The New Bank of England 5 Pound Note…plastic!

An Idle Muse for a Sunday afternoon,

Money, Money, Money…great isn’t it…but what is it?  It got me thinking, musing, on this subject during this week when in my change at a shop I was handed a very odd bank note.  A new plastic polymer ‘fiver’ a five pound note issued by the Bank of England.  Though Scotland has had a plastic note similar for a while now it is rather rare and I have only encountered a few.  Let me tell you that after a life time of paper notes this object is weird in the extreme and does not even feel like ‘money’.  So my musing, what is the note and what is money?



The new five pound note is very small, smaller than its paper predecessor.  It no longer folds and it has a transparent pane.  The front has the Queen as expected and the rear that most prominent of British statesmen Winston Churchill.  I can see the securing features, the holograms and the other measures making it harder to counterfeit.  It has an odd feel and quite unsettling actually but I suppose I will get used it to as those who swapped coin for note initially did.  I folded it, rolled it, crushed it up and it does not return to shape with any ease unlike paper.  Have a look at this five pound note from about 1932-37.


I say what is money since the first non tactile notion I gained from this new note was its change from paper to plastic.  It puts in physical reality the twin factors of inflation and the illusion of currency as opposed to money. Humour me here.  Currency is used as a physical representation of value that changes over time (bank notes) where as money is actual value (silver or gold coins with inherent value themselves) and this new fiver shows it.  It is a mere token, an abstract, another step down the line away from ‘money’ on the gold standard.  We are moving into plastic ‘chit’ reality devoid of value as all the nations have borrowed in extremis which can never be repaid.  Inflation is subtle but there and over time it mounts up and up.  Have a think.  In rough terms a pack of twenty cigarettes is now about ten pounds, less than a decade ago it was five pounds and when I was a child in the early 1980’s a fiver would have got you hundreds of cigarettes (I use this as I could find the data but it is applied to the pricing of all items).  Inflation makes currency worth less and less.  I will not go into more detail here as it is a musing.

Remember the 1930’s fiver above..when new it could have bought you 113.5 litres of Petrol….now it buys you about three or four!  As for housing…a nice house in London would have set you back thirty of these notes (you earned about one per year on a typical wage)…now…well no point in even trying to work it out.

Anyhow.  Lets not get depressed!

You can watch a wee video and learn more officially at the notes very own website The New Fiver.  Oh and keep them away from heat..for they melt with ease…I am now without mine… 🙁


Mistress Shani burns for The Ion Age!

Sometimes art takes many forms and today I got to see an example of Pyrography which is, to us lay folk, the art of burning images into wood. An ancient and worthy form of art in my opinion. Now to the matter in hand hot as it is!  Shani wife of Mark and a fan of The Ion Age made her loving husband a unique present of a dice box as seen in the image above. It was fashioned to match the cover of the coming Patrol Angis rulebook which you can see below.

I think Shani did an excellent job of it. You can see the original post HERE.


Going for 100 on Prog!


I am about to re-enter the realm of fiction.  No, I don’t mean that I am going to cease to be a real person.  I mean that I will be creating new content for Alternative Armies, and The Ion Age.  While there will be more on this as it happens what it does mean is that I will be looking for listening material.  Some people can write while listening to the radio or to recorded audio books but I simply cannot as the voices get confused with my own if you follow me.  So what does that leave as I do like to listen to something as the hours pass.  It leaves music.

I have a large collection of music on CD and on Vinyl and as MP3’s as well.  Last week I saw a magazine for sale that caught my attention.  You can see it above.  I really like Prog Music and since the magazine had a count down of the top 100 albums in this genre a plan was hatched.  I am going to try and get all one hundred of these albums and listen to them essentially in order!

There may be blog reviews of some of them or the better ones but this is more of a mission statement for me.  As it turns out most of these albums are fairly cheap and I have just purchased a download of number 100 on the list.  What is at this barely made it position?  Its the 1980 album Drama by the band Yes.  Find more about it HERE.

I will let you know how it ‘prog’ resses!  Ha!


Parli italiano? Vuoi giocare?

Over on the Alternative Armies blog which is one of the onlines places which I organise and run there is a short but great posting about a brand new version of my Flintloque 3rd edition wargame rules.  What’s so different about it?  Well its been translated into Italian which is excellent as it means the community of wargamers in that lovely land can now play and read in their native tongue.  Go HERE to read more and to download it if you want to have a look.

Flintloque is adored by thousands of wargamers all over the world who enjoy something unique and with humour but without all the high prices and often soul lacking materials that some other wargame systems have.  I am seen as the father of the community and its a great place to be.  There is a lot happening for the game during the rest of this year and this version of the lite rules is just an awesome bonus.  Ciao!

Thanks Gianmatteo!


GBS the birthday King of Lead!


The Throne of Lead!

Today is my birthday…yes once a year it arrives.  While it is a day of work (as all days are for me..who can understand those who claim to be too busy eh!) it is also a day of joy.  Joy at now being thirty five years old.  I am now half way to the big four zero.  I have been well treated with gifts and cards and many emails and messages too from across the world so thank you all.  I will try and reply to all of them by midnight.

The picture above well that was the biggest surprise of the day thus far.  My good friend Sam Croes (he of the Ion Age) sprung a piece of artwork on me as a gift.  Some have likened me to the ultimate barbarian and now you can see what that might have looked like.  I am going to get this turned into a poster and put on my wall.  I am the King of Lead it seems.  It was nice of Mr Croes to tone down the muscles on me… ha!  (it seems my darling wife knew of this and she is also in the picture!).

Its been a very busy year for me.  I have had good times on the whole and bad times on occasion.  You can follow them back across the blog if you so desire.  But age is just a number and the next twelve months will bring even more to talk about.  I have plans…lots of them.  Some of them might even make it to reality.  Working in the Wargaming Industry is very rewarding and creative.

What I do want to say is that apart from being depicted as a barbarian I am a good man, a good husband and father and a loyal friend.  I am loved and I return that love and in life that is what matters.


Scotland passes same sex marriage bill today

A bill which allows same-sex weddings to take place in Scotland has been passed by MSPs in the Scottish Parliament. MSPs voted by 105 to 18 in favour of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill. The Scottish government said the move was the right thing to do but Scotland’s two main churches were opposed to it. The first gay and lesbian weddings could take place this autumn. Religious and belief bodies can “opt in” to perform same-sex marriages. Ministers said no part of the religious community would be forced to hold such ceremonies in churches.

That is the first paragraph from a BBC News post online HERE.  Its a good day to be Scottish.  My country just got a bit more liberal and bright.  Another piece of medieval darkness removed.

As for me I am all for love be it of any Human kind and I hope to get some more blog posts up soon.  Its been a mad hectic week for me but the reasons will come clear soon enough.


New Phone and Custom Case


I recently got a new phone.  I thought it was time, since my last one was bought before the advent of most social media.  While its all business for me I did want to share the little luxury I bought myself to go with the phone. As you can see is a great piece of artwork by Sam Croes on a protective case.  Depicting giant robots in a burning cityscape.  From a future project, don’t ask, as this image is all you will see of the project for now.   Its one for 2015.

Enjoy the picture and thanks to my good lady for taking the shot, as you can imagine its hard to take a picture of your own phone case while your phone is in it!


Kindle to Datapad!


I am not often overcome with an urge to carry out a silly joke but I did feel the urge to do so upon getting a Kindle for Festivemass.  After spotting a reduced price bright white silicon rubber cover for it I decided that if I got the cover it might well make my device look it a Datapad.  Daft I know but the children like it and it makes me smile!

You can read my review of my first Kindle read here. I will be reading more on my Datapad soon but first some DVD and print books to look over I think.


Happy New Year 2014 and a Happy Man


Happy New Year to all.  Yes, to all.  All those who are a little mad, a little sad, a bit deluded and those who are hanging on as well.  I am a happy guy, but why?  Well I have just about all that a man might want out of life. A woman I adore, smart and sharp children, my own home, a free mind and the intellectual liberty to reject chaining nonsense along with great friends and a job quite unlike any other in the world.  These are the true things of happiness to me.  So no new resolutions for me.  Its the same as every year with a straight back and a keen eye.  Be a good person, help people, bring light to darkness and have fun.  Oh…and type a hundred emails a day to keep everyone enjoying the input of ‘GBS’ across the world.

Big events coming up this year for all here in Scotland

The 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.  Not much on this from me but something maybe.

The 180914 Referendum for Scottish Independence.  Expect some posts on this as well as what I actually decide to vote on the day.  Biggest choice I might ever make in politics.

Enjoy the Winter!