BlogDay 2005.

Apparently – and why wasn’t I told about this before, because you know what a good little joiner-in I am – there’s a gi-bloody-normous pan-global mass participation stunt going on today, by the name of BlogDay (via). The premise of BlogDay is that:

Bloggers from all over the world will post recommendations of 5 new Blogs, preferably Blogs that are different from their own culture, point of view and attitude.

Anything to spread the love, I guess. Or, more to the point: I was already planning to introduce two new blogs to you today, so why not add three more to the list?

So, if you’ll forgive me for paying scant regard to the “different from your own” part of the assignment, here are five blogs which I have never linked to before.

  • Argy Bargey. It’s always nice to be inspirational. This was created just yesterday, by no less a figure than The Other Gay One In The Office, as a direct response to my recent “I like staring at ladies’ bosoms” posting. As a result, I shall have to stop referring to him as The Other Gay One (which would have made a nice little acronym: TOGO), and shall instead use his new blog name of JP forthwith. Welcome to blogging, JP!
  • Reluctant Nomad. Although this was created over a year ago, following his three-week stint as a guest blogger on Troubled Diva, my erstwhile midweek drinking partner Alan has let it lie dormant until today. About bloody time and all! Welcome to blogging, Alan!
  • Anchored Nomad. He’s reluctant, and she’s anchored; how unfair life can be. Sarah lives in Chicago; she has a Portuguese husband; she’s rather partial to my podcasts; and I like the cut of her jib.
  • eachman.com. Anybody remember prolific.org? Well, this is where veteran Amsterdam blogger Caroline ended up next – and frankly, it’s a disgrace that I haven’t linked to it sooner. Caroline has been in this game since 1999, which makes her one of the First Bloggers Ever – and, when the history of our illustrious medium comes to be written, she will surely be remembered as The Inventor Of The Permalink. Oh yes! We have also spent a couple of very pleasant evenings together, supping beer and chuffing fags in one of the Irish bars on the Rembrandtplein. OK, so she absolutely loves U2 and Joss Whedon, and I absolutely do not – but diversity is key, don’t you think?
  • Guyana Gyal. But if you really want Cultural Difference, then this might be just the ticket. This blogger from Georgetown, Guyana has a style all of her own: a kind of African patois, which I find most evocative. Watch this one: she’s gonna make waves.

Naked Diva.

Oh, she’s such a tease. Today on Naked Blog, Peter deigned to supply us with sub-headings only. If we wanted the full post, then we would have to write it ourselves. There might even be a small prize. A Port Of Leith T-shirt, most likely.

Pity I don’t do T-shirts, except when hiking or gardening. Still, I never could resist a challenge…


Port In A Storm

Controversy reared its head in the Port yesterday, as Mary solemnly re-tuned the telly from the gee-gees (C4) to the rolling coverage of Katrina (Sky News). Howls of protest from the Star Wars end. Hie thee to the bookies, says Mary. Show some respect. (She has rellies in New Orleans, dinnae ye ken.) Scowls exchanged, at point blank range.

Down at the other end, two of my bingo ladies had wandered in. Flushed with success from a modest win, they were already onto the second gins. And we all know what gin does. Makes a girl maudlin, see.

So there they were, moist-eyed supplicants at the altar of Murdoch’s wall-to-wall disaster p*o*r*n, fishing in their bags for hankies, and wondering if there was a number they could ring for donations. Ever noticed that it’s always those who have nothing, coming to the aid of those who have lost everything? There’s your “community”, Tony.

As for this old girl, she just sat there betwixt the two camps, nursing her Guiness, biting her lip during the endless ad breaks. Accident insurance, mainly. Oh, the irony. Or if not that, then it was all shrill cross-promotional plugs, strictly for the benefit of that ghastly billionaire tyrant and his pushy mail-order bride. The rich serve only themselves. Sic transit gloria mundi.

On the jukebox, someone put on Led Zep. Cryin’ won’t help you, prayin’ won’t do you no good, when the levee breaks mama, you got to move. That shut them all up. Audible snuffles from the auld bikers in the corner. Oil prices through the roof, said the silent rolling ticker. Time passed.

My mam and my da taught me never to show emotion in public. Sign of weakness. So I had a wee blub when I got home, the wasps my only witnesses.

Much love to all who have been affected by this horrible tragedy.

Naked Ambition

Then the call came. Big media, wanting in on a slice of my estimable organ. The lure of mammon. The glint of greenbacks. LSD signs in the eyes – and we ain’t talking microdots, hon.

As older readers will know, we’ve been down this path before. Rocky road. Vale of tears. All too much for a white woman. Why, I can hear you all now. She’ll flounce before the ink is dry. No staying power, that one.

Que sera sera, as Dorrie’s mam used to croon, back when the world was young. Alea jacta est. (It’s Latin. Look it up in a book. You remember books, don’t you?)

Nineteenth Nervous Breakdown

Monday, September 19th. The date when yours truly makes his debut on the national airwaves. Oh, there’ll be none of that “community radio” tree-hugging hippy shite for me now. Strictly mass media, darlings. I’d love to tell you more, but wild horses and all that. (And, more to the point, legally binding non-disclosure agreements. These boys and girls leave nothing to chance.)

So, will it be sink or swim? Triumph or tragedy? Apotheosis or apocalypse? Place your bets now.

More details as we get them. Don’t go changing! Natasha hen, get those sofa cushions plumped!

Weight a Minute

So, if all this stress is destined to bring me nothing but heartache, then at least it should be good for whittling away a few inches around the girth. For as my media advisor always says, the camera does add ten pounds (4.5 kg). In which case, there’s work to be done.

The Guinness is right out, for starters. What do those skinny bitches in OK and Heat drink, anyway? Vodka, I do believe. Never could see the point of that vile brew. But needs must when big media drives.

Celebrity Blogger Fat Club. The meme starts here! Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye!

Hit and run blogsplurge #4.

One happy outcome of the whole Big Blogger experience has been making the acquaintance of a whole bunch of new-to-me bloggers… such as the Girl With A One Track Mind. Naturally – and because I make it my business to track such trends – I was aware of her “raunchy” reputation, and of the “buzz” which surrounded her (mugs to camera, Norton-style), but I had been operating under the glib assumption that nothing on a heterosexual woman’s fairly explicit sex-blog could possibly be of interest to me.

(We’ll leave Belle De Jour out of this. Please see what I said below about rules and exceptions.)

I was wrong, though. To me, the most interesting of The Girl’s doubtlessly vast array of skills (mugs to camera again) is that she is able to write about sex in a way that amuses/enlightens/informs, rather than merely titillates. (Although having said that, titillation is not exactly shied away from. And quite right too.) The overall effect is akin to reading a travelogue of an exotic far-off country which you know you’ll never visit. (Or something. I’m extemporising wildly here.)

Anyway, there I was, reading all about The Girl’s annoyance with some random bloke who couldn’t stop staring at her tits, when I suddenly realised that, blimey, I actually had common cause with the random bloke in question. Yes, readers! I admit it! Sometimes, I find it almost impossible NOT to stare at female cleavage – and I speak as someone who is well aware of the mixed messages which this sends out.

In my case, I think it’s a reflex reaction born out of a shyness in making direct eye contact. Much safer (for me at least) to let the eyes drift downwards, and into the warm safety of the female bosom. Why, sometimes I can almost hear myself think… “Mummy”.

Terrible, really. Especially when you realise you’ve been busted, as the woman in question hastily, nervously rearranges her decolletage – like something must be wrong down there. After all, what other explanation could there be?

My name is Mike. I am a fully paid-up homosexualist, and I like staring at women’s tits.

(Bloggers! You know those days when you feel like you’ve said everything there is to be said? Well, today isn’t one of them.)

Hit and run blogsplurge #3.

It’s good to see the “collaborative mix project” ILMiXor revived again, after a few months’ break. Disc 5 of the project is entitled “Around The World In 80 Minutes” – the premise being that each track should in some way lie to the East of the track which precedes it. Thus far, we have moved from London to Benin, Stockholm/Nigeria, Italy, Russia, Israel and Iran/Ukraine. OK, so some of the geography has wobbled a bit – but if you’re sufficiently broad-minded, then the music is all good.

Having registered my interest fairly quickly, I’m nearing the top of the queue, and should be making my own contribution to the mix some time towards the end of next week. I just hope that I don’t get stuck somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Anyone know any good tracks from Fiji?

Hit and run blogsplurge #2.

My favourite blog post of the last week? No contest: it has to be Willie Lupin’s tribute to Mo Mowlam, which contains some delicious personal reminiscences of her pre-political Gay Disco Years.

(This also helps to explain why she chose Blame It On The Boogie as one of her Desert Island Discs, a few years ago. At the time, it seemed like such an unlikely choice – but now, I have context.)

Hit and run blogsplurge #1.

Hypocrisy, thy name is Mike. By telling you last week that I was off to see a drag show at Cabaret, then failing to come back and tell you about it, I have come perilously close to breaching one of my own seven deadly sins of blogging. However, since Miss Mish has spared me the effort by providing her own write-up, all I have to do is link to it, and move on. Isn’t blogging wonderful?

(We don’t call her “Miss Mish” in real life, by the way. Because that would be just silly.)

Oh, go on then – just a couple more observations. The audience was about 80% female, about 60% over 50, and about 95% heterosexual. There were lots of large, jolly groups of ladies who probably worked together: Mary from the post room, Barbara from the help desk, Margaret from catering, all mock-bashfully hooting and screeching at the remorselessly “blue” material from the drag queen compere-cum-DJ. (“We do use some rude words, like f**k. But we could use some worse ones… like murder.”)

After a wobbly start from the “Slinky Minky” troupe (two girls, one boy, one glamorously svelte drag queen lead), consisting of some rather underwhelming strutting and synch-ing to some rather forgettable old show tunes, I was beginning to wonder whether staying in town on a Friday night had been the best move after all. However! The whole evening turned round in an instant, the moment that the next section was announced: a tribute to the Eurovision Song Contest, from the 1960s to the 1990s. How I whooped! How I shrieked! How strangely quiet everyone else went!

They didn’t disappoint, either. From Cliff Richard to Clodagh Rodgers to Abba to Bucks Fizz to Gina G to Dana International, with costume changes galore, it was as if my entire life history was flashing before my eyes. This stuff goes deep, people.

From this moment on, the Slinky Minkys could do no wrong. Such verve! Such panache! Such taste! Oh, I just feel that it’s so vitally important to keep these folk traditions alive, don’t you?

Saving the best till last, the much vaunted “Grand Finale” section turned out to be a tightly choreographed 15 minute montage of songs and routines from Chicago. With this, the Minkys raised their whole game, and excelled themselves. Clever staging, imaginative moves, perfect split-second timing… and all this at the end of a show which had lasted for the thick end of two and a half hours. One had to salute their diligence and stamina, if nothing else.

(Besides which, anything related to Chicago was bound to get our table of former George’s Bar regulars all gee’d up. The soundtrack to last Autumn, that was. You had to be there at the time, though. Honest to Betsy, I’m not the sort of queen who normally goes ga-ga over show tunes. Perish the thought! But to every rule, it’s good to have an exception.)

As the show finished and the disco kicked in (“No drinks up on the stage, girls – and please wait until the crash barriers are in place”), and the Marys and the Barbaras and the Margarets stepped up and shimmied to a stream of thirty-seconds-at-a-time 1960s classics (Four Seasons, Beach Boys, Phil Spector), so we grabbed our things and sloped off to NG1, for our own step-up-and-shimmy. Ee, it’s been a while. These places work best when you’ve kept away for a few months. The trick is not to start thinking it would be a good idea to visit more regularly. Diminishing returns and all that. Strictly high days and holidays, that’s me.

(Um, this was meant to be a single-paragraph hit-and-run link-post. I must be congenitally incapable of brevity. At this rate, we’ll be here all night.)

MAGENTA: the darker side of pink.

magenta

Tsk, why don’t people TELL me these things? Magenta is an alternative club night for Nottingham’s alternative poofs/lezzers/bothways/trannies and their hetty mates, which runs on the third Friday of each month at the Bunkers Hill Inn, down at the bottom of Hockley. (Last pub on the right before you get to the Ice Stadium, and it’s in the room upstairs.)

Despite minimal publicity (ie. no-one I know had even heard of it before yesterday), the event is now into its sixth month, with people turning up from all over the place… and it’s happening again tonight, between 9pm and 1am. The music policy is “rock, indie, punk, electro, alternative 80s”, and the previous setlists look well cool, and if I wasn’t going out to watch some dodgy end-of-the-pier glamorous and talented drag acts at Cabaret tonight (with Mish, Alan, Moviebuff and the usual suspects), then I’d be getting my one and only “rock and roll” black T-shirt out of the bottom drawer (it glows in the dark; mucho Gay Goth points), sucking my cheeks in, strapping my 18-hour girdle on, and popping along myself.

If any of you do make it down there (because obviously, the Nottingham Gay Goth constituency of my readership is HUGE), then please let me know what it was like, OK?