Friday, April 29, 2005

Today

Today I literally spent about four hours trying to write a coherent blog post, but various factors seemed to be preventing me from doing it. So I've ditched the original post. Instead, here is a list of those combining factors that have bought me to this post:
  • Going clubbing on a Thursday night. It was to Discotec at The End with Kate, Tom and Drew. I've never been before, which is quite remarkable given that it is, by all accounts, a gay Mecca.
  • Waking up in a strangers house in Kennington at about 12pm, with no one, apart from me, at home. It was a rather fabulous apartment and I'll admit to having a good snoop around before I left. And I didn't leave my number. Does that make me a slut? Probably.
  • Realising the utter brilliance of having a really blinding night out, while managing to spend only £30!
  • My phone ringing constantly - why is it that when I am in a completely straight frame of mind no one calls me and the time when I really need some peace and quiet I get bombarded by calls?
  • Being captivated by how adaptable my new longer hair is to different styles after having put it through a night of all kinds of colours of crap.
  • Playing it Straight - after Zoe evicted him from the hacienda this evening, I think I am in love with Jonny. To me he seemed to be the first gay guy who was genuinely delighted to be "outed". And I want to sex him for that.
  • Pictures of Sharon Stone filming Basic Instinct 2 - Risk Addiction. I want to like this movie, but I don't think I'm gonna. Apparently the opening scene has Stan Collymore sticking his hand up Sharon's skirt while they drive across London's Albert Bridge in a Laviolette Spyker. Surely I don't have to explain how wrong that scenario is?
  • Deciding what I'm going to wear on Sunday. I need an outfit that will not only endure but also be appropriate for the following events: lunchtime champagne party at my friend Kelly's house, followed by Secret Sundaze at The Poet, followed by a gayer party thrown by a friend at Soho House, followed by more drinking at Sam's pad, followed by DTPM, followed by Orange (unlikely), followed by Sam's house with the Scoobies (more than likely).
  • Worrying how I'm going to be able to get through Sunday.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Three things I hate right now

1) Akon.
I'm not surprised you're lonely when you record lame-ass tunes with cartoon-like backing vocals. What the fuck is that shit anyway? I swear to God, if I hear that song once more I will have to start hurting people.

2) The guy at the grocery store video store.
No, I don't still have Alien vs. Predator out. I bought it back the day after I rented it. And if you call me again and ask me to check my flat for it I will have to start hurting you.

3) Not being able to talk properly.
There is something very, very wrong with the fact that I, of all people, don't have the full use of my voice. If I don't get the full use of my voice back very soon, I'll have to start hurting myself. More.

One thing I like right now:
The fact that a guest character on Smallville called Clark "C.K." the other day. CK being my initials! Also that Allison Janney's character on The West Wing is called "C.J." and the first letters of my first name and middle name are C.J.

That was two things, wasn't it?

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

hayden-christensen-gay

So Elizabeth, Kate, Drew's sister, Amber, and I are stood at the end of the run, outside the arrivals gate inside Heathrow's Terminal 3. We're all a bit overexcited at the prospect of seeing our long lost friend / sibling again. So much so that every time we see a man walk through the gate one of us invariably exclaims, "Is that him? IS THAT HIM?!"

It was so funny when I thought some fat, balding, middle aged man was Drew. Yeah. I laughed at that one.

During the drive back into the city Drew told me that on his travels he had heard a rumour that Hayden Christensen may infact be a fellow shirt lifter (incidentally, I've never really understood that expression. Why "shirt lifter"?) Driven by concern over the plausibility of this rumour (not, you understand, by the possibility that Hayden might now be a future love interest for me) I did me a little Google search.

Most of the results I turfed up featured a quote from Hayden refuting the rumour, even though I'm not entirely convinced that "My perspective is that if it's not true, then I'm OK with it, and I get a laugh out of it" is actually a denial. In fact I'm not sure what that means.

Anyway, anyway, anyway. On my virtual travels I came across a blogger's website, on which the owner had written a post addressing the claim (and, judging by the date of the post, this particular rumour has been enjoying some degree of longevity.) While the post was in itself fairly humorous, what I found truly side-splittingly hilarious was the very last reader comment. A comment so fabulously incipient that it really doesn't matter whether it was written in jest or for real. Actually it does matter. I desperately hope it was the latter.

Here.

(am I a bad person?)

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Playing it not so straight

Even though I've been watching it since it started just over two weeks ago, it wasn't until a few minutes ago I realised that I've hooked up with one of the guys on Playing it Straight. If any of you would like to know which one I will happily divulge.

For money.

The one where your protagonist attempts to rent a DVD and buy a coffee

Despite having consumed about twelve gazillion litres of Volvic A Touch of Fruit mineral water (Lemon and Lime, as opposed to the normal, yummy Strawberry), when I went to bed last night my vocal chords were still as dry as a virgin's...

When I woke up this morning the throat fairy seemed to have shined on moi and I felt sure enough of my regained vocal capabilities to attempt to venture out of the flat to rent a DVD and buy a Starbucks. Because my housemate has selfishly buggered off to Tunbridge Wells, yet again, to see her new boyfriend I had no one to practice on before I set off. So I practiced on myself in the bathroom mirror (fnar!)

"Hello! I was wondering if you have a copy of Enduring Love that I might be able to rent?" (just incase they didn't have it on the shelf and I had to ask)

"Hello! I was wondering if I might purchase a tall, skinny, no-whipped mocha?"

I decided that while I was still undoubtedly a little bit throaty and raspy I was, on the whole, dulcet and sexy. In other words, good to go.

First I get to the video shop and not only did they not have Enduring Love, but they didn't have Eurotrip any Krystov Kieslowski movies either. This really surprised me, even though my local video store is actually just a rotating stand in the corner of a grocery shop.

So I ventured up to the counter with my rehearsed line.

"I hwas huwenderi..."

The assistant tilted his head to one side.

"I hwas huwenderi ifff you haff..."

Leaning towards me, "What was that?"

Cut to me, about five minutes later, in Starbucks:

"Coul I haff a tall, skinny, no-whiffed moha plss?"

"What?"

"Coul I haff a tall, skinny, no-whiffed moha plss?"

[Puzzled expression]

"MOHA!"

I just got home with a copy of Hellboy and a semi-hot Latte. I'm not happy.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Oh God, yes!

Would you believe that I am actually more excited by this than I am at the prospect of seeing Batman Begins or the last episode of Star Wars? Superman was the first movie I ever went to see at the movies and the old Man of Steel has held a special place in my heart ever since.

So - not entirely sure about Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane, but I am now convinced that Brandon Routh is most definitely Superman. And who'd have thunk that Clark Kent could be so sexy?

Goosebumps!!!

teaser2006

superman

clark

lois

Friday, April 22, 2005

Ahem

So ok, I am blogging today after all. It's just that I didn't think I'd be up to it. Opening my little iBook and positioning it comfortably on my lap is quite a big job for a poorly little boy. But I feel fine! That said, it'll still have to be a quick one because I have to rest my voice.

Everything went smoothly, although my throat is a bit sore now. But that's to be expected given that my right vocal chord has been charred and burnt into a mini pork scratching, right? I keep forgetting I can't speak though. I go to say something and nothing comes out - literally. It's the weirdest feeling. Not an entirely unpleasant one for my flatmate. I think she quite enjoyed the fact that I was completely silent the whole way back home from Brighton! Apparently I have to drink lots of water to loosen things up.

By the way - hello general anesthetics! I mean I had one not so long ago when I broke my jaw, but I forget how good they are! I hope dealers don't start selling them at clubs because I'll be all over them. Can you imagine? "Oi, Dave. Do you reckon your mate can get any general anesthetics? It's just that I'm going down Infernos tonight with the missus and she's never dun one before."

Hmmm. They are nice. Although I'm not sure how conducive to dancing they'd be.

"Are you coming up yet?"

"Oh yeah! It's like this totally crazy..."

Annnnnd asleep...

Thursday, April 21, 2005

The Three Things

Don't they say that there are three important things in life? Good work, good health and good friends? Well, maybe the last two. Anyway...

Good work:
I'm freelancing at the same company my housemate is freelancing at. It's a very, very small agency, but the people are nice, the accounts fun and the office is spacious and very "Zen". My laptop is completely wireless, which I've had at home for ages, but never at work and I have a glass desk and really cool chair. After all these are critical things when it comes to job satisfaction. The other thing is that the project I have been bought in to work on is to do with water filtration. It sounds boring, but it's actually pretty cool and is being pioneered by the most unlikely brand that you definitely will have heard of. The reason that I'm excited about this particular project is that my Dad is a the director of the waterboard in Bath, where I grew up, and knows inside people in water filtration, who I now know, which means that I am golden kid at work.

Good health:
Tomorrow morning I'm going to Brighton to have my throat surgery. Finally. Although it's a proper general anesthetic job, I'm really excited because it's one step closer to being able to run flat out on the treadmill again. What I'm not looking forward to is the bit when they cannulise me. My ex is a nurse and he always used to admire my veins and tell me how great they would be to cannulise. Funny old world - some of us dream of roaring fires and passionate love making. Others dream of sticking hypodermics into their boyfriend's arms. That said, I think most of my ex-boyfriends have wanted to stick sharp things into my at various junctures.

Good friends:
After almost seven months of writing a poem, or a magazine article, or a mission statement, or something, Drew comes home! Tuesday morning will see the scoobygirls and I waving franticly at him as he walks through arrivals at Heathrow. I'm the designated driver and am expecting the journey back into London to be a rambunctious affair. I have no doubt that at some point I will have to use the "If you don't quieten down back there I'm going to stop the car and you can get out and walk!" line. Even though they'll just laugh at me. Anyhoo - the first weekend is already filled with the promise of much surreptitious, drunken bawdiness. London boys are shaking in their New Balances.

No blog tomorrow. Think of me at about 2pm, as I go under the laser thingamyjig.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Hmmm...

Yeah. You see when I rewrote the rules of conclave this wasn't exactly the result I had in mind:

pope

Ok, I could get all righteous about the fact that he was once a member of the Hitler youth. But given that he eventually deserted the German army I'm willing to give him the benefit (Benedict?!) of the doubt.

There is still much that gives me pause. I read in the paper this morning that he has said, publicly, that homosexuality is an abomination, punishable by God. Thanks for that Ben. 'Scuze me if I blatantly ignore you for the time being. It's just that I've got quite a lot of sodomy to get on with. I'll worry about the holy ass-whooping I'm due for in fifty or so years, if that's ok?

Looks like it's gonna be a bumpy ride, kids!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

My old man

There is this guy at my gym. I think he's called Mark (I saw his workout schedule). He's gotta be at least six foot tall, is bulky but defined and has a really chiseled, manly, kind face. In a nutshell he's one tall drink of water. And he's got to be at least 45.

And today, after having admired him from afar, shooting him the odd sideways smile, he finally spoke to me! This is kind of how it went:

Mark - "Do you have many more sets to do?"

Christopher - "Oh. Er, just one more."

Mark - "Cool. Thanks."

Now this might not seem to be of Earth shattering importance, but normally I am attracted to very pretty male model types such as Jon Passavant - not rugged, yet kindly 45 year old father figures. I did date this 42 year old called Jack about four years ago for all of about five minutes. Similarly to Mark, he had the chiseled face / body of death combo. The sex was hot but the conversation, not. Older men and life experience does not necessarily make for interesting conversation. But hey! Hot sex!

The thing is, I'm totally noticing older guys all over the place. I mean, I know fancying older guys is not exactly a disgusting perversion, but it worries me that I might snag myself a hot older boyfriend and then have to deal with the eventual awkwardness when my parents meet him and they discover that he is old enough to be their younger brother. Or even old enough to be their father (in the case of me going out with Paul Newman).

Which neatly leads me onto:

Christopher's Dream Celebrity Older Boyfriends

5. Paul Newman
Paul Newman

4. Richard Gere
richard gere

3. Scott Bakula
Scott Bakula

2. Doug Savant (from Desperate Housewives)
Doug Savant

1. CLIVE OWEN!!!
Clive Owen

Honorary Mention - Zach Braff
Ok, so he's actually younger than me, but he has that goofy intellectual thing goin' on which is a surefire way to get into my pants. He also has a blog which I commented on once or twice. I'm still waiting for him to comment on mine. Bastard.
Zach Braff

Monday, April 18, 2005

The Rules of Conclave (revised 2005)

I think I've already admitted to having read Angels & Demons. Therefore I have joined the millions of people, worldwide, who now think they are experts on the rules of conclave - the ceremony of picking a new Pope - which starts today.

The biggest problem as far as I can see it is that the first rule of conclave decrees that the nominees must be of a certain age, i.e. old gits, which naturally skews the outcome, ensuring that the new spiritual leader will more than likely be an evil, fascist, homophobic, woman hating pontiff. And that would be very bad.

So I've changed the rules of conclave and the criteria for selecting the new Pope. Vatican City / Cardinals, please take note:

1. The first rule of conclave is that no one talks about conclave.

2. The Pope must be able to stick his hands into a burning fire. I figure that when the End of Days arrives and the Popester has to go all Yoda on the Devil's ass he's going to have to be just a little bit flame retardant.

3. The Pope must denounce horoscopes as a form of heresy and state that followers will go to Hell.

4. The Pope needs to be able to admit that Jesus was a bit of a hottie. I'm not saying the Pope should be gay. I'm just saying that he should be confident enough with that side of his sexuality to be able to make that admission.

5. The Pope should be gay.

6. The Pope must agree to have the glass-roofed Popemobile pimped up by Xzibit and his playas and renamed the Pimpmobile. It is important that The Pope is seen cruisin' the world's streets in style - and by that I mean in a shady, ultraviolet, bouncing, blingin' pimp ride.

7. And while we're on the subject, the Pope totally needs to sex up the communion chalice. The wine is supposed to represent the blood of Christ, for Christ's sake! I think a little added bling is definitely in order here.

8. The Pope isn't allowed to get bored during services. He's not allowed to de-pill his holy frock or stick Sellotape on the back of his hand and then pull it off. No weird ass Popes, please.

9. Simon Cowell must serve as his personal secretary and constantly tell the Pope what a truly terrible Pope he really is. This will help to ensure that the Pope's ego doesn't get too big. It also means that when the Pope dies, Simon will, for a few days, be the Camerlengo and we'll get to see him doing St.Peter's Square Idol ("I can say with all honesty that was the worst mass rendition of Venite Fedeli I have ever heard.")

10. The Pope has to admit that Marissa and Alex make much more sense that Marissa and Ryan ever did. The storyline is progressive and Alex is one majorly hot Lesbian . And since the first season Ryan has become a total dork.

11. Dries Van Noten must be appointed to redesign the Swiss Guard uniform and Tom Ford to redesign the wardrobe of the Pontiff.

12. The Pope must do the moonwalk every time he visits any country or city. Just think how awesome it would be if the Pope reaches the bottom of the steps of his plane and instead of kissing the ground just moonwalks across the tarmac? Imagine the cheers from the people!

So - if conclave follows these simple rules we'll have ourselves one kick ass Pope. It would be great if he also had powers, such as being able to form a ball of pink electricity in his palm at will and throw it at things. But I realise this is a tall order, so it's not a dealbreaker.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

My frikkin job

Ok, I've been delaying writing this post, because while it may be new to y'all, dear readers, over the past few weeks my employment woes have been an ongoing saga, of which I am finally glad to be rid of.

So anyway, I started writing a long explanation and then I read it back to myself and it was kinda boring and here's the thing - if I don't find something in my life interesting then there is no way in the world you will. I mean I'm still telling my friends the story about when my car got blocked in and I left a note on the blocker's window screen saying, "Next time I'll bring a can opener!" 'Cause I think it's funny, but from the collective eye rolling I'm beginning to appreciate that they don't.

So, for perhaps the first time in my life, I will now try to write a succinct version of events:

When I accepted the job offer three months ago I was unaware that my primary function in the capacity of Account Director would be media relations. Despite being a PR I am not actually a publicist. My background is integrated marketing with a PR spin (pardon the pun). The first month was more or less ok, because I was finding my feet, so it was only natural that I would feel slightly out of sorts. But then I began to have serious reservations over whether my skills would ever be properly put to use. I raised these concerns with my direct boss on two occasions and neither time did I go away feeling that the situation would change.

By last Tuesday I'd pretty much had enough of working ridiculously long hours (average - 8am through 9pm) and trying to lead a team of only four people on twelve accounts (I'm used to having a team of about eight on just two or three accounts). So I handed my notice in to the owner of the company (my direct boss was in Milan).

The owner of the company (we'll call her Sarah) refused to accept my notice and instead asked me to think about it, promising a radical change in the priorities of my duties coupled with a nice pay rise. Sarah said that it might help if I also discussed my concerns with my direct boss (we'll call her Fuckhead Bitchface Slagbreath Fuckhead) on Thursday. I agreed and went away feeling slightly better about having more money to buy that cute D-Squared top I've had my eye on things.

Thursday came and the three of us sat down to have a rational, grownup conversation. Because that's what professionals in their 30s do, right?

Wrong. Any attempt by me to bring to light the differences in my experience and how the role I accepted turned out to be were blasted out of the water by Fuckhead. She simply could not accept that I might have actually put everything I had into the role in order to make it work. Eventually it got completely out of hand with Sarah berating Fuckhead for speaking down to me (did I mention how much I love Sarah?) and Fuckhead yelling back that she also found it hard to fit into her role, but she'd eventually managed it and therefore so could I if I really wanted to. At one point she even turned to me and said, "The fact that you moan about having to put in the long hours makes me think you were never really that dedicated to your work in the first place."

"The fact that you're such a horse-faced bitch makes me think that you need to be euthanised," I calmly responded (in my head).

It got so out of hand, infact, that in the end I just sat on the end of the sofa, in total silence, listening to these two women loudly blaming each other for the shortcomings of the company interview process. After a couple of minutes of listening to this crap I realised that there was only one thing that I could do.

"I'm sorry. We're just not getting anywhere and I'm now convinced, more than ever, that we're never going to get anywhere. So I'm definitely going to resign. So now we need to discuss how we tell the team and the clients."

We agreed that I would work through the rest of the day, that the team would be told immediately and that I would do half a day on Friday, during which I would hand over my work. This was great, because by this point all I wanted was to be shot of the place.

There was a downside though. Fuckhead delightedly informed me that because I was still within my three month probationary period I could only give a weeks notice and would therefore only receive one more week of pay. Suddenly I started viewing a jokey conversation I recently had with a friend about the two of us starting a rent boy agency in a much more serious light.

When I got home later that night (after a few vodka based cocktails with my boys) I took a look at my contract. And guess what? They fucked up!!!! I didn't sign a three month contract. They gave me a regular long term contract, in which it says that if I decide to leave I get paid for a full month from the date of resignation. They'd already decided that I could leave on Friday, so the long and short of it is that, with accrued holiday, I now get paid right up until the end of May.

On Friday, as I handed over my credit card to pay for the D-Squared top, my housemate called me with the news that her boss might need me to freelance for her, starting next week.

You see? Everything works out in the end. Except that I just proved, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I can't be succinct for toffee.

Friday, April 15, 2005

The brief life of Basil

During Easter a friend presented my housemate with a small white chocolate duck named Basil, by Marks & Spencer. Yes, I'll concede to the fact that Basil is quite cute. But at the end of the day the fact remains that Basil is indeed just molded chocolate.

"But we can't eat him! He's too sweet and little!" my housemate has often protested over the past three weeks. So this evening I decided to teach her a harsh lesson (do not scroll down if you are of a sensitive disposition):

Basil wakes up
CIMG1105

Basil about to take a bath
CIMG1106

Basil watches some TV

CIMG1103

Basil sits a little too close to the fire
CIMG1104

Basil has a lobotomy
CIMG1112

Basil mashed up real bad
CIMG1114

Basil in a bodybag
CIMG1116

THE END

What?!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

O.C. ('Oly Cow!)

On Tuesday evening, at around 9.58pm, heterosexual men (and one homosexual man) aged 16-35, all over Britain, leapt off their sofas and high fived their TV screens, yelling "Score!!!!"

Why? Because Marissa and Alex shared their long-overdue first kiss! Look!!!

the moment

Now clearly, being a red-blooded gayer, I normally have little interest in watching women get it on. But Marissa and Alex? Like, dude!!! I would, like, totally provide the filling for that girl-on-girl sandwich! Yuhhhh! Huhhh-huhhhh!!! [and so on and so forth]

Infact if they continue like this for very long I might have to haul my ass over to Meow Mix and try to get me some.

(SPOILER! Marissa and Alex's love affair only lasts for three more episodes, so lesbians everywhere can breath a huge sigh of relief that my libido will shortly be fixed firmly on Seth again.)

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

I have sinned and I will go to Hell

I had the most bizarre day yesterday. For many reasons I had decided that I had had enough with my role at the company I work at, which I only joined just under three months ago. To cut a long story short I handed my notice in, totally expecting it to be accepted without compromise. But compromise was actually what I got - infact much more than that. I have another meeting with the owner of the company tomorrow morning to iron out the finer details, so I'm saving an explicitly detailed blog post about my recent work woes until then.

In the meantime I have a confession to make. A couple of weeks ago I told you that my friend Lindsay had, in turn, told me that my current hairstyle makes me look like Charlie from Busted. Again, I don't look like Charlie from Busted at all, but I'm getting off the point here. A good couple of years ago my friend Nathan, who worked at teen gossip magazine "Sneak", sent me a promotional copy of Busted's debut CD.

Now I know what you're probably thinking - "But surely, Christopher, you binned it? You did bin it didn't you?"

Er, no. I downloaded it onto my iPod. And apparently I listen to it. A lot.

Last night, while culling some of the stuff I never listen to from my iTunes library in order to make more room on my paltry 15GB iPod, I noticed that I have listened to "What I Go To School For" a total of 84 times. To you give you an idea of the gravity of this situation, I have only listened to my "official" favourite song, "Glory Days" by Bruce Springsteen, a total of 37 times.

If anyone knows of any way in which I can effectively cleanse my poor eardrums (and my mortal soul) please let me know. Ways in which I can do this involving hot gay sex with Charlie Busted are particularly welcome.

(Has anyone ever noticed that the spell checker on Blogger doesn't recognised the word "blog"?)

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Christopher is...

Today I could write a post about how I hate my job with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns. But I'm saving that for a day when I'm really, really unhappy with my job, because on that day not only will I have some really kick-ass, jump through hoops, take me down, oh yeah, right down to China Town blogging material but my anger will also, singlehandly, be able to provide an infinite (and enviromentally friendly) power source for Earth and for the human race, forever more.

Instead, here is something fun, stolen from David's blog. Apparently it's called "Googlism" - go to Google and in "Advanced Search" write "[your name] is" in the "exact phrase" box and see what it comes up with. This is what I got:

Christopher is right

Christopher is a pseudonym for Samuel Youd, a prolific author whose full bibliography runs to around 70 novels under seven different names

Christopher is a modern day Time Lord

Christopher is credited with discovering the New World

Christopher is the writer young readers turn to when they're looking for fast-paced, action-packed sports novels

Christopher is proud to introduce the Koh Young precision 3D solder paste inspection system

Christopher is now encouraging that more people "get the vision"

Christopher is in search of poor Gulliver Bear

Christopher is a precocious 3-year-old with a sly smile and a big heart

Christopher is a saint still venerated by Orthodox Christians


Christopher is a true genius who can lead us to new enlightenment as well as a state of vibrant health

Christopher is advised to get a job in the war office, but instead ends up at the front in France

Christopher is another personality inside me

Christopher is mostly heterosexual, but with the amount of time he spends around women, deep conditioning treatments, and glossifiers, his feminine qualities can't help rising to the surface

Christopher is still not potty trained, he wears a pull up all the time and rarely will he go use the toilet

Christopher is impulsive, and his impulses are often violent

Christopher is mindful of his position as heir to the Armestronge lands and sergeant of the Austhwaite garrison

Christopher is probably a charming, heroic young man

Christopher is worthy of the Bond villain mantle
[how much do I love that one?]

Christopher is perfectly capable of carrying on a conversation

Christopher is chairman of the National Security Subcommittee

Christopher is impetuous and trigger-happy

Christopher is tax deductible

Christopher has the cool reserve which some of his contemporaries lack


Christopher is your hot candy

Monday, April 11, 2005

Cool shit (if you are so inclined)

f18

Some of you know that I am a bit of an aviation geek. A while ago I posted the above picture on my Flickr pages with the intention of blogging about it. Then I thought that it might be a bit boring and didn’t. But then yesterday I noticed that a whole bunch of people had checked it out and had commented on how cool it was. Some of them had some questions as to exactly what it was. So I am guessing you all might be interested too. No? Well bugger off then and come back tomorrow.

The picture is an award winning photograph of a US Navy F-18 Hornet Fighter Jet, taken off the Coast of Pusan above the Pacific Ocean. The egg shaped cloud of vapour at the tail of the vehicle, which remains formed for only a fraction of a second, is called a Prandtl-Glauert Singularity.

There is much speculation over what causes a P-G Singularity. Many like to believe that it represents the point at which a jet breaks through the sound barrier. However, this is not actually the case.

These types of clouds only ever form for one reason - the air closest to the jet has cooled to the point where water vapour present in the atmosphere is forced to condense. In aviation, air flows around the fuselage and the wings change the temperature and the pressure of moisture in the air. That’s partly the reason why some jets leave cloudy tracks behind them in the sky – the pressure of air at high altitudes combined with the effects of temperature changes created by the aircraft are two of the factors involved in creating a slowly dissipating trail of vapour.

The only reason that planes can actually take off is because of the lift created by differences in air pressure on the top or the bottom of the wings and fuselage. Infact the pressure really varies from point to point in a flow around an object – that’s why you can also see a mini P-G Singularity at the rear of the pilot’s cockpit.

Anyhoo - pretty cool, n’est pas?

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Lindsay is 30

Last night I went out with a bunch of my old friends and extended "family" to celebrate my friend Lindsay's 30th birthday. The drinking went on into the early hours of the morning and was followed by a few glasses of champagne in Wimbledon this afternoon. I'm too hungover to write anything really coherent, so here are some pictures - before it all got out of hand...

The birthday girl (it took several attempts to get a shot she was even mildly happy to approve)
CIMG1052

Ben, Helen and James (Ben and James are actually twins. You can tell them apart because one of them is called Ben and the other is called James)
CIMG1081

My housemate, Vix, basking in the light of Christopher
CIMG1069

Helen and yours truly
CIMG1071

Tim, Dan, Ads and Burnsy (who plays Nathan Barley, in Nathan Barley)
CIMG1079

Friday, April 08, 2005

Dynasty

Patricia...

nanny

...met Arthur...

granddad

...and together they had a daughter, Rosie.

mum

Rosie went on to meet Richard...

dad

Rosie and Richard...

mum and dad

...went on to have two sons - Christopher...

me

...and Stephen.

stephen

You know when a close member of your family dies you're always told that you shouldn't feel too sad because they carry on through you? Well that's part of the reason I've posted these pictures up. It's really incredible to me that the features my parents and my grandparents carry in those photographs truly are part of me. Literally, their combined DNA is my DNA - it's my blood, my hair, my eyes - everything.

I know it's obvious, but the more you think about it and the more you look at pictures like these...well, it's really quite profound, don't you think?

Thursday, April 07, 2005

In brief...

...today was a really special day for lots of reasons. I'll write about it a bit more when I get back to London later tomorrow. I also have some really cool pictures to show you (not of the funeral - unlike the gazillions who were taking pictures of the dead Pope in St. Peter's Sq the other day! How morbid is that?) It's just that Mum's lime Green iMac is running on a very ancient operating system and I feel as if I am sat here hammering away on some kind of grail with a chisel.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

As if it couldn't get any worse...

Apparently my Mum and my Aunt got into some kind of fight last night about the funeral and my Aunt was all like, "Well I don't know if I'm even going to go now anyway."

I would have paid Mum real money if she'd told Sue to at least have the conviction to make good on her obviously idle threats. For what kind of person stamps their feet by threatening not to go to attend their own father's funeral? Idiot woman.

Anyway - Mum has made a further concession to Sue. There is an extra song.

*deep breath*

"No Matter What" by Boyzone.

This evening my housemate and I downloaded the song and we listened to it while imagining ourselves in the setting of a crematorium. We are both of the opinion that tomorrow may be a sad day for two reasons.

Because aside from the fact that my Granddad's funeral is taking place, tomorrow may also be the day that I die from intense, squirming embarrassment.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Comedy or tragedy?

You decide...

On my mother's side, in particular, my family is more than a little bit pikey. As they live in the West Country they speak with the kind of accent and intonation which Alice Tinker, the simpleton verger on The Vicar of Dibley, uses. The best way for me to help you understand what I mean by all of this is to describe my Auntie Sue (my Mum's sister) and her husband, my Uncle Alan.

Sue is what you might call a bit of a silly cow and likes to antagonise Alan at every opportunity. For example, a few years ago Alan staggered into his house with a piece of broken bone sticking out of the side of his leg (he'd somehow managed to fall out of his knackered VW van) and rather than call an ambulance Sue proceeded to lay into him for being careless while not having any accident insurance. Now, if I tell you that Alan is the sole provider in their household and is self employed you might be able to see her point of view. But still. Bloody bone stump sticking out of leg. Hello?!

Sue and Alan eat chips. A lot. They smoke 20-30 Royals a day and have a Jack Russel called Jack (inspired) which is deeply sexually attracted to my leg. Christmas buffet at my Aunt and Uncle's place usually consists of a combination of Melton Mowbury pork pies, Tesco tortilla chips and high-fat dips. And maybe a bottle of Blue Nun. Their house is teeming with an abundance of ceramic nick-nacks (doubtlessly ordered from the back of the Radio Times), overflowing ashtrays and copies of the Sunday Sport dating back to 2001. But perhaps the best way for me to illustrate this picture of chaos is with, well, with a picture:

tretchikoff

OK, admittedly I am perhaps being a huge snob, but I work in PR and I probably always have aspired to scale to a height slightly above my station. A sentiment my bank manager would almost certainly agree with.

On Saturday Mum told me that she had not been able to get any sense out of Sue and Allen as to what the format of Granddad's funeral service should be (as he was not a particularly religious man, it's going to be a simple service at the local crematorium.) She also told me that no one else in the family was going to give any readings because they are all afraid that they might break down. We'd already agreed that I would read out the Gibran passage, so she wondered if I would choose the music which would intersperse Mum's readings before I did mine. She also wanted me to compose a flow - a term we use in PR for a "run of show". "Sure!" I told her. As you all know, I have organised many a fashion show / celebrity photocall. How hard could it be to organise a funeral?

So I devised a flow, peppered with what I thought were neutral and appropriate music choices which would represent the precise mood of each section of the service:

1) "Winter, Movement 3" by Vivaldi (Granddad was born in November) plays while Guests take their seats

2) Mum talks about the early part of Granddad's life

3) "Nocturne in E Flat" by Chopin

4) Mum talks about the latter part of Granddad's life

5) "I Could Write a Book" by Frank Sinatra

6) Christopher reads from The Prophet and closes the service

7) "Vide Cor Meum" - a piece of opera composed by Patrick Cassidy using words from Dante's "La Vita Nuova" sonnet (it's about how death doesn't rule out the idea of life remaining)

Beautiful huh? Underplayed, simple, respectful, not too sad, not too uplifting. To use another adjective, classy.

I talked Mum through it on the phone and played her some of the music and she loved it. So I burned off a copy of the music and printed off the flow and popped it in the post so that she could show the rest of the family what we had decided upon.

Mum called me this afternoon to tell me that Sue and Alan had read the flow and listened to the CD. "What did they think?" I asked her, fully expecting her to tell me how proud they were of their clever, sensitive, gay nephew.

"They didn't really like it. They've chosen some different music and moved some of the remaining music around."

I won't beat about the bush. This is the new flow:

1) "Spring, Movement 1" by Vivaldi plays (Granddad died in the Spring) while Guests take their seats

2) Mum talks about the first part of Granddad's life

3) "Pie Jesu" sung by Sarah Brightman

4) Mum talks about the latter part of Granddad's life


5) "I'll Never Get A Scrumpy Here" by The Wurzels

6) Christopher reads from The Prophet and closes the service

7) "Nocturne in E Flat" by Chopin


I don't even know where to start with this complete and utter nightmare farce.

Ok, I'll try...

A) If you have a CD of Vivaldi's Four Seasons to hand please put it on right now and listen to the first movement of Spring. This is really not intellectual snobbery now. I defy you to listen to that and tell me you think that is suitable for a funeral!

B) Pie Jesu - in essence I don't have a problem with this, except that it is being sung by Sarah Brightman who is the Sinitta of the opera world. She also married Andrew Lloyd Webber, the ugliest, most neo-Nazi fascist composer ever to wave his arms about in the West End of London. "So Sarah Brightman, tell us; what was it which first attracted you to multi-millionaire, Andrew Lloyd Webber?"

C) The Wurzels - first of all I thought Mum was joking when she told me this, but she wasn't. Words...can't...describe... Therefore another picture to illustrate:

WurzPic

D) Finally, the Chopin - totally not the right piece of music to listen to while watching Granddad's coffin slide off through the curtains and into the hereafter.

I took the news with good grace. I wanted to stamp my feet and make a fuss, but I didn't. After all he was my Grandfather and not my father. I have no power of veto over what my Aunt and Uncle want and what my Mum has conceded to. After all, it's not my funeral (although I tell you, if anyone plays The Wurzels at my funeral they'd better be prepared for some pretty fucking scary poltergeist shit.)

But what I do have power of veto over is the wreath which I am helping to buy with my cousin and my brother. Andrew, my cousin, also called me yesetrday evening. He wanted us to buy a wreath that reads, in orange flowers:

G-R-A-N-D-D-A-D

I'll let you guess what my answer was (which was prompted not least because of the cost of an eight word wreath.)

The lesson in all of this? You can take the pikiness out of the boy, but you can't take the boy out of the pikiness. Apparently some old geezer died over in Rome at the weekend and the funeral is on Friday. Maybe they'd appreciate my event management skills over there?

Monday, April 04, 2005

Because I can't think of anything better to write about today...

Stolen from Nafai's blog:

YOUR PORN STAR NAME: (name of first pet + mother's maiden name):
Bartholomew Penner

YOUR MOVIE STAR NAME: (name of your favourite snack food + your Grandfather's first name):
Walkers Gerald (Although Walker Gerald sounds better, me thinks)

YOUR FASHION DESIGNER NAME: (First word you see on your left + your favourite restaurant):
Callen Criterion

SOCIALITE ALIAS: (Silliest Childhood Nickname + Town Where You Were Born):
Gaylord Bradford on Avon

"FLY GIRL" ALIAS (a la J-Lo): (First Initial + First Two or Three Letters of your Last Name):
C-Kin

ICON ALIAS: (Something Sweet Within Sight + Any Liquid in Kitchen):
Cadbury Balsamic

DETECTIVE ALIAS: (Favorite Baby Animal + Where You Went to High School)
Puppy John of Gaunt

BARFLY ALIAS: (Last Snack Food You Ate + Your Favorite Drink):
Crackers Dr.Pepper

Sunday, April 03, 2005

If this isn't an admission...

...then I don't know what is.

Well, I guess "Yes I am" might be more of an admission, but that clip is doing it for me in the meantime.

God, I love him.

"Fa-fa-fa-fa-fashion. Oh, bop, do do do do do do do do"

[as David Bowie once famously sang]

My lovely friend Marv and I have been having a little discussion about fashion, as she mentioned on her blog just the other day.

I don’t know where my passion for fashion comes from. Some of you might say that because I’m gay it may well be part of my genetic make up. But I know some deeply unfashionable gay men (none of them my friends, I might add. Phew!), so I’m not so sure about that.

Still, I have a degree in Fashion and much of my career in PR has focused on fashion or has at least been related to the subject. I have attended and helped organise countless fashion shows, fashion shoots and many of my friends are fashion stylists. So, yes, you could say that I have more than a passing interest!

Quite a few years ago now I was sat in a pub at home with my best friend Helen and her friend Jill. At the time I was questioning the value of my career choice and whether I should be doing something more “worthy”. Jill said something to me, which I have always remembered, which was that while there are certain professions where it easy to see the benefits that they have on people’s lives, fashion is something that, rightly or wrongly, makes a lot of people very happy.

I made a lighthearted joke in my comments section the other day on how the love of family or friends is nothing next to a great haircut, dress or beauty treatment. Clearly that’s not true. But how many of you, during the times when you’ve felt a little low or blue, have been out and spent money on an item of clothing which made you feel attractive? I know I have. And most of the time it works. Sometimes it’s only a short-lived fix. But it helps and that’s not a bad thing, right?

Clothes play a big part in my personal value system (I’m sure a few of my old psychologists would have a field day with that!) If I go to work having paid a bit of thought about what I’m wearing – whether the colours compliment each other, if the cut of my jeans is right, if my jacket is accommodating enough for the thickness of my sweater – it helps me feel good all day long. But if I don’t pay enough thought to the selection process in the morning and I realise later that my sweatshirt isn’t quite long enough to fall over the waistband of my hipster jeans, I guarantee that it will affect my mood all day. I’m not talking about manic depression, but just a small, added irritation - the feeling that something is not quite right. Of course no one else really notices. Which leads me neatly on to my next point.

Regardless of what you might think, I don’t just dress for other people. I’d say it is a 70/30 split, leaning towards me. This will sound like the most conceited kind of shit, but ... every now and then I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror somewhere and I see myself in a way that I don’t normally see myself. And the times when I like what I see make me feel really good. As I have gotten older those occasions are becoming more and more frequent, but I think that’s because I understand more now about what looks good on me.

One of Marv’s comments made here the other day was that the overall advice proffered by Trinny and Susannah is all a ruse to make women spend more money on clothes. Sorry Marv honey, but I don’t agree with that (although I think you just said that to rile me!) Trinny and Susannah often work on women who already spend a fair bit of money on clothes, but who pick items which simply do not work with their body shape, hair or skin tone. As Darian rightfully implied, sometimes it can be as fundamental as a bad bra (you know, I don’t even wear bras, but even I know that you can’t beat a good Marks and Sparks!) With a bit of aggressive woman handling Trin and Suze help these women to understand their bodies and clothes in general so that they can, in future, purchase garments that make them look and feel great. Another thing to remember is that they hardly ever get these women to buy expensive designer clothes. In fact what they very often do is to assign a strict budget and encourage their “victims” to buy fewer items that work with other items in any number of combinations. Now that’s really clever dressing! It’s great when a friend compliments you on an item of clothing, which you know they’ve seen countless times before.

Dressing well is actually not very hard to do and it really doesn’t have to cost a lot. But at the risk of sounding like afore mentioned scary wenches, you have to understand the shape of your body; regardless of whether you are a man or a woman. For example, I have blue eyes and fairly pale skin, so pastel colours, on their own and on the whole, do not suit me. They wash me out. But they do work when I pair them with vivid colours. I’m also fairly skinny and would like to have a bigger build. Many other skinny gay men wear very tight T-shirts, which actually just accentuates their skinniness. But what I’ve found is that if I wear a T-shirt which is fitted without actually being skin tight, I can actually create the illusion that I have a slightly bigger build. Of course that illusion is lost when I’m at a club and the top comes off.

There was a time when you did have to spend a fair amount of money on garments to create a look that worked and flattered your body shape, but with the proliferation of clothes retailers who offer really great fashion at affordable prices this is no longer the case. For example, proper tailoring is available in nearly every high street fashion store. If you’re a guy with a big frame you can actually make yourself appear thinner by wearing shirts that taper in from underneath the armpits and then flare out again towards the hem. And you can buy those kinds of shirts in H&M! Whoo hoo!

It’s true that we live in a very image obsessed society. But human beings have always been, and always will be, seduced by the visual side of things. So why should we not have some fun with it?

The other important thing to remember is that clothes are quite often the best way to make a brilliant statement. The T-shirt is probably the best example of this. Anyone remember the Vivienne Westwood naked cowboys? Or Katherine Hamnett’s “58% Don’t Want Pershing”? And fashion also defined really important periods in history. Would punk or the hippy movements have happened without fashion? And in a weird kind of way I think that shoulder pads did a lot for helping women to be both fierce and sexy at the same time.

To close this rather lengthy post, I’d like to say one last thing. I’ve talked a lot about fashion here and ironically fashion is a word that I don’t really like that much, but it’s a general descriptor and known phrase, hence my using it. Coco Chanel once said “Fashion fades, but style lasts forever.” As I’ve entered my thirties I’ve been trying to apply that philosophy to my sartorial sensibilities more and more. That’s not to say that I don’t buy the occasional expensive, sexy boy top, which I’ll only ever be able to wear three or four times. But I get a kick, now more than ever, when I buy something that I can make work for me in a number of ways and hopefully over a number of years.

And Marv – I have a feeling that you and I may never see eye to eye on this one. I do really love you the way you are, but still, if you do ever happen to feel the urge, I will happily be your wingman for the afternoon and together we’ll do an extended tour of The Bullring.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Aw!

First, thanks for all the kind emails yesterday! You kids are just too nice!

It's a bit of a weird one, because while I obviously loved my Grandfather very much, I didn't see him as often as I would have liked. Also knowing that he had cancer I also knew that his days were numbered, so I'm not hugely bereaved if that makes sense. That sounds awful. Obviously when something like this happens you feel a little sad, but the old guy had a good life and was lucky to be with family and some of his friends during his last days.

Anyway, the funeral is next Thursday afternoon and my housemate has kindly lent me the use of her little VW Golf to drive back to Bath in (British Rail - London to Bath = £55.00!!!)

While the funeral will be sad, I'm looking forward to seeing all of my family in the same room - a very rare occasion. After the cremation we're having a knees-up at The Mill in Rode, which is one of my favourite pubs. (Incidentally, when Mum told me that the knees-up would incorporate a finger buffet I was reminded of that Victoria Wood sketch in which she verbally illustrates the differences between English funeral proceedings and those of other cultures. For example, in a country such as India a widow will throw herself onto her husband's funeral pyre in a display of profound grief. In England we'll have a very British "wake" and the bereaved widow will tap her best friend on the shoulder and say, "22 baps Connie. You slice, I'll spread.")

So it'll probably be a bittersweet kind of day. But yesterday afternoon I made the stupid mistake of telling Mum about that Gibran passage that I posted up here yesterday and she was all like "You should read that out at the service!" Normally I would jump at the chance to grandstand, but usually in the context of a friend's birthday party ("Look what I can do with this fish fork everyone!") or something. A) I don't know how serious I can be and B) I don't know if my voice will be up to expressing the emotive qualities of Gibran's words.

Also, I have the feeling that certain members of my family will be all like, "What dreaming beneath the what?"

Friday, April 01, 2005

Bye, Granddad!

A little sooner than expected, my Granddad decided to do a runner over to the other side last night. He was never the most patient man.

Seriously though, I'm actually really ok, just a little bit dazed. None of us were expecting it to be quite this soon. Although when I saw him at the weekend and saw how frail he was, there was a question mark in my head over whether it would really be quite as long until the end as the doctors had projected.

Mum had been working at the Home all day and my Aunt and Uncle had both paid visits, so he'd not been on his own at all, which is good However, Mum went home for a couple of hours, after her shift ended, to get changed and have something to eat, before coming back to sit and spend the evening with him and he passed away literally five minutes before she got there. She said that she would have liked to have been there at the end, but I told her that he did have a fairly important appointment to make, so she shouldn't be too cross at him.

While of course I am sad that he has gone, I also have to remind myself how lucky I have been. Not only have I known each of my Grandparents but I also knew one Great Grandparent as well. And I still have two very healthy ones left.

My housemate was just reminding me about The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran and that there is a passage in the book relating to death. I just found it online and was reminded how beautiful that book is. So Granddad - here are some beautiful words in honour of a beautiful life. Have fun up there!

"On Death" - The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
Then Almitra spoke, saying, "We would ask now of Death."

And he said, "You would know the secret of death. But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life? The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light. If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life. For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one. In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond; And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring. Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity. Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour. Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king? Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling? For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun? And what is to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered? Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing. And when you have reached the mountain top, then shall you begin to climb. And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance."