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Mother Christmas October 19, 2007

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
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Oh my god. My mother’s coming to visit. For a week.

Oh my god. The phone calls about Christmas have started. Rival bids for our attendance. And everyone claiming – falsely – that they won’t be offended if we opt for another option. And the thought of children expressing dissatisfaction at their miserly presents and being comforted by their parents who say, “There, there, poor little darling. It’s just miserly old Uncle BiB and the Russian. It’s because they’re gay and don’t know what’s normal.” No wonder we usually boycott the bastard.

So a survey-cum-game for us to be going on with.

The worry of it all meant that the Russian and I decided a spontaneous booze-up was in order. That followed a spontaneous shop-up. I don’t have a bean, of course, but I’d just paid 20 kopecks off my credit card bill so decided I could give it a bit of a pounding. The Russian thinks shopping is pleasant and wondered why I was preparing a noose for myself as we approached some department store where he wanted to buy a guide to London for future reference because my local knowledge is out-of-date and useless (though I could, thankfully, point out that it had wrongly located a landmark on the first page I saw). “Buy music,” the Russian instructed me. Oddly, and just as I was about to install my portable gallows, I remembered there was something I wanted to buy. Well, wanted to possess. I’d rather have stolen it, in a way, or have had it sent to me, but as I don’t do crime and can’t spend all my time waiting for people to give me presents I haven’t intimated I’m expecting, I trotted downstairs to look for Beethoven’s Cello Sonata no.3 in A. Darlings, if you don’t know it, find it this instant and listen to it and feel inadequate – unless you are brilliant – that a fellow human can have composed such brilliance. (Here’s a bit so you can have the fun of seeing how nuts Glenn Gould looks at a piano.) It gives Britney a run for her money. I wanted it played by Jacqueline Du Pré and Stephen Kovacevich but the only cheapo CD I could find was the good lady and Daniel Barenboim. “Oh wanking fuck,” I shouted out loud and then decided I’d try to pretend to be one of those posh people that knows about music and went to hassle the staff. “‘ere, see this recordin’ ‘ere, ‘s by Du Pré ‘n Barenboim, ‘n I wan’ Du Pré ‘n Kovacevich, dunn I?” Except I said it in bad German. The staff member looked at me pityingly and then said, no, they didn’t have exactly what I was looking for but might I be interested in a Jacqueline Du Pré box-set? I had a peek. 50 euros. And then box-sets make me think for no good reason of people who like Dire Straits and I wondered if I might not have to start drinking real ale and grow a beard if I bought one.

“Darling, buy me a box-set,” I texted the Russian a couple of floors above me, including texting symbols for throwing a tantrum and tears.

“Fak off. Buy yoursyelf.”

And then I remembered I had a credit card and that it would, therefore, be free, so I did.

Anyway, where were we?

Oh yes, so we decided to get drunk. Or tiddly. In my blogging pub. Where I’ve supped with all these folks. Now the blogging pub has a hint of the gayers about it. It’s not as much as gay, but it must be semi-officially gay-friendly or gay run or there’s something in the water because it always has an above-average sprinkling of whoopsies. But yesterday it was, or so we thought, wall-to-wall shirt-lifters. All shaved heads and delicate manners.

This for no good reason made the Russian and me wonder again what sort of hets we’d make. I drifted off – the blogging pub has massive, fuck-off windows so it’s hard not to stare out of them, especially when you get distracted by a nice bit of awkward socialising. A correct young lady with a bike ran into an acquaintance, a correct young man with glasses, and a friend of his. They were introduced – there was awkward kissing and awkward hand-shaking – and the threesome attempted small-talk. And they were so brittle that I actually worried they might shatter and end up as shards of person around each other’s feet – as he described me as being liked by one parent-in-law and hated by another and I saw myself as my older brothers. They can both drive and play football but probably aren’t much better acquainted with a drill than I am. They’re not ludicrously butch so the leap of faith wasn’t too far. The Russian has a hetero twin so I imagined him as him with a very nagged wife and, again, the prospect wasn’t too ludicrous.

A German member of staff asked an English member of staff how to say a couple of the dishes’ names in English. “What?” I thought to myself. “That group of classic Berlin homos next to us aren’t German?” I cocked my bad ear towards them. And, do you know, they weren’t gay at all. Just Danish.

Darlings, what type of gays/lezzers/hets would you make? As ever, bisexuals are barred from the survey/game. As are Scandinavians. My findings will probably appear in The Lancet.

Comments»

1. Liukchik - October 19, 2007

No comment.

2. pleite - October 19, 2007

Ha! Lukeski. I thought of you, of course, while I was ruminating this latest bit of nonsense. I dread to think what would happen if you actually were a whoopsy. I think even Julian Clary and Charles Hawtrey would try to beat you up for being just TOO camp. (People, Lukeski is the stray par excellence. “Oh, you mean you’re not gay,” must be one of the first questions he deals with with every new person he meets.) (…although, on second thoughts, I’ve got a feeling you’ve enbutchened with age.)

3. Blogn - October 19, 2007

Bib old chap, on a school exchange trip to the swanky – bet they wonder what they did to be twinned with Exeter – Frankfurt suburb of Bad Homburg (named after an unfortunate hat I presume), my future wife and friends went into a bar and over heard the regulars muttering to each other about “the Berlinerin”. “Nein, Englanderin” she interjected and got an “oh that explains it” type expression from the fashion critics.

4. pleite - October 19, 2007

Mark, but what has happened to your blog? Is it because of Firefox or something or have your comments really disappeared (only to be found by opening the post itself)? Or you’ve been playing with templates or what? It’s all so disconcerting.

What happened to the days when British fashions were admired by our continental cousins? Or did those days never exist?

And don’t think I haven’t seen you trying to avoid the question. I reckon you’d be straight-acting with a secret passion for women’s clothes.

5. Blognor Regis - October 19, 2007

The blog has gone for a right Burton all ’round. Yes, guilty as charged, I was fiddling with the template and the comments link vanished from the front. The effort involved in rectifying this situation far exceeded my interest and I haven’t bothered since. I’m not overly fussed as the blogging flame has long withered to embers. I’m not sure it’s compatible with enjoyable work and leisure. I actually went into a pub the other week! With acquaintances! Get me!

Did those days ever exist? Didn’t British fashionistas always look to the continent for style?

Hancock:
I quite agree with you, Sid, I’ll never patronise one of those coffee places again. Here – how can you have a sandwich without a lump of bread stuck on top? That’s what they tried to palm me off with. An ‘open sandwich’, they called it. Bits of meat and carrots and stuff squeezed out a tube. Well, I kicked up a fuss…

Sid:
…I don’t blame you.

Hancock:
…I told her straight. I said, “Look, dear, I don’t know where you come from – ” Well, I knew she wasn’t, English, she spoke it too well. I said, “I don’t know where you come from, but we haven’t had bread rationing over here for years. So come on,” I said, “whack another slice on top.” I said. I wish she hadn’t, now, it cost me another nine pence. Then of course, I must admit, huh, I made a right Charlie of myself, I did. I didn’t know they had brown sugar. I said, “Bring another bowl of sugar, somebody’s spilt their coffee in this one.”

Bill:
Yeah, well, that’s the sort of thing the Council prefers. They want to get rid of Fred and open up more coffee shops.

Hancock:
That’s the trouble, no-one’s proud of being British, these days. They all seem to think foreigners can do everything better. Well, they can’t. I’ve been all over France, and I’ve yet to see one pie stall, for all their chat about good food.

6. Liukchik - October 19, 2007

I recently saw a younger Hawtrey in “Passport to Pimlico”, part of a democracy season on BBC4 – looked identical to the 1960-70’s version we know an love (and who, I believe adorns the cover of a Smiths album or single (or compilation)). I reckon I could take him. Clary is a different matter, though.

7. Blognor Regis - October 19, 2007

There’s an even younger Hawtrey in A Canterbury Tale from 1943.

Talking of Carry On, I feel like Bernard Bresslaw to Bib’s Sid. Trying to dress up macho me in women’s clothing as part of some scheme of other. “I only arsked…”

8. Geoff - October 19, 2007

I’d make a much better straight than I do a gay. Already I’m fed up with gays assuming I’m straight, even when in a gay bar. I don’t even mean by that that I possess some kind of rugged sexy inaccessibility, more that my lack of dress sense and poor dancing skills mean people just assume I must be one of them.

I get the same from straights though too – more than one has refused to believe me when I’ve told them I’m gay.

I even like sport and music with guitars. It’s almost enough to get me expelled from the homo fraternity.

9. pleite - October 19, 2007

Geoff, you want to wear that badge with pride. That type of a gay is well sought after, isn’t it? When I worked in Paris, I had a gay colleague and a het colleague told me it was always the first bit of gossip that you learnt when joining the company. “You’ll never believe it. S_ is gay.” Wasn’t there the same hot gossip about me, I asked. “Oh no.” I was livid… But not Dire Straits? Please tell me you’ve never played air-guitar to Dire Straits. Otherwise I’ll have to in you.

Mark, I could sense that your blogging enthusiasm was waning. It’s all too sad. I can’t bear to think that blogging is dying. Hopefully it’s just a lull and you’ll come bounding back to full life eventually. Though going out to a real pub! I hope you’re ashamed of yourself… Now the type of gay I’m imagining you’d be wouldn’t be bresslawly showy about his thing for women’s clothes. It would be your dirty little secret.

Liukchik, darling, have I told you my Clary+ex story? I bet I have. Anyway, they once got chatting in a bar – oh god, I bet I’ve blogged this before – and Julian Clary introduced my ex to two people. “This is my good friend Whatever,” he began, and then continued, “…and this is Adam, whom I don’t know from Adam.”

10. Mr D - October 19, 2007

I think I’d be similar to now, but I’d drink away my sorrows in straight bars rather than gay bars.

Or maybe some desperate wench and I would have spawned a whippersnapper or two. (Eek! Just think of the process!)

I’d most likely be living in some rural village, maybe on the coast, and I’d somehow be involved with the community.

There’d be no need for cities, other than to see the occasional Dire Straits comeback tour.

I wouldn’t smoke, of course, and I’d certainly drive a car. I’d hardly drink, either.

I’d get regular exercise and fresh air, and I’d have savings in the bank.

Lastly, I fear that I’d probably be quite homophobic, although nowadays I’d try not to be.

11. MountPenguin - October 19, 2007

So that’s where you were last night. For some reason people expected I would know if you were coming, but the best I could come up with is speculation that you might have had some dosh which needed blowing, which looks like it was a good guess. Anyway, which is your blogging pub?

12. Geoff - October 19, 2007

BiB – If it were widely sought after I would have had a lot more fun in the last 12 months of being single with barely a sniff of interest than I actually have.

I have never played air guitar to Dire Straits, no. But I have been to a Kasabian gig. Several gay friends threatened to disown me after that, although to their (and in fact my) relief, I hated them.

13. Marsha Klein - October 19, 2007

Geoff, Kasabian are pants, aren’t they? I tried liking them for five minutes a while back in a bid to appear much younger than I actually am, but decided that, if that was what it took, I’d rather have botox.

I might make quite a good lesbian, I think, although I’d definitely be more butch than baby. Come to think of it, my fondness for comfortable shoes HAS been remarked upon recently…Nigella, our time might be at hand!

PS. Is Glasgow a possible venue for Christmas?

14. Arabella - October 19, 2007

If I was a gay man I don’t think I’d do camp very well, but couldn’t do the gymn thing either, so I suspect it would be a corduroy jacket/bow tie approach to life.
Gay lady? I think I’d be a bit bonkers, in a Vita Sackville West way, but hang on, was she bi? Erm…then Margaret Rutherford without the weight? A cape definitely.

15. narrowback - October 19, 2007

. I’ve been threatened with having my membership revoked as well. it’s just a matter of “same union but different local” altho’. one friend persisted in presenting me a madonna cd on every gift giving occaision over a multi-year period in an ill-fated effort to make me more “mainstream”

16. Marsha Klein - October 19, 2007

Meant to say enjoy your mum’s visit – will it involve much housework? Oh, and think yourself lucky your Christmas phone calls have only started now – ours usually start around February.

17. redneckarts - October 20, 2007

Glen Gould does look nuts when he plays, at least in later films… but he was real pretty jung. I like listening to him grunt and whimper as he plays bach. I get restless, dirty minded and lofty at once. Our sexiest Canadian, god help us.

18. annie - October 20, 2007

Bah, Christmas. And hurrah, you’ll be in England! Will you be over in the West all the time, or might we meet up for drinkies?

What kind of gays would we make? What kind are on offer? (I think I’d rather be a gay man, lesbians don’t seem as hedonistic, she said sweepingly – the idea of being a promiscuous disco bunny type gay man is very appealing.)

19. Geoff - October 20, 2007

You’re a bit out of date there annie – the lesbian who works for me regularly shocks me with tales of her hedonistic disco bunny lifestyle that makes most of my gay friends’ lives seem rather pedestrian.

20. bowleserised - October 20, 2007

What Geoff said. I know too many lucious lesbians who are either lipstick or else rocking a very sexy androgyny. One of whom is forever converting ladies to what she’d call “the dark side”. Her fiancee was straight til she rocked up…

Marsha – I owe you an email! I’m running around all over the UK living out of suitcases so not a great correspondent just now.

21. Sylvia - October 21, 2007

I’ve decided that as women have much higher standards than men, and men have never liked me, I would make a rubbish lesbian.

22. Spinny - October 21, 2007

I think I’m with Sylvia on this one.

I imagine if I was gay I’d also be a merry spinster. My life would probably be exactly the same except I’d fancy Jenny Lewis rather than Joshua Homme.

But at least if I was a lesbian it might help stop interfering breeders telling me that I WILL want children ‘when’ I meet the right man.

23. IsarSteve - October 21, 2007

What’s up here? Have you all been drinking?

Suddenly everyone wants to be gay… What do we gays have that you all don’t? More sex? Nah.. not true.. More style? Don’t think so.. More money? Perhaps..

Believe me, you can keep it.. Being a gay man sucks when you’re over 30.. Suddenly overnight, you become attractive for straight women.. you can’t even use the U-Bahn without getting the winky winky.. in restuarants you can feel them breathing down your back… “if only my Bert were like him…more.. well…. tidy”. All gay bars are full with “hen-nighters”.

Most straight women over 35 would do anything for a man with.. clean shoes, matching socks, the well trimmed body, lovely teeth and one who can dance.. can have fun.. has feelings..

and where are all the gay men? Running around like headless chickens looking for “straight men” to conquer..

The world’s gone mad…

yours,
frustrated from Berlin

24. Blonde at Heart - October 22, 2007

Good on you not buying something played by Barenboim. He is so full of himself. If you want to skip Christmas, come to Jerusalem. No Christmas atmosphere here AT ALL, unless you go and look for it.

25. Billy - October 22, 2007

I’d like to come up with some clever comment, but I think Spinny has hit the nail on the head there: were I a gay, it’ll just be the other half of the population to draw my lust from. I’d be exactly the same.

26. marshaklein - October 22, 2007

I’m sure you’ve already heard but, next Friday’s News Quiz is to be a tribute, led by Sandi Toksvig, to Alan Coren. Haven’t come across a written obit yet.

27. Sylvia - October 23, 2007

I’m sure there was a biggie in the Torygraph or the Grauniad on Saturday – have to go back for a more detailed read.
Didn’t realise he was so ill.

28. pleite - October 24, 2007

Sylvia, if I get a second, I’ll go and track them down. And I refuse to believe you’d make a rubbish lesbian, not that I am encouraging you to dash off and abandon your husband and daughters. What do you mean, men have never liked you? What about hubby, per esempio? You are being unnecessarily modest.

Marshypops, thank you. I hadn’t realised, so will see if my mother is willing to sit and listen to the radio with me on Friday… Glasgow is still a potential Chrimbo destination. I’ll keep you informed. Though I am, of course, rather tempted to ignore the whole thing, as ever. And I’m delighted you’d make quite a good lesbian. Does Nigella dabble, do you know?

Billy, now I don’t want to be presumptuous, seeing as I’ve never met you, but you have commented on your metrosexuality before and you do come across very much as the modernest of men, so I’m glad to see you say you’d be just the same. (Random compliment time. I’ve met two London bloggeresses who HAVE met you and both have sung your praises, though not specifically for anything to do with your metrosexuality or being the same whether gay or straight, though I’m sure those qualities can only have helped.)

BaH, thank you. Is he a mega-star in Israel? I don’t know if he’s still based in Berlin at all, but he used to appear on TV rather a lot here. Are his projects frowned upon or applauded? (Doesn’t he unite young Israelis and Palestinians in an orchestra?) The box-set I have also has him and Du Pré playing that piece so I’ll go and listen and see how he compares.

Isar, yes, there’s no pleasing us. And I must say I do sometimes worry that if the Russian was ever to dash off with someone else, I might be single for a very long time indeed. Anyway, the most stunning case of dissatisfaction at their own sexuality was expressed to me when I was a slip of a thing in Paris. A Danish gent, straight, said to me that he’d sometimes wished he was gay. I almost choked. He wasn’t showing off, or trying to be cool, and he didn’t mean because he secretly fancied men or thought the sex was better. Just he thought that, as a man, it must be easier to have a relationship with another man. Men and women too different, all that business. This was before Becks and metrosexuals, so it all sounded very insane.

Spinny, bad luck. But depending on the type of lesbian you were, or rather, the family you came from, you might still get breeders telling you to get a move on or – this is the experience I’ve had – your family telling everyone (while you’re out of the room, perhaps at home with your girlfriend) that you’re only being a lesbian until you found the right man… Anyway, Jenny Lewis. WOOF! I’ve instantly turned straight. Who is she? And I must say, when the Russian and I were imagining ourselves het, I did slightly forget to factor in women’s higher standards. But I’m choosing to soothingly tell myself I’d be more popular with ladies than men.

B., I’m very out-of-date with what the young lesbians and gays (and straights, indeed) get up to these days, though I suppose it’s probably no different to what happened twenty years ago, judging, as I am, by my teenage nieces and nephews who seem to dress, talk and act exactly as we did only with mobile phones.

Geoff, I don’t know Kasabian, and I’m going to remain wilfully ignorant on Marsha’s and your advice. (Bugger, have succumbed and opened their website. Oh, are they German? I can cope with the accompanying noise, but I’d rather not listen to it than listen to it.) I knew a couple of hedonistic lesbians when I was much, much younger and their hedonism sounded fairly gay-scene-like. Sex and booze. Which is sort of straight-scene-like, really, isn’t it?

Annie, but what about all that having-to-stay-out-till-six-in-the-morning? Exhausting. And the drugs! The drugs! Although I’m having a little wistful reminisce now, not that I was ever that type. At all. I found clubs quite fun, when they were trashy, but it was always fantastically depressing to me if you went into a club and half the men had their tops off and rippling muscles. Pleasing on the eye, but depressing… And, yes, still don’t know about Chrimbo. Will keep you posted.

Redneck, I refuse to believe that Glenn Gould is Canada’s sexiest. What about Bryan Adams and Ben Johnson? Or Michael J. Fox and Donald Sutherland? Or K.D. Lang (although she looked a bit like an alcoholic middle-aged man, sort of like me, really, last time I saw her on the box). Or some lovely ice-hockey players? Or Leonard Cohen?

Narrowback, see what a conservative bunch we are! Maybe all bunches are conservative. Let’s unbunch and branch out. I’m going to start Gays4DireStraits Anonymous, where all those in the gayers – oh gosh. Is that discrimination? Let ’em sue – can come along and out themselves as hating Madonna, Barbara Streisand etc. (Mind you, I am currently listening to Hilde Knef. Do you know her? I’ll copy her disc/k (can never remember how to spell that word) for you if not as, going back to stereotypes for a sec, gays with a German connection MUST know her. It’s the law. I’m betting you already do know her, actually.)

Arabella, sorry to get shallow on you, but if we are ever to have a virtual affair in a virtual future where we can control our outer appearances, our sexualities and who we are and we both end up lesbians, can I suggest you choose Vita Sackville West over Margaret Rutherford? Ms. Rutherford could be one of our mothers if we insist on her being in the equation. I was going to recommend booze to aid campness, but I adore your corduroy jacket/bow-tie type.

Penguin, a gazillion apologies (and for the fact that you were expected to know my whereabouts as the other resident Engländer). I fully intended to make it, but it got too late etc. etc. The blogging boozer is Bötzow Privat on the corner of Tucholskystr. and Linienstr. KMS did tell me it had been slightly enwankened, but there’s something about it I like. Nice enough staff and a nice mix of types, usually one or two of a satisfyingly nutty nature.

Mr. D., thank you, and what a brilliantly honest appraisal of your potential hetero self. That’s interesting, to think you’d be homophobic, isn’t it? If I imagine myself as my brothers, because I don’t have an imagination, then they could both have been classed as homophobic-lite in the past. Not really bothered, but probably making the odd casual comment here and there. The thing which has been my experience in 99.99% of cases is that once people, even if they think they’re homophobes, realise they have someone close to them who is gay, they instantly realise they actually don’t give a toss.

29. Katchyta - October 24, 2007

No question whatsoever in my mind, given my life-long case of penis-envy and the opportunity to have my cake & eat it too (ahem!), I’d be six-packed, well-endowed, and an aggressive cruiser. Oh, did I mention buns of steel? OK, now back to my demure exterior.

30. narrowback - October 24, 2007

werll, sorry to say I must be in violation of the law then as I’ve never heard of Hikde Kneff…off to th re-education camp for me, eh?

actually your idea of a G4DSA is not oo off the mark…there used to be an association of gay fans of heavy metal here in Chicago

31. pleite - October 25, 2007

Narrowback, then I’ll make a copy of the music I have and give it to you in December. People will throw flowers of congratulation at you in the airport on the way home.

Katchyta, I’ve only ever managed a one-pack, which is very disappointing, but too bad. Actually, while I could cope with all the other attributes you mention admirably well, I’ve never been a fan of the six-pack. A little bit of meat never did anyone any harm.

32. KMS - October 25, 2007

Is it the Knef ” “singing” in “English” ” (what a lot of quotes there, but all justified)-CD which has just been released. Heard some of that on the radio the other day, incredibly amusing.

And on Dire Straits, i’m with Alexei:

33. Blonde at Heart - October 28, 2007

His musical achievements are lauded enough, but his character and the sensation he insists on creating make him a laughing stock.
Re: your new post, I had my own techonological moment today. Someone tampered with my computer ( I think the cleaning lady in the office tried a tad bit too hard to clean my awfully crowded office) and I had to change all kinds of cables. And then I forgot to restart the computer, so all the feeling of “I’m as good as a computer technitian” evaporated.

34. pleite - November 8, 2007

BaH, classical musicians are the oddest people I’ve ever met. So it doesn’t surprise me to think that Mr. Barenboim might be a very full-of-himself type. At all. What impressed me when I saw him on German TV was his total unconsciousness of his appalling German. I am too scared to utter a sentence unless I think I can say it correctly.

KMS, no, she sticks to the mother tongue on the album I have. I’ll go on a google to hear her in English now. I used to be (sort of) neighbours with Alexei Sayle. I can’t decide whether he’s ‘nice’ or not. But he’s right about Dire Straits, of course. I was once forced to pay a fortune to see them in concert because a friend (whom I fancied and was, of course, straight) wanted to see them. The most miserable couple of hours of my life.


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