Thursday, August 07, 2003

Just back from holiday - which was much needed. I love summer, it's my favourite time of year - it can never be too hot for me.

Since I've been away I have decided to brave cutting my own hair. The last time I tried this I was 12 and it all went very wrong as I ended up making a complete mess of it and having to have it all shaved off. I was always too scared to try again, but I've been sick of getting crap, expensive hair cuts that don't suit me - my hair will not go into a Hoxton Fin, although that's the only style anyone wants to give me. Anyway, I am impressed with the results - and it didn't cost a penny!

Big Brother was a complete disappointment this year. But Big Brother America (showing on E4) is a revelation. Stylistically it is a bit silly, with razor-sharp editing, a hyperactive soundtrack and an emphasis on scheming, but god it's good. The rules of the game mean that alliances can be formed and broken, and that the characters don't face a public vote so there's less fakey niceness. My favourite characters are Dana (aka "Man Troll") an emotional New Yorker, Nathan - a probably closeted pretty-boy from the Bible Belt, Justin - a he-man with a deformed ear, and Alison - Justin's ex-girlfriend who is a combination of Lady MacBeth and the evil bitch from Carrie. The programme is addictively good - there's none of this "Day 54, Scott has been asleep for 2 hours and 24 minutes" rubbish. These characters never sleep. They simply bitch, conspire and flirt with each other. Unfortunately David, a rather sexy military man has been voted off, but there's still a lot of mileage in this recreation of Ancient Rome. Watch it and get hooked.

Another show I've become addicted to recently is the Anna Nicole Show. The true star of the programme isn't Anna Nicole though - it's her insipid yet poisonous "deeziner" - Bobby Trendy. Acne-scarred Bobby was put in charge of creating a pink, feathery paradise in Anna's bedroom - but he did it on the cheap and it all went wrong, resulting in recriminations, restraining orders and glasses of wine being thrown in people's faces. Bobby is the perfect pantomime demon - in fact all of the characters on Anna Nicole are like John Waters creations. I love it.

To update you on my recent fracas with my bank (over the "are you a homosexual" question on their life insurance questionnairre) - yesterday I had a 20 minute telephone conversation with their head underwriter who tells me that he is extremely concerned about the perceived discrimination inherent in the question and is conducting an investigation, as he believes that the statistics of HIV infections are based on data from 1995 or earlier - he's contacting the statisticians to see whether there still is any basis to question people about their sexual orientation. I see this as a victory (of sorts) - at least the bank has taken my complain seriously and are going to investigate my points. I don't know whether what they will find will result in changes in policy (I hope it will), but this is an issue which the media have taken an interest in recently (I sent the bank copies of newspaper articles I'd collected on the subject), and I still believe that such a question is unneccessarily intrusive and will result in many people lying (and therefore denying their sexuality) (feel free to disagree with me if you like, although I'm not going to debate it).

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