Silent as light

The Antiquary: “is preoccupied on every level by the relation between past and present.”

Mary Midgley: “These doctrines are often bizarrely over-confident and over-simple”

George Orwell in Why I Write: “… one can write nothing readable unless one constantly struggles to efface one’s own personality”

Raymond Tallis in Summers of Discontent “There are several things to be noted about emotions. The first is they fill the world with meaning”

Kenneth Calman in Makars and Mediciners:  “It is perhaps here that the role of literature and the arts generally can have an advantage, by the author exposing poor health choices and behaviour patterns, in ways which are more powerful and effective than that of the medical teacher or professor. The writer’s imagination and expression can change things. The word can be powerful.”

Nathan Filer in The Shock of the Fall: “I think that’s what I am doing now. I am writing myself into my own story and I am telling it from within”

Andrew Greig: “He knows fankle from bourach.”

Raymond Tallis in Defence of Wonder “When we are in love we see the ordinary things about another person for what they are: not in the slightest bit ordinary.”

Gilbert K. Chesterton: “The world will never starve for want of wonders; but only for want of wonder

“She makes sunlight dim” (Sian)

Thomas Tranströmer to his lifelong friend Robert Bly: “In this climate it`s all or nothing. Anybody not 100% for is “self-evidently” 100% against. Have I given you a little picture of the climate? All you can do is Follow your own crooked conscience, wait for the moment of truth and hope you won’t need to be ashamed one day of how you lived through these years.”

Raymond Tallis: [Philosophy is a return] into that nearest, which we invariably rush past, which surprises us anew each time we get sight of it”

Tomas Tranströmer: “Balansnummer is ‘balancing act.’ The poem is partly a protest-poem against the prevailing mood in Swedish intellectual life. What I say is that finding the truth, being honest etc. is a difficult individualistic act of balance, you have to put off the rhetoric, all slogans and moustaches and prejudices and . . .”

Stephen Bann, MIDWAY: Letters from Ian Hamilton Finlay: “I recall saying once to Finlay that the special feature of the letter as a literary genre was that one never went back on the first draft to produce a fair copy.”

Nathan Filer in The shock of the Fall: “I have approximately 7.4 x 1027 atoms in my body”

Ian Hamilton Finlay: “Sometimes my wee best seems just not good enough”

Richard Holloway in Leaving Alexandria: “The toughest lesson life teaches is the difference between who you wanted to be and who you actually are. And it can take a whole life to teach it”

Robert Louis Stevenson: “Letter to a young gentleman who proposes to embrace the career of Art”

A. S. Byatt in Possession: “He put little slips of paper in the entries that made up his fragile narrative or non-narrative”

Adam Nicolson in Sea Room: “I’m wedded to this plunging-off form of thought, and to the acceptance of muddle which it implies”

Mukul Kesavan in Looking Through Glass: “Like all chroniclers of the relatively recent past, history ran out against the present”

Julian Barnes in The Noise of Time: “He bought a large scrapbook and pasted ‘Muddle Instead of Music’ onto the first page.”

Ronald Ross: “Science is the differential calculus of the mind, Art is the integral calculus; they may be beautiful apart, but are great only when combined.”

Walter Scott in The Antiquary (in Oldbuck’s room) “Amid this medley, it was no easier to find one’s way”

Margaret McCartney in The Patient Paradox: “The conclusion that variability is bad is distant from the much simpler observation that patients are all different.”

Robert Crawford in Young Eliot: “Leafiness suited him”

Alexander McCall Smith in Chance Developments: “His one and only book, ‘The Future Lies in the Past’, eventually published”

Patrick Deeley in The Hurley Maker’s Son: “I sensed the sun, beaming from a place that was higher than the world”

Penelope Fitzgerald in The Bookshop: “The sky brightened from one horizon to the other”

Hanya Yanagihara in A Little Life: “You made art because it was the only thing you’d ever been good at, the only thing, really, you thought about between shorter bursts of thinking about the things everyone thought about.”

John Berger in Here is where we meet: “To find any sense in life it was pointless to search in the places where people were instructed to look.”

Edmund De Waal in The White Road: “He writes a letter about how things are made, but it is actually about compassion.”

Alice Hoffman in Faithful: “No one could count all the stars. There are far too many.”

Madeleine Thien in Do Not Say We Have Nothing: “So familiar to me, like an entire language, a world, I had forgotten”

John Steinbeck in Of Mice and Men: “Both men glanced up, for the rectangle of sunshine in the doorway was cut off”

Habitually made marginal comments

Filmed at the abandoned farm of Bishopsfaulds, near Comrie.

Words: by me and some ‘borrowed’ from Liz Lochhead

Music credit: ‘The lost Prince’ – Adrian Johnston (2003)

‘Dig the grave and let me lie’

On the early morning of Sunday 7th May 2017, I set off to visit ‘Stank’.

I was looking for the ruined mausoleum to Lord Esher.

The Stank Mausoleum was built in 1925 at the point in this old Roy map where the four sections just happen to meet:

No place could perhaps appear less like it ‘sounds’:

Lord Esher’s Scottish home was at the Roman camp in Callander. Since his death it became a hotel:

It was at this hotel that my grandfather Rab Scott met The Beatles and had a drink with them:

Today, Esher’s Mausoleum is marked this way:

Lord Esher was thought to be the grandson of Napoleon Bonaparte (his mother was thought to be Napoleon’s illegitimate daughter)

Lord Esher was:

Lord Esher was different:

Lord Esher was married with four children but it is considered that he was probably more attracted to his own sex

Lord Esher was respected for the clarity and beauty in his use of language:

Lord Esher’s ruined Mausoleum is on the route to Ben Ledi. Thousands of walkers and mountaineers pass it by each year without knowing.

It was with considerable difficulty that I found it.

Even Hale Bopp found it a struggle to find!

It may be that Lord Esher’s remains, despite his wishes, are not here at Stank?

If that is so, perhaps this is why this mausoleum is sadder than sad.

This was how the Mausoleum appeared at the time of Lord Esher’s death in 1930:

Lord Esher was clearly a great admirer, as I am, of Robert Louis Stevenson.

These inscriptions, of poems by Robert Louis Stevenson, survive by the collapsed doorway to Esher’s Mausoleum:

I needed to visit Stank.

A ‘mytholm’

Ted Hughes described a ‘mytholm’ as meeting of streams.

This film is about such a meeting. Where the Allan Water goes Forth.

I dedicate this film to my “Grumpa” Rab Scott, Orchardman at Cornton and Drumdruills.

Music Credit “Chasing the sun” by James Ross.

Also big acknowledgement to David Balfour aka Robert Louis Stevenson.

Epitome of current medical literature

This film takes as its title the opening section of the British Medical Journal of the last century.

The idea behind this film is to question what may be considered as “medical literature”?

I have deliberately placed myself at the centre of this film. What may appear as “monomania” is quite deliberate! I don’t know about you, but I read for pleasure and also because it gives me access to the lives of others. Literature opens up new worlds for me.

In this film I surround myself with some of those authors I have enjoyed reading and who have helped me to grow as a person and as a doctor.

We must remember that we are all subjective. We cannot put ourselves into the minds of others and truly share their lived experience.

This film also suggests, by including reference to the “modern ruin” St Peter’s Seminary in Cardross, (built in 1967, the year I was born) that we pass through time and that we age. I have included consideration of passing time as literature reminds us that medical science cannot ignore this.

In short this film is an artistic expression of the so-called “two cultures”.

Music credit: Spem in alium – Thomas Tallis

Locations:
(1) The Pineapple, Dunmore
(2) Mossgrove, Bridge of Allan
(3) Old Stirling Bridge

Backdrop:
Authors whose words have featured in my films.

Gilbert Farie Revisited

I made this film 5 years ago.

In the five years that have passed since making, prescribing of antidepressants has risen from 1-in-9 Scots to 1-in-7. My view is that this is most unhealthy.

Time moves on and I would perhaps change a few words in this film. That said I feel that this film remains an important presentation:

Histories never end, but go on living in their consequences

This film is based upon Cammo House, at least what is left.

Robert Louis Stevenson has stated that the “House of Shaws” in Kidnapped was based on Cammo House on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

This film comes to a close with a lowlander in the highlands: at Gauch in Cabrach.

The film ends with Leonard Cohen’s last song.

He’s an elemental air-spirit

This post considers Ariel from The Tempest through the retelling of ‘The Fletcher Correctional Players’. I would thoroughly recommend ‘Hag-Seed’ by Margaret Atwood.

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One of my alter-ego’s is the hunched pharmacist Gilbert Farie: hag-seed-by-margaret-atwood-3 hag-seed-by-margaret-atwood-4 hag-seed-by-margaret-atwood-5


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Stevenson’s cave

This is the cave on the river Allan that Robert Louis Stevenson felt had always been “a part of me”.

My family used to own Drumdruils, where the cave is to be found on the Darn road. It was in this cave that my relative, Margaret Baird, received a proposal for marriage at midnight on the 22nd of February 1866, by Daniel Watson. This couple lived at Sunnylaw, as a married couple for all of 50, and more together.