Category Archives: Travel

The Old Man of Storr

Hi there! Sorry to miss you last week – Mrs Stroke Bloke and I had just spent the weekend in Skye. I’ve been particularly keen to get there since I read Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse during my creative writing degree.

This recording is mental
Over the bridge to Skye

That linked recording of The Skye Boat Song is bonkers. The production, for a start. Then there’s the incredible whistling of Roger Whitaker – you’ve never heard anything like it.  Take that, Otis Redding. And I’ve not even mentioned that someone thought it would be a good idea to get Des O’Connor in to sing it?!

[You’ll need a palate cleanser after that. Why not try the Apoplexy Newsletter?]
Continue reading The Old Man of Storr

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Cairnpapple Hill

Tiny Letter readers will know that Mrs Stroke Bloke and I visited Cairnpapple Hill in central Scotland last weekend. It was an enlightening trip, in light of last week’s post on ’80s movies. Like Withnail and Marwood, we came across a bull in a field. And turning to an obvious omission pointed out by Atletico Marcelo in the comments, Cairnpapple was the site of a little henge.

Beneath the haunted moon/For fear that daybreak might come too soon
Where the little children danced, no doubt.

Continue reading Cairnpapple Hill

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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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Stroke Bloke at Euro 2016

Some years ago, Mrs Stroke Bloke and I noticed that – not much like J. Alfred Prufrock – our relationship could be measured out in international soccer tournaments.

“I have measured out my life with coffee spoons, maaaan.”

Back in the summer of 2010, I was introducing my new American girlfriend to a Scottish pal in a Brooklyn bar as we watched (was it?) the USA v England in South Africa.

And as well as being beautiful and funny, she already understands the offside rule!

But as Scotland fail, yet again, to qualify for a major tournament at France 2016, how do I find a team to give me a rooting interest? Read on…

[Join the conversation at the Apoplexy Tiny Letter here.]

Continue reading Stroke Bloke at Euro 2016

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Vote Man Returns!

I’ve been trying to tell myself that it’s too early for an #EURef post. But even now, still two-and-a-half weeks out, the media coverage is suffocating. It’s hard to focus on anything else. Europe touches so much that goes on in the blog.

Last week, Mrs Stroke Bloke and I had just returned from our trip to Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. One thing that really caught our eyes – other than the crazy number of Deloreans on the ferry from Cairnryan to Belfast – was the ease of crossing the border.

“Are you sure this is the Cairnryan ferry, Stroke Bloke?” Pic by Mat Moura at DeviantArt

[Enjoy apoplectic.me? Get close and personal with the Apoplexy Tiny Letter here.]

Continue reading Vote Man Returns!

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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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Highlander

Mrs Stroke Bloke and I spent this past weekend in the Highlands. More precisely, we were visiting family in Strontian, on the banks of Loch Sunart. One of my cousins asked if I would be writing about our trip in the blog this week. And since she took me to see David Bowie’s Sound and Vision tour stop in Ingliston in 1990, I could hardly say “No.”

“Scotland, stay with us. I mean, do you know how much this coat cost?!”

But first, please note that on Monday, 4 April, I’ll be presenting Nerd Bait’s latest (and maddest) concept EP, The Gospel of Unicerosaurus, as part of Illicit Ink’s show at the Edinburgh International Science Festival!!!

Continue reading Highlander

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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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Broken Mirror – The Collected Bird’s Fate Posts

In which I reflect upon the true story of meeting a hero….

The signs tell me to descend deep into a mammoth stone bridge that supports the weight of a town, into a venue that shouldn’t exist. I do as I am told, make my way down the black steps of the black stairwell, and pass through a black door into a wide, black-walled space with a black floor and a low, black ceiling. So the grime won’t show, I guess.

The only contrast is provided by a handful of handbills dotted around, advertising a forthcoming show. A single, black mitt on a white background, tattooed with an inverted image of the radio waves from pulsar CP 1919 — the cover of Unknown Pleasures. I smile, partly because it’s funny; it’s the first time I’ve seen a representation of a Joy Division Oven Glove. And partly because I’m patting myself on the back for knowing that this means the authors of that song are coming to town.

A little like this

Continue reading Broken Mirror – The Collected Bird’s Fate Posts

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Crosstown Traffic

People love making transatlantic comparisons. Think Sting’s Englishman in New York. Think Toby Young’s How to Lose Friends and Alienate People. Think Jeremy Clarkson’s unfortunately abortive attempt to get himself shot in The South.

Aw, c’mon Jez. It’s just a bit of fun!

[Stroke Bloke’s back from holiday. To make up for missing last week, I commend to you this post that predated Ada Lovelace Day on 13 October.]

Continue reading Crosstown Traffic

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