Old friends and whisky

Jura Whisky 16 years old

I learnt a new word this weekend. Diurach.

Diurach is the Gaelic name for someone from the Isle of Jura, and I was lucky enough to have three of them staying with me this weekend (although one of them – a friend who I have known for twenty-five years – is a Hearach like me. But Harris is happy to let Jura borrow her for a wee while…) Continue reading

Eating Alone

vintage pepsi glass

How do you feel about going out and eating alone?

I know that a lot of people feel awkward about it. There are so many potential pitfalls. Is it okay to read a book or newspaper at the table in a restaurant? What about writing in a notebook? Is a laptop okay or is that a bit obnoxious? An iPad? Headphones? Continue reading

Street Art: sell it to me

This is an updated version of a guest post that originally appeared over at Thinly Spread last year. Big thank you to Christine for allowing me to republish it over here.

I don’t know if you’ve been following the most recent drama surrounded Banksy, but these two stories story sum it up quite well. Basically, a Banksy mural ‘disappeared’ from a wall in London, and fairly shortly afterwards it appeared for auction in the States. A debate has raged about whether street art belongs to anyone, whether it counts as theft if you remove art that was created illegally in the first place, whether street art makes sense if it’s removed from its original setting and context, whether preservation of street art is something we should be trying to achieve… and numerous other questions along those lines.

Personally, I think that street art really does only make sense if it’s, erm, in the street. Take a look at the incredible evolution of this piece, which provides a a visual documentation of the feud between Banksy and Robbo, and would not have been possible if an art collector had come along and removed it in its first incarnation.

In relation to the most recent debate, I think that an artwork that was widely interpreted as a comment on last year’s Jubilee celebrations makes much more sense if it’s left on the wall of a Poundland in Haringey than it would do in the living room of a wealthy collector, but that’s just me. I don’t make any claims to be an art expert, I just like to look at it. (And point you in the direction of posts that support my view…) Continue reading

Student Journalism: Just Another Story

You know how some writers shove a manuscript in the back of a drawer, convinced that it’s worthless drivel, then return to it years later and discover that it’s actually bloody brilliant and it secures them a six figure advance with a major publisher…

Well…

I’ve just had the opposite happen. I’ve spent the last ten or so years convinced that my student journalism days were golden, that I had spent my time at university effortlessly churning our several charming and original pieces of writing every week; from hilarious reviews to insightful interviews and ground-breaking news stories.

Sadly, when I recently unearthed a box full of old Student papers and peeled apart the curling, yellowing pages to read my first attempts at a writing career, it turned out that they were nearly all crap.

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High School: The Best Days of Our Lives?

high school basketball court

Someone put a picture up on Facebook the other day of a staff photo from my former High School. According to the silver lettering embossed on the frame, it’s from 1999. I would have been sixteen at the time, and these were the teachers I saw every single day, week in, and week out.

I am shocked by how few of them I remember.

There are two or three I am still in touch with – friends of my parents, or parents of my friends – who I could comfortably stand in the street and make conversation with. There are probably another dozen or so who I either liked or disliked a lot, and their names are still easy enough to call up in my mind. But then there’s the rest. A nameless mass of smiles and suits, made up of individuals who may or may not have once stood at the front of a classroom and imparted their wisdom to me.

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