Naked Blog

More famous than Susan Boyle!

Monday, October 31, 2005


What's everyone doing for Halloween then?

Me, I tend not to bother, as it seems a bit of a US import. Certainly in my childhood it just didn't happen. You had Guy Fawkes on November 5, which was wonderful, and then Christmas was the Next Big Thing. October held nada.

So tonight zoe my familiar and I will probably be curled up on the couch, watching scary telly. Now that I've got the cat of course, all I need is the broomstick and I'm there.

Who will be sitting on your broomstick for Halloween?

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Sunday, October 30, 2005


I woke up this morning with pussy on my face.

There. I've gone and said it - and not one word of a lie. The little minx had jumped on to the bed, and was nudging my cheek with her cold wet nose. We ain't safe in our beds, ah'm a-telling you.

This little madam is getting far too confident. What she doesn't realise is that she's got a vet's appointment on Tuesday, and if she isn't more careful I'll have her euthanased bigtime. (Wish I could do that so easily with some others of my irritants, but they fall in to the (sometimes barely) human category.) Category. See - the wee fuckers get everywhere.


Very Scottish affair on Andrew Marr's little show this morning. Three Reids (two Proclaimers and a Defence Secretary), wee Andy himself, and Baroness Helena Kennedy. But you can never get too much of a good thing.

Andrew gets very over-excited, and interrupts people practically all the time. Most off-putting. The Defence Secretary Reid said that Tony was the President of Europe. Interesting new position for him. He said the government were accused of being "libertine", at which point Marr interrupted (again) and corrected him to "libertarian". Hilarious.

But Marr himself is no paragon of my language. Anyone for burgle-ry? (Apparently he went to Loretto's, which despite the restaurant name is a posh school in Musselburgh, just across the road from the racecourse. How horsey.) The only two things which matter in Edinburgh society are what street you live in, and what school you attended. These are quite inflexible, brooking no exceptions - except for in-comers who are never accepted anyway. (Unless the rentboy companion of a circuit judge.)

Pronunciation Guide

(I know one or two of you watch that BBC Sunday show.) Here is a useful guide to Scottish accents, based on this morning's programme. The Proclaimers are from Leith then Auchtermuchty, and speak in middle class East of Scotland. (Trying to sound a wee bit urban/working, but their schoolteacher home shows through.)

Dame Helena is genuine uppercrust West, while Dr John sounds to me like working class trying to be posh West. Marr has simply ditched the lot, and passes for Estuary English.

So ye ken the noo!

(Oh - and before we leave the Scottish diaspora... isn't Peter Capaldi quite breathtaking as Alastair Campbell in that political thing - what's it called again?)

Of late we've been spoiled for satirical choice, with Gervais and Merchant offering their take on showbiz, Fry and Bird on advertising/PR, Catherine Tait on humanity per se, and now the Armando Iannucci et al political thing. In these incremental ways do the medium and the message move on, while Bremner might well be left behind. With this intensity of provocation there's little or no place for the likes of Norton or O'Grady. Or am I just a snob?

More Cathode Rays

Quality collision last night at ten o'clock, as Bodies clashed with The Devil Rides Out, clashed with a Channel Four Scary Moments-a-thon. Me I watched the Channel Four and taped The Devil Rides Out - a fascinating oddity of the time. When we was kids, we lapped up Dennis Wheatley, ye ken. Lapped. I remember the first time I saw him on the telly in the flesh, and just gaping that such a man could exist. Later on these hero-worships got transferred to Burroughs and Burgess.

Weapon of Mouse Destruction

Don't forget to guess my new cat zoe's weight - either here or on the side bar. Win a fashionable Port o Leith t-shirt. Results on Wednesday. And now it's pissing down. Ah well - do the gardens good.

Clock This

Greenwich Mean Time - aka Universal Time - started overnight

There I was, steadily working my way through all the digital clocks, using BBC Ceefax as the reference, when it struck me that I was adjusting them back to where they already were. Yes, that's right. Nine in the morning and the Beeb hadn't even bothered to correct the teletext times. ITV had it right, and they're meant to be the trailer-trash channel. Till cable came along.

"Hello darkness, my old friend..." (Simon)

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Friday, October 28, 2005


What a scorcha! Yesterday, I mean. If this is global warming, bring it on! Had to go up Arthur's Seat, even though it was only two days since the last ascent.

Fun and games before that listening to BBC Breakfast, which when they weren't telling the Health Secretary she should resign, kept banging on about what a balmy day it was going to be. The poor suckers don't realise that 98 percent of the population don't know the word "balmy", never use it, and would think they were saying barmy, as in eccentric, odd, mad. Barmy Broadcasting Corporation. Another planet, dudes.

Do you know one word which really gets my goat? It's fit, in its new usage as sexually attractive. OK - words change all the time. Look at wicked. But at least wicked leaves synonyms to fill the gap, sort of. Bad, evil, and so on. How now though do we describe someone with a healthy, trained body, capable of exercise? There's nothing left. "Fit" just can't be used like that, for risk of unintended attractiveness compliment.

Cardio-vascular as fuck, that's me. Well fit.


Went in to Braid Vets in Leith Walk yesterday, to make an appointment for zoe's injections and general "once-over". The receptionist seemed most unwelcoming, and the moment I mentioned Cat Home, became positively icy. I showed her the detailed health sheet the Home had provided, and she seemed not to have a clue. "Long hair or short hair?" she barked. "No idea," I said back. "Kinda medium."

"Neutered or not?" she demanded. "No idea," I said back. "The Cat Home didn't know." I even had to ask for a slip with the appointment time on, as she clearly wasn't intending to give me one. Tuesday it is. I'll keep you posted. (I don't know what zoe's booked in for, or how much it'll cost, or anything. Shambles.)

Me, well I'm getting scabs on my hands where I claw away at the skin due to intense itching. But the red-eye has mostly stopped. It's a symbiotic thing. No sign of flea bites, which are something else. But I think she might have a tick or two. (Eek. Can't believe I can calmly write that without screaming.) She's sneezing a bit, so maybe it's bird flu. Oh - and she loved the steak pie, eventually. Put the chunks on the floor and played with them like they were mice. Then gobbled them.


Recent domestic dramas have stopped me keeping abreast of matters blogwise. But now I'm back, and delighted to help publicise Mike of Troubled Diva's project to publish his mother's memoire. Full details. I'm loving it already.

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Thursday, October 27, 2005


Hi. Listen - I'm sorry about this. I don't usually write to you in the late evening unless it's something important. But this last half hour's TV has got me pretty much incandescent.

The second item on the BBC ten o' clock news tonight was about some utterly domestic US matter - some lawyer pal of George getting appointed or not. Who in Britan gives one tiny fuck about that? I ask you. And I sent them an angry text asking them too.

But I never got a reply. Oh no - I only pay their wages. Fucking audience scum, me.

And then we hear about Iran. The new Iranian president wants to "wipe Israel off the map". Well - good on him, if that's what he wants. Let him just do that. Everybody knows that Arabs and Jews have to hate each other. Have to.

So that would be that then. Let's go to bed in our Christian country and let them get on with it. Eat cake.

Well - actually no.

It seems our esteemed Prime Minister - neither Arab nor Jew himself - has decided this is unacceptable rhetoric. Today.

Tomorrow he'll decide further whether our boys should lose their very lives over these Iranian threats. Yes - he might well decide that.

And here we go again. I despair. I truly do despair.

It's testicles, you know. Cojones. Times I wish I was a woman, just to be free of it.

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Patricia Hewitt the Health Secretary seems to have been somewhat sat upon by that smarmy John Reid the Defence Secretary over smoking. She was on the telly this morning, looking more and more like Maureen Lipman, protesting that yes, of course she was the Health Secretary, not him, and no, of course she shouldn't resign over this, and indeed how wonderful the government's new proposals are.

Patricia said adults had a right to "enjoy a cigarette with a drink".

I say Patricia's talking nonsense.

I say in that case that adults have a right to "inject heroin into their arm with a drink".
Fact 1: Cigarettes are not enjoyable. Chocolates can be enjoyable. Climbing a mountain can be enjoyable. Sex can be very enjoyable, but not as enjoyable as chocolate or mountain-climbing. But that's just my opinion.

What's not my opinion is that cigarettes are a drug. What the smoker mistakes for enjoyment is simply relief from the pain of nicotine withdrawal. When not actually smoking, all smokers are in withdrawal pain. (I was in that pain for more than forty years. But I got free with Allen Carr's great book.)

Fact 2: The government is in thrall to the tobacco industry. No doubt about that.

Fact 3: The NHS wastes millions of pounds annually providing "patches" and "gum" to hapless smokers. I've yet to meet one person who has stopped smoking with "nicotine replacement". It is one of the most successful con jobs the pharmaceutical industry had pulled off to date.

Fact 4: Mr John Reid is MP for a Scottish constituency, and should keep his gob shut about matters not affecting his constituents.
Draconian Measures

Great thanks to Tony my IT Manager for instituting our new comment box procedures. Because of the horrible amounts of spam comment, sometimes stretching right back through the archive - and taking hours to delete - we've reluctantly been forced to introduce two simple measures.
1. Commenting will close 48 hours after the post is writtten. (I think maybe that's a wee bit too short. Maybe 72 or 96 hours.) I'll liaise with Tony, but he's a very busy man these days. It's October now, and we've had three conversations this year.

2. There's a nifty little word-recognition box to fill in. All the rage. Thanks Tony for both.
Pet's Corner

Zoe has hardly touched her breakfast, and there's no - ie none - poop in the litter tray this morning. Should I take her to the vet for an operation? Holy shit - now she's making vomit noises. Or is it sneezing? So worrying. The dinner ladies at work sent her some steak pie home last night, but she didn't seem that keen on it, even thought it was packed with lean meat and still slightly warm.

What a relief! She's just pooped right now. Must have read this article. Panic over!

Thanks for all your GUESS ZOE'S WEIGHT entries yesterday. I'll move that over to the sidebar, which has a 30 day comment life. Fabulous. I'm guessing she's half a pound lighter now than five minutes ago!

Miaow! (Now she's asking me to help set up her own blog...)

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Good morning from Sunny Leith. Zoe says good morning too.

How silly. Zoe is a cat and can't speak. But I've become a cat person, almost overnight. I eat, drink and think cat. Especially I talk cat. And listen cat. It's a whole new catty world out there! (Why didn't anyone tell me?)

This is terrible. And that's just a pet. How on earth do mothers stop themselves talking about their kids non-stop? How do they do that?

Naked Blog has hit the pits bigtime. I mean who on earth can even begin to think about the tory leadership when your cat's on the windowsill looking at the birds and thinking "dinner on wings, if I could only get out there".

And you yourself are thinking for the umpteenth time "how cruel it is to keep this animal warm, well-fed and cared for, when what she really needs is companionship". And the wild.

Because in one of those "you couldn't make it up if you tried" scenarios, I now know more than I should about zoe's past. Oh yes I do. It was one of my bingo ladies, you see. Her that had found zoe (but before she was zoe), living in a carboard box in a garden. Living rough. A stray on the street. And taken her to the cat home a week previously.

So now when I look at her I don't just see a creature who was "born" last Thursday, when she came into my life. Oh no. I see a creature with a life before that - a whole life of which I know nothing, and she can't tell me, except in mime and reactive behaviour.

And owner, too. What sort of owner did she have? Why did she go astray? Maybe it was an accident, and a loving owner is distraught somewhere, while zoe scoffs her Felix pouches at my house now, and wonders what she can get away with here.

I am that creature, living in a box in the rain. I am the box, and I am her tormentors. Trying to survive, because survive is all any of us can do really, but then we die in the end, so what was the point anyway? What was the point?

"Just got to get on with it," as my bingo ladies say. "Nothing else for it."

Mew-clear Deterrent

But enough! Come landlord fill the flowing bowl! Some hae meat, and some hae Felix pouches!

To celebrate zoe's one hundred percent success rate at removing mice from my life, I'm inaugurating a new competition. An easy one this time - with no number sequences whatever.

It's GUESS ZOE'S WEIGHT! And unlike most competitions, there is at present no correct answer. Not until I take her to the vet in early November will there be any official weight for zoe at all. So it's a wide open field.

Clue If you want to take some guidance, some body-mass relativity, from the photo of zoe and me below, then I weigh thirteen stones and four pounds. Might help.

Rules One guess only per entrant please. Answers generated by mathematical formula or algorithm will be disqualified. You can guess in metric or imperial weights (but not both). The winner will be the guess closest to zoe's official weight at her first vet's visit. Prize is a world-famous Port o Leith t-shirt. Judge's decision is final.

Shock horror!

All this mouse-horror has stopped me sending off the prizes to my last compo - the Da Vinci Code. Apologies to simon, asta and robin. All will be underway toot sweet. It's been one of the more ghastly fortnights of my life!

And a warm and special hi from both of us to all the cat-loving NB readers whom zoe has brought out of lurkdom, and into the full glare of the comment box! Your help and advice has been great. Cleanliness is next to Godliness. Don't bend her ears.

(Please keep the advice coming. It's great.)

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Friday, October 21, 2005


Fucking fantastic it felt last night, getting the first proper sleep since I don't know when. Feeling safe in my own home again, now totally free of gnaw, scratch, gnaw all night.

Lying there at four am - in silence for a change, slowly letting go the terror. The health-sapping, brain-draining horror which has dominated my life and this blog for so long.

Thank you, zoe. And she hasn't even been here twenty-four hours yet.

"Is this gonna be a cat blog now?" someone asked in yesterday's comments. (Incidentally - if it's comments you want then forget politics, neuroses, families and everything else. Get a cat. Fifty-four comments yesterday, over two posts, and hardly any of them from me. Thank you all.)

Cat blog? Why, probably not - so long as I still find humans interesting. But it would be a strange blogger indeed who didn't write about her for a day or two.

I would say zoe is a quiet cat. She seems laid-back, dreamy, meditative even. Maybe she's picking up a thirty year meditation vibe in the flat. I wish I had some more stimulation for her. Today I'll get her a scratching post. She might like that.

She's had initial flea treatment, and worms, but on the first of November I've to take her to a vet to get vaccinations. So far she's eaten Go-Cat pellety stuff with four percent turkey and four percent rabbit. She's also had two Felix Pouches, one with chicken, and one with salmon and trout. (Four percent.) Sandra's just told me on the phone that's far too much, and I don't want a fat cat, do I? I'm just a bit scared she'll die. And maybe she's been neglected in the past and underfed.

Angela, the young woman at Seafield Dog and Cat Home, was politely but firmly enquiring yesterday about the who, how, why and what. Do I just want her for mice? Will I bring her back if she doesn't stop the mice? Will I love her? Have I had cats much in the past? How long will the cat be left alone? That sort of thing. My answers were a mixture of truth and helpful lies. And she didn't know whether she'd been spayed or not. (The cat, of course.) She said a vet would tell me.

So far zoe hasn't bothered about her bed very much. It's a nice soft indoor kennel - orange with big yellow daisies on. Maybe she won't want it. I did notice her settling down on my bed, but had to kindly remove her. She's just fab at the cat litter, so there's no problem there. Sandra says you have to lift the shitty bits out, but they go rock hard which makes it easier. Asta says I still have to clean the flat to enable her to seek and destroy.

What on earth have I let myself in for?

Cats in sinks. (In case you missed it last time.) Via Chav Gav.

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Thursday, October 20, 2005


OK. You don't need much more title than that. (See post below. Thanks for all that great input - and for once things have actually happened, rather than just blogulation.) Blog speculation.

Coming to terms with a cat. I'll try to update you on my new flatmate - in easy terms - as things crop up.

She's a young adult female, a found stray, been in the Seafield cat home for nine days. Got nice pics too, once Priscilla calms down.

Never in my almost sixty years have I had to think about a creature.

If *still unnamed* is true to her mouse-catching genes, then I will be true to giving her good food, a roof and shelter. Wild cat-ness I cannot provide. Another rodent night like last and we're talking medication time. For me, not her.

Great thanks to Sandra too, for recognising a need when it was there. In these small ways we try to help each other. Blood and glass. How blessed I am. Fucking blessed.

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No blog today.

Putting out rubbish.


Back when clean.


And then a nice.


Buildings, like people, don't get younger.

Except Joan Rivers and Cher.

Wood shrinks.

Stones settle.

There will always be opportunities for enterprising rodent ingress.

But from now on my pussy will save me.

Protect and serve.


I've become a cliche.

And what on earth will I call it?

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Treated to lunch yesterday by Babs!

How very kind. It was in the King's Wark pub, corner of Shore and Bernard Street. (What is a wark, btw? We got King's Wark, Kirsty Wark.... )

But I digress, lexically. We were in the King's Wark, and Babs chose the Scallops in Bechamel Sauce, while I plumped for Lamburgers, Chips and Salad. So nice, but oh so filling, for a stomach more used these days to two apples and that's yer lot.

(Weight is now at a glorious 13 stones 5 pounds (187 pounds), down six whole pounds from when I started 13 weeks ago. Half a pound a week. Just perfect.) And if you think six pounds isn't much, just try holding three supermarket sugar bags for a few minutes. Just do that.)

Next table to us sat this sixty-ish couple, kinda Scottish version of Keeping Up Appearances. "My - that's the most delicious Finnan Haddie I've ever had!" the man kept declaring - like something straight out The Scotsman Magazine. "Wonderful! Simply wonderful!" At the end of the meal his wife lit a fag, and he took a couple of tokes off it. Very avant garde. We all got chatting and he threatened to sit at our table and sample my Lamburger. "No yer not, pal," ah tellt him straight.

Post Prandial

After lunch Babs had to split to meet her son, so I jumped on a number 10 bus and waddled my strange-feeling stomach round town for an hour or so. Felt quite odd, all that meat inside me, with me being mostly a veggie person these days. (For calorie control only, darlings - nothing philosophical or moral about it. If it tastes good, eat it. Sorry.)

I was gonna do the zig zag climb from Princes Street Gardens up the Castle Rock, but it was closed for reasons of darkness. So I walked Grassmarket then Cowgate, until I felt I needed oxygen because of the near stationary line of traffic. Why do people do that? Ruining the fucking planet just to save a few minutes. I was walking far faster than they were driving.

Grabbed a 35 at the bottom of the Royal Mile, to the Ocean Terminal. Looked at cordless phones. I think I need one. Save me ten quid a month for the extension I currently have. Girl said she had none at all in stock. Pretty pointless display stand, I thought, but didn't give her a hard time.

I'm a Star in New York...

Port o' Leith later was good, in which I chatted to Canadian Ian and Tony my IT Manager. Little Alex was barkeep, and Lindsay signed me up for three hours a week radio in December. My own show! The power and the glory! "What an amazing place," I said to Ian. "Walk in a nobody, and walk out a star." Or summat.

I stayed a long time, drinking and chatting, too scared to come home and face the mice. Long time since I've sat in a pub just pacing it. Scary though. Can lead to clinics.

*With apologies to my large global readership who can't possibly understand today's title. But I couldn't resist it. Decades ago, before Leith went posh, the King's Wark pub was nicknamed "The Jungle", because of prostitutes, drugs, truckers, sailors, etc. I practically lived there.

Drawing by andre

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Guess how much housework I did yesterday!

That's right!

It wasn't my fault, of course - oh no - never mine. In fact you are partly to blame, after the three hours I spent yesterday on NB. (Isn't that a fab pic of Chav Gav, by the way? I'm gonna do more big close up pics from now on. Very arresting.)


And the other culprit was Sandra, who I could tell on the text was dying for a wee gossip. Blood and glass. Couldn't say no.

We met in the Port and chatted a bit till the bag people came in. Bag people go around pubs carrying large black bags full of bargains for you to buy. Yesterday it was a wind-up radio for a tenner. And as well as the radio you got a watch, a hip flask and a steel pen as free gifts. OK - the watch is too big by several magnitudes. (It was even too big for Big Dave's wrist.) But you can get links taken out. And it's very bling - and bling is what every stage performer needs. I simply can't go on any longer with a black plastic Casio digital, no matter how accurate it may be. Big Al got the deal as well, and he's never taken for a sucker.

Then we went to Powderhall B and Q, (household megastore) but Sandra needed a wee. We were in the outdoor garden part, and I just told her to wee into a plant pot, but she said no, and then we noticed the cameras everywhere anyhow. Later I chatted the shop assistant into letting her use the staff toilet. Silly girl. You'd think at her age she'd know about these things. She didn't smoke in her car I noticed, which is good. Johnny her partner must have got her trained.

No Surrender

Although we don't usually cover news stories here, as you all know where to find them anyway, I was pleased and surprised to hear on my new wind-up radio that Northern Ireland is to go smoke-free in 2007.

Gun-free one minute, and smoke-free the next. I know which I'd rather be up against to be honest, no matter how much the damn stuff goes up yer nose. So England and Wales will be the last place to de-smoke, and do you know something? It's your own fault. For not making your politicians do something about it. For letting that repulsive Mr John Reid the former Health Secretary have his schemiechav way.

It's mainly because of all that smoking that Kenneth Clarke has nae chance. A Camel would go through the eye of a fag packet before a smoker could be Prime MInister.


OK. That's yer lot. My wind-up radio seems to have wound down. You get twenty minutes radio for one windup. Or you can put batteries in if you live in the First World. Today I've got Babs for lunch, so I must stop now and take a pic of me bargains for you, then tackle the floor. I got Ronseal Multi-Purpose Wood Filler for the gaps. It's over thirty years since the skirtings have been looked at. That's what happens when you lay quality carpet in the first place.

Fitted carpets! Remember those? You can see the real thing, in situ, any day round at Seventies Pete's. (Don't stop for coffee though in case a mouse runs up yer leg.)

Write some nice things about Chav Gav's photo. He's in a state of crisis.

Body count: still zero. Although one of the Selfset mousetraps has again been sprung without catching anything. I'm completely terrified of finding one stuck on a glue board, but they seem to have learned to avoid them already.

BBC Licence Fee: Of course it's high. Has to be to compete with Murdoch. Without the BBC the world would be full of lies. Well, even fuller.

Procrastination That's what I'm doing now, to avoid the unpleasantness. Tara!

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Monday, October 17, 2005


Guess how much housework I did yesterday!

That's right!

But I did have a smashing time of it - lots of nice niceness, mostly courtesy of the gorgeous Chav Gav.

"Can I be perfectly frank with you, Peter?" he said in The Village, mid-afternoon.

"Why yes," I said, feeling that delicious frisson of wow it's gonna be about me, combined with eek, this one might hurt cos Chav Gav actually matters. "Yes, of course you can be frank, Gav."

We were discussing why no-one seems to talk to me, which might seen a tad self-centred (well, very) but which had devolved from this post of a couple of weeks ago. Who says blogging doesn't make a difference, eh?

"You're very witty, handsome and intelligent..." he said...


"BUT..." we both mouthed together, in synch, harmoniously...

Vividly I remember meeting Gav and his partner Jacks oh - must be a couple of years ago, in The Village. It was Ally pointed them out. "That man and woman over there are great fans of Naked blog," he'd said. "Read it all the time - I bet they'd be interested to meet you."

"Eek!" I thought - never good with strangers as you know. "Very grateful for that, Ally, but no - not right now, at least."

Time passed, till eventually came the day. Jacks it was first. Strange, very strange it felt, facing this woman who knew so much about me, and yet I nothing at all about her. Nada. Advantage Jacks. Then later, another day, came Gavin, or Gav, as he must be known. (The Chav Gav appellation only really came afterwards, from the mouth of Dolly, the other owner of the bar. He adores it.)

And it's Gav I've seen by far the most of, simply as he's around the bar rather more. Outside those walls we have no relationship whatever, as so often happens with pub people. Well - always happens in my case. Various reasons.

"BUT..." we were both saying, as he lobbed the personality throwaways and got into the nitty gritty.

"Can I be perfectly frank, Peter?" he asked. "Why yes of course." By now I really was feeling quite nervous.

"It's just that you're full of self-loathing," he determined. "Full of it. And that can get a bit wearing."

The tension ran out of me. Oh boy, was I relieved. Of course Self-Loathings R Us, bigtime. How else are people meant to feel about themselves?

"Thank fuck for that," I breathed. "I thought mebbe you were gonna say I smell."

Pizza The Action

Delicious Home Made Pizza Slice from the Gold Sea in Ferry Road. (Only two pounds ten, and cooked live in front of you. I chose the chopped mushroom as it was the biggest.) Wanted to enjoy something a bit wicked, calorifically, after all the weight I've recently lost mouse-wise.

Munching the pizza walking along Ferry Road and Coburg Street, still bare of prostitutes at this early hour. Dare I try the Port? Or might it destroy and wipe out all the good feeling, bonhomie, of my one hour plus audience with CG?

Well, it couldn't have been nicer. Big Straight Al was there, and again he thanks you for your bests. He's off the Zimmer frame now, and on to walking sticks. I'm sure that man will run Marathons. He's that brave. We did big hugs. I tried not to loathe myself.

Stevie Sticks and Robert were there too, Leith's answer to Cheech and Chong. Stevie used to be the drummer for Wayne Paycheck. They say they once played T in the Park. And made a record. But WP are no more. All Scottish bands got eaten up by the Franz Ferdinand effect. Lost heart, kinda. (That's purely my own opinion, and counts for nada.)

We were talking radio shows (Stevie and Robert do a horizontal midnight show on Leith FM) when Stewart the other Grumpy Old Man came in. Readers who've been around for more than five minutes might recall that Stew and I were a big (ish) hit last time with our radio show Two Grumpy Old Men. But this time I've been dropped. Mainly on account of saying I wasn't doing it any more. Which was because I'm still unhappy about certain elements of the last one, and what use are grudges if not for bearing, eh?

Obviously I wish Stewart every success without me. I'm sure it'll be tons better.

One Mouseover

Back home and more grub. Iceland Caulifower Cheese. Fills yer up and just 300 calories or summat. One mouse ran across in front of the telly (they're getting bolder), but it hardly made me jump.

Collateral damage: still zero. Friends are beginning to doubt my sanity over this. I can tell. More mouse stuff below from yesterday.

Who is Norman Johnston? Much about him on this site. And this one. (That latter has added mouse effect, if you glance about a bit.) Yankee mice, I do detect. Eeek! I seem to have stolen Martin's collateral damage joke. Ah well - too late to change it now...

It's ten o clock, and sunny again. Housework is a possibility, and I even invested thirteen pounds in a wine box yesterday. A wine box! American Colombard and Chardonnay. Should be extremely average. But it'll get me partway through the rubbish midden. I do so hate drinking in the house alone, though. Usually I do five minutes cleaning, then sit down and start looking out the window and thinking. Watching the people and imagining their lives.

But of course there's always the outdoors... a-callin' my little feet... what would you do, dear reader?

And what news of Gordon? I fear the worst, but hope not.

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Sunday, October 16, 2005


There can be few sounds louder or more threatening during the night than creatures eating their way into your home. All night long.

You ache for the dawn, ever later these days, because only then is there a little peace.

But enough. You're sick to death of mouse stories, as so am I.

Sick to death might not be an exaggeration either: I've lost four pounds in three days. Can't work properly for confusion. Even considering going to a doctor to get "something for my nerves". Hallucinating mice wherever I look, except there are enough real sightings to validate the flickers.

But enough. You're sick to death of mouse stories, as so am I.

Battle Plan

Yesterday I bought glue boards, so now they have a choice of three ways to go. Trap, poison, or glueboard. That last is said to be horrifically cruel, so that preyed heavily on my mind too. Yet still the fuckers chew their ways inwards. (I absolutely promise there will never be pictures of dead mice here.)

Tomorrow I phone the council, as clearly this is a whole-block problem. The level of gnawing I'm hearing must be audible all over the damn place. And the council can just do something for a change, for all that fucking Council Tax we pay them every year.

Today I tidy up the gaff a bit at least, and work on my fiction about why it's in this shocking state. Might even buy a little bevvy to numb the horror of housework. (Not had booze in the house for over a decade. Bad thing.) And it all might make me want to start smoking again. Haven't touched the house since I quit over two years ago, so no idea. Really, really musn't do that. That would mean the mice had won.

(How silly - they're not in a battle, and couldn't give a fuck what I do.)

Out and About

But right now it's a lovely day, and I'm going out to put some joy in my life. Badly needed.

I've found a new mouseblogfriend. Isn't the internet wonderful?

Sal writes a nice article about Glass People, picking up from my Friday post. It's a neologism, apparently. Never had one of them before. Hope it doesn't hurt.

That Policeman's Blog has gone ballistic in the press. My concern isn't his career risk, which he knowingly took, but rather the horrific copyright theft by the Mail On Sunday. Bastards. They know he can't sue. But others can and should complain to the PCC over this, or otherwise none of our blog-efforts will be safe. At least the Guardian gave Salam Pax a job. Details.

Hope you're all well, with ungnawed homes, immaculata, and enjoying the autumn sun. You were very kind after Friday's post - but then you always are. Heart of Glass.

And you say? (3)   Link to this

Friday, October 14, 2005


Hi and good morning! There you are at last. Just spent almost an hour fiddling with pics for you, which will be a bit further down the post.

Nearly didn't bother with pics. Nearly didn't bother with anything very much, after a sudden quite monstrous moodswing yesterday evening. Downwards, of course. Yet it was so bizarre.

There I'd been enjoying my evening stroll in the Park, basking in my new Mountain Jacket from the local Outdoor Store, and thinking back over the year, and thinking it was possibly the best one I've ever had. That means ever. That means without exception.

And I thought I'd have to share that with you, before the SAD winter gremlins come in, and rationality retreats to naked self-pity. All this was totally ace, and I chatted happily to the people I passed - even got one of them to take my photo in my new jacket. Wonderful. And then the thought struck me like a 747.

All of these mountain pictures are of me alone. My biggest fun, hobby, interest, call it what you will, and not one person alive to share it with. How sad is that?

After my walk it was the Regent Bar, as usual, and again I thought... "Been coming here for almost a year now, and not spoken more than three sentences to anyone." That's three in total, not three per person. Oh, the staff are very professional, but they were huddled in a corner, having doubtless a staff conversation, and quite ignoring me, as they've every right to do when not being paid to speak.

Wholly, totally and completely alone. Times I feel I'd give my right arm just for a friend. One friend. What have I done to be so alone?

Then I came home and wrote the nicest email I could to a dear blogpal, letting him down over something he'd been pleased about. So pleased. So lovely to see. But when you know yourself well, and your limitations, and see the internet sprinkled with other half-done projects abandoned to depression, then you maybe feel it's best to cut out at the beginning.

And then, just when you think it couldn't get that much worse - the mice return with a vengeance. Audibly. And even more horribly, visibly. I'm at my wit's end. Haven't slept a wink since about three. That carpet picture shows the remains of their meal when they've sharpened their little fangs on the underneath of my living room door.

So I've vowed to get glueboards, no matter how cruel. But do I have the backbone to dispose of the bodies? Now there's a thought. So I'm now toying with just paying people to come in and then lying about the domestic details. Saying it's not my house; saying I've just taken it over for renting. Summat like that. Not their goddam business how filthy it is anyway, eh?

Really don't think I can cope with SAD and mice at the same time. Might push me over the edge. And then there'd be no more lovely glass people to write to.

My Flickr page. And have lovely weekends all. Don't worry about me. No bunch of four-legged freaks is getting this queen down. No way.

Lying about the house. Denying ownership of the midden. Now why didn't I think of that sooner...

And you say? (20)   Link to this

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Today's post brought to you by Blogger's unbelievably wonderful and adorable Recover Post feature. Thank you, Blogger. Phew.

Someone is in my roof right now. Such a strange use of "in". But you know what I mean. I hope he doesn't get stung to death, if it's a "he". Or a "she" either. Wasps' nest, you see. My friends - and the mice as well.

I would have shouted advice... "Don't go there! It's a death trap up there!" But too late. Plus I don't particularly like strange people going into "my" roof.

Well, it's not really mine, but I like to think of it as that, seeing as I live just under it, and I've been here the longest. Thirty years. Who would have thought that the first rung would be the longest.

Aha! Now I hear him coming down - the wasps and me his only witnesses. They must have spared him, on this occasion. Some people have luck like that.

What a load of rain there's been! Talk about Katrina.

Lost the Plot

Why oh why do we keep watching Lost? Is it the jungle settings - all that lush greenery making us think of the potted plant arrangements we once used to have? Is it Jack and Kate, who must be two of the prettiest actors (characters really)currently going around?

I mean - wtf's going on? At the end of Ep 11, they bring Charlie the cokehead back from the dead after his capture by Ethan who doesn't logically even exist. They then spend the entire episode 12 without even asking Charlie what happened, or where is the also-captured pregnant Claire. Rather they devote the whole hour to a suitcase! A suitcase!

What a load of glamorous old cobblers. And will I be watching it next week? You bet your sweet derriere.

I think that has to be it for now, guys and gals. Unbelievably bizarrely, real things are happening in my unreal life. Why oh why am I not 21 with all my life ahead of me? So fucking depressing. I *will* make Natasha's red sofa, then happily die the next day. People's lives should close down as they get old, not open up. Much too confusing.

"Without celebrity you might as well not exist." John Lydon*

Two for a Thursday

Cats in sinks. Fags. Thanks to Chav Gav and Saltation.

*Just kidding. Was me.


Oh, and I've started Bob Dylan's book and I'm coming in my pants. It's unbelievably good. Hard to convey how glorious is the language. Here's a bit of the master, talking about his introduction to New York...
When I arrived, it was dead-on winter. The cold was brutal and every artery of the city was snowpacked, but I'd started out from the frostbitten North Country, a little corner of the earth where the dark frozen woods and icy roads didn't faze me. I could transcend the limitations. It wasn't money or love that I was looking for. I had a heightened sense of awareness, was set in my ways, impractical and a visionary to boot. My mind was strong like a trap and I didn't need any guarantee of validity. I didn't know a single soul in this dark freezing metropolis but that was all about to change - and quick.Bob Dylan, Chronicles Volume 1, pub Pocket Books

And you say? (13)   Link to this

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


One thousand thanks to all who entered my competition last week.
What is the next number in this sequence?

3,4, 7, 10, 16, 21, 30, 40
The answer is 57.

The explanation's in the post below, but if you find it all a bit tedious, then just trust me. It's 57.

Isn't it a wonderful sequence? So full of wrong ideas - traps for the unwary.


Some of the answers you sent in were fantastic!
  • I'm guessing this sequence of numbers has some particular significance to you, therefore I am choosing 58 (my age) as the next number in the sequence. On the other hand, I already have a tee-shirt and sadly I have also already read the book. Alan

  • See I'm wondering if the numbers are the same ones that are on the cover of the book (and are clues themselves). I say 73 for no particular reason. Gordon

  • The answer is not 59. Postage rates to Japan are punitive. Tokyo Girl

  • 51: Canute

  • 48: chicken chow mein all the other numbers are prawn dishes. d [I love this one! P]

  • 48: Just send me whatever spare home entertainment equipment you can spare! d. burr

  • 92: I'm only doing this because you told me to. anna

  • hmph. i see no obvious numeric pattern. major emotional ages/times of life? in which case i'll guess: 45 (halfway thru the biblical Four Score Years And Ten) Saltation

  • ,50,...[]

    'cos 6*7>42

  • I have absolutely no idea what the correct answer is, so I'm guessing 52. mike

  • oh! I guessed in the wrong box! And now I can't remember what my guess was. I will have another guess then. My new guess is 71. No, 62. anna
  • Some truly awe-inspiring stuff there, folks, but sadly all of it wrong. And before we get to the actual winner(s), I must share with you robin's great answer...
    HOUSE! Iwin! I win! I win! robin
    And the winner is...

    Two actually. Simon and asta. Well done both! I know I said I'd organise a tie break, but that seems a bit mean with only two, plus I'm totally sick of this competition by now - so you both get Gold.
  • I blew's 57 actually. Book. Hot damn!

  • 57 shirt. You can hold onto it until I come over to pick it up.:) asta
  • So - it's Da Vinci Code book to simon, Port o Leith t-shirt to asta, and robin gets the LOL award on this occasion. (Although I did love the chicken and prawn answer. Keep those entries coming, d.)

    Lovely, just lovely. But was it a bit hard?

    And you say? (24)   Link to this


    You've got just under an hour for those last-minute entries to my competition of last week. Valuable prizes. Costs nothing to enter.

    Here's the competition...
    Supply one more number in this sequence:

    3, 4, 7, 10, 16, 21, 30, 40, ...
    This was inspired by my recent reading of The Da Vinci Code. (That might be a clue. Or then again, it might not be.)

    More material will appear underneath this, as and when and if I think of it. Rusty writing after three days off. But there are techniques for recovery...

    (First I gotta expose this to the world.)

    Winner(s) will be announced in 48 minutes.


    So - let's see if I can get today's blog done in 48 minutes. Quite feel like going out today - even despite the heavy rain. That's why God invented umbrellas, after all. Wonderful things. Yesterday evening mine was up and down more often than a whore's drawers. I'm tellin' ya straight.

    Kewl Dude

    Part of the reason Naked Blog is so cutting edge linguistically is the author's occasional forays into the wilds of IRC. (Purely for research.) Now, unlike SMS texting - which is a whole other thing - Internet Relay Chat is written in reasonably Standard English. But it does still act as testbed for new words, spellings and usages.

    And when people get sick of interminable sex talk, then they do occasionally chat about other things. Mostly American things. Like the three towns I learned about just this very am...
    People who find the number quiz too hard might like a shot at those. No prizes I'm afraid. Much too easy.

    Operating Theatre

    Anoyone watching the BBC's new drama Bodies? By Jed Mercurio - a showbiz name to die for. (Eek - that's pretty tasteless, now I think about it. But no matter.) This show is awesome. Takes operation drama to a whole other level, as the actors (pretending to be obstetricians), actually shove their hands inside real abdomens. This is "method" gone ballistic.

    Great fun trying to spot what's human, what's probably pig, which emerging babies are human, and which blue rubber dolls. Yes - it's that good. Plus all the operations are done to a porn movie soundtrack. Cracking story too, with more plot in five minutes than Lost has shown in 11 hours.

    What is it about Lost? Why do we all keep watching? This could be the biggest load of Emperor's New Suit there's ever been.

    Dateline 12.07 pm Tuesday

    ...and the competition is now closed.

    Great thanks to all who entered, and after a quick bite of low calorie lunch - probably bean soup, bread and fruit - with none of that delicious roast beef I bought yesterday evening - the winner will be declared.

    Sorry to be a tease, but I'm passing out.


    People with no interest in number patterns can skip this entire section without losing the plot.

    OK then class - hope you had a nice lunch... none of you got pregnant unless wanted... no-one took anything stronger than Class C drugs... ? Then here is the code explained.

    The very strong clue was in the post underneath, Wednesday October 5, which is the first to reference The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown. The title of the piece is


    Fibonacci and Salad please

    That sequence is the first puzzle in the book, and many of you spotted it right away, hence the comments. Thank you for those.

    Those who've read the book (and anyone else of a mathematical bent) will realise that 13-3-2-21-1-1-8-5 is a re-arrangement - call it anagram if you must - of the first seven Fibonacci numbers.
    1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21
    These are formed very simply by adding each number to the preceding one. (You don't have to start with 1, 1, but that's the simplest and most famous.)

    So - thus inspired by Mr Brown's confidence in making a best-seller out of the Fibonacci series, I thought... what sequence will entertain Naked Blog readers?

    Sequence This, Sucker!

    Nothing insultingly easy like
    1, 4, 9, 16, 25, 36, ... (squares)
    or even
    1, 8, 27, 64, 125, 216, ... (cubes)
    No - those would never do.

    Miss Jean Brodie

    So - what about primes?
    2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, ...
    Primes seemed a way to go - after all, they're the very backbone of data encryption - but not in their raw form here, oh no. Like a queen ordering Guinness in a straight bar, they'd be spotted a mile off.

    So I decided to combine by addition two of the lists above. This has two advantages...
  • added (or multiplied) sequences are almost impossible to separate intuitively. You've just got to try things out.


  • primes are wholly unpredictable in their occurrences - some of the finest brains - and me - have studied how and where they might pop up, but all to no avail.
  • So primes it was then. Added to the Fibonacci numbers indicated in the post immediately below. You see - just like in Mr Brown's cutting edge books, the clues are all around if you do but look.
    1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, (34)(Fibonacci)
    and add
    2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, (23) (Primes)
    3, 4, 7, 10, 16, 21, 30, 40, 57 Ta-Da!!
    Yes - the answers are on half a dozen Heinz products in your kitchen!

    Easy or what? Now here are the results from the Naked Contestants...

    And you say? (24)   Link to this

    Friday, October 07, 2005


    Gordon shows his new toy at the recent Glasgow Blogmeet! It's a portable record player, allegedly.

    Argyle Street Glasgow, looking up at (Grand) Central Station. Made me wish wistfully to be 20 again, and getting ready for a Saturday night!
    Walking in a Weegie Wonderland

    Stuart and me having our reunion yesterday in the Malt and Hops. Outside the window you can see the small river, the Water of Leith. We're just a few dock gates away from the sea. (And a few pints away from Nirvana!)
    Nice Stuart story from 2002

    Nice group photo later in the Port o Leith Bar. Now added are Big Al and Evergreen Norma, although Norma seems to have dozed off pretty instantly. Stuart was until recently barred from the Port for excess radgeness, but now seems to have been rehabilitated. It is his natural home.
    Nice Norma story from 2001

    See these pictures in all their glory on my Flickr page.

    Below this is a story written last night after the pub, which some people have already enjoyed.

    And below that is my hot new competition where you can win your choice of fabulous prizes. Just supply the next number in this sequence

    3, 4, 7, 10, 16, 21, 30, 40, ...,

    Have a lovely weekend all! Me, I've got Saturday to work, and then it's off again till Wednesday. Don't know how I cope. Really don't.

    And you say? (15)   Link to this

    Thursday, October 06, 2005


    A meeting with an old friend, and a later remembrance of a dead one.

    It's difficult sometimes, meeting someone again, when all you ever had was in the past. Even if HAD is in sky-high font face - powerful, big, like the WTC was... nevertheless, that was then, and this is now.

    So this... this thing between couples or even friends can continue quite some time - sometimes even till death us do part... unless one of the parties moves away. Moves away and then improves - or so it seems - for whoever would ever claim to feel the reverse?

    So he goes up, and you go down... or you go up and he hits the skids - but maybe both of you are pretending solid ground. Separation is a bugger, a pain. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

    "How bizarre it is, the way we met," I said to Stuart this afternoon, before we knew of Percy's death anniversary. "I know," he answered quick. "There you were - just been Maced the day before."

    "I think mebbe it was the day before that," I retorted... " - but certainly - certainly that week." Thinking back to the spray canister, and the knife, and the hot water cupboard the man shoved me into before stealing all the gear.

    "In Angela's house we met," he continued, smiling. "I wonder how the wee thing's getting on - haven't seen her for ages."

    "You read my tarot there," I reminded him. "Told me I'd be safe for six months. And that a blonde woman would be important in my future."

    "Did you ever meet the blonde woman?" he asked.

    "Nah. Think it was your fevered imagination, Stuart. Not every day you get to meet a stud like me."

    We laughed.

    Memories can be demanding wee buggers... never letting go enough to pretend things never happened - things that you know really did. Things that flicker on the walls of a night, when you think you maybe hear the mice, but it's not the mice at all - oh no. It's the fleeting wisps of the good times... memories... times when the house still echoed with intoxicated laughter - and you yourself were King of the Hill... Cock o' The North. There was Doom, Doom 2, Full Throttle. How we laughed and played and smoked and shot the monsters - monsters in our minds really, as we knew deep down it couldn't last.

    Percy died six years ago today, Big Al told Stuart and me tonight. He was wearing Percy's waistcoat in celebration. Al isn't one hundred percent himself these days. Prostate.

    Percy fell off his stool in the Port. Dead before he hit the floor. Kind of. Loved you, man.

    In these small ways we write things up.

    And you say? (15)   Link to this


    This book made a hell of an impression on me.

    BUT... when I tell you it's only the third book I've read in the last twenty-five years (mas o menos) then you'll realise that's hardly surprising. Nigella Lawson's "Cooking For The Sloane Set" would have provoked a similar reaction I'm sure.

    Why my book-reading has been sparse we can leave for another day, another time. There's an old friend in town and I want to hook up with him for lunch.

    Why This Book?

    Why did I buy it? It was on offer at WH Smiths (buy one chart book, get one half price), and I've really, really wanted to get back into book reading for ages. I knew if this was as rubbish as they say then it would be easy reading. And because I'd heard it stole wholesale from The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail then I'd know the basics already.

    So there you are. Mysticism, murder and mayhem. Simple writing, easy reading, no demands. It'll make a great movie, because everything visual is omitted. Also no-one thinks. They only speak and act. Very Enid Blyton, I guess. (Takes yer back!)

    Me, I ended up reading it all in one day. (Scared of memory loss.) After some hours, I even forgot I was reading, and just did it like the olden days. Turning the pages, the words no longer existing as words, instead becoming vehicles for the story and the pictures. Hours passed without me noticing. Setting the video for Lost on E4.

    They once said about Agatha Christie that her writing was only notionally English, but rather a necessary means to convey the murder investigation. Possibly Brown is in that category too. And maybe Archer, although I haven't read him.

    What else do these three have in common? They all sell by the truckload.

    How much do I sell?

    No more needs be said.

    Competition Time!

    Yes - it's that time of the week again. To celebrate the completion of my third book in quarter of a century, I've decided to offer it as a prize! Yes really!!

    Simply provide the next number in this numerical sequence, and a copy of The Da Vinci Code could be winging its way to you! In a plain wrapper! Very Dan Brown.

    (As an alternative, if you really, really don't want that book, I could mebbe see my way to sending you a Port o Leith Bar t-shirt instead. Mebbe.)

    Answers in the comment box please, and state book or t-shirt preference. In the (unlikely) event of there being more than one winner, I'll organise a tie-break.
    3, 4, 7, 10, 16, 21, 30, 40, ...,
    Sadly I do have to warn you though, that in the event of your answer being wrong, then a special Opus Dei virus will insert itself into your CPU, causing it to overclock, overheat and in some cases set your house on fire. Up to you.

    You know you meant to install smoke alarms.

    Competition Rules

    One entry only per entrant.

    No mathematical, semantic, or other discussion is permitted. Simply state the number, choose your prize, then shut the fuck up. People who rabbit on will be disqualified. (Unless it's about something else, of course. Feel free. Yes, do that.)

    The judge's decision is final. (That's me.)

    Closes noon (BST) on Tuesday coming.

    And you say? (22)   Link to this

    Wednesday, October 05, 2005


    A capella

    (Should be a cappella.) My bad. Thanks anna.

    And you say? (21)   Link to this

    Tuesday, October 04, 2005

    BLOGGING (What's it all about?)

    Fed up of people turning up and taking over. Blogging five minutes and they're making directories, passing judgements, and even more.

    The days of the "gentleman amateur" are clearly over.

    Nowadays you gotta be a "pretend Guardian".

    "Me, me, me!" they shout, as they rush to be included in the latest wheeze.

    Last night I spent over an hour deleting comment spam for porn sites. (This is what the internet is really about.) Someone has systematically and I think mechanically latched on to my years of Comment (0) posts, and decided they make a good repository for his links.

    Five years of blogging, just to make fertile soil for someone's filth to take root.

    You couldn't make it up. Well - you could. And I'd close the entire site rather than give one iota of free advertising. To anyone.

    Yet if I change to a protected comment system, then we'll lose the volumes of brilliant commenting from over these several (amateur) years.

    Holidays always make me depressed. So fucking accusing.

    "All this time off and what are you doing? How are you improving? Don't you think you've wasted your entire holiday?"

    Plus of course, "You won't be around for ever you know. It's not a dress rehearsal."

    How I was put on this earth to suffer.


    Abandoned The Village yesterday, due a a combination of being irritated by some customers, and ignored by others. Some people say the joint is terribly cliquey, but I'd not really come across that myself until yesterday. Acres of people, all of whom I knew fairly well, yet not one of them invited me to join their company. Not one.

    Oh, but new mum Gwen says thanks for your good wishes. "How's yer wee fanny, hen?" I asked. "Still sore?"

    "Nah," she said. "It's used to getting battered."

    To the Port then, which was much more fun. Little Alex in charge, relishing his role. "See her!" he said, pointing at an old lady. "I hate her. I wish she would die." Such refreshing honesty, after such a wasted hour previously.

    Mary's invested four thousand pounds in a new jukebox, which is basically an iPOD with coin slot. Me, I invested two quid in her iPOD coin slot just to check it out, only to discover that the reproduction has no bass whatever. Alex very kindly bought me a drink from his list to cheer me up. Ruby Tuesday with no bass. I ask you.

    Music at the Port never works.

    And you say? (12)   Link to this

    Sunday, October 02, 2005


    "Beware of Weegies," Chav Gav texted me yesterday, " - they'll steal the sleep from your eyes."

    I was sitting on the Glasgow train, bound for our blogmeet, idly watching still-green scenery flashing past the windows, and wondering when the next big train crash was due. "Last time you said they'd steal the plaque from my teeth while I slept," I reminded him.

    "That's true," he texted back. "And don't forget the sweetcorn out of yer shite."

    As scary as it's graphic.

    So it was with a somewhat nervous mindset that I stepped off the train at Glasgow Queen Street, and stood in the station concourse without a clue where I was going, other than the name of the pub. Babbity Bowsters.

    To be continued...

    Now, dear reader. At this point I can sense your impatience kicking in. What the fuck's he on about? He gets on a train. He gets off a train. People do that every day. Where's the biggie?

    Well, dear reader, I can tell you. Not only is Glasgow arguably the most dangerous city in Europe, (recent EU survey of such), not only that, but then also your correspondent is not the most travelled writer in the universe. No. Indeedy doody not. In fact the last city I visited was Barcelona. In 1979.

    Can you appreciate that, you Easyjet lotus-seekers you? Have you the slightest notion how life used to be in the olden days, when people mostly stayed where they were? And any idea what it's like to be standing in that most dangerous of places, a railway station concourse, when you're nearly sixty and haven't one word of the language?

    I sense probably not. Continue if you wish. Other weblogs are on the sidebar.

    So where were we?

    Not a clue where this fucking pub was, not a fucking clue, except for Gordon's cryptic "five minutes from Queen Street in the Merchant City".

    Merchant City? What the fuck.... ? I've heard of some telly thing called River City, but I do know that in all cities, in all the world, the river is the place to avoid. If you fancy continuing to live. Don't even ask me about the Seine in '84.

    And I needed a wee now, badly. Pissing on a train always seems kinda filthy, doncha think?

    Gaping round the station, trying not to look like a tourist, trying not to panic as all around me teenage Weegies drank, shouted, and munched on expensive-looking burgers. Two cops stared at me then - a breeding pair I could tell.

    "Does my bomb look big in this?" I mouthed back at them, pointing to my Nike backpack - while frantically evaluating how much like a suicide bomber a white old man of sixty must really look. Cunts. Chequered-cap Weegie cunts. But still they gaped, accusingly.

    Already I felt menaced, and only been off the train three minutes. Now if I'd the tiniest idea where this Babbity Bowsters actually was...

    To be continued...


    Here let me say that the reason for this indisposition was totally mine. Gordon our host and organiser had provided both a map and a pub page. Kindly provided. Nice man. But the PDF map crashed Priscilla (Insufficient Resources), and the pub page I didn't notice. So if anyone wants to criticise Gordon, they'll have me to deal with first. Dinnae.

    Superloo! I had a 20p wee just five stalls away from a teenage rentboy. (That was the furthest away I could get.) "Don't look at him!" I told myself. "Not for research, not for blogging about, not for fashion tips, NADA!" I was an old man in a strange convenience. Rich pickings. No wonder gay people get such a bad name.

    Then out of that smelly homoarium and into the afternoon sun of George Square. I just selected it from the various exit signs, as sounding both safe and interesting. "Rent Boy Plaza" - had there been such a sign - I would deftly have avoided. Celibate? Can't even give it away, darling.

    George Square was stunning. Sorry no pic, but my 20p camera lens wouldn't do it even remotely justice. You need wide angle, and you need postcard technicolor. Think Red Square, at roughly the same latitude, or somewhere in Stockholm. There's something about the northern light, especially near the equinoxes, which tells you instantly that you're very far north indeed. I basked under the piercing blue sky as my feet turned inexorably to Greggs bakery at the corner.

    How would the Weegie Greggs measure up to the Leith branches? (It's a bakery chain.) I chose chargrilled chicken sandwich, with a side of egg mayonnaise roll, in case the chicken had too much salmonella. Egg mayonnaise is quite binding in an emergency, I find.

    Chicken and Egg Situation

    Delicious, and washed down with a bottle of pure orange juice. No, not Sunny Delight. No way was I meeting my new friends and drinking on an empty stomach. What an alkie that would look!

    Repast complete, I spoke to a couple on the next bench, after first standing up so as to have the height advantage in case of bother. "Excuse me pal!" I barked, butchly. "Lookin fer a pub called Babbity Bowsters - any idea?!" The young man with mustard yellow dyed hair replied. "Lived here a' ma life pal, an never heard of it."

    "OK then - Blackfriars Street?" (By now I'd phoned Directory Enquiries, and then the pub itself to get an address.)

    No response for Blackfriars Street either.

    "Off the High Street?" I prompted, beginning to wonder which of us was the new kid in town.

    "High Street's that way," his nose-pierced girlfriend suggested, pointing that way. Nice people. My first two Weegies and I was still alive.


    Oh, I'm bored with this story now, as I'm sure you are too. The reason I'm doing so much about the journey is that almost nothing at all happened at the meeting, due to a folk band starting up at the next table. They arrived incrementally, like flies in a horror movie.

    First there were five, but by the end I'm sure I counted fifteen - fiddles, flutes, accordion... all that was missing were the razor blades to top yourself with. People at the bar took turns singing a wee song, and then we were all told to shush and listen. By now I was a bit mad, to be honest. Regular readers of NB will know my views about music in pubs, live, dead or indeterminate. Just not on. If I want music I'll buy the fucking CD and play it at home.

    "One of us should jump up and read from our blog now!" I declared, becoming quite manic, as this Goth-looking girl came to the end of her ditty. But no. This was no New York in the sixties, with Dylan in one cafe, and Baez in another. This was a celebration of the past, pure and simple, from people who'd lost the will or the interest in ever looking forward. Old culture with a capital O.

    Nice to Meet Youse, but Tata The Noo

    I made my excuses and politely left. The sun was still shining, I had a bellyfull of beer and chicken sandwich, and there were haunts from the seventies to explore alone. George Square, when I got back to it, was darker now, with stalactite winter shadows cut deep into the red tarmac. I had to absorb the city. Become part of Glasgow on a Saturday night - possibly the most extreme time and place yet invented.

    Was good. I want to travel more.

    This report will link to the bloggers, who might have more interesting things to say than moi.

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