Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas cheer

Toffee has asked me to cut out the histrionics and give you an update.

He ran out of the park gates in front of a car, the car braked, skidded and clipped his behind. I thought he was a goner, but in fact there wasn’t so much as a broken bone, although he didn’t recover the use of his back legs for many hours after the accident.

He has a badly bruised bottom and, quite literally, his arse in a sling.

Thanks so much for your well wishes, and thanks too – to a friend, for putting up with my panic attack.

I hope you all have a wonderful, joyful Christmas, whatever is perfect for you. We are going to sing and celebrate all the more, the lads will “wee on it”, and we’ll have a jolly old time!!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

don't you ever run out of the park again...

there's no more sickening moment than the screech sqwall of brakes and a dull thud....

...nothing so terrifying as looking down at your dog, who's petrified, broken and shivering in the road....rolling a big bown eye at you and whimpering because his legs don't work

or standing in the surgery waiting for news..I'd change places with you gladly if I only could...

and then waking up to the same big stupid eye, lolling in the same big stupid, beautiful face, with a silly bandaged bum, lying in your bed.

Thank you providence.

We so have to get out of this f#cking city.

We don't belong here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

the ghost of Christmas past

I’ve spent the evening wrapping presents, listening to the choir of St Martins in the Field singing Christmas carols and drinking mulled wine.

Generally getting in the mood and beginning to feel that frisson of excitement that all children recognise as Christmas gets closer.

When I was a child Christmas was always exciting, not only because of the presents and the tree, and the staying up late and all the fun that surrounds the holiday…but because of the antics of my family. Somewhere along the line one ours would manage, with a moment of ineptitude or tactlessness or simple unadulterated gormlessness, to turn the sublime to the ridiculous.

My first clear memory of Christmas is horrifying and had the potential to ruin all of the succeeding ones had I not been so gullible. I think I was four years old, and a normal inquisitive child. My parents had taken pains to hide all of the presents away so that prying eyes wouldn’t spoil any surprises, and had stayed up late on Christmas eve to wrap them. I’d gone to bed very excited after leaving Santa (and Rudolf) a glass of sherry and a mince pie each.

Unfortunately “Santa” and “Rudolph” must have worked up quite a thirst wrapping all of the presents and they’d fallen asleep in the living room amongst yards of paper and ribbon.

When I woke up it was dark and quiet in the house. I was watchless but it was definitely early in the morning (in fact it was 4 am), and I was even more excited than when I went to bed. I crept out of my room, down the stairs and joy on joy, there was a crack of light under the living room door, so my parents must be up already, Santa had been and yippee!!! I opened the door to a child’s vision of Dante’s inferno, my parents slumped on the living room floor amongst a mound of presents which they had apparently been ripping open in a frenzy before suddenly being struck by some righteous festive narcolepsy. And they were toys, they were MY presents, how could they!!!

It took quite a while to calm me down, and very well done to my Dad, in a befuddled state for spinning the yarn of Santa’s sleigh crashing in the garden and spilling my presents and them volunteering to re-wrap them so that he wouldn’t be delayed…

On a different occasion we’d sat at least a dozen people around the table, waiting expectantly for Christmas dinner. I should say that my mum was an amazing woman. We always had extra people for Christmas, they weren’t by any means all family, quite often people I didn’t know, especially children. It was only later in life that I learned that they were people that she knew of, or worked for my father who might not be enjoying Christmas as well as we were that she had invited, very humbly, to come and “make” our Christmas day. She was 4 feet 10, beautiful, and mild mannered. And on this particular Christmas day slightly flustered and stretched by cooking for so many people. My father was a jolly, gregarious dipsomaniac who would have given Oliver Reed a headache.

We sat around the table expectantly, a little shyly, because my Dad was the battery off which everything ran. We could hear them talking and crashing about in the kitchen, just noises at first but then the conversation as their voices rose:

“Not like that Jean”
“Just put the plates out Harold”
“Your doing it wrong”
“I’m doing it as well as I can”
“Look, it’s falling apart”
“Harold, do something else!!”
“Look, let me show you…”
“Oh you bloody do it then” this from my mother, a swear word!! Followed by a sodden thump.

My father appeared at the door, to address the concerned throng. He had a big grease mark across his forehead and crackling in his eyebrows. “Pork’s off” he said.

Actually the pork was “on” and very delicious too, even if it was a little crumbly.

Old Pa Deed had a knack for acquiring things too. Somehow, if somebody said that they’d really like a particular thing, then my father would “know a man” who had one, or could find one. Which is why we had one of the first television sets that anyone had seen. And we had it for Christmas.

But we didn’t have an ariel. In fact never realised that we needed one. So I sat with the friends that I had invited watching hour after hour of static believing that it was Lapland, it was snowing, but we might catch a glimpse of Santa or Rudolph’s red nose if we concentrated. He was a lying sod too.

One year we had a dartboard in the kitchen, and then later a smell of gas, which my father traced to a pinhole in the kitchen wall where a dart had missed the board and pierced a gas pipe….he found it by dint of tracing his lighter across the wall. We all went to bed that night with a two foot flame jetting out of kitchen wall.

I remember sitting down to Christmas dinner around a full size billiard table that my father had “rescued” and persuaded his friends to help him bring into the house. I seem to remember also my grandmother laughing so hard at something that her teeth fell into the centre pocket.

And one priceless occasion when we lived in Scotland, when Lord and Lady Ferguson (who were my Fathers employers at the time) stopped by on Boxing Day. They’d brought us a goose. A live one, and the gilly was busy trying manfully to unload it from the back of the Land Rover without losing fingers or an eye, so they popped in for a cup tea. We had the most badly trained Golden Retriever in the world. This maniacal hound had been banished from the kennels, in fact left to his own devices the game keeper would have happily shot it, but my mother would have none of it, so we inherited the mutt instead. It was clinically stupid and one of it’s less endearing traits was uncontrollable and indiscriminate randiness every time it ate something.

My father opened the door of the parlour for the Fergussons, to be greeted by the sight of my 3 year old brother being vigorously humped by the dog on the carpet, while my Gran sat asleep and unconcerned in the armchair in the corner.

I think they would have taken the goose back, if they could.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

being Oliver Malkovich

I've been compelled by Sandra who is compelling by the way, to share 5 items of my weirdness with the world. The only problem I have is narrowing it down, and keeping it within sensible bounds. (Sometimes weirdness is like a dog whistle, when it's just so very weird that only other weirdo's can recognise it?):

I’m the worst friend in the world. I have two friends, but hundreds of acquaintances and it always makes me feel slightly uneasy when I hear other people describe me as their friend. I know what they mean, but I just wish there was another recognised, alternative word that we all understood the meaning of, for "nearly friend" - we could use “mate” for example and then I’d be happy. Because if I were their “friend” I would return their calls, or at least give a toss that they were upset when I didn’t?

I’m not normally nervous at all, I’ll speak with anyone about almost anything. But put me in front of a girl who I really, really like and suddenly I can’t find a single thing to say. (Unless I’ve had too much to drink, in which case a stream of utter jibberwaffle comes out of my mouth).

I’ve fallen in love on the tube train. In the course of a fifteen minute journey, I’ve been enchanted and enthralled, plighted my troth and had my bleeding heart ripped from bosom as she got off at Edgeware Road. Of course I’ve done this all on my own, she’s completely unaware that the eyes and mop of hair poking out over the newspaper belong to a man who is busy conjuring names for our children….

My middle name is Oliver…and I twist.

I bought the dogs a pet, a kitten, a tiny ginger tom called “Alfie”. It ripped them to shreds, ate their dinner, slept under their ears and generally made their lives hell. As soon as it was old enough it called a cab to the airport and is now terrorising a large area of Madagascan jungle.

I'm not going t tag anyone in particular....I'd like to hear 5 bits of weirdness from all of you please (that's above and beyond your usual weirdness please).

I'm the king of the castle..

and I'm a dirty rascal

Thursday, December 15, 2005

through a glass darkly

I can see from people’s posts of late that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has caused a stir by denying the holocaust. It’s not strange at all that one word in three syllables ^holocaust” is instantly recognisable for the series of events that for most of us is one of the foulest passages of modern history.

We do not need any additional proof other than the images that we have seen of the pain and anguish of the people on whom Hitler’s progrom was inflicted. In fact for most of us, we simply couldn’t stay sane if we were able to comprehend the real scope of the suffering involved.

So, for someone to say that it is a myth or invention is the most dreadful affrontary to any rational sensibility.

Then why did he say it? What does he possibly have to gain?

May I introduce two distractions from what the papers say please?, they are called politics and perspective. As a whole they may be summed up as discernment.

When will we ever stop to report on what people say, and add spin from our own perspective to meet our own political ends and try, instead, to analyse motivation?

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m not defending the statement, I despise the sentiment unequivocally, I despise the simple departure from an evident truth. But what interests me is motivation…this man is, whether you like it or not, the spokesperson for an ancient, well disciplined and cultured society. To what end would he utter such fallacy?

Religion or politics? It seems to be a pertinent question. Certainly here in Europe it is more often simply a matter of politics, trust me, we seldom vote with our feet en route to any particular church. It’s a simple truth. In the US I believe that religion has a much stronger influence on people’s daily lives, here less so. (and I understand that each of these statements that I am making at the moment are arguable for decades between dipolar exponents of either side of the argument, this is simply my perspective which in its way is a case in point). But that influence has a cost too. For every moment we step towards any religious idealism, we take a step away from perspective at exactly the same rate. We lose the capacity to see it from another’s perspective. We become fundamentalists.

Or politicians? Or even worse just mules.

Why Iraq, why are our troops dying in Iraq? Why has there been no political analysis of what would happen without Iraq? It’s really very simple. Iran is the single most populace, (and arguably best armed and most cohesive of the all of Arab nations). It’s a nation state like all others, that envys power, and nearby the oil rich sates of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates hold the promise of incredible wealth – hence power – hence influence.

And what was in the way? Our dear Saddam. We invaded once and tried pass along the message. Stay real, stay within bounds, don’t draw too much attention attention to yourself and you can be as despotic as you like – because you serve a purpose, you are the no man’s land between Iran and the South. But unfortunately he, as is the wont of puppets, forgot who was pulling his strings. He was safe, it would have taken Iran so long to fight their way through Iraq that we would have been there in numbers before they could pose a real threat on Saudi Arabia, bui he made such headlines as no longer could be ignored.

And so we invented WOMD and now we have to be there instead. And we can never leave in the foreseeable future because the threat will not abate, and we need the compliance of the oil rich states for our political future.

So why would M. Ahmadinejad say the things he does?

Let’s not discount the possibility that he is a religious fanatic, though Islam does not teach the brutality of mind that he is cultivating at present. But it’s not likely is it? Anybody capable of ruling a nation is generally quite capable of rational thought and ipso facto, self preservation, which implies a sophisticated knowledge of politics.

Islam and Christianity are not so far apart (there’s another one of those statements, go and do you own research). Neither advocates violence or intolerance. But either in the right conditions may be used to political ends. It’s a matter of strategy, in a way it is exactly what Hitler did. Take a people who feel down trodden, done to, whilst those around them are enjoying great riches (the Saudi’s, the UAE), and inculcate in them a belief that they are chosen, being tested somehow….fundamental religious constructs are more powerful in this respect than Hitler’s arianism but the mechanism is the same.

That through belief all things are possible. These are good people, honest god fearing people, who simply believe that they have not reached their equilibrium on earth (or will in heaven) because they have been beguiled by the skills of a politician during hard circumstances.

And then all you require is a common enemy. Zion. To provide the possibility of self righteous indignation from any crowd that you speak to.

(Israel is not perfect, as often the aggressor as the recipient. It IS a false state too, it is a political whim to sate the guilt of all of those nations who had the opportunity to decide the boundaries of the new world following the war. Palestinians WERE displaced, and a completely incongruous religion-that-was -not-beforehand-ever-a-nation was seated astride the single most diversely revered city on earth, Jerusalem. And then defended, paternally and politically, by those who had made that decision – you and me folks. Just some perspective, none of us a free of guilt.

There is a historical parallel in the creation of Yugoslavia after at the end of the first World War. Where Croatians and Bosnians had lived in harmony facing each other and trading at the point where the Holy Roman Empire met the Eastern Roman Empire, albeit with empirically different cultures and beliefs….until the moment that they were forced to become a nation, at the behest of a politically ‘neater Europe’. And we all know the atrocities that were conducted there under the auspices of "racial cleansing" and the personal influence of Slobodan Milosovic).

And there we have the entire recipe. A disenchanted people who’s better understanding of their own religious precepts has been undermined by political machination, given a common enemy – Israel – that they will fight to the point of war to drive home this obvious truth to their neighbours of the same faith. And an Israel supported by the US and ourselves, further demonised because we are religious and power mad interlopers is too much to bear. We have news papers and are stupid enough to believe them - but tell me where their alternate opinion might find any kind of congress?

They would drive down into Saudi Arabia full of religious fervour, as saviours of the faith to open the Saudi’s eyes – to drive out the Infidel, to cast out the shadows from their eyes, and thus fulfil the political objectives of those few who perverted the soul of reasonable and peaceful people.

In my opinion….

Please don't misunderstnad, I am not against the war in Iraq, I'm simply trying to understand the reason why our soldiers are dying there along with those who wish to live their daily lives and practice their religion peacefully. I refuse to believe the simplistic and sensatioalist fodder that we are offered by the media. In it's own way it is as subversive as the poison being spread by Iranian fundamentalists. We are intelligent, we can make sophisticated decisions and form our own opinions and I find it grotesque that we are fed with a diet that is tantamount to propaganda.

We're blessed with the ability to openly discuss this, unlike our counterparts who live in less liberal societies. Let us not waste the opportunity, provide us with historical and political background so that we can better understand the principle that takes us to war - let us all be clear that we desire to combat tyranny, not subvert the religious beliefs of another nation. Because if we don't do this, if we continue to write what we write in the press and say in the news - which is accessible to the political spin doctors of the would be tyrants, then our words and naive opinions will be used against us, and we will be made to appear as oppressors and overzealous children with guns but no understanding.

Our politicians and media need to treat us with the respect that our intelligence and democracy deserve. We are perilously close to aiding and abetting the political aims of dictators, not by doing the wrong thing - but by doing the right thing but appearing to do it for the wrong reasons.

Please, please ask questions of anything that you read in the news

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

what's in a word?

I’m in a very good mood for some obscure reason, a random good mood. It’s been like this all day, not even the gimp (my idiot colleague) could spoil it. He is still networking all over the place, machinating, climbing and obsequiously conniving to make his way up the ladder. We sit only a few feet away and in these few months I have learnt the signals that prelude one of his little assaults on my sensibilities…there’s a sigh, and he’ll push back on his chair, lean backwards and stare at me. I’ll carry on doing whatever it is that I’m doing until he begins his little well rehearsed speech. It’s almost always an idea, almost always in a loud voice when one of the partners is passing by, and it almost always involves him forming a little team, a posse, to investigate the potential. And it’s not the outcome that matters, it’s his apparent leadership that is an objective in itself…

Which is absolutely fine, except that I don’t particularly relish being one of his stepping stones. And we are a small company, two partners, myself, my gimp and several sales people and half a dozen other employees. We discuss our ideas openly, we develop them as we work, it’s not a deliberate act, it’s a simple way of life, the good ideas are incorporated, the rest are chaff…

The gimp has brought himself to a battle woefully under armed, but he does have guile and stamina, sufficient to make him an utter pain in the arse.

But today it was all water of duck’s back, and I’m sorry to say that I simply couldn’t resist calling to the partners “are you busy?, #### has an idea!!” as soon as gimp said to me, “I have an idea….”. And we all gathered round to listen to some half baked plan. It wasn’t a moment to relish, in fact it was really quite embarrassing, but it might keep him quiet for a few days… that I can enjoy my good mood.

On a completely different note, serendipity, how odd that I should be in bed at the moment, writing this and watching “The Thomas Crown Affair” in the background on tv. I know that won’t mean much to any of you but trust me, it is very odd. (That’s an excellent love scene by the way, Rene Russo really is incredibly (I want to say toey for some reason) sexy?).

So, in the spirit of good moods, a game you might want to play: The idea is really very simple, you just come up with an alternative meaning for an existing word. We (friends) have a little email circle that we send these to occasionally on an ad hoc basis when something occurs to one of us. They include:

Patio Doors - an Irish Carpenter’s wife
Mastiff - a lot of boys at a Brittany Spears concert (think about it)
Hullabaloo - correct way to greet a cartoon bear
Custard - what you say when you step in some
Proctor - a religious bottom doctor
Loophole - a very long lavatory brush
Geranium! - the war cry of a gay red Indian war party
Dilatory - sexually assault a conservative member of parliament
Epoxy - bad news for your friend at the genito-urinary clinic
Speculate - contemplate a visit to the gynaecologist

If you think you’d like to play, just pass on the idea and an invitation to others (with a mention if you are inclined), and ten more ‘new’ words on your web site, and let me know you've put them there please - so I can share them with my friends.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

some enchanted evening

It’s been a very strange few days…

Do you ever get those little cataclysmic periods that convince you that it would be a lot safer to make a flask of tea and some sandwiches and retire to bed for the week? (I would have considered that as a viable option at one point but you will find out why it wasn’t such a good idea in a moment or two).

It all started out quite gaily enough. I’ve started to play hockey again, I’m okay so long as I concentrate and feel better for the exercise. I never could just sit there and wait to feel better….I feel so bloody, sedentary, potato like, I’d much rather see if I can do something.

And after playing the beer always tastes better, and in the evening, after the game, I went to a birthday party. It had a cowboy theme, and a lot of the guests had actually made the effort to turn up in chaps and Stetsons, spurs and lots of leather….and some of the men dressed up too! (it looked rather like a Village People video). But la piece de resistance was the mechanical bull. Bulls in any form are not a thing we see very often in our neck of the woods…unless it’s being discreetly slaughtered in the car park of the Halal butcher on Bounces Road, but I digress.

It had to be done, didn’t it? No self respecting man can see his friends being liberally tossed at a party without wanting to join in?

My 43 seconds of madness came to an abrupt end in the corner of the room, under a half collapsed table, who’s legs, mercifully, were intended to fold under for storage. As is my wont, I’m sure it has something to do with streamlining, I flew arrow like and head first to meet my destiny with said table legs. We all agreed that I was lucky to only chip a tooth.

Have you ever wondered where the phrase “don’t you have any bloody homes to go to”? came from? I know I do. It’s going to be my catch phrase for a while. I’m not sure what it is about my place, perhaps it’s the fact my friends feel comfortable here in the belief that they can’t possibly make a mess, or the fact that I become lugubrious and relatively philanthropic with my wine after I’ve had a few drinks…but we always seem to decant to chez zoo if they feel that there’s more party to squeeze out of the night.

Which would be fine, well not fine –but not too awful, except that it’s such a clutter in the morning. Stepping over dead bodies, and fighting for a little quality bathroom time. Trying to find the dogs amongst the human detritus and separating them from pizza boxes and whatever else your friends decided they might like to eat after you dozed off.

Having said that it’s usually quite civilised. Everyone muck’s in and helps to tidy up, and to be honest by the time they’ve finished my friend’s wives and girlfriends have usually given the place something tantamount to a spring clean. Except for this weekend, it seemed as if a kind of viral, almost Biblical, plague of bodily dysfunction had visited us while we slept.

We are grown ups, we have fun and we get, occasionally rather drunk. Then we sit and play silly games, good humouredly, en masse and then we fall down and go to sleep.

On this Saturday two people felt it necessary to vomit. One of them was apparently busy missing the toilet by a full yard when the other entered the bathroom and was left with no alternative but to utilise the bath. They must have kept each other company honking and hooting for quite a while (from the sheer quantity of technicolour yawn that they produced….and left behind!!) before shaking hands on a job well done and taking themselves off to their eventual repose on the sofa or floor…they wouldn’t fit in the bed, they don’t know how lucky they were.

The bed was occupied quite early on by, we will call them Lightweight and the Waterboy to save face, though goodness knows why, I actually considered having posters made on Sunday morning. Lightweight tells me that Waterboy sometimes gets a little disoriented when he sleeps in a strange bed. Now I’ve known this particular ‘Aquarian’ for a lot longer than Lightweight even though they have been married for 2 years, I know for a fact that “disoriented” is an inadequate term for what Waterboy gets when he’s had too much to drink….hence “you’re welcome to use my bed” seemed like a good idea at 3am.

Not so at 9am the following day. It appears that Lightweight suffers from chronic spontaneous combustion, and that Waterboy selflessly tried to extinguish her by using the only liquid to hand (literally)…or he’d had that “thank God I made it to the toilet dream”….or, he had indeed made it to the toilet only to find it occupied by regurgitating were-geese, and decided in a drunken stupor that the bed was a viable option.

To be fair to the girl, Lightweight did her very best to cover for him, some dreadfully half arsed story about making a cup of tea and then spilling it….and to be fair to Waterboy too, he came clean, as it were, when I asked him if he had peed in the kettle as well.

But, as I said we are all friends, and we all mucked in, some more sheepishly than others, to clean the debris out of the loo and the “tea” stains off the bedding…and then we all went out to breakfast.

Where, incidentally, we found out that we had slept through the largest explosion in Europe since the second world war. We were 10 miles away, and it woke people up in Holland.

Which is nice?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

turning tea into wine...

This is my winter coat. Not the overcoat, the Shirley Temple and facial hair, it protects my delicate skin from the ravages of winter.

Home sweet home. I managed to get a flight back that allowed me to pick up the boys from the kennels, so we've walked and chatted about what they got up to over the last few days, "ruffle scruffle, gggggrrrrreowww" said Charlie. I've no bloody idea what it all means but he seemed pleased. The overwhelming impression I get is that they did their best to find anything that was rotting, or unusually foul smelling and roll around in it.

Apart from the general wellbeing of having a personal bum shaped dent in the sofa, and knowing how to work the shower controls the whole coming home thing was a bit lack luster . Two wet, smelly dogs, luggage, a dark landing an inordinate amount of post for just a few days. I've just found another reason to celebrate too, not only am I a zoo keeper, I'm a museum curate too.

I swore ages ago that every time I bought a new article of clothing I would throw one away. Somebody once described to me a very sensible rule, if you haven't worn it for twelve months, then it's unlikely that you will ever wear it again. It's true, but I am a hoarder. I was really hoping that those stripey nylon tank tops would come back into fashion.....but the beans certainly won't. I should have applied a similar rule to my kitchen cupboards you see. I've been a bit negligent on the shopping front, and while I remembered to pick up the bare essentials like bread and milk on the way home, I forgot that my place was in a state of victular negligence that would have shocked Old Mother Hubbard.

There was however a tin of beans in the cupboard, behind a rather tatty and ancient looking packet of Ryvita. Actually lets discuss the contents of the cupboard, just for context: Ryvita, coffee, tea, lemon tea, green tea, Lea & Perrins sauce, a torch, a can of chick peas, two tins of tuna, tomato ketchup, a roll of tin foil, a packet of soluble aspirin and some vitamin C tablets that are now welded into one very large vitamin C tablet that is too big to exit the container....and a can of baked beans. And I have bread, and butter in the fridge, and a very passable bottle of Valpolicella, in other words...the gastronomic world is my oyster.

On the first crank of the can opener the bean tin let out an audible sigh, the sigh associated with the opening of ancient sarcophagi, or perhaps Pandora's box. I bent down to take a closer look which was a huge mistake, trust me, as it brought my olfactory senses in to play as well. Try to imagine conducting a post mortem on a large animal whose staple diet is cabbage, that died three or four weeks ago, and has lain in a nice sunny spot ever since....your first incision into the gut will give you some idea of the fug that escaped the tin. The fact that I needed to use the can opener in the first place probably should have been an indicator - most tins are 'conveniently' fitted with a stiff little ring pull now that allow you to open the jugular of anyone standing behind you as the lid suddenly gives way with a flourish?

But there, on the lid was a date stamp, which ended in "93". Lummee!! twelve year old beans, Lawks a mercy!!

(Sorry I'm going to stop for a moment to laugh at Toffee, he's absolutely zonked out on their sofa, obviously chasing something in his dreams. His legs are going and his nose is twitching, and he's grumbling and much so that he's given me a real fit of the giggles).

Anyway, to my shame, I held the offending can at arms length, not daring to breath in and opened the back door and flung it as far as I could....into the bushes around the garages at the end of the garden. If I see a fox with dysentery over the next few days I will be filled with remorse.

On an entirely different note, I think I may have decided what to do with New Year. Riga, Latvia, to be precise. Why?

Why not?

A brief trip to Berlin reminded me how much I like to party. It's my party trick, as it were. And if nothing else Berlin is full of the most outlandish night clubs. There appear to be more gay people than pigeons, cross dressing and bondage is almost de rigeur, "Cabaret" really does still exist from smokey jazz bars to art decco and poetry appreciation societies sipping coffee and absinthe...something for everyone, including voyeurs and private dancers like me. (I like to dance, but I don't want to embarrass anyone else by association, so I just get on with it on my own - actually, put like that, it resembles my sex life).

Now a word to the wise. It's cold, very, very chilly, chillier than a polar bears bottom in a cold snap, icy in fact. Take a cab. Don't do what I did. Don't have a shower and then immediately walk out of the hotel into the night to look for a good time and the warm lights of the basement bars and clubs in the alleys and back streets...

...or you will arrive like I did, unable to make any facial expression other than surprise because your hair is frozen solid on your head.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

infamy, infamy....

they've all got it infamy.

Two days in seasonally soggy, desperately festive, manic Berlin.

With an internet connection as useful as a wireless lettuce leaf.

Deep joy, ho bloody ho.....