Posts tagged ‘Scotland’

a walk around the block

and so!  a walk indeed!  and in this town…  oh my goodness there are mad capped scenes at darn near every turn and pretty much down every straight away.  the noise is what we can’t share here, online.  you have to come here to these mad streets.  five minutes will do it.  yes we are a long way from the river, the blue and the green.


unknown artist and paint station, outside the Rideau Centre, November 3rd.  it was clear to me she had talent and if you took her up a notch, switched out the dollarama paint and canvas for some big leagues gear, i’m certain she could show something in one of the many indie galleries in this town.  she wanted 40 bucks for that little picture she was working on.


invisible man?  around here you never know…   outside the Rideau Centre, November 3rd.


spooky window display, Somerset West near Spadina, November 6th.


more weirdness in the same shop window…  Somerset West and Spadina, on the mild night of November 6th.  me singing:  i’m an Anishnabe in the Capital City…  (sung to the tune of Sting’s Englishman in New York)

when you’re out walking and sporting the “artist’s eye”…  goodness gracious, so many “things”.


what form!  with a silver hand…  shop window in the St. Laurent Mall, November 7th.  those super stretch fabrics, now i wish they had those when i was young!  (ha ha!)


ah yes…  what form.  put some heels on there and you’d really have something.

if you have 8 minutes, here is a song i wrote and performed back in the summer of 1995, recorded on a 4 track Fostex, one night in a diff city, many moons ago.  before the internet.  back when my rock and roll band:  NR, was planning on being something.  ah but nothing makes the Great Spirit laugh more than a man with plans.

for the youtube video: i went out one night, twenty years after i wrote and recorded the song, in this very city, camera in hand, and shot those pictures:  headless figures (children too!), lifeless eyes, bare heads, flashy clothes, big lights, right next to the dispossessed, the have nots, the sick and the old, and the grey, placed next to a little First Nations “made in China”, thrown in for good measure.  military medals along side a public service message showing a cigarette pack filled with bullets and someone’s scrawl:  Funding natives to buy back their land 1 acre at a time…  yes it was my attempt at Anishnabe movie making/story telling.  (oh yes!  that first and very long 2 minutes of yours truly in his pow wow dancing gear-i plugged that in (just ahead of the Joseph Boyden scam which became an amusing and a down right hilarious news item right around Xmas 2016) as a confirmation that yes indeed, yours truly is an actual indian as defined within the terms and conditions of the indian act, and handled by indian and northern affairs Canada)

so where was i going with all this?  oh yes.  what i mean to say is i’ve walked these streets before.  and some things seem to never change, all we’ve done is switched out the characters and moved in some new ones.


back to the walk around the block:  the cops on Blake, November 8th, where hookers roam, sometimes pimps, and men alone in all makes and models of cars cruise very slowly up and down the streets.  you don’t need warning signs to tell those boys to slow down on our quiet neighbourhood streets!  all we’re missing with this scene is the background NOISE.  the roar, the sirens, the continuous horn honking…  sheesh!


unknown young man who has clearly lost his marbles, sitting in the very cold wind outside a Rotten Ron’s, Montreal Road and St. Laurent, November 9th, at noon.  he was out there for an hour, smoking his stuff, listening to whatever he had on those flashy headphones.  it was like…  zero degrees out there.  and they might be his brightest years…

i was inside looking out, wondering if it was safe to show a photo like this:


that’s me and what’s his name, on the movie set, back in June, in Scotland.  we signed a non disclosure thing about not posting but here we are after the release date of the picture so i hope its safe to post this!

they had me so uglied up over there i was sure i could never come home.  the look was totally Hollywood Indian.  the only way i got the gig was, well, beyond that i was clearly indian, was that face of horror:  they asked me to scowl and snarl into the camera at the casting (my interview was all of 15 seconds at the Native Friendship Centre in Toronto) and boom!  they called me up and so i went.  now that was a serious walk around the block!

that chrome dome of mine, it hadn’t seen the light of day in over 45 years!  over there though, those charming hair and make up girls shaved me a fresh one every morning around nine.  i walked out of there thinking the boys are going to have a field day with this when i get back to the club!


that’s the photo i snapped with Joe’s camera, that he smuggled onto the set one day.  that’s the two stars of the show, chilling between takes.  not sure who that other young snot nosed punk is but he was main frame with the other two.

and so if you were reading my blog back in late May and June of this year, this is what i was going on about: making movies in Scotland.  a grand adventure, something i’d do again, but next time…  i think i’ll take a pass on shaving the dome.  yes, it is growing back, but we’re a long way from the look of confidence, when sporting the Dark City Boy outfit, which thank goodness, is back in rotation, out here on these mad city streets.  i lost the “gut” i was sporting on that shoot, but being away from the 9th and all the good cooking over there, certainly helps in the weight losing department!  ha.  kooky stuff.  silly stuff too but at the end of the day, if you’re going to run with the wolves, you have to keep up AND look the part.

photo of said Dark City Boy outfit!

artist in October


crappy grainy photo but that’s the idea (i’ll get an updated, soon).  super fun black boots to go with!  many moons ago, on another walking around the block adventure, i drew a picture of the then “dark city boy” outfit, an idea for some jackets i wanted to make, the idea stolen from the costumes department over at Debajehmujig Theatre Group (another story we can save for later!)

photo of said picture, drawn many moons ago:


2000 Man, Dark City Boy in front of Treasure Island, Lake Mindemoya, Ontario, Canada.  March 1, 2000.  Bic ball point pen on 98 pound paper.  yes…  we need to maintain the maintenance department…

what i’m getting at through all of this is this:  if you’re going to take a walk around the block, you might as well do alright with it.

(psst: more movie set photos to come if i can get away with posting these!)


Monday in Glasgow

waiting on an airplane in Glasgow!  we’re here early and not bugging out till Wednesday morning which leaves sweet Monday and Tuesday to hit the streets!


perfect day for it too!  sunny, hot and dry.  beauty weather for our last few days on the adventure.  that is St. Vincent Pl. as seen from the south side of the street.


The Iron Horse on West Nile Street:  perfect spot for an afternoon snort and fixing up a few postcards.


of course i could NOT walk past this place!  had to go in!  The Raven on Renfield Street.  they had some very cool looking t shirts, the company logo, in black of course but the shirts were not for sale.  (lame!)


St. George’s Tron, Church of Scotland, as seen from the intersection of West St. George and West Nile.


in George Square, downtown Glasgow.


Glasgow City Council as seen from George Square.


Glasgow City Council!  what a facade!


looking west on St. Vincent, right next to George Square.


looking north on Queen Street at George Square, that’s the train station in the back ground but not Glasgow Central which is where i’ll be going today!  one more day in this great country, that’s all we have for now.  once i get the chores squared away, i’m getting me a ticket to ride!

Friday in Inverness

left the woodlands yesterday at 10 a.m., out to the train station, and booked a ride!  22 local bucks and 90 minutes to the town of Inverness!  now over there in Pitlochry it can seem like a fairy tale landscape with the huge trees, super greenery, soaring hills, open cliff faces, deep ravines, old rivers running here and there.  the train tracks cut through this, and the folks here don’t keep it trimmed back.  the trees and brush grow right up to the windows and in some places there is a green canopy.  sweet!

but a short 15 minutes north of here you’re in a totally different landscape.  you roll out of the woods and see something like this:


beauty landscape north of Pitlochry, south of Kingussie, on June 22.


north of Kingussie, on the way to Inverness:  over there you can see the windmills, all placed in that windy little valley.  a good plan i suspect but i would not like to see them in my back yard.


town of Inverness, as seen from the foot bridge over the River Ness, looking, i think, that’s south east…  (not sure truth be told… )


town of Inverness, that’s Bank Street, running north and south.  the river is shallow and appears to be running slow.


Bank Street, Inverness, Friday afternoon, June 22.  River Ness.


there she is!  the ever popular castle on the hill, overlooking the river and on the other side:  the valley below.  River Ness.  as seen from the Ardross Terrace.


groovy scenes along Castle Road, next to the River Ness.  it was close to here where i saw and heard “them”…


there was a lot more in that town, many photos to the tune of around 300 taken, but we don’t have the space for that here.  nor did i have the time to spend, getting in with the locals.  i was back on the train at 4, hoping to get back in time for the last bus out of Pitlochry at 550.  here is a scene just after leaving the town of Inverness,  looking west.


ah yes…  those rolling hills near Kingussie.  i’d like to walk that road over there, at night, at full moon, in the summer time.


the road to Tummel Valley:  just off the main road and going down that narrow and twisty back road called B8019.  just 12 miles from town to the boons, past and west of Loch Tummel.  i walked half of it the other day but we don’t have time for that today and tomorrow we’re to report for noon, the bus out and a plane standing by.  our movie making days are over for now.  i might be back on the range by Thursday at the earliest.  Friday at the latest!!!  (ha!!!  i say that now but i know nothing makes the Great Spirit laugh more than a man with plans…  )

Tuesday at Kingussie

the boss cut me some slack on Tuesday!  nice day for riding the rails.  to get there i had to take the local bus which only comes around this way ever few hours!  found myself at the train station at 11 a.m., booked a ride north leaving at 11:50.


Pitlochry train station, north bound platform.  the next three stops are Kingussie, Aviemore, and Inverness.  going south would be Perth, Glenealges, and Stirling, but those will have to wait for another day!


riding north bound, what scenes and my how the landscape changed in what seemed like a few short miles.


no castles on those hill tops!


i wanted them to stop and let me out!  i’d like to walk that road, walk it into the distance, going west.


you can’t see them but there are sheep out there!  lots of them.  got me to thinking about lunch how i’d like a rack of lamb when i got there.


the corner of A86 and King Street, Kingussie, Scotland.  not much happening in this town!  nor is there a rack of lamb on the lunch menu!  (frowning face goes in here!)


heavy duty cemetery just down the street from the diner.  went in for a little snoop and the dates on those stones, wowza!  they’re going back a few, i saw one with the date: 1824.  you don’t see numbers like that in the Mindemoya Cemetery back home!


how many years have you been here?



that black one was so far gone you couldn’t read an anything on it.


Ewan Mack, KIA, WW1.  hey i’m going to look up where the 7th Cameron Highlanders were on July 31st, 1917.  a fella like me wants to read a story like that.


walking around in there, i saw quite a few names that you’d see up there in the Mindemoya Cemetery:  Mackenzie, Robertson, MacDonald, just to name a few.


south bound, blazing back from Kingussie to Pitlochry, a 45 minute ride, 20 bucks there and back, local currency.  a fun and simple way to spend an afternoon off duty.  i was thinking about going up to Thurso, super in the boon docks but it was all rain in the forecast up there.  that would have been an over night, we’ll save that one for another time.

instead it was the Coach House saloon at 430 p.m., what a wild bunch of local boozers in that joint!  ah but it is an adventure!  there will be plenty of quiet days come July when we are looking at something like this:


my front yard, sunset in September 2017, big time thunder storm happening to the south south west, during that wild and beautiful heat wave!  remember that one?  3 weeks of blazing sun, 38 C during the afternoon!  wowza indeed!  when i get back home, i’ll be sitting at this very spot, on a Friday evening, thanking my lucky stars and looking back at this little road journal.

but we are here and it is NOW!  time to see about that afternoon adventure seeing how the boss cut us some slack, 2 days in a row!

Walking the Royal Mile

Sunday morning in the boon docks, down along Tummel Valley, just west of Loch Tummel.  it was a brutal 5 days at the office but the boss cut us some slack yesterday and even hired us up a flashy coach to take us down to Edinburgh for some sightseeing.  i was up for that!!!  perfect day for it too, sunny skies and a balmy 20 C.


there it is:  Edinburgh Castle, as seen from the attacker’s point of view.  i’d hate to be the one who had to assault that fortress!  you’d need the artillery in there first and the paratroopers second before you set foot in that crib.


the ancient Giles’ Cathedral:  big time old!  just east of the starting point on the Royal Mile.


inside The Royal Mile Tavern, lunch:  Haggis, neeps, and tatties.  very tasty!  had me wanting seconds.


a table for one inside the Royal Mile Tavern:  June 9th, in Edinburgh.  beauty!


very cool:  The Royal Mile Tavern.  we’ll have to go back there some day, and take a table for two!


at the Scotch store…  those top shelf bottles were priced at 300 pounds!!!  21 year old hooch, a little too heavy for this tourist!


nice work.  the complete outfit was for sale, 600 pounds.  also way too heavy for this Anishnabe!  but then where in Canada would an indian boy wear a kilt and complete rig?  i’ll spend the 600 pounds on the train rides.


the obligatory shot of a local jamming on the streets:  photo op for many.  (it might not look busy, people wise, but let me tell you the streets were jam packed with folks of all colours and languages!)


an address just north, off the Royal Mile.  this is definitely a “no high heels” part of the city!  cobble stone streets and some serious uneven sidewalks!


general issue street scene on the Royal Mile.  they only gave us 3 hours so i couldn’t wander off too far.  i’m pretty sure that is the intersection of The Royal Mile and Cockburn Street.


a view looking west, at the Giles’ Cathedral.  ancient!  i ran my hands across those old stones and…  well.  i’ll tell you when i see you.


big time churches!  and old!  another one along the Royal Mile.


walking the Royal Mile: big time touristy street!  no cops anywhere!  if this were touristy Ottawa you’d see the RCMP on every street corner!


the intersection at Victoria Street and Cowgatehead.  looking south south west.


looking east, Victoria Street, as seen from the Castle Arms patio.


over taking the classic, on the road out of town.  we had a great driver who got us in there and out of there hassle free!  a beauty drive, 50 miles south of our location near the town of Pitlochry.  we are not camped at Pitlochry but that is the assembly point and it looks like we’ll be, or i’ll be camping on the shores of Loch Tummel, for the next 20 days at least, unless we get a walking papers sooner or later!

more fun adventures to follow!

Thursday in Ayr

they cut me some slack so i hit the Glasgow Central Train Station for a ride out of the city!  Ayr is just a short one hour ride west and i certainly enjoyed that one!


Firth of Clyde as seen from the Low Green, Ayr, May 31, around noon.  looking west south west.  hey!  you could sail all the way back to Canada from here!


feet in the ocean at Ayr:  holy CRAP!!!  that water was ICE COLD!!!


i think that’s the Ayr town hall, as seen from around 14 Sandgate Street.


of course in my travels i managed to find the back alleys of this old town: here is a beauty view of just how spooky this old and very creepy place can be.  imagine trying to walk through there at night!


Glasgow Central Station, 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 31.  got back to town and what a day trip it was!  i went into a tavern in Ayr, wearing my HBC black hoodie with CANADA written on the front in big red letters.  an amusing conversation followed.  those old boys have a pretty heavy duty accent and truth be told, i couldn’t understand a word they were saying!

they loved my story, chrome dome to boot, about why i was in their big country.   amusements at every turn!

we shall continue.