31.07.2003 - Looking for a cheap place to live..?

According to the Worldwide Cost of Living Survey from the Economist Intelligence Unit, London has been leapfrogged in the league table of Europe’s most expensive places to live. But if London is still a bit on the pricey side for you, you'll be relieved to learn that the Iranian capital Tehran has clung onto its position as cheapest city in the world.

link | so... tell me

30.07.2003 - The man that got away...

The night is bitter,
The stars have lost their glitter;
The winds grow colder
Suddenly you're older -
All because of the man that got away.

No more his eager call,
The writing's on the wall;
The dreams you dreamed have all
Gone astray.

I've drooled through several takes that ended on the cutting room floor of Judy Garland singing "The Man That Got Away". The brown dress take, the pink blouse take, the brown dress extended take - all taken from the 1954 film, A Star Is Born.

It's absolutely wonderful watching them all back to back. If ever I needed reminding of why she was such a huge star, her performance of that song does it for me. Her emotional investment and her phrasing in that song are perfection.

A stereotype, me? Ah, who cares... and it's only £9.99 in the HMV sale!

link | so... tell me

29.07.2003 - Sticks and stones...

Some descriptions of Saturday's gay, queer, homo, sissy, faggot pride events in London.

Homphobia? Not really, I'm proud to be a gay, queer, homo, sissy, faggot.

link | so... tell me

28.07.2003 - You can't help but admire him...

Michael Barrymore...

link | so... tell me

27.07.2003 - It's off to work we go...

Us Brits typically work long hours, the longest in Europe. Because of the hours we spend in the office, chances are that many of our friendships are forged and sustained at work. At least half of us meet our partners at work, and around 40 per cent of employees admit to having had a fling with at least one colleague.

Given that work plays such a large part in our lives, you might as well try to get into one of the 100 best companies to work for (well... according to the Sunday Times).

link | so... tell me

26.07.2003 - Akela, I will do my best...

So, immigrants who wish to become British citizens are to take a pledge of loyalty. Why? What's the point of this exercise? And anyway, the people of Britain are not citizens, but subjects of the monarch.

Someone with too much time on their hands and an over fertile imagination is getting paid to come up with this shite.

I promise to do my best.
To do my duty to God, and to the Queen,
To keep the Law of the Wolf Cub Pack, and to do a good turn to
somebody every day.

Dyb, dyb, dyb!

link | so... tell me

25.07.2003 - Wales...

"It's a ghastly place. Huge gangs of tough sinewy men roam the valleys, terrifying people with their close harmony singing. You need half a pint of phlegm in your throat just to pronounce the place names. Never ask for directions in Wales, Baldrick. You'll be washing spit out of your hair for a fortnight." So goes the Blackadder quotation about Wales and the Welsh.

Alternatively, you could look here. It's not quite as funny...

link | so... tell me

24.07.2003 - A matter of taste...

Would you like someone else's tongue in your mouth? Before you answer that, I'm not talking about having your tonsils tickled by a tall dark stranger. No. I'm talking about transplant surgery.

The world's first human tongue transplant has been successfully carried out by doctors in Austria led by Rolf Ewers.

link | so... tell me

23.07.2003 - Unterhose...

I'll bet these will fetch a premium price on Ebay.

link | so... tell me

22.07.2003 - Boring self indulgent drivel...

To mark AOL's inclusion of blogging tools in AOL 9 the BBC has decided to do one of its famous "What do you think?" forums. Here are some of the many opinions offered:

link | so... tell me

21.07.2003 - 10,000 witnesses...

Over the weekend Cardiff was awash with smartly dressed young men in suits. The Jehova's Witnesses were holding a convention at the National Stadium where 10,000 were expected to visit from South Wales and the Southwest of England.

I didn't go...

link | so... tell me

20.07.2003 - And nothing but the truth...

Will we ever know what really went on regarding Dr Kelly, the MOD, the Government and the BBC? As more details unfold the picture becomes less clear. There are people with too much at stake to allow the simple truth to be told.

In an e-mail to a New York Times journalist only hours before his death, Dr Kelly warned "of many dark actors playing games."

link | so... tell me

19.07.2003 - Who is she..?

At my gran's funeral service yesterday the vicar reminded us of a few episodes from my gran's life. One that he took great relish in telling was when she was a nurse in London in the late 1920's and had applied leaches to the then Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald.

Now I've heard my gran boast of this before and, quite frankly, it all sounds a little unlikely. But first at the family service at her house and later at the crematorium the vicar told the story. Both times he caught my eye during the story and gave a little smile. It was meant to be a smile of understanding, a shared moment. Except it wasn't...

You see, every time he mentioned the story, instead of Ramsay MacDonald he'd say, "And then there was the occasion when as a nurse, she'd applied leaches to Rosemary MacDonald..."

Who is Rosemary MacDonald?

link | so... tell me

18.07.2003 - No one quite like grandma (v)...

11 o'clock from the house. Today's the day we cremate my gran. During those rare moments of idleness this week my mind has drifted to Monty Python's Dead Parrot Sketch. It's strange how we each deal with bereavement in our different ways.

Welsh funerals are strange affairs - well, all the ones I've ever been to have been. For example, it's traditional in the village I'm from for none of the female mourners to attend the actual funeral service. To do so, even nowadays, would be frowned on by some.

So my mother will not attend her own mother's funeral, instead she will do the traditional thing and remain at my gran's house. The order of the day will therefore be:

Curious... like 70's, 80's and 90's never happened.

link | so... tell me

17.07.2003 - No one quite like grandma (iv)...

Before she retired, my gran worked in a corner shop. Every evening my dad would drive her home and she'd always give him some sweets for my brother and I.

I was quite fat as a kid and, although I'm not blaming my gran for this, the daily supply of sweets didn't exactly help. The other kids were quite jealous of my seemingly bottomless collection of confectionary and I was taunted for years. My gran had problems in pronouncing the letter R and so their favourite taunt was to shout, "Waspberry Wuffle" after me.

I came to hate that sweet.

link | so... tell me

16.07.2003 - No one quite like grandma (iii)...

For my 7th birthday in 1969, my gran took me to Blackpool for the weekend. I don't think I had a burning desire to go to Blackpool; I think there must've been a local coach trip and so she'd booked us on it.

I remember the trams all lit up at night and I remember the zoo at the Tower. I remember being taken to the funfair but not being allowed on anything; my gran was petrified that I'd come to harm under her care. I remember being taken to see Reginald Dixon and his mighty Wurlitzer Organ at the Tower Ballroom. I remember my shoes pinching throughout.

My strongest memory is of getting lost. I'd become separated from my gran somewhere on the sea front for what seemed like ages. I visited several souvenir shops but she was nowhere to be found and so I passed the time coveting the brightly coloured baubles and trinkets on show. Eventually she found me and I remember well the look of both anger and relief on her face when she snatched my hand, holding on even tighter than she had before. I remember being thrilled by the sense of freedom I'd felt.

link | so... tell me

15.07.2003 - No one quite like grandma (ii)...

My mother never really got on with her mother. You see, my gran had favorites. My mother wasn't one of them. This she realised at an early age.

Swansea was one of the most heavily bombed cities in the UK during the Second World War. Children in their thousands were evacuated to the relative safety of the welsh countryside, including to Penclawdd, the village my gran lived in and I grew up in.

During the war my gran was heavily involved as a warden with the ARP (Air Raid Precautions). In fact, so heavily involved was she that she sent my Mum to stay with her aunt, my gran's sister, for a large part of the war.

And where did this aunt live? That's right, in the centre of Swansea.

link | so... tell me

14.07.2003 - No one quite like grandma...

My gran (my mother's mother) died yesterday. She fell a few weeks ago and broke her hip. She was 95 and up until her accident she'd been living alone. After the accident she was placed in a nursing home and, I think, just gave up.

link | so... tell me

13.07.2003 - Summertime and the living is easy...

...Well not quite. But look what I got yesterday. With tracks by Sarah Vaughan, Nina Simone, Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald remixed by Tricky, UFO, Rae & Christian and MJ Cole - to name but a few.

It's so cool. Just open the windows, pour yourself a margarita, kick your shoes off and turn up the volume.

link | so... tell me

12.07.2003 - I, I who have nothing...

Dame Burly Chassis is to auction off her frocks for charity at Christie's later this year.

If I were a drag queen (or bishop elect) I'd be camping out in South Ken...

link | so... tell me

11.07.2003 - Nobody's Perfect...

...Or so the legend on some of BT's phone boxes goes. Underneath it continues with "But at least nine out of ten BT payphones are always working."

Given the state of the 4 in the picture, by my calculations, the next 36 payphones on Queen Street in Cardiff should therefore be working. And you don't need an ology to work that one out.

Click on the image for a closer look.

link | so... tell me

10.07.2003 - Cheese...

A lorry caught fire in Mid-Wales yesterday. The driver escaped unhurt but his 24 tonne load of cheese got melted.

"I've had a lot of ribbing about being sent back to Fishguard to get a load of bread so I can make a huge Welsh rarebit," said the driver.

Please drive Caerphilly...

link | so... tell me

09.07.2003 - What's your tipple..?

A new charity in The States is raising money to buy homeless people beer. Their website states, "This site is dedicated to the thousands of men and women in America who have been relegated to the status of children, regardless of their age, by the do-gooders of society who believe that merely because a person has no home they should therefore not be allowed to drink beer."

Perhaps they should branch out and provide a wider drinks menu. Maybe there are homeless people out there gagging for a glass of Dubonnay and lemonade, who knows?

link | so... tell me

08.07.2003 - Laid to rest...

Lynette White was found murdered in a flat in Cardiff's docks on Valentine's Day in 1988. It's taken over 15 years to bring her killer to justice and the story of how they eventually caught him is fascinating.

I've taken a close interest in this case from the beginning. I was working within 300 yds of the murder scene the day she died and was interviewed by the police shortly after.

It's gripping stuff. They should make it into a film. I'm sure someone will.

link | so... tell me

07.07.2003 - Did he jump or was he pushed..?

The Church of England's traditionalists win the day with the message that gay people are not welcome in their church.

Disappointing.

link | so... tell me

06.07.2003 - Nothing like a dame...

So, Dame Shirley Porter is to have her title removed. Dame Shirley was made a Dame of the British Empire by John Major, after she had delivered a spectacular victory for the Tories in the 1990 elections in Westminster. It was later revealed that she had been using council funds to rig the vote.

She owes Westminister Council £37 million but last year claimed her assets to be worth only £300,000. There is now wide speculation that her fortune is actually a thousand times that and is hidden in off-shore accounts. The source of her wealth comes from Tesco, the supermarket her father, Sir John Cohen, founded - named after his wife, Tessa Cohen. Dame Shirley's deceit certainly puts a new spin on the Tesco slogan, Every little helps.

In having her title removed she joins a small but select group of disgraced dignitaries, including: Anthony Blunt (Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures, he was stripped of his title when it bacame public knowledge that he had acted as a Soviet spy) and John Profumo (Secretary of State for War who resigned after misleading Parliament over his involvement with a 21-year-old call girl, Christine Keeler).

link | so... tell me

05.07.2003 - What weapons..?

Have you ever fancied yourself as a UN Weapons Inspector? Get a bit of practice in; enter the phrase "weapons of mass destruction" in Google and hit the I'm feeling lucky button.

link | so... tell me

04.07.2003 - Europe nearly at war again...

Does anyone know how to say "sorry" in Italian?

link | so... tell me

03.07.2003 - Air-dried sperm...

At present, sperm samples have to be preserved in large and expensive liquid nitrogen tanks or special chemicals in fertility clinics and laboratories. However, it is hoped that men undergoing fertility treatment may soon be able to dry their sperm samples at home. Latest research shows that the dried sperm can then be kept for up to a month.

So, if you are undergoing fertility treatment you can now just grab that old T-shirt you use to mop up rather than wanking into a bottle at the clinic.

link | so... tell me

02.07.2003 - Did you know..?

All you ever wanted to know about Cardiff... well not quite but a few interesting facts about Europe's youngest capital city.

link | so... tell me

01.07.2003 - One of my nightmares...

To die in bed and not be found for a while is one of my nightmares. Death doesn't overly worry me and neither does not being found for a while after I've died - I mean, I'll be dead and there's not much that's gonna upset me once that's happened.

What does worry me is that I'd become so lonely, so detatched from any social contact that nobody'd notice that I'd not been around for a while.

It is with quite some alarm that I read this report of a german who lay there for three years before they found him!

link | so... tell me