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Cup Reward

Sons reward for beating Forfar yesterday is an away tie at Aberdeen in Round Four of the Scottish Cup.

Last time we played them was in a Cup quarter-final in 2014, also at Pittodrie. We were quite good then.

At least there’s the possibility of the club making a bit of money from this tie.

The game is scheduled for Saturday 18th January (subject to a possible but unlikely shift of date if the game is televised.)

Aberdeen’s Art Deco Heritage 6: Tullos School + A Sports Pavilion

I had a recent comment on my post no 4 in this category to the effect that Tullos Primary School in Aberdeen is Art Deco.

It is.

A previous commenter, Kenfitlike, provided a link to this Sports Pavilion in Aberdeen:-

Sports Pavilion in Aberdeen

James Clerk Maxwell Memorial Plaque, Aberdeen

Memorial plaque to perhaps Scotland’s greatest scientist.

James Clerk Maxwell Plaque, Aberdeen

Alan Gilzean

So Alan Gilzean, whom Jimmy Greaves said was the greatest foootballer he had ever played with, has gone.

I never saw him play in the flesh, his time in Scotland being before I started watching football regularly and he was in any case in a different division to Dumbarton but he was a byword for accomplishment.

Before his move down south to Tottenham Hotspur Gilzean played for a great Dundee team, so great it won the championship of Scotland in 1962 and a year later reached the semi-finals of the European Cup. That was, of course, in the time when other Scottish clubs could compete almost on a level playing field with the two Glasgow giants. That success came in a remarkable 17 years when Hibernian (1948, 1951, 1952,) Aberdeen (1955,) (Hearts 1958, 1960,) Dundee (1962) and Kilmarnock (1965) became Scottish Champions. An incredible sequence: between the wars only Motherwell, in 1932, had broken the monopoly of Rangers and Celtic on the League Championship and subsequently only Aberdeen (1984, 1985) and Dundee United (1983) have performed the feat.

The power of money and the lucrative nature of European competition for the big two brought all that to an end. We’re unlikely to see anything like it again.

I’ve strayed somewhat from the point.

Gilzean was a great player, one whose movement on the pitch (from televisual evidence) was deceptively effortless looking, he seemed to glide over the ground in that way that only accomplished players manage to achieve. His scoring record isn’t too mean either; 169 in 190 games for Dundee, 93 in 343 for Spurs, 1 in 3 for the Scottish League and 12 in 22 for Scotland.

Alan John Gilzean: 22/10/1938 – 8/7/2018. So it goes.

Black and Blue by Ian Rankin

Orion, 1997, 399 p including 2 p Afterword and 1 p Acknowledgements.

This novel appears in both the 100 best Scottish Books list and in the Herald’s “100” best Scottish Fiction Books.

 Black and Blue cover

It is the eighth of Rankin’s Rebus novels and sees Inspector John Rebus, banished to Craigmillar for various indiscretions, and investigating the suspicious death of Allan Mitchison, an oil worker who had made unfortunate connections. It is not long before Rebus is once more ruffling feathers, both of his superiors and of the criminal fraternity. His nose for the truth and the links he makes to a current serial killer nicknamed Johnny Bible (because of the similarities of his murders to the famous Bible John case of the 1960s) leads Rebus to Glasgow, Aberdeen, Shetland and an oil-rig in the North Sea. Meanwhile he is incidentally trying to deal with his over-fondness for alcohol and also being stalked by a TV crew looking into a possible miscarriage of justice from early in Rebus’s career. It’s all admirably well plotted and suitably twisted and turned. If a bit too much when Rebus himself is questioned for one of Johnny Bible’s murders.

Where it broke down for me was the interpolation into the story of “Bible John” himself, returned to Scotland from time spent in the US where he had married, now an executive in the oil business, not at all pleased that some upstart is stealing his thunder, and whose viewpoint we inhabit at the end of several of the chapters. I think my unease would have been the case even without the renewed interest in Bible John which struck between the writing of Black and Blue and its publication and the later possibility that Bible John was/is convicted killer Peter Tobin. To me it seemed Rankin portrays his “Bible John” as a more intelligent, even thoughtful, individual than he in fact was/is.

On Aberdeen’s dependence on oil money Rebus reflects that the oil won’t be there for ever. “Growing up in Fife Rebus had seen the same with coal: no one planned for the day it would run out. When it did hope ran out with it.” True as far as it goes. Except the coal didn’t run out: there’s still plenty coal under Fife or the Firth of Forth. It was government policy to shut mines – mostly to destroy workers’ rights and trade union influence.

Yes, it deals with one of the most high profile Scottish criminal cases of the twentieth century and has Tom Nairn’s dictum on the conditions for Scotland’s rebirth as a section’s epigraph but I can see no compelling reason why this book should be in a top one hundred.

Pedant’s corner:- halogen orange (of street lights? Sodium orange, yes,) there were a couple (was,) there were a few (was,) a team were (was,) – the text is littered with singular nouns followed by plural verbs – Geddes’ (appeared several times, yet once we had what I would prefer, Geddes’s,) there were dozens fit the description (fitted,) popadums (it’s usually poppadums,) Stevens’ (Stevens’s,) disks (even for computers the British English is still discs,) dishels, (???) thirty-five mils (mil; an abbreviation subsumes its plural, even when it’s written as it’s spoken,) ‘Laying low.’ (Lying low; but it was in dialogue and lying low appeared in text later,) Forres’ (Forres’s,) sat (sitting,) McIness’ (McIness’s.)

Aberdeen’s Art Deco Heritage 3 (ii): The Beach Ballroom Again

I have mentioned the Beach Ballroom several times, but all of these refer back to my original post.

On the same day Sons played Aberdeen in the Cup quarter-final (over two years ago) I actually got round to taking photos of it myself.


Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen

Entrance. Good glazing on the doors:-

Entrance to Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen

From entrance looking east:-

Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen

Frontage from east:-

Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen from East

East elevation from south:-

Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen, Looking north from east side

North portion (Star Ballroom) from east:-

Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen, North end from east

Star Ballroom entrance. Good detailing above door:-

Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen, Star Ballroom Entrance

Easst elevation from north:-

Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen, looking south down east side

West elevation from (south)west:-

Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen, from west

Entrance block from west:-

Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen, South side from West

An Appreciation of Sunset Song

In Wednesday’s Guardian G2 there appeared a piece written by James Naughtie on Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s Sunset Song.

This was I assume occasioned by the imminent release of a film of the book directed by Terence Davies (which I hope does it justice. On that score the outlook is good as, by what I’ve read, Davies seems very struck by it.)

Naughtie was brought up in the Aberdeen hinterland – not quite in the Mearns as was Gibbon – and says many of the terms used and scenes observed in the book are familiar from his youth.

Naughtie sums it all up very well.

My thoughts on Sunset Song are here.

Aberdeen’s Art Deco Heritage 5: Union Street

While we were in Aberdeen we thought we’d have a look at the shops.

The main street, Union Street, had a couple of Art Deco frontages. I just photographed the upper portions as I couldn’t get back far enough to avoid pedestrians/traffic getting in the way and the lower bits were modernised glass anyway.

I most say deco looks a bit weird in granite.

Scotland’s Art Deco Heritage 35: Peterculter

After Banchory we headed for Aberdeen and passed through Peterculter.

I spotted this former cinema, now a Chinese Restaurant:-

The ridging in the stonework is good as is the curved stepping.

Across the road and up a bit there was the building below, which may once have been a bank but is now a funeral director’s. Strong horizontals and verticals and a hint of a canopy:-

Then there was Café Bombay:-

Not a bad haul of Deco for what is effectively a village.

Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen

Pittodrie Stadium is the home of Aberdeen FC.

Approach to Beach End Stand:-

Approach to Away Section – Not very prepossessing, what with the menacing metal fencing all round the approach:-

East Stand (Beach End.) Houses away fans:-

North (Main) Stand, houses the players’ changing rooms and home fans seating. The players’ tunnel is not as is usual in the centre but at the right hand end as you look at it here:-

West Stand. Home fans again:-

South Stand. In the photo Sons fans are nearest. This doesn’t give the impression of how many were there (600.) Beyond a fence, most of the stand was taken up with Aberdeen fans:-

Home fans embracing the insult and carrying an inflatable sheep/lamb. As well as the sheep there were loads of balloons in Sons colours of black, white and gold floating around during the Scottish Cup game on 8/3/14:-

Sons players applaud fans at end of game:-

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