31 January 2010

So much yummy food stuffed into my face

I've had such a nice weekend. It started off with a little bit of a wobble, but after that it has been great, and I must have consumed about 60,000 calories in the last 24 hours.

The initial wobble was Friday night when we went to try a new club night called Don't Stop Believin. It was the same club night we went to for New Year's Eve, which they have now tried to turn into a regular Friday night thing. It's run by Dynamite Sal, whom we know quite well really (to chat to at least) as we've been going to her club nights for more than 10 years. That makes me feel quite old to say that actually. Anyway, it was at The Jam, the same as before, and we thought we'd give it a try.

Unfortunately, although the music was alright really, it ended up being really empty. It was freezing cold in there, possibly not helped by the lack of people, and while there were quite a few people in the bar upstairs, no one was coming downstairs to dance. So we kept our coats on (because of the cold), had a bit of a dance, and then bailed out by 12.30. I feel a bit sorry for Sal, but maybe it will pick up a bit after a couple of weeks, and when it's not so freezing cold outside.

We had friends coming down on Saturday, so I had to drag myself out of bed with a bit more of a hangover than I was expecting yesterday in order to do the dusting and hoovering. Fortunately for me they were a bit later than they expected, so I had time for a nap and to make myself look presentable before they arrived. We've known these friends for about five years now, having met them on our first holiday to Gran Canaria, and we have a lovely relaxed, flirty sort of relationship with them.

So anyway, the first part of my massive calorie overload was last night, when we had a few glasses of wine at home before going out for dinner. I can highly recommend Old Telegraph Shiraz which our friends brought for us, as it was DELICIOUS. I don't usually buy Shiraz as I think it's too dark for me, but this had a really lovely chocolatey flavour to it. Then after my chocolate-flavoured red wine we went to Cafe Rouge, where I gorged myself on deep-fried Camembert with red current sauce, followed by confit de canard in a delicious orange jus thing with dauphinoise potatoes. It was sooooooooo nice! And massive, and meaty considering I don't each much meat at home.

Then we had a drink in the Star Inn (nice but a bit expensive actually), a drink in the Marine Tavern (who have a FIT little bar boy who shows his pants when he bends over to get things) and a drink in Vavoom (nice but, as always, massively over-priced. £4 for a drink is rather a lot). I was practically waddling by the time we walked home.

Then this morning I weirdly woke up hungry again. I don't know why but that always happens when I've eaten loads the night before, but body seems to start expecting constant stuffing with food. I had a nice muffin thing for breakfast, a short walk in the cold, and then we went to the PV at the Jury's Out for Sunday lunch.

The PV is actually a really nice pub, and every time I go there I think "wow this is lovely, we must come more often". The Sunday lunch is GORGEOUS. I had roast beef, yorkshire pudding, stuffing, roast potatoes, cauliflower cheese, broccoli, parsnips, green beans and cabbage, and it was all soooooo yummy. It was only about 15 hours since my dinner though, so I don't know where I've put it all, I must have gained a stone.

I definitely want to go to the PV more often; they do a quiz night, and cheap drinks (£2, can't beat that), and it generally has a nice atmosphere in there.

And now I've got a wild boar sausage roll sitting in the fridge that I bought from Bona Foodie for no apparent reasons, which is calling out to me to eat it in the next half hour. I'm such a fat bloater.

Oo yes, and I forgot to say that I drank BEER this weekend. Well, a Hoegaarden with my dinner. But normally I don't drink beer at all. However, I am in training so that I can drink beer more regularly because my other big news is we're going to New York!!! We booked the tickets on Friday night, flying Virgin just after Easter and staying for five nights. I'm really looking forward to it. BUT, last time we went, I couldn't drink properly in the bars because if you asked for a vodka and coke you got given a glass of vodka that had about 5ml of coke in it so it was very slightly discoloured, and it was DISGUSTING. I couldn't drink it, and I love vodka. So in anticipation of that I plan to convert myself into a semi-pro beer drinker in the next two months, so I can saunter up to American bars and say "Gimme a beer" without adding on "I hope it doesn't make me throw up" in my head afterwards.

So anyway, I might try to sleep my lunch off now, and then drag my massive carcass over to the fridge to eat my wild boar sausage roll in time for the Dancing On Ice Fittyfest at 6.15. Bring on Gary Lucy and Kieron Richardson in skimpy lycra tops and tight trousers.

25 January 2010

Why I’m opposed to Sarah’s Law

There has been a fair bit of coverage in the news over the weekend of the plan to extend the so-called Sarah’s Law from its four pilot areas around the UK to a national scheme. For a few reasons, I think that this is a bad idea that won’t achieve very much, and that it is being implement purely because it is popular and grabs headlines in the run-up to a general election.

For those of you who don’t know, the Sarah’s Law scheme allows parents to ask local police forces if people who have contact with their children have convictions for sex crimes or have been previously suspected of abuse. The police then check the Sex Offenders Register and any other relevant databases, and if there is a cause for concern they will share a certain amount of information with the applicant. The parent is supposed to be legally bound to keep that information confidential and not tell any other parents or people in the local area. It is named Sarah’s Law after the abduction and murder of a girl called Sarah Payne by a convicted paedophile in 2000, and is similar to but not the same as Megan’s Law in the US. Megan’s Law is more wide-reaching, as it allows people to find out if any sex offenders live in their local area, without having to make an enquiry about a specific individual. The Sarah’s Law campaigners wanted the same thing in the UK, but instead this compromise scheme was introduced.

I think the whole scheme is a bad idea with potentially dangerous consequences. Firstly, I would be extremely concerned about the possibility of vigilante reprisals against people who have details relating to them released under this scheme. I know that in the pilot areas they haven’t found this to be a problem, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be in the future. The public, and particularly parents, are not at all rational when it comes to any kind of sex offender, and there have already been instances in the past of people being attacked, murdered or hounded from their homes because of previous allegations – whether those allegations were actually proven or not. For this reason, I think the monitoring of sex offenders is and should remain the job of the police and the probation service. Despite what some campaigners might say, parents are NOT appropriate people to do so.

Secondly, I think that the Sex Offender Register is at times a highly imperfect system. People who pose no threat to children, or in fact no threat to anyone at all, can sometimes end up on the Sex Offenders Register for life. Take a 16 year-old boy who has sex with his 15 year-old girlfriend: technically, that is statutory rape, and could lead to him being recorded on the register for sex with a minor. Does that make him a danger to children? Most likely not. But if ‘previous sex with a child’ is shared with a member of the public, with no qualifying information, that person will then be labelled as a dangerous paedophile, and a hysterical reaction ensues. I am unsure quite what level of detail is shared with parents under this scheme, but I would feel that this is a significant area of concern.

The scheme also includes people who have been suspected of or investigated for abuse, which I think is even worse. Of course that information may sometimes be critical to crime prevention, but it could also be due to a malicious or mistaken allegation that was investigated and then dismissed. How is it fair that that should be shared with local people should they ask about it? Qualified individuals should have access to that information, not members of the public.

Further to that, the scheme of course offers no protection at all from people who have never been investigated for or charged with a sex offence. Yes I suppose it may offer some limited protection from those who have previous convictions, but as I understand it, people who are a danger to children are barred from working with them anyway, so what does this scheme add?

Fear of paedophile attack has been whipped up to ridiculous extremes in this country, even though in reality I would expect the risk remains very low and has not increased particularly over the years. People may say “yes but any risk is too great”, or “we have to do EVERYTHING we can to protect our children”, or “it only has to happen once though doesn’t it?”, and yes those statements are true. But you could equally apply those statements to road traffic accidents, which do far more harm to children each year, and then say that we should ban all cars or not allow children to cross the road until they are 18.

On top of that, as far as I am aware most cases of abuse still occur within families and extended families, and are not due to strangers snatching a child in the streets. Would this scheme help with that? Not really. A mother can check if her new boyfriend poses any danger to her children, the scheme’s organisers say. Well yes, I suppose so, but how many of them will? And what about fathers, uncles, cousins and trusted neighbours whom you’ve known for years? Any of these people could, and do, turn out to be child abusers, but you wouldn’t get checks run on everyone, and even if you did they probably wouldn’t have any previous convictions anyway.

This legislation is pointless, and is just a convenient way for a government to look tough on crime and to be seen to be ‘doing something’. I feel its potential efficacy is going to be substantially less than should be required to outweigh its risks. It is very hard, however, for someone to publicly oppose the scheme, particularly politicians – do so, and you risk be called anything from ‘soft on crime’ to ‘pro-child abuse’. Calling it Sarah’s Law is a deliberate contrivance to make it even harder to criticise, as they can then slap Sarah Payne’s picture all over everything and use her murder to guilt-trip you into backing the proposal without properly considering it.

I would point out however, that this scheme would not have saved Sarah Payne’s life. She wasn’t killed by someone her mother could have applied for information about. He didn’t have previous or regular contact with her. He snatched her from the streets – an abominable but extremely rare crime. The even more dangerous Megan’s Law could potentially have avoided it, but Sarah’s Law would not. The whole idea should be binned.

24 January 2010

Fuck you very much, Lily Allen

I don't like Lily Allen very much. In fact, she annoys the piss out of me, and here's why.

The thing about Lily Allen is that she's under the impression that she's cool. Actually it's more than that, she thinks that she's too-cool-for-school, and that pretty much everything else apart from her is kind of lame. That's part of what she thinks makes her cool - generally not liking anything, because it's uncool to like things and say they're good, so she just says everything apart from her music is shit.

Admittedly she likes Kate Nash. But to be honest, anyone who likes Kate Nash has got far more serious issues than just a stupid pudding bowl haircut that makes her look like a Lego woman.

A few of her songs are quite catchy, but lots of them are rather lazy lyrically, and I can't help but think she wouldn't really be famous if she weren't Keith Allen's daughter. That was all that really made her noteworthy in the first place.

Take her Fuck You song - yes it's got an alright tune, but calling it Fuck You and singing fuck you over and over again is typical of the kind of "I wanna be controversial" nature that she exemplifies. It's like it was written by a child trying to get attention by swearing. Which is exactly what she did at the GQ Awards actually: she got pissed, swore lots on stage and generally behaved like a brat just so people would look at her.

She said in an interview that her disparaging remarks about other singers were due to a lack of confidence, because she felt short, fat and ugly next to them. Well yes Lily, you are short and kind of ugly, I wouldn't necessarily say fat but you won't be making any bikini commercials, but that doesn't make it OK to slag off anything you feel threatened by. If you were a brilliant musician then maybe you'd be in a position to comment, but you're really not.

So no, I don't like Lily Allen. She's unforgivably rude, insufficiently talented and undeservedly smug.

19 January 2010

Selfish children take to the streets and get in my fucking way AGAIN

For those of you who read this blog from time to time, you may remember my angry ramblings regarding the puerile and ill-directed protest that Brighton endured last May courtesy of the Smash EDO organisation.

Well they were kind enough to do it again yesterday, and once more they got in my fucking way and generally annoyed me.

The protest was directed as before at the EDO weapons factory in Moulsecoomb, and to the protesters' credit this time they actually managed to find it. Someone must have bought them a map or something, as last time it seemed they couldn't be bothered to walk the three miles up the road from central Brighton to where the factory is actually located.

This time they managed to protest near and around the factory, but unfortunately they got bored after a while and decided to fuck off the rest of the city by coming into the centre. Despite taking a different route home, I still had to take several diversions in order to avoid the places where the police were trying to hold them back. I was also unlucky enough to catch sight of a few of them, wearing black, faces covered and hoods up, looking not at all like the group of peaceful protesters they claim to be. Fortunately it seems that there wasn't as much wanton destruction as last time, but their presence was still rather intimidating for the city's residents, and as always seemed rather pointless.

Why did they need to come into town? No one in town CARED about their protest, all they did was fuck us off AGAIN. It stops even being about the protest after a while, and they instead just seem to enjoy trying to outwit the police and get to places the police don't want them to get to. It's childish and pathetic, and it costs the taxpayers a ridiculous amount of money in policing.

I was also annoyed to learn that EDO denies that it supplies weapons to Israel anyway. According to a tribunal ruling last November, there is nothing in their export licences that proves they do so, and so the tribunal turned down Smash EDO's request to publish them (they're normally confidential, apparently). Of course, Smash EDO retorted "that doesn't prove that they don't, it just says there isn't evidence they do".

Well I'm sorry but I object to that on two counts. Firstly, we live in a country where our legal system is predicated on a party being innocent until proven guilty. Secondly, as a person with a scientific mind, I base my opinions on the evidence that is presented to me, not on the say so of a bunch of idiots in face masks. If I see evidence that EDO sells weapons components to Israel, or if EDO confirms that it does, then fine I'll believe it, but not until then.

Furthermore, even if they do sell components directly or indirectly to Israel, I don't actually give a fuck anyway. People talk about the murder of Palestinian civilians by the Israeli army in illegal military action - but as I said before, if that's your beef then go and protest outside the Israeli embassy. Stopping a small piece of equipment being made in Brighton is not going to matter one jot to what happens in Palestine, and it is insulting to the Palestinian cause if that's where you decide to focus your efforts. If you care that much, go to Gaza and help the injured. Stand in front of an Israeli tank. Lobby the British government and the UN to condemn their military action and impose sanctions. No? Too much effort? Prefer to piss off the people of Brighton instead? Well fuck you then.

While we're on the subject, I may as well make my position on Israel/Palestine clear. I am not pro-Israel, as some people might infer from the above. My position is that both sides are as bad as each other, and so I just don't care what they do to each other any more. I do not take this view lightly, or without having taken them time inform myself on the subject beforehand, I might add.

The problem I have with their conflict is that neither side is prepared to compromise. They are much happier to carry on killing each other, so why should I care about it? The broad strokes of a peace deal between Israel and Palestine have been known for years: a two-state solution; shared custody of Jerusalem; Israel to stop expanding into Palestinian territory, and to give back large portions of the land they annexed in the 60s; limited right of return for Palestinian refugees to land within Israel; recognition of Israel's right to exist. There have been times when they have been close(ish) to peace in the past, but every time one side or the other or both fucks it up, because ultimately they don't want peace. They aren't prepared to share. It's ridiculously childish considering what's at stake. And yes the land is 'holy' in various ways to them, but you can still fucking share it.

Yes Israel kills far more Palestinians than Palestinians kill Israelis because they have bigger guns, but the Palestinians aren't innocent either. If they were, they wouldn't elect Hamas who want to see Israel wiped from the map to represent them. They wouldn't tolerate militants firing rockets at Israeli houses. Being the weaker person in a fight doesn't necessarily exonerate you of all blame.

And yes, I fully acknowledge that perhaps it would have been better if the world's superpowers hadn't plonked Israel there in the first place, but it's there now. You have to deal with the situation as it stands.

So I agree that it is all a big fucking mess, but it needn't be if both sides wanted to compromise. They won't, so fuck them.

Anyway, I have digressed a little from my original topic. The protest was annoying, achieved nothing, and cost me money. I don't agree with their cause, but that's not the major problem I have with Smash EDO - it's their methods I object to. Their protests end up directed more at the police than anything else, they disrupt the lives of people who really don't care, they directly or indirectly cause violence and intimidation, and they generally piss me off.

18 January 2010

11 reasons why you haven't got a boyfriend - part deux

I have bought Attitude now and have read through their eleven suggested reasons why people don't have boyfriends (see my previous post). The article is written by their 'dating expert' Pip McCormac, and while it is fine I think he is a little overly kind in it, and a bit too keen to recommend self help books by Pia Mellody. I'm sorry but the fact they are written by someone called Pia Mellody should be enough to put anyone off.

But anyway, as promised here is a nice table I've made comparing their reasons with mine (yes I'm clearly not that busy today).

AttitudeMe et al.
1. You can't be faithful
2. Because you're a slag and would rather sleep around than go steady with someone.
2. You have low self esteem
6. Because you're the kind of person who reads 'How to get a boyfriend' articles in magazines. (the low self esteem is implied in our reason)
3. You come over too strong
7. Because you scare them off by being clingy and calling them every 20 minutes. (same reason, just meaner)
4. You never seem to meet the right sort of guy
9. Because you stay at home all the time and never go out and meet real people.
3. Because you try to pull people based solely on looks, and then are surprised when they have a shitty personality.
5. You're hypercritical
11. Because you have unrealistic expectations of your 'ideal boyfriend' that don't correspond to any actual humans.
6. You don't seem to have any conversational skills
OK I don't have one that corresponds directly to this. I'm still doing pretty well so far though.
7. You sleep with them too soon
10. Because you don't know the difference between sex and intimacy.
And also reason 2 again about being a slag.
8.You're not proactive enough
9. Because you stay at home all the time and never go out and meet real people.
9. You've got a fear of commitment
1. Because you panic every time you get one and dump him.

They've put this one down lower on their page so as not to draw too much attention to it, but I'd say it's the leading reason for gay singledom. That and the slag thing.
10. You're clueless as to how to present yourself
4. Because you're ugly and smelly and no one wants to go near you.

They make the rather generous assumption that you've got something worth presenting in their reason. We didn't bother with that bit.
11. You're not being yourself
I don't have one for this either. All I would say is that for most men you could equally put 'You are being yourself', and then I could cite my reason number 5 (most men are dickheads) as the corresponding one.

So all in all I think we did quite well! I don't know why I'm surprised, most of them are quite obvious.

And yes I realise that I am fortunate enough to be in a relationship, and so it may sound patronising for me to list all the defects that I think cause people to be single. BUT, what I would say is that my opinions are based on many years of watching a whole raft of gay men sabotage their own relationships and mope about the place being dicks and not understanding where they are going wrong.

I would also add that I don't think there is anything at all wrong with being single if you're happy. I've never tried it, but it looks quite fun, and it must certainly be nice to be footloose and fancy free sometimes. I think therefore that it can be just as unhelpful to be desperate to get a boyfriend no matter what, simply because you think it's what you should want, because it probably doesn't lead you to make very good choices.

14 January 2010

A random bunch of stuff all chucked into one blog post

I haven't blogged all that much over the last few weeks, because I feel like I haven't been doing much that was noteworthy.

Mum has kind of plateaued at a medium level of crazy for the moment, so I haven't even felt there was much to write about her either. She's still ill of course, and she's still subject to their bizarre gypsy curse and its associated mishaps (the thermostat is still kind of broken, and this week their kitchen sink decided to overflow), but she hasn't had anything major to bang on at me about for a while.

So this is just an odds and sods post really to distract me from my work for a little while.

We went to a friend's house last night for an Indian take away and to watch Slumdog Millionaire on Channel 4. I hadn't seen it before, but obviously I've heard quite a lot about it after it won lots of different awards. I have to say that I quite enjoyed it, but I didn't think it was amazing or anything. I often get that with 'big' films though, they end up rather over-hyped and then you can't help but be disappointed.

I thought it was a good story, but it was essentially an episode of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire with some padding. Yes it gave an apparently realistic and compelling portrayal of life in the slums of Mumbai, and it had a very authentic feel given its use of real people from the slums as actors. So it was good definitely, but parts of it were a bit predictable and I wasn't left thinking "wow that was a best thing I've ever seen".

I've also watched the first three episodes of the new season of Heroes recently. Almost immediately it managed to annoy me, and although it is refreshing to have some new characters I do feel like it has gone off the boil a bit. Why is Sylar STILL in it as one of the main villains? Why? Why would you do this? That's FOUR seasons now where he's been running around, talking with his mouth half closed and having practically limitless powers. It just seems a bit lazy not to have written him out.

I'm also fed up with the way Matt Parkman does a weird squinty head twitch every time he uses his powers. Surely he would be more effective if it weren't so obvious he was poking around in your head?

And of course Claire Bennet is still trying to live a normal life, but failing miserably to be at all discreet about her powers, and her Dad is interfering in the name of protecting her, and Hiro's powers don't work properly, and blah blah blah. You could be describing practically any season of the show.

So anyway, I'm sure I'll end up still watching it, but I'll frequently tut the whole way through, and let out an exasperated sigh at the end of each episode. It's such a shame, because the first two seasons were excellent.

Other than that, work is the same as usual: pretty dull and filled mostly with Facebook and Twitter. I've had quite a few days off due to the snow, which has been nice and has helped the weeks to flick by more quickly. I had someone ask me YET AGAIN the other day "wouldn't you rather be doing a job that uses your languages". ARRRRGH! Yes I probably would, but I'm just not, alright?? There aren't that many jobs 'using your languages' in Brighton, and if I learnt one thing from the job in the tour operators which I hated, it's that just using your languages isn't enough to make you like your job. You have to like the actual job in the first place - doing it in French or Italian makes very little difference.

So yes, I still have my vaguely-unfulfilled feeling from time to time, and would quite like to be doing something more challenging. But as I have no idea what that would be, this job is fine: it pays well (considering I have hardly any work to do), I like the bits of work that I DO do, the people are nice, and I get left alone and not stressed out. If a bit of boredom is the price I pay for that, it could be a lot worse.

Right, I've been banging on for ages now, so I'd better do some work/Twitter. We're meant to be going to Pop Kraft this weekend, so maybe that will give me an opportunity to take some photos and write about some actual events instead of general ramblings!

12 January 2010

11 reasons why you haven't got a boyfriend

The next issue of Attitude magazine will feature an article entitled '11 reasons why you haven't got a boyfriend, and what you can do about it'.

For no particular reason, I and a couple of fellow homeowners on Twitter have compiled our own list of 11 reasons why gay men frequently fail to have or retain a boyfriend, despite purporting to desperately want one. Please find them below.
  1. Because you panic every time you get one and dump him.
  2. Because you're a slag and would rather sleep around than go steady with someone.
  3. Because you try to pull people based solely on looks, and then are surprised when they have a shitty personality
  4. Because you're ugly and smelly and no one wants to go near you.
  5. Because most men are dickheads, so the chances of having at least one dickhead in the relationship are unreasonably high.
  6. Because you're the kind of person who reads 'How to get a boyfriend' articles in magazines.
  7. Because you scare them off by being clingy and calling them every 20 minutes.
  8. Because some dick hurt you so badly before you're overly wary of getting into something new.
  9. Because you stay at home all the time and never go out and meet real people.
  10. Because you don't know the difference between sex and intimacy.
  11. Because you have unrealistic expectations of your 'ideal boyfriend' that don't correspond to any actual humans.
I am fairly confident that the above reasons, in various combinations, accurately describe the difficulty lots of gay men have with relationships. Number 4 is particularly harsh; I didn't write that one, but I'm sure it is a significant impediment to some people. They do unfortunately describe several people that I actually know.

We haven't proposed any solutions to the problems we've described, but that is partly because that part is far less fun, and partly because they are kind of obvious (i.e. avoid doing or being items 1 to 11).

I'm quite looking forward to reading the Attitude article now, so I can see how closely they match and then sue them for breach of copyright.

05 January 2010


I had a very nice Christmas and New Year, even if it has become a distant memory already now that I'm back at work. I apologise for not having managed to blog at all during that period, but I was too busy having my Mum flap at me about one thing or another and stuffing my face with food I didn't pay for.

Anyway, amongst the many Christmas gifts I got from Chris' Mum, I was very pleased to find two tickets to see the musical Wicked. I read the book ages ago, and occasionally say things like "yes we really must go to the theatre more often", so she actually did quite well to get us that as a present. She didn't do so well in picking Monday 4 January, our first day back at work, as the evening to book it for, but she's a bit dotty like that.

"You're not back at work then are you?", she said when we unwrapped them.

Er yes, of course we are. Everyone is! But her brain works in its own special little way sometimes.

It didn't matter too much really, as the show was at 7.30pm, and the theatre is right next to Victoria station, so it was perfectly possible to get up to London in time to see it. It did turn out to be hideously tiring though, running for a train at 5.30pm through freezing weather, and then sitting on it thinking "I bet my bed is all warm and cosy right now. I wonder what's on the telly?"

But anyway, the show was AMAZING. It was easily as good as I had hoped it would be, with a very talented cast and excellent sets and lighting and things. Our seats were right near the back, so when I saw the seating plan I thought we wouldn't be able to see very much, but the Apollo is quite a small theatre really so the view was fine.

I was surprised how different the story is compared to the book, particularly the second half of the show, but it didn't really matter. I think they'd changed it largely to make it more accessible to people who have only seen the Wizard of Oz film, and because there's simply too much in the book for a stage show.

Alexia Khadime was great as Elphaba, and has a spectacular voice. The Glinda character had almost as big a part, which I hadn't realised, and she was also really good and provided quite a bit of the humour. I think we had the standby Sarah Earnshaw rather than the main billed actress. I really liked her anyway, she was really funny.

It did make me want to go and see more shows, particularly Priscilla Queen of the Desert which is on at the moment (could I be any gayer?), but I don't think I'd go on a week night again. Standing in freezing Victoria at 10.30pm really wasn't very fun, and I had to drag myself out of bed this morning.

I don't think I'll blog very much more about Christmas and New Year, but in summary:

- I had a better than average Christmas, everyone seemed to get on, and I got very good presents.
- My Mum didn't come to our Boxing Day meal with my Horrible Grandad, but that was better really because it made it less stressy for me.
- And for New Year we went to The Jam in Brighton, to a club night organised by Dynamite Sal, which was BRILLIANT. I got trashed and felt dreadful the next day, but was at least conscious at midnight this year.

Oh yes, and my parents are still subject to their weird voodoo gypsy curse where everything goes wrong for them. Notably over the Christmas period, they enjoyed:

- a Christmas meal booking with me where the restaurant turned out not to be open for another hour after our booked time, and had no record of their booking, so we ended up in a Wetherspoons in Wanstead eating burgers.
- water coming in round one of their bedroom windows and running down the wall.
- a thermostat that broke at 10pm on a Saturday night and proceeded to try to freeze them to death during the subsequent Sunday when no one was available to come and fix it.

What fun! So of course I had to hear about all that in detail. They really shouldn't have built their house on that Indian burial ground.