Sunday spent at the book festival. The first item was all about Turkey and Albania and borders whether physical or mental. V interesting . One of the authors was Albanian who had walked to Greece to work in the early 90's. He told of how he was in Bosnia speaking to people from each of the different ethnic groups about why with the same language, intermarried families, cuisine they could see themselves as different nationaliites. The other writer was speaking about his experiences in eastern Turkey and the difficulties of some ethnic groups in defining their Nationality. One group he reckoned had three points of reference - “how hard must that be to live with?” he asked. Well I am a Scot and British and European. It doesn’t seem to cause me any problems. All this came on the day that the papers ran the story about the SNP announcing an Independence Referendum next year. Well I would vote No. Scots marry people from the other parts of the UK and nobody bats an eye. We speak the same language and script – The Albanian writer failed to mention that Cyrillic was used by Serbs. The Cuisine is pretty much the same. The English eat French Bread Pizza too and Chicken Tikka Massalla, invented in Glasgow, can be found anywhere. Religion as a division, which is the main difference in Bosnia where there are three large denominations, is even less pronounced here. The division here is between Scots and other Scots not between Scots and the rest of the UK. My point is that independence is even less logical in Scotland which is part of the EU than it is in the former Yougoslavia.
All this reminds me of my feelings when watching the Motorcycle Diaries for the first time. How does a continent with the same religion, language define the various nations? What makes a Venezuelan different from a Colombian? A mute point as Bolivar wanted a much bigger Colombia when he set out liberating much of South America in the early 19th century.
The other vice at the book festival was the book shop there. I did spend too much on books buying Chris Mullins excellent diaries. He tells the charming tale of Tony Blair who attended IT classes, and failed dismally, sitting next to a youth who passed but continued to look seriously hacked off about it. Why asked Blair? “I keep passing and I’ve been unemployed for 18 months and yet you keep failing and your Prime Minister! “ Life is so unfair.
August is just not the same unless you spend some time sitting in a tent on Charlotte Square listening to a writer being drowned out by the noise of rain on the roof of the tent!
Just spotted a picture of a “Blow Down” in Glasgow on the BBC Website. It reminded me of my “Jim’ll Fix it “ moment last year . Today’s was a double blow down. We have a triple in Gracemount later on in the year. Should be a blast.