Ali Abdaal has Inspired Me BIG TIME!

Who the fuck is Ali Abdaal? I didn’t know either, until lunch time today. Since then, he’s changed my life.

I don’t know if you know, but my mental health hasn’t always been great. I came out of a bipolar downswing at the beginning of this week, a downswing that I wasn’t even really aware that I was in until I wasn’t. And it felt fucking amazing. Wheeeee! I was feeling a glow, an energy, positivity in waves that I hadn’t felt for months.

That led to productivity. I can do anything when I’m on an upswing; everything seems possible. All the ideas and plans that I had on my last upswing suddenly feel good again. Time to get to work!

Knowledge Working Space

I’ve always been interested in the knowledge working space. I remember signing up for Backpack in around 2006, listening to Merlin Mann’s interview with David Allen of Getting Things Done, reading David Sparks’ posts about OmniFocus, reading Shawn Blanc, starting a blog, and another blog, and a music website and a photography website.

Then the downswing would come and everything would seem pointless and I’d feel like I was a fraud. ‘Who cares, right?’.

I’ve been going through these ups and downs for as long as I can remember. Now I’m in an upswing and feeling like it will never end, and so I’m going to go with that and not think about the fact that it always does end. But I’m going to try and ‘bank some creative capital’ this time, and every time from now on.

Ali Abdaal

This is where Ali Abdaal comes in.

Let’s rewind a little, back to a couple of weeks ago when I discovered a new-ish note-taking service called Roam Research. I can’t remember how I found it. No, wait, it was from one of my favourite newsletters, Iain Broome’s. He just happened to mention it on his Substack blog.

I signed up because it sounded fantastic, but the upswing hadn’t kicked in and I did nothing with it until this weekend. I’ve spent the last two days watching YouTube videos on how it works, and that was how I found Ali Abdaal. I’ve watched four or five of his videos today and am now reading one of three books that he recommended.

Side note: this is another danger zone for me on an upswing – I buy stuff like I had ALL the money! I even made a note in my journal to reign that in this time around, because it never ends well. And of course I can justify every single purchase! I’m now staring at the Joker keyboard on the IQUNIX store and trying hard not to buy it (I already ordered a Keychron K4 earlier in the week — oops!)

But the books, right. I’m now reading Show Your Work, by Austin Kleon. It’s really good.

I’m highlighting it in the Kindle app, which highlights will then be added to a page in Roam Research via Readwise. It’s the sort of workflow that really excites me. Naturally it’s going to involve buying a subscription both to Roam Research AND Readwise when the trials are up. This is what I was talking about!

Banking Creative Capital

Ali talks about passive income in this video.

He’s a doctor, working for the NHS in the UK. And he’s making a comfortable living making content and from affiliate marketing. But wait, he’s a doctor? Working for the NHS? I’ve been around UK hospitals enough to have an idea of how much work that is. And I’M complaining that I don’t have time to make videos? What?

Nuts, right?

Not only that, but Ali’s down-to-earth style in his videos really appeals to me and makes me feel a little less like an impostor. So, that’s why I’m feeling inspired af right now. I have multiple projects in my head, some of which have content created going back to June 2019 and which I’ve done fuck all with because ‘I don’t have time’. So from now on, whenever I think I don’t have time, I’ll remind myself that I’m not a junior doctor for the NHS and stop fucking complaining!

So while I’m feeling positive, I’m going to get to work with some content and a new website that’s in the works for my network marketing ideas. I know from having been part of the knowledge space for a long time that consistency is perhaps the main ingredient when it comes to algorithms and audience building, so if I can just get enough content ready and schedule it out, it could just work.

I think it’s that lack of consistency that has held me back. I hear YouTubers talking about how they’ve been on YouTube forever, meaning five years. I published my first video in 2007 before even Google bought it. But I’m not going to regret the past; I’m going to start today and send a big shoutout of gratitude to Ali.


**Featured Image copyright Ali Abdaal.

What Live Streaming Tool Should I Use?

I’m experimenting with the GoPro to make my audio podcast into a video one. It worked pretty well, although I’m not quite sure who’ll want to watch an 18-minute video of my yakking into the camera! Maybe I’m wrong. And besides, I’m enjoying making content.

Podcast Version

There’s a longer audio version of this published in my normal podcast feed. Yeah, I continued yakking into the mic after I switched off the camera! If you’re at all interested in hearing the podcast recommendation that I made on the audio-only version, check out my podcast Quoth the Camser.


I talked about live streaming tools and Ian Anderson Gray’s fantastic blog post on that. You can check that out here.

Sun Burning my Back


The sun is shining. ? When did that last happen? I really should take the dogs out. In fact, that’s just what I’m going to do.

Once I’ve posted this…

Morning Pages

I woke up with a headache. Not good. But it’s been productive. I’ve started using MarsEdit again; I’m using it now in fact. And I posted my first blog post on my new business site at It feels good to be blogging again and I’ve really missed it.

Dogs time. This is going to be good!


I just joined the Steem platform after my good pal @barge explained it to me. I spent a few hours this week looking through the FAQs and what have you, and it looks like something that could really be of use to me for all sorts of reasons. I used to love Six Apart’s Vox platform round about 2006/07 and had a good wee group of friends there, some of whom I’m still online friends with on other social media platforms such as Goodreads and That platform folded around 2010 and Facebook kind of filled the void for me. I started blogging more in 2010-ish using WordPress, but it felt like I was talking into the void, so it fell by the wayside. Steem might just be the thing to get me back to writing again. I do have experiences to share about a variety of topics, so I’m going to give it a go.

My feed is here:

So, as of now, I’ll be blogging over there. It looks really exciting, particularly some of the posts I’ve read about what’s available for musicians over there.

There is a WordPress plugin for the platform called Steempress, which I have installed on this site just to see how it works. This may well be my first post on Steem if it crossposts from WordPress.

I’m planning on a post to introduce myself properly tomorrow, then spending some time visiting other users to read some content and try and hook up with some other musicians and possibly recovering alcoholics, maybe even postmasters. People into self improvement would be good to find too, and fantasy book fans. This is gonna be great!

Can I be a songwriter please?

I listened to Gillian Welch a lot this week, including her song One Little Song. It’s about song writing. I saw Declan Sinnott live and heard him sing a song about songwriting. And I heard a friend of mine playing some songs he’d written himself that were really, really good.

So why the fuck do I struggle so much with it?

When I listen to the likes of The The and Nick Cave, I’m moved to try. They make it sound so easy. And I feel like it could be.

There’s a big ball of pain and fear locked inside me. I used to talk it out when I was drinking, but that’s no longer an option. Probably just as well. Sometimes it went okay, but usually not.

Playing music helps to get the fear out, simply because it puts me in the present. That’s a place I’m seldom in.

My head was buzzing all over the map at the concert last night and not always to good places. I was left wondering at times what have I contributed to the universe lately? There’s so much music I want to learn, songs I want to sing and it just felt over fucking whelming, you know? I find myself thinking that if I could just master this, figure out that, I’d finally have arrived and my self expression would suddenly have a valid artistic outlet. But all that happens is that I get angry at life’s getting in the way and preventing me from following my path, and that’s just wrong. I know that.

By contrast, this morning, I found the tired-with-too-little-sleep me sitting on the bus thinking about how joyful I am that there’s so much out there for me to learn musically and that each half-hour of playing live or twenty minutes of watching a video about thirds and fifths is adding to the whole me. I’m hungry for it, but I still get down that there’s no creativity and that it’s all just copying. And do people really care?

The [Tweet I posted earlier] was what I was thinking as I stood at the bus stop.

I have to play music for my own enjoyment first and foremost. If others enjoy it too, so much the better.

Watching these fantastic musicians last night had me feeling down that I can’t play those licks or sound that good or write my own stuff and it’s really not like me to think that way. I often hear musicians’, after seeing an amazing player, saying things like ‘I might as well just quit’, but it usually inspires me to go and pick up my guitar and learn the fuck out of it. Maybe I was just tired and low last night.

So how does the sober me get the pain and, yes, sometimes the joy, OUT into words without being explicit about what’s really on my mind? I tried poetry a few months ago and it actually went well, much to my surprise. I started with some of the loose random words and sounds that are constantly in my head and lines just appeared fully formed. I’d heard that that can happen but never really understood. In fact it felt bloody great.

So maybe I’ve just got to sit down and fucking do it; take the headphones off for a bit and see what silence can bring; be alone with the cacophony in my little head and see if I can get some of the noise out into words. Maybe that will make the noise a wee bit quieter and I’ll stop hating the world so much.


Reality Music TV Shows and Online Betting

X-Factor panel

Three popular Reality TV Shows with an Online Betting System

Before, placing a bet on a team or an individual player was only done in sports matches. However, today, it would seem that reality TV shows now have a place in the betting industry as well.

Betting on reality TV contests are very much like wagering on sports events. Contestants who are fan favourites have the highest odds but with small payouts, while the “dark horses” will always have the highest pot. Through online bookers, people can now place bets and make money by predicting who will place first by the end of the show. Here are three of the most popular TV shows with an online betting platform:


X-Factor is one of the most popular reality TV shows in the US and UK. As such, it is only rational that a betting system for it was made. This year’s X-Factor, former prison officer Sam Bailey was the fan favourite and the odds were in her favour. In a news report by Betfair‘s Jack Houghton, Luke Friend was her strongest opposition with Nicholas McDonald out of the lead. In the end, it was Sam who won the completion and became the X-Factor 2013 champion.

The Voice

Last year, The Voice UK’s betting market was surprised when Leanne Mitchell bagged the first prize. Not a lot really expected Leanne to win, with the odds against her of only 7/1 during the final leg of the competition. Her toughest competitors during that time were Tyler James and Vince Kidd but due to her unexpected, spectacular performance, she was able to turn the tide and became The Voice’s champion last year.

Eurovision Song Contest

Eurovision is a huge contest in the UK region, being participated by the active member countries of the European Broadcasting Union. It is one of the longest-running shows in the world and one of the most watched non-sporting events. With viewers that range around 600 million internationally, it only makes sense that a betting platform was dedicated to it. This year, Denmark became the favourite of betting fans, followed by Norway, which came through second in the finals.

Ultimately, the online betting business on music programs will keep getting bigger in the future for two reasons. First, it offers an alternative to sports betting where people can not only enjoy TV shows as is but also make a little money from them. In addition, it also does well to the TV programs by advertising them freely online through news articles and betting results.

Lovely painting



On my 21st birthday my mum bought me a nice Parker fountain pen. I don’t remember what it was or what happened to it. But I do recall that I found it scratchy and never used it much. As an object though, I still really liked it.

I’ve always cared about the pens I use. I favoured Parker ballpoint pens at university and used fine refills, but I also had some with medium. I am the sort of person who would spend fifteen minutes looking for one of those pens to sign a cheque when there are Bic and Staedtler ballpoints all over the house! When my grandfather died and we were going through his things, I found a Parker ballpoint in every suit jacket in his wardrobe. I still use these and have a quite a sentimental attachment to them.

Pen Addict Podcast

I started listening to the Pen Addict podcast around episode 50. I’ve no idea why it took me so long to get to it!

Now, it took me a year of listening to MacBreak Weekly before I bought my first Mac. It took me two episodes of the Pen Addict to get my first fountain pen, a TWSBI Diamond 580 with a fine nib from Cult Pens.

TWSBI Diamond 580

Not long after that, I bought a Pilot Capless decimo in violet on eBay and two bottles of ink from Cult Pens: bilberry and grape. Turns out that I think the ink colour should match the pen!

I have Pilot G2 pens and Zebra Sarasa gel pens. I don’t recall where I heard about them, but I like them. And, of course, it didn’t take many minutes of Pen Addict Podcast before I heard these pens mentioned.

It’s a strange thing. Pens have always been important to me, but I’ve never really gone deep. It’s strange because I have an obsessive nature and tend to go deep on whatever I’m into, sometimes to the exclusion of other things, which is why I’ve learned over the years to avoid things that are likely to capture my attention too fully (TV shows, video games being the obvious things I avoid).

It’s also strange because I don’t actually write that much! In the past couple of weeks, I’ve become a good pen friend with my friend in Luxembourg, whom I miss terribly and don’t keep in touch with nearly enough. Needless to say, she’s really pleased!


I have a small Post Office in a rural location in Scotland. I’ve been selling stationery since I started here five years ago. Gel pens sell reasonably well, but I’ve never really learned about them other than which ones sell and which ones don’t. So I’ve gone back to episode 1 of the Pen Addict podcast and plan to start stocking more pens and paper, including Moleskine notebooks.

I’ve always loved the staff picks in Waterstone’s book shop, particularly the handwritten reviews displayed on the shelves. So I’ve come up with the idea of handwriting testimonials of the different pens on brown luggage tags in the shop.

A pot of Zebra Sarasa pens in my post office with a luggage talk on which is written a description of the pens.

Whether this will work or not remains to be seen, but it’s worth a try and it’ll be fun for me to sell something that actually interests me. Experience tells me that things I like don’t sell well and things I don’t like do, but maybe it’ll be different where stationery is concerned!

Music gives me hope

I watched When Albums Ruled the World on the BBC last night and it was one of those documentaries that has stayed with me into the next day. It charts the rise of the album from the single and talks about some of the music that was made possible only by the LP. One of the ideas that stood out for me was that LP collections were like the working man’s art collection. It said so much about you.

I came of age around 1980 and, although I did have a few LPs on vinyl, I was much more of the cassette tape generation. I’ve had headphones on pretty much since the early 80s and I was pondering that just recently as I listened to music on my iPhone whilst out with the dogs. I had on my sound-isolation headphones and I felt like I had arrived; things can stop progressing now, because it just doesn’t get any better. No more tape hiss, no more tape jams!

Then came CDs and I bought them and bought them and bought them. I now have hundreds and hundreds of them in the attic, all ripped into a lossless format and filed away as needless physical media. Nobody can come to my house now and see who I am through my music collection unless they sit down at my computer, and that’s pretty unlikely. I pretty much exclusively buy music now on iTunes or the Amazon mp3 store, or I listen on Spotify. That change has come only in the last few years, since iTunes did away with DRM. And now we have iTunes Match, which I absolutely love!

As I watched the documentary, I found myself thinking of my two children and I was filled with such hope for the future. And that is what music has always given me: hope. I don’t know why; I can’t explain it. Maybe it’s the idea that my kids can do anything they choose to do. If they can find something they love and always get to do that, they can be much happier than I. They can consume, but they also need not fear creating. Maybe that’s it.

So I had the idea of sitting my kids down and listening to albums with them, but as I walked the dogs this morning I realised that that just wouldn’t work. I have to let them find their own music, which undoubtedly they will, just as I did, and what I listen to will perhaps influence their tastes a little, but they won’t realise it until they’re much older. What I should do is make sure I play more music in the house that I currently do. I spend so much time listening to podcasts and audiobooks that music seems to take a back seat. I’d like to change that. I’ll stick to shows with Merlin in them, because they’re so helpful, and ditch the rest. Yeah, that makes sense.

Walking the dogs

The highlight of these holidays has been getting out with the dogs in the dark of the night with the wind howling and the rain pouring.

Here’s the gear:

  • Keela Munro jacket (best jacket EVER)
  • Sprayway waterproof trousers
  • Brasher 3-season socks
  • Merrell waterproof walking shoes
  • Flat cap
  • JBL Beats with active sound isolation

I get my hood up, zip right up, and off we go!

Two nights ago I listened to Paul Heaton Presents… The 8th and it was fucking tremendous. The production is incredible and the content is as entertaining as a good movie. It’s huge!

These are the times when I get to think about life in a way that I can’t really do with audiobooks and podcasts. It’s a rare moment of joy that I feel through the day, when life is the hardest it has ever been and I’m so full of doubt about the decisions I’ve made. So I put on the music and wrap up, and I’m transported back to the centre again, whence all gets put into perspective and I can feel the love the family, the joy of playing music with friends, and I want to create, to write, to talk, to sing, to laugh. Then I see other people approaching and I do all I can to avoid them, so I guess it doesn’t change me that much. Ha ha.

Last night I couldn’t get the music right though. After enjoying The 8th so much, I thought I’d stick with the concept album and put on Tommy. It bored me, so I switched to The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking, but that bored me too. ‘I know’, I thought. ‘Merlin likes Godspeed You! Black Emperor, so I’ll give that a spin.’ So I gave it a spin and didn’t enjoy it at all. By then, the rain was too heavy for me to get the iPhone out to change it. It reminded me a bit of Ride in the 90s, and I probably would have enjoyed it had I been in my 20s. Who knows. It was too much tension and not enough resolution for me, but I was stuck with it, so I persevered.

I won’t manage out tonight because I’m playing a gig again. 🙁