Centralised

I sympathise with Ariel’s blog on the predictable nature of the centralised London events calendar. Several of the publishers I deal with very nicely send me invites to launches and parties or to visit them at a convention etc. Pity they are mostly in London. Similarly jobs I would love to do in publishing are all mostly located in London. And quite frankly I’m not prepared to move there. Too big, too smelly, too expensive and the pubs shut far too early :-). And it doesn’t stop at AF events and launch parties. The bulk of major national galleries, stadiums etc are always placed in London. Why? It’s remote from most of the other citizens of the UK and is expensive to get to and stay in. If it’s a national institution why should it not be located somewhere more central? York, Manchester or Leeds would put a new attraction pretty much in t he geographic middle of the UK, making it more accessible. Why should folk from Dundee or Manchester or Penzance have to travel all the way to London for each game in the so-called national stadium?

There is also the benefits to consider – with this centralisation London gets jobs, investment and related service industries to the attraction – all from the public purse. I think when Ken Livingstone indulged a coupel of years back in his disugtingly racist jock-bashing, claiming London subsidised Scotland and indeed the rest of the UK (oh yeah, how many oil fields have you got, Ken?) he forgot that because everything automatically is given to London it pulls in others industries and coroporate headquarters, so effectively that means the UK tax payer, because of this centralisation, is subsisdising London. The kicker here is I’m sure someone in Lerwick is probably saying something similar about Edinburgh 🙂

Oh well, at least we have the SF WorldCon in Glasgow next year.

Evolution

New evidence shows that early proto-hominid ancestors of modern humans were capable of making and using fire long before previously thought. It is quite remarkable how earlier hominids are proving to be far more able than we gave them credit for. Still, it does beg the question, if a homind from 790,000 years ago could use tools including fire, why is it that Neds/schemies/scallies still haven’t mastered the art of walking upright successfully? Or perhaps they are from a subspecies?

Long weekend

Of the wrong variety, since I have yet another full weekend shift at Bastardstone’s Books this weekend. Only the 3rd full weekend shift in 6 or 7 weeks. And in between those Saturday shifts as well. How to keep you staff happy, make them work all the fucking time and pretty much every weekend for a pittance (and no extra pittance for working weekends and evenings). And this week there was an article in the Herald and Post (free Edinburgh paper) with tourist chiefs complaining that waiters/waitresses, hotel staff and shop staff gave poor service and put off tourists… Gee, here was me thinking they come over for the millennia of history, culture and architecture… It never seems to occur to these wankers who moan about poor service that the people they are moaning about are among the poorest paid in the UK and have to work the longest anti-social hours and put up with rude customers who treat you as if this were the Victorian era and you are a lowly serving serf, beneath their notice. So next time you think your waiter isn’t being ultra-fab or your bookseller seems a bit grumpy when you insisted on chatting on your cellphone all through the transaction and you tosse your card over because why would you hand it to them jus think on that. And please don’t give me all that ‘this is your job shit’. Most folk in service areas do their best, but we have to put up with a lot of rude bastards for fuck all money and work evening and weekends to keep the fucking public happy and we’re expected to have the fixed smile of a chat show host? Bollocks.

Still to pass the time I will nip down to our basement occassionally to torture some Iraqi dissidents for fun.