Wednesday, 19 August 2015
I had a problem with my car a few weeks ago which meant I had to put it into a specialized garage for repairs. This happened to be in Cambuslang, which lies on the south eastern edge of the city so I had a few hours to kill while it was getting fixed. I know Cambuslang fairly well as I have friends there and have cycled, walked, worked, studied and played in the vicinity over the decades. Like close neighbour Rutherglen, Cambuslang is now a part of Greater Glasgow but it's a sizable community in its own right with a prosperous past founded on coal mines, limestone, iron, steel, and engineering works during the industrial revolution. This is the Allison Drive district which lies behind Cambuslang's busy Main Street of shops, and offices.
When it came to writing a comprehensive kindle guidebook to the best urban walks outdoors in and around Glasgow I only included this one as part of a cycling tour. It is very isolated yet sits in an urban area with no real escape routes should you meet someone nasty. For this reason and my memory of it being uninteresting, flat and dull I didn't include it as a walk in the book.
No matter, that classic novel captured the public's imagination so much that any large out of control plant is always called a "Triffid."
2 to 3 hours at an easy pace. Under 5 miles in distance, mainly on the flat, but an enjoyable walk nevertheless and it can be extended along the river walkway to Newton bringing it up to around 8 miles. Timed it just nice to collect my fixed car.
A link here to my Glasgow guidebook which has details and photos of over 70 walks and cycle rides around and within the Greater Glasgow area. including Paisley, Clydebank, Cumbernauld, Motherwell, Hamilton and East Kilbride. £1:99 on Kindle and packed with colour photographs, many never seen on the blog.
Meanwhile, I'm still finding plenty of interest in the gaming world with my new nighttime companion recommending many excellent fantasy worlds to explore. I'm still not interested in game play for itself in any way as I just like the stories and characters involved. Better level of entertainment than most of the TV programmes at present.
Some games have a high level of sophistication and are full of elaborate themes, art and detail. My current new favourite world to enter via You Tube is Bioshock Infinite and I was immediately intrigued when I read this concept and backstory to the game.
I was particularly intrigued by the idea of American Exceptionalism and the retro art detail and film noir feeling throughout. Refreshingly different yet also disturbingly familiar to most in its portrayal of a two tier society governed by absolute authority and the vision and drive of one individual dominating the lives of others.This excellent short fan made video should give you a taste of that elaborate inner kingdom. Is this the game version of Gone with the Wind? It certainly has the scope, detail and grandeur of an epic and the lead characters seem like a loving homage to old Hollywood. Best watched full screen.
I featured these particular two games for a reason. I've noted that people have cried or been emotionally attached/moved in some way at the end of these, despite them being animated fantasy worlds. That shows you the potential power they have in the future. 90 percent of mainstream Hollywood films would pay large sums of money before a camera is ever taken out its bag to guarantee that kind of instant human connection to the product being sold and these outstanding games make it all look easy... so I ask the question again. Is this the future of film?
Tuesday, 11 August 2015
ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN.
It has taken me 35 years to do the wetsuit traverse of Finnich Glen on the OS Landranger Glasgow map. I have used this map more than any other as it has more walks and cycle rides on it than any equivalent Scottish map. Finnich Glen, on the road to Drymen, and not far from Queen's view and the nearby Whangie just creeps in on the northern edge of this map and scout groups, girl guides, outward bound, team building courses, and mountaineering clubs have traversed it for years.
A first for us though and a chance to use our wetsuits again.
I think this is where they shot the final battle scenes in "The Eagle" a Scottish film based around the missing Roman legion who marched deep into highland Scotland and were never heard from again, presumably killed by the Caledonian Picts, a warlike race who controlled north Britain in ancient times. Many films and TV productions have used Finnich Glen as a scenic backdrop, including Outlander I believe.
With the recent rains however it was in prime condition. Waterlogged in fact.
For a winter view of the gorge see Dec 2010 on this blog, .http://blueskyscotland.blogspot.co.uk/2010/12/finnich-glenthe-devils-pulpita-spooky.html
And so is this... I don't play computer games normally but meeting someone much younger recently opened my eyes to the giant strides in this genre. Compared to early versions of Lara Croft the artwork,sophistication and ambition of modern games is staggering. In another 15 to 20 years you will be lucky to tell the difference between the cyber world created and the real one you are living in.
Having been disappointed by a few recent films she suggested this instead. "This" is as entertaining and gripping as any film, with great characters developing into a memorable double act to rival any icons in the film world . A brave new frontier to send panic though the entire traditional entertainment industry methinks....
After the excellent Breaking Bad finished recently on Spike there has been a hole in my nightly TV viewing until I found this. The complete edit of " The Last of Us" as a film. I'll start with Part Three as it doesn't spoil anything yet stands on its own but it's all available on You Tube for anyone wanting a cracking and surprisingly emotional and gripping journey through a destroyed America. The ending can be viewed without joining. I watched "The Road" a few years back and didn't think much of it as it was far too grim and serious as a visual journey. This animated "Game" works far better as a film than that one, full of unexpected beauty, wonder and interest as it develops, with memorable lead performances of Oscar winning quality. 5 out of 5 and well worth watching in full.
Is this the future of film? Reminds me strongly of John Wyndham books in its warmth and humanity shining through despite a bleak surrounding environment. Better than many recent, much hyped big budget films. A few swear words and probably a 15 rating but this modern classic is a real game changer in every way. The point when games grew into enjoyable films in their own right with believable "living" personalities capturing our hearts as much as any real actor.
Saturday, 1 August 2015
For some reason I wasn't looking forward to this summer, even before July turned out to be the wettest on record for parts of Scotland. Probably because Alex has only a few Corbetts left in remote areas and doing the same familiar local hills over again didn't appeal. I've always been someone who enjoyed a wide range of sports outdoors and I'll try anything that comes along. I love new sensations. Live for them, and I've always been out of step with the various clubs I've been in because of that. Kayaking in a hillwalking club... coastal walking in a mountaineering club... Cycling in a running club...etc etc.
So I bought two inflatable kayaks, seen here. Nine foot long, two separate blow up chambers consisting of the floor in black tough plastic (which is the most likely to get holed) and a green upper section( which may keep you afloat if the bottom gets punctured, even if its just long enough to get you to shore and make repairs.
I have to thank Alan for this as he mentioned that Lidl or Aldi had them in stock for under £50 quid so I rushed down but they were all gone. I had thought of buying kayaks again but I have nowhere to store them and the inflatable models I'd seen were a few hundred pounds in price. Too much for an occasional venture on my limited budget. These were just under £70 quid each from Amazon online.
I've always believed a sense of purpose in life is the greatest gift you can give someone.
It didn't put him off though and he was soon back in the saddle after a quick change to dry gear. He soon swapped his "Tigger" bounce in tail first then push off approach for a more cautious entry and exit from the craft.
I've met a few people over the last few weeks that have read my book and enjoyed it so I'll plug it again. If you are interested in a slightly comical offbeat view of Scotland it may be to your taste for £1:14 pence.
Fallow deer swim from island to island occasionally. Is this Paradise? It can be when it's quiet and silent. I used to come over here in the depths of winter and have the entire loch to myself 30 years ago. It's probably just the same today out of season.
Heard this song decades ago on a folk compilation and it was a highlight. Still like it and the words are truer than ever today. A vastly underrated classic.