Sunday, July 30, 2006

The write stuff

Woo-hoo! I finished my latest novel today. It's a thriller about viruses called Catch Your Death which I wrote with my friend Louise Voss, an extremely talented novelist. We wrote a book together called Killing Cupid a few years ago, which was optioned by the Beeb. Unfortunately it got stuck in development hell and then we fell out with the producer because they wanted to turn it from a thriller about a stalker into some weird comedy about a single mother. With a different title! CYD is much more commercial, we reckon. Of course, it will probably all go horribly wrong.

Buffy and I had a lovely day yesterday, which you can read about on Sara Sizzle. It was really nice to meet Buffy's friends, one of whom lives in Japan, giving me the chance to talk about a subject that normally sends most people to sleep.

The last ever Top of the Pops is on telly right this second. Like every other pop-picker in his/her thirties, I was weaned on TOTP. I gave up cubs because I didn't want to miss it on Thursday nights. That was in the Adam Ant/Duran Duran/Legs and Co era. I watched it every week for years and years, never missing it. I remember once, at a party when I was in my mid-twenties, proclaiming pompously that when you stopped watching TOTP you were old.

I got old three years ago.

Another sign of being old is that at the gathering yesterday, everyone was going on about MySpace. I just don't get MySpace. I mean, I understand what it's all about, but it just doesn't do anything for me. And I'm not exactly web-phobic. I've been blogging for 4 years. I'm a web development/online marketing manager. I know exactly why Web 2.0 is so great. I just don't like MySpace!

Now, where did I put my slippers?

Saturday, July 29, 2006

It works a treat

I'm starting to fall behind and haven't written about last weekend yet. On Saturday I made one of my thrice-weekly visits to see Ellie, who now weighs 8 lbs 12 oz and is cuter than ever. She smiles now and is able to lift her head a little; I sit and read stories to her and take her for walks in the park. She's lovely.

Sunday, Buffy and I went to help my fellow Nova*-victim Tamara celebrate her 26th birthday in Clissold Park, Stoke Newington. The journey from south to north London felt like the journey from the south to north poles. What is it about hot weather that f*cks up the trains and buses so badly? Heat on the line? Drivers absent due to sunbathing? Is it beyond the wit of man, etc, etc? It was good to see Tamara, though, and there were deer and turtles and toilets just like the ones in Trainspotting. We drank two bottles of wine in about two hours, resulting in us being in the following state:

There's a hole in my memory where the journey home should be, but apparently I disgraced myself by loudly mocking two goths on the bus (being an ex-goth is a bit like being an ex-smoker; we're the biggest critics). Well, one of them was wearing a T-shirt that said 'Dark is my call' which doesn't even makes sense. I also have a vague memory of wandering around Sainsbury's in Brixton holding a tin of boilable veggie hot dogs. Boilable! It's not even a word!

Buffy has already written about our journey home from Bletchley - where we saw that famous code-breaking machine plus some really cool old BBC computers and ZX Spectrums; I didn't know they had them during the war - which was truly epic. We entertained ourselves for 30 minutes by writing a poem. This is part of our get-rich-slowly scheme. Every week, Buffy's fave real life mag, Pick Me Up! publishes a poem sent in by a reader, for which they pay £25. Read this, and you'll see we already have that £25 in the bag. It's written in the voice of a typical PMU reader:

Thursday morning - get kids dressed
Leave the house, feel really stressed
Late for work, the boss is grumpy
This uniform is really frumpy
I hate this shift, it's oh-so-busy
Come five o'clock I feel quite dizzy!
Oh no it's raining, forgot my brolly
At the shops can't find a trolley
Lug my basket down the aisle
The magazine stand makes me smile
When you need a tonic, there's one you can't beat
That's Pick Me Up - it works a treat!

*Nova was the language school in Japan where I 'taught' (in the loosest sense of the word) English for a year.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sara - and England - Sizzles

Buffy has gone into direct competition with me by launching her own blog, Sara Sizzle. I think these blogs need to be read in tandem, so if you want to find out what we got up to last night, go see Buffy's blog. Just remember to come back here. Please. I feel like I'm going to have to raise my game now to keep up. There was a thing in the paper this week about how there are about 7 billion blogs being created every second. I'm quite proud to have carved out my own niche, with a huge audience of four readers. Oh okay, five. I need some promotion, I think. The best way to get people to visit your blog is to put the words 'naked girlfriend' in every post. Naked girlfriend, naked girlfriend. Now let's see my Google rankings soar.

The word of the week has been 'hot'. As in 'it's too hot'. 'I'm hot.' 'Oh god, it's hot hot hot.' 'I'm TOO F***ing hot!!' Soon we'll be watching polar bears basking in the English Channel (like cuter versions of David Walliams) after the ice caps melt, just before we all die in a global environmental apocalypse. I think I might move somewhere colder. Like Mars.

Buffy and are so skint at the moment that money has become a kind of fantasy concept. I need some way of making money and would appreciate your ideas. I'm too old to sell my body - except maybe to take part in some gruesome Bodies art exhibition - and not desperate enough to sell my girlfriend's body. Here are some possibilities:

1. Become a world-class poker player and win millions of pounds on PartyPoker, with a name like Money Mark, or the Royal Flusher. I'll be famous, appearing on Channel 5 at 3am with an audience even bigger than this blog. Problem: I'm shit at poker.

2. Go on Dragon's Den and get that Theo bloke to give me half his fortune to fund my amazing business idea. Problem: So far I've only come up with the idea of selling ice cream to eskimoes and coals to Newcastle.

3. Go on Big Brother (are you spotting a theme here?) and become incredibly famous, then become a Nuts/Zoo girl. Problem: I'm not a girl.

4. Rob a post office.

Next week, I report on what it feels like to share a cell with a tattooed biker who calls me Mary.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Last Waltzer

The Brockwell Park Country Fair came to our part of London this weekend, bringing with it crowds of 120,000 people (we spotted one very minor celeb: Alex Zane from Popworld); some owls (mysteriously difficult to find); large quantities of curried goat; and a posse of slack-jawed troglodytes. Said troglodytes were operating the fairground rides. Clutching £20 pocket money that her dad had just given her, Buffy ran excitedly around looking for a ride to go on. 'Let's go on the waltzers,' I suggested. It seemed like a good idea.

It was all to end in tears

It was fun at first. Round and round we span, the ride attendants, who looked like they'd escaped from The Hills Have Eyes made us spin faster... and faster. Suddenly, it was all going too fast. I was sure we were going to die. I gripped the not-exactly-secure bar while Buffy - who had moments before been proclaiming how much fun this was - cried out that she wanted it to stop. My poor girlfriend's head was pinned back by the force of the waltzer and she couldn't move her neck. I was too busy trying not to die to help her. It finally, mercifully, stopped and we staggered off, feeling like we'd just consumed vast quantities of mind-bending drugs.

Now, 24 hours later, Buffy is not at all well: she's suffering from whiplash, has a sore neck and back and can't breathe properly. I'm considering going to InjuryLawyers4U.

Here's the latest picture of Ellie, who's piling on the ounces and doing really well. Earlier this week, she peed all over me. A truly bonding experience.

Buffy is not the only poorly creature in our flat. Syd, our ancient rat, is on her last legs. And Freckles, our pet leopard, has turned to the fags for comfort. I have photographic evidence of this, but will save it. In the meantime, here's a picture of him snacking on a Rolo. Our last one.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Rock the boat, baby

Last night Buffy and I went to the wedding reception of one of our colleagues, Lillian. It was held on a boat moored on the Albert Embankment. Rock the Boat, they call it.

As the tide rose, water ominously creeping up the sides of the boat, the revellers partied like it was 1979, kickstarting the 'Oops Upside Your Head' revival. A crazy female MC stood on the stairs and bellowed at us, instructing us to enjoy ourselves...

...which we did. We drank enough to sink a battleship, let alone a small barge on the Thames. When Lillian threw the bouquet, I tried my hardest to catch it. Oh well, maybe next time...

Before going out, Buffy and I indulged in one of our favourite pastimes - taking pictures using Buffy's sexy little MacBook. It's so much fun.

We've spent most of today recovering, lounging around in bed till noon, then watching an old episode of Dawson's Creek and a stupid film called Flightplan. We're not going to drink today. We're on a health drive starting today. I'll keep you posted on our success.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Park Life

How to stay cool on a sweaty, sticky, sultry swelterer of a day:

Go to Brockwell Park (loved-up couple central, South London), avoid the lido and head straight for a tree. Drink a bottle of wine, avoiding the advice of the experts - what do they know? Eat dip. Kiss. Lie on your back with your mouth open and get your partner to pour bottled water in, swallowing as much as you can. If you don't drown you'll feel awash with coolness, refreshed as ten.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

New arrivals

After intending to be really really good and keep this blog updated regularly, everything went a bit haywire last week when my ex rang me while I was on my way to work telling me she was in labour. One panicked dash to Crowborough later, I was a father. Ellie, born 2 and a half weeks early, weighed 5 10 and is a tiny little bundle of loveliness. I go to visit her most days and am attempting to instill in her good musical taste by singing Embrace songs to her while changing her nappy. I realise this might not be a great strategy.

Buffy and I have taken possession of the rats: Syd, Muffin and Flake. Syd is about a thousand years old and has tumours that make her look like she's on wheels. Actually, with her front tumour that hangs from her chest and scrapes the floor, she looks like Lea from BB. I've already had to make one dash to the vet this week after Syd got an infected bite.

Muffin, on her first foray into the flat, scarpered behind the fridge and hid there all day. When we pulled out the oven to retrieve her, we discovered that Muffin had made some friends. Dead friends. There were four dead mice under the cooker. Eeeewwwwwww. Times a zillion. I bagged and tagged them while Buffy tried not to puke.

What with all the dashing back and forth between London and Tunbridge Wells, I've hardly seen my lovely girlfriend this week, but last night we went to see a play in Hampstead, which had some of the worst acting ever. We hid around the corner from our violently anti-smoking boss, smoking secretly like teenagers. Then, after some Guinness and wine (which makes you feel fine) we endured the hottest, most crowded tube journey in the history of the universe, before buying some chips from the world's least hygienic chip shop (I bet they have more than four dead mice under their cookers) which were drenched in sugary ketchup. It was a v v fun evening though, and we have all day together today. We're spending it slumped on the sofa going 'I'm tooooo hot.'