Friday, 24 February 2012

Gaude Terminalia

Yesterday (23rd February) was Terminalia - the Roman festival of Terminus - god of boundary stones and border features and, by extension, god of edges and things on the edge. We're all about edges, so we honour Terminus. Here he is, depicted as a bust on top of a familiar-looking stela:


On Terminalia, Romans would make a sacrifice to to the god at the nearest boundary markers (called Termini). The sacrifice would be in the form of a cake, or some ground meal, flowers and fruit. No blood or flesh sacrifice was made, it being forbidden to stain a boundary marker with blood, for the point of having a physical landmark plain for all to see was to demonstrate that no force or violence should be shown when setting mutual boundaries.

So, we crossed out of Pitmuxton, over Great Western Road to Hammerton Stores (a grocer shop named for the Hammermen Guild, who were once the proprietors of the lands north of Pitmuxton) and got some stuff for the ritual. Crossing back into Pitmuxton, we made our sacrifice to Terminus on the nearest Termini.

Newly budded crocusses, fruit and a rowie. Concedo Nulli! Gaude Terminalia!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Ferryhill Orbital Dérive

1. Holburn Junction

8.45 am at Holburn Junction, and the commuters in their motorcars stretch as far as perspective allows, gridlocked at the nexus-choice split-the-wind - Highland or Deeside? All the way from the Y-shaped fork junction to the right-turn to Royal Deeside at Great Western Road, the carriageway is bumper-bound stuck-still jammed with metal machines. One each to their cars - behind their windscreens, strapped to their chairs - the grim-faced commuters look as if they have just been bereaved, or have suffered some other form of intolerable injustice. But the pavements are empty and I am nearly alone as I walk towards the town centre. There is an unaccustomed hush; the usual speeding noise of the motorcars is temporarily stilled by the gridlock, the purring susurration of the idling engines is all I can hear. I feel like I am the last human being in a world of mechanisms.

Now I'm closer to the junction itself, and I can see the cause of the traffic jam. A bus-lane parker flashes his hazard lights (why?) as he just pops for a minute to an ATM or something, and in doing so renders the whole half-mile of bus lane worthless. A near-empty bus lurches out from the lane to pass the parked car, insisting its way into the stream of private motorists who do not want, oh they so do not want, to let it out. Staring straight ahead, they psychologically blank out the bus, trying to inch forward and deny it roadspace. The motor-bound expressions of the car-commuters change; the customary displays of glum ennui mutating to intolerant masks of fuming rage, indignant. Compounding their anger, the phasing of the Holburn Junction traffic lights has been changed since last I walked this way - it's a high frequency short phase now. Perhaps this is part of a traffic-management policy to discourage motorists from driving into the heart of the town centre, I don't know. One thing I do know - one thing which is plain to see - is that it has had effect on the driving style of the motorists as they approach accelerating towards the junction (not slowing down, as they should) and crashing on through the light controlled junction at amber, then red; two, three, five vehicles through at red, dropping a gear and flooring it, roaring over the junction as the pedestrian's green man shines out across the junction, beep-beep-beeping to no-one but me. It used to be that the green man meant it was safe to cross - but not now, not in this town. So the short-phasing of the traffic lights has had an effect on my behaviour too, because now I have to cross warily and looking and listening all around, as if there were no green-man pedestrian phase at all. 

Keen to study the habits of the commuting motorists, I go into the Starbucks coffee shop which has a picture window panorama of the junction. Sipping away on my americano, the repetitive spectacle of the red-light-jumpers soon pales. This town has an intractable traffic problem, along with the attendant externalities of pollution, dirt, noise, dust, ill-health and on and on. The traffic problem persists despite strategically placed park-and-ride facilities on the periphery of the town (the extensive carparks and shuttle buses remain stubbornly empty), despite high fuel prices ("high oil prices are GOOD for Aberdeen"), despite a "cycling action plan" and despite the new urbanism which is sweeping the developed world's towns, recognising that town centres are places for people, not machines. Despite all these things, traffic volumes in Aberdeen continue to rise; 20% up in the last 3 years, apparently. It starts to snow outside.

I go up to the counter and select a panini-thing. The twenty-something girl barista has an American accent and an over-pleasant, so-familiar-it's-nearly-flirtatious manner. But something in her eyes tells me it's from a script which she repeats over and over and over through her shift. She sing-song-says she'll bring my sandwich over once she's toasted it. I go back to my seat in the window and start to leaf through a magazine. I can't concentrate and my attention wanders. I scan the coffeeshop and its patrons. The place and the people remind me of something, but I can't quite put my finger on it. Not quite deja-vu - more a similarity of category. It eludes me. 

Several suited and booted young salesey types, (I'll bet it says "Sales Executive" on their business cards). Sitting each one alone, one by one they lever open their laptops and check their e-mail. And there elderly couple conversing animatedly in sign-language appear to have come in just to get out of the snow, which has now turned into a pathetically damp sleet. Another anodyne group of be-suited folk arrive and settle in for what, amazingly, appears to be a full-blown meeting - something in their manner, their clothing, their pens and pads, makes me think they're lawyers or accountants or surveyors or suchlike. The most junior of them is taking minutes and making sure that everyone got the coffee they wanted. I notice that the deaf couple haven't bought anything, and they're sitting propped on the arms of sofas near the front of the cafe. Their BSL discussion becomes more and more animated - they're silently arguing. Not wanting to intrude on private grief, I look away. A squat casually-dressed woman with scaped-back hair; she's wearing trainers and has both a small rucksack and a big holdall. She holds her mug in one fist and pours over a thick soft old novel which she keeps open with a beefy forearm. A tall slender middle-aged man in active-looking beige clothing (he looks like a geography teacher - the sort who takes his guitar on field-trips) guddles in his tote-bag and confounds my preconceptions by fishing out a copy of The Sun tabloid. By now, the deaf couple have reached an impasse in their squabble and they sit, not looking at each other, arms crossed, chins jutted, brows knitted.

My sandwich arrives, and I notice that the sleet has stopped. Aching-blue between the parting clouds, the sky shoots a barrage of winter-low golden sunlight to glance off the slick wet tarmac and paving stones, up into my face. Blue sky and golden light in our february-grey town - a delight. Wish I'd brought my sunglasses. And with that thought I recognise what the place reminded me of - it's an airport departure lounge, it's a hotel foyer, it's a nowhere un-destination - where we go while we're waiting to go somewhere else. When we want to go somewhere else.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The Charm Agenda, Charm Offensive, Offensive Charm

A whole month after our "Final Thought" about the planning debacle surrounding Aberdeen's only town-centre green space - Union Terrace Gardens - events conspire to make liars of us, and we're obliged to offer yet more "final thoughts".


I was leafing through the most recent edition of Tyler Brûlé's Monocle "cultural briefing" magazine the other day. (Yeah, yeah, I know.) But we very much like Tyler's takes on urbanism, on transport and on modernism (in architecture and design). Since he turned the 'lifestyle' magazine market inside out when he launched Wallpaper in 1996, his editorial push has been characterised by a purity of vision and a earnest championing of good taste and human scale urban design - quality, authenticity and integrity in urbanism. Looking at his magazines, you might think that postmodernism never happened.

The most recent edition of Monocle points out that, as we're getting accustomed to having tough economic forecasts thrust in front of us, and as politicians and mass-media pundits struggle to begin to think about how they might approach - as they eventually must - the necessity of starting to condition the general public to the fact that a return to economic growth may not actually be possible - certain brands, businesses, regions and people seem not to be merely surviving, but rather thriving despite the economic crisis. The magazine devotes an editorial and an entire globetrotting section with travelogues (dérives) and essays (polemics) all turned to the examination of that special quality which allows some to float easily to the top to enjoy the oxygen of prosperity while others sink in the stifling mire of economic depression. Tyler's travel writers, photographers, philosophers, and graphic artists are flung to the four corners of the earth and return to identify this fundamental ingredient of resilient success. They conclude that this vital essence is charm.
It's a set of attributes got by doing things based on human feelings and not because a focus group says it sounds good or the numbers seem to add up when you pile them on to an Excel sheet. The reason we think this word [charm] is key in 2012 is because it adds the DNA for longevity into brands, business and neighbourhoods
Honesty, integrity, simplicity … are other words that help all manner of firms thrive, but oddly, they never seem to make it past the door of a business school. That's because these things can't be taught; you have to genuinely possess these qualities.
Charm is unquantifiable, which is why management consultants and MBA graduates overlook it. Decisions about the future of a town, building or business that are made in the boardroom don't consider the importance or charm. … And yet charm is arguably the most important factor for securing repeat business, which in today's financial climate is invaluable.
Charm is fragile too - it's not something you can buy (think Dubai), it takes time to nurture and requires safeguarding because, once lost, it's near impossible to reinstate.
So you can see that this resonates with today's urban planning tumult in Aberdeen. Since the intervention of oil-tycoon Sir Ian Wood in 2008 caused the collapse of the project to build the Northern Light (a contemporary art centre) in favour of his own vanity-stroking City Square Project (as was), the discourse in Aberdeen has been characterised by a singular lack of charm. Accusation and counter-accusation have flown in an increasingly polarised debate as the polity is subjected to the spectacle of a process which has been distressingly divisive. Misdirection, misinformation, sock-puppetry, DPR, website hacking, vexatious allegations, character assassinations and other dirty tricks have all been rumoured to have been used by one side or the other or both. Allegedly. We have been disappointed but unsurprised to see a lack of balance in the local press, who have continued to act as editorial mouthpieces for the boosters of CO2-supremo Sir Ian Wood's project, their pro-development articles hitting their own front pages with predictably metronomic regularity. But then, we've long since aired our disappointment about how our Aberdeen newspapers are operated.

In our opinion, the distasteful aspects of this process which will in effect privatise commonly-held land, were inevitable. When carbon-bigwig Sir Ian Wood first announced his intention to outbid the creative and performing arts community in Aberdeen he set our teeth on edge by going on record and saying:
Eighty percent of the people who spend time in [my] square will have no interest in the arts.
So breathtaking an expression and expectation of philistinism, both patronising and dismissive, used by the emission-king Sir Ian Wood as a justification for why his scheme would be preferred by the people of Aberdeen over the Northern Light scheme, was inevitably seen by the creative arts community - both producers and consumers with curator-types in between - as an opening pre-emptive strike in a dirty war for the soul (both metaphysical and urban-physical) of our town. Thus was the wind sown, and now we reap the whirlwind as the time has arrived and the people of Aberdeen are now making a decision on whether or not the park gets bulldozed. A postal referendum is in progress at this time. What emission-monger Sir Ian Wood first called "The City Square Project" has been re-branded "The City Garden Project". You can see what they did there.


One of the many aspects which has characterised the moneymen's push to foist their debt-creating real-estate land-grab and building project on the people of Aberdeen is the use of pubic relations (PR) consultancies who are involved in projecting a presence (we think that's the kind of thing these sorts of people tend to say) for the City Square Garden Project. Posters, flyers, web, social media, radio, tv and print. It's all been very slick and impressive. If you think that a corporate branding and impression management (as they say) exercise can ever be impressive, that is. Many people do in these hyperreal times, more's the pity.

A couple of weeks ago, I asked one of the social media manifestation aspects of the City Square Garden Project a straightforward enough genuine question. Here's what I asked:
One of the things which is a perennial spectacle in Aberdeen, in the city centre, is the sunset gathering of starlings - vectoring in from all directions and amorphously flocking in the sky above Union Street. The spectacular flock (numbering tens of thousands of birds) swoops around the city centre, gathering strength of numbers as subsidiary flocks join, before groups break off and dive beneath Union Bridge to roost.
The RSPB and the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) state that: "starling numbers have fallen by 66 per cent in Britain since the mid-1970s. Because of this decline in numbers, the starling is red listed as a bird of high conservation concern." 
And the RSPB also note that the Countryside Act (1981) makes it illegal to intentionally kill, injure or take a starling, or to take, damage or destroy an active nest or its contents. They say that preventing the birds from gaining access to their nests may also be viewed as illegal by the courts. And indeed, the provisions of the Scottish Nature Conservation Act (which supersedes and modifies the Countryside Act) are more stringent yet when it comes to bird habitat protection, making it an explicit offence to: "obstruct or prevent any wild bird from using its nest". How can this be avoided by the plans as proposed? 
How will the project circumvent the provisions of the Countryside Act and the Scottish Nature Conservation Act? How will the promotors of the project deal with this issue? Has the City Garden Project been in touch with the RSPB and the BTO?  If they have not already contacted the RSPB/BTO, why not?
The response from the City Square Garden Project's social media manifestation:
We love the birds too and want to see them remain in the city centre. What is exciting about the new gardens is the fact that new eco-systems and habitats will be created by the larger gardens with a greater diversity of plants and wildlife. 

Ugh. Firstly, when I read that, I had the feeling that I'd been mugged. It's that superficial charm of the PR "handling" thing that they do by the numbers; that thing that's straight out of the first year media studies playbook where they 1. gushingly agree ("yes we love birds too, see - we're just like you!") - then 2. deflect by issuing handwaving boilerplate ("the new thing will be EVEN BETTER"); all without addressing the serious and genuine specific concerns I'd expressed. At the time of writing, I've seen no genuine response to my questions from the City Square Gardens Project PR people. 

The thing about charm is, it cannot be faked. We can all tell when a corporate entity has a "workshopped vision" rather than a genuine opinion. We are used to the cant of the scripted interactions we must suffer with call centres and checkout till operators. We can even now detect when the script has been drafted in order to appear unscripted. It's wearing, it's tiring, it's disheartening. We live now in an age of flesh-robots consulting decision-tree boilerplate scripts. Where are the real people? What are their genuine opinions? It's doubly disheartening to realise that the real people promoting this real-estate venture (in this case, emission-king Sir Ian Wood and a group of 50 anonymous(ish) - certainly faceless - businesspeople who are bankrolling the PR initiative) reckon themselves to be so lacking in genuine charm that they must retain a PR consultancy to generate a continual outgushing of superficial charm boilerplate in order to deflect public attention away from them, and away from key questions and problems with the project. I suppose, at least, we should congratulate the group of fifty anonymous(ish) businesspeople for their self-knowledge. 


A correspondent pointed us towards the blog of local(ish) PR practitioner Ken McEwan, in which the PR-man contends that  - unless the people of Aberdeen consent to carbon-mogul Sir Ian Wood's real-estate development scheme which would destroy Aberdeen's only town centre green space - there will be no further investment of any kind in Aberdeen. When he asserts: "This is an all or nothing package" he's kind-of saying "Vote Yes to the comprehensive redevelopment of Union Terrace Gardens or the rest of the city gets it!" 

Of course, the PR-man avoids any use of the words "loan" or "debt", choosing to use the words "investment" and "funding" instead. But leaving that aside, and also leaving aside the arguable thrust of the "all or nothing" assertion, what we find most enlightening is the posture that this PR-man is happy to be seen to be taking. To us, it seems that he appears to be revelling in creating the impression of a kind of civic-development blackmail. Aren't these PR-types charming?


When we last wrote about this subject, we got a bit of criticism for our use of language like "emission-king" and "pollution-mogul" when describing carbon-baron Sir Ian Wood. Some people thought we ran the risk of undermining the work of the various voluntary groups who are working to retain Union Terrace Gardens. We responded by saying that we would happily consent to the destruction of Union Terrace Gardens were the pre-eminent CO2-magnate Sir Ian Wood to renounce his role in the extraction of oil and gas and denounce the oil industry for the atmosphere-threatening activity which it demonstrably is. We said that we were not interested in coalitions, particularly when membership of a coalition might compromise our principles. It's a matter of perspective - for what use will a small city centre park be should the thermohaline circulation system collapse? How will Union Terrace Gardens in their current form help the hundreds of millions of people who will be displaced from low-lying coastal regions as sea levels rise? When ever will the many hundreds of thousands who will be killed in resource-wars to come be able to enjoy the peace and tranquility of a sunken garden in a provincial northern town? 

So we were saddened when the major grouping of volunteers which is working to retain Union Terrace Gardens announced that they have received the beneficent backing of oil-tycoon Jimmy Reid (yes, another one, another tycoon). We wrote about the intransigence of these pollution-millionaires before, in the context of the financial collapse of the potentially atmosphere-saving carbon capture and storage pilot plant at Longannet power station. 

In a press release, carbon-grandee Jimmy Reid, publicity-friendly MD and Chairman of Balmoral Group said:
I and many of my business contemporaries, are committed to establishing a fund which will help bring the gardens back to their former glory. Without destroying our heritage, and without putting Aberdeen City further into debt, it would not be difficult to breathe fresh life into the park. Improved access, new planting, cleaning and restoration, park wardens and live events could all be relatively easily and cost effectively achieved.

We were sickened by the sycophancy which Jimmy Milne's announcement provoked from some members of the groups who want to retain Union Terrace Gardens. And we were troubled by this talk of a fund set up by faceless businesspeople to run a public park. But, again, these are side issues. More important to us is that we certainly don't want our activism (such as it is) to be co-opted weight-of-numbers-wise (as it runs the risk of being) in support of the consent-manufacturing activities of the pollution-magnates and their climate-jeopardising activities, whatever their views on the direction of urbanism, new or old. Such are the dangers of coalition membership. Which oil-tycoon do you prefer? We prefer neither.

Spot the difference


The whole spectacle of this fight for the future of a small park has split opinion in this town. It has marginalised the creative sector, it has damaged the arts and it has polarised discourse. It has served as a window-dressing diversion away from the necessity to build a truly sustainable industrial future for Aberdeen based upon the exploitation of renewable energy sources. The atmosphere of hostility and distrust is poisonous to the enjoyment of this town for its own sake, something which is one of the avowed aims of the whole OtherAberdeen blog. And now the polity of the whole town has been manoeuvred into the false dilemma of being forced to endorse either the vision of one oil-tycoon or the other. We feel a need to distance ourselves from this spectacle, for sometimes the grapes really are sour.

Monday, 13 February 2012


Growing up in Aberdeen, the young mind can't help but be fascinated by the under-ground (or rather, under-road) aspects of the town. Beneath large parts of Union Street, Bridge Street, The Castlegate, Market Street, Holburn Street, Bon-Accord Street and, of course, Rosemount Viaduct exist vaulted caverns which shoulder the carriageway above. The vaults beneath the Holburn and Bon Accord viaducts provide coal-cellars for the tenements which flank the structures; coal-chute covers sometimes still visible embedded in granite flagstones, anomalous amongst the concrete pavingstones. And I can especially remember being in a store-room/workshop beneath Union Street at some point during the mid-1970's. I can't remember for sure why I was there, something to do with a TV repair, but I do specifically remember the shop proprietor making great play of the fact that we were under the road. The shop premises was an electrical retailer (a local enterprise called "Alexanders") in the unit now occupied by that Anne Summers low-rent lingerie outlet. On Bridge Street, there was a sports goods shop (I can't remember the name) which had premises on both sides of the road, linked through the vault under the road. I remember a very narrow steep boxy staircase. One-at-a-time please.

A while ago, we touched on the subject a little:

Viaducts like these exist all over Europe in formerly hilly town centres with which the Victorians had their vainglorious way. Notably Edinburgh has its many viaducts and bridges with vaulted caverns below, and those vaults are put to work as entertainment venues, pop-up pubs, knocking shops, ghost-tour backdrops, etc.  Similarly, London's Oxford street is, in part, raised above the former natural topography. In parts, entire pre-Victorian streetscapes are preserved below vaults, notably the Georgian shopping street which has been preserved almost in its entirety below the Selfridges department store. We understand that this living psychogeographical fossil (for what else can we call it?) has been from time to time used as a film-set. Back home, we have heard claims of secret access, of strange artifacts and of old cottages and the like existing below the vaulted stonework of Aberdeen's viaducts, but we treat these claims with scepticism. We know that, notwithstanding the odd restaurant and nightclub, the vaults of Aberdeen are most commonly used as underground carparks, and commercial storage. However, we would love to learn of more exotic uses, of secrets forgotten, of stories waiting to be told. We would so love be proven wrong. 

I was passing the door to the vaults beneath Market Street one day last week. By being on foot and keeping eyes open, you can increase your chances of being in the right place at the right time. A new air extraction system was being installed in the vaults, I chatted a bit to the HVAC guys, and they let me in...

Friday, 10 February 2012

Dog in Manger Throws Toys out of Pram

Do you remember this one?

Updated today with this:

And, all the more extraordinarily, with this:

News also reaches us via The Herald of a letter which Donald Trump has written to Alex Salmond MSP, Scotland's First Minister.

Trump Declares War on Scotland

In a withering letter, he tells Mr Salmond that by encouraging the construction of offshore wind farms, "you will single-handedly have done more damage to Scotland than any event in Scottish history" 
Later, in a radio interview, he said that included wars. 
Mr Trump has been fighting against 11 off-shore turbines which he claims would spoil the views from his new championship golf course at Balmedie. He has already declared no more work will be done on his planned hotel, 950 holiday homes and 500 houses until the fate of the wind farm is decided. He has also demanded a public inquiry, and a decision is expected within four months. 
However, in his letter to the First Minister, Mr Trump paints a wider canvas: "You seem hell bent on destroying Scotland's coastline and, therefore, Scotland itself". He says he could never support this "insanity". 
"As a matter of fact I have just authorised a member of my staff to allocate a substantial amount of money to launch an international campaign to fight your plan to surround Scotland's coast with many thousands of wind turbines – it will be like looking through the bars of a prison and the Scottish citizens will be the prisoners," the letter adds. 
Mr Trump says tourists would not suffer because there would not be any coming to Scotland because of the wind farm policy. 
He questions the economic wisdom of Scottish ministers laying such store in wind energy: "For the record, taxing your citizens to subsidise wind projects owned by foreign energy companies will destroy your country and its economy. Jobs will not be created in Scotland because these ugly monstrosities known as turbines are manufactured in other countries such as China. These countries, who so benefit from your billions of pounds in payments, are laughing at you." 
You'll see that the article points out that Donald Trump promises to finance an "international campaign" against windfarm developments all over Scotland. Extraordinary.

Being residents of Aberdeen, Scottish, interested in energy policy, interested in planning issues, etc as we are, these outbursts seem almost comical in their hyperbole to us.  But then we realise that we, perhaps, are not the intended audience of Donald Trump's polemics. Nor, perhaps, are the political figures to whom he has nominally addressed these paroxysms. No, the intended audience of Donald Trump's outpourings might be exclusively made up of his existing stakeholders. Last summer, blaming the global downturn, Donald Trump pulled back from his originally promised development of a "high class" [sic] golf resort with five star hotel, condominiums, luxury villas and the like. Now Donald Trump finds himself with a development which some have suggested that he cannot finance, and from which it has been said that he cannot profit.

The BBC sought a response from the Scottish Government, and got this choice quote:

Scottish waters are estimated to have as much as a quarter of Europe's potential offshore wind energy. A recent study suggests that harnessing just a third of the practical resource off our coast by 2050 would enable us to generate enough electricity to power Scotland seven times over. 
Adding to this, Niall Stewart, who is Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables said:
Who is Donald Trump to tell Scotland what is good for our economy and our environment? Offshore wind is already attracting billions of pounds of investment and supporting hundreds of jobs across Scotland. 
That Donald Trump has chosen to try to stand in the way of this juggernaut - picking a fight which (surely even he knows well) he cannot win, might be seen on the face of it to be ill-judged and foolhardy. Particularly perplexing is that Donald Trump chooses to pick an unnecessary fight, for, as Niall Stuart also points out - there is absolutely no reason whatsoever why these developments cannot exist side by side. 

When these facts are appreciated, some people might conclude the following: that Donald Trump's outbursts over the last few days are not intended to influence Scottish Government energy policy; the statements are not intended to win hearts and minds in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire; they are not aimed at "saving Scotland" as Donald Trump asserts; and nor are they intended to promote his golf course. Those same sceptics might believe that these polemics are, rather, aimed at saving face. Sceptics as they are, they might be tempted to think that, confronted with what could be seen as the prospect of failure at Menie - instead of accepting responsibility for what might be seen as an ill-judged investment and own up to what could be understood as management failures; rather than draw attention to his financial situation or just admit that, as some might say, he appears to be beaten - Donald Trump must find an external reason outwith his control; something to blame. Those same sceptics might be tempted to say that he needs a scapegoat by which to deflect the attention of his investors, backers, fans, boosters and other key stakeholders away from what might be interpreted as his burgeoning personal and corporate failure in Aberdeenshire.

But we would never say such things about a man and organisation we respect as much as we do. We daren't.

The necessity for Scotland to have future prosperity based upon an energy supply which does not jeopardise the atmosphere appears, the sceptic might conclude, to offer Donald Trump just that way out.

So, if the sceptics are proven right, who are we to stand in the way of what could be understood to be Donald Trump's face-saving exit strategy? But if and when he does go, we will miss such entertaining spectacle as he has provided for the last five years! 

Haste ye back!

That's Entertainment!