As I read, so too, I hear

I read this a few moments ago –

And I could hear her reading it on stage, all those years ago. Truly awesome.

And, remember, she read it with spaces.

Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Missing me; Tuscany, maybe?; Weather in Italy – when to have a holiday; In hot water; This blog

“Looking forward to seeing you and the babies”

It hasn’t been that long.

“We are still in the restaurant, eating outside. I imagine our holidays – with the babies”

I take them out of order and, probably out of context. It’s my blog and I can do what I want.

In fact, it is only since 5.45 this morning when I got up and left him to wake up more slowly. But he was getting up at 6 anyway. He was going to the store near Venice.

It is hot and sunny there and cooler and more rainy here. But the rain will pass. And, for our holidays, I hope it is not like other years and remains hot and sunny, even if it is the third week in August – not the best week for being on holiday here, in my experience.

In fact, if you wanted my advice, holidays in the Northern part of Italy should be taken in July for the hottest, sunniest weather, with June and September cooler (but still hot) but more risky for rainy days. August, around the 15th, is almost guaranteed rain!

But I did notice that, in the message I put at the start, I was mentioned first. I also realised that he is, really, really looking forward to going away with the dogs (and me).

He has an idea for Tuscany (this is NOT the holiday). The problem is the dogs (or the babies, as you will). His parents place means that we sleep in two very small rooms and he is concerned because they go to bed early (and are up early – which all sounds good to me) but (and I more than agree with him) it’s not so easy with the dogs. The flat, which he shares with his brother, is currently being used by some cousin or something.

I don’t know how many times I have to say that I was only joking (even if the reality was that I was only half-joking). His plan is that he goes down on the Friday and I follow Saturday afternoon. Then I stay Saturday night and I (or, maybe we) come back on Sunday.

“I want you to come to C”, he says. And I really think he does. And I don’t want to take the dogs to his parents. at least, not until they know me better or something. Gentle introductions are required here, I think. Even if they will never know who I really am and are unlikely to with the language barrier.

However, he is thinking of doing this in the next couple of weeks. Let’s see. With him, I can’t get too excited lest it doesn’t happen. His mind is still unfathomable to me. I know he thinks about things a lot but what actually goes on in his head is just impossible and I can’t follow his logic (if there is any) (and that’s after my advice to Lola earlier this afternoon hahahaha).


We expect things to work and we certainly take things for granted. Yesterday, in my head, I was looking forward to the shower I was going to have.

Except after nearly three hours, the three men went away, leaving me with a brand, spanking, new boiler …………. which didn’t work!

Another guy came today to fix it. It took him a while but he has done it. It was a blockage!!  As I said to someone at work, today.  I had one guy to carry things, one guy to fit the boiler and one guy to watch them do it.  Now, I could add – and one guy to make it actually work!

So I went to lie down for a bit and then I heard the sound of someone coming in. It was my cleaner guy. Since he had to leave early yesterday (no water) he was going to add hours next Wednesday. Instead, he chose to come and do the ironing today.

So, tonight I have a long, hot shower AND I have all my shirts ironed.

Cool, if you see what I mean.


Today, I was recounting the story of how F & I met. The girl, A, thought it was a lovely story. Of course, my blog allows me to recount the circumstances in more detail than I would ever remember and for which I am grateful. She also wanted to know how it was to be gay; when did I know?; what about girls?, etc. I explained. I have nothing to hide. She was a bit shocked but then, in this country, there is an unawareness about it all that still surprises me. I wondered if this is what it is like in most of the world. I am truly grateful that I was born and brought up in the UK.

But back to the blog. I’m not sure that I always say all of the really important things but I think I was, mostly, faithful with my recounting the story, since it was written at the time. It makes me wonder, if, in a few years time, some of the essence of the whole thing will be gone from the blog. It’s not really a diary, is it? It’s more a collection of random thoughts and random happenings in my life. Some things are deliberately missed (for various reasons); some things omitted by accident.

Proof. I’m sure of it.

Google’s announcement made a big splash across China. On the day, many net users voiced their support for the company and some even demonstrated in front of the company’s headquarters. Local people were showing their respect for a company that will finally apply its global motto “Don’t Be Evil” to China, treating it the same as other markets. I am sure traffic on doubled, if not tripled, on that day as Google removed the content filtering. This proves how eager Chinese users are for an unfiltered internet environment.

I’m not sure that Google are all that wonderful.  After all, they did agree to a form of censorship in the beginning and there was a lot of criticism at the time, I seem to remember.  So now that they’ve decided they don’t want to do it any more, how does that make them something great?  Something great would have been to not have agreed to it in the first place.  Although, being as cynical as I am, it would not have grabbed headlines for so long.

However, that’s not why I have posted this quote from here.  No, the reason is that I was shocked to read that it is now ‘proved’ that the Chinese are eager for unfiltered access.

What proves it? You may well ask.  Well, apparently, it’s the doubling (or, even, tripling) of traffic on Google on the day they removed the filtering.

I say ‘apparently’ because, in fact, it is not a fact.  However, the author is ‘sure’ this is the case.

I am sure that I am the most handsome man, ever.  Therefore this proves that I am.  Aren’t I just lucky?  (It’s OK, there’s no need to comment, folks!)

The (stupid) games we play


Lying on the bed, resting, reading, waiting for the time to go, I am struck by the thought that the games we play with others, and our partners in particular, are decidedly stupid.

I wonder what this world would be like without these games, without the subterfuge, with honesty and forthrightness.  Sure, it may hurt sometimes but wouldn’t it be so much better?

What if we all said exactly how we felt?  If we were pissed off by some comment someone made to us, what would it really matter if we told them that, actually, we didn’t appreciate the comment?  If someone made us really happy with something they said or did, rather than just saying ‘thank you’ it would be so much nicer to be more effusive and tell them that they have made us happy.

Instead, we pussyfoot around, saying less than we mean or cloaking it in words that say nothing (or, worse, the opposite).

Oh, and before you start on me, yes, I do the same.  In fact, a friend recently told me that my blog was ‘oblique’.  See, there’s the thing – I didn’t think it was.  Well, again, that’s not entirely true.  Some time ago, when some of my readers were unsure of, for instance, whether I was a woman or a man, I didn’t think it was oblique just that I had been rather clever in disguising it – not that it was important one way or another and, actually, I became rather smug about it, which, when I look back was rather snobbish on my part and for which I am not proud.

The problem, I find with this blog is that, although I want to tell the ‘whole truth and nothing but’, I find it difficult when many people I know read it.  It is, of course, one of the beauties of having an anonymous blog – but, having started one of those, I find that it is hard to write, since I can mention no names or places or give any indication of anything that might find people tracking it down.  So, in itself, it is not satisfying enough – using it for some details that, if I’m honest, I am just too scared to put here.

And, the fact that I am too scared I also find unsatisfying and so, I think anyway, my writing remains oblique – satisfying sometimes and dissatisfying at other times.

Not long after V & I split, for some reason that I do not recall, we went for a Chinese during which I got rather drunk.  I think (but was not sober enough to remember all the details), I told him the truth.  The truth of the last couple of years and what harm had been done and, therefore, why we were here, at this point, sitting in a Chinese restaurant, apart and estranged.  I don’t think he had realised.  It made me sad that he didn’t realise and now I think it is sadder that I wasn’t more open with him in those two years.  Perhaps, if I had have been, things would have been different?  I don’t think so, but you never know, nor will ever know.  At least it would have given him (and me) a chance.

I have posts that I have posted and then withdrawn and posts in drafts that I felt didn’t say what I wanted them to or, worse, said nothing (much like this one probably) or ones (well, one anyway) that I am too scared to post.  And still posts that were written and never put up at all!  All kept but all should really be trashed for, if I didn’t post them then, perhaps they should never be posted?

Take the last post.  All of it was true but that doesn’t make it the whole story; it doesn’t give you the true picture, the true picture being much more complicated than a simple blog post.  I mean it was a beautiful day in a pretty seaside town and we had plenty of laughs along the way – but to blog that means nothing without the side that I did blog about.  The beauty of that post is that I can explain that to Best Mate and she will understand as with her I can be more honest than most.

People usually ask if V reads this blog.  The true answer is that I don’t know for certain but think that he does not.  I’m not sure why, other than he doesn’t really read blogs at all and finds them boring, I think.  I have no problem if he did anyway, unless he took some of the things I have said and thinks that they are about him as some of them are not and, therefore, he might get the wrong impression or, like the post before, see just one side of things without the full picture.

Of all of them there is the one (not posted) that I reread often.  I wonder if it would make a difference if posted and on more than one occasion, have had the mouse poised over the publish button, swinging the cursor away with logic and, for that time, grateful that I did.  I guess I may keep that one as I like it for many other reasons.

Even posting this post is dangerous, maybe.  Or, rather, not dangerous but being too honest even by saying that I am not giving the whole picture and that the obliqueness of it all makes it difficult to decipher what is really going on in my head or in my world.

Still, I will post it anyway and, maybe, next week go through the old stuff, the drafts and so on and trash/use them/use bits of them.  It feels time to get rid of some of the trash, like a spring clean, even if this is the start of Autumn.

Perception; A picture of Michael Foot and tramp


I find myself re-reading the thing again.  I remember, one time (or maybe it was a few times over a few days, or a week, or a month but, in any case, it was quickly) reading as far back as I could go, being intrigued and interested and savouring it all as if I was the only person reading it; as if it was written just for me or I had found something secret that no one else knew about, like an old diary or papers full of writing, hidden away from public view.

But the re-reading is slower.  Now I have a ‘thing’ to hold on to during the imagination.  A voice.  A real, live person.  The smile.  The hands, the hair, the look.

And, strangely, because I didn’t think it would be possible, the words take on an intensity that I can hardly bear.  And that’s why it’s slow.  The intensity is almost too much but I find that it makes it even better; better but harder.

But now I think each story is different than I had thought before but that, of course, is not so true.  It may be different in my own head but the story remains the same it is only my perception of it that is different and my perception means nothing to anyone else except me.  It certainly doesn’t make the story or the protagonists different or change their view of the story in any way.

I have mentioned before how a voice can make a difference to me (take Alan Bennett as a good example) but, I suppose, and I had never noticed this before, so does the physical person.

Margaret Atwood, whose Canadian accent makes each English word a new word for me, I like not only for her voice.  She is kooky with her frizzed hair and her round face and, somehow, perfect for the books she writes.  Maya Angelou, the truly great American poetess, who still fills me with some sort of awe, just to write her name, because of her voice and the fact that she is, as one would expect, or, rather, not as one would expect but as she is, a rather large and imposing lady suiting, so perfectly, her voice and with a power that is both from her voice and her physique that made me the gibbering idiot when I wanted to say that I thought she was great and that I loved her and her power with words.

And Joan Armatrading, who, when I first met her was this rather small lady, so shy, so quiet and with her voice so deep, so powerful who has, actually, grown into her voice, if you see what I mean.

And so, the person and the voice are important and are what is now making me re-read so slowly and deliberately, trying to understand more than I did and knowing that is futile, really, since who can know anyone else by anything they do or say or write or sing.

And so I read and picture and imagine.  There are bits that, although I know I have read them before, seem new and interesting and different, like they’ve been added just now, today, for me, to make it worth the effort to re-read (even if it is no effort on its own, just effort because of that intensity I mentioned before).  And, somehow, more meaningful.  And, again, I realise that it is my perception.

And, of course, it is our perception that makes the world as it is, not the world.  The world remains constant, constantly changing of course but changing in a way that is the same.  We change, however, or, rather, our perception changes and the re-reading points this out so clearly I wonder why I hadn’t realised it before now; why anyone hadn’t realised it before now – or perhaps they did and I was just late to get here. Perhaps the joke’s on me and everyone else has realised this, almost from birth.

And now I feel quite stupid for not understanding this much better.  Not that it matters as most people who read this (few they may be) don’t know me and so, will nod sagely or laugh or whatever it is that one does when one knows the truth and reads about someone else just getting there.

And I thought I would post a picture of Michael Foot because he came up in conversation, recently, and I said that he looked like a tramp.  And it might seem that this is unimportant (and, in reality, it is) but it is important to me.  And I’m sorry that the picture didn’t come out in the same way that I had saved it but I hope you get the idea.

Finally, death!


And, finally, we talked about death. And it seemed fitting as it was the end of the conversation. We had talked about death before – about how he was living in the flat of a woman who had died not twelve months earlier and, whether it was true or not, how he had hoped that she may not have died in her bed – the very bed that he was now sleeping in. We came to the conclusion that it was less likely, these days, as everyone seems to go to hospital or an ‘old people’s home’ to die.

But here we were, at the end of a very pleasant afternoon, saying goodbye, in that stretched out way that one does when, in reality, one doesn’t want it to end but is unsure how one can keep it going, one of us having already said we must get back, as if that were really important, which, of course, it really wasn’t, but how one doesn’t want to ruin something that has been going so well and, in order not to ruin it or run out of conversation or say something that will annoy or upset the other person, although neither of us would have said anything, I’m sure, we cut it short but then linger over this goodbye, by adding some question, which, of course, is normal and innocent enough.

And, it didn’t start off as death at all but rather holidays and then drifted into one of those conversations; a conversation that had been going all afternoon, through life, through love (both now and past), through politics, through everything, in a flow that was not forced or stilted and rambled on, much as this post is doing because we were busy (or, rather I was busy) finding out more about a person that I liked (and here, I thought about the word a lot because, in reality, it was a person that I had fallen in love with, not in a way that I was in love with V but only for the words that we had between us because, until this point, there were only words and, like being in love, I have found, over the time, a strange yearning, like I would have for a lover but, instead of this desire being for the body and a physical thing it was the yearning for more of the words and I eat each one as if I haven’t eaten at the table of literature for many years just like the insatiableness (I don’t even know if that is a real word) one has for a lover’s body and so, in the end, love would be better than like but I didn’t want you (my dear reader) to get the wrong idea) and wanting to say things that I don’t say to others because he knew me but in a way that no one else really does, since he had a perception of me that came only from this, this here, and wanting to explain myself (as if, by explaining myself, he would quickly see the things that I may have missed or, even better, that others may have missed) and the reason I was here and not having enough time and rushing through explanations in a terrible way.

And, holidays led to one thing and another (but quickly so that it wasn’t something deliberate) to death and, in the main, other people’s deaths, or, rather, lingering deaths that, because of the health care and drugs and such-like, is now more common than, perhaps 30 or 50 or, certainly, 100 years ago (see the link above) but, as a conclusion, we decided that a quick death was preferable, like a heart attack or a stroke that was so debilitating that death was swift and, one would hope, less painful. Worst was the death of the mind, since the mind is the person and that is what counts.

And that is what counts.

And, lest you misunderstand this post, the hours we had spent talking and laughing and so on, about the important things and the trivial things was, and I hesitate to use this word as many people consider it over-used, nice but I will as it fits. Again, I thought about the word a lot. I wanted to say wonderful or fabulous and they fit too but, again, it gives the wrong impression when, in reality it was comfortable and made me feel warm and was, well, nice (although I could have added ‘really’ in front of it).

And, even though I know that he will probably read this and may be disappointed that, given all that I said during the afternoon, what I did fail to add, was that I understood (or, at least, I thought I did) the person who was convinced that they were going to die, as I have and have had the same feelings except that, in my case they haven’t yet come true and, perhaps because I don’t have anyone to tell them to, I’ve never mentioned it and, in any case, it seemed crass and presumptive of me to say anything, like someone who knows you’re gay and says things like, oh I have a friend who’s gay, as if that makes it alright and gives them a green ticket to understanding me, which, of course, it doesn’t and is what I hate people doing to me and, therefore, there was no way that I was gong to do it to him.

So, just in case you (my ‘word lover’) read this rubbish that I have written, please don’t think that I was being disingenuous or secretive or closed. It just didn’t seem right. And I didn’t want to spoil an afternoon that I had enjoyed and felt so comfortable with, in a way that I don’t often feel and for which I want to thank you and have found it so difficult to explain using words which is what, after all, we both love.

I’ve been thinking that I don’t really like Telecom Italia very much


The engineer phones me (about a day late). As my Italian is abysmal, he does try some English. We, more or less, make each other understood.

He thinks it may be necessary to come to the house. To be honest, they should have phoned me yesterday. However, he is very pleasant and tries to be helpful. Apparently they will make an appointment.

I wonder how, in the main, the engineers can be so nice and the call centre people can be so bloody crap. I guess, if they were engineers and had to actually see the people they deal with they would be nicer.

And so, once again, I am without ADSL and, so, no email or internet connection at home.

It all started Sunday night and although it had been working fine about half an hour earlier, when the break came, it was just too late. And I keep forgetting that Telecom Italia are not Infostrada and it will not ‘fix itself’ within an hour.

The next morning the same problem and I thought that if I don’t phone them now it will just continue not to work.

>I phone. It is just after 6 a.m. I have problems conversing in English at that time in the morning, even with the dogs, so Italian was, well, shall we say ‘interesting’. However, I made myself understood and the guy on the line said some stuff of which I probably caught about half. Basically, my understanding was that it was going to be fixed within four hours.

I put the phone down after I thanked him.

Then I reprocessed what he had said and had this horrible feeling that they were going to send an ‘tecnico’ round to the house within four hours! And, forgetting what day it was and that I HAD to be in work today, I toyed with the idea of not going in at all.

And then I remembered there was a reason why I had to wear a suit. We had a visitor and it was important that I was there, even if my presence was, in fact, not strictly necessary since I would sit and do nothing – except, maybe, make pleasantries with this guy, talking about his flight over; the hotel; the weather; and considering that he was someone that I didn’t much like, it all seemed so bloody pointless and not really important after all.

So, I phoned TI again. Again, Italian; again, difficult but possible. Certainly, as it was about 20 minutes later, it was a bit better. I explained that I wasn’t sure if I had understood what the guy had said to me and were they going to send this ‘tecnico’ round to my house because I had to go to work? She assured me that they weren’t. So, that’s OK then.

The annoying thing was that I had written a post and had emailed it to myself at work – it being better to re-read it before posting and do it during the day when I am, probably (hopefully) more cognisant. And, now I couldn’t. Damn.

Ah well, I thought, I could put it onto my USB key and take it to work that way. I recently got a new one as a gift (my old one being small and only working intermittently). But I couldn’t find it. Where the hell is it, I thought? Ah, I remember taking it to work.

I had no time to check at work, really, just a quick scout round my (very) messy desk. Not there. Later I even did a quick search of my desk drawers. It must be at home, somewhere.

I get home. I am excitedly expecting the internet to be obtainable. I am, of course, sadly misguided, this being Italy and the company being Telecom Italia and all. I phone again.

The automatic message says (I think) that the problem will be fixed on or before Wednesday! I’m not sure and I don’t want to believe it anyway. I wait. I get to an operator. She tells me it will be fixed tomorrow but at the very latest by Wednesday. I am incredulous. I want to be able to say that the four-hour promise was obviously pie-in-the-sky and, since they had my mobile number (I had given it to them in call 2, someone could have phoned me and add that it is totally ridiculous that, having come back to them as their customer (albeit without a choice in this) that they had, once again proved that I had been right to move to Infostrada and that, at the earliest opportunity I would return to Infostrada. I wanted to – but my Italian language skills restrict this to :- two more days? (said with the appropriate incredulous tone).

She is sorry (but doesn’t mean it, you can tell) but it is something to do with the central something or other and it is more complicated. And I know, in my heart, that, even when they say they have fixed it, it will not work in my home and they will have to come round and look and then, probably, do something at home or, after five minutes checking, something somewhere else.

I search for my USB memory stick. I remember the box it was in (I have not used it yet). It was quite large and silver in colour. It is nowhere to be found. I am frustrated.

A calls and I agree to go for a quick pasta dish at his house (F is not there because the call was unusual – it being Monday but without F he is looking for company and I am, after all, very obliging and there is only ironing that I must do but, damn it, I can’t pass up food just for that).

After the engineer phones (me knowing that I probably won’t have Internet access much before the weekend, if I am lucky) I check my desk for the umpteenth time for the USB stick. I find a small, not large, box that is more white than silver, under some papers. It is the key! I feel a little happier about the situation.

I still, very much, hate Telecom Italia.

Writing Something Worthwhile

I am jealous. I mean really jealous. Take Corpodibacco’s post (Unfortunately, the blog no longer exists) as an example. Here’s a guy who isn’t mother-tongue English, writing stuff that I really like to read. OK so his English isn’t perfect (sorry C) but it’s pretty good and nothing a good editor couldn’t fix if it were to go into print. But his description, the imagery is all there. I, on the other hand, seem to scribble rubbish. Just the trivial facts, nothing of any real meaning.

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