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Friday, September 29, 2006

Train rage 

I thought I wouldn't be doing this again but here I am, complaining about some daft bint plastering herself with make-up.

So what's new? Why do I want to moan about this woman today? Why her?

I think I could have coped had she been just putting on her make-up. She was sitting beside me and I couldn't really see her. However, the problem was her elbows.

I'd be getting into a good flow with my writing when she'd start looking in her bag for some little bottle of crap to smear on her face. She wouldn't just look, she'd have a good old rummage and, at the same time, poke me with her elbow as she was at it. Then she'd fluff up her hair. Elbow, jostle, poke. Then her mirror and, oh no!, missed a bit, more make-up and more jostling.

It's difficult enough writing on a moving train but combine this with some mad woman's elbow and it becomes impossible.

In the end I glared at her (and the other two female passengers opposite for good measure) and slammed my notepad shut.

Yes, I know I sound like a complete psycho misogynist but I don't care. I hate my space being violated.

Next time I will say something. I will look barmy but I think I will look less barmy than if I sit there fuming.

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Train tourism 

Train tourism. A bit of a misleading term. I don't mean touring by train but touring on a train.

A few days ago, I mentioned that I got a different train and sat in a different part. It was almost like visiting another country.

This morning, sick of the Grove Park Mothers Mafia, I decided to sit in a different carriage and so encountered a completely different set of people to the ones I normally see. It's like going on holiday!

So many more people to write about! For instance, there was a male fashion victim, a man who obviously thought he was the dog's bollocks but his spiky, deliberately untidy hair, the orange skin, the sideburns shaped and pointed and the open shirt revealing chest hair (normally a good point) and a beaded necklace thing only made me think two words: "oh dear".

I might move around a bit more.

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Dinosaurs and dogs 

ore or less every morning I walk from Charing Cross to Bedford Square. My brain goes into a little world of its own while I am doing this and thinks of all sorts of strange and random things.

Today for instance, I was thinking of a series of books by Robert J Sawyer called The Quintaglio Ascension. I probably have mentioned them before. They're about a race of intelligent dinosaurs who discover science. There are parallels to Gallileo and Darwin among others. The most striking thing about the series of books is that they are among the few written works to ever make me break down and cry. The death of Afsan, the patriarchal figure, came too soon after the death of my own father.

So I was feeling a little down about that, even though I haven't read those books in years. As I walked along, I passed a transit van parked in a side road. Inside was a man, obviously waiting for something or someone to arrive. He was sprawled out with his shoulder against the window frame and he was reading a newspaper. There was a little Jack Russell terrier sitting or lying behind him with its head resting on his belly.

The dog's head on his belly like that just looked so sweet that it jolted me out of gloom and put a smile on my face.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Mirror, mirror 

I'm a gay man.
I like bearded men.
I'm regrowing my beard.

Do you see why mirrors are such a problem right now?

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Xanadu 

There is to be an off-Broadway production of Xanadu next year: http://www.playbill.com/news/article/98702.html

Interesting.

Let's hope they make a better job than the big pile of doggy-poo that was the film. The music from the film, which did a lot better than the film itself, will feature in the show.

I wonder if it will make London?

It's been ages since I've been to New York.

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Monday, September 25, 2006

New photos 

I stuck a few photos in the gallery section of my website. These are the pictures of the Albert Memorial I took a month or so ago. One of them is my current favourite.

It should be. I spent a fortune getting it printed large and then getting it framed.

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Caála 

The town in Angola that was formerly known as Robert Williams is now known as Caála. I'll have to remember this for the next time I need an online username.

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Don't cry for me, Tinky Winky 

I spent some time poking around on the Evita website a few weeks ago. Sometimes when I get a bit obsessive (i.e. all the time), I cross reference information with other websites such as IMDB. I hit upon this little interesting fact: one of the ensemble, Mark Heenehan, who was most of the time playing a particularly strapping soldier, was also, at one point in his career, one of the Teletubbies.

See:

http://www.reallyuseful.com/rug/shows/evita/cast/MarkHeenehan.htm

http://uk.imdb.com/name/nm0373472/

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Friday, September 22, 2006

Scissor sisters 

I'm having a rave over their latest album, Ta-Dah! I was attracted to it by the video and I'm currently listening to the album at least once a day.

My favourite track is I can't decide, a song about a man who can't decide if he wants to kill his lover or not. Ironically, it's such a jolly little tune and contains lyrics such as...

I can throw you in the lake or
feed you poisoned birthday cake


That probably says something about me. Don't accept cake from me.

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

The late train is the weird train 

Today I was late. I thought it would be a good idea to have iTunes copy an album for me but it took its own sweet time and I had to leave just late enough to have missed my normal train.

The late train leaves at 8:17 so I had time to walk up the front. I normally sit at the back. In terms of train socio-dynamics, I was effectively in another world.

Because Orpington is a terminus, I had a choice of seats so I sat in a group of four. I was joined a few minutes later by a woman dressed in black who appeared to be, well, strange. She was looking at people in a funny way, like she was looking for something that she would never find, and she was fragile looking. You know how people can look that way, sort of thin and bird-like, that they haven't got the strength to stand.

Anyhow, I decided to ignore her and read my paper. At some point we were joined by a woman who was having, by the look of it, a deeply disturbing conversation by text. I thought she was going to burst into tears. We were also joined by a man who was reading a magazine printed in some strange language.

At Hither Green, Mrs Fragile staggered off and was replaced by a robust-looking middle-aged Latin woman who promptly took out her make-up bag and a mirror. Oh, here we go, I thought but was wrong. This was worse than anything I have ever seen. She took out some tweezers and started plucking her eyebrows! If that wasn't bad enough (it was), she started plucking her CHIN!

Where do these people come from? I will never be late again.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Which is worse ... 

... forgetting that I put in my contact lenses and wearing my glasses or not noticing for a full five minutes?

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Monday, September 18, 2006

Environment rambling rant thing 

I've been reading a lot of stuff in the press about the environment recently. There's a new film out (I forget the title) and councils up and down the country and becoming a bit heavy-handed about recycling (there's talk of fines) even though they are not really providing adequate facilities. At least Bromley isn't. Two boxes emptied every fortnight, one for paper and the other for bottles and tins, isn't enough.

I'm both better and worse now than I used to be about recycling. I recycle now purely because of the threat of a fine from the council. Isn't that shocking?

I used to recycle everything when I was younger and lived with my Dad. I carried on when I got my first house but became disillusioned with it when I moved. Why I should bother?

The council's collectors sometimes just don't bother to collect it. The local kids just through it all on the floor anyway, they don't even bother putting it the bin, let alone recyling it. And then there's America, a country so addicted to consumerism that its President cannot even acknowledge that there is a problem.

America's not the only one of course. No country is blameless. None of us in the UK could manage without cars or trains or planes or buses, could we? And don't start on the old trains don't pollute thing. Where does the electricity come from?

There's also a bit of me, actually quite a sizable bit, that is starting to think that it's all too little and too late. Climate change is happening and cannot be reversed. The world is changing. All we can do is maybe slow it a little and see what remains.

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Friday, September 15, 2006

Evita again 

Yes, I know. Evita has become the new women-on-the-train. However, there are certain parallels between Evita and the stories of other women in history.

Where are the the musicals of Marie Antoinette or Princess Di? That would be a challenging writing project.

Hmmm...

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Doctor and the Medics 

Doctor and the Medics were a band that had a fair degree of success in the late 80s. Their biggest commercial success was a cover version of Spirit in the Sky. I liked it at the time and, having gone through a recent Spirit in the Sky nostalgia trip, I bought Laughing at the Pieces, an album they released with Spirit on it. My favourite track, however, is another cover version, that of Abba's Waterloo. Great fun!

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

How common! 

A guy with the same name as me just joined the beard forum!

Robert Williams is, unfortunately, a very common name. As well the currently famous bearer of the name (never call me Robbie, I have heard that one a thousand times), there are and have been many other famous RWs throughout history.

Wikipedia lists a few but the one that stood out for me was the former town of Robert Williams in Angola.

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A night at the opera 

Last night, David and I had free tickets to the opera. We saw Eugene Onegin performed by the British Youth Opera at the Peacock Theatre. The performance was good but I wasn't happy with either the venue or the other patrons.

It was small and hot. The parts of the theatre outside of the auditorium really could not cope with the numbers of people there and they did not help matters, gathering in clumps on stairs or in doorways. Everyone also seemed to know everyone else. Our path to the auditorium was blocked several times by people shouting "hello!" or "darling!" at each other. It seemed we had entered a very small and select world.

On the way home, I got a fast train, and, because there were no buses, I walked from the station. I watched lightning in the distance and hoped I would get home before the rain hit.

I didn't and it hit hard, very hard. Imagine sitting in a bath of cold water fully-clothed and you'll have some idea of how wet I was by the time I reached my house. I was wet. I had a coat but my shirt was still soaked. My boxers were soaked through as well.

Oh, joy.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

More Evita 

Good heavens! I've become addicted to the Evita cast recording.

Damn that Andrew Lloyd Webber!

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Shock, horror! 

There are two relatively minor things that shock me. Of course, there are other things, bigger things that would (probably) shock me: public sex, violence and other stuff that my innocent little mind cannot even conceive. But there are these two things that other people might think were nothing yet I am always shocked. I am almost surprised that I am shocked.

The first is swearing. My attitudes to swearing have mirrored society's, largely, to the extent that I hardly notice these days if someone says f**k, s**t, bo****cks or w**k. I am always, however, disturbed, almost to the point of offense, by someone saying c**t. I don't know why. Perhaps it's because the word is usually said with such venom or maybe people who say it look a little dangerous. I don't know.

The second thing is that I am really shocked by pregnant women smoking. Yes, I know, it's their body, their choice, blah, blah, but, ..., well, it isn't. They are sharing a blood supply with their unborn child. They are poisoning their child with nicotine and storing up all sorts of health problems, and a nice little nicotine addiction, for the kid when its older.

I saw a pregnant member of the Grove Park Mother's Mafia smoking this morning. I was shocked. This particular mamafiosa always looked like the most sensible of the bunch, for one thing, as she always looked as pissed-off as I felt by the babblings of her sisters. Perhaps she wasn't as sensible as I thought. What a c**t.

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Mahler 2 - Queen of the South 0 

Last night I went to see David sing in Mahler's second symphony. It was marvellous. Very moving. One part of it actually brought tears to my eyes.

In the words of Maureen Lipman in Educating Rita: "wouldn't you just die without Mahler?"

The concert was marred very slightly by the infantile antics of the Prommers. There's this thing where they stamp their feet to get the conductor to make another bow/perform an encore. Well, that's fine but you could see the poor man was tired and wanted to go home. He'd been waving his arms around for two hours straight and he wasn't young. And not to mention the usual "Arena to audience" blah-blah.

We were distracted from the latter by the arrival of a full unopened bottle of water from two balconies up that hit some poor woman on the head in the row behind us. It wasn't dropped - she was seven rows forward - it had to have been thrown. Was it any coincidence that Diane Abbot, the MP, was sitting a couple of rows ahead of her?

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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Columbus 

Several years ago, when David was on a business trip to Columbus in Ohio, he bought me a baseball cap at the airport.

Basball caps can look tacky and chavvy and, in many ways, just awful, but this one was rather tasteful and I liked wearing it both to keep the sun off my bald head during what we laughably call a summer in the UK and to keep the rain off my glasses for all the other times. There's a link to what it looks like here.

So I liked this hat and, of course, there was a cerain sentimental attachment to it.

A few months ago, when it was raining, I left the hat on the bus on the way home. I don't know how; I must have dropped it. Unlike the last time I left that same hat on the bus, it wasn't handed in to lost property.

Since then, Jenna, my nephew's wife, picked up another hat for me when she went home to Columbus, but it's not the same hat so I decided to try to get the grey hat. I found the OSU site, I found the hat but then I found that I couldn't order it as they didn't deliver outside of the USA.

Curses!

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Sunday surprise 

I normally spend the weekend at David's house. Today he has a morning rehearsal so I came home to do some ironing. As I was parking the car, I looked up at a neighbour's window and saw my neighbour looking up the road. He was stark-bollock naked!

I don't think he saw that I saw him. Thank goodness!

I should add here, with no disrespect to the man in question, that none of my neighbours on this side of the street are young fit men that I would have any desire to see naked.

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