Highly respected and influential Destination Blogger comes back from a blogmeet and posts almost nothing for two weeks; world keeps turning SHOCKAH.

So, explain this to me.

I’ve been weighing myself every weekday morning for about six weeks now. Frustratingly, and despite making a conscious effort to watch what I eat (K’s got me on starvation rations), my weight continues to oscillate between two fixed points: 11:4 and 11:8. (That’s stones and pounds; can’t be arsed to do metric conversions.)

Indeed, the only time I’ve ever dipped below 11:4 was over the weekend of the Secret London Gathering Of Extremely Nervous People With Weblogs, where a combination of a) forgetting to eat anything more than railway sandwiches and b) a heightened state of anxiety at Facing One’s Peers sent me briefly plummeting to 11:3 and a bit.

Yesterday, I enjoyed a large cooked FREE! lunch at Broadway cinema (the third occasion where blogging has earnt me a free lunch, but we’ll come to that another time), before chowing down on another large cooked FREE! supper at The Dragon. (Part office social, part colleague’s leaving do; see you around, A.)

I then proceeded to sit on my fat arse in the same pub for the best part of six hours, during the course of which I necked five pints of Adnams bitter. Not what you might call one of my healthiest days, then.

Perhaps this would be a good moment to explain my morning getting-out-of-bed routine, which is precision gauged to deliver optimal results. Whereas in the old Who Gives A F**k If I’m Fat days, I would…

1. Wake up.
2. Drink a pint of water in bed.
3. Have a wee.

…my new routine goes like this…

1. Wake up.
2. Have a wee.
3. Weigh myself.
4. Drink a pint of water.

…because when you’re watching your weight, it helps if you’re as, um, empty as possible. Come on, I’m no fool.

This morning, imagine my astonishment to find myself checking in at 11 stone, TWO AND A HALF POUNDS! A new record! Why, I’m positively sylph-like! I hardly have to breathe in, or anything!

I can only deduce that alcohol-induced dehydration works wonders for the figure.

Good. Better start doing it more often, then.

(I am SO hitting NG1 after tonight’s Broadcast gig. They’ll have to beat them off me with a shitty stick.)

The Dong with a Luminous Nose.

Sunday, late afternoon. Mike is sitting on the bench at the far end of the long lawn, back to the street, newspaper in hand. K approaches, bearing two cups of Earl Grey. Mike looks up.

M: The tip of your nose is all shiny and orange.

K: Oh, I think I know how that happened. Shit!

M: What did you do?

K: This is so embarrassing…

M: Come on, tell me.

K: I was, er, sniffing the day lilies. You know, while I was dead-heading them. I must have stuck my nose in a bit too far.

M: Eurgh, lily crap!

K: Awful stuff. Has it gone yet?

M: No, you need to give it more of a wipe. Try wetting your finger. Almost. Yep, all gone.

K: Oh dear, that’s just so…

M: Don’t worry. It’s a commonly observed condition.

K: What’s that, then?

M: Ponce-nez.

K: Hahahahaha!

M: Hahahahaha!

K: That would make a good little vignette on your blog. Are you going to write it up?

M: I’ll think about it.

K: Ponce-nez! Hahahahaha!

Unintentional mini-hiatus.

I dare say that some of you might be wondering where I have been. Well, it has been a funny old week.

First and foremost, there was the Work Thing. All of a sudden, what had seemed like a comfortable and achievable deadline became very imminent, very risky, scarily dependent on other random factors outside of my control, and absolutely, one hundred percent, on-pain-of-death (my death, not anyone else’s) unmissable. So, I’ve had to pull the stops out a bit. Head down, fingers flying, phones a-ringing, e-mails a-pinging, poor little brain a-spinning, push push push nag nag nag questions questions questions politics politics politics…

…and we made it. Lunchtime today, everybody happy, no egg on face, no money down the drain, no wasted flights next week, pats on backs all round.

You know the really scary thing? I actually rather enjoyed the experience. Arbeit macht frei, or something. Also, despite the pressure, I have remained weirdly calm throughout. Well, it’s not as if I could afford the luxury of panic.

None of this was helped by my streaming head cold, which kicked in last Sunday and has been ravaging my system ever since. (It did seem like rather a disproportionate hangover, especially after the second day.) I’ve also had problems sleeping for the past week – something from which I almost never suffer.

Added to this, my evenings have been unusually full, with little or no time between leaving work and commencing the evening’s activity: a concert, a meal, and a major re-organisation of the Nottingham house (we’ve just had the decorators in).

So… blogging? Pah! Leave it out! Basically, I’ve had neither the time, the energy nor the headspace. Hell, I’ve barely even been reading them, let alone writing them. Normally, I’d be looking forward to catching up over the weekend – but we’ve got a Nuclear Family coming to stay (Mum, Dad, two little smashers) from tonight until Sunday. Charming people, but the prospect of playing the Perky Host all weekend feels a little daunting right now. Never has the tantalising mirage of couch, wine and crap Friday night telly seemed more alluring.

I wasn’t put on this earth to toil and to suffer. Normality (and articulacy) should return next week. Have a nice weekend!

Inner voices.

Something occurred to me earlier today.

A lot of my favourite weblogs are what you might call “personality based”, ie. where the unique, distinct personality of the blogger is clearly discernible in the writing style.

When reading these blogs, I will often imagine that they are being read out loud by their author. Consequently, a little “performance” voice will switch itself on in my head, as I start to dramatise the reading to myself: accents, cadences, pauses, the lot. (It must be the repressed thesp in me.) This phenomenon is particularly evident when I have either never met the blogger in question, or else have no tangible memory of their speaking voice.

Right now, I’m particularly proud of my Guyana-Gyal: a blog which absolutely reads to me as if it were the script for a series of filmed monologues.

Does anyone else ever do this? Have you ever done this while reading this site? And if so, then did my podcasts make any difference to your interpretation? (I ask this because my Naked Blog voice has shifted somewhat, after hearing Peter recite some of his posts.)

This is torture!

I would love to tell you which celebrity K is talking to right now, even as I type – but the information is, as they say, “embargoed”. All I can safely say is this: she has been on the front cover of Heat, Hello and OK, and her level of celebrity was sufficient to send K into a MAJOR Outfit Tizz yesterday evening.

(It took a good hour, several jackets, most of his smart trousers, and his entire shoe collection – but the Paul Smith suit we eventually selected combined vet-friendly brown corduroy with a sharp, celebrity-compatible cut. I could charge for this sort of work, you know.)

The trouble is: I hate having to keep secrets. One of life’s blabbermouths, that’s me. Mainly because I can never quite see the point of secrets, even when the need for them is screamingly obvious to anyone else with half a brain. There’s just something about the whole concept of secrecy which bothers me; a hangover from the whole “coming out” process, no doubt. For once you’ve broken free from a secret as major as your sexual orientation, it is tempting to view all “lesser” secrets as not worth keeping. It’s a strange kind of naïve adolescent idealism, which I’ve never fully grown out of.

I am also burdened with a more childlike desire: to be The One Who Breaks The Big Story. There is something delicious and irresistable about watching people react to a juicy piece of news which I HAVE TOLD THEM; it makes me feel all Important and Special, rather like that awful gossipy elephant in Dumbo. Combine these two factors, stir in my abilities as a Good Listener (providing you’ve got some good dirt to dish, that is) – and you’re left with a dangerously unmanageable personality trait, which has got me into some awful trouble over the years.

Perhaps I should have gone into journalism years ago.

STOP PRESS: The embargo has been LIFTED!

Tell you what: let’s play Name That Celebrity Twenty Questions in the comments box. One question per person please, and your question should be phrased so as to expect either a “Yes” or a “No” answer.

Readers of the Brighton Argus – and I’m sure there are many – will be able to discover the answer for themselves in Friday’s edition.

Off you go!

Note 1: As this celebrity is not widely known outside the UK, overseas readers will be operating with a fairly massive handicap.

Note 2: Alan, Dymbel, Mish and JP are forbidden from participating. Well, breaking the embargo to carefully selected confidantes is no crime, is it? Quod erat demonstrandum, I guess.

1980s “New Pop” – my personal top 50.

Because it has been far too long since I posted one of my meaningless music-geek lists – and in honour of Pitchfork magazine’s noble effort, which appeared earlier this week (not at all bad for a bunch of Americans!) – here’s a list of my favourite singles from the so-called “New Pop” era, as championed by the likes of Paul Morley in the NME during the early 1980s.

The rules for inclusion are: one track per act, singles only, UK artists only, nothing before Buggles or after Band Aid.

1 – Poison Arrow – ABC
2 – Party Fears Two – the Associates
3 – The “Sweetest Girl” – Scritti Politti
4 – Duel – Propaganda
5 – Love Action – Human League
6 – Relax – Frankie Goes To Hollywood
7 – Temptation – New Order
8 – Ghosts – Japan
9 – Poor Old Soul – Orange Juice
10 – Reward – The Teardrop Explodes
11 – Say Hello, Wave Goodbye – Soft Cell
12 – Time (Clock Of The Heart) – Culture Club
13 – Our Lips Are Sealed – Fun Boy 3
14 – It’s Going To Happen! – The Undertones
15 – Candyskin – Fire Engines
16 – Promised You A Miracle – Simple Minds
17 – Videotheque – Dollar
18 – (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thing – Heaven 17
19 – Cambodia – Kim Wilde
20 – Souvenir – OMD
21 – C30 C60 C90 Go! – Bow Wow Wow
22 – Video Killed The Radio Star – Buggles
23 – Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl) – Haircut 100
24 – Sorry For Laughing – Josef K
25 – My Camera Never Lies – Bucks Fizz
26 – Just Can’t Get Enough – Depeche Mode
27 – Wham Rap – Wham!
28 – Stop That Girl – Vic Godard & The Subway Sect
29 – Baby It’s True – Mari Wilson
30 – Goody Two Shoes – Adam Ant
31 – Save It For Later – The Beat
32 – The Story Of The Blues – Wah!
33 – Smalltown Boy – Bronski Beat
34 – Fade To Grey – Visage
35 – Ever So Lonely – Monsoon
36 – Buffalo Gals – Malcom McClaren
37 – Forbidden Colours – Sylvian/Sakamoto
38 – Ghost Town – the Specials
39 – Snobbery And Decay – Act
40 – Chant No. 1 – Spandau Ballet
41 – Dog Eat Dog – Adam and the Ants
42 – Beat Box – the Art of Noise
43 – Our House – Madness
44 – Only You – Yazoo
45 – Am I Normal? – David
46 – Don’t Talk To Me About Love – Altered Images
47 – Cruel Summer – Bananarama
48 – A Song From Under The Floorboards – Magazine
49 – Uncertain Smile – The The
50 – I’m In Love With A German Film Star – The Passions

What would you have added to the list?

Countdown to civil partnership: making plans for that special day, with Mike and K.

– Did you get your web access back at work today?

– Yes, we did.

– So have you got round to reading the final part of my “wedding” series yet?

– Oh, didn’t you see my comment?

– Well, there wasn’t one at ten to six…

– Hmm, the screen did go a bit funny after I pressed the Submit button. It must have got lost.

– What did it say?

– I’ll type it in again, shall I?


– OK, it’s done. Do you want to swap places?

– Where is it? Oh, you’ve closed the window. Ah, got it. Yes, haha, very good.

– Thank you.


– You know, this is a very post-modern way for a couple to discuss these issues. Most people would just have an actual conversation.

– Pfft, who wants to do that?

From the Women & Equality Unit of the DTI: Civil Partnership Act 2004 – Frequently Asked Questions.

“A civil partnership will be registered once the couple has signed the civil partnership document in the presence of a registrar and two witnesses. The exact format of this document is still being finalised. There will be words printed on the document which the couple will be able to say at the time of signing the document, though the exact words are still to be confirmed.”

Two witnesses, eh? People are just going to have to form an orderly queue.

Also, I do hope there’s going to be none of that “With my body I do thee worship” business. Most unseemly. Especially at our time of life.

Creative writing assignment, satire module #1: How would you word such a document? Let’s have some vows that today’s modern same-sex couples could really use! Answers in the comments, please.

Full information from the DTI, including a downloadable version of the official Civil Partnership booklet (released today), can be found here.

Update: My colleague JP has just downloaded the booklet, and has printed off two copies: one for him and his intended, and one for me and mine. This is so COSY! All of a sudden, we’re turning into those irritating people in the office who keep discussing their wedding plans! (Sorry, S. You KNOW I don’t mean you.) Yay for equality! Are you collecting for your bottom drawer?