There was an article in the Observer this week about cycling tribes. You can't help but pigeon hole yourself when you're scanning through it, agreeing or at least acknowledging the traits. I'm happy that I belong to a few of them rather than one in particular but am reluctant to own up to some of the characteristics.
I had a debate about office wear versus fluorescent lycra as commuting attire the other week - my view being that, like in Denmark, Japan and the Netherlands, cycling to work (like walking there) is such a standard part of the day - people dress accordingly. I don't like making a song and dance for the sake of a slow paced, generally short, journey to the office. I find it alienates cyclists even more from the motorists - makes us look like a cartoon character more than a normal punter. That's fine - you might say - until you get hit.
My new commute has brought out the issue of 'Shoaling' - the phenomenon of many cyclists congregating at lights. No-one really talks to each other but will generally engage with enthusiasm when offered. It's a benefit of being out a car, people, use it! I think a wee bit of communication on a commute reminds you that you are around other humans and promotes neighbourly behaviour. I ride an old sixties bike to work and dress for the office, not the road, so people presume I'll be slow - it's interesting. I started slipping the roadies who overtake me at lights until one got doored just in front of me. Ouch. The guy at fault got out the car and continued his telephone conversation until I suggested he call back later. Like I was saying - neighbourly behaviour.
Posted by stupot at 02:04 PM Wednesday 27 Oct
I was worried last week when I took a whole swatch book of laminates to a client - worried she'd be as overwhelmed and as side-tracked as I get when confronted with so many amazing colours. Much like a kid in a sweet shop. Thankfully she was very professional. I'm glad that such a simple thing can still bring so much pleasure.
Posted by stupot at 03:07 PM Tuesday 26 Oct
Glasgow - Strathblane - Balloch - Glasgow
I noticed this morning; after sneezing a while, looking outside to see the bowling greens covered in frost and then as I was cycling down a hill on the last part of my commute, that cycling in a cold wind is comparable to the feeling just after one has been wet shaved. That fresh sensation of feeling the chilled air entering deep into your pores. Invigorating as long as frost bite doesn't set in: be aware of numbness!
I'm now pretty sure that last week saw the final outing on the bike in summer clothes, allbeit wearing a lot of them at the same time. I enjoyed the old route up to Strathblane and over to Balloch aside the very disagreeable state of the roads: they feel like they haven't been attended to in decades and judging by the impending cuts, won't be for the foreseeable future. I smiled as the sun shone hard though, and the Campsies turned into the Trossachs before disappearing behind me. I thought about how thin a country Scotland is. I also considered the destroyer which was due for completion very soon and as I passed Yoker and into Partick it became obvious I had just missed the launch by a few minutes - its deck just visible and horizontal for the first time.
Posted by stupot at 04:40 PM Wednesday 20 Oct
Clockwork by Clockwork
On Friday we headed over the river to the Citz to see A Clockwork Orange. As a fitting tribute to Anthony Burgess' story we took the Clockwork Orange and, as we didn't appear to stop at Bridge street, walked under the ominously dark railway arches and over barren waste ground to reach the theatre from West Street. It was a departure for Laura who had last seen daylight over Princes Street Gardens. The lead actor was convincing and the fight scenes were well choreographed so we enjoyed the evening despite the leg room. The citizens is a tiny, traditional theatre in the Gorbals area - just a stones throw from the Merchant city and perfect for an after show drink.
Posted by stupot at 01:01 PM Tuesday 19 Oct
Heard recently and for use in or near Scotland: What do you call a woman with one marigold on? Goldie Hawn. What do you call a man with one foot in his house and one foot out? Hamish. What's a rude, five letter word that starts with a P?
Posted by stupot at 04:37 PM Wednesday 13 Oct
I suffer from poor circulation and as a result I struggle to draw outdoors from October to March (I have been reminded this week). I picked up some new gloves from the unlikely shooting section of the Barbour shop in Edinburgh at the weekend. The middle, index finger and thumb tips all pull back to allow you to have grip and feel when squeezing the trigger - or on a less aggressive level - when moving a pen about a page. So far so good. Whilst I feel a little sad that outdoor sketching will become more of a test of willpower for the foreseeable, it's also good to be reconnected to clothes you forgot were in your wardrobe.
Posted by stupot at 03:53 PM Wednesday 13 Oct
Red and Blonde
Glasgow is a city of two colours - from the local red and blonde sandstones which define its look. This was drawn over two lunch breaks from underneath the doorway of the Student Loans building - a place I remember demonstrating outside in the early nineties. Everyone was smoking around me and then it started spitting with rain - not ideal circumstances! I remember the cantilevered clock from visits as a kid - I don't think there are enough clocks on the street these days - I enjoy their wee reminders.
Posted by stupot at 01:27 PM Friday 8 Oct