Thursday, March 31, 2005

The Second Coming

So it's official, the BBC have announced a second series and Christmas special of Doctor Who are to be produced (here).

I must admit I'm surprised that the BBC have commissioned it so soon. I mean, only one episode's gone out so far and normally they're much more cautious than that.

I suppose the high audience approval rating and trouncing Ant and Dec in the ratings for that one episode alone helped, but a slightly cynical part of me thinks that it has more to do with killing two birds with one stone: the charter renewal obligations to make popular, but not ratings obsessed, drama and to produce more stuff in the regions (since it's a BBC Wales effort).

But hey, what do I care? Another load of what is by far my favourite series is on its way. Wooohooo!

The downside, though, is that Christopher Ecclestone has confirmed he's not going to be in it (here), which is something of a shame.

I must admit I find it faintly risible that Ecclestone of all people is worried about typecasting as the Doctor has been his only role with any element of fun whatsoever, but there we go.

His portrayal is rather oddball and eccentric (which I always enjoy) but I must say that for me he was rather outshone by Billie Piper in the acting stakes anyway. If it came down to a choice I'd have rather she'd stayed on anyway, so here's hoping she does sign up again.

Come on Billie... you know it makes sense!

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Pass Us a Drink, Shirl

Last night I had a yen to tune in and see what BBC Three's latest effort "High Spirits with Shirley Ghostman" was like.

I'm afraid I didn't manage to watch it in its entirety. It was, to say the least, poor.

Shame, really, since it seemed such a good idea at its core: basically ripping the piss out of Most Haunted and Sixth Sense with Colin Fry but getting a group of credulous members of the public in to watch it all unfold as if it were real.

Only something about it was desperately unfunny - possibly because unlike such seminal shows such as Brass Eye it so completely lacked any form of subtlety whatsoever.

I spent most of my time thinking "yeah, I see what you're doing there only it's not as clever as you think it is".

Interestingly enough I kept flicking between that and the real Most Haunted, which - as ever - was a real hoot. I guess what comparing the two shows illustrated was that parodying something inherently ridiculous is a very bad idea indeed.

The ridiculous, it seems, is funny.

Trying to be funny about something ridiculous is doomed to failure.

(Oddly enough, the website above stands up as a parody rather better than the show itself did.)

I really want BBC Three to do something I enjoy, I really do. Okay I liked (but not excessively) Little Britain and Doctor Who Confidental, but they're both shows that rely on cross-channel involvement with BBC One. Three doesn't seem to be a channel which can stand on its own at present.

BBC Four, on the other hand, I ended up being entranced by until about midnight.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Tuesday Morning 11:15

Well, not as drunken an evening as I expected. In fact I barely drank at all meaning I didn't need to take the whole day off at all. Ho hum.

Quite a busy night too, gratifyingly. As is traditional, I reproduce the final list of guilty parties below:

  • The Bravery - Out of Line
  • Bodies Without Organs - Son of a Gun
  • Pet Shop Boys - Shameless
  • Voice of the Beehive - Scary Kisses
  • Patrick MacNee & Honor Blackman - Kinky Boots
  • Shakespear's Sister - You Made Me Come To This
  • Universal Poplab - Lovers Lane
  • Rachel Stevens - Negotiate With Love
  • Pay TV - Trendy Discotheque
  • Sue Wilkinson - You Gotta Be a Hustler If You Wanna Get On
  • Pay TV - Refrain Refrain
  • Garbage - Cherry Lips
  • Depeche Mode - Enjoy the Silence (Richard X Mix)
  • Client - Don't Call Me Baby
  • Meri Wilson - Telephone Man
  • Girls Aloud - Wake Me Up
  • Kylie Minogue - Shocked (Harding / Curnow Mix)
  • Pop! - Xanadu (WIP Extended Mix)
Yeah, a short set: there were five DJs on for a change so we each got an hour. Believe it or not several of those listed were requests too. (Both Pop! and Miss Kylie suffered editing at the hands of myself a few hours earlier to remove three and one minute of pointless drum sequences respectively.)

I always feel slightly bad about having two tracks by the same artist as part of a set but then Pay TV's stuff is an instant pleaser for various people who attend Windypops! so why not eh? I swear it's more like a gang of regulars than a nightclub.

Got a few compliments on it too. Ed said he enjoyed it because it wasn't too obvious, I tended to go for obscure stuff which made it more interesting. And I suppose that's true to an extent. Besides, just coz no-one's heard it doesn't mean they won't enjoy it!

Monday, March 28, 2005

Another Bank Holiday Weekend

I spent most of it at my aunt's without internet access, which was annoying because I must say that I thought the new Doctor Who was great and wanted to shout it to the world. It was a great re-introduction of the concept and whilst a couple of dodgy effects sneaked in, it was all of a pretty glossy high standard and very funny.

It also trounced Ant and Dec in the ratings which they richly deserved. ITV really is the most appalling channel on British television at the moment.

My flatmate has since complained he thought Ecclestone overacted and was a shockingly poor Doctor... and this from a man who at the same time asked me to tape something dreadful called Earthsea. He later admitted that he only wanted to finish watching the thing he'd started which he thought was awful - but since he also considers Big Brother, Hollyoaks, and Dinotopia are worth watching I'm inclined to question any of his deeply held judgements on quality television.

The evening as a whole was vaguely debauched (in a non-sexual way) too which made the aftermath of the show even more enjoyable. Since I'd hate to ruin your idea of me as a clean living and properly behaved individual I won't go into any detail however.

Rest of the time I just spent at my aunts being plied with booze and food. (She thinks I need feeding up, bless her). And naturally I (again) came away with a cold-bag full of groceries she felt I needed.

One of these days I'm going to need a truck to get me home after a weekend with her, I swear.

So, tonight is Windypops! I am almost prepared, but must take some more painkillers - hoiking those bags home hurt my back again! Thank God I've got tomorrow off to recover.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

'Tis Done!

Hurrah! After a lot of buggering around I finally got Vitriol and Old Lace all updated!

Means I can now enjoy the rest of the weekend without panicking about rushing to get anything done on Monday - the actual amount of time I have spare on which is vanishing fast.

Still not happy with the menu, to be honest, but at least it works in IE, Firefox and - after dramatically simplifying the design and rollovers - Opera. (Lets just say that after a few hours of fucking around with it, making it look fantastic and then finding it didn't work in Opera 8, I'm not currently a big fan of that browser. Standards compliant my fucking arse. Even IE made better positioning choices.)

So anyway, you can now read about the ladies' search for the missing Thundersley Invacar and its part-cyborg occupant, read Ms. Zimmer's predictions for the future, learn some useful (and doubtless fatal) tips and tricks and have a look at part of the script what we did last year.

One of the things I'm most happy about is the accuracy in the latest installment. It's all set around the old northern line terminus at King William Street and since disused Underground stations are a bit of a passion of Daniel and myself it gave us even more room for geekiness.

Not that I need any excuse.

Anyway. Have a good Easter, folks!

Friday, March 25, 2005

Look at the Time!

I mean, for Goodness' sake. Five o'bloodyclock in the morning.

And can I sleep? No I fucking can't.

Had a very odd (and oddly upsetting) dream about Monday night where the White Swan had changed its decks, and I couldn't get any CDs working at all and they didn't fit in the trays and so on.

And now I'm awake. Wide awake. In a sort of hyper Timmy-Mallet kind of way. My brain is just going fifteen times faster than normal and I can't seem to stop it thinking. Planning about a hundred different things I need to do, plans of action, which to do first, prioritising and stuff.

I swear my body and brain are mutually antagonistic. Argh!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Snippets and Cuttings

Well, a few positive things from this morning, none really worthy of a post on their own.

I am confirmed for a ten o'clock set on Monday which I'm rather looking forward to.

Just heard the Bravery's album and it's proving to be exceptionally good.

And finally Pay TV have put an acapella version of Trendy Discotheque on their website for people to do remixes of. Since I currently have nothing to put on my credit card this month I am inclined to buy a full copy of FruityLoops and a couple of soft-synths and do just that - I've got some kickass drum samples after all.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The Soundtrack of My Life

Again I nicked this from Yammer Rancour, but an interesting idea nonetheless...

Pick an artist and answer the following questions with their song titles.

I, because I'm that gay, chose the Pet Shop Boys.

Describe yourself: Screaming Inside.
How do some people feel about you? Delusions of Grandeur.
How do you feel about yourself? I Get Along.
Describe your ex-partner: The Boy Who Couldn't Keep His Clothes On.
Describe your current partner: Single.
Describe what you want to be: I Want To Wake Up.
Describe your current mood: The Ghost of Myself.
Describe your friends: Shameless.
Share a few words of wisdom: How Can You Expect to be Taken Seriously?

It seems my life is comprised of B-sides and album tracks and barely a hit single.

No surprises there then.

A Load of Bull

Yammer Rancour's Blog pointed me in the direction of the how much do you match your zodiac sign? blog quiz.

Turns out I am 80% like my star sign.

I actually expected it to be less than that because I was born within two hours of being an Aries so share a few of those characteristics too.

But then like all Taureans I don't believe in astrology anyway.

Operating at Half Capacity

I seem to be a bit phased today. None of which I think is anything to do with the three bottles of wine Daniel and I consumed last night whilst, variously, eating tasteless Pizzas (no, seriously, they had all the right parts and filled a hole, but somehow tasted of very little indeed), watching a couple of DVDs and writing more on Vitriol and Old Lace for the raft of updates we're planning to get online over Easter.

Okay, it might have something to do with that.

Certainly though there is also an element of my sleeping patterns being fucked. I slept a lot over the weekend (due to intense tiredness caused by training the week before) but this inevitably means my body reacts back the other way and insists on sleeping less immediately afterwards.

Which of course then means my brain operates in a sort of "what, what time is it, where am I, who are you?" mode for a few hours.

It's a trial it really is.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

I Fall In Love Too Easily

No, I do. And always misguidedly. (Well, lets face it, it's not healthy to give my affections so readily to music and telly more than I do to people).

Last night at Windypops, young Darren - not content with perverting me to the cause of Pay TV and blagging me a copy of the Bodies Without Organs album - handed over two CDs he'd accidentally ordered duplicates of from Sweden.

One day I'm going to have to pay for these I can tell.

Anyway, one of them is by an act called "Universal Poplab" which I think is probably the best band name ever. Following a brief half-muttered intimation last night I headed straight for the track "We Hate It When Our Friends Became Successful".

And suddenly descended into electro-pop heaven.

So far I'm only a couple of tracks in and already my increasingly short attention span is forgetting every pop track I was intending to play next week.

Oooh: this album's full of great lyrics too.

"I dress up with my tie as a leash for you to grab to drag me home (but please remember that dogs have fragile feelings too)". (I Believe).

"Here I go again: a new love song with a sad refrain. It all ends up the same: 'cause I was born on fucked up Lovers Lane." (Lovers Lane).

"I lied my best, but I was only being me... Just grab a seat and watch the Casanova fall" (Casanova Fall)
New favourite thing!

Monday, March 21, 2005

Power-Mince

I'm sure I've mentioned before how some tunes, when they pump through my ears from my MP3 player, instantly create in me a strange effect as my steps fall into the same rhythm as the song. The result is I become all purposeful and stride forwards in a way which actually causes all oncoming traffic to get out of my way (sometimes to quite comic effect).

Girls Aloud tracks (especially "The Show" and their version of "Jump") tend to do this, and anything with a sawtooth disco-octave bassline (Human League's "All I Ever Wanted" and the Johan S remix of BWO's "Sixteen Tons of Hardware") will inevitably result in me getting unrestricted to my destination.

This morning however I discovered another type of song. One which has a less promising side-effect: "Chewing Gum" by Annie. Now as much as I love the song, walking along earlier I found I had to switch to a different track.

Why?

Well because something about the track - tempo, arrangement, was causing me not to stride, but to sashay. I was in effect mincing along the road to something composed by Richard X.

I'm surprised it didn't rain glitter.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Oh Bugger!

This weekend I have been avoiding human contact.

This is basically in a determined effort to shake off the throaty-glandular nastiness I've suffered from for a few days now. And I'm glad to say I'm feeling rather better today so it is paying off after all.

Yesterday I spring cleaned. My flatmate's shredder got dragged into my room and two dustbin bags later I had seriously slimmed down the piles of paperwork I've kept for years, thrown out some clothes and books and managed to get the whole room looking relatively tidy again.

There's something incredibly satisfying about removing clutter from your life.

Last night I watched the Doctor Who night (which wasn't so much a night as "a couple of hours") and on the Mastermind Doctor Who special found I knew more general knowledge questions than I did about the series which was rather reassuring.

But this morning has started badly. I've managed to scald my hand when my dressing gown got caught on a piece of the cooker whilst picking up a mug of hot soup. Naturally it all went everywhere - including over me. It's really stinging rather badly now.

Sadly Chris then chose the moment when I was trying to clear up (and keep my hand in cold water) to come and do some washing up.

I worry may have been a bit vigorous in my insistence that then wasn't a good time for it. He's currently hiding in the bathroom and apologising.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Natalie Imbruglia

Just tweaking my setlist for Easter Monday and listening to Natalie's album "Left of the Middle" and I'd completely forgotten what an astonishing album it is.

Even moreso considering it's her debut one.

Frankly I can't find a bad track on it. I think my fave track is (and always has been) "Pigeons and Crumbs" which is just utterly lovely. Current front-runner for inclusion in the set though is "Impressed" which I've heard played at Trash Palace before and had the DJ coming over to Chris and I as we sang along to compliment us on being the only people there who knew what the song was.

Sadly my copy of the album is suffering from a crinkled CD inlay which is annoying me. I'd seriously consider buying a new copy, but my version's the original release with a foldout "beach" cover as follows:



Which I really like, but for reasons only known to BMG they decided to reissue it with a rather dull closeup shot of her face as seen here and that's the only version you can get now, damnit.

Friday, March 18, 2005

There is a Possibility...

... that I may be DJing on Easter Monday.

Quite what the format of that evening will be has yet to be decided, but Smess seemed quite happy for me to do it and muttered that he may make it a free for all with several DJs doing shorter slots.

Of course, not knowing the time I'll be on for makes it hard to finalise a set-list. I've pretty much got the standard two and a half hours down so far but I have to be prepared to hack it down to nothing.

I do put quite a lot of work into these for some reason. I could re-use old ones of course but somehow it seems like cheating and besides, apart from a few tracks I (and the regulars) can't seem to get enough of, it's quite nice to be as different on each one as I can be.

I do hope I get the early slot, though. I quite like being able to put a few darker and less upbeat numbers on to start with and then work up to a poptastic second half. If you're on later then the pressure is on to keep it pumping all the way through and I find that a little daunting to be honest.

Bizarre thing is that as gay as I am I haven't actually played any ABBA in any of my sets yet. Of course the obvious choice is "Dancing Queen" but since I don't actually care for that song much I flatly refuse to put it in my set. Plus I wanted something obscure anyway.

So what are the choices? I could use obscure and miserable for the first darker half of the set, for which the obvious choice is "The Visitors" from the album of the same name. As a song about being a dissident in the soviet Union of 1981 it's about as bleak as most pop gets. Or alternatively I could go with the bouncy, dancey, but nonsensical, "On and On and On" which does feature the immortal lines "So I took advantage of the fact that I'm a star / Shook my hair and took a casual stroll up to the bar".

As yet I am undecided.

Crawling Towards Solvency

I discovered this week that come April I will have paid off nearly half of my student loan. The vast chunks of money the Inland Revenue have been gouging from my pay packet for the last few years do, thankfully, seem to be having an effect other than simply leaving me chronically poor.

I have mixed feelings about the loan system. Yes I can see that it's impossible for the state to shoulder the burden of keeping students afloat whilst at University, but I just can't help but feel that some kind of minimal graduate tax for life would be better than taking a large slice of the graduate's income for a good number of years just when they're struggling to set themselves up in the world.

In fact in the long term it would probably generate more money for the government than the loans would have cost in the first place so it's a win-win situation for them really.

Still, I'm almost there. Of course they've also decided to raise the threshold at which they start calculating how much I should pay. This means it's calculated on less of my salary and therefore I pay less a month.

You'd have thought I'd be happy about that really - less deductions from my payslip after all. But on balance I don't see it as a major plus: it simply means it'll take longer to pay off and thus I'll pay more in interest on it anyway.

The playground of life is entirely made of swings and roundabouts, it seems. (And ne'er a Witches Hat in sight.)

Nasty Thought

Discussing the new Doctor Who series on OUTintheUK (a motley collection of cynics if ever there was one - I feel so at home there) someone said that they were fully expecting - come 7:00 on Saturday 26th March - the BBC to simply put up a caption saying: "Just kidding" and then carry on as normal.

Now the thought's in my head I can't get rid of it. It appeals to the bitter twisted core of my very being.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Must Try Harder

I often worry that I'm a bad friend.

I have a large number of vague acquaintances, a fair few "outer circle" social friends but very few real close personal friends. Which is fine, I think most people have this - the trouble is that many of my outer circle do complain they hardly ever see me, and it's been too long and so on and so forth.

This is almost certainly my fault. Being by nature a fairly solitary animal I guard my "me" time jealously (plus I am lazy to a fault) - so I do feel guilty about this and feel I should try harder.

So last night was fairly galling in some respects. On OUT a friend of mine - one of the people I hardly ever see - messaged me yesterday morning to check we were "still on for tonight". That was his first mistake: I wasn't on OUT yesterday morning so wasn't able to reply. He then caught up with my flatmate on MSN to check whether I was going to the pub Qwiz at Halfway to Heaven. I hadn't been for a while and some-one I knew was doing it so it was my intention to attend and I intimated as such.

Yesterday evening I got home from work after three days of training some very demanding clients absolutely shattered. I wasn't feeling particularly well (and in fact looked awful) but decided - against my better judgement considering he's never managed to be on time for anything ever - to go along anyway so I could fulfill my social duties for a change.

So of course he decided not to bother. Hard day at work apparently, according to one of our mutual friends.

Sometimes I feel I really can't win.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Grinning Like An Idiot

Saw my first Doctor Who billboard poster today on the bus into work.

At first I couldn't believe it, but I still found myself smiling and sitting back in a cheerful, satisfied (not to mention hungover) daze.

Hmm. I'm really far too excited by this aren't I?

Current Listening

A handy guide to what "music" is making Rob bouncy and happy this week:

First up is an "exclusive" Client track from the Toast Hawaii Forum. (Exclusive as in you need to be a registered member to download it). "Silly But I Loved You" is a demo from the very early days when Clients A & B were trying to figure out what their sound was - and is really rather lovely. Sarah's fragile vocal is really quite affecting, and the melody's gorgeous. It really deserved more work (and the loss of the spoken bit in the middle) and just goes to show that Client have more pop sensibilities than they might care to admit.

Next up is the album "Anniemal" by Annie. Arrived yesterday and even at one listen so far (hey I've been busy) I can say that all the reviews were right: this is classy sophisticated (and playful) pop music that deserves a wider audience. It won't get it, of course, because it's too good, but hey.

And then there is last night's acquisition: "Prototype", the debut album from Bodies Without Organs. Regular readers will know of my love of this Swedish electro-pop act (formed by and featuring Alexander Bard from Army of Lovers) and their singles "Living in a Fantasy", "Conquering America" and "Sixteen Tons of Hardware" (all of which come with some great electroclash remixes which I probably enjoy more than the single versions). And all these set their mark on a great album.

Admittedly at sixteen tracks (including the two great Johan S remixes) there does seem to be a certain amount of filler material - I do wish albums stuck at 11 tracks sometimes - but so far "Son of a Gun" is worth getting it for alone. (Why they've gone for the dreary "Gone" as their next single I have no idea.)

Sunday, March 13, 2005

I Despair I Really Do

Eurovision is almost upon us.

I hate it I really do. In the UK we really don't take it seriously as a nation (because it's pants) but because it's camp and gaudy and ridiculous it means that as gay men we have to love it and embrace it and get all squealy about it. And then I have to turn round and go "yeah, but I'm not actually that gay".

And I'm not. I mean, it's practically healed over.

(As an aside: I've never really understood the whole "I love it because it's so crap" angle. If you like it, fine. But it's always struck me as a neo-apologistic angle on personal preference: if you like it, fucking stick up for it you cretin!)

The other problem is that we haven't had a single decent song for years - Gina G's entry this year was utterly excreble for starters - and then you look over to Sweden where they're turning down Bodies Without Organs and Pay TV as entrants. You look at this and suddenly realise that (Richard X and Xenomania aside) we don't do good pop in this country any more. It's almost like we're really rather embarrassed about pop music and feel compelled to scupper our chances to prove it.

Last year the flatmate and I boycotted it. We couldn't go out because every gay bar (and worryingly several straight ones) would be showing it, so we decided to get booze in and watch depressing films all night. (Peter's Friends always makes me blub.) And we did very well, until Ben and Mikey turned up with their own booze and took over the remote control.

It was hell. I mean... the songs were bad enough. But by god, three hours of voting as well... I tried to poison myself with alcohol but somehow still survived.

I think I'm going to ask Telewest to cut off the cable supply to the house this year.

Thank God That's Done

Yup, I finally fixed Vitriol and Old Lace again.

God it was fiddly. Especially in the last couple of hours when I was swearing that every browser should just use the one rendering engine.

Which rendering engine that should be switched depending on which thing I was trying to fix at a time.

But its done. Now I just need to get the updates ready to go on there.

Conversations That Go Nowhere (#1)

I had a somewhat boozy Saturday afternoon in a pub in Highgate with young Ben yesterday.

Given that both of us are confirmed "Who-ers" the subject frequently turned to the new Doctor Who.

At one point, however, something slightly odd happened:

Ben: You have noticed that the new Doctor's a tall guy with a leather jacket and big ears?

Me: What are you trying to say?

Ben: Oh nothing, nothing...
Git.

Friday, March 11, 2005

A Labour Of Love

At about one o'clock this morning I finally gave up and went to bed. I was tired, my brain hurt and the damn thing just wasn't doing what I wanted it to do.

I am, of course, referring the Vitriol and Old Lace website which last night I was intending to update with the continuing story of Aunt Enid's disappearance - plus an exciting new household hints section.

But I got sidetracked. There's a whole plethora of stuff I want to be able to do to the site this month, but I figured I'd best tighten up the code first. Take it out of tables and put it into "official" DIV tags and so on... all of which (eventually thanks to some odd Mozilla Gecko rendering traumas) worked.

Then I overreached myself. I tried to make the site directory structure work properly (bright idea of the day: use the BASE HREF tag) and then obviously I had to recode all the navigation (which was okay, I expected that really).

All of it worked apart from the buttons that take the reader to the previous entry. Which, I must confess, I couldn't get to work for the life of me. I can only put it down to the fact that I was tired and my eyes were stinging.

I'll have another bash on Saturday when hopefully it'll spring to life under my magical fingers. Until then, the site's down - and it can bloody stay there until it's learned its lesson.

Sometimes being a geek really isn't in my best interests.

And in other news, I think the Farscape Season 1 finale is really rather limp. Roll on season 2...

Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Peacekeeper Whores

As I overdose increasingly on Farscape DVDs (hey it's a cheap night in) my flatmate can often be found wandering in to have a look, only to pause and frown at the television when Ben Browder is in shot.

"I don't understand," he often whimpers "why is he wearing clothes?"

I have no answer. I don't understand it myself. But the other day Ben was thrown around the set wearing nothing but a pair of white pants - asite which very nearly dehydrated me on the spot.

Yesterday my indulgence in Farscape was brought to Chris' attention by the sound of me barking and growling at the television. The episode in question was entitled "A Bug's Life" and is a turning point for the series anyway: a darker, edgier approach to the series is apparent, and the arc really starts to bite. It's the point at which Farscape definitely becomes one of the best SF series ever.

The other plus is that Ben's character, John Crichton, starts wearing peacekeeper uniforms. (Which, incidentally, I would kill to have myself.)

But if all that wasn't enough, Browder actually meets his match in the form of the real Peacekeeper captain, Larraq - the guest star who actually prompted my outbreak of barking. The actor is Paul Leyden and, whilst he's pretty enough in most of the pics on that site, just put him in dark red and black combat leathers, stubbly and unshaven and a little bit sweaty and the effect really is very appealing.

Hmm. I have a nasty feeling I might actually be on heat. Oh well.

- "The moon has a strange effect on me. Makes me feel like a wolf"
- "Yeah, I'm a bit peckish meself."
Mungo and Blag, Chelmsford 123.

Scrubs Up Well Don't He?

I got faintly pissed off yesterday with the sheer number of people who went "God, you look really smart!"

I was admittedly wearing the new suit for the first time in the office, but I've always thought I looked smart when I wear any suit. Apparently though the new one suits me better - and coupled with a lavender shirt and shimmering purpley-pink tie (no, trust me, it works) apparently I cut quite a dash.

This evidenced by the number of rather attractive men who who locked eyes with me on the tube on the way home - which is always good for the ego.

Reasons for the suit? Well... twofold really. Firstly we had our newest and biggest clients in for project management meetings and so on and all our team was told to scrub up a bit (and I naturally went too far), but also this happily coincided with an interview in the evening.

I am obviously too discrete to broadcast details of what, who and my current thoughts on said interview on the internet, but I must say I am very glad I put Vitriol and Old Lace on my CV. Admittedly not many people "get it", but it certainly gave an amusing diversion to chat about my creative bent and explain about the world of batty old women to some new people, which is always amusing.

One of the interviewers said it struck him as a bit "Little Britain" which I must say I find vaguely galling since we started writing it long before we'd even heard of that show and I do hate to be pipped to the post like that. (Still, it's not an entirely unflattering comparison so I'll just go with it - he could have compared it to the excreble "Mighty Boosh" or "Nathan Barley" after all.)

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Sad Sad Puppy

So yesterday was the official start of the new Doctor Who buildup.

Like a good little nerd I paid heed to the tipoffs and sat by the VCR just before and after that slab of misery-inducement that is Eastenders just to record the new trailers we were promised.

Both of which turned out to be six seconds long.

I feel like the foreplay started and the sex never happened. Only more gutted.

In other news the new theme is... interesting. The synth-mad electrofiend within me wishes the orchestral layers hadn't been added and that the bassline was more modern, but it's gotta be said it's still darned good.

Of course, as a late Doctor Who fan, I'm more keen on the Peter Davison "sting" and climax than the ones they've nicked from the Pertwee /Tom Baker versions, but all in all I think it's going to fit rather well - it does have a certain bounce and zest which bodes rather well.

The only thing which has irritated me is that my father seemed to know more about it than I did when I met him for lunch yesterday (and if you don't want to read any spoilers stop reading now).

The new series cropped up in conversation over a nice bottle of red and he made an obscure comment about wheelie bins which I assumed to be an oblique reference to the Daleks. I found out from BBC3 News yesterday that it ain't - and now I know exactly what he's talking about the revelation has piqued my excitement even more.

(This, ladies and gentlemen, probably indicates more than any other factor why I never get laid. I never learn do I?)

Monday, March 07, 2005

More Search Engine Madness

Perusing the referral log for this blog'o'mine turned out the latest mad search engine result in which I featured.

This time someone typed in "derek acorah found guilty of drink driving" to Yahoo and as a result found this page here - not because I actually discussed this event at all, incidentally, but just because the individual words could all be found on that page in one form or another.

As far as I can tell he was actually charged with it, but I have no idea what came of the proceedings as yet.

In any case, I'm not hugely fussed. It's just nice to hear that he is genuinely under the influence of spirits once in a while.

Ben Browder in Leather Pants...

...is but one of the reasons I've been doing a bit of a Farscape run this weekend.

It started on Friday night when I started watching the concluding miniseries, "The Peacekeeper Wars" which had me by turns blubbing and laughing and on the edge of my seat. I'd quite forgotten how much I loved it - not helped by the fact I haven't seen any of season four at all (catching up wasn't much of a problem, though).

So then I thought I'd start back at the beginning again and one of the things which strikes me about it is what a lean series it is. Within six minutes of starting the first episode John Crichton had already started his experiment, been shot through a wormhole, accidentally killed someone and encountered his new companions. Nothing is ever wasted, and nothing is ever laboured. Wonderful.

It's especially interesting since my flatmate has also been doing Babylon 5 from the very start too, and that series really isn't gelling for me at all. I think it's the characters, more than anything: most of Bab 5's are still too bloody noble, even with their faults. The Farscape ones are prickly, desperate, bad-tempered, suspicious, sarcastic and occasionally vile - which for me makes them much more easy to identify with.

Where B5 does have the edge though is in the packaging of the DVDs. They have incredibly slim cases which means that an entire series fits in the space that approximately a fifth of the Farscape ones take up. With space being at somewhat of a premium in a small flat, I am rather envious of this (although naturally the Farscape design is much nicer).

Take One Freshly Squeezed Baby...

Odd stuff, baby oil.

I have to admit to a slight distrust of anything where its application can not only leave your skin silky soft but also leave brushed stainless steel sparklingly clean.

Distrust, that is, bordering on fascination.

I wonder what else you can do with it. Answers on a postcard?

Saturday, March 05, 2005

A Matter Of Recorde

Well, here's a useless bit of trivia for you.

Apparently the equals sign was invented by the 16th Century Welsh mathmetician Robert Recorde. Story goes that he got fed up writing "is equal to" in all his equations so decided to find a symbol to represent it instead.

He chose the two horizontal lines because "noe 2 thynges can be moare equalle".

History has proved him wrong of course, but Victoria Beckham didn't get called a swirling talent vortex until several centuries later, so I think it's forgivable.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Occasional Moments of Good

Much though I like to make my distaste (and indeed loathing) of the Evening Standard, I do still actually buy it.

This isn't some misplaced Mary Whitehouse-esque desire to be offended (well, not much) but is due to two very good reasons: one pragmatic reason is that it's the only London-wide paper. The second is that I do think it's good to have a benchmark to test your own thinking against - and, as is the case with anything by Associated Press, it's a useful indicator of what not to think.

Today though I found myself wanting to buy a drink for the person who wrote their TV listings section. You could have missed it easily, but sitting there as plain as the nose on my face was the beautifully dismissive appraisal of tonight's Top of the Pops.

And what did they decide this bastion of music television is all about? It was the following:

"Ringtones you may know."

The Case Is Closed

Yikes!

Just heard the proper radio edit of Rachel Stevens' "Negotiate With Love".

It's a work of fucking genius it really is. The Tom Nevill Club mix was good, if a tad repetitive, but this... this...

My God. Words fail me.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Giving You Up

One of the first things I did on my return to London, apart from pouring a fairly large Glenlivet natch, was dive onto Kylie.com and have a look at the video for the new single, Giving You Up.

Now, I'm one of the (seemingly) few people who liked the I Believe In You video, but this one starts badly and then continues in a similar vein.

And then - just when you think it can't get any worse - a man in a brown tank top starts dancing.

I'm still in a state of shock.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Saints Preserve Us

Last night I had the misfortune to catch some of ITV News' interview with US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.

I'm rapidly becoming of the opinion that she's a very dangerous lady indeed.

There's something positively evangelical about her pronouncements: jargon presented as strategy, heartfelt beliefs presented as facts, and a sort of deluded superiority complex when it comes to other people's ways of life.

God save us from the Bush Administration. The rate they're going I'm not sure I'm going to get a chance to retire.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Twenty-Something

Is it my imagination or do people only use the term "twenty-something" when they're in their twenties, accelerating towards thirty, but don't want to admit it?

What Attitude Problem?

Bit of a shock this morning. Realised I'd bought the latest copy of gay lifestyle mag Attitude at the airport and hadn't even begun to glance through it in search of pretty... um... interesting articles.

Then I realised that the front cover gave promise of an article on Doctor Who and plunged recklessly in as I tried to kickstart my system with some vile coffee.

A few weeks back I was contacted on the basis of an article I did for SAD Magazine, looking at why Doctor Who seems to appeal to so many gay men. Some of the core points were false (i.e. that for various reasons it's more appealing than Star Trek to gay people) but it did sum up a lot of the reasons why it does have a gay appeal.

And there it was quoted.

God I was a pretentious wanker. (In many ways of course I still am, but I've learned to be less academic in my writing style now).

Thankfully our correspondence did give him another quote which he took directly from one of my emails: that it could simply be that Doctor Who's a load of camp old nonsense - so hopefully I may have salvaged my reputation.

The WWW. (Wombles Were Wrong.)

I was vaguely amused last night, as I shambled back to the space hotel, by a wonderous juxtaposition of two shops on the Lothian road.

First there was "Workout World". A shop purveying anything you might need to fulfill your exercise requirements.

Dumb-bells, ankle-weights, clothing, accessories and so on all sitting in a shop window, handily located just one door away from "Dunbar & Sons: Funeral Directors".

I've always said exercise couldn't be good for you.