Danny Ricciardo

Having never owned an iphone, I’ve always felt a wee bit left behind in the world of podcasts. When you Google anything, you have the option of searching All, Images, Videos, News and even Books, but not Podcasts (surely this feature would be great and is coming soon though, right?!) But it’s good that more and more podcasts are becoming available on android type devices with sites such as Podcast Addict and Audioboom.

Having being forced, er I mean ‘encouraged’ to like F1 by my boyfriend, I can happily now listen to F1 podcasts as I drive around in my (couldn’t-get-further-from-an-F1-car) car and better understand the sport.

One character (besides the obvious wonder dream machine that is Lewis Hamilton) stands out for me: Daniel Ricciardo. The killer instinct behind the cuddly smile is a fascinating juxtaposition and it would take someone with the face of a shark and the heart of a minnow not to want him to do well.

He’s even described himself as a “Honey Badger” – fuzzy on the outside and feisty on the inside. What’s not to love about that.

How to be

Having used YouTube on a daily basis, I thought it would be interesting to explore and contrast fellow video sharing platform Vimeo. People had sent me links to Vimeo before, but I’d always found the site intimidating to navigate and understand, so it was finally time to put on my big girl pants and discover the platform properly.

The first thing you notice is a difference in the home pages. The YouTube home page is a splash of colour and clickable links, so you can dive right in to your entertainment rabbit hole. However with Vimeo you land on a bland page which wants you to sign up or you’re not seeing anything. So I signed up and – oh my goodness – it was worth it. The videos are cinematic sound and stunning visual quality. A feast of short films which have toured international film festivals, or created by people who soon will. The comments are very different too, on Vimeo it’s universally positive, applauding and supporting their creative peers. On YouTube, well, it’s a mixed bag of the good, the bad and the ugly jackass who really should get a better hobby.

The next thing you notice is the adverts – you’re surrounded by them on YouTube. It’s free to post and watch videos, so they’ve got to fun the site somehow I guess. However Vimeo is funded by subscription by the content creators, so it’s an ad free utopia.

I typed “How to” into the search functions of both sites. YouTube has saved my ass on several occasions, from fixing faults with my car to my boiler, it’s a huge money saver and a real practical help. So what was Vimeo’s top hit? The beautifully Zen, How to Be…

YouTube’s top hit? How to Kiss – a practical tutorial by two influencers! Zen instantly shattered. I watched 2 seconds of that video and I think I’ll need to put ‘How To Be’ on loop for the rest of the day. Boke.

Dance Monkey

So this afternoon I have mostly been exploring Merlot – “on a Monday daytime?!” I hear you gasp! No, not the wine (for once) it’s an Open Educational Resource online search tool – try saying that after a few glasses! So what should you learn first when you have the entire world’s knowledge at your fingertips…? How to hip hop dance seems a good start.

Although I’m not sure the Dancing Paul site quite lived up to my lofty expectations. It features some top tunes and will keep you entertained for a good 10 minutes though.

Might even try to whip out some of those moves at the work Christmas party…

Mary, It Began With A Lass

A fast paced journey through the life and loves of Mary Queen of Scots, telling the story of her love for Scotland and the men around her. Performed outdoors in locations special to her story.
Mary and Elizabeth I: two powerful women struggling to retain control of their nations and their love. Must a woman choose between love and power?

Performance 1 hr 15 minutes outdoors (alternate venues on hand if it rains)

Saturday 29 June at 7pm at Battery, Dunbar Harbour
Sunday 30 June at 3pm at Battery, Dunbar Harbour
Tuesday 2 July at 7.30pm at Burgh Halls Rose Garden, Linlithgow
Wed 3rd July at 7.30pm at Storytelling Centre Garden, Edinburgh
Thursday 4th July at 7.30pm at Storytelling Centre Garden, Edinburgh
Saturday 6th July at 7pm at Battery, Dunbar Harbour
Sunday 7th July at 3pm at Battery, Dunbar Harbour

Limited tickets available on the door; Edinburgh dates can be booked in advance via Scottish Story Telling Centre and include entry to John Knox’s House.

Creative Commons

My most popular video on YouTube (by far) is one where I recite the Martin
Niemöller poem First They Came for The Communists. It’s been on the site over 10 years and has received to date about 54,000 views. Interestingly the views spiked when Donald Trump came into power – make of that what you need to.

I was very aware at the time that I hadn’t actually written the poem and it contained an important sentiment for people to hear, so I was happy to give it a Creative Commons licence so it could be shared far and wide, hopefully in educational settings among others.

But I was a little disappointed to find later that someone had copied my video in its entirety. I guess thems the breaks when you post stuff online, I thought. But couldn’t they have at least acknowledged the actor in the video, if not the channel from which it came?

Creative Commons provides a fantastic resource, as long as we all play by the rules. I’ve never met Swiss Beatboxer Pepouni – I’d love to – but I think it’s really great he’s made his work freely available through Creative Commons so I can welcome people to my Home page with it, properly credited of course.

The Creative Commons Licence states that “Every Creative Commons licence includes By Attribution (BY), this requires that the creator of the work be credited and a link (or URL) be provided back to the online source of the work.” So I got in touch with the stealer – sorry Sharer of my video, and asked them to credit me as the originator of it. We shall see if they play ball.

Hamish Henderson

I cannot wait to utter these words on stage:

On the Radical Road celebrates the centenary of Scottish folk hero Hamish Henderson. Brought up by a Gaelic-speaking single mother in Blairgowrie, then educated at Cambridge; Hamish believed that Scottish people can not express themselves fully in English so was passionate about keeping the Scots language alive. He was an early pioneer of the Edinburgh Fringe, so it is apt that Theatre Objektiv is bringing his poetry and songs back to the Fringe to entertain and inspire a new audience, 100 years since his birth. A great introduction to Hamish and his work.

Hamish Henderson on The Radical Road is on every night at 8pm at the Scottish Story Telling Centre on the Royal Mile. Tickets are available on the Edinburgh Fringe website:

To find out more about Hamish Henderson:


With ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable

Thomas Buxton, 1886

For most of us Wikipedia is the first stop on any research journey, but I have been finding out there is so much more to the wonderful world of Wikimedia. From buckets of quotes for when your inspiration takes a dip on Wikiquote, to free to use music on Wikimedia Commons, you could even take a course on Voice Acting at Wikiversity.

Feeling uplifted and wanting to share joy with the world I tried to add some epic beat boxing from Wikimedia Commons to my About page, so visitors can bop along to the beat as they read my creative history. But when I went to show my son to prove how down with the kids Mum really is, I found out it only works in selected web browsers. Damn. It’s a real shame they don’t make the music files available in a range of universal formats to satisfy every creative need, I grumbled, then downloaded some wine and went to bed.

However one thing about me is that I’m not easily beaten, or I’m perfectly stubborn, one of the two; so I clicked and read and clicked and read until at last I found an mp3 file, figured out a way to attach it and got it to work.

Ultimately I learned three things throughout this process: 1. Firefox is a far superior web browser; 2. the navigation of Wikimedia Commons is terrible, but if you drill down eventually you will strike gold; 3. perseverance pays off.

Pony spotting

If you’ve watched all of my Youtube videos and STILL have nothing better to do, go to Google Hangouts, start a chat with anyone and type in /ponystream

If it doesn’t make your mouth curl up at the sides just a tiny wee bit you are probably dead inside. I spotted a flaming pony, a unicorn pony, an Elvis pony and a hipster pony.

Too sickly sweet? Type in /pitchforks and find out why the aforementioned pony is flaming.

You have now utilised this app to the peak of its ability and have no further reason to ever use it again. Trot on Hangouts, you are so 2016.

Face up

Ah Facebook – I use you every day and yet I hate you. You play on my fear of missing out, yet cause me to miss out on what is right in front of me – the beauty of the wonderfully wild world.

You have messed so badly with our News Feeds you now expect us to make Groups to find out about the people who we really care about.

Isolated, we join large groups of strangers with a single common interest, instead of spending quality time with close friends building several common interests together.

We scroll endlessly through groups, pages and news feeds, like a slot machine that rarely wins in a casino that never shuts. Switch off! Uninstall. Remember those old TV adverts “It’s good to talk”? TALK, to whoever is next to you. Use your phone to call a friend and ask them what they are up to and how they are. Instead of staring into the hypnotic online void.

Ah well, time for bed, I’ll have a quick check of Facebook, then enjoy a real book, then melt into a nice early night… OMG it’s 2am. What am I still doing on facebook!!!!?

Machir Bay, Islay