Friday, 27 December 2013

Pictures, words, music: do the right thing.


There are far too many people posting confessions on facebook about how they are sitting on the sofa, watching crap on the tv and eating junk food. Do this if you want but you don't do it with my blessing. I am trying to avoid this and can do without the “we're all in it together,” attitude. I prefer when someone posts how they've just run 10 miles in the rain and the training is going really well. That makes me anxious and shortly I'm out in the rain doing hill sprints because next race I don't want to be overtaken.

I blame the booze. It pretends to be your friend and show you a good time. I went out with this friend a lot in the past and know the routine. Pretty soon you're shouting and dancing and picking fights, and next day you are reduced to a pigeon-hearted wreck, raking over the shameful ashes of last night. Oh go on then, have another chocolate. And watch some shit on the telly. Johnny Vegas was once asked on a panel show what was the most widely believed urban legend and he replied “Britain's Got Talent.”


I have put some pics between the text. They are christmas cards I have printed and given, the last few years. Except 2011 can't remember what I did for then. Something with snow no doubt as that was the second or third of 2 snowy winters. The last 2 years I have stopped trying to do christmassy images. I am not of the right persuasion to enjoy this whole commercial religious festival as I don't worship either of those gods. So I print a card featuring a photo I have taken and don't make any mention of the c-word inside. This year's, the goldfish card – a photo of the carp in the pond in the hot houses in the botanics – does remind me of a christmas story from my past. I stayed in digs in my first year as a student in Aberdeen. I had little time for the robbing landlady who crammed four small beds into a small bedroom. However I still didn't think it was cool for the oil-workers who stayed there to decorate the rubber plant on the landing like a christmas tree. And what did they use for decorations? The goldfish from the tank beside the rubber plant.

Mary and I accidentally got into a black christmas story telling on the way to christmas dinner at my brother's. We were walking down the street in stitches at inappropriate tales of misfortune at this time of year. Most are unrepeatable as they involved the well-being of people who may or may not have been in her care.


Time to pull your socks up and get out in the rain. Or if you're staying in do something worthwhile that doesn't involve high sugar content and saturated fats. The internet has an awful lot of good things. Stick with me here and I will give you a present. Yes a christmas present. My present to you for reading this blog. It is a year since I got started and along the way it has picked up 38,000+ page views. Only so many can have come about from people thinking the Best Part of the Day is looking at porn. So as a thank you to the remainder, I am going to give you some music. You can't take it back and swap it for something YOU want to hear. Sorry, its my taste and I realise that that won't please many folk. I know this because I don't much care for mainstream popular culture be it tv, music, books and films. Like Britain's Got Talent.

Look, it was that or socks. Anyway having listened to a lot of music on the internet I collected 30-odd tracks I liked and mashed them into an hour and ten. I wasn't sure where to post this so tried Soundcloud. Unfortunately (after registering, logging in and uploading the podcast) I find they are a bit touchy about copyright. So I did what I should have done in the first place and after a bit of googling came across Mixcloud, a site that reckons because you can't download from there, (allegedly) and because it advertises where you can buy the tracks, that it is ok to post DJ mixes. I am not a DJ but enjoy trying to combine or overlap tracks which go together and sometimes tracks that don't. Taking elements from one track and repeating it over the next several tracks. That sort of thing. If anyone wants a download then let me know your email address and I will do the dropbox thing. Or burn it to CD. Do I harbour qualms about copyright? Not really. Mainly because the music industry reneged on it's promise to bring the price of albums RIGHT down with the introduction of that new fangled, virtually free, virtually indestructible format the CD. Wasn't music suddenly going to cost pennies? And did that pan out? “But it's the artists you are cheating.” Actually I am acting as PR agent for most – just how many of them apart from Bj√∂rk, Radiohead, The Blue Nile, The Smiths and Rufus Wainwright have you heard of? So they should, in theory, be pleased I am spreading word of their music. It's nothing you can't find elsewhere on the www. Although I may have tweaked it, chopped it, skipped the second chorus and in one case, run it backwards.

mix 8 - the observant will notice it's 2013's card upside down

There is a game going round facebook currently where someone nominates an artist (a visual artist) for you to look up. You post the work of their's you like the most, then if anyone of your friends “likes” it, you continue the chain by nominating an artist for them, and so on. I haven't taken the time to post pics by the three artists I have been given but it made me realise several things trawling through pages of images. I really enjoy looking for, and at, good pictures and sculptures – even by artists I wouldn't normally look at twice. Also I kid myself I am broadminded. An eclectic taste in art and music. However I find in fact I am not. While there is a lot of different stuff I do like there seems to be considerably more that I do not. Sandy gave me Calum Colvin as an artist to choose a work by. I know and respect his work but I am having a great deal of trouble finding anything by him I rave about. It made me realise I should just pick the stuff I do rave about and make some 'art of the day' posts. Another friend, Jennifer, was suggesting a small gang of us start an art blog along those lines and yes we probably should.

Several “things” I started in 2013 have been going well and I will continue in the new year. One is book group which has had me reading non-fiction for the first time in a decade. Another is 90 minutes of 'fitness' at Leith Academy evening classes on a Monday. Something I can't seem to work into a routine at home is easy when you have to go to the school down the road. I am signed up again for next term starting on the 27th.


In the larger arena this is probably how you (I mean I,) should lead your (my) life. Focus on the stuff that fires you up; that makes you write, or draw or dance and forget the Britain's Got Talent. And lay off the shit that pretends to be your friend while stabbing you in the front.

On a lighter note I loved Bob's comment in response to all these excesses, that we should “go onto orange matchmakers.. I think they count as fruit this time of the year...”

Link here to Mixcloud and some music you might be indifferent about. Many thanks for reading my blog this past year, I hope we can all stick with the process. And now I'm off for a run in the rain and the dark.

the trig point (on a previous occasion)

Some time later...
Just back – wow, some weather out there. I put on 3 top layers, 2 below, and the running balaclava (first time this winter) and earband and a head torch. I had planned to run round the Queen's Drive. The waves on St Margarets Loch were nearly big enough to surf! But when I got up to Dunsapie Loch in the lee of the hill I dared myself to climb to the summit of Arthur's Seat. Everything was slick with rain but even in road shoes I made it up to the summit rock ok on the less windy North Side. It was just before 6pm so as dark as it gets up there. I then moved round to the South side of the very top and the wind kind of “helped” me up to the trig point which I hugged as there was a 50mph (I estimated) gust blowing. I waited for respite until I realised it wasn't a gust but a steady howling gale. At which point I got down onto all fours and crawled off the South side. I was going to run down this descent but couldn't as the wind was just too strong on this side. I had to retreat back the way I arrived and walked carefully down until I got onto the grass, then ran down to Queens Drive. Only saw one other person in Holyrood Park, someone walking home from work. Lively though!


  1. Heartfelt thanks |Peter. Your blog has been an inspiration through a tough year. Neil S

  2. Thanks Neil - we must go for a run sometime.
    Hope 2014 is a good one!