Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A four hanky film

I watched Imitation of Love on Sunday night. It's a "women's picture" from the 50s . In short, the plot centres around two women, one white, one black and their respective daughters. Lana Turner plays the white woman, who is befriended by Annie Johnson (Juanita Moore) during a trip to Coney Island. Annie has no place to stay so ends up becoming Lana's live-in maid. The years pass, Lana becomes a famous actress and hits the big time. Meanwhile, her daughter has fallen in love with Lana's on-off beau (John Gavin), and Annie's daughter (whose father was white) is ashamed of her mother because of her skin colour and ends up as a gaudy vaudeville dancer. It kind of transcends the camp and soap by dealing with issues of racism, although by the end I was bawling like a 5 year old girl who'd had her doll's head pulled off.

The best thing about the picture though was John Gavin. Impressively wooden throughout, his job was to stand there and look pretty. And what more can you ask? He did a splendid job. John never really made the big-time although he appeared in a number of well-known films including Thoroughly Modern Millie, Psycho and Sparatcus. All the suave film stars that I like tend to be either dead now, or ancient. I was born into the wrong age.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Best of British?

Friend Dan has recently moved to the UK and is finding the weather to be surprisingly miserable. That should go a long way in explaining why the British are such a nation of Puddleglums. It's hard to maintain a sunny disposition when good weather equals a couple of days in August. Still, it's not all misery. Here's my list of things that are good about the UK (it's full of generalisations but hey!)

1. Sense of humour. From Noel Coward to the Krankies. We're a nation who likes to laugh.
2. Music. Like comedy, something for everyone.
3. Cool. I'm talking the now mythical Kings Road/Carnaby Street/Austin Powers cool.
4. Minding our own business. Go into any restaurant and you can't hear other people's conversation (except in certain bits of London which continually let the side down). You can be sure that you can be left alone if you want to.
5. Architecture and history. We have a lot of nice old buildings (that tend to be a bit cold and damp) and some absolutely monstrous post-war concrete horrors. Where-ever you are, there's always something to see.
6. British accents. There are so many of them, surprisingly so for such a tiny island. I never get tired of hearing them and asking people about theirs.
7. Seaside. Being an island, we have a lot of coast. And the seaside is something we still do very well. You're always within a few miles of a candy floss machine or a pier.
8. Eccentrics. Everyone has a right (even a requirement) to be weird.
9. Cosiness. A nice cup of tea, a bit of fattening cake, a warm fireplace. We do cosy very well.
10. The BBC. Still the best in the world.

And also, the 10 worst things...

1. Hypocrisy. See 2 and 4.
2. Tabloid newspapers. Awful. Crass. Dumbed down.
3. The Class system. Increasingly a "caste" system. Everyone in Britain is a snob or inverted snob to some extent.
4. Our attitude towards sex (see 1 and 2). Pretty dire - high teenage pregnancy rates, a growing rate of sexual infections. A lot of us still have a Carry-on films attitude towards sex - all sniggers and getting it wrong.
5. Alcohol abuse. Everyone's on the binge. The recycling boxes of posh Clifton rattle with wine bottles every morning, while there's sick on the pavement outside Yate's Wine Lodge down the hill in the less nice part of town. We have more words for being drunk than Eskimos have for snow. When did it happen? When did it all go wrong?
6. Celebrity culture. Be a footballer (or better still a footballer's wife). Go on the X Factor. Don't study for your A levels. Buy a lottery ticket instead. We love and hate our celebs. We celebrate failure and despise anyone who's successful.
7. Motorway services.
8. Everything is expensive. Want to buy a house? Forget it. A car? Take out a 25 year loan.
9. Miseries. Maybe it IS the bad weather, but you don't see many people smiling when you're out. The main difference between American and British gay men (apart from the pectorals being bigger) is that the Americans smile at you and say "hi" when they want to cruise you in the streets. The British ones just give you this weird furtive, almost angry stare. And then look away. It surprises me that anyone ever gets sex.
10. Moaners. We love to complain. :) We're a very very petty unforgiving nation at times.

Did I miss anything?

Friday, October 27, 2006

Donuts like Fannies

BBC4 showed the tv adaption of Fear of Fanny this week, and it was one of those rare shows that lived up to expectations. Julia Davis and Mark Gattis played tv-chef Fanny and her husband Johnny. The two actors were last seen paired together in the black comedy Nighty Night as Jill Tyrell and Glen Bulb, and were almost unrecognisable here. Davis was monstrously made-up in 1960s and 1970s psychedlic housewife costumes, her eyebrows drastically painted on, under a series of bright red wigs. The whole film is like wandering through a kitsch wonderland - with LSD-inspired wallpaper, (pre-conditioned) hair-styles and funky costumes and nightclubs all lovingly recreated.

A bitch who could have taught that horrible Ramsay man a thing or two, Fanny presided over her husband and a series of scared (mostly gay) flunkies. In one fabulous scene, a long-suffering flunky gets his revenge by not cooking the seafood dish properly, so it starts crawling off the table during an "at home" tv special. Fanny manages to recover, asking whether the interviewer would like to try the live ones or the dead ones. But the interviewer, who hates Fanny, gets drunk and calls her a "painted horror". Meanwhile, the flunky tells her "you're drag and you don't realise" before making a splendid queenly exit.

A lot of the storyline involved Fanny's relationship with a son she gave away when he was a child and her ever-increasing fear of being left alone. Occasionally, a human being does shine through. Her downfall comes when she has to advise a member of the public on getting a dinner party ready. Fanny's patronising, arrogant attitude is captured onscreen and the BBC decide she is surplus to requirements (if only Channel 4 had been around, Fanny would have been given an instant million pound pay rise). The final scenes show Fanny, demented in a nursing home, still attempting recipes for cameras that have long since left. Again, Channel 4 would have loved it.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Moo. Moo! Moooooooo!

I am reading From the Closet to the Screen: Women at the Gateways Club 1945-85 by Jill Gardiner. The Gateways Club was a lesbian club, just off the Kings Road, in Chelsea, and popularised in the film The Killing of Sister George. I remember seeing this film for the first time when I was about 12, and found the scenes at the club absolutely fascinating. I had never seen a gay or lesbian club before (didn't even know that they existed). In the film, George (Beryl Reid ) invites the evil Mercy Croft, an upper-class BBC executive to the club. I remember being frightened when Mercy arrives at the club - she has to push past the bouncers and descend a dark staircase, like she's going into hell. I was expecting Mercy to make a huge scene once she discovered that it was a lesbian club, but in fact she seemed to quite enjoy it. Turned out that she was a closet-case all along, and George's plan to humilate her backfires somewhat.

I wanted to know all about the Gateways, who all the people dancing in the background were and who the exotic people running the club were. The book reveals it all. A lot of the extras were real-life patrons, while "Smithy", the butch American woman who served behind the bar actually worked there and was something of a celebrity in London lesbian circles. She may or may not have been in a relationship with Gina, who owned the club (and was married). Gina, her husband and Smithy all lived together anyway. Gina can be seen at the entrance to the club - I always thought she was a man in drag.

Sadly, the film has always been rather slated for its negative portrayal of unhappy, sadistic lesbians. But it's always been one of my favourites. The film revealed the existence of a lesbian scene to hundreds of thousands of people, and membership increased as a result. However, a couple of the women who appeared in the film lost their jobs unfortuantely, as a result of being seen dancing in the background. The Gateways closed in the early 1980s, and is now has an almost mythical status - the Kings Road ain't what it used to be.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Artificial Doctor is in

I said I missed ELIZA, the AI therapist, but now I've found her here and while we never did get to the bottom of my sexual problem, it was good to renew her acquaintence. I think she remembers me. I've heard that stuff about being negative from her so many times before.

Eliza: Hello. I am ELIZA. How can I help you?
You: I have this problem with sex
Eliza: Can you elaborate on that?
You: I don't want to
Eliza: Why do you not want to?
You: I'm shy
Eliza: Does it please you to believe I am shy?
You: No, it's me who's shy, not you
Eliza: You are being a bit negative.
You: Well you would too
Eliza: Oh, i would too.
You: yeah
Eliza: Please go on.
You: I don't think you can help me
Eliza: Why do you not think i can help you?
You: because we're going round in circles here
Eliza: Do any other reasons not come to mind?
You: no
Eliza: You are being a bit negative.
You: so?
Eliza: Please go on.
You: actually, you're a lot better than most client-centered therapists
Eliza: Has your treatment made you better?
You: yes, how much do I owe you?
Eliza: You are sure?
You: do you take paypal?
Eliza: Oh, i take paypal.
You: yeah, I bet you do...

Monday, October 23, 2006

Hi, I exist lol

It has taken me years to get used to smilies :) I had always maintained that a good writer doesn't actually need to use them, because you can communicate the intention of humour or not without having to flag it up. Smilies are therefore lazy, which is bad. However, after having my own comments mis-interpreted on many occasions, I've come to the conclusion that I can't live up to my own high standards, so tend to err on the side of caution and write :) when there's a possibility that what I'm writing could be ambiguous. It's a bit like that "if in doubt chuck it out" policy I have with food of dubious sell-by dates in fridges. I can be quite a sarcastic writer at times (in face-to-face conversation I'm normally a lot nicer people have told me), but it's usually well-meaning.

So I have "come round" to the smilie. I won't use any of the variants (such as the wink or the tongue sticking out), because you can have too much of a good thing. However, just as I started to use it, I realised that nobody actually uses the smiley any more. There are now a variety of pictorial icons that most chat facilities allow - which actually look like proper smiley faces, rather than the sideways punctuation equivalent.

And that's not all. Now there are animated smilies, that clasp their heads, stick out their tongues - and VOCALISE. They scream or shriek with laughter. They shout "OH MY GOD!" in a Valley Girl American accent. And now I feel like I'm back to square one, because I HATE HATE HATE them.

I got MSN a few months ago, and rarely log on to it. The little windows that pop up are intrusive and I end up having those pointless "hi, how are you?" conversations about nothing with people I barely know or even remember. I hate small talk. As I've gotten older, I've realised that I don't have as long left to be alive - and life's too short to waste on conversations that require people to write "lol" after everything. And anyway, I very rarely "lol" at anything on the internet. Someone who started off as a friend and then became my own special crazy stalker used lol a lot in their emails to me - which is almost as good a warning sign as full-on CRAZY CAPS. I wish I could program in java or something because then I could write a little subroutine to deal with MSN conversations, so I could allow people to think they were chatting to me, whereas in fact, there'd just be talking to a very basic AI program. (I miss ELIZA).

I am officially old :)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Princess Pussy

I've never really understood why people get silly and squeamish about spiders, mice etc. Sure, they can surprise you if you're asleep and one crawls across your face, but apart from that they don't bother me at all.

My bathroom's the home to several species of spider. Lately, I've felt like a guilty intruder when having a shower because they freak out when the water splashes them. Twice this week I've cut the shower short because I'm worried about drowning them, and I keep having to check they're OK (yes, I am crazy - but there's worse to come).

Our cat brings in mice occasionally. Sometimes they're already dead (like last week when he greeted us in the morning, with excited miaows outside the bedroom door, displaying his "present" to us). On other occasions, he brings them in and they're still alive. My fella and I always disagree on what to do about it. I tend to catch them with a glass and put them outside, but he's of the opinion that they should be killed as they'll eventually over-run the place. He might have a point.

The building I live in houses a few other cats, who are younger and fitter and nastier. One is especially freaky-looking. It caught a squirrel last week, killed it and then ate the whole thing in the garden. My cat is scared of it. I am a bit scared of it too. My cat doesn't go out much - he's a spoilt, pampered Princess Nikki of a cat who demands attention from every visitor and sulks if he's not petted, tickled and fussed over (nothing like me then). He's never had to spend time in a cattery (I couldn't cope with the guilt of caging him and making him mix with other cats - see how I project my own neuroses onto him). The one time we were due to go on holiday and couldn't arrange a sitter, we got halfway to the cattery and I couldn't cope with his mournful yowls in the back of the car, so we I ended up cancelling the holiday (it was only a few days on the south coast). I think that was one of the days when my long-suffering fella really felt the bite of those "in sickness and in (mental) health" vows. I know how bad that sounds - at least I don't dress the cat in human clothes and arrange weddings for him.

Now, when we go on holiday, we pay a nice lady to come in twice a day and stroke the cat for an hour at a time (this usually ends up costing more than the holiday itself). I think the cat resents us when we come back.

When he dies (he is 10) I will never get another pet. I've always believed that if you have a pet you can't do things by halves. To be fair to him, he is the most good-natured cat in the world and is great company, especially when my fella is away. But pets mean responsibility if you do it right. And I think I tend to over-do it right. Also, I suspect we're both allergic to him a bit. So when the time comes it'll be Bye Bye Pussycat and Hello Photograph of A Pussycat...

Monday, October 16, 2006

Guilty Pleasure

My fella is away tonight. Normally I try to eat healthy and encourage him to do the same. It's usually me forcing him to the gym and buying fruit (nature's candy!) But as he's not here, I've been to Tesco and bought a tube of Pringles, a large bar of Galaxy and a bottle of coke. I consumed the whole lot while watching Desperate Housewives. And it was lovely. I guess I should confess it all when he gets back. I hope he'll still love me considering I cheated on him with confectionary.

Gay or straight, the message is - we all want to end up with a handsome doctor use a condom.
Bring back Blakes 7

Me and my fella are making our way through the last season of Blakes 7, a late 1970s British sci-fi epic, involving a motely group of freedom fighters who are chased by the evil Federation. With its focus on a totalitarian political system, it was very popular in Eastern Bloc countries apparently.

The main character, Blake, disappeared early in the series, which resulted in the title being somewhat redundant. And the "7" sometimes included 1 or 2 computers, but let's not dwell on the actual logistics. The main villain is Servalan, who still manages to look futuristic with her severe haircut and increasingly camp costumes - she's kind of a mixture of male/female and gay/straight all rolled into one - a drag king wearing Liberace's cast-offs.

After Blake left, the group were led by the ultra-hammy Avon (Paul Darrow), with scaredy-cat Vila being the only other member who lasted for the whole 4 series. Others came and went, the women were largely under-used unfortunately. I never used to like Tarrant, the cocky mop-haired pilot, when I was younger, but lately he's grown on me.

The heroes of Blakes 7 were actually not very nice - they bickered and bitched at each other, seemingly only bound together by their hatred of the Federation, not through any real affection towards one another. In a later episode, Avon considers ejecting Vila off the space shuttle they're in, when he realises that they're carrying too heavy a load. There was a very minimalist, almost S/M quality to the whole show - indeed, a lot of the costumes were actually bought from S/M shops. Even the computers have an attitude problem. And the series ended on a typically bleak note, with the entire cast going down in a hail of laser fire.

I don't often go for remakes, but with the current revival of interest in sci-fi, I think Blakes 7, or a concept like it, could definitely be brought back - with more sex. Perhaps the Dr Who spin-off Torchwood will be close to it. I just hope they remember to include the S/M clothing.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

My 10 favourite British horror films

It's Halloween in only three weeks, and as the clocks get ready to go back, here's a list of 10 of my favourite (not actually very) scary movies, perfect accompaniments for dark nights. (I haven't included any films between 1980 and 2000 - because nothing of any cultural value was made during this period).

Peeping Tom (1959) Someone is killing the whores of London (again!). Could it be the shy German man who lives upstairs? This film was almost the downfall of director Michael Powell, for being too "ahead of its time". Still, everyone appreciates it as a classic of film-making now. And rightly so.

Carry on Screaming (1966) A bit of silly nonsense really. This was the first ever film I sat all the way through, aged about 6. The title music is very exciting and the murder of poor Charles Hawtrey, playing Dan Dan the lavatory man, always makes me laugh.
Fenella Fielding and Kenneth Williams are outrageously arch as the monsters - kind of like the Adams Family conceived by drag queens on acid.

The Devil Rides Out (1967) A classic Hammer romp of satanism, with Charles (no neck) Gray as the head baddie.

Psychomania (1972) Posh bikers (one is called Gash) and Beryl Reid! No wonder George Saunders killed himself a year later.

The Stone Tape (1972) It's actually a tv play, but I'm not letting that stop me including it. Scientists think they have found a new way of recording, based around ghostly goings-on in the cellar of an old Victorian house. But they're messing with a power that's millions of years old and they can barely imagine what they're letting themselves in for. Poor Jane Asher (the only sympathetic character in the whole thing) will bear the brunt.

The Wicker Man (1973) Forget the ridiculous remake, this is the original and the best, with Edward Woodward (a man untouched by human hand) venturing onto a remote Scottish Isle to find out what happened to little Rowan who's gone missing. Are the islanders part of a conspiracy to sacrifice her so their crops will grow next year? Has some great, eerie folk music involving mapole dancing and Britt Ekland's bum.

From Beyond the Grave (1973) The first "anthology" film in the list. Peter Cushing owns an antique shop and each of his customers will have an encounter with horror, just after they try and con him. Horror stalwart Diana Dors plays a "nag".

The Monster Club (1980) Another anthology - this one's aimed more at children. One tale's about a monster whose scream causes cats to sizzle and another's about a village full of humgoos (that's a cross between a human and a ghoul - the film makes use of a big diagram that explains all the different types of monsters you get when you mix humans, ghouls, vampires and werewolves together). Very educational.

The Hole (2001) Four privileged school-kids hide down a big bunker to avoid a boring school trip, but then discover they're trapped down there. As the days go on, it gets nastier and nastier, with paranoia, violence and murder becoming the only ways to pass the time. There's a twist I think. See Thora Birch when she was more famous than Keira Knightley.

28 Days Later (2002) The only British zombie film I can be doing with. The scenes of Cillian Murphy walking through an empty London are particularly evocative, although it gets a bit daft by the time we've encountered Christopher Eccelestone's sex-starved army outfit.

How cool is that font?

Beryl Reid is a very important British actress. Not only did she play a weird adult-girl (a bit like Geri Halliwell) in the film version of Orton's Entertaining Mr Sloane, she was also a ground-breaking butch lesbian in The Killing of Sister George. But many people overlook her third contribution to British cinema - that of a fashionable Satanist in Psychomania. I must have seen this film 10 times - it was always shown on ITV at about 11pm on Friday nights in the 1980s, as part of the "Fear on Friday" late-night weekend movie season, that seemed to go on for years. I watched all of them, completely uncritically of course, as I still do.

Psychomania is also a biker movie, featuring the poshest bikers ever. They all wear jackets with their names on them: Gash, Chopped Meat and Hatchet being my favourites. Their leader is handsome (by the standards of 1971) Tom (Nicky Henson). He has Beryl Reid as his mother and they live in a big old mansion, decorated by Austin Powers with weird geometric shapes hanging off the wall and brightly-coloured kitsch plastic chairs everywhere. Oh, and George Sanders is their butler. He committed suicide a year after the film was made. Which is interesting, considering that suicide is one of the main themes of Psychomania.

You see, Tom discovers that his mother made a pact with the devil or something (it's a bit vague, but involves a locked room, some standing stones (similar to Avebury or Stonehenge) a flashback and some frogs) and now he knows the secret of eternal life - he only has to kill himself and "want to come back". He does so and encourages the other members of the gang to do the same. (There are two girl members of the biker gang - nasty Jane - who wears a red leather jacket, has awful teeth and is therefore coded as the "Bad girl", and nice Abby (who sometimes looks a bit concerned at the biker mayhem. My fella took one look at her and said "she's the weak link".) Once they've come back from the dead, they all spread mayhem round a brand new 1970s shopping precinct - it looks so clean and perfect - yet you know that in a few years it'll be covered in graffiti and be horrible. Anyway, for the moment it's full of leggy models in tiny skirts and hot pants pushing prams around. Tom and his gang ride their bikes around them, knocking things over and making them scream, before riding off laughing.

The music is fab - very death-rock. And there is a great hippy song when the biker gang give Tom his own funeral (it's so sweet seeing Gash and Chopped Meat making garlands out of flowers). But of course, it's Beryl who steals the show. She wears a range of ridiculous 70s flowing dresses, each more silly than the last. It's like she raided Childie's collection of see-through nighties at the end of the Killing of Sister George. A lot of the reviews of this film that I read pointed out the main inconsistencies and unanswered questions that were left hanging at the end. But who cares! It's a wonderful period piece of British horror-trash and it just made my top 20 favourite films list.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Channel Bedlam

"I have a MIGRAINE and you're NOT HELPING!!!" screams Princess Nikki, her orange face crumpled up like a used tea-bag, as she balances precariously at the top of a not-very-steep hill. In a few minutes she will abseil down it quite happily, her 27th tantrum of the day completely forgotten. Nikki can switch from happy to sad to bored to furious in a way which makes the average 2 year old look as stoic and po-faced as a yoga-practising Buddhist.

There is absolutely no point to E4's Princess Nikki, no prize, no learning, no message, no nothing - except allowing viewers to laugh at someone who has either a) not been brought up very well and/or b) suffering from mental illness. Nikki also has a hygiene-related OCD and an eating disorder. A scar on her stomach is testament to where she was fed by a tube, doctors thinking that she'd starve herself to death otherwise.

Laughing at the mentally ill is something which the British have a long history of doing - a popular day-trip for eighteenth-century tourists was to visit Bedlam, a mental institution where they could pay a penny and peer into the cells. It was free the first Tuesday of the month and vistors could bring along sticks so that they could poke and enrage the inmates into doing some exciting, like attacking one another. 1814 saw 96,000 such visits. The viewing figures for Princess Nikki are at about 230,000, which, considering the population is about 3 times larger now than it was in the 1800s, suggests that the proportion of Bedlam visitors is about the same now as it was then. Lord Reith, who summarised the mission of television to inform, educate and entertain, would not be a happy man.

But maybe I'm being cruel - after all, Nikki often breaks out of her tantrums to laugh at herself. And everyone's a little bit crazy aren't they? Maybe all we can do is laugh it off. I'm fond of saying that everyone should have at least one OCD - it gives your personality a bit of an edge. In Nikki's case though - all she has are personality disorders. And although I've laughed along with the show, I can't feeling that my remote control just turned into a big stick, so that I can poke the inmates trapped in my tellybox too.

Friday, October 06, 2006

To live in complicated times

The fuss over Muslim women wearing veils has kicked off again.

What's more important? Allowing a group of people to express their ethnic and religious identity? Or obtaining equality between the sexes? Personally, the gender issue beats the religious identity issue. But in this case, these two states of "being right" are in direct conflict with each other. What's made more difficult is that many Muslim women view wearing the veil as a choice and do it quite happily. Although it could be argued that it is a form of indoctrination - or complicity - such women are validated within Muslim culture and therefore receive an amount of power (but nowhere near the amount of power awarded to Muslim males who don't have to cover up their faces in public).

Forcing the issue either way isn't going to achieve much except to push people into opposite corners. Ultimately, I believe the veil will slowly disappear - the decades will pass and more and more young Muslims fail to adopt the ways of their parents - history teaches us this - assimiliation usually wins out.

And remember the Aesops fable about the sun and the rain who had a bet as to who could get a man to lose his coat. The rain tried first - and the man just pulled his coat tighter. But the sun shone and the man got warm and took his coat off. Something to bear in mind - if British Muslim women are to remove their veils - they need to be offered sunnier incentives to do so.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

All my stalkers

Me and my sister often get stalked - not at the same time. Random people have tracked me down at work and I've seen them hanging outside my office looking sheepish. Fortunately most stalkers are too shy to talk to you - and besides, if they did, it would break the fantasy that I am a perfect person, which is quite obviously not true - I do have rather bland good looks which are ideal for projecting all manner of fantasies onto, but spend 5 minutes in my company and you'll notice 20 different annoying things about me.

A few times recently after visiting my local Starbucks (my fella is a coffee addict, we have to go there every night) I've had emails and photo attachments from someone who has never met me who says things like "I hope you enjoyed your latte!" I always ignore them. Recently, we noticed that my stalker had aquired a male friend who was accompanying him to Starbucks, so I felt some relief that the stalking would come to a natural close. Imagine my outrage when the stalker's friend also started sending me emails. I suppose it's nice to inspire insanity in people.

My favourite stalker was Adam's Apple man. He had seen a photograph of me on the web and sent me a note to say that he'd noticed that I had a big Adam's Apple which really turned him on and did I have any more photographs of my Adam's Apple. It's been years since he wrote to me. I sort of miss the crazy old bastard.

Today I received the following email - fortunately he lives in Spain so I am safe (for now).


I love that extraneous random punctuation at the end. It's like he knew he had to do punctuation but couldn't decide where it went, so he just saved it all up for the finish. The capitalisation is also classic stalker behaviour - the first rule of stalking being USE CRAZY CAPS.

As usual, he had attached a photograph. He is about 55 and was not wearing any trousers. Should I write back and say

a) well, never, obviously



My sister had the best ever stalker though. She received a badly written note pushed through her door. It said "I watch you walking your dog every day. You are beautiful lady. I wish to be your boyfriend. I sometimes see you with a man. HE isn't your boyfriend is he?"

I was so envious. Because there's only one thing worse than being stalked. And that's not being stalked. They moved house shortly after that.
Isn't technology like, amazing?

I was so impressed that my new friend Richard had Kinky Boots for his mobile phone ring tone. "How did you do it?" I asked. "Did you perhaps dial one of those numbers at the back of Heat magazine or advertised on tv music channels at every ad break?" (I avoid anything like this as I'm afraid that once I let the advertisers know my phone exists I'll be plagued with phone-spam that I have to pay £1 a go for). Richard said that he could "send" me Kinky Boots if my phone had "blue-tooth" - a strange term that I have heard used a few times but never really understood so I mentally switch off when people say it, instead hearing "rarr rarr". About 25% of what anyone says to me is "rarr rarr". (Look, I have information overload alright! I can't do lifelong learning. It hurts. It took me two weeks to figure out how bit torrent worked so can I at least have credit for that!)

Anyway, he fiddled with my phone for a bit and then suddenly my phone seemed to connect to his - like they were having sex! In the amount of time it took to have a cup of tea, Kinky Boots had been downloaded onto my phone from his and it is now my ring-tone too. It's much better than that naff polyphonic thing that came free with the phone. And now I don't have to announce to anyone that I'm gay. My phone can do it for me. Apparently I can download music from my own PC onto my phone, using this blue-tooth magic. But I can't do it. Which is a pity, because there are loads of other music that could do an equal if not better job of broadcasting my sexuality when my phone rings. Oh well.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Say yes to say no to the knife

Did anyone see this week's episode of Say No To The Knife - my new favourite show - a welcome antidote to The Swan and Extreme Makeover, SNTTK is an anti-plastic surgery show, where people who are unhappy with their looks and considering surgery are introduced to a fashion expert and a psychologist who try to persuade them in a month that there are alternatives. At the end, the would-be patients have to make a choice. They don't always say "no" but they at least have a better understanding of what they're getting into and why they're doing it. My Tivo cut off a minute before the end, so I didn't see whether Ritu, the Asian girl who wanted a nose job so she could be perfect, opted for the surgery or not. Can anyone enlighten me?
Guns and people

I've often thought that the following phrase, used by the gun lobby

"Guns don't kill people, people kill people"

is the most stupid example of false logic and irrelevant argument that I've ever read.

Even the cretinous "God made Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve" doesn't come anywhere close. My response to that one is always "God doesn't exist, you bitch!"

But I do hope that the NRA and all its supporters are happy about this latest in a never-ending catalogue of examples of guns not killing people.

To respond to the dumb aphorism with a similar sound-bite: Let's not outlaw guns, let's outlaw people having guns. There's lots of things you can criticise Britain about, but at least after Dunblaine we figured that particular no-brainer out.