Sunshine on Leith


Advertising supremo, Iain McAteer, of The Union was climbing Arthur Seat on a chill but not Arctic New Year’s day.

The hike was an attempt to wash the bitter taste of the defeat (and too much red wine) of his beloved Chips’n’cheese-eating, potato picking, football team to the (ex) purveyors of the beautiful game, the mighty Hibernian FC from his mouth.

He turned to take in the glorious view and was rewarded with this stunning vision.

Easter Road

What is it about Colin Calderwood?


After defeat to Motherwell yesterday this very odd man said…

“There are aspects of the game I enjoyed. Problems are there to be solved so that’s what I’m looking forward to doing.”

On Tuesday night after Hibs went out to a team two leagues below the odd bod Calderwood commented…

“We had so many good opportunities, the goalkeeper’s had a number of good saves, we’ve had efforts cleared from the line and I think they defended their goal excellently.

He has so far won 2 out of 15 games.

Being, at best, an armchair fan I have not seen him in action but I am told he stands impassively, hands in pockets, barely involving himself in games and certainly not leaping about like the madman Yogi Hughes had become.

It all just seems like he’s going through the motions.

Remarkably he claims to be “really enjoying it” at Easter Road.

Inevitably, the fans’ ire tends to turn to the manager or the Chairman in these sorts of situation.  And Rod Petrie’s extended honeymoon is certainly looking to be over at this moment in time.

The sale of Stokes and Bamba appears to be hitting home now and our lack of action in the transfer market is becoming notable.  I’m a great admirer of what Petrie has acheived at Easter Road but it feels like he has made an extraordinarily bad appointment in Colin Calderwood and his earlier reputation for canniness is in danger of becoming one for penny pinching (for which I am told he has a strong internal reputation.)

Lastly, of course, there’s the team itself; some say it is a shadow of its former self, one of the worst to have played for Hibs in many years (if not ever), but I saw Zemamma, Miller, Riordan, Wotherspoon, Murray, Stack and McBride (all in the squad yesterday) play Dundee Utd on 3rd October 2009 and destroy them before drawing 1 -1.

At that point the table looked like this…

A month later it looked even better…

And even by mid January Hibs (with this team) were in touch with the top, so my contention is not that it is the players themselves that are poor but the way in which they are applying themselves.

It feels to me that there is a cancer somewhere in Easter Road that is permeating the team and turning good players into bad.  Yogi lost them, and Calderwood has never had them bar one freak night against Rangers.

It needs sorted, and quick.

2010. In hindsight.


Not a bad vintage actually.

Work wise I was run off my feet once again and almost literally in December which proved to be extraordinarily challenging due to the shitness of the weather and the fact that I was researching all over the country.  It was a real struggle, very stressful indeed.

Some great clients which include STV, Ampersand, Corporation Pop, 60 Watt, nmp and LA Media from last year.  But added a few too including Gill’s Cruise Centre, Paligap, and The Usability Lab.

My golf stank pretty much from start to finish and I had a poor Arran and a poor St Andrews.  However one highlight was an Eagle 3 on the par 5 second in the club championships first round.  I won that but went out in round two.  However Forty years of failing to Eagle were finally over. (Tom got about 6 last year alone).

Musically it was a big return to form after very poor shows in both 2008 and 2009.

I’ve already posted my tracks of the year elsewhere which will give you an idea of my top ten albums, but for the record, these are they…

I’m New Here by Gil Scott Heron

Band of Joy by Robert Plant

The Courage of Others by Midlake

Queen of Denmark by John Grant

The Suburbs by The Arcade Fire

Sky at Night by I am Kloot

Elektonische Music Experiment – German Rock and Electronic Music 1972 – 1983

Write About Love by Belle and Sebastian

The Lady Killer by Cee Lo Green

Seasons of my Soul by Rumer

My blog had a record year, just, with 340,000 hits, up 45,000 on last year and beating 2008 by only 1,000.  As a result I hit the million mark last week and raised over £1,000 for St Columba’s Hospice in the process.  Thanks to all who contributed.

I did two music quizzes (one in Edinburgh and one in Manchester) for NABS and these raised £3,500

The Hibees were a farce from year start to end and our Scottish cup hopes look less plausible than for a very long time.  Looks like we’ll be going at least 110 years before winning it again.

Theatre again played a big part in my year.

My role as a director of The Lyceum developed and I thought Mark Thomson had a vintage year.  Every show was a hit in some form or other and the highlights for me were The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Confessions of a Justified Sinner, The Price and The Importance of Being Earnest.

FCT had another good year, my first at the helm and I’d like to thank the fab committee for their support.  Two great shows in Just So and Guys and Dolls and another ENDA award.  Annie’s next but no decision yet on the festival.  Our away day in October was deemed a great success.

Amy started at Uni and is working hard as she has done all year at Dakota.  She bought a virtually new car herself ( a Toyota Yaris) and I was really proud of her for being so focussed to be able to do this.  Ria is working hard at school and did really well in her standard grades.  Tom isn’t and didn’t.

Tom’s golf continued to improve and his handicap went from 11 to 7.

Sadly Jeana’s blossoming work at Suntrap came to an end when the funding was pulled.  She was devastated and I suspect still is.

We holidayed in California and it was a tram smash of a holiday from start to finish, summed up by this video…

http://www.youtube.com/v/E5lc8c9EsXg?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1

In books I didn’t read much.  I am enjoying Freedom by Jonathon Franzen but the best of the year was the Red Riding Quadrilogy by David Peace.

fantastic series of horrific police brutality .

And my movie of the year? Well, I saw over 20 movies at the flicks this year and a lot of real quality.  But I plump for The Social Network.  A Prophet was great as was Monsters and The Road, but David Fincher surpassed himself with an amazing script by Aoron Sorkin.

TV show of the year? No Question. Mad Men (we’re playing catch up and only nearing end of season two but it’s fabulous).

In reality TV The Apprentice continues to kick ass.

Digital gizmo of the year?  My iPad… but also my Canon 450 D.  An up and down year on the camera front but happy with my lot and looking for a Canon 5D Mk 1 and a new 28mm prime lens to move on a level in 2011.

Idiot of the Year?  Won hands down by Nick Clegg.  Only cos he sold his soul to the devil.  But he was run close by those fools that lead our government.  You know who they are.  Tony Blair continued to make a right fucking dick of himself and the legacy of Kenny Macaskill is not away yet with Magrahi in the rudest of health.

Sadly I lost a number of friends during the year; Myles, Kathy and Jim, I’ll miss you all.  God bless and love to all of your families.

Wife of the year? Jeana Gorman. 21st year running.  How can she bear it?

Put it this way. I couldn’t live with me. Still.

And so to 2011.

My hopes?

Hibees win the Scottish Cup.  (That’s just stupid.  Ed.)

Tom gets down to a 4 handicap.

I win something, anything, at Golf.

The kids do well at school and uni.

I am healthy throughout. (And lose rather a lot of weight.)

Both Cath and Jean stay healthy too

The credit crunch doesn’t get worse again.

one week to go


Cannae wait till the World Cup, although I shall be playing in the second round of the Dundas Singles on opening night.  Nevertheless my Fantasy team is submitted and I can reveal it here to you dear reader…

sexy huh?

My thinking is as follows…

Bamba plays for Hibees, so is first pick.

Coupla Brazilians, cos they’re gonna win.

Messi, cos he’s the best player in the world.

Coupla Dutch, cos they’ll go far.

Coupla Spaniards, cos ditto.

Token Englishman so I can’t be accussed of being a Jock biased bastard.

The Pig guy from Germany, cos he has the best name in Footie.

There you go.  That’s how to get £20k richer.

Celtic 1 -2 Hibs


Hibs go to Parkhead.

We get a caning.

Celtic have 95% possesion. (Or so you’d believe listening to the commentary; when in actual fact they have 52%)

They have 16 corners.

We have 2.

They have endless chances.  We have next to none (or so you’d believe listening to the commentary; when in actual fact they have only a few more than us. Well, 9.)

They go one up in 4 minutes then miss and miss and miss.

We break away and score.

We break away and score (again)

In the 92nd minute.

We win.

(The Jambos get murdered 3 – 0 at home.)

Thank you for that.

John Hughes


And so, we approach Christmas.

Hibs sit within touching distance of the top of the league.  Of course all will be nought should tRangers take the spoils on the 27th – but the fact remains that John Hughes has made a transformation at Easter Road.  The big difference is not losing to the likes of Hamilton (apart from Hamilton) having raised our game the week before against the Old Firm and Hearts (we lost to Celtic and only drew with Rangers and Hearts).

Hibs aren’t even playing that well.  But what we are witnessing is a remarkable manager in his element.

Why is he remarkable?  Because he has done what others couldn’t; strung results together, brought the changing room together, got great performances out of mercurial talent (Zemmama specifically) and made good signings (Stack, Millar and Stokes).

He has a good team, which is astonishing in itself given the transfer activity at the slope, but needs must and Petrie has done a great job in steadying the ship and now, hopefully, the club will continue to invest sensibly on the pitch (see Stokes for evidence).

I am, once again, proud to be a Hibby (I always was actually) and look forward to the second part of the season with anticipation.

OK, the league and cup double may only be a dream, but it is NOT an impossibility.

Thank you John Hughes.  You are a magician and everyone who follows Hibs owes you a great deal.

Cheerio then


I am not, and never have been, a fan of George Burley.  The performance by Scotland against Wales on Saturday defied description in the first half.  At 3-0 down we gave away a stone wall penalty that wasn’t given and Marshall, the goalie, should have been sent off.  So that would have been 4-0 with ten men.  We’d no doubt have shut up shop at that point and sloped off with a four goal defeat.  As it was we lost to a bunch of schoolboys by three.

He had to go.  And go he has.

Our game is a mess.  I mean, let’s face it, Hibs are within a win of topping the league despite a makeshift team in parts and having sold 11 internationalists in five years.  How is that possible?  I’lll tell you how.  Because everyone else is dreadful.  And if you want proof of that look at Rangers’ and Celtic’s positions in their European groups.  Both bottom, neither with a pot washed.

Investment in Scottish football’s youth (outside of Easter Road) is lamentable and that’s why that old saying “There’s no easy games in international football” is true once again.  Scotland is an easy game.  Falkirk went out of Europe to a team from Leichtenstien.

Lichstentsien!

In the past, had a Scottish team drawn a team from Lichstentsien we’d have needed a calculator to work out the aggregate score.

So back to Burley.  Cheerio and good riddance I say.  We’ve had two clowns in charge (Burley and Vogts).  It seems remarkable that the rose between those two thorns was dour old Walter Smith who got the team playing again, reaching unheard of heights.

He leaves?  Splash, right back in the poo.
Smith is sitting in the Ibrox ejector seat so I suspect the SFA will make the predictable decision to send him a parachute.  Indeed this may all be part of a “plan”.

By the way.  Check out 60 Watt’s topical Scotsman.com ad in  The Scotsman.

Numero Due (Due, That’s Italian for 2, but you probably missed that if you’re not a classy Hibs fan. Because we are.)


BBC SPORT | Football | Scottish Premier | Table | Scottish Premier League table_1257206300288

Bring on the Jambos.  Managed from hell.

Gradually Petrie is being vindicated, as I have mostly supported. (He’s had some amazing transfer deals – Whittaker, Brown and Fletcher in particular.)

Intake of breath…we have a team.  Have you seen Liam Miller?  Wotherspoon?  Zemmama (on form)?

It’s actually quite exciting.

Nice


Hearts_vs._Hibs

I was just talking to Lee,  my Hearts fan colleague, about how nice it was to see Hibs joint top of the league and Hearts joint bottom and he went and got all upset,  libelous about Yogi and basically acted like you’d expect a Hearts fan to act when his team is £30 odd million in debt and joint bottom of the league.

He had to revert to boasting about the fact that they were top of the crap teams last year.   And then he had the audacity to slag Hibs for being one down at half time against St Mirren.  As if it mattered what the score was at half time.  I don’t actually ever recall points being awarded for first half performances do you?

That was 2008, that was. (the year of Barack Obama)


obama

As I head off to enjoy the Hogmanay celebrations it’s time to bring the 2008 blog to an end.

Looking back on the year it was a good one overall. No-one got hurt. Nobody died. We had several achievements as a family. I continued to pay the bills. Barrack Obama got into power.

My blog has hit 340,000 views in the year. Considering I only had 31,000 in 2007 that represents reasonable progress. I hope you enjoy it. And those of you who read but never comment, come on, open up a bit in 2009.

The Hibees were a joke in 2008. Very dissapointing in many ways, in fact Scottish football, full stop, came crashing back to earth after the heady highs of season 2007/8. Our clubs in Europe were pitiful and they became unrequired viewing the more the season progressed. Celtic are unbelievably bad and yet they are easily the best team in this country. God help us.

As The Hibees set off in pusuit of the Scottish cup for the 106th time since we last succeeded we face Hearts in Round 3. That could be a momentous occassion and who’s to say we won’t do it, after all we only EVER play good football when we are up against it. Last week against Kilmarnock totally summed Hibs’ season up… 2 – 2 at half time at home against only 10 men and we lose 4 – 2. That’s unprofessional.

Work was very rewarding and I enjoyed helping out Pete and Iain at 60 Watt in particular, in tough times it has to be said. I also won fabulous projects from PoppyScotland and The Black Watch. My work with the SMA was challenging but I’m pleased with the way it has developed. I suppose the event I led at Parliament in March has to be a professional highlight, but working on behalf on the industry can be soul destroying when people back off. I also did a lot of work with Golley Slater for which I am very grateful and ended the year with a hatrick of new commissions for stv, Ampersand (a stable of Advocates – yes indeed) and Whitespace. During the year I also enjoyed projects with Corporation Pop, as a mentoring programme for nmp, and have been asked to do more work with them in 2009. Story, Spider Online and Graphic Partners also gave me work in 2008 for which I am extremely grateful

I was delighted to be made a board director of The Lyceum in September and have taken on a fundraising role for FCT as well as taking part in the FAT Christmas show and rehearsing the 2009 Easter Show which is a ‘Best of FCT’ over their first 30 years. It promises to be simply stunning. I’m also chair of the Ferry Fringe but it is proving difficult to really get this rolling for 2009 despite the commitment of a small core of volunteers. Watch this space.

However, on a sad note, the demise of 1576, the company I co-founded, in February was a real shock and a truly sad moment. I’m glad to report that all who sailed in her appear to be in gainful employment and moving on; including both David and Adrian.

I’ve already crowed about my golf in 2008 which was my best ever and I really enjoyed it. I threw far fewer clubs about but still had my moments.

Amy’s Highers Grade results were very good and she was unlucky to miss out on her English which is focussing her mind as we go into 2009. We’re all desperately hoping she’ll get into Duncan of Jordanstone to study Art and she’s taking a Portfolio Course at Telford to help in that ambition. Here’s hoping.

Tom’s golf continued to improve and his handicap overtook mine during the year as he went from 21 to 15. He also got a hole in one in August, something I’ve never done, and won quite a few medals – but none of Ratho’s ‘majors’. I’m hoping that when he gets to 14, as he surely will, he will play against me in the men’s medals at Dundas Park. That’ll be really exciting

If he is not an Olympic Champion at X Box 360 by now he ought to be as he has put in unstinting effort. Shame we can’t say the same about his homework.

Ria continued to improve in her gymnastics but the elusive merit continued to evade her, still, she did master the bridge kick over at last and she was brilliant in Perth in November when her first vault was amazing (we’ll overlook the second one shall we?) She works really hard does Ria and that is showing up in really great results and a huge bunch of really nice friends. She deserves them because she is such a genuine young person.

Jeana won yet another award for South Queensferry in the Summer’s Britain in bloom competition with a Highly Recommended award. The village continues to progress under the Greenferry team’s amazing dedication. She also started her own blog which you can find here and whooped with joy about two weeks ago when she got her first ever comment. She’s not far short of her 1,000th view so get reading.

I had a sloppy evening at Cath’s 80th that constituted the Bad Hair Day of the year.

img_4872

In books Cormac McCarthy’s The Road simply blew me away and was my favourite read.

In music it had to be Dig Lazarus Dig by Nick Cave but I am growing increasingly interested in African Music and Amadou and Mariam’s new album, Welcome to Mali, is lovely. But check out Je Pense a Toi and Dimanche A Bamacko too (the latter is stunning and their best to date).

And my movie of the year? Not my busiest ever year at the movies so it’s hard to choose a best but I guess it was going to be No Country For Old Men (also based on a Cormac McCarthy book) until Hunger (by Steve McQueen) came along. A really outstanding and breathtaking movie.

TV show of the year? I loved Gavin and Stacey, but my most anticipated show each week was Later with Jools Holland which seemed to find a much more interesting mix this year than of late.

Best theatrical experience, amongst many, was my cousin Susan’s show at The Traverse; Nobody Will ever Forgive Us, which was a stunner.

My gadget of the year was unquestionably the sublime Canon G9, what a wonderful wee camera this is. I also got myself a much more muscular beast – a Canon EOS 400D which is fab too and this has been reflected in my continued devotion to Flickr. I love Flickr. Undoubtedly my find of the year on Flickr was Snailbooty. I mean, look what he just posted today. How good is that?

ill-cry-tomorrow-on-flickr-photo-sharing_1230751238822

My man of 2008, was unquestionably Barrack Obama.

Best day out was Alton Towers in the pissing rain in July. It rocked.

Result of the year? Terry got the all clear from his cancer and joined me at the School BBQ in June.

Wife of the year? Jeana Gorman. Again.

Put it this way. I couldn’t live with me. Still.

And so to 2009.

My hopes?

Hibees win the Scottish Cup. (LOL. That is so stupid.)

Tom gets down to a 10 handicap.

Tiger Woods comes back and kicks ass. It wasn’t the same without him.

I win something, anything, at Dundas Park

Amy gets into D of J. (And enjoys it.)

I am healthy throughout.

The FCT 30th Anniversary show is as good as I hope it will be.

The credit crunch doesn’t ruin everything for everyone.

Another Boruc Howler


I have so many mixed feelings about the Hibees that I wouldn’t know where to start listing them.

They beat Celtic today, fair and square. They must be a good team then. So how come they lost to Inverness, and drew with Aberdeen, St Mirren and Falkirk. It’s ridiculous and neverending. It shows a total sign of lack of commitment because clearly the squad has the ability, but not the focus.

It totally hacks me off.

So we beat Celtic, so what?

However ,we did score a quite extraordinary goal which got the commentators all frothy at the mouth.

It was more goalkeeping cock up than striking brilliance, but here it is anyway.

John Rankin, enjoy your moment in the sun.

Oh, and if you think that’s bad. Try this…

Same comment applies.

We beat Celtic (last year), lose to all the fodder around us and finish nowhere. Helped along the way by a Boruc calamity.

We’ll probably sign him one day.

Football’s gone bonkers


The Cabbage could get into Europe.

Hearts could win the Diddy League. (Although, if memory serves me correctly Mr Romanov predicted that they should be, about now, in the Semi Finals of the Champion’s League defending last year’s title)

Carlisle United look like getting promoted two years’ running.

Queen of the South, yes, Queen of the South are in tomorrow’s Scottish Cup Final.  If they win they’ll be dancing in the streets of Queen of the South (in fact by all accounts they already are.

Cardiff City are in the English FA Cup Final and they’re not even English.

Rangers are in the EUFA Cup Semi Final.

I blame it on global warming.

Makes you pit a line oan!


mixu.jpg

That’s the old gag and phoenetic translation of Hibees’ new manager’s name; Mixu Paatelainen. But I tell you what, new manager or not, I’d not be rushing to bet on Hibs putting Inverness Caley Thistle out of the cup this afternoon. I hope these are non-prophetic words. But time will tell.

Prediction?

Hibs 1 Thistle 1

Replay

Thistle 2 Hibs 0

Will Thistle win the cup? Will they buggery.

So, Mixu has landed


The Mighty Hibees have a new manager. The mighty Mixu. He was a bit of a legend. Ok maybe he didn’t walk on water like JC. But at least he didn’t give up when things weren’t going so well.

Maybe he’ll be able to recreate some of this magic. (Watch carefully and you’ll see he did make a contribution! Three actually.)

]

Or, even better.

]

That’s 16 v 2 in only 2 games.

JC is now Judas. He got his bag of silver.

Maybe Mixu will have the stomach for a fight.

A right good Cabbage patch


We wept when Murray went to Rangers.

We sighed as O’Connor headed to Moscow

We groaned as Caldwell went to Celtic

We swore when Riordan went to Celtic too.

We moaned when Brown went to Celtic an a’.

We shrieked when Killen followed the flock to Celtic .

We despaired when Thomson went to Rangers.

We couldn’t believe it when Whittaker followed him.

We smiled though when Stewart went back to Hearts.

We grimaced when Sproule schlepped off somewhere that I can’t recall.

And then we huffed when Mowbray took off to WBA…

So there was only one thing for it.

Kick the lot of their arses.

Rangers…easy

Celtic… peasy

Hearts… Japanesy

We’re unbeaten nine league games into the season.

We’ve got no more debt.

We’re about to build a new stand.

Rob Petrie and JC Walk on water and here’s the proof if proof is needed.

top-o-the-league.jpg

OK, Celtic’s lucky victory (once again) against Gretna has slightly distorted the above. But it’s staying right here…