Saturday, 26 April 2014

Crippled, Queer, Anglo-European Ranter's Second Birthday


[Image description: fairy cake with two candles;
courtesy & © Eric Lacavalerie]

Another year has passed and my blog is still going and even appears to be flourishing now thanks mainly to my June 2012 article on the computer pioneer & mathematician, Alan Turing: a Queer Hero. This post alone has garnered nearly thirty thousand views.

The second most viewed item is from October 2013, Bloom Brasserie @ Bloom Live, which has reached nearly eleven thousand hits. The venue unfortunately closed two months later - hopefully not due to my review!

In third place is my second report, from June 2013, on a favourite musician of mine, Matt Alber in Birmingham (not Alabama!), which has been visited on some seven-and-a-half thousand occasions.



[Image description: map and chart indicating the top ten countries by views]

Unsurprisingly perhaps, my blog is most visited by UK residents - approximately 30,000. Then the USA with circa 20,000. And the tertiary spot is taken by France with about 10,000. These three countries plus Germany & Sweden make up two-thirds of my visitors. Other countries in my top ten are Spain, Indonesia, Netherlands, Russia and Poland. I attract regular visits now from Canada, Oceania, India and China and a continuing increase in hits from South America and (oddly?) the Middle East. The latter area mainly views my article on Penis Problems: Crooked Cocks, Curved Cocks, which from all countries has had viewings totalling some 2,700. Rather suggests that there is a lack of good sexual education perhaps?

My labels list is growing. It now takes up about a quarter of any open page of the blog. Due to the eclectic subject matter of my postings, there are many words that appear only once or twice. However, there is now a hierarchy of labels which have attained double figures of references:

1.  Disabled 44
2.  Disability 24
3.  Review 20
4.  WoWPetition 19
5.  DWP 17
     Manchester 17
7.  Blog 16
     Wheelchair 16
9.  Queer 15
10.  Poetry 14
     Spain 14
12. Facebook 13
     Gay 13
     UK 13
15. Twitter 12
16. Benalmádena 11
     ConDem 11

Looking at the list, it is likely that all will continue to feature in my writing over the next twelve months at least; but it appears that my disability and issues around being disabled are way out in the lead, followed by food, travel, writing, gender issues, social media and politics. Well, I suppose that means my writing fits with the name with which I christened by blog.

In the pipeline, is my Blogging Against Disablism Day 2014 (#badd2014) submission for 1st May, which is entitled "Product Packaging Problems (and solutions?)". Additionally, I still have several eateries to write up and a travelogue of my mini cruise from Santander to Plymouth. WoWPetition is transmogrifying into WoWCampaign, so no doubt I shall be apprising you of developments there.

For those of you with an interest in "Artworks, Books & Erotica", who ADDITIONALLY are not offended by nakedness / nudity / pornography / sexual imagery, I have just started a tumblr blog called criquaer: uncensored. It is my intention to publish any really risqué tales on tumblr. Please feel free to take a look if this piques your curiosity - however, you must be aged over 18 in the UK and whatever legal age is required if living elsewhere. You can find other images by Eric there too, or, if you prefer, the censored versions on the more prudish facebook. Either way, you'll probably adore or swoon over Ludo!

Oh, and by the by, I am still awaiting my first visit from Antarctica… %D

Friday, 25 April 2014

Jolene / Sherlock

Some of you may have read my review, Jolene: A Queer Perspective, of versions of Dolly Parton's classic back in December last year.

In this post I shall be taking a closer look at the video I referenced by April Simons which she created using images taken from the BBC's Sherlock.



Here is what I originally wrote about the work:

The clever juxtapositioning of Sherlock characters, Watson (singer), Holmes (man) and Moriarty (Jolene) with Dolly's version along with some very judicious editing of shots from season 2 finale The Reichenbach Fall are perfectly combined to create a purely queer melodrama.

Now I am going to expand a little on why I personally like this mini film noir.

One obviously realises I am queer and am quite partial to men. I have to admit to fantasising about a troilistic affinity with Watson and Holmes. I am certain I am not the only person who has imagined a romp abed with the two detectives. Partly this can be put down to the show actually playing on the "Are they queer?" flirtations, malentendus, interactions and so forth. No doubt this is down to openly gay Mark Gatiss, a co-creator & writer for the series as well as the actor playing Sherlock's brother Mycroft. Additionally, the British good-looks of the protagonists also have to be factored in. Furthermore, I have been a fan of Martin Freeman. who plays Watson, for quite some time - just a cuddly teddy-bear to my fantasy. Benedict Cumberbatch I only became aware of in 2009 after Marple: Murder Is Easy was broadcast by ITV; but he has charisma -  a definite turn-on.

[Image description: John & Sherlock leaning heads together & holding hands when drunk,
in Series 3:  Episode 2, The Sign of Three; © BBC]

In the series, we get used to seeing Holmes & Watson in various states of attire and undress: a sense of domesticity pervades. As I recall: we are never shown Watson's bedroom, though we are given a glimpse into Sherlock's in one episode when Watson complains of some woman being there. Does John actually use another bedroom or does he share with Holmes? (This recalls to my mind the bedroom scene in Gilda - I admit my most favourite film ever - between Johnny & Ballin which hints heavily at their sharing the bed.) Of course, sharing a bed does not mean anything sexual occurs; John & Sherlock might simply lie side by side without any tactile contact - recalling respectively army and boarding-school conditions.

In April's drama we see John fresh from cleansing answering the telephone for Sherlock. The re-use of this by April from being about consternation of involvement with an arch-enemy to a potential dalliance with another suitor is clever, Watson's expression being appropriate for either scenario.

Jim Moriarty, as played by Andrew Scott, has a more conventionally US handsome look (not my type; though in a foursome with the other two…!). As such, he is perfectly cast as the better-looking guy who might steal Holmes from Watson, or as Jolene filching "my man" from the singer. The idea that it appears to be a game to Moriarty is also one possible interpretation of Jolene being capable of having any who she so desires.

The courtroom dynamic of glances, miens and gestures highlights John's/that of the singer's status being undermined.

I love all the parallels and the manner in which April has interwoven them, whether deliberately or sub-consciously is immaterial.

Oh, and one final comment, that does not really fit in with the narrative above. The running scene where Holmes & Watson are hand in hand, are they running just for fun or for a purpose?

April's mini drama deserves to be seen by more folk: I hope you will view & enjoy it!



#BADD2014 1st May: Blogging Against Disablism Day 2014


[Image description: Blogging Against Disablism logo]

My political sabbatical for the past four months means I am now rather behind the times. Thankfully the lovely hubby of Goldfish was kind enough to prompt me. This was promised for yesterday, but I did not have the kind of day when writing could have been an option. This year's annual Blogging Against Disablism Day falls as ever on the first of May. However, if you happen to suffer on said date, worry not, contributions are still accepted afterwards. Of course, readers can catch up with the archives of submissions at any point, by visiting Diary of a Goldfish.

The hashtag for the day is #badd2014 and you can keep apprised of news of the day by following @BADDtweets on twitter.

Alternatively, those who prefer facebook can follow Blogging Against Disablism Day.

In previous years I have contributed articles on the difficulties of searching for sex and being queer and disabled, Sexual Eunuchs? (2012), and the practical difficulties of sexual encounters, No Sex Please, We're… Disabled! * (2013).

This year I had wanted to continue the theme by looking at sexual positions suitable for different disabilities… But I have run out of time!

Instead, my article will be on something far more prosaic - product packaging - one of my pet hates.

I hope you the reader will get involved; you can be able-bodied and totally healthy; being a disablie is not a requirement.

See you on 1st May 2014…


Tuesday, 22 April 2014

100K Views





My blog has just reached 100,000 viewings in slightly under two years.
Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed, be it as a reader, guest blogger, advisor, morale supporter, etc.
Many, many thanks.

Mi blog ha acabado de llegar a 100.000 visionados en poco menos de dos años. 
Muchas gracias a todos los que han contribuido, ya sea como lector, blogger invitado, asesor, partidario de ánimo, etc 
Muchas, muchas gracias.

Mein Blog hat gerade 100.000 Viewings erreicht in knapp zwei Jahren. 
Vielen, vielen Dank an alle, die dazu beigetragen hat, sei es als Leser, Gast-Blogger, Berater, Unterstützer Moral usw. 
Vielen, vielen Dank.

Mon blog vient d'atteindre 100 000 visionnements en un peu moins de deux ans. 
Merci beaucoup à tous ceux qui ont contribué, que ce soit en tant que lecteur, blogueur invité, le conseiller, le moral partisan, etc 
Merci, merci beaucoup.

%D

Liechtenstein



[Image description: flag of Liechtenstein]


My blog has just notched up several visits from someone(s) in Liechtenstein. Don't recall seeing Liechtensteiner visitors previously, but could just have missed them: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liechtenstein. (By the by, a female citizen is known as a Liechtensteinerin.) The country is sandwiched between Austria to the East and North and Switzerland to the West and South.


[Image description: map of Liechtenstein;
courtesy Wikipedia; commons ©;
author Maximilian Dörrbecker (Chumwa)]

Whilst Liechtenstein is in continental Europe, it is not part of the EU, the European Union. Nonetheless, it is a signatory to the Council of Europe (since 1978), Schengen, the free movement agreement, EFTA and EEA.

Thanks for visiting, whoever you were. And how exciting to discover more about parts of Europe one knew next-to-nothing about!


My Sabbatical Sojourn Is Over

This morning I awoke in pain. As I came round I realised I was rather stiff too. Was it the two-and-a-half hours of light gardening I did yesterday?

I turned on my laptop and noted that many of the facebook entries reference the rain in England. After a nearly three-and-a-half months sojourn in Spain, I had all but forgotten that damp weather completely floors me. In my time on the Costa del Sol I had three wet days and there also I was confined to lying prone until the weather ameliorated. For most of my three months I was barely aware of the nagging pain that daily, hourly, minute by minute drains one's life-force here in the UK.

More than a decade ago, my then GP advised me to either move to warmer climes or at least winter abroad. My current hospital consultant, an endocrinologist, who specialises in M.E. and C.F.S., advised me to do similarly. This year, facing the stark choice of winter in the sun or be referred to an orthopædic specialist for surgery, I plumbed for the former.

And I do not regret having done so. Gradually, I was able to exercise more and more using the pacing techniques I had been taught by the now disbanded specialist Manchester M.E. & C.F.S. nursing support service. From needing a wheelchair, to hobbling with two walking-sticks (canes), to shuffling with just one, to walking unsupported on the flat (but not slopes or steps), I felt my body re-awaken. Muscles strengthened. Arthritic swelling reduced and reduced until it completely disappeared. My fine motor skills partially returned. For example, I could write again using a normal sized pen. I could sign my signature instead of just a squiggle. The more I got out and about, the less I was affected by hyperacuity and photophobia as my body's senses re-attuned to normality. I was less troubled by allergic re-actions to this, that and whatever.

Unfortunately, my vision, my equilibrioception, my forgetfulness and my susceptibility to muscle cramps did not improve. On the twenty-first of March I forgot to take my phosphate medication - the only time I did so. I suffered a massive cramp in my right calf whilst walking without a stick on the flat esplanade, paseo marítimo, in Benalmádena where I was staying. However, had I taken the aid with me it would have been of no assistance. The cramp completely felled me. I fell backwards, hitting my head on a wall before hitting it again on the ground. Thankfully, Spain is not Britain and folk came to my assistance. A passing male nurse checked that I was not concussed and later telephoned for a taxi to ferry me back to my apartment. This serves as a reminder, that how ever much my body might ameliorate, I shall never have back all the faculties I once had.

Taking into account the Christmas holiday period, I have taken a sabbatical of four months from my political campaigning activities for WoWPetition (now transmuting into WoWCampaign). After eighteen months of slogging nigh on every waking minute, usually abed, my brain, my psyche was completely frazzled. I attempted to refrain from getting involved, although came out of retirement for the February WoWDebate in Parliament.

Over the next few weeks and months I hope to gradually increase my efforts for the cause of we disabled folk, the poor, the downtrodden; but I cannot put in the level of effort I previously did - my body just cannot take it. To this end, please do not take umbrage if I: do not get back to you instantly; do not post every important update; do not sign every petition; do not forward every email; etc. I shall do my best, but must be a little more constrained in my input. I hope and trust you will all understand.

[Image description: via Peaceful Mind, Peaceful Life;
an image of a solitary key & a quotation which reads,

Don't give up.
Normally it is
the last key on
the ring which
opens the door. ]

When feeling down whilst alone in Spain, the above was posted on my facebook pages. I hope it instils in those feeling downhearted a sense of "carry on; we can do it"

Thanks for reading, folks.

Colin
%)







Monday, 21 April 2014

Bisexual Blues



Does anyone notice anything striking about the above chart? No, I am no tart: I have not experienced coitus with half the men mentioned (some names may have been altered), but there has been physical contact of a sexual nature or a declaration of love/lust from the gentlemen concerned. With the exception of Manuel, I have not even physically met any of the chaps in the 2010's as I have been too ill/disabled to do so.

So, any conclusions? Would you agree with me that there is ever such a slight bias towards the closeted bisexuals? I seem to attract them like bees to the flowers in my garden. Is it my man-musk, my pheromones, my epicene features, my psyche, something else? Well, whatever it is, I find it difficult to attract out gay guys.

For the last few years I have been doggedly refusing to entertain non-out bi guys with the result being zero sex. During my three month sojourn in Spain, all the non-out men who wanted sex, also requested discretion as their wives & families did not know. I excused this behaviour in a facebook posting a month or so ago:
I am surprised just how many young(ish) Spaniards are still closeted here. More than half the locals have no image on GAYDAR and most of the rest post images of parts of their bodies (thankfully rarely the rudey bits!). Spain is one of the least homophobic countries in the world; but the machista/macho culture is still very strong here. Straight (rich &/or connected) men are the hegemony! Such a shame for lives to be blighted…
In a similar vein, I noticed that nigh on all the GAYDAR entries are either for non-out bisexuals or bi-curious, only a minority openly declare as gay.

Pondering on the issue has also brought me to the conclusion, that these men are intrinsically weak however physically strong they are with all their show-off gym-work. Where is the strength of character to be true to themselves, to honour themselves not just 'honour' their parents? Perhaps some of it is down to peer-pressure, but again I counter where is the demonstration of inner courage?

Mostly what irks me though, is that I am going to have to get off my high ethical horse and accept offers from non-out bisexuals - otherwise I am likely to go to my grave without ever having sex again!

Sunday, 20 April 2014

A Visit to Santander in Holy Week

Whenever taking the car to Spain, I pass through Santander and have an overnight stay in Hotel Chiqui at the very end of El Sardinero esplanade. On this trip I had two nights in Santander and so had time to explore the city for the first time: it did not disappoint.


View from Santa Clara towards the Cathedral.


The grand Plaza Porticada (porticoed square) - though avoid coffee at the terrace café as it is terrible and the service poor!


Santander Cathedral or in Spanish, Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción de Santander.

We were fortunate to arrive during Holy Week, Semana Santa, which saved us touring the churches of the city to view the various ecclesiastical statuary that make up the Stations of the Cross, as they were laid out in a marquee, and we watched as many were decorated with fresh flowers in preparation for being paraded through the streets.



The above images give an overview of the display.


The plaque for El Flagelado, the Scourged Jesus.


Jesus surrounded by iris, symbol of the Virgin Mary, and red carnations, which in Christian iconography, iconolingüística, means love.


The plaque for Nuestra Señora de la Merced, Our Merciful Lady.





The above statue, or imagen, recalls Penélope Cruz to my mind: stunningly beautiful. It just fascinated me, and hence I took a fair few photographs. These four give an impression from afar and then approaching her.


The plaque for Nuestra Señora de los Dolores, Our Lady of Sorrows.






The plaque for El Santo Entierro, the Entombed Jesus.




The effigy of a recumbent Jesus surrounded by statues of the faithful is incredibly realistic, and I personally found the ensemble rather moving. My two companions also enjoyed the experience and the artistry, not just of the sculptors, but also of the embroiderers, the florists and silversmiths.


Wishing all readers
a very happy Easter!
¡Feliz Pascua!


"Él era la luz verdadera
la luz que ilumina a todo hombre,
y llegaba al mundo"

Juan/John 1:9

X





Friday, 18 April 2014

Hairy, Beary Redheads

If I could have all the types I like in one man, he would be hirsute, muscular, slightly taller than myself, strong and red-headed, whether strawberry blond, ginger or all the way through the red palette to auburn. In short I like bears - and cubs too.

Recently I have posted a fair few photos on my facebook page as potential hubby (husband) material. I have collated them here and tried to group images of the same guy together. Where the copyright is known I have stated it.

I know gingers are not everyone's cup of tea. However, they really do it for me. If you fit the criteria and want a date, please do not hesitate to contact me - I can clear my diary (schedule) instantly! ;)


© n/k

© n/k

© n/k

© n/k

© n/k

© n/k


© COLT

© n/k


© n/k

© Mascular Studio

© Mascular Studio

© Mascular Studio

© Mascular Studio

I can go to sleep happy now, knowing I am going to have some very pleasant dreams. Who knows: perhaps Paul Scholes will pop up next to me in my bed and give me some good advice! ;)

Pruebas Desnudas / Nude Proofs

Bueno, mientras yo estaba viajando a casa, las pruebas de las sesiones fotográficas desnudas de yo y los otros fueron publicados por el precioso fotógrafo, Manuel Delgado, en su blog Manuel Y Las Junglas De África. A cada sujeto se le pidió que simplemente ser ellos mismos delante de la cámara. Teniendo esto en mente, algunas de las imágenes puede ser considerado sexual. Si la desnudez y/o la sexualidad abierta podrían ofender, leer y mirar no más lejos y, desde luego, no haga clic en el enlace!


En mi opinión, el retrato de mí arriba ha capturado realmente mi quintaesencia: cualquiera que me conoce sabe de mi carcajada y el hecho de que disfruto de la vida tanto como yo soy capaz de hacer y con entusiasmo. La risa es supuestamente bueno para los huesos, así que voy a seguir riendo hasta mi último aliento. Además, mis huesos artríticos necesitan toda la ayuda que puedan procurar (nunca mejor dicho). 

Mi gratitud y amor a Manuel (foto de abajo) para hacer la experiencia una delicia.


La mayoría de los fotografiados no se conocen a mí; sin embargo, uno de mis amigos españoles también ha sido el estudio de la cámara de Manuel. Es a la vez desconcertante y fascinante ver a alguien que se sabe desnudo por primera vez. No sabía que mi amigo tenía tatuajes por ejemplo, como el tema no había surgido en la conversación. ¡¡¡Y, naturalmente, todo eso...!!! Por ejemplo, tengo que decir, pensé que, debido a su pilosidad facial, mi amigo sería mucho más hirsuto que es en realidad.


Una vez que la serie es completa y Manuel ha decidido sobre sus selecciones finales para esta y (con suerte) de exposición, por supuesto que voy a informar a los lectores. Y quién sabe, se podría ser capaz de comprar incluso un retrato desnudo de su servidor para colgar en sus paredes! ;)

Nude Proofs / Pruebas Desnudas

Well, whilst voyaging home, the proofs from mine and others' nude photographic sessions were published on the lovely photographer, Manuel Delgado's blog, Manuel Y Las Junglas De África. Each subject was asked to just be themselves in front of the camera. Bearing this in mind, some of the images may be considered to be sexual. If nudity and overt sexuality might offend, read and look no further and certainly do not click on the link!



In my opinion, the above portrait of myself has really captured my quintessence: anyone who knows me is aware of my hearty laugh and the fact that I enjoy life as much as I am capable of doing and with gusto. Laughter is supposedly good for the bones, so I am going to keep on laughing until my last breath. Besides, my arthritic bones need every assistance they can procure (pun intended).

My gratitude and love to Manuel (pictured below) for making the experience such a delight.


Most of the folk photographed are not known to me; however, one of my Spanish friends has also been the study of Manuel's camera. It is both disconcerting and fascinating seeing someone one knows naked for the first time. I did not know my chum had tattoos for example as the subject had not arisen in conversation. And, naturally, so on…!!! For example, I have to say, I thought, due to his facial hairiness, my chum would be much more hirsute than he is in actuality.


Once the series is complete and Manuel has decided upon his final selections for his series and (hopefully) exhibition, I shall of course apprise you the readers. And who knows, one might even be able to purchase a naked portrait of yours truly to hang on your walls! ;)