28 December, 2005

Boyfriend of the week/month...

Yesterday I went with FBF (Flatmate/Best Friend) and CSL (Crazy Spanish Lady) to see a movie double of 'Narnia - Lion, Witch & Wardrobe' and 'King Kong'. It wasn't actually a double bill - we just decided we wanted to see both films. Quite the movie marathon - nearly 7 hours of viewing pleasure.

I loved both films wholeheartedly - but more importantly, came out of the films with a new boyfriend of the week (in fact, possibly month, as I really like this one. I think he may be a keeper.)

Adrien Brody makes me melt. Literally. He is charming, gorgeous, quirky, tall and has a fantastic voice. So congratulations Adrien. You are my new boyfriend of the week. Or possibly month. Depending on who else comes along.

27 December, 2005

Orphan Christmas

So, yesterday we had our annual "Orphan Christmas", which is basically just for anyone who has no family here in London or the UK to go back to for Christmas. When I first arrived in London all those years ago, I found Christmas really difficult, being so far away from my family. And of course, I still miss them dreadfully at this time of year.

However, our 'Orphan' Christmas is always a hoot. And yesterday I got messages from 3 separate friends who were all at their respective families, saying 'oh I wish I was there for the Orphan Christmas'. The thing is, that Christmas obviously can also be a bit stressful for some people with their families.

By about 10pm last night, there was a hall full of empty champagne bottles, and we were dancing around the flat to Madonna. Perhaps not that traditional - but who cares? We had fucking fabulous festivities.

Highlight of the day:

OBF (Other Best Friend) re-enacting Tracy Ullman's infamous 'hokey pokey' scene from John Waters' "A Dirty Shame". (Faces have been changed to protect the perverted).

21 December, 2005

Is you Madonna?

A friend sent me this link to this new version of Madonna's single Hung Up.

It really is rather fabulous.

19 December, 2005

Spanking, Anyone?

On Friday I went to drinks with a guy who has provided our IT support over the telephone for the last 3 years. He and I had dealt with one another mostly by email, and a little over the phone. Recently he had been fishing out more information about me and once he established I was gay, asked me out. I agreed, and subsequently we exchanged photos.

Upon seeing his photo, I was pretty sure I wasn't going to find him sexually attractive, but thought it would be fine to meet up anyway. I suggested we go to the Tate Modern and do the Henri Rousseau exhibition, and have a drink in the members bar afterwards. It is my typical suggestion if I am meeting someone I don't know very well as it is a gorgeous venue and very familiar to me, so I feel 'safe'.

Anyway - upon seeing him, I was struck by how much of a 'geek' he was. And I don't mean 'geek chic' - he was a geek in the true sense of the word. Now I find geeks quite attractive, so this was a plus for him. It was also possible he was on the autistic spectrum - his hands kept being sent outwards from his body in an awkward fashion, and he walked with a strange gait. He was obviously quite nervous - and definitely shy.

We did the exhibition (pretty average, as an aside) and then went to the bar. After a couple of glasses of wine and some (very, very) small talk - mostly about Macintosh computers and vintage Commodore 64s (this boy works in IT afterall); he suddenly mentioned his partner. I clarified that he was talking about his 'boyfriend' and he confirmed this. Obviously I was comforted considerably by this, as I assumed that this meant I was 'safe' from the "I'm not interested" conversation.

I decided to ask more about his partner, thinking this a safe line for me to take. How wrong I was. It transpired they had met online (which is fine, I have no problem with that), so I asked which website. He told me it was a 'dodgy' one, and when I pushed for the answer, he told me that it was a site for Bondage/S&M.


At this point I probably looked (and certainly felt) completely confused. Here was this shy, autistic, geeky 25 year old telling me he was in to Bondage and S&M. Which again, is no problem - I try not to judge anyone's sexual proclivities; I just didn't expect it. The conversation obviously then took quite a different route... and soon he was telling me that he'd been on an 'Introduction to S&M' course. I kid you not. Here I was telling him about my pyschometric training and he had been on Sadomasochism 101.

Stupidly, my assumption that I was 'safe' (given the fact he had a partner) was not the case. After several more glasses of wine, he said to me: "so, when are we going back to your place to fuck?"

um... NO was my short answer.

17 December, 2005

Tag, I'm IT

Right. Much like playing chasey in school, Blog Crack has tagged me, and therefore I'm IT.

Apparently me being 'IT' means that I have to reveal 5 things my fellow bloggers don't know about me. Here they are:

1. I was a professional ballroom dancer. Yes, in the style of 'Strictly Come Dancing' I started competing in Ballroom and Latin American dancing competitions from the age of 4 (no, really). I now only do the occasional class for fun in London and my muscles scream in agony as a result.

2. I'm starting a degree in psychology in February next year. It will be my second degree, as I made stupid choices the first time around. I'm very excited about it and will start psycho-analysing all of you in the process.

3. I once went to a clairvoyant who mentioned 29 names during the course of the 'reading', and the context in which I either knew these people, or would do. I knew 26 of them, and the other 3 I met the following week.

4. I used to tell all my childhood/adolescent secrets to my cat, who was given to me on my 7th birthday and died when I was 24. I used to whisper the secrets in his ear and then feel better because I had told him. He never told anyone else my secrets.

5. I once snubbed Kylie Minogue in a nightclub, when a friend introduced her as 'a fellow antipodean'.

He has never let me forget this.

16 December, 2005

Promotion, Promotion, (Self) Promotion

Well, I'm pleased to say I am now an accredited user of 'the test' I referred to in my last post. I'm also prepared to say that my cynicism was largely unfounded. The pyschometric test was probably the best I've come across.

That's not to say I still don't have my hesitations around these type of tests - or more the point, those who are implementing them. The major problem (in my opinion) is in the interpretation of the test - for example, the person who was 'feeding back' my test to me, wanted to concentrate on my 'risks' versus my 'strengths'.

Whatever ... just in case any of you are interested... my 'profile' came out as a 'PROMOTER'. A word picture to describe me follows:

* Very outgoing and forthright style
* Quick to speak out and give views
* Goal-oriented and self-promoting
* Thinks imaginatively and broadly
* Can intimidate quieter, less 'up front' people
* May be overwhelming and too rapid

So there you go... I'm basically a pushy, outspoken, overwhelming sales person. Joy.

15 December, 2005

The day I went psycho

As of tomorrow, I am going on a two day training course to become accredited in providing feedback on a particular type of psychometric test. It is a tool we have decided to utilise at work.

To be honest, I am not entirely sure how I feel about psychometric tests. I have actually had to complete this one myself before the training course; and although the tests themselves have been tested and retested to account for variability and reliability - I am still a bit of a doubting Thomas.

For instance... on the day I completed the test myself, I was feeling particularly pissed about the fact that I was having to manage a complete moron (yes, the very same who told me I should be getting myself a gaydar profile) and therefore have no doubt that my responses on the test reflect this.

A statement released by the people who created the test had the following to say about this:

"A person's mood at the time of responding should not have a major effect. The items in (the test) tend to be either historical, behavioural or attitudinal and therefore we would expect such items to be more stable across mood states than items which were, for example, asking for preferences. However, as always, if a respondent reports a major mood problem you should ask if they would prefer to retake the test. Note of course that the tendency to react to mood changes is one of the things that (the test) is measuring through Emotionality." So what constitutes a 'major mood problem'? I seem to have those on a daily basis.

Perhaps I will be more a believer once I get my results? I'll keep you posted.

10 December, 2005

gay 30 something

My new colleague at work told me yesterday that I should get myself a Gaydar profile. Apparently it is 'the only way to find yourself a boyfriend'. It took a lot of restraint not to hit him.

I hate Gaydar. I have tried it (some years ago), and found that most of the guys on there are just looking for sex. I mean, if a guy's main photo is a shot of his cock, you kind of know that he is not looking for a long term relationship. Which is fine, if that is all you want. I don't.

But something in what my colleague said struck a chord. Here I am, at 32 years of age, and at the moment am happily single (for now at least). But what about when that changes? I hardly go out on the gay scene now, preferring to frequent bars that are not 'sexuality' specific but rather, just good fun.

Part of me was angered by his comment and thought that if I'm over the hill in 'gay' years then that is just a reflection of his own insecurities. But there was another *small* part of me somewhere deep down that felt a little bit concerned.

08 December, 2005

Cosmetic Concern

Last night I had organised to meet a friend for dinner, but due to the fact he couldn't meet me until later in the evening, I decided to do some Christmas shopping (for my sins) while I waited.

On my way to Forbidden Planet (who am I buying pressies from there for I hear you ask? ME, of course) I happened to bump in to a friend I haven't seen for ages, and we went for a quick drink.

Now this friend of mine (let's call him UT for Ultra Trendy) is what I would call a beautiful looking man. And I mean beautiful in the true sense of the word. He has one of those faces that is perfectly structured - high, scuptured cheek bones, flawless skin, perfectly formed features. (Me? Jealous? Never...) I wouldn't describe him as handsome - he is most definitely beautiful. He was born here in the UK, however, his parents are both Chinese.

UT had been 'dating' a guy for a couple of weeks and wanted to talk about it. Basically, this guy had seemed really keen at first but on Friday UT saw this guy at Popstarz 'smutting' someone else. UT was understandably very upset about it.

What interested (and upset) me was UT's response to this situation. Instead of reacting as I would have done (the guy's a prick, I deserve better, he can go *&$£ himself), UT did the exact opposite. The entire time I was with him, he spoke about the fact that he was obviously unattractive; that he had decided this guy must have had a problem with the fact that UT was 'Oriental'; that all UT saw when he looked in the mirror was the shape of his eyes.

Now, I recognise that many people have self image issues, but what upset me most was the fact that UT's seemed to revolve around his ethnicity.

Who or what has given him the sense that being 'Oriental' made him a lesser/uglier person?

07 December, 2005

For today I am a child

I went to see Antony & The Johnsons last night. I'm not sure what I was expecting, due to the fact that some have said he's incredibly fragile and appears vulnerable on stage; while others have said he's just a fat old poof.

The gig was absolutely amazing. And Antony is everything (and nothing) that people say about him. He is fragile (that much is obvious from any of his song lyrics); but he seems equally strong and while he sung he seemed to be celebrating everything he was singing about.

A few interesting things about the gig included: during the songs, the audience was completely silent. And I mean completely. I have never been to a gig where the audience made NO noise whatsoever; also, that due to Antony's request, no-one smoked. At all.

However, what I found most interesting about Antony had to do with his physicality.

I think there are two (extremely broad) types of people with regards to the space they consume. Perhaps there is a continuum between the two broad definitions, I've not really thought about that in detail. However, the two broad groups are:

1: Those people who take up as much space as possible - these type of people seem to be on the number 13 bus every morning on my way to work. Standing in the aisle and taking up us much space as possible, having no consideration for others around them. These people don't have to be big - it is more to do with the way they place themselves.

2: These people try and take up as little space as possible. They are (overly) conscious of others around them and at the extreme end of the spectrum, probably wish they were invisible. I'm probably closer to this end of the continuum than the other.

Antony is 6'4 and said that during the gig that he weighs "200 and something pounds". He is a big, big man (... lady? bird? who knows) and one would think that his presence would be overwhelming. But it isn't. Just the opposite. He seems to take up as little space as possible (clearly a number 2 person) and instead... allows his voice to *completely* fill the space. And what a voice it is.

04 December, 2005

Yet another boyfriend

I've decided it is time to dump Victor Everglot, my previous boyfriend of the week. I may of course decide at some point to get back with him though, as he's been a good boyfriend and is just my type to look at.

Problem being, I was in my 'local', The Washington (which in fact isn't local to me at all, it's about a 20 minute walk away in Belsize Park... but I love it so much that I've decided to adopt it) and who was there but none other than Jeremy Edwards. (I think he is in Holby City or another of those hideous TV shows).

I've never seen him act, and really only knew of him because he used to date Rachel Stevens, whom OBF (Other Best Friend) did a photo shoot of once.

Jeremy is not particulary my type to look at, although being 'classically good looking'; but what clinched the deal for me was his dog Molly. A Boston Terrier no less.

So yes, Jeremy. Congratulations. You are my boyfriend of the week.

01 December, 2005

High Fashion

So today at lunch, after having purchased my salad and walking back down Bond Street to the office with my new colleague at work (a whole other story... I've refrained from blogging about him just yet... don't fear... it won't be long) - I was stopped by two Japanese girls who promptly informed me that they were working for a Japanese men's fashion magazine; and wanted to photograph me.

My new colleague instantly got very excited and agreed on my behalf. Thanks. Consequently I stood looking very uncomfortable in front of a red London telephone box on Bond Street while getting photographed and simultaneously being asked where I had bought my clothes. Several passerbys stopped to watch. And snigger. (Fair enough. I would have done the same if I had have been passing by.)

Of course, when I got back to the office I quickly googled the name of the magazine "Gentry" and after a bit of research, found the following:

"Shinro Hayashi, editor in chief of Gentry, a fashion magazine targeting men age 40 and over..."

Great. I'm so pleased I'm inspiring fashion for Japanese men over the age of 40.

By request...

of the most fabulous blog crack

28 November, 2005

Voldemort's Mark?

I went to see the latest Harry Potter film today. I am unreserved in saying how very much I loved it.

But I noticed something that I hadn't really thought about before... Harry Potter's scar (on his forehead) is very similar to the lightning bolt on David Bowie's face during his Aladdin Sane incarnation.

The very lightning bolt I want to get as a tattoo on my wrist! So I had a moment of panic - if/when I get this tattoo - are most people going to think I am just a fervent Harry Potter fan?

I had a similar problem after I got my first tattoo. It was designed by a friend of mine who is a graphic designer, and is based on Jean-Michel Basquiat's art - the crown in the middle being "Samo's" tag (he was a graffiti artist before going in to commercial art).

Problem being, people often ask if it refers to other things. My favourite so far has been:

Is that based on the Burger King crown?

26 November, 2005

Far, Far Away....

Last Monday, OBF (Other Best Friend) called me to tell me that his partner - POOBF (Partner Of Other Best Friend) was on his way to Australia due to the fact that his father had been taken very ill with heart problems. It was apparent that he was going to have to undergo open heart surgery urgently.

Clearly, POOBF was very distressed and made the decision to travel back to Australia very quickly. Of course, the flight itself takes just short of 24 hours - so in a situation like this, the 24 hours is fraught with anxiety.

Yesterday, OBF called me to tell me that POOBF's father had died. Fortunately, POOBF had reached Australia in time to see his father and have some time together with him and the rest of his family.

It really 'sent home' how very far away all of us Australians live from our family. Often my English friends joke with me that I see my family more regularly than they do (I usually get back to visit my family at least once a year); but the reality is, we are thousands of miles away from home.

And for approximately the last ten years, I've been living my life away from my family. How much have I missed out on during that time? And how much more will I miss out on if I continue to live away from them?

25 November, 2005

Bye, Bye.

My sister and B.I.L left to go home to Perth today. I'm feeling a bit blue.

They've been here for the last 3 weeks and it has been so much fun - I live in a pretty small flat (central London, what can I say?!) so it was a bit of a squeeze, but now they are gone, it feels sad going back to it without them.

Lots of funny moments while they were over here, one of my favourites was on the 'open top' bus tour in Barcelona. The three of us were sitting up the front, and sitting on the opposite side of the bus and just behind us was a couple who had a pretty incredibly camera, with a *huge* lens.

After my sister, B.I.L and I had made several infantile comments about the size of their lens, we noticed that the woman kept pointing her camera at something that seemed to be in our general direction, and when I looked at what that may be (in the event I was missing a fantastic photo opportunity) there seemed to be nothing that special to photograph.

Eventually, we established that this woman was, in fact, attempting to photograph one of B.I.L's tattoos (on his neck). She kept pretending she wasn't, until he just pointed to it and said 'go ahead, shoot away'.

B.I.L is all about the adoration, so the lady's fear was entirely unneccessary!

16 November, 2005

Misspent Youth

RuPaul’s “Back to My Roots”** came on my Ipod this morning and reminded me of where I grew up. Perth is a medium sized city, with a population of about 1.5 million in the ‘metropolitan’ area. It is also often said to be the most remote major city on Earth.

I really felt this sense of isolation when I was growing up. I used to trawl through the UK based music and fashion magazines like ‘NME’ or ‘The Face’ and wonder at these stories about London and the people who inhabited these places that seemed to be in the very middle of the world, whilst I was sitting out on the edges. I longed to leave.

This sense of isolation, however, brings with it some weird and wonderful personalities. I was introduced to club culture at about 16, and soon was going to the ONLY gay club in Perth practically every night of the week.

Because Connections was the only gay club in the city, there was a huge variety of people who went there. The gays, the lezzas, the trannies (most of them tragic, as all the best are), old, young, leather queens, fetishists – they all turned up at the club on any given night. And all seemed to co-exist quite nicely.

My friends and I went, as I said before, practically every single night to Connections; mostly for fear of missing out on something.

None of us would leave before the club closed on any given night, for the same reason (i.e. Mindy the obese drag queen being so drunk she fell off the podium half way through Whitney Houston’s “Every Woman” or the aboriginal cross dresser tripping out so much that she pretended to push an imaginary shopping trolley across the dance floor).

At times, I miss the quirkiness of Perth. In London, you get all types of people and everything seems ‘normal’ to a degree, simply because of the amount of diversity.

In Perth, outsiders revel in their differences, and celebrate them together; albeit in isolation.

** RuPaul was a firm favourite amongst the Perth drag queens in the early nineties

14 November, 2005

Architecture in Helsinki

We went to see this band from Melbourne at La Scala last night - 'Architecture in Helsinki'. The band have been described as an "avant-garde musical ensemble, influenced by the twee pop aesthetic."

They were very excited to be playing in London. So excited that for the first half of the gig, their mania kind of overshadowed their performance.

The encore, however, was amazing - they seemed to pull their focus in to line and finished their set beautifully. The band is eight members strong, at times sounding like a primary school music class who have been let loose in a room full of musical instruments! Yay!

Best in Show

My sister and B.I.L (Brother In Law) wanted to do 'different' things whilst they are in London this time, as it is my sister's third visit here, and B.I.L's second. So what do I come up with? Discover Dogs. That's what.

We all love dogs in our family. But I don't think it is quite what they had in mind when they asked to do 'different' things in London. The real reason I wanted to go was purely selfish. I used to have a dog here in London (which I lost in divorce proceedings) and miss having one around - so thought it might be a nice 'fix'. And also an opportunity to meet some of the different breeds and see what type of doggie I may want to own in the future. (when I eventually return to Australia - I wouldn't have a dog in London again to be honest).

Now, even though all three of us love dogs, our affection paled in comparison when beside the dog breeders who were there at the show. Over 180 dog breeds were represented, and it was like a competition. As we walked around and looked at the different breeds, met the dogs and spoke to the breeders, we realised just how important their dogs were to these people. Like they lived for them. Their breed of dog was most certainly the best. Don't buy a french bulldog, they would say... buy a *insert any other breed of dog here*.

My sister and B.I.L own two pugs, and we were particularly impressed with the pugs 'stand' at the exhibition. Unlike the other very plain, simple stands; the pugs stand was decked out in black and gold velvet, they had plush leopard print cushions and photos of them spotted around in gilded frames.

The 6 or so pugs sat there looking incredibly smug.

09 November, 2005

Perverts anonymous

I organised a private film screening of John Waters' 'A Dirty Shame' for last night, at the Everyman cinema in Hampstead. Part of it was for my sister and B.I.L to meet/see some of my friends, and also just to watch the Pope of Trash in fine form.

The screening was pretty cool, I think most people had a good time and enjoyed the film and disgustingly overpriced canapes.

Everyone was particularly excited to learn about the various fetishes outlined during the film, which included (and these are only the tame ones):

The Upper-Decker (the practice of defecating in the tank of a toilet rather than the proper receptacle bowl, causing a prolonged offending odour from the unseen excreta.)

Frottage (the sexual rubbing up on unspecting citizens!)

Sploshing (an 'English' fetish which usually includes having food, or other slimy wet substances thrown over one)

Bearism (we've all heard of this one, surely! Hairy, chubby, masculine gay men who refer to themselves as bears.... I sometimes go the otter look, mostly for my friends amusement.)

But there was one fetish mentioned that wasn't explained and none of us had ever heard of... which was 'blossoming' or 'blossomed'.

Can anyone enlighten us please?

07 November, 2005

Hit the repeat button please

....... long live Kate Bush.

The Punisher.

My sister and her husband arrived here from Australia on Thursday. They are spending 3 weeks here, which is just amazing. My family are very important to me, and I miss them immensely living so far away.

So far we've mostly just been catching up, we did the markets on the weekend (Portobello and Camden) and visited the Tate Modern, etc. But my favourite moments have been just sitting around, shooting the breeze.

Favourite conversation so far:

My brother-in-law (B.I.L) has come up with a concept for a new TV show. This was in response to a discussion we had about the world of 'celebrity' and how loads of the idiots who are now counted as 'celebrities' have no ability/skill/intelligence whatsoever.

These 'celebrities' are invited on to the show with a live studio audience, who, in B.I.L's words, "will be quite ra-ra, all suited up - no riff raff in this audience". The 'celebrity' will be asked to perform a 'skill' that they may have implied they are able to do - for example, Avril Lavigne will be asked to play the guitar; or Paris Hilton will be asked to... well, anything really (it doesn't matter what's asked of Paris Hilton, I doubt she can actually do anything).

Once these 'celebrities' fail their tasks, the fun begins. The Wheel of Punishment is spun (in a 'Wheel of Fortune' stylee) with a variety of 'punishments' and wherever it falls, the punishment is announced loudly by the Punisher (B.I.L of course - it is, after all, his show.)

Some punishments may include:

Vlad! - where the 'celebrity' is impaled to death to the chants of the live studio audience. ("VLAD! VLAD! VLAD! VLAD!").

Liberace! - where a huge grand piano is dropped upon the 'celebrity', instantly crushing them. ("LIBERACE! LIBERACE! LIBERACE! LIBERACE!").

Popcorn! - where the popcorn samba tune is played and the 'celebrity' is pushed in to a huge vat of boiling oil. ("POPCORN! POPCORN! POPCORN! POPCORN!").

Aaaaahhh. My sister and B.I.L are so on my wavelength. I love having them here.

01 November, 2005

Sorrow by Name, Sorry by Nature...

OBF (Other Best Friend) and I went to see a gig last night at that ultra hip but pleasantly grotty venue, La Scala in Kings Cross. The artist was Patrick Wolf, who at the age of 21 has already released two CDs.

When we arrived it took us a while to establish exactly which one was Patrick Wolf, as it appeared that every second person cramming to get nearer the stage had a fringe cut in a Patrick Wolf stylee. Obviously his fans are quite intense.

As, it seems, is Patrick Wolf. At 21, his voice is deep and rich, yet shrill when he wants it to be. He plays the piano, violin and ukelele with equal skill and his presence is quite commanding - I have read reports about him being bullied at school, feeling an outcast, etc and he did nothing to dispel these stories during the gig. In fact, he thanked his audience in such a heart felt way on several occasions (simply for being there) that even I, quite the cynic, felt protective of him. During one interlude he even made reference to him being "the boy at the back of the classroom", his dreams and how he couldn't believe he was standing there now.

OBF and I particularly loved his drama. He moved on stage in an interpretative dancing stylee - much like my friends and I do when we've had too much to drink. His arms were waved around; he made grand, overblown gestures and even hid under his hood on several occasions. His audience lapped it up - one man shouted out "Patrick Wolf - the ANTI Will Young!", which was met with a roar of approval from the surrounds.

The name of his first album, "Lycanthropy", refers to the act of a man turning into a wolf. Wolf is clearly incredibly intelligent and well informed, certainly a little odd. His music seems to be influenced by many and varied sources - English folk, Joni Mitchell, electronica, PJ Harvey being just a few. He's been described by the British press as a 'British Bjork'.

Not every moment of the gig was amazing - I didn't connect with every song; but equally, there were moments of complete genius.

Patrick Wolf has already amassed quite a dedicated fan base - but I think his best work is definitely yet to come.

31 October, 2005

Halloween is Happy

I have never really bought in to the whole 'Halloween' thing. Where I grew up it just didn't really matter as much. A few years ago, I spent Halloween with a friend in New Jersey and realised how much importance certain cultures place upon it! It was pretty exciting too, but still didn't encourage me to celebrate it in my own environment subsequently.

Something big happened for me last year on Halloween. I dumped my partner. We had been together for nearly two years, and if I'm to be completely honest, that was about 20 months longer than I should have stayed with him. The reasons behind that are complex (and probably not that interesting to anyone but me) so I won't bore you with that now.

After I left him though, many of my suspicions about his behaviour during our relationship were confirmed. The most significant being that he was/is a liar.

Even though I don't think I was ever truly in love with him, betrayal is something I don't deal with as an individual. It has also taken me a while to realise that that I wasn't all sweetness and light during the relationship either. In fact, I think I was pretty awful. As a result, it's taken me about this long to start feeling OK about who I am.

So for me, Halloween this year is a time for celebration.

"Good" not "God" Parent

Some years ago, two very close friends of mine asked me if I would be a "non-God parent" (none of us are religious) when they had children. I said yes unreservedly as I really love this couple and felt honoured to have been asked. None of us, however, were expecting for them to have triplets.

After they were born, my friends decided to leave London (they lived in a 2 bedroom apartment on the top floor of a building in central London with no elevator.... 5 flights of stairs with three babies is an interesting concept...) due mostly to the fact that they couldn't afford to continue living here with five mouths to feed instead of two.

So they moved to Sheffield, where they first met at university. Nearer their parents, a relatively diverse city, etc. It hasn't been a smooth ride, they both miss London and their friends immensely, and often feel that people there don't 'get' them.

My weekends spent with them in Sheffield are always pretty surreal, thought I'd share some images from this one. In case you're wondering... the bed and the dolls are actually in the room I slept in. Let's just say it took me quite a while to get to sleep. And when I woke, I had a facial tic.

28 October, 2005

Can a heart still break after it's stopped beating?

I was quite disappointed with Tim Burton when I went to see "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" a couple of months ago. I thought he would have done much more with the amazing Roald Dahl story and that he missed the mark slightly with the characterisation of Willy Wonka (played by Johnny Depp).

So it was with a certain amount of trepidation that FBF (Flatmate/Best Friend) and I went to see Tim Burton's "Corpse Bride" last night at the cinema. I was also very excited about it, having loved "The Nightmare Before Christmas" so much.

And I'm very pleased to report that I loved the movie. In my opinion, it is exactly what Burton is best at. Gothic, spindly, sombre characters who seem to constantly face some type of twisted moral conundrum or the other.

The animation was beautiful, the characters were superb and the overall feel of the film was stunning. It was a perfect pre-Halloween treat, and I shall be buying it on DVD when it is released to sit neatly next to my copy of "The Nightmare before Christmas".

Oh, and I've decided that Victor Everglot is my boyfriend of the week. Sorry Haruki, you've just been dumped. "Kafka on the Shore" was good, but not the masterpiece I'd hoped for. Anyway, Victor and I look better together. We're both long and spindly.

26 October, 2005

Tuesday night filmfest

Last night I watched two films on DVD, the first was Todd Solondz's "Palindromes".

I love Todd Solondz. His films make me laugh so much that I cry. Perhaps that's the point?

Peter Travers from the Rolling Stone said: "Solondz likes to put the screws to moral hypocrisy. As always, he goes too far. As always, you don't want to look away."

"Palindromes" for me, was no exception. A few of my uncomfortable laughter moments follow:

1. Mother: "Am I terrible mother?"
Aviva: "Everybody makes mistakes."

2. Aviva: "Can you still get pregnant when it goes in there?"

3. Girl at Mama Sunshines': "... I don't remember any of this. But this is what I found out aftermy mother overdosed, choking on her own vomit."

4. Boy at Mama Sunshines' (said in a cheery, exciteable mood): "... I'm Carlito! I'm epileptic!" (others laugh heartily)

5. Mama Sunshines' singers (sung in a pop song stylee): "Nobody else could ever love you this way... Nobody eeeelse but Jesus!"

6. and another by the fabulous singing group (again sung in a Britney Spears stylee): "You gotta fight for the children, you know they would fight for you!"

I understand that decontextualised, these quotes are going to make me look like a complete weirdo. Oh well. Never mind.

The second movie I watched was "Spongebob Squarepants: The Movie". Again, pure genius. My very favourite scene was when Patrick Star the starfish was in fishnet tights and hooker boots towards the end.

I love Patrick. "Did I miss something? Did you see my butt?!"

24 October, 2005

Monkey Magic

FBF (Flatmate/Best Friend) and I decided to get out of London on the weekend. Sometimes it just has to be done. We did, however, have a very specific place we wanted to visit... Monkey World.

FBF has been obsessed with this show called "Monkey Business" on TV for some time now, set in a monkey sanctuary in Dorset that rescues monkeys from all over the world and bring them back here to be rehabilitated in to social groups. Many of the apes have been in extremely dire situations - some of them are used as photographers props, or in the case of Spanish 'Beach Chimps' are dressed up in human clothes and made to work in tourist resorts. There large canine teeth have often been crudely removed so they can't harm people and have often been badly abused and beaten by their human owners.

When FBF first started watching this show, I'll admit that I wasn't convinced. Monkeys?! I mean, whatever. But over time, I've grown to become quite attached to various chimps in the sanctuary, and their keepers (who are all so tirelessly dedicated). In fact, I even "adopted" a chimp for FBF's recent birthday so she is now a very proud mother of a young chimp called Seamus. (unfortunately he doesn't really look like FBF... quite a bit more hairy).

When we walked in to Monkey World on Sunday, I can't tell you how excited we were to be seeing these 'stars' in the flesh. We saw FBF's child, Seamus - who was incredibly naughty but looks like he will grow in to quite the alpha male (and wasn't FBF proud); Charlie - who was a photographer's prop in Spain and when he first arrived at Monkey World was a drug addict, had a broken jaw, cataracts, and only four teeth; Mike - one of the keepers who is often featured on the show; and of course... Gordon the Orangutan, who is quite a favourite in our place also.

We were both suitably starstruck and walked around with huge grins on our faces. Both of us have sighted a variety of 'celebrities' during our time in London, but none have incited the same level of excitement as these little critters. People may think we're dorks, but hey. What do I care? For us, it was a supercool day out.

A fantastic added bonus was that where we stayed in Dorset was incredibly near the coast.

Having grown up by the sea, I miss the ocean terribly living in London. Being landlocked creates demons in my brain sometimes I think... It just frees me instantly to look out over the ocean, hear the waves and smell the salt of the sea.

And what a coastline. The coast near where I grew up is long, white sandy beaches... but Dorset was amazing white cliffs, so stark and dramatic - I was awestruck.