Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Last night I drove to the supermarket to buy a whole host of healthy foodstuffs for consumption over the course of the next week. I spent a good forty five minutes working the aisles, being seduced by everything from pineapple and coconut juice, bramley apple pork sausages and chilled rose Zinfandel.

While I was loading my groceries onto the conveyor belt I overheard the assistant inform the customer in front of me that her bank card had been declined. The customer, looking rather embarrassed, turned to her partner and meekly asked him if he would pay for the bill on his credit card, which he did and without complaint, but not before planting a gentle kiss on the top of the woman's head.

Despite the man's obvious affection towards his girlfriend / wife, I couldn't help but feel slightly smug over the fact that I really didn't need a partner to foot my bill.

That was until about five minutes later, when my bank card was also declined.

I have never felt lonelier in my entire life.
On Sunday, because I was going clubbing later that evening, I decided to buy myself a session on the tanning bed at my gym.

On the way to the gym I stopped by the pharmacy and got distracted by the vast array of tanning products on the shelf in one of the aisles. One product that particularly caught my eye was called Solarimax. It was a smallish sized pump spray containing an attractive mixture of orange and yellow coloured oils that promised to "provide a supplement to the effects of an artificial tanning session - for a long-lasting, healthy looking glow."

When I got to the gym I went to the tanning room, locked the door, disrobed and sprayed the Solarimax all over my body before lying down on the sunbed and pulling the top down. Twenty minutes later I admired myself in the mirror - I did indeed look browner than I normally look after a regular tanning session. Solarimax was indeed a miracle. I couldn't wait to tell my friends all about my discovery.

Two hours later (and three hours before my friend was due to come to collect me to go to The Fridge) I began to realise that my skin colour was gradually turning from "long-lasting, healthy looking glow" to one-shade-off-tomato. I didn't even need to look at my face in the mirror to know that this was happening. I knew because my skin was prickling like I had been stabbed all over with a hundred small, but extremely spiky, cactuses.

Panicking, I retrieved the bottle of Solarimax from my gym bag to read the instructions, in detail (for the first time.) I was especially concerned that the label read "good for ten applications", especially as I had used almost the entire bottle in one.

So I did what any calm, rational, disintegrating homosexual would do, three hours before he was about to go to a club where the chances of him taking his top off were greater that 99%. I emailed my ex-boyfriend who is an ER nurse at a large uptown Manhattan hospital, telling him what had happened without, er, telling what had actually happened, i.e.:

"I fell asleep in the sun and now I'm sunburned and I'm going clubbing this evening. How do I stop being burned?"

Fortunately he was at work and happened to be near a computer so I got a reply within a matter of minutes.

"Girl, break out the Covergirl Matte Finish foundation."

Not the surgical answer I was hoping for. And anyway, I only own a Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male concealer pen and there was no way that was going to paint down my entire torso, shoulders, arms and face. So I Googled "sunburn remedy".

One of the websites I found suggested using everything from cold tea poultices to aloe, direct from the leaves. I didn't have time to chill some tea and my housemate doesn't grow aloe plants so in the end, with time seriously running out, I broke down and did a face and body mask using fresh Greek yoghurt straight from the refridgerator.

And believe it or not, it actually worked. It really did. And I even had enough left to have a small snack before my friend arrived.

Of course, what I hadn't actually considered during this fiasco, was that it is so dark in the club that I was going to I could have been a fluorescent shade of beetroot and still no one would have noticed.

The important thing, of course, is that I experienced this so that I could pass this knowledge onto y'all. Greek yoghurt, kids! Miracle cure, I'm telling you.

Next week on Everything is Not Real: cure herpes with raw egg yolks (and make a tasty, high-protein omelet with the leftovers!)

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

As you know I'm not exactly a huge fan of Tom Cruise. I was absolutely delighted when I read about Tom's marriage proposal to Katie Holmes in the Evening Standard for the simple fact that it gave the editors the chance to run the headline, "Tom Proposes to Katie in Gay Paree!" Ya' gotta love a clever, yet subtle, non-litigious character inferance.

I have just spent the best part of two and a half hours watching Mission Impossible: MI2. Previously I'd only seen it once when it came out at the cinema. This was during the days when I had little opinion of Tom one way or the other.

What struck me watching it again, is that, yes, while Thandie Newton is undeniably very, very beautiful, the main crux of the movie is not actually to entertain the viewers at all, but create as many opportunities as humanly possible, within a 180 minute window, to make Tom look as virile and handsome and clever and sultry, all in slow motion, than you could possibly begin to fathom. On second view all that this epic vanity project served to do was to irritate me beyond belief and I even *gasp* even began to hate Tom more than I did prior to switching on the TV. I mean I really, really hate him! And it also made me hate the fact that he is, in all likelihood, a fellow 'mo. He makes me want to become an anti-gay, right-wing Christian fundamentalist.

Now you might argue that it could be considered slightly odd that I have this opinion when I admit that I would certainly not pass up the opportunity to have le gay sex with him.

But I am, after all, a bit of a slut with very few morals, so it doesn't actually mean anything.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Ok, so it's a few weeks after the fact, but would you like to see some pics from the trip I took to Rome with my Mum? Yes? No?

Well you're going to see them anyway.

To set the scene, here is a picture of me and my Mum, so you know what she looks like:

Almost every time we got someone to take a picture of the two of us she would only remember after the picture had been taken that she hadn't removed her sunglasses. Almost*.

This is a picture of me in a Christopher-has-a-halo thang goin' on, with the occulus of the Pantheon above me:

Directly below the occulus, which is literally a hole in the dome, is a hole in the floor, presumably for the rainwater to drain away through.

Mum: "Hmmm ..."

Christopher: "What?"

Mum: "Why don't they just put in a proper stainless steel plughole?"

Christopher: "What?"

This is a picture of a traditional Italian ice-cream:

We ate a lot of these. Now, if you ever visit a Roman ice-cream parlour you are more than likely to be completely befuddled by the vast selection of every flavour and colour under the Sun and in the rainbow, respectively. I mention colour, because regardless of the fact that the flavour might actually be prawn, the pinky colour can be deeply seductive. Anyhoo, I can reliably inform you that the perennial pistachio flavour is still the best. Despite the fact that the colour looks like mould.

One time, while we were eating something like our twenty ninth ice-cream, my Mum turned and said to me, "Do you think Italians really eat ice-creams? Do you really think they eat pizza and pasta?"

Christopher: "Er, well ... I don't know. I imagine so, because they're Italian, aren't they."

Mum: "Well, do you think they're just for the tourists? I mean the British don't all eat fish and chips, but that's what we're famous** for."

Christopher: " ... "

This is a picture of my Mum and I inside the coliseum:

* Almost every time.

After looking around for about twenty minutes my Mum turned to me and said, "The Romans ... they were a lot like the Greeks really."

Christopher: "Why do you say that?"

Mum: "Well, you know. Because of Hercules."

Christopher: "I don't think you've really thought this through properly."

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not a horrible person. I love my Mummy very, very much. Hell, on Friday she put £200 in my bank account! But sometimes, just sometimes, I really question my parental / genetic authenticity.

But I will give her this. As a nurse / hairdresser, she may well have missed her vocation, because it was she who was responsible for taking this awesome picture of me sitting on the base of a column (!) at the front of the Pantheon. Marvel at the long-exposure setting! The composition! How cute I look!!!

** Someone please tell me that us Brits are not only famous for our fish and chips.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

I'm not particularly into comic books, but I'm really into Superman. It was the first movie I ever saw at the cinema. So I'm highly anticipating the new Bryan Singer Superman movie, which is coming out on June 30th 2006.

This is a link to one of his video blogs - I think it features CGI prep for the flying sequences in the actual movie, but I guess it might also be for the video game. Not sure. Either way I have goosebumps.

But seriously, how HOT is Brandon Routh?

He's *this* hot .

Or maybe he's *tttthhhhhhhhhiiiiiiiiissssss* hot?


Thursday, August 25, 2005

This morning, at approximately 9.30am, I began to receive wafts of what seemed to be the most putrid case of halitosis, ever, in the history of history.

Now usually it's not possible to smell your own breath (unless you do that "lick forearm, wait ten seconds and sniff" thing.) However, because the team were all out at meetings and the nearest person was sat over 20 feet away from me, I could only deduce that it was indeed I who was responsible for manufacturing this revolting odor.

For the next two hours, as I ploughed through a beautifully prepared, 80-page document featuring statistical information garnered from an omnibus survey company, I felt mortified that I, the freaking self-appointed arbiter of good grooming, had developed a case of bad breath that would no doubt be sought after study fodder by the British Dental Association.

After I had completed my analysis of the survey information I closed the document and lifted it up to put it on the opposite side of my desk. As I passed it underneath my nose I received a great torrent of the afore mentioned foul-smelling effluvium and I instantly discovered that it was not myself who was emitting the breath-smell of a doddery, 80 year-old vicar, but the heavily lacquered document! You can only begin to imagine my relief.

Nonetheless (and because I always like to err on the side of caution), the incident has prompted me to book an emergency appointment to see my dental hygienist. It has also prompted me to make a mental note to never, ever use that particular survey company again, for no other reason than they actually made me doubt my grooming skills.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Yesterday that man and myself were sat in Soho square, with another friend, having lunch.

At one point he offered me a [insert name of round confectionery made by international chocolate conglomerate] which I readily accepted and chowed down on with much satisfaction.

However, after I had thoroughly enjoyed the small chocolate treat, I felt that it was both important and necessary for me to harshly berate him and make him feel guilty for buying the confectionery in the first place, as everyone knows that its parent company promotes and sells its powdered baby milk to mothers in poverty stricken countries for extortionately high prices. By the time that these mothers have run out of money to buy the product, it is too late for them to breast-feed their babies which, as a result, often die.

Of course my decision not to disclose the fact that this company is currently a client of mine was very important. Had he been aware of this information my argument would surely have fallen flat on its face.
Two weeks ago I bought my third iPod. I lost the first one in a fairly gay manner: I left it underneath a copy of Vogue that I discarded on a plane. Oh how I cursed Anna Wintour for not making that edition a collectors issue.

The second iPod, which I replaced last week (not enough room for my vastly-expanding music collection), did not receive such a odd fate (being found by some American Airlines cabin cleaner who will, no doubt, by now be singing along badly to Busted's What I Go to School For.) Well, perhaps it did. I don't know yet. With pure benevolence I gave it to my friend, this man (but not before discovering that I was not going to make more than twenty pounds by selling it on eBay.)

Before I continue it is important that you understand that prior to my bestowing upon him the afore-mentioned second-hand illustrious tune-playing gadget, he had always rolled his eyes any time I ever happened to drop it into conversation (which was, admittedly, fairly often) and had firmly resisted any attempt on my part to get him into the Apple store to, you know, check out the graceful, industrially-designed interior (not to get him to buy one, you understand.)

Of course, like so many people who have always declared loudly and proudly that they "never want children", he has taken to "parenthood" like Michael Jackson to [insert inappropriate analogy here]. Just the other day he proudly informed me that he had memorised the track numbers for a variety of Coldplay and Damien Rice ballads, and I admit to having felt slightly proud. (I also admit to having felt slightly smug over the fact that he had been so easily seduced by the iPod's sleek, shiny white facade.)

In addition to this I can now rely on him to email me, first thing in the morning, with the latest iPod news or hot tip. I'm sure you'll all think that this is quite sweet, which it is. But it also forces me to think something else ...

iPods have so had their day.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Anyone who visits my little blog with any regularity will know that I'm not very good at picking up threads from previous posts. From now on I'm going to try to be a bit better at doing that.

I haven't posted yet about my Grandma's funeral because I haven't really known what to write. After all, it's was a funeral. Unlike celebrations funerals are only ever, overarchingly sad. I managed to read that section from The House at Pooh Corner without sobbing, although my voice did falter on a number of occasions when I happened to glance over at my family for a just moment.

Anyway ... it was a funeral. 'Nuff said.

Over the past few weeks I've been doing a lot of thinking about Grandma. The main thing I can't get my head around (and I guess that this is true for everyone who is left behind) is the fact that for as long as I live I will never, ever see her or speak to her again. It's so obvious, but when someone has been a part of your life for over 30 years it's really quite hard to get your head around.

We all know that death is the only certain thing about life. So why is it almost always come as such a surprise?

Friday, August 19, 2005

At last ... it's official! Mark Feehily, the gay one from Westlife, is officially gay! I'm so glad because I always fancied him and clearly now that he is definitely a 'mo I am in a much better position to have a long-term relationship with him.

A question though ... is it "brave" to come out just as your star is irretrievably dipping out of sight on the horizon? In the meantime, I'm off to listen to "Against All Odds" and imagine that he's crooning to me.
There was a time, not so long ago, when I was sat on the upstairs bench infront of the Genius Bar in the Apple Store on Regent Street feeling as cool as fuck.

A few minutes after writing yesterday's blog post my iBook spontaneously expired infront of the technician and I was instantly down £180 and over a year's worth of photos, documents and really, really good porn, Godamnit.

Today I am sat in a a dingy, basement internet cafe in Soho, which smells like catpiss and furniture polish. I am wearing a pair of jeans which are too long and keep getting caught underneath my trainers and a T-shirt with a hole under the armpit. I am sipping from a lukewarm bottle of Volvic. I am writing my blog on an ancient "blueberry" iMac, which is, no doubt, secretly laughing at the fact that it has outlived my sleek, white iBook, by several years.

I want to kill someone.

* Not retrievable, unless I am prepared to pay £1,500 to have my old hard drive broken open and cloned.**

** If anyone would like to do this in exchange for sex, email me.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

There was a time, not so long ago, when the idea of sitting and waiting for my computer to be checked over by a techno-geek would fill me with intense feelings of dread and uncool paranoia.

This morning I am sat on the upstairs bench infront of the Genius Bar in the Apple Store on Regent Street. I am wearing a vintage purple T-shirt, camouflage Abercrombie combats and Calvin Klein flip-flops. I am leisurely sipping a Starbucks mocha. I am writing my blog on my iBook, using the store's free wireless broadband.

I feel as cool as fuck.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

My Mum and Dad were very young when I was born and didn't have an awful lot of money, so both often had to work during the day: my Dad as an engineer and my Mum as a hairdresser. Subsequently, Grandma, from only eight weeks after I was born, used to look after me, and a couple of years later, my brother a great deal.

When I was very young (you'll see what I did there in a moment!) one of my favourite things was to be read to, and one of the books I would always take to Grandma's house to be read to from was The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne.

At Grandma's funeral on Tuesday I am going to do a reading. At my Granddad's funeral, a few months ago, I chose to read a chapter relating to death from Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet, which, as an adult, is one of my favourite books. Obviously I can't read the same section out again and I really don't want to read out one of those Hallmark-sentiment, copyright protected standard funeral readings, either.

So this week, while I was at home, I dug out my old copy of The House at Pooh Corner. The very last page is what I have decided to read on Tuesday. It seems kind of appropriate for more than a couple of reasons.


Christopher Robin, who was still looking at the world with his chin in his hands, called out, "Pooh!"
"Yes?" said Pooh.
"When I'm, er ... when I'm ..."
"Yes, Christopher Robin?"
"I'm not going to do Nothing any more, Pooh."
"Never again?" said Pooh.
"Well, not so much. They don't let you, you see."
Pooh waited for him to go on, but he was silent again.
"Yes, Christopher Robin?" said Pooh helpfully.
"Pooh, when I'm ... you know ... when I'm not doing Nothing, will you come up here sometimes?"
"Just me?"
"Yes, Pooh."
"Will you be here too?"
"Yes, Pooh, I will be, really. I promise I will be, Pooh."
"That's good," said Pooh.
There was a short pause and then Christopher Robin said, "Pooh, promise you won't forget about me. Ever. Not even when I'm a hundred."
Pooh thought for a little while.
"How old shall I be then?"
"Ninety-nine," said Christopher Robin.
Pooh nodded. "I promise," he said.
Still with his eyes on the world Christopher Robin put out a hand and felt for Pooh's paw.
"Pooh," said Christopher Robin earnestly, "If I ... if I'm not quite ..." He stopped and tried again, "Pooh, whatever happens to me, you will understand, won't you?"
"Understand what?"
"Oh, nothing." He laughed and jumped to his feet. "Come on!"
"Where are we going?" said Pooh.
"Anywhere," said Christopher Robin.

So they went off together. But wherever they go and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest, a little boy and his Bear will always be playing.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Just a quick post to say thank you for the messages and emails you have sent to me over the past couple of days. They have been very much appreciated.

I will admit that it's slightly surreal to think that, during times like these, there are people, all over the world, who are thinking about you. But it really means a lot to me and I am really touched.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Despite having been blessed with a healthy dollop of intelligence, I am not always the sharpest tool in the box.

For instance, you might think that because I have been sunburned on a number of occasions in my life, one of those occasions being so severe that I had to go to hospital, that I might be more than just a bit clued up on sun-protection.

But, no ...

Today my friend Helen and I went to Studland Beach (real name - even has a gay nudist beach!) to catch some rays, except that our plan was thwarted by an overcast sky that did not diminish as the day wore on. Regardless of the fact that I knew from first-hand experience that you can still be burned through cloud, I rebuffed Helen's lotion-ed advances and chose to lie out, au naturel, as it were.

Several hours later and I am forced to sit upright, cross legged, in the middle of the floor because I can't bear for the skin on my back to touch anything.

The only fortuitous thing about all of this is that I have just finished watching the pilot of Lost and I would have been on the edge of my seat anyway.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

What's that expression? Something about not raining, but pouring?

I actually had, for the most part, a really lovely weekend in Rome with my Mum, but my relaxed mood was kinda ruined the moment I stepped off the plane. Shortly after switching my cellphone back on I got two calls.

The first was from one of my recruitment agents. I haven't blogged about this yet, but last week I accepted a job with a PR company which, for all intents and purposes, offered a working environment and a position that seemed to be the perfect match for me and my experience. The call from the recruitment agent was to tell me that the company had retracted the offer. It turns out that when the managing director informed the rest of the company that I had been hired one of the members of staff enquired why they hadn't been given the opportunity to apply. The long and short of it is that they ended up placing the internal candidate in the role and dropped me.

To say that I am mad is an understatement. On the one hand I am angry because I turned down second interview opportunities with a couple of other potential "suiters" as well as a couple of interim freelance placements. I was supposed to start work with this company on Monday. I am now without any kind of work for at least the next two weeks. And cash is not exactly abundant at present.

On the other hand I am relieved that I am not going to work for a company that does not understand basic professionalism, such as being really sure about the situation your company and your staff are in before offering someone a permanent job.

The second call I received was from my Dad telling me that my Grandma had died earlier in the day. It turns out that she had taken a turn for the worst over the weekend and what with everything that has happened to her over the last three weeks her body just couldn't handle it anymore and shut down.

I had pretty much already accepted that this would happen the last time I saw her. She was really, really not very well and I knew with 100% certainty that she wasn't going to make it. You know when you just know? So Dad's news wasn't as shocking as it might otherwise have been. The really sad thing is that because she died as a result of an accident, from falling over and hitting her head, there has to be a post-mortem examination, which means that the funeral can't held until next week sometime.

The good thing in all of this is that because I had accepted that job I was never supposed to be working this week, which means that I can spend a bit of time with my family.

Small mercies and all that.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

I won't be blogging for a few days because I'm off to Rome tomorrow morning for a long weekend.

It should be an interesting trip, primarily for the reason that I'm going there with my Mum. When she received her inheritance from my Granddad I originally agreed to go on a two week holiday with her, to someplace exotic (I had my eye on Rio - no prizes for guessing why.)

However, I soon came to realise that two weeks in my mothers company would lead to either one of two eventualities: a) the murder of my mother at my own hands, or b) me, going insane.

So as a compromise I agreed to go on a mini-break with her. I'd like to say that we mutually decided upon Rome because I have had a life-long interest in the ancient Etruscan empire and because my mother would like to see, firsthand, where ecclesiastical bureaucracy bought about la Rinascimento.

But the real reason is that we have both read Dan Brown's Angels and Demons and we want to see the alcove in the Vatican where the anti-matter was placed.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

As you know, a couple of weeks ago my Grandma had a nasty fall and had to have brain surgery.

In the subsequent 16 days since she had her accident, we, her family, are as much in the dark with regards to her overall prognosis as we were at the very beginning. Now clearly where brain injuries are concerned you have to allow for a greater degree of overall uncertainty than you do with other injuries or illnesses.

Admittedly, the fact that Grandma now has MRSA complicates things. Infections are not conducive to great lucidity at the best of times, especially in an 85 year old woman who has recently encountered major head injuries.

That said, I simply do not buy the "we don't know what is going on" spiel that the doctors are feeding us. But the most annoying thing is that we only receive that spiel after we have asked several times to speak to someone. In the past two and a half weeks we have only been able to speak to the doctors on only three individual occasions.

I feel really guilty for dissing them because I do genuinely think that they do a good job, but the doctors really need to be more forthcoming with information, especially when the patient concerned is not able to ask the pertinent questions. In their professional opinions there must be a number of avenues they can expect Grandma to go down, each with their own varying degrees of recovery / deterioration. All we want to know is what those avenues are, so that we are just a little bit prepared. My Grandpa especially needs to be prepared. He is currently deluding himself that she is going to make a full recovery and it is clear to the rest of the family, even with our lack of medical knowledge, that this is not going to happen.
One of the things about being gay is that you tend to forget that it's not out of the question that the opposite sex might find you attractive.

This afternoon, while I was working out at the gym, I happened to notice that the very attractive tall, blonde woman, doing bicep curls on the adjacent Swiss Ball, was checking me out. (Seriously! I was as surprised as you are!)

I have to admit that while I was most definitely flattered, the notion that she may have been having even the mildest of lewd thoughts about me did bring on a feeling of slight awkwardness.

Is this how straight men feel when they catch us gayers checking them out in the changing room? I guess the difference is that an advance on my part is coupled with the risk of being messed up real bad.

Whereas the worst the afore mentioned attractive woman could have expected to get from me would have been a slight knock-back, but accompanied by the feel-good factor of my telling her that she looked fierce in her hot pink Baby Phat velveteen track pants and white Calvin Klein sports vest.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The other day my housemate told me that the previous weekend she had plucked up the courage to tell her boyfriend that she was in love with him. However, she quickly added that she wasn't ready yet to say "I love you."

This confused me greatly. I asked her what exactly it was she had told him.

"I said to him, "I'm madly in love with you.""

"Not, "I love you"?"

"God, no! I'm not ready to say that yet!"

What followed was a very lengthy and annoying conversation about the differences between saying "I love you" and "I'm in love with you". Apparently all my life I have been completely oblivious to the fact that the latter is much less intense.

I'm still not entirely convinced that there is a difference between the two at all, but it's hard to argue the semantics of amour with an opponent who thought she was Pippi Longstocking as a child and as an adult models herself on Ann of Green Gables.