Phew. Been an action-packed couple of weeks, hence the lack of blog posting. After an unhappy month of travails I now have a shiny, new and fully functioning Mac with a ludicrously big screen. Yet to figure out 90% of the things it can do, but email and all my old programmes work so that'll do for now. No doubt I'll discover more soon.
The week before last was a crazed runaround, doing a thousand things at once before going holiday. Had the pleasure of hosting a masterclass session with James Moran at what's now called ESSaMA - the Edinburgh Skillset Screen and Media Academy. Back when I was studying screenwriting there, it was just Screen Academy Scotland. [Perhaps they realised somebody else was using the acronym SAS.]
James was a delight - funny, informative, telling lots of truths without naming too many names. Hopefully his session will have been an eye-opener for those present starting on their journey as screenwriters. Plenty of my creative writing MA students came along too, and stayed around to chat afterwards. All in all, our first joint masterclass with ESSaMA was a rousing success.
Next day it was up before dawn to catch a flight to New York for a city break in the Big Apple. Rather than check into a hotel, spent four nights in a studio apartment near the Flatiron building, rented via the airbnb.com website. Wonderfully central location on Lexington Avenue, pretty much walking distance from everything south of Central Park with the subway only a block away. Aces.
Trip was blessed with incredible weather - glorious sunshine all but the last day, autumnal yet warm and welcoming. The only other time I'd been in New York was a week after New Year's, when the temperature never got up to zero and a foot of snow covered every surface - bitterly cold, in short. The contrast couldn't haven't been more stark, and this trip couldn't have been better timed.
Saturday was about settling in and getting comfortable. Up before dawn on Sunday to go on an architectural walking tour - the Flatiron, Empire State, 30 Rock, etc. Went to see the Broadway production of A Steady Rain, starring Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman. Had a walk through Central Park, basking in sunshine while people ice skated. Watched the season finale of Mad Men as it was broadcast. Class.
Monday was shopping day, particularly SoHo and the East Village. Met up with 2000AD artist Simon Fraser for lunch at Katz's Diner, sight of that infamous scene from When Harry Met Sally where Meg Ryan fakes an orgasm. Yes, the sandwiches there are that good. A real slice of old New York, the diner's closing soon so the whole block can be rebuilt. It'll return, but will never be quite the same.
Tuesday was culture day, an amazing exhibition of paintings by Kandinsky at the Guggenheim Museum. Another stroll through sun-baked Central Park, pausing to admire the Alice In Wonderful sculpture. Bizarrely, someone chose that moment to practise their bagpipes in the park. Badly. Seems I can leave Scotland to go on holiday, but I can guarantee to escape it. An odd moment.
Wednesday was packing up day. Wandered round an open air organic market in Union Square and saw Oscar-tipped Brit movie An Education at the pictures. Lovely. Then the long schlep back to Newark airport for the flight home. Only at the last did anything go wrong, as my broken seat wouldn't recline. Made for a very uncomfortable 7+ hour flight, thanks to my ever-broken tailbone.
Back home from Edinburgh, had a bath and then drove into Glasgow to talk about narrative, comics and new technology at a digital forum called Cross Creative. Can't recall what I said in my jet-lagged state, but it seemed to go alright. Back home again to collapse. Into uni next day to lead a class, do some mentoring and attempt to plot the way forwards. Quite a couple of weeks.
Today I've got some ideas to develop for Doctors and thoughts to prepare for a meeting in That Fancy London tomorrow. Happily, I'm not getting the pre-dawn flight down, so I don't have to rise at 4am to start my travels. But it will be a long day, and then I'm back teaching at Edinburgh Napier University the rest of the week. In no time that four-day city break seems a long time ago. Such is life.