Friday, February 29, 2008

Hollandaise sauce, Leap years and suits

I need to learn how to make Hollandaise source, I don't think a chap should feel comfortable inviting a woman over unless he can offer Eggs Benedict. It's like a minimum standard of care. I'm not sure if it is part of the Geneva convention but it jolly well should be.

So this weekend I'm going to be learning how to master this important dish, it doesn't seem to complicated and St Delia of Smith has a great guide online. Let the games begin, that's what I say. I just hope you can't die from eating too many eggs.

Today is the extra day of the year, a chap should do something special with it. I am going to the Dorchester to review it with a chum. She is terribly pleasant but does have a rather trying habit of sliding her hand onto my leg during the cheese course which is something I've tried to train her out of but she is most persistent. Some ladies just won't take no for an answer.

After that I've got a launch party for a radio station, in a bar. You can imagine how that story is going to end. This does present me with an interesting sartorial problem. How does one dress to fit in to the Dorchester but also a ultra trendy bar in Shoreditch?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Port, pigs and gin and tonic

Yesterday was another silly day of a silly week which is exactly how it should be. We may be adopting a pig at work for the purposes of annoying someone who has annoyed us. Well that and getting lovely bacon in a few months time. I think it's an often under-used insult.

'You sir, shall have a pig named after you.'

Or maybe it shouldn't be an insult because pigs are lovely animals. Anyway adopting a pig just might be the new craze sweeping London because everyone we mentioned it to wanted to adopt a pig too. Adopting pigs is so 2008.

On the way to the tube we (work person and I) walked past a wine merchant we know. So we thought we would pop into to say hello. We even said we wouldn't drink because we were both a bit broken from last night. Sadly there was a wine competition going on downstairs, or one had just finished. The place was running over with opened bottles of wine that were just going to be poured away. It would have been awfully rude to not drink.

So we started seeing if our palettes were up to much and while the rest of the table were saying things about 'full body' and 'simple texture so probably a New World wine' I could muster nothing better than 'this is probably a red wine' or 'it makes my tongue want to die'.

I know nothing about wine, I can hold my own about Champagne and could probably represent England in a blind gin taste test but wine. Well I can tell if it is red or white, but that is about it. Anyway, after about two dozen bottles I was struggling to even tell the colour of the wine. So we had some port.

After the port it seemed like an excellent idea to go to bar to for a gin and tonic to refresh the palette, which actually turned out to be a few gin and tonics to make our legs go numb. It always seems like such a good idea at the time.

The duelist

There are somethings I've always aspired to since I was terribly small. Sadly I think there is very little chance of me becoming a Privateer in the Caribbean, or invading France on horseback.

One of the other ridiculous things I wanted to be was a duelist. You know a chap in a smashing coat who defends someones honour for cash.

Yesterday that dream came true. I joked about it at work when a liable case came up and now it's going to be part of the settlement that the person who made the claim declined the offer of a duel to get his satisfaction.

It's not an entirely idle threat either. I've been doing various forms of martial arts for years, on a casual basis. I lived in Scotland for a while which got me into fights on an almost weekly basis because I was English and talked to girls and that is not acceptable in some parts of Scotland. I've even been in proper street fights, with knives and I picked up a few scars and yet I'm still alive so perhaps that should be a warning to people thinking of kicking off with a fop.

Dueling now my officially part of my job at this company. While I'll still write nonsense if anyone asks what I do, I'm the duelist.

This has been a fairly ridiculous week.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Decadent Hotels

I've heard a bit more about this hotel room I've won. It's a really swish place. It's the hotel that the England team stay in or visiting movie stars go to when they are filming or collecting awards. I don't even have a normal room, I've got a suite, a big one. It's all bit mad.

With this in mind I don't know if should just go there with a chum, just seems like a waste of the room. I think I need to take the Swedish beach Volleyball team (the womens one of course) and three quarters of a girl-band.

It's a lot of responsibility, you know being rock and roll.

Luck be a lady last night

Last night was a busy one. I had a lunch with an editor who is really more of a friend. Anyway she insisted I do some work for her, sadly her magazine doesn't pay terribly well but it is extremely good fun. So I'm going to start trying to cogitate fresh nonsense.

After that I went to another meeting in a pub to talk about a project relating to motorbikes and to introduce some people to other people. I had to rush out of that after an hour and go to a party. This was a good party, there were lots of cocktails to drink and I breezed up to lots of interesting looking women to talk about anything that came to mind.

As part of the party a gambling company were running casino tables so I joined in the fun and ended up winning a prize. I would have won the top prize but the naughty lady on the table wouldn't let me cash out all my money because she said I had won too much. Still the top prize was a weekend in Devon (Not massively tempting considering Devon is home) so instead I walked off with a lovely mini-break in a flash hotel.

This is excellent but I've got no idea who I would take? It's quite forward to say to a stranger 'hello, I think you are rather scrummy, fancy a minibreak?' Or maybe it isn't, who knows eh?

Oh and another friend wants to take me to Japan to help sell art. I'm finding out today if that is happening. If it is I need to dig out my old Japanese books and relearn it frantically.

Amazing things happen if you go out in Austin Reed.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The healing power of Austin Reed

This weather has got me thinking, a dangerous activity at the best of times. Being to introspective can be bad for the social life. I don't seem to be the only one suffering from a bit of a malaise, lots of chums have reported a vaguely unsettled feeling recently perhaps it's the weather.

I've returned to my rakish ways when it comes to dating which was surprisingly easy. Although I had burned my little black book when I was decidedly off the market it's not been a struggle to go out and meet new people. The thing is I'm not sure if I really want to meet new people, not in that way.

How ever much I try and think of other things I've still got some stuff I have to deal with first, regarding fathers and grief. It's supposed to take two years to get over something like that and that's quite a lengthy amount of time to be not quite yourself.

It's not been any easy thing to discuss with friends either. Not many of my chums have had to deal with losing a parent yet and so they don't really understand what it is like. Thankfully if you don't have the chums to quite deal with a situation all you really need to do is expand your inner circle of chums a little until you find someone who can sort you out.

Or you can put on a vintage Austin Reed Suit. A light-weight tweed one to be exact and then you will feel so completely and utterly marvellous that well nothing else seems to matter.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Life Drawing

I heard today that the life drawing piece had been cancelled. Actually it was more convoluted than that. The over-all editor said that he didn't want any pictures of naked men in the piece. The art school said that if that (only nude women can be in newspapers) was the reason I wanted to go again then they wouldn't arrange that because that isn't what art is about and thus it got binned.

It's a shame, I thought it was a good piece but I will still get paid so it's not an awful outcome just a disappointing one. Anyway, because otherwise the piece would be lost I'm going to share it here.

I’ve not done a great deal of drawing since I finished school. It’s been pretty much been limited to drawing pictures of otters in boring meetings or scribbling on drunk peoples’ faces while they sleep. Neither of these prepared me for my first life drawing class.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect, apart from possibly some naked people and I wasn’t quite sure how I’d deal with that. It’s not often you are encouraged to stare intently at a complete stranger, especially a nude one.

Thankfully the class was very well run, everyone seemed to be deeply practiced at what you were supposed to do. I just had time to pick an easel and tape some paper onto a board before the model struck his first pose. Luckily it was one where he was facing away from me so I had a fairly gentle introduction to life drawing.

Encouraged by the excellent teacher Gregory Ward (who is himself a very experienced artist – all the instructors at The Prince’s Drawing School are) I set about the paper and started trying to draw what I was seeing. For some reason I had lost all grasp of prospective and while I was trying to capture the primal beauty of a well muscled leg I ended up with something more akin to a melting Twiglet.

Gregory spotted where I was going wrong and taught me how to sight measure using the charcoal provided. This involves closing one eye and holding the charcoal at arms length, you then use it to work out the proportions of everything. This makes you feel deeply arty and also helps keep the limbs in your drawings the right length.

This seemed to work well and while working on my second attempt I started to day-dream about if it was time to invest in a studio of my own. Sadly my second piece while vaguely in proportion wasn’t really up to much either. Instead of a drawing of a man in mid-stride it was closer to an elderly yeti sneezing.

At this point the pose of the model changed and he was sitting in a chair with his body twisted. With a bit of helpful advice from the other students I started again. I really took my time to think about what I was seeing and drew carefully.

It was really absorbing because you start to really look at what you are seeing. I spent ages trying to get the contours of the shoulders just right and found myself marvelling at the line of the muscles down the models back – in a completely heterosexual way of course. After what seemed like an instance (but really two hours had passed) it was time for the final pose of the evening. This would be a longer one where we could really take our time over our work.

The whole experience was really engaging. The room was completely silent as everyone was completely concentrating on what they were doing. It was almost like a state of meditation. You start to notice the interesting things about the human body and then wrestle with trying to get them onto a bit of paper.

As this was the final pose of the evening I spent a bit of time doing some practice sketches of the tricky bits before I tackled the whole composition. The model was lying down on a bed made out of foam cushions and a thick blanket, with one arm thrown across his body and his legs raised slightly. It was a tricky one to capture because everything was at a strange angle and there were shadows everywhere.

I really wanted to draw something I could be proud of so I was almost sweating with concentration as I started on my work. This would be my masterpiece. Using all the vast knowledge of drawing I had accrued in the last two hours I was going to do everything I could to produce something a bit special. I was so enthralled by what I was doing that a couple of times I found myself holding my breath.

This was what it was really about, losing yourself in the moment and forgetting everything else. I didn’t want to be a journalist anymore. I wanted to be an artist, a roguish type living in Paris and sketching out a living while I followed my passion.

Sadly while I did really enjoy what I was doing I don’t think I’d ever make a living out of drawing. My final piece ‘Man on a bed’ would have been much more accurately titled ‘Jellybaby on a lilo’ and I doubt I’ll ever really master drawing anything that has fingers or toes, or a face.

After three hours of working away, I was exhausted, elated and strangely calm. I left the class unable to wait till I’d get to draw again, and while I don’t think I’ll be showing anyone the collection of sketches I left with I am deeply proud of them in a secretive sort of way.

The Prince’s Drawing School was set up because figurative drawing was in danger of becoming a dying skill as the popularity of conceptual arts increased. Instead of actually drawing people or things the fashion was to just put some thing in a tank or on a bed and call it art. Thankfully the trend is moving back the other way as people are starting to realise again how enjoyable figurative drawing is. After having my first taste of life drawing I’m amazed more people don’t try it.

I’ve never been so awful at something and yet enjoy it so much. It’s not just a pleasant way of spending an evening, it changes the way you look at everything. Art is cool.

Tom Cruise

I've always though Tom Cruise is an okay actor. I've never been a massive fan, or avoided a film because he was in it. I'd say I'm neutral on the chap.

I like Mission Impossible 1 & 3 and because I was once a small boy Top Gun made me want to emigrate and join the military but apart from that he is just someone who gets paid a lot of cash for making expressions in front of camera. Well done him.

I say this because on Saturday night I met a proper Tom Cruise fan. We were in a bar, and this girl managed to relate almost any conversation back to how wonderful Tom Cruise was. It was a little bit alarming, but then it was quite fun to see how she would bring Tom Cruise into a conversation about shoes, horses or cocktails.

After a bit of consideration I decided it was probably best not to ask for her number and just politely said goodbye to rejoin my friends. I'm all for people having interests but I don't think I want to be in a love triangle with Tom Cruise.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Mad logic

I was talking to the flatmate and a male friend of hers who is a bit of a rogue. We were chatting away about his current situation regarding women. He is seeing a girl at the moment but has told her that he doesn't want anything serious. This seems fine but the flatmate was annoyed by this.

Her thinking was, that even if a chap says 'I'm not interested in anything serious' and you continue to see them, it is assumed that it will be something serious eventually because you are still seeing each other. So the fact that the chap has said clearly that it's going no-where is not important.

When we both tried to point out the crazy logic of this to her she would have none of it. It's especially crazy because there is no-way she would put up with that sort of deal or nonsense in business.

Girls are mad.

Lot 55

On Friday I went to the grand opening (possibly re-opening) of Lot 55. It was an amazing night. If you aren't aware of Lot 55 it is pretty special night club. It's designed to look like a London Street, the sort of which you only really see in musicals and Disney films.

You can go into the shops on one side of the street so there are lots of tiny rooms to have private conversations or more interesting private encounters. The final twist to the venue is that one end of the street opens out into what can best be described as Henry Higgins' Drawing Room. (from My Fair Lady). It is awash with old leather armchairs and is perfect for having slightly flirty conversations by the candle light.

I can't wait to go back, especially on a Friday where the hosts put on the most amazing shows. Not just cabaret type acts, but also street performers just walking around so you never know if the person you are chatting away to is about to start balancing on their hands or doing magic tricks.

The best way I can think of describing the evening was the dream sequence in Labyrinth set in the Blitz. I am going to try and go every week, and not just because there is a soft-spot in my heart for the party organiser.

Friday, February 22, 2008


Well clearly the fates don't want me to meet Alesha just yet. I didn't make it to her party, I think the first mistake was ordering the second bottle of wine when I met up with a friend at their member's club.

It seemed like a good idea at the time, you know we were having such a giggle and well if you are laughing and you have a seat why go anywhere else? Due to our second wine we arrived at the club some-what late, and it had opened to everyone. The queue outside was so mobbed that I couldn't even get close to the person with the clipboard and gain us entry. So we decided to go to another venue where I was on the guestlist.

This party was extremely disappointing and they even tried to get us to pay for drinks, I mean really. There is no clearer sign that the record industry is in trouble that now guests of their parties are expected to buy their own drinks.

We were so shocked by the concept of having to pay for our own booze that we retreated back to the club we had been at originally and drank more of the lovely wine. It's okay to pay for booze if you get to choose the surrounding but if someone invites you to a bash it seems a bit off if they want you to buy drinks too. It was an excellent evening but one that ended in a way I hadn't imagined.

Although it appears that some parts of the record industry are doing better than others - Alesha was paid £40k (According to my chum) to 'host' the party, and it worked. The queue to get in snaked all the way down the street.

Oh and speaking of musical women. Say you are a troubled yet brilliant singer, lets call her 'Lanie Beershack'. You are celebrating getting a few awards with friends and you decide that you might like to put some things up your nose. If you are going to do this it is probably good to do it somewhere a bit private. You should not do it on the dance floor.

If you do decided to do it on the dance floor don't be surprised if some woman is overheard in the loos trying to sell that story to the papers. And if this is happening and someone who you know a bit comes up to you and warns you that someone is trying to set you up, you shouldn't elbow her in the face and tell her to fuck off.

Honestly, some hypothetical people act in a manner very unbecoming a lady.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Faith and the fop

I'm not a terribly religious sort. For a start I like evolution too much as a concept, it's just so logical. It doesn't just work on animals you can see it in clothes. Look at the early suits and you can see how they changed to fit the purpose of the times. Admittedly as far as I'm concerned fashion peaked at around 1820 but that is a different matter.

What I'm saying is that except from the occasional prayer offered up to the gods of journalism, or the diety of coffee in thanks for a strong brew I don't really do religion.

However every now and then something happens that makes me wonder if their isn't some sort of over-reaching power that has plans. For instance, just this morning while taking a pause from writing nonsense I started to think about women. One of the nice things about single is you can spend time pondering what it would be like to date one woman or another.

Perhaps you would take one on a picnic as a first-date or maybe whisk another off to Budapest? It's all possible in theory because you are single and so you can do anything. This morning as I waited for my mokapot to brew I was pondering what it might be like to date Alesha Dixon who was the absolute star of Strictly Come Dancing just before Christmas.

Once the coffee had brewed I didn't really give it a second thought, that is until my friend who writes a gossip page for a newspaper called this afternoon. She wondered if I would be so kind as to go to a party hosted by Alesha Dixon tonight post-brits and see if anything entertaining happened.

I thought about this for a while, and then said yes. I mean, if the powers that be want me to drink free cocktails with Alesha Dixon then who am I to argue?

Dawn Porter in the nude

I've been messing around with BBC Iplayer a bit. I had issues with it when it first started up being that it was a bit of a pig of an application and that it only had 'Two pints of lager and a packet of crisps' on it. Things have moved on since I last used it and now it is a fairly slick way of catching up all those programs you missed or didn't realise you wanted to see.

I downloaded it originally to catch up with a friend who had appeared on Masterchef. She was brilliant - after seeing her do so well I was inspired for as long as it took me to walk to the fridge and realise I had no food. Now that I have Iplayer I've been downloading all sorts of nonsense just because I can.

One of these programs I downloaded was was 'Dawn... Gets naked'. It turned out to be a rather good documentary about Dawn Porter (who previously lost a load of weight in another documentary) learning about how most women have a horrible body image due to magazines touching up photos and things like that.

It was a bit of a strange documentary. She was really honest about how she felt about her body and was incredibly charming during the whole affair but I don't know if I felt anything happened by the end. She organised a flashmob of nude women to charge around London using Myspace, which seemed really dated - it's all about Facebook these days. The flashmob seemed like good fun, and I'm glad she went an terrorised the offices of Vogue while wearing very little but it's a shame the magazine's press officer wouldn't make a statement. So it didn't feel as if anything had really changed by the end of the show.

The thing is I didn't really mind that it didn't go anywhere because I couldn't help but find Dawn utterly beguiling. She went through a series of adventures and learnt how to burlesque dance as well as posing for a life drawing class. And while the documentary probably won't change the world it probably made her feel good about her body (Which was lovely, honestly some women eh?) so that is at least one good thing.

I'm not sure what they hoped to achieve, I mean apart from filling me with a real desire to take Dawn Porter out for cocktails. Still that is something, and one shouldn't overlook that.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


I've been recruited to help the ex-porn star find a new chap. She is currently on a website which is specially designed to allow very rich chaps to meet pretty girls. I'm sure you can guess the name but I won't mention it. Anyway it appears that while the chaps on this website are (apparently) wealthy they aren't very glib, you wouldn't believe the sort of nonsense that my friend has been sent by this chaps in an attempt to seduce her.

Anyway, just put aside the thoughts of how ghastly this website is (and it is horrible) and concentrate on the matter in hand - the poor quality of chaps bothering my friend. In an attempt to try and improve the level of chap messaging her I re-wrote her profile to make it a bit more pithy. Don't ask why, it seemed like a good idea after two bottles of wine.

It seemed to have worked as she has more chaps messaging her now. And they are at least trying to engage in a conversation with her, but she is at a loss over what to say back to them. For some reason she has managed to rope me into helping write her replies.

It's a very strange situation to be in, akin to the situation in Cyrano De bergerac except I don't have a big nose and I'm not secretly in love with chaps my friend is talking to. So I suppose it's not that close really, I just wanted to have a post titled Roxanne because.

1) It's a bit like that film with Steve Martin (which is based on Cyrano De bergerac)
2) The person I'm helping used to be a porn star, so it's a bit like that song by Sting
3) The stage name of my friend was a bit like Roxanne.

Anyway, I must dash because I've got to write an email to someone called Pete who goes by the name 'LoveMachine' about the sort of bands I see in London, or to be exact the sort of bands my friend would like to see if she was really the sort of person who went to see live music but she isn't.

This would all be a bit much if I hadn't had such a splendid lunch with a friend. It was a perfect lunch, I wish I was back there now having lunch right now.

In which we talk about drawing.

Last night I had my first introduction into life drawing. It was on an assigment for the usual paper but this time the art school were delighted by the idea of having a journalist there and were extremely helpful.

The school was in Shoreditch which always has a special place in my heart, so many amusing adventures started off in there. I often walk around a corner and discover a pub that I'm sure I've never been to but strangely I seem to have a memory of talking to a girl in a tiny hat.

It was foggy so the tall buildings of the east end had a marvellous sense of menace to them, it was as if at any moment a devilish jack the ripper type would step out of the shadows and try and set about me with a knife. Luckily this didn't happen and my journey was without incident.

The class was very entertaining, sadly the model was male and he kept positioning himself so that I'd have to spend a lot of time drawing his winky. I've never drawn another man's winky before but now I have a whole catalogue of sketches of it. I'm not to sure I should show them to other people, there are a couple of other good drawings - I managed to do his feet quite well and capture the line of his shoulders but even they are on a page with other winky sketches.

Anyway, I really enjoyed it. The art students were very amusing with a massive sense of their own self importance and ability which caused the poor teacher to have to work quite hard to get them to accept any sort of advice to improve their work. One of the chaps resisted for what must have been twenty minutes saying his style was more conceptual.

The experience was very engaging it's amazing how you really look at people drawing life drawing, so that you forget everything else. I can't wait to go again.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Time travel, madams and the curfew.

The weekend was full of strange events. After collapsing into a heap on Friday I awoke on Saturday rested and positively fizzing with vim and vigour. A friend has told me about an event being run in Trafalgar Square that I thought could be jolly good fun to join in on.

The co-ordinated thing was a mass freezing. Another group had run one of these events in Grand Central Station in New York. If you hunt around on YouTube you will find a very charming video of it going on and all the people who witnessed it being bemused, delighted and a little bit scared by people suddenly freezing for five minutes.

I cycled over to Trafalgar running a little late as I made rather slow progress on The King's Road because of the Chelsea game. Any time Chelsea play football at home the whole of Chelsea and Fulham falls to pieces. Luckily the Terror bike (brought on the day of the London terror attacks so I could get home) allowed me to whoosh past various grumpy types in their sports cars and I made it to Trafalgar Square with moments to spare.

I quickly struck a suitable pose and when the chap played the trumpet, froze. I couldn't see much as my head was down and my floppy hair was covering my eyes but I could definitely hear people being shocked. After a couple of minutes some children posed with me for a photo and a German couple had a loud conversation about what was going on.

When they time was up there was a round of applause and we all went to the pub satisfied that we had made London a little bit stranger. I had a couple of pints with a friend who was wearing an excellent green skirt and then bimbled back home.

The evening was a quiet one, I was supposed to go to a party but my flatmate has requested that I'm home by 11 because she needs her sleep so it makes going to social events somewhat challenging. Deciding that a two hour commute to spend five minutes at a party was a bit of a waste I read a book instead.

On Sunday I had a friend over for coffee and cake and then went to have a meal at my friends house, we haven't seen each other for a while and I discovered she has become an up-market Madam. I'm not a big fan of pimps, being that they are violent horrible men who are definitely not paragons of style but I'm not sure what I feel about Madams. Especially high-class ones who girls seem to enjoy what they do and seem to be paid to go to Monaco quite a lot.

Nice work if you can get it, but I'm not sure I could become a gigolo when I've got a curfew.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Ice Queen Melts

Well I did the gig. It was extremely scary. I've never seen a gig with such an angry crowd. Two acts couldn't actually tell any jokes because the crowd were talking back so much - one of them just did a dance while his time ticked away.

The MC had to tell the hecklers off, I mean a proper telling off. Why do people do that? I mean really? These weren't even funny hecklers, just sort of depressing.

Anyway. I did my set, the final act in fact. Which was a first, sort of accidentally becoming a headliner. It went okay, I'm probably being more critical on myself than I should be. I mean once ditched anything even remotely high-brow I got a very reasonable amount of laughs but it was a shame. There was no sparkle the sort you get - in my limited experience - when you are really getting on with the crowd.

It was recorded on a camera but I'm not sure I want a copy of that. Also doing the set were two very funny female comedians, one of whom I've met before. They are both extremely pretty, extremely funny and extremely nice and yet. Extremely single. It's baffling. The flatmate thinks this is due to most chaps being afraid of not being good enough for single girls. It sounds possible.

Oh and I spoke to The Ice Queen, she has a proper boyfriend. One who sent her flowers and took her out for a meal. I know the chap she used to think of him as just a friend but she has seen the light. Now she has a lovely boyfriend who thinks the world of her and that is very nice.

French toast and destiny

I spent a lot of the day moping about, I'm not entirely sure why. It should have been a good day, I paid in cheques (now only one thing remains unpaid) went for a walk and then did some work.

I think I was feeling a little bit blue because I piece I wrote for another newspaper that should have appeared today didn't. The editor says it is lovely and they are going to use it, just not this week. Ho-hum. As I was feeling a little strange, I made some French toast and went for a stroll.

Walks are good for improving one's mood, I think because the maximum speed of 'the blues' is quite low so just by walking moderately fast you can outpace it and then leave it behind.

I did feel much better after the bimble and I brought some more flour so I could make some bread. I introduced the flatmate to the wonders of home made bread last weekend and it was so good she was witness to the introduction of the bread dance. Which is a bit like the chocolate dance but with more pointing of toes.

I had no real plans this evening, but as always I thought I would trust in fate and let it decide what will happen. Fate has decided that I should do some more stand-up as someone I met briefly a few weeks ago will phone me out of the blue and offer me a comedy gig. So that is what I'm going to do tonight. So I've got to choose my waistcoat now, and practice my ding-dongs.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Brakes, Pamela Anderson and Gorillas

I picked my up bike from work today. I had to go into Soho for the meeting (which went extremely well) and because I was hungover I thought it might be a spiffing idea to cycle home on a lovely crisp winter's afternoon. It was lovely but my cycle needs a bit of work and the brakes aren't a strong as they should be.

This means slowing down requires a bit of forward planning. Quite a lot of forward planning. So if you are on the King's Road and the tiny star of Baywatch steps out in front of you while putting expensive shoes in the back of her limo then you have to swerve quite violently to avoid her because there is no way the brakes will stop you in time.

Luckly I didn't hit her, or the bus and she probably will never know how close she came to a fop-related accident. All she saw was a chap on a bike wobble a bit while saying 'blimey' before disappearing into the distance. Her trousers were extremely low slung and she really should wear a belt if she is going to bend over like that in the street. Still I suppose not every chap has seen most of Pamela's bum while commuting home.

Fashion week makes London go very silly, and it's amazing who you bump into, or almost run over. The only thing I thought as I wobbled off into the distance after my near miss is a gorilla is never going to believe me.

I've gotta be a macho man

I am hungover. Actually that isn't entirely correct, I am still drunk. I am ruined man, who has had about 20 minutes of sleep of sleep and will have to go into quite a serious meeting this afternoon. I didn't mean for it to end up like this but it did. Let me start at the beginning.

If I'm being honest it probably started to get dangerous around lunch time. For some reason it seemed like an excellent idea to skip any real food and just have a coffee. This would come back to haunt me later when the idea of some sort of starchy ballast to absorb drink would be terribly welcome.

Post work I met up with a friend in a cocktail bar for a quick drink before she went to some style awards. She was very much looking the fashion part and was resplendent in silver, her dress even had a cape. It was a small one, so perhaps technically it was a caplet? I'm not sure but capes are good.

After a brisk cocktail with my friend I ambled over to the bar that was hosting the Mr T thing. Sadly it was revealed that Mr T would be joining the event via satalite link rather than working the room. He was in good form and answered some piercing questions from me. I can exclusively reveal that the animal Mr T would least like to fight is a grizzly bear.

Once the presentation was over there was more booze and an arm wrestingly contest to win some dumbells. The chaps lining up to enter were big stocky chaps and they clearly didn't consider a foppish chap in a waistcoat to be much of a threat. Now I grew up on a farm so I'm fairly strong. So I entered the contest and did rather well.

I won, I even got a bit cocky on the final match and took the time to sip a cocktail while mid-wrestle. I've never won weights before in an arm wrestling contest but it's possibly the most macho thing I've ever done.

Flushed with victory we stumbled on to a members club in East London to join in a fashion week party. I started drinking gin at this point and bumped into some old friends, someone I used to work with a million years ago and Amy Winehouse.

This caused more drinking, I think. My memory is a bit hazy really. I got home at about 7am. Now I've got to arrange picking up my prize and try and get less drunk in time for a meeting this afternoon.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Mr T and the brain

I am tired, so very tired. Yesterday should have been spent prancing about feeling triumphant and possibly winking at pretty girls on the tube who were reading the feature I wrote. Instead I spent the morning fretting over needless things and the afternoon frantically working.

The piece has already opened doors for me, and I've been given a new assignment by an entirely different paper as well as being allowed to do something interesting by The Royal Family for another paper because the feature I wrote clearly gave them the impression I must be an okay sort of chap.

So because of this sudden influx of work I spent the whole evening down in the library frowning at my laptop and trying to squeeze out 2000 more words, when I really should have been drinking champagne and cocktails. I've got to hand it in an hours and I've looked at it so much that I just can't tell what is good or bad anymore.

Of course a chap can't just give up. It's stiff upper-lip time and as I'm a freelancer I should always been glad of the work. I know how to deal with this, it's time for coffee so strong you could cut it with a knife and some French jazz.

I can't fade now, I've got too much work to do and this evening I'm going to a party with Mr T. Well that makes it sound like I've got a hot date with the member of the A-Team. I've not. He will be there, but I'm going with a girl.

So I have to finish this piece, and then set about my wardrobe to decide what to wear today. I pity the fool that doesn't match his shirt and socks.

Is a pound a pound?

Is it okay to work for a paper you don't really approve of? It's sort of like that age old question. 'Did good people work on the construction of the Death Star?'. I've had to think about that a bit today.

Also is important is 'what would you do for money?'. I often talk to my friends in the adult industry about how they ended up doing what they do, not in a preachy way just trying to understand the steps you have to take to get there. It seems that it's a gradual process. First you do one little thing because someone pays you, and then you do something else as well for a bit more cash and so on.

I say this because I'm doing a photoshoot in oh about 10 minutes. This is a shoot for a feature about, well women. Women not being very spiffing. I will try and make it light-hearted and things but they do want the details. The little sordid facts of the matter and suddenly perhaps I'm revealing more than I should to a wider public.

Although now that I think about it, it's nothing more than I would say on this blog, and in this instance I will get paid. So while I don't think I'll be doing topless photo shoots for hardcore magazines where people like to look at Fops and Dandies. I am starting to understand the steps one goes on to get there.

And well, perhaps if the shot is tasteful, and important the piece I could undo a button or two.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Uncomfortable silences about winkies, calf implants and flowers

The dinner party was excellent. Most of the people there were single which is probably why the event bubbled away happily with out any talk of mortgages or improving kitchens. My friend was in extremely good form and spent most of the time whooshing in and out of the kitchen while she served food pausing only to tell a funny story the sort of which you can only really do if you have worked in that industry.

Because the room was full of giggling women who knew each other very well there was quite a long silly conversation about winky size and shape. The women found this deeply funny and the men all looked uncomfortable. We were quizzed if we had any preference when it came to lady-parts but we just decided to blush in unison which caused more laughter by the women and things went on.

It was an excellent party and it was if anything a shame to leave it but a chap must when he has a busy day ahead of him.

Yesterday I was having a conversation about plastic surgery - a friend is about to launch a magazine about it. And while I mocked the subject she was very serious about what she would get done. I should preface this with the fact that she is extremely good looking with a body of almost Barbie doll proportions.

Anyway, she wants to get calf implants, because her ones aren't currently shapely enough. I can't see anything wrong with them and to my, clearly untrained eye they seem very nice but she is not happy with them. At the party last night we talked about surgery a bit and all of the women had something bizarre they would change. I can't decide where I stand on self improvement. If there is something that you really don't like and you can get it changed, why not? But also when do you stop?

V-day is fast approaching and with it the difficult task of picking the right sort of flowers has now started. I am going to be getting a bunch delivered to two women I work for, which is fine but the amount of flowers is proving tricky. One of the women has given me an awful lot of work and the other one, only one bit. That is one piece so far, so should her flowers be less impressive than the other ones?

I know they should be different, and that the note should make little of the flowers being sent, but should there be a relationship between bouquet and commissions?

It's a minefield and one I hadn't expected. Perhaps I should just get them some calf implants instead, evidently that is what all stylish women really want.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Volauvents and the nude lady.

Can an adult actress throw a decent supper party? This is the question I will be finding the answer to tonight. I'll be going to the new house of an ex-girlfriend. I remember her from her 'wild days' when she was an actress of some renoun. We dated for a while - when she was taking a career break - and although things didn't really work out we have stayed friends.

She wasn't the most domestic of people, she lived in a strange world of sports cars and properties around the globe. You find a lot of adult actors and actresses invest in property (the ones who don't get messed up by the experience) because they earn so much in a short time and then the place you buy can provide a steady income when you retire.

I have very fond memories of our dates, we always had some sort of adventure. Some slightly worrying but others very entertaining. Once ended up doing a photoshoot with her, by accident but that is a story for another time.

I'm glad that she has completely got out of that world before she got to messed up by it and she has found a nice chap who clearly adores her. I still can't imagine her making volauvents but perhaps there is a happy ending for us all?

Friday, February 08, 2008


I went for a walk today to meet an old work mate for lunch. On the way there I saw a classic DB5 in silver and a DB9 Vantage, also in silver. As I've mentioned previously this is a sign of good luck.

And it was right, about five minutes ago I got the email. I've got my first ever piece appearing in the Daily Telegraph next week. I'm so excited I feel a little bit sick.

Stand-up, reunions and badly dressed women.

Last night was my second comedy gig ever. I think if anything it was a more challenging than the first one. The venue was about six times the size of the previous one so I was performing in front of an awful lot of people. I was also on second, so I wouldn't be talking to a lovely, warmed-up happy crowd but a group of people who were slightly angry and waiting to be amused.

The crowd were actually quite angry. The MC had almost started a fight with someone before I went on, and there had been more than a little heckling. Even worse my old boss from my first, hated job had decided to come along. While I don't really give a damn about him, I didn't want to look like a prat.

So I took the stage with a touch of the nerves. The proper set up of the lights and speakers and things meant that I had no idea if people were laughing, or even smiling. I couldn't see or hear the audience.

Luckily I didn't get heckled, and I definitely heard a few laughs, especially when I said the line about the fox. Actually it went swimmingly, and I left the stage with an pleasantly meaty applause and the crowd wanting more so that is good. Afterwards quite a few people (mostly women) came up to me to say the enjoyed my act which was very nice of them and I will buy them all drinks or make them cakes at some point in the future.

I was followed by The Urban Woo who was amazing. Her confidence is astounding and it really showed me that I've got quite a bit to learn. Still, it is only my second time and perhaps if I was wearing a skirt that excellent I would also have a loquacious ease.

The lovely people organising it have said I can do some more work and two of the other acts have asked me to go to their club nights so it looks like I'll be doing more shows, and fox jokes.

After the gig I went to a leaving party for someone I used to work with which caused a re-union of another sorts with my old boss and even more surprising A whom I wrote an awful lot about in 2006. It was fun seeing the old crowd and strange seeing A. We were polite to each other in that terribly English way, but nothing more than that.

When the pub closed we went to a nearby club in Chelsea, a friend works for the company who owns it so you get to swan in to the VIP area and drinks are supplied with out having to do anything as vulgar as pay. It was fun, but it made me realise how people in Chelsea really can't dance and most of the women can't dress themselves. While I may be drifting back into the dating scene there are some standards a chap has to maintain and I think the first of those is to not be seen with a girl who looks like she has dressed herself in the dark, while drunk.

Perhaps I should have dragged The Urban Woo along with me to the club so she could show the jiggling trustifarians how a real lady dresses.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Art rage

People aren't rude to me that often, perhaps because mostly I write about lovely things happening to people and how lovely they are. Or perhaps because well, I don't live the most challenging of lives. That isn't to say it doesn't have it's tricky moments but rarely someone takes the time to be unpleasant. Yesterday was an exception.

I had been given an assignment to go life drawing and write about it.

I often go on adventures for a paper and then record what happened. Every piece so far has been a glowing review of the activity and has noticed a significant upturn in business after it has been covered. I say this so you can understand that me writing about something is a good thing. I've even covered, somewhat sensitive groups who are very protective about their privacy and they were happy with the result.

Last night I appeared at the art drawing place in Islington with a photographer and was treated like a criminal. I had arranged with the person giving the class to go and we had even got permission from the model to be featured, but the owner of the building or at least some berk in charge was having none of it.

He was of the opinion that I was going to write some sort of sleazy, lad-mag account of life drawing. Nothing I, or the photographer could say would change his opinion so we left. The chap said I could I do the course but I had to pay and I couldn't take any photos, but if someone has been that unpleasant to me I'm not going to give him the free publicity.

Living with girls

Living with girls is tricky. They are complicated sorts with things one has to take into consideration - there are places that knives go and places they don't go and sometimes a cup of tea is exactly what they need and sometimes exactly what they don't and how dare could you suggest that.

It makes me go misty eyed about my old flat shares at university. I lived with a chap called Pricey as a sort of old couple. There were other people in the flat, a constantly stoned Geordie and a tiny chap who technically lived there but actually spent most of his time at his girlfriends. The shower was in his room so this worked out well. He had a giant telly with sky so you could watch television while having a shower which was an interesting experience.

Anyway, back to Pricey and I. We quickly became a proto-couple. While we both had various girlfriends we cooked for each other if we were about and would often just to to the pub to talk nonsense. It was very nice, the closest we ever came to a fight was what sort of sauce would we make for pasta. My tomato based one or his cheese based one. We both enjoyed cooking so it was more of a 'no it's my turn to cook' in a very polite way.

Because we cooked so much - from raw ingredients - we lived like kings at university. I don't think I've ever eaten so well since. I'd bring up game or ducks from my mothers house and he would get all sorts of interesting supplies from the supermarket he worked at in the evenings.

We liked the same stuff, would go to films and have a nice time. Girlfriends would drift in and out of the flat but not disturb the manly harmony. Sadly I left Scotland to go to London and Pricey couldn't leave his beloved country.

I suppose any future flatmate or girlfriend is going to be compared against the gold standard of Pricey and, well they tend to fall rather short.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The assignment dance.

I was given a new assignment yesterday. It's a feature, 800 words on spec but what makes it interesting is that it is for a major newspaper. A proper one, one that people have heard of and possibly even read.

I was so thrilled when I got the call (and yet baffled how the chap got my mobile number) that I danced around the room for about ten minutes. After the dancing had finished I celebrated with a cup of Earl Gray.

Now I have to write it, and I can't think of anything interesting to say. Maybe a bit more coffee will help. Argh.

Monday, February 04, 2008

The linen of change

The last weekend was restless, perhaps it was because it was the last week of the Chinese New Year. I always find the Chinese calendar is much more agreeable to make changes around. For a start the Gregorian New Year's Eve is far too close to Christmas so you don't really get to look forward to it.

January is ghastly and should be avoided at all costs so it seems much more suitable to start things in February. Historically all the exciting changes in my life have been in February and so I've come to rather look forward to it. The year of the Rat starts in only a few days and I should be prepared. It's customary to clean the house when facing the New Year which I think is an excellent tradition. Also one can gain extra luck by putting up lucky phrases and the like. Since my kanji is a bit rusty these days (really should revise it a little bit) and really the auspicious words should be in a language you understand I've written 'spiffing' and 'jolly good show' and celotaped it to my door. I'll report back if they have any effective.

As part of 'Operation New Life' I've recently got some new bed linen, I'm undecided about the colour, it's a sort of coffee/caramel that I would normally stay away from the shade but under the flatmates advisement I went with it and it does fit in with the colouring of the rest of the room. My bedroom now resembles a stylish hotel room, albeit one with a pith helmet in it and far too many shoes.

My bike fever has if anything got worse. I spent all weekend reading bike magazines and books so now at least I can make a passing stab at the lingo. I've even been remembering things from my childhood spent surrounded by hundreds of bikes. Plus it appears that a gentlemanly cravat is actually a useful thing to wear to keep out the chilly spring winds. It's not just dapper, it's essential.

Also I'm working on a bike related writing project with a friend, if my dad knew about that I think he would be very chuffed.

Saturday, February 02, 2008


The weather report for Louche at present is unsettled weather with feelings of listlessness and the occasional spell of melancholy. Things should brighten up towards the afternoon as we expect to see some hats.

Friday, February 01, 2008

In which we talk about motorbikes and death

I went to the London bike show yesterday. H had some tickets going so I thought I might as well bimble along. If you have never been to the Excel centre pack lots of food, it is unbelievably far east, it's practically in France. I've never been that far East and stayed in the country.

After about two days of travel on the tube I finally arrived. I had some initial confusion and nearly walked into the toy show by mistake but after that I was safely in the world of motorbikes. H was there for work so we had to take photographs of exciting bikes and note down their details.

Occasionally I'd spot a bike I'd really quite like and then email Piqued for his view on it. Most of the ones I liked the look of fell into the 'you won't live to be 35' catagory, but this was a bike show so it was full of the most rediculous bikes.

After a bit of a stroll around I bimbled up to a bike magazine stand and had one of the weirdest conversations I think I've ever had.

L: 'Hullo, Who should I talk to about doing freelancing for your magazine? I'd love to get involved'

Chap: 'You can talk to me, I'm the deputy editor'

L: 'Great, I've just inherited a couple of classic bikes and I'd love to write about them for you. They are very special'

Chap doesn't look massively interested

C: 'Yes? What sort of bikes are they?'

L: 'My dad made them, so they aren't any make really. He designed them to look like pre-65 trials bikes but they are completely original'

Chap starts to show interest and takes some notes.

C: 'What engine do they have in them?'

L: 'Again a custom job, my dad made those too, hand machined.'

C: 'Blimey' (I don't think he really said blimey, but he did say something like that.)

L: 'Actually my dad was featured in your mag a few months back, jumping his motorbike at Eton'

Chap says my dad's name.

L: 'Yup that is the one, I'm Louche, his son.'

C: 'Your dad invited the editor to come and see the bikes, but he never arranged it'

L: 'Well he has passed away so it is a bit late now.'

C: 'I'm very sorry. Those bikes sound really interesting and if you are a writer you can write them up for us. I'll tell the editor about this and get back to you'

L: 'Marvellous'

Exit Louche stage left.

After that I looked at some more bikes, sent some more emails to Piqued about bike ideas where he said 'no you will die'. Even though he said the bike would kill me I entered a few competitions to win a couple of ridiculous bikes including a beautiful Ducati 848.

There is a bike display thingy at the show where a selection of very silly people do things on motorbikes that should really kill them. Stuff that makes your knees hurt just to watch it, there was a bit with a chainsaw and I think that probably says enough.

Oh and before I forget. The stunt bike people had to treat the floor to make it have more grip in some parts. What did they use? Coca Cola, weird eh?

After the show I went to my Viking friend's leaving party. He is finally abandoning London to go and live in Devon with the love of his life (he first fell for her at the age of 14). As expected he was very jolly about this, and it couldn't happen to a nicer chap.

You know driving down to Devon to see him would be an excellent thing for a chap with a motorbike to do.