Thursday, 29 September 2011

September movie update

Here are the films that Pete and I have received from and watched on TV and DVD over the past few months in reverse order, with my ratings out of ten from my movie list on the IMDB.

Echo Park, L.A. (2006) 6
Gay themed movie - OK in parts.
Beastly (2011) 6
Certainly not high art, but starred the yummy Alex Pettyfer - so that's worth 6 points alone!
A Single Man (2009) 8*
I first saw this on a flight and watching on a proper screen helped to move the score up one point.
Killing Bono (2011) 6
A black comedy that didn't quite work, despite featuring the gorgeous Ben Barnes and the strangely interesting Robert Sheehan (From Misfits).

Submarine (2010) 7
An interesting film with an indie feel set in Wales.
My Dog Tulip (2009) 2
Awful animation about a man and his dog. Some parts were distasteful.
Crap romcom.  When will I learn?!
Departures (2008) 6
Very weird Japanese film about a traditional undertaker.
French film about money, jealousy, selfishness and friendships that perhaps are not as true as they should be.

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010) 6
A Woody Allen film that doesn't suck!  Full of lazy writing and cliches though.

Battle: Los Angeles (2011) 7
Throwaway action movie - great fun!

Source Code (2011) 8
I really liked this (I know some do not) - silly science fiction, but entertaining all the same.

Kaboom (2010) 7
Sexy movie that is a bit bonkers. I find Thomas Dekker (who plays a bi guy) extremely sexy.
How Do You Know  (2010) 5
Not good - perhaps 5 is actually generous.

Limitless (2011) 8
Flawed storyline, but kept me interested throughout.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

London weekend part 2

As I mentioned on a previous post, Pete and I were in London for the weekend with my friend Sonny.  We started with a walk into the West End via the South Bank (there was a food fair on) and had a few drinks en route as we walked through Covent Garden, Soho and St James.  We then went to see a play in Old Street, which is a bit of a trek from my friends flat, especially with the Northern Line closed for engineering.  The play was awful so we left at the break!  We walked around Hoxton and Shorditch - the new trendy areas of London.  It was packed with people and the pubs/bars/clubs were buzzing.  We ended up at Spitalfields for dinner.

On Sunday we walked through the near deserted streets to Tate Modern, had breakfast, looked around that ever-stunning museum before taking a slow walk along the Thames.

After a bit of shopping, we headed home getting stuck in some bad traffic jams.  You gotta love London!

Here are a few random images from the weekend:  A nose on Admiralty Arch (see here for more information!), graffiti artist under Waterloo Station (its legal there), book fair on the South Bank, the unfinished Shard, Sonny and Pete at Tate Modern.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Chav alert

I was in St. Albans today and I saw the perfect chav - she was walking along the street thinking how to spend her 'hard earned' benefits and was the perfect representation of this species... 

The female chav:

Scraped back hair
Football shirt
Tracksuit bottoms
Fat arse
About 16
With a baby
Walking with a pitbull

All boxes ticked - amazing!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

London weekend

Pete and I spent the weekend with our friend Sonny in London - I'll tell you more about what we did when I find 10 minutes, in the meantime here is an Instagram collage showing a few things we did and saw...

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Olympic hopefuls #2 - Daniel Keatings

In the second of my series of fit and cute Olympic hopefuls for team GB, let me introduce you to Daniel Keatings.  He is a 21 gymnast and hopes to represent us in the all-around event - i.e. he needs to be good at many different things!

Friday, 23 September 2011

Sad news

I was very sad to read that REM have announced that they are splitting. As a big fan, I can't believe that I wont get to buy new music as soon as it's released!  Here is the official statement and edited comments from the band:

"To our Fans and Friends: As REM, and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band. We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening."

"During our last tour, and while making Collapse Into Now and putting together this greatest hits retrospective, we started asking ourselves, 'what next'? Working through our music and memories from over three decades was a hell of a journey. We realized that these songs seemed to draw a natural line under the last 31 years of our working together."

"A wise man once said--'the skill in attending a party is knowing when it's time to leave.' We built something extraordinary together. We did this thing. And now we're going to walk away from it. I hope our fans realize this wasn't an easy decision; but all things must end, and we wanted to do it right, to do it our way."

"We walk away as great friends. I know I will be seeing them in the future, just as I know I will be seeing everyone who has followed us and supported us through the years. Even if it's only in the vinyl aisle of your local record store, or standing at the back of the club: watching a group of 19  year olds trying to change the world."

A while ago I posted a list of my favourite REM tracks - you can find that posting

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Jonathan de Falco

A few months ago, I blogged about the cute and supremely confident Anton Hysen - a professional football who is out and proud.  He's enjoying gay life to the full it seems (via his blog) - appearing in magazines, on radio, lots of TV, film premiers, working with clothes designers, etc etc.  I like the guy and it seems he is really genuine.

With footballers in mind, there is news of another footballer coming out, but this time there is a twist to the story...

A professional footballer has made a new career using his tackle, by becoming a gay porn star. Former Belgian professional footballer Jonathan de Falco, formerly of Racing Mechelen and Oud-Heverlee Leuven, has assumed the name Stany Falcone to follow his dream of becoming a gay porn star.

The 26-year-old told the Antwerp Gazette: "I felt more and more content with who I really was. I had to really go on, but after a conversation with the club, we agreed that I should leave the club earlier and I would change my life. The football world is not ready for gay players. There is too much prejudice and generally low tolerance. Since I was 20 I have been in gay circles, but when I played soccer, nobody noticed anything. If my orientation would have been known, there would have undoubtedly problems."

So I have have been thinking.  There are around 4000 professional footballers in England.  If I use a very conservative 3% gay ratio (the gaytio*), then that means there are 120 closeted guys playing football.  It saddens me to think that there are so many guys who have to live a lie, cant be themselves and ultimately cant be happy. I hope that the experience of Anton Hysen will be positive enough to allow some guys to say "I'm gay, I play football, so what?!".

* Copyright Stephen Chapman 2011

Tuesday, 20 September 2011


In recent days, reports in the media have focused on Travellers and their illegal occupation of land in Essex. Some of the stories are balanced, some not so. The broad range of articles usually look at how Travellers occupy land illegally and how local communities living in fear of being overun by Travellers, negatively affecting their lives.
For many, the perception of Travellers making their home on a site nearby, whether legal or not, is highly unfavourable. Whilst I have my own views and experiences, it seems that it is difficult to obtain the full facts to allow all of us to make informed decisions and furthermore, it appears that anyone who criticises Travellers is accused of being racist.
I would therefore be interested to know the truth, as my views are not positive and I feel that we could all benefit from knowing whether Travellers are disruptive or merely neighbours living unconventional lives. Ideally, this should be investigated by the media, but failing that, I would like to hear some feedback from my readers; not hearsay or rumours, but actual experiences on the following areas of concern when Travellers move in:

Some perceptions of Travellers sites:
  • Increased crime in the local area, including theft, damage and car crime.
  • An increase in anti-social behaviour
  • Mess and damage during and after occupation
  • Planning laws flouted on official sites
  • Travellers pay no income tax and council tax, yet always seem to be driving shiny new cars
  • Travellers still make use social benefits and local council services
  • Traveller groups are buying land and illegally living on it - where do they get hundreds of thousands of pounds to purchase the land?
  • House prices are negatively affected near to sites.
These are just a few 'perceptions' - so what is the truth... if its out there?

Sunday, 18 September 2011


We made the mistake of agreeing to look after our neighbours dog. He's a 13 month old Labrador and I hadn't quite appreciated how little he has been trained!

Coming from a home that has always had dogs (and trained at that), it has been an exhausting weekend trying to keep up with this powerful beast.  We have lost 2 balls that other dogs like to play with, some driftwood and very nearly lost the goldfish from the pond as Buddy clearly likes water!

We drove to Pete's uncle and aunt in Oakham for a lovely lunch and then walked around part of Rutland Water where we stayed last year.  We couldn't take him off the lead as there is algae in the water at the moment that is poisonous to dogs. So he dragged us for a few miles to the Finches Arms pub.  While we sat having our beer, I said to Pete: "be careful, I think you have let go of Buddy's lead".  He had not, Buddy had just chewed through the leather lead! My shoulders ache from pulling him back every few seconds.

Here is a view of the depleted Rutland Water reservoir:

Today we took the mad dog to Pete's Mum's house and then for a walk with Pete's brothers dog (Max).  It was hard work again, but this time I thought I would introduce him to the concept of "heal" and how to walk with a lead on.  He was actually getting the hang of it, but very slowly.  I took this picture of Max this  morning as he ran through the long wet grass.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

New member of the family

It has been such a strange weather year with drought in the spring, followed by the wet and mild summer.  

Despite the huge potato crop that we have enjoyed, the unusual weather has meant that the tomatoes are only just ripening, the peppers didn't grow at all, neither did the courgettes - however, of the 10 chili plants I grew from seed, 4 have produced babies.

Here is red chili pepper number one.  I wonder how hot this little guy is going to be?

Friday, 16 September 2011

Back from Edinburgh

I've been working in Edinburgh for a few days and the trip started in a strange way. I parked the car on the medium term car park at Luton Airport and as I got my belongings together to make my way to the bus stop, I noticed a shiny spoon on the ground. A closer look showed that it had no handle and had clearly been used for drugs!

The usual bad sleep pattern continued for a couple of nights. In the meantime, we had some good meals and even the work was OK. I am making the most of it as expenses are being scrutinised heavily.

The moral of the team is at an all time low with a few people having left recently and other internal changes are having a negative impact. Also, the reality that some underperforming colleagues are still being paid more than us is starting to grate. I am a little pragmatic with regard to the situation as in these money-strapped times, having a job is a luxury!

And to finish, here is a picture I took of an old Victorian entrance to a bank - stunning!


Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Can someone please explain...

I have a couple of things in my mind that I just don't understand and would like someone to explain, if they can.  Here is number 1:

I appreciate that there are some major underlying issues, but in simple terms, why are Muslim terrorists killing fellow Muslims in places like Pakistan and India?

They are achieving nothing by killing these innocent people and don't appear to have any aims other than to disrupt the country. These so-called religious followers are also going against all Islamic teaching, e.g. "A Muslim is the one who avoids harming Muslims with his tongue and hands". If that's to be believed, they are not going to heaven after killing people.

I could sort of understand if the attacks were directed at foreign nationals, foreign companies etc, but killing their own confuses me.

So what do they hope to achieve?

Monday, 12 September 2011

A pleasant surprise

Many (many) years ago, there was a boyband called Bad Boys Inc. Whilst I cant remember any of their music, I can recall having a few "fantasies" about one of the singers called David Ross. He's the one on the left in the picture below.

I haven't seen this guy for years, but was watching a gay(ish) themed film called Echo Park L.A. and I recognised me straight away!  He's now an actor and looking up his details, I find out that he is gay and is a writer of gay fiction and film maker. 

He still looks pretty good these days!

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Catch a falling moon

This image was runner-up in the Astronomy photographer of the year competition held by the National Maritime Museum.  It made me smile...

It is called Hunting Moon by Jean-Baptiste Feldmann from France. The website calls it "a playful silhouette places an Earth-bound Moon-catcher in pursuit of the waxing crescent Moon in the early evening sky on 6 April 2011."

Friday, 9 September 2011

Let the rugby begin

And so the world cup is with us again, this time from New Zealand.  Can England get to another final?  Will the South Africans triumph again?  We will know in a few weeks time.

England kick off against Argentina tomorrow and we rarely start these competitions well, but we shall see. Given the time difference, it will be back to watching rugby over breakfast - all very strange!   The local rugby club has been very imaginative and has a full day of events tomorrow: the England game, training sessions, other world cup games, local derby in the afternoon, evening party, etc.  Good for them - great idea.

And it wouldn't be right to miss the opportunity of sharing some images for your viewing pleasure - England's pride (and most look like ugly bouncers, so this is the pick of the bunch!):

Jonny Wilkinson
Richard Wigglesworth
Tom Wood
Ben Foden

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Random London

On Tuesday, I was in London for a meeting at The Gherkin and afterwards went into the West End to meet Pete.  Whilst enjoying an overpriced coffee in Bar Italia, we briefly met our friend Melissa who was off to see the wizard at the Palladium.  A few minutes later, in walks 80's pop star Paul Young and Melissa almost fainted with joy - and she just had to go and get a photo taken.  After that, we went to a lovely Turkish restaurant that is so cheap and so tasty.  I cant see how they make money!

Here a a couple of Instagrammed images from the day (The Shard was taken from the 34th floor of the Gherkin), ending with the shot of Paul Young, Melissa and me!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Michael Thalassitis

Our local paper reports on Stevenage* FC games and this picture of their 18 year old youth Striker Michael Thalassitis jumped out. Very cute with stunning eyes!

*For the record, Stevenage is a "new town" built in the 1950's and although it has a great road system, it's a bit of a dump with non-descript housing estates and a terrible concrete town centre. The whole town can be described as "rough" including many chavy people. These are only my opinions of course, but people from the town I live in would never shop in Stevenage... ever!

Monday, 5 September 2011

Five on the fifth #27

Welcome to '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: MESS.

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 below:

Saturday, 3 September 2011

This doesn't help

In the Scottish Sun this week, Scottish cycling champion Graeme Obree, encouraged other gay athletes to stay closeted. Obree, who is now retired, came out in January 2011.  The article said:

I don’t think being gay and an active sportsman is a good thing. While I was competing and in a changing room environment there was no way I would come out. You’d always be worrying if other people were thinking, ‘Is he checking me out?’ There are SPL footballers who are gay, I know that for a fact. But if I was in their position there is no way I would come out. It would be too awkward in the dressing room. You need to be retired first.

I have to say that I don't quite agree that staying closeted and lying to everyone and yourself is ideal for anyone. If a few sportsmen were out, the gay "stigma" would be reduced and after a while, the press would even move on. Being in the closet is stressful enough and doing it in public must be even worse.

I appreciate that Graeme was in a great position to judge whether to have come out, but I am convinced that nothing will change until a few brave guys say: "I am gay, I am a professional sportsman, get over it".  Views???

I've spoken about the ever cute Anton Hysen before who is a bit crazy on his own blog. He is a professional footballer, gay and out.  He seems to be enjoying the whole coming out experience, appearing in magazines and on TV and radio. He says that his team mates have no problem and doesn't care when rival fans shout those oh-so-funny chants from the stands.  Let's end with a picture from Anton's blog from a couple of days ago - he reckons after shaving that he looks 10 years old!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

This isn't a joke

Look carefully, actually not that carefully.  Who designed these outfits?!

Five for September

As summer reluctantly starts to edge into Autumn, we look to the September '5 on the fifth'. 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 find your images. 

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