Born Edinburgh, Scotland at the very end of WW11.
As a final patriotic attempt by my dad to make the Germans run screaming from all remaining thoughts of invading Britain -or even seeking asylum there- and Scotland in particular, he had the RAF drop my first baby photos over anything that was left standing in Berlin and Dresden Germany. I was the reason Hitler offed himself when he got ahold of one of these. It wasn’t the Russians I tell you! It made him realize that the “Master Race” was impossible!
I’m an only child due to my mother’s prolonged labor in delivery. As she said herself “Ye were what they ca’d a “Lazy baby” and ye’ve been lazy ever since!”
Raised and allegedly received basic education in Hawick, the Scottish Borders -you would say Haa-wick” but it’s pronounced in the half-Nordic, half-Saxon almost separate language as a half throat-clearing projectile word-vomit “Hie-kk”! It gets worse as you penetrate the depths o’t as my wife Kate will testify.
My dad was a dedicated and talented mechanical engineer who was always inventing stuff in the course of his work but “Couldna be bothered” to follow up by patenting any of it. I guess that he had the same built-in anti-success mechanism I have to this day. My mother, when she wasn’t working as a cashmere and lambswool “Looker and mender” was a brilliant and waste-nothing cook and baker, the very seed of my lifelong passion for food and cooking and the funniest woman I’ve ever met to this day. Her younger sister my Aunt Margot was a lesbian who raised me culturally in general and musically in particular and was more like an elder sister than an aunt. Also a lifelong fun person heavily involved in the theater, who made me aware that I have a strong feminine side and to honor it..
Politically I’m somewhere left of Hugo Chavez; a “Small-Business Socialist”. All for free-enterprise but not for Corporate Socialism (Plutocracy) nor the attitudes of many established local businesses “I’ve got mine, screw you”! Lifelong lefty activist in several countries, oft-jailed. Used to take hard cash from Amnesty International to some of Franco’s political prisoners when they were sprung from jail. I’ve see Fascism close-up in the Generalissimo’s Spain, Suharto’s Indonesia and Stroessner’s Paraguay, all supported and armed by the US at different times. I see a definite tendency to drift that way here as the population becomes less engaged, more passive and dumbed-down by commercialism. I’m delighted to see a large part of South and central America tuning away from the US Capitalist model and forming a bloc of progressive leftist governments. Enough of that for now, or I’ll get on my soap box.
Religion -what’s that? To me simply a way of controlling masses of people by guilt and exploiting their weaknesses with a kind of faux-spiritual blackmail. I’m a recovering Catholic. Impressed by the American Indian spiritual vision of the “Great Unknowable” (Wakan Tanka in Lakota) which they share with most other indigenous peoples I’ve encountered around the world. Inducted as an honorary member of A.I.M. (the American Indian Movement) in 1994 when I was working with native alcoholics in the Portland and Celilo areas and heavily active in several social justice issues for them. That’s as close as I get to religion.
Sport -Swimming and Water Polo at a national (Scottish) level and Olympic trialist, Rugby, Golf (tried to qualify for the British open once when I was 2-handicap -unsuccessfully) and even Tennis. Confined to watching Rugby and Golf now, although not finished with the latter. Enjoy American Football now that I understand the rules a bit thanks to my friend Gerry Hynes and Greg of the Tsunami Bar and Grill and former Boise State player. Hate basketball (“Netball” in the UK) with an unreasoning passion probably picked up in Lexington, KY as a counter to “Wildcat fever”.
Architectural and Construction Management career -if you can call it that- used as a means of getting me traveling about the globe rather than professionally ambitious per se. Former owner of Reiver CM and Design with a base office in Manzanita and work all over the Pacific Northwest.
Art -Ceramics and Watercolor mostly but tried furniture design, glass blowing and sculpture in college. Owner-Potter of Nehalem Clayworks.
Cooking as a part time job in times of real need or just out of interest but a lifelong fascination spurred by my ma’ but also fine chefs (and a couple of real bastards) I’ve worked with in different countries, and household servants in prosperous times, street cooks and vendors.
Music -Flamenco and Jazz all over the place from some of the better regarded british Jazz bands to a sit-in with the Dee-Dee Pierce Preservation hall band to learning Flamenco from some of the greats of the Spanish 1960 and 70’s guitarists. I play solo gutar at Sweet Basil’s Wine Bar in Cannon Beach every Sunday night starting @ 6.00 PM.
Travel -my favorite countries? Spain, Scotland, France (Hope to return to one of these to live out my final years, especially as the US health don’t-care for-profit and criminal non-system is so seemingly entrenched in the face of the rest of the allegedly “civilized” world’s quality of life milieu), Greece, Australia, Morocco, Ecuador, Costa Rica, certain areas of Indonesia and certain parts of India. -O’ aye, almost forgot, and Hawaii, which I have a hard time equating with the mainland USA; -more like a bit of S.E. Asia without the snakes. Least favorite; the former Yugoslavia, especially the Bosnian center and most of Mexico except the Yucatan Peninsula.
I’ve always enjoyed writing and live theater and just had a poem inducted into the Scottish National Poetry Library; amazing as I’ve never thought of myself as a poet nor taken my daffy scribblin’s seriously, so I must be doin’ something right.
Higher Education; Architecture, Heriot – Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland 1967. Art and Design, Edinburgh College of Art, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1976. Life, Ad infinitum, Planet Earth, Sol-System, Milky Way Galaxy, the Universe we know about.
And I LOVE and am fascinated by CATS, always have been. Currently owned by five.
I’m here as I seem to have a tendency to marry Oregonian women -my second and current wife Kate is a true, beloved, beautiful and funny soul mate and we have laffed (spelling deliberate) our way through prosperity and poverty, our current state. My daughter Daun, born in Java Indonesia and now living in Madison Wisconsin, is a bit of a chip off the old bloke, an avid cook and very athletic, enigmatic, occasionally ornery and politically aware and active. She and Kate are on extremely good terms (soul-sistah’s as Daun has said) for which I’m very grateful.
One more thing, and most of you on the Edge know this from the late Rev Billy and Uncle Mike’s Burgess’ writings. Just because you think you are creative, artistic or such, don’t EVER get the notion that you are oh-so-spiritual-woo-woo and above politics or socio-political involvement at the grassroots. In fact, it’s part of your function in the spirit of so many martyred artists and activists against their monarchical or wealthy masters.
Shall I name-drop from my past at you? Nah, that would just draw sneers and I get plenty of that in Tillamook county.
Shall I write something clever? Dunno how really; just let it all come out as it will.
Shall I quit now while I’m ahead? Possibly.
A couple of favorite quotes off’n the top of my head and then I’m done, promise.
Mahatma Ghandi, when asked what he thought of Western Civilization: “I think it would be a very good idea”!
Omar Khayyam, The Rubayat, “Myself when young did eagerly frequent Doctor and Saint, and heard great Argument. About it and about: but evermore; Came out by the same Door as in I went”!
Stitting Bull, Hunkpapa Lakota after seeing much of the US from Buffalo Bill Cody’s traveling Show. “The White Man can make many things but has never learned how to share them”!
John Mortimer’s Rumpole of the Bailey, “Nothing pleasurable is worth denying yourself for a few more years in an elderly “care” home”.
Robert Burns, From “Tae a Louse”.”O’ wad some power the giftie gie us, tae see oorsel’s as ithers see us”
Bob Dylan: No matter how great you are boy, you’ll never be greater than yourself”! High Water Everywhere. “And in all their promises of Paradise, you will not hear a laugh”! The Gates of Eden.
My Mother, Mattie Johnstone, who had her own way of saying everything when stopped at a three-way junction, to my dad driving; “Hurry up, here’s nuthing comin”!
“A-bb-a-b-a-b, a-bbbb, thhthhtat’s alll fffolkss -heh-heh-heh-heh”!