I went round to Gemma and Serge's for a Wii Party (I'm rubbish - the only thing I'm good at is bowling, which makes me a Wii Lesbian). It was a lovely evening, in a North London way (ie includes homemade guacamole).
The only disturbing thing was their baby. Petra is rather advanced for a one year old. I walk into the room and she offers me a wooden block. Later, when we're all laughing at a joke, she joins in. She appears to be a natural party hostess. It's weird realising that she's gone from vacant baby stare to socially adept cunning.
Already she's outmanipulated the cats, who spend most of their time hiding on the garden wall.
It's made me realise. I really don't want a baby. But I really do want a cat.
Brickfest - A convention where grown ups make Lego together. This is wrong. Some things are best kept in the home - like naturism and spousal abuse. On the other hand - hey, they've built a tower block. How cool is that?
I reached for an old belt this morning, forgetting there was a very good reason why I don't use it any more. The fastening mechanism's broken. Or rather, it only works one way.
I've tried a few methods of releasing it. I'm now down a fingernail and have blunted a screwdriver. I was reaching for a chisel and lump hammer when I remembered the unfortunate story of the mad man who filletted his phallus in a fish restaurant.
I'm finally catching up with this West Wing replacement starring Geena Davis and Donald Sutherland. Every episode goes like this:
Geena Davies: I'm the ruler of the free world, and I'm just so damn perky!
Donald Sutherland: I'm very evil and will destroy you.
Teenage Daughter: Oh, mum, you don't understand me. Whine.
Geena: I've baked an apple pie. Shall we pray?
Donald: I'll get you for this Madam President.
It's nearly very good. Everyone's a bit likeable. It's just that the show is All Over The Place. This appears to be because the first handful were run by the show's creator, the next handful by Steven Bochco, and the last couple by someone's mate Terry who quite fancied a go.
Characters, plots and motivations sweep in and out. The only fixed this is Geena Davies' grin.
I'd actually forgotten about Aaron Lawrence, porn star and escort. But how could I? The Pooter of Porn, Aaron was an early blogger, unforgettable for the following 2000 entry:
I went up to Chad on set, and told him how I felt nervous about our upcoming shower scene. I told him I didn't think we had a connection and that we should maybe work through it. "Sure," he said. "You wanna suck me off?"
I’ve been thinking a lot about the sling. Enough that I asked Jeff if I could buy one for the house. Jeff said I could, but only if it came out of money that wasn’t in our budget. So I completed a few extra escort appointments this last week and voila! I have enough to buy the sling and a pair of stirrups for it.
Aaron's also written a book on how to be an escort ("Making Money The Hard Way").
(His site's mostly safe for work - so long as you don't look in the gallery. It's like a chartered accountant running a hot dog stall)
Nothing outrageous/stupid has happened for the last few days. Things of note:
I now know someone who lives in a penthouse flat.
I've eaten breakfast at Tesco.
Cardiff's lovely at this time of year. Proof of the impending apocalypse.
Didn't see Scuba Jamie. He had some lame excuse about his restaurant being busy on Friday and Saturday nights.
I stayed with two very talented writers who are going out with each other. It's like the heyday of Ken and Em. She's dominating BBC One, he's doing rather well in London. Their cat ignored me all weekend.
The sign outside the Splott Conservative Association just says "Splott Cons".
I used the penthouse balcony to spy on a tracksuited-gay getting ready for a date. He spent an hour hoovering his bedroom (obsessive), and turned out not be that pretty. Stalking is so 90s.
My new dishwasher and washing machine turn up tomorrow. Unplumbing the existing ones took ages, stank and was boring. And yes, the washing machine appears to have been leaking for a year.
I'm reading Margery Allingham at the moment. My vocabulary's top hole.
I've fallen into the habit of meeting lovely intelligent people... and getting drunk in front of them.
I'm at the age where mixing an evening's drinking with a glass of red wine, no matter how small, guarantees hangover.
Tonight, I'm going out for drinks with a man who's run the London Marathon.
"My name is Peter Petrelli and I have a message for you."
Sometimes, you watch a show that's so good you curse yourself for not seeing it before. Oh, it's just amazing. The style of 24, the wit of Buffy, the enigma of Lost. Combined with "eee! eee! eeeeeeee!" cliffhangers.
Plus, the pretty men in the cast just keep on getting topless.
Not something I understand, but Fawkes asked so nicely. And it's Thursday, I'm waiting for my date to turn up. I'm trying to pretend i'm not drunk. Plus the nicorette patch has started to sting.
Seven Songs I Like (In no particular order):
Mack The Knife - Ella Fitzgerald - cos she gets it wrong. So wrong that it falls apart around her, and she carries on, laughing and never dropping a beat.
Sinnerman - Nina Simone. Oh, she was mad, but she's your go-to-gal if you want a 14 minute spiritual.
Your Disco Needs You - Kylie Minogue. Ah. I remember falling in love with this when I thought it was an obscure bit of euro pop.
Seasons in the Sun - Alcazar. Talking of obscure bits of euro pop. They take the Nana Mouskouri classic. and they sing it out of tune. Bless them.
Downtown - Petula Clark. You know all the words. You just haven't realised it yet.
Baby One More Time - Britney Spears. The only song I would ever sing at Karaoke. But doing my slow, deep Paul Robeson impression.
Jerusalem - The only song to sing walking home drunk through the rain.
6 Weird things/Habits About Myself:
I refuse to admit I'm getting short-sighted - but I don't stop going on about it. Honestly - why does my vision improve rapidly after a vodka? Everything's in focus. And yes, the men are prettier.
I have to be introduced to people before I can talk to them. Unless we're about to die. Or shag.
I always go to bed with an empty bottle beside it. It's cos my flatmate spends an hour in the bog in the morning with a cup of tea and a slice of toast, and boys just can't wait that long to wee. I hate myself sometimes.
When I'm really really drunk and don't want to show it, I start jiggling my knees.
I don't forgive. Not even myself.
I can only exercise to Radio 4. Unless its jogging, in which case it's cheesy club tunes or nothin'
Every chimney has a silver lining, just as every song has a happy ending.
Ben and Nick turned up and finally fitted my chimney ("Told you all along, mate, soon as I saw it, you should have ordered a 5inch lining"). The work didn't take long - but we did spend time sitting around, watching concrete dry.
Ben's phone rings, and he leaves the room, talking in fluent French.
"That's nothing," says Nick. "You should hear his Japanese."
It turns out that Ben is a Psi-Trance DJ, who is big in Japan. They've come to my house from a rave in a St Pancras warehouse that's been going on since early March (I walk past the warehouse later. It's true - the windows are pounding, and the street is littered with empty cans and people sleeping in cars). Ben and Nick get changed and head off to Shoreditch, where Ben does a set and Nick does the groupies.
With a wave, they're gone, and I'm alone with my wet concrete.
And that, I think, is the last I'll be seeing of builders.
And then there's a knock on my window. Standing on my scaffolding is a vision of a Polish labourer. All pale skin, whispy stubble, and the dead eyes of a killer.
The council have sent him to paint my windows. Oh Zvlott, spray your emulsion in my direction!
I've never forgotten the first words he mumbled to me - "allo! pliz, i need entry."
Today started out really well. I had a new chimney delivered, and cycled to work along the river path laughing my head off at the Today programme's botched tribute to Kurt Vonnegut, in which poor James Naughtie ended up interviewing himself.
It was downhill from there though - with a weird public online backstabbing from people I thought better of. I stomped off from work, wanting to smoke. Only I couldn't smoke. As I had a date later with a gorgeous air steward. Who doesn't like smoking. So, I'm a non-smoker.
I get to the date on time... didn't realise my phone had crashed.
So, I'm sitting somewhere nice. Waiting and waiting. And wondering.
And he's outside. Trying to call me. And waiting and waiting. And wondering.
After half an hour (and two vodkas) I suddenly realise my phone has frozen. I restart it. It springs into life, and sends all the messages queued in its clogged memory. Including the one that says "I thought you were different. Goodbye."
As I type he's on his way back. I am drunk. And what would I most like to do? Why, SMOKE THE FUCKING TABLE.
Thankfully, I've a pot of peppermint tea and wireless internet access. What's the worst that could happen?
LATER (after I've stopped actually blogging about a date during it. Which is creepy)...
The cabin crew was charming, beautiful and exciting and we had a great evening. Suddenly, it was 2am, and I walked him to his nightbus. And we kissed goodnight, and then kissed some more, and then... he missed his nightbus, and came back to mine.
All very good in theory, but, in practice not so smart. For one thing he... well, let's just say his boy band hadn't spent enough time in the studio before they released their first single.
I've accidentally won an award. I'm so excited, thrilled, and baffled.
Obvious congratulations to a lovely man called Scott Burklin. I've never met him, but he appears to have had an enormously successful Los Angeles run, and scooped the LA Weekly Theatre Awards, winning 4 out of the 6. And there was I assuming it was another High School production. Silly, silly me.
I've spent most of the weekend trying to fill in a job application form. And I'm finally at the bit where they ask for your "Hobbies and Interests". I'm stumped.
At first I just typed "Boyz and Lego" and then realised - paedo sex addict. I can't put down "Smoking" - health hazard. And my love of old green Penguin books? Are you going to interview someone who has "Crime" as a hobby?
Last year I was flicking through some applications for Finance Director at a friend's company. One applicant had put as his Interests:
"My wife and I have thoroughly enjoyed restoring our 16th Century Farmhouse, and the entire family take part in the village green cricket team that I've captained to victory for three years running."
In many ways it's a model answer - Stability, normality, leadership, team, success, affluence, heterosexuality. But at the same time... tosser.
Anyway. I'm still stumped. There's always the gaydar.co.uk checklist, which offers at random: "Armpits, Chaps, Frottage, Fur, Socks, Toys, Vacuum Pumps, and Waders". No.
I suppose I could tell them that I write a blog - but that's just asking for trouble. Would you want a potential employer looking through your past life? Although, thinking about it, I would only change two things. I'd never have had a lumbar puncture, and I'd be dating Robbie Williams. Oh shush, I'd be good for him.
Can we just spare a thought for Hotel Babylon? There's only one episode left, and there might not be any more. How will I cope?
Seriously. I tried telling a friend I didn't know what I'd do without my regular fix of beautiful strangers having sex in hotel rooms. They told me to start watching porn.
But Hotel Babylon is better than porn (although somehow not as well-written or acted). This year we had the beautiful-but-evil bellboy (Oh I would. If only to be cruelly dumped by him afterwards with that pantomime sneer).
There was also the Convergence of the Inane as Max Beesley and Tamzin Thingy lurched towards each other one significant glance at a time. Will it finally happen in the last ever episode?
Probably not. It's out on the list of unresolved plotlines along with
a guest who doesn't want sex
bringing back the heart-stoppingly cute Latvuanian bottle washer (last seen wearing only a tie)
Quite the scariest, spookiest thing I've ever seen was Lars von Trier's The Kingdom (not the wobbly Stephen King remake, but the original). So unsettling it can only be watched on a warm summer's day with the curtains open. My only problem with it was that it ended on a cliffhanger - and the sequel's never been released in the UK on DVD (and the deleted VHS is impossible to find).
But god bless the ebay - it's been released in Denmark, has English subtitles, and some love's been importing it. He's sold me a copy for £7. So I finally get to find out what happens to poor Eleanor Druse.
There's nothing like basking in front of a real fire. And I'm enjoying nothing like basking in front of a real fire. Instead, I'm basking in front of... a giant hole in my living room.
My house is trashed, my confidence shot to pieces, and I'm a couple of thousand pounds worse off. It's like being in a relationship.
The idea seemed so simple. In 2002 I used the fireplace in my flat. And filled the flat upstairs with smoke, nearly finishing off a six year-old girl. Turns out, there was a crack in the chimney, and Camden (my landlord) said I'd need a lining before I could use the fire again.
Fair enough, I said. Quite, said Camden. We'll be repairing your block in a few months, why don't we do it then?
Five Years Later. It's now early 2007, and Camden finally start repairing my block. Only I've got to find my own chimney contractor, make arrangements with the site management company, and with the scaffolding company.
This turns out to be complicated, and even involves slipping cash-stuffed envelopes into pockets.
However, today is the day. My builders (Ben and Nick) turn up. Sadly, they're not hunky, but they are very good at their job. I make them tea, and slink off to do some work in the bedroom.
At which point, they ask me if I know how the fireplace comes apart. Then why it doesn't come out. Then if I'd mind, as the fireplace doesn't come out, if they instead demolish the wall above it. It's at this point they discover my fireplace doesn't have a lintel. Apparently, this is bad. It means the whole wall is about to slide down.
They send me off to Travis Perkins to buy one. It turns out to be a very heavy lump of concrete. It takes me a while to carry it the mile back to the flat. By which time they've realised they don't need a lintel after all. I find them in the cafe. Smoking philosophically.
"Scaffolding's wrong," says Ben. Nick nods. "You'll have to sort that," says Ben.
"Cracking view of that waitress," says Nick, smoking while eating a sausage.
I go and see the scaffolders. They aren't pretty either. But they do agree to move their planks slightly.
By the time I've done this, Ben has more bad news. The top of the chimney is covered in a thick concrete and steel slab. He is looking at me as though it is my fault.
He climbs up to chop through the concrete. It all gives way rather easily. So easily that it shoots down the chimney, bringing with it a large amount of soot which fills the living room. Nick sits blinking on the couch, looking like a panda. He lights a cigarette sadly. "I'm a security guard at weekends," he says quietly.
I look at my living room's black walls. All they're missing is a bloody pentagram.
Ben starts to put the lining in. This involves feeding 8 metres of steel vacuum cleaner pipe down from the chimney stack to my fireplace. Only it gets stuck.
"That's never happened before," says Ben.
"Never happened," agrees Nick. He eats the last of the jaffa cakes.
Apparently, and uniquely, my chimney narrows. It's blocked slightly on the next floor above.
"Best thing is to pop into the flat upstairs, knock a hole in their wall and clear the obstruction," says Ben, grabbing a chisel.
I knock on the door of the flat upstairs. A timid woman answers it. We explain that we'd like to look at her chimney.
She shows us into the living room - and points to where the fireplace would have been. "I have no chimney," she says.
One of her daughters is lying on the sofa, coughing. The other is on a cross-trainer. Eating Matchmakers.
"Yes love," bellows Ben, "You have got a chimney. It's just bricked up. What we need to do is knock a hole in your wall and -"
"NO!" the poor woman is horrified. We leave the flat.
"Can you ask her again?" suggests Nick.
I am too depressed to speak. Ben is sat, leaning out of the window, using his hard hat as an ashtray. Actually, it's my hard hat. I took it from a skip years ago, and painted it silver for a fancy dress party. Ben forgot his. Anyway.
"It's not the worst that Ben's had, is it?" says Nick. "No. That was when he swept a chimney, and found it was blocked. The flat above had built a wardrobe in the chimney. Lady didn't know whether to call her lawyer or light a fire."
"You know," says Ben, "There's one thing that might just work. It's desperate, but... worth a try."
So, dear reader, I have purchased a cannon ball. Next week, Ben is going to drop it down my chimney. I can't wait to see the postman's face when he delivers it.