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Forth and Clyde Canal near Maryhill. The single remaining Hi Rise flat here was one of three and they were used as the fictional location for Jack and Victors flat in Still Game which is why there were numerous shots along the canal and overhead views of the nearby Maryhill Basins.For years I've been asking Alex during hot spells in summer if he fancied a town or country bike ride sometime instead of always hillwalking every weekend as this is a way of generating your own breeze, on a day when there is none available, and they are usually free of summer flies, midges, clegs, ticks, etc. but he's just not that interested in cycling for its own sake although, ironically, he's far keener than I am to watch any televised bike races, Tour de France etc. from the comfort of an armchair. I prefer experiencing the real thing and get bored watching other cyclists on television after a short while. I've never watched more than two stages of the Tour de France though I always sit down with good intentions. They usually just inspire me to get out on my own bike instead, albeit at a lesser level. Alex, from my own painful observations, only uses his bike as a convenient way to reach remote mountains to satisfy his need to bag hills on a list and rarely cycles for pleasure as a separate pursuit in its own right. This is not a criticism, merely an observation, as everyone is different but it got me thinking in this post about the nature of obsession. Everyone is obsessive to some degree as it's a fundamental part of human nature. It's what makes us tick and function and I recognise that trait is within me as well to a strong level in other ways. More so when I was younger and didn't fully understand the forces involved.
I finally got him out on a bike when he was particularly bored and I suggested a run near my house, from Anniesland to the city centre along the Forth and Clyde canal. A favourite of mine but new to him. This is mainly flat and easy but with the potential for great variety and interest throughout. A canal barge and new housing photographed here near Ruchill.
Alex seemed impressed by this route and was surprised how green and rural it was despite running through the heart of north Glasgow. Another interest was not knowing where he was some of the time as he emerged from long leafy green sections to appear above a road or set of buildings then gradually try to work out where this was. Getting lost, if only temporarily, in a familiar city is always good fun.
Alex, observant tech geek that he is, noticed that little squares were attached to all these new attractions that can be used by smart phones for additional information so no doubt some enterprising young person is filming pull ups here and posting the video online as I type.
Park Circus Towers from Port Dundas.
From here the canal runs into a dead end so we cycled down through the back streets of the city centre to Rottenrow Gardens where we had lunch. These have been created in the space formally occupied by Rottenrow Maternity Hospital, where many Glaswegians, myself included, first saw the light of day.
Everyone is different. How often in real life, books or films does the phrase "you don't understand me" crop up"?
Alex suggested heading uphill to visit the Necropolis so we did.
" I am prepared to go anywhere, provided it be forward." I love that line. Unsurprisingly, his companions didn't see the funny side.
Any necropolis or major graveyard in any city has its share of monuments to people driven by one obsession or another. Many of civilisations greatest leaders, dictators, madmen, artists, poets, writers or thinkers had a vision that they followed relentlessly, often throughout their adult life's to its inevitable end. One side of that coin can lead to terrible extremes in rare cases ....Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Jack the Ripper, yet its the exact same coin that produces more benign results usually... someone that dedicates their life to finding a cure for a disease, or to end repression, or to make a stand that lifts them above the norm. The same impulse that moves someone to spend decades in a foreign country for little reward providing an essential aid service is only a more understandable and productive version of the same force that makes an individual spend every free minute planning hill routes then climbing mountains... or buying far more goods on E-Bay than they will ever use until every room and cupboard is full... or being obsessed with another person in rare cases to the point of being a danger to the object of that affection.
Most obsessions are harmless but they usually evolve somewhere in childhood. Many folk never understand the root cause of their own obsession but it can dominate their thinking and alter or inspire their judgement, to good or ill effect.
For once both Alex and I were happy wandering around here as he found things that interested him and I did also. Here too crypts had been given a new coat of paint and selected statues returned to pristine white condition.
After a hunt on the internet I found this. Mystery no more.
Although Alex enjoyed this bike ride more than the last one a couple of summers ago I'm not holding my breath that this will be a regular occurrence as collecting hills will always be his main preference.
As obsessions go it could be far worse :o)
The video this week is very apt. Like everyone else I've sat through big budget blockbusters in the past and been less than impressed when special effects are used in place of a decent original storyline. Having both together is great but it doesn't always happen.
Darren Aronofsky's 1998 film was shot in black and white on a restricted budget yet I was riveted from start to finish. The tale of a talented but highly obsessive young mathematician who turns his apartment into a supercomputer to predict the patterns and fluctuations in the stock market. It's not a film that everyone will like but its full of unusual ideas, great invention and compelling acting throughout. The musical score is brilliant. I have little interest in math so anyone that can make that discipline seem exiting in any way gets my vote. It never seemed exciting in school and was my least favourite subject. Maybe if I'd seen this film then I might have tried harder... but I doubt it.
As a still wavering undecided voter in the looming election, pissed off by the fact that not many relevant facts are forthcoming as to how the next few years will affect the ordinary householder given a yes vote. ( If I was richer and had young children I'd defiantly vote for an independent Scotland without a second thought as I could then ride out any inevitable bumps along the way but those on the bottom rungs always suffer the most during any upheaval. i.e... look at the example of the Scottish parliament building which went well over budget, partly due to our own elected Scottish politicians constantly changing their minds about what the interiors and fittings should look like, the Edinburgh trams fiasco, and a Glasgow (turning) Tower that is an embarrassing joke and should be included in Glasgow's coat of arms.(the tower that would not turn)
We handed over a perfectly good rotating tower to Rhyl in Wales after the Glasgow Garden Festival in 1988 ( Although intended for new housing this site lay derelict for years afterwards due to yet another downturn in the economy) then decided years later we should have one ourselves on the same spot which has never worked properly since its arrival. The 240 foot Skytower in Rhyl has been an attraction down there for years although its now shut and its future is in doubt, awaiting £400,000 repairs due to weather damage and age as it's situated on the coast subject to storms and salt erosion. No doubt the transition to an independent Scotland, if it happens, will throw up similar unexpected costs and surprises, as Westminster, judging by its negative campaign portraying Scots as a nation that cant even be trusted to handle its own resources, will probably go in the huff and do everything to try to make it fail in the early days ( Hopefully we have learned lessons from the Darian Project) although I do believe we should have the right to control our own country and get who we vote for as a nation. I'm not a particular fan of Alex Salmond but at least he is a clever and able politician and seems to be capable of making shrewd decisions then carrying them through.
Although I believe it will be good for Scotland in the long run and that we should control our own destiny( nothing to do with not liking England or the good folk of London) my main selfish concern is how it will impact on me personally over the next five years financially as no one really knows what's going to happen during that time period. I'm sure that standing upright unsupported after so long on a drip feed will be painful but I've decided I,m willing to take that chance.
An interesting article here from an American, now living in Scotland. She makes good points. I am now voting yes and hoping the transition, if it occurs, is not a hard affair. I cant see my own situation improving dramatically if a yes vote is forthcoming but maybe the next generation of young Scots can look forward to a brighter future than they have at present where the main growth industries seem to be educating students, most of whom will work elsewhere, care homes (low paid, long hours jobs) call centres, and zero hours contracts. According to the latest polls however, the better together campaign are still ahead so many folk must be content with another 5 or more years of austerity cuts.