Thursday, November 25, 2004

Broughty Ferry

Phew! Just back from a night out in Dundee, Newport-on-Tay and Broughty Ferry, which taxed my liver to the utmost.
It was work, honest. I'm not at liberty to explain what at the moment, but it's a mega-exciting project which was signed, sealed and is yet to be delivered.
Anyway, I'd never been in Broughty Ferry before, Dundee's salubrious firth-side suburb. It's a splendid place, full of great pubs (the Fisherman's and the Ship were our howffs of choice) and one of the best Indian restaurants I've encountered in 30 years of Scottish curry-quaffing. Bombay Joe's, if you're in the vicinity.
I like Dundee. That waterfront is phenomenal, and the bridges (crossing from Fife To Dundee this morning was extravagantly enjoyable, hangover notwithstanding). Good restaurants, great pubs, nice folk, cheaper than average housing. Captain Scott's boat, too. I will return. Or should that be 'shall'?
Meanwhile, to the talkface! One Alka Seltzer XS, six vitamin yeast tablets, a fried egg roll, a bacon roll, loads of tea, a bowl of soup, a steak pie. I feel...all right, as Steve Earle would say...

Monday, November 15, 2004


So, for the moment, the feeling is that the sound quality provided by ISDN wasn't quite up to the Beeb's standards, and therefore broadcasting from the Barn of Bannocks is currently in abeyance.
We shall see if a few tweaks can't sort things out. It was rather unfortunate that the webcam system I'd gone to so much trouble to set up turned out have a similar (one character away) address as a live sex site, but hey, these things happen. Might have been better if I hadn't inadvertently forwarded said address to various BBC executives too...
Anyway, at least I have speedy internet access at the Barn, though not so speedy as the much-vaunted, much-promised, and much-missed broadband...

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Barn of Bannocks broadcasting

Well, here I sit at last in the Barn of Bannocks, connected up to the wonderweb through BT Business Highway (no broadband in the remote fastness of Northmavine, Shetland) at a glorious 128 thingies.
The excellent Scott, with help from Duncan, has converted the barn into a relatively comfortable retreat from the madness of daily life; or if you will, a shed. Ah, the concept of the Human Shed - mostly male, it should be said! A place to go and be alone with...books, records, loud stereo systems, recording equipment, bicycles and, on Thursday, all being well, broadcasting.
Yep, the daily Tom Morton Show (, 14.00 hrs, GMT, weekdays) will be beamed, or rather, wired, from the Barn of Bannocks for two days, at least until we see if the technology works or something breaks down. The AEQ codec box is installed and has been tested. The venerable AKG microphone has been wiped of spittle and hoovered for curry residue.
All this speaking down the phone lines (hey, there's a novel concept) in quality is currently impossible with packet-switched broadband (which I can't get hereabouts anyway), though I understand experiments are afoot to see if it can be made to work. My biggest problem is with visuals. Using the old BBC music lines from Lerwick, I can both broadcast and set up a Netmeeting connection via the BBC's intranet. Not possible from a remote location, and so at the moment, I'm trying out, with a webcam-to-the world in not very good quality. We shall see. or rather, we might not...

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Aberdeen boardwalk...

...or to be precise, wide and long seaside pavement of asphalt and cement. Which could soon disappear, so they're saying (see ) thanks to global warming and big huge waves.
This, I hereby aver, would be a great pity. Though I have been gently rapped over the knuckles for saying on-air today that Aberdeen's was "the only city beach in Scotland", I still think that the glorious Aberdeen beachfront puts everything else in the suburban shade. I mean, Portobello is at Portobello; Cramond is at Cramond, Broughty Ferry is at...well, Broughty Ferry. Aberdeen beach is right there, over the links and at...Aberdeen. The harbour area is right next to it.
And in no other Scottish city can you perambulate, skateboard, rollerblade or cycle for miles along the cementway, asphaltwalk or whatever you care to call it, with waves on one side and the city skyline on the other. Not to mention the availability of great greasy spoon food and a year-round, Coney-Island style fairground.
The less said about the hideous cinema development the better. It's an absolute disgrace that this was ever permitted, and on publicly-owned linksland too.
Anyway, the beach could disappear if they don't get their groines sorted out. Which sounds nasty, and probably is.