Archives for 2020

It was another busy year at Speedysnail, with many new galleries at Detail and posts on Brexit, Trump, and the Covid-19 pandemic that dominated all our lives. Here’s the year and its category archives, and here’s a gallery of the banner source images.

January 2020February 2020March 2020April 2020May 2020June 2020July 2020August 2020September 2020October 2020November 2020December 2020

Comedy · Environment · Events · Film · Food · Infotech · Journal · Memory · Music · Net Culture · People · Politics · Site News · Television · Travel · UK Culture · Weblog · Whatever

31 December 2020 · Site News


It snowed a couple of days ago, and the sub-zero temperatures have kept it lying around, although today the icy slush has started melting away in the rain. A couple of days beforehand I went for a bike ride along the Water of Leith and the Union Canal, while after it snowed my daughter and I went for a hike in the Pentlands, which is as far as we could go during lockdown. Here’s a dozen photos of those outings to see out the year.

Pentland Hills

31 December 2020 · Journal

Long Covidtimes

As part of tidying up some loose ends before midnight, here’s a new gallery of panoramas taken this year, which will eventually be supplemented with whatever I take locally next year. Most of them are from a day-trip to Fife with the kids in the October school break, which is as far from Edinburgh as we’ve been since February.

Panoramas XIV

31 December 2020 · Journal

Ghosts of Christmas Past

It’s the end of the year, and I doubt I’ll have a chance to do the best-of music, movie and TV lists that I’d wanted to—maybe in January, but given what that’s looking like, probably not—but there’s still time to squeeze in one last gallery at Detail.

Tasmania 1993

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30 December 2020 · Memory

The Night Before

Christmas 2020

It’s the end of the bleakest lead-up to Christmas that I can remember. Boris Johnson is touting his just-agreed EU trade deal as if it’s the best Christmas present ever, when in reality it’s the hardest Brexit short of no deal and will set Britain back for years. Thousands of lorry drivers are stuck in queues at Dover after borders were closed because of covid, when they were already racking up because of increased delivery traffic ahead of the end of transition. A new strain of the disease is spreading across the UK, with Scotland just over 24 hours from a new lockdown and UK covid cases approaching the peak of the first one. The prospect of widespread vaccination still seems a long way off.

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24 December 2020 · Events

The Australian Option

After a hard-fought three-course meal with the president of the European Commission yesterday, Boris Johnson has this evening tweeted that “now is the time for the public and businesses to get ready for the Australian option on January 1st”, using that mealy-mouthed euphemism for No Deal guaranteed to make resident Australians laugh with bitter irony. “The Australian option.” Hope you enjoy your Dinki-Di Meat and Vegies.

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11 December 2020 · Politics

Beach Houses

My old photos of the Pacific don’t end with Fiji. At the end of June 1993 my father and I flew Air Pacific from Nadi to the island of Tongatapu: I was continuing my PhD fieldwork on tradition and politics in Fiji and Tonga, while Dad came along to see a country he’d never visited. We arrived just before the King of Tonga’s 75th birthday celebrations, which also commemorated his silver jubilee. I immediately made contact with a senior member of the Prime Minister’s office, and through them scored tickets to some of the key events of the week: a day of performances by school children, and a royal feast held on the grounds next to the Royal Palace. Surrounded by Tongans wearing their finest mats, Dad and I feasted on roast suckling pig and watermelon, and then watched a succession of dances from a perfect vantage point, sitting on the ground at the front of the audience a few metres away from the King himself.

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4 December 2020 · Memory


Last week the students on my course Digital Education in Global Context were looking at social media, and talking about the spiral of silence that can cause some to avoid posting on it. I check Twitter every day for useful links and an oversight of the news from those I follow, but don’t tweet much, because many of those who follow me are colleagues and students, while most of what I would want to tweet are political observations, jokes and random things spotted online. I get caught the other way when I want to tweet digital education links and observations to colleagues and students, but know that other people who follow me won’t care about them.

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3 December 2020 · Net Culture

Dog on the Road

America’s stupid coup.

The Donald J. Trump Presidential Library.

What’s going on with the stock market?

Yanis Varoufakis: “We live under something far worse than capitalism.”

Brexit leaves British families unable to return.

My three visa rejections.

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3 December 2020 · Weblog

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