Wednesday, July 31, 2002

"Dear Peter, Sorry it's taken so long to get in touch. Unfortunately I am unable to offer you the job we discussed last week. I've been in touch with Piccadilly, who, because of your lack of shopfloor experience, were unable to recommend you."

FUCK. :o(

Why, then, is it so fucking hard to see that the answer is for someone to be *given the chance* to work on a shopfloor?

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

There's a guy called John B Root (hehe, hehehehehe! if you're french you'll understand) who has written an open letter to a paper in France defending the country's dissemination of porn on TV. There are increasing threats from the French authorities that X-rated films will be banned from the TVs of the nation.

Root says that "Porn's subject matter is physical love, a theme that has produced countless chefs-d'oevre in painting, in sculpture and in literature. If celluloid sex has never succeeded in hoisting itself to the rank of a cinematographic or televisual genre, it is because we have denied it the right to be economically viable. We would not be having this debate if porn was what it should be: joyous, well-made, aphrodisiac art... respectful of its actors and audience, portraying real people and making sense of its subject matter."

The link is here but the French papers online usually make you pay to search archives so I can't provide any original stories. Arse. However, FILMDECULTE has a good lot of stuff on the guy himself. It's in french though.

Monday, July 29, 2002

Alan said he doesn't want to publish any of his poetry really, a whole load of which he just emailed to me for criticism. I'm glad he doesn't want to. He'd put people like me out of business. I'm not going to put any of it here because of copyright issues. But in a sort of loose, splashy way, some of it is amazing. Of course I scoured unrecognised poems for signs that he might have been writing about me. Or us, or something. But there weren't any of those.

I've been trying to write, creatively, that is. Since I got back, while I was away, and I can't, it won't come. It's like the relevant bits of my mind have been clogged with concrete. Someone's going to have to chip away at it before I can get going again, and I'm the last person to do that. I don't have eyes on stalks and I can't see into my own head too clearly sometimes! But poetic hiatus is a big problem. If I don't get out of it soon I may never be able to climb out and write like I did. Which is to say, as well as I did.

But when I haven't been trying to squeeze a little turd of artistic emotion out into the porcelain bowl of the world of other (?) crap (?) everyone else (?) also produces, I've been riffling through this, this, this and slavering over this. I really can't wait until it is released. Then again, since I'm starting work at Waterstone's this week, I'll probably be able to get hold of an advance copy... somehow. But Donna's people are so secretive.

Mine, however, are sneaky and resourceful.

Friday, July 26, 2002

Oh, for fuck's SAKE!! What did they *expect*?!?!?

Thursday, July 25, 2002

Today I went and interviewed the lord mayor of Belfast about crime in the city and what he thinks of it, the causes, the effects, the ways to overcome it, the difficulties etc. It would've been just a reasonably boring interview if I'd've done it anywhere else.

But the lord mayor is a guy called Alex Maskey, seen above, a Sinn Fein member (nationalist, for those who don't know) and a former Long Kesh prisoner who is alleged to have been an active member of the IRA and to have killed or intended to kill several people. Various attempts have been made on his life since his turn to politics. So it was interesting. I'm not saying anything about it all now, but when the resulting articles get published I'll provide links.

Jonathan SMSed me late last night (presumably before travelling over to NC, USA for a while) with the message: "Is there anything you'd like me to tell the american people?". Him being a pretty anti-american american himself. I thought of several things on the spot but I was too tired and keyed-up about today's interview to reply. And now I can't remember them.

Now there's the interesting link of the day, and several reasons why you shouldn't necessarily expect anything too brill from London Underground: (someone made funny stickers, btw)

That's it for now. Sorry.

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

This two-man band is absolutely great. Ed recommended them and said I'd either love them or hate them. It's true. When you rush to Kazaa with their name to run a search (and damn you if you don't) you'll probably find that there's a greater chance you'll hate them, I can imagine. But I love them. Particularly Emerge, Tone Poem, and their cover of The 15th. You'd probably like Emerge if you gave it a chance.

Electroklash, I think the music called. But I'm not sure.

And in further random links: this guy looks absolutely amazing, because he's real and not a model. Unfortunately, he's American too. But we can't have everything we want, now can we. This blog (which isn't really, really a blog) is something I just found today and instantly had to share. And after the events of yesterday I'm feeling I need to push various specific things away by writing about them, so instead I've just been visiting these people. (weak grin)

And I'm a bit sceptical of whether it really works, but going here and giving the little box a click can't hurt, surely?

Monday, July 22, 2002

The post before this one was written just after it happened. This is written 'just after it happened' as well except more time has elapsed.

I don't want him back. In the sense that I know there is no sense, and quite frankly I just don't have it in me, to try and claw feelings out of another person which don't exist in the first place. But it's just so massively disappointing. I'm disappointed in him, for giving himself to me for so long online, and then letting it all be dashed so quickly and abruptly. But I'm also disappointed in me. I don't fall for people often, and the last time I had little enough wits about me to actually allow myself to fall for someone such a long distance away was ages and ages ago. I don't know. It was just him, and me, clicking over a distance. And now he's clicked in the same town with someone who he hopes is going to grow into his boyfriend.

Who knows, I might do the same. But I doubt it. I'm just left feeling like I'm really fucking stupid to have let this all happen in the first place. I don't hate men, and I'm not ruling out any amorous attraction with anyone else. No way. But if I start getting too involved with someone in future and it's by no means certain whether things will work out, for whatever reason, could someone please just tell me to go easy?

Right now, I need to be reassured that the world is a nice place. Again. Mood swings. Uncertainties. It's been an empty enough day to start off with. Apart from a conversation I had with Ed very early this morning, which was great. But since then... :o/
Alan has just found someone else. I thought I was getting over him, and getting happier about the whole thing, and relaxing into this new in-between stage. Except now there really aren't that many inbetweens to settle into. I don't know how to explain how I feel. I still love him. I still care about him. I still like him. And I think he's lovely, stupid, hasty, double-edged, impulsive, thrown me away, still holding my hand, treating me well and like shit at the same time, honest, wonderful - and too quick. I want him to see how stupid it is to be so hasty, in the way that it was with me. I want to know WHY. What did I do? What didn't I? I want it to work for him and whoever the guy is. And I don't. And I do. I don't know what I want. Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck.

This'll probably only last for a few days. Really.


Friday, July 19, 2002

Right. I'm doing links for this one, since Russ sort of commented that he actually *links* from his blog which is something I haven't been doing. It'd bad of me. I don't know / can't remember whether I ever featured this but it's something best experienced, I guess, with an excellent soundcard and good speakers and a large screen (which I have) and broadband (which I haven't). I'm in awe of those people over there.

When I was back in London last week, I walked through the courtyard of Somerset House and was expecting to find the courtyard as it had been, fountains playing, an oasis of calm and a catalyst for memories of how London had been when I lived there. Not that I needed much reminding. But there was a massive bloody tent in the middle of it, which wasn't nice at all. The fountains were off. Grr. It was disappointing. But this: (the great arch to the courtyard from the embankment)

was still there. And I used to stand underneath it and have a cigarette while waiting to go into the Gilbert Collection, or the courtyard, or wherever. And standing underneath it again, as small and crappy as the picture is (so you won't really appreciate it) was wonderful.

Vinopolis was also another place I walked by. And I still haven't had dinner there, or even tapas at the winebar. London friends take the hint and keep the link. ;o)

And that's it for now. I need wine. :o)

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

I don't know if it's just me being immature and dirty-minded, but when I saw a sign in a coffeeshop today saying "In the interests of hygiene, please don't touch our muffins" I found myself unable to stop grinning. It was perfect. Even more perfect was the huge expanse of Royal Crescent, bathed in sunlight, behind me as I sat in the park and read a book of poetry in a bright-blue paper cover which attracted some very lazy bees.

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Yesterday evening I witnessed the most amazing things. I didn't realise that Bath is quite so much of a hot-air balloon place as it is. We were in the garden, surrounded by wineglasses beaded with condensation, smells of hickory smoke, and rocketing cats, when loads of balloons floated scarily low over the houses, one by one. It was beautiful. Dad told James to find his catapult, and was kicked under the table for his pains. It reminded me of the time last autumn when I saw balloons over the city at dusk, like massive floating lanterns as their gas-jets flared.

Simon Schama, who wrote this and has appeared in many history programmes on TV, was sitting in a tiny two-room pub we lunched at today. My sister Sarah was there. I love her. She gave me a fiver without having to be asked, and told dad to shut up when he went on about me lighting one cigarette when the pub was already hazed with blue.

There is a strangely-dressed man in this city, who stands statue-still in a niche of golden stone near the Abbey. He reaches down and pats the heads of children. People take photographs, and deposit large amounts of money. And yet all this man does is get dressed up and stand around. Usually I'd just have said that, and then shut up and moved on. But there's something which really gets to me, in a quiet way, about a tourist-infested place where there are people who can afford costumes who are given over 100 pounds in one day, and other people who are on the breadline, who have to really try very hard indeed to even get tossed 5p. Entertain us and we will reward you. Confront us with the seamier side of humanity and we will ignore you as much as we possibly can. I'm not going to launch into a homily about it here. But people really do actually die because of such collective frames of mind.

Tourists and money aside, I had another chance encounter today. A double-take on the street became more, and involved a couple of pints in a nice pub in a sunny street with a cute, big-eyed, smiley guy in his early twenties. I didn't even touch him, and no, I didn't even get half an erection at any point in either our meeting, conversation, or goodbye. But secretly I think, and hope, that he will fantasise about me sometime. I guess we all think that about people who look at us on the street. If only we'd stopped and talked, if only we'd have smiled longer, if only if only if only. I've dispensed with those for a certain time, and even though it may only last for the time I've been in Bath, and even though it has involved no sex whatever, I'm happy. It's been... enough.

Sunday, July 14, 2002

How come there are no photos this week? How come there were no photos last week? Because although I've been surfing as intrepidly as ever, I'm away from home and have no ftp software on these puters. So, if you feel like complaining... don't. Also: the comment links are there for a reason. I don't really care what you write. Anything would be good!

Woke up, felt hot, had shower, wanked, had another shower, got dressed and then dad arrived here. He's been in Cirencester and Cheltenham for the festival. First thing I did was say hello. Second thing we did was to have lunch outside. The sun was beating down. I know this'll sound stupid, but I'm not really acquainted with huge amounts of sun. I now know that I really like the feeling of incipient sunburn.

Tried to get dad to shove a tenner my way so I could actually go into Bath and have coffee. But he wouldn't because I smoke and he's paranoid. So I went into Bath anyway and didn't have coffee, spending my last tenner not on fags but on a rather nice sleeveless tshirt I saw in a little shop. Put it on straightaway and felt two things. One, a lot cooler. Two, regret that I don't have a tan yet. But I got *glances* anyway. Which is always nice. I like it when people actually take the trouble to keep looking at me, because it usually happens rarely. There's something in the air, I'm sure of it. But I can't be arsed to *do anything* about anyone who looks at me like that. There's not enough time. And I'm still in love with Alan. And it'd feel like I was wronging him. I know he'd think that silly but frankly - I don't care.

So yeah, got back, grinning despite the realisation that I have my last few ciggies and then no more. Sat in the sun, read the paper, played with the cats, did pushups until I couldn't, and that's been the day of yer typical northern ireland boy in Bath.

Friday, July 12, 2002

And now I'm back in Bath. And probably I'm not going to be here for too much longer, either. Back to the grind of northern ireland and politics and lack of sun and lack of London. It's going to be strange. Previously, when I lived in London and travelled to Bath for the weekend, or travelled home for the holidays, I felt firmly anchored in London even though I was away from it. I knew that it would always be where I came back to. I knew I belonged.

But this time has been different. Not in terms of how I feel about all the nice places and people I know and love. But the whole place has felt more exciting, more brutal (that's understandable because I've been away from it) but more... liveable in. And at the same time, less appealing to live in. By which I mean that I feel stronger for my time spent living back in Belfast. And that, because I feel stronger and calmer, London doesn't draw me with the irresistible tug which it could deploy the year before last. I love the place, dammit. I want to go back there right now, and stay with Jonathan for another few nights, and see the places, and see the eyes looking into mine and passing me by, looking into mine and keeping on gazing.

But although I'd love to live there again... I don't need it as badly as I once did. It's shallow, and strange for me I think, but the one thing I most miss about the place itself, discounting the people I know for a moment, is the sexual freedom. I don't mean taking a boy into a bush and shagging him senseless, but just the freedom there is in who you can look at, in what way. Belfast doesn't have that. I'll miss it anew. I like looking at well-turned bodies. But well-turned bodies (from what I know anyway) usually conceal shallow bastards. And that's one particular personality-type I can do without, and which Belfast doesn't really have too many of in the way London does.

Yes, us northern irish people are nice, we are. :o)
Being in London again, in tower records again, seeing the old and slightly less familiar people again, is just plain weird. It feels like I'm back for good and I know I'm only back for a few more hours. And I don't feel in the least bit deprived or sad because of that, which is even weirder.

Sunday, July 07, 2002

Extract from my notebook, written earlier this evening. It's me feeling melancholy, just so you know:

So much has changed. So much is still the same. It's approaching early evening in this little loft room in Bath, and the skies have greyed again. I'm sitting here and he is in London. Or is he? I don't know. I'm in Bath more than a year, maybe more than 2, after he left it. He lived just less than a minute from here. In a few days I'll be in London. And he'll just have left it. I'll be wondering where he was, who he saw. I'm not in love with him, but I do love him.

But I'm still smitten. I can't help it. Things don't wear off that easy for me. I don't like them to. But sometimes I wish they would. What did I want anyway? To go out with him, definitely. I still want to. But. The distance between Belfast and him?! What the fuck was I thinking?! -- I know. The hopeful thoughts of bliss and effort which can bear fruit because you're hopeful. The thoughts we get scared of thinking in a responsible, ordered, grown-up world. I want to be responsible but I don't want my emotions to be always squashed by so much logic. You're too far away, you don't know him well enough, you're incompatible, you can't manage those distances, forget him but keep him, don't kiss him just hold him, you can't love him.

I really hate this grown-up thing. It mars a little bit of my hope every year, maybe. And even the people I thought were magic enough to hope turn out not to hope as stupidly, innocently high as I do.

But I'm still smitten. I can't help it. And he can't help me. Or maybe he can. I want him to help me through this, out the other side into balanced crazy affectionate funny serious wacky close friendship. I want him to notice the wobbles in my voice in the inbetween times and lift me down from my wild hopes into the fluffy sureness of his continued presence in my life.

It will be.
So hard.
But worth it. Because.
Whatever else he is, he is my friend.
I woke up this morning about half ten, surrounded by blue. I walked to the window and looked out, and the blue lightened, to be replaced by the grey of the skies and little pellets of rain on the skylight. So I retreated into my cosy blue world for a further hour, and then wandered around the house (my bro's place) half-naked, and watched the cats sleeping on the stairs. Then got dressed and went out. It seemed the thing to do. I was hungry, the cloud had lifted, Bath beckoned.

And when I got into the centre, I realised 2 things. One, Bath is really nice on a sunday if you don't expect anything of it and just let yourself drift with no needs. Two, wearing contact lenses is a good thing in the height of summer, even if you have hayfever, because they allow you to see all the nice things and people around you with greater clarity. And not wearing glasses makes a quite substantial proportion of people glance at you. If you're lucky, they even follow you around book and record stores. If you're really lucky, you get invited to lunch by interesting guys who look nice and talk nicer. I was really lucky. And no, I didn't take his number in my hand nor his tongue in my mouth. My mind is taken up by another person. But my skin is completely smitten with the sun in sunday afternoons.

Friday, July 05, 2002

Here in Bath. Again. Bath always now fills me with a sense of happiness, calm, but the sense of calm I get from being surrounded by nice things and family, rather than the sense of deep personal calm which allows me to create freely.

After dinner, clearing plates, dad said to me "Scoop your bits out over here". No way. I'm not scooping my bits out for anyone his age, no matter what the reason.

Thursday, July 04, 2002

Extract from my notebook from earlier today (actually yesterday, since this is now the early hours of the morning):

Sitting here in Bristol Airport. And it is bizarre, faintly, in the way all these places are. But it is also washed with wistfulness... ...the last time I was here, a few days ago, it was a place where I was to meet Alan and be taken from here, from the world even, by his eyes and his smile... ...and although that has happened, and often, this place is strange. Right here and now. I don't like it.


It's lucky I'm sitting in the bar. It doesn't stab with his invisible presence, my memories of me wandering around looking for him the last time. And later, before my flight, I will be wandering around. Looking for him. And he won't be here.

So I guess you could say I've had a completely wonderful, stellar, captivating and very mixed past few days. Let's leave it at that. Thanks, Alan. :o)

But the thing is, I'd like to have more time to 'recover' before having to shoot off again. I'm in Belfast now - but in 5 hours' time I'll be off again. Back, in fact, to the place I just left today: the south of england. A bizarre little detour. Which leaves me less peacetime than I'd like before I enter the fray again, as it were. But my god, I'm looking forward to seeing my brother and sister, Jonathan, Owen, Alex - and Alan. It'll be cool. And, I have a feeling, ever so slightly mixed and blurred. It feels disconcerting, but that's only because the past few days have been the first time I've been out of northern ireland for 6 months. This perpetual motion was how I always was for the past two years though. It's tragic how soon you can be sucked into a life of comfortable and deadening routine.

I'll try and post more as and when I can. See you all later!

Tuesday, July 02, 2002

My god. This is weird. I'm sitting here, not in Belfast, but in Reading (which is in the south of England and where my big brother used to work). And I have been here before, but so long ago it's difficult to remember where I was and what I saw. Visiting Alan has been lovely so far but I've been quiet, full of thoughts, crossed wires but one big ray of light through everything. Holiday times take you out of the world and make you feel different. The whole world seems new. And just at the point at which the world seems newest and brightest, today, I'm off to London for the afternoon to see Jonathan, who will be pulling me gracefully down to the warm solid earth again. Nicely, though. :o)