Sat, Aug. 29th, 2015, 09:43 pm
Things I've had to get used to very fast:
- Buying single pints of milk.
- A relatively tidy flat. Holy crap she had a lot of shit lying around.
- No longer being able to say:
here are your photos, please just let me know if you'd like any of them touched up. My photoshop expert has disappeared.
- No more cooking. There's no point putting on an epic spread for just one person. My shrink said:
why not just do it for the fun of it? and I said:
there's no point if you're not showing off to someone. I mostly live on ready meals these days.
- That said, I am now allowed to own proper vinegar instead of that balsamic shit.
- And I can have the radio on now.</p>
- Bookshelf space!
- Fridge full of beer!
I was in the shop today, buying individual-person supplies as I am now wont to do. Single pint of milk. One of those mini-cartons of four eggs. 400g loaf of bread. Cigarettes and a couple of bottles of beer to numb the pain. Scanning it all, the checkout girl said:
you live alone, don't you?
Why yes, said I,
how could you tell?
Because you're an ugly bastard.
Sat, Aug. 22nd, 2015, 05:53 pm
Glorious sunshine. Sittin onna boat, with a beer, playin Settlers of Catan. (Seafarers expansion, natch.)
I've had worse days. I think I might be feelin better.
For those of you who don't know, Jehane and I are no longer a couple. We met on 24th April 2003, and I ended it on Thursday, 9th July, 2015. I love her to bits and I always will, but she's got stuff that she has to do that doesn't include me.
Also, twelve years of performance bickering finally took its toll, and now she thinks I'm a bit of a dick :)
I'm a bit of a mess right now, and no doubt there will be further whining under access lock. Probably quite a lot.
I miss her. It sucks.
I am a fucking genius.
The downsides of living in at work are many and multifarious. For a start, I don't get a day off unless I unplug the phone and refuse to leave the flat—when I will invariably be faced by staff on the way out who have questions. Most recently I spent 42 days at work without a break, and while there were technically one or two days in there when I was not on the rota, I don't count it as a day off if I get eight phone calls within three hours. Just now I had a longish weekend that I took seriously, and today it was back into the fray.
(That worked well. Rocked up all refreshed and ready to go at 9am—okay, 09:20, but I was aiming for 09:30 so I STILL WIN—and relieved
$DM so she could get her breakfast. She'd been at work since 3pm the preceding day. (When I take a weekend seriously, I take it seriously.)
I'll take the phone, said I,
no need to fear, daddy's back. I may or may not have said the last bit out loud. Within thirty seconds I took a phone call from guests who'd just checked in, which went thuswise:
Hello, we booked a Yes. We do. But you didn't book one of those. Welcome back to work, pajh.)
small double room online, and we've just arrived and are surprised to find that it's quite small. We were told that you had big rooms.
On the other hand, the benefits of living at work include, but are not limited to—actually no wait, they are pretty much limited to—that between the hours of 7am and 11pm I have a captive audience upstairs (also known as "my direct employees") for whatever I choose to rant about, or, once or twice a week, as guineapigs.
I may or may not be a good hotel manager. But I'm the kind of hotel manager who will (frequently) run up to his staff with a glass of booze in each hand, and cry:
QUICK, TASTE THIS—WHICH ONE IS BETTER?
Anyway, I pulled this on
$DM last week with the experimental jehane, and it must have gone pretty well, since I let her organize the staff social for this coming Friday, and she wants to bring everybody back to my bar so I can make them cocktails. We don't even serve most of this stuff in my bar, and I'm damned if I'm bringing everyone down to my kitchen.
Anyway. I invented the jehane, and I have since (not because of peer pressure or anything) perfected it. A post like this really deserves pictures, so I apologize for there not being any, but this can be remedied if there is sufficient demand. This is how you make a jehane:
( Recipe, with occasional digressionsCollapse )
It is marvellous and I am a genius.
I'm calling it the jehane because it's sweet, it's refreshing, it involves a little bit of fire up top, and it's never bloody available inna bar when you want one.
- Blogocubes | gominokouhai
These too are apparently now called "filter bubbles". I am okay with this because my name for them was abysmal.
(tags: blogging internet socialmedia socialnetworking )
- Bitcoin mining on a 55 year old IBM 1401 mainframe: 80 seconds per hash
"[...] to mine a block at current difficulty, the IBM 1401 would take about 5x10^14 years (about 40,000 times the current age of the universe). The electricity would cost about 10^18 dollars. And you'd get 25 bitcoins worth about $6000. Obviously, mining Bitcoin on an IBM 1401 mainframe is not a profitable venture."
(tags: tech cool stuff internet )
- SCOT goes POP!: Lib Dem efforts to save Carmichael descend into farce, as they insist he must stay because "rehabilitation is part of our core values"
"It's not actually that clever an idea to have a pair of disgraced liars/smearers like Carmichael and Rennie as the public face of your party in scotland. All the more so after you the voter has just told you precisely where to go and you desperately need to rebuild shattered trust."
(tags: news politics bloodytories fuckwits )
- Craig Murray » Blog Archive » My Friend Alistair Carmichael
Aaaand the apologia begins. Forthright innocent Alistair Carmichael corrupted by the insidious influence of Westminster. It's not his fault, it's the system. He probably had a bad childhood. Boo hoo, won't somebody think of the children, etc. What absolute bollocks. Power corrupts: Westminster doesn't have a monopoly on that. But it does not corrupt everyone. Carmichael was corruptible and demonstrated it. Carmichael is unfit to serve.
(tags: news politics fuckwits bloodytories opinion )
- The Extraordinary Story Of "The Crystal Maze", The Most Epic Game Show Ever Made - BuzzFeed News
Now it's time to go... TOOOOOOO THE CRYSTAL DOOOOME
(tags: tv cool stuff nostalgia )
- Senators Want to "Blow ISIS Out of the Water" with "Fancy Memes" | The Intercept
"Dear Einstein", read the twit that linked to this article, "we've finally found out what World War 3 will be fought with". I'm pretty sure William Gibson wrote this book about a decade ago. Buckle up.
(tags: news terrorism socialmedia )
- The Big Lie: Alistair Carmichael admits Sturgeon memo leak | News | The National
The slimy bastard lied to my face in front of a room full of business people, so I'm not remotely surprised. Self-serving piece of shit. I made sure to give him an extra-wide smile at the vote count when he saw me on the Yes side. Scumbag.
(tags: news politics bloodytories fuckwits )
- Is Carmichael vulnerable to an election petition? | Lallands Peat Worrier
TL;DR did he lie? Yes. I would love nothing more than to force a by-election, but it's never that simple.
(tags: bloodytories fuckwits news politics )
- A Small Merci | Derek Bateman
Was Mundell also complicit? (Probably)
(tags: news politics bloodytories fuckwits )
- I would rather like the Lib-Dems to stop shooting themselves in the face | andrewducker
Sane and responsible commentary from a Lib Dem who still believes in liberalism and democracy. Few such treasures remain in this benighted world.
(tags: news politics fuckwits bloodytories )
- Letter from Westminster | The Shetland Times
"The right to freedom of speech is a fundamental one but it does bring a responsibility with it to tell the truth. The right to smear an opponent is not one we should be defending". This seemed to be standard, common-sense, but unenlightened political commentary, until I saw who wrote it.
(tags: news politics opinion bloodytories fuckwits )
- Fibromyalgia now considered as a lifelong central nervous system disorder
Interesting, potentially useful.
(tags: news health science )
- was I right to call the employer of some obnoxious, trash-talking jerks on my train? | Ask a Manager
HANGING'S TOO GOOD FOR EM, I SAY
(tags: fuckwits blog opinion )
- How To Fight The Filter Bubble: New Twitter App... Thing | Strange Company
Useful tool. Not perfect yet, needs a few tweaks, but a sensible addition to your twitter feed.
(tags: tech blogging news socialmedia socialnetworking )
- Media Cocoons | The Revolution Will be Televised
These are now apparently called "filter bubbles".
(tags: blogging society socialmedia socialnetworking )
- You've thrown your toys out the pram and now you've got 5 years of the Tories | Mirror
Those lessons that Labour and the Lib Dems needed to learn? They're not learning.
(tags: politics bloodytories fuckwits opinion )
- A letter from a lost voter
All true. How do we know it's true? @dhothersall "[doesn't] agree with all of it".
(tags: politics opinion fuckwits bloodytories )
- "Too many pointy-heads and too few street fighters": Labour's Michael Dugher on what went wrong
"Dugher is even more despairing of what he calls Labour’s “annihilation” in Scotland. He blames the Better Together campaign. “Scotland and our approach to it was an unmitigated disaster. We totally fucked up that referendum campaign – and that would almost be a generous and kind interpretation,” he gives a hollow laugh", and so do we all.
(tags: news politics opinion fuckwits bloodytories )
- Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) Movie Review from Eye for Film
"There's a man, it's pretty safe to assume his name is Max, and he's being chased by a lot of crazy-looking people in fast cars with pointy bits on. This is such a strong start that the plot doesn't feel much need to deviate from it over the course of two hours. This is an excellent decision." All right, that's enough. Sign me up.
(tags: movies film review )
- Eye For Film: Tataouine threatened by Isis
If all of that murdering civilians wasn't bad enough for you, then Isis have finally gone TOO FAR. "The line must be drawn here! this far, and no further", cry a million geeks, rising from their chairs in anger, then immediately sitting back down, panting heavily.
(tags: news politics religion terrorism fuckwits movies incrediblyobscurereference )
- Scottish Labour: Inside the campaign from hell | Herald Scotland
"Murphy, who has never been on the intellectual wing of his party, has always been regarded internally as a talented self-publicist who was adept at advancing his own interests. One colleague, explaining Murphy's approach to the media, said: `He once told me he was not bothered about the words in newspapers, just the pictures, and how he looked on TV'"---in other words, a Blairite.
(tags: news politics fuckwits bloodytories )
- The Incredible Suit: It's the Spectre teasre trailre!
This too. sign me up.
(tags: movies film cool stuff review )
- A poem from the Doctor | Herminbean
This is why Eleven is still my favourite.
(tags: poetry doctorwho tv silly )
- My most-shared tweet of the week, by some distance, is this one: | diamond geezer
"We have a majority Conservative government, rather than a minority Conservative government, because of 900 voters in seven constituencies." In the seven most marginal seats the Tories needed for their majority, votes for the Greens sunk Labour. And Labour claim that their problem was that they were too left-wing.
(tags: news politics bloodytories handwringing lefty guardianistas ftw socialism )
- Common Space - David Cameron’s new ‘anti-extremism’ proposals criticised by Scottish civil liberties group as “draconian”
Buckle up. It's starting.
(tags: news politics fuckwits bloodytories freedom liberty terrorism )
- Common Space - First Minister and STUC announce "shared priorities" on devolution and opposition to austerity
Now this is how you do it.
(tags: news politics scotland handwringing lefty guardianistas ftw )
- Word Buzz Wednesday: ajockalypse | Wordnik
Hey, look, we helped create a neologism! A neologism that is also a portmanteau and will almost certainly be a malamanteau before very long.
(tags: language news politics scotland bloodytories fuckwits writing incrediblyobscurereference )
- Mad Max: Fury Road - Official Theatrical Teaser Trailer [HD] | YouTube
Please make this be on a giant wall in front of me very soon please
(tags: movies film cool stuff splosions )
- Incredibly Peeved Men’s Rights Activists Call for Boycott of Mad Max, Are Unintentionally Hilarious | The Mary Sue
It's got that many splosions in it AND it pisses off the MRAs? Sign me up.
(tags: movies film feminism fuckwits )
- Turn Down for Spock (Star Trek Stabilized!) | Youtube
For the love of god, let no one show this to J J Abrams.
(tags: video cool stuff music silly star trek )
- 30 crazy photographers who will do anything for the perfect shot
Okay, some of these are awesome.
(tags: clickbait photos photography )
- I walked in on employees having sex -- and I think there's a sex club in my office — Ask a Manager
Quite a lot of the time, AAM is all "why wasn't I selected for this job" and "was it really such a bad idea to dangle my interviewer by his ankles from a fourth-floor balcony? I thought it showed gumption" but, sometimes, it comes up with gems like this.
(tags: blog work silly fuckwits )
- Your pain reliever may also be diminishing your joy | News Room - The Ohio State University
Acetaminophen is the Yank name for paracetamol. I know that anecdote is not the singular of data, but I've been on painkillers since 1996 and this would certainly splain a lot.
(tags: psychology health mental health )
- Glass | Ello | leynos
(tags: writing )
- The country is screwed, the electorate is evil ... but here are nine reasons to be cheerful | Grauniad
This is pretty much bang on.
(tags: bloodytories fuckwits handwringing lefty guardianistas ftw news politics )
- World Of Hubris | Wings
Let's have a wee snigger before the work begins.
(tags: bloodytories fuckwits news politics )
- Alien | Typeset In The Future
A brilliant look at the Semiotic Standard, and an awful lot of Futura.
(tags: cool stuff film movies nerd scifi typography )
- The End of Labour | Jacobin
This is basically exactly what I said yesterday, except that he uses longer words (I particularly like "farraginous"; ISWYDT).
(tags: news politics bloodytories psephology handwringing lefty guardianistas ftw )
- gominokouhai | #telt
ICYMI, this is what I said yesterday.
(tags: news politics bloodytories handwringing lefty guardianistas ftw fuckwits )
- Sandstorm - Akkordeonquintett der AO-München e.V. - YouTube
Yes, it's Darude played on accordions. And it is awesome.
(tags: music silly video )
- On Remaining A Member of the Scottish Opposition | danieldwilliam
Those reservations I mentioned I still gots about the SNP? This is a list of pretty much all of them.
(tags: news politics opinion bloodytories )
- Sound Rhymes I Futility Closet
This is possibly the Englishest thing ever. Except that limericks should technically be Irish. /Except/ except that claiming credit for Irish literature is the /other/ Englishest thing ever, which makes this the most Englishest thing ever squared.
(tags: poetry writing silly cool stuff )
- Batter Up! | Futility Closet
This on the other hand is the most Americanest thing ever. I have no idea what they're talking about. I am however gratified to note that the Washington Post was decrying the state of steampunk as early as 1897, when steampunk was still going on.
(tags: cool stuff tech )
- So How Do You Pronounce "R'lyeh", Anyway? - Strange Company
"[...]a right bastard to pronounce the magic chant – as my actors discovered. But that’s another story", says Hugh. He's quite right, and perhaps I shall tell it one day.
(tags: luvviedom acting voiceover movies literature fhtagn )
Fri, May. 8th, 2015, 10:29 pm
We did what we set out to do: punish the Lib-Dems and Scottish Labour for siding with the enemy. Democratically, of course. And we got exactly the worst possible outcome as a result: trounced Labour and handed a majority to the bloody Tories.
It's a pretty slim majority, and I understand that the Tories have a long tradition of backbench rebellion, so a coalition of the Left still has a chance to keep the bastards on their toes. For that to happen, the Lib Dems and Labour need to demonstrate that they've learned their lessons from last night.
I suppose we got exactly what we deserved: more work! It's the SNP's job just now to speak truth to power, as the largest effective voting block of human beings currently in Parliament. Labour have more seats than the SNP, but they'll be a complete waste of space until they decide what the point of them is—and that's assuming they even decide to be on the left. They certainly haven't been for the last twenty years. And the Lib Dems are dead for a generation.
Also—let's be honest—some of these new SNP MPs are going to suck, at least for the next while. Nearly all of them are brand new and most of them, when they were listed as candidates, were in seats where they didn't have a hope. That all changed and now they're in charge. Nicola will sort them out; I've met her and she's awesome.
Gotta say, I am amused at the huge amount of nothing that was eventually signified by all of Ukip's sound and fury. I am willing to put good money on the fact that not a single one of those 3,881,129 Kippers voted Yes in the AV referendum. One seat they managed under FPTP: no pasaran.
Yesterday was a 33-hour workday that started at 1pm on Wednesday and continued through until 10pm on the Thursday: the ninety minutes sleep I got in the middle doesn't really count. I finally got off to sleep at 3am and then the bloody taxi driver rang the doorbell at 03:30. Got back to sleep at about fiveish and then was up again for work at six. At some point on Thursday, I got to see Jehane for a whole ten minutes and I managed to make it around the corner to vote. During that 33 hours,
$CHEF had made me a bacon sandwich. It wasn't a good day.
I'm still not keen on the SNP. They're too authoritarian for my liking, too nanny-statish, and I disagree with a hell of a lot of their policies. I don't like the way they cosy up to people like Murdoch and Souter and especially—euch—Trump. (Maybe they'll stop doing that so much now.) Ideologically I appear to be a Green— but only a Scottish Green because the party in England and Wales is still stuffed full of anti-science nutjobs. Yesterday, the SNP were the only left-leaning party with a hope in hell, so my vote was obvious. Also I did it to piss off everyone in England. I'd had enough of all the hysterical pearl-clutching anti-Jock media coverage. You're welcome, England. You brought this on yourselves.
So, having cast my vote for the SNP and finally able to tear myself away from the desk at 10pm, it was off down the chippy for a haggis supper, salt an' sauce, anna boatil ay the Bru. I had no particular political motivations for my order—sometimes a man just needs salt an'sauce—but it seemed appropriate. I think I might have gone native.
Yesterday was the first time I've ever voted when the result has actually gone my way. I suspect I shouldn't get accustomed to it.
The next five years are going to be bleak. Look after your loved ones.
Sat, Mar. 21st, 2015, 12:15 am
Dat eclipse tho
Damn right I looked directly at it. This happens once inna generation, I'm not passing that up. The photos are here (updated with some new ones, if you saw them go by on the Twitters earlier).
I remember the last one, in August '99. I looked directly at that one too, through the net curtain in my then-girlfriend's flat. I still remember the sight of a crescent Sun in the twilight down at the end of Gorton Road. That girlfriend was the insane Christian youth leader who wanted to break into the church at midnight and do it on the altar. I was the one who chickened out. But seeing a crescent sun... that was something special.
But back to the present. I had constructed a cardboard-box pinhole camera obscura, and it actually worked—but I left that downstairs in case any of the guests tried to blind themselves. For me, it was up to the roof. I had a brand-new variable neutral-density filter and I wasn't afraid to use it.
Maximum occultation at my location was set for 09:36. It was a glorious clear day at 09:20, bright blue skies with occasional fluffy white clouds. By 09:30 it was coming over a bit grey. This is probably for the best, since a couple of cubic kilometres of water vapour between me and it probably shielded my delicate retinae from some of the horrifying UV radiation. Also it lent the photos an eerie, atmospheric quality. Moody. Dramatic. Ethereal. Outlander-ish.
I stood and clicked and I watched as the huge black globe of the Moon rolled lazily in front of the Sun's disc, like a slow-mo snooker ball. Just exactly like a snooker ball, except a ball of 7.35×1022kg in mass, a ball a quarter the size of earth. She felt round. I sensed her bulk, her incomprehensible mass, as she slid leisurely-like inbetween us and daylight itself.
The Moon has a 7% albedo, you know. She reflects about as much light as coal. Think about that the next time she's full. Above our heads, neatly slotted inbetween the squat block of Edinburgh Castle and the airy spires of St Mary's, the eternal celestial ballet executed a perfect adagio.
It got bloody freezing up on that rooftop, but that's probably rather more to do with standing onna rooftop in Scotland for an hour onna cloudy day. By about 09:39 the cloud coverage was total. Show's over. It's time to go home.
But I won't forget spending a few minutes watching Space happen right above me.
My retinas were a wee bit itchy for the rest of the day. I consider that a totally acceptable trade-off.
The next half-decent one here isn't until 2026, and the next proper one is 23rd September, 2090. By then, I expect to know how to work this damn neutral-density filter.
More eternal celestial ballet.
Oh yes, and the vernal equinox was at 22:45 tonight. Happy Spring, everybody!
It's been a while since the last one. Since the last one, I've become upper-middle-class, become a manager, spent some time hanging around socialists, attended two Radical Independence conferences and campaigned for a Yes in the referendum. And I've also seen how far all of that got us.
For reference, here are the current UK political parties as they stand:
Huh. Guess I'm a Green, then. Makes sense I suppose; I've always empathized with the underdog, that's why I voted Yes.
I'm slightly surprised at how libertarian it placed me. Maybe I'm having one of those days.
Previous compi go ( under the cutCollapse )
- 16 reasons behind the decline and fall of the Roman Empire
- The self-contradictory rule obeyed by these WW2 airmen will blow your mind!
- This French Marquis Locked Himself In A Castle For 120 Days. You Won't Believe What Happened Next
- POLL: RT for war, fav for peace
- Please Laboriously Click Through All Twenty-Seven Images In This Post, Each Of Which Incomprehensibly Deserves Its Own Page, Like You Had Nothing Better To Do, Because Of The Vague Promise In The Title That One Of Them Might Be Godot
The joke is that listicle and microblogging formats do not readily lend themselves to in-depth discussion of complex concepts.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments!
Tue, Nov. 4th, 2014, 10:48 am
Where am I?
Funny. I don't recall being followed home by a hearse and gassed to sleep in my sitting room, but somehow I find myself in the Village.
What I do recall is an eleven-hour train journey with one (occasionally) functioning toilet and no wifi—although of course they only told me this after they'd allowed me to pay for it. Then a three-hour boat journey from Penzance during which I actually got seasick, which doesn't happen. We'd had to bolt breakfast and sprint for the ferry, and I found out later that I'd taken the wrong braindrugs the previous night, none of which can have helped... although I think the twelve-foot waves hitting the ship from random directions probably had something to do with it as well. Then there was a connecting ferry from the big island to one of the smaller ones, and now I'm on Tresco, the second-largest of the Scilly Isles.
It looks like this.
( A set of photographs from ground-level of a holiday resortCollapse )
Actual photos of scenery and stuff will likely follow later on.
Back to the mainland tomorrow, weather permitting, and dependent on the performance of onmipresent surveillance and unorthodox security measures. Then, back and forth along the south coast for a few days. Lindsey Stirling has a concert in That London and with any luck we'll be getting in a pilgrimage to Maiden's Point.
So, there was a referendum. That happened. And we voted No. A trillion pounds' worth of international media descended on Scotland for a week—and the weather even stayed good while they were here!—and, as a nation, we had a chance to create a better world and we bottled it. I used to think that it would be embarrassing to be Canadian, but all the Canadians have as a national stereotype is that they are uniformly self-effacing and scrupulously polite. Since 19th September, on the world stage, Scots are craven directionless cowards. All of that William Wallace stuff that we've built up over the last eight hundred years, gone. We are lackeys.
I for one will not stand for it.
It takes time to build up a reputation like the Scots have—like the Scots had. Specifically, it takes eight hundred years. Down-to-earth pragmatists running the world with relentless efficiency in spite of their bewigged imperial masters. Hairy-arsed skirt-wearing maniacs perpetually game for a fight with ye, then a drink with ye, then another fight. The reason the claymore works as a weapon of war is that it's so damn big and heavy that, once you start running with it held out in front, you can't stop no matter how many English cavalrymen are in your way. We pissed all of that away in one night, and now, on the world stage, we are cowards.
I was there
at the dawn of the third age of mankind at the vote count for the Edinburgh region. It was a long day. The day before had been full of joyous, jubilant, exuberant marches in the Meadows, of hope and excitement, of impromptu mass choruses of Flower of Scotland. The tang of change was in the air. I could taste it. And then, on the great day itself, with history hanging in the balance, I had weighty duties to which I must attend. I'd set an alarm for six a.m. but was up at 5:30. One doesn't get to create a brand new nation every day. Out at 7 a.m. to witness the ballot boxen being sealed. Touring polling stations all day—technically in my organizational capacity as a polling agent for the Scottish Socialist Party, which is something that still confuses me. I'm not part of the Scottish Socialist Party. I only know one socialist and I'm on nodding terms with two or maybe three others. I'm still not quite sure how this happened, but I had an
ACCESS ALL POLLING PLACES pass and I wasn't afraid to use it. I may have spent slightly more of my day than would have been decorous waving the pass at people like Wayne and Garth at the Alice Cooper concert.
In the evening, it was off to the Highland Centre to observe the vote count. History was being made. At one stage, I was on the news. During a coffee break (I was on tea because I needed a sustained burn rather than the quick hit you get from coffee) I got to have a lovely conversation with Andrew Marr: I dislike his politics and I disapprove of his philandering but I bloody love his historical documentaries. I forgot to mention that my girlfriend's mother taught him English at Loretto.
The Yes and No campaign activists were given lounge areas on opposite sides of a big room, separated by a sort of concourse where there was a nice lady selling tea and coffee from a counter. I bought a bottle of water for £2.
Bloody hell, said I, aloud,
they told me the price of a pint might go up. The BBC and ITN news crews, on the other hand, were separated by fenced-off enclosures with scaffolding and big scary signage. I found this amusing: a physical paean to the civilized nature of the entire debate. Ultimately, we are all residents of these great British islands. Who needs barricades when there is a tea lady?
My role—still, apparently, on behalf of the SSP for reasons I still can't quite fathom—was to observe the count and ensure that no foul play was taking place. I can confirm that, as far as I can tell, the vote was scrupulously fair and above board. It was just that every bastard had put the cross in the wrong box for reasons that remain utterly incomprehensible to me.
It was obvious from early on that the Yes side were losing. As the postal ballots first came out, while I was still skittering around looking for a table to attend, one of my Yes colleagues turned to me and murmured:
we're gettin' hammered. Surely not, I said. It's early days. We were always going to lose on the postal votes. It's the regular ballots that will vindicate us. Half an hour later, it was obvious even to me. Tally marks on the clipboard in front of me, sampling a ballot box from somewhere in the southside: 202 No to 75 Yes. You bastards. You sold us out, because some fucker lied to you about your pensions to guarantee his own. Fuck the fucking southside, man.
Later: we were always going to lose in Edinburgh. It's the rest of Scotland that will vindicate us. Then Clackmannanshire voted No. Then Shetland voted No (fucking Shetland, of all places). Then Dundee voted Yes, but only by a baw-hair, where all of our polling had indicated a good seventy or eighty per cent. At that point, we knew all was lost. Facial expressions changed. The evening became a slog. I had been up since 5:30 and it was now 4am and everything left was a foregone conclusion.
I'd got chatting to a fairly well-known professor of events management with whom I'd already done some networking for work, and plan to do more in the future. He's also a stunningly nice bloke, and a Yes voter obvs. By the point it was clear that we'd lost, self-preservation took precedence over solidarity. This is the country we live in now, the country that Scotland has chosen: every man for himself. So in the immediate short term, I opted to promote my own career and come back to making the world a better place later, and when Professor Joe offered to chum me back in his taxi at 5am, I agreed.
So I was there—just getting ready to leave—when the announcement came through that Glasgow, fairly overwhelmingly, had voted Yes. It was a brief moment of levity in the midst of a long night of otherwise unmitigated despair. A chant started up in the campaigners' lounge area: Glas-gow, Glas-gow, Glas-gow. Someone shouted:
ya dancer! Someone else:
Ye cannae fool a weegie!, and then it was time to go. It was a glorious moment. It was the only one. It wasn't enough.
The next couple of days were numb and bleak. I've been clinically depressed before and I know exactly what was going on in my brain. I surfaced from bed every so often to read Twitter for five minutes or so before I couldn't take any more. And then on Monday it was back to work, to catch up on the paperwork I'd missed during the last week, in time to catch a train down south on Tuesday. The last place I wanted to go. As a deeply pathetic form of revenge, I made sure to take scotch whisky with me, and Irn Bru, and lots of Scottish fivers.
We had a chance and we bottled it. But it was a good fight, and it's not over.
And now I have a branded Yes clipboard, which I'm keeping. Spoils of war.
There is an epilogue to this post, but it's going under access lock.
I was amused to learn, now that it's all over, that Our Eck is a big ol' Star Trek fan, specifically of Wrath of Khan. I wish more had been made of this earlier in the campaign.
Full tax-raising power.
No, sir! You have devo-nano!
FULL POWERS, DAMN YOU!
Liking Eck more and more, now that it's all over. The last few days I've just wanted to give him a hug, because I think he needs one. Then there was his principled refusal of any seat in the Lords, and now I find he has impeccable taste in sci-fi. And he's right: if the promised powers are not delivered, we will chase Cameron 'round the moons of Nibia and 'round the Antares maelstrom and 'round Perdition's flames before we give him up. Personally I'm particularly looking forward to the flames bit. I suspect Dishface is so greasy that he would self-ignite.
Back in the day, when I was a unionist, Star Trek featured heavily in what passed for my reasoning—although I didn't understand this about myself until significantly later, after a good deal of introspection. Obviously, went my thinking, the logical end goal of civilization is the United Federation of Planets, and we get there by heading towards global unity not away. For one thing, I later realized, adopting, as a genuine political model, a fictional utopia created by a somewhat mediocre cop-show screenwriter might be seen as impractical; and for another thing, I was goal-seeking using a naive hill-climbing algorithm. For shame, pajh.
A utopia is also an eutopia, of course, but it's telling that Roddenberry's vision is the one that took root inside my head as the default position to aim for. Naive it may be, but goddamn I wouldn't mind living there. I'm not sure if it's the proto-post-scarcity economy or the implicit communism that attracts me so much. Or the green alien babes. No, it's the skants. Definitely the skants.
I love Star Trek to bits, of course, naive as it may be, but these days my politics are much more in line with Babylon 5. I am prepared if necessary to go as far as Blake's 7, but I hope it won't come to that.
Thinking about this as I type, I should probably make a more detailed inspection of Malcolm Hulke's
Doctor Who stories before I fasten my colours to any particular allegory, here.
Obviously I'm deeply disappointed with last Thursday's result, but I've decided we may have been foolish to think we could win against the combined forces of ignorance and cowardice, backed by the full might of the British state. We were not foolish to fight. And we will not be foolish to do it all again in a couple of years, with lessons learned and a new generation of engaged citizens on our side. The future is coming, whether it's got green-skinned babes in it or not. That better world we wanted to create?... independence didn't quite work out, but it's still waiting to be created. We'll do it some other way.
The avalanche has already started. It is too late for the pebbles to vote.
Off down south tomorrow for a company meeting. I went to the bank today and withdrew £20 in Scottish fivers,
because I want to piss them off. The bank teller had never heard that one before—seriously? I honestly thought everyone did that—and told me I'd made his day.
All set for this goddamn nine-hour train journey tomorrow. Gots my sound-isolating earphones, emergency Irn Bru (can't buy it down there), emergency whisky (Islay Mist, won't react with the metal in the hunt flask), gots my vindictively pan-European sandwich, and my instructions for haxx0ring free train wifi. Spent some time with stormsearch perfecting my Scots accent.
Michael Mcintyre has this bit that he does about, every time someone wants to spend a Scottish banknote, some mad Scotsman pops up from nowhere and shouts
don't you know that's legal tender. It's funny because it's true, and not, I hasten to add, because Michael makes any effort to make it funny in any way. He crams this bit in to any set he can.
Heard a Scots accent on my way to the theatre tonight. Reminded me of that guy who says: . And off he goes again.
don't you know that's legal tender
stormsearch is not a qualified voice coach and her instructions have been sporadically helpful, but with her experience combined with my voice-talent nollij, we made headway. The word
£ is a particularly difficult word to say in Scots. There's an argument that it's pronounced
poouwnd and another, equally legitimate, argument that it should be pronounced
pnd, and both of these should be done simultaneously, while also pronouncing the
ou as an
ai except that it's really more of an
eh but do it with your face all scrunched up like this. I got there eventually. As is so often the case with learning experiences in my life, whisky helped.
Thus, I am now ready to have the following exchange, should it be necessary, with an unsuspecting southerner:
Good day to you, shopkeep, and what a marvellous day it is indeed. I would like to purchase this bottle of Coca-Cola® if you'd be so kind. What's that? You doubt the authenticity of my cash monies? Well, dear shopkeep, I do so regret that it must come to this, but I fear you leave me little option but to go Full Scotsman on you. Ahem. DON'T YOU KNOW THAT'S LEGAL TENDER, that's a five pooouwnd note ya wee numpty, huv ye no seen a five pnd note before ya great sassenach.
Interesting, perhaps, to note that, although I am a trained voiceover artist and a remarkably good one, it's only been since this week that I've been able to pronounce
sassenach with the appropriate amount of sass.
And I know there's no such thing as legal tender, but the unsuspecting southerner won't.
Those of you who grew up in the 90s will know already that perky elfin teen-pop princess and sometime Ozzie soap star, Natalie Imbruglia, in a dark and terrifying departure from her usual glittery milieu, once witnessed the terrifying Frankensteinian reanimation of a previously deceased human being. It's well-known that her popular song Torn is a postmodernist retelling of T'Pau's China in your Hand from the perspective of an affected observer descending into schizophrenia.
You all know what I'm talking about, but because I'm nice I shall provide the vid for context. Behold.
( In which there are several embedded mediaCollapse )
Splains why I always liked the theme to Ski Sunday so much, but: how the FUCK did I not already know that about Ski Sunday? My musical recognition skills were hitherto frankly superhuman, but lately I've noticed that they've begun to diminish with age, or possibly with lack of practice. I'm now all out of faith in my own abilities. This is how I feel: I'm cold and I'm ashamed, but thankfully still fully dressed.