Well - the reverse kicks in, and you hope you live to spout out shite for as long as you possibly can.
Here at naked blog we try to avoid platitudes and cliches like the plague. But I will say this to you. To all my commenters. Thank you for making yourself known, and voicing your views, even at times in difference (how very dare you) to my own. Age is not an absolute certainty of correctness - it just makes it much more likely.
To those special few - and they know who they are - and if I were to list them I know I'd miss someone off - so I won't - to you who have given me so very much written love and support throughout 2005 I thank you profoundly.
May it all come back to you and to yours threefold in the year to come. It's the law of karma. And I haven't meditated near daily for quarter of a century without building up quite a relationship with Universal Consciousness. People mess with me at their very peril.
Thirteen stones! 182 pounds! How amazing is that! (Oh, and zoe's lost half a pound as well. Fat cat no more.)
I'll give zoe, warden of the queen's mice, the last word for 2005.
Miaow! Cats are cool. And their owners rock! Purrrrr!
Update: I think I've upset the lady in the pet shop by asking if I could buy a couple of mice for zoe's festive treat. She went quite pale, and I hope I haven't spoiled her 2005. She doesn't stock mice, she said, because people feed them to their animals, especially snakes.
It's taken close to an hour and a half to get this far. Two re-boots, five attempts to access MSIE, ten minutes of torture as Critical Updates slows the crawl to a halt, and then yet more despair as McAfee Update puts it into reverse.
This has been a fascinating week packed with interesting people. But I can't share it when every net attempt takes over an hour. That's why I'm not reading you or commenting. It's all malware, of course. Ad aware. I despise them.
Have a great whatever tomorrow. Me, I'll be completely alone for the calendar event, alone which is the peace I dream of. Haven't had one day to myself since a week gone Tuesday, and won't now get one till Sunday. My heart yearns for the silence of the hills.
Bye. I don't think I can stand the disruption of a new computer. Plus after a week on broadband it'd be as wrecked as this one. Thank you for being such a friend. I don't deserve you - any of you.
Yesterday I struck a small but possibly seminal blow for freedom from mobile phone irritation. This is how it happened....
I was sitting in the Cameo Bar, corner of Commercial Street and Admiralty Street, happily alone, having spent the previous three or four hours in company. I had a paper, and I had a cheese omelette, with salad and chips/fries. (Quite mediocre, and hugely over-priced at five pounds ten pence. Half that price would have been more appropriate.) But I digress.
Just metres away, possibly three max, sat a mid-twenties pair of male yuppies. (Does anyone still use that word? Let's say "media types".) And they were phoning. And phoning and phoning. One of them paced about the place, phoning, at least giving some respite from the bullshit, but the other sat firm and nibbled on a chip as he phoned.
It was ghastly, and I'd had just enough drink for my temper to confidently snap.
"Steve's in London now!" yapped yuppie with the stylish specs.
"IS HE REALLY?" I shouted over the solidifying remains of my omelette. "IS STEVE REALLY IN LONDON? I NEVER KNEW THAT."
Everyone in the place was staring, but I could tell they were on my side. Or at least I imagined they were, which was all that really mattered for my confidence.
"NO - DON'T RUN AWAY!" I commanded. "I REALLY WANT TO HEAR MORE ABOUT STEVE IN LONDON. IT'S VERY INTERESTING!"
They upped and offed in moments. I'm not kidding. Never have I seen such deflation in men so young. "You could have just asked us to be quiet," the other one said as he passed.
"It's OK," I said back to him. "You're cool. Just this way you'll remember what happened." There was a ripple of silent applause. One woman said, "Now you'll be able to enjoy the rest of your meal in peace."
So the moral is: don't get mad; join in.
This story is just made for the radio too. Here's a yesterday picture by Leith snapper David Morrison. Not bad for four days off 59, eh?
Not that it's very merry here, I can tell you. In my attempts to please you, to satisfy your quite reasonable requests for some audio evidence of all this radio stuff, on Friday I purchased a USB flash drive.
Well, you can guess the rest. It's languishing in the back of my computer, utterly useless, and I've wasted almost three sunny hours. Even went into Hardware (Device?) Manager, as I'd this vague memory of the USB ports being located there. Wanted to smoke. The last time I was that far into the comp I was a smoker. Strange the way unconscious memory works. Didn't smoke.
Please don't tell me about Have Disk, Browse, or any other such thing. I have a disk. At least three of the files contain the figures 98, but each brings the message no driver detected.
Waste of thirty quid. Waste of time. So there'll be no podcasts, sorry. I truly cannot live my life this way. Maybe I'll be on the BBC some day for you to hear. Haha.
Sorry again, but that has to be the end of this.
Strange having to think both in terms of writing stuff here, and also saying it on the radio. You the readers I feel I know very well, and NB by now is a safe choice for those who like this sort of thing. But they the listeners are utterly unknown, with almost no feedback whatever, except for kindly-meant "very goods". Unnerving having to guess all the time.
I basically think it's pretty crap. Plus on Friday the levels were all over the place, so I don't think anyone heard a single word anyway. There probably might build an audience for my shit, but two weeks isn't time enough to do it. Bring on Madonna and Kylie I say. And Ms Dynamite who was on Jools Holland last night. Embarrassingly awful, despite the quality vocal and instrumental backing. Not only can she not keep pitch, she can't keep the beat either, which surely is from whence she sprang.
All rap is crap, in any case.
I'm on in five hours time with Lindsay. Jingle fucking bells.
The Best Policy
"What are you dong for Christmas?" my bingo ladies eagerly ask.
"Nothing," I reply. "With few friends and no family there's not really a lot going for me, is there?" Previously I would lie, and invent spurious invitations and gatherings and suchlike.
The reason Christmas is a peak time for suicide and depression is that in childhood it's usually so happy. Most parents make a considerable effort, even sacrifice. Then later as you age, that inner child never quite goes away - he or she just sheds silent tears at the bleakness and pointlessness your life has become.
Most people utilise families, food, alcohol and television to suppress these thoughts till the day is over. But some of us boldy go, and are no longer afraid to confess it. Christmas is shit. It's the biggest hypocrisy in the calendar.
The View From the Feeding Bowl
"So what's all this Christmas shit?" zoe asked me over breast of chicken breakfast. (I'd laid on the only thing I've really seen her enthuse over, which is chicken.) Chopped pork, tongue and ham leave her quite cold. Sniff and go. Maybe she's Muslim. Or Jewish, like Joan Rivers who was superb on Parkinson last night, unlike those two silly bags Cilla Black (totally lost it) and Martine McCutcheon (I suspect never had it.)
"It's about this dude who gets born in a stable to a virgin mother. Lots of oxen and asses about," I said.
Her ears pricked up at the mention of the animals, but I could see the virgin birth left her cold. This cat's lived on the streets. Probably been date-raped more than once, in the hands of some hefty tomcat who wouldn't take no for an answer. None of her litters were virginal, I would imagine.
"Then what happened?" she asked, sipping fresh tap water from her matching bowl. It's all I'm allowing her to drink today. Booze would give her massive problems. More than George Best.
"He reached about thirty then got a judicial execution with a hint of extraordinary rendition," I waxed over Rocha Spanish pears. (Today I'm eating nothing more than fruit and vegetable soup, due to severe weight gain over the last half week. Stress.)
"So that was the end of him?" she declared.
"Well no. Christians believe he rose from the dead and lived again."
"Two lives?" she asked.
"That's nothing, dude. Cats got nine." She spread her rear legs then and commenced licking her derriere. I turned away.
But it doesn't seem to work so well in Mozilla Firefox. Warum nicht?
Basically, what should I really code for "line break to the next picture"? Currently using [br /clear="all"]
Listen - have a fab celebration season, however you do it and whatever you celebrate. Me, I've got bingo all day tomorrow, and then I'm on the radio for a couple of hours with Lindsay on Christmas Day. So festive, yet so suitable.
(Oh - and no, I'm not ignoring you, dear reader. I'm sitting here with what looks like a cigarette lighter in front of me, which I'm assured contains my first three shows. Podcast is on its way. Now where do I host it for you? Tell me that and tell me no more, s'il vous plait.)
Well, that's it then. The solstice happened when I was at work, and I didn't even notice until 18.38 - eight minutes after the event. Can't you can feel the days getting longer already?
That radio show, then. Well - it was a mitigated disaster. Disastrous in that I made loads of mistakes, live on air - the most startling being to cut off the first word of an ad. The first word being the name of the business, no less.
So - here to (more than) make up is a freebie on Naked Blog. "MODA hair, beauty and nails in Bernard Street. Babs goes there for special occasions, and you can't get more recommended than that."
Lindsay was beside me, gently prodding along in terms of, "Have you got your next record ready?" It was a bit odd. If I'm there for any reason at all it's to talk, but the tech was doing my head in. All those sliders, new tricks and old dogs.
We needed something to chat about, urgently.
And what was the bottom line - the topic which everyone loves and understands? Is it Iraq? No. Is it David Cameron, the Young Pretender? Why not at all. It's cats of course. Lindsay has two, and I have zoe the wondercat. One of Lindsay's crew pooed on her bedroom carpet, until she cleaned the room. "My zoe wouldn't dream of pooing anywhere but in her litter," I retorted smugly.
So cats came on and saved the day. Mitigation. And by the end of the hour my nerves were almost settled. Today we'll do why can you never see a policeman on the streets, followed by cycling on pavements. The two are connected of course.
Afterwards, despite my non-alcoholic intents, we somehow ended up in the Port for a refresher. "If I leave now I'll still have a job tomorrow," I said after pint number three. "Phone in sick," said Alex on my left shoulder. But Andy the barman put on James Blunt really loud, and I fled safely homewards to the emetic sounds of Yor byuuu-tee-fullll. Thanks Andy. I mean it.
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.
The solstice today is at 18.30 Universal Time (GMT)
Ah well. Got to get ready for the radio show. I think it'll be mental as anything. No point in sounding like anyone else.
Stew is 12 to 1, and I'm 1 to 2, but with blended overlaps. However, today I've got the L plates on as Lindsay shadows my every techie move. How scary. Doubtless soon the tech becomes so familiar it's transparent, but not yet.
Oh, and I've bought some fab music! From Doris Day to Crazy Frog! All that and me too. Other presenters are a mistake.
Can't even have a refreshing bevvy afterwards this time, as it's bingo tonight.
Readers who've been around for more than a moment will know that I never, ever interrupt the Solstice countdown. Never, ever. It is as ingrained in this weblog as Superstring Theory is fixed in the cosmos.
But not tonight.
Tonight it's ten-thirty in the evening, and Leith FM is set to start in an hour and a half, with Wee Robert and Stevie Sticks - more horizontal than the sky.
But Stevie Sticks is ill, and Wee Robert isn't answering his phone. It's an artistic nightmare - one not seen since the days of the late, great Judy Garland. So where do I go, myself?
The station is the closest, but the Port will have max applause. Or should I simply tune in here at home with zoe the beautiful but not too radio-savvy cat?
So cool. For cats. Fifteen hours to my own debut. (Earlier I was raiding the sixties shelves in a well-known record shop which we never name because of foul customer service.)
So what's to happen at midnight? Who will turn into a pumpkin? Did you know that pumpkin is typed entirely with the right hand?
87.7 on your FM dial. Other radio stations are a mistake.
Take one day at a time, unless they all attack you at once
That last on the philosophy blackboard outside the Compass Bar opposite the Leith Police. Isn't it glorious? I asked Billy the owner where he'd got it, and he said he wrote it himself just five minutes earlier.)
Talking of bars, big-ups to the proprietors of The Regent for kindly sponsoring my radio show. Allan Joy the co-owner said it was in part for the publicity here on NB. Goes around, comes around. Karma chameleon. Ta, chuck. I'll make sure you get your money's worth.
Cad Delworth came into the Port last night. Cad's genius with radio ads and jingles approaches that of the late, very great Kenny Everett. We talked some. Normally conversation is impossible due to playing bridge, but last night Mary wasn't there, and I artfully arranged it so there were never four players present at any one time. Hussy that I am. We reminisced about the early days of Radio Forth, back in the seventies, and I insisted that was the first ever stereo broadcasting hereabouts, pre-dating even the BBC.
Wee Robert came in then, looking stunning. Unshaven for a month at least and hair as wild as a caveman's. Awesome. He and Stevie Sticks the drummer are kicking off our radio fortnight at midnight tonight. It's rumoured they're not speaking, though. Artistic differences. Cad says theirs is the best radio show he's ever heard in his life, so I wasn't alone in my adoration.
Bumped into Gwen yesterday in the Ocean Terminal with new daughter Emmy, who is gorgeous! I'm hoping I can persuade her to guest on my show, sharing her knowledge of (non-chav) motherhood - just to upset Julie Burchill. (Post below. Don't worry. I never do.) Gwen is a talented broadcaster in her own right, but this time has had to semi-retire due to motherhood.
Tomorrow also is Alan's birthday. I'm hoping I can persuade him to guest on my show, telling us about his recent Himalayan trip, and shamelessly plugging his book if he wants to.
(The post below contains many mistakes, due to the keyboard being unable to keep up with my typing when I'm pissed. You get transpositions. Should comes out as shoudl. Start as statr, and (I like this one) internet becomes interent. So it's nothing to do with booze, you see. Slow keyboard is all.)
Have a lovely day. I will. I have no depression at all and it's effing creepy.
I don't suppose very many of you have seen Julie Burchill's programme about Chavs. Last night it was on Sky 3 qyute late, and I caught the second half. Many thigs developl
Ms Burchill is a formidable interviewer. One man - I missed his name - was saying that chavs were material like any other group, and all writerws needed material to take the piss out of. La Burchill said that taking the piss out of peopole "lower than yousrsesl( I'm almost sure those were here wordsO) lower tha yourself" is bullying.
Soion she was sitting opposite Vanessa Feltz - the tow of them wrapped in fat black dresses - on with diyed blonde hair to dny the Jewoisnness, and one - Ms Julie - without. They got on to some Wife Swap programme ...
... FUCK I'M SICK OF THIS...
Today I spent quaotiy time with SAndra. Her daughter has a broken nose =- attacked on Friday by a girl wearing sovereign rigns. I told her there was an act called Sovereign Girl on Miss Burchill's show.l Good stuff, acording to Julie.
But the kety thing that pisses me off about Burchill and her ilk is their insistence that they're working class chavs themselves.
Let#s get something styruaginht. Julie #Burchill is a Times Nespaers jouranalist. SHe is Middle Class. Hse has been Middlle cass since the day she wrote her fitrs magazine column.
It doesnt matter what job her father did. That is his class. Her class is fat rich column writer.
But what a tiny voice this is. Julie - once my idol, and still is in many ways - once she diteches the class swar thing - it's hyou not your dead dad - Julie has such a bigger voice, and so she shoudl.
Two cats are bgeter than one. The beautiful and h ighly intelligent xoecat is loely and I must get her a companion. # I feed her take out her shit play with her about half an hour a day, but I am not a cat. She deserves vetter. She is my mouse warden ,and she's got a bum deal. Im consumbed with guilt. horified.
So catl;over s please tel;l me if that's a good idea'. Shje's a 4 to 6 yearl ols female, probably neatuersed. Wuyoid a kitten fill the bill?
Tomorrow I'll mayube check this speeling, but right now let's fuck it. The hills are alive with the sound of radio stations about to satrt.
87.7 on your FM dial.
I'v3e got no de;pression at all, I said to Sandra as we p;arted this afternoon. It's unnqatural. If you've got any problems yourself let me ken.
God bless you ad keep you all.
I can't believe I'm copmmitting this to the public interent.
...is the only station to be listening to right now - with the BBC's quite spectacular season of the complete Bach opus. Every note, night and day, is how they advertise it. Just now I've been basking in an organ work - Toccata, Adagio and Fugue - from a recording made in 1947, when I was less than one year old. Astonishing.
Before that was a Cantata recorded in 1964, with Sir Neville Marriner. But it was a bit too "Hollywoodish" for my liking. All oboe and swilliness. Perhaps that was up-to-date in '64, but now it just sounds silly. Either play on period instruments, or if you want to contemporise (?) then nowadays it would have to be synthesisers, samples and suchlike. Plus there's a lot of indifferent Bach.
A lot of Bach, full stop. For those who can't or don't want to listen to BBC Radio Three 24/7 for a fortnight, you can buy the 160 CD complete works or the 40 CD greatest hits. Here. And they say the Beatles were prolific.
(That might look like an ad, and work like an ad, but it isn't an ad.) Public announcement.
Neither of my parents were disposed to "classical music" as it was called in those days. Mother was a devotee of the Light Programme, especially a show called Housewives' Choice. Avidly she would drink tea, smoke Players cigs and listen to that show, banging up the volume when Vera Lynn, Mario Lanza, or her other favourites came on. It was a musical desert.
Real music I had to get from the village church, which was blessed with a Harrison organ. Harrison organs you might not have heard of, but they grace various cathedrals, Westminster Abbey, Royal Festival Hall and other such venues. Obviously in my mining village this was a more modest affair, but still the pit owners, not usually known for their philanthropy, had seen fit to purchase such a masterly instrument. (God that sounds pompous. You're showing your age, Peter.)
But the playing of this organ was in the grip of a local musical mafia. Dad (not mine), who could "make the piano talk" (a high accolade of the time), his son, usually away at music college, and poor daughter who never really got off the shelf, but did get her kicks belting out the Bach several times a day on Sundays. I sat, enrapt.
Later I played that organ myself a few times, and also the instrument at the local Methodist chapel, the spiritual competition. There was also a Baptist chapel, but I was only in that one once, due to rumours of the Baptists being strange creatures indeed. The Catholic church was in some fields, off the beaten track, and of course we Protestants regaled each other with tales of devil worship, human sacrifices on altars, and so on. Doubtless now the tales would have a more modern twist.
Catholics lived in our street, but I was forbidden to go into their houses, and discouraged from playing with them. In these small ways does an all-white, homogeneous community divide into opposing camps and hate itself.
My father was rabidly anti-catholic, along with all his other foibles. A German woman lived in the village, the bride of a returned POW, and we kids would all stare at her and point, expecting horns to appear at least.
Eek! I'm rabbiting on. Time of the year. Twenty past twelve now, and still in the house. Normally wild horses wouldn't keep me from the Regent Bar and Arthur's Seat today, but there's a change of schedule. Tonight I'm making a special guest appearance at my own bingo club. Well - Sundays are normally someone else's shift, so it's a bit special. And I was briefly Scottish Bingo Caller of The Year not that long ago.
It's Millionaire's Night, and extraordinary sums will change hands. The National Bingo Game itself will be paying half a million to one lucky punter. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon. I'm deliciously dreading it.
Fun and games at Leith FM yesterday, as Lindsay showed me how to be a radio star. It's not that hard, so far at least.
Records from the PC
Records from CD players
Guess what the first song I put on was? Shang-a-lang! Quickly followed by Sultans of Swing, and then the divine Miss Springfield. You Don't Have To Say You Love Me. By then I was confident enough to intro and sing along. I said some people shouldn't be allowed to die.
Hehe. We weren't live. I know you don't sing along in reality. I was only broadcasting to the studio, while Lindsay stood outside the glass, giving me "thumbs-up". It was pure Dr Frasier Crane and Roz, and I'm gonna love it!
"Doctor Peter Russell here. I'm listening..."
*Thinks* need to start a website for feedback.
Hopefully NOT finally...
You are now in the darkest week of your life. God bless you and keep you.
Good morning from Sunny Leith. And what a sunny day today. Life is OK in A-mer-i-ca. Shit - but this is Scotland. Depression City.
My main area of concern this year is that I don't seen to have depression. Very much. Or even - if truth be told - at all. How creepy is that? It's like losing your right arm.
Hey - it's light. Soon it'll be dark. Real soon.
Soon it won't be dark so soon.
Then it'll be light as fuck, and you'll be so happy. Excited. Outdoors in the sun and heat.
Mike goes off to Shanghai tomorrow. Alan is recently back from the Himalayas. Read them. Wish them well. I'm sure loads of you are doing wonderful things. Zed is coming to Britain. It's just I'm not able to read blogs much atm. How self-centered is that.
Leith FM runs from December 21 to January 3. My show is 1 to 2 in the weekday afternoon - back to back after Stewart, my former partner in Two Grumpy Old Men. There's rumblings about a merger, but ah dinnae ken. At some stage I'm gonna have to return to solo, which is how I started. But my people are talking to his people kind of thing. It'll either happen or it won't. Nothing's more certain than that.
Me, I've got time off the bingo to allow for afternoon radio, and thus not have to rush there the moment the show is over. Then I call bingo for three evenings a week just. It's all good. It's fun having people wanting to read you and hear you. Gratifying and rewarding. Thanks. My dad always said I was self-centered. He said if you take the "I" out of your letters (remember letters?) there'd be nothing left. But then he's dead and I'm not.
This is depression talk! Snap out of it!
(Full schedules will be listed as soon as we know what they are. Wee Robert my glazier will be on.)
Hey, Big Spender
So sunny. I've discovered a real zoe-treat at Iceland. It's little trays of cooked chicken breast pieces for just one pound. Lots of kitty treats there! She adores it, despite it being only 80 percent chicken. I pop a couple of chunks on top of her Science Plan pellets, and to hell with the waistline. It's December, godammit, and a girl's entitled to put on a pound. I bought some cod pieces also, but you have to cook them, and I probably can't do that.
Now while most sensible folk settle down to a couple of weeks of seasonal friends 'n' family - or slitting their wrists with depression, and wondering where it all went wrong - here at Naked Mansions there's little let-up in the punishing schedules. Take this afternoon.
That was Lindsay and me outside the Port o Leith Housing Association headquarters. She hadn't recognised me in my Serial Killer black hat.
"Darling!" I re-iterated. "When you gonna teach me to be a radio star!?!"
(Although fully conversant with the gobshite aspects of radio presentation, there are a few technical details of putting on the records and playing the ads which still elude me. Lindsay had kindly offered to show me the ropes, unlike others who might overwhelm.)
"Tomorrow?" she offered.
"That's fab!" I accepted. "Oh - and I think I got a sponsor for my show."
(Such is the value of my local celebrity that the first business person I mentioned the slot to snapped it up faster than a Rice Krispie in heat.) Crackle and Pop. They keep saying that presenters have to do more than merely present - so that's a few hundred quid I've merely acquired for them. You do the Shake and Vac.
All starts next week. Lindsay says I should put my show on the internet each day after it's finished - so NB fans can listen in. I say that's a huge breach of performing rights, but haven't ruled out the idea completely. Does anyone else put records on to the internet? Seems a bit thieving.
Readers hath need of good memories to remember this tale from January 2003 in which I (of necessity) smash the glass in my living room door. The middle of the three panes.
Well, I patched it up with old-style broadsheet Guardian pages, and waited till it was repaired. They blew in and out in the (considerable) draught.
Nothing happened for two years and eleven months, until Wee Robert kindly fixed it yesterday. Seemed longer than that. Life in the slow lane. No need to rush, in case you ever get there. Just gotta get on with it, as my bingo ladies say.
Alone In The Dark
Remember that game? Brill. Entering today the darkest fortnight of your life. But it's all good. Soon the light will return, and that is glorious as you know. Yet without the darkness there could be no light. All there would be would be nothing. Waxing philosophical on yer ass.
Any Port In A Storm
Drinkies with Babs yesterday in the Port. New barman Craig is to barwork what Keith Floyd would be to air traffic control. Gave her money for her son's Christmas, but with a slight tinge of guilt. Yet for early teens that's probably the best option, as they're so definite in their wants and not-wants. So maniacal, at times it seems. Mony a mickle maks a muckle, as we say in Scotland.
Big Dave was there, and Wee Robert came in after he'd done my door. I got very drunk on an empty stomach and chose to go for an eat and stagger the streets. It's all good.
Yesterday at 13 stones 1.5 pounds was the lightest ever, shared with some day in late November. So after a day of eating and drinking quite freely, I expected today to hit 13/3 or even 13/4. But it was even less. Thirteen stones and one pound exactly, the lightest for over a decade probably. At this rate I might even dip below the thirteen level before Christmas. How skinny is that! But it's not good to lose weight in winter. I've been so run down lately I've even got herpes on my lower lip. Herpes. But still I'm up that hill twice or thrice a week.
Have a lovely Wednesday. Mittwoch.
Don't miss the James Blunt animation at the foot of yesterday's post below. (Added in the evening.) Hope you took in 21st Century Bach last night. More tonight, BBC 2.
Don't you just want to shove his untalented mouth a long way up his even less talented arse?
Pin those public school lugs back and listen to this one, sucker...
Yor probably very rich...
(Because of the same chavvy suckers who fall for Space Cadets)
Yor not got one note of music in yor body...
(None of that is meant to sound negative, btw.)
Depression? What depression?
Forgot To Mention It Department
If you want music, as opposed to chavvy catalogue fashion, then why not tune into 21st Century Bach each evening this week on BBC 2.
This is not, heaven forfend, some reworking of the Master for the current idiom - some Crazy Frog Toccata and Fugue - but rather a glorious 21st Century filming of the organ being played. That is all. That is the only modern bit. And it's fab.
Sheer glory in fact. Get a Surroundsound. Get a videotape and tape the entire week's output - save it for those darker moments when you wonder about yor species.
All Those WHO COME...
This afternoon, while Robert was fixing the lounge door, what should come on BBC Radio 2 than San... Fran... Cis-Co.
"Sorry Robert - I have to hear this," I said, breathlessly rushing through and scrambling for the remote - banging the SurroundSound up to half max. The street duly rocked to Scott McKenzie for the prescribed three minutes.
This is a spoof reality show in which some gullible yet strangely attractive young people are fooled into thinking they've been launched into space.
Until yesterday it's been about training and selection, but on tonight's show you'll see the fake launch.
So far, so very silly, but there's a slight problem...
I DON'T BELIEVE ONE WORD OF IT. NADA
The only people being fooled here are you the viewers. Mark my words. It's gut instinct plus clues. Doubtless there are myriad websites on the matter, but I'll post my own thoughts later. The day is glorious now, and I'm off for some (genuine) hill-walking.
"I think I'll go up Arthur's Seat then buy some new boots," I floated to zoe the cat this morning. "Miaow," she replied, perhaps not wanting to rock the boat. Nor bite the hand that feeds her.
Later, over breakfast, she was more forthcoming. "That's a bit dumb though, doncha think?" she said, lifting her face from the bowl of delicious Hill's Science Plan pellets. (Adult Feline, with Tuna. Thunfisch.)
"Dumb? What's dumb about it?"
"Why not buy the boots first, before you go, and then you can wear them on today's climb? Must be boring always tramping the same old paths in the same old boots. And you know what happened last week."
Zoe had a point. I've been falling a lot lately, a matter I haven't shared with you here, in case you come round and put me in a home. Last Sunday I fell on my arse, twice. Once on grass and once on quite hard rock. On Tuesday it was full length frontal, my nose ending just millimetres from an entire smorgasbord of rabbit shit. Millimetres. That one banged my right hand quite badly also. Still sore. Then - because things happen in threes - on Thursday I'd no sooner set off skyward with Robert my friend and handyman than I stepped on a pointed rock to cross a stream and fell flat on my back this time, wrenching my left ankle.
This can't go on, as zoe intimated. My hill-climbing is meant to be doing good, not breaking bones. So new boots it is. Raichle "Scout", imported from Switzerland. (God - that sounds like Niles Crane.) Subsequently climbed the hill with only one tiny slip on mud. One inch max. Remained vertical throughout.
Oh, and talking of Crane, I bought Series Four of Frasier as well. Had to. No expense must be spared in passing these awful December days. No whim left unindulged.
Except they're not this time. Awful. This has been one of the more startlingly good years of my life, and I'm still basking in the glow of so many things. The boy done good. More tomorrow. Sweet dreams my chickadee.
Well, this much-trumpeted Channel 4 documentary last night didn't seem to shed much new light on the matter, if any. We all knew that Mark Chapman, Lennon's murderer, was having a "Holden Caulfield" experience, having become besotted with that fictional character. Chapman felt further that by his becoming rich, Lennon was now one of the "phoneys" whom Caulfield dislikes so much. (From my own three readings of "Catcher" I don't recall the fictional Caulfield actually killing any of them, though.)
Julie Burchill, in her various writings, debunks the "working class hero" aspect of Lennon's reputation quite thoroughly. She can't abide him, and I tend to respect her views on most matters. (Try this one, from five years ago today.)
Where this programme failed though, was in its uncritical serving up of Chapman's deluded thoughts and words. He spoke to a journalist for 100 hours. Where was the journalism, the interview, the challenge to the madman?
Fascinating also the way sentencing works. Chapman is locked up probably for all his life, for killing a rich and famous man in New York. And rightly so.
Yet if he'd robbed and killed some poor old lady in Scotland he'd have been free in five, maybe less. The law regards property far more highly than it does life, and always has.
War Against Drugs
That was the title of our quiz team at last night's thoroughly enjoyable staff Christmas party. We came a very creditable last - but hey... that'll be remembered. Nobody ever remembers who came second. And I was captain of this losing team. How apt.
We failed so desperately on what should have been quite easy questions, such as the name of the first record ever played on Radio One.
We were hopeless on the names of Santa's reindeer also, knowing only Rudolf and Prancer. Nevertheless, lots of fancy savoury pastries, and lashings and lashings of booze.
Little Alex turned up, and seemed a bit dismayed that hardly anyone knew who he was. "But I'm a legend," he wailed, Chapmanesque. "That's true, Alex," I replied. "But in the fast-moving world of bingo staffing, legends only last six months."
How profound, for after midnight. I was able to wear a fairly figure-hugging golf shirt without looking desperately fat. The youngsters went on clubbing, after beseeching me to join them, but I declined on grounds of age.
Well, kitchen more like, applying something called mastic to my window frames, while we jointly listen to something called Smooth FM. It seems to be a "text-in" racket. Life's so full of rackets. Nothing like that on Leith FM, of course. Maybe we should think about it. Hope you've all contacted Lindsay and Stewart to place your advert. They're really quite brilliant - and we make them for you.
I wondered how the bairn (zoecat) would take to having Wee Robert in the house, as she's not used to strangers here. (I've had three visitors in the last decade. Saves cleaning.) But she was just fine. Trollop.
It's the works "do" tonight, at The Village. Doesn't start till ten, which is when I'm normally going to bed. However, as the star, I should really put in a guest appearance for half an hour. Rally the troops. The Village has new owners this week, so we've no idea what service we'll be getting. Maybe chip butties. Bet there's an effing "disco" though - that curse of the age.
Well, I think that's it, as I can't think of one single interesting thing. Gonna be a real wow as a radio presenter.
Love from me and zoe. (And Wee Robert.)
Someone's just won 800 pounds on Smooth FM for knowing that 800 litres is more, not less, than 800 pints. Dumbing down bigtime.
Twenty five years ago John Lennon was killed. I mentioned this to the High School class I was teaching that day, and these were the responses from the teenage pupils...
"Who's John Lennon?"
Followed by, "Wasn't he some sort of pop star?"
Judging from those honest questions, he was history already. And although only 33 myself then, I learned that day how much Lennon and myself were of the past. Nevertheless, I'm incredibly grateful to him, and to George Harrison, and to Brian Jones as well. They shaped a generation. Their contributions were much more than mere music.
In the Regent, after Robert and I had completed our mini mountain climb, they were playing Beatles numbers - doubtless as some sort of tribute. I sat through She Loves You, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, and Please Please Me, but then had to signal to Christine the barmaid, tears in my eyes. She took the Beatles off.
Neither Do They Spin
What a quite spectacular bar the Regent is. But in less than four hours I'm expected at another, quite different place, for the Christmas do. Office party. How nervous I am. How useless and pathetic without a microphone and script. Today I got my windows pointed, had drinks with Robert, climbed Arthur's Seat, had lunch in The Regent and got my hair cut. Seems I've got alopecia just above my left ear. Stress. It'll probably all fall out now, and then I'll be unemployable.
I don't care. Hardly anyone I know actually works. So old-fashioned. Consider the lilies.
...is how long it's taken to get to this position, what with reboots, blogger/nocookies and so on. Fifteen. And you wonder why I don't sit down with you more often.
In Scotland these can be capricious, as the employer has to be sober enough to employ, (unlike me yesterday), and the worker has to be fit to work. (Unlike Wee Robert today.)
But every cloud has a silver lining. Yesterday I cleaned the bath. Yes really. And the shower part at the end of it. Dettox Mould and Mildew Remover, followed by lashings of Flash Bathroom Spray. Poor zoe was too scared to go in the bathroom and use her toilet, so powerful was the clean smell.
To me it just looks alien. Not at all sensible. What is the point of being clean, when then the only way forward is dirty? White I've never understood, except in clouds, which is where it belongs. Nature is earth and soil, and it's black, dude.
Bestie dies and Gazza arrested. Gazza is quite fanciable, in a rough trade sort of way. N'est-ce pas, girls?
It Pays To Advertise
That advert to your right is technically not an ad, as it won't generate any income for anyone, especially me. What it might do is keep Leith FM on air for longer. We're wholly dependent on advertising to cover the very high costs of licences. So if you snip hair, or pull pints, or patch up dodgy vehicles, then give us a ring.
I'm on it. Plus some good people. Sponsor my show. I'm having a depression theme this time, what with it being the Festive Season. "Radio Depression with Peter Russell".
Tune in and hear people even sadder than yourself!
Phone in for your favourite Christmas Carol!
Email your Prozac side-effects!
Got to go out now, up a mountain, even though I'm exhausted. It's tough in the trough. Have lovely days youse all.
Yesterday I bought an expensive air purifier from Argos in Edinburgh, and I'm convinced I wasn't given my widely-promoted ten pound gift voucher. Convinced. But you just try phoning them. It's an impossibility. There isn't one option which contains a human at the other end. Not one. I had to go on to the website to find a Head Office number, and even that took fifteen minutes.
Back home, the beautiful (and highly intelligent) zoecat watched fascinated as I struggled with this sizeable appliance. Talking her through it, I'm positive she picked up some of what I was saying - the difference between filtration and ionisation, and so on. Really my mice have proved expensive indeed to cope with. Not so much biological control as financial ruin, if this goes on much longer. But at least I can breathe now. A bit. All my bingo ladies tell me you adjust to your cat's allergens, but they don't have their larynx as their livelihood.
"Two add dide, twenty dide." (29)
But all seems well now. Zoe is fascinated by the machine's oscillate feature, and sits for a full five minutes watching it and feeling the flow. And she's crazy for those negative ions. Crazy. Better than two pouches of Felix.
The trouble with a personal weblog is that when your personality collapses, as mine does on an annual basis around now, that doesn't leave a great deal to write about. So in the absence of a fictive gift, that comes down to hills (done to death), zoe (heading that way, apart from cat-loving readers, and I'm not sure how many of them there are), and of course movies and TV. (Dead mothers can be a boon, but you musn't overdo it. Once every five years is about right.)
Last night E4 came to the end of Friends. So sad. But weep not for long, dear reader, as tonight they're starting it all over again! "See Rachel turn up at Monica's in her wedding dress!" There's something very right about a world containing ten years (is it?) of Friends.
And Frasier too. They're calling again. Adore it. That Niles is so gay, although they've always got him lusting after Daphne. Fools no-one, dears. Frasier I watch on DVD, so it's constantly available, in the way some people manage their valium.
Crash and Burn
But last night my cup ranneth over! Aircrash Investigation started a new series on Channel Five! I just can't get enough of those dramatised reconstructions. "Aaaaarrrrgggghhhhh! Noooooooooooooo!" SPLAT! It's Crimewatch with wings.
In fact I love it so much I thought I must be something of a sicko. But no. There's a channel runs whole days of them, back to back. Now that is seriously sick.
(I realise that the only way to fully enjoy aircrash shows is to decide that you will never, ever, get in one of the infernal machines ever again.) Yet still I persist with my cliff-edge walks in the Royal Park. Strange. Me, I'm far, far more likely to fall off a cliff than out of the sky. It's just that, logically, the cliff fall would be over in two seconds max, then squish. Those poor buggers falling on Lockerbie had 20 minutes for their lives to flash before them. Like an episode of Friends.