Last weeks blog was fairly short due to a quiet week. This weeks blog however is probably going to be a big one. So settle back and take your time and hopefully enjoy.

The week started off very busy. Monday was one of those days where there was not enough hours in the day and so much happened. First of all it was a busy day at work. The library I work in has been getting an extension built and it finally opened on Monday. It is a fantastic new space and is very modern. When it opened ,library users ran in screaming with happiness and excitement. I have never seen such a reaction. It was good to see though and did give me and other staff members a lift. This boost didn’t last too long and by the end of the week we were feeling flat. This is just because it is a busy time of year so I was glad the weekend finally arrived.

As well as the excitement of the new extension opening on Monday it was also World Book Night. This was the second year that World Book Night had been held and for the second year I was one of the givers. The idea is that you choose a book title from a list of 25 and if you are selected you are then asked to give out copies of that book on World Book Night. The book that I picked to give out was ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne Du Maurier. It is one of my favourite books of all time so I was pleased to give away copies of it. I gave away the copies of the book at my local hospital as I am volunteer (although not for much longer) with my local Hospital Radio station. It was great meeting the patients and giving them a copy of the book. Hopefully some of them will fall in love with the book as much as I did. Before I went to the station to giveaway copies of the book I went to a World Book night event at the Arts Centre where other givers were handing out copies of their books as well as Waterstones who had some books to giveaway. I could only stay for a short time but I did get some free books, two of which were World Book Night books. These were ‘I Capture The Castle’ by Dodie Smith and ‘The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox’ by Maggie O’Farrell. I am looking forward to reading these books especially ‘I Capture The Castle’ because it is a book that I have been meaning to read for a long time. World Book Night is a great event and I was pleased to be involved with it for a second year. The only criticism I had this year was that the number of books that were to be handed out by individuals was half the amount from last year. I could understand if it meant there were more individual givers but that wasn’t the case. Instead the remainder were sent direct to prisons and care homes etc. This is not really the idea behind World Book Night but I suppose if it does get more people reading then it can only be a good thing.

So both the extension and World book Night coincided with each other and it meant I had a very busy and tiring start to the week. This led to me being a bit irritable and by Friday it wouldn’t take much to annoy me. So it was probably not best for the environmental group where I work to start their latest cause. We are all asked to turn our computer monitors off when we are away from out desk. Now I try to do this anyway and it is a good idea and I am all in favour of promoting this cause but we were all to be named and shamed effectively by stickers on our computers if we were found to have left our monitor on. Now this just annoyed me. I along with others have had a very busy and intense week and the last thing I want is to be labelled as a uncaring polluter. I am all for helping the environment and believe that we all have a duty to do our bit. I am not perfect when it comes to the environment but are any of us really. My carbon footprint is fairly small. I don’t drive, and therefore walk or use public transport. I recycle,don’t fly abroad much, I do look out for Fair Trade items, I have tried to reduce the amount of water I use etc etc. I basically try to do my bit. When I was child I was reminded of the importance of the environment. I grew up watching Captain Planet and read the Usborne book on Ecology religiously and was always wary of the danger of acid rain (what has happened to acid rain no one ever mentions it now??) the point I am trying to make is that I do care and try to do my bit. However this idea of the sticker just really annoyed me and has made me make sure I don’t switch the monitor off. I have even changed my screen saver to say ‘Yes I have left my monitor on’. It might sound petty but I think there are bigger issues to address before this and naming and shaming people so publicly is not right. Some people may think my response is a little petty as well but I feel I need to say something. I don’t mind being asked to turn it off in person or by e-mail, or through a poster campaign but the sticker thing is just a gimmick and devalues the message that is trying to be told.

After such a busy week I was looking forward to a good weekend and that is what I have had although it has been a busy one. I first of all got my haircut as it was starting to drive me mad and I was referred to last week by a library user as the one in the blue top and curly hair. It wasn’t that long but there may have been signs of early curling. Anyway I got it cut and thankfully my usual hairdresser was in and I got the amazing head massage. I have mentioned how good it is before so won’t bore you again but he is certainly good with his hands. I did however cause him to have a coughing fit as he apparently inhaled some of my hair. This was an awkward moment as I was sorry for this but I didn’t do it on purpose, after all he was cutting it. It did however make me feel a little awkward. It’s always odd the relationship people have with their hairdresser. After all you are letting someone into your personal space but they are not usually a friend or even more than that. Anyway he is a very good hairdresser which can be hard to find.

After being put in a nice relaxing mood from the haircut and massage I then went to the theatre to see Darlington Operatic Society’s latest production Titanic the Musical. I haven’t been to any of their productions before but have always meant to and as I had promised to go to the theatre more this year I thought it was a good opportunity to do so. The other reason I went was because I was intrigued about the idea of Titanic the Musical. I had heard of it before and I knew it was nothing to do with the film but that was it. So off I went with no expectations. I was blown away by the show. The cast who are so-called amateurs were amazing and some of them were certainly more than good enough for the West End. The guy who played Jim Farrell was very good (having attempted an Irish accent for GCSE Drama very badly I know how hard it is to do convincingly), also the guy who played J Bruce Ismay was also very good. The show had very impressive sets and there were some great songs as well. If you are a fan of musicals I think you should look the soundtrack up. I will certainly go to future shows by the Operatic Society and would recommend others to as well.

As if my weekend wasn’t busy enough I also went to the cinema to see The Avengers Assemble. Apparently this is a different title for the UK compared to the res of the world as the film makers wanted to avoid confusion with the British TV programme The Avengers which starred Diana Rigg. I admit you would have been in for a shock if you were expecting this. The film is the bringing together of an elite group of superheroes. There is Iron Man. Hawkeye, Black Widow, Thor (or Phwoar as I call him), Captain America and finally The Incredible Hulk (I was worried about this character has the TV series from the 70’s/80’s still scares me to this day). I have been looking forward to this film for a long time. The film is great and is certainly going to be a success. The reason for this is the target audience for the film. The average fan of a super hero film seems to fall into one or more of the following categories:

1)Geek or nerd – they grew up with all the comics and no all the sub plots and will expect perfection.

2)Gay men – for some reason any film that has a grown man in either lycra, leather or a cape certainly gets the attention of gay men. Also most super heroes are social outsiders and are often marginalised in the same way that gay men and women are, they are different in some way. If you are in any doubt about the campness of super heroes all I say is there is certainly something going on with Thor with all that hammer waving and Captain America is all about body image. If you are still in doubt then look at Batman and Robin. Exactly case closed.

3)Children – All children are obsessed with some super hero at some point in their lives

4)Grown Men – It is often an easy and respectable way to hold onto you childhood. Most grown men have the urge to wear a cape at some point.

If any of you have comments about this then please let me know. These are not expert opinions just my own observations. Anyway I enjoyed the film but I would have liked to have seen more of Thor (Phwoar).

So quite a busy week for me. It has been good though. I do need to get out more and I also need to make more gay friends and go out with them. It has almost been a year since I have come out and I am happy where I am in life but I need to make more friends and enjoy life more.

Sorry this blog is so long this week but thanks for persevering with it and I hope you have enjoyed it. So until next week that’s all folks.

Top TV programme of the week : The Apprentice

Top song of the week: Rufus Wainwright – Perfect Man

Book I am currently reading: Sirens by Tom Reynolds

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