Monday, February 28, 2005

I might get flamed for saying this...

...but I feel more than a little sympathy for Maxine Carr.

Because of what I do, every morning I read each newspaper front-to-back (not counting sports pages, of course!) Actually, that’s a lie - I don't technically "read" the tabloids. I scan them. I do even less with the Daily Mail. I do a kind of sideways glance while barely touching it, even though I'm donning those white, latex gloves that Amanda Burton wears in Silent Witness. The two newspapers that I actually read for objective reporting are The Guardian and The Independent.

If I only read the tabloid press I would most likely be of the mind that Maxine Carr's mortal soul is doomed to burn in the eternal fires of Hades, but not before she is ripped apart, limb by limb, by some blood-thirsty, soccer-mum lynch mob. I know this, because on Thursday and Friday I had three separate conversations with friends and family who pretty much are of that mind - all of whom are devout Sun / Mirror / Mail readers.

This isn’t supposed to sound like some sort of stuffy intellectual snobbery - it really isn't supposed to come across like that. But had they read something with a few less pictures and a few more nouns and adjectives they would be a little more enlightened to certain facts. Such as, at the time of lying to the police for her lover, Carr was herself a genuinely sad, beaten down and mentally unstable victim. She was not a hideous child-killing or abusing monster the gutter press have and still are painting her as. She was never even close to a Myra Hindley or a Rose West. But these not so subtle comparisons have indeed been made, on countless occasions and, for the most part, have remained largely unchallenged.

It's also struck me that Huntley got off quite lightly really, considering that he was infact the soul homicidal maniac. I guess this is another example of a very complicated form of sexism - for what is worse than a monster, but a female monster? In fact so desperate was the media to have a reprise of the Hindley and West scenarios that at the time of the whole furor around the case it would make several completely unsupported claims which included suggesting that she concealed evidence and that it was actually her who suggested to Huntley that he should burn the girls bodies. The courts later established that these claims were wholly untrue and, at the time of lying for Huntley, that Carr was also unaware of the real extent of his crimes.

But then when has the truth ever been a valuable commodity for shifting papers?

On Friday I coaxed myself into reading the Daily Mail’s coverage of the story. I had to deal with the very real threat that I might vomit at any moment, but I got through the ordeal in the end. The news feature that I read was based on some really dubious claim that the false identity protection that Carr is being provided with will cost British tax payers at least £50million. It goes without saying that this illogical figure was not backed up or explained in any detail. But it doesn't make a lot of difference anyway, because had the press done what they are supposed to do (at least in Christopher's rosy tinted view of the world) they would have covered the whole issue with some degree of respect, objectivity and compassion. And the cost for Carr's official protection would have been minimised.

I hope this is not true, but I think I might belong to a minority who believe that Maxine Carr's only real crime was to lie for the man she loved. From what I have read and understand, that was all she did. Perhaps it was stupid, misguided, whatever, but each of us is capable of doing incredibly dumb things for love.

But this is what I hope the most - I hope that I’m not the only person who can see that the real monsters in this whole sorry mess are the cretin writers who have sunk the journalistic profession to previously unrealised depths of soul-selling idiocy by encouraging such vitriolic public hatred.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Paris - dans les mots et imagine...

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Me and my host, Frederic (note to self - must not dip head back, producing unnattractive double chin)

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A distant Arc de Triomphe from a Louvre window

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Sadly, sometime back in 1984, I was one of these kids

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The Louvre pyramid

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Eric and Neil at Le Queen

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Les garçons de Le Queen

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A Canaletto dog

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London's competition

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Louvre stairwell

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A painting of some chick. Or dude. Or both.

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"Dirty baby-cupid things! Stop that right now!"

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And look! Divine hand crafted miniature gold and platinum objets d’art , lovingly adorned with sublime depictions of the French royal family. And, er, stuff.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Off to Paris!

Ce soir je monterai le 18.40 Eurostar afin de commencer ma balade de weekend gaie dans Paris gai. Je suis très excité. Lequel est pourquoi j'écris cette poste en français.

Ne pas beaucoup plus rapporter vraiment, seulement que je serai arrière lundi pour classer un rapport plein.

Le weekend heureux tout le monde!

Note: Apologies for the poor quality of the French in this post

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Help the aged? Pah!

This morning, at about 7am, I was walking off the escalator at Clapham South tube station looking tres handsome, if I do say so myself, in a black Helmut Lang suit and black Costume Nationale shirt undone to *there*. I will admit that I was a tad cold as I stepped outside my front door but I rarely get to wear a suit in my line of work so when I do I feel, in every way, the uber professional, suave businessman. Of course, had anyone been aware that I was listening to Irene Cara’s “Flashdance” on my iPod the overall vision may have been slightly skewed.

As I sweep round the corner to the northbound platform I see that the train has already pulled up and the doors are open. I’m feeling way to cool to make a run for it, so instead I pick up the pace so that I can hop on before the doors close.

The doors start to beep and I’m literally about to step up into the carriage when all of a sudden, from absolutely nowhere, this tiny and seemingly frail grey haired old lady appears at my side. Using her entire upper body and with the strength of a thousand elephants she literally shoves me out of the way. As I stagger and try to regain my balance this ancient-powerful-Yoda-like woman nimbly hops up into the carriage a fraction of a second before the doors slide shut.

As the train begins to inch away from the platform she turns around, looks straight at me through the glass and smiles. The cow uses the very same smile used by my Grandma at Christmas after receiving Radox bath salts from me for the umpteenth year running.

And then she was gone.

The humiliation I felt was palpable. In an instant I had been cruelly transformed from afore mentioned suave businessman and into the bitch of a tiny, wrinkly octogenarian.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The theatre, again

Tonight Kate and I went to see “Whose Life is it Anyway”, the play starring Kim Cattrall. It's the story of a woman, who after being paralyzed from the neck down after a car accident, decides that she wants to be allowed to die.

The play, technically, is not about euthanasia, but about the character Claire's right to be discharged from hospital. Without the medical care, her body will start to shut down. At one point in the play she says something like, "I just want you to take me some place and leave me there."

The play was really, really great and I didn't fidget at all. You know a newspaper should use me as a kind of yardstick for movies and plays. It could be a regular Friday feature entitled "Christopherfidgetometer" and it would be all about how good or bad the production was based on how much I moved and shifted around.

Anyway, there is something I want to say about the theme of the play, but it's kind of personal, and I have to think about what I want to say otherwise it won't make a lot of sense. And it's late now.

So, in other news:

I really HATE that Toilet Duck advert. You know, the one with the woman actually cleaning the toilet with the brush? It makes me feel queasy. I like to believe that the bathroom toilet is cleaned by my flatmate self-cleaning.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Q. When is snow not snow?

A. When there is no snow.

I have experienced two long, harsh, arctic New York winters. Winters when the snow would fall so hard and fast that within just a couple of hours cars would be completely submerged in the stuff for days on end. There would be so much snow that people would actually ski through Times Square. So much snow, in fact, that people were physically trapped in their buildings and you could not see your hand before your face! Airports would close, trains would stop running and old people would die. But, somehow, us gainfully employed would still manage to get to work without complaining too much. We would even still have enough good humour, when we arrived, bedraggled and tired, to look out of our skyscraper office windows and take in the view. The snow would melt our hearts and we would say, "Aw! It's quite pretty really!"

So, dear Londoners, let me reliably inform you that barely, barely, an inch of snow on the ground does not represent a catastrophic Act of God. It does not constitute a citywide emergency. And there is most certainly no earthly reason why it should make you almost twenty minutes late to pick me up this morning, Mr Thoroughly Annoying Chatty Taxi Driver.

I had to be up by 6am this morning to get a 7am taxi to get to Waterloo train station to get an 8am train to Havant to get to a 10am new business pitch. I had a very specific time line to adhere to in order to get to this meeting by the designated time. And not lose my job. Because a new business pitch that you are leading is one meeting you cannot be late for. Lateness will not cut it and will not win you the business.

Despite the lateness of the taxi, I manage to get on the train on time. Once seated, all around me, all I can hear, are comments such as:

"I could barely open my front door!"

"It took me two whole minutes to wipe it off my windshield!"

"I thought that the tube might not be running!"


Ok, can we take a reality check, please? First, as I stated, there was hardly an inch of snow. Secondly, most of the snow melted - there was no slush or ice on either the pavements or on the roads. I will concede that there were a few puddles. So actually the most dangerous thing that could have happened is that you could have stepped in a deep puddle and made your shoes wet (a phenomenon you should not be too unfamiliar with given that you live in London, you strange little idiots). In fact by morning, the only place where there was any snow was in the parks and in the fields that I passed while I was on the train.

Back to the train - eventually people shut up about all the wetness snow and I could finally read through the pitch document and make notes without being supremely irritated. Then, all of a sudden, the train grinds to a halt and the conductor makes an announcement...

"Sorry for the delay ladies and gentlemen. It seems that there are some problems with the snow on the tracks this morning. We should be moving again in a few minutes."

AN INCH!!! AN INCH OF SNOW!!!

I know you're all very concerned that I may not have got to the pitch in time. Well somehow, by the grace of God, I did. With ten minutes to spare I victoriously and purposely stride up to the reception desk of the company that I’ve come to visit.

"Christopher from [London PR agency], here to see [Marketing Director] please."

"Oh yes. Christopher. [Marketing Director] just called in. She's running late and apologises. It's just that she's had problems with the snow."

I think the heat from my burning and unbridled anger melted any remaining snow within a 26-mile radius.

(Incase you were wondering, it snowed in the South of England last night.)

Monday, February 21, 2005

Sell out!

I’ve always found it quite brilliant the way that us gayers cleverly shroud our numerous naughty doings behind the guise of something innocent and lovely. For example, one of my friends keeps his obscenely massive modeled-on-a-Falcon-porn-star dildo wrapped in a swathe of beautiful, orange, embroidered, raw silk fabric that he purchased from a peasant woman in Sri Lanka. A couple of years ago my buddies Angela and Matt gave me a set of anal beads, various condoms and flavours of lube and some gay porn playing cards packaged neatly within an exquisite Chinese, hand-carved, wooden box.

As a marketing person, if you get what all of this means, then you will know that in order to promote your bland, generic, ultimately hetero products in a way that will appeal to us intelligent, discerning, savvy gays you'll have to be prepared to create a clever spin that is both a little sexy and a little racy. Semi-naked, oiled up men will not go amiss (just as long as they are intelligent, discerning and savvy semi-naked, oiled up men.)

One of my clients makes very expensive, mock antique, miniature boxes (we call them objets d'art) made out of precious metals, featuring little renditions of famous works of art. During a meeting to discuss the campaign media strategy I was informed by my client that he had read an article in a newspaper about the power of the pink pound and that he thought perhaps we should be attempting to get the boxes in the gay press.

Now, this guy is about 60, most likely has a huge country pile somewhere in Nottinghamshire, a farty old Labrador called Hugo and a wife called Felicity who is on first name terms with Princess Michael of Kent (I wonder if she is ever called Mike?) Despite this, the way that he said "pink pound" spoke volumes to me about how he probably wants to be seen as "trendy", as I'm sure he would put it, and in touch with the "playas" without, of course, literally having to touch us.

With what I thought was immensely staggering logic I suggested that the best route to achieve this objective would be to subtly appeal to the type of gay man (of whom within London there are many) who takes weekend recreational drugs. Of the kind that might be stored in a little box. Now, obviously you wouldn't distribute a press release that read:

"...divine hand crafted miniature gold and platinum objets d’art , lovingly adorned with a sublime depiction of the Venus de Milo. Discreet enough to hide your stash of Ecstasy in without setting off metal detectors or raising unwanted suspicion while being frisked at Beyond."

...however you could distribute a press release that read:

"...divine hand crafted miniature gold boxes, lovingly adorned with a sublime depiction of the Venus de Milo. The perfect gift for the gayer who likes to get the most out of his weekend."

The client just tilted his glasses and mumbled something incoherent. With lightening speed I tried to turn my apparently unfortuitous suggestion around.

"Well how about some kind of cause related marketing initiative? You could extol the virtues of the product to HIV+ gay men who have strict meds regimes and donate a proportion of the profits from certain sales to an HIV/AIDS related charity? The gay press would love it."

Silence. I can feel my profit related bonus slipping through my fingers.

So what did I do? I saved my ass by scraping the bottom of the barrel, selling out both myself and my fellow homos:

"Or...we could do a press mailing about the box which features the Andy Warhol painting of James Dean? Gay men love Andy Warhol and James Dean."

He looks up, considers this option for a second and then nods.

"Yes. I like that idea. Let's do it."

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Three odd things

1) At the end of an incredibly relaxing facial at The Refinery the technician asks how my skin feels. I reach to touch it and she yells at me "No! I just cleaned it!"

2) A man on the tube using a CD Walkman, but with iPod headphones. I figured he either had an iPod but somehow managed to lose it but not the headphones, or he had bought just the headphones to fool people into thinking he has an iPod when in fact he doesn't. Sad, whatever way you want to look at it.

3) While watching Smallville, my flatmate turns to me and says, "You know, now that your hair is longer you look a bit like Tom Welling." I don't see it myself, but I'm going to make out with her for saying that, right now.

Saturday afternoon theatre trip

Yesterday afternoon Louise and I went to see the Mamet play, A Life in the Theatre, starring Patrick Stewart and Joshua Jackson.

First, both Patrick Stewart and Joshua Jackson get almost all of their kit off at several points throughout the play. I can reliably report back that Patrick Stewart most definitely still has it going on while Joshua Jackson has shed the Dawson’s Creek puppy fat and is sporting a very respectable six pack.

Now I've got the primary reason I went to see the play out of the way...

I think David Mamet is an awesome talent. In my career I have been lucky enough to meet some very famous people and yet there are few who have acually floored me (although Jack Nicholson was a close call). But if I was, let's say, at dinner with David Mamet at the table I would definitely be quieter than my normal self. He probably knows the acting profession in all its guises better than most and he has written or adapted several of my favourite plays or movies including Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard, Speed-The-Plow and the movies Hannibal and State & Main (which he also directed).

A Life in the Theatre is a two man set piece about two actors, one younger and one older, both working in an unnamed theatre production in New York. We see them interacting both behind the scenes and actually "on-stage" in various skits involving amusing costume changes. We are told very little about the play. In fact most of the scenes seem intentionally random and entirely different from the previous one - a scene from WW1 trenches, a modern hospital operating theatre, a private detectives office. It's the botched lines, unreliable stage hands and missed cues that make up most of the play's guffaws. At one point Patrick Stewart's character's character is waiting for a phone to ring and it doesn't so he picks it up and says "I told you not to interrupt me with any calls!" at which point the phone starts ringing. It’s a silly joke – the kind of thing that French & Saunders would do – but it is deeply funny when an actor of the stature of Patrick Stewart is pretending to fluff his cues and lines.

After I settled into the play the first thing that began to annoy me was that I was being told very little about these characters lives off of the stage, but after a while it became evident to me that that was not really relevant to the story. Because while, on the surface, the play seems to be just an amusing pastiche on the life of the "real" working actor - the type that literally spends a life in the theatre - it is actually about what it is these types of people are made up of. So while you don't get the character's back history, you do get to see their insecurities, paranoias, foibles, etc, in all their raw glory.

Anyway, when I got home I did a Google search on Mamet and I found this quote from him. I think it sums up the play much better than I can here:

"A life in the theatre. That is what acting is. Doing the play for the audience. The rest is just practice. And I see that the life of the academy, the graduate school, the studio, while charming and comfortable, are as removed from the life (and the job) of the actor as aerobics are from boxing..."

Now I would be lying if I said that I really enjoyed the experience. I actually did enjoy the play. What I didn't enjoy was that our seats were all the way up in the upper circle and the incline was very, very steep. This, coupled with the fact that I am not good with indoor heights (to the point that I practically have to crouch on the floor and shuffle to get to my chair), made me feel very on edge (literally and figuratively) the whole time.

But that's the price you pay for £15 tickets.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

It's been a while

I want to put this down in writing, not because I want to boast or show off, but because I feel like I should. For posterity or something. We're so vocal when things aren't that great, but not so vocal when things are good.

I keep finding myself smiling for no apparent reason. When I catch myself doing it part of me asks just what it is I think I'm doing. But I carry on smiling. Have you ever noticed how rare it is to see someone walking down the street, by themselves, smiling? Just. Smiling.

Maybe it's having a job. Not sure. All I know is, I get up every day at 6.30am. I have some breakfast, I shower, I get changed. I read my book on the tube, I buy some coffee from Pret, I get to work and I settle in. I'm usually the first in so I can listen to classical music on the stereo. I fire off some emails and I write my action list.

Other stuff - press lunches, meetings, pitching. The usual. But for the first time in a long time I'm enjoying it. I'm staying late if I need to, to tie up any loose ends from the day. Then I go to the gym or meet friends for dinner or a few drinks. The day ends and I feel content. Contentment is an emotion I've never really had much to do with. Ok, I've only been in this job for two weeks, but you know when you get a feeling for something?

Anyway, some things I am excited about right now:

- Going to the theatre with Louise tomorrow afternoon
- Getting a facial at The Refinery on Sunday
- Going to the theatre with Kate on Wednesday evening
- Going to Paris next Friday
- Lunch at Claridges with the editor of Wallpaper* in two weeks
- One of my favourite people coming home in April
- Seeing my friends when I go back to NYC for a week in May
- Spending Christmas on a beach in Thailand with Tim
- Winning my first piece of new business at work
- My hair, my body and my weight

On the surface these things might not appear to be the stuff of legend, but isn't there some adage about life being in the details?

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Expensive dental work

When I broke my jaw last August I really managed to bugger up my teeth. Such a shame, cause after much orthodontic work as a kid I had a rather lovely set of gnashers.

Cosmetically, I still do. When I smile, you can't tell that I have *runs tongue around mouth to count* four major fractures (where almost half the tooth is missing) and three chips. But you can see that my front lower tooth has moved back, as a result of the metal plate screwed onto the bone, inside my chin, to mend one of the three breaks on my jaw itself.

To have all of the fractures and chips repaired I have to have three root canal surgeries, four crowns and three fillings. If I have this work done on the NHS I will have to contribute towards a co-pay, a figure somewhere in the sum of £300. But if I go for the NHS option the crowns won't be camouflaged, they will be silver. Ergo, I will look like James Bond's arch nemesis, Jaws. Clearly not a look I'm particularly eager to covet. So, to have the camouflaged dental work, I will have to pay almost £600.

And if I want the tooth at the front moved back to it's previous position, I will have to have a retainer placed by an orthodontist. Guess how much this will cost? Hazard a guess?

Approximately £1,000.

The tooth that moved is cosmetic. I can live with it being slightly misaligned. But the other dental work is a different matter. The teeth are damaged so much that if I don't have them fixed then they will eventually die and fall out. But not before I get severe gum disease and most likely an attractive case of halitosis.

And it doesn’t stop there. Because my condular processes (the arms that hook your lower jaw onto your upper jaw) both got crushed, my front top and bottom teeth are misaligned by a couple of millimeters and don’t bite together. Instead I am biting down on my back molars and my dentist thinks that I am grinding them during my sleep. So I may have to wear a protector when I sleep.

There is a moral to this story. Never go to the Shadow Lounge, never drink too much, never take a sleeping pill when you get home, never stand up too fast from sitting on the toilet. Had I not done any of these things in succession I may well be sat here with me pearly whites still in their former glorious state.

And £1,600 better off.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Striking fear into the heart of your mortal enemy...

At the weekend I watched "Meet Joe Black", a very underrated movie in my opinion. Primarily because Brad Pitt has never looked so handsome:

meetjoeblack

Sweet Jesus.

Anyway, there is this sublime scene at the end of the movie where a very calm and softly spoken Joe tells Bill's errant business partner, in no uncertain terms, that he needs to tread very, very carefully from now on:

"Should you choose to test my resolve in this matter, you will be facing a finality beyond your comprehension, and you will not be counting days, or months, or years, but millenniums in a place with no doors."

I want just one perfect opportunity in my lifetime to be able to say that to someone who is pissing me off, preferably someone who hasn't seen the movie.

Of course, the overall effect would be strengthened if I could back up my words with the unspoken threat that I am, indeed, the Grim Reaper himself.

Monday, February 14, 2005

St Oh Whatever Day

It is a dark, dark day. You know why.

Tonight my housemate and I are going to celebrate our own anti-Valentine's Day by going to Pizza on the Green. We're going to sit and chortle as the women lean across to their dates and whisper, "I can't believe you've bought me to Pizza on the Green for Valentine's Day! This is clearly not working."

(By the way - you may have noticed that I'm not very good at picking up plot lines from previous posts. The fact that I will be dining with my housemate rather than Jake should tell you that Jake and I are no more. Very boring story, but onwards, hey, hey...)

But because I am not a totally heartless bastard, here is a little message for all you blissfully happy, in-lurve couples out there. From me to you.

F*** off.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Continuing the theme...

...of change:

I just spent £80 having my hair coloured at Toni & Guy. I went in to see a colourist on Thursday during my lunchbreak to discuss what I could have done. I made it clear that I didn't want to have a hair colour that would make me look freakish and weird, making me stand out in a crowd. I just wanted a hair colour that would make more men want to have sex with me.

My hair is naturally dark brown, so we decided to best accent it with a full head of medium brown highlights, with three or four really chunky sweeps of burgundy. It sounds horrific, but trust me - we put some little acrylic hair sample swatch things together and the results were certainly trouser arousing.

The procedure began this morning at 11.30am. Two hours and several cups of tea later I emerged from the salon onto King's Road with a shiny head of hair that looked, well, exactly the same as it did when I had arrived, really.

It doesn't look any different! I mean if you kind of squint and look at my hair at a weird angle, with the light cast on it just right, with Venus in retrograde and Pluto in Uranus, you might think that my hair is, perhaps, a tad shinier that it was when I got up this morning.

I just spent £80 to get my hair made slightly shinier! This is the kind of thing that Ann would do (Marv - back me up here). Do I complain? What do I do?

The acid test will be tonight when I go to Crash with Richard and Phil. Last time I went to Crash I had sex with one person. If my hair has indeed worked, I will be having sex with, at least, two tonight.

Oh! That's it! If I don't end up having sex with more than one person tonight I'll just go back to Toni & Guy on Monday, explain the lack of booty action and they are sure to give me a refund!

Friday, February 11, 2005

Changing

Yesterday I got the nicest email from Katie (don't worry! The head swelling properties wore off after a few minutes and the regular self loathing took precedent again):

"I can't believe how different you look! I was a bit stunned when I saw you the other night, which is why I was a little lost for words when we were standing there. You look amazing Christopher and you look about 5 years younger! You also look happier and more relaxed. This is all good stuff right?"

So the vast amounts of botox injections have paid off then?

Anyway, this got me to thinking, because when I was at home in Bath for Christmas and in Birmingham for New Year’s Eve three of my oldest friends each separately commented on how much I seem to have changed of late. My friend Tim said that it was how much more I seemed to be listening to him. Another friend said that there was a pervading sense of calm. She said that I used to be many good things, but calm was never part of the mix with me.

And for many of the reasons that I have cited here before I do believe that the last year has indeed bought about a number of subtle changes in me. But at the same time I still feel, ultimately, the same. Different and yet the same, if that makes sense. For the last few weeks I have been pondering the question, “do we ever really change?”

Sometimes I look at a friend, someone who I have known for a long, long time, and I think that I pretty much know who they are. It’s like I have them etched in my mind forever, that I totally have them figured out. Then later I see something different about them – it could be a subtle change in appearance, or that they proffer some opinion I wouldn’t have necessarily assigned to them. And suddenly I have this totally new picture. And it doesn’t match the picture that I had before.

My friends and I are infamous for changing our minds. In fact, we don’t always stop with our minds. We'll change our hair, our fashion, our facial expressions, our football teams - practically anything that can be changed, at some point, will be changed. None of us have actually changed genders yet, but I’m just biding my time, waiting for that interesting news flash. But at the end of the day, do people really change themselves?

Like a snake ... ok, not entirely like a snake (cause that would be kinda gross), apparently we shed all of our skin over a period of seven years. That means that the skin on my fingertips that I am typing with right now is not the same skin I was typing with at university ten years ago. Could there be a beautiful irony there? That apart from our eyes, our skin is the only part of us that people can physically see? In other words, don't get too attached to the “me” you see right now because it’s going to be gone in a few years time.

Which leads me on to this: I have always thought that the “soulmates” concept is pure evil. The implications of what it means to only have one perfect person available for us are truly chilling. But from experience I not only believe this, but I know that there are people who are so tuned into each other that they give immediate access to each others hearts. And even if one of them breaks the heart of the other and the broken heart itself has to mend, those two people could still meet up again several years later and still realise that nothing has changed. Because aren't we told that the heart is constant?

I think that our hearts and our skin are the exact antithesis of each other. Our hearts really are constant, beating through an entire lifetime without stopping once. But our skin is made new over and over. No one can deny that both our hearts and our bodies have a lot to do with whom we are. But I don’t think that it’s irrelevant that throughout history lovers and writers have focused on the heart. Because hearts go on, but like a photograph our appearance will fade.

So to answer my own question - do people ever really change? Yes, I suppose they can. But, at the same time, not that much.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Moi et mon foie

This morning, at the respectable hour of 7am, I pull back the duvet and lift myself out of the steaming pit / bed that I sleep in. As I yawn and stretch out I hear a quiet whimpering coming from behind me. Sleepily, I look over my shoulder.

It is my Liver, looking more than a tad frail.

“Why do you still do it, Christopher? Why? We’ve been together for 32 years now. Why do you never listen to me?”

“What, prey tell, are you twittering on about now, little Liver? What? What?”

“Vodka. Beer. Do. Not. Mix. VODKA! BEER!

A look of flushed concern sweeps over my face. I lie down next to my Liver and with my index finger tenderly stroke it. “I’m sorry. I do listen really. I promise this time. I won’t do it again.”

Really promise?”

“Really promise.”

We hug and I get up once again and just before I leave my bedroom for the shower I look back and smile. “Love you!”

My Liver smiles too and although it is quite clearly still fatigued and a little distressed, it responds weakly, “Love you too.”

I leave the room and pad up the hall towards the bathroom. Quietly, under my breath...

Sucker!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

NO WAY!!!!

I swear I'm not lying! I WON £10!!!

Ok, it's not £12million, but still! I have NEVER won anything on the lottery before! That is soooo cool!

I wonder if Mum will be happy with a cheap manicure?

My number is up! (but probably not)

I have lottery fantasies. Many of them.

These fantasies can appear in my mind at any given time. How it would change my life, what I would do the second I found out, which of my friends I would bestow my newfound wealth upon, etc, etc. My Mum, having seen the before / after shots of Sharon Osborne, has requested full body liposuction, boob lift, tooth veneers, a facelift, botox and collagen filler. I'm going to take her to Miami to have it done. She can spend a week or so in a five star clinic, while I stay at the Delano and have midnight sex in the pool with hunky South Beach hookers.

I'm probably a bad person. No, not for having sex with hookers, silly! For taking my num to have plastic surgery! I mean I love my mum, but the idea of her emerging from the bandages as some fabulous Sharon Osborne type - I mean, what gay man doesn't want to be a part of that?!?!

Anyway, a lot less frequently than I have lottery fantasies I actually buy a lottery ticket. Do you know what the best part of owning a lottery ticket is? It's that point between some random celebrity pulling the numbers out of "Gertrude" on BBC1 at 8pm on a Saturday night (which I invariably miss) and the point that I go online to check my numbers and find out I have not even one single, sucking digit.

Because during that time I know, for an absolute certainty, that I am a potential lottery winner. And the longer I can go without checking my numbers, the longer I can indulge those fantasies, with the absolute certainty that I could in fact have won £12million.

It is now Tuesday evening and I bought a ticket on Saturday afternoon. I want to look now, but I am so aware that the overall outcome is more than likely to be the latter of the following:

1) I never work again

2) I work again

Ok, this is stupid. I'll check them now. If I have won, then you'll know by the fact that this post will be followed by another post, just a few minutes later.

Finger's crossed!

Monday, February 07, 2005

First day of school

We made potato prints, we did "show and tell" and at break we played kiss chase.

Not really.

Well first, I set a few ground rules for my new job:

No giving out my email address to friends or family
No giving out my direct line to friends or family
No blogging related activity, of any kind, at work
Make lunch the evening before to conserve money
One cup of coffee per day (from Pret - Starfucks is too expensivo)
Two cigarette breaks
Read two newspapers every morning before I do anything else
Get into work by 8.30am, every day

I have already broken five of these rules. I'll leave it up to you to guess which ones they are. But I will tell you that the most heinous and inexcusable rule-break was that I was half an hour late in - ON MY FIRST DAY!!!

It started so well. I was supposed to be in by 9am for a board meeting within which all the other directors would be introduced to this supremely talented, experienced, savvy (and uber dashing) PR pro. So I set my alarm for 6.30am so that I would have plenty of time to shower, get changed, have my breakfast and sip my coffee infront of Lorraine Kelly on GMTV. I did all of these and I got to the station at 8.15am, which should have given me plenty of time to ride the tube to Sloane Square and walk up King's Road to work.

Except that I had forgotten to top up my Oyster card. You might ask me why the plastic travel card we get given to ride the tube is called an Oyster card? I don't know the answer to that. Some London Underground think tank employee will probably tell you that it is because London is like an Oyster within which the tube is the pearl. Assholes.

Anyway, I look back at the queue and it's huge. So rather than going to the window to get my ticket, I decide to use the automatic machine, because I figure it's going to be faster. Only it's not, because the people infront of me clearly haven't mastered the fine art of putting the credit card into the little slot the right way round.

Ten minutes later I finally get to the machine. Except that there is this little sign that says "not accepting credit cards". Now given that this machine is a credit card only machine, you would be right in assuming that the sign should actually read "this machine is out of order". I decide that I don't have enough time to queue up at one of the ticket windows as there is still an enormous queue (never, EVER wait until the beginning of the month to renew undergound travel cards). So instead I decide to run across the road to the newsagent and top my card up there.

Except the shop doesn't take plastic so I then have to run down the street to the ATM (another queue) and get the readies and run back to the shop again. Eventually the deal gets done, by which point yet another ten minutes has passed and I'm back at the station, back at the gate.

C'mon little travelcard, all warm from being nestled next to my ass cheek, fat with my hard borrowed cash. Please work for little moi?

"Seek assistance!"

Evil, wretched travelcard.

At this point if Satan (who naturally would have been in the guise of a London Underground worker) appeared to offer me instant teleportation to my new office in exchange for my penis, I would have accepted.

I look around. No staff. So I ran across the road, again, to tell the guy that he couldn't have topped the card up properly. Only he proves to me that he did by showing me a computer printout.

I can feel any respect and admiration that my new seniors and colleagues may have had for me slipping away. I realise that I now have two options: I can join the queue of over twenty other plebs too stupid to have topped up their travel cards earlier and I miss the company meeting, or I can do the most despicable, pikey, irritating thing that one can do on the underground - wait until the moment that the person infront of you at the gate has scanned their card and then instantly press yourself right...up...against...them as they go through.

Which I did.

I did miss the company meeting. The MD's first words to me were, nonetheless, kind. But the disgusting gate queue pushing in thing made me feel dirty. A feeling that stayed with me all day long.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Scoobies Go Mad in Yorkshire

An entire floor of interconnecting hotel suites
A gazillion crates of Moet
A sexy, sweaty club
Many handsome, shirtless boyz
Many lovely, smouldering laydeez
Rubbish drag
A birthday boy
A trigger happy photographer

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Friday, February 04, 2005

It's typical...

This afternoon I'm getting the train up to Leeds for Wayne's birthday and I'm pissed off. Not only do I have the flu, again, but because of that I've only been to the gym once this week as I've been extremely concerned that working out will make me even more sick.

Oh yeah, and I also have a cough that sounds like a Doberman barking.

Wayne, the Scoobies and I are all going to Federation tomorrow night and I'll invariably, at some point during the evening, be taking my top off. Only now I'll be prominently displaying chicken fillets (as Trinny and Susannah would call them) and not a fine pair of disco tits! That said, my chest is always going to be in the shadows of Wayne and Sam's pneumatic pectoral glory.

Of course, this all plays second fiddle to the more legitimate concern - that being, what if I get hit on by some hot, young Yorkshire-bred whippersnapper and I affirm my interest by inadvertently coughing phlegm up onto him?

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Me Against My Music

I stole this idea from Jef's blog.

10 random songs from my iBook, chosen automatically by iTunes:

1. That Kind of Love – Alison Krauss
2. Stan – Dido & Eminem
3. Sound of Silence – Simon & Garfunkel
4. Everybody’s Changing – Keane
5. Well Did You Evah? – Blondie
6. Wild Thing – Tone Lic
7. Six Barrel Shotgun – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
8. Keep It Together - Madonna
9. Rehash – Gorillaz
10. By the Way – Red Hot Chili Peppers

The music files on my iBook amount to 18.4 GB

The last album I bought was "Hot Fuss" by Killers (although it was technically a download)

The last song I listened to on my iPod before writing this was "Love Will Tear Us Apart" by Joy Division

The five songs I often listen to or mean a lot to me, and why:

Let The River Run – Carly Simon
It's the song that I would listen to when I lived in New York, when I felt a little homesick, or a little blue. I would generally listen to it in the morning, walking to work between 42nd and 44th on Lex, with my little cup of Starbucks coffee that I'd bought as I came out of the subway at Grand Central. It would remind me that I was in a great city and that I had a charmed life. You just can't be miserable listening to that song. There's way too much hope in it to carry on being sad.

In These Shoes – Kirsty McColl
Kirsty McColl represents, for me, my first introduction to proper music. Me and my oldest friends from school, Tim, Jemma and Kate, would listen to Kirsty a lot, mainly due to the fact that she used to make hilarious guest appearances, singing, in French & Saunders, which at the time was the temple we would collectively worship at (hell, we still do!) I listen to this song a lot when I am getting ready to go out. It's just kind of sexy and cute. And the lyrics are fierce.

Come Here – Cath Bloom
Because it's the music to one of my favourite scenes in a movie ever, Before Sunrise. Jesse and Celine listen to it in an old listening booth in the Vienna music store. They keep stealing looks at each other, but try to pretend that they aren't at the same time. Awww! I also love it just because it's a really happy, romantic, folky song. A bit like something Joan Baez might have sung.

Fake Plastic Trees - Radiohead
Although Radiohead is my second favorite band, they don't make the kind of music you should listen to if you are feeling a bit blue. That said, sometimes you want to listen to a song that has a lot of pent up existential angst in it - cause you're not feeling low per se, but you're not feeling particularly "yippee!" either. This is my plateau song.

Rainbow Connection – Peter Cincotti
A few reasons for this one: The first is that Peter Cincotti, at 21, is a little cutie and he sings the song like Frank Sinatra would have. The second reason is that it is a cover of the song that Kermit the Frog sang on the lily pad at the beginning of the first Muppet movie (which makes it even better that Peter Cincotti sings this version, as he's so young). The third reason is that I love the words of the last verse. It's, like, poetry man:

Have you been half asleep
And have you heard voices
Cause I've heard them calling my name
Is this the sweet sound
That calls the young sailors
The voice might be one and the same
I've heard it too many times to ignore it
It's something that I'm supposed to be
Someday we'll find it
The rainbow connection
The lovers, the dreamers and me

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

P.S.

I am proud to annouce that yesterday evening I accepted a job offer. As from Monday I will be earning £245,000* per annum as the director of the interiors department of a very hot and trendy PR agency on London's fabulously chic King's Road. I owe it all to my friend Katie who sent them my CV. Needless to say, Katie will be receiving a "thank you" from me in the form of an erotic dance, in the very near future. I might even give her a "happy ending". Or not.

The owner of my new company has already invited to me to attend an uber fashion party tonight at The Courthouse, London's blinging new members bar, right on the corner of So On Trend Road and Everyone Who Is Anyone Will Be There Avenue.

DADDY'S BACK, KIDS!!!

*not really

Strippers and the L word

Any gay tendencies that I may have been showing over the past few weeks were recently nullified. Well, for about half an hour, anyway. Because Saturday night saw a rather motley crew - one gay man (me), two lesbians, a straight woman and a straight man, descend into the seedy underworld of "the dodgy geezer" - The Rocket Club, one of Birmingham's premiere "gentlemen's clubs".

Those girls could really work the pole in an impressive variety of gyrations that left little to the imagination. I actually found the whole experience fairly erotic. For a few seconds I considered the possibility that perhaps I was not quite the certifiable homo I thought I was. Then the master of ceremonies (if that’s what you can call a sad, fat, balding midlands DJ) starting egging on one of the girls who was dancing erotically with a geeze she had pulled up onto the stage.

(dancer slides down the pole towards the face of the willing male)

Master of ceremonies: "Yeah, get those luscious lips wrapped around his nose!"

Yup. He was referring to those lips. The fairly substantial tremor I felt emanating from my bile duct cleared away, once and for all, any doubts I may have just had about my sexuality.

But what I found most interesting about the whole thing was this: you could pay £20 for one of these nubile young ladies, wearing next-to-nothing, to lead you by the hand into a little booth where she would remove the next-to-nothing and perform a private dance for you. As long as you keep your hands by your sides and not on her (or in your pants) she would basically get extremely up close and personal without actually doing, er, stuff. Then after ten minutes she would put her clothes back on and then that would be that.

Now I didn't receive one of these private dances (although Lucy – one of the lesbians - was readily offering to put up the necessary funds. Actually, can we just think about that situation for a while? A lesbian, offering to pay for a gay man to receive a sexy lap dance from a straight woman. I think that genuinely may have been a first!). But nonetheless, I couldn't help but imagine how randy and unfulfilled these guys must have been after having had a hot, young, blonde minx shake her bits right in their face and lap for ten minutes. So what these guys do after they've had their dance made me not want to use the bathrooms incase I, well, found any "evidence".

Bleurgh.

Anyway, so as not to end this post on a sour note, I was wondering if someone could explain something to me that has been really playing on my mind of late. It hasn’t exactly caused sleepless nights, but I do like to feel confident that there is a reason for order in the chaos. It's to do with the folklore of Superman.

What is the relevance of the letter "L"? For example:

Lana Lang
Lois Lane
Lex Luther
Lionel Luther
Jor-El (Supe's pop)
Kal-El (Supe's birth name)
Lara (Supe's mom)
Linda Lee (Supergirl's alter ego)

Anyone who can provide me with a decent explanation receives a ten-minute lap dance from yours truly. Because I really paid attention the other night and boy, not only have I ever got some moves now, but I'm also extremely bendy!