Updated: Nov 13
I was born in Edinburgh in 1968 to a hard-working family with solid morals, some oddities, more than a soupçon of comedic sibling relationships, resulting in plenty of fodder to include here. Some of which may make it or none, we’ll see.
I am the youngest of 4 by a long way. I've always joked that I resulted from a TV blackout in the '60s!!! I mean, who knew, there were such things as TV blackouts? In today's ultra-instant world of immediate gratification, who knew that the little black box (that, in those days, would’ve only had 3 B&W channels) would go off, and other entertainment would need to be sought. Mind-blown.
I have interesting relationships with my siblings, but probably not that unusual in the context of 'family'. There's never a more accurate saying than ‘you can choose yer mates, but you cannae choose your family’.
My Mum and Dad were nothing out of the ordinary from a demographic perspective and very reminiscent of a probably 'Average Joe' family for the day. Lovely people, pals with neighbours, a broad array of friends and extended families on both sides.
I grew up in Clermiston, Edinburgh (Clerrie, Clerrie Jungle🤘🏻). Clermiston estate, built-in 1954, was part of a significant 1950s house-building programme to tackle overcrowding in Leith and Gorgie. The area is now home to more than 20,000 people and abuts onto Drumbrae, Clerwood and Corstorphine.
My M&D took occupancy of their ‘cooncil hoose’ in the early 60s (I think). Meaning my Mum has lived there now for more than 60yrs. I know that all 3 of my siblings were born before moving into a 3-bed house, so a 4th addition would be a pleasant surprise a few years later. There are stories of one of my siblings thinking I’d ‘stolen the limelight’, parts of that story include a pillow and a return to a sibling set of 3. I may elaborate at some point. When the tale surfaces from time to time, I am still not 100% clear how much of it is ‘a little joke’. Said differently, I think there may be a smidge of truth. All because i have the most blue eyes.
An unremarkable childhood, with stories of victory, defeat, adventure, misadventure, and passages of rites; moments of glee, sadness, fear, and courage all rolled into one. Many stories, names, friends, (very) few enemies, struggles for achievement, times of failure; victories over trees, walks and bees with tales of woe involving trees, rocks and knees.
I attended Clermiston Primary. A solid 6–7-minute walk from home could be done in 3-4 at a sprint. I could quickly think of at least a dozen different routes, each with its advantage, the reason for taking it, or its potential peril. Attending Clerrie Primary as a young lad meant a few things for my generation and me (note this is my perspective): -
There was mischief aplenty
Climbing on roofs of anything was mandatory
Being a Jannie’s Helper was a rite of passage (access to the boiler room in winter being the main perk, as I recall)
Sadly, there was cruel peer-pressure induced bullying. I was both a recipient and perpetrator. I’m sad to say this, on both fronts.
There was milk at morning break, cold in the Winter, horrible in the Summer. Stopped by Margaret Thatcher, the Milk-Snatcher
Games of Hidey, British Bulldogs, Tig, Football (with a myriad of iterations) and marbles were all fashionable and came and went as the weeks passed and seasons came and went.
Collecting football cards provided early insight into commerce through swapping doublers and the attainment of complete sets.
Scraps, fights and the odd hiding. Thankfully I was never really involved in much, although I do remember if I ever was, mostly I was the winner of 2nd prize.
I recall once getting the belt (CAPITAL PUNISHMENT) for fighting with someone who now is still a distant social media friend.
Being picked for the Inter-scholastics team and prevailing on sports day were also important areas in which to strive for excellence and bragging rights.
Playing for the School Football team was paramount. This meant pride, status, and the odd afternoon off, with the special honour of playing ‘at home’ on a school afternoon. This meant a capacity crowd of maybe 20-30 parents and most of the school gawking out of class windows. Or so I believed.
Being a part of the runner-up team in the Leith Schools Cup, being beat by Granton 1:3 at Warriston, a team whom we’d ‘leathered 6:2’ earlier in the season. That team that I was in had one kid who went on to have a full professional career, including representing Scotland at the U19 level.
Passing my Brother’s team photo on the school rogues gallery every day. He captained them to the EPSA Cup in about 1924, perhaps earlier. I have no clue why we competed in different competitions. To add insult, I perceived the EPSA cup to be more prestigious than the LSC (I don’t know if it was or wasn’t).
Attending Cubs/ Scouts was pretty much a given for boys. Brownies/ Guides for girls as well as Captain Bain’s Country dancing. ‘Weirdo’ boys only need apply.
Singavision was a bizarre mix of a pseudo youth club, singalongs to spurious-Christianity and religious fuckwittery, any further detail of which escapes me.
The rolling out of the large (I’d say 26”) TV meant class-time watching some 'perceived to be educational' nonsense.
Bring your games on the last day of term.
Trying with a solid intent to get good report cards and mostly being told I could do better, corroborated by
Leaving School as 2nd Dux.
I attended Royal High School. A similarly close (say) 10-minute walk. With really only 1 direct route. Circuitous routes could be sought for various reasons. At the time of writing, I can only think of one reason to deviate from the apparent path: mischief or maybe a girl. Royal High had 4 ‘feeder schools’; Clerrie, Cramond, Silverknowes and Davidsons Mains.
Suffice to say, and in short, Royal High was not a success for me, prima facie. I went downhill academically and scraped a few O-levels whilst ‘checking out’ at the first opportunity to forge a path into adulthood. I didn’t even pass through the Door—a source of remorse for me in retrospect.
In fairness, I probably checked-out way earlier; that should’ve read. I took the very first opportunity that presented to get to fuck out. One of only a few things, had I had the chance to remedy, that I would. I wish I’d stuck-in better. Days of our lives is another never more true maxim.
Tales from RHS are too many to be told with any semblance of order, logic or interest to anyone (I would’ve thought). But many 'firsts' experienced. Detention, exclusion, ‘dailies’, outside class corridor time, crushes, kisses, fags, and many friendships with people I'm still in touch with. I can't recall truanting, honestly. But most other indiscretions would be in my quiver of misadventure, probably.
I played for the 1st team Rugby in S1. Captained the 2nd team in S2 & 3 and made a few appearances for the 1st team again in S4 before being distracted elsewhere.
I played soccer briefly, a sport largely frowned upon at Royal High.
I played ‘wickie’ for the school cricket team, admittedly with little to fuck-all knowledge of what I was doing.
I attended Theatre Arts on a Friday in S4. In hindsight, that was a skive afforded to the gifted (not me) and the problematic kids, which I didn’t really class myself as. I perhaps wangled it more wanting to ‘express myself at that time (whatever that meant).
I am partly responsible for my form class missing a trip to see Ben-Hur. I am primarily responsible for missing out on Croissants in French and directly accountable for a few wedgies, stink bombs and other practical jokes of excellent and poor outcomes; befitting of fun and poor judgement. I wasn't unhappy; I gravitated to the mischievous miscreant cohort(s) instead of the scholarly, diligently disciplined.
In reality, I think few teachers would remember me; I’d be just another pupil, I’d think. In the end, I was probably slightly left of the peak of the bell curve academically, trending significantly left on the scale of mischief and lack of effort. I say lack of action as I consider myself a reasonably intelligent fellow that would now be quite right of any IQ bell curve. I’ve gone on to have some significant success based on my own biases. Perhaps comparisons with those who have spent time at Her Majesty’s Pleasure is a poor reference point and lulls me into a sense of achievement.
I wonder how surprised the School would be to learn that I've built and run (up to) $250m/ pa businesses with up to 200 staff. I've succeeded, failed, nearly been bankrupt, been at the top of my game and now I am a Cancer victim battler/ fighter.
A brief spell was working in retail fashion before starting my career proper. I mention this only as…..
At one point, I was a regular visitor back to RHS to service/ repair their large Print-room Equipment; I can't recall ever really speaking with anyone, save for Mr Dunlop and Ms Laidlaw, for whom I think I may have had a crush.
Career between is as boring as.....my LinkedIn has the detail if youre suffering insomnia.
I moved to Australia in 2000. I want to think that I have built an essentially promising career. I made some great choices along the way and a few cluster-foxtrot moments. I am divorced from my Boys' Mum. I am re-partnered with Kerry, and there is a story there that may (or may not) be told in this blog at some point. I started working life as an Electrician (after my brief spell in retail fashion), quickly moving to Electronics completeing a 4y prestigious (i believe) apprenticeship in one of Edinburgh's most significant employers.
Subsequent moves saw me move into Sales and Sales Management. Each of those last two has had various successful periods, some not so. Some people will have nothing good to say when they hear my name, but management isn't a popularity contest. Hopefully, there are some around who would speak positively about my career.
Now, I work with the BEST group of colleagues in a boutique technology company at the top of its game. I am having great fun. learning, laughing and helping clients achieve their business outcomes with clarity.
I love to eat out with Kerry.
I love a pint, or more a cocktail these days. I love to watch football (soccer).
I love to holiday.
I love to spend quiet time watching movies.
I LOVE live music and Gigs.
I hate to use the word hate; it's often misused and is far too familiar in our vernacular.
However, I hate the Hibs (they make me spew up).
But I have many Hibs supporting friends whom I couldn't even say I dislike. I am currently LOVING my new Scooter, 'Rudi'. I'll type a post on that soon.