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
Saturday, December 31, 2005
Happy New Year...
A very Happy New Year to all my readers.
I'm off to Duckie tonight for their New Year's bash at South Central. Matt, Aaron and I will probably meet up first and travel down together.
I'm taking things easy this afternoon with a siesta partly in preparation for tonight and partly in recovery mode from yesterday's craniosacral therapy (thanks JC), afternoon delight (thanks Nick) and late night boozing (thanks Stuart, Gary et al).
Let's hope 2006 is better than 2005.
The Big Room...
Two blokes overheard on the Victoria Line on 30th December at 11:48pm between Kings Cross and Higbury & Islington:
"What you doing tomorrow night?"
"Liz is going to a gay George Michael-type wedding at 5 then we're out to the pub"
"A gay wedding? On New Year's Eve? You going too?"
"Nah. I`m meeting her later."
"You don`t fancy it?"
"Not that. But New Year`s Eve? Funny time to get married, innit?"
Friday, December 30, 2005
Roger and I went to see King Kong last night. A bum numbingly long film - all 3 hours 9 minutes of it. Good fun though but with perhaps rather more dinosaurs (hints of Jurassic Park) and insects (hints of Starship Troupers) than I might have expected of an ape picture. If you like CGI-fests though then it's a goodie. Especially the sequence with the ship running aground (hints of Titantic).
Afterwards we met up with the super sexy Matt, the equally sexy Alistair and Matt's visiting friend Aaron for beers in the Eddie.
Arbie the Robot...
A 'press release' from my very good friend Roger....
Hello! As some of you already know I was in the recording of the last ever episode of "Never Mind the Buzzcocks". I appear as my alter ego Arbie the Robot (www.arbietherobot.co.uk) in the line up of "guess the star of old". Arbie had originally appeared in the Pointer Sisters' Top of the Pops performance of "Automatic" back in 1963.. (ok maybe not THAT long ago!) It is being shown on New Years Eve (Saturday Night) on BBC2 22:30 - 23:00 - set those video recorders or cancel your New Year's celebration and stay in to watch me on the television! The episode is supposed to be very funny, according to friends that went - I was left in the dressing room for 2 hours and didn't see a single second of the recording (no, not even my bit!!) , so I can't pass comment!!!!!!! A Happy New Year and hope to see you in 2006!!! Love Roger. ps. its repeated on Mon 2 Jan, 23:00 - 23:35
Thursday, December 29, 2005
Dr Who is top TV Moment of 2005...
Britain's TV viewers have voted a clip from the Christopher Ecclestone incarnation of Doctor Who as the top TV moment of 2005. The behind-the-sofa moment - featuring a suitably spine-chilled Doctor and Rose confronted by a ghostly lad haunting Blitz-ravaged London in The Empty Child - will appear on the BBC 1's 2005 TV Moments on New Year's Eve.
Jason is over from Ibiza at the moment and has been staying with me for the past couple of days. Last night we thought we'd do a bit of a tour of the West End bars; visiting our old haunts and maybe a few new ones too.
We started in Comptons (bit dire to be honest) then G-A-Y Bar (thought I'd hate it but actually we had fun swaying to I Know Him So Well), Friendly Society (didn't stay long as were getting stared at by the lesbians), Escape 'Dance Bar' (if G-A-Y bar was a twenty somethings video bar then Escape is a thirty somethings video bar), Comptons (again) and then Bar Code ('rammers' and 'kicking', as I believe my nephew might say).
Along the way we bumped into loads of friends including the lovely Darren (Hi Darren!), the equally lovely Mark (Hi Mark!) and the rather gorgeous Jim (Hi Jim!).
Fun night but slightly paying for it today.
Christmas brain teasers: The answers...
1. Teeth, feet, head, ears and hands.
2. As I say, true story. There was a special deal: buy 10 cards and get 1 (or 2) free. This means that nobody would buy 10 since they may as well take the extra two for the same price. The deal was 50p per card or 12 for £5. So while buying 5, 15 or 20 cards was cheaper than buying 6, 16 or 21, buying 10 was not cheaper than buying 11, or indeed 12!
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
I'm Dreaming of a White Trash Xmas...
Last Friday the wonderful Ian treated me to a Christmas present of a trip to The Pit at the Barbican to go and see Tina C's I'm Dreaming of a White Trash Xmas show. Up to Tina's usual high standard - we laughed and laughed. We even got a chance to say a quick hello to Tina C's alter-ego Christopher Green afterwards. Marvelous.
Monday, December 26, 2005
Dr Who: Christmas Invasion...
Well, what a great show is was last night. Dr Who: Christmas Invasion was funny, scary and action-packed. I especially loved the mass suicide attempt, the Lion King gag and the slightly post-modern Doctor chat. I think David Tennant will work out very well indeed. I'm really looking forward to the spring when the new season is upon us.
Sunday, December 25, 2005
The Lady Varnishes...
It's been a very productive non-Christmas Day so far; emptied the dishwasher, got that first coat of varnish on the new boarding in the bathroom, did a bit of office work and had some beans on toast.
This afternoon I've got the car to test out to make sure it's in good working order for the trip to my folks tomorrow, a few more presents to wrap and those pesky second and third varnish costs to apply.
Oh, and it's the Dr Who special (Christmas Invasion) at 7. Marvelous.
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Christmas Food Shopping List...
Here is my Christmas food shopping list. I bought it all at Sainsbury's on the way home from work Friday. Chicken pie on Christmas Eve. Beans on toast Christmas Day - the meal that is also the recipe. £13.43. Not bad. Most of that was the cost of the beer.
Stella and I shall be having a private time this year.
Friday, December 23, 2005
Gay Men's Chorus...
Last night Alistair, David and I went to see the Gay Men's Chorus at the Barbican Hall perform their show Make The Yuletide Gay. And they did.
What could be gayer than a choir of over one hundred gay men all in excellent voice singing close harmonies in matching outfits for a couple of hours?
The hostess for the evening was the rather lovely and rather throaty Rula Lenska (aka Rosa-Marie Leopoldnya Lubienska, ex-Mrs. Brian Deacon, ex-Mrs. Dennis Waterman, Q in the rather wonderful Rock Follies and Rock Follies of '77, Dr Styles in Doctor Who: Resurrection of the Daleks where she was shot with an invisible energy beam by enemy troops just as she's about to activate the ship's self-destruct switch. But I digress). She was rather fabulous though.
The chorus mainly sang Christmas carols with a few drag queens thrown in for good measure and lots of crowd participation.
The encore to the night was a Destiny's Child / Beyonce medley complete with dancers and all hundred of the choir 'doing the actions' - clutching their bums and hamming it up to Survivor. Very funny.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Christmas brain teasers...
1. Below you will find a sentence of a young man who ate and ate so much Christmas cake. Within the letters of the sentence are hidden five parts of his body that grew the fastest. Can you work out, using all the letters, what the five parts are? HE SAT THERE AND HE FEASTED
2. True story. Last December the Crown and Greyhound pub was selling it's own Christmas cards. Cards were sold seperately and in theory you could ask for whatever number of cards you wanted. Among the other combinations, many customers ordered multiples of five cards; lots bought 5, some bought 15 and several bought 20. What seems odd, though, is that no body bought 10 cards. Apart from coincidence, can you think of a simple explanation for this?
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
It's A War Out There...
With no disrespect meant to anyone who has actually been in a war zone but... who knew that Christmas shopping in London's glitzy West End had been reduced to what is virtually unarmed combat. Yes, I mean you, rude woman with dopey kid in Hamleys. Yes, I mean you, aggressive woman in Nike Town. And, yes, you too, you arse-hole who physical manhandled me in HMV Oxford Street. You know who you are. You cunts.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
"I have a bit of a problem. For the past day and a half... I have a constant erection."
The Human League...
Paul's surprise Christmas treat for me last night was a trip The Forum in Kentish Town to go and see Sheffield's finest - The Human League. And they were awesome.
I really like the venue as the sight lines are good and even though we stood near the back we could still see perfectly well, get to the bar and had space to dance.
When the Phil (Oakey), Sue (Sulley) and Jo (Catherall) appeared on stage the audience went wild. The light show was excellent, the sound quality top notch and set list perfect. Phil's voice was very strong - its lost none of its rich warm baritone end, and he also cranks up to those high notes in "Human" perfectly well.
The set including, but wasn't limited to:
- Tell Me When
- Heart Like A Wheel
- Love Is All That Matters
- Mirror Man
- (Keep Feeling) Fascination
- The Sound Of The Crowd
- The Lebanon
- Sin City
- Rock And Roll Is Dead
- All I Ever Wanted
- Marianne (one for the fans, the first B-side of the Holiday 80 / Being Boiled 7")
- Love Action (I Believe In Love)
- Empire State Human (my favourite League song - 'fetch more water, fetch more sand, biggest person in the land'. Did Oakey really come out to perform a synth duel with a Moog Liberation strapped round his neck?)
- Open Your Heart (sounded fantastic live)
- Don't You Want Me?
- Being Boiled (surely the only song with the word 'sericulture' in it. Silk worms and Nazis in the back projections... Okaaaaay...)
- Together In Electric Dreams (strictly speaking Philip Oakey & Giorgio Moroder but we were all dancing too much like loons to quibble)
We went to the pub afterwards which was crammed full of people chatting about the gig. We fell in with some motley crew and were soon swapping stories about League gigs, Marc gigs, 'Frapp gigs... There's a certain type, isn't there?
Monday, December 19, 2005
"Buttplug. Have you got a buttplug?"
From the Sublime to the Ridiculous...
I went round to see Ben and Sarah and the triplets on Saturday afternoon. It was just wonderful to see them all. Dressing the kids up and pushing them round the park was so much fun. We then went and got a Christmas tree and made the place look festive too. A lovely afternoon. What could possibly go wrong?
Full of good humour I headed round to my friend Ian's in Vauxhall. That's when things started to go a bit wobbly. Ian had a bottle of a drink called 'Scotched' (22% whiskey blend) so we mulled the lot and downed most of it (hic!). We then went to a drinks party in Waterloo, had vodka and champagne and wobbled a bit more. More pre-show drinks at the bar of the Old Vic were in order - well you wouldn't want to be sober for pantomime now would you? Serina McKellen's Widow Twanky in Aladdin didn't disappoint. If anything the show was too gay. More drinks at the interval helped the giggles come thick and fast. I was a bit giddy by the end.
Back to Ian's afterwards we had more Scotched and then we danced across the cobbles to Duckie. Where we proceeded to get completely hammered. Ian wisely made a move early but I stuck it out. By 2am I'd snogged the landlord, snogged the short gay rapper from Fierce Girl and snogged some guy in a blue cardie. Luckily good sense prevailed and I poured (pawed?) myself into a cab just in time only to wake up at home wrapped in a towel watching QVC at 5am. Heavens! God knows if I ordered anything! Needless to say I had the hangover from hell yesterday. Mind you, I had people round to play games in the afternoon so soon perked up after some hair of the dog. Alcohol - it's own cure. Dontcha just love Christmas?
Friday, December 16, 2005
Pink or green or nothing at all?
If your eyes follow the movement of the rotating pink dot, you will only see one color, pink.
If you stare at the black + in the centre the moving dot turns to green.
Now, really concentrate on the black + in the centre of the picture. After a short period of time, all the pink dots will slowly disappear, and you will only see a green dot rotating if you're lucky!
It's amazing how our brain works. Of course there really is no green dot, and the pink ones really don't disappear.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
"Did you do a dump in my car?"
Kiki & Herb - Jesus Wept, A Christmas Concert...
Last night Paul, James, Drew, Stuart, Blake and I went to see Kiki & Herb's show at the Queen Elizabeth Hall - Jesus Wept, A Christmas Concert. We found were just two rows from the front in the middle. Perfect seats. And what with James, Stuart and Blake all being Kiki virgins I had a feeling they were going to get it full in the face. And they did. As it says here: Putting the terror back into cabaret, Kiki and Herb return to London to premiere an updated version of Jesus Wept, their OBIE award-winning show. These performances are NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN. And indeed it wasn't. Suitable for children that is. But very, very funny. A reprise of a previous show I'd seen but updated with some new songs (Scissor Sisters) and some new demented ramblings (Kiki and Herb are now immortal) along with all the old Christmas favourites such as Frosty The Snowman/Smells Like Teen Spirit/Theme from M*A*S*H*. Fabulous.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
When Wife Swap Goes Wrong....
One of the US versions of Wife Swap is called Trading Spouses. And this one went oh so wrong (WMV format). Scary.
Ricky Gervais Podcast...
The Guardian Unlimited now hosts a weekly half-hour show / Podcast by Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington. Hilarious drivel. I haven't laughed so hard it ages.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe...
A bunch of us went to see The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe last night. Oh dear. I shall struggle to say anything good about this utter pile of pooh.
Perhaps I can say this (regular readers will know I'm a fan of the four word film review site):
Even wardrobe was wooden.
Aslan looked like bagpuss.
Dawn French's beaver sags.
CGI Lion, DIY plot.
Or as Dennis Pennis might have said: "It's the biggest film in Hollywood. 11 words."
Monday, December 12, 2005
It was a bit of a wild weekend. It started with what I thought would be a 'quiet night in' on Friday. Wrong! Thanks for coming over Michael though.
On Saturday Ian, David and I went to a tranny/fetish all-nighter in Cable Street. The way you do. It was called KAOS at club Stunners - lots of trannies, straights, gays and fashion victims of every flavour. Some naked; dancing, boozing and a dark room. Fabulous. And at 4am I thought to myself this is why I live in London. For places like this. Oh and a fashion tip for those who may want to go: tranny admirers traditionally wear black - don't want to show up the gals in their garb. You learn the oddest things at tranny clubs!
On Sunday having barely recovered it was off to Dave's birthday party (Happy Birthday, Dave!) where I finally got to meet Nathan (Hi Nate!) and all the gang. Then down the road to Horse Meat Disco where I seemed to know half the club. Great fun.
Friday, December 09, 2005
Listen Without Prejudice...
I have a letter published in the Evening Standard today:
A lot of what George Michael says about the practical necessity of gay civil partnerships but not wanting to ape the institution of marriage makes sense (5 December). And I'd be the first to agree with him that gay open relationships are poorly understood by most people.
But whether Michael likes it or not, these types of open relationships aren't the norm even in the gay world - they are just one type of relationship. I should know. Having been in a long term gay relationship like Michael I too realise that it often requires the sort of trust that goes beyond mere fidelity. After the early stages of a relationship, it's love and understanding that binds you together, not sex. Being unfaithful is not the same as losing faith.
This is precisely where the new civil partnership shines. In the unfortunate event a partnership goes off the rails its dissolution could only be based upon the grounds of separation, desertion or unreasonable behaviour; adultery is explicitly excluded. So unlike marriage - which for so many couples ends in divorce and heartbreak on the basis of a moment of faithlessness - gay couples are free to make their own choices of what being faithful means and still be recognised under the law. As George says, we should listen without prejudice.
UPDATE: To those people who called or sent me messages of agreement or support I thank you. And to those people who sent me vile messages and hate e-mail... just ask yourselves what you are so afraid of?
Love Plus One...
In the office today. Back in the saddle. Did I say saddle? I meant harness. And it's our Christmas Party tonight. I'm not going to go though. That dreaded "+1" puts me off.
I popped out for a swifty in the Man Bar last night. Just to help me get my head down you understand.
Oh, and keep at eye out for today's Evening Standard letters page. Publish and be flamed.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Ian and I happened upon this advert on the tube the other day. Is it me or does it look a bit pervy? Now don't get me wrong, I've got anything against pervy. Why some of my best friends are pervy.
A typical advert for
Whereas this advert sends out an altogether more personal message. These trainers are sensual. They smell good. Why don't you smell them? They will make you happy. Aroused even. These trainers are for you and no one else. Smell the quality. Wear them and you'll feel good.
Oh, and what exactly is he doing with his right hand? Naughty.
The JCB Song...
Out in time for Christmas this JCB song is really sweet. Gets a bit boppy towards the end. The web site's pretty cool for doodling too. There's also a video.
Oman: Day Six (well, for 15 minutes away)...
A nice chillaxing time yesterday on the beach of the, if the blurb is to be believed, seven star hotel was just slightly marred towards the end by the fact I knew it was almost time to head home. So I consoled myself with a Swedish massage. The way you do. Muscat Airport isn't the most glamourous point of departure either but it served drinks and me very well so I wasn't complaining. The journey was seemingly never-ending (fourteen hours door to door) but relatively uneventful; the BA cabin crew service was poor (no change there then), the stop over in Abu Dhabi needlessly long and the movie I managed to stay awake for was a bit disappointing. War Of The Worlds (why did they drop the 'The'?) was high on action yet low on just about everything else. I simply didn't care about Tom Cruise or his sniffling kids and secretly wanted the Martians to win. "Is it terrorists?" asks the boy when the Martians first attack. "No, they're from another place," chips in Tom Cruise. Scriiiiipt! Anyways, I'm home now and in much need of some shut eye. Good night all. Zzzzz.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Oman: Day Five...
Being the last full day here I've decided to maximise my time. So I'm writing up all the notes from the business part of the trip and been checking work and home e-mails so I've not got too much of a backlog when I get back. All being well I might be able to squeeze in a bit of time by the pool too.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Oman: Day Four......
Work now finished I can relax. We toured Muscat, did some shopping and took in some of the sights. It's a beautiful country and can perhaps be typified by one word. Tidy. It's amazingly tidy: no dust, no dirt, no litter to be seen with flowerbeds, trees and bowling green-flat lawns everywhere. Quite how they keep it so neat is beyond me. Just incredible for a place so arid. The temperature is just right too - about 28 degrees - so I'm intending to do a bit of sunbathing by the pool this afternoon. Oh, and we had to change hotels earlier. Now at the Al Bustan Palace which, as it's name suggests, is simply palacial. God, I hate business trips.
Monday, December 05, 2005
Oman: Day Three......
Work started properly today. We got to meet members of the Omani Royal Navy, Omani Royal Air Force and Omani Royal Police. I shall have to keep mum about what was discussed but needless to say... I hung on every word.
News From Back Home...
Gay Weddings, Telewest becomes NTL becomes Virgin and (could it be true?) Steps to reform.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Oman: Day Two...
I had a terrible night's sleep last night. It wasn't the alcohol, oh no. I did my back in by slouching badly on the plane and later in the bar so by the time I got to bed I was in agony. I was woken up every five minutes throughout the night by shooting pains up and down my back. At four in the morning I'd reached the end of my tether and was lying in my back on my hotel room floor with my legs in the air trying to find a position that wasn't uncomfortable. No really. Anyways, come morning I took four neurofen and soon felt better. Why hadn't I taken them earlier? D'oh!
I had breakfast delivered to my room being a lazy sod and had a much needed lie-in. Early afternoon I popped down to the pool (did I mention I'm in a five star hotel on the Gulf Of Oman?) and had lunch on the hotel veranda over looking the sea. Things were indeed looking up.
The day just kept improving as I booked myself an hour long Swedish massage all on expenses and not long after discovered that I didn't need to start work until after midday tomorrow. Suitable manipulated I met up with some work colleagues later in the afternoon and ventured out for a Mongolian meal, the way you do. The food was spicy and chewy - that yak never tasted better.
So I'm now back in my hotel room having seen a bit of Muscat (nice sunset, mountains in the near distance, clear sky and every building adorned with gaudy neon) and watching The Simpsons in Arabic on Omani TV. Bliss.
Saturday, December 03, 2005
Oman: Day One...
I'd been putting off packing. After all, each item packed would put me one step nearer to the dreaded take-off. So Paul, God bless him, had to help me pack last night. Admittedly I was a bit droggy (I'd fallen asleep watching QI nursing a glass of Fleurie) so if he hadn't helped me I'd probably have grabbed the first things I'd laid my hands on. And pop-socks aren't the best thing to wear with a suit.
In any event the morning came and despite London Underground's best attempts to thwart me, I arrived at Heathrow on time. Being a nervous flyer I checked the television screens in Departures every thirty seconds for updates. Every. Thirty. Seconds. I. Checked. For. Updates. And suddenly my worst fears where confirmed. They actually changed the Gate. I immediately turned round to tell my travelling companion the news... before realising I didn't actually have one to tell. Silly me. So I spoke to myself very quietly, "They've changed the Gate. It's Gate 12 not Gate 2. It'll be fine." God, I'm sad.
So anyways I board the plane. And one of the air stewardesses clocks me (must have been the eyes darting left and right and jerky head moments). "Your first time?", she says sweetly. "Sadly, no." I reply frowning. She thinks for a moment and says, "Hmmm. Can I get you something? A brandy, perhaps?" I beam and measure out with my thumb and forefinger, "Just a tiny triple!" Off she scuttled. Bless her.
Four hours later we're half way through the flight; I've downed the best part of the bottle of wine, two more large brandies and a gin, watched Batman Begins (excellent) and most of Mrs Henderson Presents (better than I thought it would be) and she says to me, "you feeling more relaxed now?" "Oh yessh. Mush besser, fanks"
Luckily there were no blood tests when we finally arrived at Oman airport.
Friday, December 02, 2005
I'm off on my travels again first thing Saturday. This time to Oman for six days; bit of work, bit of pleasure. Hopefully I'll be able to use the hotel's Internet facilities but failing that as per usual I'm taking an array of technology with me that should keep me connected.
As anyone who has traveled with me before can testify - I'm never short of a bit of technology when I'm on the move. And much to these traveling companions initial amusement, but later I suspect quiet relief, there's usually a spare socket for them too. Because I take an entire UK power extension board with me wherever I go. Well, why not? There's the phone charge to plug in, the computer, the speakers, the iPod, the digital camera, the video camera... and with a power extension board you only need one adapter in a foreign country. The only slight snag sometimes I hit is that the security personnel at the airports get a bit edgy when they see all those wires, cables and plugs in my bags. I ask you, do I look like a terrorist? (OK, don't answer that!)
Last night the ever lovely Ian got tickets for us to see a recording of The News Quiz at the Drill Hall. The News Quiz is a weekly BBC Radio 4 comedy show that takes a sideways look at the news a la Have I Got News For You. This week the regulars Alan Coren, Andy Hamilton and Jeremy Hardy were joined by new boy Alan Parsons. As ever Simon Hoggart was in the chair. All very amusing and if you want to catch the (I suspect heavily edited) frivolity it airs at 6:30pm tonight and 12:30pm on Saturday.
After the show Ian and I retired to a local boozer for a pint where I rather brain sluiced about the environment. Heavens. I really should apologise for such half-baked ramblings. I blame the weather. And the beer. Great night though.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire...
Last night Paul and I went to see HPatGoF at the Vue in N1. We'd had a rather rushed buffet Chinese first which was in stark contrast to the film itself coming in at two and three-quarters of an hour.
Even so, this particular Harry Potter outing is itself a rather abridged version of the six hundred and thirty-six page ox stunner of the JK Rowling book. No Uncle Vernon for instance and the fledgling romances, although craftily done considering the target audience, seem all too brief. That said, the film stood up in its own right as a first class piece of entertainment - funny, sexy (!), lavish, exciting, a visual delight, well plotted (Harry finds himself selected as an underaged competitor in a dangerous multi-wizardary school competition) and at times actually quite scary. Severing of hands, torture and cutting of human flesh all played their part. Oh, and the new Doctor Who's in it!
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