Hello hello hello, Dear Reader, and welcome to these, the Starlingford Chronicles.
Why, you ask politely, ought you to be persuaded to care that yet another yahoo is cluttering up the aether with drivel? It is a fair question, though perhaps you were overly judgemental in considering me a ‘yahoo’. Never mind, I forgive you. So, in answer, allow me to introduce myself.
I, like Mephistopheles, have gone by many and various names. Some of you who have met me before may know me as ‘Indy’. We’ll get to why that is the case in a moment. Others, who have only met me in the pages of the Aberdeen student newspaper The Gaudie, may know me as The Heckler, which was the pseudonym I adopted for several years as I wrote a scurrilous but diverting weekly column in which my spleen was refreshingly and invigoratingly vented. Or you may know me in person, going simply by the name Gavin. I answer to all of these names (and have been called many more over the years, most of which are unprintable, because frankly I very seldom have need of such words and can’t remember how to spell them).
Some of you, I know, require faces or at least images with which to associate names. Very well, Dear Reader, here is one of me:
I’m the one in the hat.
Ah yes…the hat. Well, this is the explanation – at least partially – for the ‘Indy’ nickname I mentioned earlier. There are other, interesting reasons for it, which no doubt we will get to in some other post, but for now the hat will suffice. I love that hat. It may, in certain circumstances, look downright silly (I am willing to concede this as a theoretical possibility), but it’s warm and cosy and keeps the rain and snow out and the rest of the mocking world can, as far as I’m concerned, take a flying gander at a Rolling Stone for all I care.
While we’re on the topic of explanations, activities, and the world’s opinion of them, allow me to explain ‘Starlingford’. I have a model railway. It is called Starlingford. There, I suppose, the explanation could cease, but there’s more to this than meets the eye (even though what meets the eye, such as myself, is clearly very pleasing). ‘Starlingford’ is, as I said, a model railway, but for me the word means more than the label of what is, essentially, an overgrown toy. (I know it’s a hobby, and I know it’s one in which I have invested considerable time, effort and money, but it is, fundamentally, something to play with – I may return, in another post, to this theme, because it’s considerably more complex than the previous statement would suggest). ‘Starlingford’ is totemic. That is to say, ‘Starlingford’ is a place in my head.
Before you dive for the nearest pharmacist to find out about what over-the-counter anti-psychotics to recommend, allow me to develop my thesis here a little bit. Everybody – everybody – has a Starlingford. It’s the niche we carve in our psyches to relax and be. You might call going there ‘clearing your head’. When you take some ‘me time’, that’s where you go. People who take time out to ‘find themselves’, inevitably find themselves in their personal equivalent of Starlingford. (I do wonder about that phrase though: when people go to find themselves, who do they think is doing the looking?)
So what should you expect from this blog? At its most bald, the answer would be ‘my thoughts’, but that’s so vague (never mind that it’s correct) as to be meaningless. From time to time I might mention my model railway (though I might not do so as alliteratively as I just have). But there are other concerns that impinge upon my ‘Starlingford’, my head-space. I attend St Columba’s Church of Scotland (the minister of which, Louis Kinsey, has a blog at www.coffeewithlouis.wordpress.com) where I drum on a Sunday morning; I’m a PhD student with the Research Institute for Irish and Scottish Studies at Aberdeen University, writing a thesis on the representation of violence in the poetry of Paul Muldoon; I’m an aspiring novelist (two written, with 50,000 words of the third of the trilogy written – which sounds like a lot, until you learn that the projected word-total for this particular endeavour is 350,000…); I have written, and continue to write, various other articles including updated Screwtape Letters that I might, from time to time, post on here; and I, like everybody else, get frustrated with the modern world, and I may need to rant on occasion. I promise I will at least try to make them funny…
Anyway. That’s almost all I have to say by way of introduction. But in conclusion, I will leave you with a short film of my reified Starlingford (the model railway). Enjoy!