Diary – the Monarchy, Murder, Mountains and Spies

Team GB they said. Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the relay. Personally, I am happy enough with ‘Britain’. I am not sure why ‘United Kingdom’ is a moniker unuttered in athletics, but it is a position I wholly support. I would rather not have my state defined wholly by its state of unity under the Queen. In fact, I feel quite alienated by this monarchical imposition, reigning down from high. So I have decided to try not to use the term. Take that, Elizabeth Windsor!

As if to foment distaste at the Same-Coburg Gotha dynasty, Princess Diana made a series of videotapes more than twenty years ago, and Channel 4 broadcast them on television the other week. I am obviously not in to the monarchy, but I decided to take part in this in case it turned out to be a ‘cultural event’. It did not. But it put me in the mood to rewatch House of Cards (Francis Urqhuart version) and for this I can only commend all those involved in the assassination of Princess Diana, whose murderous plot let directly to me enjoying this masterpiece of irony for the third time.

Since I last diarized I have been doing all sorts of salubrious things, such as taking a short holiday with friends in Perthshire. We climbed mountains, including the esteemed and iconic Schiehallion, from which comes the invention of contour lines, which were created in order to determine the mountain’s weigh, which was necessary for an experiment to calculate the mass of Planet Earth. It has also loaned its name to a great many pubs and alcoholic fluids. After our day’s walking, we drank a great deal of Prosecco in the hot tub, and saw several bats. I foresee this being a repeated holiday.

I have also done less healthy things, such as drinking and eating with friends. I had taken recently to boring my company with a story about my mobile telephone spying on me. I had been chatting with Steph one evening and I said, I thought apropos of nothing, ‘why don’t we hire an RV and drive around Europe next summer?’ Then the next day, I was on Facebook and I was delivered an advert relating to camper-van holidays in Italy. I had heard people talk of eavesdropping telephones before. I had read a few blogs about this. But now I had first hand proof! I had never googled this or anything. The bastards were listening to me!

But then I told this story to my friend Dave, and he basically poured cold water over it. Surely, it was just a coincidence? How many adverts do I see in a day? It was bound to be the case that eventually one random advert would coincide with some pish I had talked, considering the amount of it I put about.

And then I had an even scarier though. What if I had the whole thing the wrong way round? Maybe I see this advert all the time. So many times that it planted the idea in my head. What if my phone has no need to spy on me because it is brainwashing me? As Woody from Toy Story always says, life is bullshit.

In cultural news, I have mainly been listening to Lana Del Rey, and am going to see her on Wednesday at the Hydro. Her new album is brilliant. My favourite song is ‘Heroin’, which includes the suggestion that it is hot ‘even for February’. Over the whole album the music is excellent and the lyrics are as batshit crazy as ever. ‘My boyfriend’s back and he’s cooler than ever—no more dark nights, blue skies forever,’ is a particularly magnificent example. I also got tickets to see Vitalic at the Kelvingrove art gallery next month, which was an offer I couldn’t refuse.

This month I read His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet, which was enthralling. The account of the murders was quite hard going, although not so difficult as Native Son. I watched Fargo and The Handmaid’s Tale and both were excellent. I have started reading Umberto Eco’s Name of the Rose, which I haven’t really got in to yet, although I am, at least theoretically, enjoying all the monastical homicides and homosexual intrigues. My main reading time has been devoted to Milan Kundera’s Book of Laughter and Forgetting, which is a work of immense beauty, although sadly it has featured no murders. Unless you count hangings.

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I am an amateur novelist, an aspiring tax advisor, a cycle commuter, and a graduate of philosophy, politics and law

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