Monday, September 24, 2018

That time again

As the sun and her procession slips backwards or downwards over the Tropic of Cancer, the prices of Scotch Eggs in petrol station shops fall and the major political parties get together to disagree on their many differences, the great garden's apples are ready to pick. Some are so ready they pick themselves by falling into inaccessible places where they are eaten by grey worms no one has ever seen. Some, the slow and the fearful, are eventually caught and placed in plastic trugs awaiting processing as a punishment for their stubbornness. The birds eat a few too. There will be decisions made, a bit of a mess on the floor, energy expended and a lot more gooey mush in the compost heap before it's all over. Then it will be over, officially and all product will be ritually frozen in plastic bags tagged with Sharpie information settling old scores as the trees and their fruit compete for I'm not quite sure what; harvest I suppose.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Killing Eve

All the fun of a dentist's drill. This is an awkward, compelling, scary series to watch. We're only two episodes in and there's more to go and there's books and other things out there, growing, moving and changing. The world is a frightening place and the media confirms that again and again...but that doesn't make it real.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Backwards home

A lonely bench on the railway station platform at Berwick upon Tweed, somewhere between Dunbar and Newcastle and just a tiny bit inside the tiny country of Englandshire.

Friday, September 21, 2018

London daily photo

Signal light in Leicester Square tube station.

English Opera, their venue and who knows that else (upper levels, detail).

Free but strangely unreasonably priced wine consumed in an interesting and challenging and often changing environment.

Some wag has painted one of lions in Trafalgar Square bright orange. Should've gone closer to find out why but...didn't.

Going down a flight of stairs in the Reform Club.
Egg and avocado breakfast c/w flat whites, or flats white.

King's Cross information board, a blast of signs and symbols and, as you might expect, information. People come and gather by it just be hypnotized by it's ethereal glow and mighty power and then disperse quickly like frightened lemmings.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Lost footballs

Some are more lost than others, some are not lost at all, simply misplaced.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Two steps forward

Two steps forwards, one step back, things that remind you that it's worth getting up in the morning.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Burning down the house

GSA 2018 (the aftermath), water colour and pastel. Prints are available.
There's been a deafening silence across all fronts since the last Great Fire of Glasgow. No news or explanation, no plan for investigation or actual inquiry. Not even a sycophantic, mealy mouthed report from the BBC. A huge area of Glasgow has been devastated, shops, homes, businesses, traffic and pedestrian access have been affected at who knows what cost but nothing has been said. Not even a proper sorry (for compelling legal reasons I'm sure). 

I visited the scene (well got as close as you can get), peered through the dust and the security fence and despite the gusty conditions executed a quick water colour of the site. Bemused tourists, eager to sample the various Big Mac Willow Tearoom attractions looked on, photo phones were clicked and brows were scratched. Nobody's saying anything much about this bomb site. 

Security is tight, there's danger here. There's also a brave new world of blameless acts bubbling under, no pointing fingers, no explanation. The stricken locals and general public couldn't handle the truth could they? The courageous  fire fighters and emergency services will have their own ideas but they remain gagged by the council, the intelligentsia and awkward procedures. Maybe a faulty toaster left by a hapless security guard, a cigarette end, vandalism, poor design or management, no fire plan or adequate health and safety cover; you choose. The artists, academics and board of governors have closed ranks. Heritage and history are competing for cash in this impractical and cruel age of austerity. Don't kid yourself either as to where the heart and soul of Glasgow is, it's not anywhere in this ruin.

It'll take a good business case to regenerate this burned out modern folly and the cash shouldn't come easily, I'm pretty sure there's no appetite for a second phoenix like attempt from the Glasgow public. What do you want? A new Art College or an atmospheric Hampden Park? What about decent housing, infrastructure, clean spaces and a respectful town plan that allows ordinary people to live their lives in safety and with an educated dignity? Never mind the flags, the tourists, the rich overseas students and the vanity projects. That's the cart, the horse is the Art College and the rest.

A would be artist's impression.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

40 years

Any Fall types out there? 40 years is a long time to front a band, I'd be exhausted after 40 minutes. Anyway you can crowdfund this book and get some extra goodies here. I think you should. The author (Mr Tommy Mackay) is very clever and famous and the artist (Greg Moodie) knows a thing or two too. Aidan Moffat may be a pop star or something. That's really all I can say at the moment.

Moon Cake

Could I learn to love the Moon Cake? 
Could I learn to love the moon?
That ball of light that makes me crazy
Every lunatic month too soon.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Meter Maid

We've now got a smart meter installed so we can manage things around here  like energy and the lack of energy. According to smart meter observers and critics it'll save us at least £11 a year. That's a reasonable breakfast for one at the Old Smiddy near Doune so maybe not so bad.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Pop Art

Don't let anyone tell you that pop art died in the sixties. It lives on but in a kind of pasted up and stilted way without the aggression and hair and substance abuse that first brought it to life. Typical, it's like most things, most movements, once it's alive and realised it's pretty much dead. Life kills art sooner or later but nobody really notices. That would require some wider awareness and some concern.

Sunday, September 09, 2018


First proper wind fall apple of the year. Is windfall one word or two, who knows? Plenty of people no doubt.

Friday, September 07, 2018

Glasgow daily phony

There's nothing like a swift dose of art to make you (me) feel like a phony and a non-believer. That assumes I once was a believer or at least wanted to be one. Now I'm not sure, I'm a committed passer-by mostly. Street Art, Modern Art, Art Art, it's all the same and while I'm interested in it I'm more interested in how it actually affects things. That'll be me again being impacted upon and/or missing the point. How it affects me. So there's Angry Art, Peaceful Art, Ineffective Art and Smart Art...there are other descriptions out there, equally silly. I saw a lot of it, it affected me. I took random photos but have passed no meaningful comment. Art. It's all over the place.

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Chrysanthemum tea and sympathy

Everyone is calm around here now, must be the chrysanthemum tea taking effect, we're all relaxed, exercises done, staring out of the window with "that" look in our eyes. Everyone is of course two cats and I. The weather is better but it was never really bad. We've generated quite a lot of sympathy for the Devil, in whatever form he takes. It's not always physical either, just thoughts sometimes. He's not evil, just misunderstood. You can tell that to the children. There are other things you need to tell them if they'll listen. Turns out that God was a bit of a bully most of the time. In every story there's at least two sides, sometimes more. 

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Fifty already

It's now over 50 years since 2001 was released, the precise dates escape me and don't really matter. I doubt there will be a movie that is so striking, so misunderstood and so mystical ever made again. (That sentence caused me a lot of syntax and brain cell problems). I am however a bear of little imagination and am easily led by the great commentators and Svengalis of modern culture. They may have gotten to me. My opinions are flawed by their contaminated thoughts. Also please note that I may well be one of them but in a naturally dormant and uncommunicative state. That is my way of influencing the world and nudging the universe in my chosen direction by disguise and steady stealth. I remain hidden in the ether, floating high above your head like an errant thought bubble.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Preparing for print head

It's funny how most major consumer products have become simpler, more reliable and more robust over the years. Cars, TVs, washing machines, even (non-Apple) mobile phones. Alas this is not the case with printers. They are the fragile pre-madonnas of the technical world, flighty and complicated, always temperamental, needy and hungry for ink and attention, at war with any external device and prone to violent mood swings and fits or simply sulking and not talking to anyone. I can say this with some confidence having just un-boxed and installed a Canon 9100 series printer. Of course even though it's called a Canon 9100 (as per the handbook) it only responds to instructions when you call it a Canon 9150, and why not indeed? Names are important.

The whole process, including downloading numerous "helpful" but now completely inaccessible files takes about two hours. Everywhere there are tiny tabs and spring loaded orifices, hidden chambers that move without warning like alien jaws and then random and circular instructions that appear on a tiny screen, "wait a while" I'm politely told. So I waited. Sure enough, once all the whirring and mysterious checking and resetting is done it becomes possible to print. 

I print gingerly in black and white. Avoid colours at all costs, the cartridges are filled with a mystery elixir that could confidently slop around in the Holy Grail and grant eternal life. Even better (and more profitable) there are now two extra cartridges where there once were four. A pale purple and wheezy looking grey. Six to buy, six to fiddle with, six to stain your finger tips, six to dispose of. Why? Of course there is a chance that this printer may be the one that breaks the mould, the one that performs like a faithful collie and just gets on with it's core task, printing. I hope so.

Monday, September 03, 2018

Across the spectrum

Apologies and all that, I've been on an extended, net-free break that was pretty much unplanned. My normal and slick service is being slowly resumed but as you can see by the way I've reordered my book collection (as above), my mind has been busy rolling over a few home truths and setting them back in order. Onwards and upwards (though at a slightly odd angle).

So last night's TV. It was irritating. The film"Oblivion" played on Channel 4 last night, visually intriguing, less so plot-wise but the continuity and C4's hammered in adverts for Honda, Lexus and god knows what else were exhausting and clunky. The simple sin over lack of details killed it for me. A brief example; so in a forest there's a shack by a lake, retro furnishings everywhere, nothing sci-fi, old tat and timber, an escape cabin. The viewer sees an anonymous vinyl record being placed on a turntable, the needle hits track one, Led Zeppelin's "Ramble on" starts to play. That could never have happened, it was track three on the B-side, after "Livin' Lovin' Maid" and before "Moby Dick". "Heartbreaker" would've been the song played in the real world or even in some credible sci-fi world despite the destruction of pretty much everything else on the planet. The wrong people are making the wrong movies and attention to detail needs to be times. Surprisingly it did reasonably well at the box office.

Christina's World.

A landscape minus the land.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

No particular order

Most buildings and back streets remain blank and indifferent. It's just another festival.

Out on the town in Edinburgh for a day, saw four shows and ate three sandwiches/bagels/buns or whatever. Eating in Edinburgh is both perilous, annoying and costly. We don't do food well in the streets of the capitol. No staff, big crowds, no experience, imported and transplanted oddities, no chairs, nobody cares. It's just a festival. Here's what we saw in no proper order of time or merit.

In the old town "That's what she says" was a vigorous, foul mouthed, angry femme-fest of shouty woman's poetry. It was actually bloody good (blood came up a lot) despite my early reservations and the prospect of a two hour show I didn't think I'd stomach. It was an open mike kind of format which allowed a dynamic edge for performers and nobody slammed on for too long or beyond the good humoured audience's capacity for endurance. There was also no ritual removal of penises though the vagina was warmly (?) celebrated throuhout. All as you might have expected.

Victoria McNulty, Glasgow born poet, mean girl and slammer.
Meanwhile Yanis Varoufakis the uncrowned king of European politics was holding court at the Book Festival. There was adulation, awe and friendly questions. He has all the right answers despite a very short spell of actual real world experience. The anti Brexit audience were supportive throughout, they like how he talks, straight and true-ish, like proper politicians used to do, back in the glory days of fake history.  Now he's forging ahead with a new party and a new European model. Will his charisma carry him through? It might do if he sticks to gigs like this. Not so sure the big boys will like it.

Yannis, unafraid and on a lucrative book tour.
Darren McGarvey aka Loki is now firmly on everybody's radar. He's the poor lad from the scheme having to deal with rapid success and adjusting to actual acceptance. It's a fairy story and he knows it but I'm not sure he's controlling it. His home grown Weegie rapping is quick and clever, there's a story-line even, it's not untargeted or unguided rage, there's also a plot and (spoiler) we're all found equally guilty at the end. Is that good enough? Maybe, it's all mutated out of Poverty Safari like a planning department Topsi, a better book than this is a listen but he delivers it well, just not always my cup of double-decaf latte with soya milk. Whatever you do don't mention gentrification or social mobility and don't expect slick lighting and video backgrounds, you're in a sweaty cellar for an hour but at least it passes quickly.

Loki, I'd ditch the cap if I were him.
Joni Mitchell is still alive (at the time I write this) but it's not obvious in this show. The author of this short but polished concert plus photo album homage seems to think she bottomed out or dropped out in 1971 and hardly wrote another song after the release of "Blue". It's kind of a lazy piece of story telling but maybe there are time constraints and large chunks of the current audience (all well into their 50s/60s) gave up on Joni about then. It's likely they dumped her then and so they just want to hear stuff from the golden years when they absorbed her songs in safe bedsits from scratchy LPs on their primitive student hi-fis and Dansette record players. I recall a bit more of her back catalogue and it seems I see the golden years as lasting a little longer.

Charlotte Brereton sings Joni's early hits  but pretty much in her own voice which is a good voice and no bad thing.

It was a nice, damp and blustery day out. The city at this time is like some magnificent failure of town planning, traffic control, litter, flyers and people management. Every business is scurrying to chew as much as they can from the tourist's temporary spending hysteria while the panicked and wide eyed workers try to stay afloat as they learn the job on the job. It's not pretty, don't come if you don't want culture stuffed in your face, regardless of content or genre. It's a strange and intense feast and for me one day is quite enough.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Lost civilisations

Not so much lost as confused. I'm learning up on the revisionist histories, one great event at a time. I'm currently stuck on the great cataclysmic meteor/comet strike of 13000 BC. That was when our half alien/half human ancestors were wiped out (almost, some escaped) by cosmic retribution and the reset button was pressed on earth's systems and intelligent life. Unfortunately intelligent life never did return and we were left alone to ponder the purpose of the pyramids and the various other massive ruins and oddities that survived the reasonably sized bang, flood and suffocating dust cloud that followed. Atlantis was sunk, seas rose and fell and the ancient knowledge was burned up here and there. To make matters worse the whole of human history was then rewritten according to the dumb ass and unrealistic Islamic/Christian model and the fact that man once walked with dinosaurs isn't really taken so seriously at the moment. However some writings have survived the test of time (see above) because they were made from an advanced form of Ryvita type fonts that were put together using alien super seeds grown in the Nile Delta before it all went wrong. Look carefully at the scripture above and you can easily decipher or even read straight away some of their wondrous secrets*. You'll sleep easy as a result, all is not lost and the world will not end in 13 years (might be sooner).

*Only works if you have 51% alien DNA. Viking does not count I'm afraid.

They are  still watching us.

Thursday, August 16, 2018


Tinkering with these two today, actually made progress. Both working and playing fine (relatively).