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.
Writing this, it’s that time of year when the clocks are changed by an hour, it’s that summer / winter clock change time again. Something that I think is a real pain in the arse.
I really don’t know why we keep on doing it. After all, it doesn’t give you any more daylight. If you’re on the equator then you get 12 hours of ‘day’ and 12 hours of ‘night’ making up your 24 hour day. For the rest of us, the daylight to darkness ratio is dependent on your latitude and the season. So if on a particular winter’s day you are due to get 9 hours of light, then that’s what you get, perhaps it’s summer so on a specific day maybe 15 hours of daylight. No amount of shifting clocks is going to change that. If it’s 15 hours from sunrise to sunset, then it’s 15 hours.
With all this clock changing, one group will say how the day biased to more light in the morning hours cuts down on one set of accidents, another group will argue their case saying how having the daylight biased to the evening willbenefit them. What ever you do, you’re not going to please everybody. So why not leave the clocks alone, and then let people adjust their own requirements to suit their own situations.After all , the relationship between the Earth and the Sun is not going to be altered just because someone wants to muck around with a clock. So when the sun is at its peak position in the middle of the sky, make that mid-day! A fixed point that everybody can relate to.
The Earth rotated around its own axis and in turn rotates around the Sun, live with it!
Well, it’s happened. This sudden realisation by the students that this semester is almost over, reports need to be handed in and the January exams are now only a month away… and they have done bugger all on their projects! So yesterday I had this large swarm of creatures all after help and support, and of course, wanting it immediately. But I can only be in one place at a time; circuits take time to develop and construct; “things” take time to do. I had been hoping that this year might have been a bit different, I did have one or two students turn up early and they are now making good progress. However one does one’s best.
Last Saturday was across in Edinburgh for a small Gathering. Peaked at about 8 or 9 people there – quality rather than quantity – a really good day out. Shame it was so cold, but it is the middle of winter, in the middle of Scotland, so what do you expect!
There’s also an ‘all-nighter’ session in the Student’s Union this Saturday which I appear to have been errr… tricked into buying a ticket for. Probably will wimp out at about 2 a.m., must remember to make sure my video camera has fully charged batteries. The camera is a small solid state one, small enough to live on my belt beside my phone yet can still give an OK quality video.
Am starting to have ‘strange urges’ to go down to a pre-Christmas YouTube Gathering in Birmingham. When I first got word of it I didn’t bother about it – too close to Christmas and all the crowds that go with it, plus quite a bit of travel involved, but… ummm… maybe…
Guess I’d also better think about some Christmas shopping. I really can’t be buggered with this time of year – a bit too heavy going. But shopping must be done sometime soon.