Four years ago, I left Aberdeen after a decade of mischief-making in the Granite City. In the subsequent years, a lot has happened: I’m four years older (just like you) and have carved myself a niche in the volcanic rock of Auld Reekie. By day I’m a copywriter; by night I’m a blogger; on my business cards I’m Mr Ed Uncovered and when I’m trying to impress a certain breed of woman, I’m a gonzo journalist.
Mostly though, I’m a stoned dropout whose obituary will read “He could have achieved so much more.” Growing up in Aberdeen, you essentially have two options: get an oil job or don’t. I chose the latter (or did it choose me?), hence the structured prose you see before you that conceals a chaotic life.
If passports were issued by city, I would have dual nationality: one part Aberdonian, one part Edinburgh. I’m wedded to the capital now, but my heart still belongs to the north-east. While a permanent reunion is unlikely, it looks like I may be returning to Aberdeen for the next couple of months. With this in mind, I thought I’d compose an ode to my home city. There are many things wrong with Aberdeen, but today I’m going to focus on the positives.
I guess it’s true what they say: absence really does make the heart grow fonder.
10 things I miss about Aberdeen
Edinburgh sells rolls – some of which are ambitiously described as morning rolls – but they’re not the morning roll, the one roll to rule them all. Where would us Aberdeen folk be without the rowie? Probably in better nick, with lower blood pressure and less cholesterol, but that’s not the point. The rowie is awesome. For added healthiness, serve with a thick layer of butter and jam.
The music scene
I don’t miss this because I’ve moved away; I miss it because it no longer exists. At least not in the form it used to. Smoking outside Dr Drakes; bumping into bands in One Up; spilling out of Drummonds; smelling Paul Stewart’s dreads before entering
Glow Lava Kef.
Deadloss, Quik, Point of Origin, FeSTR, 10 Easy Wishes, Clocker, Nero, de Barros, Psycho A Go Go, Gilman Street, Black Atom, Hot Mangu, We Become Less, My Decaying Leg, Stayover, Alyssa’s Wish, my own Sirius and all the others – I miss you guys. Such feels. Very nostalgia.
2:45, downing pints in the Pittodrie Bar before speed-marching to Merkland Road, passing kids in bobble hats and old mannies wrapped in red and white scarves. Queueing for a ticket; queueing for a piss; queueing for a pie; queueing for the sake of queueing.
Like any sensible Aberdonian, I’ve never actually swam in it or sailed on it, but I’ll batter anyone who has a bad word to say about the cold, grey North Sea. Its oil lubricates the city and its icy waters remind us to never reach a stage of inebriation where skinny-dipping seems like a good idea.
The shitty landmarks
To outsiders, they’re wind-battered relics that only a shit-bombing seagull could love. To Aberdonians, they’re local treasures. Union Terrace Gardens, Rubislaw Quarry, Broadhill, Torry Battery and the Grampian Eye: all shit to the world. All amazing to me.
It’s not that Aberdeen’s drugs are better than the rest of Scotland’s (the coke is considerably worse); it’s more that I used to get really good drugs in Aberdeen. Weed; hash; pills by the bag-load. Come to think of it, that may have had more to do with my profession than Aberdeen being a mecca for all things illicit. Whatever; when I think of Aberdeen I think of drugs and then I get a warm feeling in my belly. Just don’t expect me to stump up £50 for three grams of bush upon my return. DatAintHappenin.wav
To the uninitiated, Doric sounds like the product of 10,000 years of virulent inbreeding. Indeed it may well be, but that’s not the point; once you get to know Aberdonians and the teuchters who hail from the ‘burbs of Aberdeenshire, you discover some of Scotland’s most down-to-earth humour.
Whenever I need my fix of north-east banter, I turn to the Aberdeen Mad message board. With its blend of understated humour and ingenious spellings to beat the profanity filter, it rarely disappoints.
The endless expanse of grey
These days, I affectionately know Aberdeen as Fiddy. That’s Fiddy as in Fiddy Shades of Grey. Until you’ve spent time there, you can’t appreciate how many shades of grey there are in the world. The grey of the sea, speckled with white caps; the unrelenting grey of the sky; the glinting grey of the granite blocks: fiddy shades of grey, as far as the eye can see. Speaking of fiddy…
My favourite part of Aberdeen is Fittie, the fishing village that time forgot. One day I will own a house there.
> Implying I will ever own a house
Some of my favourite people in the world still live in Aberdeen. While my impending return to the city is for reasons unrelated to pleasure, I look forward to catching up with you all again while I’m back. I’ll see you at the football. Or the pub. Or…well, that’s about it really, isn’t it?
Aberdeen doesn’t have much else. Thank god for good friends, good beer and 90 minutes of knuckle-numbing tedium, redeemed by a moment of brilliance.
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