Wednesday, 30 May 2007

The Ouverture - South Bank Center

The week end of the 8-10 June marks the official reopening of the South Bank Center. A series of free events, named the Overture, will be taking place over the week-end.

After its successful tour in Scotland last week-end, the London Gay Men's Chorus (and that includes me) is very proud to be part of this. We will actually be kickstarting the celebrations with an exciting performance which will take place on the Thames as the sun sets. We will be gliding down the river, singing from Tower Bridge. Later, on the riverside by the South Bank Center, we will be joining the crowds and several other choirs. Come and join in the fun.

Friday 8th June, from 8pm
www.southbankcentre.co.uk/overture
www.lgmc.org.uk

See also

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Disaster Strikes

No Photography
I took this picture with my phone in the foyer of the Usher Hall in Edinburgh while waiting during the technicall rehearsal. Little did I know how prophetic this would become.

I am now back in London. The shows and the sight-seeing went rather well. I did a lot of walking and I took loads of pictures (about 300). You can see a selection of those here.

Unfortunately, I can only offer 12 (not very good because of the weather) pictures (I might a few I took with my cameraphone soon). During the technical rehearsal in Glasgow, as I was trying to be clever with the lighting, my camera suddenly informed me that my memory card was full. Nothing to worry about. I simply changed the card for another one.

The only problem is that for some reason, the card has crashed. It is still showing at full but I can't access the pictures and download/save them. I have tried several things but the options are limited. Slightly tells me he has a card reader which might accept the format I use. Otherwise, my last option will be to go to a photo shop and try and have everything put on a disk. If that doesn't work I might as well dump the card, which I also apparently won't be able to replace as they don't seem to make them any more.

*sigh*

Any advice very much welcome.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Planned Interuption of Service

I am not always very good at posting regularly on this blog, mostly because nothing much is happening or I just can't be asked.

For the next few days, however, you will be able to switch off your computer and stop checking anxiously every five minute for another pearl of wisdom from this site (I wish!). Tomorrow morning, I am taking the train to Edinburgh where I will be singing with the Chorus at the Usher Hall on Saturday before a concert in Glasgow on Sunday and coming back to London on Monday evening.

I am still discussing with myself as to whether I will be taking my laptop with me (there is apparently wifi where I am staying but it's not clear whether it's free or not) so I may do just that and post. As if.

In any case, and at the very least, expect pictures when I come back.

Have a good week-end.


Monday, 21 May 2007

Cutty Sark


Cutty Sark, originally uploaded by Zefrog.

In the past few weeks I seem to have developped the habit of going to sleep the radio on, the World Service. Some nights, when my sleep in lighter than usual, I doze on and off catching snippets of news.

This morning, at 6am, I was suddenly brought to full consciousness by the news that the Cutty Sark was ablaze. I am was quite shocked by the news when I heard it.

I visited the Cutty Sark on my first trip to London (a school trip) about 20 years. I was in my mid teens and it was a first for me in many ways. I still have confused mental images (supported by a few bad pictures) of the inside of the ship. I also seem to remember (perhaps wrongly) that we took a group picture outside her.

Since then, while I was slightly dismissive of her as a tourist attraction, I have also been aware her friendly protective presence every time I found myself in Greenwich.

Thankfully, it seems that the damages are not as extensive as they were originally feared. The ship was undergoing a restauration programme and about 50% of her had been removed. The fire is treated as suspicious.

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Complaint to the BBC

I just sent the following to the BBC's Radio Newsroom:

About 30 min ago, I listened to a a short report on the news at 10pm on Radio4 about the demonstrations which took place today against the current spate of homophobia in Poland. While I congratulate the BBC for reporting on this, I am a little concern that the present report rather failed to paint a complete picture of the situation which may lead to concern in respect of the BBC's impartiality in this.

The report duely mentioned that the Polish President and his Prime Minister have spoken publicly against homosexuality. What the report failed to mention, thus giving the impression that this was possibly all part of the democratic debate in the country, is that the whole government is actively working against the LGBT community of the country, particularly targetting teachers.

This has resulted into the production of a bill which has been repeatedly compared in this country to the now defunct section 28. There was no mention of this in the report, nor of the fact that the European Union is actually currently investigating the legitimity of the proposed law and its compatibility with the European regulations the Polished government agreed to follow when it joined the Union.

I trust that a way will be found to provide some sort of correction to this unhappy oversight.



The Touch Typed Diary - Confidence

Some background to what follows can be found here. Other installments are here.

I started this as a way to train at touch typing (hence the title) which I have finally taken up learning more or less seriously. At first I was typing what nonsense came across my mind and deleted it once I had finished. Gradually, it just turned into a diary relating the events (not very numerous) of my life. This has also the advantage of keeping me relatively busy at work when I have nothing else to do which seem to happen rather frequently these days.

11 March 2002

Last week started in a rather low key as I was feeling deflated after the weekend. It had been quite enjoyable but unfortunately had brought promises to life that would once again not come to realisation.

I had a bit of a moral boost on Tuesday though which helped get into a more serene and normal groove. My line manager announced to me that I was being offered a six months contract, which would probably be renewed at least once. I am still not sure about the financial side of the deal (They have to buy me from the agency; I feel like showing my teeth every time I meet someone from personnel!) but hopefully they will give me the same amount of money they were giving to the agency (£9.50/hour from which I only got £7); that would be a significant change for me (that would be roughly £280 more a month!!!!). I should not put my hopes too high really. It is too good to be true and will probably not happen.

The rest of the week went without an itch really until the weekend that is.

On Friday night I was getting ready for an early night when there was a knock at the door. It was one of the neighbours informing us that the next door neighbours from upstairs had left the water on before leaving their flat and that a flood was building up.

Sure enough, earlier I had notice the noise of running water in the bathroom but had not thought much of it as it seem to be coming from the toilet. Now water was running along the walls of the downstairs loo. We started to mop. People finally broke in the flat upstairs and turned off the water; soon enough the dripping slowed down. We were lucky to have little damages done in the flat but the next door neighbours who were directly beneath the source of the problem (!) were not so lucky and spent there Saturday afternoon clearing out and will probably have to redecorate most of their flat.

I went for a run on Saturday morning and spent most of the afternoon napping as it really knocked me off. I then played at rebooting my computer several times, as I seem to have troubles with my D drive. I was wondering whether I would make an appearance at the Box when J. enrolled my to escort her to a pub for a drink. I was soon told that things were not going too well with B. at the moment. And it appeared that she was only looking for a considerate ear to voice her concern. Who better than the nice gay flatmate to take up that position?

After a few minutes in the pub (a converted boat) the music was turned up and we decided to move somewhere else more tranquil.

On the whole it was a nice evening, a bit like a girls’ night out, I suppose. It brought us closer and was a nice opportunity to get to know each other better as it is usually a bit difficult to get to talk to her on her own and/or for a long time without interruption.

It was decided that we would be going to Heaven next weekend and to Trade some time later during the month.

Sunday had been set aside for my second meeting with P.. We had decided to go to Greenwich where I would show him the good places to buy cheap books. And boy, did we buy books!!! Especially me I have to say. I came back home with 12 of them, as if I did not have already enough of them waiting on my shelves to be read.

We met at 1 at Canada Water station and took a bus from there to Greenwich. After having gone round the interesting places we headed to my place where we had a drink a chatted a bit more.

P. took his leave around 5.30 and although there had been a few gaps in the conversation, things had gone rather well. It seems strange though that like with other guys I have met online, we seem to be more relaxed and can talk more easily on the net than in real life. I suppose it is just a question of getting used to one another.

He seems a nice person and for some reason really supportive. He is always trying to boost my moral and my self esteem which in a way is nice, but at the same time feels a bit meaningless as nothing in what I live is there to support what he says. J. too had a stab at it on Saturday night, telling me that I was really good looking and that apart from the colour of my skin and a little je ne sais quoi, I was just as good as B.. That was I think a rather strange think to say; especially considering that she had just told me that they were having troubles in their relationship and that they had both been unfaithful to each other….

Tonight is rehearsal night with the Chorus. I have decided that I might try to go to Australia with them at the end of the year for the Gay Games. It would be a really great experience I am sure with unique opportunities, like singing at the Opera House in Sydney.

I have to ask a few questions tonight and see whether it is possible to get the “cheaper” (£1300) formula to get there. I suppose I could ask D. for advice on alternative places to a hotel…. I would also have to have a passport made which would prove much hassle!

Friday, 18 May 2007

IDAHO


Today marks the third edition of the International Day Against Homophobia.

Personally I attended a demonstration outside the Embassy of Poland (47 Portland Place, London W1B 1JH) between midday and 2pm, to "express growing concern about the plight of the LGBT community in Poland". 1 2

The government there is quite openly homophobic and is currently trying to push a section 28 like law against LGBT teachers, also trying to ban them from teaching.

There was a fairly good turn out compared to other similar events I have attended. Around 40 people were there, mostly young people from the British Youth Council who were coordinating the event. In attendance also, were Tony Fenwick and Sue Sanders (both from Schools Out and LGBT History Month), Derek Lennard, IDAHO-UK Organiser, Peter Tatchell and Baroness Sarah Ludford, London's Liberal Democrat MEP. Several photographers and even journalists attended too (including a camera).

There were speeches and a minute of silence. People were invited to write to their MP. No reaction came from the Embassy but the curtains on the first floor were regularly twitching showing digruntled faces.

Pictures are available here.

* BYC unites with human rights campaigners to mark IDAHO, Politics.co.uk
* Youth demo against homophobia at Polish embassy, Pink News

Later in the day (6pm), I had planned to be at the Globe Theatre for a short memorial ceremony to remember victims of homophobic (and trans-phobic) crime here in Southwark and to acknowledge that LGBT hate crime is still happening.

Guests were welcome to bring a flower or small bouquet of (bio degradable) flowers to float away on the tide. This was organised by the Southwark LGBT Police liaison officer and the Southwark LGBT Network.

Unfortunately, a meeting I was attending run a little longer than I was expecting and but the time I was free to go, I would not have had time to get to the Globe in time.

Busy day though.

Yesterday, the British Government committed itself to fight the criminalisation of homosexuality worldwide.

This is the updated version of a posted originally published on 17 May 2007 at 10:12am.

Monday, 14 May 2007

Loosing Grip

It seems that this week-end, I reached another low in the numb disconnectiveness that characterises my ever more idiosyncratic life these days. For the past couple of weeks, I have given up connected to all the (more or less) social website, I usually have on in the background all day long.

On Friday, on my way home from a business meeting with Slightly I stopped at a shop on my way to home and bought all sorts of sugary junk food which I devoured within 24 hours. Having been the witness of bulimia in the past, I think, I can recognise a very mild attack of it in this.

I was supposed to attend a meeting on Saturday. While I was aware of the date of this meeting, I failed to connect this date to the day itself and I had to be reminded of the meeting by someone else attending it. I arrived there late.

Finally, a few minutes ago, I realised that I forgot to attend the monthly meeting of my reading group. I had received a reminder on Monday and actually really enjoyed the book and was therefore looking forward to the meeting. Although I spent the whole day at home doing nothing, the meeting simply slipped off my mind.

This is all rather worrying and frightening to the control freak that I normally am.


Saturday, 12 May 2007

UN joke

Or cutting your nose to spite your face.

Zimbabwe Environment Minister, Francis Nheme, has been elected to lead the UN's commission on Sustainable Economic Development (CSD). The secret ballot among CSD members at the UN headquarters in New York brought a majority of 26 to 21 in favour of Zimbabwe. There were also three abstentions. It seems that the country was put forward for the role by other African countries members of the commission.

EU and US representatives, and in my view all other reasonable parties and observers were opposed to the nomination. There were however little hope of the election not taking place, it seems. African members of the country seem to have been set on going forward with their choice as a way to show that they could not be told what to do by the west.

This means that the commission, which is set to deal mostly with the huge problems faced by many country on the African continent, will be headed by the country with the worst possible record.

Unemployement in Zimbabwe runs at 80%, and inflation is the highest in the world, at a ridiculous 2,200%.

What can Mogabe and his regime teach other countries in terms of sustainable development?

The whole situation could be funny if the lives of so many people were not on the line.


The Touch Typed Diary - West

Some background to what follows can be found here. Other installments are here.

I started this as a way to train at touch typing (hence the title) which I have finally taken up learning more or less seriously. At first I was typing what nonsense came across my mind and deleted it once I had finished. Gradually, it just turned into a diary relating the events (not very numerous) of my life. This has also the advantage of keeping me relatively busy at work when I have nothing else to do which seem to happen rather frequently these days.

04 March 2002

The lecture was mildly interesting and lasted about an hour. When it was finished, P. and I went for a drink in the pub on the embankment close to the Tate Modern. There we traded bits of our experience as French housemates in the UK. Me telling him about the poisoning attempt, he telling me about a control freak of a landlady he had had while an “assistant”.

After a while, as I was getting hungry, we walked towards Soho and had a meal at Wong Kei which he did not know, we carried on chatting amicably for sometime before going to the Original Soho Bookshop 2 which he did not know either. We bought books there and finally made our way to Piccadilly and we said goodbye.

Although we felt slightly awkward at the beginning, the ice melted very quickly and we were both quite surprised to see it was already 11pm when we parted company. The evening turned out to be altogether quite promising and I hope and believe that we should become good friends in due time.

After having been to several Buddhist meetings I am afraid I am starting to get the same outlook as they on life. It feels a bit like sometimes my life pushes me into action. I felt very much that way at the end of August when I lost my job and then had this horror story at my former place; not forgetting the bedbugs I caught around that time too. I new it was time to move on and was actually thinking about it but without acting on it. Once I had moved, things went well again.

This time, I would like to move on with my job and get one with a more descent pay. But that would also mean that my solitude would be more bearable too and that I would therefore not try to change things in that department. But a few weeks ago, I got so desperate that I actually started to do something and new doors seem to have open… Are these just coincidences or not, I do not know. There is also a feeling that my life follows an ascending seesaw pattern: things go bad and suddenly as if some momentum had been gathered I reach a new level where things actually improve and I grow.

The last week end is another example that shows that I am at a point where things are changing. Well I hope so anyway…

I started the week end on Saturday morning with a 45 min run after a long phone call from PFM. Once again I seem to be going faster and faster although it does not feel like it as I had to make my route longer than usual. I also went to see the IT people and the Bloody Thing seems to be more or less in working order now. I still have to reorganise all my folders and reinstall a few things.

In the afternoon, I made my way to what seems to be the other end of the world: Sunny Richmond about 1hr30 tube ride away from where I live. MPB, my former colleague, had had invited to the house warming party of her new neighbour on the sole ground that we are both gay and should get along well together.

The party had started around one in the afternoon but MPB and I had decided to be (very?) fashionably late and turned up there around 6...

The experience proved to be much more enjoyable than the last party I went to with MPB. Although everybody was at least 10 years older than me, they were all very nice people.

After a while, I found myself at the kitchen party which, according to everyone are always the best. I could see why as food and drink were more readily available and the company even more sociable.

Around midnight part of the guests, including the host decided to go for a walk by the river and left the rest masters of the battlefield. This is when I noticed that Michel, a 50ish French Canadian gay guy (down from Brighton with his long serving partner) had probably taken a shine for me. I had noticed earlier that he seemed to be watching me a lot and when he discovered I was French, he started to try and talk to me several times in French which I found quite rude for the rest of the company, I invariably answered to him in English.

When people came back from their moonlit walk, Simon, the host, and a friend of his told me in a conspiratorial way that I would have to get the details from MPB about what happened during the walk.

Earlier during the party, MPB had asked me to tell her who I thought was gay and who I thought was not. Some of the guest were pretty easy to classify but other proved more difficult and I had to do a lot of guessing.

As it turned out, one of the guys I had told MPB I thought was gay, had been very friendly towards her during the evening and even more so during the walk; to the point of kissing her actually! MPB convinced from what I had told her (albeit with reservations) that the guy would not be interested in her other than in a friendly way and even though she rather fancied him had returned his kindness without self consciousness and was now feeling both perplex as to his behaviour and embarrassed at the discovery that her wish of this guy being straight had actually come all too true. (She is involved with a guy in the States and has several other guys wooing her over here in the UK!!!).

When all the guests had left, some of them to return in the morning for breakfast, another walk and lunch at a local pub, Simon, MPS and I had a chat regarding what was happening to MPB. Around three in the morning, we finally left Simon and went back to MPB's place (where I was to sleep) and chatted some more till 4.

The next morning I walk up around 9 and made my way to the kitchen to grab some sort of food. There I noticed that Simon was up already and went to say hello. Soon afterwards the other guests who were to come back as well as MPB made their appearance and we all had hot cross buns and tea for breakfast before going for a walk along the river to Marble Hill House (which was built by George II for his mistress). The part of the park closer to the river had been flooded and there was water on the street too at some points.

MPB did not join us as she had to be in town for some open day at a university. I was to meet her again at 6 at Ravenscourt Park station from where we were to go to a private viewing of the paintings of the Polish woman whose dreadful birthday party I had been to and her aunt.

On our way back from Marble Hill, we stopped at a small pub along the river for lunch. The area where we are is not really Richmond any more; I think it is part of Twickenham but it is still a rather wealthy area. The pub's patrons as well as the numerous people who had the same idea as us to have a walk and enjoy the nice weather were all upper middle class and some of them were looking slightly wearily at our bunch of 5 unshaved guys...

Another interesting fact about the pub is that it seems to be the rallying point of rugby fans and players. We were thus lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a pair of tanned and nicely shaped legs poking out of slightly muddy white shorts !!! (how sad can you be?!)

After lunch, we went on to the high street and had a cuppa in an ugly little cafeteria and then moved back to Simon's place where our party disbanded.

I went back to MPB's place to pack my things up and have a look at her computer as she had asked me but I could not do much as the D drive did not work. It settled down in the settee and browsed through the first Time Out I have ever bought.

When it was time to leave and went to say goodbye again to Simon. We chatted a bit more and decided that it would be nice to meet again. He also gave me his details so that I could send him a link to the Reading Group's website which he seems interested in joining.

The private viewing turned out to be a rather interesting business not due to the quality of the art displayed but rather to the crowd of visitors in attendance. The thing was taking place at the Polish Cultural Centre and had gathered an amazing and colourful set of specimen of the Polish Diaspora in the UK. These people looked like they had left their fashion sense behind them in Poland when they left about three decades ago. What an impressive array of flashy colours and strange combinations of clothes!

After perhaps half an hour in the place MPB and I had spotted no less than 4 wigs and a fake pony tail.

I, personally had spotted something else too! In support to the two "artists" several members of their family were hanging about more or less gloomily and/or playing host to the visitors, offering half empty glasses of bad wine. One of these people was a dark youth of 16 to 20 years of age, rather handsome as mixed race people very often are and very sexy. Ukrainian and black... MPB informed me he was the half brother of J.'s husband (J. being one of the two celebrated that night).

Now whether my gaydar was playing another of his tricks on me or not I could not say. But I received some strange and discordant vibes from this guy. True, he was accompanied by a female fashion accessory (oups, that's mean, isn't it?). True, there was not the slightest trace of campness in him. But then why did I get the feeling he was watching me from across the room, just as I was watching him ? Something that MPB noticed too. Why, at some point, did he came up to me looked at me straight in the eyes with what felt like an intent gaze, before winking, smiling and introducing himself? Andrew. Why when we took our leave and were showed out by his brother, was he there too, winking again and telling me to enjoy myself or to have some fun (or something to that effect) and then staring at me again through the glass door?

I left the place utterly confused and rather flustered, I must say. Am I imagining things? Is he a closet case (he seems too self confident for that) or bi or has my uncommun beauty played its usual trick on this poor impressionable mind?!

Anyway, there are little chances that we should meet ever again and even if this happened I could not see what more could take place than a few-minute stand as he is much too young and obviously not very educated. I would be curious to know if I was mistaken or not though!

Now I know what you are going to ask me (if you haven't fallen asleep yet, that is): Simon ? How is he ? Do you like him ?

That is a tricky one I must say.
Simon looks like he is in his forties, has very short grey hair with a bald patch. He is not very tall and rather stocky. Blue eyes behind small rectangular glasses. Without being plain, he is not particularly handsome but has charm. He is a very kind and really lovely bloke. I do really like him and I think we will become friends if we get to meet often enough. As for more I do not know. I think he fancies me because of certain things he said about how he behaves with people he fancies and the way he behaved with me in line with what he said. Do I fancy him? Not really, but I am sensible to his charm and attracted by his personality, so perhaps if he manoeuvres his boat properly (he does sail after all !!!).....

A rather eventful week-end also as usual even when lot of things happen, nothing has really changed in my miserable life...

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Dropped


Dropped, originally uploaded by Zefrog.

Saturday, 5 May 2007

The Touch Typed Diary - Excitment

Some background to what follows can be found here. Other installments are here.

I started this as a way to train at touch typing (hence the title) which I have finally taken up learning more or less seriously. At first I was typing what nonsense came across my mind and deleted it once I had finished. Gradually, it just turned into a diary relating the events (not very numerous) of my life. This has also the advantage of keeping me relatively busy at work when I have nothing else to do which seem to happen rather frequently these days.

25 February 2002

Lots of unexpected things happened this week end. First of all we did not go out on Friday as it had been planned and I ended up having a quite night in. I had a reply from Matthew. A guy I met on Gaydar last Sunday who had not got back to me yet. He is completing a PHD in Oxford and if not downright cute has a certain charm. He is probably Jewish. I sent him a very flamboyant e-mail with lots of silly things in it; he will probably be scared by the weirdo that I am.

I went for a run on Saturday morning; also it seems to be as hard as usual, I also seem to be going faster (although I am not aware of doing it) as it takes me less and less time to run the same distance… Soon, with the days growing longer, I will be able to go after work and thus several times a week; well that’s the idea anyway.

The afternoon brought bad news. My computer just about gave up the ghost and I spent about three hours at my local computer repair shop. The people are quite nice there, but I do not know if they will remain so when they discover what’s in the bloody thing (starting with the desktop picture)…

The owner of the shop is a Turkish man from Cyprus. I still do not know whether it a virus or just old age that caused the problem. I should be able to get the computer back on Tuesday. In the meantime, I feel like I have lost a limb or something of the sort. There is so much information in there and so many thinks that I do with this thing that I would be quite lost without it now. The more daunting thing is that I might have to loose all that is in the computer and there are lots of data that I could not replace and/or spare… That would be a real disaster.

On Sunday I went with MFS to her monthly Buddhist meeting. I have been there three times already and am getting used to it although I still do not think I am going to start chanting. We had decided to go clubbing after that (on a Sunday night !!!) and had found a club that sounded interesting and not too expensive but when we go there we were told that it was closed to the general public and that we needed to be on a guest list to be able to come in. We were quite disappointed but had no other choice than to go back home. It eventually turned out to be the right decision and we both felt rather tired and sleepy by the time we got to my place! What sort of night birds are we, hey ?!

Tonight is the lecture at the Purcell Room and the meeting with P.. I had to send him an e-mail from MFS’s computer to tell him that I was without my machine for the moment…and gave him my phone number in case he needed to contact me. I feel quite excited at the idea of this meeting; a bit as if it was a date I suppose, which it is not really… bad !

Thursday, 3 May 2007

French Presidential Elections - Towards the Second Turn

Official logo of the French Republic

The first turn of the French presidential elections took place last week without any real surprise. The two favorites, Nicolas Sarkozy and Ségolène Royal were selected to fight it out in the second turn on 6th May. They promptly went back to campaigning.

With a record turnout of 85% (compared to the apparently low 72% at the previous elections in 2002), the extremes probably had little chance to make any significant inroad: Nicolas Sarkozy came first with 30.5% of votes, Ségolène Royal gained 25.7%, François Bayrou did well with 18.6% of votes (from his 2002 score of 6.8%) and Le Pen only got 11% of votes. Neither Greens nor Communists came over 5% of the votes. This means they will no get a refund of their campaign costs by the state.

Royal and Sarkozy are now waiting for Bayrou (the centrist) to endorse either of them Bayrou has decided to leave the suspense as it is and said that he can't make a decision for his voters.

As I think I mentioned on my previous post on the elections, I am not really aware of the exact policies of the candidates. I am registered to the electoral list with the French consulate here in London and as such received a round robin email from all four favorites in advance of the first vote (I have already received another one from Sarkozy this week and am expecting Royal's anytime now). I only took the time to read the first two emails I received; those of Bayrou and Sarkozy. While Bayrou's seemed fairly reasonable, offering concrete solutions to problems that seem to be facing expats (mostly stuff about children's schooling it seems), Sarkozy. which was longer as I recall, was nothing but empty and meaningless rethoric on the theme of his interest in us and our interest. I dread to thing what Le Pen's contains.

I am really happy that I don't have to choose between the two remaining candidates. On the one hand, the socialist Royal seems to me utterly without clout and while she claims to want change she also seems to want to keep her party's old policies. On the other hand, Sarkozy is percieved as (almost) economically liberal (being often called the French Thatcher, also he is probably nothing as bad) and he probably is what the French economy needs. He is however in no way socially liberal and I don't that that this is what French society, which is truely in crisis, needs.

Still, it would be rather amusing to have a first female president named Royal, considering how the République itself came to being.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

30th April Irony

I have been rather busy in the past few days, not spending much time at home and neglecting my blogging duties in the process. Had I been online on Monday I would no doubt have come up with a quick little post to mark the implementation of the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007, outlawing discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities services.

Ironically, in the light of all the protests from the Catholic Church and some Evangelical groups, together with this, come measures to outlaw discrimination on grounds of religion or belief.

The last and biggest irony perhaps is that Monday also marked the 8th anniversary of the bombing of the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho. Three people were killed and dozens were injured.


The Touch Typed Diary - Colleagues

Some background to what follows can be found here. Other installments are here.

I started this as a way to train at touch typing (hence the title) which I have finally taken up learning more or less seriously. At first I was typing what nonsense came across my mind and deleted it once I had finished. Gradually, it just turned into a diary relating the events (not very numerous) of my life. This has also the advantage of keeping me relatively busy at work when I have nothing else to do which seem to happen rather frequently these days.

22 February 2002

Yawn! I have only just arrived at work today and I am already more tired than if it was the end of the day…

I had a rather animated evening yesterday and am on my merry way to another one tonight.

First, straight after work I was given a lift by my boss to a trendy-ish bar on Camberwell Grove -called, appropriately if not originally, The Grove - for a leaving do. M. is retiring and even though I had had very little contact with her, she seemed quite keen on me tagging along to her party.

We were amongst the last to arrive and had to find seats in a corner and started to chat to each other. After a little while we were joined by one of my alter egos from another section, Z. and kept on chatting; talking about my boss’ experience with cancer and her desire to train to become a counsellor.

Z. leaves me slightly puzzled. A few months ago, we had an exchange the meaning of which I am still not sure I have grabbed. We were at reception, the two of us when, in comes another temp requiring to talk to Z. in private, to which Z. replies that it’s OK I am a “shapeshifter” like them… but they go away anyway. Now I interpreted the expression as some sort of outing. Later as we were alone again, I asked him what he meant by it to which he answered that it was how the receptionist called us from the name of a “species” from the Star Trek saga and left the explanation at that.

This two guys looked like they could be G. So I am very much confused as it does not seem to be the meaning of what he said…

A little before 8, my boss decided that she had to go as Buffy was about to start and offered me a lift which I accepted although Z. seemed to be wanting me to stay. I chose not to because I do not feel comfortable with him (probably because of the ambiguity I mentioned earlier) and because most of the time when we meet at work he is rather cold or ignoring towards me and it felt a bit like he wanted me to stay just to avoid being left alone.

There had been talk with J., the day before of going with the whole house to a gig in North London where the drummer of B.’s group was supporting a solo singer. J. had told me that they would be leaving around 7.30 and although I had not meant to stay long at the do, it was already too late when I looked at the time. I was therefore not expecting to see them when I got back home around 8.30.

They were just going out of the house and gave me just a few minutes to change before whisking me off with them. The pub we were going to is situated in Holloway (near the station). As usual in this sort of things, the music was too loud and the quality of the sound system rather dubious which rather marred the performance. We got back home around 11 and had a nice chat while watching the recording of a TV program featuring B.’s group. Went to bed rather late.

Tonight I was supposed to be going with MFS to the Fridge to celebrate her promotion but she sent me an E-mail to say she had broken up with her boyfriend and was not going out after all. J., B. and T. might have tagged along although nothing had been decided yet so we might end up going out anyway.

Just finished what was probably the weirdest sandwich I have ever had. I was brought to us by the people from Office Angels as they sometimes do since we are allowed a free meal each week and work a bit to far from their office to go and collect it.

The thing was made of “pain complet” with sunflower seeds on it. Inside were Cheddar, with (I think) sour cream (which I have just discovered and really like), onions, sesame seeds and….red beetroot !!!! Surprisingly enough it was actually quite nice although you certainly have to have a twisted mind to dream up such a combination.

Also, someone who probably does not like fish has given me a sandwich: smoked salmon and cucumber. The salmon in there was really amazing; it literally melts away in your mouth. Guess what though! With my usual luck with fish, I just had to find a bone! In a slice of salmon!!!!


Tuesday, 1 May 2007

The Touch Typed Diary - Wanderings

Some background to what follows can be found here. Other installments are here.

I started this as a way to train at touch typing (hence the title) which I have finally taken up learning more or less seriously. At first I was typing what nonsense came across my mind and deleted it once I had finished. Gradually, it just turned into a diary relating the events (not very numerous) of my life. This has also the advantage of keeping me relatively busy at work when I have nothing else to do which seem to happen rather frequently these days.

19 February 2002

Nothing very exciting happened last week. I had taken my Friday off as PFM was supposed to come over. She eventually decided that she could not. I therefore went to Bermondsey Antiques Market on Friday morning but I can not remember for the life of me what I did in the afternoon. Is that not sad, just a couple of days on?

In the evening as I was feeling a bit depressed and felt I needed to see people, I went to The Box, a bar in Seven Dials. I had been thinking about going to a bar at night for a while in the hope of meeting people but kept on postponing it.

Usually I feel rather down after having been to a G venue and not having met anyone, but for once I felt rather exhilarated on my way home. Did not meet anyone though, as usual but saw a couple of guys who were rather pleasing to the eye. The hunky barman that works there (Patrick, Australian, my age, massive and tanned) left almost as soon as I arrived, his shift probably ending at 10.

I went for a run on Saturday morning and spent the afternoon on the Internet updating the reading group’s website. I then went onto Gaydar in the hope of meeting someone again. I decided to try to log on to one of the chat rooms available there. I said hello several times and even asked if there were any regular of Trade, as I want to know at what time it closes, but nobody there took the trouble to answer. People just kept on talking nonsense. That was a rather distressing experience I have to say.

On Sunday afternoon, I went to the London Museum to finish the visit I had started with GSJ a few months ago. I noticed there what they call “nest” weights of which my parents own of couple. The one held in the museum collections was made in Nuremberg in the 16th century, the city having apparently specialised at that time in the making of these objects. There were quite a lot of G guys there although all of them, it seemed, in couple.

Once out of the museum, I took the tube back to Leicester Square and took a stroll in Soho via Seven Dials. I had more or less in mind to go to The Box again but once in front of the place, I got shy and just walked on.

While half way through Old Compton Street, some drumming coming from China town attracted my attention. I went closer to have a look. These were celebrations for the Chinese New Year. A “lion” was dancing on the doorsteps of shops and restaurants, the owners of which hung a sort of cabbage or salad and a red envelope (with money in it I believe) from the door frame. The lion then symbolically ate those before moving on to another shop.

At home I gave another shot at Gaydar and was slightly luckier this time as I got in touch with three guys. I still do not really know where this is going but that is an improvement. And as usual, the more interesting one is the less responding…

Yesterday saw another rehearsal with the LGMC, which prevented me to chat further with the guys I had met on Sunday. I will not be able to attend next Monday. It is a shame really as they will be auditioning for the position on Musical Director for the chorus but I have those tickets for a lecture at the Purcell Room and this will also be my first meeting in the flesh with P..

Things seem to be going quite well with him. We will probably not end up sentimentally entangled but that is probably for the best. It would be nice finally have a really good friend.