Strangely, those blokes always remind me of geography teachers. It's the beards and bellies that do it. They still manage to look like they're wearing tweed jackets and cords, even though they're naked.
I wonder - do they come to saunas to have sex with young men or to eat them?
THE FALL OF HITLER by Hugh Trevor Rope
Fascinating and strangely depressing account. The Nazis were just as dumb as any bureaucracy. Hitler was accidentally being poisoned by his incompetent doctor, and Himmler was a lovely man to work for - a gentle old madman who didn't seem to be aware that he was committing unimaginable horror. It's somehow so much worse to discover that the nastiest events in history were carried out by such lacklustre dodderers.
THE SINGING SANDS by Josephine Tey.
Another of her rivetting not-quite-mystery stories. Is it just me or is this book massively homoerotic? Inspector Grant spends paragraphs musing on the beauty of the young male corpse, and keeps on inviting the victim's flatmate Ted to stay over.
At the end of the book, Grant is glad to have escape marriage, and Ted laments "our bungalow will never be the same again."
GREENMANTLE by John Buchan
First World War ripping yarn spy thriller from the author of The 39 Steps. Gripping and also daft. And (sigh) similarly homoerotic. Our hero, Dick Hannay, thanks himself that he's never fallen under the spell of women, is often complimenting men on having "the face of a pretty girl".
The Germans, meanwhile, are corrupt buggers. Witness the foul living room of Colonel Stumm: "It was the room of a man who had a perverted taste for soft, delicate things. I began to see the queer other side to my host, that evil side which gossip had spoken of as not unknown in the german army." Shudder.
Appears to be to own a palatial triple front two garage house with a flag out the front and lawn out the back.
Oh, and have babies. Top reason for Lorraine and Paul being lovely people is that they do not have babies and have no intention of acquiring them.
Have spent some of the beach time catching up with Paul's sprogged-up friends. And it is truly terrifying. Their lives are under the control of something that can barely speak, is much less smarter than a kitten, crawls at about 100 metres an hour, and has a homing instinct for electrical sockets and sharp corners.
True horror: Last night Paul's brother and wife came round for supper. With sproglet. Which set up a constant wailing howl.
MOTHER: "Would you mind turning the TV down? I want to listen to the baby."
I was only in Adelaide for eight hours, but if felt like forever.
Lorraine, Paul, Ben, Susan, James, Justin, Anthony and random alley shag all warned me that Adelaide would be dull, but I figured... how dull can a place be that there's nothing to do there for eight hours?
Adelaide is that dull. It's so dull, it has a cricketing museum. That isn't open.
Apparently, the men in Sydney suffer from Wilting Poppy. It's the reason Kylie left the country, apparently.
Andrew explained it to me. The men have flip-flop/passive-aggressive moods - they switch between being man hungry devils and shy angels. In seconds.
I'm so glad he told me it's a known phenomenon. I was getting puzzled.
EXHIBIT A: On my first night out in Sydney, I was chatting up Dan, originally from Germany. He was flirty, and bold, but refused to kiss in front of his friends. Once outside the club, he demurely let me kiss him, but only once he was sure the bouncers weren't looking.... and then demanded we had sex in an alley.
EXHIBIT B: On Monday night, Matt. Lovely bloke - grabbed hold of my nipples in the Colchester Hotel. He smiled and waved, waltzed off, and beckoned me over. He was wearing jeans and a smile, and stood there bumping and grinding against me, his grin getting broader and dirtier as his muscles pumped and whirled around like popcorn in a pan.
Then there was a pause. Gradually all that muscle came to rest.
"Why are you looking at me?"
"You're a very attractive man. You're dancing. Topless. It's hard not to."
He throws his arms over his head, howls, and cringes. "Don't say that! Don't tell me people are looking at me. I'm not doing it for that."
An aggressive new version of 'American Life' comes on, and he starts to pole dance a bar stool.
Later: "You find me attractive? I wish you hadn't said that. You're so forward!"
But... but.... you dragged me across the dance floor by my nipple...
"It's called Head Quarters," said Justin, "And the emphasis on Head is deliberate."
So, Justin drags me into one of his favourite haunts. We've spent an evening wandering around Oxford St, Sydney's gay street, which has the overall ambience of caviare served on used chewing gum.
After wandering the bars, and a quick visit to Justin's favourite porn emporium (porn still bemuses me.... firstly: why? secondly: why are the covers so awfully produced?)... we ended up in Head Quarters.
It's where Justin finished the weekend's SleazeBall - "I had four or five men. All fine - but nothing you'd bother cooking breakfast for." - and, charmingly, he insisted I saw what he meant.
Head Quarters turns out to be four floors of solid filth. Well, three floors of solid filth, and one showing soaps. There were rooms for enemas, slings, crosses, chains, dark rooms, a room with a marble altar, and a room containing three bathtubs.
Some of the rooms contained exhibits. In one, a middle-aged man stood, splayed provocatively in a leather nappy, snarling listlessly like a tired lion at the zoo.
Outside the room where men crap over each other was a notice: "For your own comfort and safety, this is a NO SMOKING club."
Five feet away from it, a bearded man had his arm buried inside a friend, working him like a human puppet.
This is the point where I'm supposed to say I made my excuses and left. I should have done. Justin and I looked out of place. For one thing, he was dressed in designer gear, I was still in beach shorts and a mambo shirt. But, I went looking for the loo, caught someone's eye.... and lost Justin.
Hmmn. How does one describe this properly. Um. "Dear diary, last night I had sex in a cage...?" No. No. Perhaps not.
I am in Melbourne. It is cold and raining. I have brought a fleece. I am sitting typing this in a gay bar, with drink by the mouse. 20 feet away from me, a drag act is sliding down a pole to American Life.
Ozzie drag queens have biceps the size of a mini metro, and don't sing. They just dance. Athletically.
Am reading a book of Holmes short stories. Much better written that I thought they would be, but, surprisingly...
1) A cavalier attitude to the lower classes. Clerks and serving girls come out of it rather badly.
2) Some of the mysteries aren't that mysterious. In one, Holmes notices that a friend's father has a tattoo. Friend's father faints with alarm at the amazing discovery. Days later he takes his own life, leaving behind a long letter about how clever Holmes is to have discerned his secret life as a pirate.
3) I'd forgotten how troubled and lazy Holmes is. He's a stronger character because of it - in between bouts of discovery and derring do, he lies on a sofa, too listless to move.
So enjoying it, I got Without A Clue, the movie about an actor impersonating Holmes for Watson, who's the real brains of the outfit. Oddly lovely film - Michael Caine is perfect as a slightly uneasy Holmes, and Ben Kingsley is wonderfully priggish as Watson. Possibly not the best film ever, but as a one joke film it's better than many!