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Posts Tagged ‘booze’

  1. A day in the life

    May 15, 2013 by superlative

    Blog every day in May topic – A day in the life

    It is suggested that you do this topic by taking a photo every hour in your day and uploading it. Well it’s 4.20pm when I’m starting this and I haven’t taken any photos yet and the camera on my phone is shit, so I’m not doing that. You’re getting good old fashioned text instead and you can be grateful.

    Essential background to this post – Mum and Dad have been visiting again, staying in the flat upstairs. They arrived on Sunday afternoon and are leaving today. I was feeling ready for them to go around lunchtime yesterday and I’m mentally exhausted.

    OK? So here’s my day.

    Hear Chris’ alarm clock. Wake up. Realise I don’t have to get up. Snuggle down smugly. Remember Mum and Dad are here. Snuggle down less smugly.

    Get up an hour later. Have an hour left until I’m required to report upstairs for Diligent Son Duty. Wash, dress, drink tea. Savour the peace.

    Go up to see Mum and Dad. Help them pack up their things before their check out time at 11. Mum goes for a rest.

    Check weather forecast. Windy and showers. Mull over what to do.

    Take Mum and Dad to Brighton Garden Centre, because it’s the only indoor thing I can think of. Wander around looking for anything with a cat on that Mum can buy. Check out the cafe to see if they want to have a cup of tea there. It has people in it and is noisy. Mum does not approve, so we don’t stay.

    Drive to Brighton seafront. Visit JAG Art Gallery. Mum makes assistant man get out eight different stained glass trinket things so she can find the colour she likes best. Doesn’t buy one. Says she’ll ‘come back’. She won’t come back.

    Go into main part of gallery. Heart Radio is playing through speakers. Some artists are talking and laughing in the corner. “Why do people always have to make noise?” Mum laments. “I don’t know, because they’re normal?” I think but do not say. We buy a £6 print of a painting of some poppies for Mum.

    Go outside to ‘look at the sea’. It is windy and cold. Look at some dubious cafés for possible lunch. They all have music on but Mum wants to go to one anyway. I know she won’t like it and my patience is wearing a little thin, so I discourage her and we return home.

    Buy baguettes from the Real Patisserie. Eat them at home in my quiet flat. It’s not very exciting but it’s just easier.

    Mum and Dad start dithering about whether to drive home at 2.30pm (YES YES YES) or 7pm. These are the only available options to avoid the traffic, apparently. I subtly steer them towards 2.30pm, because it’s cold and wet outside and I can’t think of anything else to do that’s indoors, quiet and not too energetic. Mum goes for a lie down. I fall asleep on the sofa. Something about having them around makes me want to sleep. It’s like a sleepfield.

    They decide to go at 2.30pm, Mum somewhat reluctantly. I see them off with a cheery wave, then do a little dance in the kitchen, put on music really loudly and clatter about with crockery in celebration of all the things I’m allowed to do again.

    Potter about in my living room. Wait for Chris to come home. Renew our car insurance for something to do. Save us £180 by shopping around, snaps to me. Start writing this blog post.

    Chris comes home and we have Raspberry Martinis with fresh raspberries floating in them. I get a text from Mum saying they’re back safely and shall we speak at 7 on the phone. “YOU JUST LEFT! WHAT HAVE WE GOT TO SAY?” I think.

    Chris and I have dinner – Dr Oetker pizza with potato waffles and some salad stuff he obliges me to have so my diet is marginally more balanced – and we watch an episode of Men Behaving Badly from our DVD box set. Gary is concerned he’s only slept with three women and Tony throws up over the edge of a diving board.

    Play Tomb Raider for half an hour. It’s the new one and it’s really good. I’ve done 98% of it now, just need to find some stupid necklace things to get the last 2%. Might play it through from the start again when I’m finished now I know how to play it without being inept and getting eaten by wolves.

    Speak to Mum on the phone. They had a good journey back and can I look at what dates are available in the flat upstairs in September. THAT’S JUST FOUR MONTHS AWAY. I agree to look but consider saying it’s fully booked.

    Watch Chris play Dragon Age Origins for a bit. His character is in mouse form for a large part of it. I’m not sure why.

    Watch the Apprentice. They make some appalling furniture and don’t deserve to be alive. They should bury them in that stupid box they invented.

    Try to stream an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race but fail due to rubbish internetness, so have to forgo my fix of drag queens.

    Put my stuff out for the morning. Wonder how I’m going to do my formerly full-time job in just one day this week, because of the days off I’ve taken to entertain Mum.

    Read a bit of A Caribbean Mystery in bed. Decide I’d quite like to be Miss Marple.


  2. Ten things that make me happy

    May 14, 2013 by superlative

    Blog every day in May topic – Ten things that make you really happy

    1) Cocktails



    I do love a nice cocktail. It’s a real treat to have one when you get home from work. Or when it gets to cocktail hour at the weekend. Or before you go out. Or if you go into the kitchen and forget what you went in for so you just make a cocktail because that’s as good a reason as any.

    2) Cocktail sausages


    Thinking about cocktails has reminded me that I also LOVE cocktail sausages. I have a real problem with them. I could just eat and eat and eat them until I’m sick and I’d still want to eat more. I love them when they’re really cold, and when they don’t taste too much like real sausages but more like artificial bread and meat confections. They don’t have to have sticks in them; in fact they’re better without as they just slow you down. Oh god I love them. I just want to cram more and more of them into my face until the tears start to flow down my cheeks except it’s not tears it’s sausage grease.

    3) The opening bars of Do Your Thing by Basement Jaxx

    This song never fails to make me happy. The beat just makes me want to dance, and when I hear the first couple of bars in a club bitches better make way because the dancefloor is MINE. It was also our first dance at our wedding, so hearing it will always bring back lots of happy memories.

    4) A nice cup of tea

    Cup of tea with a biscuit

    I do regard having a cup of tea as a bit of a treat. It’s just so warm and cosy and it makes me feel good inside. What? That’s not weird. Go away and leave me alone with my tea, you.

    5) A jacket potato with baked beans and cheese



    Speaking of things which are all warm and make me feel good inside, few meals are as satisfying as a nice jacket potato. It’s like a beansy, cheesey, potato hug. I love it.

    6) Grey joggers

    Grey joggers

    Speaking further of things which make me feel warm inside, PRAISE THE LORD for grey joggers. They’re just so clingy and indiscreet, and they have livened up many a walk on the beach for me. They make me very happy indeed.

    7) Waking up without a hangover on a Sunday


    Having a hangover on Sundays probably shouldn’t be the norm in my life, but let’s face it, it totally is. It happens so often that on the weekends where I don’t have a hangover I wake up and think ‘Oh. Well this is pleasant.’ You can actually just… do stuff on a Sunday, before 3pm, without having a headache, or feeling sick, or wanting to die. It’s marvellous.

    8) Adding my savings up


    I’ve always liked counting my money. As a child I had a locking savings box in the shape of a pirate’s treasure chest. It even had a secret drawer in the bottom for putting EXTRA SECRET savings in. I loved it, and I loved getting all the money out and counting it up. What’s the point in saving if you’re not going to count it in little piles like a Victorian workhouse owner? And then when you’ve finished counting it you put it back in the treasure chest where it belongs.

    9) Putting things in alphabetical order


    On a similar note, I love putting things in alphabetical order. It’s so satisfying. Chris asked me to do him a favour and put the 100 references at the end of his masters dissertation into alphabetical order for him, and he said ‘Sorry, I know it’s boring, but you’re quicker at it than me’. Little did he know, I LOVED IT and quite wanted him to muddle them all up again afterwards so I could do it again.

    10) Being praised


    I love getting praised and I’ll fish for it shamelessly like a whoreish pomeranian. Sometimes when I’m halfway through something at work but it isn’t quite finished yet, I’ll take it to show my boss so they can praise me and tell me how good it is so far, because then I know they’ll have to do it again when it’s finished, so I get double. I like everyone to realise how clever I am and then say so repeatedly. One of the things I miss most about being in education is submitting something to be marked and the feeling of validation you get when it comes back with a good grade on it. I just want to be told I’m a good boy and have chocolate buttons thrown into my mouth.


  3. What I do

    May 6, 2013 by superlative

    Blog every day in May topic – If you couldn’t answer with your job, how would you answer the question, ‘what do you do’?

    Hmm, this is a tricky one. What do any of us do, apart from our jobs or being in education? I just added it up and going to work (including travel and lunch hours and things) takes up just under half of my waking hours each week. It actually feels like far more than that so I’m a bit surprised, but I suppose you can’t argue with a calculator. So anyway, if I eliminate those hours I’m left with sleeping and whatever I do in between sleeping and going to work. I’m not putting sleeping as my answer, so here are some of the things that I do when I’m not sleeping and not at work and that make up who I am:

    I eat
    I love eating, and I really love eating out. If I could afford it and it wouldn’t make me massive, I’d eat out every single day. I like eating with friends, and finding new and delicious things and then eating them as often as possible. I don’t really cook very much, but I bake a bit and I like that you get a nice cake as a reward for your hard work when you do it.

    I drink cocktails
    I probably drink a bit more than I should, but I do like a nice cocktail after work or at the weekends. We have a bar area in our kitchen and I get quite excited when I see Chris is doing something over there as it might mean I’m going to get a drink in a minute. Sometimes when I’m sitting on the sofa a Martini will just materialise over my shoulder (the kitchen is behind me) and I am informed that it is Cocktail Hour. Who wouldn’t love that?

    I learn bits of languages then stop and pick a different one
    Languages used to be my major passion, but I don’t do this one quite as much as I used to. I do still love them though, and I’ve started lots of different languages over the years. The beginners bit of learning a language is the easy bit you can do on your own, and I generally learn enough to be able to talk a little bit about myself and to get the gist of simple texts and to understand how the grammar works. The grammar is the bit I like best really, and once you understand that you only need a dictionary to be able to make your way through most texts, even if you have to go really slowly. I find there is only so far you can go with self study though, so unless I do a proper course in a language I tend to stall at this point and then just start another one a little while later. The only language I’d say I really speak properly is French, and I can sort of wing it in Italian as long as they don’t say anything unexpected. I don’t mind that I’m not brilliant at any of the others though, it’s the learning of them that I like rather than their usage anyway.

    I look after Chris
    This is a bit of a funny one, because Chris doesn’t really need any looking after. He’s very low maintenance generally. I try to make sure I look after him a bit though and I devote quite a bit of energy to considering what might make him happy. I help him with things, just little jobs and favours really, as much as I can, so that he thinks that I’m useful and worth having around for a bit longer. I’m the only one who knows how to work our washing machine, and I’m holding that as my trump card as I’m sure he can’t do without that. If they ever invent a voice activated washing machine I’m fucked.

    I support my Mum (and Dad)
    This takes up more of my time than it really should. If my Mum is stressed or anxious, she rings me up. If she needs something looked up on the internet, she rings me up. If she’s bored or bickering with my Dad, she rings me up. If her printer won’t turn on, she rings me up. I’ve tried to be as kind and helpful as I can to them, and to be a supportive son since Mum got ill about 12 years ago, but I’ve sort of turned myself into a crutch for them and that’s probably not very good as I don’t know how they’d manage without me now. Mum says ‘I don’t know how I’d manage without you’ to me quite often, so it’s true. They would just manage, of course, because people’s stress expands as far as the people who will listen to it. People come to rely on however much support is available to them. But if I’m talking about what I ‘do’, I do this quite a lot.

    I administrate things
    I look after a lot of the administrative things in our life, and I wouldn’t want to give up control of them even if I could. I sort out the bills, I did all the mortgage and legal stuff when we bought our flat, I research where we can get the best rate on our savings and then move them around when needed. I could easily steal all of Chris’ money if I wanted to, because he trusts that I’ll put it somewhere safe and give it back to him if he asks for it. I like putting things in alphabetical order and arranging books on shelves (the correct way is to pull them all forwards until they are all flush with one another – none of this some shoved in more than others business). I suppose part of me doing all this is related to the section above about looking after Chris, because his job means he can’t make phone calls in the day or look things up on the internet whenever he wants, so it makes sense for me to do it. But also I just LIKE it. I like order. That’s why I like grammar – it’s ordered, and all the words have to line up in their proper places or be executed by red pen firing squad. I used to work in a library, and after university I was an administrator for quite a few years, and it suited me.

    So what do I do? I eat nice things and drink nice things and sit with Teach Yourself Swedish on my lap. In between I file things and look things up and try to help the people I love by offering them administrative services. I don’t think I’ve ever summed myself up better in two sentences.

  4. Sitges and Mathsges

    August 17, 2012 by superlative

    We had a very nice trip away to Sitges at the start of the summer holidays. We haven’t had a proper holiday in ages, not since we went to New York in 2010, so it was lovely to go somewhere new and get a bit of sun.

    We haven’t been to Sitges before, but some friends recommended it to us as being ‘like Gran Canaria but much classier’, which is a fairly accurate description of it. It’s very gay, for those of you who don’t know, and has 20 or more gay bars and clubs. But while Gran Canaria is full of broken pavements, restaurants where you sit on patio furniture, and the gay bars are all in a car park-like concrete monstrosity, Sitges is an old Spanish village next to Barcelona with lovely wide promenades, palm trees, and lots of old buildings with little balconies. It’s also only a couple of hours away by plane as opposed to four hours to Gran Canaria; and when you can only fly during the school holidays, halving the time you’re stuck in a metal tube full of ungrateful little brats is a definite bonus.

    We stayed at the Hotel Melia, which was a bit further away from the centre of town than many of the hotels, but it was really nice. We had a beautiful view of a little cove thing from our balcony:

    And the hotel had a nice big pool and lawn area to lounge in during the day time. Sitges has lots of beaches, and that’s where everyone goes if they don’t have a pool at their hotel (most hotels don’t seem to), but I did find them quite crowded and the wind chucked the sand up into your face. So having the pool was great, and then we could just go for walks on the beach when we felt like it. This is me on a walk on the beach, see:

    We were only there for five nights, but that was plenty for me. It was boiling hot (88 degrees in the day, 70 at night), and I always find our holidays exhausting because we’re out drinking every night. After five days my body was in full rebellion and demanding I return to work just so I could have a rest.

    We enjoyed lots of brightly coloured cocktails:

    And I tried out my first foam party. That was another recommendation from our friends, who told us that the gay foam parties are the place to be, as all the guys are hot and people get all sexy in the foam. The parties don’t start until 2am, which meant Chris had to drag me a bit because I’m quite sleepy by that time, and in the end the one we went to wasn’t actually that sexy because there was no one there. We were just unlucky I think because we picked a night when it was quiet. We still had a good time anyway, dancing and messing about in the foam – which came up to my shoulders actually, so considering I’m 6 foot 3 I think it must be terrifying if you’re short. You’d never be able to find your way back out!

    I would definitely go again, and I’d go back to the same hotel I think. It was just nice to treat ourselves too; we never go away anywhere, and other people seem to have holidays all the time.

    My other news so far this summer is that I passed my maths course and I got a distinction! I wasn’t expecting that at all, having bitched on about how the exam wasn’t fair and was practically impossible to finish in the time allowed. I was hoping for a grade 2 pass (the one below a distinction), and in fairness I think I probably got a mark in that bracket, but they must have adjusted the grading curve or something to take account of all the complaints they received. I’m very happy anyway, and because I’ve completed two maths modules now I’ve been awarded an undergraduate certificate in mathematics. That means, if I really want to, I can put Cert Maths (Open) after my name, which is nice.

    Unfortunately I have decided I can’t carry on with my maths next year. The next two courses are both 60 credits per year. The last two were 30 credits, and having checked with a tutor I’ve been told the increased credit value means the courses more than double in workload. I just can’t manage that, not when this was meant to be a hobby that I was doing for fun. I’d have to be doing a couple of hours of maths every night, which would seriously eat into my sitting around and drinking cocktails time. It’s a bit stupid, I think, that they’ve weighted the courses like this, because it has created an impasse for me that means I’ll be abandoning my Open University studies and they won’t get any more money out of me. Silly people. So anyway, I think I’ll try to find something else to study. Either a distance learning course with someone else, or a self-study language course or something. I’m not sure yet.

    So that’s my summer so far. Plus the Olympics of course, which were AMAZING and which I enjoyed far, far more than I ever thought I would. I’m really proud of how well it all went, and how brilliantly our competitors did. It made me want to do some more sporting activities, maybe even something like volleyball, but I expect I’ll fade back into my general level of lazy inactivity after a little while and I’ll forget to pursue it. The Paralympics start soon, and I’ll try to watch a bit of that, but I don’t think I’ll be as absorbed by it as I was the main Olympics – I’ve got sport fatigue already from watching nothing else for two weeks.

    Anyway, it’s sunny out, so I’m off to tan/burn/look at hot boys. Happy Friday all.

  5. Brighton Pride

    August 17, 2011 by superlative

    I have been going to Brighton Pride since 2000, and this year’s was one of the best I have been to in absolutely ages.

    After the last few years of failing abysmally to cover their costs, the organising committee took the controversial decision to fence off the festival part of the event and charge people to get in this year. Many people threw up their hands in horror.

    “It’s Pride, it’s meant to be inclusive! Inclusive means free!” some said.

    “Well I’m not fucking going then. I’ll go and have a free party on the beach instead,” others grumbled.

    But after all the complaining, and the initially slow ticket sales, I have to say that I think ticketing the event was a near total success.

    Last year, Preston Park was awful. Absolutely awful, and I did not enjoy it at all. Well, looking back at my blog post I apparently did enjoy it regardless, but it was still awful. 120,000 people packed into the park, to the point where you could barely move and had to spend most of the time pushing through a huge throng of people, trying not to trip over the ankle-deep litter on the floor. There was also quite a large proportion of people who weren’t there to celebrate diversity; they were just there to get smashed. There were large groups of drunk kids and street-drinker types, and it really didn’t feel like a particularly nice place to be at times.

    So halving the numbers (I suspect the final total will be 60,000 or fewer in the park this year) was great. It got rid of all the people who just wanted to get trashed, and allowed the people who were there to do some astounding things like: use the toilet without having to wait for half an hour; get to a bar and buy a drink without having to wait for half an hour; sit on the grass; actually walk around.

    They also had a live music stage again, for the first time in a good few years, and it has been something I’ve always missed. I’m not that into standing in a sweaty dance tent jiggling up and down to house music at 2pm, so a music stage provided a much more civilised place where you could spend some time and enjoy yourself without needing to do a lot.

    They had some very good acts on too, with the biggest names being Alexandra Burke and Joe McElderry. Sadly, in the end we couldn’t be bothered to wait for either of them to come on before we sloped off home, even though we had planned to. They just put them on too late – they were scheduled for 5.15pm, but by 6pm there was still no sign of them so we got bored. But before that, I very much enjoyed seeing Sonia (yes Sonia! From the 80s! No, she’s not dead!), and Booty Luv, and our new favourite boyband: Boy Banned. It’s not the best name for a boyband, but they were very entertaining, and I have a bit of a crush on Ethan now. He’s the one in the vest, here’s a picture:

    I really hope that Pride made enough money from the ticket sales to cover their costs this year, and that they keep the overall format in the future. I think it’s quite telling that I have pretty much never put anything in the collection buckets at Pride in the whole time I’ve been going (although I do donate via the fundraising the local bars do), so I have myself been part of the problem with it not making enough money. But once they stuck a ticket price on it, I paid up and don’t regret it. I’m sure I won’t be the only one. So if it makes it work financially it can only be a good thing.

    As well as the park being better this year, I also thought the parade was unusually good, with a large number of floats and some good outfits.

    The street parties in St James’s Street were okaaaay, but I found them over-crowded and afflicted by some of the pikey street-drinker types I mentioned earlier.

    Chris spent most of the street party doing underwear modelling in a shop window as a favour to some friends, so that was nice for him.

    The other best bit for me though was the club night we went to on Saturday night. It was an old school return of Dynamite Boogaloo, our favourite club night for years and years that they stopped doing in 2009. And it was amazing! So much fun. It’s exactly our sort of music (because our sort of music was pretty much molded by Boogaloo anyway), and we knew quite a few people there, and I just danced like a crazy fool for hours and hours and hours. I wasn’t even particularly drunk; I was just drunk on Boogaloo excitement I think.

    So yes, that was my weekend, and it was really good. Thanks to Brighton Pride and to Boogaloo Stu, and to all the hot boys who swanned around in various states of undress throughout. It was really rather pleasant.

  6. Brum Brum Birminghum

    June 7, 2011 by superlative

    I had a really nice, if extremely busy, weekend that was split between two different birthdays up in Birmingham and down in Brighton. It was lots of travelling and I was completely knackered by Sunday night, but we managed to pack loads of fun things into three days.

    We drove up to Birmingham on Friday and spent two nights staying in a hotel up there. I’ve been to Birmingham a couple of times before, but I’d hardly seen any of it because they were both for specific events that we didn’t really leave. So we decided to go up a day early this time and stay in a hotel so we could do our own thing, and so we could have a bit of a gay night out on Friday before the birthday bash on Saturday.

    Birmingham seems to have a really good gay scene with loads of venues and stuff going on. I’ve been to the Nightingale before and thought it was one of the best clubs I’ve been to (I was swayed by it having a DINER inside it, and I always like clubs with lots of floors). We didn’t go there this time, but we met up with some friends and did quite a bit of bar hopping, including the Angel, the Loft Lounge, the Village Inn and Eden, and they all seemed pretty good.

    Often when we’ve been up to other cities I’ve been quite disappointed by the paucity of the gay scene, with only one or two venues to choose from and not that many people in them. That’s because we’re spoilt living in Brighton though, where there’s an unusually busy scene, so it’s a bit unfair to compare them really. Birmingham seems just as good as Brighton though, with a few clubs and lots of bars, and I’d happily go up there for a night out again.

    The shopping was also really good, and easily better than Brighton due to the massive Bullring shopping centre. It seemed to have absolutely everything in or around it. And we had some really nice meals out, so overall it was a great place for a trip away. It’s not the prettiest of cities – it’s a bit industrial in places, and some of it looks really run down – so somewhere like Bristol is much nicer visually. But it is big and bustly and I really enjoyed it. I also quite like that I’m slowly managing to see more of the UK; a few years ago I’d hardly been anywhere outside of the south east.

    I didn’t enjoy quite so much having to drag myself out of bed at 8am on Sunday with a bit of a hangover and hit the road again to get us back down to Brighton for the second birthday. We made it though, and were in time for the seafront lunch and boat trip that our friend had arranged.

    Those we both lovely summery things to do, and you’d have thought you’d be fairly safe booking them for a birthday in June. Alas not, as it decided to rain pretty much continuously throughout the whole day, which really put a crimp on it all. I felt very sorry for my friend whose 30th birthday ended up being so wet. It was fine though, still good fun, and the boat trip was amusing in the wet and certainly memorable. It just wasn’t really what she’d hoped for – a lovely sailing trip in the sunshine with champagne and sunglasses and all those sorts of thing. So thanks for that, British weather.

    This is an arty pic of me trying to enjoy the Volks Railway in the rain:

    I’ve got a really busy June with stuff booked in for practically every weekend, so I know I’ll probably be really tired by the end of it all. It’s all fun things though, so I shouldn’t complain. And at some point we’ll hopefully get a moving date – that might be more likely to be July now – and then I can start planning all the stuff for that!

    Busy busy busy. It’s really not natural for someone as dull as me.

  7. So long, disappointing gravy train

    December 10, 2010 by superlative

    Yesterday was my office Christmas lunch, where we all swan off for the afternoon to a restaurant and enjoy a three-course meal together and then don’t bother going back to work. Up until now, and somewhat unusually in my opinion, this has always been paid for by my employer, which gives the slightly bizarre situation of me getting a free meal and actually being PAID for the time it takes me to eat it.

    But alas, in these times of stringent funding for Higher Education the university has finally twigged that this is probably a rather expensive treat for its 2,500 staff, and they have pulled the rug from the funding. They tried to pull it for this year but were a bit slow off the mark, so most offices have still gone out for a meal on the understanding that it’s the last year it’s going to be paid for. I don’t mind really, because before working here I’d always just paid for my own Christmas lunch at work and never thought twice about it. The only reason it’s a bit of a shame is that they do basically nothing else here to reward staff, and so £25 a head once a year is in my opinion a fairly cheap way of thanking people for working hard. But anyway, it’s done now, and so the gravy train has chuffed off into the sunset.

    This year we went to the Seven Dials Restaurant, and had some pretty good food overall. Inevitably some people found things to complain about (how can you complain about food you’re being paid to eat??) but I almost always like the food I’m given, so I was quite happy.

    I enjoyed chicken liver parfait with fig marmalade and brioche:

    And then a GORGEOUS beef brisket with horseradish mashed potatoes and glazed carrots. The potato looks a bit like an egg here, but I can assure you it was potato.

    And then dessert was a white chocolate panna cotta with dark chocolate ice cream. The ice cream could have been slightly better presented so it didn’t look like dung, but it still tasted nice.

    I don’t think my food was as good as last year to be honest (see Yummy Tin Drummy), but lots of people hated that meal for some reason. Something about too much salt I believe, not that I could taste any salt after four glasses of wine.

    After our meal we generally go for some drinks afterwards at whatever pubs are nearby, and unfortunately it always ends up slightly disappointing (sorry anyone who works with me who is reading this, but you know the drinks this year were disappointing, it’s not just me). We’re quite a disparate group in many ways and we don’t socialise often, so it’s hard for people to get enthusiastic and excitable when we do. It also doesn’t help that our Christmas lunches are invariably on a Wednesday afternoon, and no pubs are exactly banging at 4pm on a Wednesday. So we had a couple of drinks in a near-silent pub near Brighton station, and then people started to drift off to go to the shops or pick up kids or just because they’re not particularly big drinkers anyway. People always seem to look forward to our Christmas meals, and talk it up as though it’s going to be a big night out, and I know I always have high expectations myself, but then it just kind of… tails off, once people realise it’s no longer working hours and they’re not obliged to be there.

    I think a large part of the problem is we have no one who’s really loud and really bubbly in the office. You know the kind of person – the one who’s actually a bit annoying when you’re not in the mood for it, but who will crash through any awkward silences in the pub and gee people along into having a good time whether they want to or not. We’re all a bit quieter than that, and so it doesn’t get going properly.

    I’m quite jealous of Chris and his workmates in comparison; he only started his new job two and a half months ago, and he’s already been on a raucous night out with them and they have a big party thing planned for their end of term. I think it’s nice when you have that social relationship with your colleagues, or at least with some of them, but it’s very apparent here that everyone likes each other, gets on really well, but no one particularly wants to spend any of their free time doing anything together. Apart from our Christmas meals we’ve had about two evenings out together in the three years I’ve worked here.

    But ho hum, never mind. People have other priorities I suppose, and a team of about 10 isn’t all that big for organising social functions.

    I’m not sure what’ll happen for our Christmas meal next year now. Will people be prepared to pay for their own? There was cautious talk of making it an evening affair when it was mentioned this year, but I reckon it’ll be hard to pin everyone down to an evening they’re prepared to give up for it. So we’ll have to see. And least if it were in the evening we wouldn’t end up in an empty pub with a bored-looking landlady and then find ourselves back at home by 6pm.

  8. An evening with Adam Rickitt, and other adventures

    August 31, 2010 by superlative

    Last Friday I had the pleasure of going to see Adam Rickitt sing at Revenge, the gay club round the corner from my house.

    “Pleasure?” you may say. “Adam Rickitt?” you may say. “Sing?” you may also say.

    But yes I can confirm it was Adam Rickitt of Coronation Street fame; he was singing, on stage, non-ironically; and I did actually quite enjoy it.

    I realise that some people are not fans of Adam Rickitt and will have recoiled in horror at the prospect of paying £5 to hear him sing, so let me justify myself briefly. When Adam was in Coronation Street originally, he was 19, blond and floppy-haired, rather muscly, and frequently topless (usually under the pretext of washing a car or something). I was 16, homosexual and frustrated, so naturally I found him rather appealing. Despite the fact that he is now 32, my memories of his hotness still linger on and I will always see him in a favourable light. I even quite liked his single I Breathe Again (another reason why some people may dislike him), not only because of the gratuitous nudity in the video but also because it’s quite poppy and upbeat and you can dance to it. And yes yes I am aware that he’s a member of the Conservative Party, but if you think that’s going to bother me then you haven’t been reading this blog long enough.

    If you’re wondering why Adam Rickitt is suddenly giving musical performances at Brighton gay clubs (and seemingly every Gay Pride festival in the UK that he can make it to), it is because he has recently returned from New Zealand in order to relaunch his pop career and to work on some as yet unspecified ‘TV and film projects’ here and in Hollywood. So for the pop career part, that involves a 2010 clubby remix of I Breathe Again, and I think another single at some point.

    I was expecting Revenge to be quite packed full of adoring homos, but actually it was only about two thirds full. It was more busy when Same Difference were there, and I’m told Lloyd Daniel’s turn there verged on a terrifying gropey stampede. So that was a shame for Adam that it wasn’t full, but it was a respectable size crowd at least.

    And yes I know he’s not the best vocalist ever to record anything, but I thought his singing was fine on Friday – in tune, in key, and when he got out of time with the music he noticed and caught up again. He knows his audience too, because although initially he was in a zipped-up jacket, it quickly became unzipped:

    and even more quickly came off altogether:

    He still has a very good body, and he knows that’s what people want to see (even if that tubby man looks deeply unimpressed).

    I have to confess that I can’t really tell the difference between the original version of I Breathe Again and the new one. I think the new one hasn’t got verses in it or something, and has more of a beat to it. It was fine though. Adam did his best, bless him, to work the crowd up a bit, with various calls of “Put your hands in the air!” and “Let me hear you scream!”, but people weren’t really having it. That’s not his fault though, and I obediently screamed when instructed to. He also swore at the end and said “Thanks, you’re all fucking awesome!”, which I quite liked as it made him seem more human and less of a good-boy-off-the-telly.

    We didn’t hang around for the meet-and-greet-and-autographs, but I wasn’t that fussed about seeing him write his name anyway.

    I’m not sure how successful his pop career is going to be, but at least he’s marketing himself right and to the people that are likely to buy his music.

    The rest of my bank holiday weekend consisted of drinking too much three nights in a row, having a not unpleasant meal with Chris’ Dad (made less unpleasant by him paying for it), and having a bit of a wander around in the sunshine on Monday when the sun FINALLY decided to appear for the first time in about four weeks. It was quite a nice weekend really, but now the summer is at an end and I’ve not got any time off booked until Christmas, so it’s all rather depressing.

    Mum has settled down a bit now after losing her cat. She can at least talk about it without crying now, and can talk to me about other things, but I know she’s still thinking about it a lot. She’s had me go to an engravers in Brighton to order a brass memorial plaque that she can put up in the garden where Cleo used to sit – which is one of the odder demands she has made of me. I think the engraver woman was a bit bemused when I described what she wanted.

    I am still feeling a bit unfairly put upon though, not just because of the cat but more broadly. Whenever something happens that throws Mum out of whack (i.e. every other day), it’s always me that has to pick up the slack and give her the extra support she needs in terms of phone calls, and being there to listen to her, and doing silly little jobs like ordering plaques. It’s never my brother, and I find that rather unfair. He gets off so lightly by basically ignoring Mum’s issues (that’s a polite word for her myriad demands) and it’s quite annoying. Even at our weddings it wasn’t fair: I asked him to take care of Mum on my wedding day so I didn’t have to worry about her; did he do it? No. Then on his wedding day I spent the whole day shielding him from her and sorting her out so he could enjoy his day. It’s just typical.

    Anyway, I digressed a bit there.

    In summary: Adam Rickitt = fit, naked and fairly entertaining.

    I may even purchase his single when it comes out, especially if it means those jeans get any lower.

  9. Brighton Pride – celebrating my sexuality by getting trashed and scoping out boys with my boyfriend

    August 11, 2010 by superlative

    I had a very nice, if exhausting, Brighton Pride weekend this year and ended up doing LOADS of stuff. I’m always a bit funny about the run up to Pride, not because I don’t enjoy it but because some people seem to get really REALLY over-excited about it, like it’s the highlight of their year or something. It’s not the highlight of my year, but I still like it, and this year’s was particularly good.

    We started on Friday night by going out for ‘a few drinks’, as we thought the bars would be quite busy already with early arrivals for the weekend. We were correct, because everywhere was RAMMED, and quite a few of the bars had decided they could get away with charging for entry. I found this quite annoying, because some of the bars really aren’t that good, and they’re normally free all day every day for the rest of the year, including their separate club area (yes, I’m looking at you, Legends). So suddenly to say it’s £5 to get in I think is a bit absurd, and we just scoffed at it and went elsewhere.

    Our few drinks ended up being several drinks, and took us to the Amsterdam, the Star Inn, the Hub and Vavoom, all of which were inordinately full but were free and had nice party atmospheres.

    I shouldn’t really have had that much to drink because I woke up hungover on Saturday morning, which was a bit annoying, but I was still able to drag myself out to the main road in time for the parade.

    The parade was frankly rather disappointing though, and has been for the last few years. The theme was a weird one, ‘Pride and (No) Prejudice’, and it didn’t leave people much room for dressing up. Yes you can be Mr Darcy and/or one of the Bennett sisters, but that’s about it. And the same as last year, the parade consisted almost entirely of trade unions, political parties, and a couple of banks. So none of the floats were that much fun, and none of them featured gratuitously stunning and semi-clad boys.

    It did at least stay dry this year, and we trekked on up to the park for a while like we always do. Normally we only stay for a couple of hours, but this year we were having a bit more fun and stayed up there until after 4. It was absolutely PACKED, to the point of being a bit annoying really, as you couldn’t actually walk anywhere – you could only shuffle along in a sea of people trying not to tread on anyone and hoping not to get swept off in the wrong direction by the current. We met up with a few friends though, which was nice, and we had a sit in the sun for a while and pointed out pretty boys to each other when they occasionally wandered past.

    I also had a nice long hold of our friends’ baby and felt very paternal:

    I’m not always that keen on babies, but this one is quite cute and very well-behaved, and he got a good fistful of some lesbian’s hair and wouldn’t let go for about 5 minutes, of which I approved.

    Saturday night was the Kemp Town Street Party, which always gets rather messy for us. It’s very easy where we live to pop in and out of the flat to get more drinks (making it cheap too), and I ended up drinking oh I don’t know… about three times as much as I had planned? Something like that. My recollection of the latter part of the evening is hazy, but I do recall some straight-looking boys taking their tops off and licking each other’s nipples; having a feel of one of my friend’s breasts and informing her they are “quite firm actually”; and a boy trying to pull me for about 2 minutes before he realised I had a boyfriend and stalked off in a huff like I’d been deliberately wasting his time.

    I had the worst hangover on Sunday and thought my head was going to explode, so I was very, very subdued for a while. I looked lovely, as you can see:

    I barely moved for about 3 hours, but then I had to start to shake it off because we had bought tickets for the Wild Fruit Pride Closing Party for that night.

    In a radical move, I decided I would try to go out clubbing without drinking, just to see if it was possible. And it was! It was really good actually. OK, I had TWO drinks, but they were only singles and I couldn’t actually feel them, and they were just to take the edge off my tiredness. But other than that I was entirely sober, and I didn’t mind at all.

    It was a bit odd dancing sober, and a bit disconcerting that everything stayed in focus for the entire evening. But it was also a welcome relief to my system, and I think if I had drunk any more I would have just fallen asleep anyway. And I finally managed to have a morning without a hangover on Monday, which felt amaaaazing after the previous days.

    So yes, that was Pride, and it was quite good. I’ve learnt since the weekend that they unfortunately haven’t raised enough money YET AGAIN, because people never donate enough on the day, and so I’m not sure what’s going to happen with it next year. It’s just too big and expensive to run now really – they had 160,000 people apparently, and I think they’re either going to have to start charging for some of it or try to scale it down a bit. You can’t sustain that sort of growth if your income doesn’t increase with it, and the park really can’t fit any more people in it next year. So who knows what they’ll do. I’m told in Manchester they fence off the entire gay village and charge people for a three-day pass (£15 or something). They could probably do that in Brighton, although it would be a bit of a nightmare to arrange and manage, and I presume I would be exempt from the charge as my house is in the gay bit of town already… I would actually pay something though if they asked, so we’ll have to see!

  10. Shall we go out and do something nice in work time? No, fuck that shit.

    June 24, 2010 by superlative

    I’m really cross.

    People who read this from time to time or who follow me on Twitter might know that occasionally I and my colleagues go out on what I usually call a ‘work jolly’. In the past they’ve been things like going to the cinema, going for lunch, or doing an activity like wine tasting. We’ve even been on a boat trip around Brighton Pier. Officially they are called Staff Social Events, and we are allowed to go on them during work time because they have some vague team-building value for the people in our office who otherwise wouldn’t interact much.

    They don’t cost anything to our employer other than the time we get off for them, because we all pay £1 per week into a social fund that is then spent on the event. Yes they are really just silly work jollies, I know, but I enjoy them and they are a nice little reward in a public-sector environment where there isn’t much scope for reward generally (we don’t get bonuses or performance-based pay rises or anything like that).

    Or rather, I used to enjoy them, because now they’ve been cancelled.

    “Cancelled by your mean employer who doesn’t want to give you the time off any more?”, I hear you ask?

    No, cancelled by my own colleagues who are so tight-fisted and anti-social that they would rather sit at their desks all day not talking to each other than pay £1 per week and go out and do something nice.

    Are their colleagues so horrific that they’d rather not spend any time with them? I’d have to say no, because we all profess to get on really well.  Sure we don’t generally see each other outside of work, but it’s not like we sit glaring at each other all day and plotting a Colombine-style massacre (although I might have to change that now).

    So I have to put it down to meanness and apathy. Who would rather stay at work on a sunny afternoon than go and have lunch in a restaurant and walk round a museum? Who??

    A while ago we had to cancel a summer party event that we normally arrange for a much larger group than our own office, because no one outside of our office seemed bothered about attending it and some people were adamantly opposed.

    “Aren’t they mean?” we said. “I can’t believe they’re so apathetic, they don’t even have to do anything, just turn up! They’re all embittered old killjoys,” we said.

    And now we’ve done exactly the same thing. It was only a pound a week!

    Well fine, fuck em. If they enjoy our company that little then they’re right, what’s the point in the events? But I thought they were fun and they were one of the few things I looked forward to in my dreary identical days of sitting in a office with no natural light clicking ‘Send/Receive’ forlornly over and over again and wondering why no one wants to send me any work. Now the rest of my days here just stretch ahead of me and the only excitement to look forward to is the light bulb blowing on my halogen desk lamp.

    I might still put aside £1 every week in the piggy bank I keep on my desk (it was a corporate promotional item, don’t judge me) and then get trashed on vodka at lunchtime every few months with the money. No one will notice I’m sure, because apparently we’re trying to minimise contact with our colleagues and create a lovely shitty environment to work in. Bastards.