If you are thinking of marrying the Prince of Wales and you are a man, forget it you will never be Queen. Gay men are to be banned from becoming Queen ahead of first same-sex marriages. The same sex couples marriage act comes into force on March 29th, but lots of laws n the UK will have to be cleaned up or we could end up with some very strange and corrupt issues, especially concerning regulations on awarding courtesy and royal titles. The new regulations will specify that despite the equalisation of legal marriage rights for gay and straight couples, the same legal rights do not apply to anyone ”who marries, or who is married to, the King Regnant, to the title of Queen”. It also specifies that if in the future, a Prince of Wales married a man, his husband would not inherit the title Princess of Wales. The Treason Act of 1351 will also be altered meaning it is still treason to have sex with a King’s wife – but that it would not be treason to have sex with his husband.
During the consultation phase for the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act, Out4Marriage called for a review of courtesy titles given to a spouse when their husband is knighted or made a peer. Under current rules, the wife of a peer or a knight is known as “Lady” when her husband becomes a Lord or Sir. The husband of a woman who becomes a Dame or a Baroness currently receives no courtesy title, nor do civil partners.
The UK armed forces have come second in a league table of the most LGBT friendly militaries in the world – but the US has been ranked at 40th A recent study ranked 103 armies based on their inclusion of LGBT recruits. The index was rated in order of how the forces adhered to around 20 policies and practices.
New Zealand was ranked top with the UK and the Netherlands joint second. Sweden came third. Australia, Canada and Denmark were ranked in fourth, fifth and sixth place. Belgium and Israel at eighth and ninth, followed by France.
America’s low position at 40 is blamed on the country’s ban against transgender troops. While gay, lesbian and bisexual troops can serve openly, thanks to the 2011 repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT), transgender troops are still left with no clear guidelines and can be discharged if their gender identity is discovered. The US ban on transgender service members contrasts starkly with other countries. New Zealand, the most progressive nation in the world according to the league table, allows transgender people to serve openly, as do the Netherlands and the UK.
20th February 2014
Just when you thought that the Church was old and stuffy and losing it’s way Malmesbury Abbey is luring young people in by throwing open it’s doors and changing this ancient abbey into a skate park during the half term holidays.
This 12th century former Benedictine abbey has been transformed for a very 21st century event, with volunteers from the Abbey’s congregation joining with Christian Skaters UK to run an indoor Skate Park, complete with quarter pipes, ramps and grinding platforms. The Abbey Skate event is run to connect with the town’s young people, children and families and show that the Abbey building and its church is for everyone. Abbey Skate attracts hundreds of young people from the town and beyond each year. There are sessions for all ages and all abilities, and even sessions for young people with scooters. This year’s Skate festival also includes live music sessions and workshop.
Canterbury cathedral also in a bit to enhance the visitor experience has added a new café, which has free Wi-Fi. However the cathedral management has decided to filter content that is available. It has blocked worshippers and customers in its café from accessing hardcore pornography.
Management at the sixth century cathedral said it wanted to stop patrons from using “debasing” websites whilst using the Wi-Fi in its new café. The revelation comes following a decision to shut-down the public wifi at Chester Cathedral after it became clear that customers could too easily access porn whilst enjoying afternoon tea.
A recent study in the UK found that 70% of young gay men believe that sex without condoms is more pleasurable and exciting. A study by the University of Westminster also shows 8 out of 10 young men in London have had unprotected sex with a stranger. Around two people are newly infected with HIV in the capital every day.
A ten-year-old Norwegian boy came up with a novel excuse after he drove his parents' car into a snowy ditch on Wednesday morning: he told police he was a dwarf who forgot his driving license.
The boy lives near Dokka, a town about 110 kilometres north of Oslo. Sometime before 0600 local time, he loaded his 18-month old sister into the car and headed for their grandparents in Valdres, about 60 kilometres away, local police said. He drove more than 10 kilometres before he veered off the road. A snowplow driver found him and alerted the police.
17th February 2014
I'm sick of taking about the bad weather and floods that have swept across the south of England for the last few weeks. Yesterday and today we had some sunshine which without doubt makes you feel so much better.
A giant sculpture of a hedgehog has been unveiled on Clapham Common after a survey found that a quarter of people in the UK have never seen the animal in the wild.
The 12 foot long, eight foot wide, seven foot tall structure took a team of artists two months to build, and it has been keeping hundreds of visitors to the South London park entertained since being unveiled last week.
The sculpture is mainly made from 2,000 soft wood spikes that resemble a hedgehog's spines, and a mixture of willow and coconut fibre that takes on the appearance of fur.
A quarter of Britons say they have never seen a wild hedgehog, rabbit or fox, while 26 per cent claim never to have spotted a grey squirrel or frog, and 36 per cent say wild deer have eluded them.
The average Briton takes only 16 walks in the countryside each year, dramatically limiting their exposure to wildlife, the survey of 2,000 adults revealed.
Hadaka Matsuri Festival in Japan
10,000 Naked Men take to the Streets
Have you ever thought of stripping off your clothes, and running through the streets in Japan. Well every year over 10,000 japanese men do just that, wearing only a traditional loin cloth called fundoshi.
According to Shinto legend, the Hadaka Matsuri dates back to the Nara period around 767 AD when misfortuneand disease plagued the region. Collective belief held that nakedness could absorb bad luck and evil. A man from each village was forced to serve as the Shin-Otoko, or Godly Man. He then had to shave off all his body hair before walking into a gauntlet of eager villagers, who believed that touching him would cast away all their troubles. Shouldering the ills of thousands of people wasn’t an easy task for one man. To make matters worse, at day’s end, the Shin-Otoko was banished, along with the entire population’s misery.
More than a thousand years have passed since the first Naked Festival. Today, the age-old tradition is still celebrated across the country in cities such as Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Inazawa City, and Sendai, although a reversal of fortune has occurred over time. The role of the now-willing Shin-Otoko is considered a great honor instead of a form of punishment. As the blessed one, the Godly Man spreads his prosperity into the crowd.
The most famous of the naked festivals is the Saidai-ji Eyo Hadaka Matsuri in the city of Okayama in western Honshu. This particular Hadaka Matsuri has blown up to legendary proportions. More than 10,000 loin-clothed participants gather at the Saidai-ji temple to vie for the title of “the lucky man,” an honor achieved by catching the shingior sacred lucky sticks. The one “lucky man” must not only capture the symbolic batons, he must successfully defend himself against 10,000 contending men before thrusting them into a container filled with rice. His efforts are well rewarded, however: Bestowed upon him will be abundance, wealth (a cash prize), and bragging rights for an entire year.
We all know what it like when you inadvertently tred in dog poo. One London resident who is sick of dog owners that do not scoop the poop has taken matters into his own hands and left this message on the pavement (sidewalk) in this leafy London suburb.
15th February 2014
Torrential rain has triggered further flooding and nearly 100 new flood warnings across Britain.
The number of flood warnings in place across England and Wales shot up from 36 to 132, with two severe flood warning. Many homes across Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wales were flooded and had to be pumped out.
And it seems that is Gay people that are to blame for the flooding. Two BBC programmes have recently joked about the subject. David Silvester, a UKIP councillor recently claimed that he warned David Cameron that allowing gay couples to marry would lead to flooding and that the Prime Minister ignored him.
Then in the opening the segment of This Week, Andrew Neil joked that the Government had “decided it was the fault of a gay man all along,” in its attempts to “hang [Lord Chris Smith, Environment Agency chairman, who is gay] out to dry… ever since.”
When l was in my car earlier today I was listening to a satirical news programme when the presenter said “ What the flooded Somerset levels really need is a couple of Dykes” two of the participators on the show were lesbian and this caused an uproar of laughter.
It seems like that instead of a couple of dykes they got a couple of Princes.
Princes William and Harry formed a human chain to unload sandbags from an Army vehicle as they joined colleagues from the armed forces in helping to defend Datchet from the floods.
The private visit was unannounced but once news of their work spread, they were followed by journalists and cameramen.
The Church of England has issued new guidance which allows clergy members to offer post-wedding prayers to gay couples, but bans them from performing same-sex weddings. The document began by condemning the “irrational fear of homosexuals” by some, and said gay people are “loved by God”, but went on to say that its concept of marriage “as a lifelong union between one man and one woman remains unchanged.” “It will continue not to be legally possible for two persons of the same sex to marry according to the rites of the Church of England.”
The guidance allows civil partnerships to continue to be performed by vicars, and the guidance from the CofE said clergy members should not “question” or discriminate against same-sex couples.
It went on to say that gay couples getting married is “clearly at odds” with religious instruction and that clergy members should “exemplify in their life the teachings of the Church”. This will mean that gay clergy will not be allowed to marriage.
Special prayers may be offered after wedding ceremonies, but not services of blessing.
Here in Sunny Sussex, Brighton and Hove has announced one of the first gay couples who will be allowed to marry. Andrew Wale and Neil Allard were selected by a panel, and will be married at 00:01 on the first day of same-sex marriage, Saturday March 29.
The pair, a dramatist and a guesthouse owner, will marry at the first moment after the law is enacted, in the Music Room of the Brighton Royal Pavilion.
The Music Room - Royal Pavillion Brighton
Where the first Same Sex Marriagein he city will take place.
13th February 2014
ThinkUKnow will include advice for LGBT teens
The ThinkUKnow website, which offers safety advice for children online, will from today include information designed to protect LGBT teens aged 11-16 online.
Jonathan Baggaley, the education officer for the National Crime Agency, said yesterday: “Any child can be at risk, but for LGBT teens, there is an additional dynamic, as they are often using the anonymity of the internet to look for advice and support. “This not only helps them explore what they might be feeling but allows them to keep their secrets with people they don’t know.”
He said that put LGBT teens at additional risk as “keeping the young person’s secret can be used by abusers to sexually exploit their victim, and very often children won’t realise they’re being targeted.”
Rainbow Jews. Until today l had never heard of them, but what a wonderful name and it describes perfectly the group of people involved in launching an exhibition of Gay Jewish history from the Holocaust through the persecution of gays in the 1960s to the present day. The archive is on display in central London , an oral history project that gathers a vast cache of lived experience. Allowing the past to be told through personal experiences, it begins with stories dating back to World War II and stretching through the 1960s, when homosexuality was still a crime in Britain, and into the present day.
Homosexuality was decriminalized in Britain in 1967, and in the ‘70s groups like the Jewish Gay Group JGG began to emerge, providing support and opportunities for nice Jewish boys to meet other nice Jewish boys. When a newfound sense of purpose and solidarity gave rise to Pride marches in the 1980s and ’90s, the JGG was there with a bagel-and-cream-cheese stall.
The ’80s also brought the AIDS crisis; a display case in a companion exhibition at the London School of Economics holds a denim memorial quilt, decorated with pearls and bearing the initials, in Hebrew and English, of people who have died from the condition. A sequin menorah symbolizes hope and light.
Together, the archive and exhibition, which additionally offers an LGBT
walking tour of London’s Soho with a Jewish twist, show that Jewishness – be it faith or a sense of cultural identity – can play an intensely positive role in the LGBT experience.
There are stories that surprise, too, like that of Abi, the only known Jewish intersex person in the United Kingdom. After gender reassignment, the rabbi at her Orthodox shul gave his blessing for her to sit beside her mother, in the women’s section, during services. “That’s a nice feeling,” Abi says.
The Church Gets it Wrong
The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned the Church of England that refusing to allow blessings for gay married couples could be seen as “akin to racism”.
Justin Welby also said through its “rejection of LGBT people”, the church may find itself irrelevant “in a changing society”.
The Pope Gets it Right
On the subject of religion, the Pope has sold his Harley Davidson . Well although he owned the bike and signed the petrol tank he never actually rode it. It was given to him in June, to mark Harley-Davidson's 110th anniversary. The motorbike was auctioned in Paris to raise money for a charity for the homeless in Rome. It was sold for 210,000 euros ($284,000; £174,000). There were so many bidders there were not enough phone lines to cope and some potential buyers were turned away.
A leather jacket which accompanied the motorbike also sold for 50,000 euros.
10th February 2014
The storms continue to take their toll here in the UK.
This afternoon we spotted this seaside cottage in Hastings that had succumbed to the weather.
Perhaps the occupants could move down the road and take up residence in Half Sovereign Cottage. This cute little cottage was created from half an upturned fishing boat. It is located beside the Fisherman’s Museum at Hastings.
This morning Flooded homes along the River Thames were being evacuated and thousands more are at risk, with water levels expected to rise further over the next 24 hours.
Residents in one Berkshire village say the scenes are from a "horror movie”. Fourteen severe flood warnings are in place in Berkshire and Surrey, while two remain in Somerset.
Gay men will be given a pill to let them have unprotected sex without risking HIV infection, in a trial funded by the UK Government. Scientists hope the pill could save thousands of people from HIV infection, which is at a record high, but there are fears it could backfire and lead to a rise in sexually transmitted diseases if it encourages promiscuity.
Nearly 500 gay men who regularly have unprotected sex or are involved in heavy drug use have been selected for the two-year pilot trial of the drug Truvada, which is already used by the NHS to treat HIV. If the trial is successful, it is likely Truvada would be made available free in sexual health clinics, becoming the first drug in the UK used to prevent HIV rather than treat it. However, there are concerns from HIV experts, health providers and sexual health charities that the drug could lead to an increase in risky behaviour.
HIV infections among gay men are at an all-time high in the UK. In London alone there were 1,450 new infections in 2012. The drug is likely to raise questions over its high price. Gilead, the California company that produces Truvada, charges £418.50 for 30 tablets, but is providing the drugs free for this trial. NHS England said: “We keep our funding policies under regular review in line with available research evidence.”
St Martins Church - London
A London church has become the first in the country to accept internet currency Bitcoins in its collection plate.
The Rev Chris Brice of St Martin’s Anglican Parish Church in Gospel Oak said the innovation showed that “we are people in touch with what’s going on around us”. Parishioners can scan a QR barcode in the church with a mobile device to make anonymous donations from their Bitcoin account, or “wallet”.
Andrew Harrison, 45, who came up with the idea for the church, said: “No one knows who is making the donation, which is the way it should be. Only God knows.”
8th Febuary 2014
Olympic Ring fails or as some have said “The Pink One Failed to Come Out”.
If that is the worst thing to happen at the Winter Olympics then all will be well.
Of course when you travel around the world, the culture is diverse as the people.
If visiting the Olympics in Soshi be prepared to share your experience with others.
But don’t forget to separate and flush.
Channel 4 here in the UK has the right idea when it comes to supporting gay athletes at the eleventh hour. Not only has the network rebranded itself in rainbow colours for the day, but its new “gay mountain” television spot is a treat not to be missed:
This trail was launched with a 90 second spot at 7pm across all Channel 4 channels, including E4, More4, and 4Seven. It was also repeated just before the peak time peak-time 9pm and 10:30pm. During commerecial breaks the gay mountain logo was flashed up.
Being the designer of Olympic opening ceremonies does not mean you can break the law. One of China's most celebrated film directors is facing a very large fine after allegedly violating the country's controversial one-child policy by fathering seven children.
Zhang Yimou, who directed hit movies House of Flying Daggers and Hero as well as the opening and closing ceremonies at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, has admitted having two sons and a daughter with his current wife and a daughter with his ex wife.
But rumours have been circulating for several months that he has had three more children other women. Under Chinese law you must seek pre-approval to have more that one child in China.
A rusty wreck of a Mercedes left gathering dust in a British lock-up for more than 30 years has sold for a staggering £445,000 - almost seven times its estimate.
The Mercedes 600 six-door Landaulet was the car of choice for 20th century despots with Saddam Hussein, Pol Pot and Idi Amin among notorious owners.
This 1971 model, is regarded as the 'holy grail' of Mercedes but was previously owned by an African head of state who treated the German limousine appallingly.
6th February 2014
Huge storms batter the south coast of England leaving the railway line suspended in the air like a rollercoaster ride. More storms are due later this week.
A bill which allows same-sex weddings to take place in Scotland has been passed by MSPs in the Scottish Parliament. MSPs voted by 105 to 18 in favour of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill. The Scottish government said the move was the right thing to do but Scotland's two main churches were opposed to it.
The first gay and lesbian weddings could take place this autumn.
Religious and belief bodies can "opt in" to perform same-sex marriages.
Ministers said no part of the religious community would be forced to hold such ceremonies in churches.
When same-sex marriages start in the UK later this year, it appears that same-sex couples who are already in Civil Partnerships will have to have have their civil partnership dissolved (divorced) before they can get married. The government has not yet decided how same-sex couples can convert their civil partnership to marriage. It was an "unfortunate anomaly", said a spokesman from the gay rights group Stonewall, who said the organisation had been lobbying hard on the issue.
One gay couple are threatening legal action against the government after discovering they will not be able to marry on 29 March, when the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act comes into force, because they are already in a civil partnership. Michael and Paul Atwal-Brice entered into a civil partnership in 2008 as marriage was not an option available to same-sex couples at the time.
They planned to become one of the first couples to convert to marriage when the legislation came into force and had chosen their suits and ordered a wedding cake when they were hit with what Paul calls a "legal bombshell". When they went to book a registrar for their wedding, they were told they could not marry unless they first formally dissolved their civil partnership – in effect getting a divorce.
A gentler way to conduct one of the most uncomfortable medical examinations may soon be available after a pill containing a camera that transmits images of internal organs was cleared for use.
The technology could avoid the need for hundreds of thousands of patients to have colonoscopies.
The device, created by the Israeli company Given Images, contains a tiny, battery-powered camera to help doctors to check for early signs of colon cancer. It takes high-speed photographs over the eight hours during which the pill — which cannot be digested — makes its way through the intestinal tract. The images are transmitted to a recording device worn by the patient and later viewed by a doctor.
3RD FEBRUARY 2014
I did not watch the Superbowl on Sunday night but l was very impressed by
Rene Fleming and her rendition of The American National Anthem
On Sunday, soft drinks giant Coca-Cola became the first ever Super Bowl-sponsored company to include a gay couple as part of its advertising campaign in the US sporting event.
The clip, which aired yesterday, spans a diverse range of ethnicities and individuals standing in as representatives of the country. It ends on the vignette of two male partners and their daughter who are shown roller skating together.
As the world turns its attention to Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics, it’s time for sponsors of the Olympics like Coca-Cola to show the whole world how beautiful LGBT families are.”
On the subject of the winter Olympics in the face of heavy criticism of Russia’s human rights history, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach has announced that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon will deliver a keynote speech addressing the issue of anti-gay laws before the Winter Games begin. In a statement on Friday, Mr Ki-Moon said: “The participants in the Sochi Games may carry the flags of many nations, but they come together under the shared banner of equality, fair play, mutual respect and non-discrimination.”
We know that the queen has cut back on here state visits a that Charles and William are now undertaking all the longhaul trips. However the Queen and Prince Philip will travel to France this year to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, Buckingham Palace said today.
The trip to Normandy will be part of a three-day visit to France in June after the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were invited by France's President Francois Hollande.
The events marking the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings are likely to be the last significant commemorations attended by veterans in large numbers as many are now in their late 80s and 90s.
Are you off on a hot date tonight, well here are some of the worse chat up lines that l urge you not to use.
THE CHEESY CHAT-UP LINES TO AVOID I like your dress – but it would look better on my bedroom floor. Are you Jamaican? Because Jamaican me crazy... Is your father a thief? Because he must have stolen your eyes from heaven. Are you tired? Because you’ve been running round my mind all night. You look like a parking ticket – because you’ve got fine written all over you. Did it hurt – falling from heaven? Do you have any raisins? No? Then how about a date? Have a feel of this shirt – do you know what that feels like? Boyfriend material. Your eyes are like spanners – every time I look at them my nuts tighten. Do you believe in love at first sight? Or should I walk past again? If I could rewrite the alphabet I would put ‘u’ and ‘I’ together. I’m looking for treasure – can I have a look around your chest?
1st February 2014
Rain Rain and more rain is falling over England. We now have the wettest January on record.
The flooded river Cuckmere as it meanders to the sea at the Cuckmere Haven.
Fairwell in a Wooden Box
No one wants to die, but a local company has developed a brand new coffin or as the Americans would like to call it a casket. It is called the Curve and can be handpainted. Their unique design of coffin, which brings a softer shape and handpainted, personalised designs, will help make the final fairwell a celebration of life. All our Curves are handmade and are made only using timber from managed sources.
In a heart warming end to a harrowing, but uplifting tale, a gay, Jewish man has been reunited with a man who saved his life after he attempted to commit suicide in part to do with his struggle to accept his sexuality.
Jonathan Benjamin started the FindMike campaign, which aims to raise awareness of suicide and provide a message of hope to anyone who may be struggling.
One of the aims of his campaign was to find a man named Mike (who actually turned out to be called Neil), who stopped Mr Bejamin, who has a schizoaffective disorder, from jumping of Waterloo bridge six years ago.
Benjamin said: “The campaign has been a huge success. During the course of it, I began to recall what exactly led me to attempting suicide: one of the main reasons was my struggle to accept my sexuality.”
Rain Rain and more rain is falling over England. We now have the wettest January on record.
The flooded river Cuckmere as it meanders to the sea at the Cuckmere Haven.
No one wants to die, but a local company has developed a brand new coffin or as the Americans would like to call it a casket. It is called the Curve and can be handpainted. Their unique design of coffin, which brings a softer shape and handpainted, personalised designs, will help make the final fairwell a celebration of life. All our Curves are handmade and are made only using timber from managed sources.
In a heart warming end to a harrowing, but uplifting tale, a gay, Jewish man has been reunited with a man who saved his life after he attempted to commit suicide in part to do with his struggle to accept his sexuality.
Jonathan Benjamin started the FindMike campaign, which aims to raise awareness of suicide and provide a message of hope to anyone who may be struggling.
One of the aims of his campaign was to find a man named Mike (who actually turned out to be called Neil), who stopped Mr Bejamin, who has a schizoaffective disorder, from jumping of Waterloo bridge six years ago.
Benjamin said: “The campaign has been a huge success. During the course of it, I began to recall what exactly led me to attempting suicide: one of the main reasons was my struggle to accept my sexuality.”
Do you think you can ride a bike, well watch this. This daredevil biker on the roof of an abandoned Billionair’s mansion in London.
The animals, including pigs, chickens, horses, cats and dogs, were at St. Peter's Square to mark the feast of St. Anthony the Abbot, the third-century holy man who is the Catholic Church's patron of animals.
Farmers, ranchers and breeders brought their animals to the square for a blessing by Cardinal Angelo Comastri, the archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica. Comastri also said a Mass inside the church for the humans - the animals waited outside
Do you think you can ride a bike, well watch this.
This daredevil biker on the roof of an abandoned Billionair’s mansion in London.
Animals Arrive at the Vatican
The animals, including pigs, chickens, horses, cats and dogs, were at St. Peter's Square to mark the feast of St. Anthony the Abbot, the third-century holy man who is the Catholic Church's patron of animals.
Farmers, ranchers and breeders brought their animals to the square for a blessing by Cardinal Angelo Comastri, the archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica. Comastri also said a Mass inside the church for the humans - the animals waited outside
30th January 2014
As the rain continues to fall in the south parts of England have had the wettest January on record. Here is Sussex we have had the wettest winter since 1988.
The ground all around is just so sodden and parts of the south west have been underwater for three weeks. The only saving grace is that westerly winds are keeping the cold at bay and as yet we have not had any snow here in Sussex.
Definitely not single: Gigi Chao, right, and her partner Sean Eav, have been together for nine years and married in Paris in 2012
The Hong Kong billionaire playboy who offered nearly £40million to any man who could turn his homosexual daughter straight, has now doubled the 'dowry'.
Cecil Chao raised the reward to HK$1billion (£80million) after thousands of eligible bachelors failed to convince his daughter Gigi to marry any of them.
The 77-year-old property magnate insists that 34-year-old Gigi is 'still single' despite the fact that she married her long-term partner Sean Eav two years ago.
Meanwhile a man arrested for stealing high-heel shoes from a Tokyo hostess club was found to have a total of 450 purloined pairs when his room was searched, Japanese When questioned “I’ve felt pleasure in stealing high heels. I was not interested in brand-new products,” Sho Sato, 28, told investigators after he was arrested Tuesday, according to Tokyo police.
Sato, who is jobless and has no fixed residence, broke into the changing room of the hostess club in Tokyo’s glitzy Ginza district last November and stole 14 pairs of high heels and cosmetics.
They later confiscated some 450 pairs of high heels from a room he rented but the owners have yet to be identified.
“The lockers at the club’s changing room were a treasure chest,” Sato was quoted as telling police.
You would never believe what is taking place deep down underneath London. A subterranean farm is taking root 100 feet beneath the Northern line and its produce of herbs, shoots and mini vegetables has already been described as “delicious” by Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux Jr. For the last 18 months, entrepreneurs Richard Ballard and Steven Dring have been creating a working farm in a 2.5 acre tunnel network near Clapham North Tube station.
Following discussions about achieving a carbon-free economy amid pressures on urban land, they had the brainwave of digging deep and using the space that lay dormant under London for a working farm, named Growing Underground.
Their chosen location is a series of tunnels once used to house people sheltering from air raids during the Blitz. With the help of horticulturalist Chris Nelson, an expert in growing crops in some of the harshest conditions on the planet, they brought together their farm.
Using special low-energy LED bulbs and an integrated hydroponics system, the farm will be carbon-neutral and thanks to the proximity to New Covent Garden market and London’s many restaurants, food miles will be kept to a minimum.
Meanwhile special filters will keep the air in the tunnels free of pests, eliminating the need for pesticides. When up and running, the farm will produce delicacies to be sold to restaurants, supermarkets and wholesalers.
Michel Roux Jr teamed up with the entrepreneurs and he has high hopes for the farm’s future.
More plans are afoot for another unused tunnel beneath London, this time an unused Royal Mail the disused railway tunnel stretches for six miles. After being shut for a decade, there are now plans to reopen the London Post Office Railway - known to many as Mail Rail - as a tourist ride.
Mail Rail was approved by an Act of Parliament a century ago, and during its heyday its driverless trains carried 12 million postal items daily on the line stretching from East End's Whitechapel to west London's Paddington. But it was mothballed a decade ago.
Having descended in a lift to the Mount Pleasant platform. You enter what feels a lot like a normal Tube platform, but the tunnels at each end are smaller, reducing to 7ft (2.1m) in diameter.
A tiny train sits on the track, one of 70 stored on the network, but this one has been specially adapted for passengers. A dozen small seats are squeezed into the carriage. Once inside, a plastic shutter is secured over your head and it feels like you are about to embark on a rollercoaster ride.
The train sets off and you notice every bump as it rumbles into the tunnel and hear the brakes screech as it winds around tight corners. You get within inches of the filthy tunnel walls and limescale stalactites hanging from the roof. Tourists may be able to experience the thrill of this in the not-too-distant future.
27th January 2014
Can you believe it the mayor of Sochi says there are no gay people in his city which is preparing to host the Winter Olympics next month. Speaking to the BBC, Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov said: "We don't have them in our town." Asked whether he was sure about this, he replied: "I'm not sure. I don't bloody know them." "Our hospitality will be extended to everyone who respects the laws of the Russian Federation and who doesn't impose their habits and their will on others, but yes everyone is welcome."
Alan Turing Day
A petition has been started to push the Government to rename the August Bank Holiday after late gay computer genius and codebreaker Alan Turing, rather than after Margaret Thatcher.
The petition, started yesterday, calls for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to rename the holiday after Turing. This comes amid a controversy over possible plans to rename the day after Margaret Thatcher. As I have told you Alan Turing was prosecuted for gross indecency in 1952, after having a relationship with another man. The mathematical genius and codebreaker was the effective inventor of the modern computer and a key driver behind the victory over the Nazis.
He killed himself in 1954, two years after being sentenced to chemical castration for his homosexuality.
DJ - Daley
Tom Daley did not come out of the closet, but he left the doors banging. Now he has been offered a charity DJ gig at one of London's best-known gay clubs. Jeremy Joseph, owner of G-A-Y and Heaven, offered the DJ gig to Daley after he and Dustin Lance Black attended the club earlier in January, when the diving star asked to have a go on the decks.
Speaking to Heat magazine, Joseph said: "Tom's manager called and said there was a group of them that wanted to come down. We started the night backstage and that's where I thought he'd stay, but Tom really wanted to go out to the main floor. When he spotted the DJ, he decided that he wanted to have a go. "It was really funny. I've offered him a night where he DJs for charity. He seemed like he was up for it.
Well you have heard of the chastity belt now comes the chasTITY bra that will only unhoook itself when the lady feels true love and cannot be tampered with by some jerk she is not interested in.
A Japanese underwear brand has apparently created a bra which unlocks when the person wearing it experiences the feeling of true love. The bizarre creation by designers Ravijour is creating a buzz online after an advert for it was posted on YouTube.
The makers claim the bra "cannot be unhooked without true love" and describe it as "a revolutionary bra which knows how women truly feel".
25th January 2014
We are back “Across The Pond” in the homeland once again. I have got to say it was not the best weather in Key West this January, but at least it was better than the UK. Seems like the whole weather pattern has been up in the air this winter.
It appears that the Royal family has been having a little reshuffle of duties in our absence. Her Majesty is to hand duties over to Prince Charles in an historic job share. It is being dubbed the “gentle succession” – as the Queen gradually begins to relinquish some of her traditional duties as monarch.
As she approaches her 88th birthday in April after almost 62 years on the throne, she has agreed to hand over part of her workload in a historic “job-share” arrangement with Prince Charles.
In a royal first, he will be taking on more head of state-style responsibilities as the Palace starts to make tentative plans for his eventual succession. Courtiers yesterday described the softly-softly move as “wise” – and “just plain common sense”.
The first sign of the partial power transfer will be the merging this week of the Queen and Charles’s press offices. In future any announcements concerning the monarch and her 65-year-old
eldest son will now come from the same source. Palace sources insist the switch will be entirely seamless. Princes William and Harry will also play their part in the new set-up, with both assuming far more responsibility since they relinquished their military roles.
Queen Hands over the Reigns
I don’t think that the Queen will abdicate, but it seems like she has finally decided to hand over the reins so that Charles can drive the carriage a little.
Two for the Price of One at The National Gallery
For the first time in over six decades, two of Vincent Van Gogh's iconic sunflower paintings will be shown in London, side by side. The National Gallery is already home to one of the paintings, with the other on loan from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
Now call me ignorant but until now l had not realised that there were more that one Van Gogh Sunflower picture. Well to tell the truth l had never really thought about it.
There are the five versions of 'Sunflowers' that are now spread around the world (the others currently residing in Tokyo, Munich and Philadelphia). The series dates from 1888, when Van Gogh left Paris to paint in the brilliant sunshine of the South of France, inviting Paul Gauguin to join him. Waiting for Gauguin to arrive, Van Gogh painted a series of pictures of sunflowers to decorate his friend's bedroom. They were meant as a sign of friendship and welcome, but also of Vincent's allegiance to Gauguin as his artistic leader. The pair worked together throughout autumn 1888 – but it ended very badly at the close of the year when Van Gogh seemed to have a nervous breakdown, famously cut off part of his ear and entered an asylum.
The pictures are expected to attract huge crowds to the National Gallery exhibition.
Drag at the Palace
Well surely this was a first, Prince Charles awarded Grayson Perry a CBE at Buckingham Palace this week dressed as the “Italian Mother of the Bride”, that is Grayson not Prince Charles.
Grayson Perry is one of Britain’s most flamboyant transvestites, famed for his ceramic artwork depicting his darkest and most private feelings.
Grayson Perry with his Wife Phillipa at Buckingham Palace
Grayson dressed as his alto-ego Claire, wore a midnight blue dress and matching fitted jacket with a wide brimmed black-hat decorated with what looked like ostrich feathers. He once described Claire as "a cross between Katie Boyle and Camilla Parker-Bowles" but when reminded of this he laughed and said: "This is my Italian mother of the bride outfit".
A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said that Perry's "attire was entirely appropriate".
19th January 2014
Some 3000 runners took part in the 16th Key West half marathon this morning, starting at 7.00am the route this year was rather restricted because of the continuing road works on North Roosevelt Blvd. Starting and finishing at the Half Shell the rout headed through Old Town to South Roosevelt up past the airport to the top of the airport and back again. The race typically attracts runners from around the United States and several other countries to compete in Key West's balmy January climate, just a bit cooler than normal this year.
18th January 2014
16th In Line to the Throne
Zara, the Queen's granddaughter, gave birth to a 7lbs 12oz baby girl who is sixteenth in line to the throne. Her mother Princess Anne is famously one of the most no-nonsense members of the Royal Family. So perhaps it was no surprise that only six hours after giving birth to a daughter yesterday, Zara Phillips was back at home enjoying a cup of tea and phoning friends to tell them the news.
Her 7lb 12oz daughter was delivered on the NHS at the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital with Zara’s rugby player husband, Mike Tindall, by her side.
A Russian gay protester was detained today for revealing a rainbow flag during the Olympic torch relay. Pavel Lebedev, of Voronezh, which is 560 miles north of Sochi, unfurled the rainbow flag as the torch passed through his hometown.
Meanwhile President Putin said gay people are welcome at Sochi, but leave our children alone. At a meeting with a group of young Sochi volunteers, Putin said, “We are not banning anything. We are not rounding up anyone. We have no criminal punishment for such relations, unlike many other countries.”
The Russian President, however, was also keen to stress the country’s ban on promoting homosexuality amongst minors.
“So one can feel relaxed and at ease, but please leave children in peace,” Putin continued.
Latest Vatican News
Also back in Europe more news from the Vatican City. The Vatican has confirmed that close to 400 priests were defrocked in 2011-2012 by Pope Benedict XVI over claims of child abuse.
The statistics reveal a large increase in the number of priests removed from their posts – more than double the 171 priests defrocked in 2008-9. The data, unearthed by the Associated Press and subsequently confirmed by the Vatican, had been collected for this week’s United Nations hearing on child sex abuse by the clergy.
A Brush with the Law
Philadelphia police have launched an internal investigation after a teenager allegedly suffered a ruptured testicle during a pat-down. Darrin Manning, 16, was with a group of teammates on their way to an after-school basketball game when he was stopped by police officers. Manning says he was handcuffed and patted down by a female police officer, who grabbed and pulled his genitals. He underwent emergency surgery the following day.
A Great Way to Open Your Beer Bottle
16th Janaury 2014
BINGO @ THE RED BARN
Whenever you go to the Red Barn Theatre you are always ensured a fun evening and Bingo was no exception. A group of mature ladies weather a torrential storm to get to Bingo. To miss Bingo would be a sin. A bouncy witty evening with all the back stabbing bitchiness you get when a vast amount of money as at stake. Well let’s face it $200 could change your life. One of my favorite lines of the show is when one of the ladies wins a trip to the Pink Flamingo Hotel in Miami, 2 stars and only a short 40 minute walk from the beach.
You even get to play a couple of games of real bingo during the show.
A cold front has hit Key West again this week, but hey it was sunny so the British girls were not deterred from getting a few rays this afternoon.
One of the top gay stories of 2013 has to be when Freddie Mercury dressed Princess Diana up as an “eccentrically dressed gay male model”, in order to sneak her into the Vauxhall Tavern, The revelation came from part of the serialised autobiography of comedian Cleo Rocos, which was published in the Sunday Times, and during which she recalls the story.
Ms Rocos says she attended the bar with Princess Diana, Freddie Mercury and comedian Kenny Everett. She says that after drinking together at Kenny Everett’s house in London, the four wanted to go out to a bar. She wrote, the three dressed Diana in an army jacket, a leather cap concealing her hair, and dark aviator sunglasses, in order to sneak her into the bar.
Walt Disney World joined other influential businesses in the US state of Florida to throw weight behind a bill to ban anti-LGBT discrimination in the workplace.
Which country has the healthiest diet? Netherlands takes the number one spot
– while the U.S. doesn’t even make the top 20
The rankings are based on the food availability, affordability, quality, and the rate of diet-related illnesses in each country
The Netherlands, France and Switzerland are the best places to eat
Chad, Angola and Ethiopia are the worst countries to eat in
The UK came 13th in the rankings, and the U.S. came 21st
14th January 2014
Down at Island House today three drag queens descended on the pool for the filming of a promotional video. Ten hot men were in the pool making the girls look pretty.
As will any filming it was very long and drawn out. But will look forward to seeing what the end result is like.
Key West Courthouse
Since we have been in Key West we have found a couple of new places to eat.
Havana – Duval Street
I mentioned Havana a couple of trips ago, at that time they were opening for breakfast and lunch. Now they are opening for dinner. Last week we had a very nice dinner, kicking off with a salmon tartar, quite delicious and followed by skirt steak with chimmichuri. Now being European l had not come across chimmichurri before but since this initial introduction l have seen it three time on menu’s around the town, so it is obviously the in thing. I must say I was not a great fan, it is a little bit like having mint sauce with lamb in the UK, not a favorite of mine. That aside we enjoyed the dinner and the service was spot on. Sorry guys l cannot remember your names but l remember your faces from around town and other restaurants in the past.
I do suggest that you get along there fairly early, although they say they serve until 10.00pm we have returned a couple of times since and found the place closed for the night.
Deuce’s Off The Hook Grill – Simonton Street
Over the years we have seen this property open and close under many guises. Some that we remember are Aunt Lollies , Dorothy’s Deli and Pasta in Paradise. Since 2009 the property has remained empty, but now it has undergone a complete transformation and opened as Off The Hook Grill.
On your way in check out the beer bottle top side tables. Inside you would not recognize the place. Seating is limited only about twenty four seats with some of the seating along the bar. Service was really friendly and after we were seated we were offered a complimentary glass of wine. They are waiting to get their license to sell beer and wine and hopefully this will be granted soon.
We had fried green tomatoes with crab meat and rum marinated Key West Shrimp with Mango Salsa. Both great choices, also wished we had sampled the duck bacon, but will leave that for a future visit. Lots of fish on the menu. The lady on the next table had a great looking mussel, clam and shrimp dish. I had Jamaican jerk chicken that was served with sweet potato tots, a little like a beignet – delicious.
The menu choice is very large for the number of covers. Lots of interesting looking dishes to go back and try. Breakfast also looks great so will be trying that in the next few days.
Cleanliness is next to Godliness, but one tip guys lay off the bleach until the customers leave.
12th January 2014
It is with great sadness that we hear the Jorge had to leave Key West and return to Mexico, Jorge and Gerry ran Oasis Resort in Key West for a great number of years until it was sold last year. We hope that he makes it back to Key West Soon.
The Tale of Two Cities.
The Adamms Family - Musical
This week we have been to the theatre three times. I have already told you about Leading Ladies at the Waterfront Playhouse.
On Thursday evening we heard at them last minute that there was a one night only touring musical at the Tennessee Williams Theatre. The Adamms Family. It was a great evening’ entertainment and every seat seemed to have been taken. It does seem a long way to bring a show just for one night.
From the sophistication of Key West, on Friday evening we headed down to the Community Theatre in Marathon that was a world away. This cute little theatre is run by a band of very enthusiastic volunteers.
We wanted to see Gordon Ross and Friends, we have known Gordon for a number of years but have never seen him perform. Last year we missed out so this year we rang well in advance from the UK to reserve tickets. A charming older lady took our call and was most helpful. On arrival last night she was once again in charge of the box office and remembered that we had called from England. Such customer service.
Three members of his backing band joined Gordon, with guest appearance by Bobby Nesbit and a charming young lady singer Laura Anderson who has just arrived in the Keys. It was a fun evening with music from our era.
Now here is something. During the interval we had a coffee, a coke and a piece of cake all for the grand total of $3.50. I cannot imagine getting that in Key West can you?
The downside to the evening is having to drive fifty miles back to Key West after such an enjoyable evening.
8th January 2014
You have a few days left to “Drag” yourself down to the Waterfront Playhouse in Key West to see the hilarious farce “Leading Ladies”. From the author of Lend Me a Tenor, Leading Ladies by playwright Ken Ludwig is the hilarious comedy about two down-on-their-luck British Shakespearean actors who impersonate the long-lost nieces of a wealthy American dowager in order to inherit her money.
I was just amazed at how the two British Shakespearean actors kept up the movement while traveling in a railway carriage, quite a feat to keep it up for a couple of minutes but they managed if for the whole of the journey.
Matt Hollis Hulsey & Brandon Beach as Leo and Jack
The action gets going when they dress up in drag to impersonate the beneficiaries of the American dowagers will. Slight problem she is not even dead yet. The boys dressed as girls get the hots for the real girls and the fun starts.
Just love it as the action hots up and the boys change from boys to girls to boys again
And little bits of the costume get forgotten. An evening suit with ladies pumps is almost to much as he minces onto to stage.
Robin Deck who plays the dowager Florence is just great and you really have to admire her sensible shoes, even if they are a little out of period.
The set as always with the Waterfront Playhouse was a masterpiece.
A couple of hours of classic farce, romantic entanglements, naughty innuendos and hysterical drag. Get down to the Waterfront before 11th January when the curtain comes down.
Tom Daley posted the picture of himself and Dustin Lance Black to Instagram
Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black using an image of an “I love Tom” cake has confirmed that he is dating Tom Daley during a night out in London.
Now this would be some sight to see tied up at Mallory Square.
A floating palace: 'The Streets Of Monaco' is a concept for a £244million yacht that incorporates landmarks from the city-state, including the F1 track, including go karts
7th January 2014
Well after Saturday what can l say? I think this was the first time ever since we first started visiting Key West that we were confined indoors all day. It was not until evening that we ventured out for something to eat. We donned wet weather gear and headed up the street to Island House. It was absolutely packed under the canvas awning, but we did get something to eat and have to say that the boys from Island House were doing a great job of keeping everybody happy despite the circumstances.
Thankfully Sunday morning and the rain had cleared.
It is still very confusing trying to cycle up North Roosevelt Blvd. Some of the new pathway is in place and very nice but other area need a little signage. I guess they got blown down in the bad weather.
Walking around the waterfront this week we have been interested to the see the hotel being build. Sometimes one has to wonder how such overdevelopment was passed by the city. But l guess the locals know the answer.
A gentleman who calls himself "Double Dick Dude" led a Ask Me Anything Q&A on Reddit where he answered questions regarding his experiences with the condition Diphallia.
Double Dick Dude was born with two functioning penises--and they each function in all of the ways that you're thinking. And just FYI, Double Dick Dude is bisexual and is currently in a committed relationship with a man and woman.
When asked how his potential sexual partners generally react to his particular condition, he says:
“Some have been like WOW. Some have been like, THAT’S FAKE! Some have freaked out, like, called me names. Most are pretty curious… but for the most part, girls were nervous and some changed their mind at the last minute. Dudes NEVER change they mind, they always want it even if they’re freaked out a little.”
Coca Cola has inexplicably omitted a same-sex marriage scene from an Irish version of an advert being show across Europe. The Reasons to Believe campaign features the idea that for every negative part of life, there are many more positive ones, and has been strongly advertised across Europe.
In one version of the ad which appears on YouTube, and which has been shown on televisions across several European countries features a same-sex couple surrounded by friends and family after their wedding.
The Irish version of the same ad features a straight couple in their place, and omits the same-sex couple.
English Version of Coke Ad
Irish Version of Coke Ad
4th January 2014
Following the Royal pardon of Alan Turin, there has been much debate in the UK.
One man who was a genius and help us win WWII has been pardoned, but 50,000
Other men prosecuted for homosexuality during the same period have not been. It is believed that around 15,000 of these men are still alive and should be pardoned. Gay Rights campaigner Peter Tachell has written to our Prime Minister requesting an inquest into the death of Alan Turin and that the recent royal pardon granted to Turing should be extended to all men convicted under the same gross indecency law.
Writer Dean Atta expresses his thoughts on the recent pardon given to Alan Turing in a poem.
I beg your pardon?
Alan Turing’s pardon comes sixty years too late
Our country showed him no love then, just hate
By branding him a criminal, they sealed his fate
So I beg your pardon if I choose not to celebrate
No mercy for a World War Two peacemaker
Computer pioneer and top-secret code-beaker
All this was overshadowed by his sexuality
In 1952 he was convicted for homosexuality
And his punishment? A chemical castration
And he was one of many men throughout this nation
Facing prison or prohibition for this supposed crime
But now we live in more enlightened times
Can we pardon 50,000 other men convicted
For not hiding whom they chose to have sex with
Or being reported for what they did consensually?
Can we get some justice for them, eventually?
Because Turing was a genius and Turing was a hero
But if I’m neither one, it does not make me a zero
Because we’re not all geniuses
But we deserve love and freedom
And we’re not all heroes
But we deserve the chance to be one
Because Tom Daley coming out made the news
And yet so many people said, “That’s not news”
But so many wouldn’t do the same in his shoes
Now that YouTube video has 10 million views
And that 10 million came from one man
Making one choice to use his voice
But many men and women had to fight
For his freedom to love is now his right
Alan Turing did not have that nor did 50,000 others
Who lost a war with the law for being lovers
We must pardon those 50,000 mothers’ sons
Because it’s not really justice if it’s just for one.
You can listen to a recital of this poem by clicking here.
1st January 2014
Sarasota & Key West Have Something in Common
The Sculptres of Seward Johnson
As the crow flies it is 196 from Sarasota to Key West, but it is a world apart in so many ways. We have just spent the last four-day in Sarasota and not once did we manage to lie on the beach. The beaches are wonderful on the wet coast of Florida but the weather in January can be a little unpredictable. However it is a wonderful place to keep fit. We walked miles and miles. We like to stay downtown so that we can walk to dinner each evening with out having to resort to the car.
The first day was a little on the damp side so a little retail therapy was in order. Clothes in the UK are generally more expensive an example is Levi Jeans they are 3 times the price in the UK. Invariably we get asked to bring them back “Across the Pond” for friends.
However when the second day dawned cloudy, there is only so much retail therapy l can manage, so after a decent breakfast in an old restored railway station we set off to walk from downtown to the Ringling Museum. It turned out to be an interest jaunt as we walked through areas we would not normally see. We came across The Pines of Sarasota. Now the Pines is nothing like The Pines of Key West was in it’s hey day. But a rather large and rather nice assisted living complex. Then further down the road we came across the Booker High School, which seems to be undergoing a complete rebuild. The school accommodates 1525 students and is ranked among the top 7% of high schools in Florida. From the size of the onsite theatre l guess they is a very large performing arts department.
Sarasota Succulent Society
After this we came into an area of natural Floridian fauna and flora and then stumbles across the Sarasota Succulent Society. Finally we arrived at the N41 Tamiami Trail and the sound of the traffic. Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsy, sadly it was not open having spotted some of the Sculptures in the garden we will certainly return.
The Guard at Museum of Whimsy - Yes he a sculpture
Looking Over the Fence at Whimsicle Giraffes
Nine miles later we arrived back in downtown rather weary and footsore.
New Year’s eve in Sarasota is somewhat different from Key West, the main street is shut off and the fun fair and food stalls move in, all a little more clean and sterile than the food stalls that hit Goombay in Key West. The Pineapple is due to drop at midnight, but the crowd on the street is much younger than we see in Paradise.
Later on fireworks illuminate the skies from Bay View Park.
New Years Day we leave pouring rain and head to Key West, much warmer that Sarasota but no sooner have we arrived than the heavens open.
31st December 2013
HAPPY NEW YEAR
New York drops its Ball, Key West drops Sushi in her Red Slipper and Sarasota drops a Pineapple. Earlier today we saw the pineapple being winched into place, not quite the same as the delicate placing of the Red Slipper at Bourbon Street.
At midnight fireworks will explode at Bay View Park but will proberbly view them from our hotel here in downtown Sarasota. Tomorrow morning we head down to Key West and Paradise.
Earlier this year I mentioned the brilliant mathematician who helped save Britain in World War II he was cryptographer that worked at Bletchy park and was instrumental in breaking the Enigma codes during the second world war. He was widely considered to be the father of computer science and artificial intelligence.
He was also gay.
Alan Turing was also a keen runner and achieved world-class Marathon standards. His best time of 2 hours, 46 minutes, 3 seconds, was only 11 minutes slower than the winner in the 1948 Olympic Games.
Despite his effort In helping to win the war Turing's homosexuality resulted in a criminal prosecution and loss of security clearance in 1952, when homosexual acts were still illegal in the United Kingdom.
He accepted treatment with female hormones (chemical castration) as an alternative to prison. Turing died in 1954, just over two weeks before his 42nd birthday, from cyanide poisoning. An inquest determined that his death was suicide; his mother and some others believed his death was accidental.
On 10 September 2009, following an Internet campaign, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made an official public apology on behalf of the British government for "the appalling way he was treated." In May 2012, a private member's bill was put before the House of Lords to grant Turing a statutory pardon. In July 2013 it gained government support
...a quite brilliant mathematician... whose unique contribution helped to turn the tide of war... horrifying that he was treated so inhumanely...
This week has been given a posthumous royal pardon. It addresses his 1952 conviction for homosexuality for which he was punished by being chemically castrated.
The pardon was granted under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy after a request by Justice Minister Chris Grayling.
The pardon of Turing only applies to him and not other gay men, who have also since died who were convicted under now repealed legislation. In the leadup to the 2010 general election, writing for PinkNews, David Cameron announced that if he became Prime Minister, he would disregard the convictions of those convicted of historical gay sex offences. The measure was passed by the Coalition government but only applies to the convictions of those who are still alive, not people like Turing who have since died.
Storms Batter Sussex
Storms battered England last night with 1 1/2 inches of rain falling in parts of East Sussex and leaving trees down all over the county, we personally lost part of our roof and the wall separating us form our neighbour was blown down.
Alfriston Christmas Tree
Blown down in the storm has be resurrected
23rd December 2013
Ice Skating Rink at Brighton Pavillion this Week
Around the World communities gather together to give less privileged children a present at Christmas. This week l heard of what must be one of the biggest Santa’s Grottos. Every year, about a million underprivileged children in Brazil write a letter addressed to “Santa Claus, the North Pole”. These end up at central post offices, where they are processed in rooms marked “Father Christmas Project”. Here, government-employed elves log the child’s age, what they want, and their address.
The letters are left in large piles on tables in the foyer, next to a Christmas tree. There, they are read by better-off Brazilians, who sift through the sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes amusing, pleas for gifts and decide which child they want to help.
The donors go out, buy whatever the child has asked for — a Spider-Man doll, a pair of skates, a bike or quite often just food, clothes or shoes. They return to the post office, where an employee wraps it, puts the number on it and adds it to the pile for delivery.
The project has snowballed since its start almost 25 years ago, when a few post office workers, moved by the pleas of poor children to “Papai Noel”, clubbed together to buy presents. Now, it is a nationwide operation sponsored by the Post Office.
The “Ice City” of Harbin in China is world famous for it’s snow and ice art, attracting tens of thousands of people from all over the world, The city’s location in northeast China accounts for it arctic climate and provides an abundance of natural snow and ice.
Cuba has reportedly implemented workplace discrimination protections for its LGBTI citizens. Mariela Castro, daughter of current president Raul Castro and director of the country’s leading sexual rights organization CENESEX, also reportedly proposed changing the Workplace Code to include discrimination protections based on gender identity and HIV status.
Protestors gate-crashed a Coca-Cola Christmas PR stunt in London's Covent Garden today, in opposition to the global brand's sponsorship of the Sochi Olympics.
The gay rights activists, including Peter Tatchell, tried to climb on the roof of the Coca-Cola truck parked in the center of London on one of the busiest Christmas shopping days. They were pulled down by security guards.
'Coke is sponsoring the Sochi Winter Olympics, without even a murmur of unease at the anti-gay and repressive policies of the Putin government. It is shameful acquiescence with oppression,' said Tatchell, coordinator of the protest.
21st December 2013
Warwick Rowing Club
From a few hundred sales in its first year, the Warwick Rowers naked male calendar has become an international hit with both women and gay men. Last year’s calendar sold out in days following unprecedented demand from over 40 countries. The gay community have supported the calendar from very early on and the rowers, who include both gay and straight athletes, have shown their appreciation for the support by dedicating themselves to challenging homophobic bullying in schools.
With the help of funds from the calendar and its associated products - films, downloads, greeting cards - the rowers are working with Educational Action Challenging Homophobia (EACH) a registered charity dedicated to adults and young people affected by homophobia or transphobia.
The guys from the Club have also produced a hot film which offers a look behind the scenes of the rower’s calendar photo shoot, with lots of footage of naked athletes grappling, soaking each other with water, having a tug of war and creating all the fantastic images that have made their calendar such a runaway hit.
'The Warwick Rowers: Bigger, Longer & Uncut' which takes a full frontal look at life within Warwick Boat Club. When the guys aren't posing in front of the camera, still naked, they give frank interviews that offer the greatest insight yet into who these young men are. They talk about their experiences of rowing, about the inherent camaraderie that’s so essential to the sport, how they feel about the attention they get from both men and women, and what it’s like to spend several days with no clothes on.
The film is called 'Bigger, Longer and Uncut' for a reason. Some of the bodies on display make Michelangelo's David look like an overeater on a very cold day.
Some scenes of note include six of the young rowers using water bottles as water pistols to drench each other's naked bodies, 12 naked guys playing football with oscar the dog and the scene where a group of the hotties frolic and run through the long grass.
They aren't just getting naked for the fun of it or for the attention, there is an important reason for it and that is to raise money for both the Rowing Club and for 'Sport Allies', their recently launched outreach programme to tackle homophobia in sport and promote equality.
Uganda's parliament has rushed through legislation in just one day, toughening the punishment for homosexual acts to include up to life imprisonment. The law also makes it illegal not to report gay people.
The Ugandan prime minister opposed the vote, saying not enough MPs were present, but just as likely because he realised that there would be an international outcry and lead to many countries suspending aid. The Original proposal was the homosexuals received the death penalaty. This has been changed to life imprisonment.
Magic Hits the Stage
Harry Potter stage adaptation is all set for the West EndJK Rowling has said that she will co-produce and help collaborate to make Harry Potter magic himself onto the West End's stage.
However, it's expected that the play won't focus on the much loved stories we know from the books and subsequent movies, but will reportedly instead reveal 'the previously untold story of Harry Potter's early years as an orphan and outcast.'
19th December 2013
If you are a Beatle fan then there is good news today. Unreleased outtakes, demos and BBC sessions by The Beatles from 1963 have been released on iTunes. The 59 tracks have been released on iTunes to stop them falling out of copyright and into the public domain.
EU copyright law covers recordings for 70 years if they have had an official release or 50 years if they have not. The 2-disc set was apparently released, then removed, early on Tuesday, causing speculation it was only being published briefly to extend the copyright period.
Fans posted screenshots of the collection on the New Zealand iTunes store, along with links which later became invalid. Online reports suggested the same thing had happened in Australia, Russia and Saudi Arabia - although the EU's copyright laws would not apply in any of these territories.
However, the full album appeared on the UK iTunes store shortly after 14:00 GMT. The BBC has been told the songs will remain on the site "indefinitely".
Break out the Plastic
Plastic banknotes that can survive a spin in the washing machine are to be brought into circulation by the Bank of England in 2016. The Bank argues that the polymer notes stay cleaner and are more secure than cotton paper notes, which have been used for more than 100 years.
The £5 note featuring Sir Winston Churchill will be the first plastic banknote.
More than 20 countries around the world have adopted polymer banknotes.
To Russia With Love
The Russian Embassy in London today refused to take a set of Russian dolls featuring five gay icons as a gift for Vladimir Putin. Elton John, Stephen Fry, George Michael, Graham Norton, and Tom Daley, have been immortalised by the Russian (or matryoshka) dolls, which are currently being auctioned off in order to raise money for international LGBT organisation the Kaleidoscope Trust.
Despite having a pre-arranged appointment, Alistair Stewart and Chris Price of the Kaleidoscope Trust were turned away today when trying to deliver the Russian dolls.
They got past the British police officers, but were refused entry at the Russian gate into the embassy.
They have not given up, however, as the dolls will now instead be sent to the Kremlin recorded delivery for Mr Putin’s express attention.
There are 7 limited edition, hand-painted, sets of Russian dolls. Featuring artist’s renders of five great gay icons, they are crafted to raise awareness, and money, for the Russian gay community. Exactly the sort of thing that would get you arrested in Russia.
Six sets remain, and the bid on the current set rests at £1,950. The auction can be viewed at the ToRussiaWithLove site.
The Kaleidoscope Trust is a UK based charity working to uphold the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people internationally.
Prince Harry is coming home with a unique souvenir from his 200mile Antarctic expedition - an impressive looking ginger beard. The 29-year-old Royal showed off his bushy facial hair during a tour of a South Pole research centre shortly before departing for the UK. Prince Harry returns to Britain after finishing Walking With The Wounded's South Pole Allied Challenge, which saw him, join a team of injured service personnel from the UK and two others from the Commonwealth and the US, for a charity trek across Antarctica.
Just the Ticket - or Not
An airline is being forced to apologize after a passenger received a code number on his boarding pass reading ‘H8GAYS’. Jeff White, a student, purchased a flight from Florida to New York, via Atlanta, with Delta Air Lines earlier this month. When he discovered the offensive confirmation code after checking in, he was left ‘extremely uncomfortable.’
Delta has apologized for ‘concern or misunderstanding’ that its code may have caused White. ‘These confirmation codes are computer-generated and are completely random,’ says Russell Cason, a Delta spokesman. ‘We will make every effort to ensure that a similar combination does not occur in the future.’ White said while he was sure it was just a coincidence, he was surprised the code combination was not blocked. He said: ‘I’m sure they removed many four-letter words that would be seen as offensive. ‘I’m surprised that “gays” and “H8″ weren’t blocked as well.’
17th December 2013
One of America’s most influential LGBT magazines has named Pope Francis as its
“Person of the Year”.
The Advocate said in a statement: “Pope Francis is leader of 1.2 billion Roman Catholics all over the world. There are three times as many Catholics in the world than there are citizens in the United States. Like it or not, what he says makes a difference.
Farewell to O'Toole
This week Britain lost one of it’s best actors. Peter O’Toole famed for his leading role in Lawrence of Arabia, has died. He was 81. O’Toole announced last year that he was retiring from acting. An eight-time Academy Award nominee, he said in a statement at the time that his career on stage and screen fulfilled him emotionally and financially, bringing “me together with fine people, good companions with whom I’ve shared the inevitable lot of all actors: flops and hits.
“However, it’s my belief that one should decide for oneself when it is time to end one’s stay. So I bid the profession a dry-eyed and profoundly grateful farewell.”
At the time of filming Lawrence of Arabia, Noel Coward thought O’Toole exquisite: “If you had been any prettier, the film would have been called Florence of Arabia.”
Tis The Time to Be Jolly
More than a quarter of British people find the build up to Christmas so stressful that it outweighs the joy and they wish they could skip the big day altogether. Medical experts now refer to the feeling of helplessness and tiredness at Christmas as “festive burnout”
Talking of festive cheer, Browns restaurants a chain of restaurants and bars that have been hosting Christmas parties since 1970’s claim to have seen it all and say that the faces of the party goers has changed over the years the personalities have not. By far the least popular character, it claims, is the party kisser, followed by the flirt. The limpet who latches onto the boss’s side is another one to avoid.
Toys for Boys (& Girls)
Darling of our high streets Marks and Spencer (M&S) is to make all its toys gender neutral by spring 2014, after customers complained that it used gender labels on some of its range. Various customers contacted M&S to complain at a range of toys called ‘Boys Stuff’, which included planes, cars, dinosaurs, racing cars, cat toys, a marble run and a pop-up fire station. The description on the latter said: “This pop up fire station is perfect for little fire men everywhere”, for a watch it read: “The perfect wrist accessory no boy should be without,” and a joke book read: “Boys know the best jokes and here are 500 crackers to keep you ahead of the girls.” Tweets sent to M&S indicated that customers were disappointed at what they called an unnecessary gender label added to the range.
14th December 2013
If you go down to the beach today your in for a big surprise, that is the beach at Brighton and Hove. For the fifth year running Beyond Church has organized a full size Advent calendar. From the 1 December till Christmas Eve, 24 Beach huts on Hove seafront will open their doors to the public redecorated to depict an unusual twist to the traditional Christmas theme. Like the usual advent calendars, from 5.30 to 6.30 each day a different hut will be revealed until Christmas Eve, which will have a surprising finale.
Russian dolls of five British celebrities are being auctioned off in order to raise money for the Russian LGBT community. Elton John, Stephen Fry, George Michael, Graham Norton, and Tom Daley, have been immortalised by the Russian (or matryoshka) dolls, which are currently listed on Ebay.
Seven sets of the dolls are available. The description says they are hand painted, are all signed by Sir Elton John, and each set contains all five. The proceeds of the auction, which is currently at £2,550 bid, have been promised to the Kaleidoscope Trust.
The description reads: “Homophobia is rife in Russia. LGBT people are facing increasingly harsh treatment at the hands of authorities. Attacks on gay people are rising, in a country where homosexuality has been classified as a mental illness since 1999.”
Britons going on holiday to long-haul destinations have been reaping the benefit of a strong performance by the pound against most global currencies in the past year, a survey says. Despite suffering falls on the forex markets this week, improving economic conditions for the UK have contributed to the pound outperforming a majority of currencies in 2013.
The pound has just suffered its biggest weekly decline against the dollar in six weeks after Bank of England officials sought to damp speculation that they will raise interest rates sooner than previously indicated. Sterling retreated from a two-year high against the dollar and fell to its lowest level in a month against the euro. But During the last 12 months, the pound has appreciated against 53 of the 74 currencies analysed by Lloyds.
The US dollar, meanwhile, has fallen by just over 1 per cent against the pound over the past year. However, since the spring the dollar has fallen by 9 percent from $1.49 to $1.63 in November.
12th December 2013
The government has finally announced that the first same-sex marriages will be held next March in England and Wales, some time earlier than had been originally expected.
Announcing that the first weddings will take place on Saturday 29 March 2014. Arrangements to hold same-sex weddings in some British consulates and armed forces bases overseas will be in place, from June 2014.
The Queen’s Royal Assent was granted to the bill on Wednesday at 15:06, turning it into the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act,
Locking Lips German Style
Actors Ken Duken and Kostja Ullmann (Image by Felix Krüger for GQ Deutschland)
Germany GQ has launched the 'Gentleman against Homophobia' campaign, aiming to spread love and stamp out intolerance across Europe and the world.
Straight male celebs have kissed in order to fight homophobia in Russia, Germany and around the world. The magazine used the hashtag #mundpropaganda, a pun on kissing and propaganda, as part of the Gentlemen Against Homophobia campaign, as it launched images of the German celebrities locking lips.
Graham Norton Red Ribbon Day
As you may or may not know the BBC does not allow advertising or promotion of causes on its programmes. Well Graham Norton has been reprimanded by the BBC for having the audacity to wear wear an HIV/AIDS awareness ribbon on his Friday night chat show. The broadcaster and comedian ignored instructions not to wear the ribbon on his programme on 29 November to highlight this year’s World AIDS Day on 1 December. Despite the fact that all of his guests on the Graham Norton Show – Jeremy Clarkson, Jo Brand, Colin Farrell and Sharon Osbourne – were allowed to wear the red ribbons – the Irish presenter was told not to.
BBC entertainment controller Mark Linsey has confirmed that he has reprimanded Norton and his production company So Television over their actions. “World AIDS Day is an issue which Graham cares passionately about and he did wear a World AIDS Day insignia on his programme,” Linsey told BBC in-house magazine Ariel. “However, this is in breach of BBC guidelines. The production company has been contacted and reminded that he cannot do this and Graham has accepted he was wrong to do so. The BBC has been assured it will not occur again.”
Take The Pill
A dollar store in Canada has pulled novelty ‘gay cure’ boxes of pills from its shelves after parents complained. ‘Gay Away’ pills, manufactured by Toronto based company Laughrat, were being sold alongside other novelty fake medicines sold by the company such as Nagotine ‘for people who nag smokers,’ and EgoManiax ‘medicine for enlarged egos.’
The packaging for the ‘new extra strength’ pills states that they ‘stop the craving for misbehaving,’ and that Gay Away ‘cures gayness’ and are ‘for real fruit cakes.’ Instructions on the back of the packet state ‘just two pills a day will have you off the stick and in the bush in a matter of weeks.’
‘If after two weeks you still like your meat rare and find yourself still knocking at the back door, increase dose to 4 pills a day.’
9th December 2013
Are you looking for a present for someone who has everything, then look no further I have just found it in a florist shop in London –the world’s most expensive Christmas wreathe. At £2.8 million ($4.5 million) it is studded with 16 rubies and 32 diamonds, this Christmas wreath is probably not one to hang on the front door. It contains a vivid red 17.49 carat ruby, a 3.03 carat yellow diamond and a Helleborus flower head containing 22 loose diamonds totalling 2.64 carats.
All the stones in the 60cm wreath are removable and the greenery has been sourced from its creator Pasi Jokinen-Carter’s home in Finland. The florist, who has worked for Danish, Norwegian and Spanish royalty, said he had already had enquiries at his shop Flor Unikon Flowers in Clerkenwell.
The wreath is available from VeryFirstTo.com.
Virgin on the Ridiculous
The Virgin Mary is to wear a protective riding hat for her trip to the stable. That is one lucky schoolgirl who is chosen to play Mary in a local church nativity play, will have to wear the helmet to comply with health and safety as she rides her donkey to the local church.
This week the bells were almost ringing for the Church of England’s first gay Bishop but this was not to be as the Church was only one vote away from appointing the openly gay Dean of St Albans Dr Jeffrey John from becoming the newest Bishop of Exter, Since the beginning of this year, John has been considered for high-ranking posts within the Anglican Church. With hopes he would establish ‘positive relationships’ with LGBTI Anglicans, in April 2013John was being considered for the role of Bishop of Durham, the Church’s third-most powerful position in the Anglican Church. Both in April and in December, it is believed John was blocked from appointment because of conservative opposition. John, 60, is married to Rev Grant Holmes, but continues to live under the Church’s clergy guidance of celibacy.
Out of the Closet Door.
Tom Daley came out of the closet with the door left banging last week. Saturday evening he appeared on the Jonathan Ross Show, telling the world about the way he felt about his new life. Tom has also been spotted house hunting near to the Olympic Park in Stratford; he was seen looking at a £1,700-a-month apartment with Hollywood screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, 39, with who he is believed to be in a relationship.
Behind the Closet Door
A study of Americans’ online habits by economist and Google data analyst Seth Stephens-Davidowitz estimates that five percent of American men are predominantly same-sex attracted but also that more than 1-in-5 are still in the closet.
A Date with Destiny.
Wednesday will be a special day for maths geeks because it is the last date that will be made up of three consecutive numbers for almost 90 years.
7th December 2013
Earlier this week we took a trip into the neighboring county of Kent, purely by accident we came across one of the homes of H G Well on the beach at Sandgate.
H G Wells first arrived in Sandgate when he was taken ill during a cycling holiday in 1898. He moved to this small beachside cottage for a month as part of his recovery. He liked Sandgate so much that that he commissioned architect C.F.A. Voysey, to build him a house on the hill overlooking the bay.
Moving on we spent some time in Canterbury. Canterbury has a very Dickensian feel as you wonder the streets. This wonderful leaning house was mentioned in Charles Dickens’s book David Copperfield.
The inscription across the building reads
"... A very old house bulging out over the road ... leaning forward trying to see who was passing on the narrow pavement below..." While the building itself is truly leaning, the door was intentionally placed at a slant to accentuate the leaning of the building.
Just around the corner you come across The Sun Hotel, better known as Micawber's Little Inn from Dickens’s Works. Charles Dickens reportedly stayed here.
Same Sex Marriage
A 13-year-old Jewish boy has used his Bar Mitzvah speech to call for same-sex couples in his home state of Oregon to be granted the right to marry. The US state currently only recognises same-sex marriages conducted elsewhere. Watch Duncan McAlpine Sennett take his synagogue with him as he explains why the biblical definition of marriage is nothing like what those who oppose equality say it is, and by the end you’ll be cheering him on like his local Jewish community. How confident and articulate this young man is.
I mention this week that the Thames Barrier had been closed to protect London against what was the possibly the largest tidal surge to hit the east coast of England in 60 years.
The Environment Agency has released a startling image of the impact of the tidal surge on east London if it had not been for the Thames Barrier.
It sees nearly all of land in around Canary Wharf, the Royal Docks and the Greenwich Peninsula submerged by water.
5th December 2013
Dan Cope - Naked Sky Dive
Dan Cope has finally done it. That his he did his 100th skydive naked as the day he was born, with the exception of the parachute harness that is. Dan jumped on 30 November from 10,000 ft, experiencing temperatures as low as -10°C. He raised £2,424.10 for the Donna Louise Children’s Hospice, more than quadrupling his original target of £500. Donations were gratefully received from the UK and Europe, as well as the US and Canada and Australia.
Dan said: “We were blessed with a lovely day, and I can actually say I think it was the best day of my life, knowing that a fantastic charity is going to benefit so much. The dive itself felt epic, words can’t explain the feeling! When I pulled my canopy open I was fortunate that the straps didn’t cause any permanent damage and I’m glad I managed to successfully land on my feet, saving me the embarrassment of grass stains on my bum!”
Dan has also been inducted into SANS (The Society for the Advancement of Naked Skydivers).
Donations will be accepted well into the New Year, and Dan said: “I hope that donations continue to come in and others will be inspired to try something they thought they’d never dreamed of doing as way of supporting worthwhile causes”
To donate to Dan’s challenge click here.
More Diving Tales
Meanwhile talking of diving, Tom Daley has said that it was “love at first sight” when he met his boyfriend, Oscar winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black. Black won an Oscar for his film about Harvey Lee Milk, the first openly gay politician in the United States and was the author of ’8′, the play about the Proposition 8 trial in California over whether same-sex marriage was a constitutional right.
Dustin Lance Black
Tom told Jonathan Ross in an interview to be broadcast on ITV this weekend : “It was love at first sight. I’ve never felt anything like it – and I made the first move.” The pair met at the Kids’ Choice Awards in LA in March of this year. “At the end of the night, we hadn’t even talked, and I don’t normally do this, but I wrote in his notes with my number and put ‘call me’ with a wink face and then I had a text in the morning and I was like ‘I can’t believe I just did that’ and then I was like ‘oh my god’.” He added: “To be honest, everything is all pretty new and I don’t see any point in putting a label on it – gay, bi or straight.”
My favorite tweet about Tom Daley was from Stephen Fry
As l write the wind in picking up here in the south of England. Already Scotland has seen a complete close down of the rail system because of storm conditions and many bridges have been closed due of the high winds.
The Thames Barrier
The Thames Barrier has also been closed to protect London from floods as the east coast braces for the biggest tidal surge for 30 years. Forecasters have warned that gale force winds, large waves and high tides could cause chaos across the east of the UK. They said sea levels could reach the heights seen during the devastating floods of 1953 - but insisted London's Thames estuary defences mean the capital is well shielded. The 1953 floods left 307 people dead and 40,000 homeless.
Brace yourselves folks and break out the sand bags.
2nd December 2013
WELL DONE TOM
Twitter: Tom Daley - Got something I need to say...not been an easy decision to make, hope you can support me! :)
Tom Daley announced to the World today that he is in a loving relationship with a man, surprised or not. Well not surprised that he is gay, but surprised that he has announced it to the world. What courage and foresight this young man has to beat the press at there own game. Taking the matter in your own hands and talking about your private life is something that a lot of us wished we had the courage to do when we were nineteen years old.
Since his announcement today that he is in a gay relationship he was met with a deluge of goodwill messages on social media websites – and a prediction from one sports industry expert that coming out could make him an even hotter property for would-be sponsors. The 19-year-old, who became the youngest Briton ever to win a senior world title at the age of 15 and won bronze in the 10-metre platform at the London Olympics,
He said he was going public with his sexuality to set the record straight after a national newspaper had misquoted him two months ago when he reportedly denied that he was gay.
“In an ideal world I wouldn’t be doing this video, because it shouldn’t matter,” said Daley. “But recently I was misquoted in an interview and it made me feel really angry and frustrated – emotions that I’ve never felt before when reading something about myself.
Speaking about his gay relationship, Daley said: “Come spring this year, my life changed massively when I met someone and they made me feel so happy, so safe, and everything just feels great. And that someone is a guy.
“It did take me by surprise a little bit. It was always in the back of my head that something like that could happen, but it wasn’t until spring this year that something just clicked. It felt right, like I said, and my whole world changed there and then.
“Of course I still fancy girls, but right now I’m dating a guy and I couldn’t be happier. I just feel safe and it just really does feel right.
Let’s not forget that he is still only 19, and losing his dad, who he clearly loved dearly, seeing him die slowly and painfully when he was only 17 must have been a tremendous strain for him, as well as people expecting him to win gold, and those who have deliberately set out to question his sexuality.
Let's hope everybody, including the press, leave him alone to get on with his life. Everybody deserves to be happy.
THE GAY HUSSAR
When l was a student way back yonder and visited London for the first time The Gay Hussar was one of the most talked about restaurants in London. A Hungarian restaurant serving lashings of goulash and frequented by politicians and journalists. The irrepressible restaurateur Victor Sassie opened the Gay Hussar in 1953; at that time the term gay had no sexual connotations. He said it was in honour of the elite of the Hungarian Army. According to Victor they were renowned for their high spirits and were liable to ride into taverns calling for buckets of wine for their horses
Well now it seems that the Gay Hussar needs someone to ride in with buckets full of cash. Owner Corus Hotels, a Malaysian conglomerate, without warning or discussion, put it up for sale.
Blind bid, with all offers in by December 5 will sell the leasehold. A “GOULASH Co-operative” has been formed to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds to buy the Gay Hussar and keep it as a haunt for the “future generations of rebels"
For £500, diners, chefs, waiters and friends can purchase a share of the Hungarian restaurant in a bid to preserve its rich literary, journalistic and political history
30th November 2013
More than 1,000 cyclists lay sprawled across a central London road this evening in protest at dangerous traffic conditions. Dubbed a "die-in", protesters blocked roads outside the Transport for London headquarters in Southwark as part of a vigil for six cyclists killed in the capital this month.
The demonstration saw riders spread across Blackfriars Road outside the Transport for London HQ with their bikes strewn around them, while others held candles in tribute to the latest spate of casualties.
Black Friday Fever Hits Britian
Black Friday is a new phenomenon in the UK. Last year was the first time that UK retailers introduced it to the shopping timetable this side of the pond. “Black Friday” may be a recent import but British shoppers are catching on fast.
Attempts to lure bargain hunters by emulating the American tradition of slashing prices the day after Thanksgiving led to a brawl in the aisles of an Asda store in Bristol. A man in his 30s who had been queuing outside the superstore allegedly attacked a security guard when he was told he could not buy two televisions. The store, a subsidiary of the US supermarket chain Walmart, had promised “earth-shattering savings” but then limited shoppers to one purchase each.
Be careful who invites you out to lunch. A German police detective has been arrested on suspicion of carrying out a horrific cannibal murder after body parts were found in the garden of his home.
The suspect, identified only as Detlev G, aged 55, is a handwriting analysis expert with the state of Saxony’s Office of Criminal Investigation. A gay officer, Mr G has admitted murdering a man he met through a lurid internet chatroom for people obsessed with cannibalism as a sexual thrill, but has not confessed to consuming his victim.
A Snip at $14.2 million
A tiny book of psalms from 1640 has become the world's most expensive printed book as it was auctioned in New York for $14.2m (£8.8m). The Bay Psalm Book is the first known book to be printed in what is now the United States. The book was meant to be a faithful translation into English of the original Hebrew psalms. Sotheby's, which auctioned the Bay Psalm Book on Tuesday night, said US financier and philanthropist David Rubenstein, who planned to loan it to libraries across the country, had bought it. It was sold by Boston's Old South Church, where Founding Father Benjamin Franklin was baptised and meetings that led to the Boston Tea Party were hosted.
It is one of 11 copies known to remain in existence out of about 1,700 copies originally printed.
28th November 2013
Perry & Randy Thompson
It is with great sadness that we hear that Randy has lost his Dad Perry.
Our condolences go out to you and your family
Less Sex Please We’re British
It’s official the Brits are having less sex these days. Britons are having less sex today compared to 10 years ago, a survey has found. A poll of 15,000 Britons found that those aged 16-44 were having sex fewer than five times a month, with modern life and smart gadgets getting the blame. However the survey also suggests that women today have twice as many sexual partners as they did 10 years ago, and more people are having same-sex encounters.
One in 20 people in the UK have been injured having sex. Men are twice as likely to get injured in the bedroom a study on muscular injuies found. It points to a picture of passionate lovers, but in reality we are more likely to get injured gardening with a third of us pulling a muscle lifting a green finger.
Peter and Hazelmary Bull, the Christian B&B owners who were prosecuted for discriminating against a same-sex couple, have lost their latest legal challenge at the UK Supreme Court. Five Supreme Court justices ruled against them on Wednesday after analysing the case at a hearing in London.
Civil partners Martin Hall and Steven Preddy were turned away from the Chymorvah Hotel near Penzance in 2008 under the Bulls’ policy of not allowing unmarried couples to share rooms.
Judges had already twice ruled the Bulls broke equality laws in the running of their business.
The UK Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, began hearing their appeal in October.
The Bulls told judges that they think any sex outside of marriage is “a sin” – but deny discriminating against Mr Hall and Mr Preddy. The Equality Act 2010 states that it’s illegal to refuse to provide goods and services based upon a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity.
There has been very positive news on HIV treatment this week here in the UK. Scientists from five leading British universities will begin a ground-breaking clinical trial next year to test a possible cure for HIV. The researchers, led by John Frater of Oxford University and Sarah Fidler of Imperial College, London, hope the trial will show that a cure is feasible, said a press release this week issued by Imperial College, London. The scientists said efforts to cure HIV in the past have been thwarted by the virus's ability to lie dormant inside blood cells without being detected.
Thirty-four million people are infected by HIV worldwide. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is highly effective in stopping the virus from reproducing, but it does not eradicate the disease.
The new therapy combines standard antiretroviral drugs with a drug that reactivates dormant HIV, and a vaccine that induces the immune system to destroy the infected cells. Fifty patients in the early stages of HIV infection will take part in the trial. The researchers hope that within months, the hidden HIV in these patients, called the HIV reservoir, will be significantly reduced.
They expect to know the results by 2017.
William Gives His All at Kensington Palace
The Duke of Cambridge has surprised guests at a Kensington Palace charity event by performing alongside US singers Jon Bon Jovi and Taylor Swift. He joined the stars to sing Bon Jovi's 1980s hit Livin' on a Prayer at the gala for homeless charity Centrepoint. Dressed in full dinner suit, Prince William took to the stage during the finale of the Winter Whites Gala. Earlier, he met young people Centrepoint has supported through housing and other opportunities.
The duke has a long association with Centrepoint and as a child was taken on private visits to the charity's hostels by his mother, Diana Princess of Wales.
25th November 2013
Swallows and Amazons
Back in 1974 l had just finished my three years at college and was at a loose end before l started my working life. I was living in Ambleside at the heart of the English Lake District where Arthur Ransome’s children’s story “Swallows and Amazons” was being filmed at the time. I landed myself a job working for the film unit. I was full of my own importance as l was driving the stars and directors of the film.
The stars were Virginia McKenna of “Born Free” fame and Ronald Fraser. I was reminded of this period of my life when l read the headline ‘X-RATED antics of Swallows and Amazons’ in The Times this weekend. The title related to the release of an e-book by Sophie Neville one of the child actors in the film. Sophie was 12 at the time and I was 19 so she perhaps saw life a little differently from myself.
Ronnie Fraser and Sophie Neville(Right)
Sophie recalls how Ronnie (Ronald Fraser) was always drunk. Well this is not strictly true. In the morning Ronnie was reasonably sober and for this reason the director Claude Whatham would try and get most of the shooting with Ronnie in the can.
The lunch hour would come around and l would be summoned to take him to the nearest hostelry. Ronnie would then order his own concoction “The Fraser’ I cannot for the life of me remember what it consisted of, but believe you me these disappeared at a rapid rate of knots down Captain Flint’s (his character) throat. By the time liquid lunch came to an end l would have to bundle him into the back of the car and deposit him back on set, much to the dismay of the producer Richard Pilbrow and the director. Afternoon shooting was often a disaster when Ronnie was involved and I’m sure he frightened the children from time to time.
Well if Uncle Jim sometimes scared the children, as the children know Captain Flint, then l was scared of the parrot that Uncle Jim had on his boat. The first day that I collected the parrot the old lady who owned him travelled with him to the location on Derwent Water. However she soon became bored with all the hanging around and after that she entrusted me with the parrot. Now birds are not really my things and I really did not like handling him. He would travel to the location in an old shopping bag with a zipper, where l would hand him over and he would be placed in his cage. This was all well and good, then came the day that was so wet they did not use him, but instead he stayed in the production office at the Kirkstone Foot Hotel where the crew were hanging out. I was told he was in the bathroom, l expected him to be in his travel bag, but no he was sat on the edge of the bathtub looking at me. By this time he hated being put in the bag, it took me all my time with a towel to catch him, finally after being scratched and bitten I got him home to his Mum.
The hardest thing to stomach was the fact that the parrot was paid more per day than l was.
The British people celebrate 50 years of Dr Who as the American people remember the tragic death of JFK, both events happened in the same week. Interesting enough Google choose to honor Dr Who and the Daleks on their opening page, perhaps this is just Google UK and the American site does things differently. Anyway if you get the chance to visit Google today, then play around with the Dr Who header is very interactive.
There is a three day Dr Who event going on at the ExCel centre in London with 8000 fans a day expected to attend. The event features appearances from Doctor Who stars from all eras of the series. This evening The Day of the Doctor, will be broadcast in more than 90 countries at the same time as it airs on BBC One on Saturday night. The BBC says it is likely to be the largest simulcast of a TV drama in history. The episode will also be screened in 3D in more than 1,500 cinemas across the world, including Australia, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Ecuador, Spain, Sweden, Norway and Iceland.
On the subject of Google, Watch Out Watch Out the taxman is using Google’s satellite and street camera technology to spy on homeowners. Inspectors at HM Revenue & Customs are using the pictures taken by Google Earth and Street View to assess whether a taxpayer’s property and lifestyle are consistent with the level of declared earnings. A flashy car parked outside or a big extension in the back garden could raise suspicions and trigger further investigation, according to accountants.
Queues formed around the block outside a London charity shop on Friday after Victoria and David Beckham donated 20 boxes of clothes and shoes to raise money for victims of the Philippines typhoon. Most of Victoria Beckham's clothes will be too small for the average woman. A similar mass donation by Victoria Beckham to a cancer campaign in 2010 raised almost £7,000 ($12,000), but there were no immediate figures for Friday's sale.
A spokesman for the Red Cross said: "They're really hoping this encourages other people to go to their local British Red Cross shop and donate clothes."
However me thinks they could have raised much more dosh if they had auctioned off the gear.
Benjamin Britten would have been 100 years old yesterday.
Ask yourself Would you really want to be young today. Research has shown that new university graduates in the UK are earning 12 percent less than 2007 leavers and owe about 60% more student debt. They are likely to be 37 before they can afford to buy their first home.
21st November 2013
Doctor Who ?
William Hartnell - The First Dr Who
We are just a few days away from 50 Years of the Doctor. The BBC have launched a range of events and TV specials to celebrate half a decade of Doctor Who. The party is about to reach its climax, as we're just days away from The Day of the Doctor
In the UK, the simulcast will air on BBC One, but there's an even more exciting way to experience The Day of the Doctor. It has been revealed fans around the world can enjoy the episode on the big screen, with UK fanatics able to view it in 3D at selected cinemas.
The BBC has released a synopsis for the 75-minute episode promising everything from Elizabethan murder to ancient space battles.
The official statement said: "The Doctors embark on their greatest adventure in this 50th anniversary special. "In 2013, something terrible is awakening in London's National Gallery; in 1562, a murderous plot is afoot in Elizabethan England; and somewhere in space an ancient battle reaches its devastating conclusion. "All of reality is at stake as the Doctor's own dangerous past comes back to haunt him." Here in Sunny Sussex we have very close links with Dr Who. The first series, which started on 23 November 1963, was written in our neighbouring country of Kent in Herne Bay with William Hartnell cast as the first Doctor. William Hartnell lived in the Sussex village of Mayfield.
Like them or hate them, Monte Python is to get together for a one night show at the O2 center next July. I must admit that l never really got them; maybe I was not clever enough or just not silly enough to understand their jokes. The remaining five Pythons are now all in there seventies.
The Pythons spoke under a banner saying, “One Down, Five to Go,” a reference to the death in 1989 of the sixth Python, Graham Chapman, although they joked that the show could be titled “Two Down, Four to Go” if another of their number passed away before then. Asked why the reunion was being held now, Idle joked: “We’re all trying to pay for Terry Jones’s mortgage” but said that there was no guilt about “milking” the old material. “I think the cow died years ago,” he said. “The last time we milked it was in 1980 - and the time before that, in England, was 40 years ago.”
Monty Python’s Flying Circus was made for TV between 1969 and 1974 and generations of fans can recite lines and whole sketches. The team went on to make films including Monty Python And The Holy Grail (1975) and Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979).
Rule me out l shall not be going, but will stay at home and eat SPAM SPAM SPAM
All Aboard For the Late Night Special
The London Underground will run 24 hours a day at weekends from autumn 2015 giving a huge a boost London’s nightlife, it was announced today. Underground trains will operate round-the-clock on the Piccadilly, Victoria, Central, Jubilee and Northern lines from Friday morning until Sunday night.
18th November 2013
It would seem that a little magic has been worked on Dumbledore aka Perry Thomson who just happens to be Randy Thompson’s Dad. Perry although we always called him Terry and he never batted an eyelid. According to Randy it is our genteel British accent and our P’s & T’s sound the same.
Anyway getting back to Perry (with a P), he has had one or two health issues recently and has just had a spell in ICU. But we are pleased to hear that is behind him now but he does need a little rehab to get his stength up before he heads home.
Hopefully we will see you again in Key West soon.
Great news from Key West, Gordon Ross got his Kickstart funding for his book “Key West Dancing At The End Of The Rainbow “ He got 53 wonderful and supportive backers for his book project. We will keep you posted.
Keep Our Roads Safe
Six cyclists have been killed on the road in London during the last two weeks. Now London cabbies what to see some changes in road signage, scrapping some of the out dated ones such as warnings about horse-drawn vehicles and migratory toads on roads. While introducing warnings about potholes, rickshaws and school run congestion zones.
And Highway Code updates that cabbies suggest include bans on texting, wearing killer heels and relying on Google Maps while driving. Nearly 600 London black cab drivers - famous for their forthright views - were asked about new ways of improving road safety.
An overwhelming 79 per cent wanted the minimum driving age upped to 18 and more than half, 56 per cent, think new drivers should face a night time curfew. Nearly three quarters, 73 per cent, think elderly drivers should have to re-sit their test at the age of 70, while 55 per cent want jaywalking, or wreckless road crossing by pedestrians, made illegal in the UK, as it is in the US.
All American Boy
Steve Grand maxed out his credit card to produce and sing in this video, but it seems his risk paid off. Steve Grand became a viral superstar when the video for his song “All-American Boy” exploded on YouTube in July. With its poignant tale of unrequited love—and undressed torsos—it amassed over a million views in eight days, a number that has since more than doubled, with many a thumbs up and tongue out. That put the talented Grand in the spotlight as an openly gay country star
16th November 2013
Yesterday was the BBC’s telethon raising money for Children in Need. Over £ 31 million was raised in pledges from the British public. Since 1980 it has raised over £600 million to change the lives of disabled children and disadvantaged young people in the UK.
Edward Prince of Wales and Playboy in 1919
Our Royal playboy Edward VIII’s reckless weakness for risky affairs has been laid bare in an extraordinary expletive-ridden letter to a mistress long before he abdicated the throne to wed divorcee Wallis Simpson. Two decades earlier he was in the throes of another illicit liaison – with the wife of an MP. At the height of their five-year romance, he wrote to socialite Freda Dudley Ward to say “how madly happy” he would be to see her again.
The letter written in May 1919 is to be sold at auction, the auctioneer selling the letter says, “Edward gets a little bit carried away. “The result makes for quite cringey reading, peppered with terms of endearment like sweetheart and darling.” The then Prince of Wales is replying to a note from Freda, wife of Liberal MP William Dudley Ward – asking when she can see him again.
In his mid-20s at the time, he uses his middle name David, ignores the basic rules of grammar, and expresses his eagerness by using swear words, which he blanks out. “It’s so so divine of you wanting your little David to come and you just can’t think how happy you’ve made him belov’d one and how much it makes him love and adore you,” he writes. “I only wish I could come earlier but I’m told the (blank) opera can’t be over before 11.30 so it can’t be helped tho. I do say (blank)!!!!
“So till midnight Fredie darling darling tho it’s a shame to keep you up so late tho how madly happy I am, how I’m looking forward to ‘after the opera’ when I shall sleep and probably snore!!”
The affair ended in 1923, but Freda remained a friend until 1936, when Edward gave up the throne. The letter is expected to fetch £1,800 at auction
Plasma screen TVs, four-poster beds and spa treatments paint the picture of a perfect getaway.
But the luxurious touches of one hotel in Yorkshire are aimed at guests of the furry feline variety.
The Ings Luxury Cat Hotel has everything from TVs playing virtual fish tanks and bird scenes to outdoor balconies and an a la carte menu for discerning pets. Each themed suite has been individually designed to keep cats entertained, while owners are updated with their progress via emails and postcards . Extras can include massages and even bed time stories read in front of virtual log fires.
Jo, who will run the 12-suite cattery with help from her 12-year-old daughter, has spent months visiting catteries, vets and experts in preparation. She said: “It’s not for higher class cats at all, it’s for people that just want confidence in knowing that when they go away on holiday their pet will have a better break than themselves. They will be pampered, enjoy coming and probably not want to go home.” Purrr fect
14th November 2013
Happy Birthday Prince Charles
Prince Charles is 65 today and for most people that would signal the end of one's working life and hopefully the chance to begin a long and happy retirement. But then, Prince Charles is not most people and the "job" he was born to take on is a unique one. Unlike the Queen, who had to demonstrate wisdom beyond her years when she acceded the throne aged just 25, Prince Charles has had to live most of his life preparing for the day he will be King. At times that may well have been frustrating, but it has also allowed him to speak out on matters which are important to him in a way that he would not been allowed to do had he been King.
Although he is not King he has started to take on more Royal duties that the Queen is finding harder to fulfil. At the age of 87 she is cutting back on long haul travel and jobs requiring physical exersion. For the first time since 1973 the Queen will not attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting which is being held in Ski Lanka, Charles will preside in her place,
Now officially a pensioner and entitled to his state pension, he will be donating it to an unnamed charity supporting older people.
Terrence Higgins Trust is calling on gay and bisexual men to help halt the spread of HIV by making a small pledge of support on its new ‘It Starts With Me’ website.
Pledges can include pre-written statements, personal stories, photos or videos, all of which will come together to form an online wall of community voices. There is an option to remain anonymous, while another allows people to share pledges with their friends on Facebook.
The initiative is part of this year’s National HIV Testing Week, which runs 22 to 29 November.
Do Not Enter If You Are Gay
A new satirical video features a machine to detect the sexuality of travellers into the Gulf States, in order to block gay people from entering those countries. This follows the news that the Health Ministry of Kuwait’s last month proposal that genetic tests fimmigrant workers in countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, be tightened to prevent transgender migrants from entering the job market there.
That news followed an announcement that Doctors in Kuwait and other GCC countries may subject men entering the county to screening tests in order to attempt to “detect”, and ban gay people from entering.
12th November 2013
London is full of tradition and pageantry one such event is the Lord Mayor’s show. Thanks to the ancient and justified concern of King John, every newly-elected Lord Mayor is required to leave the safety of the City of London, travel upriver to distant Westminster and swear loyalty to the Crown.
Over the centuries this inconvenient journey became one of London's favourite rituals. It moved from river barges to horseback and then into the magnificent State Coach, and around it grew the rowdy and joyful medieval festival that became known as the Lord Mayor's Show.
Lets make it clear, the Lord Mayor is the Lord Mayor of the City of London a small area of London that is now the commercial centre, as opposed to the Mayor of London who is the Mayor of Greater London a post that has only existed since 2000, whereas the post of Lord Mayor of London dates back to 1189.
Alderman Fiona Woolf was elected as the 686th Lord Mayor of London and only the second woman to take the role in the 800 year history. The new Mayor travelled down the river Thames on board the royal row-barge Gloriana accompanied by a flotilla of Thames cutters. Tower Bridge was raised in salute as the boat. She then disembarked at HMS President in Wapping alighting onto the magnificent state coach and joining the traditional procession of carriages and floats through the streets of the Square Mile. This year's Lord Mayor's Show once again culminated in a fireworks display, reinstated after a year's absence.
Sean Conway an adventurer has made history by swimming the length of Britain. Sean left Cornwall on June 30 and swam along the west coast to the most northerly point of the mainland, from Land's End to John O'Groats. As he crossed the finish line, he said the experience was a dream come true.
He braved cold waters, jellyfish stings and even sea sickness to complete the estimated 900-mile route.
He originally planned on doing the swim in two months, but bad weather and injury took its toll, he averaged around 10 miles a day and slept mainly on a support yacht or o accommodation ashore.
As we remember our war heroes on Remembrance Day producers of Brad Pitt’s new movie provoked outrage when they filmed Nazi war scenes in an English village. American director David Ayer staged pre-dawn explosions and had extras act out battle scenes dressed as Nazis as the rest of the UK readied itself to honour the nation’s fallen heroes,. Bosses behind the film, Fury, reportedly refused to stop filming over the weekend, despite a plea from local residents.
A Russian performance artist nailed his genitals to the ground outside Moscow's Red Square in protest over Russia's "police state" as the country marked national police day.
A video shows naked Pyotr Pavlensky sitting on Russia's most famous square just outside the Kremlin on Sunday afternoon after nailing himself to the ground. Police first took him to the hospital and then into their custody.
11am 11Day 11Month
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Remember those that lost thier lives so that we could be free.
Key West Dancing At The End Of The Rainbow
My first visit to Key West was in the mid seventies of which l remember very little as l was working on a cruise ship at the time. What l do remember was the wonderful and quirky people that l met and being lied, that is being given Lei of frangipani my favorite flower. It was not until sometime later that l revisited, by then it was the mid eighties and as you know have not been able to keep away from the Island Paradise since then,
Some people have been lucky enough to live in Key West since the seventies. One such person is Gordon Ross, not only has he lived through the evolution of Key West from those heady gay days of the 70’s but he has also written a column in Conch Color relaying what it was like to rub shoulders with the likes of Tennessee Williams and Leonard Bernstein, experience The Monster Disco and the days of Larry Formica at La Te Da.
Gordon has been encouraged to bring his experiences and photos together in a book and so... Key West Dancing At The End Of The Rainbow was born and brings all of this alive through photos generously donated by one of his best friends, John "Ma" Evans and other Key West locals that shared the amazing experience of living in Key West during the 1970s and 80s.
You too can also share in the experience. The book is ready to be laid to bed, the only part left is the book needs the funds to be graphically laid out and the first printing done for its release. This is where you can help along the way. Just go to the crowdfunding site KICKSTARTER and give Gordon a helping hand.
Diary of a Teenage Boy
The Bieber Boy has been at it again, this time he has been charged with illegally spraying graffiti in Rio de Janeiro. Defacing buildings is a crime in Brazil punishable by up to one year in jail or a fine.
However officials described the case involving Justin Bieber as "a minor offence". Brazilian newspapers also reported that the star traipsed from hotel to hotel, ending up in a private mansion on Saturday night with 30 girls after being chucked out of top luxury hotel, the Copacabana Palace, for bringing two girls back with him on Friday night.
On the subject of young peoples antics, a community maze is to be locked at night after dozens of naked revellers were caught using it as a party venue. The novelty "labyrinth" in the seaside resort of Aberystwyth, West Wales, consists of 720 separate waist-high wooden posts linked by one mile of rope threaded between them, so getting lost is not an option. Getting naked, however, is another matter, according to one resident who wrote to the town council to complain in a letter read out at its last meeting. It claimed up to 50 revellers, believed to be university students, were caught running around inside the maze in a naked or semi-naked state.
6th November 2013
Lewes Town Bonfire Night
Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason, why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, guy, t'was his intent
To blow up king and parliament.
Three score barrels were laid below
To prove old England's overthrow.
By God's mercy he was catch'd
With a darkened lantern and burning match.
So, holler boys, holler boys, Let the bells ring.
Holler boys, holler boys, God save the king.
And what shall we do with him?
March down Lewes High Street
And so once again it is that time of year when Lewes here in East Sussex sometimes known at the Bonfire Capital of the World attracts over 30,000 visitors for the annual bonfire night celebrations. It is not an event for the feint hearted and indeed can be quiet a dangerous experience. This year 86 people were treated by the Ambulance service although thankfully only four were taken to hospital and there were no serious injuries. Following last years event visitors were advised to wear eye and ear protection after two people lost their eyesight in an accident.
In 1605, thirteen young men planned to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Among them was
Guy Fawkes, Britain's most notorious traitor.
After Queen Elizabeth I died in 1603, English Catholics who had been persecuted under her rule had hoped that her successor, James I, would be more tolerant of their religion. James I had, after all, had a Catholic mother. Unfortunately, James did not turn out to be more tolerant than Elizabeth and a number of young men, 13 to be exact, decided that violent action was the answer.
A small group took shape, under the leadership of Robert Catesby. Catesby felt that violent action was warranted. Indeed, the thing to do was to blow up the Houses of Parliament. In doing so, they would kill the King, maybe even the Prince of Wales, and the Members of Parliament who were making life difficult for the Catholics. Today these conspirators would be known as extremists, or terrorists.
To carry out their plan, the conspirators got hold of 36 barrels of gunpowder - and stored them in a cellar, just under the House of Lords.
But as the group worked on the plot, it became clear that innocent people would be hurt or killed in the attack, including some people who even fought for more rights for Catholics. Some of the plotters started having second thoughts. One of the group members even sent an anonymous letter warning his friend, Lord Monteagle, to stay away from the Parliament on November 5th. Was the letter real?
The warning letter reached the King, and the King's forces made plans to stop the conspirators.
Guy Fawkes, who was in the cellar of the parliament with the 36 barrels of gunpowder when the authorities stormed it in the early hours of November 5th, was caught, tortured and executed.
According to the dictionary, a faggot is either a traditional British dish made with chopped liver offal, a bundle of twigs used to burn heretics or a derogatory term for a homosexual.
Unfortunately for the manufacturers of Mr Brain’s Faggots, the social networking site Facebook has adopted the latter definition.
Mr Brain’s, which began making faggots in Bristol in 1935, says attempts to promote its product have been blocked and Facebook users who have mentioned them have had their accounts suspended.
The company has now appealed to the social networking site asking it to stop banning people from using their product’s name.
A spokeswoman for Mr Brain’s said when it tries to post an advert on the site the word faggots is always blocked.
She said: “We’re really sympathetic to Facebook’s need to monitor offensive words, but in the UK faggots are a favourite meal amongst lots of families.
My Butcher here in Sunny Sussex is Mr Brain, who is a decentant of Brian’s Faggot family.
4th November 2013
Yesterday was the annual veteran car rally from London to Brighton. Every year the Royal Automobile Club's annual Veteran Car Run the cars leave Hyde Park in central London and travel the 60 miles to the seafront at Brighton here in Sunny Sussex. It is the longest running motoring event in the world, and attracts entrants from across the globe. Around 500 eligible pre-1905 cars take part each year.
Dog Fit for a Queen
As we all know the Queen’s favorite breed of dog is the Pembrokeshire Corgi.
Known for their short legs and yappy voices, the herding dogs have been favoured by the British monarchy since the 1930s and the queen, 87, has raised dozens herself.
Britain's Kennel Club breeders' association has warned. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is at risk of disappearing. The Kennel Club said that with just 241 Pembroke Welsh Corgis registered in Britain this year, the breed is on its "at watch" list and is set to be classed as a "vulnerable native breed" by January. It looks unlikely to reach the 300 registrations needed to stay off the vulnerable native breeds list.
The queen currently has two corgis, Holly and Willow, as well as two dorgis -- a cross-breed of dachshund and corgi -- named Candy and Vulcan, according to the monarchy's official website.
Strictly Ben Cohen
Rugby star Ben Cohen who is currently starring in “Strictly Come Dancing” did a stunning Pasa Doble stripped down to the waist on this week’s show. He has also been stripped down for his StandUp Foundation’s 2014 charity calendar. The Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation aims to tackle bullying and homophobia.
The calendar is available to purchase at the World Shop site, and all purchases of StandUp branded merchandise directly benefit the anti-bullying work and grants of the Foundation.
A London family was forced to leave home after discovering dozens of the world’s deadliest spiders on some Sainsbury’s bananas.
Mother Consi Taylor told of her horror after strange spots on her banana started dropping off as she was eating it and “scurrying” away.
But when she sent a picture of the spiders to a pest control firm, the family was ordered to leave their house in Hampton immediately and told it could be infested by lethal Brazilian Wandering Spiders.
According to the Guinness World Records, the spider has the most toxic venom on Earth. When she took the £1 Colombian Fair Trade bananas back to Sainsbury’s they were initally only offered a £10 voucher. Sainsbury’s, which has since paid for the £1,000 cost of their hotel stay, dry cleaning and fumigation, has now apologised to the family.
2nd November 2013
Toilet facilities are always a bit of a problem at large public events, but it would seem that the problem was solved at this years Fantasy Fest, as can be seen here on Petronia Street, or could it be that Bourbon Street is finally having a refit.
It is often thought that Thomas Crapper invented the Water Closet, but in fact this was not the case, however Mr Crapper encouraged everyone to take a crap at
A time when bathroom fixtures were barely spoken of, Crapper heavily promoted sanitary plumbing and pioneered the concept of the bathroom fittings showroom.
The flushing toilet was invented by John Harrington in 1596. Joseph Bramah of Yorkshire patented the first practical water closet in England in 1778. George Jennings in 1852 also took out a patent for the flush-out toilet. In the 1880s, Prince Edward (later Edward VII) purchased his country seat of Sandringham House in Norfolk and asked Thomas Crapper & Co. to supply the plumbing, including thirty lavatories with cedarwood seats and enclosures, thus giving Crapper his first Royal Warrant.
On arrival back in the UK we discover that not even our precious Loo is safe from the grimy hands of the EU (European Union). After research lasting almost three years and costing tens of thousands of pounds, Eurocrats are proposing to standardise lavatory flushes across the Continent. Bog standardisation you might say.
A new Europe-wide advisory standard will set the “euroflush”, as it has been nicknamed, at five litres for lavatories and one litre for urinals, according to draft proposals. Three litres will be permitted for a half-flush.
It is a move that should leave Britons gripping their seat in fear: research shows that lavatories in the UK use more water than those in any other country in Europe. New British cisterns are still allowed to contain up to six litres of water and, in older properties, larger sizes are not uncommon. Now I that am what l call a real load of crap.
Samaritans Celebrate 60 Years
The Samaritans are celebrating their 60th birthday this month. Samaritans is a registered charity aimed at providing emotional support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope, or at risk of suicide throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland, often through their telephone helpline. Samaritans stress that the service it provides is not counselling, and it will not give advice. It is there to listen in a not judgmental way.
Daniel Becomes Sabastian
Daniel Radcliffe - Sebastian Coe
Daniel Radcliffe is to play Sebastian Coe in a film drama about his rivalry with fellow Olympian Steve Ovett. Sebastian Coe, now Lord Coe, famously ran against Steve Ovett in Moscow, the former clinching victory in the 1,500m and Ovett picking up gold in the 800m. Steve Ovett is a Brighton boy from here in Sunny Sussex, his statue stands in Preston Park in Brighton, site of Brighton Pride.
31st October 2013
It was great to spend Fantasy Fest in Key West but we are now back home in not so sunny Sussex, after the weekend of high winds and rain, not much damage in our area but we do have a large piece of tree in our garden that has come down in the storm.
Some guys in Key West really make an effort for Halloween. We were impressed with this house just off Duval Street, it was animated and had sound effects then we were almost knocked off the sidewalk by this gentleman poking through the fence.
Tragic and Triumphant
Newhaven is a rather depressed seaport town here in Sunny Sussex that has been in the news twice this week. On the first occasion sadly because 14-year-old Dylan Alkins was swept out to sea while playing in the surf on Sunday afternoon and lost his life to the sea during the storm.
The second was a much happier occasion when Her Majesty the Queen visited today. Her first stop was to West Quay Fisheries; the dreadful weather did not deter the crowds that turned out to meet her. I hope she had her wellington boots on because beside it pouring with rain outside it is normally swimming with water inside when I go to collect my fish. She and the Duke of Edinburgh came face-to-face with the catch of the day and were shown more than 40 varieties of fish caught off the Sussex coast
The second visit of the day was to a new YHA youth hostel on the Glorious South Downs. She was there to perform the official opening. We visited earlier in the summer when it first opened. It is a really great facility for families and walkers and has a good teashop. The Queen and Prince Philip had a look around the upmarket wooden camping pods at the new £5 million 68-bed hostel
True to form, when Prince Philip was asked if he was having a good visit. "Well, it depends what's a good visit but I'm unlikely to tell you I'm having a bad one," Philip replied.
Then on to Lewes to visit our oldest independently owned brewery dating back to 1790 - Harveys. After a swift pint of South Down Harvest and lunch she was off again to her final visit of the day.
The Keep in Moulscoomb (near Brighton) - it's the new local archive centre opening to the public towards the end of 2013 housing over six miles of archives and resources dating back 900 years.
The Hole Truth
It is official the doughnut originated from Hereford here in the UK. And not from Dutch settlers in the Americas as was originally thought. Historians have discovered that the earliest know recipe for “dow-nuts” is taken from a local cook in The Receipt Book of Baroness Elizabeth Dimsdale C1800 just published by the Herefordshire Record Society
Well it is Saturday afternoon already and getting ready to watch the Parade later this evening. Yesterday has got to be one of the best Masquerade Parades for many a year. The weather was just perfect with a nice breeze to keep everybody in head to toe costumes nice and cool. So many people that we did not catch up with friends until the march had reached Duval and the gaggle congregated in the 800 block.
As always there were some great costumes and l am sure we missed the majority of them. Just loved the straight boys in the beer cartons.
We were told that the Wreckers Party at Island House was one of the best, but as this is really not our scene did not venture in. Instead hung at Bourbon Street, which was busy but very bachelorette.
The lower end of Duval was still very busy at 1.00pm but that is where we had to leave it.
Back home A YouGov poll shows that 57% of people in Britain don’t think that bed and breakfast owners should be allowed to refuse accommodation to people based on their sexuality. A third (33%) believe they should and 11% “don’t know”. In response to the question of whether B&B owners should be allowed to refuse accommodation to people based on their sexuality, 81% of under 24s say they should not, but just 40% of those aged 60 or more agree. Half of those aged 60+ think that B&B owners should be allowed to discriminate against gay couples.
The survey of 4,018 people was carried out ahead of an appeal by B&B owners Peter and Hazelmary Bull. The Christian pair prevented a same-sex couple from sharing a room at their guesthouse in Cornwall in 2008. We are still awaiting the court ruling.
24th October 2013
Reunion of Equatorettes
Clive Hank Mike and Curtis
The Equatorettes - 2004
Yesterday it was a year to the day that the deal was struck for Equator Resort to buy Coral Tree Inn, to celebrate the Occasion Richard Hoy the owner threw a party, it was as a thank you to the guests that have supported him over they year and a few friends were invited along. It was also an impromptu reunion of some of the original Equatorettes.
Way back in the early days of Equator the original Owners John, Steve and Bill along with your truly got together and produced costumes for a number of guests to do a pre- parade stroll down Duval Street, well to be exact it was more of a drunken ramble, with regrouping every few yards for a photo opportunity. It was always a great afternoon.
This week has been a bit of whirl, party after party and no sign of any easing up. Tonight it is Toga party at Equator followed by Exposee at Bourbon Street.
Have you noticed the increase of iguanas around Key West, for almost twenty years we never saw an iguana in Key West that was until the very cold winter of 2010, during the time we saw iguanas that were going into shutdown, apparently, when the temperature drops into the 40s Fahrenheit (5-10 Celsius) these lizards fall into a deep sleep. They turn grey, and their feet lose their ability to grip. Since most of the iguanas are tree dwellers, this results in a large percentage of affected iguanas falling out of their trees. Basically cold weather makes it start to rain iguanas. We saw then almost immobile and even with their tails in swimming pools trying to draw heat from the heated water.
The trip we have seen more of the Critters they are non-native to Florida but are a cross-pollination between stowaways from South American fruit ships and stupid pet owners. They’re not a protected species. One day this week we saw three of them basking in the sun at the cememtry.
Prince George Christened
News from home this week The christening of Prince George took place in the Chapel Royal at St James's Palace in London. The prince, third in line to the throne, was baptised by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The christening was private, with only senior royals, four members of the Middleton family, the seven godparents and their spouses among the 22 guests.
Scary Scary Scary, that’s how it felt to do the Zombie Bike Ride on Sunday. The ride up to Stock Island it rained, which of course added to the Zombie look. Could not believe how many bikes greeted us. Figures vary, but apparently some 7000 people signed up for the ride, others say about four and a half thousand left Stock Island so I guess it was somewhere in between. As the sun started to set the throng of bikes started to leave, it was not so much a ride as a walk and push at this stage. The traffic by this stage had ground to a complete halt and l guess it was quite some time before it finally moved, passengers on the City Bus had the “I only want to get home look” on there faces. Expect they wanted a fare refund too.
Leaving the island as the bikes started to space out a little you could start to ride slowly along, with one or two little stretches where you could actually get your feet off the ground and peddle for a while. But have got to say the domino effect came into play on one or two occasions as one wobbled the next rider went down and you took your life in your hands if you wanted to overtake someone.
As the sun got lower and lower in the sky darkness settle around the 1800 Atlantic block and it the became damn right dangerous as many riders did not even have rear light and it was almost impossible to see your fellow riders at times, the kicked over bollards became another hazard to avoid.
Quite a few folks came off and we saw one small child hit the deck we sincerely hope that no one was seriously injured.
Hitting Duval Street was a huge relief to be back in the light with a little more space to ride.
The Full Moon Last Night
The full moon last night was totally amazing and a great way to kick off Fantasy Fest, did not make it to the Coronation this year but managed to bump into the King and Queen in Bourbon Street later in the evening, well when say bump into them it was really more a case of Queen Diana throwing herself at my feet. Unfortunately Our new Queen missed her step and landed at my feet, mortally wounding me on the way down, well she did dig her nails into my arm.
Congratulations to King Steve and Queen Diane and to the Duke Shane Hill and especially to Duchess Qmitch who worked her ar_e off raising funds for Aids Help, we hear the total raised was well over $200,000. Congratulations to you all.
We eventually made it to Goombay just as they were packing up for the evening, I really don’t know where the time goes to especially when we are on holiday, busy doing nothing.
Daniel Radcliffe in Equus
Daniel Radcliffe has expressed surprise at the attention surrounding gay sex scenes in his latest film Kill Your Darlings, comparing it to a sex scene with a horse in Equus.
Daniel this week spoke out about gay sex scenes in the film Kill Your Darlings, in which he plays gay poet Allen Ginsberg , to say that he has been told gay sex “is really f*cking painful”.
Speaking to The Sun newspaper Radcliffe said: “I f**ked a horse on stage when I was 17 but gay sex is more of a big deal! “One of the reviews I saw very early on called the sex scene ‘graphic’. There’s nothing graphic about it. I mean, you see a bit of bum.”
Back home a unique gay and lesbian wedding show is opening in the heart of London this weekend, aimed at creative, expressive and design-led same-sex couples.
FANTASY FEST HAS BEGUN
18th October 2014
Florida is celebrating 500 years of history. Florida has the longest recorded history of any state in America. Contrary to popular belief, Florida was the first place of European arrival in America. St. Augustine is the oldest city in the U.S. - established 42 years before the English settled Jamestown and 55 years before the Pilgrims arrived in Plymouth.
Prominent historians have stated that the first Thanksgiving took place in Northeast Florida, the first Christmas took place in the Tallahassee area and the Pocohantas story actually happened in Florida with a Spanish explorer and a Native American Tocobaga Princess.
Spaniards were the first Europeans to settle colonies in the new world and several areas in North Florida, including Pensacola, Tallahassee and St. Augustine, this year marks the mark the 500th
anniversary of Ponce de Leon’s arrival and exploration in Florida.
Since our arrival in Key West we have heard of the further decline in Gay Key West. Oasis was sold at the end of last year and was very quickly turned into a straight guest house. Earlier this year we also heard that Big Ruby’s was to be sold to the same consortium and it was believed that Ruby’s was to remain gay. Sadly this is not to be and as soon as Fantasy Fest is over Big Ruby’s will also be turned straight.
Thankfully Equator managed to aquire Coral Tree Inn and during the summer months this has been has been added to Equator and upgraded, the team at Equator have done a great job in transforming their establishment into a great asset for the gay community.
Hopefully Island House, Equator and New Orleans House will continue to serve our community for a long time to come.
An increasing amount of female same-sex couples are undergoing a new IVF procedure which allows both women to share the biological role when having a child. This “two-mom” approach involves one woman’s eggs being mixed in a lab dish with donated sperm and then implanted into the other woman, who carries the pregnancy.
Rumour has it that the Rubber Maids’s cabin trunk is winging its way to Key West as we speak, The girls arrive in person on Monday. Is Big Ruby’s ready for them.
16th October 2014
We have arrived in Key West after an easy trip over the Atlantic. Having landed on American soil we of course have to go through Homeland Security, the system in Miami airport has changed and you are now funneled into a very large immigration hall with a number of other international flights. The system is now much slower, but guess it is a much more efficient use of manpower.
Having cleared immigration Miami airport works like a dream and we are quickly transported to the car hire centre by overhead people mover. In the last few years we have used Enterprise because of the friendly approach they have to their customers. This trip was no exception and the young lady on the desk remembered us from our April trip. The car check in system is now very slick using ipads and you get the final contract as you exit the car park. A fast and great service from Enterprise.
I would say that from clearing customs and immigration we were on the road within 30 minutes.
Last week prior to setting off to America l rang AT&T during and at the end of the call l was reminded not to text and drive as if l could possibly do this it takes me all my time to see the screen and and hit the right letters. Then driving down the keys we are reminded not to text and drive. In the UK it is against the law to use a hand held mobile (cell) phone and quite honestly I have never understood why it is not law here in the US, During our last visit l was cycling alongside a police car and the officer was texting as he went along. Enough said.
It is great to be here and the weather today was simply stunning. This evening we took a cycle ride around the Island, North Roosavelt is still a nightmare, but the ride down south roosavelt in the setting sun was a sheer delight. It is so nice to be back in paradise.
A 37-STONE man was forced to pay for two seats on an airplane from Ireland to the UK. However when he got on the plane he discover that his seats were two rows apart. On his flight over to Ireland he had also been embarrassed when he discovered that his two seats were a window and aisle seat and he had another customer in the centre seat. Opps.
The Annual Attitude Awards took place yesterday evening at the Royal Courts of Justice in London Awards were given to Cher, Alan Turing, Daniel Radcliffe and more. The first ever Attitude Legend Award was given to Cher. On receiving her award, she told the audience of her relationship with her gay fans: ”We’ve had a 50 year relationship…longer than I’ve ever had in my life”. Daniel Radcliffe got the best Actor Award and The third Icon Award was presented posthumously to gay codebreaker and computer genius Alan Turing. It was accepted by two of his nieces, and was presented by the Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow. You may remember I was talking about Alan Turing after a recent visit to his childhood home.
12th October 2013
Well that is what the Vatican was saying last week , now acutely Embarrassed Vatican officials have recalled medals commemorating the first year of Pope Francis’s reign after spelling Jesus’s name wrong. The official Vatican medals went on sale with the son of God’s name spelt as ‘Lesus’ before they were swiftly removed when the spelling error was spotted. Around 6,000 of the gold, silver and bronzed medals, featuring the Pope’s motto on his coat of arms, were created by the Italian State Mint. It says: ‘Jesus therefore sees the tax collector, and since he sees by having mercy and by choosing, he says to him, follow me.’ The Vatican said only four of the medals had been sold after going on sale this week, with experts predicting them to soar in value due to their rarity.
All of the coins are numbered and come with a certificate of authenticity from the Vatican.
You have to hand it to Pope Francis. He certainly isn’t afraid of changing the Vatican’s tone on gay issues. His latest move: writing a letter to a group of Italian gay Catholics, assuring them of his blessing. The gay Catholic group Kairos of Florence wrote the pope in June, asking that the Church recognize them as people and not as a category. The group apparently had sent multiple letters to the Vatican in the past, but had never, in the words of one Kairos member, “ever even given a nod of response.” This time, however, they got one: a letter written personally by the pope.
Dustin Black & Tom Daley
Openly gay Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black and openly straight Olympic diver Tom Daley were spotted last week leaving The Coffee Bean in Hollywood . Tom Daley recently came into the closet as an avowed heterosexual. Were they meeting to discuss a secret film project? Or has Tom had a change of heart and was seeking coming out advice in anticipation of National Coming Out Day?
Ben Cohan & Robin Windsor
Britain is gripped by the latest series of “Strictly Come Dancing” the British eqivilent to “Dancing with the Stars”. One of the contestants this year is International Rugby player Ben Cohan. Ben who is married and has twin daughters is a staunch supporter of gay rights. He is retiring from Ruby but is setting up a foundation to tackle homophobia and bullying. Ben, who is a gay pin-up will run the Ben Cohen Stand Up Foundation.
However Ben isn’t just a fair-weather ally. This week, he revealed that he wanted to be one half of the first same sex couple on Strictly Come Dancing, The Mirror newspaper reported that the sports god originally wanted to be paired with Ballroom dance professional Robin Windsor, but settled for Kristina Rihanoff instead because she’s “easier to pick up.” “I like to break down stereotypes,” he said. “I’ve no qualms dancing with a woman or a man.” When probed about Cohen’s wishful thinking, Robin Windsor told reporters that “He kept saying to me, ‘I hope they put me with you.’”
We’re sad to say it did’nt happen because Robin Windsor would have looked pretty fine in the arms of Ben Cohen. Let’s hope Strictly Come Dancing catches on to all the buzz and sets them up with a special one-off same-sex tango.
Talking of Rugby, You might have thought Dieux du Stade’s calendar was the be-all, end-all of hot rugby calendars? Then you haven’t seen Britain’s Sheffield Hallam University jocks.
The week we celebrated seven years of our Civil Partnership, where on earth have those seven years slipped. On the morning of our anniversary we were woken to an article in the newspaper that said that the number of gay “divorces” has risen by 20 per cent in the past year as the first couples to opt for a civil partnership hit the seven-year itch. There were 794 dissolutions, with experts saying that couples were as likely as their straight counterparts to suffer the seven-year itch.
However, the dissolution rate for civil partnerships is far below the divorce rate. Forty-two per cent of marriages break up, whereas about 4 per cent of civil partnerships have failed to go the distance so far.
More women want to end their civil partnerships than men — a similar pattern to marriage. By the end of last year, 6.1 per cent of female civil partnerships had ended, compared with 3.2 per cent of male partnerships.
There were 7,037 new civil partnerships last year, a 3.6 per cent rise on the previous year that takes the total number to 60,454, since the first ceremonies in 2004. The number far exceeds the projections made by the Government at the time that the Bill was passed — minister’s forecast fewer than 90,000 people would be in partnerships by 2050.
Gay rights campaigners said the increase in gay couples seeking permanence in their relationships bodes well for the introduction of gay marriage.
DAN COPE NAKED SKY DIVE
Dan Cope has thanked the gay community for supporting him in his efforts to do a charitable naked skydive. Dan Cope says he’s been inundated with donations after PinkNews reported on his challenge last month “To say the response to the skydive has been good would be an understatement. I wildly underestimated the kindness and generosity of people, and I’m overwhelmed by the response I’ve had. It’s touching that not just friends and family, but complete strangers from several different countries would pledge so much. Thank you all so much!”
Dan promised to parachute out of plane naked at 10,000ft, in the freezing cold, providing he could raise £500 in sponsorship for his chosen charity, The Donna Louise Children’s Hospice. Dan has raised £1,280 so farr– well over double the initial target.
“There is no doubt in my mind that the national and international LGBT community have played a massive part in the success of this fund-raising activity,” adding: “It is truly awe-inspiring to be backed by organisations such as PinkNews. To see donations coming in from as far as the USA and Canada just shows how giving people can be for a good cause.”
The money raised will be used to build a playground for the children of the hospice.
To donate to Dan’s challenge click here.
DONT FORGET - POT BELLY
Having a pot belly makes you nearly FOUR times more likely to suffer from memory loss People with lots of abdominal fat have lower levels of a protein called PPARalpha in their brains and livers - increasing the risk of memory loss.This is because the protein controls memory and learning. The finding could lead to the development of injections to treat dementia
7th October 2013
Kiri te Kanawa as Dame Nelly Melba
Kiri Te Kanawa may be from New Zealand, but she lives just down the road here in Sunny Sussex. This week she played the part of Dame Nelly Melba in Downton Abbey. She appeared to sing for a house party being hosted at Downton. I am a fan of Downton Abbey, but the third episode in the new series just did not do it for me. It felt like a fill in to bolster the current run. Very slow from the start and did not really peak when Dame Kiri sang for her supper as you were led to believe.
In reality the real Dame Nellie, was an old soak who would never have tolerated being treated as a tradesperson and the dedicated professional that she was, it is highly unlikely that she would have touched throat-desiccating alcohol just before singing.
During her life she had four recipes created in her honour by French chef Auguste Escoffier: Peach Melba dessert, Melba sweet purée of raspberries and redcurrant, Melba toast, and Melba Garniture (chicken, truffles and mushrooms stuffed into tomatoes)
Peach Melba as l remember it being prepared as a catering student in the 70’s
Football at the Palace
Don't break my granny's windows!’ William hosts the first ever football match to be held at Buckingham Palace (and the half-time oranges are delivered on silver platters)
Prince William heralded the first ever football match to be held at Buckingham Palace with a stern warning today. 'I cannot tell you how excited I am that later today we will be playing football on my grandmother’s lawn. One warning, though: if anyone breaks a window, you can answer to her,' he joked. William was given the run of Buckingham Palace in his role as President of the Football Association by his grandmother, the Queen, who has herself been patron of the organisation for 61 years, for an event to mark its 150th anniversary.
78 DAYS TO CHRISTMAS
Shoppers caught their first glimpse of the Oxford Street lights this morning after the elves were at work erecting the lights during the night – with 78 days still to go until Christmas. The £1 million “snowstorm” design is the result of a six-month competition run by the New West End Company, which attracted entries from around the world. The lights will be officially lit next month.
If you are thinking if visiting Kuwait, think twice. Kuwait will conduct medical screening tests to "detect" homosexuals who attempt to get into the Gulf kingdom, according to a senior official.
Yousouf Mindkar, director of public health at the Kuwaiti health ministry, said that the routine clinical screening of expatriates coming into the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) would include tests to identify LGBT people who will then be banned from entering the country.
SEX IN A BOX
Sex in a box - believe it or not couples are to have sex in a box on TV then come out and talk about it straight away. The latest TV shows from Channel Four. I think l would much rather watch “Four in a Bed” not what you think at all. In this show four sets of bed and breakfast owners visit their opponents establishments before passing judgement and popping cash in an envelope for the amount they think their stay is worth. At the end of the week the amount of cash collected is calculated as a percentage of what the rooms sell for and the highest percentage wins. Believe me it can get very down and dirty at times.
5th October 2013
Leeds Civic Hall - LIGHT NIGHT
Wow just look at what they did to Leeds Civic Hall last night. No it was not a celebration of Gay Pride. It was Leeds Light night . Yesterday for just one night, the city’s artists and performers got together to transform the familiar streets and buildings in an unforgettable evening of exhibitions, installations and events. The theme for Light Night was – Light Night Circus. Many of the installations and events reflected the circus theme with many people feeling free to join in by dressing up with your best circus outfits, from clowns to clairvoyants, sword swallowers to snake charmers and ropewalkers to ringmasters
Say Your Gay
Three quarters of a million adults in Britain — only 1.5 per cent — say they are gay, lesbian or bisexual, according to official figures published yesterday. Men are twice as likely as women to describe themselves as such, and young people are more likely than the older generation to say they are gay, lesbian or bisexual. When the Government passed legislation allowing civil partnership, it was estimated that the figure was about 6 per cent of Britons were gay. However it is a far cry from being gay and telling an official survey that you are gay. Younger people are much more at ease stating that they are gay, but for the older generation who were around when it was illegal to carry out homosexual acts in the UK it is much harder.
The ONS survey provided an estimate based on responses from 340,000 individuals. But as the survey mostly questioned the head of the household it probably underestimates the number of young people living in households who are gay. I think that we are fairly safe in saying that the number of Gays in the UK is fair higher than 1.5%. I don’t think we are going to run out of supplies anytime in the future.
"Grandfather Of The Year."
Surely this man deserves to be named "Grandfather Of The Year." Following the letter he wrote to his daughter when she had thrown her son out, after he had decided to come out of the closet and announce he was gay. Yes he is not the first, nor will he be the last to find his self in this position, but how fortunate to have such a supportive Granddad.
Is Fort Lauderdale the Gayest Town in the USA, well it certainly seems so. Recently released data from the 2012 U.S. Census revealed which cities have the highest concentration of same-sex couple households (among cities with a population of 65,000 or above). The surprising frontrunner? Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where same-sex couples makes up a whopping 2.8 percent of total households.
San Francisco has now slipped into third place, with Seattle creeping in to second place.
3rd October 2013
On The Slide
MARGATE is a rather crumbling seaside town along the coast in our adjoining county of Kent. Some would say that the housing market is on the slide.
This mid-19th century house was compulsorily purchased by Thanet District Council after being empty for 11 years, but now a young artist has transformed it into a unique art form by making it look like the facade has slipped into the front garden.
Part of the upper floor of the four-storey property is exposed as curving bricks, windows and a door below give the illusion that the front of the house is sliding away.
Artist Alex Chinneck, 28, started the £100,000 ($ 160,000) project, called 'From the knees of my nose to the belly of my toes', at the end of August.
Ten companies donated their materials, manufacturing capabilities and professional services to build the sliding façade. Mr Chinneck, who lives in Hackney, east London, said: 'This idea was completely self-initiated. Initially I wanted to do it in London and I wrote to various people to try to get it off the ground.
'I was offered a huge number of properties, including a multi-storey car park, but I then decided I wanted to do it in Margate because I was excited by the arrival of the Turner Contemporary art gallery.
The derelict four-storey house will be brought back into use at the end of the yearlong public art exhibition
The Right To Live The Right to Die
We heard this week that a transsexual has been helped to die by doctors in Belgium, after a series of failed sex-change operations. Nathan Verhelst, born a girl, asked for help to end his life on grounds of psychological suffering. He died in a Brussels hospital on Monday. Two doctors concluded the 44-year-old did not have temporary depression. His case received scant media coverage.
Belgium legalised euthanasia in 2002. There were 52 cases of euthanasia on psychological grounds last year. "He died in all serenity," doctor Wim Distlemans told a Belgian newspaper.
Nathan Verhelst was born Nancy into a family of three boys. The newspaper, which said it had spoken to him on the eve of his death, reported that he had been rejected by his parents who had wanted another son. He had three operations to change sex between 2009 and 2012. "The first time I saw myself in the mirror I felt an aversion for my new body” How Sad.
The number of people opting for euthanasia in Belgium has risen steadily since legalisation. Most candidates are over 60 years old and have cancer. Voluntary euthanasia for those over 18 is relatively uncontroversial in Belgium. Parliament is now considering expanding the law to under 18s as well.
Patients must be capable of deciding for themselves. They must be conscious and have to give a "voluntary, considered and repeated" request to die.
The President of the Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, has said that his country will leave the Commonwealth just days after he told the United Nations General Assembly that gays and those who promote homosexuality want to end human existence. He had previously claimed to have invented a cure for HIV/ AIDS.
A What Prize
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize – despite presiding over a rolling back of LGBT and human rights in recent years.
Is This Gay or Just Colourful
Meanwhile it would appear that the German Olympic team is blowing a raspberry at the Russians. Their uniform has been unveiled this week and features multicoloured jackets, not dissimilar to the design of the rainbow flag. Designer Willy Bogner, in association with Adidas, created the uniforms. He said he wanted to pay homage to the 1972 Munich Summer Games. He said he aimed for a ”celebratory design, inspired by the great atmosphere of the times.”
Some took to Twitter, however, to deem the uniforms as “a rainbow patter”, and a “clear political statement”. One Twitter user said the design “looks great, like a gay and lesbian pride parade.” Another disputed the aesthetics of the design, however, saying: “Extremely hideous — but a well-intentioned move supporting the rights of gays and lesbians”.
The Olympic flame was last weekend lit in Greece, and the International Olympic Committee’s new president gave repeated reassurances, ahead of February’s Sochi Winter Olympics which have been surrounded by controversy over the Russian anti-gay laws.
30th September 2013
As we wandered around St Leonards on Sea here in Sunny Sussex we wandered of the beaten track and came across an area we had never seen before. The Baston area of St Leonards was the inspiration of James Burton, (1761 - 1837) and was subsequently enlarged by his son Decimus, (1800 -1881) both father and Son being famous as architects in Bloomsbury (London), in Tunbridge Wells and elsewhere. Founded in 1828, as an example of regency Town Planning and Garden Landscaping, it is unique. In 1967 over-ambitious expansion schemes lead to the demolition of listed buildings and the destruction of the character of the area known as "Little Bloomsbury by the sea". The Burtons St Leonards Society was founded to stop the threat. Their campaign, backed by various organisations like the Civic Trust, the Georgian Group and Hastings Borough Council, resulted in the designation of the conservation area in 1969. So a lot of the area has been preserved and continues to be restored.
From the North Lodge you look down over the beautifully restored St Leonards Gardens - Originally laid out as a private garden for the Burton family, later bought by the council and restored with the aid of a Heritage Lottery Grant.
Walking further up the hill we came across a famous blue plaque. These plaques are placed on building to acknowledge that famous people once lived there. On this occasion it was Alan Turing's childhood home. I have mentioned Alan Turin before he was cryptographer that worked at Blotchy park and was instrumental in breaking the Enigma codes during the second world war. He was widely considered to be the father of computer science and artificial intelligence.
He was also gay.
Alan Turing was also a keen runner and achieved world-class Marathon standards. His best time of 2 hours, 46 minutes, 3 seconds, was only 11 minutes slower than the winner in the 1948 Olympic Games.
Despite his effort I helping to win the war Turing's homosexuality resulted in a criminal prosecution and loss of security clearance in 1952, when homosexual acts were still illegal in the United Kingdom. He accepted treatment with female hormones (chemical castration) as an alternative to prison. Turing died in 1954, just over two weeks before his 42nd birthday, from cyanide poisoning. An inquest determined that his death was suicide; his mother and some others believed his death was accidental. On 10 September 2009, following an Internet campaign, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made an official public apology on behalf of the British government for "the appalling way he was treated." In May 2012, a private member's bill was put before the House of Lords to grant Turing a statutory pardon. In July 2013 it gained government support
...a quite brilliant mathematician... whose unique contribution helped to turn the tide of war... horrifying that he was treated so inhumanely...
Personal statement of apology by the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, 10 September 2009.
28th September 2013
The Bay Psalm Book
America's First book is to go under the hammer shortly and is expected to fetch $30 million.
The Bay Psalm Book was the first book printed in British North America. When the Pilgrims arrived from England and settled in Massachusetts they brought with them an early printing press. The early residents of the Massachusetts Bay Colony also brought with them several books of psalms, but were evidentially dissatisfied with the translation from Hebrew and wished for some that were closer to the original. They hired "thirty pious and learned Ministers" to undertake a new translation. The tunes to be sung to the new translations were the familiar ones from their existing psalters. The psalms are not longer in general use but some of the tunes still are.
Eleven copies of the first edition of the Bay Psalm Book are known still to exist. One of these is in the Library of Congress, one is owned by Yale University, one by Harvard University, one by Brown University, one by the American Antiquarian Society, one by the Rosenbach Museum & Library, and two, housed in the Rare Book Collection at the Boston Public Library, are owned by Old South Church in Boston Only five of the copies are in complete condition. Old South Church announced plans in December 2012 to sell one of its two copies of the Psalm Book, it is this book that is to be auctioned by Sotherby's.
The current title-holder for the world's most expensive printed book is James Audubon's Birds of America, which sold at Sotheby's in London in 2010 for £7.3 million ($11.7 million). The Bay Psalm Book will be auctioned at the company's New York auction house on November 26.
Gambia's President has used his address to the United Nations General Assembly to attack gay people, calling homosexuality one of the three "biggest threats to human existence". President Yahya Jammeh said homosexuality, greed and obsession with world domination "are more deadly than all natural disasters put together."
President Yahya Jammeh said in 2007 he had found a remedy of boiled herbs to cure AIDS, stirring anger among Western medical experts who claimed he was giving false hope to the sick. This week he said AIDS patients would be offered the herbal cure at a 1,111-bed hospital in Gambia that he plans to build despite medical concerns the treatment is dangerous.
Naked Sky Dive
Dan Cope a council worker from North Staffordshire is prepared to brave freezing conditions in just his birthday suit by leaping out of a plane at 10,000ft.
Dan said: "I have decided to revive the tradition amongst the skydiving community of doing the 100th jump naked. I'm trying to raise as much money as I can for The Donna Louise Children's Hospice, so to encourage people I've issued a challenge. I'll do my jump in my boxers, but if I can get more than £500 in sponsorship, then I'll jump naked and be filmed.
With temperatures around -30 degrees C Dan thinks it's going to be very uncomfortable, and that he probably won't be looking my best.
UPDATE FROM DAN : Thank you so much for the phenomenal support, from friends and strangers, all epic sponsors!! It's a long shot, but, if I manage to raise £1000, the video of the skydive will be uploaded online...goodbye any chance of a career...
Tesco's Gay Best Friend
Supermarket giant Tesco has been forced to apologise for selling an inflatable "gay best friend" figure. The doll was advertised on its website with the description "gay best friends are in this season." The supermarket said it had now removed the "offensive" item.
A description for the "gay best friend" doll said the "amusing gift" was suitable for children aged three to four. It added: "If Sex in the City and Will & Grace taught us anything, it's that gay best friends are in this season.
26th September 2013
Village hall tells bondage club to get knotted
Most villages around the UK have a village hall, these range from simple wooden huts to beautiful purpose build centers for the community. Village halls are used for a variety of events for the community. They are normally run by a committee or a group of trustees and can be hired by the hour, session or day.
There is the normal run of events each week, Women’s Institute meetings, Scouts and Guides, oldies Bingo, youth clubs and such, so you get the picture.
So when the trustees of Trumpington Village Hall rented out their premises for a “relationship support” meeting, they clearly thought the day would feature nothing more exciting than the usual run of meetings. The good people of Trumptington were in for a shock when the Relationship support turned out to be, spanking classes and bondage lessons. There were also classes, which included instruction in domination, “wax play” and “orgasm denial”. The good people of Trumptington have now told the Bondage Club to get knotted and have cancelled their booking as the hall was hired under false pretences.
Next month’s event, organised by the group Peer Rope Cambridge (PRC), was due to have included a series of workshops including “spanking and impact play”, “kink on a budget” and “flogging”. Community listings for the event promised advice on “violence/resistance play” and the “basics of erotic hypnosis”, as well as tips on how to “truly get a bottom’s attention with canes”. The “kink on a budget” session was going to focus on “BDSM (Bondage & Discipline, Dominance & Submission), without breaking the bank”.
Participants were told “Mistress Bond” would lead “a group discussion on how to ensure your sessions go with a bang!”.
The online programme for the October 12 event, which was due to cost £10, ended with the note: “We’d very much appreciate it if you could help us to pack up — stack chairs, collapse tables. “ Our maid for the day, Sarah, serves tea, coffee and biscuits.”
The Bush's Support Gay Marriage
Former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara were official witnesses of a same-sex marriage between two women at the weekend.
The former first couple witnessed the private ceremony in Kennebunk, Maine, between Bonnie Clement and Helen Thorgalsen.
Ms Clement posted a photograph on her Facebook page of President Bush, 89, signing a piece of paper as the couple, who are close friends of Mr and Mrs Bush, watched and held champagne glasses. The couple own H.B. Provisions, a general store, a few miles from the former president’s compound in Kennebunkport. Maine is one of 13 states that allows gay marriage.
The Bush’s appear to be strong supporters of Gay marriage. In 2011 the Bush’s Daughter also called Barbara said, “I am Barbara Bush, and I am a New Yorker for marriage equality. New York is about fairness and equality. And everyone should have the right to marry the person that they love.”
Fancy a bit of porridge, well from next February you will be able to do just that. Brixham prison is flinging open its doors to the public when they open a public restaurant manned by the inmates in a scheme to equip them to work in catering after their release from klink. Well the doors will not be quiet wide open as members of the public will have to undergo strict security checks on entering and leaving the prison just in case they decide to enter with a file for carving the joint.
23rd September 2013
Cornish Tin Mine
Since the Bronze age, tin has been mined in Devon and Cornwall, this came to an end in 1998 when the last tin mine closed as it became uneconomic to extract tin from the ground. In 2006 Western Union Mines was granted a licence to search for tin, zinc and other metals in the South Crofty Mine. The company struck gold and concluded that there may be millions of pounds worth of gold down them there mines and mining might be a commercial proposition once again.
Since 1568 the permission of the Crown Estate has been needed to extract the gold from the so-called Royal Mines. But because the mining area is in the Duchy of Cornwall, which was created in 1337 and controlled by Prince Charles - Duke of Cornwall a dispute has raged for more than 400 years over who is entitled to the revenue.
Anyway all seems to shiny and lustrous between the Queen and Prince Charles as they have decided to split the booty. The revenue from the Duchy is exempt from paying corporation tax. However since 1993 Prince Charles has voluntarily paid income tax on the part of the Duchy income that is used to meet his personal expenditure.
PrEP the HIV
In further developments against the spread of HIV A group of the UK’s leading HIV charities have released a joint statement outlining their position on Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP).
They say it can help in the fight against growing HIV infection rates among gay men – but it’s not a replacement for condom use. PrEP involves people who do not have HIV taking a daily dose of one or two of the drugs that are used to treat HIV. Studies suggest that this can prevent infection if the user is exposed to HIV.
The statement, backed by Terrence Higgins Trust, and other HIV charities said: “Tens of thousands of HIV transmissions have been prevented by condom use. However, for a wide variety of reasons, many gay men do not use condoms all of the time and each year there are thousands of new infections. PrEP has the potential to prevent new infections among some of the men who are most at risk of acquiring HIV.”
“PrEP is not a replacement for condom use. Instead it is an additional method of preventing HIV transmission, to be added to the other strategies that gay men already use.”
Currently, Public Health England and the MRC Clinical Trials Unit are running a UK trial of PrEP, called the PROUD study, for gay and bisexual men who are at a high risk of infection.
The group has created the statement in a bid to raise awareness around PrEP and provide gay and bisexual men with clear, accurate information.
Dattch, the dating app aimed specifically at lesbian and bisexual women, has closed a £100,000 investment for its launch in the UK. Founder and CEO Robyn Exton spoke of the problems with other dating apps for women, saying: ”Every single dating product that’s been produced for gay women is horrific, being re-skinned versions of male sites and totally inappropriate for lesbians and bisexual women. Users in the UK can already download Dattch. Following its UK launch, the US will be next, with geofenced city-by-city rollout. Plans are also in place for Australia, and after that, Exton believes there is the potential to enter China. She argues that because there is no LGBT infrastructure, in terms of bars, “apps become really very relevant”.
Runnaway cow on rail track halts trains for two hours in Somerset this week
21st September 2013
Footballers Rainbow Laces
A plan to help rid football of homophobia may have turned sour today. Stonewall, which is Britain's leading gay rights charity, has sent rainbow-colored bootlaces to all the English and the Scottish football clubs. Premier League football stars are being urged to wear these bootlaces in a bid to help rid the game of homophobia. And show support for the gay community. However many Premier League players will refuse to back the initiative not because they are homophobic, but in protest against betting company Paddy Power.
Paddy Power has linked up with Stonewall to provide the funding for the venture. Paddy Power have upset professionals in recent months with billboard advertising that has mocked players. Chelsea last night confirmed their team would not wear the laces. A statement said: 'We fully endorse the principles behind this but have a number of issues with it in its current form, among them the lack of consultation and commercial aspect.'
Stonewall defended its association with the betting firm. It said: 'We're a small charity, so the reality is Paddy Power enabled us to reach out to players and clubs with this message. 'The laces are not branded with Paddy Power on them.
'This was an effective way of getting our message across. The needle on homophobia in football hasn't moved nearly as far as it should. It's clear in football people aren't comfortable being themselves.'
Latest Vatican Ramblings
Rome's Gay Center has said that the Pope is starting "a revolution" of open-mindedness towards gay issues, and that he as "ahead of many politicians" on such issues.
On Thursday, the Pope said the Roman Catholic Church had grown "obsessed" with preaching about abortion, same-sex marriage and contraception – and that he was choosing to avoid discussing those subjects. Pope Francis went on to say "A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality," Pope Francis told La Civiltà Cattolica – after being asked his comments. "I replied with another question: 'Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?' We must always consider the person."
Downton Returns This Sunday to British ITV
For all you Downton fans, the 4th series starts on British TV this Sunday evening, seven months after the shocking finale episode of season 3.
The season 3 finale saw the untimely death of Downton heir Matthew Crawley. Season 4 will be set 6 months after his death, with widow Lady Mary Crawley dealing with her husband's sudden death and a new born baby.
A sneak peak clip of the season premiere episode has been leaked online, which shows Mary dressed in black, looking out a window.
For all you American Fans Downton Abbey season 4 will premiere in the US on January 5, 2014 and will run for eight consecutive weeks. If you really can't wait or if you are a fan of British TV email me and l will let you know how you can watch British TV in the USA.
As students head off to University this week a new guide has been published, It is the UK's first ever going out guide for LGBT students. Out of Bounds, the going out guide for students, aims to give LGBT undergrads the information they need for nights out, and bars. It also contains information about day time socials, and places they should avoid.
Creators of the guide reached out to university societies across the UK, and offered thanks for the support received. The guide aims to continue working with LGBT societies to ensure that students have a say in what goes into the guide.
19th September 2013
The Seven Sister - Belle Tout Lighthouse
This morning l had the pleasure of visiting Belle Tout lighthouse which stands an the cliffs at Beachy Head here in Sunny Sussex. Belle tout has stunning 360 degree views along the cliffs and over the Southdown's National Park.
Circa 1691, petitions for a lighthouse were made due to the number of shipwrecks and sailors losing their lives at the hands of this dangerous stretch of coastline. But it was not until 1828 as a continuing result of many shipwrecks, a wooden lighthouse was built on the top of the cliffs at Beachy Head. So successful was this that the decision was made to build a permanent lighthouse. So Belle Tout was built in 1832 and the location of the lighthouse was carefully planned so that the light was visible for 20 miles out to sea and that the light would be obscured by the edge of the cliff if sailors were too close to the shore.
Beach Head Lighthouse - Replaced Belle Tout in 1902
Over the years erosion of the cliff reduced the effectiveness of the lighthouse and in 1902 Belle Tout was decommissioned when the new lighthouse built at the base of the cliffs came into service.
After it was sold by Trinity House (British Lighthouse operators) it went through a chequered history. During the second world war with its owners being evacuated, Belle Tout was damaged not by enemy aircraft but by shelling by Canadian Troops using it as target practice.
In 1948 the building was offered to the council and eventually they took it over due to its historical significance. In 1956 Belle Tout was leased out and various works were carried out on the building and installed modern features such as septic tank, mains electricity and water.
In 1962 the lease was sold and changed hands a number of times. Then in 1986 it was bought by the BBC who used it in the making of Fay Weldon's "Life and Loves of a She-Devil". Then in 1996 it was used as a family home.
In 1999, due to continuing erosion threatening the future of the building the lighthouse was moved 17 metres (56 feet) back from the edge of the cliff by the impressive engineering work of Abbey Pynford. And then in 2007 the owners put Belle Tout up for sale with the guide price of £850,000. The Belle Tout Lighthouse Preservation Trust campaigned for Belle Tout to be made available to the public so that anyone could visit and stay at the lighthouse.
The Light Room
In April 2008 Belle Tout was purchased with the intention of opening it to the public as a bed & breakfast and tourist centre. In 2009 Belle Tout was lovingly restored to its former glory.
In March 2010, The Belle Tout Lighthouse opens its doors to guests and now operates as a unique bed and breakfast.
Lock Up Your Sheep - It Was Not - Not Bob
A man appeared in court today accused of trying to have sex with a sheep next to Tottenham Hotspur's new football training ground. The man was allegedly caught with the animal close to the state-of-the-art facility on Hotspur Way, Enfield, It is thought stars from the Premier League football team were training at the centre on the day of the incident.
Lovell appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court charged with one count of indecent exposure and another count of outraging public decency. He denied the charges and opted to be tried by a jury.
16th September 2013
HMP Bunny Boiler
There is mischief afoot here in Sunny Sussex, it has been revealed that Bunny Boiling is going on at Ford Open Prison just along the coast .
Inmates at the jail overrun by rabbits have been hit by a bunny boiling ban after the governor found they were EATING them. Hungry lags were ordered to stop snaring the pests and cooking them in their microwaves - because it upsets the prison's staff
The jailbirds' culinary caper emerged after a Sunday rag revealed last week how the grounds of Ford open prison were being dug up by around 5,000 of the criters
Pest controllers were called in to carry out a cull. But Governor Sharon Jefcut was hopping mad when she found prisoners were already killing the bunnies as an alternative to canteen fare. In a letter to inmates, she wrote: "There have been incidents of offenders killing rabbits to consume them. This practice is unacceptable. Pest control systems are the only means that will be utilised."
Sources at the West Sussex jail say the letter also stated: "The killing of rabbits by any other means causes distress to staff members and offenders and is inhumane.
"Any microwave used for cooking contraband will be removed."
Prison Jail chiefs will be embarrassed by inmates' poaching going unnoticed after years of criticism for its lax security.
Ford Prison is an open prison, where minor non violent offenders are accommodated. However Ford is not without it’s problems. In July murderer Paul Flint absconded from Ford by walking out of the front gate. He was finally arrested earlier this month in Horsham - around 25 miles away.
On New Year's Day 2011, 40 prisoners rampaged, setting buildings ablaze and causing £5 million damage after they were ordered to take breathalyser tests.
Colors of the Rainbow
Brighton was awash with colour this week. The Colour Run is new in the UK, a 5k, un-timed race in which thousands of participants are doused from head to toe in different colours at each kilometre. The fun continues at the finish line with a gigantic “Color Festival,” using more coloured powder to create millions of vivid colourcombinations. This is a genuine fun run, with no time chips, no winners or losers and the chance to be part of a living explosion of colour. It was held on Saturday over 5km along Madeira Drive, the inaugural Brighton Color Run is the fourth and last to be held in the UK this year.
The Color Run was founded in Arizona in early 2012,” says event director Joe Rafferty. “Its founder, Travis Snyder, was putting on triathlons but was thinking about how to get first-time participants interested in running and sport. There had been lots of talk about the general population not being very active. He thought people just wanted to have fun.” Inspiration came from the Hindu Holi Festival – or Festival Of Colours – which celebrates the arrival of spring with participants throwing coloured powder at each other.
12th September 2013
The Wind Blows
More bad news for homeowners in
Florida this week. Hurricane insurance rates on the rise once
again. State regulators on Monday announced that they had approved
an overall statewide rate hike of 6.3 percent for customers of
Citizens Property Insurance Corp. The hike means that the state-created
Citizens which has 1.22 million policyholders will
have raised its rates for four straight years. But the range of
hikes varies depending on where homeowners live and what type
of policy they have with the insurer. Many customers in South
Florida and the Florida Keys will see rises of 10% this year.
110 Miles to Cuba
Diane Nyad asks the city of Key West to repaint
buoy to say '110 miles, not 90' miles to Cuba. Diane Diana isn't
the first to quibble with the accuracy of the paint job on Key
West's famous giant buoy that declares "90 Miles to Cuba."
But she is the first critic to have swum the distance without
a shark cage, having claimed the world record Monday with a landing
at Smathers Beach that drew a couple thousand spectators.
Phones Going Cheap
iphones have been in the news today with the launch
of two new iphones. The CHEAP one with a plastic body will sell
in the UK for £ 469 ($730) I really dont call that
Meanwhile on the streets of London, Londoners
will now be able to report crimes at the touch of a button, as
a new crime-fighting Smartphone app is launched by an independent
Self Evident is a free app, available for Apple's IOS and Google's
Android operating systems, allows users to report the details
of a crime direct to police.
Crime reduction charity Witness Confident developed the app, with
support from Google and the Robert Peel Trust.
The Plastic Pound in Your Pocket
Britain's wallets and purses may be stuffed with
plastic cash in future, under plans by the Bank of England to
switch banknotes from cotton pulp to polymer. The central bank
has begun a two-month public consultation on the move and expects
to make a final decision in December, but has already set out
a compelling case for plastic. It is harder to counterfeit, more
durable, more environmentally friendly, cleaner, and cheaper,
the Bank said. Crucially, plastic money can survive a washing
machine cycle unscathed.
1 in 4 Accept Gays in the UK
A new survey has found that 1 in 4 people in the UK still disagree
with homosexuality, but that on the whole acceptance continues
to rise. The 30th edition of the annual government-funded British
Social Attitudes survey found that 22% of respondents thought
that sexual relations between two adults of the same sex
were always wrong. A further 6% described them as
mostly wrong. On the other hand, 47% of respondents thought that same-sex relations
were not wrong at all, with a further 10% describing
them as rarely wrong.
Steve Grand, the US singer who received over two million YouTube
hits when he posted a music video featuring the story of a gay
mans unrequited love for his straight friend, recently posted
a follow-up video where his character finds romance.
Grand released All-American Boy in July, which portrays
a gay man who misreads signals from a straight friend.
This time around, in the music video STAY, the openly
gay singer finds romance.
Grand appears to be taking the same a similar marketing approach
with his second song by communicating with fans mainly through
11th September 2013
AND ALL THOSE THAT LOST THIER
9th September 2013
Tom Daley - I'm Not Gay
So it's official Tom Daley came out this week - I'm Straight. I am sure that this will be a great disappoint to his massive gay following. Tom insists he is NOT gay – and says he doesn't care if people think he is. "I think it's funny when people say I'm gay... I laugh it off," says Tom, who was voted the world's sexiest man by Attitude last week.
"I'm not. But even if I was, I wouldn't be ashamed. It wouldn't bother me in the slightest what people thought. "But I can understand why I have a massive gay following – I spend most of my life half naked in trunks on a diving board showing off my bare chest. "I often joke I wear more to bed than I do to work. But I'm cool with my gay following. It's great to have gay fans even though my friends gently take the mica."
Tom, 19, says he doesn't think of himself as a pinup, even though his six pack and trademark skimpy speeds have gained him an army of fans. He reckons he's too busy concentrating on what matters to him most.
"I just think about my diving," he says. "If people think I am gay or that I don't focus on my diving enough and go out too much, there is always going to be an opinion – and if I worry about that too much, then my diving goes downhill."
Opps Mr Cameron How Careless
Our prime minister can be a little forgetful at times. He once left his daughter Nancy in a pub and was home at Chequers before he realised she had been left behind. To be fair to him his wife was in the second vehicle and both thought that Nancy was with the other parent.
His latest lapse of concentration happened on the high speed train from London to Edinburgh this week. He left his red official box unattended on the train. The PM strolled off from his table, leaving the red box behind with the key still in it and no security within touching distance. The words "Prime Minister" were clear for all to see.
Luckily for Mr Cameron, those on the train (first class by the look of the seats) were an honest bunch and snubbed the opportunity to rifle through his secret papers, which critics fear could have contained details on plans for military strikes on Syria.
One astonished passenger told how he stopped to take a picture of the red case and said nobody intervened. Downing Street insisted the box was being watched at all times, but the happy snapper said he could easily have snatched it.
Latest Palace News
Following the intruder at Buckingham Palace last week, security petrol's have been on high alert, so much so that they challenged Prince Andrew in the ground of the palace, Andrew is said to have lost his rag and shouted at the officers "Don't you know who l am". Surely the officers were just doing their job.
The Queen and Prince Charles were having more fun at the time, enjoying a joke yesterday in Royal Deeside at the Highland Games at the Braemar Gathering.
Oh To Be Rich
Years ago l remember is was always the Duke of Westminster topping Britain's Rich List, but now he has slipped down to 8th. Nowadays it is the Russian and Indians that top the list. The Queen comes in at 268th. Rule Britannia Britannia Rules the Waves - I think not.
Spare a thought for this poor bull fighter, he has lost his dignity in more ways than one.
They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
Alice is marrying one of the guard.
"A soldier's life is terrible hard,"
Or so the rhyme by AA Milne goes
But it seems the guard was not good enough on Monday night. As a man was arrested on suspicion of burglary, trespass and criminal damage after scaling a fence to get into Buckingham Palace, He was found "in an area currently open to the public during the day" at about 22:20 BST on Monday, the Metropolitan Police said. A second man was arrested outside the Queen's home on suspicion of conspiracy to commit burglary.
No members are at home in the palace at this time of year as it is open to the public while the Queen is on holiday at Balmoral in Scotland.
Whilst on the subject of Buck House. Buckingham Palace is to host its first official football match as part of the Football Association's 150th anniversary celebrations. The Duke of Cambridge, president of the FA, helped arrange the game between two of England's oldest amateur clubs. Civil Service FC and Polytechnic FC, both based in Chiswick, west London, will play at the palace on 7 October. William will host the event and also present medals to 150 volunteers. The Queen gave her permission for the unique Southern Amateur League fixture.
HOT HOT HOT - MELTING BRITAIN
The Walkie Talkie
This week we enjoyed the hottest September day for seven years as Britain baked in glorious 30C high. But this was not without its problems. A new skyscraper being built in London has melted a nearby parked car. The new skyscraper nicknamed the "Walkie-Talkie" because of its shape, has been blamed for reflecting light which melted parts of a car parked on a nearby street. The 37-storey skyscraper at 20 Fenchurch Street, which is currently under construction.
Dirty Living Keeps You Sane
Clean living may raise the risk of dementia. More hygienic living could be contributing to the rise of Alzheimer's disease, scientists have claimed. About a third of the difference in Alzheimer's rates between countries could be explained by levels of cleanliness and infectious disease, according to an analysis of data from 192 countries by the University of Cambridge. The researchers have claimed that exposure to fewer bacteria and viruses in early life could harm the immune system's development, making the body more susceptible to dementia.
Sussex Leads the Field with First Openly Gay Head Boy
Here in Sunny Sussex, the first openly gay head boy has been appointed by a top British public school, Brighton College has appointed Will Emery, 17, the son of a banker, won the position in a landslide victory, as over 1,000 fellow pupils, as well as staff at Brighton College, voted for him. Emery used his new position, which begins at the start of the new term, to criticise state schools and academies which have been accused of reviving the extremely controversial Section 28 – which banned the "promotion" of homosexuality in schools. The headmaster of the school, Richard Cairns said that students aged 13-18 saw sexuality as a "so-what" issue, but did say that it was "very unusual", for a public school to appoint an openly gay head boy.
"When I announced that Will would be the next head of school, there was a huge round of applause," he said. "He was a very popular choice — the rugby players voted for him along with many others — but I bet if I wrote to the old boys and said our head boy was openly gay, some of them would think it was very strange indeed."
5th September 2013
Congratualtion to Diane Nyad as she arrives in Key West
Diana Nyad, who became the first person to swim the 103 miles from Cuba to Key West on Monday, has described how she pushed through excruciating pain to achieve her life-long dream.
The 64-year-old said sheer determination and the experience of her age helped her overcome jellyfish, sea sickness and extreme fatigue to finish the grueling swim in 52 hours, 54 minutes and 18.6 seconds. It was her fifth attempt at the swim, which she completed without a shark cage.
Something is just not right when you have a pet cockerel named "Sarah" and Sarah must have been feeling more like a magpie the other day when perched on her owner's shoulder she decided to take a peck at Claire's ear and swallow her diamond earring. At £300 ($450) a pop it was rather an expensive snack.
Claire kept Sarah in a pen for a few days hoping the prize morsel would pop out his poo, but no such luck. On hearing about Claire's plight a local vet said that he would x-ray the playful cock to see if the diamond was still inside Sarah. It proved to be more tricky than expected, the diamond had entered the cock's gizzard, where grit and hard substances are normally broken down. There is no chance that the diamond will break down, although over time the silver setting will
Another Rare Cockerel
Claire then had a dilemma, should she ring the cockerel's neck to retrieve the stone or should she let Sarah live and eventually retrieve the shiny diamond when Sarah goes to cock heaven (not Saloon One) in here own good time. Claire said "The vet said he could operate to recover the earring, but that might kill Sarah, which would devastate our six-year-old daughter Mia. "So we'll have to wait till Sarah gets old and dies, but they live to a ripe old age - we are probably looking at another eight years before I get my earring back."
Crash Bang Whollop
One of the worst crashes ever happened this morning in our neighbouring country of Kent. 130 vehicles were involved is a series of crashes that took place in heavy fog this morning.
Thankfully there were no fatalities, Ambulance crews said 27 casualties needed hospital treatment and they dealt with 200 people at the scene.
Hello Hello Hello
A small, postcard-sized painting bought for £30 has been valued at £ ¼ million, after experts confirmed it as an original work by John Constable. Rob Darvell's father bought the picture as part of a 'job lot' at auction, passing it on to Rob in 2012. Rob began the process of trying to authenticate it, enlisting the help from a TV treasures detective programme.
Quaint, Queer or Weird Wedding Spectacular
A bondage bridal fair featuring rubber wedding dresses risks "damaging" the sanctity of marriage, a priest has claimed. Hundreds of blushing brides-to-be are set to descend on Brighton here in Sunny Sussex for the fetish-themed Quaint, Queer or Weird Wedding Spectacular on Sunday.
According to organisers, the show's must-sees will include a fetish trio parading in wedding dresses and a Pirates of the Caribbean-inspired bridal corset designed by a firm called Angels Carrying Savage Weapons. But Father Ray Blake, a Catholic priest at St Mary Magdalen Church in Upper North Street, Brighton, labelled the 18 plus event as "bizarre". He said: "Sexual fantasies belong in the bedroom, not at the wedding altar.
Gay People are Imbalanced
Another local Church of England vicar caused another controversy by calling gay people 'imbalanced' and telling a lesbian couple they cannot both be named as the mother on their baby's baptism records. The Rev George Gebauer told Aimi Leggett and her civil partner Victoria it would be illegal for them both to be recorded as the mother of their one-year-old son, Alfie, even though they both have legal parental responsibility.
He later added salt to the wound when defending his stance, saying he had to be sure the child had not been 'pinched' by the couple, as it was 'impossible' Alfie was the child of both women, while questioning the normality of gay people in general.
He said he felt sorry for gay and lesbian people, adding: 'They produce too much hormone — they're imbalanced. That's the way they are. It's a medical issue.'
2nd September 2013
I have just spent a very frustrating two hours at the computer without writing one word.
This afternoon l took some photos on my iphone and wanted to download them to my computer (Windows) the programme l use had an upgrade, so l duly loaded it and tried to run it. First off l managed to loose the wireless network, then the computer crashed on me. After numerous attempts to restart Windows every time it hung. Eventually l managed to restore the computer from command prompt in safemode and here l am two and a half hours later finally putting pen to paper.
However l still cannot connect to the wireless network but have now plugged into the modem to get it up and running. Oh La La, this is too much for a Dowager Duchess in her Dotage.
The Rubber Maids - Prepare to Pounce Once Again
This week l was reminded by those dear ladies "The Rubber Maids" that it is less than 50 days Fantasy Fest. The time to dol the drag and totter down Duval. No doubt these girls will have fabulous costumes to thrill and delight us all.
This year will be a big change for many people as Oasis is no longer gay, but fear not the Oasis crowd have decamped to Big Ruby's which we hear will remain gay under the guidance of Jorge (from Oasis). Have not hear if Ruby's will be hosting a Bouffant Party, but we will keep our fingers crossed.
A recent advertisement for margarine giant Flora, which compares coming out to your father to being shot through the heart, has been pulled by Unilever after complaints accusing it of homophobia. The advert, which features a bullet, made up of the words "uhh dad I'm gay", flying towards a heart made of china, came under heavy criticism with Twitter users calling it homophobic, vile, and an abomination.
However, a Unilever spokesperson recently released a statement which reads: "This advert was prepared by an external agency in South Africa and was not approved by anyone at Unilever. The advert is offensive and unacceptable and we have put an immediate stop to it.
"Unilever is proud of the support that our brands have given to LGBT people, including our recent campaign for Ben & Jerry's on equal marriage."
There was another homophobic slur this week, the time from The Sun Newspaper, surprise surprise. They used a picture caption in its coverage of the aide of gay artist David Hockney who was found dead earlier this year in the artist's home, to brand him a "bender". The caption for the image simply read: "Bender". The newspaper has been criticised by gay rights advocates for its use of the word, which in the body text clearly refers to the bender of drugs and alcohol Elliott underwent before his death, but as the standalone caption could be misconstrued as a homophobic slur.
Ephraim Mirvis & Jonathan Sacks
Ephraim Mirvis replaced the former chief rabbi Lord Sacks on Sunday, in a ceremony of about 1,400 guests at a North London synagogue. Lord Sacks has held the position for the past 22 years.
Britain's new Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, says he wants gay Jewish people to feel at "home" in orthodox synagogues, but has sworn out any possibility for same-sex marriages.
31st August 2013
Brighton drag queen Betty Swallocks has been exposed as a benefits cheat. Betty claimed he was jobless despite working nights in a gay bar. He pocketed more than £6,000 ($9000) in housing and council tax benefits over four years but was finally caught when investigators found invoices for his work at two cabaret clubs. He pleaded guilty at Brighton Magistrates' court to fraud and was ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work, made to pay £500 costs and will have the £6,000 deducted from future benefits.
Betty Swallocks is only the tip of the iceberg according to the department of works and pensions, who are clamping down on benefit fraud which is costing the country £1.2 billion a year. Some of the weird and wonderful excuses they received were:
A woman from Highgate didn't mention her partner in a claim, but when asked why all his belongings were in her bedroom wardrobe, said: "It's a spare wardrobe. I never look in a spare wardrobe."
"I needed the money to pay for TV in each of the five bedrooms, as the kids have ADHT, and I have to keep them in." She failed to mention the children no longer lived with her.
A man failing to declare his night-watchman job said: "I only claim benefits during the day - what I do at night is my own business"
"You have me confused with my evil twin brother He lives in Pakistan and visits the UK regularly."
A claimant working too many hours: "I didn't know it was 16 hours a week - I thought it was 16 hours a day."
"I didn't tell you about my private pension because it's private."
A woman denying her partner lived with her: "His car's on my drive every night because he runs out of petrol."
"I am sorry I didn't attend the last interview. My solicitor told me that if I bury my head in the sand, you will go away."
"It's Christmas so I should be able to keep the extra money."
Graduates Celebrate at Cambridge Univesity
If you graduate from Cambridge University you will no longer be restricted to gendered dress code. For centuries Cambridge students have worn their distinctive graduation robes to receive their degrees from the ancient university. But now the sight of graduates in their academic dress could be a little different after it rewrote its traditional dress code to avoid upsetting transgender students. From October, male students will be allowed to wear skirts to pick up their degree certificates while female students will be able to choose to wear men's suits and white bow ties.
Washed Down with Sulphuric Acid
An assistant to David Hockney died as a result of taking acid, having previously partied with the acclaimed gay artist's former partner, an inquest heard this week. Dominic Elliott, 23, died after drinking a household drain cleaner made up of concentrated sulphuric acid at the painter's home in Bridlington, East Yorkshire. Mr Hockney, 76, was asleep at home at the time. His former long-term partner, John Fitzherbert, told the hearing that he drove Mr Elliott to Scarborough Hospital in the early hours of the morning. A pathologist said that temazepam and ecstasy was also found in his body. Dr Richard Shepherd said the acid severely burned Mr Elliott's mouth, tongue and throat before perforating his stomach. Mr Fitzherbert, 48, was Hockney's long-term partner for 20 years and still lives at the artist's home and runs his domestic affairs.
Peter getting out of Nick's pool - David Hockney
29th August 2013
From Russia With Love
Police in Russia have confiscated a painting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev dragged up in women's underwear from an art gallery in the city of St Petersburg. The artwork depicts President Putin combing the hair of the prime minister.
The officers also removed a picture of the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, his torso covered in tattoos, and two others poking fun at lawmakers who have backed legislation banning so-called gay propaganda. The police service said it had taken paintings from the "Museum of Power" gallery - based in two rooms of a flat - late on Monday after receiving reports they were illegal.
It gave no further detail but Russia does have a law against insulting authorities - an offence that carries a maximum one-year prison term. The gallery owner said he had been given no formal warrant or explanation for the removal of the paintings. St Petersburg deputy Vitaly Mironov, whose face was combined with the gay rights movement's rainbow flag in one of the paintings, told Reuters the images were inappropriate and "of a distinctly pornographic character".
Staying on the subject of Russia and the Winter Olympics. Gay rights groups have poured bottles of Coca Cola down the drain in a protest at Times Square in New York. They are angry at the company's sponsorship of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Russia.
Demonstrators claim that the soft drinks giant "supports hate" by staying silent towards Russia's controversial new law on gay propaganda. Russian officials say competing gay athletes will not face discrimination.
The Naked Chef Strikes Again
British Chef Jamie Oliver is donating a copy of Save with Jamie, his new affordable meals cookbook, to every library in Britain. The celebrity chef, is on a "mission to make exciting food that doesn't break the bank" available to all, including those who cannot afford his book. It comes after he said he found it difficult to talk about modern poverty while coming across families who live on junk food, yet spend money on expensive TVs
Jamie Oliver has also stirred up the pigeons by calling British youth "wet behind the ears", saying that European immigrants are much "tougher" workers. He went on to say that all of his restaurants would shut immediately if he had to find only British staff.
Prepare for Landing
During the funeral of Brendon Duffy, Brandon's nephew Joe was reading the eulogy , when there was a mysterious sign from the heavens above. Everyone was suddenly told to 'fasten their seat belts' and 'prepare doors for landing'. But the mysterious voice heard through speakers during the funeral service was in fact a stewardess on a passing plane telling passengers to prepare for landing.
It is believed the gaffe happened because the church's wireless microphone and the plane's radio were on the same frequency. Luckily mourners saw the funny side and burst out laughing during the service much to the priest's embarrassment.
26th August 2013
Notting Hill Carnival
The largest street festival in Europe is taking part this weekend. Hundreds of thousands of people descended on west London today for the second day of the Notting Hill Carnival.
Europe's biggest street festival - celebrating Caribbean culture, food and music - The procession started early this morning as weather forecasters predicted temperatures of up to 26C. Thousands of revellers lined the streets to see the parade of floats and feather clad dancers along the route for the second day of the festival, yesterday was the children's festival. The 49th year of the festival is expected to attract over a million people over the two days. Yesterday 6000 police were on duty and today over 7000, although so far the amount of arrests have been lower than last year.
That does not mean that the police do not have some fun also as you can see from these three police officers as they showed off their "twerking" skills in front of cheering crowds as dozens of revellers formed a circle around them while the three policemen - dressed in police high-vis jackets and uniform - had a dance off, grinding and getting down, before forming a line on the floor and doing a rowing boat action. They seemed to be relishing the attention as crowds cheered and screamed as they danced. I'm sure it did no harm to police community relations in my opinion.
A Kick in the Crotch for Tesco
Protesters targeted Tesco stores across the country today to urge the supermarket giant to stop selling "deeply harmful" lads' mags. The Lose the Lads' Mags campaign, led by pressure groups UK Feminista and Object, staged demonstrations in opposition to the retail chain's decision to continue selling magazines such as Nuts and Zoo to over 18s.
Displaying naked and near-naked images on magazine covers fuels attitudes underpinning violence against women and leave retailers facing the risk of legal action, the campaign group said.
A group of Nuts supporters have launched their own campaign to Keep Your Hands Off our Nuts
The Naked Rambler passed by this week as he was walking the Southdown's Way her in Sunny Sussex, a female friend happened to bump into him up on the down and said what a charming man he appeared to be. At first she thought he was wearing a brown suit but as she got nearer she realised it was is sun tanned body that was striding towards her. A scheduled BBC broadcast of a documentary about 'naked rambler' Stephen Gough has been postponed after he was arrested for breaching an anti social behaviour order. The ASBO bans Gough from engaging in public nudity, and he was arrested for breaching the order in Winchester last week.
The BBC is unable to screen the film since the 54-year-old, who is banned from displaying his buttocks and genitalia in public, is due to appear via videolink at Winchester Crown Court on September 11. Stephen who chooses not to wear clothes as a protest against the idea that nudity is offensive, gained notoriety when he walked naked from Land's End to John O'Groats in 2003 and again in 2005. He has been sentenced to more than six years in prison and received dozens of convictions for his belief that it is his human right to be naked in public.
Lexicographers Get it Together
The definition of marriage is being changed in dictionaries after new measures allowing same-sex couples to marry became law last month. The online versions of the Collins, Macmillan and Oxford English dictionaries acknowledge that marriage is no longer limited to a man and a woman. The next paper editions published will do the same.
Collins amended its definition from the legal union or contract "made by a man and a woman to live as husband and wife" to one "made by two people to live together". Macmillan's definition of marriage as a "relationship between two people who are husband or wife" now includes the addendum "or a similar relationship between people of the same sex".
The Friendly Pope
Pope Francis really is the most humble and human man. This week am Italian teenager was amazed to pick up the telephone and hear the voice on the other line say "Hello, it's Pope Francis here." Stefano Cabizza, 19, an information technology student from near Padua in northern Italy, wrote a letter to the new Pope a few weeks ago in which he described his life and expressed hopes that he would find a job at the end of his studies.
So he was stunned to have the leader of the world's 1.2bn Catholics phone him up for a chat.
In fact the first time that he rang Stefano was not at home and he spoke to his sister, who thought it was his football coach and told him he could ring back later to catch her brother.
"I couldn't believe it. We laughed and joked for about eight minutes."He asked me to pray for him and then he gave me a blessing. It was the most beautiful day of my life."
Your Pulling My Lego
A boy who has been fundraising since his mum died when he was four has become a national celebrity - after he was immortalised in Lego. Ten-year-old Jack Covill-Lowndes, from Skegness, has met his 'double' at an unveiling at the Legoland theme park near Windsor.
After a sitting with Bright Bricks' professional Lego builders Duncan Titmarsh and Ed Diment, |Jack has been recreated using 35,000 plastic bricks. The accolade came after Jack's determination to raise thousands of pounds for the county-based St Barnabas Hospice, which cared for his mum Steph before her death from cancer in 2006.
The life-size version of the 4ft 6in fundraiser will remain at Legoland Windsor until the end of September, when it will be sent to Jack's home for him to keep.
Nearly one in ten children in the UK is given a mobile (cell) phone by the age of five, the average child gets a handset at the age of 11. Parents spend on average £125 on their child's phone and more than 4 in 10 do not pay close attention to the resulting bills.
22nd August 2013
Measure by Measure
The animals went in two by two, or in this case, one by one as they hopped, skipped or slithered onto the scales at London Zoo yesterday. Once a year this annual weigh in takes place, this helps to monitor the health of the animals and the data is shared with zoo's around the world for comparison and monitoring.
Keeper Angela Ryan said: "Not everything can be weighed but anything that we have that can be trained – from camels to birds, aardvarks to armadillos – will be. We use the information when they are unwell – when they have lost weight we know that they are sick – or if they are pregnant."
Data from the 19,000-plus inhabitants at the Regent's Park centre is shared globally on the Zoological Information Management System. But taking down the particulars of the animals can prove tricky when it comes to the likes of African bullfrogs or royal pythons.
But keeper Paul Kybett had the scariest job, tempting Sumatran tiger Jae Jae, below right, to stand up against a measuring tape. He used horse meat to get the five-year-old male to spread out and taped him at 6ft 6in.
Which animals were hardest to measure? Paul said: "Species to species doesn't matter, the individual to individual is important."
The Bactrian camels, below, were trained for a month for the weigh-in. Angela said: "It was quite challenging but fun for the keepers."
Brits Cannot Tell their Athans from their Egypt
According to a survey by British Airways, millions of Brits that go on holiday could not place the country they are visiting on the map. More than half of the 2000 people surveyed thought that Cyprus was in mainland Greece and few could name the capital of the country they visited. I thought it was only Americans that were rusty on European geography, l guess l was wrong.
Dirty Gay Taxi Ride
Minicab firm Addison Lee today suspended a driver after a gay couple were allegedly called "dirty" and kicked out of a taxi. London's biggest private hire firm said it had launched an investigation and after one of the men took to Twitter to name and shame the driver by tweeting the license plate number of the car.
Liam Kelly said he got into the taxi late last night after leaving the G-A-Y bar in Soho with his boyfriend but told to get because they were holding hands. Shortly after Mr Kelly posted on Addison Lee's Twitter feed: "Just been ejected from an @AddisonLeeCabs taxi for being gay. Thanks for the homophobic treatment."
What a Bombshell
Do you get hot and bothered by burlesque dancers, well Go Go Amy went one step further when her fire eating act got out of hand and her flaming titty tassles set off the fire alarm and the whole building had to be evacuated.
Show planner Ky Thomasson-Kay said: 'They weren't meant to use fire in the act but I think they just completely forgot. When the alarm went off everybody had to go outside. It was incredible. It was one of those priceless moments that people will be talking about for years.'
Amy had been performing at the Dundee Tattoo Convention. She can normally be found entertaining guests as a member of the Pretty Things Peep Show.
19th August 2013
HAPPY 80th BIRTHDAY MAISIE TROLLETTE
Last night we ventured out to the Theatre Royal in Brighton to celebrate the 80th Birthday of legendary local entertainer David Raven, David is better known to his fans as Maisie Trollette. The evening took on the style of a Royal Gala Variety show and was hosted by Lola Lasagne.
Maisie as David Raven
After appearing in the Royal Box to a standing ovation by the audience that was packed to the gills with every gay man in Brighton of a certain age. She settled back to enjoy a variety of local acts. The show was opened by Actually Gay Men's Chorus who sang a medley from Les Miserable, always a sure way to get me going for the evening. This was followed by Marc Inscoe and Jason Lee Howlett who performed a 'Rat Pack' set. Never seen these to guys perform before but they were terrific and Marc the older grey haired member of the due was a delight to the eye as well as the ear.
Local Drag Queens went on to perform a Broadway Tribute, followed by the Westenders, a group of West End stars singing a medley of numbers for current West End musicals. The first act was wound up by International female impersonator extraordinary Ceri Dupree bringing her fabulous characters to the stage of the Theatre Royal for the first time.
Earlier in the day another colleague of Maisie's, Paul O'Grady (Lily Savage) had been broadcasting on BBC Radio Two and had given his own tribute to Maisie, saying how old she was and had originally started to do drag when Stonehenge was built, come on Paul that was a little bitchy even for you.
John Bruzon who has worked with David over the years, returned as Musical Director for the evening and the second act opened with the Brighton Gay Men's Chorus, not to be confused with the Actual Gay Men's Chorus that opened the first act.
Maisie then took to the stage and was joined by artists who she had shared the stage with for forty years in show business, namely Jimmy Trollette who was the other half of the Trollettes when Maisie first started out. She was also joined by Miss Jason and Dave Lynn.
Maisie belted out the songs as if she was 50 year old, from time to time emotion getting the better of her, but still managing to jig around the stage like an excited filly.
I think that Margo the oldest drag Queen in Key West had a lot in common with Maisie, both helping to lead the way to the open and accepting way of life we gay men enjoy today.
Finally the two chorus a very of drag queen and array of artist crammed onto the stage to see Maisie's 80th Celebration out in style.
Over the years Maisie has worked relentlessly to raise money for local charities and last night was no exception. All profits from the show will be shared between the Sussex Beacon, a care centre for men and women with HIV/AIDS related illnesses and the Rainbow Fund who award grants to LGBT/HIV organisations providing front line services to the LGBT community.
17th August 2013
Black Ducks Tie the Knot
Congratulations to Bob & Barry.
After 35 years of sharing the nest finally got hitched.
Same-sex marriage in Maine became legal on December 29, 2012
Why did you wait so long guys - Surely this deserves a party when you
arrive in Key West later in the year.
Olympic diver Tom Daley says he "really" appreciates having gay fans. The 19-year-old told Digital Spy that being named last month's 'Sexiest Man' by Attitude was "surreal", but "very cool".
Asked how he feels about his gay following, Daley said: "Everyone's been so supportive. [Attitude's voters] are the people cheering me on during the Olympics, these are the people that give me extra motivation during training. I really appreciate it."
The Plymouth-born athlete was also asked about being a "heartthrob". "I don't really feel any pressure because I'm training five hours a day, but you do feel like you're being constantly watched and looked at," he added. - I bet he does
James Bond Stunt Man Dies
The British skydiver who parachuted into the 2012 Olympic Stadium dressed as James Bond has been killed in an accident. Mark Sutton, 41, died this after crashing into a mountain in the Swiss Alps. He had been invited to take part in an event with 19 other wingsuit pilots, which involved being filmed jumping from helicopters.
Wingsuits are special jump suits which increase the surface area of the body and act like a parachute wing, allowing users to glide through the air at high speeds.
Naked Dash for Cash
Last night 300 naked runners made a dash for cash! Streakers ran though London zoo to help protect the last 300 Sumatran tigers left in the wild. The sponsored streak saw 300 brave runners get back to nature by stripping off to make their way through London Zoo in the after-hours event, watched by their supporters and some rather confused animals.
Wearing nothing more than shoes, tiger masks and tiger ears, they ran a 300m course through the centre of the attraction, with some exhibitionists choosing to complete several laps of the circuit. Body paint and tiger stripe leg warmers were the streakers' only attempts at modesty.
Streak for Tigers, named after the collective noun for the animal, raised some £60,000 which will be ploughed into conservation work to protect the Sumatran tigers, of which only 300 remain in the wild.
The young Russian who staged his solo gay pride protest says "I'm afraid I will have an accident" Dmitry Isakov has every reason to call Russia's new law against so-called gay propaganda inhuman. Since President Putin signed the law in June, the-24-year-old says that he has been arrested with the help of his own parents, threatened and left on crutches after being grabbed by four plain-clothed police officers and sacked from his job in a bank.
Like other lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people across Russia he now lives in fear of the sort of homophobic attacks that have been on the rise since legislation limiting their freedom was first proposed in regional and national parliaments last year.
"I am afraid that there will be some kind of violence against me or an unfortunate accident," Mr Isakov said yesterday. " I think about it a lot. It worries me greatly. It has become more dangerous to be gay."
Downton and Dogs
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, who just so happens to have a home just down the road here is Sunny Sussex is to appear in the next series of Downton Abbey. Although she sang at the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana and heralded the opening of the Rugby world Cup this is the first time that she has had a TV acting job. She will appear at Downton as Dame Nelly Melba, the Australian Soprano who Escoffier created the famous Peach Melba for in 1892.
The singer recalled that she also caused tension at Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey), where the series is shot, by insisting on bringing her two Pomeranian terriers. "I took those two dogs along and Lady Carnarvon didn't want them to come anywhere near the place," she said.
This Really Takes the Biscuit
Can you believe it, the volunteer stewards at Durham Cathedral, have had the cake snatched from their hands. One of the perks of the job was a nice scone and a cup of tea in the Cathedral restaurant. First they were denied the scones they got as a perk in return for unpaid work. Now they have been told that if they want a free cup of tea or coffee, they must take it into another room — described by one of them as "smelly" — away from the cathedral's restaurant.
Several hundred volunteer stewards help out. "We are the face of the cathedral. Some people have been volunteering for ten or 15 years," one of those who has resigned over the issue said. "We are not doing it for the scone and cup of coffee, but it was a nice token." That really takes the biscuit.
Cardboard Cathedral Pops Up
On the subject of Cathedrals, the city if Christchurch in New Zealand has a new pop up Cathedral. The new structure is made of cardboard, temporarily replaces the one damaged by the 2011 earthquake until a permanent one can be built. Japanese architect Shigeru Ban designed the cardboard cathedral. The triangular A-frame design includes stained glass windows, can seat 700 people and is built to last for half a century.
HIV TESTING HITS THE STREETS OF LONDON
Gay and bisexual men heading home from a night out in south London are for the first time to be offered free home sampling kits to find out their HIV status. The initiative has been developed by Mortimer Market Centre, a sexual health clinic run by Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust and is due to launch over the Bank Holiday weekend later this month.
Street teams will offer free kits to home-going clubbers around Vauxhall in the early hours. HIV home sampling kits are already available via the internet. However, this will be the first time they have been handed out directly to a targeted group on the streets.
The aim is to reduce the levels of undiagnosed HIV in gay men in the capital.
Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) continue to be disproportionately affected by the spread of HIV; accounting for almost half of all new cases.
12th August 2013
The Glorious Twelfth
The Glorious Twelfth is usually used to refer to 12 August, the start of the shooting season for Red Grouse in Britain. This is one of the busiest days in the shooting season, with large amounts of game being shot. The date itself is traditional, the current legislation enshrining it is the Game Act 1831. Not all game have the same start to their open seasons - most begin on 1 September, with 1 October for Woodcock and Pheasant. Guns spend up to £20,000 ($30,000) a day to shoot the birds, which are confined to the north of England and Scotland, which has 75 per cent of the world's heather moorland. A pastime for the rich l think.
Once again it was the Worthing Birdman competition here in Sunny Sussex this weekend,
The Birdman is a flight competition for human powered flying machines Many flyers take part to raise money for charities, other design complex machines to aim for the distance prizes. A substantial prize of £10,000 is offered for the furthest flight should a birdman achieve over a 100 metre distance.
There are different classes ranging from the serious guys who fly modified hand gliders to those that just dress up for a bit of fun and jump into the sea achieve a flight of only a few feet.
The record was broken by adventurer Ron Freeman who set what he believes is another Birdman world record. He leapt off Worthing Pier in West Sussex with his hang glider and flew 141.5 metres into the English Channel. However he could not claim the £10,000 PRIZE because he chose a sideways flight because of strong winds and not a flight going forward from the end of the pier as the rules dictate.
No Good Crying Over Spilled Beans
A student who went into a café to order a coffee got more than she bargained for when she was confronted with a receipt referring to the customers as "f***ers." Naomi Bloomer was waiting for her drink at Grind Coffee Bar when she noticed a message on a customer receipt on a table.
In the middle of the receipt which listed items bought including a brownie, latte and mocha, were the words "f***ers all come at once". This gets the customer service award of the week.
Fingers Out Boys
Well this is a new sport to me. Bavarian Finger Wrestling. The sport consists in two competitors pulling a small leather band with one finger — until one of them has pulled the other player over the table. Also known as Fingerhakeln, it is traditional in Bavaria and Austria and dates back to the 17th century. Most players use their middle fingers, and train themselves by crushing tennis balls and doing pull-ups using only their fingers.
10th August 2013
Once upon a time there was Gay Pride, nowadays it is simply known as Pride and finally today we have GINGER PRIDE. Yes as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival red heads are taking to the streets to march through the streets of Edinburgh showing their true colours. It has been billed as the UK's first Ginger Pride Walk. The event was led by Canadian comedian and proud redhead, Shawn Hitchins. He said it was a fun way to stand up against prejudice and those who poke fun at people with ginger hair.
Scotland is said to be home to almost a fifth of the world's redheads. Speaking ahead of the event, Hitchins said: "Even although it isn't a real word, gingerism exists and bullying exists and you can't deny that kids are being subjected to taunts or being bullied in schools just for having red hair.
"In Canada there's not a lot of redheads, and for me as a really ridiculously gay kid, having red hair only heightened my sense of isolation because nobody looked like me, nobody lisped like me or burnt under the sun like I did."
Water Water Everywhere as Watermain Bursts
Dozens of businesses and homes were swamped when a three foot wide water main burst on Half Moon Lane in a London suburb early on Wednesday morning and some do not expect to be able to reopen for months. Some areas were submerged under a metre-and-a -half of water in what were described as "biblical scenes" when the 88-year-old main burst at around 5am.
I TOLD YOU - DO NOT TOUCH
The American tourist who snapped a finger off a 600-year-old statue of the Virgin Mary in a Florence museum is an A&E surgeon, it has emerged. Patrick Broderick, 55, from New Fairfield, Connecticut, was attempting to compare his finger to one on a marble sculpture at the Museo dell'Opera del when he broke off the digit. A security guard spotted him at the statue and tried to stop the 55-year-old but was too late. The American was arrested and taken into custody in front of his wife and two children
Another Senior Moment
The 200 metre high InTempo towers in Benidorm were billed as 'a vision of the future' and a symbol of Spain's re-emergence from a crippling financial crisis. With 47 floors of living space it was intended to be the tallest residential building in Europe. But with only months until it is due for completion, contractors have hit upon a slight problem .
They forgot to build a lift. I call that damned right forgetful.
8th August 2013
Already we have seen a backlash around the world against Putin and his anti-gay stance by boycotting Russian Vodka. Now Stephen Fry has called for the Winter Olympics to be taken away from Russia in a strongly-worded open letter to our Prime Minister David Cameron, Jacques Rogge and Lord Coe. The Olympics in Sochi are due to begin in less than seven months but Fry believes the anti-gay stance of the Russian parliament is incompatible with the ethos of the Olympic movement.
Fry compared Russia hosting the Games next year to Germany's staging of the Summer Olympics under Adolf Hitler in 1936. Russian president Vladimir Putin has been heavily criticised for a recent law making it illegal to give homosexual 'propaganda' to children.
Fry wrote: 'It is simply not enough to say that gay Olympians may or may not be safe in their village. The IOC absolutely must take a firm stance on behalf of the shared humanity it is supposed to represent against the barbaric, fascist law that Putin has pushed through the Duma. 'The idea that sport and politics don't connect is worse than disingenuous, worse than stupid. It is wickedly, wilfully wrong.
Meanwhile atrocities continue against the gay community in Russia. The gay teenager who was kidnapped and tortured by Russian neo-Nazis has died from his injuries it has been claimed. Last month an image of the victim, stripped and covered with paint and forced to hold a sex toy, covered in red paint shocked the world.
In May a gay man from the southern Russian city of Volgograd who was tortured to death in an apparent hate crime, was sexually assaulted with beer bottles, and had his skull "smashed with a stone".
A lone gay rights activist, Krill Kalugin, was assaulted by a violent group of Russian paratroopers in St |Petersburg. Mr Kalugin was holding a rainbow banner in St Petersburg that read "This is propagating tolerance" when he was attacked.
What a Whopper
Oh My Goodness imagine this, giving birth to a 13lb 7oz baby. And naturally without an epidural painkiller. Well that is what happened to a British mother who gave birth to the biggest ever baby born naturally in Spain. Newborn Maria Lorena Marin is in "perfect health" following the straightforward delivery at Hospital Marina Salud in the Mediterranean city of Denia yesterday morning, the hospital said in a statement.
Dr. Javier Rius, the chief of gynecology at the hospital, said in his 40 years of practice he had never known a baby born naturally to weigh so much. The heaviest baby ever born weighed 23lb 12oz in Canada in 1879, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. But the baby, whose mother Anna Bates had giantism, died 11 hours later. In 1955 a baby boy weighing 22lbs 8oz was born to Carmelina Fedele in Aversa, Italy.
5th August 2013
After twelve or so years it is very sad to see the demise of Pistol and Enema. Back in the early days you may remember the Bitching Post where the good folks of Key West and further afield would leave their comments. Ron aka Pistol would revel in the somewhat bitchy comments and heated debates. After writing a couple of columns for Ron and appearing in the then Key West gay magazine "Southern Exposure" we were invited to host a part of the Bitching Post "Across the Pond".
The nick names Duchess & Lulu came about in the early days of Equator Resort. One day Clive was up a palm tree fixing Christmas lights when Bill (Large white woman of the Keys)
Shouted "Light it up Lulu" and the name stuck from that moment on. I cannot remember exactly how The Duchess came about but it was born around the same time.
During this time we made many new friends, some sadly no longer with us, others continue to this day. On our visits to Key West we got involved with Pistol in one of two events.
Pistol along with Not Bob decided to hold the first ever Cock Shot party at Dudes (later became Kwest), Pistol, Lulu and Duchess being the first team of judges, although l am sure Not Bob got the best deal as he was the behind the scene fluffing. A certain Salon One barman had just arrived in town and was one of the very first contestants. Ask him about it,
After Neil took over P&E it was not long before the bulletin board became almost a full time job to monitor, when the spamming became too much it was decided to shut it down. At this time we were asked to write our blog from "Across the Pond" giving news and views from this side of the Atlantic. Eight years on we are still at it two or three times a week having worked with four owners of P&E.
So yes we are very sorry to see it close down. However we will continue with
A little bit of Key West arrived in Brighton this weekend for Pride. It is ten years since
Key West celebrated the unfurling of the World's Longest Gay Pride Flag. During Key West Pride 2003, with the help of over 3,000 volunteers, Gilbert Baker's "Sea to Sea Rainbow Flag" went the full length of Duval Street. From the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean, just over a mile long. A little piece of that flag headed the pride parade in Brighton today.
Along with the flag Sushi's red slipper arrived in town, alas it was without a resplendent drag queen, in fact it travelled along the streets of Brighton unattended. This was a great pity, if the worst came to the worst Duchess and Lulu could have ridden in the slipper.
Now we have it, the hard truth about penis size around the world. The scientific journal Personality and Individual Differences has recently published research on the average erect penis lengths of men around the world, and according to the study, the men of the Republic of Congo are the biggest at an average penis length of 18 cm or just over 7 inches.
British men were ranked 78th with an average length of 13.9 cm, and Americans were behind the Brits at 12.9 cm. Among the European nations Italian men come out quite well standing second Icelandic men.
Knickers in a Twist
Oh La La a French Mayor has got his knickers in a twist over the planning permission he granted to a new village development in the south of France. Yves Bastie gave planning permission for the building of the 107 eco-friendly homes at Salleres-d'Aude, in the Aude department, earlier this year. But he has only just found out that the development near Perpignan, which includes a bar, gym, and swimming pool complex, will be France's first 'Rainbow' retirement centre.
Officially it is against the law for homes in France to solely be marketed at a specific sexual orientation because of anti-discrimination laws, but developers, Village Group, have made it clear that gays will be particularly welcome. The online brochure for 'Le Village' displays a picture of the Canal du Midi with a rainbow flag - the symbol of gay liberation.
It calls the village "a private oasis" for gays who want an "active and healthy lifestyle in the warm, friendly and healthy climate of southern France."
With Brighton Pride approaching this weekend, Pride organisers has called on venues to back its ban on Russian vodka. Paul Kemp, director of Brighton Pride, said the company running the drinks concession in Preston Park this weekend cannot sell any vodka distilled in Russia. The move is part of the festival organiser's bid to show support for LGBT people in Russia. Brands such as Eristoff, Smirnoff and Stolichnaya will not be affected by the ban as they are distilled outside Russia. He has also asked that other venues hosting Pride parties do not serve vodka distilled in Russia.
Madonna At the Circus
Madonna was front row at the circus last night to see the show Limbo on London's South Bank. Wearing dark-rimmed glasses, the singer seemed to enjoy the mix of circus, acrobatics, dance and music in the Twenties-inspired Spiegeltent, part of the London Wonderground. London Wonderground is a summertime festival of cabaret and circus presented by the Southbank Centre with Underbelly, who are best known as one of the biggest operators on the Edinburgh Fringe.
29th July 2013
On the third weekend in July the annual Wickerman Festival is held on the Scottish borders near to Dumfries. It all began in 2011 when a local music initiative hit upon the idea of a local counter-culture based family-friendly festival due to the surrounding area being inextricably linked with various locations used within the classic British horror film The Wicker Man (1973) starring Christopher Lee and Edward Woodward. He took the idea to local farmer Jamie Gilroy who agreed to hold the event within a natural amphitheatre of grazing land on his Galloway farm.
Musically as well as creatively, the festival has been likened to a smaller version of Glastonbury with a widely eclectic mix of music to suit everyone. It has several stages and these include a main stage (Summerisle), the Axis Sound System reggae sound systemtent, the Acoustic Village, a stage for punk/ska/northern soul called The Scooter Tent, The Solus Tent for new Scottish bands, several dance tents, as well as a children's area, workshops, beer tent, crafts, a cinema, and much more.
The festival climaxed on Saturday at midnight with the burning of a giant 30 ft Wickerman, built by local craftsmen
British Govenment says Go Home
The home office has instigated a campaign to encourage illegal immigrants to volunteer to return to their home country - Hmm not sure that will work.
Pope's Olive Branch
Pope Francis today held out an olive branch to gay people, saying they should not be judged by the Catholic Church or marginalised within society.
Speaking on a flight back to Italy following his hugely successful official trip to Brazil, the Pope made what are being seen as his most conciliatory remarks yet on gay rights and the role of women in the church. He told reporters: "If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him? Already this man is streets ahead of his predecessor.
Great Balls of Fire
Almost every man in the UK diagnosed with testicular cancer is now beating the disease, according to new figures. Ten-year survival rates have surged by almost 30% in the last 40 years, said Cancer Research UK. More than 96% of men treated for the disease today are still alive after 10 years, compared with fewer than 70% in the 1970s.
Cuffs and Rings
Popular erotic fiction such as Fifty Shades of Grey could be to blame for a rising number of incidents in which people have become stuck in handcuffs, the London Fire Brigade said. The fire brigade said it had attended 79 incidents in which people had become stuck in handcuffs over the past three years. The new figures prompted the fire brigade to urge people to "think carefully" before dialling the emergency 999 number and to "always keep the keys handy."
In total the fire brigade attended more than 1,300 incidents in which people had become stuck or trapped, usually in household objects, in the past three years, it said.
There were also nine cases where men had got rings stuck on their penises; one man got his penis stuck in a vacuum clearer, and another in a toaster.
Eighteen incidents involved children getting their heads stuck in toilet seats or potties.
27th July 2013
Three hundred and sixty four days since the Queen parasended into the Olympic Station after a word with 007, yes it is the eve of the London 2012 Olympics one year on British Athletics is hosting three days of world-class athletics at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
More than two-thirds of the UK public believe the £8.77bn cost of the London 2012 Olympics was worth the money, according to a ComRes poll for the BBC. It indicates 74% would also welcome the Games back to Britain. The results suggest people are more active since the Olympics, with 11% exercising more than a year ago, rising to 24% for those aged 18 to 24. The London showpiece, together with the Paralympics, cost more than three times the original budget of £2.4bn. Recent government research suggests the UK economy received a £9.9bn boost in trade and investment from staging the Games.
When the Olympics began a year ago today, the country was awash with tat, from stamps to posters, to zany one-eyed mascots. Within 12 months, the value of some memorabilia has shot up.
A set of 34 Paralympics stamps, originally available for £25, will now sell for up to £300, or 12 times the price, experts said. A signed photo of Usain Bolt, worth £50 to £60 a year ago, is now valued at £250.
A limited-edition Olympic torchbearer figure, costing £45 last year, could go for £200, and a single shuttlecock from the men's singles gold medal match could fetch more than £250, five times the selling price after the game
But my favourite one a pair of swimming trunks signed by Tom Daly now worth £325.
British Olympic diver Tom Daley has been named the sexiest man in the world by the readers of Attitude magazine in a poll for the magazine's summer special issue.
Wash Day Blues.
Four out of ten men in the UK never go near a washing machine, but those that do are more likely to follow the instructions to the letter than women. Many men are honest about the mistakes they make, while almost half of the fairer sex say they would hide the evidence if they ruined their partners clothes. The poll of 1500 adults was carried out by Dr Beckmann a leading products company.
A large majority of the British public have said they would be comfortable if the royal baby, born last week, grew up to be gay, a survey has shown. The survey by Stonewall found that 83% of the British public would be neutral, comfortable or very comfortable if the future King turned out the be gay.
Russian Vodka Blacklisted
G-A-Y bars joins boycott of Russian vodka and urges supermarkets to do the same in solidarity with LGBT people living in Russia, where gay "propaganda", and the adoption of children by foreign gay couples were recently made illegal. . G-A-Y which owns the brand, its bars, and Heaven nightclub, will not be serving Russian vodka from now on, confirmed its founder and owner.
"Across the Pond", Stolichnaya, one of the most popular vodkas in the United States, has also joined the battle against the controversial anti-gay "propaganda" laws in Russia with a worldwide message of support for the LGBT community.
The company wrote on its facebook page on Thursday: "Stolichnaya Premium Vodka stands strong & proud with the global LGBT community against the actions and beliefs of the Russian government."
22nd July 2013
It's a boy, born at 16.24 and weighing 8lb 6oz
Royal Waiting Game
Crowds Waiting for Royal Baby - St Mary's Hospital London
On the hottest day of the year, Kate decides to go into labour. It now seems like the whole world is waiting for the announcement of the Royal Baby who will be third in line to the throne and one day is likely to be the King or Queen of England. Poor little mite having the crown hanging over your head from the moment of birth. The new royal baby will be the Queen's third great-grandchild. It will be expected to take the throne following reigns by Prince Charles and then Prince William.
Earlier this year a law ending exclusively male royal succession became law, this means that if Kate and Williams baby is a boy or girl will be third in line. Under the previous law, dating back to 1701, women were superseded by their brothers in succession even if they were the first born. The new act will also allow the future monarch to marry a Roman Catholic.
The sex of the Royal Baby is still unknown as the Royal couple did not want to know in advance.
The world's media have been camped outside St Mary's for days in anticipation of the birth. The due date had never been officially announced but had widely been expected to be mid-July.
The couple travelled to the hospital without a police escort, and royal vehicles were spotted outside the rear of the hospital at 06.00 this morning with the announcement coming from Kensington Palace 90 minutes later. She will give birth in the hospital's private Lindo Wing, where Prince William and his brother Prince Harry were born.
There is a strong police presence around the hospital and two police officers are guarding the entrance to the private wing.
The way the birth will be announced is steeped in tradition. It is custom for news of royal births and deaths to be attached to the railings of Buckingham Palace, but in this case it will be displayed on an ornate easel in the forecourt of the palace.
The Queen, senior members of the Royal Family and the duchess's family - if they are not at the hospital - will be told about the birth first. Then a royal aide will take a bulletin, signed by key medical staff, from the hospital to the palace under police escort.
Last week, the Queen joked about the imminent arrival of the newest member of her family, saying she hoped the baby would hurry up and
be born before she went on holiday to the Balmoral estate in Scotland.
We're having a heat wave a tropical heatwave. Yes it is true as the temperatures reached the low 30's we are having the longest hetwave since 2006. Here is sunny Sussex Brighton beach has been packed.
The longest heatwave for seven years is set to continue into next week - but the blazing temperatures will bring widespread rain and thunderstorms. The hot weather has taken its toll with grass fires breaking out in parts of London. The heatwave is believed to have caused up to 760 premature deaths already across Britain. Level three heatwave health warnings have been issued for western parts of the country. Here in the South east we have level two warnings in place.
GAY KEY WEST
BIG RUBY'S SAVES THE DAY
We have some Great News from Key West. Big Ruby's Guest House has been sold and will stay gay, mainly men only. Jorge who along with Gerry Tindal has managed Oasis and Coral Tree, has moved over for the new owners of Ruby's having overseen the hand over of Oasis.
Sadly as you know Oasis and Coconut Grove are now mainstream straight guest houses. But with Coral Tree now under the ownership of Richard Hoy of Equator and The news that Big Ruby's is staying gay there is hope for the future of "Gay Key West"
When we first visited Key West there was a choice of a dozen or so men only guest houses, now we are down to just three. We hope you will help to keep Key West Gay and support the Gay community.
SAME SEX MARRIAGE BECOMES LAW IN THE UK
More good news from Across the Pond, this week same-sex marriage becomes law in England and Wales. It is expected that the first gay and lesbian wedding ceremonies will take place by summer next year. Under the terms of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, religious organisations will have to "opt in" to offering weddings, with the Church of England and Church in Wales being banned in law from doing so.
Mean while a poster used during Pride in London by the gay bar Manbar, featuring a topless photograph of Prince Harry, has gone viral, after having appeared on several international websites.
Boys in Skirts
A headteacher got his knickers in a twist when a group of boys ditched their trousers for skirts to help beat the heatwave that is currently gripping the country. The 17-strong group of Year 10 boys at Whitchurch High School in Cardiff raised eyebrows when they emerged from the lavatory in female attire and strode around the school demanding to be allowed to wear shorts. But the uprising was short lived, and they were promptly marched to headteacher Huw Jones-Williams' office and firmly ordered to get their trousers back on.
We still await Royal news from Will and Kate whose baby is due anytime now
15th July 2013
Bastille Day celebrations in Paris at the weekend, which included lighting up the Eiffel Tower in rainbow colours, have come under criticism by opponents to equal marriage in France. During the annual lights show, a man's voice was heard on a voiceover saying: "All living beings – man, woman and child – walk in the same vein: equality," as accompanied by music.
"Every human being is a shade of this rainbow palette," it continued. "For every human, the same opportunities."
According to reports, however, the Paris city hall denied that the rainbow lights were to advocate for equal rights, and instead were a tribute to Nelson Mandela, former South African President.
More news from Europe, Pope Francis has been named "Man of the Year" by the Italian edition of Vanity Fair. "His first one hundred days have already placed him in the category of world leaders who make history," the magazine said. "But the revolution continues."
On The Buses
A London bus company has been accused of losing its way with words when advertising for a 'passenger assistant'. The Plain English Campaign, which promotes concise writing, dubbed the advertisements 'gobbledegook'. Go-Ahead London described the role as 'brand new' and advertised for a 'good face-to-face communicator' who had 'customer-facing experience', a 'natural flair for going 'the extra mile' and was fit enough to cope with standing for lengthy periods of time. YES they wanted a bus conductor.
Two out of five women are unable to more than an hour without checking their mobile phone. 43% of women feel compelled to repeatedly look at their gadgets out of fear that they may be missing out on the latest news or gossip.
Almost a third of British women said they would rather lose their passport than their smartphone. 22% claim their phone is more important than their husband. 48% have taken a call or message during a date and even 17% said they have done so whilst making love.
The survey conducted by ebay came to the conclusion that Britons are obsessed by their smartphone.
If you turn off the smartphone for a moment, British couples have more sex in August than any other month, according to a new survey. Scientists believe this is because sunlight raises levels of the feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine, and of sex-boosting testosterone.
Previous research has shown that men have up to 33 per cent more testosterone flowing through their bodies in June than in January, and it is known that men with more testosterone have more orgasms.
The poll, carried out by sex toy company Lovehoney, revealed that August is not the only summer month that inspires love-making – July was found to be the second sexiest month, and June the third.
13th July 2013
George and Somchai- Pride 2010
The Oldest Gay in the Village is to become Ambassador for Brighton Pride 2013.
Mr Montague who is 90, drove his mobility scooter in the 2009 Pride parade with the banner: "I'm the oldest gay in the village." He's been a regular face of the city's annual Pride festival for years and now LGBT activist George has been named as an ambassador for Brighton Pride.
George first came to Brighton in the 1950s to explore the gay scene and ten years ago bought a home in the city. He said: "Each year I enjoy Pride even more. We have come a long, long way since it was a criminal offence, which it was for 50 years of my life, but we still have some way to go." Mr Montague realised he was gay in his twenties – long before the decriminalisation of homosexuality.
Like many of his friends at the time George married his wife, Vera, at the age of 37, and the couple had three children. They were together for more than 20 years. "I was always convinced my wife knew I was gay when she married me but it wasn't discussed", he said.
"She could have divorced me, she could have taken me to the cleaners but she didn't." Mr Montague was convicted under Britain's former anti-gay laws in his mid-40s.
George now lives with his partner of 16 years Somchai Phukkhlai, they spend half their time in Brighton and the other half in Thailand.
George will be one of four Pride ambassadors and will be representing all older LGBT people at Brighton Pride on Saturday 3 August.
He had 10,000 men
Or so the rhyme goes.
Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, was the first UK royal to join Twitter on Monday, but soon after the account was opened he was bombarded by peculiar gay innuendos. The Duke opened the account under the username @TheDukeOfYork at 10am on Monday.
However, soon after he had signed up to promote his new handle, he was bombarded by taunts inspired by the nursery rhyme 'The Grand Old Duke of York.' Among these taunts, a popular re-tweeted message read: "Were you a little sore after having 10,000 men?"
Another popular message provided a similar joke: "So @The DukeOfYork has joined Twitter. Hopefully he'll be able to confirm or deny the rumour that he has 10,000 men."
An equal marriage supporter paid £600 ($1000 Australian Dollars) for a pair of Olympic champion, Matthew Mitcham's underwear. Mitcham hosted the Closing Gala for the Melbourne Cabaret Festival and opened the evening with a performance on his ukulele and stripped to his underwear to the accompaniment of Aqua's Barbie Girl.
The event, which doubled as a fundraiser for Australian Marriage Equality, raising almost £2500 for the cause. Mitcham himself was responsible for £600 after a donor paid to buy a pair of his used underwear in an auction.
8th July 2013
What a wonderful weekend here in the UK. Finally the summer weather has arrived and we have seen wonderful sunshine and nice temperatures with the promise of a hot July ahead.
Then just as we were basking in the sunshine. Andy Murray became the first Brit to win the Wimbledon Men's championship in 77 years. The last Brit to win the title was Fred Perry in 1936.
World number two Murray broke down in tears as his triumph sank in and climbed into the players' box to hug his girlfriend Kim Sears, coach Ivan Lendl and the rest of his support team. But he almost forgot his mother Judy, who was sitting just behind the box, before returning to embrace her too. "I did forget Mum, but then I did remember," he added.
Andy with the Wimbledon Trophy by the "Fred Perry" statue at Wimbledon.
When Andy Murray was asked, prior to the final, what Fred Perry might have told him going into the biggest match of his life, Murray quipped: "Why are you not wearing my kit?"
Perry's name is synonymous with sportswear, especially the iconic polo shirt that launched in 1952. But he was, until today, Britain's last Wimbledon champion.
Blood Thirsty Bull Running
Tennis may be a gentile sport exjoyed by the British, but across the channel in Europe a riskier sport was taking place in the Spanish town of Pamplona where the annual "Running the Bulls Festival" is taking place. It demands nerves of steel, quick reflexes and the ability to run like the wind. Because this is Spain's infamous running of the bulls, where thousands of daredevils race through the streets of Pamplona - with a herd of bulls hot on their heels.
There were no gorings yesterday in the run and four people were treated in city hospitals for injuries suffered in falls. The early morning race saw thrill-seekers dashing alongside six fighting bulls and six bell-tinkling steers that try to keep the creatures together along the narrow 930-yard (850-meter) course from a holding pen to the city bull ring. Today's run lasted just over two minutes.
The run is televised nationally and is the highlight of the nine-day street partying festival, which became world famous following the 1926 publication of Ernest Hemingway's novel 'The Sun Also Rises.'
Last week marked 31 years since the death of Terry Higgins, the first person in the UK to be confirmed to have died with AIDS. His friends and partner, Rupert Whitaker, founded the Terrence Higgins Trust in Terry's name, so that others wouldn't have to suffer the way he had suffered. Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) was the first charity in the UK to be set up in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and was established in 1982.
Louis Smith Speaks Out Again
Olympic gymnast Louis Smith has spoken during an interview to say that he think it is easier for gay gymnasts to come out than other sports. Speaking in an interview for the current issue of GT (Gay Times), Louis discussed the pressure of being a professional athlete, and said that he supports the right of gay people to get married. When asked who he would choose to go out with if he were gay, Smith named actor Will Smith, noting the star's family life as a major reason for the choice.
4th July 2013
Happy 4th July to all our American Friends, although for the life of me l cannot imagine why you want to be independent from the Kingdom of Great Britain. One of the most enduring myths about Independence Day is that Congress signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The myth had become so firmly established that, decades after the event and nearing the end of their lives, even the elderly Thomas Jefferson and John Adams had come to believe that they and the other delegates had signed the Declaration on the fourth. Most delegates actually signed the Declaration on August 2, 1776. In a remarkable series of coincidences, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, two founding fathers of the United States and the only two men who signed the Declaration of Independence to become president, died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the United States' 50th anniversary.
A Sussex Man or if you prefer " a man of Sussex" Thomas Paine, lived in The Bull House in Lewes, the country town of "Sunny Sussex. At the age of 37 he moved to America in time for the American Revolution and became one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.
His principal contributions were the powerful, widely-read pamphlet Common Sense (1776), advocating colonial America's independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain
Mouse Man Dies
The inventor of the computer mouse, Doug Engelbart, has died at the age of 88. Engelbart developed the tool in the 1960s as a wooden shell covering two metal wheels, patenting it long before the mouse's widespread use. He also worked on early incarnations of email, word processing and video teleconferences at a California research institute.
At a now legendary presentation that became known as the "mother of all demos" in San Francisco in 1968, he made the first public demonstration of the mouse. At the same event, he held the first video teleconference and explained his theory of text-based links, which would form the architecture of the internet. He did not make much money from the mouse because its patent ran out in 1987, before the device became widely used.
Stanford Research Institute licensed the technology in 1983 for $40,000 (£26,000) to Apple. At least one billion computer mice have been sold.
Dreamliner Arrives in the UK
British Airways has become the first airline in the UK to take delivery of an Airbus A380 superjumbo. The plane landed at Heathrow airport this morning, and is the first of 12 superjumbos ordered by BA. The planes will carry 469 passengers each. The Airbus A380 is the world's largest passenger plane. BA has orders for 12 A380s and 42 Dreamliners to be delivered over the next 10 years.
1st July 2013
It is the morning after the weekend before at Glastonbury, as thousands of bleary-eyed festival-goers pack up their tents and head home. After three days of music, and five days of camping, organisers and volunteers will now have to clean up Worthy Farm after it played host to 135,000 festival goers.
Campers have until 6pm to leave the festival site. while crew and stall holders are given a week to clear their property. The mission to convert the land back into a functioning dairy farm, a process which should take six weeks according to festival organisers, then begins in earnest. Tractors carrying magnetic strips will travel across the 900-acre site to pick up tent pegs while workers will carry out a fingertip search to make sure no inch of the land goes unchecked.
It is estimated that it will cost £780,000 to dispose of all the rubbish left at the festival, in 2009 roughly 6,500 sleeping bags, 9,500 roll mats, 3,500 air beds and 400 gazebos were abandoned. It is estimated that around 3000 tents will be abandoned this year. Two enterprising young ladies Nicky Rajska and Louise Oldridge, founders of Devon based company Wrag Wrap, will be getting their hands dirty salvaging unwanted tents, then recycling them into wrapping products that can be used time and time again.
The tents that can be reused will be given to community groups and charities. Nicky said: "We're looking for broken and torn tents, so we can clean and launder them, restoring them to perfect condition in an environmentally friendly way - dye them and sell them as beautiful gift wrap - with a percentage of sales going back to the festival to help protect the land and environment.
This year the Festival offered ticket holders a range of pre-erected off-site camping facilities in custom-made and pre-erected Festival accommodation, festival boss Michael Eavis has said that the amount of cheap and poor-quality tents dumped at Glastonbury Festival in previous years has meant that he is considering making the offer of pre-erected tents compulsory to everyone who plans to attend it in the future.
SUBO - Screen Debut
SUBO that great singer that sprang to fame in 2009 after appearing in Britain's Got Talent is making her first movie. She will appear opposite Les Miserables star Samantha Barks in period film The Christmas Candle. Based on a novella by US preacher and author Max Lucado, the film is set in an 1890s English village where blessed candles answer people's prayers. Susan who is currently filming on location, said: "It's very cold... I'm wearing long johns under my bustle. Everyone on set is a delight to work with and it's a fantastic experience to be part of the team," she added. The 52-year-old singer - who makes her film debut as church warden's wife Eleanor Hopewell in the new movie - will be seen locking lips with on-screen husband James Cosmo and the singleton reveals she ''wasn't complaining'' about the steamy scene.
A group named Straight Pride UK, which claims to aim for "full straight equality", has taken to twitter to claim that straight people are "persecuted every day", and that it is "not easy to be straight".
Its website claims: "Heterosexuals do not have equality, homosexuals have more rights then any sector of society. They have the right to take over city streets, dress ridiculously, and parade with danger and contempt, invade hotels and B&B's run and owned by people who object to homosexuality, and then sue them when refusal is given. Straight Pride, we believe are normal everyday people, dressed normally, walking and behaving normally, to raise awareness of being straight, and being PROUD to be heterosexual.".