Extant, Halle Berry & Mostlyfilm.com

Extant UK Premiere

Extant UK Premiere

Well, you don’t do that every week – pop to BAFTA, meet a robot and watch a premiere. But that’s precisely what I did…

Extant - Canapes and Cocktails

Extant – Canapes and Cocktails

One of my friends is the editor at Mostlyfilm.com – a cool blog about, yes you’ve guessed it, films. Well, films and telly. Anyway, she asked me if I’d write a review of EXTANT, the new sci-fi tele-series starring Halle Berry that aired this evning on Amazon Prime Instant Video.

Extant Invite

Extant Invite

Being a) a writer by trade and b) a card-carrying science fiction geek, I jumped at the offer with both hands. And so, on Tuesday night, I rocked up at BAFTA in central London for an exclusive press screening. 

BAFTA

Hello BAFTA!

Before I settled down in the stall for the showing, I got to pose for a selfie with a robot. Yes, a robot. Reason being, EXTANT’s storyline includes a sub-plot about androids with artificial intelligence.

Robot

C3-PO’s mate

Robot

They’re taking over!

Anyhow, here’s what I thought about EXTANT. Oh, and thanks again to the lovely folk at Mostlyfilm.com – much appreciated.

My Review of EXTANT

Le Tour de France | Around The World In 5 Bike Tours

Union Jack British Flag

Go Team GB!

Well, hasn’t Ole Blighty done well of late? Over the past few years we’ve hosted some of the biggest sporting fixtures in the world. 2012 saw the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (try saying that after a few drinks!) host the Olympic Games. This year, meanwhile, we’ve staged the opening segment of the Tour de France which finished up in London today. To celebrate, I co-wrote a piece for Thomson about the bike race – along with some ideas about how to getting pedalling on your hols…

Around The World In 5 Bike Tours

 

 

Exasperdating | Cockney Signor

Exasperdating Logo

Exasperdating | Cockney Signor

Height: 5’8”
Build: Toned 
Hair: Blond
Eyes: Blue
Job: Cabin Crew

Doing the Lambeth walk - oi!

Doing the Lambeth walk – oi!

A friend of mine once told me that there are 3 sorts of boy you should never date:
  • a club DJ
  • a barman
  • cabin crew

According to my mate, these sorts of gays don’t make good boyfriend material. The hours they work mean they tend to be creatures of the night. So, while most of us are tucked up in our beds, they’re usually out on the town getting jiggy with some nightclub groupie, a flirty bar-hopper or a fellow trolley dolly on a stopover.

Well, I made the mistake of hooking up with an air steward. Normally, I wouldn’t touch one with a bargepole for the reasons mentioned. However, this particular fella was the spit of David Beckham. Plus he was half Italian – and I’m a sucker for a guy that can speak another language.

The really funny thing was that when he spoke Italian, it was with the most beautiful, eloquent Florentine lilt. Bizarrely though, when he spoke English, he sounded like an extra from EastEnders – he had the most pronounced cockney accent I’ve ever heard. Seriously, Peggy Mitchell had nothing on him.

While he ticked two boxes – looks and linguistics – let’s just say he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the box. But give him his due, he was pretty – very pretty. But that couldn’t outweigh the fact that he was fundamentally thick as pigsh*t. Plus, I got the distinct impression this guy had Mile High Club platinum status. He may work for Virgin, but the similarity ended there.
Related articles

Exasperdating | Mr Wet Lettuce

Exasperdating Logo

Exasperdating | Mr Wet Lettuce

Age: 39
Height: 5’10″
Build: Toned
Hair: Grey
Eyes: Brown
Job: Teacher

Lettuces

Lettuces

I’ve always had a bit of thing for fellas with salt and pepper hair. Granted, this guy’s barnet was more on the salty side, but it just made him look all the more distinguished. And the fact he was a piano-playing music teacher was a big plus point, too. I’ve always been in awe of people who can tinkle the ivories (learning to play the clarinet at school was a major-league error on my part – it’s really hard to sing along at the same time).

Now, I should mention something quite important at this point. When I spotted this guy’s online profile, I couldn’t help but think ‘I know you from somewhere’. I actually asked him outright if we’d met before, but the closest we could get to crossing paths was that we used to go to the same nightclub years ago. Anyhow, the date had the potential to be good – a riverside walk with takeaway coffees on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

However, it wasn’t long before I realised this guy was a bit beige – he really didn’t have much to say for himself. Our rendezvous finished rather bizarrely with him taking me to a Marks & Spencer food hall. I had to follow him around while he loaded up his shopping basket for his dinner. Hardly the stuff of a romantic encounter.

Just before we parted company – somewhere near the cucumbers – I had another I’m-sure-I-know-you moment. “So you used to go to Ghetto nightclub?”, I quizzed. “Well, once or twice. And not really through choice. A guy I dated used to drag me down there.” All of a sudden the supermarket shelves melted around me, my insides churned in exam-style panic, and an invisible film camera whizzed down the aisle towards me for that penny-dropping close-up. OH. MY. GOD. This guy used to go out with my best friend! How could I have forgotten? Fair-dos, it was really going back some, but it was me that had branded him Mr Wet Lettuce.

Exasperdating | Posh Doc

I’m reblogging this Exasperdating tale as I’ve had a few comments from people that it got a bit lost in yesterday’s post about the new Doctor Who, Peter Capaldi. So, just in case you missed it, here’s my story about the Posh Doc

Exasperdating Logo

Exasperdating | Posh Doc

Age: 27
Height: 5’9
Build: Slim
Hair: Black
Eyes: Blue

Job: Doctor

Doctor! Doctor!

Doctor! Doctor!

I’m munching on a Granny Smith as I pen this installment because, as the old saying goes, ’an apple a day keeps the doctor away’. And trust me, after this encounter, I’m steering well clear of men in white coats.

The Posh Doc wasn’t a one-off date. We’d kind of seen each other for about a month and a half earlier in the year but it had fizzled out. He wasn’t my usual type at all. While looks-wise he ticked all the right boxes – blue eyes, dark hair, a bit of stubble and geek-chic glasses – on the personality front, he was a bit too ‘rah’ for me.

Case in point: he had a nasty habit of saying ‘maaarvellous’ in a terribly high-pitched, horsey-teethed way that only people who’ve gone to private schools seem able to do. Plus he lived in a super-posh flat in an extremely exclusive part of London which I swear mummy and daddy had set him up in. Talking of which, and given that he was a doctor, you would think he’d have kept the gaff a bit cleaner. Frankly, some Cillit Bang wouldn’t have gone amiss.

Anyhow, fast forward six months and, out of the blue, he invites me over for dinner. One fish supper and two bottles of rioja later and we were, well, getting ‘reacquainted’. A couple of days later I dropped him a text to say I’d had fun and would he like to go out for drinks. To which he replied, “I’m a horny drunk. Sorry.” Now, while I may not be a doctor, I think this guy’s self-diagnosis was off the mark. Horny drunk? No, I think he was actually suffering from a nasty affliction called Complete Wankeritis, for which I’m pretty sure there’s no cure.

‘You will be Ex-asp-er-dated!’

The Daleks

The Daleks

The 23rd November. If this date isn’t already highlighted in your diary, stop what you’re doing, grab a big red marker pen and circle it immediately. Reason being, that’s the day you’ll need to stay at home, take the phone off the hook and settle down to watch the box – albeit from behind the sofa.

In case you don’t know, the 23rd November will mark the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. To celebrate this milestone, the BBC is airing a special episode exactly half a century since the show’s first outing back in 1963.

I noticed today the Beeb announced the daleks will be wheeled out of the props cupboard for this commemorative romp. But it’s not just those malevolent pepper pots that will be making a welcome return to our screens – David Tennant and Billie Piper will resume their roles as the Tenth Doctor and Rose.

All this Whovian hoopla got me thinking about another special date involving David Tennant – only this one is of the romantic variety and happens to include me…

Exasperdating Logo

Exasperdating | Tardis Boy

Age: 28
Height: 6’1”

Build: Toned
Hair: Brown

Eyes: Green
Job: Graphic Designer

The Tardis

The Tardis

Right, I’m going to fess up. I’m a closet geek. I’m a comic book-reading, Sci-fi Channel-loving nerd. And my drug of choice? Doctor Who. I mean, what’s not to like about a 950-year-old alien who flits around the universe in an old phone box?

Now, it’s my love of the dalek-battling Time Lord that kind of inspired this date. Normally, I wouldn’t entertain meeting up with someone who doesn’t live in London (this guy was based in Brighton) but I made an exception on this occasion. Why? Because this fella was the spitting image of David Tennant. So much so, in fact, that when I first met him I was slightly awe-struck and had to repress the urge to ask for an autograph.

Anyhow, once I’d got past the uncanny resemblance – and downed a couple of vodkas – I had a really fun night which included drinks at a jazz bar and then a bit of a snog-ette. The night ended with him catching the very last train home at stupid o’clock in the morning.

The next day I texted him. Nothing. I dropped him another text the following day. Still nothing. I couldn’t believe it. Everything had gone so well but now this guy had gone to ground. Ah well. That’ll teach me to date outside of my London bubble. And besides, what’s David Tennant doing these days, anyway? Oh, hai Matt Smith!

Heatwaves, Bomb Shelters & More Exasperdating

London Riviera

London Riviera

Monsieur P can’t quite believe it. As shock factors go, this is up there alongside Pippa Middleton wearing no knickers to Will and Kate’s wedding. Seriously, he just can’t get over how hot and sunny it is in England.

You only had to see how he turned up at St Pancras a couple of weeks ago to get an insight into his perception of Blighty. Honestly, he stepped off the Eurostar looking like Scott of the Antarctic. The only thing missing was a pair of tennis racket snow shoes strapped to his feet.

He was convinced that it rains/sleets/snows here every day. And to be fair, if he’d arrived this time last year, he’d have had a point. I had tried to explain that now and again we get heatwaves but he dismissed the very idea of the Great British Summer as just another piece of ‘cray-zee rosbif’ whimsy to be filed alongside right hand-drive cars and well-done steaks.

Actually, I’m quite impressed how quickly he’s turned into a bona fide summertime Brit – he’s already lobster-coloured, has developed a liver-threatening taste for Pimm’s and is complaining about the weather being ‘too ‘ot’.

He doesn’t understand parks though. Green space is something Paris is rather short on and so he doesn’t really get Londoners’ obsession with decamping to scorched patches of lawn to show off their milky-white flesh the minute the sun comes out to play.

The look on his face as we wandered through St James Park was a picture – somewhere between bewilderment and disdain as only the French can do. The ice-cream van foxed him a little, too. As did a 99 flake. ‘Zis is not ice-crème, I can assure yooo’.

Anyhow, what with the weather being sub-tropical at the mo, we did a fair bit of walking over the weekend. Highlights included St Paul’s and that manky stretch of beach on the Southbank – AKA the London Riviera – which Monsieur P observed is ‘no Paris Plages’. He’s got a point.

We also stumbled upon a lovely little corner of town down Pimlico way called Smith Square. If you’ve never been there, check it out. It’s home to a wonderful Baroque church called St John’s and a clutch of Georgian townhouses.

Now, one of these houses caught my eye as it had a faded sign painted on the wall. It read ‘public shelters in vaults under pavements in this street’ with an arrow pointing down the steps to what would’ve been the tradesman’s entrance once upon a time. Clearly, during the Blitz, the basements of these homes were used as shelters against Luftwaffe bombs.

Air-raid Shelter

Air-raid Shelter

Take Cover!

Take Cover!

The sign got me thinking… Wouldn’t it be good if London’s WWII air-raid shelters were resurrected as dating shelters? I mean, how brilliant would that be? Instead of having to smile sweetly and feign interest at some deathly-boring story, you could just run for cover when a date wasn’t going very well. I know I could’ve done with a get-out-of-jail-free card like that back when I was serial dating.

Unlike one of my friends who developed the ability to extricate himself from crap dates in one fell swoop (after just one drink he used to say ‘well, it was lovely meeting you but I’m going to go home now’ while shaking them by the hand and disappearing out the door of the bar) I’d always find myself saying ‘oh yes, I’d love another drink’ when really I was wondering whether I’d be able to squeeze enough of my face into my wine glass to drown myself.

Suffice to say a dating shelter would have got me out of a fair few scrapes. I certainly could’ve done with one the day I met the Man-Child

Exasperdating Logo

Exasperdating | Man-Child

 Age: 29 (apparently)
Height: 5’8”
Build: 12-year-old’s
Hair: Black
Eyes: Brown
Job: Teacher

School Shorts

School Shorts

This guy was cute in a boy-ish sort of way. No doubt it was down to his gene cocktail – he was British-Mauritian, blessed with baby-smooth skin and floppy dark hair.

So what was the problem? Well, truth be told, I felt like I was babysitting – borderline grooming. For most of the date I was zoning in and out of conversation, more intent on trying to determine if he was shaving yet. In fact, I began to wonder whether he was even over the age of consent. So much so, I thought about asking to see some ID or trying that old trick bouncers do when they ask your date of birth – if you don’t rattle it off quickly enough, there’s no getting past the velvet rope. But no, he assured me he was 29.

Now, it turned out Peter Pan here was a teacher at a primary school (reception class, which was just as well because the thought of this guy trying to control rowdy 16-year-olds was a Grange Hill plotline waiting to happen). And it was at this moment, as he was waxing lyrical about his job, that the penny dropped. This guy had gone into teaching tots because he fundamentally was one. And not just to look at. He struggled to maintain an adult conversation. The minute we stopped talking about wet playtimes and safety scissors he was all at sea.

Basically, I was on a date with a child. And for fear of being branded a paedo, I made my excuses and left. Well, it was a school night, after all.

Zone 2, Frogs & ‘Exasperdating’

New Home

New Home

I’m not quite sure how this happened to me. Last weekend I moved into a new flat. Nothing particularly odd in that per se until you learn that said flat was in – shock horror! – Zone 2.

Anyone who knows me well will agree that this is really out of character. Reason being, for years I’ve been a Southbank-loving, Zone 1-only London boy. And that’s not the end of it. The catalyst for this move to the sticks? A fella. Yep, for the first time in my life I’m – gulp – co-habiting. Part of the co-habiting arrangement was saying au revoir to central London.

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

For ages I thought it’d never happen to me – you know, finding someone and having a proper grown-up relationship (I say grown-up – we bonded over Mysterious Cities of Gold and Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers). Suffice to say I was convinced I was going to be one of life’s perma-singletons. And that wasn’t for want of trying…

Back in 2012 I embarked on a dating mission. I figured it’s a numbers game and so went into override, signing up with all the big online dating sites and apps. Let’s just say it wasn’t my most successful endeavour and I kept a log of, well, my dating disasters.

French Frog

French Frog

Now that I’m (almost) in the smug married camp, I think the time has come to share my nightmarish tales and hopefully give some hope to any single people out there who are looking for ‘the one’. Trust me when I say, you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince. Who, in my case actually happened to be a frog. I had to move to France to find him.

So, here’s the first instalment of ‘Exasperdating’. Enjoy.

Exasperdating Logo

Exasperdating | Micro Boy

Age: 26
Height: 5’7” (allegedly)
Build: Bit porky
Hair: Black
Eyes: Blue
Job: Something to do with government policy

I don’t do Sunday-night dates as a rule. The prospect of work the next day is bad enough, without a potential date from hell to contend with. Plus, there’s the Antiques Roadshow to consider. Don’t judge – it’s my thing. Anyhow, Micro Boy was really eager to meet up. I’d already had to cancel a couple of times, so I thought I’d break with convention and grant the poor guy a Sunday audience.

Chatting online he seemed right up my street – cute, intelligent and with a good job in White Hall. He loved the fact I was up-to-speed on current affairs and watched Question Time (apparently, finding a gay who knows the name of the Chancellor of the Exchequer as opposed to Kylie’s third album is quite a mean feat). So, everything was looking good. Until I met him…

The little liar – and do I mean little. Five foot seven? In what country? The People’s Republic of Lilliput? Seriously, I half expected him to totter over singing ‘we represent the lollipop guild’ a la the Munchkins in the Wizard of Oz. Now, I’m hardly what you’d describe as tall but I felt like the Jolly Green Giant next to him.

His deceit didn’t do him any favours. When he asked what I’d like to drink, I asked for an orange juice – the dating equivalent of poking someone in the eye. As for how I extricated myself from my hook up with Micro Boy, I told him, ‘I’m really sorry. I’ve got to go home now. To iron a shirt.’ Ouch.