25 Teenagers Who Died Before They Lived

Think you had a bad year? Didn't get what you wanted for Christmas? Haven't got a boyfriend? Haven't got the latest phone/iPod/trainers?

Twenty-five teenagers in London won't have those problems in the new year, because in 2007 they lost their lives after being shot or stabbed to death - by their peers.

Look at the faces, imagine the lost potential, try to picture their energy and vitality in life, and their mother's faces when the police came knocking with the news. They aren't headlines.

The scale of loss is horrific and almost incomprehensible. Here are the twenty-five teenagers who died before they lived.

From left to right:

Stephen Boachie, 17, stabbed on 1 January.

Dean Lahlou, 18, stabbed on 9 January.

Jevon Henry, 18, stabbed on 24 January.

James Smartt-Ford, 16, shot on 3 February.

Michael Dosunmu, 15, shot on 6 February.

Billy Cox, 15, shot on 14 February.

Kodjo Yenga, 16, stabbed on 14 March.

Adam Regis, 15, stabbed on 17 March.

Paul Erhahon, 14, stabbed on 6 April.

Dwaine Douglas, 18, stabbed on 18 May.

Danielle Johnson, 17, stabbed on 28 May.

Sian Simpson, 18, stabbed on 19 June.

Ben Hitchcock, 16, stabbed on 23 June.

Annaka Keniesha Pinto, 17, shot on 23 June.

Abu Shahin, 18, stabbed on 26 June.

Martin Dinnegan, 14, stabbed on 26 June.

Abukar Mahamud, 16, shot on 26 July.

Nathan Foster, 18, shot on 3 August.

Mohammed Ahmed, 17, stabbed on 30 August.

Edvin Johnson, 19, stabbed on 16 September.

Rizwan Darbar, 17, stabbed on 7 October.

Philip Poru, 18, shot on 14 October.

Etem Celebi, 17, shot on 14 November.

Biendi Litambola, 17, assaulted on 17 November.

David Nowak, 16, stabbed on 15 December.

B2K: Raz-B Retracts Apology

Ricardo Thornton, Raz-B's brother, has spoken out in an interview with The New Urban blog, saying: "I just got off the phone with DeMario (Raz B), and the apology tape is not real! Chris had people force Raz to read a script and coerced him into taking money. I talked to DeMario and the money will be returned. We want this done right. We're putting this message out there for all of the innocent kids who get abused and are then forced to be silent."

Sure enough, the apology video has disappeared from youtube.

Thornton goes on to allege that Chris Stokes and Marques Houston are lovers, and that Stokes promised to take care of young artists if they took part in gay sex acts with one another.

Read the full interview here.


Doctor Who and EastEnders were the winners in this year's Christmas ratings wars, with the long-running series managing 12.2 million and 13.9 million viewers each.
For Doctor Who it was the series' highest ratings since 1979, and the largest audience since its revival in 2005, doubtless helped by legions of homosexuals tuning in to see Kylie 'acting' in a spoof of The Poseidon Adventure. The sand-grubber, bent on grabbing every last pink pound for her pension (which isn't far off) didn't detract too much from the festive edition of Who, and even managed to keep that ghastly Australian accent in check. What casual viewers didn't realise, however, was that it was all a con: the plot was a rip-off of a 1970s disaster movie, and the 'sailing ships in space' idea had already been done in the 1983 serial Enlightenment, whilst the stylised robot servants were a direct lift from the 1977 story The Robots of Death. It's been done before, and it's been done better.
In EastEnders the culmination of a year-long storyline, Max's affair with daughter-in-law Stacey, paid handsome dividends, and invoked memories of Christmas past - the series has a tradition of nightmare Christmas misery stretching back to Dirty Den serving divorce papers on Angie in 1986.
The Christmas top 10 was:
1. EastEnders (8pm, BBC One): 13.9 million
2. Doctor Who (6.50pm, BBCOne): 12.2 million, peak 13.8 million
3. EastEnders (6.20pm, BBC One): 11.6 million, peak 11.8 million
4. BBC News (6.05pm, BBC One): 10.4 million, peak 10.1 million
5. To The Manor Born (9.30pm, BBC One): 9.8 million, peak 10.1 million
6. Shrek 2 (4.40pm, BBC One): 9.1 million, peak 10.1 million
7. Coronation Street (8.30pm, ITV1): 8.9 million, peak 9.6 million
8. Strictly Come Dancing (8.30pm, BBC One): 8.3 million, peak 9.9 million
9. The Queen's Speech (3pm, BBC One & ITV1): 7.5 million
10. Finding Nemo (3.10pm, BBC One): 7.1 million, peak 8.3 million

B2K: Sex, Lies, Videotape

The depressing, ghastly saga that is the B2K sex scandal has taken a new twist. Raz-B has appeared in another clip, which appeared on Boxing Day, in which he says "some tapes that were leaked without my authority, and I just wanna say that those allegations are not true with Chris Stokes and Marques Houston and I apologise for any hurt this may cause."

Now, I'm no expert in body language or the rest of it, but Raz-B's performance here is about as convincing and natural as Michael Jackson's face. Why is the amatuer footage recorded out in a suburban street? Why is it suddenly cut short? And why does Raz-B look like somebody (a former manager, for example) has a gun to his head?

Whilst Raz-B is backing down from the allegations, his brother certainly isn't, vowing to go on Oprah or anyone else that will have him. Omarion has also weighed in, saying: "I want to be on the record as saying that 'Raz B' Thorton and Ricardo Thorton are lying regarding Chris Stokes. Chris is a father figure to myself, and many others in the industry. He's guided us, helped raised us and is nothing more than an inspiration and someone I respect to and look up to. I have spent countless hours, days, weeks and months with the man since the age of 5 and have never once seen him behave inappropriately. He's married to my aunt and I know this man very well. I stand behind him with no question whatsoever. I have grown up around Chris and this is crazy to me. These people have damaged me, and my reputation and I won't stand silent and will do all within my means to speak the truth about this matter."

Hmm - I wonder how many PR people it took to write that statement...?

Follow the story in more detail at the jolly good blog WhatsTheT.


"I didn't like it, my ass hurt," Raz-B says in an explosive Christmas Eve video.

The footage, from the forthcoming reality series Life After B2K, shows the former member of B2K discussing sex acts that allegedly took place between members of B2K and their former manager Chris Stokes, and suggests that the boys were encouraged to have sex with each other, and with various industry people. Marques Houston is also implicated.

Raz-B - real name De'Mario Monte Thornton - also says, somewhat bizarrely, "Me going on Noah's Arc was an expression of what I've been through."

The news that sex is the favourite currency in show biz, and that managers and agents use their positions to get what they want from hungry young artists, isn't a big revelation. But what is shocking is the very public disclosure of a gay sex scandal involving some of the urban music scene's biggest names.

No doubt we'll be hearing a lot more about this...

Age Ain't Nothing But a Number?

Well well well, maybe heterosexuals aren't all hypocrites, after all: digital spy reports that black activists are planning to protest at a concert being given by dirty old man R. Kelly.

The World's Greatest is currently under investigation for 14 child pornography charges. Says activist Jasmyne Cannick: "It's a challenge to get the black community to even discuss it. It's like pulling teeth to get people to talk about this. They're acting like he doesn't have 14 counts of child pornography against him... We're all acting like we don't have daughters and nieces and little sisters."
Try to imagine the furore and publicity had Kelly's alleged victims been male. And you can bet the likes of Ludacris, The Neptunes, Kanye West, Ja Rule, Snoop Dogg, and T.I. wouldn't allow their names to be mentioned in the same breath as Kelly's, let alone collaborate with him (musically, that is...)
It's no secret that Robert Sylvester Kelly seems to practice the belief that Age Ain't Nothing But A Number and that Down Low (Nobody Has To Know). Allegations of sexual activity with underage girls stretch back to 1991, and in 1995 Kelly married 15 year old singer Aaliyah. A video was leaked to the press in 2002 that allegedly shows Kelly having sex with a 14 year old girl.
Last month Regina Daniels, Kelly's publicist, announced that she had resigned her position. "I have always prided myself on professionalism, respect and loyalty. I ended my relationship with Kelly because there are some lines you just don't cross."

Trains Bombed By Terrorists Will Be Back

One of the Tube trains in which an Islamic extremist detonated a bomb on 7th July 2005 is being refurbished and returned to service, despite the fact that six people died on the Hammersmith & City line train. A London Underground spokesman said: "None of the Tube carriages in which the bombs exploded will be used again in passenger service. They have been scrapped and disposed of securely. Other carriages and parts will be brought back into use."

An industry source said: "In an ideal world this train would also have been scrapped but they don't make them like this any more and we desperately need the stock back. We cancel on average six trains a day on the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines and need every train possible."

So, operational requirements take precedence over respect for the dead, and not surprisingly, 7/7 survivors aren’t impressed. One of them, Beverli Rhodes, says: “I would like to see a memorial plaque in each carriage to prevent the rumour mill from churning out an urban legend for future generations. Future blogs will ask did you travel in the doomed carriages from the 7/7 bombings? Would you even know? The next thing will be Channel 4 doing a ghost hunt on the carriages to "see" the ghosts of the dead.”

Is it enough to simply amputate the aberrant carriage, or should the whole train be destroyed? Would you be happy knowing you might, possibly, be on one of the bombed trains, and never know it?

The Down Low Is Coming Out

Still in mourning over the premature end (apart from the upcoming movie) of Noah's Arc? Maybe The DL Chronicles will fill the hole (nudge nudge, wink wink). I haven't seen it myself, but the eye candy on the cover of the soon-to-be-released first season looks promising. If I was a proper reviewer maybe Genius Entertainment would send me a review copy in advance of its February street date, so that I could write nice things. But I'm not so they won't and I can't.

If anyone reading this has something to say about The DL Chronicles why not write in and tell me.

Sometimes Porn Stars Say Bad Things

Oh dear.

I don't think anyone has ever suggested that people employed in the sex industry should be role models (although I don't see why - as a career, it has more merit than being, say, an ambulance-chasing lawyer, a PR prick or an advertising a**hole). But making racist slurs in a public place probably isn't the best career move.

Enter porn star Tré Xavier, who's made it his mission in life to expose the rampant racism in the gay porn industry. In the other corner we have Pierre Fitch, who may or may not have a brain, although given his exchange with Xavier at NYC club Splash earlier this month it seems unlikely.

"I not into those type of guys, I like my white men, their skin feels better", Fitch allegedly said, and, "No matter how drunk I am, I wouldn't do it."

Well, that's not very nice, is it? You can take the boy out of the trailer, but you can't take the trash out of the boy...

Where In The World

Cor blimey geezer mate! I love a good map, me, especially a not-real one. Here's a not-real one that replaces stations on the familiar London Underground map with places in the world. It comes from the not-very-exciting-sounding book Transit Maps Of The World, which never-the-less for this geek sounds engrossing. You see, it's all about "graphic design of worldwide subway, metro, underground and U-Bahn system maps and diagrams" (says the Going Underground blog, which also has details of a competition in which you, your very self, can win a poster of the not-real map).
For better or worse, my home station on the map has been replaced by Lisbon, and I now work in Izmir (it's in Turkey - and yes, I did have to look it up). Apparently it's liberal there, so that's all right.
If you're very bored, or can't find any decent porn, have a look at previous not-real maps I've attempted to bring to your attention, like this here Map Of Humanity, or the Web Trend map.
It's all good clean fun, and better than a kick in the teeth, what!

If She Should Have Known Better, Then So Should We

Gillian Gibbons, the British teacher jailed in Sudan for naming a teddy bear Muhammed, was released yesterday, after Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir pardoned her following talks with two British Muslim peers. In a statement, Gibbons had this to say: "I have great respect for the Islamic religion and would not knowingly offend anyone and I am sorry if I caused any distress. I am looking forward to seeing my family and friends but I am very sorry that I will be unable to return to Sudan and work in Unity High School as the teacher of 2X." Throughout this insane episode, I've been disturbed by the opinion, held by many, that Gibbons somehow brought the whole thing on herself. That as a Westerner in an Islamic country she should have known better. Or that we're all at fault for not being more understanding of Islam. It's precisely that kind of thinking that allowed September 11th and 7/7 to happen: turning a blind eye to Islamic extremists and letting them get on with it; allowing some warped sense of Western guilt to eclipse the fact that backward, medieval societies like Sudan oppress women and gays, and are the antithesis of a liberal, tolerant society. The war on terror supposedly targets those who harbour terrorists. But Britain, the US and others play a big role in fostering the threat of Islam. We have to stop pandering to its extremes, apologising for the hate it nurtures and the oppression it gives rise to. It's cold comfort that Gillian Gibbons has been released - she's just one woman. Who's going to help the thousands of black African Darfuris, the murders of whom the bearded Arabs of Sudan have orchestrated...?

She Didn't Mind The Gap

Imagine you have a microphone and a captive audience of cattle on auto-pilot, but the only thing you ever get to say is "Mind the gap" and "This station is..." Wouldn't it be great if you could say whatever you wanted? Well, that's just what voiceover artist Emma Clarke, the voice of London Underground, has done. Bursting free of her corporate straight-jacket, she has recorded some spoof announcements. In one message, she says: “Would the passenger in the pinstripe suit and £1000 glasses who obviously works in the media please take one step forward on to the track as the train arrives. Thank you.” Pretty good advice if you ask me. In another, she says, “Residents of London are reminded that there are other places in Britain outside your stinking shithole of a city and, if you removed your heads from your arses for just a couple of minutes, you may realise that the M25 is not the edge of the Earth.” Factually accurate, surely? You can hear them all on her site.
Unfortunately the joyless suits at Transport for London, the local authority which controls London Underground, don't see the funny side. A spokesman said, "Some of the spoof announcements are very funny. But Emma is a bit silly to go around slagging off her client's services. London Underground is sorry to have to announce that further contracts for Miss Clarke are experiencing severe delays." In other words, 'you're sacked, love'. See more on the story at the London Underground Tube Blog and on video at the BBC.

Black & White In Colour

Is the white working class second class citizens in their own country? Is 'Victim Of Racism' a trendy label looked upon as a designer exclusive by some ethnic minorities? Perhaps, perhaps not... BBC Two will screen a series of programmes in the New Year on the subject of race - but there's a twist. The season, dubbed White Season, is all about the feeling of some white working class people of being "under siege and as if their very sense of self is being brought into question." Roly Keating, controller of BBC Two, said: "It's BBC Two's role to reflect contemporary society and this is a timely moment for us to examine the roots of this debate. The White season is a complex look at how life has changed for the white working class in Britain. It will enable the audience to consider the views and circumstances of people who have a strong point of view and join in the debate, both online with the BBC and in their own homes and communities." Drama White Girl is about an eleven year old white girl's sense of isolation in a largely Muslim community. All White in Barking looks at prejudice in volatile East London. The Poles Are Coming is a "subversive look at the reality of immigration in Middle England". Rivers Of Blood examines the impact, forty years on, of Enoch Powell's infamous "rivers of blood" speech (about the dangers of uncontrolled immigration). Is the white working class second class citizens in their own country? Is 'Victim Of Racism' a trendy label looked upon as a designer exclusive by some ethnic minorities? Perhaps, perhaps not... It should be interesting to hear a different point of view in the never-ending race debate, and one that, perhaps, is often silenced in fear of political correctness...


Here's a picture of the new Tube map, due to be introduced later this month, and seen here thanks to it being leaked by someone at TfL who Mayor Ken has probably now had shackled in the Tower of London for a week as punishment.

If you ask me, it's all got a bit complicated, what with the addition of the London Overground line, the imminently closing East London line and the new Heathrow T5 station sticking out of the lefthand corner, making the Heathrow loop look like a flacid penis. Or is that just me?

Meanwhile, the Hammersmith & City line gains a new station, Wood Lane, which isn't the Wood Lane station which closed in 1947 but a brand new one for the Big Shopping Centre which Shepherd's Bush needs like a hole in the head (at least it'll give the Australians something to do other than drink beer and roll around in their own vomit in the gutter).

Hotel Babylon

Phwoaar!! A hotel for the gays - those hot-blooded Latins have the right idea, what. Yes indeed, Guardian Unlimited has reported the opening, on 31st October, of the Axel Hotel in Buenos Aires (for the benefit of American readers, that's not a suburb in LA, it's Argentina's capital).

"The receptionists are slender young men in sleek suits, the brochure features chiselled male torsos, the rooms are soundproofed and stocked with condoms and every now and then Judy Garland croons in the bar..." says Rory Carroll in his article. Sounds good to me.

The hotel, which has only cost them £3.5m, is for men only - and it isn't just gay-friendly (a term I loathe more than my bitch graduate boss), but is gay. Gay gay gay, I say. Not a child or fish-wife in sight. In fact, the website describes the hotel as being heterofriendly "...or, in other words, a space conceived, developed and designed for and by the gay public, but open to everyone." Well, I suppose it doesn't hurt to have one or two breeders loitering about.

Darryl Stephens

Here's a gratuitous snap of favourite eye candy Darryl Stephens for you lot. He's only after being photographed by François Rousseau for Out, so he is. Strapping lad, isn't he? Stephens, of the sadly-departed Noah's Arc, is one of Out's 100 Men And Women Who Made 2007 A Year To Remember. They say: "(He is) consistently funnier, hotter and tougher than any of (his) straight counterparts. Coincidence? We think not." The article goes on to say: "...in a year of revolving closet doors for TV actors, we can also offer one long-anticipated quiet confirmation: Darryl Stephens, who has declined to discuss his sexuality while playing a series of nuanced gay roles. He doesn't exactly talk about it, but he proudly joins the other queer honorees in our pages." Declined to discuss his sexuality, huh? The cheek of it! Who does he think he is, this actor person? Anyone would think his sexuality was his own personal business!

Review: Broken Sky

Hypnotic, enticing and achingly beautiful, Broken Sky puts the rise and fall of a relationship under the microscope, depicting the pain of unrequited love, rejection and loss with blistering accuracy.

There's barely any dialogue - proof indeed that actions speak louder than words - with most of the action played out in body language: stolen glances and intense sex are the language of this piece. The BFI says it's a "masterful exercise in visual storytelling" and it isn't wrong. The two leads, Jonás (Miguel Angel Hoppe Canto) and Gerardo (Fernando Arroyo) as two students, are thoroughly engaging, and just so happen to be very, very easy on the eye - even if, distractingly, Jonás bares an uncanny resemblance to Jason out of Coronation Street.

If there's one flaw it's the duration, an ailment modern cinema suffers acutely from - at more than two hours and eighteen minutes this one tests the patience, and my reaction might well have been considerably less favourable had I been trapped in a cinema for that long. But here we have quantity and quality, and that's rare. Broken Sky is nothing less than stunning - if, by the final act, you don't feel the full, stomach-churning impact of the flashback revealing what really happened on the dancefloor, then you haven't really loved and lost...

Keeping Australia White

The Australian government has accused Africans of failing to integrate into Australian society. It also complains of groups of young African men drinking alcohol in parks at night.

This follows on from the revelation that the Australian government has cut the number of Africans in its refugee intake from 70 per cent four years ago, to 30 per cent.

Now, who said the White Australia policy was dead and buried?

The government blames Africans for not integrating, but having had the misfortune to live in Australia, I'd put money on the real problem being Australians (most of whom are white) not accepting the immigrants. After all, they've successfully persecuted the native Aborginals for the last two hundred years or so. G'day mate, who's up for a bit of genocide?

It's almost impossible to imagine what African refugees have endured in a country that must be one of the most hostile towards non-caucasians, second only to its spiritual sibling, white South Africa. And the complaint of young African men drinking in parks is a sick joke - ever seen how Australians behave when let loose around the globe, let alone at home? Parts of London are awash with Aussie vomit most nights of the week - and that's just the women.

Learn about the ugly face of modern Australia here.

A Map Of Humanity

Back in August we saw the jolly clever Web Trend Map, which showed us how to get from IMDB.com to Myspace via Rapidshare. Well now something even more cleverer-er-er has come along, A Map Of Humanity, if you please.
The different continents (not the real ones) are shown with names like Utopia, Pride, Ignorance, Abandonment, Lies, and Hell. Eros is looking pretty good to me. Where do you see yourself?

The Gays Can't Be Racist? Can they?

Last month we heard how former Savage Garden front man, the Australian who married a woman then decided to come clean and tell everybody he's actually gay, was arrested following an alleged racist attack on a waiter in a restaurant in London. The Australian was subsequently given a caution by police, which I'm sure his victim feels is sufficient punishment.

What's really funny about the whole episode, apart from the strenuous denials from the Hayes camp of any wrongdoing, are the cries of, "He's gay, how could he be racist?" You see, heterosexuals can't quite grasp the fact that gays, white and black, can be just as racist and xenophobic as they are. In fact, mainstream gay culture is founded upon the notion that white is right, and anyone who doesn't look like a manicured Viking is inferior, which dovetails perfectly with Australian racism and xenophobia - so call me cynical for not being surprised to hear of a gay Australian launching a tirade of racist abuse.
So let's all take a positive from this little episode - straight people now realise that gay people can be racist too. Aww, ain't the world a lovely place?

Get Shorty J

I REALLY SHOULD get paid for this, but I don't.

Yes, I'm going to talk about CocoDorm again. Because I happened to "accidentally" stumble into the Cocostore site (ahem) and notice that the next Flava Works release is called Get Shorty J.

As you can imagine, this had me rolling around the floor in fits of laughter for hours at this porntastic adaptation of a cinema classic (apparently, since I've never seen Get Carter).

One thing I certainly have seen a lot of is Shorty J (although not as much as I'd like to). Me, I'm 6'3. But you know, there's truth in the old adage good things come in small packages.

Oh, for the love of Shorty...

This latest release also features another of my CocoDorm favourites, Pimp, the centre of much
controversy in the gay media in recent times. One would hope that the release of this footage proves that the model in question is safe and well...

View all SEX articles.

Leave Britney Alone!

Far be it from me to give tedious tabloid celebs further exposure (exposure? on my blog? ha!), but I haven't laughed so hard since Phil did drunk-acting on EastEnders last week. There's nothing like a hysterical, sobbing queen in a high dudgeon over the treatment of their "diva" of the week. The poor boy in the video above, that is, not Phil off of EastEnders...

Oo-er missus, that's a big one!

Big, innit?

Burj Dubai will be the world's tallest building if it's ever completed. Why "if"? Contractor Schmidlin Ltd. Facade Technology has only gone and declared itself bankrupt, hasn't it. What a hoo-ha. So the pile of concrete is now bereft of outside walls for a bit. Awwww.
Read more about Burj Dubai here.

Who says I don't like fish?

Here's a picture of a fish. Have a good look, because before long it's going to be the only view you'll have of one. Stocks of all fish species across the globe are predicted to collapse completely by 2048. It's a view many experts subscribe to, including Professor Callum Roberts, who launched his book An Unnatural History Of The Seas at the British Association for the Advancement of Science conference in York. The news is worse for Britain - ninety percent of fish will be gone by 2027, and it's all due to over-fishing.
The full story is here.

Ja Rule

Who remembers Ja Rule? The hip-hop "star" who sounds like a dog with a ninety-a-day nicotine habit, and who's cursed with the face of someone whose parents were probably brother and sister. Yes, the one who was pretty big until an even uglier rapper, with bigger muscles, talking even more trash, came along and stole the limelight - 50 Cent.

Anyway, Ja Ruled-out, er, I mean, Ja Rule, offloaded this charming little diatribe in Complex magazine:

"They got my man Doug Morris under fire and sh-t, they got him going down to go speak to Congress about hip-hop lyrics, are you f--king serious? There's a f--king black kid right now about to get 25 years for having a fight with some white kids over hanging the nooses over the white tree, let's get to that. Let's get into sh-t like that, because that's what's tearing up America, not me calling a woman a b--ch or a h-e on my rap songs. And if it is, then we need to go step to Paramount, and f--king MGM, and all of these other motherf--kers that's making all of these movies and we need to go step to MTV and Viacom, and lets talk about all these f--king shows that they have on MTV that is promoting homosexuality, that my kids can't watch this sh-t. Dating shows that's showing two guys or two girls in mid-afternoon. Let's talk about s--t like that! If that's not f--king up America, I don't know what is....There's a lot of issues we can address besides hip-hop, but they want to put everything on us like we're the problem. This is going to be a shameless f--king plug, but I said, 'when everyone wants to point the finger, and ask why there's so much corruption, they only need to look in the mirror.' It starts with themselves."

So Ruled-out's kids can't see dating shows about gays, yet they have to look at and listen to Daddy. I'd start booking therapy for them now.

Maxwell: Now?

Neo soul, as a genre, hasn't achieved much mainstream success (for better or for worse), instead suffering at the bling-encrusted hands of mainstream hip-hop (which really is just vulgar blaxploitation).
There's two artists that have a certain gravitas when it comes to neo soul: Maxwell and D'Angelo. When I say contemporary, it's stretching the definition a little - Maxwell's last album, Now, was released in 2001, whilst D'Angelo last gave us a lil sumthin' sumthin' in 2000 (the truly exquisite Voodoo).
D'Angelo's troubles have been widely publicised (eagerly, given his fall from grace as the chiselled demi-god seen in the video for Untitled (How Does It Feel) to the bloated everyman peering at the camera in police mug shots) and there's been various rumours about the reasons behind Maxwell's lack of productivity.
Whatever the reason for the delay between Now and the long-mooted Black Summers' Nite, the wait should be worth it. Maxwell's magic is unparalleled, a fact readily apparent on the snippet released this weekend on his official myspace page. Go there now to hear it.
In a recent myspace bulletin Maxwell had this to say: "it's been the coolest summer but we got a hot busy little winter planned out for you. hint hint hint!!!"
Perhaps, finally, the time is Now...

Dying Is Easy, Surviving Is Hard

Who's seen cult science-fiction series Survivors, in which 99.9% of the world's population is killed in a global pandemic accidentally released from a laboratory and rapidly spread across the globe by prolific air travel?

It's unrelentingly bleak - pretty much everyone dies, either in the initial holocaust, or later on from starvation, at the hands of other survivors (probably after being raped or tortured), or from the rapid proliferation of diseases we thought had been wiped out, like typhoid et cetera. Oh, and then there's the legions of rats and packs of wild dogs running rampant in the cities...

One of the reasons for Survivors success was that the picture it painted was grimly realistic. Now the World Health Organisation (WHO) is warning in its annual report that just such a scenario is possible, precisely because of the heavy use of air travel. It warns that an epidemic in any part of the world is just a few hours away from threatening somewhere else.

The report says, "It would be extremely naive and complacent to assume that there will not be another disease like AIDS, Ebola, or Sars sooner or later."

So stock up on the bottled water and canned food - if Survivors is anything to go by, dying might be the easy option.

The House Next Door: Latest Episode

The City of Miami's Code Enforcement Board has ruled that Flava Works is illegally running an adult entertainment business out of a home zoned for residential use. The decision comes after the silly hoo-ha earlier this year, here, in which NBC exposed the location of the CocoDorm in a tabloid news item.

CocoDorm published this statement on their website: "With the Code Enforcement Board's ruling, starting today, the city will fine us up to $500 per day for each day we remain open. We are filing an emergency motion in federal court to block the city's ruling citing VOYEUR DORM v CITY OF TAMPA and sue the City of Miami.

Miami is wasting tax dollars to prosecute the legal CocoDorm residence, while drug dealers and prostitutes reign free on the streets of this neighborhood, which is known for it's infamous 'hoe stroll', but we suppose NBC and the city don't care about real problems.

Customers do not visit the CocoDorm location and neighbors didn't know about CocoDorm (until NBC knocked on their door after they received an anonymous packet mailed by a competitor). What happens inside of CocoDorm is no different than what happens behind the closed door of any other house; people live, interact and have sex. This is our and your First Amendment right, and we will fight for these rights.

By the way, no one from the neighborhood was present at any of the three hearings. In fact we have a petition of neighbors in support of CocoDorm!

We will not close the CocoDorm!"

Hear hear!

Dekenric Wiley

Dekenric Wiley, Vice-President of Flava Works and CocoDorm model, died of pneumonia on July 14th. He was 32 years old.

A memorial site has been launched at Dekenric.

Brian Wins Big Brother

Here's something you won't read on separtist/hatred-inciting/racist sites like keithboykin.com - a black man has just won Big Brother. Twenty year-old Brian Belo was voted as winner of the reality series by a massive 60.3% of the British public (headline on keithboykin.com: "39.7% of British Public Are Racist"). Let's put this in context: the last four contestants in the house consisted of down-to-earth, earnestly nice Northern lad Liam (white), vain ex-boyband member Ziggy (white) and Aryan princesses Amanda and Sam (twins, blonde and white). What this says about the media, modern Britain, and any old bollocks really, remains to be seen, and obviously a black male could never win the American version of Big Brother, but it's all terribly insightful - or maybe I've just had to much chardonnay tonight? Answers on a postcard.

No Underwear In Atlanta, Please

You either love it or hate it, and really, it's only acceptable on teens and guys with substantial booty and a V on their stomach. Yup, the jeans halfway to the knees look, beloved of rappers and flaming queens alike (who'd have thought they had so much in common...)

The fashion trend isn't much liked by officials in the city of Atlanta, Georgia, who want to introduce a new indecency law that specifically targets low-slung jeans, which is described as being of 'epidemic' proportions and a 'major concern'. Counciller CT Martin, who's behind the legislation, believes the look is corrupting youth: "Little children see it and want to adopt it, thinking it's the in thing."

The draft law dictates that the indecent exposure of his or her undergarments in a public place would be unlawful.

A quick browse through profiles on DList.com or BGCLive.com proves that Atlanta has a higher proportion of drop dead sexy men than anywhere else in the world, with booty around 30% bigger than in other states. Maybe Counciller Martin has a point - or maybe he just can't control himself.

Savage Garden Singer Arrested For Alleged Racist Attack

Darren Hayes, formerly that warbler out of Savage Garden (he's the camp one who had the sham marriage with some poor cow) has been arrested following an alleged racist attack on a waiter in a restaurant in London.

An Australian uttering racist slurs? Surely not!
Of course the cheerful fair-go Aussie (they're such a sunny people, so they keep telling everyone) denies the charge, but I'm with the police and the Australian's victim on this one - no smoke without fire, eh?
Back to the colony with him, I say, where racism is the national sport.

Gays vs The Lesbians

I don't have any female friends, which is a great shame, because women can sometimes be fascinating creatures, albeit of no use sexually. I once had a female friend, in New York, called Mistress Chloe. She was a psychotic Jewish dance music singer.

In any case, one of my favourite sites, the ever-fascinating towleroad.com, had a bit about the "largest-ever survey of gays and lesbians and their consumer spending habits." No laughing at the back about dildos and what-not, this is serious stuff (left).

Of course, advertising, marketing and capitalism are the great ills of modern society, and those of you involved in the former should be strung up by the balls, but it's all interesting, never-the-less. Surprisingly, more gay men voted in the 2006 mid-term elections (the majority of respondents were American) than lesbians did. Who would have thought?

More can be learnt at the Community Marketing page.

Web Trend Map

The boffins at Information Architects have come up with this jolly clever tool, which throws the top 200 websites ("ordered by category, proximity, success, popularity and perspective") together and makes a map out of them. Worth a look on a dull Sunday afternoon, what.

How Gay Do You Sound?

The boffins have been at it again, with researchers tackling the thorny issue of "gay-sounding" speech, and what makes it that way. Apparently, there's been at least three studies conducted, according to The Guardian; the first it mentions comes from Stanford University, who came up with a paper called Sounding Gay: Pitch Properties in the Speech of Gay and Straight Men. The men in white coats listened to a bunch of openly gay white American men and some "openly straight" white American men. (Openly straight? No, I'll leave that one alone...) The result of this was the realisation that the problem required more research, particularly into things like the pronunciation of sibilants, duration of vowels and voice equality.

Acoustic Correlates of Less-Masculine Sounding Speech is the next study, and it tagged two types of speech: LMS (less-masculine-sounding male speech) and MMS (more-masculine-sounding male speech). The boffins behind this research thought that the discovery of LMS and MMS "may have clinical relevance for patients wishing to modify the perception of masculinity invoked by their speech."

Last year, a team at the University of Minnesota published The Influence of Sexual Orientation on Vowel Production. It concluded that "gay men produced a more expanded vowel space than heterosexual men."

It's an interesting subject - who genuinely believes there's a gay sound of speech? Certainly, a lot of us sound gay, but is it universal? Are there degrees of gay speech, from Alex-out-of-Noah's Arc-obvious, to something more subtle only the trained ear picks up on. Do you think you sound gay? And how many of your friends sounds gay - and do you have any straight friends who speak LMS?

Answers on a postcard.

London Flooded

Central London in the not too distant future, I shouldn't wonder. Flood, a new film about the Thames Barrier being breached, is released in August.

Review: Clapham Junction

Imagine you’re straight, and you think gay men are all white, moneyed, coke-snorting perverts. It’s one of many popular stereotypes, one that Channel 4’s Clapham Junction - a one-off drama shown as part of the broadcaster’s gay season (celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality) - reinforced.

It was a sort of gay Crash, in which everyone more-or-less looks the same. C4 describes it as “a snapshot of the mixed experiences of several gay men whose lives interconnect over 36 hours in London.” Funny, but I thought gay men in London were a bit more diverse than the bunch of dried up Anglo-toffs served up here. It shouldn’t come as a surprise: C4 also gave us the truly hideous Queer As Folk (a show that almost makes me think queer-bashing is sometimes justified), and every year sticks another embarrassing white fag into the Big Brother house, who’s either flaming, or utterly vile in every conceivable way. The one decent gay drama they screened, Metrosexuality (which embraced the diversity of London’s homoverse) was axed after just one series.

Clapham Junction has almost no redeeming features. There’s a gay wedding in which one of the wealthy grooms seduces a young waiter whilst his new hubby wonders where he is. The waiter is later beaten to death on Clapham Common. A married man engages in some glory hole fun in a toilet before being fucked by a stranger. A fourteen year old boy seduces a paedophile. Coke is sprinkled liberally throughout, as if to say it’s what gay men do. Positive stuff. Oh, and there’s a token black character, who gets about three seconds of screen time. Here’s where the prejudice really shows. The black student, a violinist, is being bullied by a gang of black youths, who thinks he’s gay because he plays the violin. Seems to me the writer of the piece knows nothing about the sort of black youth in London he’s writing about. If he did, he’d know that musical talent is highly prized by these kids, but in keeping with the stereotype theme, he decides rough inner city black kids couldn’t be receptive to an instrument like the violin. Leave ‘em to their decks and rapping, eh.

Maybe we should be grateful there’s any gay drama on television at all, and that Channel 4 decided to make an effort with this season. What’s the BBC done? But it’s so depressing, so relentlessly negative, and a picture of a world that’s alien to many gay men. As for me, I’m off to snort a line before heading down to the local public toilets for some sleazy sex - the boyfriend will never find out!

It’s what we do, after all.

The House Next Door 2

This morning I wrote an Amazing article for my blog about the latest instalment of CocoDorm. It was extremely Amusing and filled with Controversy and Sex. You'll have to take my word for it.

Unfortunately, blogger.com has been designed by a moron. I know this because when I highlighted the text I'd written, in order to copy it to my myspace blog, all the text disappeared, which is what happens when you highlight things on blogger.com in the editing stage. There's also a Very Helpful autosave function, which means that this eroneous deletion of my High Literature is now gone forever.

Thank you, Geek-In-Charge of blogger.com.

Garçon Stupide vs The Bank

They're more hated than couriers, tradesmen, public transport companies and even government bodies like the DSS. They open briefly for a few minutes each weekday (and not on weekends, of course) and allow queues to form that could easily fill the Great Wall of China. Their websites and phone systems are over-complicated and about as user-friendly as a chocolate teapot. We give them all our money, and in return we get... well, not much, really.
Terrorism. AIDS. Poverty. Social breakdown. Kylie Minogue. No, none of these come close to the misery wrought by this out of control monster. The worst blight on humanity is The Bank.
In an industry where one bank alone made a profit of £9bn last, it apparently costs British banks £35.00 (around $70.00) to ‘process’ a returned direct debit, a bounced cheque, an unauthorised overdraft - in fact, anything they think they can whack a charge onto. So imagine what it’s like for someone (not naming any names, ahem…) who’s a little reckless when it comes to finances. Multiples of £35.00 stack up to a steep mountain of debt before you know it.
It isn’t all bad news, however, with increasing numbers of customers (a term I use grudgingly) taking the banks to court to reclaim the obsene amounts the banks are pilfering. The industry is already under investigation by the Office Of Fair Trading over its exorbitant fees, and the banks are settling claims before they get to court - which is exactly what happened to me. Last month I started court proceedings against A Certain Bank (my lips are sealed), issuing a claim for £300.00. Initally, A Certain Bank notified the court that they would fight the claim, and as early as yesterday their solicitors were making threatening noises about the bank being in the right and my claim being “misconceived.”
Today, in a letter with the words Strictly Without Prejudice and Confidential emblazoned across it, the same solicitors offered to settle my claim in full - with a few strings attached. The most prominent of these is that the settlement of the claim is kept confidential - gee, I wonder why?
It’s nice that little old me scored a victory over this colossal industry, but it shouldn’t have to be this way. Apathy is the banks’ greatest ally - how many people simply write off the charges and let the banks get away with it? Don’t let them: easy to follow, step-by-step instructions on how to reclaim your money is available from several sites, the best of which is at the BBC. If a financial incompetent like me can do it, so can you.

Big Bro's Double Standards

Big Brother is once again facing criticism, this time for showing a female housemate calling a (straight) male housemate a poof.

According to digitalspy.co.uk, GaydarRadio has received complaints about the incident, and another involving a male housemate referring to women in the house as lesbians.

At the beginning of the current series of Big Brother, a female housemate was removed from the house for using the n-word - yet by not acting on the use of the word poof, Big Brother producers are sending out the message that whilst racist language is unnacceptable, homophobic language falls on deaf ears.

Robin Crowley of GaydarRadio says: “Whether the word was used in an affectionate way or not, the term ‘you poof’ is meant in a demeaning way. As the word ‘nigger’ is unacceptable to the black community, so too is the word ‘poof’ unacceptable to the gay and lesbian community.”
GaydarRadio is urging viewers to complain directly to Channel 4, and to Ofcom, the media regulator. You can do so here and here.

Earlier this year, Ofcom compelled Channel 4 to broadcast the findings of its report into the racist bullying of Shilpa Shetty in Celebrity Big Brother.
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