Crushed Creativity.

When I first started this project I hoped it would inspire me to really develop and nurture my writing. I thought of it as a platform for which to grow and motivate my work. To gain an understanding of what was expected in order to become the best creative writer I could. But as time went on it became clear that there is an added responsibility of other interfering aspects. Finance and time being two of them. I stopped writing freely and wrote more to beat deadlines. I attempted to introduce monetization.

It wasn’t what I intended.

Moving home hasn’t helped. I work awful shift patterns in an environment which doesn’t feed me the way my previous did. I have been feeling drained and the website has taken a hit because of this.

So I intend to take smaller steps in the hope that they will  be more productive and beneficial for The Wide-Eyed Scotsman in the long run. I will continue to post what I can but without rush or hesitation. It’s important I stick to the very essence of it’s incorporation.

Keep a look out for more updates soon. Hopefully less laborious and more exciting than before.

Aidan X

 

 

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Les Villes de La France.

This past year I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time in some of the great cities of France. Lyon, Bordeaux, Marseille and Nîmes… I’ve really been blessed to be able to experience these places. From the contrasting cultures to the longstanding traditions, I never thought in my life I would have an opportunity to conquer this historic nation.

“La France, le plus beau royaume après celui du ciel.” de Grotius.

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Nîmes
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Nîmes
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Four auld men in Nîmes.
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Nîmes
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A Pub in Nîmes.
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I missed the last bus from Bordeaux Airport to the city centre. So I camped outside and waited until morning.
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Bordeaux
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Bordeaux
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Bordeaux
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Marseille
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Marseille
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Marseille
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Skater boi
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Marseille
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Sick architecture in Lyon.
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La Sucrière, Lyon.

Good Wee Reads.

I haven’t shared much of my library on here. Which is strange because it’s all I have done for a while. So now I figure is a good time to share my reading fancies with you. And it’s something I will probably be doing a lot more frequently on here.

Here are 5 incredible books that have not only inspired me but also helped to bring around changes in my own life. I highly recommend in plunging heed first into these literary dreams. From adventure stories able to drag you out of the slog of the day to political works filled with powerful logic and humbling passion. I hope that you can find yourself a Good Wee Read tailored to your tastes.

On the Road – Jack Kerouac. Buy Here.

on the road

“..the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”

Siddhartha – Hermann Hesse. Buy Here.

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“Have you also learned that secret from the river; that there is no such thing as time?” That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past nor the shadow of the future.”

Che Guevara Talks To Young People. Buy Here.

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“The walls of the educational system must come down. Education should not be a privilege, so the children of those who have money can study.”

Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson. Buy Here.

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“Sometimes the isle was thick with savages, with whom we fought, sometimes full of dangerous animals that hunted us, but in all my fancies nothing occurred to me so strange as our actual adventures.”

James Connolly: Collected Works. Buy Here.

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“It would be well to realize that the talk of ‘humane methods of warfare’, of the ‘rules of civilized warfare’, and all such homage to the finer sentiments of the race are hypocritical and unreal, and only intended for the consumption of stay-at-homes. There are no humane methods of warfare, there is no such thing as civilized warfare; all warfare is inhuman, all warfare is barbaric; the first blast of the bugles of war ever sounds for the time being the funeral knell of human progress… What lover of humanity can view with anything but horror the prospect of this ruthless destruction of human life. Yet this is war: war for which all the jingoes are howling, war to which all the hopes of the world are being sacrificed, war to which a mad ruling class would plunge a mad world.”

Translating on WordPress.

In order to reach a wider audience I added the Google Translate widget to the Wide-Eyed Scotsman. I have several French friends who are sad they can’t read what I write. Looking at the geographical statistics of my readers as well shows me that native English language speakers only make up a certain percentage of the full amount.

Unfortunately, Google Translate is rotten.

So what are my next steps? Do I begin writing all my posts in French underneath the original version? I could, but it doesn’t cover everyone else.

Are there any other available options that will ultimately benefit me and those who visit my blog? Widgets, apps, websites etc.

Any suggestions are welcome.

Merci.

 

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Kosovo.

What a dream it was to visit this place. I don’t mean that it had been a lifelong ambition. But my aim at the beginning of 2018 was to go to places ‘off the beaten path’. The Balkans epitomised that but more so than the others, the Republic of Kosovo.

I only stayed one night in the capital city Prishtina before heading further north to the city of Peja. I’d never felt so surreal to be there. The youngest country in Europe. It’s safe to say I didn’t look remotely native. But everyone I met were all humbly welcoming and I even had a conversation with a local in French. He invited me for a coffee the next time I would visit.

Throughout my time travelling in these countries I encountered Islam on various occasions. I didn’t know a great deal about the religion and its teachings but on a personal level for a while now I’ve felt compelled to research a little. So I visited my first mosque while spending time in Sofia and then visited another two throughout my time in Kosovo. The hostel where I stayed in Peja was also stacked with plenty of books and I stumbled upon an English version of a book teaching Islam. I spent one of my evenings reading some pages and resting quietly in my bed area.

I’m not a believer of any religion. My own opinion is that to be a believer in any faith would require years of studying and education. I never enjoyed being raised as a catholic mainly because I didn’t understand it. What I do respect now is the power religion has to change someones life for the better and for that I would not attempt to persuade anyone to give up their learning. Unless it was some dark, hateful shit.

Here’s to you dear Kosovo. You helped me live out a small dream and welcomed me with grace. Until next time.

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Prishtina.
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Abandoned Church.
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Political Graffiti knows no bounds.
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Architecture 101.
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Prishtina
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Newborn.
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Albanian Roots.
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Mosque in Prishtina.
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Peja
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Trail Beginnings.
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Peja Mountains.
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Peja Mountains.
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A Tim in Kosovo.
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Peja Mountains.

Pour L’Amour des Verts

As promised, here are some snapshots from the Saint Etienne and Lyon Ligue 1 derby match. Unfortunately for the home side a first half goal wasn’t enough to see it through. After a disappointing first half Lyon came back out from the break and took control. The final score was 2-1.

However… Quelle ambiance! 

It’s been a while now that I’ve hoped to make it through for a game and, the result aside, it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. The supporters were friendly & passionate and even reminded me of going to the games back home in Glasgow. Something I miss dearly.

Until next time, les Stephanois

 

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”Stade Geoffroy Guichard”

 

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”Le chaudron va bouillir!”

 

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”Absolute screamer of a vintage kit in the museum. If anyone knows where I can get me one, hit me up.”

 

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”For the love of the Green..”

 

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”Combattre pour son club. Mouiller le maillot. Respecter ses couleurs.”

 

 

Allez qui c’est les plus forts?
Évidemment c’est les verts
On a un bon public et les meilleurs supporters
On va gagner!
Ça c’est juré allez…

 

 

Hangin’.

So I’m trudging downstairs to the bins out the back. Pair of old shorts and last nights jumper. It’s late in the afternoon of the first day of the New Year. The end of the festive season for me as it’s back to 6am wake-ups and out on the grind tomorrow morning. I pass a couple of fresh-faced neighbours and we exchange the usual niceties.

‘Bonjour monsieur. Bonjour messieurs-dames.’

There’s something about the people I meet in this same situation that I can’t get my head around. The seemingly carelessly ecstatic aura that they encompass. Emanating an ambience of sheer life and energy.. Ready for the adventures of the day that lay ahead. Even if (for talking’s sake) the Gilet Jaunes were to successfully overthrow Macron and his government or an ISIS uprising raised hell in the French suburbs these same ostensibly & untouchable folk will always be there to meet me, dishevelled and hanging, on the first floor landing of the flats of Cours Berriat.

I’m back in my cave now. The room is a tip. I haven’t taken the time to unpack my bag from the week spent back home in Glasgow. In all honesty I haven’t even managed to sort myself out yet. But I don’t really mind. For now I’m back in my own little world ready to jump back into my studies and my work. Back into grafting. Learning on the go. And I fucking love learning. Learning is power, strength.. profound and utter bravery. To me anyway. It takes a courageous soul to commit to education in the world that we live in. Often I think about what it means to rebel against the system of education in fear of something truly feign. A common theme throughout young people who choose to walk a path that strays away from their potential. Like me when I left school. Why did I not want to learn? Why did I not want to acquire knowledge? I think it was probably just that I couldn’t be arsed. Are all the disenchanted folk similar in that respect? Can we all just not be arsed? It’s possible. If it wasn’t for this hangover I’d probably indulge a bit. But I’m fucking hanging and for my own well-being I’ve decided to give it a by. Earlier on a friend asked me why I once collected so many records and threw myself into the clubbing industry as an aspiring DJ, only to give it all up and sell all that I had. I wish I had just said ‘I couldnae be arsed.’

I’ve got a few hours left now to prepare my work things and lay low for a while. I’ve just finished reading ‘Hings’ by Chris McQueer (what a book by the way) and I’m about to stick on the trusty Fitbaw Manager in the hope that signing foreign wonderkids will nurture my bevvy-riddled corpse back to a decent standard.

Happy New Year everyone. Bonne Année.

Aidan x

Le Ciel Rose du Soir.

A thought track I wrote at the weekend about reflection. Feel free to share with anyone who this may be of use to, or give your own input in the comment section below. 

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In a long, drawn-out, thought provoking attempt to piece together my own opinion I’ve sit myself down on a Saturday evening with a pen, paper and the privilege of time. It’s my 24th birthday and for me this one is quite significant. Not for most people. Or maybe it is. Normally it’s the number 18 or 21 that push people into some form of unadulterated frenzy. The landmarks that symbolise the new beginnings, the next steps or the turning of corners. ‘Starting a fresh!’ Naturally turning 24 isn’t one of those. A purgatory of age. Which in fairness is probably why there is a deeper significance than its predecessors. Turning 24 has done exactly what it says on the tin.

It hasn’t been a new beginning. A next step. The turning of a corner. Or a fresh start.

It hasn’t been any of them. And thats where my thoughts begin to rumble.

Every time a birthday came around, or a trivial occasion like new year (mibby even a win for the Scottish national team at the fitbaw) I suddenly became enthused at the thought of an opportunity to redefine myself. Big promises were made and a few prayers were said (depending on whether I believed in the Lord Almighty at the time.. He always seemed to pop up for the big moments.) resulting in sparks of genuine hope to seek out new levels of self-fulfillment. A desperate ploy to make life bearable disguised as renewed ambition. Eventually the fatigue set in. The mask slid off and left me helpless. Stranded. Exposed in the glare of a million spotlights. At least thats what it feels like when the walls are closing in.

This years anniversaire has come and gone without the chance to notice it. It is turning 24 after all. I’m a big boy. Nae presents and parties at this age.

But I don’t have that desire or thirst for radical change. I’m toying with the notions of a challenged contentment and doleful dullness. No complaints of an urgent nature. My position, my direction all seemingly positive. Its the first time in my life I’ve felt responsible and (to a certain extent) capable. I’m growing as a person and I’m enjoying it. And in the grand scheme of things I would say that this is a basic requirement in the quest for accomplishment.

So whats the deal with the doleful dullness?

From a young age I understood what it meant to not have control over dangerous situations that impact greater than what is feasibly contained. Losing that control would be another harsh lesson despite the willing endeavors to avoid and resist. To describe the emotions of revisiting certains memories is a difficult picture to paint. On a personal level, an arduous notion to grasp. How does a 12 year old know how to act in life changing situations that will go on to shape him for the rest of his life? Even with hindsight an answer isn’t clear.

What I’m trying to say is, I’m in a good place right now. And I have been for a while now. But it’s always there. That back-to-earth feeling whenever I go to take those fucking happy pills. Every day I remind myself theres two 50 milligram capsules of Sertraline waiting to align the chemical imbalance in my brain, and one day sooner or later when the time is right I’ll have to restart a battle with an old foe in order to win my freedom again.

Yet how does one approach a battle with himself?

Honestly I take great fear in this. I know what its like to already feel defeated and I know what its like to look up from the pits and not see any lights. I don’t want to go there again. I was afraid of everything. Afraid of myself. Afraid of my surroundings. I didn’t work or go out nor could I bare to eat. I had turned on myself to a point of almost no return. My mind began to run riot and in some cases tricked me. One day at my lowest point I went a walk along the River Clyde with the intent to find some headspace. . I stopped beside the river and looked across the water, gazing intentedly, trying to make sense of it all. My head filled with darkened fear. I was losing control again. My mind drew my eyes into the middle of the water and I felt the river speak to me. There weren’t any voices, just this magnetic-like energy drawing me to the barriers. My entire being locked in for a few minutes and then I pulled myself away. I remember this time as clear as day. Birds flew over the river but they didn’t settle me and the sky was a cruel mixture of very deep, hoar clouds and a bitter, crimson sky.

I know this makes for troublesome reading. Nevertheless it would be easier to pretend this didn’t happen at all. For the sake of comfortability I could swear to never mention it
for as long as I lived. Comfortability for you. Locking it away in a forgotten chamber in my head for it to scream at me sporadically like a damned and caged soul. I’d call that regression. This year alone I’ve achieved too much to start going backwards now. I’ve broken personal barriers! Wandered down unfamiliar roads! Crossed foreign & disputed borders! (due to entering Kosovo while on my Balkan wanders, I’m now very likely to have some issues should I ever visit Serbia. They, along with Russia, don’t recognise Kosovo as an independent nation.. in the eyes of the ruling Governments I entered Serbia illegally. Probably a good thing I don’t plan on going there any time soon then). I urged myself to live in ways I didn’t know I was capable of and still I yearn for more. Despite the trials, troubles and tribulations of it all I am the Wide-Eyed Scotsman and every waking moment is more significant than those before.

So long may it continue…

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“It was as if that great rush of anger had washed me clean, emptied me of hope, and, gazing up at the dark sky spangled with its signs and stars, for the first time, the first, I laid my heart open to the benign indifference of the universe. To feel it so like myself, indeed, so brotherly, made me realize that I’d been happy, and that I was happy still. For all to be accomplished, for me to feel less lonely, all that remained to hope was that on the day of my execution there should be a huge crowd of spectators and that they should greet me with howls of execration.” 

― Albert Camus, The Stranger

 

Sofia in Picture.

Dobre došãl! Добре дошъл! (That’s welcome in Bulgarian, ya dafties).

I spent five great days in the capital. After only planning a day visit, I met some great folk and loved the city. Here are some of the sights I took in during my visit.

“While two Bulgarians are arguing, a third one always wins.”
Двама се карат – трети печели

(Bulgarian Proverb about strength in unity).

 

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”Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. The posterboy for every Sofia tourism campaign.”

 

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”Sofia”

 

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”Levski Stadium”

 

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”Life after Revolution”

 

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”Chupa Chups”

 

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”The former house of the Bulgarian Communist Party.”

 

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”Difficult following Cyrillic signs..”

 

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”Until next time, Sofia. Благодаря ти..”

 

Feel free to follow, comment on or share the Wide-Eyed Scotsman if you find something of interest/ potential value. I regard this personal project mainly as a facility to continue my own education. If you believe the content could impact, intrigue or inspire (or if there are any constructive criticisms) then your interaction would be greatly appreciated. 

Aidan X