From YouTube, 3 delightful short films by Saint Etienne and Paul Kelly about London's disappearing classic cafes. It's even more precious because they've all closed now. Each features a voiceover from the owner telling the tale of that particular establishment. Great stuff.

Today's Special 1: Tea Rooms

Today's Special 2: Eldon Street

Today's Special 3: New Piccadilly

More on these and other great caffs at Classic Cafes.

Lovely grocer, J. D. Adam, Brechin

On the way to Aberdeen we went to Brechin, a fairly non-descript wee town now by-passed by the A90. It's got some interesting old shops and great signs. I'd been there 4 years ago and hoped that The Savoy Cafe with its superb frontage and J. D. Adam, an old-fashioned grocers were still there. They were.

The man who runs the grocers is as nice as he looks in this photo. He had a wee chat with us when we went in, in a friendly, not nosey way. When he heard we were from Glasgow he said he should have been in Gourock this weekend showing off his prize vegetables. Prize vegetables we asked. Yes, and he got a photo out of these really beautiful leeks and parsnips. I mean, really beautiful. We asked how he got on in the competitions and he said he'd been World Potato Champion two years running. The world's best potatoes - that's pretty special.

So if you're down Brechin way stop into this lovely shop in the high street and have a chat. They sell great biscuits by Fisher & Donaldson, which are always a treat. The whole experience is like a cross between Open All Hours and Wallace and Gromit. I took some more pictures inside just in case it doesn't last forever. It's been going since 1895 though, so here's hoping. More of this sort of thing in Shutting Up Shop: The Decline of the Traditional Small Shop which I mentioned last month.

Seaside shelter, Aberdeen beach

We had a little jaunt to Aberdeen for the holiday weekend. I lived there for a while in the early 90s and am immensely fond of the place. I like the greyness of the granite and the steely blue skies. There are lots of really stunning buildings that no one seems to bother about. It's colder than Glasgow but drier so I remember lots of sunny days wandering about when I should have been studying. I could happily retrace my steps for days there but that isn't much fun for the kids. So we went to the beach, which is the perfect place to be on a cool autumnal morning and walked about the fun fair before heading down to Footdee for a look at the little houses and big ships. Then we went to Storybook Glen, of which more later, once I can find words to sufficiently describe it. Pictured is one of Aberdeen's seaside shelters. I took loads of pictures of these over the summer. I like the way that Aberdeen's are rock hard but also kind of graceful. It made me think of Le Corbusier's Chapel at Ronchamp, an unlikely comparison.


I like is 5 years old this week. It's been a big year - the year I came out in some ways, speaking at Glasgow School of Art and interesting2007, getting interviewed for The Herald, making postcards. I guess everyone has different reasons for blogging (and not blogging). I still feel like I stumbled into it, looking for a place to think out loud and never expecting to find so many interesting people doing likewise. To see the lines between the online and offline worlds blurring is an unexpected pleasure.

Since that flurry of activity in the summer various technical problems have dampened my ardour so I feel a bit detached. I think the direction of I like has changed a bit this year as I'm not interested in much beyond family life, offbeat travel and a small circle of other websites. I'm spending more time outside and less time online. I consume less, mostly because I've been really skint so there are fewer links about things that cost money. Apart from that it's still the same site as it was 5 years ago. With every year I lose some readers and gain others but I try to fill a space on the internet with things that don't get the attention they deserve. Luckily there seems to be no end of them.

A big, big thanks to all of you who read, comment, email and generally support I like. That's what keeps it going. Someone said a lovely thing, that it's "like a butterfly in other people's gardens". If that's how all this comes across it's a great reason to keep going. Here's to another year.

I like postcards in Mexico

I like postcards are now available from The Red Door Gallery in Victoria Street, Edinburgh (thanks Katherine) as well as Hitherto in Ingram Street, Glasgow. Or you can order online. The photo shows a set that went all the way to Jo in Mexico City. Nice to see they got there safely.

Ritz Cafe, Millport

We took a wee trip "doon the watter" yesterday to Millport. This is a little island resort, like Rothesay, that used to be very popular with Glaswegian holidaymakers before the lure of the Costa del Sol. A highlight of any trip is a visit to The Ritz Cafe, run by the Giorgetti family since 1908. It's a wonderful dayglo vision of formica and geometric patterns - what a gem. The good/bad news is that it's up for sale and has been for the past 2 years. The good side is an opportunity for someone sympathetic to own their own classic cafe, the bad is the thought of it getting bought over and ripped out. I worked in a cafe for a year and it was one of the best jobs I ever had, so I wouldn't rule out running a cafe. It's such a nice pipe dream but having no money and no business sense probably rules this out. Anyone else interested? Can you help keep the Ritz in good hands? More details from Christie + Co.

I watched the Mercury Music Prize last night hoping The Young Knives would win. It didn't seem very likely but the winner is usually so random they probably stood as good a chance as anyone. Last night they had the best suits and even better glasses and were one of the few bands who could string a sentence together. The video above for Weekdays and Bleakdays has a whole slew of great things in it - boring jobs, chippies, postcards, picnic baskets, seaside, camping stoves, and I like the way they go to the beach and keep their suits on. More videos here:

Bigmouth Bikes Again is a smashingly-named fundraising event for Salford Lads Club, mecca for Smiths devotees everywhere. Pay £5 and bring your bike on Sunday 30 September to recreate the Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before video where lots of proto-Morrisseys (and one real one) rode around on old boneshakers. My claim to fame is that I was almost in that video. They recruited the "stars" through a fanzine called Smiths Indeed and I dutifully sent my photo in, promising to cut my (long at the time) hair and put it in a quiff if that was required. Hell, I would have shaved it all off if Morrissey had asked. Needless to say, I didn't get the call. Thanks to Kate at Sunset Ices for the tip - she'll be there in her lovely Every Day Is Like Sunday van dispensing ice cream to the bespectacled masses. Photo from Salford Lads Club's entry on Nothing To See Here.

Pavilion Cafe window, Troon

There was a nice article about classic cafes (scanned) in the Scottish Sunday Times today, featuring quotes from Adrian Maddox and yours truly on the delights of caffs. It bills I like as a classic cafes site which isn't strictly true. It's a classic everything site, if it's anything. So anyone looking for cafes might like to see these photos and more on Flickr. They're all due for a clear out so please bear with me. Nice to know that all those hours spent filling my face has paid off.

Otherwise, there's been a lack of cafe news lately. I revisited a few over the summer and was pleased to see so many still standing. In Troon, Togs has gone, but the Pavilion Cafe (pictured) still survives against all odds. It's also worth mentioning that the New Piccadilly, one of London's finest is due to close forever on 23 September. Go now while you still can.

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