Scotland’s Art Deco Heritage 39: Bathgate (ii)

A couple more Art Deco buildings in Bathgate.

This one looks like an ex-Woolworths but is now a Poundland. Typical deco styling:-

Former Woolworths, Bathgate

Deco touches:-

Minor Art Deco, Bathgate

Bank of Scotland. This may be later but has deco elements, especially the tall window:-

Art Deco Style Bank, Bathgate

The Pavilion, an ex-cinema, isn’t truly deco as it was built in 1920 but it prefigures the style. Note the Rule of Three in the front windows and door:-

Former Pavilion Cinema, Bathgate

Luna: New Moon by Ian McDonald

Gollancz, 2015, 384 p.

 Luna: New Moon cover

Luna has been colonised. Its mineral resources mean vast wealth can be generated, or extracted. But Earth’s Moon has a thousand ways to kill; the slightest misplaced action, the merest moment of slackness make her the harshest of mistresses. And then there are the humans who have made their homes there….

Shoulder-sitting digital familiars connect the inhabitants to the data net. The Four Elementals – air, water, carbon, data – tick away on the chib in everyone’s eye. When the indicators run low the poor or jobless have to sell their piss for credit. Each breath is a hostage; unless you have a contract. Even the rich owe their carbon and water to the Lunar Development Corporation when they die.

Lunar life is stratified. Literally. The rich live in the depths, the poor in the Bairro Alto – with little to shield them from the intense solar radiation impacting the regolith above. Society runs on contracts; there is no criminal law. Courts are there to resolve disputes but in the last resort these can be settled in trial by combat. Life revolves around the Five Dragons, the big corporations whose activities dominate Lunar society. Some are focused on immediate objectives, others play the long game. While there are gritty places on this Luna we don’t see much of them. Most of the plot is concerned with the Corta family which runs the youngest Dragon, Corta Hélio, miners of helium-3 from the Lunar regolith (the resource which keeps the lights on down on Earth,) and their rivalries and friendships with the other Dragons. Set-piece descriptions of such mining and extraction processes seem well researched.

The premises on which McDonald builds his story are followed through to the end. Along the way he reminds us that humans need their darknesses. I particularly appreciated the concept of some of Luna’s inhabitants being affected by the Full Earth. McDonald might have called these individuals terratics but eschewed the term. The interactions and motivations of his characters are always convincing.

Some of Luna’s history is filled in via back-story but I’m not totally sure the logic of this cut-throat future stands close examination. As a metaphor, though, it’s fine. I doubt, however, that the character list at the book’s beginning is entirely necessary; I omitted it and didn’t feel its loss. The appended glossary of words borrowed from Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, Yoruba, Spanish, Arabic and Akan – this Luna is a polyglot place – did come in handy at times even if SF fans don’t really need such things. The story-telling is, as ever with McDonald, accomplished.

Luna is apparently the first of a duo of books. While leaving scope for a follow-up it did not seem unfinished.

PS: Did anyone else notice a connection between Boa Vista, Queen of the South, Estádio da Luz and CSK St Ekaterina?

Pedant’s corner:- I read an uncorrected proof copy. I did notice quite a few literals. I assume the proof-read will spot and get rid of the occasional mistypings, missing prepositions or articles, the accidentally repeated words (been been) the sometimes repeated information, any incidental switching of verb for gerund, the periodic disagreements between subject and verb.
The spelling of Prospekt wavered (c sometimes for k) and since there was also a Tereshkova Prospekt, Gargarin Prospekt should surely have read Gagarin. Despite most of the text being in British English (colour, manoeuvre) we unfortunately had ass for arse and math for maths. O2 and CO2 appeared for O2 and CO2, haemotomas (haematomas,) ambiance (ambience,) colloquiums (colloquia,) Marna (Marina,) over spilling (overspilling,) each of us has a differed mechanism for dealing with it (different?)
Congrats, though for “not all … are.”

Your Boys

I missed Andrew Neil’s rant against Daesh (Isis/Isil) on the BBC’s This Week last night as I was on the computer but the good lady didn’t and told me about it.

It is however available on You Tube and so I have now been able to hear it:-

Neil is certainly right in his assessment of civilisation as against nihilism and on the achievements of French culture but I think he is probably out by at least a factor of ten in his statement that in a thousand years Daesh will be dust. I suspect that will happen in many less than one hundred.

The curious echo that struck me on hearing Neil’s rant, though, was of a certain similarity to Norwegian football commentator Bjørge Lillelien’s famous list:-

Reelin’ In the Years 113: Ball Park Incident

It’s that time of year again. I was in a shopping mall yesterday and over the tannoy came the sound of I Wish it Could be Christmas Every Day. It was the nineteenth of November!

Still, it got me to thinking about the band that recorded it, Wizzard, a project that Roy Wood had (ahem) moved on to from The Move following a brief stint with the earliest incarnation of ELO.

I Wish it Could be Christmas Every Day never made it to no 1, among other things having the relative misfortune to be first released in the same year as Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody. I don’t suppose Roy Wood will complain. The residuals he gets every year for I Wish it Could be Christmas Every Day must keep him in mince pies well enough.

This was the world’s introduction to Wizzard. Their first single.

Wizzard: Ball Park Incident

Scotland’s Art Deco Heritage 39: Bathgate (i)

Not content with the Regal Cinema, Bathgate in West Lothian has another striking Art Deco building. It has excellent detailing, picked out in paint.

Art Deco Building, Bathgate

Corner roofline detail:-

Art Deco, Bathgate, Detail

Upper story and roofline:-

Art Deco Building, Bathgate

For Interzone 262

 Occupy Me cover

The latest book from Interzone for me to review arrived a few days ago.

It is Occupy Me by Tricia Sullivan.

My thoughts on previous examples of Sullivan’s work can be seen here, here and here.

The review of this one ought to appear in Interzone 262.

Scotland’s Art Deco Heritage 38: Regal Cinema, Bathgate

Fine Art Deco cinema in Bathgate, West Lothian. Still in use as a cinema.

The “Rule of Three” is at work here in the central windows and their mullions, the lines at either side of the “Regal” sign and on the rooflines:-

Regal Cinema Bathgate

From side:-

Regal Cinema, Bathgate, from side

Railings and steps. Good deco “triangle” drop in each rail’s line:-

Regal Cinema, Bathgate, Railings and Steps.

Fine Art Deco glass and detailing on the canopy facade:-

Regal Cinema, Bathgate, Canopy Detail

Showing alleyway at left side of Cinema (as you look at it.) Rule of three in the sets of windows here?

Regal Cinema, Bathgate, Opposite Side

There’s a good, strong finial above the window in this detail of the frontage:-

Regal Cinema, Bathgate, Detail at Front

Making and Keeping the Peace

I hadn’t meant to return to this subject but today’s G2 in The Guardian had an article by Paul Mason which more or less articulated my views. Except he put it better than I could.

Any action that does not take account of what the world – and especially the Middle East – will look like after the resolution of the conflict (and it is undoubtedly a conflict) is worse than useless, may in fact only stir up more trouble.

Keep Calm and Carry On

My posts of the past two days were scheduled in advance and so had no possibility of taking account of the events in Paris.

My sympathies and condolences are with the families and friends of the dead and injured.

It’s difficult to comprehend why people would commit such acts – or to see what utility they might have in the perpetrators’ own eyes. Do they really think it will change the policies of European governments, or that of the US? If they were under the influence – or part – of Daesh (as that organisation doesn’t like to be called) surely the motivation can not be desperation. As I understand it, despite some successes against them by Kurdish forces, their territorial gains have not been badly reversed so far.

I greatly fear that the intent was to provoke us into over-reaction – something that worked very well when Al Qaida flew those aeroplanes into the twin towers.

There is an undercurrent in the British news that the question of bombing targets in Syria will come before Parliament again. Mr Irresponsible is reported to be all in favour of this. All I would say to this is that – with one possible exception (and even that is by no means a given) bombing has never resolved a conflict. All that what we in Britain called the Blitz accomplished was to stiffen the resolve of the British public not to give in to Germany. Bomber Command’s operations over Germany similarly failed to affect civilian morale to any great extent. Or to bring about an end to that war. Only boots on the ground did that.

Is the British public (is David Cameron/) prepared to send troops to Syria? More importantly; if they are, is there a plan to hand over to someone (or group) competent as soon as possible after a successful end? Is there someone competent to hand over to?

I am sure there will be calls for greater powers to monitor personal communications over and above the ones recently promulgated – already increased recruitment to the security services and GCHQ has been announced. Might it just be possible this is one of the things the Paris attacks were planned to accomplish?

If our governments become more authoritarian as a result of wanting to be seen to be doing something then what precisely would we be defending ourselves against? Would we not then have become what we are fighting, if a bit more woolly around the edges.

Short of supplying those troops on the ground and an effective plan for post-conflict resolution in Syria – plus something along the lines of the Marshall Plan for economic regeneration – it is probably too late now for a similar endeavour in Iraq to bear much fruit – I do not think Britain can do anything to affect the situation in Syria materially.

The best thing may be to do nothing. Continue on our daily business. Go to gigs. Go to football matches. Go to restaurants. Do not change our actions in any way at all.

As those never issued WW2 posters had it, Keep Calm and Carry On.

Pluto’s Volcanoes of Ice

From The Daily Galaxy 10/11/15. Pluto has ice volcanoes. (Some sort of false colouring here obviously.)

Pluto's Volcanoes

These two are called Wright Mons and Piccard Mons:-

Wright Mons and Piccard Mons

The ice may be a mixture of water ice, nitrogen, ammonia, or methane.

From Astronomy Picture of the Day 14/11/15 comes this photo of Wright Mons:-

Wright Mons

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