Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Sunday, August 21, 2005


It's been a hot and sunny weekend. Hot and sunny enough to inspire a trip to the beach. We went to Seacliff, in East Lothian, and managed to fit in some lazy newspaper reading, flashy frisbee throwing (pay attention, un-co kids, this is how it's done), a SWIM!!!!!!!!!!! and lavish picnic before the ravenous spring tide devoured the beach at an alarming rate. Even the tide was fun though - watching people who wore shoes on the beach try to avoid getting wet (no, you can't walk on our picnic! take your shoes off, weirdos) and providing the perfect opportunity for much beach construction activity.

Speaking of swimming (yes, it was cold), A. got this t-shirt at Spanish (?) high street store, Zara. Very strange (you need to click the pic to be able to read it). Apparently there's no such thing as the Auckland Aquatic Centre. I asked my mum, and she knows these things. We've subsequently seen the same shirt on TV - someone at the running of the bulls in Pamplona was wearing a red one. So, kids, you heard it here first. Auckland is officially cool in Europe. Or swimming. Or something.

Salty, sunned and sandy, we had no sooner arrived home yesterday than I got a nice text from Welly pal Chloe, who's working at the film fest. Want some free tix? Cool. See you in 20 mins. Remembered (just) to change out of my togs, threw on some jeans and jogged down to Cineworld. Arrived and realised it must be a premiere. Seriously underdressed. Oops. We did get a few strange looks, but the film was worth it (On A Clear Day, good heartwarming stuff with great Glasgow locations). And we got to sit 2 seats away from Gillian Anderson. She stood next to A. for a while as we waited to exit. He was quite excited. Other celebs in the flesh included Peter Mullan (bizarrely kilted out with some kind of purple velvet top half thing going on - foppish and a bit of a mismatch for the Glaswegian hardman. Although that's just the roles he's played... maybe he's a big saftie underneath). Also Billy Boyd and Brenda Blethyn.

It's raining now, and time for bed.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

On the telly

It's been a busy old week in the brave new world of stem cell research. Our researchers published a paper, reporting that they had, for the first time, made pure brain stem cells. We thought that was quite cool, a major advance, so we wrote a press release about it.

Often, you can write a press release about a science story and nobody notices. But this week they did - maybe because we had pretty pictures in the press release too.

The BBC made a story of it. And then so did just about everyone else. The news making the news.

Enough about work, though. Back on the Fringe, Cracks in the Garden was a wee bit uncomfortable - an audience of only 10 is seldom anything but. Kevin MacNeil was worth getting up early-ish for on Sunday morning - I'd read his new book, The Stornoway Way, cover to cover the night before. It's always nice to hear the voice of a Leodhasach (love that lilt).

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Kiwis in the house

Listening to: The Black Seeds

Over and over, on CD, bought out of a battered kiwi suitcase at the Black Seeds gig in Edinburgh last week. Also Fat Freddy's Drop, bought from same suitcase. The sun's been shining, and Wellington dub is good sunshine music.

So, the gig. Never knew there were quite so many kiwis in Edinburgh. I think I was the most Scottish person in the crowd. How could I tell? Well, apart from the sea of hands in the air when the Black Seeds played a track for "all the kiwis in the house", they also have a look about them (we have a look about us?). A. describes it as "an extra layer of grunge". Guys with shaggy hair (here, they're more coiffed than the girls, a la Becks), jandals, grubby Ts. Girls dressed down, without fake tan.

We've had kiwis in oor hoose too. Actually, a Wellingtonian, currently resident in London, and his girl from Denver - Simon and the lovely Lesley. Their visit was nicely timed to coincide with Fringe previews, so we took in a couple of shows at pleasantly low prices. Definite highlight was Jump - one of those random picks which sounded intriguing in the programme, and turned out to be fantastic. A piece of Korean physical theatre, piled high in the air with comic, acrobatic and kung-fu capers. We laughed a lot at the sheer silliness of it, and marvelled at the gymnastics on show.

The whole Fringe seemed to be running late on Friday - not so good when you're going to a show at 11.59pm. More like 1 am by the time things kicked off. This was Best of the Fest - a pot luck selection of stand up. Apart from the dire, painful Fiona O'Loughlin (although a late and well lubricated Friday night Edinburgh audience, kept waiting for an hour, are not the easiest to please), there were laughs aplently.

Yesterday was rugby day. Enough said about that.