these moments that I've had.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006  

Last day of the first month of 2006. It's gonna be another chilly one.

I'm working all day(and into the night) (was that a Stranglers song?) and won't have easy access to a laptop, so I'll have to hunt around for info about the Oscar Nominations, which start to come out from 1.30pm GMT.

posted by Darren | 7:59 AM

Monday, January 30, 2006  

The Evening Standard tonight reported that Universal Records were 'astounded' by the response to a-ha's appearance at HMV on London's Oxford Street. There were certainly more people at the P.A. than I have ever previously seen at an instore appearance there, though, admittedly I didn't make it to Madonna last year. The sound wasn't the best and Morten's voice took a song or two to warm up, but it was a really enjoyable 30-minute set. I didn't hang around for the signing session, cos I'm a little too old for that.

Tom asked yesterday if I thought Brokeback Mountain would lead to an influx of the gays into Wyoming, wearing their old Madonna-"Music" cowboy hats. Maybe he has a point.

Brokeback missed out in the Screen Actors Guild Awards last night, and Heath Ledger behaved bizarrely, after all he has said about tolerance.

posted by Darren | 11:16 PM

Sunday, January 29, 2006  

Ang Lee wins prestigious Director's Guild of America award for Brokeback Mountain. Jake and Heath were on hand to add support and praise their director.

"The DGA's Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film has traditionally served as a near-perfect barometer for the Academy Award for Best Director".

posted by Darren | 10:49 PM

I've been working 7 days, including a 5am start today - Sunday. I get Monday, Wednesday and Friday off this coming week, though. I'm sure there must be 'things' I need to do.

Very pleased to see a-ha back in the UK Top Ten with "Analogue (All That I Want)". Contrary to some ignorant websites and publications it ISN'T their "first hit in 10 years", but I WILL agree that it IS their first Top 10 Hit in nearly 12 years. They have had 4 albums out since 2000, but their previous record label(prior to this new album) was very unforthcoming with the old promotion, so they only managed one Top 40 Hit, "Summer Moved On" from 2000's "Minor Earth Major Sky".

They have, though, been churning out minor and major classics since their 'reunion' 6 years ago, after 6 years on solo projects. "Summer Moved On", 2 tracks from 2002's "Lifelines" album("Lifelines" and "Forever Not Yours") and "Analogue" and "Birthright" (from their new album, "Analogue") can definitely be placed alongside the best of the work from the first part of their career(1984-1994).

They were, and are, much more than the teeny-bop boy-band that the media built them up into and want to keep reminding us they were. Paul Waaktaar is one of the best songwriters to come out of the 1980's who is still writing today.

And I may as well go the whole hog here and put the final nail in the coffin of any credibility I have, and let you in on their P.A. at HMV's Oxford Circus, London, store tomorrow at 6pm. A live set, followed by a signing. Tubes: Oxford Circus or Tottenham Court Road.

posted by Darren | 8:43 PM

Thursday, January 26, 2006  

And another one bites the pillow dust.

posted by Darren | 10:56 PM

Wednesday, January 25, 2006  

it's true, you really don't know what you've lost, until it's gone.

posted by Darren | 11:57 PM

Chris Penn dead at 40, or 43.

But the BBC are clutching at straws when they say "...provided the 2004's Grand Theft Auto:San Andreas....", a video game, as the sole example of success after 1996.

posted by Darren | 10:22 PM

Tuesday, January 24, 2006  

Top of the Pops to make another attempt to cross the Atlantic and make it in the USA.

Hasn't it gone cold all of a sudden? I'm off to the furthest reaches of east Kent tomorrow and snow is expected. Must take thick coat, woolly hat'n gloves, torch, snow plough...

It's all kicking off in the Celebrity Big Brother House.....again. "After a disaster of this magnitude, eviction night will be a doddle... "

It's my dad's birthday today. He only 63.

posted by Darren | 8:11 PM

Monday, January 23, 2006  

Dave's last dog used to destroy things when he heard fireworks and he was alone. Much like Marley here.


posted by Darren | 7:53 PM

Back to the lovely East End today, and even the frost didn't make it look any less depressing.

This weekend in the US. Brokeback Mountain–$7 million in receipts and picking up the Producer’s Guild of America’s Best Picture award, a prize that has gone on to predict the Best Picture Oscar 11 of the past 16 years.

Lost also won another Best Television this-or-that, at the above awards, something the infinitely superior Six Feet Under never managed. Ho hum.

posted by Darren | 7:43 PM

Sunday, January 22, 2006  

Department Meeting was inconclusive. Though we know what they want to do(reducing my team to 3, from 6), how we go about it is not finalised. We wait with baited breath about our ongoing livelihoods, mulling over the possible outcome. Thursday is our next update.

Other events from the weekend -

Had packed a bag in case I wanted to continue on from Nottingham, to meet up with Dave in Blackpool. Due to the way things panned out on Friday, I felt I could. So I did.

Dave got some tickets for Morrissey at the London Palladium in May. Excellent.

A couple of events around this weekend meant it was a good time to visit my parents, who also live in the north west. Saturday saw the first anniversary of my grandmother's death, so the family attended the churchyard. no tears, but much reflection. The other event is my dad's birthday on Tuesday, a muted affair last year, obviously, but hopefully this year a little more animated.

On my way to my parents, an event that makes the world seem a good place(well, I smiled). I noticed a sexy lad driving a van behind me as I came to a stop at traffic lights, on my out of Blackpool. I thought, "hhmmm, nice". Then he popped his little finger up his nose, wiggled it, removed it and inspected what he'd retrieved, paused....then hungrily popped it in his mouth. Priceless.

Before the churchyard visit, the family watched Everton vs. Arsenal(we are all lifelong Everton fans except my brother who supports their arch-rivals, Liverpool, who he conveniently started supporting once they began to dominate English football in the late-70's - I distinctly remember him supporting Manchester United before that. He's never wanted to fit in with the family but gladly still lives with our parents after 37 years!). After getting drubbed 7-0 by Arsenal last season, it was good to see a strong performance from Everton that completely swamped Arsenal and lead to a 1-0 victory.

Sunday saw Dave and me go for a walk, have my last Mince Pie & Chips for a while(after losing half a stone on the first 2 weeks of January, last week saw me come off the rails - but I'm back on!), and come across a personal appearance by Chico from X-Factor, at Coral Island Amusement/Entertainment complex. We bumped into our lady neighbour, who said her husband was hiding somewhere in case any of his mates saw him there! Chico did his 'Chico Time!' stuff and it was all that we expected it would be. We didn't hang around long.

We thought a lot about the stranded whale in the river Thames and were disappointed with the outcome.

I was amused by the Lib-Dem-MP-resignation story. Married with children, but had an 'affair' with 23 year old rent boy. Not amusing for the wife and kids, obviously, or, I suppose for him, but I hope any pain he goes through might influence anyone stranded in the closet to not go ahead with sham marriages that can only lead to hurt and pain.

Drove home through the fog, listening to one of the poorest-football-matches-that-should-have-been-so-much-better-considering-the-two-teams-involved, but found myself pleased that (the hated)Manchester United won with an injury-time goal. The only team I have confused loyalties about beating Liverpool, but so be it. Liverpool have 2 games in hand in which to catch Man U, though. Finishing above Man U would really wipe the smile(if there is still one present) from manager Alex Ferguson's face.

Ended the weekend by catching up on internet viewing, writing this, watching a little porn, watching the silly bastards in Celebrity Big Brother larking about in skin tight leotards(quite funny) and having a few glasses of a Campo Viejo Reserva Rioja. Nice.

Other news -

I didn't realise all this time that "Xtina" was actually short-hand for "Christina Aguilera", and thought American bloggers were talking about some American celebrity we hadn't heard of over here in Blighty. Embarrassing.

Tom Cruise is alledgedly threatening to sue Paramount if the South Park episode where he visits the town but refuses to come out of a closet, is ever shown again. So, Uk audiences are currently missing out. Luckily, we saw this(well, I did, I think Dave was in the bath at the time), while in Florida in Novemeber. Very funny.

My favourite Bond car fetches £1million at auction.

Arctic Monkeys go to Number One on the singles charts with a vastly inferior song, to their first single(and first Number One) from back in October. Their album should be Number One come next Sunday. I predict second album burn-out.

Bird Flu gets nearer to the UK. I hope certain people we know in East Anglia are taking precautions.

posted by Darren | 9:48 PM

Thursday, January 19, 2006  

Department Meeting tomorrow to 'discuss' the imminent 'proposed' restructure of our department.

It could be anything between the two polar opposites of keeping my current job(which is 'OK') and getting redundancy after over 17 years service. Problem is, they only give the minimum legal redundancy package, 1 week for every year of service.

That's gonna tip me over the edge.


Brokeback goes Number 1 at the US Box Office.

And if these two are getting on, surely there is a lesson to be learned here for warring factions all around the world.

posted by Darren | 10:23 PM

Tuesday, January 17, 2006  

I was going to use the term 'mixed success' if Heath Ledger didn't win Best Actor at the Golden Globes, while Brokeback Mountain still ended up taking something away, but with 4 gongs, for Best Picture, Director, Screenplay and Song, the success is considerably more than mixed. I haven't seen The Constant Gardener, but for Rachel Weisz to triumph over Michelle Williams in the Best Supporting Actress category, must mean improvements in her acting ability, since her screeching, wooden performance in The Mummy, of gargantuan levels. Michelle and Heath will have to keep themselves warm, with no Globe, nor probably now, no Oscar to cuddle up to. Congratulations to Best Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, whose performance in Capote was its saving grace. And to Reese Witherspoon who we've loved since Legally Blonde; and to Felicity Huffman, from Desperate Housewives.

posted by Darren | 5:35 AM

Monday, January 16, 2006  

Thank God the Golden Globes aren't on TV in the UK tonight(start-time 1am), as I've got to get up very early to get down to the south coast for 2 (very full) days work. And I've still got the remnants of a damn head-cold that I've had for 9 days now. Don't forget to tape Desperate Housewives on Wednesday night.

posted by Darren | 6:39 PM

Sunday, January 15, 2006  

Aussie paparazzi live up to their reputation(as aussies and as papps)
I can fully understand Tom Cruise being squirted with water at the premiere of War of the Worlds in London last summer. After all the bad publicity he had garnered over the previous few weeks(overly-hyped up over his apparent love for new beau and soon-to-be-mother-of-his-child Katie Holmes, especially on Oprah, which led to him being ridiculed for the rest of the year and ongoing; his attack on an interviewer ini the USA, about psychiatry when he should have been singing the praises of his new movie) and because the British media hate arrogance and someone who appears "stuck up his own arse". So, Prime Target for comedy programme sketch -pretend you've got a microphone and aim it at the Cruiser, only for it to actually be a squirt gun. His angry reaction also summed him up.

But now it has happened to Heath Ledger and his partner(and mother of his recently born child), Michelle Williams, at the Sydney premiere of Brokeback Mountain(which grabbed 3 Critics Choice Awards last week and goes for 7 Golden Globes tomorrow night).

The paparazzi involved say it was in retaliation for Ledger spitting at them last year while filming Candy in Oz, something which he denies. All well and good if he was an arrogant ass who had spat at them and needed taking down a peg or two, but he has denied the 'offence', I've seen nothing of the "arrogant star" about him, and he was on the red carpet with his partner. Michelle Williams, therefore, also got a soaking and, from what I can gather, she didn't spit at any of the photographers, alledgedly or actually.


Shelley Winters has died. Lots of praise for her performances in Poseidon Adventure, Lolita and The Diary of Anne Frank(one of her 2 Oscars), and rightly so, but I also liked her as Roseanne's drunken evil grandmother(which she played in her 70's in the mid 1990's), as a frisky lady in Alfie, and as the cratchety piano player in Liza Minnelli/Julie Walters' Stepping Out.

posted by Darren | 11:05 PM

Friday, January 13, 2006  

Even though Harlow, in Essex, is about 15 miles from the East End of London and has more wide open spaces, there are just some things that can still bring the day down with a bump. Overheard on the street, as woman runs past me:

1st 'lady': look at 'er go, bet her car park ticket is about to run out.

2nd 'lady': nah, I bet she just needs a big shit.

posted by Darren | 5:49 PM

Thursday, January 12, 2006  

I'm Lost
So Lost finally got to the end of season 1 last night. And we still don't really know what is through the hatch in the jungle, and we don't know if the boat is going to make it to civilisation and come back with a rescue party, and we still don't know who The Others are(though they just be those bad men who kidnapped Walt - has he just been written out for a few episodes of season 2 so that he can get some schooling done back on the mainland?), or if indeed they actually exist except in the mind of mysterious French woman, Rousseau. And, though they tried valiantly to bring everyone together on the plane in the flashbacks, in the final episode, there are still so many unanswered questions. At least Channel 4 are going to keep us waiting less time than usual, with the post-programme-teaser promising we will see season 2 in "the Spring".

The uneasy feeling(or is it "can I really be bothered with this much longer?") is not isolated to my brain. Over in America he is not the only one feeling the strain with season 2.

Sorry, more Brokeback news
- Brokeback Mountain breaks stranglehold of blockbusters in London cinemas in its first full week on release. It's £307k gross translates to over 1/2 a million dollars, which matches it's first week's gross in the USA in December(all be it on 5 screens over there and 21 here).

Poor Jennifer Aniston
- Brangelina have only gone and got themselves pregnant.

BTW: I'm still feeling under the weather. The 14 hour day I put in yesterday has seen me relapse into head-cold-hell. I may need tomorrow to recover.

posted by Darren | 9:03 PM

Tuesday, January 10, 2006  

Brokeback Mountain gets three more awards, though Heath Ledger wasn't one of the winners. I'm getting an uneasy feeling as we get nearer to the Oscars (I say 'nearer', but March is an awfully long time off). I've liked Philip Seymour Hoffman's work, but the Capote film is not riveting, not MOVING. I wish he'd got the Oscar for Flawless, then I wouldn't be worrying.

A colleague of mine went to see Brokeback with his fiancé over the weekend. He thought it was slow in places, but that it was definitely a good film. He told me this after first saying "I walked out half way through, it was disgusting!", before laughing. People know how to push my buttons within days of meeting me. The conversation then went on:

Me: Did your fiancé start ask you awkward questions for the rest of the weekend?

Him: No, she thinks I'm gay anyway.

Me: Why? Cos you keep trying to go in the back door in bed?

Him: No. Cos I keep having sex with men.


Following photo shoots along these lines:

and these:

Calvin Klein have re-thought the homo-erotic approach and are coupling Freddie Ljungberg with a female model for their next slew of ads. Pictures appeared in Metro today, but I don't got dem online.

posted by Darren | 10:04 PM

Monday, January 09, 2006  

Combining the 'traditional'(ie. made-up version, by writers in the earlier part of the 20th Century, then expanded on and mythicised by film-makers) image of the cowboy, with a line from Brokeback Mountain, Towleroad gives us:

posted by Darren | 12:41 PM

Sunday, January 08, 2006  

Another print interview(no sign of British TV interviews yet) with a Brokeback star, Heath Ledger, in Friday's(and online) The Guardian:

"It was certainly a surreal moment the first time I had to kiss Jake," Ledger says, chortling. "But once that was done, you think, OK, what's the next shot? Those scenes were just a small part of the package."

Critics have been shouting "Oscar!" over his interpretation of the shy, repressed, volatile, and inarticulate Ennis. He carries the picture. Proulx herself is overwhelmed. "Heath Ledger erased the image I had when I wrote it. He was so visceral. How did this actor get inside my head so well? He understood more about the character than I did.

This isn't nice for a 70-year-old woman to say, but it was a skullfuck."

posted by Darren | 6:55 PM

Saturday, January 07, 2006  

posted by Darren | 9:13 PM

Though colleagues have universally panned Stratford, in East London, as being, ahem, a shithole, I have always been quite defensive. I don't live there, but do live just a few miles away. Is this the reason I get defensive? Or is it because I love a spectacle, and the 2012 Olympics are going to transform the railyards, wasteland and old industrial lands in the Stratford area over the next few years? Combined with the recently built Stratford Underground/mainline terminus, the first impressions of Stratford for most visitors are going to be good ones.

This is where it gets tricky. Though the Theatre Royal Stratford underwent refurbishment a few years back, and a new Stratford Picture House cinema was opened at a similar time, and both of these venues are very near to the new station, they are also neighbours of the Stratford Shopping Centre. Having to walk through this place three or four times yesterday and visiting there quite regularly over the last three months, is finally wearing me down. I'm no snob(or am I?), but to see the poor huddled masses, shuffling along like zombies, some of them just getting out of the house to save on the heating bill, others there to make a fast buck, the threat of being pick-pocketed never far from my mind as another group of chav kids noisily bump past, left me feeling to put it mildly, 'down'. Along with the drive through West Ham en route somewhere else yesterday afternoon, I longed for a better life than this. Thoughts of the outdoor mall at Newport Beach, which we visited in February last year, came to mind.

I found myself agreeing with my colleagues and added it to the list of "Reasons to get out of London this year".

posted by Darren | 12:12 PM

Thursday, January 05, 2006  

Brokeback Mountain leads the Screen Actors Guild award nominations with Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal(unlike Heath and Michelle Williams, not nominated for a Golden Globe, or seemingly in contention for an Oscar nod until now), Michelle Williams receiving nods. The film was also nominated for best ensemble performance (by its entire cast)(which is the equivalent of a Best Picture Academy Award Nomination).

Possibly more important nominations (to others out there) are open for the Sixth Annual Weblog Awards or the Bloggies, as they are familiarly known. Vote for your favorite blogs. Nominations are open until January 10th. If you don't vote for Dave as Best Gay (GLBT) Blog, then I won't mind you voting for Towleroad, who has kept us all up-to-date on all the gay entertainment, sports, political, social news on a daily basis.


Celebrity Big Brother began it's 3 week 2006 run tonight on Channel 4. I think they have managed to outdo themselves with nonentities this year - though they do look to be an interesting bunch. Apart from when Dennis Rodman ran away from her when he saw her, my favourite moment was when Traci Bingham (most Brits would probably have been saying "Traci who?" when her name was announced, though a faint glint of recognition would have flickered in some chav 20-somethings who watched Baywatch, way back when) said "..and I'm an actress".

Traci Bingham's career post-Baywatch consists of screen gems such as 'Exploring the Fantasy', 'DREAM Team', 'Strip Mall', 'Malibooty', 'Beach Movie' and 'Lingerie Bowl'. Something tells me she won't be picking up any serious acting awards any time soon.... or winning Big Brother.

posted by Darren | 8:50 PM

Wednesday, January 04, 2006  

Another of the

"What was it like to kiss a man?"

-type-questions, put to Heath Ledger, was answered with the I'm-obviously-sick-of-answering-this-stupid-question,-I-can-think-of-a-million-worse-things-to-do-in-my-life-than-kiss-Jake kind of answer, when he said,

"That's why we used stunt doubles".

In unrelated news, Blue Witch's spells to draw Edward away to the countryside must be getting stronger, as he went missing for 2 minutes during his walk with Dave tonight. Luckily he has some homing instincts still intact and ended up outside the house. Not all good, as the reason I knew he was there was that he was barking frantically at the neighbours, who were trying to park their car. Female-Neighbour asked if our dog had gone mad. Upon seeing my concern that Dave should be with him, more-sensible-Male-Neighbour offered to help me search the park in case Dave had another of his dizzy spells and was lying in a bush somewhere, then we heard Dave's whistles and fraught calls for Edward.

Another emergency averted and another attempt at dog-napping by the mysterious Blue Witch of the East thwarted. You really must try harder BW.

posted by Darren | 10:14 PM

Tuesday, January 03, 2006  

As Towleroad informs us, there is a long way to go before being gay is not an issue for some insecure, uneducated morons. Police are investigating an homosexual slur etched into a lawn in San Jose, California on Christmas Eve. A Community official said: "This was a vicious attack. It was meant to intimidate and threaten."

Get a life. Live in peace. Man.

There are, though, still positive events around, as 2 policemen wed in Milton Keynes.

posted by Darren | 3:21 PM

Monday, January 02, 2006  

Happy New Year !

Had a great time in Northumberland at Christmastime. We even had a little snow. There are just some things you CAN'T get in London for love nor money.

Three days of work were only tempered by the prospect of the opening of Brokeback Mountain on Friday.

Months of anticipation paid off. I was surprised I didn't get upset, or even teary-eyed during the performance, but I've more than made up for it over the New Year weekend!

You've GOT TO see this film.

Gay or straight, I urge you. You will NOT be disappointed.

If it garners umpteen Oscar nominations, as it has Golden Globe nods, I think I'll be subscribing to Sky Movies for the evening and having Monday 7th March off work.

Meanwhile over in Lost world, an old pal of mine is getting on extremely well with Ladies-Favourite, Matthew Fox...

I've resisted looking at the website to see what happens in the final episode of season 1, which finally gets to UK screens on Wednesday next week.

Last today, but certainly most, yesterday marked our fifth anniversary. I wasn't looking for love, indeed I was trying to steer clear of it, after a 7 year relationship had finally stumbled into the buffers the previous October(NB: we are still friends, but it just took us a long time to realise we were probably better off as friends, rather than partners). I'm glad you stumbled into the bar that night. Who says one-night-stands don't come to nuthin'? I've had the happiest five years of my life. Thanks babe.

posted by Darren | 11:10 PM