Monday, August 20, 2012

Edwin Morgan Poetry Competition 2012

I made it to the prize giving ceremony of this year's competition despite the best efforts of Rangers FC to stop me.    I came off the motorway to find a Rangers fan walking down the slip road towards me, the police directing traffic and a sea of other fans coming down the road and snarling up the traffic.  

This continued on the underground, where they were joined by some sort of hen/stag/birthday party/pub crawl with weird hats, and then on to Queen St. where I missed a train and the ticket machines wouldn't accept my money.  Eventually I managed to get a ticket and squeeze on to an Edinburgh train, negotiate the shambles of Edinburgh's dug-up roads and get to the Book Festival just in time to dash into the ceremony with a minute to spare. 

1st prize winner, Jen Hadfield who read her winning poem "The Kids" which, contrary to the judges' reactions to it, was apparently not meant to be 'creepy'. (Though I didn't find it particularly creepy myself, and it had some amazing images).

2nd prize winner Mike Vallely, who is not the skateboarding punk poet many of us expected him to be, gave a high-energy reading of his poem "Look Hamewards, Now".  This was the first year that poems in Scots were eligible for the competition.  

3rd prize winner Malcolm Watson read his poem "The Perils of Surgery", based on his period working as a hospital porter.

Runner-up Katherine Sowerby read her musical and mysterious "forest glass".

Daisy Behagg, also runner-up, read a number of poems with food-and-sex connections including her prizewinning poem "Peach".

David Kinloch, chairing the event.

Gillian K. Ferguson, one of this year's two judges describing the judging process in geological metaphors.

Fellow judge, Don Paterson, gives his take on the winning poems, all of which you can read here.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Dog Show

I was taking some photos for Hawthorne Housing Co-operative in Possil last weekend to feature on their annual calendar.  A local dog training club had also come along to demonstrate their obedience and agility skills (though unfortunately the dog in the foreground here had been off the day they did "how to tell a photographer from a lampost" and I spent most of the afternoon with a damp leg).  Despite this it was a good afternoon and everyone (and their dogs)  seemed to be enjoying themselves.  (We also managed to finish just before the outrageous thunderstorm).

Once more with Algorithms...

Saturday was the second Glasgow Coderdojo, focusing on Algorithms.  The guys from Alienation were back mentoring along with folk from Zapcoder telling us about the progress of their project so far, and I was instructed in the use of Scratch by some of the young coders.  The Science Centre had found a new room for us, away from the IMAX, so we didn't have to talk over Batman this time.

Afterwards I tried out SnapSeed, which is like a tiny Photoshop for the phone, crossed with Instagram and therefore endless amounts of fun.  Expect lots of strangely processed photos for a bit.

The next Coderdojo session is on 23rd September back at the Science Centre.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012


New Threads video of the Rezillos gig just before Christmas.  Complete with excellent video wall.  In my ideal* music venue there would be a video wall like this, bands would have to wear glittery outfits, there would be a spotlight trained on the bassist so they couldn't hide in the darkest corner of the stage, and I would have a flock of trained porcupines milling around to make sure the musicians kept moving in interesting ways rather than just standing there playing/singing.  (*Ideal for photographers, possibly not anyone else).

Thursday, August 02, 2012


You don't often see these in Glasgow, though Cambridge was generally awash with them.  I think the people in this flat are some sort of gardening geniuses.  Unlike me - I recently planted what I thought were sweet peas, bee-friendly flowers and night-scented stock and got a handful of sweet peas and about an acre of chickweed...