Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Left Over

In New York these people spilled onto the road. In the way of traffic, onto a busy street.

Yet, in Central Park no-one was allowed to walk on the grass of the great lawn.

Yet another great American contradiction...

Tonight I'm having dinner with the gayest of the great agony aunt London City bloggers or is that the greatest of the gay agony aunt London City bloggers - Gay Banker. After all, it's almost a year since I bought him dinner.

The "Rat"

Joseph Ratzinger is coming to Britain. Gordon Brown is "delighted". David Cameron is "delighted". I am "repelled".
Tanya Gold had this great piece in today's Guardian G2. Worth a read.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Little Prick

On Saturday morning, 9am I headed out to begin the journey up to my parents. I left on a lovely sunny morning, and instead of going to the usual bus stop, I went to the cash machine which is one stop away.

I took out some cash (I don't like to do so when in Scotland because those Scottish notes can be difficult to spend down south-even in London). Out came a little chit as well.

All went into my pocket.

Then to the bus stop and waiting with my nice new Paul Smith weekend holdall. Very masculine.

Whilst I was waiting for the bus it was the most opportune moment to ditch the junk from my pockets. Bank statement and all. And, accidentally, and as the great Kate Bush said - there goes a tenner.

So I went to retrieve the £10 that had been binned, and at the same time thought about pushing my bank statement into the bin so it was out of sight.

Ouch. I felt a prick. Usually, a pleasant experience. But not on this occasion. It's the kind of prick you feel when stabbed with a pin...or needle.

There on the end of my thumb was a hypo and needle. Looking lighlty brown and dirty. I felt sick immediately.

The disgust and the fear. I may have mentioned this elsewhere on here, but I am fearful of needles. I can watch the vilest voyeur gore (Hostel) but I have to look away at any documentary with someone getting an injection.

Often, if I have to have blood taken, I faint. I just hate the needle and the thought of it going inside me (maybe snapping inside me) and, oh....

Shitfuckbastard. I've been stabbed by some junkie needle I need to go to hospital for treatment but airport time is ticking I'll miss my flight and parents should I cancel but how would it affect my mother who was so looking forward but oh god it's a needle some dirty person has used and how it was in the bin and so now it's gone into me I need to be clean here comes the bus so do I get it or go home but all these things I have to help my Mum.

It's a lovely, clear sunny morning.

Then I thought no problem-my brother can take me to Aberdeen A&E on arrival. In fact, I thought, it made perfect sense. A more pleasant hospital, one I'd been familiar with since I was a child. Not the hell-horror experience of London A&E.

Tetanus, I thought. That's what I need. To get me clean.

Tubes, of course, were hell on Saturday. No Hammersmith & Shitty service from Moorgate westward. No Circle before Kings X. Leaving me to get Northern to Kings X and then Circle from there.

Then all flight long I had to dwell on the unpleasant circumstance of sharing a dirty junkie's needle.

At Aberdeen it was straight to A&E. The nurse at triage thought I'd need a tetanus jab. So did I. But I'd had it as a kid and she went off to ask the doctor who said no, not necessary, though they would take blood tests to check for hepatitis and HIV.

Being a gay man I kind of knew that was pointless because getting blood done there and then wasn't going to tell me anything. I explained that if I just had to get blood done, and would have to see my own doctor anyway, then I could do that in London. I was only in Scotland for 24 hours and I didn't want to spend up to 3 of them in A&E.

The doctor told the nurse that was fine, but that I should see my own doctor in London within 3 days.

Already I knew I wouldn't, as a blood test wouldn't tell me squat.

But Hep and HIV. For some reason, I hadn't thought of that. I just thought about being unclean and the tetanus jab.

I left A&E more worried that I was before. I hadn't thought of that.

The nurse had assured me the chances of infection were slim, and that it takes a not inconsiderable amount of blood to lead to infection.

I left, fairly distracted, but okay-ish.

30 hours later I'm in London and I've been Googling. And I found this (on the THT website):

PEP is a course of anti-HIV medication that needs to be taken daily over the course of a month. The drugs have been available for HIV prevention since the early- to mid-1990s for health workers who have had 'needle-stick' or similar injuries. (emphasis added)

So, if I was a health worker and this had happened during "office hours", I'd be given anti-HIV drugs just to ensure all was well, and to help ensure HIV didn't "get a hold".

NOT GOOD ENOUGH. If health workers would have this, then why not me?
  1. why was this not offered to me if health workers are considered at risk following a similar incident; and
  2. how can I access it....
So, I've had to sort it for myself. Which I should be doing as you are eading this.

Can't Get No Satisfaction

In Xfe's absence I've been lacking aural satisfaction....

I just dunno why I can't find something that does the trick. In fact I want to find something breathtaking. Something that will blow me away aurally.

The August purchases didn't quite do the trick. So I've been looking elsewhere.

Recently (and in no particular order) I've purchased:

Let's Change the World With Music, Prefab Sprout

I was always a fan of Paddy McAloon. I saw Prefab Sprout in my youth and was amazed how token Wendy Smith was. She came on stage (at an intimate venue), swept a hand through her long hair, sang a few Ah's and wondered off again.

This album was recorded in 1992, but due to McAloon's indispositions was never released.

This album comes close for me and has had the most listens. Tracks 7 and 8 are my favourites - Last of the Great Romantics and Falling In Love.

This is the live recording of Chess in Concert at the Royal Albert Hall, which Xfe and I saw in May this year.

After the event I complained about the very poor sound quality and was given a 50% refund.

At the time I knew that it was being recorded, and I suspect the ease with which I was given a refund was because it was understood that the sound was set-up with too much attention to the recording process, rather than the live concert.

Listening to the recording, it's still a bit of a guddle, with Idina Menzel gobbling her words.

I'm still amused her trademark enunciation of adding an L before certain vowels, especially I. Just listen to her sing "You and L'I..." You can also hear her sing this very clearly in the recording of Wicked, as she gets to the climax of "the Wizard and L-I".

And with a very weak Marti Pellow as the Arbiter.

At the time of writing, Mika's The Boy With The Thorn In His SideWho Knew Too Much hasn't actually arrived.

He was one of my highlights of the V-Festival that my brother took me to 2 years ago.

I'm looking forward to it and I think he'll be camp as ever, I guess.

He is rather sexy. I think it's the mix of his lankiness and Lebanese heritage. And just like Morrissey, everything Mika writes, he says, is about him.

Have you heard Toy Boy* yet?

As with opera, I always thought that sometime I might have a Beatles epiphany.

Now they are digitally remastered and re-re-re-released, I thought I'd go for it.

The first Beatles music that I've ever bought.

As with opera it still hasn't happened.

I don't know why I bothered buying this.

At 25 minutes or something like that I've had better value singles.

Marc Almond is always interesting, I love his voice. Who can forget the tale of his Pearly Spencer?

This is an interesting style, and is possibly my second favourite among the selection. Though it does become a litle repetitive.

However, Almond is someone who, when he records the material I'm in the mood for, hits the spot for me.

Has he an album of torch songs, perhaps? If not, please record soon. Even some emotional musicals please...

I bought Warm Heart of Africa after reading Charlie Gillett's review in the Guardian.

Not quite as eclectic as I thought it would be, I have to admit liking the build up of the first 3 tracks, though it does disappoint afterward.

Possibly because the title track itself (track 3 - Warm Heart of Africa Featuring Ezra Koenig) is fantastic!

(Isn't he the Vampire Weekend bloke?)

*Mika's Toy Boy: But your mama thought there was somethin’ wrong Didn’t want you sleeping with a boy too long It’s a serious thing in a grown-up world Maybe you’d be better with a Barbie girl You were that I adored-ya But you left me in Georgia Toys are not sentimental How could I be for rental?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

My Memorabilia

Digging deep into my Doctor Who autograph collection, I guess this one had to surface eventually.

Every silver lining has a cloud, and unfortunately here comes the worst ever Who companion.


It's boy actor Matthew Waterhouse.

Thank heaven's for Earthshock. Though, strangey at the time, I remember feeling quite stunned that one of the Doctor's companions died - and I loved the silent closing title sequence when he did.

Still, good riddance to bad rubbish.

Look out Adric. Badge for mathematical genius or not, they're coming to get you...

But this is better. More Cybermen and the great David Tennant's autograph...

cert signed

This is a rather nice certificate of authenticity which came with a print of Doctor Who artist Antony Dry's Rise of the Cybermen that I won in a charity auction (to raise money for the hospice where DT's mother had died following her battle with cancer).

Some months before I'd been in touch with the artist to enquire whether I could buy the very same print; but his work was not for sale. So it was a complete bonus when he donated that very same one to raise money.

The certificate, signed by Tennant was a nice unexpected extra.

Here's a pic I took of the Rise of the Cybermen artwork print when it arrived.

gravis rise

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Bang Bang

The other day I wondered why I wasn't feeling the Autumn blues in 2007.

Perhaps because this cheered me up:

Talking of which, here's someone else who has been cheering me up in Xfe's absence: True Blood's Ryan Kwanten.

The mix of oppressive southern American heat, the humidity as thick as their southern-fried accents, and Vampire eroticism serves only to make this one super-sexy show...

Like I said, yum yum...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Super Sharp & Rock Hard

As I hear said, it's going to take more than one sour pear to put me off my favourite fruit.

I can't wait for Xfe to come home. But when he does, he's here for 6 days only before he heads off to Israel for 2 weeks, back to Paris, then straight off to Geneva for another 2 weeks.

That's another 4 weeks away from home, though when he is back, he is done with work for the year.

Mon C didn't know until we got there that the Statue of Liberty was gifted to the US by the French. I had to explain that it was France giving the fingers-up to the UK, by showing support for the independence of her former colony..

Monday, September 21, 2009

Detachment, Honesty

I'm not that hairy, yet that is my forearm.

A Surfeit Of Ho

Every evening on my way home from work (more or less) I pass Waitrose at the Barbican. I often pop in to pick something up. Tonight it was mixed basmati and wild rice.

The Barbican Waitrose is the gayest supermarket I visit.

There you can always spot discerning gentlemen shoppers hanging around the vegetable section.

In their quest for the firmest organic carrot, the longest English cucumber or the plumpest purple aubergine.

There's no dearth of basket sharing couples, proudly claiming the aisles. And often very cute with it too.

Quite the antithesis, I find, of Xfe's favourite; the Sainsbury at Dalston.

A surfeit of H2O

Didn't it just rain and rain and rain the other night? I worried that with the building site next door being a big hole, my flat was going to slip over the edge in some kind of rain induced mudslide.

Watch The Avengers - S04E08 - A Surfeit of H2O.avi in Entertainment | View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

Exactly - just like that actually. I almost drowned.

Anything but a surfeit of blog

Until Tuesday evening I haven't blogged much recently. There has been a dry spell. Literally.

I've not been drinking.

However on Tuesday I had a refreshing G&T, which became 3 and some wine... and the posts you find lined up for publishing were created.

For me a glass of wine and a blogging go hand in hand-like a beer and cigarette for pregnant smokers.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


One of the things I love about having a blog is that it's my own diary. Looking back I can clock my cycles.

And so I can take some comfort from the certainty that I always feel the same way round about this time of year (though this year the slightly morose self-introspection appears to have come some 10 days earlier than usual).

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Green And Golden-Keats And Thomas

SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun

I'm sometimes at a loss to decide who, for me, best captures the mood of autumn.

Dylan Thomas looked at the world as if it had just been created, constantly comparing the imagery of autumn with spring. He opens his Collected Poems with a prologue at sunset—at the closing of a day and year and, in the end, his own life: “This day winding down now / At God speeded summer’s end.”

However he never more marked a contrast between the two seasons (perhaps) than in "Fern Hill".


Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daisies and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.

And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
In the sun that is young once only,
Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means,
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,
And the sabbath rang slowly
In the pebbles of the holy streams.

All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air
And playing, lovely and watery
And fire green as grass.
And nightly under the simple stars
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjars
Flying with the ricks, and the horses
Flashing into the dark.

And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all
Shining, it was Adam and maiden,
The sky gathered again
And the sun grew round that very day.
So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm
Out of the whinnying green stable
On to the fields of praise.

And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
In the sun born over and over,
I ran my heedless ways,
My wishes raced through the house high hay
And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
Before the children green and golden
Follow him out of grace.

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.
Then we have Keats, and his ode, To Autumn:
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.


Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.


Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,--
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Personally it's for you to decide. But I have a favourite. I read it at the service to celebrate my Nana's life. For me she was always spring, even in her autumn (which I hardly ever noticed).

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Season Of Mists And Mellow Fruitfulness

It certainly seemed that way. Here is 7.30am on Saturday morning outside my room at Robinson College, Cambridge.

As you'll see, Robinson is fashioned out of red bricks, so I figured that was fitting enough for my "going-up" to Cambridge, given my very working class roots.

You may well wonder why I was up at 7.30am after the night before?

Well, truthfully for me there was no night before. The academy was poorly attended. The atmosphere was doom and gloom, under the uncertainty of redundancies (which seem pretty certain if you ask me). It didn't help that the first speaker was giving us a (rather pessimistic) overview of the commercial real estate/property finance market.

I didn't need to hear yet again that this was probably the end of the beginning rather than the beginning of the end.

Our German colleagues felt happened upon that they should have to get up at 4am to make it to Cambridge for a 12.30pm start, so most of them didn't bother coming.

So, it was anything but lively, hence my retiring to bed at 10.30am. I was waiting with anxiety for the Today R4 programme which starts an hour later on Saturday.

Which is why you find me up at 7.30am.

So, does one go up or go down to Cambridge? I better ponder that. No doubt a viewing of Brideshead Revisited will clarify.

On which subject, hmmm I wonder, is Ben Whishaw gay?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Weather, We're Having!

September is hardly my favourite month.

As a child it was back to school (well, actually in Scotland that was August). So, it was the month you were fed up with being back to school already, your only comfort looking forward to the October holiday to come.

As an adult, it's the month when the nights draw in and the mornings become ever shorter. The air is noticeably chillier; soon the central heating will need to be switched on.

It's when the days on the beach and by the pool, in the heat, feel as far away as the hot summer destinations themselves...

Xfe is halfway through his 6 week trip on the other side of the world. This weekend, my first at home since he left, found me rattling around an empty flat; finding housework to do just to keep me busy, to put off the moment I sat down and missed not having him sitting down beside me, under his blanket.
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Wonder why I didn't feel it in 2007?

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Last Mantaray

On November 5 2007 we went to see Siouxsie Budgie, née Banshee at the Roundhouse.

Just the other evening her Last Mantaray concert was on Sky Arts, so I recorded it for Xfe. He is a huge fan...

Because I had nothing else to watch I switched it on this evening. During the intro they featured pre-concert going goths and post-punks, praising their goddess of punk.

Whereas my enduring memory of seeing her at the Roundhouse was that the concert was full of suits.

Could I ever have thought, as an alternative-indie type in 1982, that I would see her in concert, turning up from my middle-class job in a middle class suit, with so many other middle-class middle aged grown-ups cheering her Hong Kong Garden?

Still, our money's just the same, and made the event a Happy (if out of tune) House of former "punks", leaving us Spellbound (I'm sure).

Oh, and her kicks in mini skirt and thigh boots. Perhaps she'd be better suited to making jam at home now, just like granny...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Things To Come

How anal am I? I've left the new Mac on the workstation and grabbed the old one (now in the bedroom) because I'm too precious to use it for fear of wearing down the keyboard. What's that about, really?

It's a problem I suffer-one I suspect I am not alone having.

I think that's why I stock up on stuff. I feel the need to hoard and not to use. For example, Xfe has banned me from buying Molton Brown bath/shower gel until we get through the 17 or so we have in our wardrobe-some from over 3 years ago.

And it's not just bathroom treats. DVDs (still wrapped in the plastic, I have a pile that I can now watch on Sky Movies), bottles of gin, clothes.

Something for a rainy day. Just like Tuesday in London. How it rained. I couldn't get on a bus for ever. Neither could the rest of London.

I should post about bus etiquette in London. It really is the pits.

In the meantime, because I recently bought the digitally remastered 1936 classic Things To Come, and toyed with the idea of buying When Worlds Collide and the original The Day the Earth Stood Still Amazon.co.uk is suggesting these others:

Beginning before World War II and travelling to 2036 AD, Things To Come speed predicts a host of modernities affecting "Everytown", before following a rocketship to the moon.

I seem to remember that in some, it is uncannily accurate. The music is commanding, and for 1936 the film impressive.

At least that's how I remember it, though all will be revealed. If only I can bring myself to peel open the cellophane covering my digitally remastered DVD.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

But I'm Never Sure What I Can Take For It

So, recently I've been posting about my fanboy happiness as a fArmER's bOys boy fan.

Now I'm super happy that more and more of their music is appearing on YouTube.

Let's go and do some drinking

(My postings elsewhere on here include letters from Baz, who you see singing.)

Maturity - A new innocence is there for the taking

Even the so rare...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Weather, We're Having!

September is hardly my favourite month.

As a child it was back to school (well, actually in Scotland that was August). So, it was the month you were fed up with being back to school already, your only comfort looking forward to the October holiday to come.

As an adult, it's the month when the nights draw in and the mornings become ever shorter. The air is noticeably chillier; soon the central heating will need to be switched on.

It's when the days on the beach and by the pool, in the heat, feel as far away as the hot summer destinations themselves...

Xfe is halfway through his 6 week trip on the other side of the world. This weekend, my first at home since he left, found me rattling around an empty flat; finding housework to do just to keep me busy, to put off the moment I sat down and missed not having him sitting down beside me, under his blanket.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

9.09 09.09.09.

It's taken me until now to get the new Mac configured, having set up a network with the last one to transfer files over. I've dropped my iPhotos that Xfe needs into the public folder so that he can access them.

We each have our iTunes transferred over. I've just left the clutter behind.

So, this is the first post on my new Mac. Hurrah!

My memorabilia

We've had two Doctors, so now it's the turn of the Master v3.0

Here he is scheming Dok-tor 4's demise.

Another postcard for the fans from the BBC.

iTunes v9.0

And I now have iTunes v9.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

the fArmER's bOys

Continuing the journey into my boy-fan fArmER's bOys memorabilia, here's another letter from front man Baz.

I had intended to post these chronologically though this precedes the one dating from September 1983 blogged here.

In fact, it's here he mentions what [the name of their track] T.O.S.D. stands for. In my last post I had suggested this answer might have been different every time.

What a memory I have, though I had clearly forgotten Baz telling me that The Old Spotted Dog was after the name of a pub.

The album referred to is Get Out & Walk (just re-released on CD in June this year). Here's the video of For You, the single released from it.

(7" Double Single & 12") July 1983 (Chart Pos. 66 - 3 weeks).

Monday, September 07, 2009

A Sun Setting

I took these pictures on the DLR last night (Docklands Light Railway), coming in from London City Airport to Bank.

I spent the weekend with my parents, where the realisation of the difficulty adapting to life with my mother's disability is slowly dawning on them.

Following the amputation of her leg she will be wheelchair bound. Even with a prosthetic I think she will struggle for mobility.

There is an emptiness, almost a melancholic loneliness, in these pictures. The sun is setting, the light is fading...


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