Saturday, 24 October 2009

Political Correctness

I'm back at university doing post grad work in housing studies in what is euphamistically called my spare time. I'm quite enjoying it and picking up a lot of useful stuff.

The year started with a 'residential week', which in reality could have been compressed into a couple of days. We were assigned into small groups, there's only two men in my group and we're both called Jim. Ironically, the other Jim is an active member of the Scottish Socialist Party, so politically we are at opposite ends of the spectrum, but get along very well.

The rest of the group, to differentiate between us when we are all online, decided to call the other Jim 'Trot Boy' and to call me 'Tory Boy'. This worked rather well, and ensured no-one mistook me for being the kind of fellow who is against evictions and indulges in 'direct action' action against supermarkets etc (I'm not sure what 'direct action' is in reality, but Trot Boy spoke highly of it as a past-time.

In week six I got a call at home from the university. Some academic had been reviewing our posts and felt it was not appropriate for me to be called Tory Boy. I pointed out that I was in no way offended, actually found it quite amusing, and the two nicknames worked well.

The 'Thought Police' were having none of it and said it 'blurred lines'. I really don't know what that means, and didn't ask as it sounded like some 'right on' social worker crap that I wouldn't understand anyway.

Was there really any need for this intervention? I'd say no. Our group gets on really well, and we have some good and constructive arguments. I'm 42 years old, been called far worse than 'Tory Boy' and don't really need the protection of some well meaning, lentil eating clown I've never met.

If I'd been offended, I'd have said so. I wasn't, and neither was Trot Boy, so why the fuss? It really is a complete load of guff and having this type of PC garbage forced on us is a joke.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Glum Councillors

I found this exceptionally amusing blog which "will doggedly collate images of councillors looking glum whilst pointing at holes in the road, wearing hard hats or presenting oversized cheques. Lets celebrate the work of our local elected representatives!"

Good effort who ever you are!

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Tracey Emin to leave the UK

So, 'Britart' exponent Tracey Emin is threatening to leave the UK because of the tax regime. She tells us that France is far better in the way it treats artists.

She has previously come up with some 'masterpieces' including this one:

Yup, what looks like an average bedroom, is in fact a piece of 'art'. I often wonder just how much of 'the emperors new clothes' comes into play when modern artists make it big these days.

Personally, I think her 'work' is utter crap. So good riddance then, and don't forget to take that rubbish tent thing you did either.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

When Yobs Attack..........

I saw this item on the news the other night, and of course, whilst I would never condone violence, there is something of an irony when two yobs attack two people on the street and come off much worse for the experience.

It turns out that the two people they attacked were cage fighters in drag heading to a stag party..................

Sunday, 4 October 2009

A week's a long time in .......Paris

So, I'm back from a week in Paris. We had a great time, although it was painfully expensive.

I proposed to Girlfriend whilst I was there, and am delighted she said yes.

The Louvre was a fantastic experience and well worth spending more than one day there. I had forgotten one of my favourite paintings by Caravaggio (a portrait of the Grandmaster of the Knights of Malta) was there and it was great to see it first hand.

The crowd gathered round the Mona Lisa was huge (what on earth is it about that painting? I just don't get it). We did the usual touristy things and it was a great holiday.

A couple of things I noticed though, was how clean the streets were. It wasn't necessarily because the streets were cleaned so frequently, people just didn't drop litter, even though huge amounts of them were eating lunch as they went about their business.

Litter is something that I get a lot of complaints about, and fair enough. But there wouldn't be so much litter if people didn't just drop stuff on the street, even though a bin can be a couple of yards away.

Another thing I noticed was how few drunk people I saw. Going out at night to bars and bistro's, the vast majority of the people were drinking coffee or soft drinks. It wasn't because alcohol was much more expensive, as the price was comparable with coffee or coke. People just weren't drinking to excess, and most weren't drinking alcohol at all. This makes me wonder even more just how effective Mr MacAskill's plan to introduce minimum pricing on alcohol would be.

There was a also a high number of police around, more than I've ever seen before. On top of that, small squads of soldiers were sometimes out on foot patrol looking very professional (apart from one guy at the back who was busy texting one time).

Apart from two noteable exceptions the service was usually pretty indifferent at best, which is quite galling (did you see what I did there?) given the prices that were being charged (£26 for a mixed grill in a small restaurant).

Waiting at the airport for a flight home early in the morning, four Americans (resplendent in their new 'Paris' T shirts) sat down and loudly proclaimed that the French would make a fortune if they sold MacDonald's breakfasts. Yup, because clearly there's little profit to be made by charging £16 for two croissants and two thimble sized cups of coffee.

Ironically, it has now been announced that MacDonalds is opening a 'restaurant' in the Louvre, which is upsetting the French no end, though they haven't started rioting in the streets over it yet.

Anyhoo, it's good to be back and we got the ring here. It's a great shop on George St in Edinburgh, with some fantastic items. I've bought a few things from there in the past few years, and it's well worth a visit.

Parliament is back and it's been good to get in and catch up. I have also started a post graduate course in housing at Stirling University, which I'm finding really interesting and useful.

All in all, it has been an interesting time really, and I suppose the wedding plans will have to start soon. Boss has kindly agreed to be my best man, and Fiance has got her bridesmaids lined up too.

I will endeavour not to put up too many posts on the wedding preparations. A colleague in Parliament would come in and give extremely lengthy and detailed updates on her wedding over the course of the two years it took to organise and there really can't be anything more boring.