Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Indonesia: a miracle despite itself (19/06/12)

I’m nearing the end of the first (nine-month long) leg of my Indonesian Odyssey and I don’t feel much closer to understanding the heart of this torturously complicated but endlessly fascinating nation. I’ve done my best to try and sum up some of my thoughts in the June issue of Prospect, one of UK’s more […]

Silliness in the snow (with my trans father?) (29/12/10)

Seasonal silliness from my family. I’d like to claim to be the stylish one on the ski-bob, that odd bike thing with skis where the wheels should be, but I’m afraid that accolade goes to my father. He’s on the bike in the final video clip (I precede him on the sled). But for the […]

Christmas Wisdom (23/12/10)

Happy Christmas to everyone kind enough to read this blog, whatever your religion, thoughts about gift-giving, tolerance for sappy music etc. Extra thanks to people who’ve taken the time to post responses (including and perhaps especially critical responses) , or to write to me with comments and suggestions.

Health nerds march on Washington (02/11/10)

My parents were among the 200,000 people who gathered in Washington DC at the weekend in the Rally to Restore Sanity. Best banner of the march? This gets my vote: Thanks to AW for supporting the cause.

Music in the blood; it’s going viral (06/10/10)

Though I don’t have a musical bone in my body, I’ve been thinking recently about how to code statistical data about people into melodies. Now I find that there’s a whole industry out there of people who are turning DNA into music. If you know anything about your own DNA, you can plug your genes […]

Troll of the Year Award: Am I a fungus or a Marxist? (28/05/10)

I have several loyal readers whose comments regularly make me laugh: this, for example. And I almost never refuse a comment unless it’s trying to sell a cure for AIDS or the commentator is too much of a pussy to give an e-mail address. But this one, from a fount of indignation calling Himself “Derrail”, […]

Women, brains and bravery: Daphne Park (25/03/10)

Since we’ve recently been on the topic of the female brain, I’d like to mark the passing of a very great one. Daphne Park, aka Baroness Park of Monmouth, once a controler of the uber spy agency MI6, governor of the BBC and principal of an Oxford college, died yesterday. With her died an era […]

Should I go for a drink with this man? (05/07/09)

The Guardian on Saturday ran a review of The Wisdom of Whores, which is newly out in paperback in the UK. In it, Nicholas Lezard suggests I sound like a fun person to go for a drink with. By conincidence, I spent the weekend with someone who was at university with Nick. He was, aparently, […]

Of dildos, cybersquatters and UNAIDS (22/01/09)

It’s always dangerous to mix your coms with your orgs. In China, a link from the UNAIDS site takes you to a classic sex cybersquat: it offers links to dildos, fetish and swinger sites. All because the url for the Beijing Association of STD & AIDS Prevention and Control,, has “ass” in it. (With […]

The philosophy of porn (13/12/08)

It is with pride that I post my first link to Indonesia’s new-born English language newspaper, The Jakarta Globe. Not just because its editor appears in The Wisdom of Whores, translated the book into Indonesian and is one of my dearest friends, but also because they are publishing fun stuff. Including this reflection on the […]

Keep your nose out of my business (03/12/08)

So women in Uganda are smearing chloroform on their chests, making men in bars swoon. When they wake up, they find themselves naked and penniless. So reports AFP, in a story predictably but nonetheless delightfully headlined “Ugandan men warned of ‘booby trap’”. My question is, how close does a random punter in a bar have […]

Staying alive or biting the dust? (29/10/08)

It’s official: the Bee Gees can keep you alive. According to David Matlock of the University of Illinois, the song “Staying Alive”, of Saturday Night Fever fame, provides the perfect rhythm for the chest-thumping that’s needed to bring someone out of a heart attack. As the New York Times reports, Queen’s just as good. “Another […]

No Comment Sunday (05/10/08)

Stolen from Sean Casey, with thanks.

Lost in translation: H. I. V. (25/08/08)

From Heather, at A Minha Vida, I learned of an interesting compilation of HIV-related slang (originally from PlusNews). As they observe, the euphemisms we choose to say the unsayable often tell us quite a bit about our own cultures. In Angola, for example, getting HIV is like “pisar na min” –stepping on a landmine. But […]

Blog standard (19/08/08)

A couple of recent comments on this blog have made me question the nature of the beast. Jerome Martin of Act Up Paris takes me to task for not speaking to Act Up before commenting on a statement from colleagues at the Treatment Action Group that was critical of Act Up’s work. Jerome is quite […]

Art goes viral (17/08/08)

Other people get spam e-mails offering them all night erections and a life free of depression. I get offered syphilis diagnostic kits and statistical analysis software. And now, viral art. The sculpture pictured above landed in my in-box from Bioetch — no, that’s not a typo. And I’m passing on to you the chance to […]

Housekeeping and the movies (27/07/08)

I’ve had lots of fun in recent weeks pontificating in talks and interviews about sex, drugs and the AIDS biz, usually to people who know a lot more about all of the above than I do. (My favourites of recent weeks: sex worker radio XXBN and Sex Goddess radio Susie Bright, not pictured below). But […]

Off topic: don’t e-mail when you’ve had too much rosé (24/07/08)

Can I get away with posting this e-mail from restaurant reviewer Giles Coren to the Times on the grounds that it has a blow job in it? Or that its author is a wanker (of which more tomorrow)? Read. Enjoy. Remember never to e-mail your colleagues when you’ve had a few. Even if they have […]

The Wisdom of Whores love charm (10/07/08)

“What motivated you to write this book?” interviewers like to ask. And I give all the worthy, change-the-world type answers, though what I really wanted to do was to write a cracking good book about sex and drugs that would make people laugh and perhaps save some of their tax money. Of course if I […]

A (truly) useful tool for proposal writing and much else (23/06/08)

Last week I posted the patented Wisdom of Whores Automatic Proposal Generator (TM) to help you all shake millions out of the Global Fund. But today I found a tool thats is genuinely useful from the ever-helpful Kaiser Family Foundation They’ve put together a fanatstic, really simple tool that allows you to generate charts of […]

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