Mrs Stroke Bloke and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary this past weekend.
And what a pleasant day our anniversary was. We started off at the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art, which was featuring a Bridget Riley exhibition. I found that some of the impact of seeing her work for the first time in New York many years ago had faded. YMMV, obvs.
For more uninformed opinion, check out the Apoplexy Tiny Letter. Or BBC politics correspondent Norman Smith trying to talk about Scottish politics on the PM show.
On Tuesday, I was invited to an event run by The Open University’s Reading Communities team in association with The Scottish Book Trust’s Book Week Scotland and the Being Human festival of the Humanities. It was called Edinburgh: A City of Readers. As well as my story Valhalla, I was asked to read an extract from an 1830 letter written by the actress, writer, and abolitionist campaigner Fanny Kemble in which she talks of breakfasting with Walter Scott and a small party of other Scottish luminaries of the time.
Apparently, she found it
strange that so varied and noble an intellect should be expressed in the features of a shrewd, kindly, but not otherwise striking countenance.
A day after the result of the #EUref came in, Mrs Stroke Bloke and I hopped on a train to London. Like the narrator of this wee ditty:
“Smoke lingers ’round your fingers / Train, heave on to Euston…”
(Smiths sceptics might find the above performance surprisingly muscular)
It was, y’see, an opportunity to check out an exclave of the soon-to-be nation of #Scotlond. By this time, Scotland’s First Minister had already reached out to the Mayor of London to discuss how their remain-voting areas could ameliorate the impact of Brexit. Continue reading London→
After My Name is Joe, Pts. 1 & 2, I realised that the conclusions to which I was coming about memory – and more importantly, group memory – were so grindingly prosaic that only prose fiction could do them justice.
But that, as they say, is another story about a young woman’s travels on the continent for another time.
Fortunately, last week we headed off to Ireland where I could think about both that and other stuff.
While Mrs Stroke Bloke was sitting an accountancy conversion exam in Belfast, I headed off to the Ulster Museum to see an exhibition of winners and short-listed entries for the 2015 BP Portrait Awards. Continue reading Portrait→
In explaining the origins of May Day, Ian comes up with all sort of specifics, but kind of slides over the idea that – as Longsufferingreaderoftheblogpaul wrote in a comment to a particularly off-the-wall post – time is social. Harvests. Day and night. Diurnal clocks. Biorhythms and cycles. All that mushy wetware bio stuff I never learned but is real.
Cornwall in England definitely gets into that side of things:
[On May Day,] Padstow holds its annual Hobby Horse day of festivities, believed to be one of the oldest fertility rites in the UK.
The last two posts on the #EUreferendum weren’t really what I wanted to write about. But the things that are really exciting me right now needed to be put off a bit because they don’t happen for another month or so. And I didn’t really want to bang on about them for a full two months.
Finally, though, I can get some release. With respect to one of these events, at least.
I’ve put Broken Mirror – The Collected Bird’s Fate Postsback up on the site. These posts have been absent from the site for a while, as they’ve been presented in other forums. But now the true story of how I met Susanne Whyte from Bird’s Fate, and found out heroes are just people like you and me, is back in one piece.
Doing that was inspired by the posting of The Prof’s liner notes to an awesome cover of Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You over at nerdbaitband.com.
Meanwhile, my short story Phoenix Park went live over at The Dublin Inquirer. It’s part of their Christmas special fiction issue, which collects stories about superheroes set in Dublin. Pop over and have a look. And if you like it, please do leave a comment.
Of course, if you’re on the distribution list for the Apoplexy Newsletter, you’ll be aware of all of this.