Saturday Saunter: Normality, podcasts, women’s football and boys in high heels

Good morning,

Saturday Saunter time again. This post is being written on Friday morning, about 8, with trains full of commuters passing my window. Life is going on. Skipinnish is playing in the background as I start this. I’ve just gulped down some chocolate milk. White chocolate milk. It’s tidy.

This morning I’m not going to dwell on the election in any great way. There is enough coverage out there. You can find views reflecting your own in your echo chamber of choice. All I will say, once more, is that hate will never win.

In that spirit, then, I’m going to write about Greta Thunberg. She is this year’s Time Person of the Year, deservedly so. I read a selection of her speeches on the way to Edinburgh last week and her message that the world is on fire and that we have a very short time to do something, anything, is all the more relevant this particular morning. Her giving shade to Donald Trump, who was his usual, was particularly pleasing. We need to listen, all of us.

Also contained in one of her speeches was a wonderful line I’ve been thinking about for days, spoken in Parliament Square, London, as part of an Extinction Rebellion rally in October 2018.

‘I think in many ways that we autistic are the normal ones and the rest of the people are pretty strange’.

Hear, hear. There are some good strange people, I should point out, and a right few bampots. Some of that last group just got elected to Parliament. As a society we dwell too much on what is normal, ordinary. In truth I am very often perplexed and bemused at the world and many of the people in it. My normality is by no means perfect. But it is normal to me. Sitting with a 3D-printed Minecraft doodah in my hand at the cinema is normal. Trying to walk around people who crowd doorways and bus stops is normal. Wanting to ban fluorescent lights is normal. Reading a book rather than going out on the piss on a Saturday night is normal. Treating people as I would like to be treated is normal. Giving a flying fuck about people who are less fortunate is normal. My normal might not be your normal. Whatever.

Anyway, I’m just getting angry again. This weekend I am off. I’m not sure yet what I’ll be doing when this is posted. I will be off but it is a rare Saturday when I have nothing planned and there’s no football. The mighty Hibees are in action tomorrow against Celtic at Parkhead. Despite the Disco Lights Arena being a horrible place to watch football, I have a ticket so I’ll be there, with a pillar blocking much of the view. I will be hightailing it back along the Gallowgate to get home, change and get back out to a Christmas night out. It’s in an Italian restaurant in Paisley and I love pasta and pizza so the night will end well, at least.

I’ve been listening to a few podcasts this week, mainly The West Wing Weekly, where this week’s episode has featured discussion of the death of John Spencer, who played Leo McGarry, the White House Chief of Staff in The West Wing. John Spencer died aged 58 just before the series finished in 2006 and his passing was marked by his character dying on election night. The episode was particularly poignant because of all the kind words his fellow actors gave in his honour. Leo was a superb character, a person of substance and depth, definitely my favourite in The West Wing. I have also had a few sport podcasts going down, including the BBC’s LGBT Sport podcast, which features interviews with various sporting figures who also happen to be LGBTQIA+. I first came across it when Jack Murley interviewed Laura Montgomery, one of the founders of Glasgow City FC, the side which has dominated Scottish women’s football for over a decade, and also works in her day job for Hibs. I’ve also been listening to The Terrace and Longbangers, a Hibs podcast. Longbangers has transformed since it started and now has regular discussions on mental health, which is brilliant. I’m a bit behind with my podcasts, downloading with good intentions but little time.

I’m going to stay on women’s football a moment as on Thursday night Hibs announced that Jamie-Lee Napier has left the club. That’s a great shame as she is an excellent attacking player with incredible pace. In women’s football, as in the men’s game, the money is in England and America and she has been snapped up by Chelsea. Good luck to her. She is a talented footballer and she will do well wherever she goes.

Nevis Ensemble in action at Kelvingrove – an orchestra playing in a grand hall, with a small audience in the foreground

794 words down and I’ve still got a few things I want to write about this morning. Last Sunday I had a Glasgow day. I was with my dad and we went to Kelvingrove then to Trongate 103. Kelvingrove was excellent. We got there just after it opened, which was particularly joyous. An orchestra started playing in the main hall, which was amazing, particularly as Christmas songs weren’t part of their repertoire. It was the Nevis Ensemble, a group which can apparently pop up in museums, shopping centres and other places, getting themselves out of a van and set up within minutes. Trongate 103 was new to me. We went to the Oscar Marzaroli exhibition at Street Level Photoworks, which was tremendous, a selection of black-and-white photographs of Glasgow in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, capturing large swathes of the city which have been caught up in redevelopment. I left spiritually enriched but with a pack of postcards. My favourite, three boys trying on high heels out on the street, has been immortalised in Cumberland Street in the Gorbals, as written about in my Streets of Glasgow post there a couple of years ago.

Anyway, that’s us for this Saturday, 14th December 2019. Thank you for reading. Tomorrow’s post is a series of photographs of statues. Wednesday will be Loose Ends, which will be in Glasgow’s West End. To all readers, commenters, followers, a very good morning. Peace.


14 thoughts on “Saturday Saunter: Normality, podcasts, women’s football and boys in high heels

  1. Yesterday at work, many of my colleagues were in tears, because we know what will happen to the NHS and to our patients in the coming years (our catchment area includes some of the most deprived areas in Greater Manchester). I fear the death knells are ringing…
    Your Glasgow day sounds lovely. Did you get the chance to see the Linda McCartney exhibition in Kelvingrove?


    1. I didn’t. We had planned to see the Oscar Marzaroli exhibition and you can have too much photography. I’ll probably get to it before it shuts in January.

      The election was probably the worst possible outcome for just about everyone. Possibly the brightest part of all this is that the people who work in the NHS are some of the most dedicated anywhere and any changes will be resisted.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Alli Templeton

    Hi Kev, apologies for my absence recently. I’ve been overrun with OU work and a massive assignment to get in tomorrow, plus all the Christmas preparations and the usual three-and-a-half hour school run – it all go too much so something had to give. I had to ban myself from blogging for a couple of weeks. But I’m back now, and really enjoyed your Saunter today. Hear, hear indeed about Greta’s quote. I wish the world would understand my son, Nathan more. He’s really into minecraft too, and his normality involves a lot of that world.
    And white chocolate milk? I’ve never seen that before. Sounds good! Hope all’s well with you and that you’re looking forwrd to the Christmas break. Great post.


    1. Thanks very much! Sometimes life just takes you away from where you might want to be. I don’t really know much about Minecraft. I was given the doodah by a colleague recently and thought it was cool. White chocolate milk is available from Morrison’s (other supermarkets are available). Their toffee milk is also good. I managed to finish a particularly difficult TMA late last night while wrestling with writer’s block and a general lack of motivation. Good luck with your assignment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Alli Templeton

        You’re right, Kev. I’d much rather be blogging than slogging over a humongous and difficult assignment. Sadly, as you know, there’s a deadline that rushes towards us and I simply don’t seem to have enough hours in the day at these times now – especially with Christmas looming too. Sorry to hear you’ve had exactly the same sort of problems as I’ve had with my TMA, but well done for finising it. I’m submitting mine today after a final readthrough. But I’ve felt the same as you. Can I ask which module you’re doing this year?
        And I think I’ll be off to Morrisons (or other!) to look into this toffee milk etc. Sounds amazing. Have a great day, and forget the TMA – I certainly intend to! 🙂


      2. Thanks! Christmas is awful enough without a TMA in tow so hopefully it will be in today and out of your life. This module is A326 Empire 1492-1975. A lot of reading but interesting so far.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Alli Templeton

        Thanks Kev. I considered doing that module as I thought it looked interesting too. Can I also ask if the course books also have guided activities (the stuff usually in blue type – activity, tutorial style ‘discussion’ at the end) as we have at levels 1 & 2? My course is very different to what I’ve been used to, and it’s taking a lot of adjusting to.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. My course book is in black and white but I can confirm that there are Activities, Specimen Answers and Discussions throughout, though the Specimen Answers are smaller this time. This might help as I often find myself coming to different conclusions and having a mild panic.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Alli Templeton

        As I suspected, I thought the OU would do the activities etc at level 3, so thanks for that. The course I’m doing has nothing at all – it’s just reading, with no tutorial input in the course books and only one ‘study session’ to discuss TMA 02. I used to panic with the answers, until one of my tutors told me it’s fine to come to different conclusions because that’s what being an historian is all about – so don’t panic, my friend! I’m finding it very hard without these activities and answers though, so I’ve found myself missing the OU modules! Good luck with the TMA anyway. I’m just uploading mine now. And thanks for the chat. It’s helped a lot.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not surprised about the election result, but I am upset. The country simply can’t bear any more austerity. The museum I work for is run by the local council, and we were just told last week we have to cut the budget even more, which has already been slashed all it can without losing jobs, so guess what the next step will be? Not to mention the obviously growing number of homeless people in the borough due to reduction of services.
    Reading a book instead of going out drinking is definitely my normal too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely agree and sympathise with what you’re saying. I read a statistic today that rough sleeping has doubled under the Tories, which is horrible. A lot of public agencies have a no compulsory redundancies policy but it’s hard to see how they can get round it. The worst thing is that borrowing has increased so austerity hasn’t worked in a financial sense, let alone the effect it has had on people and public services.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Digest: December 2019 – Walking Talking

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