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Catching up

28 February, 2010 (00:52) | Books, Dance! | By: Ian Burdon

OK; so where was I?

As happens every so often, time has no time to spare and before you know it two weeks have gone by and no blogging.

In my last entry I talked about the visit of Snark Rapper to Edinburgh: last Saturday Mons Meg went off to enjoy one of our intermittent trips to the East End of Glasgow.  This was the third time we’ve done this particular tour and easily the best of the Glasgow tours which we have done in terms of enjoyment and “buzz” I think.  We had almost a full team, we had a melodeon as our main instrument (louder in pubs) and we are a better dancing side able to give a better “performance”.

It was also a first for me because, due to some tired ankles, I opted out of dancing leaving Andy to dance number one for the first time while I donned the top hat and gladrags and Tommied (effectively MC-ing for the evening).    We found a couple of pubs in which we hadn’t danced before – and in which we were very well received – and generally just had a great time.

It was interesting being part of the tour and not actually dancing.  For one thing the perspiration levels were lower!  More seriously, although my preference is always to dance, it was good to play a different role and to know that the team has the flexibility to restructure and dance well as needs must.

We did have one very lucky escape, mind you.  In the Scotia Bar when Dot tumbled she inadvertently kicked the pint glass out of a bloke’s hand.  The glass went straight up and shattered on the ceiling sending beer and glass tumbling down.  Everyone was good about it but had the angle been slightly different that could have been very nasty.  We carry insurance just in case but still…

After many years of not reading him, I finally succumbed to the lure of Terry Pratchett and read Guards! Guards! and Mort (and am currently reading Reaper Man).  I have found them enjoyably entertaining, though not as laugh-at-loud funny as others report, and clearly infused with a keen literary intelligence at a deeper level (in Guards! Guards I picked up sly references to The Lord of the Rings, Beowulf and The Third Policeman all within four pages).  I’m not an instant convert of the fanatical kind, but since Lindsay has many of the books in the house I shall probably work my way through them over a period of time

In the meantime, my friend Michel Ameline commented here a while ago (in a note to this post) that my thoughts arising from a reading  of Hesse’s “Siddhartha” reminded him of reading Andre Gide’s Journals.   I think I’m flattered but as I do not know anything by Gide am not sure!  So in a second hand bookshop on the southside of Edinburgh this afternoon I saw a copy of the Journals 1889 to 1949 in good condition and it is my next serious read.  Looking at it, though, I did wonder how many of the literary journals handed down would, in modern times, be written as blogs!

The pocket watches photographed at the head of this post are mine, by the way, and I’m currently trying to get them running to good time.  I picked them up over the years in junk shops because I like the classic artisanal Smith’s Empire type rather than the fancier ones.  Thousands of them will have been thrown out and hence – I discovered to my surprise yesterday – they are beginning to attract a collector’s market.   Of the three pictured two have “pristine” movements according to the horologist who oiled them for me yesterday for less than a tenner and one needs a good clean but is otherwise fine.   I don’t plan to sell them but rather, once they are in fully working condition, to use them even if only as part of my Tommy gear.

Should anyone, especially outside the UK, spot good looking cheap working pocket watches lurking in junk shops, by the way, feel free to send me them!  I am more interested in what would have been working men’s watches.  Similarly with fob chains and medals, especially if connected to mining or railways.