Wednesday, February 26, 2020
I was born in this house 65 years ago (give or take a bit and it's not quite my birthday either). Now a ruin it was Mount Melville House (owned by the Younger brewing family) from 1904 and then from about 1949 until the late 90s Craigtoun Hospital. It sits unloved and empty a few miles south west of St Andrews, a deep pocketed developer is required to rescue it so it seems. Not likely to happen any time soon.
Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Yesterday: A non-sensational day, the promised snow failed to fall from the sky. It chose to appear as rain, the persistent kind. A million drivers and commuters cheered inwardly at the weather forecasts failure. Window gawpers like me were left with a sense of both relief and loss at the postponed spectacle (maybe next week). As the rain beat upon the house a new boiler was delivered, encased in heavy cardboard and on a barrow, various pipes and vents also arrived in bags and a single naked firebrick completed the bill of materials. It will be installed and hopefully set up and running later in the week. We'll also have a Hive device to control the beast remotely and so manage our environment even when we're not in it. The promise of luxury and a warm, quiet life for now and a hold on decisions until better, greener solutions hit the market.
Monday, February 24, 2020
Looking down on Leven, Methil, Mossmorran, Dalgety Bay and Rosyth from what might be described as a reasonable height. Seeing into homes, pubs and allotments in Valleyfield, Crossford, Crossgates and Kelty. Peering through shutters and walking across the bare boards of homes in Crombie, Glenrothes and Aberdour. Creating potholes and puddles all across the county, hanging dogshit in black bags on bushes, allowing the bins at the recycling centre to overflow, finding your tyres and lacerating them with the correct amount of broken glass. Nicking your washing, your bank card and breaking into your garages. Whispering in your neighbour's ear that you're up to no good and that your missus is a bit of a .... and your weans are running wild.
These are the everyday tasks and actions of the Gods that look after this resolute, confused and tarnished little kingdom of Fifeshire. They breathe out and vegetables grow, they breathe in and your fag goes out, they cough and you drop your half bottle of Buckfast onto a slab, they sneeze and your cocaine is scattered across your mate's copy of the Daily Record, they think and you think that you don't (but none of it is true). Being a proper God is no joke, ask any of us, we'll tell you the truth (up to a point).
Sunday, February 23, 2020
Garage Band Revival: Another view of the everyday mundane aspects of everyday mundane life viewed through those rose tinted spectacles that your granny had back in the day when life was simple, beer was 10p a pint and Cadbury's Cream Eggs and Mars Bars were substantial pieces of fodder that you could comfortably live on for at least a fortnight in the "old money" version of black and white time that existed back then in 425 lines only. The trouble is that none of it really happened because it's forgotten and that renders the past redundant and open to dispute, no two views of the same experience are ever the same. Here in this fuzzy illustration, the past has been shown a clean pair of heels, we've run away, it's buried and gone, over the hill, in the back of beyond, packed up a shifted elsewhere. Or is it? I just caught a fleeting glimpse, from out the corner of my eye...
Saturday, February 22, 2020
View from the office this morning through 60s tinted glasses: The wild winds hammer down the Forth Valley and whistle through our letterbox delivering a chilly message. The seasonal blues and grays prevail; the yellows are inside my head in a summer dream that's trapped in February. Six days to go to the next milestone and payday. I'm a little sleepy and lethargic due to a heavy breakfast; haggis-cheese (that is a thing) and bacon on a brown roll, supplied by the local Mafia cafe/office. Heavy but tasty. In other news I now know that 60mph winds and car covers don't agree, in future I will review user procedures according to reliable weather forecasting sources.
Friday, February 21, 2020
|Original photo by LB.|
Thursday, February 20, 2020
Spring may be in the air somewhere but here in the far north the rain is wet and regular and the wind is a series of patches of turbulent air moving and swirling in whatever direction it chooses causing actual damage from time to time. We have moved away from a rural location to a proper town so weather based environmental issues are less relevant but still worrying. The sea is visible from various windows, any day it may rise, well in the future.
In this busy idyll the car needs a tent so that it's new outdoor life can be tolerated, I suspect not really enjoyed though, hence the "all weather" covering. We'll see how long that lasts. The weather will be closely monitored and a long hot summer is kind of anticipated but only as a guilty pleasure because whatever the conditions there's really no weather pattern that pleases everybody and that's left me confused as to what to wish for. Flood, drought or pestilence? One man's shit appears to be another man's pancake etc.
Wednesday, February 19, 2020
The title is a poorly constructed lie. I've no idea what's new on Netflix and even if I did I'm not sure I'd list them here. I do like films though, I also like spoilers. It's OK to know how it all ends or what the plot twist is or even if it's any good. Knowing is not a reason not watch. Films are not immersive experiences that you need to sweat and work your way through. Mostly they're poorer versions of books and the opportunity to let your imagination coast out of gear for a couple of hours while you admire the acting and cinematography. You might get a laugh or a jump scare or two on the way, maybe even a tear in the corner of your eye.
Netflix promises a lot...so does Amazon...sometimes they hit the spot, sometimes not. There are other providers. One day this bloated market will collapse but why worry about that just now? Soap, movie and comedy fixes are there for us all. Stay on that couch and use the JustEat App. Keep us amused while the wreckers go about their business in the shadows, in Oxford or Cambridge, behind the closed doors of No10, in the Kremlin, the White House and probably in some random Starbucks near to you.
Despite everything: This is new on Netflix, "Miss Americana", Taylor Swift's story, it's pretty good in my humble opinion.
Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Using virtual reality cat vision it is possible to see through the eyes of any passing cat to understand how they observe the world, quite wonderful technology. Here's a cat-cam view this morning of the big bad outside world beyond our front door (door also included for reference).
Monday, February 17, 2020
Some say solid fuel is a bowl of warm porridge, some say glowing logs or coal, charcoal for the barbie, some say other things that I have little knowledge about: rocket fuel or atomic isotopes for example. We're still with logs just now, they're working well on the domestic front. Maybe too well, perhaps a log burning rocket isn't a bad idea, very Jules Verne when I think about it. His ghost may be whispering to me, that still small voice can be persistent. A greener and long term proposition for a lower-tech version of space exploration. Just grow a few trees on the moon ready for your return journey or wait a while longer and go interstellar. Some patience might be needed and the wood drying times are critical for decent combustion.
|Photo by Bob Mazzer.|
Nobody owns the weather either, they just pretend that they know a bit about it. The seasons are a rough guide but inconsistent, the weather man or lady offers a hint but it's vague. Satellites see storms but from afar. Easiest is just to look out of the window (in this country look West), you'll see it coming, clearer than a TV screen. If you can't see it coming that means it's foggy or the rain is already here or clouds are a bit lower than usual. Thank you for listening to my TED talk.
Sunday, February 16, 2020
Moving house: The last major family piece of our abstract and living jigsaw has now moved back in. The cats of course, no longer orphaned and free from temporary care. I did a quick oil and acrylic sketch of them shortly after they arrived to mark the moment. I captured them getting orientated and comfortable within their new surroundings and of course enjoying the warmth of the main bedroom radiator.
Friday, February 14, 2020
When I think about art my mind goes down a rabbit hole. Usually it looks like Bugs Bunny's home, deep and wide, with carrots stacked in cupboards. I've Luddite DNA with a pinch of Calvinism added for good measure, some things can't be escaped from. People used to say things like "I don't know much but I know what I like" in order to divert from their ordinary ignorance and lack of really caring. It's probably a little more complex than that, firstly what are you allowed to like? What do you allow yourself to like? Do you understand what you like? Does any of it really matter? These are awkward questions and I can't be bothered answering them, truth is most art is pretty boring; framed wallpaper, splattered ideas, ragged collages and the lazy copying of far away genius. A bit like somebody describing last night's dream but using pastels, oil paint or a spray can to do it. "Hell is other people expressing themselves and then talking about it Ad Nauseam." As a wise man once mused to himself but thought better of sharing (so he buried it in some non-ironic blog post).
I find I like things in spasms, I burst into a fit of understanding and for a brief moment I get it. Then I think about a cheese and pickle sandwich or kittens and so the tableau moves on, art's a distant memory when you have to hoover the rug and fix dinner or just look out of the window. These honeymoon encounters are OK, just not intellectually worthy enough, I'm still not knowing what I like but I know what I wouldn't buy, fleeting moments of clarity are not so rewarding. There are just too many images, my retina are run ragged. The conversation is too long, too historical and weighted, too worn out, I can't concentrate. Perhaps a cull is required, an embargo, burn down the art schools (?). But in a throw away culture all culture will eventually be thrown away, ashes to ashes. Rome will be raised to the ground and we wont know what we've lost but we won't miss it either. Maybe I'm the one who's missing something, cheap and nasty DNA kicks in. Nothing lasts but everything is going to be sustainable.
Thursday, February 13, 2020
|Not the actual mattresses, this one's in London, photo by CS.|
Everything bound for the dump or landfill must offer up a little resistance, suddenly becoming heavier, harder to grip, more awkward, a universal law I guess as I reflect on the final lap. Like trying to strap a tired toddler into a buggy, there's bound to be a struggle however one sided. They rest in peace and I leave, slightly anxious that the email from the local authority promising a timely uplift from 6am tomorrow might somehow be not acted upon. The roads are flooded, a tree is down and my £15 fee doesn't quite seem like enough compensation for the efforts of the bin-men team. Will they, like the Pony Express get through and if they do will they actually uplift two double mattresses folded and in high tension, ready to pop at the smallest disturbance? What if some one loses an eye during the loading or a passer by trips over them in the dark?
Next day: They are gone. It's as if they never were. Now they swim with the fishes, except they're in landfill and being pummeled by a big yellow digger.
P.S. We tried to give them away to charity but charity said no thanks.
Wednesday, February 12, 2020
People say that the effect of sunlight fallen upon a spot can be magical, it can lighten the mind, lift a load or troublesome burden, ease pain. It might even get you out of doors for a bit. Sunlight may be explainable via physics and the like but it is and should remain magical. If the sun were a god, as people once believed, it deserved to be worshiped. In any event it certainly deserves to be worshiped more than the prophets and chancers mentioned in the great and holy books, scrolls or scriptures. Marvelous works of fiction and manipulation they may be, translated by the elite and twisted on a regular basis so as to double human misunderstanding and misery and perpetuate a series of remarkable lies.
So it's the sun every time for me, I tip my badly drawn hat to it and whilst I wont be offering any human sacrifices to Mr Sun or any other kind of servile offering, (once a god in the universe always a god in the universe), I do like to see it every day, even in gloomy Scotland and I'm pleased that as far as I know any thoughts and plans the sun may have are not written in any book.
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
|No ice on this bridge.|
Here in Scotland the weather is our master. Unpredictable weather in winter, sleet to snow to ice shall be our shame and downfall. We didn't see it coming, like that first ice bomb. Now every tall building or high structure is a suspect in the great ice bomb plot. The silent threat from above, the urban avalanche, the motorway icebergs, stealthy like flying U-Boats. Look up before you leap out. It's slippy oot there and they'll smash your windscreen. Whether you believe it or not it is happening, mostly in the common head-space to be honest. Me? I blame Westminster naturally.
Monday, February 10, 2020
February sky. The moon, our one and only, rises or sets or moves across the sky quite close to the Forth Railway Bridge. A well known and photographed engineering icon that also doubles as a means by which trains can cross a body of (quite rough today) local water.