BBC NEWS | Wales | Drunk consent rape case scrutiny: “Jennifer Temkin, a professor of law at Sussex University, said it would be a tricky area to clarify.

‘If you have sex and you consent to it when you are drunk then that isn’t rape,’ she told BBC Wales.

‘If someone has sex with you when you are unconscious then that is rape.

‘The really difficult area is in between, where the person is so drunk they are not unconscious and are so drunk that they are not really able to consent.

‘What happens in these cases is that the defence will try to argue that this person did consent and she can’t get out of it just because she was drunk.’ “

What a tricky and controversial topic this is… On the one hand, no woman who was drunk when she was raped wants to feel that her case is worthless due to this ruling. On the other hand, no man wants to worry about sleeping with a drunken woman in case she calls it rape when she sobers up.

And what exactly does ‘consent’ entail? Drunken sexual encounters are more likely to arise out of a series of drunken snogs and fumblings before turning fully sexual and much less likely to involve a detailed question and answer session regarding intent, consent and approval. And even if the conversation does take place, what if it is not remembered the next morning?

Dangerous ground all around.

BBC NEWS | Politics | Pub plans face crunch MPs’ vote: “He [licensing minister James Purnell ] told the BBC: ‘The hours are part of the problem, because by having a firm cut off time at 11pm, people engage in speed drinking… the only places able to stay open after 11pm at the moment are those which put on music and dancing… exactly the kinds of places that people might worry about most.

Eh? We’re afraid of dancing and music now? Surely the problem is the people who aren’t dancing? The ones who are sitting in parks with a two litre bottle of cider? Or the ones ordering 4 pints at 22:55 as it’s nearly closing time? Or how about the people who go to clubs and refuse to dance (you know who you are)!

Perhaps that’s the solution. You can drink as late as you like as long as you strut your stuff on the dancefloor…

I know I’d end up going home early…

Thursday was the day. Finally it had come. I had to do a presentation today instead of sitting there, looking interested and occasionally making a comment or asking a question that at least sounded intelligent. Thirty minutes of presentation, three questions and it was over. The climax of the working week. I felt dirty, yet relieved.

The afternoon was spent doing some sight-seeing and buying a couple of bottles of Arzuaga that I had had the chance to sample the previous night.

The evening was a team dinner at a rather excellent Basque restaurant which was a wonderful experience as well as excellent food.

Friday was a day holiday for me, spent in Madrid. Since I’d been lucky enough to get plenty of sight-seeing time in throughout the week, all that was left on my itinerary were the Prado Museum and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum of Art. The former was an immense museum and there was no way to do the whole thing in a day, never mind two hours. So I focussed on the 10 odd rooms of the works of Goya. The TB Museum was a more eclectic mix and very much enjoyable. Some of the work I particularly enjoyed was by Conrad Felixmueller and Emil Nolde.

After that, an uneventful flight home and back to Penny.

Youll probably have spotted the trend that very, very little happens on Sundays so Ill skip straight to Saturday.

Saturday morning was an early one, despite the late arrival the previous night, because Penny and I were off to see at in London. We were queuing from 9:30, the doors opened at 10:00 and we were finished by 11:00. It was really hard deciding what to take to get signed as wed been told we were allowed three books and it was unclear whether or not we had to buy a book when we get there.

I was really gutted when we got there and discovered that not only did we not have to buy a book, but we were actually allowed six! Id brought a spare and bought one book on site (couldnt resist). So the books I managed to get signed were Anansi Boys (his newest), Smoke & Mirrors (an excellent book of short stories), Good Omens, Coraline and the MirrorMask screenplay. If Id have known how it was going to work Id have brought Signal to Noise, Midnight Days, Sandman or American Gods (which I couldnt find on Saturday morning). Penny brought her much-loved copy of The Wolves in the Walls, which is illustrated by Dave McKean.

Neil himself was very friendly and affable and much amused by the fact that Lenny Henry had accused him of smoking giant reefers with Dave McKean when writing MirrorMask. He also revealed that a new anthology of short stories is due soon, assuming hes got enough material. I presume it will be published sometime after his next work, a childrens book.

All that done, we did some exploring (Hamleys and Libertys) before ending up in in the afternoon. Situated under London Bridge, around the corner from the London Dungeon, the Vinopolis is a wine museum and wine tasting experience. It was definitely worth visiting, though it would have been prohibitively expensive had it not been for the two for one deal we had. As it was, we decided to go for some whiskey tasting too. Some of the wines we tried were average at best, but we also discovered some absolute gems like a 2003 , a and the port. Among the whiskey tastings we particularly liked the smoky flavour of the .

After that, it was Pizza Express for dinner, a train home and a much-deserved 10 hour coma.

Quite a day!

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Phew! The last day of running workshops! (Pork and fish were the lunch options again) And so another evening’s entertainment had been organised. This time it was *gasp* in the centre of Braunschweig! We were going to leave the hotel! After some Dutch courage to brave the great outdoors, we headed off to an Argentinian steakhouse. Mmmm Lovely! Best steak ever! Though I might have been biased by the fact that it was neither pork nor fish.

After food some colleagues and I decided to go off and do some sightseeing before joining the others in a bar. It turns out that Braunschweig, of which I’d not seen anything but the industrial side, was actually a very pleasant, pretty mid-sized town with an architecturally interesting old-town.

So eventually we ended up in a bar called DAX, after the German stock exchange. It turned out not to be as random a name as was thought, as the prices of all drinks were displayed on a giant board and changed electronically every two minutes, depending on demand. It did cause quite some drink mixing with some people, as they would rush up to the bar whenever something was particularly cheap, regardless of what it was. Personally, I made sure managers were buying and stuck to the excellent local beer, Duckstein.


A sort of day-off! Hurrah! After some work in the morning, I had nothing else to do. Around about this time I also learnt that I had had the most gruelling workshop schedule of everyone, as I had been presenting in every single slot. The next nearest person had only presented in every second slot. So, with that in mind, I decided I was entirely justified in going off to Braunschweig to do some sight-seeing, shopping and general dosing about before it was time to catch my flight home.

I finally came home Friday night, laden with food, new clothes and books. It was a long a troubled journey home, but I was certainly glad to be back and glad to see Penny again.


Ah, blessed weekend! Saturday was a busy day, consisting of picking up a new company mobile, a new computer part-paid by the company and, when Penny finished work, we went and had a lovely meal at The Swan, which is on the Basingstoke Canal. Next we had the Aldershot Fireworks Extravaganza, or whatever it was called, which was actually excellent. And finally, Di’s housewarming where I most anti-socially drank Di’s wine and spent most of the evening talking to someone with fairly balanced views on paganism.


Virtually nothing happened today. Thank the gods…

I forgot to blog this last week: Last weekend Penny went to visit her Dad and his wife, Betty. They had just returned from a trip to Italy and wished to regale Penny, her sister Donna and Donna’s husband Andy with their tales of Venice. Sadly for Betty the trip was made less pleasant by a comobination of factors. Firstly, it was rather expensive; Secondly although Betty apparently likes to emerge herself in the culture of her holiday destinations, found that language was somewhat of a barrier to this. But the third, and worst, thing that ruined Venice? Those ghastly Germans! They were everywhere!

Now, I should point out at this point that within Penny’s family only her sisters know of the fact that she is seeing me. Her ‘rents have no idea and, to be honest, this suits me fine. My parents are enough of a handful, quite frankly!

So after Betty rops her clanger about those ghastly Germans, it goes quiet for a second while Donna and Andy look over at Penny to see how she reacts to this statement.

Penny’s face goes deadly serious and launches into “Oh, I agree, those Germans, they’re awful! Oh no, the Germans! They’re just horrible!” She has so much fun with this that Andy and Donna join in as soon as they know it’s safe, encouraging Betty to more and more extreme statements against Germans, before they al finally tire of the game. To cap it all, Donna manages a venom-filled “And we certainly wouldn’t one of them in our family!”

On Penny’s return to Aldershot, she managed to exercise levels of restraint that were superhuman (for her) by waiting at least 2 minutes before spilling the whole story out. Most amusing! However, she did deliver a vicious taunt too… Her souvenir was a mug, labelled Bardolino. Why is this a taunt? I’m very fond of a bottle of Bardolino wine which can be hard to get hold of in shops. Grrr….

Personally I blame the Germans…

Weekend was a good one. Penny and I had been together for a year on Saturday, so we went out for a meal and went to see ‘The Corpse Bride‘ a Tim Burton movie in the style of ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’, which was muchly enjoyed.

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Right, that worked, so first an update of the last week that I have missed blogging.


Tuesday was my last day in the office for some time, just as I was getting used to getting up late, having lunch at home and being home before The Simpsons starts. All things change, especially in the world of conslutancy.


What a day. First day at the client site, various work-based pressures and some of the worst cigarette cravings since I gave up. I nearly cracked on numerous occasions. But the highlight of the day was meeting up with everyone after work, first in St Stephen’s Tavern in Westminster, and then at the Tattershall Castle. Ostensibly, as far as Kev was concerned, this was just a general meet-up drink, but was actually to present him with his 30th birthday present. It was given early so he could actually book his appointment to fling himself out of a plane as close to his birthday as possible. I have visions of Kev being securely fastened to a fat man, hurtling to the ground! There may or may not be a parachute involved, but it still sounds terrifying!

Spent the night on Andy’s sofa, which meant for a reduced journey time in the morning and more sleep despite the late hour of ‘lights-out’.


Nothing major to report, ended the day back in Aldershot having a nice Thai meal in Aldershot. Both pleased and horrified to find the staff there recognised us from previous visits. We have become… regulars.


Pay day! Yay! Long awaited and much enjoyed. Penny’s day was mostly spent putting her belongings into storage, in preparation of her moving to her sister’s for the next 6 months or so. In the evening she was due to go to a leaving do in Fleet so, after pitifully whining, I managed to convince Linsey and Kev to join me for a drink or two. That was a good evening, starting off at the Tattershall Castle (fast becoming first choice in meeting-up places), then the Walkabout on Embankment and finally finishing at Pizza Express on the Strand. I nearly missed my train at the end of the evening, but just made it back in time.


Ah, shopping! Not a lot of shopping admittedly, and somewhat geeky. Picked up the ‘horror’ boardgame _______ (too sleepy, can’t remember now, need more coffee) which I’ve got a few things planned for. I’ve actually got a Global Frequency/Lethe scenario planned for the boardgame. I also picked up part 3 of Warren Ellis’ ‘Desolation Jones’. Still enjoying it, but it was the weakest so far. Three pages of the book were actually plot or plot-related background. The rest in it’s entirety, was about stuff Warren had learnt about the hardcore porn industry.


The plan was to go to Farnham for breakfast. Since we’d just missed the train, we decided to take the next available train, which took us to London. Since we were there we had brunch there, and then popped over to the Tate Modern, where Penny could have another look at the work of Anselm Kiefer, particularly the work ‘Lillith’. TM is due for a major rehanging and 40% of the pieces are due to be removed from the display.

The evening was spent with me trying to resurrect Endless Games. Unsuccessfully. I’ll take another stab at it this evening, even if it means recreating the database entries by hand.

Well, that’s it for now. Let’s see what a new day and a new week brings!

BBC NEWS | UK | Drunk young women ‘taking risks’

: “A shocking new survey conducted for responsible drinking campaigners, The Portman Group, shows that almost four in ten young women (36%) have been sexually assaulted after getting drunk.”

I had so many angles on this topic in my head about this topic, but after evaluating them all, I realised that there is no safe way for a man to talk about sexual abuse publicly. It’s just going to go wrong regardless, it’s such a touchy subject, and if you don’t know exactly who your audience is, and what their opinions are and how open-minded they are, you’re totally screwed.

So I shall just leave you with the link, the quote, the above back-peddle, the disclaimer that I do think sexual abuse is a terrible thing and the following question: Which definition of sexual abuse did the Portman Group use when commisioning this survey?

BBC NEWS | Magazine | Bad statistics and binge drinking

I love this article almost as much as I hate the abuse of statistics to grab headlines in the press or to grab soundbites in parliament. And all these reports, most often commisioned by a group with an agenda, never give you all the raw data that you’d need to make your own mind up.

As for the terrors of binge drinking, yes it is ill-advised to drink so much (and/or in bad combinations) that you do bad things to your health, your surroundings (I include people in this category, AKA collateral damage) and your self-respect. But unless you’re doing it all the time, it’s ridiculous. While I accept that my drinking last Saturday can only really be described as an (accidental) binge, enjoying a couple of glasses of wine with a meal is not a binge, even if you do so a couple of times a week, and go out to the pub with your friends once or twice.

And anyway, I’ve given up smoking, so I still need one vice to cling on to. But it’s certainly not going to be massaged statistics.

Well, after six over-long weeks, it’s time for a gaming weekend again! And this time it’s Vampire! Yay!

I just have to finish waking up, acquire some caffeine and breakfast and then see how early I can get to the pub while still getting everything done that I need to…

Andy, if you’re reading this on the morning of posting, it’s 1pm we meet. As always. And don’t forget your Vampire and WoD books.

Also quite pleased that I’ve found a Valpolicella that you can buy in the UK that doesn’t give me a headache in the morning. Unfortunately, buying it means breaking my more snobbish instincts as it is a Radcliffe’s. Yes, that’s right, it’s Threshers own brand. And it’s surprisingly adequate.