Thursday, November 30, 2006

Still No Room On The Bus

In September, I blogged about the problems getting a bus on my street during the week. Too many people, not enough buses...a common problem in London where the transport system feels like it's cripplled. Are things getting any better?


This was taken at just after 9am this morning. It's a joke. You have to wait as six or so buses pass you by. Then when you get on one it's packed. With more flats being built, what arrangements are being made to accommodate those extra people on public transport?

About 15 minutes later I passed the stop coming back.


The queue's grown even longer, beyond the crossing. You can see how far away from the bus stop it has stretched. I watched the bus pick up 3 or 4 people before moving on, and past the next stop...

A Little Fall Of Rain

There aren't many famous people I'd run after to get their autograph, kind of thing. But there are a few, and I guess most of them would be associated with two of my favourite things, which are rather obvious from various postings on this blog...(actually, maybe there are 3 things).

Last night I went back to see how Schwartz Stories had settled into it's run, after seeing it a couple of weeks ago when it was previewing. I know the producers, and I've invested in a forthcoming production.

The show has one of my all time favourite musical theatre performers, Frances Ruffelle. I met her again after last night's performance. (I'd previously met her when she spent the interval sharing a glass of champagne with I and some friends at Channel 4's "Musicality" performance of Chicago. When I introduced her to Simon, my bf at the time, he thought she was someone from my office!)

Frances is best known for creating the role of Eponine ("On My Own") in the original London and Broadway productions of Les Misérables, a role which won her a Tony Award (the Broadway Oscar) and the Outer Circle Critics Award, amongst others.

At 19 years of age she appeared (on roller skates, of course) as Dinah, the dining car, in the original production of Starlight Express (which ran for 18 years-a record at that time) at London's Apollo Victoria, where Wicked is currently playing. It was that role which won her the role of Eponine, one year later.

Frances went on to play the role of Yonah in Stephen Schwartz's "Children of Eden". The show wasn't a success initially.

More recently she has played Roxie Hart in Chicago, and was mooted for ENO's 2005 London production of "On the Town".

Frances has a *very* distinctive voice, as anyone listening to recordings of Starlight Express (Original London Cast), Les Misérables (Original London Cast) or the Les Misérables (Original Broadway Cast) will hear.

The London recording of Children of Eden is very hard to come by. Fortunately I have one, which I got Frances to sign last night-she told me she hasn't even got one. I asked her not to personalise the signing, it makes it so much more collectable ergo valuable!

In 1994 she represented the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest. Her song, "Lonely Symphony" came tenth on the night. The song was chosen for her by the British public from the eight she performed as part of the Song For Europe competition. She doesn't talk about that much, though...

I have to say, she looks amazing a the age of 41, and three children later.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Shop That Never Opens


...on Essex Road, and those are various stuffed animals. Click on the pic to look closer...

This shop is never open. No customers, no opening, nobody ever seen inside...yet the stuffed animals are rotated with uncanny regularity. Just enough to give you the creeps...

And it's not just big animals-cats, hamsters, snakes, insects. It's fascinating to look at.

Without Time Out

Remember the problems I was having with the Time Out delivery, back in August? Well, I've been having problems again. After about 6 weeks without problems, the Time Out started to be left on the street again. A couple of weeks ago I never got it-I suspect that it was left on the street and picked up by someone. I phoned again to get it sorted. A new one was delivered.

Last week it was fine, but again, this morning it's not to be found...

update: it was in the letterbox...I checked before I called-fortunately!

Bad Dinner

So, yesterday afternoon (after an uneventful trip to the gym in the morning), mon C and I headed off to Wimbledon for a relaxing dinner before catching Starlight Express at the New Wimbledon Theatre.

Being in Wimbledon is like being in a self-contained, generic town. You get off the tube and it's anytown shopping mall and high street.

I really wanted a chilled, enjoyable dinner. But the options available mainly reflected family eating-Nando's, Pizza Express, Pizza Hut, KFC...the usual suspects. Closer to the theatre there was a Hamburger Union and a place called Reds Bar and Grill, next door, with more burgers (and some other stuff). We decided to give it a try because it did have more options than just burgers.

It was about 5pm and we were the first people there. The waitress arrived promptly-a little too promptly, as we still weren't ready to order a drink. When she came back we ordered a rioja, as Xfe prefers a heavier, spicier red wine (I don't!). I ordered us some nachos to share for starter and I chose a chili burger, and Xfe some chargrilled vegetables.

Our nachos were *not* good. Honestly I think that they had been left over from lunch and re-heated in the oven. The edges, where the corn chips had been exposed in the oven, were too tough and where they were covered, they were soft and soggy...The "cook" in the kitchen (very definitely not a chef) I suspect had seen that these were done around the edges, but the majority of cheese hadn't had a chance to melt-another sign that the nachos were being re-heated.

I had ordered my burger medium, but when it came to table I could smell that it had been done rather well...

On the whole the service was adequate, except when the waitress took the starter away...Some of the unmelted grated cheese had fallen onto the table, rather obviously. I was amazed the waitress never wiped it off...and to make it worse, when she brought a new napkin and silverware for the main course she put it right on top of the 3 chunks of grated cheese left over! It was left to me to remove the napkin, and brush the cheese off onto the floor, before putting the napkin down again.

Reds Bar and Grill is at 86 The Broadway, London, SW19 1RQ. I'd give it a miss, permanently! For other (mainl) poor reviews of the place see london-eating.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Project Who-Invasion II


Unknown to him, Cyber-agent Lysenko is rewarded with a fatal dose of radioactive polonium-210 by his double crossing cyber-allies, and left to spread radioactive disease on the streets of London; once the people of London have succumbed to radiation poisoning, the Cybermen will rise.


The dose ingested is too strong, and Lysenko dies in hospital with only minimum contamination achieved, forcing the Cybermen to take to the streets of London once again...

Stade Français

Ignacio Corleto (born 21-06-1978), Stade Français

On Thursday, we're off to Paris. I'm going to take a trip to the Stade Français shop (which is not actually at the Stade Français), to czechOUT the latest Stade Français goodies, including, of course, those French gods...

(I'm hoping Santa brings the calendar for Christmas).

In the meantime, here's an old favourite (from 2005)...

Frederic Michalak (born 16-10-1982) and Clement Poitrenaud (20-5-1982), both Toulouse

5.28am

It's another sleepless night, but I've nothing to fear...no work to be too tired for.

Xfe had an accident with the dishwasher last night. He forced the door closed, and it didn't seal. Unfortunately we didn't notice until the cycle was over and the dishes washed. I'm kind of worried that it has flooded our neighbour below. I'm also worried that it's warped the door and the dishwasher isn't going to seal anymore. The hassle is getting a new one delivered and plumbed in, should we need one.

I'm not sure whether I'll go to the gym today, given my very early rising. I have some legal documents to prepare for a friend for this evening. I said I'd prepare some documents to syndicate larger units for financing a theatre production. I've been putting it off because it needs a lot of thought in my part. But I need to do it before mon C and I go to see another of their productions tonight.

Tomorrow we're off to see Starlight Express, an old favourite. It's a re-telling of the tortoise and the hare...

Monday Gaytime (At The Gym)

As I'm on holiday this week, I took the chance to go to the gym much earlier than usual, during the daytime (morning-after 9am). I was surprised how steady it was with people; and I was totally surprised by how cruisy it was-something that I've never noticed before (maybe I don't have time-usually I'm there with about 5 mins to change in before the start of class, and after it's a quick shower before getting back to the office, all in the space of lunchtime).

I spent some time in the weights studio, using some of the cardio equipment. I was concentrating (on my music and the exercise) to the extent that I wasn't really noticing people around me in the mirror. However when my concentration lapsed I noticed a guy behind me slightly to my side. He had his stare firmly fixed on me in the mirror.

I'm gay enough to recognise when I'm being cruised. But what was really unexpected was how blatant and obvious it became-and so quickly.

The guy was probably in his late 20's, or very early 30's. He had wavy (dark-in fact given his attitude I should maybe refer to it as dirty) blond hair, and was wearing a blue vest and shorts, with white socks. He was sitting lifting some weights from shoulder height to above his head. When he caught my eye, he smiled, stopped lifting, and stretched his arms up above his head, putting his hands behind his head. Then looking directly at me, still smiling he took his left hand and rubbed his right bicep, then ran that hand along his arm, through his armpit, down his chest, lingering at his nipple, which he clearly caressed, stomach and down to his groin, where it hovered, caressing himself a little too kindly. All this time he held my gaze, still smiling. And as his hand reached his crotch his legs stretched obviously wider apart, to thrust out his goods, as if he needed to be more obvious.

He was extremely attractive too. And slightly hairy-his legs were nicely hairy, and I could see that his chest was slightly hairy too-but only slightly.

But of course I'm with Xfe, so I thought I'd pretend that I was straight and not at all interested. So I didn't want to hold his eye, yet it was fun to see what he was up to.

Soon, however, my allotted time was up on the machine and I switched. I so wanted to czechOUT whether he was still looking at me, but I'd already realised cruising was not appropriate. However I didn't need to. No sooner had I set the running machine, and Mr blue vest appears at the one next to me. And he was not shy! Under the pretence of not knowing how to activate the machine, he asked what the best routine was. I asked if he had used one before-he said he hadn't, that he usually ran outside but had been told to do some lower impact exercise, yet felt nothing pumped his heart rate like jogging, so wanted to use the running machine which he thought would be easier on him than the Thames path outside.

I asked if he had perhaps used any of the other cardio machines. He said he had used the nordic ski one, so I suggested that it could be set up exactly the same way (not true because this was ignoring the tilt for hill level). I also suggested that he could use the quick start. I continued running...but I left my earphones out. I thought I might be more entertained that way.

Strangely it seemed that he had no difficulty getting to grips with the machine, and soon was running on a steeper incline than me.

He told me his name was Martin, that he usually came here this time every other morning, but he hadn't seen me before. I don't know why, but before I knew it I told him I was Peter, that I was getting married on Thursday in Paris to my French fiance Christine, and as such, was on holiday and trying to get some extra gym time in before the big day, and lazy honeymoon to follow.

Martin told me he was getting married to his partner too next year, explaining that actually it was a civil partnership (big surprise)...and just in case the penny hadn't dropped, proceeded to tell me that his partner's name was David.

Continuing my string of lies, I told him that my brother was having a civil partnership with his partner next year too, and that I had been asked by both of them to be best man. I asked if they were having two best men...blah, blah, blah.

After a little more small talk he soon got back to the matter in hand, and made some joke about having a final fling in my last few days of freedom. I told him I wasn't that kind of man...he mentioned that my fiance was pretty lucky, and asked if she especially liked my legs, which he thought looked rather powerful. He also mentioned a straight "friend" of his who had got married, but had a shag with a male work colleague before his big day, suggesting that because it was a male colleague, it wasn't really cheating.

I just about fell off the running belt, at how persistent, determined and...well, *good* this guy was. And he was very good looking (sorry mon C, I had started to notice just how much his bits were swinging in his shorts as he was jogging). For an instant I couldn't take him seriously. I thought that he had to be having me on, just as I was him. Maybe he could tell I was gay and thought the whole thing a complex game. The thought also went through my head that maybe he was some kind of journalist doing a story on how gay of cruisy the gym was-he was that single minded.

However, I changed my mind on that after I told him I was done and I'd see him around, after the wedding maybe. He wished me good luck and said if I saw him again to say hello, and chat some. Of course I didn't have to wait so long...

A few minutes into my shower, Martin appeared. He came to the showers on the same side as me (the other side was totally empty) and the next cubicle of course. He said I was looking good for my wedding, making a point of showing me how good he looked, if you know what I mean. I thanked him, and had to take my leave, because he was so forward, I really am gay, and he was starting to have an effect on me physically...He smiled and made a point of looking at me as he slowly lathered his dick and balls, oh so deliberately. And just to make a point, and for my amusement I let him see that perhaps I might just be inclined to have that final fling...

I rushed to my locker, grabbed my trunks and went to the pool for a swim (I hadn't intended to), so that I'd disappeared mysteriously before he finished his shower.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Shaken, Not Stirred...

I've not yet seen Daniel Craig as Bond, but I've been a fan of his for some time...

For any super spies, here is the MI6 building (in real life)...


And, for Daniel C. fans, here he is from Casino Royale (looking very fit)...


but then, he has always looked good (don't you think)...

A Day At 2wo Tates

Xfe and did the boat trip between Tates today. We saw the Turner nominees (nothing special), and the Turbine Hall at night-the illumination is very effective, as you will see from some of the pics below, and some that I blogged earlier.

The boat is very fast. The light was good as the sun started setting...

I absolutely love London as a tourist.










the evening light inside the Tate Modern was good too...





Mon C Et Moi


Night of the long shadows.

More Tate Modern


At night.

Filming

Outside the Tate Modern this evening some filming was happening (I think to use St Paul's as a backdrop). Looked like it was for a card advert.

Here are a couple of pics...


this one taken by and blogged from phone



My Turner Prize Entry


Now showing at Tate Britain Turner Prize gallery, to January.




Paris Pictures

Here are some pictures from our last visit to Paris.

I don't really believe Paris is the City of Romance, of Lovers, but you may well disagree...


these first 3 taken at the Tuileries...


I love the early morning light...


a rather bejewelled Metro station. Above ground, they are so much prettier than the Underground ones we have


the garden at the Palais Royal


and again, some more beautiful light at the end of the day

Puppies

My brother used to be a dog handler in the RAF (he is now in the civilian police, CID). His own dogs are border collies. He and his girlfriend recently got some new puppies, which they've called Moffat and Brae (the last two were Skye and Fern). Here are some pictures of the puppies-they are about 14 weeks old here, I think.




And here's one of Fern

Saturday, November 25, 2006

AC Barcelona




This is the pool at the hotel, and although it was November and an outdoor pool, it was still ok to go swimming.

The trip was actually great fun. The "work" element was very positive, and the bonding/socialising great fun. I arrived about 10pm on Thursday night. Dropped my suff off in the very nice room, then it was straight to the bar. By 3am we had dunk the hotel out of beer and champagne (I kid you not).

I always enjoy the company of my German colleagues. They are good value-they have very different attitudes and work culture, even though we work for the same orgainistion. Having assured one of my London colleagues that of course people would wear their swimming costume in the (mixed) hotel sauna, low and behold, when I go in there is a german colleague in the buff!

Anyway I might write a little more about the weekend if I get the chance...Having gone out for breakfats about 9am then come back to bed, Xfe and I are off to take advantage of our Tate Membership and wonder down take the boat between the two and maybe do the Turbine Hall Test Site.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Titulo

Hi...here in Barcelona. It was an evet getting here on BA, but the hotel is fabulous.

More later as I just popped down for a pee....

Thursday, November 23, 2006

3.11am

It's 3.11am and I'm having another sleepless night. Who knows what the cause is, but it's the second night in a row...

Last night I had a nightmare which woke me up...I had to wake myself up to stop the nightmare. Tonight ther was no nightmare, maybe just the sound of the wind and the rain.

Maybe it's being alone in bed, without Xfe. Maybe it's because I've cut out alcohol completely at home, during the week and my body is adjusting.

In any event, I'm up, burning Cds, thinking about what I need to pack still...and I've migrated to blogger beta.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Wednesday & Organised

It's Wednesday lunchtime, and I feel super organised. It seems such a long holiday when I say I'm out from tomorrow afternoon, returning on 4th December.

My desk is virtually clear. My inbox has 2 emails for reference purposes. They should be filed elsewhere by the end of the afternoon. No mean feat considering I started the day with almost 400 emails in my inbox. OK, they'd all more or less been actioned. I just had to sort and file them.

I'm pretty up to date with my work. I have decided that the art of organising a holiday is handing over well in advance of departure, I have found...and setting the out of office message half a day before you go.

So, I just have to pack tonight for Barcelona. I can't decide whether to take a big check-in case so I have lots of room for purchaser to bring back, or whether to fit it all in my hand luggage case, which won't leave much room for purchases.

Xfe is almost half way through his stay in Moscow. It is his least favourite place. And he hates the cold. He wasn't happy when I told him there's a forecast high of 22C in Barcelona.

He's back on Sunday, though and I'll be back just ahead of him on Saturday night.

We have a lazy week ahead of us. A couple of theatre visits (including an old favourite, Starlight Express), and lunch in Paris on Thursday. When we're there I'm scouting around for a venue to host some friends from Scotland at for a dinner party in February. I thought a bateau mouche would be a great idea, but one of my friends can only make it for 8pm at the earliest and, well, if any later she'd literally "miss the boat". So I need to find a sublime and fitting venue instead.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

A Fine Lunch

Yesterday, BF (best friend) KC, who lives in Warsaw, took us all out to Marco Pierre White's Mirabelle restaurant in Mayfair for lunch. The food was delicious. The restaurant was not busy...I think it's had a few mediocre reviews recently!

Sitting at the table opposite us was Kim Yoon-jin who plays Sun Kwon in the television series Lost. I have to say how attractive she looked in real life, how fresh and clear her skin looked...and how she was petite.

Anyway in return (and for his birthday), Xfe and I took KC and his BF to see Wicked at the Apollo Victoria. The evening before I'd organised them tickets for Billy Elliot. They enjoyed that very much. However they enjoyed Wicked even more.


I am happy to report that Idina Menzel was back (she missed 1.5 performances last week because of a slight cold), and she defied gravity yet again (some performances they can't get her secure in her harness quickly enough, in which event she doesn't). It's great to see. There was a huge cheer when she went up...

But that's the last time we'll see her. She leaves after Christmas and before the new year.

In the meantime, Xfe's en route to Moscow. But he's back a week today, so it's not so bad. Besides, I'm off to Barcelona on Thursday.



Friday, November 17, 2006

But Is It Art?


I fancied a ride this lunchtime but no tix available until 7pm slot. So back to work.

Christmas IS Coming

When I was visiting my parents last weekend I was under instructions to give them a list of things I might like to find from Santa come Christmas Day.

It's always a struggle to find things to put on a list. It might be easier if they could operate the internet etc. I'd set up a wish list on Amazon, and they could choose from that. So, struggling to think, I suggested:

  1. Some Doctor Who action figures (to stay in their box and become collectable);
  2. Some Molton Brown products

and that was about it. I don't like to list things which are overly expensive, and the point about CDs/DVDs is that I tend to have them all as and when they are released.

Mon C hasn't asked me what I'd like, and I've been careful not to drop any hints...

Still, there's always room for another Cyber Controller figure (exclusive to Amazon), or a Cyberman (but without the gun on right arm); the Dieux du Stade 2006 would fill the space left by the 2005 one; I always like things for the flat...or I need some more scent (Comme des Garcons-Avignon from the Incense range or Sequioa from their Red range).

I'm sure there are other things I could add, but I can never think...

Still, spending Christmas together will be very special.

St Paul's In The Rain


It was raining on my way into work this morning.

I put on some scent Xfe was gifted in Arabia, somewhere. It's meant to be masculine, but I feel rather perfumed...

My Cyber Troup are up to full strength now...







...so no more pics, not for a while!

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