World of Chig   

Kyiv -12

One of the joys of visiting a new country is discovering the local cuisine, and possibly eating things you've never had before. However, I would like to assure the Ukrainian authorities that no, I have no intention of eating the bark off your trees. Glad we've cleared that up.

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Blatant self-publicity...and a little bit of politics

The May issue of gaytimes hits the shops officially today (although some shops have had it since last Friday). It's a 'physique photography special' and I think the naked Chig centrefold has come out rather well, if you remove the staples carefully. No, stop! Come back! There's no naked Chigness, but this issue does contain Chig's interview with Ruslana, last year's Eurovision winner. There are also some cheeky mini-reviews of a few of this year's Eurovision songs, and (oh god, did I really?) some predictions, which you can laugh at on 22nd May. (Actually, I've hedged my bets in gaytimes, still stinging from my 2001 prediction in the same magazine that Friends would win for Sweden. They came 5th. In real life though, I have already placed three pounds each way on Hungary at 14/1, which will give me about £80 when they make the top 4 in Kyiv.)

It doesn't stop there. This is the Chig takeover issue. Much as I hate blowing my own trumpet, this is the first time in the 7 or 8 years since I started writing occasionally for gaytimes that I've had two unrelated articles in the same issue, for it also includes a four page interview that I did with Upton, the Entertainments Manager of Birmingham's Nightingale club. I'm quite proud to say I did all the photos on that one too.

Your feedback is more than welcome. That's not me on the cover. I know you were about to ask.

It's been a bit of a Eurovision and media day today - I've also been interviewed about the contest for a website; it's a kind of internet radio site. (I would use the buzzword 'podcasting' if I actually knew what it meant.) I'll reveal more when the interview's up and running. (No pressure then Jon!) On top of that, my promo copy of this year's Eurovision double album arrived in the post from the lovely people at EMI. Mwah! That's one item to scrub off my list of birthday present demands. (Next Friday, 6th May - have I mentioned it?)

Tonight, I have been to my SECOND election hustings in 48 hours. Does that make me an election anorak? No lesbians were evicted from this one, but it was no less exciting than Monday night's. This was a proper hustings for the candidates in my constituency (Birmingham Sparkbrook & Small Heath). Only three of the seven candidates bothered to turn up; the Conservative (but he had to leave before any real debate), the Green and the Respect candidate. I am now confused. Our Respect candidate was really, really good, and definitely not a 'one issue' candidate. I have warmed to her immensely and I'm now wavering between the Green Party and Respect for my vote next week. I wasn't really considering Respect before.

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Technical bit

Chig's 'hilarious' parodies of the Tories' election posters (below) possibly weren't opening on your PC, as the files were huge. I have now reduced them, so they should be opening more quickly and you can laugh your socks off.

Please let me know (in the comments) if you still can't see them. Thanks.

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Boring election? Not here in Birmingham!

Honestly, you toddle off out on a Monday night for an election hustings aimed at the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community, and the next day it's all over the papers! I have, of course, reported the events of last night to the Pink Paper, as is my journalistic duty.

Is this second headline, across pages 7 and 8, the best of the election so far?
I think it might be.

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Chig touches Javine's fire (out of shot)

The Nightingale, early hours of this morning.
(Thank goodness for red eye reduction technology.)

No nipples were exposed in the making of this photo.

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[22.20] Two new contestants have just entered the fray in tonight's third episode and Chig has recognised another one! Zoe has been told that one of the new guys is gay and the other straight. She has to work out which is which. Chig can reveal that Lee is the gayer, because he too was a Mr Gay UK contestant, only last year. There's a whole page of Lee Cameron photos here.

Chig was at the Mr Gay UK final last October. I knew these photos would come in handy one day. Here's one I took earlier...

Lee Cameron and Brian Dowling.
Photo (c) Chig 2004.

In the meantime, gay Ben (see below) is playing a blinder. Zoe has no idea about him.

LATER UPDATE: Oh well Lee, never mind. Zoe sussed you. Goodbye! Go and wash your socks. You came across as a very nice guy though. Cleverly, Lee wasn't allowed to tell Zoe his sexuality before he left, unlike all the other rejectees. I was thinking the whole programme was over, because all Zoe would have had to do now is stick Marco (who must be straight) and they've won the money between them, but the producers have thought of everything, haven't they?

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Are you thinking what Chig's thinking?

Exactly as I expected...

...but the Lib Dems will be losing my vote to the Greens, if we have a Green candidate.

Who Should You Vote For?

Who should I vote for?

Your expected outcome:

Liberal Democrat

Your actual outcome:

Labour -12
Conservative -27
Liberal Democrat 60
UK Independence Party 8
Green 52

You should vote: Liberal Democrat

The LibDems take a strong stand against tax cuts and a strong one in favour of public services: they would make long-term residential care for the elderly free across the UK, and scrap university tuition fees. They are in favour of a ban on smoking in public places, but would relax laws on cannabis. They propose to change vehicle taxation to be based on usage rather than ownership.

Take the test at Who Should You Vote For?

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One month today

The time off work is booked. The flights are booked. The accreditation is approved. The apartment is booked.

One month today, Chig flies to Kyiv. Hurrah!

All we need now are some bloody tickets for the shows...

At least, if our apartment turns out to be non-existent, we could always go camping in Kyiv. (Yes, yes, very funny if you said we were going to do that anyway.)

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Do you think the Kennedys were thinking, back in July, about the date of the election campaign? It could hardly have been better timed, could it? You can't buy PR like they've had today. Congratulations to them both.

While we're on the subject...

Compare and contrast:

Paul Marsden started in Labour, joined the Lib Dems, then went back into Labour last week.

Sarah Kennedy joined up with a Liberal Democrat, went into labour yesterday, then emerged a Liberal Democrat again today.

(Incidentally, she's not this Sarah Kennedy, but it is very suspicious that this one is on holiday from her show this week. Before she went, she said, rather mysteriously, that she was going 'somewhere beginning with M'. Maternity?)

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Hold on to your hats!

The windy weather yesterday played havoc with the filming of BBC One's latest station ident.

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Looking for clues

[22.10] Just settling down to play along with the guessing game on C4's Playing It Straight. I've been looking forward to this all week. A poor woman called Zoe is set up to live with 10 attractive men, but she doesn't know that some of them are gay. If she picks a straight one at the end, her and the bloke share some dosh. If she ends up picking a gayer, he gets to keep the money for himself. The boys know the set-up, but they don't know who's gay and who's straight. Ace idea for a TV prog.

However, we can cross one off the list of Zoe's potentials. Chig spotted Ben Harris right from the start. He was Mr Gay UK in 1998. There's a clue in the title.

Ben Harris - quite possibly a gay.

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Papa don't preach

As we watch the Pope's funeral today (highlights tonight - some of us have to work, you know), let us all ponder with Catholic Chig some interesting facts:

1) The Pope is being buried in the UK's National Condom Week.

2) The number of people who have died of Aids because of the Catholic church's ridiculous stance on condoms is incalculable, as is the number of children who have been orphaned. That's something to think about on the next Children In Need or Comic Relief night.

So much for Catholic morality.

3) The country with the lowest birthrate in the EU is Italy.

So much for adherence to Catholic teaching.

Chig is allowed to say all this - I was an altar server. I've served my penance already.

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Amongst all the coverage of yesterday's election announcement (and the 24 hour delay of the announcement which everyone knew about anyway), I haven't seen any mention of the real reason why Tony Blair chose 5th May. I don't remember the lead-up to any other general election in my lifetime where there has been so much agreement, so far in advance, around what the date would be, or where all the speculation, for once, turned out to be correct. I heard on the radio last month about one book, published in 2002, (possibly this one) which even has 5th May 2005 in print as the forecast date of the next election, which is quite impressive.

However, it's not the coincidence with the council elections which has led Blair to this date. It's not even because he likes the thought of it being on 05/05/05 (although that's both noteworthy and memorable). It's because he wants to wake up on Friday, 6th May and think, 'it's my birthday, and I'm still the f*cking Prime Minister!' Perhaps Chig is more aware of this because my birthday is also 6th May! Consequently, I've already had the post-election day booked off work since January, so I'll be able to sleep through most of my birthday, after staying up until dawn with Dimbleby, as I usually do, with my maps and lists of MPs (and t'internet too this time, I guess). Chig loves elections. Chig also loves birthdays. Chig loves the May Bank Holiday (Monday 2nd). Chig loves only working three days in one week. Hurrah! It's going to be a great week.

So, Chig's birthday, one month today. Just in case I hadn't made that clear. I'll have this book and this CD please. (Out just in time!) Like you had to ask....

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Technical bits

Two thrilling items of site news:

1) I installed MyBlogLog about ten days ago (thanks to Diamond Geezer), which tells me which links you are clicking on. Very interesting it is too. It shows that, from the fairly constant 60-90 visitors per day, you click on (so far) between 8 and 32 links each day. The most popular links are generally the comments boxes, and the most popular of those has been the Doctor Who piece from last week. The Bosnia-Herzegovina Eurovision video has been the most clicked-on external link. There are also clicks every day on much older links, and about one person per day clicks on my profile. Fascinating, I'm sure you'll agree.

Today, I've taken the next step, and pasted the daily clicks report into the sidebar, so you too can see the five most popular links of the previous day. If it says 'postCount', that means it's a comment box. Which brings me to number two...

2) Last week, something went wrong with the display at the bottom of each posting which shows how many comments there are. At the bottom of the Doctor Who piece, it says (as I write this on Wednesday night), that there are just two comments, but there are actually nine. Apologies for this. All I can say is, please don't assume there are no comments where it appears there are none. Does anyone know why this has gone wrong, or how it can be corrected?

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How does he do it? Paul, one of the contestants in Alan Sugar's S&M* gameshow The Apprentice is, officially, the most annoying person currently on TV. (Luckily for him, there's an election on, so he will be supplanted in that role by several politicians over the next four weeks.)

Chig has only watched three or four of the eight episodes so far, but has seen enough to realise that Paul is the kind of slimy little sneak that you would never ever want to be associated with at work or at school. To summarise, his idea of team work is to be a loudmouth bullshitter who forces his ideas on the team while they attempt their task each week. Then, when they fail the task and face Sir Alan for the dressing-down/post mortem, he washes his hands of the task and his colleagues, saying, "not my fault guv, it was the others, they wouldn't listen to me, none of the things that went wrong were anything to do with me, honest".

Amazingly, Teflon Paul is getting away with it, and he did again tonight. I suspect that Alan Sugar (and Auntie) are keeping him in there for pure entertainment value, and it's working. It makes me want to watch, just to see how annoying he's going to be this week. Sugar surely doesn't believe that this hothead serial denier could ever work for him? His judgement must be better than that, right?

Paul claimed, in an earlier programme, with all the brash confidence of the risen Christ himself, "I am a Roman Catholic; I cannot lie", which, apart from telling you that he is undoubtedly a big fibber, had Catholic Chig rolling on the floor in hysterics.

Keep him in for a laugh, by all means. But don't let him win by accident.

Paul has a website here. It's a bit rubbish. Mike has rounded up the other contestants' websites.

(Oh, and if Ben, who was ejected tonight, is looking for a position, I'm sure I could find one for him. Several, in fact.)

*Sales and marketing, you pervert.

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Bring on the next bigot.

[21.15] Some old, Polish ex-goalkeeper, who Chig went to see in 1982, has died. Luckily, this wasn't newsworthy enough to interrupt the announcement of the first heat winner of Hit Me Baby One More Time. (It was this act, just in case you're wondering.)

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