How the UK is getting on… especially Scotland:
Banks ‘were close to collapsing’ (but the UK has now turned the corner) by BBC News
Why a Lloyds TSB takeover of HBOS is bad news for the Scottish high street by The Scotsman
Mum is still keeping her fingers in her ears and going ‘lalalalala’ so I just told her the governor of the Bank of England says we’ve turned the corner. And we might be able to save money on broadband and phonecalls if we switch to Sky.
It was me who said the last bit, not the governor of the Bank of England, but it cheered her up anyway.
I quickly finished the biography of George Mackay Brown by Maggie Fergusson. It’s shorter than it looks because of the references at the back. I enjoyed it and found it more informative than GMB’s autobiography (From the Islands I Sing) but it was fairly dry in the middle, around the period when GMB was spending a lot of time with the other poets.
I suppose each person’s life is bound up with others and you really can’t separate them too much. These other people supported, influenced etc.
In his serious writing, GMB had a taste for the dark things of human existence (such as what happened to the local witches). But he also had his lighter, friendlier moments.
GMB suffered from periodic depression as well as agoraphobia. I wonder if many of the reviewers and critics really understood how that would impact on him. I was reading a review by someone who had read the biography who kept saying “but it was hard to work out why GMB [this, that or the other]“. In turn, it made no sense to me how anyone could read that book (or know anything about him) and not understand.
It’s true that some people think in black and white terms. They would imagine that if you have agoraphobia, you never leave the house. And if you leave the house regularly (like GMB going to the shops), you don’t have it any more. But as GMB found, it hangs around… sometimes it’s bad, and sometimes it’s barely even present. He stared at the island of Hoy and wondered how he ever found the energy and courage to go out there. I do that myself – I think about places I’ve been and things I’ve done, and marvel. It doesn’t mean I would never be able to do them again – I would just feel currently unable.
To come close to understanding another, you really have to join up the dots.
While categorizing the older posts, I found this one: Spelt Exactly How it Says on the Tin
The bit that caught my attention was:
It’s impossible to switch off my niggle radar – my whole life is a kind of busman’s holiday. I just know if they put me in a reality show to swop lives with someone else, they would be forcing me to write ‘WD40’ without hyphens. “You must learn to loosen up. It’s good for you,” they would say. Then they would catch me red-handed, in the middle of the night, correcting my blog by flashlight.
It crossed my mind that swopping blogs would be mildly entertaining, though to no real point – imagine if you took over another blogger’s blog for a while and tried to write the sort of posts they might write. It would be easier if you also lived their life for a while so that you would be writing about the same people and things. Or then again, it would be more fun to stay in your own home and make it all up, then you could add silly things like “I went up Ben Nevis with my wheelie bag and felt quite alright, thank you kindly.”
Come to think of it, I’ve seen people ‘blog-sitting’ so it’s not really a new idea. It can be confusing. I remember tuning in to one blog and not realizing it was under the control of a different writer. There was something not quite right and I was perplexed, then realized the stark truth… imposter!
I suppose it’s more fun for the bloggers than the readers, an exception being the sort of situation where a friend or family member steps in to convey information while the main blogger is elsewhere.
On a slightly different subject, you would think personal blogs (if saved for posterity) would be interesting for historians if viewed as a whole. Even the most casual blogs (if not too introverted) reveal patterns and directions similar to shoals of fish darting about the reefs. For instance a number of British blogs recently have been talking about ‘torrential rain’. Not just any rain, you notice. It’s torrential rain. Most of us enjoy it even while we complain – we speak of the comfort we feel when looking out at a damp grey landscape. That won’t be interesting to historians, who will presumably have access to proper weather reports, but it’s just an example – there are other common topics and viewpoints.
Like… hem… well, very early in the year I was noting down bloggable topics – I wanted to describe the beautiful Scottish spider webs coated with ice. I never got round to it, but when I visited other Scottish blogs, they all seemed to be admiring their frosty cobwebs. One provided photos – much nicer than anything I could have come up with. It gave me a shock. I thought I was the only one observant enough to come up with such blog posts, and at the same time I was struck by the fact that all the blogs about icy webs (at least just then) were Scottish. I’m just a typical Scot after all – nothing out of the ordinary. Just one of the tiny silver fish in the middle of the shoal.
Maybe some of those other ‘silver fish’ live next door. Right at this very moment they could be posting: “as I gaze dreamily across the road, I see a woman sitting at her window – she stares into her computer monitor all the time and never looks out at the world long enough to behold small but beautiful things… such as spiders’ webs bejewelled with dew.”
Hang on while I draw my curtains.