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Aberdeen - Why?


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In Aberdeen, where I endured sub-standard low-rent accommodation until recently, I couldn't afford to buy the amount and standard of accommodation I needed in order to continue operating the fast-expanding business which I'd set up after uni (freelance, new economy, new media arty stuff). I couldn't afford what I needed, at least not without taking so big a mortgage that I would have been effectively working for the bank, rather than working for myself. (As well as adding to the difficulty of risk management in these adverse economic times.)

I did a bit of research, and decided to move away from Aberdeen. Which I did in the summer. And good god have the scales fallen from my eyes since. With the benefit of hindsight and distance, compared with my new location, Aberdeen seems like a charmless place full of cold people. Or a cold place full of charmless people. I'm sorry if that's offensive to some, but that is really just the way it looks from all points south of Lawrencekirk, and it doesn't take long to come to that conclusion once you've escaped. Perhaps I shouldn't have been so surprised that so many of my contemporaries fled Aberdeen just as soon as they'd graduated.

My new home+atelier cost just more than half of what a similar property in Aberdeen would have cost. And the council tax is cheaper too. And the broadband's faster. Much, much faster.

If small-scale entrepreneurship is to provide a sustainable economic future for communities, Aberdonians must realise that the high house prices of which they seem so proud are a disincentive to small-scale creative enterprises locating in the town. My advice to anyone who doesn't need to be in Aberdeen is to just get out of the place. You won't regret it, and you'll be able to afford a much better level of accommodation elsewhere.

</dons flame-proof overalls and crash helmet>

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In Aberdeen, where I endured sub-standard low-rent accommodation until recently, I couldn't afford to buy the amount and standard of accommodation I needed in order to continue operating the fast-expanding business which I'd set up after uni (freelance, new economy, new media arty stuff). I couldn't afford what I needed, at least not without taking so big a mortgage that I would have been effectively working for the bank, rather than working for myself. (As well as adding to the difficulty of risk management in these adverse economic times.)

I did a bit of research, and decided to move away from Aberdeen. Which I did in the summer. And good god have the scales fallen from my eyes since. With the benefit of hindsight and distance, compared with my new location, Aberdeen seems like a charmless place full of cold people. Or a cold place full of charmless people. I'm sorry if that's offensive to some, but that is really just the way it looks from all points south of Lawrencekirk, and it doesn't take long to come to that conclusion once you've escaped. Perhaps I shouldn't have been so surprised that so many of my contemporaries fled Aberdeen just as soon as they'd graduated.

My new home+atelier cost just more than half of what a similar property in Aberdeen would have cost. And the council tax is cheaper too. And the broadband's faster. Much, much faster.

If small-scale entrepreneurship is to provide a sustainable economic future for communities, Aberdonians must realise that the high house prices of which they seem so proud are a disincentive to small-scale creative enterprises locating in the town. My advice to anyone who doesn't need to be in Aberdeen is to just get out of the place. You won't regret it, and you'll be able to afford a much better level of accommodation elsewhere.

</dons flame-proof overalls and crash helmet>

WELL, WHERE DID YOU GO?!!

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Why? I'd assume additional demand from relatively well-paid oil industry workers, but do correct me if it's not really like that.

What else has Aberdeen got?

Yup. I suppose the point I'm making is that the mono-economy of Aberdeen has formed a sort of event-horizon. It's increasingly difficult for businesses with 'normal' business models (ie those not involved in the oil&gas supply chain, or dependent upon the disposable income of O&G employees) to exist there. So I and others like me take our expertise and capital elsewhere. The economy in Aberdeen becomes less and less diverse, less and less resilient, all the while *looking* more and more vibrant.

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Interesting as I'm considering moving to Aberdeen from Southampton.

Just down the road in Banchory/Torphins area, there seems to be a thriving small business community.

Commuter-belt dormitories. Sure there's a thriving small business community, but as I've said - those businesses tend to be somehow involved in the O&G supply chain, or dependent upon the spending power of those who are. The yummy-mummy-moneygoround is quite something in Aberdeen "City and Shire" (as they say).

But my business is not dependent upon the proximity of local disposable incomes, and my product is new media stuff with a production cost which tends towards zero, my major cost is accommodation. So my choice of location comes down to liveability and connectivity. Aberdeen loses.

check out my old Aberdeen-based blog:

http://otheraberdeen.blogspot.co.uk

Edited by Key Stakeholder
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Commuter-belt dormitories. Sure there's a thriving small business community, but as I've said - those businesses tend to be somehow involved in the O&G supply chain, or dependent upon the spending power of those who are. The yummy-mummy-moneygoround is quite something in Aberdeen "City and Shire" (as they say).

But my business is not dependent upon the proximity of local disposable incomes, and my product is new media stuff with a production cost which tends towards zero, my major cost is accommodation. So my choice of location comes down to liveability and connectivity. Aberdeen loses.

check out my old Aberdeen-based blog:

http://otheraberdeen.blogspot.co.uk

Hah...just took at look at your blog. Love the comments by readers

"Pretentious misery guts… What a lot of guff… Get real! … Pompous Twits" (David Milne)

"What a pile of shite this blog is"
(
"Psychobabble"
(Fraser Lovie, University of Aberdeen Cultural Engagement Strategy Group)
"Ill-informed and Foolish... intellectual BS"
(
)
"Making up shit as you go along"
(John 'Ruddy' Rutherford)
"What a load of ill-informed rubbish"
(Anonymous)
"With the anti-motor agenda thats apparent here, it's clear that a fair and fact based discussion is simply not possible."
(
)
"These blogs don't help Aberdeen"
(LM)
"I don't know why you don't just re-title your blog 'Anti-Car Rant', for that's all it is in various disguises."
(Nala)
"A naive over-paranoid idiot"
(Anonymous)
"The way you pontificate … is simply nauseating"
(Anonymous)
"Surely the author understands that trying too hard to appear profound can result in ones head disappearing up ones backside."
(Danny Law)
"A bit too frothy mouthed for my liking… The excellent photography isn't enough to balance out the fanaticism."
(
http://neepheid.blogspot.com/' rel="external nofollow">
)
"Immature and hostile baiting"
(Iain)
I think perhaps Aberdeen is as glad to see your going as you are.
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Hah...just took at look at your blog. Love the comments by readers

[....]

I think perhaps Aberdeen is as glad to see your going as you are.

[/indent]

Yup. And I know of many others, writers, film-makers, painters, sculptors, fashion designers and musicians similarly hounded from the town. The creative arts and progressive thinkers don't get a good reception in Aberdeen, as a rule. I put those comments gleaned from some of the blog posts up on the blog's "about" page to demonstrate the actively hostile philistinism that a lot of Aberdonians are happy to display. Some of them don't even bother anonymising themselves. Interestingly, it seems that most of the hostility came about when I suggest that active and sustainable transport options, rather than grandiose road-building programmes, would be a good way to tackle Aberdeens traffic congestion. Saying stuff like that doesn't go down well in Aberdeen, where people seem almost childishly attached to their motorcars. I have to ask, Quine - do you agree with the hostile comments?

One ex-Aberdeen writer, during a review of John Aberdein's splendid "Strip the Willow" (a speculative fiction novel set in a near-future Aberdeen) mentioned my blog:

There is a blog called Other Aberdeen, and in that blog are considered, topical, psychological and social arguments concerning the contemporary development of the city, usually framed with some humour or actual historical digging from the author. Other Aberdeen is about pyschogeography on the whole, and most British cities have at least one such blog, dealing with these issues, in this manner.

Why Aberdeen's perfectly lucid psychogeographical blog attracts such awful local internet trolls, however, is unclear. Only in Aberdeen do the rank and file conservative gibbering classses arm themeslves with aggressive catchpharses such as 'This is shite!' and take the time to post their hateful feelings, instead of just browsing on to something more to their tastes.

It is then, war in Aberdeen. The stushie regarding Aberdeen's Union Terrace Gardens and its proposed development into something called The Granite Web is a good example. In Aberdeen, everyone takes things personally, it appears, which is why hackles are up, people are raging and the slightest boat rocking is shouted down.

I think my unpleasant experience of Aberdonians in a small way demonstrates something insidious about the town: Should Aberdonians continue (as they seem hell-bent on doing) to discourage progressive and creative elements from locating in their town, they'll end up living in the Aberdeen they deserve. A good example - times are tough for many sectors, yes? As budgets tighten for even Scotland's symphony orchestras, axes must fall somewhere. So, last year The SCO and the RSNO cut back the number of concerts they performed during the season at the Music Hall in Aberdeen. They didn't cut their performances anywhere else in Scotland, indeed some places got more performances. Why, do you think, did these national arts organisations choose Aberdeen over all other venues in Scotland as a suitable place to implement cuts?

Thus hounded from the town, high art, fine art, progressive thinkers and creative enterprises locate/perform/write/code elsewhere to the benefit of other communities in Scotland where the arts are recognised as a vehicle for regeneration and revitalisation. What does that leave for Aberdeen? Some sunset smokestack industrial activity and lots of upscale shopping but with no soul, no philosophical or spiritual underpinning, Aberdonians will live in the town they deserve.

At least they'll have nice handbags?

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Interesting as I'm considering moving to Aberdeen from Southampton.

Just down the road in Banchory/Torphins area, there seems to be a thriving small business community.

Unless the pay is significantly worthwhile, or you are deeply scotch in outlook and desperate for a ceilidh, I strongly suggest you reconsider and look overseas instead :)

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Unless the pay is significantly worthwhile, or you are deeply scotch in outlook and desperate for a ceilidh, I strongly suggest you reconsider and look overseas instead :)

You've outed yourself as a foreigner now RichB. What on earth does "deeply SCOTCH" mean ?!

Live Peasant - I left the area many years ago and have lived in many countries but the scenery on your doorstep, if you live in Aberdeen (or Banchory or Torphin) is absolutely stunning. There are, of course, many extremely successful business people in the area and as always, attitude is important to be successful. Perhaps the OP didin't realise this. Good luck LP if you make the move, there are far worse places.

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Unless the pay is significantly worthwhile, or you are deeply scotch in outlook and desperate for a ceilidh, I strongly suggest you reconsider and look overseas instead :)

I play the pipes at a fairly high competition grade but other than that I'm very English (almost sound silver spoon but not quite).

I speak Russian to a reasonable level of fluency and I'm currently learning Arabic, so there is latitude for getting involved in the oil industry in some capacity, but my background is comms.

Edited by Live Peasant
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[...] There are, of course, many extremely successful business people in the area and as always, attitude is important to be successful. Perhaps the OP didin't realise this. Good luck LP if you make the move, there are far worse places.

Of course there are far worse places than Aberdeen. But - as you well know - there are many, many far better places. Particularly for those whose life is in the creative arts, Aberdeen is a bit of a howling void.

You're so right about the attitude thing: The attitude of most Aberdonians towards the creative arts is absolutely abominable, and their philistinism is close to legendary. Aberdeen will never succeed culturally until this attitude problem changes.

I did realise this and I tried to help ease the situation; I and others like me, we really did - but the lack of respect (if not outright suspicion and hostility) directed to the creative arts in Aberdeen (local press references to "artist-lovers" was one particular dog-whistle I didn't appreciate) makes it feel like you're swimming against the tide. Whereas, in many other parts of the country where the arts are the centre of the community, if you are involved in the creative sector, it feels like you have the wind at your back.

Edited by Key Stakeholder
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I , so there is latitude for getting involved in the oil industry in some capacity, but my background is comms.

Hi,

As in military comms.....lots of comms, networked, plexed, optics or copper comms.........load of work in comms be that at engineer or technician level at the moment in Aberdeen, particularly comms as in instrumentation, SCADA or DCS however the holy grail - if you have RS232, RS4xx, Etherbus, TCP/IP or Modbus experience PM me and I'll set you square.

As to Aberdeen, 90% of the guys we employ only live in the town Mon-Thursday night - every company will negotiate a 9 day fortnight or 10 hour day deal, so you can get home at the weekends, if your the man they want.

Like I say, PM me if want the insight of 30 years.....

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- every company will negotiate a 9 day fortnight or 10 hour day deal, so you can get home at the weekends, if your the man they want.

Should have added, bringing it back to the house prices, is part of the reason the bottom end of the Aberdeen property market remains inflated relative to the incomes of most people........these, 90% of the guys I'm working with, guys all own their own flat while many also invested throught their Ltd Cos in BTL in the city, where the returns have performed very strongly.

Oils be good for soon, the source of envy for others. Its more of a saddness at my age to see the bitterness that can source from life choices.

Yes, I and many others have been very lucky in our life timing however to see the prejudice and negativity in some is not a source of joy.

I wish the original poster finds happiness in his choices.

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Hi,

As in military comms.....lots of comms, networked, plexed, optics or copper comms.........load of work in comms be that at engineer or technician level at the moment in Aberdeen, particularly comms as in instrumentation, SCADA or DCS however the holy grail - if you have RS232, RS4xx, Etherbus, TCP/IP or Modbus experience PM me and I'll set you square.

As to Aberdeen, 90% of the guys we employ only live in the town Mon-Thursday night - every company will negotiate a 9 day fortnight or 10 hour day deal, so you can get home at the weekends, if your the man they want.

Like I say, PM me if want the insight of 30 years.....

Very interesting thanks. I may well have some useful experience/skills to offer in that area. Will PM.

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Swings and roundabouts I suppose as someone that grew up in Dumfries and has lived in Aberdeen since finishing my PhD, Aberdeen offers far more opportunity to me than anywhere else in the UK bar London.

Yes, as you say, swings and roundabouts. And horses for courses. I'm lucky that my opportunities are not geographically delimited - so where I've chosen to locate has been based upon liveability, community and quality of (urban) environment. As well as, of course, the fact that I could buy twice the property for my money. The 2dec C average higher temperature here compared to Aberdeen is also a welcome bonus. :)

Though, having said that, I have had to buy a new raincoat!

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I wish the original poster finds happiness in his choices.

Ah, thats kind of you, thank you very much - I appreciate it. By saying that you've kind of invalidated my statement that Aberdeen is a charmless place full of cold people. But then there are always exceptions to the rule, and I've always found Torry people to be a bit more communitarian in their outlook and bohemian in their lifestyles than the mainstream of Aberdonians.

However, you also say stuff like this:

[...]

Oils be good for soon, the source of envy for others. Its more of a saddness at my age to see the bitterness that can source from life choices.

Yes, I and many others have been very lucky in our life timing [...]

I'd caution against the characterising of your "lucky" generation being subject to the "bitterness" and "envy" of younger people. Frustration and disappointment perhaps, would be closer to the mark. Particularly when we also learn from you that:

[...] part of the reason the bottom end of the Aberdeen property market remains inflated relative to the incomes of most people........these, 90% of the guys I'm working with, guys all own their own flat while many also invested throught their Ltd Cos in BTL in the city, where the returns have performed very strongly.

[…]

90% of the guys we employ only live in the town Mon-Thursday night - every company will negotiate a 9 day fortnight or 10 hour day deal, so you can get home at the weekends […]

Thanks very much for that information. It's enlightening.

You confirm that many of the people you work alongside conduct their domestic, community and cultural life elsewhere; treating Aberdeen as a kind of dormitory; going "home" elsewhere and meantime driving up the costs of accommodation as they collect rent from those for whom house purchase in Aberdeen has become a hopelessly unattainable dream. Unless, of course, they choose to work in oil and gas. The ageing demographic of the o&g workforce suggests that the younger generation finds that an unacceptable compromise, thinking perhaps either that it's a sunset industry, or that it's an unethical one. Or both.

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You've outed yourself as a foreigner now RichB. What on earth does "deeply SCOTCH" mean ?!

Live Peasant - I left the area many years ago and have lived in many countries but the scenery on your doorstep, if you live in Aberdeen (or Banchory or Torphin) is absolutely stunning. There are, of course, many extremely successful business people in the area and as always, attitude is important to be successful. Perhaps the OP didin't realise this. Good luck LP if you make the move, there are far worse places.

It's English... so not a word often used in Scotland, I assume that is why you struggle with it, given your name on here ;)

Let me use the powers of the interwebs to look that up for you... Scotch

If the chap was English, from the deep south, then unless he has some serious scotch blood or a hankering for the lowlands, as well as a rather thick skin (both physically - ideally with some subcutaneous insulation - as well as emotionally) i cannot think of a worse place to go. Well, Leeds perhaps. Or Corby.

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Ah, thats kind of you, thank you very much - I appreciate it. By saying that you've kind of invalidated my statement that Aberdeen is a charmless place full of cold people. But then there are always exceptions to the rule, and I've always found Torry people to be a bit more communitarian in their outlook and bohemian in their lifestyles than the mainstream of Aberdonians.

However, you also say stuff like this:

I'd caution against the characterising of your "lucky" generation being subject to the "bitterness" and "envy" of younger people. Frustration and disappointment perhaps, would be closer to the mark. Particularly when we also learn from you that:

Thanks very much for that information. It's enlightening.

You confirm that many of the people you work alongside conduct their domestic, community and cultural life elsewhere; treating Aberdeen as a kind of dormitory; going "home" elsewhere and meantime driving up the costs of accommodation as they collect rent from those for whom house purchase in Aberdeen has become a hopelessly unattainable dream. Unless, of course, they choose to work in oil and gas. The ageing demographic of the o&g workforce suggests that the younger generation finds that an unacceptable compromise, thinking perhaps either that it's a sunset industry, or that it's an unethical one. Or both.

No shortage of jobs in Aberdeen, unfortunately there is a shortage of home grown graduates hence the huge number of overseas nationals working in the engineering houses. Yep engineering is a tough course, but as with most things in life you get out of it what you put in. Maybe engineering degrees should be dumped down to the level of arts degrees to make it easier ?

Younger generation not entering the industry.....oh boy thats a good one........our graduate training scheme could be filled 10 times over with quality applicants (unfortunately only 30% of them will be from the UK).

And this is the crux of the issue, real degrees are just too difficult for a youth that expects to be handed a living on a plate with their event management or media studies degree. Unfortunately the jobs market does operate in the real work and those degrees earn the salary they deserve, peanuts !

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No shortage of jobs in Aberdeen, unfortunately there is a shortage of home grown graduates hence the huge number of overseas nationals working in the engineering houses. Yep engineering is a tough course, but as with most things in life you get out of it what you put in. Maybe engineering degrees should be dumped down to the level of arts degrees to make it easier ?

Younger generation not entering the industry.....oh boy thats a good one........our graduate training scheme could be filled 10 times over with quality applicants (unfortunately only 30% of them will be from the UK).

And this is the crux of the issue, real degrees are just too difficult for a youth that expects to be handed a living on a plate with their event management or media studies degree. Unfortunately the jobs market does operate in the real work and those degrees earn the salary they deserve, peanuts !

I just congratulated you on being quite nice earlier on, didn't I?

But now you've gone and spoiled it.

Edited by Key Stakeholder
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[...] unless he has some serious scotch blood or a hankering for the lowlands, as well as a rather thick skin (both physically - ideally with some subcutaneous insulation - as well as emotionally) i cannot think of a worse place to go. Well, Leeds perhaps. Or Corby.

When I lived in Aberdeen, I must have been suffering from a sort of Stockholm syndrome, coz I just know I'd have taken exception to that remark.

Now that I'm in recovery, I have to say, I couldn't agree more. If I never visit the place again, it'll be too soon. I only wonder how I managed to endure the indignantly abrasive mindset of the provocatively insecure inhabitants for as long as I did.

I've not been to Leeds, or Corby, so I can't comment. What's worst in those places, Is it the urban environment or the people?

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When I lived in Aberdeen, I must have been suffering from a sort of Stockholm syndrome, coz I just know I'd have taken exception to that remark.

Now that I'm in recovery, I have to say, I couldn't agree more. If I never visit the place again, it'll be too soon. I only wonder how I managed to endure the indignantly abrasive mindset of the provocatively insecure inhabitants for as long as I did.

I've not been to Leeds, or Corby, so I can't comment. What's worst in those places, Is it the urban environment or the people?

:)

Leeds - it's the similarity to civilisation, but the constant harping on about southerners - everywhere. All on the radio, local telly, the street. Very rarely hear it the other way round though, down 'south'.

Pretty sure it's simply the old english kingdoms and danelaw regions still clashing though.

73bd95f2-3fd9-4979-bf50-cd7b.gif

As for Corby... well. If you haven't, don't.

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