In Which It’s Funny Old World

(Posted by Miss Mish)

I’ve just been trawling the ‘What’s On’ in Nottingham pages and have found quite a few things  that interest me.  Nottingham Playhouse   is hosting both Mark Thomas and Jeremy Hardy. Not on a double bill sadly.  Comedy is always a difficult thing. You never know what is going to make you laugh or if your friends will think the same.  You may for example, be pant-wettingly moved by  ‘Only Fools and Horses’, ‘The Royle Family’ or ‘Jack Ass’  which leave me completely cold. However, show me ‘Teachers’, ‘Spaced’ or  the songs of Noel Coward and Tom Lehrer and I am in hysterics.

Now (bit of name dropping here) the last time I saw Mark Thomas was on the enormous and moving ‘Stop The War’ march in February. I walked next to him for an hour or so and shared my brandy flask with him.    Lovely man, great ideas and with a conscience. There are so few of them around.    He seems to have dropped off the radar recently but no doubt he’ll have a  host of fresh anecdotes. I do worry about him though. I just expect his blood pressure to rise so dramatically during one of his polemical outbursts about Dubyah and Governments in general that he’ll have a stroke or something and  that’ll be the end of him.

Jeremy Hardy is another wonderful funny man. Again with a conscience, although he appears to be settling into middle age with his copy of Stovold’s Mornington Crescent Almanac these days. Now  I missed the last visit of  Jeremy  – I was working in London for two days. But The Husband bought tickets for himself and a  few friends and promised to tell me all about it on my return. So dreadfully early on the Wednesday , I slipped out of bed, kissed the still sleeping cat and Husband and went off to catch the 6.30 train. Husband worked at home that day working to a script deadline and so  stayed in the office with a pot of coffee. At 3pm, as I broke for coffee and turned my phone on, there’s message from him to ring home urgently. Imagining the worst ( accidents,  grandmothers, earthquakes, death of cat etc) I rang home.

“Have you got my keys?” he asked

I check the handbag and find to my surprise that I have picked his up by mistake. But wait! What was that in the other side of the bag? My set of keys too……

It appears that in my dash to get to the cab, I had taken the keys out of the door, locked  it and put them in my bag. Along with my own set which were already in there for safekeeping. So I have actually locked my own husband in the house.

“Sorry” I  mumble.

Now our house is odd in the fact that it has no large opening windows in it. You can only get out by the doors. And as I have BOTH sets of keys, all the doors are locked… well… The Husband is staying EXACTLY where I left him that morning.

Luckily, Ed our next door neighbour, has a set for cat-feeding purposes but he is at work so I leave  message on his mobile and ask him if he can please get home sometime and  release The Prisoner of Nouveau Basford as soon as  possible.  So I carry on working after telling the Husband that his liberation is all in hand.

When I return, The Husband sees the funny side of it but it appears that it got quite fraught. Ed rang to say he’d be home at 6.30 and would let him out then. Husband then books a taxi for 7pm, just enough time before the gig starts to meet people, get and hand out the tickets for everyone. However, just to make sure, he rings up the box office, explains all to the giggles of the staff and they agree to give out replacement tickets to our friends. He then rings them all up and explains  – to even more hilarity – what has happened. Crisis averted.

However. It all turns into a bit of a farce. Ed rings to say he’s got to work late but he’ll be home by 7.

So far so good. However- the taxi arrives EARLY  and is hanging around outside hooting.  Husband waves through window  miming  “Five minutes!” Still no Ed.

Taxi hoots.
Husband mimes.
Still no Ed.
Taxi hoots.
Husband mimes.
Still no Ed.

At ten past 7,  Ed  screeches up and unlocks the door. Husband hurtles out just as the taxi is about to leave and gets to the box office  just after they’ve all gone in.  He explains that there should be a ticket for him.

“Ooh yes! You’re the Man Who Was Locked In The house aren’t you? Just a minute”
“Carol! It’s The Man Whose Wife Locked Him In! Where  is his ticket?”

I’m afraid he took a bit of a ribbing from our friends  in the bar afterwards.

I go out for a meal with colleagues that evening and they  think it’s highly amusing.

I am smug however. “ I know EXACTLY where my partner is tonight. What are yours doing now you’re out of town?”

(posted by Nixon)

Ok- I’ve found the perfect dating site. One of my main goals in life is to ‘do a diva’ and find myself a wealthy man to pay the bills. Now, thanks to the internet, this dream may be realised.

A few months ago on my blog I parodied gaydar for being silly. Now, in a perfect example of life imitating art, there is

You can search for your prospective suitor by his income and net worth! It’s glorious and sure beats searching for guys on penis size.

Apolitical Interlude

(posted by Nixon)

So my post about the scene seems to have attracted a bit of attention. Keep the comments coming- they’re interesting if nothing else. I update my blog a few times a month and don’t get many readers, and those few readers I do get are mostly gay male professions. It’s therefore a strange experience to have such a vocal, numerous and diverse readership here on TD. Unsettling, but not entirely unwelcome.

So I’d like to use the power of Mike’s site to plug a few of the sites I enjoy reading:

I’m going to defile TD by plugging a commercial website. I’ve been plagued by bad webhosts for a while- hell, I even work for one- and it was beginning to pîss me off. I’d get charged for going a few megabytes over my bandwidth allowance and the servers would constantly go down.

As a marketing thing, web hosts tend to have a ridiculously low monthly fee and make their money by charging for features that should come for free. Subdomains, like, would cost $5, as would extra databases and email address. Also, being big companies, they tend not to care about customers and make no attempt to accommodate their needs as individuals.

Thankfully, Textdrive is quite different. I can host 10 different domains on the same account and have unlimited mailboxes. They’re also rather helpful and will install any programs (within reason) or Perl modules I need. They do an absolutely terrible job of articulating their philosophy on their website so don’t be put off.

(no, I’m not getting paid)

Dirty Trade
One of my favouritest blogs. Not sure what’s happened to him as he’s not updated for a month. His blog archives start with him being at university and ‘enjoying’ random sex with horrible, vile people. He then gets thrown out of university and becomes unemployed before finding a groovy job with Virgin Atlantic. I wish I could write like he does. Check it out, man.

Purefinder is another blog I read. It’s had me worried for the past few months but now everything seems to be working out. The post about Mrs. Padraig’s chemotherapy is amazing.

Baby Blogs
I’m a sucker for blogs about babies. Devoted parents post pictures of their babies and write blog posts pretending to be their children. Some say it’s gooey and sentimental but I think it’s beautiful. Here are my faves:






Guest Blogging Dream Team: Member #5

(Posted by Ben)

(If you’re wondering what this is all about, click here.)

Nearly two weeks into Troubled Diva Guest Fortnight (And A Bit), and us temporary residents of Diva Towers are getting along like a house on fire (no need to worry Mike, just a figure of speech – I can assure you conflagrations have been kept to a minimum and, anyway, who was to know those gatecrashers would turn out to have a penchant for arson?)

Though disagreement can be healthy and constructive, it’s always helpful if your guest bloggers get along, complimenting as well as complementing each other, and perhaps it’s wise to bear this in mind when assembling your team.

Thus, the fact that the fourth member of my Guest Blogging Dream Team, Will Self, has described the fifth as God bodes well for the prospective camaraderie of the team. He’s also been denounced by the Daily Mail as “the most loathed man on TV“, and if that doesn’t translate as a glowing recommendation then I don’t know what does.

Ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together / boo disapprovingly for media saboteur, agent provocateur and all-round enfant terrible of British comedy Chris Morris.

It’s not hard to see what Self might find admirable about Morris. Not only is he a fellow satirist notorious for the frequently disturbing surrealism of his visions, but he also revels in the creative possibilities of language. His work routinely exhibits a Joycean verbal playfulness and exuberance, and is littered with inventive neologisms and mixed metaphors. Unlike the vast majority of his comic peers, his work reveal its value as a written script, not dependent upon performance for effect.

Bloggers often pride themselves on having a finger on the pulse, but Morris often goes one better, blessed with an uncanny knack of predicting the future as well as mercilessly dissecting the present. The war episode of ‘The Day Today’ anticipated the phenomenon of embedded reporters and the sensationalist coverage of last year’s invasion of Iraq, while Goldie Lookin Chain are releasing a single called ‘Guns Don’t Kill People, Rappers Do’ ten years after Morris’s spoof rapper Fur Q appeared on our screens.

Above all, you could be certain that if Lawrence and Morrissey failed to stir things up between them, Morris would be only too happy to oblige. Provocation is his raison d’etre. That, and making you laugh like a drain.

The Guest Blogging Dream Team so far: D H Lawrence, Alan Bennett, Morrissey, Will Self and Chris Morris.

Sixth and final member to be unveiled tomorrow.

Nottingham Vignettes – Part 3

Look, I know that I bored you all with my harping on about South Africans and expats, and that you would really like to know what I got up to this weekend. So, here is a brief summary.

Friday night:
I was visited by my ‘bit on the side’ (actually, I’m his bit on the side!) before I went out to meet some friends in the usual haunts in the local gay ghetto. P is a bi builder/scaffolder who works here during the week to return to his wife and 45 children in Sheffield over weekends. We seem to have an understanding and get on rather well but he isn’t the sort of person you’d invite over for a polite dinner party or from whom you’d find a sympathetic ear when discussing the plight of asylum seekers.

Got into town at about 11 and met up with P, a good friend that I met in Cape Town 3 years ago but who, coincidentally, hails from Nottingham. He lives/works in Stevenage now and is off to Australia soon. He was with his latest conquest so I lost him at one stage. Beyond that, I don’t remember much else now.

Tried to read the Guardian but couldn’t get beyond the magazine. Toured the city centre for a while and discovered the South African shop then walked up to the Arboretum to join the ‘gay festivities’. I only got there at 4 but managed to bump into almost every gay person I know in Nottingham. The sun shone at times, people were walking their dogs, the place reverberated with trashy cover versions of gay ‘tchoons’, every one drank a lot – good fun, actually.

Went off to a friend’s birthday party just up the road from me in Sherwood. P (yes, that’s 3 of them now and, yes, they all share the same name) had told me to go to to get inspiration for what to wear. Well, had P known my scaffolder, there would have been no need to point me to that site as scaffolder is the epitome of a chav. Good party, all the men were gay, one lesbian couple and one token straight woman. Four of us left at 12.30 pm to see what NG1 had on offer.

NG1 was heaving with people, lots of them new faces to me – here for the Pride event, I suppose. We went our separate ways and I got into one of my frenzied dance modes and hardly left the dance floor until leaving at 3. Unless I’m with someone, those frenzies usually put me into a world of my own, making me oblivious to all around me. However, there was a point at which I seemed to establish a rapport with a rather sexy man on the dance floor. I seem to recall a lot of shy looking at each other but that is as far as it got.

I was in bed by 4.

Tried to read the Observer but couldn’t get beyond the magazine. Phoned a few friends and dozed on and off during the day.

Went to another friend’s birthday BBQ in Arnold (a place he likes to call Mapperley Border, I ask you!) even though the thought of a quiet evening at home seemed much more attractive. Initially, it was all straight couples, single mothers and noisy children, and aged relatives – quite a contrast from the birthday party of the night before. As the night wore on, a hard core remained, drinking gin and vodka (not together) while we danced to whatever was being played on the stereo.

Bed by 3.

Hated every minute of work. Spent all evening reading Saturday’s Guardian and Sunday’s Observer.

Bed by 11.

* thanks to lyle who pointed out that I’d misspelt chavscum.

Nottingham Vignettes – Part 2 1/2

(posted by Alan)

As a guest writer who hasn’t written anything in almost a week, I’m feeling a terrible pressure to write something before it’s midweek again. And, since the weekend was very much a blur that would be of little interest to anyone else, let alone myself, I’ve had trouble thinking about anything that could be vaguely construed as worthy of ‘local writing’. But, scraping the barrel a bit, I have come up with some locally-influenced musings of mine.

Before going off to the Arboretum Park on Saturday for Nottingham Pride, which, by the way, was very pleasant, very much like a friendly village fete, I was wandering aimlessly around town trying to decide if I ought to get my hair cut or not. I do need one, but didn’t get one as I wasn’t keen on the idea of having my back and neck itch while I tried to walk fetchingly amongst the crowds at Pride. I was rather surprised to see a large advertising board bearing the South African flag on the pavement on Chapel Bar (leading off Upper Parliament street towards Market Square), opposite Fat Cats (nice chilled out place, food reasonable and perfectly acceptable). It pointed towards a rather run-down shopping arcade, saying that the ‘South African Shop’ could be found on the second floor. Shops devoted to South African products are relatively common in London for the reason that this rather old joke is funny:

An Englishman, an Aussie and a South African are in a bar one night, having a beer. All of a   sudden the South African downs his beer, throws his glass in the air, pulls out a gun and shoots the glass to pieces and says: “In Sath Efrika our glasses are so cheap that we don’t need to drink from the same one twice.”

The Aussie, obviously impressed by this , drinks his beer, throws his glass into the air, pulls out his gun and shoots the glass to pieces and says: “Well mate, in ‘Straaaaailia we have so much sand to make the glasses that we don’t need to drink out of the same glass twice either.”

The Englishman, cool as a cucumber, picks up his beer and drinks it, throws his glass into the air, pulls out his gun, shoots the South African and the Australian and then says: “In London we have so many f***ing South Africans and Aussies that we don’t need to drink with the same ones twice.”

Now, I’m not really the sort of expat who has any huge desire to hang around others of my ilk or, for that matter, has a hankering for South African products. But, this being Nottingham, I’d not have thought there were enough of us here to create the necessary demand for a South African shop, so I was intrigued.

Dingy entrance, shops selling second-hand CDs and various Goth paraphernalia, several empty shops with paper peeling from the windows, an escalator that wasn’t working, etc. Yep, this wasn’t going to be an upmarket shopping experience.

I peered through the windows of the shop and was amazed to find that it was a good approximation of the typical down-market café (pronounced ‘caff-ee’) one finds on the wrong side of the tracks in every South African town. No crappy South African newspapers or magazines, unfortunately, and no fridge with a tray of sad samoosas and large ‘Russian’ sausages to be fried with slap chips. But, although the person running the place wasn’t Greek, Portuguese or Indian, she was a large black woman who looked just right for the place. And, there they were! All those delicacies one allegedly misses from home were on the sparsely-packed shelves: Mrs Balls’s chutney, Peck’s Anchovette fishpaste, Castle beer, tins of Milo, Ouma’s rusks, Peppermint Crisps, mealie-meal, etc. Oh, by the way, long before your British palates were colonised by the Italians and you suddenly thought that nothing could be trendier than polenta, we’d been eating mealie-meal in hundreds of different ways. No poof term like ‘polenta’ for us, thank you – we just call it pap.

I looked through that window, hard and long but did I go in? Damn right, I didn’t – it was too depressing for words!

This got me thinking about expats and the way they suddenly develop cravings for foods they know from home. I mean, I can understand why other nationalities (apart from South Africans!) have such places in the UK as the national cuisine must be one of the blandest on earth. Yes, yes, I know that some of the best dining in the world can be had in the UK these days but wander just a little way from any cosmopolitan hub and you are in a culinary wasteland. However, despite that, the British are probably the worst culprits of this kind of thing when one thinks of the proliferation of fish and chips shops and British bars along the Spanish coast. And, what is it with their obsession with having Marmite and Weetabix at breakfast far from Britain’s grey skies? There are lots of South African products and dishes that I miss and look forward to eating when I return home but the thought of having bars and shops devoted to such products away from South Africa seems quite bizarre.

And that then led me to thinking about a related topic dealing with the same subject from quite a different angle. For those of you who have travelled to South Africa or ever eaten in a South African restaurant in the UK, you must think that South African meals often include exotic dishes of kudu, impala, ostrich or crocodile. Well, I can assure you that the average South African has never eaten the flesh of any of those creatures. Not even ostrich (although ostrich biltong is quite common) despite it enjoying a brief moment of fame a few years ago as the next healthy alternative to red meat. So, those ‘typical’ South African menus are not typical at all!

Apparently, you get a similar thing in Australia where restaurants aimed at tourists include kangaroo and duck-billed platypus. Ok, maybe not platypus (an endangered species, isn’t it?), but their typical Ozzie restaurants are also anything but typical.

All that to say, with its own South African shop, Nottingham MUST be on the cutting edge of things!

Guest Blogging Dream Team: Member #4

(Posted by Ben)

(If you’re wondering what this is all about, click here.)

D H Lawrence and Morrissey might well be regarded as grumpy old men, but neither of them accepted being labelled as such by agreeing to appear on the BBC2 series of that name – unlike the fourth member of my Guest Blogging Dream Team, Will Self.

For many if not most bloggers, their blog is at times an outlet for grumbles, gripes and general complaints about their lot in life – a release valve, somewhere they can let off steam. Of course, in many cases this reads like nothing more than tedious and self-indulgent whingeing, but I could listen to Self grumble for hours, and there’s no reason to believe that he’d be any less engaging if afforded access to a blog.

A significant part of his appeal is his phenomenal and rightly legendary mastery of the English language. Though he’s as quotable as Morrissey, he eschews the pithy in favour of the verbose. The rich and labyrinthine sentences of Self’s novels and essays lead the reader on a merry dance and frequently demand re-reading, expanding his or her vocabulary immeasurably along the way.

As comfortably at home on ‘Newsnight Review’, on the restaurant review pages of The Observer and as a team captain on ‘Shooting Stars’, he – like many bloggers – takes an active interest in both the high-brow and the low-brow, and would be just as willing to share his perceptive insights on ‘Big Brother’ and Eurovision as he would on the machinations of the political system or the finer points of philosophy.

Of course, if he was to decide to leave aside the erudite and astute social commentary, there’d always be the chance that we might be treated to some new short fiction and thereby invited to marvel not only at the awesome power of his language but also at the power of his riotous imagination.

The Guest Blogging Dream Team so far: D H Lawrence, Alan Bennett, Morrissey and Will Self.

Member #5 to be unveiled tomorrow.

Guest Blogging Dream Team: Member #3

(Posted by Ben)

(If you’re wondering what this is all about, click here.)

The third member of my Guest Blogging Dream Team is the first not to be a writer in the most commonly understood sense of the term, but he is often mentioned in the same breath as poets of considerable literary repute.

He takes D H Lawrence’s occasionally misanthropic outlook on life to the extreme, and shares the novelist’s bluntness and willingness to sound off, as well as his habit of not suffering fools gladly.

At the same time, like Alan Bennett, his concern with England and the eccentricities of the English is bordering on the obsessive, though, unlike Bennett, he has attracted a good deal of criticism for the views he’s expressed on the subject.

Yes, of course, love him or hate him, it’s the living legend that is Morrissey.

Perhaps at his best when sparring with journalists during interviews, he would nevertheless no doubt relish the opportunity to foist his opinions on others free from the constraints and the misrepresentational meddling of the media.

Morrissey’s back catalogue, as a solo artist but especially as frontman for The Smiths, bears witness to his talents as an intelligent and provocative lyricist. In particular, his fondness for existential reflection and his ability to write introspectively about his own intensely personal feelings in such a way that others can identify with – essentially, the ability to make himself an interesting subject – make him eminently suitable for blogging.

This isn’t to suggest that I think he’s a likeable person, or even necessarily sympathetic – but then that needn’t detract from the quality of what he might be expected to write and post. Indeed, what makes him such an entertaining lyricist and interviewee is the way he manages to dress witheringly cynical comments and spitefully barbed put-downs in such verbal finery and succinct epigrammatic wit. His seemingly eternal quotability would make him quite an asset.

The Guest Blogging Dream Team so far: D H Lawrence, Alan Bennett and Morrissey.

Member #4 to be unveiled tomorrow.

God Save the Queens!!!

Despite my best efforts to avoid it, I was artfully dragged into a gay nightclub at the weekend. I somehow managed to stay for a record 1 hour and 20 minutes before I had to leave, and now I’m wondering what it was that prompted me to go in the first place. I seem quite unable to enjoy myself in NG1 and yet at the same time, I feel compelled to go anyway. Much like the homos of the 1950s who felt guilty for being gay, I feel guilty about not being gay enough. I seem to have a tragic belief that fucking men isn’t enough, and that by spending my pink pounds in a mediocre gay club I will somehow validate my gay identity.

I want to spend some time detailing what I don’t like about the provincial gay commercial scene (henceforth referred to as ‘the scene’) and why I don’t do it. Let’s start at the beginning:

When I was 14 and started to masturbate—or what is euphemistically known as ‘coming of age’—I noticed that no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t bring myself off to pictures of Pamela Anderson. For reasons still unbeknown to me, David Hasselhoff in his red Speedos always seemed to do for me.

At this age I was presented with a choice: either have a sham marriage, have the kids and the wife, and aspire to all the stuff our society teaches us is important, or to go against the grain, to rewrite the rules, and to accept who I am.

Being gay, at least for me, taught me the self-confidence to live a lifestyle consummate with who I am, and not pretend to be someone I’m not. It’s very easy to follow the herd, but once you’ve defied it once, it’s easier to do again.

Perhaps the most interesting thing for me about gaylife is that anyone- be they male, female, Black, disable, affluent, 50+, or whatever- can be a homo, and the only thing all gay folks have in common is an erotic attraction towards members of their own sex. This, and the willingness of homos to rewrite societal rules, are the two things I love most about being gay, and about gay people in general

As you’d expect, the gay scene reflects this diversity and welcomes anyone regardless of their age, race or gender, and offers an environment in which people are free to express themselves.

No! no! no! It doesn’t, and that’s part of the reason I’m not keen on it.

A few people criticise the scene for being too ‘cliquey’ and bitchy. I’ve never quite understood this; the scene’s cliquiness is more fraternal than anything else, and its bitchiness is rarely overt. My problem is more with its blandness and uniformity. I feel very uncomfortable in a gay place where there isn’t at least one married toothless simpleton in the toilets offering chewjobs or a few cross-dressing middle-aged men in suspenders.

At the root of my objection is the implicit understanding on the scene as to what constitutes a proper gay identity, and the derision folks who differ from these unwritten rules are subjected to. I know lesbians, ‘mature’ men, people of colour, and folks who’d like to cross-dress- they’d all like to out on the scene but feel uncomfortable to do so. In short, they feel marginalised by the one place where they should feel comfortable.

Being White, 23 and depressingly vanilla, I’m largely unaffected by these unwritten rules, but this demand for convention and uniformity is something I’m always conscious of and find oppressive. I’d like to feel comfortable going up to the DJ in NG1 and asking for ‘Don’t Go Home With Your Hard On” by Leonard Cohen, as I have in Duckies, but I know full well that I’d receive nothing but a sound beating around the head with a rolled-up copy of Boyz Magazine.

This lack of individuality and demand for convention has always reminded of Last of the Proms:

For those that don’t know, The Last Night of the Proms are a series of concerts with a ‘patriotic’ component held at London’s Royal Albert Hall. It’s classless and crass, and millions of Britons watch it on television each year. The audience adorn themselves in patriotic tat, such as Union Jack hats and novelty polyester ties, and sing songs about Britain’s greatness whilst waving plastic flags. Britain’s empire may lie in ruins but for one night only the attendees can forget all this and pretend that Britannia still rules the waves, and like the Nuremberg rallies of the Nazi era, they too can validate their national identity in this pathetic, jingoistic attempt to manufacture a sense of belonging.

The provincial commercial gay scene, at least for me, isn’t any different from the Last Night of the Proms. Novelty Union Jack hats and God Save the Queen may give way to 2(x)ist underwear and Kylie songs but the essential properties of groupthink, blandness, uniformity, and identity validation are all there.

(and can someone answer me this- why do scene guys shave the pubic hair above their penis? Is it to make it look bigger?)

Whilst it’s easy to sneer at Last Night of the Proms or the provincial gay scene, I’m really glad these places exist and hope people enjoy themselves, but for me these two things are nausea-inducing. I don’t enjoy it and it’s not part of who I am, much in the same way as jacking off over Pamela Anderson isn’t me either. Instead of following the herd and doing what’s expected of me, I would like to go against the grain and live a life that fits who I am, not what I’m expected to be. Whilst I don’t expect all gay people to understand this, I do ask them to respect my lifestyle choices in the same way as I respect theirs.

Whilst I generally opt out, I am still concerned about where this homogenisation will end. A friend tells a funny story about how he was walking down Manchester’s Canal Street when he saw a group of gay men line-dancing in unison to a Steps song. Eventually gay culture will become more like this, and soon it will have as many rules about sexuality and individuality as straight culture. Straight folks are already catching up and will soon overtake us- swinging, dogging and internet dating sites are all taking off, and they’re developing the ‘piss and vinegar’ we’ve exchanged for pink pounds. Soon there will come a time when they’ll start, and the straights will celebrate their sexual uniqueness in sleazy bars, whilst the gays dance in unison to Kylie Minogue songs.

Mark my words: When that time comes– when everything I like about being gay has been sold, and straights become more interesting than gays– I’ll start füçking women instead.

In Which I Expound A Little

(Posted by Miss Mish)

You know who we are, you know what our  beautiful (if borrowed) home looks like and  now I think it’s time that you got a physical description of  our lovely selves.

We are -in no particular order –
Named after a stunning resemblance to Richard Milhous Nixon (yes, that one. The  one we though was the worst Prez EVER, until the latest idiot came along).
He  has turned the stunning and palatial sweeping gravel drive here into a used car lot and is often to be found in the study, with the headphones on ‘listening to music’.  Comments that he is ‘wiring up Diva Towers for sound’ are allegedly taken out of context.

Our Footballing/Modern Music/Current Affairs Correspondent
Like a cross between John Peel, Jon Humphries and George Best so obviously dribbles a lot.  But polite and cleans up well. Hopefully.

All Byronic hair and great sighs, given to bad poetry and often to be found discussing Great Works Of Fiction and The Romantic Poets.  It does not sit well with the regulars in Yates Wine Lodge unfortunately.
Alone and Palely Loitering. Or do I mean ‘littering’?

Bon Viveur/ Man About Town/Bright Young Thing
Imagine  a hybrid of Cary Grant, Jimmy Durante and Jude Law
Has the Super Power to turn into an Octopus on the dance floor or in a taxi. You Have Been Warned!

Miss Mish:
Gin-raddled hag with a smokers cough. Wears hats. No-one has yet seen underneath it to see what she really, really looks like. Or how old she is.

After giving all our secrets away I think I will be banished to the sofa for the next few nights.  Oh well, it was nice while it lasted…..

In Which I Sulk

(Posted by Miss Mish)

Well it really is so unfair. The rest of the TD guests are either on the town, out for dinner, doing something  ‘simply marvellous’ or are primping in the bathroom getting ready for a Saturday night out. And what am I doing? Well I’m sprawled over the bed  Doing My Homework.

It’s so unfair.  All my friends  are going out. They didn’t get given homework  over the weekend. Sir Andrew Turnbull always picks on me and I didn’t do anything. Honest. And George is having a party after  Nottingham Pride In The Park and I’ll be the only one who isn’t there. Please? Can I go, can I? Go on,  PLEEEAAASSSE let me go. I’ll be back by 10.30 ‘cos Nigel’s Dad is in town and I can get a lift with him and……Why not?
OH I WISH I’D NEVER BEEN BORN!!!! (Slams door to bedroom)

I tried doing my homework in my teen-age persona but doing it while simultaneously playing Rattus Norvegicus  or Led Zep 4 on full volume with the TV blaring out  just doesn’t seem to work anymore. And it’s not quite the same having Radio 4 up to no. 11.

(Sigh) It’s no good. I’ll  have to do it the proper, sensible, adult way.
Now where’s the corkscrew?

Nottingham Vignettes – Part 2

(posted by Alan)

We all reach a stage of our lives, often every few months or years, when we suddenly discover that we’re in a rut and that life has to change in some way or other if we are not to become too set in our ways, letting life’s unexplored possibilities slip us by. A number of things have happened to me in the past couple of weeks leading me to think that I’ve got stuck in something I call, for want of a better term, a ‘gay rut’. Don’t confuse this with ‘gay rutting’, something altogether different, but, conceivably, a symptom of a specific type of ‘gay rut’ for those that live their lives as one long series of one-night stands!      *innocent look*

However, the term does have very close links with ‘gay ghetto’, a term that could be defined as a place inhabited and frequented by those stuck in a gay rut.

Episode 1:
I was out with 3 colleagues, all straight men, for a night out on the town. We started out at The Trip – I suggested we go as I’d been introduced to the place the night before by Mike (Buni was there too) and had liked it, especially the great selection of real ales. When they closed, we moved on to Chino Latino so that we could explore their cocktail menu. One of my colleagues seemed to feel that the cost of the drinks could be borne by his expense account so no holds were barred when it came to the quantities drunk. Uncharacteristically, I left early as a friend had rung me and asked if he could come round. I stood up to leave, made a few wise-cracks and then, to my dawning horror, leant forward to kiss my one colleague on the mouth. I stopped just before I had crossed a boundary of no return and conceived to make my movement a symptom of my inebriated state.

Now, I often go out with straight colleagues but we’re usually quite a large group. This was a small group and, in recent months, I’ve not been out with a small group of straight people but am often out with small groups of gay people. Going into autopilot mode, my brain instructed me that a kiss was required as a farewell gesture.

Episode 2:
This time I was out with a large group from the office. We’d started at Fellows Morton and Clayton and then landed up at The Irish. This particular group of colleagues tends to enjoy going to Reflex or Flares, rather dire places even though I’ve had a good time at both before. The Irish is a much better place for the end of a drunken night out. I think that it serves as an Irish social centre but it’s very popular with a wide section of Nottingham although the crowd tends to be quite young, many of whom are students. Basically, it’s a very large hall, much like a church or school hall, off which there is a room with a long bar that serves cheap drinks.

The vital point of this episode only came back to me at 4pm the following day when another colleague who was not with us asked me if we had had a good evening. At that point, a dreadful memory came flashing back: I suddenly remembered how I’d been dancing with a female colleague of mine and that we’d been locked in a deep snog. Oh, the embarrassment of it all!!

Fortunately, I’ve not seen her since then – although she is on the same project, she works in an entirely different part of the building. One of my colleagues who was with us has since spoken to her and told her that I’m gay to which she said, ‘Oh, perhaps he thought I’m a bloke?’ No, not at all, there was no way I could mistake her for a man!

Anyway, the reason why this is yet another symptom of my ‘gay rut’ is the fact that I seldom go out dancing with straight friends and, when I do, I very seldom land up dancing up really close with a woman. Again, autopilot came into play and my brain instructed me to do as I usually do when I’m dancing up really close with a person: kiss them.

Episode 3:
This episode is more a symptom of living alone or spending too much time in the company of men, ie it’s not strictly a symptom of a ‘gay rut’. As those of you who read my epistle on my mother-in-law will know, I spent last weekend in the company of my sister-in-law and her husband, and my mother-in-law. On two occasions, once after having got up in the morning, the other after having had a shower, I found that I had been walking around with my flies undone. Not only that, I was also wearing no underwear! Each time, my brother-in-law kindly pointed out that I needed to zip up.

So, there you have it, the more obvious symptoms of my ‘gay rut’. I think that I need to spend a bit more socialising time with straight people!

Guest Blogging Dream Team: Member #2

(Posted by Ben)

(If you’re wondering what this is all about, click here.)

In many ways a counterbalance to D H Lawrence, but also perhaps a complement, the second member of my Guest Blogging Dream Team is Alan Bennett.

Whilst Lawrence fluctuates in his work between humanism and misanthropy, Bennett’s writings retain a basic warmth and reverence for people, but one which never lapses into nauseating and false Hollywood schmaltz and sentimentality.

In contrast to Lawrence’s heated prose, his would be a more restrained and comforting voice.

And, whereas Lawrence frequently professed an antipathy towards the general public and popular cultural forms, Bennett, as someone accustomed to working on screenplays for TV, would be more inclined to credit such forms with artistic value and significance in the way that the majority of bloggers do.

The foibles and idiosyncracies of English life – whether presented sympathetically or critically – are very often Bennett’s subject matter, and, as a keen observer and commentator upon human interactions and the minutiae of daily life, he seems ideally suited to the job.

I can picture him charming readers with amusing anecdotes from the present, poignant tales from the past and beautifully delicate and proportioned fictional vignettes from the imagination – a sort of amalgamation of I Don’t Believe It, Joe. My. God. and Londonmark, if you will. Just think how good that would be.

So, the Guest Blogging Dream Team so far: D H Lawrence and Alan Bennett.

Member #3 to be unveiled on Monday.

In Which I Give A Tour

(Posted by Miss Mish)

There are five of us here in the guest room at Troubled Diva and frankly darlings it’s a bit of tight squeeze. Even though I’ve bought the MINIMUM of luggage  for these two weeks I still have to apologise anytime someone trips over a  hatbox or two.  We’re queuing for the bathroom most mornings  and  obviously being female I don’t even get a LOOK at the remote control but  I’ve got the radio alarm permanently tuned to Radio 4 to make up for it. Everyone is being oh-so-polite to each other  and trying to keep their elbows in but  mark  my words, there’ll be Tears Before Bedtime.

However, I have the place to myself this morning so  in true, “Hello” style I’d thought I’d throw open the doors of  this Lovely Home and show you the delights  within.

First of all,  the hallway.  Traditional black and white chequered 1930s style floor tiles.   Green baize door leading to servants’ quarters off to the left.  We have no idea what happens there apart from a couple of times a day, food comes out.

Opening the wide double doors to the right,  we move to the ballroom. A magnificent Louis Vingt-et-un style of rococo marvelousness. Polished marble floor with the odd  chip in it caused by cornering too fast during the tango. Beautiful French doors leading to the gardens. Now frankly, these are a  bit of a disappointment. Just the usual terraces, peacocks, espaliered  peach trees,  kitchen herb garden, a Ha Ha  (so last year) and the same-old, same-old formal gardens  with fountains and gravel pathways.

Moving on up the stairs we pass the   portraits of Divas gone by and some of them seem actively Untroubled to me. However, you can still notice the family  resemblance.

The first floor drawing room contains a  comfortable grouping of sofas, occasional tables,  frequent tables and sporadic tables. Scattered about are footstools and cushions all in that early Nash Interior style.

The dining room is Spartan and appears to contain nothing except a variety of telephone hotlines and   a comprehensive collection of menus from Merchants, World Service, Harts etc.

On this floor is also a snug. A small cosy room with   just a few tables and Knowle sofas, centred on a large TV. To the right of this, is a  large cabinet, which upon further inspection contains possibly the UKs finest collection of Eurovision videotapes.  Going back as far as Wogan pre-wig and with the first appearance of Katie Boyle it is  the collector’s collection. Neatly arranged below are  photographic evidence of  the famous Eurovision parties along with a guest list, menu and party favours.

On the wall are  framed  pictures of ‘The Tufts’,  K’s amusing alternative theatre work along with a few of his more virulent ties.

The third floor is more ambient. A more relaxed lighting suffuses  the corridors, gently illuminating the  master bedroom suite. Exactly how you would imagine it – only with less  strapping and mirrors. I shall not reveal the contents of the bathroom ( apart from to say that a natural waterfall makes its presence known) likewise with the dressing rooms. One must have some privacy after all.  But let me just say that you couldn’t make it up. Honestly you couldn’t.

Moving past our guest room, (I’d better open the window to let the fug out)  we come to the part of the tour that everyone has been  waiting for.

The Playroom. Huge in proportion yet still cosy, massively pillared it contains…..
Oh hang on. That’s someone coming back. (Whispers)  I’d better leave it until next time

Some Nottingham Vignettes – Part 1

(posted by Alan)

Ok, time to go ‘native’ and regale you with some Nottingham vignettes that have entertained or amused me over the past 8 months since arriving here. This will be the first; there will be a few more to come over the next few days.

My first introduction to Nottingham, was the far from salubrious establishment, the Clarence Hotel, in Alfreton Road. Before arriving here, I’d been unemployed and was staying with my sister-in-law in Surrey. I’d been there just over 2 months and was rapidly approaching a state of ‘skint-ness’ so whatever place I was to stay in would have to be cheap, really cheap. And, the cheapest place to be found on the net, at £25 per night, was the Clarence so the Clarence it was to be. I arrived there late on the Sunday evening before my first day at work.

The first thing that strikes you about the Clarence is the blast of stale cigarette smoke that hits you on entering the place. After that, the smell is a nagging presence that never quite leaves you, even to someone like myself who is constantly reaching for the next fag. The smell of fags, patterned carpet, décor that combines mock Victorian with Seventies bric-a-brac and an out-size TV screen, and the bar which seems constantly occupied by hardened drinkers could put the Clarence in almost every town and city found in the UK. The taciturn landlord, never quite friendly, usually acceptably civil and occasionally helpful, must be a type specially bred to run such places. I was given my keys and I lugged my cases up two flights of stairs.

Naturally, the room came equipped with a small TV bolted on to a strange contraption that swivels high above one’s head, almost out of viewing reach, and a tray was present with kettle, cups, tea and coffee, and biscuits that hardly ever got replenished. But, to my great amazement, the sheets and pillow cases were pure cotton – I’d been prepared to catch hives or some hideous rash from exposure to the dreadful synthetic bedding one usually finds in such places. And, even better, it had its own private bathroom (the size of a small cupboard) with a ‘power-shower’. I had arrived…

At work, the following day, my new colleagues asked me where I was staying. They were absolutely horrified to hear that I was staying in Alfreton Road – ‘Someone was murdered there two weeks ago…you can’t stay there!’ There was such a commotion about it that I started to feel quite embarrassed as if I had committed some cardinal sin against the consultants’ code of conduct – thou shalt  stay in well-appointed, middle-of-the-road, safe places like a Moat House or Holiday Inn. My constant retort was, ‘I come from South Africa so it will make me feel like I’m back home.’

I stayed there for 3 weeks (barring one Saturday night when I had to move somewhere else for the night as I’d cocked up my booking) without incident and became a regular at Daddy C’s, the Jamaican takeaway across the road. Actually, there was one incident on the Friday before I left the place…

I’d been out and got back late to find an incredibly gorgeous man sprawled across the stairs. He had the face of an angel and the body of a Greek god, much of it exposed by a shirt that was rucked up under his armpits. I tried to wake him up but he was incapable of anything but shift his legs and utter a few undecipherable words. I went down to the bar and asked if anyone knew who he was. A group of men, hell-bent on conquering some ladies of the night that seemed all cleavage and nothing else, said that he was a friend of theirs but to leave him be. I returned up the stairs and tried to get the guy to move again.

This time, with lots of help from me, he managed to stagger up and muttered a room number. Both of us staggered down the corridor, me bearing most of his weight, very conscious of his very muscular frame, despite the slackness induced by too much alcohol. He managed to find his key and I helped him into his room where he collapsed on to a bed, murmuring something about me helping him out of his clothes.

Now, it isn’t that often that I am faced with undressing someone quite so delicious. So, I didn’t hesitate and after much tugging and pulling, managed to get him down to his boxer shorts. All sorts of bad thoughts were flashing through my head and I was sorely tempted to let my hands do some wandering, testing the waters, so to speak. At this point, some of you may be thinking that there is some sort of exciting ending to this story? But, alas, some long-buried sense of morality surfaced itself and I left him there, un-molested, looking back longingly as I left the room. I couldn’t get him out of my mind for hours after that.!

The next time I saw him was at about 10am the next day when I saw his friends helping him into a taxi headed towards the city centre. Oh well, another missed opportunity….

Guest Blogging Dream Team: Member #1

(Posted by Ben)

(If you’re wondering what this is all about, click here. I’ve reworded and updated the post since yesterday to make it clearer – thanks to Alan, Paul and J for pointing out the potential confusion.)

Given the current Local flavour of Troubled Diva, it seems fitting to make D H Lawrence the first member of the Guest Blogging Dream Team. Admittedly he’s a bit of a personal hero, but there are plenty of objective reasons to think he’d make a brilliantly engaging blogger.

Born and raised the son of a miner in nearby Eastwood, Lawrence spent most of his writing life abroad, however, living in Europe, America and Mexico as well as stopping off in Sri Lanka and Australia. He never forgot about what he called “the country of my heart“, though, and whether he was reminiscing about his childhood or being scathing about the region – on occasions he’d be inclined to agree with our very own Nixon that Nottingham is a “horrible city where the sky is always grey and the people eternally miserable” – he continued to write about this part of the world right up until his death, a keen analyst of English society and culture to the end.

At the same time, Lawrence’s travels and experiences of life in so many different places and cultures – the result of an innate restlessness – furnished him with the raw material for numerous novels, stories, essays, poems and newspaper articles, as did friends and those he met, who found themselves appearing thinly disguised in his work. Individual blog posts could have provided a verbal snapshot of wherever he was, and whoever he was with.

The fact that, though his career was short, he was nevertheless remarkably prolific would suggest that Lawrence would never need much encouragement to post. Though not a diarist, many of the thousands of letters he wrote almost read like blog entries – succinct summaries of his state of mind and views at any one point.

The sort of figure who polarised opinion in his own time and continues to do so, he was never afraid of speaking his mind, proud of the fact that he was like pepper up people’s noses. He always had a view on everything, even if it changed almost by the hour – he could never be accused of being a fence-sitter – and as someone who relished a good argument, he’d warmly welcome the opportunity to engage in direct debate with his readers through a comments facility.

Admittedly he had a regrettable tendency to lecture and preach at times, but even at his most cantankerous and distastefully un-PC, there’s a passion and vigour in his writing that can’t be denied.

Last but not least, as an author who throughout his career had constant difficulties finding publishers for his fiction, Lawrence would I’m sure embrace the internet as a medium which he could use to avoid having to compromise himself or his work.

Member #2 to be unveiled tomorrow.

The Guest Blogging Dream Team: Introduction

(Posted by Ben)

A few days in, and things seem to be shaping up rather well, don’t you think?

Which is just as well.

If I was in Mike’s position, preparing to hand over the keys of Diva Towers, I imagine I might have been haunted by the thought of that scene from seminal celluloid masterpiece ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ in which Ferris’s buddy Cameron leaves the keys of his dad’s prized possession, a gleaming red Ferrari convertible, in the hands of a wide-eyed car-park attendant. Cue car-park attendant and friend roaring out of the garage and recklessly racing off down the road at breakneck speed, screaming.

Which brought me to consider who, in an ideal world, I would be only too happy to entrust my own blog to – people who’d post regularly, who’d have plenty of interest to say, and who’d say it with passion and wit.

I’ve come up with a crack Guest Blogging Dream Team of six, to be unveiled member by member (oo-er) over the course of the next week-and-a-half, starting tomorrow.

But I wouldn’t feel I’d done my job on here if I hadn’t set a competition. So, your mission, should you choose to accept it, will be to suggest a seventh member and to justify your choice. It can be anyone, whether alive, dead, real, fictional, famous, infamous, current blogger or not – anyone you think is or would be a potentially brilliant blog writer.

No suggestions just yet, thanks – not until the team of six has been revealed. The best suggestion and justification as adjudged by moi will receive a real genuine prize, the nature of which will be revealed in due course.

So, thinking caps on…

My Rugby Dream

Posted by Buni

Let me take you back to Nottingham Trent University circa 1997-99 and we’re at the Student Union Bar. I used to go there quite often as it was only £1 a pint and the young undergrad guys were nice to look at. I myself was a mature student, as I’d decided to attend at the not so tender age of 24. However, this didn’t stop me from enjoying the company of guys a few years younger than me. After some time there developed a few favourites; some I even managed to ‘have’; some became friends; some I simply distantly longed for. Specifically, there was one such guy who really got me hot under the collar. At the time I had no idea what his name was though if there was some function held within the union he was always on the door, checking our credentials and allowing entry.

He was a really handsome fellow. He was quite tall, taller then myself and had mousey blonde hair that was in that floppy university / jock style. The most important feature though was his body. He was so obviously on the rugby team as he was just enormous and always wore a rugby shirt in the union colours. He had huge, muscular arms and the thickest legs that possibly required trousers that needed special tailoring to accommodate them. I would always enter the union bar and give a little smile over my shoulder to see what his reaction would be. Though to no avail.

Now lets all fast forward to the beginning of this year and I’m at work. I enter the deli one lunch time where I work and there he is, my rugby dream. Immediately I’m getting hot under the collar again and for some strange reason, I’ve got butterflies that are moving around my stomach like a herd of elephants. I’ll be honest in that I was excited at the thought of him starting work at my place as the guys already working there weren’t really much to look at. Thus, if nothing more then it made a pleasant change. He has his lunch about half an hour before me though on occasion these times have overlapped and I’ve had the opportunity to make a few furtive glances his way. On some occasions he’s even gently smiled back.

So time has passed and on rare occasions I have either passed him in the corridors or as he works in finance, I have had to consult with him two times regarding a specific report that I have to produce. So yesterday just before I left work I ran the said report. After rather a busy morning I finally got round to completing the report and sent it off to S. Then something strange happened. He emailed me back starting conversation. Then these emails just started flying back and forwards between us. There wasn’t anything rude or flirtatious in them, just conversation. The thing I did find a bit strange and at the same time exciting was that these emails were going back and forwards for 3 hours.

Now, tell me if I’m wrong but when there’s a getting to know you conversation going on between two guys non-stop for 3 hours, that kind of indicates to me that it’s not just my report he’s after!

All comments and advice graciously welcome.
The writer of this post will not hold the advisor responsible for any kicks, punches or disciplinary action he may receive.

Update: He’d left our conversation yesterday with “Talk to you tomorrow.”. . . 
I waited but there was no email forthcoming. Hurrumph!

The Mother-in-Law

(posted by Alan)

It’s approaching mid-week already and I’ve not done my guest bit yet. I had hoped to have something ready on Sunday but, like Buni, had to recover from my weekend. Unlike Buni, however, my weekend was not a long roll call of debauchery (barring Friday night) as I travelled down south to deepest, darkest, rural Surrey and saw my mother-in-law for the first time in five years.

Why would I inflict that on myself, you may all be asking? More to the point, why should I inflict it on those of you reading this? Various reasons, I suppose, the most immediate one being family obligation, one of those useless motivators very much like guilt. And, despite her being the epitome of a kugel, the South African version of a Jewish American Princess, and being stereotypically racist in a white South African way, I actually like the woman.

S is in her early seventies and has lived a life virtually free of want. She is the youngest of 8 siblings, all dead but one, grew up in a rather grand hotel in Johannesburg in the forties and fifties and was married to a doting husband for almost fifty years until he died 3 years ago. And, for the past 20 years she has been faithfully served by a very large, genial, Zulu woman, Chlorine who, in many ways, is more than capable of holding her own when it comes to verbal sparring, something that S excels at. Are you getting a picture of this rather spoilt woman yet?

S’s father was Jewish as was her husband. Her two sisters also married Jews but, unlike S, converted to Judaism. S, despite having led such a cosseted life, is very independent and strong-willed but, I suspect, the main reason why she didn’t convert was to annoy her mother-in-law, a woman she loathed and detested. So, while bringing up her family (including my wife) as gentiles, S has spent most of her life surrounded by a large, extended Jewish family and Johannesburg’s Jewish community. Now, you wouldn’t think that such a woman would be anti-Semitic, would you? Um….wrong!! Although, don’t get me wrong, she isn’t anti-Semitic in a BNP sort of way; her brand of anti-Semitism is a much more benign sort, sort of along the lines of the brand of homophobia exhibited by a lot of gay guys. That may not be the best analogy (or perhaps it is?) as gay homophobia can be pretty unpleasant at times. Another approximate analogy to describe this is how it is acceptable for Jews to tell anti-Semitic jokes, blacks racist ones, etc but not quite on for WASPS and whites to sprout such stuff. But, nevertheless, to a pale goy male like myself, initial exposure to such attitudes was all a bit shocking.

Now, while her ‘jewishness’ possibly absolves her from some of the opprobrium heaped on anti-Semites, her racism towards black people, a symptom of the time and place where she grew up, cannot be viewed with anything else but loathing, right? Wrong! Well, right, actually, but there are some redeeming features to her attitudes. I refer to her as a ‘benign racist’ but, I know, like many benign tumours, there is scope for malignant growth. Let me explain…

Having come from a particular time, place, and class in South Africa, there are many reasons for S’s racism but her racism has been informed by a certain liberalism and compassion that distinguishes her from the very ugly, naked racism exhibited by many white South Africans. So, while of course, ‘Blacks are lazy’, ‘Blacks have too many children’, Blacks can’t govern a country…look at the rest of Africa’, and a whole host of other very predictable beliefs, S will treat Black people, on a one-to-one basis, politely and with respect, and feels real compassion for people blighted by poverty and disease. To many black people, S’s attitudes are almost worse than the very obvious racism that they have experienced at the hands of some white people because they prefer the much more naked, ‘honest’ variety than the paternalistic, patronising type of liberalism that puts a façade on a mass of beliefs that would still relegate them to an inferior position in society. There is a lot of truth to that but, to me, her attitudes still show a softer side that takes off a lot of the harder edge to her attitudes.

Ok, now that I’ve put that side of her character in perspective, you must be wondering why I like the old bat? Well, to put it bluntly, she has all the incisive qualities of an iconic bitch, a la Joan Collins. She has the same sense of presence, similar good looks (although her glamour and style are much more of the understated variety), sharp wit, a loud, dirty laugh, perfect mastery of the perfect put-down, an overwhelming confidence that makes it seem that the world revolves around her, and the rest of the qualities that make a grande bitch. Oh, and did I tell you that she loves gay men? But, please, god forbid, don’t mention what they get up to in the bedroom!

This is a woman who routinely resorted to slapping her teenage daughters across the face in a fit of pique until that stopped when they retaliated one day. This is the woman that would daily retreat to the cool confines of her bedroom complaining of the agony of her migraines. This is the woman who embarrassed me by trying on every pair of frames at the opticians, leaving a mound of them before an exasperated optician, and, then using their phone, rang her detested mother-in-law to say, very loudly, ‘Doris, I’ve just tried on all the frames here and they are absolutely bloody awful, what is the name of the place you go to?’ This is the woman who, in relatively frugal earlier days, would spend most of the household budget on a new pair of Ferragamo shoes. This it the woman who, on hearing that her other daughter had been trying, unsuccessfully, for months to conceive a child with her husband, said, in reference to their large sizes, ‘Of course, it won’t happen, their bellies get in the way.’ This is the woman….

Mmmm….I think that I may still not have portrayed her with any redeeming characteristics but, really, there is something very likeable about her and she can be great fun. Oddly enough, however, despite all those characteristics that place her in the Joan Collins camp, she is a total health nut and has never smoked and rarely drinks more than a glass of wine with a meal. Ok, now I have really done it – that puritanical killjoy streak in her, coupled with everything else must be painting the picture of an ogre rather than someone one could feel affection for.

Um, I’m beginning to wonder what it is about her that I have ever liked? Is something wrong with me, I wonder? Well, I know the answer many would give if presented with that question but that’s not the point. But, really, what could it be? Oh well, never mind, it’s hardly important. However, I did enjoy seeing her again. Really, I did!

I’m sure you must all be wondering what it is that made me write about her? I suppose I could blame it on the bossa nova (does that actually mean anything to anyone these days?), I mean Buni, as he chose to prattle on about recovering from his weekend and my renewed exposure to S did require that I recover from mine. And this could be described as a cathartic purging exercise designed to rid me of foreign influences or some suchlike. Also, perhaps, as Mike suggested that we choose Nottingham themes in our guest posts, I just felt like being contrary-wise? No, no, I would never do such a thing! Well, actually, yes I would, but that’s not really what motivated me. I think it all boils down to the fact that this past weekend was almost the first one spent away from Nottingham since arriving here 8 months ago so, rather than my usual debauched blur, I was faced with a scenario radically different from the norm. Unfortunately, for those of you reading this, you are bearing the brunt of it.

So, no comments on Kevin’s tufts or lack of them but, when I next see him, I promise to report on them and give an impartial assessment. To tell you the truth, I’ve never really been aware of them but, being the unobservant sort, I’m unreliable in such things.

Addenendenumdemum (Or however you spell it)

(posted by Miss Mish)

Further to Ben’s Tuftwatch update, I’d just like to point out that the tie that K is pictured  wearing – amusingly referred to as a Richard Whitely cast-off – would clash horribly with the decor in the Cock & Hoop.

I assume they hurried him out quickly in case he caused incipient migraines in the staff.