Wednesday, 31 August 2011

How to Use Twitter

More and more people are joining Twitter, and plenty leave it soon enough too, failing to understand the attraction or how it works.  This is my attempt at a "definitive guide" that brings together what I've learned during my time on here.

(The real basics of how @mentions etc work are at the very bottom.  If you are brand new to Twitter it might make more sense to read them first.  If you're more than a complete novice begin here with these 17 items)

1. Getting Started: Follow People

When you first join Twitter you have a big empty box with a "What's Happening" question.  It doesn't exactly look enticing.  I've heard it compared to buying a new TV, unwrapping it, and there being no signal.

It's no fun if you're tweeting and no one will read what you say, or comment on it, and you have nothing to read yourself.  The key to the quality of your experience will therefore be getting interesting people to follow, to follow you, and above all to interact with.  This can seem like quite a daunting task: it took me a good year and quite a lot of effort to build up a group of people whose tweets amuse, entertain, cheer me up, inform, comfort or challenge me.  However, there are some short cuts.

It's important to remember that the whole basis of Twitter is getting to know people.  You don't have to know someone in real life to follow them.  Don't be shy: you just click follow and people will do the same to you.  It's all very informal and friendly in a way that going up to strangers in real life social situations just wouldn't be.

TIP: The quick, really practical way round this is as follows.  Find someone you know in real life, who introduced you to Twitter, or whose bio you like the sound of.  Often this person will have created a list or lists to follow specific people.  The lists have names like "People I talk to" / "Labour tweeps" / "Cricket Fans"  / "Twitterati" / "Business Class".

Whatever they call it, a list is their favourite people, perhaps sorted according to category relating to the type of people they are or what they tweet about.  Just subscribe to that list.  You'll instantly have access to someone else's work over a space of time in sorting people they like. The list will show all the tweets of that group of people.  Just follow those whose tweets you like and you'll build up a timeline very rapidly that will interest you.

ANOTHER TIP: When looking for interesting people to follow, it can be hard to glean from their timeline, particularly if they have been having lots of conversations with people and you can't therefore easily see the type of general thing they tweet that will appear in your timeline.  Have a quick look at their favourite tweets instead.  These can reveal a huge amount of the type of personality they are.  It's also a way of finding more great people who tweeted the thing that was favourited.

2. Your Bio

It sounds obvious, but make your bio vaguely interesting or funny.  People decide who to follow on a combination of their bio, their picture, the things they've tweeted or people they follow in common.

TIP: Very few people follow back an "Egg".  If you want to be anonymous: fine... but choose a more interesting avatar than the default one.  They're also often seen as belonging to someone who has set up a "troll" account (more later) and often won't even be responded to, let alone followed back.

3. Celebrities

Many people start off on Twitter following loads of celebrities, who tend to have a gazillion followers.  Twitter is, for me, about interacting with people.  Someone who has 3 million followers and only follows 58 of their celeb friends will never follow you back or talk to you.  They can often also tend to be *incredibly* dull.  Do you really want to know what Paris Hilton had for supper.. do you?

TIP: Obvs therefore don't start off by following loads of celebs.  They're frequently quite dull and just use Twitter as a platform.  You'll find interactions with ordinary people far more rewarding.  Follow a few and see what I mean.  Yawnski. The only exception to this is @chordoverstreet whom you MUST follow cos he's the hot blond boy from GLEE! and I don't care his tweets are as dull as dishwater.

It's Chord :o))
(By the way, "celebrities" are not the same as people tweeting information.  If you're interested in current affairs you'll find some of the politicians, reporters or commentators superb.  They don't tend to follow back, but who cares if they're putting out interesting, informative stuff.)

4. Interact

The quality of your Twitter experience will be directly determined by the level you interact.  If someone tweets something interesting or funny, engage with them on it.  You don't have to know the person - as I mentioned Twitter is far more informal than real life, and in most cases the person will reply and appreciate the fact someone has reacted to something they have said.  The whole beauty of Twitter is the easy interaction that is possible just by clicking on reply.

TIP: Be good at responding back yourself when someone talks to you.  It's polite and kind to acknowledge a compliment.  Even just a smile or a "thanks!" is enough.  Twitter can be a little shouting into a dark cave: you've no idea who is listening when you tweet something.  If someone has gone to the trouble of directing something back to you in response, take a second to respond.  If you don't you'll soon find that person gives up trying to talk to you.

5. Following and Unfollowing

It's actually really okay to follow and unfollow people.  We all get upset if we lose someone whom we spoke to and liked, but there can be all sorts of reasons for it.  You may not have spoken in a while; you may find you've actually not got that much in common over time.  It may (actually) be Twitter playing up.  It's not like de-friending someone on Facebook - it's a lot more relaxed on here.

I've sometimes unfollowed someone just because I was a bit a bored by them or annoyed by something they said, and then refollowed them some time later.  We ALL take things personally, but do try to toughen up on this front or you will get unnecessarily upset.  Not everyone will like everything you have to say or appreciate your humour.  It doesn't matter.

@LassieOscar just unfollowed me!
TIP: If someone unfollows you, don't do a shout out (e.g. "OMG @lassieoscar just unfollowed me!"  You'll look a tit, frankly.  Your other followers won't appreciate it and the person who did the unfollowing will be embarrassed. Send them an @message directly instead if you're that bothered and want to know the reason - it may not be as upsetting as you think.

ANOTHER TIP: If you're following someone and they don't follow you back: so what?  I've got people I've followed for a full year now who have not followed me back.  I find them interesting, can still interact with them and I'm happy.  Following on from this, if you were mutually following and the person unfollows you, think for a moment about whether to unfollow them back just for the sake of it.  Do you really want to lose them if they've got something to say you enjoy?  We're not 8 years old so don't be a big kid.

YET ANOTHER TIP: Don't stake your "Twitter Esteem" on how many people follow you.  I know of people with 5000 followers who frankly are no more interesting than those with 200 followers.  A real find is someone who has been on here ages, has 30 followers, but is just a delight to talk to.  Similarly don't follow someone back because they have loads of followers, but ignore someone who has been pleasant, kind or funny but who happens to have a low number of followers.  Everyone started off with 0 followers at some point.

6. Spam and Trolls

You'll soon come across the, erm, wonderful world of spam and trolls.

SPAMBOTS - tend to be women with improbable names and oversized cleavage, frequently based somewhere like North Dakota, who have silly bios about what they like doing and the fact they're a "genuine, kind person".  Look at their timeline and you'll see all they are doing is sending links to websites which will be selling things.  They may follow you, or may appear in your @ mentions.

TROLLS are real people who you don't know, whom you don't follow, who will respond to something you tweeted in a negative way.  This could be because they did a search for a word you mentioned, or because your tweet was retweeted by one of your followers and they came across it that way.  They will generally be obnoxious and up for an argument.  There are degrees of trolling: some people like to be keyboard warriors, others genuinely get off on being personally unpleasant to strangers.  That says everything about them and nothing about you.

TIP: The good Lord invented the "Block" and "Report Spam" settings for a reason!  Don't let either category disturb your enjoyment of Twitter.  If you want to argue with a troll you'll quickly find it pointless, draining and annoying.  Resist the temptation to engage, and either ignore or block.  When you block their messages will never appear in your @ mentions again.

7. Bullying

Twitter can be a superb place.  It has constantly shown me a far better, warmer, more optimistic side to humanity than the press would suggest exists about us.  It's a true democracy in many respects: in many cases it doesn't matter what you have or who you are, it matters what your personality is and what your thoughts are.  Huzzah!

However, there's a flip side.  Never forget that Twitter is only a medium: it's made up by people.  And what's more, it's people sitting at home mouthing off from the safety of the Internet.  They may be judgemental, forthright or even rude in a way they would not consider acceptable in real life.  It's too easy to overstep the mark: try not to forget that a real person will be receiving your tweet and reading it.  You may disagree about things - but is it really appropriate to be abusive or nasty?

Yes, she's a real person too
TIP: Imagine this.  You think Sally Bercow shouldn't have appeared on Big Brother and is a silly cow.  That's your opinion: I disagree, but you're entitled to think that.  If you want to communicate that by tweeting "God Sally Bercow came across as a dumb cow tonight" this is quite different to tweeting "God @SallyBercow came across as a dumb cow tonight".  In the second case you have @mentioned her and she will see that tweet.  Whatever you think of her a real person will be reading this.

Is it really nice, necessary and a good thing to let this woman (about whom all of us actually know very little) see this nasty comment?  Does it make you feel good?  Have you even thought about its effect? It's actually nothing short of bullying.  I'd like to think most people would not be so abusive to the recipient if they did meet them in real life.  Don't do it, please.  This counts both for Sally and someone "ordinary" you've just had an argument about politics with.

8. Reading everything

When you're following say 50 people, you will probably want to read everything everyone has said in your timeline.  It becomes impossible as you hit say 200 people that you follow.  With 500, forget it entirely - you can be away from your phone or computer for an afternoon and return to 1000 new tweets to read.  This will do your head in if you try to keep up with everything.

TIP: Treat Twitter like a virtual pub.  You pop in, you chat to your mates, or just listen to what they have been up to and have to say without saying too much yourself.  You then leave.  You cannot possibly know everything that everyone has said when you weren't there.  This is perfectly okay.  (If someone really interests you, you can go to their timeline and catch up on their specific tweets for the last couple of days of course.)

9. Butting in on conversations

It's easy to forget that your conversation is public.  If someone follows you and the other party to the conversation this third person will see the whole thing.  Sometimes people will chip in and this can be great and good fun.

TIP: Unless you have something interesting to add (or know the other two really well), and you are the "third party" be just a bit sensitive about butting in.  In many circumstances it's absolutely fine, and it's the nature of the forum.  However in others, it can be a bit rude and might not be appreciated.

10. Trust and Anonymity

Social media depends on trust.  I've had three quite yuk instances of people building up entirely false personae on here - I've blogged on two of them.  It's shitty behaviour and yes it does matter.  It makes people distrust Twitter, it discredits the vast majority of people who are simply themselves, and as media lawyer @JackofKent blogged "just because it's Twitter" is no excuse.  Any legal offences on here are just as real as those "in real life".  If you've weaseled your way into people's lives and then defraud them, that offence is just as real.  If you pretend to be a teacher or doctor on Twitter, people may ask you for advice.  If you're neither of those things this could actually cause real damage.

What's more, people will catch you out. If you say you've been to Malaysia recently, someone on here will actually have been and ask you about things they know about.  What's the point, frankly?  You think that lying or exaggerating will make you more interesting?  Honestly it won't.

There is of course a world of difference between lying about being someone you're not, and choosing to be anonymous, but being yourself.  Oddly, I have actually never once thought the sensational @RedEaredRabbit is actually a rabbit with red ears.  He is someone who chooses to remain private about his identity; people do this for any number of reasons and it is absolutely fine.  He is funny, warm, intelligent and wonderful - that's reason enough for me to follow him.  He is not claiming to be something he is not.

TIP: Don't be a wanker and pretend you're Cameron's personal advisor.  People will (eventually) catch you out on your lies.


Retweets can be great: it's a way of sharing interesting things on Twitter and a key strength of the medium.  You see people who have interesting things to say and may end up following them as a result.  However, endless retweets by people can be BLOODY boring.  Just because you agree with something, do you need to flood other people's timelines with retweets?  There's a temptation to do this if you're a bit unsure of yourself or feel you need to contribute something - but stop and think whether it really adds something to everyone who is following you before hitting "retweet" every 2 minutes.  It's a balancing act: look at the ratio of your tweets versus RTs you're doing.  I never follow anyone whose timeline is just full of RTs. 

TIP: You can switch off people's RTs on Twitter on the Internet (select the person's profile and then the drop down menu next to the little head symbol).  I've done this for people who RT too much, but whom I like.  I want to know what they have to say, not what someone else does.  I know you can pick up interesting people to follow through RTs, but with 900 odd people I follow already, that's enough for me at this stage.  It makes my timeline much calmer and more manageable to have switched off selected people's RTs.

12. Fridays

The natural pattern of the Twitter week is people being depressed it's Monday, building up to near Class A drug induced joy at the arrival of a Friday.  Watch people's moods changing: it's amazing as Friday afternoon hits!  Saturdays are equally fab and then towards Sunday evenings it all comes crashing back down again.

On Fridays many engage in something called "Follow Fridays" - though it is happening less than it used to.  If you happen to join Twitter on a Friday you'll think we're all Moonies.  Actually what is going on is people are recommending to their followers to follow someone they like, for example "#FF @HyperbolicGoat he's amazing."  If you're new and someone you like has done an #FF like this, by all means take up the recommendation.  However, most people seem to use this simply as a way of saying "I really like @Hyperbolicgoat and want him to know that."

TIPS: You don't need to do #FFs.  It can become really tricky to do, as you don't want to inadvertently miss out people you like who might be offended.  I gave up ages ago.  If someone does #FF you, thank them for it - it's just good manners and actually how lovely they like you so much as to mention you like this.

ANOTHER TIP:  How about #FFing just one person a week that you have a special reason to do this for?  Actually explain it in the tweet - compare the simple "#FF @Peterl_77" (which says very little, if anything) and "#FF @PeterL_77 He's warm, funny, flies the flag for Labour, consistently tweets thought-provoking stuff and was so kind to me this week" (which gives people a much better idea of the person you're recommending/ and acknowledges him personally.)

13. Abbreviations, Hashtags, Asterisks

There is a whole set of abbreviations which again may make you feel like you have to learn a new language.  They're actually really simple.  We've dealt with "#FF".  Here are some more:

  • RT: a manual way of doing a retweet.  You copy and paste someone's tweet and can add your own comment to supplement it
  • MT: modified tweet.  That's an RT that you've changed in some way and you want to make it clear you are not misrepresenting the original statement because you've amended it
  • "HT" is "heard through" or "hat tip".  It's a way of acknowledging that someone else put you on to a news story or a piece of information.  It's good etiquette to do this: people get upset if you're ripping off material and passing it off as if you discovered it 
  • "IRL" is not a country with Dublin as its capital, but "in real life"
  •  "<THIS!" doesn't stand for anything - it actually literally means "this".  The tweeter is generally saying s/he agrees strongly with something that they have put in an RT.  
On top of this there are the usual text speak abbreviations like "lol" / "rofl" / "lmao" / "omg" / "zomg" etc.  If you don't know them ask a 13 year old for a full run down.
Hashtags are a way of flagging up a particular subject so that anyone can see all the tweets on a particular subject by doing a search.  "#XFactor" and "#BBCQT" are popular ones.  You tweet something like: "Did he REALLY just make that comment?! #BBCQT" and everyone knows you're referring to something that just happened on Question Time.

Hashtags can be really silly - and therefore superb fun - eg. #imnotreallyatotalpervhonest.  This is hard to explain, you'll just get the knack of it.  No one is ever going to do a search for that hashtag.

If you're using a 3rd party app such as Echofon you can mute certain hashtags, so tweets about, for example Question Time do not appear on your timeline.

Asterisks are normally used to EMPHASISE - eg "this is *superb* fun"... or to show an action about yourself in the 3rd person- eg "*goes off sobbing*  You can also capitalise for emphasis but that comes across as shouting.  This can of course be used ironically or for self-parody.

TIP: The ultimate #FAIL in Twitterquette is to steal someone's tweet and pretend you wrote it yourself (This is called Twagerism.) Always acknowledge the author of a tweet by either RTing it with their name, or saying HT (heard through) with their name.  This is a consistent, wonderful self-imposed rule on Twitter adhered to by at least 99% of people.  It's theft of ideas and you risk being tweleminated for breaching this rule! (not really, but people won't like you very much, so there.)

Asterix. *Never* to be confused with Asterisks.
14. Twitter Breaks

A really Twitter good friend told me he'd had enough with Twitter and was leaving.  I asked him to reconsider.  He'd built up a really great following and if he hit delete all that would be gone.  I suggested he take a couple of weeks' break instead and come back to it if he wanted.  His followers wouldn't have gone anywhere.  I'm glad he's done just that and I hope he'll be back.

TIP:  If you're not in a mood for being sociable, you can also take another shorter type of break.  Just read your timeline and don't tweet yourself.  I sometimes do this of an evening and it's wonderful.  It's just great seeing people chatting and knowing what they're up to without having to contribute yourself.  Sounds obvious, I know.

15. The Daily Mail

We ALL hate it.  The Mail hates Twitter and all those who sail in her.  It is the way of the world.  We even refer to it as the #FAIL and everyone knows what we're talking about.  End of.

16. Libel (added post Lord McAlpine/ Newsnight)

There's been much said about Twitter users and defaming people.  I've done my preachy bit too, here
It's really very simple.  If you tweet something that damages someone's reputation, that's every bit as defamatory on Twitter as it is in real life.  You can avoid liability if you can prove the statement is true, but read the tip on that point and think very carefully.  Pressing "retweet" is almost certainly a "republication" of someone else's libel and therefore a fresh offence by you.  It is no defence to say that you are repeating an allegation made by someone else.  Anonymity will not help you if the lawyers of the person aggrieved are determined to track you down. 

Damages in libel cases can run into the tens of thousands of pounds.  Aside from the legal aspect, there's the moral one: it isn't harmless fun to destroy someone's life by suggesting that they are a paedophile, for example.  A libel on Twitter can be both by a general tweet and by a direct message: what matters is that you say something "bad" about someone and a minimum of just one other person reads it.

TIP:  Apply this test: could the thing that you are about to tweet about someone been seen as damaging a reputation?  If so, do you know it is true, as opposed to believing it to be true, or have heard from someone else that it's true?  Does your confidence go so far as to be able to stand in court and demonstrate this?  Consider that the burden of proof flips in libel cases: you will have to prove on a balance of probabilities that a defamatory statement is true.  If you're happy, tweet away.  If not, don't.

[disclaimer: I am not a practising solicitor and this should be seen as general guidance, not replied upon as an exhaustive explanation of the law that you should rely upon.  If in doubt, contact a solicitor]

17. Favouriting Tweets

You can hit the favourite key and a tweet will then be saved to your favourites.  I've already mentioned that this can be a handy way to find out what someone is like, or to find new people to follow.

People use favouriting in different ways, and this has changed recently for many people.  It used to be a way of keeping a few select tweets that you really liked for prosperity.  It was also used by many to "bookmark" a tweet for later: for example a Youtube clip that you want to watch when you are at home and have wifi, rather than using up data allowances on your phone.

Recently however people have been using "favourite" increasingly as a "like" feature as on Facebook.  It's a quick way of acknowledging a tweet that was sent to you, or bringing a polite end to a conversation.  I most amusingly thought my (now) boyfriend fancied me because he "favourited" virtually every tweet I sent to him.  He in fact was being lazy and couldn't be bothered to talk to me.  Oh well, how fortunate for me I misunderstood the multiple uses of this feature!



You're welcome to skip past these 17 points if you've been on Twitter for a while and go straight for the offer of a beer at the end! 

General vs @Tweets

1) There's a distinction between general tweets & tweets directed at a particular person (@tweets)

2) A general tweet is one you just type and that all your followers will see.  Anyone doing a search for any keyword in that tweet will also see it.

3) @tweets, by contrast, start off with the @ symbol plus the name right at the start of the message e.g.  "@HyperbolicGoat Have you eaten many table legs recently?"  This tweet would appear only in HyperbolicGoat's timeline, and would not show in the timeline of the rest of my followers.

4) The exception to 3 is where someone follows both me AND HyperbolicGoat. It enables that "mutual follower" to see the conversation happening between us and join in if s/he wishes (Note, see "Butting In, above".)


5) Sometimes you want to publicise an @tweet to someone and make sure all your followers see it.  You can do this my simply not putting the @ right at the start of the message. e.g. ".@HyperbolicGoat is a lovely person, follow him!"

6) Alternatively you could put the name anyway else in the tweet e.g. "I had a great drink this evening with @HyperbolicGoat and @Dancing_Piglet".

7) There are many ways to keep the @ away from the first position in the tweet - "@ or ,@ or .@ all work just as well.

8) To see if anyone has referred to you in a tweet like this, you have to go to the "@mentions" section of your timeline.

9) Similarly, if someone who you don't follow has interacted with you, the message will not appear in your timeline because you don't follow them.  Instead you need to go to the "@mentions" section to see it.

10) You cannot use the @ symbol followed by any word or it will appear in the @mentions of the person with that username.  If you write "I wanted to laugh @Oscar" - it would have popped up in the mentions of whichever random person has the name "@Oscar". What you actually should have written is "I wanted to laugh at Oscar" or even "I wanted to laugh @ Oscar" with a space in between.

Protected Accounts

11) You can protect your tweets so that only your followers can see them.  You may want to do this for any number of reasons, including for example if you're a teacher and don't want your pupils seeing your private persona.  It will also lead to less spam (annoying marketing people who randomly pick up on keywords you have used and provide you with links to websites).  However it makes it less likely you will pick up new followers, as people can't see what you're saying.

12) If your account is protected, you cannot be retweeted by use of the "retweet" button.  People still can retweet you though by copying and pasting your tweet with the letters "RT" at the start of the tweet.  They generally won't do so without having the decency to ask first.  Your account is protected for a reason after all.

13) If your account is protected and you reply to someone who is not following you, they cannot see your tweet.  Even experienced Twitter users frequently don't realise this.

14) If someone Google searches your username your tweets will not appear if you have protected them.  Only if you have allowed them to follow you, will the Google search throw up your timeline (sophisticated and quite impressive, eh?)

Direct Messages

15)  Twitter is inherently a public medium.  This is why you should be aware that anything you type, even in an @message is potentially viewable by anyone.  The only exception is if your account if protected - and even then your own approved followers can see the tweet, screen grab, and repost it if they so choose.

16) The exception is the direct message.  This is a way of having a completely private conversation between just two people.  You can only send a "DM" to someone who follows you and they can only reply if you follow them back.  Remember however that a libel passed by a DM still constitutes a libel even if just one person reads it.

17) The direct message is sometimes called the "Dark Room of Twitter" as this is where all the confidential, naughty stuff goes on.  Apparently. Ahem.  However: concerns have been raised that it is not quite as secure as you might think and it can be hacked.  Further, any photos you post may well be viewable in your general photo stream.  Therefore if you want to be really naughty and are worried about confidentiality, save it for email or texts which are inherently more secure.

RIGHT, this was meant to be a quick blog.  It's turned into something almost as long as a 19th century Russian novel.  Biers are on me if you made it this far!  If you've found it useful, do please share this post with people you know are new to Twitter.  It's a great medium and there are precious few practical "how to" guides in my experience.

Monday, 29 August 2011


At the end of August in 1997, I was on a cringe-worthy Californian self-development course in London.  (It was actually very good - but I'm half-English, and we don't do emotions and talking about them terribly well, so let's just call it that.)

Spilling my Guts

Anyway, during the course we did a unit on our parents.  It essentially said we owed everything to them: literally we wouldn't be on Earth if it weren't for them.  Of course our relationship with our parents, for most of us, also tends to be one of the most screwed up of them all.  I listened intently.  It all made good sense: yes, we had to tell them we love them - unconditionally - for who they were, not for who we wanted them to be.  Yadda, yadda.  (Editor's note: this *cannot* excuse their reading the Daily Mail - there must be some limits, obvs.)  Yup, I got it all.  Fine, next point?

Then up came the assignment.  Gosh, we actually had to go and call them and tell them that we loved them.  Eww - I mean, seriously?  Of course my parents knew I loved them.  It's part of the deal that everyone knows that, but most people don't say it, right?  I mean, c'mon.

Peter is ultimately a good boy, though, so off he trotted with - some apprehension -  to do the exercise.  Who should answer the phone - not Mutti, but my Father.  He immediately said "Do you want to speak to your Mother?"  I always did, let's face it: interactions with Dad were generally restricted to a "How are you? Fine".  He was an army man, for god's sake!

But I replied "No, Dad, I'd like to talk to you."  I proceeded to tell him over the space of 15 minutes what he meant to me.  I've no idea where it all came from.  I said that actually he was the one who encouraged me the most at school, not my mother.  He had bought me Lady Bird history books (Queen Victoria was my fave by the way: she rocked!).  He had taught me how to swim, how to tie my laces, how to read a clock.  He had given me £10 per O level and £100 per A level passed; and we weren't that well off.  I said that I thought he unfairly put himself down, and that I always related to him as being incredibly bright.  I wouldn't have got into Cambridge without his encouragement, or had the job I now did.  I went on and on.  I told him I loved him - straight out, just like that.

Fine, Noted

At the end of the call, Dad simply said "Fine, noted....  Your mother and I are off with the caravan at the weekend to the New Forest..."  I felt my blood pressure rising.  I'd just spilled me sodding guts (and I always wear nice shoes: messy :s ) and his reaction was "Fine, noted?"  Couldn't he show some emotion back for once and tell me he loved me or something similar?  Hadn't I just pressed the magic button to change and deepen our relationship forever?  FFS.

Then I stopped myself.  Hmm, wasn't there something about loving them unconditionally?  Not for how I wanted him to react or to be?  The penny dropped.  I tried to listen to what he was saying; I actually did listen and had a nice conversation about the caravan and about the dog.  It wasn't what I had wanted, but it was actually lovely.

In March 2000 I paid for both of my parents to come over Bermuda where I was living and working on a case.  We had the most fabulous time: it was perfect.  I could now afford to return a favour and show them a great time for once.  Mutti hadn't wanted to go up the lighthouse: my Father said "no come on, we'll never know if we'll be back."  2 weeks later Dad was out training for the London Marathon: running was what he lived for.  He had run 5 marathons in one year alone.  I was sitting in my office in Hamilton when I got the call from my brother Alan: Dad had a massive heart-attack and died before the ambulance arrived, aged 60. 

That Conversation

In the time that followed we obviously talked about things amongst the family.  I asked Mutti if Dad had ever mentioned the conversation we'd had.  She looked at me and said "I knew your father since 1963.  I saw him cry twice: once when Davy [our collie] died; and once when he came off that call with you."  Do you have any idea how precious that fact is to me?

I had told him I loved him all because of some ghastly American self-development course.  I would have left it unsaid in that terribly English way, and never have got the chance.  But I'd done it - and - I will have that knowledge with me forever.  I've since done the same with Mutti, and continue to do so.

Do something amazing tonight.  Don't just read this and think "Aww isn't that sweet" or alternatively "Oooh that Peter's a soft head".  Phone up your parents if you're lucky to have them.  Particularly if it's awkward and this is the type of thing you'd never do.  Tell them you love them and why.  Please don't put it off.

Dad running the Berlin Marathon, 1999

Thursday, 25 August 2011


On a simple evening stroll through our Skuggahverfi this amazing collaboration of colors made my day. I've been on a little late summer hiatus, but will continue bringing you more scenes from our pretty little city as we stretch into autumn. This, by the way, is my 596th post! Hard for me to believe...

Saturday, 20 August 2011

A Fake Belief

Lord Credo (@lord_credo)  is well known to those interested in politics on Twitter.  He described himself as "a government Tory communications guy" on his profile; now he says he's a "former govt comms guy".  He has 4400 followers and is in the top 10 "House of Twits" favourite political tweeters currently.

In brief this is the picture of how he has portrayed of himself (note he did not say this to everyone, or all at once - he was too clever for that and it's what I have pieced together):

- He was David Cameron's personal advisor and representative
- He reported only and personally to David Cameron and the Chief Whip
- Only the Chief Whip and his "good friend" William Hague knew his identity online
- He was on the same level with Andy Coulson, was offered his job, but refused it
- He previously worked for the Canadian PM and was personally head-hunted to work for ours
- Somehow, however, he also fitted in working for the Archbishop of Canterbury in comms
- He had read theology, trained as a priest, worked as a policeman briefly in Ontario, then as a pilot, before going into politics/ communications. He suffers from MS.

Just to be clear, the "Lord" title has always been a joke - he and a couple of others took the title at the time of one of the Honours Lists.  Before that he was just "The_Credo".  I don't think anyone ever took the Lord title to be a real thing.

Credo resigned his job for David Cameron in May, but is currently on gardening leave.  This was because of a personal falling out, even though the Prime Minister has apparently called him and begged him to return to his job.  It coincides with the diagnosis of a brain tumour (more on this later).

Credo's "offline" name is Mike Paterson.  He has always taken pains to protect his identity, because he is so "high level".  I did hear him give this name, however, in my presence to officers of the Essex Constabulary in May 2011.

Emperor's New Clothes

I had huge doubts Credo could possibly be who he said he was quite early on.  Many of us did; how could anyone be tweeting as much as he did in a job so high level, and be so indiscreet about government goings on.  However, we met and he seemed genuine. Very likeable in fact.

Moreover I met him the presence of a BBC chap (who is real) and two people who work in the Commons (who are also real).  I saw him talking online to people like Sally Bercow (I was in Hampshire hotel lobby with him when her name flashed up on his mobile).  I'd been to drinks with him and the infamous undercover blogger and real life journalist Fleet Street Fox.  More recently he's been talking openly to Louise Mensch MP: people see this, they see his profile bio, and don't think any thing more than "he must be real".

Indeed, the Huffington Post ran an interview (click on link) with "Credo" on 3 August 2011 as one of top four "Tories who tweet anonymously".  In this he speaks with extreme self-assurance about his top position.  The journalists involved clearly did not bother to delve too much further into his actual identity.

Remember the Hans Christian Andersen Story? Everyone in the crowd looks on at the Emperor who is not wearing anything.  Because everyone thinks everyone else can see the lovely clothes, not a soul says a thing.  Credo didn't ever turn up in nice clothes though - he wore the same threadbare ill-fitting jacket every time I saw him, coming from "work" or from home, clutching a dirty worn out BBC bag.  But none of us was the little boy in the crowd who shouted out "he's naked!"

Abuse of Friendship

Credo weaseled his way into my group of friends.  He and his girlfriend spent the entire summer staying with various of them, moving from house to house, apparently because his house in Sussex had sold and a new purchase had fallen through.  The longest was 8 weeks with a lovely woman, from whom he "borrowed" money and didn't pay a penny in food contributions, towards utilities or the huge phone bill he ran up.  He also borrowed cash from another friend on Twitter.  It was a standing joke that Credo would come along to drinks and forget his wallet.  He has asked all of us to put him up at one time another; more recently there have been requests for money.

When he was "diagnosed" with cancer - a malignant brain tumour - we were all extremely concerned.  He announced it online: his follower count shot up.  Offers of support and help poured in.  He told us his wife, from whom he was estranged, had suddenly committed suicide in Sydney just before their divorce was finalised.  She was a medical doctor and knew which pills to take.  As a result of the divorce however, all his accounts were frozen.  The latest was that he was expecting a cheque for hundreds of thousands of pounds from the estate - but somehow it never arrived.  Credo's cancer fortunately disappeared amazingly rapidly; when I saw him I couldn't believe how well he looked.  It was almost as if he had never had it... 

I'd had a former Lib Dem friend who had constantly doubted Credo could be who he said he was.  He had worked at the House of Commons and rationally set out his doubts.  I simply refused to believe it.  I liked Mike and yes some of these things were a bit odd.  When he claimed to have been instrumental in bringing Andy Coulson down and presented him with damning evidence - well it was brushed off as Credo blowing his own trumpet.  The epic 48 hour drive he made to Scotland at Christmas just didn't seem real; the time he was in Amsterdam and crossing areas on foot faster than a gazelle (at around 18 stone, Mike is NO gazelle) didn't quite add up.  The sheer amount of drama and chaos going on in one person's life - from his mother having a stroke, then breast cancer, then a heart-by pass... through to the dead wife.  It just didn't seem plausible.  But my friends knew him and "proper" people were talking to him online.


Then he came up to my home in Suffolk last week. He was showing off about having picked up "1000 followers during the riots".  It seemed to all be going to his head.  I'd unfortunately seen this before (click on link: a fake QC, much less high profile).  Mike offered to invest £250,000 in my business project.  He failed to recognise a very well known Henry Mee portrait at a friend's house - its twin is hanging at Portcullis House - and seemed embarrassed.  He failed to answer an email about the investment.  He claimed his phone had been switched off for 24 hours (given the PM calls him night and day this seemed unlikely).  He made a big show of his having poured wine over his laptop - a reason he hadn't answered my email perhaps?  I'm not Miss Marple, but alarm bells were ringing and this made me want to talk to people.

So those of us who knew him started talking to one another.  It's not easy if you're wrong to be going out there and doubting every thing about a friend, to your mutual friends.  Through a contact, David Cameron's Deputy Chief of Staff confirmed no one had knowledge of a Michael Paterson who had ever worked for the Prime Minister.  I got in touch with the people I'd seen him with at pubs in Whitehall: no one had actually checked him out.  When he boasted he'd had "top level background checks" I asked the person who apparently had carried them out.  He hadn't.

I also spoke to @markstamps - a good friend on Twitter and one of our circle of friends.  Now the whole thing really came crashing down.  Whilst Mike was enjoying the free hospitality of another friend, he'd carelessly left his passport lying around.  His name wasn't Mike Paterson - it was in fact Michael Gordon Bracci.  A couple of photocopies were taken, just in case.  Why would he be lying about his name to us all? Mark had asked an official contact to do some checks.  Mark had been doing a lot of work building up a dossier without any of us knowing.  No one with those names had any form of House of Commons clearance.

Religious Right Alert

It doesn't take much to do some Internet searches.  Michael Gordon Bracci is the real name of another alias Credo has used: Mike Daley.  He appears on the "Religious Right Alert" website as a "notorious and self-pronounced 'shit disturber' on the Canadian Anglican Right".  He seems to be some relatively low-level character who sets up cyber squats and was pushing for the schism of the Anglican Church in North America over gay and women's rights through a body called the "Cranmer Foundation" (of which he was the sole director). He moved to London in 2009 and suffers from MS.

Mike is still married.  His wife is not a dead medical doctor in Sydney, but in fact teaches philosophy at an American university.  She is a former evangelical Christian, turned traditionalist.  From what I can see on line she appears to be very much alive.  She did grow up in the Black Forest, which he had mentioned a couple of times to me about his "late wife".  She talks in one Canadian magazine interview about their traditional marriage and how her husband Mike has moved to London for a job in PR, but that they make things work.  I've no idea if she knows about his now girlfriend and how that fits in exactly with this viewpoint.


Well, Credo is a fake.  He's a confidence trickster, he's pulled the wool over the eyes of many people and he's been left to do it by the actual Downing Street communications team.  Did no one there think to check out and stop someone so well known on Twitter in political circles, who claimed to be so high level?  Instead MPs were happily chatting to him in public.

He's taken hospitality and money from friends of mine.  According to his passport he has no residency or work permit to be in this country.  He has weaseled his way in to a group of people - including gays and lesbians - even though he is a traditionalist Christian and has worked to further Church homophobia.  He has spoken positively about people I know from the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement - but whom he must actually know from the bitter "other side of the fence".

He's currently - apparently - back in Canada, where his mother died unexpectedly just a few hours after his arrival.  His response to the hundreds of messages of sympathy and all the attention on Twitter was "wow, thanks everybody."  Michael Gordon Bracci been building up a totally false identity for himself and thriving off the attention he's been getting.  His motivation? Well in his own words "I struggle with self-esteem and depression and invent elaborate fantasies to cope with the depression and anxiety" [sent to me by IM by him at 16.49 after this was originally posted].

How do I feel? Angry, sick, embarrassed, violated, and furious on behalf of my friends he has exploited.  Police and Immigration should be involved here.  If I find out Mike has set his foot in this country again, they will be.
Pic c/o @Art_Li - the irony of Credo's name is not lost on me
20/8 Additional Information: Credo admitted in public on his profile, after this post was published, that he was a liar.  He then deleted the profile.  He has been in constant IM contact with me throughout today, threatening suicide at one moment if I did not remove this blog (only to ask 10 minutes later: "are you still there?"), through to begging for forgiveness, and then justifying his actions.  He's admitted that his wife is not dead and says he's in contact with her.  I'm simply screen saving everything, refusing to let him manipulate me in the way he wants, and warning him to steer clear of anyone in my circle of friends.

For anyone thinking "whatever" I want to stress this is not about a fake Twitter account - it's about a person who has used the medium to trick people in real life and caused massive upset.  Help he clearly needs, but my responsibility is to those I care about, which is why I published this.

21/8 Finally, according to his girfriend (and as tweeted by her) his mother is "very much alive" and she has spoken to her.  She has also tweeted that Michael conned her personally out of £15,000.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Scotland's healthcare

I just came back from the GP. The last time I visited the GP was in January. I worked in England for two months and piled up all my ailments because I was unwilling to pay 7.40pounds per prescription there. When I came back to Glasgow, I delayed going to the GP because I was reluctant to pay 3 pounds for prescription.  Today, the GP told me that everyone in Scotland gets free prescriptions starting March 2011. That was amazing news. My jaw dropped. Medications are FREE! It got me thinking about the recent amount of cough medicines I bought from Boots, I could have gotten it for free by seeing a GP here.... Hmm, I don't think everyone knew about the change in policy. From paying 3pounds to ZERO pounds. And we have the people in England fuming even more because they pay high tax and higher prescription charges... Very encouraging for people to see their GP more than a pharmacist.

What else is fantastic about Glasgow in August:
I have an awesome view from my room window!
The weather has been fantastic! Even better than rainy England..
Lastly, George Square and the surrounding is being transformed into Philly for two weeks because....
BRAD PITT is in Glasgow filming a movie less than 10mins from where I stay!!

Friday, 12 August 2011


Turn off the news, turn away from the papers, step outside. Find a bloom and let it bring you peace.

(This photo is part of an album entitled Ridiculously Beautiful Flowers Growing Between Gravel and Corrugated Iron in a Driveway in Reykjavik, which you can view here.)

Wednesday, 10 August 2011


SCUM: (noun) "extaneous matter or impurities risen to or formed on the surface of a liquid often as a foul filmy covering"

SCUM: (adjective, urban dictionary) "possibly the worst word you can have your name associated with.  It is hard to define the word, but it is basically used to describe someone so disgraceful that they are seen as the lowest form of life.  "Worthlessness", "waste of skin", "dirt". Nothing.  Far worse than most other insults, where the victim is often just referred to as genitalia.

I have literally lost count of the number of times I have seen people I like and respect calling the looters SCUM over the last few days.  Since Monday, I have also seen huge numbers of people wanting to bring in the army on our streets for the first time in 100 years.  I've seen people calling to take away all benefits of all the looters (yeah: more poverty: whatever the complex causes that is bound to help. Further, as a retrospective measure it would have zero deterrence effect.)  Apparently 90% of those surveyed are behind calls for the use of water cannon (which can blind) and plastic bullets (that can and do kill).  Cameron indeed confirmed both could be used this morning and said he would "ignore phoney concerns about human rights".  I saw a trainee barrister saying "fuk their rights... the hospitals would have been full if I'd been in charge".  I've seen calls for soldiers to shoot people on sight, without trial.  I even actually last night saw a call from a young educated professional to "castrate looters and bring in adult euthanasia".

Watercannon at work: Stuttgart Railway Station Protests 2010

How little does it take - just four miserable days of arson and looting (in limited urban centres, directed almost exclusively at shops, not homes) in a still broadly stable, wealthy, developed country - for educated people to be calling for the use of State violence, for the suspense of the rule of law and for extra-judicial killing?  Is this the Lord of the Flies? Did William Golding actually have British society pegged so correctly?  How quickly would we be leaving in a truly authoritarian State if things were really bad? Look at history and suddenly understand how rapidily countries can descend into extremism.

I wish I could attribute the original tweeter, but what amazing words:

"Norway loses 92 children and suggests more democracy; we lose 12 JD sports and some Nandos and demand the army and rubber bullets".  

Thanks to our Prime Minister ("Hug a Hoodie Dave") there's a good chance we'll be getting the latter fulfilled, should the looting continue.  I also note the fact that the presence of a large number of Police, using traditional British policing methods, did prevent trouble in London last night without recourse to these vicious methods of dealing with people.

We have all been angry, upset, confused, perhaps terrified for our loved ones and property the last few days.  I get that, I share that.  I went to bed on Monday feeling physically sick: I've friends all over London.  But I utterly disagree with escalating the violence and using State brutality to restore "law and order".  I also totally refuse to take away someone's entire humanity because of their criminal actions and reduce them to SCUM.

For the love of God, the looters out across Britain the last four nights were criminals.  They were dangerous criminals, thoughtless criminals, reckless criminals, some maybe even murderous criminals.  They are young people taking terrible choices, the consequences of which we all hope they will face.  Deal with them according to the law as civilised societies do; don't lower yourself by adding to the existing violence by calling for our Police to become the killers and blinders of people, and by expressing your fear with the violent language of pure hate.

(While I'm on it, fellow lefties, Tories are not SCUM.  I might utterly disagree with their policies and dislike some of the personalities, but they are not SCUM.  Mrs Thatcher is not SCUM.  The Police are not SCUM, nor are they "PIGS".  Tony Blair is not SCUM whatever the debatable legality of his actions taking this country to war.)

Please think about your words and what they mean.  They can be violent, they can create a reality.  Do not diminish your own humanity by seeking to take away other people's.  Think also of what you are so casually and glibly calling for.  Think about what type of a country we want in the light of these events.  An educated person, not even directly affected, who from his armchair actually proposes genital mutilation and/or death for someone stealing a plasma screen, or even for setting fire to a building is, to me, every bit as ugly and repulsive as the people holding our country in fear the last couple of nights.

Hold up a mirror when you say "shoot young people on sight without a trial: the SCUM" and just look at what *you* are in danger of becoming.

Update: the complex debate about the various causes of the looting continues.  In the meantime this little clip from the BBC website on 3 November 2011 is just so interesting and depressing in a much wider societal sense.

Monday, 8 August 2011

London's Burning

Tottenham Hale Carpet Right
Twitter has been a very fractious place since the riots.  People are clearly scared, perhaps angry. And they're throwing round a right load of old crap*

*I am the fountain of all wisdom and therefore entitled to say that.

 Things I noticed:
  • The left (in particular) FALLING over themselves to condemn the violence.  Erm, yes, isn't it kind of self-evident that smashing things up, destroying businesses, setting fire to cars and stealing Plasma screens isn't exactly something to be condoned? I believe in a market economy with a social conscience.  What do those views have to do with these events? Zero.  Accordingly I shouldn't be afraid that because I'm "a lefty" that I might be labelled as an anarchist by the Right, if I do not state the completely bloody obvious.
  • Many a Tory calling for the "FULL FORCE OF THE LAW" to be brought to bear on the offenders. I'm sure it will be. Given the nature of high profile events like this I don't think we need to worry too much about namby-pamby magistrates and judges (are they actually any?) going all touchy feely and lenient on this one.
  • People saying you shouldn't make PARTY POLITICAL GAIN out of this.  This seemed to come mainly from LibDem coalition supporters.  Cast your mind back to Clegg's somewhat silly pre-election rhetoric that "Tory cuts" would lead to "riots in the streets" and begin to wonder why they're a bit defensive. But why shouldn't this be discussed in the light of government policies, if appropriate? Any event, social policy, policing, even a war in which thousands die is the subject of party political debate. Why exactly shouldn't these events be?
  • An obsession with MATERIAL DAMAGE. WHY does the press and everyone else put material damage on such a pedestal? Yes, it's terrible.  I'd be devastated if my car were set on fire.  I'd be beyond consolable, though, if my mother were beaten or burnt and put in hospital. People being injured (private individuals and police) is far worse though.  Why no interviews with them or pictures of that? Because we're a property obsessed society that evidently places greater importance on things than people. We saw it during the student protests, we're seeing it again now.
  • People saying THIS ISN'T A PROTEST, IT'S A RIOT.  Erm, no shit, Sherlock. Did anyone from any side *really* suggest this was a valid form of political protest? No of course it isn't: arson is crime, rioting is crime, stealing electrical goods is crime.  So again why state the ever so incredibly obvious?
  • The Daily Mail AND the Telegraph BLAMED TWITTER.  Do I really need to point out that the Brixton and Toxteth Riots, or Broadwater, managed along just nicely without the wonders of social networking sites? I hear the distinct death rattles of the traditional media somewhere here.
  • People saying NOTHING JUSTIFIES THIS. Quite, but see below.
  • People saying "SOME PEOPLE ARE JUST THUGS/CRIMINALS".  This annoyed me rather a lot, see below.
The Below Bits

So.  Let's conform immediately to Godwin's Law.  I like studying/ talking about the Third Reich, and again I'm allowed to do this (see * above).

When I talk about the Third Reich,  I say for example that the causes of the Holocaust can be traced back to 2000 years of organised Christian antisemitism, to the Versailles Peace Treaty, to the polarisation in Europe between far right and left, to the economic situation in Germany.  Not terribly contentious: all holocaust museums tread this familiar path.  However, what this is not is AN EXCUSE.  An excuse is a justification.  It is an EXPLANATION.  Explanations are not the same thing.  

The above is rocket science. My point isn't
Is the foregoing set of propositions, *actually* rocket science?  Then why, when anyone speculates as to the possible causes of this rioting, does at least one person (often many) jump down their throat to say "that's no justification".

NO, IT'S NOT, AND IT'S NOT SUPPOSED TO BE.  It's an explanation, not an EXCUSE!  We need to understand why things happen if we want to learn from them.

What is the Explanation then?

So, if we are dare, we move to all the speculation as to why this happened.

Why did it happen? I don't know.  You probably don't either, but it doesn't stop some of us speculating to high heaven from the comfort of our armchairs.  I don't know these areas of London well or the problems they are facing.  I am pretty sure there is a combination of complex interrelated long term factors (economic deprivation, race relations, lack of opportunity, failing education, failing parenting) along with some short term ones (anger at police behaviour, anger at local cuts, jumping on the bandwagon, chance to nick a TV, chance to watch something go up in flames) etc. 

What I do see though is the traditional polarisation between the political camps and people generalising wildly.  "It's not something you can sort out by throwing money at"; "It's all because of anger at the cuts"; "It's nothing to do with deprivation, it's just people being criminal"; "it's because of lenient sentencing" etc.

My own feeling? It is likely to be a big mish-mash of the long and short term things I've mentioned, plus some I haven't.  Around 300 people were apparently involved: perhaps there are 300 different sets of reasons.

Look at the costs; worth examining the causes?
I do agree with the brilliant @gaijinsan21 however that we *are* more generally on the edge of a fundamental break-down in the social contract across the country.  This has been going on a long time, but the financial crash, cuts and fear of cuts have made it much worse.  Many people feel alienated, angry at authority and particularly politicians, and do not understand why the State props up banks, but we are continuing to pay in so many different ways.  There is fear for the future, for economic stability and for our prospects.  It's a very unhealthy mix and it's not confined to Tottenham Hale.

In the areas affected by the riots it's not too contentious to say the Met has also lost trust with swathes of people.  It goes further though: it's not just localised, and it is not just with the economically deprived that this has happened.  It's also with middle class people whose default setting is to be on the side of "law and order".  I still instinctively respect my Suffolk Bobby; but right or wrong, I look on the Met with fundamental distrust.  I'm unfortunately no doubt not the only one.  This has been particularly the case since the kettling of students last autumn.  It benefits absolutely no one that a large group of young people has had such appallingly negative experiences at the hands of the Police.  Throw in stats on young black men being stopped and searched, repeated individual and official Met outright lies and cover-ups over the past decade, and we do have an issue which (according to local interviews and in my unqualified guess work) has to be <one> of the more significant factors in this.

Back to Godwin

We also come though to the those who say: forget the causes, some people are JUST CRIMINALS.  Well, I disagree.  I think you're morons.  And I think that you are skirting dangerously close to taking the philosophical line of none other than the Nazi Party.  People are not genetically or congenitally predisposed to crime ("Berufsverbrecher" was the term given to the "habitual criminals" who wore green triangles in the concentration camps).  

People BECOME criminals, they are not BORN criminals, nor will they necessarily remain so all their lives if they have broken the law once.  They make choices; stupid choices, wrong choices, bad choices.  But they do so out of the background of the circumstances they face.  These are economic and social circumstances (including quality of policing), the circumstances of the upbringing and education they have received, the experiences they have had, their opportunities for the future, as well as the prejudices they face in their daily lives. If these circumstances change then levels of crime change.  As I heard more than once, those with the least have the least to lose.

It's also important to note that many people live in economically deprived areas such as Tottenham.  The vast majority in the same boat did not make the same choices that the rioters did.  But the larger that boat, the higher the absolute number of people who will inevitably choose to join in.

People are a complex mixture of potentially good and potentially bad.  We all have both capabilities within us.  Does anyone of these people spouting off that "some people are just bad" actually believe that if you took one of these kids and raised them 2 miles away in Holland Park, attending a £30,000 school, showering them with love, affirmation and affection, that they'd still be out rioting and looting from PC World?  As I said: moronic.  To write off individuals as "bad" and predisposed to crime is even worse than that: it is inhumane and wrong.

Heavens, Rant Over!

Well, that *was* a rant wasn't it?  I really hope for everyone that tonight is quieter in London.  I love that city and so do millions of others.  There are big problems to be addressed here.  Hopefully people much more qualified than I will begin to do so.  Shouting "They're just criminals!" will not solve the problems, though, not matter how many people do it and how loud.

Saturday, 6 August 2011


is when at first you worry that your luggage weighs more than 20kg,
but it isn't after you've weighed it :)


Repost from 2008: Happy Gay Day to all! Here's Rósa and her band Sometime having a glittering blast on wheels during today's Gay Pride parade. Tonight the town belongs to the Rainbow and anyone and everyone who's ready to party on til dawn...

In honor of our annual Gay Pride festival I've changed the colors of our title to reflect this weekend's festivities : ) We'll be out and about again this year, enjoying the rainbow colors and overall happy vibes that fill Reykjavik during this weekend's celebrations. The parade route has been changed this year because Laugavegur just can't handle the ten of thousands who gather to take part anymore. A happy problem! Hopefully we'll get another colorful photo from today's festivities to share with you all. For now, listen to the Gay Pride song for 2011, by Icelandic diva Hera Björk.

Side note: Takk innilega for all your support! We've gone over the six-digit mark for views, and it looks like about half are return visitors, half new. View count numbers don't take into account reader/rss traffic, so we can be sure that Iceland Eyes has many more visitors than those that show. Keep coming back, and be sure to let me know if you have a photo, story or video of Iceland that you'd like to share with the world (you can contact me at : ) Hope you all have a Wonderful sure to hug the ones you're with!

Monday, 1 August 2011


A gift for being nice...

I can't help but gush about Benefit's lip gloss. Once applied, it gives a tingly minty feeling! I've been using it for four years now :)

Elizabeth Arden's goodies.........allows a female to play make-up...

Cosmetics changes looks

The Elizabeth Arden goodie bag given to me by my colleague

Definitely a day worth smiling for!


It's been a rainy Verslunarmannahelgi all around the country but that didn't stop us from enjoying a casual game of Soccer Pool at Reykjavik's Faktory pub/club.

If it's real pool you want Bar 46 is the best place downtown to shoot. It's warm and clean and doubles as an art gallery, giving your game that little added touch of culture.

Have you tried Dynamic Viewing yet? Five new views in all.