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The Big Gay Gym Rule Book

In the beginning, some time after the Big Bang, once the dinosaurs had met their extinction and man began to walk the surface of the planet, societies were formed and towns and cities were built. As the human race took its first steps towards the creation of empires and vast civilisations, a group of clandestine bearded elders of the earth met in the deepest black of night to sign a secret mystical oath which would decide the destiny of one particular sub-section of humanity. Upon the ancient scroll these words were inscribed (this is only a rough translation from the original text): “If a man lies with another man as one lies with a woman, he must join a gym.”


There you have it, due to the magical mystical oath thing (that I certainly didn’t make up), homosexuals everywhere are now driven by a supernatural force to go to the gym even if they don’t really want or need to, unable to ignore the ancient imperative in their head to become treadmill-pounding body fascists. Despite our preternatural urge to work-out, gyms can still be terrifying institutions to a novice, especially as a gay man. Luckily for you, I have assembled a brief list of gym ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’ for those taking their first timid steps into a weights room (this guide can also serve as a quick refresher course for even the most ardent fitness fanatic):

DO make sure that you ensnare yourself a cross-trainer or treadmill that is situated in the direct eyeline of the men’s changing rooms, in order to fully assess the level of attractive men that are currently in the gym. This practice will also allow the time spent doing soul-sucking cardio to pass more quickly.

DON’T hire a hot personal trainer. You will spend the duration of a personal training session as a sweaty, panting, exhausted and uncoordinated mess. Is this how you want the muscled, tanned, well-groomed probably Brazilian or Italian PT to see you? No. Instead employ the services of the balding, pale, slightly chubby PT that is clearly past his prime (every gym has one), unless that’s your type. In that case hire a woman.

DO make audible, ridiculous grunting sounds as you lift weights, as that way people around you will know that you are working really hard. Forget about the fact that you will sound like a tennis player getting a rectal exam from a poorly-trained circus monkey with an ice-pick; you are lifting heavy weights and EVERYONE must know that you are, otherwise what’s the point?

DON’T allow people to lay claim to more than one piece of gym equipment at a time, particularly during busy periods. It is common practice for some regular gym-goers to dominate the entire weights area as if it’s their own living room filled with gym equipment, with towels strewn over the bench press as some sort of ‘Reserved’ sign and dumbbells left hidden in the corner as if to ay ‘Do Not Touch’. Remember that, despite being bigger than you and more superior in every way, these people are bastards and you should not be intimidated by them. Strut purposefully up to these muscle bags, look them directly in the eye and say, “Could I *cough*…I mean would you mind if…umm…can I borrow the weights? No? Oh….erm OK. Sorry to bother you. Sir.”

DO wipe down the gym equipment after you have used it. No one wants to bathe in your sweat and musk or slip from the treadmill because of the makeshift waterslide you created from your sudoriferous glands. On a similar note, please wear deodorant. A really strong one. Gym-goers should be seen and not smelt.

DON’T have sex in the sauna after your workout. It’s tacky and people should be able to sit in there without the danger of slipping over on your semen. As an alternative I suggest copulating in the shower. It’s cleaner and all evidence from your penis will be washed away down the drain.

DO maintain prolonged eye contact with any men that you find attractive, at least until the point it becomes obvious and awkward. Once you have made the recipient of your steadfast gaze deeply uncomfortable, sheepishly look away and then look back in that general direction and pretend you were focusing on something else, such as the clock behind him. If direct ocular contact seems too intimidating, utilise one of the many mirrors in the gym to ogle indirectly.

DON’T wear short shorts. No one wants to see that. NO ONE.

DO take a full length photograph of yourself in the mirror using a mobile phone after your workout. The picture in question must be shirtless and be lit from above, with your face obscured slightly by the handset. The image must then be posted on one of your many social networking profiles for everyone to look at, admire and think what a total narcissistic prick you are.


Glove (Gay Love)

Having spent the last few weeks suffering from a severe case of writer’s block (which is really just shorthand for a severe lack of any original ideas because the writer in question is a talentless waste of organs) and with writing a weekly X Factor column melting my brain into a reality TV fondue, I asked my friends to come up with an idea for a new blog post before I gave up on this thing altogether. Unfortunately, I only received one response and that response was ‘love’.

They are either in love or dead.

We can all agree that ‘love’ is a stupid subject for a blog, especially for a writer who has only a passing acquaintance with real emotion. Apparently cynicism isn’t an emotion. I informed the nominator of the subject that I had already penned a relationship guide (which you can find here priced at only £0.00: but he thought that it only focused on the negative aspects of coupledom and didn’t really address the holdinghandswalkingalongthebeachunderthemoonlight aspects of love. The kind of love we all aspire to, mainly due to the inordinate amount of romantic comedies and weekday soaps we have consumed greedily with our lonely eyeballs.

I suppose the question that automatically crops up when cross-referencing this subject with homosexuality, is can gays love as well or as deeply as the heterosexuals? This is obviously a stupid bloody question because as human beings we all have the capacity for love. So I will amend the question: Given the ‘non-traditional’ nature of a homosexual relationship, can gay men claim to love as deeply as their straight counterparts?

The answer? YES. And here is why.

Despite some of the ‘odd’ arrangements some gay couples have (open relationships for example) these love matches seem to have considerable endurance. While many would think that shagging about on the side could lead to the destruction of a relationship (which isn’t to say it doesn’t in some cases), these ‘open’ love bonds are strong enough to weather the spunk storm of extra-marital boning. Take long-term gay relationships which aren’t held together by the traditional ties of marriage and children. The love of these couples is so deep that they are willing to devote the rest of their lives together, sometimes with no official legal documentation forcing them to do so. It’s just them, forever. Just the two of them until they die. Every waking minute spent together. Forever (sorry, the paralysing fear of an eternal coupling overcame me. Back to the blog…). As a breed, gays are generally stereotyped as promiscuous little bumming monkeys (I say stereotype, it’s more a fact-based exaggeration) however I would like to present to you the example set by my friend (*terrible pseudonym klaxon*) Bryan.

My dear friend Bryan is a Canadian by trade and came to these shores to steal our jobs start a new life. Unfortunately upon setting up shop in London, he realised he deeply loved someone that he had left behind back at the homestead. With an ocean between them, it looked as if Bryan would be alone in this big city of ours but the love was too strong and they decided to make a go of it. His boyfriend, who shall be called Bobert, made the enormous decision to pack his bags and join Bryan in London to take advantage of our healthcare and benefits systems. As close as they may be to finally reuniting, work obligations has made it so Bobert will not be gracing the capital with his presence until next year and Bryan will be on his own for more agonising lonely months. Now, Bryan is a being of pure animal sexuality and living in London and spending the majority of his time in Soho, he is basically exposed to an all-you-can-fuck buffet on a daily basis. Despite temptation throwing itself at his penis, Bryan remains unfazed and committed to his Canadian partner and is the epitome of how real love can transcend the clichés and trappings of a person’s sexuality. Applaud him as he sits and waits frustrated and horny (but very very happy) for Bobert to arrive.

Most importantly of all, dear reader, I love YOU. Except you. You’re ugly.

The Cast List

It could be due to the fact that I watch far too much television, but lately I think my social life has begun to strongly resemble the structure of a TV show. Recently I haven’t been as heavily involved in the social antics of my regular circle of friends, as I’ve genuinely (and unfortunately) been busy with other things through no real fault of my own. I was given my own spin-off from the main programme if you will, a series that focused on my attempts to make it as a writer in the big city and that looked at the my relationship with a sexy, French twenty-something. Let’s just say the spin-off was little watched and while it had a small and dedicated cult following, a second season wasn’t commissioned. Instead it was scaled back to a collection of lower budget webisodes (A brief warning: I’m going to continue with this analogy throughout the entire blog, so if you’re not a fan, I would bow out now).

Do you know how hard it was to find a picture relating to this post? So here is a cute kitten in a 'cast'. Get it?

Having been written out of the original show as a series regular for a brief time, they had to recast. Unfortunately for me, the new cast members were funnier, better looking and far more popular than I had ever been. With the spin-off taking up less of my time and with my original contract still valid, they decided to bring me back to main series. As with any popular returning character, my comeback, although a ratings hit, was ultimately a bit of an anti-climax. I had a lacklustre script and my character didn’t quite gel with the new ones. The show had evolved and the storylines had moved on. All I was doing was pissing on the legacy of my once glorious character.

Instead of being a regular, I was now scaled back to a recurring role. No longer central to the ‘A’ storyline, I could be brought back when a particular scene required me or to tie-up outstanding plot threads.


This may seem like a muddled mess of words, so just let me clarify certain parts of the analogy:

Main show / programme = Social life.

Spin-off = My life.

Cast members = Friends.

Plot / storyline = Stuff my friends get up to.

Series regular = Part of the main group of friends.

Recurring role = Seeing friends occasionally.

Guest star = Seeing friends two / three times a year.

Got it? Good.



My central  concern now is that I will eventually be downgraded to guest star and brought back only once a year for Christmas specials and wedding/funeral episodes. This is a very real possibility, as my current contribution to the storyline is minimal. I generally have the worst lines and when the script does require me to be in front of the cameras, it’s usually for expositional purposes only. Frankly, most of the time I may as well be a background extra, bumbling around the scenery to fill space in pub and club scenes.

I should be clear that I have loved my time on the show and I in no way blame my fellow cast mates or the producers for my current predicament. This is purely a situation of my own creation. Now all I can do is either pray that they don’t decide to kill me off (unfortunately it’s not a supernatural drama) or try and bag a movie deal. I just hope that I don’t land a dream job in Paris or decide to go on tour with my band. There’s no coming back from that.

I would like to thank you for sticking with this blog post as I stretched the metaphor to breaking point. It was probably as painful to read as it was to write.

Riot Proof

Buildings in flames, looting, violent attacks, torched vehicles, people cowering in their homes, the sound of sirens filling the air. It sounds like a horrific far-flung apocalyptic dystopian future, except that its not. It’s Tuesday.

Over the past three days London, or to be exact a small proportion of the people who reside there, has apparently gone insane. The catalyst for ‘The Rage’ (the 28 Days Later comparison seems apt) was due to the police fatally shooting a young man called Mark Duggan in Tottenham and what started as a relatively peaceful protest about the perceived injustice of his death, turned into an out-of-control domestic war zone (or what I my over-privileged sheltered mind envisages a war zone to look like). As the unrest spread across the capital, the rioters then decided it wasn’t just the police that were to blame, Greggs and Footlocker had played a part in the shooting too, so they attacked the shops and smashed their windows in revenge. They didn’t stop there however; the rioters took the possessions from the stores and emptied their contents, leaving them gutted and barren as an elaborate metaphor for the Mark Duggan’s death made them feel inside.

The poetic spin I have just put on the events is of course completely untrue, as it was in fact a greed-led anarchic rampage of idiotic proportions. From the footage I’ve seen and the reports I have read, it seems that any political motivation behind the violence has been lost to a group of people who basically just enjoy smashing stuff. This leads me to believe that all of this stems from the influence of a sub-level game in Street Fighter II where your chosen character has to smash a car to smithereens within 30 seconds. You probably think I’m an idiot and that is a ridiculous and unfounded explanation for the motivation behind the events, however that explanation is no more ludicrous than some of the utter nonsense that is currently being spouted across Facebook and Twitter.

Chief among them is that multiculturalism is the cause of the riots, with status updates and tweets along the lines of:

  • ‘Welcome to a diverse and multicultural Britain…A BIG thank you to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown…u C*NTS’.
  • ‘Peasants are revolting in England. This is the point to which banal, left-wing multiculturalism and political correctness have brought us’.

These are obviously baffling and moronic statements. Firstly, it is not made clear quite how they blame multiculturalism. Do they mean that the people rioting are from a multicultural background? Or are the people rioting against multiculturalism? In which case, they must support them. There should be more clarity in their hate. Perhaps they mean that the black and Asian rioters are a bad influence on the white rioters and that white people wouldn’t normally dare raise a brick if it wasn’t for the multicultural peer pressure. They obviously blame these dark-skinned barbarians for leading the usually pacifist, well-behaved white folk astray. They could be right, as before immigration laws became lax, Great Britain enjoyed centuries of uninterrupted peace and harmony. It must be multiculturalism.

Perhaps it is the fault of political correctness or as the right-wing one-woman insanity generator Melanie Phillips puts it, “…paralysing political correctness.” Our country’s liberalism and equality has led us to utter devastation and the only way to control the mob is through a totalitarian state governed by a dictator with an iron fist, where the death penalty is the only form of punishment and anyone who deviates from what is deemed a ‘perfect’ Englishman (pale skin, slightly over-weight, high-cholesterol and football-obsessed) is rounded up into camps where they must complete ten years of hard labour before being executed. It is the ONLY solution or as Nick Griffin calls it, the final solution.

Red Ken seems to believe that the government’s cuts and lack of career opportunities for the young is the source of the unrest. This argument probably holds some truth; however it is slightly undermined by the sheer moronic nature of the rioters, who seem more concerned with grabbing free electronic equipment and stealing a new pair of trainers (how do they know they have the right size? Do they try them on before looting?) than making a political statement. They come across as rebels without a cause but they actually have a cause, they are just too stupid to realise it. Any sensible rioter would be aware that an assault on Westminster would be much more fruitful than (excuse my language here) effectively shitting in your own back garden.

A large majority of the social media-verse doesn’t seem to care what the reasoning behind the violence is, they just want the situation dealt with and rightly so. The police seemed to be outnumbered at this time, so there have been calls for the army to be brought in. Martial law seems an extreme measure but people are scared for their own safety and livelihoods, so it is an understandable request. What is slightly alarming is the level of blood lust across Twitter and Facebook, with ‘shoot the c*nts’ appearing on more than one status update. To me that doesn’t seem a practical solution. The streets will be littered with dead teenagers in hoodies, which is frankly messy and impractical, and it would almost certainly incite more rioting, particularly as it was a bullet that kicked off this whole bloody thing in the first place.

While I have no solutions for the situation myself (although I can provide you with a baseless and futile rant), I genuinely do hope that everyone stays safe and this horrifying situation is dealt with as quickly and as bloodlessly as possible. And that ladies and gentleman is the first heartfelt genuine thing I have ever typed in this blog thingy but don’t worry, normal shallow service will resume next week.

Remarkably Unremarkable

I’m average, unremarkable and I’ve spent my lifespan to date wallowing unnoticed in a mud lake of mediocrity.

Before I continue and before you make a desperate bid to press the ‘back’ button on your browser, I should point out that this is not written in self-pity, because as the years have passed me idly by, I have started to relish being over-looked.

In my formative years I willed myself to excel at something but I always managed to fall spectacularly short. In school I was never the brightest or the best in classroom despite the amount I studied (which led me to believe that studying was a futile and pointless waste of my time – this in turn led to my ‘amazing’ degree grade), although I wasn’t exactly the child who sat at the back chewing on his tie and setting fire to the curtains either. My sporting prowess was also lacking, as I seemed to be missing the basic motor functions and co-ordination to do anything other than cower and duck any approaching foot/cricket/basket/tennis balls.

As I grew older I began to realise that I was never going to be the best looking boy in the room. I’m not particularly tall, my skin is pale and slightly spotty on its best day, my hair is kept short and styles and I have a body that can make even the most fashionable of clothes seem shapeless and drab. I stick to dark colours and plain outfits, anything that camouflages me from attention. On a social level, I’m what can be deemed ‘space filler’.  I’m someone that is perfectly nice to have around but hardly essential to the party, as I rarely have any exciting stories and my attempts at humour often leave those around me feeling nervous and uncomfortable. I’m just an extra inoffensive body in the room and I could set myself alight and run around bellowing the complete works of Matt Cardle at the top of my voice and people would barely bat an eyelid.

I guess you are wondering whether this deluge of depressing ramblings has a point? Well it does, although I did have to stop half way through writing it to cry (more on my propensity for eye water can be found in my previous post:– some in-blog advertising there). I’ve come to realise that my ability to go unnoticed is a gift. Firstly, I have absolutely no pressure to look good like many of my fashion-forward friends, which allows me to save huge amounts of cash. I can buy the cheapest clothes and invest in a haircut that is under £10. I can also repeat outfits (I have been known to wear the same T-shirt on four consecutive Saturdays – washed of course, I’m not an animal), which means dressing for a night out is relatively hassle-free. Another perk of my inconspicuous nature is that I don’t feel the need to entertain in any way. Those that are regularly bathed in the spotlight must feel exhausted at the thought of the constant comedy skits and one-person performances they have to perform, whereas I can switch off my higher brain function and stand in the corner gurning, dribbling and laughing at the show.

My amazing ‘wall-flower’ power also makes me privy to deep, dark secrets. People either forget I’m standing there and I overhear them spilling their whiny guts to someone else or they see me as a ‘safe pair of hands’ to unload their indiscretions and clandestine activities. I’m the friendship equivalent of a church confessional. There is a lot of power in secrets, much more than in popularity (I’m egomaniacally cackling and rubbing my hands together as I type this). I also have no pressure when it comes to my abilities as a writer, as I know only about five people read this blog and one of them is my mum.

So if any of the five of you reading this are feeling over-looked and upset about the lack of attention or praise that you receive, I say embrace it. Kick back, relax and think of the perks that anonymity grants you.

Here’s to you no-one!

The Crying Game

I was standing in the queue for the check-out at the supermarket recently, holding my usual nutritious purchases (a family-size bag of crisps, a frozen pizza and cookies – my body is a temple) with my eyes glued firmly to the ground trying to avoid any human contact, when I heard a noise. I glanced up. Through the pane of the supermarket window I saw a woman and a man in their mid-20s, clearly a couple, and from the contorted mouth of the woman a sound was being omitted – a sonic barrage of pure sobbing which penetrated the glass front of the shop and reverberated around the food-laden shelves. The man was clearly trying to comfort the banshee, his arms placed gently around her heaving shoulders and I assumed she must have received some terrible news, like her puppy had just died or that Waterloo Road had been recommissioned for its 25th season. On closer inspection her cheeks were flushed and her wet eyes had a look of anger as she stared at the man in his futile attempt to calm her down. The bastard must have cheated on her, that’s the only possibly explanation for her full-on public breakdown. After paying for my items I exited the supermarket and overheard the man whisper gently, “Ok, I won’t go tonight, I’ll stay with you.” I turned to look at them and the woman’s tears had stopped, like she had turned some internal valve cutting off the water pipes to her eyes. The redness of her cheeks had faded, her eyes were no longer glassy with tears and she was smiling. The whole overwrought sob-fest was all a grand form of manipulation and it had worked.

"What happened to my career?!"

As a rule I don’t agree with emotional blackmail and crying to get your own way is almost as pathetic as the people who fall for it. However, what I can’t argue with is that it gets results. The bawling harpy at the supermarket had clearly mastered the practice and her dim-witted partner was a sucker for it, and if he is that easy to manipulate why shouldn’t she strong-arm him with eye water. The method probably stems from her childhood, as she likely threatened to flood her parents’ house with her tear ducts unless she got the new toy she wanted and in order to save themselves from the wailing and water damage they caved to her every whim.

The crying habits of many of us originates from our childhood (not counting if you have suffered a bereavement or heartbreak obviously) and I believe the way that adults reacted to our boo-hooing as a kid dictates how we blub when we’re older. Remember that time you scraped your knee when you fell off your bike (not in my case obviously as I can’t ride a bike – which is probably why I would fall off and scrape my knee) and then you started to cry and your parents rushed over lavishing you with attention to check if their beloved son/daughter was alright. It’s an amazing feeling and that sort of attention can be addictive, which explains why some people continue this tactic into adulthood. Some of you (yeah, I’m talking about you) stub your toe and your eyes automatically well-up, not through pain but because you are desperately looking around for someone to shower you with attention. You needy bastard.

You are probably wondering why I have such a problem with adult criers. Well, as a child I was what some would describe as ‘nervous’. During my formative years, particularly during the height of my Primary School education, I would cry at anything and everything. I would cry if I was a few minutes late to school, I would cry if I got an answer wrong in a lesson, I would cry if I got picked last for P.E, I would cry because people were laughing at me crying and I even cried once because I was so engrossed in a book during ‘reading hour’ that I didn’t hear the teacher when she said we could go outside for break time. To sum up, I was a pathetic excuse for a boy. Obviously the teachers and my parents were worried for my sanity and how I would generally cope as a human on planet earth, so they got together and came up with a reward system. If I managed a whole day without crying, my mum would greet me at the school gates with sweets and a she would proudly place a ‘smiley face’ sticker on my chest congratulating me for not being a snivelling wreck that day. This taught me three things:

1. Crying is considered weak

2. I like sugary treats

3. I like making my mother proud.

So from then on, in order to earn my Scooby Snack at the end of the day, I would push down any emotion that I felt bubbling up to my eyeballs in to the pit of my stomach. I probably now have an ulcer, I’m definitely damaged emotionally and I have an unusual relationship with food but at least I don’t cry. Apart from during that one particularly harrowing episode of Buffy. And when I drink gin. Or whenever I watch E.T.

 OK, so I still cry…just don’t tell my mum.

Tweeting into the wind

Having previously disclosed my loss of love for the once fantastic Facebook, I now, with a sad song in my heart – maybe something from Alanis Morissette’s second album – have to share my utter disappointment with Twitter.

I’m relatively new to Twitter. I signed up to the micro-blogging site (check out my spanking up-to-date new media-ry terminology) with such high hopes for my social media future. It seemed shiny and new and free from Facebook’s narcissistic undertones. No one on Twitter seemed to be competing for the best profile picture or using the platform as some sort of undercover dating website. It allowed me to express my thoughts within 140 characters (thankfully I don’t have many thoughts) and most excitingly of all, it enabled me to follow my idols. Unfortunately, in my eyes this is Twitter’s downfall.

As far as I can see the site is split into two camps, the civilians (me, you and us) and ‘celebrities’ (actors, musicians, journalists, TV presenters etc). The civilians seem to spend the majority of their Twitter life trying to attract attention from the exalted celebs, sending them supposedly witty and ring-kissing comments just so they will reply or retweet their message. It is essentially the digital equivalent of a child jumping up and down in front of a grown-up shouting “look at me!”, while vainly trying to impress them by doing back flips and cartwheels as the adult looks into the distance bored and disinterested. Meanwhile, the famous spend their time tweeting other famous folk, exchanging anecdotes about parties, events and lifestyles the likes of which we can only dream and feigning admiration for another celebrity’s ‘work’ and participating in general inter-industry back-slappery. The yelps and whistles of the common people largely go ignored, as most probably should. Even I can’t stand to read a sycophantic ‘@joefamousblogs Oh my God, I love your song/movie/book/show/clothing line, please follow me!’ tweet, so I can’t imagine how someone who is actually in the public eye feels. Sick to their instantly recognisable stomach I would imagine.

This is the part where I unveil my hypocrisy: I am one of them. I message people I consider to be idols and hope they acknowledge me. However, I do consider my list of Twitter targets to be of a slightly higher calibre than the general deluge of non-celebs that tend to generate the most interest. For example, I have never once tweeted someone from The Only Shore isChelsea(or what ever brain-numbing reality visual dump that happens to be popular at the moment) nor have I ever attempted to touch base with the current popstar du jour. I generally look to impress the likes of Charlie Brooker, Chris Addison, Lauren Laverne and of course Twitter God Stephen Fry. I have tried to reach out to each one of them with a carefully thought out, ‘witty’ (depending on what you consider wit – being a bit sweary is witty right?) and ‘intelligent’ (I checked for spelling errors) tweet and as yet I have not received a single response. It is a heartbreaking and desperately pathetic situation where I feel the need to be validated by 140 characters from someone I have never met.

That said, there are times when I’m genuinely proud of some of the comments I have directed at some high-profile tweeters. Take this response to a tweet from The Times columnist Caitlin Moran:

Caitlin Moran: I’m about to start using Scrivener, after 13 years of Word. Feel like I’m about to have sex with a polar bear – excited but scared.

Me: @caitlinmoran I dated a polar bear once but it didn’t last because he was really into Coke.

I consider that a work of comedy genius and I didn’t get a reply or even a bloody retweet. What a waste of a series of hilarious words. This is not to say that all of my Twitter utterings have gone unnoticed. I had a very brief war of words with Nicky Campbell (the Scottish presenter who would give Jeremy Kyle a run for his money if an award was given for most patronising TV presence at the BAFTAs) in which he took exception to my Twitter comment stating he was a bit of a tool for openly mocking a Muslim’s beliefs on BBC’s Sunday morning debate show The Big Questions. He ended the tweet with a mildly unnerving ‘Have a good Sunday’, which sent a shiver down my spine as I imagined his soulless Islam-bating eyes staring into mine as he said it.To sum up this pointless and futile little rant: I want people on the telly to notice me.