Thursday, 31 December 2009

It's NYE and Stephen is...

...wondering if it's wrong to find Taylor Lautner cute. He's legal (in the UK) at 17, but I'm sure some USA states would frown upon such things.

...confused as to why idiots in the UK would buy a Katie Price or Kerry Katona "novel" knowing that ghost writers were used. Kerry admitted to never having read the autobiography that she wrote! The nation is full of gullible fools.

...asking if we must perform a quirkafleeg?

...annoyed at how people don't know how to use the word "an". It's not from foreign speakers, it's from the British and it's even spread to the radio! It's really simple and something you learn when you are at primary school. On the news, she actually said "a awful day"!

...hoping that the weather improves so the running training can resume.

...considering what New Years resolutions should be made.

...reinstating his Twitter account ('sfchapman' if you are interested) and will be publishing Facebook updates on there.

...looking forward to lots more blogging in 2010. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Post Christmas lull

Christmas was fine, spending the day itself at Pete's brothers house - there were 7 of us and enough food for 17 I think. I made New York baked cheesecake and Pete made Tiramisu - I think the battle of the desserts was a draw. I have had a cold that doesn't seem to want to go away, so the festive period has been dulled for me.

Over the past few days, Pete and I have watched a couple of films and to enhance the experience, we bought a surround sound system in the sales. It's great! We should have done this long ago.

We went to Cambridge on Sunday and the whole city was packed with bargain hunters. I bought a couple of CDs but couldn't be bothered to queue in Gap for 30+ minutes to buy chinos. Sales seem to bring out the worst in people... actually the worst in women! They push and shove and say nothing when they barge into you. The number of times you let someone through a door and they fail to say "thank you" is increasing!

We are out tonight, in black tie dress, for a meal. New Years Eve is up in the air as plans have changed - not sure what will happen now.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

The best of 2009

As the year draws to an end, here are some of my best moments of 2009...

Top holidays & events 2009

- In January we went to a concert in Paris and saw the French president and his wife.
- Pete and I went to Holland twice, in May for a 40th party and again in September.
- The
cruise in June was far better than I expected it to be. We saw some amazing sights: Norway, Iceland and the Arctic circle. Some pictures here.
- And I started planning a holiday for my

Music 2009

- Seeing Fleetwood Mac at Wembley was a musical highlight.
- The
One Eskimo album finally saw the light of day and is very good indeed!
- The
Beatles remasters were a welcome reminder that they made the best music ever.
- Heard quite a lot of new music. More reviews in 2010.
- I shared some rare music on
these postings.
Pete was a slave to the rhythm in the summer.
- We went to a couple of festivals.

Top movies 2009

In no particular order:
Rudo y Cursi
The Man Who Wasn't There
Gran Torino
The Reader
Man on Wire
The Departed
Juste une question d'amour
Vals Im Bashir
The Royal Tenenbaums
Lucky Number Slevin
The Darjeeling Limited

My Top 3 movies seen in 2009...
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Most read blog entries 2009

- Fleetwood Mac - The 200th blog post
Only a little bit gay (Man crush)
A letter to my 16 year old self
Three little words... I am gay
- 30 St Mary Axe
- This blog is pants!
- Stephen Gately RIP
- All Ha Ha Shock Wow entries

Predictions for 2010

- A hung Parliament
- Chelsea win the Premiership
- Crystal Palace sold

Top totty of 2009

Top row, left to right: Yoann Gourcuff, James Nichols, Roque Santa Cruz
Middle row, left to right:
Dino Gamecho, Kevin Zeegers, Christian Cooke, Robin Van Persie
Bottom row, left to right:
Alex Pettyfer, Edilson Nascimento, Julien Quevenne

Thursday, 24 December 2009

December movie update

It's been ages since my last movie update, so here are the films that Pete and I have received from and watched on TV and DVD over the past couple of months - with my ratings out of ten from my movie list on IMDB.

The Nightmare Before Christmas 8

Cowboys & Angels 7
A good(ish) gay film... wow!

The Hangover 7
Silly but funny.

In the Loop 7

Ha-Buah (The Bubble) 5
A poor gay film.

The Ballad of Jack and Rose 5
I don't think I like anything that Daniel Day-Lewis has been in!

17 Again 7
Pretty funny and nowhere near as bad as I thought it might be. Zac is so fit!

Coco avant Chanel 6

Is Anybody There? 7

Shi mian mai fu (House of Flying Daggers) 7

The Boat That Rocked 5
A wasted opportunity to make a funny film about pirate radio in the 1960's.

Entre les murs (The Class) 7

The Elephant Man 8*

Bedazzled 4


Rudo y Cursi 8
Funny and features two cute actors.

When Harry Met Sally... 9*

Anvil! The Story of Anvil 5
Could have been good, but the joke ran out very quickly.

The Matrix Reloaded 4
Rubbish, padded out with overlong fighting scenes.

The Man Who Wasn't There 7

Carry on Screaming! 7
Classic British comedy. Harry H Corbett was a fine actor.

Bigga Than Ben 6
Not a great film, but Ben Barnes is gorgeous

* I've seen these films before, but thought I would include the ratings as I watched them again recently.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Worst journey

Last night was the worst travel experience of my life. I thought the journey back from Edinburgh last week was bad, but last night the snow and ice caused havoc.

I had to attend a 'speed awareness course' in Milton Keynes after being snapped by a speed camera a few months ago. It took me 4 and a half hours to get home - a journey that should take less than an hour. The motorway was slow, but getting across Luton was a nightmare - complete gridlock. I was so stressed as my car skidded on the ice (at the rare times I was actually moving). Then the main road to where I live was littered with broken down and dumped cars and was not safe to drive on. I was rather pleased to eventually get home as I thought I was going to have to leave the car and call Pete's brother to rescue me in his Land Rover.

The 'speed awareness course' was a little too long, but was surprisingly interesting. Here's a mobile phone stat for you:

Reaction times for drivers using a handheld phone are 30 per cent worse than for driving under the influence of alcohol at the legal limit. You are also four times more likely to crash if you use a mobile phone while driving.

So, due to the travel problems, I couldn't bring myself to start this blog entry with the line I was going to use, so here it is anyway: "I was running late for the speed awareness course, but I made it in time after putting my foot down".

And finally, let me end with something fun...

Saturday, 19 December 2009

A special friend

As I type this sitting at my dining room table using my work laptop, I should really be in France, full from the previous evening's meal and looking forward to Christmas shopping today. For the past 7 or 8 years, Pete and I have spent the weekend before Christmas in France buying food, drink and presents. But due to the bad weather in Kent and the Channel Tunnel problems, we are at home and now running dangerously low on wine. And I have a cold coming.

We received a Christmas card from my Mum and Dad yesterday and on the front is says "To our son and his partner". My Mum has taken the time to find a suitable card and that is great, but Pete and I did laugh at the wording a bit. I'm not sure what my parents call Pete: my boyfriend, significant other, the one who corrupted our son, etc?

An in-joke that we have is that Pete is my "special friend" and that comes from an early episode of 6 Feet Under when the mother is arranging a dinner party and asks her gay son:

Ruth: David, are you bringing a... special friend to dinner?
David: Why are my friends always special?

Ruth: Ok then, if you're having sex with anyone, is he coming to dinner?

So what should I call my special friend Pete?!

Following on from the army coming out story last week, the news in the UK broke yesterday that Gareth Thomas is gay. For those who don't know about rugby, Gareth is a former Wales and Lions captain, i.e. he reached the top of the game. Coming out in the army and professional sport takes some balls and make my past failures look really pathetic!

Tomorrow I am off to a speed awareness course, having been caught speeding a few months ago. It looks to me like I am going to lectured for 4 hours as to why I am so evil. Great!

Monochrome Weekly #5

My contribution to the latest Monochrome Weekly is the British Museum in London. It's made up of 3 pictures stitched together. If you have never visited the British Museum, you are missing out:

Friday, 18 December 2009

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

I travelled up to Edinburgh on Thursday (early) and we had a team meeting followed by a Christmas meal. The event went off without incident, though I did wimp out early as I knew I had to get up early today.

I slept very badly, partly due to a party downstairs in the hotel and was awake at 4am - I'm not sure why.

Due to the snow in the south, I decided to check teletext to confirm the flight was on time. On was not on time, it had been cancelled! Most flights within the UK had been cancelled but as the flight had been booked by a travel company, a colleague and myself had to get a taxi at 6.30am to the airport to try and arrange a new flight.

When we got to the airport, it was chaos. There must have been 300 people queuing to sort out new flights with Easyjet (I have no choice but to use them). A guy in the queue explained that many flights from the night before had been cancelled, so there was no chance at all that we would fly today or tomorrow!

So taxi number two took us back into Edinburgh and we paid £107 to get a train. We waited in the freezing cold for an hour and boarded the train, which promptly broke down (though it was fixed within 15 minutes). The rail journey was slow and when we encountered heavy snow, it got slower. We made it to Stevenage where we got taxi number 3 to Luton airport.

I then struggled to get my car out of the car park as the snow was about a foot deep and my car is a heavy brute.

So, after leaving the hotel at dawn, I arrived home 9 hours later. I need sleep now.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

No cards thanks

I was in Edinburgh yesterday and was knackered by the time I got home last night. I wont be working too hard at home today. I am back there again on Thursday for a team meeting followed by a Christmas party. It will be awful. I saw the following in the horoscope in The Metro and will be waiting patiently today to be contacted!

The main reason for this blog posting is to tell you about my personal Christmas card decision.

Last year I decided not to send any Christmas cards and instead made a contribution to the Christies Young Oncology Unit which was being supported by Thomas Buckley. This brave young man was suffering from terminal cancer and sadly died in May this year aged only 24. He achieved his aim of walking from the east to the west coast of England and raised a huge amount of money in the process.

This year I be making a charitable contribution to Help For Heroes, a charity that aims to support our injured servicemen and women. Their projects include an £8m swimming pool complex at Headley Court, £3.5m to Combat Stress and now they are working hard to raise a further £20m to fund and build seven Recovery Houses across the Country.

I made this decision after reading about an 18 year old soldier called Craig Wood who lost his left arm and both legs in a bomb attack in Afghanistan. Craig will never get to do many of the things that we take for granted and has paid a huge price for simply wanting a career in the army. Whether you are for or against the war in Afghanistan, you will no doubt support the individuals who are doing a dangerous job and the ones that survive with horrific injuries deserve lifelong support. Craig's story is upsetting reading.

The environmental impact of sending Christmas cards is crazy anyway, so next year you may want to consider doing the same.

Monday, 14 December 2009

100 facts about me - 91 to 100

Here is the final part of the "100 facts about me" list - previous entries can be found here:

91. I don’t understand smokers who throw used ‘fag butts’ anywhere they want – do they think that they will disintegrate?
92. I spent a year carrying a camera everywhere I went. You can see the fruits of my labour here.
93. Camp gay guys scare me.
94. I believe self-hypnosis works.
95. I once painted famous album covers on my bedroom wall. Nearly 20 years later, they are still there and my mum wont paint over them.
96. I once drove a Ferrari at a little over 110mph.
97. I rarely sleep right through the night.
98. I can ask for the bill in Greek.
99. I think that the best view in London is from The Hilton in Rotherhithe looking across to Canary Wharf at dusk.
100. I am envious of the young and have a great fear of getting old and what it may bring.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

A man in uniform

Two blog entries on one day! Whatever next?! I saw a news story on TV this morning and thought it was worth mentioning.

A 21 year old British soldier called Ben Rakestrow, serving in Afghanistan, is featured in a few newspapers today as the only Out gay guy in the region. I wanted to blog on this topic as I know it's tough to come out and even more so in the environment he is working. He is certainly a brave man in many ways. I love this part of his story...

He told his unit about his sexuality after a trip to a nightclub during pre-deployment training on Salisbury Plain. “The next morning I arrived for the exercise late because we’d had a bit to drink. The lads all asked if we’d had any luck, then at least our late arrival would have been worth it. I just said, ‘His name was Ryan’. Some of their faces dropped and they asked if I was serious. They couldn’t believe it.”

What is great to see is that the newspapers don't go overboard on his sexuality (even the Sun!). A few years ago, such stories would have been littered with innuendo and smutty comments (the Sun is still often guilty of this). The story his all about his courage and his friends. However, the fact that I am commenting on this article at all shows that we have some way to go yet

I hope he gets the support he deserves from his comrades and it appears that he is. He will get some "banter" from his unit, but hopefully in humour and no more than other guys receive. His mates even bought him a pink Zac Efron duvet cover! I somehow couldn't see this happening in the US amry and that concerns me.

To all of you that are coming out to friends and family, my advice is to get on with it. I am guilty of making excuses in the past and even recently but, without doubt, coming out makes life easier. If you are finding reasons not to come out or saying "I'll do it before I am 30" etc, you are never going to do it and you will find more reasons not do come out in the future. You need to make a plan and do it OR decide that you will never tell a specific person and just get on with your life. If you hide behind excuses or timelines, you are just going to stress yourself out. I am trying to be honest with people and I fail sometimes, but being out to my friends and family is more important than I ever thought it could be.

Have a look at this recent blog entry on Crawling Out Of The Closet and I wonder if you agree with me that this guy is very courageous.

Monochrome Weekly #4

My contribution to the latest Monochrome Weekly is a photo taken in London a couple of years ago a few days before Christmas. It was a misty morning and the Thames path was deserted:

Friday, 11 December 2009

Warning: Cute actor guys

Some light heared stuff after the heavy last posting...

Watching TV and films in the last week and a couple of guys almost jumped out of the screen at me, so here are a couple of random pictures, yoinked from the net for your viewing pleasure. If you are a straight male, then focus on their acting skills!

1. Not my usual totty, but he's the fit and tall Takeshi Kaneshiro from The House of flying daggers.

2. There's a new comedy on the BBC called Miranda that is silly and funny and co-stars Tom Ellis who, in the programme, doesn't seem know how to shave.

3. OK, not quite an actor as this ones a porn star called James Nichols (though who knows what his real name is) - but he's gorgeous and I saw him on a screen!

4. I know Zac Efron is an obvious choice, but in 17 Again, he is very hot and the film is not as bad as I thought it might be!

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Random thoughts on life - challenges

In a recent email, my old pal Marco said that Pete and I live "am Arsch der Welt". He is suggesting that we live "out in the sticks" (if he and his lovely wife visited, he would think differently). Anyway... forgive him, he's German and witty, which is a dangerous combination.

He does have a point and it's linked to something that has been bothering me today. I have just realised why I don't like Twitter... I don't do enough interesting things in a day to tell people about. How depressing is that?! When I did my "photo a day" project, we were living in London and it was easy to do new things everyday. I am now officially lazy and not "growing as an individual" as the Americans might say. A lot of this stems from having a dull job.

Tonight I prepared the final installment of my "top 100 list" to be posted soon and #100 mentions being envious of the young and being afraid of getting old. It's true, but such thoughts are not at a dangerous level just yet. It's more than simple jealousy, it's all about regret. Regret that I haven't achieved enough and the worry that I never will (some would say I have achieved plenty, whereas I judge it differently as my glass isn't even a third full at the moment*). Even worse therefore is this combination of young people who have achieved. Take the actor we saw in a play last weekend, Steven Webb. He's not a big stage star, but he has confidence, making use of his talent, good looks, hair(!) and he's 25 years old. Is this the start of my midlife crisis?

Thinking and typing at the same time here, but do I need a major, if not MASSIVE new challenge in my life? Maybe I should try acting to challenge myself in a big way or even try and write a play... a radio play possibly. I could have a completely new career, start at the bottom again. I could try a new hobby or skill at nightschool. I've never played my guitar to a crowd - so maybe I should try busking. I know I can sing, but I couldn't perform to people, so anyone want to sing while I play? One thing that I am doing is running a 10k race in April - this may not sound too impressive, but consider that it will be the furthest I have even run as I have never been fit.

Something that bugs me about me, is that I make lists of things to do in life and rarely tick the items off. I will probably start making lists of lists soon. I know that without Pete to kick me, I doubt I would do that much. Thank heavens for nagging. I will post some objectives and you can all moan at me when I haven't ticked some off.

So where has this blog entry taken me (and you)? Well, it's littered with question marks so your views are welcome. Perhaps it's given a tiny insight into my mind at this moment in time? Perhaps a thought on your own life? I could type for hours, but wont - I will save such blog boredom for another day.

And as for things I have been putting off - this weekend, I intend getting very drunk on sloe gin with our neighbours who we never socialise with despite them being a great couple (though they are in their twenties, so I am just envious of course). Watch this space.

* My relationship with Pete is an achievement of course, I am thinking more about work and skills.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Public Property

Pete and I went to London on Saturday to shop and get some culture.

The day started well as it was sunny and not too cold. We got the train into the capital and walked to The Wellcome Collection to see a fascinating exhibition (which we heard reviewed on the radio a few days previously). The exhibition space was divided into 8 "rooms" and each had a topic relating to specific lives with art, artifacts, videos, belongings etc. It's well worth a visit - neither Pete or I had been there before and it's an impressive building.

After that, we ventured to the West End for some shopping as Regent Street and Oxford Street had been closed to traffic. Everywhere was packed, but we did manage to drink 3 glasses of Champagne in 2 Hackett stores. We met my friend Sonny for lunch (at the Itsu famous for dead Russian spies) and had a look around a few smaller shops.

Pete and I then went to see the matinee of a play called Public Property mainly because Nigel Harman was starring in it - see another blog post here for Pete's liking of Nigel. I knew nothing about the play as Pete had booked it, but it had a gay theme. It was staged at a tiny "theatre" and I use the term loosely. It's basically a room with 3 rows of benches around a central area. The three actors then do their thing right in front of you and actually within the audience at some points. In fact, Nigel Harman was standing right in front of me during some scenes! The play was a about a PR agent (Nigel) and his famous newsreader client (Roger Daws) - neither of whom are having the best of careers. Alert: Spoiler in next paragraph!

The newsreader is photographed in a graphic sexual position with a 16 year old lad and the story progresses with all 3 of them at the PR agent's house trying to figure out how to put a positive spin on the situation with the teen getting to kiss both older actors.

The teenager was played by Steven Webb, who I thought performed the part brilliantly (he has been in The History Boys and some TV too). It's not until you are a few feet away from an actor that you realise just how good they are; every facial expression, every pause, every tiny laugh was timed to perfection. Steven is 25 but looks younger, so just about got away the role of a 16 year old. I think he has a great career ahead - and deservedly so.

It's a great black comedy that zips along with some funny one-liners and some dark moments too. Unfortunately the last performance was on Saturday evening, so you may have to catch it some other time. I have not enjoyed many plays lately (cramped seats, no aircon, overpriced etc), but this was well worth the money.

While I'm blogging... thanks to the 16 people that took part in "5 on the fifth" on Saturday. I'm aiming for 20 next month, so tell your friends!

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Five on the fifth #6

Welcome to "5 on the fifth", a monthly posting that benefits from audience participation. You take 5 photographs on the 5th of the month (or the days leading up to the 5th) - post a comment here with your name, location and link to the site containing your photos and I will update the blog entry with your information. Remember to mention my blog on your own blog, so that your visitors get to see the other contributions. You can take 5 random pictures or follow my suggested theme, which this month is: signs.

My own pictures are below the links of those who kindly contributed:

Made in Britain, Scotland
David, Brighton
Al, Philippines
Fredamans, Ontario, Canada
Marie, Stockholm
Made in Scotland, London
Deserts and Beyond, California
Gunsside, Vestfold, Norway
Howard, Clayton, USA
Juan, Colombia
Dit, Hollywood, California
Allhorsestuff, Oregon, USA

Andrew, Somerset
Sonny, London
Nantes daily photo, France
Pete, Hertfordshire

1. A sign that Christmas is coming
2. A sign that Hackett is my favourite shop (they serve Champagne to customers!)
3. A sign that Sonny shouldn't select his own sunglasses
4. A sign of things to come
5. A sign!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009


I've been watching a new comedy drama on E4 called Misfits. It's highly original and is definitely adult entertainment:

Misfits follows five outsiders on community service who get struck by a flash storm and lumbered with special powers. Hard as nails Kelly can suddenly hear people’s thoughts, shamed sporting hero Curtis discovers he has the ability to turn back time when he regrets something, and party girl Alisha can send people into a sexual frenzy when they touch her skin. Even painfully shy Simon can make himself invisible when he feels he’s being ignored, which makes it all the more hard to swallow for smart aleck Nathan, who seems to have been unaffected, much to his dismay. Unlike their more conventional counterparts, our misfits don’t swap their ankle tags and mobile phones for capes and tights. Instead, they discover what a pain in the arse life can be when you’re stuck with a super power you didn’t want.

The guy who plays Nathan has the cutest eyes and accent (he's played by Robert Sheehan who is a great actor). His character is super sarcastic and he managed to get a care home volunteer into bed. He had the best line of the episode after some premature action and orgasmic facial expressions, by asking his lady friend: "what is wrong with my cum face!?".

OK, the premise is silly, but the programme is funny and surprisingly dark. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series, especially if Nathan gets naked again and would recommend catching up on previous episodes on 4OD.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

December already!

The next "5 on the fifth" is a few days away and you are very welcome to take part. You can either take 5 random pictures of anything that happens to you on the 5th of December (or the days leading up to it) or perhaps go for my suggested theme. This month, the theme is...


I hope that you will be inspired take part. If you are looking for a place to store your images, you can create photo folders on Hotmail or Google (called Picassa) for free.

Don't forget to add a comment to my blog with your name, location and link. Remember to mention my blog on your own blog so that your visitors get to see the other contributions.