Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The View Of The Pyrenees

Montpellier 2004 002
Somewhere close to the Pyrenees, August 2004

Aspects of Love is my favourite musical. I warm to the lush orchestration and its relationship with the mood and setting - especially the scenes set in the Pyrenees. When the mountains soar for the characters, so too does the score.

It was nice to see a production again after I last saw it on tour, some 13 or so years ago.

The current production doesn't disappoint.

The only weak link is David Essex. Very limited vocally, and even more so when it comes to acting, most of which is done via the "expressiveness" of his right hand. He still has a following of young grandmothers, very easily pleased.

Poppy Tierney looks an authentic Giulietta, and delivers a fantastic "There Is More To Love".

But it is Shona Lindsay who shines as Rose. Even although she doesn't appear to age over the 18 years that the story takes place over, she is spot on. Her "Anything But Lonely" was simply stunning.

When Alex leaves after her plea not to, she is devastated.

Centering on the loves of young soldier Alexis Golightly, his uncle George Dillingham, and the beautiful actress Rose Vibert from whom neither man could escape, it's set mainly in Montpellier, Pau, Paris and Venice.

It has lesbianism, it has nudity. What more could you ask for?

It's based on Bloomsbury author David Garnett's slight novel of the same name.

Garnett was predominantly heterosexual, although he did take Duncan Grant as a lover. Undoubtedly Aspects has echoes of Garnett's own life sounding through the narrative.

Montpellier 2004 058
A scene from Montpellier, August 2004

It's the philosophy of George Dillingham that rings true for me. For George was an original man...

His philosophy Pone merum et talos. Pereat qui crastina curat: Set own the wine and the dice and perish the thought of tomorrow.

In short, when life is fcuking you off and getting too much/too troubling/too serious, just kick back, have a drink and chill.

In the show it's translated as "Hand me the wine and the dice", the song sung in celebration of George at his wake. The same way I want to go.

Montpellier 2004 066
Montpellier, August 2004

As you can see, I've done the homage to Aspects. No great hardship though, Montpellier remains my favourite and most visited place in France.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Strange Phenomena


London, Oct 2003

You pick up a paper. You read a name.
You go out. It turns up again and again.
You bump into a friend you haven't seen for a long time,
Then into another you only thought about last night.

Yesterday I was transferring some "lost" pictures from disc onto my MacBook. I spend a happy couple of hours reminiscing as pictures from 2003 - 2005 flashed across my screen before bedding into iPhoto.

Out of the blue came a couple of pictures of A, a guy I dated from June to mid-August 2005. I haven't really thought of him since, other than to wonder some time back what had happened to him.

Until yesterday when those pictures passed by, and I had cause to wonder once again what had happened to him. Especially as he lived only 5 minutes from me...

This evening I was in the office until about 7pm. I must just have missed one as I had 15 or so minutes to wait for my bus to meander down Fleet Street. I got on and went to climb the stairs as usual. But who should I spy sitting in the seat just beyond the stairs? Yup, A.

He didn't see me, so I decided I'd sit down next to him and give him a surprise.

Coincidence, or what?

There's a funny story about A.

One day we were chatting on-line and suddenly I realised that he didn't know it was me he was chatting with. As this became ever obvious, there was anther realisation that started to dawn.

To be sure, I let the conversation drift in the direction I thought it was going.

Soon we'd agreed the place (his place), the time (1 hour), the cost (£100) and what that would cover. Yes, what A had neglected to tell me that he was supplementing his income as a male escort!

I saw him for a little while after that, and he never knew that I knew, neither did he care to mention it. Mind you, what did it matter.

I last saw A on 15 August 2005. For no particular reason I never called him again after I left him that morning, and he never called me.

Until I saw his picture yesterday afternoon and then bumped into him this evening.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Everything's Different, Nothing's Changed

You'll always be what you always were, which has nothing to do with, all to do with him.

My day has been spent hunting down my pics previously saved to various discs, then transferring them onto a master drive ahead of backing up once more, and possibly archiving.

Doesn't life take you by surprise, though.

These were all my pictures since moving to N1. Not all my life in London, but my digital life. I bought my first digi-cam when I moved in here with S.

Watching them brought back to life sometimes took me by surprise. Here's a selection...


Having breakfast with Ivan in Prague


Sweet mimosa, at Halloween


Some punks at the Southbank



A cat in a box


Brussels. of course.


Death warmed up.





Then






and back in Praha again

Some of my life then, 2003 - 2004, with more to come.

The Last Seduction

On Friday night I wandered down to the Barbican Centre to see the Seduced exhibition.

The exhibition shows the representation of sex in art from antiquity to present day(ish). It's not quite clinical, but it does nevertheless remove the passion from the deed, striving to emphasise the academic.

The approach probably makes sense, after all in this age of internet porn for the masses, images shown in this exhibition are unlikely to shock those masses. That said, I'm sure that there are still some people in attendance that have never seen images of men with a penis or various other items inserted anally.

I did hear a rather embarrassed sounding woman praising the cleverness of the "geometric shapes" in certain images.

Even the Mapplethorpe photographs seemed, well, everyday. In 1988 when I saw a Mapplethorpe retrospective in Washington DC his pictures had an impact. Men pissing in each other's mouths. A man's finger inserted well into his urethra, and Mapplethorpe's self portrait with a dildo handled whip inserted in his ass.

On Friday all they did was remind me how stimulated I was when I first saw them in 1988, in complete contrast to how blasé I was to them now.

Summer Of Sixpack

This morning I tracked down some old pics that I had on a different PC, and put them onto my Mac, in preparation for purchasing a Time Capsule to backup onto.

What happy memories-I found some of my missing holiday pics from my summer spent in Prague, sunbathing, swimming and hanging out, literally. All BC (before Christophe).

On Friday night I was at the Seduction exhibition at the Barbican. People in the UK are too prudish about nudity, generally.

Here, for example, is bestfriend and bestCzechfriend and an unknown girl in a red dress, caring only about not spilling her beers, my friends not caring at all.

Praha+Summer+2004a

Generally, no-one seemed to bother about nudity, or not.

summer

But it was our summer trying very hard to get a good, proper six-pack.

Praha+Summer+2004d

Needless to say, bestCzechfriend won.

stomach

Of course, by this time, I'd had too much sun, and so had to put my shirt back on!

Praha+Summer+2004+068
Ahoj

Holocaust Memorial Today

(Pic taken from BBC News)

Today is Holocaust Memorial day.

This morning I listened to a service on Radio 4 from Liverpool's two cathederals (after all, it is European City of Culture 2008 TM).

I listened to the stories of genocide, continuing to this day. The pleas from the people and from the clergy. Let mankind not standby and let this happen, now or again.

So my question to the bishop, to the rabbi. What about God? Why does God standby and let this happen, over and over?

Saturday, January 26, 2008


My all time, absolute favourite musical is Aspects of Love, from which the song Anything But Lonely comes.

I'm off to see it this afternoon in High Wycombe.

Something I'm *very* excited about.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

As A Dream

This is an incomplete post, added for my personal archive only!

I have mentioned that I've been going to bed quite early, and drifting off to sleep soon after. Sometimes with the radio on, sometimes not.

One result is that I've been waking up very early in the morning, just as regularly. If I have slept with the radio on, I'll switch it off. But if I haven't and I can't get back to sleep again I'll switch it on, listen and not get anxious about staying awake. That only keeps me awake.

I know that around 4am I'll be asleep again.

Last night I'm writing this in bed on Thursday night to be published later) was one such instance. In bed by 8pm, drifting off by 9.30pm, and after listening to a show about the Thatcher government battle against the Spycatcher publication, I turned the radio off.

I was awake at 1am. Radio on shortly after.

At 2am there was a documentary on BBC World Service about the welfare of old people in India. Then at 3am it switched from World Service to schools' programmes. The first was a music programme. It played back to back 5 pieces of music from WWII, starting with "White Cliffs of Dover". From there it played the theme tune or a radio show for workers, particularly factory workers who went off to work at night. Clearly it was to motivate them, rouse and generally make them feel patriotic. Then there was some newsreel music, then some big band and finally a piece played by a small group of musicians.

Thinking about it, maybe there was a how before that one, or one after. Yes, now I remember. First there was a dramatisation of a Sandi Toksvig book about a family sheltering a Jewish family in Denmark.

The father had worked making scenery, the mother was a famous Danish actress. She gave the greatest performance of her life feigning illness and cutting her legs while 6 Danish Jews hid behind a false wall built by the father whilst the Nazis came visiting. The Jewish family were saved and sailed safely to Sweden.

The show was about unsung heroes.

After the music show there was something about Indian school children-another work of fiction. Then a history programme about Boadicea. Apparently buried under platform 9 at Kings Cross. Children had to be statues tall and heroic like the warrior queen, then sly and murderous if, as some would believe, she was a scheming murderer.

Then I recall that there was a trailer for a show on tonight where Macbeth had been given a musical make-over, and they played the song that was going to be tough. A kind of Jazz version of Lady M persuading Macbeth that he should kill Duncan while he was under their roof.

Finally I remember a Scots drama. I had drifted off then, but awoke to hear Scottish accents. By then it was after 4am.

I woke again just a few minutes after 6am to hear the Today programme. I turned the volume up slightly, then drifted back to sleep.

So, you know what had gone into my consciousness...

{society suppressed and oppressed. Under attach from foreign power, originally thought to be foreign, but turned out to be other worlds, alien. Going to designated shelters-sports stadia, entertainers, . comets crashing, separated by family, family separated, stadium pick up like the martial fighting machines, Zeppelins. to dodge comets. command, silver surfer freeze effect invented by child, protection, successful experiment, stole away to witness, but heard that must never be disclosed. not tell, excuse for identity papers, for public safely, then realisation that the threat was not real, but was made up, to keep control and influence over public

Ken McDonald applied for post of some kind of order maker.

Today-ID cards, keeping terrorist suspects detained 58 days without charging

who is Ken MacDonald?

Anything But Lonely

It has been a long January (and it's not over yet). The grim, grey weather. As grey as granite but without the sparkle of a Christmas long past.

Dark mornings and dark evenings. The oppressive, looming sky. The rain.

And I'm alone.

There are things that I could be doing, people that I could arrange to do things with. But I'm not doing these things. I'm not sure exactly why, though.

I love being in Xfe's company. Whether we are at home or out, it's perfectly balanced, more than comfortable. It feels right doing things together, walking side-by-side or arm-in-arm. There are no compromises that need to be made. No considerations to be accommodated. We do, we are, it is.

In the company of all but my the core of my very best friends (and with some other exceptions) there are compromises to be made, considerations to take account of. Much more effort and energy is needed. During the working week a full on day in the office can leave me drained of the energyI need to entertain a friend.

An evening at the cinema with just enough time after for a drink is the perfect solution. Watching the film in the dark is a totally passive activity. After a couple of hours in the dark in silence conversation (often about the film) comes easy.

But if there's a movie that I really want to see I prefer to watch it at home when the DVD comes out, rather than in the cinema where I'm easily distracted by the chatter and bad habits of youth around me.

My solution is that during the week I keep my own company. But, after 3 weeks of returning to an empty home at the end of a day in the office, I'm worn out and the lack of entertainment is tedious.

So I find myself getting home about 7.30pm, running a bath while I prepare some food. Eat, have a bath, then go to bed to read and listen to the radio. Too soon I find that my eyes get too heavy, or that I'm easily distracted by the discussion on the radio. The light goes out and very soon I'm drifting off to sleep. And it's not even 8.30pm.

A novelty on the odd occasion. But it's what I've been doing for most of the last 3 weeks for the lack of anything else to do.

But the lack of entertainment and resulting boredom is only part of the problem.

The loneliness is even more crushing.

However I'm lucky. It is only temporary. This time next week mon C will be back home. He'll be tired having spent the last 4 weeks travelling around China and from the journey home. But I'll be happy to retire to bed as early as he wants to. We will go out for dinner on Friday night and spend a quiet weekend at home thereafter.

I think that when I was single I never had the time to notice how lonely life can be. Then I filled my time with activities to avoid being lonely. I was out after work socially so much more. With friends, with colleagues. I realise that I found plenty to do to avoid that the emptiness of solitude.
And now that I'm out of the habit, or perhaps because I don't feel the need to, after just over 3 weeks' the loneliness has never pressed down on me so hard.

I totally understand now why my single neighbour is almost always never at home during the weekday evenings, and out during the weekend both day and then again at night.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Scent By

Thank you mon C for those Dr Hauschka Christmas gifts.



I'm not a Madonna fan, nor of those Sunday style supplements. But I have to admit that on this occasion they may have got it right. The Lavender Bath is the best, most natural lavender scent that I've ever experienced. I smell just like I spent the last 13 hours and 43 mins lost in Provence itself.

You bought it for me because used regularly at night it calms nervous tension and promotes sound sleep, and the lavender is very good for sensitive couperose skin conditions.

As for the Comme des Garçons it is still my favourite EdeT, even though I know that it's not really French!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I Can Hear The Bells

My parents have known that I'm gay for well over 10 years. Probably about 13 years, I guess.

My brother has known for longer. Since 1992 at least.

But the rest of my family don't know. Well, of course I'm sure they do, but not officially...

My mother's first reaction when she found out that I was gay was "shame and blame". With a bit of "lock up your infant sons - gay means paedophile".

Yes, it was the "what will the rest of the family think, was it my fault, what did I do wrong" reaction, with the cruelest and most insensitive comment to follow.

When my brother announced that he and his wife were expecting she said to me (I paraphrase):

"I hope that it's a girl so that I'll get to see my grandchild. If it's a boy [your brother's wife's family] will say 'Keep him away from [Made In Scotland]'".

What a selfish and hateful thing to say to your own son. But I don't think she realised either as she was saying it or even after, exactly what she had said. I'm sure if you asked her she would have no recollection of saying this. More so, I'm sure that she would deny saying something like this.

My mother also blamed my first (real) boyfriend. She thought that he must have corrupted me. She wouldn't have anything to do with him. But one (false) emergency later I asked her to consider how she would feel if she thought someone was treating or thinking about me, her son, the way she was B.

That made her rethink.

Over the years, it has become easier for her to accept. Whilst the initial "shame/blame" reaction is totally selfish, I came to understand that there was another strand to her thinking. She wanted to protect me.

On many occasions there were instances when her sisters (my aunts) had made some derogatory comment on gays. Occasioned by the fine examples of Barrymore or Julian Clarey, for example. When it led them to criticise gay people she would think that was her son they were talking about.

She feared that I would be ridiculed and criticised the same way that these personalities that I share so much in common with (well, we are gay, male and one of them has the same colour of hair as I) were by my aunts.

Of course, I am well respected by my wider family. When my Nana died, having done a significant amount of public speaking, my mother and my aunts asked if I would speak at her funeral. She wasn't religious, so it would have been meaningless to have a religious person who never knew her to speak.

Still more, it would have meant the world to her to know that one of her grandchildren would speak about her, and for her.

Something that was *never* lost on the rest of my cousins and my family, none of whom felt they could so what I did for our Nana.

And other stuff, of course. They know how good I am to my parents. (Well of course I am - I have to make up for not being able to give them the thing they would dearly love, a grandchild...but that's a different psyche).

My parents have come very far. My father, a man's man, doesn't really talk about emotion, yet he is happy in Christophe's company (though given his emotion/feelings are hard to read I really have no idea what he honestly feels, though I suspect he focuses on my happiness, and if I am happy then that's good for him). He calls Xfe "son".

My brother and his partner *love* Xfe. They think he is so special and good. Xfe loves them...

So they reinforce what my parents really know. That Xfe is good for me, that he loves me. And that I am sure gives my parents confidence in accepting.

Somewhere below you can read my experience of taking Xfe to my parents home. The first time that I have ever taken a partner to stay at theirs (my mother engaged with Ben, but not really my father, but with Simon a little more so). But until Xfe neither they or I slept under the other's roof, together.

When we visited in summer we had "my" bedroom-single beds though. The same at Christmas, though even I disrespected my parents eventually and crammed in the bed with mon C.

From time to time I employ stealth to help them realise that my lifestyle is NORMAL. I take my parents to the theatre every time they visit. More than once sometimes per visit. I would have taken them to see Rent, were it not for the shockingly bad production that it currently is.

They are coming down at the end of February to see Hairspray with me*. I thought it would be right up their street, the music and all. And having taken my mother to Baltimore!

But when Mum visited in December we watched the DVD. Watching a film about gays/transsexuals/AIDS isn't something I'd comfortably share with her. But the AIDS theme is both hetero and homo.

My mother was in tears at the end, of course. And I hoped that it had helped normalise her experience on two fronts. HIV/AIDS isn't a gay thing, and love is love, loss is loss.

The family thing was still a problem for her, though.

At New Year, my brother told me that one of my cousins had asked him when they were out if I was gay, but to say if I was it was really fine (normal I hope she meant). My brother told me that she wanted to phone me to let me know all was well, and to congratulate me on our wedding.

So we spoke this weekend. The first thing that surprised her was that she had assumed the parent issue was with my father, when it wasn't.

I went over some of the same stuff that my brother had already with my cousin, in relation to why my mother feels the way she does, and doesn't want to reveal my gayness to her family to protect me.

Blah, blah, blah, you know. I say that only because I hate that it should seem a chore, or an effort or a big deal. I did notice that she still couldn't say "gay" in the conversation. But maybe straight people are scared to give that label in case we think it offensive. I dunno...

Anyway wedding presents are apparently on their way. They needn't be.

On being asked how to raise the issue with my mother I told my cousin just to drop into conversation with my mother that she was so happy to hear the news that I got married. To keep it normal. To reinforce in her mind that such things are normal.

Because my lifestyle is normal.

*Besides, if they came to visit me with wife, I doubt we'd visit the theatre so often. No Phantom, Chicago, Beautiful Game, Starlight Express, Les Mis, Tell Me ..Sunday, Kiss Me Kate, Wicked. How they will so love Hairspray.

Maddie Magical Mystery

Oh, those neglectful McCanns.

Despite being Portugese police *number 1* suspects, they continue to deny. One of these is from the parents' private investigators, published in a UK Sunday newspaper, the other is not.



If anyone saw a suspicious yellow submarine, please report it.

Make a movie and cash in - who would dare suggest it?

Kerching!! Kerching!

And The Winner Is...

Thanks to all those who voted. The winner with 47% of the votes was Fireman C.



I guess it was his winning smile that swung it.

Friday, January 18, 2008

A Tear For Vera

Well, slipping away in your sleep is highly unoriginal, and Jack's realisation of Mme Duckworth's death was all too sudden.

But, they had been around for over 30 years and I think Corrie is fun.

So I had to watch Vera Duckworth's last moments.

And I cried. For Jack's loss.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cheese, Please, Louise

My Nana always used to say that!

So, cheese is the new delectation of gastro-snobs. Smart restaurants now have a cheese sommelier. And if it's really smart they will serve the cheese before the desert. Just like what we do at home, cos that's the French way you see...

I'm particularly overjoyed, as my cave is especially ripe at the moment, overflowing with some extremely tasty cheeses.



The one in the Lafayette wrapping (a delicious Roquefort) is just too smelly to unwrap.

With another trip to France looming I'll be stocking up again soon (I kid you not when I say that I bought a stylish Samsonite upright last time I was in Paris just to take home my cheese).

The problem is eating it. Not good to eat it all of course. So I'll take it to parties, have my own cheese tasting soiree, give it away as gifts... Apparently cheeseboards with two or three cheeses were popular alternatives to festive hampers this last Christmas.

I recently read Blur's Alex James exclaiming that cheese is taking the place of wine as a social statement:
I used to be greeted with Champagne. Now it's cheese.
Just think - no more hangover when I've over-indulged.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Career Consideration

I've been asked to apply for a promotion.

Unlike a regular corporate environment, it's not to fill a position that has become vacant. It's simply to recognise my seniority.

I am told that my head of department will support my application.

Having thought about it, I'm still undecided. If I apply and I'm unsuccessful I can see me taking it rather personally. I can see that I might take it as a sign that I wasn't appreciated, a hint that I should consider moving on. Even although it is unlikely that would be the rationale of any such decision.

I'd then feel insecure - whereas I don't at the moment.

If I were successful, I'd be expected to take on even more responsibility for management type admin (which I don't want), although I think that in return the hours I am expected to bill would reduce.

I would get more money, though I have no idea how much more. However I wouldn't expect it to be enough to motivate me to go for it. Besides, I earn enough already, and I'd only spend any increase unnecessarily, accumulating more crap.

I'd also pick up a job title that people wouldn't really understand. I much prefer the one I have at the moment. It's clear as to what it means.

Then there's all the effort I have to go to putting together a business case and the committee presentations and "interviews".

On the other hand, few people have applied for these positions, and it is something that I am sure they would like to be seen supporting and encouraging.

In terms of my own position, with a major client having advised the head of department that they see themselves as my client and not the partner's, I'm in a good position.

As I see it the main benefit would be that I'd have 3 days more annual leave.

I dunno... I'll probably procrastinate and find I'm too late to be considered for this year.

Monday, January 14, 2008

I *♥* Big Packages 2



Well, it's from the Douanier...that's encouraging.



And it stands up to inspection.



I love peeling it back, slowly.



What's this? Frogs legs? Perhaps it's Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd.



Oh, it's chicken ass. My Dieux du Stade calendar 2008.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Rhydian's Wow-Factor

We watched a little of Rhydian on X-Factor. I liked his voice and the emotion he could express with it.

However, he looked a little odd. I think it was mainly to with him being ginger but having his hair peroxided blonde. It just looked strange. The harsh white doesn't suit his skin.

Then they kind-of gave him this weird phantom of the opera type vibe. And a little bit camp.

Yet, camper couldn't be further from the truth.

I knew that he was a rugby fan, and really into his sport. But you hear that stuff without giving it a serious thought.

In the X-Factor he was always dressed reasonably well. But not ever in a way that suggested what lay beneath.



Wow!! He just needs a decent haircut. That's all.



If you want to hear him, here he is singing one of my very favourite songs from West Side Story.



Anyway, thanks to Bobby V for drawing this to my attention. He has more pics of Rhydian on his blog here.

Friday Night Out

The problem with having a BIG Friday night out is that you end up with only half a weekend left.



In the 7 years I've lived in London I've never been out clubbing through the night.

I was out with some colleagues from work. We started off with cocktails at the Light Bar in St Martin's Lane Hotel, where all the cocktails were "deluxe". That meant they charged £5 more for them.

Then we had dinner at Asia de Cuba.

Their clever money making spin is that they serve only "huge" sharing portions, as starter and as main. Huge in price, but small on the individual diner's plate!



Dessert was also shared.

The toilet was like stepping inside a cube, and once in, it was hard to find the door to get out.



The kind of place that you need to be brave about the bill.



From there it was off to the Trash Palace. Which it was, only lacking anything palatial. The experience was a little bit like being in your granny's front room (size and decoration wise), but full of thin students. With strange hair.

Next was the Shadow Lounge. One magnum of champagne later, we were on the move again, to Vauxhall. Via an all-night garage to get some cash, crisps and pepperoni. But only after we established that the unlicensed cab driver that took us there wasn't going to drive the three of us off somewhere to rape us.

I gasped at the cost of getting it to what I thought was some after hours dance club. As KT had paid for all of us to get into the Shadow, I thought that I should pay for her to get in there. Having just paid for the cab, that set me back another £30.

I thought we were in some small local club, as it was relatively quiet. But then I discovered another arch and another dance area.



Then I realised we'd gone to a club that I used to read about and see pictures of in Boyz magazine or QX. I think the place was Fire, or it might have been Fire at A:M. I'm not sure. I doubt it matters, really.

It got much fuller. I have a vague recollection of being offered drugs by someone I didn't even know. I suspect I looked tired. By 6.30am I decided that it was time to go home. So I did. By about 7am I was in my bed and that was my Saturday, gone. Poof.

Friday, January 11, 2008

I *♥* Big Packages


What's this, what's this, laying at my door.

Oh, I do love surprises...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Chores

Talking of flip flops, as I was somewhere, someone sent me this to me anonymously.

It doesn't get rude, and there is no full nudity, but BEWARE it does remind you of all those chores yet to be attended to...

Perhaps it's Bobby trying to wash, rinse, repeat before the New Year?



Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Porn Purge

or...A Surfeit of R18

or...Adieu Andrei Treivas Bregman

There comes a time in your married life when a your porn collection becomes as a lottery win to Posh and Becks. The collection that you carefully assembled over those lonely years of bachelorhood.

So I'm told.

Mind you, mon C did suggest that it was perhaps no longer appropriate to hang (oh yes so very well hung, especially if you are Scotland's Sean Lamont) our Dieux du Stade calendar in the bedroom.

On balance, maybe I agree. After all, when was the last time I watched one of the S.E.V.P. DVDs that I'd saved hard for as a boy? Those Cadinot collector's items, JMRC, son of Cadinot/Clair hot arab mecs I'd hunted down in my formative years? Those Rent/Load R18 mingers.

Ah, so much white menos spilled out over...

I remember. As background stimulation for some Gaydar trick all those years ago.

I mean, I don't even remember whether this one is so called because they wear such attire on their feet during the act, or because the gentleman involved are somewhat gymnastic.



Actually, I think I do know why they are Flip Flop Fuckers.

Hmm, maybe it is disrespectful to a lover/partner/husband to harbour such a collection, even if he is as hot as the better models.

Thus with an almost heavy heart - given the assembly costs - I hunted out mine. Oh *fuck* me. How many?



(Maybe you can have one if you spot which of these pictures George Vidanov).

So how *is* a guy to get rid of these? After all, I can't take them down to the charity shop. Answers on a post card.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

My Pause For Thought

Bobby declared it, then more recently the twenty-something, perhaps left-brained Accidental Activist.

Reading the latter inspired me to give these random notes:

I was Made In Scotland, though one of my grandparents was English.
I lived in the same town in Scotland for 32 years.
I have achieved my two career ambitions.
I achieved the first when I was 29.
I achieved the second in 2005.
I am no longer ambitious in the field I work in and have been bored with my job for more than 10 years.
I have learned that with marriage comes responsibilities and so I will continue to work in my current field.
I have had my heart broken once very definitely and possibly also a second time, though now I reflect perhaps not.
I have had one serious relationship with a girl which lasted almost 2 years, even though I knew I was gay.
I have had two other girlfriends, the last of whom is slightly famous, though her husband was much more famous (for a while at least).
I am a serial monogamist, though in between I never wanted for sex.
I once slept with an A-List celebrity, and although a personality he wasn't quite as famous at the time.
I have been a best man twice in my life.
I have a younger brother who will always be my best man.
I always thought that I would end up living in France.
I married a Frenchman but I don't think we will ever have a home together in France.
I travel so much, but not as much as my Frenchman who works all round the world.
I prefer not to travel to the USA because I detest George W. Bush and his politics.
I had the best time in the US as a student in law school and working as a waiter.
I have drunk 15 bottles of champagne in the last 10 days.
I think that I drink too much.
I don't think that I will ever be really content, otherwise why would I drink so much?
I don't smoke, and smokers get right up my nose.
I married a smoker.
I don't think anyone will make me as happy as mon C does, nor do I think I'd be content with anyone else.
I want to live in a bigger house, we need more room.
I never think twice about buying anything.
I spent over £3k on travel arrangements last year that were never used and never refunded.
I suspect that I am incredibly materialistic.
I have raised over £35k for various charities in my lifetime thus far.
I am a lucky person.
I am right handed.
I hate conflict of any kind in my private life.
I have known that I was gay since I was about 4 years old.
I wouldn't want to be straight if I could choose my life over.
I have presided over a funeral.
I know one piece of music that I want to have played at my funeral - Hand Me The Wine And The Dice, from Aspects of Love.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Good Morning, Baltimore

"People who are different, their time is coming".

My first date with Tracy Turnblad was in September 1988, when I was at University of Baltimore Law School.

One of my roommates was a huge John Waters fan, and of course, living in Baltimore he couldn't be ignored.

I had asked my brother to get me the 2007 Hairspray movie* DVD for Christmas. I watched it on Saturday evening. It's been some time since I watched the original.

Hairspray was the first Waters' film I saw. I had never heard of him before that summer. I instantly loved it, though I can't quite decide whether scratch-and-sniff Polyester or Hairspray is my favourite Waters movie.

Certainly by the time Johnny Depp and Cry Baby came along I had lost interest. Perhaps because Divine had passed by then... She had the best comedy moments.

In Polyester, downtrodden and down-at-luck, her former cleaner Cuddles had become a friend. She had also won the lottery. Even though she still had special needs (which is why she was a cleaner in the first place).

Divine's character, Francine Fishpaw, has a mother on the take. In one scene mother exclaims:

Good Lord, Francine. Don't you know it's bad luck to let retarded people in your home?


What made Hairspray notable was its focus on racial issues. When I watched it there was a personal resonance for me.

I had lived in Aberdeen all my life. I met the first black people, two cousins of my best friend at the time from primary 7, when I was 11. Before then I had only ever seen black people (and for that matter Chinese, Indian, Asian) on TV.

By the time I finished University I had met one black girl, and happened upon 3 or 4 black people in Aberdeen. I only ever knew of one black family the whole 30 or so years that I was there.

I went to Baltimore in 1988. My law school friends, after visiting Aberdeen on summer school ahead of my visit, had warned me that I might experience a culture shock.

The problem with Baltimore was that many of the African-American population felt that they had been subjugated for so long that they were owed by white people. I experienced many unpleasant and tense situations, being confronted by AfrAm peoples. Though typically they were uneducated, 3rd generation welfare.

The black people I worked with were very different in attitude.

My other roommate had a best friend who came from an educated black family - and they referred to the Baltimore "blacks" as a group that they themselves felt separate from.

The prejudice that I experienced was difficult for me. I came from a life where I never knew black people, indeed, very rarely saw any. We are all people. With mothers, fathers, children, brothers, sisters.

I was thrust into what I personally found an oppressive and threatening environment, being challenged by African-Americans over and over. Because I was white, irrespective of my background and geography, I apparently owed African-Americans. Apparently. For the prejudice that they had suffered.

I was threatened, laughed at, spat at and when sitting on a bench at a bus stop with a pal from Uni who happened to be in DC for the summer, when we ignored an AfrAm beggar through fear really, we were threatened verbally by another black gentleman with a firearm, for being disrespectful to a "brother".

In all, not a very positive experience for me, though I believe that the issue was that these people were uneducated and poor in the first instance, itself was a result of race.

How different it was going back to DC last October having lived in London for 7 years.

Anyway, to cut a long story short watching the fun movie that is Hairspray, I'm left pondering - whenever will race relations work? It just seemed to me the segregation portrayed there in 1969 is as alive currently. But as much - if not more in the reverse.

My take is that people sharing a common ethnicity choose to retain their differences to the exclusion of other groups. Not only do peoples firmly believe that they shouldn't need to integrate, they are not prepared to allow others to integrate.



Still, as optimistic and naive Tracy hopes, "People who are different, their time is coming". Maybe, but probably not in the case of race and religious relations. Just watch Hilary. Whilst I suspect Americans are fed-up with the same old political spin and lies, I cannot believe that America is ready yet for its first black President.

*As to John Travolta's accent... well, I think it's not intended as an effeminate turn a la Truman Capote (yes, that is what it reminds you of in case it has been bugging you). Rather it's his best effort at the Ba'wmer accent. Though if you ask me it's slightly more Dundalk. Well, at least to my ear.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Toilet Troubles

I much prefer natural light.

So when I go to the toilet I prefer to keep the toilet door open. If I'm having a bath the door will be wide open. Unless we have guests.

Otherwise it will be closed with a little gap. Besides Cecilia, the black cat, always wants to come in with me - and then wails to get out if the door is totally closed.

But here is the problem if I forget to close the door. The view from our throne:



If I can see them, then they can see me.

Organ Harvesting

Tonight's second movie treat was Paradise Lost.



By now you know the drill. American backpackers, this time in their own continent, falling prey to organ harvesters. The usual shit. Urban myth...

Until you read this, which came courtesy of this particular referral to my blog:

scotland gay orgy

(And this *is* disturbing).

Gay orgy gang's HIV rapes stun Holland

The Hague
June 2, 2007


A GAY gang that allegedly raped victims lured on the internet, drugged them and infected them with the AIDS virus has shocked the Netherlands, raising questions over its liberal sex culture.

A date rape drug known as "easy lay" and ecstasy were allegedly involved.

Health Minister Ab Klink called the case "horrible", as the media splashed the news across its front pages yesterday. The matter came to light when police said they had arrested three seropositive homosexual men after four victims, men aged 25 to 50, accused them of rape and premeditated bodily harm.

Ronald Zwarter, the police chief in the northern town of Groningen, where the alleged crimes took place, said two of those arrested, a couple aged 48 and 33, had confessed.

"Their stated motive was that it excited them — and also that, the more HIV-infected people there were, the better their chances of unprotected sex," he said. "They considered unprotected relations to be 'pure'."

Prosecution spokesman Paul Heidanus said the two who confessed would face charges of rape and "premeditated severe assault", which carries a maximum jail sentence of 16 years.

He said they would not be charged with attempted murder "because of a Supreme Court ruling that found AIDS should no longer be seen as an inevitably fatal disease, but rather a chronic illness".

The investigation was continuing to determine exactly what crimes might have been committed by the third suspect, who Mr Heidanus said was involved in the sex parties.

A fourth man who allegedly supplied the three suspects with several litres of the date-rape drug GHB and ecstasy tablets was also arrested.

The gang risks up to 16 years in prison. Police and prosecutors said eight more victims have come forward since the case was publicised.

Officials said the three seropositive men invited gays contacted on the internet to private homosexual orgies. When the victims turned up, they were allegedly given ecstasy and GHB (which is undetectable when mixed in drinks), leaving them helpless and, in some cases, with no memory of what happened.

The three suspects — one of whom is a male nurse — were said to have raped the men, and even injected some with a mix of their contaminated blood.

The case has unsettled the Netherlands and caused it to take a hard look at its easygoing views on sex, with some suggesting that frequent homosexual orgies posed a public health risk.

"That homos organise orgies is nothing new, but this is something else. This is unimaginable," said Frank van Dalen, the president of a gay rights group called COC.

He stressed that the use of GHB (gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid) — known on the street by such nicknames as "easy lay", "gay home boy" and "liquid ecstasy" — also posed a danger in heterosexual circles.

Henk Krol, the editor of the homosexual magazine Gaykrant, said: "These people were drugged, it's therefore rape, pure and simple. It's shameful, disgusting and terrifying. Those who did this are crazy."

Health officials pointed to a recent rise in HIV infections in Groningen — from 14 in 2005 to 25 last year, out of a population of 185,000 — as significant.

"This doesn't mean that the rise is entirely explained by the orgies … but it's probable that part of the rise has been caused by them," Marco Ter Harmsel, of Grongingen's municipal health service, told the Dutch newspaper DRC.

AFP, AP


From here.


Paradise Lost

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