Friday, December 31, 2010

Objectif 2010 - FAILED

I've not failed anything so far in life. Exams, driving test etc etc. All passed.

At the beginning of the year I set myself a task.

52 shows in 52 weeks

Well, I failed. Mainly because, our focus for the year, unexpectedly, changed. We bought a new house...

Still, I had a good run.

Last night I saw show 29. It ended with a bang, quite literally, with Black Watch at the Barbican.


Viewed through the eyes of those on the ground, Black Watch reveals what it means to be part of the legendary Scottish regiment, what it means to be part of the war on terror and what it means to make the journey home again.

Fantastic! Wonderfully challenging, difficult and thrilling. It was hard to believe these were not real soldiers.

I think the realistic language disturbed many of the audience. Even Xfe was amazed that "cunt" could be such a frequently used adjective and noun! But, no apologies - these are meant to be real soldiers, and who would doubt it.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas 2010

Well, Christmas came and went.

Back at home, there were two trees, lights and parcels all around. Here's a scattering of pics I never managed to post until now.

Christmas presents still unpacked, unwrapped.
Christmas promise still to pass.

Festive cheer, so will pass another year.
Joy and delight, to the deity Consume.

Materialism and greed give pleasure.

It is better to buy, then buy some more.

The new reason for the season;

Spend. Spend. Spend.

Buy, eat, feast.

More. More. Please more.

Or else, we fear. We fail.

So, until next year, I'll be thinking all about what I can do bigger and better. It starts right here...

Books for Xfe. He loves reading. More Ted for me...

Two CDs for me, one for Xfe. I was given the first one, which I knew to be a CD. I hoped as I unwrapped, but with the first glimpse I knew that it was not. Nevertheless it was one I was interested in buying.

But I could tell immediately, the way Xfe looked, squinted to see the CD he was trying to see what it was. hat told me that somewhere in my pile of gifts was another. Which he gave to me and I ripped open.

HURRAH! The one I had hoped to get and hadn't bought myself.

You'll be able to work out from last year's present report which is which!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas 2010 - Snails And Frogs Legs

It's nice to go, but even better to come home...

This Christmas was one spent in France, in the Alps.

As usual, there, the Christmas meal is celebrated on Christmas Eve. The traditional French meal includes snails, one of the few times they are actually eaten.

Smothered in garlic butter and parsley they are just like some indistinct mollusk, whose texture is best not to dwell on, but whose flavour is totally disguised for consuming.

I'm always asked if I've had frogs legs, another French "delicacy". This time we dined in a restaurant that actually had them on the menu. So I partook. NEVER AGAIN.

People say they are like chicken. I think that is a myth passed on by people who say they have had, but actually haven't and rely on hearsay.

They are NOT like chicken. More like a wet, less robust prawn. Little flesh, almost sucked off the bone. Really, I could have barfed.

Is it any surprise they are served smothered in...garlic butter and parsley? I think not. Not at all like chicken in texture or taste, I found.

Snails I've eaten before, and probably again, though it's not a huge pleasure. But cuisses de grenouille, non, merci.

Still, my eyes feast on the scenery here. Let us hope weather will not delay us.

It's nice to go, but SO much better to come home...

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Self Portrait #13

So, I left you pondering why we might always be looking for something more. What might make life more complete. Always wanting something more. When I was interviewed we were living in the flat. Now of course we have the big house. Is it enough?

Showing here is the Wii me, with Xfe. To tell you the truth, I think they are pretty accurate little characters...

So I spend time thinking, “Is it because I don’t have children? Would my life be complete if I had children?” And I don’t think so. I look at my straight friends who have children. Is their life that bit more complete? That’s the answer: it’s that bit more complete, but it’s probably not complete. It’s that bit more complete because they have their own family, their own offspring, who’ll give them the kind of unconditional love that we all crave that’s different from the love even a partner can give you. A friend’s partner left her when she was pregnant, but it suited her to be pregnant anyway, because she couldn’t wait to have kids. She may not have had a partner but she was going to have a child who she could channel her love to and who would channel love back. But she got back together with her partner and they’re now married and have their second kid. So the first part of that journey is that I will never be fulfilled: there will always still be something that little bit more that I need to be fulfilled.

I’ve had to make compromises in my relationship. Part of coming to London was always that I wanted to be living in the south of France in five years’ time. But it just so happens that my partner is French and the last place he wants to live is France. He doesn’t even want to have a holiday home there—and why would he? He loves London. He wants to continue living in London for a lot longer than I do. I don’t know. I’m sure we’ll live a long life together, but I would happily go back to Scotland. We’re on this journey together, and it’s a great comfort that we are on it together. When I’m totally stressed and feeling how grim work is the really nice thing is that at home I’ve got Xfe. And that’s a big thing, a really important thing. I think he’s mellowed me in a lot of ways. I used to get a lot more stressed about stuff, even when I was with S~. It wasn’t that I didn’t feel secure in that relationship; I just know I’m more secure now. I’m just happier feeling secure in my relationship and that helps a lot with other aspects of my life. I don’t get so worried about what may or may not happen because at the end of the day I can come home and Xfe is here. Who knows where we’ll end up together, but we’ll end up together, I’m sure.

Well, that's the end of my Self Portrait. That I split it up into 13 parts is no coincidence. 13 is my favourite number.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Lucky Bitches

While the UK ground to a halt due to "adverse" weather conditions (some snow), we were rather lucky and must have been among the very few who actually managed to fly back into London on Sunday.

We'd spend a few days with my parents in Scotland, and although we drove 50 miles in a blizzard, we made it!

Although, truth be told, that meant I made it to work when everyone was expecting me to be stranded up north.

C'est la vie.

We flew in from the west, so over Canary Wharf, which looked rather festive.

And the Dome, O2.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Self Portrait #12

Only a couple more installments of my Self Portrait interview done about 4 years ago for some book that may never have been published.

I've not changed the text, though when I re-read some of it I should think I might have! Still, the idea is that it's as you find me, well, as you would have found me 4 years ago...

Because I make decisions for other people all day I don’t like to have to make decisions at home—sometimes with ridiculous consequences. If I want to watch a DVD, I’ll say, “Which film will we watch, Xfe?” but he doesn’t want to choose either, and we end up watching just anything: he can’t choose and I can’t choose and we don’t want to make a decision so we just continue watching TV. Xfe’s not proactive, or fussed about making decisions: he’d rather I made a decision.

What would make my life feel complete? I don’t know. I just think it’s in the nature of people always to be looking for something more, and what you’re looking for changes. If you’re not in a relationship, you want to be in a relationship. If you’re not in the right kind of relationship, you want to be in the right kind of relationship. I’ve got an acquaintance who’s been going to the gym for years, and he wanted to change the shape of his body so that he could have better sex, more sex. He just happened to mention that he went along to something on Sunday night and there were seven blokes and they all just had a shag. And he said he came home and just felt so cheap and so dirty because he came home alone, and he just realised that he wanted to have a partner he could come home to. So people want to have sex, but they want to have a partner. They find a partner, so then it comes down to having the right relationship. Then when you get the right relationship, you focus on something else. I mentioned that I love this flat but already it’s quite small. We’ve started looking at buying a bigger house somewhere. So the focus is, “Maybe it would be nice to have a bigger house.” Well, yeah—it would be nice to have a bigger house and we do need it, but I know that as soon as we get a bigger house, the focus will shift to having or doing something else. I’m absolutely convinced that there’s always something else you want or need or aspire to in life. You’re never going to get there.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Strange Dreams

This one ranks in bizarre....

Three of my friends were swimming with me, at school (or University), I can't remember which.

Then we were performing with Mariah Carey (think All I want For Christmas (Is You)). Then it was dressing room and one of the boys needed to go.

We sat chatting as he sat on the loo, and thought it would be fun to boast to friends "I've dumped in front of Mariah Carey". So, we call her in, obscuring Grant who is sitting on the loo.

Mariah comes in to ask what's going on, at which stage there's an effortless "plop", she sees immediately what's going on, we burst out laughing (I think I burst out laughing in my sleep), and she leaves the room saying we are gross.

Where on earth did that one come from? Wow!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Self Portrait #11

It sounds a bit trite but Xfe is more interesting because he’s foreign, and there’s something else that’s really funny. We’ve never really fallen out or argued in the two years or so we’ve been together. It’s difficult for us to argue because as soon as Xfe starts getting wound up or agitated or feels he’s in a stressful situation, he loses his English. So we can’t argue in English. And I can’t argue in French because my French isn’t good enough. So we tend not to argue and that’s partly why. But, as I say, we don’t seem to get into the situation in the first place because we’re more tolerant of each other: we’re more mature and we know not only what our faults are and how to address them but what our relationship demands and expects.

One expectation of the relationship is that we’re married and that we live together. It’s my flat--I bought it before I was with Xfe—but I’m very conscious that it’s our place. So, for example, at a very basic level, there’s some of Xfe’s old-fashioned furniture, not that much. I’d never have had that. At the time it was a real compromise for me to have that in the flat because it’s really not my style. That may sound a silly thing, but it isn’t. It’s my house, but I have to be aware that it is also our home. Equally, I’m very aware that Xfe works, but he only works half the year: he’s a freelance make-up artist. He doesn’t earn as much money as me, and I’m very conscious of the fact that there shouldn’t be a financial imbalance but on the other hand I don’t need to be. I’m away working every day. Xfe’s routine is pretty much the same every day when he’s here: he gets up first, makes me my breakfast and sees me away, then he starts his cleaning. He cleans every day, and then, because he’s French, he goes shopping for fresh food every day. He buys the food then comes back and finishes his cleaning, then watches a little bit of TV and starts making me my dinner. I come home every night to find he’s made a lovely dinner—a main course with salad and bread and cheese. I used to have a cleaner, but I don’t need a cleaner now. That is his contribution, what he brings to our partnership: he’s a homemaker and that’s great. He’s the homemaker, and to me that’s just as important as me going out and being the main breadwinner. I’d love not to be. I’d love to be the one who’s supported, but that’s how it is. So there are those demands and those expectations, whereas there might have been an imbalance.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Interlude

I'm wrapping the children's presents right now.

Wrapped and ready, soon, to be be-jizzled.

Shopping And Wrapping And Stuff

I don't know whether I'm behind or ahead of my Christmas tasks.

The upstairs (guest) bedroom has presents all laid out, for wrapping. Xfe has suggested that we have an austere Christmas. It makes perfect sense. After all, next year we want to get the garden completely landscaped and the trees at the back fixed. We would like to start getting the sash and case windows double glazed...

But, on the other hand, it's like a Christmas nightmare coming real. The dream when I wake up on Christmas day to find that I only have no gifts.

(Usually I buy them a few main gifts and lots of little things to go with them, and a stocking).

What actually made me see spending sense was having to buy both my own and Xfe's main Christmas presents from my Mum and Dad for us. My Mum doesn't know what we have and therefore what to buy, can't easily access the shops etc.

So, there I was spending £250 on behalf of my Mum, and thinking about spending the same on them, when STOP! What was the point. I told my Mum I had bought something for each of us, and she need not buy another thing. The gifts I bought on her behalf were enough.

But, with only an M&S sweater for my Dad (how original), today with Christmas creeping closer, I feel the need to buy something else.

I think I'll get him the Girl with the Dragon Breath trilogy, and perhaps some toiletries.

In comparison with my Mum, my Dad's Christmas pile is always smaller.

I've sent my brother some cash for him to buy their stocking fillers. They will be with him on Christmas Day.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It's Behind You

Oh no it isn't.

Objectif 2010's show 29 was the Hackney Empire's 2010 panto offering, Jack and the Beanstalk, with great dame, Clive Rowe.

As to what it's about, well, just read about last years....!

It's officially London's best panto.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Self Portrait #10

Well, here comes more of the same. After this only 3 more to go. I'm sure I'm shaping up in your mind's eye.


And now there’s Xfe. I thought I’d had real love before, but it’s so different with Xfe. I’d never have expected it to be so different. I compromise a lot more with Xfe. Is that because my love for him is different or is that because of my experience in other relationships, so that I know where I’ve been at fault or may have been at fault and what I may need to do to sort it. There’s much more of a connection with Xfe than there was with S~, and certainly with B~. With Xfe things are easier. Maybe it’s because we’re both older and maybe know what we want in life so we’re less inclined to waste time with people who aren’t exactly what we were looking for. If I hadn’t had met Xfe, I wouldn’t have gone out with people. I’d maybe meet them and know pretty quickly whether I felt a relationship could develop with them or not, and if they were an “or not” there would be no point in seeing them again, whereas 10 or 15 years ago you might have done just for fun because you were bored and wanted a shag or whatever. Your priorities definitely change as you get older, and I think Xfe and I are both mature enough to be aware of that. There was just much more of a connection that developed really, really quickly. That connection? At a very simple level, there’s a physical thing. Xfe is much more the kind of person I go for: he’s Mediterranean, dark haired, dark eyes. S~ was Scottish—very fair, blond hair, slightly freckly. It didn’t much matter when I was with him and it’s not that I wasn’t attracted to him, but now I can see that physically I’m much more attracted to Xfe. Xfe is the closest to me in age of the three. S~ was about eight years younger than me. He was very mature for his age, but I can see now that the age gap made a big difference, because we were at different stages of our lives. But also, just in terms of living together, it’s easier. I don’t feel that I’m walking on eggshells with Xfe, which with the benefit of hindsight I can see is probably what I was sometimes doing with S~.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Christmas Before Christmas

Hip Hoorah!

Commencing as of right now I am on holiday. Three more working days until Christmas (I have to go back on the 20th, but I figured I'd try escape the storm before the calm. It seems to have worked, though, there is of course the chance that when I am back, I'll be super extra hectic.

Though I hope I can take it for only 3 days.

Tomorrow I hope to:
  • have a lie in
  • get a haircut
  • buy our main Christmas tree
  • write some Christmas cards
This morning I was up and about at 3am, checking the blackberry, emailing. I went back to bed, but knowing I had to be in the office for 6am-ish I didn't go back to sleep.

Instead I pondered, worried, relaxed in Xfe's arms, worried some more, planned, rehearsed...

Then I was up at 5.10am, and in the office just after 6am. By 3pm I was pooped...

Though now I'm HAPPY JOLLY. Christmas 2010 starts here.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

A Self Portrait #9

I'm guessing that at one point I must have been rather proud of this pic, appearing somewhere on my blog. Though I couldn't find the post I remember someone - perhaps Nik, rather appreciating this snap.

On reflection, I think I do have rather nice nipples.

Though I digress. Let's take up where I left off.

Talking about how my tastes have changed, I think the main thing that has changed or developed that sense of culture is my earning capacity. I now buy pieces of art, because I can afford to. When I was a student I had posters and things because they were all I could afford at the time, and that was fine, but I was desperate for the day when I could actually buy some real paintings. Now I have some real paintings and I eat fine food because I can afford to go out and eat fine food in more expensive restaurants. So a huge factor is financial—what I can afford to do because of the job I’m in and where I am in my career.

I’ve had three serious relationships in my life. The first, with B~, lasted five and a half years. Then he left to do his PhD in Vancouver and that was the end of that relationship. At the time I was brokenhearted. I thought I’d never meet anyone again. Then I met S~, and S~ and I were together for more than seven years. But latterly that didn’t work out. I thought that B~ loved me and I thought that I loved him. I did love him, but I now know that B~ didn’t love me in the same way that I loved him. S~ I know absolutely loved me but I guess we weren’t right for each other, and because we weren’t right for each other I just wasn’t there to return his love in the way he needed it returned—to sustain that equality of love on which a relationship can be founded and can work. I find it surprising that somebody you’ve loved can go out of your life. To have shared so much experience and given so much love to somebody only for that person to disappear and not be an important part of your life, other than historically, I find very, very strange.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Paradigm For Christmas Time

This year's new Christmas tree decoration. Paradigm for Christmas time. Christmas Daleks. How lovely!

An exclusive, I hope...


These will be appearing on our Christmas tree. I'll string them and then they'll be hung.


Well hung! Dalek drone and strategist. For Christmas. The tree - next weekend.

Deck The Halls

There's a fine line between love and hate.

There's also a fine line between putting up your Christmas decorations too early, or not. Too early is for chavs.

Attitude Magazine have put out their baubles. This December's edition is their Sex Issue. I mean, as if there's time for that in between all the home crafts/cooking/festivities.

Flicking through the pages I see I'm mentioned (well indirectly). In the "On Porn" section I see there's an interview with the flatmate of an ex-boyfriend of mine (3 weeks, and that was over Christmas and he was French too). And there's another interview (also in the "On Porn" section) with someone I've had sex with.

gods, I must have been hot.

Compare this with the feckless, the vain and the ineffective, showing here.

Fortunately I've not had sex with any of them. But I hear say there are probably only 6 degrees of separation between us (Stockard Channing blows people away, you know).

Anyway, back to when it's acceptable to put up the Christmas decorations.

Well, you tell me - then I'll tell you. When is it acceptable to put up the Christmas decorations?

Friday, December 03, 2010


I never knew who these might be. But now I know. I found the tool to identify them.

Thank you.

(Now I know where to find you.....)

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Books Etc

Recently, I mentioned books.

Ben suggested my hoarding was nesting. Though I knew it was not.

Sometimes hidden, sometimes not.

These books, everywhere, hold a promise to be realised. Every word is a joy, an education, a reveal, an enlightenment, a relief.

The promise of future deliciousness. Though, far too often for me, that's where it rests. The future. All these books, fonts of knowledge. I never actually get round to reading.

Books, knowledge. Something that in truth I hunger for. That I'd eat knowing there would be no indigestion. To learn, to understand (or not).

Though there is, in these piles, a mischief. Every book belonging to Xfe you see here, he has read. Me, not so. But look closely and you'll see here, and below, Xfe's books peppered with books of my choosing, sneaked in - and unread, yet to be discovered by Xfe.

The books here I started collecting and reading around 1976. I'm still collecting them.

Books everywhere, always.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Self Portrait #8

It wasn’t simple for me to come out as gay, because I wanted to be no different from my friends, and all my friends had girlfriends. So I didn’t come out to them until later—some at 18 and some three or four years later. The fact that I found it difficult had nothing to do with being nervous about how they would react. What made it difficult was that I had concealed it from them for so long that I felt guilty. These were my friends, and why would you conceal something from your friends if not because of an underlying fear of how they’d react? I wondered how my friends would feel if they thought that I’d had that fear. Wouldn’t they be distressed? Wouldn’t they think, “But we’re your friends. How on earth would we think any differently of you for that?”

My parents were a completely different kettle of fish, because I just knew it was going to be so hard. My mother found out purely by chance. I’d been having lunch with her and I was meant to be meeting the guy [(B)] who was my boyfriend at the time. We were late and there he was storming up the road and he was so wound up about my being late that when he bumped into me he really exploded. My mother rang me back that afternoon and said that there was just something so wrong about that reaction, that it wasn’t the reaction of a friend. And it was just so distressing and dreadful to her. And she still has a difficult time with it now, 11 or 12 years later. It’s much better now than it was when she didn’t want to know anything about it. It didn’t affect her relationship with me, how she felt about me—I was still her son—but it was something that she didn’t like to talk about.

Her initial reaction was shame and blame. Shame because it was such an awful thing to be a homosexual. I remember she said an absolutely horrible thing to me—I don’t think she realised just how horrible. A couple of years after she found out, when my brother’s wife was expecting their first child, she said, “I hope it’s a girl because that way I’ll get to see my grandchild. If it’s a boy, they’ll be saying, “You’ve got to keep him away from [MadeInScotland]”—because she associates gay people with paedophiles. It has become a bit easier…

I don’t really know about my dad. He was an only child and I don’t think his parents were openly emotional with him. I think he finds it hard to relate his emotions, so he doesn’t like to talk about things; I don’t think he ever has. When I told him I was gay his reaction was that it didn’t change anything—nothing more than that; he didn’t ask anything else about it. And he never asks… He’s polite to Xfe and he’ll call him “son”—I think he just calls people “son”—but he doesn’t talk about stuff.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Poor Keep Breeding

Xfe is watching Question Time. Although I don't do Karen Brady, nor Alan Sugar, I do do Jonathan and Richard Dimbleby.

Usually I'm in bed for QT - it's after my witching hour. (Tonight I didn't get home until after 10pm).

On Friday night/Saturday afternoon, I love to listen to Any Questions/Any Answers on my favourite R4.

I've missed Tennant's vampiric bedtime tale tonight. But I did order the translation of the dissertation from whence it came.

Also bought today:
  • NT tickets for Frankenstein.
  • Panto tix for London's No. 1 panto
Purchases arrived today:

Doctor Who: Action Figure Collectors Set: Revenge Of The Cybermen (Product Image)

(3 sets).

Purchases due for dispatch tomorrow:

But don't tell Xfe. I'll be exterminated - I've ordered 30 of them.


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