November 30th, 2001


George Harrison.

Well, he's dead. And the first thing I saw on the TV about it was a very simple yet powerful image: someone had gone to the Strawberry Fields memorial in New York City and lain a small Granny Smith apple on the pavement, complete with some vaguely hippy saying like "All You Need Is Love", along with the Mercedes Benz symbol.

I suppose I should be less cynical but the accidental combination of two corporate symbols was touching in its naivete, really.

Cologne, so far.

- I've bought more Emser Pastillen for Patrick and myself (if Patrick doesn't like them).

- Marks and Spencer have closed up shop. Otherwise, everything looks pretty much the same as it ever did.

- The drag show bar is still exactly where it was when I visited it in June 1986. I haven't been back since but I suspect the performers haven't changed either.

- Our hotel room is unexpectedly fabulous, with a sweeping view across the old city to the Dom itself, the fuckin' huge Gothic cathedral that dominates the city. I'm very pleased. I've stocked the minibar with Kölsch and Riesling and am enjoying it for all it's worth.

- Last night, Dan went out to Cox, the bear bar just down the block. Me, I stayed in and read Alasdair Gray's new book on Scots literature. This of course set me to wondering why it is exactly that I know so many Bears (hello Iain, hello Dr Rocks, hello the rest of you) who seem to take great pride in their Scots background, sometimes even to the point of Celtic tattoos, Highland Games attendance, and so on. I just don't get it. Part of this might have to do with the simple fact that my family, the MacPhersons, are only known in the literary world for having created a series of magnificent forgeries. Even Goethe loved them. But I digress.

- Today, Dan went out to the bear sauna at the gay sauna down the block. Me, I went shopping, more or less. Didn't find much save for one book I'd been told was good, some personal hygiene products (Matthew, do you want more Nivea for Men spray?), and some Kneipp bath tablets to use in the hotel room. (I love having a bathtub that works!). Stopped by Tommy's to pick up a couple of sandwiches and chatted with Arno, who is sadly stuck working at the store because his sister is in the hospital for a routine surgical check-up, which means that two of the staff there are therefore unable to work (his sister, his brother-in-law). Ah well. He sez that he'll be out at the bars at 9, and that Darko has tickets to tomorrow's bash for sale if I run into him. Sounds fine.

- Now, when I'm done with this, I'll go look for expensive cigarettes to smoke tonight at the bar, and look at this one Tissot watch that just Might Be It. My old Fossil watch is falling apart, and the Fossil store said it would be expensive and difficult to get a replacement watchband for it - nearly 20% the cost of a new watch. This one is fine but I really want a watch with a date function on it.

- I still miss K.

The trip so far.

In short (I am running out of coins for this Internet terminal):

- The first days in London were not good. I was depressed and stayed home way too much.

- Spain was okay, but not fantastic. I was still growly in Barcelona but started having a better time after the first day in Seville. On the whole it's a fine place to visit but I really do prefer other parts of the world. The Alcazar is worth the entire trip though.

- Gibraltar was amusing but really, who gives a shit. Far from essential.

- The later time in London was fine. Saw more of Kew with my parents, had a fine time shopping for CDs (you wouldn't believe how many I'm dragging home, and yes, dank, I did get the weird static pack thing for you). Had a nice meal, saw a great show (and a bad one), but mainly I feel good that I saw my parents for the last time in a couple of years.

- Cornwall was funny. The Eden Project can kiss my indie-punk whiteboy ass, but the Sharksfin Hotel was swell, and the Lost Gardens of Heligan wasn't bad either. Great food. Pity it costs so much. Next time, just go back to New Zealand and forget the UK. Better looking men there too.

- Germany is fine, but I find I'm already itching to get home. I'm not really in the mood for the Christmas shopping somehow, and I find I'm kind of homesick. Go figure. Still, have to go find the new Mouse on Mars 7" single (damn them for not releasing it on CD) and get a watch, etc. Oh, and get some weird German food. Maybe müsli or something.

- The only unmitigated catastrophe was the disappearance of my Lufthansa ticket to Köln yesterday. It wound up costing 40 pounds to replace it, and it took about eighty minutes to do so, leaving me ten minutes to actually catch the plane itself. Still, it could have been a lot worse, really.

- I'd be more comfortable with the bears thing if I were here by myself, but them's the breaks. I find it weird to be speaking any English at all, and things are also weird between myself and Dan as I appear to be slowly retreating from a 'lovers' configuration with Dan and returning to a 'housemates' configuration, which means we're each returning to our usual behavior. It's basically good, though, and it was at my instigation, so I will not complain.