Highly inappropriate comments to leave on other people’s web logs.

(Post title suggested by miles away.)

Words. More words? No. No more words. Words, no more.

Outside: darkness. Inside: black, raven-black, black as ink-stained night.

Beside me, the crust of a half-eaten cheese sandwich curls up in silent reproach.

Semi-digested. Hardening, crumbling, returning to dust. As we all must. But some, sooner than others.

Above me the noose, seductive as your deadly, treacherous smile. Beckoning, siren-like, towards everlasting peace.

All that remains, now. Press Publish, step up, kick away, away, a final gasp, then, no more.

Adieu, dear imaginary so-called friends, adieu. Youve been such a lovely audience.


W00t, first! 🙂


LOL I hate cheese sandwiches too… have you tried adding pickle?


Cheese sandwiches give me nightmares. Stay off the cheese!


If I were you, I’d try prosciutto with buffalo mozzarella and tomatoes on a lightly toasted ciabatta. Then come back and tell me you don’t love it!


Sigh. Such powerful writing. I love you work.


Great post (as usual!), but you need to correct that missing apostrophe in the final sentence. Also, the sandwich metaphor is unconvincing and needs more work.


There are CHILDREN DYING and all you want to talk about is CHEESE SANDWICHES? You have BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS.


Congratulations on winning Post of the Week!


Tolerably diverting, but you’re no Troubled Diva.


after reading dis shitty post i felt like toppin meself to


Too high and mighty to reply to comments then, are we?


Hi. My name is Ria Pollof, and I’m researching an item on suicidal bloggers for BBC Radio Four’s Woman’s Hour. Obviously we can’t pay, but it would be great publicity for your blog! If interested, please e-mail me.


I call bullshit. This is just a publicity stunt in order to land a book deal, isn’t it?


Self-absorbed narcissistic fame whore. You’ll probably ban this.


Suicide is the choice of the Islamofascist. This would never happen in America. THAT’S WHAT MAKES OUR NATION GREAT.


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Comments on this post are now closed.

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Twenty-Five Things I Want To Do Before I Die.

(Post title actually suggested by Zinnia Cyclamen.)

Nonono, Mike, while I appreciate the time and effort that’s clearly gone into this, and not being jealous of your lovely sunny holiday afternoon at all – one title is aspirational, beautiful, a window to your dreams and a catalyst to our own imaginings, the other is merely unprompted advice and the gateway to TMI.

Do the other title instead! The other one! Do the other!

anna

Now then young Diva, you may think it’s clever to change the title of your assignment, but we do not spend hours carefully thinking up titles that will both stretch you and entertain your readership for you to wilfully ignore them. We will therefore expect the set version to be completed and handed in before the end of the month (like wot Anna said) or There Will Be Trouble and You Will Be In It. Do I make myself clear?

Zinnia Cyclamen

OK, enough already! For I am nothing if not eager to please. The list which follows was compiled this morning, sitting out in PDMG#1, on the second gloriously scorching hot day of our 11-day holiday (which I think I might have briefly mentioned before, in passing).

Unlike its predecessor (see below), the order of which was jiggled around with for “artistic” purposes, this list is presented strictly in order of the thoughts which dropped into my head.

OK, let’s catalyse those imaginings!


1. Visit Australia.

2. Visit New Zealand. That’s two separate trips, and hence two separate items on the list. No, I don’t consider this cheating.

3. Go for an overnight trip on a traditional rice boat on the backwaters of Kerala. (Thanks for the suggestion, z.)

4. Interview one of my heroes. This year to date, I’ve already missed out on Neil Tennant (holiday-related communications cock-up) and Boy George (UK tour cancelled, and stretching the definition of “hero” in any case). But the time will surely come, won’t it?

5. Meet some of my most long-standing readers and/or fellow bloggers in person. To redress the imbalance of #1 and #2 above, I’m going to condense six items into one: asta in Canada, Peter in Leith, Gordon in Glasgow, Zed in Belgium, Joe in New York City, and the eternally elusive DG in Bow. Amongst others, naturellement

6. Leave Nottingham. Sorry, Nottingham. It’s not you, it’s me.

7. Give up full-time paid employment, well in advance of the official retirement age.

8. Dance the Hustle.

9. Dine at El Bulli.

10. Attend a Nick Cave concert. To the best of my knowledge, Cave has only played Nottingham once. I bought a ticket, and then FORGOT TO GO, only realising several days later. This had never happened before, and I intend to ensure that it never happens again.

11. Win a f**king blog award for just once in my f**king life, rather than just being nominated and short-listed and long-listed for the f**king things all the f**king time, I mean I know I should be grateful and all that, but to have the carrot repeatedly dangled and snatched away, well, it needs a little resolution is all, and then I can be all gracious and self-effacing and oh-but-these-things-don’t-really-matter, but not before, OK?

12. Host a radio show. Preferably one in which I get to play music. I loved doing those summer podcasts in 2005 and 2006.

13. Throw a 25th anniversary party. (There’s less than three years to go on that one.)

14. See the Northern Lights. Or aurora borealis, if you will.

15. Become a god-father. (As distinct from “Fairy Godmother of British blogging“.)

16. Write an article for a nationally distributed print-based publication. (Time Out London came closest, but not quite close enough.)

17. Get to the bottom of the Beatles mystery, once and for all. (I had a really good lead on this last year, but the trail fizzled out.)

18. Re-visit my home town; it’s “a cocktail of urban and rural where the delights of a modern bustling town centre are complemented by picturesque villages, historic market towns and unspoilt countryside”, apparently. Not having been back since my grandmother’s funeral in 1992, I can only conclude that the old place has seen some fairly massive changes…

19. DJ, for one last time, in an end-of-High-Fidelity kind of way. The old tunes, to the old crowd. I’m not fussed about no swanky venue or nothing; the village hall would do just fine.

20. Finish transcribing the second half of my mother’s memoirs (aka The London Years). Cracking good, they are.

21. Re-establish contact with a certain long lost cousin; I was a page-boy at her wedding in 1970.

22. Get a funky pied-à-terre in London Town.

23. Throw a 50th anniversary party.

24. Ensure that my mother is properly looked after in her old age.

25. Create something which people can remember me by; or, as K put it, “leave a lasting legacy”. Ah, how we feeble mortals strive for the eternal…

Twenty-Five Things To Do Before You Die.

(Post title almost suggested by Zinnia Cyclamen.)

(Except that Zinnia actually requested “Twenty-Five Things I Want To Do Before I Die”. As our teachers used to tell us, but did we listen: ALWAYS READ THE QUESTION CAREFULLY.)

(Unfortunately, I didn’t spot the slip until the list had been compiled, with a certain amount of assistance from K, as we hung out in a gloriously and unexpectedly sunny PDMG#1, on the first day of our 11-day holiday.)

(So here’s a list of things that, if we might be so bold, we think that you should do, before you die. We’ve done most of them. But not all of them.)


1. Go for a balloon ride in Cappadocia.

2. Eat in a three-star Michelin restaurant.

3. Cross the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct by narrow boat.

4. Sunbathe in the nude, in public. It’s not exhibitionism; it’s liberation.

5. Meet one of your heroes.

6. Become a god-parent.

7. Sing karaoke.

8. Do a stint of regular voluntary work.

9. Attend a performance of Steve Reich’s Music For 18 Musicians.

10. Visit the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon.

11. Buy an original work of art.

12. Overcome a fear.

13. Pick something that you’re good at and do it really, really well, to the point where you achieve public recognition for doing it.

14. Become good friends with someone at least twenty years older than you.

15. Become good friends with someone at least twenty years younger than you.

16. Experience an anal orgasm. (See #12 above.)

17. Forgive those who have wronged you; it will set you free.

18. Watch 12 Angry Men.

19. Listen to June Tabor’s And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda.

20. Read Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day.

21. Order the petit pot au chocolat at the Bibendum Oyster Bar (after lunching on their oysters, naturally).

22. Visit the site of the My Lai massacre.

23. Descend into the Valley of the Kings on a donkey, shortly after daybreak.

24. Drink a pint of Marston’s Pedigree.

25. Eat a slice of Passionate Carrot Cake from the Chatsworth Farm Shop.


How many have you done?

And which ONE (repeat ONE) thing would you add to the list?

Hold the front page, Mike is READING BOOKZ…

As of less than an hour ago, I am officially on me hols for the rest of the month, my CD Discman choosing to mark the occasion by serendipitously furnishing me with the all-time summer pop classic “Beach Baby” by First Class (as dissected quite brilliantly here) on the walk home, nestling as it is on Disc Five of the newly released 5CD compilation 101 70s Hits, which I recommend unreservedly, despite the very occasional clunker, but then again, at a retail price which works out at 15 pence per track (or even less if you place your order here), there’s really very little to complain about.

But I over-subordinate. To make the next eleven days Truly Special, and bearing in mind that I have become the sort of culturally challenged dullard who only reads books on holiday, I have assembled a Summer Reading List With A Theme. I wonder if you can spot what it is?

Mike’s Summer Reading List With A Theme.

1. The Dying Of DelightClare Sudbery.

2. Gods Behaving BadlyMarie Phillips.

3. Out Of The TunnelRachel North.

4. The God InterviewsNatalie d’Arbeloff.

5. The Killing JarNicola Monaghan.

(Well, since I’ve given a talk about them, I thought it might be as well to read a few of them…)

Skoolz out 4evah! Happy holidays, everyone!

Open Mike #7 – the holiday assignment.

Since it has been an astonishing eight months since the last Open Mike session (which was directly instrumental in the launch of Post of the Week, as it happens), I’m going to widen the scope somewhat. Thus, instead of the usual quickfire, first-come-first-served, question and answer format, I’d like you to suggest proper post titles for me in the comments box. I shall then pick the ten most stimulating titles, and spin a few choice bons mots around them.

As we’ve got some holiday time coming up later in the week (11 days of it, to be precise), and as we can hardly expect the weather to be conducive to sun-worship, this should make for a handy little holiday assignment.

OK, fire away. As ever, my box is at your disposal.

“K would like a Waggledance Shandy, please.”

No, we’ve not been to a dodgy strip club; instead, yesterday saw me taking K to his first ever blogmeet, at a formerly gay (and now much improved) pub on the Bayswater Road. Waggledance was their guest beer – and at a whopping 5%, it was a fine ale indeed – but since K was going to have to be driving us home from Derby station that evening, shandies were the order of the day. I’m sure you can picture the amusement.

Perhaps I shouldn’t even be calling the blogmeet a blogmeet, since it wasn’t an openly publicised event. Rather it was a gathering of The British Blogpals Of Lucy Pepper From Portugal – who, amongst her many more celebrated achievements, is also responsible for the first two images at the top of my sidebar.

Most of the blogpals were familiar faces; others I was meeting for the first time. K had never met any of them before, and he doesn’t read blogs anyway, so I did a certain amount of discreet “background” hissing – but it wasn’t an easy social situation for him to step into, and he did well to last the course with such good grace. (Tellingly, he formed an immediate alliance with Lucy’s Professor, one of the two other non-bloggers in the room.) Perhaps I should have dragged him round the table with me, showing him off and making sure that EVERYONE LOVED HIM. But that’s not our style. So I was rather pleased when Bob (hooray, another Gay at a Blogmeet for once!) took me aside and told me that K was “lovely”. Because, well, he IS. And it always pleases me when people agree.


(I always operate on the default assumption that everybody who meets K is madly jealous that I got in there before they did. Yes, I might be delusional. But at least my delusions are romantic ones.)

(Example: the nice older lady on reception at our hairdressers, who didn’t realise that we were partners until it came out in passing a couple of months ago:

Nice older lady (with feeling): I love him.

Mike: So do I. But I saw him first.

Our hairdresser: Yeah, but she had him last.

You have never seen two people rouge up quite so swiftly. But I over-parenthesise.)


As for me, the usual phenomenon occurred, whereby I left the pub feeling I hadn’t spent nearly long enough talking to people, even though I had been there for over five hours solid. How does that happen?

We would have packed swatches (see posts below; way to fill a comments box; updates as we get them), but they’d never have fitted in the day sack.

I am very tempted to give you neatly turned pencil portraits of the bloggers I’d never met before, but perhaps discretion is the better part of valour.

I had one Waggledance too many, and ended up burbling. But that’s all part of the experience.

Mike loves meeting bloggers!