Book Review – “Travels in the Land of Kubilai Khan” – Marco Polo (13th Century/2005)

posted by on 2014.11.19, under Books, History, Travel


Pretty good. Seems like Kubilai was pretty well organised. But Marco too often seems to be stressing how true everything is, his numbers seem a bit high, and it feels like the Khan might have been looking over his shoulder when he was writing. “Even lions bow down to the Khan!”

Book Review – “The Time Machine” – H.G. Wells (1895)

posted by on 2014.11.19, under Books, Science

time machine

Yeah, go on. Bit daft. The wee Eloi sound like moomins and I like the image of him mating a moomin. Doesn’t take long to read.

Book Review – “Down & Out in Paris and London” – George Orwell (1933)

posted by on 2014.11.19, under Books, Travel


Yes, of course. George is pretty good. Some great descriptions of being a kitchen porter. Also (in my edition) a great bit about swear words and their loss of meaning, where all the words have been blanked out.

Book Review – “Herzog on Herzog” Werner Herzog & Paul Cronin (2002)

posted by on 2014.11.19, under Art, Books, Film, Germany


Yes, oh god yes. This is brilliant, he is brilliant. And, there is a new version out, called “A Guide for the Perplexed” for some reason, which includes interviews about work since 2002, which I will read soon. It’s great.

Book Review – “Quiet” – Susan Cain (2012)

posted by on 2014.11.19, under Books



Yes. It’s not often that I actually think a book genuinely makes me feel better. This one did. For years I have thought when I didn’t want to go to openings, meet people, sometimes turning around on the way to meeting people, not wanting to speak to many people at once, preferring to speak to an individual for a long time, etc etc – I have thought that this was because I was shy, or lacked confidence. Now I realise, I am an introvert! Excellent, problem solved. Read it if you are an introvert and want to feel better about it, read it if you want to understand introverts, read it if you think people are just making excuses for things. Don’t read it if you already don’t like introversion. Actually, no read it as well. But, it gets a bit boring towards the end.

Pieter Saenderam

posted by on 2014.10.10, under Architecture, Art, Painting, Religion









Saenredam Buurkerk Utrecht


Saenredam Laurenskerk Alkmaar


St Bavokerk 2


St Catharijnekerk


St Janskerk

New Video – “The Vatican” (2014)

posted by on 2014.09.24, under Art, Film, History, Italy, Religion, Sculpture, Travel, Video

The Vatican from Craig Coulthard on Vimeo.

Book Review Bonanza

posted by on 2014.09.24, under Books

20702125  20702155

“Economics: The User’s Guide” – Ha-Joon Chang (2014) – Yes, sometimes confusing, but not enough to deter from learning more.

“Revolutionary Russia 1891-1991″ – Orlando Figes (2014) – Yes.

20702162  20702289

“The Domesticated Brain” – Bruce Hood (2014) – Yes

“Greek and Roman Political Ideas” – Melissa Lane (2014) – Yes – Ostraki should make a comeback.


“Human Evolution” – Robin Dunbar (2014) – Yes.

“The Craftsman” – Richard Sennett (2008) – Yes, the importance of tactile work and the rise of the ‘artist’.

And_the_Land_Lay_Still_cover  professor-of-truth-cover-im

“And the Land Lay Still” – James Robertson (2010) – Yes, satisfying narrative winding through Scottish history and joining dots.

“The Professor of Truth” – James Robertson (2013) – Yes, not quite about Lockerbie, but kind of.

solution9_pyramid_cover_364   solution_scotlands_cover_364

“Solution 9 – The Great Pyramid” – Ingo Niermann & Jens Thiel (2008) – Yes, an interesting and very German proposal to tidy up death. Book your place now.

“Solution 11-167: The Book of Scotlands” – Momus (2009) – Yes, great alternative Scotlands, some of which should be taken up immediately (eg “The Scotland in which four hundred years of profound influence from Calvin is replaced by four hundred years of profound influence from Calvino”)

The_World_Without_Us_(US_cover) one-day-in-the-life-of-ivan-denisovich

“The World Without Us” – Alan Weisman (2007) – Absolutely yes, great idea, scary consequences. All those wee bits of plastic, all that nuclear waste.

“One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1962) – Yes, short.

New Work – “Good Nicht An’ Joy Be Wi’ You A’ (1530/Unknown)” 2014

posted by on 2014.09.23, under Art, Self Promotion, Textiles

Good Nicht An' Joy Be Wi' You A' (1530:Unknown) - 2014

“Good Nicht An’ Joy Be Wi’ You A’ (1530/Unknown)” 105 x 160 cm, wool, polyester, cotton

And so…

posted by on 2014.09.22, under Scotland

Saltire - 2008

Four days later, and I feel I now can articulate my thoughts with consideration. If I am honest with myself, I never really thought that Scotland would vote for independence, at least not with the majority that would have been needed to prove decisive. As I watched the results come through, it was evident from the start of the coverage that there was confidence among those talking heads on the ‘No thanks’ side, and a hint of acceptance from the Yes.

I watched them all come through until Glasgow, and I had to accept that was that. On Friday I couldn’t quite balance my previous pragmatism with the overwhelming sense of sorrow I was now feeling. Why did I feel this way? I guess looking around these London streets, conscious of absolutely nothing having changed, the vast possibilities and opportunities and challenges that a Yes would have brought, vanished away into the morning mist.

Watching the unravelling of The Vow on the following days was a revelation. We were never the main story. The Westminster parties have an election to fight. The next few months of debate and disagreement, if not downright abdication of responsibility to the Scottish public can only serve to strengthen the depth of feeling in Scotland. Whatever these new powers may turn out to be, they will not be enough to kill off the desire for independence amongst a huge proportion of the population. I realised that there surely is only now one way for things to go, as the rest of the UK is granted more powers, it will become even more tempting to be entirely in control of our own destiny. If UKIP force their way into Westminster, with or without an EU referendum, and Labours’ vote dwindles evermore in Scotland, those who have felt engaged in the last two years will be even more dedicated to engaging with those groups/parties/collectives who have fought so hard during this campaign, in the face of incredible odds, huge power and ridiculous media manipulation.

Already people are discussing ways to maintain people’s interest in politics, urging them to keep momentum going – I will be interested to see how this develops. One thing that makes me slightly uncomfortable is the ‘45’ badges etc I see on social media. While I understand it is a response to the immediate disappointment of things, a desire to show pride in a decision made, it is ultimately exclusive. What needs to happen is a changing of minds of those who voted No, and this seems like misplaced energy to me. We have to understand why people voted No, not just present them as ‘other’ to those who voted Yes.

Add to this the response to the voting ages and the preponderance of over 55’s to vote No, and there is the risk of antagonising, patronising and insulting a huge swathe of people (a majority no less!). It is not enough to presume the reasons for voting No, or to dismiss them as old, cowardly, disengaged and foolish. People voted both ways for a number of reasons, some good, some bad. And remember, lots of ‘old’ people voted yes! Are they foolish too, simply because of their age, or are they an exclusive group of right-on old people? How old is Alex Salmond? Tom Devine? Some old people are actually alright (this is sarcasm). And you’ll be one one day (unless you already are). One of the things I’ve found myself doing throughout this campaign is reading and listening to people with passive agressive tendencies, and flipping their argument around. How would it make me feel if ‘old’ people were blaming ‘young’ people for voting No? How would it make me feel if instead of referring to Tories as “fucking selfish”, all yes voters were referred to that way? It’s worth remembering that 400,000 people voted conservative in the last election. Those people want representation too. How would it make me feel if I was referred to as “cowardly” for voting yes? We have to work harder with language, with presentation and with listening.

To balance this out a bit, I heard many 16/17 year old’s who were voting yes and no, with great insight and intelligence. There were also some who seemed rather naïve, and thought Scotland was going to be some kind of paradise – it is inevitable that some younger people are going to have less experience of success and failure. So, in summary, we shouldn’t make assumptions about anyone’s reasons for voting, one way or the other. Nicola Sturgeon said an interesting thing last week, that whether voting yes or no, both sides had the same thing at heart, a desire for a better Scotland. I think that’s right, and it does no good to sink a cleaver into the rift that has inevitably opened up between people on both sides. We should be calm, mature and understanding in attempts to persuade people to come over to the yes side.

When I listened to people explaining why there were going to vote No, it seemed mostly connected to financial security. In the future (I reckon within 12 years) independence campaign, it is imperative that financial issues are dealt with open, honestly and with more certainty. Economics needs to be further understood by everyone, including the fact that it is uncertain whether in the UK or an independent Scotland.

The increase in (general) political awareness in Scotland is fascinating. Hopefully it will encourage everyone to hold their politicians to account, whether yes or no. Do they keep their word? Do they work for you? Why do you vote for them? What do they do for you, what don’t they do? What can we do ourselves (the leaving of shopping in George Square is an example) if they don’t do it for us? What are they not even aware of? Do they deserve your loyalty…..

We should contact our MP’s/MSP’s to ensure they are working hard, ask them questions, demand action from them. Do the claims they make stand the test of time? Might supermarket prices still (!) go up (!) despite us remaining in the UK? How can that happen?!

The vast uptake in party membership for the SNP and Greens in Scotland is evidence of people’s desire to maintain political ties and engagement with how their country is run. I would be interested to know if Scottish Labour, Scottish Conservative, Lib Dem and UKIP membership has changed at all.

I have heard of people also wanting to somehow cement the energy, commitment and enthusiasm shown by many groups throughout Scotland. Perhaps, if nothing else, this referendum and its result, will enable people to cope with defeat, assess their options, see what is possible, build confidence, and as I said in my pre-vote post, take responsibility.

So, from the unexpected depths of despair, to the unexpected strength of resolve in 4/5 days. It is an interesting time to be a Scot. I believe (other than the George Square incidents, the roots of which MUST be dealt with, and spoken about) we have shown ourselves to the world, to be intelligent, passionate, imaginative, humourous, creative and engaged. Long may that continue….