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.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Tuesday 23/09/08

Can I have a housemate in Sydney now please? 

Ideally I would like somebody English, straight and uptight, because this is the demographic I get on best with. 

I want them to be English so that they also have that fish-out-of-water feeling and they seem lost and don’t know where anything is and we can spend nights in together watching BBC repeats on iPlayer feeling nostalgic about the motherland, well, their motherland and my adopted country that I desperately cling on to. 

I want them to be straight so that we become friends and they can gently take the piss / mock me for my sexual preferences, not in an aggressive way of course, but in an endearing “ah, London Preppy is a gay” way, which is a dynamic I’m used to and actually enjoy, as pioneered by Mean, Matty, et al.  Also if they’re straight they can have a girlfriend and we can have a threesome, so that I check out what that’s like. 

I want them to be uptight, because so am I and I don’t want to live with a party animal or somebody who is “chilled out”, “laid back” or “relaxed”.  I.e. I don’t want to be the only one lining up the remote controls on the coffee table. 

If you know anyone with those specifications moving to Sydney at the same time, please let me know.  At this point, I’m happy with two out of three criteria. 

Anyway, then it’s Sunday night and Scott is over at mine and a new episode of Poirot is on, so I make him watch it, but then Scott falls asleep near the end, at the climax, when Poirot is doing his little speech and tells us who the killer was. 

And that’s when I wake Scott up and ask who on earth falls asleep at the end of the episode, when the emotions are high and the action is gripping and we get the answers to all the questions that were formed over the last two hours.  And Scott replies that most people who watch this programme probably fall asleep by the end of it, because they’re all quite old and prone to nap. 

Which leads us to the following questions:

a) Does anyone watch Poirot? 

And if yes: 

b) How old are you? 

Finally, on Monday after work I go to the gym where I do legs and abs, chat to Superman, and see a poster on the wall advertising a gym social event for next month.  This social event is held in one of the aerobics rooms in the gym, includes drinks, chat and a disco and – are you ready?  I know I’m not – a charity auction where you can bid for members of the staff and have them… 

…as your Slave for a Day.  Yes, the poster actually says Slave for a Day.  Slave.  For.  A. Day.  Pale Personal Trainer.  Slave.  Pale.  Day.  A.  Trainer.  Personal.  Slave.  Slave.  Day.  Pale.  Trainer.

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And finally some loose ends:

a) Take part in the Aussielicious competition here if you want

b) This is a new blog that I discovered (through Matt at DBF) and I like.  It’s called Small Step on the Other Side

c) Einai kanenas Ellinas pou to diavazei afto kai menei Ellada kai tha paei sti Madonna to Savvato?  Eimai apla periergos.  Tha eimai ki ego ekei

Monday, 22 September 2008

Monday 22/09/08

On Friday at 1645 A Girl and I leave the office early and go to the pub where we’re having our joint leaving do / birthday, a decision which is based on two considerations: a) we need to get a good spot for everyone to stand and b) our boss is out of the office on a client meeting anyway.  Then we turn up at the pub and our boss is stood outside waiting of course, so after a brief explanation of what we’re doing there an hour early, we go in. 

Then people from the office start turning up, then people drink, then this guy from the office turns up with a long face and looking grumpy, then A Girl tells me that we should ask him to leave because she doesn’t want anyone bringing negativity to our party, then I tell her that perhaps we should go then, then people drink some more. 

Later in the pub, Scott and Donnell turn up – even though I appreciate it’s generally unacceptable to bring personal friends to work functions – and they don’t disappoint as: a) Donnell is wearing a skin tight top with a plunging neckline and his chest hanging out and b) Scott soon gets on the phone and starts ordering steroids.  Yes.  In the first opportunity I’ve had for my personal and professional lives to mix, this is how I come across to my colleagues.  Thanks. 

Around 2030 Scott, Donnell and I leave and go over to Trash Palace for Bryant’s birthday. 

Around 2230 the gin and tonics my boss was buying are putting me to sleep, so I go home. 

On Saturday it’s one of the greatest days I can remember in my life so far, because I don’t have to do anything.  Then the evening comes and I actually have to do something (i.e. go out briefly), but I decide to put on a brave face, put on a pair of grey ___ shorts, leather navy moccasins, white t-shirt with thin horizontal blue stripes from Lyle & Scott, take a copy of A Room Of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf with me because I reckon it goes with my outfit and head to Soho to meet Mean. 

Mean and I go to our usual Turkish place on Compton Street where we order the same thing we’ve ordered for the past two years, and when we’re done we head over to some coffee shop (Costa?  Nero?  I can’t be sure) to find Scott, Brendan, R, a friend of R’s who I don’t know, D and J.  

There, Brendan plays my book and asks me what’s happening so far, I tell him that they just didn’t let Virginia into a library because she was a woman and I think she’s about to go on a rant. 

Then Mean goes home, all those guys go to some bar and I take the tube and go over to Scott’s house to watch two episodes of Poirot back to back, therefore concluding the best Saturday ever.  Can I spend the rest of my living Saturdays like this please?  

Sofa + blanket – non-threatening dinner with good friend – quick catch up with friends – lonely tube journey with book – TV – bed.  Thank you. 

And a propos of nothing, here are three things that I’m going to miss now that I’m going to Sydney, and I can’t pretend that I’m not pissed off about it.  Sydney had better throw some equally exciting events my way while I’m there: 

1) Brendan’s birthday weekend away.  Brendan has hired a cottage in the countryside for a weekend in November and invited a few people to stay over.  I am going to miss that.  This cuts me up more than I care to admit.  I should be spending weekends in cottages in the countryside in the winter.  Especially when they look like this.

 

2) Britney Spears making her comeback on the X Factor in December.  Britney Spears will be performing her new single Womaniser in December on the X Factor.  This will be her first performance since she went crazy / became sane again.  I don’t care how lame this is, I want to see it.  Yes, I know I can catch it on youtube five minutes after it happens, but it’s not the same.

3) IAMX gig at the Astoria 2 on 6th December.  IAMX is the band of former Sneaker Pimps member Chris Corner.  Most people know the Sneaker Pimps as a one-hit wonder from 1996 with 6 Underground.  Remember that one?  Anyway, in fact, the Sneaker Pimps released three albums, one better than the other.  Their second album, Splinter, is actually my late night exam revision album from my last year at University, where I would stay up all night listening to that, studying and drinking cups of tea (I used to drink tea then).  Then Chris broke up the Sneaker Pimps and formed IAMX.  IAMX have released two albums which I also absolutely love.

So it’s a very big deal to me that I will miss their one and only gig in the UK this year, and I’m this far away from getting on a plane just to come back and see them (which I will certainly do if Menswe@r decide to reform, there is not question about that).

Anyway, here is a clip from an IAMX gig with IAMX playing one of my favourite songs, The Negative Sex.  Doesn’t this look pretty damn good?  Don’t answer that.  I don’t want to know.

 

And the less said about Christmas on a beach, the better.  At least I’ll be back next summer to go to Newquay and surf in the rain – the way it should be done.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Sunday 21/09/08

So I’m at work and it’s Friday and I go to the gym at lunchtime, where I do arms and some abs, and then I go back to the office and it must be around 1500 when my phone rings and it’s a number I don’t recognize and of course I don’t answer.  Then my voicemail rings and this time I do answer because I don’t object to listening, I just have a problem with talking, and anyway, it’s Gladiators and they’re asking if I’d like to go and audition for the next series.

I mentioned ages ago here that it crossed my mind to apply to go on Gladiators because I was watching the current series and they had contestants who were shorter and/or lighter than me, shorter and/or lighter than me for fuck’s sake.  At the time when I wrote that applications weren’t open for the next series, but anyway a couple of weeks later I tried again and I applied.

They had some stats questions (age, height, weight), some questions about sport (I don’t play any), a lot of ridiculous questions like “what’s the wildest thing you’ve done” and “what are you most proud of” (which I answered in a monosyllabic grumpy way), a question asking what my name would be if I were a Gladiator (I said Athenian) and I also had to send a couple of pictures. 

Well that must have been enough for them, because as I said, on Friday some person called Jack calls me to audition.  Of course I’m not going, a) because I’m fucking scared and b) because I won’t be here anyway, but there you go.

In any case, I decide to google and find out what the Gladiators auditions might involve anyway, and this Friday afternoon – whether I’m ready or not, wait, I’m not – I come across the Men’s Health magazine online mesageboards. 

And there are people on these messageboards who have been through the auditions and these people tell us that you have to do the following.

(I’m just copying and pasting the bit below; I have no idea what all these things are)

A series of 8-tests which revolve around circuit training: 


- 20m shuttle runs x 4 (timed)

- Assault course, doing front somersaults over hurdles, hop-scotch on Reebok-steps, agility test jumping over small mini-hurdles

- Crocodile crawl (press-up, while dragging your feet) 40m


- Standing hop-skip-jump (aiming for 10/12m+)


- Burpees in 30-secs


- Series of 6 x front and backwards rolls (timed)


- Medicine ball throw (5kg for men, 3kg for women)


- Crab crawl (inverted press-ups) and walking for 40m (timed)

And my first comment on this is: What the fuck is this person talking about?

And my second comment on this is: It’s a good job I’m not going then.

Anyway, the point is that a whole new world opens up to me with those messageboards, there are so many muscled straight boys on there obsessively writing about their workouts and what they eat and how they look and it’s a little bit scary, no wait, very scary.  But sexy.

Because there is only one type of person who has more issues than a gay self-obsessed muscle-boy gym goer and that’s a straight self-obsessed muscle-boy gym goer.  And that’s hot.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Saturday 20/09/08

On Thursday after work I don’t go to the gym but I go out and meet Elliott and Niles, because this is another Featre Fursday (Theatre Thursday with a London accent). 

Featre Fursdays are a long standing tradition between Elliott, Niles, Matty and me, and it’s a night out where we find a deal for dinner and theatre tickets on lastminute.com, and it doesn’t really matter what the dinner is, it matters even less what the theatre is, as long as the whole evening doesn’t cost more than £20.

And on this Thursday it’s only Elliott, Niles and me because Matty has moved to Sydney, and I suppose when I also move to Sydney Featre Fursdays will have to take a break until we’re all back in the same city.

Anyway, we meet up and have dinner in some dive in Covent Garden (burgers? steaks? something like that) and then we walk to the theatre where we watch…no wait, I’m really not going to say what we watch – there are some limits.

In any case, Elliott and Niles are loving it, I’m trying to hide, there’s an empty seat right next to ours in honour of Matty I guess, we eat chocolate biscuits, chocolates and sweets and then suddenly, a short 2.5 hours later we’re set free and we can go home.

It’s 2245 by that point and normally I would start to stress because I need to be home by 2230 on a school night, really, but as Elliott points out, it’s not like I can sleep anyway, so why worry about going to bed.

Then I call Scott as I’m waiting for the tube and I complain because I had a really good time and where am I going to find such good friends in Sydney who are straight AND like to watch ___ The ___ Musical AND like me AND we’ve known each other for years.  And the answer is I won’t but that’s OK, because everyone goes traveling / relocating at some point in their lives and then they come back home and all their friends / previous lives are still there.

Then it’s Friday.

I was wondering in my last post what I should wear on Friday because I have to do several activities that don’t go with each other, so in the end I decide to wear:

Jeans from the Gap, yellow espadrilles (as a nod to A Girl’s yellow cardigan), white short sleeved shirt from I don’t remember where, brown cardigan from Junk De Luxe.  I also cheat and I take with me a Suede t-shirt so I can change out of the shirt and into that later for the indie night.

And here are a couple more songs that we really. really. like.  A "classic" and a newer one.  Maybe I'll do this every now and then.




Thursday, 18 September 2008

Thursday 18/09/08

So enough of blacking out underground and crying on the South Ken tube platform, there are pressing matters at hand, and these pressing matters are: 

What the fuck am I going to wear this Friday? 

This is a question difficult enough to keep you awake on any given week from Monday night onwards, but this Friday combines a series of events so unrelated, so haphazardly thrown together, so diverse that the phrase sartorial nightmare doesn’t begin to cover it. 

Here are the different variables: 

1) First I’m going to work so I have to wear something appropriate for work.  Please note, this is a dress-down Friday 

2) Then I’m going to a work night out, so I have to wear something appropriate for going out, but still within colleague specifications 

3) Whatever I wear has to be coordinated with A Girl’s outfit, because we have decided to do that and here’s what A Girl is wearing: 

I think I will wear a red patterned knit skirt with a white button up short sleeved collared shirt, my mustard yellow sweater and just for one bit of raciness, my high heeled black patent leather strap shoes. My aim is 1950’s University preppy with the shoes adding a bit of raciness but acceptable rebellion. 

4) Then I’m going to an indie bar/club type place for Bryant’s birthday, so I have to wear something that says I’m still indie, I may be 28 and past it, but I know where it’s at, or at least I knew where it’s at at some point in the past and I own every Suede 7-inch ever released 

So I’ll have to think about this one. 

Anyway, in other news, last week this person who reads the blog but I’ve also met in real life (even though he doesn’t live in London) sent me a CD with songs he thought I might like.  And this CD has 60+ songs on it and this person was right – I do like them.  In fact this is the best compilation CD I remember anyone having ever made for me.  So we’d all like to thank ___. 

In any case, inspired by this I thought I’d make a list of my favourite songs of 2008 so far, so here they are, in alphabetical order by the second letter of each song title. 

Blind

This is a song by Hercules & Love Affair, which is the musical project of New York DJ/producer Andy Butler.  I saw Hercules & Love Affair live a few months ago and realised that Andy Butler is gay and ginger (very ginger) so I sent an email to his management team asking if he wanted to meet up with me.  I never heard back.  I like the song 4% less now, but still enough. 


Just dance

This is a song by New York-based artiste Lady GaGa.  What a nice lady.  Shame the rest of the album sucks. 


Hearts on fire

This is a song by Australian duo (I’m guessing here) Cut Copy.  I like this, partly because I do and partly because I’m desperately trying to develop a taste of Australian culture before I get there. 


Wearing my Rolex

This is a song by a guy who calls himself Wiley.  He is ridiculous, so is his song, I’m sure it’s listened to by the lowest of the low, deadest of the brain people in suburban clubs, but you know what?  I like it.  Plus I like how he pronounces the word dance.  “Darnce”. 


Best revenge

This is a song by New York-based band Fischerspooner.  People see no worth in Fischerspooner, oh but I do. 


Falling down

This is a song by Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson (so I’m told, I’ve never seen her films myself).  Scarlett released an album of Tom Waits covers this year and it’s fucking brilliant because she can’t sing, she just growls in a dreary monotone.  This is the aural equivalent of the emptiness of my life.  


LES artistes

This is a song by New York-based artiste Santogold.  On the cover of her record, Santogold vomits a sea of gold.  I like the rest of the album too, and not just because of that. 


Songs remind me of you

This is a song by Norwegian singer Annie.  If I were Norwegian I would just sit in my little town and enjoy the scenery and the cold and play with the reindeer.  I guess Annie is a lot more ambitious than I am.  It’s a shame then than nobody cares for her music (apart from me), so she’ll just have to return to her little town sooner or later anyway. 


Time to pretend

This is a song by MGMT.  I have no idea where they’re from.  The lyrics of this song are very London Preppy – perhaps I should sue. 


Sex on fire

This is a song by Kings of Leon.  This is a very good song indeed and I like the guy’s voice because it sounds like he’s in pain.  Also in the video he’s tied to a bed (I think) and the rest of the band hold him down, push him around, etc.  More of less what happens in my basement then. 


Stuck on repeat

This is a song by somebody called Little Boots.  What a ridiculous name.  It’s so cute and twee, isn’t it?  I’m sorry, I’m gonna have to google and find out this person’s real name.  OK, it’s Victoria Hesketh.  Little Boots it is then.

So there you go.