And your firstborn child"
And I fear, no I hope, that she's not too far from the truth.
And your firstborn child"
And I fear, no I hope, that she's not too far from the truth.
And I’ve received dozens of questions by now, maybe it’s even in the hundreds I don’t know, so what I thought I’d do is put them into categories so it’s easier to answer them. And I’ll answer a few categories per day over 2-3 days, and the categories we have right now are:
London Preppy – Human After All
Sex & Drugs
Books, Music and Film
Death Becomes Me / You Have Killed Me
Why I do the things I do
Of course these categories will most likely change by the time I get round to writing the posts – hopefully I’ll come up with something funnier. But you get the themes we have already.
Anyway, on Wednesday night I come home to find out that Greek TV is showing the selection of the song that will represent Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest which is on in a couple of months.
Now, readers outside Europe might not be familiar with this annual cultural landmark, but in a nutshell it’s a competition where each European country (40-50 of them) enters a ludicrous song designed to appeal to the rest of Europe and/or demonstrate how fucking great this country is, and then they fight it all out in one big ridiculous TV show one Saturday evening in May – where viewers vote for the winner.
People watch this show ironically and to take the piss, but I can assure you I fucking don’t. I. Take. It. Seriously. And even though I have very little interest in Greece otherwise, and I feel most comfortable with at least 3,000 miles between us, I always support them in every international competition. I want them to win everything in the Olympics, I want them to win the World Cup, I want them to win Eurovision. Then after they win I can turn my satellite TV off and continue living on London and making a very conscious effort to erase y past, forget how to speak Greek or how their alphabet goes etc, but I still love them on some level (deep inside).
And on this TV show on Wednesday we have a shortlist of 3 songs to choose from and from what I can see these songs are:
a) ‘A chance to love’ by a woman called Chryspa. Watching this song, it’s quite obvious that it’s not going to win, but on the positive side the performance features a dancer who I recognize, because he’s English and he lives in London and this one time when I was in Fire (a club) and vomiting in a bin in the corner of the dancefloor, he walked up to me and said “that’s dead classy”, which was kinda funny, so I call my sister and tell her that
b) ‘Always and Forever’ by a man called Kostas Martakis. This song isn’t going to win either but at least it’s sang by a guy who’s quite pleasant to look at even though his smile is a little bit too gummy as Scott points out
c) ‘Secret Combination’ by a woman called Kalomira. This song is the hot favourite and it features pseudo-ethnic Timbaland-inspired beats, 4 dancers who take off their tops to reveal the letters making up the word L O V E, and the nonsensical lyrics “My secret combination, boy you have to try it hard, to win a destination, in the centre of my heart”. Quite obviously I’m 100% behind this song. Thankfully, it wins
And I’m afraid we haven’t heard the end of this, because I will certainly be watching Kalomira in the final on the 24th of May and telling you all about it.
So first here’s a reminder that you should send me questions, questions that I will answer at the weekend in a magnificent two-part post. And these questions can concern anything you like, I will talk about what you want me to: music and love and cars and drugs and ponies, my shoe collection, girls and fashion, boys and girls, boys and fashion, it’s up to you.
And I’ve had many brilliant questions so far and fewer less brilliant ones (I will answer all) but I want more. Se email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment.
Anyway, on Monday evening I go round to Matty’s new flat in Knightsbridge for dinner and Nicole and Niles and Elliott are also there and these guys eat something called Matty’s Famous Potato Dish and I eat turkey breasts with cauliflower and then I have strawberries for dessert and these guys have strawberries with cream that’s gone off and then Matty copies 4,768 songs from my iPod into his iTunes and then I leave.
On the way back to the tube station I walk past many shops including Gant and decide that if I had it my way I would have a complete wardrobe of Gant and Ralph Lauren clothes and nothing else. I also walk past a shoe shop and I see some green Fred Perry trainers and these trainers would go really well with a pink polo shirt and khaki shorts and also my new tattoo so I set the alarm on my phone to remind me to get them the next day.
On Tuesday at lunchtime I go to a different shop in Covent Garden that sells them and I see they do them in green with white or white with green, so I take a picture and I send it to Scott to help me decide.
Then she goes and gets them and it takes 3 minutes this time I decide to buy them and one of them has a tiny smudge on it that you can barely see and they give me a 10% discount, which is fucking ace.
Back in the office I ask A Girl what do I look like when I’m sitting at my desk pretending to work and A Girl says the following:
“You look engrossed in your work. Your eyes are also slightly squinty but in a way that says, ‘I’ve seen this all before, I know how to handle it.’ Also with a slight cockiness, ‘I’m not going to take any shit from anyone’ look.
This is offset intermittently with very brief periods of severe and utter depths of depression, particularly when you look down at your desk. For just a moment I imagine a large, salty tear drop to come splashing down at your desk but then before I can even finish the thought you go back to your engrossed, experienced and cocky look”.
And if this is the look I convey, I can’t really ask for anything more.
So here’s a game that we’ll play: you can send me a question and I’ll answer it. Like an interview or something. I don’t know why you’d want to interview me (I write enough unprompted), but I’d like to see what you might ask. And your questions can concern anything – general knowledge, my view on something, what I do, what I think, whatever you want. And I’ll answer all questions I receive, apart from the ones that I won’t.
This is not an original idea of course, many other bloggers have done it, but I don’t want to be original, I want to fit in and I want to be like everyone else (regardless of whether I slip sometimes) you should know that by now.
So please leave a comment with your question, or email me (email@example.com) over the next few days. I’ll collect all the questions and answer that at the weekend. Can everyone participate please, I want loads.
Apart from that, you may remember a story I wrote not so long ago, about this “street artist” in his late 30s, who stands on an empty box of bananas dressed as a Roman soldier and makes his respectable living begging passers by for loose change. If you didn’t read that story please go back and have a look here; there are pictures too you’ll like it.
So anyway, on Monday on my way back home I’m on the tube and I shamelessly pick up a free newspaper and start glancing through it. (Quite frankly I need a break from Kafka's claustrophobic terror stories). And I see a story in there about this very person and this very person has apparently been picked up by the Royal Opera House and he’s’ playing the role of the executioner in the brand new production of Richard Strauss’ Salome.
The story tells us that bodybuilder DM (allegedly aged 35 – in the same way that I am 17), was spotted performing as a half-naked Roman centurion in Covent Garden by leading director DMcV. The director said: “I thought that he had just the right body for the part. But he also had the ability to move well and particularly importantly, to stand still, which is necessary for the role of the executioner”.
Now apart from the obvious fact that this director sounds like some cruisy queen who trawls the streets of London in search of impressionable younger (and older, much older) muscle boys…
…for fuck’s sake, Salome is a performance I really, really wanted to see and now I want to see it even more. Unfortunately it’s completely sold out. I don’t want to see it for DM’s naked arse in it, but surely that’s an added incentive. Now if you had a spare ticket you’d be doing me a big favour. I’m not willing to pay of course.
Here’s a picture of DM in Salome (with his gigantic arse)
Apart from seeing the story myself, a couple more people have mentioned it to me. First, a reader emails me today copying me the article (because he remembered me having written about the guy) and he also gives us the following information:
- My boyfriend actually knows this guy, kinda
- They used to work together for a short time at a well-known sports supplement store (___)
- Sometimes they worked out together
- He's a bit weird and he lives in a hotel apparently
The second person who mentions the story to me is Orville. And Orville sends me a text and says: “Why can’t you get cast as the executioner? You hang around Covent Garden enough”. When I point out that a) I am 1/3 of the size of DM and my presence on stage might be a tad underwhelming not to mention that I can’t stand still for very long (which appears to be the main casting criterion), Orville says that he doesn’t know about the size, but he has definitely seen me stand still for long periods of time, in fact even when I wanted to move I couldn’t. I don’t know what this might refer to.
So earlier this week I get a message from a reader, a reader who’s been reading this blog for a long time, ever since it was on myspace and this reader says:
I had been over in America for a few weeks just spending time away from London / trying to track down Britney to help sort her life out etc. So I turned up at LAX […] pitched up in a coffee shop and got my Mac out to make the most of the free WiFi […] I noticed when I walked into the shop this really hot guy also on his laptop. I ended up sitting the row in front of him and slightly to the left, close enough he could see what site I was on but not close enough to read the text on the screen. After getting another coffee he ended up coming over to me and asking about the blog, your blog, that I was reading. He had noticed the banner at the top and recognized the format of the top of the page with your picture.
His name is T___ and he lives in New York and had been in LA doing some photoshoot for a hair gel company or something. Anyway he heard my accent and knew I was from London, we spoke about the blog for ages and ages - we concluded that we are both big fans etc. He started reading after you had started on the blogger site, he didn't know you were on myspace beforehand. So he has only ever seen pics of you with the red blocks so I showed him your myspace profile and made his day haha.
And naturally I love this story very much and what I want to do now is find this person we’re talking about. So if you’re reading T___ please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and don’t worry I won’t give your name out here or anything. I don’t know why, just email me. Why not.
Apart from this, what happens on Friday is that I go to work – not that I can concentrate on anything with an amazing new tattoo appointment looming at 1730 – and after lunchtime on my way back to the office I get in the lift and press the button and…
…some guy jumps in in the last minute and barks “6th“ at me, treating me like shit, using me just to serve his purpose, reducing me to the role of a lift boy, not saying please or even looking at me, but I’m actually getting a kick out of this, I’m lapping it all up and I don’t expect a thanks in return, because the guy is hot, hotter than anyone even seen in this retched building that I work in.
So for the next, what is it…8 seconds, I’m glancing at him sideways and in my head he’s looking back at me and he grabs me and forces a kiss on my lips, a kiss that I relish and abhor equally, a kiss that’s leaving me weak in the knees but makes me want to push him away, I’m not just an outlet for his urges, I’m a man damn it, but I know if I lose his kiss, his embrace I’ll fade away, this is vital to me now, there’s nothing I can do anyway, he throws me against the mirror, his hands on
and then the doors open, we’re on the sixth floor where he gets off, never to be seen again.
I wrote about the new tattoo on Friday, but here are another two points:
- The tattoo guy says to me at some point so you go to the gym then, I says yes, he says how many times a week, I says six, he says oh this tattoo will be losing its shape then. And I’m not sure how valid a point this is, because it might be quite fine writing on a straight line around my calf, but let’s face it, it’s my calf and my calf is completely unresponsive to weights / exercise / muscle gain. But we’ll see eh
- On the same topic, a reader suggests that maybe I should have another reader competition to give everyone a chance to show off what tattoos they’ve got. I’m thinking that this is a good idea in theory, but we all remember what happened last time, with the Best Looking Reader competition, where only a handful of people sent real pictures and the rest cut and pasted from the Abercrombie website.
But then another reader comes up with an even better idea, which I’m willing to go for, mainly because it’s fucking hilarious, and this idea is:
“the reader tattoo contest should be who can/is willing to get ink done in honour of LP ... that'll sort out the men from the boys”
That's right, the men from the boys. I couldn’t have put it better myself so I’ll leave this without comment. I am waiting though for somebody to send me pictures of London Preppy tattooed on their forehead, my face with a red block tattooed on their arse, something like that anyway.
This is from Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis:
Benjamin says, ‘The Human League are out. Over. Finished. You don’t know what’s going on, Kim.’
‘No, I mean, you really, don’t,’ he goes on. ‘I bet you don’t even read The Face. You’ve got to.’ He lights a clove cigarette. ‘You’ve got to.’
‘Why do you have to?’ I ask.
Benjamin looks at me, runs his fingers through his pompadour and says, ‘Otherwise you’ll get bored.’
And on Friday a get another tattoo. I’ve got to, otherwise I’ll get bored. I’ve got to maintain some kind of buzz and this new tattoo should keep me going for at least three maybe even four days.
So this new tattoo is on my left leg just below my knee (or at the top of the calf/shin if you like) and it’s made up of four words that go round my leg like a band. And these words have 29 letters in total and they are separated by this symbol / and they are written in the same font as my Bret Easton Ellis tattoo.
And the way this goes is that I finish work at 1730 and I take a Valium and two paracetamol and I go to the tattoo place where some guy measures my leg and makes a print of the design and as I sit there, the needle going through my skin, giving me some pleasure and some pain but mostly nothing because I’m drugged up, reading In The Penal Colony by Franz Kafka and Little Nicholas by Rene Goscinny (in a Greek translation) and I’ve also brought Less Than Zero with me but that is mostly for moral support and the guy is watching is watching a DVD called The Nazis: A Warning From History and then it’s done, 45 minutes, mayne an hour later, and I go home and I’m feeling spaced and the tattoo is wrapped up so I’m not sure what it looks like still.
And here are some pictures.
Picture 1: This is me, feeling the Valium waiting for things to start with Scott poking me because I’m not reacting
Picture 2: This is the guy transferring the print onto my leg
Picture 4: This is the mess on my leg before the needlework starts
Picture 6: This is some scratching happening
Picture 7: This is the same thing from a different angle
Picture 8: This is the guy doing the back of my leg
I cannot say what the tattoo says.
On Tuesday I go to the gym where I’m doing back and abs and whilst I’m doing back I’m trying this new exercise that Jack showed me back when I wasted £40 on him, and during this exercise I lean against a bench and a do an upright row using a cable in front of me. And because this is a crap description, here’s also a crap drawing I just made for people to understand better.
So then I finish doing this and I move on to do ab crunches on a Swiss ball and as I’m doing that I can see with the corner of my eye some old gay guy watching me and this old gay guy is quite old (60+?) and very gay and he has cheap blonde hair, hairless leathery skin, a tiny vest and even tinier shorts. And of course I don’t acknowledge that he’s watching me, I just continue with what I’m doing.
When I finish, I stand up and I know that he’s going to talk to me, so I avoid walking past him and I take a different way to the water fountain. This is when I feel him pushing the Swiss ball he was also using against my back to get my attention, so I turn around and take my headphones off. I’m listening to Fell In Love With A Girl by The White Stripes. I can’t be sure what the look on my face is, but I’m going for blank, disinterested, but not unwelcoming: I have no reason to be rude.
So he starts talking and his question to me is this: Are you a kayak peddler? I say: A what? He says: A kayak peddler. I say no. He says: I’m asking because this was the most perfect movement I have seen in my life. And I’m a kayak instructor. I say: Oh cool, thanks. There are no follow-up questions, so I think we’re done and I walk away.
Incidentally, I still don't know why a kayak peddler would have spectacular movement in that exercise.
Ten minutes later, in the showers, some other guy walks up to me (mid-30s, black, moustache) and says: You know that exercise you were doing before on the cable? Was that for your back? I say yes. He asks me which part of the back, I show him, I shower.
So basically, in the hit parade of my most talked about exercises, this back one is the new Number 1. I don’t have any others for the Top 10 yet, but it’s a start. Maybe I should bring a bench and a cable cross-over machine with me to do this in job interviews, first dates, anywhere I want to impress somebody anyway.
On Wednesday at 1500, Scott gets a tattoo. And Scott’s tattoo is a big black block of ink on his right forearm, which you can see here:
By Wednesday evening it’s a big slimy bleeding mess of a forearm and even though the initial reaction of friends and acquaintances about that design itself is slightly muted, I’ll stick my neck out and say I like it. It has straight lines…it has corners…it’s solid, what’s not to like? At least it’s not a fucking “tribal” design or a “Maori” design or something written in Chinese writing or in Hindu or with calligraphic fonts or gothic fonts. If had done anything like that (which he wouldn’t), I’d have cut his bloody arm off.
Well as we all know yesterday I started my list of 10 embarrassing songs I like. However, I went off on one and it was too long to post in one day, so here's the rest...
6) Eye of the tiger - Survivor
In this song the singer from Survivor tells us his story and his story is one of struggle, defiance and finally, victory. I’ve been informed that this was the soundtrack to a (well-known?) 1980s film set in the world of “boxing”, a film that went by the name of Rocky and starred some Italian guy called Sylvestro Stalloni. I can’t confirm this story, because I don’t watch films and even if I did I would prefer something less violent like Ratatouille or Overboard with Goldie Hawn.
Regardless, I have wanted to relate to this song for several years now and every time I pretended I did, I was called out by friends (Andrews mostly) for actually never having struggled, never having overcome anything and never having ended up victorious after a lengthy battle with something the magnitude of which initially broke me down and brought me to my knees.
Then, I was lucky enough to get Guillain Barre Syndrome (have I gone on enough about that one yet? I think not) and the lyrics “Rising up, back on my feet, did my time, took my chances” never seemed more poignant.
If I have one objection against this song it’s the title. The eye of the tiger is certainly not something that I posses, as I spend most of my life trying to look blank and/or bored with dead eyes. It would have been more representative if the song had been called Eye of the Budgie, Eye of the Rabbit, or even Eye of the Mole.
7) I have nothing - Whitney Houston
This is a song sang by an African American singer who calls herself Whitney Houston and it’s a paean to having nothing (if I can’t have you). The lyrics are a bit blah and predictable to be honest, but the glass-shattering vocal performance combined with hugely dramatic arrangement stop-starts makes this a winner. I have often thought that I should light a few candles, come up with some choreography and perform a seductive dance for Scott singing along to this, but a) I am not that much of a queen and b) Scott might not really appreciate it. So I just play it on repeat and mouth the words staring back at my computer screen instead.
8) She’s like the wind - Patrick Swayze
This is a song from the soundtrack to that famous Patrick Swayze movie that we all know and love: Ghost. You will remember him singing to Demi Moore’s ear, sitting behind her whilst they’re performing some kind of odd sexual act involving clay, pottery and a spinning wheel. PS. Please do not comment on this, I do know it’s not from the film Ghost.
I can’t believe how successful Patrick Swayze was in the late 1980s, he would act, he could sing, he could dance, my God, he was the perfect human being. I don’t fancy him, mind you. Anyway, I will also presume at this point that he also wrote the music and lyrics to this song, and dear me, what lyrics they are! Patrick uses a spectacular metaphor, whereby he is a tree and the girl he’s in love with is the wind. The line he uses to portray this, goes as follows: “she’s like the wind, through my tree”. Amazing: simple and effective.
Patrick goes on to put himself down a little, singing to us that the girl is out of his league and that he’s a fool to believe he has anything she needs. I spent a couple of months in late 2004 obsessing about a girl I thought I was in love with and listening to this song, thinking that similarly to Patrick’s predicament, this girl was out of my league and I didn’t have anything she needed, that’s why this infatuation was going nowhere. As it turned out, the real reason for the infatuation going nowhere was that I was gay and, in fact, the girl didn’t have anything I need, including big muscles and unkempt facial stubble.
9) What’s left of me - Nick Lachey
This is a song that somebody wrote and gave to Nick Lachey soon after his split from professional strawberry ice-cream impersonator Jessica Simpson. We were all there at their wedding, we were there at the honeymoon, we even fucking moved in with them when they came back and stayed in their new house for the first couple of years. So it came as a shock to us all when they split up, completely unexpectedly, without a single word of warning, without the chance to say goodbye.
Anyway, when the time came to take sides, Nick came up with this song and won us all over. Listening to Nick cry/sing “now I’m broken, and I’m faded, I’m half the man I thought I would be, but you can have what’s left of me”, left little sympathy for that witch, Jessica. I don’t know what she did to poor Nick, but I want her dead. Incidentally, I would still like to fuck them both, and I’m even willing to put up with Jessica’s demented stare (the ditzy blondeness and perfect breasts on a lollipop body make up for it) and Nick’s lack of six-pack (the overall muscleness and general jockness without putting it on like the average Abercrombie-clad gay person make up for it).
10) Keep on loving you - REO Speedwagon
In a similar scenario to I Want to Know What Love Is, I want this to be the soundtrack to my (straight) teenage love, but this time I want to marry this girl and I want to spend the following 35 years living in absolute bliss in a suburban house in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, driving the kids to soccer practice, sweeping away the dead leaves in the fall, having picnics by the lake during summer, sitting on the porch on warm evenings in May, coming back from fishing trips every third Sunday of the month. And then when disaster strikes I want my 51-year-old wife to lie in bed, tired and weak from the chemo and whisper to me “and I meant every word I said, when I said that I love you, I meant that I love you forever” before falling asleep for the last time, while I stand there, numb with pain, unable to cry, oblivious to the fact she
I can post more of these if you like, there are plenty.
As we all know, my favourite band of all time are The Smiths (and Morrissey), followed by other miserable / self-important artists like Suede, Gene, Bruce Springsteen, Depeche Mode, Jimmy Eat World and several ridiculous / self-important artists like Bjork, Fischerspooner, Tiga, Felix Da Housecat, Daft Punk, etc.
Very often though, I will also like the ridiculous / ridiculous ones, with no sign of self-importance whatsoever. In fact, some of my favourite songs of all time have no credibility, but who cares, they’re still fucking ace.
So here’s a list of 10 of these songs that I well and truly love and I don’t care what anyone finks (in random order).
1. Lisa Loeb – Stay (I missed you)
I prefer an acoustic version of this that exists, but I suppose the original one is OK too. In this song Lisa Loeb asks her lover to stay (cause she missed him), presumably after throwing some huge tantrum and causing a big fight, which led him to start packing his bags and threatening to move out. Now Lisa is having second thoughts and she wants him back, so she’s stood there singing this song to him, whilst he’s throwing socks in a suitcase. I don’t know what happens in the end.
My favourite point in this song is when Lisa turns the road on, she turns the radio off and hears a song about lovers fighting and one of them threatening to leave – therefore the song on the radio perfectly mirroring her real life experience! This is an amazing example of life imitating art imitating life imitating art, which is a concept so complex even Lisa who wrote it doesn’t quite comprehend it.
2. Roxette – It must have been love / Listen to your heart
These interchangeable twin ballads can only occupy one place, because let’ face it, who can tell these songs apart. They are pretty amazing though. It must have been heart (or Listen to your love) is sang by a painfully Scandinavian blonde woman with a platinum a la garcon haircut, a woman I mistakenly had a crush on in 1991.
In a pretty radical twist of common songwriting themes, these songs concern lost love – a subject matter that is hugely under-represented in popular music. I don’t know what my favourite point in these songs is, but it certainly isn’t the annoying guitar solo that occupies the middle section of both.
3. Samantha Fox – Touch me
This is a song that was created to capitalize on Samantha Fox’s immense popularity as a topless model in the late 1980s, but by a complete fluke it is a timeless example of flawless electro pop.
The urgent, almost out of breath delivery adds to the overall effect, and the lyrics describe Sam as a hungry predator on a night out in town (with or without a top – this is not made clear). Twenty years later, no one has come up with a better line in popular music than “like a tramp in the night, I was begging for you to treat my body like you wanted to”.
4. Foreigner – I want to know what love is
In this song, the singer from Foreigner wants to know what love is and he wants you to show him.
When I’m listening to this song, it’s 1987 and I’m a 16-year-old American high school student out on prom night, dancing with the girl I’ve been seeing since I was 13 (we grew up next to each other – our parents have known each other forever) and we both know it’s one of our last nights together: my family is moving, I’m going to a different school, thousands of miles away. I’m playing in the football team and she’s a cheerleader, we’re not supposed to like this song, we’re too cool for it, but right now it doesn’t matter. When she gets home later with tears in her eyes, her Mother asks her if she had a good night. She says yes and shuts herself in her room. Her Father looks up from the newspaper and jokes about her being upset like this is true love. Her Mother stares back at him and says: It is true love. It’s always true love at sixteen.
5. Bryan Adam - Heaven (the unplugged version only, NOT the original song)
In this song, Bryan Adams is lying on the sofa with some girl, they’ve just finished watching Rumour Has It with Jennifer Aniston on TV and he’s thinking about all their younger years. There was only her and him, they were wild and young and free. In fact, I’m quite convinced that this song is written as a sequel to “I want to know what love is” (above). Bryan and his lover (the girl from high school) are now in their early 30s and have finally come together again after all these years. They’re both married though (to different people), so all they can do is steal some moments of happiness here and there, escaping their mundane working class lives in the arms of each other.
Tragically, seconds after Bryan sings the “now nothing can take you away from me” line, the girl’s husband bursts after breaking the front door down and shoots Bryan in the head.
I’ve written too much today, I’ll continue with the songs tomorrow.
Oh yeah, have a look at this – a reader left a comment pointing me to the direction of this blog site, which only lasted for a few days, but was written as an “homage” (piss-take) of mine. How weird is that? I wonder who wrote this, why, with that motivation, why did they stop, how many people have seen it, all these questions.
Actually, forget this, I’d rather not know any of these answers, it’s just too odd. Not to mention my fear that it's better and funnier than mine.