(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.