(phone buzzes)

March 2, 2010

Sunday afternoon, and I’d been wanting to see Up in the Air for ages, it was hardly showing anywhere any more, but it was still on at the Vue in Leicester Square, so me and Steven headed into town. It’s not a bad cinema if you’re in Screen 5 or 7, but this was in one of the slightly rubbish basement screens that really don’t justify the Leicester Square tax. The place seemed kind of empty, we figured it was because of the torrential rain that morning, but then the woman who checked our tickets told us that it was a showing with English subtitles for the deaf. Not ideal, but seeing as we were already there we thought we might as well, so down the escalator clutching our overpriced snacks we went. You could tell the place was way past its glory days when the first two rows we tried to sit down turned out to have the bottom part of one of the seats missing. We finally found some proper seats, and after the usual 20 minutes of ads and trailers, the film started. Right from the start, the subtitles got in the way. Did we really need the lyrics to the opening song spoiling the carefully considered opening credits? And once the dialogue kicked in, the battle was on to try not to look at the words, which appeared just a little too soon before they were spoken. Even when there wasn’t any dialogue, we were subjected to bracketed annotations such as (phone buzzes) and (Alex giggles).

Still, we enjoyed the movie nonetheless, and afterwards we repaired to Cha Cha Moon, an old haunt we hadn’t visited for ages, for some restorative wonton. We sat on the high chairs (I like sitting on high chairs) and chatted about this and that.

It was all good quality time. Just quality time with unexpected subtitles.


My David Cameron

January 23, 2010

Fun for all the family. Make your own David Cameron poster here. See more here.

Let’s bounce

January 21, 2010

“And I’m like, give me 3 yards. Let’s bounce.”

“But is it ‘oh my gosh’ or ‘OH MY GOD’?”

“I think of my look as Holly Golightly goes to a Salvador Dali exhibit.”

“It looks like toilet paper caught in a wind storm.”

(Those Project Runway folk sure know how to stitch words together.)

On Friday night I strolled across one of the always magical Hungerford footbridges (I chose the one looking east to St Pauls and the City this time) to see Henry Rollins doing his spoken word tour at the Festival Hall.

I’ve never been particularly interested in hearing the man’s music (I imagine it’s a little loud for my liking) but I’ve always been a bit fascinated by him as a person, ever since reading stuff by him and about him in places like Purr magazine back in the nineties. Probably because he looks like such a hyper-masculine guy, and yet completely defies my prejudiced stereotype of what a hyper-masculine guy should be like.

The night wasn’t at all what I thought it would be – I guess I was expecting some sort of visceral punk poetry. Instead we were treated to a monologue that was somewhere between stand-up comedy and political rant. I wasn’t disappointed though – he’s an immensely likeable fellow, and his rambling stories about flying to countries his government were trying to make him afraid of and befriending strangers there with the phrase “Hi, I’m Henry, what’s happenin?” were most entertaining.

And I wasn’t totally deprived of scintillating poetry either. I turned up at the venue an hour early, and got the unexpected bonus of a free performance in the bar by Poejazzi – sparkling streams of words that trickled refreshingly into my brain. (“My love’ll cuss you out like Christian Bale” is the phrase I remember two days later.) I’ll definitely try and catch one of their nights again.

I heart the South Bank. It’s full of little surprises like that.


January 10, 2010

OK, so we all know that evangelical Christians aren’t that keen on men lying down with men and all that. And that they’re quick to quote rules from the Old Testament (conveniently ignoring the ones about eating shellfish and stuff) to back them up.

Iris Robinson, wife of the Northern Irish First Minister, is a particularly fine example. (The picture is a mask of her at Belfast Pride.) She has called homosexuality an “abomination” and said it makes her nauseous. She’s also described it as “disgusting”, “loathsome” and “vile” and  comparable to paedophilia – claiming her views were based on “biblical pronouncements”.

So the story splashed all over the news about her affair with a 19-year old brings a certain satisfaction – especially as the chapter in Leviticus which she’s fond of using against gay folk calls adultery an abomination too.

Not to mention the dodgy financial dealings that accompanied the affair, which would make anyone nauseous.


November 10, 2009



Last week, Boris Johnson saved a woman who was being mugged by 12-year-old girls wearing the obligatory ‘hoodies’ and wielding an iron bar.

The girls just stood there until the woman told them “He’s the Mayor of London” at which point they ran away. Who knew the trappings of office still held such power?

Boris, or as the muggee referred to him “my knight on a shining bicycle”, chased after them, calling them “oiks”.

Oiks? According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it’s an informal noun meaning an uncouth or obnoxious person. Fair enough, except it’s a word that would feel more at home uttered by one Nigel Molesworth (pictured above) in the 1950s setting of St Custards than on the streets of Camden. I can’t believe the girls had ever heard the word uttered before.

So very Boris.


November 8, 2009


Finally got round to listening to episode 7 of Boys for Noise, the excellent podcast by Ingmar and Billy, two gay guys from Melbourne who “are into music, art, movies, popular culture and all that stuff. And they like to go on about it. And they like to listen to each other go on about it. Now you can too!”

Don’t be put off by the highbrow sounding list of topics, we’re talking Beyonce and Project Runway here. And with the mysterious Debbie replenishing their wine glasses as they rabbit on, it’s all most entertaining.

Anyhoo, in episode 7, both Gym Class and Wordage get a namecheck. And whereas I’ve always thought of the last syllable of Wordage as being like the last syllable of porridge, they give me an undeserved veneer of sophistication and glamour by making it like the last syllable of ‘Even Rocky had a montage’.

Before casually writing me off as being ‘too old for boyfriend material’.

Swings and roundabouts, as the saying has it.

No November

November 8, 2009


If you’re wondering why are so many no’s in the above flyer, cast your mind back to a certain nineties Eurotrash dance number…

It’s for monthly night Kiss & Make Up, which we attended on Friday night. A fair amount of lager and bourbon was consumed, we swapped Little Chef experiences with Stuart, one of the not-so-evil masterminds behind the night, Steven got “beard envy” after meeting some of the bear-ier gentlemen present, and as promised there were “spontaneous outbreaks of dancing”.

The next morning we were slightly worse for wear and headed down to our local greasy spoon. There we had a breakfast that in Steven’s words, left us “equally disgusted and delighted”.

The rest of Saturday consisted of Working Girl, Revenge of the Sith and X Factor. Each of which attained that same delicate balance between disgust and delight.

Hubby Hubby

September 8, 2009


Ben & Jerry, purveyors of ice cream and liberal sentiments, have managed the neat trick of coming out (so to speak) in favour of gay marriage just by deleting a single letter. Their Chubby Hubby flavour has been renamed Hubby Hubby in their home state of Vermont for the month of September, the first month that same-sex marriages are taking place there.

As a Hubby with a Hubby myself (we have civil partnerships rather than marriages over here, but it’s all the same to us), I really believe that the existence of officially recognised ceremonies helps gay and lesbian relationships become more widely accepted.

Walt Freese, the CEO of Ben & Jerry’s, says Vermont’s same-sex marriages are “something worth celebrating with peace, love – and plenty of ice-cream.”

I’ll raise a scoop to that.


I’m not sure I really approve of the fad for bands to do gigs (well, probably concerts actually, as they tend to come with a ‘we are serious musicians’ attitude) consisting of all the songs from one of their albums in the right order.

But when I found out that Spiritualized were going to give ‘Ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space’ a live spin, it only took me a couple of seconds to get over myself and snap up a couple of tickets.

The album came out in 1997, when me and my friend Nicki were sharing the tiniest of flats in a beautiful white-pillared street in Notting Hill. We painted the walls a cheery yellow and our old college friends would come and hang out in our miniscule living room under the Wong Kar-Wai poster (“The world’s most exciting film maker”). We’d thrill to the crazy new sounds of Radiohead’s OK Computer and chill to the blissed out world of Ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space. It had been a good few years since we’d left university, and here we all were again – only now in London! With jobs! And money! And nice clothes! Going to cool bars! And clubs! In London! I still sometimes get a thrill from just being in London, but back then I got it a lot more.

In fact it was during that time that the inevitable cracks in our cosy circle of friends finally started to appear. Tensions and fallouts and schisms that I wasn’t directly involved in, but that freaked me out nonetheless, though in hindsight it’s all for the best that we transformed from a single many-headed organism into a collection of individuals. And for me the album remains associated with the happy bit just before all that.

So tonight I decided to dig it out and stick it on the iTunes so me and it could get reacquainted. And it’s impossible to do that without taking a minute to admire the packaging.

The whole thing is done as if it’s a pack of medicine. I didn’t splash out on the deluxe version pictured above in which each track is on a different CD, sorry tablet, in a giant blister pack. Instead I got the next version down which had just the one tablet in the one blister. Inside was a medicinal-looking leaflet with details of the contents (track listing), active ingredients (band members) and a whole host of other information (What is Spiritualized used for? Spiritualized is used to treat the heart and soul.) You can read the whole thing here.

Every detail has been obsessed over by design studio Farrow until it’s spine-tinglingly perfect. They even released this photo to show that it had been packaged under ‘strict pharmaceutical conditions’ (though I reckon her nails should be a bit shorter if so). My favourite bit of verbiage is on the back of the box: ‘For aural administration only’.