Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Naked Dancing Report.

You first read about it here and I promised to tell you what happened. Well, here's the story. I give it to you a matter of moments after the event, with the playlist that was used continuing in the background and my breathing still a bit heavy after the effort. It was supposed to be freeing, liberating and all that, but the fellow forgot to mention the word "knackering".

It's now four fifteen on Sunday afternoon as I narrate the story to you.

I'd meant to do this whole naked dancing thing several days ago but K, the fifteen year old, has managed to lose my ipod speaker thing, so the plan was delayed. I even told her why I was so keen to get the speaker back, the real reason, the one about naked dancing, but even that hasn't motivated her to find the thing.

So a short while ago, after watching the Singaporean Grand Prix and deciding that the only person who could actually stop me from feeling a bit sorry for myself was me, I decided to give it a go. I had to dewire another set of speakers and move that into my bedroom and generally do some prep.

First I drew my blinds, paying careful attention to whether there might be any cracks big enough for people to see in through. This involved several goes at the blind drawing thing until I felt happy to move on.

One of my important considerations was volume level; if I risked going too loud, what with living in an apartment, there's always the chance of someone complaining. It's only ever happened once before and that was a drum related thing, so I knew that chances were very low, but a neighbour knocking on my door and complaining when I'm fully clothed and looking good and pretty stylish is very different to one greeted by a naked, somewhat out of breath and panting me.

But of course, this is all about being free, letting oneself go and having a blast, so the volume had to be loud enough to let me do all that. Surprisingly therefore, I went for a medium type of output, after a bit too much thought.

Hmmm.... then it was the setlist to think about. As this was to be my first time I didn't know how many songs it would go on for. Choosing one good funky song involved the risk that, once finished, I'd rush to the ipod, scroll everywhere to find the next one and lose all the momentum and sense of continuity. So I reckoned I'd have to look for a playlist that would give me a few suitable songs together. A bit of a hunt and I found the "energetic" one I'd made some time ago. It looked perfect, though some of the songs were perhaps a bit too rocky and not quite dancey enough.

The last question was the actual getting naked issue; do I take my clothes off first and then start the music or approach things with the music on? I pressed option one.

The first song was "I gotta feeling" by the old Black Eyed Peas. Perfect, I had thought. I started the ipod then took off my clothes, being careful not to look like some kind of male stripper practicing in his room on a Sunday afternoon.

Before I knew it there I was; stark butt naked, except for my watch, a leather bracelet thing (all the metrosexuals are wearing them here these days), and my Havaianas flip flops. I'd been in two minds about the flip flops, but it was an unusually warm day and I love wearing them, that's the Havaianas, not flip flops in general, so had pressed option two on that.

I felt a tad nervous and apprehensive as I started. I've got one of those decent length dressing type mirrors in my bedroom and I'd never realised how distorted the image in it is. It makes my stomach look much rounder than it is in real life and my willy curiously smaller, hardly bouncing at all as I danced. I figured it's probably to do with all this Einstein and speed of light thing that's been in the news lately. Perhaps all mirrors are now fundamentally flawed, let alone windows.

The song wasn't a good choice, something I realised that about halfway through. You see, I couldn't help but recall the video. All those images in my mind, of sexy good looking people, of Fergie and them getting ready to go out and party, just didn't sit comfortably with what was appearing in my mirror. And I still wasn't fully relaxed anyhow. The song finished and the playlist moved on to something that felt really perfect from the off; Mr Slim performing this number, a favourite of mine but much less well known than his big hits:

And I got on down to it like the dancer that we all think we are in our dreams. I shed the Havaianas to give better traction and proper boogieish dancing was the order of the minute as I piroutted, thrusted, swivelled and flung myself about as if, well as if I was dancing naked in my bedroom with no one watching me. It was fucking great it was.

I suddenly realised why, about twenty years ago, a young girl family friend had asked "why does Uncle RD dance like a jelly?" I'd spent twenty years thinking that it was a childish and stupid question and, in a moment, I understood how wrong I was. Still, I went for it some more. I discovered that I could wander down the corridor and watch myself in the bathroom mirror too, though this was only a waist up view, it was only the bedroom mirror that gave the willy and arse view.

I was glad I'd been to the gym the day before, the upper body looked okay if I'm honest. My stomach needs more work but I'm happy to say that it's not a full Sri Lankan rice belly by any stretch of the imagination yet. And of course there's that mirror fault to bear in mind.

I guess it would be the same for anyone but, when doing naked dancing, one can't but help throwing in way too many of those hip and willy thrust and swivel movements, so much more than we'd all do if fully clothed. It's just natural, it has to be. I've got to tell you, if you've never tried it, it's fun to make your willy go in circles, then change direction and make it go the other way; anti cockwise, as I now like to call it. In my case they were very small circles, but circles nonetheless, ones that would never have been apparent had I been wearing trousers or pants. Or "a trouser" as you Lankans would say.

Obviously for women this wouldn't happen, but I figure for them there's always breast swivelling to be done. It's clean, it's fun, it's healthy and their man would love to watch it too. What's not to like?

I was getting well and truly knackered by now but the third song came up and it was this one, one of my favourite ever No Doubt songs:

You'll know that it's more of a rock song and it encourages less funky and more rock star stage dancing. I continued, striking poses during the mellower bits and giving it more Mick Jagger than the previous song's cross between Michael Jackson and Michael Douglas.

By the mid point I was so tired that it became like the last few minutes on the cross trainer at the gym, when I concentrate on finishing and nothing else whatsoever. Looking at myself in the mirror was a thing of the past, though I did manage to sneak in a small amount of glances, probably only about forty or forty five.

It finished, I finished and sharply grabbed my clothes and dressed myself. As I sit here now, telling you about it, the playlist has moved on to some Audioslave.

My verdict?

I loved it. I hadn't anticipated the tiredness and fitness side of things, which may be a bonus if I do it more. But the lightening up, the freeing and relaxing sides were brilliant. As was the willy swivelling.

I intend to repeat it, though probably won't tell you about it every time. You know how I like to keep these things private.

Ah yes, I must get that mirror fixed too.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

This And That....

LD's post of the same name inspired me to whack out a quick one. I've been building an uncharacteristically slow list of posts to write, on "bigger" topics, but this is an update type of one, a what's been happening around these parts snippet.

Well I've been seriously busy at work, and that's busy in all senses. I often think that one can be "bad" busy or "good" busy and they're two entirely different concepts. The "bad" one is when I'm busy because of a lack of staff or structure, when sales and revenue are low or normal and it's the other operational things that are causing my own increase in activity.

"Good" busy, as you probably realise by now anyhow, is when I'm busy because of high revenue and sales, hopefully profit too. It's oh so satisfying compared to its nemesis. Was that correct usage of the word "nemesis"? I'm unsure.

I've been mostly "good" busy, with a touch of the other mixed in. It's been challenging and continues to be so, and is largely the cause of my recent blogging hiatus. My helicopter has been flying up and down like a yo yo and I've sometimes struggled to figure out where I should fly it. Long may it continue, the main thing being that I'm enjoying it.

Music has also come back with a vengeance. The covers band has now started school again after our "summer break" and we've got a quite large handful of gigs coming up in the next few months. A band practice on Tuesday found us all in good musical form, something musos are often superstitious about before a gig, but I liked it anyhow.

The drum lessons continue, thus pursuing the learning and developing side of my playing too, and I've been trying to put myself out there as a dep for any friendly covers bands that might need a drummer to fill in for the odd gig or two. It's a bit scary but I've decided that, if someone who know me thinks I'm up to it, then I should just say yes and do it, even if I don't think I'm up to it. If it goes all wrong then it's better to try and fail then love and lose, or something like that.

My Dad's progress continues in all the right directions, just slowly. He's in the middle of the third cycle of the chemo out of five and getting more fit and able by the day. And more mental, but that's usual.

Consumerism fasting continues for the month. The main thing I've suffered from is on the music side. I now have a list of albums that I "desperately" want, which I most likely wouldn't be in the least bit bothered about had I gone out and got them as normal. Top of the list is the Foster the People one, though I've been listening to it on Spotify anyway.

Michael Ondaatje's new book; the Cat's Table, is truly addictive, possibly because it reminds me of the journeys my parents made when they came to this country. Not that I can be reminded, because I wasn't there, but, well you know.

I've been wondering about shoes, specifically how long it takes until a pair is properly worn in, but not worn out. I reckon for me it's after about two weeks for most shoes. It takes that long for them to mould to my feet and to stop looking like I'm wearing brand new shoes that my feet aren't used to yet. Is it the same for you? Or are you just not bothered about deep and meaningful things like this?

Enjoy the weekend. I know I won't be posting tomorrow.

PS - I don't really fly a helicopter, that was a metaphor.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Naked Dancing

One of the books I'm reading at the moment is a self improvement one entitled "How to get a grip". It was billed as a self help book that mixes humour with practical advice. So far, as the Americans would say, I'm liking it. It's been making me LOL, as well as have several OMG moments and a few ROTFL bits, mixed with some good advice.

The chapter I'm on right now talks about how to not take oneself too seriously, something I'm told that we all have a tendency to do. I know I do, though I'm pretty good at the humour thing too, even if I say it myself. If I could only figure when to do which, things would be easier.

On day one, aka tomorrow, I plan to do what he suggests; to dance naked in front of a mirror. Fear not, it won't be one of the full length mirrors in the mens' changing room at my gym, nor will it be a random one in the Bentalls shopping centre in Kingston. No, it will be in the privacy of my own bedroom, avec the blinds well and truly shut, so tightly shut that there'll be no way anyone outside could get the slightest glimpse, of that I assure you. I take health and safety seriously.

It will also be done alone. I hope to buggery that my cleaner or Brian, the slightly too nosey for comfort concierge guy, don't choose the moment to let themselves in. I might leave a a sign on the door telling them that I'm naked dancing so not to be disturbed actually. That would help.

So the thing is, and it seems to make sense to me, that a spot of naked dancing helps a chap to hang loose, quite literally. I've got to take all my clothes off, that's the naked part, put on some good funky music and dance as if nobody's watching. I will be "celebrating my imperfections", not worrying about my "stubbly legs and love handles".

That's the plan. Apparently it's very freeing.

I'll let you know how it goes.

PS - If you know me I sincerely apologise for any images this post may have conjured up in your mind. Really, I'm sorry.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sorry, Stuff and A Bit Of Lately In The Lankanosphere...

We all do it now and again don't we. The old I'm sorry "I've been neglecting my blog" thing. Well, I'm not really, these things happen. I've been really busy, that's why. And frankly there's been fuck all to write about.

The new super sharp and sweetly sexy Kottu has been interesting to see in recent weeks. I like the language selection bit, of course my opinion is heavily influenced by my almost total lack of Sinhala. But, I'm disappointed in what appears to be popular; cricket, politics, some shit about Michael Jackson and Katy Perry and the Sanjana vs Indi show Groundviews and Indi's blog.

Can anyone tell me what a chili is, in the new Kottu context. Please.

And what is going on with Sanjana and Indi? I'd consider them both as friends, of me that is, not of each other, but it appears that Sanjana is blurring boundaries between personal and professional.

Sanjana, if you read this, for what it's worth I reckon you need to take your issues with Indi onto a platform that's separated from Groundviews and the CPA. It's just my humble O, but I think you're not doing anyone any favours at the moment. But I'm no TED Fellow, so what do I know anyhow?

I frequently disagree with Indi's opinions and politics, but I think he's an honest and open sort of chap and wears his heart on his sleeve blog multitude of social media platforms.

This post of his got me thinking a bit. I love the convenience of tri shaws, the jump on and jump off thing and the fact that they're usually easy to find. But they're supposed to be kind of street transport aren't they? There's something going seriously wrong when the average tuk tuk costs so much more than calling a 588 or 688 cab. That just doesn't make sense. It's like a two star hotel charging more than a five star hotel because it's worse.

My consumerism fast has reached its halfway point and is proving to be more interesting than I'd expected. I've been good, hovering around the excellent point, with the only exception being the purchase of a self help book called "how to get a grip" on the Kindle, yes seriously. I pondered on the purchase for a bit, then went ahead, figuring that it was good for the mind and therefore excusable.

I started reading it immediately and currently think it was one of the best five of the Queen's pounds that I've ever spent. Though I can't actually remember how much it costed, so the figure might change. I think you know what I mean though.

The lack of shopping has meant that I've been doing a few other things when normally I'd have gone for a browse around the shops. More drum practice, more reading and more enjoying without yearning for things I don't have. Do you know the only thing I've struggled with? It's been not being able to buy the Foster the People album. I've been listening to it online a lot and would love it for the car, but no, that will have to wait another couple of weeks.

Oooh I've been reading and learning about marketing too. That's proper marketing, not the buying meat and vegetables at Food City and moaning about the price of American cheese thing. You probably know all about marketing. I don't and am finding the whole subject fascinating. I'm seeing a world of opportunity in which to go out and implement my new found knowledge.

Things with my Dad are progressing slowly and positively. He's just begun the third cycle of chemo and all the results are looking good so far. It is slow and it is painful, mostly for him, but we're getting there.

Here in Londinium the weather's turning as Autumn kicks in. Random days of good weather and sunshine interspersed with grey wet stuff are the norm, but there is no norm. I almost wore my Timberland boots the other day, then realised that the best attire was the light trainers and T shirt that I'd gone with. That's how mad and bad it's been.

My current choice of fiction is Mr Ondaatje senior's latest offering, entitled "The Cat's Table". It's about a boy's sea voyage from Sri Lanka to England in the 1950s and so far I like it a lot. I struggled with Anil's Ghost and never really got in the flow with Running in the Family, but this has affected me differently. Fucked if I know why, just saying. So far there's not a single cat in sight. Be warned if you're cat lover and buy it expecting to read about the feline things building furniture.

That's about it really. What have you been up to? Or, as I've heard these youngsters say; WUUT?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

On Self Publishing

Indi's post here reminded me of one I've been meaning to pen, or keyboard, for some months.

It's hardly a brilliant shaft of insight when I say this but the internet has revolutionised and totally transformed publishing as we knew it.

There used to be professionals and amateurs of every type of creative person;
writer, photographer, musician, journalist, film maker, documentary maker etc.

Then, this truly wonderful thing we know as the internet came along, took about twenty years or more to develop to what we now see as normal and spawned the platforms most of us have come to know so well. We've got flickr and facebook for photographers, youtube for film makers, myspace and soundcloud for the musos, blogs for journo types and epublishing, in all its guises, for authors.

Each of the respective platforms gives all of us the opportunity to write, take pictures, make music and make our contribution instantly available to everyone out there. No longer do we need to get ourselves a publishing deal or to spend years building up our reputation and learning things the hard way. All we need is to hit the publish or the share button and the job is done. As Pink Floyd would have said, had they been talking about a different thing altogether and in a different time, we don't need no publishing deal.

No, there are no such things as amateurs and professionals any more. Instead we have different people making different levels of income from their publishing.

This phenomenon has got massive positives and a significant amount of negatives. Come people, let's look at them. As a chap who (tries to) take(s) photographs, make music and also write I feel I'm reasonably well qualified, on a strictly amateur basis you understand, to talk about such things.

I started taking photographs when I was about fifteen and my Dad, in true Sri Lankan fashion, got me my first ever job working in a camera shop owned by a friend of his. I learnt how to take pictures the old way; developing films, bracketing exposures, struggling to understand hyperfocal focusing and using Kodachrome 64 and having to wait to see the slides to know how they actually came out.

I don't claim to be a good photographer now, but I do claim some degree of knowledge about the subject.

So I must admit it irks me somewhat when I see these people who wouldn't know a roll of 35mm film if they got attacked by a gang of, well, rolls of film, and they open a facebook account, stick the word "photographer" after their name and decide that that's what they are. Back in the good old days, when men were real men and wore dresses, it wasn't just anyone who could call themselves a photographer, you had to earn the moniker.

On the musical front, as a drummer who invests and has invested a lot of time trying to get better at that side of things, I also get a bit rankled when I see kids, some as young as thirty five, spend half an hour in their attic and then whack a song up on soundcloud or myspace (if it still exists), the likes of which I couldn't even hope to write.

Am I old fashioned in that I'm one of the sort who still gives credence to "experts"? I still rate the old school "professional" journalists, the "professional" photographers and the real musicians who've properly learned their craft.

But, despite my moanings and after much consideration, I've concluded that the positives far outweigh the negatives, most of which are related to my own pride anyway.

As a firm fan of the Kindle I now see that self publishing in terms of the written word is the way things are going to be. A quick glance at the Amazon book charts will show you what I mean. Yes, the world of the self published word gives us, the readers, some total tosh and utter piffle. But, us the readers are also us the writers and we're able to publish our own piffle too.

And much of that tosh and piffle isn't actually tosh and piffle, it's actually great quality writing. Writing that probably wouldn't otherwise have been published. Writing that, were it to be printed, edited, physically distributed, with all the extra cost involved, would almost definitely have never been accessible to us.

For every five people opening a facebook account and putting the word "photography" after their name, there's a few great talents getting exposure. Ha, "exposure", did you see what I did there?

Among all the idiots writing blogs and thrusting their stupid and idiotic opinions upon us, the innocent readers, there are some who show wisdom, intelligence and sound judgement that many simply would not have read if their only other outlet was "professional" journalism.

The technology that goes with all of this; garageband, photoshop and the like has raised the bar. There's no doubt in my mind that the levels at the top have got better, that people are now able to pick up and learn these things so much quicker than in those dark, pre internet years. In turn we've also seen the dramatic increase in people being involved at all. The digital age has seen more "photographers", "musicians", "writers" and "film makers". And more quotation marks too.

More volume means we have to accept the crap and dross at the bottom of the foodchain. We need to accept the negatives in order to take advantage of the positives. Overall the increase in activity gives us more good things.

A bit like life really.

Thoughts on a comment if you have the inclination.

Monday, September 5, 2011

That Italian Style

My first ever visit to Italy, albeit only for a long weekend, left a lasting impression. Yes, there was architecture, fancy stuff with twirly bits and statues with large penises and voluptuous breasts all over the place. Yes, there was that tower, leaning as if gravity were merely a man made invention to be treated with contempt. And yes, there was food to die for, if you like Italian food that is. Of course they just call it "food" there.

But it was none of those that impressed me the most. C like the architecture, that cathedral thing in Florence and the hues and colours of the buildings. Fair enough, girls will be girls, intellectual sorts will be like that.

I was struck, nay, bowled over, by the sense of style and trendiness of the Italians.

I'd heard it said that these Italians were ever so stylish, that they're all incredibly sexy and filled with more panache than a warehouse selling the stuff cheaply on the outskirts of Paris. But it wasn't quite that aspect that grabbed me. I've waited a few weeks to gather my thoughts before I tell you about it, as I was a tad confused and needed time for them to settle. Well, they have and I've realised what it was all about.

You see, these Italians, well it wasn't that they actually looked good, not by proper London trendy standards anyway. Women in Paris, to me, are the most chic looking I've seen anywhere. They exhibit a certain sophistication and sexiness that can only be beaten by some of the best looking types in London. Yes, I'm biased there. But Parisienne women ooze this sophistication as if by default. That is to say, most of them have it. In London we're confronted by chavs and common people on every street corner.

The bits of travel I've done in France outside of Paris indicate that the normal French person is somewhat lacking in the style stakes. It's only these women with their poodles in Paris that have the thing.

And what I saw in Italy is that a huge percentage of the population have this style consciousness. On many occasions they were dressed in clothes that would either get them beaten up or laughed at if worn in London on an average day. Perfectly suitable for wearing at a nightclub on a Saturday night, or for a launch party for one of Madonna's new children, but wear them while going shopping round Kingston or the like and it would be a different story.

Whilst walking to our platform to catch a train there was a woman in front of me who caught my attention. Fortunately C didn't see my attention go off on one. This lady was wearing the shortest of skirts, something on top that left not much to the imagination and high heeled espadrille sort of shoes. It was one of the many moments during the weekend when I'd wished for "manly" company, like DB or one of these fellows. We would have gaped and made "phwoar" noises to our hearts' content.

But, this woman was par for the course, or par for the Italian course. No one even looked twice at her. If she'd been dressed like that in England, going about her everyday business, just about every male passer by would have copped a mouth load of abuse from his partner for staring too much and gawping. Builders would have been wolf whistling like even wolves don't know how to do and there probably would have been camera crews out to take advantage of the situation and film a quick advert for hairspray or ladies' shavers.

In the very same station, the main Florence one that was as crowded as Fort station on a Monday morning, we walked by two men. One of them was wearing a t shirt and speedos, I kid you not. I couldn't help but stare, yet the rest of the Italians didn't even notice.

That was the thing. Lots of these fellows, by London fashion standards, looked like idiots, but it just seemed that everyone in Italy, at least most of them, was incredibly conscious of their appearance. And I liked that a lot. I don't consider myself some sort of model of trendiness but I like to think that I put effort into my clothes and appearance. Style can be bad, but it's better to put effort in than look all plain and dowdy.

What I love about these Italians is that even the ones out shopping with their grandmothers, even the grandmothers actually, seemed to be bothered about how they looked.

Just look at the bloke in the picture. He's a dustman for god's sake! I tell you. With his Aviators, tattoos, the tan and the physique I must admit that for the first time in my life I wondered what being gay might be like.

As it happens I'm almost entirely heterosexual, so all was okay.

Friday, September 2, 2011

One Month Of "Fasting"

It's okay, worry ye not, for I haven't gone all religious after spending too much time hanging round with The Auf.

I have however, decided to go on my own type of fast, for a month, that of September. Yes, in an attempt to show my devotion to the god of consumerism and to cleanse my body and soul I'm going to abstain from buying things this month, starting today, which will be yesterday by the time you read this tomorrow.

If you're a regular around here you'll know that I'm one of those rare types; a bloke who likes shopping. Really. I still think I shop like a man, choosing quickly and not faffing about trying on things left, right and centre. But the fact is I like shopping. There's nothing better than mooching around Kingston, checking out things, buying bits and pieces and seeing what the latest fashions are.

I say "I like nothing better" but something that comes close is to browse and buy stuff on the internet. Internet shopping was invented for people like me. People who sit at a desk all day with a credit card hovering only inches away at all times and a large expendable overdraft.

I guess it's fair to say that most of us are fortunate enough to not have to worry about the things we need. We have food, we have water, shelter and clothing. Usually when we buy things it's all about buying the things we want, rarely is there the slightest worry about affording those we need.

And, in an attempt to save a bit of money, I've decided to go for a month of abstinence, buying the things I need, not those that I want.

I've drawn up a little list of the things I'm allowed and the exceptions to my "fast". It goes something like this:

Food - Takeaway food is permitted. I contemplated banning them but:

a) A fellow has to eat
b) Cooking for one is often a soul destroying pastime
c) I find I often spend more when I cook than when I get a takeaway

Music - None permitted. There is one exception. If Muse release a new album then I'm allowed to buy it. Everyone will understand that.

Clothes - No clothes at all. Even Superdry stuff. The only exception will be total emergencies, like if someone breaks into my apartment and nicks all my twelve pairs of jeans or sets fire to my pants or something. Unlikely I know, but it's always best to consider the possibilities.

Shoes - I have plenty, more than that even. No shoes whatsoever. I even include Superga, my new favourite brand. It will be tough, but I'm a resolute bloke.

Books - I thought that reading matter would be excluded from the fast but decided against it. One of the well known symptoms of owning a Kindle is a strange compulsion to buy ebooks. As a result I now have a queue of about eight or nine on the Kindle waiting to be read, not to mention a whole shelf's worth of those old fashioned paper books that I believe some people still read in poorer parts of the world, like Wales. So, books are out. I've allowed myself the "luxury" of newspapers though.

Gadgets - Nope, none whatsoever. But, if Amazon launch their new iPad beating tablet that's being talked about, then of course I'm allowed to buy one of those. That goes without saying, though I said it.

Magazines - None. Not even Viz. The two drumming ones I subscribe to are excepted for practical reasons.

Gifts - I'm allowed to buy presents for the ones I love. Though I don't include myself in the list of ones I love. But I do love myself. Not too much and not in a pervy way you understand.

That's about it really. As I write it's mid afternoon on the first day of the month and I'm doing okay. I'll keep you posted. I predict that weekends will be the hardest, those times when I might casually nip out a buy a T shirt or two, perhaps a London fit Polo shirt like the one I got on Saturday. At work, in between blogging, Facebook chatting and surfing the net, what am I going to fill my time with if I can't click on "buy it now" or "checkout now"?

Will I actually notice the money I'll save? We'll see. I'll keep you posted. Breaking my fast should be fun at least!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Facebook Deletions

Recently I've spotted a couple of Facebook related things that I think, for pretty obvious reasons, are a growing trend. Firstly there's the phenomenon of people leaving comments and statuses (or should that be statii?) then deleting them shortly afterwards. Secondly is when people "untag" themselves in photographs, after being tagged by someone else.

I'm one of those types who likes to watch people, to try to analyse how they behave, hopefully to use that information in my future dealings with them. Man management, something I try to do every day, is all about that, about trying to find the buttons that need to be pushed to get an individual to respond the way you want.

So I find it fascinating, often amusing, but always revealing, when someone "says" something on a FB wall and then promptly retracts it.

Now I'm no expert but I do know that the virtual world doesn't work like that. In real life, or IRL as those gamers say, we can say a sentence to someone and then retract it and, unless we've been recorded on camera or have put pen to paper, it's only our words and other people's memories that will bear testimony to the fact. I can call you an insulting name, then apologise and make friends and usually we move on and all is okay.

But the virtual world has both evidence, like google cache, backups and all that sort of malarkey, as well as a dubious and dangerous lack of emotion; a potent combination at times. Let's face it, most of us are severely limited in the way we choose to portray our actual feelings online. There are those emoticon things which you kids throw around with gay abandon and there's "LOL". That's about it.

So when someone leaves a slightly dodgy status on Facebook the rest of us rarely know what level of emotion is attached to that status. We don't know if the person is being sarcastic, deadly serious, full of pathos, or any other of the three musketeers.

I saw many pretty vitriolic comments a few weeks ago referring to the recent riots in the UK. Harsh, but fair enough I thought. If people, many in Sri Lanka, feel that way then it's up to them. I find them offensive and puerile, but that's merely my opinion. Others will, and did, disagree.

But I was amused to see a couple of these get deleted by their writers shortly after they were published. One person left a comment on my wall saying "I really feel for the millionaires trying to understand all this anger" in response to a jokey status I'd written about Boris Johnson and David Cameron flying in from their holidays.

I thought the comment was a weird one, strangely bitter but not such a big deal. The fact that the author deleted it shortly afterwards ensured that it left a far more permanent mark in my memory than if it hadn't been deleted. Ironic I know. And, being the author of the original status, I've kept the original FB email notification that I received.

I also saw one person leave a status along the lines of "serves the UK right for the damage it's done to Sri Lanka", which was removed a little later. I sniggered at this. Because if you think like that then at least have the courage of your convictions. Or is that on reflection you suddenly realised that you might upset your friends in the UK?

Some could say that when the writer deletes a FB comment it's a commendable action and they'd have a point. I've seen people remove remarks that perhaps they've thought about and deemed to be offensive or too insulting. My view though is that the bigger way to behave would be to leave the comment up but to follow it up with an apology, so others can see that you think you make an error and you accept it. Far better than deleting, in effect pretending it never happened.

As for people untagging themselves on pictures, well I risk facing a backlash here, but have only ever seen this done by women, and assume it's vanity. Us men, even vain as hell ones like me, don't care that much. I've had pictures published of myself when I've had my best and most strenuous gurning face on, usually whilst drumming, and though it does bother me slightly, never have I untagged myself.

On the flipside I've seen photographs of some women in which they've had one strand of hair out of place, one face looking a bit ugly, and they've promptly got rid of their name so no one can see who it is. It's a fact that it's only women who do that whole "don't take my picture" putting their hand in front of their face thing. Ne c'est pas?

And a happy September to you. Did you know there are only one hundred and fifteen days to go until Christmas now?