Archive for the ‘America’ Category

Happy July 4

To all my US readers

Hope your fourth of July is a fantastic one full of fireworks and BBQs and waterholes and corn on the cob and all the other things I imagine proper July 4th’s should have. Wish I was there.

The above pin was taken from the closest I got to an American independence day.  We arrived in America in September 1976, the year of the bicentennial, and the evidence of the July 4th celebrations were everywhere. Including the awesome kitsch monstrosity that is the Mickey Mouse bicentennial pin seen above.  That image was everywhere. And to my 11-year-old brain, was the best image ever.

So, given that if I were there I’d be wearing a stars and stripes suit specially for the occasion, I wish I was there to share your day and hope your enjoy your rare public holiday. And I’d look fabulous in that suit. On so many levels, my not being there, its your loss. 🙂


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Sunday Afternoon Pics

No one reads the blog on a Sunday so I’m having an easy post. Here instead are some pics that I took and liked on the trip.

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My friend, Wayne, told me the Rapture was going to occur today. I was miffed really. Firstly, I didn’t know it was going to occur. I’d missed that completely which is really annoying. It had been predicted, evidently, by this man who has a history of getting it wrong, bless him.

Secondly, it would be at the same time as  Doctor Who.

Guess which one annoyed me most.

So I was told it was going to occur at 6pm and it’s 6:05 and I didn’t notice anyone floating off. Presumably no-one floated off in earlier time zones such as Australia or New Zealand as they probably would have mentioned it on the news. The most annoying thing about the day is that Doctor Who has been delayed for 45 minutes for some crap reality show.

I refuse to take that as a sign.

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While in North Carolina, my friend, Joe, took me on a field trip to South Carolina where his job entails him changing over movie posters and other assorted items.

Never have been to South Carolina before however if you talk to NC folk, they will tell you your IQ drops fifty points as you cross the border. There is an amusing animosity between NC and SC. I didn’t notice this, I must say, however did notice that petrol was 30 cents cheaper than in NC. Taxes are higher in NC. Really gotta wonder about the IQ points….

Anyways Joe has access to the best movie posters ever. Posters the height of his body and I got to change them over. I begged him to say the poster below had fallen off the back of his truck so I could sell it on Ebay. I would have made squillions selling this poster as there is a certain element of gay men who find him very doable.

Sadly, Joe has morals. Say goodbye to squillions.

However we then put up this poster which, again, I wanted to fall off the back of his truck.

Again, no deal. Far too moral, that boy. How will I afford the next holiday at this rate?!

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Teensy weensy blog post today just to let anyone who cares that I got from Charlotte to Exeter alive but rattled after 24 hours of non stop travelling. Normally it doesn’t take that long but, to my extreme annoyance, I arrived in Toronto to find that I could have indeed caught the earlier flight to London that I chose not to select as I figured I would be late for it. Or something. Do not expect grammatical excellence. I have had two hours of sleep.

So I was watching all the people board the earlier flight and looking forward to my three hours of waiting for my later flight. Toronto airport has evidently won the award for the most improved airport. You wouldn’t know it to look at it. It’s got three shops and no toilets between the 17 million miles between the airplane and customs. My wee was past my eyelids by the time I’d cleared customs.

Flying is fine but sleep is elusive. I’d have slept on the bus home but it was equally packed. And I was sitting in front of the toilet so whenever anyone went to the loo my knees kept getting hit. And the bus was filled with people with prostate problems. Even the women.

I will go to bed now. My aunty is torturing me with watching the British Soap Awards and I can feel my brains seeping out my ears.

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Saturday 7th May

I had the pleasure to be invited to guest-facilitate the The Christian Support Group For Gay/Bi Men Ages 20-39. The blurb on it in Gay Charlotte reads as follows: Facilitated by Jim Green, M.Div, Psychotherapist. A Ministry of Wedgewood Baptist Church. This group offers an opportunity to discuss scripture, prayer, emotional well-being and relationships with other gay men, plus social events. Free of charge.

This is a multi faith group for Gay Christian men. It is run by my friend Jim Green who is a respected counselor in Charlotte.  We organized this by email while I was travelling Europe. On the way to the group he clarified with me what my spiritual beliefs are. I suspect he was pleased I had some and that I wasn’t a satanist.

America is a fascinating place when it comes to religion. I discussed with the group the difference in religion here and in Australia. In Australia churches are largely dying. My friend is an Anglican priest and if he had a congregation of 100 people he would be very pleased. I am sure most people in Australia would admit to having some faith. Very few actively practice however and the congregations are rapidly diminishing and tend to be aged to dying.  America, at least the experience I have had, appears to be an expanding church community. The congregation appears to cover all ages from birth to death, a thriving family (of all descriptions) community. Extracurricular activities appear to be the norm, including this amazing group I attended on Saturday night.

The group consists of roughly 20 plus people, all of whom are in different stages of their journey in coming out and negotiating the trickiness that is living life as a gay man.  The topic I was asked to cover was “what does every gay or bisexual man need to know?”  It’s a very vague topic and, in usual Nigel style, I rambled about myself mostly then touched base with the topic in the last five minutes. I had done the AIDS walk that morning and had talked with the people walking as to what they would offer as advice as to what every gay/ bisexual man should know.

This ranged from being given the phone number of one man to give to the group; to being told there is a such a thing as internet inches; to being told it is a straight, straight world; to being told to always use condoms.

My advice was more simple. Be true to yourself and love yourself. Physically, emotionally and spiritually. Jim and I then led the group in a discussion of monogamy in gay relationships; coming out stories; God’s and His influence on us; the imbalance of equality..

The group was dynamic and interesting. Each person had their own story; each person their own level of confidence in their identity at the moment. I was overwhelmed by the positives of the group. Their support and respect for each other.

All the while I kept thinking, “I wish this had existed for me when I was their age.” Truly I think my whole process of self-worth and self-esteem would have been so much the better for that support. I was pleased to have been asked to present at such a great group of people and would love the opportunity to return.

So I was thinking that and “I really have to move to Charlotte to run the 40 to death group.”


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Very quick post as I have  to check out in fifteen

My hotel in Charlotte has been a suite. Two sections and wonderful view which I foolishly didn’t get at night

The room was the size of my house.

And yesterday I took this picture.

Wesley’s consulting room and home to


I am so lucky they don’t do DNA samples when you come into a country. And my beard was really wooly then too…


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Wesley and I attended the St Peters Episcopal Church yesterday for Worship. A quick aside, the church is delightful, the acoustics amazing and they have this world-renowned choir which travels far afield to sing.  It’s an amazing church of which I would love to be a member.

However, not the point of the post. I truly hope not to embarrass him however Wesley has many skills however singing in tune is not always his forte. I completely get this. My eldest nephew, also with many skills, cannot hold a tune.  The day got ahead of us so I didn’t actually get a chance to tell him this story and as the day progressed I really wish I had told him this earlier.

A pet peeve of mine. I can sing and possibly in tune. Some people cannot. It’s all good. There is nothing that annoys me more than when someone who may be loud or out of tune is told to shush. My youngest nephew told his brother this very thing before I came down on him like a tonne of bricks.  The point of singing, whether you belong to a choir or sing in the shower, is to express joy.  You are so full of happiness you burst into song. That should never be squashed, especially if you’re out of tune. Or loud. Or in perfect pitch.

It annoys me when people squash other people’s happiness. It occurs so rarely.

So my pet peeve over, I am in church with Wesley and we are singing our hearts out. And we get to one part off the service and we’re singing. And I have to stop singing. As Wesley sings this song completely perfectly. So I listen to my friend sing the entire song. I don’t sing another word. All I can hear is his voice. And buddy, it was beautiful.

But then everything you sang yesterday was beautiful.

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OK chronologically this is a bitch. I am all over the shop at the moment.

While in Maryland I had to get a new carry on luggage case to replace the one I lost. Fantastic excuse to go to shopping though I tend not to buy clothes till I’ve lost more weight. So we bought a really nice carry on case.

I was desperate for some new sunglasses as I tend to be hard-wearing on them (ie sit on them, crush them in the boot, drive over them…)

Prices here were way, way cheap so I bought two pairs. Raybans. So obviously I will have automatic cred.

This was one:

Seriously, how could anyone not want to tap that?

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Apologies for the lack of chronology. I am playing catch up. This occurred last Sunday the 8th:

So how do you get from this:

To this?

You have this man (and yes, that is the genuine look of disgust on his face, which still cracks me up) take matters into his own hands.

All the while telling me off for looking like crap. Which just made it more entertaining.

After being shorn like a sheep, I headed to Baltimore to catch up with Ray.  After being burned by American Airlines before I now pay the extra to fly first class. This sounds grander than it is. It means a wider seat and more leg room which is wonderful. In terms of refreshments I got a packet of pretzels. The reason I do this though, and it turned out to be money well spent, is that more often than not, American Airlines are always late. As was the case this time. We did not depart until seventy minutes after schedule. And that’s when the extra leg room kicks in.

Money. Well. Spent.

The man sitting next to me was reading a book: “The Theology of Christianity” and he was asleep for most of the time we were waiting on the tarmac. When he woke up and realised we were still on the ground, the expletives flew. “Oh you gotta be f***ing kidding me!!!!!! What type of f***ed up c*** airline is this????? You f**king people couldn’t f***ing fly sh*t!!!!!! What c*** organised this sh*t????”

I pretended to sleep through his tantrum.

The Theology of Christianity, people. Look it up. It’s got the best words in it!

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