Naked Blog

More famous than Susan Boyle!


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A TALE OF TWO SITCOMS

I've just had a clash of dramas. A dramatic clash, you might say, encompassing all that need or can be said about the thespian arts.

Let me explain. Last night More 4 showed a televised adaptation of Pinter's stage play Celebration. Although it was on quite early (nine pm - and rather a lot of swearing for that time of night I would have thought) I found myself of necessity dozing off, after an exceptionally hard day's hillwalking and then drinking.

So I taped it, and checked it out afterwards. Celebration was grotesque, surreal and impossible to understand, follow or label... just about everything you'd expect from Pinter then.

Wakey, Wakey

Contrast that with (after a good night's sleep) this morning's episode of Frasier on Channel 4. The one where Daphne gets proposed to. Two slices of drama, yet as alike as cheese and chutney.

Brilliant! I thought, as Frasier predictably unfolded in front of me, every line honed and focus-grouped. Brilliant - I'll do a dramatic comparison on the bleurg. Make a change from always banging on about my psychoses. (And oh boy are they getting big, btw. Always happens on holiday. But I'm back to work tomorrow, and reality. Not a minute before time.)

Sadly however (or maybe not sadly) I don't have the cojones for criticism. Never been one of those twats on Newsnight sofas who get 500 quid for banging their gums about some novel that only the publisher will ever read. So I'll offer just one or two random thoughts... And this is worth thinking about, you know. Pinter, a Nobel Prize winner, is regarded by many as possessed of genius, and Frasier likewise.

Art v money: Can it be art if it makes money? Remember that thirty seconds of Frasier will generate more income than Pinter's entire theatrical oeuvre. Ever. But that doesn't mean Frasier is superior to Pinter, much as the News of The World would hardly be thought classier than the Observer.

So we can discount cash.

Oh - I don't know. Help! Tell me the answer. Which is the higher art, Frasier or Pinter? Which contributes more to the planet?

Slight Change of Routine

Yesterday was sunny and blue, quite extra for the time of year, so I found myself in the hills again - but looking at my watch way too much. To make certain I'd catch that famous half past one bus again.

Then no! Peter, you will NOT be such a slave to routine. Go somewhere else for a change! Boldly go! So I boldly went. Took out one hill from the menu, (Turnhouse) and factored two in. (Capelaw and Allermuir.) Then there was an absolutely gorgeous gentle descent all the way from the top of Allermuir to the artificial ski slope, with its artificial Swiss-style ski lodge and cafe.

Number 4 bus to the Regent then, which later got jam-packed with high school kids for ten minutes. (The bus, not the Regent.) How totally ghastly are the young. Mid teen girls who'd all been taking lessons from Catherine Tate, it seems. No-one seemed able to speak without shouting. Phones... iPods... in my day we felt rich if we had on clothes that weren't patched. And we were a lot better behaved on buses.

So do avoid the 15.31 number 4 bus from Hillend. And especially avoid the back corner seat, or ten minutes later you will be surrounded by mutant teenage monsters. Some poor people must be those horrors' parents. Personally I blame gay adoption.

Cafe Ole

Must rush. Am meeting Sandra in Ocean Terminal at one for a coffee. Show her my new bald head. Mebbe shop for some hats.

And that will complete my winter holiday, starring three hours in Glasgow last Tuesday. Ah well. Going to places is hugely over-rated. Travel broadens the waistline. Far better to stay where you are and get to know it better. You need only go to one foreign country, once, in order to experience a hot climate and a foreign language. And that is all you need to experience. After that, they're variations on a theme. And the world is unknowable. Explore yourself instead. Like Harold and I do.

Nobel Prize for blogging. I can just see it.


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Saturday, February 24, 2007

THE HALF PAST ONE BUS

Readers with long(ish) memories will recall my meeting a gent in the Pentlands some months back. Let's call him John, for that is his name.

Now John was most impressive. Older than me by around a decade, he was still quite visibly fitter. (When we say "fit" hereabouts we mean "good pneumocardiovascular tone".) Trust the young to steal a perfectly good word and change it. Again.
Do you know what they're using now as a term of praise? Extra. "That is extra." (You - as so often - saw it here first.) And do you know another one I just can't stand? Frontman. I heard it about Preston. Then Donny Tourette. Then - in this week's Radio Times of all things - I saw written: Bryan Ferry, "frontman" for Roxy Music.

Fuck off. Bryan Ferry is/was a singer. Cope. I swear if I ever read, "Mick Jagger, frontman for the Rolling Stones", I will commit murder. Oh yes. A man can only take so much language abuse.
But back to fitness, and John.



John it was who got me started on the rollercoaster... five peaks from West Kip to Turnhouse Hill. He said he did it for fitness. I aimed to follow suit. John said he liked to get the half past one bus back to town from Flotterstone when he'd finished. At that time I'd have been struggling to get the half past two bus. Sometimes after three. I swear I've even touched four, after a later start.

Yes, half past one was the holy grail of hillwalking. Beyond my grasp. Something to fantasise as they nailed down the coffin lid on me. "Now I can catch the half past one bus in heaven with the angels..."

Until Monday, when something very strange happened. That's right. I finished my walk at 1.24 precisely. Oh. My. God. If I really rush I might catch the half past one bus! Be as fit as John!

So I really rushed, only to see the half past one bus sail past, almost as close as you are now. I waved my trekking poles, impotently, as it rocked and rolled its way past the Flotterstone bus stop. Later, in the Regent, Nurse David indulged my tale of such near missage.

You can guess what's coming now, can't you? That's right again. Yesterday - yesterday - I finished my walk at 1.22 precisely. Two minutes earlier. No power on earth was going to make me miss the bus this time. And I caught it.

For I am the god of early afternoon. Hehe.


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Thursday, February 22, 2007

JUST AWARDS

Yes, it's that time of the year again. The Bloggies (TM) winners are not even declared yet, but the Metro Newspaper has launched its own Best Of British Blogs awards.

So get nominating!

The categories are
  • Arts and Entertainment
  • Fashion
  • Sport
  • Politics
  • Travel
  • Technology
  • Youth (for bloggers under the age of 18)
  • Weird & Wonderful (voted on by the public)
  • Don't worry about categories though - the organisers offer to move nominated blogs to the correct one.

    It's payback time, folks! (We've become quite award-hungry.) Try Arts and Entertainment if you're not sure. Luvvya. Thanks.

    You can nominate from here, but first you have to sign in.


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    CHOP SUEY

    And hi from Sunny Leith. Well, it's not so sunny today, quite threatening really, so it's an ideal day for in front of the computer. Particularly when you're on holiday, but more of that later. I've got so many things to tell you, but can't think of the best order. So we'll duck and dive. Come and go. Warp and weft. Give and take.

    This post is the first ever coming to you from New Blogger, btw! Oh yes. And it's got spellcheck. Mardi gras. (Not that we have any spelling problems, you understand. It's the typing. Just the typing that goes wrong. Honest, M'lud.)

    AROUND THE BLOGS
    'Twas the gorgeous zed's forty-fourth birthday yesterday, and she's only got 73 comments, which is frankly useless. Now get over there and make it one hundred.

    Robin (Speaking As A Parent) is back! Once blogging's in yer blood... etc.

    Pornyboy Curtis has gone! But we know he'll be back in the fullness. Once blogging's etc.

    Mike is doing his world famous Which Decade Is Tops For Pops again, and last time I looked, voting was still open in all areas.

    Last weekend was my first stint as judge for Post Of The Week. This was very scary. But then it occurred to me that juries regularly send people to the gallows with less deliberation than I gave those quite splendid posts.

    Although for reasons of good manners the judging has to remain secret, I was much taken by Todd Levin's blog, Tremble.com. The nominated piece was the current third post down, called My Choice. It's about a restaurant/cafe. People-watching in the USA.
    AROUND THE BARS

    Earlier this week - my, don't the days all blend into one when you're having such fun - earlier this week who should breeze into the Regent but a well-kennt refugee from the Port, Big Straight Al. He was with his current lady, and her dog. Me I was sitting with Dave the Writer and Drew.

    "That's the dog in Shavers' Weekly!" Dave hissed at me conspiratorially, as you do in the proximity of celebrities.
    Readers outwith these parts might not know the free magazine Shavers' Weekly, at times transcendentally funny. "Is Your Dad a Rentboy?" remains one of the funniest articles I've read anywhere. And they practically invented funny horoscopes. There's even an advice column written by a dog called Geouff. The very dog now sniffing my ankles.
    Oh My God, I thought. This MUST be a photo opportunity. The only famous creature to come near me this year. Century, possibly.

    Here I'm going to confess that in my alcoholic excitement I've quite forgotten the name of Al's good lady, the owner of Geouff. It might be Tracy, or Lindsay, or possibly neither. "How much does Geouff charge for posing?" I asked her. "About a pound," she replied. "You're on," I said, and got snapping. And would you believe we captured the entire je nais se quoi in the first shot!

    HILLS, HAIR AND HEAVINESS

    On Monday I did my five Pentlands in just three hours and eight minutes. Down from four hours last month. Oh yes. Few people of even twenty could do that in three hours and eight minutes. This temporarily stops me from wondering if I've got leukaemia or lung cancer.
    Raspberries to Britney Spears who copied my bald look bigtime, but got all the publicity - despite me being several weeks ahead of her. But now she's in rehab. Which shows that money doesn't bring happiness. Mebbe Robbie Williams will shag her, but myself I feel he's just so gay. Last night Amstell described the show Skins as "child filth", and I must say from what little I've seen of it, I'd tend to agree. Another barrel for Channel Four to scrape. It's shocking. And the teenage characters all smoke, undoing at a stroke billions of pounds of taxpayer-funded health campaigns. Channel Four repeatedly shows itself to be entirely lacking in morality.
    This week I've put on between three and four pounds, almost certainly due to ingesting my body weight in lager several times over. But it's all good. When not on holiday, the most days in succession I can drink is two. Drying out all the time like that stops you ever becoming a decent alkie.
    New Blogger is exhorting me to put Labels for this post: e.g. scooters, vacation, fall. That would be OK if this post had any of those things, but it doesn't seem to. And what about the preceding 2,306 posts? Who is going to label them?
    Right. That's your money's worth for today. I'll mebbe pop up a couple of pics from the recent past, and then it's off to the Regent probably again. Yesterday I got an attack of the nasties and was rude to Drew. Alcoholic psychosis. Plus I told Natalia how good her bosom looked in that top, and I'm sure she was annoyed.

    ATTACK OF THE LUVVIES

    Woops - nearly forgot! Yesterday who should I bump in to on a 44 bus but my gay friend Richard. And he's written a play! A gay one! He insisted I accompany him to the LGBT Centre in Howe Street for a rehearsal, but it was the wrong night. It was Torch Song Trilogy, but only two people had turned up. I said I couldn't see the Royal Shakespeare Company being quite so relaxed about rehearsals.

    We went to the Barony Bar in Broughton Street, and - two elderly gay gents that we are - started to decry the (gay) young. "All of the rights they've got, we fought for!" Richard declared.

    "Civil partnerships!" I agreed. "We sacrificed our careers and families for the cause - and now they won't even give us the time of day!"

    We agreed the gay young are very, very bad people. But when you think about it, the straight young aren't that much better.

    GALLERIA





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    Wednesday, February 21, 2007

    I'M GOIN' WHERE THE SUN IS SHINING

    Sorry no Naked Blog Monday. Or Yesterday. Or today either for that matter. I'm doing free bus trips. Yesterday was Glasgow, which was very boring. Well - it is! Where's the castle? Where's the volcano? All you get is streets, streets and more streets.

    However Glasgow does boast what must be the busiest Greggs bakery in the manifest universe, in George Square. Queueing out in to the street. Four women on tills chorusing, "Caannahealpye? Caannahealpye?" over and over. The queue was well-ordered, apart from one young man of apparent Arab extraction... tea-cosy hat, brown face, moustache, big black eyes, back pack. He gaily waltzed past at least thirty people, right up to cut sandwiches, where he grabbed a sandwich and just inveigled himself into the queue, bold as brass. Nobody challenged him. Not one Weegie hardman said gettaefuckpal. And why not? Because he had terrorist written all over him. Who knows what that backpack might have concealed, eh?

    T IN THE PARK

    Had a couple of pints in Babbity Bowsters in the Merchant City, which is the only Glasgow pub I've been in in the last thirty years, and that only once for a blogmeet. Was OK. Upper middle class, and 5p dearer than the Regent. Crossed the River Clyde twice, and then home, as it was Celtic v AC Milan, and the white terrorists were gathering.

    Today I'm going where the sun is shining. Probably Oban direction. Become a fisherman's friend.

    Don't miss last week's Post Of The Week, which was won by Vanessa. But don't just read the winner - read the entire shortlist. Class in a glass. Then get your nominations in NOW for this week! Even more exciting than Glasgow Greggs!

    I've got mine in.


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    Sunday, February 18, 2007

    KODAK MOMENT

    (But these days you don't always need one...)

    Wonderful juxtapositioning of the Prime Minister and Art Garfunkel on Andy's sofa this morning. "Fabulous to see you," said the Prime Minister.

    "Likewise," said God. "I'm a great admirer of yours."




    You had to wonder which of the two men has contributed more to the planet. And there could really only be one answer.



    Garfunkel was enthralling in his earlier interview with Andrew Marr. But something really odd has happened to his face and head. With hair flying upwards and backwards, and his face almost demonically aged, he looks for all the world like something out of legacy Star Trek.

    Yesterday I spied a poster advertising him here in the Usher Hall. Briefly considered going, but dismissed it as I'm not allowed to do anything except work, drink and walk. Plus there's the social shame of being alone.

    Watch the show here, with Garfunkel's interview at 19 minutes, and Art and Tony at 57 min.


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    Friday, February 16, 2007

    REGENT ROAD

    Well, the Regent was very pleasant yesterday, as anticipated in the post below. I had Shepherd's Pie (Good Shepherd of course), washed down with lashings of Tennents lager.

    No, that's a lie. Reverse the order and you'd be nearer the mark. There's absolutely no point in eating before you drink. That way you don't get drunk, just sleepy and full. Empty stomach is always the way to go.

    Naked Blog. The Gillian McKeith of health advice.

    FOUR'S COMPANY

    It was empty when I arrived, the bar, but not for long. Word gets around. My servitors were Nurse David (actually the originator of the "gerontophile" remark yesterday), and Natalia from Madrid. Such lively international people!

    Drew came in. Drew has two modes: talking mode and Scotsman sudoku mode. Yesterday it was talking. So I teased him by pretending to read the Guardian. But there wasn't a thing in it I hadn't read earlier online. Nevertheless, the Grauny always steals a march on readers of lesser papers.

    Dave the writer came in, and he hadn't written ONE SINGLE WORD, due to pressing concerns. (Normally he does 1000 +) His stuff really is good: a bit like Irvine Welsh, just better.

    It's a joy to sit next to someone whose writing you admire. To look at his eyes and imagine the fictional characters right there in the brain behind them.

    Karina came in, and then we were almost complete. (Robert the writer has fled to sunnier climes for a fortnight.) We chatted some more, but Karina has a quiet voice, and the music was just a touch over-loud. A touch. But I never complain.

    We parted eventually, one at a time - them to their other people, and me to darling zoe. But how about Ocean Terminal first for a browse? Bus pass special. Why not?

    DOOMED

    And there I saw a dream of several years at last within reach. DOOM 3. Oh yes - just 9.99 in GAME. Or two games for fifteen quid. I got DOOM 3 and Scrabble, there being nothing - absolutely nothing - else of any interest. How games have gone down the tubes! YouTubes!
    Do you know, this morning on BBC Breakfast there was a piece about an elderly gent telling his tales on YouTube. Some would say "well done, Peter" or "brill" or even "yo dude!".

    But the BBC chick dismissed his near five million viewings as "the ramblings of an OAP". How unpleasant. Maybe gay people don't have the monopoly in age-related nastiness. I'm coming to dislike the young more and more.
    So DOOM 3 is installed and played. A bit. But oh dear, dear - it's nothing like DOOM! Just another steam and stairway wonder. What a let-down. And it's got speaking! And no doomed music...

    When people buy cornflakes they expect cornflakes. When people buy a game called DOOM 3, they expect something very much like DOOM and DOOM 2. Similarly, writers should write the same thing over and over again. That's why you love this weblog so much.


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    Thursday, February 15, 2007

    NEXT TO GODLINESS

    I've just cleaned the inside of the microwave, and now feel quite faint. To think some people do that for a living. (Dimly-remembered instructions about putting a plate of water in, and boiling it for ten minutes. Seemed to work.) Then I thought I should mebbe do the outside too. Clean just looks so WRONG in this house.

    SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN

    Much predictable brouhaha about yesterday's UNICEF children report. While the Guardian wrings its hands on at least two pages, and attracts entire toilet rolls of comments, the poor guy at the Murdoch gutter Times, who writes the first dollop of sense on the matter, gets only one response. (At the time etc.)

    It's to do with "relative poverty" - a basically meaningless term, and not remotely linked to actual poverty. One of the report's creators is alleged to have said that it's worse to have the "wrong" trainers than no trainers at all.

    Guardian Guardian Times

    One of my colleagues (21) has decided to set up shop as rent boy. He said the going rate is fifty quid an hour, but he feels he's worth sixty. I'll never know. What I DID tell him was that if he's really the virgin he claims, then we're talking ten times that.

    POST OF THE WEEK

    And talking of such matters, we have been appointed a permanent judge on mike's latest wheeze, Post Of The Week. This is already in week four, but at one's age one doesn't jump too quickly into things. One waits exactly a month. You can read all the winners and finalists here. Some great stuff. Proper logo to follow, when I can drag Jason from web design away from those girlie mags for a minute. I'm amazed his wee winkle hasn't dropped off and scuttled away to a more caring owner.

    As a judge, I will of course expect bungs and other such. And I've no intention of paying sixty quid an hour for them.

    Preston and Amstell was a bit of a non-event, n'est-ce pas?

    Right. I'm off to the Regent to get drunk, have lunch, and be generally irritating to customers and staff. It's my right, as Edinburgh's premier old queen. Plus I took off three pounds on Tuesday's walk, so I need to put them back on again quick. Stalkers welcome, if they got the price of a pint, natch.


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    Wednesday, February 14, 2007

    HAPPY VALENTINE!!

    I'm in the possibly unique position of never, ever having sent or received a Valentine's card in my life. And today, my sixty-first Valentine's Day, has proved no exception. Thank you, thank you for your restraint over this.

    BOTTOM OF THE CLASS

    Horrified to learn on the news that the UK is the worst place in the developed world to be a child. Just behind the USA. The Netherlands being the best. This is really fucking serious, and is exactly the legacy Mr Blair could have done without.

    Now why should this be? Punters will be putting pen to paper across the land, so here's my two-penn'orth.
    It's all down to business, and the legacy of Thatcher: "There is no such thing as society" and "You can't buck the market". Here in Britain, young people are regarded principally as consumers. They consume mobile telephony, over-priced clothes, junk food, popular "culture", and alcohol. All of these are mediated by constant TV advertising. It is the height of immorality to advertise to children on television. I'm fairly sure the top two countries, as opposed to the bottom two, don't permit that.

    Also, the young here are highly and inappropriately sexualised. This is because there's more profit selling clothes that make a girl look like a prostitute, than in those which merely keep her warm. Simultaneously, thanks to campaigns by the Murdoch gutter press, no male adult feels safe even talking to a child, lest they be suspected of the evil that dare not speak its name.

    So children have become consumers, young fools to be parted from their money. In this, they are no different from us adults - except that we should be able to see through the lies and deceits of politicians and advertisers.
    A useful start on the road back to civilisation would be to jail anyone who sells alcohol to under-21's. Bang them up with the dealers. Try that for a few years. See then if our no-go city centres could be reclaimed for the enjoyment of society, rather than the vomiting, fighting and killing of the young. But this will never happen, thanks to the constant lobbying by the booze trade.

    HIGHLAND CLEARANCES

    Lots of snot movement today after my yesterday walk. This is good - clearing out those damn sinuses after December and January's Upper Resp Inf-o-Rama.

    DOCTORS AND NURSES

    Loads of folk in the Pentlands yesterday - more than so far this year combined. Chatted to half a dozen, I'm sure, ending with a young man near the top of Turnhouse Hill. Later, at ground level, we met again, and he kindly offered me a lift back to town. Turned out he was a GP, of all things. So I was polite enough not to bombard him with my views about modern medicine. Anyway, Doctor Bob, as I will call him, was very pleasant to chat to.

    Unlike a gay man of my acquaintance, later in the Regent, who accused one of my potential suitors of being a gerontophile. (One who loves old people.)

    There is no group or society more cruel to its elders than gay men. That's why I do my very best to avoid them.


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    Tuesday, February 13, 2007

    CHANGING LANES

    Oooo la la!

    I've always maintained that the best way to come to a movie, any movie, is from a position of complete innocence. In that way I've enjoyed, nay marvelled at, Bonnie and Clyde, Alien, Halloween, all of Tarantino, Breaking the Waves, and now, yes now... Changing Lanes.

    Jackson and Affleck are superb at playing Jackson and Affleck; they tell a brilliant tale, competently. But the main plaudits have to go the women: Kim Staunton and Amanda Peet as their respective wives, and Toni Collette as Ben's secretary.

    Oh well. The reviewers are decidedly cool. Got nae idea. See it and tell me what you think. (If you haven't already, of course.)

    Naked Blog: for reviews that should have been written five years ago.

    LETTER FROM PERU

    Last week I hustled you for "Scott of the Antarctic" pieces from wherever you are. (So long as it's more interesting than here.) Which wouldn't be hard.

    Today we thank Vanessa in Peru for this lovely opus.
    "A chilly damp 20 degrees here in the Andes of northern Peru. My shower is broken, so the morning's ice storm under a freezing faucet in the back yard toilet pretty much takes up the morning as I try to rub heat back into any extremities. Very glad I don't have the full complement of extremities of my species, suddenly.

    Lunch involves a terrifying trip to the markets, where all the faults of my poor skills in castellano are laid terrifyingly bare; and my wimpy northern European sensibilities are shown no mercy by the chicken sellers, who merrily lop off the head of some unfortunate bird in front of me, ask me if I want the neck too.
    Eating a neck. Jeez. I thought only vampires do that.

    In the afternoon, I have eight rooms to sweep out, and Peruvian watery soup to make. We didn't sell enough yoghurt last week to make ends meet, so I have a shitload of white creamy stuff to get down. There's a guy round the corner who rents out a dvd player, inside a crusty dirt flecked cabin in the corner of his attic. I wonder if I can catch a pirate version of an Oscars film there, or if I have to wait till it's dubbed into bad Spanish one Sunday on TV Peru. Then I can go to the local disco, where all 17,000 inhabitants of the town squish into one room and dance to mad reggaeton with jugs of sangria in their arms."
    Thanks very much, Vanessa.

    And please keep them coming. It's better than cable television. Today I'm hopefully back in the Pentlands, but I haven't really felt 100 percent this year. Bird flu at least.

    We're to be in a university study. How academic.


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    Monday, February 12, 2007

    ETON COLLEGE DOPE SHOCK HORROR

    We have to ask: Which is the more immoral... smoking dope at Eton College, or the very existence of Eton College?

    NO ALIBHAI

    Emetic to see Yasmin Alibhai-Brown on Andrew Marr yesterday, trying once again to convince herself (and me) that what she writes is worth reading, whereas what bloggers write isn't. Silly woman.

    BAFTA

    Seated in rows? Really I do despair. No wonder no-one takes British culture seriously.

    OFF TO THE VET

    ...once again, for Darling Zoe's post-op check-up.

    NO COMMENT

    Will address your lovely comments toot sweet. (Been having a weekend of computer avoidance. We all need it.)


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    Friday, February 09, 2007

    TFI FRIDAY

    Lots of interesting stuff yesterday, encompassing Google ads, skanky queens in Cafe Habana, an old friend in a comment box, fun queens in Eilidh's (rhymes with dailies) new gaff in Constitution Street, meeting up there with Stewart my walking companion who now seems to just about own Leith FM - after everyone else has resigned (allegedly... I know nossing Mr Fawlty) and so on and so forth.

    Lots of stuff, but no time at all to tell you about it. Tune in tomorrow or Sunday.

    Meanwhile... this just in from Brett in Florida. (If any of YOU live in places that might be of interest to NB readers, then please do pop in a report now and again.) There is no pay, only glory.

    LETTER FROM AMERICA
    My neighbor across the street wears a baseball cap to cover his nakedness, and it seems to work. But he is a sports fan, and I suppose that communicates, somehow.

    I never felt more of an impostor than when I tried to wear one. It was a sad portent in my young life when it became obvious, in the presence of my peers on that sandy 1964 playground, that I would only very rarely manage to hit a ball with a bat. A year later, I was fitted with eyeglasses. I am not baseball-cap-worthy, and it shows.

    60 Fahrenheit, mild and sunny today in Tallahassee. Serena went out for the first time in days to sun herself. I gave myself the day off. It is my birthday, 53 times I've circled the Sun.

    My back yard was Bird Central. The bath and feeder had them lined up. All the regulars; mockingbirds, bluejays, titmice, cardinals, chickadees. And there was a cloud of robins visiting, swarming my camphor trees and gorging on the berries.

    I waited most of the afternoon for a plumber to come fix a leaky faucet. Finally he came. An old hand, he recognized the make of my ancient fixtures, (my house was built the year I was born).

    I went out to walk along the wooded perimeter of the golf course as the sun declined. A garage band erupted from a nearby house; drums, bass and guitar energetically lurching. I passed a yard-debris pile of pine cones and wilted camellia blossoms, and thought how those really were the fruits of February here.
    And thank you so much, Brett.


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    Thursday, February 08, 2007

    SNOW TERROR - ENGLAND GRINDS TO A HALT UNDER TWO INCHES

    Falls of up to four feet were recorded in Scotland also




    "Yes, it's something we've never seen before," said Hamish Irvine from the Highways Department. "It comes out of the sky just like rain, but it's not rain... more yon kind of fluffy feeling to it. But here's the funny bit - when you pick it up, it turns to raindrops right in your hand." He shook his head in civil bewilderment.

    "Those English woofters should try a couple of months in Dunfermline," Gordon Brown was heard to mutter, before being whisked off the stage by his spin doctors. "Make mine a stiff one," Charles Kennedy slurred over the early morning bar.

    In Other News

    Donny Tourette on Buzzcocks last night. Could have been even better, but still ace.

    Tuesday was four hours in the Pentlands across hard frozen tracks, but today I'm thinking of resting a bit. Waterproof the bootees. Mebbe pop up Arthur's Seat a bit later, just to get the old blood moving. Be nice to have a day (relatively) off again, like Monday, but without the possible decease of Darling Zoe. Who is currently drinking water out of the kitchen sink btw, which she seems to prefer to her convenient bowl. I don't know. Any excuse to stick her bottom in the air. It's no wonder we get on so well.

    Bad Ads. Very Bad

    Please disregard any prurient and unpleasant ads you might have seen here lately. These are supplied by the Google Adsense company. Although there are blocking arrangements siteowners can use, they don't appear to work with e*B*a*y URLs.

    And finally - a very warm welcome to our many new readers these days. You have nothing to lose except your preconceptions.


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    Wednesday, February 07, 2007

    VERY TRAVIS BICKLE

    For some time now, Sandra my personal manager has been encouraging me to shave my head to the wood. Billiard ball. This is to disguise the unsightliness of the alopecia areata I seem to have become blessed with. (How I was put on this earth to suffer.)

    So, on Monday, finding myself with six sober hours to spare between dropping Darling Zoe off at the vet's at nine, and hopefully picking her up at three, I did some retail therapy. It was that or drink, and I didn't think the vet would take me seriously ever again if I turned up steaming. Drunk in charge of a cat. I can just see it.

    Sunny And Blue

    You have NO IDEA what the world looks like at nine am! Well, maybe you do. So I'll rephrase that... I had no idea what the world looks like at nine am. The pubs weren't even open. So I grabbed some breakfast in a greasy spoon cafe, and high-tailed it to John Lewis to check out the electric razors. Fifty quid. Out of the question. Rather be ugly.

    Tootled along Princes Street in the glorious sun, looking in this shop and that one. Got a hat in Marks for seven quid. Kind of baseball thing. Really stupid, to be honest, and far too cold to wear when you're used to a woolly bonnet. So it stayed on for just ten minutes.

    To Boots the Chemist, where I eyeballed a razor at twenty quid. Thirty for rechargeable. So I got rechargeable. Strolled down to Stockbridge, past the site of the once world-famous Mrs Doubtfire shop (the one which inspired the movie, so legend has it), and to Charity Shop City. Got a hoodie in Chest Heart and Stroke. Six quid. Hug a hoodie.

    Wandered the river banks then, to Tiso in Commercial Street, wondering what poor Darling Zoe was undergoing. Bought a half price scarf and gaiters, and that survival bag I'd promised myself, in case of a survival emergency. Pondered buying two, so I could save a friend also, but realised that first I'd have to make one. All of my life has been spent on hypothecated good times around the corner. Time to get real. It's me and it's zoe and that's it.

    High Definition

    Soon I'll make my 2007 spring broadcast for you, featuring the new matching accessories. I've decided to incorporate a goatee into my new look, suitably dyed if necessary. Life's a bitch and then your hair drops out. Zoe news is in the comment box below the cat pic. She's fine, in short. Your good wishes were like diamonds.


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    Monday, February 05, 2007

    BIRD FLU SHOCKER - IT'S JADE GOODY!

    Yes, it's true. After extensive epidemiological studies on the world's biggest supercomputer at CERN, government scientists are now convinced the source of England's recent Bird Flu outbreak is none other than disgraced former celebrity, Jade Goody.

    It appears that because of all the stress she's been under since her eviction, Miss Goody has somehow mutated into a 13 stone H5N1 virus - although she is trying to shed a few pounds.


    Jade Goody at a secret location last night


    "Since leaving the Big Brother house I've been running around like a headless chicken," Miss Goody confessed exclusively to Naked Blog. "And when they put me in that Priory rehab place, full of all them cold turkeys, well then the obvious fing happened, dinnit."

    SHILPA TIKKA MASALA

    "I hope none of this will stop people sampling my new range of healthy snacks though," Jade gushed. "As well as Shilpa Poppadom, I got Shilpa Samosa, Shilpa Bombay Mix, and now Shilpa Onion Bhaji."

    Sources close to Miss Goody are said to be sneezing their heads off.


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    Sunday, February 04, 2007

    BIRD FLU

    H5N1 virus arrives in England, in a turkey farm. How very suitable. Imagine if it had arrived in a sheep farm.

    Millions (nay, billions) of taxpayers' readies will be spent on tests and results and treatments and restrictions and weeping and wailing and wringing of hands. Virologists gotta eat, after all. And don't get me started on Jeremy Paxman.

    But it will be all to no avail. None. As successful as Canute trying to stop the tide. However, there is another, much cheaper, yet every bit as effective solution, and that is to do NOTHING AT ALL.

    But Where's The Profit In That?

    Then, within a month, all susceptible birds will be dead, leaving only those resistant to the virus. These surviving birds will never, ever contract H5N1, and the world will keep on turning - just with a few tonnes less of birdmeat around the place. Chirpy chirpy cheep cheep. End of problem. (You read it here first, folks.)

    Until then, should you eat birdmeat or eggs? Well, that's up to you. Me, I'm old enough to remember BSE. "British beef is entirely safe." John Major, repeatedly, till he lost the election. So there'll be no avian products going down my gullet till I see how the wind blows. Anyone for Turkey Twizzlers? Jamie Oliver must be laughing like a headless chicken.

    Open Wide (and dig deep)

    Tomorrow Darling Zoe goes to the vet to get her teeth scraped and gums treated. She has to have a general anaesthetic, and might die. Your prayers will be appreciated. This is no time to put the cat among the pigeons.

    Picture courtesy of Belly Timber


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    Friday, February 02, 2007

    CLIMATE CHANGE

    Yesterday threw up something of a first. I don't know how many of you have been in the middle of a cloud. It's not quite fog, less damp, more mobile. I stood on top of West Kip and watched it approach, like a white bank across the sky. (It was all the fun of aeroplanes, without that attendant risk of crash and combustion.)

    I watched it approach, and then it was upon me, leaving just four metres of visible ground, and nothing else. Till I turned and looked up the valley, for all the world like "God's kettle boiling". Clouds of steam, except on a valley scale. You had to be there. Or at least you had to have a movie camera, which I hadn't.
    My still camera does silent movies, but they're .mov files and YouTube won't take .mov. In these small ways do I fail to communicate with you.
    Swirling cloud. These two stills might give a little of the notion.




    Bizarrely, despite having an entire cloud go through me, the clothes weren't even slightly damp. Not one moist molecule. How odd.

    I'm sure those conditions weren't that exceptional. Some day when I've either purchased a proper videocam, or learned how to convert .mov files, I'll show you the Full Monty. Words truly can't convey those sights, but a valley-sized kettle boiling and swirling is the closest I can get.



    I would say that the memory will stay with me for ever, but sadly it won't. Nowadays I don't get much longer than a week. Myeloid plaques. Comes to all of us. Nothing else for it, as my bingo ladies say.

    A Pentland Ranger was clearing the cross drains on Carnethy with a trowel. I asked her why the heather was so short - just about two inches. Normally it's about a foot at least, and really hard to tramp through. She said it was mebbe the sheep or the wind. Hmmm. Maybe heather-chomping aliens from Zork.

    TURNIP FOR THE BOOKS

    Amused to see wall-to-wall sheep munching on turnips yesterday.




    I wondered what was the point of growing a whole field of turnips just to have sheep eat them, but then I kind of understood. I imagined the market price of turnip, hardly the Prince of Veg, and then I imagined the price of sheepmeat, and it suddenly made sense. Pentland lamb chops - lovingly fed on turnip!

    So next time you look at a woolly beast with black face and baby horns, just think of it as a converter of turnip DNA to sheep DNA. Yummy! (I wonder which really is the Prince of Veg?)

    Yesterday, when I was young...

    The post below is a lament for the privacy I once enjoyed in the days Before Blog. (BB.) When you pour out your most private thoughts, you fantasise you're writing to a sympathetic friend, but of course you're not. You're writing to anyone who can read. A pub I once used to enjoy visiting is now no longer an option, I realised yesterday. Because of Naked Blog. That is all.


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    Thursday, February 01, 2007

    HORRIBLE DAY

    Horrible day. Sick of tramping hills, always on my own. Sick of pubs full of stupid twats. Extremely sick of this weblog, which causes nothing but trouble. Takes everything and gives nothing.

    My Advice To Anyone Thinking Of Starting A Weblog: cut your hands off at the wrists instead.

    This will
    (a) prevent you from starting a weblog, and
    (b) give you something more important to think about.
    You might need some help with the second wrist. Try the internet. You can get anything on the internet, so they say. Except someone to talk to.


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