Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Important Advice from the Red Cross

I'm more than aware that some of my readers aren't as young as they used to be, (or say they are) for myself, the twinges of middle age are not completely unfamiliar. 

So I thought the following advice from the red cross was excellent, and very demographic appropriate. I know we all like to help, and many of us are motorised these days, so why not duo these into a give give give option.


Out and about in the cold

The Red Cross advises that you stop and offer roadside assistance if you see someone's car has broken down during severe weather. This is a very small act of volunteering which could save someone's life. But in areas where heavy snow is likely to fall, be prepared.

Always carry in your car:

a blanket
a torch
a mobile phone
a brightly-coloured headscarf
some chocolate bars
a flask of hot soup
a sign that says HELP in big bright letters.

If you break down or get stuck in snow, don’t leave your car – it will get noticed before you will. Put the HELP sign in your window, tie the headscarf to your car's aerial, turn off the engine and curl up in the blanket. Don’t run your car's engine for more than a few minutes at a time and make sure its exhaust isn’t blocked with snow.

Remember that the bad weather catches many people unaware every year in the UK, so always be prepared to keep safe and to help others.

If you are interested in doing more go to the Red Cross website http://www.redcross.org.uk where advice can be found on what to do in cases of hypothermia, frostbite and falls and tumbles.


So there you go, don't say I'm not always bringing you up to the moment guidance and lifestyle option suggestions.

However some essential points aren't clear. The key issue for me is does the scarf need to be a Hermès? That can be the problem with some advice, full of good intention but low on detail and when you're worried about being a good Samaritan the last thing you want is a series of unanswered questions with the potential for making a fashion faux pas.

So I think to be on the safe side yes it should be a Hermès

Btw - don't forget when you are out and about rummaging through the thrift and goodwill stores, always check the hem of every scarf in the 50p box. A Hermès will have a rolled hem which will have been hand stitched. The volunteers will be too busy smelling of moth balls to always notice these gems. 

Just a little tip my mother taught me, and it costs nothing to share.

Keep warm, and get those headscarves ready!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

As we enter Advent

Now, as you all know there are several important things that must be prepared for well in advance of the big day itself. In fact this one should be prepared as a matter of urgency, as it is, you'll agree, the keystone to happy and successful yuletide festivities.

That's right, you've got it in one, today we are going to make the Blue Peter Advent Crown.

Now, we are going to be making the original one not the PC police gone made version. The only draw back with this version, is that buildings and personal liability insurance should be trickier to obtain unless you go sub prime and you know how tricky that is these days. You see, today's youth, apart from wearing hoodies, doing that funny limping walk, playing music on their mobile phones on the bus and smoking crack cocaine, are subject to a health and safety conscious advent crown, where baubles are added to welcome in each new week of advent rather than the celestial light of burning wax. I think you can take this nanny state thing too far and anyway ours has candles AND baubles.

Do remember to ask an adult for help if necessary. You will need 4 wire coat hangers, ask mummy or your housekeeper to get these for you from the dry cleaners, plenty of tinsel (re insurance reference above maybe make sure it is fire proof), 4 jar lids, now these don't necessarily have to come from an organic preserve, but it is preferable especially if the neighbours have a tendency to pop round for sherry unannounced. Now do you have 5 glass baubles handy? no? well pop along to your local DIY shop, Fortnums, Peter Jones or Harrods should be near enough. To further adorn you'll require holly, now don't just snip away at the first bush you come across, topiary doesn't grow on trees you know. Finally you'll need 4 candles, and don't make the same mistake I did and come back from the iron mongers with fork handles!

How we laughed. Anyway.

1. First cut the hook off two of the wire hangers just above the twist then using thin wire join one hanger with a hook to one without at right angles - make two pairs.

2. Turn one pair upside down and wire them all together into a large 3 dimensional diamond, fasten the jar lids at the four corners.

3. Place the candles in the jar lids, decorate the hangers with tinsel and greenery, and hang baubles from underneath the jar lids and in the centre at the bottom. But remember kids never leave lit candles unattended, even for a moment.

So there you have it, 4 weeks in advent and you light one candle per week. What joy!

Have a look at the one I prepared earlier (below) for some more clues, or ring up Biddy Baxter if you need the fact sheet - she won’t mind.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Are you sitting comfortably?

Now children, are you sitting comfortably? Well then.............

Well then you are very lucky bastards and what the mothering  blah de blah have you done to deserve what I so dearly crave and require?

It all started with my mother. Yes I know the laments of so many Gay men start along those lines. But no it wasn’t because Zena made me a queer – ‘if I give her the wool will she make me one?’

No, it was more as a token of her passing last year Dad gave us a small financial token in lieu of compensation. Two of the things I spent mine on were a week away from whatshisface on a motoring tour of the Outer Hebrides and a new sofa.

Now as you will have known from my previous chronicles - shared for your education and amusement, the week in the outers was amazing and mind blowing and enriching, etc., etc..

But you may now recall that the sofa isn’t something I’ve spent much time discussing in my despatches.  Seems strange I now as most people regularly blog about their seating arrangements. But please, it has always been so uncomfortable which is only worse because the sofa was purchased to replace a very uncomfortable sofa.

How hence the why not replace it with a comfortable one?

Yes, well how clever you are to ask such a plain question, but you see the thing is I purchased the new sofa on looks and online – trusting in comfort and dreaming of anticipated snugness.

It was nether, but I had more important things to worry about – the eviction of the tedious and the repatching of a life made semi orphan.

But as some of those close to my well being will attest, I do suffer on occasion with my back – and so support and comfort are two very important things to me. Importantly the other thing Zena provided for was the purchase of a new bed which has been life changing, but the seating remained poor and increasingly annoying.

So the other day in a brash but controlled bolt of inspiration I announced (to myself) that enough was enough! That piece of shit is leaving here and it is leaving here now!

I felt so liberated, but realised that I wouldn’t simply be able to stand of an evening. I quickly determined that I wanted to replace the monstrosity with 2 comfortable chairs rather than a new sofa.  As those of you who have enjoyed social intimacies over the years here in London’s glittering East Dulwich will testify, my garden apartment is only tiny. So I began to see how the flexibility of chairs over the hulking brutishness of a 3 seater could present a series of affordable advantages both to me and to my guests.

So first it required me running the no sofa concept passed a selection of my inner circle. Mixed views here, with some suggestions of researching a firmer and smaller sofa, but I clearly heard some views that twinned with mine, so I branded them as a general consensus.

The key to my replacement strategy does teeter on my being off work the week after next and so having time for removal and advancement. So I threw caution to the wind and have already booked the council to come and get my old sofa. I trawled the net and identified a number of pleasing on the purse and the eye options and this weekend set out in my trusty motor to sit on said examples and to gauge the levels of comfort they could bestow upon my requirements.

Interestingly I changed my mind several times during the testing period, but have now anchored on 2 chairs – one which I have bought and is here overcrowding (pre sofa removal) my sitting room and only providing modest payback for the eye, but bringing riches untold to my need for comfort and support. And my second chair is now being made to order. A more traditional armchair which I sat on a sample of and which was lovely both on the back and on the eye. This comes in December, so when the sofa goes next week I will enjoy chair 1 and lots of space, and 6 weeks later I will have two comfy chairs, a much happier back and all in all my life will be one step closer to perfection.  

There are lots of steps mind, but one closer is still closer.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Carriages at 11

As many of you know I am a great supporter of the charity, did once have a set of cut down golf clubs, have worked very closely with key members of Bucks Fizz and Brother Beyond and know all the words to Manhattan Transfer’s Chanson D’amour, in French, and I know him so well by Paige and Dickson (in English).

But enough about me. Yes I, your self-appointed showbiz correspondent and food taster to the stars, has once more been shunning the damp patches of south London in lieu of living the vida loca in London’s glittering Mayfair!

So it’s Sunday afternoon and I’ve got my DJ on already; this does seem strange. My corset is tightened, thank heavens for the maid, and my shoes are polished. All set. My chaperone and I black cab it hot foot to your actual Park Lane. Our driver dropped us off a little way away (playaway!) in order that we could once more adjust some tight fitting items and so those needin’ smokin' facilities could be accommodated - timewise.

I must say that it wasn’t a straightforward 200 yds hop. Firstly we were accosted by a well dressed large woman with her shopping bags at the bus stop. She’d fallen asleep, so the story went, and had her train fare stolen – and could we furnish her with 12 English pounds by way of compensation. With the answer ‘how about no?’ she asked whether we’d meet her half way. My chaperone settled on a pound and we walked on. Narrowly missing the next gang of rent a beggar, I was just about to be presented with an award at the Sikh of the year ceremony when we realised we were only at the Grosvenor, and that we had to trot on further as we were Dorchester bound. And no that isn’t some seedy Dorset S&M club.

So finally we arrive, albeit a pound lighter, at the Dorchester Ballroom where a young lass in a tight dress welcomed me to my night with the stars, all in aid of Ronnie Corbett’s 80th birthday and a good old excuse to raise some money for Children’s charity. Smashy and Nicey were not there but an evening of showbiz Gold ATV style was ahead and anticipated. With excitement, trepidation (it should wipe off) and a hunger to meet the octogenarian himself I made my way up the steps and into the first part of the evening – the ‘reception’.

Now to the kiss and tell section*

Well no sooner had I finished my first glass of fine wine, courtesy of one of London’s leading talent agents (no, no job offers yet) my well connected chaperone whisked me over in a ‘can I thrust by – I’m a diabetic’ stylee to meet Mr Rob Brydon. Luckily he was ready for a change of scene what with him chatting to a Judith Chalmers stylee orange person, and so welcomed our merciful yet jolly interruption. What a chatty man, and how polite and friendly he was. I try and do my A list research, and  so had listened to his recent dessert island discs. This enabled me to know about the new family and the circumstances pertaining to his previous marital breakdown. Not that I made it the main topic of discourse but a baseline understanding of an individual’s predicament makes for well lubricated social intercourse (I find).

All the while my young and excited heart was hoping above hope that the evening would include a Rob Brydon doing Ronnie / Ronnie doing Ronnie double act. I die disappointed, but swiftly on.

Obviously I can’t divulge, due to the 37 page (double sided) security clause my chaperone made me sign, the intimate detail of our honest one on two discussions, but I can say that his eyebrows are his own, and his is a very funny and talented man who made my chaperone and I giggle profusely - what a great start.

The master of ceremonies – who I did see rolling his eyes on being ignored by everyone, was doing his utmost to shimmy us through, a not unwide opening, to the grand ballroom itself to take our seats and for the evening’s raz a ma taz to commence and how. So we just stayed where we were, my chaperone went to check his shares and I slowly sauntered in past the artwork up for grabs in the silent auction, thinking everyone else was inside, apprehensively looking for my hosts’ table.

But no I was the first in. Our table was luckily the first one I came to and as I ummed and ahhed as to which seat to take I was greeted by Victor who informed me that he was going to be our waiter this evening and asked quietly if I could be so kind as to point out our host on his arrival - he would be most grateful. There was no obvious seating plan so I continued to hover not wanting to firm up my choice in case a social faux pas was committed. I did consider the various angles between all of the chairs and the stage and had a few options in mind should the time for decision appear soon. No one else came though so I presumed I was at the wrong table and would soon be joined by extras from Holby and get myself into inappropriate banter with one of Jordan’s bridesmaids. But no, the appointeds arrived and we worked out a very convivial boy girl, boy girl seating scenario, which found me next to two very glamorous and very well credentialed TV execs  - both ladies, both of the opposite sex and both lovely.

Early celebrity rubbing (like brass rubbing but less expensive) includes my backing on to Vanessa Feltz’s table. Now hers was very different to ours and included a lot of ladies with short skirts and hospital strength blusher, as well as Johnny Culshaw and someone who I think might have been in Emmerdale. I only see Vanessa from behind; she never turns round, not even once! And I can confirm she does have lovely locks in a very nice condition. Which is strange as I’d always thought her hair looked dry on the telly!

My Chaperone at one point called me outside to the smokers’ pavement to have a word with Tony Hatch, but I missed my chance by a fag’s breath. Back inside Tony introduces the evening in his capacity as Chair (of the evening) and reminds us all of Clive Anderson which simply confuses us – some guests had already had more than one wine.

After Tony had made his introductions we were enthralled with the Omnipresence of Mr Rob Brydon whose task it was to set us on the golden L.E. path of a true celebration of Mr Ronnie Corbett in his 80th year.  He did enthral us with his magnificent impression of Ronnie, which had the house down as expected. I had hoped he’d have done a spot of Tom Jones too, but you can’t, as I have learnt over the years, have everything.

Next up there was a girl singer who no one knew and wasn’t terribly good so we squeezed in a good amount of chatting amongst ourselves. The chat was then disturbed by some quite complicated instructions, which completely went over my head, about having to write your name on a £20 note and if your note was chosen you’d win the table decoration on your table. (Tony Hatch’s wife made them I think). Luckily I didn’t win, as I’d only tenners in my wallet and that would have been embarrassing if one of my tenners had been pulled out of the envelope housing everyone else’s 20’s! Think of the shame!

Time for a gentleman’s break – never you mind ladies, all very salubrious and high end, although they could have done with some spot mopping. On my way out none other than HM Mr R Corbett himself was coming in so I held the door for him and said I hoped he was enjoying the evening. He was very polite and did what looked like a little dance – I don’t think he can help himself – it’s in the genes (tartan).

Dinner is served - very nice, and although sober, I have absolutely no recollection of what I had for my starter. The meaties were served cod on stuff avec something. For mains the meaties had a lovely looking beef wellington avec legumes du campagne seasonál. I had a sort of basket made out of the pastry they do samosas with, resting on a large pool of a very tasty mauve sauce, the basket was filled with a battered tofu or quorn steak, which we all thought tasted like chicken so we left that, and a selection of tempura’d veggies - very nice. (Mrs Hatch apparently chose the menus). Pud - well it was a lovely bit of something moose but cake like with a nice crisp brulee sheet across the top with some raspberry sorbet and fruits du jour. Coffee was then served but I missed out on the sweet meats as I was busy hob-nobbing.

Next on the menu was the auction. There were a plethora of goodies on offer from signed books, to golf bags, to villa holidays (flights not included) to dinner with Lord Lucan – you know the drill. Unfortunately one of our table accidentally bid on appearing in OK magazine and so six hundred pounds later (lighter) our table hosts had their snap taken with Ronnie himself – soon to appear in a Forbuoys near you – no doubt! All very exciting and all proceeds to charity.

The key point of the auction was that it was led by a hyperactive Bobby Davro, who  was mostly only able to pretend to be Harry Hill. Harry himself was in the audience so I’m not quite sure how that would have gone down or whether they perhaps had some sort of deal. Anyway there were two points to Bobby’s patter – one high – holding his wine glass up he announced – ‘ladies and gentleman, I haven’t had a drink for 37 days!’ mutterings of approval and old school support, ‘Not consecutive days of course!’ brought the house down. The low was when he said ‘I’d like to thank all the waiting staff who’ve done a great job, considering they were all gripping to the axles of lorries in Dover 3 hours ago!’ Now mixed reception here. Our table all looked very dour whilst the independent radio execs and their ‘dates’ at the next table all pissed themselves with laughter and clapped themselves raw!

Then ladies and gentlemen a hush ascended on the crowd as Tony moisturised us into anticipation of our ‘surprise celebrity guest’ and then from the shadows at the back of the room rushed Tarby. Up to the stage – he’d hot-footed it from a family occasion - car waiting - engine running. He said a lovely few words about Ron and then straight back out again to the Merc no doubt on double yellows – standing ovation, lights up. You’re back in the room.

Next they showed us a film of disabled children so we were all crying in the aisles and the locks on our wallets were further loosened. Sandi Toksvig then shares about Ron’s great charity work and links this to the variety club etc etc etc. Very funny –talks about them working together last Christmas at the Festival Hall – which I saw, and how she is the only person in the business who looks up to him – she is TINY.

For some reason John Culshaw then gets up and does a) lots of impressions of W G Bush and b) a not as good impression of Ronnie as Rob Brydon had done. But he’s amusing in a mass media sort of way – which I am told is popular these days and even more important than what I think – it is all raising a lot of money for the charity.

More wine, more chat and then, drum roll, the show stopping begins. Mr Ronnie Corbett himself gets up on stage and the fun really starts.

Ron does a couple of very funny routines – all running round the stage - very active and fan fucking tastic. His little act culminates with him asking his wife Anne up on stage. He talks about how they met – both working with Danny to start with, and then they go into this pretendingly not rehearsed song and dance routine. Anne is really up for it and steals the show completely. Lots of - as the music segues into the next song...’do you remember this one?’ Absolutely brilliant. Then as they are all bowing and thanking the band Tony Hatch comes back on stage and as Anne is kissing the band says that Anne is doing the old Danny La Rue routine – you couldn’t pay for this gold. He signs off by thanking all the wives - which has us all in hysterics re the golf club stylee nature of the evening. Lights up, hats on. It must be time to go.

But no, my fearless chaperone has international cabaret introductions still up his sleeve. He pushes me forward to Sandi who I greet and grab and have my photo taken with – my photographer is short sighted and not to be re employed. We then head for the big game - Ronnie Corbett (Mr) is in our sights. I of course hold back re the nerves and public school upbringing,  but my chaperone -  used to celebrity chit chat and with relevant provenance and appropriate credentials - forges our way forward with a 'hello Mr Corbett’ and then there I am, chatting to the great (little man) himself. Whilst maintaining the chat I reach for my programme, turn to my chaperone and intone ‘pen’ and before you are able to say ‘will this be on ITV4?’ Ron had signed my programme cum menu and I am one step closer to dying happy. How fucktastically amazing, Mr Ronnie Corbett OBE shaking my hand and talking about Jackanory.

 *extracts from this blog have previously appeared in Now, Closer and Hot magazines and may have been exaggerated in order to make the author appear more popular.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Once More With Feeling

What Now?
Celebrity Q&A

This week we put your questions to playwright, philosopher, diarist and former hand model, William Godwin.

What book are you reading at the moment?
To call it a book would be to call the wedding in Cana a simple luncheon. No it’s more of a poetic guide to existentialism.

Yes but what is it called?
Milking the bulls and other hot hazing stories.

What is currently your favourite sandwich?
Mozzarella, rocket, red onion, tapenade, tomatoes and black pepper on herb ciabatta.

Which one thing do you think would go further than anything else to correct the UK’s current financial situation?
This ‘impasse’ would be eradicated tomorrow if children were re-introduced to mines and chimneys.

When were you last truly happy?
The night of the Oddbins’ fire in Stockwell, June 1994 - the looting opportunities put me on such a high.

What is your greatest fear?
Nowadays – that I’ll bump into someone I know when I am out shopping and have to chat. As a young man, running low on cleaners’ fags.

What’s your last thought as you fall asleep at night?
If those girls don’t shut up in a minute I’m going to shit through their letter box first thing tomorrow.

And your first thought on waking?
Whether it is safe to iron.

What is your favourite quote?
'Kindly close that hatch!'

What is your greatest extravagance?
Grand Crus and fillers.

Who has been your greatest influence?
All men are influenced by their mother, and she gave me great patience, sociability and openness to the views of others, but I would have to say overall it is Danny La Rue. His wit, his agility with rhyme, his ability to be all man yet also all woman, his simple philosophy for happiness and of course the gowns.

Who would be your ideal dinner guests?
Which course?

For the whole meal.

Well I would have to say Alan Whicker, Dorothy Squires, Lulu, Kate Adie, Patti LaBelle and Dora Bryan. I would serve wild goat and raspberry fricassee and be damned!

Which one thing would improve your life?
Slip on shoes.

Are you ruled by your head or your heart?
It depends whether I am lying down.

What is your greatest weakness?
Rugby players' thighs.

And your greatest strength?
My compassion and knowledge of the Dewey decimal system.

What would you like your epitaph to be?
‘Good night my Darlings, I hope I haven’t bored you.’

William Godwin's new play 'get your Junk outta my trunk’ reflects mournfully on a society teetering on the brink of dereliction. The key protagonist Doraleene embodies a real and painful sadness as she journeys in hand with the audience through the gratingly slow realism of a future devoid of warmth and suppleness. The crescendo, which builds, is a release for the characters and the audience, or as Godwin likes to call them 'participates', but a release to an unknown destination(mostly to their homes or a Counsellor). 

His most recent book 'Was Lulu really taller than Dana' featured impressively in the Leamington Spa Courier’s top 350 books for Christmas feature last November and received such reticent praise as 'I can't believe I read this book' and 'The cover design gave the book an aesthetic sense of being a great and valuable libretto'.

William Godwin, 34, lives in East Dulwich with his barn dance instructor and his Spanish sommelier. 

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Kent, that’s not a name – it’s a cricket team!

Apparently the glorification of the nation’s treasure houses and preserved follies, and no I’m not talking about Julie Covington and Rula Lenska, does not begin until 11.00 am which sounds fine until I realise I am in the unusual position of being in Kent at 10.30, in the am.

I’ve gone on holiday by mistake, and am heading down to Rye as I had decided to knock a couple of places I’d never been before on the head, visiting wise, and Rye had always held a slight quiver of interest, so I thought why not, why not indeed.

However I decided to make an unscheduled stop on my already re-routed Journey. First stop was supposed to be Hastings after a bolt of inspiration on the A20, what with being related to King Harold and all that, made me realise that there was no compulsion, neigh no requirement, to be in Rye prior to luncheon.

But not even in Hastings for 11’s – I saw a sign for the Trust’s Scotney Castle and having recently invested my support for the nation’s treasures in an NT membership I swerved, keen to see as many as I can and thus make the most of my £43 and free binoculars. I had pondered Sissinghurst, but it is closed – those damn Sackville Wests!

I don’t know anything about Scotney Castle and I still won’t for another 18 mins. But the sign tells me there is a house, a castle, a walled garden, a tea room and a shop. Well you can’t really go wrong with that now can you!

All in all it’s too early. I had come from a breakfast appointment with a 3 year old with chicken pox – yes I did, which meant lovely pancakes but far too much frivolity. I awoke at 6 am and had started some work on my latest tribute to Danny La Rue, it’s a life’s work – I know. But actually it is extremely liberating and exhilarating to be on the road so early – there is something quite free spirit about it and I like Kent.

So the clock strikes 11 and I meander up to the entrance gate, and there are so many old people queuing – does this happen at 11am outside very NT property across the land, everyday? Is this where the old people are when they’re not stopping to chat in supermarket doorways?

Anyway Scotney Castle is great and I’m very pleased I joined that queue of old people. The top tip I leave with is to put pine cones on chairs where you don’t want people to sit – so simple, so effective, and so sore if read wrong. It is a beautiful house with charming guides, although one was a little too overly scented. Also a nice Gay to chat with in the shop – curds galore!

Well I’ve the bug now so where next, the leaflet says Batemans – Rudyard Kipling’s place is nearby, so again, why not. A completely different set up I find, and a lot less of what I like; the guides are altogether cooler and a lot bossier. Apart from the nice lady in the bedroom - steady – well you know about ladies in the bedroom. From what I remember you have to make sure you have a clear run to the door.

And guess what the lady in the bedroom told me - I haven’t even been in Kent, after all, but in Sussex, even Rye, my destination isn’t in Kent, no Kent at all! They’ll be telling me this isn’t England next.

So the Batemans’ house is all a bit boring actually so I head for the gardens where I think I’m being followed by these two old blokes with their cameras and their suitcases! To be honest I’m pretty sure it’s the Chuckle Brothers ‘that Joe Godwin’ but I move on swiftly as only an agile athlete of my youth and good looks can. Hopefully I won’t be appearing in their next ‘calendar’.

I thought I might stay and have my lunch at Bateman’s - after all Mr Kipling is renowned for his exceedingly good pies. But no, the tea room smacked somewhat of coach parties and I have an avowed dereliction of that what might be a coach party or similar, so it’s best avoided. So it’s back in my trusty motor and onto Rye for lunch and adventure – never mind the cost!

Now I had my map, but what I didn’t have was the pensione’s address. I had my confirmation email but now I look, that seems not to have the address. So I pull myself off into a municipal car park and I dial in the hope of alleviation du quandary.  An Aussie answers and I’m given the address, i thank him, but realise I still have no bearings and I could not see a handy street sign for love nor money. Maybe we only have street signage in London, and maybe it is over rated, but for the love of the Jesus - where am I? Now for a postage stamp community with all of 10 streets you wouldn’t have thought directional traversation would have been problematic.


Key thing is I’m here now, and the Ship Inn is very SE22, and mucho pleasante du vacance. Only hitch so far is the owner’s accent, but the lady owneress is a delight. Having only been over her threshold for a moment she’s already succeeded in fleecing me for a Hoegaarden, a spinach, feta and spring onion pie and some minted news. Easily fleeced that’s all I can say.

OH MY GOD – it’s so nice to be away.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

A Woman's Touch (no homo)

I’ve been thinking about taking a wife.

Now it’s not such a strange thing as some of you may think, I know I am a Gay, and I don’t want to get all you lady readers over excited about any potential courting opportunities – hold on now, steady.

You see I’ve got a king-size now, with box space below, and an under stair cupboard, with light, so I think there’d be plenty of room for her. I don’t know where she’d keep her bonnets but I do have off site storage options that I could look into – I’m thinking a sturdy carrier – maybe John Lewis or C&A and if we put a couple of these together, they’d provide a tip top waterproof container, in the garden, for some of her corsets, hair pins, ribbons and recipe cards.

You see the thing is, I tire of chores but moments after they are initiated, I only have to fold a tea towel and I have to take to my Captain's chair and have another sip of Complan.

I want you to think, just for a minute, about what I have to put myself through, night after night, day in day out, at the weekends, and even when I am away.

Tonight, for example, I returned home after 9 hours of tedious chuff. There was a list of required activity long enough to bruise Mrs Bridges’ ego. And I don’t know how I can continue to be expected to have to slave for myself – day after day.

This is what I had to do this evening:

I had to turn my own mattress, and replace the 600 count with a fresh set - under, flat, top, pillow cases, duvet cover - it all adds up!
I had to do some washing up, my own dishes! and do a surface wipe-down in the kitchen. 
I had to load the washing machine – with washing and washing liquid.
I had to turn the oven on, drizzle olive oil over a handmade pizza, and then put it in the oven -by hand.
I had to make myself a small salad - yes.
I had two new CDs to load onto my computer – I had to do this myself.
I had to call my sister, dialling myself, using my own voice, to discuss her birthday and our week in Cornwall.
I had to respond to a couple of emails, typing by hand.
I had to pour my own wine, red - which is heavier than white.
I had to put the ruddy archers on as I am 4 weeks behind.
I had to sit quietly and contemplate my future.
I had to walk to the post box - walk, and post a birthday card, holding it in my hand all the way.
I had to take some rubbish out, by hand, and consider the state of the pavement.
I had to ring Robbyn and give her some advice about should she ever choose to move home.
I had to go onto facebook and respond positively to the utterings of my inner circle.
I had to watch a clip of Paul O’Grady at the RVT.
I had to wash the lenses of the glasses I’ve bought to wear to Ronnie Corbett’s do at the Dorchester.
I had to chase up a Cornishware order..............

All this, and with a shopping trip to plan, and a haircut to arrange for Saturday.

Do I need to go on?

I don’t know how the rest of you cope.

A wife seems the only answer.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Starved of Luxury

I can barely type this I am so upset - how thoughtless others can be. Fancy allowing me to have to do without so much; so much that I should be granted based on my give, give, give lifestyle and personality alone. I mean, don't get me started on the lack of MBE (so far). Luckily for the needy it is not enough to put me off my constant struggles on their behalf. I can hear a few NGOs (thems which haven't been disbanded by the ConDems) exhaling with relief. I mean, what would the helicopter arm of literature have done without Yorkie - Fergie. Give it some thought why don't you!

So I'm flicking through my How to Spend It supplement of the Weekend FT  in the Royal Spa, watching the rugby and debating the Pakistan issue with the old man, and I suddenly realise, having read my third article about yachts, that I’m never going to be rich enough to enjoy the lifestyle I crave, no, deserve (due). This is quite an upsetting epiphany.

I sit bolt upright and turn to my Father and say 'I don't know how you can live with yourself knowing I don't have a yacht!'

Do you know what he did then - he chuckled, cold and heartless I calls it. Fancy taking so little interest in your son’s well being, that his trauma causes you to chuckle! I'm speechless, thank heavens this is text based, otherwise you'd have to go without.

It really is not fair. I would so love to be super rich (or rich would do). I don't want diamonds, I don’t want furs, I done want fine Champagnes and Cognacs, and I don’t even want a Lamborghini. But what I do want, what I do crave, what I do need and deserve is extensive luxury travel around the world staying at the most prestigious spas and resorts to a platinum level of quality, comfort, service and wonderment. This is what I require.

I continued - 'I don’t think I'm ever going to be rich - I've missed my boat' - not a glimmer of apology, no sense of remorse, no ‘here’s 10k – please son, please go and enjoy 3 weeks in Gallipoli – I hear it’s the new Positano don’t you know!’ Nothing...., empty....

But I don’t want to have to see the world via easyJet and cheap make do and mend locations, I want extreme luxury and I want the blue waters of the world’s finest seas lapping on my bronzing toes as I savour the breeze and the low sun of a late summer rendez vous with destiny. ‘We want the finest wines available to humanity. And we want them here, and we want them now! 

There are quite a few white sails bellowing in this imagery for me, in addition to a well groomed forearm factored, blue eyed, salting haired so an so with a look in his eye that would make a midwife blush, attending to me with fine wines, gastronomy délicieux du pays, grande cru, cru bourgeois etc., etc., etc., etc..

Suggestions, cheques and telephone numbers on a postcard, or postcards to the usual address please.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Love and death with a cold caller

Never, I repeat never let anyone in the whole world have your phone number unless you really know they are a totally fono bido organisation and there is a box you can tick or untick re the don’t you fucking dare flog my number your cheap roadhouse whores!

So I do my damnedest to take care, to prepare, to avoid, to lie low, to be as my mother was to the ring of the doorbell if her hair was not ‘done’ but it is impossible to totally avoid. Many a day I return weary, but worthy from a day at the office to my beeping answer machine – screen calling – it is the marketing call avoiders best tool – employ one now. They are often empty messages where the Bolivian loan company – ‘just undertaking some research in your area Mrs Gawding’ not bothering to waste their time or breath is there wasn’t the possibility of a gullible English person to harangue.

I even registered with the Telephone preference service, but even that doesn’t cut all third world marketing calls or ‘research’ organisations.

So this afternoon whilst as an alternative to my normal toil, I am at home researching my new book – ‘the quickest route to the Mormon heart -  a story of courting latter day lovelies’ I was shaken out of my Utah focus with the unnecessarily loud vintage clatter of my red trusty GPO 746 signalling I was required on the line. Now I didn’t screen, as you never know, and the phone had rung earlier and it had been my youngest sister telling me about the quiche she is making for my lunch on Sunday (how do you know when you’ve had Gay burglars? They’ve tidied up and there is a quiche in the oven). I thought maybe it was my dad ringing to ask what time I was arriving in the seat or to tell me for the twelftieth time that he had a lunch engagement on Sunday so I would be having lunch with my sister – quiche, yes I know. 

Blah blah blah.

But no it was not a familial catering discussion, my family’s, apart from my brothers, favourite topic  of conversation, nor was it the company that do meter readings for my electricity company ringing up only to have me explain for the however manyieth time that I am on an online tariff and they email me when my meter needs reading, so they don’t need to call anymore, if you don’t mind, and no I’m not going to give you a meter reading – GOOD DAY!, nor was it Anglian, asking me whether I needed any more windows or doors, ‘no thank you, I’ve still got the ones you sold me 8 years ago, and they still work’. Nor was it my old regular caller, from India asking me if I wanted a cheap loan or any assistance in managing my debt – how very dare they. No it was a strange foreign American accent asking if she could speak to Mr William Godwin, so I asked who was calling, never admitting that I am the person they crave, and she told me she was calling from the national research company and they were undertaking research in my town (research into debt, new doors and windows and meter reading no doubt). She said it was a very short survey, Mr Williams, that she would only need a minute of my time Mr Williams, no longer, really it was short Mr Williams, (well we’re onto at least a minute 30 by now).

So I said – ‘you can’t speak to Mr William Godwin I’m afraid’.

She asked why not, so I told her.

‘He died this morning, on this very phone, please do not call again’.

And with that she hung up, and I returned to my own research.

How very dare they!

Monday, 30 August 2010

Down or Off

I’m worried that I'm turning into my dad. He does have a very good head of hair mind, and keeps a fabulous cellar, so I suppose it wouldn’t be all bad. I would be worried though if I started to choose green cords from M&S based on practicality alone.

No the key reason is because having mastered whiskey, marmalade and red wine my interests are now turning to radio 3. I like it, the music does have a proper tune, and there aren’t any young people shouting or trying to shank me up.

You see sometimes I just can’t listen to my natural home - radio 4, if John Humphries is ranting annoyingly at some politician so I have to find an alternative. But I can’t have Radio 1 as it’s too noisy with hoodies having their fuck ons or piss ups bleeped out. Radio 2 is ok sometimes, but too much inane Daily Mail chat, and it’s usually John Barrowman or Michael Ball talking about Lesley Garrett. So I turn to 3, and I find a lovely idyllic valley of calm, with bunnies hopping and swifts soaring above on an Elgar stylee breeze. Or it’s German dissonance and then I have to revert to silence, which is definitely underrated.

I suppose the next chapter of turning into my father, if we class marmalade, whiskey, red wine and radio 3 as the first four, will have to be telling stories about why Raymond Baxter is a very rude man – I’ll let you know, just as long as it isn’t the cords.

You’ll have noticed I’m using a lot of street words – ‘piss up’, ‘hoodies’ etc., well we’re all very urban these days. Apparently if you diss somebody’s Bedouin then they’ll shank you up. I was pleased when I heard this though because people don’t discuss tents as much as they once did. And I'm all for others camping.

To try and learn me up some more new street lines I had a look at an online urban dictionary and low and behold Dan was there. Apparently the young refer to needing a Danny la Rue. ‘I need a Danny La Rue’, ‘I'm off for a Danny.’, Who's just been for a Danny?’. Also the cock en ees say 'you ain't got a Danny La Rue mate" for when someone is being clueless.

Keeping up with the urban motif of this instalment I’ve been Banksy'd. Well it might not be a Banksy but it isn’t simply your normal tag. It is of a stylised light bulb which someone has placed upon my pebble dash with a stencil. My first thought was that the electricity board were simply marking their manor, like a dog uses a lamp post. I’m thinking of having someone from the Royal Academy  round to verify it’s authenticity, then having that bit of wall removed, and retiring on the proceeds. Knowing the Council though it’ll be painted over, without my consent, in a different shade to the rest of the wall, before I’ve even finished flicking through my static home catalogue and choosing between a Pageant in Great Yarmouth and a park home in Scarborough.