Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Bloc Party - Song For Clay (Disappear Here)

My Top 20 songs of 2008.  In sort of reverse order.  

20 to 11 (alphabetically):

Burning up - Ladytron
Divine - Sebastien Tellier
Heartbeat - Madonna
Kittin is high - Miss Kittin
LES Artistes - Santogold
Lights and music - Cut Copy
Mercury - Bloc Party
Sexual sportswear (SebastiAn remix) - Sebastien Tellier
Sister siam - The Whip
Think of England - IAMX

10 to 6 (alphabetically):

A&E - Goldfrapp
Best revenge - Fischerspooner
My mistakes were made for you - The Last Shadow Puppets
Ready for the floor - Hot Chip
Songs remind me of you - Annie

5 to 1 (alphabetically - any of these could be no.1):

Blind - Hercules & Love Affair
Falling down - Scarlett Johansson
Hearts on fire - Cut Copy
Machine gun - Portishead
Stuck on repeat - Little Boots

Special mention because I discovered it too late: I lust you - Neon Neon.

Oh and my album of the year: In Ghost Colours - Cut Copy.

Happy 2009.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Suede - He's Gone

Happy Christmas / New Year or sumfin or nuffin.

And yes...

...and maybe...

...but above all...

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Echobelly - Insomniac

And for a Christmas present we would like...

...enough air miles to cover a return flight between London and Sydney (either way)...

...a course of anabolic steroids...

...a time machine to make time pass quicker.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Saint Etienne - Pale Movie

And on Wednesday 10th December it's the Polari event at Freedom in Soho (66 Wardour Street at 1900-0000), where the London Preppy reading will take place.  Here's an ad for it.

Mean will be doing the reading and other ridiculous characters from the blog (like Scott, A Girl, Donnell, Brendan, Nathan, etc) will be also attending.  So if you're in London on that date, why not just go along?  You won't even have to talk to anyone, I'm sure.  I know I wouldn't.

Also here's an article on Polari that was in The Independent on Sunday last week, and it mentions London Preppy.  It doesn't say anything about London Preppy of course, apart from the words London Preppy, but nonetheless I thought I'd stick it on here.

In yet other news, I gave an interview to Boyz magazine about the blog, for their Passions feature, which I think will appear in next week's issue (I'm guessing Thursday 4th December).  For this interview I wore light blue Ralph Lauren jumper, grey stiped tailored-but-casual knee-length shorts from General Pants and white plimsolls, even though it didn't really matter because I did it over email and nobody saw me.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Pulp - Razzmatazz

Paul comes over to my house and we sit in the living room and quickly catch up, summing up our lives over the last few months since we last met: no I still don’t care about work and neither does he, his girlfriend’s pregnancy scare and how she wanted to keep it, yes I’ve been OK healthwise but I still think about it every day, his upcoming trip backpacking in New Zealand, a rapid exchange of news over a ten or so minutes.

Then we go on facebook and look up our old schoolmates, schoolmates that we never liked because we were into Gene and 60ft Dolls and David Bowie too much and they certainly weren’t. All those people, all those lives, where are they now? So we look at the profiles that Paul is linked to and we also look at who has joined a group that’s set up for our secondary school and looking through all those people we check for two things: a) are they married and b) what do they look like now?

And if they’re married we classify them as a bit of loser, if they’re not married we classify them a complete loser. And as we do that it occurs to me that the joke is on me really, how dare I judge those people according to their marital status, at least they have the chance to get married, whilst I have to change my name and keep a hidden facebook profile so that none of these people will ever find me and realise what my life has come to. I know who I’d rather be. And it’s not me.

You know in American movies where the main character always goes back to his hometown during some holiday / tragedy / family emergency / other event, and he sees people he used to go to high school with and they’re still pumping gas at the local station and they’re silly and vulgar and have got married to some girl also from high school and have eight children and drink in a horrible bar every night with people they’ve known for 25 years and our character looks down on them because he’s made a lucky escape and is now a successful advertising executive (whatever that means) in Manhattan and considers himself so lucky because he lives the high life and only has to go back to this town for a couple of days a year? Well I’d rather be the guy pumping gas thank you very much.

So Paul and I think that maybe I should set up a second profile, a profile with the original name that I had in school and I should put some pictures up (nothing that shows me in a great light) and make up some stuff about my life now: I didn’t go to University, I’m engaged to some girl, I have an OK but average job, I’ve made some good friends, nothing much is going on in my life, etc.

In other words make a profile showing me with the life I never had. And then I can link my made-up profile to all my schoolmates and chat to them.

But we don’t do that, we don’t make up a profile of the life I should have had, because if we do I’m scared that I will like it too much, I will want to be this person instead and it will cut me up even more. So we turn facebook off.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

The Longpigs - On and on

On this Wednesday afternoon I rent a white van at the price of £40 per day (plus VAT) and I decide to keep this van for two days. Over these two days I play the role of some guy driving a white van. For this adventure I am wearing dark brown Timberland boots, black Ralph Lauren sweat socks, old jeans from Diesel and a red t-shirt with The London Fire Brigade Supports Pride written at the front in white caps.

Half an hour later I have crashed the white van into a bollard in a car park in Acton and have consequently lost my £100 deposit. I try to care about this, but what actually happens is that when I hear the sound of the bollard scraping the white paint off just above the left hand side head light, I reverse and drive back into it with more force. This is the kind of spineless self-harm I've been reduced to since I started self-medicating 20mg of Xanax on an 8-hourly basis.

On Wednesday evening, I get back in the van and start driving west, way out west, past any humanly acceptable border of London. It's around 0130 when I find myself outside Hounslow Central tube station parked on a double yellow listening to an hour of tearjerkers on Magic 105.4. Even with most of my mind numbed, no wait, lost, there is something comforting in the knowledge that no matter what happens, no matter what you do, no matter where you are, there will always be a late night radio station playing Richard Marx, Right Here Waiting For You.

Once that song ends and before the next tearjerker comes on, I get out and walk into the 24-hour Asda just off the Hounslow roundabout. I buy a pack of pumpkin seeds, two breaded chicken breasts and a box of Asda Extra Special chocolate truffles, which I leave on the pavement just outside the shop, get back in the van, drive back home (Listen To Your Heart, Carried Away, Crazy For You amongst others played on the way) and go to bed.

By Friday evening, and now van-less, I still haven't showered but I've changed into Timberland deck shoes, different pair of Diesel jeans and green/grey Lyle & Scott polo shirt. I walk to Caring Cross Road Sainsburys Local from ___ (where I'm staying right now) and buy a salmon pasta salad and two bottles of Frijj milkshake (limited edition chocolate brownie flavour with picture of Chief Wiggum on), all of which I eat/drink as I cross the road and go into Borders.

In Borders I walk up to the third floor and spend the rest of the evening looking through and taking pictures of the following books from the Home section: Victorian House Style / Georgian House Style / Wooden Houses: From Log Cabins To Beach Houses / Dictators' Homes: Lifestyles Of The World's Most Famous Despots. I'm sitting in a leather chair, there are several other people in chairs reading, Air's Talkie Walkie is playing through the speakers on the whole floor (I'm not sure about other floors), there is one guy with a pile of magazines including AXM who I glance over at regularly because he's gay and so am I, everyone goes home. I have not spoken to anyone for 49 hours.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Elastica - Never here

And like anyone needed it, here's a second by second analysis of THAT video of THOSE boys goofing around to Total Eclipse Of The Heart that I posted last week.

Here's the video again so you don't have to scroll down.

OK so these are three guys that are in a college doing some stupid degree like Business Studies or something and on this Tuesday at 0130 they decided to play a song that they thought was hilariously cheesy and camp and lip sync / dance along to it. This is almost lost on me because I consider Total Eclipse of the Heart to be one of the best songs ever written without any irony involved, but there you go. I’m going to pretend I get it anyway.

They also decided to take their tops off, because they know very well what us losers who spend our free time on the internet are like.

I don’t know exactly when this video was shot, but I’m going to guess it’s at least few years old. We don’t have much evidence on this, I can’t even make out the posters on the wall, but that computer monitor on the right there kinda screams 1999.

Other favourite details in the room include:

- The straight-boy running trainers haphazardly left in front of the desk. HAPHAZARDLY!

- The mess on the bed. What the hell is on that bed? And why isn’t any of these boys tidying up? It’s a whole different world, isn’t it?

- The white tilted lampshade next to the bed. The lampshade was straight until boy no.2 came home drunk with a girl one Friday night, only to proceed into such experimental, acrobatic sexual activities that any furniture and decorative ornaments around just had to surrender.

Now then. The boys.

Boy no.1 – the boy in the middle.

Boy no.1 is my least favourite. Of course he’s the main character and the others look up to him and adore him and he bosses them around and he gets all the chicks and he may not be the best academically, but somehow he always gets away with it and does well for himself and everyone likes him apart from the people he bullies but even they have to pretend that they do like him because he’s so popular…so naturally I like the others more.

Plus he looks like somebody that Sean Cody put together as a contrived model of “straight jock”. Tan AND blonde highlights AND white coral necklace AND suspiciously Abercrombie looking shorts. Well I guess maybe these people do exist.

Regardless, he’s still very good and I love him with most of my heart.

Boy no.3 – the boy in the background.

Boy no.3 is my second favourite. It’s a shame that no one’s paying any attention to him because everyone’s watching Boy no.1 who has a natural star and Boy no.2 (more of which later) who is a gorgeous, pleasant straight boy.

If you get over the other two boys for a second and focus on the unshapely one in the background, you’ll see that he’s giving the performance of a lifetime. The Rodin’s Thinker pose at 0:05, the explosion at 0:13 (completely unrelated to the music), how he grabs his knob at 0:24 – all classic moments.

But still, none of this is enough to distract us from Boy no.2 – the boy on the left.

Boy no.2 is the greatest boy that has ever lived. In the long tradition of boys that are good looking and natural and seem genuinely nice (e.g. Harvey from Sabrina The Teenage Witch and…erm that’s it) I desperately want to be Boy no.2.

Boy no. 2 has effortless hair, a flawless face, an effortless athletic body and the pièce de résistance, little white socks. I love love love those. I love love love him.

Favourite moments in the life of Boy no.2 for me, include:

0:01 a close up of his chest

0:03 he turns around, looks at me straight in the face and sings: turn around

0:04 to 0:19 he looks at Boy no.1 for 15 continuous seconds, trying to get some approval, his attention, a look back, anything. This confirms to anyone who was stupid enough to doubt it still, who the leader of this group is. This dynamic of this group is not a democratic one, it never was and it never will be. We all know that, but we’re OK with it. Of course Boy no.1 completely ignores him for these long 15 seconds, as he’s preoccupied with his good self

0:25 he raises his eyebrows and widens his eyes dramatically as he looks at me again

0:28 still with Boy no.1’a best interests at heart, he gently pulls the chair back to give him more space. This is the most homosexual action I have ever witnessed in my 28 years. At the same time, it’s not homosexual at all, it’s just Boy no.2 being nice, nice like I never will be and I never will understand, because unfortunately, I’m more like Boy no.1 myself

0:31 to 0:40 this is where his amazing silly straight boy choreography begins (bent knees, finger clicking, up-and-down arm movement, magnificent back-and-forth stepping with the left foot), a choreography that’s cut off suddenly and heart-breakingly on the 40th second mark, leaving me with a hole in my heart, wait, I never had one anyway.

In other news, thanks to whoever was responsible for putting screenshots of London Preppy on the BBC News channel the other day, in some story about blogs, as seen here:

And finally, on Wednesday afternoon I ring up Scott and the following conversation takes place:

Me: Is this good or is this bad?

Scott: For Madonna?

Me: No, for us.

Scott: Neither. Anyway when did you hear this devastating news?

Me: 15 minutes ago.

Scott: And you waited all this time to tell me?

Me: Yes, I had to deal with this on my own first.

Scott: What did you do, take a walk in the park?

Me: No, I sat here and played Like A Prayer a few times.

And on this Wednesday afternoon as the world falls apart I put on a green t-shirt, pink and white striped shirt with the sleeves rolled up, white knee-length shorts and no shoes, pick up a copy of American Psycho and leave the flat.

Sitting on the steps just outside, I read the last lines from the book:

“…and above one of the doors covered by red velvet drapes in Harry’s there is a sign and on the sign in letters that match the drapes’ colour are the words THIS IS NOT AN EXIT”

And try to be upset by this, try to be upset by the fact that THIS IS NOT AN EXIT, by the fact that THERE IS NO EXIT, even though I wasn’t let in in the first place.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Gene - Haunted by you

I reckon if I post sporadically on here I can control it and it doesn't have to take over my life again and leave me with no time or inclination to do anything else. So the London Preppy who posted obsessively every day may be dead, but I'll probably write as and when, like this is just a blog, like it's not that important to me, like it never was.

And here's one of these - very casual - posts.

Now a propos of nothing, I love love love this.

Finally, here's a blog that's good. I mean that. It's intelligent and it's funny and other positive adjectives that I can't think of right now because I'm watching Greek X Factor and 67% of my brain has fallen asleep.


It's written by Nats' friends. You know Nats. She used to be one of The Lads.

And finally finally, remember my article for Attitude a couple of months ago? Well they still haven't paid me for it. And now they're not returning my emails. I'm trying to be surprised by this, but

Friday, 3 October 2008

Friday 03/10/08

And Scott is on the phone and we're talking about the comments that people left to the post yesterday and the emails that they sent me and Scott says: "Yes, the public outpours.  London Preppy was the People's Princess and he will be missed".  Then the phone goes dead because it's run out of battery.  How apt.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Thursday 02/10/08

This is the last London Preppy post.

No wait, this doesn’t sound nearly heart-wrenching enough.  I’m rephrasing.

London Preppy is dead.

I could write a typical last-post-ever entry, where I would say “my heart’s not in it anymore”, “I’ve run out of things to say”, “I’d rather end on a high”, etc.  But none of these things are true.  I have lots more to say (regardless of who wants to hear them), writing is one of the things that makes me genuinely happy so my heart will always be in it and I don’t care about ending on a high – in fact I’d rather keep on posting, dragging my sorry blog around until there were no readers left, being in denial about its success.

But this website is not where I want to say these things anymore.

I’ve never thought of this as a typical blog anyway.  OK, there have been silly lists of things and there have been ill-conceived (regretful) picture posts, and there have been youtube videos with music that I like, but what I’ve mostly tried to do on London Preppy is create a character, create a narrative and write every day like I would if I were writing a book. 

There are around 500 posts on here and give or take all the visual rubbish and typical blog padding, I like to think there is some solid reading material that stands alone outside the blogging world.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’d like to write professionally and that I want to have my work published.  And now I want to focus on that.

I will continue writing every day – because I can’t not write – but what I write will not be posted on here day after day; instead it will form the basis of a series of short stories or a novel or whatever I end up coming up with.

The London Preppy fanpage on facebook remains, and if you want you can join that, I’m sure I’ll send something out to let people know if anything happens with the writing malarkey (link here)

Also, the London Preppy reading is still happening at the Polari literary night on the 10th of December, held at Freedom Bar in Soho (link here).  Maybe you should go.  Who knows maybe somebody will give me a publishing deal then and put me out of my misery.

Finally, and because I may have been called a lot of things, but I’ve never been called a fool and I realize that London Preppy is a brand, a brand that holds some power in the gay blogging world at least (blimey, what an acclaim, it’s like being second runner-up in the Miss Scunthorpe beauty pageant; but I’ll take anything I can get really, any old slap in the face) and I’m not just gonna let it go like that; I’m not shutting down this page.  I like my three quarters of a million hits, thank you very much.

www.londonpreppy.blogspot.com will continue to exist and I will post intermittently, but it will not be London Preppy stuff.  It won’t be about “me”, it won’t be the usual trademarked big ego/low self-esteem formula that's proven more popular than Coca Cola (thanks Orville for the quote).  So I’ll just ruin the brand.  Oh well, I guess I wasn’t paying attention at my Marketing degree after all.

Finally finally, I can’t even begin to thank everyone who read London Preppy.  It was kinda of a big deal by the end, wasn’t it?  Who would have thought.

But as we said, London Preppy is dead.

My name is Might Have Been

My name is Never Was

My name’s forgotten

Monday, 29 September 2008

Monday 29/09/08

Then it’s Saturday and I’ve been in Athens for maybe 10 hours and then I go to the gym.  I will be going to the gym every day while I’m here, maybe five to six times a day actually, because I have nothing else to do, so I’ll write about it at a different stage.

Then I go to see Madonna.

I arrive at the Olympic Stadium along with another 74,999 punters and I wait for my friend Christina, but Christina is always late so I’m stood outside there waiting for 45 minutes.  And I don’t know if everyone is suddenly gay in Athens or it’s just because of where I am, but everyone is suddenly gay in Athens.  Is it wrong that I kinda like this?  At the time when I moved away – in 1998 – I can honestly say that no one was openly gay here.  But now they seem to be.  Which can only be good.

Then Christina decides to turn up and then we go in.  I like how I wrote this sentence nicely succinct there, like the whole process of trying to go in didn’t take 1.5 hours, but anyway.

Then we’re in and we may have tickets for the arena instead of seats around the stadium, but unfortunately we’re in something called “Pitch B” as opposed to “Pitch A” where all the action is going on.  I.e. we’re quite far back.

Anyway, then Robyn comes on to support but sadly Robyn is completely unknown in Greece and I’m the only one who cares, and then Madonna comes on and plays her songs.  I think I can make her out somewhere in the distance.

The highlight of this concert for me, however (apart from She’s Not Me) are the people around me.  I’m not even going to pretend I’m surprised by this, but I think I’m surrounded by the two worst groups of people in the whole stadium.  This is of course an exaggeration and they probably thought the same of me, but there you go.  This is my blog.

In front of me, there is a full-on family from the Northern suburbs of Athens (i.e. rich), with (a) minimal interest in the concert itself and (b) maximum interest in telling everyone they know that they went to see Madonna.  They stay immobile during the whole show, which I suppose makes sense, because a tied sweater around the shoulders can get easily messed up / ruffled if you move.

On my right hand side there are two girls (women?), late 20’s, immobile as well, but also very bitter.  They stand there with their arms crossed and they only occasionally break the character of “I’m not impressed” to glance over at me in a disapproving way.  Because I act like I want to be there.  The best moment occur, when: 

At one point one of them decides to take her own back I guess, and starts dancing, no wait, elbowing me as some form of revenge I guess.  What she doesn’t realize is that, a) I don’t mind at all, I go to concerts and expect people to bump into me, jump up and down and generally invade my space.  That’s why I wear insanely bad clothes that I don’t care if they get destroyed, and don’t put anything in my pockets, in case I lose it.  Regardless, because she’s doing this on purpose I’m a bit annoyed (not much) and form the following dialogue on my head:

Me: Have you ever been to a concert before?  You know people are expected to move, right?

Her: Something rude and bitter

Me: It seems that you require a few slaps and I’m very willing to give you them.  And don’t think that you won’t because you’re a girl.

(This much is true: I’m small and I’m gay so all rules that apply to men hitting women are surely not valid in my case).

Then nobody hits anyone, then we go home.

That’s it for today, but you know that the best posts are coming, don’t you?  The interaction-with-family-posts.  For samples of my previous work with my family, read here and here.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Saturday 27/09/08

This is a Thursday when I go to work and then I go to the gym and then I go home to pack.  And this is not packing for Sydney, not yet, but it’s packing for somewhere else and this somewhere else is Athens. 

Now the problem that occurs as I’m starting to pack is that I realise that all my clothes are ridiculous taken out of context.  And the context is someone living in West/Central London trying to look pseudo-preppy with a huge tongue-in-cheek twist.  Oh and a little gay. 

And I’m starting to think that ridiculous moccasins from Cornwall and shirts with the collar up and jumpers tied around my shoulders and permanently wearing short sailing shorts, even though I’ve never been sailing, might not go down that well in Athens. 

So I’m trying to think what people might actually be wearing in Athens and what they might think of a constant use of deck shoes and whether they will get that I’m being tongue in cheek or whether they’ll just think a backward dweeb.  Then I start to panic because I don’t actually have many other clothes, so in the end I pack: 

Three pairs of jeans (from the Gap / Energie / G-Star), two pairs of gym shorts (from Nike and Adidas), three gym wifebeaters (two from Adidas, one stolen from the gym of unknown brand), two stripey long sleeved shirts in pink and light blue (from the Gap), five pairs of shorts (Ted Baker / Berska / ___ / Ralph Lauren / Topman), one navy Lyle & Scott jumper, one green hoodie with Newquay embroided on the front, two cardigan in grey and brown (Reiss / Junk DeLuxe), one pair of white plimsolls, one pair of white espadrilles, two pairs of ridiculous moccasins from Cornwall, one pair of Timberland deck shoes, one red Ralph Lauren jacket, 8 pairs of underwear (all Marks & Spencer), 8 pairs of socks (4 white, 4 black), 10 t-shirts –  3 without a collar – in assorted brands (Lyle & Scott / Fred Perry / Topman / Gap / a Suede one / etc).

I don’t know exactly what I’m planning to do with all those clothes during the time when I’m in Athens when I don’t plan to leave the house more than once.

Then I’m packed and sit down to watch an episode of Sabrina The Teenage Witch (series 2), but I’m distracted, I’m distracted and I can’t follow the complex – no wait, flimsy – plot because this is the last night of my life as I know it.  This is the end is the beginning is the end.

This is that last night that I’m going to have a 2200 yoghurt with nuts whilst watching TV, iron my shirt for tomorrow’s work, brush my teeth, floss and wash my face with a soundtrack of some forgotten Britpop band playing in the background, go to bed with the best intentions, stay awake for a couple of hours fretting about things that can be helped and things can’t, and finally resign and take a pill at 0145, which will give me a few hours of interrupted sleep before going to work.

And because I’m faced with all these impending changes, changes that involve leaving jobs, cities, people, homes and countries behind, I’m so terrified that I’m actually, literally and most definitely feeling numb.

And the fact that Harvey from Sabrina The Teenage Witch never acted again after the show ended, kinda makes everything worse.