Tuesday, November 30, 2004
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
Monday, November 29, 2004
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 (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 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!
Sunday, November 28, 2004
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?"
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?"
"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
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
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?
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
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.
Monday, November 22, 2004
"When you look this good, who cares if you're plastic?"-Carmen Xtravaganza
Amanda is the undisputed doyenne of every and all scenes in New York City. She descended, from humble New Jersey roots, in a breathtaking spectacle - dangling dangerously, seductively, from a rope ladder hung from the bottom of a helicopter. The city and it's people have been enraptured ever since.
Amanda is a blonde (but often times pink, blue and red) Venus with Jayne Mansfield's camp sexuality, Marilyn's breathless delivery, and Gypsy Rose Lee's wardrobe of rhinestones and plunging-neckline gowns. Since her arrival in the late 80s she has dazzled in various night settings, scenes as varied as Disco 2000, Jackie 60, Beige, Buckingham and C*NT (my old flatmate's night at Crobar)
I remember the night that I first cast eyes on her - Opaline, March 2003. There she was, gyrating suggestively on the bar, regalient in only a Jessica Rabbit wig and nipple tassels. I leaned in towards my friend, and breathlessly whispered "Who, prey tell, is that lithe temptress?"
"That's Amanda, darling. She's the talk of the town."
"Well, I think I'm smitten. I'm drained by the very nearness of her."
Sunday, November 21, 2004
J'adore Julie Delpy (French actress in Before Sunrise / Sunset). The other day I bought her album and it is really very 'listenable'. One of my favorite songs is "Je T'aime Tant". I don't know what she is singing about but it sounds sexy. But this one (below) is my favorite. She actually wrote the song herself in the character of Celine, which she played in both the "Before" movies. She is singing about the one night stand that she had with Jesse in Vienna all those years before. Can you imagine if someone wrote a song like this for you?
(If you haven't seen either of the movies, go to the video store right now and get both out. They will reinvigorate your belief in love.)
Let me sing you a waltz
Out of nowhere, out of my thoughts
Let me sing you a waltz
About this one night stand
You were for me that night
Everything I always dreamt of in life
But now you're gone
You are far gone
All the way to your island of rain
It was for you just a one night thing
But you were much more to me
Just so you know
I hear rumors about you
About all the bad things you do
But when we were together alone
You didn't seem like a player at all
I don't care what they say
I know what you meant for me that day
I just wanted another try
I just wanted another night
Even if it doesn't seem quite right
You meant for me much more
Than anyone I've met before
One single night with you little Jesse
Is worth a thousand with anybody
I have no bitterness, my sweet
I'll never forget this one night thing
Even tomorrow, another arms
My heart will stay yours until I die
Let me sing you a waltz
Out of nowhere, out of my blues
Let me sing you a waltz
About this lovely one night stand
This morning, at about 8.30am, I get woken up by a phone call from my friend (I'm going to change names here, because while I'm sure she won't mind me writing about the incident here, she probably would object to my naming and shaming her and her boyfriend - she knows who she is!). Meet Liz and Stan.
Liz: "I think Stan might be gay."
I'm awake. "Ok. You need to back up a sec."
"Oh Chris, this is really embarrassing."
"Babes, I really don't think that you need to worry about embarrassing yourself in front of me. I have embarrassed myself in front of you plenty of times. It's about time we re-addressed the imbalance. Besides, you just called me, so clearly you're ready for some humiliation."
She considers this and says, "True."
I prop myself up in bed and rub my eyes.
So she gives me the low down, but not before going over something that she has already told me before - that her sex life with Stan has become slightly, er, limp of late. Fucking and passion has been replaced by TV and flossing.
"So we decided that we would try and correct things by adding some spice to the normal proceedings."
Oh Jesus. I can see it now. Liz and Stan have hired some gorgeous Amazonian hooker. The hooker eases herself down their plush white Heals sofa in the middle of their trendy Highbury pied-a-terre. Stan poised above, dressed only in a PVC thong and brandishing a riding crop, yells "On your knees, bitch!" Liz, in Sharon Stone / Basic Instinct mode, mock-disinterestedly watches the proceedings from the black leather armchair across the room, casually blowing smoke rings.
"We rented a pornographic video," Liz says. The way that she says "pornographic" as opposed to "porno" is so sweet and innocent that I immediately felt guilty for imagining her watching her boyfriend fucking the living crap out of some lady of the night.
"So we were in bed, doing it, and the video was on in the background. And we're both going at it, but watching at the same time. Then on the video, all of a sudden, this guy walks in on the couple screwing and sticks his finger up the other guy's arse. And then, without warning, Stan announces loudly 'Oh God! I'm gonna cum!' And then he cums."
This is far too much information for me to handle at this time in the morning. I usually love to hear about other people's sex lives, but I'm hungover and this is making me feel queasy.
"Chris! We'd been watching the video for something like twenty minutes and nothing happens. And the moment it turns gay, Stan cums! He's gay, isn't he?"
Poor Liz! I consider immediately biking her over some of Vix's Melatonin. But instead I say, "No. Liz he is not gay because he was turned on watching porn. It doesn't work that way. Occam's Razor - all things being equal? He came because he was doing you, his girlfriend. That tends to happen when you've been fucking your girlfriend for twenty minutes, with porn playing in the background."
A moment of silence.
"Yeah, ok. You're right I guess. I feel better now. Sorry to wake you up. Did I wake you up?"
"Oh sorry. How are you my love?"
We chat. And the whole time I want to tell her that Stan is gay. But not because of the porn. He's gay because no straight man would ever allow his girlfriend to carpet his apartment with a white shag pile.
Friday, November 19, 2004
I keep getting emails from you little tykes asking three specific Chris related questions that seem to be taking up a lot of your thought space. Don't you people have anything better to do than think about me? What? You do? Oh. Well, er, why? Think about me! All the time!
Q.1 - What's going on with you and Jake?
Jake and I are just friends. I haven't seen him since Monday when I took him home from the hospital, but I have spoken to him a few times since on the phone. He is still a little sore but getting better. But as I predicted, he is unable to do anything too physical. Because of this he is only eating protein, so that he doesn't get fat (shakes head with despair).
Q.2 - What is the status with you and New York?
I have another interview (the final one) next week, either on Monday or Wednesday. After that interview, providing they still want me I will go in for a two week trial (unusual practice, but whatever) and providing everything is ok, I will sign a contract. But this is NOT in the bag yet, and I am not getting too overexcited because I don't want to be dissapointed if I don't get it.
Q.3 - What underwear do you prefer?
(cue 70s gay porn music. "Bam bam chica bam bam")
I like tighty-whiteys. They make me feel sexy. I'm wearing them today (suggestively pulls jeans down low enough to show you the waist band) They sit low on my hips and show off that diagonal line definition - the lines that snake down from the sides of my waist, all the way down to... And the whiteness of my tighty-whiteys makes me look tanned. And the stretchy cotton provides support in all the right places. Uh-huh.
Tighty-whiteys - because I'm worth it.
Age of death:
Despite being called Big Baby, the Wu-Jesus lived to be 36, three years longer than Christ.
Jesus Christ fed a lot of people with bread and fish, and also helped out at a wedding by turning water into wine. On the other hand, when a caller asked on an MTV talk show what Big Baby Jesus was doing to give back to the community, his instant response was: "Nothing."
Jesus Christ: a ho called Mary Magdalene
BB-Jesus: Icelene (though he had 13 children with various mothers)
Cause of death:
Jesus Christ: crucifixion
Jesus Christ: "I am the way, the truth and the light"
BB-Jesus: "White girls shake your ass. Black girls shake your ass. Everybody shake your ass."
Ol Dirty Bastard, aka Big Baby Jesus - 1968-2004. RIP.
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
I went to the doctors surgery this morning to pick up a prescription, the request for which I had called through yesterday morning.
I ask the nice receptionist if I can pick it up (my inhalers for my asthma). She goes to find the prescription but alas it doesn't seem to have been printed. She's very apologetic. So I explain that while I understand that the request hasn’t been processed, I do kinda need the inhalers because I have run out (I always leave it to the last minute to get refills!) Is there anything that she can do?
At this moment the doctor (Dr. Ashton) walks through the busy reception area (lots of old people, mums with babies and sick people, strangely) and up to the desk and starts fiddling with some papers. The receptionist quietly gets Dr. Ashton's attention and explains the situation. Dr. Ashton goes loopy and exclaims very loudly:
"Lisa! I have told you time and time again, not to bother me with this kind of thing while I have patients to see. I'm busy. It's not my fault that you haven't organised the prescription. I will have to do it later."
And with that she literally dumps her papers on the desk infront of Lisa and turns around to walk away.
"Hey!" (did I just say that?)
Dr. Ashton turns around and looks at me blankly. As do all the patients in the waiting room. Fuck.
"A few things. One, it wasn't Lisa who took my request yesterday, it was someone else. A man. Perhaps he is to blame for the request not being processed? Second, Lisa has been entirely helpful from the moment I walked in today. Third, like you, she is just trying to do her job. And finally, I think it is entirely inappropriate for you to humilate her in the manner in which you just did, to me and to a room full of your patients."
Dr. Ashton looks taken aback. Then she composes herself and takes a step towards me. Clearly she is itching to tell me to get the hell out of her surgery, no doubt by incorporating several expletives into the sentence. She opens her mouth to speak, then closes it, then opens it again and finally mutters, "I take on board your comments." And then spins around and departs. The waiting room is quiet except for the distant rustle of leaves in the courtyard.
I turn back to Lisa, the receptionist, and with a kind smile I mouth the word "Sorry." She grins at me says "No. Thank you. She can be a bit of a cow!"
I'm still waiting to hear if I'm gonna get my prescription. I'm not holding my breath (being an asthmatic with no inhalers that would probably not be advisable!)
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
"Bonjour grand-père Chirac! Joyeux Noël! Où mes cadeaux sont (where are my presents)?"
One of reasons that I like Chirac is because of his vision of a "multi-polar" (not to be confused with "bi-polar") world - that eventually the superpower of the United States will be balanced against other large unions such as Europe, China, India and eventually a South American pole. His views are of course somewhat unpopular with the present administration in the US (Donald Rumsfeld recently spoke fondly, I'm sure with some kind of agenda, of the "old Europe". Not quite so much of a playground threat huh, Don?)
So in three days Chirac will meet with Tony Blair in London, for what will be his first official visit to our country in over eight years. Apparently Chirac is intending to be blunt with Tony about our relationship with the US - he does not feel that it is possible that Britain can be an "honest broker" for the US. Hmmm...not sure I agree.
I was skimming through the papers this morning (looking for fashion news, getting sidetracked!) and found two really amusing quotes from Chirac. Isn't it nice when a politician has a proper sense of humour?
Musing on the old Anglo/Franco relationship - "I think we have always enjoyed hating each other...it has been a kind of violent love."
The other quote was in relation to the period in the 70s when he served as Agriculture Minister. During that time he negotiated Britain's entry into the European Community. He still harbours guilt over a comment he made, in French, about the British minister back then, believing that he did not speak French. He later found out that the minister, in fact, spoke the language fluently!
"I thought, that's a real example of British hypocrisy, hiding for two years that he spoke French!"
Guided by some unknown and irritating motivation, I spent most of Saturday on the internet, reading up on the current state of global gay politics, which led on to my researching gay direct action groups. It all got a bit out of control! Suddenly I was of the mind that maybe I needed to join in real time discussion. So I came across the Outrage! website. Of course I have been aware of Outrage! for many years now, but because of afore mentioned shallowness I kinda let them slip to the back of my mind. They have a meeting in the next two weeks in King’s Cross. I’m going to go and sit in the back and I’m going to absorb. And who knows? I may even learn something!
Recently I was out with some friends and one of my straight girlfriends pointed out to me that I don’t on the whole, come across very gay (she obviously hasn’t seen me at Shadow Lounge, after my fifth Absolut Mandarin and tonic, putting the moves down to a Donna Summer track!) Of course I was delighted! They think I look and act straight! Yay!
Then last night I was thinking about this and made a horrifying realisation. That’s actually not a good thing. Maybe the rest of you already realise this, and are going to go “Well, duh!” But I am sometimes slow on the uptake, so bear with me, ok? I believe this point I am going to make here is so fundamental to the concept of equality, recognition and acceptance in all it’s forms and yet it is an issue that I don’t think I have ever heard being seriously discussed.
There are ten men in a room and I add a woman. I then turn to you and say “pick out the woman” - it’s going to be easy, right? There are ten white women in a room and I add a black woman. I then turn to you and say “pick out the black woman” – again, easy, huh?
There are ten men in a room and I add a gay man. I then turn to you and say “pick out the gay guy.” Now it’s not so easy (not unless the gay guy is wearing a leather cap, chaps and a chest harness.)
Traditional stereotypes of what gay men and women look like are no longer relevant. It’s just not a dead giveaway any more. Straight men have started grooming, wearing nice clothes, working out, wearing sleeveless T-shirts. Straight men are looking like gay men! Eek! (Frustrating for us when we think they are gay and then they rebuff our advances!) And lesbians are shaving their legs, applying make up and wearing pretty dresses. It’s all so confusing!
On today’s modern high street we see certain groups of society everywhere. The black community has always been everywhere. They are in schools, shops, on the street, in nightclubs, hospitals, in the building you live in. They are your boss and they are the ever-helpful IT guy who shows you how to open a Word document (no, you can’t open a Word document in Netscape, silly!) The black community is everywhere. And we know this, because we can physically see them. And because they are everywhere, and we can see them, we have become familiar with them. And as a result we have started to see past the colour of their skin, to see the person underneath. And slowly we began to identify. And to care about them. And love them. Of course there are numerous other reasons why the black community, over time, has been embraced (arguably there is still oppression and there is still progress to be made). But visibility made the task slightly easier.
Gay people are in all those places as well. Gay people are everywhere. We know that. The straight community know that. But think about this - I bet if you did a straw poll of the average Joe’s and Josephine’s across the nation, in both cities and in rural hamlets, you would find that the majority wouldn’t remember ever having met a gay person. Sure they have seen them on TV and from time to time in the printed media. And no doubt they know that by the simple laws of averages they probably have met a gay person (or fifty). It’s just that the gay person wasn’t visible enough for them to realise.
And that’s the thing. And it’s a big thing. Huge in fact. We’re not visible enough.
A very common sentiment that I hear from straight people is that while they believe that caring, loving, responsible citizens should not be deprived of anything that they deserve, at the same time you don’t run around waving a banner that says “I’m gay!” And that has always been a sentiment that I could understand. I personally don’t want to have a label on my forehead that reads “Gay”. I want to blend in. I don’t want my sexuality to be an issue. My sexuality doesn’t and shouldn’t define me – I’m a complex soup consisting of many ingredients (Mulligatawny).
But that’s the most critical thing – equality in it’s very essence is afforded to the oppressed, in time (and it’s a slow, slow process) partly because the oppressed is visible. It’s so simple, yet so fundamental. And like I said, I don’t hear people talking about this.
In order for us to penetrate the mindsets of the average Joe and Josephine, to be recognised and accepted and identified with, aside from the fact that we are gay, we have to be visible. Our visibility will, in time, help to break down barriers and will make people familiar with us. And eventually this will help people to start to see past the sexuality thing and will start identifying on all the other levels. It’s not enough that for one day of the year (Gay Pride day) that we walk through the streets of our cities screaming at the top of our lungs “We’re here, we’re queer!” We have to be doing that every second of every day, everywhere we go.
But of course, we can’t. We can’t simply because our voices would give out. And we could wear banners on our back, but they might ruin the lines of our new and expensive Dries van Noten raincoat.
There are, of course, many other important factors in gaining credibility, recognition, equality and acceptance. But I think that this concept of visibility is incredibly important. And I have really been thinking about this, and I don’t have a clue – aside from us all painting ourselves hot pink and wearing leather chaps, 24/7 – how we go about making ourselves visible all the time. I think we really need to think about this.
Of course part of the answer is that it is important that those people in the public eye – politicians, actors, musicians, writers – step up to the mike and announce their sexuality to the world. So that everyone can hear them. I’ll concede that sexuality is ultimately a private matter. And in an ideal world, it wouldn’t make the slightest bit of difference to anything. But it’s not an ideal world, and it does. And I am starting to come to the point of view that if you have a public voice, in whatever form that may be, then arguably you have a duty to the rest of us, who don’t have that voice, to speak up on our behalf. It’s just a thought. Maybe I am wrong.
Again, you all probably know this. And I am the last to get on the bus. Wouldn’t be the first time!
Ok - to change the subject completely I went to the movies last night with some friends. During the ads before the movie we saw for the first time the new four minute Chanel No.5 commercial, starring Nicole Kidman, directed by Moulin Rouge’s Baz Luhrman.
I don’t really know how to put this.
After the commercial ended, my friends and I looked at each other and none of us could muster words. After a few moments I composed myself. “I think I’m going to cry. It’s just so… so…beautiful!!!”
Yeah - ok, ok. Gay to the core! ;)
Monday, November 15, 2004
I believe, hand on heart that it is today. Not saying that today is a great time to be gay, but all things considered, probably the best. Although that shouldn't imply that us gayers haven't got a long, long way to go. Au contraire.
My friend Sally emailed me as to her pov on the matter and she put across an interesting point. Maybe I should rethink, after all:
"As to when is the best time to be/ to have been gay? I think the best time may have been in America before the white man came when certain American Indian tribes believed that there were special people who were granted favor with the Gods. They were men who stayed home with the woman to tend to the children, and tanning hides, and growing grain in the fields. There was no shame in them not wanting to hunt, exactly the opposite. You can read a passage in "Little Big Man" (Thomas Berger) all about them."
There was one small problem though. As she rightly says, "there were no discos to go to at that time."
(Drew - do not lament the lack of talent in Wellington too much. Joe and I went to The Two Brewers last night in Clapham and I was quite relieved to come home alone!)
Sunday, November 14, 2004
Saturday, November 13, 2004
Anyway – on the way home my old friend Robbie calls me and says that he was some news. Given that he only just got engaged to another friend of ours, Julia, it can only be one thing.
“You’re a lesbian?”
“Idiot! No! We’re pregnant!”
So guess what? I’m gonna be a godfather! Scary huh? I have spent much time today deciding what it is that I’m going to teach my new godson or goddaughter. I finally decided on two very important messages:
1) It is fine to be gay!
2) It is fine to not like soccer!
If I know Robbie he’ll be fine with the first point. He’ll surely kick my ass for suggesting the second point though!
Robbie said that they will also call it “Christopher”. But only as long as it’s a girl.
Thursday, November 11, 2004
I get there and the poor boy is clearly not faking - he's all over the place with the pain, and is throwing up in the bathroom and...well I'm not particularly squeamish, but vomit, even my own is not great!!
I suggest that maybe I should call a doctor out, but because he's ill (and when you are ill all good sense goes out of the window) he insists that I don't do that. So instead I put him to bed with a bucket to throw up into, if he needs to. I leave him be and go and watch some late night TV special crap.
A bit later he staggers out of his bedroom (not in a manner completely devoid of comedy), wretches a lot and then pretty much collapses on the floor. Inside I'm going "shit shit shit!!!" but on the exterior I'm in saviour mode. He's only out for a couple of seconds, but this time I tell him that I am going to call an ambulance out.
So we go to hospital and he's completely ga ga. So I end up having to go through all the medical stuff. They do an examination and they decide that he probably has appendicitis. They gave him some morphine or something like that for the pain. Have you ever seen anyone on morphine before? It's hilarious! He was talking about all kinds of crap. So I just held his hand and kept saying "That's right. Yes. The nurse is silly isn't she?" in my best parent talking to his three year old kid voice.
Anyway, I left the hospital for work a little while ago. He's in theatre, having it out. I'm going to leave work early and go and see how he is later, but oy vey...now I know how my mum and Vix must have felt when they were looking after me when I broke my jaw.
I have had no sleep at all and am on an I.V. of coffee!
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
I met him at his office last night and we went back to his place. The plan was that we would have a quiet evening in, make some supper, watch a movie or something.
But as soon as I met him I could tell that there was something up. I asked him if he was alright and he kept saying yeah, but he seemed kinda sad regardless. We opened a bottle of wine and I did a lot of talking, telling him about my day: throwing up on the tube and a story about a client in Malaysia who hardly speaks any English. Still he seems kind of distant, which is unlike him because he usually has this way of listening to you, like you are the only person in the room.
Then just as I was mid-sentence talking about something inconsequential he blurts out “Chris, I can’t do this. I’m sorry but I just can’t do this.” I’m a bit taken aback but I say something like “Ok. It’s ok.”
He tries for a while to explain how he’s feeling but not really making any sense. So eventually I say that I don’t really understand what he’s trying to say. So then he just puts it on the line.
Basically Paris made him realise how much he likes me. He says that even though it’s only been just over two weeks since we met he can’t help how he feels. He says that he’s really starting to fall for me and that combined with the possibility, even though it’s not a dead cert, that I could be leaving means that he can’t allow himself to get more involved with me. He has to protect himself from being hurt further down the line.
I didn’t interrupt at all. I let him say his piece before I responded. I explained that I completely understood where he was coming from and if it were me I think that I would also have to do the same thing. Maybe it was for the best. After all one of the last things I want to do is hurt him. But I reiterated that meeting him was one of the best things to happen to me since I got back to London and that I was very, very fond of him and would always be glad that we met.
So we talk a bit more but with this kind of subject you can only discuss it to a point without covering the same thing over and over. Eventually I say that I'm going to go, to which he responds by asking me to stay one more night. I consider it but then say that I really think that’s probably a bad idea, cause this will all still be there in the morning.
So I get my stuff together, put my jacket on and we hug. And then I leave. Jesus! That is the hardest thing in the world! There should be no reason in the world that you should ever have to walk away from someone you care about. It just really sucks.
It’s not until I get outside and I’m walking towards the tube that it really hits me. I have known really for the last week that it probably wasn’t going to be a long term thing. He is truly one of the most amazing guys, and like I said, I am awfully fond of him. But there have been a few other nagging doubts in my head, aside from the New York thing. Yet still, for someone to tell you that they can’t be with you because they like you so much is kind of a weird one to hear. So I’ll admit that I had a little bit of a cry, but after a couple of minutes sorted myself out and went into the station to go home.
When I got back I sent him a short text saying that I would be here to call whenever he wanted. He didn’t respond but I don’t actually think that I was expecting that really. But it was still kinda sad, because up until that point I could guarantee that he would have responded in about ten seconds.
(After that I called Drew in New Zealand because he is wise and always knows the right thing to say. And as usual within about ten minutes we were gossiping and giggling like the true gay boys that we are. I LOVE YOU DREW! Come back home this instant. I'll even buy the ticket. Well, maybe not. But I'll meet you at the airport! What dya say? Huh? Huh?)
So another chapter closes. I'm not going to say that I'm not gutted, but I've had a night to sleep on it. The girls at work this morning, being girls (!), instantly knew there was something wrong and I have already had to explain things twice! But at the end of the day, this is the thing. It's not all bad. I’m sure that in a few days we’ll get back in touch again. And who knows, if I don’t get the job in NYC maybe we can pick up where we left off? Time will tell. More and more this year I’ve started to believe in fate and that if things are meant to be then they’ll happen. You have to turn a bad situation on it's head and like I keep saying, you have to keep the faith. Who knows what could happen in the future? If you told me a few months ago about Jake and how great he is and that he would really dig me I would have thought you were pulling my leg. So who knows what other cool stuff is going to happen in the coming months?
That’s what we have to keep reminding ourselves. It’s not that depressing really. In fact it’s actually pretty exciting. Life is full of this kind of stuff. Sometimes we just have to read between the lines and not stare at the sidewalk too much. It's like I wrote to someone yesterday, remember to look up and notice the world around you as you go through your day. And do it while listening to your bestest, most favorite uplifting song on your iPod!
And that's what I did this morning as I walked into work.
The answer is...NO! Of course I didn't! Without giving too much away, at this point in my life I really don't need Viagra to, er...well I just don't need it, ok??!!
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
Later I get on the tube and fortunately it's not that busy so I get a seat. Phew! Then after about three stops the realisation of what is about to happen sweeps over me and I must have gone as white as a sheet. In a flash I'm up and moving quickly over to the doors. And in about ten seconds it's all over. Yes. I just threw up on a commuter tube. And EVERYONE is looking at me. And the vomit is now casually forming little streams, rolling it's way down the carriage.
And if that wasn't bad enough, I continue dry wretching for about another 30 seconds. The train pulls into Kennington and I don't have to think twice. I need to get away from this excruciating embarrassment.
So I sit down on a seat and take a few breaths. And after a couple of minutes I start to feel ok again. I get on the next train to come in and continue to make my way to work.
Then when I am walking down Oxford Street it starts to happen again. Lots of dry wretching. I can't believe this is happening to me. People on the street are giving me a wide berth.
Now on the surface you might think that the multivitamins on an empty stomach prompted this malaise. No. I think that it is something else. For what other reason do people throw up in the morning, other than the fact that they are pregnant?
How am I going to tell my parents??!
Monday, November 08, 2004
To be fair it actually started the moment we got on the train. Jake hadn't told me that the tickets were first class! So we sipped champagne. We giggled like schoolgirls when the sexy French Chef de Train asked us if everything was "to our satisfaction". The food was yum! I quickly devoured a mini beouf bourgignon and Jake wolfed down the Fois Gras (gross.)
The train got into Gare De Nord at about 10pm, by which point we were a bit drunk. Well actually more so me than Jake given that I had hardly eaten anything all day because of excitement. So we jumped into a taxi and made our way through the city to our hotel (making the most of our first opportunity to snog, probably to the disgust of the driver!)
The hotel was just amazing. It was on the Place D'Concorde in the 8th arrondissement, so pretty damn central. The décor was really, really beautiful and it was indeed like a set from Dangerous Liaisons. We check in. We walk the long corridor to the elevators to take us up to our room. Along the way I soak up the lashings of suave insouciance by osmosis. Paris is making me feel sexy. Therefore I am sexy.
It gets better. The hotel room, while not huge is, again, pretty damn amazing. Where hotels and I are concerned I am more of a fan of stark Japanese minimalism, but this room was something else. Really, really sumptuous. Louis IV (or something like that) furniture. Huge windows with silk draped curtains. And the biggest bed you've ever seen. No worryingly soiled top cover on this momma – this room is the antithesis of seedy. It made me feel like reciting poetry. Or just belting out the theme tune to "Home and Away".
Maybe the feeling I was feeling was the lurvemic imprint from bygone lover's trysts (either that or the internet Viagra was kicking in) but I make it clear to Jake that tonight is indeed going to be his lucky night! Cue le gay sex.
Jake had to get up early in the morning to set off to his office out at La Defense (interesting trivia - did you know that when they built La Defense they had to erect a giant glass screen to stand in the arch, because otherwise, with the right conditions, the building would create a wind tunnel that would project right down through the Arc De Triomphe, over a mile away, and literally blow people over on the Champs Elysee?) This actually really worked for me because I love walking around by myself, exploring, blending in, pretending to be a native!
After breakfast and a prolonged sesh in the bloody MASSIVE shower I plucked up the courage to call Erin to see if she still wanted to meet me. Being a busy supermodel, I was fully expecting her to blow me out in favor of lucrative shoot for Christian Laboutin or a fan shopping outing with Karl Lagerfeld. But she said that was still free so we arranged to meet for lunch in Saint Germain.
After speaking to Erin I went for a wander around the area. I found a very cute café. I sat in the window, sipped a double espresso, listened to "Rapture" by Blondie on my iPod and did some revision for my next interview ("The Dummies Guide to Starting Up a Business"!). After making my brain ache with the digestion of a few chapters on economies of scale, critical business mass and corporate venturing I decided to have a mooch up the Jardins des Tuileries (the park leading up to the Louvre.)
The Jardin des Tuileries is long. It's also quite long. Did I mention that it's long? I thought that it's length would provide the perfect setting to really get things off your chest, their chest and then back on and off again. Chest perfect! And for what would be the first of many times that day, I felt a pang of self consciousness as everyone around me seemed to be in a pair. Oldsters sat together reading papers, young lovers feeding the ducks, kids running around chasing the ducks. Ducks chasing each other. Even the runners ran in pairs! Oh. And I learned something. Fat male Parisian joggers wear very tight shorts.
By the time I got to the Louvre it was about 11.30am so I tried to decide whether I should get the Metro to Saint Germain or whether I should walk. The map made it look as if Saint Germain was actually quite close by so I decided to walk via the Pont des Arts. The Pont des Arts is the only non vehicle bridge in Paris and is great in the summer. A few years ago my friend Sharon and I had a picnic on it. The benches provide a great position for a nifty vista up and down the Seine.
Was fashionably late to meet Erin (couldn't find the bloody place!) but she was too and I waited a good fifteen minutes before she eventually turned up. I slapped her hard. The place that she picked was not at all what I was imagining it would be like (I had something like Asia de Cuba in my head!) It was actually kinda divey. But I digged the fact that it wasn't at all pretentious – she is just a normal girl from Birmingham after all.
I had a bit of a problem ordering my lunch. I speak French well enough to get by, but I am by no means fluent. I was asking for some milk for my tea and the guy just couldn't understand what I was trying to say. I kept repeating "Lait! Lait!" over and over. And then eventually he realises and goes "Ah! LAIT! Mais oui!" pronouncing it in exactly the way that I had. Stupid French people. Erin thought it was amusing and we lamented the fact that neither of us can speak any languages that well. And the fact that fat running Paris blokes wear tight shorts.
Oh Erin, Erin, Erin! Erin is gorgeous! We chat about all kinds of stuff for a good couple of hours. I totally got the scoop on Jamie (but because Erin and I are, like, such good friends I will not be betraying her confidence. Not unless you want to pay me some hard currency.) I told her about maybe moving back to NYC and she said that I should let her know if I do go back cause she spends quite a lot of time there. Great! Another cool contact I can flaunt when I have my fourth interview!
After lunch we have a little mooch around the area. Saint Germain is just designer-shop-tastic! After procrastinating over what to buy for a bit too long I make a couple of purchases in this really cool designer boutique called "Come On Eileen" which Erin informed me is Kylie's fave shop in Paris. I decided that I should get Jake something to say thank you for taking me away for the weekend. Normally I would never buy anyone clothes for a gift, but I found this really sexy black Dirk Bikkembergs top that I knew would look great on him (he has the body for Dirk B) and would be a much needed break from his usual Gap / Banana Republic get up.
But get what I bought for myself: I found what can only be described as a fierce Sonya Rykiel Homme top. It's made from matte midnight blue silk with a same colored inch thick satin trim that goes all around the edges. Elbow length sleeves and rather than buttoning up, it wraps around the waist with a really long tie at the side (think the top half of a well-fitted dressing gown.) I wore it with a pair of really old tight bootcut jeans with my new black Dolce & Gabbana boots. Not only did Erin love it (it means something when you get the approval of a supermodel), but later when I wore it out I got comment after comment on how great it looked on me! Was glad that I had fake tanned up and spent all those recent hours at the gym (just don't ask me how much it cost!)
Finally Erin and I say our farewells and I jump on the Metro and head up to Abbesses to visit the Sacre-Coeur. Like Everest (or the Kicking Donkey pub in Bath) you have to visit the Sacre-Coeur simply because it's there. The main attraction is well worth the aching ham strings from walking up what seems like a million steps (I really was stiff in all the wrong places!) The incredible view of Paris unites the crowd in a bubble of warmth - cute floppy haired French boys strum out Van Morrison on their guitars as their girlfriends gaze on adoringly. The hippy bliss-out vibe made me want to cop a feel, or maybe even feel a cop. But instead I breathlessly call Helen and Will to tell them that the most perfect thing would be to have them sat there with me, to see this awesome view.
After I got bored I went back to the hotel to watch a bit of French TV (it's crap by the way – everything is in French). After a while I realised that I had spent about half an hour gormlessly watching a French-dubbed version of Law & Order, not actually understanding anything that was happening or being said. Jake got back at about six and I presented him with his new top which he loved.
Saturday night in the Marais. Dressed at the knife edge of understated cool (thanks Sonya and Dirk!), a group of hot young things sit taking well paced sips from lavishly branded cocktails, while discreetly monitoring each new arrival. No, this was not some hot singles night but Jake and me, Jake's colleague Sandrine, her friend Sebastiene and his boyfriend Matthieu being uber at L'Etoile Marocaine.
They were all really nice and fortunately didn't mind speaking English all night! Sandrine is 30, all French chic and another lawyer in the Paris office of Jake's company. Sebastiene and I had a lot in common as he works at the Shiseido press office and funnily enough lived for a while in New York too (Jake got everyone excited by mentioning that I might be going back to New York, which I then had to play down as much as I could). But the real bloody find was Matthieu: he's 24 and works as a model. He's currently in an ad campaign for a new gay TV network in Paris called Pink TV (here is the link - he's the guy on the far right). To not put too fine a point on it, aside from the fact that he's a bit of a looker, he…is…ADORABLE! He listens so intenty and thinks that everything is amazing, like a baby fawn – all wide eyed and in awe of everything and everyone. At one point I think I suggested to Jake that we adopt him.
Sandrine pays for the bill on expenses (Jake told me later how much the bill came to. A word of warning. If you ever find yourself at that restaurant, unless you have a parachute stored under your shirt, you're going to have to confront the bill without crying). Then Sebastiene suggests that we go to some club called Le Insolite. Jake has always told me thus far that he isn't really into clubbing (he kinda clubbed himself out when he was younger) but out of all of us seems to be the most excited by the idea (I am actually desperate to go to a club, but I'm trying to be all blasé and French). So we all squash into the back of a cab and head off to Etienne Marcel.
Sebastiene tells me on the way that Le Insolite was, up until about three years ago, THE gay club to be seen in Paris but that since then it has kind of gone down hill a bit, so I'm wondering really why he suggested going. But we get there and he knows the doorwoman and we get in without paying, which as far as I'm concerned always makes the evening go a bit smoother. And there seems to be a cool crowd in residency.
Now silly-billies Parisians are not. They can be absurd and post-modern. They can even actually be clinically mad. But as I had previously understood it, they will rarely opt to conga around a village hall with a pair of flashing devil horns on their heads. Passing balloons between chests simply for the chance of rubbing boobies against someone is not a lifestyle choice in Paris. This Anglo / Franco anthropological disparity occurs to me at the very moment that Jake leans in and, with a bit of Mojito mint stuck between his teeth, drunkenly slurs "Are you up for a bit of a boogie?" Aside from the fact that he just used the word "boogie" as a descriptor for putting the moves down, I look at him uneasily and reply "I am. But Jake…we're not among our own."
Ha! I should have instantly banished that thought, for it was very quickly made clear to me that Paris is full of the demographic which includes those of us (raises hand) who just want to flail about like our elbows are on fire.
So with the exception of Sandrine, because she's a girl, after about half an hour of arriving and getting even more drunk us four boys all have our tops off. Big...drunk...gayers! Yay! Even though he was drunk Jake was really, really sweet and kept putting his arms around me when we were dancing. And because he's gorgeous and I'm incredibly shallow, inside I was all like "He's with me, everyone! Go me!" The DJ even plays the tune I am currently obsessed with. It's an old French tune called "Blue" by La Tour, that has recently started being played at clubs again. I've put it on some of the CD's I've been burning recently for my friends (with my beloved iBook) - have another listen. It's awesome!
Jake and I left the club at around 4.30am and headed back to the hotel, where the two of us order a snack and un bouteille de vin blanc. Then we sit on the bed and he gets some stuff out that he's obviously been mulling over. He tells me that he knows that he has been intense despite the fact that I have wanted to take things slow. He explains that since he broke up with his last boyfriend he has dated numerous guys, but they were either idiots or they were freaked out by him. Then he goes on to say that out of all of those guys I am the most gentle, kind, natural, unpretentious (poor deluded Jake!) person that he has met in quite some time and that was why he was so keen to spend quality time with me. I think I nearly cried! It means something, even in my drunken state, that he's trying to make me comfortable with the situation. Although I could go over the same stuff again I don't. It's been said. I'm not going to keep hammering the point home.
Despite the fact that we have only had a few hours sleep and we are really quite hungover we made ourselves get up at a not too unreasonable hour, freshened up and went out to get a hearty breakfast. "So what shall we do today?" asks Jake.
I actually really want to go to Pigalle and check out the gay sex shops but that doesn't seem like a very romantic thing to do. So instead I suggest that we go to the Musee Rodin in the Varenne. After all, a museum visit raises no "What's your game?" eyebrows. So off we trek. I've been to the Musee Rodin before and love it there, but Jake hadn't and didn't know much about Rodin either. So I take him inside first and prime him with an explanation of "The Kiss" and that despite the fact that it is Rodin's most famous piece, it was actually his least favorite.
After touring the house we step out into the Orangerie garden, amongst the rose bushes and sculptures and the two of us marvel at what can be achieved with a decent set of chisels. The scattered benches offer various clinch points around the huge garden and after a while artistic reflection on the essential beauty of the naked body gives way to romantic rumination, aided by the spirit of classical lovers and utter peace. Well, that and the burgeoning animal lust given off by the rippling male torsos!
After a while all the staring into each others eyes, smiling, kissing, talking in hushed voices and holding hands begins to really push the button for me. So I make a suggestion:
"Jake? Can we get naked in the bushes? Can we lacquer each other up with bronze shoe polish? Can we let life imitate art for a change?
But he just looks at me and smiles. I take that as a no. Damnit!
After the Musee Rodin Jake says that he wants to go up to the Sacre-Coeur cause I had been raving about it. So we head on up again. And I walk up all those steps, AGAIN! He agrees that the view is pretty damn spectacular. After that we have a walk around Montmartre. It is without doubt the most unabashedly romantic district of Paris. I was reminded of Before Sunset when Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke find the lurve! So we just mooch about peering into alleys, explore little streets and descend quiet stairways. We have some late lunch at yet another cute little French café.
Later on we went for a spot of retail therapy and I made Jake buy this FINE chocolate brown cashmere sweater from Agnes b, which I am fully intending to borrow at some point. After that it was back to the hotel for a cup of tea and to pick up our bags in time to get the Eurostar back to London. Because I was still quite hung over I slept most of the way back, so by the time we got into Waterloo I was feeling pretty human again.
The plan had been that I would go home when we got back to London, but after the romance of Paris I couldn't face the idea of my little room, so I went back to Jake's and we made supper and curled up in front of the TV.
When I got to work this morning I got the cutest text from him but I'm not going tell you what it said cause it's sure too make you nauseous. But still...aw!
Oh guess what! Le fags! From the moment I got on the train to Paris, to the moment I got back into London, I did not smoke ONE SINGLE CIGARETTE THE ENTIRE WEEKEND! Do you know what an achievement that is, not least because I was in Paris, where it is constitutionally required that you smoke! Now I just have to try and keep it up for the next, oh, sixty or seventy years.
Friday, November 05, 2004
About half way through dinner I go “Look Jake, there’s something that I have to tell you. And I want to tell you now, so that you don’t think I’m stringing you along or anything. And I want to tell you before we go to Paris. Just so there are no misunderstandings.”
He looks at me really seriously, and I guess he’s thinking that I’m going to give him the big brush off. “Ok. What’s wrong?”
I tell him all about the fact that there is a possibility that I could be going back to New York. I explain that I needed to come back to London to make me realise how good I had things there. I explain that nowhere has ever felt quite like home, the way that NY did. I tell him that the job is nowhere near in the bag yet, that I still have another interview to get through and that even after that there are still some hurdles in terms of visas and stuff. But ultimately, if I do get the job, then I will definitely be leaving.
And in his brilliant way, he just listens and doesn’t interrupt and takes it all in. “Ok. I understand better now why you need to take this slow. That’s ok. I’m glad you told me.”
I reiterate that it has nothing to do with him. I really like spending time with him and in many ways I think that he could be really great for me. But at the moment, where I am in my life, I just can’t commit to anything beyond what happens today and that I’ll totally understand if he wants to stop things now, before anyone’s feelings get any stronger.
And he is so sweet. He takes my hand and smiles and says “Whatever happens you’ve made a friend here.”
Then he looks serious again and says, “If you got to New York can I come and visit you?”
And I grin and say “Jake. Wherever I am in the world, you can always come and visit me!”
Again. I’m gonna say it again. I am the luckiest guy in the world to have so many beautiful, amazing, inspirational people in my life – Helen, Will, Vix, Drew, Wayne, Lindsay...to name but a few. I frikkin LOVE you guys! You mean the WORLD to me, And now Jake. How could I ever ask for more?
Check in on Monday for a full low down on my jaunt to gay Paris! Until then, HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND Y’ALL!
So I am sat at my desk and suddenly get a craving for a Starbucks, so I decided to run up to the one round the corner on Oxford Street. I get in the queue and after a few seconds realise that the woman infront of me is none other than the supermodel Erin O'Connor. Now I've worked with Erin quite a lot in the last couple of years - we spent two days together two years ago for a project she did for a car brand. Then I hired her for the launch photocall for London Fashion Week and then about two months ago we spent a day holed up in some studio in Islington for a photoshoot. So we are already pretty well acquainted.
So I tap her on the back and say hello and she is all like "Oh! Hi Chris! How are you?" So we start chatting and she asks if I want to sit with her to drink my coffee. Of course I'm like "Sure!" because who am I to say no, right? Work can wait for Erin O'Connor! So we sit down and she's really lovely. I ask her how things are going with Jamie (she's dating TV presenter Jamie Theakston) and she tells me that it's all good. And then she asks me about my love life, so I tell her about this great, cute guy that I met recently. And then I mention that he's taking me to Paris this weekend. "No way!" she exclaims. "I'm in Paris this weekend too! We should meet up."
So I explain that on Saturday I pretty much have the day to myself cause Jake is working, so that would be really cool. Maybe we could have lunch or something? So then we exchange cellphone numbers and agree that I'll give her a call on Saturday morning and we'll arrange a time to meet.
I'm sorry to be massively big headed but my life ROCKS right now! Seriously! So not only am I now being taken to Paris for the weekend by a gorgeous hunk to stay in a top hotel but I'm also having lunch with one of the most successful models in the world!!!
Ok...I'm really excited now. If he hasn't booked the Suite Due de Crillon, then I'm really going to kick off!
I'm conjuring up all kinds of nasty situations. It's gonna be a gay porn version of Dangerous Liaisons - I will be like John Malkovitch and Jake will be Keanu Reeves.
Thursday, November 04, 2004
Katie, the wise woman, summed it up best.
"Wooo! How romantic! Bloody go and stop being a lamo. You do need to let him know that it is likely that you are going to be going to NYC, but in the mean time you would love to spend some time with him and have lots of fun together - why not? After all, he hasn't asked you to move in with him!"
Yet! He hasn't asked me to move in with him YET!
Ok, ok - I went and bought a Paris guidebook at lunch and am now quite excited about this little jaunt. So I'll shut up now.
I wonder if I'll meet Julie Delpy or Juliette Binoche? Hmmm...
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
I get into work and I'm here literally five or ten minutes when this courier turns up with a package for me. I've only been here a week and am not expecting anything, so it's kind of unusual.
So I take the package and instantly I know it's from Jake, cause the address label has his firm's logo printed on it. I sit down and open it up and there is a note accompanying what looks like a plane ticket booklet. Deep breath. So first I open the note and all it reads is "Meet me at Waterloo, Friday, at 6pm. You can get out of work early, right?" Then the realisation of what this means starts to sink in. So I open the booklet and sure enough there it is. A Eurostar ticket to Paris.
I actually exclaimed "FUCK!" out loud, which pretty much grabbed the attention of everyone around me. So then I have to explain what has happened and all the girls just literally dissolve into puddles on the floor, obviously empathising with the romance of the situation.
I grabbed my phone and cigarettes and ran outside to call him.
"Jake! Are you insane?"
"I thought it would be a nice way to spend the weekend. You do want to come don't you?"
"Er..yes. Of course I'll come, but Jake? It's like SO big. I mean I thought we talked about taking things slow?"
Then he explained that he has a meeting on Saturday with some clients out at La Defense and that the hotel is paid for, for the whole weekend. So all he did was buy an extra ticket, which he assured me that he didn't pay for it himself, that he put it down to expenses (which is incredibly bad because I got caught out myself once doing something similar when I was a PR nipper and really got my fingers burned!)
So my initial shock was lessened somewhat. But I'm still freaked out! Isn't it funny - the idea of meeting some incredibly sexy, kind, genuine, thoughtful man who whisks you away to Paris for a romantic weekend together, well, it's the stuff of fairytales isn't it? But I guess it's testament to the fact that I have grown up a lot recently, that I'm actually standing back and looking at the situation objectively. And I have reiterated to him now a few times that it is really important to me to take things slow and I still haven't told him about the job thing, because I really don't know what the score is there. But now I think that I may have to tell him.
But do I tell him now, or do I tell him at the weekend, and possibly spoil things? I think I'm going to have to tell him now, which I really don't want to do, because I don't want to be jumping the gun (even though I've told everyone who reads this!)
Ok...calm, calm, calm.
I guess I'd better go out at lunchtime and buy a beret.
or maybe that should be...
Je suppose que je dois sortir a l'heure du dejeuner et achete un beret.
Then the cutest cat in the world saunters into the room, jumps up on the sofa and starts rubbing it's head against my chest. Is it possible to die from cuteness? Seriously - I'm actually more of a dog person, but all it takes is for someone or something to show me the slightest affection and I MELT!
Turns out that Vix found the cat meowing sadly outside and thought that she would bring it into the flat for some milk and lovin!
So we played with kitty for a while. We contemplated wheter it was a he or a she. I eventually decided to found out for sure by performing a little examination. Definitely a she. I christen her "Celia".
Then Vix says that she supposes we should put her back outside. NOOOOOOO!!! Much crying, feet stamping and histrionics on my part. So Vix sits me down and gently explains to me why it is oh so wrong to steal someone else's pets. Well she should have thought of that before she bought the bloody thing into the flat!
So I decide to be the man, scoop Celia up and take her outside for a final farewell.
"Goodbye Celia. It's time for us to part. We had good times and I'll always remember them fondly. But now you must go home. Farewell."
And she just sits there and meows. Eventually it becomes clear that I'm just going to have to walk away. It was the same feeling as when you take someone to the airport and you keep hanging around until you see them go behind the screen in departures.
And then half an hour later I looked out of the window to see if she is still there - AND SHE IS!!! And she looks up at me like I have comitted an injustice on a massive scale.
Stupid cats. Stupid Vix. I wonder if I could hide her in my bedroom (the cat dumbass, not Vix!)
Then of course, I moved to NYC and had to learn a whole different system, completely different from the one in London. For a start the subway runs all day and night, but there are also express trains, so if you are going from uptown to downtown you can just jump on one train and skip all those annoying stops in-between. Oh and the cars are air conditioned which is great in the summer. The confusing thing with the NYC subway is that all the lines are named with numbers – 1,3, 9, 7, A, C, E. I like that our underground has names.
My job interview was in St John’s Wood, which was unusual because the company is actually off Oxford Street. But I assumed that we were meeting there because Alex and Raoul wanted to take me out for dinner. But it turns out that it was only there because Raoul’s wife is having another baby and he was going to be at the hospital in St John’s Wood prior to my interview.
Because I no longer seem to have the tube map in my head quite as clearly as I used to have I completely misjudged how long it would take me to get there. I left at 5.15pm to meet them at 6pm. It took me fifteen minutes. So for half and hour I was waiting around on a busy high street, freezing my ass off, trying to calm my nerves by listening to soothing classical music on my iPod.
Now usually I don’t get nervous about job interviews. But I REALLY want this job. So bad that I can taste it. Alex turns up at 6pm on the dot and we sit down while we are waiting for Raoul and have a little catch up.
Now on my second interview Alex mentioned a particular brand to me that the agency will have as a client in NYC. And because the world is so bloody small it turns out that the client on that brand is no other than someone I knew very, very well in NYC. When everything happened in March that friend was a pillar of strength. But then very suddenly he turned his back on me. At the time I was very angry with him for this. But now I understand how hard it must have been. And who am I to judge anyway, right.
Nonetheless, the two of us don’t speak to each other anymore and I know he has a strong opinion on my health and where I should be in the world. It’s a point of view that I absolutely don’t subscribe to, but I guess we’re all allowed our opinions. That said, I had to tell Alex that there could be a potential issue there – that if they gave me the job and I ended up having to work with this person, it might be an issue.
Alex went to NYC last week and told me that she was going to speak to this person about me to see what they had to say. And to start with I convinced myself that it was all over. That the person would spill the beans and scupper any chance that I might have of getting this thing. But then I did something I find very hard to do. I let the thought go and put faith in it being ok. To really believe that it would be ok. And if it wasn’t – well I would deal with that if and when it happened.
Then last week they call me and say that they want to see me again. And I was so pleased. So back to Alex and I talking. Alex tells me that she did meet with the old friend, but that I had made such a good impression previously at my other interviews, that she didn’t think that it was appropriate to bring it up. As far as she was concerned she thought I was great, professionally experienced and very clearly up for the job. And the non-professional personal point of view of someone else wasn’t of interest to her. Awesome!
Then Raoul turns up and we go off to some café. Raoul is a tough cookie who really knows his stuff. He throws some very direct, blunt, but important questions to me and I think that I handle and respond to them well.
So in a nutshell, this is the job, should I get it…
Alex and I would essentially be starting up a new business – an arm of the London agency, in New York. Together we would spend the month of December, in London, creating and then fine-tuning a business plan for the new NYC office for 2005 – how we want the agency to look, feel, what the client offer is, what our strategy will be for winning business, what we want the agency turnover to be, who we want to work for.
This would be different to anything I have worked on and would challenge me enormously. But at the same time, without exception, it is the most exciting opportunity that has ever come my way. And I know I can do it. That’s the thing with me – when I put my mind to something I make great things happen. To be part of something that is in it’s embryonic stage, to nurture and watch it grow. And the best bit is that, with Alex, I would be the boss. I could shape it in all the ways that I think it should be shaped. To be part of that is a once in lifetime opportunity.
We end up talking about so many things that I won’t bore you with here, but the crux of it is that at the end of two hours of discussions Raoul laid it on the line. He told me that he thought I had amazing experience, that my knowledge of the NYC market place was really invaluable and that for the most part he thought that I would be a valuable asset. The last step is that I have to meet the finance director of the company, so that I can explain my thoughts, top line, on what needs to be done to make the company a success. Easy - can do that standing on my head.
And then this morning I got an email reiterating that they think I'm great and that providing everything is ok in the meeting next week, they will want me to start in as soon as three weeks time. We have agreed a salary figure (a very nice one!) and we’re talking about a relocation allowance. And I don’t want to jinx it, but (and I’m going to knock on wood again!) Alex and I could be on a plane on the 2nd of January. And NYC would once again be my home.
I know now that I needed to come back to London to make me realise what is important to me. Sometimes you need to come home, physically and spiritually, to remind you of all the things in life that are great and good. It took coming home to make me realise that nothing here is going anywhere. And that my friends will always be here. So with that knowledge safe in my back pocket I want to be back in New York, with all the craziness and laughter and good friends that I know it can give me.
Faith is a hard concept to grasp. And one of the things I find hardest to accept is that there are some things that I am not in control of. At the moment all I can do is put faith in the fact that I can present myself well enough for them to give me this job. And then, if I get it, I work massively hard to make all the other stuff happen.
My single mindedness is my greatest gift. But at the same time it’s my Achilles heel. Because there are still some things that you can’t make happen – matters of the heart for example. And to date one thing that I have never seriously really invested in is my career and I think now is the time to do it. I’m going to be ruthless about it. And I’m going to put faith in the fact that wonderful things are going to happen because of it.
And if this one doesn’t work out. Then I’m going to have faith that there will be other opportunities. Loads and loads of them. Cause you know the worst thing that can happen is that I never get a job I want and my Mum has to teach me to be a hairdresser. And I think I’d make a GREAT hairdresser!
So this year I have learned that it’s good to be single minded and efficiently focussed, but sometimes you need to put things aside and just believe that if things are meant to be, then they are meant to be.
I’m reminded of that billboard I saw a few weeks ago, that I wrote about here. Maybe it was a sign? I don’t know if I believe in signs, but again…watch this space!!!
Life really rocks sometimes, don’t it?