As an Edinburgh southsider who hasn’t ventured down Leith Walk for a while, I’d only seen glimpses of the St James Centre demolition site, so it was quite something to walk past it yesterday, on my way into work after dropping the car off at an auto-electrician. I snapped this quick panorama on my phone (click for bigger).

St James Centre demolition site, Edinburgh, November 2017

Five districts of Edinburgh changed beyond recognition.

16 November 2017 · Comment · UK Culture


My brother was on a business trip to Bilbao last week, so I took a couple of days’ leave and spontaneously flew over to see him. We spent Sunday and most of Monday bar-hopping around the city, drinking cerveza and eating pintxos (the Basque word for tapas pinned to pieces of bread with—in Spanish—pinchos, or long toothpicks), as well as admiring one of the most extraordinary buildings in Europe. Pure pleasure.

It’s a busy week at work and home now, so the photos will have to wait, but here’s a pintxo to be going on with.

Bilbao, 29 October 2017

6 November 2017 · Comment · Travel

Once Were Webloggers

The other day I sorted through some old bookmarks of weblogs I used to follow—a more complete version of the pages of blogs I used to maintain here. Over 80% of them were defunct: archived, with depressingly similar farewell posts; or abandoned, with their most recent posts dating back years; or gone altogether. I filed those into folders marked “Hibernating” and “Missing in Action”. The rest, though, were still varying degrees of active, if not as active as most of us were back in the day. Any blog with a post from the past several months I considered a going concern, which is the least I can do when my own blog has sometimes barely matched that. Not many seem to be posting daily, though (not that I blame them), so even a curated collection of ye finest weblogges is no match for the Skinner-box hit of Twitter.

Several also seem to have got snarled up in Google’s push to deprecate http-served pages (as discussed by Shelley Powers of Burningbird, another old blogging hand who’s still at it). I fear that I’ll have to face that time-suck of site-maintenance soon, too, or see the ’snail sink even further into obscurity.

6 November 2017 · Comment · Net Culture

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