Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Crossing the Line

'If you wear Jean Muir properly, people don't look at the clothes, they look at the person and say, "What a marvellous woman"
Joanna Lumley

As most of you know I have enjoyed the gentrified beauty of East Dulwich for 8 ½ years now. Each day I am here I love it more and more. I still find myself turning a corner and coming across a new street, a tasty new restaurant, a wonderful shop or gallery, or simply a new angle or view of something I thought I already knew well. There is so much happening, it’s a wonderful, ‘alive’ place and even though the 3 wheelers can be a safety hazard, and the parking isn’t always straight forward as everyone now has not one but two nannies, I love it, and it makes me very happy. East Dulwich and I were one of those wonderful surprises. Our union was random and unplanned. It was a pin in a map courtship but even though we had not even glanced at one another before the wedding, we fell in love from the start.

But my gated dream butts the real world, and sometimes it is necessary to leave. Yesterday, on a most glorious, sunny and happy bank holiday, as Justin, for that is his wonderful Monika, and I were strolling in a bona dolly old eek stylee (must check Polari dictionary) down to Peckham Rye station, to jolly ourselves onwards in a Victoria direction, and then to South Kensington, (for cultcha of course) I reached out and gave his shoulder a short but firm affectionate squeeze. It wasn’t an overt display of an unbiblical lifestyle, and I don’t even think Mary Whitehouse would have noticed it let alone written to the head of Religious Broadcasting about it, but it was noticed.

We were walking down past beautiful Peckham Rye Park, when a car full of young men pulled up and parked. Peckham Rye Park was, as it always is at the weekend, awash with young men in shorts running up and down trying to put an inflated, some might say engorged sphere of leather between two uprights (try saying that after your second large cooking sherry). We had both acknowledged the grunt they made as they first drove past us, (I didn’t really think anything of it) but we carried on walking.

All of a sudden screams of ‘Batty Boy!’, (a lower caste dialect still used by some breeds of south London scum) came hurtling down the road. We ignored it, as is best, but it continued, coming again and again. A torrent of abuse. We were being baited to turn around and make a scene. We just walked on though, both completely wound up and bubbling with rage, but aware of what danger turning around would provide. Why should we have to experience this? why are they allowed to shout those things? What I wanted to do was take the fuckers out, and then see to it that all their offspring and relatives were sterilised so that this form of infected vermin could not proliferate further in society. But what we did was walk on and we got over it.

It is dear reader such matters which will surge the circulation of the Daily Mail amongst the liberal middle classes. In a straw poll conducted today, a range of otherwise mild mannered liberals were agreed on hanging for our abusers. Perhaps they will simply shoot each other out of existence, that would be the best for all and so much quicker.

So we finally arrived at the V&A. What a wonderful place, and why haven't I been there before? I can tell you I am certainly going back again. We had gone to see a very interesting exhibition on New York fashion designers which shone an interesting light for me on the evolution and renewal of fashion. Obviously I now have a personal insight into the Devil wears Prada world but I'm not able to say much as it is all very hush hush and only to be shared on a need to know basis, let's just say I'm going all out this season for the return of the bat wing sleeve, pearl thong and Jean Muir navy blue waistcoats, let's just leave it at that!

In other news, I start my leave next week, still not sure what I'm going to do exactly, but I think it will involve at least a 3 centre break. Confirmed destinations include Dulwich, Leamington Spa (Royal) and Norfolk - 'international crazed jet setter, get down!' I hear you say, and yes you are not wrong, I am he. Anyway if I do end up anywhere else exciting and remember to take a note pad, you'll be the first to hear.

All the best from the west and Toodles.


Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Yes, well it's only 4 pay days away, so I hope you've got most of your cards written, and finished all those last minute bits we don't like to get too soon, but really need to be done by now. I haven't seen the fresh turkey's in Marks yet, but a) I'm sure they are only days away, and b) I'm vegetarian so won't be having turkey anyway.

Apparently I'm having a real tree this year, which is nice actually. I thought as long as I don't have to hoover up the pine needles day and night and I'm still allowed to drink as much mulled wine as I can take, then there shouldn't be a problem.

Don't blame me, it's not my fault. Firstly I kind of like Christmas, and I do have a bit of a Labrador jumping out of my dark blue (top spec) Land Rover Defender, Halifax card cash advert fantasy about the potential for Christmas.

Secondly it was very cold today in a borderline, 'well I know it is only August, but surely we could just pop the heating on for a while' stylee.

Thirdly I like wearing my scarf.

Fourthly I went to the Peckham Rye Hotel on Sunday and it was all dark wood, real fires, squishy leather sofas, and I thought that's where I need to be sitting, with roasted vegetables, Yorkshire puddings, mash, great red wine, fantastic company (Labrador and Defender parked outside), winter darkness framed by twinkling fairy lights and the promise of snow.

I think I'm ready for winter, I want to be warmed, and come inside from being out in the cold. I want to hear carols, wear big coats, eat mince pies, make Evie wear silly elf stylee hats (not that she doesn't already) and receive another 10 books to add to the reading pile for 2008.

But most of all I think I'm ready to start making my own Christmas traditions, and I think I want to start practicing now. So if you fancy a roast dinner in the Peckham Rye hotel any evening between now and December 25th just give a me a call, (or pop a note through if easier).

In other news, the delicious man with whom I was practising my snogging with a while back has been put into full time employment as new chief assistant.




Thursday, 16 August 2007

They say they're wiley - they like a deal......

Yes, and they are bloody good at it!

You see I do love the Jews, for I was once a Jew myself.

Now I don't intend to draw any diagrams or provide any medical evidence, or affidavits, but I would like you to know that the beardy one with the fez is my great great grandfather Jacob Rosianski, or as his mates called him, Rabbi Jacob Rosianski. The Rabbi line apparently went back six whole generations. I've been dining out on pickled cabbage and matzo balls from this story for years, and have now found out a little more about the story.

BTW did I ever tell you about the time I played Jacob in my brother's night shirt and a cotton wool beard? No, well it's not much of a story anyway, but was my first leading role as a boy actor.

Oy vey!

The snippet that follows is derived from familial discussions and is not based on any proper ancestral research and so may contain nuts.

My great grandfather Mark Rosianski ‘ran away’ to England as an 18 year old. Not sure whether he jumped or was pushed. He originated from Posen which at the time I believe was Polish. Posen was a border town and had veered between Poland, German and Russia through time.

Mark was Rabbi Jacob Rosianski's only son, but he was not an only child having 3 sisters. It is possible that Mark was thought of as a disappointment, whether this was because he didn't want to follow the Rabbinical line or for other reasons linked to or resulting in his running away remains unclear. However Mark kept in touch with his family and all three sisters eventually came over to England at different times to study at Nottingham University.

Another interesting fact is that Mark's aunts had, unusually for women at the time, been translators at the early UN.

When Mark came to England he changed his surname to Highfield and became a naturalised (like semi skimmed i think) Englishman. His wife, my great grandmother, Daisy was not Jewish, hence the breaking of the line.

So there you go, just a small glimpse at the past I thought I'd share.

All the best from the west.


Monday, 13 August 2007

Stardom Road

Marc Almond

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If you have been affected by anything in this Blog...........

What a difference a week makes, 168 little hours.............

Saw Shaw's St Joan this week. I was first introduced to the play through reading about Kenneth Williams' life as he had played the Dauphin in London at the Arts Theatre in 1954. I have to say the version I saw at the National on Saturday was one of the best pieces of theatre I have ever seen. I wasn't expecting quite so many laughs, and I don't think there was anyone from the Archers in it, but the staging was magnificent in its inventiveness and critical to the motion and atmosphere of the story and most of the acting was within spitting distance of a BAFTA. We mused on why every actor’s TV credits included 'The Bill'. Cast wise that show must be very roomy and extremely well stocked.

Once over, (at 3 hours 15 it was long, but I was in no way conscious of the time passing as the play kept you magically swept from moment to moment and scene to scene) we made initial futile attempts to find the Terrace Cafe. Here on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the summer the National hold 'late lounge'. Basically it is a bar come DJ set - hangin' with the home boys, gettin' down with the choice tunes. There is a bring and share nature with regard to the play list, and I am assured that they'll be happy to mix my 'Remember You're a Womble' with my 'Sorry I'm a Lady' 78's next time I'm there. Let’s really MASH it! But it took us a while to end up on the right staircase on the correct side of the complex at the right level. Several times we could see the whites of the damn things eyes, but it was just out of reach - like an oasis to a stranded Legionnaire or a bottle of cooking sherry through the window of a closed off licence to the thirsty. I thought about scaling the wall at one point when my patience gene ran out of DNA, but as one of my party was a lady, we pooled our orienteering resources and were suitably rewarded 3 minutes later with fine wines and a table outside overlooking some 'performance' art (loved the mime) and the beautiful river.

Earlier that day whilst doubling as a removal man for the 3 ladies of Brockley (good name for a pub actually), and in relation to my blind blog, and not so blind dates, I wondered on the best way to find out as much as possible about people new to your life. There can be such a strong desire to know everything and to want to know it now. I am drawn to this speed quest - I want to know the history, the inside leg measurement, I want a Vulcan mind meld info gathering process stlylee. Z will have required me to acquire a range of basic details anyway. With any prospective chief assistant she asks a range of questions delving here and there, assuming philanthropy and interest, but I know what she actually wants to know.

Q 1. ‘What is his relationship history?’ This could mean has he been out long and or experienced enough in life to be solid partner potential, but it actually means (legal note: I believe it to mean) does he have a history of being prone to casual sex and therefore more likely to be carrying a range of life threatening STIs?

Q2 ‘Are his parents alive/does he have a mother?’ This question aims to ascertain whether or not his mother is laid back about him being gay and or potentially more liberal than her?

But to rush the info gathering process in order to reach a safe place quickly would defeat the purpose and the pleasure of getting to know someone, of opening yourself up whilst looking inside another. To be successful in friendship and in love you have to allow yourself to be vulnerable, not safe. So bring on the scary fun and whilst you’re up pour me another glass of cooking sherry please.

In other news. It was with great sorrow this week that I learnt that some people out there, some of you dear readers are potentially included within this cohort, aren't aware that Ethel Merman ever released a disco album. I would ask you to join with me in taking a moment to think about these people, our thoughts and support will help them. Please pass the following link to anyone you know who falls into this deprived community of afflicted souls.

There's no business like show business.................

Remind me next time to tell you about the night I went to Barbara Streisand's after show party. I don't think she was actually there, but I did see Barbara Knox and Lulu. 'Champagne for Lulu!'- yes I did say it whilst standing behind her.

All the best from the West,


Friday, 10 August 2007

I'll show you mine - if you show me yours!

Internationally speaking I'm probably a range of star signs, but here on God's green England I am definitely, oh yes, and without fail, definitely an Aries.

I went on my first blind Blog today. I didn't know him obviously; I'm still to find out much about his parents let alone whether he comes with a dowry.

My dear and gorgeous friend Sophia set us up. In fact I didn't even know she had set us up until it happened. It wasn't planned. I hadn't had time to think what I would wear or whether I should re boot, add another pic of Dan to the page or even park my newest fascination for just one tiny second and tidy my desk. Nothing. I went from casually unpacking my GU puddings and assorted organic vegetables from the Sainsbury's to - BAM! You're on a blind Blog.

Like a bolt out of the blue her note arrived. She had posted it simultaneously to both of us. Her style had overtones of Courtesan fan flickery, sharing our URLs, talking of how she enjoyed both of our 'work', ruefully suggesting we may wish to 'read' each other or share a link. Her language was not flowery, but still so sweet, with such certainty of aim, that neither of us were likely to steer our thoughts but to each others blog.

I didn't know what to say at first. Although you all think I'm full of bravado - half Bergerac half Lovejoy, I am in fact quite shy, and I am only recently out as a blogger. On top of this he seemed so much more experienced; his blog was 'established'. I think he may even have readers.

He was such a gentleman though; he spoke first, mentioned my The Killing of Sister George clip and added me to his links. It was all made so easy for me; all I had to do was read. I knew there wouldn't be any untoward pressure to post.

So thank you Sophia, you wonderful matchmaker, and welcome Stephen, for that is his Monika, and your 1904 blog to the madness which is 'Get Mummy's Purse'. Let all of us take this as our starting point to reach out and shorten the divide between our worlds - wherever they may be. As my dear friend Jean Muir always said 'Darling you can never have too many shades of Navy Blue'. I think there is something for us all there.

God Bless you all.


Monday, 6 August 2007

Goodbye Mrs Slocombe 3/3

Goodbye Mrs Slocombe 2/3

Goodbye Mrs Slocombe 1/3

"Grace I told you not to disturb me whilst I'm sketching these designs!"

That was the week that was, as they used to say on that was the week that was.

So what have I been up to? Well the weekend was a cocktail (is it five o'clock yet?) of history, the east end, culture and snogging with the emphasis definitely on the snogging. Now I don't know how many of you remember the heady days of your youth. If you do you'll recall how the important things in life were red band cigarettes, cider and black, and snogging. It was always very important to ensure you got a snog at a party. It was a form of social acknowledgment halfway between a warriors scar and a girl guides victoria sponge making badge. However not only was it important in an 'I have the future potential to be an alpha male' sort of way it could also be very enjoyable. I remember my first snog with a man, it was a very powerful thing. When you come out you have to start again in a way but you have the hindsight of a few extra years on your shoulders which can make it so much better. So I won't be forgetting that first snog, I think that whole flower bed needed re planting if I remember correctly. He ended up being a bastard though, but he was sexy - shit happens. But possibly not as sexy as the protagonist of my most recent adventure. There's plenty of snap left in my celery I can tell you! So yes lots of lovely snogging with a very delicious man was enjoyed over the weekend. Please enclose a cheque for £45 with every request for further details.

On Saturday (pre snogging) whilst partaking in a historical walk around Poplar and environs, (Hawksmoor this, Hawksmoor that) we came across a fantastic complex of flats and studios made out of containers. They were right on the river just opposite the dome, and next door was Michael Faraday's lighthouse which was built for him to test his lenses etc.. The nice man opened the lighthouse and let us go in. I think he was sweet for one of my party - but no bodily fluids changed hands - it was all strictly above board and everyone left with their virtues intact. But an utterly fascinating experience and completely random. They also had a gallery on site and a visitors centre so I do recommend you pop along at your soonest convenience. (Trinty Buoy Wharf)

So as well as going up Faraday's lighthouse, I was also lucky enough to go and see the Anthony Gormley Blind Light exhibition at the Hayward. Absolutely amazing. The Blind Light exhibit itself was very interesting. It was just like being in a cloud, strangely peaceful, whilst also slightly disconcerting. Once I had lost my helper, I initiated emergency procedure gamma gamma delta, which took me to the nearest wall, and then i gingerly fingered my way back to the entrance. But with someone else with you, (visibility is only a foot,) it felt safe and so you are able to enjoy the heavenly nature of the experience. I have to say that for me the resounding acvhievement of the whole exibition is Event Horizon. If you do nothing else this summer please stand on Warterloo bridge and search the horizon for the roof top bodies!

Do you think Anthony Gormley would have been called Gormless at school? I presume so.

In other news I see that the Chinese government have decreed that all future reincarnations of the Dali Lama will need to be authorised by the Communist Party - sounds like they've got Blair working for them already. Can someone help me out here. I mean it's not like Liz ironing out with Churchill as to who would succeed her. Should it be Charles or Margaret, or maybe another German lady. Oy Vey!

Well that's about it for now, look after yourselves and remember if in doubt have another one, and make sure your pants are clean when you open the door to the postman. Remind me next time to tell you about the time Eartha Kitt touched my face and looked deep into my eyes.

All the best from the west.