Monthly Archives: October 2002

Go Out

OUTThis morning the post man knocked more than once. PY, who always jumps out of bed for parcels and post, decided to answer the door where he discovered a large parcel from Out – my lovely black fleece had arrived (from OutOnTheStreets to be precise). This event, and Tom’s post (which I highlighted the other day and started out as a response to this) set me thinking about notions of community.

Now Out is an online community of (mainly) gay men from around the world – although at the moment it’s predominantly UK based. It’s a great place to be and very unlike many of the other commercial gay sites. It’s all about social interactions and not about sex (like some) nor about profit (like others). It funds itself by way of a non-compulsory licence fee and sells merchandise to add to that. It encourages real-world events and traditional social interaction.

Now, I have never attended one of the events and I don’t log on every day (like some). I don’t count many of my friends (online or otherwise) as being members and I can’t say I have made any lasting friendships on Out – although many have.

However, it is still a community and I am still part of it. I choose to contribute financially and I should do more in real life. There are many issues raised by Out that I shall discuss in more detail at some point soon (paying for online content; the concept of zero exploitation and the concept of online communities) but at this point all I want to say is that I feel similar about blogging. I do it primarily for my own record/entertainment/amusement. As a by-product, I get to tell the world how I feel about things and strike up some interesting discussions and relationships along the way. It’s a place for me to express and, most importantly, it’s another community that I belong to. Again, I’m not the most active member of this community but I certainly feel it is a community and one I am happy to be part of.

On this day…

2004: links for 2004-10-26
2003: Phones and PDAs

Let’s (Not) Go Out

I am about to embark on a Friday night out in Clapham. More specifically, a colleague (we’ve worked together now and have previously worked together) and I are off to meet two ex-work mates (from the last job we worked at) for Friday night drinks. I believe I am turning into some kind of hermit because I want to stay in the whole time so, although I know I will have a great time (and possibly one to many drinks), I would rather be catching the 19:07 home. A bid sad, isn’t it?

On this day…

2003: The Quiet American

Community of UK Webloggers has a great new item about the community of UK webloggers – | files | Who’s afraid of community participation?

I do consider myself a member of a community of UK webloggers. And I feel that way because we all have something in common – a shared experience maybe, or a desire to learn from one another, an interest in other people who validate our ‘hobbies’ or maybe it’s just because what matters to one of us is more likely to matter to other ones of us. I don’t share my politics or my sexuality with many of these people. Nor my gender, many of my interests, my ethnicity or my obsession with Buffy.

I’m too tired – as it’s too early/late – to comment so go read it!

On this day…

2004: Billy Connolly
2003: CD or not to CD?

Inspirational Eden

Tim Smit provides an insight into the group vision that resulted in one of the more successful Millennium projects – Eden. And the fact that it is the work of a committed "group" of people is not lost on the reader. Smit regularly repeats the mantra that Eden was only developed thanks to the work of a wide range of individuals from contractors to councils, and not forgetting the plant-men.

If you want to understand some details behind the way such projects are developed then this is a book you should read. When the project was floundering while all the funding partners came together then Tim Smit was there and he relives it through the book. Sometimes you wonder how it call came together.

On the other hand, if you are a plant-lover, gardener or horticulturalist then this is also a book you should read. Smit tells the fascinating story of the development of the biome concepts and the plants they chose to grow. More importantly he discusses the relationship between man and the natural surroundings we inhabit; debating our fragile relationship with a range of environments along the way.

However, what you take from this book is a mixture of all of the above. Landscaping, plant husbandry and environmental considerations sit alongside planning, funding, road building and visitor education projects. It’s one man’s personal account rather than a definitive history and the cast of characters seems endless and, sometimes, confusing. However, the determination and vision that drove the project; the commitment and enthusiasm of all the people and the role Eden believes it should be playing on the world stage are all presented in an accessible, very readable account of, what seems to have been, a long but successful process. If this book doesn’t inspire you to aim higher and better, then nothing will.

Buy Eden at

On this day…

2004: Down With Love
2004: Links for 2004-10-23
2004: Lucky Man: A Memoir
2003: Celebrities And The Media
2002: New Look

Hope I Haven't Missed Your Birthday

My trusted Palm Vx – from which sprang the Listen To Musak blog (why just write stuff for my own reading when I can bore everybody else?) – contains many useful freeware/shareware and fully-paid up pieces of software that didn’t come pre-installed. The most useful is DateMate. DateMate is a simple little program that stores birthdays, anniversaries and events and is able to populate the Palm Date Book with update information so that I can always recall how old somebody is and how many years they have been married. If you own a Palm I would wholeheartedly recommend you look at it.

Sadly, however, I have done two silly things in the past months:

  • Firstly, I changed my synchronisation settings with Outlook so that all birth dates and anniversaries were wiped from my Date Book. This is OK, as DateMate will retain the backup and all I had to do was re-enter them but ..
  • Secondly, I updated DateMate and forgot to read the update instructions so I have updated to a later version that won’t accept my registration number. As a consequence, I can’t export a list of all the entries to enable an easy re-entry procedure. So now I am going to have to upgrade and I am not sure it’s 100% necessary.

Ah well, maybe it would be easier to maintain a paper diary but it wouldn’t be as much fun, would it?

On this day…

2003: Writer’s Block?
2003: Today On The Creek

Wasted Weekends

I feel very strange things about this Monday morning. You see I didn’t do any of the things I wish I had done over the last weekend. I had great plans to spend the time decorating the exterior of my house before the windows fall out due to the winter rains and frosts. Then I thought I might finally finish the clearing of the back garden so that some form of order is visible (again before the winter frosts come). No. I couldn’t do any of this because I went to sleep.

Instead of going late night drinking after seeing Taboo on Friday night, PY and I came home because I was exhausted (I don’t think anybody else really wanted a long drinking session either but that is not the point). I slept late, got up, had breakfast and started a few general household chores. Then I thought I would have forty winks. Unfortunately, I slept until 5pm and then realised that Saturday was gone. A whole weekend had then to be squashed into Sunday (where I stayed in bed late again) and I wasn’t very enthusiastic. I also had to have a late-Sunday brunch-style event in Notting Hill with some friends over from Australia. That was great (and seeing people who live outside London always make me crave space and forget the advantages of this great city) but I can’t believe I didn’t do anything very much around the house. I had such great plans.

So, that’s why I am now somewhat deflated. The weekend – which I look forward to like every other office-bound individual – turned out to be a let down. And now I am faced with another whole working week before I get some time off. And to cap it all, I will then have to do all last week’s little jobs as well as any new ones I come up with. I hate days like this and weekends like that! And I resent the fact that it is all my fault.

On this day…

2005: links for 2005-10-21
2003: Today on the Underground

Everything Taboo

Taboo The MusicalI went to see Boy George’s Taboo last Friday and have been contemplating the blog entry ever since. I have to say that I thought that it was fabulous and I want to see it again (I even ordered the soundtrack last night!). It’s a fictional account of a lot of real people but most of the plot must be based on Boy George’s own life story as I recognised may of the characters and plot lines from his book Take It Like A Man. Obviously, he is a key (though not the central) character. I would thoroughly recommend to this anybody visiting London regardless of the way you feel about Boy George. It’s a strange time capsule of a musical and his songs are great – although several of them are old (some of which are taken from the under-rated album Cheapness and Beauty which I regard as one of the best of all time). The story is tender, the performances top-rate and the whole thing is laugh-out-loud funny (especially, Julian Clary). often has cut-price tickets a few days before a show. Go see it. Often.

[Links: BBC News – George breaks 80s Taboo | BBC News – Matt Lucas’s comic extremes | Guardian – We were so naughty | I Love the 80s]

On this day…

2005: Admonished By A Snack Food Wrapper
2004: Wet London 20
2004: 21 Dog Years: Doing Time At Amazon.Com

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