Saturday, January 30, 2010


But I'm not laughing.
Yes, the Blair or should that be Bliar managed to smarm his was around the Chilcot Inquiry. No great shock there it must be said. Did he apologise for anything? No. Did he convince us that he is nothing but a warmonger or a liar? No. Is he still entirely convinced that he did the right thing? Yes. Regret? No.

His lawyer skills rode the storm and indeed his appearance was actually made easier by the ones who were meant to be grilling him. They didn't give him a tough time nor pursue areas which should have been. He had an easy ride. He still continued to link 9/11 to Saddam and even threw Iran into the mix just for the sake of it. I wonder how long it takes people to actually believe the lies they tell. Is it like osmosis or something or do you simply 'forget' that it was a lie in the first place. Perhaps you need to work at it over a length of time when finally, the truth quietly disappears to be replaced with the story you spun does actually represent the truth.

He should have been given a harder time but he was going to get it, was he. Sadly.

Friday, January 29, 2010


So, today will see the former PM, Tony Blair, take the hotseat in the Chilcot Inquiry. This is an inquiry that will try to determine the 'fact's of what the government knew and did in the run up to the Iraq War. It's been a said affair up until this week actually. This week saw a couple of civil servants appear before the committee. Both of whom had warned that the war was essentially illegal under international law. Then we had the former Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, trying to explain why he had initially agreed that the war would be illegal, who then, having met with his U.S counterparts, decided to make the biggest U-turn ever and backed the war by recommending that it was no illegal.

Blair, I hope, will get the grilling of his life. The 45 minute deployment 'lie', the lie of WMD, the 'lie' of a link to 9/11, the 'lying' to Parliament, the 'lie' to the boys on the front line. It's an endless stream of utter nonsense. Too many questions and not enough answers.

Of course, it is likely to be a whitewash event akin to the Hutton Inquiry back in 2003 in which the government was completely cleared anything wrong or dishonest or anything like that.

I was reading a newspaper article on the forthcoming 'event' and was also reading the comments made underneath it. I saw this particular one below which, for me, hits the nail on the head.

"The facts are that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, had no WMD and was no threat to the UK. There was no justification in international law for the invasion and it wasn't sanctioned by the UN, in spite of Goldsmith's disingenuous waffle. Blair invaded because Bush told him to. End of."

 A botched job from day one which still rumbles on and on. And on.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Is there anyone else out there who is somewhat underwhelmed by this new 'ipad' thingy that has just been announced?

I mean, it's a big iphone, that you can't actually use as a phone.

It just seems a bit pointless to me but then what do I know. I'm not a tech kind of guy. It doesn't look like it would be all that comfortable to carry and very prone to getting damaged. And 'only' 64 GB of hard drive. The touchscreen typing might be alright but you'll have to lie it down to type and kind of peer over it to see anything. At least with a laptop you can just look straight ahead of you to see the screen, instead of craning your neck to look down.

Perhaps my view will change when I see it close up. Or not.

Monday, January 25, 2010


As 'regular' readers may or may not know, I have concerns with 'time'. The passing of it mostly. And how quickly it all seems to flow. It scares me a lot. I would be perfectly content to be stuck at this age and not get any older. As it is however, it doesn't happen like that. It passes and nothing can be done about it. It passes in only one direction. Forward.

I guess the dawning of the new decade doubly reinforces the notion that time, is indeed ticking and moving forward. I just don't like it. I wonder if I could have my own personal Groundhog Day. Although, I might get sick of it eventually. Though, if it's always the same day, then you could in theory perfect it so that it does become the 'perfect' day. All if's and buts.

Perhaps the real reason all this has come to the fore is the events that occurred 10 years ago, literally to the day. Before that time, I had finished University and was working full time in retail with no real sense of much; this compounded with that fact that I was living at home and really just meandering along going out on the weekend, working and passing time. I would say that in an unconscious way I was actually yearning for a life less ordinary. It's easy to say that now, looking back. In the end, something had to pass. Or, I had to grow up which could be considered to be one and the same.

The decision had been made to leave Edinburgh. To leave Scotland actually and go around the world. The destinations were discussed with the major objective of getting to Australia on a one year's working holiday visa. That was secured. The other destinations then fell into place. Hong Kong, Bali - which I didn't really know anything about, Australia, Fiji then back. It's the kind of thing that looks good on paper and me being the wide eyed, start gazing 'fool' thought it might just work.

In the end it mostly did.

Today, 10 years ago however, we landed in Australia. Perth to be exact. Late afternoon, feeling somewhat rough having had about 3 hours sleep the night before thanks to a visit to the Sari Club and a couple of other places. I know it was the Sari Club because it was a blown to bits in 2002. It was all a massive adventure. I mean, I would never dream of landing in another country with no idea where I was going to stay. It didn't really matter at that point though. I was away from home. In the sunshine having been to Hong Kong and Bali. Could life actually get much better.

So there it was, the start of what could be classed as my 'adult' life away from the sheltering umbrella of home. At the time, it was certainly the best decision I had ever made. Without it, I would be living in Edinburgh in same random job with a wife and family and not sitting here writing this. I can definitely say that. Ten years later.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I'm not sure if I have mentioned the 'story' that a member of the Abu Dhabi Royal family was videotaped beating up and shooting at an Afghan merchant somewhere in the desert, all of which was witnessed by policeman who essentially did nothing?

Apologies if I did but that seems to be what happened. I've seen the videotape and the Afghan bloke is totally kakking his pants, especially when bullets are flying 2 inches past his head. I would be terrified.

The case went to court recently and guess, go on, you know you want to...

He got off with it!

I could feign shock and surprise and in many respects I am both of those as he quite clearly was in the videotape doing all those things. However, what I am not shocked or surprised at is the fact that he got off with it. It was nothing more than a token gesture for everyone to see a member of the Royal family being taken to court. There was never anyway that he would be convinced in the slightest.

And on what grounds was he let off?

Someone spiked his drinks before the incident and because of that he wasn't aware of what he was doing!

One word for you: Whatever.

That was his alibi. He was drugged. It's frankly a nonsense story. He's a Shiekh, of course there are going to be people who will testify that this is exactly what happened; that he was acting strangely prior to the whole sorry event. He has the means both in terms of influence and wealth to get whatever he wants and I'm sure that he wouldn't let a court case get in the way of that.

Here is the 'news' report from the very impartial and fully believable Gulf News, a quality newspaper who report the truth. Always. A bastion of journalistic endeavor.

So, in response to this I'm going to go outside and walk towards the supermarket. I'm going to whack the first person I see. I'm going to knock him, or indeed her, to the ground then just for good measure, I'll jump on him or her, you know, just for effect. Then, when the old police boys come knocking I'll simply give the excuse is that I had had 2 cups of coffee and was not in control of my actions and indeed the bloke that sold me the coffee in the coffee shop was a scoundrel who placed some mind control drug into my coffees to see what I would do. That should cover it and with it, the police will simply let me off with a warning.

Aye right.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Quite liking a couple of things at the moment.

The first would be eating. Yes, I know I do that most days but I just want to do it a lot. That probably isn't the best thing in the world to do. I guess it depends on what it is you want to eat. Not chocolate and not junk food. I just want stuff. Perhaps it is a comfort kind of thing.

Secondly, Kitsune Maison 8 is much better than I thought it might be, particularly after the relative disappointment of the last installment. The Drum's could be onto something with their very catchy 'Let's go Surfing' offering. Not only that but Siriusmo, Two Door Cinema, Delphic and Memory Tapes have been on repeat along with a tasty few other songs. A job well done.

Thirdly, the Dirty Projectors. Now, they are good. I like them.

And fourthly, it's quite nice to have the apartment to myself for a little bit but that's a whole different story.

Conversely, I'm not really liking a few things.

Getting up seriously early is not really agreeing with me and in an extension of that is work. I just haven't got any enthusiasm for it at the moment. Perhaps that will change but as it stands, I've not really been all that 'into' it since I got back from my holidays. The 2 might well be linked however.

And that's it.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Still disappointed to not have made it to Delhi. I wonder if that was my 'chance' to go. I had a reason to go and I couldn't.

Instead, I'll just try and plan out my other holidays. I trip to Eastern Europe may well be on the cards. I've never really been that far east in Europe. I'm not sure why that has been the case. Perhaps it just never really appealed to me all that much. But, that has been slowly changing.

As for my other holidays this year. Hmm. I'm not sure I'll be flying off to San Fran again or indeed, anywhere that far from here. I'd love to go back to San Fran and spend a bit longer. Just thinking back, it was a really wonderful place. Alot to do and see and the weather was excellent - Early spring. It's definitely the best season, although perhaps not in Dubai because you aren't getting the end of the really cold weather, and into the warmer weather quite as readily as it's relatively warm all the time.

I can definitely say that I'll be having a little break around Easter and then one in the summer. Other than that, I'm not sure. Things are still a bit up in the air. Let's see. I guess that is the beauty of the early months of a new year - thinking about what might happen in the year ahead. The irony being that when it gets to October and November you start to look back and think 'I've really done nothing this year'. I hope that doesn't happen.

Friday, January 15, 2010


So, there I was in a taxi heading for the Airport at 7.40pm on Thursday 14th January. My bag was packed; my passport, my Indian Visa, Indian Rupees, and an invite to my mate's wedding in Delhi the following evening enclosed. The only slight snag was the fact that I didn't have a confirmed seat on the a flight. There were none available. Instead, I had a standby ticket which I was assured would get me on board. It had always been sufficient for the guys in the office. Besides the 10pm flight that I was planning on trying for, was a later flight at 4am. I was hopeful of being on one of them. However, at the back of my mind was the knowledge that the numbers actually booked for both flights were more than the cabin could handle. In many ways, that is standard practice as people don't always show up. The system was showing the flights were overbooked by 20 though. A lot.

I went to the staff check-in desk and waited in line. Once at the head of the line, I was told that the 10pm flight to Delhi had been delayed until 6am the following morning. Shocked, I asked why. "Bad weather" came the reply, which was odd as I had checked the 5-day weather forecast in Delhi and that evening was meant to be fine and clear. The man told me to return to the airport at 2am and try for the 4am flight. Of I went, back home still in shock but now wondering how I was going to get there and how time I'd get to sleep and get ready for the wedding.

At 2am, I went back to the airport having had around 3 hours sleep at home. The same guy was at the counter and the place was much busier this time. I asked how the 4am flight was looking. He said that it had been delayed also. Until around 7am. I couldn't believe it. It seems that both flights were to depart within 10 minutes of each other later that morning. In my mind, I was trying to figure out how long it would take me to get to Delhi, then from the airport to the hotel and how much time I would have. I was cutting it fine. In the end, the man said come again at around 5.30am. I really wasn't sure if I was going to do that. I was tending towards not bothering. I mean, I would have to essentially stay up all night and still there was no guarantee that I would even get on to either of the flights. In the end, I felt that I should try to make it to Delhi. I might never get another chance to.

I went home and tried to sleep but couldn't. It was time to go again. I was groggy and not really in the mood. I did actually fear the worst. But, I did go to the airport again. Off to the same counter. This time, the flights were going when they said they would.

No good though.
All seats were taken.

I couldn't go. I was in something of a daze. I texted my mate and apologised profusely. I couldn't believe it. I went home once again feeling awful. I was to miss the wedding. I don't think I was that bothered about going to Delhi as I would not have had time to go and see things, but I was bothered about missing the wedding.

I would therefore like to wish the bride and groom every success in the future and again, apologise publicly for not getting there. I wish I had been

The moral of this particular story is: don't do standby. It only ends in tears.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I'd quite like to say something about being back in Scotland, if I may. Actually, if you don't want to know then look away now as the newsreader used to say on a Saturday night, just before Match of the Day was about to start.

My trip back was basically spread over 3 locations, Edinburgh, Crieff and Stirling. Edinburgh being home, Crieff being home to a very special lady and Stirling because it's kind of halfway between the two. I'd only ever been through Crieff in the past and I had only really spent a couple of evenings in Stirling previously, so it was essentially 'new'.

My birthday was spent up in Crieff. I was a bit concerned by this but I really need not have worried at all. It's a lovely place, or was when I was there! It's a small place with about 3 bars and most people know each other, perhaps not well enough to speak to but know their names. I ended up in what I would affectionately call an 'old man's bar' with a more space for standing than seats, a big screen TV and in the corner, a dart board. The irony being, that is was excellent. Everyone comes and says 'hello' and indeed, buys one another a drink across a busy bar. That would never happen in Edinburgh. I must say, I was a bit tipsy but I really didn't feel it at the time. The next morning aka Christmas morning, could have been better. Let me just say that Christmas day say me take Alka Seltzer for the very first time. That was more do with almost being poisoned the night before at dinner. That is 100% true before you right in!

New Years Eve aka Hogmanay was spent in Stirling, with shopping during the day, followed by a lovely dinner and drinks and fireworks later on. It was bloomin' freezing though, so time outside was kept to a minimum. I enjoyed it and I was very pleased at waking up on the 1st feeling good. In saying that, as we were staying in a hotel, I had to get up much earlier than I would have liked but these things happen. Breakfast was good though. The rest of the day was spent walking, drinking and eating. Not at all bad. I do wonder if I should make an effort to try and get rid of all the excess food and drink that I have consumed. Perhaps I'll start that next month?

Inbetween those days, people were visited and time spent with them. Sadly though, time was not enough and I would be the first to admit that that was highly disappointing. I would have much preferred to have got round everyone but sadly, it wasn't to be. I just hope that I didn't upset anyone. I suspect I probably did though.

Oh, did I mention that it was freezing cold when I was back?!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I can't really be doing with flying these days. It's more like a chore and a necessity and not something that I especially look forward to. Airports also do not fill me with anything but fear and loathing. To cap it all off, I don't really like the journey to the airport and that is because of the previous 2 reasons. It's really a no win situation. It's all in stark contrast to my younger days when I definitely did look forward to going the an airport and flying. I was always very excited by the prospect of going and seeing the planes and indeed or flying. It was always a window seat that I would aim for. There was no point at all of flying only to have an aisle seat. What was the point?

Now though, ugh. Perhaps that is because I fly at least 3 or 4 times a year. That statistic can be traced back to the start of the century and was largely kind in tact when living in Korea and now Dubai. On top of that is all the restrictions that are in place the instant you step foot in an airport and a flight. You can't do this that or the next thing. Given the amount of time people now spend in airports, it's a wonder that airport operators don't have a better plan for keeping us amused. I guess I can shop and eat, but that's it. Nothing else. Endless hours sitting, just waiting.

Which neatly brings me to flying back to Dubai from Glasgow last week. Glasgow airport is devoid of anything. It's not the busiest and it really does lack anything. The only 'positive' that I can say about it is that it has a bakery when you get through to departures. Other than that, it's poor. In addition to that, the flight I get back is always parked at the same bay and the same gate. There's not even the slightest excitement to be generated from trying to locate where your gate is. You already know. On this occasion, the flight was delayed. Not by much, but longer enough to concern me. I was due back at work at 7am the next day. The flight was scheduled to arrive in Dubai at 12.30am. Even that was pushing it. Any kind of delay would have been dreadful. And so it proved. I finally arrived home to the apartment at 2.30am, and to bed by 3am. Less than 3 hours later, I was up and getting ready to go to the office. Needless to say, the working way was comprised of sitting at my desk, trying to look busy and trying my damnedest to stay awake. I managed, but not by much.

Monday, January 11, 2010


The first post of the news decade has been late arriving. Blame the ice and the snow back in Scotland. It was shockingly bad and certainly the worst I had seen. Whilst sitting in a bar in the centre of Edinburgh at around 7pm the other Saturday, the snow came down and just didn't stop. Not only did it come down but it lay on the ground and, for the city centre, is unusual to say the least. On the outskirts where I was, it was worse. Much worse. The further north you went, the more treacherous it got also. I saw a number of car crashes with cars simply going too fast and not being able to stop or even tackle a bend in the road.

Alas, I'm back in Dubai and have so such worries. It's pleasant, sunny and even a bit rainy. It's winter after all. That said, I do have a light jacket that I wear on my way to work in the morning as it takes a bit of time to warm up.

The time back in Scotland was certainly not long enough - two weeks in total. It just flew by and now it just seems something of a blur. I suspect that has a lot to do with the amount of alcohol that was consumed. Not excessively it must be said but a glass or 2 of wine each day does tend to take it's toll. I'm getting not younger. Sadly.

More of the holiday later.

Happy New Year however!