Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Hallowe'en


and fancy dress

The epitome of our Hallowe'en today.

Happy All Hallow's Evening.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Hallowe'en Coming

Don't look out the window, because Halloween's Coming.

I've been invited to a party, but it's fancy dress and without Xfe I prefer to stay in at night, or at least avoid venturing too far.

So, instead I'm going to watch some creepy-scary DVDs. All on my own.

Tonight I'm going to watch Zombie film Colin.

And tomorrow, Drag me to Hell...

I'll end up being too frightened for my own good, I'm sure. I'll certainly not be looking out the window. Neither should you.....

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

In The Company Of Michael Clark

This evening I went with pal R-1 to the Barbican to see Michael Clark Company's latest work.
This new work evolves from Clark’s admiration for the music of rock’s holy trinity, David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed, who worked in close proximity during the 1970s. The production includes Bowie’s iconic song "Heroes".

‘Rock is my rock. It has been vital to me at a personal level, it has shaped me as an individual as well as an artist’ - Michael Clark.
I've always admired Michael Clark. Go see Matthew Bourne and you will see a lazy execution of dance copied from (inspired by is too generous) Michael Clark.

In his time, Clark collaborated with fashion designers Bodymap, artists Leigh Bowery and Trojan, as well as The Fall, Laibach, and Wire.

It does no harm to go back to the original, and if you didn't realise it was, it is.

Michael and I hail from the same city.

On 15 February 1992 I spotted him one Saturday afternoon standing at the side of a phonebox outside the Palace Theatre. I always regret not saying hello.

Au Marche

Last Thursday morning took me to Borough market on business.

It’s the first time I’d been down there during the week at trading hours.

At home, especially when I’m alone, if there’s nothing better to watch, I tend to watch the food channel. I quite like Market Kitchen, filmed in the studios at Camden, but made to look like it’s done at Borough market.

Here’s Jun Tanaka making a cassoulet.

So, if you’re watching and he’s up cooking down the market, and it’s cassoulet, look out for me attending to business in the background!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Friday Evening

As I write this (last Friday evening) I’m sitting on the 20h05 Eurostar to Paris, waiting to be served dinner, enjoying a glass (real, not plastic) of champagne. I have a UK power point at my side.

All for £15 more than the cost of travelling standard class.

Remember it’s the age of austerity - so I made up the difference by tubing it to St. Pancras, rather than taking a black cab.

I can’t find a Wi-Fi signal. I ask the attendant. She sees my computer, but doesn’t understand.

Generally as a rule of thumb I speak English this side of the Channel and French on the other, taking my lead from the PA on board. I make an exception.

- Est-ce que vous avez le wi-fi?

- Non.

- Pas du tout?

- Pas du tout.

There’s no bloody wee-fee on the Eurostar. How last century is that?

So, instead I’ll have to do my French homework. I have to give a presentation to the class:

Suite au deces il y a 10 jours du chanteur Shephen Gately, qui faisait partie du boysband Boyzone, j'ai remarque les differentes manieres que la presse a utilise pour parler de Andy Coyles, son compagnon.
Dans certains articles, on fait reference a son mari, ou bien a son compagnon, ou alors on utilise le terme legal de partenaire civil.
L'utilisation du mot compagnon m'a fait parfois pense qu'en utilisant ce mot, on suggere que leur relation de couple n'etait pas aussi solide, ou permanente contrairement a des epoux traditionnels (un homme et une femme)
Il y a une grande difference concernant les droits des couples de meme sexe dnas le monde, et meme ne serait-ce que les pays de l'union europeenne.

(merci a Xfe)

Le PACS est un partenariat contractuel entre deux personnes majeures (les partenaires), quel que soit leur sexe, ayant pour objet d'organiser leur vie commune[1].

Ce texte est né d'une volonté de combler le vide juridique entourant les couples non mariés, y compris homosexuels. En effet, contrairement au mariage, le PACS est ouvert aux couples de même sexe. Il offre un cadre juridique complet, à la différence du concubinage, qui est une simple union de fait dépourvue de tout statut, avec plus de souplesse que le mariage, qui est une institution[2] minutieusement réglementée ayant pour objet la fondation d'une famille. Le mariage conserve pour lui ses symboles, son titre, son nom, mais ses conséquences sur la famille sont en recul : il n'a plus d'effet en ce qui concerne l'autorité parentale ou l'éducation des enfants ; même le symbolique livret de famille est délivré depuis 1974 aux parents non mariés.

With some cut & pasting from wiki eff err, which I’ll now have to re-organise, adding my own imperfect grammar and vocab so that it doesn’t look like a cut & paste job!

I bet you none of you ever thought of that now?

To save me the trouble of translating it for your benefit, I’m sure Google can do it for you!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Creepy And Kooky

Last Thursday Vic Mizzy, the songwriter behind The Addams Family theme tune, died at the age of 93.

Obviously the family of the President of Spain were mourning his passing when they recently met the Obamas...

They're creepy and they're kooky

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Left For Paris


Here I am in Paris, today. These are some pictures that I have taken.

In London the underground is a necessary mode of transport. In Paris it's iconic.


As in London, tempus fugit, and seasons turn...


Saturday, October 24, 2009

My Husband, Mon Mari

Against the reporting of Stephen Gately's death I pondered the press use of partner/husband/civil partner to describe Andy Cowles' relationship to the man he married.

So, are we husbands, or something less?


Bjørn said...

I agree absolutely.

Happily, all such discussions are over in Norway, where both gay and straight marriages are now covered by the same law - the marriage law. So of course my husband is my husband...

Miss Ginger Grant said...

How do you decide who is the husband and who is the wife? That's why I think a lot of people avoid the common straight nomenclature.
I referred to my ex as "the asshole" for most of our relationship! Thank God we weren't married!

Bjørn said...

Well, in our relationship there are two husbands and no wives. There's no confusion in that.

MadeInScotland said...

My two neighbours were married in South Africa (it is marriage there). They are designated as spouse A and spouse B.

As for us, well, mon C is my husband, and I am his!

P.Brownsey said...

Up to a point - but perhaps only up to a point - you can see why the newspapers get confused. Officially, i.e. legally, civil partnership is not marriage, so marriage-specific terms like "husband" strictly (i.e. legally) perhaps don't apply. Yet the UK Government website used to (and perhaps still does) recommend the use of what some marriage-specific terms in the case of civil partnership, e.g. "brother-in-law", so why not "husband", too? And "civil partner" is such a drab term, conveying nothing of emotional depth. And then, even if the reporter used "civil partner", some sub either ignorant or wanting to save space, strikes out "civil". Sometimes newspapers sort of fuse the two jargons, saying that "he wed him in a civil partnership ceremony": that's roughly how the Glasgow Herald reported John Barrowman. I have a hungh The Times online went so far as to use "husband" in ther Gately case. And don't forget that for every complaint about NOT using "husband", a newspaper who uses the term will probably get a complaint from some gay man who objects to what he regards as the connotations of "husband" as being somehow bound up with objectionable things like religion, capitalism, etc.

Unfortunately, "partner", even if qualified by "civil", hides the depth of grief and desolation that may be felt by the survivor. One site I read drew a *distinction* betwen Stephen Gately's "partner" and his "family": that is a particularly nasty sidelining of the, er, partner.

Mike said...

Miss Ginger Grant's comment did make me laugh :-). But the serious issue is a legal difference however small, is still a difference. People do, commonly, treat civil partnership as a marriage and should, if they so choose, refer to each other as husband - or be so referred to in the media. It's not difficult; Mike's husband, Fella's husband (hypothetically). Yet I can't help feeling, while CP is great, a 'marriage law' here would be that bit better.

MadeInScotland said...

I should add, as a lawyer, before I was "civilly partnered", whenever I heard someone refer to their CP as "marriage" or their partner as "husband" I used to mentally correct them.

Then, when mon C and I got married I realised that it just felt right and appropriate to refer to him as my husband, and to our wedding.

Our commitment to each other was no less than those of my heterosexual friends when they exchanged vows; we therefore deserved equality of terminology to reflect (and to demonstrate) that.

P.Brownsey said...

I think my experience was very much like MadeInScotland's. Before my partner and I got civilly partnered, we'd not thought of making a big deal of it. We were focused solely on the legal advantages. We weren't even going to bother with a ceremony. I think we'd have thought "husband" suggested some grisly parody of a wedding ceremony in which one of us simpered in a white dress and a five-days' growth of beard.

But even without a ceremony you need witnesses, and obviously we'd need to take the witnesses out for lunch afterwards; and then we kept thinking of other people to invite to the lunch; and gradually the thing grew to full ceremony and reception.

What we weren't prepared for was being hit by the full force of traditional wedding emotions. The pledging of commitment before family and friends...suddenly all the emotions swept over me that have been expressed in songs like the one from 'Bless the Bride': "This is my lovely day, it is the day I shall remember the day I am dying..." Suddenly "husband" was the right word.

Paul Brownsey

DanProject76 said...

It's husband every time for me and my husband. To us it was a wedding in the usual sense and the word partner is not strong enough.

Friday, October 23, 2009


On his first trip to China this year, in January, Xfe took me back various Chinese "goodies". Including this.

It's shampoo.

Like thick nicotine, the smell not unappealing but with a tarry smokiness, it's a thick gell that comes out like a fat worm and holds it's shape.

Presumably it's designed for the traditional Chinese Party look. Just like the gentleman in the picture.

Unfortunately I'm not allowed to use my Haushka shampoo until the Bawang is finished.

Size wise it's only 200ml, but this bottle is gifted with TARDIS like qualities. Like Andrex would have us believe, it seems to go on, an on, and on and on...

Bawang on Wiki

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Waiting For Fate To Turn The Light On

Last weekend I was visiting my parents in Laurencekirk. Well, they actually stay* outside the village.

The teenagers seem as angst ridden as anywhere. Typically on the emo side, ever so slightly, but well behaved for the moment.

Whether it's the Scottish government or something else, buying alcohol is strictly policed.

My brother's partner, who is living with my parents for the moment, is 35 and gets asked every time to prove her age in one of these local shops. That is every time.

It is funny amusing. Though it was a little less for her. She didn't have any ID as it was still in their house in Newcastle. So my brother had to bring up her passport just so she could buy a bottle of wine in the local co-opie.

This weekend I bought a bottle of Prosecco. In front of me at the till was a younger looking girl with 3 bottles of some Irn Bru alcopop and 3 bottles of another. (Litre size mind you). She automatically presented her drivers licence to the woman behind the till.

I heard her say something like, "lucky you - only just though!"

She had only recently reached her 18th. The woman behind the register looked at me. I smiled, knowingly. Oh, to be carded. To be newly 18 again...

"I hope I don't see you out of control in the streets, later, " she humourously childed the new adult.

"Nah, I'm just having some of my mates round to watch the X-Factor."


My turn. All I had was my bottle of Prosecco and 2 bags of crisps to bring back to my parents (knowing my brother is coming up to them later this week I got something in for him).

"Have you got proof of your age?"


I mean, when did that last happen to you?

*Scottish people often use "stay" to mean live. I didn't realise for a long time that it was peculiar to us and not used in England in the same way. You stay in a hotel on holiday, but live in France...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ben Whishaw: New Movie?

Does Ben Whishaw have a new film coming out....or is he getting maried to a girlfriend, and I'm not in on the news?

I'm swamped, yet again, with hits referred by to by a Google asking either for "Ben Whishaw's girlfriend", or "is Ben Whishaw gay".

If he is, or if he is not, is he super handsome/engaging/enigmatic?

Having seen him on the stage twice I have to acknowledge his supreme presence.


p.s. and it seems that I am the no. 1 site for a Google search against "Alexander Rybak naked". Oh, my.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

London City - Dundee

On Saturday morning I flew from City airport (super-convenient; off the plane and in my front door in 50mins), to visit my parents.

Flying in a 28 seater with propellers always used to daunt me, notwithstanding that, rather bizarrely, it's AirFrance who fly the route via their carrier CityJet.

But you do fly over central London, out east and over the Olympic stadium in progress (though this time I was sitting on the other side of the plane).

Over the Dome....

and Canary Wharf.

There's the City, looking west along the Thames.

The Lake District, and west to the Irish sea. Look closely and see the rolling hills...

More hills, and these are on the Scottish side of the border.

That's the Firth of Forth, and we're now following the east coast.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Jan Moir -vs- The Rest Of The World

I pondered whether there was likely some barb to the Daily Mail's use of "husband" in its headline referring to Stephen Gately's death.

Sure enough, here is the poison - Jan Moir's article

A strange, lonely and troubling

death . . .

Which if you want to read, you must only do if you read Charlie Brooker's retort

Why there was nothing 'human' about Jan Moir's column on the death of Stephen Gately

Stephen Gately

The funeral of the former Boyzone star Stephen Gately is to take place at St Laurence O'Toole's Church in Dublin at midday today.

I suspect that there has been some "massaging" of events surrounding SG's death, driven by his family and Boyzone management (e.g. the all too quick assertion by the family that there was no third man involved).

You can understand - you wouldn't want your child's legacy to be a "sleazy" death.

Certainly, it does appear that this much (lifted from Moir's piece) is true; it has been widely reported:

After a night of clubbing, Cowles and Gately took a young Bulgarian man back to their apartment...

Cowles and Dochev went to the bedroom together while Stephen remained alone in the living room.

Her conjecture:

It is not disrespectful to assume that a game of canasta with 25-year-old Georgi Dochev was not what was on the cards.

What happened before they parted is known only to the two men still alive. What happened afterwards is anyone's guess.

Then, she suggests:

Another real sadness about Gately's death is that it strikes another blow to the happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships.

Gay activists are always calling for tolerance and understanding about same-sex relationships, arguing that they are just the same as heterosexual marriages. Not everyone, they say, is like George Michael.

Of course, in many cases this may be true. Yet the recent death of Kevin McGee, the former husband of Little Britain star Matt Lucas, and now the dubious events of Gately's last night raise troubling questions about what happened.

As if this were just a gay thing, concluding

And I think if we are going to be honest, we would have to admit that the circumstances surrounding his death are more than a little sleazy.

So, this sort of activity is exclusive to gays - arguing that they [civil partnerships] are just the same as heterosexual marriages?

Ashley Cole and Cheryl Tweedie come to mind...

In January 2008, a hairdresser named Aimee Walton alleged that she had engaged in drunken extramarital sex with Ashley Cole in a kiss-and-tell interview with The Sun. Glamour model Brooke Healy claimed that she had spent the night and had sexual relations with Ashley Cole in December 2006. Promotion for Girls Aloud's "Can't Speak French" was put on hold. Cheryl stopped wearing her wedding band. The couple, however, have reconciled and stayed together. Source.

Were it not that my plane's about to board, I'm sure that I could find a myriad of others...

But, when all is said and done, there is a great sadness in SG having died on the couch, alone, and Andy Cowles forever having to question whether, had he not left SG on the couch, might events have turned out differently?


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