I just've read NonNonBa by Shigeru Mizuki, published this year by Drawn and Quarterly. It's a story of growing up in the 1930s in small-town Japan under the guidance of a yokai-knowledgeable granny. Yokai are ghosts and monsters. But judging by the amount of verdigris on these statues in Mizuki's home town of Sakaiminato, the story is pretty well established. Despite the acknowledged coolness of Japan, there's still just a trickle of their culture making it to Nova Scotia on the other side of the globe. For example: can I find novels by living Japanese novelists not named Haruki Murakami? Not much! D
My grandmother Catherine McLeod was a Labour Party organizer in Greenock in the 1940s. In 1941 the MP for Greenock, Robert Gibson, retired to become chairman of the Scottish Land Court, and a by-election was called to fill the vacancy at Westminster. It fell to Catherine to scare up a candidate. According to the story my grandfather Archie said, "That Hector McNeil's a good man." McNeil had stood for Parliament elsewhere four times already but lost each time. Catherine phoned him (their apartment was one of the few dwellings in the neighbourhood with a telephone) and in two hours McNeil was on the doorstep. He received the nomination, ran and won, and served as MP for Greenock until his death in 1955. He rose to the position of Secretary of State for Scotland in the Attlee government, was vice-president of the United Nations General Assembly in 1947, and helped bring the IBM plant to Greenock.
In 1963 the new indoor swimming pool on Inverkip Road was name after him. Isn't it the picture of Sixties functionality? If it were a coat it would have narrow lapels. The building was demolished in 2002 and the site remains empty to this day. Photos of the demolition here.
Falkirk visit Cappielow today. Last season the Bairns finished third in the division, though the Ton had the advantage in head to head meetings, with two wins, a loss and a draw. Falkirk were very active in pre-season friendlies, beating Stirling Albion, Turriff United, Fraserburgh, and Hearts(!), while losing to Alloa, East Fife and Middlesbrough of the English Championship, and tying Formentine United, Spartans, and Bolton Wanderers. They beat Stirling Albion in the first round of the Challenge Cup and Elgin City in the first round of the League Cup. Then they were selected to meet Rangers in the next round of both competitions! Morton haven't played Rangers in twelve years! Last Tuesday Rangers beat them 1 - 0 in the Ramsdens Cup. Next Tuesday they meet again in the League Cup. [Ugh. Falkirk win 2 - 1. Morton goal by Campbell. Partick take over first place.]
Today is Round One of the Scottish Cup. A gallimaufry of 36 junior and amateur clubs compete for the opportunity to draw Rangers in the next round. Let's keep an eye on Spartans, an Edinburgh club that has been trying to get into the SFL and would be my pick to replace East Stirlingshire whenever promotion into the Third Division comes to pass. [Spartans lost 2 - 0 to Wick Academy.]
Vladimir Putin, who has been running Russia since 1999, swapped jobs with his crony Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in 2008, and again this year, circumventing the term limits set on the Russian presidency.
Morton host Aberdeen in the second round of the Scottish League Cup. I was hoping for this draw because till now I haven't had an opportunity to write about the Dons.
Which is more illustrious, Morton or Aberdeen? Aberdeen. They have won the Scottish Cup seven times, the Scottish League Cup five times, and the Scottish League four times. In 1983 they were top club in Europe, winning the Cup Winners Cup and the Super Cup. They have not been outside the top Scottish division since 1904. They wear red and white.
Aberdeen are managed by Craig Brown, former Scottish team manager, and a very measured, paragraphical speaker, who never fails to give credit where credit is due. Here he is being interviewed by Catherine Deveney. (At first I read that as Catherine Deneuve, which would have made for a fascinating interview.)
The scholars at greenockmorton.org record that the last time Aberdeen played at Cappielow was a League Cup match on September 3, 1996. Aberdeen won 7 - 3.
These two clubs also met in Round Four of the 1989-90 Scottish Cup on February 24, 1990. Here's some footage. And once upon a time they were together in the Premier Division (see programme).
Aberdeen are having an okay season so far, sitting fifth in the SPL. Last year they flirted with relegation, as a result of which they are not taking part in the Europa or Champions League. But they have a friendly with Stavanger coming up next week.
[It goes to extra time, but Aberdeen prevail 2 - 0.]