Tuesday, June 29, 2004

The Portrait of Rob Morris

Unusual occurrence: there was a thread on OUTintheUK this morning which made me think. Someone was asking if, assuming it was possible to do a Dorian Gray-esque manoeuvre and have your own portrait grow old and so on instead of you, would you do it?

My initial reaction was that I'd love to, but I'd need to fix various things first (and boy was there a list). After I'd thought about it for a bit, though, I realised this was bollocks. The whole idea of freezing your appearance in this way hinges on an idea that you have reached a state of perfection you don't want to move on from.

First problem is that since there has never really been a time when I've been happy with the way I look, the chances of ever thinking it's perfect at any point in the future are pretty remote really.

The second point - and a faintly contradictory one at that - is that I have a sneaking suspicion that I'm probably growing into my body quite well as I get older. Now I can't be totally happy about the thinning hair, but having it really short apparently takes years off me anyway, so it seems a handy coincidence that I now need to. Equally the crows' feet are less scary to have than I'd thought they would be and (if I'm in a good mood) kind of suit and so on and so on. Freezing your appearance at any point may prevent degeneration, but improvement ain't gonna happen either and what if that happens naturally?

Thing is, my opinions change anyway, so what I don't like now may change in future. For example I've realised that the one thing to cause me unimaginable trauma at school is now somewhat of an asset. Okay, so the ears are still bloody great big satellite dishes, but they work damn well and my ability to flap them is a great icebreaker at parties (if I time it right I can make people dispense drink from their noses). And if this whole aging process does leave me in a position of being vaguely boffable then at least they'll provide a useful service in holding my ankles in place.

So sod it. It may not be perfect but I may as well get comfy with it, keep it working and see where it all goes. All is flux, after all, but generally I think things have a habit of working out for the best.

Sunday, June 27, 2004


I'm back down in Canterbury for the weekend and I'm not convinced it's changing for the better. The Whitefriars development is like a smaller but more soulless Lakeside, the chav pubs out down Sturry have closed (meaning the local gay bar has to have a direct line to the police in case of trouble now the scum come back into town) and it seems even more strewn with tourists than it used to be.

On the plus side, the new family cat is lovely; certainly annoying and attention-seeking enough to be a Morris anyway. Earlier he lay with his legs stretched out to the foot of the stairs for a full fifteen minutes until there was a suitable crowd. He then looked round at the assembled populous, nodded sagely and then leapt into action, shredding the carpet as much as he could. It was a beautifully gauged and timed performance - I was dead impressed.

Also the weather's nice, and the bar prices are cheap - or at least I resent paying for a glass of gaybar white wine rather less than I do in London. And even at these rates they still soak the Sarsons labels off before they sell it on.

All in all I'm rather content down here.

But I have the mother of all hangovers now. Ugh.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Down the Tubes


After taking one escalator out of service at Archway yesterday the other one broke down this morning, resulting in the station being completely closed approximately one minute before I got there.

It was, needless to say, a major inconvenience - but for some strange reason it just keeps making me giggle. I can't seem to help myself!

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Change Your Life in Seven Days

Much as I instinctively hate self-help manuals, I've been flicking through this book by Paul McKenna on improving self-image and avoiding those self-sabotaging tendencies that I know I display all too frequently. It's proving to be an illuminating read, I must say, and I've been accused of seeming perkier and more pro-active than normal, so all told it seems to be working.

What's worrying me, though, is the accompanying CD I'm supposed to listen to during this process. It's described as "a completely new operating system for the mind".

I am now fervently hoping that Microsoft weren't involved in writing it. I blue-screen often enough as it is.

Down the Tubes

Apparently it's a legal requirement that at least one up escalator is in service in a tube station at a time so that the bodies of people crushed, maimed and injured in an emergency evacuation can be dispensed to rescue services at the top.

But I suspect that the escalators at Archway tube have an additional contractual obligation: at least one of them has to be taken out of service once every three months without fail just in case the station's users get used to a reliable service.

I think they should stop this practice at once. I'm scaring far too many people by whooping and going "wheeeeeeeeeeeeee" as I plunge down the spiral staircase at a rate of knots. One day there may be casualties.

Big Gay Out?

Oh dear. It's that time of year again. The one where some new fast-buck-seeking corporate machine tries to make a mint out of us pooves, before having to go bankrupt months later after realising entertainment and policing costs weren't covered by the lacklustre ticket sales. (I really don't know why they bother, it hasn't broken even for years now, an eager shortsightedness and refusal to accept facts which does at least reassure me there are a couple of moxen on the organising committees.)

This year's alleged "Pride" event is called the "Big Gay Out" which in itself is enough of a reason not to go, but when the main stage roster includes such luminaries as Big Brovaz, Peter Andre and the Cheeky Girls I feel even less inclined to splash out on £25 a ticket than I already was.

The only band I have the faintest interest in seeing is The Modern - yes it's a lousy name, and no I don't know what the guy in the gimp mask is there for - who are currently trying to drum up some interest in their material. But since they're desperate to make an impression I'm sure they'll crop up somewhere less wrist-slittingly piss-poor in order to satisfy my curiosity.

In all fairness I should say that last years' "do" in Hyde Park I did rather enjoy. I was, however, totally off my face pretty much from the start and ended up happily throwing shapes in the pouring rain outside a very heavily electro-clash centred tent. I don't particularly feel the need to bankrupt or poison myself again, however, so I'm definitely giving it a miss.

Brighton Pride on the other hand I am intending to troll round since it manages to match bizarro craft fair and eyecandy-laden community picnic to delightful effect. The alleged downside is that there are no bands of course, but then who cares? It's all about having a good time, and you can't do that when a couple of Transylvanian bints are - with deadly seriousness - exhorting you to "take your shoesies off" now can you?

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Recognition at last!

From an email sent to our Managing Director:

"This upgrade would not have been successful without the great help of Rob Morris and the team. Especially the response time and expertise of Rob was memorable."

Bloody hell: I have expertise. Who'd have thought?

Tuesday, June 22, 2004


I've never had any time for ITV1. For some reason I've never been able to love it, always considering its programmes a torrent of unmitigated shite; the unwatchable prepared by the unlovable for the unemployable. Yeah, I'm a BBC kid at heart.

But the other day I found myself gazing in horror at Discomania, the latest in a long line of shows where alleged popstars perform cover versions of classic tracks. I'm charitably assuming this is not because they've run out of songs of their own, but instead that someone somewhere thinks that being exposed to some decent songwriting for a change may make them try a bit harder in future. To this end, we've so far had Abbamania, 60s Mania, 70s Mania, Greasemania and so on. (Presumably Stepsmania is even now a glint in Pete Waterman's eye, neatly bringing the whole genre full-circle in some crazed Escher-esque nightmare.)

So, the Discomania offering: to be honest I only saw brief snatches - as 'twere - but it proved totally my theory that pop music is suffering from the law of diminishing returns and for the most part I couldn't bear to watch. Girls Aloud decided to try "I'm Every Woman" and managed to avoid doing anything remotely approaching the fiesty bombastic pop they can do well; as for Liberty "let's alienate 60% of our audience with an ill-judged comment about the Corrie storyline" X, well... words fail me.

It was only worth watching for the co-host: one Ms. Donna Summer. Sadly it wasn't an entirely pleasant experience; I can only assume her record company have some serious dirt on her to encourage this participation. La Summer spent her downtime during the links looking, by turns, bewildered, bored and terrified, only bursting into life to do her own lines. But then considering her evening consisted of watching a lot of half decent songs violently raped by a bunch of teenyboppers with more enthusiasm than talent (just), I can't say I'm entirely surprised.

The misery she must have felt could only have been compounded by making her work with Doctor Fox. Something the bastards actually made her do.

The ultimate nadir, however, was her duet with Westlife. I couldn't decide who I was more embarrassed for: the increasingly heavily set diva surrendering her dignity by performing with a bunch of leprechauns; or the sight of said leprechauns trying not to be overshadowed by a set of lungs which could have shattered their flimsy skulls with one well placed blast.

They failed. Naturally Donna outclassed them at every turn - in fact she outclassed everyone there full stop - but she wasn't happy, you could see it in her eyes. You could see her thinking "I don't need this shit. My existing royalties will keep me in malted milk drinks for the rest of my days." She wanted to go home.

Heck, I wanted her to go home.

Still, there was a bright spark: during the intro to Enough is Enough the "No, I'm not married, why do you ask?" leprechaun got a bit too close and attempted a Streisand-esque warble, which prompted Donna to give him the best look I've ever seen on prime-time telly.

Think shock. Think disgust. Think "you try any of that again and I'll obliterate you".

So, I suppose it was horribly fascinating but I still had to shower afterwards.

The good thing, though, was that it gave me another reason never to watch ITV1 again.