these moments that I've had.

Monday, March 31, 2003  

Lovely weekend, meeting wonderful world wide web buddies at Duckie.

First weekend of British Summer Time and the club was as hot as the music and clientele usually are. It (didn't) help(ed) that it was also month-end and the pay-packets were full, leading to non-regulars supplementing the usual crowd, filling the club until fit to burst. This was one night were it paid to locate yourself near to the Readers Wifes DJ booth and the gents toilets, taking the outside route from fire exit to entrance in order to get a round in at the bar. Due to my larger frame of late(yeah right!), I spent a good deal of the night sitting on the window sills outside the pub to cool down!

Japan, Kate Bush, Duran, Bowie, Siouxsie, Peaches, Strokes, Electric Six, Hole, OMD(yes it WAS early OMD), Junior Senior = eclectic.

H2Dance weren't a patch on the Al Quaeda State Ballet..... for comedy value, but were much better dancers. A great end to a very mixed, and sometimes absent, bag for March's Contemporary Dance Month at Duckie.

posted by Darren | 8:40 PM

Saturday, March 29, 2003  

suck this!

work sucks.

war sucks.

the local gay bar usually sucks, but was ok last night.

martin met with gfsn (gay football supporters network) friends at this local gay bar of ours and begged a bed for the night in our corner of east london, so's he wouldn't have to go home to brixton in the dead of night. dave and i played pool with lucio for the first time in weeks. dave excelled.

then work sucked all over again today.

hey! the weekend is here, though.

oh, we also can't have the dog that we met on monday at battersea dogs home and that i've been dreaming about all week, as he is hyper-active, too young and needs more attention than we can give him.

that sucks.

posted by Darren | 1:01 AM

Wednesday, March 26, 2003  

About time.
It was built by the Kafka-esque Ministry of Public Building and Works between 1961-65.
Plans for its creation date back to the 1936 Post Office Sites Act.
It became operational on October 8, 1965 and was opened to the public in May 1966.
It cost £2.5m to build.
It attracted 1.5 million visitors in its first year.
The revolving (former restaurant) segment spans 3 metres and completes a full circuit every 22 minutes.

I see it every morning at the end of the street where I work and its long overdue for Grade II listed status.

posted by Darren | 10:45 PM

"White powder and gas mask are found in luggage at La Guardia, but Israeli woman is not detained and is allowed to board plane to Texas.

The Texas FBI won't return calls asking if the woman has actually been interviewed.

The powder tests positive for anthrax, then is declared to be harmless, but ten people become sick and are treated, plus the screeners (one of whom gets a rash on his hands) are decontaminated".

posted by Darren | 8:41 PM

Monday, March 24, 2003  

Due to being up until 5am watching the Oscars(London time, you know, 8hours ahead), I had the day off work. Met with Dave in the afternoon, at Battersea Dogs Home to be interviewed about being parents together for the first time. We were successful, had a look around and restrained ourselves from walking out of there today with a new bambino. We're off to Andalucia in a couple of weeks time, but will be right back to Battersea the day we get back. We are very excited and can't wait. Our dog-sitting-friends can't wait either. It's gonna be a great summer.

posted by Darren | 11:57 PM

Chicago, Chicago, Chicago. It's my kinda town, but not really my kinda movie. Still, I'm less concerned/bothered/pissed-off that it won Best Picture than I was about A Beautiful Mind last year. Zeta-Jones performance is being dissed in certain quarters, but hey! did you see the way she moved, still hit the notes, and conveyed nuance? THAT's acting too you know.

I feel for Scorsese, what does he have to do? Adrien Brody's win was nothing short of surprise, lovely to see the audience's spontaneous reaction, but then mind-numbing to listen to his speech drag on.... Did anyone have a sneaking suspicion that Roman Polanski might sneak in at the back, make it onto the stage to collect his Oscar for Best Director, then scoot off for a race to the Mexican border? Can anyone begrudge Nicole Kidman her win? I'd prefer Julianne Moore to have won either of her categories, Far from Heaven being fantastic, but then The Hours also so. Poor Meryl. 12 nods, only 2 wins and the last 20 years ago. I recently saw The Bridges of Madison County again, in which she was fantastic. Again, what does she have to do?

Jonathan Ross' BBC coverage was infinitely better than Barry Norman's previous cock-ups, but could they really only get Linda Blair, Elliott Gould and John Rhys Davies to guest? Poor.

posted by Darren | 11:52 PM

Sunday, March 23, 2003  

The lovely afternoon spent cooking, hosting and eating was followed by the first bike ride of the year. Yep, lazy bastards that we are, its even harder to get up the energy to face a ride without clear blue skies, so the bikes stay under cover from October thru March. Surprisingly little maintenance was needed before we were scooting off down to the Queen Mother Reservoir and banks of the River Lea in beautiful downtown Lee Valley River Park. Passed an Hassidic Jew eating an ice cream while his wife took the weight off her feet. Saw two teenage, pram-faced girls trying to tease two spotty bike-riding boys into getting them up the duff near one of the lock-gates. Further along, we saw a man struggling with the lock gates(WHY was he wearing his winter coat in 60 degree heat?), then his wife proceeded to pilot the narrow boat into the sides of the lock. Was the gap of over twenty feet not wide enough for you, love?

On arriving home, we parked our aching arms, backs, legs and buttocks on the sofa for an hour, to catch up on how many more British military personnel our American allies had managed to kill since we had left the house.

And now they're killing each other too, with one 'resentful' soldier throwing two grenades into a tent of sleeping colleagues, killing one and injuring eleven more. Could this be a consequence of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'? Had his advances been spurned? Had a relationship just ended and he needed revenge on a rival? Am I trivialising a serious matter? I don't think so. Love is a very serious business. On the other hand, is 'lust' a serious business? The latest is that he was disgruntled because he was not being sent to the front line, while some of his victims had that curious pleasure awaiting them the next day. Strange set of priorities he seems to have had in coming to the decision to throw grenades at his colleagues and fellow Americans. He could so easily have waited until some British soldiers were within throwing distance.

My friend Sally, or is it Maria, says I always manage to see gay sex or sexuality in everything - "You think everyone is gay!".

I say - "Your point?!"

posted by Darren | 8:25 PM

Another lovely day in London, less chilly than yesterday. First day of Spring was on Friday, so its come along just at the right moment. Long may it continue. Lucio came round for an impromptu lunch this afternoon. He is Australian and is pleasantly surprised by this years climate so far. He's not finding the usual clouds and rain to moan and bitch about. We cooked Indian and sat out in the garden for the first time this year. We hoped it would be like this until at least September. It won't be.

Duckie last night was great. Kiki and Herb were much better than the last time they played Duckie, before their excellent summer shows at the Soho Theatre last year. We didn't manage to see them do their Christmas show at the same venue, but wished we had. Last night matched their performances from the Soho Theatre rather than their last appearance at Duckie, for which we are eternally thankful. The queue at 10.30 proved their pulling power, it's usually a walk-in until at least 11. Also hanging around inside were DJ Tasty Tim and Heaven 17's Glenn Gregory, chain smoking and amusingly dancing to songs loosely associated with his former career - 'Being Boiled' and 'Love Action(I Believe in Love)'. Looked like he'd seen a little face-lift action to be honest. The music overrall was as good as it always is. I may be coming round to this being a weekly night out, rather than 2-weekly or once every month or so. Bloody hell, it's like being a teenager again!

posted by Darren | 8:05 PM

Saturday, March 22, 2003  

The music stopped abruptly at 2.20am, I am reliably informed by Joan, our neighbour on the other side from the party. She has the back bedroom, nearest the bathroom, while her twin boys have the front(always screaming at them, she is. Partially deaf, so needs to shout to hear the sound of her own voice. Heart of Gold though. Anyway....). Though she is hard of hearing she "has extra powers of feeling elsewhere" in her body and the vibrations from the bass were playing havoc with her heart, "what with me bein' menopausal 'n all". Thought she was going to have a heart attack, she did. She was just on the point of "doing something about it". Calling the police, I assumed, but knowing her, she could have been about to go round to give them a piece of her mind. I missed the music going off at the back, even though the noise was travelling to the front, as I was entranced by the behaviour of guests in the street, at the front of the house. The loutish behaviour from early Friday morning was repeated with increased vigour as family members decided this was the best time to get all those feelings off their chest that they'd been bottling up all these years. Large-breasted women in very sexy suits (red, white, rust) gave it their all, screamin' blue murder at each other and to the fella that "did their muvver wrong" (their father?), held back by younger men, worse for wear themselves. Others eating the Carribean fayre and dropping bits of it outside our house (stuck to the pavement like cement on tarmac this afternoon, it was, I had to take a hammer and chisel to it, to get it completely off) were all very relaxed about the screaming and goings-on, laughing and lapping it up. To us residents of our quiet, little, tree-lined street (all be it in an unsophisticated corner of north east London that has a bad rep), it was all very disconcerting and probably frightening for some of them, particularly the little, old couple opposite (she had a heart attack last year,for god-sake, I hope it didn't bring on a relapse).

Ultimately, though, it was all quite harmless and a bit of an adventure for our little community, off the main road into Walthamstow. We just don't want it every evening, OK?

The marquee now lies in darkness, no thumping bass, or any noise at all to speak of. The threat, predicted by Joan, of it happening all over again tonight seems to have passed.

Still, just in case, Joan is off out to the local pub and we're off out to Duckie at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern. Any excuse, though, eh?

posted by Darren | 8:32 PM

Its 1.40am. The fight in the street has just woken Dave after an hours sleep. He's not a happy man. The beat keeps pounding out from the marquee in the rear garden, two doors down. Looks like every neighbour in the whole area was warned, because this volume at this time of the morning, surely isn't legal. I'd have thought there'd be cops by now. Maybe they're all in Parliament Square.

posted by Darren | 1:41 AM

There is a wedding reception/party happening two doors down. We were warned/invited two days ago. They started a day early. Some relatives (sounded like they'd come down from the north for the wedding) decided to spend the time between 3am and 4.30am on Friday morning, standing in the street, shouting, cussin', fightin', screamin', laffin', walking up and down the street, and behaving in a way that I never did when I was that age. So it's not middle age creeping in.It's good manners. Have some god-damn respect for the neighbours, for your fellow citizens. It's a street of terraced houses, closely knit. Noise travels. Get me? There was absolutely no need for it to happen. After the week I've had at work, when we had some emergencies crop up to foil my plans of catching up on a seriously escalating workload, Friday was the glimmer of hope, the silver lining, where I would make a dent in the mountain. Getting about 4 hours sleep could have put paid to that. Was seriously pissed off with them this morning at 7am. I could have put a bag of shit through their letter box, I suppose, but I didn't, it's those 'good manners' spoiling my fun again. Dave said he thought about gunning the bike outside their house before setting off for work, but didn't. I, and I'm sure, plenty of other residents, thought about telling them to have some respect, shut it and act their age, but, you see, their house is the one referred to as "the druggies house", "the drug den", "the pikies house" - and you just don't mess with 'em. Don't get me wrong, we've never had any trouble with them, it's just good old intolerance and street gossip. But the threat is there, you see. Dig?

The wedding proper on Friday and we were treated to ragga, reggae, garage, R'nB, soul etc, at full volume all evening. Now, it was one night(don't you dare go complainin', it could turn into a daily event!), so it can be forgiven, but it's 12.15am now and I am not too confident that the silence that has just descended over East London is the end of it. Aahh, nearer 12.20am, now that I've re-read what I had written so far and it's just started up again. I may stay up all night, or as long as possible until I fall asleep at the keyboard - good preparation for staying up all night on Sunday for 'The Oscars' i suppose(8-hour time lag between LA and London, remember).

Alternatively, where are those ear-plugs we were so kindly offered at the Blue Man Group performance at the Las Vegas Luxor the other week?

posted by Darren | 12:29 AM

More Bombs Over Baghdad. But you didn't need me to tell you that.

"Our vision for the future of Iraq is of a country free of repression able to live peacefully alongside its neighbours and develop in a way its own people choose. It is I believe a progressive vision. We may face difficult times ahead but the decision we have taken is right.

It is important now that our country come together and support our armed forces in the task they face".

- Tony Blair - Prime Minister, United Kingdom.

"The B-2 bomber carries sixteen 2,000lb JDAM bombs. If all goes 100% as planned (eg. the bomb does not fall outside of its specified margin of error of 13 meters, and the GPS guidance system is not foiled by a $50 radio jammer kit, easily purchased), then here is what one such bomb does:

~ everyone within a 120 meter radius is killed;
~ to be safe from serious shrapnel damage, a person must be at least 365 meters away;
~ to be really safe from all effects of fragmentation, a person must be 1000 meters away.

The B-2s will be used upon targets within [the heavily populated] Baghdad".

- Prof Marc W. Herold, IraqBodyCount Project Consultant

Go figure.

posted by Darren | 12:13 AM

Thursday, March 20, 2003  

A Voice In Iraq

Read Raed.

posted by Darren | 11:30 PM

I thought 'Shock and Awe' was just one of those fancy names that the military, or governments, come up with when they need to label their exploits with something catchy, easily memorable and that will always conjure images of said exploits. But, no, 'Shock and Awe - Achieving Rapid Dominance' was written in 1996 by ex-military men, members of quangos that one senses are more right-wing than left, and with the support of the National Defense University in Washington DC.

It really does help to convince me that this war has been in the planning stage from before the last Presidential Election.

posted by Darren | 10:54 PM

Thanks Mr Oddverse for your help with my blog problems, even if I was being a little too techno-phobic and impatiently throwing the toys out of the pram before doing some of the basic p.d.

posted by Darren | 10:40 PM

Tuesday, March 18, 2003  

More problems with this template. You may not even see this post. It really is time to move on. Something is in the pipeline and has been for a few weeks and I think its time is nearer than I originally planned.

The British Government wins the vote, in Parliament, for the right to go to war. That's all Blair will need. His job is safe. For now. Clare Short goes back on her promise to resign and makes a hash of explaining why. The Laughing Gnome tries to laugh it up with Prescott and Blair in the House and they appear disinterested. Bush has Tom Daschel barking like a Jack Russell at his heels, but puts him outside with the few other dogs barking their dissent in America, comfortable that he has the support of the majority of the American public, because they haven't seen the bigger picture on their media.

A week is a long time in politics. A month long war with jubilant and liberated Iraqi's at the other end of it, will make it shorter and sweeter for Bush and Blair(oh, and for the leaders of Spain, Portugal and Australia, lets not forget).

posted by Darren | 10:40 PM

Monday, March 17, 2003  

I shall never drink Guinness again, look at green in the same way, say 'The Luck of the Oirish', be able to go see 'Evelyn'(lets face it, any excuse not to see that....Rob, how was it?), look for four leaf clovers, kiss the blarney stone, listen to Danny Boy, think of the Mountains of Mourne, all thanks to the March 17th blog of biologic show.

Scary Man.

In the photo, of course, not Mr

Another scary man and not a laughing matter, of course, but ha ha ha, hee hee hee, I'm the Laughing Gnome and I'm off!. Will Clare Short stand by her principles, or will she realise the bills are in and regret her presumptive strike on Mr Blair?

Anyway, countdown is commencing...

posted by Darren | 11:28 PM

Sunday, March 16, 2003  

Spring has sprung in London. Saturday brought a lovely walk along the River Lea with Dave, Liz, Lucio, Andy and Joseph. Great walking weather, still crisp, but clear skies and sunshine. Andy and Joseph gave up halfway and headed off to Burger King - the pace was too much for the youngsters. To be honest, after a stop-off at PC World, the rest of us headed to the Ferry Boat Inn for a couple of shandies before the last stretch back home.

Looking forward to summer days and evenings with friends.

Brolene worked wonders, though a little eye-twitching returned to the other eye this afternoon as I tried to catch up on missed Blog-reading, it has since subsided in time for our trip to see Far from Heaven with Liz and Martin, at UCI Lee Valley. This cinema is usually a place to be avoided due to the hordes of Russian thugs let in for free by Russian staff. We're hoping they won't want to see this film though, and as Equilibrium has just opened this weekend, they should all be in there.

Sunday 2
Far from Heaven is fantastic. As we hoped it would be. As we had been told by every critic it would be. As we were told by every American friend, late last year that it was. The wait, though, was not quite worth it. A little underwhelming, save for the beautiful cinematography and the outstanding performance from Julianne Moore (and a few snatches of Dennis Quaid's tum and making out with guys, but I digress, and not in a respectable or cool way). Much more of a leading role than Nicole Kidman's turn in The Hours and, you know, just, well, better.

posted by Darren | 5:06 PM

Saturday, March 15, 2003  

Right-eyelid flickering turns into really-stressed-out eyes and left-eyelid stye. Not nice. Not comfortable. Brolene eases the discomfort. Never had one before, don't want one again, had to lay-off staring at PC screen for 15 hours a day. I'll give it another couple of days.

posted by Darren | 11:33 AM

Wednesday, March 12, 2003  

There ARE lighter moments DG, really there are

"'re Beautiful
Beautiful to me-e-e-e-e..."

"Oh yeah, Beautiful........."

repeat to fade

until Martin's head explodes.

Christina is big on the Leeds circuit apparently, and after a weekend there, Martin never wants to hear her again.

Not that he was a fan of the screaching harpy beforehand.

posted by Darren | 10:21 PM

Tuesday, March 11, 2003  

Blair remains defiant. Blair remains nervous as hell and stressed out beyond belief. Cameroon throws another spanner in the works, well they still feel they have to follow the French, forty years after kicking them out.

I'm stressed too. Well, my right eyelid is. Its been flicking about all over the place for the last few weeks, but picked up the pace a little today, to the point where it was constant at one point. A Hummingbird sitting on my right cheek. Can't put my finger on it, work's not too bad (now I've got that project that was overdue from last July partially completed) and home life is fine, debts are being reduced through careful conservation of funds(LA and Las Vegas not withstanding - they were a gift, OK?!), holidays less 'exotic' for the remainder of the year, possibly buying pets to complete our pretend-family-unit (which should calm me down a little at least! haha).

Add to this a 'foot problem' aggravated in the USA and not being made any better by standing on the Tube to and from work each day, and I'm a frickin' mess.

posted by Darren | 11:37 PM

Monday, March 10, 2003  

War sucks, or throw another grenade on the barbie
Blair on the ropes. An audience of women bring Blair to his knees in one of the worst mistakes of Tony's career as Prime Minister. Did he not learn the lesson of trying to have a conversation with the woman, who's husband was lying in a hospital corridor, close to death, after ending up on a never-ending NHS waiting list? Obviously not. Though I understand their viewpoint and definitely leaning towards the "no-war" stance, there is just no talking to these people. He was unable to make a decent argument that they would be prepared to listen to. Talking over the top of him. Not letting him complete his sentences. The undeducated trying to argue the toss with the University-educated, ex-solicitor, Prime Minister of the country and coming out.... on top.

Does this not finally prove the point that you're on a one way journey to deselection or defeat at the next election, if not before? Political suicide. Career destruction. What does Bush have lined up for Blair? UN Secretary General? Head of Nato? US Vice President? Obscurity? Never mind the destruction of (up to?) a million lives, including allied soldiers(yeah, they're paid to do the job, but did they sign up to have a gun placed on their temple by their own Supreme Commander?).

I think we are also all getting tired of the war before it's even begun. A damning indictment of society, the influence of the American fascination with fast food, fast sound-bites, the short sharp shock.... move on to the next target. North Korea? How long? US planning Nuclear destruction of the North, says Pyongyang. Anyone listening? Probably not. CBS Nightly News is not CNN. Even the BBC is distracted by Beckham or the perfectly well-timed Royal Scandal du jour, about to hit the headlines and a screen near you any time in the next few days. Bullseye. Fire Michael Fawcett at your peril, your Royal Highness. 'Kiss (surely not?) and tell' on its way to a screen near you... ad in finitum.

posted by Darren | 10:22 PM

The Midnight Puzzle, in honour of Diamond Geezer's Birthday

As well as Dave's quiz in search of his own weight (see his Sunday Quiz), guess Dave's age for 10 bonus points.

posted by Darren | 7:26 AM

Sunday, March 09, 2003  

The first week back at work after a holiday is always a drag, made worse the longer the holiday is and by how good the break was. We had a great week away in LA and Las Vegas. A colleague at work goes to Vegas and San Francisco in a few weeks. She can take our Time Out Las Vegas guide, we won't be back there for another 10 years at least. Looking forward to her stories from San Francisco, reminding me, like San Fran Blogs that I read, why I really must return there sometime soon.

A week that dragged at work was in need of a blast at the end of it, so we went to Duckie on Saturday night with Rob and Lucio. Far too drunk, after thinking about giving up alcohol recently, I think my behaviour later on in the evening and in the car on the way home, confirmed I should give this a try.

posted by Darren | 10:37 PM

Thursday, March 06, 2003  

A Vacation in a larger than life Disneyland
And in contrast to the wide open spaces of the Mojave, we have the wide open expanse of each hotel casino floor, including that within the medieval(sic) exhuberance of Excalibur, our home for the next four days.

Cruising The Strip(for photographs and shops, you understand), in search of Dino and Frank, Sammy and Wayne Newton(My ears really are bleeding now), we trawled through casino and shopping mall after casino and shopping mall, our fitness levels and age showing after a couple of hours and less than 2 whole hotels later. Back to the room for a rest before heading off again.

Glitz, glamour, style, substance, all in short supply. High gloss, tack, superficiality, exhuberance, commercialism, grand scale, all these things we found in abundance. What did we expect?

Big Shot on top of Stratosphere Tower cleared the cobwebs(and the bowel!), the buffet at Bellagio filled the tum(ten-fold), the slots drew us in but we resisted to the tune of only a $10 loss. The towering facades enthralled us. The older casino-hotels sometimes left a lump in the throat, sometimes just left us feeling dirty. The Hoover Dam gave a respite to the onslaught after a couple of days. Not as big as I'd thought all these years, though you wouldn't get me scaling down it or leaning over too far. The Blue Man Group at Luxor woke us up on Day 4, when we thought we could take no more. Weird. Wonderful.

The whole experience was something that had to be done and something that only needs be done once every ten years, no more. By then, as BW says, hotels will be torn down to be replaced by even more startling visions from the canon of "Over the Top". Then it will be worth another trip.

And possibly the most interesting part of the trip? - the drive back along I-15 south, through the Mojave and the casino-hamlets, road signs, curiousities and scenery that surrounds this great road trip. Time to take Route 66 would have been cool, but it was time we did not have.

posted by Darren | 12:25 AM

Tuesday, March 04, 2003  

Then the rains came
I-15 heading north east into the Mojave, heading for the bright lights and 24-hour madness of swingin' Las Vegas. Before that though, the rolling desert, the climb to over 4000feet, the oasis at Barstow that less than lives up to my anticipation, the ghost town at Calico, with its faux train ride and fake historical landmarks from the birth of the west, the taster for Vegas in the shape of Jean and Primm, 2 points on the map that are merely contrived place-names, consisting of gambling resorts and a world-class coaster in Desperado, just over the Nevada border, the spots of rain from a rare southern Californian wet front moving in from the Pacific, then there it is, rising out of the desert and the fading light behind us.

posted by Darren | 8:25 PM

Monday, March 03, 2003  

See those Six Flags flying over the desert?
The Coasters soared higher than they did the last time I was there, the boys wandering the park were younger and buffer than way back when, the company was more enthusiastic, unable to contain his frustrations at the closure of "X" at the start of our day. "Psyclone" knocked the wind out of me before I had the chance to really start my day. I hung on for "Riddlers Revenge" and "Goliath", but by the time the maintenance had been completed on "X" and it made its first appearance, the only way to describe how I felt was 'nauseous'. I sat that one out. Dave queued for two and a half hours to have the living daylights scared out of him, while I stalked the exit area and its surroundings looking at the aforementioned buffed boys. Obviously, thoughts of regret, about not getting in line, came and went - resurfaced... but when Dave emerged into the twilight nearly 3 hours after he'd disappeared into the line, I think I may have had the better time of it after all.

posted by Darren | 8:02 PM

Sunday, March 02, 2003  

"To plunder, to slaughter, to steal, these things they misname
empire; and where they make a wilderness, they call it peace."

- Tacitus

posted by Darren | 8:28 PM