Red Letter Days.

(posted by Mr. D.)

This year (this month, in fact) my beloved and I celebrated our 30th anniversary. Aaah.

Our daughter turned 21.

Our son stopped being a teenager. It was the first time for two years he’s been home to celebrate the day, which he shares with his mother. 20 years ago, I’d promised her a birthday present to remember and lying on her back, legs in the air, screaming for mercy, she had to agree with the midwife that it was different.

Come the summer, I reach 50. Can an atheist use the abbreviation OMG?

And today? My current company car is one year old! (An MG ZR 120 for the benefit of the petrolheads).

Parked up on the M25, I mentally calculated that with its previous 10 models stretching back to ’75, and at roughly 100,000 miles per car, I’ve clocked up over 1 million miles.

A one-man global warmer. Sorry, eco-warriors.

Who would win?

(posted by D)

Amazing the sort of guff that five blokes will come up with in a pub at lunchtime. It must be the combination of sunshine, good pub grub and a pint or two of beer.

“Who would win, right, who would win, in a fight between… an ostrich and a chimpanzee?”
“No, no, better yet, between a crocodile and a great white shark… that’d be a fight worth seeing.”
“Depends if they fought on land or in water. Maybe two rounds, one in water and one on land.”
“Then the shark’s gonna be wasted. How about between a bunch of pitbulls and a leopard?”
“Pitbulls are vicious, they’d tear it to shreds.”
“Hyena and… and… a squirrel.”
“Squirrel, no contest. They’ve got those claws and sharp teeth and they can beat other animals to death with their big bushy tails. They’re vicious little b*st*rds, they’ll mess you right up. How about… a mongoose and a mole?”
“Mongoose has the speed… moles have got that blind Daredevil-radar thing… they can probably do all that slow-motion ninja stuff Matrix-stylee too…”
“Don’t be a mong, they’ve got no room to jump around in, they’re stuck in tunnels all the time.”
“Fine, what about a polar bear and a rabbit then…”

Focus eventually shifted to the war coverage muted on the screen behind us.

“I reckon Saddam is dead. He must be, they cruise missiled him all the way to high heaven.”
“Nah, he’s made of stronger stuff than that.”
“What, like… he’s a robot?”
“Better. A cyborg.”
“A cyborg made of asbestos.”
“What the US needs is a moustache-seeker missile. Then they just fire them all into Baghdad and that’ll solve the problem pretty fast.”
“Better yet… they should airdrop mongooses and polar bears into Baghdad…”
“…mongooses and polar bears that’ve been trained to seek out people with moustaches…”
“…yeah… and even a cyborg-asbestos-Saddam wouldn’t be able to beat a pissed-off polar bear!”

I blame the beer.

SIZEMOLOGY. Size matters. Yes it does.

(posted by Mr. D.)

SM1. Mindlessly awaiting my turn in the barbers, I recalled a queue-related incident which this medium makes it easier to share. You’ll understand. And your gender will determine your reaction…

Some years ago, my beloved was temporarily between two regimes of contraception and I was advised to ‘take precautions’.

So, a nostalgic pilgrimage to the chemists then, where a plethora of old ladies had swarmed, to get prescriptions filled, each discuss several ailments with the very patient pharmacist etc. In MY lunch hour.

Nearing the head of the queue, I resolved to avoid future wastes of my valuable time by buying more than the usual ‘packet of 3’. Hell, I could’ve got through 2 of them in the 10 minutes I’d been there!

And so, eventually arriving at the counter, I manfully demanded a box of Durex.

“What size?” asked the harridan assistant.

“I. Er. Um. I. Um. (pre-empting Gareth Gates by some years).

She let me sweat. Hours passed. Someone behind me muttered “C’mon big boy, I’m on me lunch hour”.

“What size box?”. “25, 50?”. As if there could have been any other answer!

“Oh, 25 is fine” I gushed. “please, take all of this money, and keep the change”.

I legged it. I still redden thinking about it.

(You’ll have to wait for SM2. Hey, I’ve gotta pace myself.)


Why I Got The Sack From The Museum.

(posted by one of anna’s b****es, apparently)

Before the Number 15 hoved into view this morning quite a queue had congregated. We stood silent and staring uproad, the Monday Morning Mule Train. Despite that I knew most of the faces in line and they I’m sure knew my face too. Later, I saw an even longer mute queue outside the Post Office on the corner of Brazil Street. Nobody was sambaing.

It was irritating, itchy even, to wake up at 3.15 am with the television still blurting and to see so many mediocrities speaking so earnestly about Art, meaning Money. Hollywood occasionally lets Art slip past the studio Pitbulls, but the Oscars are a celebration of every tawdry, dishonest, faux-artistic impulse that the Los Angeles Petting Zoo holds dearest. Great Art is opaque, but to win an Oscar a movie needs to be so transparent, so dishonest, so Hanks-Spielbergundian that you can watch it whilst asleep and still know exactly what’s happened.

So I’m tired like every Monday and the sun is shining and I’m haphazardly word-sketching the chestnut eyes of the woman on the bus seat in front of me – dark hair dusted burgundy and a smile that took 10 minutes to appear but will make the rest of today liveable. She was chatting happily to her little boy, which makes her pretty freakin’ rara avis round these parts. She gets off 2 stops before me, and then I surf my way down the aisle (3 skips in the road to ride), jump off, and try to forget enough about beauty and wonder that I can be an efficient prole.

Criss-cross rhythms that explode with happiness.

(posted by Mr. D.)

Music is such a personal thing, and this being my first blog proper, I’m worried about being aprosexic.
So I’m hoping that the title (and yes, maybe even that adjective?) has got you at least a tad intrigued.

If not, and you’ve already surfed off in the direction of away, one of us has missed an opportunity…

So, Saturday night and another “band to be seen before I/they die” gets ticked off the list. Osibisa, the godfathers of World music, slayed me in ’71 with their eponymous debut album and in the unlikely venue of Cranleigh Arts Center, did it again.

“Music for Gong Gong”, the tribal equivalent of a disco dance floor filler, reeled ‘em in and from then on, they had you by the feet. We were all taught the chorus to “Ayiko Bia” and “Kilele” (as if we didn’t know them anyway!) and no-one held back.

Teddy Osei, “Mr. Africa” and co-founder, struggled to walk onto the stage but played flute, tenor and alto sax, police whistle, african tom-toms and cow-bell with enviable vigour and verve.

Sol Amarfio, the other original member, who looked like he’d been born behind his drumkit, never stopped smiling once throughout the concert and the relatively youthful rhythm guitarist danced his socks off in a space the size of a telephone kiosk.

N.B. TD – you don’t have to trust me on this. They play their last U.K. gig at the Flowerpot in Derby on May 10th. Take K and your dancing shoes and let rip!

The voice of the ladies – anna pickard, femininity encapsulated.

(posted, unsurprisingly, by anna)

Firstly, sisters, let me thank my gracious host (mike – a man, but he can’t help that…)
(Pause for laughter)
for giving me this opportunity to speak on behalf of the fairer sex this week, if only by default, and thank you, sisters, for allowing me to speak, for, of, and to, You.
In accepting the title of
Miss troubled diva guestblogger
I will, alongside my tireless work for world peace and disabled house-pets, accept the responsibility of furthering the cause of All my sex, and will to this end, be;

  1. Talking about shopping.
  2. Breaking off in the middle of a post to pluck my eyebrows.
  3. Wearing pink.
  4. On a diet.
  5. Propping Barbies and vases of flowers on top of my computer.
  6. Bursting into tears for little reason.
  7. Giggling about boys.
  8. Worrying about the size of my bottom.

I speak not for myself, but for all the girls out there, sitting in front of their computer screens, playing with their hair and thinking about having babies.
Thank you.
(Rapturous applause)

For any readers of my own site, let me assure you that there will be none of the usual nonsense and obscenity, no swearing, ranting, burping, drunkenness, and I will certainly not be referring to my gaggle of co-hosts as ‘my b****es’
Thank you again, sisters, my darling girls, and thank you, Mike, for giving me this opportunity to act like the lady…

Also, if this post recieves more than 2500 comments, I pledge not to talk about periods.
Thank you.


(posted by D)

(tap, tap, tap) Is this thing on?

Whoa, where did that cool title graphic come from?! Needs a 1-pixel border methinks…

I’ll be back later when my fluffy brains sort themselves out. Thanks to the Malaysian Grand Prix I managed to squeeze a three day weekend into 48-hours. Plus, I’ve been reading since she started (I’ve even met the lovely Anna on two occasions) and I’m somewhat in awe of her. Shocked that she was also chosen for this gig, but mainly in awe. Shock and awe… that’d be my general mood at the moment.

Realising the vision.

(posted by Mike)

In my old wild Trade-babe clubbing days, I was often struck by how melodramatic some of the techno-trance-hardbag-nu-energy music could sound. I used to imagine how great it would be to see a group of fully togged-up Spanish widows in the club, standing on a podium somewhere, in full traditional black lacy garb, complete with those mantilla headdress thingys, white-faced, fans and/or hankies in hands, their faces pictures of studied, theatrical woe, throwing “misery me!” shapes above the anonymous bobbing shaved heads of the crowd, as the light beams swirled around behind them.

(I also used to imagine four headscarved Russian-Jewish babooshkas on another, more distant podium, dancing in a circle, kicking their legs and cackling with witchy glee. God knows what I was on.)

Anyway, I was explaining all this to D from Acerbia, and then he came up with the nifty title graphic which you now see above.

Hurrah for Acerbia!
I © Guest Week!


The Faux Oscars.

(posted by Mr. D.)

“…. and I’d also like to thank ……….”

The Phrontistery, who lured me to Tinka’s “Distant Sun” blog (because I’m a “Crowded House” fan too) and of course Tinka herself, who advocated visiting the Troubled Diva, which I did, or I wouldn’t be here today …

(I actually typo’d that as “toady” – thank Microsoft for SpellChecker!) ….

Camera pans back to the podium .. Mr.D. pauses to draw breath, stop blubbing etc.

Picking from the virtual CV which won me this Guest Blog, I’d suggested to mein host that it was like inviting someone to share your “Meal for one” – utterly selfless, but you’re gonna be hungry.

So, without wanting to fawn, dear, I would like to state my gratitude to Mike for this opportunity to share what is, essentially, a very personal medium and hope that my morsels and musings don’t detract you from The Man Himself.

Oh, and, er, yes, Little.Red.Boat is peerless – please read her input if you do nothing else.

Mr. D. (see Track 1 “Goat’s Head Soup” by the beat combo The Rolling Stones).

And this week’s guest contributors are…

…in alphabetical order…

1. Anna Pickard of

I am slightly embarrassed to admit that, after all my talk of wanting to achieve a healthy Gender Balance for guest week, Anna turns out to be the token female of the group. Yes: Troubled Diva is set to become a heaving hotbed of pumping testosterone over the next seven days, with only Anna on hand to redress the inequality.

Why so? Well – contrary to all my expectations, it has to be said – I had considerably more male than female volunteers to choose from. Once I had whittled them down to a shortlist, and once I had eliminated anybody who I had ever met in real life (a particularly capricious and brutal rule to apply, but I had to cut the list down somehow), Anna was the last female standing. Simple as that.

Am I sounding a trifle over-defensive here? Yes, I guess I am.

Let’s put it another way, then. Remember when I said that I was looking for a Liberty X, not a Hear’say? Well, I think what I’ve actually done is created a Blondie, with Anna as its Debbie Harry.

(No, I don’t know who is supposed to be Chris Stein, or Clem Burke, or, er, the other ones. Because that would be stretching the conceit too far.)

Anna is also the token “person blogging under her own full name”. Her weblog is an utter delight, and should be mandatory reading for absolutely everybody in the whole wide world. Bar none.

2. D of Acerbia.

Like the popular 90s rock band Bush, and the popular 80s rock band The Fixx, Acerbia enjoys the peculiar distinction of being a British weblog with absolutely heaps of recognition in the States, but with more of a niche/cult appeal in the UK. (At least if his comments boxes are to be believed. Or maybe that’s just American forthrightness and British reserve coming into play.) This is one of the reasons why I wanted D on board: he has a great site, full of knife-edge humour and unpredictable twists and turns, and it’s high time that a few more Brits were made aware of his unique talents.

A nominee for “Best European Weblog” in the 2003 Bloggies, and for “Best Humourous Weblog” in the 2002 Bloggies, I guess makes D our token Celebrity Weblogger. He is also our token Graphic Design Genius: have you seen some of the stuff he does on his site? It’s genius, I’m telling ya.

3. Faustus M.D. of The Search For Love In Manhattan.

Long-standing readers will have heard me bang on about the brilliance of The Search For Love In Manhattan many times over the past year, and so it is a particular pleasure to welcome Faustus onto the team. As well as being our token American (although D can also claim lineage), Faustus is – another shock, this – our token Homosexual. Yes, it’s Heterosexual Week on Troubled Diva alright! So c’mon Faustus, fag it up!

4. Mr. D. of no fixed abode.

So – we have a D and a Mr. D. Confusing, huh? Oh, I’m sure you’ll cope.

Mr. D., a regular reader and occasional commenter, is our token Person Without A Weblog (I was particularly keen for this to happen), and thus our token Comparatively Unknown Quantity. His lengthy and engaging application letter was enough in itself for me to give him the gig, without any further consideration being needed. I shall say no more about him now, except that I have every confidence that by the end of the week, you will have all clasped him to your collective bosom.

5. noodle vague of The World, Backwards.

Like The Search For Love In Manhattan, The World, Backwards is one of very few weblogs which has prompted me to go all the way back to the first entry in its archives and work my way, er, forwards. Token existentialist beat poet, and token enemy of capitalisation, noodle has lead me to believe that we might expect something different from his usual brand of feelgood hit-and-run nihilism. But whatever he does, rest assured that it will be Class.

Oh, did I not mention that I have gone for five, not four guest contributors? Couldn’t be helped, I’m afraid. This is going to be a fascinating week. So keep it locked on dubya dubya dubya DOT troubleddiva DOT co DOT you kay, why dontcha?