The Girl with the Edinburgh Tattoo

Enjoy yourself – it's later than you think!

Archive for the month “December, 2014”

Happy Bah-humbug-hogmanay!

Hogmanay‘What are you doing tonight – for Hogmanay? Are you celebrating with Cath?’

Fraser smiled. ‘Easy seen you haven’t lived in Edinburgh for very long. When you’ve been here a few years you find it’s a case of just trying to get through the whole sorry farce with as little involvement as possible. Same goes for the Festival and all that crap!’

Patrick threw his head back and gave a throaty laugh which filled the small, sparsely furnished room. ‘You Scots are so funny. So cynical. You do not want to get involved with things that are on your doorstep.’ (Edinburied)

How true! The vast majority of people crowding into Edinburgh city centre tomorrow night will not be Edinburgh residents. We prefer to huddle up on the settee with our bottle(s), watching Only An Excuse and commenting on Jackie Bird‘s appearance. However I am due to break with tradition and head into town to be convivial with Italian friends. I’m sure their enthusiasm and love of life will be truly infectious but – to be on the safe side – I’ll probably bail out early and head back home. Well – Jackie does need the viewing figures!

Never Mind The Tinsel – It’s Nearly Over!


Merry Christmas or happy mid-winter, celebrate light over dark, Bacchanalian/Saturnalian festival time! Let’s put aside the whole business of whether you-know-who was born where-ever or when-ever there’s one thing we can be sure of in places where Christmas is celebrated – even if, as an individual, you decide to opt out – resistance is futile! Everywhere you look – it’s tinsel and yo-ho-ho, traditional Victoriana mixing with rampant consumerism, wall-to-wall Christmas on TV – there’s no way you can treat it as just another day!

Personally speaking I gave up on the whole nonsense years ago and it’s with some smugness that I observe the day’s ritual for other people – turn from that initial excitement of unwrapping the presents, getting the food started and drinking too early to – disappointment at the presents, stress that the food’s not going well and that the booze is running out to – eventually, at the end of the day – feeling the worse for wear and wanting to brain your relatives with the empty bottles! Do I miss those days? Not really!

So if you are ‘opting out’ – have a great day and here are some tips –

Don’t get intimidated by the tinsel! Avoid the telly by breaking out the box sets or look at your hard disk library with all those long films you’ve never got round to watching.

Start drinking early (I can agree with the traditionalists on that one!).

Get yourself a takeaway.

Weather permitting take a good bracing walk and greet people you meet with ‘Happy Whatever-religious-or-non-denominational-festival-you-choose’!

Feel smug that you’ve avoided the whole queasy mix of greedy consumerism and tacked-on sentimentality made to simmer in a pressure cooker of families being forced together on a day that can never live up to the hype.

Finally – and seriously – many people find themselves alone at this time of year. Or perhaps not even alone – but struggling with depression and not able to laugh at the whole tinsel farce. But to borrow the slogan – ‘Depression and loneliness are not just for Christmas’ … So if you’re thinking of helping someone who may be isolated and/or struggling at this time make it an early New Year resolution to get in touch and help out long term – it’ll do you the world of good too!

Check out the following sites if you feel you can (or need) help:

Game of thrown-ups!

salmond thumbsupWhat should Alex Salmond get for Christmas? I would say a large reality check with a good measure of humility on the side. In his mind, however, he already has the second-best present on his list ticked off. As well as polishing up a brass neck that can be seen from outer space, he’s buffing up the brass crown he was hoping to be wearing come this festive season. It won’t go to waste, though – as he’s already indicated he’s quite willing to plonk it on someone else’s head – probably Ed Miliband’s – come the new year. So, from would-be-king to kingmaker – we knew it all along, didn’t we?

Without sounding too Russell Brand about it all – it would seem that the vast majority of politicians are egomaniacs and can’t be trusted. With people like Alex Salmond and Nigel Farage particular examples, with their never-ending gall and talent (of a sort) to wring out every last ounce of self-promotion from a situation, however negative. It was particularly jaw-drop-inducing that big Eck should hold court on the day that crashing oil prices were heralding the scrapping of jobs in the Aberdeen area, once known as Trump-town. Not such a safe bet for funding a new nation then, eh?

That shouldn’t mean we should give up and not engage though. It was great that so many people got involved during the referendum debate, however a sad aspect was friends and families being torn apart and in many cases still not speaking to each other. The key is knowing that politics is a dirty old business and that people who were at each others’ throats one day will be doing deals the next, leaving us lot looking like a bunch of muppets if we continue to trade insults and wage war on each other.

But back to some other items on Alex Salmond’s Christmas list – perhaps the Game of Thrones box-set and a copy of Machiavelli’s The Prince? Some chance! He could act as adviser on both of those. I’ve heard he’s actually (gasp!) going to be taking some time off (we’ll see… ) to rest a repetitive strain injury on his wrist. I’ll resist making any cheap comments but merely say it must have been all that rubbing!

Style and Substance

G OsborneSo was Ed Balls right or wrong to mention George Osborne‘s hair during their heated joust in the Commons yesterday? If you ask me it was a case of being jea-LOUS as old Ballsup’s own image looks in serious need of a makeover – with the shredded wheat hair and Mr Blobby girth – he puts me in mind of that early Channel 4 curio Murun Buchstansangur (not familiar? check out the link below). Compare that with Osborne’s Kray-twin crop which when first unveiled – along with the voice coaching – edged him from effete posh-boy to hard man playing hardball.

Should it matter what our politicians look like? Is it not all a bit shallow? A reflection of our current image and celebrity obsessed society? Not a bit of it! From ancient Rome to the Kennedy dynasty, image – particularly the physical – has always been hugely important. Get in wrong, and you’re toast – remember Michael Foot and his donkey-jacket? But thankfully if you’re totally ridiculous, no amount of airbrushing is going to help – thank you, Sarah Palin.

Nearer home, I see it didn’t take Nicola Sturgeon long, after getting the keys to Bute House, to ditch the boxy pastel suits and instead adopt classic Mary Queen of Scots black. That – along with better make-up and hair – makes her look more like a serious stateswoman and less of a wee nippy sweetie. The transformation has been swift and subtle. Well done!

A final thought – and bit of advice to Cameron and Miliband – if you want to boost your image before the election, consider the Arthur Daley/dodgy used-car salesman look. Well, it seems to have worked for Nigel Farage

Farewell to a tubthumping, Bronte anti-hero

G BrownWell that’s it then… Gordon Brown – the great political beast himself – is finally lumbering out to pasture. Ah! the memories – dodgy encounters with chippy old women, romantic dalliances with Romanian princesses, the 10p tax debacle, the Granita deal, the Mumsnet biscuit debate, the temper, the tantrums… From Son of the Manse to Iron Chancellor to Saviour of the Union it’s a story that perhaps looks more exciting on paper than it was in real life. Who can forget his hopeful attempt to sex up his image by likening himself to the brooding Heathcliff? If he had to be a Bronte anti-hero though surely he was more of a Mr Rochester
To run with the Bronte/Austen theme, I see him as a curmudgeonly – ‘dour’ as we Scots say – foster uncle. You know he’s highly intelligent and he was possibly a bit of a lad back in the day, but you really hate the way he makes you read The Rights of Man before letting you go out, and oh – that temper… But you remember that time you fell in with the wrong crowd, they were threatening you with all kinds of cyber-bullying and were just about to empty your bank account…  But Uncle Gordon saved the day – coming on like a tub-thumping mix of Keir Hardie, Martin Luther King and Atticus Finch with a touch of Liam Neeson – seeing the bullies off. You felt you could forgive him for everything – including stopping your 10p in the pound pocket money…
So thanks for the memories, Uncle Gordon. You weren’t perfect but you’re a lot better than evil Uncle Tony who continues to hang around the local tearoom scamming the regulars. And unlike him you look so much happier at grass roots rather than at the top of the greasy pole. You’re not leaving the village just yet so I’m sure we can count on you to give those bad lads a good kicking if they come sniffing around again. Cheers… and gaun yersel!

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