Personal Info

Photography Hardware page - Skating pages - Self Portraits

Born in Edinburgh in 1944, always lived here. Married to Jane, 13 years younger than me. Offspring - Linda and Barry (by previous marriage) - and grandson Jack (Linda's son)

Our home is at Holy Corner, Bruntsfield, Edinburgh. Almost everything we want is within walking distance. It can be more peaceful here than out in the 'burbs. Long may it continue.

I built my first computer in 1980, soldering every component into one of the first single-board microcomputers, even the keyboard switches. A wedge of polystyrene supported the single circuit board.

I first got plugged into the planet with Compuserve on July 6 1994, although I had used bulletin boards with the BBC Micro before that. Not much Internet back then...

Religion: none. IMHO life isn't a dress-rehearsal; this is it! Better make the most of it! (see below)

Hobbies: Apart from photography and my web-site, there's: hill-walking, reading, nature, science, collecting art by Robert Crumb. I started ice skating again after a 40 year gap.

Favourite TV: Have I Got News For You, The Simpsons, Horizon (it's got better again), The Outer Limits, Equinox (RIP), Nature programmes with David Attenborough. More recently Coast and geology programmes with Dr Iain Stewart and even Tony Robinson.

Current Musical Favourites - (on my mp3 player)

Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, JJ Cale, Neil Young, Nils Lofgren, Ry Cooder, Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Eagles, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Stones, Bo Diddley, Bonzo Dog Band, Frank Zappa, Bob Marley, Bob Seger, Eric Clapton, Eurythmics, Fats Waller, Jackson Browne, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kevin Ayers, Roy Buchanan, Loudon Wainwright III, Peter Gabriel, Steve Winwood, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Rimsky Korsakov, Sheryl Crow, Moby, David Byrne & Brian Eno, Grace Jones, Todd Rundgren.

Musical un-favourites: Rap Music, though if blended with some actual singing can be ok. Country & Western music sung with a nasal whine. Pounding, mindless, repetitive dance music played through some crap bass-reflex sub-woofer effort.


Pet dislikes: aggressive alcohol-users, racist bigots, sexism, antisocial tenants, absentee landlords. I don't much like the state that Spaceship Earth is in these days. We're glad that we'll be long gone when it gets too bad. Meantime I don't particularly enjoy people on cellphones with loud voices close to me. Somehow, they naïvely assume they're actually in some private space e.g. Limboland.

Gave up smoking on 4th July 1997. I still don't really miss it any more now in 2010. 2011.

Email me at

A brief browse at persistent stuff on my mp3 player:

Raising Sand - Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
He's done the right thing by not resurrecting Led Zep. Much minimalist music lets the bass shine. Cool harmonies.

Hurricane - Grace Jones
As good as Nightclubbing. Sly & Robbie in evidence.

Warren Zevon - Enjoy Every Sandwich plus Life'll Kill Ya
Brilliant songwriter who kept recording when he was soon to die. He sang: My Shit's Fucked Up (his doctor told him so).

You Can Keep Your Hat On - Joe Cocker
I only heard this for the first time recently in Feb '07 but I never tire of hearing it. One of Randy Newman's songs.

Did You Ever See A Dream Walking - Fats Domino
There's countless tracks from this irresistible man. Laid back and minimalist like JJ Cale in some ways.

Nightclubbing - Grace Jones
I haven't heard this LP for years but now I play it a lot. Sounds especially good with good headphones or in-ear type.

All The Roadrunning - Mark Knopfler & Emmy Lou Harris
I liked what Mark Knopfler did with James Taylor in the song Mason Dixon Line. This entire album with Emmy Lou Harris is good IMHO.

Blood On The Tracks - Bob Dylan
Probably the best Dylan album of all time. A classic.

Tougher Than The Rest - Bruce Springsteen
I don't know much Springsteen but I do like this track.

I Can't Forget - Leonard Cohen
I stumbled out of bed, got ready for the struggle. My favourite Leonard Cohen track of those I've heard.

Road To Escondido - JJ Cale & Eric Clapton
A new CD that I keep playing. We have all JJ's albums; this collaboration with Eric Clapton is excellent too.

When The Levee Breaks - Led Zeppelin
Bluesy Rock'n'Roll.

from Klondyke to Kinnaird Newcraighall memories

also school days at Daniel Stewart's

Bloggers, Spongers and Poachers
Update: I have now configured my server to disallow remote linking to images.

Imagine No Religion

I've been reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. Here's a short quote:

Imagine, with John Lennon, a world with no religion. Imagine no suicide bombers, no 9/11, no 7/7, no Crusades, no witch-hunts, no Gunpowder Plot, no Indian partition, no Israeli/Palestinian wars, no Serb/Croat/Muslim massacres, no persecution of Jews as 'Christ-killers', no Northern Ireland 'troubles', no 'honour killings', no shiny-suited bouffant-haired televangelists fleecing gullible people of their money ('God wants you to give till it hurts'). Imagine no Taliban to blow up ancient statues, no public beheadings of blasphemers, no flogging of female skin for the crime of showing an inch of it.

Mormon Advice to Young Men

The nearest I'll get to a blog

(I flirt with Facebook and once typed this into a reply - then realised it was vaguely 'bloggish'.)

My missus plays a mean version of Wish You Were Here on guitar. (Shivers up spine). Another ukulele just got delivered in the last few minutes. Rubycon I'm well acquainted with. A Banco de Gaia track (China / moving a mountain - dunno the actual name) from Last Train to Lhasa) is currently making the hairs on my arms stand up. (It's not the cold 'cause I'm cosy here with coffee.)

Side 1 of Mike Oldfield's Ommadawn also does it for me. Only on vinyl here - I just checked. Played it about a week ago.

I'm now playing Who's Your Baby Now? from Mark Knopfler's album Sailing to America. More rock'n'roll to complement the cerebral stuff. Excellent album. Title track's a duet with James Taylor where they play the part of Mason & Dixon, they of the latitude line in the US.

There's a line in a song called El Macho where Mark's saying / singing to a celeb (I prefer 'sleb') with words I really love:

"Don't see much TV
So you don't mean shit to me"

Evolution Made Us All from Ben Hillman on Vimeo.

Wise, Witty words from Dara O'Briain

Stop Forwarding That Crap To Me

Why I hate 'libraries' - WTF's wrong with folder FFS?

Text from Windows Media Player on Windows 7 (my emphasis)

If you delete a library, the library itself is moved to the Recycle Bin. The files and folders that were accessible in the library are stored elsewhere and therefore aren't deleted. If you accidentally delete one of the four default libraries (Documents, Music, Pictures, or Videos), you can restore it to its original state in the navigation pane by right-clicking Libraries and then clicking Restore default libraries.

If you delete files or folders from within a library, they're also deleted from their original locations. If you want to remove an item from a library but not delete it from the location it's stored in, you should remove the folder containing the item. When you remove a folder from a library, all the items in the folder will be removed (but not deleted). For more information, see Include folders in a library.