Monday, June 21, 2010

A new occasional blog

I've started watching one of my favourite old soaps - the 1970s Australian women's prison drama, Prisoner Cell Block H, right from the start. I first saw it in 1988 when Tyne Tees started showing it. I had just finished my GCSEs and was fascinated when it turned up with no fanfare at all in the schedules on Thursday nights at 10:35. After one episode I knew that it was going to be a hugely important part of my "education". And so it was. If you have never seen PCBH, then you need to rectify this huge error immediately. Here's a taster:

And as an ongoing celebration, I've decided to comment on the fashion and hair choices of the characters in a new blog.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Doll Soup - back a decade later

Very regular readers of this blog may be interested in looking at Doll Soup - the Early Years - the original episodes of the online soap opera with dolls that I created over a decade ago. I foolishly lost all 35 episodes when I changed laptops. However, a kind reader called Damian Moore emailed me out of the blue to tell me that the whole site had been languishing on his PC all this time. So I jumped at the chance to be reaquainted with the early adventures of Pam, Leela, Switch and Morag their evil landlady.

I've only made slight alterations to the original site. Back in the mid 1990s I learnt html out of a book and then gave up when style sheets were introduced. So you can view the site in its "retro" "Millenial" splendour. It's at, and it's as bonkers as I remember it being.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Back from work in Belfast. My plane home was delayed by four hours. "You should have walked home" said my Dad.

I spent far too much time in taxis while I was there. Being anti-social, I always try and strike a balance with taxi drivers between friendly enough so that they don't hate you and unfriendly enough so that they don't try to talk to you the entire journey about stuff they are interested in. I can have such conversations, but they are rather draining and afterwards I feel like a lie down.

However, I got it wrong with one taxi driver, and he mistook me as a social rather than an anti-social. The conversation quickly went downhill (at least for me - he was having a great time). At one point he said "Ah, I bet your wife hates that!" This is an example of what queer theory calls "heteronormativity" - the universal assumption that everyone is heterosexual. I just grunted.

But before that he did something even worse than heteronormativity. He started talking to me about football - and not even in a tentative "do you mind if I bring this up" way, but in a way that immediately assumed that I knew everything about football, that I must divest at least a couple of hours a day to keeping up with the outcomes and highlights of all the different matches going on, along with the movement of all the different players and managers around the world. Again, I just grunted and made some general comments, as if I was early Artificial Intelligence computer program ELIZA.

But what I really wanted to say was "I wish you wouldn't assume that every man who gets in your taxi likes football. I think it's the most boring subject on the entire planet. Guess what - not everyone is exactly the same as you. Now let us continue this journey in silence."

This isn't an isolated incident. It happens several times a year with men I have just met. It would probably happen more if I wasn't as antisocial. So I've coined a new word for it - footballnormativity.

Enjoy your World Cup you normals. Gah!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Die Snoring Marianne

My fella and I watched low-budget Susan George 1971 thriller Die Screaming Marianne last night. My mother is called Marianne incidentally - and she is such a Marianne.

When I was a teenager, my parents would to go bed at 10.30 and I, as the eldest child, would be left with the run of the house. This would also mean watching Fear on Friday - which showcased bad horror and thrillers from the 60s and 70s. Die Screaming Marianne would have been perfect. The best thing about it is the opening sequence. It is all down-hill from there.

You can say what you like about Susan George - but she was a very talented dancer. Apparently, they scored the music to the dance, rather than the other way round.

My poor fella knew he was in for a mind-numbing experience from the get-go but gamely held out (and didn't pick up a laptop or newspaper once during the whole thing, for which he gets brownie points).

The film felt like several key scenes had been removed and then replaced with irrelevant filler scenes. Characters tripped back and forth from Portugal to London as if they were all flight attendents with Ryanair. I was more interested in looking at the early 1970s shops, cars and clothes than in the story or acting. I miss living in the 1970s so much, that I'm prepared to put up with almost any dross as long as I get to see a groovy font on the front of a shop or a Hillman Imp.

Male sex appeal was catered for by Barry Evans (who played the teacher in Mind Your Language). He wore a 70s cravat in several scenes.

I wikipedia'ed him afterwards and it turned out that after the acting roles ran out he became a taxi driver and then died in rather odd circumstances. Oh dear.