Me - not hungover - at the Pride March. Well maybe a little hung-over (hence squinting). Thanks to Lizzie for the pic & Karen for the tee.
Wa-hey! How hung-over am I? This hung-over! *Pokes out tongue, rolls eyes, groans*
Went to a kick boxing tournament last night, some promotion for a beer company, which was staged in an underground car park. Way edgy. Of course there was free booze all night. And kick boxing. I think I actually yelled out "use your tiger punch!" and meant it. Good grief.
And scrap the cyborg my little pony. This
is what I want now. In green, with a fin on them like Aquaman's. I'm strangely attracted to Aquaman. *Pokes out tongue, rolls eyes, groans*
Belle’s not wrong – it’s hot, ladies and gentlemen. Sticky. Last night was just the same. My kiwi friend Felicity has come back over for another stint in London and I cooked her dinner (NB: I didn’t realise how much I wanted a friend called Felicity until she walked into my life. Felicity. Even just saying it makes me feel a little cooler) and we chewed some serious fat. There’s nothing puts your life into perspective like summing up the last three years over a steaming plate of pasta on one of the warmest nights of the year. Here’s three things you never knew about Felicity:
1. Her ex boyfriend doesn’t like kissing. Kissing. That’s like hating kittens.
2. She didn’t wear dresses or skirts for four years because someone once teased her about her manly calves.
3. She is one of the prettiest girls I know. She’s pretty like someone shaking you really hard. And funny. Funnier than you or I. Well, funnier than you. She must have done something really good in a past life, s’all I’m saying.
Things Felicity never knew about me:
1. After swimming 30 minutes, five times a week, I now have huge shoulders. My arms are still skinny and my stomach isn’t exactly rippling like a breeze on a lake, but I do look like I’m wearing one of those American Football shoulder pad thingies under my t-shirt.
2. I love garlic. Seriously, if I’m cooking for you expect to live like a leper for a few days afterwards.
3. I’m thinking of writing something big and book-like.
Strange what slips out when it’s so hot.
In Roman times the land was part of the wall that defended the city – hence the name Barbican which means “fortified outpost or gateway”. In the 11th century, a The Church of St Giles Cripplegate was built in the area, named Cripplegate possibly because “the covered gateway was a more comfortable place for cripples to beg for alms”. They may also have been attracted because St Giles is the patron saint for cripples, blacksmiths and beggars. (I wonder if blacksmiths hung about waiting for alms too? I’d want some alms - whatever they are - especially if my patron saint had lumped me together with the beggars and cripples. “Give me some alms!” I’d shout, waving my anvil.)
Dancing about Architecture.
Taking a leaf out of Diamond Geezer’s
blog (would the two of us make a Diamond Gazette
?), I’m taking a close up look at one of my favourite London landmarks – The Barbican Estate. The Barbican is situated on the northern edge or what was roman Londinium - also known as ‘just round from the corner from where I work’.
Cut to a few hundred years later when in 1851 the number of people living in the parish of Cripplegate numbered 14,000, mainly occupied by the ‘rag trade’ - dressmakers and cloth sellers. With the beginning of the railway came the birth of London’s first commuters, meant that most of the rich City folk could live in the expanding suburbs, probably to get away from the cries of “cheesecloth! Get your loosely woven cheesecloth!” until two in the bleedin’ morning.
During the war the area was bombed to smithereens and had to be cleared, leading to the birth of the modern day Barbican in the 60’s. The 60’s are infamous for its architecture, mostly the ability to make buildings as visually and physically oppressive as humanly possible. Architects made full use of concrete and more concrete. Windows were only added if absolutely necessary. It was not a pretty era.
You can imagine my surprise, then, when I discovered the Barbican Centre. After years of planning it was finally built in 1971 and although there’s still something of the grotesque about the place, the overall effect of the place is quite startling. It’s beautiful in its own fashion.
I wondered into the barbican one Sunday and within moments felt like I was on the set of a science fiction movie. I expected a sweaty man to run past me in a loin cloth, chased by a group of leather clad gorillas, or for a Kubrickean air hostess to come up and inform me that my flight to the moon had been delayed by half an hour.
I thought that perhaps it was quiet because it was a Sunday and everyone had commuted back out to the suburbs. But although there are 2,014 flats, a theatre, car park, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and a Girls School, even during the week I’ve found that the barbican is nearly always empty and quietly contemplative. I don’t know anyone who lives here but I imagine most of the residents to be in their 50’s and called Cecil and Helen.
Now I come at lunchtimes to walk around. It’s almost impossible not to get lost, spreading, as it does, over 40 acres.
I was knackered when I got home last night but I was cheerfully informed by Susan that we were off to see a gig at our local pub. Andrew, my old flatmate, works with a band and had invited us to see them play. It was my first experience of live Ambient Electronica
. There were visuals. Electric violins. A joss stick placed on our table before the performance began. I think I would have been able to enjoy the music more if I wasn’t distracted by the fact that the singer was Dawn French’s Doppelganger. I kept expecting Jennifer Saunders to walk on stage behind her, hands on hips, asking her what the hell she thought she was doing making that awful warbling noise.
The weekend in Bath was just what I needed. I’ll let Christopher
give you the details. The only thing he doesn’t mention is that we drank so many cups of tea I was worried about kidney damage.
(p.s. This is what I want for my birthday
Do you wish on stars? No
A bit of genealogy. My Mother up and moved to New Zealand when I was nearly four. My memory of things before this point are a bit sketchy (I remember an Alsatian I liked playing with and this one time my friend ate too much chocolate cake and puked up on my bed while we were bouncing on it) but I didn’t officially meet my Dad until I came back to London a few years ago. I know what you’re thinking – wow, that must have been incredible, you must have felt like a piece of you was made whole again – but to be honest it was an anticlimax. My Dad’s great; proper Irish, funny with it and he loves me to bits. I’m very lucky. I know it pains him that he hasn’t seen me grow up and that, now, I seem ambivalent about our relationship.
Relationships or one-night stands? dont believe in the latter so relationships
It’s hard integrating him back into my life. I wasn’t one of these kids who had a chip on his shoulder about not having the old man around. I was a pragmatic SOB as a kid and very lucky to have such a loving family which meant I didn’t feel I was missing out on anything. I definitely didn’t blame him for not being around, and although info from my mother was sketchy, I always felt confident that we would meet.
Which finger is your favourite? they're all excellent
Would you ever bungee jump? Hell no!
What's your favourite ice cream flavour? toffee
So sitting on the top of a Double Decker bus three years ago, my Dad rings my mobile. We arrange for me to go over to see him. I meet my sister Susanne (9) and my brother Alex (16). I’m the prodigal son returned and we drink Guinness and at some point my Dad rolls a joint and I get so stoned that I tell him I have to go to bed and kind of fall on him when I give him a hug goodbye. I didn’t tell him I was gay to begin with, but when I did he was brilliant about it. My brother has come and stayed with me in London a few times. He’s a really good kid – smart, kind. Susanne is a shock of white hair and a smile that could warm the Antarctic Ocean. I’ve got another baby brother now too – little James. In fact, I have this incredible family unit on this side of the Atlantic so why don’t I make more of an effort with them? I put it down to being busy. My Dad sometimes makes me feel guilty for not calling sooner which inevitably makes me call even less. And there’s a sense that I’m not sure what I want from them as there’s no emotional void for them to fill. I already have my Mothers and sisters – a more loving and dynamic gaggle of women you’re unlikely to meet. Still - why doesn’t something lurch in my stomach now I know that I’m also my Father’s son?
Do you wear contacts? nope but may be i shud get them im getting so short sighted it's crazy
Brothers & sisters names? Drew, Susanne, James
I received an email from my brother today. It’s one of those 50 question jobbies that you email to all your friends. Except he emailed it to me too. Reading through it I realised how much I didn’t know about him yet.
When did you last cry? this morning
And that’s when it hit me. I may not know what I want, but right now my brother and sister and my Dad miss me. That’s reason enough for me to be in their life a little bit more, don't you think?
My Grandmother was evacuated to Bath during the war when she was nought but a wee baby. When my Mother was 10 years old, my Grandmother returned to visit the family who’d looked after her. In that archetypal English way they didn’t seem surprised to see her, even though it had been years since they’d last met. “Come and sit down and let us have a look at you, Peggy” they said, pouring her a cup of tea.
My Mother is a Success Trainer. She runs courses for large New Zealand companies and government sectors to teach them better communication skills and ways to achieve their goals. Yesterday she was asked to work with Helen Clark, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, but my mother couldn’t get out of a prior engagement.
My sister Amber has been diagnosed with an overactive immune system. For years they thought she had endometriosis but it was really her immune system attacking her own body. Apparently my siblings and I all have a variation of it and that’s why I sometimes get psoriasis. My sister now has to take quinine for the rest of her life to control it, like people who contract malaria.
My nurse is South African and freckled and she insists I call her Joe. After I sit down she kicks a bucket of used syringes near me, and begins to explain what she’s going to do.
“First I’ll take some blood from your vein for the syphilis test…”
“How much?” I interrupt.
“This much.” She holds up a small glass vial.
“Then we’ll do the HIV test. All we do is prick your finger and use a little of the blood to wipe on this indicator. It’s like a pregnancy test – after 15 minutes it tells us your status.” She puts on latex gloves after we decide to use my left arm. Joe places everything neatly in a tray in front of her.
“Where are you from?” She asks, swabbing my forearm with cotton wool.
I know she’s going to distract me by talking, so I go with it, staring off into space so I don’t have to see the needle or the blood. I feel the prick in my arm though.
“…and then I left to move to Auckland and that’s where I lived for a few years before I came to London and London is a really great place in the summer, don’t you think, I mean I bet every city is beautiful in the sunshine but I think there’s something about London that really comes alive and…”
I let out a sigh. It’s over. I’m so relieved that I don’t notice that the room is quietly warping and that Joe’s voice is muffled. Instinctively I lean forward and put my head between my legs until the room stops swimming.
“Would you like to lie down?” Joe sounds worried.
“No, I’ll be fine.”
“I think you should lie down.”
She’s lovely, I think. Joe takes me across the room and I have a few issues negotiating the lying down bit, mostly because someone has attached stirrups to this particular bed.
“You don’t need to put your feet in those” She adds helpfully, “I’ll go and get you a glass of water. I’m just going to turn the light off too. There’s no rush. Just lie down and breathe.”
She turns off the light as she promised, returning a few minutes later with some water and the white haired lady, who’s holding a box of biscuits. After eating three I feel much better, well enough to try the next part. As I sit up I leave a dark blue patch of sweat on the bed’s paper cover. Joe turns the light on and I sit back down in the leather chair.
“People always say that I must see all sorts of things in here,” she says after washing her hands, “but it’s funny because nothing can turn my stomach like someone cutting their toe-nails.” She grimaces and I grin in appreciation, still slightly dopey.
“Are you sure you’re fine?”
“Absolutely. Big burly kiwi boy like me?”
“OK. Now we’re going to do the prick test. I only need a little bit of blood so this should be easy. Hold your hand out like you’re about to shake mine. I’m going to do it on the side of your middle finger because that parts not as sensitive.”
I comply obediently but still have to turn away. Joe is squeezing my finger hard, but the pressure is reassuring.
“You’re very quick to clot,” she tells me after a time.
“Is that good? Does that mean I’m healthy?”
“It’s a good thing if you’re ever in a car crash. I can’t quite get enough. I’m going to have to try another finger I’m afraid.”
“No problem.” I say, between gritted teeth.
A second finger is punctured and she applies greater pressure.
“How’s it going?” I ask, still not looking at my hand.
“You’re still clotting.”
I have a panicked thought that she might have to use another syringe.
“Squeeze harder if you like, it doesn’t hurt. Shall I pump my hand? Will that help?”
I clench my hand, while keeping the one finger dead straight – easier that it sounds.
“I think… we… have… enough. How do you feel?”
“That was no problem.” I tell her, but even as I’m saying it I can feel myself start to slip. Joe’s quick this time and we make it to the bed. But in the back of mind I realise that we must’ve taken quite a long time and I’m worried about my friend. I try to explain this to Joe - I’m a support person and that my friend will be getting his results at any moment - but she won’t hear any of it.
“Lie still,” She instructs me, in her clipped South African accent, “I’ll go get him.”
She turns out the light. I start to giggle, a nervous reaction I guess. Another nurse comes into the room to see why the lights are off and finds me lying semi-supine and laughing to myself in the dark.
“Whoops, sorry.” He says, darting out again.
Joe returns with more biscuits. By the time my friend arrives, my mouth is stuffed with two coconut creams.
“What are you like?” He says, sitting down in the chair next to my bed.
“It’s not my fault. I clot really well apparently.”
“Well that’s something. Oh, I’m fine by the way.” He says, helping himself to a biscuit.
A weight in the cavity of my chest gets released like a flock of doves.
“That’s wonderful! I’m so happy!” I try to give him a hug but Joe has given him strict instructions not to let me move.
“But you know what that means? If this was a Made-for-TV movie, I’d definitely have it now.”
He gives me a stern look.
“Drew, don’t be silly.”
That’s rich, I think, what with me lying on a stretcher bed in a blackened room, eating shortbread and drifting in and out of consciousness at whim.
But he’s right, and twenty minutes later, after Joe’s given me the all clear to use my legs again, I’m given a clean bill of health too.
My friend and I are sitting in the clinic waiting room. Waiting. It’s an unassuming place; cream walls, magazines (British Vogue, Heat, Positive Nation), a room framed with doors that open suddenly. Names are called. People stand and follow. A woman with white hair asks me if I want a cup of tea, but I don’t. All I want is for this to be over, everything to be fine. More than anything, I’d like this room to remain unassuming.
My friend’s name is called and he gets up to follow the counsellor, pausing to throw his jumper back at me to look after. He disappears into one of the little rooms and I flick through a magazine until, inevitably, my name is called out too. It still makes me jump. I pick up my bag and his jumper and walk towards the place where the sound of my name seems to have made a tear in the vacuum of the clinic. I expect to hear a rushing noise, but none comes.
The councillor invites me to sit down. She is small and mousey and I can’t help but think of all the bad news she must have to give people each day.
“How many times have you been tested?” She asks.
“Twice before,” I reply.
“And when was the last time?”
“About two years ago.”
She scribbles on her pad.
“You’re here to support your friend, aren’t you?” She looks up and smiles.
I nod and my heart leaps, but I see his jumper safely by my bag.
“I thought it was time to get tested again too.”
That’s the short answer. The long one includes a list of everyone I’ve slept with, ranking them for ‘risk’, mentally beating myself up for the couple of times where lust and circumstance may have put me in danger, imagining my life with HIV; telling my friends, my sisters, my future lovers. At drama school we would have called it wringing
. To get into character we would contort our bodies, letting out a deep moan and gradually making our way to the floor, twisting our arms, our legs, mouths, and toes, until we’d tired ourselves or the class finished.
The counsellor asks me a few more questions and then we seem to be wrapping up. “Oh, and would you like to be tested for syphilis as well?” She asks.
I think of the extra blood they’ll have to take. I hate blood, hate needles. The bastards seem to go hand in hand.
“Why not,” I say, as if she’d just suggested tea.
When I return to the waiting room, my friend is back in his chair.
“All OK?” I ask.
“Fine. Just have to do the test now.”
We sit silently, having run out of things to ask each other. It was my place to distract him with conversation and I’d succeeded during the walk to the clinic and in the elevator and for the first 15 minutes we waited here.
“Oh, I’m fine.” I say, squeezing his knee.
Talked to my family back home in New Zealand, last night. It’s been a while and I forgot how much they can make me laugh.
People always say You live, you learn
, but recently the learning is doing me little good. I don’t want to spend another week on a diatribe about my “relationships” but can I just add this incident before starting my new self-help book entitled Men are from Mars, Jerks are from Uranus
Friday night I go to a club. Smile at nice looking boy. Meet nice looking boy. Spend evening together. And Saturday. Think how easy it is when you meet someone you really click with. See him again on Sunday. He tells me he has a boyfriend. The end.
This is not the first, or indeed, the third time something like this has happened. What’s all the more frustrating is I asked him outright “Do you have a boyfriend?” because I felt I had
learnt from past experiences. Don’t tell me I have to hook ‘em up to a lie detector while they complete their compatibility test from now on.
My friend Christopher has invited me to stay with him in Bath this weekend - a welcome relief. I have decided to leave my libido in London for the whole two days. Only thing is, now I have to find a libido-sitter. I mean, who knows what crazy things it would get up to without any supervision. So if anyone out there wants to take care of my libido this coming weekend, you should know I pay the going hourly rate and don’t mind if you help yourself to snacks from the fridge.
Guide to Taking Photos at Pride
Tip One: Take an out-of-focus shot of the crowd to represent the kinetic energy of the march - the surging unity - or because it was your first photo and you forgot about the zoom.
Tip Two: Nothing says Pride better than two lesbians wearing a rainbow flag and hugging. Nothing. Except maybe if they were swapping spit.
Tip Four: Drag Queen + Authority Figures = Provocative.
Tip Three: This image was taken as a comment on censorship and the celebration of sexuality and not because he had quite a nice butt.
Tip Five: Finally, no collection of Pride photos is complete without at least one image of someone riding an oversized penis.
I call this one "misogyny".
I wait for the Brazilian at the bar. We’ve decided to go for a drink before the play but he’s twenty minutes late. When he finally arrives, he’s a bit whiny due to a blocked nose so I insist on buying him a whiskey on the rocks.
“I like your shirt” he says, straightening the collar like my Mother used to, “You look very Brazilian. You look… What is the word in English?” He scrunches up his face with concentration.
“Like a hustler?” I think.
“Chic?” I suggest, even if technically it’s not really an English word.
We settled on suave, although again - it’s not technically English. Stupid English language stealing words from other languages.
On the Tube ride to the theatre we sit across from a huge black man, his puffy fingers and thumbs covered in what looks like hundreds of silver rings. He talks to himself in a loud, incomprehensible monologue, while next to him; an elderly woman with sad eyes leans as far away as possibly, so that she’s practically horizontal. She clutches her bag and makes eye-contact with me every now and then - I imagine - for reassurance. After a while the man turns his attention to a rail in front of him - scolding and slapping it like an impertinent child. As we get off at our stop, the lady gives me one last desperate look.
On the walk to the theatre BB asks me about the play.
“Well, it’s about four guys who make a porn movie.”
“Really?” He’s quiet for a moment, and I wonder if this was such a good idea. But then when has something not being a good idea ever stopped me?
Inside the box office / bar is filling up with middle-aged balding men in leather jackets – better known as the modern gay theatre audience. I point out Luke in some of the publicity photos. He looks thin, the coloured lights making his cheeks sallow. Still sexy though. Stupid, sexy Luke. The Brazilian gets us another drink and I wait on one of the sofas. We haven’t really touched, apart from the lapel brush, not having seen each other for nearly a week. Any intimacy has dissipated. I wonder if I have the patience to rekindle it and I still haven’t made up my mind by the time he brings me my beer in a plastic cup.
The theatre is muggy and only a quarter full, the squeak of leather audible as the audience squeeze into their seats. The lights dim as we squish into the second row.
Luke comes on stage and takes the spotlight. As he begins his monologue he casually takes off his jacket, his t-shirt and then his trousers until he’s only wearing a pair of white designer briefs. As he continues to speak, he puts his hand down his pants and starts to simulate wanking. I think about touching the Brazilians knee at this point, but decide against it.
Afterwards we wait in the foyer. The Brazilian and I have stolen a furtive kiss. He can’t stay, he tells me, because he has to meet a friend for dinner. Brazilians eat late apparently. Stupid, sexy Brazilians. Suddenly Luke’s there and I’m hugging him and making introductions and telling him how much I genuinely enjoyed the play and we’re walking together to a pub just round the corner and I say goodbye to my date (who looks a little put out) and I’m walking with Luke and we’re smiling and it’s summertime in little theatreland. Still chatting, we walk up to the bar where Luke gets handed a glass of white wine.
“Drew, this is Jack. Jack, Drew.”
“Hi Jack.” I say, almost as a question.
“Nice shirt.” Jack says.
Jack’s female companion introduces herself, but her name washes over me. Jack is fresh looking. Short hair coiffed with gel. Thick arms. Cute. Snug fitting t-shirt that might as well read ‘Will Shag Luke Tonight’.
After we’ve all got a drink, we sit down at a table. Luke is talking me up big time – I’m a great writer, a great friend, a great everything. I feel a bit overwhelmed until I realise that the gushing is probably to impress Jack. I am one of Luke’s cool arty friends. In a crazy shirt. Woo.
I start talking to the girl, who’s wearing one of those trendy green dresses that makes her body look shapeless - but in a trendy way. I’m on Charm Offensive 9000 now so I weave my conversation carefully like a well rehearsed comedian, peppering the dialogue with droll one-liners. That’s what I want to be. Droll. I’m Kristen Scott Thomas’s character in Four Weddings in a Funeral
“So you’re a writer?” Jack asks, “I guess you have to keep a strict routine?”
I say that, yes, I do.
“I don’t know if I could be so disciplined. Do you know what? At Uni I preferred dissertations because I was terrible at exams, but it meant that I had to spend hours and hours writing. To make sure I finished it I used to reward myself for with a wank.”
Oh, he’s funny too. Stupid, sexy Jack.
Half an hour later and I’ve quite warmed to him. Luke’s just finished the embarrassing Pride story – the one with the “Drew tried to get in the Jacuzzi fully clothed” punch line - when I decide that this is my cue to leave.
“Any good actor knows when to make his exit,” I tell Luke, as I thank him again for a wonderful performance.
As I step out into the warm summer night to start my journey home, a word pops into my head. I imagine I might teach the Brazilian it if I see him again; another word that the English language has seen fit to pilfer. “Catharsis” I say aloud a few times, as if I’d discovered it for the first time too.
Just thought I’d take this opportunity to thank you again for being such a wonderful host when I came to stay in Barcelona and also, as I'm the self-proclaimed diarist of the group, I felt I should tell you how everyone else is doing.
Kate has moved in with Tom. Joe is soon to follow. They are all going to take up pottery classes at the local 'Y'. Kate
has given up DJing to put all her energy into pottery - she keeps ringing me up asking if I would like an urn. Joe
is leaving his old pub and on his final night he got all his old punters to cover him in olive oil and slide him down the bar. Tom
is hoping to break the World Peanut Tossing record by Christmas.
have finally come out to everyone and are they cute, or what! They spend a lot of time at markets buying loose flowing clothes and beads to plat into each others hair. Bless those two lesbians!
I get emails every now and then from Karen
(hi Karen!) and she tells me that L.A. is still really boring. She’s getting her heavy vehicle license and once she completes it will drive a bus of gay clubbers from one circuit party to the next.
got married secretly in Cuba and now have two children – Olly Junior and Olly the 3rd. They are thinking of having another but can’t decide what to call it.
has moved down to London finally and is really enjoying it - even though she got arrested for being drunk and disorderly at work. They found her sitting on the third floor ledge with a bottle of Johnny Walker, singing power ballads.
is still in Cambridge. It’s her birthday this weekend and we’re going to Fiction. She promises to dance naked with me for at least two songs and if “Dreaming” comes on.
has joined the Kabbalah faith. They got him talking about disco and said if he didn’t join they would kill Donna Summer. He sends us postcards from the commune every few weeks.
I am well too. I’ve secretly started working for MI5 and I’m dating a Brazilian boy called Mauricio which I just realised is “Maurice” in English - this has made him instantly less attractive.
All my love, Drew
Now tomorrow night I’m taking the Brazilian to see Luke in his play. As Christopher pointed out, I shall need to take a large fan and wear a dress made of cotton brocade and silk shantung à la Dangerous Liaisons. In a perfect world the Brazilian will be impressed with my grasp of the theatre and Luke will be jealous that I brought such a handsome Latin beau. In the real world, they’ll probably end up having sex backstage during the interval while I'm getting two diet cokes.
At least here's one boy that won't give me the run around, mostly because my beautiful wee nephew hasn't learnt to walk yet.
Anyway, enough of me talking about me - why don’t you talk about me?
What do you do when you feel a little confused about the men in your life? Ask them to complete a Enneagram Compatibility Test
, of course.
It all started when I mentioned to Luke that I’d like to do an interview with him for the second issue of The Gaze
. Of course, it was partly a ruse to make myself seem cool (have own magazine, however miniscule), a way to create some us time - but also because I thought it’d be a genuinely interesting interview – he’s an up and coming young actor and singer after all. Before I went away to Barcelona I contacted him to ask if he was still interested and although he said yes, I wasn’t sure if he was just humouring me. Yesterday he text me to ask when we were going to do “that interview.”
I wanted it to be a little quirky and wondered how much I could let my crush / relationship with Luke inform the interview. Part of me wanted to take my Dictaphone and ask some inappropriate questions, but I reasoned that this was too much of an emotional ambush. The theme of the second magazine is – loosely – relationships, so I thought I’d try and explore our interesting history in a way that wouldn’t leave Luke feeling hectored.
There was also the danger that the interview would be so up my arse (so to speak) that it would only be interesting for me to read. Oh well, I’m the Editor / Head Writer / Distributor. May as well get one perk out of it…
We both took the Compatibility Test over a pub lunch in the Shakespeare
round the corner from where I work. In the test you have to rank your own response and how you think the other person ranks. The test was for our friendship and “possible relationship”.
The Enneagram is a nine factor personality system that is sort of a historical mutt, many different influences. The nine factors are - orderliness, helpfulness, image focus, hypersensitivity, detachment, caution, adventurousness, strength, and calmness.
Here are the results of the test that I completed.
Take Free Enneagram Compatibility Test
Enneagram Compatibility Test
|Type 1 ||Perfectionism |||||||||||||||| ||54% |
| || |||||||||||||| ||46% |
|Type 2 ||Helpfulness |||||||||||||||||| ||70% |
| || |||||||||||||||| ||58% |
|Type 3 ||Ambition |||||||||||||||||||||| ||86% |
| || |||||||||||||||||||| ||78% |
|Type 4 ||Sensitivity |||||||||||||| ||46% |
| || |||||||||||| ||38% |
|Type 5 ||Detachment |||||||||||||||| ||58% |
| || |||||||| ||26% |
|Type 6 ||Anxiety |||||||||||||| ||42% |
| || |||||||||||||| ||46% |
|Type 7 ||Adventurousness |||||||||||||||||| ||66% |
| || |||||||||||||||||||| ||74% |
|Type 8 ||Hostility |||||||||||||||||| ||66% |
| || |||||||||||||||||||| ||78% |
|Type 9 ||Calmness |||||||||||||||||| ||70% |
| || |||||||||||||||||||| ||62% |
scale key - you |||||| them ||||||
Your type - 3
, Their type - 8
Your overall similarity is 82%
Your overall complementarity is 74%
As you can see my greatest motivation is:
I must be impressive and attractive to get what I want.
In my opinion, Luke’s is:
I must be strong and in control to get what I want.
Here are the results of the test that Luke completed.
Take Free Enneagram Compatibility Test
Enneagram Compatibility Test
|Type 1 ||Perfectionism |||||||| ||26% |
| || |||||||||||||||||||| ||78% |
|Type 2 ||Helpfulness |||||||||||||| ||50% |
| || |||||||||||||| ||50% |
|Type 3 ||Ambition |||||||||||||||||||| ||78% |
| || |||||||||||||||||| ||70% |
|Type 4 ||Sensitivity |||||||| ||26% |
| || |||||||||||||| ||42% |
|Type 5 ||Detachment |||| ||10% |
| || |||||||| ||30% |
|Type 6 ||Anxiety |||||||||||||||| ||58% |
| || |||||||||||||| ||46% |
|Type 7 ||Adventurousness |||||||||||||||||| ||66% |
| || |||||||||||||||||||| ||78% |
|Type 8 ||Hostility |||||||||||||| ||42% |
| || |||||||||||||||||| ||66% |
|Type 9 ||Calmness |||||||||||||||||| ||70% |
| || |||||||||||||||||| ||26% |
scale key - you |||||| them ||||||
Your type - 3
, Their type - 1
Your overall similarity is 64%
Your overall complementarity is 74%
Luke feel’s his greatest motivation is:
I must be impressive and attractive to get what I want.
And he believes mine to be:
I must be perfect and good to get what I want.
It was actually very enlightening. I few things he felt about me surprised me. Interesting that our complementarity is, well, complimentary.
As to how we got on besides the test? Lunch was fun, we’re good friends but I don’t think we’ll ever be anything more to each other. That ship has sailed. Strangely I don’t feel upset - at least we still have 74% compatibility. And that’s a lot more than most people.
There are some simple rules when you’re young and single. Make sure you keep yourself just busy enough. Find a small fault with the people you date to give you an out. Whatever you do, don’t begin to like them.
The Brazilian came over on Saturday. We’d planned go to a park but with a fickle English Summer we decided to have a picnic in my bedroom instead. Cute, I know. I wasn’t really trying to woo, I was just humouring my occassional need for romance, playing a role. When all the actors were assembled we ate a french loaf and brie and talked about language and the how restrictive English can be. I taught him how to pronounce asparagus
correctly. At some point I thought to myself, this is fun. I’m having a good time. I like this.
Nonetheless, he didn’t call yesterday. I sent him a text, something breezy and light but it registered that I was taking too long to write it; I was being careful. When I didn’t get a reply, I started to tidy the house. I scrubbed the kitchen sink. I finished three loads of washing. I hoovered. At 6 I called him, forcing a smile so he’d hear it in my voice. He was out with friends so I told him I’d ring back. At 9 I called again and didn’t leave a message.
He sent a text message this morning. His battery ran out. He went to a club with friends. Sorry about yesterday
. Hope you are not upset
There are some simple rules when you’re young and single. Make sure you tell someone where you’re going in case they turn out to be an axe murderer. Never get ahead of yourself. And whatever you do, don’t ever begin to like them.
Congratulations to Work Hate
– the Guardian’s blog of the day
Once again I’d just like to reiterate that although some of you have observed that Work Hate’s
humour bares more than a passing resemblance to this here blog, insinuating that it may be the creative love child of myself and, say, a witty female friend of mine - for legal reasons we are unable to comment.
You’re going to have to forgive the rambling nature of this post. I was so tired last night that I fell asleep in my dinner at nine o’clock. I woke up four hours later in the pitch dark, with refried beans all through my hair. I guess I really needed to catch up on sleep from the weekend. Now I feel positively perky. Actually, I feel great. I wish I had at least nine hours of sleep each night. On Bizarro World that’s what Werd does. He doesn’t watch late night TV or go out ‘till all hours. Instead he tucks himself into bed at 9 sharp and wakes feeling genuinely rested. Werd’s a hell of a guy. He’s cute as a button too.
I’ve seen two more films since Monday. On Tuesday night I took the Brazilian Boy (BB), who I met at Pride, to see Shrek 2. It wasn’t my first choice of film but I’ve made the mistake of taking dates to art house films before, coming to the conclusion that sobbing quietly into your popcorn is not a great first date look. As the title credits flashed on screen I remembered that I’d been on a date for the first Shrek too and that I’m a date hussy. I even like saying date. Just re-read this last paragraph. It’s all date this and date that.
Anyway. BB got off to a good start by being even more attractive than I remembered (nice hair, good teeth, vanilla-based after shave), he was easy to talk to and had clear life goals. As the lights dimmed in the theatre I asked him why everyone loves Brazil so much. You can’t buy t-shirts with ‘Uganda’ on them can you? "Perhaps it’s because of our vitality?" He suggested. Yes, it very possibly could be - I’m not sure what Shrek 2 is about but it has a really good soundtrack.
Then last night I went to a screening of my friend Alex’s short film with Kate and Sam et al. Alex and Sam used to go out until I put my foot in it and they broke up. I’ve always felt that I was unfairly victimized. I mean, if you’re having relationship issues and someone says in a jokey jokey way “so have you guys broken up yet?” it should be taken with a pinch of salt, right? I mean, no one here heard of sarcasm? Sheesh.
Anyway. Alex looked really smart in a black shirt and gold tie. He’s the sweetest person you will ever meet and thankfully he’s forgiven me enough to smile when I arrived and not throw anything at me or explain to everyone at the screening that I ruined his life. The movie was pretty good – technically he didn’t make many of the first time film errors like crossing the line or trying too many arty shots, and the storyline was clean. It ended kind of abruptly though, and there was an uncomfortable silence during the credits because we missed our opportunity to clap. The credits went on and on, so the audience just sat there reading the credits until they finished and then
we clapped. Humans are strange creatures en masse. We have so many quirky rituals.
And girls are funny.
“Have I mentioned that my mother is losing her fucking mind? She asked me the other day if I was a virgin still. Which really is a stupid question. Does she think 20-year old women with no fear of god and an absentee father complex the size of mars go around just holding hands with incredibly sexy men?”
“I don’t know what to say about Ragdale except to show you the pictures. It was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. The house was beautiful and the art was beautiful and then there was all that nature. I mean the nature was pretty blatant. The deer were all like, Prance, prance
! Check us out
The last picture with Leta on the sauce had me rolling round the floor.
I haven’t been completely honest with you.
I’ve only just met you and everything I’ve said has been lies.
When I told you I was “good” it was a bit of a generalization. Although physically I’m feeling much better (ingrown toe-nail and yes, it is that painful) I’ve had a hard time reconciling my feelings for my ex-girlfriend. You see, I’m not sure I ever really got to know her. We dated six or seven times and to begin with it seemed like we really clicked. We had so much in common; we could talk for hours. But on our third date there was a two minute silence while we waited for the cheque. As a result I invited a friend along on the next date, which was lucky considering she hardly said a word the entire night. The next time I booked a romantic dinner for five. She barely looked at me.
She only nodded when I told her we had to stop seeing each other.
Then the other day I see her at this fancy bar and she’s chatting animatedly to a handsome chap in a dark green suit. I was about to go up to her and say how much I missed our conversations but the man in the suit escorted my ex-girlfriend to his Mercedes before I even had the chance to finish my cigarette or drink the last of the martini.
Also, when you asked me what I wanted, I only pretended I didn’t know yet.
You remind me of a kid I went to college with, you see. Handsome guy; successful with the ladies. The sort of man who doesn’t quite know what he has. They say he moved away and started up his own business laying tiles on old ladies’ floors. A good living. One day he’s on all fours, placing tiles, when this old woman’s retriever comes up behind him and starts humping him. He doesn’t want to harm the dog so he just lays there until it’s done. Nonetheless, the old woman sees the whole thing and is so outraged that she makes sure he never works another day. In my opinion he should have struck out and hit the dog over the side of the head; that it was his “respect for life” that finished him. I saw that quality in you the moment I walked in here.
I’m not really heading home for the holidays.
My Mother doesn’t want to see my anymore. Says we’re through. She watched something on the Nature Programme about how baby whales leave their parent’s after two years.
And I don’t really want fries with my meal. I just said that to be nice.
I watched an advance screening of Thunderbirds
last night and was looking forward to having a bit of a scoop. However it was pants (i.e. not good). The high point was being able to see Lady Penelope’s erect nipples through her pink top. At one point the youngest Thunderbird asks his Dad what Mom was like. Dad (Bill Paxton) answers “a lot like you, son” but manages to make it sound really creepy. Camp kiddy films just don’t gel.
I’m all prided out. In fact I think I’m now leaning towards the slightly homophobic. If I see another buttock or rainbow anything I’m likely to lash out.
Gay Chicken Soup for the Soul
Lizzie and I arrived at Trafalgar Square with the parade in full swing. It’s a little disappointing that they the powers that be
don’t invest any money in it (although the London Mayor, Ken Livingston, promised to make it an event to rival Sydney’s in his re-election campaign, so we’ll see) but it was still pretty wonderful. Lizzie, Joe, Christopher, his two lesbian pals and I managed to join the Brazil entourage - a decision that was made because 1. They had cool drums 2. The boys were hot and 3. Everyone loves Brazil. Off we went, smiling at the crowd in a non-threatening manner. I even held Christopher’s hand for a few minutes until we decided it felt a bit forced. We were just getting into the swing of it when we rounded a corner to find that the parade just sort of stopped. I think I might write a letter to Ken saying that next year everyone who participates should get a certificate or a pat on the back or something.
Did I mention I went on the Booster?
After the Parade we went up to Finsbury Park for The Big Gay Out
and met up with the remaining Scoobies. Sam’s Mum and sister had come down from Bristol and we caught up with a few friends who’d moved out of London. In a jovial mood we bustled through the gates. To begin with we slowly walked around in a cluster (all 15 of us) until it became too frustrating and we organised ourselves into splinter groups. When the cute Israeli friend of an acquaintance asked me if I wanted to join him on an amusement ride I said ‘sure’. This was my first mistake. The second was NOT LOOKING AT THE RIDE CLOSELY ENOUGH BEFORE PAYING FOR A TICKET. Perhaps it would have helped if I’d read the manufacturer’s description - “The Booster ride is made up of one column which is hinged to the concrete foundation or to the trailer. Two arms and four vehicles that are free to rotate. The ride may rotate both directions.” Rotate is the key word in this sentence. It was only after I was ushered onto the ride that I learned the whole contraption would begin a 360 degree arc in HYPERSPEED. Not just this but the “vehicles” would start spinning WILDLY and, some might say, DANGEROUSLY to the point that some of the passengers might become agitated, and express this agitation by emitting a loud piercing cry to alert the authorities. Over and over again we rotated seemingly in an endless freefall which was only broken by the delightful sensation of tipping backwards occasionally 30 feet in mid-air. If you were polishing your Grandmother’s crystal between 3.48 and 3.52pm on Saturday afternoon, I’m very sorry indeed.
The rest of the days events seem less exciting but I did manage to kiss a Brazilian boy (I know, I know – but every one needs a hobby, right?), help Olly to unsuccessfully scour the entire park to find his phone, eat one and a half sloppy vege burgers and lose everyone at least three times.
There’s a lot of Shame in Pride
At 10.30 after we’d watched the final pop act on the main stage and oo’d and ah’d at the fireworks, we caught the bus to Ruby
, the big after-pride dance party. It was heaving. I don’t really remember exactly when I started to go a bit off the rails but needless to say I was a bit drunk on the milk of human goodness (vodka) and probably had a bit too much sun. Luckily I don’t get brawly or stupid. I do however get ‘mischievous’. When Kate found me accosting some poor man and mumbling something about “the kindness of strangers” she tried help the situation by explaining I didn’t bite, after which I promptly bit him. Moments later I decided I wanted to get into one of the Jacuzzis they’d installed on the Terrace - fully clothed. It took three Scoobies to good humouredly hold me down until I promised to behave. I’ve had to do something similar to each of them at some point so I was promptly forgiven. And what’s friendship without being sat on until you promise not to bite anyone elses nipple, huh?
On Tuesday night, after flying back from Barcelona (cue International Jet Setter Music
) I was whisked to a gig with Susan (my roomy) and Andrew (my beloved ex-flatmate) to see Michael Franti and the Spearheads
. Until a few years ago I was a gig virgin. Now I can tap my foot and nod to the music with the best of them.
Gigs I have been to:
The New Zealand Youth Choir
As you can see it’s an eclectic bunch.
Mr Franti is the best I’ve seen so far; 6’6” of pure musical genius. He had us jumping up and down, singing, sloshing beer over each other and clapping till our hands bled. At one point I even found myself in tears but that could be more to do with the fact that a lady wearing heels jumped on my foot.
And preparations are underfoot for a mammoth Pride Weekend here in London - and I’m not just talking about the event organizers. Getting all the Scoobies in one place at one time is a monumental task in itself but it looks like we’re all going to be there, waving little rainbow flags and drinking too much beer. In honour of the day Lizzie has even come up with her own chant - “I'm here! I know some Bummers! Get used to it!” Ladies and Gentlemen, acceptance is a very beautiful thing.
Everyone gets paranoid that they’re not going to wake up in time to catch their early morning flight. I’ve slept through countless alarm clocks: from shrill sirens, pneumatic bleeps, the crack, fizzle and drone of morning radio, to the increasingly aggravated shake of my Mother. One grey morning I slept through an earthquake. So you’ll imagine my surprise when I woke up at 4.30am (an unprecedented event in itself) a full fifteen minutes before my alarm was set to go off. I soon realised, seeing the idiot blink of my alarm, that sometime during the night we’d had a power cut. If that isn’t proof of divine intervention then I don’t know what is.
We stowed our things at the cheap central apartment that Diana had acquired for us and drove to the beach. This is what you do when you arrive in Spain. We clung to towels and cans of coke as Kate and Tom pointed out Gaudi buildings and I craned my neck to see them. They were fantastic. I tried to remember reading about Gaudi but I couldn’t remember anything about him, yet the architecture so suited my prediction of a city made of termite mounds.
We walked halfway between the gay and straight areas on Marbella beach
, a compromise with our entourage of two gay boys and two sets of straight couples. There was a glut of nubile bodies; sun kissed buttocks; proud Catalina noses; penetrating Spanish eyes. The guys were pretty cute too. Kate pointed out some of the more notable penises. One was soft and pink, hiding under a pot belly. Another scared her with its length. Next to us a naked young Dad with a mullet frolicked with his mulleted young son. Groups of friends lay semi supine, tufts of pubic hair stirring in the sea breeze. I consider us to be very close but none of the Scoobies were brave enough to get nudy in public. We needed time to acclimatise. A good five years would probably do it.
If you’re concerned that we spent all our time tanning, don’t be. Diana’s French boyfriend Olivier could get us on all the better guest lists, he promised. We danced on a terrace in a castle on a hill. We drove out to a Warehouse for an after hours club. We went to Sitges and danced by the Sea. The only major drawback was that the Spanish love their progressive house. For a gang who loves strings and builds and sweeping vocals, the monotonous boom boom boom
was a disappointment.
Sam, with his muscles, only had to take off his t-shirt to be tapped on the shoulder by a beefy Dutchman on holiday. I had less luck. My Spanish is as good as my Urdu. I could give sex-me-up-eyes
but the boys I lusted after were the aloof ones. It would take more than a glass of San Miguel and a hopeful “Hola!” to charm them.
We had arguments. The couples had tiffs. Sam can be stubborn, Diana is famous for being moody and I can be a tad disagreeable if I don’t have enough of my infamous ‘me time’. But the measure of a holiday is when, after a few days, the lasting memory is not of occasional bickerings, but of Kate’s face as - whispering - she points out a particularly tanned and curvy penis.