Archives » 2009 » November

Celtic At The Rock?

Scottish Cup 4th round draw:-

Morton or Dumbarton v Celtic.

Big incentive to win the replay on Saturday.

That goes for Morton too, of course.

Either way I don’t hold out much hope of a long Cup run this year.

And my trip to Stirling has been rescheduled before Christmas, after all.

Once upon a time postponed matches weren’t required to be played in December or January. I suppose it helps prevent fixture build up.

December will be busy, though.

5 Dec 09 H Morton
8 Dec 09 H Peterhead
12 Dec 09 H East Fife
15 Dec 09 A Stirling Albion
19 Dec 09 H Alloa Athletic
26 Dec 09 A Clyde

Morton 0-0 Dumbarton

Scottish FA Cup, Round 3, Cappielow Park, 28/11/09

This was a clean sheet against a team from a higher league who have scored nine goals in their past two games. A fair result, then.

But that’s 180 minutes we’ve played against Morton this season and not put the ball in the back of their net.

And there’s no Sons TV because of a ludicrous SFA contract with a certain broadcasting organisation. (Who probably haven’t and won’t broadcast any footage of the game.)

Plus my trip to Stirling next Saturday has been kiboshed by the replay.*

Looks like I’ll not be seeing the Sons again till Boxing Day.

*Time was there had to be 100 or more miles between the two clubs’ grounds before a Saturday Scottish Cup replay was sanctioned.

Time Of The Season

I know Christmas starts in about August for some shops (especially with the Children’s Annuals coming out then) but most nowadays have the decency to get at least Halloween, if not Bonfire Night, out of the way before setting out the bunting and the baubles.

(That’s the only bonus about the commercialisation of Halloween. It fends off Christmas for a bit. When I was a lad there wasn’t much “ghostly” tat, apart from perhaps paper masks or witches’ hats, on sale in the run up to All Hallows Eve. Certainly no pumpkins and none of the peculiar orange and black creations that seem to be the marker these days. We had our guising costumes made for us by the sweat of mother’s brow – or sewing fingers.)

In Kirkcaldy, Santa visits the Mercat and the town’s Christmas lights are switched on halfway through November but at least the latter has some point to it, as it brightens up the dark winter afternoons.

Yesterday, though, the 27th of November, in my local corner shop I saw for sale not Christmas stuff, oh no, but creme eggs.

Creme eggs! In November. The leftovers from last Easter have barely cleared away.

It takes all the anticipation away.

Year round creme eggs. It’s just not right.

Dundee’s Art Deco Heritage 5. Lilybank Mews.

Since my younger son is now living in Dundee I’ve become even more acquainted with that city. This building is quite close to his flat and I came across it as I was making my way home after moving him in. Next time I took the camera but it was getting late and quite dark when these pictures were taken.

Lilybank Mews

This is a stitch of three photos I took of this building which is situated on the corner of Arbroath Road, Dundee.

Here is a close up of the central entrance.

Lilybank Mews Centre Entranceway

There is interplay between horizontal and vertical so typical of Deco buildings but not much by way of extravagant flourish.

I thought it must have been a mill at one time. It had obviously recently been converted to flats, though.

I’ve just discovered it was formerly known as Lilybank Works and the “distinctive chamfered corner and recessed entrance” dates from 1949, very late for Deco styling.

Also called the Taybank Works it was the last of Dundee’s jute mills. There is a photo here of the building still sporting a Tay Spinners Ltd sign. The new Taybank works apparently replaced Lilybank Foundry after the Second World War.

Of the jam, jute and journalism, for which Dundee used to be famed, what is there now left?

Presumed Innocent?

The Digital Economy Bill seems to be the latest step in the UK Government’s apparently ongoing project to restrict and undermine the civil liberties of its citizens.

The bill contains provisions to remove internet access from alleged illegal file sharers even if they have not been convicted of any such offence. This strikes at one of the most fundamental underpinnings of the justice system.

Charles Stross puts the argument against the bill here.

There is also a petition you can sign up to – if you’re a UK citizen (sorry, subject) – on the No. 10 Downing Street web site.

Manchester United 0-0 Besiktas*

Old Trafford, 25/11/09

I’ve just watched the second half of the “Champions League” match on TV tonight.

And what a deeply dispiriting experience it was. Totally devoid of interest and, apart from a flurry in added time, any spectacle whatever. I was knackered, though, and couldn’t be bothered even switching channels

I know Utd fielded their Carling Cup side but Besiktas are on a seven game unbeaten run in Turkey.

So this is what passes for high class football? Both teams were entirely run-of-the-mill.

And Rangers were knocked out of this competition last night.

I don’t normally bother with these “big” teams live on TV. If this is what’s on offer I’m glad I don’t pay the Rupert tax and ITV’s viewing figures for their flagship football programme will surely decline.

I genuinely get more entertainment from watching Dumbarton in the Second Division. Hell, even in the Third. Partly that’s the live experience, being involved, shouting encouragement, decryng the ref and assistants, partly the emotional involvement. But the whole package is so much less hyped and more grounded. (Even a humping you can resign yourself to as being good for the soul.)

What I saw tonight was highly paid professional players being unable to pass the ball to a colleague, or make a cross get past the first defender, or running up blind alleys. Not likely to make me want to come back for more.

*I know the result was 0-1 but the goal was in the first half. The second was all I saw and it was a snooze-fest.

Well Court (Dean Village)

Well Court

The walk I took in Edinburgh along the Water Of Leith a few weeks ago also revealed to me Well Court, which has recently been restored. (The above picture originates from the site in the link.)

The buildings here were a delight to come across. So quaint and Olde Worlde; obviously recently refurbished yet with a sympathetic touch.

I took a photo of this interesting cluster and juxtaposition of roofs and windows. I love the way the gutter goes across the window towards the top left of the picture

Part Of Well Court

Well Court is by the Water Of Leith, over the water from Dean Village. Here’s my photo of the clocktower.

Clocktower At Well Court

The buildings are clustered round a square entered through an archway. One corner had this mediæval style stairwell open to the elements. Nice ironwork on the balconies.

 Open Stairwell At Well Court

One of Edinburgh’s relatively hidden pleasures.

Kaeti On Tour by Keith Roberts

Sirius, 1992, 320 p

Kaeti On Tour

The same conceit as in Kaeti And Company (see my review here) runs through this collection. In each of the nine stories in the book we have the same repertory company of names for the actors but they “play” different characters in the different tales. An addition to the ensemble seems to be Tennoch, a Glaswegian woman, who pops up in “The Green Place” and subsequently. Some of the stories are fine, if inconsequential, but they are all let down by this extremely irritating framing device. There is, too, within every story a quite prodigious use of the words “leastways” or “least” to start either a sentence or a subordinate clause, which does not just happen in Kaeti’s “voice;” others join in with this annoying practice. Thankfully, this time the linking pages between the stories do not feature any dialogue between “the author” and Kaeti but instead feature only the actors.

The two most successful stories, to my mind, were “Kaeti And The Village” – set in somewhere like Oradour-Sur-Glane – and Londinium, in Roman London just as Boudicca’s hordes are about to sack the city. Both would have benefited from being lifted out of the context of this book.

In some of the other tales the characters too often drifted without explanation between different realities and/or times, lending the whole an insubstantial air. Had the characters been separately defined this might have been less of a drawback.

Roberts was a fine writer. It’s a pity his obsession with his creation “Kaeti” blinded him to the faults inherent in this repertory company concept.

Black Holes

I know the description is kind of metaphorical and reflects a Gosh-Wow! attitude to the phenomenon and that light can’t escape from below the event horizon.

But they aren’t!

Black, that is.

Not always, anyway.

Certainly not if they are attracting material from nearby stars. Then they must be the biggest firework displays in the universe.

For example:-

Black hole

The artist’s impression comes from
http://www.gwu.edu/~sps/Society%20of%20Physics%20Students%20%28SPS%29/Events/A136FC42-F9B5-46A5-A0CB-F0007B262E14_files/Black-hole.jpg.

Here’s another nice one showing material from a nearby star bleeding into the accretion disc.

Accretion disc

That is from https://lasers.llnl.gov/programs/images/nasa_black_hole.jpg.

Not at all bad for something that’s described as black.

F C Cludgie?

No game today.

So I might as well (re*)post the following.

When I was a Chemistry student at Glasgow University, way back when, the student Chemical Society was known as The Alchemists’ Club. Among its many functions was providing the team for an annual University Challenge with Strathclyde Chemistry students. (The year I was in the team we creamed them. Another of our team members loved quizzes so much he went on to the full University team and later appeared on Mastermind. Hello, Tam.)

However the most popular of the Alchemists’ Club’s endeavours was running a football league for students. The participants were allowed to choose their team names. With typical undergraduate, or indeed post-graduate, humour a fair few tended towards the rude but there were also word plays on the names of well known European teams of the time.

To get it out of the way first, there was the fairly obvious Arselona. A team of students whose studies straddled various disciplines called themselves Inter Course. Unless my memory serves me incorrectly there was also a bunch called Surreal Madrid. Another good one was Us Pissed Dossers, in homage to the Hungarians of Ujpest Dosza. But my personal favourite was No Time Toulouse. (I’ve always been partial to a pun; especially one that straddles two languages.)

No doubt inspiration for these creations was derived from the wonderful chutzpah of the works team of a firm of Glasgow bread bakers who adopted the magnificent moniker of A C Milanda. They even took up the red and black striped shirts of the more famous Italian team which has a similar name.

I can only imagine what such jokesters would have made of CFR Cluj.

Milanda bread is long gone. but it seems there is still an A C Milanda.

*Edited to add:- Old age must be creeping up on me. I’d forgotten I’d posted the bulk of this already. I’ve only just seen it again on looking for something else. Serves me right for composing posts elsewhere and not scrubbing them from that file immediately. That earlier post has now been deleted.

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