Good evening friends, it’s been an age; how’ve you been? Your hair looks nice and you smell delightful. Sorry to hear about that thing that made you sad but congratulations on the thing that made you happy – I hope the things happened in that order. No, I didn’t kill myself, and thanks for asking; although of course those of you that know me are often subjected to regular mind-deterioration updates via facebook and those that don’t may imagine me to be sipping whisky in the lowlands, writing the Great American Novel the way it was always meant to be – by an Englishman in Scotland – so I shouldn’t judge. Continue reading “Previously On Battlestar Galactica”
One week without alcohol or coffee: A psychonaut’s cautionary tale
Tuesday 12th June seems a world away. I’d been on a two day bender around the city; walking here and there; taking the odd photo; talking to people almost as much as I spoke to myself; and crawling in and out of pubs along the way. I woke up the next day fully dressed with all the lights still on, Bowie still stuck on his Berlin Trilogy and cold chips too close not to be breakfast. I clawed at recollection more smoke and dust than memory and came to the conclusion that it’d been fun; but what now? I need a dog, not another hangover. Continue reading “One week without alcohol or coffee: A psychonaut’s cautionary tale”
Review but not really: Whyte & Mackay, Special Blend
Last week I wrangled some volunteer hack work with the Flaneur Art Blog for this year’s Edinburgh Festival. They said there was no need to wait until the festival itself started and mentioned, among other things, a desire for people to write for a new food section; the words ‘whisky reviews’ were used – well okay then. Continue reading “Review but not really: Whyte & Mackay, Special Blend”
Safe. Secure. Reasonable. Informed: Coming off Sertraline
DISCLAIMER: The following post took place over the course of several days of teeth gnashing. Its contents are intended for my own amusement only. Any medical advice adhered to that results in your own suicide and/or the murders of your loved ones in the most bloodthirsty and inhumane way conceivable is neither my responsibility nor anyone else’s, you fiend.
If you get treated like a patient, you’re apt to act like one.
– Frances Farmer
So I made up my mind and will not be going back to Teesside, nor will I complete the year. From here on in, this guff comes straight from the heart.
I’m going to mention mental health now but I promise I will touch upon it as briefly as I’m able; then we can get back to talking zoo animals, gig reviews and reasons why the white man will be the death of us all. Continue reading “Safe. Secure. Reasonable. Informed: Coming off Sertraline”
Ten opinions from Edinburgh Zoo
Back in December, along with several billion pushchairs, I visited Edinburgh’s pandas. Four months later and one mating season already given up on, I decided I didn’t care what everybody’s favourite asexual bamboo aficionados were up to; instead I wondered how all the other animals were feeling.
1. Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes)
A Haunted House and Falling off the Danish Bandwagon
So it turns out that the squirrels that scamper around the bounding bunnies to the refrain of robins and mischievous magpies (sorry) are the descendants of the very rodents my great grandmother enjoyed watching before she died.
Yep, call it coincidence or providence, but this old hospital I’ve moved into is where my mother’s nan spent her final months. She passed away metres from where I type these words. Continue reading “A Haunted House and Falling off the Danish Bandwagon”
Lukewarm turkey and an ode to the single-bed
Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.
– William Gibson
It’s good that, isn’t it; I love that sentiment. Saw it on a t-shirt the other week and looked it up. Not familiar with William Gibson, but from scanning his wikipedia entry he sounds interesting. I think Rickerby told me about him, back in the day.
Anyway, it was with this thought in mind that I decided to radically cut down on the little white pills proffered by a long line of GPs with an angle on going straight. None of them have ever been able to adequately explain what is ‘wrong’ with me anyway; and, oddly, most seem to lambaste my desire to find a label, calling them ‘unhelpful’. Continue reading “Lukewarm turkey and an ode to the single-bed”
My return to university and another death in the family
A girl I developed a debilitating and unrequited crush on once called me a drifter down her perfect nose. We’d met at a staff party; I’d been drinking warm beer in a friend’s apartment, watching England lose to Germany with the sound off, A-ha on repeat and bag of something expensive went up my nose before I could leave the house.
I’d just broken up with my girlfriend and everything was a mess, then this divinely sculpted creature asked me to dance. I took offence at the drifter tag, but then again I was younger and stupider back then – now it seems to fit.
This week marks the 11th time in seven years that I’ve bundled my life into a van and driven off at speed. I moved to Middlesbrough from Glasgow six months ago on an awkward and ill-planned mission to grab a bachelor degree by the balls before the price went up; I seemed to be doing quite well but somehow it didn’t seem to fit. Continue reading “My return to university and another death in the family”
I read an interesting article the other day in which Stewart Lee raises a terrifying argument about Scottish Independence; a point summed up succinctly in the sub heading: The loss of 5.5 million Scots would mean 5.5 million fewer voices to say no to Cameron’s cronies. As you may know, there are more pandas in Scotland than Tory MPs.
Now I was living in Glasgow last year and I voted for Alex Salmond’s SNP, thinking it a good thing as I’d recently walked up the Wallace Monument and had rekindled a healthy sense of colonial guilt; instead, it turns out I was shooting myself and every other red-blooded English liberal in the foot. Continue reading “Magnetic Gandhi”
A Gentle Hogmanay for Edinburgh’s Pandas
Tian Tian (Sweetie) and Yang Guang (Sunshine), Edinburgh Zoo’s latest guests, are “settling in well” and “very happy” according to our well informed and friendly guide during my Christmas visit to the zoo’s new £250,000 panda enclosure. Continue reading “A Gentle Hogmanay for Edinburgh’s Pandas”