Tuesday, October 06, 2009

One flounce deletion too far

I awoke this morning to a text message from someone which read Front page of sun, Matt Lucas ex husband hanged himself!! Mornin btw... X and sure enough, there is was.

A bit of hunting around found that the Times has the same information although presented with less enthusiasm. The BBC even caught up eventually.

Made late for work by the need to check this wasn't just hysterical rumour and then the need to tell people, I have spent the day in a fug of puzzlement. I was never close to Kevin, in fact I hardly ever saw him after he moved into his own flat - in spite of his regular encouragements to come and see his TARDIS. He came to Edinburgh because of someone I never got on with, which put him at a disadvantage, but it became clear to me after a few weeks that I had far more patience for his sort of behaviour than most. The broken and the needy make me go all maternal.

For a while after getting into his new place people would try to invite him out to socialise. We would say "Come for coffee, we're just around the corner"; about 1am would then come a reply, "Sorry was asleep. Come over for classic Peter Davidson eps?" His erratic sleep cycle and apparent fear of external socialising meant that the only people he saw were those who could fit into his schedule and many, I think, gave up after a while. Occasional tales of him breaking down in tears when with relative strangers gave me pause for thought, but no matter how much effort I made to include him and get him to do things, I only ever saw him on occasion when bumping into him on the street.

Instead, our communications were electronic. Every few weeks, if I hadn't heard anything from him, I would send him a (mostly tongue-in-cheek) message, "Just your monthly Kevin's-not-dead-is-he? checkup," which he seemed to take in good humour. During one of his bad spells I fielded calls and Facebook chatting from 11pm til after 1am, eventually putting my phone on silent as he kept trying to convince me to visit despite all of my protestations. He was never easy to be friends with - unless you were up for late night benders at short notice on a school night.

About three weeks ago he called me, from a new number, and asked if I wanted to come over for a Peep Show night, saying it was like a dry run for getting people round when the next Dr Who special was to be on. I told him I probably wouldn't make it; I wondered if he actually had any friends in Edinburgh who would be up for it.

In the weeks since then I kept thinking that I should get in touch, usually as my bus passed his house, and yet on a couple of occasions when I was not in the mood for lengthy distractions I consciously closed Facebook when I saw he was online because I didn't want to risk being caught up in late night dialogue. Guess who feels like a proper shit now?

It's some dark comfort to see that so many people are moved by this tragic, though not really surprising, death. I wonder if knowing the reaction would have prevented his actions, or perhaps encouraged tham? At writing, Facebook has had 40 comments on his last words (Kevin McGee thinks that death is much better than life), all but three of which have come since the news broke today. Once of his Facebook friends said "can't believe i was sitting there in you flat on friday night, now you're gone. better luck and happiness in next lifetime, hope to catch up with you then. x". On one site someone remarked:

his eyes sparkled when he smiled and he had mad hair that looked like it had never seen a brush never mind a comb. He always seemed happy doing whatever he was doing. Just goes to show, doesn’t it? His skin was milky-white and he had a wee little nose that made me want to squeeze it on the few times that I saw him. He dressed like he didn’t give a damn but impressed me with his own sense of style. He laughed at himself and never at others (as far as I know) and I wish he had stayed around.

He bought a puppy a few weeks ago. He was planning to meet a friend who was going to be in town later in the month. He was looking forward to Dr Who. People who saw him only days ago had no idea this might happen. I can't help but wonder if this was a sudden change in outlook or rather a horribly bungled cry for help. He had certainly done similar things in the past.

It feels almost surreal. My gut says that this is like someone deleting from Facebook or similar online communities only to return weeks or months later so they can get away from it and see what people say about them when they're not there. I have no belief system in place to explain this, but I can't help but suspect that somehow he is posthumously aware of the fuss.

I would never claim that I have lost a wonderful friend in this, for that would be unfair to his ex, Matt, who has backed out of his show for the time being, and Kevin's mother who was very close to him. But I do feel terrible for not having tried harder. Might-have-beens can't bring him back. Let's learn from this and be more attentive with our friends, especially the fragile ones who deserve our care.

For want of a lesser cliche, rest in peace Kevin. I can only hope that it was worth it.
Oooh portrait

Friday, July 24, 2009

Why the streets of Edinburgh are covered in crap

Once upon a time, men got paid more than women. It seemed normal and natural and, other than a few crazy feminists, nobody took any notice.

This changed. Women started taking their employers to court, pointing out that they should get paid the same for doing the same job. Over time, things improved and the gender pay gap decreased fairly steadily. But it didn't go away, and nobody was more afraid of the bad press that this could bring than Local Government, especially the City of Edinburgh Council whose nemesis, the Edinburgh Evening News, took immense pleasure in decrying any perceived misstep the Council might take.

Across the land local authorities went into action, each trying in their own ways to create equality between the sexes. And in Edinburgh, the Modernising Pay scheme was put into action. Every Council employee was interviewed to ascertain what exactly it was that they did; time passed, along with the deadline, and still they worked away in the background trying to put the world to rights.

Then one day, years later, they went to the Unions with a proposal. The Unions then jumped the gun and told their members what was going to happen and that's where it all went wrong. You see, in the intervening years, sweeping changes had occurred across the Council and many people - especially the Little People - had vastly different jobs, leading to much gnashing of teeth when the proposals were released.

Once of the largest discrepancies between the sexes was found amongst the so-called 'manual workers', people like bin men (almost all men) and home helps (almost all women). For reasons now shrouded by the mists of time, bin men get a regular bonus on top of their official wage; the home helps, on similar salaries and performing tasks requiring rather more training, received no bonuses. This is now deemed to be Not Allowed.

So here we see exemplified the gender pay gap. And here also we see the only people in the Council (other than Teachers and their ilk) who a)Can make much of a visible difference by striking and b)Are actually threatening to. Furthermore, rumour has it that the ballot on whether to strike will be held amongst only the union members in male dominated area - a nice nod to equality!

And that's why we're heading into the largest arts festival in the world with rubbish on the streets. Say goodbye to the Fringe, people!

Sunday, May 10, 2009


I feel like I have to rant publicly - a pleasure rant, though.

Gluten-free bread is practically an oxymoron. Bread, after all, rises nicely because of the gluten, so if you take it out you end up with either a doughy lump or a crumbly mess. At its best GF bread can just about pass for the real thing if you microwave/toast it; Tesco/Sainsbury's have some decent 'multi-seeded' creations and there are some pre-sliced things which make fabulous croutons, but there has always been something missing.

I always test any new GF mock-bread products, and Tesco are forever trying out new ideas: naan, pitta (which usually come out quite successfully), bagels, crumpets, 'sub' rolls, ciabatta (good for making crispy garlic bread but golly! are they crumbly)... so when I spotted a New! one I picked it up. Absentmindedly slicing and toasting it (slicing? That should have alerted me), it seemed nothing special. It wasn't until later when I risked a slice without heating, just a bit of buttery stuff, that I was left agape, spluttering in surprise. This was nice bread! Not just an acceptable imitation of bread which one might eat mostly out of a twisted urge to punish oneself but bread, tasting like bread, which I proceeded to devour in short order because it was nice!

This is Genius Gluten Free. It's made in Edinburgh, no less. I love it.

In other news, the Rudsambee summer concert is on course. An hour of choral goodness in Edinburgh University's Reid Concert Hall , featuring Eric Whitacre's Cloudburst and Five Hebrew Love Songs, Abbie Betinis, Morten Lauridsen, Debussy, Imogen Heap's Hide and Seek and other goodies from the last century, it's free to get into (if you want to reserve a place email info@rudsambee.org.uk) and there will be a charity collection for Arts for Well-Being: Children of the Balkans Society at the end. Do come, it will be fab.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Don't mess with Shilpa

2002: Dimwit Jade Goody comes into the public eye on Big Brother.

2007: Jade Goody gets a lot of flak for being racist about Shilpa Shetty on Celebrity Big Brother.

2009: Shilpa Shetty gets a £5m mansion; Jade Goody gets dead.

Is this not taking the whole karma thing a bit too far?

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Abortion can be laughed at, honest!

Amanda Palmer, who has recently released a solo album after being known as part of the Dresden Dolls, is suffering at the hands of the British PC monster. First her record label complained that her belly was too big in the video for Leeds United (what belly!?) and now many of the music channels are refusing to air Oasis, an energetic, feelgood song about date rape, abortion and how it doesn't seem matter as long as you have something good to look forward to. It's a positive song! The BBC also said she wasn't allowed to play the song on a live set she was doing for BBC Radio 6 - but then when she got there they let her do it anyway, screw The Man! Surely if the BBC, bastion of censorship, can be got around, MTV and its ilk can do better? Read the blog post. Watch the video. Offended?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dead, dead, dead - someday you'll be dead

And apparently there has been a much higher death toll amongst the big names than I had realised. I knew about the big ones like Arthur C Clarke and Heath Ledger, but I had missed Michael Crichton, Anthony Minghella, Levi Stubbs (aka Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors) and Geoffrey Perkins. Geoffrey Perkins? Who will carry the HHGTTG candle now that the two great powers behind it are gone!? Where will the new Mornington Crescent be birthed? And who will Michael Moore vilify in the absence of Charleton Heston? Dead in 2008.

Monday, December 22, 2008


According to Wikipedia, "...Father Christmas was bought by the Coca-Cola company. He remains their prisoner." I just lolled all over my desk.