4/29/2004
 
After 6 months, there was still not enough Drew in the world…



Kevin, Malaysia
Have you ever had those moments when you were acting so cool in a big event and suddenly embarrass yourself? What happened?
I remember being on the Tube in the morning and realizing that I’d put my t-shirt on inside out. This t-shirt had a huge tag. It was screaming INSIDE OUT. I considered taking it off and turning it outside in but the action of getting topless in a busy carriage full of commuters was way too much. I got many sympathetic looks. People on the tube aren’t all bad you know.

Elizabeth, Michigan, USA
What is you favorite book? (or books, I like too many to pick just one)
Me too. You choose one and the others feel left out. I’m not very well read. I’m badly read. When I was fifteen I spent the whole year reading Agatha Christie. No, really I did. Miss Marple and I were like that.
I discovered the Tales of the City books when I arrived in London. Recently the Life of Pi, The Lovely Bones. Before that Catcher in the Rye, Generation X, Lolita, 1984, Faces in the Water, Birds, Beasts and Relatives. Roald Dahl for his sense of fun and Graham Greene for his observations.

What is the craziest thing you've ever done/seen on an airplane? Subquestion, are you a member of the mile high club?
I was upgraded to Business class. Does that count? It was from L.A. to Auckland – over twelve hours and they didn’t have a vegetarian meal so the onboard chef cooked me cous cous. That was pretty wild. Thinking back on it, sex would have been good too…

Biggest pet peeve?
People who say I don’t sound like I’m from New Zealand. I don’t – I sound English. A kiwi accent is all about the elongation of the vowels. I kept mine clipped. Having to go into a discussion about phonetics with nearly every person I meet is my major peeve. And the fact that phonetics isn’t spelt the way it sounds also pisses me off now I think about it.

If you do tequila shots, do you always do the salt and lime too?
Always - so I wake up the next morning with a rind and salt encrusted arm.



Sam, Sydney, Australia
Who was the best lover you ever had? (names can be changed to protect the innocent, but you’d better go into plenty of other details!)
Woo! Sam is an old friend. We go way back, hence the question. But I’m afraid the best lover I ever had was the first boy I ever fell in love with, Aaron (pronounced Ah – Rin, like an elf). We had youth, energy and because we were both students a WHOLE lotta time.

What causes a tornado?
A lot of hot air. Very similar to how blogs start.

Ted, California, USA
Who is the most famous person you have had a conversation with?
In Ibiza last year I become friends with Norma-Jean and Lucy from Chic. Now, they know what really went on in Studio 54.

If you could spend one year in perfect happiness but afterward would remember nothing of the experience would you do so? If not, why not?
Oh, good question. I remember a similar one about a pill that would make give you an orgasm for a year and after that time you’d die.
I wouldn’t do that - but I’d take the year of perfect happiness. I think the only catch would be if you DID remember it. Trying to build a life again after perfect happiness sounds like hell.

Lizzie, London, UK, Aged 27½.
If you could sever and reassemble body parts from various hunks, which limbs, pecs, abs, and pretty little face would make up your perfect man?
Matt Dillon’s scowl, George Clooney’s chin, Tom Cruise’s nose, Matt Damon’s ass, Hugh Jackman’s arms, John Travolta’s lips circa 1979. Everything else can be padded out with the usual suspects: Brad Pitt & Errol Flynn.

Ms. Chelly, Canada
What ever happened to Ronnie Barker?
There was a BAFTA tribute for Ronnie on TV here a few months ago.

If you were a curry what sort of curry would you be?
Vegetarian Green Thai Curry with lots of mushrooms in.

Have you ever bent it like Beckham?
Ha ha ha. Too. Many. Puns! *Gets back on chair* I used to play football (soccer) when I was a kid. I had great ball control. Pfffft ha ha! Sorry.

What colour was your favorite pair of pants/trousers when you were a kid?
I don’t have one. Somehow that makes me sad – liked I missed out.



Jef, USA
Would you prefer to make a name for yourself in playwriting, short stories, essays, novels, etc?
I think a playwright and a novelist equally. Oh God, wouldn’t that be lovely.

If you were going to write a ransom note, and you really wanted it to sing and stand out from the usual run-of-the-mill ransom note, what would it say?
Singing telegram ransom notes. Gorilla Costumes. Tap-Dancing.

Is there any kind of physical activity or sport that you have yet to try? What is stopping you?
I’ve never rock climbed before. What’s stopping me? Fear of rock climbing.

What song would you have Kylie and Dannii cover if they were finally to record together?
A very dirty electroclash cover of “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves”.

Do you like your partners to do anything with your nose sexually?
Ha ha ha. Jef, I’m blushing. Licking, nibbling, kissing. And depending on who it is, their other suggestions are not to be sniffed at.

When you meet someone for the first time, what do you usually notice first and what does this tell you about the person?
I always notice if someone is kind. An easy attribute to spot, but it’s often overlooked. Kindness is an underrated virtue altogether in my humble opinion.

Liv, Melbourne, Australia
If you were a cup of coffee, what sort of coffee would you be? (long black, skinny cap, soy latte?)
A Macchiato because I love saying it. Macchiato. Macchiato. Macchiato.

Best ever first date?
With the second person ever fell in love with. He’s Swiss and was in London to celebrate his 29th birthday. We were both in a horrid, smelly after hours club and I spotted him, built up my courage and asked for a light (even though, I in fact had one in my pocket. Smooth). I used the line “Come back to mine and we can get up tomorrow to do some sight seeing”. Let’s just say that we didn’t make it to Buckingham Palace.

Why hasn't some TV producer contracted you yet to star in a sitcom/drama called something like "Drew in the City" - along the lines of SaTC?
You win the prize! Get this lady a medal!

Damien, France
If you were a girl what sort of slut would you be?
A big one. But I’d be classy with it like Belle de Jour.

Have you ever felt like u need to vomit ur life in a positive way (or not)?
Hell yeah! That’s why I started writing. The whole process is a big purge.

Kate, USA
Ok since you are a fabulously gay man, I wonder have you ever had sex with a woman?
I never have, Kate. I knew from an early age that I was gay and being a sometimes unnervingly pragmatic young lad I had no desire to experiment with the fairer sex. Women are amazing. But only men turn me on.

And one more to oblige you...
Fill in the blank: If I had a dollar for every time I used a thesaurus, I'd be a RICH man.

Laura, USA
What is your most embarrassing moment?
Oh – I’ve remembered another one! When I was 8 and I was at swimming training and my Mother came to watch and started breastfeeding my youngest sister Ellie on the bleachers. She got her boob out and everything! She’s going to kill me for writing about that.

Daisy, London, UK
What ever happened to Dean Friedman?
I had to find out who he was but now I have I can report – he’s still going! He just finished some gigs in the UK. Go Dean!

If you were a floor covering what sort of floor covering would you be? (I struggled with this one for a while, thinking it said "if you were alan (thing)". I'd finally settled on one involving Alan Delon when I found my glasses. Ahem.)
A terracotta mosaic.

Have you ever eaten jelly babies while naked?
I’ve only just discovered how delicious jelly babies are here in the UK. Soft, covered in icing sugar… Can I get back to you on that one?



Craig, USA
Several years ago, some friends/coworkers and I were sitting around talking about ideal boyfriends/girlfriends and the characteristics they would have. Out of this conversation came the following question I’ll ask you: if you could distill all the characteristics of your ideal boyfriend to 3 things – or attributes – what would they be?
Wit, charm, grit. (And being able to put up with my snoring).

With the exception of the occasional oyster sauce, what is the reason you are a vegetarian?
My Mother is so she brought us up vegetarian too. People ask me now why I don’t try eating meat but why change the habit of a lifetime? I know it tastes good (apparently) but where I’m standing it kinda smells like blood and death. Mmmmm… finger lickin’ good!

From your blog I know you like to travel – what is your favorite place you’ve been? Conversely, what is the next place you’d most like to visit & why?
I want to go to New York SO MUCH. I’ve also always wanted to travel to Tokyo. The favourite place I’ve been? San Francisco was brilliant. I love Thailand too.

Jennifer, Missouri, USA
What do you envision your life to be like in ten years if things are going the way you want them to (career, family, etc.)?
Having a house in New Zealand and one in London. One book published and a play in production. To be a fun Uncle, a Godfather to numerous Scooby children and perhaps start thinking about adopting a kid of my own. Spending more time with my Mum and sisters Ellie, Holly and Amber. Drinking Guinness regularly with my Dad.


Credits: Thanks to Susan for so patiently taking the photos, my Mother for buying me the lovely red top and my sis Hol for making sure it was lovely. Love to Am and Ellie, Ryan and Harri too. Thanks again to everyone who sent me a question and to anyone who spends their precious time reading this blog.
 
4/28/2004
 
You’re going to have to humour me because I’m British and we love to talk about the weather. Yesterday was quite something: a monsoon in London.

Because Joe missed the train to meet me for coffee after work, I decided instead to swing by Kay Road and visit Olly, Lorna and Sam. It was drizzling and grey as I left the office and I remembered the vivid image of my checkered umbrella sitting atop my chest of drawers with the mental caption running underneath – I don’t think I’ll need that today. By the time I arrive at Old Street Station I am slick with rain and sweat, making the subsequent tube ride a not entirely unpleasant journey of smells – aftershaves and perfumes mixed with a human steam.

At Stockwell Station it’s pouring. Thunder. Lightning. The works. I stand near the entrance near the cluster of people who’ve also forgotten their brolleys, and try to imagine how wet I’ll get in my suit if I run for it. I envisage a swimming pool and a hydraulic winch with which to lower me.

I ring Olly in the off chance that he’ll walk to the station with an umbrella, but he’s engaged – so I make the best of the situation and buy a sandwich at the store next to the station and eat it pressed up against the wall outside, big fat drops thwacking my shoes. The most of me is kept dry if I press up close to the wall.

My phone rings. It’s Olly.

“I’m on my way baby, and I have an umbrella for you and one for Lorna. I’ll be there in five minutes.”

I love Olly. He is the only person on the planet that I will let call me baby. Ever. It is an honour I bestow to He with the Spare Umbrella.
When he arrives everyone looks slightly hopeful at the sight of the spare brolley. We wait for Lorna and then confidently put up our umbrellas to begin the ten minute walk.

Lorna is in heels so I have to curb my man strides. After fifty meters the rain picks up; torrents drumming the footpath. Olly and Lorna are pressed tight under their umbrella. We’re laughing because the weather is so intense. It starts to hail. Sirens cry all around us.

We walk past a bus station. The roads are beginning to flood, even in this short time, and we watch with sympathetic glee as a bus arrives and sends a cascade of water over those waiting to board it.

Crossing the main road we wait patiently till the little man goes green and then RUN, but there’s a huge puddle on the other side. I leap over it, ballet style. I’m a gazelle. I turn to see Olly pick up Lorna and walk through the puddle. People in cars watch us go.

My ankles are wet – so is my left arm. I can feel the rain on my back. It’s no longer hailing - too warm to last long – but as we turn left into a side street the wind picks up. Water hits us in sheets. It’s almost horizontal. My umbrella can’t multi-task. It was having a hard enough time with “down” and gives up completely when the rain starts to travel “sideways”. My shoes are drenched. I blindly lead Olly and Lorna through puddles. We ignore puddles. The world is a puddle now, so we have to adapt. It feels rebellious walking through the gutter lakes. I want to take off my clothes and run about and not worry about the cards in my wallet, my shoes and if I’ll get my suit dry for tomorrow. I want to give myself to the chaos like we used to when we were children, when it was warm and we would play outside in the rain, giving a self-conscious performance for anyone watching inside, running about in underwear and falling over in the mushy grass. But by the time we reach the house, all I really want is a cup of tea and maybe a towel.

(p.s. Thanks for your questions. I definitely felt the love this morning when I opened my mail - and I was very impressed by the calibre of quiz-master. We rock! *Drew rocks out*)
 
4/27/2004
 
OK, I’ll be frank. I need questions. Please. I’m flying too close to the sun here people. To help you, I’ve created some sections. (NB: Remove the words ‘NO SPAM’ from my email address to send it to me x).

What ever happened to (insert name here)?
If you were a/an (insert thing here) what sort of (insert thing here) would you be?
Have you ever (insert action here)?

So basically it’s spin the bottle. Which, might I add, is hardly ever a fun game to play by yourself.
 
 
Karen is American. None of us held it against her for too long. She’s from L.A, California and I’ve seen photos of her as a teenager in a Pep Squad and in roughly eleven Halloween costumes in a through the years montage. While she lived in London we celebrated Halloween proper – Karen’s mom sending over decorations, the centrepiece - a lifelike looking duck wearing a cape and witches hat. That duck scared me. Wherever you sat in the room, not only did it look like it was watching you, but at any moment it would spread its wings, fly towards you and grab your nose.
Because Karen was staying at Joe and Sam’s (now defunct) flat, the three of them decorated the place; putting a bloody corpse in the bathtub and hanging cobwebs on the walls. We’d carved pumpkins together – but too early, and so on the night of the party they were cheerfully rotting outside.

Months later, after Karen had gone home kicking and screaming, the opportunity came for her to join us in Ibiza. She jumped at the chance and somehow convinced her folks to let her travel half way across the goddamn world again to join us. During our first few nights on the Island, Karen and I sneaked off to sit at a classy little bar – more a drinks hut next to a restaurant. The ocean was just there. We sat on tall barstools and drank tall G & T’s and smoked cigarettes. I don’t know if it’s because she’s tall and leggy herself, or because she’s American - but I’ve never met anyone before or after Karen who suits that scenario better than she does; the sea breeze, the clink of ice, the practiced flick of the barman’s lighter.

I don’t remember the conversation but I do know if I had to summarize it, it would go a little something like this…

Me: Leaning across to light her cigarette.
What do you want out of life, Karen?

Her: Drawing in the smoke and contemplating.
Life? Well… everything?

 
4/26/2004
 
Spent Saturday in Soho Square, surrounded by gorgeous men and women in various states of undress. I took off my t-shirt in public for the first time this year (no applause unfortunately) and drank beer warmed by the sun.

Spent Sunday cradling a hangover and feeling like all the moisture had been spun out of my body in a Drew-sized centrifuge.

But now I have a game. Email me a question, any question you’re burning to ask, and I’ll publish my answers on Thursday. I might even come up with a prize for the best one. No pressure.

 
4/23/2004
 
FYI: Next Thursday is the 6 month anniversary of NEDITW. Pencil it into your diaries and have a wicked weekend.
 
 
Last night the Balham Sainsbury’s supermarket, just a stones throw from my house, re-opened after two weeks of refurbishment. Still a bit high from the success of buying a non-stick wok for just four quid at Woolworths, it was a logical step to get some stir-fry-type-vegetables and a few of those little sachets - you know the ones, they have lemongrass and soy, and often oyster sauce (but being a vegetarian I ignore that, what’s a little Oyster sauce between friends?) from the supermarket.

Inside it’s chaotic. People are behaving as if they’ve never seen food before. Shoppers are tossing packs of shrimp into their trolleys like Britain is about to hit a recession and all that will be available for the next few months is oat bread and water. I notice that there are gay silver and orange helium balloons on every aisle and at the help desk two tired-looking assistants are pouring glasses of champagne for a mob of shoppers who have paused their frantic shopping to get a bit tipsy and toast the health of Mr and Mrs Sainsbury.

I walk past two of the Store Managers and hear one say “It’s going pretty well” in that understated, offhand way that really means “It’s going pretty well because I’m not dead from the stress, even though I started at 5 o’clock this morning and the baby wouldn’t stop crying until two and why, oh god why didn’t I order more shrimp?”

I weave my way through the sea of trolleys and baskets to the Fresh Produce section.

I’m usually quite a snappy shopper but when it comes to vegetables my consumer metabolism slows to a crawl. “I need onions” I think first, because absolutely everything I have ever cooked begins with a diced onion in oil. I can’t find the onions. In my head I have the supermarkets of two countries. I know where the onions would be in New Zealand; near the pumpkin. It’s a strange fact but the British don’t eat pumpkin. They feed it to cattle. In New Zealand pumpkin is roasted and made into thick soups with a native root vegetable called kumara. Just as a note they don’t sell kumara in Sainsbury’s either. Perhaps if they did I’d find the onions. Finally, after walking around the aisles with that despondent “they were right here” look, I see them out of the corner of my eye. But as I swoop on them, I discover they are organic onions.

I have a theory about organic vegetables; they have been created to mock me. It’s just a theory. There you are, buying food that’s both full of iron and high in dietary fibre, and then you glance over at the Organic section where you see butt-ugly fruit and veg smeared with soil laughing at you and their less nutritious, pesticide drenched, genetically engineered cousins. I’m all for looking after the planet and worshipping the temple that is my body, but not at three times the price! I consider it a class divide. The poor eat vegetables that make them deformed and the wealthy eat deformed food that hopefully won’t.

I finally find the onions and choose one that is the perfect size. I squeeze and pluck and poke my way through the rest of the vegetables I need, except for mushrooms. They have been hidden. I wish I had a map. And a glass of champagne. But luckily, as soon as I’ve given up on ever finding funghi I find them tucked round the corner, towards the checkouts. They are very awkwardly placed because everyone is trying to get past with their laden trolleys. I manage to retrieve about three closed-cup shrooms in a bag before allowing myself to be taken by the tide.

The check out girl looks warily at me.
“I already bought the wok” I explain, holding it up to show that I'm not smuggling a crate of Coco Pops in the plastic bag without paying for them, nearly whacking a Granny with my sudden wok-related movement.
“How’s it going today?” I ask the girl.
She smiles wearily.
“It’s pretty mad. I can’t wait to finish.”
I nod knowingly.
“I bet it’s been a long day.”
She can’t find a barcode for the broccoli and so pages one of the Managers.
“I only started ten minutes ago” She says, before we wait silently - fifteen people in the queue behind me, glaring - for the Manager to arrive.

 
4/22/2004
 
Last night I watched May 33rd, a one-off TV drama about Ella (Lia Williams) who has Dissociative Identity Disorder. This means she’s created several personalities to deal with the trauma of, and this is where it starts getting bleak, repeated ritual abuse. I missed the first few minutes, but Ella starts seeing an osteopath (called Edward and played with a wonderful Scandinavian stoicism by Soren Byder) who triggers these personalities as he starts her treatment. Edward talks to Hannah (one of “the children”) and Stevie (whose job is to protect Ella) and starts to learn about what has happened to her. When he realizes that the abuse is still happening, he asks her why she doesn’t go to the police.

Edward: I’ll take you home and you can show me these people. We’ll take a police officer.
Ella: It’s no use. We’ll arrive and they’ll be very polite and take you to one side and explain that “she has 15 years of mental illness” – which I do - and then the policeman will arrive and they’ll be helpful and understanding and he’ll write a few things down in his notebook, ask a few questions. Then he’ll ask to have a quick word with you outside, and afterwards he’ll say that he’s sorry to have bothered everyone and leave. And then you’ll apologize for interrupting their evening and you’ll leave. And then, after you’re gone, they’ll punish me.

The cult itself is revealed late in the drama and without any goat horns or blood. It’s just a group of well-dressed, middle aged men and women - the mundanity of the scenario ultimately more sinister - casually preparing for the ‘ritual’ by putting batteries in camcorders, asking if anyone wants a cup of tea and turning crucifixes upside down.

If there’s one thing that British TV does better than any other country, it’s bleak. Even on UK sitcoms when they try and saturate the colours to Friendsesque proportions, there’s still a drab quality, like there may be dry rot growing behind the set’s freshly wallpapered walls. The ending was so downbeat that I actually started yelling at the TV, telling it to find some resolution for Ella. But it ignored me and there were no happy endings.

The sensations I experienced watching it reminded me of another, similarly themed film. When I was fourteen my Social Studies teacher showed our class Sybil, starring Sally Field - a story about a woman who, as a child, suffered so much physical abuse she created different characters to protect herself. I was in the ‘Accelerant Class’ at high school, which basically meant me were cocky little bastards, prone to being loud and argumentative. Most of the teachers were afraid of us. But Mrs Oliver sat us down in the AV room and we watched the movie, engrossed. We even elected to come back during lunchtime, our rightful hour of unteachinglyness, to finish watching the film (it’s four hours long). If anyone made a noise during it, the cooler, sportier boys would tell them to shut up. I have no idea if the film was related to any work we were doing, in fact, I’m almost sure it wasn’t. Mrs Oliver was a smart, attractive woman with a son roughly the same age as us and she wanted to challenge us. Although it might not seem an appropriate movie to show a bunch of pubescents, while other teachers were trying to stop us climbing the walls and concentrate on Lord of the Flies, or Bless the Beasts & Children, this sad and bizzarre tale gave my class our first, and possibly only, cultural bond, and I’m sure if I met anyone from that class now it wouldn’t be long until we brought it up, if only to marvel at the strangeness of things.
 
4/21/2004
 
I’ve had one of those moments when you freak out because there’s so much you want, so much, and it all takes time and money and perspiration and simultaneously you think, “hey – I’m young, I should enjoy myself while I’m lean, and hungry for everything” and I tell myself that, and I know I’m doing fine, but what I wouldn’t do for the Drew of the Future™ to take me out for a beer tonight and sit me down at the bar and say, “Kiddo, relax. You’re going to do things and see things, and love and lose so don’t worry about missing out. You’ll do it all. Trust me. Now kiddo, we’re going to finish this drink, have a couple more, and then you and I have places to be.”
 
4/20/2004
 
As a welcome distraction to writing about my life (which has become a little, erm, complicated over the past few days) - I’m going to reply to this email instead.

Imagine there was a gay man who was born in London but moved to Sydney at a young age. Now Sydney, as you may be aware, is the gay capital of the southern hemisphere. That may not sound like such an honour but to most of us widdle Australians it is. I diverge... the aforementioned gay man wants to move back to the UK to work so he can actually afford to buy property in Sydney. The exchange rate is wonderful that way. If the gay man was to live in London, where would a gay man such as yourself recommended he should live? This gay man would like to live in a trendy yet affordable area, with a nice café culture and slightly gay undertone. Does such a place exist in London?

Thanks muchly,
Ben


It seems to me Ben, you have two challenges ahead of you, but luckily neither of them is insurmountable. You want to live the London lifestyle but without busting your bank account so when you do finally return to Oz you can afford more than a tin shed held together with bits of wire and chewing gum on the outskirts of *shudder* Canberra.

The first thing you need to know is that London is divided North and South of the Thames. When you move here people expect you to instantly pick a side so that they can moan about the other London clan. Being territorial is all part of living in a large city. In the same way that the British enjoy complaining about the weather, Londoners love bitching about the opposite river bank. Having lived on either side of the Thames I’ve found no huge difference between them - so I say throw caution to the wind, jump into the river and live on which ever bank you get washed up on.

Now the first place that struck me when I heard you say “trendy yet affordable” was Clapham Common. It’s South of the River in Zone 2, has two gay pubs, is half an hour journey by tube to Soho and has the benefit of a huge rambling common that can trick you into believing in Summer during the warmer months. Another seal of approval is that I live in Balham - just two stops on the tube below Clapham. When Balham gets ϋber trendy and everyone starts flocking there in their droves I plan to tell people I “discovered” it.

Also south of the River you’ll find Clapham Junction, Greenwich and East Dulwich – all places I’ve lived in or have friends living there. Brixton has become a very trendy place to find a room, but it may be a bit rough for the uninitiated.

Moving north of the river; make sure you stay away from Shepherd’s Bush like the plague unless you want to live ten to a room with fellow Antipodean’s whose only aim is to puke in every pub in London...

Islington and Camden are North London versions of Clapham – lots of young folk wearing distressed jeans and mountains of that exciting inner city vibe. Notting Hill (in the West) and Shoreditch (in the East) are both expensive areas, but if you’re stealthy you could land a cheap double bedroom in either place. Apartment hunting in London is 50% luck and 50% perseverance.

Don’t worry too much about living in a place with a slightly gay undertone either. The reality is that all the London homos end up gravitating towards Old Compton Street in Soho (between Leicester Square and Oxford Circus); to the many bars and cafes - so as long as you can find your way home after one too many ciders at G.A.Y. bar, you should be okey dokey artichokey.

And remember Ben, if you can’t find a place straight away, you can always come live with me and become my houseboy. I pay 50 pence a day and I’ll even give you Sunday afternoons off…
 
4/16/2004
 
The good news is that the working week is over in ten minutes. The bad news is I’ve wasted the whole day with this game. At this rate I'm never going to write the Generation X for the 21st Century.
 
4/15/2004
 
I met Kate at lunch today. It’s the third day in a row we’ve seen each other; coffee after work at Gay Costa on Tuesday, Moussaka and red wine at Charlie and Trin’s last night and a ciabatta at the Piccolo Deli just now. We’re catching up I guess, not that she’s been away physically. Her brother died. She fell in love. She became a successful DJ. She’s dealt with more sorrow than should be humanly possible and so the time Kate gifts me now - the third cup of coffee, the slow walk back to the station, the quick chat on the phone after work – are as precious and munificent as the first crisp days of spring.
 
4/14/2004
 
Old Street has edgy and slightly confusing posters advertising trendy magazines. Instead of graffiti it has anti-Nestle propaganda scribbled hurriedly on phone box doors. Well-dressed myrmidons of the daily toil sip at free crushed-ice drinks; merrily handed out by a man in a cap with thick bushy eyebrows from the local café. Although I’m not really one of the Suits, I have to admit it’s much easier to fake it here.

The new office is large and clean and light. The water cooler has just arrived. When it’s set up I will stand at the windows with a paper cup full and look absently at the traffic.

The gym is going to take a bit of getting used to though. While the pool in Hendon, as I’ve said many times before, was populated with middle aged housewives on a fitness kick, idly winding their way down any number of lanes, the new gym has two lanes: fast, and faster. Yesterday I found myself in the quickest moving freestyle chain of my life. I was second in a row of four and after the 15th length my shoulders began to complain about the long weekend, and how they’d never had to swim like this before, but, sensing the other swimmers were looking for a weakness in the new boy, I ignored the acidic burn in my arms and the groan of my heart, and pushed on.

Today I had a duel with a young woman who kept pace with me stroke for stroke. We reached the opposite end of the pool at the same time, her - smoothly duck-diving, me - gasping for air in the few seconds she was safely under water.
The water in this new pool is cloudy. I think it might be salt water. It’s a trendy gym like that. As I was lying, half-comatose in the lukewarm Jacuzzi, I watched through the glass as several people fled out of the main gym area. Still more ran by - I was half expecting to see smoke or riot police - until I realised they were on a running track. Inside the gymnasium. Around the bench presses and rowing machines. Weird.

And then there are the changing rooms full of naked neo-Yuppies. It’s like being at an all-you-can eat buffet and not having any serving cutlery.



Some of them there “Yuppies” I were talkin' 'bout...
 
4/13/2004
 
We were staying by the ocean, so during the train ride Joe dipped into his (tar) mine of facts to teach me about Long Shore Drift and explain how wooden walls called groins stopped the pebbled beaches from being washed back into the sea. It was almost inevitable that after we greeted his Mum and during the drive to the house, Joe exclaimed, with all the genuine innocence of a choir boy, “Drew’s never seen a groin before!”
Luckily his Mother, who’d only moments before reprimanded Joe for uttering the word “shagging”, appreciated the Freudian slip; I saw her lips curve upwards in the rear view mirror, seconds before I hunched over in the backseat, my face pressed so hard against the leather travel bag that, after laughing, I had to smear away the tear tracts with my hand. Broke the ice at least.
 
4/08/2004
 
Up

Shares
I’m totally rich! Yesterday I sold 500 of my NEDITW shares on BlogShares and it came to a whopping $22,000! And I still have another 1750 shares left! Of course I reinvested the money at once. Ew look, a snail…

Easter
I’m staying with Joe’s family on Sunday and Monday. There’s already talk of a nut roast.
Tomorrow I’m sitting in a park to finish reading The Subtle Knife while friends I haven’t caught up with for a while drop by for a glass of lemonade and a catch up.

Being a Fantasist
The lovely Jef writes that my blog “has a Walter Mitty quality.” Not knowing what that meant I I did a bit of research and discovered that the phrase comes from the novel The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, written by James Thurber, first published in 1941; a book that has since entered the cultural lexicon and refers to a person who “fantasises about a life much more exciting and glamorous than their own.” The book deals with Mr. Mitty who lives a boring life and dreams of imaginary worlds where he is a pilot, a surgeon and a soldier. Now, I know what Jef means – he’s referring to my changes in tone rather than speculating whether or not what I write is fact or not. But believe me, there’s still weirder things that happen that I don’t mention because they really do sound made up. Gay Buddhist Monks? Tabloid Journalists anyone?

Having a House
Settling in nicely. Susan and I are sharing with a spunky 21 year old kiwi girl called Michelle who works in publishing, and two quiet black guys who work lots, don’t drink and spend a lot of time in their rooms. All in all, it’s beginning to feel like home.

Models
The date was fun. Got to second base, which is very chaste considering we went back to his place and bought a bottle of wine on the way. I left at 11 and discovered my lips were very chapped on the journey home.
And as for the two boys in the pic below, no I don’t know them personally - it was just to give an example of, er, male models – but I’d like too! If you have either of their numbers drop me a line. I know; I’m a bit boy crazed. I blame spring.


Down

Belle de Jour Clones
Belle de Jew? Flatmate de Jour?
Suck suck suckety suck.

Offices
We didn’t move on Monday because “the Internet wasn’t ready”, so we’ve had another four days in the office that skank built. Now we’re moving Tuesday after the long weekend. There’s a new dress code too - no jeans. What are we to wear instead then? Slacks. Of course, I have many pairs of slacks. They’ll go quite nicely with my Panama hat and neck tie. Good Grief.

On the Up
You know the competition for plays set in lifts that the nice people from the BBC told me to enter? The deadline was the 8th of March, not April. Almost cried.

Scoobies finding out about this blog
I have never told the Scoobs the blog address because I wanted to write about them with autonomy. Lorna, the minx, has tracked me down. Now it’s only a matter of time before “put that in your blog” becomes a Scooby catchphrase.

The Face
Bought the last ever issue last night. Not even Kelis and Andre 3000 on the cover can help save the magazine that’s been at the cutting edge of UK youth culture over the past 20 years: new wave, Grunge, the rave scene. It’s just a pity there doesn’t really seem to be any proper youth culture these days.
 
4/07/2004
 
Tom Ford & I: How I became his Muse and the Second Most Powerful Man in Fashion.

I don’t know what I was expecting when I first saw Mr. Ford; perhaps the élan that I imagine all internationally successful people to radiate. But when he walked into the room he seemed a very average looking gay man in a very nice suit. It probably didn’t help that I was surrounded by male models (more on them later) and that all of the guests were so well turned out (suits and turtle necks for the men, pastels for the adventurous women and black if playing safe) for the civilized farewell drink in his honour. The building itself could only be described as ‘Gucci Mansions’ – a large Georgian house in Mayfair with a few offices, but equally suited for entertaining. A staircase in the hallway spiraled around walls so white they gleamed. In the main room a huge white ‘vase’ stood much taller than I am and was filled with thick cherry tree branches in full bloom. If it had been in a Gallery they would have called it an installation.

The drinks started at 5.30 but people didn’t arrive until nearer 6.15, communally fashionable & late. My task was probably one of the best – to fill empty champagne glasses with Pol Roger White Foil, a black serviette neatly folded around the spout. It meant I could walk around and generally just get in the way; but feel more a part of the night.


T.F. wasn’t drinking champagne. In fact everyone was very careful with the bubbly, each of them aware they could embarrass themselves if they were too rowdy. Stella McCartney turned up briefly, slightly out of breath, to swig an elderflower aromatique (that’s posh fizzy water to you and I) and discretely leave again. Tom moved around the room and kissed almost everyone’s cheeks and I was afraid he was going to leave soon without me finding something - a quirk, a foible, a mannerism - that if I could see, I would own. There was a heldness about the party, I guess because it was ‘business’ – Tom Ford was paying his dos and they their respects. Well, what was I expecting? For him to rip off his shirt and swing around the cherry tree? But as I was pouring a drink for someone standing next to him I finally saw it. The thing. His clothes were tailored but without being flashy or showy. His face was stubbly but he didn’t seem too coiffed or slicked like some of the guests were. He had just the hint of a tan; a glow. His face was pleasant – not strikingly beautiful or ugly – but he was handsome I decided. While not very tall he seemed, if you looked long enough, to be the right height. In fact everything about him imbued a kind of stylistic harmony. There wasn’t a feather too preened or too ruffled. His thing? He was taste personified of course.

Male Models Sure Are Easy!

There were about ten of us, picked from agencies across London to achieve the required “look” because a "strong preppy spirit is blowing into men's fashion” apparently. Therefore we were kitted out in Public Boy Chic – white shirts, black ties and huge black aprons. All the boys were stunning and I fell in love with most of them instantly. Especially when we were in uniform. One had black hair with tight curls; another was wispy blonde, another’s head was shaved to the contours of his perfectly formed skull. There was jaw, and lips, and shoulders, and soft brows and sad and piercing eyes. Each of them had an easy going professionalism about them. No one looked awkward when their tie was tightened for them. They stripped off their clothes to change like clothes were the most unnatural things in the world and their skin hadn’t been able to breathe all along. Before the function we were prepped and told that we were to use our charm but not to be “too charming.” We nodded, as if we were asked this all the time and it was a burden. Perhaps some of the boys had already come close to killing someone with their charm and good looks. If it wasn’t all so sexy I might have found it pretentious. But it was. I have two words for you. Or. Gy.

We were each assigned a role so there was someone to take coats, one to hold glasses, another to open the door and four of them to bring in the tiny cubes of finger food on square mahogany trays. Because all the guests were either women or gay men we caused a ripple of eye contact whenever we appeared en masse. Each time I passed one of the other boys we would nod or wink at each other and I’d feel my skin prickle with pleasure.
But, I can hear you cry; they’re pretty men - we get that already - but are they easy? Well, I won’t be able to tell you that until I go on my date with one of them tonight…
 
4/06/2004
 
I’m battling a heavy post-Gucci hangover. Damn I’m cool.
The screen keeps going fuzzy so I’ll get 15 hours sleep tonight and try again in the morning.

 
4/05/2004
 
Just found out the event I’m working at tonight (another Spokesmodels gig) is for, wait for it, Gucci. Yes, the big ‘G.’ Of course I look like Master Scruff, the scraggly heir to Slightly Dishevelled Mansions today *Sigh.* Can’t write too much because I have to sip water and think radiantly beautiful thoughts - but tomorrow I will regale you with stories such as Tom Ford & I: How I became his Muse and the Second Most Powerful Man in Fashion and Male Models Sure Are Easy!
 
4/02/2004
 

I’ve been trying to figure out Blogshares all day. I mean, it’s fun (I love looking at any webpage that has my name on it - go figure) but I don’t know what the hell’s going on. I did somehow manage to buy 45% of this blog. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. It means I only have 88 virtual dollars now (started off with £500).
I think my colleagues are getting suspicious - especially when I scream “buy, buy!” and run over to their desks to give them each a high five.
Maybe I should read the Financial Times before I go out tonight?

 
 
Get up at 4.30am, shower, brush teeth, do “model hair”, put on suit, leave house, catch tube (Victoria Line not working), arrive at Euston, buy tickets, wait for Kelly, miss train, buy coffee, find Kelly, catch later train, make introductions, eat sandwiches, arrive in Milton Keynes, exit train, get taxi, arrive at conference, meet co-ordinator, nod lots and make “yes” noises, welcome people arriving, finished in an hour, wait two more hours, order a cab, leave at 11.15am, arrive at station, get on train, have another sandwich, arrive at Euston, take tube to Stockwell (Victoria Line working), ring Joe for his arrival time, arrive at house, take off suit, hang it up, eat fried egg on toast, answer door 1.15pm, greet man in van (45 minutes early), put on trousers, run around flat madly, put on shoes, help move boxes into van, leave key, ring Joe to meet in Balham now, sit in traffic, arrive in Brixton, hug Andrew, ask how New Zealand was, pick up Susan’s stuff, drive to Balham, open front door, meet Joe, get money out, help unpack van, pay van man, start unpacking, put up beds, talk to landlord (no hot water), go to pub with Joe 4pm, get a beer, and some nachos, welcome Andrew, get another beer, welcome Susan, get another beer, and another, stagger home, lay in room, meet new flatmates, make up bed, kiss Susan goodnight, watch “Identity”, get a bit spooked, brush teeth, 10.15pm: go to sleep.

 

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sites what I write on:
londonist

sites what I wrote on:
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somewhat.org: on the up

blogs:

christopher
elizabeth

boys:

tlc
homorobotic
sex, lies & videotape
diamond geezer
vivid blurry
raw youth
secret simon
learn swedish
the rob log
why god why
a beautiful revolution

girls:

dooce
afrochic
belle de jour
pound
jems web
lindsayism

pulse:

timmy ray
link bunnies
link machine go

fantastic blogs:

a light fantastic
a chair fantastic
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a kitchen fantastic
a bed fantastic
a clock fantastic

tools:

life hacker
i hate work
hi-gloss film production



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