For many years now there’s a Christmas market in Glasgow. It has in the past been based in George Square, around the ice rink and the other Christmas decorations that appear there each year. A mix of stalls from around rural Scotland plus numerous ones in from all over continental Europe. However for the last year or so it’s been down in St Enoch’s Square. Having it there beside St Enoch’s shopping centre means that for your serious shopaholic there’s an even greater choice of places demanding the attention of your wallet or purse, all in quite a small area!
As size goes, it’s nothing like as large as I’ve seen down in Manchester or Birmingham, but it does bring in a bit of variety and non-local shopping potential to the city centre. For the cold and hungry shopper there’s always been plenty to eat (and drink) and lots of relatively unusual trinkets and gifts to buy as presents for others.
However this year Christmas market there seems to be far fewer stalls there, especially fewer in from Europe. I guess the ever increasing cost of transport added to general consumer belt tightening means that for many traders it’s no longer worth the risk of heaving their goods half way across Europe only to find recession hit shoppers keeping their wallets and purses firmly closed, so they’re then having to heave a whole mass of unsold goods back again.
We recently had a YouTube winter Gathering up here in Glasgow. About a dozen people attended so an okay sized crowd. However there was a bit of a personality clash between two of the people there which added a bit of unwanted tension to the day. Well, you can’t go through life liking every single person you ever meet, and you can’t expect every person you meet to like you too. What goes to make up your own character is how you handle these sorts of situations. If there’s someone there you don’t like do you let it get to you (and your negativity influence those around you) or do you have the strength to accept such situations and enjoy the fact that there are more people there that you do like than you don’t.
This was very quickly followed by a run down to Manchester and a Gathering there. I like Manchester. It does have the advantage of being centrally located and relatively easily accessible to the majority of the country’s population. A bit over a couple of hours on the train up from London. Close enough to Glasgow (and Edinburgh) to make day trips from these places practicable.
That was then followed the next week-end by a hop across to Dublin. Was quite surprised how expensive the ‘little things’ were across there. More expensive items were not really that hugely different, it was things like paying twice the price for a cup of coffee in Dublin than in Glasgow or Manchester that caught me out.
The week-end after that was Tom Milsom’s Painfully Mainstream album release event. Not a typical YouTube Gathering, but an evening music session in the upstairs room of a central London pub. However just about everybody there was YouTube connected, and had ‘gathered together’ in one place; you can make up your own mind if you want to call it a Gathering or not.
Before Tom’s evening session there was for me an interesting diversion in the shape of meeting a group of Deviant Art types who were holding a DevMeet, starting at lunchtime in Tate Modern. A really nice crowd.
Then this last week-end and the London Festive Gathering. At one stage a quick head-count counted 35 people. Assume a few were missed, so say a bit over 40, but the count was done after some had left, so we’re talking around 50 to 60 people there at one time or another. Note to Gathering organisers; If you are going to do a middle of winter Gathering, make sure you have the option of meeting in a location that has at least some level of cover and shelter. Standing for an hour or so exposed out in the freezing cold on grass that was rapidly turning into mud is foolish.
Then on the way back from that a very pleasant diversion via Manchester and meet a (YouTube) friend. Yet another example how internet contacts can become Real Life friends.
All great week-ends, one after another, but there comes a time when enough is enough and some alone-time is needed. Things can get tiring, often more mentally than physically. However it is coming up to Christmas which is not really an alone-time period.
A period that also does show how lonely it can be even when you are in large crowds of others.
I often have lunch in my local university chaplaincy building. It has a small cafe which does baked potatoes plus filling, toasties, that sort of stuff, but at sensible prices. The entrance to it is through a rather narrow staircase. As I was going in recently a large crowd were just leaving (after a lunchtime service) so I backed out of the way to let then through. Not one of them bothered to say ‘thanks’ or even just give some nod of acknowledgement as they passed. Ummm… Interesting. All, of course, ‘good Christians’.
We had a small Gathering here in Glasgow last Saturday. Depends a bit on how you define ‘small’, something between 20 and 25 local YouTubers just chilling out for the afternoon and evening. First a visit to a Dr Who exhibition, then a do-nothing time in Glasgow Botanic Gardens, and once the evening arrived retire to the Starbucks inside Borders bookshop. For about one third of them, their first Gathering ever, and they all seemed to enjoy themselves.
Busy time in work (university). Student projects all approaching deadlines, so am in demand, to help them on their way. Really does highlight those who make the effort, and those who just expect things to be done for them! One or two really nice projects coming to a ‘working’ condition. A couple of wireless remote-controlled submersibles, a small two cylinder two-stroke engine, designed, engineered and constructed from scratch, a baby hovercraft… it’s nice to see these reach finishing stages.
But for those finishing, in two weeks time they will be gone. This phase of life about to end. They’ve spent the last 5 years together as a group; studying, socialising, eating, drinking, (sleeping?) with each other, having come in as teenagers, leaving as adults. Very shortly they will be together for the very last time – never again to be as a group. Such is life.
Very happy with my new camera. Now I just need to make it earn its keep and get using it! I have a Vimeo account which I have never really used, so perhaps I’ll kick that into life for non-YouTube type videos.
VEDA, video each day in April. I’m not particularly good performing in front of a camera. I need that reaction or response that you get from people in a 1 to 1 (or 1 to many) situation. This talking to a camera with no direct feedback is not something I’m happy with. However I’ve been meaning for ages to do more vlog-type videos, and this VEDA may just be that bit of motivation to get me to do it. There is no point in trying to do one *every* day, that just would not work. So target for three times a week, and target each as a 1 minute video. Long enough to be able to say something, but not long enough to become like a load of waffle. See how it goes, no idea how long I’ll keep it going for, that will depend on how I feel about it. Though it will be good experience, and I hope a bit of fun.
They’ll go up on my StressedTechy YouTube channel rather than my main StressedTechnician one, so if it does not go well it won’t interfere with my main channel.
It’s the Easter holiday week-end, so naturally it’s raining! That reminds me, next week there is a YouTube Gathering here in Glasgow which I plan to attend. I hope the weather’s going to be O.K. for it.