Friends In Three Countries





9 October 2017

Map: Scotia, Parte Meridionale, Vincenzo Maria Coronelli, 1690
The North Atlantic Arc ~ Mr Tattie Heid Home
September/October
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Monday 9 October 2017--It's foolish of me, of course, to assume that the airport will be quiet at 4:00am. After all, I saw how it was just two weeks ago. I have some difficulty finding the rental car drop-off, and then find that I am one of dozens waiting in line to take a shuttle to the terminal.

At check-in, my bag is overweight. I ask the young woman at the desk if she likes beer, as I start pulling out bottles. No. Or maybe her boyfriend does. Sure. Embarrassed, she stops me when I've gotten the weight down into a reasonable range. I'm happy that I can keep what's left of my bottle of Talisker. Marc gave the remainder of his Lagavulin to the barman at Brothers the other night.

Somehow I get done what needs to be done before boarding my flight to Edinburgh. There is always a conundrum when visiting Iceland as part of a trip to Europe at this time of year--if I do it on the way over, there is this awkward early morning departure; if I do it on the way back, my Iceland visit is very late in the season. It's a puzzle I can put aside for another time.
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The seemingly endless Edinburgh Tram project was in fact completed three years ago, but today is the first chance I've had to use it. I like it--it's easy and relatively quick, taking me from the airport to the West End station in about a half an hour. Walk two short blocks to Teuchters, where Ron awaits with a welcoming pint. Then to the flat he's been staying in the past couple of days, overlooking the Water of Leith, near Dean Bridge. It's large and comfortable, roomy enough for the four of us: me, Ron, his partner Elaine, and her sister.

I get my junk settled in and exchange pleasantries with the girls. Then Ron and I head out for the afternoon. Stop in at Coda, the only record shop in the world I visit anymore. A few years ago, they opened a small room in the back for vinyl, which, inexplicably to this baby boomer, has been making a comeback. Now this year I am dismayed to find the larger front room filled with vinyl, and the folk & trad CD bins compressed and relegated to the back room. I guess I can't blame them--CD sales are drying up, and trendy vinyl is perhaps the last possible salvation for record shops. But for the first time in years, I buy nothing. I'm sure I could have found a few things of interest, but I feel discouraged by the dwindling stock. My inaction is a sort of silent, passive, and futile protest. I know I'm doing myself no good by failing to support one of the rare businesses that caters to my tastes...but the handwriting is on the wall, isn't it? The music business is morphing into something entirely alien to me. They used to say "Home taping is killing music", and they weren't entirely wrong. The digital age has made music a disposable commodity. Major artists now make their money mounting lavish concert tours, the live experience being the one thing that can't quite be digitally replicated (yet). The niche markets, folk and jazz and such, grow tighter and tighter, the established artists scraping out a living through constant touring and hawking CDs at shows and on their websites. Young talent finds it harder and harder to get a toehold. I don't know where it all will go. If the elite few get richer and richer while the rest scrape for crumbs, well, that's the way of the world these days, isn't it? Maybe the upshot will be that "real" music (my definition) becomes more democratic, returning to the common folk who play it for each other.

The whisky world is another matter. We pop into the Cadenhead shop in search of bottles to take on the road. In my early days of traveling to Scotland, I bought bottles to take home, as many as ten. Luggage weight restrictions have put a stop to that, and I suppose it's just as well--I'm not really interested in adding to the collection these days. I just want something worthwhile to enjoy along the way. Cadenhead has always been reliable for us, but lately it seems like the selection is a bit thin and pricey. It doesn't help that we almost always visit at a very late point in the release cycle; in a few weeks, there will be a lot more options. Somehow we manage to find a couple of things that will do.

We have dinner at the Albanach and pints at the Oxford Bar and Kay's before calling it a night.

Next



Aberdour


On The Tram


West End Tram Stop


Coates Crescent


William Street


Teuchters


Teuchters


West End Flat

Next


September/October. .
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
01 02 03 04 05 06 07
08 09
. 10. 11. 12 13. 14
15
. 16. 17. 18 19 20. 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31 01 November
The North Atlantic Arc ~ Mr Tattie Heid Home
















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