Log in

No account? Create an account
17 January 2016 @ 09:26 am
I wore my kilt last night, the second time in three months, and only the second time in ten years after it was forbidden by my ex, for a variety of reasons.

She was also at the party last night. An "anonymous source" close to her remarked how good it looked on me.
15 January 2016 @ 05:09 pm
I'm going to a party on Saturday, which I have been looking forward to four months. It should be great fun, I'm expecting there to be lots of excellent people, and it is great to have a party to look forward to in the post-Christmas-post-Hogmanay lull.

But in other ways, it could be a bit weird. It is the party that crosses the streams. But not just two streams, mind. I reckon that there will be people there from at least five different aspects of my life, going back 32 years. Which given that I hadn't met either of the hosts until about 2000 is pretty good going.

I met one of the hosts at work. So there will probably be a whole load of people I used to work with. Where I met my ex. Who introduced me to LJ, where I made a whole load of friends online, some of whom will also be there. (Two of whom are staying with me for the weekend.)

One of the hosts sings in a choir, with an old friend (whom I also went out with for a few months. In 1983).

The host also run a dialogue group that I go to, so I imagine several of them will be there too. Including an ex of my ex.

I had expected to introduce my friends Julie and Andrew to my friends Andrew and Julie, at which point the goppelgangers would merge in a cataclysm of annihilating energy, destroying the known universe. Unfortunately I believe that both Julie and Andrew and Andrew and Julie have split up. I could still introduce Julie to Andrew, which might be able to save everyone changing their address books.

Still I'm looking forward to the weekend. At the very least, it'll be interesting.

Oh, and kilts.
06 January 2016 @ 10:52 am

I learned something new today.

There's such a thing on Facebook as secret groups. I knew there were private groups, where you had to be accepted by the admin to join. But I'd never come across a secret group before. Which just proves how secret it is.

A friend of mine added me to a secret group. It has nearly 2,000 members which, let's face it, isn't _that_ secret.

And this isn't one that the security services will be losing too much sleep over, though they may well be tracking it.

Because it is a cat appreciation page. Because there aren't enough cats on the internet, there're now _secret cats_ on the internet.

Apparently I'm late to this party (though being secret, I didn't realise this until now). Lots of my friends are already secret cat appreciation members already. (You know who you are! It's not that much of a secret that some of you like cats...)

Now I suppose I shall be ostracised. Because the first rule of secret cat appreciation group is...

05 January 2016 @ 10:51 pm

I went to see The Danish Girl today. It is a remarkable film, though not necessarily an easy one.

The performances were remarkable. Eddie Redmayne has been getting all the press, but I reckoned Alicia Vikander was equally impressive.

I actually had a bit of a problem with Redmayne - because his performance in The Theory of Everything was just so good. And there were moments in The Danish Girl where I lost the character - and I saw instead Stephen Hawking!

But Redmayne was remarkable in the film too. In some ways, it as a small film - a total of six speaking parts, I reckon - but full of big emotions. I'm not sure I entirely believed in the way they behaved - despite being set in the 1920s, it dealt with issues that are still very current, and it as hard not to bring a 21st century sensibility to the film.

But that's not the film's fault. It was a very thoughtful, well paced to and brave film. And it looked beautiful.

29 December 2015 @ 09:51 pm

I finally cracked. I decided I had to play the first Motorhead LP, which I bought when it came out in 1977 when I was a long haired heavy metal fan.

I had seen Motorhead play several times, including their first London gig, at the Roundhouse (where they managed to clear the auditorium apart from six people, of which I was one. They were very loud). I remember the LP's black sleeve with the snarling logo.

Except I can't find it. This isn't wholly surprising, since I doubt I have played it since 1980. But I have most of my vinyl from back then. It could be that my brother has it, or it could be I lent it to someone (though I doubt that), or maybe I have just lost it.

Still, I did find the first single, Leavin Here/White Line Fever. I wasn't going to play it, because I didn't remember it being very good, but curiosity got the better of me. See, it's MH001.

It was ok. I remember White Line Fever - I knew the riff and I could even remember some of the words - though Leavin Here, an old rock and roll standard (Holland/Dozier/Holland) left me a bit cold.


Curiously, the label on the disc says "Motor Head", two words, though the cover has the concatenated version.

The words of White Line Fever include "...it's a slow death". I guess it took him nearly forty years.

16 December 2015 @ 10:50 pm

I went to visit a friend in the Royal Infirmary this afternoon.

I had not been there before; it is a big place.

I walked there, through the New Town and Old Town, and then along the Innocent Railway and cycle paths beside Craigmillar Castle Road as far as the hospital. Over four and a half miles in a little over an hour.

I walked back in the dark. The paths were lit, but it was still slightly eerie outside of the pools of light.

Much to my surprise, the Innocent Railway wasn't lit. I have no idea why some cycle paths are lit and others not, particularly since the Innocent Railway was much busier than the paths to the south.

All the bikes that passed were very will lit, though I was slightly concerned that an unlit bike might not see me (also unlit) in the dark.

Aside from the cyclists, there was sufficient light reflected from the clouds to walk by. It was rather nice walking the the semi-darkness, something I hadn't really done before. At least, but without a torch.

It was rather surprising, and a bit of a relief, to get to the long, well lit tunnel; and ironic that, underground, there was more light than outside.

29 November 2015 @ 08:05 pm

I've just been to a special showing of the film Under the Skin, which included a Q&A with Michel Faber, the author of the book on which the film was based.

The film was as strange and disturbing as the book (which, fifteen years on, still makes me shudder as I drive up the A9, where much of the book is set).

The movie is moved to Glasgow, and features Scarlett Johansson. I think if I hadn't read the book, I wouldn't have had a clue what was going on.

Johansson was amazing, but frankly the film was twice as long as it needed to be. There were lots of fairly repetitive bits, and things which didn't quite hold together for me.

One other thing about the movie. Scarlett Johansson is very beautiful. And would never have thought it possible that she could put one of sex. But the movie manages it.

But a very interesting film, nonetheless.

One of the strangest things was finding myself standing next to Michel Faber in the gents after the film and before the Q&A.

We had a brief conversation, which was basically me telling him how powerful I had found found the book, and him expressing gratitude.

28 November 2015 @ 03:08 pm
I went in the Climate March, in the rain. I got to the Meadows late, and the March had started, so I stayed where I was and let the March catch me up.

Surprisingly, my friends saw me standing, and we then marched down to Princes St Gardens.

It was, frankly, a huge march - at least by Edinburgh standards. Several thousand people.

It was a very friendly crowd, lots of smiling faces.

I can't help feeling slightly cynical about it, though. I have been on several climate marches - notably ahead of the Copenhagen summit in 2009, but also last year and before - and I'm not sure what we've accomplished.

On the other hand, it is much better to go on a march than not, because climate change isn't going away, and one must make one's voice heard however one can.

I was chatting with one of the march's organisers, a friend of a friend, who is going over to Paris as a delegate at the forthcoming climate summit, and who was also at Copenhagen. He sees today's march as a way of influencing politicians and the civil servants (who actually do the negotiating) ahead of the talks. And it's his job to influence them during the negotiations next week.

We can only wish them all luck!
14 November 2015 @ 11:14 pm
Months ago, I bought a ticket for a gig - Nils Lofgren, of whom I was a big fan in the 1970s - his first couple of albums. I'd never seen him live, and frankly seeing heros forty years on seems like a bloody stupid idea. And then tonight I REALLY wasn't in the mood. The weather is awful, I was knackered, and I very nearly didn't bother going.

Which would have been a mistake, cos it was a bloody amazing gig. Just superb. He played for just under two hours, just him and a keyboard player.

Lofgren played a harp for the first number, which didn't really help my expectations, but then he strapped on his guitar and the show really took off.

I didn't know any of the songs in the first half. He changed his guitar for almost every song - the guitar roady was on stage almost as much as Lofgren - and I think he had at least for guitars. Mostly he played acoustics, though put through a large variety of pedals. He looped tracks so he could do rhythm and solo.

Then he played a brilliant version of Keith Don't Go. He played keyboards on a lovely Goin' Back. He did some tap dancing (and was very good - his keyboard player danced too).

They played I Came To Dance, Mud In Your Eye, Like Rain, and several things from Grin which sounded like familiar.

They encored with Rocking In The Free World, with the whole crowd singing along. He said he'd only played it with Neil Young before, rather than in his own shows. I can't speak for anyone else, but I had a lump in my throat as I tried to sing.

Just a great gig.
01 September 2015 @ 09:16 pm

I've just asked Google the distance from the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall to Dunnet Head, the most northerly point of the Scottish mainland.

Google tells me it is 803 miles, which I believe, and that it would take me 11 days to walk it, which I don't.

I think Google would have me walking 24 hours a day, at 3 miles an hour.

This shows how poorly Google knows me. My average walking speed is over for miles an hour...

(I have no intention of walking the length on mainland Britain, but was curious to see the distance. I've been reading about Richard Long, who walked thirty three miles a day for thirty three days from Lizard to Dunnet Head, a distance of 1089 miles. Presumably he didn't have Google to pick the shorter route for him. I doubt I could manage thirty three miles a day; I reckon 25 might be doable, at 3mph, perhaps. Over a month. )