Sunday, 3 March 2013

It's all so coded these days!

It was Adrian’s fault – he started it all with an imessage™ this morning asking me whether I was NSIT. At first I wondered whether he was asking about my Post Office savings account, then I pondered whether he was referring to some long forgotten fetish I may have once had, then I thought he must be checking if I’m still in a union. But no, apparently he wanted to know whether I was ‘Not Suitable in Taxis!’ Well, I have been in many taxis over the years, and I can assure you I have had my moments, but please, let’s not stray down that alley.
Apparently it’s all the Duchess of Devonshire's fault, her and her meddling aristo’s concocting codes in order to inform each other and their daughters of which bachelors to avoid during the season. The other one Ade threw at me was MTF, which apparently isn’t anything to do with being Trans, but rather ‘Must Touch Flesh’. You’ll be pleased to hear that since my NSIT and RWH days are over, so are my heat seeking missile style men crawls, so no, I am not NSIT and I am not MTF, well not all the time anyhow. And remember– I’ve been in taxis with a lot of you too – so mum’s the word!
But it was all codes in the day, especially for the Gays, and they’ve been using them ever since the wheel was square. Polari for example was a wonderful code used for saying something impertinent or risqué or for importuning under the radar.
‘Did you manage to drag yourself up on deck?’ ‘No, we just wore casuals’.
After the ‘I’m Julian and this is my friend Sandy’ years, further codes were adopted by the Gays. One of the most obvious codes was dress. As you know Tony Blair introduced many ground breaking moves towards similar equality, importantly enshrining in the 1994 Village People Act, the stipulation that Gay men must at all time take on the drag of either a construction worker, a Native American, a policeman, a cowboy, a leather man or a soldier.
‘You can get yourself clean, you can have a good meal, you can hang out with all the boys!’
But you couldn’t always tell just from having a ‘Vada of his dolly old eek’ which side of the bed a young gentleman liked to fold his pyjamas. (I’ve just made that euphemism up by the way, but already feel it to be some of my best work). And those night discos were a little smoky, and they did play their Dansettes very loud. And also remember, these were furtive times, Gay men often didn’t have the protection or acceptance of the law or society, and so the comfort of strangers was therefore essential and very important, but to be arranged and had on the sly.
‘She’s the Queen of the Silver Dollar, and she rules this smoky kingdom, and her sceptre is a wine glass, and a bar stool is her throne.’
So this is why the Heath Government introduced the 1972 Hanky Code Act, which pioneered an easier, chat free option for determining the suitability of a courting partner’s hobbies. The key part of the legislation was the detailing of a strict colour code system which made it easy for a gentleman to let it be known where he liked to be kissed. And no I’m not talking about under the mistletoe, but I will just check my Dictionary of Euphemisms just to be doubly sure.
Details of most of the code are not appropriate for a mixed audience, but checking through Hansard I can see that if a gentleman had a wide range of multiple interests he would wear an Orange hanky in either his right or his left back pocket. The left pocket signalling an interest in sharing his wide range of hobbies with another, and the right pocket signalling that he’d like to have a wide range of hobbies shared with him. Light blue would indicate a penchant for kissing downstairs, and black, that detailed he was in need of a smacked bottom.
Moving swiftly on.
So, as you know, I don’t have any children, nor a wife, and very few friends that pop round, so most of my free time is spent on my own, which is a good thing as I am unsociable and like peace and quiet. So what have I been filling my time with most recently? That’s a very good question. I can tell you firstly that it does, much to my disquiet, involve the taking up of a new addiction. Which I know some of you will applaud, having registered your boredom with my no smoking, no drinking, and no touching lifestyle. So what is this new addiction? Well its caffeine, and who is my dealer? Well that gets a bit muddled with the no touching rule as my dealer(s) are the sexy Italian sales folk at the Regent Street Nespresso Boutique. And the Bennies I’m scoring from them? Arpeggio and Fortissio! Oh my good Golly, they are nice, although I’m going up to score some decaf off them next Saturday as I think that will be a better way to take this addled lifestyle forward.
I can do you an espresso, a cappuccino, a latte, a flat white, or an Americano. Don’t ask for anything else punk, because you’re not going to get it in my coffee house. Which, for your information, has been named ‘The Reene Roberts Memorial Coffee House and Anticbac Wipes Centre.’
And how am I shooting up this shit? Well it’s a very glamorous system known as the Magimix Citiz and Milk, and I adore it. I’m having my whole kitchen redesigned as an altar/homage/shrine to the Nespresso, and with proper storage for the accoutrements and biscotti.
But don’t think it is just the leather men and the Duchess of Devonshire who have the monopoly on codes, no, the Nespresso does too. 16 Grand crus, all colour coded for strength, flavour and how intense the caffeine hangover feeling is. So if you’re down the disco and you see a George Clooney look alike with ear plugs in, his duffle on, and with a gold hanky in one pocket and a purple hanky in the other, it’ll probably be me begging you to get me out of there, take me home, whip out your cowboy outfit and make me a Arpeggio Cappuccino or a Fortissio latte.

Friday, 4 January 2013

What's in a Name?

For the last 44 years (looks 34) I've been officially and statutorily known as William. Just William, no middle name, just the one. Austerity naming if ever there was such a thing. I’m not bitter, not that you can tell anyway.
Neither overly complicated nor unusual; I don’t think, just a plain, classically tasteful, sartorial, traditional English name. I'm not sure whether it would be allowed in Iceland though.
But I think their list is an attempt to try and avoid people calling their kiddies Stanzena, Deslulu, Rogarbra or Dollybraham rather than by a proper name.  I must look into that though, for as you know my first born is currently scheduled to be called February Godwin. I’m sure it will be ok.
However, it has come to pass that at work my name has suddenly, and with increasing regularity, become Godwin. Not in a boarding school or military sort of way, just people seeing my name in an email or on the phone display and then for some strange can’t read properly or getting too old to really be working type reason, take it that the Godwin part is my first name. Queer!  
At first I put it down to the fact that Godwin is a first name in some African countries. I didn’t know this initially, but I looked it up at the lending library. And so people originally from Africa could easily confuse, like I might if someone was called Dame Tallulah Jacqueline Suzanne, which name would come first? Oh I can just imagine the quandary. This made sense as well, for the first people to reorder my moniker in the office were African. But then, like many international trends, it crossed the continents and all sorts of people who had no link, affiliation or even football team in common with Africa, and probably only knew foreign as anything further north than West Bromwich started to join in. Bandwagoning some might say – Queer I say.
I have been dealing with it mostly in the same way I do when people call me Mr Goodwin, by simply saying my correct name back at them immediately, and then pretending nothing erroneous has taken place. I replied to one colleague by email, informing her that I was very happy for her to call me by my first name if she liked. On the phone, I say 'It's William' when they say, 'Ah, Hellooo Godwin'. But really should I have too? It's not as it I am Thomas Thomson Tomley Tompkinson or anything silly like that.
So I am baffled.
Previously the only banter or badinage I'd had regarding my name was lying to people when they asked me if I was related to 'The' William Godwin, to which I always answer yes. But this new linguistic conundrum has no fun to it. Apart that is from the miniscule pleasure obtained in correcting people. But to be honest even that is negligée-able. No one has done a grand 'Oh, I can't believe it, I am so sorry I called you by your surname, how insulting!' The best I've had was for someone to momentarily look up from their pot noodle and give me a 'whatever – yeah, that thing you just said' look.
If it happens again I may have to do a Danny a la his wonderful slightly incoherent (sherry?) ‘Does God give churches Sunday off?’ LBC rant.
 'you’re very rude my dear'
44 (34) years in the business - how very dare they!