World of Chig   


Exclusive photos (c)World Of Chig 2004

Roll up! Roll up! Get your World of Chig endorsement here! He won, he bloomin' won! That link which has been at the bottom of my sidebar for the past two months, to Mark's voting page, clearly did the trick. (Yeah, right.) Whatever it was, our local plasterer Mark Roberts is the new Mr Gay UK, and it couldn't have happened to a nicer bloke. Last night at G-A-Y was great fun, with a posse of us there from Brum, Walsall and Coventry, supporting our two West Midlands lads. Mark's supporters included his Mum and sister down at the front (and rushing on stage when he won), which was lovely to see. Tonight, I've whizzed through a recording of last night's broadcast of the final on Living TV and it looked pretty good. (Can't see me or my friends in it though. Pah!) More on my unusual, smutty, fabulous weekend pictures of Mark which I took earlier this year. before he had even won his heat...

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WARNING: This posting is particularly low-brow, even by World Of Chig standards. If you're looking for anything political or intellectual, look away now. Besides, we did that with the Ukraine piece below.

And so, another crappy week at work comes to an end. Thankfully, I have a very unusual, ever-so-slightly pervy weekend to, er, come.

I was going to the Nightingale tomorrow night (Saturday) anyway, where, coincidentally, they are having their annual Prowler Direct P*rn Party. As if I needed an excuse, I am technically an employee of the sponsors, as I work irregularly for gaytimes, who are owned by Millivres Prowler Group. Apart from that, it was such a laugh last year, and a wonderfully pervy photo opportunity. Yesterday, however, the stakes were upped ever so slightly when Upton, the club's ents manager asked me if I would like to be a judge of the amateur strip competition which forms the on-stage entertainment tomorrow. I said yes at first, then realised that it would be impossible to take photos if I was sitting there judging the thing. Then I asked who the other judges were. The answer was three professional strippers; Stallion, Paul Grant and Rebel Red. As the phrase 'a thorn between three roses' sprang to mind, I suddenly felt very intimidated and I graciously withdrew. Ahem. Thankfully, Upton had a second offer for me anyway, so I am now going to be the 'Gale's official photographer for the night instead, for which they are paying me. Which is nice.

Then, on Sunday, I'll be driving down to London and going to the Mr Gay UK final at G-A-Y to see even more male flesh on display. At this point, local loyalty should make me say that I'll be supporting Richie, the Nightingale's representative, and I do wish him well, but I've never actually spoken to him. I'll be, er, 'rooting' for the only remaining contestant who I've chatted to over the Summer, namely Mark, Mr Walsall, who is a Nightingale regular anyway. I'm disappointed to see that my other favourite, Andy, Mr Cheltenham has apparently not survived the vote for the top twenty. (Mr Bristol Queen's Shilling, whose heat I attended and who could have won the damn thing, has reportedly withdrawn, which is a shame.) The night will be hosted by not one, but TWO Big Brother winners (although Brian's win seems to have been forgotten by whoever did the header for this). It's also live on Living TV, as part of their Big Gay Weekend, for those of you with Sky, but sadly not those of us with Freeview. (Any offers of a VHS or DVD copy in the post next week gratefully accepted - I will pay.)

If you're going to either event, please do say hello. I'll be the one with the camera(!), although the lovely PR people for Mr Gay UK have told me that no one except their one official photographer (without flash) will be able to photograph the Mr Gay UK event while it's being televised, because the flash is a problem for the TV cameras. I'll just have to make do with photographing the punters before and after, and hopefully the contestants too, later on.

On Monday, I have the day off work. Thank goodness for that.

Next week: In part two of this series, Chig critiques Nietzsche's analyses of decadence and modernity and the profound dialectical quality of his philosophy as a whole. With celebrities and semi-naked photos.

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...that Sir Bob taught the band to play.

I remember Sunday 25th November 1984 very clearly indeed. I was in my first term at university, living on campus in Dalton Tower. I didn't have a TV - not many of us did - and I hardly ever watched anything on telly. On that Sunday though, I was sitting in the TV lounge on the ground floor, watching the BBC news. I remember being very excited by their report of the recording session that had been going on since that morning, for a charity single put together by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure. Some of my favourite artists, particularly Duran Duran, who I loved, were on it. So many famous people, all coming together for the people of Africa, 'leaving their egos at the door' as they famously said. (I didn't realise until Midge Ure's Band Aid documentary on BBC Three, a fortnight ago, nearly 20 years later, how close Boy George was to not being on it. He was in bed in a New York hotel that morning, and was forced by Geldof's nagging on the phone to get on the last Concorde to London that day, only arriving at the studio in the evening.)

I couldn't wait to hear the single after watching the news report, but I distinctly remember thinking, when they said it would be released eight days later, that they would never make it in time. In the end of course, they did, and on Monday 3rd December, I walked to HMV in New Street and bought the single on 7" and 12". On Sunday 9th December, 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' deposed Frankie Goes To Hollywood's 'The Power Of Love' and flew straight to the top of the chart, with Wham! entering at number 2, giving George Michael vocals on the top two singles (and a million-seller which never made it to number one). Band Aid and 'Last Christmas/Everything She Wants' both stayed in those positions for the next five weeks, with Band Aid selling 3.5m copies, becoming the best-selling UK single since records began.

I can hardly believe the recording session was twenty years ago today, but the date of the recording is actually preserved forever as part of the recording itself, as anyone who ever played the B-side or 12" of the 1984 release might remember. Bob Geldof speaks over the backing track, after mixing the single through the night, saying;
"This record was recorded on the 25th of November 1984. It's now 8am on the morning of the 26th. We've been here 24 hours and I think it's time we went home, so from me, Bob Geldof, and Midge, we'll say good morning to you all and a million thanks to everyone on the record. Have a lovely Christmas. Bye."
The B-side and the 12" mix also feature spoken bits from some of the acts involved, plus the people who wanted to be there but couldn't make it on the day; David Bowie, Paul McCartney and an embarrassing bit from Holly Johnson, clearly recorded down the phone!

Wherever you went in December 1984, you heard the Band Aid single. People really did buy it as Christmas presents, and it seemed that every house we visited over the festive period had the single lurking near the record player. I've mentioned this before, but I had a Christmas holiday job in the kitchen of a posh restaurant that year, washing up and putting crosses in the bottoms of sprouts. We threw away any desserts that had been started, even if only one slice had been eaten. I will never, ever forget the feeling of pushing expensive cakes down the waste disposal, singing 'Feed the world' along with the radio.

And so, twenty years on, we await the appearance in the shops of Band Aid 20's version. The shops are stocking a million copies. No single has sold a million in the UK since Will and Gareth both did in 2002, and singles sales are at an all time low. It will be interesting to see how it does...

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The brilliant second series ended its first run this week, so I've removed this blog's temporary 'comedy' title (with no apologies whatsoever to anyone who didn't understand it!) If you missed the laughs on BBC Three, don't worry, it moves to BBC One next month, although some of the more outrageous bits (and there were many) will be edited out for mainstream audiences. Strange, but true.

Little Britain actually exists, in London. Let Diamond Geezer take you on a tour (from 24th November onwards).

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Like many other people who will be going to Kyiv next May for Eurovision, I've been keeping a close eye for the last two weeks on the Ukrainian election campaign, and was aware of its shortcomings. Even so, the news coming out of Kyiv since Sunday has been amazing and inspiring. I had already made contact in the last few weeks with a handful of gay men in Ukraine, via gaydar, so when the crowds had swelled to an estimated 200,000 people on Monday, I messaged a few of them to let them know that the Ukraine protests were getting extensive coverage here. I was excited and felt it would be good to let them know that we were watching. So, with the smell of revolution in the air, I wrote to a few of them. None of them were online on Monday night, leading me to wonder if they were actually out there protesting. I don't think they were, but I've had a few exchanges of messages since, and one couple were going there this evening;

"Hi. Thanks a lot for your support. it's very tensed here at the moment. Everyone is very concerend. heading to the downtown as well. Thanks again. We believe in our Victory."

It's a powerful thing, this internet. I feel involved with - and concerned about - people I hardly know. Amazing. I've had unsolicited messages from Ukrainians in the last 24 hours too, such as;

"Hello! How are you? do you see what is going on here in Ukraine?"

I told him about the protests being the lead story on the BBC's TV and radio news, and he replied;

"Hope till your visit everything will be OK here. Take care."

One of the people I had already communicated with in Kyiv before all this kicked off, said this yesterday (in German, but I've Babelfished it);

"Hello! I want to also hope that everything is peacefully solved. But that is hardly possible. The criminal Machtklan [gang?] wants to withdraw in no circumstances! And the people does not want to be governed by criminal ones! In the east and in the south, where he [Yanukovych] won, there are hardly demonstrations in his support, and if there are, then nowhere near as large and mainly inevitably!!! I do not want a civil war, but if it comes to it, I go also on the barricades! Greeting...

Strong stuff. I'm inspired by the determination of the Ukrainian people to continue their protests in snow and unbearable cold. I think it shows that if you've only had a sniff of democracy for 12 years or so, you hold it very dear. The people of South Africa have shown us that too. I can't help thinking that the majority of British people, if we'd had the Ukrainian situation here, would just have shrugged their shoulders and said 'oh well, there's not much we can do about it'. It's a shame we don't protest to demand a fair electoral system here too, instead of having demonstrations for such trifling irrelevances as fox-hunting. We can learn a lot from the people of Kyiv, and I look forward immensely to meeting many of them in six months' time. In the meantime, let's all keep our fingers crossed that this impasse can be resolved, either with a concession of defeat or at least a rerun of the election to internationally-recognised standards. The choice of a slave to Russia versus a slave to the West may not be a great one, but the will of the people must prevail.

And then, tonight:

Given recent history in Iraq, I never thought I'd find myself welcoming the intervention of the US in another country's business (especially a disputed election!) This evening though, I was relieved to hear Colin Powell making a forceful speech, denouncing the Ukrainian election result. It lets the 'new' President know that the world is watching and that we can't accept such a corrupt election with a 3% margin of victory. I was worried that the story would just fade away from international coverage and Ukraine would have to accept their lot, but perhaps overseas pressure can help resolve this for once (without sending in American troops).

Going back full circle to where I started with a mention of Eurovision, look who's on the barricades tonight:

Eurovision winner Ruslana, supporting pro-Western candidate Viktor Yushchenko (as she had done before the elections), with boxer Vitali Klitschko. She has now threatened to go on hunger strike if Yanukovych's 'victory' is upheld.
(All pictures (c)BBC.)

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Band Aid flop shocker

The Band Aid 20 single has dribbled into the download chart with a whimper at number 5 tonight. Okay, so it's only been available for three days (before the CD release next Monday), but I would still have expected it to be number one. Especially as number one is U2's 'Vertigo' again, for (I think) the sixth week in the last seven. Perhaps people really are waiting to pay double (£3.99 versus £1.99 download) for the CD single, or perhaps it's just that this bears out my extensive market research (6 or 7 friends and family); people don't think it's much good. In my survey, 100% of people who don't think it's much good cited the Dizzee Rascal bit as the main reason. "Atrocious, atrocious" and "that rap bit ruins it" being quotes from colleagues. Why don't they release a version with his bit taken off?

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Oh. My. God.

22.30 Corrie's just finished. Bloody hell. Bloody hell, quite literally. I think I need a lie down. Brilliant drama!

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My mate Kim is on the front cover of the Daily Star today! No, she hasn't got her baps out - she's their pop correspondent, normally confined to the inside pages. Today though, they've put her on the front, with McFly at yesterday's Smash Hits Pollwinners' Party (and inside with lascivious Lee Blue). Poptabulous!

Alright Kim, if Girls Aloud won't have you, maybe you can join us. Did you go to public school?

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I was worried, watching the news coverage on Sunday, when I saw the vastly over-rated Dizzee Rascal turning up. I feared he would be given some featured (c)rap line to ruin the Band Aid 20 song in the name of credibility wiv da kidz, and sadly it has come to pass. After inflicting 'Dream' on us; his horrendous version of 'Happy Talk', Mr Rascal (not his real name) should have been publicly flogged, not rewarded with a prominent TWO (count 'em!) lines in one of the most historic singles ever. But anyway, season of goodwill, it's for charidee an' all that... Besides, there's been enough quibbling over the single already, so let's put our musical differences aside, all join hands and heal the world. Dizzee Rascal's bit aside, the first play this morning reveals that the producers have done a brilliant job of updating the song. It sounds nothing like the original. Thankfully, it sounds nothing like Band Aid II either. The Darkness guitar bits sound excellent. Congratulations all round. The single is being released in two weeks, which means it will ned to hold onto the number 1 spot in its third week in order to make the Christmas number one. Could it be that the impetus has gone by week three and something unexpected does a 'Mad World' and creeps in at the last minute to surprise the bookies? Nah, if Eric Prydz can be number 1 for 5 weeks in 6, I'm sure Band Aid 20 can hang on for three...

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It's all gay, gay, gay!

I think tonight's episode of Teachers may have set a new record - for the most times the words 'gay' and 'lesbian' have ever been mentioned in a single episode of a TV drama. The pupil coming to school dressed as Freddie Mercury and the discussion on fisting were particularly amusing.

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New Beginning

Right then. The campaign starts here.

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Let's Go Round Again

"Well done George. Business as usual, ja?"
"Congratulations Mr. Bush, sir. Business as usual, sir?"
"Well done Mister Bush. Business as usual, my friends."

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It's now 2.48am. Despite the temptation to continue watching the BBC's Presidential election 'results' programme (with no real results yet, just predictions), I've decided to go to bed now. There are people still queueing to vote in some parts of the States. They are all entitled to vote, even though voting should have stopped, because they turned up in time, before the polls were due to close.

Whatever the result of this election turns out to be, one thing is clear; the American election system is rotten from top to bottom. People don't know if their votes count, machines have broken down, judges have been sitting, ordering officials to use paper ballots, dead people have been registered to vote (and will probably have turned up today!) and not all the states allocate their electoral college votes in the same way. At the end of it all, there's no guarantee anyway that the candidate with the most votes across the country will win. It didn't happen in 2000, it may not happen tonight. (It doesn't always happen in the UK either - I'm not smug. We always have governments on 40% or less here, and in the 1970s, we even had a case where the government received fewer votes than the party which ended up forming the opposition.)

If this wasn't so serious, it would be hilarious, but, with the result feared to be so close, it's making a farce of any pretence at democracy. The lawyers, hovering like vultures in every state, will claw away even more of the fragile veneer of democracy covering this mess.)

Current electoral college votes as I retire: Bush 186, Kerry 112, Nader 0(!). It's totally meaningless though - it's just that the normally more Republican states have declared early. In reality only one electoral college vote has changed hands since last time, and that's gone from Democrat to Republican, worryingly. I wonder what we'll wake up to in a few hours? Goodnight.

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Manic Sunday

Chart observers may have noticed that the Manic Street Preachers slide from last week's highest new entry position of no. 2 all the way down to number 22 this week, with 'The Love Of Richard Nixon'. I can't swear to it, but this may be a record drop from number 2. I can't ever remember a single dropping from runner-up position to outside the top 20 in one week. Can you?

Even the number 2 single with the shortest ever run in the Top 75 didn't fall that far. Shut Up And Dance's abomination, 'Raving I'm Raving' had a chart stay of only two weeks in May 1992, debuting at no.2, dropping to no. 15, then disappearing completely, because it had to be deleted. Not on the grounds of taste per se , but because the naughty producers hadn't received Marc Cohn's permission to release this bastardisation cover version of his 1991 'Walking In Memphis' hit. It will be worth watching the chart on Sunday to see if the Manics can drop out of the Top 75 altogether and effectively beat this record for 'worst-performing number 2 hit'.

Spot the difference:

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I was slightly thrown last night when watching the TV news coverage of this. They showed a few seconds of video of the man who has been killed, in conversation with another man at a bar. The man he was speaking to was someone I went to school with. I haven't had what you'd call a conversation with him in 20 years, but I've seen him and know what he does for a living, so I know for sure that it was him. Still disturbing though, to see his face on screen in the context of such a horrific and depressing news story.

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Surreal moment of the weekend:
Saturday night/Sunday morning, 2am (BST). Going into the office at the Nightingale with a friend, seeing the two guys who were already in there staring up at the wall. "Look at the clock!", exclaimed my friend. There, before our very eyes, were the hands of the clock, whizzing round and round at great speed. This clock, instead of going back by one hour, was going forward by eleven. Just for a few moments, (helped by copious amounts of Stella), I sensed not only British Summer Time slipping away, but a feeling that I was engaged in time travel like every character in every film or TV programme that has ever used the obvious 'speeded-up clocks' imagery. Very strange.

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America decides

Heaven help us all.

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