Friday, November 03, 2006

You had me at latte

Why is it when you are desperate to go out, dance, and pull nobody calls? I have texted and phoned the usual suspects but either they are ill or networking. I’m not best pleased.

However, perhaps I should have planned going out earlier in the week. So now I’m thinking about going out by myself. This scares but also thrills me. Sometimes it can be really exciting and you find yourself chatting to interesting people, or at other times it can be bloody depressing as you sip your drink and try and look mildly disinterested whilst all the time you are screaming inside ‘please talk to me, please talk to me’. Edinburgh men don’t seem to actually talk to each other on the scene, sniff and look down their nose yes talk no. In fact a friend told me the other day that he is so used to this strange vow of silence that he is worried when somebody does actually talk to him.

I have found the same thing in other cities I have lived in and visited so perhaps it is a gay thing. Or perhaps I don’t give off the right vibes. My oldest childhood friend, Adam, who lives in London has told me I have to get a look. I took him out to my local club in Edinburgh, where perched on a stool, he glanced around the bar smiling wryly at the men around him. In less than five minutes the guys were swarming. This was a while ago and I still haven’t perfected a look. I might have to telephone Adam for some more lessons.

I’m unemployed again – but have had the week off from job hunting. I’ve mainly been watching films but also managed to do some writing in a coffee shop, gone to an Islamic art exhibition, continued to read ‘The Historian’ and started Alberto Manguel’s ‘A Reading Diary’. The coffee shop trip was fun but I had other reasons to get my coffee there.

A few weeks ago I was working around the corner from this particular coffee shop. Normally I’m not into this particular chain of coffee shops but I had noticed that a cute guy worked there. He had a little beard and shaggy bed head hair. In the middle of the day, after cutting and pasting the four hundred and tenth address into Excel I found I needed a little handsomeness in my day.

Anyway, after a particular hard day of ‘Excelling’, I went to get a coffee. I ordered it from my cute barista, and whilst I was waiting I went to look at the mugs on display. (As a child I used to collect mugs but that’s a different and painful story for another time). Unfortunately, feeling tired, so tired that I felt my face was on backwards, I walked into the display. As I laughed out of my nerves, my nervous giggles were joined by that of my cute barista. I turned around and smiled at him and he said ‘You’re the first person who has smiled in here today’. Oh happy day!

I started to go more regularly, but then he disappeared. Finally two weeks later he was there looking browner. He told me he’d been to Croatia, and had a nice time. I was really nervous talking to him especially as his co-worker was stood next to him. My cute barista also seemed to be anxious as he too got tongue tied and started to tell me about Croatia’s currency system. OK, I was a little bored but I fell in love right there and then. You could say he had me at the latte.

Now I know he might only be doing his job, but I don’t care. So that’s why I was in again last Monday. (I haven’t been in for several weeks). Alas, he wasn’t there, in fact all the staff had changed but I’m just hoping that he might come back.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

David Tennant, my Mother and Coke Zero

I am sorry for not updating since May – call it madness, call it laziness, call it being helplessly in love with David Tennant and watching the entire second series of Doctor Who three times on BBC Three, but I haven’t been writing. Shame on me and shame on those bloggers who have removed me from their links except Reluctant Nomad who I dearly love. Actually I can’t blame those who have removed me – but I hope I will be put back soon. I do love you too. Now I’m sending too much like a self centred diva so I’ll move on quickly.

I wish I could say I’ve been in the jungle saving wild flowers, or on a secret spy mission to convert Daniel Craig to homosexuality but I haven’t. I’ve just been working, watching Doctor Who and getting addicted to Coke Zero. (In fact I’ve just had a 500ml bottle and I’m typing like Kerouac and I can sense that this entry may be a little random.) As you can tell I have an increasing obsession with David Tennant. I swooned last night whilst I was watching him on the National TV Awards and today I bought the ‘Doctor Who’ magazine. And later I might re-watch ‘Who do you think you are’ with David looking sexy in various locations around Scotland and Ireland. My friend Richard, who I fancy, looks a lot like David, (and also like Richard Hammond) and so I’m resisting buying a David Tennant doll for matters of hygiene, good taste, and not wanting to be a stalker. (I already have Tobey Maguire as Spider man sitting on my computer – it would not be good).

Last week, my parents had their last visit of the year to Edinburgh. I love them both dearly but my mother has begun to talk to everyone about everything. She can talk about macs, shortcake, medical ailments, shops, moffat and the dissolution of the monasteries to greasy-haired teenagers with ASBO’s, bored shop assistants who don’t care, polish men in full Scottish regalia, and confused foreign tourists. However, she does actually charm people so I should stop my moaning and be grateful for a friendly mum. Unfortunately, she does embarrass me by telling shop assistants that they have lovely teeth or shouting on the bus ‘I don’t know where to get off’ instead of just asking her son who is sitting beside her.

Dating has been non-existent and it’s time I got back in the saddle. I have had some interest but the texting has stopped. I’m hoping he’s just quiet.

I can’t make my life sound exciting. I went to a gay celildh on Saturday, quite a do, but sadly I was bored. The best part of the night was the onion pizza and chips I had in ‘disco chippy’, a chip shop where a DJ plays techno. But I got a chance to hang out with Simon who had come up from Brighton and exchange stories. The other exciting thing was that I threw out all of my PhD notes, and half filled a recyclable bin. I felt quite good ripping my notebooks up with my Dad, but also a little sad. Ah well hopefully the paper will save some trees.

And so that’s it. But to make up for my own quietness I will be doing an entry every night this week. I know that this isn’t such a big deal but for me it is –I’m prepared to forgo my David Tennant moments for the sake of my blog.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Blue Peter

When I was about 11 I loved Blue Peter. I wrote down all the presenter’s birthday’s down in my diary and promised myself that I would send them birthday cards. I never did. However, I did write to the BBC asking if I could interview the presenters for my newspaper ‘The Mercury’. I got a lovely letter back from Biddy Baxter and a press pack, but unfortunately a refusal to my interview. It only made my love for Blue Peter grow stronger.

I marked my year by it, the summer expedition, George going into his box near October time and best of all – the advent candle glittery thing. I never thought I would stop watching it. But then one day, around the age of 15 (still late) I stopped. I’d occasionally call in and see how the Blue Peter garden was doing, or how the new pets were. But never again would I sit down with Blue Peter with my plate of oven chips. The new theme tune was the final moment when our relationship ended. Indeed if our relationship could be compared to a romantic film, it would be as if I saw an ex-lover pass me on the street and I would turn to my friend and whisper ‘I used to know him once’. My friend would look quizzically at me, and I would sigh before rushing into Habitat.

But it’s happening again. I think now is the time I leave nightclubbing alone. I cannot quite believe it yet but I think my clubbing days are gone. Clubs have been great. I remember my first gay club in Liverpool (Garlands) seeing cute twinky boys, my first night down in London and pulling at Poptastic in Manchester.

But now the hard core music does not fill my heart anymore. I want to talk, have a nice meal, and have a relaxing drink. I’m sure I’ll still visit clubs but I want more. Just as I left Blue Peter to get interested in my first girlfriend, now it is time to leave the clubs to find my real man. And me.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Friend or Fuck?

I saw my fireman last night. Well he is not really my fireman, but he is a fireman that I’ve had my eye on for a while. I have chatted to him before and he is hot. And what’s more he has a reputation for being a nice guy too. I watched him snog the face of a guy on the dancefloor, whilst Kylie was playing. He became less of the butch fireman and more of a flamer, but still at least he can dance and doesn’t take himself too seriously. I may be flattering myself but I did get a few looks, I’m hoping, and how horrible is this, that his current beau was just a one night stand.

What is it about the gay scene that makes people become so vacuous and nasty? I can turn down a man just because his lips are too thin or he is too tubby, too tall, too slim, too different or not different enough. And I ask myself why I haven’t had a boyfriend for the last five years!

But here we all are waiting for a man to talk to us. We stand in lines, not talking giving the impression that we would be anywhere but there (although we have probably waited thirty minutes to get in) but all desperate for someone to speak to us, to pick us out of the crowd, to whisk us away. Perhaps that’s just me talking. I always love it when someone speaks to me but I will always be a little disappointed if the man is not attractive to me. Somewhere along the line I have got enmeshed in the shallowness of club life.

I watched a drunk guy try and get off with anyone he could find, he did a kind of crab dance and then would wipe his head slowly as if he was in pain. At closing time, we stood side by side at the cloakroom counter him going through his wallet looking for his ticket. It was a weird moment – I saw the inside of his wallet and his cash card through a plastic case. Here was someone who was so careful about his money and yet could take his heart out onto the dancefloor and offer it to anyone for less the price of his leather wallet. I hope it wasn’t his first time in a gay club. There was such innocence there it almost made me gasp. Later I was waiting outside, I saw him come out, and drop his blue sweater from out of his leather jacket. Here was my chance to whisk him away, to put my arm around him to lead him home. I was about to go and pick it up but a drunk girl got in there first. He said thanks and off he went, he then thought about it and turned back on himself.

I have made some good friends from going out in clubs, so perhaps I can be his. Although half of me wants to get into his pants. And there’s the problem – friend or fuck. (You can always fuck a foe.) And that’s a gay club for you. Your friends or your fucks. And the scary thing is your fucks might not always be your friend.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Mr Mouse

I had just got back from shopping and was sitting on the sofa where I caught a glimpse of a light brown furry thing moving along the skirting board. In a loud voice I said ‘Excuse Me! And the mouse promptly ran down a small hole around the radiator pipe.

Urgh. I have had furry visitors before, but I haven’t seen one in about 18 months. I shouldn’t be surprised as over the last few nights I have been hearing strange tip tappy noises coming from the kitchen.

Anyway, after I saw the mouse I went into the kitchen, there on one of the surfaces were two mouse droppings and a single flake of Special K. I cleaned up with antibacterial spray and sheets, then I washed my hands about three times. As a kid I suffered from OCD quite badly, so it trigged a bit of the old behaviour. Anyway after having a nap of about three hours, I went back into the kitchen. I heard a funny noise coming from the kitchen cupboard - a banging and a rustling.

I opened the cupboard and began to gingerly move stuff out, first of all some beluga wheat, then a tin of tomatoes, and then a mouse falling down onto the oven. I screamed the highest pitched scream, (I have deafened a few of the gay dogs in the neighbourhood) as the mouse did a kind of half pike fall and then struggled down between the very small gap between the oven and counter. I immediately telephoned my Dad (not only am I a Mummy’s boy but I’m a big Daddy’s girl too) but there was no response.

In my mild panic, I kept thinking do other people have mice? Do bloggers have mice? I can’t imagine Reluctant nomad having these kind of visitors, or Rhino 75 or Lubin. (But now I am thinking about what type of mouse would they have? Reluctant Nomad’s mouse would obviously be travelling but leaving a trail of breadcrumbs, Rhino 75 reading Sartre, and Lubin’s watching Bad Girls whilst flicking through ‘Cultural Review’.

The next few days came more visitations. I heard Mr. Mouse behind the oven squeaking, I found that the wrapper from a bottle of oil had been eaten, and that the Microwave had been thoroughly investigated. This mouse is easily more adventurous than the last one, and as I have said, more vocal. I believe he or she is a rookie mouse, just learning their way in mousedom, and bloody shitting all the way!

My mother on the other hand thinks the mouse is cute – I am convinced that she thinks the mouse wears white gloves and trousers with two buttons on them. Anyway, I’ve put poison down and Mr. Mouse seems to have disappeared. I’m hoping he’s gone to the flat across from me. I heard them shagging in the shower (the ‘what are you doing here?', the giggles, and then the creepy silence) – it put me right off my toilet reading of the Argos catalogue, I can tell you.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Where posh meets dodgy

I live in a part of Edinburgh where dodgy meets posh. If you turn one corner you meet Valvona and Crolla – an Italian delicatessen that attracts more pashminas, wax jackets and green Wellington boots than Prince William at St.Andrews University. If you turn the other corner you are in a world of old men masturbating in public, casual violence, and drunks struggling out of the gutter.

The other day I was walking near Valvona and Crolla, and was waiting for the green man to cross the road. Up behind me I heard a strained voice, a small woman with hair down to her waist with a full length mushroom coloured mac saying ‘I will not wear my skirt up my arse for any man’, ‘I will not wear a skirt up my arse for any man’.

She looked at me, and repeated herself again ‘I will not wear a skirt up my arse for any man’ more loudly and insistently. I know it sounds strange but her voice had that same desperation as a mother bird who calls incessantly for a lost chick who she will never find. I was about to ask her the woman if she was all right but I noticed that each time she repeated her mantra she would gnash her teeth and foam at the mouth. I was scared and stepped away.

I’ve seen her a few more times, she looks happier, somewhere beyond where posh meets dodgy.

Saturday, February 25, 2006


‘You must be riddled’ Mark said on the phone laughing.

I laughed nervously. I had just told him that I’d never had a sexual health check.

‘Here’s the number of the GUM’.

I took down the number, chatted a bit more with Mark before deciding to do some shopping. ‘I don’t need a sexual health check, I don’t need a sexual health check’ I obsessed for about thirty minutes. I got back, did some research on the internet ( I procrastinternet very well) and I found there was a gay men’s health clinic on a Wednesday night. I rang and I found myself there a few days ago trying to write out my name and address, but shaking so much that all I could produce was a spidery line. There were three other people in the waiting room. And even though I was nervous I still managed to cruise all of them.

I felt a bit calmer – I read the Ideal Home that was placed on the coffee table, next to the booklet entitled ‘Cock Tales’ – and drank more water. I glanced up and a guy gave me a quick smile of ‘I know what you are going through’. I gave a quick smile back. Actually everyone in the room was relaxed, I was thinking this is no big deal. I wondered if I should talk to him, but I didn’t know what the right GUM/STI clinic etiquette was. ‘So what are you in for?’ might not be the best approach. But then again I thought these guys are responsible for their own health.

My name was called. Would I allow a nurse to sit in? No thanks. I felt terrible as the Doctor dismissed the nurse and she walked sheepishly away. (Richard has told me not to worry – he said that she was probably glad of the break and had a cup-of –soup).

The doctor introduced himself and promptly asked

‘When did you last have sex?’
‘er, Monday’.
‘Oral, Anal?’
‘Oral.’I said my throat closing up.
‘Where was he from?’
‘He was Austrian’.
‘And your last sexual encounter before that?’
‘Australian’. The doctor laughed and looked impressed.
‘Oral, Anal?’
‘Oral again’.

He asked me to undress but that I could keep my shoes on. I knew there was no way I could take my jeans off over my shoes, but as it was a doctor saying it I tried. After five minutes of struggling, I took my shoes off, undid my jeans and boxers and waited for the swabbing. The first swab was from my throat, the second from my penis. Now when I think of a swab I think of a light brush with a cotton bud, but this! I could feel it in my throat. Actually it was so quick I had only a tiny bit of discomfort, and to be honest it was better than some blow jobs I have had (or probably given). Anyway, next up was two swabs up my bottom. I made the mistake of clenching after he put the swab in, but again no harm was done and I kept my dignity.

Next were the blood tests and hep shots. I told the doctor about being shocked about the penis swab – he apologised and then said ‘you’re really going through it’. I apologised and said I was acting like a baby. ‘No you’re not,’ he said quite seriously and added ‘you poor bugger’. Perhaps not the choicest of words but I understood his sentiment. In fact, all through the process I felt that this doctor actually cared for me. He really was compassionate and I must thank him for that. As he was giving me my hep shots (so I can enjoy rimming, fingering, and travelling to foreign climes - I blushed when the doctor said this – not the foreign bit) I checked out my doctor’s package. Is that wrong?

The Doctor recommended that I had a glass of wine and a painkiller (I wanted to say couldn’t I just take the copy of Ideal home with me?), and that he would see me next week for my second injection and urine test. (I couldn’t produce a drop even though I’d had three glasses of water). He then gave me three packs of condoms to which I said ‘I’ll take them, but I’m not really an anal kind of guy’. Why did I say that, why? And to make matters worse I added ‘But you never know’.

Anyway to recover I went round to Matthew’s, drank half a bottle of Cava, ate a packet of mini-eggs and some salsa with mesquite crisps. It was on doctor’s orders.

Matthew and his flat mate both said the same thing. ‘If you do the crime, then you have to do the time , especially if you are a deviant’! Now I wouldn’t mind so much but Matthew is gay and his flat mate is a single woman aged 33 who works in a employment agency – now that’s deviant! Seriously though this makes me very angry – although it was supposed to be a joke it is deeply not funny. Consensual sex between two adults, whether it be for love, recreation, or avoiding the washing up is never a crime or deviance.

OK rant over. But although I have made fun of my experience I was being daft. I should have been had a sexual health check before but I chose to ignore it, because I was embarrassed. My embarrassment lasted two minutes and I have already forgotten it. Perhaps if I had taken more responsibility before with my sexual health, I would not have been so nervous. So, if you are worried about going to a GUM/STI clinic then just go. There’s a good choice of magazines, some cute men and afterwards you can eat as much chocolate as you like.
P.S. I am aware that this post may cause offence. It was not my intention to make fun of sexual health infections, only my own daftness in not getting checked out for so long. Taking an HIV test is serious and most clinics offer counselling before and after the result. This is your right!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

I'm not really a very good photographer

I have been inspired by the guys who write Bookpacker, a blog in Paris, which has some terrific photos which makes their fabulous lives even more fabulous. (I'm a shameless blog hussie.) This led me to Flickr, where I have been enjoying my voyeuristic tendencies. So I thought I'd share some of my photos. The above photo is of Princes Street, and was actually intended to be a picture of Edinburgh Castle. However, the flash went off in my hand and here is the result. I actually think it is very Wolfgang Tillmans.

Learning from my mistake, I took my intended picture of Edinburgh Castle. Here I really think I've captured the Castle's ethereal beauty, its dominance of the Edinburgh skyline and dare I say it a glimpse of its history. I also managed to highlight a tourist's 'go faster' stripe on his anorak.

I hope you enjoy my photography and please feel free to post your unique photo moments.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

You make me want to be a better person

It’s Valentine’s Day and I don’t have a partner so I thought I’d write a Valentine to my friends.
The best moments of my life have been with friends. The moment where you laugh so much you can’t speak, and when you are able to speak you just start to laugh again. The feeling of warmth when you are having coffee or a drink with a friend and you are chatting and know that you don’t want it to end, but still know that you can do it again and again. The silly fantasies that you can have, the same jokes repeated over and over, the daft questions like ‘What did you have for your tea?’ or ‘What pants do you have on?’

The best thing is when you are with that person and you know you do not want any harm to come to them or anyone to hurt them. And it’s then you realise that their friendship makes you a better person, and that you want to be a better person for them. That to me is friendship, that to me is love.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Day after Tomorrow

I’ve just been reading one of Tom Coates old posts on about doing a doctorate.  Absolutely fantastic! I went through hell, and gave other people hell too, doing my PhD and I think I’m still recovering from it now. I’d ask myself over and over again - Why couldn’t I do it? Had I tried hard enough? Was I stupid? Was I lazy?

I actually withdrew from my PhD this week. After reading Tom’s post, I’m reminded of the cultness of the life. The fact that you are no-one without three letters after your name. To be honest, I do believe that PhD’s are wonderful, but only if you have a real passion for  your subject because that’s what will keep you going through the redrafts, the worries about money, and the wish to put sharp objects in your eyes so you don’t have to read another sodding article. And that you realise it is a job not an extension of undergraduate life   I remember walking along a road with this girl  I’d just met at a PhD seminar group. She looked up at someone’s flat window, which looked cosy, and said sadly ‘I bet they don’t have a PhD to do’.

And again saying all this I’ve just applied for a lecturer’s job. What am I doing? It really is a cult – you can never escape. I still haven’t thrown away my old books and my six Clairefontaine notebooks. They are still in the pantry, panting to be let out. I think I’d better read Tom’s post again.

Onto lighter stuff – I watched ‘The Day after Tomorrow’ yesterday. I loved it at the cinema and I still love it now.  I was gutted when I missed ‘The Poseidon Adventure’ on Channel Four the other day. I remember watching it when I was about 7 and being really upset when the Reverend (Gene Hackman) threw himself into a fire/void/fiery void.  It was just so unfair.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

What's going on?

I haven't written for ages mainly because I'd forgotten my password. Now I've remembered, I'm going to keep writing. In 2005, I got a new job but now in 2006 I find myself unemployed and a little bit lost but I'm hoping that I can find my path again. This morning I signed on, and I couldn't believe how friendly they were. And it was nice to get up before eleven.
After the jobcentre, I wandered down Leith Walk and went into a new Polish delicatessen. One of my best friends in the states is Polish so I went in to say hello to her through the medium of food. I saw the Perogi but I didn't have enough money so I got a bag of 'Chipsy' instead - paprika flavoured crisps. I felt obliged to buy something as I had wandered around the shop for around ten minutes. I'm getting more and more like my mother. She feels bad that her local Somerfield is not doing well, and will go to make 'it' and her feel better!

I carried on down the street and made a mental note that I should get up at 7am every day, as there is so much to do - especially when I'm off. When I was working all I could think about was my wasted days in the office (well not so wasted as I enjoyed the company of people around me) but now I'm wasting my time hanging indoors, feeling mopey and angry! Enough of this! I declare the rut is over!

I also know I have to get over my unrequited love. I am lovesick and it's time to realise that I am not going to find a man until I actually choose someone is available. This means actually talking to a guy in a club - not just staring and daydreaming. Now I'm getting self-obsessed but I guess that's the whole point of having a crush. You're in love with your own idea of love, not the person. You can't get rejected because of your personality, but because they are straight or in a couple. It's time to realise that rejection is not bad, or that it makes you a bad person. I'm beginning to realise that it's time to accept myself as I am, and stop trying to be perfect. The straight guys I know seem to be able to do this, and are more tolerant of others.

I've been reading a lot of Trash Addict's blogs - he always makes me laugh. I emailed him a few years back and said something inane like 'I love your blog'. (I think he's right not to talk about friends - I'm tempted but it seems unfair to them and me. ) I'm intrigued by comatose and I've just logged on to High Camp caress Morrell - very funny and as bitchy as he says he is. I need to work out how this link thing works as that's one of the best things about blogs.

Right, off to do a job application form. Fun is not the word.