27 August 2005

Clear winner

I think I may have been somewhat hasty when I claimed that the "feed me" t-shirt was as cool as this. Perhaps it was something to do with the old, "if you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with" adage. I didn't have this in London, as it was dirty and I feel I've grown out of dumping piles of dirty laundry on my parents upon arrival. As such, missing my cool new t-shirt, I latched onto the first t-shirt that made a connection. Do I feel guilt? Sort of. "Feed me" and I will never be the same. I used it, emotionally. I'll still wear it, wash it and, occasionally, fold it. I can be cold. Maybe when the banana slug is in the laundry we'll share an awkward moment, tempted by the fling that was London. But it will never be the same...

PS: This is in no way a capitulation to the comments here. Compare for yourself - the slug is just cooler.

26 August 2005

Black & White

So - I got my first black and white film back. I can't decide whether to be pleased or not. About 10 of the 36 pics were ok. This is a shot of the pier in the morning sun. I was on my way to work. The next is a polo action shot that came out fairly well. I only took it in black and white because that was what film was in the camera. It was a pretty grey day, so not much for contrast. The next couple of shots are pure light and texture experiments, taken at Naughton. I think I'm happy with these because I got what I meant to get, or as close to it as possible.
The people shots didn't come out as well as I'd been hoping. In fact, I'm convinced that I have no idea what I'm doing, but I like this, even though it's not as sharp as it probably should be.

New t-shirt

This is the logo on my new t-shirt. It is now one of my 2 favourites, in its own way as appropriate and cool as the banana slug. Neither are formal wear, but both reflective of me. Will eventually have a banana slug pic up, put them side-by-side, and you, my imaginary readers, can decide which you like best. They are equal to me.

25 August 2005

London musings

This trip has been illuminating. I love London; my family has lived here for 16 years and I know it well. I was surprised though, at how relaxed I was walking the streets yesterday. I covered a reasonable distance as well.
I met Adam for lunch near Smithfield. Nice, though trendy, place called Meet. A play on words, being next to London's premier meat market. We both had burgers and neither had a beer. We both fancied a walk afterwards and he took me over to St Bart's Church, an ancient church attached to its eponymous hospital. I'd never been. It was one of those treasured nooks in the city that many people just miss. Including me, I guess. It survived the great fire. It had been delicately restored where necessary. This was important to Adam as historical preservation is his business. It was peaceful, as churches should be. I found myself reflective. I felt the same vibe from Adam. Regardless of faith, or lack thereof, it inspired calm. Adam's not religious and what faith I have bears little relation or loyalty to that spoken from the pulpit; nevertheless, I was moved.
After we said goodbye I made the decision to walk, in the rain, from Farringdon station to Regent St. It was raining, but not hard, and it had been awhile since I'd been in London. And the burger was sitting heavily. It wasn't the most direct route. I passed the Rolls Buildings and thought on my degree and former aspirations to academia. The buildings are significant and rarely mentioned in the guidebooks, guardhouses of the writs, rolls, orders and precedent that form the unwritten constitution that guides the running of this, my adopted home. Or is supposed to at least. I wonder when the last time Tony rocked by to check something out. He seems to kind of wing it. Wanker.
As I came up towards Tottenham Court Road (an old stomping ground in my teens due to the high concentration of comic book shops and the proximity of the British Museum - big geek am I) it seemed no different to me than walking up Market St when it was busy. London truly is a large collection of small villages. Whoever wrote that (I would ask my non-existent readers to leave the answer in a comment) becomes more right with every year.
It took about 45 minutes to get to Regent St. I geeked at the Apple Store for awhile and resisted the urge to buy anything and got the tube home. The tube and the city in general were pretty chilled. People of all shades carrying all shapes of backpack were given as much attention as a guy in a suit. None. The presence of uniformed police at the odd station didn't raise many an eyebrow. This town has had it much worse, and the casual attitude people held, in spite of all, was another comfort. I almost felt guilty for the pride that brought a smile to my face. I haven't lived here properly for 9 years. But it's still home to me.
I got home and had to work. So much so that I didn't show up to the gig that I'd been put on the guestlist for; I felt a bit of an arse.
Tuesday night, as Kate's gig was cancelled, I met with Ru and Marcus for a pint at The Dove. A great pub. They seemed well. Ru got a job and Marcus was doing well in his. They're my academic sons and it sounds silly, but I am very proud of them in an almost fatherly way. I also despair and think they're morons; also in a fatherly way. I took this picture. What a view. You wouldn't think you were in London. You can almost see my house on the right bank. That pic was taken with my new phone. So I am using it as a camera. Oh well. Ru & Marcus asked what I was doing with my life. I said I wasn't sure, but Edinburgh, London and St Andrews would play a part. That was pretty obvious. We went back to mine and ate a curry, drank beer and shot the shit with my folks.
Today was a work day. Got the wireless network fixed for the house. Finally. It's taken a year. I had an instructive chat with my dad regarding his phone, teaching him how to call someone. I told my parents the plan I'd been concocting since I got home, regarding my life, the universe and everything. They seemed pretty cool with it. I'm not going to jump out and say it here just yet. The time will come though. Very soon.
We went to The Ivy tonight. One of dad's old university friends joined us, a great guy. The food and wines were excellent and the chat nice. There was a cool photography show on tv when we got home.

I would say that I could get used to London very quickly, but I already am.
This was the view from my front garden on Wednesday night after the rain stopped. I have not retouched this photograph in anyway. That's what it was like.

I'm sorry - this post is a bit more whimsical, wordy and self-important than I normally am. Hard to believe really. I'm trying to say as much as I can without saying it. And when I'm at a loss for words, sometimes I say the wrong ones. On the plus side, I'm listening to the first collection of duets between Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. I've never heard it before. I have the second one, which is brilliant. But this is wonderful too. Pick it up if you get a chance.

24 August 2005

Weekend hijinx and slugs...

As you can see from this photo, it was a weekend of some note. This was taken Friday night, when the revellers arrived at Naughton and the first beers, wines and whatever were cracked. Pete C whipped out this outrageous shirt & shades combo to, seemingly, put the moves on Pete W. I was laughing so hard that were it not for the miracle of autofocus this would be a great big blur. Fortunately Pete C got changed, and as more people arrived people started clicking the way they do when there are big events coming and everyone just wants to have a great time.
As we all got to know each other and the beers got drunk I stepped out for a minute to have a look at the moon. It was incredible. A fog rested on the hill of Gauldry in front of Naughton, above which the moon shone so bright you almost had to squint. The fog cascaded down the hillside, absorbing the trees as it approached. I fumbled with my camera, but after a half-hearted attempt I decided this would be one I needed to burn into my memory, not onto a negative, or a memory card. The effort and time to find the right settings and whatnot would have lost me the moment. I sipped and looked, as did the others.
As the party went on the sensible went to bed and the less so took to the kitchen, bastion of late night partying that it is. This was where the infamous mirror debate took place between Lil and Pete C while Pete W, Nancy & Sam looked on, amazed. It stretched the boundaries of physics, philosophy and optical illusion. It made me laugh so had I snarfed my beer. I even took video footage.
The next day was the polo. The TMI Festival Cup match between Scotland and Wales. The day was glorious, as only Scotland can be. I didn't have to tow the corporate line after all, and was able enjoy the day without schmoozing. I took charge of the BBQ and the booze started flowing. The women, without exception, were looking stunning. And were lovely, wonderful company to boot. As were the guys, though slightly more of a strain on the eye, but just because Pete wasn't wearing his shirt. Instead he seemed to be hell bent on playing brilliant polo. This is him riding Milly (a nickname, I have idea how to spell her real name) with 2 Welsh players on his tail. They may have seen him that shirt; you never know.
Scotland lost. Ah well. Someone joked beforehand that if Scotland lost then Pete would get Man-of-the-Match. It was either Dave or me, but the whole thing is sort of fuzzy, though it was probably Dave. Or maybe me. In any case, whoever it was, was right. Pete got Man-of-the-Match and Best-Played-Pony for Floretta.It would have been nice if they'd managed to have their cake and eat it too. I, of course, missed the presen- tations as I'd gotten bored and had headed off to clear up. It was only when I saw Lil and James running Floretta up to the crowd that it clicked. So no pics or anything like that. We had to run pretty quick as it was the Highland Ball afterwards.
I don't think Dundee had ever seen 3 busloads of blacktied, ballgowned, hyperactive twentysomethings rock up to their 24 hour Tesco to get cash for the night ahead. But it was a cash only bar and we all needed to load up. The bad news is that the ball was being held at the new pavillon at the Perth Races. Basically an atmosphere vacuum. But the company was brilliant. Hardcore allday boozing, sun and a tight schedule meant that there was quite a bit of steam to let off but the dancing and bar allowed for that. I loved the jazz dancing. The reels were a bit complex though. 'Toria R-T (soon to be R-T-C) was legendary on the dancefloor, and we managed to mix conspiracy and dancing and make Mervyn think we were professionals. He was pretty wrecked though. She's wonderful - if I ever turn this blog into a testimonial to wonderful people, her entry would be significant. Because of the distaste of partying in a betting shop, a lot of us went outside (such as myself, Pete C, Pete W and 'Toria R-T) to enjoy the evening and cool off from the dancing. It gave me a chance to catch up a bit with some old friends and make new ones that I probably won't remember. The ball eventually ended at about 5. The taxis travelled at light speed back to Naughton and I was so wired I couldn't sleep. I sat up chatting to Hayley until 730. What a fantastic girl. Between her and Nancy the best cups of tea in the world are made.
Sunday was up at 10. Pete W telling me we're supposed be back at polo for 1030 or something. Somehow got up and showered and got dressed. Threw on one of my new favourite t-shirts (a gift): it features a bright yellow banana slug in a yogic position. If there is more appropriate hangover clothing, then I have not seen it. Sadly I do not have a picture of it. But it made me feel better about sleep deprivation and booze overdosing. The polo lasted a little long and didn't quite ignite the enthusiasm of the day before. Mike's ankle was swollen like a balloon. Some people were less grumpy than others. I avoided the BBQ as much as possible. We forgot the beer. Someone went to get some. I gave beautiful women massages as the rhythm helped sooth my hangover (Tiffany needed to destress though she didn't know what from). I volunteered to cook dinner. So dinner for 30 cooked by myself & Pete W with the lovely Nancy, Haley and Charlotte C giving a hand. Omlettes. Casting all modesty aside, it was a great meal. I made butterscotch sauce, recipe which I stole from Pete's cousin and improved. We chatted, had a beer tasting and reviewed the previous night's carnage. While never reigniting to full inferno, a well-chosen playlist, a return to the kitchen and Pete C's classic summer fruit gin & tonics lasted us through til 2. The 7 hours sleep I got helped. Clearing up again Monday morning (Nancy being an angel) and general lethargy ensued. I went back to St Andrews to bank my wages and repack for London. The final fun of the weekend was Jo's rollercoaster lift to Edinburgh for myself and Dymock.
There's lots I've left off - potential of romance for Cap'n C, the underaged smokers, billiards, more laughter, the odd tear, flasks of brandy, Thom, etc. No worries. It was an intense weekend, though the fun was far more due to the people than to the polo or the ball.

PS Capt. James Crawford is beyond any shadow of a doubt the greatest and most generous host on the planet, as well as being a true gentleman. The world should know this, though not SO much, as everyone will be dropping by. Moreso than usual that is. And I think he's had enough guests for awhile.

23 August 2005

Radio glory... or not?

Well, the radio show Thursday night was huge amounts of fun; ridiculous chat, a hodgepodge of music and some lovely wines ruled the evening. Andy and myself actually answered some booze questions as well, much to the surprise of all. Les Bell, DJ extraordinaire, belted out some cracking chat. From what he said, his hardcore fans enjoyed it. It was a bit strange though - I haven't been on the radio for a very long time and the sense of removal from the audience makes it hard to get an idea of how well you're doing. On stage you can tell if the audience gets it. On air you're sort of talking to yourself. The pic shows Andy C waxing lyrical while Les watches on. The show was meant to be available for download but hadn't been posted when I checked today. I'm not sure if everyone will get it, but check it out at your own risk - not for those with delicate sensibilities.

Leaving Edinburgh at 645 Friday morning to make my 9 shift was fun as well. Note dripping sarcasm.

I'm in London at the moment on holiday and recovering from a huge weekend. There will be some more posts and photos detailing the partying, polo, cooking, drinking, traveling etc. that took place.