounded by 30 screaming brats darlings, we were on the ice. Fab. Thanks, Drew.


The Year Of The Blog...
According to Reuters a four-letter term that came to symbolize the difference between old and new media during this year's presidential campaign tops U.S. dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster's list of the 10 words of the year. Merriam-Webster Inc. said on Tuesday that blog, defined as "a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments and often hyperlinks," was one of the most looked-up words on its Internet sites this year.
Perhaps unsurprisingly then, Microsoft have jumped on the bandwagon then with their own blogging effort called MSN Spaces.


Thursday, December 02, 2004
Retroteasers Pop Quiz : Answers...
01. Jamie Cullum
02. Snoop Dogg
03. Any Winehouse
04. Big Brovaz
05. Lemar
06. Keane
07. Jamelia
08. Franz Ferdinand
09. Green Day
10. Libertines
11. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
12. Blue
13. Natasha Bedingfield
14. Robbie Williams
15. Girls Aloud
16. McFly
17. Scissor Sisters
18. Joss Stone
19. Dannii Minogue
20. Band Aid 20


Wednesday, December 01, 2004
Retroteasers Pop Quiz...
Ian texted me yesterday afternoon, "In town for a bit of light shopping; fancy a pint c.1730?" (the only man I know who uses semi-colons in text messaging).

I had meant to be on time but as I was walking up from Piccadilly tube station I got knocked to the ground by a speeding rollerblader. Uninjured he just sat there on the pavement and laughed at me. More than a little taken aback I pick myself up, dusted myself off and responded in the only way I could think of: I kicked him. Quite hard.

Ian had a pint waiting for me. Bless him. We caught up and were soon joined by Elliott. A couple of pints later we whisked ourselves off to The Angel (just off Denmark Street) to meet Saunders et al who were themselves off to The Battle Of The Bands at the Astoria. Ian and I were not to be persuaded in that direction, but were in another. By David. David suggested Pop Quiz and so that's were the three of us found ourselves at 9pm wondering how we would do after be being away for so long. We needn't have worried.

The quiz was all about music that was popular, but no necessarily released, in 2004. We did rather well. Rather well? We won! 20/20. And we won the cash too. A measly £20. We celebrated in Bar Code.

Here are the questions. Why not see how you do?

01. What young crooner has a track out called "Everlasting Love"?
02. What gangsta rapper has a track called "Drop It Like It's Hot"
03. Free with last week's MetroLife Urban Voices CD who sang "Pumps"
04. "Yours Fatally"?
05. " If There's Any Justice"?
06. In Q's Best of 2004 who had a track "Can't Stop Now"?
07. "See It In A Boy's Eyes"?
08. "Matinee"?
09. "Letterbomb"?
10. "Can't Stand Me Now"?
11. "The She Goes My Beautiful World"?
12. All from 'Now That's What I Call Music 59' who had a pop track in 2004 "Curtain Falls"
13. "These Words"?
14. "Radio"?
15. "Love Machine"?
16. "Obviously"?
17. "Mary"?
18. "You Had Me"?
19. "You Want Forget About Me"?
20. "Do They Know It's Christmas"?


Danger: Men Working Overyourhead...


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