Wednesday, August 25, 2004

My new favourite link - queer music heritage. Follow it for recordings of camp 1960s songs like "I'd rather swish than fight", "rough trade" and "leather jacket lovers". It's all butch-femme stereotypes, trips to Fire Island etc. I should probably find it offensive, but I'm afraid I can't.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

I have bought a piano and am loving it. I had piano lessons as a child, from a rather stern lady called Sylvia - and I had a part-time job as a restaurant pianist many years ago, but A levels and gay sex made me lose interest in my late teens. However, now it's back. I'm hopelessly rusty, but don't care. My love of Debussy and Sate can now resume.

Have you ever read Britain's "best-selling quarterly" This England?. A friend who has travelled to this time period from the early 1930s buys it regularly. It's like pornography for ex-pats. It's full of pictures of green fields, villages, ponds, fetes, people on bicycles, royalty, flower arrangments etc. It does NOT contain any of the following: people smoking outside council houses, Arndale centres, girls wearing hair scrunchies pushing prams, working class people of any kind (unless they are jolly servants with ruddy faces, cheerfully polishing away in the background), motorways, McDonalds or hen parties. It is also shockingly anti-Europe and almost every page contains a not so hidden anti-Europe message. You can order a UK passport cover from it in order to conceal your shameful "EU travel documents" because we were "sold out by political plotters". My friend who buys it has absorbed it all and you can't say "Europe" to him without him falling to the ground, writhing and foaming. My only opinion about Europe is that it's very funny watching anyone express an opinion either for and against it - although the "against" people tend to be the most amusing. I'd thought that the following noises "pshaw", "harrumph" and "tsk" had fallen into disuse, but they are all part of the vocal vocabulary of the This England fan-base.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

I had been wondering whether proportionally, blind people end up not being gay either because of the double stigma, or problems getting on the gay scene and then coping with its shallow "looks-based" culture, or because when visual stimulus is removed then there's less incentive to have a same-sex partner even if that's what you'd like. If blind gay people exist, then is that an argument for "nature" rather than "nurture"?

This essay answers all of my questions (except the last one). It's by a guy called Robert Feinstein who is blind and gay. Some of what he says is depressingly familiar - getting all excited about going to a gay bar for the first time and then being ignored by everyone when he gets there. At the risk of letting my ironic/cynical guard down for a moment, his article really moved me.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

How well do you know your own country? I'm ashamed to say for me, not very well. I know London, Brighton, most of the north, north Wales, bits of Scotland and that's about it. I don't know anything about the "Home Counties", Middle England, the Scottish Highlands or South Wales. So this year I made a vow to visit as many cities in the UK that I have never been to before. So far I've made it to Bournemouth, Bristol, Birmingham and Oxford. I still have to get to Nottingham, Stirling, Cardiff and Coventry. However, my journeys this year have made me realise how rubbish our train system is. Long delays, missed connections, problems with reservations, ovedrcrowded compartments, crap expensive food, locked toilets. Travelling on the train is no fun any more.

The only pleasure I get is listening to tough Scottish mothers argue with ticket inspectors (and always succeed in getting to sit in 1st class when there is no available seating elsewhere). My favourite train journey ever involved being in a compartment with a very elegant male-to-female transexual person who carried a ghetto blaster and filled the whole carriage with old-time music. I also enjoy seeing people lose their tempers on the train. Last week a man, furious at missing his connection, resplendent with bulging neck veins screamed at a BR employee across hundreds of people "You couldn't run a toy train!"

And it is interesting how ticket inspectors and train announcers all suddenly vanish when there is a delay. Or they lie to keep you quiet. "There'll be a delay of about 10 minutes here. You won't miss your connection." Thirty minutes later, the train crawls into the station, you've missed your connection and there's no-one in sight to complain to. I've noticed that certain hotel companies have starting lying as well. I've lost count of the number of times I've tried to check into a hotel (usually one of the big chains), only to be told "Our computer broke down, we've lost all our reservations - I'm sorry but we'll have to give you a smoking room with a view of two tramps having sex." They just overbook rooms, banking on the fact that people sometimes don't show up (so the hotel gets to keep their deposit). But when everyone does show up - they suddenly have a computer crash. Very convenient. Travel is fun - but also quite wearing on your nerves.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

We didn't get the gay reality dating show Boy Meets Boy in the UK, but I have managed to obtain a DVD of the entire series (entirely for sociological reasons I may add). I must admit to watching Joe Millionnaire, The Bachelor (American and British versions) and Average Joe so I am familiar with the slowly evolving dating genre (I can't wait for the one with the dwarves (can't think of a sensitive term)).

"Andra, what should I do?" "Suck your stomach in and hold this pose."

Anyway, I have only watched 2 episodes of Boy Meets Boy, and I am hooked on its badness. This is mainly due to the fact that a) the "leading man" has a big toothy Liberace smile that is so white it's like staring directly at the sun - when I close my eyes I can still see an imprint of it where it's burned into my retinas. b) Dani Behr. On behalf of Britain, I apologise to America for her. c) The fact that I started out thinking I'd be able to spot the straight interlopers and I got them all wrong so far. My gaydar is officially broken. d) the fact that the leading man isn't able to make a decision without discussing it endlessly and then gaining the full approval of his fag hag supportive female friend: the curiously named, multi-striped haired, cries at the drop of a cowboy hat Andra - I'm sure she's dropped a vowel and is really called the less exotic Andrea. Still, I kind of care how it all works out and hope that the budget is a bit bigger for series 2.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

I, for one, am pleased that Nadia won Big Brother. Next year, I'd like to see a prostitute win it please. However, I was pleased when this year's series finished. It's all a bit childish and indulgent really. I much prefer American BB which is a razor-sharp power struggle of gigantic proportions - none of this "Day 56, Dan is called to the Diary Room" crap. Every second of footage matters. Much more my cup of tea.

Speaking of which, my current guilty shame is the awful ITV1 "The Block". My favourite character is Marinella, who is destined to become every Daily Mail reader's Hate Figure because of so many reasons 1) she is an older woman going out with a younger man. 2) She has a vaguely foreign name so her parents were possibly asylum seekers 3) she works, rather than staying at home doing housework 4) she likes to go out "on the razz" a lot 5) she's lazy 6) she's devious 7) she's loud 8) she's whiny 9) she looks like a cross between uber-bitches Tracy Barlow and Karen McDonald from Coronation Street, therefore she MUST be evil.

Peter at Codeine Demons sent me the following link for a gay fizzy drink called Gay Fuel. I still haven't worked out if it's a joke or not.

I am also shocked to discover According to the site, "There's something wildly, almost primally, attractive about a guy with four legs." Hence the term boytaur. It's all part of the morphing porn craze, which is threatening to take over the internet (the moral panic starts here - if this continues then nobody with 2 legs is ever going to get any sex ever again!)

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Do you have a big personality, are aged between 18 and 30 and "up for a laugh"? Well please stop reading this website (there's nothing here for you) and head to the new digitial casting couch where you can be cattle called to appear on a wide variety of new reality tv shows and quizzes. It's my new favourite/worst website. Looking down the full list of programmes in development that require constestants/partipants, it becomes clear what the nation's obsessions and preoccuptions are. Makeovers, holidays, home improvements, families swapping, fat people, plastic surgery, cleanliness, dating, being very posh or very common, marriage - they're all recurring themes. Here are my favourite calls:

1970s Office: We are looking for twelve Advertising Creatives to be part of a new Reality based Entertainment show for Sky 1 called 1970s Office... For two weeks, the team will live and work without any trappings of 21st century technology.

Britain's Fattest Pets Do you have a podgy pooch? A hefty hamster? A beefy bunny? Or is your cat too fat for its cat flap?

Cleaner Than Clean: ITV are looking for a family where mum (or dad) are the cleanest people you have ever met? Are you extremely house proud and just like Monica from 'Friends'?

Gay Health and Fitness experts wanted. Endemol UK Productions are looking for two gay men to front a television series and use their professional skills to mould fat families into shape. If you have the right background and are sharp, witty and perceptive, we would like to hear from you.

What becomes shockingly clear from the list, however, is how simply derivative and imagination-lacking these "ideas" for new shows are. TV clearly isn't particularly ground-breaking or creative. Instead, it seems that if you put a group of tv execs in a Soho restaurant, give them all a little bit too much cocaine and tell them to brainstorm some ideas, all they can come up with are variations on what they saw on last night's telly. I'm sorry, but most of these formats are tired and crap. They're not only scraping the bottom of the barrel, they've gone through it and are now digging into the earth.

How about these "concepts" which I made up:

That's My Paedophile - victims of child abuse confront/stalk/maim the people who abused them years ago. It's all very cathartic. You must be aged between 18-30, attractive, bubbly and "up for it".

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be on the game? We are looking for 6 extroverted lads and lasses (18-25) who want to take part in our game-show "Prostitute" (working title). How much money can you make in 48 hours? The winner gets a camper van.

King of the Sauna: Are you a homophobic man? Would you like to run a gay sauna for 2 weeks and make new discoveries? We are making a documentary and would like to hear from you.

It's only a matter of time...

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Apparently, for my whole life I haven't been getting enough protein and I've been overdosing on simple carbohydrates in the form of chocolate and pastries which cause mood swings and make you put weight on. So my personal trainer has got me eating all sorts of weird food - seaweed, nuts, seeds, goat's milk, rye bread, green tea. Apparently most of the problems of western civilisation are to do with too much wheat and dairy products. It is difficult to avoid normal food though - when you look at what Marks and Spencers sell for example - it's full of ready meals that have had all the nutrients zapped out of them and sugar-filled sweets. It's difficult to go to a restaurant and avoid things like white rice (evil apparently) or cheese (bad). Fortunately I don't mind rye bread or the nuts and seeds (being vegetarian you learn very quickly to get over fussiness - or else you develop rickets). But I draw the line at seaweed. They don't call it weed for nothing. Disgusting.