Wednesday, November 29, 2006

That would do it

Just outside Glasgow this morning, there was an announcement:

"We apologise for the late running of this train, which is due to being slower than normal on the approach to Glasgow Queen Street"

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Nice show

After a couple of fairly miserable weekends, today was officially a nice crisp autumn day. Just the occasion for a spontaneous cross-town walk to the Dean gallery, there to see Consider the Lilies, a selection of paintings from the McManus galleries in Dundee. The galleries are getting a makeover at the moment, and Edinburgh (and later, London) are the beneficiaries.

For once, I get the timing right and have a pleasant experience, as it's not too busy and I can have scones and coffee first without screaming children who are being dragged round by their earnest parents. The show itself is excellent and makes me ashamed never to have visited the McManus. After it re-opens, I should go. The work does play to my personal likes, having a lot of strong figurative work from 1910 to 1940, with none of that suspect continental what-do-you-call-it?, cubo-futurism or something. Whatever that bloke Picasso does, anyway. Many artists are unknown, or half known, and as so often, the lesson is that there are many more good painters around that our collective canon of "good art" can contain. David Foggie and John Maclauclan Milne are entirely new to me. Hugely impressive too is James Gunn's portrait of his wife, as flashy as a Sargent, but painted with genuine affection and observation - her gorgeous Paris clothes a study in themselves.

Also a fine selection of etchings by Ian Fleming (no, not that one) on display downstairs.

All in all, a suitable prelude to my own efforts this afternoon.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Back again

Sorry about the lack of service. My excuse for the last few days is that I was being ill under a duvet with only a copy of Alan Bennett's Untold Stories and a pack of Immodium for company.

Much better now, and I hope that that was my spell of ill health for this winter.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


The re-formed Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band rocked the Usher Hall last night, and I was lucky enough to be there. I've read various accounts of how entertaining, funny and anarchic their shows used to be, but have now experienced it for myself. Just think how great they must have been when fronted by Vivian Stanshall.

I have now seen the Head Ballet. And more shows should have fireworks, robots and musical legs. And saws. And spoons.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Unafraid in Norwegian

I got the chance to don my anorak at lunchtime: the Norwegian submarine Uredd was docked next to Ocean Terminal at Leith. The second floor gave an excellent viewpoint from which to watch its refueling.

Monday, November 06, 2006

I'm on the train

Although my new job continues to look promising and everyone is nice and friendly, the commuting is pissing me off. First Scotrail publish a work of fiction in which they claim that the train from Edinburgh to Glasgow takes between 50 and 55 minutes. The reality is more like an hour most days, not to mention the delights of cancellations and the consequent sardine-like packing of bodies. A biased estimate, as we statisticians say.

I think some Zen-like detachment is needed. I already try to read, but other people can be very distracting. Maybe I need an iPod.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Parcel for you

The Guardian tells us that Christmas is being delivered this year by the world's biggest container ship. If I still lived nearby, I could have gone to Felixstowe and seen it come in. And the containers would no doubt have been placed on trains and rumbled past my house.