It’s that time of year…

So I can get a little sentimental at this time of year – long dark nights & mulled wine might do that to a person.

At the risk of getting a bit Oscar Ceremony, I want to pause and take a moment. In August, I wrote the Kindness List post  and I want to do something similar now – A thank you list….

So to family, friends, clients, colleagues, peers, classmates, tutors, teachers, collaborators, contributors, commentators….


The Thank-You List 2012

I am thankful for the people who have made me stop, think, reconsider.For those who make me realise how clumsy and careless I can sometimes be. For those who see the opposite. For those who have taken the time to walk with me, talk with me, hear me, see me. For those who have allowed me to do the same back. For those who recommend me on or come back to work with me. For those who don’t understand what fuchsia blue is about. For those who have made me belly laugh with my head thrown back. For those who have made me cry. For the people who have put up with that scary frowny thing I do when I’m REALLY concentrating. For those who have had no time for me at all. For the folk who took time to read and comment on this blog. For the people who refuse to read the blog because they’d rather not go virtual.

For the people I love and who allow me to love them…..

Thank you.

And if you are reading this, I’ll take the opportunity to wish you &  yours all the very best over the holidays & into 2013… and if you’re not, I’ll catch you somehow.

Seasons Greetings.

ps: I won’t just be doing the thanking via the blog – there will be more specific thanks offered via phone calls and emails and meet-ups and letters….Few Christmas cards, though this year, it’s a donation to Alzheimers Scotland.

pps: Image courtesy of caroline gardner

The Worlds Worst Drug Dealer

I had the pleasure last night of meeting the Worlds Worst Drug Dealer

A little context: It is 7:45pm Friday evening, St Andrews Square, Edinburgh. I’m heading to catch the last bus home (oh yeah. My life is rock & roll.) Liz & I have spotted some sunshine for the first time in 4 or 5 days and we’re standing outside Louis Vuitton, faces pointed towards some actual beams of light, being fairly cynical, laughing, being ourselves. Yes, we have been on the Cab Sauv, rather successfully, and have spent most of the evening putting the world to rights. In short – it has been a brilliant night.

And this wee, hoodied, hip-rolling, pants-showing guy comes wandering up to us and says, in the MOST extraordinary I’m-from-da-hood-proper-London-me accent (forgive the phonetics here):

“Ekx uuuzzz meee laydeeez. Bu’ can ah interet’st yooou in sum weeeeeeeed”

Only he sounded a lot Scottish.

Now at this point, I guess we had choices. We could have politely said “No. Thank you for your generous offer, but we must decline”

We could equally have been a bit uncomfortable and looked at the floor and wished him elsewhere – muttering horrified “No” and hoping he carried on his way.

Did I mention we’d had wine?

This guy looked about 12. He’s got that almost-blue paleness about him which can be so quintessentially Scottish. He’s carrying the malevolence of a marshmallow. He’s puffed up and moving about in front of us with REALLY crazy boxer shorts showing and is, frankly, fascinating.

I can’t help myself:

Me: Is that your genuine accent? Where are you FROM?

(oh God. I sound like my mum)

Him: Yeah Man. I’m from Peckham, ain’t I?

Me: You’re SO not from Peckham… that accent’s all over the shop. Where are you ACTUALLY from?

Him: (now looking a bit uncertain) Ah AM. Ah’m from Peckham. Ah’m jist up ‘ere tryin’ to dooooo sum deals man. Then ah cannn gowww home.

Liz: (warming to the theme): Would that be via Leith?

Him: (Sort of laughing) Nah nah nah. I’m from London city. Good and truuuuu.

Me: (frowning) No you’re not. You look Scottish, You sound Scottish….. Are you Scottish?

Him: (now looking a bit peeved) Do yoooo whaaaannnt sum weeeed or not

Liz: Not, I think.

Me: (now fully warming to the theme) You do realise you’re trying to sell weed to two middle-classed women outside Louis Vuitton in broad daylight? Really? You can’t be doing very good business. I can’t image we’re your target market….How are sales doing?

Liz: hahahahah..

At this point he crumbled. In a perfect, broad Scottish accent he said:

“Sales are shite. I need to up ma game, man.”

And the three of us started talking. Liz got maternal and asked him why was he selling drugs for Christ sakes and I was giving him grief about his shocking wannabe accent. As ever my rally cry was “you have to speak with your own voice. Why are you pretending to be someone you are not?”

His Auntie sat him down a few days a go and told him he had two paths in front of him – one was a good path and he could get a job, have family – live a life. The other was a bad path – selling drugs, probably ending up in jail. He said he wanted to choose the good path, but there are no jobs; he’s already been to prison and now he feels stuck. He wants to make his Auntie proud… but he wants money and status too… it’s hard.

His name is Mark. He’s 19 years old and he has some tough choices to make.

Liz and I were clear with him: he’s not cut out to sell drugs. He’s a guy who has potential – but he shouldn’t ever try to be an impressionist. (We suggested acting might not be his thing, either.) We told him to go speak to his auntie and do something – anything – else

OK, not the most practical intervention ever; but at least we got to talk to him as a person and that was, in the end, very cool.

So the Worlds Worst Drug Dealer is on my mind this morning as I sip my morning cuppa and reflect on the fact I’ve never had to make the choices he has. I wish him well and I kind of hope his sales were terrible last night and that, when he does up his game, it’s under the watchful eye of his Auntie, not his Boss.


Change Starts In The Heart

So it looks like I’m going to start Blogging.  Interesting turn of events.

Late last year I was in conversation with an experienced blogger explaining plainly how this on-line virtual world malarkey wasn’t for the likes of me. “I can’t think of a single thing to say that people would actually want to take the time to read. What on earth do you SAY that is clever and engaging and… well, worthwhile?”

Cautioned by the over-sharing nature of some of what I’d seen on Facebook; baffled by Twitter (but WHO READS IT??? What is the POINT?) I was, frankly, disheartened.

Sam was, as ever, encouraging and practical. Look at Blogging as the start of a conversation – a means to discuss or share information. It’s not about being clever. Though engaging is a good idea…..

On 16th December 2011 on a slate grey, freezing Edinburgh afternoon, I walked through St Andrews Square. In the midst of the Christmas chaos and bitter winds, I saw this hand painted banner in the Occupy Edinburgh camp.  I was so struck by the words – they resonated with me so strongly – that I pulled off my gloves & took a snap with my iphone:

Change Starts In The Heart.

And I’m thinking “Yes. It just might. I think that to really shift or change anything – your hearts needs to be in it.  I feel that and I think that. “

I sent the photo to a friend and the response came back almost instantly: There’s a blogger in you somewhere.

And that stopped me in my tracks. I suddenly felt the very opposite of disheartened – I felt engaged and enlivened…..Because I found I really wanted to say more about the image – about what it said to me. I wanted to share my views… so maybe there was a Blogger in me somewhere.?

It’s taken me months to build up the courage to Blog.  To be bold and share my thoughts, experiences and words out into the virtual world. I’ve played about on Twitter (@fuchsia_blue) and I’ve started a new Facebook page where I try to post stuff which has genuinely moved me, or made me laugh, or given me pause. I’m trying to find my virtual voice – one which is authentically mine and reflects me. Through finding my virtual voice, I find I strengthen my actual voice…. I find finally I have something to say and, even if it isn’t clever, that the words are mine and I can share them gladly and openly – as the start of a discussion.

And people have responded back – comments and re-tweets and coffee & a Facebook chat about  physical memories and journaling with all 5 senses.

And I find I only really want to post things that have touched my heart – that mean enough to me to show my passions and my concerns; or the things that lift my heart and make me smile ( or fall about laughing, of course)

So… it looks like I’m going to start blogging.

Change Starts In The Heart indeed.