The Five in Five Days Project – Part Two.


Still with no actual work to do at work, I continue to amuse myself with Nottingham, My Nottingham and the never-ending Shirt Off My Back Project, with daily photos all the way through the month. Midweek boozeathons have become the norm, although I have formed an age-inappropriate attachment to the podium in the middle of the dancefloor at the local gay club.

There is much activity in connection with Chig’s 50 Number Ones Project, with various MP3 medleys being made available.

A series of “defining vignettes of the 1980s” are posted, covering sanctimonious self-righteousness, greed, style fascism and dogma.

But really, November 2002 is basically about the shirts.


December 2002.

Horrified by the crap camera angles which I have been using during the Shirt Off My Back Project, my partner K breaks his silence on the blog.

A day later, as plans are announced for future legislation regarding same-sex civil partnerships, I go down on my knees in the bedroom.

K and I spend a day Doing Art in London, which causes me to post a major rant against Gunther Von Hagen’s disgusting Bodyworlds exhibition.

Now that K has taken over photographic duties for the Shirt Off My Back Project, the images start getting much artier.


On December 15th, after 10 weeks, asta is declared the winner of the 68th and last shirt in the project.

This is immediately followed by So you think you’re a Blogaholic?, a quiz designed to test my readers’ knowledge of the 56 blogs in my sidebar. The quiz is won by Amanda, who receives a set of Old Curiosity Box CDs.

Some of my co-workers discover my weblog, as I learn at the office Christmas party. Gulp.

The Christmas holiday period is dominated by illness. Not one of our best.

January 2003.

I successfully give up alcohol for the month. This turns out to be a good move, as the protracted illnesses of the Christmas period trigger a period of mild depression – as discussed here, with reference to the unsuitability of happiness as an interesting subject matter for fiction.

My spoken word guide to the gay Nottingham dialect causes quite a stir. Shent fookin gerrin enneh! Get kokkart!


F**k off, teal scum!” Those lovable little critters, the racist ducks make their debut.


The sidebar image changes, as does the strapline: “My fish always comes out wonky. It’s a curse.

Troubled Diva is long-listed in three categories at the Bloggies: Best European/African, Best GLBT and Weblog of the Year.

In a rare brush with political blogging, I state my opposition to the imminent invasion of Iraq.

I Can Pick ‘Em Department, Part One: Become the first blogger (outside of her own household, that is) ever – that’s EVER! – to link to My Boyfriend Is A Twat. The honour!

February 2003.

Return to drinking alcohol, while vowing “The days of cracking open a shared bottle of wine in front of the telly, night after night after night, are gone.” (Yeah, right.)


Receive a comment from a member of the Estonian girl band Vanilla Ninja, having just raved about their (sadly failed) Eurovision entry, Club “Kung-Fu”. “Troubled Diva – the blog that the STARS read!”

Attend my first public London blogmeet, downstairs at the Green Man on Great Portland Street. You know: the famous one, where Pete met Karen. (Meg took a great photo of their historic meeting, in which I appeared either to be giving Pete dating tips, or else passing favourable judgement on his bride-to-be’s cleavage.)

The weekend – which I refer to as “Apotheosis Of Blog” – ends with me dancing topless in public, for what was almost certainly the last time ever (barring the odd cartoon representation here and there).

The first of the fully interactive, MP3-enabled instalments of Which Decade Is Tops For Pops? is launched (causing a major intra-blog kerfuffle over the relative merits of Whitney Houston’s and Dolly Parton’s renditions of “I Will Always Love You”.)

I earn my first sneery, snarky, who-the-hell-does-he-think-he-is reference on another (now defunct) blog. A year or so later, we’re exchanging friendly e-mails and linking to each other.

March 2003.

Following a nail-biting tie-break round, the first Which Decade? contest is won by the 1970s.

redmikenoseThreatened by possible redundancy, I hide out in my comments box until the all-clear is sounded. This morphs into the Let’s Get More Comments Than Wil Wheaton Project (yeesh, me and my Projects), which sees me receiving over 235 comments in return for a £100 donation to Comic Relief – but without leaving my comments box for the duration, meaning that publicity for the stunt has to be raised by others on my behalf.

(Commemorative photo-doctoring by Zoe.)

As a reward for reaching the comments target, the ex-blogger most recently known as Somewhat Muchly gives me the domain name of

A poetry reading in Beeston is dissected at length. (One of my favourite posts, but it’s a shame that I didn’t give it a proper ending.)


The month ends with the first Troubled Diva Guest Week, in which I am joined by Anna (, D (Acerbia), noodle vague (The World, Backwards), Faustus M.D. (The Search For Love In Manhattan) and Mr.D. (whose experience during Guest Week inspired him to start his own blog, Aprosexic).

April 2003.

Passing quickly over the ear-bashing horrors of the Match The Intro competition…

…we arrive at Apotheosis of Blog (slight return), in which a secret cabal of bloggers steal the official A-list from the filing cabinet, and replace it with their own.

The Troubled Diva merchandising range is introduced.

The long period of professional activity draws to a close, as I fly off to Paris for the first of many, many business trips.

I Can Pick ‘Em Department, Part Two: become one of the first bloggers to plug Call Centre Confidential – arguably one of the first examples of a new approach to personal blogging, which sees tightly themed and constructed writing come to the forefront, in place of the usual links-and-commentary paradigm.

My first audio-blog: a “performance art” recitation of… well, you’ll see. (Remember audblogs? They were all the rage…)

An article on Troubled Diva appears in Web User magazine’s regular Blog On column, based on this interview.


Installation Art Thursday takes place, as I stage The Perpetual Impossibility Of Sensory Gratification.

May 2003.

Hard house is danced to, on beer, for the last time ever. Farewell, hard house.

The Which Is The Best Madonna Album? Project gets underway, as I experiment with stepping the music criticism up a notch. (Music and Bedtime Stories end up tying for first position, in case you were wondering.)

Fye-ya! Diz-eye-ya!

Over at the cottage, the PDMG (Princess Diana Memorial Garden) is installed.

Discover that Troubled Diva is an anagram of Voidable Turd.

But in the morning, with all done and dusted, and what remained of the spell completely broken, this awful quietness and retreat descended upon the room. A shuffle back from intimacy to cordiality. From “oh yeah, me too, absolutely” to “do you want a shower now, or wait till you get back?” From new best mate, to cipher, to statistic. No phone numbers. No point. Respective little black books already bulging, with page after alphabetised page of half-smile memories, mild accusations, slowly fading obligations.

A casual shag in a boutique hotel forms the basis for one of my absolute all-time favourite posts.

To Riga, for the second Troubled Diva Eurovision Takeover – including a Latvian fireman, on the beach, in wet pants, rescuing a sopping wet beaver.

June 2003.


After mocking a US Care Bear blog for ripping off my site design, and dolling up the blog with Care Bears a-go-go, karmic retribrution strikes, as I find myself trapped inside a Care Bear for a whole week. Only the intervention of The Blessed Esther Rantzen saves me.


K and I flirt with the idea of buying a new house in Nottingham. It’s an over-ambitious conceit, which comes to naught.

Blogspot is abandoned for good, as I migrate to my fourth URL: Just to keep everyone on their toes.

July 2003.

A Blog Hiatus Of The Month competition is hosted.

The 100 x 100 project is launched: a series of 100 posts of exactly 100 words in length. Yes, I know… doomed. A project too far?

Ah yes, the Diva Rhyming Slang quiz. My, I was full of ideas back then.

The Old Curiosity Box series splutters to a close, as I belatedly realise that nobody is actually downloading my super-rare MP3s. Puh.

August 2003.

The ill-fated 100 x 100 Project – my first serious misfire – is put out of its mystery, via a marathon weekend Blogathon.

Ah, the Zbornak interview. What fun that was – especially the autobiographical musical.

Will I be cooking lunch, or will I be cooking dinner? A photo shoot takes place for Period Living magazine. Little did we realise that it would take another three years for the article to be published…

September 2003.

The Nottingham house is put up for sale. We don’t sell, and opt to stay put instead.

I Can Pick ‘Em Department, Part Three: The Rolling Stones at Wembley are followed by an extraordinary club gig by the then unknown Scissor Sisters. Nottingham Pride was fun, as well.


How often does your partner read your weblog? An in-depth survey is conducted. (The answer? Not a lot.)

Troubled Diva – the blog that the STARS read! Babydaddy from the Scissor Sisters sends a “thanks for the gig review” e-mail.

Oh God, the Sambuca drinking game. How young we all were.

October 2003.


I appear in a local am-dram production, playing a camp stereotype in a reality TV show. To this end, I adopt a bleached blonde “Hoxton fin”.


And then there were the costumes…


Directly following my thespian triumph, I am dispatched to Paris for the forseeable future. To cope with the absence, Guest Month is launched. Frankly, darlings… it was a triumph. Hands up, who remembers Aunt Cyn?

Down at our local gay club, K’s drink is spiked with DRUGZ. Not big. Not clever.

Enter Danny, my sex-hungry “guest blogger”. Except it was me all along, you fools! Hands up, who remembers The Spritzer? Ee, we’ve done some bonk-blogging in our time…

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