December 1998
Maybe it's the holiday season, maybe it's the out of date eggnog, maybe it's the overdose of pine scent but Shunt this month seemed to attract a hell of a lot of yahoos and even more bizarre topics. James Havens was even more irritatingly incoherent than usual, Martin succeeded in alienating the masses with his lack of Netiquette, the Larson twins assaulted us with private yelling and enlightenment bullshit was flying like missiles into Iraq. Merry fucking Christmas everyone. Welcome to Shunt!
Now I am usually an impartial voyeur - I don't like to judge and it's not my place to complain but when I have FIVE PAGES OF NOTES on Shunt conversations alone plus a huge year-end article for my publisher (guess?), I feel I have a right to some seasonal bitterness: Who's business is Dave's personal life? And why the hell are we debating the usefulness of Fletch on the Recoil mailing list?
Instead of addressing the more asinine discussions at the year's end, I will instead address those that amused myself and, perhaps, the rest of the Shunt staff.
Pussies, hair colour, Salmiak, Star Wars, vodka, boobs, drinks, cartoons, the Great Lakes, bras, reggae, kinky sex with Christopher Reeve, home recording, plays, movies, books, A-ha, Duran Duran, Hitler, polygamy, Dead Heads, vegetarianism, Delirium, William Orbit, war, naughty bits, impeachment, Nsync, Scotland, Scorpios, Erasure, pregnancy, stupid bosses, rape, mouse pieces, video games, cats, stereotypes, Cliff Richard, Anton's birthday, and ageism all somehow coalesced into one gigantic cluster of entertaining dialogue.
More specifically explored topics involved the gay populace of Shunt (with Kat and Stacey Cohen discussing the conversion of gay men to straight) sport rituals and Kat's lively exuberance for David Sylvian. Kristina won a Depeche Mode keyboard whilst Dusty and others lamented the demise of Dead Can Dance. And pretty much everybody had something to say about Madonna.
The dubious thread "I've partied with Alan" turned into a vivid mass confession of Alan fantasies, why the word 'allocate' is sexy (only real Alan fans get it) and how Alan is so panty-squishingly cute (I'll take your word for it ladies). Everyone was annoyed at chick music today, everyone had a list of Top 10 Albums of 1998 and everybody answered KJ's Shunt File questions (oh, do I have some dirt on you people now!).
Ginny imagined Alan endorsing various products while Dominic Sotter took the idea to lurid and fascinating extremes. KJ may get to sue for theft of intellectual property or she and Dom may just bash each other over the head with lamb foetuses instead. Julie complained about her squatter while Duck counselled. We all know now that Julie is a softie at heart...

KJ explained the difference between geeks and dorks (Alan is a geek, apparently. I would be best categorised as a dork). Somebody noticed that Julie and Karen Finley are alike (and, according to Julie, remotely related). Zoodles outed her husband and Kim Johnsson was declared a god. Black Pearl admitted her fear of dolls and gave us some fierce testimony regarding race myths. Kat fought a war over true love on two fronts with Marks and Julz whilst also talking about emotions in Europe, the UK and the US with the luscious Kelly Marie, KJ, and Yellow Ox.
Dr LaVey and others plotted mass Alan-related sabotage at Depeche Mode shows and most approved. Stupid men were compared with good men - it would seem that, for Shunt gals at least, a good man is someone with cool hair and as I've always suspected, a complete lack of regard for anyone but himself - which is why I score so often.
'Biggest mouths of the month' definitely went to Dr. LaVey, Julie Finley, Kelly Marie, Kristina Moodie and of course KJ. The prize for 'most topics brought up' goes to the ever dependable Dusty and the 'most squawkers' goes to the usual suspects - you know who you are because Ben hates you.
Finally, Quote Of The Month this Xmas: Lesley Hoenig's thoughtful gem of insight:

"It would certainly be scary to think that we could be the final product of evolution."
And with that, I truly pray that Mother Wilder is not curious about her son's web site this month.
My holiday contribution...

With Hep in her nightie and Charlie's night cap,
They both settled down for a long winter's nap,
The Shunt list on Christmas was actually dead
While visions of vodka danced in Charlie's head.

I'm a journalist, not a poet.
Until next year, you've been tongued by
Mike Daniella
Photography - Robert Mapplethorpe
tongue petals archive