Friday, 29 June 2018
Perth. Part Two. The City itself. Islands and Museum.
After my climb up Kinnoull Hill I still had time for a quick wander around Perth city centre itself. As I said in the previous post I've only stopped here in the past for takeaway meals or a wander along the waterfront on Tay Street where you can park beside the river.
Good to see how far woman have advanced since that unenlightened 1960s overtly sexist age....:o). Actresses are called 'actors' now of course so it's a different time altogether compared to the bad old days. Incidentally, I still like the term 'actress'- nothing wrong with it at all and it's been a hard earned title since the days of Evelyn Nesbit, Mary Pickford, and Bette Davis.
This is a link to Kinnoull Hill- Excellent You tube drone footage of this dramatic public park situated high above Perth and at three minutes long it's well worth seeing. Gives you a good overview of the area and the 200 metre, 700 foot high cliffs and woodlands falling down to meet the river below. I spent a memorable night up here with a long ago girlfriend/ companion/ muse watching the sun set in the evening then rise again in the morning when both the world and our half imagined dreams of future adventures together seemed limitless. Sadly they were not when reality finally intruded/dawned.
Cracking footage here. Never had the nerve this visit to stand beyond the folly wall like these folk are doing. It's a long way down and people have died at this spot. I like life too much to risk it.
Friday, 22 June 2018
A Trip To Perth. Part One. City, Moncrieffe Island and Kinnoull Hill.
Not the large city in Australia but the smaller original one in the Scottish Highlands half an hour's drive inland from the east coast city of Dundee. This is it above, looking north towards the mountains.
The Glasgow to Perth bus from Buchanan Street bus station dropped me off just short of the grid pattern square of streets that make up the central city district of Perth. Unusually, compared to others I've visited in the last year or so this bus station sits within the city itself but in an out of the way location you'd never find as a stranger just wandering around, tucked away in a nondescript hidden back street outside the town centre district as does the nearby railway station, next door.
Although I've passed through Perth many times in my prime hill-walking days, mainly for takeaway meals from a chip shop or for a curious half hour look around, Perth has never impressed me that much. The city itself that is. It's a bit like a well heeled, well dressed, but slightly dull very conservative aunt living in genteel suburbia. Think Margo in the Good Life. Or that's my take on it anyway as I prefer spectacular up and down towns and cities with plenty of hills inside the city limits- or social inequality and boom and bust surroundings. I'm a contrary bugger as I've said before. Not good times to live through of course but it does make for interesting social history over long periods. Steady but moderate prosperity overall may be a desirable economic model but it doesn't usually make for a varied or diverse timeline, widely different communities and differing architectural styles. Mrs Thatcher seemed to enjoy Perth though as it was one place in Scotland she could go to in the 1980s for party conferences without getting booed for closing things down.
Despite having had a large Dyeworks factory/industry in the past, a major employer but now long gone, Perth doesn't seem to have the gritty industrial heritage of Dundee, the broken and disused environments and abandoned factories with that certain edge on the outskirts that can be exciting to visit or abandoned docklands that always pull me in like a magnet,.... or the grand period buildings of Glasgow or Edinburgh, or the warren of narrow ancient streets around a high castle and graveyard that makes similar sized Stirling so appealing.... or any real points of genuine unusual interest for that matter, apart from its river and islands. No 'wow' factor for my tastes in the architecture. Not that I've noticed anyway. It's just nice but nothing really outstanding- building wise. I'm not being cruel just hopefully factual. This photo sort of sums it up. Pick a stand out feature here to visit as a tourist.
Halfway across, a thin zig zag staircase takes you down vertically to explore the island but on that particular occasion I was young and hasty and other more enticing allures were promised in quieter woodlands on Kinnoull Hill so soft whispers, summer heat, and intoxicating teenage perfume and laughter led me badly astray. This was worthwhile in every way but, as ever, a tiny part of me fancied Moncrieffe Island as well. Appetizer and main meal but no pudding thereafter. I'd never had the chance to come back again until now. Sadly alone this time. The normal history of getting older and losing friends due to age related progressive isolation that everyone has to fight against or become an island themselves. It's usually men that are more likely to be affected by this, especially stoic, less gregarious types.
Autumn last year I went to see this band 'Cloudbusting' at the Oran Mor in Glasgow's West End. £17 a ticket for an almost two hour show. Really enjoyed it and a great night. Standing only in the Oran Mor so not a seated gig at this event. It was much more of a rock concert as a result than this video suggests, a less sedate affair, with more lively audience participation throughout and occasional stage banter from the charismatic young singer and band but I like this gentler version as well as you have to vary it depending on the audience. A standing active crowd are generally noisier overall, especially a Glasgow one, but offer more feedback if an act really delivers and they did. An outstanding tribute band and at £100 plus for the original rarely seen artist a fantastic alternative well worth catching. Every bit as good as well without having to travel to London for shows as it was a nationwide tour they were on and Kate is not known for that these days when she does perform live. I had a great time with some memorable highlights.
Saturday, 16 June 2018
Hothouse Musings. A Deeper Understanding. Morphogenesis in Nature and Society.
On a recent wander around the Glasgow park-lands, some of which may at some stage be sold off to private developers for luxury housing projects as is already happening in many other parts of the UK at the moment under an increasing " it used to be a treasured public facility but it costs far too much to maintain so lets get rid of it and make some money " ongoing current popular agenda. A Common Blue Butterfly here which got me thinking about Alan Turing's Morphogenesis theory of Reaction:Diffusion to explain how animals, including us, have fingers and toes, how tigers and zebras end up with various stripes yet others have spots, flora and fauna patterns, and how all this can be explained as a form of natural engineering through chemicals and other factors interacting. Basically, the more we learn about the natural world the more it does seem to have been 'designed' or fits into mathematical profiling at any rate.
I don't pretend to understand all of this link but the general themes I can appreciate. Maybe at some future date using this theory in practice we can build not just 3D printed organs and structures but actually grow them organically- almost like a flower or an embryo grows using the same basic principles... Or buildings. Science Fiction has long imagined structures/ spaceships/ humans that combined both natural and synthetically grown materials into one cohesive unit.
After all, it's only eleven short years since the Ray Winstone film Beowulf came out in 2007 as an animated version of the classic tale. It was a good enough film but also memorable for the lifeless eyes of many of the characters in close up. Jump forwards eleven years and you get this-..... a complete world of realistic looking plants, animals and humans with eyes full of expressive intent.
In another 50 years will we know this world from the 'real' one? In 200 years will we know if we are still human and not just a regenerated version living in a simulated universe. What if we are there already and just don't realise it yet? Could we be created and designed? These fleeting thoughts and mental brush strokes of imagination certainly passed the time on a warm Sunday afternoon around the Kelvingrove district. Decades ago in the 1960s these ideas and concepts were certainly around in some of the books I read then but to be honest they seemed about as plausible and certain to come true as a flat earth with the oceans pouring over the edges... now though I'm not so sure given the leaps in technology over the last 30 years.
As unfair a set of scales as a recent programme about affordable social housing/ social cleansing/deliberate political tilted table engineering over decades highlighted in this link.
Before Grenfell: A Hidden History. BBC 2. A snapshot of what's happening across the rest of the UK as well but focused on this one estate where a normal poor/ordinary working class family can all be working industriously over decades yet never afford to buy into London's booming property market but just a few streets away in Notting Hill and other affluent districts folk can earn more just from house value increases alone in one decade as that entire family gainfully employed over a lifetime of toil, scrimping and saving can. Unfair enough in itself but of course due to the UK system at present many have used that extra cash to buy ex- council properties, snapping them up elsewhere then renting them out to poorer folks who actually live in that area but are way down the ladder, cash wise, for a further profit. Well, you would, wouldn't you? Now I understand how people can afford to buy all the luxury properties they seem to be building everywhere I've noticed on cycle rides over the last decade. Not since the mid 1800s has this level of inequality existed in the UK and it has been engineered deliberately in many instances. This programme raised interesting points going back 50 years into the birth and transformation of that estate and London as a city. It got me thinking at one point... 'are the so called 'UK working class' turning into a redundant extra we no longer require ...with traditional jobs disappearing fast over the horizon? Not at present but in the near future. Or are they just changing into a Piranha feeding station instead with various outlets springing up every year to grab an extra mouthful of the action, capitalizing on desperation or stupidity. Legitimate short term loans, credit card industry, University loans...etc...(I get a new credit card offer in the post at least once a month. I could have dozens by now if I was that way inclined)
After all in the 1980s we switched from manufacturing and heavy industry into mass unemployment and a business and service society. Maybe another big change is on the way now and not in an obvious direction either.
Robots and the desire to create artificial life is nothing new, of course. Here's a very lifelike attempt at it from the late 1800s. " for 100 dollars extra we can build you a soul." The ancient Clockwork Guild............or a future bio- engineering project.