Friday, 31 August 2012

Desert Island Discs - Song 8

Welcome to my Desert Island Discs. I have opted for a different approach to many people; I have divided my life roughly into 8 and picked a track for each period.
Here is song number eight of my Desert Island Discs:
Soul Meets Body by Death Cab For Cutie
So we reach the final 8th of my life so far...
Finding new music is strangely difficult in this ipod age - when you mainly listen to your favourites as they are readily available.  But I have selected a song by Death Cab For Cutie called Soul Meets Body that I heard on a Podcast a couple of years ago. I can't usually judge a song on the first listen, but I liked this immediately. It comes from their album Plans which has many great tracks and I recommend it. Their early albums are a little less accessible though. 

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Sport for sports sake

I'm a big fan of baseball. :-)

Wednesday, 29 August 2012


The message is clear. It's fine to be a bigot and spread hatred if you have an organisation behind you.
The Boy Scouts of America
The Catholic church in Scotland
Both should be ashamed at their misguided attempt at morality. It sickens me. As we know, the facts show that paedofiles are nearly always straight (you can decide which organisation I am speaking about).
How can men of god really spread such shit?  Do they really believe that marriage will be less fashionable if it's opened up to people that love each other?  It's all a cover for their twisted and controlling religion.
And as for the Boy Scouts.  It makes zero sense and such a decision could only ever have been made by people so removed from the real world, that they think they are doing something good.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Cambridge various

A few photographs from a trip to Cambridge yesterday...

And a sweet picture of Pete's brother's new puppy...

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Top 10 Edinburgh Fringe jokes 2012

1) "You know who really gives kids a bad name? Posh and Becks." – Stewart Francis

2) "Last night me and my girlfriend watched three DVDs back to back. Luckily I was the one facing the telly." – Tim Vine

3) "I was raised as an only child, which really annoyed my sister." – Will Marsh

4) "You know you're working class when your TV is bigger than your book case." – Rob Beckett

5) "I'm good friends with 25 letters of the alphabet … I don't know Y." – Chris Turner

6) "I took part in the sun tanning Olympics - I just got Bronze." – Tim Vine

7) "Pornography is often frowned upon, but that's only because I'm concentrating." – George Ryegold

8) "I saw a documentary on how ships are kept together. Riveting!" – Stewart Francis

9) "I waited an hour for my starter so I complained: It's not rocket salad." – Lou Sanders

10) "My mum's so pessimistic, that if there was an Olympics for pessimism … she wouldn't fancy her chances." – Nish Kumar

Friday, 24 August 2012

Desert Island Discs - Song 7

Welcome to my Desert Island Discs. I have opted for a different approach to many people; I have divided my life roughly into 8 and picked a track for each period.
Here is song number seven of my Desert Island Discs:
Brian Wilson by Barenaked Ladies
I have rarely bought a CD on a complete whim, but at the turn of the century, one day in Berwick Street market in London, I bought the Barenaked Ladies album Stunt. That album featured the excellent 'One Week' and I bought it just because it looked interesting. It was a lucky find. Since then, I have bought everything the band has produced and seen them live at least 9 times.
Barenaked Ladies are brilliant live. They are great musicians, but also witty and willing to take risks improvising and telling stories. Pete and I saw them twice last summer on consecutive nights and they played a different set each night.
The song I have chosen is called 'Brian Wilson' from their first album Gordon, and it's obviously about the tortured soul from the Beach Boys. It's not a great video...

Thursday, 23 August 2012

21 Jump Street

I was wrong about this film. I didn't want to see it because the trailer looked stooopid and immature.  The film WAS stupid and immature, but also quite funny.
I actually remember the TV programme that the movie is based on.  It was the first time I saw Johnny Depp and he looks rather good!  It was in the days when I worked for a Cable TV company and I had a poster of him right by desk. Also with a 4 foot Bart Simpson and some random ever-changing movie posters.
Anyway... Pete added the new incarnation of 21 Jump Street to the Lovefilm list and we watched it last night. American dude comedies can wind me up quickly, but this was very funny from the off. I laughed out loud at the dumb antics more than once.  The story revolves around 2 young Police officers that go undercover in a high school to find drug dealers, despite not looking like teenagers any more.
I wont spoil it, but due to a certain mix up, the nerd cop and the cool cop each end up with the wrong cliques at the high school. It's really silly at times, but I still laughed.  The film features a "kid" played by Dave Franco who to my great suprise is 27 - I thought he was 18!  There's something about him... quite cute in a strange sort of way.

It was definately a 7.5 out of 10, but I must round down rather than up as the end gets a bit lovey dovey!

Handjob techniques

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Some coming out stories

Coming out isn't always about a nervous conversation with someone and as there are some sad stories around, here are some alternatives...

I'm hanging out with my mom. She's asking me about girls. I hesitate.
My plan: To come out to her.
What actually happened: After a long, melodramatic intro into how devastated I'd be if it weren't true that she'd love me no matter what, she replied with a simple: "You're gay right? I already knew that!"

Irritated by repeated warnings from my dad "not to get girls pregnant" while I'm in college, we begin to argue.
My plan: Win the argument.
What actually happened: I didn't plan to come out, but eventually it slipped in my reply: "I won't be getting any girls pregnant because I'm gay."

I guess I won.

Me: I'm gay
Her: Ha ha funny, no you aren't
Her: Wait, you are being serious arent you
Me: Yeah
Her: OMG. but you are still marrying a woman, right?
Me: obviously
Her: No! now you can't have cute little blonde babies! Thats allright, I'll have your babies for you

As a college freshman, I fell in love with a boy, a senior.
My plan: Go to his house and hang out.
What actually happened: I stood in front of him, paralyzed. I kissed him on the forehead and ran out of the house, terrified.
After that: He showed up at my dorm and let's just say he was my first boyfriend.

This guy who visited the Coming Out Group at my university in 1993 came from Czechoslovakia.  We talked about the benefits of "coming out." 
He asked "What do you mean 'to come out'?  You mean TO TELL THE TRUTH!!?"  

Monday, 20 August 2012

Desert Island Discs - Song 6

Welcome to my Desert Island Discs. I have opted for a different approach to many people; I have divided my life roughly into 8 and picked a track for each period.
Here is song number six of my Desert Island Discs:
Fais Moi Une Place by Julien Clerc
Pete and I got together in the summer of 1999.  The first evening out (at a work's event), we ended up sitting outside on a terrace at his flat in London all night and watched the sun come up.  Pete has a wide taste in music, from the strange like Yoko Ono, to pure pop like Kylie and from classical to through to Duran Duran. Our tastes do not always match!
I introduced him to the music of Julien Clerc, who I first heard when MTV Europe launched and had a playlist of around 10 songs. Julien is a singer-songwriter who has been around for decades and his albums still debut at the top of the French charts.  I can’t really think of an British or American equivalent singer-songwriter who has lasted so long - perhaps Elton John. He is often classed as a "singer for the ladies", but I think that’s rather unfair. Yes, he does release the odd mushy ballad and occasional cheesy pop tune, but on every album I own, there are a few tracks that any songwriter would be proud of. 
Fair Moi Une Place is a sweet song and it's one of Pete's favourites, so this choice is for him.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

August 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.
A slow month for us...
The Last Metro (1980) 6
A tough film to rate - has some top French film stars with some good acting, but it was overlong.
Delicacy (2011) 7
So very depressing. Audrey Tautou plays a great part - but avoid if you are feeling a bit low!
Ted (2012) 8
Loved it - my review can be found here.
Network (1976) 4
I cant believe that this won oscars - it's embarrassing to watch at times. The director appeared to love overacting. Ned Beatty, usually a great actor, has a scene where he just shouts and acts appallingly - and got an oscar nomination. It starts OK, but the ending is just stupid.
Crocodile Dundee (1986) 8*
A classic that still makes me laugh... "call that a knife?"
Tangled (2010) 6
Wonderful animation, but this Disney animation was lacking a good story. You expect more from Disney.
Young Adult (2011) 5
Could have been made for TV. Don't bother.

* Previously viewed.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

One liners

I phoned the local gym and I asked if they could teach me how to do the splits. He said, "How flexible are you?" I said, "I can't make Tuesdays."

"So I was getting into my car, and this bloke says to me "Can you give me a lift?" I said "Sure, you look great, the world's your oyster, go for it.''
"Apparently, 1 in 5 people in the world are Chinese. And there are 5 people in my family, so it must be one of them. It's either my mum or my dad. Or my older brother Colin. Or my younger brother Ho-Chan-Chu. But I think it's Colin."
"I'll tell you what makes my blood boil?...crematoriums"
And I've got a friend who's fallen in love with two school bags, he's bisatchel.
I was having dinner with my boss and his wife and she said to me, "How many potatoes would you like Tim?". I said "Ooh, I'll just have one please". She said "It's OK, you don't have to be polite" "Alright" I said "I'll just have one then, you stupid cow"
You see I'm against hunting, in fact I'm a hunt saboteur. I go out the night before and shoot the fox.
You invented Tipp Ex, correct me if I'm wrong.
So I went in to a pet shop. I said, "Can I buy a goldfish?" The guy said, "Do you want an aquarium?" I said, "I don't care what star sign it is."
So I met the bloke who invented crosswords today. I can't remember his name, it's P something T something R.
I was reading this book today, The History Of Glue and I couldn't put it down.
My mate asked me "What do you think of voluntary work?? I said "I wouldn't do it if you paid me."
So I told my girlfriend I had a job in a bowling alley. She said "Tenpin?" I said, "No, it's a permanent job."
So I fancied a game of darts with my mate. He said, "Nearest the bull goes first" He went "Moo" and I went "Moooooo" He said "You're closest"
So I met this bloke with a didgeridoo and he was playing Dancing Queen on it. I thought, that's aboriginal.
I visited the offices of the RSPCA today. It's tiny, you couldn't swing a cat in there.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Julian Assange

I don't get political on this here blog too often and will keep this brief.  Here's my take on yesterday's annoucement that Julian Assange is to be given help by Ecuador.

  • I don't like or trust Julian Assange. I doubt whether he's done all his sneaky stuff to save mankind.
  • Wikileaks has actually achieved very little in the great scheme of things.
  • Despite his followers announcements, I don't believe his life in in danger if he was sent to Sweden.
  • I believe that Sweden would give him a fair trial.
  • If there was any hint of a death penalty in the US, he wouldn't be extradited anyway.
  • I trust Ecuador as much as I trust Assange.

For a far better viewpoint, have a look at Andrews blog.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Desert Island Discs - Song 5

Welcome to my Desert Island Discs. I have opted for a different approach to many people; I have divided my life roughly into 8 and picked a track for each period.
Here is song number five of my Desert Island Discs:
Heart Of Gold by Neil Young
Like most people, my early 20's were a lot of fun. It was mostly about friends, drinking and trying new things. But my job was rubbish and I ended up going back to college at age 23 which was a very wise decision, but tough financially at the time. Not being the most outgoing gay man and always a late starter, I was quite lonely at times. I'm not after pity here, lots of guys go through it and I am still here to tell the tale.
After years of thinking about it, I had guitar lessons for a while and was introduced to an even wider choice of music: Elvis Costello, XTC, Richard Thompson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Neil Young, etc.  And yes, one of the first songs I learnt was Ralph McTell's 'The Streets Of London' (I can still play it!). At one of the first lessons, I had the challenge of learning the Neil Young song 'The Needle And The Damage Done'. After a while I realised that, I didn't practice enough and it ended up an expensive way to talk about music each week.
I love acoustic based music and I love sitting and noodling with my acoustic guitar. I may not have improved my skills, but I will never tire of sitting playing nothing in particular to see where it goes. There are a few songs in me and one-day they will escape. A true classic is the Neil Young Song, 'Heart Of Gold'. I had been tempted to pick 'Cinnamon Girl', but this is a beautiful track.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Lego games

Here is a very clever Olympics montage all in lego!  It made me smile.

The next Desert Island Disc will be with you tomorrow... and it's a classic.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Dear Mr Romney

Dear Mr Romney
You may have noticed that the London Olympic organisers did an outstanding job. They ran the Olympics in the heart of a bustling city and put on a show that outshone every other Games. The highly complex arrangements were managed professionally, despite negative interference from politicians like yourself.
I am sure that, after insulting the organisers on your recent visit to London (and therefore indirectly insulting the people of our islands), you may like to apologise and admit you made an error of judgement.
Your sincerely

Olympics end

So the closing ceremony was almost as bonkers (and almost as entertaining) as the opening ceremony and we now bid the Olympics goodbye. I'm feeling very sad that it's come to an end, despite the Paralympics on the horizon. Here are some pictures from our trip to Eton on Friday...

Sunday, 12 August 2012

How do you deal with the divas?

Two stereotypes and generalisations, following a fortnight of Olympics Games fun:

Top athletes - work incredibly hard, often rely on lottery funding, modest

Footballers - underworked, overpaid, arrogant.

The obscene amounts of money paid to footballers has destroyed part of the game for me.  It makes me feel rather uneasy. I know that some footballers do a lot for charity and some are nice guys, but the amount of money paid to kick a ball is wrong. Some say that entertainment costs and that footballers entertain - well not enough to justify such wages I'm afraid.

Football has lost it's way. The people's sport is now all about money. Manchester United is a money making machine with a football squad... simple.  In 1984/5 season, the average First Division player earned 2.5 times the average UK wage.  In 2010/11, the average Premiership player "earned" £1,162,350 a year - that's over 44 times than the average UK wage and I suspect more for most paying football fans.
 How do we deal with this problem? Wage caps don't work - they are circumvented, but they are probably the best answer. The UEFA financial fair play regulations are interesting are will hold clubs to financial constraints, but don't go far enough, soon enough.

I don't have any great answers - all I know is that a lot of people are disillusioned by football and insultingly high wages. I don't expect players to be paid in cigarettes and beer, but come on football, sort yourself out.

...It's just something I wanted to get off my chest.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Desert Island Discs - Song 4

Welcome to my Desert Island Discs. I have opted for a different approach to many people; I have divided my life roughly into 8 and picked a track for each period.
Here is song number four of my Desert Island Discs:
Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac
In 1987 I discovered Fleetwood Mac. I heard Big Love on the radio and immediately knew I had to find out more. I bought the album Tango In The Night the next day and realised that these bunch of songwriters knew how to make a great song. 
During the summer of 1987, one of my brothers gave me a tape with Fleetwood Mac (1975) and Rumours (1977) on it and I vividly remember sitting in the lounge of the overnight ferry to Holland listening to the albums over and over. I couldn't sleep in an upright chair and anyway, I was drawn in by the amazing music. It also reminds me of first going to college and the people I met there.
I could easily have chosen Rhiannon, Landslide or The Chain, but Go Your Own Way is, in my opinion, one of the finest rock songs ever made and comes from Rumours, a near perfect album. The production, the performance, the guitar sounds, the drums, the hooks... they all work perfectly.
I would like to have chosen a Stevie Nicks song for song number four as I regard her as one of the best songwriters, but I hope this pick makes up for it as this song is all all about her. Guitarist Lindsey Buckingham wrote the song when they were breaking up and he pulls no punches.  She wrote Dreams for him and he threw it back in her face with Go Your Own Way. 

Friday, 10 August 2012

Ways to achieve happiness - update #1

Further to my post last month looking at ways to improve your life, I have updated it following some comments and also added a few more that came to mind. As always, your comments are appreciated:
1.   Really appreciate good health when you have it.
2.   Take a risk once in a while - you might surprise yourself.

3.   A song or album that you love and no-one else you know has ever heard of it.
4.   Perfectly fitting pants.
5.   Accept that you will make mistakes and learn from them.

6.   A porn star that you can rely on.
7.   Truly local and fresh fruit and vegetables.
8.   At least 3 meals you can cook brilliantly.
9.   A readily available snack in the cupboard.
10. Walk around without socks on for a whole day
11. A local place to buy freshly baked bread.
12. BBC Radio 4.
13. Comfort food that is eaten without guilt.
14. An easy interesting route that you can walk anytime to clear your mind.
15. Find your passion and follow it with enthusiasm.

16. Show Your Appreciation.
17. Three months salary saved for an emergency.
18. Turning off the television and having a conversation.
19. Turning off the television and reading.

20. Find a job that satisfies you.
21. A favourite restaurant and/or bar you can almost feel at home at.

22. Quality shirts that fit well.
23. Do a regular clear out and give to charity.
24. Ability to play one entertaining and impressive thing on a musical instrument.
25. Change your routine regularly, especially the route to work.
26. A good coffee maker.

27. A favourite joke to share.
28. Stop Complaining.
29. Write down 3 things at the end of every day that were simply good during that day.
30. Be nice!

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Movie review - Ted

As a fan of both Family Guy and American Dad, I was pleased to hear a while back that Seth MacFarlane was making his first film.  To be honest, I've found Seth to be a bit of an over confident egomaniac, but you cant argue with the facts: he is a writer, actor, animator, director, producer and even singer, having appeared at the BBC Proms! This guy is talented, but could he take his brand of humour (and sometimes it's waaaaay over the line) on to the big screen? 
The hype around a film like Ted often means that the movie experience is a disappointment, but last night Pete and I made a rare visit to the cinema to see the coarse, sarcastic and loveable bear. The cinema was very busy, mainly with guys - no surprise there.
Mark Kermode on BBC Five Live says that, to be a successful comedy you should have laughed out loud at least 5 times. Ted exceeded this quota easily.
There are no spoilers here; the story is obvious and silly, but who cares?!  It made me smile for an hour and three quarters, despite a couple of romantic lulls in the film. Mark 'Marky Mark with the muscles' Wahlberg is great at comedy and plays a bit of a loser who is led astray by his friend Ted. And the bear himself is some impressive CGI and really just Peter Griffin in fur.
I appreciate that this film wont appeal to everyone and the storyline does run out of steam, but sometimes you need to laugh for a while. I don't want to give anything away, so I will just say that Patrick Stewart's narration, lots of film references and some brilliant one-liners make the film and I look forward to seeing it again, just to find out what else I missed.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Monday, 6 August 2012

Desert Island Discs - Song 3

Welcome to my Desert Island Discs. I have opted for a different approach to many people; I have divided my life roughly into 8 and picked a track for each period.
Here is song number three of my Desert Island Discs:
Get Back by The Beatles
My eldest brother had a few Beatles albums and singles and in the late 70's, I became hooked on them, especially Let It Be and Abbey Road. As the most consistantly brilliant band, The Beatles produced gem after gem over a stupidly short period of time.  No other group has a back catalogue of such quality and to prove it, if you ask most people if they know of certain tracks such as Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, Back In The USSR or Here Comes The Sun (or another dozen or more), they will know the songs... despite the fact that these songs were not singles.
I could have chosen any of 20+ Beatles songs, but had to make the cut somewhere and decided on Get Back, which is a deceptively simple song, not only a great rocker. It reminds me of the wide variety of music I absorbed from my brothers including Led Zepellin, ELO, Michael Jackson, Steely Dan, Deep Purple and many others.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

5 On The Fifth - Summer Special

Welcome to a special '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: 
Complete the form below with your name and location in the 'link title' field and like magic, you will appear in the list of contributors.

Here are my images, all taken on Friday and Saturday:

Saturday, 4 August 2012


We have spent the day in London Olympics at Wembley to see Mexico versus Senegal play football. It was my first visit to 'new' Wembley and I was very impressed. The game was exciting and there was a stunning 81,885 in the stadium. I would say that about 80,000 had no links with either country, but we cheered anyway.
And tomorrow it's 'five on the fifth' for a summer special - so take 5 photos and post them online. Tell your friends!
I took this with an iphone app that links photos together...

Friday, 3 August 2012

Sport sport sport

It's been a busy-ish week for me.  I had a quick visit to Edinburgh on Monday and Tuesday for work. I only found out I was needed on Friday and I quite like last minute stress of preparation and travel. Lots of changes are happening in financial services and as a company a lot of work needs to be done in advance, hence these visits to the Scottish capital.
As with many people, Pete and I have spent many hours watching sport and cheering on Team GB in events we have little knowledge about! This weekend we have football and have also managed to get some volleyball at Earl's Court. It's sad to think that this exhibition centre, that I have been to many times, is to be bulldozed after the games. I went to my first computer shows there in the mid 80's and even attended Crufts!
If you want to see some amazing images of the Olympics opening ceremony go to HERE, which is one of my favourite sources of news photography. They have great taste.
Don't forget, '5 on the fifth' returns for a one-time only special on Sunday. The theme is very easy... it's Summer.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

5 on the fifth - Summer special

The final '5 on the fifth' was last December - but I have decided to resurrect the old idea for a one-off summer special.  Don't let me down readers!  It falls on a Sunday, so no excuses please!
So... we are just a few days away from the next '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: