The Big Man Restless

Monday, September 06, 2004
I needed to buy a new mobile phone. I never wanted one to begin with, but my
mother got a buy one get one free offer and I ended up with one. Now the
battery no longer holds it's charge, it conks out if I try to call someone
and it's useless if I needed to use it in an emergency.

I must have been asleep when the world decided that a mobile phone is not a
communications device for talking to people on. It's now a "lifestyle" item
and does many, many things that no one ever wanted or needed their regular
house phone to do.

If I want to take photographs I will use a camera. If I want to listen to
the radio I will use a radio. I'm not upset that I can not make telephone
calls on my watch or text message my friends with a torch. Yet when looking
at phones I was offered MP3s, torches, radios, games, internet access, video
texting ("Such fun!" apparently) and colour monitors. Not once was I told
how clear reception would be, what volume calls would be received at or
anything much at all related to actual telephonic communication.
People have laughed at my current mobile. Did this happen in the 1970s? Did
phone snobs visit friends who did not have trim phones and laugh at them (or
vice versa perhaps)?
My one concession to mobile technology is text messaging, mainly because
it's often cheaper to convey a simple "I'll be home in 30 min." message this
way. I feel no need to embroider such messages with a quick video clip of
myself, "humorous" sound effects or a polyphonic bloody ring tone (though if
one exists for Pop Muzik I will of course eat my words and annoy everyone
with the introduction to it every time I get a call).

Sunday, September 05, 2004
I don't know what really caused it. Maybe it's a (hopefully premature) mid-life crisis. But for every Saturday in September I've decided to do something I've never done before. Last night I went to a sex club - The Hoist. I knew the only way I'd actually go to it and not talk myself into yet another Saturday night of looking at eBay for Brad Davis memorabilia was to go with someone else, so I am very grateful to my friend Marc for agreeing to go with me and metaphorically hold my hand.

I'm not really sure what I expected but it certainly was not what I found. It all seemed so dated, the first Saturday of every month is "skinhead" night - which, in 2004, sounds quite quaint. "Scally" is the new "skinhead" on the gay scene (as far as I can tell), which is a shame as a Fred Perry will always look nicer than the disgusting patterns of Burberry and and nasty sovereign rings. The cult of appearing downwardly mobile on the gay scene is a very strange one - and obviously full of self-loathing and lusting for the unobtainable (i.e. straight men) something I've never really bought into, although I can understand it up to a point. The Hoist was very dark. Perhaps no surprise there. What did surprise me was the smell. It wasn't a sexy testosterone filled smell but one of cigars and leather. Another blast from the gay past, or rather one that has never really died off. I had never seen (well half seen as it was so dark) so many Muir caps and chaps. But then I am a virgin when it comes to these places. So the evening went on. I felt more and more inadequate seeing half naked torsos, flat stomachs and defined chests. I kept my top resolutely on. There seemed to be 3 sets of dress - leather, skinhead and a smattering of uniforms. I'd tried to keep a foot in two camps (no pun intended) by wearing half army gear and half skinhead gear. I was not alone in this of course, so I had no unique "selling point". No one paid me any attention - after all there was bound to be someone more attractive around the next corner. Not having been on the "cruisy" scene for years I'd forgotten the attitude problems. No one smiled. No one apologised if they bumped into you (well I did if I did it, no one did to me). And if I dared to glance at someone they would turn their head away so quickly I thought they would get whiplash.

Needless to say the music was diabolical. I heard a thumpy thumpy dance track and spent about half an hour trying to remember what it was. It turned out to be a cover of Land Of Confusion by Genesis. The night went on and I felt more and more uncomfortable, displaced and miserable. I left at 1.30AM (it went on until 4) and (perhaps inevitably) got chatted up by a man who left at the same time as me. I told him of my misgivings and he told me to "love myself because [I was] beautiful". So thank you Cliff (no not that one) for a least bringing a smile to me face.

Roll on next Saturday - I'm not sure what I will do or where I will go. It certainly will not be to the Hoist.