Aberdeen was lovely if a little cold, the future health of all Aberdonians is secured with the opening of a new Health Village. We're not allowed to call it a hospital because it's supposed to be about keeping folk out of them - its all about preventative measures. It'll be the first Hub North Scotland project when it opens to the public next Tuesday, Hub North Scotland is a joint venture company peopled and funded by the private and public sector (via the Scottish Futures Trust.) Over the next ten years, £435 million will be spent in the north of Scotland on public infrastructure, or so it says on the Hub website.
Basically its a replacement for PFI, is it better? A wee bit, private companies are still contracted to build and maintain facilities, but the outcomes are better value for the tax payer - in short - its not anything like as rapacious an exercise for the private companies involved.
Alex Salmond opened the health village, I stood on a walkway above and listened in on the speeches. I fully expected to be shoo'd away by security but Alex Salmond is nothing if not accessible - I could have dropped an anvil on his head from where I was standing.
|I take a shit photo, except when it comes to bald heads.|
Moving on, and if you come here for what passes for politics and current affairs repartee then stop reading now. What follows is the first in my series of christmas rants - and to further underline my absolute hatred of it all; I refuse to capitalise the word for it.
The television adverts are noteworthy this year. It seems many of the big retailers have employed the kind of agencies favoured by perfume and aftershave companies - the advert runs on and on but it isn't till the end you find out what the fuck it was for. Some woman chasing her dog down a man hole only to be leched upon by David Gandy (well, if one has to be pawed, who better to do it than Mr Gandy.)
John Lewis with its hare and bear combo, I can't watch it and not wonder why the bear isn't eating the hare and savaging the other animals around the tree they've managed to miraculously decorate. Because you know, that would be my kind of christmas advert, blood splattered snow and dismembered animal limbs decorating the tree which toppled after the bear climbed it to get at the animals cowering at its top for the illusion of safety.
Tesco outdid itself with a time warp homage to their idea of typical family life through the ages, I hate these adverts the most because my family isn't like that. We don't sit round a table gently creaking with xmas fayre, there are no loving smiles - any warm thoughts we're having are drowned out by the silent screaming going on our heads.
Ok, that was an exaggeration, but not much of a one. Christmas (I had to capitalise it there because this is a new sentence) for a great many isn't a time of joy, love & friendship, warmth, the exchange of pointless gifts and religious obeisance - it is a time which underlines and amplifies what is usually only a barely tolerable level of year-round shiteness.
Special mention must be made of Ant & Dec in the Morrisons advert. Not since the Halifax 'radio station' adverts have so many been so moved to commit what I'm going to call celebricide. I normally don't mind Ant & Dec, I remember them from their Byker Grove days, who else can remember when PJ & Duncan started their on screen rap/DJ careers all filmed in Newcastle's at-the-time dingiest gay nightclub (called Powerhouse if memory serves.)
Just me then?
|The DWP get in with their xmas campaign.|
We have the frantic search for gifts to look forward to, I know some people who've already done their christmas shopping. I remain entirely unable to buy anything which does not have a practical use - which complicates and prolongs the xmas gift procurement process. Where as, those who don't deploy the 'useful gift' paradigm can buy any old tat and receive gushing thanks - we who prefer to be more pragmatic have to decide what the person actually needs. I'm lucky, I only buy for two people and last year I didn't even do that, I surpassed even my own levels of christmas-driven desolation and neglected to buy anything for anyone.
In the office I now revel in the discomfort of others as they place their unsolicited xmas cards on my desk and wait awkwardly to be handed one in return. I can't believe this still happens, I've been in this job for nine years and never have I ever exchanged cards - as Justin Hayward warbled in 'The Eve of the War' from Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds - but still they come.*
I'll stop now because I could go on for the rest of the month. We'll get back to Scottish politics at some point, over the past couple of weeks though, the lies & misrepresentations coming from the no side haven't really needed to be picked up and dissected because they've been so obviously absurd.
My highlight from recent days? Without a doubt Nicola Sturgeon destroying Alistair Carmichael on the Scotland Tonight special. I lay in my Aberdeen Premier Inn bed cursing Lenny Henry and his lying ways while watching the debate - I would link to it (the debate, not me lying in bed,) but this is just as succinct.
In case you thought I was just another miserable christmas-hating sour-pus; here's a festive picture for you to enjoy.
|I'm surprised Better Together don't have Edvard Munch's 'Skrik' as part of their campaign branding.|
* The lyrics read:
"The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one," he said.
"The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one - but still they
although I prefer:
"The chances of any cards coming from Paul are a million to one," he said.
"The chances of any cards coming from Paul are a million to one - so keep your shitey cards to yourself!"