In which I talk about stuff

Last Father’s Day

This is written for my dad, who passed away at 51, two years ago today.

Last Father’s Day

They used to be big, strong hands,

worker’s hands.

Now they’re wasted, bony and skinny.

Hairy, gnarled knuckles,

with freckles all over,

Wide, flat nails stained by nicotine.

The skin yellows as his body fails.

They shake as he rolls a cigarette,

perhaps the last one.

In his smoky living room that now

smells of medicine and sickness.

Liquid morphine is sticky on the table top.

“Dad, why did it have to be so quick?”

“It’s not that quick.

Packet fags are faster, I guess,

but I prefer roll-ups.”


This gallery contains 14 photos.

Welcome to Things I Found Out of Place in a Supermarket! So, after some searching, I found my first photo that I thought lost! This was taken in Lidl, Yoker (that’s in Glasgow), the picture is of an empty Pepsi Max can sitting on top of a stack of paper towels. I think this is […]

Sometimes it’s so hard to write. Just to put pen to paper – and that’s even more difficult than putting fingertips to keyboard, you can’t easily delete mistakes or sentences you don’t like – can be a real struggle for me. I used to be quite prolific; fanfics, daily LiveJournal posts… Now my followers are lucky if they get more than one Tweet a day.

I don’t quite know what happened to my muse. Did it abandon me? Did I do something to offend, maybe write the wrong pairing one time? But then I prided myself on writing ‘rare’ pairings (such as they are in my fandom, where anyone from anywhere and anywhen in time and space can hook up with only minimal hand-waving), so if it objected to my weird fandom match-making then it’s only got itself to blame.

So, it’s not here much anymore. Fleeting visits, and usually not long enough for me to get out anything of any substance. I’ve even let my blog languish since Guy Fawkes Night; how terrible is that? I’m very sorry for leaving it so long.

So, to take an attempt at rectifying this dreadfully wordless situation, I intend to take part in a challenge called 100 Things. There are many things I could find one hundred of to post about, and I perused this list of suggestions for a long time, but I finally decided on ‘Things I Found Out of Place at a Supermarket’.

Unfortunately, my first photo was taken while the memory card for my camera was still in my computer at home, silly me, and I can’t find it on the camera to upload it… I don’t know if the picture even successfully took, or if it vanished into the creepy Kodak ether. So this is more of a ‘Watch This Space!’ post. There will be pictures here, of stuff that’s been misplaced on the supermarket shelves (my definition of supermarket may be quite loose, depending on availability of photo opportunities; it may stretch to Superdrug or Poundland), and to fulfill the not-quite-promise of attempting more writing, I may comment briefly on them. I hope you enjoy the dose of randomness that comes with viewing a photo of a banana on top of a pack of toilet paper. I can’t promise to find that exact photo op, but I’ll try.

These fireworks were all photoed at a local fi...

Image via Wikipedia

This is the first time I’ve been able to see so many fireworks from my home. I remember being about ten or eleven years old, and being stuck in the house with an ear infection while Fireworks Night went on without me – another Saturday as it happens, because I remember that Noel’s House Party was on the television 🙂 I could only see a few fireworks from my bedroom window, and I could hear a few of them, but then I was living in a fairly small town where one of the only firework displays was the one put on by the local firefighters.

When I was a teenager, we lived near a big hill that people would flock to on November 5th to try and see the whole town’s firework displays going off. We tried to get there once or twice, but it was always packed and we could never see anything.

Now I’m living in my own flat, at the top of a hill overlooking most of Glasgow, and it’s incredible. The city council’s firework display hasn’t even started yet, but the whole town is alight with sparkles and bursts of fire. It almost sounds like the town is under fire, says my brother. I can see where he’s coming from, with the high pitched whistles followed by loud bangs, but the difference is in the crackling, fizzing noises and beautiful, multicoloured sprays of light.

The best firework display I ever saw was set to music: I specifically remember an instrumental version of Enrique Inglesias’s Glorious, and the 1812 Overture, which works really well with fireworks.

I can’t wait until the big display starts, it’s going to be epic.

Strictly Live-Blogging

Strictly Come Dancing

Image via Wikipedia

Last year, my girlfriend strong-armed me into watching the entire series of Strictly Come Dancing. Aaaaand, I got a little bit hooked.

So this is me live-blogging Strictly Come Dancing, Series 9, from Saturday 15th October. I haven’t live-blogged before, so here goes!

Read the rest of this entry »

My girlfriend is many things. She is American, she is pansexual, she is a musician, she is mixed-race, and she loves anime, to name but a few. We met while she was studying here in Glasgow for her Masters in Popular Music Theory. Her name is Sabrina, and she’s known to the music world as Jupiter Star.

She usually has some problems travelling in and out of the United States because she has family from Iran and shares their Iranian surname (this puts her on the terror alert list, despite her and her family being no threat to national security whatsoever – but that’s a rant for another time).

However, she’s never had any trouble going in and out of the UK (besides our perpetual unpreparedness for snow and ice), until now. She arrived at Glasgow Airport last Wednesday and was held by security at International Arrivals for over an hour. You won’t believe why.

Being seated near the front of the plane, Sabrina was one of the very first people to arrive at the Customs desk. They asked her a few odd questions, like what I did for a living (I’m currently unemployed), the names and occupations of everyone she planned on visiting, and where she bought her plane tickets. Eventually, they decided she was holding up the line, so they told her to wait while they dealt with everyone else. Other people who’d been told to wait were dealt with far sooner than she was, and for actual serious visa issues, such as a woman who was trying to enter the country on a spousal visa despite since getting divorced.

Eventually, when everyone else had already been sent through the Arrivals gate to greet their friends and family, Sabrina was called forward by the customs officials. As always, she’d put down her profession as ‘Performer’ on her customs form. This had apparently rung alarm bells for the customs officials, because they then proceeded to question her about it. Over, and over, and over. As I’ve been told, the conversation went something like this:

“Are you going to be performing while you’re here?”


“I’m going to ask you again. Are you going to perform while you’re here?”

“No. I told you that before.”

“Are you sure? You aren’t planning on performing here?”

“No, even if I wanted to, all of my instruments are at home.”

“Yes, but you’re a vocalist. You don’t really need them, do you?”

“Actually, I do. It sounds crap when I sing alone. What’s going on?”

“We looked you up online. Jupiter Star is just you, right?”

“No, it’s me in collaboration with friends.”

“So how do I know you didn’t form this band while you were here before?”

“It was formed in 2001. It says everywhere on the Internet. And most of my collab people are in the States.”

“And what does this Rachel do, if she’s unemployed? Where did she work before?”

“At a casino and a call center.”

“And she’s a musician?”

“No, she’s a zoologist.”

“Ah, so she’s good at making animal noises then.”

“….”  *shocked face*

“I’m going to ask you one more time, and don’t lie. Are you planning on performing while you’re in the country?”

“No! I was never planning on it!”

“I just have to ask because if you perform at all while you’re here, even at open mic nights or jam sessions, we will find out about it. We’ll check the CCTV feeds. If you’ve lied about not performing, you’ll be denied entrance to the country if you ever come back.”


“Do you have musician friends here?”

“Yes! But I’m not going to perform!!!”

“Even if they ask you, you’re not allowed.”

“I understand, I’m not going to–“

“Even if they’re playing at home, you can’t join in.”

*Aghast* “In a private residence?”

“No. And you can’t attend any of their shows where they might ask you to perform.”

(By this point, Sabrina was just beyond words. It took a lot of effort for her to ask the next question, as she was pretty terrified of what they’d say.)

“Can I attend other concerts?”

“DON’T TELL ME ABOUT THAT. You can’t attend anything where you might perform.”

“I WON’T BE PERFORMING. I just want to know if it’s okay if I go to see a band at Oran Mor or something while I’m here, to listen and enjoy like everyone else!”

*grudgingly* “…That would be fine. But if you perform–“


“Good. That goes for karaoke as well. You can go now.”

My reaction when she filled me in outside the Arrivals gate was pretty much, “WHAT. THE FUCK.” And wondering if we’d be taken seriously if we made a complaint. In retrospect, it made for a very amusing story to baffle people with while she was here. Luckily, she made it back out of the country without any hassle.

We still have no idea what the hell the “animal noises” thing was about.

Best. Bus Ride. Ever.

Most people ignore loud headphones. That annoying tinny sound, caused by music played loud enough to damage the ears, is the expected soundtrack to any bus journey in Glasgow. What’s not so expected is for an elderly drunk man to retaliate by getting out a clarinet and playing jazz.

Check out these videos.

– King of the Road 🙂

– He busts out the Star Spangled Banner for my girlfriend Sabrina, on a visit from America 😀

– Tell Me Ma. I love this song.

– And in this one, a lovely medley of Show Me the Way to Go Home, In The Mood, another tune I recognise but don’t know the name of (anyone know?), and What a Wonderful World. Made for a lovely end to a great day out.

Sabrina really wanted to sing along to some of the tunes, but was on threat of deportation if she did any singing while in the UK. More on that in my next post 🙂