Thursday, 18 September 2014

Indy Ref Vote

So I was looking into how Thursdays indy ref vote might go. The polls are all over the place, as you might expect given it seemed to go from a dead race to a dead heat inside a fortnight. Scotland doesn’t currently know if it is facing a new future or the status quo, but we’ll soon find out. It has the smell of 1992 (UK general election) and 1995 (Quebec referendum) about it, in which anyone making predictions will look heavily foolish.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Wrestling Hall of Famers

So in recent years, I wrote some inductions for the Rajah forum wrestling Hall of Fame, at the request of the folk running it. I'm unlikely to do any more, so here they are on a more public forum for those interested. At the end is a glossary of terms and people for folk who don't know pro-wrestling. For those who do, and those who don't however, here are some of the underrated, eccentric and (in all but one case) sadly departed folk I considered legends in their own field. In true wrestling style, the facts are mostly accurate, except for those which are legendary.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

100 Books

I might have mentioned a love of reading at one point. From the time I picked up a book and taught myself to read (and write) from the age of 3, books were like a combination chocolate/vodka addiction. I devoured entire libraries, school book clubs, 2nd hand book shops... I lost count of the number of books I've read in my life...somewhere in the several thousand, if not several hundred thousand. And there's oh so many more to read - and more all the time.

It makes you wonder when one will find the time to write when people keep writing stuff that needs read! 

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

History of PR Britain (part 2)

 Part 1 (for clarity, but mostly for the Huskisson and the trains gag...)

The second half of the PR Britain thing, in bullet form as one never knows what is going to happen in the modern climate. This is where it all got a bit daft, yes, but really, the whole idea is deliberately daft. And I maintain it has a degree of likelihood slightly larger than the one Iain Dale did about Michael Portillo overturning Blairs majority in 2001, the one about Wilson winning in 1970 due to Gordon Banks playing and then every big name of the 70s winding up getting assassinated in Enoch Powells Britain, and the lovely idealistic one about Callaghan calling the election in 1978, killing off Thatcherism, and bringing in a Socialist Utopia until 1992. Counterfactuals always run the risk of ridicule, so one might as well have fun with the principle, I say.

Now, last time, Palmerston had just lost office.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

World Cup sweepstakes

Myself and Gav Mills decided to run a little World Cup sweepstakes competition. No money on the line, being poor parents. Just bragging rights. Competitors list below...

- Me, Thistle fan.

- Gavin Mills, Southampton/Cambridge fan, Brit in Estonia, game developer and web designer.

- Mandy Steel-Collins - my wife, sociologist and folklorist. Enjoys doing better at me in competitions.

- Sarah Collins- my 5 month old daughter. Enjoys doing better at me in competitions

- Iris Mills - Gav's daughter. She asked to be in this.

- Seumas Skinner - best friend, politico, bibliophile, and enjoyer of random competitions.

- Kirsty Connell - Shimmy's better half, politico.

- Jon Arnold - m'colleague, learned writer, thinker, wit, etc etc. Also Welsh. Liverpool fan.

- Michelle Forsyth - politico, writer, mother, wit.

- Ali Murdoch - playwright from the Scottish Borders. Threave Rovers fan.

- Brentford Chris - no idea who he supports. Some London club?

- Rox (star, TM, etc etc) - Gallifrey Base poster, writer, witty chap and Liverpool fan.

- Steve Atkins - enthusiastic tennis and football fan, Fulham supporter.

- Carolyn Arnold - Jon's better half. Works in the health industry. Supports Ipswich Town.

- Barnet Andy - man with a plan, supports Barnet.

- Jo Judge - writer, activist, politico.

- Tanice Judge - writer, activist, politico, knows everybody (I think).

- Denis Davies - a one man force of nature who is both a socialist anarchist care in the community building firebrand, and one of Mandy's best pals. Suffered through the 2010 final with us.

- Von Henderson - Mandy's aunt.

- Cat Collins - my wiser, wittier, smarter younger sister.

- Big Kev Biggs. The big man from Croydon, a Liverpool fan.

- Mandys grampsie. Mandys grampsie. Worked on the trains, still hates Dr Beeching. Top man. Supports Partick Thistle.

- Jamie McDonald - cousin, massive Partick Thistle fan.

- Cameron Yarde Jnr - Twitter personality, he can connect anyone to anyone seemingly. Never loses an argument. Spurs fans (poor guy).

- Shujin - Nurse who spends time in Japan, and Millwall fan.

-Alex Henderson - Mandy's uncle. Rangers fan.

- The Auld Yin. My Auld Yin! Was once a frontline nurse, now Dad trains the medics of the future. He supports Arthurlie, Celtic, and whoever he has drawn against Len (his partner in crime) in their annual "every Scottish division" sweepstake.

-Mum. World authority in drug adulteration. Thats history, not how to make them. Dumbarton fan.

- Dark Avenger - Gallifrey Base poster. Fan of Arsenal and Celtic.

- Robert Thomas - wit, GB poster, and Liverpool fan.

- Associated Other Family members who would get upset if I left them out but didn't reply to the invite, as a homogeneous whole. Mostly support Partick Thistle.

- Jim Steel. Writer, reviews editor at Interzone, and Queens Park fan.

A motley crew of competitors.

And the draw rules

1. I go to
2. The competitors list is randomised.
3. I put in the countries at the 2014 World Cup.
4. Randomised team 1 goes with Randomised Person 1, and so on.
5. People complain about who got what.
6. No money on the line, just bragging rights among friends.
7. If this works, we might even do it for Euro 2016.

So the draw!

1.       Jon - Bosnia
2.       Alex – South Korea
3.       Iris - Brazil
4.       Jim Steel - Algeria
5.       Mum - Russia
6.       Big Kev - Iran
7.       Mandy - France
8.       Ali - Germany
9.       Tanice - Argentina
10.   Gav - Belgium
11.   Shujin - Cameroon
12.   Michelle - Mexico
13.   Rob Thomas - Switzerland
14.   Jamie - Holland
15.   Von - Nigeria
16.   Carolyn - Australia
17.   Sarah - Greece
18.   Barnet Andy - Japan
19.   Jo Judge - Ghana
20.   Cat - Italy
21.   Kirsty - Honduras
22.   Grampsie - Spain
23.   AOF - USA
24.   Steve Atkins – Costa Rica
25.   Brentford Chris – Ivory Coast
26.   Cameron  - Croatia
27.   Shimmy - Chile
28.   Denis - Colombia
29.   Auld Yin - England
30.   Me - Ecuador
31.   Rox - Portugal

32.   Dark Avenger - Uruguay

So I've gone from Honduras in 2010, to Ecuador in 2014! Typical.

Groups then

A)     Brazil – Iris, Cameroon – Shujin, Mexico -  Michelle, Croatia - Cameron
B)      Holland – Jamie, Australia – Carolyn, Spain – Grampsie, Chile - Shimmy
C)      Greece – Sarah, Japan – Barnet Andy, Colombia – Denis, Ivory Coast – Brentford Chris
D)     Italy – Cat, Costa Rica – Steve Atkins, England – Auld Yin, Uruguay – Dark Avenger
E)      France – Mandy, Swiss – Rob T, Honduras – Kirsty, Ecuador - Me
F)      Argentina – Tanice, Iran – Big Kev, Nigeria – Von, Bosnia - Jon
G)     Germany – Ali, Ghana – Jo Judge, Portugal – Rox, USA - AOF

H)     South Korea – Alex, Algeria – Jim Steel, Russia – Mum, Belgium - Gav

     Exciting stuff.

Friday, 6 June 2014

How the World Cup Tried to Change the World

The World Cup.

It only happens every four years.

A cornucopia of cultures from all four sections of the globe meeting head to head in a series of sociological experiments to determine who is the best at kicking a ball around a field.  A feast of sport: some days there are up to four different games on, which nutters like myself try to watch all of. An event which has settled a civil war, and caused a gang land style murder, the World Cup brings out the best and the worst in the humanity of the near billions who invest heavily in it.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Sarah Murren

This town is coming like a ghost town...

A distinct lack of posting on my part. Perhaps I became part of my own 2014 Memoriam to come? Thankfully, or sadly, depending on your point of view, that is not the case. Something equally as life changing happened though.

I became a dad.

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 In Memoriam (part 4)

30th August – Seamus Heaney, 74

“Once off the bush
The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
I always felt like crying. It wasn't fair
That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
 Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not.”

Seamus Heaney, Blackberry-Picking

Sunday, 22 December 2013

2013 In Memoriam (part 3)

12th April – Michael France, 51

Screenwriter who wrote the film Cliffhanger.

13th April – Stephen Dodgson, 89

British composer.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

2013 In Memoriam (part 2)

14th February – Reeva Steenkamp, 29

South African womens and charity activist who was shot dead by her boyfriend.

14th February – Peter Oliver, 95

Battle of Britain Spitfire pilot.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

2013 In Memoriam (part 1)

The Year End 2013 Memoriams.

The following several thousand words only cover the first 40 days of the year, which gives a hint of how the year has gone in that regard. Folk rather dubiously referred to 2012 as "a bad year for death" but seemingly as you get older, every single year is one of those, as your sphere of friends and interests grows deeper. On a personal level, 2013 has seen the departure of a fellow writing colleague, a friend and a relative, all three of them grossly prematurely. 

But let's not think on the loss too much. I am reminded of my grans motto: "If you can't have fun at a funeral, where can you have fun?" What we should do, and what hopefully this helps achieve, is celebrate those who pass on, especially those who might have provided momentary joy or changed their little bit of the world, who deserve that moment's notice at the end.