The seven minute blog post. Oh, OK then, eleven minutes.

Ach, this just won’t do. I have, hmm, let’s see, about seven minutes to write a post today. But write it I shall, as this Not Posting For A Week At A Time thing is as vexing to me as I’m sure it is to you. Oh yes.

So, what’s new? Last night, due to a shock cancellation, I had my first Night In since coming down to London just over two weeks ago. And a very pleasant Night In it was too. The hotel have upgraded me to a Deluxe Room for a week. It’s exactly the same as a Standard Room, except for the following:

  • More carpet space.
  • Two slightly larger mattresses pushed together, but with the same unpleasant ridge down the middle of the bed where they adjoin. (The Princess with The Pea has nothing on me for Mattress Sensitivity.)
  • A posh wooden headboard.
  • A deluxe candelabra light fitting.
  • Ten coat hangers instead of four.

Such luxury! Truly I am not worthy.

As a result of my restful and recuperative Night In, I have enjoyed a day free from constant yawning, and the urge to doze off in slack periods. This reached its nadir over the weekend, where I realised I had become that which I have always dreaded: The Middle Aged Man Who Dozes Off In The Middle Of The Day.

Thus restored, I am now fit and ready for a Soho bar crawl with Marcus. Bring it on, Gay Village!

In other news (a phrase I’d normally avoid, but I’m now 2 minutes over schedule, so f**k it, it will have to do), my stay in London now looks like being six weeks rather than the initial four. This is absolutely fine. The exercise bike can wait.

The votes from yesterday have swung in favour of Amateur Strip Nite down the White Swan. I shall do my best. Right then: sushi, shower and shave. Ta-ta!

So, I lied.

Updates might be fractionally less sparse, my arse. What can I say? In this newly action-packed capital city life of mine, blogging would appear to be one too many things to think about. But I’ll see if I can’t try harder.

Basically, my life now divides between work – comfortably do-able, neither too stressful nor too dull – and an endlessly complicated social life, which requires all the rigourous planning of a military campaign. In particular, trying to construct a regular programme of social activities is rather like trying to knit with blancmange. What is it with Londoners and commitment? Because if I hear that dread phrase “Let’s pencil it in” ONE MORE TIME, I might spontaneously combust.

As a result, I am constantly juggling “provisional” bookings, swapping and switching diary dates accordingly. I have now taken to issuing standard disclaimers to my prospective evening companions, retaining the right to dump them in favour of anyone who can bring themselves to say Yes for definite.

When I do make it out, to cafés, bars, restaurants or gastropubs, the experience is somewhat similar to being on an extended Speed Dating assignment. Each evening, I sit myself down in front of the next candidate, whom I have invariably not seen in months (if not years), and trot out the same perky little off-pat speeches. Blah blah blah China, blah blah blah K’s business, blah blah blah Canary Wharf, blah blah blah journalism opportunities, blah blah blah blogging… it’s a wonder that my fork ever meets my mouth.

Oh, but hark at me whinging. It’s all lovely, really it is. Being here has reminded me that I know more people in London than anywhere else – even Nottingham. One of these days, hopefully in the not too distant future, we’ll be down here for good, dividing our time between London and the Peak District, and these friendships will form the foundation of a new life. It’s a little glimpse of things to come.

After a weekend split between the cottage and my aunt and uncle in Kent, I’m now here for two straight weeks. This coming weekend, I’ll be staying in town in order to attend the live recording of Making Your Mind Up, which goes out on BBC1 at tea-time on Saturday. Yes, the Eurovision season is already upon us. This year, I’ll be spending the whole week in Athens, armed with official press accreditation, covering the event for… well, more of that in due course.

If I’d had the time and energy over the past fortnight, then I’d have told you about: reuniting with the old RVT crowd at Horsemeat Disco; gazing upon the face of Natasha Kaplinsky (and Sienna Miller, Kelly Osbourne, Heath Ledger, Jeremy Irons, David Frost, Tara Palmer Tomkinson, Twiggy and Myleene out of Hear’say); reclaiming the word “growler” in Exmouth Market; The night of the Five C’s (or: When your oldest friends know you better than you know yourself); Miss Marple-ing in Maida Vale; celebrating 44 years on the planet by having laughing gas shoved in my mouth, down at Alt Dot Gay Dot Gothic Slash Industrial Nite; doing Soho with Mister Stranger (and subsequently freaking him out with a telepathic text message); yakking my bollocks off at the Best Gastropub Ever (Since The Last One); Ain’t Nothing Dirty Goin’ On: the heady delights of Amateur Strip Night at the White Swan (I’ll be back); Actually Having A Proper In Depth Conversation With Luca For The First Time Ever; exposing the thoroughly suburban core behind the gleaming facades of Canary Wharf (or: Don’t let those capacious lobby areas fool you); the peculiar gaydar-jamming properties of the above (or: How to flip a clothing fetish on its head); how David Sedaris kept me sane; and so very much more.

Ah, go on then. Pick one of the above, and I’ll tell you about it. Promise.

Updates might be fractionally less sparse…

…now that the laptop is back from the repair shop, and here with me in Canary Wharf, where the hotel bar has wi-fi access. As I have just confirmed. Whoop-di-doo!

Why is it that whenever life gets really interesting and blog-worthy, the time available to write about it shrinks to nearly nothing? I had this in China. And Barcelona, and Vienna, and Amsterdam, and Cologne, and all the rest of them.

It’s been an action-packed week. Mind you, I’d need a third secret-secret blog in order to write about some of its most action-packed moments. Please pause a moment, as you visualise my secretive faraway smile.

Many thanks to everyone who helped me celebrate the start of my forty-fifth year on Friday night. 48 hours later, and I’m still not entirely free of the after-effects. No pleasure without pain.

Speaking of which: as requested, K has bought me an exercise bike, in order to while away those midweek evenings in Nottingham. Totally cardiovascular! I shall have endorphins to spare!

Anyway, sliding quickly into predictability: I believe I’m up for another of those blog-award thingies.

[Checks the site, with its risqué URL that fell foul of the web censors at my new clients. Bright scarlet warning screen, to match my burning cheeks. That’ll learn me to ego-surf in snatched idle moments.]

Oh. Tant pis. Always the bridesmaid, etc. Petite‘s great, anyway. Yay for Petite. And thanks to the 25 nice people who voted Diva.

As I tap, I am surrounded by smug, braying, respectably inebriated business analysts and/or software consultants, whooping it up on expenses in London’s glamorous, thrusting, and terrifyingly soulless Canary Wharf. Misanthropy is rising. Bed is beckoning.

Updates May Be Sparse, yadda yadda yadda.

Apologies for the radio silence. I’ve been working behind the scenes on the proposed Post Of The Week site; the working party is in full flow, and the rest of the volunteer editorial team will be contacted in due course.

I’ve also been writing gig reviews for the Nottingham Evening Post. The first one was spiked, but the second one appeared in yesterday’s print edition: page 23, I believe. There will be more to come – but only after I get back from London.

Which is where I’ll be for the next four weeks or so – maybe a little more, maybe a little less. This is inevitably going to impact on the amount of updates to the blog, as I shan’t have much in the way of after-hours web access, and in any case I intend to be Out And About as much as possible.

(By the way: if we’ve met before, and you fancy meeting up while I’m in town, then please text or e-mail. I really don’t want to be spending any evenings holed up in the hotel on my own, if I can possibly help it.)

K’s off to Los Angeles on Tuesday, returning on Friday. Goodness, we do get about. There’s also an oblique reference to his company in today’s Observer Woman magazine, buried in an interview with an actress. See if you can spot it.

I’ll be in Horsemeat Disco this evening, down Vauxhall way, with some familiar names from the Good Old Days. Ooh, Sunday clubbing. It’s been a while.

Time to go and catch that train, then. Speak to you when I can…

ADULT. / Battant – Liars Club @ The Social, Thursday February 9th.

(An edited version of this review originally appeared in the Nottingham Evening Post.)

Now almost three years old, The Liars Club has built a reputation for hosting some of the most cutting-edge acts around. Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party and the Scissor Sisters have all played there, on their way to major success.

Tonight was the turn of two bands with a similar take on twisted, punked-up electro-pop: Battant from London, and ADULT. from Detroit.

Following a successful tour supporting Ladytron, Battant are quickly building up an insiders’ buzz. Their greatest asset is vocalist Chloe: a waif-like ice maiden, with a steely stage presence. Comparisons with Siouxsie Sioux are inevitable, and deserved.

Greeted with whoops of recognition, the band’s stand-out track was Jump Up: a jerky, new-wavey number, evoking memories of the wonderfully batty Lene Lovich and Nina Hagen.

Headliners ADULT. – former darlings of the short-lived electroclash scene – took the same formula, and pushed it to new extremes.

With her vocals shrouded in heavy echo, it was impossible to discern what Nicola Kuperus was singing about. Instead, one searched her bizarre, witch-like performance for clues. Eerie, unsettling, slightly mocking, performing almost to herself, she wailed and chanted above the raging squall of the backing track and bass guitar, scarcely moving her lips throughout.

Unfortunately, ADULT.’s limited box of tricks was soon worn out. The audience divided. While the glowstick-waving Nathan Barley types at the front shimmied and swayed, those towards the back stood motionless and puzzled.

Sure, it’s good to be confrontational. But without any substance to back it up, it’s all too easy to wind up looking rather superficial in the process.

The Fallout Trust / Computerman – The Social, Wednesday February 8th

(An edited version of this review originally appeared in the Nottingham Evening Post.)

The last time that Computerman played Nottingham, their audience numbered just twelve. This time, despite an early start, they drew a healthy crowd of supporters, who were clearly not just there for the headliners.

Which is just as it should be, as the five-piece band was based in Nottingham, before moving to London and landing a record deal. Their current single, No More Broken Hearts, is a good representation of their live sound: fast, furious, and dramatic.

Vocals are shared between bassist Adam Pickering – a natural rock star, with a touch of the Tim Burgess about him (bet he hates that comparison) – and bespectacled guitarist Mark Sykes, whose voice was reminiscent of James Dean Bradfield from the Manics. The two singers had an endearing habit of mouthing each other’s words when they weren’t singing, as if they couldn’t wait to join in.

Computerman are back in Nottingham on February 17, playing Trent University. They deserve a bigger crowd still.

Following such a well-received support set, The Fallout Trust battled to keep the audience on-side. As time went on, the chatter at the back of the room threatened to drown them out entirely.

This was a shame, as they are accomplished musicians with a lot to offer. Singer Joe Winter gave an intense, committed performance, jerking around like a man possessed. The music was at its most interesting when it steered away from generic NME-approved rock, towards a more melodic, structured sound.

The potential is there; all they need now is the right audience.

Post of the Week: taking it to the next level.

Following a suggestion by Vaughan, patita has kindly registered for the next 12 months.

Now then. I think this could work really well as a separate entity, administered by a small and enthusiastic group, with the work spread out so as not to get too onerous.

If you’d like to get involved, then I suggest we use this comments box as a place for volunteering and discussion. We’re thinking WordPress or Movable Type, and we’ll definitely need some input on the design side of things – this needs to look nice and distinctive, and not just some bog-standard template.

Things to consider: Who’s up for it? How will nominations be raised? Will all nominations automatically go forward for judging, or will there be a pre-screening process to weed out obvious crap and dubious self-promotions? How will nominations be displayed on the blog? How will the current Post Of The Week be displayed? What about previous Posts Of The Week? What size team is needed, and how will responsibilities divide? How will the judging work: new volunteers each week, or a rotating team of regulars, or a bit of both? Who’s going to do the design? Where’s the site going to be hosted? What happens if the site gets really popular and we get shedloads of nominations? Am I over-thinking this already? And so on, and so on.

OK, the comments box is all yours.