Archives » 2009 » October

“Trick Or Treating”

No. It’s not.
It’s guising.
Or at least it ought to be. Certainly in these islands.

“Trick or treat” is the American version.

Dunfermline’€™s Art Deco Heritage 4. Canmore Street

I came across this building by chance walking through a lower part of the town, after I’€™d been to the Abbot House.
It’€™s a Christian bookshop now. What it was originally I’€™ve no idea.

Canmore Street Building From Left

There’s some nice detailing* above the windows. It’s more deco this side (west) than on the other.

Canmore Street Building From Right

This east side has a nice curve towards the back, though.

Canmore Street Building Roofline

Great embellishment on the roofline. Except above the doorway the *zig-zag pattern goes all the way along the building and round the corner.

Canmore Street Building Doorway

The doorway has some fine moulding work above it.

Hallowe’en Reading

Don’t forget Writers’ Bloc’s Hallowe’en show tomorrow night at the Pleasance Cabaret Bar.

Here’s the blurb:-

Late October is traditionally the time of year when our ancestors huddled closer to the fireside, glancing fearfully now and then at the rattling door lest the storm outside was about to unleash some frightful creature of the night upon them.

Well, never mind all that bollocks. This is the 21st century, after all, and the thing to do at Halloween is huddle round your pint, as those creatures of the night Writers’ Bloc read tales of mayhem and immoderate threat in the Pleasance Cabaret Bar. The show is called THE SLIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE.

This outing does promise a more feminine — if not necessarily softer — side of Bloc than usual, with Morag Edward, Jane McKie and new comrade Kirsti Wishart all presenting new stories for your delectation.

All this plus the usual undead European white males. We can’t promise you the creme de la creme, but perhaps the creme de la slime …

Writers appearing at “The Slime of Miss Jean Brodie” will include:
Stefan Pearson, Morag Edward, Jane McKie, Kirsti Wishart, Andrew C. Ferguson, Andrew J. Wilson and Gavin Inglis.

Show starts 8pm, Thursday 29th October, Pleasance Cabaret Bar, 60 The Pleasance, Edinburgh. Admission 3 pounds for the creme de la creme or 2 pounds concessions.

Writers’ Bloc.

Even Less Well Known Names Of Scottish Football Teams.

From Scottish Junior* Football, West Region:-

Arthurlie (Barrhead.)
The Glasgow based teams Petershill (Springburn) Pollok (Newlands) Vale Of Clyde (Tollcross) Ashfield (Possilpark) Glasgow Perthshire (Possilpark) Benburb (Govan) St. Anthony’€™s (Cardonald) and St Roch’€™s (Provanmill) -€“ two more Saints!
Glenafton Athletic (New Cumnock.)
Dunipace (Denny.)
Thorniewood United (Uddingston.)
Vale Of Leven (Alexandria. Not the one in Egypt; the one two miles from Dumbarton. Though mail has been known to travel via the Near East and be stamped “Try Scotland”€ before reaching there.)
Royal Albert (Larkhall -€“ see first post.)
Ardeer Thistle (Stevenston.)
Craigmark Burntonians (Dalmellington.)
Kello Rovers (Kirkconnel.)

Other good names here are Kilbirnie Ladeside, Auchinleck Talbot and the quite splendid appellation Kirkintilloch Rob Roy – whose pavilion has Art Deco features!

Central Region:-
Arniston Rangers (Gorebridge.)
Kinnoull, and Jeanfield Swifts (both Perth.)
Downfield, East Craigie and Lochee Harp (all Dundee.)

North Region:-
Banks O’ Dee, East End, Lewis United, Sunnybank, Glentanar, Hillhead (all Aberdeen.)
Buchanhaven Hearts (Peterhead.)
Culter (Peterculter.)
Hall Russell, and Hermes (both Bridge Of Don.)
Bishopmill United (Elgin.)
Deveronside (Banff.)
Islavale (Keith.)
Parkvale (Portlethen.)

Montrose Roselea, Crossgates Primrose (whose ground is Humbug Park!) and Dundonald Bluebell are cracking names and there is a Lochgelly Albert.

Dundonald Bluebell were, I believe, the first team for which Jim Baxter, a legend in Scottish football in the 1960s and 70s, played.

Again has pictures of the plush or quaint grounds these clubs play on.

*The winners of the top Junior leagues have in the past few seasons gained entry to the Scottish Cup. Junior, in the Scottish Football sense, does not mean for young players. It is merely a different administrative grade.

Dene Bridge

This is Thomas Telford’s Dene Bridge over the Water Of Leith viewed from the West. I’ve crossed this bridge many times but hadn’t seen it from below before (except on television.) You don’t get any idea when you’re on it just how high it is nor of its detailing.

The photo is a stitch of three (I think I didn’t quite get my angles right so the match isn’t perfect. It also shows only two of the three spans. Too many trees in the way.)

Dene Bridge

Here are the individual photos.

Dene Bridge 1

Dene Bridge 2

Dene Bridge 3

This is the view from the other (East) side.

Dene Bridge other side

This thing is massive.

Dumbarton 1-0 Arbroath

League goals against predictor:- 95

The Rock, 24/10/09

A win’s a win, however narrow. Especially welcome when it’s October and it’s the first home win of the season. And with the added bonus of a clean sheet as well.

There’s now distance between us and bottom place.

Next Saturday is another big test, though.

The Slime Of Miss Jean Brodie

The latest Writers’ Bloc reading is on Thursday this week at The Pleasance Cabaret Bar, Edinburgh, 8 pm. Entry is only £3 (£2 for concessions.)

It’s the annual Halloween special, hence the title.

Here’s the poster.

Slime Mss Jean

Go along. You know you want to.

You’ll be safe. I’m not reading.

Ruled Britannia by Harry Turtledove

Roc, 2003, 560p

It’s a weakness, I know, but I can’t resist Altered History.

This one is set in a world where the Spanish Armada wasn’t scattered by Protestant winds but instead succeeded in deposing Elizabeth of England who is now languishing in the Tower of London.

Aside: The invasion did not go beyond the Scottish border. How likely that would have been given that at the time the Scots were, to Spanish eyes, even more heretical than the English, is questionable. While it does make the title appropriate as the Romans used the word Britannia to describe the parts of (Great) Britain they held, it is not Turtledove’s focus.

Our main narrator is none other than William Shakespeare – a brave move by Turtledove as any comparisons can only be invidious. Cue, though, lots of Shakespearian allusions said by, or mostly to, the character in the book. The narration is shared with one of the Spanish invaders, Félix Lope De Vega y Carpio – a historical figure, a playwright himself, in Spanish literature second only to Cervantes and of whom, to my shame, I had never previously heard – who in the book thus admires Shakespeare but is also an inveterate ladies’ man. Another agonist is, of course, Christopher Marlowe. Yet more references accrue. There are walk-on parts for Elizabeth, Robert Cecil, William Cecil and Francis Bacon. Throughout, there is ample opportunity to indulge in a series of Elizabethan and Spanish epithets, botchy core, mooncalf, louse of a lazar, callet, trull, cunning woman, maricón, bruja, puta and phrases such as aroint thee, etc.

The plot concerns the secret engagement of Shakespeare by Robert Cecil (Lord Burghley) into writing a play, Boudicca, set in a previous invaded Britannia, the performance of which is intended to ignite a revolt against the Spaniards when the time is ripe. At the same time he is commissioned by the conquerors to write King Philip, a play in praise of the ailing Spanish King.

During all the subsequent strutting and fretting (Turtledove’s got me at it now) some of the characters wax a bit too poetical, often long-windedly, which tends to break up what flow there is. An English law enforcer, Constable Strawberry, constantly mangles his words – even more than Mrs Malaprop – as in the character Dogberry from Much Ado About Nothing, an affectation that in Turtledove’s hands I found tiresome.

Things do speed up markedly, though, when the old King dies, the time comes for the play to be put on and the inevitable revolt begins. It may not be a coincidence that there is little opportunity for blank versification in this portion of the novel.

Ruled Britannia is not anything other than a read for entertainment. A passing, or indeed close, acquaintance with Shakespeare, Marlowe and De Vega’s works may heighten the experience but, overall, don’t look for insight such as you would find in even the most minor of their efforts.

After writing this review I found a rather good summation of the book, its faults and felicities at

Early Poppies

See my previous rants about politicians and poppies here and here.

Well. This year Jack Straw sported one in the House of Commons on the 20th October!

That’s ridiculous. It’s at least 20 days before Remembrance Sunday (or 27 if it’s the Sunday after the 11th November.)

Doesn’t the Queen get to pick which Sunday it will be if the 11th is on a Wednesday?

Edited to add. I spotted Gordon Brown with one at Prime Minister’s Questions on the 21st (yesterday) yet on the lunchtime news yesterday it said Dame Vera Lynn was to launch this year’s poppy appeal.

How come politicians get there first?

Re-edited: The Conservative spokeswoman on last night’s Question Time on BBC 1 had on a quite ridiculous effort: not the standard issue at all. It was as if she was saying my poppy’s bigger than your poppy and so I’m better than you. (Or more patriotic; or something.) It was actually more like the special ones the Queen wears. I’d have been more impressed if she’d had on a normal one like the general public buys – no green leaf. That would have been enough of a contrast with the other panellists.

The Real Patriots.

My point about right wing Republicans not accepting Democrats as legitimate Presidents while the same is not true of Democrats vis-à-vis Republican Presidents has been underlined by Michael Tomasky in Monday’s Guardian.

There is just no end to the lunacy of some people.

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