Thursday, 31 March 2011

The next 5

In a few days time, '5 on the fifth' will return. Take 5 photographs on the days leading up to the 5th and publish those on your own blog and then add the link to my blog so that others can see your images. 

You can either take 5 random pictures or follow this months theme which is: BLUR

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

In the bag

On my trips to Cambridge and London, I used an old backpack that I rarely use.  In the front pocket, I found some items from our holiday to France last October and as I like to see the art in everything, I took a photo of the colourful contents:

- A postcard advertising the film Kaboom with the cute Thomas Dekker (who has the thickest facial hair but no chest hair, which seems odd to me). I have added the film to my list of movies-to-see.
- Some unused earplugs from a hotel.
- Two train timetables for the Bordeaux area.
- Painkillers.

Tomorrow I will announce the theme for the next 5 on the fifth... that's assuming I can think of one!

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

London in the Spring

I went to London today for a look around. I was a bit unsure what to do so I went East and south today and then through the city towards the west end. I will do north London (Alexandra Palace and Primrose Hill etc) in a couple of weeks and then Richmond area on my birthday, as we have found an interesting looking restaurant there - no menu and no set prices... it's all a surprise depending on what the serve you!

I went to the Museum of London's exhibition of London photographs, which I highly recommend and ambled through a very busy City.

I finished the day meeting Pete at a great new pub within St Pancras International station and then had a wonderful Italian meal. Garlic breath all round.

Here are some pictures from the day including the leftover bike locks at the station, cute builder in the city, reflection in The Gherkin, Pete outside the pub at St Pancras and a pretentious starter in the restaurant (wind dried?!).

Monday, 28 March 2011


I am off work this week using up holiday and intend to make the most of the time.

Today was a sunny day so went to Cambridge and spent a few hours looking around and taking some photos - see below.

There was a guy on the train with oversized headphones and singing loudly... and badly. Weirdo alert! Anyway, Cambridge is posh totty central and the cute guys caught my eye once or twice. It's amazing how nearly all of the guys selling punts are beautiful.

There was a great band called The Wishing Well in the centre of town playing some wonderful pop/folk stuff. One guitarist was sweet despite the ponytail, so I took some more images and will email them to see if they want to use any.

My aim of buying walking boots and some shoes failed. Maybe tomorrow (before I get a massage at the "day spa") as it was too nice to be indoors for long. I did walk past the Apple store and noticed the throngs wanting to play with the new iPad.

I will spend a day in London this week and intend going to places I've not explored before (or recently anyway). I did the same last year and enjoyed it a lot, though last time I was finding houses my family had lived in in the 1890's and 1900's. I have a few ideas of places including Alexandra Palace. If anyone has any suggestions of places, please let me know.

Sunday, 27 March 2011


So here is work list from the weekend:

- Painted dining room wall blue and edged it.
- Painted living room red and edged it. Repainted 3 times!
- Helped move a ton of soil from the front of the house to the vegetable plot.
- Made tomato soup after buying a box of overripe toms in the market for a bargain £2.
- Also made 2 pots of passata.
- Made 3 servings of pasta sauce from said tomatoes.
- Planted the first potatoes.

We visited Pete's Mum as she fell over in the local market and has bruised and cut her face and arm. She is actually quite lucky not to have broken her cheekbone and wrist. It has been warm and sunny, so we sat in her garden drinking tea. How terribly English.

I heard a song by Peter, Bjorn and John on an NPR podcast on Friday and I have spent the past few days humming it (and misremembering the lyrics). It's a great song and here is a live version - wait for the chorus...

and their classic Young Folks with the great video:

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Last few days

At the end of the week I was in Edinburgh for work.  We had a great meal at a restaurant called Gusto and I failed to sleep in the hotel - which is the norm' for me. Instead of the usual location for our team meeting, we were in the 'proper' head office and had this view of the castle from our meeting room.  Not bad eh?  It's a bit grainy because the windows were a bit dirty.

I have next week off work and intend to relax.  I will be going to London to explore some new places and will treat myself to a massage I think.  Watch this space for details.

Today we have been on a DIY frenzy - more about that tomorrow.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

The snuggie

I have to admit that I like watching infomercials.  Having come out and said it, I feel so much better now. I have never bought anything, from the Power Juicer to Super-dooper-stain removers, but I think that the adverts so bad that they are good.

Most I don't watch all the way through and one that is showing on UK television is so painful that I can only last a minute or so. It's really embarrassing, especially the bit at the one minute mark with the family around the camp fire and watching some sport game.  You can imagine the snuggie lasting around 1 second if it catches fire and the people around them at the game thinking "who are these ****ing weirdos?!?"

There is a great clip here, showing how relationships can suffer when women own a snuggie...

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Outed for liking porn?

It seems that some gay porn sites are getting serious with people that download films illegally.  Corbin Fisher, home of the all-American boys doing fun things to/with each other is planning to take action against individuals and could, according to some sites, end up 'outing' guys.  It could be interesting to see some counter-action whereby guys privacy is affected.

So guys young and old could hear from the lawyers soon and have some interesting questions from friends and family!  I assume that they are really after the serial downloaders, but some people are bound to get caught out.

To wind up the Corbin Fisher police, here is a picture of one of their 'models' - this is Nick and I've seen his picture a few times and I have to admit, he's ****ing gorgeous!

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Oh Doctor!

On the TV this weekend for a BBC film called Christopher and His Kind, which starred the current Doctor Who, Matt Smith. It was a pretty good film in which The Doctor played gay author Christopher Isherwood and focused mainly on his time in Berlin. All of the German gay guys (and those who were gay for pay) seemed to be perfectly beautiful. His last German boyfriend was Heinz Neddermayer who was played by current Burberry model Douglas Booth. It must be really tough in life looking this stunning - and he's only 18.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

The moon tonight

For the first time since 1992, tonight we experienced a 'super moon'. That means it is brighter and closer to Earth than usual.  As I like the full moon, here is an image I just took...

Friday, 18 March 2011

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly #2

The good:

The first professional footballer to come out since Justin Fashinu is the fit and cute 20 year old Anton Hysén who plays for Swedish side Utsiktens BK.
He told Offside magazine: “I am a footballer. And gay. If I perform as a footballer, then I do not think it matters if I like girls or boys."  Good for him.  It made me wonder why we worry about coming out - he has told the world and potentially affected his career.

Let's hope that he is just referred to as "footballer Anton Hysén" rather than "the gay footballer..." in the same way that Will Young is often mentioned as "gay singer Will Young".  It bothers me to see people tagged, but it's bound to happen.

The bad:

The situation in Japan following the massive earthquake and tsunami is all over the TV and rightly so. There have been some shocking images and it's so very sad for so many people. We should think about these things when we moan about the train being 2 minutes late or the price of food being a little higher.  It really doesn't matter.

And the ugly:

Charlie Sheen is just one weird ego filled guy who really believes his inner-hype:
- "I am on a drug. It's called Charlie Sheen. It's not available because if you try it, you will die. Your face will melt off and your children will weep over your exploded body."
- "I’m tired of pretending like I’m not special. I’m tired of pretending like I’m not bitchin’, a total freakin’ rock star from Mars."
- "I'm sorry, man, but I've got magic. I've got poetry in my fingertips. Most of the time — and this includes naps — I'm an F-18, bro. And I will destroy you in the air. I will deploy my ordinance to the ground."

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

My favourite quotes/sayings/lines (repeat post)

"A poem is never finished, only abandoned."
Paul Valery

"I'm not offended by dumb blonde jokes because I know that I'm not dumb. I also know I'm not blonde."
Dolly Parton

"You all want it now. You think you deserve it just because you want it? It doesn't work like that. You have to earn it."
(from Swimming With Sharks)

"The harder I practice, the luckier I get"
Gary Player

"Here's to alcohol, the cause of and solution to all life's problems"
Homer Simpson

"Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive"
Sir Walter Scott

"All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?"
(from Monty Pythons Life Of Brian)

"I don't want to achieve immortality through my work... I want to achieve it through not dying."
Woody Allen

[Talking about boxers...]
Frank Drebin: Hector Savage. From Detroit. Ex-boxer. His real name was Joey Chicago.
Ed Hocken: Oh, yeah. He fought under the name of Kid Minneapolis.
Nordberg: I saw Kid Minneapolis fight once. In Cincinnati.
Frank Drebin: No you're thinking of Kid New York. He fought out of Philly.
Ed Hocken: He was killed in the ring in Houston. By Tex Colorado. You know, the Arizona Assassin.
Nordberg: Yeah, from Dakota. I don't remember it was North or South.
Frank Drebin: North. South Dakota was his brother. From West Virginia.
Ed Hocken: You sure know your boxing.
Frank Drebin: All I know is never bet on the white guy.
(From Naked Gun 2 and a half)

Monday, 14 March 2011

The Chain

There's a push going on in the UK to get Fleetwood Mac to No.1 with the song "The Chain". The song from 1977's Rumours album is the official theme song in the UK for Formula One racing. It's a real long shot!

The idea is to get as many people as possible in the UK to buy the track beginning 13th of March, so that it impacts the charts and is hopefully No.1 for the 20th of March for the start of the race weekend.

To participate, first off, join the Facebook Page
HERE. Then from the 13th of March you purchase the track at follows:



Here is a live version from 1997

And a pretty good cover by Florence And The Machine from Glastonbury 2010

Sunday, 13 March 2011

London birthday

Yesterday was Pete's birthday and as we have decided to buy each other a top meal on our special days instead of presents, we ventured into London.

I had booked one of the top rated (and expensive) restaurants in London called Goodman.  It was amazing - they specialise in steaks and mine was perfect!

We arrived at Kings Cross at 10am and walked via St Pancras International to see the new Olympic rings (which are massive) then had a coffee in the Wellcome Collection (well worth a visit).  We walked into the West End via Marylebone High Street - where I noticed a chair in The Conran Shop priced at £6,384.  We looked around a few shops and had a couple of cocktails before lunch.  After spending an obscene amount of money on food, we walked for miles taking in the sights and had a coffee in Bar Italia before some more alcohol.  We arrived home at 9pm completely exhausted.

Here are some highly stylised images from the day:

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Top tracks - REM

This week REM released their 15th album - Collapse Into Now.  With this in mind, here is list of the best tracks from REM, in my humble opinion, up to but not including this new album (previous blog postings for other artists here).

I first got into REM along with most of the world when they released Green in 1988, having signed to Warner Bros.  Although there is a common thread in their music, they do take risks and create some stunning sounds.  Their style ranges from simple acoustic to full on grunge. I appreciate that Michael Stipe's vocals may not appeal to all, but sometimes you need a crazy singer and I personally think he is brilliant.

I have seen them play live 3 times and was impressed each time.  Your comments on my top 30 list are welcome, but as usual, keep in mind that I had to make a cutoff somewhere.

  1. Leaving New York (Around The Sun)
  2. Imitation Of Life (Reveal)
  3. Losing My Religion (Out Of Time)
  4. The One I Love (Document)
  5. Supernatural Superserious (Accelerate)
  6. The Great Beyond (Best of R.E.M.)
  7. Everybody Hurts (Automatic For The People)
  8. What's The Frequency, Kenneth? (Monster)
  9. The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight     (Automatic For The People)
  10. Man On The Moon (Automatic For The People)
  11. Fall On Me (Lifes Rich Pageant)
  12. The Wake-Up Bomb (New Adventures In Hi-Fi)
  13. Drive (Automatic For The People)
  14. Stand (Green)
  15. Bad Day (Best of R.E.M.)
  16. Orange Crush (Green)
  17. E-Bow The Letter (New Adventures In Hi-Fi)
  18. Hollow Man (Accelerate)
  19. She Just Wants To Be (Reveal)
  20. All The Way To Reno (Reveal)
  21. Aftermath (Around The Sun)
  22. All The Right Friends (Best of R.E.M.)
  23. The Lifting (Reveal)
  24. It's The End Of The World As We Know It (Document)
  25. How The West Was Won And Where It Got Us (New Adventures In Hi-Fi)
  26. I'll Take The Rain (Reveal)
  27. The Outsiders (Around The Sun)
  28. Bittersweet Me (New Adventures In Hi-Fi)
  29. Half A World Away (Out Of Time)
  30. Monty Got A Raw Deal (Automatic For The People)

You can also see this list on iTunes and hear clips of each of the songs here.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

A naked man in my room

For over 20 years, in the various places I have lived, there has been the same picture of a naked man on my wall. It is a print of a huge charcoal drawing that I saw in Bordeaux many many years ago in the window of a gallery. I instantly loved the picture and knew I wanted a copy. The skills required to produce something of this quality are many. Despite the fact that it was hanging on my wall for so long, no-one thought to ask if I liked naked men. I always thought that was odd. For the record, and in case you didn't know, I do like naked men!

But here's the problem... I don't know who the artist is and I want to know. I need to know! On the print, the signature is too faint to make out fully.  It has worried my for years.  Can anyone read the signature and help me out?!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

A comment from anon.

I am sorry that I have only just noticed a comment added to my blog on the Steven Davies coming out posting.  Anonymous wrote:

I am always jealous of people like this. I am 37 years old and completely closeted. I am depressed at the thought of being in the closet for ever. I cant have a relationship for fear of people finding out I am gay, especially my parents and brothers. They would not accept it. And I fear that I have left it so long, that my friends would be unhappy with me for keeping my gay side from them

One night stands dont do it for me any more. Anyone have any suggestions?

Based on the limited information above, all I can say is that this is a tough one, I am sure you will agree.  My advice would be twofold: firstly, if you actually want to come out, make a plan and consider all possible outcomes.  Secondly, perhaps consider going to a support group or finding a friend who can support you.  The "problem" will not go away by itself and life is too short to be depressed.  If your friends and family don't have a clue about your sexuality, I would be surprised and you may well find out that they are more accepting than you think.
I know people who are closeted in a similar way (at first I thought it was one who had left the comment) - I am sure that it is depressing and must limit their ability to be happy.  I don't intend turning the blog into Ask Stephen as I don't have all of the answers.  I am certainly not a perfect "out and proud" gay man as I am not out at work.
I open this one up to my readers...

Monday, 7 March 2011

30 second movie #1 - French market

When Pete and I were in France on Saturday, I made a tiny video on the iPhone.  I then used the iMovie software on the Mac to edit it (purely as an experiment) - so here is my first 30 second movie... next stop the Oscars!

Sunday, 6 March 2011


Pete and I went to France for the day yesterday (very early start).  For a change, we drive down to Boulogne to have a look round the town, including the shops for an hour or so.  Some of the old buildings are lovely, including the church and castle.  The rest of the town is post-war concrete I'm afraid.  The weird thing was, considering it was lunchtime, the town was deserted.  Shops were empty and only the small market showed any signs of life.  We drove down the coast to Wimereux and that was also like a ghost town.  It was as if France had decided that "fermée" was the word-of-the-day.  We did a bit more shopping (food and wine mainly) then had a big dinner before returning to my parents house.

5 on the fifth for March went live yesterday and there were some great contributions from around the world.  I am pleased that the linking tool worked - I was a little nervous and as I was in another country, I would have struggled to correct it!

I took a few iphone pictures yesterday and have used an app to age them in true 1970's style.  Here are a couple.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Five on the fifth #21

Welcome to the new look '5 on the fifth', a posting where you share 5 photographs taken on the days leading up to the 5th of the month. Remember to mention my blog on your own blog, so that your visitors can find the other contributions. You can take 5 random pictures or follow my suggested theme - which this month is: LINES

You no longer have to leave a comment with your details (though comments are welcome) - just complete the form below including your name and location in the 'link title' field and like magic, you will appear in the list of contributors.


My images are shown below...

Friday, 4 March 2011

Be nice

I spend a lot of time in my car driving to, between and from appointments with clients.  Earlier this week I was flicking through the radio stations as I often do and ended up on Radio 4.  Now, before the people in the UK reading this suggest that Radio 4 is for old people - try it and I guarantee that you will learn something new and will be entertained.

Anyway... I heard a play called "Brian Gulliver's Travels" in which a man in a mental institution is recounting stories of his travels to strange countries that don't actually exist (or do they?!).  One country had a law for everything and subsequently half the population were lawyers.  The next country he visited had one law and that law had just two words: "Be nice".

So yesterday, I put my usually cynical self to one side and made the conscience decision to be nice about everyone and try and find the positive in everything.  Although I like to think otherwise, I don't suffer fools gladly.  When we did a psycologilcal assessment at work, one of my "strengths" was that I hated wasting time with people who didn't know what they are talking about (I am paraphrasing a little their); but it explains why I hate meetings with the aim of finding a solution, that often do the opposite. In addition, I do like a good moan - it can be fun!

During the day, I stopped myself critisising and turned it around to the positive.  When Pete was complaining about work in the morning, I worked the facts around to the positive too.  When I found dealing with my head office to be a bit of a nightmare, I decided not to moan. I also made a decision to compliment more than ever.  I have to admit that it's hard work but strangely rewarding in places!

I cant promise to continue at this nice pace, but I will give it a try.  So today, why not stop when you are complaining about something or someone and try and be nice instead?

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Football quotes

There are some classic quotes here. Who said footballers were stupid?!

"My parents have always been there for me, ever since I was about 7"
David Beckham 

"I would not be bothered if we lost every game as long as we won the league."
Mark Viduka

Alex Ferguson is the best manager I've ever had at this level. Well, he's the only manager I've actually had at this level. But he's the best manager I've ever had."
David Beckham 

"If you don't believe you can win, there is no point in getting out of bed at the end of the day."
Neville Southall 

"I've never wanted to leave. I'm here for the rest of my life, and hopefully after that as well."
Alan Shearer

"I'd like to play for an Italian club, like Barcelona."
Mark Draper 

"I faxed a transfer request to the club at the beginning of the week, but let me state that I don't want to leave Leicester."
Stan Collymore 

"I was watching the Blackburn game on TV on Sunday when it flashed on the screen that George (Ndah) had scored in the first minute at Birmingham . My first reaction was to ring him up. Then I remembered he was out there playing."
Ade Akinbiyi 

"Without being too harsh on David Beckham, he cost us the match."
Ian Wright 

"I'm as happy as I can be - but I have been happier."
Ugo Ehiogu

"I can see the carrot at the end of the tunnel."
Stuart Pearce 

"I couldn't settle in Italy - it was like living in a foreign country."
Ian Rush

"I always used to put my right boot on first, and then obviously my right sock."
Barry Venison

"I definitely want Brooklyn to be christened, but I don't know into what religion yet."
David Beckham

"All that remains is for a few dots and commas to be crossed."
Mitchell Thomas

"One accusation you can't throw at me is that I've always done my best."
Alan Shearer

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Steven Davies

In the sports news yesterday morning, details of England drawing a thrilling match with India in the World Cup was followed by news that wicket keeper Steven Davies has come out of the closet.

As I have said before, it's tough coming out, but telling the sporting world that you are gay is a brave decision.  He is one of only a few elite sportsmen to do this.  I don't blame those that stay closeted, especially in football, but I hope that more guys can live without the burden and worry and come out 'easily'. It's really not worth living a lie.

Obviously, Mattie Mitcham is out and proud - and is very vocal about it too.  He's so cool!  Another sportsman that came out recently was rugby player Gareth Thomas.  You could argue that the macho and possibly homophobic world of rugby makes Gareth a real hero. 
A post from Andrew's blog here explains more.

In a way, I was disappointed not to see the usual puns for Steven Davies - I had expected...

He bats for the other team
He likes to position himself behind the batsman
His favourite view is of the middle stump
He has a firm hold on the bowlers balls
etc etc etc

Anyway - here's to Steven Davies... gay icon!


Don't forget, in a few days time '
5 on the fifth' will be live on the net. Take 5 photographs on the days leading up to the 5th - publish those on your own blog and then add the link to my blog so that others can see your images. You can either take 5 random pictures or follow this months theme which is: LINES.  

If all goes to plan, you will not have to add a comment to include a link to your blog - watch this space for instructions!