Saturday, December 24, 2005

Neck brace off - it's Christmas!

So the best and the worst of presents....when I was fourteen I longed for a pair of cowboy boots, like these:

My aunty sent me a parcel and I slipped my finger through a little crack in the wrapping paper. I could feel a soft expanse of what I thought was leather. I was mentally wearing those boots already, wanting to be cool and desirable at the school dance. When I opened the parcel, this was what the 'leather' turned out to be:

Yes. Another great moment of present anti-climax came in the form of a desk sharpener. My dad still uses it to this day - he loves it - but to an 8 year old girl it was dull as a slug on valium .

Here's a picture of one of my best childhood presents ever. Even when the tail fell off, I used to make Sindy gallop up the carpet on a horse with an unfortunate hole in it's bum.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Only a puppet?

Today I took Maddy, my 2 year old niece, to see a Christmas play called The Snow Baby. It was the story of a woman who had to spend Christmas alone. She starts off stoically (Bridget Jones-like) but loneliness creeps upon her. She wishes on a star for company and the snow baby comes to visit her.
There were great light effects, chiming music and snow flakes fell magically from above the stage. The woman danced with the snow baby in her arms. She said, 'I'm SO happy I have someone to spend Christmas with.' In response, the boy beside me shouted out, 'It's only a puppet, and it's got a man working it.'
Of course the snow baby had to go back from whence it came. And the woman hugged it, thanked it for coming and let it fly off into the starry sky. It was surprisingly moving - a moment of metaphor for lots of things in life: for enjoying what you have while you have it; for the suspension of disbelief; for letting go graciously.
Am I getting carried away? Note to self: It's only a puppet. Afterwards all the kids ran on the stage to play in the snow. When we came out, Maddy and I were walking along the street with artificial snow flakes in our hair. Great.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Good old BBC

Despite watching it alone, I inadvertently started clapping as the credits rolled on the final episode of Bleak House. One of these occasions when I feel proud of the BBC and what it stands for. What a series. Stupendous characters in Mr Jarndyce, Mr Guppy, Esther Summerson and the gorgeous Lady Dedlock.

I wish I was back at English Lit classes to discuss the morals of the story: why do most of the characters spend their life chasing the wrong things - money, ill fated love, reputation - and then get ill in the process? Only on their four-poster death beds do they see the error of their ways. They're granted a few pasty faced seconds to repent before slipping away. Is this what we have to look forward to? And why did Esther's small pox scars conveniently clear up for her wedding day? Max Factor wasn't a Dicken's character...

Anyway, it's all good and shiny and happy. Perfect for a dreich Sunday afternoon before Christmas.


Saturday, December 10, 2005

Cheery Peeps

I just had an e mail from a pal telling me she was a bit fed up and she was off to check my blog to 'cheer herself up.' I didn't realise I was performing any kind of public service. In fact, I've been feeling a few dips in morale myself. As a consequence, I tend not to post. But let's all just admit to our shortcomings shall we? A bit of honesty could be mutually beneficial.

In winter I tend to resign myself to hibernatory evenings in bed or on the sofa. This weekend, the programme that cheered me up most was Peep Show. It's a comedy about two 30-something flatmates who obsess over social etiquette in Woody Allen type ways. It has dry quotes like -'Look Jeremy, Frosties are just cornflakes for people who can't face reality.'

When I post an entry I usually do an image search on google for an accompanying photo. A search for 'Pe
ep Show' also produced this -
and this...

And a few other shots you can look up in your own time.

Another phone friend of mine with ME was in a bad relapse recently. She was too ill to watch telly and could only listen to the radio. The discussion on the radio station was fairly boring and my pal said she needed some kind of breaking news story to distract her from her pain. "Something like Elton John splitting up with David Furnish and all the panelists could analyze it..." I have to say I burst out laughing. We all have different coping methods but that's quite elaborate. Mind you, I have been known to watch programmes about celebrity body language when the going gets tough.
Lastly, I went to a garden centre today to try and buy a compost bin as an eco friendly Christmas present. They didn't have any. They had armies of robotic santas that played jingle bells when you pressed their boots. Which reminds me, Stuart said he once saw an inflatable Santa on a crucifix in Japan. Merry Crucifixion Everyone.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Chicken and Egg

Meeting a chicken in the road was one of my highlights of the day. It's just the silly unexpectedness of it . Stuart and I had parked the car down a deserted country road and gone for a short walk towards a waterfall. The air was still and fresh and quiet, save for the sound of the river. And this wee chicken came strutting along the road making a throat-purr noise (that reminded me of the noise Marge Simpson makes when she has misgivings). I fed the chicken some crips and it seemed quite appreciative. 'If you fatten it up, it'll be pakora by Friday,' said Stuart. We spotted an eagle, a heron and a couple of robins. I was waiting for a family of foxes doing the conga by the river bank.
We had tea in a sconey shop where most of the clientelle were over 65 and very polite. I think it's cool when you see older couples drinking tea in silence and they don't look like they've fallen out; just that they're comfortable enough that they don't have to force conversation.
Although I do like evesdrop on the odd phrase. I heard the lady behind me say 'I've stopped using soap.' I guess she's looking at alternatives.
I asked Stuart about a friend of ours who used to get stressed a lot. I asked if she was happy now. Stuart said, 'She's got three children - she's no time to be happy.' And I thought, good point. If you have time or room to be happy (or even content), best to look it in the face. Best to feed crisps to chickens when you meet them crossing the road. It works for me.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


One of my friends said that in order to write a blog, you had to be 'gallus,' and she was amazed that people had the brass neck to do it. I know what she means. As I said in earlier posts, I still suffer from blogger's self doubt. The remedy is to remind myself that people only read if they want to.
To crank up the sheer gallusness of it all, here's a photo of me being asked to 'model' the new B&S t-shirt. My only previous modelling experience was aged 14 on Islay when I worked in a clothes shop and was asked to model the outfits in a fashion show. I was mortified and walked as fast as I could down the catwalk. The song playing was 'You're so Vain' which didn't help. I had to wear candy floss coloured tights (which I was allowed to keep after the show). There was no free cocaine or Vogue cover shoot. Funny that.

Here's another photo of just how gallus I feel most days.


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Threshing About

Hey strangers,

It's a quickie as I've left you for a week or more. I haven't got this frequency thing right yet - how much posting is too much or too little?

Yin and Yang, yes. So I was away visiting my sister and I only checked e mail once a day (as opposed to my usual compulsive 'click-refresh- every-three-minutes' syndrome). I really got used to less e mail. It was far more relaxing. And now I'm back, I feel e mail pressure. Admin pressure! Another paradox of life I don't understand. Either way is fine. It's just thresholds that cause hesitation and discomfort.

Like why is it that I am sometimes so reluctant to go to sleep at night; yet equally reluctant to wake up in the morning? I craved loads of e mail; now I want less e mail. When I get back to 'normal' routine, I'll get bored and want more e mail.
It was good to see my 2 year old niece Maddy. She is teething and was prone to similar threshold waverings. If you asked her, mid strop, if she wanted something - a story, a toy, some soup...she'd wail that she didn't. If you took it away, she'd wail even louder. When she calmed down, she was great though. She says 'Sanks' (for 'Thanks') with such sincerity. She was watching 'The X factor' (let's blame her, shall we? I mean, it's just so awful...) and I asked her what she would sing if she was a contestant. 'I sing Jingle Bells,' she said. Sanks Maddy.
I better try to get off to sleep soon. It's an effort to drag myself away from this laptop. See what I mean...

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Some of my Best Friends are...

Thankfully, my friends are all fine, but jeeze, Freddie Gage isn't kidding.

When Francis phoned me (or skyped me to be precise) I told him I was going to write about friendship on my blog and he teased me for trying to write profoundly on universal themes as if I was some kind of voice over on 'Sex in the City' or any other American morality sit com. But where would you be without a few Universal Themes to discuss?

So I met a good friend for a coffee this afternoon and I was thinking how great it is that friendship deepens with age. I'm not a wine or whisky connoisseur but I'm sure it's the same principle. The longer the friendship, the deeper the reward - the relief of familiarity, of knowing the short hand, of not having to pretend. Okay, I am beginning to sound like Bill Cosby.

When I was at school I had a best friend. Our friendship was sealed when she chased away a boy who tried to bully me. We used to get identical Lady Diana haircuts and wear the same clothes only in different colours. Burgundy was a big favourite. We thought it was sophisticated.

At University I bonded with 2 girls and we've been a friendship trio for 20 years. When I asked them if they read my blog and they both looked slightly bewildered, hesitated and said, 'Well, we don't really understand what it is...' Awww. They're Amish. Only kidding.

Well done to the rest of you who managed to find your way here. I think the comments section requires people to sign in before they make a comment. Or I'm just telling myself that, to console myself that I'm not hollering away in an empty cyberspace cavern.

If I could pick famous friends I'd want Bob Geldof, Stephen Fry, Eddie Izzard, Ricky Gervais....oh, it's all men (?!) From women I'd pick Germaine Greer and Madonna, although I can see myself having a hand bag fight with both of them.

I had a dream last night that I was lying asleep in the arms of a polar bear. What's that about?


Sunday, November 06, 2005

Fashion Faux Paws

Excuse the lame title to this post. I spared you 'doggy style' as a title for the loose and random theme of Fashion and Dogs...(who am I? The Sun newspaper?)

Anyway, as I was saying, I'm amazed by the subtle shifts in life's priorities as one gets older. I used to love buying clothes in my teens and twenties. Now I just get confused and overwhelmed by choice. The major fashion themes this year seem to be - sequins, low cut, high cut, flouncy, floppy, bo-jangley and pom poms. Peasant Yak farmer by day, Celine Dione by night. How can I buy into this?

I purchased a white shirt and got the bus home. The kid sitting beside me was coughing enthusiastically, reminding me of a short story I read yesterday, where a character described buses as 'germs on wheels.'

I mentally bargained with my immune system to fight my corner. I told it that (one day) I might give up vain and stressful clothes shopping expeditions and go to live in the country where I'd spend Sundays talking gentle walks in the crisp autumn air to collect firewood - or something harmonious with nature, anyway.

I'd get a Jack Russell dog and teach it to jump small fences.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Very Fabric of Daily Life

Oh, the miscellaneousness of life. I had to look that one up on www. Shoudn't it be miscellany? I am by nature, a writer of lists. These lists lie around my room until I tick off most of the items - always leaving a few to be carried over to the next post-it note. So this week's hierachy reads -

Tidy desk
organic oats
get window sealing tape from B&Q
change doctor and ask for vitamin injections
read stories for class
do more writing?
novel /memoir??

Usually the things at the end of the list have one or more question marks beside them.

I read a great poem this week called 'Habit' by American poet Jane Hirschfield. It illuminates how much of the daily routine is habit. We're so used to it - we don't notice 'the way the toothbrush is shaken dry after use' and the way we continue to choose our favourite cup. It seems as if habit chooses us...

'And we, it's good horse,
opening our mouths at even the sight of the bit.'

I hope I'm not breaching copyright laws here (no favourite cup in jail). It's just a taster for those who might like Jane Hirschfield.

I just got an e mail from Stuart, asking if he's left his umbrella in my car -

"the loss is threatening the very fabric of my daily life!"

You see what I mean? The very fabric of my own life is supported by the following inventions dear to my heart -

broadband internet (no way back from dial-up)
the electric toothbrush (no way back from manual!)
hot water bottles (an enduring classic of beautiful simplicity)
the Television (much maligned)
my smoothie maker......

oh, I could go on and on. There are so many if you stop to think.
Better go and get on with that list then.


Saturday, October 29, 2005

A Truncheon on the Fridge

So I flicked on the TV and the ITV lunchtime news was having some debate on crime with viewers' texts scrolling along the bottom of the screen. One text read, 'I keep a truncheon on top of my fridge.' The ITV tabloid-ey news exasperates me with its Great British Indignation. And in case we all get overheated, they end with coverage of The Royals that presumes 'The Nation' holds The Royal Family in deep respect and affection. No other option entertained. Yet I still can't put into words why my indignation (at their indignation - ha ha) is of any higher value. Maybe it's not.
We were having a similar debate at writing class on the value of 'real' literature over pulp fiction and genre books. Some of the class were saying, 'what's wrong with a bit of both?' but our long-suffering teacher was close to throwing himself out the window at our inability to ascend to the higher plane of outright fidelity to good literature. 'There's no way back,' he said.

It reminds me of the time that my English teacher at school wrote 'exasperating!' on my essay. I was actually quite pleased. I thought, well, he wouldn't get exasperated if there was nothing worth saving. It led me to deduce that I had hidden potential and maybe he'd be the one to coax it out. (The fact that I had a crush on him helped fuel this theory).

He introduced us to Shakespeare. We took parts reading out Othello. My friend and I would flick ahead to check our lines. During all the stabbing in the last scene, my pal had to shout out 'Oh, bloody period.' Aged 15, she didn't relish it at all. In fact, none of us relished Shakespeare at first, but I'm glad we did it now. Maybe I needed someone to get exasperated at me.

Well, I've digressed and I'm still no further forward in exploring the merits of good art over bad art. One man's indignance versus another's. If anyone has any answers in a sentence (or two), feel free to jump in. Or not....


Thursday, October 27, 2005

Oh God, I Am One


I was reading an article in the Observer Magazine on 'The New Puritans.' The term is used by the Future Foundation (monitor of social trends) to describe a growing band of people who aim to be socially and environmentally conscious. Fine, you think. All fine and good. But in the process, the New Puritans are becoming ever more critical of those who aren't as self disciplined as they are. New Puritans object to rampant consumerism, smoking, junk food, pesticides, SUV's, the widespread binge and debt culture, etc...

And I thought (with alarm), oh god, I am one! I have the power to annoy friends (and even strangers) with my transparent thoughts, my side glances. And yet I'm caught in the middle. When I see supermarket trolleys full of jumbo cola bottles, battery chickens, Mr Kipling's tarts etc...well, I don't even need to explain. Yet ten years ago I would have eaten most of the above. So why am I being such a mental dictator? There was this woman infront of me at the checkout and she was buying 'diet' everything - diet cola, diet white bread, low fat ready meals, weight watcher's cakes. And I wished she wasn't duped by less healthy foods. I wished she knew an easier way. I confess, there is a Gillian McKeith inside of me, fighting to make me unpopular.

But the supermarket in Partick is more friendly than Byres Road. People call you 'darlin' and 'love'. They are big on self disclosure (unlike me who blogs..). An old woman volunteered that had a sore breast. Another woman told me she was 'too auld tae carry a bag o' tatties up the close'. It's like a community centre or a doctor's waiting room. There were a couple of immigrant kids who seemed to have no English except for the word 'Hamburgers.' So they ran round the aisles yelling out for processed meat.

Okay, somebody stop me now?
PS. friends keep asking me what blog stands for. T'is short for web log.

Monday, October 24, 2005

I am in Rome

People of the world!

I have been to Rome. So I am standing there in the Plaza Navona, and it is such a paradox. On the inside I feel ill to the point of near collapse, glancing at Italian policemen with the flashing thought - maybe they can save me (yeah, right...); and on the outside, I look like any other tourist. I agree to take photos of a Canadian couple. I make jokes about the plethora of pope postcards. I pat Italian dogs. I sit by the edge of the fountain and think 'I am in Rome.' I repeat it over and over like a mantra. After an hour, I get a taxi back to my shabby 3 star hotel and fall into a comatose sleep for 10 hours of the day.

The next day Francis and I get a train to Bologna. The rain is Glasgow-esque, clinging to the train windows, greying everything. But the hotel is great. Mineral water in glass, not plastic, bottles. Warm marble bathrooms. White towelly bathrobes. Sanctuary. Thank God, or Teenage Fanclub.

On Friday we're speeding along the autostradle towards Milan, music playing, eating pizza slices -everything that's bad for my illness but I'm defiant, tired of limitations, past caring. I think, good! Bring it on. Don't show me the price tag.

I was reading William Leith's 'The Hunger Years' - a fascinating memoir/analysis of hunger (in the literal and wider sense). He explores the consequences of our 'buy now, pay later' consumer world where people are programmed to want more and sod the consequences. Nothing like me, then.

In Milano it was dull but 20 degrees. In the cathedral square everyone else was in coats but I was damn well going to wear a t-shirt. You've got to take your warm air where you find it. Bella bella.


Sunday, October 16, 2005

You Guys!

Doesn't this look comfortable? They're called inversion tables and they cost from £100 upwards. I have no 'try before you buy' option, so I was improvising with a collapsed ironing board propped up against the sofa. I have this theory that inverting myself would help the blood flow to my brain and ease my migraine type headaches.

So I was lying inverted on my ironing board discussing the fact that a trip to Pollock Park on a Sunday afternoon might involve big queues at scone counter. You'd have to arm yourself with a Bavarian loaf and go in there swinging,' said Stuart. He was right. My head was too sore so he left me to it.

My dad phoned and I asked,

'What are you guys doing?'
'Pulling up my blouse and getting out my nipples.'
I thought this was some weird Spike Milligan moment. Dad said that they met a woman in America and anytime she and her husband were asked 'What are you guys doing?' she made a show of pointing to her breasts, in an excuse-me-I'm-not-a-guy way. Personally, I'd have asked for a computer print out of her DNA with a double X chromosome. They could have been falsies. (Will this get me more hits on google?)

Lastly, has anyone skyped yet? It's amazing. Free calls over the internet. Just check out and buy one of those call centre head sets. It's the next revolution.


Friday, October 14, 2005


The paps of Jura.

Pap Fiction

Write, don't think. Just keep writing. This is what our writing teacher recommends we do in class exercises. He means fiction but I think the same 'dive straight in' ethos is required for blogging.

I don't sleep till 3 or 4 am so I'm often online after midnight. Tonight I went with Stuart to a John Peel tribute gig to see Camera Obscura. It's just an accident that my closest friends are in bands. I mean, gigs give me migraines. Hilarious irony. But I do like Camera Obscura so it was good to hear a few songs.

For my dinner I had some corn on the cob - grown in Stuart's dad's garden - in Ayr! I didn't even know that maize corn could grow in Scotland. Since when could we grow yellow food? I love the thrill of getting free food from nature with no pesticides. I like to find wild berries and mushrooms. Even if I don't eat them, I like to see them flourish.

When I lived on the Island of Islay as a teenager (the halcyon pre-illness days) - I would do seasonal farm jobs like turnip thinning and potato picking. Crawling about in the soil and the fresh air all day. I'd ache at night but it would be a good satisfied ache, and I fell asleep like dropping off a cliff. And I'd wake up next morning and look out my window to the Paps of Jura....(called paps as they look like boobs. Maybe the mention of this will get me a few more hits on google).

I'm trying to post a photo of the view but it stubbornly refuses to copy and paste so it'll be in a separate post till I learn how to show and tell like the other bloggers. Technology. T'is great if you know how.


Monday, October 10, 2005

Set Radar to Scone-age

Blog phase one is delighting in the novelty of blogging, the distances words can travel, the immediacy of it all. Blog phase two is a hovering feeling that you'd better write some more as leaving the blog unattented is like being a lazy parent. So excuse me blog, if I've left you alone infront of the telly, dribbling yoghurt on your bib.

I had an enjoyable weekend. On Friday night Stuart and I went to an informal poetry evening in Tchai-Ovna. Some of my friends were there and we saw Tom Leonard read. What a performer.

On Saturday Belle and Sebastian were playing. The spontaneous Bob Dylan cover and Stevie's new song were brilliant - 'To be myself completely, I just have to let you go.' What a line. i.e Stevie, not Bob! Afterwards, Francis and I went to the Woodside and chatted to Camera Obscura.

On Sunday Stuart and I set the radar to scone-age and drove out into the country looking for quality home baking. We keep joking about a guide that we will publish, listing and rating all the 'wee old lady' cafes that we find on Sunday drives. The carrot and walnut cake of Kilearn was almost unsurpassed.

In the evening I enjoyed the Alan Bennet documentary (he'd enjoy a good scone trip too). Then I said farewell to Frankie boy as he's off with Teenage Flan club on a pastry tasting tour of Europe for 7 weeks. Well not really, but you know what I mean.

My writing night class starts on Tuesday. Yay.


Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Investigating intae stuff

Hi again,

A friend sent me a link for literary quotes of the day -

so I'll subscribe to that and see if it lends me any inspiration. I like it when I hear vernacular snippets that wouldn't qualify as a literary but capture something subtle and true. My dad told me that someone once complained to him that they found apples to be 'an uphill struggle.' (I've taken to making smoothies myself and the conversion is total - every day I drink a few glasses of a pulped banana/strawberry/pear/orange juice).

So I've been stuck inside a lot this week. Fluctuation in symptoms is just one of the many bewildering aspects to ME. One day I can get out for a few hours and pass for normal; the next day I feel as if I've accidentally swallowed a cocktail of horse tranquilizers with a dash of arsenic -and a wee pink umbrella on the side. Even reading is a struggle.

Then there's the ME spectrum - the brutal facts are: some people with ME are bedbound for years and have to be fed through a tube. When I can get out for a 'coffee' with friends, then I feel lucky and grateful for that hour.

I was at my brother's house yesterday and he lit a crackling wood fire and cooked me a great veggie lasagne. I've always known that 3 of the things I'd cherish in life would be

-a real fire
-a garden
-a cat or a dog

I can hold these on my reserve wish list. Or should I? From my limited knowledge of Buddhism - it teaches that desire only makes us unhappy and the key to fufillment is savouring every moment, without climing up on its shoulders to see what you can have next. (When I went to restaraunts I used to always look at the dessert menu first. No longer. My body protests at excess sugar.) Whoops, this wasn't meant to go all Gillian McKeith on you.

Which brings up another aspect of World Wide blogging - popular cultural references. Are there people reading who think 'Gillian Ma Who?' Oh, you get this jist.

'You'll need to get that investigated intae...' I was once told. So then: to pull this ramble together. For a life worth living? Investigate intae everything, pulverise fruit into a drinkable form and have a nice Now.


Saturday, October 01, 2005

Nice Wheelchair

Guten Tag!

The Scotsman has published half of the poem Nice Wheelchair, in their poem of the week slot. (Space restrictions meant they couldn't publish the full poem). No such restrictions here in blog world. Nice Wheelchair is taken from 'Seats for Landing' available to buy from

Nice Wheelchair

‘That looks a nice one,’ says Dr Walker, standing erect.
I smile at her from my bed.
Luftwaffe grey with tyres the colour of dough;
It’s more compact than I expect -
for the right fit, a woman from social services
draped her measuring tape
around my bony pyjama-ed hips.

Okay, I’ll consent to being in a Nice Wheelchair,
if, just say, I was on my way
to the labour suite;
a full-mooned belly bursting with new life.

Outside for the first time in four years
I notice kerbs and weather in my wheelchair.
Any weather is better than no weather.
I learn that babies are the only people
who dare to look you in the eye.
Hello bold, bright-eyed babies, I salute you!
I am one of your kind:
a 22-year-old baby
in a big buggy
brushing past tinsel in Woolies.

A handsome security guard holds open swing doors
as my mother manoeuvres me into sharp December air.
This is not meant to be, I want to tell him,
this is not the real me.

We drink tea from paper cups, my mother and I,
just so I can watch everyone walking by
behind a wall of glass. I sit in the regular seating
and hide the wheelchair behind plastic palms.

It is a stick that eventually waves it off.
A Quentin Crisp walking stick, steadying me
to the next lamppost and the next
until it is just a prop, a driftwood strut
and I can leave it behind too.

In January’s milky sun, I am walking alone.
I am using shoes – oh the thrill of chunky black shoes.
Look at me everyone!
I am Neil Armstrong, I am Fred Astaire,
I’m walking on ground, not air.


Friday, September 30, 2005

It's all in the Scatter Cushions

Hi again, this is my new look blog. I decided that AOL were too cheesy (yes, I can say it now! A bit Walt Disney or George Bush in a cowboy hat). I much prefer the look of
Choosing a blog site is a bit like choosing a flat or a car. You have to be comfortable where you are. You have to choose the scatter cushions. Anyway, I'm just experimenting with the lay out and trying to upload photos etc - hence one of myself. So that's today's footerings.


Thursday, September 29, 2005

Hares and Tortoises

‘I feel the need – the need for speed,’ said that great philosopher Tom Cruise. I can’t get any speed – physical or chemical (as if !) so I’ll replace it with the need to blog. So, as I'll explain, my life often proceeds at a vastly slower pace than I would ever have chosen.

I naively started this blog thinking I could avoid talking about my health condition. Ha! No dwelling – dwelling isn’t recommended! But blogging lends itself to the compromised. It’s an even playing field. And if I want to describe my days then, in the interest of accuracy and common-or-garden truth, there’s no escaping the fact that my days are affected by ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis). ME is an unfortunate acronym. People think you’re writing about yourself and using capitals for emphasis. Hey, it’s all about ME! Help ma boab. (Wonder what google translate would do with that one).

Anyway, I was perfectly healthy until aged 18 and overnight a virus changed my life. That’s all I’ll write for now. I’d rather look out to the autumn chestnut trees outside my window. My inner policeman is telling me not to dwell. To read some fiction or poetry instead. To re-pot a plant or make a sandwich. There are thousands of others too ill to do these things. I used to be one of them.

I remember as a teenager (pre illness) getting grumpy about something trivial and saying (nay, whining probably) ‘But it’s not fair.’ My mum came back with her ace card: ‘Life’s not fair.’ Instant deflation as the wind dropped from my sails. I knew she was right and I had stumbled over a fundamental truth - one I had previously avoided or been privileged enough to ignore.

But it’s good to have your eyes opened. Of course there’s an ‘ouch’- often a huge one. Instead of being shackled to the thought that life actually should be fair, is it not easier to be galvanised to start working with what you have? I’m not trying to do this evangelical, more-positive-than-thou stuff. No ‘light the joss sticks and assume the Lotus position’. For myself anyway, I’m just trying to work out where I go from here…..and then I’ll get a sandwich too.


Tone Deaf Clap Trap

And another thing...okay so this is my second entry today. After my philosophical morning trapped in bed, I finally got out for a 'coffee' with Stuart (everyone says 'out for coffee' even if they mean tea.) We sat in the window of a coffee shop and - as often - I felt a wave of physical relief just to be out of my flat and part of the 'real' world. It's good to people watch.

Afterwards we went down to the studio. The band were remixing some tracks and they needed background hand claps. So Stuart asked me to clap around a microphone with the others. There was a guitar bit (a middle 8 or whatever it's called) where they all knew to stop - and I did an accidental extra clap. I thought I'd blown it but I think they can edit it out (?)

Just as well I'm tone deaf or I would have wanted to play in a band or be a singer. It's a relief when it's an absolute - i.e. I cannot sing in tune. No dispute. Easy decision.

I was singing to my 2 year old niece the other day and when I finished she said 'again!' You've got to find your audience, I feel.

I'll try and upload my first blog photo. It's a poster from the new B&S merchandise at It's also me lying in my bed, not singing. So it kind of ties in....


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

How Big is the Blogosphere?

Are blogs the new passive telephone calls that you just listen in on? Stuart phoned me to see if I'd come out for a coffee and I couldn't and I found myself saying 'you can read my blog.' Like instead (?!) When he's away on tour or recording, I wait for new blog entries to hear his news. In a weird way it's almost more intimate than a phone call. You feel as if hundreds of others are reading a blog, but if the blogger is your pal you feel like you have a front row seat. Maybe everyone feels like that?

I can't get my head round the magnitude of the internet. And there are still vast swathes of the world without it. What happens when everyone climbs on? Is there room for billions more pages and blogs and vlogs?! (video logs - as I just learned the other day). Is it infinite? To infinity and


Monday, September 26, 2005

To Blog or Not to Blog?

The whole blog thing has made me think. There's such a culture of 'not getting above yourself' here in Scotland. It's like holding your hand up to answer questions at school. You always feel that some of the class are staring disapprovingly at the more vocal. But then the great thing about blogs is that nobody has to read them. You're only here if you want to be.

I had started reading a few random blogs and it's the everyday trivia that I like to relate to. One blogger was excited to have £14 of advantage card points at Boots. I find myself nodding at the screen.

So for today's trivia - I had tea on Byres Road. It rained till huge puddles formed by the roadside (making me think of the easy joy of being a kid in welly boots). I watched the Bob Dylan documentary with people who love and appreciate Bob much more than I know how to.

-Ciara. (I no like when people pronounce it Key-ara. There's always a few...).