July 24, 2007

O Flower of Scotland,
When will we see
Your like again,
That fought and died for,
Your wee bit Hill and Glen,
And stood against him,
Proud Edward’s Army,
And sent him homeward,
Tae think again.

The Hills are bare now,
And Autumn leaves
lie thick and still,
O’er land that is lost now,
Which those so dearly held,
That stood against him,
Proud Edward’s Army,
And sent him homeward,
Tae think again.

Those days are past now,
And in the past
they must remain,
But we can still rise now,
And be the nation again,
That stood against him,
Proud Edward’s Army,
And sent him homeward,
Tae think again.

O Flower of Scotland,
When will we see
your like again,
That fought and died for,
Your wee bit Hill and Glen,
And stood against him,
Proud Edward’s Army,
And sent him homeward,
Tae think again.

(Ok, so Scotland doesn’t have a national anthem, in the same way that England doesn’t have a national anthem. But I love the song. The fact it’s, what, only 40 years old? Bothers me not.)


July 9, 2007

So the tories want a higher taxation on alcohol. Great! The reasoning, of course, is that if alcohol costs more, then they’ll have solved Britain’s alcohol dependency. Hmm, gee, I don’t think so.

Who is the taxation supposed to hit? If it’s supposed to hit the binge drinkers (allow me to label people so crassly into “binge drinker” and “non-binge drinker” for one moment), then it’s a lost cause. People enjoy drink. If you really fancy getting wasted on a Wednesday morning/afternoon/evening, then you’ll do it — the cost is not what matters, the alcohol is. With alcohol still available, albeit at higher cost, people will still drink to excess. All that might happen is that purchasing patterns may be affected.

They argue that the price hike shouldn’t really affect “normal” people, or so they said on the news, as if to suggest that we can all feel happy and proud of ourselves that we aren’t binge drinkers. It’s always black and white like that when politicians try to push something through which doesn’t affect them so greatly.

In my varied experience, the price of alcohol, albeit not in real terms, has risen by about 50 – 100% in the last 6 or 7 years. I’d hazard that this equates to a rise in real terms also. What has this done to curb binge drinking?

Well, I’d argue none. If the news reports that are to be believed, we’re all lucky to have any livers left.

No, taxation is not the answer to alcohol dependency. Taxation is the response of a politician looking to make an impact within the timespan he has in office or looking for his/her 5 minute spot on TV.

The “cure” to a national alcohol dependency, should one be required, is much deeper rooted, and requires a generation or two to fix. No knee-jerk reaction can solve it. What it requires is:

  • A sensible education on various drugs and substances introduced in primary school. Warts and all. Don’t scare kids into not trying, but do make them aware early on of the long-term effects of alcohol, nicotine, etc, and the short term effects of over-indulgence. Education prior to experience allows for the development of personal context, a greater understanding of why we feel good under the influence of these drugs, and what the cost of that good feeling actually is. Avoiding the subject is like suggesting that avoiding sex education will make teenagers less horny.
  • Investment in sports clubs, arts clubs, libraries, arts centres, and organised events. Availability of evening classes. Not only that, drop mail around all doors listing the various facilities, groups and classes available to residents. Whenever something like this is opened up, it’s always for kids — why should anybody over the age of 20 be excluded? The old mantra really does ring true, that if you give people an opportunity to better themselves in a non-condescending way, then they’ll jump in, no matter their age. With gusto, provided they don’t feel discriminated in any way. We consume alcohol to excess because it’s the only context in common British society where we’re allowed to express ourselves.
  • A reversal of this childish attitude that personally inflicted illness from legal substances wastes NHS resources. High-consumption alcohol and cigarette users have already paid their way in advance. Taxation is already high, let’s not make it any higher. Be understanding that, until relatively recently, people were taught that smoking was good for us.
  • An expectation that the reversal of generations of high alcohol consumption cannot be achieved within a few years.
  • No legislation on taxation, or on the restriction of licensed operating hours. I’m uncertain whether we need to impede alcohol advertising further, since alcohol adverts are already not allowed to emphasise alcohol in any way. Don’t artificially stop pubs from opening — let the market control itself. If there are too many pubs opening, then your local council isn’t doing enough to counteract that. Artificial restriction is not a good thing. It’s totalitarian.

The UK could overcome its alcohol dependency if it so desired. Unfortunately, the politicians don’t seem to be serious when it comes to combating the problem. Perhaps the local councils should lead the way on this one.


July 4, 2007

Ok. So who’s the girl, I hear you ask. Well, I can’t tell you that. I shouldn’t tell you all that much, actually, just in case. I know the internet’s a big place, but I should really keep specifics out of this.

So what’s so special about her?

She’s astoundingly intelligent. She’s more intelligent than I, which is the most crazy turn on I could possibly have imagined.

She’s independent. There’s no feeling that she’s waiting to fall into Mr. Right’s arms directly before rushing off to the chapel to get married, thereafter producing or rearing children. I’m so far from being an emotional crutch with her that to go out with her is a compliment.

She’s older than me. While not a requirement in itself, with age comes maturity and I am perhaps mature beyond my years. Either that or I appreciate maturity in others.

She’s physically beautiful. She has the most amazing eyes which I could — and do have your sick bag on standby — … I could just stare into those eyes forever. The little way the corner of her mouth curls up at one end when she’s thought of something clever. The gut laugh when we make the same joke. The colour of her hair, the way she walks, the fucking shoes she wears. I want to spend every single waking moment of my life with this woman.


Only problem? We live particularly far apart. I’m willing to test the water on that one though.


July 3, 2007

You know a country has a, shall we say, irreverent sense of humour when a potentially deadly terrorist attack on that country results in a joke email, and a general feeling of “Fuck ye!”

I copy here for your benefit.

If this had happened in a US airport, compared to Glasgow: Eyewitness accounts

USA: “Oh my God! There was a man on fire, he was running about. I just ran for my life. I thought i was gonna die, he got so close to me.”

Glasgow: “Cunt wis running aboot on fire, so a ran up n gave him a good boot, then decked him”

USA: “I just wanna get home, away from here. I just wanna get home, I thought I was gonna die.”

Glasgow: “Here, Tam, ahm no leaving here till ahm oan a fuckin’ plane!”

USA: “There was pandemonium, people were running in all directions, we didn’t know what was happening. I thought I was gonna die.”

Glasgow: “Fuck this fir a kerry oan. ‘moan we’ll get a pint in.”

USA: “We thought he was gonna blow us all up. He had a gas canister, and was trying to get into his trunk, I thought we were gonna die, I just ran for my life.”

Glasgow: “Ah swaggered by the motor that wis on fire, and the dafty couldnae even open his boot, he wis in fire annaw so a ran up n gave him a good boot to the baws.”

USA: “There was this huge explosion, it sounded like war, I thought I was gonna die.”

Glasgow: “There wis a bang, yi know when yi throw BO basher intae a fire it wis like that!”

USA: “I’m too traumatized even to speak, I thought I was gonna die.”

Glasgow: “here mate, gies 2 minutes till a phone ma auld dear, if am gonna be oan the telly a want her tae tape it.”

Finally, two quotes from an eye-witness, one John Smeaton. These are real. John surpassed himself on the national news channels. The interviewer asked “What message do you have for the bombers?” He replied “this is Glasgow, we’ll just set about you.”

John took part in an interview on CNN and they asked how he restrained the guy and he said “me and other folk were just tryin to get the boot in and some other guy banjoed him!”

For the record, I enjoyed John Smeaton’s interviews, and thought it was excellent to get somebody on (inter)national TV who didn’t talk bollocks. He spoke the plain and simple truth. Find out more about John here.

In case anybody misinterprets, this is not a dig at the US, the email could equally have chosen many other nations in the western world. This is an example of the Glaswegian spirit of self-deprecation, masked within a smugly proud feeling that only here would people have behaved as they did. Lesson learned. Don’t mess with a Scotsman.


July 1, 2007

Ok. I have a couple more weeks of stuff, then I think I should be back for good. If I can’t maintain this blog properly, then I might do the reasonable thing and put it quietly to bed. I’ll say so if that’s my choice.

It’s been interesting times of late. I have quite a bit to mull over with regards to the love life before I post any of it.

Ever found the person you think you want to marry? Ever come to that conclusion within 24 hours of meeting them?

Spins the fucking mind around, does it not?