Grinding to a halt

It’s been a busy and packed couple of days.  I got back last night from an overnight trip that saw me take in Dundee, Stirling and Cupar for work, involving seven different trains and time spent waiting on freezing platforms in illustrious highlights of the Scottish rail network such as Perth and Ladybank.

I suppose for someone privileged to travel such a lot for work, I should have more to report from my trips.  But the sad fact is that I normally have neither the time nor inclination when in work mode to do much more than go to where I need to be, do what I need to do, and then get home.  My eyes and ears are always open to fun or interesting things that surprise me along the way, but they are rare and more often tweeted than blogged.  Moreover, for reasons I’m too disinterested to identify, I’ve not been taking many photos of late, wherever I am.  Photography is one of those funny things that you really can’t push for fear of it becoming a burden of low-quality output.

Rather like writing, really.  Progress has been slow with this lately, although I don’t worry too much – urgency and panic over looming deadlines has always been my biggest motivator. Attempts to analyse and resolve any sluggishness are rarely reinforced by any pressing imperative and are thus pointless.

If that all sounds somewhat morose and downbeat, then perhaps it’s a reflection that I am slightly grinding to a halt after a busy spell, and it’s good news therefore that we are off on holiday tomorrow for a week and a bit to the Western Isles.  I will most definitely take photos.

And to provide some final cheer, here’s something truly outstanding to read: spoof reviews of Mr Men books on Amazon by a reader who treats the stories as insightful philosophical metaphors.  Take Mr Messy, for instance, where the review begins with the words:

If ‘1984’ or ‘The Trial’ had been a children’s book, Mr Messy would be it. No literary character has ever been so fully and categorically obliterated by the forces of social control. Hargreaves may well pay homage to Kafka and Orwell in this work, but he also goes beyond them.

…and another review presents the following analysis:

Mr Uppity is no Marxian analysis, no Leninist prescription for class action. As always, Hargreaves’ inherent and essential conservatism comes to bear. His critique of the bourgeoisie comes not from the proletariat but from the feudal aristocracy. It is the authority of a king that places limits upon Mr Uppity’s excesses, as his usurpation and arbitrary exercise of power has violated ‘the natural order of things’. Hence the protection the masses are dealt in response to this transgression is paternal, and they receive it as subjects not radical agents of change.

Bet you never considered these dimensions to the stories when reading them as a three year old.  I certainly didn’t.

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