Friday, July 29, 2005

Kelly who?

Just read that Jude Kelly has been appointed the first artistic director of London's South Bank Centre. She will be responsible for programmes at the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery.

A few years ago me and my boyfriend (my boyfriend and I?) went to see the Wizard of Oz stage show at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds (yes I suppose that is a bit if a gay giveaway!). I mainly wanted to go because Patrick Stewart was playing (by video screen) the wizard. We were staying in Leeds, so went to the bar for a drink after the show. Jude Kelly was there and I went over to say how much I had enjoyed the show.

Jaymaster: "Hi, sorry to bother you…you don't know me, but–"

Jude Kelly: "Of course I remember you, which show did we work on together again?"

Jaymaster: "No, sorry. We haven't met before. I just wanted to say how I enjoyed the show."

Jude Kelly: "Are you sure we haven't met? I think we have."

Jaymaster: "Definitely not. But I did enjoy–"

Jude Kelly: "I think you're wrong. Was it in Manchester?"

Jaymaster: "No. Thanks. Goodbye"

It was late and there did appear to be a lot of champagne, but I'd rather she just accepted my comments rather than insisting we knew each other. She was very nice though and I do wish her good luck for the new role.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

When did being liberal become a bad thing?

Great post the other day by Brent about the differences between websites and blogs by gay democrats and gay republicans. He is right that the republican view: that being liberal is a bad thing, is just plain crazy. What is the opposite of being liberal? My thesaurus suggests: narrow-minded, small-minded, prejudiced, bigoted, blinkered, insular, intolerant, biased and fanatical. Are these qualities that anyone would want to proudly own up to?

Brent goes on to comment "What is the point of all this? Why are these people contributing to making the word "liberal" a bad thing? Does it occur to them that it is because of liberal views that they can even have a blog with rainbow flags all over it, and that they can be an "out, gay blogger" that happens to be a Republican? I'm sure some of those drag queens at Stonewall considered themselves liberal."

This theme echoed with me when looking at all the current debate on gay marriages and civil partnerships. In the UK civil partnerships will come into force in December. Civil partnerships allow for couples to enter their partnership in a local registration service. Each partner would have to sign the register in the presence of the registration officer and two witnesses and there would also be a formal, court-based process for dissolving the partnership.

Main partnership rights:

  • Social security and pension benefits, including right to benefit from a dead partner's pension

  • Full recognition for life assurance schemes

  • Ability to succeed to tenancy rights

  • Next-of-kin visiting rights in hospitals

  • Providing reasonable maintenance for civil partners and children of the family

  • Ability to gain parental responsibility for a partner's children

So far, so good. This has been pretty un-contentious really. There are few bleaters about opposite sex couples having the same rights – but critics say that they do – and it is called marriage!

Contrast this with the latest reports from the US, where "Coachella Valley residents are already planning rallies, bus trips and letter-writing campaigns in response to a proposed constitutional amendment that would strip same-sex couples of most domestic partner rights and also ban gay marriage." A proposed amendment would do more than limit marriage to opposite sex couples, it effectively limits any proposals to register partnerships or any form of spousal rights.

The amendment would "provide that only marriage between one man and one woman is valid or recognized in California," it goes on to state that the measure "voids and restricts registered domestic partner rights and obligations" in areas ranging from inheritance and adoption to insurance benefits and hospital visitation."

In a time when legalized same-sex marriages in Spain, Belgium, Canada and the Netherlands are in pace and the UK is making a step towards this with civil partnerships the US seems to be retreating further and further towards its puritanical roots. I am amazed that so many people (republicans one suspects) can be so incensed by this. It harks back to the old argument that being gay is so attractive that you need to 'protect' people from it. Give me a f**king break! You would think that climate change, world poverty, terrorism and health care were the real issues to debate – not how private citizens choose to live their lives.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Fashion tips from the Doctor

My boyfriend was wondering what the new Dr Who look will be like after David Tennant's outfit was described as "the type of man Kate Moss might date, with a just-got-out-of-bed, dragged-through-a-hedge-backwards, only-thing-I-could-find look. David Tennant says of his new look: "I think we've come up with something distinctive that's both timeless and modern, with a bit of geek chic and of course, a dash of Time Lord! Most importantly Billie tells me she likes it – after all she's the one who has to see me in it for the next nine months! "

The look has now been unveiled as:

Plenty more images here.

Also, anyone can design a new Dr Who Monster. The winning monster design will be used in the second series of 'Doctor Who'. It has to be a prosthetic monster, that means that an actor has to be able to wear a mask or costume, no computer special effects required. Unfortunately, you have to be under 16 to enter.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

We're all going on a summer holiday

We have finally booked our holiday! 2 weeks on the island of Margarita, off the north coast of Venezuela. We go in the middle of September and I cannot wait. I hadn't realised how much I needed a holiday until last week when I was off work with swollen glands, sore throat, fever and self-pity. After sleeping for 3 days I thought a break might be in order.

The hotel looks great with 8 pools, including an Olympic pool, wave pool, waterfall and Jacuzzis.

There are loads of things to do and there are plenty of beautiful beaches nearby. We have also booked a trip into Venezuela to Angel Falls (15 times higher than Niagara) and then piranha fishing on the Orinoco delta.

So, now the exercise must start, I have just weighed in at 11 stone 13 pounds (167 pounds). Over my ideal weight, but 6 pounds lighter than last month. If I can get down to 11 6, I would be happy. Also suppose I will have to do the dreaded ab crunches to get a hint of definition.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Scotty's ashes to hit outer space

There is absolutely no way I couldn't post about this story.

The ashes of Star Trek actor James Doohan, (who played engineer Scotty ), are to be sent into space at his request. He died of pneumonia and Alzheimer's disease at his home in Washington on Wednesday. His agent said Doohan and his wife Wende had discussed sending his ashes into space, following those of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.

The Space Services Inc company said Doohan's ashes could be on a Falcon 1 rocket launching from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base, tentatively scheduled for launch in September. The ashes of Star Trek writer John Meredyth Lucas, who died in 2002, are also set to be on the flight.
Give it a few more years and it looks like half the cast and crew of Star Trek will be hurtling through space.
Incidentially, he became a father again at the age of 80, when his wife Wende, 48, gave birth to daughter Sarah.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Front Page news!

Here is a link to the front page of yesterday’s Newcastle Chronicle – me and my boyfriend are at the back of this photo. We are going to order some hard copies as lovely gifts for our parents! My mother was actually a little shocked when I told we had done this - even going as far as to say that we "were very saucy", whereas my boyfreind's parents didn't bat an eyelid.

We are the in the two red circles at the back!

Bigger version here.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Today was the usual mundane activity.

  1. Get up at 2.30 am

  2. Trim pubes

  3. Shower

  4. Go to public place

  5. Strip and pose naked for mass art installation

Yes, today was the Spencer Tunick naked photography project at the Newcastle Gateshead quayside. My boyfriend decided top join the experience, so we got up at 2.30 this morning and headed down to the quayside to be part of a huge ‘nekkid’ experience. There were about 1,500 people there and we arrived, on time, to join a never-ending queue to register.

Once that was all over it was loitering in a car park. Eventually, Spencer told us what was happening and everyone took their clothes off. What?!? “You say everyone took their clothes off?” Well yes, it was pretty mundane really. No one seemed very bothered. It wasn’t a schoolboy type sniggering event and there were men and women from 18 to 65+, thin and fat and everything in between, (me included), tall and short and with a fair smattering of tattoos and piercing.

We then left the Gateshead side of the river to cross the Millennium Bridge. We were pretty near to the front and it was an amazing sight to look back and see hundreds of naked people following behind. We did one installation along the Newcastle quayside – stood in rows of three and then laid out in a line on the pavement. We then walked up towards the city (still naked and to the delight of a few early morning residents) were we stood for another photo under the arch of a huge bridge and then crouched on our knees (avoiding looking at the butthole about 5 inches from your nose!

We then had to don pac-a-macs and flip-flops to walk over the swing bridge towards the Sage Gateshead. Once there Spencer urged us scale the landscaped areas right up to the Sage building. I was one of the first there, given my agility and enthusiasm. A few more photos and we were off to the final installation – a tarmaced car park. This one was a little disappointing as it seemed to have no relevance to the local area and was a bit poorly organised. Everyone was in good humour though and very soon (5 hours later) the whole thing was over.

It was a great experience and there is the chance to do it again this evening in a smaller group for a live TV programme tonight (10.30 BBC3). We thought about it, but I already saw one of the nurses who works in my directorate and a couple of familiar faces. Sharing the whole experience with a live TV audience is a little too daring for me. All of this morning’s events were filmed too, so you may catch a glimpse of me. I was usually next to someone with very red hair or bleached blonde, so I hope I can get a fix on my location.

This picture is from the event this morning, as everyone got ready for the first photograph.

I would definitely recommend taking part if Spencer is shooting near your hometown. Not an opportunity that you get every day. I’ll post more on the 750 dicks I saw and the experience of mass nudity this week.

** Update - The Newcastle Chronicle has a photo on the front page from the 4th installation. Me and my boyfoiend are at the back of the shot! (Head and shoulders only. Not on the website yet - will post the link when it is avaiable.

*Obviously, none of the photos at the top are of me. I would never post pictures of me shaving my balls, showering or stripping - unless you really begged!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The (not so) Great Yorkshire Show

Today I was meant to be visiting delightful Harrogate for a legal seminar. I allowed a couple of hours, which is pretty standard, but ended up being an hour and a half late due to the diversions for the bloody Great Yorkshire Show. I ended up going through Knaresborough, getting lost and spending another half hour in gridlocked traffic.

I finally got there, parked the car and decided to get a quick shot of espresso to boost my energy levels. Not a great decision as I also managed to make a deep cut on my thumb, which started bleeding profusely. That wouldn’t be so bad, but I hadn’t noticed until I realised I had brushed blood over my shirt and trousers. I decided to take this as a sign to ignore the seminar, (as I was now 2 hours late and looked like I had been in a fight), and did some shopping instead. First stop was Gap for some new trousers, Habitat for sausage dog cups, and M&S for birthday presents. I did this in a whistle stop tour fashion and was soon back on the road for another three and half hour trip. What a great day!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Birthdays, humiliation and talking dolls.

It was my boyfriend’s birthday yesterday. We decided not to take the day off – although I think he was ‘working from home’ most of the afternoon, which seems to involve sunbathing and light housework. No doubt, today will be similarly spent, while I rush around ensuring threat the NHS keeps running!

Anyway, I arrived home to find he was out. I took the opportunity to pile all his presents up in an artful fashion and jump in the shower after a hot day in the office. The presents seemed to be appreciated, although the best reaction seems to be for the interactive, talking Edna doll (from The Incredibles), she advises on fashion tips and dispenses acerbic advice. Very amusing.

As it was such a gorgeous evening we walked to our local for a couple of pints, before ambling home in a circuitous route, past the fish and chip shop, for a cod supper. An ideal way to spend your birthday.

Just as we were almost home we happened to approach three teenage boys lolling about on the street corner. One of them was leaning, in a typical teenage boy attempt at nonchalance, on his scooter, which gave way as we passed. He sprawled to the floor, I couldn’t resist saying, “I bet you feel humiliated” as we walked past. His friends thought the whole thing was funny, he fired back, “No I don’t,” to which me and the boyfriend simultaneously replied, “Well, you should!” For some reason (nothing to do with 3 pints of Stella), we thought this was highly amusing and left him to try and recover some dignity with his friends. We reflected that there are few things more painful for teenagers than being humiliated in front of their friends, especially as a result of being harangued by unknown ‘grown-ups’.

All-in-all we had a great evening, shame about having to return to work in the heat wave this morning!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Attack on london

There isn't a great deal that I can say that hasn't already been eloquently said by others (Trunkguy and Terreus) Ken Livingstone's statement on events captures some of the disbelief, horror and determination to overcome adversity that will be evident across the country today, and in future weeks. Coming on the back of the successful Olympic bid, Live8 and the hope of a better world future with the G8 summit.

The response of the emergency services and the public in London seems to have been pretty amazing. Every loss of life is tragic, but I am amazed that more people didn’t die in these explosions. I don’t know what it will be like for Londoners today. Do you get straight back on the bus and into work or does every strange face and every package seem suspicious now?

I was also surprised to hear that this was the greatest loss of life since World War 2. After years of IRA attacks in London, I had assumed that more people had been victims of terrorism in the past. When I was growing up, attacks on the mainland (and more often than not around London) by the IRA seems to be relatively frequent occurrences.

My other thoughts have been around what terrorists hope to achieve by these attacks. It is not as if the government will issue a statement asking what their demands are. People will become more determined to stand up against the terror. Equally, does this now give carte blanche to full bio-metric ID cards? I cannot see how ID cards could have prevented this, unless you needed to use the card to get on a bus, into a tube carriage, every time you purchase items etc. Apart from turning us into one big police state all this would do is give you a better chance of identifying the attackers after the event. Preventing these events is more about detailed intelligence work and co-operation with other friendly states.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Get Back Chirac

Hooray for London! Now that isn't something you will hear me saying every day. London is usually the loud, smoky city where irritating southerners live. Today, however, it is the centre of the sporting spotlight with the news that London will host the Olympics in 2012. I am really pleased with this outcome. I love visiting my friends in Paris, but the French (well the Parisians really) are far too smug and assume everything will go their way.

I thought I would check out what the French media thought about this. Le Monde said “Paris lost, and its torturer is called London. The British capital will organize the Olympic Games in 2012.” Love it – I am sure that my translation is a bit off, but what else does ‘bourreau’ mean? A friend in Paris says that the French media are already questioning whether this is a punishment for not backing Bush in Iraq. I actually thought that a quasi-autonomous set of self-selected IOC inspectors made the decision, not Bush, but you cannot tell the French they are wrong!

Well enough jingoism, good luck to London (and the Londoners who will pay for it all), and commiserations to the BIG FAT LOSERS!!!!

Monday, July 04, 2005

Where did the weekend go?

Another weekend has gone in the blink of an eye and it is time for the working week again. I was on-call on Friday night. For the first time I didn’t get any calls. Nevertheless, we stayed in and I wasn’t allowed a Friday night drink in case I needed to go out. Calls are usually about finding a bed for a patient, patients gone AWOL etc. Usually, easy to sort out, but a pain if the call is at 3 am. Although I didn’t gat a call I was in standby mode waiting for one, which doesn’t make for a relaxing time.

On Saturday we did a few jobs around the house, but spent most of the day watching the Live8 concert. The added pleasure of a few cold beers added to the fun. I think the event was a great success, although there was very little about the cause behind it compared to the messages of Live Aid. I suppose, as all the performers said, it is really up to Blair et al. I believe Bush is budging on the aid issue, but is still being a twat about Kyoto and global warming.

On Sunday we visited some friends who have moved out to the country. They have bought a little house in a village in Northumberland, with a great garden and all the quaintness of a Little Britain village. I think they will be very happy there. I love the idea of living in the country, but it usually involves a medieval castle and lots of servants. The schlep into town everyday and the (relatively) slow pace of life is not what I would want now. Our friends are expecting a baby in 3 months, so maybe that was the driving impetus. I can see that it would be a great place to bring up kids.