Friday, December 04, 2009

Thursday, December 03, 2009

formspring.me

Ask me anything http://formspring.me/xxxrmt

formspring.me

Does this work? by xxxrmt

No.

Ask me anything

formspring.me

Sweet or savoury?

Sweet. I like sticky lips.

Ask me anything

formspring.me

Why gay and not bi?

I don't know.

Ask me anything

formspring.me

Why gay and not bi?

Don't know.

Butter or margarine?

I'm too posh for margarine.

Ask me anything

formspring.me

Why gay and not bi?

Don't know.

Ask me anything

formspring.me

Butter or margarine?

I'm too posh for margarine. Butter, every time. Or buttah.

Ask me anything

formspring.me

Why gay and not bi?

I have no idea.

Ask me anything

Watch Minge tweet

Twitter!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Nevaland

I come temporarily out of retirement, dear reader, to encourage all and sundry to see Nevaland (where boys do grow up) by Castoffs 2, a part of the Edinburgh Fringe this year.

The story begins in Nevaland.  Peter Pan is off to Kensington to spend the Summer with Wendy.  Before leaving, he warns the Lost Boyz not to grow up...

Is Nevaland a real place?  A figment of our imaginations?  A place of escape?  If the latter, one wonders, by the end of the piece, if the place one escapes to is sometimes worse than that which one has escaped from.

The star of the piece, Matt Flory, takes his character and her companions through a world of confusion and turmoil exposing the real reason for their arrival in Nevaland, greeted every time by Tink Da Bell.

Largely Forgotten enters Nevaland's Got Talent in the hope of finding someone and losing the pain of an alcoholic wife-beating Father behind him.  Tiga finds love in the arms Bunny Boy, her soldier.  But will she be forced into a loveless marriage?  Will Bunny come home alive?  Will Wen-Day be able to keep her family together?

These questions and many more are answered in Nevaland; the audience member carried along on a roller-coaster ride of tragedy and comedy; the characters facing many forms of abuse, domestic violence, honour killings, alcohol, drugs, and growing from child into adult.

As ever, Castoffs have the ability to bring social issues to our attention using humour without being stupid or silly and calamity without being patronising or clichéd.  Each and every member of the company are enthusiastic, eager and a joy to watch.  They continue to go from strength to strength.  Always sure that they cannot beat their performance from the previous year, I'm always left realising that they have.

The campery, drama and intensity always give me that fit to burst feeling, especially so when Aisha Iqbal launches into her first scene, when Jono McBeth begins to sing and when Matt Flory delivers his lines with brilliant conviction and a knowing look only a true thespian can convey.

Fabulous, five stars.

Nevaland is playing at Augustine's studio, venue 152 from 12th - 17th August at 1615 and from 19th - 24th August at 1145.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Dick Mallet

My days of blogging have come to a sorry end, dear reader. To celebrate, I hereby finish with my beloved Sunday Mallet, daughter of Fib Sunday, cousin to Haiku Saturday.

Families are funny things.

The last edition of the Sunday Mallet began several weeks ago. Japanesewhispers left us with cock. The first word which came to mind: dick.

Please, my lamb. Play on.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Se7en

I've been tagged by Raquel.

Here are the rules:

Firstly, post these rules and a link to the person who tagged you.

Secondly, share seven facts about yourself, all devastatingly interesting.

Lastly, tag seven people at the end of your post, linking their names to their blogs. Follow this up by advising said parties of the tag in the comment section on their blog(s).

Seven things about Minge:

My mobile telephone number is +447841831579.

I've had a cough for ten months.

I don't like thrash metal.

I have no spleen (to speak of).

My Mother wanted to call me André, but my Father couldn't pronounce it.

I hate the SNP and everything that the isolationist bigots stand for.

I've never been to the southern hemisphere although I long to and would adore standing on the equator.

I'm tagging David, Moncrief Speaks, Bill, Salty Sailor, Krafty Bitch, Simon and (Japanese) Alan.

Fall

Spring forward, fall back. That's a good way to remember what to do with the clocks each Spring and Autumn. I mentioned this to my sister-in-law last week and we wondered why the third season of the year is never described as Autumn in the United States of America. I say we. I was doing the wondering. No conclusion was come to, although I was told that the word Autumn is not unknown to Americans.

And so, dear reader, the clocks will fall back in the early hours of Sunday morning. The sun will rise at 07:10 and set at 16:42 here in Edinburgh, affording most people only nine and a half hours of daylight. For me, that number will be much less as I hardly ever rise before 09:00. Worse still, we have 22nd December to look forward to with only six hours and fifty eight minutes of daylight. I'll end up with about three or four, I think. A far cry from the seventeen hours and thirty seven minutes we were blessed with on 22nd June.

The point to all this? That there's nothing much to look forward to at this time of year. It's all downhill from here on. And if one more person tells me that Autumn is their favourite season because of all the lovely colours, I'll abuse them. Physically, of course. I'm too old for sexual shenanigans and emotional torture is not something I'm terribly good at.

I'm just marching time.

But isn't that what we do throughout our lives? From the quickening inside the womb, we're just waiting to draw our final breath.

And Mum always told me to never put off until tomorrow that which I could do today. I'm just a useless man.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Car

I remember the day my Father and I went to pick up the new car with such clarity.

It was a very warm week day. Dad was not at work. My school holidays were in full swing. His break from work had just begun. My skin was a warm brown. His was as white then as mine is now, Britain having bypassed anything close to a Summer this year.

The hairs that made up Dad's wig were rigid. They did not move. All thanks to hairspray for men. Mum's was cheaper and did the same thing, but he refused to use it. The year was 1978, a year in which many gay men were seen sporting lumberjack shirts. Some straight men wore them, too, one being my Father. The shirt was mainly cream in colour with horizontal and vertical stripes of differing thickness in a colour my Mother would describe as brick. His trousers were navy blue; polyester. The belt was plastic and dark brown, as were his shoes, though leather and not plastic. I was six years old and wore, as many a six year old did at the time, open toed sandals or Jesus boots. Some boys in my school told me they were girls' shoes. I wore beige shorts and a white short sleeve shirt.

Mum was washing up at the kitchen sink as Dad and I left for the bus stop. I'd never seen Dad on a bus before, only ever in a car, taxi or van and naturally assumed he'd never taken one in his life. I felt very important thinking I was about to educate my father.

"Bye, Mum!"

Mum kissed me, holding my face with her hot, soapy hands. Bubbles clung to my cheeks.

The car showroom was in Winton, the Moordown end, so we took the number 31 from Fernheath Road. Dad allowed me to believe he'd never been on a bus before. I persued the rôle reversal by instructing my Dad to hold his hand out when we saw the bus come around the corner from Coleman Road.

"And when we get on, you have to say one and a half to Winton, please. The driver will tell you how much you have to pay."

Our wait under the dappled shade from a front garden tree was short. The yellow bus soon made the corner and Dad did exactly as he was told. We stepped into the bus from beneath the tree briefly passing through the vivid light and the warm August sunshine. Dad got the tickets as I waited to dispense the coins he'd given me into the driver's plate.

"This way," I said, climbing the unpainted metal stairs to the top deck.

We sat at the front of the bus, me next to the window, Dad at the aisle. He lit up a fag, took a deep draw on it and sighed. The red plastic seats burned the backs of my legs and I fidgeted.

"This side," he said, winking, and gesturing with a side nod of his head to cross to the opposite seat where we'd find shade from the hot sun. He swapped seats, I followed. This meant I was now sat at the aisle. Mum would never have let this happen, but I said nothing, wondering if perhaps Dad thought I was more grown-up than Mum imagined me to be.

I sat up straight, holding onto the chrome bar before me across the wide front windows of the bus.

"We'll be back in Turbary Park soon," I said, Dad nodding, drawing more on his cigarette. "Then we go up through Columbia and Ensbury Park."

"Oh?" said Dad, feigning interest, staring ahead into space.

I delighted in being right. Children of six often make claims which bear no fruit. But not I. Not today. Columbia Road. Ensbury Park. Moordown.

And then Winton. The first stop in which, was for us.

The showroom contained three cars. All the same (to me), just different colours. I remember it being stiflingly hot. I had no empathy for the man greeting us then, having never worn a suit and tie myself, but here he was, in one and in something of a greenhouse, too, the whole of the frontage being made entirely from glass.

I don't think that anyone in Britain would have even heard of air conditioning in 1978.

"Mr Tapping!"

How did he know my Dad?

"Sit here," said Dad as he wandered off with the man in the suit into a dimly lit space which was too dark for me to make sense of. I sat there on the fabric and chrome office chair for what felt like an eternity. Dad didn't come back. Neither did the man.

Just as panic began to set in, I heard the beep from a car's horn. Looking out into the street, I saw a blue estate car with my father sat in the driver's seat. He was grinning from ear to ear. I leapt from the chair and mouthed shall I come out?

"Yes!" called my Dad, whom I'd heard perfectly.

With no man in a suit so say goodbye to, I heaved open the heavy door from the showroom and raced across the pavement to the car. The passenger window was wound down completely. I rested my crossed arms on the open space and smiled at my Dad. Then giggled.

"Get in," he said.

So I did.

I was happy to be in a brand new car but sad on realising Dad was Dad again and I was the little boy once more.

"You alright?"

"Yes, Dad."

I loved the sound of the engine. Although loud, it seemed quieter than our last car. Another Datsun and the same model, although blue in colour. I wasn't sure about the colour. Our last car was orange and I preferred that.

The noise and the change in the tone of the sounds coming from the engine as Dad moved up through the gears were fascinating.

"Let's go on a drive before going home," said Dad.

We went to Poole. I remember passing the large Barclays Bank building near the Arndale Centre. The next thing I remember was Dad lifting me out of the car back at home in Turbary Park Avenue. I'd nodded off.

I still like to sleep on car journeys, long and short. Some things change, some stay the same, dear reader.

I'm alive. Dad's dead.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Imagine

Ha!

Ha! Ha!!

And...

Ha! Ha!! Ha!!!

Good morning, dear reader and welcome to the catch-up edition of The morbid adventures of Minge. Unlike Captain Oates, I've returned, although I was some time.

I must say, though, at this point. I'm quite uncomfortable with the grammar there. Captain Oates' famous statement, "I may be some time," has always bothered me. How can a person be time? Was the captain hinting at something, that he was/is some kind of deity? Or maybe a well-loved time traveller with a penchant for Earth and Britain?

My recent video blogging adventures were a fun exercise and I really enjoyed doing it, as did Ian. He was the mind behind the camera; the director, editor and interviewer. One of the questions put to me came from David. He asked me to name my favourite Asian dish and suggested I should be filmed while cooking it. As ever, I'm keen to oblige. You can see the results, my love, in the previous three entries, here, here and here.

Oh, and for my anonymous reader who requested it, here's Mrs McGinty's recipe for Cinder Toffee:

You will need
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 100g golden syrup
  • 40g goats' butter
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Method
  1. Line a small baking tray (I use an 8" sandwich tin) with parchment paper.
  2. Place all the ingredients apart from the vinegar and bicarbonate of soda into a heavy bottomed pan. Put on a medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Bring to the boil and heat until a teaspoon of the syrup becomes a soft ball when dropped into a cup of cold water (138°c on a sugar thermometer).
  4. Remove from the heat and add the vinegar and bicarbonate of soda. Beat well and watch the toffee mixture foam up.
  5. Pour into your prepared tray or tin.
  6. After ten or so minutes, once the toffee has begun to set, score it with a sharp knife into portion sizes according to your personal taste.
  7. After approximately twenty more minutes, break your cinder toffee along the lines and store in an air tight container where it will remain in good shape for up to ten days.
Experiment with the flavour by replacing the vanilla extract with other extracts such as almond, maple or similar. I've a mind, next time I make it, to replace the extract and the water with a double espresso! I've done quite a bit of travelling throughout the isle quite recently. Much of October seems to have been spent on the roads and rails of the United Kingdom.

The first part of the month took Ian and I to London. We stayed there with our fabulous friend Robin who was kind enough to put us up for a long weekend. Pictures of which can be seen here, my lamb. We went the whole hog and did all the things tourists do; a cruise on the Thames, a trip to Buckingham Palace, a wander around Trafalgar Square, took in the neon lights at Piccadilly Circus, explored some galleries, visited St Paul's Cathedral, toured Television Centre, saw some shows and so much more besides. The shows we saw were Les Misérables, Avenue Q and Wicked. I plan to blog about these, at length, later.

Before leaving the topic altogether though, I will say that all three musicals were absolutely fabulous, well produced and provocative. Human (and animal) relationships can be peculair. I'm left wondering if it's true that everyone's a little bit racist (more later), if wickedness is as black and white a situation as it's often painted and who would be the better king of France should the monarchy there be restored? Louis, Henri, Charles or Nicolas? Which man would you chosse, dear reader? Or do you feel a woman would do a better job?

I'm sure, really, that wickedness is indeed not so black and white. There are many shades of grey in the mix, as is proven by my late Father who died on 11th October. He might have been evil personified to my Mother, Mark (my brother) and I, though he obviously wasn't those things to his second wife or she'd have not been able to say these things. Having said that, she was and is able to lie (his family will NOT miss him - see here). Why she'd want to lie, now, though, I'm not sure. If he was cruel to her, she'd have no need to publish such a sickly-sweet goodbye. Perhaps, after meeting her, he'd become too old to fuck around with other women and pick fist-fights with his friends and relatives?

I was lucky and happy to be in Bournemouth for the week following Roy's death. My presence stopped my eldest brother from using my Mum's house as a hotel, accommodating his appearance at his Father's funeral. Cruel of him, I'm sure, to ask (and he did) my Mother for a bed for him and his son while in Bournemouth for the funeral. Does this man have a heart of stone? Like his Father, does he have no conscience? Did he really expect my Mum to give him somewhere to stay so that he could attend the funeral of the man who made her life a living hell? I'm sure there's irony there somewhere, though I don't care to look for or expose it.

I'm sure she was prepared to, but my presence but a bar in his way. He doesn't speak to me since I confronted him about opening personal correspondence between me and his son and questioning his motives in taking my Mother on foreign holidays.

I wondered if, even though we weren't attending the funeral, we'd be sad and melancholy on the day or open a bottle of champagne. As it was, I'm currently taking anti-biotics for yet another chest and sinus infection so champagne would have been off the menu. Come the 18th October, we'd kind of almost fogotten what was going on until people started turning up at home, wondering how my Mum was. The only person not to come or call on the telephone was my eldest brother, Ken.

We were neither happy nor sad about his death or funeral, though I will admit to being sad about him in general ever since hearing of his death.

As hinted at before, he wasn't utterly wicked. The movie made of his life would be littered with violence and abuse, both of the physical and emotional sort. However, there would be the odd happy scene. I remember him yodeling in the Alps, drawing with me at the kitchen table, showing me how to saw oak and taking me to a restaurant for the very first time at six or seven years of age.

I used to wonder and think that perhaps he wasn't so terrible after all, though I soon changed my mind when I saw the looks on the faces of the people in whom I was able to confide. Good people don't systematically abuse their families on more levels than I knew existed. Good people don't sleep with their wife's family. Good people don't serially cheat on their partners. Good people dont beat their children to a pulp.

He was an actor, too. On divorcing, friends of my parents couldn't believe such a couple could or would ever part.

"But Roy's such a great bloke..."

He could charm the birds out of the trees, buy gifts for his friends' children and be the life and soul of any party. Birds may have been charmed, but we were repulsed. Any Christmas presents, shoes or school uniforms were paid for by the money my Mother earned cleaning during the evenings. In my Mother's words, usual gatherings of my immediate family were given, "...the golden silence treatment..." by my Father.

"Silence!"

"Be quiet, I'm watching telly."

"Go outside and play and stop bothering me."

He's been a major topic of conversation for many years. I really wonder, now, how we'll fill those gaps in conversation. I'm sure, with things more cheerful.

He may have gone and this will do many of us some good, but what will not go are the memories. His snarling face. His awful temper. His fist. His flying kicks.

On some level, his wild behaviour was never as difficult for me to cope with as it was for Mum and to a certain extent, Mark. Apparently, he got worse as time went on. The violence and screaming was normal to me. For Mark, weekly beatings and slanging matches became a daily occurrence. For Mum, a lady who grew up in a home free from hostility and full of love and gay times, her married life must have been an absolute nightmare. Like a story from a soap opera which builds and builds over a few weeks, Mum's life descended into reasoned anarchy over thirty or so years; an anarchy which, however she's tried, she's been unable to recover from since the old man left us cold an penniless in 1981.

I'm still undecided if I'm happy or sad. I can't generalise, though, and find being black and white quite difficult. I suppose I feel grey. I have decided on two things, though. I shall write a memoir in two parts:

My Father and other monsters

and

I remember Mama

I plan on starting next week. Any tips will be gratefully received.

Bournemouth wasn't all doom and gloom, of course. The highlight was spending time with my Mum at and outwith the bingo, my wonderful niece (see evidence of that here, here, here and here), other family members and friends.

Following on from my evening watching Avenue Q, two conversations made me ponder more about the racism issue. Auntie Lil said that Britons are able to be so openly and unapologetically racist because we've never lost a war in modern times and that military superiority implies cultural superiority. No-one in Germany could get away with doing the Nazi salute or calling anyone a money-grabbing Jew. However, people in Britain are called Wogs, Spics, Yids, Pakis and Wops with no-one batting an eyelid.

With my Mother complaining about the number of Poles and East Europeans in the country, my American sister-in-law piped up with a reason why she doesn't want her daughter to learn Spanish. My sister-in-law is fabulous, though a little naive and easily led. She told me how her Father, a Methodist pastor had told her how copious amounts of Mexicans were flooding the United States of America with their extended families, taking from the state without putting anything into the economy and refusing to learn English. Strange for a man of God to have not heard of the story of the good Samaritan.

Always unresolved... I still imagine a world full of good people, though I wonder if it will only ever exist in my imagination. My Mother was grateful, I'm sure, for the home the UK gave her when the German army invaded her home island in 1940. Native Americans - did they complain about white settlers taking and not giving or not learning Adai, Coosan, Tunica or similar?

Will history always repeat itself? Until we learn from it?

You may say that I'm a dreamer (some say I am), but I'm not the only one.

Cook #3

Cook #2

Cook #1

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Great idea. Why don't I steal it? (Part IXd)/Mrs McGinty's Cinder Toffee

La dernière partie:

video

Great idea. Why don't I steal it? (Part IXc)

No acid house, sadly, though I hope that this (or this) might make up for the lack of said musical style.

video