We are wed.

OK, the gloves are off, the deed is done, and K is now my legal bitch. Which means that I can now use words like: marriage, husband, reception, in-laws, honeymoon. Such liberation.

It is late, and I am drunk (but he is drunker), and we have to be up in six and a half hours to head off for our honeymoon in the Maldives.

But, come on, I know I’ve made you suffer in the last few months, but did you really think I would bugger off to a tropical island paradise without sharing a few pics of the Happy Day with you lot? Course not!

partn01 partn02 partn03 partn04

I guess this means we’re no longer alternative and counter-culture. It’s a small sacrifice to make.

I’M FOOKIN MARRIED!!!

That we should have lived to see the day.

Back in just over a week.

xxx

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That Manchester “stag” (yeesh) night timetable in full.

Caveat: all times are, inevitably, somewhat approximate. Although the Best Fun is Organised Fun, one must allow a certain spontaneity to seep through. Or so I’m told.

18:30 – 19:15: Socio Rehab, Edge Street, in the Northern Quarter. (Map)

Apparently, this is quite difficult to find – but it’s opposite the Market restaurant, and there’s a small sign next to the door. Swishy cocktails in a relatively smart but unpretentious environment will be the order of the day. It’s all downhill from here, then…

19:15 – 20:30: Moon, 20 Tariff Street, at the back of Jackson’s Warehouse. (Map)

Again, this is a bit tricky to find – but I’m sure we’ll all cope. This is where we’ll be eating – and here’s a sample menu.

20:30 – 21:50: Crown & Anchor, 41 Hilton Street. (Map)

A traditional, conversation-friendly pub which doesn’t get too crowded. If we’re not here, then it’s because we’ve got ourselves nice and comfortable in Moon. You know, collective inertia and all that.

22:00 – 00:00: The shrill, noisy, nipple-to-nipple bars of Manchester’s bustling Canal Street. Frankly, we could be in any of them. I’m reserving this section of the evening for Devil-May-Care Spontaneity. It’s a risk, but it’s a risk that I’m prepared to take. Just this once. For a maximum of two hours.

00:00 – ??:??: Essential, on the corner of Minshull Street and Bloom Street.

Don’t even THINK of whipping that camera-phone out. And if I end up plastered all over the “Gallery” section of their website, there will be TROUBLE, do you hear?

Once again, for ease of identification, I can exclusively reveal the details of my outfit for the night, as purchased in London’s bustling Canary Wharf just a couple of hours ago. In a radical break with tradition, I have plumped for:

1. A short-sleeved check shirt (from Ted Baker). Dishcloth-hued red-on-white, in a sort of windowpane check. It’s really quite loud. (Well, the red will match the L-plates.)

2. Pre-faded blue jeans (from Gant). Lowish-slung without being embarrassingly age-inappropriate, i.e. they still sit quite well on my arse, and you can’t see my pants.

My partners-in-crime for the night will be Alan, Chig and JP. Special guests should include ClareElisabeth, Stuart… and who knows who else? Once again, all are welcome.

Ooh, I’m that excited. Last weekend of freedom! Hahahahaha!

Good morning Nottingham! (Slight return)

If you tune into BBC Radio Nottingham tomorrow (Thursday) morning at around 9:10, then you’ll get to hear me taking part in a feature about people who keep diaries.  Blogs being a form of online diary, and all that.  (I won’t physically be in Nottingham, of course – they’re beaming me in from a studio in Westminster, so I shall be conversing with disembodied voices.)

95.5 and 103.8 FM, or you can listen live on the web.  Now, should I go easy on the beer and fags tonight (see next post below), or will a certain raddled croakiness add to my allure?   And will I get the chance to slip in the phrase “online disinhibition effect“?  Only one way to find out!

We’ve been here before, of course. “Good morning Bulwell! How’s it hanging, Arnold? Coming atcha, Top Valley!

Tonight’s London mini-meet.

Well, if the comments box attached to the previous post is any measure, then tonight’s London mini-meet will be veering very much towards the “mini” side of the equation.  But that’s cool, as it removes all of that awkward “Excuse me, but I must circulate” nonsense.  Don’t you find that stressful?  I know I do.

For ease of recognition, I shall be wearing a VERY LOUD stripey shirt, in vivid shades of pink and orange.  Really, you won’t be able to miss it.

The Duke of Argyll is at 37 Brewer Street in Soho.  The nearest tube is Piccadilly Circus. Here are some more details, including a link to a map of the area.

I’ll be there from around 7pm.  All are welcome.

 

Mini-meets in London and Manchester.

1. London, Wednesday April 19th.

If anyone reading this fancies joining me and, um, someone else from my blogroll (how mysterious) for a post-Easter, pre-Civil Partnership, possible-last-full-week-in-London (yeah, RIGHT) drink next Wednesday, then we’ll be in the Duke of Argyll pub on Brewer Street in Soho, from I-dunno-about-seven-I-guess to God-is-it-chucking-out-time-already. The Duke of Argyll is a pleasant and fairly traditional Samuel Smith’s pub, with non-excessive volume levels and plenty of room to spread out. Or at least it was on the one occasion I visited it. Hope you can join us, London readers. Hey, why not “pencil it in”?

The official TD London Mini-Meet After Party will then take place – where else on a Wednesday? – at the White Swan on Commercial Road, just down from Limehouse DLR station, where a selection of very drunk young men will be taking all their clothes off for cash, in a respectful, nurturing and mutually supportive environment. “Show” time typically runs from just after midnight, until just before half past one. Yes, they do spin it out a bit.

2. Manchester, Saturday April 22nd.

Calling all Mancs! Calling all Mancs! Now that the location for my quote-unquote “stag” night (oh, how I cringe at the mention of that word) has been confirmed as Manchester, it would jolly things up no end if the four of us (myself, Alan @ Reluctant Nomad, Chig @ World Of Chig and JP @ Argy Bargey) were to hook up with some of you lot, at some stage during the course of the long, long, LONG evening/night/morning.

Most venues have yet to be decided (and comment-box input would be welcomed), but the general “arc” of the evening could potentially read something like this:

1. Sparkly, giggly, ever-so-slightly vulgar cocktail joint.

2. Somewhere to eat, which won’t cost the earth and take all night. Ideally not much more than an hour or so. “Destination” dining be damned.

3. Civilised pub for grown-ups, with seating and non-excessive volume, preferably a little Bohemian around the edges.

4. Shrill, noisy, nipple-to-nipple gay bar.

5. Another shrill, noisy, nipple-to-nipple gay bar.

6. Hey, have we got time for another…? At this stage, it will probably be touch and go. Hmm, I know a few places in London like that.

7. The Essential club. Or Club Essential. Or maybe just Essential. I don’t know, I’m not local. But hey, where else were we ever going to end up? Flitting, flapping, flirting, frugging, hands in the air and wave them like you just don’t care, going “for a bit of a wander”, talking bollocks to friends and even bollocksier bollocks to strangers, rinse and repeat until the break of dawn. Lovely.

And lovelier still if you – yes, YOU – could join us.

(Clare “Boob Pencil” Sudbery to comments box in FIVE… FOUR… THREE… TWO… GO!)

Open Mike #4.

Go on, ask me stuff. The comments box is at your disposal.

1. Girl asks:

Do you think there is some kind of Bloggers Code – where bloggers maintain and uphold trust, confidentiality etc amongst other bloggers? And if yes, do you think this is because of some kind of unspoken ethics that exist because of the ‘link-loving’ exchange or do you think it is just down to people wanting their own privacy upheld and therefore respecting others’ in the same way?

I suppose what I’m asking you, is if you think that there is a basis to ‘trusting’ another blogger more than a non-blogging reader.

No, I don’t think there is an implicit “Bloggers’ Code” as such. However, it is reasonable to assume that many/most fellow bloggers can basically be trusted in matters of confidentiality etc, as bloggers – even anonymous ones – have online reputations to maintain. If word were to spread that a particular blogger couldn’t be trusted, than their reputation would be badly damaged.

On the other hand, perhaps that’s too much of a cynical “bottom line” viewpoint. It’s fairer to say that bloggers are as much bound by codes of decent, respectful behaviour as anyone else – and if, like me, you start from the standpoint that most people are basically OK, you’re unlikely to come a cropper.

There again, we’re not necessarily in comparable positions here, are we? I would imagine that, as a high profile anonymous sex-blogger with a book coming out, there must be a good deal of speculation surrounding your identity, much of it far from welcome. In which case, I’d be that much more wary of trusting even my fellow bloggers. After all, we can be quite a gossipy bunch, with something of a collective penchant for the Hot Scoop.

Um, so, do you fancy meeting up for a drink next time I’m in London? I am the soul of discretion! 😉

2. Clair asks:

What’s the key to happiness?

Hah! you didn’t think we were going to ask you easy questions did you?

Hah! Buggered if I know! At times like these, the lazy blogger turns to Google. Take your pick from any or all of the following:

  • Variety.
  • Safety.
  • Stress management.
  • Frisbee.
  • Self-realisation.
  • Success.
  • Storage.
  • Procrastination.
  • Compassion.
  • To find out what one is fitted to do, and to secure an opportunity to do it.
  • Pure concentration, not money.
  • Creating balanced thinking through Advanced Numerology.
  • Appreciation.
  • Forgiveness.
  • The knowledge that you are in pursuit of a goal, the highest possible goal, and the goal of serving God.
  • Transparency.
  • Inner peace.
  • Compromise.
  • Improving and maintaining your health and vitality.
  • Gratitude.
  • Gradually learning to feel what is best for you, moment to moment.
  • The Perfect Latte.
  • Humour.
  • Reduction and complete removal of greed.
  • Friendship.
  • Not to be caught in illusion.
  • A positive attitude.
  • Isolation.
  • Eating healthy.
  • Our mental control of events – not our external control.
  • Love.
  • Emuna.
  • Commitment to virtue.
  • Authenticity — which includes an understanding and acceptance of our place within time and society.
  • To lock the door and not let people bug the shit out of me.
  • Living a good life of high moral standard.
  • Making the right choices for us.
  • Awareness.
  • Giving and receiving affection.
  • Real (not perceived) balance.
  • Self-exploration.
  • The search for good.
  • Good hair, being around people who care about you, and watching “Urban Cowboy”.
  • A rational outlook, free from delusion.
  • Music.
  • Finding God in the midst of life’s trials (poverty, hunger, etc.)
  • Hard work.
  • Simplicity.
  • Freedom: free markets, free will and free language.
  • Observation of all that is, acceptance of others without condemnation or arrogance, and compassionately using what exists in loving ways for loving purposes.
  • Using your strengths, working in an area that you are passionate about, in an organization that allows you to flourish.
  • Creative work, instead of idle leisure.

K would probably opt for locking the door and not letting people bug the shit out of him. As for me, I’ll settle for The Perfect Latte. Because I’m shallow like that.

Oh! Silly me! That should have been my answer all along: shallowness! I’ve been expounding that particular theory for years.

3. Diamond Geezer asks:

Su Pollard.
When?

Ah. This would be a reference to the long-postponed 2006 episode of the Which Decade Is Tops For Pops? project, which should have run in the middle of February.

Unfortunately, you’re going to have to wait a while longer. What should have been a four-to-six week working assignment in London has now run into its eighth week, with the prospect of at least – at least – three more weeks to follow. (I’m actually back in Nottingham right now, but was in London earlier in the week.)

After which we’re into May, which reads like this: civil partnership registration, a week in the Maldives (NOT A HONEYMOON, and if K catches you saying that there will be BLOOD), four days back at work (NOT IN LONDON, and if anyone tries to force me there will be BLOOD), and slightly over a week in Athens for Eurovision. So, we’re looking at the last week in May at the very earliest. But I might be back down in London by then.

Go on, ask me how I’m feeling about spending eleven consecutive working weeks in London. Go on, ask me that.

4. Tom asks:

Should I give up my job to become a house husband?

Only if you’re motivated by an overwhelming desire to be a house husband, as opposed to an overwhelming desire to give up your job. It’s a subtle but important distinction. Trust me, for I know of what I speak.

5. Right on cue, Robert asks:

Please rank the following experiences in order of attractiveness from 1 to 5:
having a tooth pulled
spending eleven consecutive working weeks in London
live-blogging Eurovision from Notts
attending Eurovision in Athens
hot shallow sex
Feel free to expand on any of the alternatives that catches your fancy.

In 5th place: having a tooth pulled. Twice in one lifetime (1980 and 1983 respectively) is quite enough for me, thank you.

In 4th place: live-blogging Eurovision from Notts. I tried this a couple of years ago (start here and work up), and found it much, much harder work than I had anticipated. For one thing, it’s impossible to type and watch the screen at the same time – let alone negotiate with the Blogger “publish” function, refresh the screen, check comments, drink wine, smoke fags, etc etc. As a result, I felt at one remove from what was happening on the the TV, and also at a further remove from what was happening in the concert hall itself. There was only really enough time to bash out banal drunken bitch-queen observations (“Ooh, get her in that frock”), before moving on to the next song. It’s not often that such an extended extravaganza of unmitigated shallowness should leave me unfulfilled at the end of the night, but this was one such occasion.

In 3rd place: spending eleven consecutive working weeks in London. Now, the first six weeks were fantastic: new challenges at work, and a vast array of social opportunities after work. Oh, the fun I had. I vividly remember one evening towards the end of Week Four, standing outside a Soho bar and blathering excitedly down the phone to K about what a fantastic time I was having, and how I’d always look back on these six weeks as a special period, and so on and so on. It was a little apotheosis of sorts.

But when the six weeks are up, and you’ve gone through your address book and met up with everyone you know, and the whole arc of your experience feels complete, and you feel ready to get home and resume normal life…

…and your stay gets extended indefinitely (although by no means permanently), and you realise that you’re going to have to work through your address book a second time, only there won’t be anything new to say as all you’ve done in the interim is go out for meals and drinks with other people, and in any case you feel a bit burnt out socially, as there is a limit to the number of consecutive nights on which you can give of your best…

…and besides, your energy levels are slowly depleting, as working and playing and the general effort of being in London are gradually chipping away at your energy reserves, and when you’re not working or playing then all you feel is exhausted, and you’re spending ten hours a night at weekends basically flat-lining in bed, which is a bit of a waste really, and there are all these lists of things to do buzzing round inside your head, and you haven’t unpacked your suitcase in over a month, and you’re so sick of staying in a hotel, because it’s never going to feel like home and you can never truly relax in the way you can at home…

…then the sparkle does start to rub off the experience.

In 2nd place: hot shallow sex. Without giving too much away (although I’m, ooh, this close), I’d say this was the highest climber on the Top Five. Oh, there’s life in the old dog yet, hurr hurr. Never say never again.

In 1st place: attending Eurovision in Athens. Yes, a week at Eurovision still better than hot shallow sex Shockah! Although the two activities are not necessarily incompatible, hurr hurr! Apotheosis Of Shallowness, here we f**king well COME!

6. Hobbes asks:

What does it take to become an award-winning blogger with a horde of loyal readers and a throng of commenters?

Also, monkeys or cheese? If one had to go, which would you save?

An award-winning blogger, you say? Well, how would I know, NEVER ACTUALLY HAVING WON A F***ING BLOGGING AWARD IN MY WHOLE F***ING LIFE, THANK YOU FOR REMINDING ME, I MEAN, IS IT TOO MUCH TO ASK BEARING IN MIND MY IMMENSE – IMMENSE, I TELL YOU – CONTRIBUTION OVER THE YEARS, NOT THAT SUCH THINGS MATTER, OH DEARIE ME NO OF COURSE NOT, BUT IF I HAVE TO GRIT MY TEETH AND MUTTER “IT WAS AN HONOUR TO BE NOMINATED” ONE MORE F***ING TIME I MIGHT JUST EXPLODE WITH FRUSTRATION?

And exhale. Goodness, is it really gone midnight already?

As for the monkeys and cheese – if we can simply evaporate the monkey population without causing any physical pain in the process, then I’ll keep the cheese, please. Mmm, cheese.

7. d asks:

Are you going to have traditional wedding music or something more upbeat?

AAAARGH YOU SAID “WEDDING” THERE WILL BE BLOOD BEFORE BREAKFAST TIME.

As there will only be four of us in the room when we sign the pieces of paper (no, we’re not saying “ceremony” either), music would seem a tad superfluous. However, I shall be selecting background music for the evening meal, in the private function room above Merchants restaurant at the Lace Market Hotel. It shall be tasteful, unobtrusive, and probably towards the jazz/world end of the spectrum. Cesaria Evora, Omara Portuondo, that sort of thing.

8. Em³ asks:

How are you feeling about spending eleven consecutive working weeks in London, Mike?

Exhausted at the very prospect, Em³. No matter what you do, and no matter how novel and exciting it might initially seem, everything becomes routine if you do it for long enough. (I experienced the same thing in Paris.) Now, could I have my life back, please?

However, I’m not going to waste the remaining weeks by sighing and moping, and crashing out in front of The Apprentice with room service fish and chips. So who’s up for a drink next week, then?

(Besides, there’s always, always Amateur Strip Night on Wednesdays at the White Swan to look forward to. Oh, it’s quite the home from home these days. See you down there, Ian – usual place, usual time, OK?)

9. Hg asks:

What did you think of Imogen Heap?

Aha, someone who pays heed to the “we’re seeing” section on my sidebar. Your attention to detail is commendable, Hg. I’ve just got back from seeing Ms. Heap perform at The Social, and she was sublime. I’d tell you more, but I’m under exclusive contract to the Nottingham Evening Post – so if my review goes online tomorrow, I’ll link to it.

(This was the quickest review yet; I must be getting the hang of things at last. Unlike my Secret Machines review from two nights ago, written when I was a) pissed, b) knackered, and c) still emotionally overhwelmed by the sheer power of the performance. Paragraph Three has had me cringing to the bottom of my boots ever since. Purple prose, or what?)

Update: It’s online (and in the paper), but somewhat pruned. Check my comments box instead.

10. Saltation asks:

Is it my round or yours?

Immaterial, dear chap. We’re in it for the long haul. It will all even out in the end. Did I ever tell you you’re my best friend? We should do this more often. Love your work! You must come and visit us in the cottage!

Oh, that reminds me. Remember the cottage photo-shoot for Per10d L1v1ng magazine, nearly three years ago? (If not, then do follow the link; it’s one of my favourite TD postings of all time.) Well, now that the rest of the world has caught up with our singular take on New Rustic Minimalism, the photos will be appearing in print very soon. We’re being interviewed for the accompanying article this weekend. Such excitement!

I am a little drunk, in case you hadn’t noticed. Time for bed.