31.12.2002 - 52/52...

I read in a Danish newspaper yesterday that there have been 52 murders in Denmark throughout 2002. I don't know what your first thought on reading that is but mine was how small a number 52 is. Chances are that the country you live in boasts a higher number than that; I know that Britain can top that score - in all probability, London can beat that on its own!

My second thought was that 52 is not such a small number; not when you think of it in terms of lives lived and then lost; not when you think of the numerous lives that depended on those lost lives. It's 52 lives way too many.

Ever the optimist: let us hope that 2003 is a far nicer place than 2002...

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30.12.2002 - Cringe...

Do you ever get those jolts where you shudder at the thought of something so embarrassing it's too much to bear? When it happens to me it's usually something from my childhood and I don't know what prompts it; it just pops into my mind seemingly from nowhere. Before I can stop myself I'm biting my lip or rocking from one foot to the other or, worse still, emitting a low simpering whine as the pictures flash through my mind.

We spent most of yesterday afternoon driving around north west Germany. No destination in mind, the radio playing and just cruising from one small town to the next - me and my boyfriend - like we were teenagers. Except that I never had a boyfriend when I was a teenager; I had a friend with whom I cruised around with - in his Triumph Stag, the soft top down and the radio playing. And yes there were times when I fantasized that he was my boyfriend but it was never to be.

Anyway, before this post runs away with itself and disappears up Ronnie Corbett's arse... While cruising around yesterday, I don't know what made me think about it but I was transported back to the time when I was 13 years old...

...I'm sitting in one of the temporarary classrooms at the back of the school and it's a drama double period. Drama is one of my favorite lessons. I'm good at it. The class has been split into groups and we've been given a theme to work on. As part of my group's story someone has to do an important mid-flight announcement which starts along the lines of " Welcome aboard Pan Am flight B2376 we'll be cruising at..." but then gives some information that is vital to our plot. I volunteer to do this. My group sit there impatiently, having rehearsed our story. We are eager to show off to the rest of the class what dramatic gem we've created. As we were the first to be ready, we get to go first. And soon enough my moment comes and... I cock it up big time. I stammer and stutter as I try again and again to get out the information which I've got word perfect in my head. After several attempts I end up bursting into tears and rushing from the room, my hands covering my crimson face. Eventually, the teacher comes out to find me and he has a friendly chat about nobody getting it right all the time. It means nothing as I sit there in my next class with everyone laughing at the fat kid who burst into tears in drama...

...I'm biting my lip and emitting a low simpering whine as this innocent memory hits me where it hurts yet again. The bf looks at me as if to say "What did you say?" but I just smile weakly and snap myself out of it. Why did I think of that incident then? It's not that embarrassing a story but it really makes me shudder when I think of it. Why do any of these potential cringers hover so close to consciousness ready to catch me unaware; waiting for me to drift off into my daydreams? At least it wasn't the one where, aged eight, I shit myself waiting for my mother at the hairdressers or the one where, aged eighteen, I pissed down a total stranger's leg at a urinal...

...hhhmmmmmm...hhmmmmm...hhhmmmmmmmm...

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29.12.2002 - And why not..?

Whenever I come to Denmark I seem to catch a lot of films on TV; Danish films which have had the slightest airing in the UK if anything at all and also films which I missed on original release and also when they were first shown on British TV. This Christmas has been no exception.

Tonight it's Seven (which I have seen recently but it's so good) and over the last few days I've seen Superman (I did see this on its original cinema release but it was so long ago...), (Disney's) Pocahontas, (Glenn Close as Cruella De Vil in) 101 Dalmations, Stolen Beauty (meaningless pap starring Jeremy Irons), (the wonderful Harrison Ford in) Clear And Present Danger and the moving Cider House Rules.

Best of all was The Quest, a film directed by and starring Jean-Claude Vann Dam. For those of you that have never had the pleasure of seeing this film, let me summarise. Set in 1925, the worlds greatest fighters are sent invitations to a tournament to establish the greatest fighter in the world. There's not much to recomend this film through the first half but it's a real hoot once the tournament begins; it's like a butched up Miss World contest (although still retaining a campness at its heart). It's a vehicle for what the muscles from Brussels does best; standing around looking all butch.

And why not...

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28.12.2002 - Disneyfied...

...And today we travelled back home from the summerhouse to Tønder. It never ceases to amaze me; travelling from Sjælland across the Storebælt Bridge; it is huge. Even in the dark this evening with a thick fog you can't help but be gob-smacked as the lights on the cabling slowly fade into view and the two vast towers, lit from below in an eirie blue light, are swallowed by the fog - above and below.

Christmas came and went as we ate our way through a mound of food. Bread and cheese and ham and honey and chocolate and jam and butter and egg for Breakfast. A bewildering array of open sandwiches for lunch. And Christmas dinner itself (eaten on Christmas Eve before opening presents); pork, red cabbage, boiled potatoes, caramelised potatoes and gravy followed by a rice pudding with almonds and cherry sauce.

From the living room looking out into the forest (in addition to the numerous small birds) you'd see squirrels, pheasant and deer as they passed by. It was like looking out onto the set of Bambi. However, everytime I stealthily crept toward my camera they'd vanish so I don't have any photo's; you'll just have to take my word for it. My heart almost melted, nearly losing my cynical and humbug outlook on all things yuletide.

For the first few days the temperatures didn't rise above freezing and icicles formed everywhere. Into this frost white world we stepped on Christmas Day to walk off the food we'd eaten. We'd still be there now if we'd been serious about walking off all that food. The water on the beach had started to freeze and the mid afternoon light was a cold grey-blue. I wore every item of clothing that I'd packed in an effort to keep warm! Thank God I live in a country where there's only one season - the rainy season.

And the presents... did I mention the presents? No, I wouldn't be that vulgar, would I? Anyway, the true meaning of Christmas is about so much more than than the materialism of expensive presents... Isn't it?

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23.12.2002 - Schlock value...

Today we travel to the summerhouse on Sjælland and so yesterday I spent Christmas food and booze shopping in German and Danish supermarkets. What a treat! Well, it would have been if I hadn't felt so unwell. I have a rather lingering and wandering cold which settles on a different part of my anatomy every couple of days. Today it's moved to my chest and throat and so (for those who remember the old girl) I sound a bit like Hilda Baker.

My spirits have been lifted, however, by one of the tackiest Christmas displays I have ever seen. In one of the nearby German supermarkets we found a lifesize mains operated Santa that made vaious mechanical movements followed by an electronic Hohoho sound. The best bit was how this Santa repeatedly flayed itself; the end of the beard had been attached too tightly to the front of the costume so when it turned it's head it tore the beard from its face. Wonderful! It sat in a chair just by the supermarket entrance, presumably, to encourage potential shoppers in. What an accurate reflection of what Christmas has become; cheap, painful and disappointing on closer inspection!

A little later at the same supermarket whilst I was standing in line to pay, the owner made an appearance in a Santa outfit and clanging on a bell. In tow followed his 12 year old daughter; a little on the chunky side, she had adapted her old nightie with tinsel and glitter into an angel outfit complete with gold wings. She followed her father up and down the aisles singing German carols while he bellowed Merry Christmas at anyone foolish enough not to give them a wide berth. Quite frightening..!

Last night we packed food, presents and clothes in preparation for today's journey east. I'm looking forward to getting there so that we can relax. This is my last post for a couple of days now until my return from Sjælland. A happy etcetera for the next few days and I hope that Santa delivers whatever or whoever floats your boat.

Have a good one...

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22.12.2002 - Bah! Hamburg (II)..!

Bah, Hamburg ideed... or rather, bah Elmshorn! For it was at Elmshorn station in suburban Hamburg we had to change trains yesterday. It was cold, so cold; a fresh fall of snow lay on the ground, the frost on the trees sparkled like the cheapest Xmas card and the waiting room was 10 minutes walk away from the platform. It was here we waited for our connection north to Denmark.

The connecting train was delayed for 15 minutes then a further half an hour. We eventually decided to pass the time in the waiting room rather than this frozen hell. By the time we dragged our luggage there and then figured that the public address system didn't work (if it ever did) we'd missed the delayed connection. A further hour and a quarter in purgatory before the next connection saw me plumb new depths of boredom and sub zero temperatures. So much for German efficiency!

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21.12.2002 - Bah! Hamburg..!

So it's off to Hamburg today with British Hairways. From there me 'n' the bf travel north to Tønder in Jutland and, after a few days, onwards to his gran's summerhouse on Sjælland for Christmas itself. The summerhouse is in a forest about half a mile from the Baltic. My plan is to spend my time stretched out like a big tomcat in front of an open fire eating roast pork and drinking Gammel Dansk.

I'll keep you posted as to how I get on.

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20.12.2002 - I've got culture...

I'm with Luca in supporting The Campaign For A Real Christmas Number One. I rushed out to HMV yesterday to purchase my copy of The Cheeky Girls' release, The Cheeky Song. This is the 2nd CD single I've bought this year; the first was Las Ketchup.

You see, I've got taste; I've got class; to quote one of Barry Humphries' creations, Sir Les Patterson, I've got culture up to my arsehole!

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19.12.2002 - Tell me how I should feel...

In Naked Blog Peter recently wrote about his feelings when a group of Sunday Times journalists called in at his local pub for a meal. He spoke of the memories this incident stirred up in him. On reading about this episode a few of you might be thinking, "What an over reaction!" And you might be right - those journalists were still in nappies in the early 80's. Perhaps letting go of such memories and learning to re-educate his emotions might benefit Peter greatly. But before we all rush off to tell him that, I think we need to appreciate where he's coming from.

I remember the Thatcher Government's woefully inadequate response to a crisis that it could have had such an impact on. I remember debates that took place in the House of Commons where there were calls from Tory MPs for the Isle of Man to be made availabe for the quarantine of gay men. I remember how some Tory MPs encouraged the Murdoch papers with these lies.

I well remember the Murdoch Press' response to AIDS and I too find it hard to forgive that. I remember the explicit promotion by a rightwing press of HIV and AIDS as a problem that you only need worry about if you were a pervert or a druggie. Wasn't it The Sun that announced it was impossible to contract AIDS if you were heterosexual? I remember the condemnation and dismissal of people's lives with the photographs of the sick and dying like it was some Bosch freak show. I remember the utter lack of compassion.

I remember friends, acquaintances, sometimes people I'd only heard of or seen from afar, dying. I remember going to the funerals of men who should still be with us but who died in fear. And all the while I remember seeing those sickening headlines telling me how I should feel. I remember the anger I felt and the people we lost. I find it hard to forgive that.

Now go and tell Peter what you think.

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18.12.2002 - Life out of balance...

At first there was doubt as to whether it would ever be released on DVD; in the US or here - a crime for such a landmark film. To help finance a general release on DVD you could buy a signed limited edition DVD release for a few hundred dollars. Well they must've raised enough money because the Summer saw news that it would be released here on DVD in September. Well, September came and went and it wasn't released. Now it looks like it'll get its UK DVD release January 13th. Get it; you'll thank me for it.

Something to spend those gift tokens on. Mesmerising...

link | so... tell me

17.12.2002 - When not if...

Let's face it, it's inevitable. What with an escalation in the language of war and a recent flurry of foreign diplomacy and the conference of Iraqi opposition groups in London this weekend; a military strike against Iraq is the only logical conclusion.

link | so... tell me

16.12.2002 - You pays your money...

He gets a small fortune to do what he does but he's got an unerring ability to cock it up at every occasion. Yes, I'm talking about Prince Philip again. Surely we should be able to demand a refund given the number of times he's caused embarrassment, offence and outrage.

His children and grandchildren must be praying that it isn't a hereditary condition (with the exception, possibly, of this young man).

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15.12.2002 - Are you deaf or what..!

Well, no, not completely but I do have a hearing problem. I have a real difficulty in filtering out background noise. I am reduced to lip reading and guesswork when at parties. The bf gets frustrated when I respond for the umpteenth time with "What?" Francis mentioned this problem recently on his blog and, judging by the comments, it's surprising just how many people are affected.

Or rather, I am surprised by just how many men are affected. Is it my imagination or are there a majority of men affected who report also that their fathers suffered similarly? From the comments on Francis' site that seems to be the case. I have to say that my Dad suffers increasingly as he gets older from a creeping deafness. Is this a hereditary thing that predominantly affects men?

What's actually more frustrating than the condition itself is the way other people sometimes treat you. This varies from patronising to downright rudeness. Even people who supported the worst excesses of the politically correct 80's and who swear they are not prejudiced in any way will sometimes snap, "Are you deaf or what!" As Bill points out in Francis' comments, it's not volume but clarity of diction that is the most helpful in getting yourself understood by someone who's a little hard of hearing. Bill goes on to say, "Don't shout, speak clearly, speak to me, not at me!"

It's good advice; not just for people who want to be understood by those with some impairment of hearing; it's good advice in general to anyone on how to get through this life. I said, IT'S GOOD ADVICE IN GENERAL TO ANYONE ON HOW TO GET THROUGH THIS LIFE!

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14.12.2002 - Moderation...

...I don't know the meaning of the word. Rough, bear and arse are three words that pop into my head this morning. I should've left when I said I would. I should've bid my farewells after an elegant sufficiency...

We live and learn. At least I didn't end up snogging Sandra from Accounts (probably because we don't have a Sandra or an Accounts Dept). I just hope I didn't photocopy my arse.

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14.12.2002 - Moderation...

...I don't know the meaning of the word. Rough, bear and arse are three words that pop into my head this morning. I should've left when I said I would. I should've bid my farewells after an elegant sufficiency... We live and learn.

link | so... tell me

13.12.2002 - Tis the season to be jolly...

Yesterday we had our department Christmas lunch. A tame affair at a nearby Italian restaurant. Mmmmm! I managed not to fall asleep in a drunken stupor; my head resting in my food (as has happened at Christmas meals before).

Today we have the office Christmas party. I will not end up photocopying my arse or getting caught snogging Sandra from Accounts!

link | so... tell me

12.12.2002 - Love is in the air...

Yesterday, the bf and I tried to book tickets for our trip to Denmark this Christmas. Hamburg is actually closer to his home there than Copenhagen and flights are broadly similarly priced to either destination. So, Heathrow to Hamburg was decided upon and we trawled the net for the best prices. The bf got his flight for £138 return with BA while, a split second later, mine was rejected by BA. I was advised to call their help desk which I've since done and it'll cost me £228 for an identical ticket on the same flights.

The bf's very special to me but £90 extra to sit next to him for an hour or two..? And he's offered to pay the extra - it must be love.

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11.12.2002 - Life's a bitch...

...And the truth hurts.

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10.12.2002 - Straight acting...

I bought this t-shirt in Topman the other day. The store's main clientel are twinkysomethings who've just started work - a little spare cash and in dire need of some style counselling.

I'd like to point out that I don't normally spend my lunch hours prowling Topman. I'd popped in there with a friend and immediately felt very much out of place. As a 40 year old queen, you really do feel like a bit of a pederast as you jostle your way through a heaving mass of fresh faced youth. The music assaults you as does the giddying mix of testosterone and Clearasil.

But the shirt's really me, don't you think? No..?

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09.12.2002 - Monday sundries...

I have a low, persistent, throbbing toothache which has driven me insane through the weekend. I initially thought that it would go away but that was over a week ago. I guess I'll have to sort it out before going to Denmark.

Yesterday I took a walk with the bf today across the bay to the shops. The intention was to get some air and buy a few bits and pieces. He ended up spending a fortune on toiletries and I bought some christmas lights which are long enough to encircle our lounge. So that's what we did with them (with enough left over to wrap around the bundle of twigs in the corner that passes for a tree).

We spent part of yesterday looking for flights to Copenhagen. Everything's so expensive. We thought that it might be cheaper to fly to Hamburg instead, which it is but not that much cheaper. The way I feel at the moment with my toothache etc, I'd happily stay in bed through Christmas; just wake me after Easter when Spring has sprung.

The plan this holiday is to spend Christmas itself at his Gran's summerhouse north of Slagelse on Sjælland. I've been there in the summer but never at Christmas. After this we'll return to Tønder in Jutland for a bit of New Year's Eve chair jumping.

link | so... tell me

08.12.2002 - You can stop watching now...

So they've gone and got rid of the only interesting contestant in the BBC's Fame Academy. The remaining contestants hold no interest whatsoever. What we're left with is Popstars: The Rivals, which ITV do better anyway.

Ainslie was the only true original; wild, unpredictable, talented, camp, sleazy and just a teeny weeny bit weird - rock'n'roll. And all we're left with now is pop pap.

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07.12.2002 - The highest standards in journalism...

Should gay couples get equal rights? Are these plans overdue? What are the practical implications? Tell us what you think. So asks the BBC on its News website. And, of course you get the usual arguments calling us immoral, evil, indecent, corrupted and perverted. You know the sort of thing I mean.

When you click on the above link to the BBC's site, substitute the word gay with black (Should black couples get equal rights?) and then ask yourself if people should be allowed to get away with such prejudiced remarks about race and if the BBC should be allowed to ask such questions and then publish such responses.

I'm not arguing that the BBC should be prevented from reporting such news items; I'm asking whether the manner the BBC use to frame this is not a little bit suspect. At best it's a straw poll of opinion which adds very little to the debate and at worst it's a platform for bigots and nutters everywhere.

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06.12.2002 - Hello I'm Julian and this is my friend Sandy...

Frankie mentions finding a friend (of Dorothy's) in work and how the young man had drawn attention to himself when "he brought up The Wizard of Oz and John Waters films in a single conversation."

This has happened to me recently and I must admit that finding another home essential in work is such a relief. I can now crack Bette Midler jokes and not be the only one laughing, I know that I'm not alone now in knowing the words to "All That Jazz" and I don't have to explain anymore the minutiae of every throw away remark I make.

Work is often an area where certain behaviours, cultures, trends etc are concentrated and exaggerated. Heterosexuality can be a little tiring after a while - especially when you're not a fully paid up member. How lovely then to find someone to talk to while the breeders are busy discussing their membership.

link | so... tell me

05.12.2002 - Place your bets...

Get yourself over to Peter's, for the voting has begun on who is the Greatest Gay Briton (or Gayest Great Briton). Will it be Oscar or Quentin or maybe Elton or Joe? There are debates raging about nationality and sexuality but we could argue all day about this and disappear up our own arses. Just get yourself over there.

link | so... tell me

04.12.2002 - Are you still doing free delivery..?

How far away's your local takeaway? Does it matter? Nah!

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03.12.2002 - I'm no longer a dip...

I bumped into Boyd Clack in Sainsbury's on Friday. I wouldn't expect you to know Boyd Clack but I was in college with him all those years ago. We both attended WAMDA's Diploma course in Acting between 1983 and 1986. Those were the Fame years. Drama schools were inundated with applications from young hopefuls spurred on by the exploits of Irene Cara and later The Kids From Fame. Boyd was an antidote to all that Hey, let's do a show kids - right here, right now!

Everyone thought Boyd was mad. I know now that he was probably the sanest voice to sound in those tinsel years. It should've been obvious - he was the only one of us not to wear leggings. I remember one day he said to me, "Life is a hideous nightmare." I protested but he ignored me and continued, "Take your alarm clock and place it face down. Set the alarm to a random hour. When it goes off, think to yourself - Life is a hideous nightmare - and I bet it is!" He was, of course, absolutely right.

Anyway - long story short - I saw Boyd in Sainsbury's on Friday and he told me that due to some accreditation anomaly we no longer have diplomas in acting. No. After three years of strutting round in leggings with back combed auburn hair and not once putting pen to paper I now have a degree.

...Well... degree equivalent!

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02.12.2002 - In other words...

OTPOTSS. I especially like the Sun's suggestion. I especially like Mike's suggestion which The Sun copied.

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01.12.2002 - 25%...

Something to think about:

Is this not shocking and appalling?

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