World of Chig   


Thu 28/11/01

Nostradamus, World War III and the World Cup Draw.

I've had a revelation about this - more to come!

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Single Of The Week (Mon 26/11/01)
Where’s Your Head At? – Basement Jaxx
It seems like this has been around for ages. A bit mad, and just brilliant. Also includes a mellow ‘Mambo Café at sunset’ type mix of Romeo. Beautiful.
Today’s other purchases:
ResuRection - PPK: Bloomin’ brilliant Perfecto track, with long mixes Russian bits. Cool. (Nearly Single Of The Week!)
Everybody - Hear’say : Bright and bubbly pop, and substantially different from their other two hits to make it another massive hit. Extra tracks included called ‘I Knew You Were Waiting’ and ‘Once In A Lifetime’. Yes, it is the George & Aretha one. No, it’s not the Talking Heads one.
Sexual Revolution - Macy Gray: I’ll buy anything with a Norman Cook remix, and I also wanted her version of Winter Wonderland. Unfortunately, this meant buying both CDs.
Closer To Me – Five: This should produce a real chart anomaly on Sunday – a climber! Although it’s billed as Five’s last single, with Rock The Party on it (without the animated video, where the characters look nothing like the boys), this is really Closer To Me CD2. It’s being released an exceptional FIVE (geddit!) weeks after CD1, which entered and peaked at #4 and is currently at #34.

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No Socceroos in Japan and South Korea.

(Sun 25/11/01) I knew Australia were making it hard for themselves in their home game last week, only winning by one goal. I thought the fans I heard on the radio were surprisingly pleased with themselves, given the difficulty they would face in Uruguay. Sure enough they’ve blown it tonight, losing 3-0 in Uruguay. Another play-off agony for the Socceroos, and no Aussies at the World Cup, which will be a damn shame. The rivalry between Australia and England would have been great. I would have been constantly e-mailing M&N in Sydney, sympathising or taking the piss (or being embarrassed!) We’ll have to make do with England and Ireland instead (hoping we don’t get drawn in the same group again!)

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Ding! Dong! The witch is dead!

(Sat 24/11/01) I’m not normally the type to rejoice in someone’s death, but I can’t help feeling a sense of relief that Mary Whitehouse died yesterday. It feels like the long overdue end of the sixties. In a four page obituary on Ceefax, her malicious prosecution of Gay News for blasphemy, all because of a poem, wasn’t mention at all. The omission of this story from the BBC coverage was picked up on by someone called ‘Terry from Bow’ in Radio Five Live’s Up All Night phone-in. I have strong suspicions that this is Terry S from Gay Times. Both he and I owe a lot of our income in recent years to the miraculous survival of Gay News after the Whitehouse prosecution, as it later became Gay Times.

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Angels, Revolution, Kudos, Crusaid and Big Brother (2)

I was so relieved to bump into S & J at Kudos, two of my hunkiest and more socially able acquaintances. S has just given me a lift home after we left J fending off admirers and considering not going into work tomorrow. Such is life when you’re a Mr Gay UK finalist; he was almost literally having to beat them off with a stick. I’m so glad he’s a friend of mine, and I can just watch in awe.

I have taken many digipics of me, S & J with Dean, Vanessa and Josh. Must put them on display somehow. I’ve now met three of this year’s Big Brother contestants, all in the last month!

Tonight’s Kudos auction raised a whopping £7,675 for Crusaid. At first, it seemed that Josh’s Gucci trousers had disappointed, raising only £350, but there was a reserve bid, via Crusaid, of £5,000, which evidently accounted for two thirds of the total raised. I got an exclusive out of Josh, when he admitted that they weren’t worth £2,500, as he’d said on BB, but £2,200, and he actually bought them for ‘only’ £1,600. Bargain.

We didn’t buy anything, although we were quite tempted by Dermot O’Leary’s signed sweatshirt (particularly the sweat part) and photo. However, the bidding started at £50, which is out of my league at the moment.

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Angels, Revolution, Kudos, Crusaid and Big Brother (1)

Oh, deep joy! It’s 00:30 and I’ve just got in from my three social engagements tonight (see below). I spent much time at Kudos chatting to Dean O’Loughlin from Big Brother, who Josh had brought along to the auction as he’s local, and his lovely wife Vanessa. All three of them were great to talk to, but I spent most time talking to Vanessa, and then Dean, and got some questions out of my system which I’d been harbouring since BB was on in the Summer. At one point, I was really pleased with myself; I asked Vanessa a couple of questions which she said no one had ever asked her before. She seemed quite impressed that I’d managed to avoid the usual tabloid line of questioning which she experienced plenty of while Dean was in the house. Everyone there agreed that Dean is gorgeous in the flesh, and, if I was that way inclined, so is Vanessa. They were both an absolute joy to talk to, very chatty and forthcoming.

Earlier, I had been fed for free at Angels, being a willing guinea pig for their new menu which is unleashed upon the public tomorrow. They seemed less pleased that I pointed out seven or eight spelling mistakes in the new menu, when they were only admitting to four! I met one of the managers there, who for some reason I had never met before, even though he’s been there since May. I think we bonded, and I quite fancy seeing him again! Then, in Revolution, the new vodka bar on Broad Street, I saw a local TV news reporter who I’ve quite fancied since I first noticed him in the Summer. Didn’t speak though. Revolution is a fantastically stylish new bar; the kind of place I would quite happily go to if it wasn’t stuck in the middle of the “let’s go out for a fight” Broad Street, as it is. I met someone I vaguely knew there and he agreed with me that the concept won’t work. They stock dozens and dozens of vodkas, but who honestly thinks to themself ‘I must go out for a vodka’? I think it will inevitably have to rely on lager sales to get by, but as it’s such a nice bar anyway, it might just get away with that. It was interesting to see the bar full of arty/media types, mostly dressed in black – thankfully I was too – who I thought maybe I should get to know, but I had to dash off for Kudos. There were only six people there who I did know, and three of them were at Kudos later as well.

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Saturday Blackout

It’s Tuesday night, and I’ve now resigned myself to the fact that, no matter how hard I might try, no recollection of Saturday night is going to come back to me. I’ve had memory loss on nights out before, but this was a spectacular one. One minute I’m walking into the Nightingale about 11pm, next minute I’m waking up with a jolt at 9am on Sunday. I feel like I was in the club for about two minutes, but how long was it really? I told H&J I’d meet them in DV8 later, but I didn’t make it there…..or did I? Oh God. It was the vodka before leaving the house that was to blame. I am never drinking again. Except, in the strange way that these things work out, I am now going out to THREE events tomorrow. I’ve had a call tonight inviting me for a free meal at 5pm at Angels, where they’re apparently introducing a new menu. I was already invited to the opening of Revolution on Broad Street, one of the nationwide chain of vodka bars, between 6-9pm. Then I’ll have to come back to Kudos for the Crusaid auction, where Big Brother’s Josh Rafter is auctioning THOSE Gucci trousers. Phew!

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Single Of The Week
Riva featuring Dannii Minogue – Who Do You Love Now? (Stringer)
After three years away, and three hits before that when she pretended she didn’t have a surname, Notre Dame de L’Australie returns on someone else’s hit. It’s sheer pop-dance brilliance which will be played at G-A-Y for the next year at least. Also includes an ambient mix which is straight out of Ibiza’s Café Mambo at sunset – absolutely gorgeous (although unrecognisable from the original version).

Today’s other purchases:
Muse – Hyper Music / Feeling Good: Muse seem to be getting some recognition at last, and winning some awards. Feeling Good seemed an unlikely track to cover when it appeared on their second album, but their unique take on it makes it their own. Best known as a Nina Simone track, it was actually a bigger hit for Huff & Herb in ’97, but Muse should beat their #31 placing.
S Club 7 – Have You Ever: Children In Need’s house band release another sad song for charidee. This can hardly fail, as every schoolchild in the country has had the opportunity to appear on backing vocals on the CD’s second version, so they’ll all be buying it. Genius. This week’s #1.
Shed Seven – Step Inside Your Love: From the box marked ‘Groups everyone else has forgotten about but I really like’, York’s finest suddenly appear in the shops again with a single I haven’t heard, and guess what? It’s a stormer! Instantly appealing, but I bet it stiffs in the charts. Includes a rollicking version of Jean Genie as well, which really works because Witter doesn’t try to do a Bowie impersonation, but does his own thing.
The White Stripes – Hotel Yorba: Yes, I’m a week late catching up with this one, but I didn’t realise how much I liked it until it entered Sunday’s chart. While I’m not convinced they are The Future Of Rock’n’Roll, I find their back to basics, demo style quite refreshing. I also think they might be slightly mad.

What else is spinning in Chig’s CD tray this week?
Westlife – World Of Our Own (album). Scoff all you like. I don’t care. It’s brilliant – and very, very long. The big debate must surely be which tracks NOT to release as monster singles. Having just equalled Abba and the Spice Girls with nine #1s, this little lot should provide them with a few more as they equal Madonna (10) on the way to their stated aim of beating The Beatles and Elvis Presley’s seventeen.
The Cure – Greatest Hits + Acoustic Hits (album). Best value for money this year: 36 tracks for £8.99 from . (Why does anyone buy new albums from shops any more?) Glorious reminiscences of happy student union disco days dancing to The Lovecats (every week for four years, actually) and a few tracks I’d completely forgotten.

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I’ve realised one of the inherent problems with I’ve had a very nice e-mail via the website from someone who was at Uni with me. She says “Remember me from the Guild Council and business studies?”, but the problem is, no, I don’t really. Sure, I remember her name, but I just can’t put a face to her. This is shameful and embarrassing. How the hell do I reply to her? Your suggestions please!

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I’m Sorry, I Haven’t A Clue

(19/11/01) The second programme of the two we went to see recorded was broadcast on R4 this evening. Just like the first one last week, it seemed ridiculously short. Not surprising really though, considering they must have recorded over two hours of material on that one evening last month in Wolverhampton, which then had to be cut down to two thirty minute programmes. The joke which I thought was probably too rude to be broadcast stayed in, while another of the most memorable lines was cut out, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles.
Unlike last week’s programme, tonight’s gave a small nod to modernity, by including Kylie’s “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” in one round. Otherwise, the programmes could have been recorded any time in the last thirty years. All part of its timeless charm.

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Harry Potter - a triumph!

The Harry Potter movie (last night) was brilliant. Interestingly, in a three quarters full cinema, I didn't spot a single child, but it was a 9pm showing. (There were showings as late as midnight.)
I'd only managed 140 of the book's 309 pages before going, and couldn't believe how quickly the film raced through the beginning. Much discussion afterwards on the bits that were changed or missed out, but a general consensus that it was nearly all done pretty well, except for the spells bit near the end, when it's....oh I can't explain - it would spoil things.

Alan Rickman as Snape is truly terrifying and evil, although he did also remind me a bit of Brian Molko from Placebo.

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Hmmm. To think I watched every episode of Attachments first time round, frequently wondering if there really was a website for the fictional seethru web design company, and never bothering to check. Now tonight, I find there is a SUBSTANTIAL website. Where does fiction end and reality begin? Does this website exist when Attachments isn't on?

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Just wait until we draw them again on 1st December....

Damn! Germany made it through to next year's World Cup tonight, with a sound thrashing of Ukraine. What's the betting that England and Germany will end up in the same group AGAIN in 17 days' time? It seems almost inevitable.

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New Hunk Of The Week

No contest over this one. New ITV soap NightAnDay (sic) has a hunk in it. No surprise there. He's Sam Armstrong, orphaned and bringing up his 'ickle sis and baby bruv by himself (aaah, how new man). He has a floppy fringe (aaah, cute). He's a footballer (yippee!). He has a lusciously hairy chest . Phwoaarr!!! The actor's name is Stuart Manning - he should be okay for a Best Male or Best Newcomer nomination in next year's British Soap Awards.

What's the programme like? God knows - I taped it and haven't watched it yet. However, with the promise of more rumpy-pumpy in the late Thursday omnibus, I'm completely sold on the idea.

The programme's website is pretty extensive and unusual, with lots of links that don't seem to work yet:

There's a better picture here:

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Just listen to the bloody question!

How exactly did these people get on this week's The Weakest Link in the first place?
1) In 1984, the Band Aid appeal was set up to help which country?
Contestant: "Africa"

2) The Police had a hit single in 1979 with 'Walking On The...' what?
Contestant: "Wild Side"

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My Fave Quotes Of The Last Week:

"It just happened out of accident, in a hurry, that's all it is." (The man arrested at Chicago's O'Hare Airport, carrying knives, mace spray and a stun gun. Tues 06/11/01.)
Yeah right, I always find the contents of a small armoury find their way into my hand luggage when I least expect.

"It's not always this Irish, or this gay. Mind you, we did have Andrea Corr and Cher on last week." Graham Norton finds himself explaining his programme in its second episode.

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I've added a Site Meter and a 'comment' facility. I've also submitted my blog to SiteAdd and added a 'Contact Me' link. All thanks to troubled_diva's superb instructions. Thanks.

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Going Potty

I've set myself a challenge: read the first Harry Potter novel in the next four days. If twelve year-olds can do it, I really have no excuse. We're seeing the film on its 'official' opening day, this coming Friday night (even though thousands saw it at Saturday's previews). We are not even borrowing children to take as an excuse, just nine ex-psychology students. Good Lord. Consequently, I have borrowed the book from Sarah tonight. She bought it in America, so I am reading "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone", not "...the Philosopher's Stone". Guess I'll learn to live without the missing letters in 'color', 'traveled' etc.

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New York Plane Crash

Will the misery never end for New York? Another BBC news special on when I get in this afternoon, and another plane on fire in New York rubble. You just wish there was something you could do.... I don't know whether it will be better or worse if this turns out to be "just" an accident. If that's the case, Americans will have a general fear that their planes aren't mechanically safe anyway, to add to their fear of terrorism. It makes you wonder if anyone in the US will ever want to fly again.
On a trivial, but related, note, ever since I saw the site of the crash named as Rockaway Beach, I've had a song of that (or similar) title going through my head. Was it The Ramones, or have I imagined it?

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Bumping into celebs in London

My trip to London last weekend produced two celebrity encounters in my last 24 hours there; the first one not completely unpredictable, but the second one a real pleasant surprise. Brian Dowling was at G.A.Y. on Monday, so I couldn't resist going up to him, introducing myself and telling him how I'd voted for him ten times. If my head hadn't been drowning in a sea of vodka and Smirnoff Ice by this point, I could probably have said something interesting to him. Poor bloke - he must get this all the time, but he was polite and friendly. Needless to say, he looked cute, and as with everybody I've ever met "off the telly", much smaller in real life. Not just shorter, but with a smaller face too. Guess that's what comes of having a camera shoved in his face all the time. He also seemed younger.

Then, on Tuesday afternoon, as I waited for a tube at Tottenham Court Road, a familiar face walked past me on the platform. It was Craig Kelly (Vince from Queer As Folk). Luckily, he did remember me. He has amazingly long hair, not for any particular part, but he said it's useful because he doesn't get recognised so much. He looks nothing like Vince now, more like Michael Praed as Robin Hood! We chatted on the tubes for the three stops I was going to Euston. Craig remembered the mad drinking session we went on after the QAF2 premiere, and thanked me for not publishing some of the things we were talking about(!) He thought Bob And Rose was brilliant, and he asked if I thought there were elements of Vince in Bob's character. That's exactly what I thought when I watched it too. Craig has two TV shows coming up. He's in the new series of Clocking Off. I laughed and said "everyone from QAF has been in that!" He said exactly, he told them it was his turn. (It's made by the same production company; Red.) In January, Craig is in a new sitcom, which has been written by Antony Cotton, who played Alexander in QAF. It's called "Having It Off", and Craig plays Billy-Bob, a gay line-dancing teacher, in chaps and full clone moustache. Can't wait to see that! And then Euston arrived, all too quickly. We could have chatted for ages. Once again I left him thinking what a thoroughly likeable bloke he is.

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SOFT CELL gig review - part three (Yes, it's backwards!)

First encore: Just one song: Say Hello, Wave Goodbye. “Here’s the sequel to the prequel we played earlier.” It sounds epic and magnificent, as it always did.

Second encore: a two song finale:
Martin: I’m close to orgasm as they launch into one of my favourites. I NEVER thought they’d do this. As luck would have it, I’m standing next to Ian’s friend Martin. Inevitably, it’s a shortened version of the ten minute masterpiece, but it still gives us the chance to shout “Martin” at random intervals in differently pitched voices. We think this is hilarious. We are also chanting “kill, kill” in the appropriate places, which seems mildly subversive. The stage lighting has gone blood red for this, and I am very drunk. It stays red for the final song:
Sex Dwarf: Wondered when they’d get around to this. So they saved their two most twisted songs for last. Fabulous. And it’s all over too soon.

The conclusion: Marc Almond genuinely seemed to enjoy himself, and so did the audience. His voice was great too. (Dave Ball was fairly expressionless throughout.) Anyone who’s read Tainted Life will know that Marc never felt they did justice to their songs in their early gigs, because the shows were too chaotic or because he was too drugged up. I’m sure this tour will finally bring a sense of closure for both of them. I thought it was fantastic. (9.5/10 – it would have been ten if it had been a few songs longer.)

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SOFT CELL gig review - part two

The backdrop: It was either an enlarged version of Gina G’s chainmail dress or, as Ian put it, “toilet seats” strung together. I have no idea.

The duo: Marc has stuck with the bleach blond look that will be familiar to viewers of his New Music Television show. No doubt he considered a return to the black hair, black bangles, rubber top look, but it would have looked like a Marc Almond Stars In Their Eyes, so I’m glad he didn’t. He has a black t-shirt on with diamante skull and crossbones and the legend ‘Too Fast To Live, Too Young To Die’, also in diamante. I think it’s the ‘biker camp’ look.
For the encores he changes into a wispy see-thru black shirt which he eventually unbuttons. Marc has the flattest stomach and tautest torso of any forty-two year old I’ve ever seen. (Further proof that drugs are good for you.)
Dave Ball looks much as he always did. Broad-shouldered and wearing a leather suit-type jacket.

The set list: It’s perhaps surprising to realise that Soft Cell only ever released ten singles. Tonight they performed the first five and ignored the last five. Most surprising omission was #3 hit What. (I think!) So no Where The Heart Is, Numbers (or Barriers, but who remembers that?), Soul Inside or Down In The Subway either.

Opening with Memorabilia and then straight into a song which I presume is new, probably called Monoculture. Uptempo, and an interesting lyric; high hopes for the forthcoming album now. They did at least one other new song, which Marc described as “a kind of prequel to the two characters in Say Hello, Wave Goodbye”. It has a similar feel to it, without being derivative, and it’s slower than Monoculture.

Also included were Heat, Torch, The Art Of Falling Apart and just one song from This Last Night In Sodom (not one of the two singles, but I can’t remember what it was, and didn’t recognise it because I haven’t played that album for years and I’ve lost the tape!)

Last song of the main set is Tainted Love in its full ‘original 12” version’ glory; gradually merging into Where Did Our Love Go? They’re really treating us now – it’s fantastic to hear the whole thing.

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SOFT CELL gig review - Part One
Birmingham Academy, Thursday 25 October 2001

The conversation I overheard in the cloak room queue: Local bloke (evidently relieved that the venue is pretty busy), to the woman with him: “This is one of those where I thought it could be really empty or it could be completely packed. I’ve told a few people like that I was coming here, and quite a few said ‘oh I would’ve liked to see them’, but other people like said ‘God I can’t stand him!’”

The audience: As I quipped in the cloakroom queue at the end, when surrounded by shaven-headed thirty- and fortysomething men, who all seemed to know each other, “It’s a Powerhouse reunion”. (A reference to Brum’s top gay night in the mid-eighties, and also the venue where I once saw Marc & The Mambas in concert.) Or, as someone else said to me, “There are people here I thought were dead.” There were certainly a lot of familiar faces, but the crowd was actually quite wide-ranging, including many people who must have been too young to remember Soft Cell when they started. There were even a couple of fully geared-up goths, obscuring my view for a while with their backcombed hair.

The support: As I brought my beer up the stairs to wait for Ian, I heard the support band’s opening chords and thought ‘Hurrah! It’s Carter!’ It all made perfect sense; Carter USM are back together and have been touring recently. However, I was completely wrong. This lot are called the Fuzz Light Years. Three boys and a girl singer, all about 20 years old. The singer is really engaging; she’s like a skinny young Chrissie Hynde meets PJ Harvey, wearing Jarvis Cocker’s old school blazer. She has a kind of Poly Styrene helium voice, slightly snarly, which really suited their songs, and when I could tear my eyes away from the cutie on guitar (fresh-faced with nouveau Sid Vicious style hair – very sexy), I really enjoyed them. Actually, I must confess, after Ian arrived a few songs into their set, we talked all the way through the rest of it, but I heard enough to know they were pretty good. Reminded me a bit of Helen Love, but more serious.

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Thu 24 October 2001:
Seeing Soft Cell tonight, but last night, after Greg and I went to see The Others (new Nicole Kidman film - I highly recommend it), we met his 23 year-old girlfriend in the pub. When we mentioned that I was going to see Soft Cell tonight, Mary said “Who are they?” Even mentioning Tainted Love didn’t ring any bells (she was three in 1981). It was only when Greg hummed a bit of Say Hello Wave Goodbye that there was any recognition.

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Thank God for that, it worked at the third attempt. Maybe the first attempts were too long. Now for the real stuff.

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Friday 02 November 2001 00:42
My first attempt!

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