as i lie here trying to get some sleep i find myself thinking about my friends. i suddenly realise that i have a wee smile on my face. thanks chums.
Cara and I watched the documentary “You’ve Been Trumped” earlier, all about Donald Trump’s bid to build “the world’s best golfcourse” on the Aberdeenshire coast. I can’t remember a time when I felt quite affected by a program like that. My heart was actually racing at some parts! (particularly when Anthony Baxter was asking his questions directly to Trump towards the end of the film).
Alongside feeling exceptionally angry, I felt incredibly sad, mostly because during my time in Aberdeen I wasn’t aware half of what had been happening only a few miles away. I felt disappointed in the city that I had called home for four years. And even a little ashamed, both at myself for not participating in any positive way at the time and at the spineless, swithering councillers.
Although the film is clearly on the side of the residents, this doesn’t make what it documents any less true, no matter how many times Donald Trump and his team say so. This is what shocked me the most: how easily Donald Trump can outright LIE through his bleached teeth! I don’t know why I’m surprised really. But the sheer audacity left Cara and I screeching at the T.V. screen.
“Yes, we’ve had lot’s of support from various environmental agencies…”
Cut to Glasgow University lecturer reeling off a list of the major environmental bodies who have not shown a scrap of support for the project.
The worst parts were filmed at the local residents’ houses. One woman was treated to a daily show of cranes and diggers tearing the land apart right outside her kitchen window, usually followed by a swarm of Trump’s fluorescent-clad minions. Another resident had huge mounds of earth piled around his house (but on Trump’s land) for no other reason than to agitate him. A couple more had their water off for a week because the construction had included building a road over the well that supplied their houses. Complaining made no difference, even to the site manager. The filmmaker Anthony went to his (rather plush looking) offices to ask why the water had been off for a week and nothing done about it. The conversation ended with the manager telling Anthony to go and fix it. When he pointed out that he hadn’t broken the supply, the response was along the lines of “Oh well there you go then”. Obviously the man hadn’t been trained up in the Trump bullshitting-until-they-stop-asking-questions technique.
As if this all wasn’t bad enough, after visiting the site manager, the security team that regularly patrolled the entire area reported Baxter to the police, who had spotted him at another resident’s home. After a rather poor and quite honestly pathetic attempt at accosting him in some way, the police officers proceeded to arrest Baxter (rather aggressively) for apparent “breach of the peace at the Menie estate”. This was so disappointing – local policemen who’s loyalties should have lain with the residents but seemed to be mere puppets of the entire project.
I could quite easily talk about this for hours. The thing is, I don’t oppose the golf course, or even the hotel. Surely there could have been compromises in some aspects. It’s the blatant disregard for anything or anyone, destroying rare pieces of land, and most of all the driving of people out of the homes they have lived in for decades. And all of this happens because Trump is an intimidating bully who controls whatever pockets he stuffs with enough cash.
I broke my phone a couple of weeks ago, my main connection to facebook. a few folk have commented on the lack of “instagram” photos on their news feeds (‘scuse me, I don’t use Instagram. I’m waaay too hipster for that.)
I used to keep a tumblr of my everyday happenings as a means to help my waning memory. For a long while it worked, until things got a little busy and crazy last Christmas and I have been unable to keep it up ever since. This is obviously even harder now that I don’t have my wee FXCam app to keep me company, to make even the most mundane moments in life look trendy and interesting.
Having said that, part of me is quite happy without my constant connection to facebook. Sure, the wee orange brick I’m using now has an application that claims “internet”, but it’s likely Facebook was still a twinkle in Mark Zuckerberg’s eye when I first began using the colourful flip-phone and I have a feeling it would be a bit of a nightmare to even attempt to load facebook on such a gadget. But I’m really not that fussed!
It’s true that whilst waiting for the train I need to find something else to do with my hands, and I’m certain that was the main contributing factor to finishing “Room” as quickly as I did. But I was quite excited to be using a phone that actually flipped (whilst my inner hipster was screaming “how trendy! how retro!”) and the almost primitive connectivity of the thing was almost…refreshing! I admit there has been one or two occassions where I’ve made the move to pick it up and search out the Facebook icon. But I no longer spend countless minutes reading the same posts about tonight’s dinner or the noisy neighbours, hitting the refresh button at steady intervals. And that must be a good thing!
I do miss popping up the odd photo or constructing what I hope are humourous status updates about things that are happing right at that very minute! But along with my constant need to maintain my life portfolio as it were, came the constant clicking of my camera app (or sneezing as one friend thought it sounded like). I found myself taking about five or six images of the same thing to get it just right. This will partly be due to my interest in photography and graphic designer tendancies no doubt (most hipster sentence ever?). But the ultimate aim was to get it on facebook sooner rather than later. Because of this constant snapping I found myself missing what was actually going on in front of me, demonstrated spectacularly by this shot of Chris Hoy when the Olympic athletes were in town:
Not only did I barely actually see Chris Hoy with my own eyes, but my attempt at preserving him on Facebook failed epically as he bent down to pick something up! Fortunately I managed to “construct something humourous” (oh wheesht, we all do it in Facebook Town) and posted it anyway.
I realised today just how useful it is not to have my camera app on me all the time. I was visiting the family this weekend and today was spent at Grandpa’s house with him, uncle Peter, mum and wee cousin Joshua. We were down at the River Awe under the road bridge chucking stones and making echos. Peter and my other uncle, Brian used to take me and Ailsa here when we were wee (her name is even still scrawled across the wall in red stone!). We were just mucking about and the photographer part of my brain was murmering “get the phone out, take some shots, get ’em on facebook”. But apart from the fact I didn’t have the means to do so, I thought “naw, I’m just gonna enjoy this gorgeous autumn afternoon with parts of my family that I don’t see terribly often and just have fun, thank you very much”. Which is exactly what we did.
creative-wise, i mean. i sometimes (maybe often) find it difficult to translate what I see in my head through my fingertips into reality. I usually manage to capture the jist, to fill in the fluffy outlines that my third eye is focusing on. But there’s usually just that something that I’ve missed, a wee detail. the definition of the stitch, the angle of the photo. I’m sure a few other creative types have felt similar.
Having said all that, I do find that with time comes refinment, both in ideas and execution. It’s unfortunate I didn’t have these skills down a couple of years back at Gray’s, but they say hindsight has 20/20 vision, and I wouldn’t have come to this conclusion without those slightly fumbly but eye-opening years at uni (particularly the last one). Perhaps it’s maturity or the acquisition of a little patience that’s done the trick. Whatever it is I hope it continues.
Going back to achieving the picture in your mind, I think I came the closest I ever have to this this weekend:
I’ve had this little guy in my head for quite some time now, and yesterday I finally managed to make him happen! And even though I may have trench foot due to waterlogged wellies, it was worth the satisfaction of realising I had finally achieved what was going on in my head.
There’s another facet to the title of this post. I realised earlier tonight that I feel supremely content with my hobby/craft/[insert appropriate name]. Like most folk, I went through phase upon phase of creative pursuits, including stained glass, card-making (but the kind with lots of glue and sequins, not prints) and jewellery making. And of course the obligatory attempts at painting and drawing. It looked for a while that the jewellery might catch on but eventually the shine wore off the swarovski crystals and another hobby was consigned to the cupboard. But in the summer of 2009 I found knitting and we’ve been pals ever since. Maybe even BFFs by now. It’s the longest running, most consistent hobby I’ve had. That, and photography. And I have finally, slowly come to realise that, for me, the two belong together. And that that’s what makes me happy.
I’m not usually one for cliches and sayings but there is one I like, particularly because it’s very true and something I find useful to live by:
“I’d rather have a lifetime of “oh wells” than a lifetime of “what ifs”.”
By sending a simple text I have shaped a very small part of my life, but the decision feels like a very…potent one. I think this is mostly because I feel so much better having done what I wanted as opposed to letting fear stop me – the thought of how I would be feeling right now had I not texted is enough to bolster my belief in the quote above. I’m making this decision making sound like a very life-chaning one when in actual fact it’s nothing big at all! But i like knowing that I gave it a bash, and I’m mightly glad I did.
Do you ever stop and go “Wow. I am a completely different person.”? I do, and have done so quite recently. When I think back to a year ago, not long after I moved into my first Glasgow flat, I realise just how different I was. Naive, starry-eyed and perhaps a little bit spoiled. Crikey, I’m talking like I’m in my 70s…
My point is I’ve learned so much over the last year. And grown up a wee bit. My concern is that when I move on to another place I might forget everything I’ve learned, which is why I’m trying to write it all here. The three things I’m most keen to remember are:
– Not to take things so personally.
– It’s OK, and sometimes necessary, to say NO.
– To speak up whenever the chance presents itself, in every kind of situation.
It sounds daft writing it all down here but it’s so easy to slip into a momentum of everyday life and forget things like this. If you’re like me and have a memory of a goldfish.
I spent two hours chatting to a man called John Blundall this afternoon. If someone mentioned his name to me I wouldn’t have known what he does, but it turns out I’m already quite familiar with his work: he made the puppet Pob, one of my clearest memories as a child, and the cast of Thunderbirds. A collection of his work is housed at the Mitchell Library and he spends some Saturday afternoons with it.
We initially got chatting when i asked him if Pob was in the collection, and from here we went on to talk about the lack of true talent in current puppetry, how passion and hard work are a creative’s most useful commodoties and questoning whether art schools are at all useful.
It didn’t feel like I was in there for so long! He was just so interesting to talk to and had plenty of stories about he got started in graphic design himself at 16 years old, working as a sign writer. Very lovely man, and certainly not how I anticipated spending my Saturday afternoon!
It was my birthday last Tuesday and today I received what will probably be my last card for the year. It was a lovely card with roses and butterflies on the front from my gran. Inside she’d written “Sorry it’s late – it’s an age thing!”. I thought this was hilarious! I immediately phoned her to say thanks. We had a quick catch up, with goodbyes and promises of seeing each other when I came home for a visit in March.
One of my favourite things about getting older is my evolving relationships with the adults in my life. We’re all on a more level playing field, equals even. It’s a shame I didn’t realise this before my other gran passed last year. Having said that, one of my freshest and fondest memories of her is her giggling uncontrollably at a slip of the tongue made by me at Christmas, which implied that I often dossed about the house in nothing more than a wooly hat and scarf. A normal part of my life (slips of the tongue, not running around practically naked) but something I hadn’t often shared with Gran. She was always incredibly sharp and witty before she became ill, something hindsight has shown me. I really treasure that Christmas memory.
I don’t seem to be afraid of getting older. I quite like it. In terms of looks, as someone who will dance like an utter loon whenever a good beat hits her eardrums, I’m not terrily fussed about how I look most of the time. Heck, the photos where I’m gurning or laughing uncontrollably are often my favourites. In terms of learning, I love it.
They say that hindsight is a wonderful thing. As a designer I try to avoid cliches, but there is definitely something to this one. When you’re 17, you think you know it all. I think I was under this impression right up until 4th year of uni. Looking back now, my thoughts and actions are all tinged with a sense of naievety, something I’m sure most people who take trips down memory lane notice. I even notice it when I think about last year. I’ve learned a hell of a lot since moving to Glasgow – some of it pleasant, some not so, but all certainly valid.
During a discussion with my mum last year, she told me she was always changing, that she is never the same person year to year. This wasn’t long after I’d begun to discover this myself, and I found it quite comforting. Like I said above, at 17 you feel like there’s nothing you don’t know and life is just going to be one big long 6th year. It’s scary when you realise that actually, there’s rather a lot in the “don’t know” category. But something I’ve found out, as the year 1988 gets further and further away, is that it can also be liberating and even exciting to tick things off this list and chalk them up to experience. And as you do this, you change. Sometimes it’s noticeable, and sometimes it’s something you see later on with your old pal Hindsight. Either way, it’s useful.
I intended for this post to be about something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, which is my friends and family and how lucky I am to have them. However, I feel this post is just long enough, and has taken an unexpected and interesting turn. Until next time, g’night wordpress.
I’ve just realised I really miss having a desk. This must be the first room I’ve had since I was about 14 that I didn’t have a desk in. And I bloody miss it. Sure, my desks in the past have mostly been used as a dumping ground for not-quite-needing-washed-yet pieces of clothing that I always needed within easy reach, but mostly it was an expanse of mdf where I could spread out and do stuff.
Dang. I really want a desk now.
…i think i’m attracted to the good in people. Not in a fancying kind of way, but in a no matter how odd or flamboyant they might be, as long as they are genuinely nice and friendly then what’s not to like? I’m ashamed to say that i have been influenced by others’ opinions of folk in the past, perhaps someone was a little bizarre and not “cool” enough. But who gives a crap?! We all need a little weirdness now and then. The world would be a bland and tasteless place if we were all as cool as cucumbers.