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Saturday, 27 December 2003

Limbo


I'm ... at my parents' ... on ... dial-up ... access ... excuse the ... delay ... it's a mix- ... ture of ... slow download ... time ... and brain death ... I drink coffee and it ... just makes my peripher- ... al vision ... flicker ... slightly ... it doesn't wake ... me from the ... torpor ... I eat, drink, watch ... telly ... read murder mysteries ... and miss all the ... clues ... eat more ... watch the Lord of ... the Rings again ... and again ... and ... again ... the computer has beat ... me at Puzzle Bobble thirty five times ... is this what being ... dead is like? ... went to ... the shops ... everyone else looks like they're ... walking ... through ... glue, as well ... must go ... Denis Norden special on teevee ... nearly bedtime ...

This page graced by sarsparilla at 8:13 PM GMT
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Best Things of 2003


It's about the time of year when you have to start thinking about what the next New Year's Resolution could be. I've only got till November 2004 to decided, better get cracking and jump-start the grey matter:

Fireworks - walking from the fireworks to the pub in the cold. That felt really autumnal. Always does!
Paris - walking into the weirdest flat I've ever seen there, to find the twenty foot high jigsaw sculpture in the first room I came to.
Getting a lift back from the opera in Sophia's car with a load of raucous lezzers, including two whom I rather fancied, but who unfortunately seemed to prefer each other. Dadnabbit.
My summer job in Harley Street, but only because it showed me how fantastic my job is in comparison.
Watering Duch's garden this summer but never getting there before dark, so having to hose the place down in pitch blackness, which meant I had to splurt the hose all across the fence in case of spiders - much to the chagrin of neighbours enjoying a candlelit garden supper by the hole in the fence...
Getting pissed in Old Compton Street with Yidaho many many times, and always ending up with Big Chips and a cocktail by three in the morning somewhere.
Feasting and star-spotting at Bellini's on any occasion.
Reading J. M. Coetzee's 'Youth' and recognising my own seventeen year old arrogance and futility.
Reading and studying Shakespeare's 'Antony and Cleopatra', which is a fucking magnificent piece of writing, and recognising the political infighting of Rome absolutely in the Tory party conference.
My customers at work. Sample comment: "You've cut your hair. I thought it looked better before, though. Are you pregnant?"
Nice comments from friends and colleagues. I'm shit at accepting them, but they all help.
Opening letters. I didn't do that last year.
Keeping my NY Resolution (not to buy any black shoes), which slowed the growth of the shoe cabinet fairly effectively.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 7:54 PM GMT
Updated: Saturday, 27 December 2003 8:17 PM GMT
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Friday, 26 December 2003

Family Machinery


Now Playing: BBC7 (Cripes no wonder this stuff doesn't normally get airspace - sexist claptrap)

Isn't it weird the way your family home just works in a way that your - okay, my - adult home never quite manages?
You put a cup down empty on a table, it disappears.
You go up to lie on a bed - it's been freshly made.
Four o'clock comes around - there's a meal waiting.
You eat the food - someone washes it all up.
Whether you weigh in and lift a finger or not, these things all just happen. Automatically. At two o'clock there's a meal waiting. At five o'clock, a bigger one. At nine o'clock, tomorrow's breakfast things are checked and prepared.
I've lived away from home for sixteen years and I still don't have the knack of automatically washing up or picking up dirty laundry. I thought I would attain a certain level of adulthood and mutate spontaneously.
At what age does slobbiness disappear, like BO or acne? Surely it must?

This page graced by sarsparilla at 12:44 PM GMT
Updated: Friday, 26 December 2003 1:53 PM GMT
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Wednesday, 24 December 2003

Tea at the Ritz


It's a weirdly mild, warm Christmas in London. I walked to the tube feeling like a librarian in a purple tweed dress suit, stolen from Wickedex's wardrobe (which JatB likened somehow to necrophilia), blue hornrimmed librarian specs and a teeny red handbag. Boarding the second tube, after running from the first one squealing, librarianishly, that it was the wrong line, I proceeded to immerse myself in a tale of how if Clinton had fucked that intern in the arse, she'd never have told on him to Linda Tripp. That his real problem was forgetting how to Mafiosise his extra curricular shags by embarrassing people enough to keep their mouths shut.
Yeah, what I thought, I ended up reading someone's philosophy periodical's interview with Phillip Pullman instead.
At the Ritz, we had to ask where the Palm Court was, as the ten humongous Christmas trees rather obscured the view of mirrored doors and surfaces in every direction. We were shown to a table by penguined chaps (the table at the front of this picture), and proceeded to beat even the vicar two tables to the left with consumption of four tiers of crust-free finger food, dairy cakes, and petit fours.
Moving on from four silver teapots of Earl Grey to champagne, we and the toothless colonel parked outside the ladies powder room voted all the old dears in the place into rank order. We earnestly and delicately discussed tea, blogs, NYE Resolutions (never make them till November), voyeurs, Joe Pesci, sex, Colonel Peacock, friends, Duch's erratic love life, the other customers, Mr Bean, shoes, how to throttle a man to death between your thighs, Maccers, Viagra, fake tan, the toothless colonel's teeth, stockings, the King William College Quiz, SarahSpace's diet pills, parents of restricted height, the downbeat ending to Saturday Night Fever, neighbours, insanity, stiletto heels, and invisible non-existent children.
Afternoon tea passed, the Sinatraesque pianist shook off his geriatric stalker, and a crowd of choristers manifested themselves beyond the china crockery, to serenade us with Victorian carolling.
The second sitting of late afternoon tea began, and the ladies' dresses began to veer away from the matching tweeds and pearls, into flounces, taffeta and finery. JatB and I whiled away another two hours trying to spot Belle de Jour (there were around five hundred possible contenders).
A string quartet replaced the choristers, to hard stares and resounding unpopularity from all except the sudden influx of little girls wearing party dresses who wanted to waltz across the floor at the speed of Wonder Woman (by waltz, I mean jump up and down wiggling your arse in mid air, naturellement). The lights dimmed. The penguins in red waistcoats allowed themselves a giggle at the running hordes of gaudily frocked children. Cocktail hour began.
Polishing off the champagne, we began to look out of place, what without obvious plastic surgery, clothing unslashed to the thigh, and - the toothless colonel had left - no rich fat ugly bloke bankrolling the taffeta; we decided to walk along Piccadilly, past Eros, Leicester Square, and to look at the tree in Trafalgar Square, before going home.
The National Gallery had been lit up to resemble a particularly ugly Christmas present, although thankfully Big Ben and Nelson's Column had escaped the horror. Everywhere, in the sweltering mildness, tourists were decked in wintry bobble hats, ski jackets and scarves. Jumping onto the Bakerloo line, there was no giant flea, just a tattered copy of the Metro telling us the startlingly obvious: the tube strike had been cancelled. The beggars and buskers continued to ply their trades, regardless.
I'm definitely doing tea at the Ritz next Christmas Eve.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 11:18 PM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 24 December 2003 11:31 PM GMT
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I Finally Got Excited About Christmas


Now for the best Christmas Eve I've had planned in many a year.

JatB and I are having high tea at the Ritz today. We booked the tickets in February, and booked the date in September. It's going to be a difficult choice between beef and horseradish sandwiches or cucumber with no crusts, but there'll be plenty of well dressed penguin suited chaps to confuse the deicision further. I can't think of a better place to spend Christmas Eve, or better company.

So here's my blog Christmas card to all the readers, especially the six loyalists who continued to read last Thursday when the shag-blogs had alienated the other 183. Merry Crimble!

The Last Christmas Cracker* Joke Survey 7:
Q. What do you call a chicken in a shell suit?
A. An egg.
(WHSmith ; best of the bunch!)

[I fixed all the Christmas Cracker links; click on the word 'Cracker' on each post to get a different Christmas jingle to play each time]

This page graced by sarsparilla at 12:40 PM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 24 December 2003 1:00 PM GMT
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Tuesday, 23 December 2003

Menu


Knowing from yesterday's adventures with the Evening sub Standard and a thick marker pen that there's fuck all on telly tonight (tries not to point out that all teevee is shite, as I must acclimatise myself to it before I get to my parents' house; nnnnnnggggggggggg.....), I decided to get my kicks elsewhere. Observant readers will know from my constant screeching and whining on the subject that I gave up alcohol five weeks ago, and that I took three hours to drink one glass of red wine when I was in Paris, as the alc tolerance had dropped to the point that a sip made me come over all Soap Operatic - so I decided to see if stuffing myself with an entire box worth of Tesco Liqueur Choccies could substitute itself as next year's cheap thrill ... or if my worst fears were realised, and I actually do have to go out and get me a sex life instead.
Downed the box in 2.5 minutes. Hypothesis unproven. Not remotely pissed, not even a smidgeon dizzy or energised, and believe me, I have a powerful imagination. This afternoon, for instance, I imagined I was going cold turkey from the cat tranquilisers I'd only imagined taking yesterday, nearly causing a panic attack and cold sweats.
Till I realised it was all a side-effect of boredom, and went out to buy cosmetic products instead like any normal woman does.

Conclusion of experiment: food, if deployed in sufficient concentrations of salt, fat and sugar, can fulfil many of the same self-loathing functions as alcohol; a recent day's menu:

Coffee (filter)
Half a pack of choccie Hob Nobs
Six coffees (instant, bleurgh)
Muffin
Coffee (filter)
Kit Kat
Two super sized bags of pan-fried vegetable crisps
Multi pack of choccie buttons
Pack of four chocolate cream eclairs
Two cream scones with jam
Herb tea

Tell me the nutritional value of that.

Christmas Cracker Joke Survey 6:
Q. What do you call a parrot in the rain with an umbrella?
A. Polly Unsaturated.
(Sainsbury - weirdly inventive)


This page graced by sarsparilla at 9:55 PM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 24 December 2003 12:47 AM GMT
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The Sims


The people I talk about here, they aren't accurate depictions of my real friends. They're facsimiles.
Been reading a lot of anti-blogger posts on blogs (hey, ever heard of irony? Nobody forces you guys to blog) Made me think about that stage that blogs seem to go through when the people reading divide into people who no longer call (hey, they know all about you from the blog! Why ring?), people who assume that nothing goes unblogged (whaddaya mean you packed your job in and joined the circus? You called it accountancy on the blog), and people who don't know you at all, but feel they do, through the blog (these ones are the most flattering - and unreal - group).
Made me think hard about how you caricature your friends and acquaintances on a blog. How you twist them and their words to make yourself look that bit more right / justified / great / successful. How you take from them their actions, their words, even their names and reanimate them to fit your own story.
And how different the blog would be if they had a right of reply.
So having given the people I blog about no voice, no dignity, and no avenue of retribution, I decided to narrow and confine their souls that little bit further, and imagine my victims could argue back:
You populate this world with your characters. We move when you make us move, we say what you have us say. We have interests because you wish it so.
We're entirely creatures of your imagination. You don't know if we're real at all.

We're not really as you describe us, you know. We're not like that at all. We have no right of reply here.

Then I got all jumpy and freaky and my soul shivered. The air seemed a little more sharp, my friendships seemed a little more tenuous, the 'artistic license' little more than an excuse to bitch and whine. I decided not to let the voices continue.

Christmas Cracker Joke Survey 5:
Q. What chewing gum do snakes like?
A. Wrigley's.
(Woolworth's - nice try)


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This page graced by sarsparilla at 12:47 PM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 23 December 2003 10:19 PM GMT
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Monday, 22 December 2003

Christmas Spirit ...... woooo000oooo00000oooooh


Now Playing: Simon Callow playing Galileo in typical hammy uber-luvvie fashion

I spent today feeling shitty, tired, increasingly depressed about Christmas (the celebrations so far consisted of watching people get pissed and congratulate each other on the wondrous state of their truly disastrous love lives at Duch's yesterday, till it all got too much and I had to leave to get emergency chocolate eclairs to feel better). I got the last of my presents, but all the shopping centres in East London were wickedmadcrowded. I had to park on the seventh floor of the Cruellest Cornered Car Park Ever, then run down nineteen flights of stairs to get change for a parking ticket, and back up again to put it in the car window, then down again to do the last minute present shopping, only to find that WHSmith have decided to stop diversifying into stocking actual fiction in their bookshop. Aaaaargh!
Wandered around the local pikey markets until the Christmas rubber nurse uniforms and splitcrotch knickers became too depressingly nylon (this was Stratford, bargain-hunters, if that sounds like just the last minute gift you were searching for - and all under a fiver, too).

The biggest nightmare of my 2003 Christmas holiday is that I have inherited two spoiled cats from the recently deceased relationship, and if I want to see any family, I have to drive them across country. Getting two cats into a tiny vet-smelling cat carrier then driving for two or three hours is going to involve blood, permanent facial scarring, fear-related poo and puke on all sides. Not to mention that if I let them loose inside the car, the only place they would go is beneath the brake pedal. I begged Wickedex to take the animals to her family's place, but they are overrun with free roaming gerbils. I did point out that cats like gerbils, but to no avail. I am stuck with unwanted cattitude.
So today I trekked to Beckton pet store, Plan B in the Quest to Find a Container capable of locking two insane felines down for two hours, preferably without causing unnecessary expulsion of stomach fluids from either end. So now I own a miniature, incredibly, stupidly expensive Dog Tent, which Fat Cat is currently snoring inside, and twenty four cat sleeping pills. God grant me the serenity not to deploy all the pills at once.
Suddenly strikes me that I haven't told any of my family I'm bringing animals with me. Uh-ohhh. Given that my parents mutter "we're not taking those damn cats if you get bored of them!" every time they see me, they may panic a little when I roll up at the door with a Dog Tent. Ah well, let's hope a shock's good exercise for the old ticker, eh? Either that or they read the blog before Thursday. (Well, some of the blog. Not the shag posts, obviously.)
Now I just need a large cardboard box, to convert the Dog Tent to something with enough room for two bad tempered animals who hate each other to survive without eye contact. If I bought a crate of wine I'd have a box of exactly the right size, but I'm absolutely certain that impending Christmas Negativity would also see me breaking my teetotaller vows and drinking it, so that option is out. Hmm.

All day, some talk radio DJ kept haranguing Londoners about when and how we know that The Christmas Spirit has arrived. For me, it's the point when you stop protesting and surrender. I have my marker pens and my Evening Standard TV guide ready; let the ceremonies begin.

Sigh.

Christmas Cracker Joke Survey 4:
Q. What do you call a bee with a quiet hum?
A. A mumble bee.
(Dammit, I can't remember which cracker this one came from; but the jingle is a good one...)

This page graced by sarsparilla at 7:16 PM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 23 December 2003 10:37 PM GMT
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Outer London


Which is what I tend to think of the rest of the country as. When I'm not convincing myself that London should secede, form its own nation, and quit subsidising these malingerers that hate us. Anyway.

Been getting a lot of compliments lately - for skills, things I've done, how I look, my personality. A lot of people taking me aside and tellilng me I don't believe in myself enough, that I have lots of things going for me. To be more confident about it. To learn to take a compliment, and to be loud and proud about my accomplishments. Most embarrassingly my boss blurts this sort of stuff out at meetings. I'd rather have a day off in lieu to find my pride, I have to say. I think, really, these are the trite things that one says to someone who's just gone through a difficult break up. But then a self-abnegating fool would also say that, so I'm not so sure.
On a recent trip out of the capital city, I was reminded how mono-ageist London is. I'm 33, and on a typical London street, I'm in the oldest decade of people present. At the younger end of the decade, but still there. You just don't get people in their forties or fifties in this city - the majority are aged 20-35. End of story. At closing time, it's quite hard to search out a face on a tube platform that isn't twenty-something. Which makes for a vibrant, interesting city, yeah, but if you're edging towards the grumpy, aged end of the spectrum, it also exaggerates every wrinkle, every tired step, every grey hair or sagging scowl that little bit more. You become accustomed to being the one in the train carriage who isn't that fit. (Note, I've noticed the self-esteem downer doesn't seem to apply to blokes in their late thirties - yet to a man, they all look older; it should apply, but it doesn't. Are men stupid, blind, or are they just supremely self-confident? Beats me.)

It's when you leave the capital that you remember this demographic isn't actually normal. That the majority of people in Britain are old (baby boomers in their forties and fifties outnumber everyone else), fat, and minging. Give me twenty minutes in a service station in Essex, and I'll emerge knowing I'm fit, young and fabulous.
Which brings me back to the compliments I've been getting recently. I mean, no-one ever says 'you're a right dowdy looking minger', do they?

Christmas Cracker Joke Survey 3:
Q. What is yellow and writes poetry?
A. A ballpoint banana.
(Asda; Way to go! Axcellent joke! Always buy cheap crackers, kids, they have the best jokes...)

(Thanks to Miss Fluffy for today's Christmas jingle)

This page graced by sarsparilla at 10:48 AM GMT
Updated: Monday, 22 December 2003 6:58 PM GMT
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Sunday, 21 December 2003

Freaky


Now Playing: David Lean's version of Great Expectations:
Sunday
Got to bed at 5am. (Sound familiar?)
Ever been to a cinema and stuffed yourself so full of ice cream that you can't hold the cornet straight any longer, and it starts falling everywhere, and you feel so sick you can hardly stand?
With fudge sauce all down your front, and giggling and hiccuping with your mouth open and all slimey ice cream in it?


And everyone in the lobby staring at you because it's dripping so much there's a mountain of fudge and toffee and chocolate and raspberry ripple flavoured sludge on the polished floor?


Well, popcorn, coffee and a midnight showing of some harmless Disney pap like Freaky Friday are a good way of calming down.

Christmas Cracker Joke Survey 2:
Q. Why do birds fly south in the winter?
A. It's too far to walk.
(Harrods; should be really ashamed of themselves...)

This page graced by sarsparilla at 12:22 PM GMT
Updated: Monday, 22 December 2003 4:17 PM GMT
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Saturday, 20 December 2003

So, What's Been Up?


Now Playing: The Salon on TV, further proving that TV is shite.

Sunday
Got to bed at 4am. Amazed that I woke up at all - needed four strong coffees to get out of Toulouse's flat - I was well wired. Still missed my train to London. Had to flirt rapaciously with Frenchmen to get a free ticket onto the next train out of Paris.
Came back to the UK, bought a pile of CD's on the way (let me tell you, it sounds weird to be playing bluegrass loudly in the car and giggling in South East London). Blogged.
Monday
Knackered. I need 122 hours sleep a night, me, these days. Thought about going to see a movie. Nope. No way I have the energy. Listened to my CD's. The Philip Glass one makes me cry, so I see the Curse of Good Music isn't over yet.
A spider lives next to the lock on the big red gate to my house. A big, red one.
Tuesday
Knackered. Did shitloads of shopping - it's cold and damp - am spending my mornings scraping frost off my car - so the combination of chill and having eaten mostly meat and cheese in Paris made me hanker for large amounts of red raw meat. Spent way too much money and the checkout chatty cheesy guy asked me if that was all my Christmas shopping done now? Jeez, forgot about Christmas.
Didn't go to a big pub meet - went to bed early instead. Felt crap about that, but I really need to catch up on my zzz's.
Wednesday
Went to see LOTR on my own. I hate the books, and wasn't so enamoured of the Twin Towers, but this was utterly fantastic. Definitely a homo-erotic hobbit love story. The only bad part was that East London audiences get up and go home at the point in the movie when they think it's five minutes from the end. So I could barely see anything but heads bobbing and fat fellas striding for the final twenty minutes.
Harvardboy came over from Hamburg for the evening, and I went for a pizza by the British Museum with him. It was fun, although I seem to get a little giddy if suddenly introduced into human company these days.
Didn't go to the work party, too many other things to do.
Thursday
Put away the three days's worth of washing up that I'd left for my sister to do last Saturday. Discovered that the cat had puked over it. Are you getting an idea of how clean my house is yet?
Tried watching TV (haven't done this for two months really). Animal Hospital and Eastenders. Was shite.
Didn't go to the big work party, or the champagne pre-party. Too knackered.
Blog traffic went weird today - dropped from 190 visitors a day to 6. Lumme! I alienated four continents! Wondered if everyone had gone to my work party instead. Bed early.
Friday
Attended the afternoon work party, because it's the sort where you sit down, pull crackers, eat, listen to speeches. I love listening to speeches, it's one of the highlights of my year. Everyone whom I like at work bunked it, 'cos it's the sort of party that has speeches.
Shame, the speeches were classic this year - just one, and a fifty something grown man broke down in tears in the middle of it. Marvellous. He's a lovely bloke, too. Very touching. Way better than Eastenders. Duch invited me over, but I didn't go, cos I was knackered by two in the afternoon. Went to bed in broad daylight. Slept for fourteen hours straight. Perhaps a wicked witch has cursed me. I need a fairy princess, then. One with sex toys would do.

Christmas Cracker Joke Survey 1:
Q. Where do you take a sick horse?
A. To a horse-pital.
(Marks and Spencer; should be ashamed of themselves...)

This page graced by sarsparilla at 12:14 PM GMT
Updated: Monday, 22 December 2003 11:13 AM GMT
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Friday, 19 December 2003

Guest Blog: Everyone I've Ever F*cked.
#12: Brian - Porcelain Telephone


Okay, so now everyone thinks I'm this great big lezzer, and all my lesbian mates think I'm one of the sisterhood now. They've stood by my side to expiate and purge Briony #10's memory, and carefully not mentioned that I'm snivelling. So a huge party, and one of the hosts, female has decided to become flexi-sexi for the night. A really good looking, intelligent, sexy, interesting host, too. She propositions me. Still stuck in character I say the wrong thing: "I'm not interested in straight girls".
Spot the irony.
She tries repeatedly, and I'm a fool, a total dimwitted bulb head for resisting, but what the hey, I'm drunk, popular, flirting wildly, and loving it.
So how the hell did I end up in the toilet all night boffing a squaddie?
They'd drunk a hell of a lot by 2am, when I went in there. God knows what they all did to save their dignity until 6am, when I came out. Shamefaced. Tiptoeing. A lesbian of Ill Repute.
And honestly, I spent half the night, inbetween loud shags, chatting about the role of metaphor and reported speech in Roddy Doyle's novels. I swear.

Posted by Clytemnestra, as part of the Twelve Guest Blogs of Christmas


This page graced by sarsparilla at 7:07 AM GMT
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Guest Blog: Everyone I've Ever F*cked.
#11 Briony - Venus Fly Trap


I met this girl while drunk at a gay bar on New Year's Eve. I'd intended to stay indoors at my parents' house, while they went out, and nurse my broken heart, but at five minutes to ten, I bunched my bravery up in my boots, reasoned that everyone gets a snog on NYE, and went out to a gay bar in a strange town, alone.
My assumptions were correct, and I got three dates from the next three hours. Meeting Briony the week after, I was fascinated by how butch, how mannish she seemed. People seem to think lesbians go for butch dykes because they look like men. No, they go for butch dykes because they're women. Nothing like a promise of sexual ambivalence, of strength, power, and crossing all your boundaries to get me going. I had a good evening, but things didn't feel right. Still, I was damned if I retreated with my tail between my legs, not after the other two dates had turned out so badly, so I followed the poor ex-naval rating home.
Man, was she butch. And tattooed. And pierced. And into Sado-masochism. By the time I got into her bed, like any good butch, she knew I was terrified. I looked at the Venus Fly Trap next to her bed. The plant had an electrical current in it, wired direct to the mains plug. I enjoyed kissing her, but my pretences at S&M were window dressing, and she knew it. She held me and told me it wasn't a good idea, that I was just to sleep, get up tomorrow, and leave knowing she was a friend. I was safe. I relaxed.

Posted by Clytemnestra, as part of the Twelve Guest Blogs of Christmas


This page graced by sarsparilla at 7:05 AM GMT
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Guest Blog: Everyone I've Ever F*cked.
#10 Briony - My Pyramid*


[* In the sense of barely any time or investment on her part, but a whole universe of emotion on mine.]

I knew she was a dyke before I turned around. Queuing at uni in South West London to start a post graduate course, my gaydar was heightened enough to tell a rug muncher by a shoe style, a way of standing, the nape of a neck, a glance. Or a voice. And her voice, behind me, disembodied, said 'gay'.
We became firm friends. Both more twisted and sarcastic than the conventionality of our lives allowed us to be. Both too cerebral, obsessional, quiet and geeky to survive in the world without adapting and hardening. I saw her bookshelf, and I wanted her.
In fact, most of the time, I wanted her. When she brushed my arm in the Refectory. When she constantly bumped into me on the walk through the woods to uni. When she leaned in towards me to offer a sarcastic whisper, and I caught a scent of her perfume, her body smell, or the sweet sickly tang of her breath. When I sat in the Refectory at lunch and she only ever sat with me. Only ever spoke to me. Only ever gave that deep throaty, dykey laugh with me.
I passed. I passed for dyke. My first uni had been somewhat of a "lesbian bolt hole" to quote the alumni, and fifty percent of my friends were LGB. I had been to gay sex shops, to summer and winter Pride, knew how to play the Northern Line Game (eye contact too lingering, knowing smile, sly wink, blow a kiss) and my favourite nightclub was a monthly (fnarr) dyke nightspot. I was pretty sure of myself fitting in fairly unobtrusively into the gay subculture if I tried. I knew for truth that the cool dykes never fuck with a straight girl, never come on to a bi. If I wanted this woman, I had to play experienced, absolute, hundred percent Kinsey dyke. I was pretty sure of myself. Pretty sure. Not certain.
So I passed for gay. Never mentioned the boyfriend in North London. 'Outed' myself at uni in a deplorable high drama public showdown with a homophobe, a showdown that Briony knew was coming, and hid from, in horror that I'd out her too.
I realised that I'd have to make the first move. (These days, I realise that all women are passive, that this is always the case, no matter how butch they think themselves.)
I cancelled a date with Brian #8. He decided to drop the whole venture, see a friend. So it wouldn't make any difference if I went to the same bar that night with her, would it? You can see what's coming, can't you? Of course he turned up. I sat in that bar with my boyfriend, his best friend, and my girlfriend. I went home with her, to the sweetest most gorgeous night of longing yet not fulfilling I'd ever passed in a single bed with a woman entwined in me. Secretly. No confessions to either party. And I got away with it. I did. I carried it off.
The guilt was too much for me. First I cried at home to my flatmate, who thought it a brilliant opportunity to try to jump my bones. Then admitted to her, and broke it off. Then I cried at home some more. Finally, I traced him, and tried to get him to sit in a cheap cafe, for me to break it off. I had loved him, after all, and I wanted someone else. It was the most decent route left to me. But I couldn't find a cheap cafe, like the MTV shorts told you to. In fact, I spent so long tramping around Islington looking for one that he accosted me: "you're trying to find a cheap cafe to dump me in, aren't you?"
Another night of crying to the other flatmate, another badly avoided clumsy pass. Finally, I crawled, guilty, back to Briony's. By this time, she'd shown me that she had a long term, all consuming beloved girlfriend herself. That she was willing to date me but not to love me. Any sex we had would be a punishment for the love of her life, nothing more. Walking out to the shop for plum jam, with tears in my eyes, I spied Brian #8 on a bus, waving cheerily at me, forgiveness in his eyes. I was wearing trouser's he'd given me, which still had stains in the dye from illicit, furtive sex with him a year before. I left. shattered.
One more try: after a day wrangling with myself, and a night crying while listening to KD Lang (see, I was still passing), I rode the two hours of train from South London to North East, to Briony's apartment. Looked in amazement at the sensitive intellectual soul on display through her books. Knew this woman had a power to hurt me. To hurt me more deeply and woundingly than any man ever could. I should have run screaming. But here's the kicker: I found that thrilling.

Posted by Clytemnestra, as part of the Twelve Guest Blogs of Christmas


This page graced by sarsparilla at 7:04 AM GMT
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Thursday, 18 December 2003

Guest Blog: Everyone I've Ever F*cked.
#9: Brian - The Rubberised Man


At the time I met Brian, he was the last person I would fancy. Short, flexible, crawling, funny, rubber featured, like Mr Bean. He had all the hallmarks of a great pal, and none of the attractions of a lover. Still, a distant boyfriend, the sudden jolt of finals ending, an employer who tried to drag me into bed daily, and the licentious influence of the rapacious fmc all conspired so that when the object of seven hour's flirtation passed on the chance (fool!), I reasoned that if Brian #9 had been up for those drunken sugar fights in the italian restaurant, he probably wouldn't mind being dragged from his sleeping bag for a shag either.
Correct.
The only surprise, really, was how kind, gentle, and caring Brian #9 turned out to be. He made cheap sexual misconduct feel like an act of trust, and a part of me has always honoured him for that. He did indeed become a somewhat over-tactile friend, and invited me to his wedding, where he was as lecherous, rubbery faced and pucely crawling as ever. The sweetheart.

Posted by Clytemnestra , as part of the Twelve Guest Blogs of Christmas


This page graced by sarsparilla at 12:05 AM GMT
Updated: Thursday, 18 December 2003 12:06 AM GMT
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Guest Blog: Everyone I've Ever F*cked.
#8: Brian - Light of My Life, Fire of My Loins


Oh, I loved this one. He was soooooooo unsuitable. But it was the first time I fell in love at first sight, and despite the appalling way I treated him, I love him still. I have a horrible feeling that I was the most tortuous, demanding, repressive partner he ever experienced. Certainly it was some time before I spent a moment in his company that wasn't blitzed by a haze of uppers, downers, psychotropics or alcohol. He was so much fun.
We met at the Glastonbury Festival. I was returning home from a mystical and bad tempered sojourn in a Cornish forest, and stopped at Glasto en route. Arriving at the festival with Brian #5, a spare lesbian mate, a car and a crate of beer, two young Mancunians began tailing us about, pointing and shouting "Beer..."
Eventually, we relented; we charged them two E's per person for an equal share in the beer (remember that by day three of Glastonbury a black market barter economy is in full flow, where the most prized items are bread and chocolate, and the least a handful of magic mushrooms or a few dabs of whizz). By the time a frosted pink dawn seeped across the Tor, I was in love.
The lesbian and the car split two hours later, deciding Gay Pride was ... well, cleaner than this hettie mud wallow. Twenty four hours of feverish hand holding later, Brian #5 lost the scrap of paper containing Brian #8's telephone number.
I made him tear our belongings apart searching for it. I wept all through the three hour wait for a train. I wept while bunking the 350 minute journey back to London. I cried myself to sleep once home, trying to convince myself that the drugs had made me overemotional, that it was somehow unrealistic to have loved and lost within a twenty four hour trip.
Four weeks later, Brian telephoned unexpectedly. We talked, flirted and exchanged books by mail. I was spending seven hours a night on the telephone to #8 (who lived four hundred miles away), and #5 was beginning to suspect. I invited him to stay for the week of my twenty second birthday. Meeting him at the station (truthfully, by now I had forgotten what he looked like), my heart leapt directly into my mouth. He was beautiful.
He was folded on the floor of Euston Station, reading, and didn't look up immediately. When he did, I felt his eyes travel over my body, from my feet, along my legs, over the mini and T shirt, to my face. And he smiled. I knew then this was no Ecstasy side effect. Love at first sight. Amazing.
Brian #5 was the only one amongst the three of us with a day job, so constant munching of amphetamines allowed us two the freedom and excuse to stay up all night, and lie in bed together all day while Brian #5 worked. I remember a neighbour - now a famous movie critic who comes across on the small screen as an eminently reasonable man - but back then seemed a terrifically po-faced loser - hammered on my door at two in the afternoon. Was I aware that playing The Young Gods orchestral thrash punk records at top volume until six am could be construed as harbouring sociopathic tendencies towards one's neighbours? Where was my "fella"? He was ready to "punch the bastard."
In a rumpled, sweaty dressing gown, conscious of having made all sorts of noises, earlier, I slammed the door behind me, on a prostrate reclining, naked Brian #8; I flushed, wriggled, and protested that #5 was not here.
The look he shot me was utterly searching, his recognition of what was going on utterly transparent. His eyes registered "That Bastard Brian #5" had something worse, more craven and slippery than an angry neighbour to contend with. His eyes met mine for a brief second. "Bitch," they said, silently.
I didn't care. He was everything. A toxin that I welcomed. I managed another week before being caught out.
The only man I ever licked every single inch of. I wanted to consume him. My friends all loathed him. I gave not one fuck about that. His eyes were like a bolt of electricity to me. Even looking at a photograph sent a 200 volt shiver through me.
He would make me cassettes of music that reminded him of me when I wasn't there, which was often. He took cans and packets of foods and changed the labels to spell my name, then sent them to me, the contents already eaten. It was an all consuming, total, devouring passion. Even my father took the piss.
At the peak of my infatuation (sorry: drug-crazed frenzy), I callously dumped Brian #5, told him it was his fault for being so sexually repellent (cruelty! I actually uttered the line "sex with you is like milking a beast." Poor man. He never slept with a woman again) and was involved in a vicious fracas in Brixton. A gang of three guys jumped me, smashed glass into my eyes and drop kicked my face. A national TV soap star saved me (the extremes of life as a London drug fiend), and took me to hospital where a lesbian friend pilfered all the rubber gloves in a state of hysteria.
I felt nothing. Nothing. Nothing touched me like he did. To the degree that they had to prescribe me the most massive downers. That's how in love I was. That much.

Brian #8 took me to Paris in 1992, where in a dingy, frightening Bastille dive, I had my first tumultuous orgasm.
At point of extremis, I experience visions, always. I've never met anyone else who experiences (/admits to experiencing) this. They are uncontrolled, 3-D technicolour tactile smell-o-vision, and excruciatingly real. Different every time. A vision of a section of busted tyre, smelling of tar in the rain on a forest road, for instance. A nun with rotted teeth and gnarled knuckles laughing. That night I saw my first vision: a Swiss mountain road, in melting, mud-spoiled snow, with rotted sienna leaves half drowned in the ice, curling precipitously towards a peak. (And boy do these things make me suspicious of the religious 'ecstasies' of thirteenth century virgin martyrs. Bernini's Saint Theresa comes to mind....)
Exactly ten years later, still battle scarred by his year with me, happily married to a marvellous Japanese foxy girl, he emailed me out of the blue.
"Happy anniversary," it read, "Your first orgasm. Do you remember?"

Posted by Clytemnestra , as part of the Twelve Guest Blogs of Christmas


This page graced by sarsparilla at 12:01 AM GMT
Updated: Thursday, 18 December 2003 12:16 AM GMT
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Guest Blog: Everyone I've Ever F*cked.
#7: Brian - The Zipless Fuck


Some fucker I met at a nightclub, who looked like a wart hog. Vile. So vile. His moment is a refusal, under an unforgivingly bright burglar light, in a frosty breeze block garage. Wish I could rewind, wish I could wipe that.

Posted by Clytemnestra, as part of the Twelve Guest Blogs of Christmas


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Vanessa/Female/31-35. Lives in United Kingdom/London/East London/Bow, speaks English and German. Spends 40% of daytime online. Uses a Normal (56k) connection. And likes Literature / Movies/Food / Eating / Drinking.
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This page graced by sarsparilla at 12:00 AM GMT
Updated: Thursday, 18 December 2003 5:48 PM GMT
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Wednesday, 17 December 2003

Guest Blog: Everyone I've Ever F*cked.
#6: Briony - Freeway Girl


Do you recall that Brian #5's best friend used to throw unsuccessful all night parties to get him and me together? My then best friends both had an enormous schoolgirl crush on her. An attractive actress, artist, and a middle class hippy chick pothead, they thought she was everything cool. I thought she smelled funny. And I felt constant creeping envy of her unconsummated closeness with Brian #5. Perhaps it was the non-consummation I actually envied.
Anyway, a small party, much flirting between Briony and Mad Dwarf Girl, much tactile, hands-laying, much wine. A miniature orgy ensued, of the mild, unexciting suburban style. And how suburban, frozen, and calculating the venality turned out to be. Fuelled by fear, envy, cowardice. George Orwell would have been proud.
Have you ever fucked someone purely to prevent them from boffing someone else? Don't. It's the most soul destroying nasty thing. To be caught up in a moment that should be about giving, to be entirely focussed on what is not present, upon taking. That was some of the nastiest most soul-destroying sex I ever experienced in my life. It felt hollow, brutal, like a rape, where I was the rapist. I felt no desire. I felt no urge to please. Only to distract her, to occupy a space, to prevent.
Such was my introduction to the sapphic netherworld's seamy underbelly. It scared me so badly that I didn't touch another woman for five years.

Posted by Clytemnestra, as part of the Twelve Guest Blogs of Christmas


This page graced by sarsparilla at 7:22 AM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 17 December 2003 7:38 AM GMT
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Guest Blog: Everyone I've Ever F*cked.
#5: Brian - The Ageing Pop Star


Appropriately, after four years living with this musician, I find it hard to select a representative moment. However, this moment might just do: I awoke, found a stray homeless man, leafing through the copious and comprehensive record collection, stepped over the prone, curled and foetal unconscious body of my one and only, (who had fallen head first onto a full ashtray in an acid and Tennant's Super fucked stupor earlier that morning), to fill the kettle at the kitchen sink. I left him there, and showed the nice, young, encrusted Italian beggar the door, before leaving for a lecture on medieval literature.
As a sexual style, Brian was artistic, clammy, gentle; although one could also insert frenzied and ineffectual rutting into into that sentence. After I left, he reverted to his strings of male ballet dancers with a sigh of relief.
But Brian had begun as a mysterious, Bowie-like figure. Tall, vulpine, bonily attractive, with an aquiline nose. Think John Hurt, young and rangy. I had spotted him while in a pub with Byron, the year before, who had whispered to me about Brian's chart single, his reputation for liking it rough and for swinging both ways. All of which added to the glamour.
Years later, I discovered that Brian had been following me home from school since I was fourteen, that he thought I had teeth like David Bowie, and that half of the parties I had been to with Brian #3 (who eventually turned out to be Brian #5's regular dealer) had been engineered specifically by Brian #5's best friend in order that he meet me. Of course, I'd been too preoccupied by the social awkwardness of public intercourse with #4; I left early, sober, and uninitiated each time. Some may deem a man who stalks schoolgirls not the most attractive of suitors, however, I was that supremely egotistical age of seventeen, where obeisance to oneself appears to be a logical state of affairs, so this only accentuated Brian #5's aptitude, as a paramour, his qualification to be my devotee.

Posted by Clytemnestra, as part of the Twelve Guest Blogs of Christmas


This page graced by sarsparilla at 7:20 AM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 17 December 2003 7:36 AM GMT
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Guest Blog: Everyone I've Ever F*cked.
#4: Brian - The Killer


And so began a run of sexually ambivalent men. Brian was in love with, and a fully fledged stalker of my friend Rocky. Rocky was my own teenaged version of Mrs Madrigal and Barbary Lane - a fifty-something Californian pot head, wise beyond his years, an ex-servicemen obsessed with origami, and being cultured and intelligent, something of a catch on the gay scene. Brian, however, was a dimwit News of the World reading arsehole from Aberdeen. He would sleep with anything and anyone - primarily, I was to discover, because he was so enormously endowed that his standard sexual experience consisted of jealous men or screaming women who refused him on sight of the monster. (including myself; "you're not putting that ... that ... thing in me!" His response was to sigh fatalistically).
Brian had bought the house opposite Rocky's (a one-time liaison had introduced the two), and had a telescope set up in his bedroom. He knocked on Rocky's door every day; he knew Rocky's movements and whereabouts intimately. After enduring Brian's speeches about Constable's 'Hay Wain' and the music of Sade (a good ten years after Sade's era), I decided the man was both fool and bore.
He gave me my first driving lesson - a white-knuckle ride, I recall. The last time I saw him, Brian was brandishing his pork sabre in sausage-sword fights in a pub toilet. He was a gentle but stupid man, yet the last time I heard of him, Brian had been chased out of town by an actual angry mob after not one but two hit and run accidents, the second killing a ten year old girl. Misjudgement. Oh what misjudgement I showed. You sell yourself cheaply if you don't know what you're worthy of yet.

Posted by Clytemnestra, as part of the Twelve Guest Blogs of Christmas


This page graced by sarsparilla at 7:19 AM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 17 December 2003 7:30 AM GMT
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