Archived entries for Edinburgh

lockerbie synopsis

A synopsis of the facts so far, with current ideas on conclusions. Only really for those with an interest in the controversies surrounding PanAm Flight 103 and its relevance to Scotland. A psychogeographic viewpoint on Lockerbie and the surrounding area is here

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momus in athens

The quasi-scottish pop-renegade, now based in Osaka, has been in Athens (the city that is ironically progenitor and stand-in, understudy, the stunt-single for Auld Greekie) and curious it is.

A parallel programme on R4 last week (at 13:20, Kate Adie introducing Malcolm Brabant in Athens) also identified this Greek stepping-stone to somewhere better, Frascati-Tiber or Blue Nun-Danube or London Botanicals, Hogarth-Thames. An eternal clearing-ground for the idealistic immigrant at the unter-face of east/west/home’s best. But the Lime becomes so very caustic, the further north-west you go.

And now the person himselves is appearing at a scottish art school near you, soon. Friday 18th, GSA, from 5:30pm. Be there or, just get on with your life, it won’t change anything – will it. Will it.

simple minds album cover / Parthenon imomus

Sherisophist : Gallotyrant

Tommy Sheridan and George Galloway – what a couple of cards. We do so love their honesty and wisdom, here in North Sparta.

And as I was just regaling Cheryl Cole with yesterday, not just one – but TWO philosopher-kings for our small country! And she said heaven on earth couldn’t happen. Well excuse me, how wrong you were, Miss Tweedle! (and before you ask, I know she won’t mind me quoting her that, old friends that we are…).

And – oh – what a co-incidence – I was just telling the MiniEnt supervisor, the oh-so funny Ricky Gervais, the other day – Ricky, I said, we are SO blessed to have these two. And Gail – well, WHAT a bonus.

And Ricky, true to form, the old thesp, just winked and stuck a finger up his rectum – you’re NOT telling me that man is NOT a genius. We did so laugh.

Although, I do wonder though, now I think about it, the imaginary diorama, you know, the one where Sherro and Gallo have just finished Plato’s Republic and suddenly feel very, very, flushed, as if Mel Gibson has just caught them cheating at cards. Well, we all know where “Gibbo” would be going with that hoedown…

They are such a couple of bricks though, I just know they’re going to completely disregard those – let’s not be shy about it – “you are so rumbled” feelings they’re having, after imbibing Republic (no, not the New Order album, I think that’s a line in the sand there).

Or, oh wait, NOT having rumbled feelings. They’re mad! They just don’t care! They’ll do anything for a laugh! They are so very funny…

with apologies to Robert Webb

pearl river megaopolis : burns nicht

42 million souls in one region/county means the worlds’ biggest urban conurbation within the next few years, centred on Guangzhou (Canton to us westies).

Twice the size of Wales or Israel – but no name yet. Industrial revolution Chinese-style (they invented it) but with 1000x (guess) the amount of people compared to say Manchester in the early 19c.

All dependant on us buying yet more tat and trinkets – Dirty British Coaster with a salt caked smoke stack.

Most cities rise and die, or become fossilised, like Rome or Jerusalem. 4000 yr old Chinese cities though, seem simply to re-invent themselves and move on, without the religious conflict (I’m not saying the cultural revolution was a proper vehicle for change though).

But this is Tenko, Empire of the Sun, Apocalypse Now, The King and I, Bridge on the River Kwai and Eric Liddle still to many of us. Go refresh yourselves on googlemaps at the surrounding area. It’s a remarkable environment – forget London or New York, it’s much more complex than Long Island or Chatham, Berlin or Brussels.

The Chinese are still really pissed off at the Opium Wars and I’ve added some of that into Edinburgh fromZtoA. After all, the profits from the drug trade did rebuild Holyrood Palace – it’s alluded to in the painted ceiling of Charles’ bedroom. And DeQuincey and Holmes (allegedly) would have been struggling for muses without poppymilk… all Burns had was alcohol and misogyny.

The past catches up eventually – karma-phala

torphichen : culross : jerusalem

Torphichen Preceptory is not much to look at now, post-reformation, when pre-baroque catholic aesthetics were eschewed for righteous minimalist puritanism in 1554 – but it still carries a remarkable background signal. Visited on 2 Jan 2011 for Centrifuge photoshoot, it did feel completely back of beyond however. Looking at it in googlemaps though shows a less isolated position – Linlithgow, Falkirk and Queensferry/Dunfermline/Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth and thence Europe are not too far away at all.

Only two places in Rome’s Britain were allocated Knights Hospitaller status – Clerkenwell in London, the Clerkenwell of Zaha Hadid, Defoe, Dickens and Lenin fame : and here in B-road Torphichen. It is a significant and complex story stretching back to the earliest indications of Christianity in Scotland, over 1500 years ago. Anyways, it’s now utterly devoid of power, partnered instead with grotesquely banal 60s housing scheme aesthetic, like Culross – how the freak did they get away with it? The insensitivity and ignorance is deafening.

But as the 2001 WTC 10-year anniverary comes closer, it’s worth looking at what this conflict between the worlds’ three great western religions – Jew, Muslim and Christian – really means. This war has been going on far too long. Torphichen may be a footnote now but it connects deep. Jerusalem is why it’s here. And like all tall places, it must – and did – fall. This state always occurs through ideological dispute betwen two interconnected religions.

Who do you think is pulling Afghanistan apart? It’s not the British nor the US nor the NGO’s.

A short drive from Torphichen, across the Kincardine Bridge and the River Forth estuary, pall-shadowed by the belching behemoths of Grangemouth oil refinery and coal-fired Longannet power station, the once-rich villatown of Culross – Scotland’s Portmeirion – is less about ideology and more about entrepreneur, although the remarkable Culross Abbey dates to the 5th century and is homeland of Kentigern (St Mungo), son of Thenew, who begat the city of Glasgow, a hotbed of conflicting religious vices, oh yes. Europe is a short-ish boat trip away and that means trade, pure and simple – what a relief.

Below is a clip of the Hereford Mappa Mundi, centred on Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the root, Damascus the branch (other branches continue to bicker too, in rather more prosaic places like Coatbridge and Bathgate). Watch out for dangerous times in Torphichen’s source – well, actually, it was ever so…

images above : culross : 2 jan 2011



from Z to A is a scotland-based psychogeography and urban topography magazine featuring creative, critical, playful urban journeys

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