Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hotblack Desiato

It only occurred to me after I'd completed my 2011 census form and sealed it safely away in its overtly official looking blue C4, but there are certain parallels this year. OK there's one, kinda. The incidental character in Adams' multifaceted masterwork was "spending a year dead, for tax reasons". I'm spending a month unemployed, for tax reasons. Kinda. Certainly on the census form that's how I've listed myself... which felt weird.

The thing is, while I'm confidently setting up myself ready for life as a sole trader, I don't (at present) have any contracts, and Gecko's timing in closing their Edinburgh office and laying me (and everyone else) off, leaves me a month (or thereabouts) short of the start of the new tax year. So I could start all the assorted bureaucratic proceedings in motion now... and saddle myself with a requirement for filing 2010-2011 tax returns (for a tax year in which I was paid entirely on a PAYE basis). Or (as I am doing) I can get all my ducks in a row, but hold off shooting them down until after April 6th. Thus neatly saving myself (and the inland revenue) a year's worth of meaningless and unnecessary paperwork. An unexpected upshot of which is that the 2011 census will record me as being unemployed.

Paraphrasing Hotblack's bodyguard makes me feel better about it.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Somehow - don't ask me how - I managed to reset all the blog archive date fields to midnight on Jan 2nd 2001. Happily I have a backup but annoyingly I'm having to re-enter the correct dates to each post manually... all the way back to 2003. Fun. I've got as far as December '04 now, will hopefully have it all back sorted tomorrow.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


The last post before splateagle v3 went dark (a little over a year ago! Sorry about that) began with the words "Interesting times". If only I'd known how appropriate those would turn out to be!

Before I crack on with new blog posts, I figured I should do the whistle-stop catch up of what's happened in the past 13 months.

Hamish and Craig made a successful move north to Wick in April. In a display of the universe's occasional tendency to pleasing accidental symmetry, I just got back from visiting them for the first time last night. They seem very happy and settled. Wick and the surrounding area are just a starkly beautiful as I thought, but you don't have to take my word for that, I took pictures.

Meanwhile (with a lot of help from my friends) I packed my life into a big box:


... and moved in with Anita while I looked for a new flat. That lasted around six months, but after a few false starts I found a cracking little place in the right part of the city and within my means. Since mid October I've been living by myself for the first time ever (except for a brief stint at the house after Anita and Justin had moved out but before I sold it) and enjoying it.

So home life is good and settled. Everything else...

After what were - without a doubt - the happiest 18 months of my life, Joe broke up with me in January. I didn't document much of our time together here (partly because most of it happened while the site was dormant... and the site partly stayed dormant so long because I was busy being with Joe...) but being with him made me the happiest I've ever been, and I miss him. All the time. We parted on good terms and are trying to find a new balance as friends. It hurts like hell not being part of that magical combination of personalities any more... but at the same time I'm very glad he's still in my life, even if it's at a distance. Also I can see that this is what he needs right now, though it makes me sad... and in a strange way knowing it's for the best for him makes it all OK. The optimist in me hopes things might change again some day.

Paling into insignificance beside that (for me at least), another seismic shift in my life happened this month: the Leeds based marketing agency where I've worked for for the past 4 years announced they were closing their Edinburgh office making us all redundant. At the end of March I'll officially be unemployed (again). I'm optimistic about it.

In all honesty I was tired of the post at Gecko, and it was time for a change. Back when I joined, the company was smaller and still deciding what shape to be. I joined as an Account Manager and was enthusiastic about that but I joined a tiny team (2 including myself) and so I also joined as a Graphic Designer - you wear a lot of hats in small offices. I had hoped that that part of my role would expand and develop over time. As the company grew however they needed me more and more as an AM and less and less as a designer. I enjoy account management, but I love design, and losing the best part of my role by inches made me sad.

So I'm looking on the redundancy as an opportunity. I've decided to take another stab at freelancing. I have contacts and experience a plenty. All I need is clients! Hopefully that will come in time. I'm also keeping an eye out for contract work, and/or a more fulfilling permanent creative post somewhere. Watch this space.

Interesting times indeed.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I'm back!

It worked! Took a little while (and a couple of attempts) to get the whole thing uploaded but I guess it makes sense: I just moved hosts and tore down the whole site to rebuild it from scratch...

I'm in Wick just now enjoying the tail end of a lovely visit with Hamish and Craig so the long update post will have to wait but hurrah! I'm back!

Friday, March 18, 2011


egads! It's been over a year?!

Well at long last is back and (hopefully) better than ever. I'll stick up a catch up post once I'm sure everything's working as it should, but in the mean time "we apologise for the delay, normal service has now been resumed".