World of Chig   


Hello Duckie!

Well, whatever happens in Big Brother tomorrow night, I'll have to catch up with it on video later, because I'll be at this!
What a fabulous press release!
Yes, it's the start of the bloody enormous Birmingham Pride/Queen's Golden Jubilee/World Cup/Double Bank Holiday weekend, also featuring the Gay Football Supporters' Network's annual weekend away, which just happens to be in Birmingham this year, and just happens to coincide with my ex's birthday on Saturday (who is a member of said organisation) and just happens to coincide with the first England game on Sunday morning.

Let's just say that again. Sunday. Yikes! Morning. Double yikes! We're watching the match in a pub, apparently. I may well be comatose by Tuesday.

"Fierce! brings the infamous London arthouse disco Duckie to the Irish Centre
this Friday 31 May for a rock'n'roll club night featuring contemporary dance
performance popsters The Cholmondeleys and The Featherstonehaughs. Duckie
is hosted by Miss Amy Lame with Disc Jockeys The Readers Wifes playing their
favourite records of all time - from the Pistols to the Hives, Kate Bush to
Le Tigre, Bowie to the Strokes.

"Clad in black corsets, stockings and suspenders, they sashay and goosestep
in four and a half inch heels. And that's just the men!" The Guardian on
The Cholmondeleys and The Featherstonehaughs.

for homosexualist refuseniks, culture vultures, drunks, effeminate straight
boys who like contemporary dance, moderne people who hate the theatre, bored
students, fortysomething ladies that were goths in the 80s, meaningful quiet
types, people that like men in tights, butch geezaladies, perverts who cant
get into other clubs, brian eno, thems that come just for the trade, joan
dairy queen, thems that think performance art is like kate bush but without
the music, people that work for the arts council, thems that think they're
part of the new wave of the new wave of new wave, teenage girls that wanna
dye their hair and change the world....and their friends and fans


Tickets on The Door £8/£5 with Duckie or Fierce brochure
The Irish Centre, 14-20 High St, Deritend, Digbeth, Birmingham, B12"

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Lynne out!

From the very brief bits that I've seen so far (a mere three half hours), she seems the most antagonistic person we've had so far in four series of Big Brother. She's not even TRYING to get on with people, and it's only been six days. Although it would be tempting to leave her there in the hope that it would provoke a ratings-inducing fight, she's got to go! I've cast my vote tonight.
And Graham Norton summed up my thoughts on Sunita. What the hell was she expecting? Silly fool.

Can't wait to see their faces tomorrow, when they find out they have to choose someone to go! My guess? The public will choose Jade and Lynne, and the housemates will choose Lynne. But what do I know?

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Eurovision pics - the first two of many

Latvia's 1.30am press conference after winning

He's called Guntris, in case you're interested

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Why, oh why, oh why?

I've asked this before, in the hope that some friendly blogger can help me, but no one seems to know.
Why can't I write vaguely long entries in this here blog?

Whenever I write something more than a couple of paragraphs, and press post or publish, I get a message saying 'this page cannot be displayed'. The only way I can post is to split the text into smaller sections.
Other people seem perfectly able to make long entries. Why not me? Why? Why? Why?

(Chig is now banging his head on the desk.)

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Catching up with Big Brother

If I have any regret at all about going to Tallinn, it is a very tiddly one of no major significance; missing the start of Big Brother. It's a very small regret indeed, compared to the absolute joy of having been in Estonia. I presume that there was some introductory programme on Friday, showing the housemates in the real world, before they went in? Could anyone copy it for me? I would pay.

So, I thought I'd find out all about the new inmates yesterday evening from the internet, but no. The website isn't working all evening. So 10pm last night on TV is my first sight of the captives, and it looks like the popbitch leak (below, 23/05) was pretty accurate, although I didn't spot a prosthetic limb anywhere. It also feels like they all know each other but I don't. It's like going to a friend's house and finding out all your other friends are having a party there, but they didn't invite you. So, as I press my nose up to the steamy window of the new house (surely a mistake for C4 to deck it out in the new BBC One colour scheme?), I only have one thirty minute programme and Graham Norton's bitching afterwards from which to make my first impressions. But here they are:
Adele: Made no impression.
Alex: Trendy hair. Trendy trews. Perhaps fanciable, but not sure about the accent. Is he gay?
Alison: Large woman. Seems friendly.
Jade: This year's Helen? Too much wobbly flesh on display. Face like a pig. I haven't yet seen why Graham Norton thinks she's so annoying though. What has she done?
Jonny: Gaunt face. Is he a Geordie? And a veggie? If so, he's okay by me.
Kate: Attractive, but made no impression.
Lee: PHWOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAR!!!! What a body! Take me, take me now!! And I've just read that he's only 22. I can hardly believe that. Didn't speak though, in last night's edit, other than to ask a question about cake. Seems remote from the group already. Is he gay?
Lynne: Big teeth, big smile.
PJ: Potentially horny skinhead. Is he gay?
Sandy: Frank Carson has been allowed in. Seems entertaining though, and I'm glad there's an age mix. Hope he's not gay.
Spencer: CUUUUUUUUTIE! Very snoggable indeed. Then Graham puts me off by implying he's a psycho. What have I missed? He looks adorable. Is he gay?
Sunita: Sensible. For not taking part in that sexual positions game. This year's Elizabeth/mother hen?

My claim to fame: I know the sister of one of this year's new Big Brother psychologists. He sounds like quite a hippy....

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Back Home

(20.45) Arrived back home at 16.30 today, and guess what I did? I dropped my suitcase and bag on the floor (which wasn't hard, as I'd been dropping the case many times since Heathrow last night and leaving my friends' flat this lunchtime, overladen as it is with Eurovision CDs and promotional press packs). I rewound the video of Eurovision and watched the whole thing. Wogan annoyed me right from the start, by actually talking over the voices of the introduction. The man is so ignorant. I thought Estonia's TV production of the event was superb, and a definite improvement on the Danish show last year. Having said that, a few hearts must have sunk during the first song, and Cyprus probably complained afterwards, when the postcard for song two briefly appeared on screen during song one by One. The vision mixer was probably taken outside by the former KGB security guards, as I didn't notice any other horrendous errors.

There will be quite a bit more on Eurovision on here in the next week. Oh yes, you haven't escaped yet. And just wait for the photos. Tonight though, I have to do some work to earn me some money from the event, and on Wednesday I go to London to see Mull Historical Society's gig, so there may be a short delay.

And in the meantime, my travel agent friend Robert, one of the group of nine friends who came out to Tallinn for the weekend, was planning to be busy today holding flight bookings to Latvia and reserving hotels on likely dates next year. Organised? You bet we are! It just so happens that the Lonely Planet Guide I bought for Estonia covers Latvia and Lithuania too, so I've saved money already! "I Wanna" see you in Riga! That's if Riga can manage to hold it, as word is they don't have a venue bigger than 2,000 capacity, and that we may be back in Saku Suurhall again. But would Latvian national pride stand for that? Estonian people would also need to be assured that not an EEK of their money was being spent on it too. Latvia's 3rd placed Brainstorm said in their Stockholm 2000 press conferences that Riga was ready, but Marie N, in her 1.30am press conference yesterday after her win, which I attended, joked, "They are starting to build something now." Maybe that wasn't such a joke after all? Who knows?....

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Goodbye Tallinn

Once again, I am at the edge of the dancefloor at Tallinn's Ring Club. It's 5.45am. Came here after the slightly disappointing after-show party at the Saku Suurhall, expecting to see my five friends who were on their way here after the Eurovision show finished, but they're not here. I've been told they were, but they left. Lightweights.

Since Estonia won Eurovision a year ago, I've been checking out Tallinn guys on gaydar, and tonight, dancing with a Latvian flag, is someone who I actually recognise in this tiny club, hundreds of miles from my home, because I have a printout of his gaydar page at home. Weird.

Leaving Tallinn in six hours. Time to return to the hotel! Bye for now!

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Hello Riga!

(2.10am) A new country winning again, a decisive final vote from the final country, and a type of song which hasn't won Eurovision before, all means I'm happy with that result. Of course I knew all along.... (cough, splutter). But seriously, it wasn't a complete surprise to people who saw the rehearsals (which I didn't).

Latvia did of course have the sexiest male dancer, and I'm sure that helped, as did the reprise clip, which featured HIM rather a lot compared to Marie.
My new friend Russell summed it all up as we left the arena tonight, "More Eastern European men." Roll on Riga 2003. I'm happy. It's also some justice for Brainstorm's near miss in 2000.

I am also completely sober. My friends have all gone in search of dancing and men, after all six of us managed to get good tickets for fifty pounds each this afternoon, with about two hours to spare. So they didn't watch it in the town square, but we experienced the atmosphere building up there this afternoon, which was brilliant. And I didn't watch it on the press centre screens either. Funny how plans change. I've seen the full show all FOUR times in the last 48 hours, and it's been brilliant.

I am amazed and thrilled that the UK came third. Jessica has done us proud. We've doubtlessly been helped by the countries who voted with juries, not televoting, and we beat France and tied with the hosts. Estonia don't have the expense of hosting again. Everybody's happy.

Goodbye from Tallinn. It's been an amazing week, with some amazing experiences. I've met some fantastic people, including a few who I'll be seeing again. My friends came over for 48 hours, so all in all it's been a wonderful experience in a fascinating, beautiful city.

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Media whore

Well, I was going to be interviewed this afternoon for this evening's Midlands Today (BBC TV News programme for central England), but nothing seems to be happening about it. Oops, gotta go!

Do you know how difficult I find it to type when there's a TV camera being pointed at me from the opposite desk?

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This morning's report from last night's parties

The combined 'Mediterranean' party, held by Spain, Cyprus and Malta, was an absolute scorcher! The food was good, the red wine was good (even though I don't normally drink red!) All the acts performed on a tiny stage, with more camera crews and fans on the stage than you could possibly imagine. Cypriots One did some other songs, as did Ira Losco, and then the real scoop. It was an Operacion Triunfo live show! The atmosphere in there was just electric, and very, very hot (just like in the Med, appropriately!)

Chenoa and Gisela, both the Davids, and of course Rosa. It was absolutely fantastic. Corazon Latino particularly stood out for me as being rather brilliant. And I took some brilliant photos, which I promise to display properly when I'm back next week. David Bustamente looking sweaty. Mmmmmmmm!! I should say though, that many Spaniards here (and many Germans too) think they have this competition in the bag already, just by turning up. At least one of them is going to be disappointed, and I think it will be both.

Before the Med party, some people (but not me) popped into the Russian Embassy party. Apart from the inside of the building being fabulous, as you would expect, Philip Kirkorov was there. I saw him later He looks so odd, and so tall, but that didn't stop teenage girls screaming for him at the door. Weird. Still, if Premier Ministr is the best-looking boyband the Russians can come up with, I guess the teenage girls have to look elsewhere. They did perform their song at the embassy.

Some people left the 9pm Med party early, as the Estonian party started at 10pm, but I thought we would get more entertainment at the Med, one, and I'm glad we stayed, because it was the best party for me since the UK's in Stockholm.

Reports of the Estonian party were good though. One person told me that Ines performed after Sahlene, but strangely, other people didn't know that.

Must go. Have just been asked to go into town and be filmed by Estonian TV!!
I may also be on Midlands Today later, for those of you in the Midlands (UK). Bryan, can you tape it please?!
Have I been on Belgian TV yet?

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I've seen the winner....

(17.32) ....and it's the interval act! No one warned us there'd be soft porn on the Eurovision stage, but that's what we're getting. Muscular young lads with their shirts off, beating each other's chests with twigs, while voices in the background chant "sauna, sauna".
Can we vote for the interval act? I'm glad I'm seeing it again in a couple of hours....
I predict that the total number of televotes will be down this year, as many people won't have both hands free to use the phone.....

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Mediterranean media whores

Those lovely Cypriot boys are way out in front when it comes to the World Of Chig Eurovision Award for 'media whores of the contest'.

Firstly, they have toured half of Europe before the contest to appear on foreign TV programmes (and Wood Green shopping centre, don't forget!)

This morning, they had unbelievable coverage on Estonian TV's morning chat show (which is completely Eurovision dominated this week). I watched it in my hotel room - it was pretty good to wake up to! First they mimed to the song and danced around the studio. Then they were interviewed in English, with an amazing woman doing simultaneous translation into Estonian. And I mean SIMULTANEOUS. She stood next to them and spoke the Estonian WHILE they spoke the English. You had to decide which one to tune your ears to...

When they were asked what they liked about Estonia, Constantinos remembered THIS TIME to say "There are lots of pretty Estonian girls"
When they were asked this question in their conference yesterday, they forgot to mention the girls, until someone asked them specifically. Can't think for a moment why such heterosexual thoughts weren't at the forefront of their minds. Ahem. I nearly choked laughing.

As if that wasn't enough, the programme ended by showing One's video for Gimme. The new, better one, not the film of the stage performance. Watch Estonia's vote for Cyprus on Saturday - could be interesting!

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Garlick taste for seamen

I'm still reeling from the shock of the UK's song WINNING the fun Weakest Link Eurovision game that Nick 'Anne Robinson' Deller was running brilliantly on yahoo-groups. In a three-way final with Estonia and Russia, she won quite easily. Who would have predicted that? Jessica's certainly made a lot of friends here too. Her voice and her confidence are both amazing. Last night she wore the 80s puffball Union Jack skirt again. You can see its first appearance (at G-A-Y) further down here. Jessica's costume designer swore at G-A-Y that it would never be seen in public again, so I was rather surprised to see her in it last night at the UK/French party. It's not exactly classy!

Here's some real Jessica goss. I know where she is today (as I spoke to Max Flint from Liquid News at the Euroclub).
She deserves an award for bravery, as she's flying in a helicopter with Liquid News to a ship, where she will entertain a boatload of British sailors! Oo-er! I'm not sure which is the most terrifying - the flight, or the thought of hundreds of sex-starved navy lads ogling her...

I did enquire if there was room in the chopper, but sadly no....

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Big Brother leak...

If popbitch is to be believed (and it usually is), Big Brother is going to be an absolute hoot!

"Big Brother 3

Fake limb adds spice to fake show

The latest instalment of Big Brother will feature
the following contestants.

Six women - including one lesbian, one African-Caribbean,
one with a removable arm, and one aged 56.

Six men - including one Asian, one cross-dresser, one
aged 51, and one closet gay.

Needless to say, the cross-dressing Mr Sister is the
early favourite to win."

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Oh yawn, yawn, yawn. The media conference with Saturday's winner (ahem) is on right now, and I just heard Sergio being asked the dull old question about naming famous Belgians. That's exactly what I was interviewed about for Flemish TV on Sunday. Can't we move on from this tired old cliche? Mind you, who has the problem with it - us, or them?

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It's a mad, mad, media world

E-mail this morning from ex-boyfriend Simon, who now lives in the US:

"Picture the scene. After a soul-destroying day making more money for American people who already have too much, I settle in for an evening on the couch with a cup of tea and a bag of chips (crisps to you Limeys). I briefly dismiss the unpatriotic urge to do something cultural and inevitably turn on the TV to watch Liquid News recorded from BBC America earlier in the day. There in the middle of segment on Jessica Garlick in Tallinn, who do I spot in the front row of a press conference? Thank God I have TiVo (actually the technologically superior, but doomed in a Betamax way, ReplayTV) so I could pause and confirm that it really was you! Wow!"

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I'm going slightly mad....


What day is it? Where am I? Why am I awake? AM I awake?

I think I've been kidnapped by ex-KGB and subjected to some bizarre sleep deprivation and food deprivation experiment. Food and sleep are really hard to come by. There is NO vegetarian food in the Suurhall, so I sometimes forget to eat, like yesterday. This makes it essential to attend as many countries' parties as possible and scoff the free buffet. Thankfully, due to party leader Kabir's consumate 'party leaving skills, we managed this with clinical precision last night. Even if I did cock up (albeit intentionally) at the start. I stayed in the Suurhall too late yesterday, but I just HAD to go back to the hotel and shower before the UK/French party, as I felt disgusting. I also 'had' to change into my Union Jack shirt (as previously modelled at G-A-Y - see photos below.) I know it looks like a tent, but if you can't wear it at your own country's party, when can you wear it?

Oooh, more later.......Bosnian conference, photos....

Best media conference so far. Finland just now, more later.

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It's 4.45am, and I'm on the bloody internet at the Ring Club, Tallinn's finest gay club, which just happens to have an internet terminal here on the edge of the dancefloor. I really need to go to bed, but I'm being distracted by a lovely Estonian man called Ahto, and his friends Jani (Finnish) and Angel (Latvian) and a Slovenian guy who is here with Eurovision. God, I'm just so international!

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Party time!

It's the UK and French combined party tonight, along with three others (Latvia, Denmark and Slovenia). Kabir, one of the lovely Brit boys here, is such a serious party-goer that he has typed out and printed a schedule for tonight, showing times of parties and the preferred walk/taxi option between each one. Such dedication.

The combined UK/France party was going to be called Waterloo, but sadly some people thought it was a tad controversial. Shame.

Tallinn fact: Reported crime in Tallinn was down 50% on Saturday night, probably due to the increased police presence for Eurovision. We are getting more information in our daily briefing notes than you could possibly hope for. Three cars were stolen in Tallinn at the weekend. Bet you're glad you know that.

Sestre have sworn that they will not be seen in man drag all week. Marlene turned up an hour late today for an interview with another lovely Brit guy, called Hussein. 'She' told him it takes them all three hours to get ready, and that he was lucky 'she' was only an hour late. They are all very nice young ladyboys though, and the make-up and headscarf combo is divine.

Musical treat of last night: Germany's entry, 'I can't live without music' being sung in English by a choir of Estonian children as the opening act at the German ambassador's residence. There were performances from Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia too, in a Germanic/northern/central/'ish' European collaboration. The gobsmacked kids were still standing by the ambassador's piano when Sestre performed, and I thought to myself, 'drag queens and schoolchildren, where else but Eurovision could this happen?' Photos to come...

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Chig on Liquid News

I can't host this picture myself, but if you want to see photographic evidence of my TV appearance last night, go to troubled diva here.

UPDATE (Thurs 15.18): No need to do that now! Here it is;
Chig on the telly!

Note to self: try to look less camp when applauding.

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The Chig Eurovision Awards

...after one day of rehearsals and press conferences yesterday.

Most miserable git: Greece: Michalis Razintskis seems to have no sense of humour and is incapable of smiling. He was also the only artist yesterday who REFUSED to sing at the press conference, causing an awkward moment.

Most attractive man: Cyprus: Filippos Constantinos of One is no disappointment in the flesh. Digital camera went a bit mad at their press conference, and they all looked great at the Euroclub last night too.

Most improved: Russia: People keep talking about this as a dark horse, but I still think they're not attractive enough. They're not attractive AT ALL, unfortunately.

The ME, ME, ME!! Award for most sycophantic slimeball journalist in a press conference:
Three people are having a good crack at this one. I'll keep you posted.

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First impressions

(Tuesday 14.00) Tallinn is absolutely, gloriously, fascinatingly beautiful. I seriously recommend coming here for a holiday, Eurovision or no Eurovision. The old town is an absolute delight. I had the day to myself on Sunday, and wandered round for over five hours, taking 130 photos. I should be working for an architectural magazine, as they're nearly all of rooftops, doorways, houses and churches.

Everything is cheap here. Even though we know the taxi drivers have doubled their rates for us visitors, they're still cheaper than at home. Those of you coming here later in the week, prepare to go music shopping mad! CD singles are one pound, albums between four and six pounds!! New DVDs are twelve pounds. Even the official Eurovision 2002 album is only six pounds, so buy it here! McDonalds 'meals' are less than two pounds. Saku beer (which thankfully is really good, as they are the sponsors of this very building I'm in) is only 1.50GBP per pint. Even better than that, ALL our drinks here in the press centre are free! Water, fizzy stuff, and even the lager. Hurrah!

(I'm being very distracted writing this, as a lovely Swiss journalist has been giving me a neck and shoulder massage. Oe-er!)

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To save duplication, here's a copy of my first e-mail to the eurovision_general list (at Yahoo! groups - sign up if you want all the latest Eurovision info.)

"I'm in the media centre at the Saku Suurhall. Yesterday was hectic, but really good. The official party last night at the Estonian National Theatre was just stunning! And the official Euroclub is pretty good too. Apparently I've been on BBC Choice already - a fleeting glimpse of me during Jessica's press conference, for anyone who saw it last night. I've also been interviewed in the street for a Belgian comedy programme. Does anyone know when this might go out? It's called De L..... L...... (In other words, I only know the two main words begin with 'L') The interviewer showed me pictures of 'famous' Belgian and Dutch people, and asked me who they were. Needless to say, out of about 8 photos, I only knew Pim Fortuyn, until the very last one. It was a very big man with bleached hair. "Ah, I know this one", I said. The interviewer looked surprised. "It's Sergio." "How do you know that?", she said, and I reached into my jacket and pulled out my Eurovision delegation card! All of this was filmed, so if it appears on TV, would you lovely Belgian (or Dutch) people let me know? Thanks.

I'll just answer Keith's questions for now and get back to you all later.

Is Karolina wearing THAT frock?

Yes, she definitely is, with some adjustment made by the designer, but she didn't say what that is. I had to avoid eye contact with her yesterday as I unfortunately sat in the front row of her press conference. It's clear that she is very proud of the dress and doesn't think there's anything funny about it at all!

Is the UK as bad as some have suggested (very poor vocal apparently!)

Absolutely not. Who is spreading that load of nonsense? Jessica's singing is so confident that you can feel quite relaxed when watching her - you don't have to worry that she's not going to reach any notes. Her rehearsal was superb, and her confidence in the press conference was astounding. So there. She also hinted that she might wear something very skimpy on Saturday. She said "there's not much to it". Jessica is rather self-critical actually, and SHE said she hit a few bum notes in the rehearsal, but I honestly don't think anyone noticed.

What is the setting for Israel that makes it so stunning (I'm hearing
great reports from everywhere on this).

No idea. But there were not-very-secret service agents all around the press conference, apparently, speaking into their jacket pockets!

What are the Russian boys wearing?

Council estate trackie boy chic. They looked really messy in rehearsal, but that doesn't indicate what they will wear on the night (I hope). Their singing was very good though, and they have a really good lighting effect, like swirling smoke. Looks good on TV.

Roy was just sitting opposite me, so you have more than one answer...

France rehearsing now - I can see her on the screens now. At last, a shorter version!!"

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Heelloo froom Tallinn!

I thiink I've goot the haang of this Eestooniaan laanguaage thiing. It's reeaally eeaasy. Caann yoou undeerstaand mee?

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Saturday at G-A-Y with a1 and Jessica Garlick (and Korben)

Please note: all of these people have singles out this week:

Pop Idol's 9th and 10th contestants:

Despite appearances, a1 insist they really don't need a fifth member

One of these people has never been called Chris

(AKA 'a thorn between two roses')

At least one person took off the silly Union Jack costume....

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Birthday weekend shenanigans

The boys at the Green Room, about 1am. That's after two hours of drinking since the Singalong Sound Of Music finished.

One of these people may be Chig...

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How many mistakes can a pub make on one sign?

Someone at BaaBar has a sense of humour

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And the winner is...(#2)

The Lion in Walsall's Mr Gay UK heat winner;
Solihull Dean

Cheeky monkey!

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Time for a glut of photos, including a shocking first on my blog, for which the world hasn't exactly been crying out; Chig's face. But first, someone else's arse. Make your own comparisons.

By popular request (oh okay, it was Mark), here's another pic of the Nightingale's Mr Gay UK heat winner;

Matt Ward

A different angle. For the front view, see 2nd May entry

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Chig is ill. Projectile vomiting and unpleasantness I can't bring myself to describe at 2am today. No idea why. Only had two bottles of Bud at the mac, watching My Beautiful Laundrette. Painful stomach now, dehydrated, feeling absolutely ghastly, and have to leave for Estonia in less than 48 hours, so I'm not going to promise normal service being resumed any time soon. Need to lie down again...

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[17.50] Just back from an absolutely brilliant weekend in London. Saturday night was absolutely celebritytastic, and immensely good fun. Another three ticks, all at once, on life's little wish list! Jessica Garlick and a1 all lovely....and so is Korben!
More later....and photos ASAP.

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You have to laugh....

Am I that predictable? Or do I just surround myself with friends of impeccable taste? This morning, a CD-shaped package plopped through my letterbox; a birthday present from M&N in Australia. Fantastic! And it's a fantastic album too; the lovely, shiny, pink Futurism compilation. The very same lovely, shiny, pink Futurism compilation that Mike gave me on Tuesday, after shamelessly (and understandably) promoting it for ages. What to do now.....???

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A Poem for Friday

Can U Really trust spell checker ...?

Eye halve a spelling checker,
It came with my pea sea,
It plainly marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

Eye strike a key and type a word,
And weight four it two say,
Weather eye am wrong oar write,
It shows me strait a weigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid,
It nose bee fore two long,
And eye can put the error rite,
Its rare lea ever wrong.

Eye have run this poem threw it,
I am shore your pleased two no,
Its letter perfect awl the weigh,
My checker tolled me sew.

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Today's in-depth political analysis

Regional assemblies: what's the f***ing point?
Stephen Byers: ditto.

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Intrigue and scandal in clubland

Along with every other journo on their press list, I've received an e-mail tonight from club giants Gatecrasher. It's entitled Urgent Announcement: Biggest Corruption Scandal In Clubland. They're having a press conference in London tomorrow morning which promises to expose the people behind one of the biggest scandals affecting the UK clubs which run in Ibiza every Summer. It's something which was certainly a big talking point when I was in Ibiza in September 2000. Their e-mail names names and it makes interesting reading. Unfortunately, it's also embargoed until lunchtime tomorrow. If this is just a marketing ploy, I have fallen for it, hook, line and sinkre, but I thnk it's an intriguing story. If I were in London tomorrow (Friday 10th), I would definitely get along to the Anexo Restaurant, 61 Turnmill Street, Clerkenwell, EC1 (above Turnmills club) for the press conference. This will be all over Muzik, Mixmag, DJ magazine et al, and I'll tell what I know tomorrow....

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Summertime Of Our Lives

Be still my beating heart! I received a three word e-mail this afternoon which has sent me all a-quiver. It simply said "guest list confirmed". What it means is that I am now able to go backstage at G-A-Y in London on Saturday, where our Eurovision hopeful Jessica Garlick is performing 'Come Back'. Big deal, I hear you cry. Surely even Chig would not be daunted by meeting the Welsh lovely who came ninth in Pop Idol? Why, he has supped champagne backstage with Katrina at the very same G-A-Y venue. Well no, although I do look forward to meeting Jessica in advance of Tallinn and maybe getting some exclusive backstage photos. What is really getting me excited is the OTHER act on stage. Friends will know I'm not joking when I say this lot are my favourite boyband. And now (hopefully), I'll get to meet them backstage. I bet you I come across like a bumbling idiot. But who should I speak to first? Lovely, cheeky, floppy-haired Ben, or lovely, blond, hairy-chested Christian? Oh, I need a lie down.....

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Seven days in May: Chig’s big, bad birthday week

Now, where was I? Ah yes, last Thursday (2nd) I was going on about the opening of BaaBar that night. Well, I didn't realise then that it would be the second of seven consecutive boozy nights out, culminating in my Bank Holiday Monday birthday and ending on Tuesday night (7th) with Kylie at the NEC. It was actually nice to stay in last night! Let’s rewind a little and catch up...

Day 1: Wednesday 1st: My second chance to see local band Crazy Face gigging. They’re the band with the lead singer, Simon, who I know, and who I first saw live for the first time back on 23 March. Tonight, they’re up the road at the Jug Of Ale in Moseley, a pub easily within walking distance, and thank goodness for that. There’s a door charge tonight. One whole pound. And pints of Carlsberg are also a mere pound. Consequently, Gingerprince and I feel we have to sink as many as possible to take advantage of this generous offer, and have about five pints. CoolBritannia and TinyChica are there too, although CoolBritannia admits that he’s not really into the music. Such loyalty though, to come to a gig, just to accompany his friend. Crazy Face are excellent, I feel. Simon seems a little less self-assured than the first time I saw them; he’s not talking to the audience as much tonight, but his voice sounds better. Later I discover he actually has a cold, so goodness knows how he managed to sound better! I bumped into Caroline, someone I haven’t met since I left work 18 months ago, and it turns out she has known one of the Crazy Face guitarists for nine years. Small world….
After Crazy Face finish their support slot, Gingerprince suggests we go downstairs. The main band have appeared, with a singer wearing what looks like a bedspread, and they don’t sound too good. I stand my ground (for whatever pointless reason), determined to get my pound’s worth of entertainment. “Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt,” I suggest. Their second song starts. It’s bloody awful. The room is slowly clearing, and I’ve changed my mind. We go downstairs.

Now, on the Saturday before this, TinyChica and I had been sitting in the Green Room, discussing how we had both copped off the night before. (NB. Gay man’s definition of copping off = taking someone home and having sex. Straight woman’s definition of copping off = snogging.) By fortunate coincidence, TinyChica's dalliance has turned up in the pub tonight, so we can all have a good gander at him. Before I get a proper look, TinyChica tells me that he’s told her before that gay men often find him attractive. ‘Huh!’ I think, I think WE'LL be the judge of that, thank you very much. There are three of us there who could have an opinion on the subject. Now where is he? Oh, bloody hell, he’s very attractive indeed! I’m trying not to stare TOO much, but he’s seen us trying to 'stare discreetly' at him down the other end of the bar, and it’s hopeless; I keep meeting his eye, and after five pints I’m finding this quite funny, and mildly arousing. He's with a skinhead, who CoolBritannia has apparently flirted with on the door of one of the venues on Hurst Street, where the skinhead works. So is he gay? Is he a gay friend of the apparently straight bloke who snogged TinyChica? It’s all getting a bit confusing. Anyway, there’s no resolution to this particular story, because we soon got thrown out of the pub, and I staggered home, but it set the scene for the rest of the week. Some time in the next hour or so, my mobile received a text from an unidentified number, saying ‘V. pissed methinks’. I still don’t know who sent it, but I did give Caroline my number, so perhaps it was her?

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Ha, ha, ha

So, Manchester United, you WERE the strongest link, but this season you leave...with nothing! Goodbye!"

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The only way is up

It's official! World of Chig is less popular than amazon! Hard to believe, I know, but Mike has been trawling through some meaningful (or perhaps not) statistics on Alexa Web Search and ....oh, he explains it all here. Suffice to say that you are now reading the 7,550,205th most popular site on the internet. Or at least for those people searching with an Alexa toolbar.

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[01.25] Kylie was absolutely fantastic! A superb show all round. More tomorrow...

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[19.54] Well, I may have managed to WRITE something at 5.04 this morning, but I wasn't quite sober enough to click on the 'Publish' button! So that little entry below has remained hidden in cyberspace for a few hours until just now.
Anyway, just about to go to The Cross for what is now a SIXTH consecutive night of drinking (and Kylie tomorrow will undoubtedly be a seventh). This is turning into the longest birthday weekend ever, and consequently one of the best. Last night's unplanned antics at Angels and DV8 were just hilarious madness with a whole new bunch of people. Full story in the next couple of days.

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"Happy birthday to me, Tony Blair and George Clooney,
Happy birthday to me-ee, happy birthday to meeeeeeee"

It's almost unbelievable that I am able to write now, at 5.04 am, having just got in from DV8. I am sooooo pissed. More later.....

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It's already been an unusual and slightly surreal birthday Bank Holiday weekend, and it's only 9pm on Saturday.
More details tomorrow, but in about half an hour I will be driving to Walsall, cultural capital of the West Midlands, for their Mr Gay UK heat, taking a sort of friend, more of an acquaintance really, who is going to be a contestant, as he was in the Nightingale's heat 8 days ago. I talked Dean into it earlier this evening and now he's at home sorting out his best pants. Then we're going to race back and hope to catch Five Star at the Gale at 1am. There are only three of them, dontcha know? Can anyone confirm that one of the original five is dead and another one's in prison, as I've been told this afternoon? (I've been at the opening of the Gale's new 'Style Garden', where decking is the order of the day. Alan Titchmarsh has a lot to answer for...) Five Star are competing with Liberty X, on at DV8 over the road. More tomorrow....

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Don't tell anyone I told you, but...

Two little cloves of secret Garlick information, relayed to me by "a source close to Jessica".
1) The CD single of Come Back includes a DANCE MIX! Apparently it's not by anyone famous (like Almighty) and may not be much good. (Someone else will do a Hi-NRG cover of it, very soon, mark my words.)
2) Jessica may or may not be appearing at G.A.Y. in London on Saturday 11th May. Which just happens to be Disneyboy's 30th birthday, meaning that I will be 'en Londres' anyway.
Keep it quiet....

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And the winner is...

Here is Matthew, the small, but perfectly formed, deserving winner of last Friday's Mr Gay UK heat at the Nightingale.
Just what is Jonny doing to Phil's arm?

Yum, yum, yum

L-R: Carl Austin (Mr Gay UK 2001), Upton Clue (Nightingale), Matthew, Phil Oldershaw (Nightingale) and Jon Morris (Nightingale heat winner 2001)

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Chig stirs it....
Nicky Campbell on Radio 5 Live had Paul Rodgers in his studio discussion group this morning. He was the singer with Bad Company and Free. I couldn't resist sending them an e-mail asking if Paul had heard Austria's entry for Eurovision this year, as it bears an uncanny resemblance to All Right Now, and giving the link to Euronet so they could hear it. It was too near the end of the programme for it to get a mention, and there may have been legal implications as well, but if you hear of any action being taken against Austria by Paul Rodgers, I'd like to think it's my fault...(!)

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[17.00] Oh what a beautiful day it is! I love early May, and not just because of my birthday (next Monday, thank you for asking). The sun is shining, my windows are open, the loudspeaker cars are driving around urging people to vote, and it's all bringing back happy memories of this week five years ago. Five years today that the sun rose on a Labour government, and several of us at my flat decided to go to bed about 7am. Five years ago tomorrow that the rest of Europe decided to give the UK the benefit of the doubt and voted Katrina & The Waves into pole position in Eurovision. Consequently, I am playing Love Shine A Light very loudly in between the Holly Valance single.

When I pulled up at the polling station this lunchtime, one of three men standing outside said to me "You look like a Labour voter." I've never been so insulted in my life, but he had a cheeky smile, so I grinned and said "Not neccessarily. I don't even know who's standing yet." Which was true. We've had leaflets from three parties, but there are actually five candidates. Interestingly, there hasn't been any Conservative leaflet - I guess they know it's a waste of paper in Balsall Heath. I looked at the list on the school gate and was relieved to see we actually have a Green candidate again. I didn't have the heart to tell the young man that his party would now be a poor third on my list. Inside, just before voting Green, I looked at the candidates' addresses. Not only does the Green candidate live in my road - you can't miss the stereotypically hippy dormobilewith the Green Party sticker - he is the ONLY candidate who lives around here at all. That, for me, is as good a reason as any to vote for someone in council elections. On the way out, cheeky young man says, "Are you going to tell me now?" "It's a secret ballot," I replied, smiling. I thought this kind of harrassment was illegal anyway?

Tonight, your intrepid reporter, along with Gingerprince, is going to the opening of yet another new gay bar in town. No, make that the 'VIP Celebrity Champagne Party', before the public are allowed in tomorrow. Can't help thinking that the 'celebrities' will probably mean Twiggy in drag and someone from Midlands Today, but we live in hope. This pub is a biggie, and will pose a seriou challenge to some of the other venues. It's called Baabar (not very original). It was previously the White Lion, a reasonable-to-tacky pub which has been all sorts of things at different times. It's been a pre-club hen party type place for Sharons and Traceys to go to before they crossed the road to go clubbing at The Dome. More recently, it's been a jazz pub, and the only time I've ever gone in there is to watch football on their huge video screens. The pub is at the end of Thorpe Street, where the Nightingale was for fifteen years. It's also slap bang in the middle of the Jester and Kudos, two more gay pubs, so it was just crying out to turn gay really. I went for a look inside at lunchtime, and, apart from not being anywhere near ready ("We've still got six hours", said a rather flustered barperson), it looks okay. The carpet is horrible, but they've given it a decent coat of dep paint, and it's very spacious. The best thing is that it has a beer garden, so it will be unique in that respect on the Brum scene, and very welcome. Baabar is being advertised as being 'from the people who bought you Wonderbar'. Now, we liked Wonderbar. It had a reputation as the most drunken pub on the gay scene. It was full of the tackiest people, and always had a high proportion of lesbians. (You can decide for yourself if those two facts are related.) I'll let you know more tomorrow...

Just one problem. How on Earth will I stay awake to watch the election results until the early hours, as I usually do, after a champagne reception. Hmmmm. Watch this space.

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Vote, vote, vote!

[00.45 am] I may be a little pissed after the Crazy Face gig tonight, and I may have some very interesting gossip to tell, but there's really only one important thing to tell tonight, the fifth anniversary of that night when we stayed up until dawn, watching Labour win the general election, and that is to vote in today's council elections.

If you're in an English city, you will probably be able to vote today. Don't waste the opportunity. People died so that we could vote today, so please, please do it.

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Quote of the day

Ceefax p120 today carried a story about how much time and money people waste, sorry 'spend' travelling to work each day. Edmund King, the oft-quoted Executive Director of the RAC Foundation, is quoted as saying;
"If each employee could work from home just one day a week, we would see a 20% cut in traffic."
You don't say? They sure do employ some shit-hot mathematicians at the RAC.

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