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Archive for August, 2004

Famous for 15 nano-seconds

Famous for 15 nano-seconds

Well, this is as famous as I’m going to get. A picture of me and a profile published and delivered (ON PAPER!) to about 25,000 of the top media workers in the UK. Strangely, the phone hasn’t rung at all with offers of my own TV show, hot dates, or even a milk bottle top. A couple of emails, a few congratulatory “I didn’t know he was interesting!” emails, a thread on the work forum, and that’s it.

It is very very strange seeing your words unfiltered in print. On a blog, it’s very easy to just write away, take your words where they want to go and not employ any filters. Although to be fair, anyone who knows me tends to know that I don’t operate any filters. What you see is unfortunately what you get.

When the interviewer (ahem) interviewed me down the phone line, I obviously tried to give them the best anecdotes just to make the profile interesting, as well as what I wanted to say, in a way. It’s not till you read it in cold hard print that you realise just how you’ve managed to kill your career by highlighting all your cockups, misdemeanours and cavalier attitude towards sensitivity, in the drive for sensationalism, anecdotage and an interesting story, while all the “extra” content about the rest of your life gets chucked by the wayside. Maybe I ought to be a tabloid journo.

The photograph was even worse. After a morning of posing and preening, they chose one of the worst photographs. Taken against a graffiti-strewn wall on a summers’ morning, the end result looks like it was taken just before the lights went out in a dodgy TV studio set of urban decay. As a work colleague also unkindly pointed out, I just can’t smile convincingly.

Then again, there must be something about me and urban graffiti that appeals to photographers. On one of my holidays, H literally dragged me to a wall of urban graffiti for our archetypal holiday shot. With the pose, the sun etc. it’s hilarious, but it’s not an accurate depiction of who I am.

If only I could do it again, and get it right this time. Then those sixteen vestal virgins would surely be mine.

Youth of today, they don't know they're born…

Youth of today, they don't know they're born…

When I went up to the Edinburgh Festival two weekends ago for one of the largest arts/comedy/theatre festivals ever, I stayed with my old schoolchum in Leith. Which involved walking up a hill for 30 mins to all the action at the Royal Mile, seeing some stuff, then walking down the hill for 30 mins to catch up with my mate. Then walking back up the hill with his supernaturally gorgeous friends (imagine a Scottish version of Miranda from Sex And The City), getting drunk till 3-4am, and then somehow stumbling back down the hill afterwards, bloody knackered. Suppose it builds up your calf muscles though.

Euphemism is going up to Edinburgh this weekend to go see her damn lucky boyfriend’s play. She’s not even hit 25 yet, but she’s staying at The Scotsman, quite possibly one of the poshest places in Edinburgh. It’s only a minutes’ walk to the Royal Mile, and it even has its own cinema. I am sooooo jealous. And annoyed. Why am I earning a crust and staying at work till 8pm?

Bloody bots everywhere…

Bloody bots everywhere…

Right now, I’m in a major mood for introspective chat, the meaning of life and maybe, maybe, a way out of my particular pickle. And it’s a huge Judge of a pickle with a four-storey sign marked Pickle.

However, last night, my Instant Messenger kept chirruping with various ladies who want to cybersex with me, and turn out to be from cyberfungirls.com (Not Safe For Work) and want to hood-wink me into handing over my precious credit card details.

And just now at work, someone IM’ed me and asked “Holy greetings to you in the name of the lord and Savior Jesus christ can i chat with you ?”. Wondering how long before he says my sins can be salvaged by handing him my credit card details.

And people say we just don’t communicate with each other any more.

Full-blooded drunken harmony singing and sighing at a stag night

Full-blooded drunken harmony singing and sighing at a stag night

Just stumbled back from a friend’s stag night in Liverpool. Said friend is a member of a Welsh choir. Here are some vague memories from the pics becuase my brain is still too fried to analyze it too much (I am way too old, cynical, and serious to go drinking and clubbing, especially while wearing silly costumes. It just doesn’t mix. I’ll stick to drinking and slumping cynically in the corner somewher watching the young frilly things ignore me)

- The Welsh choir took many opportunities to burst into song. Sitting in a pub on Matthew Street (where the Beatles played at the Cavern Club. Oh the ignominity of it all). While all dressed in historical costumes. Two of them were dressed as Sergeant Pepper types. I tried for a bit of relative decorum as Bugsy Malone, but that didn’t help much. Neither did the shoes.

- More community choir singing outside a cashpoint. For goodness’ sake.

- Getting totally lost in Liverpool, and chartering a taxi to take us to our hotel. Only for it to take us to a street we’d just walked past. Of course, being a Liverpool taxi and the three of us being obviously pissed, he took us round the very long way… I didn’t think we were that drunk…

- The tour of Liverpool in a yellow duckmarine comes highly recommended. Even if the tour guide gives the impression that Liverpool has the world’s biggest everything. It does have the amazing Liverpool Metropolitican Cathedral. As well as some very very silly high-art sculptures. I’m still a bit annoyed I never made it to the Beatles Story.

However, Liverpool did feel a lot like Cardiff – a city searching for a reason, and living on its laurels in the meantime. But at least Liverpool has laurels!

- I used to live in Liverpool – hell, I was born on the other side of the Mersey. So it was a bit of a trip down memory lane and tunnels – tunnels and roads that I thought were huge at the tender age of 5.

- LaserQuest rocks. The end. Bowling, however, doesn’t after three rounds where you’re continually losing. My bowling technique, however, is what I should be doing on the dance floor.

- Considering all the good comedians are at the Edinburgh Festival, I thought the comedy would be terrible. Fortunatley, the Rawhide Comedy Club proved me wrong.

Someone still needs to show me how to have a good time and smile in a nightclub. Or maybe I’ve just lost it.

Only in San Francisco…

Only in San Francisco…

would you get so many new ways to describe people’s sexualities. Forget homosexual, dyke, queer, gay – oh no. New ones apparently include boydyke, trannyboy, trannyfag, multigendered, queerboi, transboi, half-dyke, stem (what on earth does that mean ?!), omnisexual, Heteroflexible, hasbian…

Aside from the ridiculous spellings – I mean, boi! What’s wrong with a nice y at the end of a word? – it just seems rather silly for elements of a minority, gaining mainstream acceptance, to want to ghettoize themselves even more with narrower and narrower definitions. Unless of course, they’re all just having a royal pisstake at the expense of bored BBC News readers. And no-one actually uses these terms on the streets of glorious San Francisco. There’s probably a comedy sketch somewhere in ten sweating writers in a dark room somewhere, desperately trying to think of a new term to use.

I once met a flatmate of a friend of a friend in San Francisco, who I initially assumed was a short gay man. It eventually transpired that said flatmate was born a girl and came out as a lesbian at her high school prom. But that wasn’t enough, changed her sex (as yer do) to be male, and then decided to date men once she was a man. That San Francisco non-heterosexual (damn, just coined another one!) support structure must be a damn good support structure! Or a ghetto… Although I still want to live there…

Of course, they still haven’t invented a term for a heterosexual (or if you must, homofriendly) who seems to be surrounded by lesbians. Or is that just frustrated?

Being a superstar

Being a superstar

For whatever reason, this has become the week to talk about myself at work – as if I don’t bore enough of my work colleagues with this blog.

First came the interview feedback as to why I didn’t get that job. I came third, which seemed nice enough until I realise I don’t know how many candidates got interviewed to begin with! But my self-confidence hasn’t been totally shattered, and hopefully I’ll improve at my next interview. I’ve also got my appraisal sometime this week, co-incidentally.

Then the internal staff newsletter came calling, asking for my life-story to go into a weekly feature section they have. So I burbled on the phone for an hour, giving them my best embarassing showbiz and work anecdotes – on the grounds that people are probably not all that interested in how I occasionally code HTML/XML for a living.

Thus the resulting profile (from what I’ve read) will be an embarassingly long Nathan Barley-esque read of a sad man who only lives through celebrity, and hankers to do everything at once, while eating toast. Although the features editor assures me it’s gold. In the same way that I have occasionally assured a freelancer that their work is fantastic, before I knuckle down and totally rewrite it.

They also mentioned, by the way, that they’d be commissioning a photographer to take a picture of me. So I thought it’d just be a quick pose in front of some building, job done in 5 minutes.

The photographer met me this morning, and we went down to the Millennium Stadium – Cardiff’s most famous landmark which happens to be a minutes’ walk from the house. And what i presumed would be a quick five-minute pose job turned into an hour of standing on various railings, by trees, next to walls near spiders’ webs’ while trying to look up, down, above the camera, slightly below the camera, and between the camera and the flash gun in an attempt to get 8 good photos to give to the magazine team. He even had me posing next to some random graffiti that had been spray-painted on a house there. All with his exortions for me to fold my arms, put my arms down, smile a brimming confident smile — if I could smile a brimming confident smile, I doubt I’d need a profile written.

Just when I think it’s all over, he decides he need something more natural as a background, and we end up at Cardiff Bay for another hour of posing, standing in awkward positions on top of fences, next to a railing, and sitting on some sculpture. I jokingly suggest posing next to a fire sign – surprisingly, he agrees and spends the next 4 minutes posing me against a green fire sign.

All this activity does make me feel slightly self-important for a second, but that thought is thankfully banished by all the passers-by. They seem mildly interested in the relatively frantic photographic activity and all the paraphenalia. Flash bulbs, a huge 12-megapixel camera, camera lenses bigger than my penis (that’ll get the Google search requests in). Then they see the subject and mild disappointment is probably an insufficient description. Lordie knows what gets wheeled out for the proper superstars. Although they at least get make-up artists.

After 2 hours of photographic preening and posing, he shows me a quick preview of the end result in the camera. It has to be said, I look professional, and vaguely interesting – even if I do look a bit too corporate and like my ultimate boss for comfort (in terms of pose and corporateness, that is). Much better than the various photographs that have been taken of me over the years – although most of those were even on holiday, or drunk. But at least they only took 5 seconds.

Prozac everywhere, not a drop to drink…

Prozac everywhere, not a drop to drink…

BBC NEWS | Prozac ‘found in drinking water’. Great. Prozac is everywhere in the water, and the blasted doctors still won’t give me any. Time to start drinking more drinking water! (Thanks to H for pointing this one out.)

Job hunting in the 21st Century

Job hunting in the 21st Century

Only in the 21st century would I find that I didn’t get a job I interviewed for via a blog as opposed to personnel officers.

Congratulations to Vicky and Mr. Dolan (who has a most enviable CV! Wonder what Mrs. Dolan’s looks like!). I’m sure they will continue to make the BBC comedy website a fantastic piece of work. I just wish I could have been a part of the process (sob, wail, exit stage right, running for the airport to the Edinburgh Festival)

Nadia, Big Brother and all that…

Nadia, Big Brother and all that…

Well, if press reports are correct, then Nadia, a non-English trans-sexual will be the fifth person to win Big Brother. Joining a gormless Scouser, a gay air steward, a blonde Arsenal fan and someone we’ve all forgotten about. So the only “minorities” who haven’t won Big Brother will be a gay man and a non-white person.

This year, I totally forgot to follow Big Brother to any great detail, at least until my new flatmate showed up and put it on every night this week without fail. So I’m vaguely up to speed as to what’s happening now, but can someone tell me just why the nation appears to have fallen for Nadia?

And if you ever wondered what a topless woman-who-used-to-be-a-man looks like, wonder no more. Who said Big Brother was more than just bottoms and naked chests?

And you wonder why Welsh nationalists are sometimes considered out-of-touch

And you wonder why Welsh nationalists are sometimes considered out-of-touch

BBC NEWS | Peer attacks ‘language fascists’ – A woman makes a perfectly reasonable attempt to speak Welsh at the Eisteddfod, but switches to English because she’s more comfortable expressing herself in that language. And some Welsh people jeer her and walk out.

What shameful behaviour. And so impolite. It’s not as if Ms. McAllister was your average English yobbo who thought Welsh wasn’t worth bothering with. She’s tried. It’s her second language. You can’t expect someone (for whom Welsh is a second language) to express themselves as easily in that language.

Perhaps when the jeering yobbos make allowances for the fact that people are trying to adopt the language, and understand those issues and their frustrations instead of demanding that everyone should be mega-fluent in Welsh from day one, the better. Would you expect a native Italian to speak flawless English at a town meeting?