Friday, January 4, 2008

Sad Little Bastards

The festive period was good and different for me. Edinburgh was an experience, one that surprised and interested me. I like the city, the feel of it and the friends I was with, but there was something very sadly global in its feel.

It was in the way that "local" character wasn't splashing about in abundance as much as I had expected. I saw lots of chaps in kilts, plenty of really beautiful architecture. I'm no expert in the architectural field but I'm reasonably sure this stuff wasn't influenced by Geoffrey Bawa, it might even have been older than that.

The general mix was one of Eastern European labour and big business retail outlets. The colloquialism (a word I wrote without the aid of a dictionary or spellcheck, so may well be wrong) seems to be fading fast into the distance, to be replaced by Costa Coffee, Boots and McDonalds, all served up by a Pole dressed in tartan.

I thought about the fact that Colombo is the only city I know well that still has the "local" feel to it, yet I don't think that will be there for much more than the next 10 years. Maybe there won't be a deluge of Poles working in Odel, but how long before the city we all love becomes another "corporate" city rather than a capital city?

Edinburgh was lovely in parts too. There was a castle perched up on the hill, it looked spectacular in a very special British way. There were Scottish accents coming at me from all sides and I was bowled over at times when I struggled to understand what on Earth they were saying. I was on a ladder climbing up on to a roof at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, (or is that New Year's day?), but, once I got up on the roof, I saw fireworks all around the city and heard the Proclaimers singing "500 miles".

I guess it was the obvious yet stereotypical song to hear in that situation.

Coming to you from my desk, I've just popped into the office to check emails and pick up a couple of things, something made me laugh, smile and feel a little sad as I drove here and looked at the street activity. As people clear out their Christmas decorations before Jan 6th there are Christmas trees randomly standing outside many houses, waiting to be picked up by the dustmen carted off.

The sight made me ponder and reflect. These trees are bought and decorated with so much joy and spirit, so much happiness and laughter. Then, once their usefulness has expired, they're stripped and thrown out without a thought. Left to rot and degrade, like sad little bastards. Unlike Tesco carrier bags, which last for a few thousand years.

As a totally unrelated random tangential offshoot a friend said to me over the holiday:

"I don't like Swedes, I find them racist".

Isn't that one of the best statements ever, for so many reasons!


Darwin said...

I've been to Edinburgh quite a few times now and I quite like it. I wouldn't swap it with Glasgow though, despite the easier accent (if you think Edinburgh is hard, try a hardcore Glaswegian accent!). Edinburgh just feels too tourist-ish for my liking, like a bigger Scottish version of Bath.

Anonymous said...

I'll take Aberdeen for the architecture - of course I haven't been to either Edinburgh or Glasgow, but then who really cares?!!

Don't forget to bring that kilt here when you visit next - you'll be a huge hit at R'n B!

Java Jones