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Blog : Posts tagged with 'Scotland' : Page 2

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End of the week

In which we study the news


Update on Wednesday’s post: the piano atop Ben Nevis may have been identified.* Or maybe not. Maybe large keyboard instruments have been carried to the top of Ben Nevis several times; nobody has any idea, to be honest. Which is probably as it should be.

Meanwhile, in the news – and in just about every news outlet you care to name – a BDSM-related “sex cult” has been uncovered in Darlington.** To be honest, after reading round it all I feel slightly sorry for the chap who runs the place. He seems to have been quite open about what he was doing, leading his girlfriend around on a leash in public and all, and seems to have been a bit surprised that the press have got a bit excited over it all. Personally, I don’t think he’s doing anything wrong. Gor isn’t my kink, but if that’s what people want to do, then let them.

* Link via Why Did I Go Wrong…?

** As I said, this story is everywhere at the moment, but I’m linking to The Guardian‘s version because it has the best headline.

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Piano, forte

In which music is found in a surprising place


In the news today: a piano has been found on top of Ben Nevis. Whether this is really news, and whether noone knew about it before now, is rather debatable,* but at least the mountain’s owners will be pleased with all the publicity.

Maybe the Ben Nevis litter-pickers should turn their attention to Snowdonia instead. There’s a rumour that some evil prankster dumped an ugly café near the summit of Snowdon in the distant past, but noone has ever managed to find it since.

* you have to read a long way down those links to get to the debatable and/or piano-related bits

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Italian cuisine

In which we talk about poverty, diet, and the deep-fried pizza


I often don’t agree with the writing of Julie Bindel, the left-wing feminist who apparently believes that everyone should have full control over their own body, unless they were born male, or want to prostitute themselves. Today, though, I thought she was along the right lines when she wrote about diet and classism: it’s easy to criticise poor people for being unhealthy, when they don’t have the time or the money to eat well.*

She falls down, though, by jumping on something that’s a common Scottish stereotype. The Deep-Fried Mars Bar.

Having lived in Scotland, I can assure you that hardly anybody actually eats these things. They do exist, usually in about one chip shop per city. I’ve had one myself, from Pasquale’s in Edinburgh.** I’ve had one. That’s my point – nearly everybody who has had one, has only had one, just to try.

Everyone in England thinks the Scots survive on the things, but hardly anyone down here has heard of something that’s almost unhealthy, but far more common. The deep-fried pizza. Hard, greasy, fat-soaked, they sound just as horrible but they do exist. They’re real. People eat them regularly. People live on them. People get fat on them; they’re more than just part of a national stereotype.

* And this isn’t a new problem, of course: the British government originally brought in compulsary school PE lessons because they were worried about the poor health of Army recruits. That was during the Boer War.

** I’m not sure if Pasquale’s is still there – it was on Clerk St, near the old Odeon, and opposite the greengrocer’s that’s now a vintage clothing shop.

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End of the week

In which we post updates on a few things


My rather cruel jibe at Fife the other day only seems to have invited a single complaint, from Greig, who pointed out that Fife was the birthplace of Sir Sandford Fleming. I’d never heard of Sir Sandford Fleming myself; but it turns out that he was rather important, particularly in Canada. He invented time zones, designed the first Canadian stamp, and surveyed the route of the first trans-Canadian railway line; more importantly, he was apparently the inventor of the in-line roller skate.

Now, I’m not being deliberately cruel to Fife again here; but it made me think: just how many famous people were born there but had to emigrate to do Great Things? Sir Sandford, clearly; Andrew Carnegie is another obvious one. Adam Smith is the exception – a lot of The Wealth Of Nations was written in Kirkcaldy. If you widen it to the rest of Scotland, you could add Thomas Carlyle,* Daniel Wilson,** and probably many more. Does it outnumber the people who stayed behind, though? No doubt this is something I’m going to be proved very wrong about.

The passport application was sent off the other day – and, no, you’re not getting to see the photo. My current plan is for a trip around Bavaria and Austria, by train – I could apparently get the train from here to Munich in a single day without too much trouble. Big Dave thinks I’m mad.

More on bird flu: it’s all a bit over-hyped, isn’t it? The big news story this evening seemed to be: people are still buying chicken. The ever-helpful BBC has come up with a page of Useful Information, answering the questions on everyone’s lips. “Will my cat have to be put down?” “If I find a dead duck, who do I call?” DUCKBUSTERS, naturally.***

In other news, I’ve found that people still do suffer from curvature of the spine, after all. Clearly, this week was my week for insulting random strangers. Roll on Monday!

* Moving to Chelsea counts as emigration if you ask me.

** The famous Scottish-Canadian archaeologist, not the other one.

*** “Symbolic Forest – for the freshest 20-year-old memes around!”

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