Category Archives: Art

The Sound of [Young] Scotland

Mrs Stroke Bloke and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary this past weekend.

The Third Firth of Forth Bridge
Where it all went down – over by the Irn Bru coloured one

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.

Continue reading The Sound of [Young] Scotland

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Three Chairs!!!

I’ve been kind of obsessed with chairs for around a decade-and-a-half.

I can’t remember if it started when I got a copy of 100 Masterpieces from the Vitra Design Museum Collection, or if I got the book because the seeds of my obsession had already started to sprout.

In fact, I’m surprised this hasn’t cropped up on the blog before.

Natürlichsollteessein
Hold on, shouldn’t that be one word?

[For things that don’t show up on the blog, check out the apoplexy newsletter.] Continue reading Three Chairs!!!

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Thanksgiving

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.

Walt gets all Teenage Fanclub
Ain’t that enough?!

[For more Walter Scott/Teenage Fanclub mash-ups, head over to the Apoplexy newsletter] Continue reading Thanksgiving

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London

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

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Portrait

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.

A young woman contemplates her forthcoming travels

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

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May Day

It’s the Early May Bank Holiday in Scotland today. Ian Wiki confirms that May Day is an ancient northern hemisphere spring festival.

The earliest May Day celebrations appeared in pre-Christian times, with the Floralia, festival of Flora.

Flora: the Roman goddess of partially hydrogenated sunflower oil-based spread

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.

Continue reading May Day

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The Hofstadter-Moebius Loop

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.

“Dude, you’ve been at this for two months…”

Finally, though, I can get some release. With respect to one of these events, at least.

[More banging on in the Apoplexy Tiny Letter, here.] Continue reading The Hofstadter-Moebius Loop

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Intermission

Stroke Bloke and The Fabulous Beth spent Thursday and Friday nights
in Düsseldorf, Germany…

Ja, denn ich liebe die Schwarzweißfotos!

…and our little break means a pause in considering how countries relate a vision of themselves through anthems (1, 2). ‘Cos that’s a big subject, as illustrated by The Prof’s awesome comment to last week’s post.

As we dashed headlong through Düsseldorf, I was instead reminded of #strokier posts. And, indeed, a tweet tweeted from my bed at The Hospital for Joint Diseases during my in-house rehabilitation:

Continue reading Intermission

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Lies, Lies, Lies, Pt. 2

What a busy week it’s been, on and around apoplectic.me.

  1. I’ve put Broken Mirror – The Collected Bird’s Fate Posts back 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
4. Er… that’s it.

Of course, if you’re on the distribution list for the Apoplexy Newsletter, you’ll be aware of all of this.

So, how could anyone possibly remember where we were last Monday, at the end of Lies, Lies, Lies, Pt. 1…? Continue reading Lies, Lies, Lies, Pt. 2

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