51:32:35 l0:03:22

TGI Paul

Friday, May 26, 2006

Last night at work...

"A man is fighting for his life after being shot by a hooded gunman in Upper Street"

Upper Street seems to be so famous now that even when there's a shooting, and someone gets half of their throat blown out over the pavement, that on the 'News At Ten' that they dont even bother saying "Islington" ... it seems "Upper Street" will suffice!

Around 18:45, there was a huge noise, like 4 car tyres all exploding at once. We could see a lot of commotion outside The PizzaPlace, but we couldn't work out what was happening. A lot of fuss was happening opposite, outside "The Green" - a local bar I like very much and where I have got to know the staff quite well so I was concerned.

I called the manager of the Green on his mobile, he didn't have a clue what was happening. At least they were all safe though!

I'd got the feeling by now that this was a gun thing, as lots of police vans and armed coppers were starting to arrive. The street was cordonned off and many bars and restaurants over the road were evacuated.

Before you knew it, hoardes of people were queuing at my doors for tables. Well, it was a wednesday evening, and we were now as busy as a saturday. It was hellish. We could only do our best. One man even said, "We only want puddings, we've already had main courses in Cafe Mamma's but they evacuated us... please can we 'ave a table?!"

Information was trickling in. It seemed a group of four black guys (why their colour is relevant I'm not quite sure, but I'm telling it to you the way the police told me), were appoached by two white guys. An argument broke out. One of the white guys took a hand gun out of his jacket and blasted one of the black guys through the neck. Half an hour later a woman was shot by the same grey-hooded gunman in Finsbury Park.

One of my waiters (a spanish chap) came to me, just after 10pm ish, and said;

"A girl called for you"



"But I don't know anyone called Martha"

"She said she'd seen the news and wanted to know if you were ok"

"OH!!! you mean my mother!"

Apparently, the vt they'd showed had a full shot of the front of my restaurant with three riot vans outside, as if the incident had happened there so, naturally, the phone calls then started flooding in. Family, operations managers ET AL...

Now I'm starting to think I'm jinxed. I was working on 7/7 (the most horrid shift ever, waiting for staff to arrive, no news at all as 'transport for london' tried to ensure it wasn't a system failure), and again 2 weeks later when the failed attempts happened. I was working on the day that a water main burst with such strength that it lifted the tarmac of the road six inches higher than the pavement and a torrent of water came surging along Upper Street! I was also working on the day that a bendy bus (bastard creations!) jack-knifed into Borders bookshop... then twisted back across the street and rammed three taxi's straight up through Sainsbury's front window. In fact, every time we've been cordonned off, it's been on my shift!

I was thinking of cropping my hair to a number one this summer, but am now afraid of finding the numbers....



Ok, so as my mate JP says, its never a good idea to blog when you're pished.... but here goes...

I'm nearly 37 (god knows if I'm ever gonna get there, and frankly sometimes I dont care) but amazingly I'm still only just learning the ways of the big queer world.

Tonight I was turned off darkrooms with a pradigm shift that made the tsunami look like a ripple.It's not been that long since I first experimented with them, and I must admit, I loved them at first; there's a great feeling of power to be derived from being the centre of attention in a room full of men, half naked, hands everywhere...

I felt in control, adored... almost worshipped by all that attention, especially as it was given in such an intensive burst......

But tonight something changed

I don't know how

I don't know when

I just know that suddenly I realised it didnt matter a fuck who I was

Or what i had to ssay

it just mattered how big my cock was

Or how cute my arse is

And that's not enough

You see, I get turned on by someone appealing to me. Their wit, their charm, the way they caress me, hold me, kiss me.

And I'd be bloody foolish if I continued to think I'd ever get that in a darkroom eh?

p.s. I've split with Alfie already.... or I wouldn't have been there

p.p.s I'm back on the smokes

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


I don't want to talk about it

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Kali Spera!

ohmygodohmygodohmygod..... I'm SOOOOOOOOO excited!

Eurovision hits our screens tonight in one big huge camp kitsch caterwalling frenzy and I cant wait! The semi-finals were broadcast on Thursday with the 'shock' loss of one of the favourite acts, Belgium. Personally I didnt like her anyway; her skirt was split way too high and she had a gap between her knees the width of the Blackwall Tunnel (fairly obvious it wasn't her singing talents that got her that far... hussy!)

Anyway, my bet's on Sweden. They've got a camp old lush called Carola (wasn't that a fizzy drink?) singing a song called "Invincible".... a very 'Euro' title if ever there was one! Romania's also looking very good with a cute young lad singing a high-energy europop number called "Tornero", (not quite sure what it means but I'm sure Terry will enlighten us tonight!) One of the most un-euro entries EVER comes from Finland with an act called 'Lordi'. It sounds like a camp name ("Lordi Lord!") but they look like the living dead and sound no better.... whoever thought heavy metal would make into this popfest?!

Personally, I don't think Daz has a chance of coming much higher than 10th, but I dont like him anyway so I dont care.

I shall be watching it on the big screen at Central Station in Kings Cross, hosted by one of my favourite drag acts ever, Adrella, and have my scorecard ready! Hopefully will have pictures for you tomorrow.

Have Fun... I will!!

Monday, May 15, 2006

An Eventful May.....

It's been a bit of a rollercoaster this month so far, all starting with a trip to the University College Hospital of London 3 Fridays ago.

I'd been having some chest pains all that week, and come the Friday evening at work (a particularly stressful shift with more than the usual staff sicknesses, burnt pizzas and pissed customers doing anything for a freebie... Oh the joys of Upper Street!), and the pain had developed into a long, dull ache with occasional pressing pain. By around 11pm, the tops of my arms had started aching, my thighs going a little numb and my left hand started to tingle.

All these signs were far too familiar to me following my heart attack in Dec '04, so naturally I was starting to worry, but (unnaturally?) just trying to get through the last 2 hrs of my shift. However, when I started getting the cold, clammy sweats and then vomited, I thought it was best to ring NHS Direct. I explained what was happening, and asked if I should go to an A&E after work or go straight back to the London Chest Hospital where they'd performed the double angioplasty that I'd had last time. The girl said she was going to get a nurse to call me back.

Less than 5 minutes later, I got a call from a Nurse who asked me a series of questions. Yes, my chest was hurting, yes, my arms were aching, yes, my hand was tingling, yes, I felt nauseous etc etc.....

She said that given my history, she wanted to send an ambulance straight away. I asked if I could have one in about an hour after I'd cashed up. I know how ridiculous that sounds, especially now I've put it in black and white, but I was the only person there that night who could cash up the tills and knows the new computer system so I was worried about leaving the place! OK!!

Anyway, before I'd had a chance to relay the information to the key people I had on that night and brief them on what to do, two paramedics were at the door and came through the restaurant with their oxygen tank. You can only start to imagine the alarm.

They came into the office and put the mask on me. They asked all the same questions, I said all the same replies. We went into the ambulance outside the restaurant for an ECG. I could see all the staff staring in amazement out of the window as they watched their boss getting helped into an ambulance. I hadn't had a second to tell them I wasn't going anywhere.

The ECG was fine, but, again "given your history..." they though it best I went into the hospital.

I sorted my staff out, made a couple of calls to the other managers to let them know what was happening, before being strapped onto my bench in the ambulance. On went the lights and we were off. It was only now I realised how scarred I was, and let the tears go.

I obviously wasn't an emergency as over the next 3hrs I saw just the one person! They took my bloods, injected me with some clotbuster drugs, and gave me a morphine injection to ease the pains. Around 3am, someone else came and took me to x-ray to get a picture of my chest, then I was back on my trolley in the corridor.

At 5.15am, they said they were going to keep me in for the night (hadn't they already?!), and I waited for someone to take me up to a ward.

Now, I really have to tell you about this ward; it was fantastic! I had a four bed room to myself, it was clean and modern and I had one of those pull down monitors over my bed with 24hour radio and tv on, as well as movies, games and internet access and my own phone which opened up into a 'qwerty' keyboard. WOW! Everything but the radio though was charged and you had to buy a card. Luckily the chap that had been there before me had left his old one with £6.55 credit on it.... game on!

The nurse said he'd sort me out a snack as I'd been up all night, and I'd hardly had time to log on to yahoo when he returned with a 'happy meal' style box with some cheese and biscuits, a yoghurt and a juice drink in it... what an angel!

I nodded off around 7am, and happily they left me to sleep through breakfast. I awoke after ten to find my friend M sat in the chair next to me with the Times and a bottle of my favourite strawberry Volvic. We were meant to be going to Derby that day to see a Sondheim show, so I'd text him before getting in the ambulance last night to let him know what was happening and he'd come over as soon as he saw the text in the morning. It was lovely to see him and have some friendly company, and he stayed with me all day.

I got the all clear later that afternoon, and M and I came back to mine. The doctors put the whole experience down to anxiety and tension. Needless to say I took the week off work!

So, I've made a few changes. My first day back at work I asked for a transfer. I need to work in a branch a bit calmer, a bit more predictable, and I need to work in a branch where I'm in charge. Not having the autonomy to do what I can see needs doing is driving me mad, and my new boss and I don't always see eye to eye. I can usually 'manage up' if I can be arsed, but frankly I'm tired of every shift being a battle. I just need my own place now. I'm too old to be a bloody deputy! That was all accepted and my Ops Manager reckons he should be able to find me a branch in the next 2 or 3 months, so that went very well!

Next step..... the cigarettes. Those of you that know me know what a hopeless addict I am and how tough it is imagining me as a non-smoker, but I can't believe I'm so bloody stupid that despite a heart attack and a double angioplasty at the age of 35 I'm still smoking more than 30 a day!! And with a massive credit card debt I'm still wasting all that cash! I've tried, obviously I have, (I even tried hypnotism twice!) but never had a strong enough will... or possibly the desire for self-preservation? Alot has changed lately though, mainly due to some excellent work with my therapist, and also alot because of Alfie.

So they've stopped. 3 days nows. I went to bed last friday night and just said "Thats it! I'm never having another cigarette!" as I put the last one of a packet out.

Sunday was hard as I was off work and manically had to keep myself busy all day. I now have the cleanest kitchen in Hackney I'm sure! I've bought loads of sweets, fruits and nuts so I can sit and watch a bit of television, and I have more patches on me than Andy Pandy (I very nearly rolled one of them up and smoked it but I managed to hold back!!)

So, I shall be typing more, no doubt, to give my fingers better things to do than puff.... please wish me luck..... P xx

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

To Alfie.......

A few things I’d like to do with you...

Read the paper over your shoulder. Tell you “forever” even if I know that nothing is. Chose paint for the kitchen walls; disagree on the colour. Let you rip my heart open. Pinch your ass in the street. Start all over again. Play. Dance. Shout aloud “Hey sexy, get your ass here. Now!” Teach you the lyrics of the songs I love. Make you feel alive. Ask “Do you still love me?” Hold your hand. Buy leeks and broccolis because they’re good for you.

Leave you breathless. Listen to the thunder while lying in your arms. Stroke your head. Never take you for granted...Never let you take me for granted

Remind you that I’m always right. Cut your hair, and then laugh because I’m crap at it. Meet your family. Watch old b&w movies on a rainy sunday afternoon.

Tell you the truth,
tell you my truths,
and then remember that truth is sometimes unnecessary.

Listen to your work stories when I come back home and I’m exhausted; expect the same. Be fed up when you talk about your ex's. Light up your cigarette even though I'm trying to quit. Look at you brushing your teeth with my toothbrush. Storm out when you’ve really pissed me off. Listen to your joke for the 40th time, and still smile.
Cook you an english breakfast,
... laugh & give up when you won't get out of my way
Want to make it work. Choose an aftershave. Make up some statistics when I want to be right on some topic I know nothing about. Introduce you to my friends. Sort out the mess you left behind you and moan. Drink wine; have a sip of yours when you're not looking. Discuss anything, or remain silent and feel comfy. Share my secret. Apologise. Let you tell me that I’m fantastic. Lie down and look at the stars.
Wake you up because you snore. Push you away when you take too much space in bed.
Stop you from eating too many crisps. Shine your shoes. Not feel threatened by your anger. Be rude. Get aroused when you look at me that way. Dream. Ask you whether you prefer toilet tissue to be white or blue. Not care because I like white better anyway. Pick blackberries. Wonder what to eat tonight. Make some space for you in my life... and in my drawers.

Smile when you are speechless. Re-discover things I have seen 1,000 times, but never that way before you. Get insecure when you look at that gorgeous guy across the bar. Make you believe that you’ll never want anybody else. Be a living contradiction.

Walk on an empty beach,
windy preferably,
then taste the sea salt on your lips.

Wait for your phone call. Feel you inside me. Tease you. Look at you across a room full of strangers and feel safe. Let you go if one day you have become unhappy. Show you my favourite places. Think that you’ve made it all worth while. Compromise. Tell you to fuck off.

Let you touch my soul... regret it the following day

Choose a gift for your daughters wedding. Miss you. Be convinced that it’s going to work. Say that “I’m spoken for” and feel delightfully old-fashioned. Watch with you some stupid tv series that you love. Call for a take away. Be sad and hide it. Go to the movies and pig out on a massive bag of pick n’ mix sweets and feel sick afterwards. Not be sorry.
Be worried when you’re late. Look at silent couples and agree with you that sometimes it is better to say goodbye than say nothing. Love you. Grow old and not mind because it's by you. Go and buy a dog... convince you to get a cat instead.
Tell you that you look good. Cheat on you (only kidding!). Think of you when I’m bored out of my mind in a meeting. Laugh without reasons. Buy you a tie because I think your tastes are …well… Smile when you prove me wrong..

Take you to Dublin for a surprise week-end.
Kiss you on Ha'penny Bridge.
Buy you a souvenir gift
then be too shy to give it to you.

Get pissed off because you weren’t listening to what I just said. Give you, reluctantly, my last malteser but “for the last time”. Not really knowing where I’m going but insist on giving directions. Have big arguments and get all melodramatic, make up. Make out in public.

Pack too much stuff for the holiday,
have a go at you because I’m always the one doing the packing.

Apply suncream on your back. Fold sheets. Make an effort. Be sickeningly romantic. Remind you when it’s my birthday. Give you my opinion. Do something and then worry that you’re gonna be pissed off at me. Shop at Harrods. Shop at Safeway.

Not move when you’re sleeping on my arm and I have a fucking cramp,
give in and roll you over because the fucking cramp is just too much to bear,
then lie back and watch you sleep.
... breathe in and take you in.

Call you first when I have some news to share. Get outrageously drunk; ache laughing when you do. Make you blush in front of your friends.Make your life extraordinary. Wish we’d met when we were 20, then realise it wouldn't have worked.

Be happy…

…make you happy