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