Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Over the past few weeks, I have been nipping back and forth to see various doctors in order to sort out a variety of troubles.

Firstly, there are the problematic vestibular migraines which plague my head by imitating javelin wounds and Waltzer dizziness.

So far, I have been prescribed two sorts of medication. Initially, I was on Sandomigran but one of the unfortunate side-effects was weight gain. I have enough body-image related issues, I certainly don’t need more.

I was then given Deralin and although there were no observed reactions apart from drowsiness, it simply didn't work to great effect.

Upon my last visit, the specialist explained that now we have discovered the previous two were unsuitable, I now qualified for Topomax (which is often prescribed for epileptics) and I was overjoyed when he told me one of the side-effects was weight loss. However, having written out the details, he announced that there was a very slim chance I could develop kidney stones. Ah. I've suffered from them before. I asked if this could be a problem and he scrunched up the paper and threw it away. I should have kept my mouth shut. I could cope with a bit of abdominal pain for less headaches and a slimmer waist, damn it!

He wrote out a new prescription, this time for Verapamil (Isoptin). Once again, drowsiness was likely, so I was not to operate any cranes or industrial vacuum cleaners but he added that there had been cases of people developing severe constipation. I had to speak out at this point. They don’t call me anally retentive just because of my obsession with plug-socket switches!

So, the waste paper basket's void grew smaller.
Finally, we opted for Endep, a drug which is also used to combat depression (as far as I gather) and I am now finding that they cause the most severe drowsiness than any other. Hopefully my body will adjust to this quickly as I can’t walk around like a lethargic zombie for the rest of my days.

Last night's jaunt was to see my regular (and beautiful) G.P. who is following up on a few other matters including this mad notion of me being 10kg overweight and with more cholesterol than a Scotsman's fried breakfast. I blurted out excuses as to why I hadn't lost any weight; conferences, birthday dinners, etc. but he didn't seem too phased and said it'd take time and I just needed to exercise more. I told him I'd bought some trainers… that’s a start, right?

I also broached the subject of my moles and warts. I have had various blemishes upon my person for many years but I have begun to get rather frustrated with them. The big mole on my inner right thigh was looking a little aggressive and oddly flaky, like an overcooked raspberry soufflé. When I dropped my trousers for him to see it, I was distressed at my choice of underwear for the day; green and blue stripy boxer briefs.

He said that he'd have to put liquid nitrogen on it. Golly, was I aroused? – It was a moment before I realised he was referring to the mole – He offered to do the same to my warts. I have five little bastards on my left hand and two on my right thumb. He opened the red vat which sat innocuously in the corner of the room and he scooped out some smoking liquid and poured it into a cup. It was all rather reminiscent of a Pan-galactic Gargle Blaster. Thankfully, I was not to drink it. With the aid of a small cotton bud, he proceeded to attack the mole with the liquid nitrogen and then the warts. My hands were sweating and I was slightly amused at how I was sitting, legs apart, trousers around my ankles with a gorgeous man swabbing my warts with a freezing substance. He looked at me and smiled. "There's no dignity when you visit the doctor, is there?" he said rhetorically and I laughed in accordance.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hard to Believe

Today, July 22nd, marks the 15th anniversary of me ‘coming out’. I for one dislike that term immensely but for ease I have opted to stick with the common jargon.
Fifteen years!
That’s quite a long time really.

I remember that day very well. Friday, 22nd July, 1994.
That year, I had left Bedford University after only two full terms. I had what one may call a bit of a nervous breakdown; just a little one, about the size of an egg cup.
My time in Bedford was not the most pleasant and my brain was trying to process various conflicting thoughts and yearnings. If truth were told, I’d admit freely that I had regular crushes on male celebrities from a very early age. I won’t admit to all of these crushes, but I will say that one of them was best friends with a gopher.

Back in 1994, I was (cliché warning) fighting a losing battle. I was in a severe state of denial. Oddly enough, everyone had already figured it out for themselves but sadly, no one broached the subject with me to tell me that everything was hunky-dory.

The day in question was as low a point as a carpet tack in a basement. I was sat at home in front of the television and ironing. Then I burnt myself with the iron. Yes, on purpose. It was one of those mad moments where you think ‘I wonder what would happen if…’ and goodness, it hurt. One does mad things when one is depressed, like eat an entire Sara Lee cheesecake, shave off half your beard or burn yourself with an iron.
Crying like a four year old in a sulk, I plunged a bag of frozen peas onto my forearm and then the phone rang. It was my good friend Jamie. Being the wise and cognizant chappie that he is, he latched onto my distress instantly and invited me over for a chat.
I had no money so taking a bus was out of the question. So, I walked.
For anyone unaware of the distance between the little village of Holloway to Lumsdale in Matlock, imagine a length of string and times it by the age of Elizabeth Taylor’s husbands added together… with a big hill in between

Two hours later, I arrived and I sat with Jamie and our friend Will as I battled with tears and namby-pamby emotions for about three hours until the big moment when, exasperated, they demanded to know what the hell was up.
I blurted it out:
“You know James Dean...?” I said.

Will rolled his eyes and let out an all-mighty ‘Ohhh!’ which was loaded with a dose of ‘is that what all the fuss is about’. The three of us then went out for a walk to get some fresh air and I was relieved that I hadn’t been condemned, whipped or shot.
The funniest thing was that curiosity lead to questions about who in Twin Peaks did I find attractive. (Yes, I did say Bobby Briggs, but also Leo Johnson, oddly.)

So that was the big reveal. Over the following weeks, I became braver at telling individual friends. Some I told in a straightforward manner, some through analogy, and some through interpretive dance. The common element was the reactions which were all kind and accepting.

So, what did the fifteen years that followed bring? Well, no one can say I’ve been a gay role-model as I have not really conformed to the stereotype. I was more ‘gay’ when I was in the closet than I was out. It was as if admitting the truth shamed me into behaving more docile. Sure, I could still be exuberant, but anyone who knew me at school will know I was rather flamboyant. For crying out loud, I dressed up as Frank N Furter from Rocky Horror on a number of occasions!

So, in the past fifteen years, I have only had two actual proper relationships. Yes, I have been on dates and a number of flings, but I have never been terribly confident to actively pursue people, preferring things to happen by accident rather than by making any sort of effort. (Gosh, I’m lazy!)

I have been single now for four years and I cannot deny there are times when I wish there was someone other than my cat to greet me upon my arrival home, to wrap their arms around me when I need comforting or to blame when someone’s left the toilet seat up. Despite this, I am mostly happy being single. I have good friends who love me for who I am and do not judge me for being a little bit mad or stupid at times.

If I could change who I am and flick a magical switch from ‘gay’ to ‘straight’, I probably would, but seeing as that is a pure fantasy, I accept the things I cannot change and will continue on living hopefully ever after.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

All I Ever Wanted

My friend Naomi bought me the most wonderful gift.

For those who are unaware, Reynholm Industries is the company featured in the utterly brilliant sitcom The IT Crowd, written by Graham Linehan. I had once mentioned to Naomi how cool it would be to own a mug as seen in the show - and 'hey bingo!' - now I own one...

Bless you Naomi!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Here Comes That Man Again

I have rejoined Twitter.
The first time I was on was a while ago and I didn't last long. It all felt so futile as people were posting every four minutes about what they were doing:

I'm eating beans for dinner!
I just saw my reflection!
What's that over there?

...and the like.

However, I have dragged myself back as I think it is important to be at the forefront of social networking sites - especially seeing as I am applying for a job which revolves around such media.

I do enjoy Facebook a great deal and I have blogged on many different sites over the past decade. Twitter always seemed a little restricted and futile. That said, I can now see the potential for more important things such as work-related news and updates, touring information for bands, celebrity gossip... (er?)

To be a part of a revolution isn't quite so exciting as it used to be because nothing is as (dare I say 'elitist'?) unique or exclusive as they may have been not so long ago. Things no longer seem to have a cult following as the minority following is not so minor.
As the world's population and its technology expands, so will the creativity of the human mind and its need for social engagement. Something else will come along to replace Facebook and Twitter. We may become a little distressed as we struggle to catch up, but I hope to be there amongst the crowd, struggling to keep up with as much dignity as I can muster.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Falling for Faces

Social websites are not for everybody. For the past ten years or so, I have been on and off various sites including Livejournal, Facebook, Twitter and even had my own personal website for a while too. I was only on Twitter for a very brief period as it just didn't suit me - it all seemed a little futile when I had my Facebook page upon which my status updates would be less frequent and slightly less banal.

During this decade of online presence, I had been through varying degrees of emotional stability and when I have been very low, the world wide web has not felt like the safest place to inhabit and share my darkest, deepest thoughts. On these occasions, I have opted to partake in an exodus and have wiped out complete blogs. However, there are also days when I absolutely love exhibiting myself like an online whore as it gives me a sense of fame for a short time. I think Andy Warhole was right about those not-so-elusive 15 minutes of fame.

There are pitfalls in the world of cyberspace blogging. One of these is the construction of paranoia which threatens to envelop those who are more sensitive to the tribulations of human fickleness.
When on facebook, there is the constant worry regarding whether or not people are 'hiding' you or not. Believe me, I am not naive to the fact that I will be hidden by a number of people - those of us who are more prolific do have a tendancy to annoy those who see their newsfeed cluttered with time-wasting rubbish. The sad thing is, once they've hidden you from their newsfeed, they tend to forget you were ever there in the first place.

Then there are those who become friends of just anyone they can possibly find - usually those whom they find attractive and thus believe these porn-star models are slightly more attainable. When you think about it, it's all rather tragic. Goodness, I am not criticising those who do; I attempt to become friends with some celebrities in the vain hope that they'll think I'm marvellous and then I might become one of their elite circle of friends. It's hilarious how we fool ourselves in this way.

Then there is the 'Become a Fan' phenomenon'. I understand people becoming a fan of people, bands, films, TV shows and even chocolate bars... but becoming a fan of 'sleeping', 'breathing' or 'licking stamps' is veering on the edge of insanity. Actually, I am now thinking how mad it is becoming a fan of chocolate. Next people will become a fan of 'nice stuff'. How about becoming a fan of 'being kicked in the balls'? You know, just to shake things up a bit.

Facebook does have its nay-sayers, but I have to say that I love it. I love the way it has reconnected me with so many of my old school/college friends. I love how people will respond to something on facebook when they would never be arsed to reply to an email. It's a way of interaction which is more fun than posting a letter. Those who are scared or appalled by it are a little misguided in my opinion. I am not saying that everyone should partake, but at least they should understand why it can be a very healthy hobby.

That said... if the world becomes a place where nobody goes outdoors ever again and the only way we communicate is via a keyboard, I would like to thumb a lift with the next passing spaceship.
My advice to everyone is, keep booking your face, keep twittering and keep blogging - just don't forget that the human condition is maintained by physical interaction and verbal communication.