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
Monday, July 31, 2006
Tim, Andy, Stuart and I went roller skating on Friday at Kings Cross Freight Studios in York Way - blisters aside we had a lot of fun.
Stuart was the undisputed star of the rink doing jumps, twists and skating backwards (OK, I made that last bit up, but he was better than we other three - the little star).
It was hot in there - well, we certainly worked up a sweat. As you can see from the pix below. And only one of us had to go to A&E afterwards!
Friday, July 28, 2006
Scissor Sisters: I Don't Feel Like Dancing...
I just heard the Scissor Sisters new single I Don't Feel Like Dancing on the Chris Moyles show. It's right old disco stomper. Leo Sayer's You Make Me Feel Like Dancing meets The Four Seasons' December '63 (Oh What A Night). Ta-Dah album to follow. Fab.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Last night Stu treated me to Vers Le Sud (english title: Heading South) at The Screen On The Green. It starred the rather sexy/usually plays villainesses/I want my money back if she doesn't get her kit off Charlotte Rampling (ex-Mrs Jean-Michel Jarre).
The film is set in Haiti in the late 1970's. Three lonely women of a certain age are there as sex tourists indulging their carnal desires without shame, thanks to handsome local young men to whom they pay a few dollars or buy gifts. The women don't really care for the poverty or dictatorship around them. They just want a bit of Haitian lovin'. Especially from a certain chappy known as Legba. Love triangle alert!
Sadly the film was actually a bit dull. The three leads were charming enough slipping from English to French and back again but the bit players were just that. Bitty. A good performanace by one would be ruined by the hammy performance of another. And this rather let the film down. You didn't feel there was any sense of fate or destiny propelling you to the final twist. Shame really. As the scenery looked amazing.
As a side note: Whenever I hear Charlotte Rampling mentioned I can't help but remember Kiki and Herb's rant "This is Charlotte Rampling On The Line!"
Before the film we had had a swifty (or two ) in The Green and taken advantage of Wagamama's free main course offer in the back page of this week's Time Out (worth £9-95 so worth buying the magazine for that alone, punters).
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Last Friday Stuart and I went to see the wonderfully romantic play Beautiful Thing at The Sound Theatre in London's glitzy West End. Our seats were called 'premier seats' which meant we were so close we were all but on the stage. Stu, the wag, egged me on to get into their bed at one point. Tee hee.
Jonathan Harvey's tale of love blossoming between two teenage boys in a Thamesmead council block still retains all the humour and emotional clarity that it did when the original opened over ten years ago. Ste loves football. Jamie is in love with Ste. Ste gets hit by his Dad. Jamie is at odds with his Mum. But this is a fairy story in every sense so it all comes right in the end. Despite being very familiar with the story it actually made me cry. But it wasn't the love that set me off. It was the domestic violence.
So it perhaps goes without saying that I thought the acting was great, the music sublime and the production fitted the small theatre perfectly well. Shame to hear then that The Sound Theatre is soon to be closed to make way for a shopping complex, hotel and casino.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Dennis Bergkamp : The Non-Flying Dutchman...
On Saturday Paul and I took up our seats in the spanking new Arsenal Emirates Stadium for the first match to be played there - Dennis Bergkamp's Testimonial (all the money goes to chaireetie, dontchaknow?). Dennis Bergkamp shirt number is 10 - hence the event was called DB10.
Waiting for us in our seats were flags, a glossy brochure and t-shirts; red, white or orange. When everyone in the stadium put them on there were giant red stripes, giant white stripes and orange letters spelling out DB10 at one end and ICEMAN (his nickname) at the other.
The match itself was rather secondary. Dennis played throughout though. In the first half Arsenal 'First' team were playing Ajax 'A' team but without any of the players who had played in the World Cup - they were still 'resting'. In the second half Arsenal Legends (including old boys Ian Wright, Patrick Viera, David Seaman et al) played Ajax Legends (including the sublime Johann Cruyff)
It was an amazing feeling walking into the stadium and into our seats. One I'll not forget in a very long time.
Needless to say I took loads of pix. Some you can see below and the others here.
Monday, July 24, 2006
The other week Stu treated me to a trip to the NFT to see the 1940 film Rebecca. I'd not seen the film in donkey's but Matt had leant me the Daphne du Maurier book quite recently so I was keen to see what Hitchcock had done with it. The answer was quite a faithful translation of the romance cum thriller/mystery. Probably mainly due to producer David O. Selznick insistence that the book be followed. There were plenty on Hitchcockian touches throughout though including the obligatory cameo.
As for the cast Laurence Olivier was rather a limp lettuce as Maxim de Winter whereas Joan Fontaine shone as the second Mrs de Winter. However most notable was Judith Anderson's Mrs Danvers - she was as wooden as the lavish banisters that festooned Manderlay.
All great fun though and amazing cinematography for 1940.
Friday, July 21, 2006
Not content with dragging the good old US of A straight down to Hell with its public displays of mass masturbatory degeneracy, the San Fran-based Centre for Sex and Culture - organiser of the legendary Masturbate-a-thon - will in August travel to London for a similar event in which Brits will be invited to tug the trouser snake and pet the beaver for the benefit of safe sex charities and Channel 4 viewers.
While the news that indie production company Zig Zag will be present in Clerkenwell on 5th August to capture the solo cumfest will come as great relief to C4 schedulers desperate - given the abject failure of Big Brother contestants to engage in live sexual activity for the gratification of the UK's viewing public - for footage of TV wannabes cracking one off for charity, we're pretty certain that Middle England is as we speak preparing to decry the utter collapse of British society to the highest authority: The Daily Mail.
Indeed, the Guardian - which incidentally fails, like the exponent of free love and sexual immorality that it is, to roundly condemn the Masturbate-a-thon - notes that the Mail once declared former Channel 4 top dog Michael Grade "pornographer in chief".
And not without reason. Those of you who can remember the early, heady days of Channel 4 will recall that the first signs of its eventual descent into the squalid mire were already evident. In 1983, some bright spark decided to commission Minipops - the highly-questionable showcase for kids dressed as adults flaunting themselves for the Gary Glitter demographic.
In 1985, the channel broadcast Derek Jarman's homoerotic martyrdom spectacular Sebastiane, whose male full-frontal nudity and comedy Latin dialogue provoked outrage in equal measure.
The rest, as we know, is history: Big Brother (social inadequates failing dismally to indulge in live sexual activity); "Penis week" (getting to grips with the penis, featuring lots and lots of peni); The Tube (remembered for its Jools Holland prime-time "groovy fuckers" scandal); and Jamie's Kitchen (unexpurgated Mockney geezer murdering the word "pukka").
The prosecution rests. The televised Masturbate-a-thon, meanwhile, will form part of a C4 "Wank Week". Zig Zag declared in a press release: "This year it's time to bring the event across the pond to see if the great British public can embrace mass public masturbation. It's time to find out if the only things allowed to be stiff in Britain are upper lips."
No, there's another thing that can be stiff in Britain: a fine from OfCom. And if those of you in the Home Counties who are right now writing to David Cameron demanding the return of the birch, the cat o'nine tails and the Tyburn Tree for transgressions of the UK's television guidelines consider this inadequate punishment, what about tying the C4 commissioning editor and Zig Zag producer to a couple of crosses and pumping them full of arrows while naked Roman soldiers pleasure themselves to raise cash for AIDS charities? Now that's what we call TV entertainment.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Can't Stop the Music...
Last night Stuart and I went to the Barbican to see Alex the G.I., David the Construction Worker, Glenn the Leatherman, Randy the Cowboy, Felipe the Indian and Ray the Police Officer - collectively known as the Village People - in that wonderfully camp and kitch film Can't Stop the Music. It was part of Nick and Joe's Bad Film Club where three comedians sit on stage with laser pointers and do a DVD style commentary on bad film and we all laugh. Apparently. It was a lot of fun though.
Apart from our six brave boys up on screen in this pile of disco trash (originally to be called Discoland: Where the Music Never Ends incidentally) we were offered up the aging Valerie Perrine in the leading role of Samantha (it had been offered to Olivia Newton-John but she turned it down for Xanadu) and the oh so untalented Steve Guttenberg as Jack (yes, the Stonecutters have a lot to answer for). They must both look on this as the low point of their careers. Police Academy films included.
Best line: "The 70s are dead and gone. The 80s are going to be something wonderfully new and different, and so am I!" Camp-tastic!
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Sunny Weather in London...
Repeat after me....
I have a great job... I have a great job... I have a great job...
...and I don't like sunbathing anyway.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
We arrived in good spirits in Stockholm last Thursday ably prepared for cold weather and sky-high prices only to be pleasantly surprised by neither. It was both warm and sunny but not too hot and the price of beer, food and other goods was nowhere near as bad as we had been lead to believe. Our hotel, the Nordic Light, was clean, minimalist and sported a way-cool light system that I just could not stop playing with (sorry Stu!).
The city itself had a lovely European feel to it residing on 14(?) islands with loads of bridges and ferries and what not. On many islands were picturesque palaces, cobbled streets and ye olde worlde buildings – in fact the centre seems to have been pretty well untouched from days of yore. Neutrality dividend?
What newer buildings there were looked terribly though. Great lumps of concrete which did little to enhanced the Swedish reputation for style. An odd mix really.
The first night we arrived to went to a Schlager night. Schlager is basically euro-pop with a Swedish twist. Think Eurovision/bubble gum pop. Very me. We got chatting to Edward, the DJ, who rather took us under his wing and showed by an open-air club Lino where we danced the night away watching the sun come up at 2am (yes, 2am!).
Dragging our weary bones out of bed on Friday we started out on a walking tour of the old town (Gamla Stan) taking in the Royal Palace (Kungliga Slottet). Then we crossed over to another island to see the Modern Art Museum (Moderna Museet) including Paul McCarthy's rather shocking exhibition(ism). Back for a snooze we tubed it down to Side Track for a beer or three, failed to get into the leather bar SLM but got picked up by two Swedes and taken to Connection where we shuffled the night away.
I just have to say at this point that Swedes sure know how to shove. We were pushed and barged in the street, bars, churches, boats, trains, queues, clubs and on the tube without a by-your-leave. This wasn't particularly helped when we were in bars or clubs everyone (and I mean everyone) seemed to be completely pissed. Boy, those Swedes can knock them back. We got tottered into, staggered over, fallen on and beer spilled on us. Not that I'm complaining really - hey, I live in bargey old London for God's sake! - just remarking upon it.
On Saturday post gigantic breakfast we ventured onto a guided boat tour round the islands and past the cliffs of Soder (bit boring to be honest) and then on to the Vasamuseet to see a really quite impressive 300-year old warship. Suckers for walking we then headed off to Skansen - an expansive open-air historical theme-park - where Stuart committed an unspeakable act on a moose. Well, you would, wouldn't you? I nearly wet myself laughing.
Back for a disco nap we decided to stay in on our last night to be daisy-fresh for the last day. Being another hot one we kept it low-key and simply ambled over to the world famous Stadshuset - Stockholm's iconic tower and home of the Nobel Prize banquet. Climbing the tower seemed a good idea at the time but once down on the ground we were just good for a beer and nosh before heading for the airport.
Landing at eight we were tucked up in bed by ten exhausted. Stockholm is a great city break and much to recommend.
The full set of photos are here.
Monday, July 17, 2006
Lost in Translation...
I'm quite liking this online translation software - InterTran. You can translate an entire site. Why not see this very site in Swedish? Or French? Or Welsh? Or indeed Latin?
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Overyourhead is off again. Later today I'm taking Stuart away to Stockholm for a long and (hopefully dirty) weekend. It was his birthday a week or two back and this is his main present. We're flying BA out of Heathrow.
I've only been to Sweden once before - to Malmo Gay Pride a couple of years ago - so Stockholm is an unknown city to me. Funnily enough two couples I know (both lesbian couples as it happens) have both been recently and raved about it so I'm really looking forward to it.
If anyone has any advice about places to go that would be great.
And Stuart had a Swedish gag to get us in the mood...
Q: What biscuits do Swedes eat?
A: høb nøbs
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Highbury and Islington...
It's been a fun time at jolly old Highbury and Islington tube station recently:
- people are forgotten about and get trapped in a tube train for over 2 hours
- someone is pushed under a pushed off the platform under a train
- planned engineering works every weekend in July
- over-run of planned engineering works most Mondays (esp. last Monday)
- problems caused by night time engineering works (esp. yesterday morning)
- delays due to signal failure (esp. last night)
What the hell is going on?
Brain Teaser Answers...
1. 42, 44 and 46.
2. In all of the words listed, if you take the first letter, place it at the end of the word and then spell the word backwards, it will be the same word.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
1. Can you find three consecutive even numbers that total 85008 when multiplied together?
2. What do these words have in common?
Monday, July 10, 2006
Nintendo DS Lite...
Last week I bought myself a shiny new Nintendo DS Lite - oh my word what a beauty.
The iPod stylings (i.e. curvy black or white), gorgeously super clear screens and a size and weight that make it a sure-fire winner. PSP RIP.
Shame the pink one will only be out in Japan (see left).
Friday, July 07, 2006
The Divine Comedy...
Last night Sarah treated me to a night at Somerset House to watch The Divine Comedy. We'd seen them a couple a years ago at the Bloomsbury Theatre and the Royal Albert Hall.
The Divine Comedy are basically now one man and his band. And Sarah had met that particular man before and had a long chat with him at a premier so when he slipped into the crowd unnoticed to watch the warm-up act she spotted him and we jumped at the chance for a chat and hand shake. Shame I got his name wrong though. Opps. Repeat after me: Neil Hannon, Neil Hannon, Neil HANNON.
Embarrassment aside it was a fantastic gig. Great location. Great sound and all the hits and more. They played for two hours in total - new stuff (To Die A Virgin), obscure stuff (Motorway to Damascus, anyone?) and old stuff (Something For The Weekend).
Included in the set were some covers too; Nelly Furtado's Maneater, a rather fabulous rendition of The Associates' Party Fears Two and a Prince song which I couldn't quite recognise.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Last Friday I took Stu, Andy and Kev to see the fantastic Blood Brothers at the Phoenix Theatre. Thrown in was dinner at Porters (all part of one of Lastminute.com's theatre and dinner deals). 'Starring' in Blood Brothers at the moment were Maureen Nolan and Andy Costa.
Stu thought the show should have been renamed 'Brookside: The Musical'. Andy and Kev were both rather emotional at the tragic storyline. And I got chatted up be a very flirty woman next to me who insisted on hitching her skirt up during the show because of the heat. So we were all in tears by the end.
Last time I saw Blood Brothers was a couple of years ago - so that's four times I've seen it now. I do like that show.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Last Saturday was
The parade took about two hours to pass so by the end of it we were feeling a little thirsty. We joined the end of the march but peeled off to Old Compton Street to spend the rest of the afternoon at the Soho street party. All the gang were there and we had a great time laughing and boozing. Sadly (for me not him or indeed his mum) Stu had to go to his mum's 60th birthday BBQ at 4pm but he was back later. We decided to stay in what with Stu's birthday drinks (see previous post) to look forward to.
You can see all the pix I took that day here.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Yesterday was Stuart's birthday and on Sunday he had a little drinks gathering at The Green for his nearest and dearest and then a jaunt down to Horse Meat Disco for a bop. It was a lovely afternoon and Stuart really enjoyed himself and greatly appreciated everyone turning up. To the left is a snap from the day (click on it for a bigger version) and here is a link to all the pix I took that day.
Monday, July 03, 2006
I had a lovely weekend so by way of a non-sequitur I thought I'd share some text fish with you.
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