He’s gone awfully quiet, hasn’t he?

As long-standing regulars will already know, I do occasionally go through phases of getting a bit fed up with blogging. It’s probably all part of that mercurial temperament which marks me out as a True Artist, or something. Or maybe it’s just that I can be a right precious little prima donna at times.

Anyway, when these phases come upon me, then I find that it’s best to ride them out, ditch the ridiculous “but my public NEEDS me!” guilt trip thing, and wait for the muse to return of her own free will, when she’s good and ready.

However, while I’m here: for those of you who used to read The World, Backwards, or who remember his guest spot on this blog from a couple of years ago, our old friend noodle vague (a.k.a Ferlin Husky, for ILMers) will be appearing, along with his missus, on BBC1’s National Lottery Come and Have a Go tomorrow (Saturday) evening from 19:45 to 20:35. No, I’ve never watched it either, but it appears to be an interactive quiz show (hosted by Julian Clary) where viewers at home can win the chance to be studio contestants the following week. I’m therefore assuming that noodle must fall into that category. Given the style and subject matter of his old blog, I am quite massively tickled by the incongruity, and shall therefore be glued to the set tomorrow, straight after Doctor Who.

Oh, hang on: K and I are out to dinner tomorrow evening with five-sheds “Bob”, Mrs “Bob”, Our Journalist Friend OldEngland and NewEngland (their old nicknames got such a high approval rating that I have decided to reinstate them). Well in that case, I shall be glued to the video at some hideously late hour of the evening after everyone else has gone to bed, a glass of malt whiskey in my hand, trying to drown out the sounds of K’s snoring in the room upstairs (it’s a lovely old cottage, but some of the sound-proofing is frankly crap).

Stuff which I would have blogged about this week, had I been minded to do so (and might still, so consider this an aide memoire):

  • An unfortunate encounter at the clinic.
  • The holistic versus the sequential mind, and why can’t I have a bit of both?
  • A 45 minute round trip for this?
  • A Freudian Slurp on the local news. (Actually, I have been expressly forbidden from writing about this.)
  • Ian McEwan’s Saturday: classic or dud?
  • Where did I get “that hat”?
  • In which a Selfridges employee thinks on her feet.
  • That twentieth anniversary in full.
  • That Bebo & Cigala concert in full.
  • That Rufus Wainwright concert in full. (Look, it’s in draft, okay?)
  • The two most recent Parallel Universe Top Twenties. (There’s a new Number One.)
  • New album purchases: that’s proper serious grown-up stuff, not trivial Pop Top 40 nonsense.

Tell you what. I know that far greater bloggers than I do this on a regular basis, but then I’ve never claimed to be an original thinker, so… if you want to vote for which one(s) of the above you’d like to read, then please leave a comment accordingly, and I’ll write up the most popular choice(s). That might be a good way of kick-starting the muse.

Actually, a quick copy and paste job wouldn’t kill me, would it? OK, so here’s this week’s Parallel Universe Top Twenty. (You’ll have to calculate last week’s missing chart by hand, I’m afraid.)

1 (2) Signs – Snoop Dogg ft Justin Timberlake
2 (14) Girl – Destiny’s Child
3 (1) The One You Love – Rufus Wainwright
4 (10) Banquet – Bloc Party
5 (-) Most Precious Love – Blaze ft Barbara Tucker
6 (40) Half Light – Athlete
7 (-) Love + Pain – Clor
8 (22) Crazy All The Time – 33hz
9 (9) Tied Up Too Tight – Hard-Fi
10 (17) Somewhere Else – Razorlight
11 (-) Gotta Be That Way – The House Of Love
12 (34) Refugees – The Tears
13 (-) 22: The Death Of All The Romance – The Dears
14 (-) Diamonds – Kanye West
15 (3) Avalon – Juliet
16 (31) Play The Hits – Hal
17 (16) Number One Spot/Get Back – Ludacris
18 (38) See About Me – Weird War
19 (-) Again – Faith Evans
20 (-) Love Is An Unfamiliar Name – The Duke Spirit
21 (-) Mockingbird – Eminem
22 (39) Debbie Loves Joey – Helen Love
23 (7) My Friend Dario – Vitalic
24 (8) Itch U Can’t Scratch – Junior Senior
25 (35) After Dark – Le Tigre
26 (4) 1-2 Step – Ciara ft Missy Elliott
27 (6) It’s Like That – Mariah Carey ft Fatman Scoop & Jermaine Dupri
28 (21) So Much Love To Give – Freeloaders ft The Real Thing
29 (13) Jerk It Out – The Caesars
30 (26) It Ended On An Oily Stage – British Sea Power
31 (-) Emily Kane – Art Brut
32 (23) Changes – Tahiti 80
33 (5) Believe – Chemical Brothers ft Kele Okereke
34 (-) So Long – Willy Mason
35 (30) I Like The Way – Bodyrockers
36 (-) No I – Raghav
37 (-) Lonely – Akon
38 (24) They – Jem
39 (18) Be Mine – Robyn
40 (-) The Negatives… – Hood

Yay, it’s a Bank Holiday! School’s out! Let’s all run wild and free! For three whole days! The sun is shining, there’s beer in the fridge and a song in my heart!

Bis bald, mes copains.

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We interrupt this mini-hiatus to bring you a special announcement.

At the risk of turning this blog into K’s East Midlands Media Diary, I thought it only right and proper to inform local readers that he can be seen on this evening’s East Midlands Today, between 18:30 and 18:55 on BBC1, talking about his business. There should also be something on the later local bulletin at 22:30.

(There was also something on the lunchtime news. I walked home to watch it/record it, but forgot my keys. Not having a terribly alert week.)

Oh yeah, the Stylus UK Singles Jukebox. This week, I get my chops round new releases from Battle, Black Rock ft Debra Andrews, Athlete, Destiny’s Child, Raw Bud vs Roni Size, The Tears, Le Tigre and Snopp Dogg/Justin Timberlake. Check the comments box for the remainder.

I’ve also created an archive of all my Stylus singles reviews to date, as it can sometimes be more interesting to read about singles once you have actually heard them for yourself…

It was twenty years ago tomorrow…

that this happened.

And twenty years ago on Thursday, on our first (and arguably only) Proper Date (since we were inseparable from that point forwards), K and I went to see Ivor Cutler in concert at Nottingham Playhouse. An unromantic choice, you might say; but I took the fact that K had even heard of Ivor Cutler – let alone liked him – to be a Very Good Sign Indeed.

It is therefore fitting that we commemorate this auspicious – and frankly astonishing – occasion (my previous record for a relationship was four months, and you could barely even count the fourth month as still being in a relationship) by attending another show. In just under an hour’s time, we’re heading off for London, in order to see the Cuban/Flamenco duo Bebo and Cigala at the Royal Festival Hall. This will not just be the duo’s farewell concert together, but also the last concert anywhere in the world by the veteran Cuban pianist Bebo Valdes.

We shall be spending tomorrow shopping for outfits, looking at pretentious contemporary art, and visiting a friend in hospital, before travelling up to Lincolnshire for a celebratory dinner à deux at the smallest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world (it only has three tables).

If you wish to raise a glass, then please do so after these few short words from our unwitting romantic benefactor, the great Ivor Cutler himself.

I ask you: twenty chuffing years. (That’s fifty in Gay Years, of course.) If anybody else says “role model”, I’ll personally throttle them. But, you know, I’m secretly quite proud.

Bloggers’ Disco – Megamix #6. (The last gasp.)

Our Bloggers’ disco has turned into something of a dance marathon, hasn’t it? Assuming that we start the dancing with the first megamix at 8pm, and play each mix in sequence, then the sixth and final mix won’t even start until 2.40 in the morning. So let’s take a look round the room and see who’s left standing.

OK, I can see that some of you are flagging a bit. So let’s have you all back on the floor for one more massed knees-up, culminating in an old favourite from 1990 which always, always has everyone dancing. (Is there anyone alive who doesn’t like this? No, thought not.)

With many of you starting to collect your coats and phone for cabs, the next two sections of the mix are designed to cater for two groups who have been given somewhat short shrift over the past few hours.

Firstly, the saucer-eyed Ravey Davey Graveys finally get a chance to make some interesting shapes with their hands, to a selection of Banging Choons. “What’s yer name? Where yer from? What’s yer URL? Top one!” Sadly, we couldn’t afford any smoke and lasers at our disco – but the three little coloured sound-to-light bulbs on the top of the right hand speaker are flashing away like no-one’s business. Cosmic!

Secondly, the group of disgruntled rockers on the plastic stacking chairs in the far corner, who have been moaning about how there hasn’t been any “proper” music all night, finally leap to their feet, put their pint glasses on the floor, stick their thumbs through their belt loops, and “bond” (in an entirely non-sexual way) to a selection of rock tracks old and new.

As the bar staff advance, J-cloths in hand, to wipe down the tables and lift up the chairs, the small remaining gaggle of diehards form a big circle, arms around shoulders, and bellow their lungs out to… well, you’ll see.

“One more tune! One more tune!”

One more tune it is, then. Even though the house lights are up, and the bar manager is jangling his keys impatiently. A disco classic, to send you off into the early morning (is it 4 o’clock already?) with a smile on your face and a “Best Disco EVAH!” post already drafting itself in your head.

Three links, all to the same file. Once they expire, you’re on your own – so check the comments box for offers of help.

Link one.
Link two.
Link three.

K’s week.

Remember that My Week article which I wrote for the business section of the Nottingham Evening Post in February 2004?

Well, it’s K’s turn this week. Local readers: if you go out and buy a copy of today’s paper, you’ll find the article somewhere towards the middle, illustrated with a little photo. Our Journalist Friend gets round to all of us eventually.

What a pity that – no doubt for reasons of space – Our Journalist Friend saw fit to excise the final sentence from the following passage:

Managed to get home just in time for another rapid turnaround before dashing off to the Theatre Royal for an evening of delicious double entendre courtesy of Round The Horne. Arrived late and had to slip in at the rear.

Well, at least he tried.

Post-purchase update: Hmm. It’s a nice enough photo in its own way, except that Our Journalist Friend has chosen a “library shot”, taken from The Era Of The Tufts. Consequently, you can see these little dollops of hair sticking out from either side of K’s neck, giving him the appearance of having Rhodes Boyson-style Victorian Dad mutton-chop whiskers. It’s a look, I suppose…

Stats whore.

Bah. This is what happens when you take your eye off the ball: a long-awaited Major Milestone, and I blinking well missed it.

Anyway. At some point on Friday, Troubled Diva served its 500,000th page view. That’s the second of the two figures on the main Site Meter summary page. (I know a lot of people prefer to use the “Visits” figure, but that always strikes me as rather artificial; a count of unique visits would be interesting, but not when it includes multiple visits from the same person on the same day. Besides, the second figure is bigger.)

Half-a-chuffing-million! I feel that a minor TV personality ought to be presenting me with a USB memory stick backup of the whole blog, dipped in gold paint, and mounted in a glass case on a bed of crimson velvet. With silver paint for 250,000 page views and, um, platinum paint for a million. (Hmm, platinum paint. Concept needs more thought.)