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Sunday, 23 May 2004

Moments from the Weekend

Topic: BillyWorld

Three much cherished ex-pats revisited Blighty this weekend, so it was busy, seeing them and seeing everyone else as well. I'm like a mole blinking in the sunlight when I go out, right now, so it was nice, but exhausting, particularly with a stinking cold borne of walking to work in an extremely skimpy t shirt and jeans on the rainiest day since Easter.

Moment: rushing past The Clink, trying to find an anonymous wine bar, my German was just resilient enough to overhear the bored campy tour guide directing his party of pensioners along the less salubrious banks of the Thames. Pausing in a dark cobbled tunnel by the old skeleton in a steel cage above the Clink, he stretched his arms wide, and declaimed imperiously: "Old. Cold. Lovely."

Moment: an argument I stirred once upon a time resurfaced to bite me on the bum. I was handed an old email from several years back. It was bitchy and nasty and the writer of the email was plainly too stupid to see that they were unhappy with their life. It was pointlessly offensively troublesome in content. It was written by me. I might as well commit genocide now, my karma's shot to fuck.

Moment: instructing a waiter in a garden cafe to Bring More Stuff, I noticed that the reason I was having to be so fucking insistent was there in his toffee coloured steady eyes. They didn't change focus at all, not when he said yes, not when he said no, not when he listened, not when he ignored. Bloody waiters, mashed off their heads to cope with the boredom. Wonder if Jennifer Aniston was like that once?

Moment: Arriving at a frou frou wine bar with fingers so cold they'd gone a waxy dead looking yellow, Melons insisted on vigorously rubbing them between her palms until they were entirely shocked pink spots, and the feeling returned. Turning to Lettuce, I made the second stupidest remark of the evening, just as it went rather quiet. "That's the most sex I've had all year."
Seeing the widened eyes, realising it wasn't the most, erm, inviting comment to make to someone warming your fingers up, and hoping to laugh it off, I dug the hole miles deeper.
"Oh don't worry, by next week the most sex I'll have will be holding onto a safety pole on the tube."

Moment: Talking to an old university friend of an ex of theirs - 'yes he's addicted to your blog'. Different day, different bar, talking to an old friend about an old ex of an old university friend, and his ex - 'yes, he was in stitches over what you wrote about x's fit about y on your blog'. Strange. Yet I haven't spoken to one of these people for ten years, and the other I've only said hello to and made party chat to in the past five or so. Very strange feeling.

Moment: The moblog is making me a public nuisance.

And I blame Rose Madder for telling me I should shove the camera into people's faces without fear of their reprisals. I can't bloody walk anywhere without dropping to one knee to capture the sun on the dog turd glistening by the wayside. The poor bloody three fellas trying to eat their Sunday breakfast in peace in a Walthamstow deli this morning suffered around an hour of me trying to quell hangover shakiness to take something in focus of their snarfing.

Best Blo'te of the Day so far: CGP

"I understand that it is necessary to have a penny, because it is the smallest unit of currency, but why-oh-why a coin that represents two of the smallest unit? It's useless as I have yet to find a price that ends in .98 and, worst of all, the two pence coin is huge. As the second most valueless coin, it's also the third biggest"

This page graced by sarsparilla at 10:54 PM BST
Updated: Monday, 24 May 2004 5:47 PM BST
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Saturday, 22 May 2004

Erm. Who said that? I'm not bigheaded really.

Now Playing: Lemonpillows: Yesterday's Tomorrow
Topic: Creepy Lesbo

Vanessa: Would you love the opportunity to tell me to shut the hell up about my damn blog?

Harv: Not really. Everyone needs a reality check every so often. Very hard to get though. For example, this survey will have response biases. (In an ideal world you would make it anonymous so that people had more freedom to write without fear you'd be offended - not my situation since I haven't read the blog)
Rose Madder: no, keep going, it's extremely entertaining!
fmc: Cliched ? but whose reality. Come to the Gower.
Vic: I could do, in those comment boxes filled with gushing good-will. I don't want to though. I must point out though, if somebody is annoyed with your blog getting them to do a k-length questionnaire may not improve matters.
jatb: No, never.
Vic: Perhaps the non-respondents will speak volumes. You can always ring me up if you want a reality check ;)
Looby: Yes, you're right, I'm getting a bit bored with this now :)


This page graced by sarsparilla at 5:00 PM BST
Updated: Saturday, 22 May 2004 5:04 PM BST
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Anyway, FINALLY, can we just stop all this talk about ME and really FOCUS on the ISSUE of ME for a second, here? #8

Now Playing: Lemonpillows: Push It Over
Topic: Creepy Lesbo

Vanessa: What do you think of the comments that are on there? Do you find their effusiveness embarrassing, or do you think it's our cultural discomfort with compliments that makes your toes curl when you read the comments?

Vic: I'm jealous of your comments. I want comments filled with hate and venom but those readers never comment, bastards. It's not often I read your comments, but then they are YOUR comments, not mine. It's just noseyness if I do.
fmc: I don?t think that you have blog-imented me so can?t say my toes curled in discomfort at the effusive comments.
Looby: No, I think when people pay you compliments, most of the time they are genuinely meant. I realise you're after a bit of helpful criticism though.
Rose Madder: sorry, haven't read the comments (but the admiration is justified, I think)
jatb: I like reading the comments, they rarely pick up the aspects of the post upon which I would comment and it can be instructive to see other people's perspective. (And the poems were fantastic.)
Looby: The only thing about comments boxes is that they can sound a bit show-offy sometimes. I don't know if people feel they have to make a witty one-liner. I know I do. I find myself thinking "how can I make this funny"? Stupid habit. Must stop it. Also if loads of people have commented I often don't bother, because it feels as though your comment's just going to be lost.

Vanessa: Do you think my blog makes too much of my sexuality? Do I go too far, ever? Is it a sad-fuck pity party? An ego boost? Do I need to get out more?

Rose Madder: nah, I like those bits (but I'm most certainly biased) No comment on the ego trip, though...
fmc: It is part of who you are ? or part of what you want to be seen as ? it?s up to you. I make too much of the size of my arse and people tell me to shut up ? so if people don?t like you harping on and on and on about your sexuality I suggest they read elsewhere.
Vic: You can't get away fom your 'sensible shoe' wearing ways, it's your blog, so of course it's going to be filled with lesbianistic mentionings. I wouldn't say you go too far, you could call the blog Lesbo-Vee's-Same-Sex-Relationship-Blog. Is it a sad-fuck pity party?
fmc: Oh yes. Oh boy oh yes. SOOOOO much. But aren?t all writers after some justification for their existence as we all are so what?s wrong with that?
Vic: An ego boost? Do you need to get out more?
jatb: No. Yes (and why else would one have a blog?). Yes, you definitely need to get out more - are you free tomorrow?
Vic: I dunno, that doesn't seem to me to be the case, but all those comments have to make you happy otherwise why link-whore so much?
Looby: No. As a voyeur (visual + literary) no-one can ever go too far for me. You have to work that one out for yourself - I know I post utter bollocks when I'm pissed (which is all the time) and am often hurriedly deleting stuff at 7am. It's great having your own words to gaze upon. Yes, it is a Narcissistic activity - great!
fmc: Get out of London, out of the South East. The rest of the world is different and less oppressive and introspective and navel gazing. Peoples eyes get short sighted from navel gazing and after a while all you can see is the blue fluff. You might find it interesting to meet the rest of them and find that they don?t give a damn about the micro details and are actually out looking at the sun and trees and sky and quite happily empty headed enjoying themselves. Or you might prefer the bountiful nature of the shops?ah, the shops?

to be continued ...

This page graced by sarsparilla at 4:54 PM BST
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They LOVE it! We all LOVE it! We can ANALYSE our every move till the arse end of FOREVER! #7

Now Playing: Lemonpillows: Losing You
Topic: Creepy Lesbo

Vanessa: Do you ever write? When do you write? What medium do you write in? Who reads what you write? Has your writing style changed to fit your audience ever?

Vic: Hehehehe. I blog madness that's really intended to offend more than anything else due to my general displeasure at the world in general (see my non-commented on 9-11 post that I really liked a lot), I get at least five visitors a day. I write films, television series (-ish), books and short novels, all in Word, and all in 10 point to save space, but you know all this. Who reads it? Although you should, you don't, but then neither does anyone else so I'm not bitter ;) I don't change my style for readers, only for literary experimentation purposes. I am beginning to see why I only get five visitors a day.
Looby: Only blogging. Oh, and I do a guide to the town's pubs. I'm aware that left to my own devices I'd have quite a formal, stilted, and pretentious style, which I'm forever revising to make it more chatty and colloquial.
jatb: I write: a diary, send text messages, write postcards and informal letters to my friends, and compose formal letters, legal documents, academic articles and secondary legislation for work. I prefer to use pen and ink, or pencil, but I also type and text. Who reads what I write depends on what I am writing, and yes, my writing style always changes to fit my audience. Insofar as I have a writing style only my diary reflects it, everything else conforms (to a greater or lesser extent) to the style I think my audience desires.
Harv: I write as part of my job - marketing concepts, copy writing for brand related publications, etc. for these, my style varies depending on audience.
Rose Madder: I write academic stuff for books and journals, articles, book reviews, a diary and the extremely occasional poem. And yeah, the style always changes depending on the audience (or the absence thereof).
fmc: I use to. I got old and busy and ? rather less introspective. Diary?s and post cards and emails. On holiday. Read by the people I write to. And me.

to be continued ...

This page graced by sarsparilla at 12:51 PM BST
Updated: Saturday, 22 May 2004 4:39 PM BST
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What, you think they're blogging with a GUN to their heads? Someone's FORCING them not to be DIFFIDENT about NAVEL GAZING?
Now Playing: Lemonpillows: Heartbeat
Topic: Creepy Lesbo

Vanessa: Do you think I've treated any of our friends in common badly via the blog? Did you say anything at the time? By email, in person, on the phone, or in a public comment? Do you think I give enough right of reply?

jatb: You were hard on Tybalt sometimes. (Does she count as a friend in common?) And I commented to that effect once. Right of reply? Well, there are comments but no one would ever come across well using that as a right of reply - imagine Tybalt trying to put her point of view...
Vic: No ill-treatment yet, but you have plenty of time. If you did I'd just spam your comments box until I achieved satisfaction, that does me for a R-t-R.
jatb: But anyway, doesn't this depend on what your blog is? A diary? A lightly fictionalised diary? Fiction? Commentary? It doesn't strike me as the kind of fora (for want of a better description) where a right of reply is necessarily going to be appropriate.

Vanessa: When we meet up or socialise, does having read my blog inhibit your conversation ever? Do you feel like you know me better for having read my blog? Do you ever refer to things I've written?

Looby: No. On the contrary actually. It's helpful as it gives you a few things to ask about to get the conversation going. A bit, not much.
fmc: I have known you since before you had pubic hair ? like I?m gonna be inhibited!
Looby: I still count actually face-to-face meetings as the source material for how you get to know someone. I would refer to things you've written, 1) when it's particularly well-written and other people to see it, and 2) occasionally when you've raised an interesting subject. I feel I ought to find my own ideas, though, so I try not to do this.
Rose Madder: Oh yeah, just a glance at the blog and one knows you better - even if it's all made up.
jatb: Knowing about the blog doesn't inhibit conversation, and yes, I do sometimes refer to things you've written when we meet and even to things other people have written. I don't feel as though I know you better for having read your blog but I do feel I know more about things which have happened in your life. Events, not feelings.
fmc: I might do, I don?t get to see you much these days and it would be good to see you more and so I should use the blog to contact you and care about you from the distant dragon lands that I now inhabit.
Vic: Is it bad to treat peoples' blogs with a pinch of salt? I don't consider it real, like a diary, because a blog is a public forum. I would probably learn more about you by inspecting your stool than reading your blog, am I wrong?

to be continued ...

This page graced by sarsparilla at 12:43 PM BST
Updated: Saturday, 22 May 2004 4:25 PM BST
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Leastways I'm HONEST about it... #5

Now Playing: Lemonpillows: Could you Love Me
Topic: Creepy Lesbo

Vanessa: Did you have any say in what pseudonym I gave you online? Do you wish you had a different one? Do you worry that I gave you that pseudonym for some unfathomable reason that reflects badly on you or me? Way back when I started, I used to whack up photos of my friends on there, without asking. They're still in the archives, actually. Did you object to that?

fmc: Photos ? of me. Where!!
Looby: I think some of these questions relate less to me than people you know better.
jatb: I had no say in the moniker; I don't mind; and if I did I'd have fmc to blame, not you, as she came up with it. (And if I'm not going to hold it against her, I'm hardly going to hold it against you.)
Vic: I didn't even have any say in the address Jaynair in the first place, and I always thought I was Vic, that'll just confuse the Wrights even further.
fmc: I am getting bored of the questions now ? short attention span.
Vic: I don't think you have ever put a pic up of me. You hate me, obviously, and it is that which I would object to, were I that objectionable.
Vanessa: I have put up a picture of you. It's your fault I didn't repeatedly do it, stop looking like an older, dishier Gareth Gates, and grow a manly beard, and you'll be plastered all over the net.

to be continued ...

This page graced by sarsparilla at 2:10 AM BST
Updated: Saturday, 22 May 2004 4:27 PM BST
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Politics? Pffft. Culture? Oh, please. It's all about ME ME ME ME ME with blogs. ESPECIALLY when they pretend it isn't. #
Now Playing: Lemonpillows: Forever 14
Topic: Creepy Lesbo

Vanessa: Do you mind being featured in my blog, as if you're an imaginary character? Do you object publicly? Do you *like* it when you come across references to yourself, or are you tolerating my intrusion? Does the information about you on the 'profile' page upset you, or don't you mind? Do you hate it if I repeat a conversation we've had? Are you one of the people who asks when we meet up if I'm going to blog it?

fmc: Am I am imaginary character? In whose imagination and why were they not more imaginative ? this is the Thatcher education for you. Please imagine me a perter arse and bigger boobs.
Looby: No, not at all - I trust your sense of discretion.
jatb: Oooooh, I had no idea I was in the profile section.
Vic: This has so many subquestions it's like a Physics exam question.
fmc: I think I need to read your blog more.
Vic: I love being mentioned.
fmc: I guess it would depend on the conversation ? I trust you to use your planet sized brain and not deliberately offend me.
Vic: Especially when it means a link to my blog as I invariably get visitors from it. I'm a whore for fame, no matter how meagre. Is it bad to only just now be aware of the profiles page?
Looby: Didn't know there was any! Oh, there it is! No, not at all.
jatb: I don't mind the information in the profile, though I do tend to the view that the jatb who appears in your blog is a fictional person and not me at all, so there isn't anything to mind about.
fmc: I just looked myself up?I am NOT always on about how shit London is?am I? [...] Now that I am in Swampy Swansea I miss the shops ? I will concede that point in London?s favour. I pine for the shops.
Vic: Either way, you wrote niceness about me and tess, that's always good. Repeat what you want, if you dare. My latest annoyance is Gabrielle and the shame she has for her own boz-eye that requires her to wear sunglasses no matter where she is. Are you going to blog about it now? ;)
Rose Madder: Crikey, don't suppose this is relevant - but coming across someone else's description of oneself / perception of events would inevitably be a touch disturbing... And do note, I didn't ask if you'd blog it last week!
jatb: Honestly? I hold my breath and read it very quickly in case it isn't very nice. And then I re-read it more slowly when I know it's safe to breathe again. (Please don't ever write a really long entry, I might suffocate.) And that's despite knowing it's not about me, it's about jatb, the fictional character. Just as well I don't mind, eh?
fmc: No. Never imagined that anyone else would be interested ? god, do I have to read this thing everyday? It feels like a lot of commitment ? are you a cult and should I be afraid, very afraid? Heavens, apparently on the 22nd of July it will die and I hardly had the chance to get to know it ? I am grieving and may need time off work for the stress.
Looby: I like coming across references to myself, because I'm an egotist. But I always check your blog specially carefully after a meet-up, because I'm interested in seeing if you've written anything about it. I realise that there's no necessary connection between an event's importance for you and the likelihood of it appearing, but it's interesting to get the other person's perspective if it is blogged about.

to be continued ...

This page graced by sarsparilla at 2:07 AM BST
Updated: Saturday, 22 May 2004 4:31 PM BST
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I mean WHAT THE HELL do you think all those OTHER BLOGGERS are chatting about at such length, anyway?? #3

Now Playing: Lemonpillows: Doesn't Matter
Topic: Creepy Lesbo

Vanessa: What do you read? Books, papers, the sides of buses, magazines, messageboards, letters, cereal packets, blogs, other people's mail?

Harv: Books, papers, occasionally magazines
jatb: I read every scrap of text I catch sight of: packaging, adverts, road signs, books, legislation, websites, text messages, newspapers, the small print.
fmc: Books yes, papers not much any more ? I don?t commute anymore (hahahaahaha, just had to get that in for you saddo Londoners), the sides of buses the backs of buses, magazines I thought they were only there for the pictures ? at least that what the boyfriend tells me about Pammie?, messageboards what are they?, letters from the bank, cereal packets only in the supermarket to look for the GM ingredients label (I had a job interview once and told them that I was an avid reader of cereal packets ? I didn?t get the job), blogs duh, other people's mail NEVER.
Looby: Modern and classic fiction, (lately: Tristram Shandy and Don Quixote), books about modern European history and politics, (a history of contemporary Italy, a book about Russia since the fall of communism) memoirs (Norman Manea's autobiography about life in Romania from 1935 to the present day); The Guardian, Times Literary Supplement, Private Eye, Good Beer Guide, Eurovision Song Contest Handbook, What's Brewing (CAMRA newspaper), the dictionary.
Rose Madder: I read all sorts of stray text, papers etc, and books when I have to (and occasionally for pleasure).
Vic: Booooooks, and lots of them, and the occasional message board that pertains to my activities (, and the like)

to be continued ...

This page graced by sarsparilla at 1:55 AM BST
Updated: Saturday, 22 May 2004 4:28 PM BST
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Whaddaya mean it's too POMPOUS and SELF CONGRATULATORY? I'm only FOCUSSING, on ME, all the time?! #2

Now Playing: Lemonpillows: Change
Topic: Creepy Lesbo

Vanessa: Do you read any of the other blogs that I've linked to? Is there a difference in how you feel about reading about someone you know compared to someone you don't?

Rose Madder: no, but it would be very different to read about someone I don't know.
Vic: I occasionally skim select ones, but with so many you link to I've only seen a small fraction. With respect to me knowing the blogger, of course it makes a difference, but only in the quantity I read as opposed to considering it a secret view into the mind of the blogger etc...
fmc: I had no real interest in reading about someone I have never met (and never even heard of ? it isn?t like reading a biography of Pepys, who at least you have heard of ? these people have no connection at all with my life). I was interested in reading about you ? it felt like a way of finding out what is going on in my friend?s life (who I rarely see and should call more often).
Looby: Yes - Lemonpillows, Another Sarah, Tess's blog. I suppose there's a bit of added interest in that you can compare the online persona with the real one. I see blogs as simply another type of meeting or interaction really - pub, cinema, lunch, read blog.
jatb: I read some of the other blogs, far fewer than I used to when I was blogging. And now almost entirely restricted to the ones which are work safe. There is a slight difference because I know more about you and feel I can perceive a subtext to your blog which I can't have the remotest idea about in others. But that only applies when your blog handles absolute reality, and anyway it's only my feeling about my perception. How far removed that might be from your perception of reality is anyone's guess.

to be continued ...

This page graced by sarsparilla at 1:48 AM BST
Updated: Saturday, 22 May 2004 3:55 PM BST
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Friday, 21 May 2004

Can we just stop all this talk about ME and really FOCUS on the ISSUE of ME for a second, here? #1

Now Playing: Lemonpillows: Angel
Topic: Creepy Lesbo

The atmosphere was tense, crackling with expectation and sexual electricity as we made our way across the hotel lobby.
A blog convention with a difference, and not just in the smouldering intensity of the attendees' long lashed limpid eyes. No, this room, this gilt edged bejewelled velveteen palace was to hold a select panel for the next few hours.
The anticipation was already unnerving us all, and introductions proved somewhat hurried and flirtatious. All eyed and sized and appreciated the intellectual and physical prowess on display. This was no mere blog meet. This was to be a Convention on the Future of Vanessa's Blog.

First, the attendees: Harv, a six foot darkly intense young executive of a mid European marketing firm, known for his artistic dilletantism, and his culinary skill. Debonairely dressed from head to toe in discreet armani, travelling businessman Harv felt very much at home in the expensive hotel surrounding. Harv was first to arrive, and, noticing the youthful yet stooped, serious professorial figure entering after him, Harv registered an interest with a flash of his mahogany eyes, and was quick to order drinks for the party gradually gathering. His smoothly delivered choice of mojito cocktails all round was approved of by all, save he of the defiantly radical tastes, cutting a pose reminsicent of early Kerouac as he slouched against an ottoman, scuffing it carelessly against his artfully distressed footwear, Vic.
Vic had travelled down from his academic pursuits in the frozen wastes of the north, where he had tensely allowed his underlings to pursue the guarded secrets of the universe, of extreme physics. His intelligence and learning shone through his blue-gray hooded eyes, and his hunched, Beat poet manner, as he crouched edgily over a cigarette. Vic's attention wavered from his pursuit of a more manly aperitif as six foot swedish intellectual and artiste Rose Madder made her accustomed dramatic entrance to the lobby. Rose Madder's faded dark clothing lent her a boho chic, while her long sinuous blonde limbs were given vitality by a sharpness of gesture, a directness that revealed itself as she sat, brusquely greeting first the sophisticate, Harv, then the saturnine Vic, and crossed her legs beneath her.
Rose Madder's entrance was quickly and loudly followed by a bright energetic explosion of a woman, bursting into the lobby in a hurricane of wide full lipped smiles, breathless apologies, as she leant in close to allow her widely set and strikingly brilliant aquamarine eyes to make her introduction for her. This was fmc, and her sudden, insistent familiarity broke the tension briefly. She busied herself darting about the group, between long folded legs, and insouciantly crossed ankles with an ease and near arrogance - if arrogance can be drawn as a form of perfection, a perfect confidence that invites a trust - which instantly set the group at ease. An illusory trust, perhaps, as she reveals in her perceptible distaste for th mojitos the keen eye and I turned to the little band of artists, radicals and the sharp tongue of the engineer.
It was time for me to reveal myself, and establish why we were gathered. I turned to the company from the lobby desk where I sat, calling gently to the company of five to focus their assembled incisive wit upon the gleaming flat screen inlaid into the low carrera marble occasional table nestled tastefully by fmc's perfectly contoured knee.
Five, you say? Yes, five. The deep, dark chesterfield recliner creaked steadily about to face us and the strong silent presence it contained (which had hitherto gone unnoticed as we fluttered and jabbered our suburban introductions) made himself known with an imperceptible truculent nod from his craggy manly features, cast into shadow by his sinewy taut frame. Looby was among us.
Looby's deep set, inscrutably masculine visage eyed the two other men warily. Harv's elegantly manicured hands, his dashing long legs were noted, as was the contrast of Vic's rugged furrowed complexity, his rough hewn yet simple clothing belied by the affectedness of the Gitanes in his hand.

A clicking sound on the onyx tiled floor of the PomPom Hotel Lobby distracted Vic from his nicotine crutch, as a latecomer arrived; jatb, renowned pentathlete, tapped in her choos across the icily reflective inlaid stone flags. Wordlessly she took a seat on the arm of Looby's chair, the gold flecks in her clear, deep indigo eyes acknowledging us with the briefest of nods.
Rose Madder's attention snapped towards the screen, eager to interrogate the mystery placed before us. fmc paused from her effusive, intensely physical greetings, and Looby restrained the impulse to suck meditatively on his cuban cigar, as Harv's discreet cough directed all attention on me.

Vanessa: Do you read my blog at all? A lot? A little? You just skim? Why/not? Does my blog embarrass you?

Looby: Every entry, entirely.
Vic: I skim unless I hit across a post that grips me, like when you get livejournal to say your cat got run over, I almost prepared another "my rabbit has died" reply :-/ I'm not embarrassed by it though, it's only a blog.
Rose Madder: I read it a little.
jatb: I read almost every entry because I enjoy reading it. It doesn't embarrass me at all.
Looby: 1) Curiosity to see how you're doing, 2) for the pleasure I derive from reading, because you write well (oops, sorry - that was a bit supportive, wasn't it :) 3) curiosity at how someone else negotiates the privacy/revelation balance. I look to you and other bloggers for some examples about how to do this and 4) to see who'll be the first amongst us to find a point for the bloody thing. Oh yeah, and to click randomly on your blogroll to find interesting blogs.
fmc: I don?t read it much ? in fact, today is the first time that I have successfully managed to get onto the site (last time I looked was admittedly around 6 months ago because you threatened me with publishing my supersonic squeals). I skimmed a little. There were a lot of words ? now don?t laugh ? if you are a wordy person and have time to sit at home, on your own computer and read a blog in the same way as you would read a letter or a book then you will be fine. If however you are at the other end of the spectrum ? only use the web for speed dialing for flights, get bored if a connection is made in less than a millisecond, and get interrupted by your boyfriend every time you try and read a book, and keep finding washing and ironing and lawn cutting and STUFF to do instead - then reading reams and reams of pages about someone elses life, whilst sitting in the office ? is a bit unlikely. No your blog doesn?t embarrass me ? should it? Should I be embarrassed that my friend pours her heart out on the page or should I be worried about what she says about me?
Harv: Don't read the blog because I keep forgetting to. What's the web address again?

to be continued . . .

This page graced by sarsparilla at 7:27 AM BST
Updated: Saturday, 22 May 2004 3:42 PM BST
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Thursday, 20 May 2004

I dunno when I'm s'posed to learn ...

Topic: Looby

That staying up till 2am picking out old photos for my Moblog is a waste of oxygen?

This page graced by sarsparilla at 2:14 AM BST
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ex-girlfriend slag knickers
amy handcuffs blog
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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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United Kingdom, London, East London, Bow, English, German, Vanessa, Female, 31-35, Literature / Movies, Food / Eating / Drinking.

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This page graced by sarsparilla at 12:08 AM BST
Updated: Thursday, 20 May 2004 12:12 AM BST
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Wednesday, 19 May 2004

Pissing bloody bollocks to the blog

Topic: Hurtling to Obscurity

Fuckin stupid ... grrrr ... grumble, moan ...

It's a shitty shitty week - I've been getting in three hours late from work, eating something foul tasting, then collapsing by seven or eight o clock, and not waking till forty minutes after the alarm the next morning, which leads to ethical crises extraordinaire: a little late and no coffee, or a lot late, but awake? (clue: actually, no, you don't need a clue, nobody would be surprised which was the damn answer).

Also shitty: fell asleep and didn't go to a lesbobookclub discussion of my favourite book ever, even though I had spent three months underlining natty quotes, rehearsing my speech about why the heroine was a thinly veiled roman a clef representing yours truly, and also pinned every last shred of dignity and hope upon it being the final opportunity ever to ensnare a woman who can actually read or converse without gulping "gosh you're so intelligent, I find it hard to keep up with you" (clue: never true; other clue: basically an insult; another clue: never going to be taken well unless you're looking for a Top Dog for your prison ward).

Still shitty: It's summer. It's hot. And there's no way it's not going to get much hotter than this. I'm pasty skinned, pale and celtic looking - kinda grey, kinda lumpy, kinda oatmeal, sorta tones of wet cement with an undercoat of blue - and that's after twenty five hours on a sunbed this spring. Clutching a warm bottle of water, plastering myself with sticky fly attracting sunblock and running from shade to shade to get to my non-air con workplace is somewhat less than a thrill a minute. I like Autumn. Roll on frigging autumn. My clothes are wrinkled (no iron), and sweaty (no car) and grubby (no washing machine). This was never going to be pleasant, but I'd at least hoped for hygienic.

The shit it shitteth all day long: hayfever. Taking double the max dosage of hayfever tabs, but still spend half the day wandering around with a mouth like a fractious anus, one finger hesitantly laid a centimetre below my nose, intoning the hayfever sufferers' mantra, 'ah ... ahh ... ah, ah ... ah'.

It shitteth nightly also: In Liverpool, I sneaked a look at Sarah's weighing scales, and it turns out I weigh fourteen pounds more than I should do. That makes me a fat lardy munter overcompensating for my turdy lardiness by eating willy nilly. This must stop. There have to be limits set (clue: biscuits). Deadlines established (clue: bikini). (hah! bikini! What bikini?!) (clue: exactly. Get off your lardy arse).

Even shittier: I had hard-won tickets for a poetry recital (fuck off, okay, I like it), where Seamus Heaney, Harold Pinter, Tony Harrison (that's three living eternal geniuses - poets, for the uninitiated) and Vanessa Redgrave and someone called Balcon (actors, ah buh-leeve) were reciting the poems of Stephen Spender (mate of Chris Isherwood, whose book 'Goodbye Berlin' was filmed as 'Cabaret' - dead good, possessor of big feet, ex boyf of one of my uni profs, and well into artistically arranged nude Nazis - oh do keep up at the back, there, we'll be testing you on this later), discussing his work, and reading works of their own inspired by Spender. It took me forever to secure a single ticket at the very furthest end of the auditorium, and guess what? (clue: involves snoring, in bed, at home).

Yet shittiest: My fucking ever-reliable car, with the broken glow plugs, with the broken brake light, with the flat battery, with the used up battery cell, with the impending MOT in two week's time, and the garage twenty miles away across the river in Barking .... (clue: kranken. Again).

Solution? Went to boss and asked him to help do my work. Decided to go to work late every day, in jeans and trainers (I speet on your dress code), and play classical music extremely loudly at all times to distort colleagues' sense of absolute entitlement to my attention. Allowed myself with perfect impunity to lose my rag completely at least twice a day. Spent this evening in a mad effort to paint my fingers and toes a violent and repulsive purplish pink, phone several friends, plan a weekend of socialising, and bought some scales to go on a diet. Yumlicious.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 11:32 PM BST
Updated: Wednesday, 19 May 2004 11:38 PM BST
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Monday, 17 May 2004

Things I've done this weekend:

Gotten really bloody upset that Kinja isn't working at the moment.

Made a MoBlog

Spent thirteen hours on motorways, and still only advanced my CNPS score by one (22!)

Wound people up deliberately by being obstructively Tory at inopportune moments; I don't really and truly think that the poor could send their children to private school if they'd only re-prioritise. Sorry.

Done my level best not to chat with relatives.

Inherited twelve photographs of me and my sister in party clothing in the nineteen seventies.

Paddled in the beach at Formby. Until I saw the sheer billions of evil stinging jellyfish polka dotting the incoming tides.

Begun to be amused by Vernon God Little, after hating the first 53 pages.

Listened to a Kurt Weill / George Gershwin / Cole Porter cabaret set at the Purcell Rooms.

Eaten indonesian food with jatb, with whom I don't rant pointlessly about politics, and I feel extremely empowered about that...

Noticed that an entire family striding out of a funeral home in full black gear with white shirts looks bizarrely boy bandish.

Or like Reservoir Dogs. Except I had silver trainers on, which makes me Mr Brown.

Forgot to get in the Daimler to get to the graveside because I was (a) having fun singing in a high pitched voice, (b) desperate for a pee.

Snuck out of a wake to get a lift to a Cheshire Starbucks, then been accused of sneaking in beer on my return. Wish I'd thought of it first, you know.

Broken my mobile phone. The microphone doesn't work. Don't ring me. I'll only get irritated and cut you off without explanation or by your leave.

Taken about a gazillion photographs, and deleted about 300 in the realisation that obsessive attention to trivia is an unattractive thing in a humanoid.

Nearly committed murder against the hordes of Spanish exchange students who broke every single train exit barrier at London Bridge, eight hot, stickily sweat drenched, pulse thumpingly annoying hours into my journey home.

Hitched home in order to leave earlier. Which meant I had to stay awake. Mucho cola, as they Do Not Do Real Caffeine Up North.

Gotten jealous over the guest blogger's posts.

Sat this afternoon in the sun, staring at the customers and visualising their bloodied heads exploding over the windows behind. Not good. Not good at all.

Rejected another demand for money from Tybalt. I'm not being mean, I don't have any. She can join the queue of creditors.

Wondered whether to blog the unjustice of a date where I decide I'm not that interested, then end up all twisted up inside because, dammit, she also didn't phone me. Darntwattit, I was disinterested first, you bastard!

Prevented myself from blogging a devastatingly blow by blow account of bedroom events on said date as revenge, on the grounds that nobody will like me any more if they realise I'm capable of that sort of thing.

Secretly decided to do it months later, when nobody will notice. Hah.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 9:38 PM BST
Updated: Monday, 17 May 2004 9:42 PM BST
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Sunday, 16 May 2004

Guest Blog: Found

Mood:  amorous
Topic: Belle de Jour
Oh no! I'm blogging too late! So now it's technically Sunday, and that means a day has been missed on the blog.. Sorry, Vanessa... But I will try to make up for it.....


I always knew I would meet her. Eventually. Yes, I had made mistakes. Thought that I'd found her, then discovered I had been wrong all along. But I always knew she was still out there. Waiting for me to find her. I always kept that hope: kept on looking.

The first time we met, I had been so nervous that I hadn't eaten for three days. I was living on adrenaline and nicotine, hoping my stomach would calm down enough to give me at least a fighting chance of not looking exhausted. And malnourished. I needn't have worried: she looked exactly the same. As soon as I saw her, I began to laugh. A hearty chuckle born out of relief and an end to weeks of longing. She wound down the window.

"What are you laughing at?"
"Nothing. You just look as nervous as I am." She blushed, her top lip curling into that point I now know so well, and told me to "Get in you silly bugger"

The drive to my house seemed to take an age. Every traffic light on red, every crossing busy. And she was nervous - missing gears and jumping on the clutch. I tried not to look at her, to ease her nerves, but I couldn't help it. Here she was. With me. After all this time. I wanted to remember every minute. Soak up every second with her.

We dumped her bag in my room and, both suddenly shy, moved into the kitchen.
"How was the drive, then?" I asked. A normal, nothing question to try and calm both our nerves.
"Oh, you know. Ok."
She smiled at me. "Could murder a cuppa though."

I jumped at the chance of having something to do. Something to take my mind off the way she was making me feel. Just by being there. Leaning against the wall looking at me.

"White, half a sugar, right?" I hoped I'd got that right. I had heard somewhere that it was important to remember these things - like how someone took their tea and coffee. It meant something important, though what could be more important than just being with her right then, I couldn't for the life of me remember.

"Well remembered", she exclaimed. She sounded impressed. I hoped she was. I grinned to myself as I filled the kettle.

She moved to the window.
"Lovely view" she giggled.
"Mm" I mumbled, not meaning the wall of the yard she was looking at, but the view of her, in my kitchen, leaning over the sink to get a better look at the yard.

"Oh my God! We so have the same cd collection! I have almost all of these albums. That's freaky."
The tea made, biscuits produced, we had moved back to my room and she was examining everything on display. As if, by knowing what was contained within those walls, she would know me completely. She soon gave up: the only thing anyone could conclude from the jumble of artefacts in my room is that I am a person who collects 'stuff'.

But she was devouring the cd collection like it was full of treasures. Like a little girl in a toyshop.

"Can you put this one on? Please?" She handed me a Kristin Hersch cd. "I've not heard this one. Thanks"

I removed some random home-made compilation from the cd player and put her cd in. The Hi-fi refused to play. Typical. I pressed some buttons, jiggled the cd around, not wanting to seem the kind of person who would shout at an inanimate piece of machinery.

"What's wrong?"
"Oh, nothing. It's not playing. Does this sometimes."

I decided to hit the damned thing anyway and she laughed.

And then. Then she did something I will never forget. She moved up behind me. I felt her getting closer. She put her hands on my waist, then slowly, she moved them into the pockets of my jeans. I must have groaned. Or gasped. Or both. I don't remember. I just remember that wonderful feeling. I was afraid my legs were going to buckle and fail me. So I moved. Turned around to face her. She had that grin on her face. Like she knows she's 'got' me, and I don't need to say anything. Because she knows exactly how I'm feeling.

"I, er, ", I gasped.
"Shhhh", she implored, pressing her finger to my lips. I began to move my lips again, to say something, but she shook her head, so I stopped.

And then she kissed me.

Looking into my eyes, she stood on tippy-toes, and she kissed me.
Softly. Slowly. Brilliantly. Passionately. It was a kiss like I had never experienced before.

It was everything I had ever dreamed of and more. I put my arms around her waist and pulled her closer. She didn't resist, and I felt her buckle under the weight of what we were feeling.

She pulled her lips away and looked at me. Just looked, mouth open, for a few seconds. (though it felt like an age) And began to speak.

"I have wanted to do that for so long. I thought today would never come."

And right then, as she spoke, I could see my plans, the future I had mapped out, drift away, like a morning mist which, when cleared, reveals the most beatiful droplets of dew.

And I knew then, as she smiled at me, that I had finally found who I was looking for.


Well, I hope that 'cuts it' as a worthy post on the esteemed blog of Vanessa. I shall probably *not* be asked to return (he he).

I have enjoyed messing with your mind :o)


This page graced by sarsparilla at 4:49 AM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 18 May 2004 1:04 AM BST
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Friday, 14 May 2004

Guest Blog: Cunty-Minty-but-still-a-sweetie-guest-bloggy

Mood:  caffeinated
Now Playing: Eva Cassidy - Songbird
Topic: Creepy Lesbo
Cuntymint. Odd word, that. C-U-N-T-Y-M-I-N-T. But I like it. I don't know what it means, though I could hazard a guess, but I won't. Just, well, CUNTYMINT, innit?

I'm having an attack of the "Fuck You"s today. *twitch* Not enough sleep, too much caffeine, and the prospect of a weekend without my slippers. It's just too much. *drapes hand across forehead in dramatic pose*

But anyway. I think. Sometimes. (Really, I do - you can see the pain on my face and hear the whirring) So, well, in that vein, I present:

Ode to a Cow

I am Cow hear me Moo
I weigh twice as much as you
And I look good on a barbecue
Yoghurt curd cream cheese and butter's
Made from liquid from my udders
I am cow, I am cow, Hear me Moo

I am cow, eating grass
Methane gas comes out my ass
And out my muzzle when I belch
Oh the ozone layer is thinner
From the outcome of my dinner
I am cow, I am cow, I've got gas

I am cow here I stand
Far and wide upon this land
And I am living everywhere
From DC to NewFoundland you can squeeze my teats by hand
I am cow I am cow I am cow
I am cow I am cow I am cow

(I am cow: The Arrogant Worms)


I've been wandering around singing that song all day and, well, getting some odd looks. Of course, it could have been the pink tutu, but, well, personally, I think it was the song.

*taps fingers on desk in a really annoying rhythm while trying to think of something else to write*

My trainers smell.... They got wet the other day when I took them for a walk in the rain. They're dry now, but, well, they still smell. I smelled this morning too. I stayed up all night to do some work and, well, sitting in one place for too long and getting all hot with genius creativity kinda makes you smell. And I did. Smell, that is. So I had a shower. Why is it, that after a shower, despite getting out of the bath and rinsing down the tub, there are still bits of fluff left? Why can I never catch every bit of fluff in the bath? And you know, those last bits of fluff always look like something sinister when you're sharing a house with people you don't really know. Like, er, well, things that live, anyway.

Oooh - and I've had a *STALKER*. *nods head in conspirational manner*. Yes, a stalker, and a psycho one at that. She stalked me in a chat room, and then by text, and now she knows where I live. (Ok, so yes, I told her, but, well, she didn't seem psycho then!)

See, well, your esteemed author here didn't give me any particular topic to 'blog' on, and, well, I live a very boring life, so I'll make something up.. I'm supposed to be offensive, so, well, I'll be nice instead. Right. So, as I'm having a 'fuck you' moment right now, I'll list by name, all those I would gladly kiss on the cuntymint:

S, who is just so wonderful I'm starting to worry very much that she can't possibly exist in real life. Yummy.

S2, who is a 'thinking woman's crumpet'. Yummee.. Funny and wise, a definite tasty one.

C, who I just want because I know I can't have her. She tells me all about her love life, and always seems to have the whole of the lesbian population falling at her door. Apart from me. Or maybe I should start doing that....

NS, who is funny, gorgeous, brill to go on a night out with, but, unfortunately not interested. Just my type, too *sigh*

T. Utterly gorgeous, femme, curvy, sensual, but utterly utterly attached. :o(

N. Very attractive, but I only want her because I strangely like the idea of playing the Big Bad Lesbian and taking her 'innocence', then dumping her.

Hmmm... Right. Ok. Ya think that's enough to count as a post on the esteemed Vanessa's blog? Well, if it isn't, then fuck you, coz I'm falling asleep and have really really squeezed out the last of any inspiration I might have had just so I can blog this before collapsing, snoring and drooling, onto my bed. I've not slept for two whole days. And the bank, (the wankpots that they are) have taken money off me that they shouldn't have. So I have no cash. I'm living off my cheque book until next week. And then the ex rang me in an evil mood and shouted at me for ten minutes before hanging up. I listened. I really am too soft.

Ok... So I'll leave you with the following thought for the day:

Tough cookies crumble pretty easily. Cookies that are nice and soft in the middle are more flexible and harder to break.

Use that one next time someone tells you to 'toughen up'. (And I made it up all by myself - aren't ya proud?)

Oh - and suggestions are needed as to what topic to blog on tomorrow. As I'm a total comment-whore, I expect lots and lots of ideas. In the comments. To which I will reply to make it look like I'm more popular than I really am. Natch. :o)

This page graced by sarsparilla at 8:29 PM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 18 May 2004 1:05 AM BST
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Thursday, 13 May 2004

On Having a Posh Voice

When you have a posh voice (lifting at the end of sentences to indicate you've at some stage changed your accent by force, natch) you often get asked to read at funerals.
So in the run up to the funeral, you have to worry about your text, your lines, your phrasing, your delivery. You have to think about your clothes - a pair of shit trainers sneaked in under the dark suit will reflect in the spotlight at the lectern, you'll never get away with it.
You have to deal with the clammy palms, the false starts, the rehearsal with the vicar, and the waiting in the apse for your cue.
As you wait, closer to the coffin than anyone else in the church, you recall what you had forgotten.
It's a funeral.
Someone you loved is dead and inside that box. That box right there.

Inevitably you cry. Because it's so sudden, so close to you, and you're alone, it's big lurching gulping sobs, not the snuffle of slow realisation you see in the congregation out front.
Nobody next to you has a tissue, because nobody is next to you. Nobody can lean over and squeeze your arm. Seeing your cousin snuffling doesn't help you, because your cousin's face is one in a sea of faces, all pointing up at you.
You have to wipe your nose on your sleeve, and practise gulping the snot down. You have to count to breathe evenly because your cue is coming. You have to remember to wipe your mascara upwards, because nobody's there to tell you that it's halfway down your face and glinting in the lamp's glitter. You need to get your voice back down an octave or two from strangulated sob to normal, because here's your cue.
You get to worry what people think of you. Whether they rolled their eyes when you fluffed a line.

Then you get to hope there's no toilet paper on your shoe, and your black jacket isn't covered in grey cat hairs as you descend the steps to the pews again, where for decorum's sake you'll sit at the end, with the smelly and eccentric aunties who need easy exit routes in case their incontinence pads don't last.

Nobody will say if you did okay or not, because nobody's interested in your reading. They're caught up in themselves.

Staring up at the altar, you're going to try to calm your breathing and your racing pulse back down so you can focus on the reason you're there - to think about and pray for the soul of the person who has died. You try to do this, but spend so much time feeling guilty for having not really thought about them much so far, having only cared about not fucking up your reading, that you're ushered out of the church on the arm of a relative you don't like before you got around to grief at all.

You posh voice affords you all these privileges. It never fucking gets you invited to speak at a wedding or a christening.

So that's why I'd rather get in the box myself than read at my granddad's funeral tomorrow. Okay?

This page graced by sarsparilla at 3:00 PM BST
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Wednesday, 12 May 2004

Topic: Shy Lux

Kill Bill
Brilliant. Like watching somebody else playing on their playstation in front of you. Really badly.
Although I could have done with remembering to return it to the dvd shop less than two weeks overdue, then I'd have had enough money to buy it.

The Butterfly Effect
Absolute toss, but harmless enough. Lovely ending, which fit the Oasis track in the background perfectly, and that made me instantly know what I'm going to write in my last blog post, in July. Ashton Kutcher reminds me horribly of someone I know, without the acne. He seemed inordinately pleased when I told him this.
By the way - sitting alone in the front row of even a mildly mind fuck style of horror movie? Bad idea. You're not going to like it when they burn the doggie.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Absolute crappy bollocks. Not worth the popcorn.
Saw this on the big screen at Odeon Leicester Square - but was seated so far away, I might as well have waited and watched it on my postage stamp sized portable. Still, they'd decorated all the auditorium seats in the same fabric as Joel's bed, which was a minor, momentary mind wobble when the lights went up.
I usually love Charlie Kaufman's movies - okay they never quite hit the spot, but that feeling of not being quite on the button, but insane to have tried is terribly attractive in a movie. However, this one was pants. I understood about 40% and couldn't be bothered to try to understand the rest.
Whoever the woman is who dumped Kaufman three years back, and made him obsess over this nostalgic lovesick nonsense, you owe me ten pounds fifty.

Now this is a good movie. I'm a little disturbed by how violent I like my movies at the moment, but hooray for untrained actors like Eric Bana who eschew thinking themselves into a role in a precious diva-like fashion, and actually have a bash at acting the script.

For some reason, I didn't manage to download imagine the sound to this movie properly - after a gazillion codecs, I managed to get sound that registers at whisper volume if I crouch with my head right by the laptop speaker. It's a peculiarly intimate way to see a movie. Me and Alfred Molina - complicit audiences to Salma Hayek's great performance. Didn't know she was Arab-American, by the way.
Overall, a little too much money spent - sometimes a movie seems so slickly produced, you end up wondering if they would have tried that little bit harder had all that glossy golden crowd scenery been available.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 6:45 AM BST
Updated: Wednesday, 12 May 2004 6:45 AM BST
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Tuesday, 11 May 2004

Unwarranted Attack on a Fellow Blogger

Now Playing: Jacques Brel: 'Jojo'
Topic: Lactose Incompetent

I'm really really not sure what I make of a blog called Scattered Words.

I was obviously, as an out homo, going to take exception to lines like this:

"10. Develop self-discipline. Do something every day you don't want to do. The homosexual/lesbian emotional mindset is very self-centered and self-indulgent; recovery means learning to be Christ-centered and self-denying."

So I made every attempt not to take offence, and to listen properly to where he's coming from.

Reading on, the guy's explanation for blogging his attempts to brainwash himself out of being gay in order to fully embrace religion goes:
"So what does that have to do with anything now? Not all childhood abuse survivors are homosexual, you say? You say right. Though, being exposed to sex so early -- being forced to deal with adult issues so soon screwed me up a little. As a result, I was sexually active "by choice" at a pretty early age. Thirteen, if I remember correctly. Throw in a rocky relationship with an emotionally distant and detached father ... well you get the idea.

The sexual abuse robbed me of my childhood. I skipped some pretty key developmental steps that I'd give anything to go back and change. But I can't. I didn't grow into a "man" the way I was supposed to and I can't do it now either (at the age of 22). My experiences now will never mirror what a 12 year old boy (or whatever age) goes through."

Fair enough. It's deeply personal.

I disagree strongly but who am I to say that billions of twelve year olds have repressive disturbing experiences of childhood? Who am I to rant on about the gazillions of kids who were abused sexually as children who don't use it as a lifelong excuse to claim victim status in all things? Who am I to point out that it's the concept of 'normal' stages of development that history proves is a false concept?
Who am I to note that this guy's abdicated all responsibility for his own desire, and made even feeling love / lust or interest into a transgressive act?
Who am I to point out that this sort of thing demonises the church in a way that I also object to?
Who am I to point out that continually going on and on and on about gay porn whilst berating oneself is possibly far more perverse and masochistically sexualised than simply enjoying it, and accepting who you are?

And then he links to "christian porn". What's with that? Methinks the ladyboy doth protest too much.

I understand that this is someone's personal thoughts.
I do. Why is it that something about the thing reminds me of the engineered titillation of Belle de Jour?

Particularly when you read something as agonised and misguided as this:
"I'm absolutely devasted by the fact that I'm gay.
[...] I'd love to be at any other place other than where I am. I'd love to be able to make fun of myself and not take all this so seriously -- but it weighs so hard on my heart. It hurts so much. It's like a disease. A chronic illness that no one really knows what the cure (or cause). Except for those of you whom would say Jesus (and sin). And I agree."

I have no wish to kick someone while they're obviously down. But I'm gay, and I've been broadly christian. Not only is this not the answer, this is so Wrong, so utterly Wrong, that my every busy body fibre of being cries out against it, demands I protest.
The attitudes portrayed in the blog so desperately require some form of non-judgemental counselling, not anonymous blogging. Somebody needs to listen to this guy, not to tell him that gay is right, or gay is wrong, or gay is taking you to hell. But to find out why in hell's name he thinks blaming other people's actions is going to allow him to absolve himself from responsibility for deciding for himself who he is. What he is.

I have to stop. It's making less and less sense the more I write. And I could rant all day.

I dunno. More evidence of Why Blogs Are Wrong?

This page graced by sarsparilla at 6:13 PM BST
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Monday, 10 May 2004


Topic: Yidaho

Events in Abu Ghraib, Chechnya, and Haiti have had at least one tiny ripple, over here - I re-animated my'dormant membership of Amnesty International.

You'll probably think it's tofu knitting, if you're right of centre, or appeasement if you're leftist, but Amnesty really works.
My personal conviction about this stems from a bizarre experience of receiving a reply to an Amnesty letter once.
I recall I was working with a muslim academic from UAE on translating some of Edward Said's fables, many years ago, when an Amnesty letter I'd written to the then leader of Israel resulted in a personal reply. The Secretary of State himself (later to become president) had decided to take the time to write back to me to explain in great detail why his army had been instructed to kill arab children in the street. Apparently I was a victim of media propaganda, and was not to think of these dangerous terrorist militias as 'children' per se. Oh, and that the killing would continue, thanks.
The job I was working on at the time I received this state apologia for the most incredible brutality put me into contact with arab academics some people who were extremely interested in what an Israeli government's justification of child killing might be -- especially when its intended audience was not the UN, the US, any figure of state at all, but a UK undergraduate who had written simply asking why it happened.

It's the simplicity of the thing that makes Amnesty work. You write letters, and you ask why. You ask if it might be possible to calm down, old chap. You remind them that someone somewhere knows these people are still alive.

Current Appeals for Action:
  • Haiti: The re-trial of Louis Jodel Chamblain ? a test of the judicial system in Haiti
  • Women of Rwanda: marked for death
  • Belarus: Stop the silencing of trade union activists
  • Ratification - Bahrain
  • Angola: Stop forcible eviction of families
  • Stop violence against women - Act now
  • Ratification - Jamaica
  • Thailand's anti-drug policy should not be killing people
  • Burundi: Women under attack
  • Ratification - Burundi
  • USA: "Double jeopardy" for some Guantanamo detainees
  • "Justice only in heaven" ? End the death penalty in Uzbekistan
  • Ratification - Yemen
  • Viet Nam: Help free Le Chi Quang, imprisoned for internet use
  • Mexico: Stop violence against women in Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua
It costs #24 or USD$25, or CA$20, or AUS$55 or Kr240 to join Amnesty International. Then you get to write some letters to Ministries of Foreign Affairs, and that might cost you a few stamps.

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Updated: Monday, 10 May 2004 9:23 PM BST
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