these moments that I've had.

Friday, May 30, 2003  

Still, that annoying cow, Anouska, is the first to be evicted from the Big Brother house, with 46% of the vote.

Jon was SOOOO the favourite to go with his inane, boring rambles on the cult of Star Wars(which I am partial to, but not to the point where I own any books and know what's going on in the expanded universe of....shit, I KNOW WHAT HE'S TALKING ABOUT! Quick! Someone call the men in white coats), reciting Hotel California(in the style of Jemini) and being the group prig.

So, Anouska's first night misdemeanors of telling the other girls how it's going to be if they're bitchy, of getting blind drunk on 3 glasses of wine and becoming VERY LOUD, came back to haunt her. Genuine disappointment, then, from her, from the housemates('The Cook' had a tear in his eye...and HE voted to evict her, along with 5 other housemates) and, you know, possibly from me too.

It's real life, you know.

posted by Darren | 11:27 PM

I think I may have a...


posted by Darren | 11:01 PM

Thursday, May 29, 2003  

Thank You for Loving Me

Thank you for hearing me
Thank you for loving me
Thank you for seeing me
And for not leaving me

Thank you for staying with me
Thank you for not hurting me
You are gentle with me

Thanks for silence with me
Thank you for holding me
And saying I could be

Thank you for saying baby
Thank you for holding me
Thank you for helping me

Now I've a strong strong heart

posted by Darren | 7:38 PM

Wednesday, May 28, 2003  

I don't think that they are doing it intentionally, but the twin boys next door are teasing Edward, by showing him their rabbits every evening. They put them in the 'run' in their garden, but make a bit of a show of carrying them to it from the hutch. Edward can't see the hutch, but he knows it's there. The 'run' is in full view, though, once he stands on his back legs to rise above our wild borders and peer through the fence.

And once he has seen them, he won't be calmed.

I don't think that they realise that if Edward gets through, he'll tear the rabbits to bits.

posted by Darren | 7:30 PM

Tuesday, May 27, 2003  

Further proof that they do things differently down in Louisiana: A couple was just popped for trying to join the 215 Foot-High Club.

posted by Darren | 6:39 PM

Monday, May 26, 2003  

We constructed a new garden gate today. We are very pleased with our work. Edward eyed it suspiciously, looking for cracks in our plan.

posted by Darren | 6:58 PM

Sunday, May 25, 2003  

Just had a mad few days(for me!). Had to go 'oop north' on business on Friday. Really whacked me out, up at 6am, home after 7pm(yeah, I know, that's nothing for some people, but it was a long day, spent mostly travelling by train, with some hard mental slog in between trips). Only had energy to slump in front of the TV on Friday night. On Saturday we had to take the car in for some work that we were told last week would take about an hour. We got to the garage at 8.30am. We got back from the garage at 1pm. We went back to bed! We had to prepare our feeble, old, knackered bodies for the Eurovision Song Contest, and our trip to Islington to the Chapel Bar, to watch it with friends. Due to feeling guilty about leaving Edward, Home Alone and not really being all that interested in the whole thing anyway, Dave stayed at home, but delivered Martin and I to the Tube and picked us and Rob up after the festivities, at around 11.30pm. We(and, in particular, me!) were a little worse for wear. Copious amounts of alcohol were consumed by all. Not big nor clever, as I was being very loud in the car on the way home (Oh dear, regular readers, and friends, will be aware that we've been here before, and didn't I make a mid-year resolution to give up the booze? Yes, I remember it well. Damn that Stella Artois!). I'm glad the UK got Nil Points. The 'song' was shit, the singing was shit and the act looked like a couple of scouse hairdressers. Embarrassing. Rob predicted the Turkey victory(inside information?) and we all agreed that we could understand why they won. We still can't remember a thing about the Belgian song, and they came second by 2 votes. I'll be looking for my personal favourite, Iceland, on the internet shortly. A respectable top ten finish.

So, as Dave says today, drunk people and kebabs. This was followed by fitful sleep, waking at 06:18 with a stonking headache and then getting up the energy to go celebrate Rob's 18 years at HMV, with Dave, Martin, Jason and Edward, at a local village pub. (The village being that part of Walthamstow(North East London) from way back when. The Nag's Head - very nice too, though the Live Jazz was a bit of a racket). Afternoon, in the sun, drinking lager shandy and trying unsuccessfully to stop Edward chewing through his leash. Oh well.

And, at last. Peace and quiet. Alone at home.

And then Dave's hayfever kicks in again, sending him to bed like a bear with a sore head. I hope he sorts it out pronto(and he is off out in search of chocolate to help sort it), 'cos it's disconcerting to have his negative vibe around. I'M THE NEGATIVE ONE.

posted by Darren | 7:20 PM

Thursday, May 22, 2003  

Go David!

'Friends' have tried to fashion the relationship Dave and I have into something that they see as 'how relationships should be'.

Well, I say:

"Leave it be will ya'! You've not had a relationship since the last one ended 4 years ago, which in itself was only 6 months after the previous one ended, both for the same reason - you are a control freak, unable to give your men a moments peace! Always yakkin' about NOTHING OF ANY INTEREST!"

I thank you.

NB: WHY is this person a friend of mine?

posted by Darren | 8:23 PM

Wednesday, May 21, 2003  

Is Larry Wachowski a cross-dressing, bi-curious wife beater, or is Mrs LW, Thea Bloom, pulling a fast one due to Larry's impending mega-wealth?

posted by Darren | 7:08 PM

Tuesday, May 20, 2003  

Just in, the first police report of a stolen Segway, inventor Dean Kamen's wondrous self-balancing transportation device. According to Kent, Washington police, the theft of the two-wheeled ride occurred on April 28 after owner Robert Ballantine, 62, left it locked up outside his home. Cops remain on the lookout for the hot wheels, which officers described in their report as a "unique motorized two wheeled walking machine." Memo to Mr. Ballantine: If you're going to shell out $5000 for a Segway, perhaps you should spring for a better anti-theft system than a $15 bicycle chain.

posted by Darren | 9:02 PM

Sunday, May 18, 2003  

I fell in love with a boy from Barnard Castle.
We spent the day together at the U2 concert at Elland Road, Leeds in 1987.
He lifted me up in his strong arms, so I could get a better view.
I never saw him again and I can't remember his name.

posted by Darren | 6:52 PM

Friday, May 16, 2003  

To Hull and back, on a rancid wind.

Idler Magazine (no, I hadn't heard of it either), last week announced the findings of its survey into the worst places in Britain to live. Survey organiser, Dan Kiernan, was surprised by some of the outbursts, saying:

"We have seen a lot of anger from people who grew up in these places but managed to escape".

I felt this way about my home town of Skelmersdale, which for all intents and purposes is now a suburb of Liverpool. The description in 3 below, therefore, can also be levelled at Skem, with the word 'metropolis' replaced with 'New Town'. In fact, the descriptions in 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 9 below could easily be used when describing this town on the Lancashire plain, which 40 years ago was a sleepy ex-mining and farming village mid-way between Manchester and Liverpool, where my family on my dad's side have lived for centuries. Then it was decided, by government quango(isn't it always the way) of course, that the slums of Liverpool needed overspill, and the residents wide-open spaces and fresh air. The flat plains of Lancashire held the answer. All well and good in a humanitarian kinda way, but 30-40 years later, the Development Corporation has shut up shop, government tax-breaks have long since disappeared and with it, the factories and jobs.

I go back now and the dialect of the old residents is noticeably absent, replaced by the faux scouse of the Liverpudlian refugees. Graffitti, vandalism, loutish behaviour are everywhere, especially when dark. During the day, though over 10% of the workforce in some areas of the town don't have a job to go to, the streets are unusually quiet. They're all indoors, on their Playstations or watching Superbikes on British Eurosport, downing their Carlsberg Special Brew and smoking their B&H Superkings.

Colin Pickthall (MP for West Lancashire, which includes Skelmersdale), has reported to the House Select Committee on New Towns. His report includes:

"Skelmersdale, in my constituency, suffers from all the problems of other New Towns with the addition of being relatively isolated (it has no rail links) and in an area of high unemployment since the 1970s.

Over many years I have sought to make the point, to successive Governments, that concentration on Inner City deprivation, important as it was, led to an ignoring of the needs of smaller urban centres like Skelmersdale".

I left the town in 1986 to go to Newcastle Polytechnic. I was always going to be the one to go into Higher Education. I was the first in my family to do so. When I got there, though, the downward spiral that had started at Skelmersdale College, where my 'A'-Level results didn't live up to the straight A's I'd got in 6 'O'-Levels at school, hit rock bottom, when I spent two years getting drunk and enjoying the big city life in Newcastle. This, of course, included discovering that I WAS gay after all and that there WERE other boys like me. This was the main reason for escaping Skelmersdale, oh yes. It was so obvious. I couldn't ever go back to that small-town creed.

And going back now, the anger I used to feel about my background has gone and has been replaced by sadness about whats happened to the village of my grandparents youth. My grandmother, who is now 90 years old and has lived in the village, and then town, her whole life, and who has never even been abroad has fond memories of the way life used to be. There were hard times, but you felt safe. There was poverty, but a sense of community. Most of this is gone. I wonder how long she will be with us, now that she rarely ventures outside her home.

Back to Hull then. The descriptions below, while they may bring out a defensive nature in some residents, on the whole, just made me smile. Lets face it, all towns, all places, have their good sides and their bad, so we may as well have a chuckle at some of the more reactionary views of home towns.

More on Hull:

"The silent threat of violence hangs in the air and a bunch of lunatic architects were let loose with gallons of concrete in the 60's and 70's".

"Depending on wind direction, you either get the 'smell of death' from a chocolate factory, or the whiff of rotting carcases and rancid flesh from a tannery".

My other favourites, though, from outside the Top Ten:

Welwyn Garden City: "A place that sucks the daylight out of the day".

Sunderland: "Like living in the world of 'Night of the Living Dead'".

Bath: "A retirement town with narrow streets clogged by tourists like grease in a Scotsman's arteries".

posted by Darren | 9:42 PM

Thursday, May 15, 2003  

1. Hull: The streets act as wind tunnels, and litter and dog mess lies upon the pavements as numerous as grains of sand on a beach.

posted by Darren | 11:25 PM

2. Portsmouth: A stream of half-dead pensioners, teenage mums and shell-suit-bedecked amoebic life forms.

posted by Darren | 6:36 PM

Wednesday, May 14, 2003  

3. Liverpool: A grimy, broken-glassed metropolis without taste or decency.

posted by Darren | 7:48 PM

Tuesday, May 13, 2003  

4. London: Why would anyone want to pay £200,000 for a two-bedroom terrace in a slum where there is hardly any oxygen?

posted by Darren | 7:04 PM

Monday, May 12, 2003  

5. Leeds: A city of random shouting and violence.

posted by Darren | 8:42 PM

Sunday, May 11, 2003  

6. Glasgow: The streets are paved with vomit and the inhabitants are as vicious as they are stupid.

posted by Darren | 1:42 PM

Friday, May 09, 2003  

7. Milton Keynes: The concrete cows are the only redeeming feature in this Lego-land hell.

posted by Darren | 11:38 PM

8. Bridgwater: It is like a wild west ghost town, black and noxious.

posted by Darren | 7:14 PM

Thursday, May 08, 2003  

9. Crewe: On the darkest nights in Crewe, every moment has the quality of being your last.

posted by Darren | 7:57 PM

Wednesday, May 07, 2003  

10. Cardiff: It claims to be a capital city, but never have we come across such a small, partisan, un-cosmopolitan hole.

posted by Darren | 9:53 PM

Tuesday, May 06, 2003  

In the 835 days Americans have passed since the inauguration of George W. Bush, we have come to know him as a man who wears
many masks to suit a variety of political purposes. Even before he won the lawsuit that put him in his lofty position, we saw
a man who cloaked his vision in terms that smacked of humility.

"Ours will be a humble nation," Bush said during the Presidential debates.

There are a number of words which can be applied to the actions of this administration, but "humble" is not one of
them. At the time, however, it suited his purposes to make Americans believe he saw himself as unassuming, perhaps even small.

This was the same man, however, who mocked Texas death row inmate Karla Faye Tucker so viciously before she rode the lightning
to whatever awaits us on the Other Side.

He was asked, in an interview for Talk Magazine during the campaign, what Tucker might say to him if she were given the chance to plead for her life.

"Please," said Bush with pinched face and lips drawn down in a quivering bow as he imitated the woman about to die, "don't kill me."

Then he laughed.

You would think we'd have known better 835 days ago. We didn't, mostly because the news media decided such stories were without
merit. Now we are a humble nation that brazenly disregards the entire planet as we seek military solutions to diplomatic problems.
Now we are a humble nation that breaks treaties by the boatload and 'punishes' nations that foolishly believe they can make decisions for themselves. One is forced to wonder if Bush sat in front of a television as the 'Shock and Awe' firebombing/cluster-bombing of Baghdad began, face pinched and mouth drawn down, saying "Please, don't kill me" in the voice of an Iraqi civilian.

One is forced to wonder if he laughed afterwards.

- William Rivers Pitt from

posted by Darren | 7:28 PM

Thursday, May 01, 2003  

Its very tiring, this work lark, isn't it?

Still, the imbalance that is 'The Bank Holidays of England and Wales' comes around two weeks after the last one and we get another 3-day weekend.

After one more tiring day at work of course.

'May Day Riots of Central London' turned into 'May Day Damp Squib', though the weather was nice for it later on in the afternoon.

Pity really, cos some of them could really have done with a wash.

posted by Darren | 10:57 PM