Here it continues relentless, battering - exhausting and draining. After Monday's mega blow-job I decided (wisely) against more Pentlands today. But later I weakened slightly and summited Arthur's Seat - near the top hanging on with both hands. Blown three metres across the tiny summit to land face down, full length, clinging for grim life to the indifferent lava.
"You OK?" this young man mouthed across the rocks, just half a metre away, himself clinging on like fuck also. (We were beyond social space here. Beyond.) "Yep!" I grinned, " - got to reach that summit..." It was three metres above, and this took more than five minutes... centimetres at a time.
Each day I write to you I can only say the wind is the worst I've known. And each day I state that it's boringly true.
Anyway. Genug. (The guy and his two friends were from Brazil. But they live in Ireland. The people you meet...)
Off to Princes Street to do some Christmas shopping. DVD sets, so that there might not be one single unoccupied moment in the December horror story. This starts tomorrow with World Aids Day. (My advice: you know how to catch it. So don't. Simple as that.)
And ends in 31 days with yours truly hitting the big six-oh. How I was put on this earth to suffer.
Went in to three Princes Street shops, two of them fairly pleasant, but there was the usual rudeness in HMV. "Can I help you?" this woman demanded - three seconds after I'd entered. (This translates as: don't even think of nicking the stock, twat, cos we've got you on more cameras than the BBC.)
"No, I've just arrived and was thinking of buying something, but because of you I'll leave now," I declared, loudly sweeping out. HMV cunts. Had serious problems with them in the Ocean Terminal also.
But you know, I might not need that many spinning discs this season. Just installed the Ultimate Doom, which is truly wonderful. That music at the start of Doom II is beyond price. Memories. (He knows what I'm talking about.)
Shaved off all my hair because of alopecia and repulsion. Looking repulsive is just what I need at this time of year.
So have a fabulous December. Have a wonderful World Aids Day. Me I'll never see 60, I just know it.
Back to the Pentlands yesterday, so very windy. Fifty six miles per hour said Metcheck, so I checked out fifty six miles an hour. And it was blowy. It was so blowy it blew me over and I banged my elbow hard, just near the top of West Kip, the only few inches of the Pentlands which are actual mountain top, as opposed to hill.
So I sat there nursing my elbow and ruing my fecklessness. "Never get that bus pass next month at this rate," I thought, then made those last few metres ascent and gasped at the might and the ferocity of the planet. Scared to look down. Scared to stop. Desperate to descend... the top being just about six feet across. (See the picture at the top of the page taken in calmer conditions.)
Where does all this air come from? Where does it go? If this was Hollywood a truck would blow into my face, followed by Christian Slater... but no, just air, air and more air. For almost four hours. A little let up here, some relief there, then back, so back... body angled for minimum resistance... don't face on... don't turn your back... sticks jammed into the earth for some tiny assistance in the struggle.
One foot at a time dragging up the west face of Scald Law, where I clung on to the Ordnance Survey post for five minutes, screaming my joy in to the indifferent wind, and then Carnethy Hill... constantly blown off course to the left, which you then have to claw back right. I thought of Karina those weeks back: five hills we said, she said, and five we're going to do. I did my five hills. When the going gets tough.
But it wouldn't be right to melodramatise my own little doings without mentioning the tragedy of the two young men who perished a fortnight ago on Cairn Gorm - just a hundred miles from here. They were 18 and 23. The winds were 200, yes 200 mph, and the snow waist deep. Doing what men do. Some men.
They say you get nice dreams as you die of hypothermia. I hope they dreamt of dancing girls. When the going gets really tough.
Back at the Regent I was fully prepared for a right good ribbing over my antics on Saturday after work. Oh yes. A young man of 33 had decided that night I was just the handsomest thing he'd clapped eyes on for oh, at least a day, and proceeded not to take no for an answer. And no was the furthest thought from my mind. Well, apart from fifteen years of chastity which I wasn't about to throw away. "You sit your ass back down there and look after me!" I hissed at Nurse David, my naturally reluctant chaperon.
Andy his name was. From Elgin. Oh boy do they know how to kiss in Elgin!
And Andy was very keen to come home chez moi. "I'm sure you're really a lawyer," he said, looking at my formal dress. "No, a bingo caller," I replied, but not unkindly. He said that was all right, that he'd once had a relationship with a bingo caller, but he was a bit of a transvestite and to be honest it was just like going with a woman, but he could tell that I was all man.
I didn't disagree. But it was a strain trying not to bat back all his compliments. "You're so handsome," he kept saying. "No, I'm repulsive," I kept trying not to say. (I'd forgotten what a compliment actually sounds like.) Lovely.
At the end, leaving despite all his protests, I thanked him from the bottom of my heart for making an old man so very etc. Extraordinary. But none of you will have the faintest idea what it's like to suddenly kiss for real for the first time in fifteen years.
Never get that bus pass next month at this rate! And that was my exciting Saturday. You can see why there hasn't been that much blog.
Yesterday though, Ingrid in the bar said there was definitely something odd about Andy. I said I knew someone would say something like that. David in the bar said he'd expected to read all about it by now. I said I knew he would say something like that. (I think they're starting to take the piss a bit.) Jealousy.
You could have knocked me down with a bridal bouquet when who should I see advertising at the top of my page on Sunday but Sere*nata Flowers. Trying to buy me off. So I put a ban on their ad, not wanting their tainted money, just for them to stop polluting my and many others' comment boxes.
Page one would have been better of course, but they've got a very sophisticated online marketing setup with more links and directories than Microsoft. Even give lectures in it. Get rich quick by spamming in comment boxes. Bet they don't mention THAT in their lectures.
YOU can help fight comment box spam by linking to the short Serenata Flowers post for Thursday November 23 two down from this one. Mucho gratias to those who already have. Together we can give the bastards a bloody nose. Hit them where it hurts - in the pocket.
I'd put more photos and links, including the Serenata ad on my page, but it's quarter to two and I must get some sunshine. Must.
Sunny and blue. Oh yes - just when I'm off to slave for a wage for a day. This week there have been nil Pentlands. Nantoise. And a week without Pentlands is like a lifetime without a kiss. Worse. Kissing is bad for ya.
Two who were almost kissing on the telly last night were John Barrowman and host Simon Amstell on Never Mind The Buzzcocks. My God how Amstell has revitalised that show, so turgid under Mark (Brylcreem) Lamarr. Kill to see the repeat on Sunday (thks, Stuart) or see it online now.) A fat man with a squeaky voice was quite funny too (Daniel Bedingfield?), but the other two guests just sadly landed on the wrong edition. For them to get a word in.
Barrowman was transcendent, as Amstell laid in to him without mercy. Even his introduction: "On Bill Bailey's team we have the practising homosexual John Barrowman..." And on it went, Barrowman giving as good as he got and more, Amstell being outed after five minutes. "I don't think my mother knows I'm gay..." he wailed at one stage. Glory television. Doesn't happen often.
Isn't it brill the odd time we can rise above the tabloid standards of the gay tellymafia... O'Grady, Norton, Clary and John. To have some people on with style, wit and... most of all... intellect. Like Stephen Fry, just easier on the eyes. Lovely. Thanks guys. Never Mind The Buzzcocks.
In one of those "you couldn't make it up" coincidences with which this weblog (and fortunately my life) is peppered, it appears that my next door neighbour Tom the actor has become a YouTube star also. You can see one production here, and his page is here. Freeman TV.
"Do you... know... YouTube?" he asked me, hesitantly, on the stair as we passed last week. (Tom really is a honey.) "Darling, I'm all over it myself!" I replied, a youthful techno-glint in my elderly eye. We laughed across the generations.
Update: You can see much more of Tom, along with something of our environs, in the first episode of his stylish The Kick Inside.
I SEND YOU DEAD FLOWERS
Unlike the freely-given plugs to a friend above, readers might find the post below somewhat odd and disturbing... out-of-keeping with the upbeat and loving nature of this weblog. But my patience gets well exhausted when I come home yesterday to the fifth, yes fifth shit-offering from those useless twats Serenata Flowers. Don't go there. Yes, it's more psycho-spam in my comment box - despite an email and now two phonecalls, as you can see if you watch my video below.
This is just the first shot in response - I have more annoying tricks than this up my sleeve. Assholes. As I've now said to them three times - just stop it.
What you can do to help: If you're as sick as I am of commentbox spam, then you can greatly assist by simply linking to the short post below, (not this one) which will helpfully boost its Google.
Today it's me - tomorrow most certainly you. We MUST NOT allow the business internet to freeload off our hard work. Together we can make a difference. Act now.
So, after the window got kinda fixed... and the Regent got kinda visited... it was a very great joy (certain, very certain readers will recognise that phrase), it was a very great joy to wander in to the Port o' Leith Bar.
Pam the barmaid was there, Mrs Turner now, recently and gloriously wedded in Thailand. ("I could live there," said Pam, Mrs Turner, now back from exotic Thailand to freezing Scotland.)
Gary the barman, Big Dave and Big Straight Al.
In came JC and Andy, plus Kevin the shop girl. Tel.
"Are you counting the gay men?" demanded Pam, but not unkindly.
Then Laurie and Jim, refugees from the Regent. And it was good. And BSA posed for a snap, but I'm not quite sure. But I am sure he's off his crutches now, and I was talking him in to trying the Pentlands. Avec moi.
How blessed I am. How fucking blessed. (It's not all Will and Grace and Frasier you know :)
Hiya. Thanks a million for sharing all your Paul Simon moments in the comment box two below. Good to know I'm not the only one who has loved his lyrics over the decades.
Today's little videoblog has three items... a mountain soak, a comment spam, and some more notes on Festive Season ads.
But we begin with a very shy special guest...
And now I'm off to find any sunbeams that might be going free...
Remember, UK readers, that you can spike all your problems each weekday morning between 8.30 am and 9.15 by tuning in to Channel Four. Will and Grace followed by Frasier. So forget all that depressing News on BBC 1. Who needs it?
Half two of a Sunday afternoon, and the sun points in to my window, fitful and low. Thick frozen cloud smears its recently piercing rays. Icy halos round my lovestar. Lifestar.
Arctic, almost, here, quite close. Not midnight sun, but not far off.
Thirty two days to the Solstice and counting. (Easter Road at 12.30 is sublime on a sunny day, btw. A mile of solar magnificence. Try it. Up the way.) Then the Regent. Then Arthur's Seat, in the Park, the Royal Park. Kings once used to shoot deer here, it says on a plaque. Now the biggest thing would seem to be rabbit. Or tourist.
Yesterday in the Regent, Dave the Writer had moved seat, so as to be further away from where we chatted the last time. He'd put Drew in between us. Could this be rejection? Last time I did rather overburden him with my problems - a thing I never do. Hear all problems, offer no problems, that's me. Usually. But he made me stay for that last pint.
We chatted nevertheless. Drew imitated Shirley Bassey: "Gold FINGA!!!!" By one of those coincidences you couldn't make up, there was Ms Bassey later in the evening, on the telly, singing that very thing. She was Number One and Number Two for the best evah Bond tunes. (Number two being Diamonds Are For Ever.) Apparently John Barry had told her to sing not about diamonds, but a penis.
Strange ways, these showbiz folk.
So I apologised to Dave the Writer for bending his ear on Thursday, and he said it was all right, that he'd noted it all down and put it on his new blog. I guessed he was taking the piss. A gentle ribbing. They're still a bit bemused at becoming my new Rovers' Return. All of a sudden.
Anything you say may be taken down in evidence and supplied to the Inland Revenue.
Well, nothing of the sort. There are rules, self-imposed. Checks and balances. But it's too new for them to know that. Much too soon. They ken all about it in the other place - Port in a Storm. Must look down there soon and see how they're getting on in their new, internet obscurity.
Stewart my former walking companion has put some video of me on YouTube. I'll have to sue him. (Just kidding. It's very outdoorsy, though. And I had more hair then.) He was a dab hand with the video camera, our Stewart. But when that dog pushed him over at the fair and he broke his ankle, the video camera got lost in the confusion.
Tomorrow hopefully Pentlands. But it's 40 mph. (Anything rather than face up to my responsibilities.) Have a lovely week. Ty very k for all your kind remarks about the videos. Did I mention the inspiration came from him?
Lost Series 3 starts again tonight. On a channel we never mention. Not Channel 4 as previously on Lost, who must have been outbid. Gay men of my generation are morally unable to purchase Murdoch products, having instead a constitutional obligation to kill Rupert Murdoch on sight, for what he attempted to do to us in the eighties. And Kelvin McKenzie even moreso.
So I look forward with gusto to illegally downloading all the episodes - something I've never once done. Not even one single tune, never mind episode. But where Murdoch is concerned there is no morality, there is no goodness.
Oh - and don't miss last night's Naked Video broadcast just below this!
Yes, it's that time of the week again, when all you 9 to 5'ers get ready to shake your booties for that all-too-short weekend.
And here's a little diversion, a bagatelle, to cheer you on your way. Sorry but it's nine and a half minutes. (I was having so much fun! And nine and a half is such a fun number, n'est-ce pas?) So pop the kettle on and get those fluffy slippers around your tootsies.
Today's topics are a possible Trojan Invader (briefly - I know that tech isn't everyone's cuppa char), then Marks and Spencer fashions and ending with your Right To Reply.
You ask, I answer.
OK - it's tea time now, even though the show was recorded a few hours ago. Have lovely weekends. Cya!
"Have you been in the Pentlands?" he said to me, as I sat down on the bus. Day before yesterday.
"Yes," I replied, tautologically, considering the back pack, muddy boots and hiking poles adorning my person. "Yes." But not unkindly.
When you're nineteen and a man starts talking to you on a bus, you can be pretty sure there's one thing he's interested in. And it's not your conversation. But at fifty-nine nothing of that applies. Sadly :)
He pressed on to the weather. Showers earlier in the day. I said my walk had been dry - a window in the showery firmament. Heavy showers there'd been, he went on - stair rods. I showed him my waterproof overtrousers in their nifty drawbag. Offered him them to feel. (He was in the seat behind me. Our conversation was of that two-seat type so loud and annoying for the other passengers.)
So I said I was going to eat my lunch. Turned away from him to my Tupperware and bhajis. Mini Cornish pasty.
Plus Bounty Bar for that taste of paradise. In the window in the showers. On the MacEwan's bus from Dumfries to Edinburgh. Driven by a middle-aged hippy. Oh yes - these country folk do their thang. Can't be burning Wicker Men every damn weekend.
There's a strange scrabbling sound in my bathroom. Definitely from the living. But living what? Gently just now I took zoe through to earn her keep for the day. Held her to my chest, calmly, till the noise started up again. Put her down quickly then, lest of claws and confusion at being held in the presence of prey.
And praise the Lord! Her gaze was up, up, up to the ceiling - not down to the skirting. That means bird not rat. Ooh la la. In fact, she didn't even stay in the bathroom, but went on to the kitchen windowsill for a better view. Dumb cat? No way.
Naked Blog started with a scrabble not one metre from this one. You can read it. Let's hope it doesn't end with one!
Dusty Springfield and some hangers on are being inducted (what a strange word! Induced?) in to the UK Music Hall Of Fame tonight. Rod Stewart? I ask you! What a tosspot! Hate him. Karaoke singer that got lucky. Anyway - my Dusty is already in the real Hall of Fame - the American one. She lived just long enough to get that news before popping them. Before Naked Blog I wrote about her and her influence in the sixties. It got astronomical traffic, even while the Google inventors were still in High School. You can read it.
Pop music exists only in its time. What do I mean by that? Well, recently there was a big discussion about the Beatles on a web page. (Sorry - can't find link.) Lots of earnest pros and cons, fers and agins - but all from people yet to be born when the Beatles were actually happening. From those close to Sir Paul's age there was nothing - a sad omission. Those views and only those would have been of interest.
The same happens with other pop cultures. Look at the Quatermass TV series in the fifties. (Well - clearly you can't. But take my word for it.) The three series brought an entire nation to its quivering-with-terror knees. Yet now those shows would be greeted with howls not of fear but derision. This does not - even slightly - diminish their value and worth: just that times and techniques move on. The Quatermass series was THE FIRST UK television SciFi horror. Simple as that.
When I finished my lunch-in-a-box, an older lady got on the bus, so I vacated the Priority Seat at the front and joined my new companion behind me. He told me about his recent holiday in Interlaken. How hot it was there for September. Global warming. You could even see where the glaciers had retreated. He told me his house backed on to the Pentlands, but he still liked a change of scenery. Penicuik, I asked? No, Silverburn, he said. I said that was just six houses. No, it was seventeen. He told me exactly which house.
Why did I get the strangest feeling I was being chatted up? Quelle bizarre. I gave him a cursory wave after he'd got off the bus in Princes Street. Manly wave. Aye, pal - mebbe see yer again.
At Both Ends
Mike is exhausted. And no wonder, the amount of stuff he's been doing. Makes me quite faint just reading about it all. So get OVER THERE and give him a big manly hug.
My advice to my darling blog-sister (whom I'm STILL to meet!): semi-retire. You're just at the age I did that, and I've never had so much fun. And you know K would rather have you happy and well and penniless than the opposite.
In fact: here's my career advice. (Free.) Do a TEFL course, then spend a couple of mornings a week teaching over-rich continental teens 'n twenties the niceties of "midduk". They will eat out of your hand. Pay's not bad either.
I don't read books any longer. That means these days, rather than some grading of size of books. (Any longer than 200 pages, say.)
In general I find that the DVD takes less time, and - crucially - stops me worrying about my problems far better than a book does. Also you can get some tasty stars in DVDs these days. Josh Hartnett. Joaquim Phoenix. Sorry - that's my slutty side coming out. *Flails back with a Christian scourge.*
What books I do read are of the instructional or improving type, there being no time or inclination in my life for fiction. Truth is far, far stranger, as readers of my organ will be aware.
I'm talking manuals. Give me a task, and I'm a sucker for a manual.
And the task de jour is of course... MOVIES!!
Yes that's right. If I can't get an actual date with Joaquim due to oceanic separation, then the very least I can do is the same job as him. Be a star. "I'm a star in Noo Yoik, I'm a star in L.A...."
(Writing seems so dry, so sterile after video. Whatever. Let's persevere.)
There must be a book about Windows Movie Maker, I decided. Help files are all very well, but you really can't beat a well crafted book. So I went to Thins Bookshop (Scotland's Largest Bookshop) at the North Bridge. Only to find it's now called Blackwells. And they'd dug up the central staircase to Computers on the first floor. And when you did find some stairs, you were faced at the top of them with Brass and Woodwind. Anything less Windows-ish it would be hard to imagine.
In fact - they were using the supermarket technique of putting the things people actually want (eg bread) at the far end of the shop so's you have to run the gauntlet of Pot Noodles and Coco Pops just to get your hands on a wholemeal.
I heard someone asking about Transactional Analysis. Felt like chipping in with, "I thought they'd got rid of that rubbish in the sixties". Remember all that Parent, Adult, Child stuff? I'm OK, You're OK? The ultimate one-page book.
I noticed also Robert Pirsig, him of the monumental Zen and the Etc, has got a new one out. But I didn't buy it, for reasons mentioned above. There are still whole chunks of ZATAOMM I could recite to you though. Whole. Chunks. The ghost of Phaedra. *Shivers.*
So I stood at the Enquiry Desk with a book on how to make money off the internet (don't worry - I never will), and an enquiry on my lips about the Movie Maker manual. I stood there at the empty Enquiry Desk and mentally formulated my enquiry, while a young man breezed past and ignored me. He left that room (it's all a bit IKEA), and went to another room and stood there chatting to his pal. Customer Non-Service.
What a prat. He had long hair and black nail varnish. Chipped. At least if you're gonna look stupid, look decently stupid. I bought the book. Sometimes it's serendipity to buy a book you weren't expecting to. Later at Waterstones I bought a book on blogging. See what I'm doing wrong. It was only nine quid. Obviously I'll pass on any gems.
Those who can, do. Those who can't, write books about it. Applies to lots of things.
It fair brought a tear to ma e'en this morning, when they sang God Save The Queen. There she was, with make-up, sensible black clothes, and single pearl ear-rings - the sort my mother used to wear. Do you know, that Queen is the one continuous item in my life? Baroness Thatcher was there, almost stumbling along, but not HM. Resolute, as her feckless sons and horsey daughter did their stuff with the wreaths. Well, some of her sons.
David Dimbleby on mikes, sonorising his way through it, just as dad Richard used to do in the days of my youth. The olden days. Dynasty of Dimblebies.
It was quite awesome really, anti-modern, mono-cultural. Not a McDonalds or a rapper's gun in sight. A disappeared country, there re-enacted like some Hollywood or Elstree Studios set. White is the word I'm looking for of course. And Christian. They even launched into "Our Father" at one stage, and you could tell everyone there knew the words. Right to the end. Because they were taught it, in school, as important or moreso than the cat sat on the mat, as I was too. It never goes, never fully leaves you. We have erred and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. Eight sevens are fifty-six.
The world changes bigtime. Would we have had World War Two today? My grasp of history is quite Fordian, but wasn't it about the invasion of Poland? Today instead of Churchill there'd be Kirsty Wark and a Newsnight interview.
Stop The War marchers would fight with the bobbies on their bikes. Pies and fish and chips would get thrown. And Woodbines. No, probably not Woodbines, them being essential. With only the BBC to tell us what to think, the government had some hefty ace up its sleeve. Nowadays they rush to the blogs and to YouTube. See the news before it happens, even. Of course you can't wear a cross if you work for British Airways. Dude.
Enough. Genug, as they say in the twice-defeated Germany. Oh boy did we trounce those Krauts! Vorsprung!
Now I must return to modernity and attempt to do battle with Windows Safe Mode and hopefully restore Brad to his MGM glory. American Zoetrope. Lightswitch Studios. Today's little pense (is that how you spell it?) has been brought to you by Priscilla Productions. (Motto: I don't bear grudges.) Mebbe see you on camera later.
Safe Mode and restore should nicely do the trick. Fingers crossed.
Windows Update: Yes, Safe Mode (Press and hold F8) together with system restore has seemingly done the trick. You have to take the top option, Safe Mode, rather than Restore To Last Good Configuration, which didn't give much improvement. System Restore then comes up as your first plan of attack. Phew! Thanks all in the comment box two below this.
Once the virus scan has completed, I might even make another movie. Kinda fun. Dave the Writer is mightily unimpressed, I can tell. Hehe. One thousand (almost) viewers can't be wrong.
Hi folks. Sadly Brad my new computer seems to be phuqt.
Rogue programs. Came with the camera. Polling the internet. McAfee trying to defend. As so often, what should be simple is ruined by Big Business. You cannae buy a product or even a computer these days without advertising from top to bottom.
Who knows? I need a long, long time to sort out the hardware.
Mebbe there won't be much more Naked Video. no-one could accuse me of not even trying. So sick of Dell. So sick of Microsoft. So sick of MioNet.
Yes, that's right. My movie set is decorated. You'll love it.
Does darling zoe put in an appearance? Or is it still, "I vont to be alone..."
Tune in and see. Now with cuts and edits to get rid of the bad stuff. (Worse.)
Oh - this one's six and a half minutes, as so many people said two minutes just wasn't enough. (These were mostly people who don't have to put up with me in real life.)
Thank you for all your kind comments and for viewing our little efforts. There is still room for a few more subscribers, though. Oh - I never realised that not only Will and Grace but Frasier too are on Channel Four in the am. Bye bye BBC Breakfast for this viewer! Who needs soft news when you can have hard escapism!
Such a pity that Jack and Karen mumble so much, though. Megan Mullally was in both series this morning. Mebbe I can get her on to my videocast.
List To Port
Ignore the neurotic little bleat in the post underneath this one, btw. It's about some new Technoranki listing in which we're in the top... (well, you'll have to find out for yourselves, darlings.)
Great movie, stunning blog... surely someone will love me some day...
But that's just the start of it. A few weeks later, the same guy has a rethink and now trots out a Top 100, on which we'd mysteriously sunk to 66, even using the same Technorati rankings. A fall of 20 places in two weeks.
I'd have worried if I hadn't been busy putting out quality content for you.
Beyond a Joke
But now things have gone beyond a joke. Someone has invented a ranking system called Technoranki, which is so secret it can only be powered by a budgerigar and slips of paper. How can I say this?
Because on this chart we don't even make the top 200. That is some mofo fall from grace, I'm sure you'd agree.
I know we should overlook, rise above these things. But increasingly people's livelihoods are affected by these matters. There should be legislation brought in now. I demand it.
(And unless my eyes are fading as quickly as my weblog seems to be, I reckon there isn't even have the mighty Copper's Blog (Technorati 9,845) in the top 200 either.) What planet are we on here, Mark?
Naked Blog. Bringing you the best in wholesome entertainment since 1997. Other weblogs are a mistake.
Update: Thanks to Mark for a timely and helpful reply to my comment on his site. Our omission was due to a one-off technical failure of the Technorati. Mark tells me this should now have been corrected, and we will rise, neath the skies, like a bluebird as she flies...
Wow! Awesome day today - cerulean. And yet, and yet - we're sitting here in the kitchen communicating.
It's half eleven already, and today's movie is uploading and processing even as we speak.
Two and a half minutes, this one. I'd originally yakked on for no less than nine (how time flies!), but thought that was too much, even for me, plus it showed rather more of the alopecia than I wished. So I actually learned how to split the movie and delete the part you don't want. How techie is that! Soon I'll be more skilful even than Stewart.
There's nothing simple about Windows Movie Maker, trust me. Steven and George can rest easy for a while. And Ridley.
Work yesterday was good, but I'd forgotten how hard it is on the old legs. Even with the enormous practice over my ten days off. Standing seems to require different bits than hefty walking.
Oh this is so boring. After video performance, writing just doesn't hack it for me at the moment. Mebbe it'll come back. And however am I going to conquer YouTube?
OK I must go out into the sun. Must. And I haven't even meditated yet. Mebbe Arthur's Seat just.
Enjoy today's movie with Appletizer. (Just kidding. Enjoy it with Carlsberg Special if you want.)
Darlings. Yes, it's been so long since I've been on Blogger, I've practically forgotten what the damn thing looks like. And what are these funny squiggles appearing on the screen? Writing is dead, they were saying just last week.
This has been possibly the most splendid holiday I can remember. In which I went nowhere new, met no-one new, but did one little new thing... made my first ever internet video broadcast.
What was it about, this broadcast? Well, me, me and then the remaining time was given over to me. How glorious. Roses to you all for your kind comments, despite the somewhat impromptu nature. Fuck off to those less appreciative.
As readers who follow the plot will be aware, I tend always to walk the same route. This is for comparison of conditions and lack of surprise - in turn leading to free-range of thought. If you're constantly ooh-ing and aah-ing at the surroundings, then it's no wonder your thoughts are so arid, your mind such a blank. This is the single most important reason why foreign travel is a total waste of time. And don't get me started on aeroplane pollution.
My advice: see it on the telly and then get on with your life - your proper life. You don't live on a beach. You will never live on a beach. So wtf pretend that you do?
On Saturday though, on the Pentland Hills, I met Donald from Dundee - the ancestral home of Dennis the Menace, Lorraine Kelly and Robertson's Golliwog Jam. And despite being aged in the same ballpark as oneself, Donald turned out to be monstrously fitter. And I mean monstrous. He essentially did my regular walk, but in both directions, there and back, in no more time than I take for one direction.
This will never do. I had to compete with Donald's feat.
Here, for those who understand these things is that very route: Flotterstone, Turnhouse Hill, Carnethy Hill, Scald Law, East Kip, West Kip summit then back again.
Me, I just do the back again bit.
So yesterday, just yesterday, quite ignoring that it was only 48 hours since last walking on Saturday, I set out.
And I was well fucked. Couldn't even get to the top of Turnhouse without resting on the ruined wall. Wind in my face, I'm guessing about 40 mph. And those hills are much too steep in that direction. Far, far easier going W to E.
Anyways, long story short: by the top of Scald Law I was running on empty. Couldn't climb another metre. But you can't stay there, or you'd die. (Eventually.) So, really a bit nervous about my exhaustion, I plummetted down off-track through the scrub - aiming to hook up with a mini-farm track I'd vaguely noted in the past. Climbed through a broken gate in a fence that looked suspiciously electric. No shock. Eventually reached the bottom, and safety. No problem. Wow! Michty me. And then the long, so long trudge back along the central valley past the reservoirs. Here's some pretty pics. Oh my legs.
"Do you sell cocaine or speed?" I asked at the Flotterstone later, of Scott the young barman. "No, but I know where to get some," he replied, joining in the jest. We laughed. How knackered I was.
Been industrially resting, and eating for me and Donald ever since. Put on two pounds overnight - but that's OK, cos I'd lost four in the preceding two days. Mince hotpot at the Regent! A snip at just three quid. We don't have much money, but we do see life. Back to work tomorrow, and for once I'm quite sad about that. Sign of a holiday well spent!
Lack Of Social Service
Wondering why Social Services are so utterly ignoring the fact that in a few weeks I'll be eligible for a bus pass, free teeth, free glasses, free prescriptions - and maybe even a heating allowance, seeing as I'll be over 60 for most of the winter.
I already possess sufficient teeth and glasses thank you, and prefer not to take prescriptions, unless and until some cure for alopecia comes along. But a bus pass would be idyllic, and two hundred pounds heating allowance is not to be sniffed at either. Us auld yins feel the cauld, ken.
Doctor Rosemary was on BBC Breakfast (in between the near constant free plugs for Marks and Spencer. Same synagogue as the Beeb?), Doctor Rosemary saying have one hot meal a day, lots of hot drinks, and wear a hat to bed. She chose not to say: pay GPs a bit less and give the saving to the needy. Needy like me.
Once Were Warriors
A specially warm Scottish welcome to Tui, all the way from New Zealand, and now pulling your pint at The Regent Bar.
And yes, those dark eyes and tribal jewellery mean exactly what they promise! Our own cuddly Maori! How butch is that?
Naked Blog readers will be just dying to see the tattoos, darling.
What's the best balance of videoblogs and traditional? Someone suggested I should sell advertising space over the light switch. And all the wall behind, like after football matches.
This is my birthday greeting to the fragrant andre. He smells of stovies and cheap cigarettes, and he's forty. There's a fragrant bloggers' do - to which one was, of course, invited - but due to various reasons explained in my movie, it sadly wasn't to be.
Lurve to all. Now sit back and enjoy six minutes of sheer, drunken fabulousness. And pray that you might be half as interesting when you're not forty but SIXTY next month!
How blessed I am to have you. The Heavens declare.
Some Guardian-ish thoughts on the arrival of video. I would say just skip it, but that's all I've got for you today.
I can't stop making movies.
It's true. All over the place. If it moves I'll movie it. Even if it doesn't, there's always panoramas.
I uploaded one to YouTube, but I'm not going to tell you where, cos you'll just search for it and it's rubbish. Rubbish video. But it was a test. Successful test.
Now all I need is sound. Silent Movies went out ages ago. And don't TELL ME that everyone posting on YouTube owns a five hundred quid movie-editing software, because I just won't believe you.
So how do I add sound to my movies? For free, s'il vous plait. I haven't given away nine year's worth of quality (some would say) writing to suddenly start paying for things.
All polite suggestions gratefully received. I might even give your site a rave review on my officially influential blog.
Writing is dead! Video killed the blogging stars!
SEE YA LATER, COMMUNICATOR
Bloggers do it because of a huge urge to communicate. But blog is a written medium. In order to communicate by blog you have to learn to write. So we all learned to write. If we could already write, then the constant practice made us better at it. If you don't write, then you don't blog.
I now think, looking back from the hypothesised future, that the arrival of YouTube and its heirs and successors (yet to appear, but they certainly will), that that arrival marks if not the end, then a nail in the coffin of blogging.
As mike sagely noted, but I'm sure he wasn't the first, it takes him five minutes to do a vidcast that would require forty-five to write.
But there's more. Take writing. Not everyone can do it. Well, in a form people want to read.
But video is something quite different. Video demands nothing more than SPEAKING, which is THE DEFINING FEATURE OF OUR SPECIES. Not writing. Never writing. Writing was always just the poor relation of speech, attempting as it does to copy it. We forget that. Writing is encoded speech.
Yet video is REAL speech. With facial accompaniment. It is the broadband to writing's narrow. It is the nearest thing to blogmeet, that entity which defines who our "real" (ie met) blogpals are, as opposed to the ones we can only read.
[Ed: Enough of the lecture, already! This is a blog btw, not Guardian G2. Tell them what you've BEEN DOING, fer Chrissake!]
In a minute... let me finish. So just as blogging was the mass democratisation of opinion, now video will be the mass democratisation of blogging. Anyone can do it, and we mean anyone. The stars will be quite different. They will be visually, vocally and intellectually fascinating. They needn't be able to string two written words together, but that no longer matters a monkey's.
We are so over.
I was in Curry's just yesterday, scoping out the hardware. It's that close.
This morning, in the absence of anything better to do, and as the cat is still on British Summer Time, I chanced on BBC Breakfast. It is wrist-slittingly awful. It is so awful you wonder how that once great body can hold its head up. Even the two ghastly presenters were both wearing black as some sort of funeral rite.
So I got to thinking, as I sometimes do. I thought how amazing the news would be if only they had the right presenters. Kaplinsky was such a star... her faults you just overlooked.
But do you know who they should have now presenting the news? Both guys, I'm afraid, but the two I'd pick would be Russell Brand and Simon Amstell. They are video. They are the future.
You know - I'm SO TEMPTED to nip back up to Curry's and get the thirty quid camera thingy. And start. Hollywood mebbe next month, when I'm sixty.
Out And About
Two blogs for you today: one as familiar as the back of my hand, and one quite new.
Mike is doing a five year retrospective. It's enormous. How does he find the time, what with being employee, civil partner, freelance writer, full time star? Ah dinnae ken. (NB is in the set here and there. Our blog developments have been complementary. He developed; I didn't.)
Also this one I came across in a referrers' list, sending rather more referees than my own fabulous organ. This just will not do - the last thing I need is keeping up with the fashions. I Am Livid. Seems not bad.
PS: If you're good, really really good, I MIGHT put up a silent movie for you. Might.