A view from one man in a granite city

As the political scene in Scotland heats up, I found myself wondering what I can do to support the side I want to win.

On Sunday in Aberdeen, there was a large stand for Yes Scotland and beside it was a selection of art from Artists for Independence (I think!!)  Some of the work was very inspiring and I was happy to see both stands as busy as they were.  The past week had been a dirty one in the campaign, with bad internet abuse from both sides.  Sadly I felt I had to point out to my No supporting friends, that while the abuse directed at JK Rowling was awful and wrong, the No side was just as bad.  The abuse that the No campaign had dished out to the Weirs after their donation to the Yes campaign was awful and vindictive (yet was not reported in the media with anywhere as much depth….strange that!).  There are idiots on both sides and the internet allows them to voice their bile in a relative anonymous fashion.  Sadly as we get closer to September the 18th, I can see this campaign getting dirtier and dirtier.

This saddens me as I really wanted both sides to debate in a sensible fashion.  I hoped that those who had not made their minds up, would be able to get facts and make their decision from there.

Not going to happen I think.

As a Yes supporter I see the newspapers and the TV news and Current affairs shows, all banging a drum that puts forward the No side at every opportunity.  It annoys me, not because people do not agree with my point of view but rather that the coverage is not balanced.  It is perceived injustice like this that finally made me start wearing my Yes badge all the time.  I felt I had to pin my colours to the mast.  I got fed up of being told that Scotland was too small, too stupid, too irresponsible to run its own affairs.  My reposting of links on Facebook and Twitter supporting independence has got more frequent as a result.  Almost as if I am trying to keep the tide of No support from seemingly swamping the internet.  Each post or retweet is like a flame and in my mind, I think of the bonfires in Gondor.  My flame encouraging another etc.

Of course it is nothing like that.  The internet is big enough and ugly enough to allow both sides their own space.

I have friends on both sides of this debate and I have no intention of trying to change their views.  I can disagree with them without it affecting my friendship.  I encourage those who are undecided to go and find out facts and then make their mind up.

Getting back to the beginning of this post.

I wondered what I could do to help the Yes campaign and all I could think of was this……

Ach I will tell you about it another day.

Anyhow, on Sunday I picked up some “Aye” badges and went home.


Everything is wonderful, being here is heavenly

“Ah Mary”

The Colonel thought back to the first meeting with the Tesla Girls.  Proud, beautiful and ready to serve their King and Country.  The men milled around them like bees around honey, something that disgusted the Colonel.  A woman was worth wooing, worth getting to know and treating right.  Such common displays just marked the men out as being desperate.  He noticed the female soldiers just stood back, almost offended that the men had been distracted by something bright and shiny.

Sparking and sizzling in the fading daylight, the Tesla girls posed for press pictures.  This was a new chapter in the fight against the enemy.  Electronic powered human beings, their natural talents boosted by the use of Teslas technology.  Put into production to support the current military in all areas.  The Colonel was one of the few who had heard of this secret force before today.  Yet he had not met any of the volunteers.

She shone brighter than the rest.  her eyes were full of life and they locked onto the Colonels and stayed there.

Suddenly the heavens roared and the rain fell down.  The water hitting them just made the Tesla girls spark brighter.  The men moved back as if scared of being hurt.  The Colonel walked forward and raised his hand to shake hers.

“Colonel Montgomery McSwine ma’am.”

Her touch was warm and tickled slightly.  Her eyes glowed a deeper blue and she smiled.

“Mary” she replied, “Pleased to meet you Colonel.”

The Colonel was brought back to his current reality by a slap across the face.  He looked at his interrogator with a mixture of disgust and pity.  The man drew back his hand again and repeated the question.

“Who is Mary?  Where is she Monty?”

A deep laugh erupted from him as the Colonel burst out laughing.  Eventually he managed to get a hold of himself and answered.

“Mary?  She was a woman I fell in love with many years ago.  She did not feel the same but she did offer to pray for me when I went to war.  I think of her often.  I suppose she could be the one that got away.”

The interrogator looked to the other occupant of the room.  Although he could not see him, the Colonel knew what he would be doing.  His British Military training had been thorough and although someone may break the Colonel one day, today was not that day.

I don’t say nothing, I talk to no-one

The Colonel was strapped to a chair.  There was a dull ache all over his body, probably from the explosion.  Opening his eyes caused pain as the lights were so bright.  He could taste blood and an exploratory tongue located further blood on his moustache.  As if that was not bad enough, he saw that they had ripped his battledress, probably when they were restraining him.  That just would not do.

“Awake are we Monty?”

The speaker stood off to the side of his view and turning to look at him caused sparks of agony.  The man was leaning against the wall of the brightly lit room, arms folded and one leg bent, resting the foot against the wall.  Although he did not recognise the uniform, the Colonel knew who the man represented.

He smiled.  They had to catch up with him eventually and he really wished that he had his pipe handy.  The first stages of nicotine withdrawal had made their presence felt.

“Not talking Monty.” The man moved almost fluidly, to take up a position directly in front of the Colonel.  “That is very rude.”

“You will address me as Colonel McSwine as set out in the terms of the galactic..” He was cut off by a suprisingly rough hand, slapping him across the face.

The man grabbed the Colonels chin and forced him to look into his eyes.

“I will call you whatever I like Monty.  Those treaties are just bits of paper and you know that.  Here,” he gestured behind him, “I ask you questions and you answer them.  Refuse and I will make you wish you had never been born.”

The Colonel smiled again, this time wider than before.

“Do you really think you can break me Sir?  Your lot took me off the board once before and look where that got you.”

The man looked quizzically at the Colonel and then turned to speak to an as yet, unseen accomplice.

“Did we?”

There was a muffled negative response.  The man turned back to the Colonel and sneered.

“Well, well Monty.  You are out of your own timestream.  That makes this very interesting.  I know that whatever you are talking about, has not actually happened yet.  At least, not for us.  So I know that you will give me the answers I want”.

He let go of the Colonels chin and stood up straight, raising his arms out to his side as he continued.

“Because if you don’t comply, I will kill you and since we have not taken you off the board yet, whatever the hell that entails, means that you have already lost this encounter.”

He clapped his hands loudly and laughed.

“Oh yes.  This will be a lot of fun.”

The Colonel was not even slightly perturbed.  He knew all about the vagaries of time.  He had been a member of the agency for many years and yet every time he went back to his old life, time had stood still.  Everything was just the same as if he had never left, as if the agency was just a dream.

Everything except Mary.

Her name caused a tug to his heartstrings and he had to stop thinking about her.  She was long gone.

The unseen accomplice spoke something in a language that the Colonel did not understand and the man left his view for a second.  When he returned, he was holding a piece of paper.  The look on his face was very serious, such a change from moments earlier.  Eventually he turned the paper round so the Colonel could see it.  So he could see what was written on it.  So he could see exactly what he was up against.

The Colonel was stunned to silence.

The man spoke very slowly and deliberately now.  A menace in his voice that no longer sounded put on.

“So Monty.  Who is Mary?”



Final Crisis as a guide to Depression and beating it?

Final Crisis is one of my Favourite stories.  I know that it can be overwhelming and far too complex at times but despite all that, I really enjoyed it.  It was probably the first Hardback Trade I ever bought (despite owning all the issues!).

Also long time readers will know that I suffer from depression. So to find someone who links the two of them together makes me happy.



Worth a read and if you know the comic at all, it makes a lot of sense.

Anyway thought it worth sharing


You should see me when you’re not around

As I watched the explosion finally die and the blackness of space return, I thought of how I got here.

Years of putting on a costume and fighting crime was one answer.

Not entirely the whole truth though.

It seems so long ago and so far away.  My life has been some kind of adventure story, written by a hormonal teenager with issues.

Looking back it is as if my history is written, rewritten, deleted and then written again.  Each time I lose part of myself and gain new depths.

I once wore a costume of Red and Blue and fought crime in a dystopian England.  That costume changed from blue and white, through red and blue, to a combination of red, blue, yellow and black.  The thistle was my emblem and it was the code name I chose when I went public.

In another version of my history, that decision was taken by others.  To be honest it was difficult to keep up.  Far easier to just accept what I was told and get on with things.

Then I found myself in a futuristic Aberdeen.  There was a murderer out there in the snow and I was what my city needed.  I cannot remember if I wore a costume then.  Then as soon as I got used to that situation, it changed again.  I was stood in front of a car.  The passengers inside were killing themselves and yet they looked at peace with the world.  I was shouting at someone, possibly blaming him for what was happening.

Why did I not try to save them?

Then nothing.

I would often wake up at the start of a new day and wonder what was going to be in store for me.  It was quite exciting when you got your head around it all.  Every day was different and I was forever young.

Sure some people got left behind….I may have been close to one or two of them….I can’t remember.

Then what felt like years of nothing.  The feeling you get when you wake up after a very long, relaxing sleep but remember nothing of your dreams.  

A flash of light and there I was with the Colonel.  A man that I somehow had known for years.  A man who I worked with in an agency that I do not remember joining.  It had been so long since I had been active, that it took me a while to get back in to the rhythm of just going with the flow.

“This is how it all ends”.

The Colonels words were still with me.

Why was I brought back only to be stuck out here in the void?


The best song EVER

A Flock Of Seagulls – Wishing (If I Had A Photogr…: http://youtu.be/opkzgLMH5MA

I’m feeling very 80s just now, so here is a blast of electro brilliance for you.
Air synth at the ready and those that can…..style your hair.
Electro lovers I salute you.

(There is a girl on this bus having a hands free phone conversation really loudly…..so I’m trying to drown out here unfeasibly annoying drone….in fact I think there may be no one on the other end and she is just having a loud, mundane conversation with herself).

Where were you hiding when the storm broke?

“This is where it all ends”

That was the last thing he said to me before the world spun round and everything faded to black.  When I awoke, I was bound tightly by the wrists and my legs were battered and bruised.  

I’ve had worse.

Taking stock of my surroundings, I saw I was in some kind of basement.  My hands were tied to a rusted pipe.  Thanking the Artists Two that the bad guys were still as stupid as they ever were, I was free within seconds.

“This is where it all ends”

His words came back to me like a distant echo.  Was there something else?  I struggled to my feet, my brain searching through blank sectors for an answer that never came.

I could walk, just.  Hobbling to the stairs that led out of this brightly lit basement, I decided to not be a hero anymore and sat down.

I had been on patrol in the highlands of my own reality.  I say patrol but in reality I was watching the deer graze and enjoying the peace.  My wrist comm had buzzed a few times before I answered.

“There you are dear boy.  Be a good chap and lock onto my signal.  I could do with some help”.  The colonels voice sounded its usual calm self.  Hard to believe that we came from the same city such was the difference in our accents.

Sighing I had pushed the relevant buttons and with a almost silent goodbye, I stepped to the left.

There he was, all suited up in his battledress.  Black armour laced material swirled as he turned to face me.  The first time I had met him, I had laughed out loud.  A six foot plus man with a thin military moustache in a ballroom dress was almost the weirdest thing I had ever seen at that point.

Almost but not quite.  The Artists Two, well they were another matter entirely.

To be fair to the Colonel, he had ignored my rudeness that day and addressed me by a codename that very few people knew.  I was not in costume and was quite taken aback by this.  Having only recently joined the agency, I was still wet behind the ears.  over time I found that outside appearances meant nothing.  The true quality of a person was found within.  The Colonel was living proof of that.

Now, the Colonel was standing looking at the city below us.  He explained that the other side had planned something quite big.  The city in front of us had been the first to have floating street lights installed.  Hovering high above the city, these wireless wonders shone their light down evenly all around.  It was really a wonder to behold.  However from our view point we could see their true purpose.  A large magical sigil was formed by their placement.  A sigil, the Colonel Explained, that gave away the enemys plans.

“This is where it all ends”

He had definitely said something else after that.  Before the bombers appeared and let loose their cargo of Disinformation bombs.  The lie shrapnel exploding all around us as he turned to me and spoke.

Try as I did, there was nothing coming to me.  My head hurt.  Deciding I should probably make my escape before the other side returned, I stood up shakily and somehow got to the top of the stairs.  The door was unlocked and I opened it to be faced with the reality of my situation.

Spinning through the coldness of space, I could see all the realities laid out before me.  They looked wrong.  Something was different but I could not place my finger on it.  Trying my comm device yeilded nothing but static.  I couldn’t be out of range, the Agency tech was far too good for that to happen.  No something else had to be causing this.

To my left, I caught a glimpse of orange.  Turning to look at it, I saw the Nexus explode in silence.  One minute it was there and the next.

The next.

It was gone just as if it had never existed.

I was alone.

Alone and spinning through space.