Saturday, December 08, 2012

Saturday night in the virtual Gurn studio

Selkirk deserves a great future. " Haud up your heids...Ye've come frae naething sma"
Forres area Community Trust
Transition Town Forres

For video transcript click read more

Good evening Donald, how are you tonight?.
Oh in good form Sarah. It’s been an interesting week as you can see from some of the articles on the Gurn.

Yes I see that yesterday the Council were granted an interim edict to keep the track down to the Kingsteps car park open.

There was a report about that in the Press and Journal too this morning. Alexander brodie found out about the application for the edict and hotfooted it through to Inverness. From that article it seems that he wasn’t too impressed with it all and promises to fight the Council.

No christmas truce at KIngsteps then Donald. Any other news?

There’s going to be two late night shopping nights in the town on wednesday the 12th and wednesday the 19th.  You can see who’s taking part on the special gurn page we’ve created for this event. There are also colourful banner links to some of the businesses taking part.

think I’ll go down Donald, I’m one of these peoplng e that normally only shop at the Golden Mile or buy things on line. For a change I’m going to go down the street and see what is available. I might also pop out to the Househill farm shop, they are open late too and I hear that there will be some mince pies for customers.

Better go easy on the mince pies sarah. It’s easy to put on weight at this time of year.

I know Donald, I know too well. OK then down to business. What are you going to talk about tonight.

One of our regular readers wrote in comparing the Nice organisation and a similar one in Forres.

What did he say?

Our correspondent said in an e-mail. I have just been looking at the Forres Area Community Trust website.  They are in a way almost exactly parallel to NICE.  Two differences, though.  First, they have had a hefty slug of funding already, from HIE and others - probably largely driven by the "how to cope with the closure/change at RAF Kinloss" initiative.  This means they already have two paid staff to develop and promote local projects.  Interesting how all this money is being assigned to Moray (Forres/Elgin etc) even though Nairn is just as much part of the "hinterland" of Kinloss (quite a few RAF personnel used to live in and around here).  So why can't Nairn tap into some of this money too?  My feeling is that too many people see the boundary between Highland and Moray/Grampian a bit like the Berlin Wall.

Yes we had a lot of air force personnel living in Nairn too.  It’s a shame how they closed the base. At least the army are in kinloss now though.

Yes that’s true but compared to the air force presence it won’t fill the hole left in the local economy.  Now our correspondent also had something controversial to say. I’ll read some more out. The other interesting thing is how all the comments/input/consultation-ideas from the local Forres community - as reflected in the feedback document online - is universally positive and supportive.  Everyone seems to see the need to work up local projects, even though there is a huge and diverse range of suggestions.  But there is none of the peevish 'they're not representative', 'a clique of self-appointed do-gooders', 'who do they think they are' kind of hostility, suspicion, parochialism and nastiness that seems to emerge in many Nairn residents' comments about NICE.

Can we be so sure that it is like that in forres though Donald? Is Nairn really any different?

Well Nice has not been without its critics Sarah and while it has a membership of 800 there are still those who are holding back from membership until they see whether the group actually achieves anything. And of course others who will openly say that they support the general direction of nice but worry about some of the personnel.

Isn’t it like that with any organisation though Donald. I mean we joke about the Nairn Liberation Front and how they want to get power back from Inverness - once they’ve sorted out the bastards from the People’s front for the liberation of Nairn - but isnt all this just a natural part of small town life. Is it all sweetness and light in forres compared to Nairn?

Sarah I must confess I don’t really know  much about the internal dynamics of local politics in Forres but I do know that they have a single community council so that must keep snarling down to a minimum to some extent.  Anyway another controversial point from our correspondent. He said. What is it about Nairn that so many people say how wonderful it is, yet seem so quick to attack or criticise any attempt to do anything positive to improve the town?  I'm genuinely puzzled by this.

Donald I think we live in disneyland compared to some other communities in scotand and the united kingdom. Is it because people are too busy trying to live their lives do you think? Aren’t there lots of things going on though. Look at the allotments. We now have over one hundred plots  and that is one thirds of the total of the highlands. That was all due to people getting off their backsides wasn’t it? I mean it isn’t easy when people have to work, get the kids from school and put food on the table and all that. A lot of us haven’t got time to improve things in the broader sense. A lot of people are simply trying to tred water in a worsening economic situation. The other day two fish suppers cost me over eleven pounds - price rises are enough to worry about sometimes.

OK sarah I take that point. Here’s some more though. Oor mannie says, I was down in the Borders recently, and there are some towns there - like Hawick, Selkirk, Melrose - which are struggling in these hard times probably more than we are over declining local business, retail closures, lack of local jobs, eyesore buildings etc, etc.   But what I noticed was an intense pride in local identity, and some genuinely impressive local community campaigns with Community councils, business groups and the local council all working together to improve/enhance town centres, organise craft-cooperatives, restore buildings, attract visitors, etc.   Why is it so difficult to get that sort of collective effort mobilised in Nairn? That’s the final comment from our regular contributor Sarah.

I suppose we can all see the same thing differently

I was actually in selkirk earlier this year myself and I thought it looked very run down compared to nairn.  There was some information displayed about regeneration efforts. Personally I wonder if anywhere finds such initiatives universally popular. There will always be people willing to step forward for altruistic reasons and attempt to improve things. They will then have their motives put under scrutiny. Is nairn any more prone to this than elsewhere? Maybe things can look hunky dory elsewhere in comparison until you look under the carpet.

Back to forres Donald. Don’t they also have a transition town group. We’re running out of time but can you tell us briefly what that is all about

That’s very much part of the green or alternative movement Sarah.. The idea is that we must all prepare for  the changes that global warming will bring. They have some interesting projects and ideas. We’ve put a link below this video for anyone that is interested. Also a link to the fact group and to what’s going on in selkirk too if any of our viewers wish to compare that community with ours.

Thank you Donald, that’s interesting and slightly controversial stuff perhaps. We have covered some of that ground on the Gurn before but always interesting to listen to what some of our regulars have to say. Well gurnites that’s it from me and Donald. oh eek ya var. 


Anonymous said...

sweet jeesus.. Stephen Hawking has a new job... under the name of Donald at the gurn virtual news desk lol


Anonymous said...

i agree with ye olde neilscot,
donald off the olde gurn site could be using a better voice,its too animated,why no jist talk properly like me,
the snattigator.

Anonymous said...

The virtual studio is good fun but i wonder if the Gurn team might consider publishing a transcript somewhere as well? A mixture of my computer sound not being that great and being slightly deaf mean I find the interesting script difficult to follow at times which is a shame. Hate to criticise as you do such good work!