Saturday, 29 August 2009

Friday 28 August 2009

My day at work was fraught! Fraught, I say!
Actually it wasn’t too bad, apart from the random referrals from the Call Centre. You’d think that secret government departments wouldn’t have Call Centres, but we do, just like everyone else.
I’m still coming to terms with my macro lens.
It is somewhat ironic that, having been plagued with moths since at least March, now that I need some to photograph there’s not a one to be found.
Marcus, the wolverine-lite Big Brother contestant was evicted from the House this evening.
Siavash, the Iranian Jesus, seems to have adopted a Messianic quest strategy and is trying to persuade everyone else to donate the prize money to charity.
Last week, Big Brother announced that the prize fund had been reduced to zero, but that housemates would have the chance to restore the balance. The original announcement was greeted with nervous smiles and laughter by most of the housemates, apart from Camp David, who looked horrified at the prospect of having no capital to start his Yorkshire Pudding factory.
Siavash has won back ten thousand pounds, but wants it to go to charity. The other housemates are hesitant to enter into a debate about it, presumably seeing themselves as either committing to giving the money to charity or else appearing greedy.
Nice move, Siavash.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Thursday 27 August 2009

I was on Jessops doorstep at 9am, and dealt with this time by a nice young man with floppy Jesus hair.
He handed me my lens and sorted me out with an additional UV filter. I resisted the urge to bring up the 9.45am issue again and left.
Heading for the tube, I suddenly realised that the day before I had walked straight past New Scotland Yard, with its big whirling silver triangle of Law. How could I have missed that?
I am very pleased with the new lens. It does exactly what it says on the tin. I can now take close-up photographs of moths as well as normal photographs of more or less everything else. Fab!

Wednesday 26 August 2009

Last night I ordered a new macro lens for my camera to be picked up from a branch of Jessops. Apparently, it would be ready after 9.45 if I collected it from Jessops in Victoria. They promised to send me a text when the lens was there.
It seemed a bit odd to that they should give a time and then send a text.
However, I needed to pick up a new cash card from the Abbey anyway, so I arranged to go into work late, and set off to the Bush of Shepherds.
For arcane reasons known only to the Gnomes of Santander, Abbey National do not open till 10.00 am on Wednesdays. I sighed and sang the weary sigh of the consumer, whilst nursing a cappuccino in the Bush of Shepherds Coffee and Muffin emporium.
Having queued, identified myself and collected my card I set off for Victoria. By the time I arrived it was 11.05 and no text message.
Jessops in Victoria is located in Strutton Ground, an odd Diagon Alley type place just off Victoria Street, which has market stalls, cafes, bookshops and a fish and chip shop called The Laughing Halibut.
The nice Jessops lady had not received my lens.
‘I’d ring back about 1pm,’ she said, and looked blankly at me when I pointed out the 9.45 am timeslot on the e-mail I had been sent.
I decided to set off for work, manfully resisting the sirens of Greggs, who were waving Cornish pasties at me in a tempty fashion.
The text came through about 2.30, but by then I couldn’t be arsed.

Monday 24 August 2009

The UO made fish & chips for dinner and we watched ‘Dynasty’. Alexis Carrington went to a very dramatic fortune teller who started shouting like a madwoman.
More or less a perfect evening.

Sunday 23 August 2009

One of my colleagues gave me the gift of a jazz woodbine last week, which I had been saving, so I took it with me this afternoon and hoied me to the sauna.
There was at least one famous artist there, whose name shall remain unblogged, as well as an apparently well-known TV actor, although quite honestly I saw no faces which were instantly recognisable as ‘that man from Holby City’ or ‘him from the Bill’.
Later, I cooked a Northern Thai ginger chicken curry with some Kua paste that I painstakingly created the day before. It was luvverly.
We then watched Midsomer Murders which featured a scene of old East Germany. Old East Germany looked remarkably like Brompton Cemetery.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Saturday 22 August 2009

It is my habit of a Saturday morning to catch up with ‘Days of Our Lives’. Philip ‘Wet-Lettuce’ Kiriakis has returned unannounced from his marine training, and has grown a completely new handsome head. Gone are the sharpened cheekbones and the wimpy body. The new Philip is a much chunkier monkey.
‘You look so different!’ said Belle Black, a little obviously.
This was clearly an omen of some sort, since later, I wandered down Shepherds Bush Market with my camera and found an elderly Indian Michael Jackson, complete with white glove, red trousers, gold jacket, sunglasses and headphones, dancing around the market stalls singing ‘Billie Jean.’
Could Michael possibly have faked his own death in order to fulfill a lifelong dream of singing his way between Uxbridge Road and Goldhawk Road?
I took some pictures of him, and the attentive audience he somehow gathered, and also one of the nice man who sells the suitcases.
Later, we had Canelloni, while we watched the new revamped X-Factor. No one likes the new format in which an audience sits in on the auditions. Four hundred thousand viewers were lost apparently, which should tell Mr Cowell something.
Later, we watched one of my favourite films, ‘The Blood Beast Terror’, but as this was an American DVD it appeared on the film under its US title ‘The Vampire Beast Craves Blood’.
I’d forgotten that it appears to be full of Carry-On style innuendo.
When Peter Cushing arrives at a lecture of a famous moth expert, he is informed that the lecture has already started.
‘Ohhh, I’m sure he won’t mind if I slip in at the back!’ purrs Cushing, in a suitably Kenneth Williams-ish fashion.
The film is probably the first to feature evil moth people, in this case, Wanda Ventham, whose transformation to a big flappy man-eating moth is so good it incorporates a large Victorian frock.
Marvellous stuff!

Friday 21 August 2009

There was a serious bout of road rage outside our secret government bunker today for reasons which are not clear. Horn-beeping and shouting gave way to fisticuffs, in which several people were involved, with at least one man running around waving a screwdriver. Subsequently, when the police arrived, people fled the scene and left a car, with doors akimbo, abandoned in the middle of the street.
Our secret personnel were so agitated by this incident that they were incapable of any secret work for the rest of the day, so I left early.
The Ugly One cooked us a superlative Chicken in Black Bean Sauce and we settled down to watch Bonkers Bea being evicted from the Big Brother House.
I felt slightly sorry for her after her interview. She clearly is a little deranged.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Thursday 20 August 2009

I took some photographs on the way into work of some people in Brixton market. Being a little paranoid and fearful of bad lads accusing me of photographing them illegally, and subsequently punching me to a bloody pulp, I used a wide angle lens and let the camera hang from its strap at belly level, and pretended to talk into my mobile phone. This allows me to creep close to my prey and (the wonders of autofocus) take quite interesting pictures of unsuspecting people in the wild.
The Ugly One, having cooked a very acceptable Texan Mince, went off for an evening of Gay Bingo, leaving me to my own devices, which was nice. I did have the option of going along (since we had both been invited by our friend Robert, who wanted to introduce us to Henry, his new dog) but for one thing I wasn’t feeling too well, having been struck with a strange fever at about 1pm, and for another I have an aversion to Bingo, gay or otherwise. I once went out with a bingo caller from Clacton, whose name I cannot recall. I met him in the Black Cap in Camden and only remember that he had a bleached blonde mop and an eccentric line in drainpipe trousers.
I spent a quiet evening with Photoshop, with which I am slowly falling in love, editing my pictures.
I have been avoiding the cricket, which is a constant source of bewilderment to me. For me, it’s just Quidditch on the ground, searching for the golden snitch for three days.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Wednesday 19 August 2009

Our boss took us out for a burger at The Burger Gourmet Kitchen in Clapham High Street. That’s fine as it goes. They do, however, have a rather eccentric method of ordering and paying for food, in that a waitress comes rounds to take one’s drinks order, and duly delivers the drinks, following which we have to visit the counter individually to order and pay for food.
I don’t see this as a satisfactorily efficient way of running a restaurant.
On the Victoria Line on the way home, my boss was stuck next to a very smelly man who, nevertheless, stared at me meaningfully, as if he held a long felt want.

Tuesday 18 August 2009

The Ugly One cooked us Kung Pao chicken with spinach noodles. I bought the spinach noodles myself from the Chinese Supermarket.
The Ugly One, bless his little cotton socks, has booked us on a holiday to Scotland, so very soon we will be off to the land of the porridge gobblers, to see such sights as Loch Ness and the Forth of Fifth.
And there will be haggis! Hoorah!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Monday 17 August 2009

Sometimes – from the fastness of the secret government bunker within which I work – are issued questionnaires, designed to plumb the very core of the minds of residents of our fair city. They are ostensibly composed of deceptively simple questions, in this case about disabled bays, but are cunningly constructed to bring forth deep psychological responses.
Today we received one back, anonymous, with a neatly typed rectangle of paper pritt-sticked to it.
‘Disabled people are a waste of space,’ it read. ‘They blather on about being equal to everyone else, and yet they have to have their own bays. What they need is euthanasia, and they can then serve the community by becoming lampshades, soap and fertiliser.’
I’m not usually one who is easily shocked, but I must confess to being a little alarmed by this.
There are people out there who have thought long enough about this issue to have come up with the idea of turning people into lampshades.
Later, I was wandering around Marks & Spencer, as you do, crumbling the crusts on the crusty rolls, just for the hell of it. I had my headphones on, listening to (although this is hardly relevant) The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, when an odd-looking old lady began tapping at my arm. I removed one headphone, guardedly, as women in Marks & Spencer have been proven to be – in a nationwide study – far more predisposed to violence than female shoppers in other stores.
‘Are you a musical person?’ she asked.
‘I’m sorry?’ I responded, for the moment a little confused by the question.
‘Musical. Are you musical, luv?’
‘I imagine so,’ I replied. It is of course a historic euphemism for men like myself, who exist in the twilight lavender world of Dynasty fans.
‘I thought so. Good for you, son!’ she said, and gave me a hearty slap on the back before tottering off to tut at the state of the crusty rolls.
Back in the lavender world of Twilight, I cooked scampi and chips for the Ugly One and we caught up with some more Dynasty.
Alexis is putting it about that Fallon’s father is not Blake but Jeff’s oily uncle Cecil (pronounced Sea-sill). I can’t see that at all. He looks more musical than Liberace. Meanwhile, a new Italian Doctor is on the scene, Doctor Angus Canelloni, or some such name. He is up to no good, and is prone to making mysterious calls to an unknown recipient.
Before I went to bed I checked my e-mail and discovered that the editor of the marvellous magazine Monkey Kettle wishes to publish more of my work. Hoorah!

Monday, 17 August 2009

Sunday 16 August 2009

I had my first foray with the tagine today and made a chicken and preserved lemon tagine, which turned out very well.
Still no sign of God.

Saturday 15 August 2009

I went on a pilgrimage to Westbourne Grove on a hunt for Kaffir limes. I’ve been searching for them for some time, and have been unsuccessful, but a colleague recommended a Thai supermarket here. They did indeed have Kaffir limes, which I bought, along with some coriander and dried shrimps. I passed on the instant jellyfish (to which one just adds water to reconstitute what I am sure is a delightful repast). I also saw a bottle of ‘SQUID’ (in very large letters) Fish Sauce, along with a big picture of a happy squid on the label.
‘Oooh!’ I thought, ‘Squid fish sauce!’ and picked up the bottle, only to discover the ingredients to be anchovies and a smattering of additional spices and preservatives.
The Ugly One made a consummate curry and we settle down to watch Dynasty in which Joan Collins returned as the wonderful Alexis in a hat large enough to have carried the rest of her wardrobe back from Madagascar, or wherever she has been staying.
She arrived just in time to testify against Blake and confirm his violent urges, as when he attacked Alexis’ lover when he caught them in bed together.
Alexis claims she is an artist. She brought Stephen a portrait of himself when he was seven; a ghastly multi-coloured thing which lacks only a tear rolling down the boy’s cheek. Stephen gazed at it in horror, desperately trying to hide his shock. Being a gay man he knows what is good art and what isn’t.

Friday 14 August 2009

Photography has become my passion of late, particularly in tandem with Photoshop, which allows me to manipulate my images to a frightening and somewhat deceitful degree.
My favourite subjects are either random people in the great outdoors, or still life. I’ve begun photographing the contents of my coffee table a little obsessively, but this, in its own way is a form of diary since it sets a context. The original photographs showed packets of menthol cigarettes and an overflowing ashtray, while in the more recent ones, although my Gorilla Kingdom coffee mug is ubiquitous, the smoking paraphernalia is conspicuous by its absence.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Thursday 13 August 2009

I have been given a new appointment by the hospital for them to examine me further. I have been referred to a dermatological specialist in the Chelsea and Westminster hospital who will no doubt ask me all the same questions and demand a tribute of blood and urine.
On a lighter note, the next season of ‘Dynasty’ has arrived and I am glad to say that Joan Collins has at long last appeared as Blake Carrington’s scheming ex-wife Alexis. Hoorah!

Friday 7 August 2009

Tonight we had Sir Digby Chicken Caesar Salad in honour of Benson, the great Carp, who died, allegedly of nut poisoning.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Thursday 6 August

I found this scan of a hand-painted photograph I did some years ago. As far as I recall I was commissioned to do three of them, one for each twin and one for the mother, and they were all different.
I wish I could find the photos of the other two. Maybe someone will recognise them and let me know where they are now.
On my way home on the Tube the other evening, I noticed that someone had stuck a large poster over the sign that reads ‘This is a priority seat for old persons and gay atheists’ replacing it with, in very large letters ‘Remember Jesus!’. Someone, however, and not me on this occasion, had subsequently added the words ‘To F**k’ between ‘Remember’ and ‘Jesus’.
To add to the surreal nature of the week, people, from wildly different parts of the world, have found my blog by typing in ‘Simon Callow uncircumcised’ and ‘Peter Andre uncircumcised’
and ‘Everybody took a turn to suck it through the spout’.
I have to stress that these three phrases are completely unrelated as far as I am aware.
I wish Peter Andre would get his over moisturised mug off my TV screen, though. I was hoping that the separation would shut them up, but no such luck.
‘Read about my tragic tale, only in The News of The World, Heat, OK, Hello and Bunty.’
Actually, Peter. I don’t care. I’m frantically searching my pockets for that rat’s arse I’d like to give, but I can’t find it. It’s not there.
The cynical part of me, (which is about 87%) is half convinced that they haven’t split up at all, since they’ve been in the press more now than they were when they were together, and after all, their profession is…. being in the press, so why is anyone surprised?
Give it a year and there will be a tearful reunion with Katie, young Creosote and Princess Tiramisu in an exclusive Hello event, and a new TV series.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Wednesday 5 August 2009

As an anniversary gift, it being twenty years since the Ugly One and I first made the beast with two backs, I bought a le Creuset Tagine. To be honest, I think they had mispriced it in the shop as the large one was thirty pounds cheaper than the smaller one so I hoiked it out of there faster than a Jackson going to a will reading.
This evening we foregathered at Indian Zing, one of Hammersmith’s best kept secrets. It’s a high class Indian Restaurant huddled away down the end of King Street, opposite a sinister looking Methodist Church. They were having a biryani festival and they have Kama Sutra illustrations in the toilets. (That is Indian Zing, not the sinister looking Methodist Church) Hoorah! , so I went for a fish one, and the UO had the liver and kidney. I’ve not come across liver and kidneys in Indian restaurants before. I didn’t really want to on this occasion, but the UO was keen, and was, from the rate he guzzled it down, very impressed with the outcome.

Tuesday 4 August 2009

Being the sort of person who is fairly lax about appointments, I hadn’t been to the optician or the dentist for quite some time. The downside of this is that something was bound to go amiss, although I did not expect two things to go amiss simultaneously in that serious toothache appeared last week at the same time that my glasses fell apart. Today, I had to go in and have an eye-test and later, have a tooth removed.
I could not speak this evening, but nevertheless Mr Soprano rang me from America to ask what sort of bacon we eat.
Yes. That’s what I thought.

Monday 3 August 2009

This morning I photographed the Polish decorators in their underpants as they changed into their overalls. I imagine that technically this may be an invasion of privacy, but I would argue that people who want privacy shouldn’t take their pants off in the middle of the street.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Sunday 2 August 2009

Today I intended going out but in a crazy act of spontaneity, stayed in instead.
I cooked one of my signature dishes, Willow Chicken in Black Bean Sauce, while the Ugly One set up a new toy; a combo turntable and tape-deck that plugs into the computer and can therefore convert vinyl and cassette sound to mp3.
Science is marvellous.
Later we watched ‘Dead Silence’ which is one of those films about ventriloquist’s dolls that should really form a subgenre of their own. All in all it wasn’t too bad, and the dummy(s) were suitably well-made and creepy.
I’m also still enjoying ‘The Wire’ very much.
Radio Four irritated me somewhat as there is a move within the station to allow atheists and Humanists to have a voice on ‘Thought For The Day’. The religious broadcasters are against the idea, as they feel that having people broadcasting common sense and logic to ordinary people would no doubt bring down the government and destroy the very fabric of society, not to mention the binding agents that hold the universe together and underpin the very building blocks of reality.
‘We can’t have that sort of thing going on,’ said a Born Again Christian lady. ‘Who knows where it would all lead?’ For one thing, I suspect, Christians might only be born once, and that would cause chaos for just about everyone.

Saturday 1 August 2009

I got up early and took some pictures of the Polish decorators across the road, having their morning coffee.
My tooth was aching still, but despite this I ventured out to work for a couple of hours. As regular readers will know, I work in a secret government bunker in Brixton, so secret that it’s not even in Brixton. We just tell people this to put them off the scent. This does have the benefit to the people of Brixton of visitors arriving to find the secret government bunker and therefore providing revenue to local shops and businesses as they wander about trying to locate me.
This evening we saw ‘A Mighty Wind’, a film made by the wonderful Christopher Guest (whose most famous work has to be ‘This is Spinal Tap’) in which he reunites the Spinal Tap members as ‘The Folksmen’, a folk group of the Sixties who are invited, along with some other folk bands of the time, to attend a reunion concert in tribute to the recently deceased man who made their careers.
As always, the end result is oddly brilliant, particularly as the music is so apt, so subtly funny and so well done that it could fit unnoticed into compilation records of the era.
The comedy is more gentle than that of ‘This is Spinal Tap’ but the film is no less funny. Highly recommended.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Friday 31 July 2009

We seem to have bred a new race of professional reality show stars. Noirin, who was – at least until this week - unaccountably popular in Big Brother this year, and seems to have broken the hearts of several men and a Russian woman, was originally in another reality series in the US where she met Isaac. Isaac, no doubt to cause mischief and mayhem, was put into the BB house last night, or maybe the night before and has been hiding in the shrubbery, feeding on squirrels. He looks like he could eat squirrels alive. Isaac kept reminding me of someone in that annoying way that people do and I have just realised that it is the talking zombie from ‘Dawn of The Dead’. He has an overflattened skull that makes me worry where to slot him in one of those ‘Ascent of Man’ illustrations which shows the progression from ape to Homo Sapiens.
Anyway, Homo Isaactus entered the house and immediately took possession of Noirin (isn’t that the name of a brand of lard?), much to the dismay of Siavash, (aka ‘the Persian Jesus’, or ‘Said from Lost’). I’m not sure how people can simply migrate from one reality show to another. Surely, logic would dictate that once you’ve appeared on one reality show, you are no longer ‘real’ in the sense that I would understand it. ‘Real’ people are people who haven’t appeared on TV; televisual virgins who work as viewing interest because of the very fact that they are not professional or experienced tv performers. Once one has become accustomed to making an arse of yourself in front of millions of people, doesn’t that qualify one to be raised to the level of public nuisance, like Jordan and Peter Andre? There really should be some sort of law preventing the continuance of such abominations.

Thursday 30 July 2009

My favourite purchase over the last year (if one can have such a thing as a favourite purchase) was my Olympus E420 Digital SLR camera. Recently, I have been out and about quite a lot, trying to look like a proper paparazzi. Back in the day I used an Olympus OM2 with proper film, which was marvellous, but hampered by the fact that one had to either have one’s own darkroom, or wait a statutory two weeks for the chemist to have them developed.
These days, digital technology having moved on, I can put all my new photos straight into Photoshop and create instant blackmail pictures, or seamlessly weld my head onto Vin Diesel’s body.
I haven’t done either as yet, as my Photoshop skills are still maturing, but the time will come.