Horses for Courses, and Muppets too

This piece was a collaboration between myself and Ewan Angus (his gibberish is in italics, mines is not).

On racedays in Musselburgh the ‘Electric Bridge’, constructed for heavy vehicles used to build Cockenzie power station, is opened to all traffic. The whole town froths at the mouth at the novelty of trimming a couple of minutes off a journey through the town centre. Racedays are huge for the town; local restaurants thrive off them and anyone who can do gets along to watch. As we approach the racecourse itself I’m reminded of exactly how my innocence was lost in this town. Just a lad, I used to come along to the races with my mates and jump the fence and get into all manner of scrapes and shenanigans. However, after the age of eighteen going to the races took on an entirely different meaning. Once I came of age a dreadful beast was revealed to me, the terrible vice of gambling. A seductive bitch that tempts you in, pulls you to bed, tears the shirt from your back and then promptly leaves you to the will of the evil dominatrix Lady Luck. This was the downfall of my tender youth and the descent into a gambling addiction that would last until just shortly before I turned twenty. Continue reading

Polar Opposites

Curiously for a single male student living in Edinburgh I have only ventured into one of the city’s many famous lap dancing bars once. Inside an altogether mind-altering experience awaited me. As a stag group we were targeted from the outset. ‘Twenty quid a head, lesbian show, and we’ll shove a bottle up the stag’s arse.’ Needless to say an offer like this can’t be refused and we all saw some fascinating things. Speaking to one of the girls after it was clear that once abstracted from their profession these are remarkably intelligent people, many of whom use the job as simply a means to an end, occasionally to fund degree courses. After a lengthy search and a bundle of rejections I managed to find a girl studying Architecture at Edinburgh whilst working as a stripper willing to talk to me. Continue reading

La Tomatina

I’m pretty sure I only own eight pairs of socks and they were all in my bag. It may have just been paranoia but I don’t think anyone wants to play Travel Scrabble with a big ginger guy wearing one pink sock and one luminous green one. I left my flat in Marchmont at 2pm on the Sunday and by the time my flight left I had done 296 miles in just under 17 hours, giving me and average speed of just over 17 miles per hour. These are the perils of a 7am flight from East Midlands Airport when you live in Edinburgh. Continue reading

A Portrait of My Grandmother as a Young Woman

A Portrait of My Grandmother as a Young Woman

Ally bally, ally bally bee,

sittin on yer mammy’s knee,

greetin for a wee bawbee,

tae buy some coulter’s candy

– ‘Coulter’s Candy’, Traditional Scots Song

What does father look like? I haven’t seen him for a long time, but I know he has blue eyes like me. My eyes are Mum’s favourite but I wish I had Margot’s wriggly yellow hair, she gives me the tightest cuddles in bed but I’m still jealous. I’m really sleepy today; Peter’s being an awful pest rifting and tickling all night long keeping us all awake. I love him because he’s my brother but today I don’t like him at all, he’s so naughty. Continue reading


Beel rings, oot the door, grab the baa, rin roond the back; last yin there’s gay, tax nae in; Jack, Ryan an’ Scoba against the rest ay us, nut, numbers is fairest, Jack was always too good anyway; yoo’s hae sticky but we’ll kick tae yoo; frenzied attacks ensue, twenty-odd laddies chasin’ a baa, sometimes it crosses the line an’ ‘en the direction changes, Raisin-heid takes a tumble in the box, the stramash is settled by the age auld measure ay a ‘penalty abit it’, Jack steps up an’ cheps it ower mah floonderin’ body wi’ ootrageoos cheek; frustration gripped my young body, the beel goes again, next goal the winner, gemme on; Scoba releases Jack doon the reit win’, flies pest three ay us an’ sends a powerful shot straecht atween mah legs tae win the gemme, ah send a powerful shot intae his beak, he gi’es me a body reit back, fair play; a lad will fight long and hard for bragging rights, grab the baa, rin roon the front, back tae skale.  Continue reading

Pain in the Proverbial

This piece was written in response to a particularly inconvenient trip to A&E.

It’s 2am on a Tuesday and John Hartson is making me scared, and so is my pal Archie. A couple of searches on Google images is provoking a terrified stream of expletives. One thing they all have in common is that they are warning me not to leave it too late because of embarrassment. It’s pretty natural to be embarrassed it’s not a good area to take an injury to particularly for someone leading a sporting masculine lifestyle. On Monday night seconds after coming off the sidelines in our game of five-a-side football I took a big hit to the groin area as the ball rebounded off the crossbar directly into my path. Huge cause for hilarity accompanied by overwhelming pain for a couple of minutes as standard, but now it’s been more than a day and the pain is still here. Continue reading

I’m the Fucking Bar Supervisor

The brief for this piece was arrogance and the workplace. This isn’t actually how i view myself.

Always handy to turn up fifteen minutes early, have a coffee and check out the scene. Lucky I have because it’s just gone 4:45pm on a Friday and the bar is already rammed. Just enough time to bolt downstairs get changed and steady the ship. As standard Mhairi is stressing, Sara is flapping about like an idiot, empty fridges, glasses piled up all over the shop, and my pristinely ironed shirt in the middle. Continue reading

Heartbeats (or the lack of)

First kiss, first love, that special first time. Nobody ever remembers the first time they had to tell someone that they don’t love them anymore. An ignorant child of seventeen I took the coward’s option of completely avoiding her for an entire month, no mean feat considering we were in the same year at school. That morning she sat doleful and saturnine in the window of the common room keeping watch for me, that morning I saw her doleful and saturnine and legged it down the back stairs. Continue reading