Month: <span>November 2017</span>

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Fuck me that was awesome #royalblood

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On the strength of a somewhat epic fun gig a couple of years at The Barrowlands, and the fact that they fall straight slap bang in the middle of my rock music preferences (heavy but a hint of blues/pop sensibilities), it was a pretty easy decision to snap up a ticket when their current tour was announced.

The big question was how would two guys, despite the racket I know they can generate, fare at filling the cavernous SSE Hydro, which isn’t renowned for having the best acoustics.

But before I answer that, it’s worth touching on the support acts.

Black Honey were up first and having done a little pre-listening I was looking forward to hearing them live. They strutted on stage and certainly didn’t look like the scale of the venue had awed them in any way, delivering a short sharp set. One to watch out for in the future.

At The Drive-In were next up. Colour me unimpressed. I wasn’t a fan going in and this did nothing to sway my mind. It’s not the music, it’s that screechy shouty voice that puts me off and it certainly didn’t lend itself to a venue the size of the Hydro (maybe he was just badly mic’d though). That said, they did seem to be pretty popular with a lot of people streaming in when they started. Which was good as it meant the queues at the bar were short.

And then it was time for Royal Blood. Suffice to say that yes, they did fill the Hydro and pretty much blew the damn roof off whilst they were at it. It always helps when the crowd was well up for it as well and seeing that translate to the band always adds that extra something to a gig, transforming the crowd to a surging mass, hands in the air, quite a sight in what can sometimes be a bit of a soulless place.

And then, before I realised it, they were into their encore and then it was time to go. I walked out surrounded by beaming smiles, and cheery banter.

I’d suggest for any up and coming rock bands wondering ‘how to do it’ take a look at Royal Blood. Their act, regardless of having a new album/new songs to play, was the same as it was when I saw them at the Barrowlands (and looks the same as the videos I’ve seen of them at Glastonbury). They aren’t two guys trying to be rock stars, they are just two guys up there playing the music they love, as loud as possible, having fun and loving every minute of it.

As did I!

Gigs

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Every now and then the stars align and, as you head to bed on Sunday night, you realise just how epic your weekend was (and how quickly it went). Sometimes it’s not really just what you did, but who you shared it with, and it’s telling that this weekend ticked all those boxes.

Not only did I attend some great events, I also spent time with some of my favourite people. What’s not to like?

Friday evening

My weekend started with a couple of post-work drinks with a good friend who has been wonderfully supportive these past few months. She’s been as good at listening to me as she has at giving me a kick when I need to get past ‘myself’.

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ROYAL BLOOD 🤘

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Then it was time to head off to the SSE Hydro for the Royal Blood gig. Quite the upgrade from the last time I saw them, at Barrowlands, but they filled the Hydro (literally and sonically) and it’s fascinating to see how easily they have made the transition from ‘upcoming band’ to arena filling rock stars. They put on a great show, seemed to be having a lot of fun themselves, and definitely know how to work a crowd. Stonkingly good gig!

Hat tip to support band Blood Honey who could be one to watch, and a resounding booooo for At The Drive-In (awful) and the black ice outside the Hydro that I slipped on when I arrived resulting in a sprained wrist and some bruises (mostly to my pride).

Saturday

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OHHHH YEAHHHHHH

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No Bootcamp (cos sprained wrist) but off to Murrayfield in the hope that Scotland might beat Australia. Final score, Scotland 53, Australia 24!!! Sure, Australia were down to 14 for the second half but Scotland played so well I think we’d have won it against 15. So good to see Scotland playing attacking expansive rugby, and some stout defence as well, especially their line speed. Bodes well for the 6 Nations! #AsOne

A few post game beers in Edinburgh and then home to watch it all over again on TV! A great day out with my best mates.

Sunday

Popped down to Dumbarton see my parents for lunch, had planned to visit my sister, her fiancé and my gorgeous niece but said niece was full of the cold so I steered clear. Drove to there with cheesy singalong tunes playing (yes I have a playlist called that) and drove the long way home on purpose just to hear a few more tracks. Nothing quite like a bit of top of yer lungs car singing and to hell what anyone thinks!

And then it was Sunday evening which brought an introduction to Campari, Martini and Champagne cocktails. Delicious!

Sometimes weekends like that, with little time to chill out and relax, can be exhausting and, whilst I’m a bit tired today, I walked home on Sunday evening with the biggest smile on my face. That said, next weekend is a little quieter which is just as well before we head into the usual flurry of social activities that marks the coming festive season.

Now I just need to find time to buy some presents…

Gigs Life Sport

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  • Good News Thanksgiving Extravaganza
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    That reminds me, thank you for reading!

Weekend Reading

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I don’t tend to post reading advice but this is a massively introspective piece about (fundamentally) my mental health. I process things by writing, I find more connections that way and I thought I’d share this particular set of thoughts. It’s based on various journal entries, collated and polished for publishing (I don’t write like this in my journal) and shared with a mind to others who may find the following 3000-odd words interesting or useful. YMMV, obvs.

“Life is a mystery,
everyone must stand alone”

Madonna

Nary a truer word has been spoken, life truly is a mystery at times and, between you and me, I’ve given up trying to figure it out.

To be accurate, I have been trying to give up finding any sense of higher power – be it fate, God, Allah, or Cluthu – for some time because, quite frankly, life can be such an utter shit show it’s hard to believe that anyone has their hand on the tiller. I’ve a few decades of presumptive knowledge that I’m still battling against but more and more I find I’m happy to just keep on keeping on. It’s not always easy though and there is a part of me that envies the true believers and their simple answers. It’s all part of Gods plan. Right?

I used to believe in God, or at least I went to church a lot when I was a kid, but then I discovered science and facts, and realised that whilst it’s an interesting read in parts, the bible is complete fiction based on the stories and letters of some men (and we all know how reliable and trustworthy men are…).

Yet it’s hard to not imagine that there is something, somewhere, a giant space slug perhaps, that is gently tweaking the events of my life into some semblance of order. Is that down to a deeply rooted desire to find an explanation for the unexplainable? Is it a symptom of my own lack of self-confidence? Am I really being left to my own devices to fuck up my life as I choose? That’s a LOT of responsibility so there surely must be something else running the show here, a Department of Life perhaps? Am I even allowed to call myself an adult, and how the hell do I know when I finally reach adulthood cos it sure doesn’t feel like I’ve managed that yet either.

Surely, SURELY, there must be some divine being, a guiding hand, that is carefully moulding the myriad moments and decisions that have gotten me to this point in my life. Who, or what, has been guiding me to be right here, right now? Ohhh I’m getting all religious again.

Recently some events have caused me to reflect on the past couple of years and no matter how I try to rationalise things there is a small part of my brain that is clinging to the hope that, actually, this isn’t all MY doing at all, it’s all because Cangelflup The Almighty Of All Everything has deigned these things to happen.

How else can I explain how various life events, some of which were planned, some of which were not, are all starting to align in a way that suggest that this is how it was all meant to play out? For, if there isn’t an entity, some cosmic sort or other, that is nudging things along in accordance to my place in the galactic gantt chart of being, then I have to take on the realisation that I am apparently an absolute genius that is so off-the-scale SMART AT LIFE ™ that I’ve not even realised until now just how much I’ve got my shit together.

And, dear reader, we all know that is not the explanation. My shit is most definitely still scattered all over the damn place (not literally, obvs).

Yet I can’t shake that feeling, the sensation that my life is starting to take a new shape, things are starting to align. Various past events, new things, and changes of some old (bad) habits; all of these changes that are disconnected from one another yet are all coming into play at the same time, and are combining to make my life… better… nay, GOOD.

Editors note: Bear with him, he does know that these things are, of course, connected because they all concern him, but he’s on a bit of a self-discovery kick at the moment. Either that or he’s had too much caffeine, you know how it goes.

Hey, I can read that you know! That Editor is so rude! Anyway, where was I…?

Ahhh yes, there are factors in my life that seem to be aligning.

On the surface they maybe aren’t all good things – I can thoroughly recommend you DO NOT break up with two partners within days of each other (even though you knew you had to) – but that was the choices I made because deep down I knew it was right for me. Those decisions were thought about long and hard and were, rightly, difficult to face. I guess that is a downside of being poly, being very honest with yourself and others about your emotions and actions can really REALLY suck.

But some of the other decisions that are now looking like they were, all along, part of some evil genius mastermind plan, were made on the spur of the moment.

I’m not good at making spur of the moment decisions

I wasn’t good at making spur of the moment decisions in the past but part of my counselling (one of the things which has definitely been a part of this overarching alignment) was to be more spontaneous. On the strength of that and some gentle nudging from a rather awesome work colleague (she knows who she is), I booked into a 10 week Bootcamp at a local gym. I had never done anything like that before and, 25 odd weeks later I’m still doing it and already agreed to switch to a newer monthly programme for all of 2018 and, even odder to me, I’m absolutely loving it.

Attending the gym regularly lead to a need to eat better so I’m able to do the type of high intensity interval training that Bootcamp involves, so my diet has improved. And because I’m seemingly incapable of not training until I am utterly exhaused I’ve had to be stricter on getting a decent amount of sleep lest I spend my weeks as a zombie. I’ll say this now, those people who say at least 7-8 hours sleep a night were really on to something!

Overall I’m healthier, fittier, lighter, and happier within my physical self. Not completely happy just yet but I can see and feel the differences and … well let’s get to the next item in what is rapidly becoming The Inventory of the Life of G.

A few months back a friend asked me if I wanted to go to a guided meditation session. I said yes immediately (cos spontaneous!). Since then I’ve managed to get myself into a daily meditation habit. Even if only for 10 minutes (current new app obsession is “Oak” btw) it lets me slow my brain down and bring my focus to the here and now, instead of going back over the past, or projecting into the future, neither of which are massively healthy habits for me. Going to the first guided meditation sessions also nicely aligned with the counsellor suggesting (independently as I hadn’t mentioned it to her) that it might be something to look into.

I’ll pause here for a moment and cast my net a little wider. If you have a friend or colleague who mentions they are either trying to lose weight, or work out more, or are trying yoga for the first time, or… whatever really… if you see a difference in them, tell them! Having colleagues and friends mention that I seem much more relaxed and happier, or my physio noting that I’d lost weight, gave me the encouragement to keep these things going. That passing comment holds more power than you might think.

Right, back to me!

Next up is my current abode. With an increase in my rent due I decided to end my tenancy and look for something else. Part of what attracted to me to my old flat was the space, it was big! But that quickly equated into a need to fill it with “stuff” because, well, it was a big space and I could afford it. A few months prior to hearing that my rent was going up I had read THAT Marie Kondo book (which is good but as with all these things, take from it what YOU need, it’s not a bible… ohh there’s that religious thing again) and started to go through all my possessions with a view of reducing the clutter and ‘stuff’ to just things I needed and things that meant something to me.

Inspired to take my ongoing de-cluttering a step further, and with a looming move now planned, I started to go through everything I owned. EVERYTHING. It wasn’t always an easy process, especially for the sentimental items. In fact at times it was surprising to find the sentimental attachment I had to the most inane objects. Yet once I was in the habit of assessing and considering all of these items, it became a fun exercise, and a bit of a challenge. Plus there was something really enjoyable at actually taking the time to look at things I owned and asking myself why I owned them.

Looking about for a new flat was both depressing (there are some truly awful places out there) and revealing. I already had a vague notion of downsizing (from my large two bed flat) and found myself choosing smaller and smaller places, finally ending up where I am now which is easily a third of the size of my previous place (if not smaller). The upside of having deliberately chosen to downsize is that I now find myself questioning my purchases much more often because I just don’t have the space any more. Do I really need THAT? Is it replacing something I already own, and if so, is it a better version of it? Will owning THAT be something I’ll be happy with in a years time? WHY am I buying this?

Equally living in a substantially smaller space means I’m keeping on top of household chores more as there isn’t any place to ‘hide’ things. For me a tidy home is a calming place, a place that I alone occupy. The lack of clutter makes it seem quiet and peaceful, my little sanctuary away from the world. It gives me space to be with myself and through that I’ve learned how to be comfortably alone, again something that I’ve struggled with in the past; although as with most things the balance is to have enough alone time to be content but not too much that I start getting a little out of kilter, turns out I need social interaction way more than I thought I did.

So far the theme of the year seems to be self-reflection which, whilst it can be good in limited doses, can also start to become a blocker if you try and second guess every moment of your day. More recently I’ve found that a mirror of how I believe I am seen by others (in the work place) has been far more instructive (and horrifying!). Watching a recent work colleague spend most of his time in an agitated, angry state, railing against all the (perceived) wrongs being done, made me realise how much I have changed in the past year and made it even more evident to me that I was doing something right. I sure didn’t wanna be THAT guy (and I have been that guy a LOT in the past).

Meditation has helped with this, and having some work colleagues point out my ‘new’ calm demeanour has re-enforced that even further.

Outside of work I now find myself far more willing to say yes to something on a whim, than go with my past behaviours of analysing everything and considering my options first. It’s probably the most fundamental change that I have noticed in myself and even though it does mean my calendar is pretty rammed full it’s of things that I enjoy and want to do (you don’t have to say yes to everything, choosing the right things to say yes to is just as important). Yet I’m still just as prepared to NOT go to something I committed to, or to turn up late to something which for me is a BIG DEAL, I am the guy who is always at least 15 minutes early. Ultimately I am allowing myself to fail which is a much much bigger deal to me than it probably sounds.

There are other things I’m noticing. I find myself smiling more every day. I feel more patient and calm, and I listen to myself a lot more as well. It all boils down to the realisation that I am finally looking after me first, and it all feels like the last couple of years has been heading towards this point. Sure there have been some crappy moments but that’s just part of life, and reflecting on the past year I realise that I’m happier that I’ve accepted that I’m on a journey, than of any of the specific milestones I’ve achieved.

Of course there is no guiding hand at play here, and I’m starting to accept that what this all amounts to is simply my acceptance of ‘this is life right now’ at play. Rather than my old view of rehashing my behaviours and actions of the past, whilst second guessing my future ones, I’m much happier to live in the present and find myself, more and more, being much more focused on HOW I spend my time, rather than what I’m doing. Does being here, doing this, make me happy? Is a very simple but powerful question.

It feels like this is where I should be. I’m in a place where I am putting myself first whilst making more of an effort to reach out to the people I love. I have some amazing friends, some newer than others, and their support and encouragement through this past year or so has been more beneficial than any of them realise. They are few but they are mighty and wonderful and generous, I’m very lucky to be a part of their lives.

Despite all of that, another key learning has been around how to be alone. It may sound like I’m avoiding that with such a ‘rammed schedule’ but part of my scheduling includes a level of cutting out time just for me. Sometimes I just sit and read a book, sometimes I go for a walk, sometimes I sleep in late and watch movies all day; regardless, I don’t plan what will happen on those days, I just spend them alone.

There is a tendency to view being alone as a negative thing and sure, if it is a permanent thing it can be, but a big part of me solving the mystery of my life has been learning to stand alone and understanding that I am the only person responsible for me. There is no grand plan, no supreme being or holy seer. We are all in this together but only I can look after my well-being, both physical and mental. I tend to keep the following in my head, a mantra if you wish (but this post has been far too self-referentially wanky so … maybe not).

There is only me. There is only today.

OF COURSE there isn’t ‘only me’, I’m lucky enough to have a loving and supportive family and a group of friends who would drop everything if I asked them for help. The amazing thing is that having spent the last year and a bit learning to be alone, I find myself far more open to the thought of sharing my life with someone else again. But that’s another topic for another day.

And OF COURSE there isn’t ‘only today’ but I find myself pondering the past far less often than I used to, and whilst I have plans I’m not as wedded to them because who knows what tomorrow will bring.

There are more cliches surrounding all this I’m sure, but overall I’m just struck by how the events of my recent life seem to have been converging to where I am now.

And then I realise it’s all down to me. I made the decision to get some counselling, I made the decision to go to the gym, I made the decision to move to a smaller place, I took stock of me and made some changes. And they worked.

I am happy and content with where I am right now. Something I’ve never really let myself be…. maybe the title of this blog is finally true.

I’ll close with another confession.

I have always been an emotional guy, I used to tear up watching Lassie and a few topics will always illicit a lump in my throat. I used to think that was because I was, naturally, just a bit sad. But I’m not, I’m in love. I’m in love with the world, I’m in love with my friends and family, hell I even love you for reading this nonsense (whoever you are).

I opened with a (deliberately cheesy) song quote, and I’ll close with another (less cheesy) that has been on frequent play for most of the year since these lines leapt out at me and helped me realise what I’ve been waffling on about in this post. I was grieving, grieving for the me that, somewhere along the line, I lost.

I’m so glad I found him again.

“My steps keep splitting my grief
Through these solipsistic moods
I should call my parents when I think of them
I should tell my friends when I love them”

Pinegrove – Old Friends

Personal Musings

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I watch sport quite frequently on TV. I’ll watch pretty much any sport going and whilst I have my favourites, I don’t mind watching something new just to learn about it (which is why I’ve probably seen more Kabaddi than you have, thank you Eurosport!). I’ve always put this down to the fact my Dad was a PE teacher, and I find myself looking for techniques and tactics to understand a game, rather than just marvelling at individuals.

Thinking back though I realise I watched a lot of sport growing up, just mostly not football. Although I do have vague memories of eating spaghetti bolognaise for the first time before me, my Dad, and my Uncle Bill sat down to watch a game of football that was ultimately cancelled when a wall collapsed in Heysel Stadium…

So I guess I put it down to my Dad having a professional interest and love of sport. My Dad is one of the smartest people I know and could have gone into any other profession but followed what he enjoyed (also smart). But it wasn’t all my Dad, my Mum used to watch cricket and golf whilst she knitted (two sports you can’t watch without dedicating your entire attention to) so as a child growing up sport was just what was on TV.

Rugby definitely felt like more than a ‘just on’ thing though, and when the Five Nations rolled around it was something more than just a way to pass an evening. I can remember David Sole marching the team out for THAT game against England, I watched Lomu flatten Carling with one hand (and cheered loudly!), and because the Scotland rugby team has always been reasonably ok, it’s been a lot more fun to watch them than their football counterparts.

A couple of weeks ago, my mate Stuart said he had spare tickets to a couple of the Autumn Internationals. I jumped at the chance. It was that my first ever experience of a live rugby game and just happened to be at the sold out Scotland vs New Zealand game at Murrayfield. I’ve seen live football twice (Dumbarton vs Queens Park, and Scotland vs a country we should have beaten but didn’t), and live basketball – Glasgow Rocks – a few times but never rugby. And what better way to start out!

Scotland international and domestic rugby has been on the rise for a few years now, but being Scottish there was a general sense of ‘as long as we don’t get gubbed’ because, lest we forget, the All Blacks are and have been for many years, one of the best teams in the world.

Regardless, there was a sense of hushed excitement that built and built until the kick off approached. Wandering to the stadium the good natured banter had already begun, and taking our seats as the players finished their warm-ups I started to get a sense of the stadium. I’d been in Murrayfield before, for gigs, and cycled through it as part of Pedal for Scotland, but seeing it packed full started to ratchet up the excitement.

They killed the lights as spotlights and music and fireworks kicked things up a notch, and then the players were coming out, the anthems were sung and boy, what a sound to hear your national anthem (Flower of Scotland) being belted out by a packed stadium.

A pause as the legend that is Doddie Weir came out to deliver the match ball – a huge gentle giant that is now battling Motor Neurone Disease – and received a standing ovation, and nary a few tears.

And then the first real stadium moment as the All Blacks lined up for their Haka. I’m not sure where in the rules of rugby etiquette this falls but the crowd were so pumped up for this and chanting loudly that it was almost an anticlimax.

GAME ON.

It went by in a whirl or dodgy refereeing decisions, scintillating play by both sides, huge tackles and as we entered the last 10 minutes a sense that maybe Scotland could take this?

Our seats were bang in line with the try-line that Scotland were heading for and as the last play of the game started, Hogg darting inside and out then charging up the line. I rose as one with the crowd… Go on Hoggy!! GO ONNN!!!!!

10 more metres and we’d have done it.

10 metres.

But what a game! I’ve since watched it back on TV and it was as frenetic and end-to-end as it looked. I fear I may have been a little spoiled for my first foray into live International rugby!

I’m back next Saturday to see how we fare against the Aussies, hope will bubble after that amazing display against New Zealand but as always, us Scots will always retain the knowledge of so many games that we were close to winning in the past. Aye maybe, but probably naw.

But, aye. Maybe.

COME ON SCOTLAND!!!

Sport

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    They do get a hard time, I too have been a Coldplay basher but more and more find myself NOT skipping tracks when they come on…

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    “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot is continuing to battle accused Hollywood sexual harasser Brett Ratner by refusing to sign for a super­hero sequel unless the movie-maker is completely killed from the franchise.
    The best bit, yesterday they confirmed Brett Ratner is out! Awesome news.

  • How to Make a $1500 Sandwich in Only 6 Months
    I spent 6 months and $1500 to completely make a sandwich from scratch. Including growing my own vegetables, making my own salt from ocean water, milking a cow to make cheese, grinding my own flour from wheat, collecting my own honey, and killing a chicken myself.My quest does not just cover food.
    I like a good sandwich, but this puts into perspective just how much effort goes into making them

  • Hip-hop is getting old, man
    When neighborhood block parties in the Bronx birthed rap and hip-hop in the early 1970s, hardly anyone expected the music style—barely a genre on its own, resonant as it was within some specific communities—to get very big.
    Everything is getting old. Just ask my knees…

  • Spotify is abandoning the outdated idea of corporate holidays
    YES TO THIS.

  • To Guys Who Think It’s “Hard To Be A Man” Right Now, I’ve Got Some News For You
    As sexual harassment allegations continue to be made public against powerful men, there’s been a theme appearing among male commentators: discomfort.
    Good! We should, AT THE VERY LEAST, feel some discomfort!

  • How a Password Changed My Life
    “How could she do something like this to me?” said a voice in my head. All the time. Every day. Back in 2011, when everything had gradients, iOS icons made sense, and people used deodorants, I was stuck in middle of a pretty bad depression due to my divorce.
    Simple things can hold such power.

  • Five ways Apple could improve iPhone X usability
    I stand by my claim that iPhone X is the best damn product Apple has ever made but that doesn’t mean it can’t and shouldn’t get better. That includes how new features like Face ID, gesture navigation, Control Center access, and Lock screen buttons are currently implemented.
    Agree on most of these but none are dealbreakers. Letting me set Spotify as the default Music app now THAT would be good.

  • A robotic spy among the fish
    08.11.17 – A new miniature robot developed by EPFL researchers can swim with fish, learn how they communicate with each other and make them change direction or come together. These capabilities have been proven on schools of zebrafish.
    I, for one, welcome our new… etc etc

  • Can Carbon-Dioxide Removal Save the World?
    Carbon Engineering, a company owned in part by Bill Gates, has its headquarters on a spit of land that juts into Howe Sound, an hour north of Vancouver.
    This is both fascinating and terrifying. A $4bn dollar industry in the making, just how much corruption will there be?

  • Colin Kaepernick Will Not Be Silenced
    In 2013, Colin Kaepernick was on the cover of this magazine because he was one of the best football players in the world. In 2017, Colin Kaepernick is on GQ’s cover once again—but this time it is because he isn’t playing football.
    Powerful imagery to go with a powerful, currently silent, man.

  • I Made 6 Famous Mashed Potato Recipes And Found The Very Best One

    • The Ultimate Scrambled Egg Recipe • The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe Share On facebook Share Share On vk Share Share On pinterest Share On pinterest Pin Share On lineapp Share Share On twitter Share Share On email Share On sms Share On wha
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  • Why Can’t People Stop Touching Museum Exhibits?
    You’re walking through a museum when a piece of art seems to call out to you. Maybe it’s a bowl, smooth and detailed with shiny gold leaf. Maybe it’s a statue of Venus, her hand outstretched. You walk over to this enticing object. You lean in as close as you can.
    Well how else am I supposed to know how Mona Lisa tastes??

  • Cards Against Humanity buys area of US border to prevent Trump building his wall
    The company behind a game that involves matching cards with humorously offensive phrases announced it had bought a piece of land on the US-Mexico border with the explicit aim of hindering Mr Trump’s signature policy promise.
    LOVE THIS!

  • How Facebook Figures Out Everyone You’ve Ever Met
    In real life, in the natural course of conversation, it is not uncommon to talk about a person you may know.
    Another reason that I might start to cut back (cut out) Facebook. Maybe 2018 is the tipping point.

  • A 70s Photographer Unveils the Ultimate New York Punk Archive on Instagram
    A downtown fixture behind a Polaroid camera at Hell’s Angels bar-turned-nightclub CBGBs, Julia Gorton took hundreds of photos of the characters that epitomized the 70s, which are slowly making their way to the public eye through her Instagram.
    Some amazing candid snaps of some amazing talents

  • This Song Was Carefully Engineered To Make Babies Happy
    You’d think a whole happy baby Spotify playlist would already exist… but apparently not.
    Awwwwwwww

  • Jeremy Hunt humiliated by TV star who proved his boasts about NHS improvement are “total bullshit”
    Jeremy Hunt has been diagnosed with a case of severe “bullshit” after his claims about NHS improvement under the Tories were given a second opinion by an unlikely source – Dr Who star Ralf Little.
    How the fuck do these assholes still have power?

  • How the Voyager Golden Record Was Made
    We inhabit a small planet orbiting a medium-sized star about two-thirds of the way out from the center of the Milky Way galaxy—around where Track 2 on an LP record might begin.
    I had no idea about this, mostly because I hadn’t ever given it much thought. Cool AF.

  • CompuServe’s forums, which still exist, are finally shutting down
    Before there was a World Wide Web, a sizable chunk of all meaningful conversation between computer users happened in the forums at CompuServe, which was the dominant online service until AOL came along.
    Including this so everyone else can go through the ‘they were still going’ disbelief I experienced!

  • Meet the People Who Listen to Podcasts at Super-Fast Speeds
    Rachel Kenny started listening to podcasts in 2015 — and quickly fell behind. “As I started subscribing to more and more podcasts, they started stacking up, and I couldn’t keep up at normal speed,” the 26-year-old data scientist in Indianapolis told BuzzFeed News.
    I struggle at 2x this is bonkers

  • 11 Beloved Movies That Were Box Office Flops
    It’s hard to believe that some beloved films didn’t find immediate success when they were released, but sometimes movies are just ahead of their time. Here are 11 famous examples of celebrated classics that were box office bombs.
    I actually saw Shawshank at the cinema, loved it, and didn’t get why people were only ‘discovering it’ a couple of years later.

  • Monetising millennials: what the corporate world thinks it knows about young people
    Before the opening keynote of the Millennial 20/20 Sydney conference, a man strides up, folds me into a boardroom-firm handshake and gazes deeply into my eyes.
    OK. Time to just switch everything off, this is utterly fucked.

  • 006: Ann Friedman – The News Is Not Good
    How do you maintain your sanity — and avoid apathy — in the face of a relentlessly negative news cycle?
    An episode a new podcast that I’ve started to listen to. Well worth checking this one out.

  • Who Was Prince in Private?
    In his fifty-seven years, Prince mastered the art of control—not merely the show of self-possession but the daily practice of it. The gravitational pull of racial, sexual, spiritual systems did not appear to act on him.
    Still makes me so sad.

  • Psychologists Explain Why You Should Be Friends With People Who Swear A Lot
    Growing up, we’re usually taught to refrain from swearing because it’s inappropriate and rude. There’s definitely a bit of a social stereotype in which those who swear are seen as uneducated, but according to a recent study, potty mouths might be a lot smarter than they were once perceived.
    FUCK YEAH FUCKING SWEARING!

  • A New Phone Comes Out. Yours Slows Down. A Conspiracy? No.
    It happens every year: Apple releases new iPhones, and then hordes of people groan about their older iPhones slowing to a crawl. Just look at the recent data.
    Ha! Yes. Of course it’s a conspiracy (seriously if they COULD to this, some companies definitely would)

Weekend Reading

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I love ice cream, I mean I REALLY LOVE ICE CREAM – it’s something I inherited from my Dad – but would another quality ice cream vendor really find a place alongside the Nardini’s of the world? Short answer is yes! The longer answer is a bit hot and cold…

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#loopandscoop

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To open a gelato and churros based venture in October, in Glasgow, does sound a bit bonkers, I mean even during the best of our summers we don’t get more than a few weeks of ‘ice cream sunshine’. But as October rolled around, so it was that Loop and Scoop burst into vibrant life. Sitting on Great Western Road, just up from Oran Mor, I passed Loop and Scoop on the bus everyday through the summer months, and I was a bit perplexed as I watched the bright orange hoardings that promised a ‘Summer Opening’ fade as the season changed and the temperature dropped. Had they missed the opporchancity?

Well it sure doesn’t seem like it as, since it opened, I’ve rarely seen it without a queue, either ‘out the door’ at peak times, or a handful of people hanging around late at night as they indulge their sweet tooth. Initial reactions on social media were good, so I knew I had to check it out for I too have a sweet tooth that needed to be indulged… and did I mention that I LOVE ICE CREAM?

And what a wonderful indulgence it is.

There is something special about freshly made churros coupled with some wonderful gelato, that really is comforting in a warming winter kinda way. It shouldn’t really work, the bulk of what you are eating is ice cream after all, but as the churros is made to order (which adds to the queues but remember, delicious things come to those who wait) it retains just enough heat to be cosily comforting.

I opted for the chocolate and hazelnut covered churros ‘loop’ and scoops of toffee apple gelato. The churros is lighter than any I’ve had, and chocolate melts slightly to create a sticky tasty mess, this dish is not one for those who don’t like getting their hands dirty! The gelato was good too, creamy enough without being sickly, and the small toffee and apple chunks added a nice additional texture. Delish!!! Mind you, next time I’ll probably stick with vanilla, what can I say, I like the classics.

They offer other items on their menu, which includes some brunch options, or you could just have churros and a dipping sauce on their own, or just a scoop or two of gelato but let’s be honest, having seen photos of their Loop and Scoop dish, it was impossible to resist their signature offering.

There is a definite rise in dessert focussed eateries in Glasgow, and whilst Loop and Scoop does have more traditional cafe food options, it’s fair to say that most people will be there for churros and gelato, so it’s just as well that they are so so good!

Loop and Scoop has been open for a few weeks now, it’s always been busy whenever I’ve passed it and, whilst part of me wonders how it will get on in the depths of winter, another part of me knows I am already planning to go back as soon as possible.


About Loop and Scoop
Background article.

You can find Loop and Scoop at 665 Great Western Road, and on Instagram @Loopandscoop & Facebook @LoopandScoop.

Food Reviews

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The joys of social media mean that Potluck has been on my radar for a while now so when I made brunch plans with a friend this place was top of the list (yes, there is an actual list), and did not disappoint.

Venturing south of the river is always an experience, I know the area reasonably well – my Gran lived in Rutherglen and I spent virtually every weekend of my childhood travelling through to visit – and it’s been great to see the growth of quality establishments in recent years.

Checking the menu the night before (cos I like to torment myself that way) revealed a great selection of glorious sounding brunchy noms. I have to admit, from the photos I’d seen, the hotcake stack was the ‘go to’ dish… although as ever the promise of chorizo on another dish had me swayed… but not for long (hey, the heart wants what the heart wants).

When we arrived, early on a Sunday morning, it was already full but as it was such a beautiful day we sat on one of the benches outside for a pre-brunch coffee and a perusal of the menu. Cue the next 10 minutes of two adults exhibiting pitiful attempts at decision making. The menu isn’t extensive but each option has something that piques your interest making choosing the ‘right’ option all the harder.

I think we had finally managed to decide when we were ushered inside.

First impressions. Bijou is probably how it wants to be described but I’ll just go with small/cosy with a definite Scandinavian influence and a nice relaxed atmosphere. We ended up sharing a table with two other people so be warned if that’s not your thing, but I don’t mind and we got share a knowing ‘ohhh I’m still so full of food’ laugh as we randomly bumped into them again later whilst partaking in a postprandial walk.

Food then. And as I am easily swayed by social media, I couldn’t step away from the pancakes.

I’ve had pancakes before, many times. I like pancakes. I like pancakes with crispy bacon and maple syrup, I like pancakes with honey and ice cream, I like pancakes with sriracha chicken. I like pancakes. Mmmmm pancakes.

I have not had pancakes like these.

To be fair though, they are described as hot cakes so there’s that..

I ordered the Pistachio Peach Hot Cakes, which comes with roast peaches, pistachios, orange blossom honey, pistachio kulfi (Indian ice cream) and pashmak (Iranian candy floss).

The hot cakes are a little smaller but taller than most pancakes and ohhhh my word these beauties are so light and fluffy that the once daunting stack that was set in front of me was easily dispatched, leaving me feeling contentedly full. The kulfi added a nice rich creamyness and the pashmak sweetened things up.

At this point I should confess that the original plan was for my friend and I to order different dishes and swap halfway through. As I’m sure you’ve already guessed, that did not happen.

But that just means we’ll need to go back again at some point. OH NO, WHAT A SHAME!

Was it worth a trek over to the south side? Very much so, and even if we hadn’t have failed at our ‘dish swap’ plan I think I’d be heading back here again anyway. The staff were relaxed and friendly, the prices reasonable, and there is nothing lucky about the food which is clearly prepared by a passionate and skilled kitchen.


Other reviews: https://www.theglasgowfoodblog.com/blog/review-pot-luck

Food Reviews

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