Thursday, December 30, 2004

Embarassing question from Mum

Somehow I managed to get through 32 years on this planet without having to field any embarrassing questions from my parents. Our relationship has traditionally been quite open and honest and historically I have divulged information before it was asked for (unless I have been bad). I guess, there was the one time when Dad asked me why I changed my bed sheets so much, but he knew the answer really and was really actually trying to embarrass me (no, I did not wet the bed, but think - what do teenage boys do in bed that might require frequent sheet changing?)

Anyway - the 32 years of embarrassment free parenting ended a few days ago when on a drive to my friend's house in the country, my mum said, "Do you mind if I ask you a personal question? Do you promise not to be offended?"

There is no right answer when someone asks this of you so rather than responding with a "No, I won't be offended," I just sighed and said "What?"

"Do you want to be a woman? Do you think you might want a sex change?"

I basically told her that I was not going to dignify the question with a response. But then after a couple of moments of silence I realised that I couldn't possibly leave the subject unanswered, so I replied. "No Mum. I don't want to be a woman. I like being a man. I have never dressed up as a woman [a lie, but I only did it as a joke and was very drunk. There is actually a video of the episode in existence] and neither do I want to."

First I should say that I wasn't embarrassed or pissed off that Mum had asked me the question because I have a problem with the transgendered. I have no issue or ill feeling toward anyone who has had, or thinks that they would like, a sex change. But I pride myself on the fact that I am a fairly straight acting and looking gay man (although my profile picture, left, perhaps has a question mark over it). Anyway, it turns out that there were two things that prompted the question. The first had been that a few minutes earlier I had been waxing lyrical about Nicole Kidman's Karl Lagerfeld designed Chanel dresses in the No.5 TV commercial. I can see how to the uninitiated this may have been confusing. But the other reason is that Mum has acquired a new friend - a woman called Sandra who a few weeks ago became Sean. Apparently Sean is a rather unconvincing man and because he feels that he will be ridiculed at the hairdresser he would like Mum to do his hair at home (Mum is a hairdresser by trade).

I guess I should be rather pleased that my mothers' conservative, vaguely provincial lifestyle has room for something as traditionally alien to it as a transgender friend. It's just that ever since Nadia won Big Brother this summer the transgendered among us have become somewhat De Rigueur, especially on the London social circuit and the fact that I don't have any transgender friends and now Mum does kinda pisses me off.

Maybe I should be reminding myself that a transgender friend is for life and not just for Christmas.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

What I got for Christmas

  • A Sex and the City boardgame
  • A funky stripey scarf
  • Lots of money (too much perhaps? Noooooo!)
  • A St Christopher necklace (because he is my namesake)
  • Tom Ford's book
  • A book on how to write your autobiography
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind DVD
  • A book of gay movie posters
  • A pair of black leather gloves
  • An inflatable remote controlled robot
  • A wooden thing that I can put photos in
  • Showergel
  • Too much chocolate, which will be given to the kids
  • A shirt
  • A pirate DVD of The Incredibles
  • Underwear and socks
  • A Terry's chocolate Orange (which mum has bought for me every Christmas since I could eat chocolate)
  • A turkey induced coma
  • Too much Port and wine
  • An "I love you" from Jake (I think it was platonic, but still, it's the first time that he has said it. And no, we are not going back out with each other)

Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas

Am drunken. Merry Christmas everyone! Yay!

I wonder if Father Christmas has a cute son?

Thursday, December 23, 2004

TV Moment

dibley1

About to drive home to Bath, so a quick blog entry - something to make you all chuckle. Was just watching an episode of the UK's "The Vicar of Dibley" and there is a brilliantly comedic scene between the Vicar and Alice (both above):

Geraldine (the Vicar) to Alice:
"So Superman is feeling a bit bored because Spiderman and Batman are on a scuba diving course. He doesn’t have anyone to play with. So anyway, he’s flying around trying to amuse himself and suddenly he sees Wonderwoman naked, spread-eagled on the top of a tall building. Now he’s always fancied Wonderwoman, so he thinks to himself, “Now’s my chance!” So he swoops down and faster than a speeding bullet he does the business and then he flies off again. A moment later Wonderwoman says, 'What was that?!' And the Invisible Man climbs off her and says, 'I don’t know, but it hurt A LOT!'"

Alice to the Vicar (said in a thick, stupid west country farmer accent):
"My problem with that joke is that it seems to be suggesting that Superman committed homosexual rape upon the Invisible Man and I just don’t find that funny. In fact the joke besmirches the reputation of two of the finest superheroes this world has ever known. I mean I've never actually met the Invisible Man. Well, I might have met the Invisible Man. I wouldn’t know. He’s invisible. But I have heard that they are both really nice guys and frankly I think you should be ashamed of yourself for telling that joke."

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Weird stuff going on with my swimwear...

I go to a rather lovely gym. Apparently it's the biggest and most equipped in London. I think that The Third Space in Soho is actually nicer, but it's about three million £ a month, so I choose Cannons instead.

My routine is usually an hour of weights, followed by a twenty to thirty minute rest in the spa, which is really awesome - huge 50 person jacuzzi next to floor to ceiling windows overlooking the Thames. Then I have a little sauna, a little steam room and then a seven minute hydrotherapy massage before I hit the showers.

Before I jump in the shower I usually spin out the water from my swimming costume and then I stick it in the tumble dryer to dry while I perform my ablutions.

Last Thursday, after I had dried off, got dressed and dried my hair I went back to the tumble dryer to discover that my beloved navy blue Hugo Boss speedos (I love them because like afore mentioned tighty-whity post, they sit REAL low and show off those diagonal hip-to-crotch lines to the best advantage) were GONE!

I was really gutted that someone had pinched them, but then it ocurred to me that perhaps an over zealous cleaner (an aside - because I am reading Brave New World again, I keep seeing everyone in terms the book's caste system, and yesterday I was thinking that in Huxley's World the cleaner would be an Epsilon-Minus Semi-Moron and I would be an Alpha-Plus intellectual, which is just terrible!) had removed them from the tumble dryer and put them in lost and found.

So I checked at the front desk, but nothing had been handed in. So I assumed that someone else must have taken them thinking that they were there own. Sniff. Goodbye my favorite Hugo Boss swimming trunks.

Then yesterday the exact same thing happened. Only this time it was with my pink Abercrombie boardies. Now these ones don't do as much for my figure, but they have far more sentimental value because I bought them while on holiday with Nick and Vix in Hawaii three years ago and since then they have literally been all around the world with me - from Thailand to Fire Island to California to East Hampton and Miami. And once again they were not in lost and found.

Now once may be a mistake on the part of another gym member. But twice? Surely a sign that I have an obssessive stalker that waits for me to put my bathing suit in the tumble dryer and disappear off to the shower before swiping them. Ugh! I hope they don't go home and, like, do stuff with them. Like rubbbing Marmite onto them and then licking it off. Unless it's that cute, ripped, surfery looking dude that I keep seeing in the changing room, in which case perhaps he'd like to do the lickin' with me in the boardies or speedo.

The biggest problem I am now faced with is that all I have left to wear in the pool and in the spa are what can only be described as "porn shorts". They are black nylon with an orange, red and silver stripe going across the front and are EXTREMELY tight. Some might say that speedo's are pretty porny, but withhold judgement until you see them. They were actually hand me downs from an ex-boyfriend and I have never had the courage to wear them. But needs must I feel. If I do have an obsessive stalker, these babies are really gonna drive him mad. And if these ones get nicked I'm going to have to consider doing my spa thang in the buff.

Which may have been the stalker's singular intention all along.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Flipping Christmas

When I was younger I LOVED Christmas. Mum and Dad used to really get into the whole deal for me and my brother. They would do the whole Christmas stocking thing. We would leave a mince pie and a glass of sherry out for Father Christmas and a carrot outside for Rudolph. I remember the best Christmas ever was when I walked out onto the landing and saw that there were loads of presents and crackers lying on the stairs and mum said that it was because Father Christmas had fallen over and tumbled down the stairs. Of course, I wasn't that concerned about FC's welfare. I was more concerned about swiping the majority of the booty before my brother woke up.

The last couple of years have been different. Christmas has become this really irritating time of year. For me it starts around October when my Dad usually calls me up because he wants to know what I am doing on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. How am I supposed to know this in October when I barely know what I am doing this weekend. Invariably my mum will call me a few weeks later because she wants to know if I want to get Grandma "you know, that thing she asked for."

"What thing?"

"You know. The thing she asked for a little while ago. You know...the, um, thing."

Drives. Nails. Up. Arm.

And so on and so forth right up until Christmas Eve. Christmas itself (Eve, Day, Boxing) is usually fine. We're not the kind of family that spend the holiday's arguing and fighting (did you know that you are most likely to be murdered by a family member at Christmas). Also I have a "second" family that I can spend part of Christmas with - that of the family of my dear friends Helen and Clare, all of which I have known since I was at school.

Anyway I was scouring the internet earlier to find similar like-minded, anti-Christmas people and I came across this sorry collection of tales - My Miserable Christmas

And then I came across another site - Masturbate For Peace. Not sure that this is that festive really. Well I guess it is promoting peace and this is the time of peace towards all men. Hmm. Oh, alright then. I'll allow it.

Monday, December 20, 2004

By the way, Jerome's blog has a new contributor. Me. Marv and I are trying to keep it alive. We're seeing him on New Year's Eve, so we will mercilessly kick his ass until he agrees to post at least one entry a week.

I am not holding my breath.

Identifying / resonating

I’ve always thought, or maybe not “thought” but have been told, that it is a bit of a cliché to identify too much with anything from popular culture. I guess the cliché depends on what you are identifying with. I mean if you are identifying with Meg Ryans and Billy Crystals character's relationship in “When Harry Met Sally”, then yes, I suppose that is a bit of a cliché.

And on the whole I don’t identify in a major way with those types of films. I identify, usually, with a sentiment, a gesture or a look. But there have been some things that I have identified with in a big way. For example, most books written by Douglas Coupland. And most of Richard Linklater’s movies. I like to pretend that I am Jack Black in "School of Rock" and sometimes even Julie Delpy in "Before Sunrise".

Today I identified with a film called “Garden State” by Zack Braff, of “Scrubs” fame. I knew that Braff starred in the movie, alongside Natalie Portman, but wasn’t aware that he had also written the screenplay as well as having directed it. As an aside, it is safe to say that he is my new crush, but it is a more legitimate crush, because it’s not based solely on looks. Not. Solely.

Anyway, the film is about this guy (Braff) who is in his late twenties, living in LA, pursuing the acting dream, but failing. We learn that he has suffered from depression for most of his life. He returns home, to the garden state of New Jersey, after his father calls him to tell him that his mother has died. He accidentally leaves his medication, a combination of everything from Effexor to Lithium, at his house in LA.

We soon find out that this is the first time that he has not been on some kind of medication since he was ten and as a result he learns much about himself, what he is capable of, etc, etc. And he falls in love.

It’s an independent film so it has a little more weight than your mainstream Hollywood trash, but the reason that I identified with it was because I have recently come of all of my meds too. And similarly I have always been on something pretty much since I was 12. That’s almost twenty years of my life. I was going to write a blog post about my going on the meds and coming off them, but it’s something that I need to think about a bit. I don’t know what I want to say. But I think I have something to say. I’ll set myself an objective to write about it here before the end of the week. Check back for an insight into the machinations of ma fragile lil mind!

In the meantime, I have just started reading again “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley. There is a foreword written by him, obviously before he died in 1963, but about twenty years after he originally wrote the book and had it published. “Brave New World” is his most famous book, because in many ways it was prophetic, in regards to how society would develop. In the foreword he discusses this and that part of him wanted to go back and rewrite the story. But he didn’t. And he explains why. This is the first paragraph of the foreword and it resonated with me for many reasons:

“Chronic remorse, as all the moralists are agreed, is a most undesirable sentiment. If you have behaved badly, repent, make what amends you can and address yourself to the task of behaving better next time. On no account brood over your wrongdoing. Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean.”

Amen to that.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

[swoon]

I have nothing much to say or comment on today. So instead here is Rodrigo for us all to gaze upon. Extensively.

God, I love him.

rodrigo

Friday, December 17, 2004

Saucy gay poetry

A couple of weeks ago my housemate and I were discussing poetry and I told her that my favorite poem is called "As I Walked Out One Evening" by W.H Auden.

Vix then informed me that Auden was also famous for being the author of several works of homoerotic poetry. Because I don't like being told something that I don't already know I dismissed this as ridiculous!!

But this morning she produced a book of erotic poetry and showed me one of the poems that she was referring to. I think it might be a bit of a misnomer to cite this as homoerotic. It's more like down and dirty porn! Yay! Don't read if you are of a sensitive disposition or concerned that you might become all hot and bothered.

"The Platonic Blow" by W.H. Auden.

When reading that poem I imagine W.H Auden to look like:
not w.h. auden

In actual fact, W.H Auden looked like:
w.h.auden

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Covent Garden - Day Two

Covent Garden

Earlier on today I got this email from my old, old (29) friend Becca:

"You know a few weeks ago when we were talking about the episode in Sex and the City when Carrie refers to New York as her boyfriend? She says that while she might have her own issues with her boyfriend, still no one else can slag him off? Mr Christopher - download the attached song and stick it on your ipod. Don't play it yet. Go into Covent Garden, the same place where you were yesterday, and then play it. And while you listen to it tell yourself that while you both may have your ups and downs together, London is your boyfriend. You split up for a while, but now you're back together and it's all going to be great."

The song? "Underneath it All" by No Doubt. A little sample:

There's times where I want something more
Someone more like me
There's times when this dress rehearsal
Seems incomplete
But, you see the colors in me like no one else
And behind your dark glasses you're...
You're something else

You're really lovely
Underneath it all
You want to love me
Underneath it all
I'm really lucky
Underneath it all
You're really lovely


Cheese factor? Yes, but a good quality Stilton. Glad to be in London? Yes. Christmas shopping completed? Yes. Tears cried? Well, I did well up a little. Just a little, you understand.

Tis the season to be jolly...or something like that

After the bad news of yesterday morning I decided that I should do something to take my mind off things. Christmas shopping. That should do the trick.

Because I am not working at the moment I really don't have much money. At one point I did consider not buying Christmas presents at all. My friends and family all know my situation and would have understood but the way I see it, it's still a lose / lose situation. I could not buy anything for anyone and then feel like crap when everyone is giving me presents and I'm not giving anything back. Or I could buy Christmas presents and not have as much money.

The latter is just an unfortunate financial hiccup and let's face it, very few people can really "afford" to buy Christmas presents. So I decided to do it. I didn't spend a fortune and in actual fact I think that setting yourself a spending limit makes you think more about what you are getting the person. I have lottery fantasies where I buy everyone iPods. This might still happen, but I have to remember to buy a ticket tomorrow.

So I made a quick list of family and friends and set off into town.

The area around Covent Garden was actually not quite as busy as I thought it would be. I started off with the bookshops on Charing Cross Road. I had intended to go to the big ones like Foyles and Blackwells, but then I got distracted by all the smaller, older ones and I began to think that maybe I should get everyone bargain first edition prints of Jane Austen novels. Except that the only first edition book I could find was a 1993 copy of "An Introduction to Global Geophysics" , by some dude.

After a little while I decided that there would be more progress in traditionalism so I went to a great graphic design shop, bought some T-shirts, a DVD on a visual artist and it all started to go swimmingly. That was until I got to Urban Outfitters. I needed to get something for my housemate and I just couldn't find anything and I knew that was stupid cause Urban Outfitters has everything for a modern guy or girl and the prices really aren't that expensive even though the quality isn't that great only everything was so plastic looking and not really suitable for the flat and...

I started to cry. Not an eyes-welling-up crying. This was like uncontrollable vomiting. Only crying. So I bowed my head as to not draw attention and made my way outside which was not an easy task because the shop was heaving and despite my best efforts people were infact beginning to notice me. Eventually I got outside and ran across the road to the Donmar and stood in the doorway, facing the corner and bawled.

After a couple of minutes I got to the point where the histrionic stage had passed and I was just gently sobbing. So I dug in my jacket pocket and retrieved a cigarette and smoked it. This bought about a moment of clarity and I decided that it was all a bit too much and I could complete the Christmas shopping another day. It would be better for me to buy some wine, go home, order a pizza and watch some TV. Which I did.

And it was great until for some reason I remembered that song by Art Garfunkel from Watership Down. "Bright Eyes". So I downloaded it and listened to it. And I started crying all over again.

"Bright Eyes" and being drunk and alone. A winning combination for bringing about happy festive cheer.

Today I woke up with streaming eyes, glands the size of, um, large sized glands and a runny nose. I have dinner tonight with my Dad and my Stepmom. No doubt I will be lectured about how I need to take better care of myself.

WEBSITES OF THE DAY
1) The Chanel No 5 ad - I know the general consensus of opinion is that it is overblown and expensive, but I just keep watching it for the music, the gorgeous frocks, Nicole looking beautfiul and Rodrigo being one tall drink of water. And the arial view, with the sweeping searchlights when Nicole takes to the red carpet ... wow!

2) Your height in iPods.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

A sign...

I was just reading Little Hedonist's blog and saw that today he posted the following quote. I have heard it before, but I guess today it has for me a little more meaning and relevance:

"Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford." - Samuel Johnson

A name that should strike fear into the heart of any mortal human

"'Sinderella' is back with a raunchy all new hilarious adult Panto*. All the cast reunite to bring an all new show that is guaranteed to leave you hot under the collar and laughing for more! 'Sinderella Comes Again' sees Buttons, Sinderella and Baron Von Hard-on up to all their own tricks and naughty makeovers! It's a hilarious tale for adults that should know better. It'll definitely heat up your stockings this Christmas!"

Now I know it sounds like the back description of a porno, but believe me, it's not. "Sinderella Comes Again" is a UK Virgin Records top 10 DVD. It is currently selling more copies than "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind". But that is not the biggest crime. The biggest crime is that it is a starring vehicle for one ... I can't believe that I am writing these two words together in my blog (swallows) ... Jim Davidson.

Jim Davidson is a pro-war, neo-nazi, sexist, homophobic, racist, wife-beating, cheeky, popular British comedian. Earlier this year he announced to the press that he had become disillusioned with Britain (nothing to do, you understand, with his flagging career) and was moving to Dubai. But not before refusing to play a gig in Bolton because there were too many wheelchair users in the front row. Bless him.

Earlier in September Popbitch reported that a heavily pregnant fan spotted Jim in a bar in Dubai and greeted him with, "You're Jim Davidson!"

"And you're a whore," the comedian replied.

I indulge myself in fantasies where Jim steals fruit from a Dubai market stall and has his penis chopped off infront of a braying crowd.

Anyway - last night I was happily watching a documentary about one of my favorite movie directors, Richard Linklater, when Vix's 17 year old sister and her boyfriend walk in and ask very nicely if they can put a DVD on. Normally I would have given up my TV viewing, but when I asked what the DVD was I was informed that it was, you guessed it, "Sinderella Comes Again". I recall that my exact words were, "No. No Way. Absolutely not."

I tried to explain why I had responded in the resoundingly negative, but when you are 17 you don't really care much about political correctness and now I fear that I am being viewed as Vix's old, miserable housemate. Jim Davidson became the underdog and I felt guilty. What kind of fucked up world is this?

*A Panto is a kind of British phenomenon. Kind of like Icecapades. But not on ice.

BAD NEWS OF THE DAY
Didn't get the job in NYC (sob)

MOVIE SCENE OF THE DAY
"Donnie Darko" - in slow motion the characters walk through the school in one, unbroken, shot to "Head Over Heels" by Tears for Fears.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

All About E

I think I have made a few references to the Scoobys in this blog. The Scoobys are comprised of a number of really awesome guys and ladies, some straight, some gay, some undecided, most of whom can be seen in the photograph that I posted last Friday.

The Scoobys were named by Drew a few years ago - a more detailed explanation stolen from his blog:

Scoobys > The name of my group of friends. Basically they'll become characters in their own right so I won't introduce them straight away, suffice to say that they're all quite kooky in their own bewitching ways. The term Scooby was stolen by me from Buffy (the Vampire Slayer) where it's used as a post modern reference in-joke thingy to the fact that they go around "solving mysteries" in a similar fashion to the original Scooby gang in the cartoon, you got it, "Scooby Doo". Although we don't technically solve mysteries, we are a gang, and we have seen some pretty strange things between us. Anyhoo, the name has stuck.

Now I can’t really claim that I am a Scooby as I was not really on the scene when they were conceived all those years ago. But I was told by Scooby Joe recently that I am a guest character, which is something that I take great pride in. After all the best episodes of “Frasier” were the ones within which Lilleth made guest appearances. At least I keep telling tell myself that.

Now if Drew is the patriarch of the Scoobys, then it’s matriarch must surely be Sam. It has only really been over the last twelve months or so that I started spending any time with Sam, although I have been acquainted with him for a few years now. I had traditionally always approached Sam rather cautiously, as he is the ex-boyfriend of my ex-boyfriend Wayne, who is now one of my best friends, as are many of my closest male friends – a sad / happy trend, depending on your / my point of view, probably worthy of a future blog posting.

I digress…

On Saturday night Sam hosted a party at his apartment to celebrate his 25th birthday. Sam’s outfit pretty much epitomized the evening – dress trousers and black shoes with braces and nothing else. Unless you count the 100 diamante studs stuck to his torso as a“top’. Kate DJ’d in a pair of knickers with “Get It Here” emblazoned on her ass. Katie wore a huge, appliquéd, shoulder-less, gold ballgown and Kevin came as someone’s Mum. It was a complete blow out and a most resounding and fabulous success.

Despite the numerous raucous, sordid and shocking distractions that took place over the 14 hours that I was present (at 12pm on Sunday I blearily-eyed sloped off for a roast lunch at Lindsay’s) I managed to spend a great deal of the evening with another Scooby guest character called E (no stupid jokes please - E is actually a living person).

Despite being only 23 (and also being quite short) E is an absolute gem. I’ve only spent a few evenings (and early mornings) in his company and all of those times neither of us was capable of having a proper conversation, but I always liked him from afar (he’s also quite easy on the eye, which helped). But on Saturday night we talked. And talked. And talked. We discussed Aldous Huxley, art deco, architecture, the hey day of the 1920s, modern theatre and polyphonic ring tones. And it was really lovely and uncomplicated. Right up until the point where he asked for my telephone number.

A little background - E is of dubious sexuality. Until about two years ago he was straight. But then he met Sam and decided to give the lifestyle a go. I don’t know if it was Sam or something else – I wasn’t privy to the details – but soon after I left for America I found out that Sam and E had spilt up and that E was now dating a woman.

Anyway – aside from the fact that Saturday, for E and I, was the meeting of minds, I will freely admit that I would have been up for it to have been the meeting of other organs – as I inferred (despite the height issue) E really is a hottie of the highest percentile. But given that he tried “it” out before and then went back to being straight I should probably assume that the exchange of phone numbers meant little more than one guy saying to another “Hey! Let’s do this again!” Because not everything in life has to be about sex, right?

So I am well aware that I should be expecting, at the very most, just a nice little friendship. Except that I can’t remember that last time I exchanged numbers with a straight guy, with the intention of going to the theatre or an art gallery together. And I don’t think that I have EVER swapped numbers with a straight guy with the intention of going to the theatre or an art gallery together, when said straight guy was so freaking hot AND who, for a little while, quite liked bum fun.

So that was Saturday night.

Yesterday morning I was confronted with a question that I have certainly had to ask myself many times before, but this time with a twist: When do I call him? The twist being: What am I expecting?

So I didn’t call him yesterday, cause that would have been stupid, way over keen and would have sent out all the wrong messages. I texted him instead. I’m pleased to say that I did get a text back and while he can’t meet during the week (school exams) we have tentatively arranged to do something “arty” at the weekend.

Of course, I have already imagined countless scenarios occurring, one of which being despite his better nature (tried it, didn’t like it) E can’t help but acknowledge his burgeoning romantic feelings towards me by brushing his hand against mine during a production of “Another Country”.

(Drew, who knows exactly who I am referring to, is no doubt staring at his screen, shaking his head with despair. Yet I am sure he feels a sense of fond nostalgia over how DUMB I can be).

Monday, December 13, 2004

Frodo - Part Deux

havens2

Following on from Marv's great explanation (see comments at the end of the last post) I went back to my housemate's copy of the book to read that section before they get on the boat. I found this passage. I won't go on about how lovely yet achingly sad it is, because you can read it for yourself and most likely come to the same conclusion:

"Where are you going Master?" cried Sam, though at last he understood what was happening.

"To the Havens, Sam," said Frodo.

"And I can't come?"

"No Sam. Not yet anyway, not further than the Havens. Though you too were a Ringbearer, if only for a little while. Your time may come. Do not be too sad, Sam. You cannot be always torn in two. You will have to be one and whole, for many years. You have so much to enjoy and to be, and to do."

"But," said Sam, and tears started in his eyes, "I thought you were going to enjoy the Shire, too, for years and years, after all you have done."

"So I thought too, once. But I have been too deeply hurt, Sam. I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: some one has to give them up, to lose them, so that others may keep them. But you are my heir. All that I had and might have had I leave to you. And also you have Rose, and Elanor. And Frodo-lad will come, and Rosie-lass, and Merry, and Goldilocks, and Pippin; and perhaps more that I cannot see."

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Frodo, Frodo, Frodo...

rings01

Clare, Nick and Bill just came round with the new extended version of Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. For those of you who are unaware, we're talking about almost four hours of nobility, honor, fighting and Orlando Bloom with beautifully flowing long blonde hair.

I've seen the film before twice at the movies and I loved it. And I loved it when we watched it again this evening, but I have one problem with the ending. And I have read the book so I know that Peter Jackson was being true to the original text, but still...

Why the hell does Frodo have to get on that boat at the end of the movie? Where are they going? I know he has had a bit of a tough time of late, you know, fighting monster spiders, having had his finger bitten off by a loinclothed, anorexic, um, thing and overthrowing the most formidable presense in the universe. But is a peaceful life in The Shire drinking ale, smoking weed and getting booty 24/7 from all those hero-worshipping nubile hobbit girls not enough for poor Frodo?

Apparently no, because instead he chooses a life on a decidedly poky boat, with a couple of senile old men and some pseudo intellectual Elves all suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. Rock and roll! I have a sneaking suspicion that he's going to get a few miles out to sea and realise that he has made a bad decision, by which time it will be too late. I'm worried about him. I am of the belief that young Frodo should be back at his home in the company of his friend Samwise and all the bows and frills of their, er, special relationship.

(Marv - I know you are an expert on the "Rings", so perhaps you can offer an explanation of this silliness?)

Saturday, December 11, 2004

I *heart* my friends

Will's website has gone live! (subscribe for free to see the content)

I have been quite proud of Will this year. When I first found out that he was going on Big Brother I believe I inwardly groaned. But any misgivings I had about him taking part were quickly nullified and I have learned so much about him as a result. Qualities mainly. Maybe they were qualities that I perhaps already knew really, but being aware of what he has been through this year - on and off screen - certain qualities were definitely highlighted. Like integrity, truth, respect, compassion and love. Qualities that make me proud to be able to call Will, or anyone else for that matter, my friend.

What I want to say is that this post should not read only as an ode to Will and his achievements. This post should symbolise in no uncertain terms how I feel about all of my friends. Maybe I say this too much or not enough, depending on who you are and where in the world you are: you, my friends, all achieve such wonderful things. Some seemingly big, some seemingly small. But they are, regardless, achievements. And I love it when these things make you happy. They make me happy. I sit in the audience and watch each of you take the stage. And I am ear-to-ear grinning and clapping resounding applause.

You people! My friends! (Can I borrow some money?)

PS: There is a little section on Will's site (Ask a Supermodel), written by someone who may sound familiar to you...

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Career Update

Today I had my fourth (FOURTH!) interview with the company that is interested in me setting up their NYC office. I have been interviewing with them now for a month and a half. I already feel like part of the team. My bank account isn't feeling it though.

I am also of the mind that maybe I am being recruited for a sinister government wing and will be posted in NYC as an assasin. Or something like that.

The interview today was to decide whether I should go into the agency and work in the London office while the finishing touches are being put to the NYC office. But it was all a bit incoherent - I had never met the woman I saw today and she didn't seem to have the full deal on what was going on stateside. So I had to fill her in, which was kinda weird.

I know that these things take time, but I am seriously starting to get anxy now. A transatlantic move is no small thing and while I would sell my first born to George Bush to get back, equally I do need a little bit of security.

I need a fall back - so for the rest of today I have been making mucho phone calls to friends and agencies on spec to see what they have going down and equally to highlight what I could bring. And a few doors do seem to be open. Which is good cause I seriously need some cash from somewhere.

I called Drew yesterday and we had a serious conversation about setting up a business together when he gets back to London in April. We were thinking about an escort service, with the two of us being the main attractions, at least at the outset. We have a very clear and definitive business strategy - we will only accept clients that fall into the rich, ripped, handsome and funny category. Basically Richard Gere's character in Pretty Woman. If the first two clients can fit that criteria that would be great - ensuring that our sorry asses are taken off the streets and kept forever in Gucci and Helmut Lang.

It's Joe's birthday party tonight in Soho. He just texted me to ask if I can just wear a jockstrap. Erm, sure Joe. Anything for the birthday boy.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Fragrance ad pitch, starring yours truly

letranger

The best thing about Christmas is that all the fashion designers mercilessly push their fragrance lines in sumptuous, goregous TV ads shot by the likes of Stephen Meisel and Terry Richardson.

Now some people have aspirations of being actors, popstars, etc. Some even want to design furniture. But not me. I want to be the star of a fragrance ad, for something like, I don't know, "L'Etranger Pour Homme" by Fifi De La Froo-froo.

Rome, Italy - it's early morning and in black and white and sepia tones I run through the empty streets of the city to the beautiful strains of Elgar's Variations. I am dressed in a black tuxedo, white dress shirt underneath, buttoned down low, tie loosely hanging around my neck. My hair is all messed up but still, I am crushingly handsome. I carry a bunch of roses in my hand. I look and search everywhere: down side streets, in tiny chapels, into cafes that have just opened, but I can't find the object of my affection. Eventually I give up. Tired, exhausted I stumble backwards and fall onto some marble steps leading up to a beautiful fountain. I put the flowers aside and rest my head in my hands. I am a lost soul.

At that moment a hand comes into view and caresses the side of my face. I look up, wide eyed, my mouth slightly open. My surprise becomes a smile. It's him. He found me. He kneels down and rather than kiss, in slow motion we rest our foreheads together and look adoringly into each others eyes. A shaft of light appears and the scene morphs into a lovingly extended shot of the fragrance bottle (designed by Phillipe Stark) against a midnight velvet backdrop. A husky masculine voice utters the immortal words:

"L'Etranger Pour Homme. Be a stranger no more."

Fade to black.

First gay fragrance ad ever. Not a dry eye in the house. Somewhere in Hollywood Nicole Kidman curses Baz Luhrman for lack of vision.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

The perils of the charity shop

shop2

I got to the station too early yesterday for my train back to London from Leeds. To kill some time I decided to peruse the shelves of Smith’s. I decided to buy a copy of Arena Homme Plus. Not only is the magazine my style bible, but it features mucho pages of male models in various stages of undress.

On the train I start to flip through the magazine and come across this article on charity shops, which contained a mini review of Saviour in Notting Hill. I am reliably informed that I will find the long desired piece de resistance for my wardrobe amongst their heavily laden rails. So because I am currently a man of leisure, I decided that I would stop by on my way to the gym. Besides, I like the atmosphere of Notting Hill and I can imagine that art could mirror life and I might accidentally spill my latte down some movie star's shirt. One thing will lead to another. Probably.

I’ll cut to the chase. The shop was crap. Nothing in there that I liked. And the prices? Are you kidding me!?

People talk a lot of crap about charity shops. Especially journalists in highfalutin fashion magazines, such as Arena Homme Plus, which I hate anyway because it’s pretentious and the models are ugly. How many times have you heard some story from one of your hipster friends about how they claimed to have found a vintage Vionnet dress on the rails at their local Sue Ryder shop in some market town where “daddy” owns half the county (I am thinking of a particular acquaintance here).

The idea that charity shops are bursting at the seams with fashion finds is patently bullshit. Because in fifteen years of generally having enough money to buy clothes I have only once found anything remotely worthy of putting on my body – a beautifully cut, black polyester (yup, I said polyester) shirt from Birmingham Flea Market. I can wear it unbuttoned almost to the waist (best when I have a tan) and it shows off my chest nicely. I wuv you, my little black shiny shirt!

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the bargains are there, somewhere. Perhaps my finely honed fashion radar misfires in charity shops because I’m too busy avoiding the many freaks who congregate amid the musty clothes (people really have died in them if the smell is anything to go by) and the grossly yellowed Mills & Boon novels.

I went into a charity shop with my mummy a while ago and it occured to me the staff are all characters from the “League of Gentlemen” (for my foreign readers, this is a cult British comedy sketch show):

1. Little old lady – the one who is too scared to use the till so she does all the sums on the back of a paper bag, pausing only to yell across the shop, “Love a cup of tea, Connie, if you’re putting the kettle on!”

2. Surly teenage girl - who’s only doing her four hours a week because it’ll look good on her university application. That and the fact that her poor beleaguered parents are desperate to get her out of the house.

3. Finally, shifty, spotty “yoof” – wearing a shell suit and a sneer. He’s doesn’t go on the till either. But that's because he’s not allowed. He is only working there as part of his community service sentence for stealing mobile phones from people’s coat pockets at his local Wetherspoons.

But the most frightening aspect of any charity shop? The twitching, badly dressed man (which came first – the badly dressed man or the charity shop?) of a certain age who stares unblinkingly at you as you try to find something worth reading amongst afore mentioned yellowing M&B books (you know I did once find the “Hite Report on Male Sexuality” in a charity shop! Provided hours of adolescent homoerotic reading).

Four simple words: care in the community.

Anyway – compared to that motley crew the actual shoppers seem like the epitome of cleanliness, sanity and good fashion choices. Er, no!! Charity shop shoppers are comprised of the following cast:

1. Stingy mums – the determinedly Boho middle class type who are actually too stingy to buy new clothes for little Cosima and Bartley from Marks & Spencer, ensuring that the fruit of their loins are forever the victims of playground taunts (I know - I got beaten up because of the school blazer my mum bought from a charity shop. So I binned it and told her that it had been stolen during PE).

2. Middle aged man – he lives with his mum and spends three hours looking at every single freaking book and completely obscures your view of the shelves. Oi! Middle aged man! They don’t sell porn in Scope, so bugger off!

3. Hippies – of the type who really need to replace their mantra of “Better to reuse than recycle” with my personal fave, “cleanliness is next to Godliness.”

And last but not least, and it shames me to have to write this as between the years of 1993 - 1996 I was once one of these:

4. Fashion students – they humorlessly insist on buying horrible shiny monstrosities that looked shit in the 80s and aren’t going to suddenly look less shit 20 or so years later.

I guess at the end of the day everyone and everything has it’s place in the world. Charity shops will always be next to the fruit and veg shops and bizarrely within the pages of Vogue and Arena Homme Plus. And I am not playing down their importance - obviously they raise much needed cash for reallly great causes, like cat homes and church roof funds. But if you do accidentally wander into a charity shop please remember - do not look anyone in the eye under any circumstance!

Monday, December 06, 2004

How to be a PR professional

A couple of years ago one of my clients sponsored the premiere of Ms.Spear's movie "Crossroads" in London. Lucy and I took the features writer, Richard, from some girly teen magazine. I knew that he was gay but because of the theme of the magazine I envisaged that he would be a bit of a nelly queen.

Wrong. Trendy, very good looking with a bit of a diamond geezer quality thrown in for good measure. I don't usually go for guys with cropped haircuts, but Richard had it goin on. And on. And on...

So the premiere itself was pretty uneventful but I did get the opportunity to tell Richard afterwards my critical opinion of the movie. That it sucked mainly. The aftershow party in Mayfair was a completely different experience. Britney was a diva in the most fabulous sense of the word and spent the whole evening getting fucked up (not literally) on this sumptuous pink bed (she was in the papers the next day for two reasons - the first being that she had been an hour late for the movie and second reason being that she had drunkenly flipped the bird to several of our most eminent British photographers upon leaving the party).

Richard and I were definitely each others wing men at the party and spent the best part of the evening eyeing up Britney's hunky male co-star (forgotten his name), Antony from Blue and talking to Rachel Stevens from S Club 7. But as we got more and more drunk the two of us began blurring the professional lines. What I'm saying is it wasn't long before we had our hands up each other's shirts and were making out in the windowsill of Britney's faux bedroom.

The next day I left Richard's apartment suffering from a hangover extraordinaire and without showering cause I was late (we had morning sex for good measure). On the train on the way in I asked myself the moral question, "Does the fact that I have had sex with an important journo contact mean that I am unprofessional?" Then I figure it out - no, it just meant that I was just a slut.

Anyway, it wasn't until I actually got to work and went to the bathroom to sort myself out that I realised that Richard had left some evidence from the mornings proceedings, um, on my chest (was wearing a low cut v-neck jumper). I obviously scrubbed that issue away very quickly.

Later on that morning I got a call from the lovely Nicole, who worked at the time on the gossip pages of The Sun. "So who was the guy you were snogging last night, baby?" (I don't think she was looking for a page scoop by the way, but the need for gossip in all it's forms was obviously in her bones).

So I shared some of the details, told her who Richard was, etc. And then we had a laugh about some of the other events of the evening. Then for some insane reason I started to tell her about what I had discovered earlier in the bathroom. It wasn't until I got to a certain point in the tale that I realised what exactly it was I was telling her and that in actual fact she wasn't a dear old friend but really just a journalist buddy and that I probably needed to be professional.

"Actually Nicole, you really don't want to hear this story . It's kinda gross."

"NO! You can't do that! You HAVE to tell me!"

"Erm. I'm not sure. I think it might skew your professional opinion of me."

"Don't be so ridiculous. You should see some of the stuff we get sent here. Nothing shocks me, hon. Spill..." (bad choice of words)

So I told her and at the end of the story I laughed. But on the other end of the phone...silence. Then eventually. "Hmm. Anyway, the real reason I was calling you was to ask if you knew the name of the girl Duncan (from Blue) was chatting up last night?"

Mortified. Sometimes I really need to just shut my mouth.

Anyway - the reason that I am writing this is because this morning Lucy, the old colleague who I took Richard to the premiere with, emailed me to say that she had been to a party last week and had bumped into him. Richard and I never really figured it out after that night and never got around to meeting up again. But apparently at this party he had been grilling Lucy about me - where I was, what I was doing and more to the point was I single?

So I emailed Lucy back in so uncertain terms as to her mission. Her response:

"Leave it to me Christopher. I have high hopes for this one!"

I wonder if he'll want to mess my hair up?

Sunday, December 05, 2004

I love this...

I don't know if it is really good blog etiquette to post someone elses post on your own blog, so I won't. Instead here is the link. It's from the "Cult of Jef" blog (see left.) Read it now and then come back.

We all interpret things differently, but for me, that is awesome. They say that life is in the details. I agree with that - grand gestures are just gestures. But things like that - they're what makes me smile and, for me anyway, what makes life great.

I want someone to mess my hair up!

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Achy-breaky crotch

"Wayne?"

"Yes Christopher?"

"My crotch aches."

"Why is that Christopher?"

"Well you know that machine at the gym? The one with the knee pads and you sit in the chair and bring your knees together? Well I saw some guy using it and I thought that I would try it too. And now my crotch really aches."

"Don't use that machine Christopher. It doesn't make your arms or chest bigger. Besides, I don't think your crotch needs any more exercise than it's already getting."

(punches Wayne)

"Wayne? Will that make my arms bigger?"

Friday, December 03, 2004

Fierce Female Film Performances (in my humble opinion)

Whenever I watch the Oscars, Best Actor is usually of little interest to me (except when Adrien brody won - phwoar!). I just want to know which leading lady is gonna be honored with the prestigious "Best" title. Anyway, I have just been watching Kill Bill Vol.2 (for the umpteenth time) with Vix's brother Matt, and it inspired me to write this post. Maybe Kill Bill is a good place to start (feel free to comment at the end if you feel that I have missed out an important all-time fierce performance):


elle driver

Elle Driver (Darryl Hannah) – Kill Bill Vol.2
“Now you should listen to this, 'cause this concerns you. 'The amount of venom that can be delivered from a single bite can be gargantuan.' You know I've always liked that word gargantuan? I so rarely have an opportunity to use it in a sentence.”


aliens

Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) – Aliens
“Get away from her you bitch!”


lastseduction

Bridget Gregory / Wendy Troy (Linda Fiorentino) – The Last Seduction
“'I’m sorry, it’s just that I haven’t felt this way about a guy before.' How’s that? Will that do?”


Barbarella

Barbarella (Jane Fonda) – Barbarella
After having experienced physical sex for the first time, “La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la…”


basic instinct

Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) – Basic Instinct
“I had sex with him for about a year and a half. I liked having sex with him. He wasn't afraid of experimenting. I like men like that. I like men who give me pleasure. He gave me a lot of pleasure.”


Miranda Richardson

Ingrid Fleming (Miranda Richardson) – Damage
"You should have killed yourself. I would have buried you. And I would have wept."


leia

Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) – Star Wars
“Governor Tarkin, I should have expected to find you holding Vader's leash. I recognised your foul stench when I was brought on board.”


catwoman

Catwoman (Michelle Pfieffer) – Batman Returns
“As I was saying, I’m a woman and can’t be taken for granted. Life’s a bitch. Now so am I.”


cannonball

Lamborghini Babes (Tara Buckman & Jill Rivers) – Cannonball Run
No lines, just a little cleavage enhancing “unzipping”.


But, for me, the winner of the All Time Fierceness In a Movie Award goes to:

glenn close

Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil (Glenn Close) - Dangerous Liaisons
“When I came out into society I was 15. I already knew then that the role I was condemned to, namely to keep quiet and do what I was told, gave me the perfect opportunity to listen and observe. Not to what people told me, which naturally was of no interest to me, but to whatever it was they were trying to hide. I practiced detachment. I learned how to look cheerful while under the table I stuck a fork into the back of my hand. I became a virtuoso of deceit. I consulted the strictest moralists to learn how to appear, philosophers to find out what to think, and novelists to see what I could get away with, and in the end it all came down to one wonderfully simple principle: win or die.”


MUST TRY HARDER!

madonna

Rebecca Carlson (Madonna) – Body of Evidence
“Men lie. I don’t know why. They just do.”

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Group sex anyone? No? No?

hmm

There are many things in life which are considered, for many different reasons, to be landmarks. For some it's buying their first pair of Manolo's. For others, it's getting that dream job. For me it was being invited to my first gay orgy.

Sex really has come out of the bedroom in the last few years. It is now not only acceptable, but deeply de rigueur to talk about sex at every available opportunity. Thank about this: when was the last time that you were actually embarrassed about discussing anything sexual? I remember being at school and my friend asking me how often I knocked one out (Brit term for masturbation) and I can still remember now that I turned Pantone reference 7544C. I was asked the same question just the other day and I was embarrassed again - this time not because I do it, but because apparently, judging by their reaction, I don't do it enough.

So no one is embarrassed anymore. Especially us boys of a certain persuasion - we love talking about sex. LOVE IT! Why just yesterday I emailed Brandi the slightly exaggerated details (it was two and a half hours, not four) of an afternoon of hot pash resulting from a trip to the gym (seriously - the gym has been a veritable sexual mecca for me recently!) Telling your friends that you have just been "at it" all afternoon is these days pretty much on a par with telling them that you had a massage, a wet shave and a pedicure. "How was my day? Oh you know, just a little lunch, a workout, sex with some guy Ben, then a movie in the evening with Jess. It was really lovely."

A case in point is the fact that last month the Harvard Crimson (described by the Washington Post as "the nation's best campus newspaper") reported that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had raised a few eyebrows by claiming that he favored sexual orgies. "I even take the position (great choice of words there Antonin) that sexual orgies eliminate social tension and ought to be encouraged." No doubt an unexpected sentiment but nonetheless, refreshing to hear.

Which brings us neatly back to the subject - being invited to my first gay orgy. I got the specifics from my friend. It is a legitimate affair, which takes place once a month at "Doug's" loft apartment in Soho. It is attended by thirty to forty guys between the ages of 20 and 35, who fall into the attractive and svelte category - hot basically. And I saw some pictures of these guys and they were indeed rather easy on the eye. Anyway, I weighed the idea up for a little while and really couldn't make up my mind. I guess it is something that everyone should do at least once in their lives. But you see I am actually a bit of a meat and veg type guy, and the idea of an orgy...well I have mixed feelings about it. I mean as long as they are safe and drug free (which I am promised, this one is) I don't see anything particularly wrong with them, per se. But still...

So I emailed my friend to ask them what they would do and this is what they said. "Have the sex party! God, I would. Take pictures. Send them to me. Make a boy very happy. No really, do it. Sounds HOT."

So I agreed to my friend sending his friend (the organiser) a pic of me so that I could be visually vetted. And then if I passed I would be forwarded all the sordid details. Apparently I still have some "thing" goin' on (note the pic of me was a fully clothed face pic!) cause boy did I ever get the details! An extremely detailed description of what occurs from the moment you arrive to the moment you leave. VERY specific detail to what goes on in the middle. It made my face burn. The accompanying picture "evidence" made me blind. Overall, I felt slightly queasy.

So for the last week I have been walking around with the knowledge that on Saturday I am attending a gay orgy. And questions began to pop into my mind. Apparently I need to take drink. So what do I take? A nice Liebfraumilch? Or do I splash out on a bottle of Chateau Neuf de Pape? And what underwear do I wear? Do I invest in a nice new pair of Calvins? Or is that silly, because, lets face it, they probably won't stay on for very long. And then I began to actually pay serious consideration to me, in situ...in the middle of the orgy. A mental picture appeared, one not entirely devoid of comedy.

Imagine reader, if you will, me, in a pair of tighty-whities and not much else, standing in the middle of a room surrounded by thirty to forty guys going at it. My head is tilted to one side, my face sports a confused expression. And then I notice the three guys at my feet. "Um. That's so...I mean, er, how does that work? Oh my! Oh, I see!"

Yeah. Not a hot look, is it?

So last night I sent the organiser a little email, apologising that I wouldn't be able to attend as something has come up (probably could have phrased that better). Instead, tomorrow I will be Leeds-bound to see Wayne and his boyfriend Vince. Wayne has informed that the weekends proceedings will be wholesome and lovely, but still with the opportunity to hook up with a cute, floppy haired art student called Stuart, if so choose I.

But I'll end on this note. You never know what is round the corner and if I ever do find myself in the midst of a seething gay orgy then, courtesy of the same friend who told me to go, I have the best brush off line ever for spurning the advances of someone you don't really want touching you:

"Get off me! You know you're only here to make up the numbers!"

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

It was my PLEASURE!

DSCF0005

Hey guys! No problem! I thoroughly enjoyed this afternoon's impromptu twenty minute stop between Stockwell and Oval. It didn't bother me that there was no announcement explaining the delay or even that the lights went off so that we were plunged into darkness. No! Neither was I at all concerned that I might be mugged or violated. Infact I was kinda hoping...

One question though - travelling by Underground, as opposed to what? My Gulf Stream IV jet? My Aston Martin Vanquish V8? Or do you mean my Sikorsky S76 luxury helicopter?

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Me under the knife again (or rather, laser)



(yes, I know what it looks like. But it's not. Please read on...)

Dating Jake was the biggest incentive for me to take the gym more seriously. Lying next to a body carved by angels out of the finest of marbles can either make you envious or determined. I chose the latter.

So for the last month and a half I have been pumping the iron with a ferocity unmatched since the time that Hercules was a regular member of Fitness First. Only I choose Cannons because the City branch has an amazing spa which is perfect for soothing the burn and the clientele is also little bit more easy on the eye (hook-up opportunities are certainly not out of the question).

The one thing that I have not been able to get back on is the treadmill. Treadmills and I have had a complicated relationship, ever since I was at the gym at Uni and spotted my friend Steve in the mirror. I turned my head to say "Hi" and the posture imbalance ensured that I was promptly and uncerimoniously deposited in a mangled heap on the floormat behind me.

However, on the whole I do persevere with the treadmill, simply because it is the only way that I am going to get an ass that won't quit. But the reason that I can't do it right now has something to do with the intubation procedure I underwent earlier in the year. Without going into too much detail, the tube that they put down my throat damaged one of my vocal cords so that it is stuck in the middle. The result has been two fold. The plus side is that my voice is much deeper and throatier, much to the delight of some of my girlfriends who ring my voicemail with the simple hope of hearing my dulcet tones (Katie at Inca actually alerted the office girls and whenever I call them, they're like "Hi Chris," in their most seductive voice. It's not working girls!)

The down side is that I have a restricted airway in my throat which means that after vigoruous exercise I can literally be gasping for breath. A minute on the treadmill and I am blue in the face.

Last week I went to the hospital for a check up and the doctor told me that the only way to correct this was surgery. It's a twenty minute general anaesthetic procedure where they use a laser to shy away the vocal chord that is stuck in the middle. It's a fairly minor procedure and I'll only need a couple of days recovery. But there is a problem - the procedure could change my voice yet again - not the tone or pitch, but I might have a voice similar, as the doctor put it, to Patrick Duffy in Dallas (whisper, "Pam. Pam. I love you Pam.")

I explained that my job means that I often have to do a lot of speaking, on the phone and in meetings, and a quiet, whispery voice is not gonna be great. Also we all know how much I like to make myself heard. So the doctor has referred me to the best throat surgeon in the world. Actually I'm lying. The best throat surgeon in Britain. In Brighton to be specific. So sometime in the next month I will be taking a trip to Brighton to have my cords looked at followed by a little procedure and hopefully some yummy hospital ice cream and jello.

It's funny - the friends that I have told this to look at me in horror. But things like this just don't bother me. I just want to be fixed. Like the other day my friend Louise was telling me about how to file bankruptcy and while any normal person would balk at the idea, I was all like, "Hmmm...tell me more..."

Priorities, priorities...

Monday, November 29, 2004

Pieces of Me



My favorite painting is Proserpine, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

My father thinks I am clever

My mother thinks I am gifted, responsible and not really gay

My brother doesn't think that much

My best friend thinks I am a handful!

My three best qualities - visually creative, philosophical, optimistic

My three worst qualities - procrastination, doing things too fast, occasionally catastrophising

I am often complimented for my smile

A compliment that made me blush was that I change peoples lives for the better

I get embarrassed when I state a ridiculous opinion that I don't really believe, but my pride makes me stick with it

It makes me happy to give and receive demonstrations of love, in all their wide and varied forms

It upsets me when friends who I thought were in wonderful relationships break up

I keep a blog

I like to cook

I have a secret I have not shared with anyone

I don't understand why people fold their underwear

I once murmured to a boyfriend, "you're a dirty bastard in bed" as I was drifting off to sleep! On the whole though, I don't talk in my sleep

Since I broke my jaw my front teeth don't bite down fully, therefore I no longer bite my fingernails

I believe in love

The last movie I rented was Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

The last movie I bought was Before Sunset

The last song I listened to was Je T'aime Tant, by Julie Delpy

The last person I called was my Dad

The last person who called me was Jake

The last TV show I watched was The South Bank Show

The last person I thought of was Jamie

I wish I could live in New York

I don't believe in online dating

People say I am handsome

I don't want anything else pierced

I do want another tattoo

I drink socially

I have taken drugs

I hate cleaning

I love roller coasters

I write in cursive

I don't carry a doner card

I have cried over a boy

I have lied to people

I have never been arrested

I use Aveda shampoo

I wear All Stars, Adidas, Puma, Dolce & Gabanna and Camper footwear

I am scared of failure

I have broken someone elses heart

I have broken my own heart

I won't tell you how many people I have slept with

I have one enemy

I have stayed in contact with five people from school

My name has appeared in the newspaper seven times

There are six things in my past that I regret

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Meet some of my friends...



I have to admit that I am occasionally prone to laziness and also get a little sidetracked from time to time ("What?" I hear you say. "Surely not!") And with all the craziness that has been going on in my life of late I have been a neglectful friend. So to make up for it I have spent a fair few hours this weekend, reading up on all my friends blogs (well the ones that keep them anyway).

The reason this came about - for ages now I have noticed that many of my buddies have "links" sections in their blogs, that take the reader to other blogs. Some are strangers. Some are friends. As he is Le Chef de Blog I always used to ask Drew to help me with putting the links section on. He would promise that he would show me on Tuesday per se, but would usually go swimming instead. And now he is in NZ I guess he has a more legitimate and exotic excuse. Anyway - the other day I taught myself a little bit of HTML and hey presto!

Very often I see other people's blogs and their links and ask why it is that I should take the time to read them. Well, incase you were asking yourself the same question, I decided to write a little bit here about each of the people I listed - or at least the ones that are my friends. This is why you should check them out.



Drew (Not Enough Drew In The World)
One of the many, many reasons that Drew is one of my favorite people on Earth is because he has no compunction whatsoever in telling me to shut the buggery bollocks up when I am waffling. The first time he did it was about a week after I first met him. It was about 6am on New Years Day - I had spent the night with the Scoobies at Pasha and we were making our way via tube to various and random locations around the city. On the way I started droning on about something boring. So Drew gently put his hand on my shoulder and with a sincere and sympathetic smile, whispers "Christopher?" Then, pinky to lips, "Shhh..."



S (YoYo Bunny)
Of course I was first like "You're cooool!" with S, because not only was she New York's "Mother of the Door" in the 80s and 90s, but more importantly because one evening she divulged a really great story to me about a personal encounter with a pre-fame Madonna. But imagine how I felt when I found out that this classy-lady is not only a social tour-de-force, but is also a trained and very talented graphic designer, painter, writer, owner of a line of premium unisex grooming products, fashion designer and muse. And she is a bit of an open political mind, with some sound theories which appeal greatly to me. Oh and a few years back she snagged herself a rather handsome and intelligent man, who she promptly married. S really does have it all. Bitch. ;)



GG (Gotham Guy)
One of my biggest regrets is that I haven't cherished GG enough. Although I knew him the whole time I was in NYC it was only during the last four or five months that we really started hanging out and began to trust each other in the way that good friends do. I think the deal maker, for me, was when he told me via email "You are a Calvin Klein model and you know it!" GG is another who is not afraid to tell me the way it is. He gets infuriated by me and rants at me and I pretend not to listen, but I secretly do. And a rant is always punctuated with a "But you know I love you." One last thing is that GG is also extremely sexy. I am always secretly proud to be seen out with him, because by association, people might think he is my boyfriend.



Will (Big Willy Style)
While being by far my most "special" and favorite ex-boyfriend, more importantly Will is one of my best and most trusted friends. There are some people in this world that you meet and almost immediately realise they are gonna be of the type that will stick around. The moment I realised that he was "one of those" was when I first met him properly, on New Years Eve at Crobar. 4am, both rather drunk, riding the subway back to my apartment, I laid my wearied head in his lap and he tussled my hair with his fingers. And we stayed like that and smiled at each other but didn't say anything much. A thoroughly gorgeous boy, inside and out, he is also tirelessly patient with me and thoroughly deserving of a medal. Although he does have killer abs, which pisses me off no end.



Marv (Gremlins)
Marv (not her real name - don't know where it came from) I have known for about eleven years now. While she is one of those people who certainly does not dance bare-breasted on tabletops to "Saturday Night", she is nonetheless a very important factor in our social group - for the reason that she provides chords of insight, wit and clarity when the rest of us are talking utter shite. Whenever I see her, even though I might be pretending to listen to the person talking, I am secretly tuned in to Marv in the corner, anxiously awaiting the next quip to fall from her lips. One other thing - Marv is one of the most natural beauties I know, but she knows how I feel about her collection of tie-died trousers and mismatching socks. One day soon she will relent and Marv and I will be Gucci bound for the purchase of a fabulous capsule wardrobe.



Jerome (Jack on Jack)
Jerome (and Dan - next) are two of the nicest lager drinking, babe luvvin, footie watching, Loaded reading lads you could ever have the good fortune to meet. When I spend time with Jerome the straight boy side comes out and I almost find myself doing somthing really awful like playing Basketball or getting involved in a drinking game that involves stripping and running stark bollock naked down the highstreet. Although he likes to pretend otherwise, there is a heck of a lot going on in his noggin. Although Jerome's blog is not exactly a regular affair teeming with content, the reason that it makes me laugh so much is because most of it is actually written by Marv, who from time to time gently tries nudge him into writing something himself. Like a proud mother doing her son's homework for him.



Dan (Pint and a Gibber)
Dan is a diamond geezer. Scratch the surface of this cheeky, naughty babe-magnet and you will quickly find a solid heart that is made from a gold like substance. This is a boy who fully appreciates the winning effect of a Pot Noodle on a hangover, which is lucky for him because from what I understand being hungover constitutes 90% of his waking life. Boy, can he put the beers away! And he turns a blind eye when I descend upon the Hare pub in Hendred in a muscle vest, baseball cap, highly ripped jeans, posey sunglasses and promptly starts snogging straight Farmer Ed. Oh - and another with a scarily huge mind behind the brawn. I haven't spent an awful lot of time with him in late, but he can still buy me a pint whenever he likes.



Matt (MattMatt)
Matt is husband to Marv. I had a mini-crush on Matt when I first met him all those years ago - you see he is another of those deeply talented individuals that I can be nothing but slightly in awe of. And he was genuinely concerned when I couldn't stop crying, even after we left the movie theatre, when a bunch of us went to see "Philadelphia". Check out his website - he is an amazingly talented illustrator. I was so pleased when Marv and Matt tied the knot - for years I would think, "When are those two gonna work it out!?" ("Robot Alert" is the blog that he keeps which is maintained by James Lee Pig, Matt's devoted underling).

A few great peeps. All of the type that makes life varied and interesting and lovely. So hit 'em up!

Saturday, November 27, 2004

DOH! (No.145)



Before I get on to the crux of this post (that will explain why there is a picture of an entrapped duck above) can I just tell you one thing? Even though I am a gay man (in the words of Daffyd Thomas "Yes! I am a gay, ok!? Deal with it!) and in my time I have seen more condoms than you could wave a stick at (I'm sure that there is a more appropriate analogy there somewhere) I still find the idea of actually buying condoms kinda funny, ha, ha. After all, wherever us gayers go we literally get showered (pardon the expression) with free condoms and lube - I can't remember the last time I actually purchased a condom.

I was just at the chemist picking up my inhalers (note that I have been without inhalers for over a week now!) and the guy in front of me, probably late thirties, with a cute little 3 year old in tow (with the normal three year old accessory, a small plastic bucket) was buying some throat soothers, shower gel and ... condoms. I actually had to turn away to suppress my giggles. My inner 14 year old wanted to shout out "Ew! You're gonna have SEX! Gross!"

I'm sure that had he been a rugged Steve Jones type I would have been less childish and more turned on.

Anyway - tonight my friend Richard is coming round for dinner and Vix and I were discussing what we should cook. For some reason Foie Gras came up and it made me think that I should share something here that happened several years ago.

One of the perks of my job is that I often have the opportunity to take press out to very swanky, expensive restaurants for lunch or dinner. These days I generally go on these appointments by myself, but years ago when I was but a lowly Exec I would always accompany my boss.

When I worked at Lynne Franks PR my boss Francesca and I took a very influential beauty journalist (there is a disconnect there somewhere between the words "influential" and "beauty journalist") called Karena Callen and her assistant to lunch at Vong, which is a really plush French restaurant under the Berkley Hotel in Kensington. Now Francesca, while lovely, could also be frikkin scary. "Whatever you do, just don't say anything stupid. Karena is a tough cookie. Let me lead the lunch. If you don't think you know the answers to any of the questions, then don't say anything, understand?"

I shake my head.

"You don't understand?"

I nod vigorously, "Oh no, no I mean I do understand. I won't say anything."

So we get there and Karena is far from the picture of the monster that Francesca has painted. Very pretty, friendly and interested in me, which is surprising because I had been assured that she wouldn't be. Her assistant is also very nice too.

So we sit down and start up the conversation - usual chit chat. Nothing too inspiring. And then the waiters bring us the menus and I take a look. And there is a problem - it's all in French. Now, again, I can speak enough French (with a dictionary on hand) to get by. But I do also get a little confused as well. I think I get the jist of the main courses, but I'm not sure what the starters are. And because at this point I was a vegetarian (was vege for eight years can you believe!) eventually I decide that I'm going to opt for the one entitled Foie Gras, because it sounds like "Fake Grass", which would surely be vegetarian.

So the waiter comes back and I confidently order my starter of Foie Gras and main course of, er, légumes.

After we have all ordered the conversation gets around to the fact that Karena's daughter is vegetarian and is only four. Which is of course my cue to be able to respond in like, "Yes - I am also a vegetarian. Yes! The smell of bacon is rather tempting isn't it? But for me, because I am a vegetarian!" And so it goes for the next five or ten minutes.

The entrees come to the table and the moment I receive mine I know that something is very, very wrong. While the delicately sliced piece of Mango appeals, the teeny tiny sliver of what looks like a baby kidney doesn't. I lean in to Francesca and whisper "What is this?"

"Well, what did you order?"

"Foie gras."

She considers it, "Well it's goose liver." Then she looks up at me, "Just...eat...it..."

I look at this thing infront of me. Even when I ate meat, I could never bring myself to eat offal, because quite frankly, it's just gross. I'm also not good with things like Snails and Frogs Legs. But because I am so afraid of making a fool of myself I begin to cut it up. I consider whether I should perhaps just eat the thing in one go - to just get it over with. But that would look odd. So I carve off a little (oil like fluid seeps out of the thing) and couple it with a slice of the mango. And I try not to pull a pained expression as I attempt to chew it without barfing.

But it’s obviously not working because Karena looks at me and then down at my food and then back up again. "Hang on a minute Christopher - what are you eating?"

I can see where this is going.

An innocent smile, "Oh yes, it's just a little Foie Gras."

"But I thought you said you were a vegetarian?"

A pause.

"Yeeeesss, but sometimes, not very often, I do eat poultry."

"I see." she says unconvincingly. "But Christopher. You do know how Foie Gras is made don't you?"

My face must have been a picture. "No..."

She smiles sympathetically. I know that, despite her unphased exterior, Francesca is probably ready to take me down to the floor.

"I'll tell you when you have finished." and she pats me on my shoulder. Now I feel like a stupid school kid. And in addition the Foie Gras is now less like a mini autopsy and more like deadly poison. But because I ultimately have a backbone made of rigid steel, I polish it off. And I try not to gag. It's so fatty and oily. It actually gives me shivers now, writing about it.

When it is clear that I have indeed finished my little dish, there is a pregnant pause and Karena tells me. If you are really interested, if you don't already know, there is a more eloquent explanation here.

Clearly after the explanation I am feeling a little green. "You didn't know what you were ordering did you?" Karena says, sympathetically.

Again, I mournfully shake my head.

"Francesca - I love this boy. Poor you, Christopher. Would you like some water?"

The rest of the lunch goes swimmingly. And Karena agrees to write a story on the hair care brand we are pitching. Maybe she agreed to it because she felt sorry for me. I had obviously gone beyond the call of duty for her. I guess the moral of this story is that a little stupidity can sometimes be a good thing. Or at least that's what I keep telling myself...

Friday, November 26, 2004

Red Tape!

I got a call yesterday from what will now be know as my “original employer” regarding my blog.

Apparently all emails sent to my old company email address were forwarded on to one of my old colleagues. One particular email made reference to this blog and she read it! And subsequently discovered the odd reference to the “original employer”, it’s clients and staff.

Drew told me off a while ago for doing this and cited a woman in the States who had her blog discovered by the press (and by default the content – her sleeping arrangements with numerous politicians of various stature!) But of course I didn’t listen (firmly upholding the principle of the second amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America). But alas, I am not American and not governed or protected by it’s laws. I am but a lowly Brit and I have become a victim of oppressive censorship! ;)

So I have removed all references to “original employer”. I guess I was kinda stupid to mention them in the first place really. I have had my fingers wrapped, not unlike a naughty youngster.

(sticks tail between legs)

I’d just like to say “thanks” to all you people - friends and strangers - from all over the world who read my musings, send me little notes and comments and more to the point, keep coming back for more! Love you long time!

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Oh my...

I think this goes down as one of the most disturbing things that I have ever heard of.

When Jake and I were in Paris I asked Sebastiene why all of the drinks we bought at the club we went to had these plastic lids over them with straws piercing the middle. Being a man of infinite practicality I assumed that they were to stop the drink swilling down my expensive Sonya Rykiel top. But Sebastiene informed me that they are actually to prevent people from slipping Rohypnol or some other kind of substance into your beverage.

I know sometimes I can be a little naive, but I find this all really shocking. I really have to dress my drinks with plastic covers now?! I mean, I could be out at Tiger Tiger on Saturday, having an awesome time with my friends and then the next thing I know I'm waking up with a blinding headache in some bedsit in Acton with...no. It doesn't bear thinking about.

This is scary, frightening stuff.

On a more smiley note, the newspapers reported today that the word "mother" has been voted the loveliest word in the English language. Aw. Mummy. Which is all well and good, but what if your mum is a pikey moo from Flange?

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Inspiring Blog post (not by me)



Margaret Cho is an American comedian who I have soooo much respect for. More so after reading the following excerpt from her blog. (You can read her blog here.)

I know that the "re-election" is by today's standards, ancient history, but I came across this yesterday and, well, I just loved it. I think that it is just so brilliant and inspiring, and maybe should be more obvious than it is, but maybe that's just me. I don't hear anyone else speaking like this. And perhaps it's time we followed this school of thought? After all - humour is the best remedy. Consistent anger doesn't really get us anywhere. Just makes our temple veins throb unattractively.

Over to Margaret:

I know that we would like to question the whole of democracy. I can't believe Bush won either, but there isn't time to despair.

What is needed now is action, not hopelessness. What is important is that there has been tremendous progress in mobilizing people to create change. Remember, more voters turned out this year than in the last three decades. Although it might be said that we can't expect change overnight, there really was a very rapid shift in the way we view politics. We have become unafraid of voicing our opinions, using our power, pooling our resources, and allowing our differences to aid us instead of keeping us apart.

These new ways of looking at ourselves politically redefine what it means to be an American. It takes what used to be a very passive identity and turned us all into revolutionaries. In a short time, we activated activism, something that lay dormant in many of us and had not been awakened until now. The Bush administration will be sorry they won this battle, for they now look forward to losing the war. Ultimately, a government cannot defeat its people, no matter how much power they assume or how corrupt they are. Even though today feels like a defeat, there is no loss. There is only opportunity. Now we have the chance to challenge everything, fight everything. The possibilities are tremendous. All the polls, all the posturing, all the opinions that we endured during months leading up to the election provide us with a valuable education on how we think and act as a country.

There are a huge number of us that are on the same side. We had no idea how many of us there were before. We constitute roughly half of the nation, probably more. If we refuse to concede to apathy, then we can roll up our sleeves and get dirty. This is merely the third act break, when it seems like our hero is down for the count, but it just isn't possible, because there is still half an hour to go before the movie ends. We have a lot more of our story left to tell. We need to wipe the blood off our lip and get up again for the last time. My friend years ago had this joke, where he was talking about how he'd tell his girlfriend that he thought she was being a bitch, to which she'd reply - "Oh you'll KNOW when I'm being a bitch."

Republicans don't even know how nasty we can be. You think people are pissed off today, just wait until the inauguration. Can you imagine all the boos and jeers during Brooks & Dunn's set? Just the radical uncoolness of their musicians compared to Democratic rock stars is fairly awesome to consider. Brooks & Dunn vs. Pearl Jam. Charlie Daniels going toe to toe with Bruce Springsteen. Leann Womack against Moby. Britney Spears facing off the entire Hip Hop Summit. If it wasn't so ridiculously sad, it would be funny. If 'these colors' don't run now, they will soon.

I think Bush is probably really scared, if he is smart enough to be. He should be, because he has an enormously difficult task in front of him. There is no way he will regain public popularity. All he can manage to do is not fuck up too badly, which will probably prove to be impossible, as he is the rare maestro of the fuck up. Look at it this way. We might have some fun. Life is a tragedy for those who feel, and a comedy for those who think. It is vital to mourn for the victims of this government but not at the expense of losing our sense of humor. Our ability to laugh coincides directly with our ability to fight. If we can make fun of it, we can transcend it.

Just imagine the incredible storm of shit that Bush will have to endure. It will make Hurricane Jeanne look like a humidifier. The polarizing of the population has been a wondrous gift to debate, and we are more politicized and aware than ever before. With all this caution and attention focused on our 'elected' officials, we have a moment where we can grasp the brass ring of self-government. In the immortal words of DMX, "They don't know, who we be." but they will, and they will be sorry.


Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Roger, Roger, Roger. How may ways do I love thee?



Hands up if you love Duran Duran? (puts hand up)

My first real gay crush was on Roger Taylor, the drummer. When I was 14 I saved up like a month’s worth of pocket money (bear in mind that this was 1986 and pocket money usually came to around one pound a week, if you were lucky!) so that I could buy “Arena”, the live Duran Duran LP. How my parents didn’t realise I was gay back then I don’t know. I mean there aren’t many 14 year old boys with posters of Duran Duran on their walls.

The main reason that I wanted to buy Arena, as opposed to the other more creatively superior Duran Duran LP’s (Rio being the best) was because as part of the album you got a free poster book with the dreamiest picture of Roger (the one above). I literally used to sit and stare at that picture and swoon. Mmmm…Roger Taylor.

I was gutted when he left the band in 1987. Apparently he had had enough of fame and moved up to Stockport or somewhere insane to run a farm with his wife (hated his wife). I remember doing library duty and dreamily staring at pictures of him in Smash Hits, imagining what life would be like for Roger and I, on the farm. In love.

My appreciation of Duran Duran only really lasted up until the release of “Notorious”. After that they pretty much went down hill.

In 2002 I was working on a campaign to reinvigorate an alcohol brand. I helped organize and PR this really great re-launch party at Click. Not to put too fine a point on it this party was FIERCE! Sonique did an unbelievable set, Sophie Anderton had a fight with Alicia Duvall, The Sun’s Dominic Mohan fell down the stairs, the 3AM girls groped up Ben Shepherd, Shane Ritchie did coke in the toilets. It was debauchery on an inspired level (I’d like to point out that I remained sober the entire night – not one drink passed these lips. What? I was working!!)

The day of the party I walk into the office and ask the account exec, for an update on RSVPs. She reels off a few C-list names. “Ugh! No! Lesley Ash can’t bring four guests. So what if she knows Fran Cutler.” (Work PR muscle, work!)

She carries on reeling off the names. “blah, blah, blah, Roger Taylor, blah, blah....”

“Wait, wait, wait. ROGER TAYLOR???!!!!”

“Yeah, he said he would be coming with his wife.”

Suddenly I’m 14 again and all I can think is “I’m going to meet Roger Taylor!” Then I begin to question whether I should really wear my red Hustler vest with my Gucci jacket. Does that scream “faggot”? I mean I want him to think that I’m gay, but not that gay! And do I St Tropez? What if I streak? Normally I don’t get stressed about my work (as long as I don’t have a moronic and neurotic boss breathing down my neck) but now I have the immense pressure of the presence of Duran Duran’s Roger Taylor at my party! What if no one turns up and Rog is sat in the VIP section all alone (because I will have had his wife abducted). Hmm…actually that’s not a bad scenario. He’s gonna need some company if that happens, right?

To cut a long story short, on the night I am so frikkin busy running around sorting out problems like putting several thousand pounds on my personal credit card because the bar allowance has run over, that it gets to about 2am and I realise that I haven’t actually seen Roger. So I run upstairs to the door where a/e is looking after the guestlist to find out what happened to him. Did he turn up?

“Yeah he was here,” a/e informs me. “But he left about ten minutes ago.”

The despair in me is palpable. Who cares if The Sun is doing a spread on the Sophie / Alicia catfight? Who cares if someone has stolen all the Dyptique candles from the VIP room? I missed my one chance of hooking up with ROGER TAYLOR FROM DURAN DURAN! Damnit.

The sadness has been relentless. I never really got over that night. I carried it with me through the rest of the year, through New York. Right up until this evening infact. Right up until I saw a poster for Duran Duran’s new comeback album, “Astronaut”, on the tube on the way home. But bluntly the years have not been kind to my beloved Rog.

So my love affair is now caput. After eighteen years I am now totally over Roger. Sad huh? No. I’m totally over him. I’m all into Steve Jones now.