Voice’s Old Susannah takes a look over the past week’s events in the ‘Deen and beyond. By Suzanne Kelly.
I’d have loved to say that this was another great week in the Deen and the wider world, but senseless violence has again cast shadows.
Parents are burying their son who was stabbed to death in his school. Parisiens are mourning friends family and colleagues after a brutal, barbaric attack on a city and its freedom. People are coping with these tragedies in different ways.
If I had some clever, healing words that could make it all better, I’d write them. What I will say though is violence is never the answer.
Conflicts rage around the world, between individuals and between ideaologies, races, sexes. The answers are kindness, reason, justice equality and freedom for all.
Everyone can find a way to help put these in place – whether it’s in your school, your job, your neighbourhood or your country. Do something positive; do something useful with your anger. Violence is never the answer.
As for me, I intend to keep doing what I do; to try and do more both to stand up against what is wrong, and help people (and animals and the environment). Giving up isn’t on the agenda. Carrying on is. Whatever your answer is, make it a peaceful one.
Normal services resume. Here are a few definitions from recent events here in the granite city. If you think humour is inappropriate at present, remember no one’s forcing you to read this. However, laughter, and pointing out things that are wrong whether on a local or national scale with a bit of satire helps a bit for me. Hopefully it might help another person or two as well.
Isn’t it wonderful? The spirit of good will approaches, and not to be found wanting, Aberdeen Inspired is going to allow musicians to busk at their Christmas Village!
Form an orderly queue; you will be allowed to play for free! And, you can ‘put your hat out in the ‘usual manner’ – for after all, being a musician is kind of one step above being a beggar.
This will give you much need exposure. Exposure to rain, cold, wind, and exposure to pleading for money. At least by then we should have swept all the homeless and beggars off the streets – so that it will be easier for you as a musician to get a bigger share of the 5p pieces that otherwise might have gone to a homeless person.
The life of a musician’s an easy one. You learn to play a few songs (takes a day or two); learn to play in time and in tune with others (allow another day), buy an instrument or two (some guitarists have more than one guitar; I’ve never been able to figure that out, or why drum kits have more than one drum).
you’ve no overheads. And – it gives you exposure
Then, you start performing. You might even get a bass player to join your band (quick definition: a bass player is a cross between a musician and a drummer).
Money comes hand over fist overnight, and you fight off different record company offers and groupies.
Recording music costs next to nothing these days, you don’t need studios, engineers, producers; you can do it all in your bedroom and it will sound just as good. And if you want a really excellent CD cover, just get some graphic artist to do it for free, for the exposure, don’t you know?
Within a month of writing your songs, getting a band together, cutting CDs to sell, you’ll be rolling in it. Playing for free at events like Aberdeen’s Christmas Village is fine, because you’ve no overheads. And – it gives you exposure. That will increase your record sales.
Perhaps the people who’ve designed this event, who take a cut of all the business rate taxes in our fair city, are likewise going to work for free. Perhaps their suppliers and their security guards will as well. I can’t wait to see Santa, the reindeer (which really don’t belong in the wild, and are much better off being transported, kept in small enclosures and gawped at by crowds – but I digress) and Santa’s traditional security guards.
In keeping with the true meaning of Christmas, I hear the Coca Cola truck is soon to put in an appearance too. In light of all this – asking musicians to perform for free or to beg for donations, and the beverage company distribution truck, it makes me think the City of Culture bid loss was a fix. By the way, the Culture bid team bought itself a number of ipads; does anyone happen to know where these are now? Just asking.
So musicians – playing this gig will get you that lucrative record deal that much faster – sign up here: Oh, and it couldn’t hurt to get matching t-shirts with the Aberdeen Inspired logo (someone remind me – what was the cost of this logo? It’s nearly as cool as the ACSEF one, which was at least a five figure sum. In hindsight, ACSEF should have found someone to do it for free.
I wonder whether the commission could have been given to an ACSEF member, like when they commissioned photos to show that UTG is empty and hard to access. That cost us the taxpayer a few hundred quid, and well spent it was. But paying musicians? Well, you’ve got to draw the line somewhere.
Deer Population Figures:
At least the deer being transported around the area during Coca Cola Truck season aren’t (probably) in any immediate danger of being poached or culled, although the concentration of these little things in such a small area is contrary to SNH population guidelines.
The SNH think we can have a healthy gene pool and stable herd on Tullos Hill with something like 3-5 deer allowed. I think that sounds as scientific and reasonable to you as it does to me.
Here’s how the city manages to explain the deer population figures:
- January 2014 – inconclusive
Despite SNH using their best technology such as thermal imaging, they counted 19 deer in the city area.
- January 2013 – too few
Deer remains were found on both Tullos and Kincorth hills by walkers. The city warden didn’t think the Kincorth find (including remains of a skinned cat) were worth mentioning. At any rate. the city’s ranger service concluded the Tullos deer were so few in number that the criminals did this: they poached the deer somewhere else (you have to gut deer quickly or the meat goes bad), then decided to carry the entrails and severed limbs up to Tullos Hill.
Have you been to Tullos? It’s the most accessible, straightforward place to dump any cumbersome crime evidence. No, the city might not really know how many or how few deer are left, but they do know the crime was committed elsewhere. They said:
“The Tullos one is something we heard about from the police who are investigating this as poaching though [name redacted] and I suspect the animals could not have been taken on Tullos Hill as the population that [name redacted] has seen in recent months is less than this. SNH were due to be doing their repeat thermal imaging survey on the Tull0s Hill last night, I haven’t heard the results of how many deer they found.”
- April 2015 – far too many
The city claims that a deer a week is involved in a road accident these past two years. They bravely withheld this information from the public and cleverly warned absolutely no one about it, waiting to spring this on the public as a reason for more culling.
However robust their data, they are withholding it. This may or may not be related to the fact their data in April included non-city accidents, and a deer found dead – in a nature reserve.
Surely they would instantly share their data to prove how accurate and scientific they are? Surely we’d be seeing a huge spike in figures as they’ve basically allowed building to take over huge tracts of former deer habit from Loirston to Kingswells? Surely they’d want to help do something to stop accidents when bulldozers come in?
Peter Leonard said ‘that’s the landowner’s issue’ in almost so many words. They have this data. They’ve been asked for it for weeks now. They’re not sharing it.
This is now a FOI request, and Old Susannah can hardly wait to see if their answer is as robust as their last FOI answer on the cost of the scheme. Told by the Petitions committee to release all the costs, they sent a spreadsheet to me – five months after being told to do so – that had at least £50,000 of costs missing from it – compared to a spreadsheet I had been sent previously.
So – depending on whether or not it fits the current situation, whether or not we have a lot or a few deer is very much a flexible question when the city’s concerned. Then again, who are we to doubt them when they’ve delivered the lush, award-winning, cost-neutral, wildlife-packed forest we all enjoy on Tullos Hill?
You see, if we didn’t destroy our deer to plant that forest, they’d have nowhere to live. Although they lived on the hill before just fine. (for more info, just search Aberdeen Voice re. Tullos Hill or deer – all feeble excuses about culling are more than covered. We don’t have to kill. But it’s a nice little earner for a few folks, and a career-booster as well).
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Working for no pay seems to be the thing nowadays – not so much Minimum/Minimal Wage as No Wage.
I have been practising ‘Silent Night’ on my recorder and have looked out my elf hat, you know, the one I can use to collect the money, that will of course be rolling in when they hear my rendition of said carol. There will not be a dry eye on the terrace.
A bit harsh on bass players eh? 😉
In an ever changing world of seemingly irresistible technological advance, it is always comforting to return to my native city, to find that some things remain reassuringly familiar, not least the apparently relentless Aberdeen City Council drive to remove all forms of wildlife, particularly roe deer, beyond the city limits.
Throw in the unwillingness of Aberdeen City Council, to voluntarily provide information to justify a degree of mass slaughter, rumoured to be the basis of a forthcoming Hollywood blockbuster entitled Bambi meets ISIS, and I am almost breaking into a proud and spontaneous chorus of The Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen.