Sunday, March 30, 2008
I have been getting more and more into the independent and less blockbuster movies and seeing more and more art and foreign films. Recently there has been ‘No Country for Old Men’, ‘Lust Caution’, ‘The Kite Runner’ and 'Juno' etc. I haven’t even contemplated seeing The Spiderwick Chronicles which I would one have been out to see like a shot. I am not saying I am becoming a snob or some movie buff, just giving you the background. I am going to discuss the films backwards.
The last film we saw (with hotdogs – I am having cravings for food I wouldn’t touch lately, maybe am up the duff) was ‘The Orphanage’ a Spanish horror movie. Mr B hates horror movies but speaking fluent Spanish the movie was sold. I have not jumped in a film like I did in this one in ages. The story is set around Laura (the brilliant Belen Rueda) who buys the old Orphanage that she was brought up in with her husband and son. Once she does she awakens old memories and history and strange stuff starts to happen. Ominous. The film is being compared to The Others and while it has the acting and great story (the aren’t the same story) they are actually nothing alike. Belen is an amazing actress and by the end you really care what is going to happen (Mr B got a little lost) and it really, really makes you jump. Really good escapist horror.
The first film we saw was a last minute choice after seeing the trailer on Youtube. ‘Lars and the Real Girl’ is possibly my favourite movie of the year; ‘Juno’ could be joint or second, undecided still. It tells the story of Lars whose mother died during childbirth and in his adulthood he gets the mental illness ‘delusion’. He has a problem with people touching him and has never had a girlfriend, so he orders one on the internet, a plastic one called Bianca. The film is about how he, his family, friends and a whole town react to this.
This film is laugh aloud funny, heartbreakingly sad and genuinely touching with a brilliant storyline. The acting is fantastic. Ryan Gosling plays the mentally unwell Lars with depth, compassion and honesty. Paul Schneider is brilliant as the brother who firstly is baffled and then goes through a wonderful set of emotions. However for me British actress Emily Mortimer was wonderful as Lars’s loving and just wonderfully supportive sister in law. The other people who deserve credit for such an amazing movie are Kelli Garner who is the fabulously geeky and sweet ‘Margo’ and Patricia Clarkson who plays the brilliant psychologist ‘Dr. Dagmar’. There are also some brilliant small roles that make the movie in the shapes of the office receptionist and elderly ladies of the village. This is a movie that will make you laugh cry and feel the cinema with that warm glow. A brilliant, brilliant movie.
Friday, March 28, 2008
You do strangely feel like you are in the centre of a whirlwind once it’s announced… in a nice way. Hang on let me think how to explain this. You’re caught up in your excitement and everyone else’s but you have to stay where you are both at without getting whirled off and lost with everyone else. No. Erm… this is a hard one. Ok, tips and handy hints I love, telling me what to do or what I think is right is wrong or taking control is a massive no. No that sounds mean. I will use today to help.
I met up with a friend this afternoon, she too is getting married in May, she too kept it a secret for as long as possible and the reason for the latter as she put it is ‘people asking if they can help is fabulous only watch out who you say yes to, people telling you that you HAVE to do this and you MUST consider this need to fuck off.’ She is so spot on. They don’t put these pitfalls in wedding magazines.
Mr B’s and my best women (Mitch and Muffintop) have been amazing. They constantly want to know how they can help, is there anything they can do. We went dress shopping with them and it was about what we wanted, we were all about what they wanted – it got complicated. That is the help I need, G has that help from her sister, who has gone crazy, in a good way. My mother (god love her) however has not been demanding but has told me when to have it ‘it must be that week because its half term’ and through a small fit when I mentioned I wanted the wedding on a Friday ‘well how selfish’. Well yes actually I am going to be selfish, it’s my bloody day.
Now, inviting people is a fucking nightmare in itself. G is having a massive affair that is getting more and more massive as in laws etc invite guests. Which she wouldn’t mind if they were offering to pay for them… in fact yes she would its her bloody wedding. It’s true though people forget that as well as it being your day, we don’t all have mummies or daddies who are footing the bill, and even if you do (we don’t) it doesn’t matter. It’s your day. This is my advice to everyone out there IT IS YOUR DAY!
I have had a few people say ‘so my partner is invited yeah?’ or ‘oh don’t invite my partner I know it’s expensive’. How about you wait until the fucking invites go out? No, I mean that in a nice way, but when you have a massive amount of stress on you as it is and you haven’t even sorted the guest list out yet because it could start World War III in your family or possibly kill off some of your friendships all you want people to say is ‘I am so excited your getting married’ not ‘are you sure its that day I need to reschedule some work/I don’t want to spend money on a hotel if your not sure’, ‘can you change the day I can’t make that’, ‘its so early I will have to be in London two nights, goodness’. You smile sweetly whilst inside screaming. Is this unreasonable of me? Am I becoming a Groom-zilla?
The ceremony and the dinner itself we want (not because we are tight, or mean, or awkward, it’s just what we want) to be really small, like I am talking tiny. My immediate family alone is 23 people, be 5 of them under 10, and when really the max we want is 40 its makes it hard. Really, really hard. I thought it would be a breeze, I was wrong. The party at night we want everyone there, we really do. I know however some people will see it as a slight if they aren’t invited for the whole day or a rejection. It’s a logistical nightmare. I will stop moaning and ranting sorry. I will say Cinderella never seemed to have this problem, or Snow White? However, they are fairy tales. Oh and Snow White did have that problem of being in some apple induced coma, so I let her off.
It was good to sit with someone who is going through the same boat as me, I also found it interesting that she wanted to talk about my wedding till the cows came home and not hers and I was vice versa. Oh the vow scripts arrived in my inbox today, ready to be rejigged by ourselves so it’s personal to us individually and our day… but that’s a whole other story and a whole other blog.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Mr B actually asked me late last spring. I instantly said yes and I just knew he was the one; we hadn’t been together massively long so we decided after telling everyone that we would have a long engagement and get hitched in the summer of this year. As time grew nearer we changed or minds for lots of reasons (life is too short mainly). Now Mr B is from Brazil, so everything we did had to do had to be inline with the Home Office. This is where the bumps started. I had only told my closest friends and family about the wedding plan up to this point as we knew we could be rejected.
We saw a solicitor got it all sorted and then bless the home office; they changed the law on the 28th of February making everything simpler but harder all at once (its really long winded). I got cold feet via rising stress, argued with some of my family, then we rowed a lot, I wasn’t getting the big fairytale thing I wanted (I have a severe Cinderella complex at times ha, ha) and it was off. Yep… drama!
After talking everything through we sorted ourselves out (they say marriage is one of the most stressful times of your life – I now have less than two months to sort everything out) we applied and bugger me last week we got our ‘Certificate of Approval’ now it’s all systems go. No it hasn’t been the most romantic of times (though one of my mates has said ‘the amount of stuff you have had to go through is actually very romantic – you must want to be together so much’, we do) and the fact you have people breathing down your necks is hard but now its booked.
Actually random story of homophobia at the venue yesterday… when we were going to give notice I mentioned something like ‘so with the notice does it have to be exactly 15 days before the wedding?’ I really am quite clueless in the whole rules and regulations, I actually thought only gay people have to give notice, and it is in fact everyone. Anyways… ‘It’s not a wedding is it Sir, I think you will find it’s merely a partnership’ the over made up old crow sneered. Its fine, I have complained and I have been told the matter will be dealt with. Just thought would add that strange moment in for you all. Least our registrar is much nicer, she is like a character from Kath & Kim ‘grrrrrreatch’.
So now all I have to do is sort out; cake, meal venue, late night venue, some dj’s, outfits for me, best women, bridesmaids etc, what our vows will be, erm… pretty much everything! Any tips from anyone? Please?
I feel bad have said nothing sooner, I just needed to know it was definite before started shouting from the rooftops. The event is going to be very small, close family and friends for the ceremony and dinner and then lots more people (we hope) for the big send off in the evening. Oh and it perfectly coincides with ‘A Diary of a Mad Groom to Be’ coming very soon to a Bent Magazine near you. Seriously though myself and Mr B are overjoyed yet slightly daunted by the time frame. Hang on? Shouldn’t that be myself and the soon to be Mr S! How queer that sounds!
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
So I woke up slightly hungover (thanks to the fabulous Lovers & Losers – more later) and it hit me, I was heading into my late twenties. ‘No problem’ I thought… and breathe no palpitations for the birthday bint. When I opened the four cards (bloody bank holiday post) one was from Gran, no Bong. They always say the first Christmas and birthday without someone is hard. I didn’t realise it would hit me like a slap around the face. I cried. And cried. And Cried.
I felt much better, until I remembered that thanks to my swallowed bank card I had no money, neither did Mr B, so we couldn’t do anything fun and I had no presents to unwrap. Fortunately Mr B had a small emergency fund which paid for a trip to the cinema to see Juno where we both cried. I kept telling myself that this was therapeutic. No cards cos of the post, Juno, no money, getting older, only a few calls, it was a low. I had Mr B though! I also had a hangover and looking back at the photo below which was part of the cause of the hangover I felt very happy.
The photo was taken when I was 26 years and 20 minutes old. It to me celebrates some of the best things about being 25 and some of the things I look forward to in the future aged 26. The photo is at Lovers & Losers last night in Trash Palace (on of my favourite haunts) hosted by two new people I met aged 25 and hope I can call friends; Paul Burston and Dom Agius (pictured) they also do Polari, through these events I have made some great new mates (you know who you are) and had some fun times. Yes FUN has been and will continue to be high on my agenda. Fun, fun, fun! Thinking of new things that have happened in the last year makes me feel positive, like my new career. So bring on being 26. It’s going to be a blast new people, new experiences, new ‘stuff’ I want it all. Plus something very exciting and life changing will be happening to me aged 26…
…More of that soon! What? I have to keep you guessing!
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Only four and a half hours later and we were awake again ready for the off, well I say ready Mr B doesn’t do 5 minute get up’s sadly. The taxi was early, Addison Lee sometimes being a little too prompt, and within minutes we were at the station, and a BIG drama happened as within 10 minutes I was in Kings Cross Station in tears.
I had forgotten to get out money to change at the Bureau Du Change so I went up to the (very grumpy and sleepy) man behind the counter who said the nearest cash machine was in Kings Cross. Now you would think when building what they are claiming is the ‘best train station in the world’ they might have thought to put a few hole in the walls in? Apparently not, I trundled to Kings Cross where my bank card got stuck (I asked people to help, they wouldn’t) and swallowed. I burst into tears. Fortunately Mr B had the emergency credit card… I was still in tears.
A cup of coffee later and I was feeling better, until the woman at customs decided to empty the contents of my bag (we so won’ mention some of the joys in there) and check as the fabulous ‘new Paris’ bag I had bought still had the gel shit in it that keeps it fresh and that they thought were drugs. Don’t worry it gets less dramatic until we come home from now on.
The Euro Tunnel was so smooth and fast (on the way there) I actually didn’t realise we had been through it. From rainy London we were suddenly in the delightful sunshine in Paris. Over the space of two days we had mainly sunshine with small bouts of drizzle, bloody painful hail and snow in Calais on the way back, more of the latter later.
By lunchtime I was sat with omelette and fries happy as a pig in the proverbial. I am sorry no one does omelettes like the French… no one! We had been on the metro the wrong way, up the Sacre Coeur and back down, all around Pigalle and its sex shops and we’d nipped into the Museum of Erotica – very insightful. I think Pigalle is now my favourite part of Paris; it’s got a Soho sort of vibe about it.
Onto the hotel The Hotel Royal Monceau http://www.royalmonceau.com/fr please do check the website out and especially the health spa, you don’t have to want to go there I just think it needs to be seen to be believed. The Hotel was wonderful the staff very friendly. Our bed was changed twice in the space of 5 hours and we hadn’t even used it the first time… honest! The bathroom was marble and basically it was heaven. Off up the Arc De Triomphe next, and then off to the Picasso Museum via several metro’s where we got lost.
We got lost the following day and I have to say it was two of my favourite parts of the whole weekend! Getting off the tourist trap and just loosing yourself in such a beautiful city is a rare treat. The Picasso Museum was sadly shut early which caused a slightly large bottom lipped sulk from me for all of 5 minutes before we found a Super Market and I found chocolate and crisps. Why in what was basically a Londis did they have more fun food of a much wider variety than my pissing massive Sainsbury’s down the road? I don’t understand. Mind you I also didn’t understand some of the flavoured processed cheeses that Mr B was eating as we made our way through the gay area of Paris. I call it a gay area, it was two pubs on a street, and we found another randomly the next day in a completely different area. They call it Gay Paris… why? It’s not remotely. A few bars does not make somewhere gay, I felt sorry for the French Poufs who only have that, not that I am a scene queen.
A delicious Crepe outside the Notre Dame, got lost again near St Michael found some great restaurants to come back to, back to the hotel. We had the spa to ourselves. For two hours Mr B and I jacuzzied, steamed, swam – the works. Pure decadence and I was so relaxed when I got out of there it was bliss. Back on the metro and off to find one of the nice restaurants, sadly they were all closing as it was now almost 11pm. The one that was open was… indescribable, sadly I didn’t have my camera at this point. Mr B had snails (disgusting), I had French Onion Soup (amazing) we shared Fondue. To cut a long story short I officially hate fondue. I had to find a supermarket on the Champs Elysees on the way back to the hotel.
The next day the start of 7am actually became 10am as we were both so knackered. We did a boat tour up and down the Seine which was beautiful. We were very lucky with some wonderful sunshine. We managed to get lost via all the designer shops and the Louvre before finding a lovely square near the Pompidou Centre to have lunch in before heading back to the Gare Du Nord.
A final farewell was had in a lovely Tabac down the road from the station. Oh, after being hassled by several homeless people. Now we get this a lot in London, it’s not so common in Paris though. Homeless people and beggars are around (there are a huge amount of drunks on the metro’s at night all seem much more harmless than in England, I don’t live there so cant comment) but very silently. I think it’s much more effective than the women outside the station who were literally in your face. Mr B got questioned to death at customs, I have never seen him so nervous ad upset. It was a lot of ‘what do you do’, ‘why’, and ‘how long for?’ made the last bit of his holidays a bit sadder though as is quite stressful.
My stress levels were next up on the agenda. Got on the Eurostar fine, it stopped just outside Calais for AGES! No explanation why, we thought it must be the masses of snow. Then it was onwards and into the tunnel where ten minutes in the whole carriage (probably the whole train) jumped at the scraping banging sound. We came to a short holt in the tunnel and I honestly thought something awful must have happened, I think everyone did by their faces. We were soon on our way again with no explanation. We got diverted at Ashford where the previous train boarded on to ours… very odd.
All in all an amazing holiday, we both think we might move out there now, we just didn’t want to come back.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
When I say it furthered my knowledge of Jarman the knowledge was sadly very limited. Now no longer so, I am much improved for it. I am not one of those gay men who says ‘woe is me I am gay and look how shitty life is for me’ I mean come on, I am very lucky to be in a family who are so not bothered about me being gay its fabulous, I can have a ‘civil partnership’ and I can adopt. Oh and I can kiss in public, not that I do but I don’t like that from anyone, gay, straight whatever. Get a room and get out of the path of my shopping mission.
I had never caged (I am not sure if I had been aware before or not) that gay men kissing was illegal until around 20 years ago. I also didn’t know who were responsible for this moving forward in the ‘public kissing movement it did’. Watching it on the screen I was moved deeply. As did the tale of Jarman and his HIV positive status and how he made himself a public figure who talked about his HIV status.
I have missed something, you see we got a private viewing of the gallery and the works but also of the documentary ‘Derek’ by Isaac Julien (see www.derekthemovie.com for more), who also put together the pieces of Jarman’s that have now been saved, some of which are on display at the Serpentine. You have to look at the beds on the walls. The rage and torment and sadness they convey is phenomenal!
Back to the movie… it was narrated by (and heavily featured) Tilda Swinton in the form of a letter that she wrote to him the day after he died of an HIV related illness. They had been friends for years and built a beautiful and creative friendship. It was her words and all the footage of the films he made, paintings he made, public speeches he gave that actually moved me to tears. You must go and see it whether you are an avid fan or have never heard of him – you will be converted, I have now ordered Sebastian, am going to go back to the Serpentine for the surround sound version of his movie ‘Blue’.
I found myself wanting to know this man, I am very sorry I will never get to interview him. Tilda says ‘I met you when I decided it would be fun to join Planet Jarmania for a while and see what happened.’ I left feeling that was exactly what I would have loved to have done. I must go and see Prospect Cottage and pay homage to him at his garden, he managed to grow plants in the grounds of a power plant where no one said anything could grow, just to see more of his life. So that’s that, do go you will be moved and in awe of this mans talents.
Another gay man I will be paying homage to this weekend is Oscar Wilde I am off to ‘gay Paris’ for a few days will report on all the adventures when I get back. Have a fabulous Easter one and all, if any of you have any suggestions of a good novel based in Paris do let me know. I have almost managed to finish devouring one of Jarman’s diaries!
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
I have noticed the following in the last few weeks alone;
- My stubble has grey in it
- My skin needs to be moisturised, I have always avoided this
- A couple of glasses of wine will get me pissed too easily
- Friday night with a good book and chocolates is my idea of heaven, not the club
- I like ‘dinners’ over a night of pub crawls
- My hangovers are getting worse (closer to mingovers)
- Wallowing in the bath is better than a quick shower and go
- I have started to say ‘aren’t they too young to be in here?’
- The words ‘oh that’s a bargain’ are pouring out more often than needed
- I have opened a savings account (this idea was abhorrent to me until recently)
- I get excited about appliances for the home, particularly the kitchen
Today however I feel ‘older’ I am shattered, serious bags under eyes. I have two social engagements tonight (The Jarman Exhibition and a new night ‘Work’ at Heaven) I currently just want to stay in bed. I have actually been out to the post office and Sainsbury’s – see that’s me happy – and am now in bed again. Yes, that’s right lazy sod. I should be doing some work and haven’t, the words won’t come. I had a small moment of self pity in Sainsbury’s when all I was buying was meal for ones and cat food. The woman looked at the bags under my eyes and me with pure pity and a slight snarl! Bitch! She doesn’t know the real me! Mad me feel worse though, good customer service.
I have no problems with getting older (except for when I feel it). I have been reliably informed by my mother (now 42) ‘your teenage years are all hormones and horniness, twenties its freedom and fun, thirties are fabulous, forties are divine’ that to me sounds great. I have problems with the idea of getting old and not having accomplished each year what I intend to but no one wants to feel they waste their life do they?
Have made my decision, am going to get off my arse stop feeling sorry for myself and celebrate these last days of 25! I shall go to the Jarman Exhibition and then ‘Work’… but I will get the last tube, just so can have an early night.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
I have freeview again, thanks to the joys of my second trip to the supermarket this weekend, I have happily plugged in my new box after the last one popped (and died) two weeks ago to this very day. Really I should change the title of this blog to my week without TV as the first week I did watch some DVD’s and when was up north quite happily dipped into some serious TV ogling with Alice. This second week after a dare from Mr B I have avoided all telly there’s no money on it, just the interest of how I cope. I said fine, after all I am not telly addict. I have not been allowed to watch any DVD’s, no iPlayer or other internet demand TV. This is how I have gotten on.
Sunday – Bar the fact that I am missing Most Haunted I have no major sulk, after all I did have a serious OD of Most Haunted only three days ago, it still irks me that I have missed an episode I have never seen that I could. Ho hum, there is always next week. Have an evening of phoning all the family and some friends, bath, bed and book.
Monday – No Bent work, normally would possibly watch an old classic movie like ‘Pillow Talk’ or ‘All About Eve’ on a no Bent day to break up my writing. Write for two hours then hit a small brick wall. Manage to get lost in Facebook for over an hour and myspace too. Feel like rebelling and going on Youtube but bar the Madonna video finally being aired I have agreed I won’t do that. Read. Pop out for a mooch round the shops, write for another hour, finish off book.
Tuesday – Busy all morning – good. Interview cancelled for the afternoon. Bugger. Am going out in the evening so it’s fine. Type up the morning’s interview, followed by a nice long soak in the bath, have realised like baths more than showers, feel have learnt something. Have several pointless MSN conversations. Go to Polari. Muffintop is asking me if saw that great show on TV last night? I have to restrain myself from beating her over the head with the Pizza Hut pan.
Wednesday – wake up early and hungover, have stupid breakfast thing so writing will have to wait a few hours and can’t concentrate on new book. Once home from ‘breakfast’ stay in some sort of no mans land staring at the ceiling and out of the window until it is time for my lunch date. This fabulously goes on for over 2 hours. Get home, play with cat, after an hour or so she gets freaked out, why is Simon spending so much time with me in one go? I do play with her and love her a lot, but normally while I am typing or relaxing on the bed… with the TV on. Maybe just maybe I like the telly a little too much? I am always telling people ‘nah I don’t watch that’ or ‘oh I gave up with that, have stopped watching it’ – so why now am I missing it so? Torchwood, I realise.
Thursday – Editor gives me some add-ons for this month’s issue. Keeps me busy for an hour or so then manage to type over 2,000 words of my book. Feel very accomplished and begin to think ‘who needs TV’. As Stephen King says in On Writing (which I finished last night) TV is the biggest problem for a writer. I think ‘pah all 41+ channels who needs you, I have some great stories going on in my head.’ Go out to the Jodie Harsh Birthday party get very drunk. Come home do blog and stick my tongue out at the TV feeling very pleased with self.
Friday – The hangover is unbearable, too much free drink. The fact I realise I missed Dawn porter on BBC3 and cant watch the repeat on TV or the internet even more depressing. I don’t want to go out, write or read. The TV looks at me, what I would kill for a ‘Hettie Wainthrope’, ‘Rebus’, ‘Inspector Morse’, ‘Agatha Christie’ or even a goddamn ‘Emmerdale Omnibus’ and I gave up soaps a year ago. What’s more I look at my diary… nothing down to do. Fortunately ‘the ex’ calls seeing if I am free this afternoon for a late lunch. I could kiss him. By 7pm am sat back in the flat, the TV jeering at me. I get in the bath with Stephen King and get immersed.
Saturday – Mr B and I spend a rare Saturday morning and afternoon together. Lovely. Only in the afternoon he really wants to watch TV. I find this cruel. He knows I can’t watch anything and he is the one who bloody dared me. He goes through the DVD’s and is going to slip one on, I go mental. He changes his mind, wise move. (I have some big news on me and Mr B – will tell next week when is sorted.) He leaves and I get typing for a few hours. Having done my daily minimum. Put on some music, and try to relax. End up in long silly msn chats so decide it’s a waste and have a bath. No one on MSN when out of bath, feel sulky and a bit bored. Read, read and read. Feel better. Open the Guardian and see The Guide fall out, full of all the things can look forward to next week… and all the fabulous things have missed ‘Most Haunted’, ‘Torchwood’, ‘Dawn Gets…’ and ‘Love Soup’. Through said Guide across the room.
Sunday – all feels well it’s plugged in; I don’t actually want to watch anything though. Maybe watch the Dancing on Ice Final and definitely Most Haunted, maybe a mid afternoon movie with Mr B? Other than that its no great shakes, it’s just nice to have there if I need it, plus have written more this week than ever. Plus after all as I said I’m not addicted, you just miss what you had when it’s gone.
Next week Simon gives up caffeine and the internet – as bloody if!
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Possibly one of the ugliest buildings that I have ever seen and the nation seemed to agree as it was voted one of the top ten building to demolish – they still haven’t. There is something distinctly ominous about it, something wrong. My little sister Mim says it reminds her of something out of Doctor Who, she’s not wrong! Would make an interesting setting for a story, maybe?
I always like to go to the Tandem Centre if am shopping, now one of the first shops of I will pop into (and never buy anything from – have seen a fabulous ‘Mr Lazy’ t-shirt today) now you look at these jackets…
Do you think they deserve to be the price they are labelled at? (I have the feeling its a cock up!)
They Have Bastardized Enid Blyton
This really upset me today. Really, really, really upset me. I have banged on about book covers before; these are shocking and make it look really, really cheap. I am all for getting children to read but this is a disgrace. She is part of our heritage and shouldn’t have her covers cheapened to make her look like she wrote computer games.
Now Just What The Heck Is One Of These?
I will admit I might have released a little snigger, I just wasn’t expecting my local party shop to be advertising one of these. I now want to know what one is, am a little frightened of googling it though. Should I be upset I missed out on having one? All I got through puberty was spots and mood swings.
There is that saying that you never see pigeon chicks… I have today. We were walking from the lovely Merton Abbey Mills market after a light lunch when we heard some tweeting; we had a nosey and look what we found!
So that’s that, a random and possibly pointless set of snap shots into my world today! Promise a more interesting blog next time. Sometimes though we should just take stock of the little things in life, or maybe I am just being too deep?
Thursday, March 13, 2008
When I got there it was like walking onto the set of The Devil Wears Prada. They were practically sniffing out my Primark attire as a hound on the hunt for a fox. To say I didn’t fit in with half the people there was an understatement. I wasn’t female, blonde, dressed in the latest designer gear with a handbag worth over £1,000. My man bag was over £100 so I felt I could gain one gold star for that maybe… as it turned down not so. ‘Have you seen her Chanel bag? Oh it’s ghastly, more money than taste that one’ said a blonde thing looking at around £2000 worth of bag in question. I had my stuff put in the cloakroom without hesitation. The good things were the breakfast with Champagne (could get used to that) and the free jewellery especially as it’s a brand I actually like.
Wednesday also saw me late lunching with the hilarious Scott Capurro. I have not laughed that much in ages, pant wettingly funny. Fortunately not literally as I don’t think the people at Patisserie Valerie would have been very impressed. He is doing the Soho Theatre as of next week and if you get the chance please, please go as he is genuinely funny and though people seem to think he is ‘too out there’ if you pay attention to what he’s saying you will laugh and sometimes agree. Check out http://www.scottcapurro.com/ for more info!
Today has been a day of 2,500 words of ‘Untitled’ which is very, very pleasing though I know am going to have to go through and edit the bugger at some point, not until the end though I need to get it all out and on the page.
Late this afternoon I had an interview with the delightful Kerry Ellis. She plays the Wicked Witch of the West (Elphaba) in Wicked, which is what it says and is off to Broadway shortly with the role. I am doing a ‘West End’ feature for Bent. Lovely lass, very open and genuine, we had a nice cuppa in her dressing room. Was odd going into the theatre I used to work at and having a nosey at how the other side lived.
DD had kindly invited me to be his plus one at Jodie Harsh’s Birthday Party. Boy does Jodie know how to put on a good bash. Love Circus and loved this event, was like a real life edition of OK! Magazine in there, I want a ‘Harsh is my Home Girl’ t-shirt as was sulking didn’t get one. Now it’s gone midnight and I am off to bed with Stephen King before a gorgeous 4 days off! Phew!
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
One of the things I try and pride myself on not doing is name dropping (you'll have to excuse me on this count now and again when its just too exciting), when your job is interviewing celebrity’s, authors, singer’s and the like and people ask you about your job I try and mention it in passing, or if I loved them I will rave about them, I am aware they are not my friends and its professional (though I have been lucky to befriend a few) and out of all the people I have interviewed so far the one who has everyone, I include myself, the most excited has been Janet. Or as one of my friends likes to call her ‘Saint Janet’ along with ‘Saint Sarah’ and ‘Saint Yvette’ – you get the idea.
I think it’s the fact that she was a part of so many peoples childhoods that I know. So when she left a voicemail on my answer machine I stored it to play people and the same with texts. You probably all think I am very sad right now. So when I met her in Starbucks (glamorous) I actually for a few seconds didn’t know what to say. She was however wonderful, lived up to all I could dream, really open, happy to camp it up and talk about leaving Blue Peter – she left controversially as she was pregnant with out being married. I have the truth… you’ll have to wait for the interview. The polari link? One of the questions was about it and she knows her lingo.
So Polari Part 2… my second night at Polari in Soho’s Green Carnation was a joy.
Last month it was Stella Duffy, who read from her latest novel ‘The Room of Lost Things’ (which I have blogged about previously) this month it was the author Christopher Fowler. His latest book was ‘Old Devil Moon’ he chose to read some new unpublished stuff which was autobiographical and made us laugh out loud in parts. Paul and Dom were as usual the hosts with the mosts and it was a delight to see them and catch up with them both. The music was great, I have now downloaded Neneh Cherry’s ‘Raw Like Sushi’ and Mike Oldfield’s ‘Moonlight Shadow’ – thank you for the recommendations Dom. Was also great to see ‘Madame’ as ever. All the literary stuff has gotten me even more determined to push the ‘Bent Book Group’, my editor needs more convincing!
Took Muffintop for her debut and she loved it, she was so excited we had to rush our Stuffed Crust Pizza Hut. She was made very welcome, as everyone is, and we got down to some good old chair dancing! She was very taken with both the décor and the DJ’s. Fun was had by one and all!
Sunday, March 09, 2008
‘Amora’ is a fairly new exhibition that looks into sex, sexuality and the like. Right up my street for the column and something that fascinates me. I am not shy of the subject; let’s leave it at that as I know some of my family read this. I will say one thing I do think everyone be they 16 – 90 straight, gay, whatever deserves to have a full sex life that they want be it lots, none or… erm, somewhere in the middle? It’s not like you have to broadcast it to the world, but should you want to that’s your choice, I am now going off on a tangent.
The idea of Amora is that you discover more about yourself, how you work, how your partner works. These are through various ‘touch’ zones, some footage and lots and lots of information which is very easy to digest. There was a slight stumble on arrival, and that was the fact my contact had forgotten to tell the management I was attending. The staff are so friendly though and within a few minutes I was in with the walkie talkie (I did make a point that it shouldn’t JUST be a breathy seductive woman) to my ear ready for ‘my journey’. And it truly is just that it’s a journey from body language and dating to the final act and relationships and making love last. I am not going to go through everything (there is an Orgasm Tunnel) as you should go on the journey yourselves. I will say it’s NOT pervy or uncomfortable, and not like someone suggested some sort of orgy! You could go on your own or take your partner. Most of all its FUN! Check the picture below, I was looking slightly bemused.
The Duty Manager and I got talking at the end in the shop and they are doing courses for all sexualities. (They have some really interesting facts and information on gay and bi-sexual relationships as you go round.) They are massage, confidence etc. The things I firmly believe in and well I never something they may want me to be involved in! Randomly I may be helping on these now, I’ll keep you posted! Apparently Head Office called me a Sexpert – once the confusion of who I was and where I was from was sorted. I don’t think the title is quite me but hell; I’ll wear it with pride.
Saturday, March 08, 2008
She opened with ‘Modern Timing’ a fan favourite which merged into ‘The Time Is Now’ it started very simply with just her in a funky suit bowler hat and a guitar and bass. As soon as the next single ‘You Know Me Better’ started she was off, and so were the audience. It was like a festival of sight and sound, dramatic and just mind blowing and all with just her a band, backing singers and a screen.
She sang another Moloko track ‘Forever More’ which I had forgotten how much I loved, ‘Sow Into You’ and ‘Ramalama (Bang Bang)’ from the first solo album ‘Ruby Blue’ other than that it was a real showcase for the jaw droppingly brilliant album ‘Overpowered’. The audience (and what an audience it was, I felt like I was in Fire or Trade in Vauxhall – oh and Tracey Thorn was there, love her, as were Lady Lloyd and Kanye West) lapped it all up particularly the title track, the last single ‘Let Me Know’ and the amazing, amazing ‘Movie Star’.
Not only does Roisin have an amazing and unique voice but her presence on stage is perfection. The costumes are fantastic with hats and edgy dresses being the name of the day and I was literally blown away. Am just slightly scared about interviewing her in a few weeks now! I think I will have stage fright, something she clearly doesn’t.
Friday, March 07, 2008
Arrived yesterday early to find Alice already cooking pasta and tomatoes, yes a random craving at 10.30am, this was followed by one for a Breakaway which was caused after I was talking about booking a small ‘break away’ we couldn’t find one sadly so she had to make do with a Twix or something! Hang on do Twix still exist? I haven’t seen any in ages!!!! We then had a Pizza Hut craving today, only with no cheese, the mind boggles.
We did shopping yesterday until afore mentioned morning sickness (or as Al is calling it ‘all day sickness’) took hold in Manchester Town Centre and we went home. I had needed to get the new Stella Duffy book ‘The Room of Lost Things’ after giving my copy to me mum, more on Stella later. We then had a night of M&S ready meals – so good, so not good for you, especially as we had that horrifically calorie filled Bread & Butter chocolate pudding that was simply deliciously wrong – and watched Most Haunted at our home town of Matlock Bath. It was filmed in ‘the Pav’ where my Mum and Dad met at a school disco. Interesting? Then we watched a mutual favourite ‘Dawn Gets…’ good god I love that show.
Today was an early showing of ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ followed by Pizza Hut. The film is good but not as good as the book (they rarely are) all the acting is top notch. If you like a good corseted romp it’s for you, if you want historical facts let yourself have your boundaries of ‘fact’ pushed. I nearly missed the train back and before I knew it I was back in London.
I would have had my usual ‘I miss the north’ blues, had it not been I was meeting the delightful author Stella Duffy for coffee and an interview and catch up. I had seen her at Polari last month and really liked what she had read and so wanted to get her in Bent. (There is a good gay story in there!) She was delightful, very warm and friendly and really happy to tell me the ins and outs of publishing (and give me some tips) and I had a really lovely time. Loving her work. I almost didn’t want to leave for the opening of ‘Movieum’. I am half way through ‘The Room of Lost Things’ and think it is worth while having on any bookshelf… plug, plug, plug! He he! I won’t give much away check it out on Amazon etc and get it. I know something deeper is going on than you first think, well I feel it is, and the characters and descriptions of the life in South London are brilliant.
After that met Muffintop at Embankment for the ‘Movieum’ opening, it’s a new exhibition on at the big building near The Eye – cant remember the name. It’s, as you may have guessed, all about the movies and saw us drinking a bit too much champagne and having a bit too much fun with the dummies of Superman, Judge Dredd, and Batman etc . Now am home, a little tiddly and feeling like have done a bloody lot!
Thursday, March 06, 2008
“Well let him sleep…” Daddy replies, sounding as weary as the child is quite apparently feeling.
“You’ll have to sit over there” Mummy demands looking at the chair on the opposite side of the carriage. She then looks at Daddy conveying ‘don’t mess with me right now, if you do our child will have a very traumatic and unhappy childhood and I will never have sex with you again’ in a single simple glance. Mummy wears the trousers, especially after the pain and suffering of child birth only four months ago to bare him a son as she insisted on telling him and everyone else as they got onto the 9.35 train from Euston to Manchester. “Go on… move; our little prince needs his space to sleep.”
Daddy moves with his Financial Times to the opposite chair like a man beaten before a battle has begun. He looks at the three men already sat where he joins them; all three make some kind of effort to act like they haven’t seen the whole conversation, the train journey soap opera as it unfolds. The man sat next to him looks absentmindedly out of the window; he is around 50 money to burn with both an iPod in his ears and an iPhone in front of him. He has no wedding ring. Daddy imagines him to be a bachelor, has a penthouse in Chelsea and sees children as a hindrance to his happy spoilt life. He’s not far wrong for the business man in question has been glaring at the shrieking child for the last five minutes.
The man in front of Daddy has been desperately trying to get some shut eye too from a night of drunken debauchery and if Daddy is not mistaken he can still smell the beer on him. It’s been too long since he was last allowed a beer, Mummy would kill him, he almost tuts forgetting that Mummy is sat next to him and frantically turning off the over head lights and shoving a Winnie the Pooh blanket over babies head, ‘our little prince clearly needs the dark to sleep too’ Daddy thinks.
Over his Financial Times he catches the eye of the man opposite, mid twenties, who has been watching the whole thing whilst multi-tasking reading a new hardback novel and making notes of some kind. He smiles looking slightly embarrassed, Daddy smiles back feeling embarrassment of another kind. The baby finally appears to be asleep, Mummy is engrossed in ‘The Perfectly Well Rounded and Happy Baby” or such like that Mummy has seemed to by a bookshop of. Daddy gets engrossed in the latest mergers and acquisitions.
“Daddy” snaps Mummy.
“Eh?” Daddy had forgotten baby and Mummy were even on the train, he was back to those stress free journeys up and down the country for meetings. He had hated them then what he would give to have them now.
“Daddy aren’t you listening to Mummy?”
“What time did he go to sleep?”
“Sorry?” He isn’t sure whether this is a trap.
“What time did he go to sleep?”
“Erm” he feigns looking at his watch, he hasn’t a clue, looking at Mummy’s piercing eyes “…about 5 minutes ago.”
“More or less” as soon as the words come from his mouth he knows he had made a mistake, he can almost see the steam coming from Mummy’s ears.
“More or less, I’m sorry? Did you just say more or less?”
“I would say” he looks at his watch as the sweat starts to appear on his forehead “at 9.42.”
“Would you say 9.42 exactly?”
“No.” There is a temporary silence at this point.
“Do you care about this child?” Mummy is clearly furious she gets a worn notebook from her handbag; her voice rises with the following sentence. “I need to keep an exact log of the times he sleeps and wakes. So far he hasn’t had enough. All I ask is you take an interest… don’t you try and interrupt me. This is our son, this is his future, and his childhood is so precious. You don’t care do you, you just don’t care?”
The book is thrown in front of him. The daily lists of the last four months sleep patterns. In the action of throwing the book and her raised voice at such a pitch Mummy has now woken the baby who starts to scream at a slightly higher octave than his mother. She grabs the baby, kisses him, murmurs words of love, he screams louder. She holds him like a bomb ready to go off and looks at Daddy. Daddy looks back helpless.
“Look at what you did.” Mummy hands baby to Daddy biting her lip in sheer vexation at her lesser half. “Take him and walk him around and calm him down. I think you can do that? Go on, off you go. Mummy needs some time alone.” She buries herself back in ‘The Baby That Never Cries’ or whichever title it is and refuses to make eye contact with Daddy, he no longer exists not until he has done as he has been told. She feels she is looking after two babies, the biggest being the most irritating.
Daddy holds the baby and gets ready to take him on a walk up and down the carriage, baby is still screaming. As Daddy manoeuvres round the table he catches the eye of the mid twenties guy over his book. His eyes say ‘good luck’ Daddy looks back eyes saying ‘I’ll need it, its going to be one of those days’. Mummy starts a new chapter ‘How Many Naps Are Too Many for Baby’ and gets comfortable pen in hand ready to make notes. She will get this right.
The man in his mid twenties was me; this all happened – the actions and the speech not the background of the thoughts and characters – on the train this morning on my way to Manchester. The notes being written were the ones I was making on the couple as it was so human and so real I knew I would want to remember it. So real, it almost seems unreal.
I regaled this story to Alice when I got indoors with a nice cup of tea. ‘Simon you nosey sod’ Alice said laughing at me.
“It’s not nosey, its observational, and its research.” That’s my defence and I am sticking to it!
Monday, March 03, 2008
As we always do (bar poorly and her man) Muffintop, Fimmy and I all went to Borders (its open until 11 hallelujah) to get the next book (Cormac McCarthy ‘The Road’) which is where my little rant will begin after I saw this…
I cannot stand books with film covers. I don’t know where this small rage has started and built up and built up I just cannot stand them. The thing is I am not alone; we had been discussing ‘Chocolat’ after I was raving about the film to everyone, yet I haven’t read the book. Muffintop said ‘I nearly bought that once but it had the film cover on the front and I didn’t want Johnny Depp feeding whatserface Chocolate like it was his phallus in front of my face on the tube’. And it’s true we do care about what people think of what we are reading even subconsciously, more of that in a minute.
From a marketing perspective I can understand that people might want to be seen reading the latest movie but why with a horrid vile cover, they are always so glossy it’s sickly. But then it cant be working as people aren’t buying them like people would, as you can see from the picture they are half price, and this annoyed me even more, where as the original covered version wasn’t. That’s madness!
…Back to the idea of book covers on the tube. I randomly had this discussion when I was interviewing Brit & Alex, they had read ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ and I made a joke of bet people know I am a puff reading that on the tube with its golden swirly writing and bodices. It’s true though. I always look at what people are reading. I mean if I saw someone reading a Mills & Boon I would automatically start making assumptions about them (not necessarily bad ones – I have read a few, shush don’t tell anyone) or if I saw someone reading a mammoth book on war I would do the same.
I remember getting tutted at on the tube once by the lady sat next to me (who looked very much like she could do with reading what I was) as she had obviously been noseying at what was on my pages. I was currently reading Abbi Lee’s ‘Girl With A One Tracked Mind’ as I have been researching sex blogs, she must have thought I was a right pervert especially as the page I was on was quite, erm, to the point. She shouldn’t have been reading over my shoulder should she?
The same goes for my bookshelves too. I want fabulous covers that make everyone want to read the books I own, not the latest Hollywood star. I know authors feel the same in fact Stella Duffy did a blog about how important the shape of the key was on her cover and what images of London to use. I have bought books based on covers before, we all have. I have also not bought books for the same reason and quite possibly missed out on some gems.
People say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but sorry in the literary sense… frankly I do! Right, rant over!
Sunday, March 02, 2008
So what did we do this weekend? It started a little chaotically with Mum & Co catching an early train but trains being trains they got diverted via reading after a freight train over turned, a trip that should have had them arriving at 11am meant they actually got there at 1pm, which was the time they would have been here. I was secretly quite glad after waking up at 10am with a vile, vile, vile hangover (thank you Mr W) after getting in at 5am this morning absolutely off my face! I still had half the house to clean! I then randomly chose to not get the Northern Line and change to Paddington, but get the district from Wimbledon. I didn’t realise the district line was part closed so was late!
We headed to the National Portrait Gallery as Mum wanted the kids to get some culture so we did one of those ‘kid’s packs’ I don’t know who enjoyed it more; Seth and Miriam or Mum and me? Learned lots and found some new favourite paintings. Felt very cultured. Seth was brilliant with a map leading us around the place, is it bad that other than to go to the shop for something for a friend I have been to the National Gallery once in my nine years of London, its something I am going to do more of.
We went to China Town to see all the lanterns but with the wind of the night before they had all come down so let the kids try their first ever Dim Sum which they really loved. They are so much more adventurous than I was at there ages. Then Mum collapsed, we don’t know what exactly happened, one minute we were walking to Borders the next mum was face down on the floor with a very worried Miriam. We think she tripped on a car tyre it was really scary and we both felt for a few minutes it was going to be an ambulance job. Mum being Mum she simply dusted herself off and calmly carried on. So I can’t get my dramatic streak from her. The prospect of a book store was just the tonic and we sat in the kids section before being unable to resist the urge to shop ourselves and she made me buy a book. Right when I am on a book ban (the house is becoming a library) by Mr B! (It was ‘Darkmans’ by Nicola Barker and was only bought as my Mum wanted the book thief and was buy one get one half price!)
Went to the hotel, Mum had a rest, the kids read. Miriam is turning into the book worm that her elder brother and mother both were at that age. I went shopping, we reconvened and Mum finally came to inspect the flat and taste my home cooking. She liked the flat she liked the cooking. I got full approval, a rare feat from my mother. As we were walking back Miriam was whispering to Mum she wanted to ask me a question. Me and Mum are similar in the fact we think people shouldn’t be scared to ask questions. So she said ‘Simon will you and Mr B get married?’ She’s always been funny about that, telling Flo our cousin (aged 7) off for saying Mr B was my boyfriend. I said ‘yes we might do’ Seth came out with a corker ‘who would be the bride’ me and Mum couldn’t stop laughing all the way to the hotel.
London Dungeon was great think Mum, Mr B and I enjoyed it more than the kids. Seth started crying at one point and got very scared, Miriam was fine until the Jack the Ripper part when it got a bit much. Seth started demanding to leave but as they had begged to go (and it costs a bloody lot) we dragged them through. Soon as he was out he said ‘that was brilliant’ kids eh?
Lovely Mother’s Day lunch in Little Italy, Seth devoured most of Mr B’s squid. The food was excellent and I recommend it to anyone, so many places can be ropey. Mum had originally stated she wanted to have a Knickerbocker Glory, but Miriam had pizza Bruchetta to start and a mammoth pizza for mains and we all had to finish those and Seth’s lasagne so it was a bit much. Then missed the train she wanted so made a mad dash to catch another. Now they have gone. Really miss them. Think Mum had a brilliant Mother’s Day though (have popped a picture of us both below), and if I am not mistaken may have had a tear in her eye as the train departed Euston.