Friday, January 28, 2005

Whooopee!

Finally a milestone has been broken. 100+ visitors to Vitriol and Old Lace this month, the first time we've hit that figure and broken through it.

Okay, it's a piddling number (especially compared with how many people visit this blog - and clearly don't go and check it out, damn you) but it's an important milestone, especially given how far afield the visitors are. Most are UK, obviously, but there's some people coming from Italy, Poland, Ireland and so on. It's rather heartening - now we just need more.

So go on, have a look. You know you want to.

Beat Your Face and Rat Your Hair

Currenly on repeat on my PC is "Jack and Jill Party" the last output from the Pet Shop Boys, with guest vocalist Pete "Jeez I'm Scary" Burns.

Loving it.

The subject matter's a bit interesting though. A jack and jill party is defined as "a gathering of males and females, who masturbate in front of each other for mutual stimulation and enjoyment" which doesn't sound at all like my bag, baby. (From Urban Dictionary)

But it does feature the wonderful lyric "It's almost like I'm almost straight" which amuses me far more than it probably should.

Berlin here I come...

Well, I'm in the process of packing now for Berlin. Off at eight this evening and then three days of bars and culture in a foreign city.

The idea of travelling for fun rather appeals, you know. I'm fed up with business trips. Being of a shy bent I can never summon up the courage to go into bars on my own, so it's quite a novelty to be going places with people for a change.

Lots of warm clothing is packed, though. It's looking to be cold. I may even have to wear a beanie.

Picked up a phrasebook yesterday since I do feel I should try and show willing. The British thing to do is just to yell at foreigners until they understand, but that always seems slightly unsporting to me. I was quite surprised actually how much I remembered from my somewhat abortive German GCSE, but I still need the book to hand.

It's naturally broken down into sections, grouping certain scenarios together. Amusingly it even has one for pulling and sex which does raise the image of a tourist lying back on a bed, being pleasured with phrasebook in hand going "Fick mich! Fick mich!".

Even better are some of the sex related phrases they've decided every traveller may need: it includes the German for "I can't get it up, sorry!", "Easy, Tiger!", the bitterly tragic "It helps to have a sense of humour" and, oddly, "That was weird!"

I would so like to use some of those. If only for the comedy value.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

God I'm Horny

It's true. I am.

Sadly, however, it is merely my hair which is providing this effect. When I was down in Canterbury between the "Christmas of Booze" and the "New Year of Hell" I allowed my father's barber to give me a cut.

Quite how "a grade two up the back and sides and a tidy up on the top" translated into "grade two all over please" I've no idea, but the effect was not quite what I had intended and then, as it started to grow again, has returned my Devil's horn.

It's hard to explain, but where I would have a parting on my right side (were I to have enough hair to part and were I inclined to part it) the hair grows oddly dense. And near to one of my crowns it seems particularly wiry and thus manages to grow straight up, providing me with a sticky-up tuft of hair which refuses to do anything but assist me in looking vaguely demonic when I crack a smile.

I'm not happy. It just looks ridiculous. I mean - if it was matched on the other side I could at least dye them both red, but with just one I can't. It just looks crap.

But I simply need to be patient: eventually it will go. Give it another couple of weeks it'll have grown enough to be collapsing under its own weight and all will be right with the world.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Curse You God For Making Me This Way!

So last night I got home and after a bath which verged on entering complete statis, settled into making a small change to Vitriol and Old Lace.

Which took two hours.

It was only a simple thing: I removed the splash screen from the front due to comments that it made it slightly less immediate to people and wasn't necessary since I wasn't loading up flash in the background (I agreed totally as it happens, my first instinct was not to have one - I really should listen to myself more).

This meant that the homepage had to move directories to the root. Which threw out all the links and the paths to the includes and images, meaning I had to build code which would detect where and what the page was to rebuild the paths dynamically.

Memo to self: Nothing small is ever simple.

Thankfully I then spent a short while on MSN, which I'm starting to quite like, getting back the latest work on the episode guide from Daniel, and a nice little chat with a gentleman by the name of Darren who it seems is a Windypops! regular and is (if this were possible) more obsessed with pop music than I am.

I then settled down to watch the Horror of Fang Rock and suddenly found myself heading to bed at midnight.

The combination of chat, creativity and slouching, however, has left me in a rather good mood today. I feel full of verve and vigour.

The Lost Boys

Odd occurrence from Saturday night: I got a text message from Christina to say that she and her housemates were watching the Lost Boys and that one of said housemates - Lizzie - had decided on the basis of this that I was clearly a vampire.

Not actually one of the ones in the film, it appears, just a general vampire.

I'm not currently sure how I feel about this, simply because I don't know quite what it is that made the link in her mind. I will interrogate 'Stina at lunch and find out more.

But personally I think it's clear that Lizzie needs a damn good biting.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Woah - didn't expect that!

Just got myself a copy of the latest Doctor Who DVD "Horror of Fang Rock" and opened up the box to find a bit of a shock inside.

Well, aside from the picture of Terrance Dicks.

No... the thing that threw me is that they've screenprinted onto the DVD. Normally it's a dull silver coaster, but this one has a picture on it and everything.

You'd almost think that since they're getting ready to broadcast the new series, they're actually deciding to spend some money on the mechandise for a change.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Do You Like My Sense of Style?

Reading the stats on the counter I have installed on this blog I discovered the following immortal words, (specifically designed to make me part with cash for an improved service):

Increase the size of your log.
Sadly, being of a lavatorial bent, I found this offer both risible and chuckleworthy.

I am so lost.

Stoned

That's kind of how I feel right now. I'm off work, still feeling lousy due to a night of alternating fever and cold, mucous, coughing and rather odd dreams.

All in all I slept for about an hour, which is kind of giving me a strange perspective on reality right now aside from all the other stuff.

Why, you might ask, am I not back in bed sleeping and getting better? Well because I find it impossible to sleep through the day at the best of times, but also because the flat downstairs have gardeners in who are doing strange and exciting things with picks, shovels and rocks, and upstairs have The Child who is, as ever, doing a very good impression of a herd of elephants rampaging across the floor upstairs.

Work, it seems, are a little bit pissed off. I got a slightly frosty response from my manager when I rang in, partially due (I suspect) to the fact that everyone else in the department is in a training course so there is nobody to cover my role.

I can't say I have much sympathy. If they will work without any slack in the staffing levels and assume no-one will be ill, then frankly they should expect things like this.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

How Very Odd

I woke up this morning and my very first thought was: "I should buy a Creative Zen Micro".

I'm trying to crush the idea because I can't afford it until next month but it keeps popping back...

Those Aren't Your Memories...

My memory isn't what it was. I know this because people tell me it isn't (sadly I can't remember what it was myself).

But thankfully bits of it still do me proud. I'd had for years the overwhelming feeling that the single remix of Donna Summer's "Love's About To Change My Heart" existed in two versions. I remember the horror of getting my coy home and finding that PWL had for reasons only known to them ruined the outro of an otherwise corking remix by oversampling the lady herself and plastering a repetitive sequence of "l-l-love's about, l-l-love's about" all over the joint.

Even as a big fan of S/A/W and their stable of remixers I found this a step too far and even at those tender years I found the addition cringe-inducingly embarrassing. (They fucked about in the same way with the remix of the follow up "When Love Takes Over You" too. Bastards.)

But I remember clearly the radio playing a version which didn't have this. Instead it had her and the backing singers riffing over the end, leaving the track free of the sampling and rendering it listenable. It's never featured on any compilation and I'd come to the conclusion it was a promo aberration and was canned in favour of the abortion of technology that finally escaped (I can't bring myself to say released).

But this week over at The Hit Factory Forum I was informed that this version did in fact exist - it was a special version for the States and is for some reason entitled the "PWL 7" Mix" as opposed to just "Remix".

And there was something on Soulseek with just that title.

So I downloaded it.

And, unusually these days, found that it was actually the one I was after.

And there was much rejoicing in the land of Rob.

It's the little things, isn't it?

Friday, January 21, 2005

That's Progress For You

Why do they always pick on me?

Earlier, in the checkout queue at the Co-op, there were some terrible delays. Since I wasn't in any hurry, and had in fact had a pretty slow day thus far, I wasn't too fussed, but several of the other people in the queue were making those strange hissing and clicking noises that people make when their displeasure is building up inside them to dangerous levels. (I can only assume these noises are a sort of safety valve.)

Suddenly one of the queuers opposite me vented. She looked right at me, shook her head and loudly announced that "it's bloody stupid how people don't carry cash any more. They have to pay with plastic don't they and hold us all up?!??!?!"

I merely smiled at her (despite knowing that in order to blog her cadence accurately I'd have to break my "never use more than one exclamation or question mark" rule) and carried on.

Thankfully by the time I got to the cashier on my side she'd long gone and thus didn't see me pull my debit and loyalty cards out. I have a nasty feeling that if she had she'd have gutted me with her pack of Marlboro Lights.

Root of the problem was actually the brand new tills they've installed this week. It appears staff are having difficulty getting used to touch screens - and especially the new Chip and PIN functionality they have to use now.

One major misunderstanding came when the lady in front of me had a card which wouldn't register when shoved in the reader. I kept quiet, waiting to see how long it would take before they realised the card she was using didn't have a chip in it.

Even better was when I, who had never seen the system before, had to explain that the machine wouldn't let me enter a code until such time as the cashier gave it an answer to the question "Does the customer require cashback?"

As we waited for him to figure out which of the subsequent receipts was mine, the lady behind me and I shared a moment of "well that's progress for you" banter, which I think I rather soured as I turned to leave. "It'd be easier, wouldn't it" I said "if they just shoved syringes in our arms and took the blood direct?"

The look on her face was one of shock. I can only assume that her state of health meant she was already overdrawn at the blood bank.

A Land of Moistness

Well, I'm back from Liverpool. Sadly due to a nasty outbreak of weather I seem to be suffering from death in small doses. Today coughing, hacking, sneezing and dripping are my watchwords.

I can't believe how damn wet it was. The wind was so strong some of us were crossing the road in packs, huddled together to avoid being blown away whilst at the same time being soaked through to the skin in seconds.

This alone would have made my stay a slightly icky one. But that's not all. I also had to contend with a hotel room heating system whose controls baffled me in the same way VCRs baffle my stepmother, lifts that could only hold four anorexics at a time before complaining and had to serve 12 packed floors (assuming they were even working), software that wouldn't install at the clients, projectors that wouldn't work without thumping and changing cables, new shoes that have rubbed my heels red raw and Virgin trains taking one and a half hours longer to get back to Euston than they should have done.

All in all I just want to wipe out the last week and start again.

Still, the Liverpudlians were rather nice.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Welcome to Sunday

I am, naturally, a little rough around the edges this morning.

It was Ben and Mikey's house-cooling party last night which inevitably involved a fair amount of some quite decent red wines. Sadly when that ran out I was forced into vodka which I've recently discovered I'm not all that keen on. Still it kept me afloat - even with the Tori Amos that somehow kept contriving to appear in the allegedly random playlist (I just don't get her at all, never have done).

As an aside, it seems to be the white spirits that I don't like: I can't stand Gin either. Give me a nice Islay single malt or even a decent blended whisky, however, and I'm as happy as a pig in shit.

Anyway, it was all rather lovely and we made as much noise as we could to annoy the harridan downstairs one final time.

Earlier in the day my aunt popped over with a crate of wine for me (plus some champagne, bottles of lemon juice and a few tins of haggis) so she, I, and my flatmate went to the Angel in Highgate for lunch.

It was a rather lovely occasion. The food was excellent and the staff pretty. The only moment of drama was provided by a bottle of ketchup which chose to explode out of the bottle the minute Chris unscrewed the lid.

Somehow the fizzing pink liquid that sprayed everywhere managed to avoid my new white t-shirt totally. Chris, unfortunately, was less lucky. We rapidly came to the conclusion that said sauce was a little off.

Later I am off to a sausage-fest in Collier's Wood. A few of us are going to Berlin the weekend after next so we thought we'd check out some bratwursts and so on before we go. I also have to find time to pack for my business trip to Liverpool this week.

But before all that I will gym. My arms are bulking up nicely and since I will be away this week I think it's imperative that I consolidate this immediately.

If I don't post before I go - have a good week!

Friday, January 14, 2005

I'm Missing Something

So... Prince Harry is currently at the centre of a terrible fracas over pictures of him wearing a swastika at a party, part of an overall costume apparently which was (as is the way of these things) slowly reduced over the course of the evening.

Now I'm sure this is a very emotive subject for many people who were actually about during the war, but to be honest "man wears fancy dress to fancy dress party" isn't exactly a big deal is it?

The whole point of these things is that it's a costume. It doesn't imply any form of belief or political leaning on the part of the wearer. Perhaps being in the public eye he should have gone for something else, but for God's sake it was a private party.

Besides, it's a symbol. It strikes me that by reacting like this, people are ensuring that the symbol still maintains all its malign and divisive power over us all. Remembering and respecting the past is one thing, but if we constantly live in fear of it we will never be free of it.

Which would probably please the Nazi's no end.

Legroom

Following my viewing of the triumph that is Swan Lake, it must be said that despite its alleged major refurbishment - and certainly the place is impressively light and modern - the Sadler's Wells theatre does have one major major drawback: the legroom in the seats is somewhat less than one would find on your average London Bus.

Even Christina who, compared to me, is knee-high to a grasshopper, was having trouble. I had to adopt a rather odd position just so my knees were accomodated.

Frankly I've never sat with my legs so far apart for such a length of time before.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Suffering from Shiraz

I went to the Halfway to Heaven pub quiz last night.

Today I feel stupid.

Our team didn't even get half of the questions right. But then only one team did anyway, and even they only scraped through.

I think possibly Colin's general knowledge needs to become less randomly specific.

After about three minutes I was inclined to put "Hitler" down as the answer to all of the remaining questions and just get trashed.

I only did one of those things in the end.

Gosh my head hurts.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Wowser!

Well, last night I went to see Matthew Bourne's production of Swan Lake at the Sadlers Wells Theatre.

I wasn't exactly sure this would be quite my scene (ballet's never really interested me to be fair) but seeing as this was the production where the swans were all blokes I thought it might be worth it from an ogling point of view alone and well worth £18.

And I must say, I was bloody impressed. Not only was it very cleverly staged and choreographed, the dancing between the swan and the prince was extremely powerful, flitting quickly between flirting and fighting. (How very like a gay relationship.)

Besides, that Tchaikovsky knew how to write a good tune didn't he?

The thing that got me was that it was funny. I gather Swan Lake isn't normally funny, but sod it: they went for every laugh they could get with a cast of pop idols, paparazzi, lascivious queens (of the royal variety), an appalling ballet-within-a-ballet (including the Prince's awful girlfriend's mobile phone going off) and settings of seedy nightclubs and wintery parks.

And yes, the swans were buff. Very very buff.

I'm still reeling from the experience. Utterly brilliant!

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Self-Censorship

It has been commented that I manage to somehow say abolutely nothing about what goes on in my life in this blog, concentrating as I do on self-deprecating posts about my own inate crapness and never giving away any details about anything else I may be getting up to.

There's a good reason for this: most stuff happens around me, not to me. I just find myself navigating a path of least resistance around these things in an attempt to expend the least effort and suffer the least emotional trauma.

The latter probably explains a fair bit about why I don't get laid, but hey.

But of course, since most of my diversions come from things happening to other people I tend to avoid writing about them in order to protect the innocent (and in some cases the extremely guilty).

However, last night I had a very bizarre evening and despite some of it relating to watching other people suffer I thought I'd share it with you. Extracts as follows:

New escalators at Archway breaking. // Walking to Tufnell Park tube and thinking it needs razing to the ground. // Getting very drunk with a singularly attractive young man, who then vanishes to vomit copiously. // Dancing to Deuce. // Reassuring someone that their ears are fine, really (I mean, they think they've got problems). // DJing at exceedingly short notice as a chemical reaction of ex-boyfriend, circumstance and current boyfriend ignites and requires DJs attention. // Being chatted up by a drunken Irish prison officer (with free lesbian) who kept applying the word handsome to me and saying I looked like Will Young. // Being told off for going to the gym and working out and then trying to make myself look as small as possible when people noticed.

Oh, and a stalker too. Who not only terrifies me but almost everyone I know.

Welcome to my world.

Credibility? Me?

I was vaguely amused the other day when, after posting to a thread on OUT, I recieved a message from a friend of mine detailing the following line of enquiry:

"How is it," he said, "that you can happily make a post announcing to the world that you like a band like Pop! and yet maintain a sense of credibility?"

Frankly I wasn't aware that I had any to begin with, but it's nice that I'm keeping one or two people duped for some of the time anyway.

Besides, I just like a couple of the songs and would happily bang the boys ragged. I wouldn't say that was liking them as a group exactly.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Northern Lights

I heard a rumour ages ago that Pop! were doing a cover of the classic Olivia Newton John song "Xanadu" and have been waiting with baited breath for its arrival.

Frankly Pop! are a group of no little sub-Steps whimsy, and should really be dismissed as such (although I'd happily be the filling in a Glenn and Jamie sandwich). Their second single "Can't Say Goodbye" did at least come with a Work in Progress mix which did make it sound totally Stepstastic, but on the whole they've failed to make any impact at all.

But it transpires that their "Xanadu" has been doing the rounds under the group name "Northern Dance Society" just to avoid any prejudiced opinions of the Pop! brand. (Sort of similar to how Roadblock got raved about and played to death in clubs as a soul/funk classic for a few months before it was suddenly revealed to be Stock Aitken and Waterman's doing).

Anyway, all of a sudden I have copies of Pop!/NDS' Xanadu in both single and extended remix versions.

Oh dear. I actually rather like it.

What is it with Internet Geeks?

I have recently suffered several difficult conversations with people online concerning a percieved lack of communication with them on my part.

I can't decide whether this is vaguely due to paranoia or desperation on their part, but I must say I'm getting rather fed up with the expectation that once they've messaged me I must respond instantly and in full to whatever it is they've sent me.

Especially if what they've sent is just "LOL".

Now if it is just a "LOL" I don't respond anyway as a matter of principle. Lolling is very bad for the spine, and in any case I'm willing to lay bets that they haven't actually laughed out loud, they just can't think of anything to say. And if I were to respond to that effect then you can equally be sure I'd be totally flamed.

But to be brutally frank, if I haven't got anything to say I'm not interested in saying something just to fill the silence. I don't do it in real life so why should I do it online? I quite like silence actually - almost as much as I like time on my own. This simple fact that I can think of nothing intelligent, amusing or pertinent at the time should not necessarily be taken as "Rob's taken offence" or "Rob's not talking to me any more" or "Rob's currently having a wank".

It just means that I haven't responded. Any further inferences are the sender's own problem not mine.

There's also the simple fact that I'm not permanently online. I actually have a lot of things to do with my time and thus I manage to keep myself quite busy. Sometimes it is therefore not possible for me to respond.

I work on the basis that if it's urgent there are other methods of contacting me. And if said person doesn't have any other method of contacting me, then we don't know each other well enough for them to need to contact me urgently.

Simple huh?

Thankfully I know it's not just me who gets this. I know several people who suffer this. My flatmate once accidentally left his messenger running overnight (probably while he was using WinMX to download porn) and in the morning he awoke to see a series of messages from some oversensitive twit which read roughly as follows:

- Hi
- You okay?
- Have I done something wrong?
- Are you not talking to me?
- I see.
All of which was posted in the space of about ten minutes - despite Chris' messenger showing him as away.

If you'll forgive me paraphrasing a rampantly alcoholic old bufoon, this is the sort of fuckwittage up with which I will not put. I think I'm going to start getting cutting with people who do it from now on.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Evil! Evil since the dawn of time!

I don't think the term "Personal Sadist" can ever be inappropriately applied to people who supervise workouts in a gym. And yesterday's Sadist took my goal review meeting as an opportunity to progress my development and actually make me work at it.

The first problem of course was being asked what my goals are. Somehow I don't think he would have appreciated "to be lithe and firmly muscled and pert of cheek so I can lure the boys into my den of zoom-zoom" so I opted instead for some bland truism.

I'm pretty sure he saw through it though.

I am pleased to state, however, that the medieval device of torture that is the chin-up bar is no longer part of my routine. However on the downside the sadist threw more thigh, bum, and bicep work at me so I'm not entirely sure I'm any better off.

And to cap all that I now need to do some kind of weird formula to work out the sets and reps I should be doing. 3 x 10 on one session, 3 x 8 on the next with a higher weight, 3 x 6 on the next with another higher weight, and then back to ten with the weight you used on the one before last...

I may have underestimated the sports scientists at Uni. If they can get their heads round that then they can't be as Neanderthal as I thought.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Just a Jiffy

I am currently very much enjoying a padded envelope handed to my by one of my colleagues.

Over here we tend to call them jiffy bags. But this one apparently came over from the Netherlands and in fact the back of it bears the following immortal legend:

"TAP Comebag"
Obviously I feel like my sense of humour has regressed to about 9 years of age, but hey.

And just in case you don't believe me - they have a website!

Quite Interesting

If ever there was justification for renewal of the BBC's charter this series is it.

Hosted by Stephen Fry and featuring four apparently random comedians it's a rambling panel game of a programme which delights in the obscure question (you know, stuff even Horn Abbot wouldn't have touched for the Genus Edition of TP) and allows the panelists totally free rein to indulge their flights of fancy.

It's amazing what some of these people know. Apparently a cat is more likely to survive if falling from a fifth floor window or above, for example. It's been proved by men in white coats it seems - although naturally the thought of testing this theory was particularly enjoyed by the panel.

I spent most of last night watching it and must say I was actually guffawing at the whole thing. Particularly Jo Brand who was revelling in being crap.

It's called QI. Short for "Quite Interesting". Keep your eyes peeled.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

More Great Words

Joining my list of favourite words ever (a list topped with "fracas" - a word which still makes me giggle after all these years) is the new entry "crepuscular".

Yes, "crepuscular".

It just sounds filthy doesn't it?

Especially if said with enough relish.

Back to the Grindstone

Work again.

And naturally I had an early night and certainly didn't accede to a last minute desperate request from the Windypops! organiser who found himself needing a DJ last night. Oh no. I mean... that would have been extremely foolhardy wouldn't it?

Oh alright, you got me.

I currently feel like I didn't have a break at all.

Monday, January 03, 2005

God I'm Stiff

And not in the good way. From the Gym.

But at least I have excellent muscle memory. Stuff's popping back into the right places already.

Anyway, I took advantage of the bank holiday to overindulge a little last night and joined Smess at Retro Bar for more board games night. (This is fast becoming the highlight of my week - all I need is someone to play backgammon with.)

So what happened? Well, I lost at Scrabble, had a brief discussion about Client with some gentlemen at the bar, and Smess became my emergency boyfriend when I was heavily cracked onto by another punter.

The Trivial Pursuit game, however, was doomed from the start when Matt sent Smess' Rioja flying across the board. This was further compunded by a pint of lager sent flying across it by some other customer's arse whilst Matt was getting a cloth.

The board, and our evening, kind of dissolved after that.

Ended up at Halfway because Smess likes Karaoke. It was pretty much as expected. Eventually made it to the peace and quiet of the upper bar and had a conversation with Matt about episodes of Dramarama.

All in all, an excellent evening. But I do feel a little woolly this morning.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Creeping Feelings of Dread

I have now heard the latest leaked Kylie tracks "I Know" and "Made of Glass", all recorded as part of the "Ultimate Kylie" sessions and I must say I do hope they get proper release at some point.

"I Know" is, unsurprisingly given its another Jake Shears (dribble) and Babydaddy track, rather like "I Believe In You". Pleasant, if a little unassuming.

"Made of Glass" however is another Xenomania production like "Giving You Up" and again is just fab.

The worrying thing is that due to its lack of use, Higgins et al are apparently intending to give "Made of Glass" to Rachel Stevens which, considering what that ubiquitous vapid wench did to "More More More", is not a happy prospect. Dig your heels in, Kylie!

Still, if this is the standard of stuff she's coming up with for her next album, though, I have great hopes for it.

I Have a Feeling I May Regret This

I've just my first visit to the gym in six weeks.

By the end I was so knackered I couldn't find the strength to do the chin-ups. When I have my review on Wednesday they'll be the first to go!

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Happy New Year

2005 eh? Well let's hope everything goes onward and upward this year.

Sadly my New Year's Eve created a desolate bout of the black dog in me. I was of a mind not to bother anyway this year, and just stay at home in front of the telly and rot, but my flatmate persuaded me to come and have fun at this party in Ealing.

Now, the first problem is that the journey from Archway to Ealing is pretty interminable, but never mind. We went anyway.

We got there and instantly I got abandoned by Chris and Mikey who needed to have a cigarette apparently the moment they arrived, so I'm standing in a group of people who I haven't got the faintest clue about and are all talking about things I don't understand and so on. Plus I'm quite shy until I get to know people a bit, so a roomful of strangers is terrifying for me.

Now there aren't many genres of music I can't stand at all: one is what these days is misnamed R&B and the other is standard non-pop dance music. Unfortunately due to the fact that at least one of the people in the house is a DJ there was much of the latter in abundance, played on a set of decks and equipment that was (in all honesty) very impressive, but did seem overkill in the living room of a semi-detached in south London. We managed to bully some Kylie and Alcazar out of them (at which point the room suddenly filled up with people dancing) but this was sadly shortlived.

And then, partially I suspect because I hadn't been drinking much (albeit intentionally), my inferiority complex started cranking up with a vengeance. Thing was I suddenly realised that everybody at the party seemed to be very fit, very cute, very trendy and quite well off - something which made me very depressed. Plus there was a theme to the party which we hadn't discovered until the last minute which meant I was one of the few people not in scarlet - up to that point I had, frankly, not given a damn, but it started to add to my overall feeling of alienation.

I have been feeling somewhat blue of late - a general feeling of helplessness and mediocrity has been creeping in uninvited and shitting on my duvet - and this was all kind of the last straw really. I suddenly just wanted to go home and hide from the world.

I'm going to have to do something about this, but it's very hard knowing where to start. Even going to PC World and spending a ridiculous amount of money on a new printer this morning has not had quite the therapeutic value I'd hoped for.

Suggestions, as ever, are welcome.