Cycling was promoted as a cheap and enjoyable form of recreation and transport rolled into one by Aberdeen council in the 1930s. Bicycles were becoming lighter and more easily handled by children as well as men and women and a host of cycling clubs sprouted up all around Scotland as people took to the road […]
new book that takes the reader into some unfamiliar and some forgotten territory.
Aberdeen has suffered and benefited from its geography. Suffered because it is seen as isolated on the shoulder of northeast Scotland. Look at how this area’s road and rail infrastructure has hardly advanced in fifty years; never a priority for governments whatever their wing or colour.
Benefits, in a sense, have come because Aberdeen has been the centre not only of the UK’s oil and gas industries but Europe’s but to see Aberdeen today, shabby and badly managed you would never know this. This city is no burgeoning Houston but a rather prim and neat corner of oft-forgotten Scotland, unrepresented in the country’s culture, media and awareness.
What has oil done for Aberdeen and its people? is the question that has been asked repeatedly over the last forty years. Precious little good with energy giants salting away their huge profits, cutting and running, having contributed nothing to the city beyond jobs, yes mostly well-paid, exorbitant house prices and rents and restaurant and taxi charges which still apply the oil premium.
The book doesn’t look at the impact of recent energy developments on the city instead it presents us with an impression of a place used to its successes being under-played and under-valued.
It jogs along at a good pace exploring aspects of the city and its people over a couple of centuries: the inn Robert Burns, Boswell and Dr Johnson stayed in; Aberdeen’s original gas boom; how you have Aberdeen to thank for chocolate bars and for free school milk and why Aberdeen was given the name Sin City.
This book, despite its ridiculous cover, the result of marketing overcoming history and good sense, is a reminder of Aberdeen’s importance not only in Scottish and UK terms but globally too.
The Gowk is a short story in Scottish Doric inspired by Byron’s Aberdeen upbringing.
George Gordon, Lord Byron was born In London to his Scottish mother who had been abandoned by the child’s father. Without any means of support in this foreign city, Catherine (Katherine) Gordon returned home to her native northeast Scotland where her family retained an estate at Gight. She and her child then settled in Aberdeen where George Gordon grew up, ocassionally spending time with his mother’s family both near Banff and near Ballater where he first came to know the mountains of Lochnagar and Morven.
George Gordon’s father, Captain John Byron, a ne’er do well, visited Aberdeen to squeeze money out of his wife. Soon all her family’s wealth and lands were gone, squandered by this unscrupulous man.
The boy George Gordon was educated privately and at the Grammar School in Aberdeen, leaving when he inherited his father’s family title. He spent a few years in England finishing his education before going abroad.
He never lost his Aberdeen accent and he retained a fondness for the mountains which had so impressed him as a youth.
Lord Byron is often described as an English poet but this is not accurate, he was a British one – of mixed parontage, half Scottish and he was brought up as a Scot.
I noticed what I thought was the Northern Lights but turned out to be a phenomenon called circumhorizontal arc over the skies around Aberdeen on Sunday 9th December 2012. Very pretty although possibly not as dramatic as the Northern Lights which I’ve seen but never photographed.
‘This first novel is a thrilling, hypnotic and thought provoking production’
‘a real page turner ‘
‘fast-paced political novel is its ability to straddle and connect the three very different worlds of Northern Irish sectarianism, the fall of the Soviet Union and the oil industry in Aberdeen’
‘The dialogue, like the story, crackles and sparkles’
‘This is a very unusual book’
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