06 January 2010


I walk to work now. When I was a sommelier, I drove. Now that I'm a wine merchant again (for the time-being), I walk. The only difference is maintaining the sanctity of an ironed shirt: impossible when walking, in Scotland, carrying said shirt. The wind simply won't allow it. I don't need an ironed shirt as a wine merchant. At least, not at this wine merchants. It's a nice walk. I pass the cathedral, the sea, and the oldest section of the town. It's stone, sea and sky. I breathe deep, listen close and gaze quite a bit, both to work and the voyage home. Nowadays there's snow or the remnants of it. I choose my route however the ice lays.

January could be busier in this trade. The world has a hangover. Scotland's is probably the worst. I've written about it before and will write it about it again. I love this time of year. The memories tumble and mix up. The years blend, like the vatting of a single malt. I'm the distillery; dreadful, yet apt, metaphor. But it's my fucking blog and my fucking business. I'm the distillery, the years are vatted and the result is me.

Today was quiet and I read. I read myself. Not the book, though it probably should have been, but me. My blog. The Belfry Chronicles. I perused my last year or so of the 'Chronicles as well, but mostly it was 2006. 2006 was an awful year. I had no job and the Red Sox didn't make the playoffs. I wrote it off as a terrible year. I had no book and no job.

But fuck me, I really knew how to blog. That's not the world's greatest skill, mind, but I had fucking banter. Casting all modesty aside, I was my favourite blogger of 2006 (aside, perhaps, from Lish). Granted, I don't really (and didn't really) read blogs, but if I had, I'd have read mine. And I wrote a LOT. And managed an unpublished novel in the meantime. How did I do that? Why did I do that?

Was it that good? No. To be fair, it wasn't universally loveable and it was galactically self-indulgent. But, and this is important, my friends read it. And chatted, and ranted/bitched about my Red Sox love or just said hi. I talked about my life. I chronicled my life. Nobody was sacred and banter truly abounded. I chatted about what I was feeling, even if it was only 'fuzzy'.

And 'fuzzy' I've been. I tried to raise this blog, in the meantime, to be a combination of a realtime and nonfiction version of my fictional/experimental blog. Sometimes it worked. In fact, a lot of the time it worked. I wrote a lot of stuff I'm hugely proud of. Proud of enough to end sentences with prepositions in their reference. Proud of enough to think some of it's the best I've ever written. But it's not my blog. It's a more grandiose exercise I meant to restrict to elsewhere. This... this is meant to be my chronicle. My diary online and my outpouring for all that I like to write but can't confine to fiction.

Which is a whole new story. As it should be. My fiction. I write fiction. This sort of wandering, meandering silliness that I tap out on my keyboard has no place there (except for the odd fun dialogue). It needs an outlet, which is what this is for; my whimsical chat.

I don't know why, but since I finished my first draft (more later), this became less of a chronicle and more of a narrative. Fuck personal narratives. I'm not dead yet and I don't plan to be anytime soon. It's all the fucking same anyway. I taste wine and fail to write. I watch DVDs and movies and fail to write. I taste wine, watch DVDs, take roles in student productions and fail to write.

I used to write so much.

So maybe it's because I lost some sort of sight. Maybe it's that, as a friend mentioned, I'd written so much I needed a break. Perhaps I just got bored of writing that way. Of saying what was going on in my life was important. Maybe I wasn't writing to the same person anymore. I chatted, bantered, discussed, argued, painted, snapped, brushed, hinted at what was going on and somehow that became wordplay. And I love wordplay. Maybe all that went away and nothing took the place of it.

I hadn't found some tome to scribble what I wasn't writing here - there was no confidant to bear the burden of my drivel. It just wasn't being said.

And I stumbled, slipped and possibly gripped the wrong sloppy metaphors on my way down the very large pile of unwritten stuff.

This is creaky, a little bit weepy. Look at the good old days, with pictures and everything. If you are really a lover of this blog, go back. Go back to here, and start the year of 2006. Scroll down to the bottom and start the year. Read it. It's not my best writing, but it's probably my best chronicling. It's where this blog is heading back towards. It's going back to the days of scratching my head and pondering hangovers, banter that approaches witty and a self-awareness of how silly it is to leave my person open to all and yet read by so few. So give me some chat back. Love, hate, revile or simply shrug - but share it.

I'm going to write something everyday. A lot of the time it will be here. Comments, love and words of utter disdain are welcomed. Regardless, my Belfry has returned.

05 January 2010

idiosyncratic crystals

The sky spat a few flakes out this evening, as I wandered back to the flat. It wasn't even a flurry; just one or two drifting crystals, idiosyncratic in nature. Patches of ice and trampled snow on its way to ice littered the walk home, mostly on the paths less-travelled. The night seemed still and my wellies chafed a bit, even through my beloved wellie socks.

I took the steps down the hill, rather than the slope, mindful that it's one of those less-travelled paths. I took my headphones out to listen to the winter night a bit. What little snow still lies managed to muffle the world regardless.

It's strange, time, in the hush of winter. It whispers in the stillness of the cold, the bitterness of the wind. All seems to be sleeping. Time hasn't stopped, or even slowed. It's not dormant, nor is it hibernating.

It's just an illusion. Time tumbles on through this cold, still darkness.

And change is afoot.

04 January 2010

some winter observations

I feel heavier in the mornings. It may be the cold. My eyes take longer to focus. My legs don't work properly. I massage my head and stumble towards the coffee machine. It's half caffeine and half ritual.
The Tube around Christmas time was ridiculous. So crammed that you share a look, a smile, a laugh at the stranger a few folks down. More than five stops together almost counts as a friendship. An anonymous bond formed by the unspoken joke of it all: the futility of resistance.
The snowflakes were huge. They fell on Trafalgar Square with a hushed thud. The yellow streetlights gave the winter a sepia filter. For a few brief and stolen moments, the city was blanketed: timeless and hushed. Then the shrieking, honking traffic shattered the Dickens of it all.
The cold is creeping, settling between the bones and flesh. And still I love this season; my breath drifting idly as my feet avoid the ice. Cold that brings tears to the eyes. The layers of cotton and wool, tucked in. The glory of an open fire and the comfort of a dram.
Scotland is, for the most part, covered in a white winter blanket. That is no bad thing.