Thursday, 29 September 2005

Mrs P. Again

I was quite surprised to discover that Phyllis Pearsall, about whom I recently blogged, did not have an entry on Wikipedia.

She now has one...

Read about her choatic life HERE.

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Must Be Autumn

I can tell that Summer is over. Nothing to do with the cold weather, the rain and the wind we have had for the past week or so, nothing to do with the calendar, nothing to do with the students reappearing on the way to the university on my street, nothing to do with the fact that the guys have started to dress up and don't show so much flesh. Although now that you mention it...

What tells me that Autumn is upon us is amount of people joining my reading group this month. I am a founding member of the group. We had our first meeting in June 2001 and by September I had become the moderator of the group; creating the Yahoo! group for the mailing list and a website which I still update monthly. Looking at the record, we seem to be getting an average of two new member a month which means we built up a membership of over 70 now. Thankfully not everybody turns up at meetings and we are usually an ideal group of 4 to 10 people. Some members are I think just happy to get the reading suggestion and have never been to a meeting.

This month, we have had six new members, so far. We don't advertise for the group. WE are listed on search engines of course and Gay's Word (London's gay bookshop) link to us from their website but this is it. The only reason for this increase in new members is that people are turning to indoors activities. Must be Autumn....

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Currently Reading

Latin Moon in Manhattan - Jaime Manrique
Latin Moon in Manhattan by Jaime Manrique

Update: This is a book I discovered thanks to the reading group I moderate. To find outmore about the book follow the links to its dedicated page on the group's site. This was the book for October 2005.

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Wednesday, 28 September 2005

A Blue Plaque for Auntie Pig

Phillis Pearsall, known Auntie Pig by last Hong Kong Governor, Chris Patten, his family and others, is the heroine of the book I am currently reading. And a true heroine, she is.
Phillys Pearsall, MBE.
In 1935, at 29 and on her own, she walked all of London streets (the 23000 of them) and created the now ubiqitous and much loved A-Z guide. She was also an renonwed painter. Daughter of a Hungarian immigrant, she seems to have led a life of solitude but managed to keep her good spirit throughout driven by her will of steel.

Today, Southwark Council announced the results of their third blue plaques competitions,, which includes one for Phyllis at the house where she was born in Dulwich.

More about Mrs P. and the company she founded.

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Monday, 26 September 2005


Some very frustrated news about Visible, the magazine I am trying to launch with Slightly Lost. Althoug we have had some very encouraging and enthusiastic responses from every one we have been talking with about it, it seem the project might not happen for several months now. We have already managed to "sell" the whole of the planned print run of 75000 copies. Last week, we had close to 3000 hits on the website. And this is happening without almost any promotion of the title. That is the good news.

The bad news is that the person who was going to sell the advertising space in the magazine, has cried out and has left us in a lurch. This is an essential part of the project as its funding rests upon it. And to be honest with the sort of news I have detailed above, the selling of the space should relatively straight forward. We are now therefore looking (quite desperately) for someone who would have the time, skills and interest to join the team and actually get us that money.

The responsibilities of the job go as follows:
- To recognise and contact advertisers with the aim of selling advertising space in the paper edition.
- To assist in developing the database of potential advertisers.
- To maintain the database by updating it regularly with contacts details and new contacts.
- To undertake such other duties commensurate with the level and duties of the posts as may be required.

This is a free lance position, with a 10% commission on all advertising sales generated. There are a few grands to be made there.

We welcome applications from all areas of the community.

Contact the publisher if you are interested.

Sunday, 25 September 2005

Sunday Mulling

The past week has not been a very nice one to say the least. In addition to the fiasco of my application to that secondment position, I have been feeling quite lonely. Slightly Lost who is my only close friend and certainly the only person I communicate regularly with, has been otherwise engaged this week. I have reverted to my old ways (before I met Slightly and we started to meet up several times a week), which means doing things on my one to try and keep myself entertained and save myself from thinking too much about my situation.

- Monday was a Chorus rehearsal.
- On Tuesday, I went to the cinema to see Yes;
- on Wednesday, I want on a guided walk of the area where I live; I had a meeting on Thursday (which did not happen properly due to other people having lives: we were not quorate and could therefore not take decisions);
- I wasted my Friday evening on the internet, staring at my screen, willing people on Gaydar to look at my profile, moving from one chat room to the next;
- on Saturday, I went for a longish walk in the neighbourhood, taking a few pictures on the way. In the evening I went to a concert of Early Music with someone I know at Southwark Cathedral.

I find myself in a very strange place at the moment, trying to reconcile the dichotomy between my feelings and my observations. On the one hand I feel myself yearning for the company and intimacy of a man, but on the other hand, and on a more rational level I find myself thinking that love and relationships are just an opportunity for complications, heartache, sufferings and pain. This is an intuition I have had for several years and my observations of people and my readings certainly seem to support the argument. The book I am reading at the moment being a very good example.

This is all compounded by the fact that I am not even in a situation where the dilemma is likely to surface. Not only do I find myself incapable of relating to people (even though I want to), I do not seem to meet anyone with whom I would want to consider a relationship, let alone someone who would consider it themselves. I am not just talking about looks although there is a problem there too.

Where the sight of a good-looking man in the street used to bring me some sort of vicarious pleasure which I actively sought, I found this week that I should probably give up on this favoured pass-time of mine: it only seems to be bringing pain; a sad yearning for something I know I can not reach.

Yet despite all this, as I said, I haven’t found a way to give up on this hope that someday my prince will come, on this need for relations with my fellow human beings. Although I am obviously not able to achieve either of these.

After some time wondering about it, I think I have finally pin-pointed the reason why I attend saunas. I started to go about once a month in 2002. I was introduced to them by an ex of mine. At first, I found the experience to be fun but also instructive (while being aware that it could be terribly frustrating and unfulfilling); teaching me thinks about myself and what I liked. It was also good for my ego, I found: finally here was a place where people looked at me and I could find a positive response from people I fancied. There was also at the time a few faces I saw there regularly with whom I got chatting. There was a limited social side to the experience which was a realy bonus.

Unfortunately, it seems that saunas have stopped providing all this for me. The regular faces have disappeared without being replaced by new ones. More often than not I come home without having "encountered" anyone. Still I am still going. This usually happens when and because I am bored and lonely on a week-end. for a while I was going there because there was the hope of an interaction with someone. I am not really fussed about sex in any case. I just wanted to make contact with someone.

This was the case some months ago anyway, when the charm had worn off but I still managed to meet people regularly there. Now that this too has wained away, I have managed to silence my hopes and longings to simply going there and enjoy the facility with the knowledge that if I am lucky something might happen but that it probably won't.

I now need to achieve this in everyday life. Enjoy the facility but not expect anything for it.

Thursday, 22 September 2005

New Pics

I have uploaded a few new pics to my online photo album. Please feel free to have a look at them HERE.


updated on 18 October

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Wednesday, 21 September 2005

As Expected...

By email:

You were pipped to the post I'm afraid, and the position has been offered to an outside candidate. You were appointable, and are a reserve if the candidate declines our offer for any reason.

You had no major areas of weakness [...], and you did very well at the tests; it's just the other candidate did slightly better. As a tip for the future, you ought to sell yourself more. We all knew that you must have done more, and contributed to improvements more than you said. It would help if you could have given more examples of how pro-active you had been in the past. As I say, the other candidate just gave fuller answers and clearly had been a PA before, and so gained a slightly higher score than the rest.

Thank you very much for expressing an interest in the post, it was very much appreciated. Please feel free to pop up if you would like to discuss your interview, or perhaps a forthcoming interview elsewhere, as I am very happy to assist.

Tuesday, 20 September 2005


Via Republic of T., comes this silly little test:

You Are 50% Boyish and 50% Girlish

You are pretty evenly split down the middle - a total eunuch.
Okay, kidding about the eunuch part. But you do get along with both sexes.
You reject traditional gender roles. However, you don't actively fight them.
You're just you. You don't try to be what people expect you to be.

To be honest, I was expecting to be more on the "girlish" side of things...
Am butch after all (well almost!)...

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That Old Chestnut

As I was getting ready to leave the house this morning, listening as usual to the Today Programme, my attention was attracted by an item on the problems experienced by the touring production of Jerry Springer, The Opera. Stephen Green, chair of the integrist group Christian Voice was being interviewed. I have blogged before on this story (see below) which has been going on for months now. It seems that, in another misguided effort to do a godly deed (why can these people not devote their time and energy to proper Charity work?), Christian Voice has exerciced pressure on the theatres which were planning to host the show. There has apparently been death threats too, although it is not clear who they came from.

I do have a problem with the Today Programme interviewing Mr Green. We don't know with precision what his following is (by all accounts it is fairly limited) and giving him air time on what is perhaps the most influencial radio show in the country is giving much more credit than he deserves. At the same time, it might prove a good way to discredit his views. Simply listening to the man is, I think enough, to convince oneself of the ridicule and excess of his views. What is slightly more worrying however is that when given the opportunity in this morning's interview, and although he claimed that his organisation is a peaceful one, Mr Green did not deign explicitly condemn the death threats I refer to above. This should have been one of the first statements for him to make this morning. He did not do make that statement.

"Mighty god" forbids that this country should find itself on the same slippery slop as the US where religious fanatics are more and more vocal and defiant of both human and god's laws.

Previous posts on Christian Voice and the Jerry Springer story:
Christian Voice?
Jerry Springer, The Saga
Shutting the Voices Up

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Monday, 19 September 2005


Today marks the fourth anniversary of my coming to work with my current employer. I was there originally as a temp for one month only. I have been permanent here past two and a half years.

Today is also another interview day for me. In a return to a more natural order of things, I will be in the hot seat. I am applying for a secondment position (for a minimum duration of 3 months, "to be reviewed after this period") with my current employer. Although the job title for the position is "Legal Secretary", they are basically trying to get a PA on the cheap. I would be supporting two senior lawyers. Nothing I haven't more or less done already. However there are four other candidates for the position who presumably are fully fledged legal secretaries already.

I have done tests already where I did rather well, except for the typing test. My hope is that not so much typing will be required that this will have a big influence on the final decision. I am also hoping that my results to the other tests (comprehension, spelling and classification) are significantly higher than that of the others. There is also the bonus point that Both interviewers (the lawyers I would be supporting) know me and I think have a good image of me and my work (I have actually already worked for one of them).

Let's hope that today will prove as portentous as that same automnal day four years ago...

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Saturday, 17 September 2005

What now?

I was a witness to life, sliding past without touching, without being touched,
grasping at straws, the sand of time only between my fingers.

But inside I am now crumbling. Caving in.
Truth has caught up behind the wall of my consciousness 

and pushes me into my emptiness.

The sun goes up, the light goes down.
I am in search of respite.

Life slides without me; I lay, aware and hopeless. 

Flailing and blind to the road. Immune to salvation.
Unanswered question.

Moi. Getting in the mood to go clubbing for the first time in months: the wrong way...

Originally posted on 16 september, 8.45pm.

Wednesday, 14 September 2005

My First Interview

I am a bit nervous. Later today, in my new quality of editor for visible, I will be doing my first interview. This time, I won't be the interviewee (that's in job interviews) but the interviewer...

My first victim is going to be Sue Sanders, a lesbian activist at the helm of Schools Out and LGBT History Month. The occasion is the press launch of next year's edition of the Month and her receiving an award for her action.

I sort of know Sue a bit and she is very supportive of visible so it should be ok. I have a (longish) list of questions ready and hopefully they are not too silly. After that I will have to write the article, which I think will take the form of a narative including the gist of what Sue said with the occasional quote and hopefully sprinkled with a few witty remarks and astute observations.

Well... wish me luck...

Tuesday, 13 September 2005

Visibly Musical

Even if, as some of my readers pointed out to me, it never stopped me before, not much has been happening recently in my miserable life warranting to be broadcast to the ether. No more lousy dates, no more breath-taking encounters. Hence my now two weeks long silence.

Chorus has started again after the summer break and we are gearing up towards Christmas already. We had a new intake of member last week and last night I was assigned to Buddy up with one of the "newbies". I haven't had much of a chance to talk to him but it has transpired that he has had some training as a counter tenor. I shall have a few questions to ask him about this as I am particularly fond of this type of voice.

Starting the Chorus again also means meetings to go to. Last night, we "re-launched" the Steering Committee in an attempt to generate more involvment from members. Although it is not exactly how it had been planned originally, I ended up having to intorduce my committee and its work to about a hundred people. While I would have been ok doing this, had I had a script, I felt I did not do too good a job of it (which is ironic for a marketing person). When I am stressed my accent comes back to the fore, which in turn makes me self-conscious and I tend to forget what I want to talk about... which I did. Not an agreable experience.

In another field, I have been asked by Slightly-Lost to take part into his new project. He is involved with organising LGBT History Month and, as a fundraiser, has come up with the idea of publishing a free national quarterly magazine on LGBT History. I have been made editor of the new title, visible, while Slightly is the publisher and designer and a all load of other things beside. We are appealing to people we know to contribute with articles and it seems to be going quite well. First issue is planned for December 2005.

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